Archives For November 2013

Getting into my Ferrari in China

Don’t mind me, just getting into my Ferrari!

One of our biggest motivators of buying things we can’t afford is the fear of looking poor.

How embarrassing it must have been for me to drive around in a 1993 white Chevy Lumina with a maroon interior – so embarrassing that I thought the better decision was to take out a $28,000 car loan just so I wouldn’t look poor anymore. But guess what, although I might have looked like I had money with the new car, now I was officially poor!

My car ran just fine, but I made excuses to justify buying a new car. I needed something more dependable – even though my trusty Chevy Lumina never left me stranded on a Dallas highway. It wasn’t the fear of a break down that fed my bad decision, but the fear of simply appearing poor.

Are you afraid of looking poor?

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Overall score (Dan) = B
Overall score (Jocelyn) = A

Total days = 4 nights, 5 days
Total cost = $1,132
Cost per day = $226 / day
Flight costs = $1,164 one-way from UK and through to US
Cities visited: Reykjavik, Vic, and other small towns along the south coast of Iceland

Summary

We made Iceland our last country to visit on our round the world trip because it made sense geographically as it sits between the UK and the US. We also knew Iceland is very expensive, so we limited our time to five days and hoped it would be enough.

It turns out we could’ve spent weeks exploring the island because it’s incredibly beautiful! Iceland’s nickname is the “Land of Fire and Ice” and visiting in early November meant we got to see some ice. We explored around volcanoes and saw many of them from the road, but we never actually got to see any lava – I think you have to pay the big bucks to go on a 4×4 excursion or helicopter ride to see that.

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Stonehenge, United Kingdom

Jocelyn and me in front of Stonehenge

Overall score (Dan) = B
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B

Total days = 9 nights, 10 days
Total cost = $2,005
Cost per day = $200 / day
Flight costs = $613 one-way from Tel Aviv
Cities visited: Sterling, Edinburgh, Bristol, London

Summary

As our flight touched down at London Heathrow, we were mixed with emotions ranging from relief to sadness. Relief from knowing our scary and exotic countries were all marked off the list and sadness for the same reason! Arrival in the UK meant that after this country we only had one left to visit – Iceland. It meant we were back to westernized countries where the people looked like us and everything was familiar. It meant our round the world trip was almost complete.

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How Much Did We Spend in Morocco?  Essaouira, Morocco

Watching the sunset with the city of Essaouira behind us

Overall score (Dan) = A
Overall score (Jocelyn) = A

Total days = 7 nights, 8 days
Total cost = $934
Cost per day = $117 / day
Flight costs = $616 from Tel Aviv (with stops in Istanbul, Rome, and Milan!!)
Cities visited: Marrakech, Essaouira, Taroudant

Summary

It seems like every time we think we’ve seen it all, we stumble into a new country and are blown away by what we find. From the snake charmers controlling the customer’s wallets as easy as they do the snakes, to the goats that climb trees in search of their next meal, Morocco is full of wonder, mystery, and danger; not necessarily the danger of physical harm, but more the danger of being swindled.

We were lucky enough to meet a friend in Morocco who pretty much planned out our entire 8 days! It came at a good time because after 8 months of researching new countries, reading the top 10 things to do on Lonely Planet, and figuring out where to stay, we were ready for a mental break.

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Crossing the border between Israel and Jordan

“Don’t look at the sign, look into my eyes”, the man barked at us as we crossed the border from Israel into Jordan and reviewed the government posted taxi prices. His demeanor screamed “Alpha Male” as his confident tone let us know we’d be following his instructions. My previous research prepared us for our encounter with the “taxi mafia”, but it was much more tense in real life.

The border crossing from Eilat, Israel to Aqaba, Jordan is one of the most heavily traveled by tourists who make the trek to see the incredible monolithic ruins of Petra. However, its popularity as a tourist entrance doesn’t make it easier for tourists because the crossing on the Jordan side is “owned” by one taxi company in Aqaba. Rumors posted online refer to a “mafia man” whose close connections to the military and local government prevent him from getting shut down and keeps other taxi companies out. If you threaten to walk to town, he says you’ll be shot by the military who monitors the “dead zone” a few kilometers between the town and the border. It’s his way or the highway.

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America, Hell Yeah.

November 4, 2013 — 6 Comments
America, Hell Yeah with stylish shoes

Stylin’ USA shoes in Hong Kong

As we gazed across the bay to the beautifully lit city of Hong Kong, I couldn’t help but notice the young man’s shoes as he walked in front of us. They weren’t the typical high-price Faragamo’s that are becoming normal in the ultra-affluent Hong Kong, instead they were simple canvas shoes decorated on the top with the US flag.

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