Thursday, August 26, 2010

Margaret River, Western Australia

This was my first visit to Western started off really well, because QANTAS had JAMES SQUIRE GOLDEN ALE on the plane!!!! Awesome because its my favourite beer :)  Anyway we spent a couple of weeks over on the other side of Australia, and it really does feel like being in another country (a lovely country)... it's no wonder they didn't want to become part of the federation back in the day!!

So we did a roadtrip down from Perth to Margaret River, and it was really fun, check out this amazing pier- it goes out for 2km, and there's a restaurant at the end (but we couldn't be arsed to go all the way out there so just took a photo...) How cute are seagulls until they try and eat your chips?! Pretty much all we did for the whole trip was spend all day and some of the night on the beaches around where we stayed which was the cutest old beach house ever, called the beach barnacle awwwww ( ) play cards, and drink copious amounts of beer.  It was my first proper holiday in ages so it was well earnt and mostly awesome (family christmas dramas      So now I'm just going to post all the beautiful beach photos me and Sammy took while we were there, ENJOY! x

Monday, August 9, 2010

Northern Vietnam

This was my first real foray into Asia and it is an awesome awesome crazy place!!! My sister Lulu was living in Hanoi and this was super cool because she took us to the best places while we were there- without her it may possibly have been the worst 'last' family holiday ever... and I mean EVER!

So, a bit of background- Hanoi, city of bikes, motorbikes and millions of people going around and around in circles eating really random food and trying to sell me and my other sister Soso pineapple all day long.  There are so may fun things to do there.  

Anyway, so places to go in Vietnam...

- stay in the Old Quarter- that is, if you can manage to get there! When you get off the plane, expect to be inundated with taxi drivers promising the earth... As soon as they see a sucker with a phrasebook and a map, you're pretty much fair game.  Lonely Planet advises negotiating a fee beforehand which is what we tried to do, but they took us to the wrong place on purpose anyway... I think what you may be better off doing, is booking somewhere to stay in walking distance from the lake, and asked to be dropped off at the big Westpac bank and walk from there... Anyway when you make it to hanoi city- do not stay on the outskirts, you have to stay in the Old Quarter, or close to it otherwise you'll be negotiating transport for the whole trip...there's heaps of cool bars and restaurants, also check out the war memorials and monuments to Ho Chi Minh, but don't piss off the guards because those guns are real lol.... 


- aaaaaaah see this was fun in principle, the old Junks were amazing, the islands are cool, the monkeys are creepy little mofos, you may experience rats onboard, and cycling around Catba Island is sort of fun, but to be honest I think Thailand probably does this better.... and maybe sunnier weather as well?


(I admit I didn't take the photo above, i just googled Sapa, but I wanted to show rice paddies because it was so misty mine didn't turn out properly!)

You have to go here, it is amazing.  There are traditional Vietnamese hilltribes that live around this town in villages.  We went in january, which is winter and very very cold up in the mountains, but the town itself has some gorgeous old buildings, and the mist sitting on the mountains, looking out over rice paddies to the Chinese border is something you really really have to see to believe.  Although my poor friend Carls got the runs for 3 days straight and lived on plain rice
when they stayed there, so be CAREFUL, take hand steriliser and never ever drink the water!!!! EVER!!

Monkeys are evil.  So are buffolos.  But Monkeys are WORSE. and some probably have rabies. so stay away from them!

They do eat dog in some areas of Vietnam, so if you go to a market, be prepared to see animal allsorts in pieces.  Lulu SWEARS she walked past a puppy store where you choose your dog and they cut it up fresh for you to take home and cook.  Although she did try the Snake wine so take this story with a grain of salt!

Which brings me to the next warning- don't drink Snake wine- ESPECIALLY when it is mixed with a scorpian- seriously you're just asking for trouble.  

Finally you HAVE to drink beer (only AUD50c or something crazy for a longneck) with every meal, as water isn't the cleanest, and no one wants the runs on holidays...  Also Vietnam seems to have the cheapest cocktails I've ever encountered- they work out to be AUD$3-4 or something crazy and the mojitos are to die for...

New Zealand

These photos were taken when  I went to South Island of NZ a couple of years ago.  It is seriously as beautiful as you imagine it will be... When we went it wasn't long after the Lord of the Rings had been out, and everywhere you went it was like being in the films, you seriously expect elves to be spying on you and Tom Bombadil to be popping out of his forest... I loved loved loved this holiday, and would recommend it to anyone, particularly if you don't mind hiking in the mountains. If you get the chance, go to Arthurs Pass for a hike, it is beyond anything, the mountains are so beautiful and isolated, and you can even see glaciers nestled between the ridges.  Also the Fox glacier was incredible, as was Wanaka, Queenstown and the Hollyford Track (near Milford Sound).  The only place I would say don't bother with, due to everyone I met there, because they are a bunch of inbred small town hicks,  is Grey Mouth on the westcoast it was AWFUL!!!!