Showing posts from September, 2006

Those were the best days of my life!!!!!!!!

Back in the summer of '89!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next destination - Indiana USA. I was going back to the summer of '89....this was my first overseas trip ever......when I was only 22! Now, that certainly makes me feel old. As some of you may or may not know, just after I finished my university studies, I travelled to Indiana in and worked on a Lutheran (Christian) summer camp for children, where I worked as a lifeguard. It was certainly one og the best experiences of my life - I learnt a lot, shared special moments and made some friendships which still stand strong and firm today.

On that camp, I met a very special individual called Karen Johnson (then Ibholm), and she along with her entire family, became the people whom I still today call "My American Family". Most of her family now live in Fort Wayne , Indiana, and in a manner that only Karen and her wonderful family would get away with, insisted on picking us up from Detr…

A day in the (transport) life of a traveller!

How do backpackers and travellers get from point A to point B when they are travelling? No, it's not all 5-star hotels and flights, when it's a year long trip. So, let us give you a day in the life of Ombi and Alex on the road: making our way from Quebec City to Toronto, Canada. Before I go on however, I would like to mention that, direction wise, I have NO IDEA as to how I used to do this alone....I do not have a bad sense of direction at all...I simply do not have one! Alex is definitely the GPS in our team. I have delegated myself to the mouth-piece of the duo.

Here goes:

6.00am Wake up, shower, pack backpack, have breakfast.

7.15am Josee drives us to "Allo Stop" stop (remember that I mentioned this system, which is like car share). Although relatively close by, we are all worried that we will miss our 8.00am departure. We make it....just. Car leaves at 8.03am.

10.30am We are dropped off at a metro/ subway station in central Montreal. We know that the next two buses g…

Beer Lao or Pad Thai?

As every astute traveller will know, where there's a will, there's a way.......a cheaper way! We were on our way to the bus station in Montreal, to organise a ticket to Quebec City, when a guy came up to us and asked us if we needed help. I should add here that Canadians are an extremely helpful people, who always seem eager to help you out. All it seems to take is a couple of seconds staring at a map (and in my case, as I have no sense of direction, vacantly!) before someone is asking you if you need any help. In this case,it was a guy called Dominic, who tells us that we are close to the bus stop but that there is indeed a cheaper way to get to Quebec City and that is with a company called "Allo Stop", and at a quarter of the price.

What is "Allo Stop"? It is a car share ride company, whereby you are hooked up with a driver who is already going to that destination. We promptly made our way to the office close by, and in a matter of minutes we had paid our …

Montreal, the tragedy and the Chinese buffet from hell!

After Philly we made our way back to New York, where we spent another two days with Alex's mum and little sister Angie, before flying out to Montreal in Canada. Of course both parties were sad to see the other go, and saying goodbye is never going to be easy. The most importtant thing will always be remaining in touch.

As we had a flight at 11.30am, and Alex's mum had to begin work early that morning, we got up and made our way to John F. Kennedy Airport, via metro and sky train. That was fun in rush hour! We asked ourselves if we were up to a year of carting around backpack one (the larger on) on our backs and backpack two (the smaller one) on our chests!? ......Let the adventure begin!

When we boarded I, well yeh, kind of semi-freaked....this was no boeing or air was .....I don't know, but very small! I must admit to having felt rather uncomfortable until the plane took off, and with that feeling or semblance of "fresh air" at least I did not feel so c…

9-11 May we never forget......all world atrocities!

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to go to the World Trade Centre site in New York, the place where part of the September 11 atrocites occurred 5 years ago. It was a coincidence that we went on the anniversary, as we were not planning to necessarily do so. Alex had already seen it a couple of weeks ago with his family, and I had not and wanted to do so.

Overwhelming! Sad! Confrontational! These are a few of the adjectives that I would use to describe the atmosphere and ambience. As you would imagine it was full of people, and of course agendas. Besides the many photos and signs and letters of rememberance, there was the small group with the sign, "9-11 Inside Job".....the Jewish Evangelist preaching his stuff......several with t-shirts that read, "9-11 Investigate".......the Christian who with hands on someone's head was trying to rid him of the devil.....the man silently meditating......the two men who were hotly debating whether "Bush knew or not" w…

Philadephia, and back to New York.

It was an early start, as we got up and ready, and made our way to Manhattan to catch a Greyhound bus to Philadelphia, known as the "Birthplace of America", as it is the place where the Declaration of Independance was signed. On our arrival, the overwhelming feeling was how totally different it was to New York. Only two hours away, but so much more tranquil, relaxed, and slower. Having said that, Erin reminded us that it also has the highest murder rate in North America? Do I have that right Erin?

Alex and I spent the early hours of the afternoon doing the usual touristy stuff, like the Declaration of Independance Tour, which included the place where the final declaration was signed, as well as going to see the famous Liberty Bell. That is another story unto itself, but over time has come to represent freedom. I am sure a google search will give you greater insight.

The highlight of our day, was definitely meeting up with our beautiful friend Erin, whom I had the opportunity o…

Love On the Rocks!

Another big day in New York City, and another early start! We got up quite early and made our way to La Guradia Airport, which luckily is very close to where Alex's mum lives, and only a 10 minute bus ride away. Moz and Bianca were flying on to Houston, and we wanted to fare them well. As brief as it was, it was wonderful, and it was so good to see my cousins so relaxed and happy, if not tired and overwhelmed! Now you get some of what my travel passion is all about Moz!

We had a fun day with Alex's mum, taking her out for breakfast (loved those buttermilk pancakes!), and then on to Manhattan, to do a bit of shopping.

Finally, the highlight of the day: Our trip to the "Top of the Rock". With an open-air observation deck on the 7oth floor, at the top of the newly renovated Rockefeller Plaza, in downtown Manhattan, the views can only be described as spectacular! Take a look at the website, . Yes, much better than the views from the from the Em…

New York - You either love it or you hate it!

Well, I don't know about hating it! That's a pretty severe word with lots of negative undertones. Not even dislike sits with me, but I must say, that despite the amount of time I spend here, the various things I do, and the many things I experience, it just doesn't float the proverbial boat for me! It's not so much what I DON'T like about it, as much as there's not much that I DO like about it! It's hard to explain. I must say though, that people watching has been fantabulous! The pressure to conform in this huge metropolis is overwhelming...and on all levels. EVERYONE is targetted!

I popped in to McDonald's briefly this morning (you'd be horrified Harry!) go to the toilet (most of you would know how I feel about this conglomerate, capitalist , brain washing giant) and...............I was mortified to see that they had a new marketing campaign. Not only do they still have the "You better buy me a Happy Meal WITH a toy mum or you…

A hectic week in New York City!

Since our last two entries, we have done so much that I don't even know where to start! It has been go, go, go.....and quite honestly, I feel exhausted! We were all up at 4.30am this morning, as Karen (Alex's siter and neice and nephew, Denisse and Axel) were flying back to Ecuador today. It has been a fun filled week and a half, so I will re-cap some of the "highlights"!

On the 2nd September, we all went to a theme park, called Dorney Park, in Philadelphia. It was a combination ride and water park. The kids thought it was great, and I.........greater! Water is my thing, so I must have gone on every slide possible. As for the rides, I normally get motion sickness, but I just went hammer and tongs.......the last one Alex and I went on (nobody else was game!!!!) was like a roller coaster on a "trip", pardon the pun...we are talking a serious 90 degree drop, and my lunch almost became my dinner! To add to the excitement we hired a car for the day, and I …