‘The World Travelist’ Category

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap is where my traveling alone spirit really kicked in. At the crack of dawn, I joined people who were being taken to the border of Siem Reap. The shuttle was full of different people, couples, single travelers, and a group of friends, most of them also doing a trip right through Asia.
We arrived at the border of Siem Reap which took ages to get through. But once we were through, you could sense that you were in a different place. You welcome to the City is dirt roads and dilapidated homes. Off I went to be dropped off at a place where there were taxi drivers to take you were ever you wanted to go. Now mind you I hadn’t booked any accommodation. A guy by the name of John approached me and told me he can take me to a backpackers. My only criteria was that it was in the heart of the night life and that it was cheap.
I introduced myself to the City by being taken to a local bar. Now I was the only foreigner there and the only black person. AH what an experience. With drinking their home brewed toxic drink to sharing beers amongst 8 guys, it truly was a perfect evening. One of the traditions they taught me was that after some time you cheers, I was ‘cheersing’ every 8 minutes, soo cool.
Off I woke up at the crack of dawn to go see the sun rise at the magical Angkor Wat Temple. There isn’t a sight like that. The sun rises behind the temples. People from all over come to experience that moment. Just in that moment, its you that magical view and your thoughts, absolutely priceless.

After spending the day visiting temples, eating loads of pineapples John took me on a boat trip with him and his two friends. We stopped by another local spot to have beer with the locals, yet again I was the only girl and again we said ‘cheers’. Off we went bought chicken and prawns from the side of the road and a couple of beers to accompany us.We were floating between the “FLOATING VILLAGE”. A school on a boat, a church on a boat and an entire village on boats. When the high tide comes in, it washes them to another place. Amazing stuff.

I got a chance to ‘steer’ the boat, soo cool. I think its safe to say I’m an expert. I took us to the middle of nowhere, where we just floated, drank beer ate great food and enjoyed great company.
I was then taken to a Cambodian festival. Dancing, great Cambodian cuisine and lots of beer.
The city may be poor, the buildings may be dilapidated but the people, the people are full of so much life, humility and have a spirit to boot. I want to go back in a couple of years to see the progress that the City has made.

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One day in Bangkok

One day in Bangkok

My next journey was to Siem Reap. Not knowing which was the easiest route to get there,I made my way back to Bangkok to get to Siem Reap. I had left my bags at the Hua Lamphong train station for storing while I go grab something to eat. I found a place called 511 Cafe which was right across from the train station. He had only had the place opened for 2 months. The owner was soo welcoming and took an interest in my travels and gave advise on taking a shuttle instead of a train to Siem Reap border.  I had already bought a train ticket to the border to leave at 5pm that day. So he directed me back to the train station to book a shuttle instead and then I asked around for affordable accommodation that was around the corner. So I had to spend a night in Bangkok.

After roaming the streets on my own and eating too much pineapple, I needed to take a nap before going out for dinner. The lady at reception at the hotel I was staying at told me to go visit the mall. It had 10 floors. I stopped at the 5th floor, it was just too much for me to handle. I managed to buy two handbags but it was all my luggage could handle. One of the guys who was asking me where I was from told me about an underground party  that he was going to after the mall. I told him where I stayed and they came to pick me up. So off we went. It was full of Asians and the odd four foreigners and I brightened up the place by adding some blackness to the mix.
Goodness do the Asians know how to party. What was great about this place is that it didn’t have a name, you have to be invited, there is no password, you don’t pay anything. All you have to do is give one reason why you are happy to be in Bangkok. I didn’t know why I was happy to be in Bagkok so I just said “Im happy to be in Bangkok because i’m going to party up a storm” So I got the nod. The guy who brought me there disappeared after we got inside.
The place was dark and not too packed, just the right sized crowd. Drinks were a tad bit pricey, I mean after paying 50c for mojitos anything after that is pricey. They had a live band all girl band performing. They say English songs which was great so I didn’t have to look like a fool dancing to songs I didn’t understand.
I met a young couple from Belize, South America. Gosh they made me feel so wack by their love stories. We decided to get a bite to eat at 3am.. A block away there was this place which was still opened to cater for those drunkies. I must say its not ideal to have an Asian dish after so much of drinking, what I needed was a burger and chips. It did me wonders. At 5am I had to cave in and go back to my hotel. I slept for an hour and half to get ready to leave for Cambodia. Those are the best days. Hungover, no sleep and off to another country on my own, I don’t know how different I would have done it otherwise.
One day, one night in Bangkok was one awesome experience. They were right that it’s the party capital. I do wish I could have turned one night into three nights. But I will be back very soon to do it over again.

 

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

My Asia journey began in Thailand. I arrived not knowing how to navigate myself round and the language barrier proved to be quite a challenge. Hailing a cab was not as simple as I thought, I had to get a ticket and had a cab driver assigned to me. Off I went to train station which was a 45 minute drive. I must say the driver wanted to try his luck by driving me himself to Chiang Mai for a hefty fee. “Ah ah i’m smarter than that”. It was another 12 hour trip to get to Chiang Mai by train. Met some lovely people from Hong Kong who were adamant to feed me their food.
It wasn’t so much the excitement of being in Chiang Mai but that I was going to see my brother who I hadn’t seen for over a year which is torture in itself. My interesting travels began when as I arrived there he wasn’t there. Oh golly this has already turned to be interesting.

As we hopped onto the TUK TUK with my two huge bags we weaved the buzzing streets of Chiang Mai. What an amazing atmosphere. So many scooters, no like sooo many scooters. We ended up renting a scooter for the days I was there.
I spent my first day there visiting the village where TK stays. The views as you make your way up the mountain are breathtaking. With beautiful Asian kids running around and the hospitality of the people, I felt just at home.
The food market made me feel like I was in heaven. We bought a couple fruits I have never heard of, mouth watering stuff that was. I cant say I was moved by the snake meat. It took us 40 minutes to get to the foot of the mountain and then another 12 minutes to get to the top. I realised when I got up there how beautiful nature is. You cant fault it. TK built a school right at the top of the mountain. He then took me to the village to go meet people who have been taking care of him. We were given boots to put on because of the heavy rains had resulted in lots of mud. So unfortunately we couldn’t the scooter but we had to hike. Ooooh boy was I out of breath. TK would say “sis this is shocking, when you get home please start running again”. It was tough I aint gonna lie. I was relieved once we got to his abode and school. Simple and basic. No TV, just him, his books the school and nature. A different way of living life. We rested and indulged in the fruits we bought at the market, and once we saw it was about to rain we made way back down.

I was fortunate enough to spend time with a Monk who brought new perspective to the way I saw things. After that encounter I made sure that every experience made me a better person. He told me that I need to focus most of my time on nurturing my soul. If my soul is fed and looked after my life will be beautiful. He told me that I am the only person responsible for my life, my happiness, my joys, my successes and my failures. He told me that having strong beliefs and values will steer me in the right direction. Love is what we all need to have and give.

Every night in Chiang Mai was a blast. With celebrating one of Tk’s friends birthdays to just bar hopping. I hadn’t partied like that in ages. 50c Mojitos really was awesome. Chiang Mai really has a buzzing night life. There are bars and pubs everywhere. There is something for everyone.

I spent a day at a butterfly farm, and Elephant Sanctuary. Riding elephants, rafting, watching an elephant show was the order of that day. My brother is in love with elephants so we just had to go. It was great being one with nature.

I made new friends, heard about other peoples great adventures and their plans for their lives, it was refreshing. I was humbled to see how my brother has changed and to experience his refreshing outlook on life. He taught me soo much about being happy and living a life you want to live and not one that is dictated by what society deems to be right. The simpler your life is the more you focus on being a spiritual individual, because you realise that the things we think matter don’t really matter.

I know why its voted one of the top 25 destinations to visit, truly magical. Accommodation is cheap, partying is cheap, just living is affordable. The people are beautiful with such caring souls. I cant wait to be welcomed back by the people, eat mouth watering food, party until I don’t know what time it is and just make unforgettable memories. I am definitely coming back. I didn’t spend as much time as I should have. The year cannot end without me coming back here.

Our scooter we rented for the time I was there

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TK is always surrounded by hot girls.

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Why so fly?

Why so fly?

We fell in love over and over during our holiday. And every 4th guy was ‘the one’. This trip reminded us that the world is a beautiful place. And men are even more beautiful. Some extensive research went into compiling the content of this post, and we trust that you will appreciate this shortlist of the gorgeous people running around New York, unaware (well, for some we made things very obvious) of the effect they are having on a bunch of South African women. It’s a tough job – but someone had to (gladly) do it.


 

 

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So we missed our flight…

So we missed our flight…

Ya ne. After our ‘farewell’, which ended at about 7am, we got ready, finished packing, and then headed off to hail a cab (which is often a very quick process) to get to the airport.

We waited. 10 mins. 20 mins. Started slightly panicking at the 30min mark, especially as it was 9:40 and our flight was leaving at 11:20am. After waiting for 50 whole minutes, it started raining. HARD! This is when we knew, we were not going anywhere. Still holding out for a slight miracle, we finally found a cab and we set off to the airport at 9:55am. Lo and behold – we jumped into the cab with the slowest. driver. in. the. world. Not even a slight tinge of urgency as we went on the long traffic-filled trek to JFK, with the rain falling down and minimal hope in our eyes.As we entered the airport the hope in us rushed back, as we excitedly asked around for the Emirates check in counter. Our excitement was met with looks of shock, dismay, and horror, as one guy slowly pointed to the empty, desolate check-in desk. Our reaction – we immediately cracked up loud and hard! What else can you do when you miss a flight from New York to Johannesburg?!After sorting out the flight admin and luckily finding a flight the next morning with no extra charge, we set off on the streets, again. We thought what better way to deal with our situation than to enjoy a lovely lunch in the sun at one of our favourite Lower East Side restaurants, ‘Inoteca. Absolutely delicious bruschettas and crisp white wine for the “pain”, and a subsequent visit to a nail bar in Chinatown made us feel much better.By late afternoon, missed flight panic out the way, we saw this as a second chance at a farewell. So we had to end it big, and that we did. We danced like no one was watching at the Hotel on Rivington to the awesome sounds of DJ Moma, and ended the night/morning at our neighbourhood diner for some pancakes, eggs, and bacon. The only way New York nights should end :-)

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Farewell…Well..Kind Of…

Farewell…Well..Kind Of…

Our epic trip was coming to a close, so of course we had to ensure we end it off on an extremely high note – by surrounding ourselves with amazing people while enjoying the madness of New York City. We had a brilliant day made up of laughter, eating, drinking and dancing with our good friends from Fela! on Broadway at Bembe in Williamsburg. We wrapped up the night/morning with some self-proclaimed gymnastics-related behaviour, and a ‘last’ visit to our favourite 5am spot -The Remedy diner on the Lower East Side, where we stuffed ourselves up with pancakes, eggs, bacon, syrup, toast, etc before we set off on the long flight home.

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The Love World Tour Does Everyday People Brunch, NYC

The Love World Tour Does Everyday People Brunch, NYC

Having experienced and grown to love the Saturday and Sunday brunch culture in New York when Sphume and I lived there, we were excited to introduce the rest of the girls to this awesome brunch and day time party tradition. Restaurants across the city host weekend brunch specials and sometimes even parties that are designed to cater to the foodie (and party animal) in residents of the city. Having established our favourite brunch spots already, most of them situated in the trendy Meatpacking District, we were excited to come across a brunch party we hadn’t been to before. Every Day People Brunch, that is.

Every Day People Brunch is a monthly day party started by founders Saada Ahmed, celebrity chef Roble Ali, Cherie Camacho and DJ Moma in April 2012. The brunch fuses different walks of life together in one space for daytime mimosas, signature Roble dishes and 90s’ feel-good jams to boogie down to.

This particular leg of the brunch party was held at the Co-Op, at the Hotel Rivington in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. When we heard from friends what this event was all about, we were already sold. But nothing could have prepared us for the awesomeness that the brunch party turned out to be. Delicious food, flowing drinks, beautiful people, and banging tunes were the order of the day. We’ll say no more than to say when visiting New York City, make sure to see if you’re lucky enough to catch an Everyday People Brunch. Thank us later.

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Brooklyn Stand Up!

Brooklyn Stand Up!

I don’t know how to describe how amazing our day spent in Fort Greene, Brooklyn was. We wanted to ensure we completely immerse ourselves in the culture of Brooklyn for that day, and we got way more than we expected!

This amazing experience started off with a trip to the Brooklyn flea market. We spent our time there browsing through antique pieces, rails of vintage clothing, and gorgeous one-of-a-kind items that could make a girl cry from joy! After spending all ‘dem dollars’, we walked around in search of a place to get our grub on. En route we spotted Solange Knowles and her girls dining at the famous South African restaurant “Madiba”. Safe to say, we had to resuscitate some of the girls who truly and genuinely believe Solange is their sister. After that hype, we found an awesome spot called “Cornerstone” with an outside table big enough to fit the whole team. We had a fabulous afternoon which turned into evening of laughing with friends, drinks on tap, and delicious food such as cheeseburgers, nachos, ribs, calamari, mussels, prawns and grits, and chicken wings (without fail) to keep us smiling.

To evade the itis, we headed to another spot for sundowners, and ended up finding ourselves on the dance floor getting down to some tight beats. We then went on to the next spot, Voodoo Lounge, and danced our butts off to the beats over there until the sun came up. This day in spent Brooklyn was so epic it cannot be re-created. Pure Perfection.

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New York Nights Keep Calling!

New York Nights Keep Calling!

There is something so exciting about stepping out onto the street in New York, all dressed up with no real plan. The spontaneity in not having a proper itinerary brings about the craziest situations that happen deep in the night as we set off in the aims of the experiences on offer all over NYC. So that’s what we did one of these nights. Dressed up, took to the streets, and headed off to find a place that was ready to take on a boisterous group of us who were ready to party! First spot had a sign outside that read  ”Keep your voices down…blah blah blah” – this was not the place for us. We walked a few blocks, in 6-inch heels, which was a somewhat humbling experience, and when one door opened and we heard the intense array of old hip hop sneaking through, we knew this was the place for us. We came into what I’m sure was part of a rehearsal for a video shoot: ladies in tight tiny dresses, men in  timbos, caps, and gold watches, and lots and lots and lots of champagne popping. We can’t leave out the DJ who had a commentary on every single song he played of course, because what’s a party without a running commentary of instructions and reminders about ‘the new ish’ by the DJ. While some couldn’t fathom being stuck in this situation for too long, some of us stayed right until the last song played, the lights came on, and the old school R n’ B started playing to usher us out. Being stuck in a 3 hour hip hop ‘video rehearsal’ was definitely a unique and awesome experience!

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A kicks lover’s dream

A kicks lover’s dream

Flight Club. We walked into that store and immediately wanted to start crying from simultaneous pain and joy. This place has the most fascinating array of kicks available, a dream for the ultimate kicks collector. From the moment we walked in we could hardly close our mouths from the awe we felt looking at the most classic selection of kicks. If you’ve got some money to spend, a lot of money to spend actually, and some unique kicks to buy – make your way to Flight Club on Greene Street, Soho.

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