sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Journey, relax, and back to work!

So a few things have changed since the last blog.  My gig in Los Cabos was cancelled by the president of Mexico so I had a bit of time to relax.  I spent several days hanging out in Mexico City with my friend Rodrigo Palm.  He was a great tour guide.  One day we went to Chapultepec Castle.  This was where the French Emperor of Mexico lived.  It reminded me very much of Versailles.  It sits on top of a big hill looking down into the city.  It was very impressive.  Photos....
  Terrace and Garden
Me on the stairs....for my quiceañera perhaps?
More Terrace
As I said throughout Puebla, I really did want to have a 15 años party, but never got around to it.  They are a really big deal in Mexico City in particular.  Here is a photo of one we saw while we were out and about.  Gave me some great ideas for a big party -- perhaps for my 35 años which is of course ages away?  Haha.
Rodrigo and I also went to the Bellas Artes to see the famed Tiffany Glass Fire curtain in the theatre.  It was absolutely amazing.  I was very impressed.  The mosaic was actually of Popo and Izta, the volcano and mountain from Puebla.  This was viewed from the Mexico City side so it did look a bit backwards to me, but it was still awesome.

Rodrigo and I spent plenty of time just walking around the city seeing things.  I particularly liked Polanco and La Condesa.  Really nice parts of Mexico.  Lovely meals, yummy gelato and a fair amount of beer & wine were shared!
Rodrigo and I at the Gelato Place
 Us in Polanco
 Juan, Rodrigo and I at the bus station just before I left
So after a lovely time seeing a bit of Mexico City, I headed back to Guadalajara to visit Karla and her husband Juan.  We spent one Sunday in Chapala which is a big lake near GDL.  Juan has a boat on the lake, but we got going a bit too late to take the boat out.  But we had a lovely dinner.  A few other Camachos joined us.
Pano of Chapala
Me, Karla and Juan on the Malecon (boardwalk)
Camacho sisters
 On the drive back, we saw this....he was one of the candidates running for governor of Jalisco!
After a bit of hanging around in Guadalajara (and several sessions of 90 minutes of Hot (really hot) Yoga), Karla and I drove to Puerto Vallarta for a few days of relaxing.  We actually went through Tequila so we saw quite a few agave plants.  They really were a bit blue! 

Several people recommended we go to Barracuda, a restaurant on the beach.  Karla knew it of course, so we had to go.  
Here we are! It was about 100 paces away from our hotel!

We went for the all inclusive option, and we didn't skimp on room service as you can see!
Here we are in our beach cabana.  It really was horrible!
Sunset in Puerto Vallarta

The Malecon in Puerto Vallarta....we shopped for a few pairs of shoes along here!

Karla and I near the pool.

One night we had a little too many all inclusive margaritas and took way too many photos underwater!  Apparently the pool closed at 7pm, but we were in it until at least 10!  Here are just a couple of the hilarity....

So after a few days of rest in PV, we headed back to Guadalajara as Karla's birthday was coming up.  We had a dinner party to plan!  We managed to get in a few more things before the birthday and before I headed on my way. 
An ice cream VW Bug in GDL

We had breakfast with Karla's sister Andrea and her mum at the golf club one morning

We went for sushi for lunch on Karla's birthday

Here I am setting the salad on the table for dinner.  We had fun decorating and planning the dinner party.
Karla, Andres, Sarah and Me

But sadly, my time in Guadalajara and Mexico had to come to an end.  I had planned to meet up with my brother Brock in New York City, spend a few days there, and then train up to Montreal for a few more days.  It was fantastic.  
Here is our apartment in the East Village, 200 Avenue A

Brock and I had to go to McSorley's which was only a few minutes walk away...
The oldest operating pub in New York (and one of the cheapest places to go I reckon!)

That night we headed to a lovely cocktail bar called Little Branch that Brock knew.  Here it is:

The next morning it was pretty rainy so we went to see the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom.  It was very sweet.  I liked it a lot.  We had both decided that the only musical we really wanted to see was The Book of Mormon - the guys from South Park's musical.  But it is sold out like crazy and any tickets you can get are way too much!  I read that you could turn up at 430pm, put your name in a random raffle ballot for 2 tickets that were drawn at 5pm.  So we arrived at 445pm and tried our luck!  Brock actually won.  They give away 22 seats each night (well sell them to you for $32/each, but considering all you could buy was over $200/ticket, it was a great deal) and we got 2 of them.  We sat in a box seat and laughed and laughed.  I highly recommend going to see it if you can.  My favourite song was called Hasa Diga Eebowai - a bit of a piss take of The Lion King's Hukuna Matata....which, apparently doesn't mean No Worries For The Rest of Your Days, but F--- You, God!  Hilarious!
 The Marquee

The Stage Door

We headed back on the subway in the pouring rain through Times Square.  It looks pretty amazing at night...even in the rain

So the next day we decided to spend the whole day in Brooklyn, especially considering we wouldn't have to go back to the lottery again!  We used our smart phones to recommend good food, watched a bit of the Eurocup on TV and walked around for ages.  Brock also got me to start using Instagram.  Since I am not on Facebook, this is actually a small compromise.  Look for me there @sarahvstheworld.  If you aren't on it, I recommend it thus far.  Pretty cool stuff.
Brock walks over the Williamsburg Bridge
A Brooklyn row of townhouses....

Brooklyn Brewery

At the Toby Estate Coffee Shop you can get a flat white and a Tim Tam....heaven

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Van...on the wall of the shop.  I had Gianduja (cocoa & hazelnut) with hot fudge

We had dinner with a friend of Brock's from college and then we had a train to catch to Montreal!  We got up early the next morning and headed to Penn Station.  The train ride was 11 hours through the Adirondacks.  Lovely.  
Here is a photo of a castle along the way...there were a few!

So on the Thursday night around 7pm, we arrived in Montreal.  My friend Melanie who worked with me in Puebla picked us up at the train station.  Upon arrival we realised we were in for a good time when she showed us our schedule of activities!  We did even more than listed here!
So the first night we had dinner at a local favourite where you can get delicious hamburgers and poutine of course.  It used to be next to a lovely waterfall, but due to expansion they moved.  But we went to the waterfall anyway.  We ate dinner and stopped at a cute ice cream place afterwards.

Brock tries Poutine - fries with cheese curds and gravy - the Canadian favourite.

So the next day was so full of activity!  Unbelievable.  Here are some photos of our amazing day:
The clock tower on the river - we climbed it.

During the's kind of like Hugo

The Montreal Skyline from the top of the tower

The new Montreal 'beach' - brand new trucked in sand and everything!

Montreal's Notre Dame

Delicious lunch at Olive & Gourmando...I had a panini of goats cheese & caramelised onions!

The USA Pavilion from the 67 World Expo

The Bourbon Punch from Baldwin's Barmacie

Did Montreal actually know we were coming?

Schwartz's Smoked Meat Sandwich - an institution!

The list of what we accomplished in one day

It actually says (highly recommend all of this if you are ever in Montreal):
  1. Breakfast at Mel's Place
  2. Walked in Old Port - Climb Tower
  3. Saw Beach and Bonsecours Market
  4. Had drinks on the roof terrace of Place d'Armes Hotel
  5. Lunch at Olive and Gourmando
  6. Shopping at Galerie Zone Orange
  7. Drove on F1 Track
  8. Saw Habitat 67 and USA Pavilion on St Helene's Island
  9. Had Whoopie Pie at Itsi Bitsi
  10. Watch England vs Sweden at Burgundy Lion
  11. Shopped downtown at St Catherine Street
  12. Enter Birk's Jewellery Store and decided not to have the macaroons!
  13. Went to Francofolie Festival
  14. Participated in protest & red square after having appetizers at Brassiere T
  15. Saw Loco Locass
  16. Had a beer at Dieu du Ciel
  17. Had a cocktail at Baldwin's Barmacie
  18. Walked down closed St Laurent Street to have Schwartz's
It actually missed out on the music video that we were in!  Ha.  But that pretty much wrapped up day 1!  So day 2 was busy as well.  We slept in a bit and then went to Pizza Napoletana for lunch.  It was delicious.  Then we headed over to the Marche Jean Talon (where amazingly we were featured in our 2nd music video) to pick up some picnic food before we headed to Olympic Park.  The Seattle Sounders were in town playing the Montreal Impact, and Brock didn't want to miss it!
Olympic Stadium - Montreal hosted in 1976

Brock and Melanie at the football stadium (not Olympic Stadium, but in the same complex)

All of us

 Brock and I in our Green Support - Seattle lost btw
 The next day we had breakfast a fabulous place where I had pancakes with red fruit compote, chocolate syrup and rice crispies!  Then we met up with some of Melanie's Portuguese friends to watch them beat the Netherlands.  There were celebrations in the street!  It was very fun.  We closed up our trip with dinner at Les Iles en Ville - a lovely seafood restaurant with fish from Iles de la Madeleine.  It was lovely.  Melanie is a great Montreal tour guide, and I am sure available for bookings! (giggle)
My Breakfast
The celebrations begin - PORT-U-GAL!
Me out of the roof of the car with my Portguese scarf - in a parade
The restaurant

So Brock and I went to the airport very early on the Monday morning.  He flew back to San Francisco where he and Amber, his fiance, have recently moved.  I flew onto London.  I am working on the Rio Handover segment in the Closing Ceremony.  I will be here for a couple of months.  Then am heading back to Australia through the US. 
London has been nice - even weather wise thus far, touch wood.  Had dinner with a whole bunch of the New Zealand team last night which was lovely.  Looking forward to seeing more of them and all of the crew who are here in London over the next few weeks. 
Much more to come I am sure.  Look after yourselves.
Lots of love from the UK!
PS Have been tracking the blog hits over the years and getting close to over 5000!  Pretty good for a mostly private blog.  I see a party looming....