For Crying Out…. Massage

Crying Massage

Essential oils, strong hands, calming music, muscle relaxation and a river of tears. This shouldn’t be the usual combination for a massage but my 2 hour massage ended like this.

I’m not sure what it is about a massage, perhaps the relaxation of your entire body and the ability to let your mind go. Sometimes this can open up some pathways in our mind that had been previously shut or locked deep away. The rhythmic beats of the tribal drums, the soothing hands of a masseuse and then the tears flow.

One minute I was blissful in my relaxed state and the next minute I was in tears. So perhaps there is such a thing as being too relaxed. Going too deep into ones thoughts can open up feelings and memories that were locked for some reason.

There are lots of other great ways to relax, that hopefully won’t make you cry. Walking along the beach at sunset, taking a dip in the pool or reading a book ( a happy book, no more tears OK)

Note: 2 hour massage after daily 1 hour massages might be a bit too much. Ease into the relaxation and perhaps opt for jasmine incense not ylang ylang…. Now known as wah wah!

Bart Simpson Monkey – Bali


Bart Simpson made the phrase “Eat my Shorts” famous in the early 90’s. My new little monkey friend decided to take this phrase literally on my recent trip to Bali and actually bit my shorts.

Perhaps context is needed for this story. I was visiting the famous Monkey Temple in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Not only is this place famous for it’s monkeys and beautiful rainforests but also the naughtiness of these little buggers. Biting is common practice and theft is the norm. Beware your appendages as well as your belongings when visiting this place.

I managed to have my leg climbed twice within two minutes of entering the forest. I was carrying bananas and I was unaware that these belonged to Mr. Large Monkey. He walked right over and demanded them back. I gave him one to appease him and tried to share them with monkeys inside. But no, Mr Large Monkey would have none of it. He decided to climb my leg and grab another. The guide nearby gave me the advice to place the bananas’ under my shirt so he wouldn’t see them. Ah clever thinking, if one were around say dolphins who cannot climb! Mr Large Monkey saw clothing as no obstacle to what was rightfully his. He climbed my leg once again and reached under my shirt. I tried to tell him that this was inappropriate behaviour but he made a very valid point by baring his teeth. I argued no more and surrendered his precious goods.

Lesson #1: The banana’s are Mr Large Monkey’s. Do not try and keep them from him, he knows where they are and he is not afraid to strip search you to get them.

So we make it inside to the Monkey bathing pool where the monkeys are going, well, ape! Climbing onto statues and branches and leaping into the pool. Pulling one another’s tail and wrestling in the water appears to be the aim of the game. No one wins, everyone has a go and a whole lot of noise is made. I approach the pool to get a closer photo of their antics. I managed to stay an appropriate distance away so as not to get splashed by the leaps and bounds of the semi drowned fuzz balls . One very cheeky monkey thought he would outsmart me by leaping up into the tree beside me, finding a suitable place to perch on a branch and shaking himself dry to shower me with the mucky play water.

Lesson #2: You can never be too careful around monkeys. Always be on the lookout and remember that they can climb above you. If they want to do something, they will do it. Oh and wet monkeys are cheekier then dry monkeys. Something in the water maybe?

We proceeded on cautiously to the temple and ritual area. This was quieter with less tourists and more sculptures and artworks in stone. As we stood in the grand Balae overlooking the forest, a tired and fed up monkey collapsed on the banister in front of us. After much cooing and awing from myself and a few other tourists he lifted his head, sighed and rested on the railing once again.

The poor little tyke had obviously had a big day and was tired of tourists. My guide reached out to him and the monkey gratefully took the helping hand. Happy to have a friend. Again my guide reached for him and this time the monkey sat up to inspect. After gaining trust my guide allowed the monkey on his shoulder. Due to my initial close encounter at the front gate, I was a little apprehensive to get so close and decided taking photos was best.

My guide however, insisted that I get close to little Mr Woeful monkey and allow him to climb on me. After much hesitation I crouched down to the forlorn little monkey and allowed him to hold my hand and inspect my ring, He then jumped on my knee after an encouraging pat. So sweet. He then began to play with the strings on my shorts and just as I was giggling away at his curiosity.. crunch!!!

Little bugger decided to take a bite and see what flavour I was. I leapt away and he leapt back and bared his teeth in a defensive stance. Hello!! YOU JUST BIT ME! Should I not be the defensive one? Well I was! I grabbed my guide and thrust him in front of me, using him as a human shield as Mr Woeful monkey followed me round and round.  When at a safe distance I managed to skip away watching then ever closely for the naughty little Bart Simpson who ate my shorts.

Lesson #3:  As cute, sweet and innocent as a monkey may look, remember, they are not. They are cheeky little buggers and they will bite if you do something to upset them. Shorts may contain food and if they believe this, they will try to eat them. Don’t trust anyone! Or any monkey!

If you would like to endure the same terrifying and life risking experience, visit the UBUD MONKEY FOREST


Location: Monkey Forest Road, Pandantengal, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Price: 20,000 Ruphia (Indonesian) -$2.50 Australian

Best way to get there is by hiring a guide and doing a full day tour.

Sunsets – All the Colours of the Rainbow

I love Sunsets! Sunsets are probably the most beautiful and easiest thing to take photos of.

I could fill albums upon albums with sunsets. I am not so much an early riser so cannot speakj on behalf of Sunrise lovers, but sunsets are most certainly my favourite sky.

Recently in Bali I decided to experiement with some settings on my camera and see how the sunset looked in ALL THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW!

Which one is your favourite?

And which one’s are Natural?

Sunsets are the day kissing the night hello!

Pete in Sweden

Pete is a world traveller in the true sense, havng lived in Sweden, France and the UK and regularly travelling throughout Europe.

I met Pete in a hostel in Madrid in 2006 and we have been great friends ever since. If I ever need travel advice, he is the first one I turn to.

Pete now lives in Sweden and is loving the summers and the random coffee breaks. Also, of course, the hot swedish girls!!

Pete Hodbod

Videogame Designer

Country of Residence

Country of Origin

contact/ website

Why do you love Travel?
The world is such a big interesting place, and I feel a need to see as much of it as possible.

Favourite place in your home country and why?
The Supermarket, because it has everything I miss most from home under one roof!

Best place for tourists to visit in your country?
The Archipelagos – just beautiful.

What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country?
London – It’s so different to the rest of the UK, it’s like being in another country. It’s probably the most international city on the planet and you can travel just about anywhere on the cheap.

Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?
The Swedish government deliberately go out of their way to make it difficult for you to buy alcohol. Supermarkets can only sell beer up to 3.5%, so for anything stronger, spirits, or wine, you’ll need to go to the state run “System Bologet” where they deliberately close when you want to buy it most – after 6pm on weekdays, or after 3 on Saturday. Swedish people have learned however to stock up in advance.

Favourite activity when around your city?
Fika. It’s a Swedish obsession to stop for a break in the afternoon for coffee and cake.

Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?
Sweden’s a big country, and so far I’ve seen only the big cities and the South West. The country goes all the way north into the Arctic Circle (where they have the famous Ice Hotel), so there’s a lot left to see.

Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?
Wait until summer before coming!
Summers are short but beautiful while winters are long and cold. Many Swedes take holidays abroad in winter but stay home in summer.

Must see movie featuring your country and Why?
You should watch the Wallander detective series (Version Original) to get a feeling for everyday life in Sweden.

The best book to read before visiting your country?
“The girl with a Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson for a taste of modern, gritty, and brutal modern Swedish crime literature.

The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?
Kanelbullar (Sweet Cinnamon rolls). I gained a 5-a-day addiction when I first arrived, but have since managed to ween myself off them.

The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier? E.g. How much? Too expensive or Hello.
Swedish people generally speak excellent english and enjoy using foreigners as a chance to practice their english. But saying Hello, Thanks and Goodbye in Swedish is always polite.

Hej = Hello (hey)
en öl, tack! = one beer please (en url tack)
hejdå = goodbye (Hey-doh)

Best time of year to visit?
May to September

The 4 words that best describe your country:
Hot Blond Swedish Girls!

Garuda Air- A-OK

I have to admit that when boarding the Garuda flight to Indonesia I was feeling somewhat anxious. I might have even said a prayer or 6, just in case. But my worry was completely unnecessary. The flight was very, pleasant, the staff were delightful and the food was really nice too.

Garuda have had some aviation difficulties in the past and this has cast quite a shadow over their name in the industry. I hope to see this changing more and more as their technical standards increase and their security measures tighten.

I was surprised to find spacious and comfortable seating, also lucky to have 2 seats to myself. The entertainment system is state of the art with movies on demand, tv shows and music channels. The food came quickly and it was really tasty for aeroplane food. A paddle pop was given to us an hour before landing, a bribe or just a sweet treat? I’ll take it either way.

I actually felt bad for my doubtful approach to the service of Garuda. On the plane I watched a film called Love Happens starring Jennifer Aniston about continuing life even after tragedy has happened in your life. The message used through out the film is ”A-OK”. The stars in the film are encouraged to take on life’s challenges and face them. Even though something bad happened in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen again and you can’t live your life in fear avoiding any tragedy or sadness. So being scared of airlines because they have had technical difficulties in the past just limits our options and our life experiences.

Arriving safely in the lovely tropical surroundings of the Jakarta airport, I felt rather sheepish. My fears were unwarranted. I would now recommend Garuda to anyone, especially those heading to the carriers host country Indonesia.


Everyone’s a Comedian in Mumbai

Well not all 25 million of Mumbai’ s population are comedians, but in the HQ club on the Colaba Causeway on Stand up comedy night, they are. The title more has to do with one particular comedians approach to comedy on the night…… taking a stab at Emma and Australians during his routine.

I was staying with friends in Mumbai and was told on one particular night we would be attending a stand up comedy night. I was thrilled as I had never been to a live comedy show but had always wanted to go. Even more enticing was the fact that we knew one of the comedians as he was a friend of the people I was staying with.

We arrived at HQ in the popular Mumbai tourist zone of Colaba. Here there are markets in the day and busy restaurants and bars in the night. HQ, a trendy night club and bar is at the start of the Colaba causeway. We ascended the stairs to meet my friend’s group who were there to support their friend on his big night.

The night would have 4 amateur comedians doing a 20 minute set each. And they were most certainly placed in order of hilarity. The 1s being terrible, the 2nd tiring towards the end of the long routine, the 3rd very funny and able to keep the laughs coming and the 4th had everyone rolling on the floor with laughter.

Little did I know when my new friend, the 4th and final comedian Rohan Joshi, started his set that I would soon be come the focus of the entire room. As comedians always do, he touched on subjects close to the audiences heart such as the inter state rivalry, food of the country and crime. He then went on to comment on the audience before posing the question “Is anyone here from Australia?”  My dear friend Priyo had told me that the comedian would have a surprise for me, but insisted it wouldn’t be a joke. Lucky I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him because very quickly, all eyes were on me and Rohan was ecstatic to be able to use his Australian Jokes in a live routine.

The lovely Mr Joshi first chose to comment on the recent student attacks on Indians in Australia, a touchy subject, he begged me not to hurt him for what he was about to do. He then posed 2 questions to me “ 1. Do we get a birth certificae or a warrant card? 2. Am I here on holiday or parole?. He finished off the torture by stating it was ok that we’re all convicts, he can forgive us for threatening Indian students but I must apolgise for Inflicting Fosters on India. The Australian Beer, which is rarely sold in Australia can be found everywhere in India and Rohan Joshi said “You can immediately identify the people in a bar you don’t want to talk to by the beer they are holding, you stay away from those drinking Fosters”. It’s a sore note and a typical joke we Australians get when we travel, but really I think I got off lightly.

I survived the onslaught and after his set Rohan made a beeline to me to beg forgiveness. I too offered an apology, of course for the amber ale of my country and all was forgotten. A great night and certainly an experience to be included in the a stand up comedians routine.

You can see the hilarious antics of Rohan Joshi here on a live You tube streaming:

Or on the Indian TV show, Times Drive India- on which Rohan Joshi is the host:

Chris – The Aussie Nomad

Chris is an avid traveller, blogger and tweeter.Blogging and twitting about his travels around the world, Chris has some great stories to share. Chris is also a techie and has saved my life on Twitter and WordPress a number of times. Read why it is that Chris loves his travel and his AUSSIE AUSSIE Home.


Chris Richardson


IT Consultant

Country of Residence


Country of Origin


email/contact/ website

Why do you love Travel?

Ever since my first trip to Hong Kong ( I’ve been hooked. The food, the culture, just seeing how the rest of the world lives is fascinating to me. Also I’m a sucker for wanting to check out old buildings and the history of places, Australia lacks that being such a new country compared to the rest of the world.

Favourite place in your home country and why?

Nothing beats my hometown of Casterton ( although Melbourne is a close second. Back home has the quiet country roads, the small town community and my family. Its peaceful and full of so many great memories, its hard to beat that.

Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

Everyone knows about Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru and the Gold Coast these days. I’d love to see them venture into the smaller towns of Australia. Perhaps Ballarat in Victoria to see Sovereign Hill or maybe Tamworth for the Country Music Festival.

What other country would you live in if you had to leave your country?

I think if I had to leave Australia I would want to live in Canada. for a long time I have seen the two countries as having similar values and attitudes. Not to forget everybody I have known from Canada just seem to be great down to earth people.

Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?

Travelling with some friends up to Queensland on the plane. We flew out about 9am and had our first beer 20 min later when the seat belt sign went off. That set the tone for the rest of the week.

Favorite activity when around your city?

I actually enjoy getting out and going for a run/walk around Lake Wendouree. It’s not much of a lake with the drought now but its a great 6km walk to wind down and relax.

Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?

While I have travelled just about all over Australia, I’ve only just scratched the surface. An example was my visit to Tasmania that lasted just two days for work. I’d love to ride around it on a motorbike and take it all in.

Any warnings for travelers visiting in your country?

Australia is a big place. Everything is spread far and wide so be sure to factor that in when you come to visit. Don’t just think you can zip down the road to see Melbourne when you live in Sydney.

Must see movie featuring your country and Why?

I think people should watch The Castle. It’s a classic Aussie movie that I have watched many a time. It’s full of great Aussie characters and you will get more than your share of great Aussie slang.

The best book to read before visiting your country?

I’m not so up on great Australian books but my advice would be to grab a couple of good guide books (Lonely Planet etc) and go with that.

The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

Every Australian loves a BBQ so head to the local butcher shop grab a nice big old piece of steak and find the nearest BBQ to cook it up on. We are also fairly partial to a great feed of Fish & Chips.

The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier?

How you goin? – How are you today?

Mate – Friend

Barbie – BBQ

Best time of year to visit?

I would visit from December to about March so you catch the summer.

The 4 words that best describe your country:

Sun, Surf, BBQ’s & Beer

Interview with an Indonesian Local -Dani in Jakarta

Dani Yahya is my delightful friend living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dani was a great host over my two day stay and so I decided to interview him to learn why he loves living in Jakarta.

Great tips and advice from Dani the best of JAKARTA!

Name: Dani Yahya

Occupation: Business Development Manager for Combi Logistics Indonesia, Freight Forwarder

Location: JAKARTA, Indonesia

(At time of interview- Dani was in traffic.)


  1. 1. Why did you choose to base yourself in Jakarta?

It’s a good lifestyle. I grew up in Jakarta and my family is based here. Our family business also operates out of Jakarta so it makes it easier to be close to it. I could’ve actually based myself elsewhere such as Singapore or  UK, but I like being in Jakarta because I can have a maid, and driver and it makes life just that bit easier. Also my friends are here and there are so many great malls and eateries to hang out in, we never get bored.

  1. 2. What makes Jakarta typical of Indonesia?

It’s the capital so there are loads of people from all over Indonesia here trying their luck in the big city. This creates a melting pot of cultures from the different regions of Indonesia which adds diversity and flavour to the city. It’s not actually typical. You find that Bali and Jakarta are very different. So Jakarta is typical in the sense that there are many different Indonesian province cultures in the city but the modern development and construction is far ahead of all other parts of Indonesia which makes it unique.

  1. 3. What makes day to day living great in Jakarta?

Having a maid. I must confess it does make a huge difference to my standard of living. After living in the UK for 3 years in dorms by myself, coming back to those creature comforts and being pampered just made Jakarta great. Great people to spend time with. It’s a good place to make money, earn a decent wage and then enjoy that income in the malls and restaurants with your friends. I have a good lifestyle here that I perhaps couldn’t have elsewhere.

Also, you can go as expensive as you like and you can go as cheap as you like. No matter what your budget you will be able to enjoy yourself and find somewhere nice to spend your time and enjoy the city.

  1. 4. What makes life tough in Jakarta?

TRAFFIC! Traffic and Traffic! It’s a nightmare and it can really hinder your view of Jakarta. I hope that when tourists come it doesn’t taint the view of the rest of the city but it can get in the way so just plan ahead. There is also no decent public transportation apart from Taxi’s. They have brought in the TransJakarta bus way but this is new and still they are sorting out the planning and running of this system. This is buses with their own laneway but at the moment it is adding to the traffic and it’s not as efficient as say a sky train or and MRT.

There is also a large wealth gap between the rich and the poor. I am lucky to come from a well off family and cannot really speak on behalf of the lower socio economic division of Jakarta, however I do see that it would be very diffucult. Wages are low and living costs are high. Average wage would be $200 USD a month for someone in a medium sized firm as a fresh graduate. This would not get you very far with city rent prices, petrol for the cars and day to day living costs. Life could be tough in this situation.

  1. 5. Do people of Indonesia get support from the Indonesian Government?

No. I do not feel the benefit directly so it’s difficult for me to answer that. The health system is good but not wonderful. If you have money, it’s not a problem, but for those struggling it can be hard. I think this is the case in most developing countries. There aren’t really established systems for government grants for new business or education or it’s jus not commonly known how to access this.

  1. 6. What would make Jakarta better?

Less Traffic. Life is easier with less traffic. Much more enjoyable and stress free. This is never going to happen though if the sales of Toyota and Honda continue to increase as they are. A better transport system as well because it would stop so much car use.

  1. 7. Was Jakarta hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis?

Yes and no. Yes if you were doing business internationally. No because there is a very strong domestic market.

  1. 8. Is Jakarta now recovering?

Recovering. Of course, as the world is recovering, Jakarta recovers.  It will take a while however for us to get back on our feet and start building those international trade again.

  1. 9. How can Tourists experience the real Jakarta?

Contact me. Haha just kidding. But really, my email is at the top so feel free to contact me if you are visiting Jakarta. If people don’t know anyone in Jakarta they can still experience the real side. The best way to explore the city is through the locals eyes. Try and get to know some local people and ask lots of questions. The old city of Jakarta shows more of the true side and also the miniature Indonesia park, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, is a great sample of Indonesian culture.

10. What are the top 3 things to see in  Jakarta?

-Shopping malls shopping malls and shopping malls

-Ancol – A stunning seaside area with resorts, swimming pool and water park, theme park, indoor movie theatre, fantastic seafood restaurants and boat rides. There is even a golf course. You can stay here in the Mercure Hotel or in the bungalow styled rooms of the Butri Duyung. There is also the art village with local handicrafts and typical Indonesian designs. A great place to buy souvenirs

– Batavia, Old city. Museums, Café’s and art in this area

11. Why should people choose Jakarta as a holiday destination?

It’s cheaper! You are a millionaire here. $110 USD is approximately 1 million. It’s awesome, how often do you get to say “I’m a millionaire”. There are so many different things in one place as it’s an all in city. The mountains are only two hours drive and only two hours away there is another beachside resort. Jakarta itself has the sea and resort style as well as the modern city with sky scrapers, museums and so many activities.

12. What is the best way to win the heart of the Indonesian people?

‘Indonesian people are easy to please. They are interested by new people. They like the Europeans because they are different and just by saying hello and smiling back you can warm their heart. They love to have a chat and talk to you about their country so listen to what they have to say and you can learn a lot. They will also be very willing to help you and teach you about their country.

13. What is the typical food of Jakarta and where is the best place to get it?

Gado gado- a vegetable dish is typical of Indonesia and easy to find here. The Satay house has great gado gado and famous satay. Chicken, beef and mutton sampler is a good choice. Of course you must also have Nasi Goreng. This is good anywhere and always a safe choice.

14. If people have time, where else should they visit in Indonesia?

Other than Bali, Yogyakarta. You can see the Boro Budur Temple which is a Buddhist temple. It’s 50 minute flight from Jakarta or 8 hour drive. It’s a more cultural place and  you can more easily experience the real Indonesia.

15. Advice for travelers?

Beware of the Traffic in Jakarta. It will always be there so just be prepared for a lot of waiting (i.e. bring a good book, psp or ipod to keep you entertained). Bring lots of money and make sure you have a large credit limit on your credit card. There is such good shopping that you will want to cash in on it, So save up before you come and spend big when you’re here and enjoy your holiday. Oh and don’t be on a diet. There are too many good restaurants and great foods to try to have to say no. Especially the Gelato, it’s definitely my favourite.

Big thank you to Dani and his lovely family for my wonderful trip to Jakarta. I hope you get the chance to experience the great city of Jakarta and the hospitality of Indonesia just as I have done.


When you travel it is always good to have new experiences and try new things. When I read the sign for a “fish spa”, of course I enquired right away as to what this was . To my surprise and not to my delight, it is exactly as the name implies, a spa with fish. Don’t be alarmed, it is just for your feet.

At this point in time having realized what was in store for me, I would have quite happily declined but my Indonesian friend Dani said “Great! I always wanted to try that.” As he was paying and we had at least an hour to kill before dinner, I jumped right in. To the water that is! Feet first as one might say!

A fish spa is a small shallow pool filled with cool water and believe it or not, fish. Small, scaley, black, squirming fish. The fish swim around your feet until they spot a nice juicy looking bit of dead skin hanging off your heel and they begin to nibble. They enjoy the taste and apparently it’s extremely good for your feet as it is removing the dead skin and revealing the fresh layers underneath. Charming isn’t it! Nature’s own little beauty therapists.

How does one find themselves taking a fish spa?

The procedure is:

  1. Agree to the looming torture
  2. Have your feet sprayed with antibacterial spray and wiped down as you relax in a leather recliner.
  3. Place your feet in the shallow pool and await your fate
  4. Scream, shout and giggle uncontrollably as the hungry fish munch away on your dead skin
  5. Try to compose yourself and smile awkwardly at the now offended owners of the shop
  6. Realise, once you stop squirming about, that it actually feels quite good. Tingling and little nips here and there but strangely tranquil and calming. The little monsters are doing a fine job
  7. Half an hour goes by and it’s time to step out
  8. Have your feet dried rubbed down and moisturized
  9. Pay and apologise for your antics.
  10. Admit to the one that talked you into the treatment that the whole ordeal was actually quite a pleasant experience after all.

By far the strangest beauty treatment I’ve ever had however, I do believe I will do it again. You’re killing two birds with one stone really. Your feeding the fish and rejuvenating the feet. I give the Fish spa an 8/10 for it’s uniqueness, hilarity and effectiveness in foot cleansing.

NB: Do not place feet in your fishtank at home. The fish are actually a particular species, doctor fish, who do like the skin of human feet, your fish will probably just cower in the corner or have a heart attack. Not advised.

For more information visit:


If in Jakarta anytime soon, go to the good people at:

Talisa Family Massage and Reflexi

FX Plaza Life Style X’Entre

F3 JI. Jendral Sudirman Pintu


Phone: 021-2555 4136

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