Tag Archives: Angela Gonci

The World is Calling…. ANSWER!

18 Mar
So I asked each one of the girls to write a post  about why they love to travel, what they enjoy most about it,  why it’s important to them and why they think it’s important for all us.  Each  of them responded to my prompt a little differently and I think you will really enjoy reading each perspective. Angela’s is first in line  and you will find it below. If you like what you’ve read or it speaks to you – please leave Angie a comment! We write this blog to not only chronicle our adventures for our own enjoyment  🙂 hahaha but to inspire and motivate each one of you to take care of yourselves, nurture your soul and to stay connected to the knowing that you deserve a vacation! – Eden
 
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There comes a time when you have to leave the nest and go out into the world. I’m not talking about when you’re 18 and have to get a job and start paying the bills, I’m talking about when you have to leave the comfort of  your home and visit the world we live in.

This moment arrived for me when I was in my early twenties. I was going to school in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and had just moved up from California.  Being a child and teenager in Southern California, I had never felt the need to travel, because I believed I already had everything I needed where I was. However, when I moved to Oregon I got the chance to visit Eden in Hawaii. Used to the desert scenery, I was shocked to see the tropical and lush beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Since then, I was determined that there were other beauties in this world that I had to see as well.

Traveling is very important in my life because it allows me to understand the origins of other cultures. Living in America, a country that is wonderful because of its diversity, I am constantly exposed to people who celebrate and live differently than I do.  I love to explore the traditions and practices of other places and people when I travel, because it allows me to appreciate and understand the people I live with in my own community.

This winter I visited Anguilla. It was the first time I had been to the Caribbean, and I was looking forward to seeing some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Though the sand and ocean were breathtaking, and the sun was a glorious change to my home weather, I can’t say the beaches were my favorite part of the trip (even though I ended up in Anguilla simply by googling ‘most beautiful beaches in the world’ and that is where I was lead).  When I remember my stay in Anguilla, I remember the kind and hospitable people who made our stay feel welcome and sincere. I would go back again because I enjoyed the company of the native people and their lives.

Whether you travel on a plane to the other side of the world, or get in your car and drive to the other side of your city, you will see the differences in the way people live, and get to experience things you never knew existed. No matter what your destination is, the journey traveling takes you on will make you a more knowledgeable and embracing person.

Love,

Angela

PS> Go somewhere – you deserve it.

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Bad Boys, Bad Boys – Whatcha’ Gonna Do? – Angela and I are coming for you!

13 Oct

Now I know you have been waiting for it so without any further delays – The 3am Undercover Sting Operation. This is going to read like an episode of cops and that is exactly what it was like. It’s also long- no  real long – so be prepared. You might as well go grab a snack and a drink. It would also be appropriate to play the song “Bad Boys” on your computer while reading this. Just click play on the youtube video and then scroll down…  🙂

To quickly recap for readers who haven’t followed all of our blog antics over the last few months – (you can always visit our archives if you want to take a look-see) Angela and I went on a live blogging road trip in July. We started in California- drove through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado before turning back and making a 5 day pit stop in Vegas.  Vegas provided its usual heat and entertaining environment. Gorgeous people by the Hard Rock pool, great food, music etc; Overall it was a very good time – minus one serious hang over. Ugh. On our third night in Vegas someone stole my brand spanking new iphone 4.  Below is the tale of how we got it back and send one convict back to the slammer. Really – not kidding. Don’t mess with us…that’s all I’m sayin’.

So at about 1:30am Angela and I left Vanity Nightclub located inside the Hard Rock and headed toward the valet with the intention of heading to another hotel. 1:30 in Vegas is still quite early and we weren’t quite ready to call it a night. We had also spent most of the day doing a whole lot of nothing besides lying around – so we had some energy to burn through. I was wearing skin-tight white jeans. You know the kind that are so tight you can barely fit anything in your pocket? We handed the valet our ticket and sat down on a planter box ledge to wait for the car. Well those damn pants were so tight I couldn’t sit with my phone in my pocket and neither of us were carrying a purse to put it in so I set it down right besides me. I mean right besides, like nearly touching my leg. I am in love with my iPhone….it’s always near by.  We started chitty chatting with one of the valets and next thing you know- car is there. We hop in, buckle up and pull out. I did feel like something was missing but when I looked over at where I had been sitting, the phone wasn’t there and I assumed I had dropped it into my purse when I grabbed it out of my trunk right before we’d gotten into the car. I dismissed the gut feeling. Big no no in hindsight.

See that teeny tiny pocket. It’s all the pants fault.

We pull into the Venetian and as we are sitting in the car waiting for the valet to come over I ask Angie to call my phone. I can’t find it in my purse and I’ve now assumed it has fallen out of the pocket of those way to tight jeans and nestled itself into a crack between the seat or something. I need to stop assuming things clearly. She dials and we hear no ringing in the car. Next thing you know a man answers the phone. (from this point on we will refer to said man as “The Robber”. )Angie says hello and tells him that he has our phone. The Robber says and I quote “I ain’t got no idea what you talkin’ bout’ I just bought me this phone in front of the Hard Rock for two hundred dolla’s, now if you want it I willing to sell it to you for $300. ” Angie tells the guy. This has got to be a joke. Where the hell are you – she demands to know and then says that it’s to bad that he ‘paid’ for it and that it  is our phone and that we are coming to get it and he is going to give it back. It is at this point that I intervene and grab her cell out of her hand. I’m thinking that her tactics and line of questioning isn’t going to get to far with a robber speaking ebonics. I pretend to cry and babble some crap about needing it for work and being devastated and then I tell him I will pay him whatever amount he wants. Pick a meeting spot, I will go to the ATM and then meet him with the dough. He says ” I already in sum trouble wit da’ law..don’t you go playin’ wit me. You best not be messin’ wit me. I’ll sell you your phone back lady, but don’t screw wit me- I just want my money back that I paid for it”  I assure him – I am not screwing with him. I’ll pay him and get the phone and we will both go our own merry ways. Now for a second it did cross my mind to just pay him. Then I thought- oh hell no. He is not getting away with this crap and I am not giving him a penny. I knew he hadn’t paid for the phone and that clearly he had stolen it. We had just left the Hard Rock 5 minutes ago. There is no way someone else could have stolen it and found a buyer in 5 minutes.

 Oh s*!t. What the hell are we going to do? My plan was to just drive to where he was- I would insist on a well-lit public meeting area – use my persuasive powers, long lashes and tears to get it back and then head home. That was not a good plan and this is why it is always advisable to have another member on your team to run your plan by. Angie yelled at me – Are you freaking crazy? He could have a gun – he could try to grab us.  Meanwhile the valet had now gotten in on the planning and is standing over us repeating “you need to call the cops…you need to call the cops”  The Robber has given me a short window of time to meet him. We are panicking and feeling the pressure of the tiny time window. We need a better plan than my earlier one.  

We pull out of the Venetian panicked with our adrenaline running. We have decided to call the cops, Angie insisted 600 times and if necessary try to buy more time with the robber with some crappy excuse about the ATM or needing to get our card out of our hotel room. Whatever is necessary. I didn’t take all those acting classes for all those years for nothing. First thing we do is call the Las Vegas Police Department. The lady who answers the phone sounds like a broken record from New Jersey- uh huh- yah- uh huh- yah- so what your telling me is that someone stole your phone…uh huh- yah -uh huh- yah.. I finally say – look lady. We are going to meet this criminal and perhaps his gang of merry bandits -we are tiny little caucasian females that are pretty cute, going some scary dark place at 2:30 in the morning in Sin City to meet a robber and if an officer isn’t sent quickly to meet us … well then if anything happens to us-  its on your conscience and you should take this more seriously. Also we are in a hurry because the Robber who seems to be running the show is paranoid and has only given us a tiny window of time before he bails out- with my brand new phone. Well alrighty then- her tone did most certainly change instantly – she asked for our exact location and told us  pull over and wait for just  few minutes. I again stressed that we did not have much time.. meanwhile the Robber kept calling me on the other line of Angies phone “where you at? where you at? you best not be playin’ me – don’t you be callin’ the cops, if i see a cop im runnin and u never gonna get this phone back- no cops-im putting the phone in a brown bag – i give you the bag – you give me the money” and my friends have also all started calling Angies phone. He is going through my phone book calling people. It just keeps getting better and better.

So we follow instruction and  are waiting in the parking lot of a hotel right down the street from the Hard Rock – the Las Vegas PD didn’t waste anytime and were there in seconds it seemed. We de-briefed em’ then we came up with a plan. They are going to follow us into the parking lot of CVS- keeping some distance and lurking behind, then as the guy walks up to meet me they are going to speed up- jump out- and get em’. Oh my gosh- we cannot believe this is happening. This is a true story people. It was straight out of a movie. Now I must add- by this point in our blogging history most of you know Angela’s personality well and know that she is high anxiety and worries quite a bit. It’s fair to say that this was a high stress situation and she was in fine worry form. But she was also in it to win it – and went right along with the plan. Undercover sting operations involving you and your BFF don’t happen everyday.

By the way – THANK GOD WE WERE 100% SOBER…. this is another reason to never drink and drive. You could need the police to help you with something…you never know when you are going to get robbed and have to track down the villian and have your own undercover sting operation. I’m just sayin’…..

This whole cop rendezvous only takes 2 minutes- they understand that the Robber is impatient and will jump ship if he suspects anything – and taking way to long would be a red flag. Speaking of the Robber – he calls again. “Where you at? What’s taking so long?” I begin reassuring him again – gee this is a needy paranoid criminal. I also tried to get some info out of him regarding what he looked like or what he was wearing so I could give it to the cops now following us. All he would say is – “I’m black- you don’t need nothin’ more – don’t worry bou’t what I’m wearing. I’ll see your car and come to you.” I guess he was also a teeny tiny bit smart. Or should I say he’d probably done this before.

Now please keep in mind we were partly doing this for you our loyal reader. Not for the story factor but the phone was full of pics from our road trip and we needed them for the blog. What’s a blog without pics? Speaking of which – we only have two pics of the Robber and you will find them below….

We see the CVS parking lot. Our blood is pumping. I think Angie may of actually started to do a little hyperventilating. Cop car is trailing 3 cars back. Nerves nerves nerves. We got this – we can do it. We are getting that brand new – way to expensive- you have to wait forever to get one iPhone 4 back.   I make the right into the parking lot and Angie and I start scanning for a criminal. I have him on the phone and am making sure he sees us pull in. Oh yes…. Angie was  also very concerned he would try to carjack my brand new BMW. The Robber says ” I see you..I see you..ok head toward CVS- Ok keep going straight – OH SHIT- Dam you- you have the cops with you – I see them right behind you.  Lady I told you no cops- no cops! Dammit! ” Did I mention that everytime I talked to him I could also hear him chewing gum like he had been up on speed for 3 days. Now I hear- wind- running- breathing- and gum chewing. Crap Crap Crap! Our plan was unraveling right before my eyes. Next thing you know the coppers go speeding past me- whip around a corner, the police car fishtales and then comes to a screeching halt.  Then they  jump out of their car and start running. Next thing you know- they’ve got the suspect on the ground- hands pinned behind his back – and as he lifts up his head I can see that he is chewing his gum like a madman. BINGO Bitches! Oh we got him. The plan worked..the plan worked! Praise sweet  little baby Jesus for the plan and the cops.

Now the bad news. He didn’t have my phone on him. But those cops are sneaky. They told him some story about having him on tape stealing the phone from the Hard Rock so he might as well confess. Meanwhile – as one cop detained him- one started looking for the phone. We figured it couldn’t be far. Fortunately the ringer is very very loud. I started calling it over and over and 15 minutes later the cop walks out of CVS waving it in the air. The Robber had run into CVS and thrown it into a bin of candy. Also CVS had him on film. Booyah!! There wasn’t a scratch on it. The officers did get a full confession out of him and then found out he was out of prison on parole no less. Yah- too bad for the Robber. It was not his lucky day. He was headed right back for the slammer. Do the crime..do the time. He should have known better. His parole officer said he had just gotten out of prison for stealing as well.

So how did he get the phone in the first place you might be wondering??? Apparently as I was sitting on the planter ledge waiting for my car and  talking to the valet, the Robber had slyly walked past-and picked it up right under my nose. He must have been very good at his thieving because we did not even remember catching a glimpse of him. You would think we would have remembered a 6’3 250 pound black man, with a jerry curl, wearing a bright green track suit top and big gold chains standing next to us. But nope we hadn’t even noticed him. The valet guy that we were talking to was very very cute however.  The funniest thing about it all – and the reason why ultimately I believe we got the phone back- was that we got stuck in the valet area for at least a few extra minutes after the car came looking for and trying to get change for a $100 bill to tip the valet – not the cute one- but the one who had hustled in the 95′ heat to get our car. We really wanted to tip him and the extra time we spent trying to get change gave the Robber a nice long head start on his get away. Had I noticed the phone right away I would of screamed or something and Hard Rock security that was out front would have been on it instantly. So while we were trying diligently to reward someone for a job well done- we were being robbed and our perpetrator was getting away. Funny how karma works.

By the time all the paperwork was done it was 4:00am. We had promised to keep the Venetian valet informed as to what happened…he was very concerned about our well-being. So after a quick stop at an AM/PM for a giant water bottle and some tortilla chips- we drove back to the Venetian- showed him our recovered phone- it was like a trophy and then headed back to the hotel exhausted with our faith in the Nevada Police Department riding high and talking about how we were a real live ‘Cops’ episode.  We would like to again sincerely thank the Las Vegas Police Department for all of their help and the expedited, speedy manner in which they responded to our plea for help.

As a result of this experience  I have now joined Apples MobileMe service – which allows me to remotely lock, disable and wipe all the data from my iPhone and trace my phone through it’s GPS system from any laptop or wireless device  anywhere in the world. I can also send text messages after I’ve locked the phone telling any other Robbers that Angie and I are coming to get em’.  🙂

Hope the story was worth the wait- I have a feeling it’s one Angie and I will both be  telling our grandkids!

X!

Eden and Angela

Victoria – The Blue Bonnet

9 Jul

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting Victoria yet or who have not heard of it – Victoria  is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is the capital  of British Columbia, Canada. The island is about 60 miles from BC’s largest city Vancouver which is located on the mainland. Victoria is close to the US, 62 miles from Seattle by airplane or ferry and 25 miles from Port Angeles, Washington by ferry. Port Angeles has gained quite a bit of notoriety since being featured in the Twilight Series of films and I assure you –  it’s just as quaint, picturesque and damp in real life as is portrayed in the films.  But wait..that’s another blog in itself – this one is focused on Victoria. So with that in mind..

        

           

                         The Coho          

We began our journey from Port Angeles, Washington, on the Coho. We took the Coho, a larger but slower ferry, because it was the only ship running in the evening.  Generally, we would have taken the Victoria Express because it is only 60 min. to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca rather than the 90 minutes it was going to take us on the Coho. The water was vicious, and the boat was rocked in the thrashing waters. Back and forth and back and forth. I immediately felt dizzy and nauseous and had to lie down to keep from getting sick.  Note to self and to all you readers – take Dramamine or at least bring a couple of chewables along for the ride. For the next 90 minutes  I had to talk myself out of vomiting. I’m still not sure how I did it. Perhaps it was all the internal chatter I had going on about why the heck we had bought our return ticket back to Port  Angeles on the Coho as well..  Next time I go to Victoria I will be sure to take the Victoria Express. 

       

    This is where I laid while trying to not vomit.                       

 

  Sunset was gorgeous even though I was nauseous.

When we reached land (thank God) our beautiful dog friendly hotel was waiting. The Fairmont Empress Hotel looks strikingly similar to a castle when lit up at night. When we checked in the concierge was kind enough to walk us to our room, which happened to be a smoking room. Yuck. We are not smokers and did not reserve a smoking room, but unfortunately they had many guests staying that same weekend. They told us they would try and see what they could do about finding us another room to stay in. It turned out that they were all out of the rooms that we had booked, but were kind enough to offer a complimentary upgrade suite. When we were brought to the Bob Hope Suite, I couldn’t have been more impressed with the lavish décor. The marble in the bathroom, the walk in closet, and the gold trim made the place feel fit for a king.

    

            The Fairmont Empress lit up at night              

 

                            and au natural by day…

       

              Toby and I on our way to our suite.        

 

                Our absolutely decadent bathroom.

We started our first morning off with a royal breakfast that consisted of yogurt and fresh fruit served in goblets and then we were off to the Butchart Gardens. There we found acres upon acres of greenery and flowers in colors I’d never thought possible. You could spend hours there simply lost in the extravagant natural beauty.  My favorite section was the Japanese Garden because of the immense detail found in the stonework and floral arrangements. There were convenient benches throughout every part of the garden (like the one pictured below) where I just sat and ravished the beauty.

                  

 

                       

After spending the day in the garden we enjoyed dinner at Pagliacci’s, an Italian restaurant recommended to us by several locals. After waiting in a 30-minute line that stretched out the door and down the block, we were seated and served by a gorgeous woman with deep olive skin and curly dark locks. The food as well as the service was so superb, it was undeniably worth the wait. With our tummies full and a feeling of complete satisfaction we headed back to the Empress excited to spend the night in our ‘royal’ suite.

                

I awoke after a fantastic nights rest in my sumptuous bed rested and hungry. I was greeted again with another stately breakfast and was looking forward to a visit to the Royal British Columbia Museum that I had planned for us. The museum was within walking distance from the hotel, so we were able to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful day on the way there. At the time we visited the museum, The Titanic Exhibit was on display.  As we walked into the exhibit we were handed a card  with the name of an original Titanic  passenger printed on it and told which class we belonged to.  While venturing through the remake of the notorious ship I was taken by the splendor and beauty of everything that I saw. There were over 400 artifacts and each one had an individual story associated with it.  At the end we were told whether our person survived the accident or whether they had died.  Yes… sadly we had all been cast into the shivering cold 28 degree water and drowned.

After our adventure on the Titanic we headed back to the Empress Hotel for an indulgent high tea. The hostess informed us that the Empress has honored the beloved British ritual since 1908 as she was escorting us to our formally set table topped with Royal Doulton china and polished silver.  Talk about being treated like royalty! At the very top of the hotel there were parties of people dressed in their best clothes sitting around tables draped with the finest white linen. All of the pastries and finger foods were perfect in shape, each a work of art, and the tea was marvelous. Although, I believe the best part was getting dressed up and being treated like a queen.

Our last night in Victoria was spent on an evening stroll through the Wharf, where vendors were selling their unique souvenirs. There were people of every kind using spray paint and making beautiful turquoise jewelry. Everyone gathered together to share native culture through crafts and designs made by human hands; I will never forget the collaboration of people I witnessed that night.

    

                       Shopping at the Wharf.                       

               The sunset from our royal suite.                   

The next morning was a distressing one. Besides the fact that we had to leave beautiful Victoria I still had the nauseating ferry ride to deal with. We enjoyed our last royal breakfast served on gold trimmed plates before making our way back to the Coho. Knowing all along that in 90 minutes we would be in America again and no longer considered royalty. I sure miss Victoria!

Angela

      Toby and me heading home on the Coho.

Venice Venice Venice!

23 Jun
Venice was absolutely my favorite destination on our recent European tour. From the most handsome of men to the most delectable cuisine, I could have stayed there forever. As seen in the picture below, I arrived in the glorious city of Venice by water taxi, closely followed by an equally glorious civilian. Though the taxi wasn’t crowded, the gentleman behind me found the need to stand close by, not that I minded. 
 
Our accommodations consisted of a primordial apartment building that flowed seamlessly into the timeless Italian scenery. As I was helped off the water taxi, a local woman by the name of Vivian walked us to our temporary residence. Vivian was dressed in a stylish black outfit paired with Italian leather heels. The sunglasses she bore never left her face. She walked with quick sure steps, and we had to hurry to keep up as she led the way. We waked three flights of stairs to our apartment room. When she opened the door the comfortable furnishings and exclusive woodwork pleasantly surprised me. 

 

By the end of the short journey I was famished and exhausted. After the day out, we decided to stay in and cook. We made grilled cheese sandwiches with olive oil because butter was not an option. They ended up being the best-grilled cheese sandwichs we ever had. 

 

The following morning we stopped by a local café and shared chocolate croissants and Italian cappuccinos. Afterwards we shopped and explored the local scenery. Taking cobblestone paths and skinny walkways we ventured through Venice. Along the way we stopped at a Furla store and picked up some beautiful Italian bags. I would recommend that store to anyone, the prices are much more conservative in Italy than in a Saks in the U.S. 

 

Later on we visited St. Marks Square where dozens of pigeons crowded the gathering place. Though I am an animal lover, this many birds made me feel claustrophobic. I had to escape and come back later when it was dark and less congested. When we returned the city had transformed into an elegant masterpiece. The tables that lined the small restaurants and cafes were strewn with white lights and candles. Venders were on every corner selling authentic Italian handicrafts. I was overwhelmed with the unique culture and livelihood that overflowed during the balmy night. 

 

Disregarding the idea of eating at one of the more famous restaurants in St. Marks Square, we found a quaint tourist free bistro. The fed us pasta and delicious wine, which I watered down as I noticed the locals did. The pasta noodles were perfectly al dente, and the live entertainment was marvelous. An Italian man, who attempted to sing the very American song, Spider Man, serenaded us. 

 

Later that night, being our last night in Venice, we enjoyed a gondola ride. We were serenaded yet again by our guide Alessio, who sang us an operetta Italian love song. As we glided through the dimly lit canals I was able to relax and relish the sultry pastel colors of Italy. 

 

The next morning we indulged in chocolate croissants and cappuccinos for a second time. We walked to Doge’s Palace where the famous Casanova was kept. We visited the Palace on a private tour where we were able to see where Casanova slept. There is a photo of me below looking at the Bridge of Sighs, which got its name from the idea that once a prisoner crosses that bridge it is most likely the last time they will see freedom or the Mediterranean. I thought my expression in the photo is quite befitting for the bridge and what it represents…I could not justify a smile.  

 

After exploring Doge’s Palace we were off to Florence. The part of Venice I miss the most is walking through the streets during all times of day without having to breathe it car exhaust, for there are no cars in Venice!

Venezia Venezia Venezia … Come ho tempo per tornare a te! 

Angela