If you love vintage and quirky – you will adore this new shop ‘Lolo Love Vintage’ in Shanghai.
I really like Beijing for a few days. I reckon the perfect things to do there are:
Stay in a great hotel! Beijing is cheap with heaps of 5 star hotels virtually empty, so you can get a great rate and it will take your mind off the pollution. Go on treat yourself – you deserve it. We stayed at the Sofitel Wanda.
Eat fabulous food! including a Beijing duck, you must go to Da Dong. It’s a fantastic yummy restaurant. Try to book a table around the fish ponds and duck ovens. We had duck, delicious vegetarian dishes, champagne and cute deserts that looked like dandelions and it all came to under $60 U.S. That’s another bonus about visiting China: the food is great and cheap so, you can live like kings on workers wages. Do some web research and find other restaurants to go to before you get there. The link I made for Da Dong, has other great global and Beijing restaurants in it too. Time Out is another good resource.
Walk the wall. Stay at the Commune By The Great Wall for at least a night if you have time. They have a shuttle that can pick you up from town. They have yummy, delectable restaurants, Chinese and western. The rooms are pretty cool and they have a private access to the wall. They will organize a picnic for you and you can go early morning and use it as your step work-out. The Aman in Beijing is really nice too if you have more money to splash around. Otherwise beware, if you do an organised wall trip: there are millions of tourists traipsing it. We passed sections of it that looked more like a trip from hell covered in people looking like ants, rather than the fun experience it should be! At the Commune, you will find no one, just you and the lonely stone steps and you will find your mind tripping off into fantasies of history.
798 Art District is a must: Dashanzi 798 Art District. Even if you are not that interested in art, it’s fascinating to see the old working factory area blended together with new art galleries, shops and quirky cafes. There’s heaps to do, look at one art gallery after the other, do some shopping and buy unique alternatives gifts, have lunch… Great for a whole morning or afternoon.
Silk Market. If you have time, go and buy some funky pearls. I love the ones that are huge and colored. Make sure you bargain. Start by cutting the price in half. It is so cheap your going to be jumping with joy with your new found treasures.
I’ve traveled to a a lot of places in the world and now: Taveuni in Fiji is one of my favorite destinations. It’s heaven on earth. When I research for a holiday it normally takes me a couple of weeks: going on the internet, finding chat lines, falling down internet-worm-holes, contacting my global crew of friends for tips… and this time the info I kept getting was: “Go to Fiji and if you go, make sure you get off the main island. Go to an outa island and see the real Fiji.” Taveuni, the garden Island kept flashing up again as the place to go.
Here are some pictures from my holiday.
Bulla, our helper in the house will take you into town to buy food which she will then cook. This fresh fish was about $5. We found eating in restaurants in Fiji really expensive for a family of four, so Bulla cooked at home for us ( cooking included with the house rental).
Below was a market stall in town to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Everybody grows their own vegetables in Taveuni; it looked like people popped into town to sell their extras.
There was so much to do in Taveuni apart from sitting on a beach. There were so many magical waterfalls to visit and – no one was there! Below is a couple of pictures. The bottom picture is a natural rock-slide that falls into another waterfall filled with other happy little fish. (Make sure you get a guide that will show you how to navigate the slides and jump into the pools.) Cino helped us out and he was a good taxi driver too. TEL: 9846899.
Things to do:
1. Bouma Falls: Spend a morning here. Unless you’re geriatric – walk up to all three waterfalls. Take snacks and water as by the time you get to the third waterfall, you’ll need to munch on something to replenish your energy to get back down. Maria ( who works in the office where you buy a ticket to see the waterfalls) can prepare you a great lunch positioned by a river for your return. Here is her number : 78507113/78204709 (Maria has 8 boys and doesn’t earn a lot of money so if you have any spare second hand boys clothes, takes them with you and give them to her as a gift: she will be even happier to see you.)
2. Wairiki Mission: If you are on Taveuni on a Sunday – this is a must! I’m not religious but sitting crossed legged on the church floor listening to everyone singing stunning a cappella hymns, was a truly a religious moment. Near here is the International dateline marker. A dateline cuts right through Fiji. To make life easier though – they have put Fiji, all on one time. If you go, it is the only place in the world where you can place one foot in yesterday and one in today.
3. Lavena Coastal walk: You walk through a local village, along a stunning coast line and arrive at another magical waterfall. You have to swim up a shallow river to get to it. Take a guide, they will show you how to jump into the waterfall and maneuver your way onto another, natural, stone water-slide. Take a snack, get your guide to bring a fresh coconut to share. Another thing you can do from here is take a boat or canoe up the coast to view more waterfalls.
There are heaps of other things to do too and I wished we had spent two weeks there instead of 8 days. You can go horse riding, diving and pick a sacred flower: The Tagimoucia. They grows in only two places on the planet, Taveuni and a mountain top in Nepal. If you are taking small kids to Taveuni check out this website: Fiji magic. They have great stories about Fiji, personally I would print them out and use them as bed time tales.
Below pictures of:Wairiki Mission & the inside of Villa Sekoula and the view from the villa’s lounge.
Villa Sekoula is in Matei (north of the island). It’s a great village, super chilled. It has good snorkeling just off the coast and on the 2nd and 3rd Islands nearby. Our house came with kayaks so we would kayak and snorkel around the islands at leisure. If your looking for huge white sandy beaches, this isn’t the beach area for you. I met a tourist who raved about the Mananuca Islands as they had those kind of beaches.
And what made this place extra special? The people! Below is a policeman! Also pictures of: houses in the local village and Seppo who cleaned our pool at the house and then turned up on the last night to make us a Lovo ( special meal cooked in the ground). His friends then arrived and we drank kava sitting on a straw mat on the floor, whilst they all sung and played music till midnight.
It is so hot in Shanghai everyone is wilting and flopping. I thought this guy next to the metro was dead and in Ikea there were more than the usual people having a nap on the displays. The kids outside my lane have a new game: Ninja Turtles. I love their use of water-melon covers and melons are still exploding in our fruit shops due to over-use of growth hormones. Riding my bike I now turn up at places looking like a little swimming pool and the Wardorf hotel on the Bund is one of my favorite cool-places, to run around on these hot Shanghai nights…
I had dinner with my friend Georgie (who owns Dragonfly in Shanghai) at the week-end. He is a spa expert and I asked him what he thought the best facial was for a face that needed a bit of help: mine! I told him, “I exercise my body and it keep my muscles in place, but what can I do to keep the muscles of my face in place too?” I told him, “I don’t want them to droop either.” He invited me to have one of his anti-aging facials at Dragonfly using a RF machine (radio frequency) and I have to tell you: IT WORKS!! Check out this picture below from this site. These are pictures before and after a woman had 6 months of RF facial treatments.
I took the pictures of my face before and after 1 anti-aging facial at Dragonfly. The weird thing was how my face felt the next few days… I felt my cheeks had lifted and were firmly back in their original place!
This below is a picture of what the treatment at Dragonfly in Shanghai China costs. If for nothing else – it is a lovely way to relax and having a woman massaging your face for 90 min.
A big thank you to Georgie for my new perty face and people who are reading this and do not live in China: find out what facials uses a RF machine at your local beauty therapist and get a natural facelift of your own.
I always like going into supermarkets when I visit different countries to see what the quirky differences are. In Turkey they sell a lot of self-waxing kits. In the USA I found aisles filled with plastic slabs (the size of cushions) containing breakfast cereal ( often multicolored). In Fiji I found canned sheep and missionary workers.
What was in front of me when I had my feet massaged.
Below is a man who sweeps our streets. He makes his own brushes from the fallen branches of the trees.
I was on my bike and stopped to take this girl’s picture.
This was a sales assistant.
Laundry hangs everywhere.
This was in my local paper. I liked their enthusiasm & lipstick.
I am now hooked on Instagram. You can find me there.