Recently in Travel Adventures Category

If you're going on a cruise, I would recommend Royal Caribbean. Their level of service, cleanliness, on-board entertainment, and food is amazing. This was our third time cruising with them and we had the best time ever! The weather was gorgeous. One evening as the sun set, a full moon rose at the same time while dolphins swam next to our ship, the "Serenade of the Seas". Guiltily I must admit, my favorite time was spent on the ship. This cruise was an incentive trip we earned earlier this year. Can't wait to see what the company has planned for our next incentive! Interested in coming on the next trip? It's always more fun going with friends (old and new). Here's a quick slideshow of a few of the pictures I snapped with my Treo phone... Enjoy (you can turn the sound off by clicking the speaker icon)
Places we visited were Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallerta. The last two ports were wonderful and I'd be tempted to fly to PV again for a short vacation. The food and people were lovely there. The other two cruises we went on were to the Caribbean (The Bahamas and Jamaica) and Alaska (Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan). Hopefully the next cruise will be aboard the new ship "Freedom of the Seas". Our ship the Serenade was twice the size of the Titanic and Freedom is twice the size of the Serenade! They have an ice skating rink, boxing ring, shopping mall, rock climbing wall, wave pool to surf (yes, that's right surf!), and so much more. Oh yeah, one of the best acts on the ship was an excellent magic show by a magician named Chad Chesmark. He and his show was beyond amazing and I had a stomach ache for the rest of the night from laughing so much! Though this cruise was a gift from the company I work with and partly a vacation, there was an informative and interesting health and business workshop held every day on the ship. Of course it was optional and part of the luxury was being able to watch it in our room!

We sat in the middle of two firework shows. One side rapidly shot off many smaller fireworks while the other side shot off larger ones. Half way through, we were hit with a thundershower that left everyone drenched and two inches of water collected on the pavement. It was definitely a memorable event!

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I've never seen fireworks as breathtaking as the ones in Japan!! Please be amazed at my remarkable picture taken with my low-res camera phone...

Tuesday and Thursday evenings were spent watching the summer hanabi/fireworks show in two different locations by the river. We had the best seats that gave us an upclose view right near the launch pad. Fiery ash and debris rained downed upon us and those unfortunate enough not to wear glasses got an eye full of soot. Naoki's camera equipment has scorch marks and we both sustained a few burns. There were also a variety of flying/biting creature near the water. Luckily I had a paddle fan to swat and smash with.

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Since our business meeting was rescheduled for Saturday, we set out to visit some local shrines in Ise, which is approximately an hour and a half away. All together we went to three different places and walked through lush green gardens that have over a thousand years of history. The crown prince of Japan was set to visit the following day so the shrines were exceptionally clean and in order.

The first place was hidden within the city and appeared to be well kept. Naoki informed me that they move and rebuild the shrines at the particular place every 20 years as the gods tend to get bored of staying in one place. To me, I guess any change after two decades in one place would be good.

The second location we went to next was my favorite. It was so vast and had a river running through it. To enter, a long wide wooden bridge needs to be crossed and lengthy pebbled walkways surrounded by trees and foliage of various hues of green shaded lead you to each god's shrine. When you approach, you make an offering (a coin or paper money will do), bow two times, clap twice, then give your thanks. Oh, I almost forgot. Every entrance to a shrine has a well or fountain with ladles to cleanse your hands (some people also use the water to rinse their mouths) before entering. Aside from the amazing scenery, I loved that this place was next to a shopping area. We had a delicious lunch (see photo) of marinated tuna over rice, a smoky flavored miso, cold noodle w/ half cooked egg (somen), pickled daikon, and a tiny seasoned tofu patty, scallop, and what appeared to be a small purse of tofu stuffed with mushrooms and vegetables. Yes, all of it was super delicious!

Our third place to visit was a shrine for a moon god. I'm not sure what that exactly means, but this was a very hidden location. Due to the overcast weather conditions, it was really dark and difficult to see. Four shrines in a row were set up. After Naoki and my in-laws attended each one, we left for home.

Eating Healthy in Japan

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We just arrived in Japan yesterday after a long journey by car, plane, speedboat, and minivan!

Our first place to visit was my in-laws in Mie. My lovely mother-in-law, Misako-san, prepared a wonderful assortment of dishes of different types of sashimi, homegrown edamame (soybeans), lots of fresh vine-ripened veggies from their garden, and mixed rice loaded with yummy bits of shitake mushroom, tofu, and other greens. In addition to their green tea, they also have a huge garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, shiso (a type of basil), grapes, and much more.

For breakfast this morning, we had grilled mochi (rice cakes) wrapped in seaweed, miso (w/tofu, seaweed, and more mushrooms), fishcake stuffed with cucumber, and more melon and white peaches...yum!

Back from Washington and Alaska!

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I am so happy to be back home in California. Alaska was incredibly beautiful and the 7 day cruise was amazing, but nothing beats the weather here! This was the third trip we earned from the company we work with - the first was a Caribbean cruise to Jamaica and the Bahamas, and the second was to Cancun, Mexico at The Moon Palace Resort.

The food on the ship was lavish and a little overwhelming. Everything was included except alcohol, which was fine since we rarely drink. We stayed aboard The Royal Caribbean's 3 year old "Serenade of the Seas". Our large stateroom was gorgeous and had a large port window. There were 13 floors and a wonderful number of original art pieces gracing the vessel. Pictures will be posted on my Xoops page that can be found at http://jeanette.hada.us

It really is a blessing to work with a company that recognizes and rewards their associates for the work they do. They continue to come out with innovative and proprietary products such as the preservative/paraben free skincare line and soon the PhytoMatrix supplement (more on that soon).

p.s. - Going forward I will start posting more health and nutrition information. If interested in specifics, please feel free to contact me.

Stewart Mineral Springs

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This is a photo of the stream where you can cool off after your tub soak and sauna. It's located behind the main building.



About a week ago, we stopped at Stewart Mineral Springs on the way home from our mini Mt. Shasta vacation (more on that to come).

The recommended course is to soak in your own personal (no sharing, thank goodness) tub for eight minutes, sit in the dry sauna to sweat out more toxins, and then cool off in either the showers provided or in the cold water mineral springs. You're advised to do this three times and three times only. Oh and due to the high silica content, don't rub your skin while soaking in your hot mineral bath. If you develop skin irritation, it's supposedly due to a cleansing reaction and they have topical products to apply if this happens.

I started my bath by filling the tub with scalding hot mineral water, then did the toe dip test. After burning myself, I ran cold water to get it to a more comfortable temperature. As I perched on the edge of my tub, I noticed a knotted rope hanging from the ceiling. My first assumption was that some of their elderly patrons may have difficulty getting in and out of the tub and needed the extra support.

Once the water reached a tolerable level of slightly less hot than just boiled water, I stepped in, slipped, screamed and shouted an expletive. All this while new age music played and sage was being burned for the people meditating in the other room. I now know that mineral water from Stewart Springs is slippery and that the rope is there is for everyone, not just the elderly or disabled.

Shaken from my fall, I sat in my tub (thankfully alone) and nervously began to rub my legs and arms. Settling into the warmth and relaxing to the music, I was beginning to enjoy the experience, until the feeling of stabbing needles caught my attention. I'd forgotten about the whole "no rubbing" thing and now the silica had made tiny scratches on my legs and arms, so I got out and headed to the dry sauna.

Five minutes in the sauna was enough, then I headed to cool off in the springs outside.

Jeanette Lee Hada

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