Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The warmth of Southeast Asia

Been back over a week now and I'm still reviewing and processing photos from our trip. Blog posts will be written in drips and drabs as priorities allow. I won't even bother making excuses or provide explanations on time constraints. Truth be known I'm just damn lazy!

Katong, Singapore


We moved away from the island of Sentosa and spent a night and half a day in Katong, Singapore. The Grand Mercure Hotel is located opposite Marine Parade markets. It's also a nice short walk to the beach, but since it was raining on and off we didn't spend a huge amount of time there. Instead we wandered around and enjoyed being in another country. Singapore is not like other South East Asian countries. Not that it's good or bad, but it's clean and sterile. Make what you will of that statement.





I had a lovely asian breakfast (I don't know what it was) at the markets after we gave Kien pancakes from Mc D's. It's a blessing in disguise there are Golden Arches all over the world!



We enjoyed the pool at our hotel even though it was raining...which means no one bothers going swimming. Nice for us.



Off to the airport in the afternoon and we were on our way to Thailand.





We flew over Senai Kulai, Johore.



And the Straits of Malaca.



Kathu, Phuket


My first exploration of our area was a jog to the beach at dawn. I watched the sunrise from Tri Trang beach.





Behind the screen is a building site, and there is full on work happening to construct a giant resort.





We spent the first day pretty much poolside. I did walk to the local store to get some beverages.











We had dinner up the hill from the beach. The kids had western food, Jef had Pad Thai, and I had a lovely seafood salad. Everything washed down well with Chang.







On Monday we decided to head down to Pa Tong. We wandered around the shops for a bit, then went to the beach for a bit. It was so hot and sticky and crowded, and so we all made a unanimous decision to hop in a tuk tuk and head up the hill to the other resort where we could use their facilities since it's all part of the same group.









Got to the gate and we could have been any old crowd as the guard didn't even question us.



We started teaching Kien how to dive.



We cooled off in the pool for a couple of hours. Bliss.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Stopping in Singapore

On Wednesday night we were at the airport waiting for our flight. I've been looking forward to this excursion for a while now, especially as the weather in Auckland got stormier and colder half way through May. My mood definitely started taking a dive and I was hanging on knowing we'd had this holiday booked. At work it was getting increasingly hectic as well, and I began stressing about how I was going to get the things I needed to get done DONE with June quickly approaching. Such is life? Right? When we got to the airport I was a bag of nerves, but upon checking in to the Koru lounge I ordered a cocktail (called "High Flyer") while pouring myself a glass of bubbly and knew the next 12 days were all about rest and relaxation.





We got to Changi Airport and caught an Uber to our hotel; Shangri-la's Rasa Sentosa Resort. Sentosa is an island in Singapore, and the resort is the only one on the beachfront with direct access to Siloso beach. It was pretty extravagant to stay here, and, oh boy, it felt like we were in paradise. If you like ships, this is the port for you.











We were exhausted the day we checked in and after swimming at the beach and the pool we crashed out in our room for pretty much the entire day.





The following day we were up early (since NZ is 4 hours ahead). We checked the time of sunrise, and made our way to the beach to watch.





Unfortunately the sunrise was on the other side, and our view was blocked by a hill. So we didn't see the sunrise, but it was a good walk nonetheless.









After breakfast we frolicked in the pool.







The plan was to head over to Malaysia for a night, but it just seemed too hard given we had to have a special taxi to take us through the border, and from our hotel it was a mission to get off the island and get to the place where these taxis were. Plus the border crossing could take 2 hours in the queue depending on traffic. So we made a decision to cancel the hotel reservation in Malaysia and book another night in Singapore. I arranged for a late checkout, and booked us in to the Grand Mercure hotel. It is located semi centrally which then enables us to see the more "real" Singapore (as opposed to be hidden away on an island resort).

Sunday, May 22, 2016

While we were in Vegas...

We went on a roadtrip from LA to Las Vegas. Google said it would take just under 4 hours. Travelling with 2 families and young kids...yeah, right.








We stopped at the famous Alien Fresh Jerky store in Baker. It was certainly an experience.







We also stopped at an outlet mall. By this stage the storm had hit, and the high winds blowing across the desert was intense. The mall was practically empty and we were joking that it felt like we were in some sort of Waking Dead episode.



Finally we drove towards Las Vegas central, with the beam from the Luxor showing us our target.



We stayed at Ballys; next door the Paris.







The plan was to come to Las Vegas for whistle stop visit, see the Blue Man Group performance, and then leave the following day. We managed to have a relatively relaxing time here.





















...and then we were on the drive back home to LA. The cloud formations were spectacular.







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