Dalai Lama … Here I Come: My Journey To Enlightenment


My journey began with a two hour flight delay in Kansas City, so I had to scramble to get a seat that would get me to Frankfurt in time to catch my connection to Delhi the next day. The United Airlines gate agents worked quickly and professionally and before I knew it, I was booked through Washington DC, arriving in Frankfurt three hours before my original departure time. Frankfurt being Frankfurt, that should have been enough time to make my connection.

I am staying in Delhi for four nights (three really because I arrive at the hotel around 2:30 AM (0230 hours), taking a flight to Dharamsala on November 1st for the beginning of my Journey to Enlightenment. I hope to get a feel for New Delhi (and Old Delhi) while there as we will be returning in a couple of months to to the “tourist” thing.

Once in Dharamsala, I will be volunteering with the Tibetan refugees teaching English, studying Buddhism and yoga, and working on forgiveness, a skill I have yet to acquire in close to six decades on this lonely planet.

I will be sharing my Journey to Enlightenment here on my blog, including stories, video, and photos, as well as my YouTube channel, CombatCritic TV. Please feel free to follow me on my journey where I hope to educate, inspire, and document the trip of a lifetime. FOLLOW ME to TravelValueTM.

Key Words: Dalai Lama, dalai, lama, India, Delhi, New Delhi, Dharamsala, Dharmsala, yoga, meditation, Buddhism, enlightenment, journey, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, guide, review
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Henry Doorly (Omaha) Zoo: Full Price, Half Closed, Big Disappointment


Henry Doorly (Omaha) Zoo
Omaha, Nebraska

We had heard that the Omaha Zoo was “not to be missed”, so we decided to go on a free day after my wife’s conference presentation at UNO.

The aquarium was nice, the primate enclosures interesting, and the “big cat” exhibit inspiring, although the poor animals have very little room to roam freely.

We then decided to take a (long) walk around the exterior of the zoo to see the rest of the animals, but EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED!

The outdoor lemur enclosure closed minutes before we arrived (4:02 PM when the zoo did not close until 6pm) as did the giraffe exhibit. The rest of the large animals (elephants, zebras, hippos, etc) were nowhere to be found because the zoo is constructing a new area for them DUE FOR COMPLETION IN 2016!

Could they not tell people that half of the zoo is closed before we paid or at least offer a discount for the inconvenience and disappointment? I guess not because we paid full price.

CombatCritic Gives the Henry Doorly (Omaha) Zoo 4 Bombs Out of 10 … BOMBS ARE GOOD!


Key Words: Henry Doorly Zoo, Henry, Doorly, Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska, NE, animals, lion, tiger, bear, gorilla, elephant, giraffe, hippo, CombatCritic, TravelValue

Gerda’s … Gut Food, Gut Value, Guten Appetit!


Gerda’s German Restaurant & Bakery
5180 Leavenworth St Omaha, NE 

A small, unassuming building on the outskirts west of downtown, with few parking options by the way, Gerda’s did not disappoint as was the case at the Bohemian Cafe the night before.

You enter through the bakery, which is bigger than it needs to be, and into the smaller dining room. The decor is dated, with the flags of Germany (Bavaria, etc) lining one wall, but the place is clean and functional. 

For $19.95 you get a three course meal … a beer of your choice, the Jägerschnitzel (complete with soup or salad, bread, and potato/spätzel), and your choice of dessert. The schnitzel alone is $16, a beer $6, and dessert around $4, so it is quite a value.

The salad was unassuming, a traditional German salad with dressed lettuce, potato salad, and sliced cucumbers, but the soup, a thick, meaty goulash, was superb!

The Jägerschnitzel was abundant and flavorful, a large pork cutlet battered and fried to golden perfection, then doused with brown Jâgermeister and mushroom gravy … YUM! I had the fried potatoes, crispy and well seasoned with salt and paprika, and my wife tried the käse spâtzel, the more traditional cheese covered potato dumplings, both of which were excellent.

The dessert options were extensive, being a bakery after all, but we are so full we got them to go. My wife ordered the Black Forest cake and I had the cherry tart. The cake was creamy and fresh and the tart crisp and yummy, the perfect accompaniment to a well done German meal although consumed several hours after the fact.

The service was friendly and attentive. My only complaints being the lack of a German brün bier or dünkel (dark beer), so I was forced to have an amber(?) Oktobefest that was not bad, not great, and the fact that the menu does not have all that many options (a wiener schnitzel cordon blu would be also be a welcome addition).


CombatCritic Gives Gerda’s 7 Bombs Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GUT!




Gerda's German Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Key Words: Gerda’s, German, bakery, restaurant, menu, food, Omaha, Nebraska, NE, schnitzel, Jaegerschnitzel, Jägerschnitzel, goulash, eat, dinner, lunch, CombatCritic, TravelValue


Malara’s: Scrambled Egg Carbonara?


Malara’s
2123 Pierce Street Omaha, NE 


Prices: $$$$$

With a dearth of good Italian restaurants in our hometown of Lawrence (Kansas), we decided to try Malara’s on a recent trip to Omaha after having read the rave reviews on Yelp. After our dinner, however, I am left wondering how this place ended up with 4 stars.


The place is huge and the decor a bit tacky, looking as if it has not been redecorated since the 1970’s. We were seated quickly, but ignored for the first ten minutes we were there. I had to grab a wine list from another table because I could not get the server’s attention, had I known whom he or she was.

Dinners come with a salad and although fresh, there was nothing but lettuce and that was drenched in an oil and vinegar dressing. The “bread” were rolls that looked as if they came out of a bag and heated in the oven.

My wife had the spaghetti carbonara ($11.95). The spaghetti was pretty good, advertised as being homemade, but the sauce was too oily and there was hardly any bacon in sight. Instead of adding raw egg to the finished dish before tossing the pasta, they added scrambled eggs, something I have never seen done before.

I had the veal parmigiana, ($16.95) which was not bad, but far from the best I have eaten. The portion size was adequate, the sauce pretty good, although a bit sweet for my taste, and the cheese melted to perfection. As is the case in most Italian (American) restaurants, there was far too much sauce on the pasta, but it tasted OK. When I asked the server if we could get some more bread, I was told that it would cost an “extra 25 cents each”, so we SPLURGED! Enough said.

Removing the scrambled egg carbonara and 25 cent bread rolls from the equation, I would have likely given Malara’s 5, maybe 6, bombs out of 10 for the very average food at reasonable prices (value). Lose the scrambled eggs and give folks an extra roll or two … is another 50 cents really worth upsetting customers over?


CombatCritic Gives Malara’s 4 Bombs Out of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!






Malara's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon








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Key Words: Malara’s, malara, Italian, restaurant, Omaha, Nebraska, NE, CombatCritic, combat, critic, TravelValue, travel, value, food, menu, pasta, veal, carbonara