Hi guys! Just wanted to share a small street photos gallery from my Hanoi trip that were not included on my previous posts. No words, no description, just some memories captured through Hanoi…
Hello my lovely readers! Today I wanted to share my first experience staying in Airbnb, yes, my first. I’m more of a ‘Hotel person’ for the reason that I like having breakfast buffets, in-room service, bed made everyday and stuff like that. But when it comes to short stays or even one night stay like my husband and I do when we go on road trips, some hotels were not meeting our expectations. Sometimes we wanted a kitchen or something more than just a bedroom. Therefore, we decided to experience staying on a Airbnb and see if it’s worth it on short getaways. The prices vary, although, some of Airbnb’s are quite the same price range of hotels and others resulting a bit overprice, renting a home (Airbnb) might be the right choice for you. It all depends of what you are looking for and what kind of amenities are most important to you. Most of hotels in Puerto Rico are quite expensive, we rented this studio apartment for one night: $129.07 (taxes and fees included).
For all of those that don’t know what Airbnb is:
Airbnb is an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations.
If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico soon or you have it in your list, make sure to visit Rincón, which is a town in the west coast of the island where we -surprise, surprise!- we stayed. Very touristic, full of surfers and beautiful beaches where the best sunsets of Puerto Rico lies. We stayed at Casa Valencia room #8, that in fact I’m giving my review and insight of this nice Airbnb located in Rincón, Puerto Rico.
Suite #8 is a comfortable studio apartment with a queen size bed, has a small kitchen with gas stove top, refrigerator and microwave, A/C, Wi-Fi and a nice small, yet nicely decorated bathroom. Decoration of the room itself was warm and welcoming. It also has a pool with heater, BBQ and a lovely country side view of Rincón. Room was clean and met our needs; all coteries were clean, we were also provided with extra regular towels and pool towels. Our room shower heater however, it was something that it lacked. I think is nice to take a nice warm shower after a pool/beach day, I mean it wasn’t that cold, more like temperature water but still, you want warm water or at least we did.
In addition, it also has iron, Laundry and full quick response from the owner. At first we were provided with wrong room information, we called and texted the owner and he called us back in seconds. Overall, it was a nice stay, the building has other suites, some with more rooms/beds, others with a nice living room and some others had balcony. This place is suitable for family and couples as well.
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.
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.
A lot of friends have the decency of asking me “How could you travel alone without your child?” My immediately response -“Well, Because it’s okay to have a free mommy time off! WHY NOT, right?” while another question comes by from them “…And your husband?” I drop a big smile as I respond “He’s a grown man, he’s fine.”
This is something that is happening around me lately and I have to write it and share it. Now, every relationship is different and I cannot give you the exact advise because it may not be applicable for everyone. However, I’m going to cut to the chase and say something that every marriage has to hear and that the society must hear: You should travel at least once a year without your kids, and it’s okay to travel without them.
I know is a overrated theme, but you’ll be surprised of how many parents don’t travel without their kids or do solo traveling or anything, like never. Society has this misconception that you’re a bad parent if you travel without your toddler, if a mom takes good care of herself, enjoys a night out once in a while alone and so on. People has this mind-set that automatically believes a woman will never travel, enjoy life, be pretty, use high heels, etc, once she becomes a mother. This is all a myth unless you accept this type of settlement in your life.
Let me share with you the benefits and reasons why should you travel with your partner without your kids or do solo traveling, because being together constantly, is not all healthy. 😉
In an article published in the New York Times, reporter Laurence Obsborne described the world’s most exquisite chocolate bars which are made in a factory on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City called Marou as “The best chocolate you have never tasted” with beans that were hand-picked on a skinny strip of an island called Tan Phu Dong in the Mekong Delta, making Vietnamese chocolate unlike any other.
Marou’s chocolate has a particular complexity and variability, because unlike most chocolate makers, they can create theirs from beans they select carefully at the source. This means they have control of everything, from farm to bar. Therefore, their handmade chocolate products are more expensive than industrial ones, but the quality and flavour meet the needs of high-end markets in Vietnam and compete with international products.
Because of their culture history, I had basic knowledge of their coffee and cocoa seeds, however I was not aware of Marou chocolate. I started reading and searching for more information couple days before traveling of how pure and natural these chocolates were. Since I’m a chocolate lover and sweet tooth for pastries, I wrote down the location of Maison Marou shop and promised myself not to missed this place.
If you’re a chocolate lover or just looking for a place to relax, read while having a cup of coffee or tea at Ho Chi Minh city, this place is for you. Mind you, the chocolates are yes, quite expensive but the quality is totally worth it. Each chocolate has the percentage and it cost approximately $10.00 each, they also have cute gift boxes with a variety of chocolates, also individual mini bar chocolates and an exquisite variety of delicious pastry.
The staffs are very friendly, they introduce their chocolates, give you cocoa seed for taste as well as chocolate samples. The atmosphere is very relaxing, perfect to seat and take a nice cup of a hot creamy chocolate. The decor brings a charming environment that you’ll enjoy the shop from the moment you step in.