Tag Archives: travel

July 31, 2012

Discovering Ireland

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Margaret, who works in planning & operations, recently returned from a trip to Ireland. Check out her adventures!

Kylemore Abbey, in the Connemara region near Galway.

Kylemore Abbey, in the Connemara region near Galway.

Earlier this month,  I traveled with my friends to Ireland for a wedding.  The wedding took place near Drogheda, a small town about an hour north of Dublin.  I had never been to an Irish wedding before, and it was quite the experience! The wedding itself was fairly short – but then the festivities continued all day.  Later in the evening, the “afters” arrived (additional guests who were not invited to the ceremony and dinner, but show up later in the evening ). Finally, at 2am the party broke up – but then there was a wedding brunch the next day as well!  The Irish certainly know how to celebrate!

Racing Boats in Galway

Racing boats in Galway. We just happened to be in Galway for the dramatic finish of the Volvo Ocean Race – an around-the-world regatta that had begun in October 2011 in Alicante, Spain.

After the wedding, we took some time to drive around the countryside. The first challenge was driving on the right-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side, as well as shifting with the left hand. We managed not to crash, but we did have a tire blow out in the windy narrow roads of Connemara.  We were amazed at how many people stopped to help and make sure we were okay, and we were able to get the tire fixed and get back to our hotel in Galway.

Burial Mount at Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne).

Brú na Bóinne, a 5000-year-old burial mound in County Meath. The inner chamber aligns with the sunrise on Winter Solstice.

My favorite site in Ireland was the burial mound at Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne).  It’s one of a series of ancient burial mounds that were recently discovered in Ireland, and is over 5000 years old. Although the Neolithic people are not considered especially advanced, they were able to build this mound in such a way that the sun shines directly into the chamber on the Winter Solstice.

Cliffs of Moher

With my friend Sue at the Cliffs of Moher

Ireland was beautiful (I’ve included photos of my favorite places below!), but it was rather cold and rainy. It was actually quite reminiscent of summer in San Francisco, in fact! So after Ireland, we did hop over to Munich for a few days to enjoy the sun for a few days.

Rathaus in the Marienplatz, Munich.

In front of the Rathaus in the Marienplatz, Munich.

July 6, 2012

Embarking on an African Safari

Pam Geller, a freelance marketing consultant, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with her three kids, Kayla | 7 yrs, Drew | 6 yrs, and Jenna | 3 yrs, who just happened to be wearing Tea on their trip.

When we were planning our trip to Nairobi, Kenya, to visit by brother and sister in-law, everyone wanted to “do” an African Safari in the Masai Mara.  I was thinking, okay…I guess I am okay with sleeping in a tent in the Savannah with guards who carry guns, with somewhat “pampered” kids who have never gone camping.   But, where would we shower and clean up?  Do we have to mark our territory?  I had also heard various scary stories – for example, a friend of mine said that an elephant, who was “protecting” her baby elephant, charged their vehicle.  Hmmmm…I am okay with this…right?  You see my sister-in-law who is a very intelligent, had been putting together this amazing 2-week tour of Nairobi.  So when my sister-in-law suggested an African Safari in the Masai Mara, I said “okay, that sounds good.”

But as it turned out, what I imagined an African Safari would entail was a WHOLE LOT different than what I thought.

African Safari with Children

It took less than 60 minutes from the Nairobi Wilson Airport. The “jumper plane” made a handful of stops along the way to drop off other passengers at other landing stripes in the Savannah.

 

African Safari with Kids

The landing stripe at the Maasai Mara, meeting up with our guide having a tasty drink of tomato tree juice. Not like our tomato juice! This was more like punch.

African Safari with Kids

Accommodations – my expectation were far exceeded! The safari was more like a five star resort!

Savannah – The “prime time” to visit the African Savannah is during Migration season (July and September).  Apparently the Savannah is packed with thousands, even millions of herbivores: “some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 360,000 Thomson’s gazelle, and 191,000 zebra.”  We did not visit during the Migration, but we were still able to see a lot of wild animals!

African Safari with KidsAfrica’s “Big 5” – The “Big 5″ includes the African: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo. Why not the hippo or giraffe? Are they not large as well?  Apparently, game hunters came up with the term “Big 5″ (not safari tour operators). The African lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo are labeled as the “Big 5” not because of how large or dangerous they are; but for how difficult it is for hunters to bag them up, mostly due to their ferocity when cornered and shot at. Who knew??!!

Lions sleep 20 hours a day. That means a lion is only awake for about 3 years. Isn’t that crazy?
This was my favorite animal! They are so graceful and beautiful. “Leopards are strong tree climbers—they can even climb a tree while carrying a prey their own weight. Leopards often carry their prey up trees to prevent other animals, such as hyenas, from sharing their kill. They also store their food in trees (though sometimes they store their food on ground under leaves or brush)”. They are solitary animals (not like lions that are pack animals).
African elephants are the largest land mammals on the planet, and the females of this species undergo the longest pregnancy—22 months.
Buffalo are reported to kill more hunters in Africa than any other animal.

Personally, I find a running Giraffe much more interesting that a Cape buffalo. A giraffe is one of the few animals that use mostly its front legs when it runs.   They only sleep for a few minutes at a time (in comparison to Lions who sleep all day!). Of course, the giraffes’ biggest enemy is the lion.  Giraffe have 4 stomachs just like cows (their cud needs to travel all the way up their neck!). Watch the video below to see the giraffe we spotted during the safari.

 

June 29, 2012

The Maasai Jumping Celebration

We’re introducing guest blogger Pam Geller, a freelance marketing consultant, who traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with her three kids, Kayla | 7 yrs, Drew | 6 yrs, and Jenna | 3 yrs, who just happened to be wearing Tea on their trip.

Travel with Kids to Maasai Kraal

When we visited our tour guide Daniel’s Kraal (Maasai rural village, visible in the background of the photos above), we were invited to witness their lion dance which includes jumping.

Travel with kids Jumping Tradition with Maasai

Maasai jumping is a tradition done at celebrations like a wedding.  The highest jumper gets the most ladies (of course)! They were kind enough to invite us to try. Check out of the video of us taking part in the Maasai jumping tradition.

 


 

June 28, 2012

A Visit to the Maasai Kraal

We’re introducing guest blogger Pam Geller, a freelance marketing consultant, who traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with her three kids, Kayla | 7 yrs, Drew | 6 yrs, and Jenna | 3 yrs, who just happened to be wearing Tea on their trip.

 

Travel with kids to Maasai Village in Nairobi, Kenya

It was incredible to visit a Maasai “village” located in Nairobi, Kenya.  A “Kraal”(“Kraal” — krôl, kräl) is a rural village, where a Maasai family lives, their huts in a circular area, to protect their livestock at night. Our Safari guide, Daniel,  took us to see his family’s Kraal. Daniel’s family consists of one dad, seven moms, and 70 brothers and sisters.  WOW!  Yes- 70 brothers and sisters.  Only Daniel and Daniel’s brothers with their respective wives and children live in the village we visited.  After the brothers showed us their lion dance and how high they can jump, we were invited to go inside their village and see how they live.

Water…no aquifer; they get their water from nearby lakes and streams.

Food…no grocery stores; they crop their own food by hand, in dessert conditions…(mind you…)

Eating utensils…no forks; they gather around a large bowl of food set on the ground and scoop up the food with their fingers or with pieces of bread.

Fire…no matches; they make fire the old fashion way with sticks and elephant poo!

Homes…no brick and mortar; they build their home with mud, sticks, cow dung and cow urine!

Wealth…no money; they measure wealth in terms of cattle and children.

Medicine…no hospitals; they use the urine of animals.  It is thought that the urine of animals is holy and that if used in the right way it can cure sickness.

American Girl with Massi villager

To see how they live in comparison to us, well, was inspiring and humbling.  Amazingly our oldest daughter, Kayla, who is 7, got it.  Here is a passage from her journal that she kept on our trip, “People are poor in Africa.  Okay, when we were driving in the Maasai Mara, we stopped at a village, we saw how the Maasai people live, and their house is made of cow poop and sticks. The girls have to make their houses and it takes three months and they don’t have shoes they are barefoot. “

 

May 30, 2012

Eating in Hong Kong

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Michelle, a graphic designer at Tea, recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong. She is a foodie at heart and couldn’t wait to share her favorite Asian fish dishes on our Studio T blog.

Coming to Hong Kong feels like coming home. Being able to see my family and come back to the place that I grew up in is both exciting and comforting. Luckily I make a trip there every 5 years, but it never ceases to amaze me how much Hong Kong changes every single time I come back.

Traveling in Hong Kong

Michelle outside of Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant

I travel to Hong Kong to visit family, eat delicious local foods, and to shop. The one place that is a must for me to visit is Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant in Sai Kung. It is where you can get the freshest seafood possible. It is located along the water, and the fisherman sell the seafood right off the boat.

Traveling in Hong Kong

If you want it cooked, you can step into one of the many restaurants located along the edge of the water. The fish tanks are huge, and have such an exotic variety. You pick the seafood that you want from the tanks and they bag it for you right away and ask you how you want it served.

Traveling in Hong KongTraveling in Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can fry it, sauté it, steam it, or have it sashimi style. Here are my recommendations below:

I highly recommend the Geoduck sashimi style. The meat is sweet yet slightly briny. It’s so fresh, you can really taste the difference.

Geoduck sashimi style

Geoduck Sashimi Style

The Pissing Shrimp is another must. It is native to this region and the meat is a cross between shrimp and lobster. We had it fried with
garlic and peppers.

Pissing Shrimp

Pissing Shrimp

The Razor Clams were another crowd pleaser. We had ours sauteed in a black bean sauce. Sweet and crunchy, it is a heartier than the average clam, but possess a clean flavor.

Razor Clams

Razor Clams

Steamed prawns are always a must. The soy sauce with jalapenos compliment the sweetness of the shrimp perfectly.

 

Steamed Prawns

Steamed Prawns

Miniature abalone sauteed in oyster sauce provided a very meaty and satisfying flavor and had a sweet finish.

 

Miniature Abalone
Miniature Abalone

Gigantic Tiger Prawns baked in garlic butter. Do I really need to say more?

 

Gigantic Tiger Prawns

Gigantic Tiger Prawns

 

ENJOY!

May 21, 2012

Discovering Fashion in Paris

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Ana, who works in Tea’s creative department, recently returned from a trip to Paris. Check out her adventures!

When I’m in Paris to visit my family, I make it a habit to take one afternoon to go by myself to explore a museum exhibit. More often than not, I end up at the museum of Les Arts Decoratifs – Mode et Textile. The two floors dedicated to fashion seem pretty small at first but never let down.

This time the exhibit was on Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. Marc Jacobs has been the creative director at Louis Vuitton since 1997 and is head designer for Marc Jacobs as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs. In 2010, he made Time’s list for the 100 most influential people in the world.

I had never looked at these brands’ beginnings so the exploration through the world of Vuitton the malletier was a treat. From the perfect wardrobe display to the development of the trademark print, it caught me by surprise that his creations have been around since 1854.

Louis Vuitton Exhibit at the Museum of Les Arts Decoratifs – Mode et Textile.

On my way up to the Marc Jacobs’ part of the exhibit, the mood changed from classic to black and loud. The displays had all the Marc Jacobs’ design aesthetic but still held on to the Vuitton tradition in a special way. Even the Spring dresses that were all about pastels fashioned in candy store ads, looked right at home in the black environment.

Pastel Dress at Museum Exhibit

Just for fun I ended my visit to the museum stopping by the special exhibit: The History of Babar. I noticed that I was the only adult that wasn’t toting children through this exhibit.  However, I believe spending a little bit of time in the children’s world was just what I needed to start sketching again and looking at life with different eyes for the rest of the trip.

 

May 3, 2012

Snorkeling in Mexico

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Laura, who works in Product Development, recently returned from a trip to Mexico. Check out her adventure below!

I turned 30 in January. To celebrate my husband and I went to Tulum, Mexico.  It was amazing!

I’m not one for tours, but we had a photographer/guide along with us one day and it was awesome. He showed us some of the best places to swim and snorkel in the area. He led the way and showed us the best path to take through the water and where the best spots were for pictures. At the end of the day, we had a disc full of memories to take with.

We started at at Dos Ojos, which is a Cenote, or freshwater sink hole. The water is around 30 feet deep and the cavern walls are covered with stalactite and stalagmite formations. There is very little light, but in some areas the sunlight filters in, giving it a magical and spooky feeling. The water is beautiful, clear and filled with small fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Akumal Bay we swam with turtles and rays.

Akuma Bay Turtle in Mexico

We also swam around a lagoon called Yal-Ku. The water was warm and there were so many fish it felt like swimming in a fish tank!