Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Impossible India

So that cat was let out of the bag the other night.  Amidst the revelry at Cielo, we let leak our intentions to spend five months after our wedding traveling.  It's almost not that  much of a secret anymore as the wedding invitations are going out next week.  We've already bought our one way tickets to Berlin and have our man on the ground setting us up with lodging.  The next daunting task is figuring out India.

It's practically impossible to determine the perfect India itinerary, even with a full four weeks scheduled.  Most travel sites we've found all agree that you just can't do it all no matter how much time you give yourself.  Sadly, I don't think we'll be making the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, the Ghats in Varanasi, or Chennai in Tamil Nadu. However, it does look like we'll be able to hit Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai, Goa and Kerala.  It will still be a challenge fitting in all there is to do just from this short list of destinations; The Gate of India, the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal, Elephanta Island, a tiger safari, camel rides in the desert, houseboat cruises in the back waters of Kerela, the beaches of Cherai and so on.  With any luck we'll be able to experience all these places have to offer...  especially the elephants.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I have this vision in my dreams at night of elephants (and sometimes during daydreams at work). im pretty sure they are super stinky and after 2 seconds of being on one im going to hate it but they are so amazing to look at and im totally convinced that they hold some key to the mysteries of the universe. (i think giraffes have this power also but thats a different story.) apparently to work at the bronx zoo as an elephant manager requires a phd in elephants and living in africa for a zillion years studying them; so i dont see that as a viable future career. besides that, i am excited to see an indian elephant up close and personal in the wild. maybe we can get our faces painted together. elephants....are freakin awesome.


The irony isn't lost on me that I work in the health care industry but don't have health insurance. Truth is, I've only ever had health insurance for three out of the last ten years. A combination of diet, exercise, luck and the lack of enthusiasm for extreme sports has done me well so far. Anytime I need something done or looked at, it's an out of pocket expense.  Including my pending vaccinations. To get them done in Berlin it would be anywhere from 300 to 500 Euros. Their healthcare is universal, but not for tourists trying to get vaccinations on their way to another country (curses!). Travel insurance might cover it, but that still requires further research and a post of its own. As for the free health care clinics in NYC, some vaccines are gratis, some are not, all require a 5 hour wait in line. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cost of living in Berlin (Germany) is 32% cheaper than in New York City (United States)

Why I love the internet #4786:


There's no turning back

So the worst kept secret is one step closer to fruition.  Thanks to the great deals on airfare at the moment, we bought our one way tickets to Berlin last night.  I could go on forever about how much I love Hipmunk.com, but I'll just post our initial departure itinerary instead:

Air Berlin #7249
Wed, Jun 29, 5:40 PM New York (JFK)
Thu, Jun 30, 7:30 AM Berlin (TXL)

This gives us enough time to sell off the rest of our crap, throw the keepers in storage, enjoy a few more months of BBQ in the backyard, attend our close friends' wedding, ...and one last Mermaid Parade before take the leap.

We've been looking for flats in Berlin for the past two weeks and have gotten a gist for the lay of the land.  It's amazing to learn that neighborhood exaggeration is not exclusive to NYC.  I know how to use google maps and can tell the difference between Neukolln and Kreuzberg thank you very much.  Though at this point, we are leaning towards getting a studio in Mitte.  It's a little more "toursity", but um, hello? That's what we'll be. We've also recently learned they have Bikram Yoga classes that are taught in both English and German and one of our best friends who just moved there is laying the ground work for our arrival.

Also, I would like to set the record straight once and for all.  We were planning our trip to Berlin as far back as June of 2010 whereas to the best of our knowledge Dave (Stephens) had only decide to move there after getting the axe from his job in the fall.  To be fair, Dave did move to Barcelona over two years ago while we were getting rejected from the PeaceCorps. Touché Dave, touché indeed!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wedding Update 2011

There are two things I truly love in life; the internet and spreadsheets.  We've been ritualistically faithful to the latter due to the resources we've discovered from the former.  The bouquet is half finished, we've set dates for the bachelor and bachelorette parties (April Fools!), narrowed down our "honeymoon" itinerary (including flights, dates, accommodations and activities), and found the leading candidate to be our officiant.

On tap for January/February (per the spreadsheet): Invitations, ring shopping, tastings, and continue selling off our worldly possessions :D