Ben Schatz

Schatz Family Travels

Ben Schatz

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles September 26th 2018

Los Angeles! City of the stars! We had a very basic continental breakfast at the hotel. Basic, but it included coffee so we’re good. First stop, Avenue of the Stars. We parked in the mall parking nearby and found the avenue. Obviously this was the wrong place. A wide avenue, very upscale office buildings, lots of Lexus and Teslas driving around, but not a hint of a star. Well, we did see a Lotus, which is a star among cars. I called Noah for directions and what we needed was Hollywood Boulevard. Oops… never mind, we had a nice walk, got ourselves woken up and even did a little shopping in the mall (well, Tamar did). Then we went to Hollywood Boulevard and found somewhere to park (expensive). We enjoyed walking up the boulevard, looking for ... read more
Getting near Hollywood Boulevard
Top of the Boulevard
Tamar and The Doors

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles September 25th 2018

So, today we’re off to Los Angeles! We won’t go directly there. First we’ll drive to Morro Rock (yes, all the jokes apply) on the coast, and then down the coast to the big city. The drive to Morro took us a couple hours, as usual. Morro Bay is a small town of mostly fishermen and vintners, and the rock itself dominates the coastline. It’s a huge rock jutting out to sea, forming a natural bay on its south side where the fishing boats dock. There’s a road leading out to the rock and you can walk part way around it, but the rock itself is protected and you can’t climb it. We enjoyed walking around the rock, greeting the squirrels that ran around the rocks along the shore. Some were inquisitive enough to approach us, ... read more
A Morro Bay native
Another native of the rock
People like piling stones, this one had imagination!

So, today we’re off to see some forest for a change. We left the hotel in Bakersfield and went on our way to Sequoia National Park. It took a couple of hours, but then we’re used to two-hour drives first thing in the morning by now. Our first stop was as we were driving up into the foothills up to the national park. We stopped for a rest and a snack at Slick Rock Recreation Area. There’s plenty of parking and a short walk down to the river’s edge. We explored the rocks and boulders in the river, enjoying the quiet, cool air and the spectacular view. Seeing green all around is a welcome change. Tamar took off her shoes and waded into the river to explore a little more. She says the water is wonderful! ... read more
Slick Rock Recreation Area
A Slick Rock resident
Slick Rock Recreation Area

North America » United States » California » Death Valley September 23rd 2018

We left Twenty Nine Palms bright and early for today's adventure. Driving through the desert can be very boring. Long, monotonous highways with barely a curve for endless miles. It's good to have water to drink, preferably cold, and snacks. On the way we drove through the Mojave National Preserve, but couldn't tell it apart from any other piece of wilderness. Lots of dry scrub and the occasional Joshua tree. After about two and a half hours we reached our first stop, the Dumont Little Dunes. I saw them on Google Maps and we decided to have a look. It wasn't really worth the stop other than to get out of the car and stretch. There are just some small dunes set aside for off-road vehicles to play around with. We went on our way towards ... read more
Hot in the valley!
Badwater Basin
There are signs that say we shouldn't be out here

We left Noah’s house for our road trip around California. We’re heading North East towards Joshua Tree National Park. So we packed up, Noah adding stuff in the car for us; a 40-pack of mineral water bottles, a couple blankets and pillows just in case we get stuck with no hotel, some V8 (I like the stuff even if Tamar doesn’t) and a giant jar of mixed nuts. We were on our way! Neighborhoods and houses started getting further apart, the scenery started getting a bit more hilly and drier. Neighborhoods became ranches, there was more agriculture, horse farms, then cows, then nothing. It got drier and drier as we drove east. Soon we were driving up into more hilly country and the twists and turns became more frequent. The temperature kept rising… We stopped for ... read more
Speaks for itself
Hellhole Canyon
even the cholla has trouble in Hellhole

North America » United States » California » San Diego September 21st 2018

Today the sea was prominent. Noah took us to surf at the beach he usually goes to, five minutes from his home. I put on his diving suit, which felt like I was wrapped up tight in saran wrap. Noah and I went to try and surf. The sea was calm with only gentle swells, which was just fine by me as I’m just learning to hold on to the board. We tried it a few times while Tamar waited on the beach (we only had two boards). After a few tries I switched with Tamar. She’s much better at surfing than me, that’s for sure! There was a seal playing in the water not far from where Tamar and Noah were surfing, and soon after that a pod of 3-4 dolphins came by. They were ... read more
In the water
Tamar and Noah

North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo September 20th 2018

That’s it, today we are leaving Mexico for good. We woke up really early, brushed up and packed our toothbrushes. The taxi arrived a few minutes early. We loaded up and were on our way. The taxi driver practiced his broken English on me and we had a chat about the differences between Israel and Mexico (I think it would be much easier to list the similarities – there are none!) We got to the airport with time to spare. The check-in was quick and efficient, we got our boarding passes and through security quickly, as there were few people there so early in the morning. What Mexican in his right mind would wake up early enough to be at the airport at 7AM?! We wandered the duty-free, used the rest rooms and got a large ... read more
The meat of the matter

North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Playa del Carmen September 19th 2018

We have one day in Playa Del Carmen. Tomorrow early in the morning we fly back to California and our Mexico adventure comes to an end. We got up not too early. We’d had a long day yesterday and things in Mexico just start waking up at around 9 anyway. It looks like it’s going to be a sunny day, so we left our room to Playa’s 5th Avenue (yes, that’s what they call it) in a good mood. We saw a gorgeous white flower on the way, related to lilies I believe. Anyway, I took a picture. We found a place to eat on 5th Ave. A bit fancy and pricey, but that’s Playa for you. So we had some simple breakfast and coffee, pretending we didn’t understand the Israeli couple sitting next to us. ... read more
Shots of Tequila
The beach at Playa
Shop display

North America » Mexico » Chiapas September 18th 2018

Today we're leaving Chiapas. It was quite an adventure! Our flight is not till six in the evening, so we had the morning to spend. We wandered around town, went looking for the Mayan Medicine museum because it seemed interesting. We walked through some of the poorer parts of town in our search, through a local market full of stalls and small shops selling pretty much anything you can think of, all mixed together. Fruits and cell phones, clothes and furniture, piglets and CDs. My favorite, I think, was a carpenter shop that sold bed headboards, chairs and fresh bananas. Eventually we found the museum and ere a bit disappointed. Such a museum has such potential, but it's placed way away at the edge of town, it's dark and gloomy inside, not well kept and nothing ... read more
Some stalls at the market
An amber marimba at the museum
Inside Iglesia de la Merced church

North America » Mexico » Chiapas September 17th 2018

What a day, wow! After the last three days I was tired of driving the roads of Chiapas. Exhausted is a better word, so yesterday, after we returned to San Cristobal we signed up for a tour to the Sumidero canyon. We were a little apprehensive about the tour, worried that it would just take us to one tourist trap after the other, but we had a great time. But first we went out for breakfast. Tamar found a nice little restaurant that opens early just around the corner from the hotel. I just had a plate of fruit with my coffee but Tamar tried the Moletas. These turned out to be like a bread roll filled with mashed potato and frijoles (refried black bean paste, really good), and topped with cheese, all browned in the ... read more
Selfie on the river
The Sumidero Bridge
Cliff cacti

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