5 Tips on How to Ruin your Vacation!

Its no secret why we are all going on expensive vacations around the world instead of spending our valuable free time camped up in our living room.
You could be doing something practical, maybe catch up on your backlogged tax or see the local sights?
No no no.
Clearly where we live sucks, and going far away for 2 weeks is a giant middle finger to all those suckers you grew up with that thought you’d never make a dime coz you dropped out of college and was voted most likely to become a doorman in high school.
Well eat this suckers coz us world travelers worked hard completing our never ending work at our crappy jobs until we accumulated and pushed together 100 hours of vacation time, and now its time for us to make good.
Yes we could buy a car or pay some of that crushing mortgage, but hey! Checking in on Facebook at the Great Wall of freaking China? That crap is priceless.
But before you hit that beach in Greece, or that crowded wave pool in Japan you need to make sure you consider my lovely, polished and patent pending ‘5 steps to ensure your vacation is as stressful as possible.’
Use this list to ensure you spend as much money as possible seeing as little as possible and enjoying it as much as you enjoy that job you left waiting for you in the shadows of your home world.
(Or reverse it for the opposite effect, whatever).
Every tip is tried and tested by me, and I promise stress and frustration from every one of them. Maybe even some tears, you never know, dreams do come true 😉

1. Bring those old shoes, new-fangled runners are for suckers.

We’ve all got that ratty pair of shoes you don’t need for work and aren’t formal enough for weddings, so they sit around for other things you may need them for. Maybe you use them for the odd fast food run? Maybe grocery shopping? Yep, those bad boys will be fine for trekking through the city 8 hours a day, or climbing that mountain.
Arch support and all that other foot science nonsense is for suckers who spend more than 50 bucks on their shoes, not you. You probably sprung for that spray that conserves your $10 shoes for years! So your covered.
Don’t worry, your feet and your back may survive your trip. You are planning on sleeping through the trip right? Then make sure you read the next tip!

2. Sleep as much as you can, your on vacation!

Nothing much happens before lunch time right? And once the sun sets someone is probably going to attack you. If no-one is speaking english, then they’re probably planning your death.
Other suckers are attending festivals, nighttime extravaganzas or possibly taking advantage of the hotels free locally sourced breakfast. Your far smarter, sleep 19 hours of the day and the remaining 5 will be golden!
Minus the couple hours it takes to find a coffee joint that takes your Amex. Which leads to my next point.

3. Bring your domestic credit card, what else could you need?

Anyone who doesn’t take American Express is a sucker, and doesn’t deserve your business. They probably don’t have anything you’d want either.
Sure they have markets, local handmaid products sold by simple farmers who only take cash, food unlike anything you’ve ever smelt. But think of it this way, if you get desperate you can always trek the country looking for an atm that takes your credit card, then get a cash advance at an immediate 20% interest rate. Who cares right? Money problems are home problems.
And sure if you lose that credit card then earn a unique vacation memory! Sitting in a foreign speaking bank phoning through their corporate system and begging someone in HQ to have a heart and loan you the money or you’ll have nothing for the rest of the trip.
You may screw yourself, but at least you didn’t stoop beneath planning ahead of time and getting a foreign cash card, or God forbid cash that isn’t dollars. But speaking of cash –

4. Budgeting? No, I’m here for fun!

Vacation feels different, anything is possible on vacation! And of course anything is accessible! If you took my earlier suggestions then you don’t have a travel card loaded with a budgeted amount of money, your using your credit card from home that charges you everytime it has to convert the currency plus is giving you a terrible exchange rate. But who wants to hear boring words like that on vacation!? So your spending like a CEO and his mistress and making everyone at your bank very nervous. It wont be until you get home that you check what you owe, but guys, that’s 10 party filled days away! YOLOOOOOOO!!!!!

5. Get home and talk about your vacation. Non-stop.

You’ve now been to New York, or LA, or Bali. Your now an expert on the location, and are part of an elite club of people that have been there. You know longer have to say San Fransisco, you say San Fran coz your practically a local. So make sure you give all the innocent travel virgins tons of tips on what to do there when they go. Of course be sure to chastise them first for not having been already, do they live under a rock? Most of all if anything has changed since you visited, be sure to remind them if they don’t know, it was way better when you went.
Never forget that everyone will be dying to hear about your trip long after you take it, so never be caught without tons of photo slideshows that take hours and come pre-prepared with music you personally relate to.

Well that’s my list, following it has stressed me on many occasions, each tip comes from a different trip of mine to a different place, so believe me they are well tested.

Good luck in your travels 😉
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Munchy Mondays Restaurant Review – Miss Moneypenny’s

Well here we are again, back in sunny ol’ Queensland and it’s time to eat.
Tonight I’ve decided to visit Miss Moneypenny’s on Hastings street in Noosa Heads.

Upon first glance, this restaurant seems like the freshest thing to hit Noosa since flip flops, it’s got a super funky exterior and it’s open design screams modern and super trendy.
The place is illuminated well but softly, and even the restaurant name is written above the restaurant in a clean, bright sign in a classy font that gives you the confidence to walk under it and decide everything is gonna be alright.

I came in and was seated by a waitress that sounded German, which is always a wonderful experience as Queensland is notoriously overpopulated by Australians.
We were seated and offered drinks, and this is where the good times were finished. The drinks took just under 15 minutes to arrive, which isn’t the worst time that I’ve had, but it’s not good either. Although they were prepared in cool looking glasses, and were decorated nicely with fruit pieces and tasted quite nice.

Waiting to order the food took quite a while as well, it was longer than I would have liked but I dealt with it because I was with my brother and we were enjoying our drinks and each other’s company.
However after we had eventually ordered our food, this is when the wait truly began.

The worst thing about waiting a long time for your food in Australia is that your drink isn’t replenished, once it’s finished your done unless you want to pay for it again. This is unheard of in America.
Each time we ordered food or drinks our waiter changed, this isn’t good because they can’t charm us this way and attempt to get to know us and improve our dining experience. The waiters seemed barely present, it was difficult to get their attention, and they never seemed to remember who you were.

Watching other tables I noticed the waiters seemed to lack basic waiter training as they placed people’s food down awkwardly, overlooked messes and crumbs building on people’s tables, refused to take away used dishes and God forbid they refill a glass.
The strongest observation I have of this restaurant is that it seems as if every waiter is working their first shift after being hired with no experience, simply because they have super cool accents.

After an hour the food arrived and after it did I had the pleasure of biting into the worst Hawaiian pizza I’ve ever had in my life.
I have a few weaknesses when it comes to food, and they are that at it can’t resist ordinary flavors. I love vanilla ice cream, I enjoy plain toast, and I order Hawaiian pizza. I really like Hawaiian, so much in-fact I’ve had it in 5 countries in 4 continents. (Australia, China, United States, Mexico, Bahamas) and this is the worst I’ve ever had.

It’s tomato sauce was the very definition of bland, I truly believe they used raw and unflavored tomato paste as this is the only way pizza could ever taste this way. It had as much toppings as you’d find on a generic frozen pizza, with crust as floppy as spaghetti.

It was a great burden forcing this pizza down, but honestly I did so because my brother was paying for the meal and I felt really bad being ungrateful, particularly because this horrible thing was apparently worth a small fortune. So putting on a brave face I seemed to enjoy it as to not spoil the night, but it was awful.
10 minutes into eating however, my brother confessed his rib eye steak wasn’t very good, so I was free to admit the case with mine as well. His ‘medium well’ steak had been cooked rare as rare and was bleeding everywhere, and to add insult to injury the meat had been cut to roughly the size of a golf ball. Not good.

When we’d finished as much as we could, we tracked down a waiter by getting up and finding one (by now disillusioned that one would ever visit us organically again) and paid far more money than the food was worth.

We then walked back out under the fantastic sign and beautiful entrance way, and felt somewhat tricked by what had been such a beautiful set-up.
The restaurant which I ate at in Melbourne, ‘Pacinos’ had received a bad review because it had terrible ambiance and waitstaff, but wonderful food. This restaurant ‘Miss Mineypenny’s’ had wonderful ambiance, terrible waitstaff and some of the worst food I’ve had.
So in conclusion this restaurant is awarded 2 out of 5 stars for my experience there.

Join me next week for another Munchy Mondays review! So far we’ve reviewed restaurants in Queensland and Melbourne (both in Australia.) and also a restaurant in China. Next week I’m reviewing a restaurant at sea while aboard the Disney Dream as a guest aboard the beautiful Disney ship. Until then, join me again tomorrow for an update on my Queensland adventure, as I kill time before heading to the States. See you again, real soon 😉

Munchy Mondays Restaurant Review .. 义山家族餐厅

This week we are in Shanghai China, and our restaurant of choice is a small family owned restaurant to the south of the city on Yishan Road called ‘Yishan Family Restaurant’ or ‘义山家族餐厅’.

While trying to find an ancient water town, I found myself in several towns and suburbs all through the outskirts of Shanghai. It was a fruitless journey that didn’t end in an ancient town, but did end with a charming little restaurant.
This was a beautiful place, tastefully decorated and staffed by lovely people who didn’t speak a word of English ha. When we arrived we were seated nicely and were excited to see our menus, unfortunately when we found them they didn’t feature a single word in English nor any pictures (my usual saving grace).

I then asked the mother in the family who owned the place, acting as waitress for the evening (in Mandarin) whether she spoke any English or whether we could see a menu in English, an unfortunate no in both cases. I then explained that we couldn’t read the menu and that we’d need help. She tried her best to assist us, but no amount of gesturing could do it. (I even mooed like a cow to symbolise that I’m happy to eat beef haha). She then found everyone in the family, and though her teenage daughter was taking English at school, she wasn’t yet confident to risk it all trying with us.
So our tireless waitress went out and found someone who could ask us a question she’d been trying to ask us for the past 10 minutes, “do you like spicy?” To which I was able to confidently reply in Mandarin a big resounding “no”.
Our luck then ran out once again as this was seemingly the only thing he could say in English, so he then pulled out his phone which converted Chinese to English and wrote us messages and told the waitress our answers, they involved questions like “fish heads you eat want?” and “Mushrooms you is eat?” and after a few more minutes they were satisfied they had planned a sufficient meal for us and left.

Although it seems painful, we had a lot of fun in the confusion and there was lots of laughter on both sides. Once the food was ordered I confidently asked the waitress for some tea, thankful to once again be able to speak some Mandarin that I was confident saying.
Until she brought out the pepsi, a big blow to my language confidence.
What then arrived at our table was a big metal bowl of vegetables and water, which she placed on the burner in the middle of the table and placed on the boil. As the food boiled it began to smell really amazing, and she returned with very thin slices of beef.

Now I’ve eaten this style of meal before, pretty much exclusively in Korean restaurants where you fry the meat on a burner in the middle of the table with some vegetables and eat it all on rice, but this was different.
Everything went into the pot, and we spooned it into bowls when it was ready, but it went one step further.

Our waitress over the course of the meal stopped being a random waitress and started being our mother, so we began to call her *Mom instead.
*(As I am still Australian by citizenship I’m going to spell it Mum for the rest of the post, Americans will have to be ok with that).

Mum was amazing. She turned up every minute or so and added more of our meat and vegetables over the course of the meal, and removed it whenever she felt it was ready and spooned it into our bowls.
Maybe she thought we were handicapped, or just big children because she did it for absolutely no one else in the restaurant, and she was the only waitress. But no matter how many people came she gave us no less attention, she still poked her head around corners checking on us, turned up and gave the pot a stir, and served us more food.
A couple times she put the meat in and kept it on the spoon and moved it up and down through the water, this hastened the cooking and it would be done faster but she would stay and do it until she had served us enough for the time being before leaving again.

We loved her so much we started talking about how great she was and how much we were going to miss her (in English) with her there and she had no idea, I translated that we were so grateful to her and she blushed and left. From that point on she came back every 10 seconds instead.

But eventually it came to an end, but not before a few more of her family turned up and they were laughing and chatting happily at the entrance to the restaurant. It was that point we knew, we had to go, her real family had arrived.
We paid and I told her (in my best Mandarin attempt for such a strange sentence) that she had become our Chinese mother. The woman that I had guessed was her daughter laughed quite a lot at that, and we left.

Overall the food was really delicious, nothing beats eating it straight out of the pot. The waitstaff despite the language barrier were the best I’ve ever had, right down to the guy with the translator phone. And I loved the family feel you just can’t simulate, this place gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars, a massive contrast to last weeks 2 star review ha.

So that’s the end to this weeks review, next Monday will be in Melbourne Australia one more time, and the week after that will be in Orlando Florida. Please subscribe for lots more action, and I’ll chat with you all again tomorrow, however if you wanna chat sooner leave a comment! See ya’s all real soon!

 

Munchy Mondays! Restaurant Review… Pacino’s

It’s Monday!

Monday sucks.

As a remedy for terrible Mondays I’ve decided that each Monday from now on I’m going to eat something amazing! I’m gonna eat out each Monday night at a restaurant and review it! I’m gonna do it as a part of my commitment to bringing you an experience every day from somewhere in the world.

So each week I’m gonna have dinner somewhere in the world and review it, I’ll never order the same thing twice, and at the end I’ll give it a rating our of 5 stars. Pretty standard stuff.

……………………………………………………………………………..

– Week 1 – Pacino’s Restaurant – Melbourne – Australia

I came to this restaurant with high hopes, I had frequented this restaurant quite a few times back when I lived locally so I’d hoped the experience would be better than it was.

The night began well, the seating hostess showing me where I could sit and was pleasant enough, but then it all went downhill. Seconds after sitting down a waitress brought me garlic bread by mistake, I had to explain that I hadn’t ordered it and another waiter turned up and pointed her to another table. I just chocked it up to an isolated incident and let it go, and ordered a bolognese parmigiana and vanilla thick shake with the waiter.

After waiting ten minutes or so they tried to bring me a lemon lime and bitters, I explained to the waiter (the same one who had taken my order) that I had ordered a thick shake. I reminded him that he had helped me pick the flavour, but he did didn’t remember and begrudgingly left to get the shake.

Another ten minutes and I had the shake. Though thick enough, the shake tasted sickly sweet and like cheap vanilla flavouring and low fat milk. 35 minutes after ordering, my parmigiana arrived. This was the best part of the dining experience, it tasted fantastic. It was cooked well, the bolognese was flavourful and there was plenty of cheese, plus the portion size was generous. It was served alone without a garnish or side so it looked very average, but it tasted good.

I couldn’t finish the terrible shake, but while I sat there and tried I made some observations. The guys behind me waited as long as I did for my food, except they were only waiting for a cappuccino. My biggest observation was that there was one American waitress amongst the sea of flustered under-experienced non-Americans, and she was kick-ass. She was nice, she thanked us (can you believe that stood out) and she was good to her tables and fast with them.

Why are American waitresses so much better? Does the tipping system over in the States really make all the difference? I think if Australia ever decides to make changes, this should be one of them. I would be on board for that.

So in conclusion, delicious food (minus the shake) and terrible service. I almost want to just split the difference, but then I remember that the ‘ambiance’ was literally a radio station played over the speakers that played mostly advertisements. For our first restaurant in our new Monday night tradition…

2 out of 5 stars.

Subscribe For more of the good stuff 🙂 And join me next Monday as we journey to China and discover what they have in store for us! The bar is set quite low so I’m sure it’ll be much better, until then eat well and keep happy 🙂

A Buck for a Book about Disney

Hey guys

I’ve decided that I’m going to begin testing price points for my book, see which price is best and so on. So on that note I’ve put the book on the lowest price possible, and am gauging the reaction from people that want to read it. So if ever you’ve gone onto the page ‘All the World’s a Disney Stage’ and thought about buying the book, now would be the time to do it as it is (for the moment) only 99c

It’s a short book, a little piece of writing I did about my time spent performing at Disney World, if that’s a topic that interests you then please check it out. I’ll put the description below 🙂

This book is about my life performing on the greatest stage on Earth, which is also the happiest place on Earth. Yep, we’re talking about Walt Disney World.
Do you go to Disney World just for the parades?

Do you drool watching the performers imagining that it’s you?

Do you arrive half an hour early for every show?

Do you death-glare the noise kid next to you, no matter how young or cute?

This book may be meant for you.

This book is what I wished the other “I Worked at Disney” books talked more about when I was reading them.
This one’s also not going to complain about Disney, unlike almost all of the others, because, in my opinion, Disney is awesome. And the opposite is also true; there are no unicorns and rainbows.
We do not play all day and not every day is filled with smiles. We work hard and long hours and I am stiff and sore right now reclining while writing this paragraph after a long day working.
However, the work is awesome and I love it, and anything you love to do that is constructive and gives your life value is worth the price you pay to keep it.

If your curious about performing for Disney, or are just interested in a look into the life of someone who has, this book may be for you!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IX9ILCO

Free Things and other such Madness

So my giveaway began a few hours ago horraaaaay! And already 90 people have entered! I’m so thrilled 🙂

But I think I wanna give away the ebook version aswell, except with the ebook I wanna give it away to whoever wants to have it!

By this point your definitely thinking “are you MAD? Getting people interested with the Giveaway competition then just giving it to anyone anyway?” Well you’ve got a point, granted, but there is more to it.

This weekend I’m going to make the ebook version on Amazon completely free, which will happen while the giveaway on Goodreads is still accepting entries. Does making it free on Amazon destroy the value of offering a competition on Goodreads? I don’t think so.

I need far more downloads on Amazon than what I have now to garner interest in the book, lift it out of obscurity and make it visible. So giving it to everybody who comes here and discovers this, could do that. However! People should still enter to win!

Even if people gain a free ebook version, they should still enter to win a hard copy version (coz whats better than that real paper smell?) And don’t forget those princess postcards! I don’t know about you, but I would love nothing more than a genuine princess signed postcard. Soooooooo enter, but still grab a free e-copy this weekend.

On another topic, tomorrow I’m going to the city to find a pay card that will store Chinese Yuan. Why does no card I find store the currency I want? Does no-one go to China anymore??? Huuuuh?

I’m going to China in 2 weeks and I’ve called several banks and other companies and no-one offers an international visa/mastercard that supports this currency. Everyone in the world seems to carry Hong Kong dollars, but as soon as you train just a few miles into mainland China it’s a currency chasm.

So tomorrow I need to cross that chasm.

Wish me luck! And thanks for reading 🙂