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Thanks for the Spam!

Like most bloggers, I get two, sometimes three times as many spam as I do relevant comments. Spam is so annoying, I usually hit delete without even a second look. But late last year one caught my eye. The phrasing made me smile and I decided to keep it. And as I gathered more, I tried to imagine the individuals behind these comments. I mean, even if the spam is left by spambots, there’s a person somewhere along the food chain, right?

Thanks for the Spam!I decided to thank them, whoever they are, for fattening my folder with spam that made me smile or scratch my head. After all, if nothing else, I can depend on a few spam each day whether I have new content or not. Here are some of my favorites, unedited:

Complimentary Spam

What i don’t realize is actually how you’re no longer actually much more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You are very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably with regards to this topic, produced me in my opinion believe it from numerous numerouss angles. Its like men and women aren’t interested unless it’s one thing to accomplish with. Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. All tthe time handle it up!


I am really impressed together with your writing abilities as neatly as with the layout to your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is rare to peer a greazt blog like thhis one today.


Hey man, was just looking through the net looking for some info and came across your post. I am impressed by the info that you have on this blogsite. It shows how well you understand this topic. bookmarked this page, will come back for more.


I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are incredible! Thanks!


I drop a comment whenever I like a article on a site or I hafe something to add to the conversation. It is triggered by the fire displayed in the post I browsed. And on this post Jerk Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving – InsideJourneys. I was actually moved enough to post a thought I actually do have a few questions for you if you usually do not mind. Is it only me or do a few of the remarks come across as if they are left by brain dead people? And, if you are posting on other online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list every one of your shared pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?


Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not eeven using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great site!

Thanks for the Spam!

Question Spam

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers


I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your blog. It appears like some of the text in your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Cheers

Helpful Spam

I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

Scratching my head spam

In the event your passion is something that consists of a bodily products, then one way you’ll be able to earn cash is by promoting these things.

Thanks for the spam!

Seriously, though, what spam blocker do you use?

Akismet (Professional) alone just isn’t doing it for me anymore.

Our 3rd Blogiversary – in 3 Takes

The date of my 3rd blogiversary hit me by surprise this year. (Honestly, I’d totally forgotten about it!) I was doing a little site maintenance last week and noticed the date of my first post – November 29th. Right away, I knew what I wanted to do – show some of my favorite photos of the last three years but there was no way to weed through more than 2,500 images in two days and decide which ones to use.

I registered my blog about 3 years before I started blogging. Even though I was traveling, I couldn’t seem to get the writing part going. That is, until two of my friends and I made it to southern Africa. Three weeks in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho and I returned with so many wonderful and memorable experiences, I could hear myself telling the same stories over and over. I needed a medium that would allow me to share my stories and photos – my usual travel journal wouldn’t do. Then I remembered the blog I registered and never used.

Shortly after I returned home, I looked up my blog, downloaded my photos – almost 1000 images – and began writing. Surprisingly, the words flowed and even more surprisingly, they haven’t stopped.

My blog and I have grown considerably since those first tentative moments three years ago. I’ve met and befriended readers and bloggers and can proudly say there’s no group more supportive. It is because of you that this 3rd blogiversary is possible.

In Take One, I’ll go back to where it started – that trip to southern Africa. We visited Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, and Sani Pass, Lesotho.

If you can only visit two continents in your lifetime, visit Africa. TWICE! – R. Elliott

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Entrance to Victoria Falls

3rd Blogiversary, Vic Falls

Victoria Falls Rainbow

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Victoria Falls

Lunchtime at Makalolo Plains

Lunchtime at Makalolo Plains, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Lone bull elephant at Mbisa, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Mandela House, Soweto

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Iconic Soweto Watertowers

Looking down, Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Table Mountain Tablecloth

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town

Vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Vineyard, Stellenbosch, Cape Town

3rd Blogiversry in 3 Takes

M’hudi Wines’ Oupa Rangaka

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Durban trees

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Sani Pass Hotel

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Durban Rickshaw

Morning on the Golden Mile, Durban

Morning on the Golden Mile, Durban

 Some of the people we met…

It’s been a while since I saw some of these photos so that made it even more difficult to decide what to include. But it was great looking back at the wonderful time we had.

I still keep in touch with several of the people we met in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The first time I visited Africa, a friend told me it would change my life. It took the second visit for it to happen.

Coming up tomorrow, Take 2: London, Paris, Toronto, and New York.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.












Mike’s Having a Contest!

In celebration of their 200th blog post, Mike (and Phoenix) at Past My Curfew are having a contest.

Mike's contest


You can enter by leaving a comment on Past My Curfew or posting something on your blog. But don’t take it from me. Here’s what Mike and Phoenix had to say —

“So, if you leave a comment below telling us about your favorite blog, you’re entered.  And if you post about the contest on your own blog, you’re entered again!

  1. This contest will run for two weeks, and will close on Thursday, November 21st.
  2. The winners will be picked at random using an online generator.
  3. One winner will be someone who leaves a comment below, and the other winner will be a blog owner who posted about the contest.
  4. The two winners will be announced on Friday, November 22nd.  Each winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate.
  5. Multiple comments from the same person count as only one entry.
  6. If you have a blog, you may enter as a blog owner, and then you may also enter as a commenter.
  7. Saying that Past My Curfew is your favorite blog would be totally awesome, but it won’t help you win! Please mention a different blog so that we can spread the love.
Mike's contest

Can you say ‘no’ to a face like this?

So head over to Mike and Phoenix and enter.

Good luck!


Friday Focus: Dana Carmel

This Friday Focus features world traveler and blogger, Dana Carmel. Dana and I ‘found’ each other through a post on my blog and discovered that we shared a connection to Westmoreland, Jamaica’s westernmost parish. You see, Dana met her husband and travel partner, Jave, in Westmoreland. They later married near Montego Bay. She’s been back to Jamaica several times and, in this interview, shares memories of her first and subsequent trips to Jamaica. Read on to learn more about her.

Friday Focus Dana Carmel

Dana & husband, Jave

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles although I lived in Panama for close to four years as a child when my dad was in the military. I’m a married law school grad working full time in contracts management for a multimedia company here in L.A., but I’m slowly but surely transitioning to becoming self-employed and traveling on a more consistent basis through my travel planning and tour operating business, Time Travel Plans. Travel, voluntourism, and writing are my life’s passions, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can pursue those passions full time.

How often do you travel?

I try to travel as much as possible with 1-2 trips abroad each year and some local California or domestic U.S. trips in between. Exploring my home state and taking trips within the U.S. holds me over until I can satisfy my foreign wanderlusts.

How do you decide which places to visit?

Well, it depends on who I’m traveling with. Time Travel Plans is the exclusive travel planner for all Passporters Expeditions (PE) which are annual volunteer trips abroad sponsored by Passporters – Live Don’t Merely Exist. So when there’s a PE trip, we kind of take a vote on where we should travel based on cost and the humanitarian needs in a particular country.


When traveling with my husband Jave, it really just boils down to affordability and how much time we can afford to take off from our jobs.

What brought you to Jamaica?

I was planning a destination birthday celebration for my 26th birthday, and I initially invited some girlfriends to Puerto Rico. Several months before our trip and before we’d booked any reservations, my brother and cousin who’d just returned from Jamaica couldn’t stop talking about their trip. They had such a good time on their “guys’ getaway” that I decided to switch my birthday “girlfriend getaway” from Puerto Rico to Jamaica, and I’m so glad I did!

Friday Focus Dana Carmel

Dana in Negril

What has surprised you most about Jamaica?

I didn’t know much about Jamaica before my first visit, so learning about Jamaicans’ rich history and culture was very surprising to me. Most of us black Americans don’t know our country, culture, or language of origin. So to go to Jamaica, a predominately black country, and to see the locals take such pride in their culture is so refreshing. I haven’t been to West Africa yet, but Jamaica reminds me of what certain West African countries might be like. My only hope is that Jamaicans will preserve their West Indian culture and values and not try to assimilate to Western standards.

What misconceptions or myths have you laid to rest?

You know, I don’t think I ever bought into any misconceptions or myths about Jamaica or Jamaicans. Some people think that all Jamaicans smoke weed and wear locks, but that’s just not true! I will admit that I’ve always thought that no one can dance quite like Jamaicans, and I have to say that it’s the truth! No one gets down on the dance floor like Jamaicans! I grew up dancing and I’m sure that even young Jamaican kids could outdance me.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done here?

I married Jave who’s a Negril local! I call him my “Jamaican souvenir” – ha!

Tell us a favorite Jamaica story

Every trip changes my life in one way or another, but my birthday trip to Jamaica literally changed my whole world!


After landing in Montego Bay, as we drove from Sangsters International to Rose Hall Resort, I remember seeing a pickup truck full of Rastas with their dreadlocks blowing in the breeze. This was prior to all of the recent construction in St. James, so there was still a lot of greenery along the road to the resort, and our ocean views were blocked by all of the greenery. I remember thinking to myself, Maybe we should’ve gone to Puerto Rico.


We arrived at our resort early in the morning, so our room was nowhere near ready. The check-in clerk invited us to eat breakfast, and afterward, we all sat out on some beach chairs near the pool overlooking the ocean. Soon enough, we were all knocked out. It was the best sleep I’ve ever had in my life – mouth wide open as the wind gently cooled us. After checking in, we went down to the beach, and I floated on my back for a good hour or so and I literally felt all of my life’s problems and worries seep away. I’d never felt such a sense of peace except for when I was in Bermuda which also holds a special place in my heart. But I felt like I was at home in Jamaica, and one of my friends and I romanced the idea of quitting our jobs and moving there.

Friday Focus Dana Carmel

Tryall Club


My birthday in Jamaica was the most memorable. We climbed Dunn’s River Falls and spent the day in Ochi followed by a special dinner back at our resort. The next day we went to Negril to Rick’s Café and to Seven Mile Beach. As we were walking the beach, the beach hustlers kept harassing us to take a glass bottom boat tour. Once we negotiated the price down, we were game. There were two guides on the tour. One of the guides introduced himself as Jave. I told him that he had beautiful eyes, and he thanked me and smiled. Jave and his co-worker Steve took us snorkeling at the reef – scaring us with all sorts of weird-looking sea creatures from the reef.


After the tour and back at the beach, Jave asked me if he could have my phone number, but he didn’t have his phone on him. Not thinking that I’d ever actually call him or keep in touch, I programmed his number in my phone. As we walked away, I turned around and saw Jave leaning against the boat and watching us as we walked. At that moment, I had an uncanny feeling that this Jave guy would somehow be a huge part of my life, but I didn’t know how.


A few weeks after our trip, I came across Jave’s number in my phone and decided to give him a call. And the rest is history…

Name 5 of your favorite places to go or things to do when you’re on the island.

Sweet Spice (Negril) – As soon as we arrive in Negril from L.A. and once we’ve had a chance to freshen up, Jave knows that I have to stop at Sweet Spice for either their curry chicken or their lemon pepper chicken. My trips to Negril are incomplete without eating at Sweet Spice.


Seven Mile Beach (Negril) – This is my favorite beach in the world. Not because it’s necessarily the most beautiful (although it is a beautiful beach), but because it feels like home. Jave and I met on this beach and have spent countless hours there. Our favorite thing to do in Jamaica is to walk this beach. We used to dream about our lives on our Seven Mile Beach walks in the early stages of our relationship. We even got married at Rondel Village on this beach.


Blue Lagoon (Port Antonio) – The Blue Lagoon is beautiful yet a little creepy at the same time. With a mix of salt and fresh water, it’s unknown how deep the water is in the lagoon and the water is quite dark in some parts which means that it’s probably quite deep. When Jave and I visited, I asked him if he wanted to go for a swim, but he refused since he doesn’t swim in water he can’t see through.


Frenchman’s Cove (Port Antonio) – There’s a garden leading to Frenchman’s Cove, and as we made our way out of the garden to the mouth of the cove, I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden. Frenchman’s Cove truly looks and feels like paradise. There are even vines that you can swing from into the water!


Ketto (Westmoreland) – This is the community where Jave grew up and I definitely think of Ketto as my second home. I always tell Jave that it reminds me of an island-style “Little House on the Prairie”. Like so many communities in Jamaica, Ketto is a small neighborhood where a few families share the same yard and everyone knows everyone else’s business. In Ketto, you’ll be awakened by cocks crowing in the morning or by someone shouting your name from across the yard. Cold showers or outdoor showers, communal dining, and convenience stores run out of the front of people’s homes are common in Ketto as in most other rural Jamaican communities.

How do you balance work, travel, and your personal life?

I just try to keep things in proper perspective and prioritize God and family above everything else. Apart from that, travel is what balances me! I also samba to release stress. Samba is such a huge part of my life now!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m so proud that I’m forever bonded to Jamaica through Jave. When we finally decide to have kids, Jave and I are both committed to instilling them with a sense of pride by teaching them as much as possible about both their African-American and Jamaican heritage.

Dana Carmel is a world traveler, cultural explorer, and a community servant. When she’s not at her day job, she spends her time volunteering locally and abroad. Also, she spends a lot of time plotting travel adventures for her travel business, Time Travel Plans. Read about her volunteer and non-volunteer adventures around the world at