Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

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Somewhere In Mexico

September 18th, 2008 · 5 Comments

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Somewhere in Mexico, a man pulls up to a beach in a camper, dog by his side. He unpacks supplies as the sun rises to warm his back. Rod and tackle in hand, a man sets out to befriend a stranger who will become the captain of the boat he takes out into the sea.

Somewhere in Mexico fish are caught and conversation drifts with the waves. Thick salt air cracks a man’s lips as he enjoys long deep contented breaths. A small boat bobs above the Pacific. The sun crests the sky, westward bound.

Somewhere in Mexico, a man is satisfied with his catch. The captain pilots him back to land to befriend fellow campers and swap tall tales over beers. There is talk of diving the cliffs of Acapulco.

Somewhere in Mexico a dog barks and the waves crash upon the shore and the sun slips back behind the horizon as a day’s efforts turn into dinner and a man is happy to have found paradise.

picture1
In memory of Don Chesworth

→ 5 CommentsTags: Mexico


Travel Betty Nominated For Divine Caroline’s “Love This Site Award”

September 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments

And this time, I didn’t even have to nominate myself! Please, if you’re feeling benevolent, vote for me. It’s quick and easy.

 

And then go spend some time on the Divine Caroline website. It’s chock full of entertaining lady knowledge. 

→ 2 CommentsTags: Uncategorized


Spa Betty Series: Boreh Boreh

September 7th, 2008 · 7 Comments

You may have noticed that during my Bali Spa Series endeavor, I became a little obsessed with the reflexology (as demonstrated here, here, here, here, here and here). Not wanting to chase away all of my loyal readers who prefer other types of spa treatments, I sign up for my first Boreh Scrub.

What the heck is that, you ask? Well, it’s a mixture of things like ginger, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, rice powder and cinnamon. Like the Balinese Lulur Scrub, this paste is rubbed all over your naked body before you’re wrapped like a spiced cadaver to stew in your own juices. It is said that Boreh improves blood circulation, relieves muscular pains and headaches, and is good for healing the flu. I can’t vouch for all that, but I did enjoy the treatment.

Having been to Putri Bali II for a Lulur Scrub my first week here, I choose to go to Putri Bali I to try the Boreh. I also decide to get a facial since I haven’t yet had one here. Typically I don’t like facials because they hurt, my nose runs and I enjoy popping my own zits, but for $5, I can afford to take a walk on the wild side.

The technician leads me through Putri Bali I’s lush garden to a private hut and starts me off with the facial. My hair is pulled back out of my face with a terry cloth band of questionable cleanliness. Then various lotions and tinctures are applied to my countenance. It’s relaxing, but is also totally something I could do at home and in less time. This isn’t like the pseudo-medical facials I’ve gotten at home from certified estheticians. There is no magnifying glass, no bright lights, no “expressing of facial congestion.” It’s just a down-home face cleanse and that’s alright by me.

After the facial, the real fun begins. I’m given a pair of tourist panties and then the woman rubs the dark brown Boreh paste all over my body. It’s messy as hell and when all is said and done, the term “scat play” comes to mind (sorry, Puritans). It smells nice though and I am wrapped up and left to my thoughts to let the paste really work its magic.

After maybe 10 minutes, I am led to the outdoor bathroom attached to my private hut. The woman tells me to shower before getting into the flower petal bath she has prepared. I heed her instructions, hoping my shower runoff will be turned into some sort of Balinese mulled wine. Then I dip myself into the bath and soak my cares away while sipping hot ginger tea and watching ants scurry around the tub.

Travel Betty Basics

Putri Bali I, Legian, Bali Indonesia
Ambiance: 3.0 out of 5 Passion Fruits
Treatment: 3.5 out of 5 Passion Fruits
Cost: Boreh Scrub 100,000 rupiah (including tax) / Facial 50,000 rupiah (including tax)
What that means in U.S. Dollars: $16.21

Other Betties Blogging About Boreh

Karla, over at Write Sense
Yoyo, of Yoyo The Sheep fame 

→ 7 CommentsTags: Bali · Spas


Spain: The Latest Episode Of No Reservations Doesn’t Disappoint

August 18th, 2008 · 5 Comments

Another week, another gazing over at Travel Boyfriend through blurry tears to see a similar reflection staring back. Yes, yes, I know, get over Anthony Bourdain, Travel Betty.

Well, it’s hard.

He started his television career off so irascibly, but has mellowed through the past three seasons like a fine cheese. There’s depth to him. Yes, he’s still cantankerous and that’s one reason to love him, but he’s also sentimental in a very manly and appropriate way.

For those of you who just watched the past two weeks’ episodes with him in Japan and Spain respectively, you know what I’m talking about. And for those of you who didn’t, please set your TiVos now. There will certainly be repeated airings.

Next week he explores Egypt. Having spent a good deal of time there last year, I’m curious what gastronomic successes he finds. Besides the koshary, my only memory of Egyptian food involves buffet pap and bread shaped like crocodiles. Not that I didn’t find the latter amusing. It’s just that my gag reflex still engages when I think back to the grit-marinated kebab meal we had on the outskirts of the Khan el-Khalili market.

But yes, okay, I hear you. You get the point. Tony’s show is phenomenal. It’s transcendent. It’s to be seen. And you are going to watch it so I don’t have to keep beating a dead horse into a tender succulent meal prepared by a village-dwelling culinary master like the ones Tony invariably meets weekly in his travels.

Don’t worry, next week is the Season Finale, so you won’t have to hear from me on the subject for a few more months. Until then, tune in. And maybe read Tony’s blog while you’re at it.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Egypt · Food and Drink · Pop Culture


Yaro’s blog coaching program is OPEN

July 29th, 2008 · 4 Comments

I expect you have seen what Yaro Starak released
during the previous week. The videos and interview
with a million dollar blogger he published to help
us all become better bloggers really impressed a
lot of people – including me.

Today is your chance to become the next blogging
success story and Yaro is willing to help you get
there. He certainly helped me.

His private coaching program has just opened to
take on new students. You can join here -

Yaro’s Blog Mastermind Program

The program, called Blog Mastermind, is
comprehensive and includes -

- A step-by-step coaching course delivered in
weekly lessons in text and audio format

- Private members-only forum community and access
to regular live training calls with Yaro (you can
ask him anything you want about your blog)

- Video case studies of blogs and a ten-part
series of audios from Yaro covering the core
aspects about what it takes to earn big dollars
from a blog

- Access to the social traffic club, a special
community of members who help each other drive
traffic to their blogs from social media sites

- 5 unique interviews with professional bloggers
like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and Andy Wibbels

- Plus loads more.

You can take a behind the scenes tour and hear
Yaro talk about his coaching program if you watch
the short video at the start of the sign-up page
here -

Yaro’s Blog Mastermind Program

This is definitely the only course I know of that
teaches you how to make a full time living
blogging only part time, and how to build a real
business from a blog, taught by someone who has
actually done it.

Yaro’s teaching style is unique, he’s easy to
learn from and has an ability to make complex
subjects simple to understand.

He’s also one of the only bloggers I know of who
really understands Internet marketing and how to
build a business that doesn’t suck all your time.

Plus he makes over six-figures a year from his
blog!

No matter what level of blogger you are, whether
you are brand new and still don’t even have a
blog, or you are an experienced blogger who wants
to take their income to the next level and stop
working so hard, Blog Mastermind is for you.

Yaro is offering 3 fast-action bonuses for the
first 100 new members who join his program today.
They include three interviews and videos on
important subjects to any blogger -

- How to effectively implement Yaro’s
“Conversion Blogging” system on your blog

- How to use video to market online, just like
Yaro did with his recent videos, with advice from
video expert Gideon Shalwick

- Advanced tactics to improve your conversion
rates to sell more from your blog posts and email
newsletters, coming from Will Swayne, the
conversion specialist Yaro hires to improve his
blogging business

You can read more about the bonuses at Yaro’s
blog post here -
http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/954/fast-action-bonuses/

These bonuses are only for the first 100 new
members today, so you better hurry if you want
these extra goodies. Here is the link to join the
coaching program -

Yaro’s Blog Mastermind Program

Even if you don’t join Yaro’s program today,
make sure you study his videos and the Blog
Profits Blueprint report he gives away.

Yaro offers so much great advice that won’t cost
you a cent and I’m sure if you follow his
instructions you will begin earning rewards from
your blog.

- Travel Betty

PS. Remember, if you want the fast-action bonuses
you have to join Blog Mastermind within the first
100 people. As I write this, 60 people have
already joined up.

Yaro’s Blog Mastermind Program

→ 4 CommentsTags: Uncategorized


7 Highlights For Your Trip To The Yucatan In Quintana Roo, Mexico

July 28th, 2008 · 4 Comments

The other day, an old coworker emailed me for advice on his upcoming trip to the Yucatan. Having been there twice, I count the Yucatan as one of my favorite places in the world. After responding to his email, I realized I’ve only ever written one other post about my trip, most specifically about our stay at Tita Tulum. So, I decided to just post my response to him here so all you other Betties could get a taste of what the Yucatan has to offer.

Dear Former Coworker,

I don’t have much info on camping (since I’m such a pampered pet!) but here were some of the highlights from our two trips:

Valladolid- A small town on your way from Cancun to Chichen Itza. The first time, we just stopped in for conchinita pibil overlooking the main plaza. The second time we spent a night and were charmed by this small city. Cenote Dzitnup is a must to swim in. And Ek Balam is within easy driving distance. It was being newly restored when we went, so it’s probably a more substantial ruin site by now.

Izamal- Our overnight stay here was a happy accident. The city is gorgeous, mostly painted yellow and absolutely breathtaking at sunset. Don’t forget your camera. It’s a bit out of the way, but it worth the trip if you can swing it. We met a crazy character named Hector who owned a small souvenir shop off of the main drag. He’s American and supposedly was a roadie with the Grateful Dead for a while.

Uxmal- I love ruins and out of all we’d seen in Mexico, this was my favorite site. I assume you’ll be hitting it. There are also three lesser-visited ruin sites nearby that we went to (Labna, Sayil and Kabah) and each has its own great reason for visiting.

Tulum- We stayed at Tita Tulum and it’s the whole reason we went back a second time. Looks like you’ve already gotten your accommodations arranged, so I’ll just tell you to make sure you bring your swimsuit when you visit the Tulum ruins. There is a small beach nearby where you can swim out and look back at the only coastal Mayan ruins in existence. I forgot my suit, so I’ll have to live vicariously through your experience.

Merida- The capital city filled with festivals pretty much every night of the week. It’s a little bustle-y and polluted, but worth an overnight visit.

Rio Lagartos- Again, here we met an interesting character named Filiberto who took us out in his boat to look for flamingos. Then we stopped off at a pink salty pond, which sounds weird and fun and it is. With the hurricanes over the past few years, there are fewer flamingos than usual, so if you ask around, you might find a better town for sightings. For us, meeting Filiberto was more of a highlight than the birds.

Playa Del Carmen- This is the town where we strolled, shopped and partied. We stayed at La Tortuga and because we went back to PDC three times, got to stay in their swim-up room, their palapa, and their jaccuzi suite. It looks like they’ve done some renovation since we were there, which should make the experience even better.

In case you’re wondering, driving around the Yucatan is a breeze. It’s worth taking the toll roads because they’re fast and you avoid a lot of topes (speedbumps). Plus, there’s hardly any traffic. You mostly share the road with butterflies. We took the slow route only once for the experience and it was deathly slow in comparison. Having said that, it’s still pretty cool to see more of the rural communities along the way.

Travel Betty Basics

Tita Tulum
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
(about 2 hours south of Cancun)
Rooms $80-170 per night (We stayed in lovely Cabaña #6 Tucan both times)
Ask for a discount for multi-night stays
The open air restaurant serves delicious food and strong drinks

Hotel La Tortuga
Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
(about an hour south of Cancun)
$88-305 per night depending on room category and season
Ask for discount on multi-night stays
Just like in Egypt, they like to make animal towel sculptures

→ 4 CommentsTags: Mexico


Learn Something New At The Omega Institute

July 22nd, 2008 · 9 Comments

A few months back I was lucky enough to attend a 2-day writing workshop in San Francisco with the author of one of my favorite books of all-time. The author’s name is Lynda Barry and the book is “Cruddy.” If you haven’t read it, then please go out and get it right now. And if you have read it, then you know why I was so excited she was teaching a writing workshop.

That first workshop went so well that when I found out Lynda was doing a 5-day class this summer, I signed up immediately. The only hitch was that it was in New York and not even NYC, which would be easy to get to, but upstate NY at a place called The Omega Institute. This meant logistics and planning and as it turns out, vegetarian meals for a week.

Omega is basically a summer camp for adults. The week I attended was Arts Week, so besides Lynda’s class, people could select workshops in West African Dance, Mask Making, Gospel Singing, Tap Dance, Trapeze Artistry, etc. And all of them (except my class luckily) performed at the week’s conclusion ala Waiting For Guffman. And although I didn’t expect to enjoy it, I did. I really did. Especially the trapeze performance. Ballsy (in more ways than one)!

The Institute itself consists of a few basic buildings for lodging where you have your choice of camping (I don’t think so!), sharing a big fat wide-open dorm room (nope), getting your own private room in a dorm with a shared bathroom (more my speed), or getting a cottage all to yourself (reasonably priced, but not necessary). No matter which option you choose, it doesn’t matter too much because you won’t be in your room very often anyways.

That’s because in addition to whichever workshop you sign up for, there are a million other things to do and most of them are included in the lodging fee. Tai chi, yoga, meditation, kayaking, swimming, tennis, even a “movement” class where you can pretend you’re a snake writhing around on the ground to music. Yes, if you haven’t already guessed, Omega is a crunchy granola type of place. In fact, it wouldn’t be a misnomer to refer to it as Hippie Village. I know I did.

But with the lushness of the property, the serenity of the lily pad covered lake and the twinkly, blinky fireflies, you’ll find yourself willing to overlook all that. Plus, hippies really know how to relax. To that end, I partook of two spa treatments at their Wellness Center while I was there. One craniosacral massage (I’ve been meaning to try this out for a while. Eh.). And one shiatsu massage (A little rushed, but decent).

The only real blemish was the food, which is also included in your fee. As you know, I’m a meat-eater and while I saw it as an interesting challenge to eat veggie for 5 days, after the 2nd day I wanted to go find a cow in a nearby pasture and suck on its hide just to experience some flavor. I mean, c’mon veggies, is it so hard to add salt to a dish? Just shake your wrist like you’re playing the tambourine. The funny thing is, there was a “bland food” section where you could get greens or beans or whatever that weren’t cooked with any seasoning at all and I couldn’t imagine any of those options tasting much different than what I got.

Even so, I left Omega with a warm cozy feeling that’s still with me even a few days later. If you’re on the East coast and trying to get away for even a weekend, I’d recommend taking a look at their schedule. They offer a wide variety of program options and if you don’t feel like doing a damn thing, they also offer a Rest and Relaxation Retreat so you can just do as you please for however long you feel pleased to do it.

And it should go without saying, if you want to learn a fantastic and simple writing method taught by one of the funniest, most self-deprecating genius authors/cartoonists of our time, then sign up for Lynda’s class next year. Or check out her site to see if she’ll be coming to your town soon. If she’s not (and even if she is), pick up a copy of her brand new book, “What It Is,” which explains her method and incorporates her signature drawing and collage-style artwork. Totally fun to read! And inspiring for the lil’ writer inside of you who is patiently waiting for that “someday” when you take your talent seriously.

Travel Betty Basics

Omega Institute
Rhinebeck, NY 

Rhinebeck Taxi
(845)876-6600
You can rely on them to pick you up when they say they will and you’ll also have a pleasant time chatting with your driver. 

Amtrak
I caught the Omega shuttle up from NYC, but on the way back I had to take a taxi, the train, the subway, the AirTrain and then my flight. Shwew! But Amtrak was quite delightful.  

→ 9 CommentsTags: Books · Lodging · New York


Anthony Bourdain In Saudi Arabia Tonight

July 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments

Remember last season when the Travel Channel kept asking for No Reservation fans to send in their videotapes to convince Tony to travel to their favorite locales? Well, probably like you, I considered doing it, but slacked out.

Luckily, this chick didn’t and now Tony’s off to Saudi Arabia!

Until women are allowed to drive and be treated as equals and all that good stuff, I probably won’t be going myself anytime soon, so I’m really looking forward to tonight’s show. Although personally, I would have chosen the Philippines based strictly on that pig porn shot!

Either way, it should be a good one! Tune in tonight at 10pm.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Pop Culture


SmartyPig Gift Card Winner!

July 19th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Congratulations to JoLynn from The Fit Shack!!! She’s the winner of the $50 gift card from SmartyPig.

All of the postcards comments were awesome and made me feel like I was traveling the world in style. I just couldn’t choose “the best” so instead I turned to the good old democratic process and picked randomly. That way all is fair in love and war and obscure blog contests! 

Big mad props to everyone who participated. And super big props to JoLynn!!

→ 1 CommentTags: Pop Culture


Travel Betty Needs A BlogHer ’08 Pass

July 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Who knew BlogHer ’08 would sell out? What’s that? Pretty much everyone? Hmmm, I guess I should have paid attention.

Instead I was busy ordering my new Travel Betty business cards to pass out at the conference and getting ready for my trip to New York tomorrow to take Lynda Barry’s 5-day Writing The Unthinkable workshop at the Omega Institute. (I did the 2-day workshop in San Francisco a couple months back and it was incredible.)

But alas, that sidenote does nothing to advance my cause.

If anyone has a pass for Saturday and/or Sunday for the SF BlogHer 08 conference, please take pity on this procrastinating Betty and shoot me a note.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Uncategorized