Friday, January 7, 2011

2010- The Year that Was

Happy New Year, everyone!!!!

I'm a bit late but here's a round-up of some of the things that happened in 2010.

Rang in the New Year with my fellow crew while on layover in Adelaide. We drank champagne and annoyed fellow guests by blowing our party horns :P I reminisced about favourite childhood toys, discovered Pretty in Pink at the Rocks Markets in Sydney and decided to start taking responsibility for my finances.

I found the perfect black & white Chanel-style jacket, fell in love with OPI nail polish all over again, started cleaning out my wardrobe via selling on Ebay and turned 27! I got the best birthday present of all when my third nephew was born ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!

On the spur-of-the-moment, I attended a walk-in interview for a big foreign airline cabin crew position. Visited the new pandas from China at the Adelaide Zoo while on layover. Got the phone call that would turn my life upside down- I would be moving overseas to work!!!

Enjoyed my remaining flights & layovers in Oz. I had my wisdom teeth removed and was poked with more injections and blood tests than I care to remember. The Great Wardrobe Clearout continued, with me getting around $400 for all my unwanted stuff on eBay. I also took a lovely 5-day vacation to Bali for my good friends' wedding. I loved it!

Re-discovered my childhood love of video games when my sister gifted me her first-generation Nintendo DS (the one that also plays GBA games). Finished preparations for the Big Move Overseas. Loved every last minute of my final few weeks of flying, got some great photos then sadly fell victim to the flu so spent my final Melbourne layover sick in bed at the hotel.

Started to panic as my departure date grew closer. Had lots of fun times with my family and final catch-up parties with friends. Finished packing up my life and said goodbye to my family before boarding my flight the the Middle East. Arrived shell-shocked into the hottest part of the Middle Eastern summer, with temps above 50'C in the daytime.

Sporadic internet posting ensued due to lack of internet in my flat until my 5th week in the country.

I was still settling in to my new home. Training was very intense yet fun and I made a lot of new friends & learnt about the culture of my new home. Started nesting by decorating my room and making it feel more like 'mine'. We received our uniforms and had extreme fun playing dress-up. We completed our final weeks of training, learning how to do the service onboard.

I discovered Polyvore, spending hours procrastinating doing my homework to make fashion sets online. Lol. Through this I came to know about the fashions of Emma Pillsbury from 'Glee', but as yet did not start watching the show. I took my first supernumerary flight as a cabin crew for the new airline. I went to... LONDON!!! My first operating flight was to Paris.

Visited Bangkok for the first time. Finally got a taste of home with a 6 day Sydney/Auckland trip. It was SO good to be back 'home', even if it was in a different city. Stocked up on Aussie goodies in Woolworths, had a bit too much to drink on a night out with the crew in Auckland and generally had myself a whale of a time. Had an eBay relapse & bought a Sonia Rykiel dress for a fraction of the price. Took my first trip to Seoul, South Korea and fell in love with Daiso, a Japanese discount store.

Another trip to Sydney, where I visited the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

I also returned to Seoul where I rode the metro for the first time and came home with a baby cactus plant for my room. Went to Manchester for the first time, getting to fly with fellow blogger Krysta and hit up Primark for a teeny shopping spree :P I ended October with another Sydney/Auckland trip, where we happened to layover in Sydney on Halloween. The crew all decided to have a last-minute costume party in the hotel crew room which was hilariously fun (and also got us kicked out of the lounge for being too noisy). At the time I didn't know it would be the last Aussie trip I'd have for the foreseeable future, or I wouldn't have bothered sleeping :p
My life became complete when I discovered the hilarity & plain craziness that is Hyperbole & A Half. Seriously, go look!

Just the same old, same old!! As I didn't really blog my trips I can't really tell you what I did. Actually, I took my first trip to Toronto, Canada (which I have yet to post about, but it's on my list) and I visited Niagara falls!!! =) I also discovered 'Glee'!

Began my month with a trip to Jeddah, had to call sick for my first New York trip (boohoo) which was then replaced with yet another Jeddah turn. Then off to Bangkok/Hong Kong three times, with the month ending with Jeddah again. Christmas was spent in Bangkok. I also hit the 6-month mark in Dubai and passed my probation period to become fully-fledged cabin crew for this airline.

At least the last Jeddah got me New Year's eve off, along with the first three days of January! I rang in 2011 with four cool fellow crew, dancing on the beach to live music and watching the fireworks go off at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Island.

All in all, 2010 was a pretty great year!!! Here's to 2011 being even better!

My resolutions aims for the year to come are:

* Continue to pay off as much of my debts as I can

* Research the possibilities for getting back to my flying (pilot) training

* Enjoy travel as much as possible & take advantage of the perks of this job for as long as I can

* Don't overthink too much in life or worry about what other people think; do what feels right and stop worrying so much about everything. Be happy with my life & who I am, and stop worrying about being single. If someone is meant to come along, they will!

* Be grateful for the good things when I'm having a bad day

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Buddha & Bangkok (Part 2)

On to the second part of the Bangkok photos. As I mentioned earlier, it was quite hot, so we tried to stay in the shady parts and look around there.

I think there would be probably a hundred of these statues all around the temple. Some of them were covered in plastic due to renovations, I noticed they have little number plaques on the base. I'm not sure if that's for the temple staff or if each statue has a particular significance.

In this hall of Buddhas I noticed that they use energy-efficient lightbulbs! :)

The outsides of the buildings had lots of tiles and mirrors on them, it really was quite pretty and almost blinding at times in the bright sun. The photos really don't do it justice.

Eventually after leaving our shoes, we made our way into the hall where the Reclining Buddha rests. It was a nice cool change from outside. As you go in you can hear a repetitive metallic clinking noise, along with the variety of tones of voice of people all speaking in different languages. As I walked along I could get glimpses of the Buddha through the columns holding up the roof.

This is one of the Buddha's feet. All over the soles of the feet are inscriptions & pictures, sadly my picture of this didn't turn out very well. As we rounded the other side of the Buddha, I saw a long line of metal pots on stands lining the walls. These were the source of the clinking noise I mentioned before. Visitors were holding small bowls of coins and walking along the line of pots, dropping coins in until they got to the end.

There wasn't really any explanation of this, but I guessed maybe it's something similar to doing a rosary where each coin is meant to be a prayer or maybe a nice thought. The noises I thought were maybe to bring luck or some such thing. Anyway, I decided to get a coin bowl (20baht) and walk along the line. As I dropped my coins I was trying to think a nice thought for each one, or for something I wanted to do or achieve in the next year. As I neared the end, I saw I sttill had plenty more coins, so started putting in a few at a time instead of one. I found the clinking noise as I dropped the coins strangely satisfying =D

On our way out of the Buddha hall, I spotted this sign, warning about pickpockets operating in the temple grounds.

It's amusing how they stress it's "non-Thai" pickpockets. I guess they want us to know that good Thai people are not pickpockets :p

Found this cat taking a nap in a potted tree in the temple grounds. He looked very relaxed, and doing what I wanted to be doing that afternoon- having a nice sleep! We made a quick stop at the gift shop to buy some postcards before making our way outside to find a taxi. It was too hot and we were too tired to continue on to the Grand Palace.

Outside the temple walls were some merchants selling souvenirs. I didn't really want anything but did notice these little brass bells (with the pink ribbon attached, above) and decided to get one. I always hate bargaining and I know the Thai sellers are less aggressive than elsewhere in Asia, still I thought 450baht was a bit much for the smallest size of bell. In the end I was about to cave and offer the lady her best price of 150 when she said she'd take 100. Win! If only I had a window that opens, so I could hear it ring! It's hanging on the wall next to my desk.

We hailed a taxi only to find that the driver was pretending not to know which hotel we wanted to go to, said the traffic was very busy and wanted to go off-meter and negotiate a price. The one he quoted was way too high, I smelt a scam so we got out and instead walked back through another small market, on our way to the boat pier at the stop before the one we had disembarked from.

After a slight detour around yet another stinky fish-section, we spotted this cool guy making juice from dragonfruit.

He was really nice and very jolly, we nicknamed him the Hippie Juice Guy. I do wonder if he was Thai or from somewhere else, as he had a different demeanor than the rest of the local people, maybe one of his parents is from somewhere else.

Anyway, he happily gave us our juice, told us all about the benefits of the fruit and was very careful to mention that he uses no water or ice, only the juice and it's very good for you with lots of antioxidants and fibre. I thought the colour of the juice was really cool. He told us this jucie is "happy and the colour of love" Awww! Hahaha, anyway, I will definitely go back if I''m in the area again to visit the Grand Palace. I liked the juice, and I was happy that the fruit was tasty as well as looking good, unlike some other cool-looking fruits which taste gross.

We took the boat back to our starting point, then walked to the hotel.

Hungry, we went to a nearby restaurant for a nice lunch, before returning to the hotel for a nap before the flight back to Dubai. Instead of my usual pizza or fish cakes, I tried the mozzarella, tomato and basil along with some garlic bread which was very tasty. Yum!!

The flight back was uneventful, with it being about 2/3 full in economy. I even got to play in business class for awhile after we had finished our service in economy. The cockpit crew were cool enough to let me sit in the cockpit for landing, sadly it being nighttime it was impossible to take photos, but I saw Burj Khalifa very clearly and even my apartment building!! :)

I'm heading back to Bangkok later in January, so hopefully I'll be able to get back and see the Grand Palace.

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