Garuda Anxiety

I’m thrilled to be leaving this Sunday for a week away in the tropical Bali. However, the journey from conception of idea to arrival in my destination is proving to be quite the challenge.

This trip has been in the making since August 2008 when I purchased a charity ticket from the lovely team at Garuda Cardo through an Auction. $300 return to Jakarta! Not bad! This actually came at the perfect time as my friend was going to Indonesia in September and needed a friend to go on the trip. Sign me up!

Then fate happened to step in and decided I needed to slow right down. A 2m jump on a snowboard, 1 week of hospital and many x-rays later and I was in a back brace for the next 8 weeks. So, no Bali for me.

I recovered, I’m well and I have a deadline. February 21st 2010. The ticket must be used or it expires. Well I am certainly not one to waste especially in these crucial financial times. So I decided I must go it alone.

My friend believed she could save me from yet another solo trip by accompanying me. A girly holiday in the lap of luxury, relaxing on beaches and enjoying a good rest. Sounded perfect.

Again, fate steps in. My friend decides that really she can’t afford the trip after I spent 3 hours looking for flights for her and she would have to decline the offer to join me on this trip. A mere 4 weeks from the departue date and I was now friendless. Excellent.

EmoGirl_17_SadAndAlone-1.jpg image by aug292009

So it appeared that I may not ever get to Bali. But no. I stood my ground. I would not yield. “I will go to Bali alone and I will have a good time.”

Hotel booked just 3 days before I went, thanks to my amazing friend working at NRMA Travel, and it seems like all is well.

Welcome to Aneka Hotel Kuta

Final but very vital hurdle which must be faced before I am relaxing and having fun in the sun.


Now I’m not sure about all of you but I have heard that Garuda can be somewhat….. touch and go. Majority of the time all is well, but on the odd and very public occasion, they send the aviation industry into a frenzy.

I am hoping that after the hoopla I have been through to actually get this trip going, all will be safe, secure and things will run like clockwork. So slight anxiety which is odd for me as usually when flying I’m as calm as a Buddhist monk in the hills of Tibet. But I know that all fingers will be crossed and seat-belts will be fastened and eyes will be firmly shut!

Next stop…. BALI!

Sydney Sunday

Sunday is just the best day to explore Sydney. Especially when it’s sunny with blue skies and you are surrounded by great friends.

I was lucky to have all these components working for me last Sunday 31st January 2010, to enjoy the best of what Sydney had to offer.

I started the day with a train ride to my favourite station Circular Quay, caught a Ferry to Mosman and checked out the shops. We then went off to the World famous Taronga Zoo to see Baby Luk Chai, elephant cutie!

Back on the Ferry at lunch time and then off to the IVY Marco Polo Pool for cocktails and chilled out tunes. Finishing the night in Martin Place with hundreds of cheering fans for Mr Roger Federers Australian Open Win.

Could one have a better day? Me thinks not!!

Details and a few tips for each venue and activity:

Ferry to Taronga Zoo

There is a direct ferry which goes from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo which takes aproximately 15 minutes and gives you stunning views of Sydney Harbour. However, it must be noted, when one arrives at Taronga Zoo and notices the sign advising that you have reached your destination, it is time to disembark. Do not do what my lovely friend Emma and I did and think that some nice chap will come and tell you it is time to get off. Two announcements were made and it was not until the ferry was pulling out that we noticed we should have gotten off. All was ok. Buses go regularly from the Mosman terminal and take you straight to Military Road and from there you can take another bus to the entrance of Taronga Zoo.

Ferry information:

Taronga Zoo

This Zoo has to have the most remarkable view in the world. The backdrop of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the brilliant blue ocean behind the giraffe or Bear enclosure. The Bird show is certainly a sight to see. Must remember to watch the birds and not the glistening sunlight on Sydney Harbour.

Little Baby Elephant, Luk Chai, is star attraction at the moment. See him and his friends having baths at 10.30am.

For information on tickets, show times and opening hours visit:

IVY -Marco Polo -Pool Bar

Sunday sessions at the infamous IVY are a must for any Sydney socialite. Cocktails, DJ, high fashion and all of this pool side! You can easily get caught up in the glitz and glamour and spend your afternoon show-boating and checking that your outfit is picture perfect. Alternatively, do what we did and jump right in. Get in the pool, cool off and frolic about. There is a great vibe and on this steamy Sunday there was no better place in Sydney.

For info on how to get into this exclusive bar:

Tennis in Martin Place

For large Scale events, the lovely City of Sydney Council set up a HUGE TV for all of us to come together and watch. We sat with 100’s of others to watch Federer take yet another Grand Slam title. The atmosphere was great and it provided the perfect wind down for our hectic Sydney day.

For more info on events happening in Sydney:


The USA by Brooke Schoenman

Brooke Schoenman had the difficult task this week of analysing her country from a Traveller’s perspective. Why so difficult? Because she comes from one of the biggest and most well known country in the world, The big ol’ US of A.
Brooke has been living in Australia and is now getting the chance to reflect on her home country. She loves her adopted country but of course misses the creature comforts such as a quiet weekend with family and some yummy chocolate chip cookies.
Chech out Brooke’s awesome blog as she trots around the world, especially her video blogs!

  1. Name Brooke Schoenman
  1. Occupation Traveler / Writer
  1. Country of (Temporary) Residence Australia
  1. Country of Origin USA
  1. email/contact/ website, Twitter: @brookeschoenman

  1. 6. Why do you love Travel?

That is a really tough question!  I love to see new places, experience other cultures and all that fun stuff…. but I think I also love travel because I feel like I am at my best when I’m doing it.  In my normal life, I’m quite reserved and shy, but when I head out on the road – by myself – I come out of my shell.

  1. 7. Favourite place in your home country and why?

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio – It is THE BEST roller coaster theme park EVER!  I was raised from a young age on roller coasters, and I still look forward to the bigger and the better!

  1. 8. Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

Uhm… Cedar Point? 🙂  The country is so big; it is hard to pick out the best.  Everyone should experience New York City and get a taste of the southwest states in my opinion.

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

Australia!  At least that’s where I am trying to live at the moment.  Hopefully, I will be applying for a partner visa with my Aussie boyfriend come later this year!

  1. 10. Favourite activity when around your city?

It has been a while since I’ve been home!  Peoria, Illinois is not a small city, but it is not Chicago either, so there isn’t much in the area of tourist attractions.  I really just enjoy hanging out with friends and family, going to dinner, going bowling or catching a concert.

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

I definitely need to explore more of America.  Perhaps, if I bring my boyfriend home with me, I will have more motivation to see the rest of the States.  The US is truly gigantic, and I have only been to Arizona in the West.  Many people laugh when they hear I’ve traveled to Kyrgyzstan but have never been to Washington D.C.

  1. 12. Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?

If English is not your native language, try to learn a bit before coming over.  Outside of large cities, people may not know how to help or understand foreign tourists as they don’t see them as often.

  1. 13. Must see movie featuring your country and Why?

I’m drawing a blank… The only thing that keeps coming to mind is “American Pie” and all the other teen/college type movies that make us look ridiculous.  Please don’t base your idea of America on these 🙂

  1. 14. The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

A good burger, apple pie and chocolate chip cookies 🙂  As surprising as it was, I happened to miss a good burger (not McD’s style) when on the road.  They’re just never the same abroad!

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

How much? Can you tell me where… ?  Thank you.

  1. 16. Best time of year to visit?

I guess that depends on what you want to see.  For Australians that never see snow, winter (their summer) is a good time to visit many states.  The southern states get very hot in the summer, so try to get to them in the spring or fall.

  1. 17. The 4 words that best describe your country:

Diverse.  Gigantic.  Expensive.  Proud.

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