Everette Studdard

Everette

Everette Studdard

Walt and I enjoy traveling to interesting places, meeting new friends, and sharing our adventures with others. I started this journal-blog when we made our extended trip to Asia in 2006. Writing the blog has gotten to be a habit. After this trip around the world, I am going to limit the blog to one per country.
We hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.



South America » Ecuador » North January 24th 2013

Hi Everybody! When we thought this amazing trip couldn't get any better, it did. We have decided that Ecuador is our favorite of the Andean countries visited on this trip. The people are friendly and helpful. The country accepts U.S. currency, requires no visa, and uses 110 voltage. All of these little things made our life easy. Quito is located in a large valley surrounded by volcanoes. The weather is temperate year round. The temperature hasn't dropped below 40 degrees F in fifty years. Most people do not have heat or air conditioning in their homes. We weren't sure what to expect since this is Ecuador's summer season. The mornings have been cool (50's) and afternoons warmer (high 60's to low 70's.) The natives tell us that you can experience all four seasons every day in ... read more
One of the 7 Crosses
La Compania de Jesus Church
Otavalo Native

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department January 14th 2013

Hi Everybody! Bolivia may be the poorest country in South America, but its natural beauty is unsurpassed. We flew to Bolivia from Asuncion, Paraguay and landed in Santa Cruz. Even though this city is not one of Bolivia's 2 capitals, it is the richest city. Most of the country's fruits and vegetables are grown in this region. After a couple of days, we took a hot 10 hour bus ride to Cochabamba. Between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, we noticed a big change in the ethnic heritage of the people from Spanish to indigenous people. In the countryside, the people have virtually nothing --small sun dried brick homes with few windows. The poverty caught our attention! Outside of the big cities, there are few motorbikes or automobiles. The people travel by bus. We have not seen horses ... read more
Santa Cruz Sculpture
Santa Cruz Cathedral
Church in Cochabamba

South America » Paraguay » Asunciòn January 2nd 2013

Hi Everybody! It is a long way down to Asunion, capital of Paraguay. Our first impression of the city was one of disappointment. It is very dirty with graffiti decorating many buildings and walls. Some of the skyscrapers are stained and discolored from pollution. Sections of sidewalk are often missing or cracked. Putting that aside, Paraguay was beautiful from the air. We could see fields of green and plots of forests. As we approached the city, we could see that it was located on the E. banks of the Paraguay River. Paraguay has had a sad life. It has been ruled by dictators and other corrupt officials. People seem to accept this as a fact of life. Paraguay is the second poorest country in South America. We have seen many destitute people and have been surprised ... read more
Statue in Plaza Uruguay
Changing of the Guard
Independence Plaza

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste November 8th 2012

Hi Everybody! Walt and I have just returned from a fascinating trip to Cuba. We have wanted to go to Cuba for years but didn't want to chance a heavy fine. We recently heard that 10 U.S. travel companies had been granted special licenses by both U.S. and Cuba to conduct People to People Programs. The travel company takes care of the Visa, authorization letter, and specific license that is required. The program is rather strict and demands that participants follow a full educational exchange curriculum. The trip is not meant to be a vacation or leisure trip. It included very little free time --only a few hours in the evenings. We learned a lot about the history of Cuba, the Revolution, life in Cuba under Castro, changes that have taken place in the last few ... read more
Jose Marti, Cuba's Favorite National Hero
Spanish Colonial Building
Classic Car

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Asakusa October 24th 2011

Hi Everybody! Walt and I started our trip by flying to St. Petersburg using frequent flier miles. We decided early on that we would not use the return trip tickets. Instead, we hoped that somewhere in Asia, we would be able to get into the Military Space Available program. When we got ready to move on from our visit to Singapore, we went to the nearby Singapore Military Air Force base and were lucky to get the last two seats on a contract flight. A contract flight is like a regular airlines flight with stewardesses, catered meals, etc. The only difference on this flight was that it only had 32 seats. The rest of the plane was blocked off and used for carrying military equipment. We flew into Yakota AFB near Tokyo. Tokyo, Japan's capital, is ... read more
Hibiscus
Kaminarimon Gate/Thunder Gate
Fountain at Sensoji Temple

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur October 18th 2011

Hi Everybody! Jim, Walt, and I flew from Lhasa, Tibet to Singapore. We stayed two nights in Singapore and enjoyed a little R & R. On the third day, Jim left us to go back home to the U.S., and we took a train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We bought a five day pass on the Malaysian Railway. The cars are old but very comfortable. They have a dining car but few options. On our way to KL, we sat with a very nice Scottish couple and their two children. The teenagers were on a Fall Break, and the family was headed to an island off the coast of Malaysia. While on the train, we passed many palm and banana trees, lots of thick tropical foliage, many flowers, simple homes, Hindu temples, new rail construction. Kuala ... read more
Marina Bay Sands Resort
Unity Monument
Hindu Temple in Singapore

Asia » China » Tibet » Lhasa October 14th 2011

Hi Everybody! The train journey from Beijing to Tibet was not a fun trip! We were bumped from our booked first class cabin by a delegation of Tibetans. Because of this, we were in a 6 person cabin and were very crowded. The cabin had no door so we had no privacy. We are just glad that part of our trip is over. I will have to say that the scenery in the mountains of Tibet was beautiful. We saw herd after herd of sheep, yak, horses, and cattle. Many of the mountains were covered with snow. The sky was so clear and the prettiest color of blue. When we reached the modern new train station in Tibet, we were met by our guide Sat. He welcomed us to the "Roof of the World" by adorning ... read more
Caves
Earthen Greenhouses
Great Scenery from the Train

Asia » China » Tibet » Friendship Highway October 13th 2011

Hi Everybody! In this blog, I am going to let the photos tell the story. I am starting with the train from Ulan Bator. The landscape changed many times as we traveled across the Gobi Desert to Beijing. Walt thought that it would be better if I published the blogs for Beijing and Tibet after leaving China. The Communist government blocks many internet sites including Facebook, Firefox, newspaper sites, and many others. The people are very kind especially the service workers that you come in contact with at hotels, restaurants, etc. Yet, these people have a fear of their superiors, the police, the military, etc. They do not want to be the center of attention. Sometimes, they would not take a tip if their supervisor was watching but would gladly take it in private. Police and ... read more
Lady from Nepal
Chinese Bride & Groom
Dragon Boat at Summer Palace

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar October 1st 2011

Hi Everybody! FYI: Jim, our fellow traveler, finished high school and college with Walt. They took ROTC at JSU and both retired as Army Lt. Colonels. Jim thought he loved trains until he had 5 cabin mates between Moscow and Irkutsk. This trip has been full of surprises –some good and some not so good. The train ride from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator was on a small train with just 5 cars and no dining car. The train cabins so far have had no bathroom facilities – not even a sink. Each car has 2 toilets but no showers. The cars do have plenty of hot water in the samovar. The attendants add charcoal or coal in the burner to keep the water boiling. After a couple of days, you really miss the comforts of home. ... read more
First Snowfall of the Season
Ghenghis Khan
Furniture in Yurt

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk September 27th 2011

Hi Everybody! We are halfway to our quest of making it around the world. FYI: This is my 100th Blog! We got off the train on Sunday in Irkutsk and were happy to be met by our guide/driver - Ivan. He took us for breakfast and then for a nice tour of the city. In 1920, Stalin closed all churches in Russia. People were not allowed to legally worship again until the fall of Communism. Stalin blew up the largest cathedral in Moscow and in Irkutsk (& possibly in many other cities.) Some churches remained vacant but others were used to store grain and other items. Of the 10 churches that survived in Irkutsk, some have been renovated and are now functioning. A few are not being used but are being renovated. I saw a beautiful ... read more
Victor Park
Two Headed Eagle
Worker Sweeping with Stick Broom on Dirt Sidewalk




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