Signs of the World – Elevator

One of my favourite things to photograph when travelling around the world is weird and wacky signs. Asia always has a smorgasbord of sign opportunities, especially when translating  signs into English for tourists.

On my first afternoon in Beijing, China, I noticed this very specific ‘Elevator Rules’ poster in my hotel. Of course we then took photos of us being silly and disobeying the rules, favourites included ‘no leaning’ and ‘press buttons lightly’!

IMG_2181

IMG_2186 IMG_2187

Red Road, Hawaii Big Island

On our recent trip to Hawaii, we stayed in a flipkey accommodation on the Puna Coast near Pahoa. On a Wednesday night, after seeing the black sand beach at Kaimu and visiting the night markets, I drove the long way home up Highway 137, also know as the “Red Road”.

The sun was setting and the road was fairly deserted, which was lucky as it can get pretty narrow. As you drive under the various tree tunnels it also gets quite dark. I almost ran over two wild pigs that ran out in front of my car.

Now a proper paved road, the ‘Red Road’ got its original name from red cinder pavement used in the past to create the surface of the road. The route takes you right past the ocean and lava cliffs, with many spots to pull over and explore the cliffs and swimming spots, the most famous being Kehena Black Sand Beach, where clothing is optional and the climb down is rough. Since I was on my own doing this drive, and it was getting dark, I didn’t want to climb down to the beach and have some sort of accident (which is highly likely)  so I chickened out, and just looked at it from the car park above. We would be visiting other black sand beaches on our trip so I wasn’t too disappointed.

The trees that create tunnels on the road are just amazing, you’ll want to pull over many times to get photos. It was much darker under the foliage than in these images.

I ended up detouring down a very narrow and dark tree lined street to get back to Pahoa, but you can follow the dirt track all the way up to Hawaiian Beaches, past recent lava fields and past more remote and secluded swimming spots. We drove the dirt track during daylight hours, in search of a swimming spot called ‘Natural Lava Swimming Pool’ but even with specific directions we didn’t find it. Instead we drove on to the Champagne Ponds and Kapaho tide pools.

After driving the Red Road I wasn’t going to attempt another off road adventure up the dirt track in a hire car, on my own, after sunset!

b

Sunset with black beaches and palm trees

c

The bumpy winding road of Highway 137

d

Incredible tree tunnels that you may be lucky enough to have all to yourself

e

Plenty of spots to pull over and explore the cliffs

f

I never got up early enough to see sunrise, but it would be spectacular from this side of the island.

g

Dense foliage, where the two black pigs scurried into after crossing the road right in front of me.

i

Another spot with palm trees silhouetted agains the sunset

j

Further up Highway 137 you cross some lava fields

r

This view was seen from the dirt beach access road from Hawaiian Beaches to the paved section of HWY 137.

q

My ‘ wrong turn’ road, looked ominous but did lead me back to Pahoa!

p

Lava cliffs just metres from the road

o

A sign in the front yard of our Hawaiian Beaches accommodation.

m

Sunset over the Pacific

l

I never grew tired of looking at the palm tree views

n

A panorama of the cliffs at the end of our street.

Croatia and Reckless Maggie

We had just arrived in Split, Croatia, 9pm. We were looking forward to spending the next 2 days sightseeing around the Diocletian’s Palace and taking frequent dips in the stunning blue Adriatic sea.

As soon as we arrived at the hostel we met our other roommates. Despite being 10pm we were enticed to head out on an adventure by a girl in our dorm who we called ‘Reckless Maggie’. It was one of those nights where a few quick drinks turned into a 2am Croatian style pub crawl, where we followed Maggie to a number of bars farther and farther away from town along the coast. Every time we would tell Maggie that this bar looks fine, let’s stop here, she would say ‘When travelling, they say when you think you have reached your destination, walk for another 5 minutes’. Good point, but she did this about 4 times!

Eventually we just refused to walk any farther so we settled in beachside for some drinks. The night wore on and our budget wore down. My friend and I were ready to head off, but not Maggie, who was talking to some cute Croatian boys.  Eventually we abandoned her as we had only flown in that evening and were pretty exhausted. The three of us (Myself and my travel buddy and a guy from our dorm called Michael who had a 5.30am bus the next day) left Maggie behind and headed home. She was determined to stay and chat to the 2 locals.

I felt a bit uneasy leaving her behind with some random Croatian strangers, all sorts of wild thoughts drifting through my head. I occasionally have the ability to get all dramatic, and wasted no time saying to the others ‘What if we are the last people to see her alive?’ To which Michael proclaimed, ‘She is a big girl and we’re not responsible for her’. True.

I had trouble drifting to sleep that night, due to the heat, the leaking air conditioner (which I was convinced was going to blow up, not being dramatic at all) and semi-waiting for Maggie to come home so I could sleep without worrying. So when Michael got up at 4.30am – I was still awake, motioning at Maggie’s empty bed and saying all motherly, ‘she’s still not home!’ To which he rolled his eyes.

Michael left, and I watched the clock tick to 5am, 6am, 7am … Still no Maggie.

My friend woke at this point (no point trying to sleep when its already 30 degrees at 7am). I was now pretty worried about this random girl who appeared so reckless, hence the nickname.

AT SEVEN THIRTY AM… Maggie came in, all abuzz from her night at some local rave party in the woods that was a blast! My raised, concerned eyebrows begged to differ. It would probably be a good time to mention that Maggie had a bus to catch about 10am anyway so she was looking at about 2 hours sleep.

We were up and outside the dorm on the balcony-come bathroom-come kitchen contemplating our day. Maggie then opened the door and told us to pipe down as she was trying to sleep! The. Nerve. I almost went off my head telling her that I had been worried sick about her all night.

She slept a while then frantically got up and threw all her stuff in a backpack and dashed off to catch her bus. She left behind her sleeping bag  and a bag of jewellery. We handed them over to the owners of the hostel in case she came back to claim her things.

We spent the rest of the day pondering what it would be like to travel without abandon like Maggie and how she would fare on her future (reckless) adventures.

Split by night

Walking around Split in the evening

 split boardwalk

The boardwalk of Split, by day

0002 split wizard

Exploring the sites of Split, like the Giant Statue

0003 rub the toe for good luck

Rub the toe of the giant for good luck


0006 first night in split

The beginning of our first night in Split

0008 beach handball at midnight

People swimming and playing Hacky Sack at 10pm

I must confess, these are not my photos. On the second night in Split, the night after the reckless Maggie adventure, I had my camera stolen. These shots are from my travel buddy. So who knows what gems I had captured from our first night in Split!

Sydney Eats – Indian at Harris Park

Harris Park in Sydney’s west, next to Parramatta has a lot of Indian Restaurants. A LOT. It has a very high Indian population and the streets around the railway station, especially Wigram St,  have so many restaurants as well as local grocers and Indian fusion restaurants, like Indian Chinese food.

You are so spoilt for choice. A friend and I visit regularly to whet our Indian food cravings. After testing out several places we now have our favourites, mainly those that serve Dosa and Thalis, the best curry tasting plates! Special mention to Not Just Curries and Billus.

 

Right near Billus I spotted these men playing backgammon.

image

 

Wigram St outside Billus

image

 

Mel and I love our Dosas!

image

 

Sunset over Wigram st.

image

 

Magnolia tree outside Billus

image

Minnamurra Rainforest

Recently we visited Minamurra Rainforest in Jamberoo, South Coast NSW. As we are often driving down the coast to my parents house I keep scouting out different (free!) things to do on the way to break up the 3 hour or so drive.

Off the main highway about 15 minutes, Minamurra rainforest in Buderoo National Park offers a number of walks through lush rainforest that follows a creek up to a waterfall.

 We arrived quite late in the day and didn’t think we had time to fit in the 2 hour return walk to the waterfall. Which was a bit disappointing as I do love a good waterfall. But just walking up and back on the boardwalk  as part of the ‘Loop walk’ was pretty spectacular. There is much more to see and do in this National Park so I think we will just have to go back!

Getting There: About an hour and 40 minutes from Sydney, not far from Kiama

Look Out For: The rope bridge, swinging vines, picturesque country side on the drive through the valleys