Monthly Archives: December 2012

Adventures of the Traveller Em – South to North America

 

What an adventure I’ve been on. Travelling for more than 6 weeks now and the things I’ve seen and people I’ve met have blown my mind. Some old places, many new places and some unbelievable experiences.

Loving Travel. Machu picchu Town or Aguas Calientes, Peru

Loving Travel. Machu picchu Town or Aguas Calientes, Peru

My journey started in Peru in Lima as I met my trekking group for Black Dog Institute. This was the original reason for my trip, climbing Machu Picchu for Depression and anxiety research and awareness. One night there and then off to Cusco to begin our adventure with our guides. Visits to a school for girls, Pisac and the sacred valley followed by Sacsay Huaman.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

The trek went for 4 days through the Lares Valley with the 5th day culminating at the incredible Machu Picchu. Many tears as another Wonder of the New World is ticked off and bucket list item completed. After our epic adventure we had a few days extra to enjoy Cusco and my darling friend Jess joined me for the next leg of the trip.

 

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Jess and I went to Puno in Peru on Lake Titikaka and visited the floating islands of Uros. On this little tour we bumped into 6 men from Chile doing a motorbike roadtrip across South America. I love these random encounters, they make travel the fun it is.

Jess and I in Bolivia

Jess and I in Bolivia

Off to Bolivia where we went to Copacabana and straight to the stunning island of Isla Del Sol. We spent two nights here relaxing and seeing this small but beautiful island which seems part of an ocean- it’s a lake! Off then to La Paz and on to Uyuni and the Salt Flats but due to bus difficulties, we were held up in La Paz a day. This day was spent chilling with the Loki Hostal crew and taking it easy. Off then for 2 days, and 2 overnight bus trips, to Uyuni Salt Flats desert – incredible! No perspective in thesee deserts and colourful mountains that pop up out of nowhere. Then back to La Paz for a day of sightseeing and a crazy night of Karaoke at the Loki Hostal.

Interesting note –I did Karaoke in Peru twice, and Bolivia once. I usually do Karaoke once in every 2 years and here I do it 3 times in 2 weeks – conclusion. South America loves Karaoke.

jess kicking it to me in the Salt Flats of UYuni, BOLIVIA

jess kicking it to me in the Salt Flats of UYuni, BOLIVIA

I left the sweetie Jess and flew to Mexico City to join my bestie Emily. We flew to Cancun and arrived early hours exhausted after both trvelling more than 22 hours. Straight down to Tulum (link to tulum blog) the next day, aka paradise!! We spent 3 nights in cabanas by the beach and took trips out to the Tulum pyramids by the sea, Chichenitza – 7th wonder of the new world and The Gran Cenotes (pools of water and caves under the ground with beautiful coloured water.)

Cenotes

Cenotes

 

One night in Playa Del Carmen where we were meant to live it up and party- but it wasn’t really our scene and I passed out at 9pm – sunrise at 5.30am that morning took it out of me.

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Off to my beloved Mexico City for 4 days and ready for reunions with dear friends from when I lived in Monterrey, Mexico in 2009. I was met at the airport by my dancing partner, Jorge, and shown to some traditional food. We met that night with my darling Hugo who is in a rock band, Radio Andres, and relocated to Mexico D.F. 2 years ago. In true Rock star tstyle we went out to party – this set the tone for mexico city! Days were spent shopping and being tourists on the big tour bus, and nights out drinking in local taverns, the cool area of condessa, and dancing with Jorge in his Salsa club. We were even treated to a concert on Saturday night as Hugo’s band Radio Andres performed locally. This was the hardest place to leave by far!

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New Orleans – the city of Jazz and Blues. This is emily’s heaven and we started her itinerary from here in the USA. It was an incredible place New Orleans with it’s old world buildings, brass bands tunes echoing through the streets and bar culture. We loved finding live music wherever we went, even on the boardwalk through the medium of plastic buckets transformed to drums. It was great for me as I would nto usually partake in this style of music but here it’s so accessible, so good and so alive! We also went to a basketball game – you gotta do it! And I love it so we had a blast there.


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TEXAS!! The home of big everything! Big food, big cars and big open spaces. It was unfortunately a very bad time of year as it was Thanksgiving and a lot of the college students who occupy Austin, Texas were out of town. We managed to find our own fun and some delicious food. Tex Mex, a grand feast at 24Diner for Thanksgiving and delicious Mexican from Food trucks. We met some fun locals Chris and Alan who opened our eyes to a whole new side of Austin Texas, which I always find best, being with locals.

 

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas



Leaving my dearest Emily as she headed for the hills, also known as Australia, I carried on to Chicago and then to Roscoe, Illinois, to be with my dearest Cuzzie Bill. Bill “Magic 500” Hunter is a well known magician as he has peformed at the Indy 500 for 43 years and is friends to many stars. He’s also related to me as my Grandma’s cousin, making him my first cousin twice removed. He’s 89 years old but acts like a 24 yr old! We spent 6 days together popping in and out of Wisconsin and Illinois to visit his friends, many of whom I’d met last time and we couldn’t wait to see one another again. It was great to just relax and be with family after such an epic adventure. Many tears flowed as we said goodbye but I hope to be back in 6 short months.

 

 

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Cuzzie Bill and I in illinois

So that’s the journey so far! 2 days more in Chicago and then 50 hours of travelling to get home – and I ose 3 calendar days. Can’t believe another adventure is coming to an end. You can read more about the individual places ans anecdotes from along the way here.

Also see my Youtube channelLovelly Communications, to see more of my adventures.

 


My favorite photo from machu picchu

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Eureka! It’s New Years Eve!

Want the best view of the fireworks in Melbourne this year?

There’s no other place then the fabulous Eureka Tower – the tallest building in Melbourne.

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From here you will have 360 degree panoramic views of the incredible fireworks display scattered all over Melbourne.

Not only will you enjoy incredible sights, you get to soak up the stylish atmosphere that is the wonderful Eureka Events floor. Great food, plenty of champagne and the electric vibe of the New Year ringing in.

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Contact Eureka 89:

eureka89.com.au/

Eureka Tower/7 Riverside Quay
Southbank VIC

(03) 9693 8888

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Congratulations to Debbie for travelling by herself and having the confidence to go out there and see the world on her own!

Debbie Carr Agency

Last November I visited New York for the first time in my life and I was a woman on a mission.  I wanted to experience being a mature woman on her own who was confident enough to go to a bar by herself order a drink and not feel intimidated. I also wanted to be able to do this without being self-conscious or be someone who had to be playing with her mobile phone for security.

Did I do it? YES! I didn’t have a choice really. This is what happened:  I landed after the very long trip via Hong Kong (which adds more hours on), and when I finally arrived in New York and I went straight to my hotel www.yotel.com (I highly recommend this place…so trendy).

Now picture this: I had flown over to New York because my business was nominated for an award. I arrived at my hotel around…

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Nawlins! Photos of New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for All That Jazz! It’s the birth place of Jazz after all.

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We had a wonderful time roaming the vintage streetsof the French quarter, window shopping in the boutiques of Magazine Street

 

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and dancing away to the wonderful music in the jazz bars!!


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I recommend staying in the French Quarter to get the old fashioned and famous vibe of Nawlins!

 

 

 

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New Years Eve is Sweet as Honey

Why not celebrate New Years Eve in the sweetest place in town?

The Honey Bar!

The Honey Bar is located in South Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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The Aloha Party for New Years is going to be an awesome way to ring in the New Year.
Live DJ’s, drinks, food, a great atmosphere and rooftop views of the amazing city fireworks.
$99 special ends Christmas Eve (24th December 2012) So get in now!
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Contact them for bookings:
Address: 345 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone:(03) 9696 3311
Hours:
Sunday 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Monday 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Tuesday 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Wednesday 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Thursday 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Friday 11:30 am – 3:00 am
Saturday 11:30 am – 3:00 am
Twitter @thehoneybar
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Ladies Lounge

A dear friend and fabulous female, Bev Killick, has alerted me to the wonderful Ladies Lounge events in St Kilda.

Launching in January in St Kilda, Melbourne, these are going to be fun nights of laughs, ladies and … well, lounging.

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The Ladies Lounge Comedy Night will make it’s debut at Cushion Lounge Jan 31st 2013. The idea was borne when Bev Killick saw the need for a regular all female lineup in Melbourne after featuring at many herself and travelling around the country in all girl shows. “Women audience members really enjoy the whole secret women’s business aspect, it becomes a real party atmosphere very quickly” The night becomes like a Hen’s Night or Divorce Party. Grab a posse and laugh way out loud to an all female line up.

Jan 31st features Fiona O’Loughlin.
Fiona-OLoughlin
More info at Cushion Website:

Awesome interview with an up and coming Australian Winter Sportswear brand, White Ninja. There funky bandeanies are a hot item on the snow and certainly make our passion for the snow stylish and comfortable.

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We love chatting to Aussie chicks in the snow industry who are taking risks and getting creative. We caught up with Bec Layton, director of White Ninja to talk stylish bandeanies.

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Hey Bec, what was your first White Ninja design and was what it for?
The very first White Ninja design was developed as a hobby and as gifts for friends. Once I realised this was a great product I set about developing one that was market ready. Four different prototypes were created for friends to wear on a trip to NZ in 2009 and get their feedback.

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What’s the story behind the name? How did you come up with it?
White Ninja was born from the emotive experience of the snow and what it means to us. White was choosen to represent the visual environment and Ninja for the beauty of an art form, acceptance of nature, danger and…

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Taxis in the USA are hard to get

Now I’m not sure this is the norm in the USA, but we certainly found we had bad luck on this trip with getting Taxis.

 

In New Orleans the taxis are actually very hard to identify. Soe are big yellow and black checkered things, some look like cop cars and others are large SUV’s which you can’t believe would be a cab.

 

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

We found the best bet was to get the cabs booked by the hotel or to get the numbers of them and call them when you’re out. Trying to hale one off the street proved difficult. One night we looked out for one and ended up walking home 40 mins as we just couldn’t find one. Another day we did a similar thing where we kept our eyes open and walked to an area where they should be but failed miserably. Our first experience if actually getting a cab – we had a Horror incident where our cab driver got into a fight with two guys we’d met on the street. Perhaps walking is safer?

 

In Austin, Texas we tried to hale cabs to save ourselves walking home a couple nights but they just didn’t seem to want our business or we weren’t doing it In the right place? We found it hard identifying if they were free or not, they always seemed to be taken or on their own agenda.

 

Streets of Austin, Texas

Streets of Austin, Texas

Last but not least, I’d ordered a cab for the last morning at 5am in Austin to get to the Airport. I had done this with the counter at my Motel. They never showed. Fortunately my new friend Chris had offered to drive me so I no longer needed the cab- lucky or I’d have been late.

 

So, Taxis in the USA. Tricky. My recommendation would be to read up about the city before you get there and identify a few taxi companies. When you arrive, speak to your hotel about the best way to approach them.

 


La Paz – You interest me

La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia, not sure I love you but I definitely don’t loathe you. I’m not sure like my new friends at Loki Hostal I could move in for weeks or months but I definitely need some more time there to explore.

 

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I was in La Paz for 2 separate days. We wanted 2 whole days there but our plans got somewhat changed and altered due to terrible buses fro Copacabana (That’s another story!!! See “Bus Dramas in La Paz). It would have been better to have 2 consecutive days in order to experience more such as horse riding and treks to the devils tooth or cycling along “Death road”. When I got to La Paz, after much bus travel and adventure, I wanted to just chill and relax. The Loki Hostal instills this in you as well so allow 4 days here if you want to do extra activities.

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The city I know little about really, except that it’s populations is over 1 million, the houses in and around the city are rather closely compacted and spotted around the hillsides. The snow capped mountains can be viewed in the distance, and the temperature is warm to hot during the day. There are few parks though it seems there is a concerted effort to change this and have a more green and art filled la Paz. I loved the Museo de Art with amazing graffiti painted directly onto the walls. The colours and vibrancy of this art really bring life to this part of the city.

 

Enjoying Local Beverages

Enjoying Local Beverages

Walking around I a little scary at times as it is known for crime and theft, but I think this is more of a placebo then anything as I really was quite safe. There are cafes and restaurants speckled around though I also noticed a lot of varieties of fast food. Our favourite was actually an Indian place, The Star of India. It was very true to Indian food and so nice to have a change as you do tend to tire of pasta, dry breads, BBQ chicken, rice and thousands of potato fries!!

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Nights out were spent with the Loki crew and then kicking on to another hostel bar Oliver’s Travels. Drinks are cheap and the entertainment is ever flowing. There is also Wild Rover, another well known hostel. These are safe and fun for young travelers. Meet some locals at these bars and then you can explore the other local bars and clubs.

 

I’d definitely go back to La Paz. It’s extremely cheap for food, accommodation and even most entertainment. The ways of Bolivia are somewhat backwards but here are also some fun and inspiring new things!

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For example the “Zebra crossings” really they take this literally. People dressed as Zebras help you to cross the roads in the evenings and mornings. They dance around and have great fun with passers by. This is largely due to the fact that the traffic is very dangerous and crossing the road at times seems next to impossible!

 

Zebra crossings... literally

Zebra crossings… literally

Enjoy La Paz, Bolivia.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


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