Feb 24

Altitude Sickness Strikes Again

Ahhh, Altitude sickness… I had a mild experience with it a few years ago in Colorado (link back), and wrote a post about preventing it.  You would think that when I went to Quito, Ecuador I would be ready for it! I was good for the first few days.

My first few days in Quito I took it easy, made sure I walked slow even though I did a lot of walking. I kept myself hydrated too.  I had some trouble sleeping, and a little trouble with headaches, but it wasn’t much different from the headaches and insomnia I get at home.

Then the third night in Quito I was in a rush and took a fast walk around town. The following day I was getting back to my old ways. I wasn’t exactly running around town, but my slower pace went back to normal, I might have even run a block here or there.  That night I thought I was dying.

I had a HORRIBLE headache, I was nauseous.  I was so sick I didn’t think I would be able to get myself dressed in the morning to leave for the Galapagos. I took some Advil and a friend suggested I take some motion sickness pills (the internet suggested that was a waste of time). I took the motion sickness pills and within an hour or two I felt partially better. At least better enough to slowly get myself ready in the morning to get the heck out of Quito and back to sea level in the Galapagos.

The moral of the story – It’s good to plan time at high altitude to be lower activity days, allow extra time to get around and know the symptoms of altitude sickness. Altitude Sickness can be really bad, even when you think you’ve taken care of yourself and gotten past the hump.  Make sure you take time to slow down and rest so your body can properly adjust.

Signs of altitude sickness:
Loss of appetite
Feeling dizzy
Shortness of breath

Nov 13

Glenwood Hot Springs

When planning my trip to Colorado my friend suggested going to hot springs, I jumped on the opportunity. There is a certain mystique of hot springs, warm relaxing, and bubbling water. The ultimate hot tub, luckily our hotel included admission with the room.


Just a short walk across the street was the hot springs pool.  When you enter you have to go to the locker rooms to dress/undress, depending on how you look at it. Take a quick shower to rinse off and then you’re free to go soak.

There are two pools, a hotter and less hot pool.  The cooler pool is about 90 degrees, the warmer about 105 degrees, and their temperature will increase or decrease depending on which side of the pool you are in.

There is an interesting dynamic in the pools, while there is a mix of people; it is definitely an older crowd.  There are some kids (of all ages), but they don’t get rowdy like they do in a typical hotel pool.  The adults just stand around, or sit on the stairs and relax.

Of course relaxing is the idea, but I don’t know, I expected more movement in the pool, instead everyone is pretty calm in both pools. And it was a relaxing experience, worth the effort to relax my body and muscles, I can see why people visit hot springs for a weekend of relaxation.

As for the rest of the experience… The locker rooms had plenty of lockers and were only 50 cents per use. There were plenty of showers and changing rooms.  And although I don’t mind seeing other ladies naked (which totally came out wrong), I wish more of them used the changing rooms.

There was a grill for your dining pleasure. Nothing too fancy, but the breakfast was great – lots of variety and lots of food.  A perfect combination!  I suspect the lunch and dinner menus could be a bit healthier – a grill and an a relaxating environment doesn’t seem like a typical combination.  But, at least with variety you can find something for different tastes.

Oh, and the sulfer smell was minimal. I do suggest washing after going in though, I was very itchy after my visit.

Aug 16


Ok, this isn’t entirely travel related, but I think it’s cool so I’m going to find a way to tie it to travel anyway – The Fitbit!

What the heck is a Fitbit?  It’s a really cool pedometer, and more.


Fitbit Zip

Fitbit’s come in a couple different versions, what they all do is track your daily steps, along with the Fitbit software (available online and on your phone/iPad/Android device) it can provide information about your health habits.  It also syncs with many other health apps.  If you want to track your daily eating habits you can do it through Fitbit or with another app that will sync with your Fitbit.

Not exciting enough? Counting your steps is not all that exciting, but what it is really doing is making you accountable.  Set a goal for the day and now you have motivation to get up and exercise. Yes, I have been known to walk around my apartment to make up 100 steps to reach my daily goal.  You can also broadcast to social networks, connect with friends and set up groups to compete with.

While the Fitbit Zip only tracks steps the Fitbit The One and Flex also tracks stairs climbed in a day and your sleep patterns.

I have the Zip, although the stair tracker and sleep pattern tracker is really cool (I had that in an older version of a Fitbit) they are charged with a special USB charging device.  That’s actually great if you’re close to home.  However, if you’re a traveler then the Zip’s replaceable watch battery might be a better fit. All of the Fitbits sync via Bluetooth to your mobile electronic device (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc)

As for why you should have a Fitbit as a traveler? It’s fun to know how much walking you do on those crazy days when you’re trying to see a whole city in one day. Or maybe you’re having a leisurely experience in a museum.   Of course you’ll eventually find a gelato stand, or a delectable treat on the street or at dinner… But no matter how much I walk and exercise at home, my biggest walking day was at Disney World, I’m wondering if I can beat that on my next trip…

I do have an affiliate relationship with Fitbit and will receive compensation if you purchase through my links.

Jun 12

Falling Down

To set the scene for this post you need to know that I have a fear of hiking down hill, it’s a fear of falling and breaking my leg in the wilderness.  It’s not necessarily a reasonable fear, but it’s not debilitating either.  After hiking in Bryce Canyon and almost dying (walking uphill) I had taken it easy at the Grand Canyon.
Later that night we did have a good old fashioned BBQ in a local park in Kanab near our hotel.  Hamburgers, chips and smores!  We even got to play on the swing sets and jungle gym.  Sometimes it’s fun to relive your youth.  I survived all that fine.

When we returned to our hotel a bunch of us decided to go to he pool, which was across the street and down the block at another hotel.  As we’re walking I managed to slip on gravel. Turned my ankle and fell to my knee, on GRAVEL.  I cut up my entire left leg from my foot to my knee.  It was gross and it hurt and I didn’t have anything really appropriate to care for it.  I did borrow some band-aids and bacitracin and cleaned it out at the hotel room.  But the irony that I was afraid of falling while hiking, but actually fell walking to the pool was NOT lost on me.

I have not changed my stance on hiking!

Apr 03

Getting Sick at Disney World

On my December 2012 trip to Disney World I got to have a new experience, getting sick.  Even better, I got to see this from two different angles.

First, my sister gets arthritis in her ankle.  Second, I got a virus.

My sister has had trouble with arthritis in her ankle since a few Disney World trips ago.  She was preparing for a day at the Animal Kingdom and was in too much pain to go and instead went to Urgent Care.  On this trip it was less dramatic.  Her ankle had started to bother her after 2 days, she got information on the Urgent Care and we decided to go in the afternoon.  Too bad she missed one major bit of information, you can schedule an appt. We ended up waiting for 3 hours for a 15 minute appointment.

So here’s the info you need for Urgent Care at Disney World.  Centra Care is the Urgent Care centers in the area. There are 4 in the area of Disney World and they offer shuttle service to and from Disney World, just check with security or your resort front desk and they can make the arrangements for you.  If you’re sick and need to see the doctor, but don’t need to go NOW, you can schedule an appointment.  I got the impression that they often have waits, but 3 hours isn’t the norm.

Here is what Centra Care treats: Broken bones, cuts & scratches, coughs, cold, flu, sore throats, ear infections, stomachaches, fevers, pneumonia, vomiting, diarrhea, sinus infections, asthma, allergies, rashes, headaches, back pain and much more….

While they can fill the prescriptions that they write, not all of them have a wide variety of medications on hand.  If you are visiting the world and know you need heavy duty medication then you should mention that when picking a location (if you have a choice).  The location (off property near Animal Kingdom) we went to had the medication my sister needed, but there was also a Wal Mart across the street.  There is another location near Crossroads (main entrance to The World) and I know there are pharmacies there too, so there is a work around, but depending on what is wrong, it’s far from ideal.

As for me my virus was less dramatic.  Too bad it started to set in later in the day AFTER my sister and I had already been to Centra Care.  It started with some mild nausea (fried chicken might not have been my best idea) and exhaustion, pretty typical cold like symptoms.  Of course that night we went to a special viewing of the Osborne Lights.  I really wanted to have fun there, and I tried for my sister. But I was miserable.

The rest of the 2 days after that was kinda similar.  Take medication and feel ok, then get knocked on my ass at night while at an Illuminations Dessert Party and the airport.  I considered telling my sister to go off on her own one day, but felt bad, and I was afraid she wouldn’t want to go on her own.  So I kept going, it is Disney after all.  It probably wasn’t my best move.  I’m not sure if I had a virus to start with, or if I over did it in those 2 and a half days, but by the time I got home I was at the wanting to die stage…

I’m not sure what the answer to that dilemma is.  Although I felt crappy for a night and a day, buy the time I realized it was possibly more then a cold I was already on the way home.  But I did make use of the store at Pop Century and bought whatever cold medicine they had.  I would suggest that if you’re picky about medicine or feel you might be getting a cold before you leave, then it’s worth it to bring medicine from home.  The on-property stores don’t have a large selection.

Do you have any stories of getting sick on vacation?  What’s the biggest issue?

Dec 21

Things NOT To Do On A Plane

On my last flight home from Disney World I was sick, so sick I just wanted my bed and the only way I was getting there was on that plane.  This didn’t make me feel too charitable.

Before our flight my sister got called up to the podium, they were looking for people willing to change seats to put a family together.  Now, while I am more then happy to help out a family (as long as I keep an aisle or window seat) this case seemed a little silly.  It was 4 adults with 1 child.  The child should absolutely be kept with an adult, maybe even 2 adults.  The rest are ADULTS.  Anyway, my sister said she would move if she could keep her aisle seat and so she got moved from row 16 to 6 and said I would be happy to move too if they needed it and was moved from row 16 to row 10 (an exit row with extra leg room).

Of course this was the wackiest boarding I have ever seen in my flying life.  Boarding took over a half hour. The line stopped for a full 5 minutes early in the process.  Then just before I got on a guy accidentally used is Delta boarding pass from his flight down to Orlando.  This was a Jetblue flight.  Then when I’m in the exit row getting the exit row speech one guy just gets up and moves.  He never came back so I’m guessing he was in the wrong row.  Then they moved a woman from the “family” that had to be together into the exit row.  But that didn’t last long as she was not comfortable helping in the event of an emergency.  So, she had to be moved.  I have no issue with people saying they are not willing or able to help, I would rather find out before then during an actual emergency. Amazingly we only landed 5 minutes late.

But when I got to my seat the guy in the middle seat, who was traveling with a girl, had his stuff under the middle seat, but was sitting in my aisle seat.  Not in the mood for this, I immediately pointed out that he was in my seat.  He moved over and offered a weak apology.  Seriously, he couldn’t even wait until the plane was boarded before spreading out?  Incase you’re wondering, there was 1 empty seat on this flight and there was a hoard of people trying to board before boarding began, it obviously wasn’t going to be a roomie flight.

But, that’s not what made me want to cough all over him and give him my disease.  Sitting on the aisle, I am happy to give the middle person the armrest; however, that does not mean you can invade my personal space too.  He was a skinny little thing with boney little elbows that kept jabbing into me.

And so, here is what I learned not to do on a flight:
1. If you’re a group of adults you do NOT need to sit together.  Buy a book or a magazine or watch the  TV.  Yes, it’s nicer to sit with friends and family but you don’t need to make the plane into musical chairs right before boarding.  If it’s that important to you, pay the money for the seats up front.
2. Don’t jump in other peoples seats before the flight has fully boarded, or at least do a good job of playing dumb when you’re caught.
3. If you’re a skinny little dude in a middle seat there is absolutely no reason to be invading other people’s space.  Karma obviously put you next to a sick person for a reason….

Have you had any really bad seat mates?

Aug 15

Relaxing on Vacation

Before my trip in June I was a little stressed out.  I was refinancing my mortgage, closed on that Friday before my trip.  Then the week before I started having my bathroom renovated, I had no bathroom and was living at my parents house.  I was also having some issues at work.  Yea, I was stressed out.

I have read some books on taking vacation and the positive impacts of it, basically that it takes a week to relax and that is why you need two, so you can actually relax on the second week, therefore enjoying your vacation.

I never really experienced that until this trip.  I felt myself wired up the whole first week and then I finally started to relax and enjoy myself fully. It was great, I find I have a much more positive outlook on everything.

So here is to 2 week vacations!