Travel Diaries: Reconnecting with Dubai

Travel Diaries: Reconnecting with Dubai

 

Burj Khalifa ❤

People will think why would I visit a place which I once lived, why not going some place new… Habibi, Dubai is that place I would never get tired, period. I have to admit that when I was pregnant, I hated Dubai with guts. I wanted to get out, I was tired and all the homesick came together and collapsed on top of me, but that was the mess of hormones talking. After I gave birth, I was so ready to jump on a plane and move back to Dubai with my little one, but life is not that easy, right? So this opportunity came up to stop in Dubai on my way back from Hanoi and I couldn’t be more excited.

When I stepped on that plane and watch the Emirates crew, I relived those moments, I knew their tasks, the call bells meaning, type of service, everything. It felt nice and proud, knowing that I used to wear that famous red hat. There’s been some minor changes regarding to the inflight service and other miscellaneous, but after flying with other major Middle Eastern airlines, I have to say and not because I used to be their crew; but sorry they are still the best.

When we landed I had so many things I wanted to do, even grocery shopping! I just wanted to do what I used to love when I was local, and relived every pinch moment, but I also knew that time was a factor. Fortunately I made this trip solo, which means no tourist interests, my own schedule and just walk around with no hesitation. I don’t mind traveling to Dubai with people who have never visited, but this time was my own little space.

One of my Emirates cabin crew friends that I still have in contact, managed to provide me his own apartment. He was on leave so decided to leave me the keys so I could use his accommodation for sleep, take a shower, eat and so on. That really helped me since I arrived at 5:00am and I was so tired! I took a beauty sleep, had a nice shower and off I went.

Sunset from my friends balcony at International city, Dubai.

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Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Tour

Hi guys! Today’s post is about a little more of my Vietnam trip but focusing in Ha Long Bay. I’m going to share with you my visit of this beautiful sightseeing experience on a junk boat tour. Ha Long Bay is near the city of Ha Long (Quang Ninh province) on the northwest of Vietnam. The area contains amazing limestone islands, emerald waters, rock formations and caves. You can take a cruise for 2-3 nights or a junk boat tour for a full day tour, which is the one we took. All junk boat tours are different, the one that we chose had transportation (3hrs bus from Hanoi), lunch and 2 options to choose from kayaking or bamboo boat ride.

The view is amazing with the limestones and majestic caves… however, I noticed the environment was highly compromised. The bay was overrun by tours with very little concern for waste and conservation. Despite of the environment feeling, we enjoyed the sightseeing, the formation of the rocky mountains where just beautiful. It is a very relaxing tour, although, I really think I would have enjoyed more going by cruise. Traveling by bus is like 3hrs going and then 3hrs back from Hanoi, which was tiring and my neck hurt… a lot. We had 2 stops to stretch up our legs and eat but by cruise is another experience in which you can go swimming, watch the sunset, enjoy the sightseeing trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, plus you can actually take your time exploring for those 2 or 3 nights in different islands. So if you have the time, I do recommend going to Ha Long Bay by boat cruise, it’s not too expensive unless you’d like the fancy luxurious ones. I have crew friends that have done it and they truly recommended as well.

The lunch was great, they served chicken, pork, rice, salad, drinks were not included though. The tour guide explained the limestones and islets names in which I honestly couldn’t understand nor see the formations from them. For instance the Stone Dogs; my friends and I laugh so hard because we were like “Where’s the damn dog!”. The guide tried to explain it to us, but we just couldn’t catch up. There’s a couple of other ones like Duck Island, Finger Island, Fighting Cocks Island (but my guide said chickens…) and Finger Island.

 

Around Ha Long Bay

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Discover Hanoi

Vietnam has always been in my bucket list and still is. There’s so many places to visit and things to do that a week is not enough. At least you need 2 weeks to visit some main attractions, sightseeing and tours. Most places are far away depending on where you’re staying, for instance Hoa Lu and Tam Coc which are in the country side of Vietnam. In addition, also Sa Pa and its spectacular landscaping sightseeings and rice fields, Ha Long Bay by boat or the beautiful Ban Gioc and Datanla waterfalls, I can keep going all day. However, you can always enjoy Hanoi if you don’t have time to visit all other places, after all, Vietnam is big!

Trấn Quốc Pagoda

I met with 2 friends in Hanoi at the hotel that we booked that by the way, very cheap. Vietnam is very, very cheap! The hotel was (Splendid Holiday Hotel) not fancy, just nice location with breakfast included, just what we needed. I downloaded an app called Grab for transportation which works like Uber or even better. Once I arrived to the almost location, the driver was trying to explain me for about 7 minutes that the hotel was located inside these narrow streets that obviously cars can’t go through. But, I didn’t knew Vietnamese! I tried body language, pointing things with my hand, fingers, facial expressions… ugh! We just couldn’t communicate. Until I asked him like this: “Hotel-Map-Phone” while I was pointing him to the phone. He understood and searched on google maps the hotel, I took a photo with my phone and went walking with my luggage to the hotel which it wasn’t that far. Later, right after I arrived and meet with the girls, we went out to explore. We only took transportation when we really needed, despite the super hot weather, we walked to everywhere and enjoyed Vietnamese culture.

Our first stop was visiting the West lake where the One Pillar Pagoda is, which is regarded as one of Vietnam’s two most iconic temples. We also visit Trấn Quốc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi and The Vietnam Military History Museum.

One Pillar Pagoda

 

Today, this pagoda is like a temple for people to visit and pray if they want to have children. I did not, of course 😀  haha. But is a beautiful landscape to take photos, built on a single pillar to represent a lotus flower which is a symbol of purity in Buddhist culture.

 

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When in Rome…

When in Rome…

When I saw Rome in my roster I thought swapping it, then again, I haven’t been in Rome for a year ago so, Why not again? My first time was actually with my lovely boyfriend ❤ (That’s why I didn’t want to do it… to many memories of us in this city) It was my dream since I studied Ancient History and Rome History while I was doing my BA degree. I felt in love with their education, architectures, arts, culture, everything! I remember seating in a Human studies class and saying to my professor -‘Someday, I will visit Rome, and I’ll touch the Colosseum walls with my bare hands..’- It came true. First thing I saw was the Colosseum, my eyes almost cried, I couldn’t believe I was actually there. While I was standing doing the line for the entrance, I was literally touching its walls, I had goose pumps, I grabbed my boyfriends hand -‘I finally made it!’- saying to him while I was admiring and imagining me hundreds, thousands of years ago in that place.  Most people have their travel destinations to explore, to gain knowledge, to see someplace new. But, we all have that certain destination in which is more than just exploring or visiting. It’s something we most do before we die! We all have a list, let’s admit it. But we also have that special ONE that we keep in our hearts,  too cliché? I know but; Rome will always be Rome, ancient city that never gets old, city full of history, a city with memories of me and my boyfriend… a city that after a year it still gave me goose pumps, Mamma mia!

my love and I, in rome
My love and I in Rome, Feb 2014

Rome has so many, many, and many things to do. Thank God I visited and enjoyed the fullest before, as for a cabin crew you definitely have no time to explore. I mean you can visit the Colosseum, the line takes you ages. Then, you can walk around but you won’t have time to visit other point of interest, rather than just admiring from outside view. For instance the Vatican, (I cried too when I visit the Vatican for the first time by the way 😀 ) the line is normally outrages. I remember on my Holidays, I did an schedule with my boyfriend, we took a whole day just for the Vatican. So, as for a cabin crew you can just explore walking around but if it’s your forever dream as it was like mine: visiting Rome and enjoy its History by fullest in a layover, It’s a no-no. You need like at least a full week with no break to enjoy Rome. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed Rome. I must admit, It still gave me goose pumps when I saw the Colosseum. I loved visiting again the Vatican city, The Trevi Fountain was closed 😦 I was planning to have a snack and coffee right in front of it. Memories of me and boyfriend bloomed everywhere, in every each corner. I went walking with Continue reading “When in Rome…”

The Swiss Alpes in Zürich, Switzerland.

The Swiss Alpes in Zürich, Switzerland.

IMG_8842

Switzerland, another one checked from my bucket list. I was pretty lucky to have this flight at the last moment in my roster and for my luck, the crew was awesome as well. We arrived at 8:00pm at the hotel and we arranged to meet up at the lounge to organize what we were going to do in the morning. While we were chatting and sharing ideas, we ordered a Swiss Burger along with a local beer. I was so excited, I mean, I’ve always wanted to eat a Swiss burger, that I even asked the waitress impatiently “Is it really the burger from the Swiss cow? Local cow? The big cows?” She laugh and said “Yes, not imported. All meat is from our local Swiss cows.” The burger was juicy, thick and big. Totally what I was expecting. After eating our juicy delicious burger, we finally agreed to rent a car and drive to the Swiss Alps which was an hour and half of trip. We met at 8am next day, ate some quick breakfast and left, we were like 7 of us. This was a great and one of a life time crew opportunity, I’m not exaggerating. Most crew don’t even do anything and they see renting a car like a big deal. Fortunately, we all wanted to see the alps and have a wonderful road trip experience in beautiful Switzerland.

IMG_8824We passed the city which had some classic old architecture, the view of the farms, nature, green everywhere, the amazing mountains…the road trip was beautiful indeed. I totally recommend it, you will enjoy the amazing views and good sightseeing spots to take photos. After an hour or so, we arrived at Rigis Swiss Alps. A breathtaking panoramic view across the Alps along with one of the oldest mountain railways, enjoyed the surroundings of 3 different water bodies. It has well signposted hiking trails, perfect for walks and mountain hikes. The flora view is amazing, mountains, lakes etc. It will really delight you. This is also located at the central of Switzerland. The whole area offers hotels, restaurants, souvenirs shops, hiking in summer and skiing in the winter! We didn’t hike, we took the rack railway, recommended as well. You’ll enjoy the view.

These photos were on our way to Rigis

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Lion Park at Johannesburg

Lion Park at Johannesburg

First thing I thought when I saw I had Johannesburg was “Finally!! I can visit the famous Lion Park!!!” On the other hand my mom was sending me news of the woman who was killed by a lion on that same park. “Please, don’t do anything stupid, I know you like danger, take care of yourself..”- My mom replied to me several times when she knew I was going to visit the park…and my dad almost with a heart attack. I was convinced that even if no one of the crew wanted to visit the park, I was going by myself.  Fortunately, most of the crew that have been at Johannesburg didn’t have the opportunity to visit the park. So, we all made a group and scheduled an appointment for the trip. An ex-cabin crew from emirates have this ‘tour’ when they pick up and drop you at the park, and they also drive you into the lion safari. Continue reading “Lion Park at Johannesburg”