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April 29, 2011

||| THAILAND ||| TON SAI |||

Symbolic.

The first time I came here was in 1996. It was quite pristine and undeveloped back then. I was traveling for a month with my older sister, and came across Ton Sai beach 3 weeks into the trip. When we were walking along the sand, I looked up at the limestone walls (had no idea they were limestone then) and saw a couple of bodies scaling the wall. I actually, in my life, had never seen this before.

10 years later, after wanting to do what those people were doing, and learning how, I made a point of returning to the place of inspiration. Before I returned, I had taken baby steps to learn how to scale the rocks….

I'm safe. Look at that rope attached to me!

I returned.

I got off the plane 10 years later, then hopped on a bus,  and when I got off two guys came up to me, and TOLD me like messengers from cupid, to GO to TON SAI. It seemed strange at the time, as I was going to go to Riley Beach – next to it, but alas they persuaded me to change my route convincing me that the Fire Party that was going on there would be amazing. Sounded pretty spectacular to me! Sign me up!

I arrived to TON SAI. Checked into a bungalow, and took 100 steps back down to the beach. As I sat at the Freedom Bar for sunset,  men were finishing their climbing for the day and taking tables around me. It didn’t take long before the lot of them ended up inviting me to sit with them.

As the evening went on, I was making good conversation, and happy to be back to this magical place that I remembered. At 8:30pm, the night had come to full darkness, and the stars were popping out one by one. BUT the biggest star to shine, was about to fall out of the sky and land next to me.

Tim jumping during the day.

It was a Friday night in Febuary 2006. And my future husband fell out of the sky and landed beside me. Pretty cool eh!

Follow your dreams, be open, and if you haven’t found love yet, hopefully when it arrives it comes with a sweeping and GRAND entrance…just to make sure that you DON’T miss it.

April 26, 2011

||| SINGAPORE |||

WORK VACATION.

Tim received a letter from his climbing mate in Taiwan in the summer of 2010 asking if he wanted to come and climb up the side of The Marina Bay Sands Hotel for their grand opening.

Photo from http://daman.co.id/

The answer was yes, if he could bring his wife only though. (Nice one honey!)

They agreed that I could come on the basis that I’d hang off a rope from the top of the hotel (only 52 stories! YIKES!)  to help capture some video footage. I agreed.  Alas when it came to it, they didn’t need me….so instead I was the team cheer leader, drink runner, and pool poser.

We joined 21 other talented climbers from the globe, lots of whom we’ve met on the small global climbing circuit.

This hotel is owned by Sheldon Alderson – the 12th richest man in America and all self-made; from scratch. You may be familiar with him – as he owns the Sands Hotels in Las Vegas. This is the first casino in Asia (that adjoins the hotel) along with a shopping center. It’s an architectural astonishment, and has some cool symbolic values to it as well according to the architect, like the towers were build as 3, as that is a lucky number in Chinese (and that is appropriate as it still has a number of Chinese descendants living there.) The hotels most amazing feature is the super suave infinity pool at the top of the hotel on the ‘Sky Park,’ – it’s the highest  in the world. Very neat indeed.

The lobby hosted many unique designs that provided eye candy and functionality rolled into one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When in Singapore, if you can spend a night at this hotel, do it. If it’s out of budget, then spend the day up at the Sky Park enjoying the pool and restaurants. It may not be a day at the beach – but when you consider the wonder of what man can build, this is the living example of our finest achievements of such.

 

 

 

And…here’s the climbing race!


January 5, 2011

INDONESIA || BALI || GILI ISLANDS

Posted by: Katie
Travel time: August 2010

THE TOP FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS by me FOR THE ADVENTUROUS GUY & THIER MORE LAID BACK GAL IN BALI AND THE GILI ISLANDS ARE:


1. The Coconut Hummingbird on Balangan Beach to stay for at least three nights.

Highlights:

** Intermediate surf break at Balangan Beach within eyesight of the property PERFECT FOR YOUR ACTIVE MAN! **

View From Coconut

High Tide Day- View from Coconut Hummingbird

Low tide in the hot evening

** Stunning Balinese designed open-aired huts with a Zen touch **

Arrive at night time to be stunned at the beauty of Tiki torches lining the property, and lanterns lighting the interior of the circular thatched huts.

On arrival, they offered to cook us dinner, accompanied by a complimentary Balinese Cocktail. This is the yard that belongs to your hut- very private.


Tiki Lighting

Gas Lanterns add the warming and peaceful touch near the bamboo shower.


While Tim was surfing, I ran along the beach, stretched, tanned, read, soaked in the sea, and drank some banana smoothies up at the Coconut Banana. And of course – cheered on the little local tike!

Local Ripper!

2.  Bali’s Cultural Center, Ubud for a massage and body scrub.


This is a must. $15 dollars will get you a hour and fifteen minute body scrub and massage that is going to probably be the best one you’ve ever had. Tim and I got a couples package at a Salon/Spa just off of Monkey Forest Road, near the temple/football pitch. It’s down a side street about 50 meters. Just look for the signs out on the main road pointing down the road that list spa/salon services. (Sorry, bad blogging when you misplace the business card for the business, but alas I’ve marked the spot on the map! ) Been here on both trips, and it’s the best i’ve ever had.

View Katie’s Recommended Spa in a larger map

3. Take a boat from Bali to the Gili Islands.

www.gilicat.com/


We took the fast boat with Gili Cat (I have also taken the “ferry” over which is great too – much cheaper although 4X the time to get there) to Gili Meno for the first couple of nights and stayed at the Sunset Gecko. Eco-friendly resort, and the best property on any of the three islands. Book ahead as there isn’t much space. $45 dollars gets you this front hut with balcony to sea.

http://www.thesunsetgecko.com/

This spot enables you to access some of the best snorkeling ever. Right out your front door.

4.  Three day Free Diving Course on Gili Trawangan for the man and a stellar Champagne and Lobster dinner on the white sand beach at Scallywags.



Head over to the bigger island of Trawangan (3 min boat ride) and treat yourselves to the best table setting in the world.




Manta Dive offers a Free Diving Course which will thrill any adventurer. Tim took a three day course for $185 dollars. See video above for more information.

Free Diving at Manta Dive

Click here for Detail on Free Diving at Manta Dive.

Lots of Spicy and Sweet times to be had in Indonesia.

Please respect your environment. I recommend travelling with Burt’s Bees, Aveda, or Avalon Organic Products to decrease water pollution.

http://www.burtsbees.ca/

http://www.aveda.com/

http://www.avalonorganics.com/