03 June 2016

Birthday trip!

Five months in Tainan just flew by and what can I say - it's been great five months so far :)
Not what I wanted to talk about today so let's just leave Tainan for another time, today I'll share with you a word or two about my last vacation in Philippines...


"Don't listen to what they say. Go, see!"

In my last post I told you about a birthday gift to myself, a plain ticket to Philippines! 
Buying an airplane ticket is so much better than buying shoes (and I LOVE shoes!), it feels like opening the first page of a new book. The feeling of not knowing what's waiting for you on the next page. You can imagine it,but before you get there and see it with your own eyes nothing can describe it so perfectly. The sweet waiting and anticipation...

To pick one of more than 7000 beautiful islands this country has was not easy, however, when the tickets are cheap(er) for one of those destinations it helps you decide. Palawan it was!




Two years ago I planned a vacation in Boracay with my friend Adri but ended up in Zanzibar instead because of visa requirements which was a bit tricky to make happen at the last moment considering the job we were doing back then. Nowadays Croatians don't require visa to enter this SE Asian country which was one more reason to chose it for my trip
The third reason 'why?' was the beauty of its nature, yummy food and friendly Filipino people. Well, those are actually three reasons but I count them all in as one category. Why? Because those are the only actual memories you will remember long after your trip...


You won't remember how your hotel room looked like but you will remember nice staff who helped you around, with a smile on their faces at all times! (and all the other people for that matter)
You won't remember how much you've spent but you will remember some of the most breathtaking sunsets, beaches, woods, mountains, waterfalls you've seen.
And for sure you will always remember where you had the most delicious fresh coconut, fish platter, burger, slice of cake or any other local dish in the country you've visited.


Since I've already been to Philippines many times before, but only in Manila, I couldn't wait to experience its other side - easy going, relaxed, poor but happy island of Palawan.

Must say my first thought about the place was that it looked a lot like Zanzibar. As I said, easy going, relaxed, poor, the same climate, similar food, approachable people...
Five days in a small hotel in the city of Puerto Princesa was really cheap and easy to find and book through Booking.com, but five days was not even closely enough to see all of what this island has to offer. 

Renting a scooter is also easy and cheap but be prepared to leave your passport at the rental place for insurance. Not the most comfortable thing to do though :/
Beaches around the city are not like the ones you see on the pictures online but if you take an island hopping tour you will enjoy the day swimming and snorkeling on those magnificent, surreal looking beaches you once only dreamed of visiting.


"The mind will not always remember exactly what happened,
but the heart will always remember the feeling..."



The other day trip we took was to the Underground River - one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Something really different and memorable, specially the part when your guide tells you to keep your mouth closed if you don't want to taste the bat poo falling from above! (...how do you know if all those drops are water or poo? Well, water is cold...) ;)
After 45 minutes in those dark scary caves I had to go and try the zip line. Nothing can beat the rush and excitement of a free fall out of the airplane but this was also fun and I ticked it off of my list!


    

Dining experiences were all more than satisfying. Whether you eat in a well known restaurant, beach bar or at the stand by the road the food will be delicious, service will be fast and you will leave happily full! The only thing in question is how much are you willing to spend on food and drinks? If you are a foodie like me prepare a little extra just in case you can't say no to tasting everything from the menu in every restaurant you go to :D
Just kidding, Or not? :p


Before you exit the country, at the airport, you have to pay a certain fee. My golden fish brain can't remember how much was it but don't exchange (or spend) all the money, local currency before you pay that fee. Be prepared ta wait because most of the times there are flight delays, and always and I mean ALWAYS have a mosquito repellent or two with you! Those little, flying, blood sucking beasts are merciless! Other than that you will have a really great time meeting interesting people along the way, making memories, trying out new things...


"The best things in life are the people you love,
the places you have see and
the memories you have made along the way."



Enjoy your upcoming vacations and summer/winter trips!
Happy and safe traveling everyone! :*







02 February 2016

Living in Asia :)

This post I want to start with a quote that inspired me this morning...

"I HOPE YOUR LIFE IS FULL OF 'I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID IT' RATHER THAN 'I SHOULD'VE DONE IT!'"
 
Waking up early and going to bed early was my routine since...forever! Then everything changed when I went to Dubai and for years worked at any time of the day and night.
It messes you up, trust me, it really does. Still, I'm trying to catch my old rhythm that I love so much, even now after almost two months I'm not completely myself, but getting there, slowly... It's Tuesday, I woke up at 8 am, and I'm writing again! Woohoo! High five me :)

(street art photographer took this photo of me, yaaay,
too many selfies since I can't pester my girls for a perfect photo anytime I want hahah)

The weather here in Taiwan is, well, nicely put - crazy! The worst winter in the last few decades, sun and rain playing hide and seek day in and day out, it's warm during the day and we sleep in two long sleeves during the night. I'm actually using winter gloves and had to buy a warm winter jacket for scooter rides...brrrr... Yes, a scooter!

In the land where everyone live on that thing (not the biggest fan of motorbikes, scooters etc.) it was about time to get my own, as much as I would love not to, and get to know the city easier and much faster than on foot or bike. The secret, the unspoken rule in traffic around here is (and by here I mean in most of Asian countries) the bigger, the stronger, the faster - has the priority! Accidents on the roads are so usual. Not everyone will turn their heads to see what happened, just another one down. Don't be scared, people are not dying daily on the streets, I know it sounds like it, but it's not fast and furious around here, I just want to point out how common it is to see an accident whether it was a serious one or just a minor bump.
Anyhow... I'm driving a scooter now, another thing I never thought I would do hahaha :)
For some of you it sounds ridiculous but, as I said already, I don't like them, they don't look safe, I already have a running nose and... Hmmm, those two reasons are more than enough for me.



On the positive note, it feels like I'm in Disney world once again!
Asian girls are well known for their love of funky fashion and cartoon characters all over their clothes. Not just clothes but everything they have! And did I mention how much I love cartoons? And glitter? Minnie and Mickey? Minions? Snoopy? Fairytale princesses? No? Well I do now - I LOVE IT #iwannabeaprincess <3
That being said imagine what was the only thing that made me happy about buying this monster on two wheels? A possibility of buying super, ultra, cool, awesome, cute HELMET with...guess what - cartoon characters :) :) :) #happyasachild

When I went to buy myself one, I was lost like a kid in a candy store, which one to get, which one I like best, which one is the prettiest??? So the decision was made - I'm gonna have one for every single day of the week hahahaha. No, I didn't buy 7 of them, for now, but with time I will have a pretty little collection for sure ;)

Prices of these kind of helmets are between 20 and 60 USD, and the prices of used scooters 50ccm are between 60 and 160 USD (depending on your negotiating skills - that's why my friend did it for me, cause you remember, I suck at it) :) 
 
(just some street art in Tainan)

The other thing I bought this week was an airplane ticket! Surprise, surprise? Not really...
When I made this decision of coming to Taiwan I made another decision - I will try to travel around Asia to the places where I haven't been yet or to the places where I want to go back to. And I'm not coming back (home) for good until I cross over a few more destinations on my list! First of them is the amazingly beautiful country of Philippines and its Palawan island. Plan for now is to go alone, while crossing fingers a friend of mine gets days off to join me on this weekend getaway at the end of March. Let's call it a pre-birthday gift to myself :)
It's not going to be my first time in the Philippines but it is going to be the first time on the island. Manila can't be compared to the nature of the islands so I'm expecting a whole different experience! One more thing I can't wait to do there is to be pampered in some nice beauty salon...
Ohhh, the best beauty technicians in the world come from the Philippines (you should all meet my friend Maggie in Dubai)! Sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets, delicious food, friendly people, cocktails, my camera, a good book... Can I skip right through and go there tomorrow?! :)

 
"A little reading is all the therapy a person needs sometimes."

Talking about books... Still didn't find a proper bookstore where I can find and buy books in English. There is one but it has, like, 10 titles which is making it hard to choose from when you have read half of them already :D
But all the bookstores and used books stores I found were all those kind of places where even the most grumpiest person in the world would feel calm and happy, where the book haters would start loving to read, where the atmosphere is just like an old book - has that special heart warming scent, occupies you with all its content and makes you wanna come back again. After visiting one like that, I'm not even sad I haven't found myself a new one to put on a shelf, I'm happy to know those kind of places exist absolutely everywhere I go in this world and I can go there anytime I want and just be...

 
"A library is a hospital for the mind."


Have a beautiful day, week, month, LIFE of memorable travels, magical words and books to read, countless memories to remember and unforgettable loving people around yourself...

Huge kiss from me to you!

15 August 2015

It's me again! :p

Hello hello my pretty travelers! 

I know I haven't been active lately, actually I haven't been writing to you at all! Shame on me :( but here I am again and will definitely try harder! With all the flying around, writing weekly for Index Rouge and chasing my feelings up and down the emotional rollercoaster it's been easier to just...let it be. 
What I realized is that this blog brought me my first followers, here and on Facebook, first 'you go girl' encouraging comments, this blog gave me the opportunity to write articles in my own language for the last 2 years and to help other girls, and boys, to become cabin crew. It brought me some new friendships and most of all - the courage to write and share my stories with the world! <3 Therefore, I promise to write more often ;)


During these last few months I have been everywhere, I've seen countries I wanted to visit since I was a little girl. These last few months were both hectic and boring, emotional and excited, hard and joyful. During that time I grew up a little bit more, decided what I want to do and where I wanna go next! I also learned how important it is to always have a plan B and believe in yourself and while making those plans always put yourself first! Decide what where and how only according to YOUR wishes! As selfish as it sounds it is your life, right? So, that's exactly what I did, or going to do, decision has been made but I'm not gonna reveal all the detail just yet, but soon enough... :)


I still live in Dubai, and it's still hot and sandy, I still work as a cabin crew and I still get a chance ti be left speachless and breathless every once in a while. That's the only constant in a life of a flight attendant :)
Now I wanna share with you a few amazing layover moments from around the world...

OSLO, Norway
After seeing this colorful, winter, Scandinavian sunset I asked myself if I still prefer summer sun?



"Every one of a hundred thousand cities around the world has its own special sunset, and it's worth going there, just once, if only to see the sun go down..."

MOSCOW, Russia
Finally experiencing that 'I'm gonna freeze to death' winter feeling in Russia made my answer to the above question about summer sun much MUCH easier! :) But having fun with the crew made me feel tiny bit warmer. 



"In the midst of winter I found there was, within me, an invincible summer."

HONG KONG
Some days you spend enjoying your 'my-time' and still have an unforgettable layover. Different face of China, if I can put it like that, left me hungry for more!



"Traveling is like flirting with life... It's like saying 'I would stay and love you, but I ave to go...'"

CHICAGO, Illinois
One of the most tiring flights E-V-E-R ended up being one of the nicest layovers in one of the American cities I wanna go back to. Soon!



"I love the feeling of exploring a brand new city."

The rest is coming up soon, so many stories to tell and experiences to share so stay tuned hehe ;)
Sending you all kisses from Croatia :*


P.S. Forgive me on possible mistakes, this is the first time I'm uploading a post from my smart phone :))

31 December 2014

My year in photos :)

Instead of telling a story about 2014 here are 12 photos describing how wonderful
these 365 days were...
I wish You all a happy New 2015! To be even better than the last one!
Enjoy the fireworks tonight, a glass of bubbly and a midnight kiss wherever you are and whoever you are with - make it special!
Lots of kisses :****
 
 
January
 

February
 

 
March

 
April

 
May

 
June

 
July

 
August

 
September (Kroejsa=Croatia) :)

 
October

 
November

 
December

 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 

23 October 2014

Pearl of Africa...

Came back last night from a layover in Uganda. First time in that country, one short day spent there and I can't wait to go back. Why the pearl of Africa? Uganda was referred like it by Winston Churchill because of its magnificence and so the name stayed. :)   


Was trying to get on Entebbe flight with only one wish, to visit one of the orphanages (one of many) and meet those kids my Miss A was telling me about. She's been there a few months ago, and met a boy named Adrian. Since then she wanted to go back and visit him, promised to buy him some toys and sunglasses. He is the oldest kid in that home, 9 years old... So when I swapped my Birmingham for Entebbe she went and bought a scooter and the sunglasses. I packed my suitcase and went on a 5 hours flight to find and meet Adrian.


Republic of Uganda is one of 48 landlocked countries in the world, which means it's entirely enclosed by land. It's located in east Africa and bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Substantial portion of Lake Victoria included in the southern part of the country situates Uganda in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962 so it doesn't surprise that the official language is English, with Luganda, a central language, widely spoken across the country.



Something interesting I have read about Uganda, and not a positive thing what so ever is this... - "In 2009, the Ugandan parliament considered an Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would have broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, or are HIV-positive, and engage in same-sex sexual acts. The bill also included provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited back to Uganda for punishment. The death penalty was dropped in the final legislation and replaced by life imprisonment. As of January 2014, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum of life."


Lots of interesting facts about this country can be found on line, like the fact that Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world, with almost 38% of the population living on less than 1,25$ a day. Child labour is common in this part of the world. With more than 300 Mountain Gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has approximately half of the world's population of Mountain Gorillas.
Have you ever heard of lions climbing trees??? Me neither. But there are some, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree climbing lions. Lions do not normally climb trees, except when chased by another lion group or wild buffalo. However the tree climbing lions found in this National Park intentionally climb trees and rest on them in the afternoon, when the sun is high. This is a truly unique phenomenon. There have only been rare similar sightings of this in Lake Manyara National Park of Tanzania.


There is also a rule about cutting trees - if you cut one you'll have to plant 3, and this rule is really present in Uganda. In Uganda you can even get a wine made of bananas! And the local beer is called Nile Special.
It is the biggest alcohol consuming country in the world, as well the world's youngest country with its 50% of the population being under 14 years old!
If a Ugandan person tells you he or she needs to make 'a short call' it usually means they need to use the toilet :)



Learning that we came to Uganda's resort on the Lake Victoria, must say, one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. But seeing the poverty on the streets on our way from the airport just felt so unfair, it makes you feel guilty...?



And as I said the plan was different, I didn't come to enjoy the pool but I came cause I wanted to go to the orphanage and help those kids and women taking care of them in a small way I could and knew how to - by buying the food and toiletries they need, bringing some toys and chocolates, and the most important thing spending time with them.
Unfortunately we couldn't stay long cause it was close to their bath/dinner/bed time but that one hour, 5 of us who came together enjoyed the company of almost 20 little ones. Adrian wasn't there, was really sad I couldn't meet him, but hearing he is in school and he'll be back for Christmas break (and that's when he'll get his present from Miss A I brought for him) made me hopeful that maybe, somehow, after all, some of these kids will have some kind of a future one day.




One of the ladies who's taking care of them told me that most of them are brought to that place by the police who find them out on the streets, left alone. The smallest one was found in the garbage dump in the 'last minute' and she spent months in the hospital fighting for her little life. Now she is a strong baby but very very tiny...
The other one, little Jo - age unknown, they can only guess but no one knows for sure. They have electricity problems, they don't have enough money of course, or the rest of the things they need for the kids...and the story goes on... 
But despite all of that all these kids are smiling, laughing, playing... They were so happy when they saw us!


You can't imagine how warm and gentle they are, how much they need love and affection and how much love they can show you in that one hour! You just want to give them all, everything you can, but the only thing you can is just promise them you will be back one day again...
When you feel their small arms hugging you so strongly, like they never want to let you go it just breaks your heart when you have to leave them. And go back to that beautiful resort of ours?! Feels so wrong... :(
That orphanage is one of many in Uganda, and all of them are struggling, all of them are doing their best, all of them have volunteers working as nurses, and all of those children are beyond happy and grateful if you come to visit them and play with them for a little while.




So if you have that chance, not just in Uganda, but anywhere in the world, to go and visit an orphanage, buy some food and soap, baby nappies, bring some old clothes or toys no one plays with any more it will mean so much to them! So much! You will do a good deed, you will feel better just being there with them, seeing them smile with those beautiful white teeth, looking at you with their huge puppy eyes, showing you around where they sleep and where they play, hugging you, showing you so much affection it just fills your heart up!







On the way back to the airport we stopped by the road to buy some delicious fruits and veggies, fresh and cheap... Imagine, more than a kilo of avocados for only 1US$?! ONE! :)) So we left the rest of the money to the kids who were around. People seem so warm and nice, not for a second I felt scared or anything. No ebola in Uganda...
You just have to book a ticket and pack your bags :))