So after a month of no blogging I decided it was about time I wrote something again! Sometimes life gets in the way and things happen that you weren’t expecting.

The best cure? A day out with your best friend. Luckily, after a few tough weeks and not everything going as I had hoped, this was exactly what was on the cards, and after a busy flight to Manchester I was ready to go.

I hopped on the train to Sheffield, where Lucy is at university, and it was a beautiful sunny day. She was waiting for me at the train station, and we strolled down one of the main streets for a browse in the shops. (Of course!)
As she had to go to lectures in the afternoon and I had to get back to Manchester in time for the wake up call, we only had a few hours to spend together. After a spot of shopping we headed over towards the cathedral.

ImageAs you can see the sun was out and it was a lovely day!

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We chose a little cafe next to the cathedral and sat by the window.

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Before we knew it, we’d ordered cream tea…scones with jam, clotted cream and a big pot of tea! 

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We sat and chatted until Lucy was going to be late for her lecture and I was going to miss the train if we didn’t stop talking, so she dropped me off at the station and we went our separate ways. The day was definitely far too short, but it was so lovely to catch up and get some much needed advice from one of the people who knows me best!

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I tried to get a picture of all the lovely hills covered in tiny little lambs, but of course the train was going a bit too fast! When I see the beautiful countryside England has to offer, I do sometimes wish I still lived there….and then I remember that 99% of the time it’s raining, haha!

A day trip in the sunshine with my lovely best friend was just what I needed, and it has definitely cheered me up a whole lot!

 

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!

 

Call me crazy, but those are all the airports I’ve visited in the past 10 days…a fair old bit of flying!
So I originally had 5 days of leave allocated at the beginning of April, but somehow I managed to get 4 days off before and 2 days after, leaving me with 11 days of leave! Joey and I had originally planned on going away for a few days but unfortunately he’s got a lot of work at the moment and couldn’t take any extra time off. So I decided to do what any sane person would do and fly halfway around the world to Albuquerque, New Mexico! Ok, there was a reason behind this…my sister has just moved there, so I thought I’d go and visit her and her boyfriend. 
However once I’d decided where to go, I just needed to work out how to actually get there. Flying on standby is always a bit of a gamble, and all the direct flights to America from Dubai are pretty much fully booked every single day. So with a little help from my dad (who is a pilot with a different airline, so can also get staff travel), I flew Dubai – Hong Kong, and then Hong Kong – Los Angeles. From LA it was just a short hop over to Albuquerque. 

Once I arrived at the airport Lizzie and Jarett came to pick me up and we headed on over to their apartment. Our first evening was spent catching up, eating and I soon fell asleep very quickly after around 30 hours of travelling!

ImageImageThe views over LAX and Albuquerque

ImageI brought Lizzie and Jarett some chocolates from my trip to Osaka!

During the week Jarett had to go to work and uni, so we could only meet up with him at lunchtimes when he had a little bit of time to spare. Lizzie and I spent the days exploring Albuquerque, doing lots of eating and generally having a lovely time! One evening we bumped into one of Jarett’s friends and decided to go to dinner at a Mexican place called (I think) Zacotecas.

ImageSkulls on the wall at the restaurant

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One morning Lizzie and I cycled down to the Rio Grand. It was such a windy day, we honesty thought we were going to get blown off our bikes!ImageImageImageThe (not so) beautiful Rio Grand.

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We stopped of at the Old Town and had a wander around.ImageImageImageImageThe most amazing chocolate and sweet shop ever! We couldn’t leave without getting some fudge.Image

The next evening we met up with Jarett’s sister and her partner and daughter and went to an Irish pub/restaurant for dinner. They did the most amazing fish and chips, almost as good as in England! Afterwards Lizzie, Jarett and I headed over to a rooftop bar (thankfully they had an indoor section as well, as it was pretty chilly outside!) for a drink.

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On my last day, Lizzie and I took the train to Santa Fe, which is about an hour and a half from Albuquerque. The landscape is beautiful, lots of desert, mountains and quite a few horses along the way! 

ImageImageImageImageImageStopping off for a salted caramel chocolate. So good!

ImageImageThe main square area of Santa Fe was pretty similar to the Old Town in Albuquerque, with lots of quirky shops and art galleries.

ImageImageWe spent the day wandering around, having some more Mexican food for lunch, and then hopped back on the train to Albuquerque. That evening the 3 of us cooked dinner (actually Lizzie and Jarett cooked, they refused to let me help) and had dinner with Jarett’s sister and her family. Before we knew it it was time to pack my suitcase again. A lovely 5am start the next morning and I was once again off to the airport.

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Thankfully the standby gods were on my side, and I made all of my flights; I actually got the last seats on two of them!

Mum, Dad and Harry were waiting at the airport in Austria when I arrived and we headed home for a nice catch up. I was only home for 2 days but I managed to squeeze in some time with my friends as well.

ImageDelicious coffee and cakes with my friends Iris and Claudio who were in Klagenfurt for the weekend.

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We also had a stroll around the Easter Market and cuddled some of the fluffiest bunnies EVER! They were so soft! 

The next day I met up with my lovely friend Simone who I hadn’t seen for a while and we sat outside in the sunshine catching up. Somehow I even managed to squeeze in a haircut! After my last experience I don’t trust the hairdressers in Dubai!

All too soon it was time to head back to reality and tomorrow I’ll be back to work again. It was a lovely break and it was so great that I managed to see all of my family even though we’re all in different parts of the world!

And now for some other exciting news….next week I’m moving apartments!!! FINALLY after nearly a year and a half of living out in the desert, practically in Sharjah, I’m moving in with my friend Kirsty onto Sheik Zayed Road! I’m super excited, as I finally feel like I’ll actually be living in Dubai now! I’d probably better start packing soon, as I have a feeling I’m going to have accumulated quite a bit of stuff….!

 

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!

 

 

This morning I got back from a flight to Osaka, Japan. We arrived at our hotel early evening and arranged to go to dinner. We couldn’t decide between sushi and another Japanese speciality (which I have now forgotten the name of!) but on the first officer’s recommendation we chose the latter. Close to the hotel there is a whole area full of restaurants so we walked over, ready for some dinner.

ImageI’d forgotten that so many restaurants in Japan display all of their dishes in plastic versions in the window!

ImageImageLet’s be honest, it doesn’t look very appetising, at all. I don’t think I could tell you what’s inside either, but it’s always fun to try something new!

The next morning a big group of us had made plans to go to Kyoto, however when I got downstairs only 4 of us had made it. The others had obviously seen the pouring rain and decided to stay in bed! We walked to the train station and got on a train, hoping it would take us in the right direction! Once we arrived in Kyoto, we had all assumed we would just be able to have a nice little stroll around and see all the temples. It is actually a pretty big city and walking was definitely not an option, especially as the rain had not stopped. We got on a bus (luckily it had a TV screen in the front with the name of each stop in English!) and made our way to the Kinkaku-ji Temple, also called the Golden Temple.

ImageImageThe temple was beautiful, such a shame about the rain as I’m sure sunlight reflecting off it would look lovely!

ImageImageImageImageImageDespite the rain we had a lovely stroll around the grounds. We decided not to go and visit any other temples this time, so I’ll have to make sure I get another flight to Osaka!

I also got my roster for April while I was away, and this month I only have one new destination. I have leave at the beginning of the month (11 days, yay!) and then I’ll be going to:

  • Bangkok (going to try and go to the tiger temple if I have time)
  • Bangalore turnaround
  • Chennai turnaround
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Bombay turnaround
  • Perth (again?!)
  • Durban (my one new destination!)

I don’t count turnarounds as new destinations, as we don’t actually get off the plane. I didn’t bid for anything as I’m at the bottom in bidding seniority this month, so I’ll have to try and see if I can swap some of my flights and go somewhere new. My leave starts in 2 days and I still haven’t decided where I’m going to go yet! I’m contemplating the idea of going to Alberquerque to visit Lizzie (my sister) which would mean trying to get on a flight to America, my best bets are probably Houston or Dallas, and then get a connecting flight. If I do that then I’ll try and stop off in Austria on the way home to see my friends and family. Got to get my lovely Lahore turnaround out of the way first and then I’ll officially be off for 11 days! I’ll keep you updated as to where I go on my leave 🙂

I’d also like to apologise about the dreadful quality of the pictures; even though I charged my camera overnight, when we arrived in Kyoto it refused to turn on, so I had to use my iPhone. I’m hoping it’s just a glitch and that it’s not broken 🙁

 

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!

Yesterday my friend Michelle and I decided to spend our day off doing something a little different (and very British!) by going for afternoon tea. After a bit of research online I chose Rhodes in Residence at Grosvenor House in the marina. Created by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, it’s the first Michelin starred afternoon tea in Dubai!

We chose the “Classic Afternoon Tea” which included a free flow of soft drinks, fresh juices, and of course multiple pots of tea. We started off with some fresh orange juice and I went for some classic English Breakfast tea. Our first course was a beautiful array of finger sandwiches. Our waitress actually presented each course to us, and we had smoked salmon, roast beef, cream cheese and cucumber, lemon chicken, and quail’s egg and cress. As well as that we were served some melt-in-your-mouth mini cream cheese and herb croque monsieurs, and a duck pastry. 

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Just as we thought the savoury part was finished, we were given the special of the day, some delicious hot salmon and potato balls!

After that came the part I had most been looking forward to…scones! We were a little bit disappointed when they arrived as neither of us had expected them to be quite so small, but in hindsight this was probably a good thing! Onto our second pot of tea by now, we devoured them with jam and cream.

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Next came the cakes. Chocolate muffins, honey dundee cake, lemon and blueberry cake, victoria sponge, buttered raspberry crumpets, and Eton mess. All served warm and deliciously fresh. 

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We were both struggling by this point and didn’t manage to finish all the cakes, so they very kindly boxed them up for us….and we forgot to take them with us! 

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I just had to put a coupe of pictures of the bathroom on here as it was so pretty, even with a special seating/mirror area to re-do your make-up! 😉

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Full to the brim, we popped over to the Observatory bar at the Marriot (52nd floor!) for a cocktail, only to discover it was happy hour! Success!

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I had a lovely girly day catching up with Michelle and eating lots of sandwiches and cakes, and we shall definitely be doing it again!

P.s. sorry for the awful quality of the pictures, I only took my iPhone with me as my bag was too small to fit my camera in as well, ha ha!

 

P.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 most recent trip took me to Taipei. After a 7 hour flight and a looooong bus ride, we finally arrived at our hotel. A group of us arranged to meet for dinner in the hotel (50% off the buffet, yes please!) and had a delicious dinner trying all the local food (as well as some pasta and pizza of course!). The best dish was by far the sashimi, so fresh and delicious. We had a couple of drinks in the bar then headed up to bed to get a good nights sleep, ready to do some exploring the next day. 

Bright and early (well, does 9:30 count as early? I think it does) four of us met in the lobby. Whilst on the flight a crew member travelling as a passenger had given us a few tips of places to go and we’d decided to start by going to a shopping area/market that she’d recommended. What she forgot to mention (along with the concierge who explained how to get there) was that it didn’t open until the evening! So that left us a little stumped and we carried on walking around that area until we saw some signs for a temple. 

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We spotted the temple from afar and walked over. It’s called the Ciyou Temple and was built in 1753, and has an impressive 6 stories. While we were walking around inside a very sweet Taiwanese man came over to us and explained a little bit about the temple as well as showing us around some of the different areas.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageWe weren’t completely sure what they meant, but throwing down these two wooden semicircle shapes was (I think) supposed to be some kind of symbol of good luck. One had to land one way up and the other one in the other direction, so it took a few tries before they were the right way!ImageAfter the temple we walked behind to see the Rainbow Bridge which is on the Keelung River. It wasn’t particularly special by day, but I’ve just read that at night it lights up makes a rainbow reflect onto the water.

ImageImageAs you can see it was pretty windy!ImageImageWe were all feeling a little peckish after lots of walking, so decided to head over to the Taipei 101 Tower and have some lunch there. There’s a shopping mall connected to the tower, and we found a place serving teppanyaki. It was my first time trying it and I’m definitely sold! You order a type of meat (I went for prawns, fish and pork) and they cook it on a huge metal hot plate in front of you. As well as the meat you get a bowl of soup, rice, and veggies to go with it. They pile it onto your plate as it’s ready! I did try and use the chopsticks but in the end we all gave up and had to ask for a knife and fork!ImageImageImageUnfortunately we didn’t end up going to the top of the tower which I would have liked to have done, because two of the others didn’t want to pay! (Boring!)

ImageImageAnother love sign outside the tower, I wonder if these were left over from Valentine’s day or if they are always there?ImageIf I get a chance to go back to Taipei I’ll definitely be going up the tower. Anybody who has read my blog before will see that somehow I almost always end up going up some kind of tower in all the places I’m in, I love having a great view of the city!

 

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!