Laura Sholtz

Laura421

Laura Sholtz





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Former TravelPod Member: laura421


Joined: December 21st, 2011

From: lives in Thailand
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North America » United States » Maine March 23rd 2020

A week ago I was in Chile, enjoying our last full day exploring this gorgeous country, visiting beautiful vineyards, fascinating museums, comfortable homes, and drinking fine Chilean wines. I am writing this from my home in Maine, so you can see I made it through the maelstrom, which turned out to be more in my head, in the worrying and anticipation of what, last week, was told to be imminently before us. Everything in getting home worked out better than anyone could have ever guessed. Perhaps we were just lucky. Last Monday morning we visited the Colchagua Museum, an amazing and impressive private collection that covers thousands of years of Chilean history, containing the largest collection of pre-Columbian art in all of Chile. This museum is a masterpiece. In the afternoon we enjoyed a delightful home-hosted ... read more

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 15th 2020

It's a beautiful Sunday morning here in Santiago, Chile. Most of our small group arrived on Friday morning, looking forward to a lovely trip through four countries in South America, and for me, another chance to escape some of the winter's colorless cold in Maine. Our group numbers only ten intrepid travellers; eight had already cancelled for fears of the coronavirus or of the unknown. As it turned out, they were the smart ones. I hardly expected this trip to go forward because of all the shutdowns, but after calling Vantage and the airline multiple times (including on the morning I left home), I was repeatedly told that there were no problems in South America. So I travelled most of the day Thursday, and after arriving on Friday morning we met our Vantage leader, Nadia, and ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park February 5th 2020

I look out over this part of the expanse of the green Serengeti and see acacia trees and, because of all the rain this year, high grassland. This is dangerous because wild animals can hide in the tall grass; we cannot see them from the ground unless they move. We are constantly being warned not to walk alone at night; someone on the crew always accompanies us to our tents and makes sure we are safely ensconced inside before they go back to the main lodge tent. Last night, as soon as my head touched the pillow, I heard something big moving around outside. It knocked over the moveable water table out in front of my tent, then pushed against the canvas side; I was tempted to blow the emergency whistle provided for each tent, but ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park February 4th 2020

Very early this morning two of us, Patsy and I, were woken at 4:30AM since we were the only two in our group to sign up for the optional tour "Sunrise Safari & Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Serengeti." At first I hadn't signed on because of the expense, but I had never been up in a hot air balloon, plus when would I ever have the chance again to do it over the famous Serengeti? So I signed on. I was a bit afraid at first, not knowing what to expect, but once we all clambered into the basket it lifted off as gently and silently as a train leaving the station. Waking up early is no hardship for me; I've usually been up by 4AM every day so far and was lying there ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park February 2nd 2020

After stopping awhile to visit with a group of Maasai villagers near their water wells we drove to another Maasai village just outside the boundaries of Tarangire National Park. But here we were inside their village, among their houses, chatting with the delightful eldest son of the chief, and the chief as well, although he was busy with a friend, both of them thinking and drinking, apparently the main job that males do in the Maasai society. The chief's very short hair was grey, but he didn't know how old he was since only the most recent generations are now required to receive an education at schools; earlier no one had known - or known how to - keep records of births or deaths. The females in our group spent the morning interacting mostly with the ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park February 1st 2020

It is another beautiful morning here in Tanzania. Again we have an early start as Sultan, our most excellent guide, explained that our activities should take place before the day gets too hot. But it never seems too hot to me here; most mornings and evenings are downright chilly and the middle parts of the days are only gently warm. For me it's never quite hot enough! So we were all ensconced in our Jeeps by 7AM, punctually ready to go. We were driving along in our two safari vehicles when fairly suddenly our driver, Morgan this morning, pulled off the road and onto a grassy hillside. What was happening? Sultan told us there were wells in this area belonging to the Maasai, that many times every day women of all ages would come to fill ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » East January 31st 2020

It's less hot here in Tanzania than I had hoped. The people who live here wear down jackets, warm hats or hoods; it must feel quite chilly to natives. And there has been lots of rain, sporadic downpours that have so far arrived (for us) at convenient times, either during the night, at dinner, or when we are drily ensconced in one of the 4X4 safari vehicles heading somewhere. The weather, we are told again and again, is unpredictable. Our flight to Tanzania landed at the Kilimanjaro airport around 8:30PM on Tuesday, so this is the beginning of our third full day here in this gorgeous wild country. It is just breaking dawn now, almost 6:30AM. I hear birds singing outside my tent here in the Lake Burunge Tented Camp; all is peaceful and lovely. I ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba October 16th 2019

An hour from now our group will load like the pairs of animals into Noah's ark, two by two, but for us into some of the vintage American cars that are so common in Havana. It's our last night, our farewell dinner, and we will be riding to the restaurant in these well preserved cars, that the men have been ogling since we arrived. There are all makes, all colors (with a surprising brilliant pink predominating), dating from between the late 1940s to the late '50s. I asked one man in our group who seemed smitten and knowledgeable about old cars if he had seen any Packards here, and he said there were, so I kept on looking for one. I never saw a Packard. As a very young child, four years old, I remember standing ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba October 14th 2019

We have three full days scheduled in Havana and today was the first one. On the go from 8:30AM until just before 5PM, we have visited a daycare center run by nuns for two to four year olds, stopped to see Del Morro fortress (bookending El Morrow Castle in Santiago de Cuba), and the eighteen meter high sculpture of the Havana Christ; we walked through and enjoyed the beauty of Havana's four main squares, plus explored parts of Havana Vieja, Old Havana. But that's not all! After a disappointingly mediocre lunch at another paladar (a family run restaurant - where most meals had been exceptionally good), we went to the large arts and crafts market. Most of us had already completed our shopping, and soon grew weary of all the shopkeepers seeing us and calling out, ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba October 13th 2019

We have slept two nights here in Cienfuegos, and yet it's only this morning that we'll have a walking tour of its Old Town, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My walking partner and I did explore a bit, late yesterday afternoon before dinner, but except for us two, and occasionally a third woman and one man who tends to go off by himself, this group doesn't like to walk much, at least (so they say) in Cuba's heat and humidity. But I love it! It took a few days to adjust, but sweating is good and we are infinitely washable. Whenever possible I prefer exploring on foot rather than by peeking through the windows of a bus; that is being a tourist; I prefer - and view myself as - being a traveller. Thus the ... read more




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