Tuk Tuk driver with Tequila Carmel


We are not seasoned travellers…. yet…. but when we enter a new country or city we make sure we research the most common scams in the area. Most times this has worked, we got through Mexico, America and China un-scammed, had a small tasting in Fiji which we picked up on very quickly, but here in Thailand…. THEY ARE GOOD…. I mean Academy Award stuff. We read up on all the common scams, many of them identical on different blog sites, but still we got well and truly scammed. Heres what happened…

We took ourselves on a boat trip down the river to go to the Grand Palace… 40 Baht, Good start. When we arrived at the port and started walking toward the Grand Palace we noticed hundreds of Thai people walking the same way dressed in black. As we got half way down the street there was an impeccably dressed Thai man sitting on his equally nice motorbike who called out to us, “ Where you going, Grand Palace closed today, only Thai allowed, national day or mourning” SCAM 1. Now of course we believed him, all these people dressed in black it had to be true. Then the conversation started, where you from, have you been here before, where you going. He even added that he spent his honeymoon in Melbourne (thats after he established that we were from Sydney)

“Come with me I will show you a short cut back to ferry”. The walk down the alleyway was just long enough for him to continue the conversation and build trust. From the corner of my eye I saw him beckon with his hand to a near by Tuk Tuk. He casually suggested another temple just as the Tuk Tuk appeared and quickly organised a special price for us.. only 40 Baht.

Tuk Tuk driver with Tequila Carmel
Our friendly Tuk Tuk driver

Now that we were in the nice mans chosen Tuk Tuk he drove us to the giant 40 meter Buddha and told us to take our time, it didnt take us long as there was nothing to see there, when we got back our driver said, “I just go to toilet” and suddenly a new player arrived… SCAM 3. Another perfectly dressed Thai man with perfect English. “Hey buddy where you from?” he then went on to tell us that he was a school teacher at the school that we were conveniently parked in front of. Now this guy pulled out a number of scams. He showed us photos of him dressed in an Armani suit, and he told us he could take us to his taylor, he then went on to tell us that school finishes for 4 weeks tomorrow and all Thai people head to Chiangmai…. I wonder how he knew we where going there. He told us he could tell the driver to take us to the Thailand Tourism Visitors Centre to help us book our accommodation…. We politely declined.

Thailand Scam with Tequila Carmel
The map that the nice man circled for us

Back in the Tuk Tuk. After declining his constant badgering to go to Gem shop or Taylor, he suggested we go to the floating markets…. Great idea, YES please…SCAM 4. He showed us photos of the floating markets and the long tails, yes thats what we wanted. “ok I take you to Thai wharf so you get Thai price.” What a nice guy!!!!! He told the man at the wharf that we were good friends and give us the special Thai price. We paid him 200 baht instead of 40 suggested by the motorbike guy and he left us at the wharf. Now I had researched and knew that to take a private tour of the floating markets was going to cost roughly 3000 Baht, so when we got him down to 2000 baht we thought we had done well.


Our tour of the floating markets…. what a scam. The 1 hour tour took us to 1 lady on 1 boat that was selling trinkets. She told us that everyone has left we are to late…. at 10am in the morning. When we would not buy any of her wares she talked us into an overpriced warm can of Chang at 100baht…. not to mention the other Chang she talked us into buying for the driver, which she switched to a coke when she thought we were not looking. So after our 1 floating trinket seller we were dropped off at China Town.

So there you have it….. a snowball of scams. As we sat down to a hot bowl of Pad Thai a little later and analysed our day we had an OMG we got scammed moment, its easy to think your not being scammed or you won’t be scammed, but trust me these guys are good. Lesson learned.

EMPORIUM HOTEL BRISBANE.... Quiet as a mouse

Brisbane, like Sydney, is a regular place to visit for those doing business, a little city shopping or like us waiting an international flight. In the past we have chosen to stay smack in the centre of the CBD, but this time we ventured to inner city suburb Fortitude Valley.

Cocktails with Tequila Carmel

As soon as we arrived we hit the cocktail bar in the foyer. If you love your cocktails, this bar is for you. The margarita was something special, complete with black volcanic rock salt, dried lime and rosemary garnish, and the pink sherbet Champagne, wow.

Onto the room. Large, lots of marble, huge bathroom and my favourite….. a pillow menu. As the title of this post says, QUIET. No embarrassing noises from next door, no traffic from the motorway and no noisy trolleys heading down the hallway, just one giant king bed and a perfect nights sleep.

emporium-poolThe roof top pool is an added plus, and felt like our own personal sanctuary, the day beds pool side are perfect for a book, glass of bubbles and some “you” time.

Fortitude Valley is located a quick 9 minutes from the CBD, and the hotel itself is at the centre of a luxury square of pumping restaurants,bars and brands, but don’t let that put you off, Guzman and Gomez is an awesome budget choice and its right next door. Or as we did, order room service, it arrived in 30 minutes, piping hot and was delicious.

We only stayed one night, and was most definitely worth the $275. this hotel gets a solid 10/10 from us.



An hours drive from Miami Florida on the overseas highway towards Key West, the Southernmost city in America, lies the small Island town of Islamorada. We first stumbled upon Islamorada while heading to Key West to experience some Hemingway / Buffett history, but stopped at Islamorada as we were fascinated by all the Tiki Bars dotted along the sand, and lets face it, there’s nothing better than feeling the sand between your toes, sipping a Rum cocktail from a coconut, while listening to the Beach Boys in the background (Kokomo moment).

Tiki Bar Islamorada

We checked into the Postcards Inn and headed straight to the Rum Runner, a Tiki inspired Tree House looking out over the blue ocean. We sat in one of the top decks sipping on local beer, and felt it appropriate to carve our names in the tree to hopefully one day come back to.


Rum Runner Islamorada

The Postcards Inn is a 3 story open style hotel with its own beach, marina, waterfront restaurant, swimming pool and bar and Tiki Bar.

Postcards Inn restaurant

Postcards Inn Firepit

We held up the bar one night and encouraged all to join us at the fire pit where we shared stories, bottles of Tequila and Moonshine and a few karaoke hits including John Denver’s “Take me home country roads” for the West Virginians, and Men at Works “Down Under” for us Aussies. It’s amazing how travel brings strangers together, releasing inhibitions in a unifying bond that does not discriminate or judge.

Fire pit, Karaoke and Tequila

Just over the bridge from our hotel was Robbie’s Marina where we went for a suggested “hangover” breakfast at the Hungry Tarpon, little did we know what was in store for us. The Hungry Tarpon is an unassuming Caribbean inspired, open aired cafe bar, situated at Robbie’s Marina. Our table was right on the waters edge with amazing views, and as we ate our Huevos Rancheros and Lobster Frittata, we noticed quite a commotion down by the water on the marina. Washing our breakfast down with Cuban coffee we headed over to investigate.

The Hungry Tarpon Restaurant

Robbie’s Marina

Walking through the bait and tackle shop we were stopped and charged $1 to enter the dock and sold a $3 bucket of dead fish and warned not to let the pesky Pelicans snatch them from our hands. I think the Pelicans were the least of our worries.

Pelican at Robbies Marina

Pelicans on the wharf

By the time we got to the end of the dock there was only one other couple there who mentioned we should lie down on the dock and dangle the fish over the side to hand feed the Tarpons. You have to watch the video below to get the full picture, but WOW what a buzz. These fish were huge. Ron held his dead fish out and teased the Tarpon a little, and suddenly out of know where a 6 foot Tarpon propelled out of the water taking the smelly fish and half of Ron’s arm with it. Injuries aside we repeated this for the next couple of hours, and before we knew it Ron had quite an audience of onlookers cheering for the Aussies.

Tarpon in Florida Keys

Tarpon takes hold of hand

hand bitten by tarpon

The Pelicans are annoying, and can cause some serious damage if they catch your hand when stealing a fish. As it turns out the Tarpon, who’s teeth are a bit like sandpaper, carry harmful bacteria in their mouth. Ron required some heavy duty antibiotics and still carries a scar where the bacteria ate away at his hand.

Robbie and his wife Mona have been feeding the Tarpon at the marina since 1976 and locals and tourist have flocked there ever since to continue the tradition.

I highly recommend a weekend at Postcards Islamorada with a visit to Robbie’s Marina, feeding the massive Tarpon is certainly unique, and at $4.00 for entry and feed, well within the budget. It’s sure to be a trip you will never forget.


Recent Posts


Almost every city in the world has their own version of haunted houses, cemeteries, hospitals, streets. So on our latest trip to the US, we decided to check out a few of America’s “most” haunted. Starting in San Francisco, here is our road trip ….. A journey through Haunted California.

Journey through haunted California



What better place to hit the road on our Ghostly adventure than San Francisco’s infamous Alcatraz. Alcatraz Island and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary have been named as one of the most haunted places in America. Now this is a little hard to believe when you board the ferry from pier 33, with 500 other eager tourists who have each paid their $33 for the thrill, only to follow each other through the spooky corridors and tiny cells wearing headphones listening to the running commentary…. we decided to take the night tour for that little added extra spook.

Alcatraz from San Francisco

Ferry to Alcatraz

The moment we stepped off the Alcatraz ferry it felt eerie. Looking up the steep winding path, dark gloomy windows awaited us, accompanied by the almost deafening sounds of the 5000 nesting birds that hold residence on the island, and the overpowering pungent smell from the birds. We felt like we were on a movie set, it was hard to imagine that for some 30 years it housed some Americas most notorious criminals including Al “Scarface” Capone and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.

Al Capone Alcatraz

Alcatraz spooky windows

Alcatraz view of San Francisco

We gathered our headsets, and began our self guided tour through Alcatraz penitentiary. Its a fascinating place full of history, but we were more interested in the tales of those that still lurk in the shadows of the cold hallways. Alcatraz has often be called a “portal” to another dimension. Now if you allowed yourself to believe this, then it would be easy to assume that every cold breeze you felt on your back was the energy of one of the souls that came to this place and never left.

Alcatraz yard

The further we ventured into the prison the greater the sense of evil became (remember I am completely giving into it). The native Indians who first inhabited the island believed that evil was present, and as punishment some would be left alone to fight off the evil spirits sending them mad.

Alcatraz guard block

Many prison guards and some tourists have reported sightings of a women screaming and moaning in the hallways, or a man in a suit that would appear, followed by the smell of smoke.

Alcatraz cell

As we headed towards the notorious Alcatraz D Block, the most haunted area of the prison, I started to have visions of performing an exorcism on Ron to rid him of ancient Indian spirits picked up while on the tour. D Block was the isolation wing, and the place where most inmates met there often gruesome end. It was as promised, a cold, ugly, spooky place.

Alcatraz Cell Block

We spent about 2 hours exploring Alcatraz Island. My advice is firstly take the night tour, and secondly, completely give into it, the anxiety you build inside adds to the overall experience. Our rating on the spook-a-meter…. 6 out of 10.



Winchester house

Next stop Winchester House, San Jose California. Born in 1840, Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Winchester, owner of the famous Winchester Rifle company. Sarah Winchester was plagued by death, her child in 1866 and her husband in 1881 from Tuberculosis. After a deep depression Sarah consulted a physic who told her that her family and fortune was haunted by the spirits of all those killed by Winchester rifles. The physic said that she needed to move to California, build the spirits a grand house, and as long as construction never ceased, she would have eternal life. And so it began. The Winchester mansion started out as an 8 room house in the Santa Clara Valley and become the 161 acre, 8 story, 160 rooms, 2000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and 6 kitchens that it is today.

Winchester house ariel view

I am text blAfter Sarah’s death the house opened to the public in 1923, and various stories have since emerged of the resident ghosts that reside in the house. On walking through Winchester Mystery House as it is now known, it soon becomes evident that Sarah Winchester truly believed the house she was building did house all victims of the Winchester Riffle. Apparently she built the house with the intent to confuse the ghosts. She would never sleep in the same bed twice in a row, there are stairways that lead to nowhere, secret hidden doors and rooms, trick windows,and secret passageways hidden behind walls.ock. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Winchester House stairs to nowhere

There have been many spirit sightings, lights turning themselves on, and the often smell of chicken soup that comes from one of the kitchens that has not been visited for years.

So did we see or feel a spirit… the honest answer is no, but what a fascinating place to visit, just the sheer magnitude of Winchester House is enough to kick your imagination into gear. A great place to visit, not sure if I would like to spend a night, but so worth a visit. We took the Grand Estate Tour at $44, which also included access to the basement and many of the outer buildings.
Our rating on the spook-a-meter…. 4 out of 10



Ill start by saying that this part of our road trip really lived up to its haunted past. Our rating on the spook-a-meter peaked at 10 out of 10. So what happened….

Ojai Valley California

We arrived at a notoriously spooky area of Creek Road Ojai at around 2pm, we drove up and down a little to take in the beautiful valley scenery before heading off to find accommodation for the night. When we checked into the motel in downtown Ojai, and asked about the legends of Creek Road, John our host, recommended that we stay away, or at least pay for our accommodation up front in case we did not return…great start.

Ghostly legends of Creek Road range from a fiery Char-Man, European Vampire, Bloodied Bride and a bus load of children that crashed under the bridge. Sightings are regular and each person we spoke to had a different story of personal experience.

Creek Road Ojai haunted bridge

We were told of a particular spot on the bridge that had the most sightings, so after dinner at 9.25pm, with much trepidation on my behalf, we headed straight back to Creek Road. On arrival we pulled over just before the bridge. We watched as a couple of cars slowly drove by, and a tourist bus that hovered around for a few minutes, then we were on our own.

Legend has it that Char Man becomes pissed off if a car parks on the bridge at night and challenges him, so that’s just what we did. Parked just before the bridge, I stayed in the car (chicken) and Ron got out and walked to the middle of the bridge guided only by the headlights from the car and sat down. As a joke I thought it would be funny to turn the headlights off, well……. I think I scared myself half to death, it was pitch black dark, and all I heard was Ron yelling….. what had I done. When my shaking fingers got the headlights back on (felt like forever), Ron was running at top speed towards the car and jumped in yelling a few choice words. I vaguely recall myself begin to yell, “hurry hurry start the car go go go”…. and off we went, all limbs in place.

Ron said that when I turned the lights off he felt a very cold shiver run down his back. Now that’s probably just what it was, a cold breeze, but add it to all the other elements going on at that time, along with the many crazy stories we heard that night and our Creek Road experience definitely tops as our most ghostly.


Queen Mary Long Beach California

Number 4 on our haunted list was the retired ocean liner permanently docked at Long Beach, The Queen Mary. Now I’m not sure if we were just more spooked now due to our experience on Creek Road, but I truly believe that the Queen Mary is without a doubt a haunted ship, where the dead may not always rest in peace. The Queen Mary is now a restored hotel with several restaurants and a ship museum. She made her maiden voyage in 1936, and had 31 years to gather the hoard of spooks that many say roam the hallways, the first class swimming pool and inhabit room B340. To get us in the mood prior to boarding for our 2 night stay, we watched the following video….. probably not such a good idea.

Now as Im sure you can imagine, that video freaked me out. I spent much of the two days asking staff members and other passengers if they had had any encounters, but I got most of my answers during our ghost tour on the second evening.

The Queen Mary has a lot of recorded history as far as death goes. In total there are 49 recorded deaths (16 crew and 31 passengers) and that does not include 331 sailors that perished in 1942 when she collided with the Curacoa, causing it to sink and taking the sailors to there watery grave.

It is widely believed that the ghosts of the dead cannot escape the Queen Mary as they are enclosed by so much steel that it keeps them trapped inside. There are a few areas of the ship that have been reported as “most haunted”.

Queen Mary at night

The Bow area is the part of the ship that struck the doomed “Curacoa”. It has been reported that engineers aboard have heard noises that sound like the hull being ripped apart followed by the sounds of men screaming.

Watertight Door 13, where a man was locked in by a bunch of sailors and was crushed to death, is said to be haunted by the said man who paces the hallway just outside the door.

Queen Mary long hall

Cabin B340, where a lady was murdered. Prior to the cabin being closed, passengers reported being woken during the night by a voice saying “get out”, or the bed sheet being torn from the bed. The cabin has since been reopened, but only for the purpose of visiting during the ghost tours.

Cabin B340 Queen Mary

The First class swimming pool. Two drownings occurred here, one a young child named Jackie and another women. Jackie can often be heard singing and giggling and apparently will often perform for visiting guests. During this part of the tour unfortunately Jackie must have been sleeping, nether the less, the whole area creeped me out.

The Changing rooms. This is one of the most haunted areas in the ship, and from personal experience, gains a 9/10 on our spook a meter. Having already watched the You Tube video of the girl hiding in one of the rooms, we were not surprised to hear that a young women, Sara, was brutally murdered here. The hairs on the back on my neck stood on end, and I really could not wait to get out of there. The lady that was conducting the tour said that she had witnessed shadows crossing the halls, and faint crying from inside the change rooms. It was dark, it was creepy and I was scared.

Queen Mary

Overall our experience on board the ship was amazing and I am glad that we did it. A bunch of tourist did get stuck in the lift for 2 hours while we were there, and many joked that the spirits were playing games….. who knows. As I mentioned before, our experience on board the Queen Mary definitely gains a solid 9/10 on our spook-a-meter.




Firstly I would like to comment that this landmark hotel, this beach and this area of the Californian coast, truly is a magical place. As you step onto the beach the first thing you notice is that the beach sparkles….. literally. Due to the tiny flecks of pyrite that have been washed down the Tijuana River from the neighbouring Mexican mountains, the sands is ablaze with millions of tiny glitter flecks that love to stick to your skin. For this reason Coronado beach has been voted as Americas most beautiful beach. So far not so spooky, but we had yet to check into our very expensive hotel, Hotel Del Coronado.

Hotel Del Coronado

The Hotel Del Coronado was built in 1888 and was considered an architectural masterpiece. With a guest list including Marilyn Monroe ….. It was and still is frequented by the worlds rich and famous, and if you have a few hundred spare dollars, you to can stay at The Del, starting at around $350 per night, it certainly is a special occasion place, but one that we were keen to visit.

On arrival we quizzed the reception staff about its so called resident Ghost “Kate Morgan”.  We were told that she is most definitely real and has been seen, heard and felt by many of the hotel guests and staff. The most haunted part of the hotel is a section on the third floor, and house keeping now work in pairs when cleaning that are of The Del. With a slight smirk on her face, the receptionist informed us that room 3327, Kate Morgans room, was actually vacant that night, we could book if we liked but could not swap once we took it. Well unfortunately my nerves got the better of me and we decided that at $420 for the night, we would not to stay in room 3327.  Later that evening we went for a walk to that area of the hotel and meet a young couple who obviously had better nerves than we did as they had booked the room, after a few laughs we arranged to meet them for breakfast the following morning to discuss their experience.

Room 3327 Hotel Del Coronado

At breakfast Adam and Lola told us their evening was basically uneventful. They did however have someone knock at the door of their room at around 3am and found no one to be on the other side. This happened twice and apparently they were told by security that they cannot control when Kate comes a knocking….

So apart from the history and spectacular beauty of this hotel, it did not rate on our spook-a-meter.  Perhaps it will on yours.

At the end of our self guided ghostly tour of California, I can honestly say that although we had an amazing journey, and the road trip itself was as exciting as the 5 locations visited, I am not sure that I am anymore the believer of ghosts than I was at the beginning of the trip. It was however an unbelievable road trip and one that you must take, you never know you may just have a story to tell yourself.


Cozumel Island is our happy place. The tiny Mexican island is located an easy one hour drive from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen, followed by a one hour ferry ride across to the quaint island of Cozumel. Ferries run each hour at the cost of approx. $10.50 USD.

Once arriving in Cozumel you will disembark in downtown San Miguel and will instantly be bombarded by spruikers wanting to sign you up for tours, bike hire and beach clubs. We opted to walk straight past and turn right, which is when we came across Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and we are so glad that we did, it turned out to be the highlight of our trip to the island.

I’m sure many would be wondering how we could be calling this a highlight as Margaritaville is often referred to as very commercial, noisy, full of kids with average food, but Cozumel was soooo different. As you walk into the restaurant the first thing you notice is the island feel, the massive deck out back, and the beautiful blue/green Caribbean Sea.

We headed out back and grabbed a table right next to the ocean, After ordering our Nachos and Margaritas we did what anyone else would do, and jumped off the balcony straight into the Water.

They have massive blow up obstacle courses, and as we were the only ones around we took advantage and behaved like a couple of teenage kids. The waiter even allowed us to have our drinks while lying on the floaties.

When our lunch was ready the waiter waived us down and had a towel waiting when we swam back in, such personalised attention was great. The Volcano Nachos were huge, the Margarita’s awesome and Jimmy Buffet was playing in the background.

As the lunch crowd started to arrive, with a couple of drinks already under our belt, we soon made friends and salsa danced the afternoon away. A great place to go and really let your hair down and enjoy life.

Not wanting to head back to Playa Del Carmen that night, ventured down the street of Cozumel and found a little 2 star Hotel called Agave Azul. It wasn’t the Ritz, but hey all we needed was a bed for the night so we could keep exploring our newly found Island.

This was a great adventure, and the Island really comes alive at night. Tequila, beer and Mexico….. good times.


Nothing speaks romance, art and culture more than the picturesque Californian Sea side town of Carmel-By-The-Sea. Rated a top 10 destination in the US, the small town of Carmel is located on California’s Monterey Peninsular, a short 2 hour drive from San Francisco along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway. Half the fun of visiting Carmel-By-The-Sea is getting there.

Mission Ranch Hotel Carmel California

If leaving from San Francisco, leave early as there is a lot to see on the way. Heading Southwest on the Cabrillo Highway will take you along the Coast road to what should be your first stop, Half Moon Bay.

Mavericks California

Half Moon Bay is an easy 45 min coastal drive from San Francisco. There are lots of scenic viewpoints to stop at along the way, but the reason most people flock to Half Moon Bay is for the famous Surf spot Mavericks, where the waves routinely crest at between 8 and 18m high.

surfing Mavericks

Getting a look at the big waves is not an easy task as you need to take an uneasy walk around the cliff edge. We did this during massive winds which proved too difficult and had to turn back.

The walk to view Mavericks

Leaving Half Moon Bay, next stop Santa Cruz where you can opt to visit the Natural Bridges State Park or the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for some old fashioned fun. Ride the historic 92 year old wooden roller coaster and grab your authentic Santa Cruz singlet.

Santa Cruz Roller Coaster

This is a good spot to stop for lunch. We visited Aldo’s Harbour Restaurant and had amazing Clam Chowder in Bread Rolls.

Clam Chowder

Just short of reaching Carmel you have a choice to continue along the highway or take the 17 Mile Drive, a winding road that leads through exclusive neighbourhoods and magnificent coastal views to the beautiful Pebble Beach. Exit the scenic drive at the Carmel Gate and you have made it to the quaint little town of Carmel with beautiful fairy-tale cottages, arty tea houses, boutique shops and plenty of BnB’s to choose from. Our choice, the luxurious Mission Ranch.

The Mission Ranch was saved by Clint Eastwood and restored to its original beauty. A stay at the Ranch is an unforgettable, and expensive, experience. We took cover there during a fierce storm but was comforted by the open fire place, spa bath and comfortable California King bed. In the morning, after the storm passed, we were able to truly appreciate the magic of our surrounds. The grazing sheep and roaming deer amongst the cottages, and the smell of the ocean greeted us on our walk to the barn for breakfast.

The Mission Ranch, is in itself a bucket list destination. We give it a 9/10.

The Sitting area at The Mission Ranch


Tequila seems to be “That Drink” the one that haunts our memory with visions of  “lick sip suck” , excessive Margaritas and one too many shots.  Sounds like you? Well its time to give Tequila another chance and check out its origins in old Tequila Town Jalisco Mexico.

Since my early teens I have always had a fascination for Mexico, Tacos, Tequila, skulls, Margaritas, Mariachi and basically all things Mexico. In fact my first ever job at the age of 16 was at a restaurant on the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia called Nachos.

Chichen Itza El Castillo

Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors

When we opened our first Mexican Restaurant in Freshwater Sydney, we had a customer named Jacob, a young twenty something man with Mexican Day of the Dead tattoo art covering an entire arm, who entertained us with some amazing stories from his solo travels in Mexico.

Jacob introduced us to a cocktail called the Paloma, muddled limes and Tequila topped with a grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos Toronja. Not only was it delicious but it came with one of his stories, followed by our very own adventure.

The Paloma is Mexico’s most popular cocktail, no its not the Margarita as us westerners are lead to believe, and it was invented by Don Javier Delgado Corona at La Capilla Bar in Tequila Town Jalisco Mexico.

Don Javier Delgado Corona

Paloma Cocktail

We learnt from our young good looking tattooed man, that Don Javier was a third generation owner of the bar and was now in his late 80’s. When he started mixing drinks behind the bar more than 65 years ago, he had a taste for bitter grapefruit, so what better way to drink for a young Mexican boy, than with Tequila, lime and salt. And so the Paloma was invented. To this day he is still stirring the drink with an old wooden handled butter knife that he was given by his father as a boy.

Don Javier using his Wooden handled knife

Jacob had been to the bar many times, and told stories of his wonderful hospitality, rickety bar stools and the unassuming quaintness of this little bar La Capilla, which is rated in the worlds top 50 bars, and on the bucket list of many cocktail connoisseurs. That was it we were sold, this bar was added close to the top our own bucket list.

In 2012, we planned an entire holiday around visiting La Capilla. We traveled 12439 km, flying from Port Macquarie to Sydney, Sydney to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Guadalajara Mexico. From there we waited out a Hurricane, before taking a private car and driver for the 2 hour drive to Tequila Town.

We soon found out that this drive was called the Tequila Trail as it has some of the worlds most recognisable Tequila distilleries dotted along its path. There is even a party train called the Tequila Express, where mariachi bands keep passengers entertained as they stop at a number of Tequila Distilleries on the way to Tequila Town. Unfortunately due to the Hurricane the train was not operating this day, but our private tour enabled us to have more freedom. We stopped at a street side stall and had our first and best Tamale, and visited Casa Herradura, one of Mexico’s most historic and renowned Tequila producers, on the premises of a 19th century Hacienda, an absolute must for anyone doing this trip.

Casa Herradura

Casa Herradura

Casa Herradura

Back on the dusty road again, we travelled another 10 minutes through a rolling sea of Blue Agaves, before we hit the edge of town.

Sea of Blue Agave

Blue Agave

My first thoughts were of an old cowboy town from one of the many westerns I had watched as a child. As our driver drove up and down the tiny streets, our lungs were filled with strong scents of corn, burning wood and BBQ meats. Kids played in the streets, and as clichéd as it sounds, wore beautiful bright coloured Mexican clothing.

Cute kids in Mexico

Our driver pulled the car over to ask for directions to La Capilla, and after a couple of minutes of Spanish banter, he turned to us with a look of pure defeat on his face, and in broken English said “La Capilla is closed on Mondays” …….. It was Monday.

La Capilla closed on Monday

So unfortunately I cannot speak of experience as to that little Tequila Joint know as La Capilla, or of Mr Don Javier Delgado Corona, or why it is rated in the top 50 bars in the world, but what I can say, is do your research carefully and ensure that if you are going to trek thousands of miles to a destination, that it is in fact open. Do add Tequila Town to your bucket list as half the adventure is getting there.

On the Road to Tequila Town


Spending 4 days in Singapore was just the right amount of time to explore the City.

Singapore by day

We arrived from Sydney Australia at 10pm and had pre-booked a night at the Airport Crowne Plaza using rewards points. Well it was definitely worth it. What a great way to start our holiday, with a soundproof room, a gorgeously comfortable bed, and even a soft lavender room spray to help you relax, which it did!!! Check out was at 12 noon and with breakfast included, nothing is rushed, although we were very excited to get a start so we left early.

Watching a plane land from hotel

Singapore can be very expensive, but the first Taxi driver we had gave us some great advise….. get out of the city. Singapore has been rated as the 6th most expensive city in the world, but manage Singapore well & it won’t cost you the Earth. Of course the City Centre is very expensive, with a Tiger Beer costing $15 to $20 and cocktails $17 to $35. The Currency rate is virtually $ for $.

We quickly discovered that supermarket’s don’t exist here, well not around the city centre anyway. They are called “The Market Place” which would be very similar to Thomas Dux in Australia or Bristol Farms in America. Beer is slightly cheaper here if you wish to take away, but still out does any price I have ever paid for one back home.

When it came time to eat, we spent some big bucks around our immediate area, but the best we had was when we stumbled upon some little side streets that had rows of empty eateries and then one that was overflowing with people, that’s where we went. We found some amazing places by using this rule and had some fantastic meals that were cooked fresh right in front of us. I got hooked on home made curry puffs (certainly nothing like curry Puffs in Australia), we had a very messy and truly delicious Singapore Chilli crab (number 8 on my bucket list) at Greg’s cafe which cost $45 for the two of us, washed down with an expensive tiger beer $15 each.

curry puffs

Singapore Chilli Crab

At every street corner in Singapore is a shopping Centre, BIG shopping centres… Our local was the Raffles shopping centre, which had an array of gourmet eateries, chocolate shops & gorgeous cupcake shops, my favourite was “The toast box” the decor was as fantastic as the sweet food they served, definitely a few kilos gained here.

Marina Bay Sands, Marina bay Shopping Centre & Marina Bay Gardens were all nothing short of spectacular. Unfortunately you must be a guest to visit the infinity pool & bar. But for $28 we went to the top lookout & Bar, with a beer at a very reasonable (hear the sarcasm) $20 a beer, it is expensive but to be honest, it’s worth it, “when in Singapore right!!!” Just to sit and see all of this magnificent city at sunset was most definitely a highlight.

view from Marina Bay

Singapore Gardens

The shopping centres themselves consists of every designer shop there is, with matching Children’s designer shops – Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton and it goes on and on. The food court does not disappoint either, with an ice skating rink in the middle.

One of our favourite places to visit was Chinatown. As you find your way through the warren of alleyways you will find plenty to keep you occupied, Herbal Chinese medicine, eateries, souvenirs, beautiful buildings, music…. you name it. And a great place to try some authentic Asian street food.


We stayed at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel and had a room that looked directly across to Marina Bay Sands. Actually the design of the room allowed you to even sit on the toilet and appreciate the view. We got refused entry to the roof top cocktail Bar, not because we had partied to much but because we were not dressed properly. So we got dressed up the next night and got in.

View from our room with a Singapore Sling

night view from our room

Taxi’s are surprisingly cheap in Singapore. The Airport to City Hall was $15 and about 30 minutes, and City Hall to Sentosa Island $10 + $5 entry toll. I highly recommend taking a Taxi to Sentosa, as it takes 10 minutes by Taxi and 1hr by public transport. Once your on Sentosa Island, there is a free Shuttle service that takes you to every attraction there is on the Island.

Sentosa is absolutely not to be missed, it may even be worth staying a couple of nights as there is no shortage of things to do. Take your $$$ when you go out and about in Sentosa as this will be the most expensive part of your stay in Singapore.

Zip line Sentosa

We ventured to adventure world, did rock climbing, went on the 500m long zip line, rode the numerous water slides, snorkelled on a reef full of beautiful fish and my favourite of all Adventure River where we rode a tube down a river through jungles, grottos and tunnels and encountered lots of marine life long the way.

Adventure Cove Sentosa

Now if you are cashed up you could choose to stay at one of the resort hotels around the Sentosa resort. My pick would be the Beach Villas Ocean Suites, the rooms have windows that look out onto the worlds largest ocean aquarium and charge you well for the privilege.

Ocean Beach Villas Sentosa

The Marina Bay gardens were truly incredible and immaculate, you can wonder the gardens for free or pay $8 to walk up to the sky bridge which we did and appreciated.

Marina Bay Sky Walk

The hop on hop off bus tours, although very touristy were worth the $43 per person, yes it’s expensive but again, worth it. Very informative and a great way to get your bearings and being able to hop off anywhere is a great way to get around.

NOW… The trick to beating the crowds is so simple. Go early, preferably at opening time. This is what we did, and we got to appreciate all activities without waiting at all. Apparently the busiest time to go anywhere is after 4pm where you may wait an hour to go on one ride. This is the same with markets, although Singapore does comes to life of an evening when it’s cooler so for market and street food experiences head out after dark.

Raffles Singapore Sling

Overall – I absolutely loved Singapore and felt safe the entire time. Four days enabled us total things slowly and really enjoy Singapore’s City centre. Next time we will head out of the city and hit the outer areas.

Essential to bring with you

Curash (for chafing), its hot and sweaty and lots of walking.
Insect repellent, not that we encountered any mosquitos at all, but with the latest warnings on the Zika Virus it is better to be safe.
Pocket tissues, theres no serviettes anywhere, so ordering spicy food, your nose will run like a tap.
Wet ones – to wipe the curry stains from your mouth!!!
Dressy outfit, you WILL be refused entry of an evening if you are not dressed appropriately.

So thats it, our 4 days in Singapore, it was expensive in comparison to the rest of Asia, but choose carefully and get local and it should help the funds a little.