teamGool’s Favourite Place In The Whole Wide World

teamGool’s Favourite Place In The Whole Wide World

“Where was the best place you visited?” This has to be the question most frequently asked of us since we landed back in London on Valentine’s Day. Inspired by this, teamGool have decided to do a round-up blog and include some awards for places and experiences that deserve to be awarded the teamGool trophy of fabulousness… Best City – nominees: – Melbourne (quirky boutiques, cool trams, great beach, better than Sydney) – Buenos Aires (tango lessons, shopping, horse-racing and gelato – like downtown NY, historic Paris, arty Barcelona and London’s lively Soho all rolled into one) – Rio (totally fabulous,…

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The bleak and the beautiful, the grim and the great

The bleak and the beautiful, the grim and the great

It’s hard to describe the way I felt at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and later at the Killing Fields just outside Phnom Phen city, Cambodia. Certainly I was incredibly sad, appalled, horrified and sickened. The hundreds of mug shots of now-dead people staring hopelessly out at us from the past were truly chilling. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot overthrew the pro-Western government of Cambodia and embarked on a process of agrarian social engineering, eliminating the middle and upper classes and forcing nearly everybody that remained into working in the rice fields. Money was abolished, as were…

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How to ride an elephant and cuddle a tiger

How to ride an elephant and cuddle a tiger

We’ve spent almost a week in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand – THE place for animal experiences. I’ve wanted to get up-close and personal with elephants for a long time and finally got the chance to do so a few days ago at Baan Chang Elephant Park. We were worried about encouraging unethical elephant camps and exploiting the animals, so we did quite a bit of research beforehand and learned that the elephants here are not made to do tricks like painting and playing football for tourists. They have either been rescued from elephant “camps”, or from owners who led them…

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Ovaltine, Horlicks and Bruce Lee

Ovaltine, Horlicks and Bruce Lee

Hong Kong is a curious city – a high-rise mixture of Chinese and Britishness that somehow works. Most of the signs and menus are in both English and Cantonese and cafes sell quintessentially English drinks like Horlicks and Ovaltine. Coffees come complete with condensed milk as standard. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to get hold of some stewed pigs trotters and chicken knuckle soup with macaroni (we stuck to the Horlicks)! On our first day in Hong Kong, we met up with my lovely, ex-boss Fiona, who is now living and working in Hong Kong and very…

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Invasion of the giant killer spiders!

Invasion of the giant killer spiders!

Yep, we’ve been in Australia – home to the most dangerous and deadly of all the creatures in the world! We met quite a few of them, thankfully behind glass, at Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World, including sharks, stingrays, spiders, snakes, crocodiles and jellyfish. However, we weren’t prepared to meet one face to face… We were staying the night in a little cabin on the Great Ocean Road near Torquay, which had no electricity (just gas) and was very cute in a Little House on the Prairie way. We were playing cards on the bed when I saw something move…

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A Puzzling Christmas in Middle Earth

A Puzzling Christmas in Middle Earth

Apologies for the delay between blogs. Both New Zealand and Australia have very limited (and expensive!) internet and wi-fi access, so although this entry has been written since just after Christmas, we’ve been unable to upload pictures and videos or to post it until now. I hope it’s worth the wait..! The Mauri (pronounced Mowdi here) story of where New Zealand came from is rather odd… Maui (a demi-god who started life as a miscarried foetus that was cared for by the sun, winds and guardian of the sea), was the youngest and most mischievous of 5 brothers. One day…

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An Ode to Valparaiso
(inspired by Pablo Neruda and the city itself)

An Ode to Valparaiso <br/>(inspired by Pablo Neruda and the city itself)

After a pretty horrific bus journey from Mendoza (10 hours, with an unexpected 4-hour, red-tape entangled border crossing), we arrived in Santiago after midnight. We managed to find a hostel that afforded us a lie-in, then left our bags at the bus station and went to explore the city. We took a turn around a craft market and a park with fountains and a castle-type look-out with great views over the city. Then we tried some coffee from the “legs” cafes, where the waitresses wear short skirts in a hangover from the time of the ultra-conservative dictatorship, when it was…

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How many times can you say “wow!” in one day..?

How many times can you say “wow!” in one day..?

Quite a few, when you’re at Iguazu falls! We visited both the Brazil and Argentinean sides and were treated to some breath-taking vistas, cute critters and beautiful waterfalls. Ise has made this video so that I don’t bore you with superlatives… According to the Guarani Indians, the story of how the falls were created goes like this: Every year the Guarani tribe would sacrifice a beautiful virgin to the Serpent God (M’Boi) who lived in the calm waters of the Iguazu river. Naipi, however, was not one of these condemned girls. She was to be married to Taruba, a great…

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Dare-devil Diego and Geronimo Gude learn to fly, then join the Circus…

Dare-devil Diego and Geronimo Gude learn to fly, then join the Circus…

After a 25 hour bus journey from Iguazu (I’m really not exaggerating!), what did I want most in the world when I arrived in Rio? How about… – an amazing apartment overlooking the beach, complete with its own hammock – a hot shower in my own bathroom with fluffy white towels – a big cuddle from one of my bestest friends who was waiting for us – a very large G&T Yep, that was pretty much the perfect start to my 30th birthday week in Rio. We quickly nick-named David “Diego” and he and I put in some long hours,…

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