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Below is everything (newest at top) with "life+health+covid+travel" in its title or subcategories. For a strict listing (matching all categories and subcats), click here

KILL SWITCHES IN CARS
from 2023 in ( life / travel / transportation )

I suspect they already have kill switches in newer cars and just waiting for the formalities knowing full well our traitorous overlords can already do it now. For that reason alone I'll NEVER buy another new vehicle of any kind - car, truck, motorcycle, tractor, whatever. I've gone ... read more

ROADS LAST TWICE AS LONG WHEN MADE WITH RECYCLED TIRE RUBBER
from 2022 in ( life / travel / roads / recycling )

I like this! Reduce, reuse, recycle, as they say. Engineers at the RMIT University in Australia have found that using rubber from old and used tires actually works like... read more

7-FOOT ROBOT AT DALLAS LOVE FIELD AIRPORT WATCHES FOR UNMASKED TRAVELERS, WILL NOTIFY LAW ENFORCEMENT OF POTENTIAL CRIMES
from 2022 in ( education / news / travel )

Remind me never to use that airport. A 7-foot robot at Dallas Love Field Airport is watching for unmasked passengers and will notify law enforcement of potential crimes. What could possibly go wrong? The robot, dubbed SCOT, was installed last month to determine if they are capable of efficiently sup... read more

THINKING OF LEAVING THE COUNTRY (USA), EVEN TEMPORARILY?
from 2022 in ( life / health / covid / travel )

If you, being a sensible person, refuse to get the covid shot but have been dreaming of visiting a foreign country that does NOT require said shot, you WILL be required to get one upon your return. Yep. And you thought this was a free country. Sorry, no such luck. See... read more

BNA TO SMF (2022)
from 2022 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Elizabeth and I returned home late Tuesday night after a few days in California visiting family. I still despise air travel, and the mask requirement only makes it worse, but a couple of our American Airlines crew members were happy to tell us it expires next month. Using Doug and Jana's house in Sacramento as my home base -- with Elizabeth... read more

AMERICAN MAN WALKS THROUGH MOST DANGEROUS NEIGHBORHOOD IN ROSARIO
from 2022 in ( life / travel / americas / argentina )

In the past few decades, one city in Argentina has begun to develop a rather unsavory reputation for criminality. Rosario, which connects the north of Argentina to Buenos Aires through the Parana River, is actually a fairly beautiful city. But as with many places, there are two different sides to i... read more

THANKSGIVING WEEK TRIP TO THE GULF COAST
from 2021 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Just getting the rental car (minivan) in the first place was a bit of an adventure. Because we were leaving Monday morning, we wanted to pick it up Sunday night, but all local Enterprise offices are closed on Sundays, which I find weird, given that travel-and-leisure... read more

FROM HILL TO VALLEY, A LONG-WINDED POSTCARD FROM THE ROAD
from 2021 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

The drive from Spring Hill, Tennessee to Valley, Alabama was uneventful... until we were almost there. So close. That's a fairly generic name for a town, thou... read more

GAS BUDDY FINDS STATIONS THAT HAVE GASOLINE, DIESEL OR BOTH
from 2021 in ( life / travel / transportation / fuel )

No mention of their snack supply. Here's the link: tracker.gasbuddy.com... read more

VERY FEW COUNTRIES NOT REQUIRING RIDICULOUS HEALTH PRECAUTIONS
from 2021 in ( life / travel / covid / vaccines )

There are very few places a person can go, at the moment (April 6, 2021), without worrying about bureaucrats and their ridiculous "health" requirements, making you spend several days in quarantine (hopefully, at least in your hotel, not the airport luggage carousel). Of course, returning t... read more

EXECUTIVE ORDERS ARE NOT LAWS
from 2021 in ( life / travel / vaccines / legal )

Legally, they apply ONLY to that executive's employees and any property under their legally-limited purview. Here's an open letter to all airlines... I thought I would educate you on the "federal law" you cite as justification for your mask policy. Are Executive Orders Law? The... read more

LOOKING TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL, PERMANENT-LIKE? HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS.
from 2020 in ( life / travel / advice )

If you're looking to get away from it all, here is some hopefully useful information. If you're primarily English-speaking (maybe looking to move permanently), here's a list of countries (whose primary language is NOT English) ranked by English Proficiency Index for their En... read more

AUTO-GYRO
from 2020 in ( life / travel / transportation )

I've seen this gyrocopter taking off and landing from the John C. Tune Metro airport. Maybe he's doing sales demos or something. Pretty cool looking. See autogyrousa.com/... read more

FAMILY MEMBERS SURVIVE THE MIDDLE EAST
from 2020 in ( life / travel / middle-east )

The headline is purposely misleading (a la my old newsletter), just because I can. My brother and his wife just returned from their 16-day trip to Dubai, Egypt and Jordan. "It was a great trip and at no time did we feel unsafe (except in the crazy traffic). In Egypt, we had a tour guid... read more

USDOT TO BAN DOG BREED DISCRIMINATION ON AIRLINES
from 2020 in ( life / travel / airlines / pets )

The regulation is set to put an end to airlines discriminating against service dogs based on their appearance or breed, particularly pit bulls.... read more

2019 MOST DANGEROUS US CITIES
from 2019 in ( life / travel / usa )

This article is dated December 2018, and it's based on 2017 data, but whatever. :) RoadSnacks has a similar list here, and here's... read more

GREAT FOREIGN TRAVEL TIPS
from 2019 in ( life / travel / advice )

The Hobo Traveler tells it like it is: don't rent a car, some cultures dishonest, police dangerous. See youtu.be/GNBfZ6oX73w What Countries Give You The Most Respect, The Least... read more

COST OF LIVING COMPARISON (SACRAMENTO VS. LISBON)
from 2019 in ( life / travel )

Cool international cost-of-living comparison site: expatistan.com/cost-of-living. If you're thinking of moving from Sacramento, CA to Lisbon, Portugal, for example, go to co... read more

VISITING OLD SACRAMENTO
from 2018 in ( life / travel / usa )

Observations while walking around Old Sacramento with Elizabeth:Jul 14, 2018 2:38pmAs I sat on a bench in touristy Old Sacramento, a little boy walked by and asked Are you a statue? I had to laugh. There was a statue/wooden carving of a man on... read more

HOW TO TAKE YOUR OWN PASSPORT PHOTO
from 2018 in ( life / travel / photography )

I was having a hard time converting a digital photo down to the correct 2"x2" physical size. Then I found this article: take your own passport photos. At first, I was thinking "Tell me something I don't know." Then I saw the link to the State Depa... read more

AIRLINES MISBEHAVING
from 2017 in ( life / travel / airlines )

United Airlines says Thank you, American Airlines, now everyone finally knows we're not the ONLY a--holes! Yes, the woman was apparently belligerent (just like United's victim), but these s... read more

HOW DID MOSCOW'S STRAY DOGS LEARN TO NAVIGATE THE METRO?
from 2017 in ( life / travel / russia )

Interesting Of Moscow's 35,000-odd stray dogs, about 20 are thought to travel regularly on the city's underground rail system. These dogs seem to be able to identify which trains to board, and where to alight. It appears that they can recognise humans who will give them a treat or a pat - an... read more

ALTERNATE ROUTE
from 2016 in ( life / travel / transportation / traffic )

Don't you hate it when you take an alternate route to get away from a slow driver only to have them end up in front of you later? Yeah. That's all I wanted to say. But, since you're here, look at this:... read more

SIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD
from 2013 in ( life / travel )

A list of must-see sights around the world. Less obvious places, such as Ben Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Vermont, or the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, et... read more

BEST PLACES TO GO (2013)
from 2013 in ( life / travel )

Nashville made the list! Here's what they say about it: The new Nashville offers two things worth traveling for: a hot, trendy new food scene and its famous, funky ... read more

THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE
from 2011 in ( life / travel / usa )

Actually, in and around Nashville. Adventure Science Center Alpha M... read more

TOUR OF NASHVILLE (2011)
from 2011 in ( life / travel / usa )

Elizabeth and I played tour guide to my sister Jeannie, her daughter Tiffany,... read more

TSA PERSECUTES CRITICS, IGNORES SECURITY THREATS
from 2011 in ( life / travel / politics )

While the Department of Homeland Security investigates a commercial airline pilot for exposing security flaws at a major U.S. airport, it fails to protect America against terrorism by not screening passengers and cargo on thousands of planes that fly over the country each week. Read, listen o... read more

TSA MISSES GUNS, BOMBS IN TESTS
from 2011 in ( life / travel )

While the government agency responsible for securing the nation's transportation system harasses honest citizens with invasive, genital-groping personal searches, guns and bombs regularly get past inept Homeland Security screeners. At major airports throughout the United States, undercover agen... read more

TSA MISSES LUGGAGE THAT EXPLODES AFTER FLIGHT
from 2011 in ( life / travel )

Despite a $98 million infusion for state-of-the-art baggage screening machines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) somehow missed a suitcase filled with explosives that blasted after a three-hour domestic flight. The shameful gaffe is simply the latest of many for the beleaguered Homel... read more

DIANE'S ICY ADVENTURE
from 2010 in ( life / travel / weather )

Christmas night, Diane, on the way to a party, found herself in the fast lane of the freeway with a car stopped in front of her and the brakes not working due to a patch of black ice. With cars and trucks honking on the right side, she had no choice but to steer for the shoulder, running over not on... read more

WHICH AIRPORTS HAVE BODY SCANNING TECHNOLOGY
from 2010 in ( life / travel / health )

Airports to avoid, if at all possible:Which airports have body-scanning technologyAt least my airport, Nashville Int'l, uses the "less dangerous" model.... read more

PREIKESTOLEN, ONE OF NORWAY'S MOST VISITED ATTRACTIONS
from 2010 in ( life / travel / europe )

Preikestolen is one of Rogaland county, Norway's most visited attractions, and one of the country's most spectacular photo subjects. It has been named one of the world's most spectacular viewing points by both CNN Go and Lonely Planet. It rises 604 metres above the Lysefjord. Read,... read more

TSA SEXUAL ASSAULT
from 2010 in ( life / travel / politics )

TSA - Sexual AssaultIf I do have to fly, I'll try and make all connections through New Jersey! See the next link:... read more

TRAVEL PAGE
from 2008 in ( life / travel / blog )

Currency converterPosted on 23 Feb 2008A Flight Attendant's reportby a flight attendantOn the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden the curtains parted... read more

STAY TUNED
from 2008 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I hope to get the rest of the photos and videos on here, at least in raw form, over the next few days. I think I'm getting over my post traumatic stress disorder from the trip and can now face looking at the video again. :)Regarding Comments, I had to set those to require approval before showing... read more

AIRPORT ARRIVAL
from 2007 in ( life / travel / holmes / blog )

Some pictures as we arrived in the airport. There was a great welcoming party there! We've never had an airport welcoming party before!... read more

RIDING THE METRO
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We're going to attempt to ride the Metro subway to Red Square today. Wish us luck. The exits aren't numbered, they are listed by name ... in Cyrillic. Of course, the overhead announcements are in Russian. One helpful thing is that the announcements are in a male voic... read more

STILL IN MOSCOW
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We're in a different hotel, the Holiday Inn - Moscow Sokolniki, for the rest of our stay. This is the one that was originally reserved for our return from Astrakhan. It has a reliable internet connection, costs less per night than yesterday ... read more

TO THE EMBASSY
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Our last stop before the airport on the magical mystery tour is the US Embassy. They will make Elizabeth a US citizen and a registered Repub... read more

CAN'T LEAVE EARLY
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

... but at least it's all over. The Embassy visit went fine. Delta said that the only way we could take the available seats on earlier flights was to pay $2800 extra FOR EACH ticket. We said no. Unless someone wants to donate that to us, then we'll call them back. :) As it is, we can't l... read more

MOSCOW UPDATE CONTINUED
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We're in Moscow.Bill already summarized our trip here. I do believe that I am fully initiated into the sisterhood of Mothers. I have changed an exploding poopy diaper in an airplane bathroom, with turbulence! I'll spare you all the details, but let's just say, I will be burning our cloth... read more

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE'S UPDATE
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I went ahead and paid for the 24-hour internet connection from the room. It wasn't even double the cost of one hour. I also swapped out the flaky cable and that seems to have fixed the connection problem. Wrong. I had to call the techs back to fix it. The hotel sure did send up some techs quic... read more

RIDING THE METRO, PART DEUX
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

All three of us went to Red Square this time. I'm glad Tara was able to see it. Elizabeth was fascinated, too, but probably won't remember a thing. We then had lunch at Sbarro in the... read more

JUST ANOTHER WEEK TO GO
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

... maybe less! That cheers me up. That's assuming everything goes as planned ... and it WILL. I believe in positive thinking (when I'm desperate, anyway, because it leads to positive actions, which lead to positive results, or at least your chances are better). I don't always practice i... read more

PICTURES OF OUR LIFE IN ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Tonight is our last night in Astrakhan. So, I thought I'd post some pictures of where we've been living for the past 19 days. We've had many battles over clothing. She thinks I put too much clothes on her. In the hotel room, she wears her thermals. But, she loves her boots. So, she often... read more

BACK IN MOSCOW (12/18/2007)
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We made it this far! The plane ride was terrible for several minutes when we had to fasten our seat belts, which Elizabeth did not want to do. She SCREAMED loudly for quite a while, ticking off everyone nearby. Luckily, part of it was drowned out by the sound of the jet engines revving up and taking... read more

51-1/2 HOURS
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

That's how long before we leave Astrakhan for Moscow. Not that we're counting or anything. The bad thing about these in-country flights is that they don't use "jetways," those expandable tubes that protect you from the weather as you get on and off the plane. You are out there... read more

HERE'S YOUR UPDATE
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Everyone is wanting an update! Well, we're parents of a two-year-old now. No time for updates!She is keeping us busy. Her favorite things to do are: play in the sink, play in the tub, and play in the toilet. She is a waterbaby! One of the things we were warned about an adopted child from an orph... read more

SLEEP, WHAT A CONCEPT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I slept on the floor most of last night. It's a little after 7 a.m. here. Elizabeth refuses to sleep in her crib, even though we're told that's what she slept in at the orphanage. So, she sleeps with us in our bed. That bed is barely big enough for just me and Tara. Anyway, Elizabeth can... read more

NOTHING MUCH TO UPDATE ABOUT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

She's just driving us crazy. Luckily, Tara is taking the brunt of it. I had to get out and walk around town in the freezing cold, just for the sake of getting out. I was at least useful, coming back with some groceries. Elizabeth's sweet as can be and very playful most of the time, but she t... read more

BOWEL MOVEMENT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I like a headline that demands attention!It's official, I'm a parent. Elizabeth had her first bowel movement since we've had her, and it was on my watch! Tara was unable to put Elizabeth down for a nap while I was out walking around town looking for groceries and sundry items. Once I ret... read more

MORE PICTURES (12-09-2007)
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Here are some photos from today of the hotel and the closest major street to us. We didn't get very far on our walk because it was too cold.... read more

THE FIRST HOURS OF PARENTHOOD
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Oh my gosh! She's a handful!Well, we left the orphanage without much incident. She told the orphanage staff that she wanted to leave in the car. But, she refused to let me or Bill hold her hand or touch her other than put her snowsuit and boots on. The orphanage director walked her out and then... read more

SHE'S OURS
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We have her in the hotel now. I tried typing that sentence earlier but she shut the computer down as I was typing! I don't know how. But just a few keystrokes and it was shutting down. Now she keeps trying to run a... read more

PICTURE OF US BEFORE COURT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

...from several days ago, the morning of our court appearance. Taken by the other adoptive family in town for their... read more

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We visited Elizabeth again today. We caught her when she was in the music room with all the other kids in her age group. She smiled wide when she saw us, but by the time she reached us, she tried to keep it cool. Like,... read more

SHE'S WARMING UP TO US
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We had her laughing, smiling and giggling today. I pushed her around on the three-wheeler, then "flew" her around the room. She even let us chase her around, and it didn't scare her when I chased her!She seemed... read more

IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD WEEK
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

That's all I wanted to say. :) We had a shortened visit with Elizabeth today because we had to first stop by the pharmacy and get some Ben-Gay and ibuprofen for m... read more

SATURDAY MORNING
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Tara made a good guess earlier. She thinks the orphanage caretakers are telling Elizabeth that we will be taking her away soon. They think they're doing us a favor, trying to prepare her. But now, every ti... read more

BEET SALAD
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

The time stamp on these blog posts are in US Central Time, not Russia time. It's 6am Sunday morning here. We had lunch the other day with Nancy, Joel, Vika and Liena at a Western-themed restauran... read more

THE DAY AFTER
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Well, we're much more relaxed now that we've gotten past the court appearance. The problem now is getting Elizabeth to like us again. Today, she cried for the first time. She let me hold her, but my Russian wor... read more

MUCH BETTER VISIT TODAY
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Elizabeth (a.k.a. "Masha") was much happier today. We were told that the orphanage caretakers probably were not telling her that we would be "taking her away," but who knows? She let me "fly" her arou... read more

WENT FOR A WALK
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

...... in the freezing cold, we were THAT bored. I'm starting to hate this place. There's just nothing to do when we're not visiting Elizabeth or going shopping, and both of those require a driver, and usua... read more

SUCCESS
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

As you probably read below in Tara's post, our court appearance went very well. Ten days from now we will officially be the proud parents of Elizabeth! And now Vika tells us that we get to visit her not just a few... read more

AND THE JUDGE SAYS...
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

She's ours!It's official! Elizabeth is ours. The court hearing went very smooth. It took about an hour and a half. There was a judge, prosecutor, a rep from the Child protective services, and the Minister of Education. They had a lot of questions about our parenting style, our finances and g... read more

IT'S SHOWTIME
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We leave in an hour for Court. I just got back from breakfast. Tara did not join me because she can't eat, she's so nervous. Gotta go get dressed. Wish us luck!... read more

RUSSIAN BUREAUCRACY
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Oh ... my ... God. Do not EVER lose that document they have you fill out on the plane before you land! Stapling it to your forehead would be less painful than what Galina, Liena and I went through today. Vika was tending to the other couple, Nancy and Joel today. Anyway, we just spent ALL afternoon... read more

RUSSIAN ADOPTION CONSULTANT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I've taken a job here as a Russian adoption consultant. The hours are long, and the pay is in barter, but you gotta do what you gotta do, seein' as how I can't leave the country. :)But seriously, the Children's Hope office in Brentwood, TN has an opening for such a job. T... read more

COMMENTS WELCOME
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I set this blog so that you can now add your comments anonymously without logging in. So, comment away! I was afraid that the requirement for a login was keeping people from participating. Now you can go crazy because you're anonymous. Just watch your language! Elizabeth is reading this, too ...... read more

BACK IN ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We made it to Astrakhan, but I've lost my immigration form that goes with the passport and visa. It's just a little sheet that they have you fill out on the airplane before you land. If I'd known it was so important, I would have stapled it into the passport instead of just sliding it in... read more

IN THE AIR AGAIN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Sunday, November 25, 2007, 5:00pm CSTWe're in the air on our way back to Moscow. Delta Flight 46. The current in-flight movie is "Evan Almighty," which we saw on one of our other flights to or from Moscow last time. You know, when you jet back and forth like we do, you forget exactly w... read more

MWEH YEDDUM V AEROPORT ETA OOTRA
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

You probably guessed what that means: We are going to the aiport this morning. It's probably not grammatically correct, but I ain't got no time for linguistic correctitude. :)Unlike last time when the cat kept waking me up, this time I was able to get a good night's sleep. I was up at 5:... read more

TUESDAY (11/27/2007)
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Time flies when you lose nine hours. We fly to Astrakhan this afternoon. This morning, we'll be having the free breakfast that the hotel offers. Then we'll exchange our dollars for rubles (before the dollar devalues even more). I could've done that yesterday, but I ... just ... didn'... read more

BACK IN MOSCOW (11/26/2007)
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We made it. The flight was horrible. I think I slept about 30 seconds out of the 11 hour flight. It was not a full flight, and half the people around us were able to take up two or three seats, but we weren't quick enough. The other movie on the flight was... read more

INTERNET ACCESS
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I'm wondering about internet access now that we've tentatively planned to stay in a weekly apartment in Astrakhan instead of the hotel the entire time. We'll probably want/need that internet access for the sake of something to do. Normally, we could go sightseeing, but when it's belo... read more

SKORA MWEH TAM BOOJUM
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Translation: "We'll be there soon." This time next week, actually. I really want to be able to communicate with our daughter Elizabeth when we get there. I've been playing... read more

ROUND TWO
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We've received our court date. We're haggling with the airlines now. One round-trip ticket for one adult costs a little over $800. One one-way ticket for our daughter's flight home with us costs $1,600!! I suggested just buying our daughter a round-trip ticket (which would be "only&... read more

BACK IN ATLANTA
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We're in the Atlanta airport now! Good to be on US soil, except that they keep mentioning George Bush (... as in the Houston Airport). :) It's 1:45a.m. Moscow time right now (5:45p.m. EDT), but I'm not tired. I'm anxious to catch the flight to Nashville. Customs and "security&qu... read more

WE'RE HOME
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

OK, now we're home! I'll try and do a trip summary tomorrow after a good night's sleep ... in my own bed. Tara says she feels like Dorothy, "There's no place like home!"... read more

ANOTHER GREAT VISIT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We're feeling closer and closer to our child, especially after today. And I think we passed "the test" of having the psychologist there, observing. She was pretty cool, actually. She didn't stay the entire visit. I think she could see that Tara, the child and I are all getting alon... read more

THURSDAY IN ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

First things first: Our little girl is warming up to Tara. She gave her a kiss yesterday, I think without even being asked. Now, for some more random thoughts:Before I forget to mention it, I need to tell you what happened Tuesday. I think it was Tuesday. My whole sense of time is pretty messed up.... read more

LAST VISIT FOR A WHILE
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We'll be leaving in a few minutes for our last visit to the orphanage this trip. I'm practicing asking for my baggage back from the hotel baggage room. Baggage actually sounds like "boggage." "Please" is pa-ZHAL-sta. Fascinating, I know. I thought about getting a parting... read more

WEDNESDAY IN ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We just got back from today's first visit with the child (we're not supposed to mention her name online). We'll be going back this afternoon. In the meantime, Tara's trying to catch up on her sleep. She had woken up around 5 this morning. I was able to sleep until almost 8. The gir... read more

SIGHTS OF ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

I'm attaching pictures we made of Astrakhan and our room. We are staying at the Hotel Azimut in Astrakhan. They are going through major renovations right now. It's kind of funny to see the interior design mix. The lobby is decorated in Art Deco while the rooms are decorated in traditional Ru... read more

GREAT VISIT
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We had a great visit with our little girl this morning. There were no observers. That happens this afternoon. Vika mentioned we should think about showing more affection in front of the observers. It's more in line with how Russians treat their kids. We're fine with that. We like kids so muc... read more

IT'S A GIRL IT'S A GIRL
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Oh My Gosh what a difference 1 day makes! So, we have a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed, 2-1/2 year old girl! First, the obvious question: "What happened to the 4 year old boy?" We don't know. After 2 trips to the Minister of Education, and two interviews, they gave us a referral fo... read more

WHAT A DAY
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Where to begin... The original plan was for us to go to the Minister of Education and submit our dossier and then formally receive our referral. What really happened:Galina called the ministry this morning only to find out that they were closed in the morning supposedly because there had been a deat... read more

WE'RE IN ASTRAKHAN
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

After a nerve-wracking trip to the airport and getting through the airport security we finally made it to our plane. We were told that our Rep, Galina, would be flying with us. We never saw her until we were already on the plane. She was one of the last passengers on the plane, she saw us and gestur... read more

CHECK-OUT TIME
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We check out in an hour. We got a nice free breakfast this morning, then went back to that grocery store and managed to pay the right amount for the right kind of water (still, not sparkling, which is hard to find). Security guard work is apparently a large... read more

IT'S ONLY MONDAY?
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Monday - 1 Oct 07 - 6:37PMzzzDRAHST-vueet-ya, DRAHST-ya, BREEV-yet ee DO-bree-dyen from Astrakhan! I just (phonetically) said "Hello, hey, hi and good afternoon" (even though it's now evening here) in Russian. I couldn't remember how to say "evening."We visited the Minist... read more

FIRST TIME IN MOSCOW
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Well, we made it to Moscow!After a long plane trip, we managed to get through passport control and customs with no problems. And all of our luggage made it!Our CHI Rep and driver were late getting to the airport and we were worried, but they did eventually show up. We got our first taste of traffic,... read more

LINKS TO ALL HOLMES FAMILY ADOPTION POSTS
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

This Time Next Week Preparation for Our First Trip to Russia Travel Day... read more

WE'RE IN MOSCOW
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

We'll be spending the night in Moscow, after all, and flying down to Astrakhan tomorrow afternoon. I was stressed out without an internet or even a usable power connection. But I'm obviously connected now. I had the power converters, but not the three-prong-to-two-prong adapter that I have p... read more

IN THE AIR
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

28 Sept - 3:55pm CDT - We're in the air on our way to Moscow. A little bit of good news is that it's "only" a 10 hour flight instead of 12 as we had thought.... read more

TUESDAY (10/2/2007)
from 2007 in ( family / adoption / holmes / travel )

Just some random notes this morningThere's a real stray dog problem in Russian cities; or, at least Moscow and Astrakhan. A lot of people even apparently let their dogs run loose. They're almost all large dogs. The small ones don't survive. There's a real "man purse" proble... read more

VISITING FAMILY IN GUATEMALA
from 2005 in ( life / travel / americas / blog )

We visited Evelyn's family in Guatemala, hence the title of the post :) and ate like the pigs that we are. Bijou had fun. I guess the highlight was going to the cemetery. Believe it or not, it was really Gothic, colorful, historical and very interesting, in general.We didn't have much time... read more

VISITING FAMILY IN KANSAS
from 2005 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Kansas. What an incredibly boring state. Tara, her sister Sandie, niece Destiny and I flew from Nashville to attend her youngest sister Stephanie's high school graduation in Council Grove, Kansas. Tara and I figured we'd find something to do that night upon arrival in Kansas City, followed b... read more

TRIP TO ROANOKE
from 2005 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

I'm home after a long trip to Roanoke, VA and back. It was quite an experience overall. The 1-3/4 hour drive to SMF was punctuated by the puppy screaming and howling in the crate behind me in the van. She messed the newspapers once and I stopped and changed them. Once I got to the airport, I put... read more

TRIP TO VANCOUVER
from 2005 in ( life / travel / canada / blog )

Our trip was great. Here's a very short story.We left on 8/11 from my work. My boss made me attend a meeting that day which ended at 2:30, whereupon I joined June, Brian and Andy who were in our van, waiting in the parking lot. Boy, did I need a vacation!We arrived at Jeannie's that night, s... read more

CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH
from 2000 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Charleston, SCWe drove ... and drove ... and drove - 10 hours or so- from Nashville until finally reaching Charleston, South Carolina. Along the way, westopped in Asheville, North Carolina at the Biltmore Estate because Tara had forgotten toget postcards when we were there a coup... read more

NEW ORLEANS
from 2000 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

We flew into New Orleans about noon time on a Friday. Since the room wasn't ready for such an early arrival, we walked four blocks to the pier and decided to ride the paddle wheel boat "Natchez." It basically goes a mile up the Mississippi, then heads back. You'll see a lot of othe... read more

CALIFORNIA, WHAT A TRIP
from 2000 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Before we left, I took Austin to his Grandma Joy's house. We had a good visit and he took to her immediately. I left him on Friday morning and drove back to Nashville. I was supposed to get my ear drums cut open for the plane ride because I had ear infections, but the steroids and antibiotics ha... read more

THE BREEDERS CUP AT GULFSTREAM PARK
from 1999 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

...with a side trip to Miami from Ft. Lauderdale.

I flew from Nashville to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the Breeders Cup horse races at Gulfstream Park (actually Hallandale). It was fun just being there. Southwest had given me a free round-trip ticket for some reason (I don't remember why), and I was taking advantage of it. I... read more

ALASKA, A TRUE WILDERNESS
from 1999 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

I've always heard people use the words "wilderness" and "Alaska" in the same sentence. It didn't mean a lot to me until recently when my wife Carla and I cruised the Inside Passage of Alaska. The state is huge, but it still takes a good seven days (round trip) to cruise u... read more

ST. LOUIS TRIP
from 1999 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Tara and I made a quick trip (if you can call a five-hour road trip quick ) to St. Louis over the Labor Day weekend. We visited their historic district ( old town ) along the river where they were hosting the Big Muddy Blues Roots Festival. That was just good timing on our part. We had not originall... read more

QUICK TRIP TO CHICAGO
from 1999 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Tara and I left Nashville for Chicago on a Thursday morning. At the last minute I decided to let my cat Myca out. I figured he would return shortly after doing his business in the neighbor's bushes, as usual, and I could then lock him in the house for the duration of our trip. When he didn't... read more

ATLANTA TRIP
from 1999 in ( life / travel / usa / blog )

Tara and I just got back from a long weekend in Atlanta. It was nice to see the town. I'd passed through before, but had never stopped to look. The first touristy thing we did after eventually finding our hotel - the downtown Courtyard-by-Marriott, picked out by Tara, which was... read more

PORTUGAL TO HUNGARY
from 1998 in ( life / travel / europe / blog )

How I Spent My Summer Vacations (Portugal to Hungary) from 1992Portugal/AzoresOn Sunday, July 12th, I woke up ... but while getting ready for the flight to Portugal the next morning, I never went back to sleep. In Lisboa, my 2nd cousin Teresa Rocha Homem and her husband Antonio Melo met me at the... read more

TRIP TO EUROPE (1996)
from 1996 in ( life / travel / europe / blog )

I was in Bratislava, Slovakia for Doug and Jana's wedding, but this doesn't include the wedding itself. That was filmed by a professional. This video is so badly done it's almost funny. There's also some footage from Budapest, Prague and Berlin. The story is below.... read more

EUROPE 96 VIDEO
from 1996 in ( life / travel / europe / blog )

You can watch it here: vimeo.com/3271045I was in Bratislava, Slovakia for Doug and Jana's wedding, but this doesn't include the wedding itself. That was filmed by a professional. This video is so badly-done it's almost funny. There's also some footage on here from Budap... read more

EASTERN CANADA
from 1989 in ( life / travel / canada / blog )

Roving reporter returns from East (September, 1989) - Bill returned from his trip to eastern Canada a few weeks back. He was supposed to seek out and capture "Wild Man" Doug. Remember? Well, he's back. Bill, that is. When asked to report his findings, however, Bill said, "What?... read more


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