Andra Folks

Andra

Andra Folks

This blog started as a way to document my time during a 6 month work assignment in Heidelberg, Germany, in 2005.
Happily it has documented most of my travel adventures since then.





Asia » Singapore October 23rd 2018

We disembarked from our cruise in Singapore and opted to spend 2 nights here before travelling home. A great way to end our trip. We dropped our bags at our hotel, bought a 2 day subway pass and headed immediately to The Gardens By The Bay. We arrived around mid day and decided to do the indoor options first to escape the heat for a bit ( FYI Singapore is 137 km from the equator. It’s hot!). While there’s lots to explore in this park we started with the Cloud Forest and Garden Dome. Both are monstrous indoor greenhouses that are very cool (both figuratively and physically); they showcased vegetation from all over the world; everything from Cactuses to Orchids to Baobab trees to Venus Fly Traps. We then wandered among the enormous outdoor grounds until ... read more
FlowerDomeSelfieGardensByTheBay
CloudForestGardensByTheBay
FlowerDomeGardensByTheBay

Asia » Thailand October 17th 2018

Our first impression of Thailand was an olfactory one. This country smells incredible! Or at least the places we visited did. Our first port of call was 2+ hours drive from Bangkok. But not to worry…it’s an overnight stop. So we arranged to spend 1 night in Bangkok. We dropped our bags at our hotel then bought a hop-on-hop-off boat pass that took us up and down the Chao Phraya River to see the city’s most popular sites. This river is busy with tourist boats like ours, long boats, barges and ferries (about 20 cents a ride for ferries). It’s really like a water freeway. Bangkok is a super busy city for tourists. All of Bangkok's landmarks are very crowded. If you can’t handle crowds this city is not for you. In the daytime we braved ... read more
BangkokWatPohRecliningBuddha
BangkokWatPohBuddhas
BangkokWatPohLibrary

Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville October 16th 2018

Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia. It is definitely a country in transition. We're not sure if the term “3rd world” is used anymore but If it is Cambodia definitely qualifies. We were picked up at the port by a lovely man named Heng in a small mini-van. He had a fairly okay command of the English language as he provided us information throughout our journey but he struggled with comprehension when he was asked questions. That being said, his command of English far exceeds our command of Cambodian! Cambodia is a country that you need to embrace being a “traveller” vs. a “tourist”. We were once given definitions to these terms; a tourist is someone who visits locations looking through the eyes and expectations of their home culture while a traveller is someone who visits locations with an ... read more
PicnicAreaRiver
PicnicArea
Fishing Village

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta October 16th 2018

Our first port in Vietnam was in a tropical resort town called Nha Trang. The town is in the southern part of the country and heavily visited by Russian and Chinese tourists. It’s easy to see why they choose it for it’s beautiful beaches and luxury hotels. Maybe we need to reconsider the location of our annual Caribbean winter vacation. Our first stop was at the Long Son Pagoda. Worshiping was underway at the temple so we made a quiet pass by the sanctuary and then took the 152 steps up to see to the giant white Buddha seated in a lotus blossom. Not only is this a really cool Budda we got a really cool view of the city. The day also included a stop at PoNagar Cham Towers; a UNESCO World Heritage Site built ... read more
PublicBeach_NhaTrang
CheapBeerNhaTrang
PoNagarNhaTrang

Asia » Hong Kong October 12th 2018

Arrival in Hong Kong by boat is quite a spectacular sight. What an amazing introduction to this unbelievable city. As soon as our ship was cleared by customs at 7pm we headed out on the subway to one of our most anticipated stops. The highest bar in the world, called Ozone, located on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carleton hotel. We arrived to delicious (but pricey) cocktails. While enjoying our first drink we were given two drink tickets from guests of The Ritz Carleton who couldn’t use them. We decided to give the drink tickets a try and when Chris got to the bar the bartender took them, poured one drink and while he was making the other he gave Chris a sheet where he was asked to indicate his guest information. Chris is horrible ... read more
BaggiesOfFishForSale
BagsOfFishForSale
HongKongDepatureView

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei October 10th 2018

Arrival in Taipei was drizzly but it did not dampen our spirits. We were met at the port by our driver and 7 of us set off to see what this city had to offer. First stop was Lungshan Temple. The place was bustling with chanting, singing and praying. It was hard to know if we were interrupting or being disrespectful by watching and snapping pictures but no one seemed to mind so we went with it. There was also tonnes of food laying about. We came close to snagging a quick snack, but correctly thought better of it - the Gods need their sustinence. It was a national holiday in Taiwan and maybe this is why this temple was so busy. After this stop we took a gondola ride up over the hillside tea growing ... read more
LungshanTemple2
LungshanTemple4
LungshanTemple

Asia » Japan October 8th 2018

Konichiwa! Tokyo. Its organized chaos. That was apparent the minute we arrived at the airport. We had been told that the Japanese are extremely willing to help and, thankfully, that turned out to be true. With the help of information centres and random people we conquered the train and subway system and managed to see a reasonable chunk of Tokyo. We visited a couple of temples and shrines, a cat cafe, had a drink at New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel (if you've seen Lost In Translation you may remember this bar), navigated the Shibuya Crossing more than once and had some memorable meals. By far our best meal was as a restaurant called Teppan Baby. We sat right at the teppen grill and watched as 3 chefs prepared meals ... read more
Subway map
Koch castle
Prayer cards

Africa » Tanzania » North September 30th 2016

Because we've been asked a lot of questions we thought it might be wise to put together a blog on the semantics of being on Safari. What it’s like, things you need to think about, things we learned through the experience. Fill up your coffee cup...this is a long one. :-) Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s get this out of the way. If you love any one of; animals, nature, history, road trips, great open spaces, photography, bird watching, meeting new people or anything nearing those categories then you won’t be disappointed if you choose to go on safari, and if you are even remotely interested in more than one of those then we suspect you will be gloriously swept away by the experience. How Did You Plan Your Trip? We knew we ... read more
How you know a big cat (or cats) are in the area
Patented Obligatory Crazy Face Picture
Seren

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park September 29th 2016

Our final epic visit was to the Serengeti National Park; world famous for hosting the "The Great Migration" - 2.5 million animals, mostly wildebeest and zebras travel 800 km in search of water (April to June is the best time to see this). Serengeti is also Tanzania's largest and most treasured national park. If you only make one stop in Tanzania for safari, this is the place to go. Stunning landscapes and an abundance of wildlife make it a truly magical place. When you think of what the wilds of Africa look like, Serengeti is likely what you're picturing. Although our timing wasn't right to see "The Great Migration" the fields were still littered with hundreds and hundreds of Zebra, Wildebeest and Gazelle. Our guide, Selemani, told us the Serengeti was "the land of cats" and ... read more
Lionesses
Baby Elephant
Protecting a little one

Africa » Tanzania » North » Ngorongoro Conservation Area September 26th 2016

After 1 night in the Lake Manyara Area we traveled to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. But we did make some stops along the way. Our fist stop was to meet an Iraqw family and learn about their culture and way of life. Next we stopped at a local school. It was a Sunday so no students were present but we did get to speak with two teachers. The school was a small rural grade school that had 700 students enrolled. Average class size was anywhere from 50 to 70 students. Imagine what that classroom must be like! Hats off to two young teachers we met. After school we moved on to Gibbs Farm where we had a garden tour and then lunch. All of our meals were very good in Tanzania but this one really stood ... read more
Hippo Pool
Hippo
The garden at Gibb's Farm




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