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.Β 

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.Β 
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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.
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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 πŸ™ 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.Β 
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Venice BeachΒ 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 πŸ˜‰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!

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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!

Right now I’ve just got back from a wonderful trip to Bangkok, and a post about that shall be coming very soon. First on the agenda however, is an update about my much-awaited trip to Toronto!
If only all had gone as brilliantly as planned….

So the flight out was non-stop, super hectic and very similar to my Seattle flight. After around 14 hours with just a 3 hour break in the bunks and not a single chance to sit down other than that (let alone to stop and eat!) we finally arrived in Canada! Once we got to the hotel it was evening time, so we made plans to meet up the next day for some sightseeing. I ordered room service and having never tried them before, I can now say sweet potato fries (chips) are the best thing ever!!

Bright and early the next day a few of us headed out to do some exploring. Our first stop was the St Lawrence Market, a short walk from our hotel.

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Yummy gingerbread latte to warm us up πŸ™‚

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We browsed around and stopped for some breakfast as well. This market was actually named the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012! I would love to have a market like this in Dubai where everything looks so fresh and tasty!Β 

After breakfast (which was probably more like brunch by this time) and a free mini gingerbread latte from Starbucks we walked across town to find the Christmas market.

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As we arrived at the markets it started snowing! It didn’t settle unfortunately but it made everything feel so much more Christmassy πŸ™‚
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Giant Christmas tree! πŸ™‚Image

We browsed around the stalls and although none of us bought anything it was a lovely market. Our next stop was the CN Tower, which used to be (I believe) the tallest building in the world, until the good old Burj Khalifa came along! Trust Dubai to want to be bigger and better! πŸ˜‰Β 

We got zoomed up to the 112th floor, and the view was of course beautiful. There was a little opening in the sky just over the water and we also watched a few planes take off from the small airport you can see from the window! πŸ™‚ImageImageImageImageImage

Standing on the glass floor!

There’s also a glass floor at the top which is pretty scary! After spending a while admiring the view and taking plenty of pictures we headed back down. Our plan for the next day was to rent a car between 5 of us and drive to Niagara Falls, so we stopped by a couple of car rental places but none of them could get us a car until lunchtime, which would have been too late. As I’ve actually already been to Niagara Falls before I wasn’t that fussed about going again (especially not in the freezing cold!) so 3 of the girls booked a tour with the hotel which was a little more pricey but the only option after not being able to rent a car. After our quick pitstop at the hotel we decided to split up, and I headed out to the Eaton Centre, a massive shopping centre. By this time it was already starting to get dark outside and I did get a little lost trying to find it! πŸ˜€ Once I got there though I managed to get a fair bit of Christmas shopping done πŸ™‚Β ImageImageImage

Lots of Christmassy decorations inside the Eaton Centre πŸ™‚

In the evening I walked back to the hotel and had a nice relaxing evening planning what to do the next day. If only that had happened…. I woke up super early not feeling well at all, and ended up getting worse and worse! I also got a message from one of the other girls asking if I had been ill, as she’d been up all night in the bathroom! We had eaten the exact same thing at the market so we were pretty sure it was food poisoning! πŸ™ What a way to spend the only 3 day layover you’ve ever had…. 2 out of 3 days in bed! I called our medical emergency number and they sent a doctor to come and check and he confirmed that it was food poisoning, who would have guessed it in a place like Toronto! πŸ™

So that’s that, unfortunately I don’t have as many exciting stories to tell as I would have liked to from a 3 day layover, but never mind! Next time πŸ™‚
(I have to admit I’m pretty upset that I didn’t manage to buy a magnet this time, I’ll definitely have to try and bid for the trip again!)

I deadheaded back (aka flew as a passenger) along with the other girl who got food poisoning but I just slept the whole flight. Thankfully I’m feeling much better now and was pretty much back to normal by the time my next flight to Bangkok came around. More on that trip to come! πŸ™‚

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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!

First of all my apologies for the long break since my last post. I didn’t even realise it’s been over two weeks since I updated on here! At the moment I’m actually on leave, however I decided to stay in Dubai and just enjoy a bit of time relaxing and not flying anywhere for once! My last post was about my amazing trip to Seattle, and after that I had two back to back Frankfurt flights and a trip to Madrid.Β 

Both of the Frankfurts were very uneventful! I get German flights pretty much every month, and I kind of see them as my chance to go to a nice supermarket and stock up on fresh foods, as well as getting some quality sleeping/ TV watching in! These two trips were no different. The weather was not very nice – cold, rainy and pretty miserable, so I just did my supermarket shops and had a couple of drinks in the hotel bar with the crew.

My last trip before my leave was Madrid. I was actually very excited when I saw this on my roster, as even though I lived in Spain for 3 months I was working 6 days a week so didn’t really have the chance to see many other cities. The flight out was nice and easy, only half full and a chance to practice my Spanish, which is getting a little rusty! πŸ˜‰ We arrived around lunchtime and it was 5 degrees and pouring with rain. Definitely not what my weather app had predicted! Nonetheless, a group of us decided to venture out, have a little walk around the hotel and find somewhere to have a bite to eat. We ended up in a place called “Museo del Jamon” and all ordered plenty of plates of ham, salami, chorizo and cheese to share. Very unlike me I didn’t actually take any pictures, believe it or not!
After our late lunch we hopped on the metro to the city centre. By the time we got there it was getting dark and the rain was not stopping at all. So of course we spent way too much time in the shops! πŸ˜‰ I was a little disappointed as I actually wanted to do some sightseeing and walk around the city, but the weather was not really on my side. Also, none of the other crew were interested in doing anything but shopping, so I’ll have to save it for the next trip.

Once I got back from Madrid I was officially on leave! I’ve been spending lots of time with Joey, going on walks around Dubai (now that the weather is finally cool enough to actually walk around) finishing season 2 of Homeland (so good!!), catching up on lots more TV whilst Joey has been at work…you get the point! πŸ˜‰ Β 

Yesterday the most exciting part of my month happened….roster day!!! Who wants to take a guess at where I’ll be going next month. . .Β 

  • Toronto! And not just your average 24hr layover, I’ll be staying there for 77hrs! 3 days! πŸ˜€
  • Bangkok! Haven’t been to Bangkok since June so that should be good, I’m hoping I’ll have time to go to the Tiger Temple.
  • Sydney! A trip to Aus means I can hopefully pop down to Canberra and visit my grandparents and auntie, uncle and cousin πŸ™‚
  • Last but not least….leave at Christmas!

So that’s it – just 3 flights next month! I’ll be going home over Christmas which is very exciting, as Joey will also be coming with me πŸ™‚ And then the 1st of January the dreaded SEP recurrent exams :O Which will mean lots of studying over Christmas!

So there you go, a little update on my rather boring life recently! I’d also just like to say a big thanks to everyone that reads, follows, comments on my blog, etc. Cheesy as it may sound it really does make my day when I see a comment on my blog πŸ™‚

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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!

My very first work trip to America took me all the way across America to Seattle! After a very long and Β very bumpy flight (14 hours to be precise) we finally landed and made our way to the hotel. Since it was the first time going for quite a few of the crew, we made plans to meet for dinner an hour or so later, and spend the whole of the next day sightseeing and exploring.

For dinner 8 of us met up and walked down the steep hills (and when I say steep, I mean really really steep!) towards the waterfront. One of the girls didn’t realise how hilly Seattle is and only brought heels with her….we ended up pretty much carrying her the whole way! Once we were down by the water we decided on a restaurant called The Crab Pot. The queues outside were huge, but for some reason they managed to squeeze us in straight away!Β 

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4 people ordered this mixture of prawns, mussels, clams, corn on the cob, potatoes (who knows what else was in there!) and they bring it in a huge bucket and dump it on the table!Β 

After dinner we were all feeling pretty exhausted so walked back (uphill!) to the hotel. Once I was in bed however, jet lag hit and I lay awake for hours! The next morning we had agreed to meet around 9 to make the most of the day. 5 of us girls headed out and our first stop was a little cafe not far from the hotel called Cafe Abodegas. One of the girls had heard some good reviews about it and suggested we go there for breakfast. It was an excellent choice! Delicious coffee, and lots of real bacon!

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After breakfast we decided to walk around the city. It was the first time for all of us so we just strolled around to see where we would end up. We may have popped into a shop or two on the way …. πŸ˜‰

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Walking towards the water we went to visit one of Seattle’s famous landmarks, Pike Place Market. Every other stall was filled with beautiful bunches of fresh flowers, or piled high with fruits and veggies. I wish there was something like this in Dubai! I wanted to buy some bunches of flowers (they were all so cheap – 5 or 10 dollars for huge bouquets!) but I’m not sure how well they would have lasted on the flight home πŸ™

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The market also has a downstairs area, which we had a good explore of. It was full of quirky little shops selling the most random things ever!

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We came out of the market from one of the downstairs entrances, and happened to spot a sign for the Gum Wall. So of course we had to go and check it out, and it really is as disgusting as it sounds!

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A whole wall covered in multi-coloured pieces of chewing gum! You can even smell it before you see it!

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After a quick detour to everybody’s favourite American shop, Target, we headed down towards the very first Starbucks. We had a quick browse inside but there are no seats/tables and it was extremely busy, so we carried on walking to find somewhere to have lunch.

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Trees! Autumn leaves! So exciting!

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We decided on the top level of this area next to the ferris wheel and had a yummy lunch overlooking the water. The weather was so lovely, I was expecting it to be rainy and windy all the time, but it was nice and sunny and just a little bit cold!

After lunch we decided to go and see the space needle. 3 of the girls decided they were feeling a bit tired so they walked back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep. However I was not finished exploring! We got the monorail to the Space Needle, paid the entrance fee and took the lift up to the top. The view was incredible. We got there just as the sun was starting to go down, and the sky was constantly changing colour as we walked around the observatory.

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Afterwards we got the monorail back into the city centre and popped into Macy’s for a little browse. My bank card was not thanking me after the “browse” turned into a “buy”! By this time we were both feeling pretty worn out so walked back to the hotel. While we were checking in the day before the concierge had told us about some dinner thing going on where lots of restaurants were offering a 3 course meal for just 25 dollars, and we had originally made plans to go and eat dinner somewhere, but we ended up all falling asleep really early and not leaving the hotel!

The next morning our wake up call wasn’t until lunchtime, so I decided to go and have a typical breakfast somewhere. After much consideration I decided upon the most American place I could find, IHOP! The hotel had actually given us a list of 24 hr restaurants (they must realise how jetlagged we get coming from all the way from Dubai!) and IHOP was on there, with directions. I double checked on google maps and it was a straight walk down the road in the opposite direction to where we had been the day before. After a quick stop at Rite-Aid (can never resist all that American make-up for half the price of what it costs in Dubai!) I was there! I have to admit I was holding on to my handbag quite tight, as the area did seem to be very dodgy! Never mind, pancakes were calling! I ordered the most enormous breakfast ever; I’m sure it had thousands of calories but I couldn’t even manage half!Β 

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All too soon it was time to go back to the hotel, put on the uniform and the red lipstick and get ready for another 14 hour flight. Luckily it wasn’t as turbulent as the flight coming, and with a nice little break in our crew rest compartment before we knew it we were back in Dubai.Β 

Seattle, thanks for having me, and I will be back ASAP!

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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!

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My November roster came out yesterday. Roster day is always highly anticipated, and I was pleasantly surprised for November! I didn’t bid, and there are lots of mixed opinions on bidding. Some people do it without fail each month, some people never bid and swear they always have the best rosters. I didn’t bid in October either and only got 1 turnaround, and as I’m always hoping they’ll give me new destinations anyway, I decided to see what luck gave me!Β 

And luck was on my side! I’ll be going to:Β 

  • Seattle (so excited, my first layover in the States, and its 50 hours!)
  • Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt again (have to say these 2 aren’t my favourite, but never mind!)
  • Madrid (even though I lived in Spain for 3 months, I’ve never been to Madrid! Exciting!)
  • Jakarta

I also have 5 days leave as well as lots of days off! So far I don’t have any plans to go anywhere during my leave, but you never know something might just pop up!Β 

So there you go, just a quick post of where I’l be heading next month!

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Also thought I’d add in a little picture of my ever expanding magnet collection! I shall be adding to it later today when I fly to Hamburg! πŸ™‚

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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!