Godivaworld Travels, North America, U.S. of A

Jersey/Philly All Work – Little Play

It has been quite some time since my last post and sad to say it’s not because I was off gallivanting ’round some distant land….that’s next month (stay tuned).  I was actually off “making the donuts” on a project in Jersey for the past 6 weeks.  Initially it was a nice change but by the final week I believe we were all kinda over it.

Each week consisted of flying out of Atlanta on Sundays (for me, the others flew out of Charlotte where they were based) into Philly and back home on Fridays.  If that wasn’t taxing enough throw in driving to/from the Philly airport to Jersey where we worked and stayed.  Luckily the drive was a straight shot and no more than a half hour – hour depending on traffic.

Welcome to Philly per the Mayor
Escalator to Baggage Claim – Philly International Airport.

The campus or compound (lol to myself) was probably one of the nicest work sites I’ve seen – not counting the high-rise offices in the various cities across the company’s footprint.  One of the best views was during the walk from our building to the building housing the cafeteria.

We were fortunate in that over the course of the six or so weeks we really had decent weather (for Jersey).  Considering it was November/December, we only had to deal with chilly temps and rain, followed by unseasonably warm temps – for Jersey – during our final weeks. The campus pictures above paints the best picture of our various weather situations.

Taking a load off at the work site
Really just posing not-posing for a pic

This day I didn’t even require my jacket between buildings and I’m sure anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m ALWAYS cold.  I’m the odd bird who rides with her seat warmers on during the warm months.

In any case, it wasn’t all work and no play as we actually laughed as much as we could, stumbled upon a Casino, did our best to enjoy a good meal on most evenings and above all just made the most of our time in Jersey.

This one spot we lucked upon had a nice ambiance and a nice variety of ‘bar’ food.  It is where I found my new love:  “St. Bubbles” which is St. Germain, Champagne, Soda and lime juice…..I now order it everywhere I go smh.  On this night we had the table near the fireplace which would’ve been real cozy with a special someone i.e not your work peeps lol!

Brickhouse Tavern near Princeton

All in all it was an interesting six weeks and I’m happy to say I met some really cool folks whom I would gladly welcome the opportunity to partner with again.  Additionally the hotel staff and my ‘friends’ at the Philly airport restaurants, bars, stores, etc. always took really good care of me each and every week so for that the weekly jaunt wasn’t half bad.

On our final work day IN Jersey (for most) as the Charlotte contingency headed to the airport one of our teammates – the youngest in charge (inside joke) – whom we called Day 26 and the CFO – Chief Food Officer – said he and the crew were going to stop over in Philly at Pat’s King of Steaks.  I, myself wasn’t leaving until a few hours later due to a much later flight, however another teammate suggested a ‘field trip’ into Philly for lunch to Pat’s with the Charlotte Crew.  Off we went in the pouring rain with the Charlotte Connection leading the way determined to introduce our palates to the infamous Pat’s Cheesesteak.

Followed by an order at Geno’s Cheesesteak opposite Pat’s. Caveat…the guys ventured to Geno’s for cheesesteak #2 while I politely stuffed my half-eaten Pat’s cheesesteak in my purse.

I was waaaay out of my league in the food intake department with this crew…..and I’m perfectly okay with that.  At this point I think I was just in disbelief that these guys were going to have a second cheesesteak before the first one had a chance to make it through their digestive track.

Looking out onto the Philly Streets
Pat’s or Geno’s?

We came.  We ate.  They conquered (two cheesesteaks).

Meanwhile I was mostly looking for cool things to photograph and not getting soaked doing so.

Philly Street Art
On the streets of Genos and Pat’s Steaks

So there you have it…..all work, some play in Jersey/Philly and my justification for being MIA on godivaworldtravels.com for the past six weeks.  Sometimes you just gotta answer the call of duty but trust me, my next adventure is truly right around this corner called “2015 Holiday Season” so stay tuned for a little parlez-vous oui oui <hint hint>!

Flight Delays
Just waiting around the Philly Airport after delay #2

Until the next journey, have a joyous 2015 Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!  The wait won’t be too long….I promise.

~Godivaworld Travels

Travel Inspirations, Worldly Treats & Eats

10 Tips for Dining Overseas and Eating Like a Local

 

TripAdvisor Headshot By Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor travel advocate

One of the big reasons many of us travel is for the food. We want to try those specialties that don’t taste the same at home, not to mention those foods we can’t even get at home — think mangosteens in Southeast Asia, or a pint of Guinness in Ireland — and, of course, we want to dine in local hangouts rather than tourist traps. With that in mind, here are ten easy steps to eating where and what the locals eat:

1. Avoid restaurants with English-language menus.

More often than not, these are tourist magnets. If somebody is stopping passers-by near the entrance of a restaurant and telling them that it’s home to the city’s best risotto or rijsttafel, that too is a red flag.

2. Follow locals to the best eats.

Check out the local newspaper’s list of best-value restaurants. You can also pick up great intel on a foodie walking and tasting tour. Hotel concierges can be helpful, but only if you ask them where they themselves would go on their night off. Once you’ve found a local hangout you love, ask your server — or whoever else you befriend at that restaurant — where else in town you should eat. And, of course, look at the restaurant ratings and reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

3. Make a beeline for food markets and farmers’ markets.
From La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain, to the Adelaide Central Market in Adelaide, Australia, these are the colorful can’t-miss places where the locals shop for fresh delicious food, where you can pick up picnic provisions, and where you can usually sit down to a meal too.

4. In Asia, think night markets and even shopping malls.

Asia is filled with exotic night markets and hawker centers (collections of inexpensive stalls selling hot food). If you’re not that adventurous, you can still find all manner of intriguing dishes and exotic flavors in the food courts in shopping malls. It’s easy to figure out what you want to eat: Just make the rounds of the food court, smelling all the steaming specialties on offer, and place your order by pointing to whatever looks most appetizing.

5. Seek out university neighborhoods.
You’ll find inexpensive cafés and interesting ethnic restaurants, not to mention students who are eager to practice their English on you and offer up offbeat sightseeing tips.

6. Order with your hands.
When a menu isn’t in English, just walk around the restaurant and spot which dishes look most appealing, then point to those dishes. Ask what the specialty of the house is, and order that too. If you really need to read the menu, there’s the Google Translate app.

7. Dine at a smart hour.
Don’t presume you’ll want to eat at the same time you do at home. Remember that in some countries — Spain and Arab countries, for instance — locals don’t eat dinner till 10 or 11 pm. If you’re splurging on a restaurant with a spectacular view, be open to dining early (say, 5:30 or 6:00 pm) so you can enjoy the view in the daylight as well as at sunset, at twilight, and at night when the scene is all lit up.

8. Know the etiquette.
Before you make a faux pas such as sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice in Japan, read up on local customs. TripAdvisor has “Tipping & Etiquette” pages for dozens of countries (just punch “TripAdvisor [country name] tipping etiquette” into your search engine. Here are more ways to learn local customs.

9. If you can’t get a reservation, just show up.
Walk in (nicely dressed) at the hour when the restaurant opens for dinner, or late in the evening. You’d be surprised how often there are no-shows. Here are more tricks for getting a table at a hot restaurant.

10. Visit the takeout aisle of a local supermarket.
Supermarkets are an interesting window into the local culture. Once you see what residents take home to eat, you just might be tempted too — and you can’t beat the price.

Godivaworld Travels, U.S. of A

Milestone in MIAMI

I swear there are sooooo many reasons to celebrate and just as many reasons to travel, although I’m the odd bird who knows neither requires any reason nor excuse merely just the desire to do so.

In any case, this past weekend I celebrated my girlfriend’s BIG birthday milestone in Miami!

Miami  image

Three of the 5 gals (6 gals if you count my car whom everyone knows as “Eva’) made a road trip of it which was a change of pace for sure.

FRIDAY

When we arrived on Friday it was a rainy, overcast Miami day but we made the most of it.  The first order of business after checking in while awaiting the arrival of the other ladies was some vittles as someone was a little hungry (not I says the #alwayseating chick)!  So being that we were on Ocean Drive, there’s no shortage of sidewalk eateries with an acceptable mexican spot right next door to our hotel.  Talk about ideal, this enabled us to see the other chick as she arrived and whisk her to our abode.

With the rain and all our Friday evening consisted of preparing for our night out, laughing, and rolling around the city until we reached our destination – that which shall remain unnamed.

It’s amazing the things you see in different cities when you’re half paying attention.  I came across a dancing billboard on the Intercontinental in Downtown Miami which was quite entertaining.  Luckily no one was behind me at the light because I believe I sat there through a full light change.

Friday night was a blast with the birthday girl having a great time for her special day!

SATURDAY

Typically, I coordinate for everyone and take care of accommodations and such which I love but admit it can be taxing at times.  Given that I told myself I would be on total guest mode and did just that lol with just one request which was to peruse Calle Ocho in Little Havana for some Cuban food and a Cigar Shop to fall into.

The day began with breakfast/brunch on Ocean Drive and a little beach time before we made our way to Little Havana.

Needless to say by the time we were ready for Little Havana I was feeling a little tipsy but ready for whatever lol!  So began our journey to Little Havana with my dear Eva leading the way (I even rode in the backseat which I’ve only done maybe once or twice)!

Again, my main goal was puro, street art, and eats/cocktails; the other ladies came along and was hoping for some good eats and whatever they stumbled upon.  I’d say we were successful in getting our desires met for this outing.  We even saw the restaurant and store front where an episode of “Power” was filmed (the El Pub).

After all our walking (my drinking) and whatnot it was time to head back to our suite to prepare for what we hoped would be another night of shenanigans.  Before we got our lives together I had to get atleast one cigar moment in while people watching on our balcony!

Saturday night found us making the most of our final night by taking in the South Beach nightlife, specifically some of the classics.  So we set out to stomp the streets in our stilettos ready for whatever….with whatever just so happen to lead us to the Clevelander.  As is typical, the streets were packed and so was the Clevelander’s bar, pool area party etc.  We were informed of a rooftop party that would offer a great view with a popping atmosphere so we figured we’d head there.

With the exception of the exxtremely overpriced basic cocktail (thought I heard the bartender wrong lol) the DJ, atmosphere, people watching, etc did not disappointment.

….and so our night came to an end – albeit at 4 AM after sitting out on our balcony getting in just a little more people watching.

SUNDAY

Ode to departure day which meant looking for things, organizing, packing, and making use of the last little bit of time before we headed out.  It’s so hard to say goodbye sometimes especially when you know you’re leaving 70-80 degree weather for 40-55 degree.

Alas we prepared for the farewell and headed out once again for brunch and cocktails along Ocean Drive.  We stumbled upon the Columbus Restaurant and when I say we were gifted not just complimentary Mimosas but shots as well….unfortunately I had to remind myself that I was road tripping it .

Until next time Miami ❤

 

Godivaworld Travels, La vida Loca, Wanderlusting & Musings

GodivaWorldly Sights, Signs, and Structures!

As I was going through my pictures – a habit of mine from time to time when I’m daydreaming or planning, or organizing or reminiscing or really just because – I noticed something that I found quite interesting.  Now granted what’s interesting to me may NOT be interesting to others but I figured I’d share anyways!  R A N D O M  S I G N S!!!

20150323_131352

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have missed some pretty cool photo ops for a sundries of reasons to include trying to take in EVERYTHING around me – visually – and being slow with my camera button.  Nevertheless, I have managed to amass a rather random collection of signs from around the world.  What signs you ask?  Well everything from touristy shots to some “oh that’s interesting” photos (one with a clear mispelling in Taiwan).

Travel with me.

Each of those adventures above were some really good times but collectively???  If I never go anywhere else I will be happy resting on the memories from those journeys.

Barbados was a really cool experience for a number of reasons.  1.  It was a celebration for a dear friend celebrating a milestone birthday.  2.  It’s the location for my very first Ziplining Adventure.  3.  It was the first part of an amazing 7 part journey that started in Puerto Rico.

The SKY dive Georgia was such an amazing adventure.  I talked alot of trash but really I was a teeny tiny bit scared yet excited all rolled up in one.

Not all my sights and signs feature me so check out these random sights and signts.

By far one of the funniest things I’ve seen while traveling has to be this sign in the airport in Taiwan that totally left me in stitches.

“PLEACE” enjoy this final installment in my “Sights, Signs, and Structures” post LOL.

As for the Krispy Kreme in Tokyo…….with “Hot Sign” on…….*hearts afire*!!!  I was literally just wandering the streets of Tokyo and spotted the familiar glow of the “Hot Sign” and took off in a sprint.  I was OVERJOYED!!!

Not sure how many other travelers are as cheesy but hopefully I’ve inspired others to look at the randomness around them for inspiration and conversation pieces.  Who knew these random photo ops would bring such entertainment??!!

~Travel well

 

Travels Gone by, Wanderlusting & Musings

Monday Musings of Travels Past, Present, and Future

Been awhile since I posted last but as I sit here during a rather dreary and gloomy weather period in Atlanta my mind is on a constant tour of travels past.  I’d say “Calgon, take me away” but I know good and darn well I’d rather “Delta” take me away lol to somewhere resembling something like this…….

It’s been a busy few months full of new and exciting things but nothing involving my passport, a cocktail, and a 2-piece together.  In the words of one the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, “A change is gonna come…..” and soon and very soon.  For now though I can and WILL revel in the warm and fuzzies of my travels past.

Whilst some people dream of fame and fortune but I dream of new destinations to explore; new adventures to partake in.  Right now, at this moment, I have several in mind and if you know like I know then you know it’s just a a matter of time before I pop up somewhere…..as long as somewhere resembles this…….

Oh the beauty of this world.  I’ll never understand the mind that questions WHY anyone would want to travel to foreign lands,  notso distant worlds…..with all the beauty around us why NOT?

I’m not sure WHERE my next adventure will take me but wheresonever it may be it will be nothing if it doesn’t make me warm and fuzzy inside.

So until next time, next journey, next inspiration, I will let my mind wander to the far corners of the world until the rest of me follows.

Travel on!!

 

 

 

Adventures, North America, U.S. of A

Falling Down (My Skydiving Adventure)

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ~Helen Keller

When I tell you these past couple years have been full of adventures, both the traveling, exploring, and living on the edge kind.  From my long awaited trip to Bali for my birthday last year which included me partaking in Fly Fish (The ultimate in speed and exhilaration the Flying Fish is the newest water sports toy on the market! Fly Fish is a great adventure where you fly like fish jumping on the seawater with high speed boat); to parasailing in Mexico last October; followed by Ziplining in Barbados this past March.

Even after all that I just needed to quench my thrill seeking thirst by adding to the list – SKYDIVING!!!

Look, its the plane as I soar below it through the sky
Look, it’s the plane as I soar below it through the sky

I feel the need to endanger myself every so often. ~ Tim Daly Continue reading “Falling Down (My Skydiving Adventure)”

Godivaworld Travels, The Caribbean, Travels Gone by

Travel (back) Thursday – Independence Day 2014 | Dominican Republic

As I sit here watching all the 2015 Independence Day events and commercials, my mind wanders back to last year when I had the pleasure of spending the 4th of July in the Dominican Republic *big sigh*! Continue reading “Travel (back) Thursday – Independence Day 2014 | Dominican Republic”

Travel Inspirations

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award!!!!

Imagine that….just sitting here in the blogosphere sharing my travels and journeys from behind my keyboard and out the blue a Blogger Award nomination – my FIRST – thanks to Jenn a.k.a Travelgirl47!!!   Continue reading “Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award!!!!”