Friday, February 26, 2010


YAH Tommy Ford International Heart Throb Olympic Sensation!

Just rolled into Bend from our trip north to the Olympics. Ville and I met Sarah and Jordan in Portland and drove up to Seattle to check out the city and stay a night with some great family friends who spoiled us rotten (thanks again Danny and Mary!) and walked to Pike Street Market (watched the guys throw fish around) and to the Space Needle. We all agreed that Seattle is a pretty cool city.

The next day we hit the road up to Vancouver and were able to find parking to walk around the city and see the torch. The feeling and atmosphere just being there was electric. For it being the Olympics, we were shocked at the almost non-existent traffic and smooth travel over the boarder. The immigration woman in Canada even welcomed Ville to Canada! (Not quite the same as the hour and a half to 2 hour full-cavity search welcoming he gets EVERY time he comes into the U.S.) Drove up past Vancouver and stayed the night in a sweet (nicer than all our places) one-bedroom apartment we rented in Squamish.

This was a perfect location to roll out of bed and get on a free bus to Creekside Village in Whistler were the Men's Giant Slalom was on Tues. Jordan and Sarah had seated tickets in the stands and Ville and I standing tickets near the run. Ville and I stood up against the partition and had a great view of the skiers and the big t.v. viewing the entire run of the skiers. As the first of the 2 Finnish skiers came down, I waved a Finland scarf and and Ville cheered. All of a sudden we were up on the big screen and Ville began yelling "aiti" (mom) into the camera. Not 3 seconds later Ville's phone started going off and texts and calls came in about us being on t.v. in Finland and Norway! Now we are famous! (e-mail us for an autograph). Ville found out later we were on EuroSport (much like ESPN shown all over Europe)

As Tommy Ford (Jordan's best bud from Bend) came screaming down the run we were screaming our lungs out. And he did awesome! And then the camera zoomed in on Jordan standing and yelling in the stands and he was up on the big screen! With his sweet t-shirt and everything. (long story, but they had these t-shirts made for Tommy's 18th birthday to embarrass him and we had more made to wear to his Olympic debut)

Both times Tommy finished his runs were were able to see him at the bottom (he was "thrilled" to see we were all wearing the matching shirts). Heading up there we were told not to expect to see Tommy other than his run, so spending time with him and his family was more than we could ask for. A moment we will all never forget. So stoked for you Tommy, way to be a stud.

Unfortunately, we were extremely disappointed to hear that NBC sucks and never even aired Tommy's run. There was 4 American skiers and his was not aired. SO, I have attached 2 articles where you can read about Tommy and his runs aired on NBC's website. I highly recommend watching the Truth In Motion documentary done on the U.S. Ski Team, it's so awesome!! Look for Tommy Ford in the future of skiing, he is 20 now and only getting to be more of an "international heart throb"

Oregonian: (um, notice the Sarah and I misprint. Thank Sarah)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Olympics!

FINALLY!!!...HOME...for now...

Ville and I came up with this great idea to surprise my Dad for his 21st :) birthday and so booked a plane ticket from Utila before heading to Guatemala. After a thrilling 18 hours on buses and border crossing (NOT recommended, i had to peel my butt from the seat when we got there), we made it to Antigua, Guatemala. Highly recommend this city to the less adventurous traveler (meaning you don't have to sail all the way here there is actually a plane that flies here), it has beautiful cobble-stone streets, cathedrals, colorful buildings, tourist police everywhere (safety first), cheaper than cheap (we spent $2.50 a night for our room), and some of the nicest people we came across on our travels.

While in Antigua, we did a day hike up an active volcano and played in lava. Yes, real lava! We even have video to prove it. We bravely followed our teenage guide up into the molten hot rocks, so hot it melted both of our shoes like marshmallows, and threw our walking sticks into the lava slithering down the mountain. I was a firefighter for a while, and i am sure this stuff is hotter than fire. Only in Guatemala can you hike into lava without safety equipment led by a 10 year old kid. Sweet. Why I travel.

From Antigua we bused it to Flores, this nifty little town on an island in a lake. The weather was great and water perfect for swimming. A day trip to Tikal, was some incredible ruins pretty well preserved. We sat on the tallest ruin that was high above the canopy of the rain forest and listened to the howler monkeys, parrots, and all kinds of crazy animals while we ate lunch. From that vantage point it was rain forest as far as the eye could see and 2 of the other ruins sitting out above the forest in the distance. One minute it was pouring and the next the sweltering sun was out. We took some pictures of animals we have never seen nor have a clue to the name of. Met some great friends, played some jenga, had some beers, and back to the open road on yet another crappy bus heading for Belize.

Belize was nice. After being so spoiled on cheap countries, this was not the place to save a buck. We stayed for a few days to lay on the docks, listen to the Lyrical King play some "entertaining" reggae, chase some barracuda and soak in the sun. Splurged on a great street dinner of 2 lobster tails, fish, mashed potatoes, rice, garlic bread, 3 mixed drinks, and chocolate cake for desert for 12 bucks. That was the best deal there by far. Onto our last bus over the border and onto Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. This last bus ride was our least favorite. We got ditched from our bus because of a "big bus holiday" at the border into Mexico (Ville and I laughed at the guys because we knew we were getting ripped off and so did they, but what do you do?) From the border, we had to get a cab to the next bus and then got screwed yet again and had to stand for a couple hours as the bus bumped on down the road. Needless to say, we were over it and ready to be over the bus fun in Central America for a while. Playa was touristy as all hell, but a great place to eat some great spicy tacos and sit our butts on some white sand and people watch. It was great.

Our flight to Portland went well (went from hot Mexico to a layover in Denver with a blizzard) and Lisa (my stunning, sweet, SINGLE sister) picked us up from the airport and drove us to Bend. The surprise was awesome! Dad was shocked and, of course, my mom cried. I had told them I was coming home in a month and Ville couldn't make it, so they were really surprised. Now that it has been about 2 weeks, we are off yet again....

To the Olympics here we come! My brother's best friend Tommy Ford from Bend made it into the Men's Giant Slalom (will be this Tues. so ALL of you better be cheering) and for my brother's up and coming 21st birthday (March 7th, Dad and my brother will be the same age, weird) Ville and I are driving him and his girlfriend, Sara, up to cheer our buddy on. Portland today, Seattle tomorrow, and onto Vancouver and Whistler. If any of you know anyone or have a place in Vancouver, we are looking for just some floor space to throw a sleeping bag down in the evening. Anything will do!

So, watch for us on t.v., tues. night, and will hope to see you all soon in person when I get back to Bend next week. Hope all of you are swell!!

Hugs and smooches,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Utila, Honduras

Finally! A new post...

I left off in Panama City where Ville and I ended up staying for a while because it was a great city and we made some great friends that kept us. There was a great boardwalk along the bay and we were able to run every morning and night ( a treat with our crazy schedule.) The Panama Canal was amazing! The day we went we were able to watch a huge cruise ship go through the locks. We ate so much great food there and the running helped to keep me from rolling down the streets ( thank you Crepes and Waffles, the new greatest food place ever.) We did head down to Chitre and Las Tables for a couple days to hang out on some Pacific beaches and found them not quite as picturesque as the Caribbean, but beautiful. There are also quite a few Americans down there buying up property like hotcakes, apparently it is the new Costa Rica. Back to Panama City, last run to Crepes adn Waffles, and we booked flights to Honduras.

While checking into our flights, we realized there was a slight mistake and they had put us in first class. Yep, that´s right, with the high rollers. Before they could even change their minds, Ville and I were walking down the red carpet first onto our plane. It was awesome. We took about a million pictures to capture the moment as a bunch of onlookers wondered, ¨how the hell two bums could afford First Class?¨ Well, these 2 bums of course. Never having flown First Class, we ate a big dinner before getting on our plane and realized that on our two flights, we got fed twice! Yep. And Ville, as you all know, was not about to let an oppertunity to let free food in First Class slip by and ate both. And the deserts.

We stayed a night in San Pedro Sula and bused it up to La Ceiba where we were forced to stay a night due to bad weather and the ferry not running. The next morning we made it an hour ferry in giant swells, to Utila Island. Once on the ferry they handed out bags and, being the great sea faring pirates we are, declined. Of course, everyone else got sick and we were tramatized, but made it unscathed. A week was spent doing some amazing diving, swimming, snorkeling, sunning, and relaxing. I was able to complete my Advanced PADI Certification for Diving and Ville did a bunch of fun dives with me. Our favorites were the Night Dive and the Halliburton Shipwreck. It was really cool to swim through a sunken ship a hundred feet at the bottom of the ocean. There was even a giant green moray eel in the ship. We saw tons of sea life and Ville even found a bike to ride at the bottom of the ocean on the night dive.

This morning we caught the early ferry to miss the bus, but booked the bus and are now staying in La Ceiba and leaving early morning on the next bus to Antigua, Guatamela. We hear great things and are pretty excited. Will get some pics when I figure out how to download them and will keep the updates coming.

Bye for now!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

San Blas, Panama

Happy New Years all!!

So sorry for not writing earlier, Ville and I have been in the San Blas Islands, on a very remote island, with literally no internet or phone for miles. We sailed in on the Alliance a week ago. We sailed into some of the most beautiful islands i have ever seen. If you imagine paradise in Caribbean islands, this is the place. We dropped anchor near an island, dove off the boat, and snorkled in some of the best reefs I have seen yet in my life. A day there and then Ville and I decided to part from the boat because they are planning to stay here for months doing charters and we wanted time to relax and travel more. (The work on the boat was some serious work!)

We stayed about a week on a very remote island (and i mean an island about maybe 3 acres big) with a very small and sketchy landing strip and a great beach. I will update photos when I can. We stayed there through my birthday and New Years and it was great, a lot of relaxing laying on the beach, snorkeling, and eating rice, beans, and fresh fish. Oh yea, I ate a bunch of octopus, too. It was chewy. And we met a great family staying there who live in Panama city with their three kids. We all played some great card games and they were very helpful in helping us to communicate. Ville´s spanish is really coming along thanks to the sink-or-swim approach.

It was a bit rough finding a boat to get us off the island, but we managed somehow and made it to Carte where we cought a jeep that drove a bunch of us 3 hours through some beautiful rain forest. The ride was wild. I would have to say it gives some rides at Disneyland a run for their money :) Thank God the seat belts worked and the driver had some excellent Latin music to seranade the trip. Made it to Panama City in one piece yesterday and found a great deal at a hotel with a pool and air con. Ville and I are thrilled with the very cheap food prices and are planning to stay a few days longer. The great family we met in the islands, took us to a great lunch yesterday and even got me a waffel and ice cream with a candel to celebrate my birthday! So nice of them. They gave us a great tour of the city yesterday and are picking us up this afternoon to take us to the Panama Canal locks and out to dinner. I really hope they come to Oreogn or Finland so we can return the favor! The great people we have met traveling remind us of why we travel and how truely amazing people can be.

So Ville and I are again, making new travel plans. We have found that plans are always subject to change and as doors close, new doors open for us. Unfortunately, we can not travel as long paying accommidations and travel now, but we are going to try and get to Honduras, maybe Belize to do diving and on to Mexico before coming back. Not quite sure. We promise to keep you all posted and hope you are all having great holidays with your loved ones and an exciting start to the New Year!

Kristen and Ville