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humanist77
I FINALLY uploaded all of my photos from the trip
and here are the boy's photos

enjoy!
bunnyb
QUOTE(bunnyb @ May 11 2008, 04:48 PM) *
I'm going to Florida for three weeks in July: Kissimmee, Orlando, for weeks one and three and Sarasota the week in between. This is my visit to the States, let alone Florida, so I'm looking for the whole experience as well as theme parks (especially Disney) aplenty! Does anybody have any recommendations for things I must do/see/eat (I love restaurant recommendations)?


anybody?

great photos, humanist!

pollystyrene
Sorry, bunny....this is just my impression of Florida, especially places like Orlando- they're not exactly bastions of culinary genius. Maybe in Miami, where you get a lot of Cuban/Caribbean influence, but I think the touristy places like Orlando are pretty much chain restaurants.

I could be completely wrong- I've never actually been to Florida and until I read Dooce's posts this week, had absolutely no desire to go there. No offense to Floridians out there, but there's a reason fark.com has a "Florida" category.
auralpoison
Um, there is a reason that a stretch of upper FLA is called the "Redneck Riviera". Sarasota has it's charming moments, but it's not much better. The other places are tourist-y as hell, so if you're into that, Bunnyb, you're set.

Even though I am largely against chains, there's a good Thai place in Orlando called Thai Thani. I enjoyed it, anyway. They tried to haul me the Jimmy Buffet place, but I wasn't having it. Izziban Sushi. In Thornton Park, Dexter's has, um, to put it delicately, good mimosa specials for weekend brunch. You know what I mean. There was a book store . . . Think, I think.

My Florida is places like Coral Castle & Gibtown & the Wreck Bar, but I don't think you'll be near any of those places. They all have oddly charming stories.

ETA, a friend suggested this: http://tampa.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/index
bunnyb
Well, thanks, I think.

Us Brits like touristy crap and it is Disneyworld after all. I'm really excited and that won't be dampened.
Anyway, I was resigned to not eating that well for three weeks but thought some BUSTie knowledge and personal experience would help me out there.

zoya gave me cool, well-thought recommendations ages ago so I'll stick with those and maybe check out Izziban Sushi as looking for good sushi always.
auralpoison
Urban Think in Thornton Park, that's the bookstore. It's a kinda hipster-y neighborhood. I found some interesting boutiques there.

I'm not trying to put you off Florida, it's just an odd part of the country. America's wang, if you will. Fun can be had, food can be found, but like anyplace I go, I tend to try for off the beaten path.

That being said, the whole "Disneyworld, four parks, & a whole bunch of other crap!" experience can be a blast! It's tourist-y goodness out the wa-freakin'-zoo. I had a great time the last time I went & it wasn't just the drugs. I just want to remind you to take serious sunblock. That pale Scot skin & all . . .
pollystyrene
QUOTE(auralpoison @ Jun 19 2008, 07:58 PM) *
America's wang, if you will.


Thanks for saying it, so I didn't have to, AP! laugh.gif Ah, Florida.
beck
hi all, i saw this in the weekend paper and thought it might be useful for anyone (HT?) backpacking this summer. There is one in Lisbon in case Anna K is interested. hip hostels

A hostel might be a good half-way point between travelling completely alone and doing an organised tour, they are a great way to meet cool people to hang out with. I've got to say, living in London, I see lots of organised tours and feel sorry for the poor tourists walking in a giant line wearing matching backpacks being dragged round tourist sites, I always think I would want to escape and do my own thing. That said, I know there are fun tours of particular things, like group walks around places of particular interest, I just wouldn't want to be constrained by a tight itinerary, I prefer mooching around and drinking coffee and getting lost on my own.

I admit that I have not travelled much on my own, but i did live abroad alone for a year, so I basically spent a year working in the week, and wandering around the city at weekends. it was very empowering. What you miss out on in having company you gain in being able to go at your own pace and discover cool things that you would otherwise miss. And, there is nothing worse than travelling with people you don't get on with well, it just gets stressful, especially if they are the clingy type and not OK with splitting up now and again.

Make sure too Anna that you try the pasteis de nata, I've not (yet) been to Portugal but my part of town is very Portuguese and I can't go in the deli without buying a few. You might like this blog post
Petite Anglaise - Pasteis de Nata



anna k
Thank you so much, beck. I'm greatly looking forward to this trip, and your words about living alone and abroad makes me feel more confident. I am used to being independent, and my sister (the only companion choice I have) would be clingy and obnoxious.
beck
you're welcome! and if you live alone in NY (am i right about that?) i really can't see you'd have anything to worry about from a safety point of view in Lisbon - i imagine it would seem pretty chilled in comparison, and as long as you have a phrasebook, money and a place to stay, not much can go wrong. not that i have crime statistics to hand or anything, but i'm pretty sure Lisbon is not particularly dangerous. maybe a useful argument if your family are worried?

happy planning!
anna k
Yeah, I live in NY by myself. I've navigated my way around small parts of Boston, Charleston, and Asheville, and feel comfortable memorizing streets and maps, and wanting to add more knowledge to my head instead of being scared or intimidated by foreign things.

The travel tips that I read advise single women not to go out at night, and to watch out for pickpockets. I'm careful with my money and have street smarts, and don't feel like running around the city at night. I'm not into bars, clubs, shopping, museums, or a lot of the regular tourist landmarks. I'd rather people-watch, write, walk around, take a walking tour, ride the tram, take pictures, and just absorb it all as a new experience.
zoya
..... I'd say that 90% of the places I've been in Europe are far safer for women at night - even if you are alone - than just about anywhere in the US, as long as you're smart - take licensed taxis, walk where is populated and well lit, etc.

don't blow off museums if you go to Europe, they're amazing. as are the churches, etc.

Lisbon is a super cool city - there are a couple of areas where you can stay, but I'd recommend the city centre, there's a lot more to walk to, and you can always get a taxi or bus, etc to other places you might wanna see. I agree with Beck - staying in a Hostel (like one of those hip ones recommended) is a great way to find things to do - the people who run them almost always speak English, and are pretty much always a source of vast knowledge of things to do that are off the touristy path. It's a great way to meet people from around the world also - hostels are much more laid back and are geared towards more of a 'homey' vibe typically. People who don't want to be uber tourists tend to seek them out, so there will most likely be a lot of like-minded people there.

Don't get so focused on traveling alone that you don't put yourself in positions to meet people. Socially, Europe is very different from the US. It's much more laid back and people really enjoy meeting people and taking the time to get to know them, having a coffee and chat with them, etc. Staying in hostels where you'll meet more europeans and going to less touristy places some of the time will give you a chance to experience that.

so that's my .02 cents
mornington
I'd echo what zoya said - travelling alone at night is pretty much the same no matter where you go, just a matter of staying sensible. And also, consider going to a museum; I love people watching and find the old museums a great place to do that. They're also a great way to absorb a little culture and position the history you'll find just wandering about.
indiechick
it's not a myth that german tourists are always wearing shorts:

comic germans.
crazyoldcatlady
an indiechick sighting! yay!


:::runs out of thread:::
indiechick
@cocl: i assume you are still listening to the mix cd i made you. :-)
crazyoldcatlady
oh but of course smile.gif the gift that keeps on giving.

and as a derail, i discovered some old mixtape cassettes, and i think next round in the swap should be old school (says the Bustie who can't even get her shit together to get out the latest CD....)
beck
QUOTE(zoya @ Jun 21 2008, 11:33 AM) *
Socially, Europe is very different from the US. It's much more laid back and people really enjoy meeting people and taking the time to get to know them, having a coffee and chat with them, etc.


apart from England - we are grouchy and standoffish and get freaked out by strangers talking to us haha laugh.gif
zoya
that's why you should come up north of the borders.... we're friendly up here wink.gif
likeanyother
This might be a long shot, but has anybody been to Taiwan semi-recently? I'm planning on teaching english abroad next year and I'm debating between Taiwan and Korea. From what I've heard and read, Korea is a much better deal -- higher pay, free housing and plane ticket -- but Taiwan is easier for a foreigner to live in. I know someone who lived in Korea for a while and she said she had to endure a lot of racism and ill-treatment, which really started to wear on her after a while. I don't know anyone who's been to Taiwan, but from what I've read online the local people are mostly friendly toward foreigners, but, then, who really knows.... The money is a fairly big issue, since I'm hoping to be able to save some loot to pay off my student loans, but it's a whole year so I want to be happy and comfortable too..... mmmm, I'm torn, anyone have any input?
zoya
I've never been to either, but I have a friend who lived in Korea for two years and said the same thing about the racism and ill-treatment of foreigners. It really wore on him, and he recently moved to China - he likes it much better there in terms of the people and treatment... anyway, I don't know if that helps, but just my input based on what my friend told me.
beck
my bro taught in taiwan for a year and loved it. the salary wasn't huge by our standards but it was pretty good for taiwan, he had a pretty good standard of living while he was there. he got a good reception and made lots of friends (the fact that he was learning mandarin helped but i think even so he would have met lots of people). not sure if you would make a profit exactly but you shouldn't return in more debt! hope that helps! he was in taichung (sp), i think the public transport is not so good there, taipei might be better if you want to meet more americans and to get around without a scooter?
likeanyother
Very helpful, thank you. I trust info from busties much more than random message boards, especially since there's so many conflicting opinions out there. I still haven't fully made up my mind, but I'm leaning toward Taiwan. Of course I have to discuss it with my boyfriend, who is 70/30 on doing it with me.... decisions decisions!
billybonka
Billy waltzes through…. In late August, I’m going to Germany (and probably Netherlands) for two weeks. The current plan is to take what I can fit into a backpack and travel as simply as possible, meaning I may stay in hostels. I’ll probably get around by car and train. I know I’ll be in the Stuttgart area some, as well as Berlin and possibly Amsterdam. I’m not even sure what I’m asking right now…. but if anyone has suggestions regarding hostels stays, things I must see or do and other ways to travel, please let me know.
billybonka
The dreaded double post.
girltrouble
*bumpy*
LunarraStar
Has anyone been to Amsterdam?

We are off in September smile.gif, never been before and really looking forward to it.
auralpoison
I have I have I have! It's a really beautiful city. The people are very friendly & most speak excellent English, but they do have a weird thing for exact change. I recommend that you go to your bank have them get you a sheaf of smaller Euros; I got some attitude from the lady at the GWK when I requested more small bills. It's really easy to get around on foot & the public transportation is cheap, so is bike rental.
hellotampon
I just went there! It definitely is pretty. The tourists are mostly large packs of frat guys who run around with their collars up. It'll probably be nicer to go in September when there aren't as many of them. I thought the tram was expensive so we walked everywhere. It's not a huge city. I regret not renting bikes though. It looked like so much fun to go zipping around on one. Bicycles rule in Amsterdam. EVERYONE has one. You'll see like thousands of them all parked in certain spots. The girl we stayed with said she sometimes has to ride around for 10 minutes to find a "parking spot."
auralpoison
Highest rate of bike theft in the world, dontcha know. There's a Dutch joke about how if a group of cyclists pass & a person shouts, "Hey, that's my bike!" five of the cyclists will drop their bikes & run. I think I got my bike from a company called Oranj something or other. They are less obvious than the popular red ones that denote "tourist". I didn't think the pub trans was that pricey, no worse than what I pay at home for an extended pass.

I went in November for my birthday. It was cooler & a bit damp only one day, and I wanted to see the arrival of Sinter Klaus & Zwarte Piet from Spain. But there were still waaaaay too may frat boys with popped collars & I was ashamed to be American several times.

I dunno if you drink beer, but have an Oranje Boom for me. Dutch food is pretty good, I happen to like a lot of vegetables; leeks & Kale & such are popular. The stews were excellent & it was the only time in my life where pea soup didn't make me turn up my nose. And the fresh sea food is to die for if you like that kind of thing. I had a top-notch pizza with mussels, tomaters, & garlic! I had good Italian & some killer Chinese, too. Barney's is tourist-y as hell, but they are there for a reason: good breakfast & snacks.

We did go to a few cafes, y'know, when in Rome, I think I liked the Dampkring the best. The interior was cool & I enjoyed my B52 with a delicious cup of tea during the coffee hour between 10-11am.

I think what I liked best about Amsterdam were the "hidden" things. Surprise gardens, staues tucked here & there. Some local Dutchman has been putting up his art for years now in the most unexpected places. There's a little man in a tree sawing down the branch he's on, a hand cupping a breast near the Oude Kerk, etc, etc. It's pretty cool.

anna k
Has anyone tried Name Your Own Price at priceline.com? All the flights that I've found to Lisbon start at $800, and I wanted a ticket that was about $600.
billybonka
I've used priceline quite a bit for hotels. I recall using it a few years ago for a airline ticket and came out ahead. If you're serious about a date and destination, then it's a good place to start. The worst that can happen is that you get turned down. Just be ready to deal with the consequences if your bid is approved.

Good luck!
LunarraStar
it sounds amazing, im really looking forward to the museums and pretty canals! My partners been before said its funny walking round the red light district.

We are doing it in an unusual way, we are doing a house exchange smile.gif with a person who lives there so he'll be in our house while we are in his. I'm classed as disabled so we are taking the car and Amsterdam give us a special parking badge but i think we'll use the trams mostly! We are taking a 15 hour ferry from newcastle.

I'm nervous about the food because im allergic to all dairy products and all gluten products soill have to learn how to ask about the food lol, its bad enough here smile.gif in a restaurant.
auralpoison
CRAP! I can't remember the name of the restaurant that would be right up your alley. There was a guy that went with us that had major dietary issues. It was near the Museumplein.

Watching men comparison shop for whores was the weirdest thing ever.
Orchid
QUOTE(LunarraStar @ Jul 10 2008, 02:59 AM) *
Has anyone been to Amsterdam?

We are off in September smile.gif, never been before and really looking forward to it.


I really loved Amsterdam, personally. There are two aspects of the city, and when they meet, there's just a blurred line. On one hand, you have the rent-a-bike, go to the Van Gogh Museum, check out flea markets, go to Anne Frank's house etc. and on the other hand, you have the opportunity to smoke marijuana legally, and explore sexually fantasies with paid men and women.

I went when I was 16, so obviously I stuck to the first list of activities, but I really recommend not combining list one and list two to get the most out of each experience.
Orchid
QUOTE(LunarraStar @ Jul 11 2008, 02:33 AM) *
it sounds amazing, im really looking forward to the museums and pretty canals! My partners been before said its funny walking round the red light district.

We are doing it in an unusual way, we are doing a house exchange smile.gif with a person who lives there so he'll be in our house while we are in his. I'm classed as disabled so we are taking the car and Amsterdam give us a special parking badge but i think we'll use the trams mostly! We are taking a 15 hour ferry from newcastle.

I'm nervous about the food because im allergic to all dairy products and all gluten products soill have to learn how to ask about the food lol, its bad enough here smile.gif in a restaurant.


Oh, I should have added, almost everyone is fluent in English, so you should be fine. Are you sure you are allergic to all cheeses or just American-produced cheese, because, very unfortunately, there is a big difference.

My college roommate was gluten intolerant as well, so my sympathies to you. Good luck!
Orchid
Ahh Paris!

I am preparing to study abroad next semester in Paris and I was wondering if anyone had any favorite spots.

My personality: I am fairly introverted and like getting to know people well, so cafes are wonderful me. On the other hand, I adore getting dressed up and going out with friends to nonsketchy clubs, and I LOVE dancing. I am not so hot on house music as much as hip-hop and popular music with a beat.

I am also bisexual-so I would enjoy a club with queer affiliations, but not necessarily one where I would feel pressured to act sexually.

Beyond that, I need something to qualm my intellect-If you have any bookstores, or favorite people in Paris, or small cinemas, or lesser-known art venues and music-veneus, please let me know.
beck
hey orchid, i lived there for a year and loved it, but that was about 8 years ago (yikes!) so i suspect any recommendations i give you will be way out of date. i would definitely say don't stick to the 8th and the 5th arrondissements (Champs-Elysees and the student-y area). If you can, get a Time Out guide as they have the best recommendations on restaurants, arts, clubs etc. their maps are sometimes a bit shit though, i'd buy a streetmap when you get there.

HT, how was your trip?
hellotampon
My trip was fabulous! London and Brussels were my favorites- the 2 cities I wasn't expecting much from. Brussels is very low-key and unpretentious, and there's not a ton of stuff to do, but we couchsurfed with really great people who took us to parties. I couldn't tell you specifically what I found so amazing about London. It was my first stop, and we spent the most time there due to a scheduling error (haha), so we really got to explore, and I just liked the vibe, i guess. Paris kind of disappointed us at first. We weren't expecting it to be so dirty, and the language barrier was really intimidating. We made a genuine effort to speak French when we could, but some people were still rude and snotty about it. I still had a good time though. I just think it would have been better if we'd been able to couch surf there, but people kept turning us down. I did like it. And oh my god the LOUVRE! I'm really pumped I got to go. And Amsterdam probably would have been a lot more fun with a big group of people to party with, but I had a really good time there too. Our host was interesting and the city is lovely, with all the canals, the museumplein, gardens, graffiti (there's some amazing stuff near the Schiipolmuseum), etc. And like Orchid said, it's cool that there's the partying part, and the nice part, so if you get sick of one, there's always the other.
beck
I'm so glad you liked London! I love it but i often think it must be kind of inaccessible if you don't know it well as there is so much crappy tourist stuff and you sometimes have to hunt for the good bits. (and plus we Londoners can be kind of grumpy and inaccessible too wink.gif ). i think it's quite a young and socially mixed city compared to Paris and there is a bit more of a buzz, Paris can feel like a bit of a museum piece sometimes (partly because it's quite segregated with a lot of the poorer and minority populations living on big estates (housing projects in US?) outside of the city.

and brussels - not much to do, but LOTS to eat! smile.gif

really glad you had a good time!
sybarite
London is definitely buzzier than Paris. I love that Paris is so beautiful, but Parisians are famously rude and really dogmatic about when you eat what foods, which annoyed us when we visited: on holiday I like eating chocolate crepes and croque mousieur at 10am, so sue me. tongue.gif They also got snooty with me when I asked if they had L'Oreal moisturiser in a pharmacy, and sniffily directed me to a supermarche.

I love the city despite this; I just know not to take it personally now. Orchid, I don't know Paris enough to make specific recommendations, but the Marais quartier is funky yet still central-ish, and the Place des Vosges is a gorgeous place to walk around and have an overpriced cocktail or two.
auralpoison
Is Bunnyb back or did Mickey the pusher-mouse get her hooked on the sweet tourist-y crack that is Florida? I hope she had some funnel cake under a mountainous layer of powdered sugar. And a corndog. A big corndog.
pollystyrene
Hmm, she hasn't checked in in Kvetch, so I'm guessing she's not back or else that horrific (yet totally plausible) scenario you've described has come true. laugh.gif
anna k
I don't think I'll be able to go to Lisbon. The plane fares are just too expensive, and I don't want to blow all my savings and checking account on it. I'm disappointed, but I still want to take a trip for my birthday. Maybe somewhere domestically like San Francisco or someplace like that. Or even Montreal.
auralpoison
San Francisco is one of my favourite solo travel spots, Anna. There's so much to do/see/eat/buy & it's pretty easy to get around. Hell, the bus fare is .25 cheaper than at home!
erinjane
HT, I said the same thing about Paris when I arrived. It was very dirty and the metro didn't look well kept up at all. There was also graffiti everywhere all over monuments. Once I got over the culture shock and got used to the feel of it though I find it very beautiful overall and for lack of a better way to put it...very paris.
starpiste
I have a question about seattle, if anyone's familiar with it. I'm looking for a good veggetarian friendly restaurant that's in an area that's nice to be in on a saturday evening. We only have a few hours and don't want anything fancy, just something interesting but relaxed. Any recs?
beck
QUOTE(auralpoison @ Jul 27 2008, 09:38 PM) *
Is Bunnyb back or did Mickey the pusher-mouse get her hooked on the sweet tourist-y crack that is Florida? I hope she had some funnel cake under a mountainous layer of powdered sugar. And a corndog. A big corndog.


what is a corndog? i have always wondered...

edie52
Beck, I used to wonder that too (I pictured a hot dog topped with corn). Here in Canada we call it a "pogo." It's a wiener on a stick dipped in (corn?) batter and deep fried.

Incidentally, someone just explained funnel cake to me the other day. We definitely don't have that here.

Anna, if you come to Montreal I can give you tons of recommendations, or maybe even show you around (I'm leaving town for the month of August though). If you're not averse to 8 hours on a bus, that's probably the cheapest way ($140 round trip). Oh, actually, I just checked Amtrak and it appears that the train is about $125, but takes 10 hours each way (surely more comfortable, though). Maybe reasonable flights could be found too; I'm not sure. I like the city and think it's one of the coolest and most interesting in Canada, but that's from a living here perspective.

I'm going to Vancouver and Victoria for a few weeks, and it'll be my first time out there- anyone have any recs? More for Vancouver, as it's a lot bigger and I'll have less time there, and I know a bunch of people in Victoria who grew up there. I'm interested in cheap, cool places to eat, markets, vintage clothes (not too $ though), and galleries.
beck
thanks edie! hmm, don't think i will be seeking those out anytime soon...

anna i really liked montreal although i have to confess we spent the majority of our time eating and drinking rather than any cultural pursuits! we tried a lot of different meats (can't remember now what exactly but all good), sugar pie, mussels, bagels, amazing cakes, and a lot of the more upscale stuff too (i really liked l'express). i really enjoyed jean-talon market in petite italie too. luckily did some skiing the week after or we would have needed extra room on the plane on the way back. oh and the beer was amazing, we tried some great ones from microbreweries but even the more widely available ones were ace.

i would love to go to SF as well, hoping my little bro will get married there someday and give me an excuse...
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