Tag Archives: Travel

India

I have been wanting to really write-up a nice blog telling some funny stories of the trip to India but I keep leaving my notes at work and well, at this point memories and anecdotes are fading. So I’ll just leave with some parting thoughts with my wonderful trip to the East.

People in India live simultaneously with their past while keeping up (as best as they can) with modern technology. While water still is not clean, they have things we have come to appreciate here in the US like wireless internet, cell phones, cable TV even modern marvels like indoor plumbing. It is funny to see women dressed in their beautiful sarees, flowers in their hair, wearing lovely jewelry and then hopping on the back of a motorcycle and riding across town. They are very connected to their traditions, whether they are religious (which it usually is) or cultural. In just the two weeks I was there, there was one holiday. Apparently they happen all the time. And for a culture that doesn’t really gravitate to alcohol as we in the US do, they must really actually celebrate the holidays for what they were meant to be celebrated for.

As I mentioned in a previous post, they have the most insane traffic in the world, yet it all seems to just flow with very little aggression. I am still mystified by this.

Eating with my hands was wonderful. Kris and I were eating dinner last night, just some grilled chicken and sweet potatoes hot off the bbq and I found myself eating with my hands. Wait… my HAND. I got pretty good at hiding my left hand as it was definitely not proper to eat in any way with the left hand, that hand is reserved for other things (in the restroom). I just liked the idea of not really having to be so proper, trying hard to manage both a fork and a knife. As long as the left hand is out of sight, it was fair game. Dig IN! nom nom nom

I loved the music. I don’t even know what to search in iTunes to try to find it, but I really liked it. I’ll have to ask Jacob about it. I need to get connected to Bollywood and get to know some of that world. I have to say the men are so handsome and the women are stunning. I am sure the movies are pretty good too.

So, would I go back? Yes. Even though I have hardly articulated the real impressions that the country has made on me, but I definitely want to see more and explore more of the gigantic place that I saw just a teensy sliver of. I would like to see the North, yes, the Taj but lots more.

If I find those notes of all my observations, I’ll update this post.

 

 

Honeymoon – London Town

One of our favorite wedding gifts was from Kris’ parents, they bought our plane tickets for our honeymoon! We are forever grateful!?After a very busy year in our personal and professional lives, we wanted to wait a few months after the wedding and end the year on our honeymoon. We spent Christmas and New Years away and it was incredible. I highly recommend spending a holiday away from what you know, and if you can, do it outside of your home country. Seeing how the Spanish celebrate Christmas and New Years was such a wonderful experience!

Well, I’ll get down to it, since there is quite a bit to share.

If you don’t know Kris and I, we are bargain hunters while also wanting to ‘do it right’ so we found a great deal from Las Vegas to London on Virgin Atlantic in business class. It was well worth it. Flying business class is a much more comfortable ride when you have to sit in the same spot for 10 hours. The food is better and the bathrooms are always…right there! So even though we weren’t headed to Spain just yet, we were on our way to London.

IMG_0335IMG_0344IMG_0345

 

Shout out to Matt and Claire for letting us crash at their place the day before the flight down in Vegas! The flight was great. We departed in the late afternoon (4:30PM) and arrived at 10AM local time (2AM on the clock we were used to). They gave us some champagne for take off, we had a nice dinner and were served breakfast before we landed.

When we landed, Pablo had given us some instructions to get to his place. We flew into Gatwick and needed to get to his part of London, which took about an hour. Here is another part of the trip where we were trying to be economical. Riding the train, then taking the tube with 2 suitcases each was absolutely horrible. We were grouchy and tired by the time we made it to Pablo’s flat in Westminster. Of course it was raining…

DSC03373

Despite grouchiness, it was so awesome to be in London. It was just what I was expecting, but even more! I loved seeing those classic taxis and the red double decker busses. We were actually really excited to see Pablo’s swanky flat he shares with another guy from Spain. He is in London on business for about a week each month. He let us stay for free which was just awesome!

IMG_0363?IMG_0364

We both took a shower, tried our hardest not to fall asleep and powered out of the building and tried to find something to eat. By this time it was the early afternoon and we were hungry but Pablo told us not to spoil our appetite because he made us reservations at his favorite place in the financial district. So…we went to this pub that was supposedly where we could get some fish and chips and a room temp beer (when in Rome, right?). We found it just a few tube stops away from Pablo’s.

DSC03374

It was exactly what I would have imagined a British Pub to be! Inside was even cooler: Dim lights, foggy windows, lots of people, music, crazy stuff hanging from the ceilings like pots, pans, shoes, guns, license plates, and so on. I think it must be this theme that places like Applebees try to imitate, but they just can’t pull it off like this. Unfortunately, I have no photos, but even worse, there were no open tables nor a hostess to let us know what we should do…so we walked back out into the rain with our tales between our legs and heads low. Sometimes I wish one of us were a little more brave in places we aren’t familiar! #opportunitiesforgrowth

Eventually, Kris and I found a restaurant that had a similar feel, but a little bigger and more of a restaurant than a pub. I had some wine, Kris had some (quite a few) beers and we both got a sandwich hoping to not destroy our appetite but to take care of our hunger and exhaustion. One thing I thought was cool was the wine was priced by the small, medium or large and each had a precise amount of ounces. Just like beer! Brilliant! I mighta ordered larges. Kris, unfortunately, in his ravenous stage, drank way too much and got pretty drunk. So in my normal fashion, stopped to make sure we were able to find our way back to our beds. Before we left, we asked our Scottish server to snap our photo. He seemed annoyed but was still polite.

DSC03377Don’t we look tired? You can really see it in Kris’ eyes! Or was it the beer? We made our way from here a few tube stops down to the financial district and found our swanky cool restaurant. Oh ya, we were so tired so we decided to take a gamble that the place would take us one hour early so we showed up at 6 instead of 7 and the nice hostess was able to get us a table in the bar. I just wish Kris and I were less exhausted because this was really the type of place we would have enjoyed under more normal circumstances. The new place in Reno, The Brasserie St. James, reminds us of this place (no pics though). Kris and I both ordered conservatively because of our late snack, which was also likely a mistake. Their menu was incredible. I ordered chocolate truffles for dessert and it was just perfect! From here, you guessed it…we went home and went to bed to try to adjust to the European clock. It was about 8:30, we passed out!

We woke up around 8 I think, it was a good 12 hours of sleep and I felt great (though still a little off). We found our way down towards the river. Pablo’s place was literally about 3 blocks to the River Thames. We stopped in at a little shop that sold croissants and coffee and had a nice breakfast sandwich and coffee to go. We wanted to ride the Eye of London and take a double stacker bus. I also wanted to see Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, oh and have some fish and chips! Well, we got most of that taken care of… but not all.

DSC03381

 

It was cold, and we knew we were in for a fair bit of walking. I find that you have to choose between looking cute and taking care of your feet. The recurring theme on the trip was me wearing a cute outfit and throwing on my florescent  tennis shoes with it. I must say, my feet were well taken care of and I dealt with being in a fashion capital and not at all blending in.

Anyway, we stumbled on the house of parliament, we weren’t sure what it was because we came upon it from the other side opposite from Big Ben. For a second we thought it was a church, but when we saw the guards with guns, we realized it was a more important building (aye Americans).

DSC03405

IMG_0353 IMG_0356

We rode the London Eye, it was pretty cool. I got a little nauseous and regretfully was a little afraid of heights. I am getting old. When we bought our ticket for the London Eye, there was also a few other touristy things we could do so we decided to take the boat ride on the River Thames and see a bit more of london than we would have on foot. It was really neat, there was a girl who narrated the whole way and gave lots of neat factoids.

DSC03445 DSC03442 DSC03407 DSC03470 DSC03462

 

 

After touristic exhaustion, we headed back to the flat for a little break but we still hadn’t seen Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey (we did walk past it, but didn’t snap pics because I wanted to head back later on), eaten fish and chips or rode on the double decker bus. It was the early afternoon and we were getting hungry so we decided to head in the direction of the palace but wanted to stop by a pub for some food. We incidentally found a place that claimed to have the best fish and chips in all of England (it reminded me of the “world’s best cup of coffee” slogan in Elf). We had a beer and tried the world renowned Fish and Chips. They were actually quite delicious!

IMG_0367 I like that it is just one piece of fish instead of ‘fish stick’ type that you often get in the US. Also, when was the last time I ate peas?!

During winter in England, the days are very short. We learned that pretty quick. We left the pub around 4pm and it was practically dusk so I was sad that I wouldn’t see the palace or the abbey in day light. By the time we made it over to Buckingham Palace, it was nearly dark. I was also disappointed that the famous guards were not outside of the gate. The queen must have been elsewhere. there were only a few guards up agains the palace itself. And they weren’t wearing red, they were in grey. I was still elated to be there, despite how whiney I sound right now.

DSC03491

And then we made our way through a park to find Westminster Abbey closed for the evening. Boo. Its ok, I will be back to visit someday. There is so much more of London that I’d really like to see. My last pic is of what we saw on the road all the time, I loved it! And to be honest, it helped….

DSC03484

 

We eventually made it back to the flat and packed our bags for Madrid in the morning!

Viva la First

I feel like I’ve done quite a bit in my (almost) 30 years. I’ve gone to college, I’ve lived abroad, I’ve fallen in and out of love, I have amazing friends whom I’ve shared more than I’d have ever imagined…. so it really catches me off guard when I go somewhere I’ve been before, and really do some things that are new to my small world. Around the end of February, Kris and I went to Las Vegas to celebrate his best friend’s 30th birthday. Upon arrival we went to Bryce’s house for a BBQ (nothing new here), and following this we headed to the Hard Rock Hotel (I’ve stayed there a number of times for school since it’s right across from UNLV). From this point forward were new adventures that were new to me and made me feel like a was a kid who just turned 21 (this isn’t something I’m proud of!).

Let me just start out by saying that I had had a few glasses of wine, but wasn’t drunk (yet). We were going to the Hard Rock to see Motley Crue. I am not a particular FAN of Motley Crue, however I know I like the genre of music because I do love Def Leppard, and I like live music in general so I was excited. There was a big group of us.

Looking like super stars

 

Anyway, Kris and I started to get a little silly and drank a little more beer and needed to go to the bathroom. This is where things get a little fuzzy. If memory serves (though it doesn’t very well) we were not allowed to re-enter because we didn’t have our ticket stubs (I figured this out based on our text log). So we decided to go get some MORE dinner at the Pink Taco. After this, I was trying to stay in touch with the gang in the show to make sure we could meet up after but in our drunkenness we decided we were exhausted and wanted to go home. Thank goodness Chelsea snapped a pic of Motley Crue! Unfortunately, it wont upload on my computer (thanks a lot wordpress!). At the very least, it’s on my Facebook. So Kris and I board a taxi in a state of drunk and tired mixed (likely very mild for what a Vegas taxista is used to) and ask him to head to Summerlin. After a few different destination directions from Chelsey, first their house, then one of the station casinos, then Bryce’s house, we had really confused the taxi driver! When he couldn’t find Bryce’s house, I decided he had earned enough from us, the meter read $75 and of course when I ran the card it asked for a tip, I went cheap and gave 10% bringing the bill to just under a hundred bucks! We walked a block or two using my phone to guide us drunks through the cool Las Vegas air. Lucky for us, Bryce bought the most comfortable couch and we crashed out, it was about 11pm. Wow. The way we were acting, you’d think it was around 5am.

The next day was followed by an absolutely horrific stomach problem/hangover. It was AWFUL! I didn’t eat a thing all day… but had a few more firsts that day. After I was able to stand up without feeling completely nauseous, Erin took us to Red Rock Canyon. I was blown away with that place. It made me so much more appreciative of the area down at the tip of Nevada that I had such little respect for. As far as I knew, Las Vegas was a strip of casinos surrounded by greedy urban sprawl that was full of vacated foreclosed properties. I am glad Erin took us out to this awesome place, despite the pit in my stomach and the part of the nausea that remained.

Of course we only have a few pictures because I wasn’t feeling so hot and was relying on Kristopher to take some good photos.

Can’t you see my pain in that photo?

From here we headed to just around those hills behind me and saw something else I’d never seen before… Wild Ass!

Yep, these wild donkeys come right up to your car, begging for food! There were 7 or 8 of them and a whole line of cars letting them come up and sniff. I had no idea there were wild donkeys in Las Vegas. I think I’d prefer mustangs we have in Reno, there is something about a wild horse that is far more sexy than this donkey…nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed this!

They are definitely not shy!

After this we went back home, I ate, and we took a nap. Tonight was the fancy celebration for Erin. Dinner around 8, and then going to a Las Vegas club on the strip…certainly some more firsts! We ate at a restaurant at the Palazzo which was the same hotel the club was in. I’d like to say that this was my first time being under dressed for going out, but sadly it wasn’t. I am not a short skirt and high heels kind of girl so I think that had I not been with this VIP group, I would have been denied at the door because I am sad to say that I was the ONLY female in jeans!

The club was really awesome, and having VIP bottle service was definitely a bonus first had I been drinking. I had a lot of fun there, though I wasn’t feeling the most energized for drinking. I had tried to choke down a glass of wine at dinner but couldn’t so I stuck with red bull to keep my eyes open. The people watching was the most fun, considering I wasn’t socially lubricated enough for crazy dancing.

Kris stuck by my side, which I appreciated but I felt like his friends thought I was forcing him to stay with me sitting on the couch and not dancing but he assured me that he was where he wanted to be and didn’t feel forced. The good thing about me not drinking was that another first came along, driving everyone home in Erin’s BMW, loved that!

Well just to recap, here is my list of firsts:

First time being completely drunk in Las Vegas (not sure why that took so long to happen), first hangover in Las Vegas, first big hair band concert, first $100 cab ride, first trip to Red Rock Canyon, first time being out with a group of 20 people and not drinking, first Las Vegas club experience, first club experience with VIP bottle service, first time driving a BMW. Whew…. I feel much more mature and wise after all that.

Hhahaahahahahaa