A Postcard from Phnom Penh
It had to be the AK-47. Sure, the M16 looked kinda slick, and who hasn't thought about firing off an old fashioned Tommy gun? But the AK-47 is the weapon of the revolutionary, the tool of liberation, bloodshed, freedom, and all the misery that comes with it. Plus, it only cost 100AED to fire off a magazine, whereas a rocket launcher would have set me back 800AED! I put on the camouflage jacket and followed a young guy into a dark, narrow room. A target was stapled about 30 feet away. I put on my tight orange ear guards, took a seat at a table, too busy feeling the cold weapon in my hands to listen to the advice on how to shoot the damn thing. Loaded, cocked, point, aim and fire.
The Happy Shooting Range, located outside Phnom Penh, had a menu with pump action shot guns, hand grenades, RPG's, Coca-Cola and Fanta (sorry, no pictures allowed). Ten minutes away was the site of one of the worst massacres in modern history. Cambodia, it appears, is heavy on the contrasts.
Torn between the forces of communist Vietnam and US-backed Thailand, Cambodia's modern history is literally a minefield. At the heart of one the worst genocides in history lay Pol Pot, a ruthless dictator who built an army of brainwashed kids committed to returning the country to the Stone Age. Genocide, famine, civil war – Cambodia in the 1970’s became synonymous with everything wrong with humanity. Scarred by the past, it has come a long way.
Riding on the back of a “moto taxi”, I saw children playing on the dusty streets of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Smiling and waving, the motorbike zipped past shacks located next to brand new furniture stores, alongside street vendors selling fruit and vegetables late into the night. My guesthouse was located along the Beong Kak Lake, its deck built onto the lake itself, complete with hammocks, pool table, DVD library, music, and fresh cooked, excellent food. I paid just 8AED a night, but the sunsets over the lake were priceless.
There are not many must-dos for the traveller in Phnom Penh. Its main temple, with its famous Silver Pagoda, is beautiful, but most visitors come through Bangkok, and having seen the Thai capital’s magnificent Grand Palace, the Silver Pagoda feels like a lesser, if still stunning imitation. Guesthouses and tour operators sell packages consisting of one full day with a guide and a tuk-tuk that includes a popular if somewhat distasteful shooting range, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, and two of the most disturbing attractions for a traveller anywhere; the Killing Fields, and the Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng.
Ruling for four, bloody years, the Khmer Rouge outlawed money and religion, closed schools, disrobed monks, destroyed temples, took over all farms and businesses, and created an army of brainwashed children. Phnom Penh was forcibly evacuated and became a ghost town, while refugees flooded to the borders. Intellectuals, politicians, teachers, students, doctors and professionals were rounded up and butchered. Reliving the horrors of Pol Pot and the Killing Fields is not easy. Most of my group was reduced to tears, staring at row after row of skulls, innocent victims who had been bludgeoned to death with bamboo sticks to save bullets. Whereas the Nazis had managed to destroy much of their evidence before the allies liberated the camps, the Khmer Rouge were caught off-guard by a liberating Vietnamese army. The thousands of mugshots of young, innocent victims are on display at Tuol Sleng, a high school that was converted into a hell for 20,000 people. Only seven people walked out alive.
It estimated that two million people lost their lives in the four years of Pol Pot. After the horrors of the World War II, the world promised it would never happen again, and yet it did. I was staring at a cabinet piled with 8000 bludgeoned skulls to prove it. That it took place just three decades ago meant anyone over forty in Cambodia today was either a victim, or a perpetrator, and so it was surprising to find how friendly Cambodians were. Locals are warm and generous to a steadily increasing flow of tourists, and despite legendary corruption, there is much hope for Cambodia’s future. Phnom Penh might be considered by many to be a poorer version of Bangkok, but the legacy of its tragic history, coupled with its beauty and bizarre activities, will fascinate those looking to learn from the world in which they travel.
The Bullet Proof Tailor of Bogota
For those in lofty positions of wealth and power, security is embedded into their way of life, and sometimes, even into the very fabric of their clothing. There is only one company in the world that manufactures high security fashion. Introducing Miguel Caballero, the bulletproof tailor of Bogota, also known as the Armani for moving targets. Founded in 1992, the company has developed its own armour plating technology to allow the subtle infusion of fashion and state-of-the-art personal protection. With a background in marketing rather than weapons or fashion, its CEO Miguel Caballero recognized and subsequently created what he calls the “high security fashion business.” Caballero discards clunky, heavy and uncomfortable Kevlar bulletproof vests in favour of slim panels that can be inserted into a wide range of tailored garments. That such an innovation took place in Colombia, which has one of the world’s highest violent crime rates, is no accident. A product manufactured for life in Colombia will stand up to life just about anywhere. With 80% of its orders coming from overseas, Caballero’s security-conscious customers appear to agree.
On an unassuming street in Bogota sits the white, low-rise building that serves as headquarters and factory for Miguel Caballero. With an elite clientele visiting for fittings and some 282 employees, security is tight. Bogota also has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnapping, and Caballero’s local clients in the financial, insurance and business sectors are prime targets. Visitors are screened in a waiting room before being buzzed into a modest showroom, demonstrating the wide range of products manufactured and branded by the company. Specialized plates inside loose fitting black leather jackets are capable of stopping bullet rounds, or even a knife attack. Here you will also find casual sweaters, the kind you might see on a jogger, only with strategically positioned lightweight armoured panels in the front. The company also makes suede blazers, raincoats, polo shirts, and a popular women’s line too. There’s even a bulletproof tie, available in various colours, and looking only slightly more swollen than normal. While Miguel Caballero has achieved fame for its security-conscious fashion products, it also supplies military, private security, and police forces with armoured garments, including riot gear, police uniforms, and flak jackets.
In an act signifying both clever marketing and faith in his quality, employees of the company are requested to try on the product before they are allowed to sell it. Then they get shot, to test first-hand its ability to stop a bullet. When your job description includes receiving a bullet, you better believe in what you’re selling. Only Miguel Caballero will fire the shot, and in some cases, this includes shooting clients or their bodyguards to satisfy the buyer’s piece of mind. Caballero employees are prepared to literally stand behind, and come under fire, for the products they make.
The factory receives regular and curious visitors, many of whom are given guided tours of the premises, although certain parts, such as the vest assembly area, are off limits for photographs. While company policy is not to reveal the identities of clients, Mr Caballero lists several satisfied customers. These include politicians, royalty and Hollywood stars. The action star is a VIP client who owns several customized items, including a one-of-a-kind bulletproof kimono. When it was reported that sources within the US secret service revealed Barack Obama was wearing a bulletproof suit at his inauguration, all eyes turned to Miguel Caballero. I'd expect Donald Trump did the same. Caballero, who founded the company while still a university student, cites company policy and appears content to neither confirm nor deny the claim. While the company has received its fair share of media attention, it values and promises its clients the utmost discretion. They are, after all, only safe as long as the bullet hits the area protected by the armoured panels.
The aim of bulletproof vests is to save lives, not prevent injury. Antonio Arias, the company’s ballistic director, carefully measures how each vest absorbs the impact of a bullet, ensuring that while the unfortunate recipient might walk away with a bruise, at least they will still be walking. The exact design of the armoured vests is a carefully guarded trade secret, but the company have been certified by a number of defence and security regulators (such as the US National Institute of Justice), and holds a half dozen certificates from impressive sounding acronyms like the IDIC, RENAR, and ICONTEC. Without getting into technical details, Arias explains that Caballero armoured panels are constructed by layering and compressing nylon and polyester that is designed to absorb and minimize impact. The added advantage of not using traditional Kevlar is lighter weight, flexibility, and the opportunity for increased discretion. To see for myself, I am handed an Uzi machine gun and allowed to fire into a vest, supported against soft clay that will absorb the bullet, simulate the impact on skin, and allow accurate measurement. The secured room is small, with employees looking on behind me through a glass window. Standing about ten feet away from the target, I slowly squeeze the trigger, and am immediately surprised how real guns make a sharp, deafening pop, as opposed to the bang we hear in movies. The bullet hits the target almost dead centre. Arias unhooks the vest to reveal a one-inch crater in the soft clay. According to Antonio, smaller bullets might feel like a “finger flick”, but an Uzi shot is going to leave a considerable bruise. Save lives, not prevent injury. I was looking forward to testing out a vest on myself, but my one shot to be, well, shot, was thwarted by Senor Caballero being overseas on business. With over a dozen distributors in countries like Lebanon, Spain, Ukraine and India, Senor Caballero has been on the road a lot these days. The company also has showrooms in Miami, Mexico City, Guatemala, and sells its wares inside Harrod’s of London.
Being able to embed safety discreetly into fashion is a mission of Miguel Caballero, and this means integrating international styles and customs. While a three-piece suit or leather jacket fits into the lifestyle of the United States, it might not work in markets with different cultural leanings. The key to the company’s success has been its unique ability to provide safety and style for to its clients, so they can feel protected without publicly advertising to others that there is any need to be. With this in mind, the company is developing Kurta Pyjamas, Nehru vests and coats for India, and colourful tunics that have been customized for African clients. In the showroom, I try on a hooded sweater that would not be out of place on a college campus. Covering my chest are flat panels stitched directly into the fabric of the garment. It feels like I have a paperback book in a pocket, one that uses state of the art technology and can save my life. After trying on a black leather coat, endorsed by Steven Segal, I slip on a traditional armoured vest and immediately feel the difference. While both products will protect me, one makes me feel like a target, the other makes me feel stealthily invincible.
Special measurement charts are available, and clothing can be designed and customized according to specification without clients needing to visit a showroom. Garments come in the typical sizes of S/M/L/XL/XXL, with minor adjustments made locally. There are various collections in the Miguel Caballero range, differing greatly in function and price. The Silver Collection is designed for private security, as in the traditional vests you might see on bank guards, transportation agents, and hefty bodyguards. The Classic Collection, in standard army or camouflage colours, is designed for military, government, and police operations. The Gold Collection is for high profile clients that follow an “American lifestyle” of sport, hobbies and multifunctional comfort wear, while the newly launched Black collection is designed to appeal, according to the company’s catalogue, to “people that prefer European fashion; sober, elegant and exclusive.” These include polo necks, slim cut leather jackets and lightweight Goretex waterproof coats. Each garment is further customized with an armoured level of low, medium or high, depending on the amount of risk, and the kind of weapons, one expects to be on the wrong side of. The heavier and thicker the vest, the bigger the bullet it hopes to stop.
While life may seem cheap in certain high crime zones, high security fashion is not. A typical Caballero Black item can range from US$2000 to $7000. Lining thick enough to prevent knife attack, and other customizations, may cost extra. With a boutique store in Mexico City alongside Louis Vuitton, Cartier and yes, Armani, Caballero products have the added value-point of offering life or death for its clients. There’s even an exclusive club for Caballero customers. To be a member, a Caballero product must save your life. How many members it has remains a company secret.
Whether it is world leader on a podium, visiting royalty, or just a businessman on an important trip to a city renowned for instability and violence, there’s no doubting the piece of mind that comes from knowing your leather jacket will stop a bullet. But while the labels inside Miguel Caballero’s high security fashionware give washing instructions, they do not explain how to prevent anyone aiming a gun at you in the first place.
For a complete catalogue of the company’s products, and to find out more information, visit the company’s website at: www.miguelcaballero.com
The full-face mask is the snorkel’s first improvement in decades, and allows the user to breathe and speak without anything in their mouths. There’s a bunch of them on Amazon. I bought this one, ready to introduce my daughter to the wonders of marine life. Raquel and I board Maui Dive Shop’s Ali’i Nui catamaran in Ma’alaea Harbour for a 3-hour snorkel expedition. Some strong winds derail the planned sailing to Turtle Point, so we sail to up the coast to a protected reef. Raquel went bananas on the trampoline-like canopy at the fore of the ship, jumping around like a lunatic. She ate a piece of celery from the rib n’wings buffet. We suited up and hopped into the water with a kickboard and life vest. I help her with the mask, she takes one look down, and that was the end of my plans for the mask. Not interested.. I don’t care if Humu the tropical fish is dancing the cha-cha down there, I am not putting on that mask again. Raquel has a way of saying all this with her eyes. To her credit, I get her into the water a couple times, but she refuses to look down, and only lasts a few minutes. So we spent a couple hours on a catamaran, playing with a feisty Brazilian granny and her grandkids, talking about what Daddy does and how to take photographs. I’ve snorkelled the world over, Maui can wait. Advice for parents: If you plan on actually seeing or doing anything while with your toddler, you’re in for a disappointment. If you plan on just hanging out with your happy bouncing kid, it’s smooth sailing all the way.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel
Further up the coast, about a half hour’s drive from Wailea is the second oldest hotel, and certainly the oldest-looking hotel, on the popular Kaanapali beach strip, the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. It bills itself as Maui’s most Hawaiian hotel, which means it is independently owned, has pioneered various cultural programs, and is far removed from the spit-polished gloss of the Fairmont. While the rooms look and feel like a throwback to the 1970’s, the location is steps away from the beach, its whale-shaped pool a hit with the kids, and the well-kept gardens are full of native plumerias bursting with flowers. Sure the shower drain was blocked and the screen door unhinged, the bathroom tiny and the pillows a little lumpy, but the KBH is far more realistic for our budget, and as Raquel bounced between the two beds, she yelled “Daddy, this is even better than the last hotel!” The needs of a toddler are tremendously simple: if you can jump between two beds, life is grand. Staff at the KBH were lovely and their KBH Aloha Passport kids program kept Raquel busy with Hula and ukulele lessons.
The on-site Legends of Ka'anapali Lu'au was fabulous, and it didn’t take long for Raquel to get up on stage and participate. Our meal in the Tiki Terrace was memorable, we self catered in the handy covered pavilion, and our Ocean Front room was literally steps from the shallow break of Ka'anapali’s famous sandy beach. Raquel quickly found a few friends, including a 5 –year old boy named Floras from The Hague, who she simply called “My boy!” They played for hours in the pool while his Dad and I got sunburned. Gali awoke at 5:30am one morning so I took him for a walk along the path, past the glitzy Whalers mall and the Marriott and Hyatt mega resorts. There was a surprising amount of people on the trail. Many of them were pushing strollers. We aloha’d each other, sharing the camaraderie of exhaustion and elation to be beachside at sunrise.
I wanted to treat my wife with something different. Spas are the typical go-to, but massages tend to blend into each other, a short-term fix. Catching your first wave on a surfboard however is something you never forget. I looked after both kids while Ana took a surf lesson with Goofy Foot Surf School in Lahaina. She used to be a dancer so I figured her first lesson would be way more successful than my first lesson, which consisted of non-stop wipeouts in the cold waters of Tofino, BC. With Gali teething and especially clingy, I think Ana would have enjoyed two hours alone in a closet. I dealt with the kids while she paddled out to a small break where all the surf schools gather. And there we watched her not only get up the first time, but stay up over and over again, graduating to a few bigger waves. She was as thrilled as I’d hoped she would be, immediately regretting that she’d waited so long to surf, considering she grew up on a beach in Rio. Nobody should ever say no to a massage, but if you want to treat your wife in Maui, give her a challenge to overcome in the healing waters of the ocean. And a break from the kids, of course.
Napili Kai Beach Resort
By our third hop, we’d realized, as most travellers do, just how much we packed that we simply didn’t need. We could blame the kids, but the reality is we can only blame ourselves. Having gone through the worst Vancouver winter in 33 years, we’d quickly forgotten what warm weather feels like, that all we’d need is bathing suits and flip-flops (and diapers, wipes, toys and teddies) . We packed up and headed north up the coast to the Napili Kai Beach Resort, framing a perfect crescent-shaped, reef-protected beach with toddler friendly waves. Steps away from the ocean is the resort’s large pool, a hot tub, and a 27-hole putting green course Raquel couldn’t get enough of. If you enjoy infinity pools like I do, you’ll appreciate that Room 232 in Napili Kai’s Puna Two building has an infinity patio. The view from the bedroom and kitchen is all ocean, so much so that it feels you’re on a cruise ship.
Meanwhile, the fully equipped modern kitchen quickly taught us this: if you’re travelling with toddlers, a kitchen is gold. Oatmeal porridge at 3pm? A cheese sandwich at midnight? No problem! Raquel helped me with the groceries for several nights of simple meals – spaghetti, oven fish, rotisserie chicken, and we saved a bundle. We even had a blender and ice-maker to craft our own pina coladas. After 12 days of sunshine, a tropical storm hit with sheets of raining falling for 36 hours. Confined to a room, we were relieved it was this one, where we could watch Netflix movies on TV (thanks to a handy HDMI cable connected to my laptop), stare at the ocean, and let Gali nap in his own space. Of course, there was still time to play on the beach, explore the grounds, bury Raquel in sand, make sand castles, and splash in the pool. All three resorts were great, but the self catering flexibility of Napili Kai, and the proximity of its facilities, worked best for our kids.
Relaxed, finally in the flow and on a schedule that works for the kids, it’s time to dynamite it all to hell. Air Canada’s return flight from Maui is a red-eye (they don’t call it their Air Canada Rouge service for nothing). We arrived at the airport two hours early and barely made check-in. Line-ups, heat, frustration, delays, wrong seat assignments – every hour that dripped by eroded the pleasant memories of Maui. Finally on the plane, the kids are caged monkeys, eventually collapsing in exhaustion on the unspoken condition that we don’t. Ana bends herself into a pretzel on the floor with one kid using her as a pillow and the other as a footrest. Raquel has a full thermonuclear meltdown on arrival, and by the time we get home, she climbs on the couch, puts a blanket over her head, and we don’t hear from her for six hours. She’s never done this before, and it’s quite impressive.
A few days later, the colours of Maui are fading (along with Raquel’s mysterious rash) , but our experiences on the island remain bright, the photographs sealing in the memories with a varnish that will only improve and become more valuable with time. I pick up Raquel from daycare, and ask her: “Did you tell everyone about Maui?”
“No,” she replies. “I forgot to.”
She might be over it, but I believe our two weeks on the Valley Isle hardcoded our children with a love for the ocean, island life, the aloha spirit of Hawaii, and an appreciation for warm, sincere hospitality. It definitely hard-coded a love for travel, for the next sentence out of Raquel’s mouth is: “Where are we going next?”
A special mahalo to Tourism Hawaii, Tourism Maui, Theresa Betty, the Fairmont Kea Lani, Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Napali Kai Resort. Click here for more info about visiting Maui.
I’ve cage dived with crocodiles, hung off the side of holy mountains in China, and vacationed in Chernobyl, but here’s the truth: the thought of travelling for the first time with my 4 year old daughter Raquel and 9-month old son Galileo terrified me. Curly-haired Raquel seems to have fallen Obelix-like into a cauldron of Red Bull, she’s a T4 bull in a china shop of tranquillity. Gali is newly teething, crawling, and hasn’t seen a hazard he hasn’t wanted to wrap his gums or baby carrot fingers around. Still, it’s time to break them in, because with a Dad like me, travel is in their future. So I thought I’d start somewhere easy and beautiful, spreading a couple weeks over a range of accommodation options. Expectations are the death of travel, and yet toddlers are particularly gifted when it comes to ensuring that no high hope is trampled under the weight of their hyper-emotional little piggies.
No matter how great your toddler vacation is, the reality is it will be bookended by a plane ride three stories up from hell. I fly a lot. It’s my chance to work, read, watch a movie, daydream at altitude. A six-hour direct flight from Vancouver to Maui should be nothing. If the kids sleep. To stack the odds in my favour, I reached out to Fly-Tot, who sell an inflatable legroom pillows. We’d be flying in late at night. How bad could it be? Bad. Real bad. Gali is chewing on the tray tables and seatbelts (and you know how often they get cleaned). Raquel is vibrating with kicks and punches. Rather than sleeping, the kids are using the Fly-Tot as a trampoline. Playing Frozen on the iPad worked, but it only worked once, and then Raquel... let it go. Like condemned prisoners at a public hanging, my wife and I gaze into the eyes of fellow toddler parents, dealing with the trauma of their own journey. Each minute of each hour has the weight of a cannonball. So frazzled by the experience, I commit a cardinal travel sin and forget our two bottles of duty free liquor – blessed late night Scotch/Baileys escape - on the plane. Air Canada’s cleaning staff relieve us of the bottles no more than five minutes after we deplane and I remember the forgotten bag. “Sorry sir, our cleaners didn’t find anything.” Aloha to them.
Welcome to Maui! Grab our bags and shuttle to the car rental, and spend 45 minutes in a late night line-up. Now the kids want to sleep. I push two chairs together and Raquel passes out. I feel like Parent of the Year. Get the van, install the car seats, strap in the kids, load in the luggage. It’s a 45-minute late night drive in the rain to Wailea. Could anything be worth this?
The Fairmont Kea Lani
Yes, waking up on the 7th floor in a Deluxe Ocean View suite at the Fairmont Kea Lani is definitely worth it. The sun sparkles off the Pacific. Koi swim in ponds amidst manicured gardens and clear azure pools. Coconut trees rustling in warm tropical air as sweet as nectar. Stripped of the jeans and hoodies we won’t see for the next two weeks, the family hums with travel buzz. We chomping at the bit of a beach vacation. Out feet touch the reddish sand of Polo Beach, and then it starts:
“I don’t want to go to the sea Daddy!” Oh look, Gali has a fistful of sand in his mouth. “It’s too hot Daddy!” “It’s too cold Daddy!” “I’m hungry!” “I’m not hungry!” “Where’s my blue spade?” “I want a red spade!” “I want what that other girl has!” “Pick me up!” “Put me down!” “This rock is scary!” “I want to go to the pool!” Toddlers are complex algorithms that dance to a convoluted rhythm only they can hear. The first chance we have to relax is much later that night when both kids are asleep. No late night walks on the beach for us, but we do sip cocktails on our patio, beneath a planetarium of stars, a scene scored by the soporific sound of crashing waves. The flight is a distant memory. Aloha Maui. Finally, aloha.
Buffet breakfasts have ruined us. Raquel quickly gets used to her one mouthful of a dozen different dishes, and miso soup is now a breakfast staple. We tag team feeding both kids as Gali singlehandedly supports the birdlife of Hawaii who gather beneath the snow of egg that falls from his high chair. Staff give us crayons for the kids each morning, and Gali’s favourite breakfast dish becomes the colour Red. Hours turn to days as we rotate between the pool, suite and beach. Raquel is too young for Kea Lani’s Keiki Kids Club, but she can drop into the stocked daycare-like facilities in the afternoon, when Gali is napping and the sun is too strong. There were so many toys I almost cried when we walked into the room for the first time. We explore the grounds, make a run to the nearest supermarket, buy the only two things we didn’t pack while realizing we won’t need most of the things we did.
The family dines at the sensational Ko restaurant downstairs, a romantic meal of dreams invaded by our overtired, overhungry kids who care little for the chef’s inspired creations. Before the appies arrive, out come the iPad apps. My wife is afraid to let me go to the bathroom because she thinks I might run away.
Every time I meet a Dad or Mom in the knee high, pee-warm toddler pool, where Raquel spends most of her time (beaches be damned) we sport our 1000-yard stares, shrug our shoulders, and let the giggles and laughs of our kids melt our hearts. There is an Adults Only section at the Kea Lani, and I wonder how many hearts are melting with the ice in the umbrella-topped pina coladas. The Fairmont was our high-end option, a refuge of stunning views that fluff your eyes like pillows at turn down service. It’s the other end of cheap. One morning, as Gali stands up in his hotel crib beaming a two-tooth smile, he says “Dadda” for the first time. I pick him up, step out onto the balcony, and together we smile at the dreamy world before us. Cost of that, and so many other Fairmont moments: Priceless.
The bucket list drive in Maui is the road to Hana, a hairpin-winding track alongside soaring ocean cliffs. We made three turns and turned around, avoiding the projectile backseat vomit we knew would follow. This pretty much ruled out a drive to the Haleakala volcano crater too, which I’ll have to get to once the kids are a little older. We did drive to Makena Beach where Raquel flew a kite for the first time. I brought it from home and she didn’t want to do anything except fly that kite. She flew it for exactly 34 seconds, and never wanted to see it again. We drove up to Twin Falls and got some great photos amidst the giant bamboo and dual cascades. The Banyen Tree in Lahaina is unlike any tree I’ve ever seen, sporting 16 trunks and a block-wide canopy. We ate lunch in the Flatbread Company in Paia, after which I lost my wife and daughter in the shops. Raquel was having an allergic to reaction to her all-natural sunblock or the heat or the seawater, or something the Internet told us could probably be treated with a little Benedryl. New parents would spend a day in a local hospital, only to be told to use a little Benedryl. Fortunately we’re over the paranoia and worry that accompanies the firstborn. Instead we visit Baby Beach where the full-face snorkel mask I bought for Raquel is thoroughly enjoyed by all other kids on the beach. They tell me it works like a charm.
Up Next: Pt 2, featuring Kaanapali, Napili, and a Treat for Mom.
Please come in. Mahalo for removing your shoes.
After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.