Back to Christchurch

I am still in Christchurch New Zealand for one more night.

My aunt has left me this morning to travel to Sydney and then back to the United States. On the way to the airport she stops at the International Antarctic Centre. I did not join her but she tells me later that it is a very good attraction to visit. Maybe next time!

I start the day with laundry instead. After I hang all my clothes outside to dry I head out on my own to do some sightseeing in town.

I end up exploring inside the Canterbury Museum.

I see an exhibit of Moa birds that were used for food but are now extinct. At the time it was the tallest bird to walk the earth.

I also see artifacts of the Aotearoa, the East Polynesian settlers, the direct ancestors of Maori.

I am fascinated at the exhibition of a study done in New Zealand. In 1975 they studied about 1000 children born in Dunedin. They have been following them for their entire lives. The exhibit displays their findings. A good amount of valuable information has been gained from this study in the areas of mental illness, antisocial behavior, drug use, and much more. It is especially meaningful to me because the study is of members of my generation.

Antarctic Exhibit

Earnest Shackleton! This name runs familiar because his struggles during one of his expeditions is now used as a tool for leadership training. In the past I was assigned an exercise in survival based on his experience as part of a leadership program at my previous job. It is interesting to see an exhibit on it now.

I scope out the local birds so I will know what to look out for when I start exploring more of New Zealand.

I visit an old timey town based on Christchurch in the late 1800’s.

What is squawkzilla? Apparently it is a recently discovered massive ancient parrot. Glad that thing is not around anymore. The cool thing about New Zealand versus Australia is you don’t feel like there are a bunch of animals trying to kill you in this country.

After the museum I wander around town a little more.

I start noticing what is still leftover from the damage done by the earthquakes of 2011.

I stop for an unhealthy snack and a cocktail at a bar with a nice view. Original Sin

I leisurely walk around town for a little while longer before heading back to my lodging for the evening. Tomorrow I set off on a new type of adventure.

Cute streets

Ubud Monkey Forest

My hotel in Ubud is very close to the Monkey Forest down the street.

If I am being honest I am not a big fan of monkeys. I can watch them at a distance but really have no desire to get close to one. I know they can be mean and nasty. Later in my Ubud visit I learn to dislike them even more (more on that later). Because it is such a big attraction in the area and so close I decide to go ahead and visit the Ubud Monkey Forest.

Upon entering the park there are some fun statues.

Candi Terbelah – owl

From what I understand the monkeys (Macaca fascicularis or Balinese long-tailed macaque) are free to come and go from the park but stay because they are fed and feel safe within the park.

This guy below is not one I would like to get into an altercation with.

I got to see lots of grooming, eating, and other tender moments.

But I also saw some jungle territorial action and some obviously bored animals. Definitely an interesting day visit but can’t say I’ll be back again.

Later in the evening I stop for a cocktail. I let the server talk me into an arak cocktail before I am fully aware of the dangers of that liquor. The drink is called Arak Attack that tastes what I believe like cat pee would taste like. Note: I get sick a day later. This drink could have been the cause of that illness.

It is ten months later and I am still alive so the drink obviously did not kill me but still not one of my brightest choices……

More Hoi An

Since I booked many days in Hoi An (yea me!) I am able to relax and enjoy the city. I really enjoy just wandering around town.

I try the local specialty Cao Lau at a cute cafe. I wish I wrote the name of the place down because I can no longer remember where I stopped.

I finally make it to the night market. I make a good amount of purchases because I plan a shipment home after my clothes are made. I end up buying way too many lantern coverings.

The whole city is vibrant with colored lights at night.

After all that shopping I decide it is time for a night cap. I stop at a lively but quieter bar on the road along the water. It is a nice end to a nice day.

Bangkok Day 1

View from the Moon Bar Rooftop

My travels have me out of the country for many months. During that time I am due for a teeth cleaning. Some internet forums recommend Thailand as a safe and affordable country to get a cleaning while I am out traveling. I make sure to schedule a dental appointment for an office in Bangkok many months in advance.

My appointment is scheduled the first full day while I am in town. It isn’t hard to get to the office by the skytrain. The train is convenient and even air conditioned but it does not matter, I still sweat profusely every time I am on the train. Between walking up the stairs to the station and the humidity, I can not prevent the sweat.

When I arrive at the office, it is a fancy lobby with free water and WiFi. I fill out my medical and contact information via a PC in the lobby and it is soon time for my appointment.

The doctor is nice and speaks English very well (lucky for me). He notices the excessive wear on my teeth from night grinding (the last couple years have been pretty stressful in my personal life). He suggest an affordable custom made mouth guard that I can pick up in a few days. I decide to go ahead and do it.

Overall it was a pleasant dental experience. The cleaning used modern techniques and the mold done for the bite guard is quick. I only have to remember to wear this new appliance every night.

Moon Bar

Later that day I decide I am going to venture out and check out a rooftop bar that is recommended in online forums.

I take the sky train to the area close by the bar but it is still early. I decide to wander a bit before I go down to the hotel where the bar lives. I end up getting slightly lost by wandering down smaller side streets. It is through these streets that Bangkok comes alive. People go about their business and sell foods and goods right outside where they live. I saw quite a few of these communities in Bangkok.

I finally make it to the Banyan Tree Hotel that hosts the Moon Bar. It is pricey for Bangkok but has pretty views of the city. (Warning this bar has a dress code. It isn’t too strict but I remember that sandals are not allowed. I was allowed in my long shorts though but felt slightly under-dressed).

Electronic Menu
I’m here in time for happy hour
The air is certainly full of smog but it doesn’t block the views, it just makes them a little misty looking.
I order some bar snacks

Since it is fully night time I decide to order a grab taxi for the trip back. It might have been the slowest method back. I soon learn that Bangkok traffic is horrendous and a car is probably the slowest method of getting anywhere. If only I had the courage to order a grab bike!

Peru 2018! Miraflores

Travelers arriving in Peru will probably fly into Lima and if they are lucky they get a stay in posh Miraflores.

Miraflores is a relatively safe part of the city Lima. Located by the water, you will be amazed at the steep cliffs that lead down to the ocean. I would assume it gets pretty sunny and warm there due to its location but maybe because I was there off season there was a long lasting morning fog the few days I was there. The afternoons were perfect though.

My hotel was a short walk to this fancy outdoor mall with water views. I didn’t go shopping but I did eat breakfast there one morning.

Miraflores itself doesn’t take that long to explore by foot. There are plenty of good ceviche opportunities to take advantage of as well. I also enjoyed my journey of pisco sours.

Miraflores is a nice peaceful start to a Peruvian vacation, especially if you plan to do some hiking or high altitude activities.