Bangkok, Thailand- May 2018

Leave a comment Image

My dear friends had moved from Dubai to Bangkok and since it was “easy” flight from Brisbane, I planned a long weekend to say Hello.  What pursed over the course of the next few days was a typical trip, lots and lots of laugh, amazing food and of course a signature drink. The drink of choice this trip, Lychee Martini

IMG_1624

It was really HOT in Bangkok. Coming from winter in Brisbane I was not prepared for how hot it was going to be.  Oliver, the foodie, has arranged for us to have some amazing meals, including brunch at The Siam Hotel. So we decided to surprise him as well, with a I referred to, so the photographer did not show up. But luckily we had Iphone’s, so we managed to get some fun photos.  I think the smiles say everything.

 

We had an awesome tasting menu that evening at Gaa, it was sooooo good.  2 course are missing from the pictures, the corn which as ridiculous and the soup.  If you are Bangkok, so worth checking out.

 

It was great catching with friends, especially in foreign cities to explore. Another friend, Will, happen to be in town and we were able to catch up over breakfast. I love that my transient life means randomly meeting up with friends all over the world.

Until next time

 

 

Queenstown, New Zealand- May 2018

Leave a comment Standard

Well this is an easy one to write. I flew to Queenstown, had a burger and meat pie and flew back.  Oh and I took some pictures.

 

I had planned on going to Milford Sound, but the weather was not cooperating.   I checked out the famous Fergburger, proclaimed to be the best burgers in the world.

Fergburger is good,  but it’s not the best in my book. But I am from Chicago, so I am bit biased. For the sake of this review, I took one for the team and order 2 burgers. And well  if I am honest, I was hungry and could not decide what to order. Per the cashier’s suggestion, I ordered the Deluxe and the Wiggum. 1st impression, I much prefer New Zealand meat to Australian. 2nd- Big burgers. 3rd- Why did I think it was good idea to order 2?  I did not actually consume the entirety of both burgers. I managed about 1/4 of each.

IMG_1458

The next morning, I was suppose to fly down to Milford Sound. The weather was not cooperating, so I took a stroll back down to Fergburger for breakfast. Now meat pies are all the rage in Australia and New Zealand, but I just never felt the love of them. Until I had the Lamb Shoulder and Kumara Pie from Fergbaker. First all, what is Kumara? New Zealand’s version of the sweet potato, in case you were wondering.  It was ridiculously good.  Like I would fly back to eat one. And the worst part? I was not overly hungry after the previous night’s debacle, so I ended up only ordering one!!!!! Rookie mistake.

IMG_1461

Since I was no longer hungry, I headed to the airport to get out of dodge. It never dawned on me that because the little planes could not fly, that the big ones might be having trouble as well.  The plane I was departing on had some trouble landing…..

IMG_4941

It eventually landed and I was off to Auckland, where I was lucky enough to catch up with a friend. And I finally got see Black Panther on the flight from Auckland to Brisbane. Which of course was SO good.  So while it certainly did not go as planned, it turned out pretty well in the end.

Until next time…..

Adventures in Australia-May 2018

Leave a comment Standard

As my time in Australia was drawing to near, it became evident that there was so much I wanted to see that I had not.  So I started planning to go places with every free moment I could spare. But sometimes life has other plans. Like an ear infections, cancelled flights, flooding. But I did manage to see a fair bit.

Funny enough, I found myself back in Sydney,playing tourist again. My cousin was visiting from the States.  So we did the requisite walk thru the Botanic Gardens, before heading to Bondi for lunch.

 


I continued my Australia on roller skates tour and headed to Uluru/ Ayers Rock or the Big Red Rock in the middle of Australia. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour flight from Sydney. If you go, try to get a window seat on the left side of the plan.  It was pretty cool to see an aerial view.

IMG_4793

Since I was traveling alone and short on time, I only booked an overnight. Plus it’s really kinda of expensive.  So if you are looking to do this on a budget, I would suggest driving and considering camping/backpacker options.  If money is not object I suggest checking out Longitude 131.  Sadly it was $3,000/night with 3 night minimum so I had to pass.  But lucky, Voyages has accommodations for all, from the backpacker to the more luxurious.  If you are like me,  and only doing one night, do not go too crazy with accommodations, it’s all on the same compound.

I booked The Night at the Field of Lights tour., which was great since I had such a short time. It was started with watching the sun go down while viewing the rock.  The outback canapes included crocodile and kangaroo. I would like to say I tasted crocodile but I passed because of my food allergy. But I did try the kangaroo. It’s gamey

This followed by the Sounds of Silence of dinner and an enlightening talk about the stars. Which was fun being in the Southern Hemisphere.  And then the best part of the night, the Field of Lights. A light installation by Bruce Munro. Words and pictures just do not do it justice, it was AMAZING.

IMG_4809-ANIMATION (1)

I had a few winks before getting up for the sunrise over the rock.  A few observations, I longer I looked at the rock the I agree that color does change depending on the sun.  And it sort of looks like a elephant on one side.

I suggest if your budget/time allows make the trip before the light installation is gone. There is a energy that is indescribable. I wish I had spent more time.  I am glad I went though, even it it were for such a short time.

I had time between hotel check out and the shuttle back to the airport so I walked over to the on site Art Center. They have local aboriginal artist in residence, that you can watch paint. Indigenous art tells a story. They are abstract because they have a sacred meaning and they design to disguise their meaning from western eyes.  The artist in residence that day had just finished a painting that was really eye catching to me and quite small. Meaning it would be easy to transport and find a place on a wall. WELL….. there was a line at the checkout. So I wondered off.  I just let the photos speak for themselves….

It’s actually stunning in person. I am quite happy with my purchase.

Until next time, safe travels!

Adventures in Australia-April 2018

Comment 1 Standard

My “adoptive” Australian parents, Jenny and John, were heading to Canberra to visit some friends.  There happened to be a Cartier Exhibit... in Canberra?  Well I am always up for adventure.   So off to Canberra I went…..

It was a beautiful fall day in Canberra.

And the Cartier Exhibit was fun

With the added bonus of seeing some art, including a Jackson Pollack and Monet

And that concludes my exciting trip to Canberra. Seriously. Some friends from Sydney were going to drive out to get me, and I politely suggested that I catch a flight.  This is not to say that Canberra is not worth a visit, it just was not a place that I would high on my list. In fact when I arrived back in Sydney it felt like I just flew in from another country.

A funny thing happened when I was flying back to Australia in April. I was on the long route, Chicago- London-Perth-Brisbane. On the London-Perth flight was I was bored, I know shocker, and was having a chat with one of the flight attendants.   Some guy comes in the gallery, complaining that his shepard’s pie was cold, like frozen. I was made a face, because seriously who eat PEA’s mid flights? Especially when bacon sarnie’s where an option.  He noticed my disdain and was like sorry it’s seriously frozen.  The ensuring conversation was funny.  Turns out he is a show producer that was going be touring around Australia.  A George Michael Tribute, Fast Love.  I was intrigued.  Turns out the Brisbane show was sold out, but there tickets still available for the Sydney show. And I just happened to be in Sydney that weekend.

Well wasn’t I in for a surprise. I actually really enjoyed it. I say I was surprised because I was just not familiar with his music.  It was quite good.  If you have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it! In fact, go ahead and break out your leather pants.  You will not be only one.

April is probably one of my favorite month’s in Australia.  If you get a change to visit, I highly recommend considering coming over in late April, after Easter and school holidays!

Until next time!

London, England-April 2018

Leave a comment Standard

After my 24 hour journey from Brisbane, I finally arrived in London at 6:50 am. But with collecting bags and traffic,  I did not arrive to my hotel until closer to 9:30.  Those last few hours of the journey were the longest! My friends, Madison and Andrew, happen to be visiting from Sydney, so we had made plans to catch for lunch at Chiltern Firehouse.
It was really good.

 

Part of the reason I stopped in London was to go to my favorite boot store, Duo.  The only physical store is in Bath, so I went on a little train adventure.

My dumb self was so certain I was going to get boots I only traveled with one pair of shoes. I should have known that because of that reason alone I would not have luck at the boot shop. My feet were FREEZING.  Bath was qaint little town. I am sure I would have enjoyed it a bit more if it had not been raining and cold.

It’s not a proper trip to Bath with out visiting the Roman Baths.

That evening I went to see the play Hamilton with my friend Michael. I am a serious fan girl of this play. I originally had trouble getting tickets and then one day they were just available. Having it seen it 2 times before I was excited. Um…. it was different. They changed somethings. It was not bad just not as enjoyable as my other times.

The next day I just found trouble. I went shopping and ended up in the wrong part of town. I somehow ended up on Grafton St.  No major damage was done but it was close. I did fall for a slick sales guy pulling into some beauty store where I ended up spending money on stuff I’ll never use. You know the place, here have a free soap. DON’T take the soap!!

Overall I had a lovely visit and it was great to catch up with friends. I’ll be heading back again later this year to try to find some boot again. I managed to book a ticket for $8 using my Qantas points. So why not??? P.S. if you have miles and want to get to London, try booking London City ( LCY) vs. Heathrow (LHR).  The tax savings would cover any taxi fare from London City!

Until next time, safe travels!

Air Adventures- March 2018

Leave a comment Standard

I know I have said this before, but I do think that sometimes stuff happens on my travels so I have stuff to share on this blog. Since so much happened on this last trip, I decided to share.

I was heading back to the States for a few weeks and decided to book the long route. By long route I mean, Brisbane to Sydney to Singapore to London to Chicago.  For someone who does not work in aviation, I am not sure why I thought it was good idea to spend even more time then necessary in the air.  My first flight was only 1.30 but they managed to serve a pretty yummy lunch. My window seat provided a nice view of Sydney.

I had a surprisingly painless experience getting thru security. I headed over to TRS to get a tax refund on purchases I had made while in Australia. Shocker, there were only 3 people in line. The first guy in line was claiming a steam iron. Which I thought I was odd, because why would you want to carry that on the plane? It looked heavy. The next gal in line was trying to claim purchases her Mom had made. And Mom was not there.  Oops. And the 3rd was best. For second, I had to make sure there were no camera filming for border patrol. I was not paying much attention to what the lady was claiming until the Agent asked to see the Chanel handbag. My curiosity was peaked and my attention turned to her and away from the girl with Mom’s receipts.  The lady proceed to pull out a cloth bag, sort of like a dust bag but not. I have personally have never seen a flowering Chanel dust bag, but then I don’t have a degree in all things Chanel.  Unfortunately for the lady, the Agent did. And from the look on her face she was dubious about what was in the cloth bag.  The bag that came out was not a Chanel maybe a Channel.  It was obviously a fake. The agent said as much. ” Are you seriously showing me a counterfeit bag?” The lady insisted it was not fake.  Hmm. Made me wonder if she thought she was buying a a legitimate bag. I am sad to report, I am not sure how the story ends. I do know she did not get a tax refund, but she did get a nice citation.

IMG_1083

My ride….

I did not have much time before boarding. I was not in a hurry, because I did not have much to carry on and I was flying first class. (BEST use of all the miles I have been earning).  The first thing I noticed was the cabin had party atmosphere.  Everyone seem to have some to talk to. Great it was going to be a long 24 hours as a solo traveler. Then I noticed that not one but two couples were enjoying pre-flight cocktails, in their seats. Meaning the 2 people were in one seat.  I’ll let the pictures explain.

Well I was sitting in 4A. There was sweet older couple sitting in 2A and 3A.  I politely asked them to refrain from mid-air hijenks. The husband said that his wife (2A) would be joining him for dinner but maybe I could come over dessert…..  Oh I knew we were going to have a fun flight.   It should be noted this was all happening before we had even left the gate. Shortly after take off, 5D was back sitting with 5K and I can say was there was a lot of movement going on under that blanket.

IMG_4554

Meanwhile over in 4A… Party of One…..

Before we knew it, we had arrived in Singapore, with enough time to buy some TWG Tea. (Golden Earl Grey is amazing). And then it was back on the plane for another 14 hours.  With my friends in 5K. Who apparently did not get enough on the flight to Singapore. Since we were taking off so late, the load a full meal but a lot people opt to have their beds made and go to sleep.  Well my friends, had one bed made and dined in the other seat, which actually is not a bad idea. Until we hit turbulence, and they tried to buckle themselves into the same bed. At this point the cabin crew said enough, due to safety, everyone in their own seat.  It was just too much…

I have to say it was easier to fly to London then to Chicago. Body clock wise. But I am not a fan of 14+ hour flights. I made the mistake of returning to Australia on the new London-Perth and NOPE. That’s all I have to say is NOPE.

Stay Tuned for London…….

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam- February 2018

Comments 3 Standard

I had booked a flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City on Jetstar.  My flight time only changed 4 times, and in the even it was only delayed 30 minutes in the end. I paid an extra $10 to get the first row seating. It was actually not too bad.  When I arrived I wish I had organized my transportation to my hotel. I am pretty sure I overpaid for taxi.

I went a city tour on the afternoon of my arrival. The first stop of the tour was the War Remnants Museum.  It was interesting.  It’s important to know that it’s a bit bias. It does present the truth but from one side.  It’s worth a trip but might be helpful to do a bit of research about the war as so to get a full understanding the magnitude.

My tour was the highlights. A temple, the post office, the museum, Independence Palace, Notre Dame, Ben Tranh Market and a flower market.

That evening I went out to enjoy the Tet Festivities.

The next day was Tet eve, so I arranged for trip to the Mekong Delta.  I did not think this about what it will entail. I do not like boats.  To visit the delta it requires getting in a boat and even a canoe.  My tour started out with a stop at My Tho to the Vinh Trang Temple.

Then we took a boat ride out to Unicorn Island.

We sampled so of the local fruits and honey products.

We walked thru what felt like a jungle to a private home, where they served us lunch. I politely declined because well elephant fish did not seem like a good idea.

And then it was time to head back to the boat. But it required a ride in canoe. It was experience. I don’t recommend wear white pants. As I fell trying to get in and ended up covered in mud. But the highlight, I got to see a water coconut up close and in person.
And if I had not gone, I would not have gotten the super cool cone hat. Meet Meykong Flo.

With the next day being Tet, I did what anyone would have done in my shoes, I booked a spa day. It was great! A little too great in fact. I was so relaxed that when I ordered my lunch, Banh Mi, I did not ask what was in the sauce that came with it.  It was quite good but apparently there was something fishy in it.  I realized this about 45 minutes later when  I was standing in line for immigration at the airport. I noticed my breathing was weird. It took me a few minutes before I connected the dots. And I started to wonder if it was all in my head. Psychosomatic or not, I have a full on meltdown.  I managed to get to the lounge and get some water. At this point I realized I was not ok. And I had left something at security.  I walked back and the agent was asking why I left it, I was practically crying saying I just don’t feel well.  He actually looked at me and said you need to go to medical. I knew that if I told the truth I was looking at 24 hours of observation.  So I took my chances, waited until he looked the other way and hightailed it my gate.  I managed to make it safely to Australia without any medical intervention. I was sick for 3 days.  I know I take chances with my allergy but after this little episode I realize I need to be more careful. I got very lucky this time.

Until next time.. Safe Travels