Hong Kong, SAR- October 2017

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Hmmm I can’t remember why I booked Hong Kong for 7 nights. At this point, it does not matter. I booked a trip to Hong Kong for week. You could probably just stop reading at this point and just look at the photos. I was pretty boring on this trip.

Coming from Brisbane I was prepared for warmer weather. BUT I was not prepared for the humidity.  I did manage to walk over the Avenue of the Stars, part of it was under construction but it was still fun to see.

I also checked out the Hong Kong Museum of History.  Which was quite fascinating and in depth about the history of Hong Kong.

I also spent a lot of time staring out the window and watching people swim over at the Holiday Inn.  And the sunsets too!

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I probably would have enjoyed it more, if I had been with friends and healthier. My bones were not up for running around in humidity yet. I am happy to report, though, that the concept of slow travel has caught up with me. Gone are the days of trying to see the entire city in 2 days. I’ve learned to enjoy the moment. I’ll see what I see. I know I am missing stuff, but that is okay. I rather stop and have a coffee or meal, then feel like I need to rush off to the next sight.

Until next time, safe travels.

 

Auckland,New Zealand-October 2017

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Have you heard of Teeks? If not, stop reading and click on one of these links, Itunes, Spotify, Youtube. You are welcome.

You would think after Sam Smith and Adele concerts being cancelled, that I would learn not fly to another country to see a concert. Lucky for me, Teeks showed up and gave an amazing performance.

I had been telling my friend Madison about the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney. How it’s worthy of spending a few hours in it. Couple this with @thisteeks having a show in Auckland, it seem like a no brainer.  I however did not factor in daylight savings…. I ended up on 5:00 am flight out of Brisbane, to maximize my lounge time in Sydney.  It was pretty, but way too early, even for me.

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We managed to taste all the champagne offerings, have the requisite corn fritters, get facials and still had time/room for some chocolate cake.

We had a pretty fun flight to Auckland. Although I made mistake drinking the sparkling wine that was offered in economy. Nothing good after came after that sentence. I got a horrible migraine. I am a bit convinced I am allergic to something in the air in Auckland. I had horrible migraine on my previous trip too.  We shall see what happens on my next trip.
On Saturday, we went to Waiheke to do some wine tastings.  The rain stayed at bay, but the day was a bit gloomy. Luckily you don’t need sun to enjoy some wine.

On Sunday, we made the fateful decision to go shopping.  For the most part Australian designers are cut on the smaller size. You would think New Zealand would be similar.  Nope. In fact, the New Zealand designers are just cut better for everyone.  And poor Madison learned the hard way, she should have just brought a bigger bag.  We started over on Ponsonby.  Spring has sprung!

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We ended the day with our new friend Beau, enjoying wine and randomly some fireworks.

And then it was ugly o’clock and I was heading back to the airport for a 6:00 am flight back to Brisbane. WHEN will I learn to stop booking early flights????  It was sooo worth it to hear Teeks live.  Next trip to New Zealand, will NOT be to Auckland. I must get to Queenstown.

Until next time… Safe Travels!

 

Adventures in Australia-September 2017

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I have very few adventures in Australia in September. Mainly because I was gone most of the month. A friend was unexpectedly in Melbourne for the weekend, so I flew down to hang out. Which was rough, I flew in from Austin on Thursday and flew down to Melbourne on Friday.

I stayed at my 2nd home in Australia, Grand Hyatt Melbourne. I love this place, it like visiting with friends. Truly. They called me out for being cranky and jet legged, yes Roddy- I heard you. So they organized a massage over at the Park Hyatt. So much for never going back there. It was just what I needed.

Since it was raining when I met up with my friend ,we headed over to the National Gallery Victoria, which was featuring a Dior exhibit. It was surprisingly fun.  His original pieces were just amazing.

The gallery was quite interesting as well. It has unique collection of art and aside from special exhibits, it’s free. So another reason to visit.

Ironically, the sun came out as we were leaving. Melbourne is a bit like Chicago with it’s weather.

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There were not too many adventures in Brisbane, because I headed back to the States a few days later. Yes you reading that correctly,  I was in Texas flew back to Australia and then back to the States in a matter of 2 weeks.

Until next time, safe travels!

Austin,Texas- September 2017

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I’ve always wanted to visit Austin, Texas. Funny enough, I felt like I needed an excuse because just visiting to visit, would be silly……

There was a work conference and a Hyatt…. so it seem like a smart idea to fly over from Australia for 4 days….. ( clearly I am sick with the travel bug). Plus I got to see my Olivia and Quinn, so like it was question. Lucky for me, Dawn and Nick were willing driving them down from Dallas!

Side note, I got into a ridiculous fight with the shop lady in duty free. I wanted to bring some champagne with me, since it was Dawn’s birthday. So I asked the guy that was working in that area if there an issue with me taking it to the States.  He said to be clear at check out that I had a connection in the States and would need the clear bags.  So I go to check out and ask for the clear bags. Nope, you are not allowed. Wait, what?  2 minute argument ensues. I end up walking away. I was so annoyed, I googled the rules.   I marched right back to store with the website pulled up and STILL was told I was purchasing at my own risk.  And even then another manager came over and told me I was reading it wrong. At this point, it was matter of principle. I said I would take my chances. Turns out, it was NOT a problem.  You will spend a extra few minutes for screening but it’s not an issue as long as you have a sealed plastic bag and a receipt>

We checked into they Hyatt Lost Pines for the weekend.  It’s a great place to check in for a few days to escape reality.   You almost do not realize you are in Texas.  The best part of the whole resort for me was the fire pit, where they provided supplies for nightly s’mores.

My friend Carrie, surprised me by flying in to join us. We had a fun day hanging out in the lazy river and chilling.  Well it was all fun and games, until everyone turned RED. That sun was fierce.  Needless to say, it was an early night.

My conference was a conference, but one night we were taken on a bat cruise. Yes Bats. Apparently, they came up from Mexico and decided not to leave.  It was pretty cool. Millions and Millions of bats……

I had a long layover in LA on my way back to Australia. I spotted the celebrity chef, Neil Perry,  while hanging out in the the Qantas Lounge.  Too bad I did not know it was him…..

Oh well until next time, Safe Travels…….

Maldives-August 2017

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I took a serious vacation/holiday. By serious I mean, I actually took off from work and barely touched my laptop for 5 days.  I have to be honest, it was a bit weird, but boy did I need it.  I know I travel a lot, but I usually connected and on any given day,  I am working.  I used point to fly to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. I purchased a ticket to fly Sri Lankan Airlines to Male, Maldives via Columbo, Sri Lanka. Upon arrival into Male, took a sea plane to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Total and utter bliss.

I am going to let the pictures do the talking with this post. Words just can’t do it justice.

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Sea Plane to Hotel

        Amazing sunsets……

Beautiful Beaches

Lots for food…….

And it would not be a proper holiday without, gut splitting laughs……

Until next time….safe travels.

 

Auckland, New Zealand- August 2017

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When I was traveling back from Tahiti, I had an overnight in Auckland, New Zealand. Over the past year, I’ve flown thru there several times, but never actually left the airport.  So on whim, I looked into going to Auckland for a quick trip, I was able to use miles for a free ticket and points for the hotel, so it was easy choice to make.

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I first visited Auckland in 1999, and it has changed quite a bit. I do remember for years saying it was favorite city in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying Australia, but I have a love like no other for New Zealand.  And what’s worse about that comment, I’ve not left Auckland! I am looking forward to exploring the rest of this beautiful country.

On my previous trip to Melbourne, I had purchased a dress by a New Zealand Designer, Maaike.  A google search lead me to Ponsonby.  For someone who “claims” to hate shopping, I really enjoyed Ponsonby . And well, as of late I’ve been a bit more daring in my clothing choices, so shopping off the beaten path is fun.  My wondering took me into Miss Crabb,  where I such fun trying some of their clothing.  My right ankle, however, was not having fun. It decided that it was going to swell to epic portions.  So that night it was room service and cuddle with some voltaren and ice.

The next day, I headed over to a  French Festival at Queens Wharf. And then I checked out the Britomart area and found  a fun store, World.  The decor is a traveler’s dream. The shop was a treasure trove of goodies. I waandered around a bit, then met Beau. Boy did he have some fun with me. Sold me a dress, that “you can wear to 7-11”. Sure sure because I wear black sequins to grocery store.

I headed over to Waiheke island to tour some wineries.  It was luckily a quite and smooth ferry ride. I had arranged a tour, but one could easily manage without one.  I highly recommend taking a day or two out to visit Waiheke if you find yourself in the Auckland area.

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This was seriously a quick hop over to Auckland. I basically saw like 1 block.  I will be going back to New Zealand because there is just so more to discover. I just wish I had endless time.

You know from reading this, that I traveled with the smallest bag ever. When am I going to learn? I would probably save a lot of money, if I just traveled with the biggest suitcase I own.

Until next time, safe travels

French Polynesia-August 2017

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Tahiti is on most people’s travel bucket list.  It’s has such an illusion of grandeur and high price tag that goes along with it.  Well I had some free days in my schedule and thought it would be good idea to take a trip.  I really wanted to go to Samoa or the Cook Islands but the flights were just not working out in my favor.  The flights, while not ideal,worked for Tahiti, so off I went. I used my points/miles to book Emirates from Brisbane to Auckland and then Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete. My return was on Air New Zealand back to Auckland where I had to stay the night and then flew to Brisbane the next day.   Total flying each direction, was just shy of 9 hours.  And since I crossed the date line, leaving on Thursday meant I arrived on Wednesday.

I originally agreed with most bloggers, this is not a place you probably want to visit alone. If any other reason, it’s beautiful and you just want to be able to discuss it with someone. But then you start staring off into the vast blue skies and watching the amazing sunsets, and frankly you don’t care that you are alone.

I ended staying on the island of Papeete because I arrived too late to take a ferry to Moorea.  It was not bad, but I probably wouldn’t spend more then a night or two there. I signed up for an island tour and honestly, it reminded me a lot of Hawaii.

I also took the ferry over to Moorea and saw the ubiquitous over the water bungalows. The tour went off road into the pineapple fields and up a mountain.  I highly recommend getting away from the resort if you find yourself in the area.

But if you find yourself just sitting around, try to wake up early to watch the sunset .IMG_1903

It’s a bit of a pain to get to, but just amazing if you have the opportunity.  I would not hesitate to go again, by myself.  Just remember to bring a good book, hat and some sunscreen.

Until next time safe travels…….