From 5 to 11: The skinny on the 5.11 STRYKE™ PANTS

After spending a month traveling through India and Dubai I have found my all time favorite pants!

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The Military Travels, Right?

I know these pants were designed with LE and Military in mind but honestly they are perfect for travel. I was given a pair in Vegas just before leaving for India. I traded a pair of jeans out of my suitcase for these. Result? I would love to trade all of my pants for different colors and style of 5.11 pants and shorts.

In a Mall Near Me??? Soon???

I have been around 5.11 tactical clothes and gear for most of my adult life. When you are part of the gun community it is impossible not to know the name 5.11. I am not sure how popular they are outside of the industry. This needs to change. As to why 5.11 isn’t in every mall in the states is beyond me. Okay I have gushed enough about them. Let’s get down to the review.

Every Day Carry

I was offered a free pair of the 5.11 pants of my choosing. I visited the 5.11 store in Vegas and found the Stryke pants to be what I wanted to try for my trip. My brain was in India travel mode so everything I looked at there was “how could I make this trip the most comfortable for me”? I thought about what I might carry on a daily bases.

· iPhone 6 in Magpul case

· AA battery powered flashlight

· 2 Canon T4i batteries for my camera

· Passports

· Money

Pockets Full of Goodies

While that doesn’t seem like a lot to keep in my pockets, it had to be kept in my front pockets. I wanted to avoid pickpockets as best as possible. I kept my phone in my left front mag pocket which kept my normal pockets free for batteries and other junk I might pick up during the day. My right mag pocket I kept my flashlight. I used my right main pocket for my passport because it is deep.

Mag Pocket

SPECIFICATIONS

· 6.76 oz. Flex-Tac® ripstop fabric

· Self-adjusting tunnel waistband

· Fully gusseted crotch

· Articulated knees (kneepad ready)

· Bartacking at major seams and stress points

· TEFLON® finish

· 12 pockets, including double-deep cargo pockets

· Rinse washed

· YKK® zippers

· Prym® snaps

Be Comfortable Above All Else

My goal is to get the full line of pants for my travels because they are comfortable. I lost about 20 pounds in India. So the other advantage of the pants were that they have stretch in them, so they were always fitting correctly.

They have a button and a snap for the top of the pants so you can secure your pants if the snap starts to give out on you.

My only problem is that they require them to be washed inside out. While I do my own laundry at home, I had to send out for laundry in India. I requested that they wash the correct way but I cannot be sure of that.

Water Repellent

While sitting on the Double Decker bus in Abu Dhabi I spilled a little water from my water bottle and it just beaded up and rolled off my pants without them getting wet.

Reviewing pants is a little harder than I imagined, but all I can tell you from my experience is this:

· They look nice,

· they are comfortable enough to wear for 16 hours on a flight,

· they are decked out with pockets for all of your pockety goodness and needs.

Comfortable, stylish, pockety (full of function)

What more do you really need?

My Drug of Choice

Non-hygienic SugarCane juice can be found everywhere. They have engine-powered and hand-powered machines to make it. Like the one shown below, but these machines do not get cleaned, so we stayed away from them.

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My Grandfather told me about SugarCane juice while we were in Delhi, he said that my family knew of a place that had hygienic and clean juice. The photo is grainy because I took this through a mesh used to keep bugs out.

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The health benefits of SugarCane juice are listed in the photo below. Since clearly there is ‘no sugar added’ in sugarcane juice, it must be super healthy and good for you!

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Clearly, since the juice is soooo healthy, we had to visit this shop 2-3 times a day. After arriving in Mumbai we missed our new addiction, so much we tried to track down some more. Several restaurants carried it, but it just wasn’t the same.

We figured Mumbai was going to be the last place we would find it but lo and behold! We found it in Dubai!!!!

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Talk about awesome! We had to have two glasses.

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I miss my drug.

Song of the Day

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

I wish I was there…

I’m Home!

I’m Home!

So before I give my wrap up of India I still have a few days I didn’t write about while I was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

A Geography Lesson

First and foremost, we heard repeated from people visiting while we were, that they thought they were in Saudi Arabia. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in The United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are their own country.

Thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Reality In Dubai

We left Mumbai for a second time on the 23rd to head back to the UAE to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Contrary to what the young lads at Taco Bell seem to think, not everyone drives fancy cars. I did not see a single pet tiger, and while I didn’t visit every bathroom, I can say, I never found gold toilet paper anywhere.

Burj Khalifa

We stayed at the Sheraton, at the Mall of the Emirates. The night we got in, our first stop was to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This was AMAZING! I have only been up there at night and I can tell you for fact that the view changes from day to night. If you get a chance to go up during the night and the day it is worth seeing. The fountains were cool in front of the Burj but I wouldn’t call them better than Vegas… just different.

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Side note: I noticed I have a few days missing from my travels, so I will be re-uploading them shortly.

On the 24th we visited Abu Dhabi and took a bus tour around the city. There wasn’t any one spot we wanted to get off the bus and visit. I am not Muslim but we did see the grand mosque. Honestly it is a mosque to me, so it wasn’t something I really care about. The carpet is one single piece and that was cool. The chandlers are like 9 tons. Otherwise it was just another mosque to me.

We stopped at one of the malls and grabbed lunch which was very tasty. We wanted to have the leftovers for dinner but there was not a way to get it home and still have it safe to eat. Tis’ a shame.

The Gardens

On the 25th We stayed in Dubai and visited the Butterfly Gardens and the Miracle Gardens. Why are they a miracle? Because we are in the desert! It is beautiful and green and flowering and how they are able to have this is the desert is amazing! They desalinate the ocean water to keep the UAE green and beautiful. Truly incredible.

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The Butterfly Gardens were AWESOME!!!! Why? Because they let us pick them up! Grandpa needed a pet so I gave them to him!

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We met some people from Colorado who are now living Kuwait teaching. I ended up giving them a few butterflies as well. If you are in Dubai these places are sooooooooo worth the cost to visit.

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The next morning we work up at 4am and headed to the airport. I am ending my trip to Dubai and India here because Emirates Airline will have a review coming shortly and that is where I will pick up from.

India is Calling my Name

This trip to India was amazing and I honestly wish I was there right now. It has been great being home but India is calling and I am ready to pick up the phone.

I am so thankful to my grandfather for planning and inviting me on this trip of a lifetime. I cannot wait to finish telling you all the stories.

Song of the Day

Rob Thomas – Ever the same

I just like the song

Alleppey [UPDATED]

S o today we were picked up from The Elephant Court to head out for a boat ride. I am getting car sick anywhere we go now.  It is becoming a nightmare. I am worried about the bus tours we have planned in Dubai because I have been sleeping the sickness away.

Return Visit Planned

We only spent one night at The Elephant Court. I would like to come back with a lady friend someday in the future because this is a nice hotel for couples.
We went from the hotel, straight to the house boat tour in Alleppey. This is a private tour.  Just for the two of us.  Grandpa has been on this tour before and he said he enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to it due to his experience. We hopped on the boat and off we went.

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All this travel screws with our hunger and makes it hard to ever be hungry.  The tour had a lunch scheduled to be served on board. We rode for about 35 minutes before we docked for lunch. They served us more food than we could eat. The boat was a nice side house boat and bigger than needed for just the two of us. After lunch we sat there and waited and waited, but the captain never wanted to take is back out to tour.  I finally just asked him to take us back to our car and he did.  Ending our “tour” an hour early. When the owner of the boat got on board, he told my grandfather to tip the captain and the cook.  This really upset my grandpa because they didn’t do anything! I will get the tour info and update this post when I get home. Obviously I don’t recommend this company if you are booking in Alleppey.

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A Drink of India

Our driver took us to our new hotel for the night as we have a flight to Mumbai first thing in the morning. The hotel was nice.  We are at a Ramada with a view from the bar that is beautiful. We went up to the bar because we needed a cocktail.  The bar and staff have a number of cocktails that they have created and one of them is a vodka drink. It was almost like a taste of India. I don’t know what was in it, because it was very savory. Very tasty.  I liked the views in Alleppey.  It was beautiful backwaters.  I look forward to returning to explore more of the waters.

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Song of the Day

Can’t Help Falling in Love- Twenty One Pilots

It is a cover from Elvis, but it fits, because I am falling for India.

The Elephant Court

Some days don’t like myself.

Some days I wake up and I think today is going to be a good day. I will be a good person. Then, somewhere along the way I lose myself. I lose my composure and my ability to keep calm. Yesterday that happened. I am embarrassed and I feel bad about it.

We started the day as we have been, by driving from one hotel to the next.  I have been getting car sick, so I have been in the back sleeping, while grandpa is in the front with our driver, Kumar.

I was less than pleased with the Tea County Hotel as I told you yesterday.  I will be giving them bad marks when I write my review.

We made it to the Elephant Court Hotel, which I have been so excited about, since I saw their photos online. Granted photos are deceiving and the hotel wasn’t quite as beautiful as the photos show. Meh.

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We went to the room at 12 pm after checking in and the internet died. I called the front desk and asked for them to help.  They sent someone with the username and password.  I explained to him that it wasn’t a sign in problem, it was a repeater problem.  He said he understood and started to walk away like he was going to get help. He turned around when he figured out that I knew what I was talking about because his cell phone connected when it hit a different repeater. Oh joy, I am not an idiot.  I told the gentleman that I was going on a boat tour and that if they could fix the internet in my room that would be lovely.

The Boat Tour

It was a boat tour, nothing exciting. We did however get to see two different herds of elephants, otters, birds, rocks that grandpa calls elephants that are in disguise, trees that the woman next to us calls snakes that are in hiding, a wild boar, some deer, and that one dudes hand that kept getting in my frame. It was fun. Sadly the boat was big.  We had 8 people per row, so it is hard to get some of the awesome shots of all the above mentioned cool things…oh well.  You will take my word for it right?

 IMG_4072The boat everyone is boarding is our boat

IMG_4082This is Hank

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This is getting OTTER-ly ridiculous but you can see Kevin and his offspring

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As the Spanish call them… El Kevino Familia.

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The Kevin Family

IMG_4060This isn’t a race thing but this is Black Kevin

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This is Kevin.

The Spice Plantation

So at first I didn’t know what we were going to see. Grandpa and I questioned if we really wanted to go on the tour, but we paid for it and it would be silly not to go. It was only an hour right?

WRONG! We were in the van heading back to the hotel 47 minutes after arriving at the Spice Plantation.

Really? Wow! Nope, I will not say it a was good tour. I wouldn’t even call it an alright tour. It was awesome! The guide was really good and he really enjoys his work. You can tell by the way he explains the tour. It was hands on and we learned a lot from it.

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Our guide for the spice planation

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Cocoa

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Kevin the Elephant

Dinner and the Blow UP!

Grandpa and I live by the rules of: it is 5pm somewhere.

We have a drink together every few nights and discuss everything. If this was a cigar lounge we would be the men with the white mustaches and the monocles. We waited until dinner this evening, which started at 7.  I had gone back to the room and found that the internet still wasn’t working. After about 20 minutes of waiting for no one to show up, I called back and asked that they fix it while I enjoyed my dinner.

Dinner was wonderful! Dessert was amazing and I almost went back for more cake.

I like cake. Cake is good. Let them eat cake! The cakes a lie! Enough about the cake Carl!

So after dinner, we headed back to the room and still no internet. So I called and a gentleman showed up with the same username and password “fix” like before. I could tell that no one else on my block had been contacting them that the wifi was out. After that news, he told me he would see if the IT guy could check it out. They never showed back up. I went to the pool to work and call Texas (where we could get internet).  Low and behold, the gentleman who came to our room found me and told me that the IT guy could fix it and had known since 1pm. This is where I start to dislike myself.

This guy wasn’t the problem and he wanted to be helpful, but he just didn’t have the ability. I asked for his manager and he kindly took me to the front desk.  He called his boss but his boss was heading home and told him to get my cell number so he could call me.  Since I don’t have wifi, he couldn’t do that. At my limit, I asked the gentleman to take me to the overnight GM and we finally found him.

I did my best to remain calm, I really did, I promise.  I explained that I was tired of people coming to my room.  I told him I had explained the problem time and time again over the phone and they just kept sending people who brought me the same username and password. Clearly the IT guy isn’t doing his job. 

I told him I wasn’t looking for anything and that I just wanted him to know that it really makes it hard for someone reviewing his hotel to do their job when they cannot connect to the internet.

The Big Fix

I sat at the pool and talked business for about an hour until my phone was ready to die.  I needed to sleep, but when I got back to my room the internet was fixed. I asked my grandfather and he told me that the IT guy came and fixed it!

I woke up and packed.  I head straight down to the front desk to find the GM, Mr. Shaju Sebastian and I thanked him for getting it fixed.  He told me that when I told him that the ladies in the room next to me were also without internet that he called the IT guy back and told him to fix it. Thank you.

I am sorry for the way that happened!  I am thankful for the service and willingness to fix this. Credit where credit is due and you sir handled my problem and made sure that the guest on our block had internet.

Milkshakes

The Elephant Court is a hotel I intend on returning to with someone special one day. I love south India and I want to spend more time here.

Also they had a vanilla milkshake for breakfast that was amazing!  I will go back just for the milkshake. I guess it is true what they say, The Elephant Courts milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Alright, well I need to sleep.  I am going to get this sent on and and pass out!

The Tea County (UPDATE)

Mumbai to Kochi (Cochin)

We flew in about 9 am to Kochi with Spice Jet in India. I am now officially not a fan of this airline.

Total Confusion

Our ticket read gate A6. The board read A3. A kind gentlemen we spoke to at A3 had a ticket that read A4. Then the PA system said it was gate A6.

Everyone rushed back to A6 only to be stopped by the Spice Jet officials telling us to go back to A3.  After all that, we still had to wait an additional 30 minutes because they didn’t have a plane for us.

I think Spice Jet needs an adult to help them. I can call one, but I charge a finder’s fee to stupid people.

A Green Ride

The car ride to the Tea County Hotel was long and twisty.  It is pretty and green but it made me a bit green, if you know what I mean.IMG_3797

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I will be writing a full review of the hotel when I get home.  In short,  this is a big STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM hotel. They are horrible and someone needs to share that. It looks nice from the outside but the inside is nasty!

A Pleasant Change

We had our first Christian guide yesterday! We visited the Tea Museum.  We got a short description about how tea is made and it was nice. After that, we visited a few local tourist hotspots like Echo Point.  The highlight was seeing the elephants on the side of the road. It was fun. I don’t have much to talk about in regards to the tour.  It wasn’t a long extensive tour, but it was enjoyable, none the less.

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