Next Stop: Hong Kong – quick check in: MTR to South Horizons

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Just a quick intro on our first few hours in Hong Kong.
While manly Novembers have been spend in Thailand, so many so that Thanksgiving is now THAISgiving, Gracie and I decided to meet up in Hong Kong this November. I was pretty tired after the initial leg of the trip BUT that didn’t stop us from exploring at least a little bit off the beaten path.
Fear not, for sure you will see videos from us at Victoria Peak and many of the other “tourist attractions” – which are indeed quite entertaining.
For this video, we get on the MTR near our AirBnB at the Jordan station on the Tsuen Wan (red) Line and take that toward Central. Transferring at Admiralty to the South Island Line (lime green) and head all the way to the end of that line to the South Horizons stop. This is one of the many, Many, multiple 60+ story building communities that is part of a very well planned and executed community by the MTR corporation.

Here’s a cool map of the MTR lines (as of July 2019):

What really surprised me about the MTR corporation was they are WAAY MORE than just a subway system. As subways go, they are easily in the top 5 in the whole world. As of this writing they have a 99.5% on-time rate. That is UNHEARD of in the US’s largest and most well-known subway/public-transit systems (e.g. New York Subway system, Boston’s MBTA system, etc…) The MTR owns real estate, malls, huge condo/apartment buildings, roads, schools, and additional retail. I’m VERY impressed with the leadership, vision and follow through of the MTR corporation. Its not something you really pay attention to going from place to place but doing a little bit of “non-tourist” digging, I soon realized that THIS organization Really had their act together.
I dare say it is what Makes so many people’s daily lives in Hong Kong so well architected.
Thank You MTR!!!

And Thank You for joining us on our journey.
Hope to bring you more perspectives and adventures and we Live the Dream! …cuz if you’re not Livin’ the Dream – you’re doing it wrong!

~mikes & Gracie

Bermuda morning wrap-up: Flying home.

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Every time, I’ve come to Bermuda, be it solo or with Gracie, I always say to myself, “I (we) need to come back here again… its SO easy!!!” Just a 2 hour flight on either JetBlue or Delta from Boston and BLAM: Paradise!!! Such a great and Easy long weekend!!!

Thanks for watching – stay tuned for more fun and travels.
Live the Dream!
~mikes & Gracie

Bermuda, Day 2. Road trip to beaches.

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Our second day in Beautiful Bermuda and we take the motorbike over the bridge in St. David’s to what most people would probably refer to as the “main island” of Bermuda. Which technically I suppose it is. For sure its the largest. For those who have been, you’ll recognize some of the places and parks we stop along the way along South Road. Our goal for today is to head down to, arguably, the busiest, most “tourist” of all the beaches: HorseShoe Bay. The nice thing is there is always a way to get away from the tourist areas and we were able to have our own slice of heaven as we always do.
It’s a blessing to be able to travel like we do and with Bermuda a short flight away it’s a great place for a 3-4 day “vacation”… from our main vacation! 🙂

Living the Dream…..!
Thanks for watching.

Bermuda. Day 1: arrival and $16 grapes!

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This video is of our first days in Bermuda.
If you don’t know, I am a US citizen, Gracie is a Filipino citizen. So, while my US passport can essentially get me into any country on the planet I would ever want to go to, the same is not true for Gracie’s. For sure her passport gets her into any and all of the countries that we want to go to in South East Asia (e.g. Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia, Taiwan, China (mainland), etc…) with about the same level of ease that my US passport does. So, when we want to go to Thailand, we show up at the airport and present our valid passports at Immigration and about 15-30 seconds later we get a stamp in our passport allowing us to stay for 30 days with no additional paperwork. This is “Visa Exempt”.

But for Gracie to come to the US, she had to go through the process of essentially proving to the US Immigration department that she would *leave* the US and return to her home country. A fair requirement actually. Considering the overall “wealth” of the US vs. the Philippines AND the extensive social programs that are available to US citizens, it’s not a crazy assumption to think that someone from another country might come here and say, “HEY! I like it here, I’m staying!”… without the proper permission. Indeed you have heard of the whole illegal immigration thing into the US.
Well, my wonderful Gracie, is 100% legal to be in the US and has all the proper VIsa(s) to stay, as a tourist, for up to six months at a time, over the next 10 years.
Each time she enters the US she gets a stamp allowing her to stay 6 months. One to the cool things about Bermuda only being a 2 hour flight from Boston is that since we love islands and were going to go there anyway, by “leaving” the US (i.e. entering Bermuda) and then re-entering the US when we leave Bermuda, she gets 6 months from the time of her entry or, for this trip, 6 months from July.
Good stuff! Allows for a lot more exploring of the US for both of us!

Something that we LOVE to do is go to Islands. Small Islands, Medium-sized Islands, Big Islands… but not too big. The “island living” lifestyle or attitude fits me perfectly. I first “felt” that during my first trip to the Florida Keys in December 1987. and, Truly, that experience changed my life. Until that time, I logically knew that there was warmer weather for a longer time of the year in Florida but being able to do what I could only do in July/August in, Massachusetts BUT do it on December 29th!!!??? and it was even warmer!!!??? Oh My Gawd – I was exposed to an opportunity that I have NEVER let go of: Going Somewhere Sunny, Warm and Humid! I Love it, Love it, Love it!!!

Camping Grape Island (pt. 6) Morning Walk. Back to Hingham

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I woke up a little before 5am – another reason I LOVE the summers in Hingham – the sun rises about 5am and doesn’t set until around 8pm. Talk about getting more than you deserve!!!

It was awesome to head over to Grape Island with Gracie. Even if for one night it brought back some great memories and we created some new ones. While it just wasn’t the same without having the trusty 13′ Whaler, it was a lot lower maintenance this time not having to worry about the tides or the gas cans or if someone would take a liking to my boat and decide they would “borrow it”. Ha!
Note: I never had y boat molested or stolen in all the summers of Awesome that I got to experience. and let’s face it… Its UNSINKABLE! :–) Thank you Boston Whaler for making my summers so spectacular!

Grape Island – (pt.5) Summer in Hingham, MA

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More Grape Island. As you might guess, the song “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” came to mind as I was walking about the dock. For some reason I can spend hours hanging out pretty much anywhere that is near “the ocean”. Its calming to me while at the same time it gives me energy. Positive energy. I know, sounds a bit hokey, right? Well, to be fair, it has to be warm out for me to enjoy it!
I can also spend hours on docks. I have always liked ones like this one on Grape or any of the other Boston Harbor Islands but this one has a special place in brain. As if I could just sit on this dock and everything would be “ok”… if for some reason it wasn’t.
I also like docks at marinas. Sitting on those docks and listening to the sound of the stays bang against the aluminum masts of the sailboats as the waves’ energy transfers from the water to the hull. Its a great sound. One that I actually have paid money for on a CD so that I could play that sound at night with the idea that I would fall asleep to it… Mission Accomplished! 🙂

So, hope you like the little walk about Grape this afternoon.
Hope you’re Living the Dream!