Myanmar 2014

Myanmar 2014

I have decided after a long sabbatical from my Travel Blog to give it another try.  Many people have asked, “Hey Gary, why no more tales of your many travels?”  Apparently some people actually enjoyed seeing the many places I go in the world.  You can see the BLOG has changed a bit from the old Where in the World is Gary blog to simply Kaelson Travels.  A massive amount of work was done by my friend and computer wizard Chris Kresge of Convenient Integration.  So let the journey begin. November 1, 2014:  I depart Dallas on a direct flight to Hong Kong.  After a brief layover in Hong Kong at the airport First Class “The Wing” lounge I was refreshed for my next flight to Yangon, Myanmar.  “The Wing” lounge has these awesome creations called Cabanas (see attached pictures) that you can use for an hour or as long as you want.  It’s a private room with WIFI, huge soaking tub, rain shower, couch and all the facilities and amities you could imagine.  You turn the lights down low, listen to the calming music in a perfectly quiet oasis from the outside world. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. November 2, 2014:  I finally arrive at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel at 2:00AM in Yangon the next day.  It’s been about 24 hours since I departed Dallas and my body thinks it around noon.  Now you go to your room and try to sleep.  I suffer greatly from jet lag.  It takes my body a few days to get its sleep cadence back to the local time zone.  Thankfully I don’t do this world travel gig for a living like some people I know who have to hit the ground running after a...
A Birthday Tradition

A Birthday Tradition

A Mexican tradition… smashing your face in the cake when you blow out the candles. Thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes, Everyone!...
Sometimes it feels GREAT to be an American

Sometimes it feels GREAT to be an American

Greetings from Boracay Beach Resort in the Philippines.  After touring Tasmania for 2 weeks I have traveled north to the warm tropical waters of White Beach in the Philippines. The resort appears to be undamaged by typhoon “Yolanda.”  The attention to details and perfection are obvious by the private yacht pick-up from the mainland, to the staff greeting you by name. In regards to the “Sometimes it feels GREAT to be an American” comment, it happened at the beachfront restaurant the first night.  I was sitting at the bar having tapas and the manager came over and asked where I was from.  When I told him I was an American he said he didn’t see many Americans at the resort and he wanted to shake my hand.  He then proceeded to tell me the story about the Super typhoon that wiped out the airport in Tacloban City.  The airport had been closed and un-operational for 7 days leaving the victims stranded without any help. When the American military officer arrived he told the people he would have the airport up and running 24/7 within 24 hours.  Only the American Military can come in with such force to make the impossible happen without question.  Since that date the aid from around the world began flowing in nonstop.  You hear many bad things about what our country does around the world.  How refreshing it felt to see first hand what GOOD we can do.  I think the manager shook my hand and thanked me 4 times. He bought me free wine and made me feel like a celebrity.  Yes,,,,,, it does feel good to be...
Tasmania 2013

Tasmania 2013

My sister Beth and I began our Tasmanian trip on November 5, 2013.  It seems so long ago that I walked aboard the First Class Cabin of the Quantas Airbus A-380.  WOW,,,,, what a plane.  It is the world’s largest commercial aircraft with a luxurious First Class cabin of only 12 personal suites.  The plane was so quiet you didn’t feel like you were flying. Our rough plan was to spend 3 nights in each of the following towns. 1. Hobart: Southern coast port town with wineries, MONA museum, art galleries, great street cafes, and the prison from the 1800’s on Port Arthur. 2.  Swansea:  Eastern seacoast town for more wineries, National Parks, and hiking. 3.  Launceston:  Northern costal town for more hiking, wineries and sight seeing. 4.  Strahan:  East Coast fishing town with river cruise, more prison tours, and the high mountains of …………………. The beauty of traveling with Beth is everything is up for change and modification due to weather, $$$, mood or new discoveries. After encountering the first 5 days of rain, cold, REALLY expensive prices on food and lodging, we both agreed to just bag the trip ealy and depart.  However, traveling on a  AAdvantage Award ticket we discovered leaving early was not an option.  So we moved on and found cheaper hotels, sunny warm days, and discovered new things along the way. (We turned lemons into lemonade.) We covered hundreds of miles with the direction of my tour guide, AKA  sister Beth.  She had read the Lonely Planet guide book from cover to cover.  She found some real finds in the great state of Tasi. Beth headed...
Leaving Crested Butte

Leaving Crested Butte

Hi Everyone, Nothing like laying in a cold mountain stream to make ya feel good.   Wilson and I went on a mushroom expedition to find some King Boletus, a most soft after mushroom in the Rockies.  I went back to the house and cooked them up with grilled chicken.  Pretty tasty.  There seem to be tons of Poodles, Labordoodles, and Goldendoodles up here.  Wilson has many friends.  The last picture is a couple of canvas prints that Amanda and Michelle gave me in honor of the passing of Lola.  I brought them up here to decorate the CB house.  Perhaps the absence of Lola this year has made the summer retreat not as enjoyable as last year.  Also, the weather has been  very cold and rainy a lot of the time. So, tomorrow I leave for Aspen to watch the Motherlode Volleyball tournament that I played in for 6 years in a row.  I found an awesome VRBO rental I got it at a VERY discounted rate.  I plan on sharing the “OVER THE TOP RALPH LOREN” PENTHOUSE  with Pam, Adam,Mike C  and others.  It will be different not playing this year.  I guess all things must change. My plan is to be back in Dallas on Labor Day.  There is another big tenant finish out that has been looming over my head.  I have 9 weeks to get it done before my Tasmanian Adventure in November. Best to you all, Gary...
The Inca Trail and Macchu Picchu

The Inca Trail and Macchu Picchu

My dream of hiking the Inca Trail and going to Machu Picchu has been fulfilled.  I have done some crazy things in my life (like biking across America in the 80’s), to bungee jumping and skydiving.  But hiking 30 miles and 3 mountain passes at 57 years old has got to be the winner.  With back brace, hiking poles and lots of Advil, I managed to make my wish come true.  I arrived at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu at 6:00AM after 4 days of hiking. It was a surreal experience from the start.  We had 11 hikers from 4 counties and 14 porters.  The second day we hiked 12 hours from 6:00AM to 6:00PM and crossed “DeadWoman’s Pass at 14,000 feet.  It had been a long time since I slept on the ground in a tent.  However, I was so tired each night I quickly fell to sleep. The last day we woke up at 3:00AM and had to be on the trial by 3:30AM.  We hiked in the rain in the dark with our head lamps.  I truly felt like I was in the army on patrol sloshing threw the jungle in the middle of the night.  We waited in the rain with a hundred or so other hikers at the control access gate to start the final push up to Machu Picchu.  We arrived right at sunrise on the morning of July 4th.  I am glad this was a once in a lifetime adventure, because I am not sure I could do it again. Thanks for watching and reading my story. Best to you from...
Peru Adventure

Peru Adventure

Hello Friends and Family, I know you ALL have been waiting for pictures and stories of my trip.  I have been traveling for almost 10 days and its been a whirlwind.  Today I am relaxing in the gardens in the Sacred Valley close to Machu Picchu. The first photo is the lobby of the Cusco Marriott.  They spent 6 years constructing the hotel in an old monastery.  I spent 2 days here before the group arrived.  The streets were filled with people celebrating the Winter Soltise. The sun comes up at 6 and goes down at 6. We visted to historical sights in Cusco.  The first was Oorikancha Temple built by the Incas.  The Spanish destroyed the temple and built the colonial looking church on top that you see now.  If you notice the old stone work at the base, it was once covered in solid gold.  Most of the Inca temples were looted for the gold and destroyed by the Spaniards.  All in the name of God and Country.    Ohhhh, the grilled chicken salad was not historical,,,,, just very mucho gusto. Being a “want-to-be-blacksmith,”  I really was impressed by many of the old bolt locking systems on the...
It’s not a Vacation… it’s an Adventure

It’s not a Vacation… it’s an Adventure

WOW…..  it’s been a long time since my last BLOG entry.  I must be too busy or too tired to write.  My sister Beth headed home over a week ago after the yoga retreat.  She once again had a hell of a time getting on flights and spent the night in Japan.  I miss having her companionship and conversation.  She is such a great person to travel with, especially on this trip which had it’s challenges.  She lets everything just roll off and stays a steady course. This yoga group this time was an odd mix.  Thank god I had Beth and Katy (from 2 previous trips).  We had a couple of people on the trip who could hardly walk.  Makes it difficult to see the sights and explore.  So the 3 healthy people just made the best of a bad situation.  Here are some Highlights:   Thai Cooking Class:  We had a great time learning to cook Thai food from an awesome woman named Kwan.  She was a great teacher, but more amazing is her story.  She lost her house, 3 cars and everything in the 2007 Tusami.  After she helped her town people with voluntering and support, she looked around and thought what could her village people use.  She had a friend in Bangkok who knew a man in the furniture business.  He was a smart man and when he met Kwan he gave her a 60 day line of credit to distribute furniture.  Now she owns the largest furniture store in Khao Lak, the cooking school, and a top notch tour company with over 30 employees.  A...
The Journey to Southern Thailand

The Journey to Southern Thailand

My sister Beth and I started our journey to Thailand on Wednesday morning October 31, 2012. The plan was to meet at the Narita airport Admirals Club, relax for a few hours, take a shower and board another 6 hour flight to Bangkok. Her flight from Chicago was delayed so when I arrived (also, late,,,, thanks AA), I had about 5 mintutes to leave her a quick note and a copy of my credit card information. I ran to catch the next flight to Bangkok. Beth however,,,,,,, arrived in Bangkok the next morning after flying to Koala Lumper, then Bangkok. Fortunately she was traveling first class and had access to clubs in Japan and KL to relax and shower. I finally found her at the airport in Bangkok after looking for 2 hours. We hung out in the Thai Airlines Club for a few more hours because our final flight to Ao Nang was delayed. We finally arrived at Ao Nang and stayed in a nice new hotel. http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-7539-mercure-krabi-deevana/index.shtml Everyday was started with a swim in one of 4 great long cobalt blue swimming pools. The first day we took a longtail boat to Riley Beach about 20 minutes south. This area of Thailand is famous for the towering limestone mountains and cliffs. The James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed here. The second day we booked a kayak trip with a couple of worthless guides and a guy from Korea. It was “interesting” and also a bit frustrating because I had taken the same trip a few years ago and had a wonderful experience....
USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Crested Butte

USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Crested Butte

The largest Pro Cycling race in the country comes threw Crested Butte today.  It is televised on NBC live.  http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/news/nbc-announces-live-daily-coverage  It will be televised in over 200 countries.  Todays stage goes from Montrose to Crested Butte with the finish line 200 yards from my back door. It should be a good race with all the top cyclist here.  Francie and I went for a hike yesterday.  On the road I swear I saw Lance Armstrong go down the dirt road with another rider.  How cool is that.  I don’t think he racing today but he is in town.  I played volleyball again on Sunday and have been enjoying having my sister here for 5 days. Stay tuned for pictures of the race.   IMG_1125  ...