Some Down Time in Hong Kong

It was time for me to adventure out in my own since Leslie had to go to work. I decided to take the day and head to Kowloon and conquer the Ladies Market. I had a friend that requested a few items and I took my negotiation skills and pictures to the market to find some purses and belts!

The market was not nearly as overwhelming as Beijing or Shanghai but walking through the streets, a constant comment of “copy bag or copy sunglasses” was whispered under hushed breath breath. I was looking at some sunglasses just because I thought they were cute and the guy asked to see my Jimmy Choos I was wearing and told me he had a copy. I pointed and said “these are real” and walked away.

Having had my adventure and also just wandering the streets, I relaxed a little bit back at the house before heading to dinner at Oola Petite. This is another local spot for Leslie and we opted to order some fajitas. With all the various cuisines I was consuming, why not throw some Mexican in there?

The next day Leslie had to work again and I was just plain old tired. I took the day to Netflix and chill. When Leslie got off work, we went to dinner for bottomless sushi! It would seem my last few days were focused on food which is absolutely okay with me!

Taipa Village

Just behind the glitz and glamour of the Cotai Strip is a tiny little town called Taipa Village. Macau was a former Portuguese colony and returned to China in 1999 making it a melting pot of food influenced by both cultures. Taipa Village is the perfect little area to get a taste of the history of Macau.

We went off in search of some typical Macanese food after crossing the street from the hotel. We ordered some chorizo, sautéed veggies, Portuguese fried rice and what we thought was baked chicken. What came out was a pastry stuffed with potatoes and bacon. Even though I’m with a friend who can speak Cantonese and Mandarin, the language barrier can still be an issue. At least we tried.

When you look up the top things to do in Taipa Village, the tope rated suggestions are restaurants to eat at.  Without much of a plan we wandered the streets to see what we would find. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the market center full of bustling stalls and endless shopping. I like to think I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food but I draw the line at most dried fish, shark fin or turtle soup and other things I can’t seem to figure out. However, it’s fun to browse and see what is available.

I had read about this place called Guava Juice and figured if we came across it I would see what it was all about. As we stumbled through the streets it popped up in front of us and I ordered myself a guava and passion fruit juice. It was AMAZING!

Finally it was time to head back to the hotel to head back to Hong Kong. On the way this little shutter caught my eye and reminded me of the colors and shutters I saw throughout parts of Europe and South America. There really is a little bit of different cultural’s influence all over the world.

Not yet having spent a single night in Hong Kong, I was excited to leave Macau and experience Hong Kong from a local’s point of view. As we were leaving Macau, flying fish jumped all around the ferry leaving a smile on my face!

Once I was settled into my friend’s place we walked down the block to Slim’s for a little happy hour where a French Rosé is only $5.75 and the peanuts are free flowing with the shells ending on the ground. A quick bite to eat and it was time for bed.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea…

I was heading to Maui and looked at a map and thought to myself, Maui is on the way to Asia, let’s find some good airfare. Good airfare was found but the route was out of hand! Note to self, check the route prior to purchasing the ticket.

After a glorious 8 days in Maui I jumped on a flight to Hong Kong, via Los Angeles. You read that right. I had to fly back to mainland US to just turn around and fly for 15 hours to Hong Kong! After about 28 hours of total travel time from leaving the hotel to landing, I finally made it! A smart person would have decided to look at a flight from Maui to Oahu and then to Hong Kong. Lesson learned…

Luckily my friend from college lives in Hong Kong and picked me up to the airport and swooped me off to her place where I quickly unpacked, brushed my teeth and showered. What’s the best way to best jet lag? Stay awake! Off to dim sum we went! Having a local to find a place and also order made everything incredibly easy!

One would think after such a long day of travel I would just hunker down and go to sleep. Not this girl! We jumped on a ferry to head on a mini vacation to Macau. The ferry is only an hour ride from Hong Kong and it is the perfect mini vacation! Don’t forget your passport because it is needed to go through immigration.

Macau is like a mini Las Vegas but we treated it as a place for culinary indulgence and time to see a show. We checked into the Broadway Hotel and wandered the streets in search of food. We ended up at a cute outside dining area in food alley for some hot pot which is always a winner. There ended up being a little mini Christmas parade that went past our table which provided a little live entertainment.

With food in the tummies and the jet lag really kicking it, it was time to go to bed. I made it until about 10pm but as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out! I didn’t even say goodnight to my friend! There is always tomorrow…

Paris for the Weekend

When you have a friend that lives in Lugano and they ask if you want to meet in Paris for the weekend, the answer is always yes! This was going to be my fourth trip to Paris but the first for my friend. We basically had one day to try and experience the best of Paris.

We stayed at an Air Bnb instead of a hostel because it was actually less than getting a private room. I arrived before her and went straight to the grocery store to create a little welcome snack to get us started. I think one of the best things about Paris is the affordability of the cheese and wine. A lot of people assume that Paris is a really expensive city but if you shop at local markets, it really keeps down the cost.

What is a visit to Paris without a stop at the Eiffel Tower? We were within walking distance of this gem and took the time to take some pictures an enjoy a glass of rose as the sun was setting. Year round the tower is lit up at night and sparkles every hour on the hour. You can even take a bottle of wine and sit on the grass and enjoy the show. It is absolutely worth seeing at night.

Next was a little walk down Champs-Elysees starting at the Arc de Triomphe. There are tours you can do to head to the stop of the arc but we decided just to admire it and continue our walk.

The Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most iconic Four Seasons in the world.The lobby is full of gorgeous flower arrangements year round. I had to pop in and walk around and capture the beauty. It was fashion week while we were there and so there were kids and paparazzi camped out front of the hotel. I have no idea who was staying there but I was glad to not end up on a worst dressed list!

Continuing on the tourist path of Paris must-sees put us at Notre Dame. The line was incredibly long to take a tour so we didn’t even attempt to go in. You can still appreciate the gothic architecture from the outside and there are plenty of cafes around to sit and relax and people watch.

There is so much more to do in Paris but this was the perfect way to see some of the major things in one day. Au revoir Paris!

Country Number 42…Portugal!

It seems that my last trip through Europe was repeating places I have already been to meet up with people or visit friends. This time is not too much different except I finally made it to a new country…PORTUGAL!

I did not do much research about where I was heading and was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in Lisbon. I walked through the city late at night to my hostel and immediately felt like I was in a great city and going to have a great time.

One of the best things about traveling is meeting new people and just wandering around discovering things. I met a girl at the hostel and she planned an outing for us to go to a rooftop bar for sunset. Before I knew it, there was a group of us from around the world enjoying drinks and getting to know each other with a beautiful view of Lisbon!

Part of learning about a culture is eating the local food. I went to a market that was full of multiple booths of tons of seafood and other cuisines. I started my evening off with some oysters and then moved on to some chicken curry with a glass of rosé. A few hours were spent enjoying a good meal and relaxing in this great environment.

The last day in Lisbon I took a ferry across the way and went to another little city called Costa de Caparica to hang at the beach and relax. As we were heading back we stopped at a local seafood place for some delicious mussels, crab and shrimp. The food was incredibly fresh and absolutely delicious!

Lisbon did not let me know and I am looking forward to exploring some more of the country in the next few days.

The Last Bit of Barcelona

Barcelona really is one of the cities where you could spend a month in and still not experience everything. However, after a few days in the city it was time to move on to the next stop of Valencia.

The downside to staying in a hotel is the lack of a kitchen or anywhere to really cook. My mom and I often get pretty creative to make due with what is in the room to create a masterpiece of culinary decadence!

Of course there is no way I can travel without spotting street art and taking pictures. All of this was located in the Gothic Quarter. We went to this area to visit the Picasso Museum where I realized I preferred his modern work more than his early to blue period work.

Sometimes I forget to take pictures of the people I am traveling with since I am usually caught up with the art and architecture and the selfie! But this part of the trip I am with my parents who can be just as silly as me!

Barcelona was an absolute treat. I was able to spend few days of exploring museums and eating delicious food. We head to Valencia next and then to the island of Mallorca before concluding our Spain travels in Sevilla.

My Tour of the PNW…Fairbanks

My next stop on my PNW was to Fairbanks, Alaska. I really didn’t know anything about Alaska and even when I booked the ticket, I was not quite sure where I was flying in the United States. After looking at a map, I realized I was very far north and not anywhere near where I thought I was!

Blueberry picking with a gorgeous view

I went to visit a friend from high school that I had met up with in Argentina, Brazil and Chile but only once in the US! Once again the plan was to live like a local.

Summer in Fairbanks has A LOT of sunlight so even though my flight arrived at 2:00am, there was still a little sunshine to be seen. It was a little odd to go to bed when the sun was still out but dark drapes are a must! We took a nap and then woke up and went to the local fair. I have to admit, I had a deep fried oreo! It was sugary goodness and I think I’m good for about another 10 years.

I spent a little time a the University of Alaska Museum of the North. They had an entire outhouse on display with many Alaskan items in it to show the continued importance of the outhouse. As you can imagine there is a lot of open space in Fairbanks and many of the cabins do not have indoor plumbing and thus the need for the outhouse.

This is Otto. He is 8’9″ and 1250 pounds. His likes are fish and berries and his dislikes are hunters.

The sky was so clear most of the time that I could not help but take pictures of the clouds and of the expansive views.

Fairbanks is the 2nd largest city in Alaska and is still VERY tiny. We took about an hour drive to Chena Hot Springs on a cloudy and overcast day and enjoyed a few hours of relaxation and good food. Alaska of course has great crab which I did indulge in but also some amazing fresh oysters. The food was not lacking.

A statue of moose horns

I spent a few days with these guys and had an amazing time. I was able to relax in a beautiful house and see what it’s like to live in Fairbanks for a few days.

The crew I was visiting

Berlin. Berlin. Berlin.

I don’t really do a lot of research about a place before I go. I tend to throw things out to my Facebook family and go off of suggestions from fellow travelers. I knew Berlin was famous for the Berlin Wall and for the nightlife, but I had no idea as to the extent that nightlife went!

The Berlin Wall is such an important part of Berlin history and truly separated a city into two sections that caused you to be shot on the spot if you tried to cross. There is still asection up and a main spot for street artists to show off their work.


I didn’t intend to go out to any of the clubs in Berlin but I ended up meeting some pretty cool people and thought it was a good idea. Apparently, the more you look like you don’t care about getting in, the more likely you are to get in. What does this mean? Dress in black and wear tennis shoes and don’t speak English! The first club me and another girl got into but the three boys got turned away. I had met a guy in Rome that happened to live in Berlin and he told me about a 90’s party happening at a club. By that time (2:00am or so), most of the group had called it quits but I powered through and had a great time! The clubs open on Friday and close Sunday or Monday. I could not do it all the time but it was fun to do once!

Berlin had some delicious food even if it wasn’t all necessarily German. I was very happy to treat myself to some wonderful meals!

 Overall, Berlin was everything I thought it was going to be and more. This is a city I could see myself returning to at some point in my life.

Vines of Mendoza. Otherwise known as heaven

The Vines of Mendoza is a resort located about 1.5 hours north of Mendoza in Uco Valley. The resort sits on over 2000 acres of vineyards. Yes, 2000! I have never seen so many vineyards on one plot of land. 

This was another place I was able to experience with my parents and just be in absolute heaven. The restaurant Siete Fuegos is known for having a chef that loves to cook with fire 7 different ways. 

The resort itself has a fantastic pool and spa and invites you to just relax. 

We were lucky enough to recieve an upgrade into a two bedroom villa. We had a complimentary bottle of red wine, white wine and champagne along with water and beer and soda and snacks. Talk about perfection. 

We spent most the time relaxing but we did spend a day trying the wines at the three different bodegas (wineries) on the property. The first one is Corazon del Sol and was not even officially open. The wine is delectable and the winery has sister tasting rooms in St. Helen, California and Oregon. An absolute must try. 

After that we went to The Vines tasting room. Malbec. Malbec. Malbec! And ended at one of the owners of the resorts vineyards for lunch and more wine. 

The best meal I have eaten in Argentina

Part of traveling is eating and discovering new restaurants. On a backpackers budget, those restaurants aren’t always within reach. However, when your parents come to visit, it is time to get a little spoiled.

My step dad read about iLatina somewhere and had sent me the link a while back. I would have treated myself to an evening out but didn’t think this was a place to attend alone. I couldn’t convince anyone else to come with me for $100 dinner. When my parents met me in Buenos Aires, I cashed in on the chance to eat at this wonderful restaurant.

7+ courses paired with wine for 1180 pesos. And let me tell you the wine pours were not for the faint of heart. The food was amazing and incredibly creative and the wines were out of this world!

White corn aniseed arepas with spicy avocado mousse and chicharron. Patacon with hogoa and goat cheese.

Nixtamized, toasted corn tortilla with beef cheek, Oaxacan mole, and Mexcal-marinated red onions.

Caramelized prawns with spicy pineapple and fennel.

Barú style ceviche with seasonal fish, mango biche, and coconut.

Peruvian seafood casserole with grilled octopus.

Braised pork in Colombian coffee and sugarcane reduction.

Ecuadorian cacao truffle with sea salt and olive oil.

Avocado and Aguardiente ice cream.

This was an amazing experience and I would recommend that anyone who is in Buenos Aires, needs to go to this restaurant!