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Thurman

Thurman

...just a normal guy with myriad interests. I'm always open to meeting and communicating with others. If interested in connecting with me via this medium, please include a message with your friend request introducing yourself and explaining what, if anything, we may have in common. Thanks!

Aug162012

Travel Recommendation

Thai Boxing (Muay Thai)

Chiang Mai

My Photos

  • IMG_8895

Aug162012

Tour/Activity

Muay Thai Kickboxing with Ringside Seats and Private Transfer

Bangkok, Thailand

My Photos

  • IMG_8860
  • IMG_8821

Aug042012

Tour/Activity

Jerusalem Half-Day Tour from Tel Aviv: Dome of the Rock and Western Wall

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This tour started out a bit rocky when my guide inquired as to my plans upon completion of my half-day tour. When I informed him that I intended to return to Tel Aviv and spend the day on the beach, he promptly inquired as to how I planned to return to Tel Aviv, as the half-day tour ends in Jerusalem...YIKES! So, my half-day tour turned into the full-day Jerusalem/Bethlehem tour...LOL! I simply paid the difference between the half-day and full-day tours (which, ironically, woul have been the same price paid had I taken a taxi back to Tel Aviv).

With all of that said, I'm REALLY glad that I took this tour. Jerusalem is TREMENDOUSLY fascinating, and we only visited the old city. My guide was EXCEPTIONALLY knowledgeable and excellent at pointing out various interesting aspects of the city.

From Jerusalem, I journeyed to Bethlehem with the rest of the tour participants, and I'm SOOOO glad I took adventage of this opportunity. While there isn't really anything special in Bethlehem, what I appreciated was the opportunity to see, first hand, the Palestinian perspective (as Bethlehem is a Palestinian territoy)...WOW! EYE-OPENING!

For those choosing only the half-day trip, I simply encourage you to have a plan for getting back to Tel Aviv. Furthermore, I would simply suggest proceeding with the full-day trip. The difference is merely a few hours, and you're returned to your start point in Tel Aviv.

My Photos

  • Valley_03
  • Dome

Aug032012

Tour/Activity

Masada and the Dead Sea Day Trip from Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT! These two places, Masada and the Dead Sea, are ABSOLUTE MUSTS for anyone visiting Israel (in my opinion).

Although Masada is just a mound of rubble resting atop a mountain, it's the story of the place that grips you and MUST be experienced while there! I'm SOOOO glad I visited!

Following the tour at Masada (in BRUTAL HEAT) we went to the Dead Sea where we had approximately 2 hours (1 hour and 45 minutes to be exact) to frolic around in the salty water or take advantage of some of the spa treatments offered. For me, this was PLENTY of time. You must remember that you can't actually swim in the Dead Sea (the salt will burn your eyes and render you blind). So, after floating around and playing in the mud for a bit, one has exhausted the experience of the Dead Sea.

My Photos

  • Dead Sea_03
  • Masada_02
  • IMG_0925
  • IMG_0921

Aug022012

Tour/Activity

Petra Day Trip from Tel Aviv - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tel Aviv, Israel

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

Given one's individual situation, this tour may or may not be worth doing. I was TREMENDOUSLY limited in the time that I had in Israel, and I wanted to see/do AS MUCH as possible. So, to this end, the trip afforded me the opportunity to check-off yet ANOTHER item on my bucket-list. However, if I had it to do all over again, instead of purchasing the tour from Tel Aviv, I would have simply purchased the tour from Eilat. Then, I would have driven from Tel Aviv to Eilat and back (possibly not in the same day, but possible, if necessary). I feel that I spent A LOT of time waiting in the airport, and had I driven I could have seen more of the country (Yes! It's desert, but it's pretty.), and I could have spent some time in Eilat which has SO MUCH to offer!

The tour started off a bit awkwardly, as there was no one at the airport in Tel Aviv to direct me. Then, upon arriving in Eilat, there was no one in the airport to receive me. Instead, I had to go outside the airport and ask one of the guards who informed me that usually there will be a bus or van that says "Petra" for which I should look. After about 20 or so minutes of waiting, the van circled back around (I never saw it, initially). From this point, it was smooth sailing.

Crossing over into Jordan was easy. MAKE CERTAIN that you have money for the Jordanian visa if you require it ($55 USD/220 NIS...one of the ladies on my tour was able to use her debit card.) Returning to Israel takes a bit longer, but just relax.

My Photos

  • Petra_04
  • Jordan_01
  • IMG_0581
  • IMG_0579
  • IMG_0577
  • IMG_0576
  • IMG_0569

Jul192012

Tour/Activity

Bangkok Thai Kickboxing

Bangkok, Thailand

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME! I would HIGHLY recommend this tour...ABSOLUTELY amazing! And, even if you're not a boxing enthusiasts, I would recommend going; it is NOT to be missed! I was traveling alone and linked-up with another lone traveler while there. Then, the two of us linked-up with two other travelers and we simply had a BLAST cheering for our boxer.

A driver picked me up from my hotel around 6 or 6:30 pm, and I arrived at the boxing ring arond 7pm. If I remember correctly, the matches began around 8pm or so. There were 10 different matches, each of which lasts for three bouts at three minutes. Matches started with featherweights and graduated to the heavier classes. If you choose to remain for all 10 bouts, things wrap up around 10pm or so.

The championship match was the 7th or 8th one, and after the match, one of the tour staff grabbed me to go backstage and take a picture with the winner.

My Photos

  • IMG_8869

Jul162012

Tour/Activity

Singapore Zoo Night Safari Tour with optional Buffet Dinner

Singapore, Singapore

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

A friend suggested that the Night Safari is a MUST when visiting Singapore, and I AGREE!

I had a BLAST on this trip! And, DO NOT miss the fire dancing show; it's TOTALLY worth it (in my opinion, of course)!

Jul102012

Tour/Activity

Taroko Gorge Full-Day Tour from Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

Despite the relatively low rating, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself; however, I believe this is due to two things:

1. I had a GREAT group of fellow tourists accompanying me on this trip.

2. I had THE BEST tour guide...Josephine!

I was simply not as impressed with the gorge as I thought I might be. I think this may have been due to the time of year in which I visited. It might be prettier at another time, but when I visited, it was just gray, and there weren't very many interesting colors, as I have seen in different photos.

Fortunately, my tour guide spiced things up for us by allowing us to "break the rules" a bit and get a bit closer to nature. Additionally, Josephine took us to an unscheduled stop after lunch. It was a popular swimming area for locals on a lake...ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR! I just wish I would have packed my swim trunks...Ugggghhh!

Ultimately, the trip is worth doing, but manage your expectations. I never had a "WOW" moment. Oh! And, the lunch was nice!

My Photos

  • Taroko Gorge_33
  • Taroko Gorge_32
  • Taroko Gorge_9
  • Taroko Gorge_8
  • IMG_7823
  • IMG_7820
  • IMG_7814
  • IMG_7805
  • IMG_7737
  • IMG_7682
  • IMG_7670
  • IMG_7661
  • IMG_7585
  • IMG_7823
  • IMG_7820
  • IMG_7814
  • IMG_7805
  • IMG_7737
  • IMG_7682
  • IMG_7670
  • IMG_7661
  • IMG_7585

Jun292012

Tour/Activity

Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

I had a great time on this trip. Mt. Fuji is just SPECTACULAR, and the boat cruise on Lake Ashi was GREAT! If you're limited in time, like I was, and want to see a bit more of Japan than just Tokyo, then I HIGHLY recommend this tour!

My Photos

  • IMG_6226
  • IMG_6173
  • IMG_6117
  • IMG_6061
  • IMG_6059
  • IMG_6051

Jun262012

Tour/Activity

Big Island Manta Ray Night Kayak and Snorkel Adventure

Kona, Hawaii

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I had a BLAST, and I didn't even see any Manta Rays! The whole kayaking and snorkeling aspects of this trip were enough for me!

Jun252012

Tour/Activity

2-Hour Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Kona, Hawaii

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I'm SOOOOO glad I took this tour...ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL!

The Big Island is SOOO BIG and has something to offer EVERYONE! And, some of the island's most beautiful areas can only be experienced from above!

I only had 2-days to spend on the Big Island, so I decided to take this tour immediately upon arriving. I figured that based upon what I found interesting on the tour, I could determine where I'd like to spend the remainder of my time. This was a GREAT way to make the most of my time.

I'd HIGHLY recommend this tour...HIGHLY!

My Photos

  • IMG_5776
  • IMG_5770
  • IMG_5768
  • IMG_5703
  • IMG_5692
  • Helicopter Tour_04

Jun242012

Tour/Activity

Paradise Cove Luau

Waikiki, Oahu

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

I had a GREAT time at the Luau and would HIGHLY recommend the Paradise Cove Luau to ANYONE visiting Oahu! I've rated the luau with 4 stars as opposed to 5, because the food was just OK. However, EVERYTHING else about the luau was FANTASTIC!

My Photos

  • IMG_5618
  • IMG_5604
  • IMG_5579
  • Coast_01

Jun232012

Tour/Activity

USS Missouri, Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl Day Tour

Waikiki, Oahu

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

As a Veteran having served in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I found this tour TREMENDOUSLY moving! Prior to visiting the Arizona Memorial, you are treated to a documentary of the events that led to the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. I found this to be an EXCELLENT precursor to actually visiting the memorial, because it provided context.

The Missouri is just IMPRESSIVE! Walking on its deck and seeing the guns up close was just AWESOME!

I was a bit disappointed that the tour bus did not actually STOP at the Punchbowl Cemetary to allow us to walk about; however, I learned, later, that tour buses are not allowed to do this due to damage rendered to the memorial by excessive traffic.

My Photos

  • USS Missouri
  • IMG_5122
  • IMG_5086
  • IMG_5083
  • IMG_5080

Jun222012

Tour/Activity

Kauai Day Trip: Waimea Canyon, Wailua River from Oahu

Waikiki, Oahu

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review

Kauai is an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL island that deserves more than just a day; however, if you're like me and have limited time, a day trip can be just enough to wet the appetite.

Although I'm glad I took this tour, in retrospect, I feel that I could have gotten FAR MORE out of the trip had I done it on my own. A SIGNIFICANT part of the tour was spent picking people up and dropping them off at various hotels. Then, there was the time spent waiting at the airport for the flight to and from the island. While this tour affords people the opportunity to SEE a lot of the island, I'm convinced that Kauai needs to be EXPERIENCED and not just seen. I found myself frustrated at times with the amount of time spent on the bus. I just wanted to get out or put the window down...SOMETHING!

If you only have one day to visit this island, and you're comfortable with driving, then I would recommend doing this trip on your own. You can book your own roundtrip tickets, then rent a car in Kauai. In this way, you will have the freedom to see and do SO MUCH MORE!

My Photos

  • Wailua River_01
  • Valley
  • IMG_5032
  • IMG_4977
  • IMG_4942
  • IMG_4924
  • IMG_4923

Jun212012

Tour/Activity

Traditional Lei Greeting on Oahu

Oahu, Hawaii

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was THE PERFECT way to kick off my Hawaiian vacation! I was greeted in the airport with a smile, hug, and lei...just GREAT! ...and, somehow the lei (with fresh flowers) remained in PERFECT condition for the entire 4-days I was in Oahu!

My Photos

  • IMG_0340

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