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

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)”

Travel Inspirations, Travels Gone by, Worldly Treats & Eats

Where I’ve Stayed, Played, and Layed

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*

Read this post at your own risk as insane envy may arise although it is NOT the intended purpose :-).

DSCF5186

The joy (for me) is in the journey but I admit a small part of me marvels at the places I’ve stayed over the course of my travels (both business and pleasure).  So in the spirit of “lists” and in no particular order might I add, here are some of my favorite accommodations of which I’ve had the pleasure experiencing…..

  • The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
  • Hotel Sofitel Munich Bayerpost (during my trip to Oktoberfest – see My European Adventure)
  • Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam
  • Four Seasons in San Francisco (it was for business but still….it was AMAZING)
  • Maya Villa/Condos in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (2 story 3 bdrm, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen and balcony.  I still have to write the post so more to come)
  • Mahagiri Villas & Spa Dreamland, Bali (3 bedroom, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen, private pool/cabana all approx 3000 sq ft – stayed during my birthday celebration in 2014)
  • Barcelo Bavaro Adults Only Resorts Punta Cana DR
  • Ritz Carlton, Charlotte NC
  • The Adolphus, Dallas TX
  • The Fairmont, Seattle WA
  • Sutton Place, Chicago IL
  • The Millenium Hilton – World Trade Center, NYC (before the Twin Towers were constructed, actually during the rebuilding)
  • Protea Hotel Victoria Junction Waterfront, Capetown South Africa
  • The Venetian, Las Vegas NV
  • Dreams Cancun (my balcony overlooked the dolphin school.  This is now a different property now I believe)
  • Hyatt Regency Curacao Old Quarry Golf Course (I think it has changed its name since my stay in 2011)

My memory is giving me a run for my money at the moment so I will stop there while you salivate lol!

Where have you stayed that either gave you excellent service or accommodations that blew you away?

~ Travel Well ~

Asia, Godivaworld Travels

A Bali Birthday!

It’s Sunday, January 5th and our journey to Bali began with the flight from LAX to the Asian hub in Taipei, Taiwan…a mere 10+ hour flight followed by the 6 hour flight to Bali from Taipei! This would be the first of about 7 flights for me during this journey for my 40th birthday.

 

The Arrival – Day 1 (January 7th)

As Bali is 16 hours ahead of LAX (our departure location), we left on Sunday and arrived on Tuesday, January 7th local time.  First, was the shock as we emerged from a long line in customs to what felt like 900 smoldering degrees outside.  There were a sea of drivers with cards of names in which I was trying my best to search through for my own name.  I was slightly overwhelmed to say the least but eventually found the driver with my name.  After telling the 2 drivers that it would just be us vs the 6+ that were anticipated, we piled into the air conditioned vehicle ready to start our adventure.

First thing we noticed were all the scooters, motorbikes on the road not to mention the driving being totally opposite of that in the Western world.  Our driver – Gusti took us to a little restaurant enroute to our villa which was our first intro to Bali.

received_m_mid_1389148870407_cbd096daf4c02a4c61_1The Villa

So when I first started planning and even before I chose Bali, I knew that I wanted to rent a villa just to add to this once in a lifetime experience and intro to 40.  Let me say, this villa did NOT disappoint!  It was just what I envisioned and then some.  It would have been the perfect accommodation for the larger group that originally planned to partake in this journey.  It was a 3000+ sq ft 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, living room, kitchen, private pool villa in South Kuta, Bali (Indonesia).  The pictures really don’t do it justice as you would probably think it’s the entire property but really it’s an individual villa (#104 was our Villa #), spacious and uber private.

Before the trip I came across the spa packages, all of which were to DIE for which included a 6-day Body Purification that was the equivalent to the cost of 1 spa treatment here in the US.  Of course I had to snag that for us as my way of saying thanks….and it was pure HEAVEN each and every day.  By the 3rd day though it was just too much so we opted not to do our 2 sessions that day as we were (believe it or not) “massaged-out” lol!  Did I tell you the showers were outside?  It was the most liberating thing EVER….once I got past the idea of bugs and snakes trying to snack on my nekkedness lol!

In and around Bali

So I left the schedule kinda open to ensure I didn’t wear myself out which I tend to do alot when I travel, however I did have a few things in mind that I either wanted to do or see to include both a temple or 2 and riding the elephants – both of which we were able to accomplish.  The first couple days were more or less just exploring and figuring things out.  The only constant was probably our appetite and my cocktail intake which after all it was a Sssselebration lol!  We were ready to eat even before we finished the meal we were eating which made us crack up each and every time. Because the language was totally foreign to us, we also found comedy in randomly calling out food when someone spoke in their native tongue…..then again we were always talking bout, looking for, ordering, and partaking in food.  Indonesian food put you in mind of Thai cuisines, lots of rices and spices.  The local beer and alcohol was “Bintang” and “Arak” respectfully however I traveled with my own favorite – “Ciroc” peach and regular lol!

Transportation was interesting and thankfully the villa provided a driver which was really convenient for us not to mention he was soooo friendly and cool!  Given the 200+ million people in Indonesia and 4 + million in Bali alone, it’s no wonder that the major transportation method was scooters/motorbikes and they were EVERYWHERE!  I believe I died every time we went somewhere because these bikes were all over the road with babies, 2 and 3 people on one, helmets no helmets, dodging in between cars etc.  I just had to close my eyes a few times while saying “I’m bout to die” which of course didn’t happen lol!

My BIRTHDAY!!!!!! January 9th came in and brought with it a lil present by way of a lil cold but I was NOT going to allow a little bit of a cold to in any wreck my special day.  On this day, I went to the Bali Zoo and did an elephant adventure; we went to see Uluwatu Temple – Kecak Dance which was pretty spectacular; finally ending with my Jimbaran Bay Seafood Birthday dinner on the beach.  Lucky for me, with the 12 hour difference I was able to not only celebrate my milestone birthday in a major way but to recognize it TWICE – Bali time and 12 hours later U.S ET.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All in all I’d say we did what we wanted, played tourist, relaxed, ate, turned up a little, and over all had a fantastic time.

Godivaworld Travels, South America

The Girl IN Ipanema

DSCF0114
Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro)

Home to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is the capital city of the state of Rio de Janeiro and the second largest city in the South American country of Brazil. “Rio” as the city is commonly abbreviated is also the third largest metropolitan area in Brazil. It is considered one of the main tourist destinations in the Southern Hemisphere and is famous for its beaches, Carnaval celebration and various landmarks such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

I had the fortune of traveling to the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro almost on a whim and boy am I glad I did.

Rio de Janeiro was everything I thought it would be and THEN some!

I flew out of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport with a brief stop in Sao Paolo, Brazil before continuing on to Rio de Janeiro!  The two gals I was meeting had previously arrived from New York and were waiting at our hotel.

Our hotel was a boutique-type hotel with a roof-top pool overlooking Ipanema Beach and all of the Brazilian beauties and hotties with their wears on display.

Our days were spent taking in the sights, wandering around, playing tourists and locals, while our nights were engrossed in Samba dancing.

We languished by the pool with Caipirinha’s, Brazil’s national cocktail, in hand (Caipirinhas recipe) or in the lobby or pretty much anywhere Caipirinha’s were served which was EVERYWHERE!

The favela experience was most memorable as we walked through the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro with an extremely knowledgeable guide experiencing all the sights and sounds of the people in this area.

  DSCF0133 DSCF0136

I think it’s about time for another visit to Rio de Janeiro just to see what’s new.

Muito Obrigado!

~ Travel Well ~