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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

On the Beach in Burma - a Few Days in Ngapali

For additional Burma posts click here.
Burma may not be your first choice for a beach holiday, but it's  great way to relax for a few days between all the touring and temples. Don't expect any night life but if you are looking for a few days of sun, a pretty beach and some relaxation it's a fine option.
We spent four nights and did very little. We ate at the small beachside restaurants with our toes in the sand, lay in the sun and walked up and down the beach. Everyday local women walked past selling fruit and we ate fat sweet mango they cut up in front of us.
The small restaurants sold simple meals of grilled fish, crab and prawns, delicious!
It was lovely to walk down the beach and stop for a drink when it got too hot.
Fishing is vitally important to the local communities and along the beach you can see colorful fishing boats and fish being laid out in the sun to dry.
 Every evening the local boys came down to the beach to play football as the sun set.
We stayed at the Thande Beach Resort which is a mid range option right on the  beach, I picked it because it was available, reasonable and had a pool. The travel agent recommended a sea view room but  to save $100 a night I opted for a garden room, foolishly assuming the only difference would be the view. Unfortunately this was not the case. Drive by a desire to exploit  the increasing demand, the owner of the property decided to build several blocks of rooms right next to the main road. The room was small, dark and noisy with a drab balcony. I was not happy, our room was nothing like the rest of the resort, it was like being in an entirely different hotel at the back of the property. When I spoke to the manager she admitted that these garden rooms weren't comparable with the rest of the resort but she couldn't do anything for us as they were fully booked. If we returned I would forget the pool and  try the Cherry Yoma further down the beach which looked charming.
The hotel had a lovely promenade above the beach which was a lovely place to sit if you were looking for a shady spot.
Here's where we had breakfast every morning...
 So much fun and the perfect break between admiring temples at Bagan and Mrauk U.
 When can we go back?