Archive for ◊ February, 2009 ◊

28 Feb 2009 Road Trip
 |  Category: Australia, Our Trip  | Leave a Comment

After breakfast in Bondi we set off on our drive up the coast.  Let me tell you…it was quite an adventure driving on the left side of the road for the first time.  Every time we switched lanes we would turn on the windshield wipers when we meant to use the turn signals…they are located on the opposite side of the steering wheel here.  It took us a while to get the hang of it and we cracked ourselves up every time we did it.

When I lived in Bondi Beach about 5 years ago, I went on a road trip with my friend Joel Olenik, who was visiting from California.  On the road trip we stayed with some of Joel’s friends, Shano & Pete, in Crescent Head.  I fell in love with this beautiful little beach side town and had so much fun with Shano and Pete.  So a week before Rana and I left for Australia, I emailed Shano and told him of our upcoming visit.  He responded that unfortunately he would be in Hawaii, but that we were more than welcome to stay at his home in Crescent Head.  I got so busy before we left that I didn’t respond until I got to Sydney, but Crescent Head is such a small town (population of 1,200) that I figured I could find the house again and hopefully someone would be there, and if not then we could just keep driving to the Gold Coast to Rana’s apartment.  But as luck would have it I found the house, so I peeked my head in and there was Pete sitting on the couch!  He gave me a big hug and told us to make ourselves at home…funny how things always tend to work out! :)  

After going for a walk along the cliffs and watching a beautiful sunset over the hills, we went to dinner at the only restaurant in town that’s open after 8pm and had one of the best meals that I’ve had in a long time and washed it down with several Toohey’s New (a good Australian beer).

28 Feb 2009 The Best Breakfast Burrito
 |  Category: Australia, Our Trip  | Leave a Comment

Since I had lived in Sydney for 3 months, I wasn’t too bummed that I only had 1 night and 1 1/2 days there.  I told Rana that as long as I could go get a breakfast burrito from from the Paris Cafe in Bondi Beach, I would be a very happy girl.  The burritos there are so good!  I use to eat them after working all night at the door of a night club, then I would go home and go to sleep after breakfast.  The ingredients are: eggs, kidney beans, avocado, white cheese, cooked tomato’s, sour cream and a salad on the side of mixed greens, red onions, tomato’s, cucumber and a vinaigrette.

27 Feb 2009 Our Night Out in Sydney
 |  Category: Australia, Our Trip  | One Comment

We went to a huge club called The Ivy.  It had several different rooms and bars on many levels…but our favorite one was the roof top pool bar, “Marco Polo”, because you could dance in the water.  They even had changing rooms and showers for anyone who wanted to dance in their swim suit.  Then we ended the night at a very posh place called McDonalds.

27 Feb 2009 Together Again
 |  Category: Australia, Our Trip  | One Comment
Our 1st Day in Sydney

Our 1st Day in Sydney

27 Feb 2009 Thank Goodness for Ambien!!!
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Well I must say I had an absolutely lovely flight to Australia!  It definitely helped that I wasn’t sick anymore too.  My Dad says that I have good travel karma because I usually get pretty lucky when traveling…and he’s right because I was on an almost full flight but I was able to get an aisle seat with two empty seats next to me.  About 20 minutes into the flight, the guy on the other side of the two empty seats leaned over and asked me if I would make a deal with him.  He wanted to lay down across the 3 seats and sleep for awhile and then switch off again with me later.  It sounded like a good plan to me so I agreed.  He took the first shift, which was perfect  because I happily ate the delicious dinner I picked up at the airport and watched 2 movies.  Then when it was my turn I took my Ambien, put my earplugs in, got out my neck pillow and silky down pillow, put my cover over my eyes and then sprawled out over the 3 seats and slept peacefully for the following 8 hours!  I woke up feeling totally rested and revived with only two more hours of the flight to go!  It couldn’t have worked out any better! 

A few flying tips: It’s very important to drink a lot of water so you don’t get dehydrated.  I got up a few times and walked up to the flight attendant station and helped myself to a couple of glasses of water.  Also, its important to stretch and move your fee so you don’t get a blood clot.  And it never hurts to bring the following: ear plugs, neck pillow, eye cover and of course, for the red eye flights…a good sleeping pill!

25 Feb 2009 The World Will Have To Wait…A Few More Days…
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Unfortunately, because I got the stomach flew I had to fly out to Australia a couple of days after Rana.    She had to leave as scheduled because her Mom was waiting for us in Sydney.  But there was no way I was going to get a 14 hour flight with the stomach flu…one time I flew from LA to Miami throwing up the whole way and I wanted to die!  I’m so glad I made the decision to wait.  It’s way better flying when you’re a 100% and with the around the world ticket through Star Alliance you can change your flight date and time at no charge as long as there’s room on the flight and you still go to the same city.  I love having that flexibility!

23 Feb 2009 Oh so lonely…
 |  Category: Our Trip  | One Comment

What a whirlwind of a day!  We had our going away party/fundraiser last night…it went by so fast, I feel like I barely had time to talk to everyone I wanted to say hello, thank you and goodbye to…which also meant I barely had time to drink a cocktail so at least I woke up feeling fresh & clear this morning.  Good thing, since I had so many last minute errands to do!  To top it all off I sold my car at noon today! How’s that for timing? I think I managed to do everything that absolutely had to be done…luckily I have the most amazing grandparents which were kind enough to finish the last minute things (a trip to the post office, depositing money in the bank, etc.) that I didn’t have time to do.  I’m now sitting at the airport about to embark on an amazing journey but I feel like something is missing.  Well for one thing Sherri is not with me.  She came down with the flu yesterday and an hour before we were supposed to leave for the airport she was still sick and throwing up, so she decided there was no way she could get on the plane tonight…luckily our around the world tickets are very flexible.   I however could not miss the flight as my mom is meeting us in Australia and she had already left the day before.  With no way to contact her and a plan to just meet at the airport in Sydney I have to make this flight!  So here I am all alone with no means of communication. No cell phone. No laptop.  And while its strangely quiet, I feel a nice calming sense of peace and twinge of excitement for the adventures to come.

xo, Rana

22 Feb 2009 Net-A-Fit: A Benefit to Save Lives

On Februrary 22nd at The CAMP in Costa Mesa, CA the night before we were set to leave on our worldwide adventure, we hosted a benefit aptly named “Net-A-Fit”, to raise awareness and money for Netting Nations, a non-profit organization that provides insecticide treated mosquito nets that prevent malaria and save lives.  The money raised at this event will buy nets that we will personally distribute to those in need in Kenya.

Net-A-Fit was a great success!   DJ Mark Moreno kept the music flowing throughout the night & The Shys rocked the house! We had a silent auction and raffle drawing with some great prizes…a Bustin Down The Door Package with a Special Limited Edition DVD, coffee table book and PT’s re-make of his 70′s single-fin surfboard courtesy of Peter Townend and a 5 day/4 night stay in Cabo courtesy of Riviera Magazine. 

Thanks so much to all our friends and family that volunteered their time to help out at the event.  We couldn’t have done it without you…Monet Quick, Kristin Chodera, Jessica Wright, Elisabeth Brilhart, Ann Marie Guyer, Kristen Barnett, Troy & Cathy Bishop, Ryan Taj, Tien Vares (lots of people want your cookie recipe!), Chris Morrow and our lovely bartenders that poured strong cocktails and kept them coming Jye Townend, Scott Capper, Tosh Townend & Nicole DeJesus.

Thanks to all the sponsors and for all the donations we received that helped raise funds for Netting Nations.  Shaheen for letting us use the space & Monet at The CAMP, Valerie at Riviera Magazine, U4rick Vodka, Rockstar, Back to Health Massage, Jessica at The Giving Club, Peter Townend (Dad) at The ActivEmpire, Loyann Townend (Mom) for her beautiful photo art, Ike Stranathan for his photos on canvas, Kimberly at Beauty Society, Monica at L-Space, Lesa at Lesa Wallace Handbags, Rebecca Dwight, Sabatinos, and Tosh Townend at WarCo.

Also a big thanks to our friends and family that helped us with the lighting and layout set-up the night before the event…Melissa Hennessee, Jennifer & Chris Schaumburg, Kristin Chodera, Irmgard (Rana’s grandma) and Eunice (Sherri’s mom).

We had such a blast!  It was so great to be seen off by all our friends and family!  We love you all and thank you for your support!  Thanks to everyone that bid on the silent auction items, bought raffle tickets and just donated money for the nets directly…check out our website in June to see photos and videos of some of the beautiful faces who all of you helped save!

For any of you who did not make it to the event, but would still like to contribute by purchasing some mosquito nets you can mail a check made out to Netting Nations to:

Netting Nations
1147 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Please add a note that you would like it to go towards the shipment of nets being sent to Rana & Sherri to distribute in Kenya.  We’ll also be getting an address in Kenya for anyone who wants to send school supplies, clothes, candy or anything else you think the kids may need.  Then when we get there we’ll hand them out for you and take pictures so you can see your items being given out and the smiles that you made happen!

Malaria has killed more human beings than all wars combined. Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.  That’s over 3,000 kids per day!  Studies have shown that per dollar spend, these nets are the most cost effective way to save a life.  Statistically speaking, for every 30 nets distributed, one life is saved  Each net costs around $5, so it is estimated that approximately $150 saves a life!

22 Feb 2009 Net-A-Fit Photos
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | Leave a Comment
20 Feb 2009 The Perfect Travel Pack
 |  Category: Pre-Trip Prep  | Leave a Comment

I have traveled all over Europe 4 times before and every time I wished that I had a travel pack that I could throw on my back when I went up stairs and then could also wheel around in airports and other flat surfaces...well I finally found the perfect travel pack at REI, just in time for my big trip.  It fits carry on, has a detachable day pack, plenty of pockets and straps and best of all...super durable wheels that glide smoothly, even over bumpy surfaces.  This perfect travel pack is called the Osprey Meridian 22".  You can also get the bigger 28" one, but it doesn't fit carry on. When I was at REI, Brad, the helpful associate, put 35lbs of weights in the pack so that I could make sure it fit right.  Funny thing is, when I got to the airport, I put my full pack on the weigh machine and it was exactly 35lbs!