Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Shanghai City Limits!

Really, it was more like Shanghai shopping.
Shanghai was the last stop on our holiday before having to work our way back to Singapore (I say work our way back, but it was just a flight) to make our way back home. I don't know why, but I was super excited to experience Shanghai, I wish we could have spent more time there, I think I'd like to go back to Shanghai at some point in my life. I experienced so much in such a short amount of time, but I'll get to that when I explain my story more (:

Another early morning as we made sure all our things were packed and ready to leave the ship. I miss the cruise life already. 

We had a pre organised escort from the docks to our hotel. It took maybe 45minutes - an hour to get to where we were staying (which was in 'old town' apparently). I didn't mind the drive, it was good to feel grounded again after being at sea for so long. We rocked up to our hotel and it was actually pretty swanky. For once our travel agent did a good job. Because we had such an early morning disembarking we got to the hotel earlier than expected and couldn't check in. Only one of our rooms was ready so we decided to put all of the luggage in there and go exploring for a few hours. 
We had about four hours to kill so we decided to walk to the nearby markets (and when I say nearby they were literally 500metres away) to have a little shop around.  

I'm so glad we were in 'old town' because it felt like we could experience a bit more culture. The buildings were gorgeous. We were exploring the markets and it was literally street upon street of stalls and markets. It was overwhelming, not as much as Hong Kong, it was a different kind of overwhelming. 

I got my first taste of bartering here, and to be honest, I got quite good at it - bot because I tried, but because I had no emotional tie to the item I was buying and I was willing to just walk away and get it somewhere else. This apparently is a 'good technique'. I've never traveled anywhere where the Australian dollar is so good. It made me want to shop so much more but unfortunately we just ran out of time. 

The culture on the streets of Shanghai was interesting, there were people from different 'classes' (I use that term loosely and in no way do I mean to judge) all in the same area shopping. There were street food venders cooking up god knows what but it smelt delicious! There is a heap of Shanghai street footage in the video. 

Something that I didn't expect was the reaction to us (westerners) and the lack of toilet paper. I don't know what the go is with public restrooms but I made sure I held it until I got back to the hotel. They were western style toilets (and no I don't mean they had cowboy boots on) but just no toilet paper, I was not willing to commit to that level of tourist just yet.

Obviously we were tourists. Just on physical appearance alone one can tell that we were not 'native'. I have never really encountered 'racism' before, and don't get the wrong idea we weren't spat at or verbally abused or anything. We were more of a spectacle and I'm not sure how I feel about that, I kinda get the idea that we were taken advantage of in the markets because sometimes I really just could not be bothered bartering and I paid full price but it was ten of their "dollars" which is basically two australian dollars so I really wasn't losing out there.

 One of the things I loved the most about Shanghai was its architecture. The streets were elaborate and had so much artwork and culture to them. I absolutely loved the golden dragon heads on the street signs. The entire street had them and it was just really cool.

There were so many beautiful lanterns decorating the place as well and it was a really nice atmosphere. 

We had dinner in a little place in the middle of a shopping centre. It was just a random place to eat as we had no idea what else to do and didn't want 'typical takeout/fast food' so we thought we'd get some trashy dinner at a Chinese place. When in Rome, right?

We went to Tesco (in the same shopping centre) to get snacks and then made our way back to our hotel, we were exhausted and all shopped out after making two outings (boat to hotel to markets to hotel to markets and dinner and snack shopping and hotel) so we made our plans to meet at the breakfast room in the morning and just hung out in our room. Kris and I watched some movies and snacked on odd and delicious goodies. Here is the view from our hotel room at night. It was really pretty seeing all the lights on the buildings and I was amazed at how busy it still was (traffic wise) at like midnight. 

I don't know what this building was, but the top of it fascinated me. 

 Traffic in Shanghai is horrifying. Its not just because of the lefthand drive and the sides of the road being different. I swear traffic lights are more of a guideline than a rule. If the light is red and you can make it without killing anyone, go for it. If there are four lanes, but you can make a fifth or squeeze in somewhere, then do it. 

As I was watching the traffic, I saw this bus. It changed lanes then proceeded to 'chuck-a-Uey- in the middle of the intersection because it had made a wrong turn or something, I'm not sure but I was scared. 

The next morning was mine and Kris' last day this is where we split up from mum and the rest of the group (they went on to Beijing and The Great Wall whilst we came home. We met up for our final breakfast and said our goodbyes, they had an early start and we had an early check out so we put our bags in their room and hung out there for a little while making sure we'd packed everything. This was the worst part. I hate packing almost as much as I hate un packing. 

Kris and I went out to the markets again just ourselves to do some last minute shopping, this is where I became the bartering queen! I wish I purchased more things, but alas…. I'll just have to go back and buy everything!

Super sexy travel attire.
I had no fucks to give for appearance. This is what I'd wear regardless of traveling and it was so comfy. This was the centre of some kind of square near the entrance of the markets. This was also where we found the coolest ATMs. They were inside a building and each ATM was in a little a little booth of its own. It was all in Chinese though so that was going to be a problem, but Kris went in and just winged it and yay we had money again!

I don't even know what my face (or eyebrows) are doing here. 
There were these giant lion statues all over the place and I just HAD to get a photo with one. I think they're great and I really want one for my garden. I wonder how much it'd be haha.

We made our way back to the hotel after our last minute shopping and then had a taxi organised for us to take us to the airport and OMG it was so scary! Until we got onto the freeway I honestly thought we were going to be in an accident on more than one occasion! But yay we survived! We got to the airport and checked in our luggage and then just hung out waiting for our flight. It was a 5 hour flight back to Singapore and then another 7 hour flight back to Adelaide with an hourish stop over in the middle. So basically non stop for 13 hours.

On our way to Singapore we had a celebratory Singapore Sling Cocktail. It was some of the strongest alcohol I've ever had. I don't know the ratio of the booze to mixer but I only needed one and it took me a while to drink it. 

On this flight, I watched a few movies and played some more games with Kris. 

Towards the end of the flight I started to get headachey. I get like that when I fly and it instantly puts me in a bad mood. 

When we landed in Singapore the humidity hit us again and it did not improve my mood. We got a bite to eat at Burger King (only because of the name really) and then waited a little while for our next flight. 

We were up the very back of the plane for the next flight and this plane was a bit smaller than the last one and we were all cramped - no, that also did not improve my mood. haha All I wanted to do was go to sleep. So thats what I did. I didn't want any of the on board food (mainly because we'd just eaten and I wasn't hungry), I just couldn't be bothered with it. I was craving lemonade though, for some reason whenever I'm travel or motion sick lemonade always makes me better. So I asked for a can of lemonade and drank it almost instantly, the lovely stewardess got me another one (:

I slept all through the flight until they turned the lights on and demanded we wake up. It was hard to wake up but that meant we were landing soon.

Because it was morning when we were flying in I got a really good shot of the Australian sunrise as we were flying over. It made me really keen to be home. 

The sun was so bright that it was reflecting off my engagement ring. I just thought it was really pretty haha. 

And as we touched down and made our way through customs I was so happy to be home. We picked up our luggage and then made our way out of the airport. We had arranged for Kris' mum to pick us up and it was so lovely to see her. We went out for lunch after we dropped our stuff back home and just like that we were back in the swing of everyday life.

Thanks for reading my travel posts I hope you enjoyed them and keep and eye out for that.

Thanks everyone x

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Friday, 27 March 2015

Cruise Life - A Week at Sea!

All Aboard the Royal Caribbean: Mariner of the Seas!

I've been contemplating how to do this blog post. As this was the most 'relaxing' time of the holiday I wasn't always taking photos -however, I did film a lot and it am trying to put it into a video so please stay posted for that- but I'll dedicate this post to the time on the ship. It was astounding, the ship was absolutely stunning and it was hard to believe that all of it was floating. 

With Singapore (and hopefully the humidity) behind us it was time to sit back and relax and live the lavish life of what I like to call 'A Cruiser'. No this is not a sugary vodka premix drink that 15 year olds drink. This is someone who enjoys being waited on hand and foot and likes to spend lush amounts of money at the bar drinking cocktails and discussing all the travel they've done in their life.

Our ship was 'The Mariner of the Seas' and I cant say that without thinking of it being said in a generic American accent. That aside, the ship was gorgeous. I honestly can't even explain it all so if you're interested in it, give it a quick google search and prepare to be amazed.

Here she is in all her glory. It looks impressive from the outside but just wait until you see inside. There are two separate pool areas. One more for families and young children and the other you have to be 16+, not because it is more difficult, but its a place where you can relax without screaming children. It was also more private. 

Our room was on deck 6 and it was one of the rooms with a little balcony which was quite nice. Kris sat out there and read a lot. 
The view from the bed out to the balcony. Kris reading and open water.

The first afternoon / evening on the ship we mainly explored and I tried to get my head around what direction was what. I got so confused wether I was heading to the front or back of the ship and what side I was on. At least the elevators had what day of the week it was so, I can be thankful for that. 

We were starving when we first got on the ship and our rooms wouldn't be ready until 13:00 so we wandered down to the Royal Promenade (the place with all the cafe's and shops) to see what was on offer. We ran into some others from our group at a cafe and had a bite to eat and just chilled out until it was time to go to our rooms. We purchased a drinks package too, there were a few you could get we decided to get the bottled water, softdrink, juice, coffee, mocktails etc one, the alcohol/all inclusive one was just that bit too expensive and we couldn't see ourselves really taking advantage of it on such a short cruise. When we wanted an alcoholic drink, we just paid for it. It wasn't too much. So with out new drinks package in hand, we chilled at the cafe. With our package we got a complimentary travel cup. (little did I know this would be the first in a long line of Royal Caribbean merchandise) 

We were now able to go and check out our rooms. Ours was really easy to get to from where we were sitting at the cafe, the cafe was the floor below us. 

Once putting the rest of our luggage in our room we decided to find where the 'lunch room' was. This place is basically a buffet from 06:00 to 10:30 for breakfast 11:30 - 16:30 for lunch and then 18:00 - 21:00 for dinner and then opened up later for 'late night snacks'. It had a whole heap of different foods, a huge Asian selection, an Indian selection, and a large Western selection. It was heavenly. The place was called 'The Windjammer' Cafe. Kris and I kept reading it in a German accent and calling it the 'Vind-yammah'. This became a long running joke throughout the whole cruise. We bumped into mum and Lindsay up there having lunch and we made plans to meet back here for lunch at 18:00ish..

We were hanging out in our room when a voice over alerted us that we would have a practice emergency drill. So that happened, there were different check out points to go to, ours (Kris' and mine) was A03 which turned out to be the Lotus Lounge.

We now went to wander and explore the ship some more and on our way out of our room we were introduced to our (what I liked to call) Room Nanny. This guy was basically in charge of our section of the deck and if we needed something we were to contact him and he'd go out and get it. It was pretty good, but I wasn't used to having someone run down the hallway for me just to open my door when I was already standing at it, so at times it got a bit annoying. My bag had just been delivered and Kris' had not so we were wondering where it was. Nevertheless we set out to see just how much grander this ship had. When we came back to the room we were informed that Kris' bag had been taken down to security. We got a little lost on our way there but we soon found the room to find that there were a heap of other people coming and going so I didn't feel so much like a criminal. I saw that someones iron had been confiscated so I was a lot more at ease. It turned out that we weren't allowed to use our power board and a heap of other people had theirs taken as well. We would get it returned to us on our way off the boat, it was all catalogued and stored away safely so that was nice. We think that it is because they don't want to overload the circuits with a power serge or something like that. 

FOOD TIME! We met up with Mum and Lindsay in the 'Vind-yammah- for dinner and then discussed what we'd do afterwards, everyone is given a 'daily planner' thing with everything that is offered on board for that day, we saw that there was: Karaoke at 20:15 on Deck 3 in the Dragons Lair so we decided we'd go to that after dinner to see what it was like. It was pretty cool, there was another group of Australians there having a go and some other too. I got up and sang one song (I was nervous as hell) I sang Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and P!nk. It was really fun and I've never sung in front of my mum before (except for choir) so that was nice (we went back to karaoke on the second night with our whole group and I sang again, this time I did 'All That Jazz from Chicago and I got asked to be in the finals on the last night - that was exciting and terrifying). After that we wandered around the ship some more before heading to the cafe and having a drink and snack. By the end of it, it was about 22:30 so we decided to go to back to our rooms (mums room is on the other end of the ship) and chill out and we'd meet up for breakfast in the Vind-yammah in the morning. That was Day One and the rest of the days basically went like that. Breakfast in the Vind-yammah then the whole day doing activities on the ship and then dinner at the restaurant. The restaurant was apart of our booking package. It was basically a free silver service restaurant. Our two waiters were lovely and we had heaps of little jokes with them each night. The food here was exquisite, obviously not the buffet style we have breakfast and (most times) lunch at. 


Every night there is a new menu and the food is so delicious and the best part is that we didn't have to pay for it, it was all included in our package. YAY! The first time we ate here though was on the second night. Kris and I didn't read that it was one of the 'Formal' nights so we felt a little under dressed but there were quite a few other people who obviously didn't get the memo and that made me feel better. 

This is what I ate on the first night. Starter, Entree, Main and Dessert. 

Top Left: Bay Scallop Gratin; Melted garlic-herb butter and olive breadstick.
Top Right: Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs; Grilled breast of chicken with rosemary, served with assorted vegetables.
Bottom Left: Carved Filet of Beef Tenderloin; Morel-crimini mushroom sauce and creamy whipped potatoes.
Bottom Right: Lemon Meringue Tart; Individual tart with lemon curd and perfect soft meringue.

Now, I'm not one to usually take photos of my food, and I felt a little strange doing it in a place so beautiful as this, but I had to, and obviously I didn't do it every night but the first night I did and this is what I ate. Everything was cooked to perfection. I am sad to have to come home and cook for myself now.

Cruise life is great, there are always activities offered on board, such as shows, talks, classes being held, demonstrations, movies, events and more. I went to as many as I could but also made sure I relaxed by the pool because it was so lovely, and also, FREE FROZEN YOGURT! What more could you want out of life.

We spent the next few days enjoying what was on offer. The ship had docked in Vietnam but Kris and I decided to stay on board. I kind of felt a little bit regretty because I felt like I should get off the ship and see everything, but we had a really good day on board, when we met up with mum and Lindsay (who went into Vietnam) they said that the tour was alright but we didn't really miss anything, that made me feel so much better. Kris and I played mini golf on the top deck of the ship and got an awesome view of the area we were in, in Vietnam. We spent the day by the pool and then hung out in one of the bars later that night.

The ship was amazing. It is hard to believe that so much could fit. One of the nights we went to see a show in one of the theatres. It was a magician doing some slight of hand tricks and at the end he was suspended in the air and escaped from a straight jacket, the guy was australian and it was a really cool show. He made some jokes, pulled people up from the audience and everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

When we got back to our room that night there was a little pig on our bed. The people who make up our rooms at night leave little animals made out of towels on the bed. Its so cute, there is a course held on one of the days that teaches you how to make some of the animals and me, Kris, mum and Lindsay went to it. We learnt how to make so many things, make sure you watch the vlog to see that. We also went to some napkin folding classes, the one below is the Sydney Opera House. I made that and I'm so proud of it. I feel like I need to go out and buy some linen napkins and have extravagant dinner parties just to show off my skills in napkin folding.

Floppy ear dog            ~            Rabbit            ~            Elephant            ~            Turtle

When I'm putting it in writing it doesn't seem like we did much, and to be honest it doesn't matter if we did or didn't because even just being on the ship was doing something, though every day we did do 3 - 5 activities plus down time and three meals. 

The next stop off was Hong Kong and we did get off the ship here to spend the day exploring. To read that Click Here.

We were at sea for another day and then stopped off in Xiao Man, it didn't matter if you were staying on the ship or not, everyone had to get off at some point of the day and get checked by Chinese Customs. We didn't have any tours booked, but went off and went through the immigration anyway (as we had to) we wandered through the docks and took a few photos. This was the first real taste of "no english" I encountered. Even in Hong Kong some signs were still written in English along with the characters. The only English I saw was underneath the characters and that was telling us which entrance was ours to return to the boat. 

It was a lovely and sunny day in Xiao Man not rainy like Hong Kong but certainly on the cooler side. The buildings glistened in the sun and you could hear the hustle and bustle from the nearby markets. I would have liked to go to the markets but we didn't have any Chinese currency. Mum and Lindsay went though and they picked up a few little things. 

I spent the afternoon at the pool. As it was colder, I was definitely more keen for the hot tub than the pool. I loved the atmosphere by the pool, there are so many people of so many different walks of life and different shapes and sizes and not one of them had any fucks to give about their 'bikini body'. It was a place that made me feel at comfort rather than making me want to sit in a dark corner and hide my shame. 

The last few days from Xiao Man to Shanghai were pretty easy. Mum and I went to a heap of the classes, I took some Mandarin lessons (its difficult) and we even saw an ice show, yep on board along with all the other cool bits and pieces there is an ice arena. We saw the show and it was spectacular. We were in the front row and I had a grin across my face the whole time. 

The show was called "Ice Under the Big Top" (circus themed) and it was fantastic. It makes me want to go see more ice shows because the amount of talent these people have is phenomenal. 

There was a scene? skit? whatever they call it, it was like the scene from Moulin Rouge the 'Spectacular Spectacular' scene and it was great. Mum and I were super excited. 

After one of the big scenes a girl came out and then they lowered a hoop down and she did a gymnastic performance full of lifts and swirls and amazing spinning on the ice. She would be spinning so fast on the ice and then the hoop would lift her into the air and she'd still be spinning. It was so beautiful because there were only a few spotlights on her and the music was so peaceful. 

They did other stunts in the air wherein which large ropes would drop down and the girls would climb them and then some of the guys would spin them around. I kept thinking to myself "I hope their skates are on tight" I just kept panicking that someone would lose a body part. It seemed like there were some close calls and some near misses but these guys are professionals I'm sure they knew what they were doing. 

To fit in the theme of 'Under the Big Top' they had a scene where they were all clowns and they came racing in and out of the audience and everyone got involved. It was truly one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

One thing that annoyed me though, while yes I was taking pictures I was also clapping and cheering when stunts were done. People seemed to be too involved in trying to get the perfect shot they didn't bother giving credit to the performance that was going on right before their eyes. After every flip, twist and spin I was clapping and wooing and in utter amazement (as were other people, don't get me wrong)  but there were so many others who had their iPads up in front of their face or something like that just not giving the performers what they deserve. It was quite sad to see really, but I cheered and yelled whenever I could and I always got the bigger smiles and winks from the performers and that made me happy (mum and I even got some high fives from one of the guys). 

It was coming down to the last few nights on board. There was another 'formal dinner' event in which yes, we did get the memo. It was nice to dress up and put some effort into our appearance. We all had dinner as a group. All ten of us. Me, Kris, Mum and Lindsay, Sue and Steve, Roz and Drew and Zelma and Max. It was nice eating dinner with a big group, but I did miss our table staff.

Our last night on board had me with mixed emotions. I love the 'cruise life' and the people on board are lovely however I was really excited to experience Shanghai, and I was a little bit ready to be home - not that I was wishing my time away, that is the worst thing you can do on holiday / while you're traveling. I was just excited for new things but really happy to stay on the ship with the amazing people I've met.

The dinner staff on the staircase
We had dinner at our usual table and it was delicious, as always. When we arrived in the dining room there was a speech happening, all of the wait staff were on the staircase they'd just finished singing a song and they were thanking everyone for a lovely time etc, it was really nice.

Its hard to see them all (and some weren't there as they were waiting tables etc) as the columns block out some of the view. The dinner guests all came up to the railing to hear the speech and the song.

Huge chandelier and all three levels of dining rooms.
This is the dining room we ate in every night. We were on the top level, this one was called 'The Sound of Music', the middle level (which I didn't go in) was 'Top and Tails' and the bottom level was 'Rhapsody and Blues' (or something similar). They were all colour themed differently, but all united by the grand chandelier and winding staircase that went through all three levels. 

The Rhapsody, was a dark royal/navy blue and white theme. It was lovely in there, we ate lunch there one of the days. Top and Tails was red and gold themed and The Sound of Music which to be honest was my favourite was purple and white themed. The chairs were white/cream wood with purple velvet cushions. It was just so fancy and nice. It had golden accents and beautiful columns. 

I was actually a little upset to have to say goodbye to these two. To the left is Lu and the right is Anwar. They were our waiters. They joked with us the entire time we were on board and made our dining experience exceptional. Mum and I were 'showing off' with our napkin folding skills and that caught the attention of Lu, so he grabbed one of the napkins and made a tiny little boot, it looked like an elf shoe (it will be in the video) and then he made a little baby swan and drew eyes and a little tuft of hair on it and gave it to me. It may seem like something silly but it was actually so nice. I took them both home with me and they're sitting proudly in my dining room. 

The last night on board meant the karaoke finals. I was not expecting so many people to be there, because whenever it was run as an activity hardly anyone was there but for this they changed venue to a larger one and it was packed. I was the last one to go up, I was a little nervous but didn't really worry that much about it. No, I didn't win, an older gentleman did, he sang New York, New York and did a great job of it. Everyone else came second. (but if you wanna get tricky and put a place on things I came third because my name was the second to last called out (; )

Once karaoke was done, we made our way back to our rooms and started to pack. I think I could get very used to cruise life, if only I had the money. If anyone wants to sponsor me. Please feel free to do so. (;

When we got back to our room, we found this on our bed. This is Moe (see Singapore blogs for his origin story). The night staff had made a brontosaurus out of towels and placed Moe on top and put it in the middle of the bed. This makes me want to set up a guest room and have people over all the time so I can impress them with my towel folding and napkin skills. 

We had an early start yet again in the morning, and with that I leave it here. I'll be dedicating another blog post to the time in Shanghai. Thanks for reading. 

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Hong Kong Adventure!

Time to get out and explore!

So far Kris and I have stayed on the boat the whole time, we didn't get off in Vietnam for a few reasons, but Hong Kong is something I've been excited for since I found out it was one of our destinations. We were spending the most time docked in Hong Kong and I had hoped we could go to Disneyland, we had planned for it but when we were on board and talked to the 'help desk' people, it was made clear that we wouldn't be able to go, basically because of the time the ship gets in we spend a whole night in Hong Kong but only half the day, so we do have the most time there but not beneficial to us to go to Disneyland, nevertheless we were going to get off and explore it anyway.

We got in to Hong Kong at approx 21:00 and seeing the city lights float by was beautiful. 
Hong Kong from the view of my balcony.
At dinner our waiters were all busy with excitement because a lot of them love Hong Kong or are from here they were excited to get off the ship and have a good night, it was really nice to see them excited for something, even though this is their job, they get some downtime in a place they love and it was really nice to see. 

We had booked a tour for 07:30 in the morning which meant we had to be up and have breakfast by 07:15 at the latest. I'm not a morning person at all so this was kind of difficult. I was pleased however to notice a definite change in the weather. No longer was it hot, sticky and humid. It was now quite chilly and I was able to wear jeans, and boots and a big warm coat - what I like to call my travel attire. 

Our tour was a hop on; hop off tour. When we were left the boat we were taken to a long line of coaches and we were then stuffed in and whisked off to our meeting point. It was about a half our coach ride to our meeting point,  I was fighting to stay awake. When we stepped off the coach we were promptly ushered to a new bus - one of the hop on hop off tour buses - a giant double decker bus -we got on board and made our way to the 2nd story. We were all given a super sexy yellow rain poncho. 

 It was really windy on the top of the bus but it gave us the best views and I was all cozy and wrapped up in my coat that I didn't care. When it started to rain however. I did care. 

Kris and I took this chance to take some great couple photos. The one on the left is a nice one and the one on the right is our 'Its so damn windy' photo.

We did however happen to get a good couple photo at one of our destinations so that made me happy. Our first stop was called 'The Peak'. It involves a tram ride up a basically vertical hill that gives you the best views of Hong Kong. The tram ride was kind of scary, it started off ok but then went very steep. there were no seat belts and the seats were just wood. Not very comfortable. You could actually feel gravity pulling you back. What made me worry is that there were people standing!
The tram ride felt old and rickety and it honestly didn't feel like it was going to make it all the way up. About half way up we jolted to a stop and I freaked out, we rolled backwards for a bit and then stopped. After a few seconds I realised that this is intentional as we were stopped at a beautiful clearing so you could see the city of Hong Kong.

Just look at the angle of the rails. That is what angle we were on, on the tram. That is how steep the hill was that we were going up. Even though the seats were uncomfortable and it felt like my head was going to roll off my shoulders due to the gravity, I would highly recommend 'The Peak' tram ride. It is a massive tourist attraction in Hong Kong and totally worth it.

The views from the way up were lovely, but when you reached 'The Peak' it was gorgeous.

The View of Hong Kong from The Peak.
Even thought the wether was cold and rainy, it was still clear enough for us to get a good shot. Just imagine if it was a blue sky sunny day. I'd love to come back to Hong Kong. 

Pinky also enjoyed The Peak. I pretended that he was Godzilla until I remembered that Godzilla terrorised Japan and not Hong Kong. ): 

This little guy is more traveled that some people I know. 

I'm not scared of heights, like I've mentioned before in my travel blogs, but being up this high did for a second make me a little nervous - mainly worried about dropping something. 

I was super proud of my mum for being up here and looking around, I know she's scared of heights but she did this anyway.

It got quite a bit more cloudier after this photo was taken and started to rain a bit, it got quite slippery so we didn't stay up here for long.

There was a section at the top where you could write little love notes. I couldn't really read what it was for because it was in a language I don't speak. It reminded me of the 'lock bridge' in Paris. Because this doesn't seem like its going to weigh the whole building down and collapse I decided to write mine and Kris' name on a card and hang it up.

We then managed to take a pretty decent selfie. 

We then walked back down to the tram. Going up the hill was scary, but going down was even worse. In stead of facing down the hill, we wen't down backwards. It was unnerving but obviously we made it out alive. When we were waiting for the tram I noticed the cables used to pull it up the hill, the were as thick as my arm, massive industrial cables and a huge pulley system. Once I saw this I felt a little bit better about going back down.
From the platform you cant even see where the tram line goes it, it looks like it just drops off the planet. and when you're going down, it kind of feels that way. We only had to wait about 10ish minutes for the next hop on hop off bus to arrive, so we hopped on the bus and continued our tour, this time it went down into the sea-side section of Hong Kong. Unfortunately it started to rain and we got soaked, I ended up wrapping myself up in the ponchos so it wasn't so bad. The area we went to was beautiful though. Unfortunately because we were wet from the rain and on the top level of the bus kind of freezing from the wind I did develop a cold, it hit me when we came home so at least I could enjoy the rest of the trip without coughing up a lung. (:

The guid said that in summer the beaches are packed with people and there are often sea-side markets. The markets happen all year round, but are more popular in the nicer weather. We didn't get off at the markets like we were thinking because we were fast running out of time. We caught this bus back to the drop off point and this is when mum and Lindsay left Kris and I. 

We wanted to explore some of the city more and we wanted to try and do some shopping. So we caught a bus back into the hustle and bustle of the city. It was so overwhelming. The buildings and the stores were crazy. We got some of our money exchanged and set off. 

We didn't end up buying anything which is ok, but we had a little trouble getting back to the ship. We had intended on taking a taxi. We had only seen one ATM the whole time we were walking around and that made me a little nervous. When we went to ask how much it was to get to where we wanted we realised we didn't have enough cash and taxis didn't take card. So we were now in a bit of a pickle and a race against time we new it would take us a half hour to get back to the ship and we knew that there weren't many ATMs so we set off on a hunt and as we didn't know where we were, we just walked in every which way. We found one after 10-15 mins of walking about, but when we got to it, it was bank specific we were a little worried now, but then at the end of the same street there was another ATM that we say that would take our card. We walked to a hotel at the other end of the street and caught a cab from there to the ship and the day was saved!

It might be super tricky to see, but this is the shot of the ship from in the taxi on the way back. 
Once we got back, we chilled out in our room for a bit let mum know that we were back on board so they didn't worry about us missing the 'On Board' time. We wen't up to the lunch buffet and had a bite to eat, we hadn't eaten since breakfast earlier that morning and it was now mid to late afternoon. We had a small lunch because we knew dinner would be soonish and delicious. 

Dinner was exquisite yet again and afterwards we decided to go down to one of the bars and get a cocktail. We usually get 'The Drink of the Day' which changes daily, but you get to keep the glass. We came home with 8 of these glasses, it would have been more but to start with we didn't know we could keep the glasses so we left some behind. ): 

There is going to be a heap of footage of Hong Kong in a video so keep a look out for that on my YouTube Chanel for that. I hope you're enjoying these holiday posts as much as I enjoy writing them. 

There will be one coming out soon of the rest of the cruise time and then another one dedicated to Shanghai. 

Thanks for reading about my little Hong Kong adventure. (:

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Ciao! X

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Singapore Day Three: at the S.E.A Aquarium

Woo! This is one of the things I've been most looking forward to! Sentosa Island! 

We did the usual breakfast ordeal then back to our rooms to get ready. We usually meet down stairs at 9ish. 

We organised our tickets for the day. We were getting a cable car to the island, going to 'Madame Toussauds' and then the aquarium. We didn't like the ticket guy he was too salesy so if we wanted to buy more tickets we'd do so on the island. 

We caught a taxi to the top of a mountain thing to get the cable car to the island. It was great. I loved it. Mum had a little issue with the heights and so did Kris, I inky felt a little queasy when we were over the water. But after two seconds. I was fine. 

Madame Toussauds was basically in front of the cable car station so we went there first. It's only a new attraction (to my knowledge) on the island and wasn't very busy. We went through a section about the history of Singapore which I found really cool it was kind of a skit with actors and stuff. They called upon people in the audience and of course I got targeted first. It was fine. We had fun. Actually, the only people to be called upon were people in our group. We then went on to the wax figurines and posed with some celebs. I am not at all ashamed of the fact I groped Leonardo Di Caprio. There weren't as many figurines in this one as the one in London but it was still cool. Most of the photos are on my camera so I'll upload them later. 

The aquarium was next. We walked down to 'Merlion' plaza. The Merlion is the simbol of Singapore. It's pretty cool. 

Head if a lion tail of a fish = MERLION! He's my fave. 

Now in to the aquarium! 

I may have taken this photo at the same time others were posing for theirs. 

The aquarium was amazing. This is my favourite one I've been to. Then Melbourne and Barcelona. The lighting was Amazing so you cod actually see the sea creatures and everything was so clean. We were in one of the tunnels where you can see the sharks etc swim over you, and a man was posin for a photo I kept trying to dodge it but he kept coming over to the area I was for a better opportunity so he asked if I wanted to be in a photo. So I said sure. Haha. I posed with him and then a little while later he asked Kris and I to be in a photo with his friend. We did. Thank you elderly Chinese men for making this experience super duper fun! We were walking through and we were pretty amazed by what we'd seen so far. But then we came to an entire wall of aquarium. Kris and walked up to it and just sat there for 15-20 minutes watching the sea life. I could have stayed all day and not got bored. 

It was absolutely massive and so beautiful. There was a big blue groper fish whose eyeball was the size of a Ping Pong ball who kept looking directly at me. I felt like he was looking into my soul. After another 5 minutes staring at this beautiful place we started to wander off and look at some more pretty things. One of my favourite creatures to look at are the jelly fish. They're so peaceful to watch and usually glow or have some defining feature that makes them pretty. 

I love this photo so much. It doesn't even look like there is glass separating us. 

Once we finally finished wandering through the ocean we came to the end and of course the gift shop and also our weird tradition to get a fur baby souvenir this time we adopted into the family...

Why Jenny? Well do you remember that JLo song? Jenny from the block? Well... We were singing that in the taxi for some reason and when we got home I was singing it about the octopus but with some slightly modified words (those who hate puns look away now) "don't be fooled by the rock-pool I got, I'm still (I'm still) Jenny with the spots."  

So yeah. That's how she got her name. 

After the aquarium it was time for food. We hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was now time for a late lunch. On the way to the aquarium Kris saw a place where you make your own pancakes and this was intriguing so we decided we'd go there. We were sitting on a bench after exiting the aquarium just relaxing in the humidity, when a bunch of women say down next to us. I shimmied over to give them more room. They were all taking photos and I jokingly slid over and smiled next to an elderly woman they all laughed so I slid back over to let them take their photos, but they asked me to come back. It was the elderly Chinese men all over again, but this time in a group photo, a single of me and the original woman and then one lady on either side of me. It was all in good fun and we were all laughing. She showed me the photo at the end to get my approval. I wish I had taken a photo with them on my camera. ):

Lunch time! Time for the pancake place. It was called 'slappy cakes' I kept reading it as sloppy cakes. Haha. It was so cool! 

This is almost like the places where they cook the food at your table. Instead you do it yourself! There is a menu you order what kind of batter and toppings you want and then cook them on the hot plate that is built into the table! It was so cook! I had buttermilk batter and strawberries and whipped cream, Kris had whole grain batter (he wanted zucchini but there were sold out) and mushrooms and bacon bits. Making the pancakes was so much fun!

Top left: my drink, lavender lemonade. It was delicious. Lavender infused syrup mixed into lemonade. Was very sweet at first bit once mixed in. It was perfect! I want to try and make it when I get home. 

Too right: the table set up! Hot plate, batters and toppings! 

Bottom left: Maturity levels through the roof. Both our batter bottles together to make the word butthole. Yep. 

Bottom right: one of the pancakes I made "I should be at uni" we made some other ones too I'll have to add them later. 

I totally think the pancake kitchen should have something like this. It'll make it so much cooler! 

The last place for the day was the butterfly and insect house. It was so beautiful. We just walked through and there were butterflies everywhere. The 'guide' just picked them up and put them on our hands. It was so lovely. 

The butterflies are huge! Some as big as my palm others bigger! 

The insect part of this was actually pretty cool. They had an 'Australian' section. Which there were like all the beetles. I'm like... Yay?

We trundled our way through the rest of that and then went to the cable cars to go back to the hotel. We caught a taxi back (it look a little while to get one but we managed). 

Back at the hotel we caught up with everyone and just chilled out for the night. Kris and I ordered room service for dinner. Because we didn't feel like going out again. We had burgers. But the buns were black. Not burnt but, just how they're made. With bamboo charcoal. Wicked huh. 

We just hung out in the room and went to bed. We had a busy day. But tomorrow we leve Singapore to get on our cruise! Yay I can't wait. Internet might be a birch patchy so I'll update when I can!