Air Adventures- March 2018

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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.

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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.

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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…….

Adventures in Australia-February 2018

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It was finally time for me to head back to Brisbane. It felt like I had been gone forever! I could not have planned my departure any better. There was this white stuff on the ground………

I was SO happy to see these blue skies…..

And then I walked in into the best welcome EVER at the Hilton Brisbane. aka “home”.Felt a little bit like a rockstar.

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I arrived back in Brisbane to catch the last few days of the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. I stood in line for 45 minutes to see the Soul under the Moon for 30 seconds.

It was interesting. But since the exhibit was in final days, they already started taking some of it down. I did manage to see quite a bit. I am glad I braved the heat to check out.

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!

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!