Category Archives: Walkabout

Facial, Fractures and Chiang Mai

Foot fracture

Since, a trip abroad isn’t complete without some sort of a medical emergency, Libby decided to sprain (or fracture) her left foot this morning. The truth is we don’t know which of the two yet…

Your foot will fall asleep after a facial

Yep. You heard that right. After her one-hour facial this morning, Libby tried to stand up and immediately tumbled to the floor after losing sensation in her entire left leg. If this doesn’t make sense for you, don’t worry; it didn’t make sense for me either. That is until my wonderful wife gave me a breakdown of how a “facial” procedure actually works. It turns out that the subject typically lays on his (or her) back with both legs elevated while the visage is worked on. This position apparently is very relaxing.

Hmmm… Who knew!

Next Stop. Chiang Mai

Two more days and it’s on to the next destination. If our WhatsApp conversation is any indication, this dude we’re renting an apartment from should be very interesting.

 

Oh and I finally got around to uploading posts for Australia. Check’em out here.

A Good Shitty Day

Good ShittyWoke up this morning to about 28 unread messages in a just renamed “God is good” WhatsApp group. Looks like I was added in the tail end of the conversation so I couldn’t quite tell what chatter was about. A quick scroll revealed multiple messages of encouragement, a pair of pink boxing gloves with the caption “you’ll be needing these,” and a selfie from my beautiful cousin with a huge smile along with the postscript “my new wig.”

Moments later, I get a direct message.

Cuz: Did you hear my news?
Me: Just woke up… looks like I may have missed the earlier msgs.
Me: Good news or bad news? I see talk about a wig so I immediately think cancer.
Cuz: You got it. On my way to treatment.

Finding a good bakery in Bali so far has been a huge pain in the ass. I remember sometime last week while in Ubud, I picked one up with huge expectations! I had a craving and well I mean the presentation was pretty nice so naturally, I excepted good things. One word: whack.

mr_spoon

Libby walk back into the room from her morning walk and hands me a small brown paper bag. “I found that French Bakery the guy told us about the other day.” The flakiest and most buttery croissant I’ve come across in months seamlessly dissolve in my mouth.

So Libby is a part of some travel alert newsletter from the US government and apparently “U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places… Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places.” Also, it turns out that Bali has a history of being a target (2002 and 2005) by extremist. Naturally, Libby keeps feeding these bits of info and reminds me that we needs to be in a Jack Bauer frame of mind. Didn’t realize I’d have to channel my inner secret agent spy powers on this trip…

bali_travel_alert

This is Bali

It’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Libby is window shopping; I’m lying on the beach solo. The sun is gearing to set, the heat  is much less intense now. The ocean water is so warm that you don’t feel the transition from ambient air above into the crashing waves below. These moments are so perfect, that it’s sometimes so easy to lose touch with the rest of the world and fall deeper and deeper into a personal fantastic bubble. All I worry about here with my wife is breakfast, personal work project , lunch and dinner in that order. Meanwhile for the people close to me and far the world keeps moving, moments keep happening, life continues steadily in its singular direction.

Someone is on their way… Shhhh

Children have this innate, natural and consistent disposition to emerge at the most unexpected times. The culprit in this case, my cousin’s son, Bronson. Mind you, the little one’s shower was scheduled for the very next day! On the topic not abiding to other’s agendas, this marked the second time in a two week window that babies decided to crash their on showers by popping into this world ahead of schedule- shout out to Jacques for being a boss in this regard also. 🙂

Me: Why is the name of the WhatsApp group “God is good?”
Cuz: That’s the way I see everyday. Enjoy life to the fullest.
Cuz: I have faith that God is with me at every step of the way.
Me: Well, at least you have the most popular cancer so  I think that’s great.

She’s optimistic. I’m optimistic. I’ll see her soon in January. And on that note, we’re off to meet a couple for dinner that we met last week in Ubud.

First List Of Lists: New Zealand

I first made this for each city of NZ, but we went to so many it seems too late/boring to post them all, so here is the overall.
Should You Go To New Zealand?
  • Do you like nature/scenery/etc?
  • Are you a tramper (hiker) type?
  • Do you like driving in beautiful places?
  • Do you like wine?
  • Do you like sheep?
  • Do you like BBQ sauce  & Mayo on everything?
  • Do you like meat pies?
  • Do you like being cold?
  • Do you like to say the word bro?
  • Do you like glow worms?
  • Do you like down-to-earth people?
  • Do you like taking things slogfw?

(If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should definitely go)

Some Things I Learned About New Zealand Random Observations:

    • The South Island is insanely beautiful, someone told us it’s as if they took all the most beautiful natural landmarks of the US and squeezed them into one small island. I found this to be very true, although the beauty is so untouched it doesn’t feel the same as the US.
    • NZ is full of sheep, 40 MM sheep to 4 MM people (at least that’s what some dude told us), which means in the summer it’s full of baby lambs- who are joyous and when they get older delicious.
    • It’s cold! Many of you have heard me complain, but seriously it’s cold, most homes don’t have installation and made me miss our old BK radiation heat. (Note, now being somewhere warm, I’ve forgotten how bad the cold felt but I remember it was hard to bone chilling).
    • Auckland is way cooler then people give credit to, the bloggers say skip it, but I liked it. It’s like a mix of San Fran/Seattle mixed together.
  • Everyone says we should have gone to Wellington, it’s the hipster capital of the north island, but we missed it.
  • My favorite places were based on the people we met not the actual places. We even met this cool chick from Idaho, Katie who we met up with a couple of times, and was super awesome. Her plain, similar to ours, was just take a pause from work and explore the world, although she gets extra kudos for going at it alone.
  • Gluten Free is big there, bigger than menus in LA.
Highlights:
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  • A glowworm tour given to us by a 5 year old, named Tui (the name of a famous bird in NZ ). This was during our one night stay in Moana, where Rosa, her cool ass mom, welcomed us with homemade sushi, wine and great conversations. And after having a wonderful meal she offered  Tui to take us down to the river in pitch black, headlamps and all, to show us were the worms were (pretty sure we saw them).

 

  • Taking a breathtaking tramp (hike) every morning from our place in Queenstown, the Moonlight trek was right behind our apartment, and it was absolutely beautiful. Although the wind would get so strong, I was advised to turn around otherwise be faced with potentially blowing off the mountain, and the local Kiwi told me not to go, I went anyways got scared and turned around. 🙂

 

    • Cooking dinner with a family from Fairlie, with their two cats and dog. It was just a home full of life and conversation. Oh  it had an espresso machine, which after living on instant coffee for weeks and I jumped on the opportunity having a couple too many a day.
  • Petting A Baby Lamb: Nothing can express the weird joy I got from this. If the owner wasn’t looking I would have tackled and cuddled the baby lambs.
  • Taking in the magical Fjords and hiking to the glaciers, these are those beautiful things in nature that no matter how skeptical you are about doing the tourist thing, it’s worth it. They are magical, beautiful and so awe inspiring.

 

    • Sharing Carrot Cake Wine & Beer With Hippies: I loved Nelson, it’s the in the middle of wine/craft beer country and we stayed with a bunch of free spirited people. One night over wine/beer we shared versions of carrot cake. Rob’s crack sugar version (from the grocery store) and our hosts hippie version, GF,DF, VG, + Fiber (something I can eat!) Everyone decided the best version was mixing the crack sugar cake with the health cake to get the ultimate guilt free indulgence, I stuck to hippie cake and it was delish.
    • A Wine Tour, with the guy who looked like he was from The Killing: Seriously, super cool dude, but he looked so much like Stephen from the Killing, I was waiting for some sketchy stuff to happen. Instead we just had awesome wines. The best wine by far was at the smallest winery in New Zealand run by two ex-consultant types who gave up their high paying/all work gigs in London to start a family winery.
  •  Indian food: I’m convinced this is the best food in New Zealand based on our experiences, every time we had Indian it was good, everything else was ok. We ended up cooking a lot, which is also good.
  • Almost Running Out Of Gas: In NZ you can go 2 hours without seeing a gas station, it was a bet Rob and I had with less then a quarter tank as we went up and down mountains on the coast. We almost ran out of gas, a very scary situation, but everything turn out fine, as at the very last moment we made it to a station. I got a free pass to veto anything Robert did, and while the  past lasted only 1 day, it was worth it.

HELLO! Finally, I am blogging

 

libby_blogsSo I’ve procrastinated posting for a long time, to be fair I’ve been busy booking the best deals on flights, apartments, massages, restaurants and working on some projects. I think in another lifetime I would have been a killer travel agent. I love finding the best deal on airfare, thanks to credit cards/points we’ve barely spent more then $500 flying so far. And I love when we find the perfect AirBNB to stay in, which honestly 98% of the time we’ve had a 10/10 experience, with the bonus of hanging out with locals and getting to know their families and stories.

So before I start posting more, I’m going to give you a couple of caveats about my writing.
I’m going to do this super casually, so that I update more then less. I’ve tried blogging, tweeting etc before, but I also get caught up in doing it right versus just doing it, so now I’m going to just do it.

If the grammar isn’t great, if the writing isn’t good, or if I’ve offended you I’m sorry. My main goal is to start a habit of doing it, so I can not only share, but also look back and remember all the amazing things we are experiencing right now.

Expect from me:
Photos
Lists/Bullet Points
Lil realizations about travel.
Oh and if you’re bored skip on to Robert’s posts they are well written.
There you have it, no promises, but lots of action.
Let’s go.

Melbourne First Impressions

Welcome to Fitzroy

I don’t get the lack of enthusiasm from the outside but  Melbourne doesn’t gets its fair shake. This city is truly amazing; a must stop for anyone taking a trip over to the down under!!

Our first night was spent with a easy-going French couple. Tired of the stereotypical busy city life, they left Paris seeking better work-life balance. They took advantage of the timelines perfectly. Remember back in my original post where I mentioned that  visa applications are super easy for foreigners prior to one’s 30th birthday.  Turns out this lax period extends into the end of  your 30th birthday. Well, this dude literally applied at 30 a couple of weeks before his 31st. Visa was granted and he and his wife took a trip over and have only good things to say about their 14 month journey thus far.

We’re staying in a neighborhood called Fitzroy. Area is brimming with restaurants, lounges and bars. The scene is artistically skewed and only about a 15 minute walk to their downtown aka CBD aka Central Business District. Overall to give more context to the city, it reminds me of San Francisco, New York’s east village and Buenos Aires all in one. Food is muy bueno with a large variety of asian pacific cuisines to choose from. The people seem much more outgoing that in Melbourne, then again it’s was s such a small sample size in terms of times that I may have to reserve judge until after a second visit.

 

 

 

A Take on Bondi

By Bondi Beach

Definitely have been procrastinating more than I wanted to this trip. It’s December 7 and I’m finally getting around to posting about Sydney. After this I’ll go ahead and upload a quick recap of Melbourne. Retroactively off course. 🙂

Bondi Beach One Paragraph Recap

The beach itself is pretty awesome. Interesting neighborhood dynamic seemingly mostly made up of young sunshine loving day walkers. Everyone looks great and when the sun comes out the neighborhood eat spots are stacked with their presence! In fact, you’d think that it was a requirement to hit the gym 5-days a week in order to live in the neighborhood. Libby made it out to the beach around 6 am and told me that the shore was filled with various boot-camp groups exercising. Oh and let’s not forget the yoga factions;  they were right there at dawn in the tree pose!

What Did the One Kiwi Statue Say To The Other Kiwi Statue?

busdriver

Hey. Iss-that-you mate?
You have to say it quickly with a New Zealand accent…

A couple of days in town and we landed on the driver who thought he was auditioning for Saturday Night Live- corny but funny enough. Sydney people are unpredictable; a dash of introverts here, a tad of extroverts there… Overall though it strikes me as a place where most people take a while to warm up to you.

During our brief stay, we managed to make a few solid memories even though, for very long stretches the weather was very uncooperative. Stumbled on a wine festival, checked out a bunch of different food spots, did happy hour a couple times, sampled oodles of local wines and checked out The Newton Festival (don’t really remember the deats but feel free to check out the link).

Newton Fest

Wait… There’s more!

Libby and an arrow

Vino Festival

After Paris

paris_colors

Yesterday was my birthday. I grab my mobile for my dose of daily morning headlines.

Paris: Coordinated Terror Attacks

Information is still coming in but it seems that three coordinated attacks have been staged. Keywords: bomb, death, terror, live, hostage all come together to form various editorial cocktails; the message is clear. Real shit is going down in Paris.

The sad truth is that we’ve gone through different versions of these tragic events recently. The reaction is still always the same. Disbelief, denial, online research. Numb to such headlines I move past the disbelief and denial pretty quickly. I turn to twitter for live updates.

We leave for Melbourne and have a flight today at 3 pm. I still need to pack, eat breakfast and figure out transportation to the airport. Did I mention that Libby has a work call in 30 minutes and her MacBook Air decided to not turn on? Shit. How do you troubleshoot these stupid Macbooks!

Libby’s googling the closest Genius bar. I’m holding the power button for 30 seconds. She gets on her call. The Apple Genius Bar is 30 minutes away from here, so if she leaves now, spends 30 minutes at the store then comes back here, it’ll be right on time for us to leave to go to the airport. Did I mention the that you need need an appointment for the Genius Bar and that they are all booked for today? Fuck it. We’ll wing it since apparently Genius Bar options in Melbourne are even more complicated.

Call done. Libby walk outside the room; Macbook is powered on. Don’t ask me how? I guess these things “just work.” Yeah, right.

I just didn’t feel like writing this post.

A couple of days past. We’re in Melbourne.
Our first night there was, ironically enough, spent with a real cool French couple (Melbourne, by the way is really awesome!). As is the case with the French, we were greeted with wine and overall great conversation. The couple was fortunate to not have anyone they know be affected, aside for a friend of a fiend who was hit in the hand by a stray bullet.

I too am fortunate to not have had anyone I know be affected by these recent attacks.

Final death toll stands at 130. Scores other were admitted to the hospital.

The reaction is the same.

  • They did it. Get’em.
  • You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • No. You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Did you know there was an attack in Beirut the day before that received no media coverage?

How come Facebook safe buttons were activated for Paris attacks and not the Beirut ones?

Speaking of Facebook… That blue white and red flag profile layer is pretty cool right?

Can most people actively engaged on the topic even point to France on a Map?

Did the Black Lives Matter movement use a #f**Paris hashtag?

Did you hear the latest headlines from Trump and Carson had to say?

These are some of the topics that made the round over the past couple of days

Meanwhile, I didn’t feel like saying anything for a while.

I did a bunch of reading from a wide range of sources and I think I’m in a good place to have an informed opinion at this point. But the truth is, I probably don’t know enough.

I don’t like quick empty judgment. I don’t like political posturing and social media bashing. I hate vague media quotes like the following that imply and condone policy rather than inform the reader.

Unnamed French police officials told The Associated Press that authorities have identified one of the suicide bombers as “a young Frenchman flagged in the past for links with an Islamic extremist activity.”

With limited transparency in agency “flagging” processes, quotes like these at face value give unchecked credence and validation to what from the outside seems like systemic profiling of those with Muslim backgrounds.

We are selfish in nature and have our own personal agendas. In moments like these we easily find ourselves consumed with the popular soundbites of the moment. Challenge the status quo, not simply for the sake of challenging it, but rather for the conclusions that come from that process.