Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Valencia day 2

Good evening! Anna's been a sweetheart and doing the blogging whilst Im lazing about or showering. Currently using her ipad because we had an incident with her ending the life of my laptop charger. Excuse any typos in advance thanks to my fat unco fingers.

Today was our second day in Valencia!
We started the day with breakfast and we tried horchata for the first time. It tasted a lot better than we expected and I think I'll be trying more of these later on our trip.

After breaky we ended up back at the hotel and leaving at 1pm because Anna needed to charge her camera. We had a late start but we knew exactly what we wanted to do today and off we went to our first stop, Mercardo Central markets. This market is huge and there were a huge selection of stalls selling meats, cheese, breads, fruit, veggies and other foods. It seems that the locals go here to shop as well so it was really a treat to experience something that wasn't just targeted at tourists. We wandered around and decided to make a dash and collect some ingredients for our lunch because the markets closed at 2pm and Anna was dying for the loo (which happens quite frequently).

It was a lovely picnic-tapas-eat-with-your-fingers kind of lunch. Here is a video of what lunch consisted of. We've been having too much fun making videos for you guys to watch. Well... We find it hilarious watching them over and over again!

We found a frozen yoghurt place and we shared a small tub each and after a short rest we were off again. By now the sun was out full force and we were sweating on our trek to the museo de bellas artes San pio v. This was an art museum and it housed quite an impressive selection of Spanish art. Anna did a fab job of explaining the religious paintings to me. I didn't think I would be in a museum-y mood but I found myself enjoying the artworks and as usual, left amazed. It was a cool relief from the sun but we spent a fair bit of time in there it started to feel chilly and we wanted to get out in the sun again.

The next stop was Torres Serrano. We climbed this place that once used to be a fortress and it offered panoramic views of Valencia so it was ideal for photos.

We wandered around the rest of the city and a few rest stops were made because we were simply exhausted from the heat. Dinner was delicious and we had squid ink seafood paella shared between us (lesson learnt from last night) and I was glad that Anna found it delicious too!

Today was a rather long day and we were both surprised at how much we managed to fit in one day. Tomorrow is THE DAY!! We are incredibly worried about losing our tops, getting crushed and rinsing out tomato seeds for the next few days. But more so the first! Early wake at 6am so I shall end here and hopefully in our next post you will get to see photos of us in the WORLD'S LARGEST FOOD FIGHT!!!!!!!!

Location:Valencia, Spain

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

London to Valencia

Holy moly, today was a full on day. Looking back on the photos taken, I still can't believe that we were in London this morning, and are now in Spain.

On the flight to London, I had listened to the My Fair Lady soundtrack while sleeping. So today, I kept wanting to sing 'the rain in Spain, stays mainly in the plain...'

We woke up nice and early at 4am and were out the door by 5 to catch two buses and a train to Gatwick airport. It was dark, and freezing.

I was amazed at Trafalga square, thinking that it was 6 years ago since I last walked past those lions. Because it was so early in the morning there was no traffic!

Once at the train station, there was no problem getting out tickets. However, we were rushed to catch the train because we had issues with our buses not showing up on time, making us slightly late.

YouTube Video

Once in Valencia, we were greeted by the sunny and warm Spanish sun. We had our map, and made our way to our hotel which ass located jot far from the underground train station that we had taken from the airport. We quickly checked in, freshened up, ands went out the door to start exploring.

We ended up seeing some beautiful architecture, and did an audio tour of The Cathedral, where we saw 'the' holy grail.

After the tour, we were really exhausted. I think we were just pooped. From the long day, the warm weather, walking, and taking in such a intense tour. We then just found a spot to sit, (which ended up being the Plaza de Ayuntamiento) and have nice random conversations while enjoying the sights and smells.

We were pretty tired no?

After sitting for an hour or so, we decided to try to find some Valencia Pallea and some Sangria. We returned to an alleyway which was closed at 4pm, but was very much alive at 7.45pm. Oh yea, no joke. The Spanish DO have their siestas and things open in the morning from 9-1pm, and then they are closed for the afternoon, to then open from 5pm for the night shift.

The people in Spain dress quite differently, in that the women dress up with nice maxi dresses, or a nice top with strappy sandals, and the men, wear chinos or short chinos, with canvas like slip on shoes and a nice casual button down shirt (usually white or blue). Together with their caramel smooth tans, the people are beautiful.

Chia and I have been practicing our Spanish. Hola! Being used a lot, por favor and gracias. I've been trying to use my lonely planet Spanish book as not a lot of people speak English. However, everyone has been super nice to us.

Anyways, shower time! Chia will upload pics on Facebook!

Location:Valencia, Spain

Monday, August 29, 2011

London Town

Yaaaaaaaaay! Finally in London with Chia! I can't believe that I am here!

The flight to Dubai was pretty good. I was initially nervous about who I would be sitting next to, but I ended up being seated next to a brother and sister (I will refer to them as the 'cool siblings'). They were really nice, and were the perfect combo of friendliness, while not over stepping any personal boundaries (that awkward moment when you just want to watch your movie etc).

When I arrived at Dubai, I finally got a chance to talk to Amy, who was also on that flight with her mom and sister. They were on their way to NY, when they found out that their flight at been cancelled due to the hurricane over there!

Amy, her mom and sister ended up getting a room for an overnight stay because of the delay. I also bumped into the Cool Siblings again, who came up to me to say that they too were staying overnight because they were going to NY too. I was then left alone at the airport to do my own thing for 5 hours until my connecting flight to London. I was so tired, as I only had 4 hours if broken sleep but I could not find any place to rest my eyes except for a lounge like chair for about 1 hour, after which, I needed to pee, and so that chair was gone as soon as my butt left it. Here's a few things I got up to at the airport:

On the flight to London, I was able to get another 4 to 5 hours of broken sleep. I felt a lot better and felt like I could probably make it through Love Never Dies; though I knew I was far from avoiding the effects of jet lag.

Some of the pics I took of London from above:

Arriving in London was took forever! Our plane circled Heathrow for about 25 minutes before landing, and then, customs took forever! Finally when I got out, I found Chia! And it was so surreal! Bubbling with excitement and happiness, my tiredness disappeared and I was able to take the underground with Chia lugging all my heavy suitcase, with no issues. It was only after riding the train for almost an hour, that I started getting s headache and exhaustion hit me.

We then arrived at Chia's apartment and immediately got ready for the show (it was so nice to have a shower and brush my teeth).

We took the train again to go to Leichester Square where Love Never Dies was showing.

I was so happy that Chia was able to get us tickets, as this was the last show for the original cast members. We ended up getting seats located in one of the last few rows, but we were able to still see the performers in detail. As an unexpected surprise, the woman in front of us turned sround started talking to us about how many times she had seen this show. Then her face suddenly changed. 'Turn around girls,' she whispered quickly 'Look, it's the man himself!'

Chia and I both turned around and there was Andrew Lloyd Webber walking down the isle to find a seat. He was going to watch it!

I was concerned that I may fall asleep in it, but it was so beautiful! That I lost myself in it. At the end, everyone gave the actors a standing ovation, and then Mr Webber got out of his seat and walked on stage to give a little farewell speech. I tried my new camera to get this moment... And I was surprise on how awesome it was, given that we were a few rows from the back of the theatre.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not long now


As I type this, you are well and truly up in the air on your way to Dubai.  How awesome is that? I CAN'T STOP SMILING and I'm doing little sitting down jigs whilst I type!!!!

I wonder what you are doing right now. Maybe you're sleeping?  I know I couldn't get enough sleep when I was getting here because there were so many thoughts running through my head. I wouldn't worry too much about not getting sleep because we will have Monday and Tuesday to catch up on our sleep before La Tomatina. Chances are when you get here,  the excitement of being in LONDON will keep you awake!

I hope you brought your Spanish phrase book! We're going to have plenty of fun with that, and it will certainly come in handy.

I think I need to go out and exercise because I am BURSTING yes BURSTING with happiness and joy! When I see you I am going to give you the MOST BIGGEST HUG ever known to mankind!


Last day

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh Chia!!!

I've been so busy with work, and other personal stuff, that today just popped up so suddenly! My last day in Perth and I'll be coming over your place tomorrow!!!!

And to think, it was like 80 something days not long ago!

The main things on my mind regarding the trip is the following- what do I pack, do I have all the tickets and bookings, what shoes to bring, and... jetlag.

My bags are packed... well sort of.

Jetlag is what concerned about. I'm trying to find some sort of strategy to plan my sleep so when I arrive in London at 2.30pm, I won't be feeling like it's 8.30pm. So when we watch Love Never Dies at 7.30pm I won't feel like it's 1.30am Sunday morning!

Transit during long haul flights really intrigue me. It's like you're in a twilight zone where you all of a sudden gain an extra 6 or 7 hours in your day. Where did those extra hours come from?! I wish I had them all the time!

Kev is flying on his birthday, so he will gain an extra 6 or 7 hours of potential celebration, except for the whole day, he will be either flying or in transit.

So I've attempted to find some information on mitigating the effects of jetlag on the Internet, and have come across random stuff like pressing certain pressure points on your body and even a special jetlag diet. The only thing that I found worthwhile trying is this iPhone app called jetlag genie.

It asks for your flight info, and usual times for bed and waking up. It then provides you with a personalized program of when to wake up and when to find sunlight and when to sleep.

Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep in to wake up at 10am. Perhaps next time I have such a big trip, I ought to take the day that I fly out, off work.

Anyways! I am so glad you saw Phantom of the Opera! I love it sooo much! You should watch the movie, it's so damn beautiful and sexy too. For a while I was in love with the phantom too. But, then I started thinking how he would be in real life, and I think I'd be a little scared, how if he's a little angry, he'd kill someone. Anywho, I hope you're excited for Love Never Dies!

Oh! I have a spanish phrase book too! Should I bring it?!

Anyway, tunnel time. Post you soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sunny Sunday

Looks like you will be very lucky to have a sunny Sunday Anna!

You can see just how bizarre typical London weather is. I hope Sunday doesn't change too much over the next few days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phantom of the Opera

Hi Anna!

I loved Phantom of the Opera! I found myself enjoying it more than Wicked. It was probably because I was sitting a lot closer to the stage and I could really see their facial expressions and costumes in detail. It was a very intense experience and it left me scared and on the edge of my seat but also sad and almost teary in parts.

Waiting for the show to start. Later on, a tall man sat in front of me and I had to lean to the left or right of him. Gr! The beautiful chandelier is covered under the white cloth.
There was a tourist next to me and I noticed that she fell asleep towards the end. Oh dear! Their voices amazed me as usual and I fell in love with the Phantom because of how passionate he was towards Christine. Heavy sigh....

Thank you for calling in and picking up my stuff at home. I am a little jealous that you get to see my mum and be at my place :p I bet you are very busy right now and I hope you manage to get everything together in time. Speak soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rough Guide to Spain

Hola Anna!

Buenos dias! I'm practising some Spanish thanks to  my Rough Guide to Spain which arrived this morning via Amazon! That website is amazing for books. Took about 2 working days for it to arrive. I've flipped through it briefly but over the next few days I will read sections on Valencia, Ibiza, Barcelona, Madrid and a few others. I think I will extend my stay and have a solo-winging-it adventure after you leave. I'm a little worried because I haven't booked a return ticket yet because I don't know where I will be when flying back to London.

I AM ECSTATIC!!! You'll be here soon soon sooooon. I don't think I've ever been so keen to see someone like this before. It's not just seeing you that makes it exciting, it's the fact that we are going to have a trip of a lifetime!

Guess what? If we have 5 days in Barcelona I think we should take a day trip to see Montserrat.  I love outdoors adventures and I think it would be splendid to do some trekking and then take a cable car down. Well pack your joggers just in case!

As for other packing, it depends on how you like to pack. For my Contiki trip,  it was actually easy packing a minimal clothes because that meant I didn't spend too much time deciding on what to wear and I hand washed and wore some clothes again. I think 3 party dresses are enough, besides you can always buy more if you feel like it. Apparently shopping in Barcelona is heaven too! In terms of summer clothes I'm going to bring 2 pairs of shorts, 10 days worth of singlets/tops some dressy to wear at night and some casual, a couple of day and night dresses , a couple of skirts and a set of bathers but another if I find some tomorrow. I don't know if we will be visiting the beach a lot in Barcelona but we shall see. I'm making sure most of my clothes can be mixed and match so it's easy to create new outfits. You can pretty much wear anything you want really as long as you're comfy. I suppose we will look like tourists anyway. I'm more worried about La Tomatina! I am imagining a few battle wounds and ripped clothing. I read somewhere that one piece bathing suits might be useful than bikini separates but I'm not going to go out and buy a one piece just for La Tomatina. Make sure your bikini tops are secure though. I hope my crop top will hold out :/

Also, I'm going to be using this Top Shop bag I got recently as my day bag. It's rather small but the perfect size to sling around so I don't end up having sore shoulders from lugging it around all day.

Oh and guess what I'll be doing at 230pm tomorrow or 730pm your time? I'll be watching PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!

Feeling happy and lucky right now thanks to you Anna!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shorter than a working week

Less than 5 days to go! It's
Crazy, like- 'Hey Chia what you want to do this weekend?!' ^____^

I love your Bath photos hey. Like I can imagine the Romans (in my imagination they are soldiers) traveling all the way to Bath for a nice massage and dip. I can see them going in butt naked, with their toned bodies glistening with massage oil. That's how I imagine it was like back in those days! Now, what used to be luxury, is a ruin for us to see. It's so fascinating and eerie too. The water in your photos look like magic water, though I'm sure in person, it doesn't look so hygienic.

The aging scene doesn't make us look old, but it makes the photo look older. I think it's cute.

Do you think we would go to the beach a lot when in Barcelona? I assumed that we would in Ibiza. I've packed 3 sets of bathers, one of them I was thinking of wearing for La Tomatina. But I am still tossing up on whether I am willing to sacrifice one of my sports bra for it or not. I've seen photos of girls wearing bathers, and they looked fine. But then I did see a photo with a girl whose top was ripped off, and though she's happy and laughing, her boobies were all out in the open. Though, I guess I wouldn't mind as much if I had boobies like her.

How many 'night' outfits you think we need? I've packed 3 dresses but I'm thinking I've overpacked. Are people dressy in Europe during the day? I don't want to stand out like a typical tourist there. So far I have a whole bunch of singlets and shorts.

Ok going through a tunnel. I'll talk to you soon.

Stonehenge & Bath

Hi Anna

Congrats on the new camera!!! I'm very envious after seeing all the cool functions and I feel like I want/need one too. But I love my old Canon to bits and it has served me so well (been dropped, scratched, buried in sand over the 4 years?)  I don't know how it'd feel if I replaced it. I'm totally looking forward to taking heaps of pics with you and flooding our blog with them. I can't wait to replace it with a new banner with us and all the places we've been to :) The fishbowl effect is awesome! Not sure about the aging one though. There seems to be no difference? You look beautiful in all of the pictures. I love looking at photos of people and your post with all the photos made the post really enjoyable to read.  Funny that Vanni and Alicia said that one of the pic you look like me. After examining it for a while, they're right, it's the eyes. I wonder if FB would detect and auto tag that pic as me? I know there are times when FB auto tags and it's a little scary when they get it wrong! I got offended once when it auto tagged me as someone else.

 I LOVE LOVE LOVE the post with the pics of the uni crew! I miss everyone so much and it's so good to see everyone together! It's always fantastic to catch up with everyone once in a while and I really wish I was there too having dim sum like good old times. I forgot to mention that Vanni acquired a Canadian accent and I couldn't get use to it when she was here. I felt like I was talking to someone else. Can you imagine me coming back after 2 years with an English accent? At this rate it could be impossible!

 I can't stop thinking about how many days until I see you! I can't believe that there are only FIVE MORE DAYS! FIVE!! Remember when it was 80? Holy moly! It's going to be an intense anticipation from now onwards. I can't express how excited I am. Bursting with excitement. I can't wait to pick you up from the airport! If I had one wish it would be for you to stay longer :( Heavy sigh...

I think Spain will be quite warm around 30 degrees from what I've seen on the weather forecast. When I was in Munich it was rainy and a little cold and a pair of jeans, cardi and a light scarf was all I needed. I feel like I should go shopping for some bathers this week. Don't forget your bathers! I imagine us hitting the beach in Ibiza and Barcelona oh yeah!

I can't believe it's been a week since I've been back from Contiki. The week has just flown by filled with cooking and shopping adventures and also on Friday, a day trip to see the Stonehenge and Bath.

I had a lovely time with Shaz and two of her friends from Perth. Stonehenge was a little disappointing because it was roped off forcing us to view the stones further away and it looked small from where we were. Regardless of that, I'm glad I had the chance to see it with the company of the girls and it's amazing to be able to view another ancient wonder.


Loving my jacket :)
Shaz needs to brush up on her jumping skills. Height is not an excuse :p
I absolutely loved Bath though.
Just a small part of Bath. We didn't have time to explore out of the city area.
Behind me is Parade Gardens.
Bath was named after the Roman Baths that were built in the city. It was incredibly beautiful and I wish we had more time to spend wandering there. The Roman Baths had a walk through museum which gave me the chance to brush up my history but there was a lot to take in, in such a short time of 2.5 hours that we had to rush.
The Great Bath. Gone are the days where one would bathe in here. The water hasn't been treated which is why it doesn't  look very appealing at all.

The water was hot from the thermal springs. How wonderful would it have been in winter for the Romans?
There were about 15 other people on the tour and they were older than us.  We were on the coach for almost a total of 5 hours and it reminded me of being on the Contiki bus all over again. I think I'm still getting side effects of leg cramps now and then from all the coach sitting!

Last but not least is this shot of a ladybug Shaz spotted when we were taking photos! I like the macro function of my SLR when I actually can figure out how to use it.

 Happy packing!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Camera!

Hey Chia!

Your posts always make me happy! I love your jacket! It looks really cool! I really want to go to Top Shop if we can! I went to one in Kuala Lumpur, but I didn't buy anything because I had already bought way too much on the Asia Trip! I am looking for nice shorts and some nice tops! But even if we don't have time on Sunday, I am happy to go anywhere with you!

As each day comes to an end, I am in disbelief that I will be seeing you THIS Saturday! Our counter says 5 days to go! It seems so fast when you think of it like that, but then I also feel like it's so far away. I haven't even had the chance to start packing as yet! But I will start when I finish this post!

OH! An important question. What is the weather like in Europe now? What clothes should I pack? Is it still hot or is it getting cooler now?

Your Sushi looks really yummy! But from memory, I thought you had made sushi before?

Yesterday, I bought myself a Canon Powershot S95! I had a whirl on it last night and today so I could get acquainted with its features. So far its really good. It reminds me of our old Canon Ixus camera, but with a lot more options, and better photo quality. I like the fun options that Canon has, and I was able to come out of the photos below:

Fishbowl scene- I think I will have some awesome fun with the fishbowl scene! Kev looks like an Na'vi! =P

Fishbowl Scene
Miniature scene - I was told by the salesman who sold me the camera, that the minature scene was supposed to make large objects look like they have been taken under a macro lens. I still don't know how I would use this function, but it does give a cool photo where there is focus on one thing, and blurring out the rest.

'Miniature' Scene #1 - It kind of makes Kev's hands look bigger

'Miniature' Scene #2 - Kev's face is priceless. What he was doing, I do not know.
The following is a bunch of colour alteration options which are pretty cool.

Poster Scene - Makes all objects one bold colour so it appears like poster art.

Colour Swap #1

Colour Swap #2

Colour Swap #3

Colour Swap #4

Aging Scene #1

Aging Scene #2
I do have faith in this new camera! I am so excited to take photos on our trip! I will be bringing two cameras, this Canon one, and my Sony camera that I got for my birthday last year! The Sony is good for action shots, and is waterproof. I can see us having a lot of fun with it at La Tomatina festival and the beaches in Ibiza!

Today the old uni crew met up for dim sum to see Vanni who as returned to Perth after her around the world trip. OMG, like everyone else has said, she has acquired the best souvenir of all, a nice Canadian accent. Clem gave Vanni, Kev and I a ride into Northbridge in his brand new car! It was a joy to ride in! I can see why people get sports cars. I forgot how fun a nice zippy car can be!

I always really enjoy our uni group catch ups! Unfortunately you were not there, and neither was Drew, but there is something about seeing old friends. I can't believe how we are all growing up so fast now. Drew and Katie are to be married next year, and Alicia! Oh geez! Alicia and Michael are getting married later this year! I am so happy for all of them!

I was a bit focused on catching up with people, and with eating because I was super hungry! But I was able to have a play with my camera too!

Poster Scene - Kev looks like an anime character here.

Auto - Vanni and Alicia thought I looked like you here! Something to do with my eyes?

The girls!

The guys!

Clem's new car taken with the miniature scene

Well, I better start packing! I want to hear stories of Stonehenge and Bath! =)