I’d like to show you some of the behind the scenes adventures my family and I had in 2015.  It’s not all sunsets and sangria with kids in tow.  You do occasionally have to think about what you are exposing your kids to.  Unfortunately, I am still learning the ropes on that one.

Missed Cultural Connections from our family travels in 2015

Onto my favourite 10 travel mishaps and missed cultural connections from 2015…

Mishaps & Missed Cultural Connections

This photo looks idyllic doesn’t it? Ha. During the entire 15 minute camel ride, my son was complaining about how uncomfortable the camel saddle felt. That’s pretty much all any of us remember from the ride to see the Great Pyramids of Giza. My son is not one to keep his misery to himself.

Egyptian Great pyramid

Mr Grumpy can’t even manage a fake smile.

My children love the Diary of a Wimpy Kids book. It’s also a bit of a running joke in our family that my husband hates bananas. Some childhood trauma which he can’t remember but has scarred him for life. We found it really funny that in Portuguese ‘wimpy kid’ got translated to ‘banana’.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid translates in Portuguese to Diario de un Banana

If you are a kid, you will also remember that the Minions like to say Banana a lot.

See this innocuous little piece of candy? Pacoquita is a popular Brasilian sweet made of peanut butter. It’s like the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter (without the chocolate covering). It is SO good my children were practically having a fist fight over who has had more than their share of Pacoquita. I did the only reasonable and fair thing. I ate the rest of the Pacoquita myself.

pacoquita brasilian candy

Better than drugs for an export, I think.

I found this Internet Password Logbook in the Bargain Bins section of a Barnes and Nobles in the Washington D.C. area. Isn’t this a burglar’s dream? Along with the Bible Puzzles book, a guide to Pistols and the other gems I found, it’s hard to imagine how these books wound up in the clearance section.

Barnes and Nobles Clearance section

Even marked down, these books aren’t selling.

How could you not love so-hip-it-hurts Reyjkavik in Iceland?  The entire town is filled with touches of irony such as these biologically correct toilet signs.

reyjkavik bathroom.

Is there a need for such biological detail? discuss.

I focused on the positive cultural aspects of Key West when we were there.  Underneath the surface, however, that party atmosphere beats strong.  Check out this pool version of that old college favourite, beer pong.  I love the fact that many Key West restaurants have a pool in the middle of the restaurant.  My husband and I could hang out for a leisurely meal while the kids played in the pool (not beer pong!).

Beer Pong in Key west

Beer Pong is not just for spring break.

As much as I love London, I occasionally feel that it is becoming a playground for the rich, like a giant version of South Beach.

Occasionally you come across people who have too much money and not enough sense. Such as, for example, this person who has a reflective gold-plated Bentley.

Bentley in London

Gold Bentley car in Marylebone

Unlike the Akihabara experience to which I have previously confessed, I haven’t talked about my second parenting fail in Japan.

We went to Joyopolis which is an indoor amusement park in Tokyo. Although the kids were having fun, we could not go on about half the rides because of height restrictions.

One ride for which we were eligible was the Haunted Doll House. The kids were game until we got inside the ride. We were barely seated at a table in a dark room when my daughter starts hysterically screaming. She’s begging me to ask them to stop the ride.

Hello? I can’t speak Japanese.

She has since been traumatised by the thought of creepy dolls. When we returned home, she still sleeps in her brother’s bunk bed because she can’t face the dolls in her own room at night.  Needless to say, she did not accompany me on my Haunted Key West Tour to visit Robert the Doll, America’s most haunted toy.

Joyopolis Toky and the doll house of horror

Even the blood spots look like grape juice! How scary could it be?

At the Shangri La in Muscat, our family hung out at the outside hotel restaurant in the balmy evening air.  I’m not a fan of smoking shisha but our friends who joined us liked smoking.  We were jet lagged but happy having arrived on a Thursday night.  The court yard was a happening spot because the Arab weekend is Friday and Saturday.

shisha pipe at the Shangri la Muscat

Shisha pipe in the moonlight.

I noticed lots of gorgeous women flitting about the courtyard. I found out later that the hotel bar (which overflowed into the outside hotel restaurant) was one of the places where wealthy men could meet Moroccan and Asian ‘takeaway’.  Apparently, the respectable women would have been covered in burqas.  On the plus side, my children were completely oblivious.  Phew.

Finally, another tale of jet lag.  We arrived in Reyjkavik last summer just in time for the Fourth of July.  Right near our hotel was American Bar who were celebrating the holiday.  They served good burgers and had a band playing.  We settled into the restaurant area and got to eating and observing the atmosphere.  I found out later though that parts of the restaurant had inappropriate language and images that my children thought were really funny.  Oops.

slogans written on the wall in The American Bar

I keep forgetting my children know how to read.



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