Phoenix AZ: Enjoy The Desert City’s Arts Free On First Fridays

Each month, mix with and enjoy members of the Phoenix art community while experiencing some of the city’s best galleries, art sales and events along the Roosevelt Row Arts District. There are also guided art walks, food specialties along the street, as well as music and performers. Hop on and off the free shuttle to take in all the festivities. artlinkphx.org/first-fridays

Cruise prices are great, but expect add-ons PDF Print E-mail

Cruise ship with dollar sign

We just returned from an excellent cruise out of San Diego down the Mexican Baja coast to Cabo San Lucas and return. We had a comfy balcony cabin, great food, fun games and Vegas-style entertainment, for about $600 each for the five night trip. All were included in the price. Ya can't beat such a deal!

No real complaints, but if there’s a downside to such bargains, it’s because the cruise extras can be extra expensive. If you’re planning a sailing soon, enjoy the heck out of it, but here are tips for avoiding possible rip-offs:

1. Drinks: You get coffee, tea, juices and lemonade free, but soft drinks and booze are extra expensive. We paid $5 for Cokes and up to $10 for beer and mixed drinks.

2. On our cruise, there were buffet meals, hot dog/burger/pizza stands and the main dining room for sit-down meals, all included. However, if you choose to go to exclusive special dining rooms, an extra fee of $25 per meal is added.

Six smart checks to make before you travel PDF Print E-mail

Einstein at blackboard

1. Especially in winter, keep an hour-by-hour phone check with the cruise ship, tour bus and/or airline to get latest possible delays or cancellations due to weather.

2. Before you leave home, keep getting current info with your travel or insurance agent for understanding your coverage on various possibilities. This could include illness that prevents you from meeting travel schedules, insurance coverage if there’s cancellation by the airline/cruise line because of weather. Also be aware of carrier liability insurance against loss or damage of your checked luggage.

3. If you have ongoing medical conditions that require you to carry prescription drugs, always have a letter from your physician with you detailing medical conditions and specific prescriptions in effect. If your trip is more than a day or two, carry copies of prescriptions in case you need refills along your trip.

Destination China: See Giant Panda at home PDF Print E-mail

Giant Panda

Natural Giant Panda habitats are in only a few areas of China today, and one is in the central mountain areas, primarily in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu. In order to preserve the highly-endangered animal, the Chinese government maintains a protected station, which includes a Giant Panda breeding facility and visitor center in the Bifeng Valley in Sichuan.

They're located in picturesque areas some 900 miles from Beijing. There are frequent flights, bus and train excursions from the nation's capital and other Chinese cities to the Bifeng Valley. There are also convenient hotels near the Giant Panda facility, including the Hongzhu, Beite Xingyue Binguan (Moonstar) and even a familiar-sounding Super 8 motel, called the Yibin Lu Neng.

Mamounia Hotel reopens in Marrakech Morrocco PDF Print E-mail

After a long restoration and makeover, one of the greatest hotels in the world has reopened.  We have been to Marrakech and spent time there, it's truly a life changing experience.   Here's a great article on the new changes from AP.

They're still out there serving for you PDF Print E-mail

Soldiers with flag

Don’t forget the young men and women who are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you’re a family member or school pal, a friendly note is always welcome, along with a thoughtful gift from those of us who appreciate their service to our country.


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