Favourite Places

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Fav Stuff, Funny Stuff, Travel Stuff
Tags: , , ,

When you meet a fellow traveller, a similar set of questions are asked.  What’s your name? (You soon forget ‘cos you meet so many travellers on a daily basis and often repeat the question several times ….) Where are you from? (I often got the response “Oh, I didn’t realise you were Irish, I thought you sounded American”.  I’d start speaking Irish and say “Póg mo Thóin” to prove it.  How old? (Sometimes people think I say 21 and I don’t correct them, I just act accordingly)  How long have you been travelling for? (Tricky as can cause jealousy: I forget, what month is it?), Where have you been?  (Probably the same Lonely Planet/Rough guide trail as you…)  Reason’s for travelling? (Stupid question) Where to next? (Who knows, winging it… Any suggestions?) Sometimes you ask:  What are your favourite places so far?

My favourite places would have to be Ubud in Bali, Kyoto in Japan and Brooklyn in New York.  Each place has its own individual charm for different reasons.  Bali is a very spiritual place and the energy quite healing.  I did lots of Yoga and ate lots of healthy veggie food.  The only downside was that I didn’t get to meet my future hippy bean eating husband that my cousin thought I was going to bring home.  Eat, Pray, Love has a lot to answer for… The book also doesn’t mention that hungry wild dogs stalk you home after a night out.  Eat, Pray, Love should really be called Eat and Pray the dogs don’t get you…  It was my first time travelling solo and I was a bit nervous especially after the dog stalking incident.  Then, I met an Aussie girl Sally and we hung out for the rest of the week asking each other the obligatory traveller questions while avoiding stalker dogs…

Kyoto in Japan is another.  I went with my friend Sarah.  We flew from Seoul and made a common traveller mistake of going out the night before.  We woke up to the sound of our alarms after very little sleep and threw some clothes in a bag.  On arrival, we made a video outside the airport of us after our mad rush to the airport.  We did not look pretty.  The check in guy laughed at us trying to sign our names at the desk & waved us through.  Sarah pushed me through the airport on a trolley as I was still a wee bit tired…  It was one of the fastest, least stressful flights I have ever experienced.  One snooze later and we arrived in efficient Japan.  Kyoto was cold but pretty.  We arrived at our hostel and realised we had to sleep on the floor.  Like everything in Asia, you have to make your own bed (mats on the floor), Cook your own food (BBQ restaurants in Korea) and wash your own clothes (Washing machine in Hostel).  We planned to inebriate ourselves against any future discomforts… We cycled around and saw the sights.   Lots of temples and pretty geisha’s.  It was picture perfect.  Everything was super organised, clean and efficient.

The great thing about travelling with a girlfriend is that you tend to want to do the same girly things.  We decided to go to the outdoor baths.  A train journey away.  The train seats were heated.  The toilet had many buttons, it took me ten minutes to figure out how to flush…  On arrival, we read the brochure.  There were separate male and female baths.  You were not allowed to enter if you had any tattoos (sign of gang membership) or wear a swimming costume.  You had to go naked.  We both looked at each other and knew this was not going to happen.  Our pasty white, slightly tattooed Irish Catholic skin was not being bared to anyone.  We had to sneak in… Fully clothed.   It was feckin freezing as we made our way to the outdoors baths in our dressing gowns hiding our swimwear and tattoos underneath.  We jumped in.  It was lovely and hot.  As soon as we saw a naked Japanese woman coming towards us, we jumped out and ran for cover.  We laughed all the way to the train.  Here is what I loved about New York.  I would definitely go back to all three.

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