Just a short and sweet blog post today with a little update on my roster for March. I was supposed to be going on another trip to São Paulo at the end of February but unfortunately fell ill and fainted in the briefing room so that didn’t happen! Very disappointed as I’m losing out on a lot of flying hours and also missing the Brazilian carnival!

Somehow though I managed to skip my “reserve” month in March and got a nice roster with only one turnaround. So I’ll be heading to:

  • London Heathrow
  • Manila
  • Taipei
  • Perth
  • Osaka
  • Lahore (t/a)

Most people hate London flights as they are always so busy, but I like it as it means a chance to go to Primark (always needing more tights for work!) and also have a good stock up on English food at the supermarket!

I’m also very excited to have 3 new places – Manila, Taipei and Osaka magnets shall soon be added to the fridge! I originally had a Paris instead of the Osaka but when somebody sent me the swap I thought I may as well take it. Hopefully I’ll be there for the cherry blossoms although I think it may be a week or two early.

So that’s my roster for March! I’ve got some leave at the beginning of April and I’m trying to find somewhere nice (and not too far to fly) Joey and I could go for a few days – any suggestions would be appreciated!

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

A couple of days ago I got back from my very first trip to Brazil, as you can probably guess from the title….São Paulo! I have to admit when I initially got my roster I was a little bit annoyed, because I’d bid for Rio and instead they gave me 3 São Paulos. In the end somebody sent me a swap for Zurich and although I’ve been there before I accepted it as it is a nice layover and it gave me the weekend in Dubai, so the other day was my first time going to Brazil. Everybody I’ve spoken to that has gone has said something along the lines of “oh, there’s nothing to do in São Paulo, I just stayed in the hotel and sunbathed”.

However I was determined to make the most of it and when looking up what to do there I happened to stumble across a website advertising a free walking tour of the city every Wednesday and Saturday. As luck had it, I was going to be there on a Wednesday, and I’d done a couple of free walking tours (you just give a tip at the end if you want to) whilst backpacking in Europe with my best friend. I had time on the flight (14,5 hours!) to persuade a few of the other crew to join me. Once we landed safely and finally got to the hotel it was definitely time for bed, so I hung the breakfast menu outside my door and set my alarm in time to meet the others the next morning. 
I woke up pretty early (around 5am) and I’d ordered my breakfast for 8 so spent a few hours lying in bed getting very hungry and not being able to sleep! I was up in time for the sunrise though, which was very pretty!Image

Once we were all ready to go, we walked to the train station down the road, managed to buy tickets with none of us speaking a word of Portuguese and nobody at the station speaking a word of English and headed down to the platform hoping we were going in the right direction. With one change onto the metro we managed to make it into the city and found the meeting point for the tour. We had a little bit of time before it started so wandered around and got a quick bite to eat. (Breakfast was a long time ago by this point! :D)
Once we got back to the meeting point quite a big group of people had gathered there for the tour. The tour guide was a girl called Fe and she really knew her stuff. She took us around the downtown area of the city and explained a lot about the buildings and areas we were in.

ImageImageImageImageImageThis was I think the 3rd tallest building in the city. There’s an observatory at the top which is only open from 3-4pm every day, and it’s free to go up!

ImageThis building is so big that apparently it has its own postcode! ImageImageThere were so many little stalls on the side of the road selling fresh fruit, I wish I’d bought some!

ImageImageImageThese little things are actually telephone booths, although apparently they aren’t very easy to use as you have to buy a special card to make calls and you can’t use coins!

ImageImageImageImageImageAround this area we stopped for some lunch in a typical little restaurant. I had rice and beans and chicken and it reminded me so much of what I used to eat almost every day when I was living in Costa Rica!

ImageAfter lunch the others decided that they’d had enough walking and were going to finish the tour there and go back to the hotel to sleep. Boring! (And yes, I did tell them it was a walking tour. What can you do!) I carried on and they definitely missed out on the best bit, the Sé Cathedral.

ImageImageImageImageIt was really beautiful, and the street leading up to it was so pretty with lots of palm trees lining it. There were however a lot of homeless people living around that area and we were told to keep a tight grip on any cameras/phones/money etc!

ImageImageAfter the tour finished I joined a few other people who were going to go back to the tall building we started off at and go up to the roof. The view was incredible, and you don’t realise when you’re walking around such a small area of the city how huge it actually is!

ImageImageAfter the tour I safely navigated my way back to the hotel on the metro and train and only got a little bit lost walking from the train station to the hotel! Once I got back I realised I’d managed to get more than a little bit sunburnt on my face and shoulders…woops! I popped down to the pool for a last bit of sunshine to write some postcards and read my book for a bit. After a very quick nap it was soon time to get ready for the long flight home. 

São Paulo, I’ll be back! (And please, somebody remind me to buy a magnet next time!)

And something I forgot to mention….Pelé the Brazilian football legend was on my flight there! 😀
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P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

 

So yet again I have managed to go way too long without updating my blog….woops! As I was importing my pictures from my most recent trip to São Paulo I realised I had a whole load of pictures from my flight to Shanghai in January, and I haven’t even written a post about it! So São Paulo will have to wait a little, and first I’m going to write about my wonderful time in Shanghai.

The flight going out is not very long (compared to the way back), lasting around 7ish hours. However it leaves Dubai at around 3 o’clock in the morning, which generally makes me feel very tired and confused as to what time it is when I arrive at the hotel! I can’t actually remember what we did in the evening, so I think I must have just fallen straight to sleep!

The next morning a group of us headed down to enjoy the breakfast buffet which surprisingly was smaller and had less choice than the time before! But who’s to complain, full up and ready to go we split into 2 taxis and drove to the Underground Market. What we hadn’t really thought about was that it was Chinese New Year’s Eve and almost all of the shops were shut! Not to be stopped by that though we all managed to come away having haggled for our money’s worth with some new handbags (the other girls) and a new purse (for me, after nail polish leaked all over my last one)!

Two of the girls decided shopping was far too tiring and headed back to the hotel, so I and the other two hopped in a cab again to go and visit the Yu Gardens.
When we arrived we were greeted by some beautiful temple-style buildings and hundreds of people! I guess everyone was off work for the holiday and they were out in full force with their families. Everywhere was filled with awesome decorations for Chinese New Year which made it a little bit more special!

ImageImageImageImageThe whole square area before entering the actual gardens was filled with decorations.ImageImageImageTo get to the gardens you have to go over a bridge, and all along the water they’d put up scenes from different films etc, there was even one with the Seven Dwarfs!ImageImageImageInside the gardens there were lots of different pathways and secretive holes in the wall that you could go through to find other parts.ImageImageImageImageImage

After the Yu Gardens we headed back to the hotel to have a little power nap before getting ready for the flight home (about 10 hours). As I was getting ready there were fireworks going off all around the city, and whilst flying as it was approaching midnight the whole city was lit up with hundreds and hundreds of fireworks, definitely one of the most amazing things I’ve seen from the sky!

There’s so so much more I want to explore in Shanghai, but at the moment I’ve still got a lot of destinations that I haven’t been to that I’d like to go to as well! I’m just waiting for my March roster to be published, I’m supposed to be on reserve (a month of not knowing where you’ll be going!) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll skip it! 

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

 

I finally managed to get a rare day off with the girls, so we decided to go out for lunch and try somewhere new. On a recommendation of a friend we headed out to The Farm, in Al Barari. Once we finally managed to get there (making a few u-turns along the way and with a big help from google maps!) we were greeted by lots of luscious greenery, trees and plants everywhere. The restaurant itself is located pretty much in the middle of the desert, but they’ve planted so much that it looks like you’re in an oasis or on a tropical island somewhere. Image

We ordered our food and got very excited at the prospect of sweet potato fries, however the service was extremely slow, so we ended up waiting over 45 minutes for our food to arrive. Once it finally did, it was delicious. We did have to ask for a couple of things and each time it took them a long time to bring it, even though there were a lot of waiters hanging around! On the other hand, when we went to pay our bill, they were there in about 30 seconds!

ImageImageI went for the smoked chicken panini which had avocado, tomato, lettuce and some other stuff inside, with sweet potato fries on the side! ImageImageImageImageAfter lunch, feeling rather full, we went for a little stroll around the garden area and of course had to take a few pictures for the blog! 🙂ImageImage

We discovered some small but extremely comfy hammocks and lay in those for a while letting our lunch digest!

ImageAll in all I had a really lovely afternoon catching up with the girls and trying out a new restaurant. It was so nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the breeze as well! 

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

Warning: this is going to be a very picture-heavy post!

If you read my last post you’ll know I was headed off on a trip to LA. The flight is one of the longest we do (along with I believe Houston and possibly Dallas) clocking in at around 16 hours each way. Such a long time to be stuck in a metal tube! Luckily the crew were great fun and we got to have a break (albeit a very short one – just over 3 hours!) in the CRC. 

Our hotel is actually in Orange County, so a fair old drive from LAX. Once we arrived a few of us girls arranged to meet and do what girls do best – shop, of course! There’s a big mall about a 5-10 minute walk away from the hotel (that’s if you don’t take the wrong exit on your way out and end up taking a 40 minute detour…) so we headed over there for some retail therapy and dinner. Perfectly fitting Forever 21 jeans for 10 dollars? What more could I ask for?! (Ok, so the whole “adding tax on at the till” thing still gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME but what’s a girl to do!).

The next day 4 of us booked a tour through the hotel to see all the sights. We wanted to hire a car but only me and one of the other girls would have been ok with driving, and both of us were under 25 which hikes the price up quite a bit. Seeing as it was also my first time here we decided just to go for the tour, and hire a car and see more places next time. Our first stop was downtown LA, to see the Kodak/Dolby Theatre (where the Oscars are held), the Chinese Theatre and of course the Walk of Fame. 
ImageImageThe King of Pop!ImageChinese TheatreImageImageImageImage

After a good long walk spotting as many famous stars as we could (I tried to find one with “Rachel” in it, no such luck) we drove up towards Mulholland Drive, and to see the Hollywood Sign. I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed, as I had thought we’d be able to get a bit closer, but it was still awesome to actually see it in real life.
ImageAwesome view over foggy LAImageImageImageImage

Then we drove to Beverly Hills, to see some houses belonging to the rich and famous. Amongst others, we saw AMAZING houses belonging to Cameron Diaz, Brad & Angelina, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, and the Playboy Mansion! We must have seen at least 50 houses belonging to celebrities, however they all decided to stay inside 🙁 It was also pretty difficult to get good pictures, as we mostly just drove by and of course they all have big gates and hedges.
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From there we drover to Santa Monica pier, where we stopped for lunch and a walk along the pier. We then headed towards Venice Beach for another stroll there, so many palm trees! I love it. So pretty, lovely weather and just a great atmosphere. 
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Venice Beach ImageImageImage

Our last stop on the tour was Marina del Rey, a harbour area with lots of beautiful boats and yachts. And of course we had to get an ice cream there 😉ImageImage

We finally started the long drive back to the hotel, and decided that we hadn’t done quite enough shopping…back to the mall it was! I decided to splurge on some pretty pink Nike trainers seeing as I’ve had my last ones for about 6 or 7 years (not that they really get used on a regular basis, let’s be honest here) as they were about 40 dollars cheaper than in Dubai. I’m going to try and get as much use out of them as possible!

The next morning I made use of our crew discount on breakfast and stuffed my face American style…bagels with cream cheese, bacon, pancakes with maple syrup and lots of blueberries! Before we knew it was time for the looooooong flight back to Dubai. It wasn’t full which was a pleasant surprise. I have to say I can’t honestly remember the last time I flew on the A380 and it wasn’t completely full!

After a couple of days off relaxing, spending time with Joey and catching up with my friends, it’s back to work now with a night flight to Shanghai. This time I’ll definitely be going out and doing some exploring and sightseeing as I have no more studying to do for the next year!

I also got my February roster while I was in LA, and even though I’m top bid (bidding is a bit complicated to explain – basically there are 7 groups and seniority for bidding works on a rotation basis, so once every 7 months you’re at the top and usually get what you ask for) it’s probably one of the worst rosters I’ve had in ages! 4 turnarounds – 2 of them to Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of our longest (around 4/5 hours each way) and the other 2 to Kuwait and Doha. These 2 are so quick it takes longer to put my make up on than do the flight, haha! Then I got 3 flights to Sau Paolo and one to Clark, Philippines. Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, and of course I’m looking forward to going to Brazil, but literally the only thing I bid for was Rio. One single trip and they couldn’t even give it to me! I’ve ended up swapping one of my Sau Paolo’s for a shorter flight to Zurich, which gives me the weekend in Dubai and a bit of cold, snowy weather. My trip to the Philippines is right over Valentine’s Day, which is a bit annoying, as I’m torn between wanting to go to a new destination, and wanting to be able to spend it in Dubai with Joey. We’ll see, maybe someone will swap it for days off. Anyway, enough rambling now – I’ve got a suitcase to pack!

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!