Archive for Travel

Spending a week in Sydney visiting friends and relatives.

I am here in Sydney for only one week to visit a very special friend who moved back here a year ago and I miss her dearly. Eliane and her husband Leo, here I am finally! Also I’ll have the chance to meet up with my gorgeous Italian nephew, Michele, and his girlfriend Pearl, who I will be meeting for the first time. Who else is here in Sydney that would like to go for a coffee with me? Just call my mobile or send and email, and I will come and see you too. I would love to meet you all!

I experimented with Sydney transportation and loved the double decker trains plus the politeness of the locals or other tourists like me.
My hosts are fantastic and tomorrow I am going for dinner with Michele and Pearl. I browsed around Castle Hill Shopping Centre which is as big as the one in Joondalup.

The houses here are very different, and driving around I couldn’t see any Suburbs similar to the ones in Perth.
I feel like I am in another country altogether. My only recollection of Sydney from a previous visit is the Darling Harbour.
I never visited any other locations. Now is my chance!

I am very impressed with the efficiency, cleanliness and architectural aspects of this busy city!

Visiting family in Brazil. Exciting, except the politics.

I am away for a long holidays visiting my family in Brazil.
Experiencing the bosom of my family that I haven’t seen for 3 years.
Pictures worth a thousand words.
So here they are:




Fantastic 20 hours stay in Dubai before going to Brazil

This is a transit Hotel in Dubai on Concourse A, situated on the 6th and 7th floor of the International Airport. I loved the ‘Welcome Mrs Barrett’ written on the TV screen.

The suite is fitted with a 5 star hotel greeting: coffee, tea, free water, fridge, robes, slippers , sewing kit, shampoos, conditioners, cream, bathing cap, shaving kit, soap etc, etc, etc.

Taking the elevator to level 3 you will find the departure level with all of the duty free shops, restaurants, currency exchange, etc, etc, etc.

It has a large king size bed -or larger than!- comfortable chairs, air conditioning and a most welcome large size room that is at least 5×4 meter square.

We had a super comfortable and welcoming stay before carrying on the next leg to Brazil.

I highly recommend it for anyone doing extensive travelling. The restful stay between legs makes all of the difference for me on these long journeys to visit family.

My daughter, son in law, grandson, and my husband recently crossed the oceans to Canada and back, and roughed it by carrying straight through to their destination, but I’ve done that before and this is DEFINITELY the way to go!

Why don’t you try it next time?

Painting Classes. Never too late to learn

Susanna is an artist. She paints and she also teaches painting.
She has a fantastic nature and is easy to learn with her.
If you want to pursue a hobby this is so easy.

So proud of Juliana who he doing a tour in Brazil


juliana-areias-cover-photo

Juliana Areias is a Brazilian singer in Perth. She performs everywhere and now is in Brazil on a performance tour.

Juliana is known as the ‘Bossa Nova Baby’, a nickname given by Ruy Castro who is the author of Chega de Saudade, a book about the history of Bossa Nova.

Juliana lives in Perth with her 2 children and partner.

She is now launching her first album called Juliana. This album focuses on Bossa Nova but also introduces other rhythms like Samba, Jazz, American Funk, Pop and “Choro”.

She will be performing in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza and Brasilia.

Her CD can be downloaded online here and will be for sale at her shows.

Let’s support this marvellous local lady who is a tireless worker and amazing singer!

 

 

Here is a short snip of the stint two girlfriends took to the Philipines for 7 days


Here is a short snip of the girls trip in Philipines experiences we had in the My friend Marion Boughton and I had a fantastic 7 days stint in the Philippines.

We enjoyed every minute of it.

We had a few problems landing as the weather was bad, raining very hard with high winds. We flew over and around and around and I was stressed out especially knowing that my husband was ‘watching” where the plane was with a flight-tracker app. We landed 1 hour later.

imageNow, the next bit: where is my shuttle bus? Nowhere to be seen! Never existed! Well, when I booked the hotel online they had one. Long story short, they didn’t have one anymore.

Now the taxi ride: Whenever I travel to some countries the thing I hate most is being conned. I haggle like any other Brazilians do. But the line-up to get a taxi was endless and the rain never stopped. Other groups in the line-up were haggling with other “illegal” taxis and invited us to go with them in this big van. Why not? A Kiwi with his wife, another couple of foreigners going the same way…we said yes!

Later on we found out that we had only been haggling over $15 bucks!
You get so much money for a $100 bill that you feel like a millionaire when changing a couple of hundreds.

A half hour drive turned into 3 HOURS! You have never seen traffic this bad! Obviously I got ill from the motion and smell of diesel etc. I arrived at the hotel looking for a doctor or a bed. I got neither! NONE! OOPS! Wrong hotel! How could that be? Luckily the concierge walked us over to the other hotel which was across the road from this one.

Warning: 2 hotels with the same name: City Garden Grand Hotel, a 4 star, and City Garden Makati Hotel, a 3 star. We were booked into the 3 star. What a bummer! That night I just wanted a bed and planned to move the next day. I had never stayed in a 3 star hotel before.

The bed was good. It had all the amenities. Bath robes, slippers, ironing board, safe, coffee, tea, water, other drinks, just like a 4 star hotel. Marion didn’t want to change hotels so we stayed there.

imageThe people in the hotel were the politest people I have ever met! The breakfast buffet was superb with a variety of cereal, fruits, and hot foods. Anything you would find in a 4 star hotel. Marion said we just needed a clean bed, we were not going to be spending the day watching TV, we would only be there to sleep. So I agreed.

in the evening after all day sightseeing a bubbly always helped to relax. HeHeHe

My birthday was 2 days later and I decided we would have a meal in the penthouse ” al fresco” Restaurant at the City Garden Grand Hotel. The meal was good but the rain and wind and the smokers almost spoiled my birthday dinner. At the end of it we went back to our hotel which had started to look not so bad after all!

I was recommended by a Brazilian friend, Maria Antonia who lives in Doha currently but lived in the Philippines for 2 years, not to stay in Manila but get a Hotel in Makati. Thank you, Maria Antonia, because we went to visit Manila and we were glad that we had stayed in Makati with 5 Shopping Centers stuck to each other – so big that we couldn’t visit all of the shops they had during our 4-day stay. I think if we had shopped for a whole week we would have been in all the shops.

We did a couple of tours outside town, 92 km visiting the countryside. Wood carving, paper mache, embroidery and making paper. We visited Manila on the MRT and LRT but had problems getting back as the LRT had broken down.

imageLets get a taxi? Impossible! A Jeepney, the local bus that fits 50 people in a 10 seater. Impossible! Lets get a tricycle? Okay, but only from one station to the other. Got to the next Station and LRT was still out of order. No taxis. Lots of Jeepneys with 50 people on board. No more tricycles to go to Makati. They are not permitted there. A local young lady offered us help as she was going to the same place and helped us to get this express can that picked up people here, dropped at the next corner, picked up again a few students and dropped at the next place. After a 45 minute ride we arrived at the place where this young lady lived. She then helped us to get a bus to Makati. We finally got one. Mind you, this was a hell of a tour! But it was fun! We risked our lives and limbs on this adventure I guess, but was fun!

I know everything there is to know about the Philippines. Ask me if you need help.

BTW, the highlight of our trip was that we found out we were staying in the Red Light District. Wasn’t that awesome! I saw a couple of strip joints in the back of the Hotel but didn’t think anything of it. Dumb! Well I am a blonde…I can be dumb!
A little note to end: I could not make myself to try the chicken intestines barbecue we saw at the market. Just a pic

 

A full family fun house, makes me very happy!

I have been having a ball for the past 3 weeks as my niece has flown in from Brazil to stay with us for a week and a half and her son and his girlfriend who live on the Gold Coast have also joined us.

Add my kids and partner’s and baby Kai, and it’s a full house again… Just the way I like it!

It’s hard to believe that Iremar and her son Bernardo were here just 5 years ago for Nikky’s wedding but it was lovely to finally meet his girlfriend Marianne.

We have been to the City and Fremantle, Ive taken them to Mundaring Weir, King’s Park and we even had a full day out to the Pinnacle’s which was very fun.

Apart from the sightseeing there has been plenty of cooking and eating with everyone getting their hands dirty to learn and cook popular Brazilian delights.

Bernardo and his girlfriend unfortunately only stayed a little while but had to head back to the Gold Coast due to study and work commitments but Iremar and myself had a few lovely days catching up and doing the usual things such as shopping.

I am now in Queensland on the Gold Coast to attend Bernardo’s Graduation for University and to become a tourist myself because believe it or not, but I have never been here.

Having an absolute ball and I am back in Perth next week and sad to say my goodbyes but we will see each other again soon, I’m sure!

Around the world and back again and more unforgettable memories

On June 2nd, my husband and I left for a long holidays to visit relatives and friends all over the world.

After so many flights, train, buses, trams, boat rides we have to thank God that we had no incidents or accidents.

From Perth we went to Sydney and spent a day with our Italian nephew Michele, who had spent a couple months with us two Christmas’s ago.

Vancouver was a long and dreary stopover as Air Canada put us on 4 stand by’s after a 14 1/5 hour trip and we finally arrived in Toronto super tired.

We then spent 5 days with all kind of relatives: mother in law, brothers and sister in laws and numerous nephews. There was great dinner parties. Next stop was Brantford where we use to live then Toronto, Cannington, New Market, London and trip Niagara Falls for the day.

From Toronto we took  flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit my ex sister in law, nephews and friends. We also lived in that neighbourhood, so we did a little reminiscing. Had a great time as usual and ate a like a queen. My sister in law Marlene is a superb cook.

After 4 days I went to visit a very special niece in Boston, Ritinha and hubby Maxwell who had taken 3 days off work to spend with me. Then off to Miami for another 3 days to spend with a very dear nephew Carlinhos who had also took 3 days of work to spend with me.

I was then back on a plane and flew to São Paulo, Brazil and met up with my husband who skipped Boston and Miami and went back to Toronto to spend more time with his Mum.

São Paulo to Belo Horizonte and the World Cup begins….

I was cheering for lots of teams:

  1. Brazil because I am Brazilian.  Though after the third goal between Brazil x Germany I was so disgusted with my team that I decided to cheer for the German machine!
  2. Iran because my son Merv was born there. They went home
  3. England because my husband is a pommy. They went home too.
  4. Portugal because my daughter is married to a Portuguese. They went home also.
  5. USA because I have lots of American nephews and nieces.they lost too.
  6. Italy because all my Italian brother in law and the kids. Surprisingly they went home.
  7. Australia because I am Australian. Well, we all knew they were going to play only 3 games since they left home.

But was fun after all. The Buzz during the Cup was incredible. The shops all closed at 4pm as the game starts at 5 so driving downtown with all the shops closes, almost no cars on the streets felt like a ghost town. Amazing!

Every Brazilian was concentrated in one thing: the Game!

It was great staying in Brazil with all my relatives fussing over us. Party every day!

But it was time for the next part of our trip, Europe, here we come!

We arrived in Portugal, had a bit of a sleep and then went out for lunch and got pick pocketed. $200 euros ..that was the worst thing that happened in all our trip. We were very lucky nothing major.

Instead of going to England  which we had planned my husband decided that we would spend more time in Italy. So we bought a couple of tickets and went to Rome and Bracciano to the best Italian hostess of all, Joana Barrett my husband’s sister Stefano, my brother in law also took time off to host us.

Spent a bit of time travelling around Italy to Naples and Florence and had the most lavish lunches and dinners with wine and delicious bread. Gained 4 of the 5 kilos I had lost before my trip but had a fantastic time in Italy.

Then our last leg before coming home: Bangkok. We got a great surprise when Thai Airways upgraded us to Business Class because we had lots of little issues every time we tried to book online. I had a most exquisite experience on business class drinking champagne even before take off.

Our hotel, the Continent Hotel Bangkok deserve their 5 stars in every way. Modern, clean, great staff, lots of smiles. I enjoyed my time in Bangkok and when it was time to leave a pink taxi picked us up at the Hotel to take us to the Airport.

That day it was raining, traffic was at a stand still and with 20 minutes to get to the Airport I need to go to the toilet. Bad!

The taxi driver did not know English. I translate: ” I need to relieve myself” in all languages I knew and the taxi driver still did not understand.

My husband suggested to empty a water bottle and I could use? Suddenly the taxi driver look at my face in his mirror and my hands covering my parts and eureka! He got it and said 5 minutes!

I look around and saw nothing except the highway full of cars an the rain pouring but a few minutes later he stopped the car, opened the door and expected me to go. I had no choice!

I pulled my pants down an relieved myself. Can you imagine me doing this here in Perth on Marmion Ave or the Freeway?
The taxi driver sure had a funny story to tell his family that night. We all laughed!

Then before I knew it I was home. I Arrived Sunday in a bit of daze and just want to sleep all the time especially after waking up at 9:30am during my holidays it is hard to get back to a 6am wake up.

On Tuesday I was up at 7:30am and back to work!

Have You Got World Cup Fever?

When I say World Cup, I’m talking about the FIFA World Cup, Soccer (Football for some) which starts Thursday night (Friday Morning) with the opening ceremony starting at 3:15 and first games kick off at 4:00am Perth Time.

World Cup is a fiery one in my family with me backing Brazil (of course), my son in law being Portuguese backing Portugal and Merv’s girlfriend Toni is half Italian so backs Italy (And Australia ), which makes for some friendly competition.

In the past there have been many late nights or very early mornings with us getting together to watch the games but unfortunately I’m away on holiday at the moment so we won’t be all together BUT fortunately I will be with my other family watching it with them and guess where? in BRAZIL!

Yes, you read that correct! I’m visiting my family in Brazil while the world cup is on and while I’m not actually going to any of the games, I can assure you that the atmosphere anywhere in Brazil will be electric to say the least!

The first game is Brazil vs Croatia so if you are awake at 4:00am, Enjoy!

Here is a timetable for all the games if you are interested, even Google is getting involved.

FIFA World Cup Timetable

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Hip Hip Hooray, I finally made it to China, Happy Birthday to me!

I have now returned from my 2 weeks holidays which was a mixture of business and pleasure and at the same time commemorating my 86th birthday (again! hehe)

After the sight seeing and shopping in Kuala Lumpur I then went to Beijing, China for 6 nights.

My first tourist attraction was a tour to the Great Wall which I had already booked and so was picked up in an air conditioned can by a personal driver and my own personal English speaking guide.

I did not walk the whole wall it is impossible but I went a few sections with flights of stairs ranging 23, 24, 50, 17 up and down and when I had enough we made our way back with my guide filling me on along the way and snapping photos of me.

Next we visited the Ming Tombs which houses the 13 families and is spread over 50000 square meters of land… A lot of wasted Real Estate if you ask me but was very lovely to see and the grounds was beautiful.

I also went to the jade factory and the silk factory to watch how they turn silk from the silk worm into a bedspread. It was very interesting and then I finished the day off with a tea ceremony and learnt  how yo make a tea. (I learn in half hour what I never learnt in over 30 years of marriage)

The next day I went to the Forbidden City where I walked miles and miles to see a whole city of Kings that was forbidden to the lower class. Tiananmen Square is a large square right in the centre of the city and is across from the Forbidden city.

Beijing impressed me a lot and I experienced the most fantastic subway line in the world which is super organised with 15 lines that can get you easily from one end of the city to the other without getting lost, even if you cannot read the signs and plus it is very cheap only osting 2 yuans to go in one direction which is less than $2.

There 30 million people in Beijing with half of them, if not more under ground using the subway which keeps the traffic light and organise above ground.

If you do go to Beijing don’t miss out Bullit train, I went to Tienjin which is 33 minutes away from Beijing at 300km per hour. Whee …

I spent a day of enjoying the locals in the markets and the food kiosks in the streets and the saw the biggest Apple Store ever and only with non western toilets well you have to go you have to go…

Beijing is bustling with lots of life and the people were very polite, helpful and crazy to practice English with you or anyone that would help I managed to see everything a tourist needs to see plus a mixture with the locals.

I did manage to meet my Chinese friends who are coming here to buy houses and live so I met a lot of new “future Aussies”

After Beijing I went to Ho Chi Minh City where it’s even a challenge to cross the road and where there are 10 million people and 5 million motorbikes.

The Vietnamese are lovely people and it is incredibly cheap there but I spent a lot of time just walking and using the gym everyday in the hotel but I still managed to gain a couple kilos or maybe it’s just the muscles I gained as I exercised a lot.

O am glad to be back to my lovely Oz but next year: the World Cup!

Who’s coming?