Dinner on the rooftop terrace at Residency Towers..
Oh...the boutique deserts at minimalistic Ecstasy..
Another great shopping find...Anochi
Combine shopping with tea in the beautifully lit garden at Amethyst
Check out the Moroccan themed cafe called Mocha..
FCC is a great place to eat and chill..in the Visaya Spa
They were invaded by the Vietnamese and Thai
Cambodia was under the French for 100 years
Angkor Wat was the centre of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century
You can hire cars, tuk tuks and bicycles to see the temples
The People are known as Khmer
The Language is Khmer
You need a visa on arrival $20 ( need a photo) and departure tax costs $25
The Pol Pot regime was a time of genocide and suffering for the Khmer
The Pol Pot Regime 1970-1975
The capital city is Phnom Penh
ATMs galore to withdraw US dollars
Everyone uses the US dollar
The currency is Riels..5000 to the pound
In Vietnam.. a touch of history
Vietnam reunited in 1976 following the war
The Vietnam war started to prevent the spread of Communism from North Vietnam
President Ho Chi Minh declared independence from the French in 1945
Ho Chi Minh city was changed from Saigon in 1975
The largest city is Saigon/ Ho Chi Minh City
The Capital city is Hanoi
Vietnam War lasted 17 years and ended in 1975
Indulged in food and pampering..
Borobudur and Prambhanan temple, Jogjakarta
Glass bottom ride to see the Coral,Uluwatu, monkey temple, Kecak dance and dinner on the beach
Barong Dance, souvenir, Rice fields of Ubud, Lt and lake Batur, World's most expensive coffee
Definitely fly to Jogjakarta to see the world's largest Buddhist temple..just an hour away..
Try the world's most expensive coffee..Kopi Lembuk
Don't forget the dances, temples, mountains and lakes..
Bring Sarongs to visit the temples
It's best to see the island by hiring a car and driver ( 400,000 rupiah for the day)
The currency is Rupiah 16000 to the pound
Step by Step Guide to Wellington
1. Raid Tourist Information Centre
2. Own walking/discovery tour..as you walk aimlessly around
3. Bump into kind Wellingtonian from Taihape BBQ
3. Walking tour with local Wellingtonians to get a taste of the culture and history
5.Join morning joggers along the harbour front
4. Meet new friend and discover Botanical Gardens with great views of the city!
6. Hire bikes for coastal bike ride
7. Meet old friend for a true taste of the cafe and bar culture...
Itinery for New Zealand
Dec 26th - Jan 8th ..Wellington
Dec 21st-26th ..Hamilton
Dec 19 - 21st.. Taupo
Dec 15th - 18th..Auckland
Did you know...in Peru
Keep $30 for International departure tax..and $6 for every local flight!
Main Religion is Roman Catholic
Population include 45% Amerindian, 37% mestizo ( mixed with spanish), 15% white, 3% Japanese, Chinese and Black
Main languages include Spanish, Quechua , Aymara and many minor Amazonian languages
Their main exports include copper, gold, zinc, petroleum and coffee
The country is diverse from beaches in the west, mountain ranges to jungles in the east..
There is a wave of animosity towards the Spanish for their so called discoveries...but a huge sense of pride for being indigenous descendants..
The indigenous people include Quechua..do not call them Indians!
There is a huge Japanese immigrant population along its shores
They have had a Japanese President. Alberto Fujimori in 1990 till 2000.
The population is close to 28 million
The currency is nuevo sol
$1 = 3 sols
Tips for the Inca Trail
Essentials...head lamp, poncho, 2 walking sticks, woolly hat, thick socks,gloves
A great sense of humour...
cleansing wipes to feel as though you have washed
Ibuprofen for achy joints
Mosquito repellant, Sun block, Sun hat
Cocoa sweets or leaves
Drink plenty of water and eat regularly
Go Slow to acclimatise
Dec 12th.. Left Lima for Santiago, Chile
Dec 10th .. Lima
Dec 6th .. Arequipa
Dec 3rd .. Puerto Maldonado.. The Jungle
Dec 2nd.. Pisac Markets..Sacred Valley
Nov 30th .. travelled back to Cusco through Sacred Valley
Nov 26th - 29th .. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Nov 24th - 26th ...Cusco
Nov 22nd - 23rd ..Lima
Travelling life savers...
Teva walking sandals....lived in them...
A pair of cotton trousers...lived in them!!!
itouch instead of a diary or notebook..
Skype...to save on phone calls!!
Micro waterproof bag for extras..
A travelling pharmacy for GI ailments..
Space saving bags for their sheer organisational value rather than space..
In Antigua, Guatemala...
Don´t trust the reasonable Bus rides to the airport...they may not arrive on time..and you end up taking a taxi in a panic!!!
Hence keep spare cash for that emergency taxi to the airport!
Take the city guided tour as soon as you arrive!
Visit Hotel Santo Domingo for its museum and abundant art work
Catholicism is the main religion
It´s famous for its Jade which it exports to China
Coffee is the main Export
Do not miss Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Climbing Volcan Pacaya
Lots of mosquito repellent in Tikal !!
bring something warm for the early morning starts
Casa Ovalle..beautifully decorated..in the heart of the city..reasonable..great hostesses..opposite an Internet Cafe and bakery!
keep $3 spare for their airport tax..
Be patient...transport will arrive...
Also, most places do not accept Mastercard and only Visa!!
Dollars are accepted in all shops
However, you can only withdraw quetzals from ATM ( max 2000) per day
$1 = 8 quetzals
Did you know..in Costa Rica
Most inhabitants are of mixed Spanish and indigenous blood. 1% indigenous groups, <3 % Blacks who are concentrated on the Carribean Coast and 1% Chinese. Both groups originally arrived in the 19th century to work on the railroads that transported Coffee to the coast from the highlands.
The population is approximately 5 million with 3 million living in San Jose, the capital city.
However, now there's a huge immigrant population of retired North Americans, buying up land and properties in sort after areas such as Escazu, Atenas and the Coast.
Christopher Columbus named Costa Rica which means The Rich Coast having received gold and jade as gifts upon his arrival
Catholicism is the state religion
Abortion is illegal
There is a severe lack of Sex Education and hence a high teenage pregnancy rate
Has one of the best health systems in Latin America and a life expectancy of 77yrs in 1999
Have 95% literacy rate, highest among Latin America
However, libraries are not user friendly. The librarian will retrieve the book of choice for you to read...for a couple of hours. You are unable to browse or remove it from the premises.
Don't be surprised to see long names as all take their maternal and paternal surnames eg Ernesto Tomas Alvarez Rodriguez
The roads are notorious for its pot holes so don't be surprised to swerve across the roads in the city!
You need special skills to drive in CR ..and more to cross their roads!
The No.1 export is microchips from Intel to India
Also exports banana, pineapple , flowers, medical equipment and wood ( teak)
2nd largest exporter of coffee after Ecuador
Costa Rica is one of the few countries without an Army
Mother´s Day is a National Holiday
Average cost of a meal in a restaurant is 5000 colones ( approx 5 pounds )
In the rainy season , it rains like clockwork in the afternoon and 30 degrees of sunshine in the morning. You can time your watch to the weather!
The airport tax costs $26..keep spare cash!
There are no street names or house numbers
Everyone has Post Office boxes as addresses do not exist
The address is in relation to another building or object
eg..500metros south and 20 metros west to the fig tree!!!
$1 = 550 colones
The currency ..colones is named after Christopher Columbus
Alcohol units do not exist in CR!!
Has the only Indian restaurant in Central America; Taj Mahal
Tips for Costa Rica....how to stay safe
Always wear your money belt and carry enough money for the day
Always take a taxi after dark.Do not even think about walking the streets of San Jose!
Always take the orange coloured taxis and not the blue lit taxis!
Always carry a copy of your passport with you!
Become a Skype member for free phone calls!!
Bring a Spanish Phrase Book!
Do not wear any jewellery to bring attention to yourself
Bring an umbrella and waterproof jacket!
Shops only accept $20 US maximum.
Hence its best to just withdraw colones from the ATM
Change the US dollars at the bank without commision
Tico Food Guide
Tres leches - popular sweet and soggy cake steeped in boiled milk and sugar
tamales - steamed maize dough wrapped in corn or banana leaf with meat in the middle
Arroz con frijoles - light dish in the evening of ...you guessed it beans and rice
Casado - mmm beans and rice ( separate ) served at lunchtime with chicken, fish and fried plantain
Gallo Pinto - fried beans and rice served at breakfast with sour cream and eggs
Things to do in San Jose
Check out the Nacion ( newspaper) on Thursdays to get the weekly events list
Check out Escazu ..Beverly Hills of Costa Rica
Castros for Salsa, Meringue and Reggaethon
Visit the Handicraft markets
Visit the museums, Nacional, Oro,Jade for $4
Watch a film for $2
Show in Teatro Nacional ( Mini Albert Hall) for $8
Shami´s Top Ten Cities of the World
1. Cape Town, South Africa
2. Antigua, Guatemala
3. Cusco, Peru
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
5. Sydney, Australia
6. Madrid, Spain
7. Wellington, New Zealand
8. London, England
9. Florence, Italy
10. Quebec City, Canada
Jet Airways- Bali to Ho Chi Minh
Lastminute - South east Asia
Panama - copa airlines
STA- Round the World
Taca Airlines - Lima- Cuzco
Australia- Electronic- £20
Vietnam - £38
Indonesia- on arrival $10
Cambodia- on arrival $20
Hep A and B
Yellow fever ( Panama )
Avon Skin so Soft for mosquitoes!
Skype - free calls
Credit card- 0% commission
Travel Money Cards
My faith in Humanity has been restored when...
I met completely selfless people in Mision Consuela...
Families welcome you with open arms to complete strangers..
The cashier says pay tomorrow when you did not have enough change..
The bus driver waits for you as you run to the stop...