Tag Archives: fireworks

Snorkel Safari, 2017

The next day I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure at the hotel spa. The beautician was from Jamaica and entertained me with stories of her life on the islands.

After pampering, we had a little more beach time and took in all the water sports on offer out front of the hotel. There were jet boots, parasailing, beach volleyball, two person sailing boats, paddleboards, water skiing and banana boating.

We decided on a snorkel safari that included riding on Jet Ski’s to two different snorkelling locations.

Having never been on a Jet Ski before, I was quite happy for my husband to drive. After donning life jackets, packing our snorkelling gear and a few short instructions on how to drive, we were ready to head off.

We went slowly at first, but found this was too rocky. So we sped up and were soon sailing past our South African tour guide.

At the first snorkelling site, I was lucky enough to see a small black stingray trawling the bottom of the ocean.

The second snorkel site, near the cruise ships anchored in Georgetown harbour, was much deeper and better.

We saw large schools of blue fish swimming in between the crevices of the rocky reef, bright green parrotfish and even bigger schools of silver fish that swam right up to the surface and past your face.

Then we had another Jet Ski race back to the beach, just in time to get ready for dinner back at the hotel.

There were tables were set up by the pool for dinner. The pay-as-you-go family sized canvas lounging chairs were finally free as daytime was over, so we settled in for some pre-dinner drinks.

A DJ set up near the pool, which was deep blue in the moonlight. The night ended with much dancing here, fireworks on the beach and a nightcap at the hotel bar.

Related posts: Rum Point, 2017Crystal Caves and Stingray City, 2017Caribbean rum, 2017Grand Cayman, 2017,  Isla Mujeres and Cancun, 2011

Tokyo Disneyland, 2016

We arrived at the Sheraton- one of the Disneyland resorts- and were upgraded to a penguin room. The penguin is the mascot of the hotel and they devote a whole floor to him including games, carpet, doors, bedspreads and furniture. Our daughter loved it.

The hotel also had a kids soft play area following a similar theme, electronic games, a miniature golf course and even an area where you can dress up as your favourite Disney character for a personalised photo shoot. Our daughter’s favourite game was the Sofia the First one where a hologram dressed her like the princess.

I was more impressed with the rest of the hotel including waterfall, two swimming pools, ocean views and even a fancy dessert bar with a fairy floss machine. My husband was most impressed with the fact that we could see the Disneyland castle and Disneysea volcano from our balcony and all we had to do was take a short monorail trip to get there.

We went to bed early- it was going to be a big two days.

I was so excited for our daughter’s first trip to Disneyland that I woke up before her. She dressed up in her Rapunzel dress that we had bought in Osaka with matching crown and princess doll that we had brought on our trip to Japan.

When we arrived at the Disneyland gates, we discovered that all the adults were dressed up too as this is allowed only for the week before Halloween. It made the day even better, the atmosphere was amazing and our daughter got to meet all the princesses.

There was another Rapunzel, Snow Whites, many Elsa’s, Jasmine, some Anna’s, Sleeping Beauty, a few Cinderella’s, Ariel, and even a Sophia, Amber and Princess Ivy. And of course there were many other Disney characters too, from Alice in Wonderland to Judy Hopps from Zootopia.

Our first ride was the Star Jets on the way to Toontown. Then we lined up for an hour to meet Mickey Mouse. It was worth it of course and while we waited, we took turns on the rides there with our daughter- Gadgets Go Coaster, Goofy’s House, Daisy’s Boat and Chip and Dale’s House.

We also met Pluto, bought a refillable Dumbo popcorn holder and saw the special Halloween parade with all the classic Disney characters- Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.

Fantasyland was exactly how I remembered it being in Los Angeles, but even better. There was the classic cups ride, the carousel, the flying Dumbo ride and you could actually go inside Cinderella’s castle to try on her glass slipper.

We went on a couple more rides in Tomorrowland, like the Monster’s Inc ride, and hit Adventureland when darkness hit. I love the New Orleans quarter here so we ate dinner in a café before riding Pirates of the Caribbean, another classic.

After a few more rides, it was time to call it on a very long day, put a happy little girl to sleep and watch the fireworks from our balcony.

Related posts: The Great Buddha, Nara, 2016Nara, 2016Castle and shopping in Osaka, 2016Osaka, 2016Onsen in Nantan, 2016Markets and Manga in Kyoto, 2016Gion, Kyoto, 2016Food and Fervour in Kyoto, 2016Kyoto, 2016Takeyama, 2016Samurai and Shidax in Kanazawa, 2016Seeking Geisha and Gardens in Kanazawa, 2016Kanazawa, 2016Tokyo, 2016: MiraikanTokyo, 2016: Shinjuku, Tsukiji Market and YanakaTokyo, 2016: Imperial Palace and ShibuyaTokyo, 2016: Ueno and HarajukuJapan, 2016

Marlborough to Akaroa, 2012

Before long, it was time to bid farewell to our New Zealand Sri Lankan family and catch the ferry back to Picton with no view of the Marlborough Sounds once again and a shared baby’s room with no private cabins. We didn’t realise just how spoilt we had been on our previous trip.

My husband and I decided to console ourselves with a rare couple of hours off from the newborn to sample some of the local Marlborough wines near the holiday park we were staying on river in Blenheim.

We started at Lawson’s Dry Hills, who suggested we visit a lovely new winery that I now see popping up in Australian bottle shops everywhere. Wither Hills had an undoubtedly modern cellar door and with old barrels for added character and a view of the vines to the hills.

The next day, we drove the East Coast to Kaikoura to see the seals. We didn’t have to look far as there was one lying in the car park in the sun when we arrived. We walked out onto the rocks and found a few bathing in and out of the beautiful healthy sea weedy water.

That night we stayed at Hamner Springs, a spa town in the hills. We visited the big water park with thermal springs the next day and soaked in the pine forest of the town.

Our final stop was Akaroa, one hour from Christchurch, for New Year’s Eve. Akaroa was a pretty little French inspired town and was my favourite place on the trip.

We stayed in a holiday park overlooking the town which had a comfy lounge building with TV. We walked down the hill into the town and discovered that a cruise ship had invaded for the day.

The French influence could be seen in the French bakeries, lovely heritage buildings and French signage that was dotted around the town. I bought some lovely earrings in a small gift shop and we walked out to the pier on harbour.

On New Year’s Eve we walked a little further to the lighthouse and had a yummy local seafood platter lunch. We were back in the van in time to see the lovely sunset. Our little family of three were all sleeping well before midnight, so tuckered out that not even fireworks hitting the van at midnight woke us up.

By the end of the trip, we had gotten used to our comfy little portable home and were sad to drop the campervan off in Christchurch before we boarded our plane home on New Years Day. New Zealand had turned out to be much more beautiful than I had imagined and I was so glad we had come.

Related posts: West Coast to Wellington, 2012, Queenstown to Fox Glacier, 2012, New Zealand, 2004

Independence Day, 2011

My besties parents picked me up at Omaha airport in the middle of the night and drove me back to their hunting lodge in the Sandhills of Stuart, Nebraska. We arrived in the very early hours of the morning and all of the ‘young ones’ were sleeping off the week of pre Independence Day celebrations in the cabin away from the main house.

The next morning, my bestie and I headed into town to catch the 4th July parade while everyone else surfaced. There were floats, horses with buggies, fire trucks and cars- both old and new. The street was decorated with a huge blue star, welcome banners had been hung and all the locals on the main street were camped outside their white washed houses to watch the action as it unfolded.

Stuart is a small but lovely little place and I have never been anywhere quite like it. Apart from the church, the water tank is the tallest structure in town, and the streets are wide. Everyone seemed to know each other and all the children who had moved away came home for the annual celebrations. My bestie ran into a cousin Brad whose family owned the local bus service and was driving one in the parade; so we hitched a ride to the oval.

Here was where we were meeting my bestie’s sister Janeen with her boyfriend, their brother Chris with his girlfriend, and my bestie’s boyfriend Andrew. We played all the games you play as a kid like leapfrog, sack races and the egg and spoon race. I entered the three legged race with my bestie which was hilarious.

The boys ran the bathtub race along the main street with my bestie as the passenger in an actual bathtub on wheels. This was closely followed by the duck races as the fire truck flooded the main street for the purpose. This was the kids favourite part, and secretly mine too as I collected a bright blue duck for a souvenir to take home.

We went to my bestie’s uncle Don and aunt Gini’s place in town for dinner, along with a whole lot of other family. With my bestie’s dad being one of 4 and her mum being one of 6, there was plenty of aunt’s, uncles and cousins.

Cousin Heather arrived and we all went to the only tiny pub in town, the Central Bar. This I could relate to coming from a small town myself, although we now had two pubs in my hometown. We all got a ride in a borrowed trailer back to the oval for the stock car races and 4th July fireworks once night fell. It was fabulous small town fun at it’s best, and this outsider really enjoyed the view from the inside.

Related posts: It’s an American Thing, USA Road trip, 2007, USA, 1990

Disneyland, 2007

My jetlag woke me at 3am and Opera next door was just closing. I was privy to a car park conversation between a guy and girl exiting the nightclub, which turned into a much accounted travel story.

“What’s your name?” he said.

“Destiny,” she said.

“Destiny! I f-ing LOVE that name!,” he said.

“What’s your name?” she said.

“John,” he said.

Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but this tickled me no end and I tried to contain my laughter on the top bunk so as not to wake my husband-to-be (HTB) on the bottom bunk. Unbeknownst to me, he was also awake, had heard the whole conversation.

Later that morning we were woken by a knock on the door which heralded our bus ride to the airport to pick up our hire car. No more walking for us! With no time to wash, we quickly chucked our stuff into our backpacks and headed downstairs.

After picking up some other passengers at the famous Chateau Marmont on the other side of Hollywood Boulevard, we hit the freeway. After obtaining our car we headed to Anaheim and Disneyland.

My HTB had never been to Disneyland before and I couldn’t wait to share my memories of the happiest place on earth with him. We took the obligatory photos in front of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse made out of flowers at the entry and then walked down Main Street.

First stop was Adventureland. We went on the Jungle Cruise, which hadn’t changed much and climbed the new to me Tarzan’s House. The Indiana Jones adventure was the highlight- it really seemed like that rock was going to roll on top of us.

In Frontierland we saw the Rivers of America, Tom Sawyer Island and the Mark Twain Riverboat. We had a bite to eat in New Orleans Square and then went on the classic Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The new Haunted Mansion had clever use of holograms and was themed to match a kid’s movie that I hadn’t seen. The best ride was the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.

Next we headed to Critter Country and my all time favourite ride- Splash Mountain. It was just as good as I had remembered it and this time we didn’t have to line up for as long.

We passed the iconic Enchanted Castle in Fantasyland, had a ride on the Storybookland canal boats and a spin in the Mad Tea Party cups. I indulged a little nostalgia with a trip on the Matterhorn bobsleds and a journey into It’s a Small World. The song was just as annoying as I remembered it, but they had updated a few areas, like the 2008 New Year’s Eve in Paris.

Mickey’s Toontown was a completely new area to me. The rides were more for big kids, but we still went on Roger Rabbits Cartoon spin and Go Gadget’s Go Coaster.

Tomorrowland was my HTB’s favourite- probably mostly due to the Star Tours area which was very well fitted out. After a spin in Autopia, we had run out of time, so started our walk back to our cheap Anaheim motel passing the Enchanted Castle lit up for night on the way. As we neared our motel we saw the closing fireworks over the park.

Ah, Disneyland, the original, and still a joy.

Related posts: Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990, Travel rememberings, All things Disney

Get your groove on!

I always loved dancing and despite being uncoordinated, I have some natural rhythm. Or perhaps it’s a love of dancing coupled with a lack of self-consciousness.

My cousins and I used to put together dance routines to entertain the adults at family functions. One year we dressed up in crepe paper buttercups and sang and danced to the song from the Three Amigo’s movie.

When I was in high school I took part in the Rock Eisteddfod for three years. I was a piece of lava for the Pompeii themed year, a harem girl for the Arabian night’s themed year and a card- the queen of spades- for the casino themed year. The best thing about it was when we got into the finals, we got to perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and mix with all the Sydney schools. My mum still have videos of all the performances.

At the age of 18, it was off to the local ex-servos club in Nowra to hit the dance floor with friends and students from other local schools to hip new music by Salt- N- Pepa and such like. I also managed a few nights clubbing in Wollongong with my cousin who lived there.

And then I graduated to the big time- clubbing in Sydney. I became a regular at Home while it was still one of the most popular clubs in the city. Now I always feel a little old and out of place at nightclubs. I’m out of touch with the hip music and the cool places to go- which brings me to the subject of parties.

I used to go to lots of parties in my twenties when I had a lot of acquaintances- dress up parties, birthday parties, New Year’s parties, house warming parties, just because it’s the weekend parties- you never knew who you were going to meet!

Now that we are older and everyone owns property, it’s no longer fashionable to invite everyone you have ever met over to your place to turn up at 11pm and trash the floorboards. Parties involve small gatherings in the garden or picnics in the park at 11am. But you still can BYO alcohol.

I never liked to have parties for myself- I find it a bit strange having a celebration for something I haven’t achieved.

My first and only childhood birthday party was when I was five at my house in Berry. We had semi- legal fireworks from Canberra and played pin the tail on the donkey. My friends threw me a surprise 21st party at my flat in Sydney and I had a great 25th with 70 of my closest acquaintances at The Slipp Inn- where Mary met her prince of Denmark. I was not as lucky as her that night!

I had a surprise 29th courtesy of my boyfriend and organised my own 30th party in the backyard of my parents house in Berry. It was vampire themed and I was the only Buffy. Scary to say I already had the whole wardrobe, including the leather pants, and only had to buy a blonde wig.

Related posts: What’s your handicap?, The Seven Year Itch, By Special Request, TV Replays and Movie Marathons, Friendship: Great Expectations?, Home is where you make it, I first started writing