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!

Melbourne, Australia-August 2017

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After a very rocky start, I have become to love Melbourne. When my friend, Katherine, who lives in Sydney, mentioned that she has never been, I suggested that we do a girl’s weekend.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Grand Hyatt Melbourne? Seriously if you are heading to Melbourne, this should be your first choice. Book a club level room, and be spoiled by the amazing lounge staff.

As what usually happens with trips like this, we start out with like 10 people and end up with 4. And we wonder what we were thinking inviting anyone else in the first place. I was flying down from Brisbane and arrived before the others. I “cheated” and hit up my one of my favourite shops, Tiffany Treloar, with the promise to wait to buy for when the girls were with me. We had grand ideas going on a tour or something, but in the end we barely made it off Collins St.  We appropriately started off with champagne and macaroons.

Followed by some serious and I do mean, serious shopping……

Love that Katherine’s boyfriend was such a good sport about shopping with the ladies.  We headed off to Rockpool at the Crown Casino. If you know Melbourne, you know that the Crown is huge entertainment complex,  but really there is a like one main entrance. Our taxi driver insisted that there were 5 Crown’s in Melbourne and we needed to be very specific about where we were going. We gave him the exact address and even then insisted that it was not sufficient.  He then started making racist comments.  Note to the wise, I would avoid Melbourne taxis, if at possible.

The weekend was just what the doctor ordered, good friends, good food and lots and lots of laughs. I hope to be able to repeat it again in the future.

Until next time.. Safe Travels!

Adventures in Australia- May 2017

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My little accident resulted in me having to cancel my planned trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Since I was not planning on being in Brisbane, I decided to head to Melbourne for a change of scenery.  I booked into the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.  It turns out that was a blessing in disguise. I was practically unable to walk.The poor staff had to put up with me whining for the week. They were fantastic! Once the managers, Jessica, felt bad that I was missing my trip to Vietnam. So she arranged for Vietnam to come to me. Best hotel stay EVER!  Even if the lounge staff was trying to force feed me bananas and yogurt.

My Australian parents, Jenny and John, were heading off a 7 week trip of the world. So as one does, I decided to join them on the first leg of their trip. I actually surprised them at the airport, and flew with them to Sydney. I do sort of admit this is taking Bon Voyage a little too far.  But hey why not?

For some reasons, the hotel rates in Sydney are really high. So I used my points to book into the Park Hyatt Sydney. Big Mistake!  I got lucky and they gave me an upgrade. The pictures show just how horrible it was……

That view…… so funny thing the hotel is only 4 stories. I was on the 2nd floor.  When I woke up I opened curtains and saw this. I sat up to take a picture. I had no regard for the fact people walking right below could see me clearly. Oh well.

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At the end of May, I was scheduled to fly back to Chicago. I was booked on Qantas to Sydney, then United to LA then Chicago.  I am not a fan of the day time flying, so I did not sleep much night before. Plus I had a 6:00 am departure.  By the time I arrived on the United flight to LA, I was ready for a nap. We were originally delayed for 30 mins, then it was hour and then well, 4 hours later, it cancelled.  United was AMAZING.  Seriously, I was laughing with the flight attendants and the ground crew.  It was not ideal, but they made it fun. And the best part? I got to go to Vivid Sydney with my friend Madison.

52 hours later, I arrived in Chicago. I went to follow up with my Dr. regarding my broke ankle. I ended up back in the ER, again. I had developed a blood clot, that was the horrible pain I had in Melbourne. Let this be a lesson, GOOGLE is not a doctor. Don’t be stupid, if you don’t feel right. Seek medical attention immediately. I am not being funny.  Seriously, my clot is pretty much my whole leg. I am currently taking blood thinners and I have to wear a compression hose.  It’s not fun.  So my PSA, if in doubt get checked. Don’t trust google.

Until next time, Safe Travels!

 

Adventures in Australia- April 2017

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April was an interesting month for me.  When I returned back to Brisbane, early from Japan, I was really tired. I thought it was from traveling and did not think much of it.  Until 2 in the morning, when I woke up with crazy ear pain. What was odd was my ear was leaking. I ignore it at first but then my mind went to a crazy place, like maybe my brain is leaking out of my head. So off to the hospital I went. Bad ear and sinus infection. Surprise surprise. A few days with some drugs I would be right as rain. Hmm, silly Flo.

My friend Cassandra was down in Canberra for work for the week, so I flew down to Sydney for the weekend to catch up with her.  She flew out on Saturday morning, so I managed to catch up with some friends at the zoo.

I also acted like a tourist at the weekend market at the Rocks.  It amazing how much shopping damage one can do in such a short amount of time!

Like Paris and Melbourne, Sydney took a while to grow on me. This weekend was pretty nice, maybe because I had no agenda other then just taking in the sites.

I headed back to the States in mid April. I was still taking antibiotics and steroids, which made for quite the long journey home. I unfortunately had the window seat and had to airplane yoga, every hour on the hour.  Apparently, I just do not do well on that day time flight from Australia, yet I keep booking it. One day I will learn……

Since I had been pretty sick, I had made follow up appointments with my Doctor’s in the States. But when I arrived, my ear was killing me. I could barely hear and it was still leaking.  Turned out the antibiotic ear drops had pooled in my ear canal. It was so gross. But man the relief I felt when a few minutes later I could hear and the pain was gone.  At the time I thought it was funny that the Ear Dr. was on the same floor as my Orthopedic Dr.

Later that same day, I was walking to a meeting with my assistant. I was telling her about something that was bothering me. Without any warning, my right ankle snapped and I fell on my left knee.  Ouch. All I could think was this did not just happen. My assistant started to laugh and was like Flo, are you ok? Get up! A few people walking by offered to assist and one kind lady refused to leave until I got up. I sat there for a few minutes, thinking I did not want to deal with the reality that was waiting for me. I managed to get up, it was bad. But I had an appointment so I kept it and went about my day.  A few hour later, I started screaming, someone take me to the hospital. This is ridiculous.  At the ER they asked me several times if I had hit my head, because I would not stop laughing. Not even when the Dr. came in and told my I had broken my right ankle. Unbelievable. I also managed to bruise my left kneecap.  Oh fun times.

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This is not my first rodeo with the boot, but it is my first time with my right leg and having both legs being banged up. Walking was a challenge. Luckily I had really awesome nurses for the first few days. Thank you Sebastien and Nicolas! Flying back to Australia was interesting. I had to learn to ask and accept help. A lot of help.  The airlines for the most part were great. And I was fortunate that I had wonderful friends in Brisbane, to come and meet at the airport. Thanks again Jenny and John!

Stay tuned for future adventures…. until then safe travels!

 

 

Adventures in Australia-March 2017

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March found me back outside enjoying the beautiful skies of Brisbane.  After the hot summer days, it was refreshing to be able to be outside again and not feel like you were melting

March also brought Champagne Tuesday’s. Ok, who am I a kidding, it was champagne day for every day the ended in Y.  My friend Madison flew up from Sydney to join in the festivities. She enjoyed it so much, she flew up again the next week.  ( Truth I think she really wanted to try the Pomegrante Baba Ganoush on Virgin Australia)

The group favorite of the 3 pictured was the Ruinart Rose. Definitely worth checking out if you are into bubbles.

I also had the pleasure of taking a trip to Noosa. Its a beach town located just north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. I really did enjoy it,  but it’s the quintessential beach town. Great place to visit, but I am not sure that I could live there full time.

With fall settling nicely in Brisbane, I was happy to have the opportunity to get out and discover some of the local markets again. One Saturday found me at the West End market with some friends. Fortunately I had just eaten a large breakfast, because imagine my surprise to see Langos, Empandas and Arepas. I guess all the good food is hiding from me at these markets I have not been visiting.

Stay tuned for more adventures. Until next time, safe travels!

Adventures in Australia-January/ February 2017

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Well I “survived” a Queensland summer. Barely. Brisbane was HOT.  In fact, the heat in January broke some records.  I grew up in Chicago, I thought I could handle the heat. NOPE.  The main reason is the Brisbane is an outdoor living city. Because most of the time the weather is pleasant, people tend to spend a lot of time outside. Well compared to Chicagoan’s, who spend 3-4 months a year in hibernation.

I celebrated my 1st Australia Day. It’s quite similar to the 4th of July in the States. Including fireworks

So what did I do for the few days I was actually in Brisbane?  I watched a lot of sunrises and sunsets from the inside of my air-conditioned apartment.

Other hot day activities included, actually going inside the Queensland Museum. Never mind I walked past it everyday for months. I went with some friends and I pretty sure we went on hottest day ever, because all we did was complain the entire 2 minute walk.  We almost skipped the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, because it required a walk in the sun.
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For Christmas I had given my parents Opera tickets. I then started getting invites to all sorts of events at their local arts center.  Not that I was going to fly to Florida, but I could handle walking across the street to Queensland Performing Art Center (QPAC). I mean while I watching the world go by I could not help but notice the advertisements for shows.

Some friends were interested in going to see Ludovico Einaudi.  Given my new boyfriend ( OK, not really my boyfriend) Leslie Odom, Jr.  is just amazing on the ivories, I thought I would give Ludovico a shot.  Another friend was in town and I mentioned that “a piano guy” was playing. He wanted to go but could not find tickets for “The Piano Guys” Oops….. The concert was fun, something different. It’s good to get out one’s comfort zone every now and then.

I also took a detour on my way back from Bali to go to Perth. I had do something with the birdnest of hair on my head. Since it was first time going in summer, I decided to book a tour out to Rottnest Island.  I swear it’s amazing how quickly I forget vital facts like I suffer from horrible motion sickness. It’s an island in the ocean…….  I was ok for about the first hour of the boat trip. It was a cruise down the Swan River. Then we hit the Indian Ocean.  Um….. seriously… if anyone reading this hears me talking about getting on a boat… just say NO. It was horrible.

Rottnest is a car-free island. I knew my lazy self would not want to bicycle around so I opted for a bus-tour.  Which was good because it was air-conditioned.  The tour guide suggested I try the pharmacy for some drugs. Luckily I was much better on the return journey.  But I choose to leave the island early because I was just not feeling well and it was  bit hot. If you happen to make it out there, I would recommend plan on cycling around and going swimming. It looked nice.

I flew back to Brisbane, via Sydney on Virgin Australia. I took the morning flight and I passed on the breakfast option. So I was actually hungry but the time I boarded my Sydney to Brisbane flight. I fully expected the curried chicken I had twice a few days before. So imagine my surprise when I was offered something or Pomegranate Baba Ganoush. I don’t remember what something was, but it did not sound good and let’s be honest nor did the Pomegranate Baba Ganoush. But Burnt Fig Ice Cream surprised so bring on the Baba….. Oh man I about to fly somewhere on Virgin to eat that again. It was SO good.  Carrie P or Michelle, if you are reading this, please figure out how to make this for me. PLEASE

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End of February finds me back in Australia. Hopefully I’ll be staying put for the new few weeks. Unless of course I find a reason to get on Virgin flight……Until then, Safe Travels!