Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Kickoff

 Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of Summer and lets all thank baby Jesus that it's finally here! So whether you're taking plane, train, automobile (or yachts for you ballers) make sure you allow EXTRA time for maneuvering traffic, bring EXTRA money for bail ( a few of you will get caught up this weekend), pack EXTRA vitamins, electrolytes and meds ( those hangovers are wicked) AND lastly make sure you go EXTRA HARDDDDDDDDDD!!!

Bon Voyage ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tales from TheGlamtrak: Natalie Lee, Dominican Republic

Fortunately for me, my inner circle consists of avid travelers like myself. I thought it would be a great idea to share their travels stories and expertise with you, my Glamtrakkies. So for the inaugural "Tales from TheGlamtrak" post, I present to you my cousin/bestie - Natalie Lee.


Purpose of visit? This was a trip I had to take! Not so much because I've always wanted to visit Dominican Republic, but more so because if I didn't get away, right away, I was going to lose my mind or implode due to all of the outside noise going on in my life.



What was the exchange rate...were things expensive? The exchange rate...Ok, so it's time for a confession. I am one of those travelers that "loves to get down with the people". If there is a local bar, club, restaurant around I want to be there! However, since this was my first time traveling to DR, and my first solo trip ever, I did something I swore I would never do....ALL-INCLUSIVE!!! As if that didn't make the trip American enough, I then opted to spend the entirety of my four days on the confines of the resort. I suppose if there is a place that this is considered acceptable, it would be Punta Cana. Long story short, I never spent a dime that wasn't debited from my account online, pre-departure...except for when I went on a 3 hour dune buggy tour.

Favorite local hangout? La playa! Third row, third lounge chair from the bar. If you can get over eye to eye with a hairy banana hammock, it's the place to be.

What one item are you so glad you packed? OFF! Or in my case Burt's Bees organic bug repellent. I don't know if they were mosquitoes or what, but my legs are still recovering from the massacre those bad boys put on me! Dios Mio!


Favorite eats/drinks? One word...Mamajuana! Organic Viagra...yes, please ;-)

What should you stay the HELL away from when visiting DR? The phrase "Hola Bonita. Te amo". American translation, "I'll love you up all night on this beach. You can get this lovin' back home with you for the mere cost of a green card and a few INS visits"

What were the highlights of your trip? Flying away with the satisfaction that I am brave enough to be my own good company even in a country where I know absolutely nobody at all.

Are you ready to quit your job, pack two bags and move to DR? I could live there. Hot men, perfect beaches, endless rum...but then again there are so many Caribbean islands that boast that same tag line. I'll just visit...often ;-)

Any advice for people interested in going to DR? Shop around! There are endless resorts in Punta Cana. Bigger isn't necessarily better. The Punta Cana Princess was a smaller garden style resort (as opposed to a high rise hotel), but the food was great, the service was exceptional, and they have a prime beach location.

How were the locals? Super friendly! I still Skype with several I met on my trip.

What was the wildest thing you did that you would NEVER do at home? I'm a pretty wild gal, but I'm not crazy! Considering the fact that I was solo-dolo I tried to keep it pretty in check.

Was there any eye candy? That's like asking if there was sand at the beach.

Name 5 "before I die" places you want to travel to:  Alaska, Antigua, Bali, Egypt, Argentina...not necessarily a bucket list. They're just next on my list. All except Egypt of course ;-(

What's the next trip? I'll be heading to the kitchen pretty soon. All this talk about DR has me craving a nice rummy concoction!




Monday, May 9, 2011

HAVE YOU SEEN?!?!

Source
I know it's a little old now, but I just can't get enough of Eat, Pray, Love. I swear after reading the book, like many people, I was ready to quit my job, grab a backpack (or a butter leather Chloe bag) and start my Glamtrak around the world. Then reality set it in and my bank account reminded me that I had no royalty checks nor was I a trust fund kid...bummer.

Every once in awhile when I need that little jolt of inspiration I reference a section (Italy, India, Indonesia) and get lost in  Liz's (cornball alert, don't judge me) courageous journey to fulfillment and love. But alas, when the movie came out last fall the reviews weren't too hot...you know people never love a book turned movie. I don't want to give too much away, but I will mention the cinematography is beautiful so try not to watch it on that old TV you've had since the days of Fraggle Rock.

Eat, Pray, Love: Glamtrak approved! Now go add it to your Netflix queue.


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Monday, May 2, 2011

First 48...

 Last fall, I took a quick trip to Amsterdam...quick like 48 hours (heyyyy...I'm a busy girl). Actually, the trip popped onto my  radar when my friend Laurian was planning HER trip to Amsterdam. Laurian was a bit frustrated because she was soooo ready to go to Europe, but her friends were flaking aka no partner in crime ;-) I can be quite EXTRA at times, so it should come as no surprise that I chimed in with a "I'll go with you". I had never been to Amsterdam, but had a good friend living there so I figured "why not?". Sooooo 6 months later I land at Schiphol International after my 6 hour overnight flight from Newark (yes, I made a friend on the flight). I made my way on public transportation over to our cute boutique hotel - Eden Hotel Amsterdam in Rembrandt Square. The next two days went by sooo fast I can barely recall everything. I would like to blame this selective memory on jetlag or could it be those famous coffee shops *ahem*. I do remember having an amazing time though! My friend Liz and her boyfriend are definitely living "La Dolce Vita" in Amsterdam. They live in the coolest neighborhood - The Jordaan and they have seamlessly adjusted to the Netherland lifestyle...I mean they ride bikes...it doesn't get more Dutch than that. So I've put together a little AMS must do list for you:

Heineken Museum - If you've ever been so fortunate to visit World of Coke (Atl,GA) it's a similar experience, but instead of trying soda from around the world...you walk thru the beer making process and get hammered on free Heineken at the end of the tour...definitely check it out!
Van Gogh Museum - If you love art like I do, be prepared to spend a chunk of time here...I almost passed out from low blood sugar because Laurian had to read every display *side eye*

Anne Frankhuis (Anne Frank House) - This is a special stop for all you girls (and some of you boys) that got lost in the pages of this icon's diary. I laughed...I bawled...this was definitely an AMS highlight...

Red Light District - Hellooooo Amsterdam! Do I really need to give deets here?!?!


Random coffee shops - Please apply the "When in Rome..." school of thought here and make sure you ask for White Widow *winks*
 


Net Net...Amsterdam is an AWESOME city! Very easy to navigate, the locals are great and you're just a train ride away from a day trip to Germany or Belgium...can't beat that with a stick ;-)
 





 
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