Sunday, 23 November 2014

Culture Vultures

Vultures is probably a good description. I am certainly not an expert on what is considered "good". I just know what I like, and I love the theatre. While I enjoy going to see "big" productions when national or international companies tour to Perth, I also love going to support amateur theatre.

Over the last couple of weeks, my daughters and I have gone to see three plays. We like the theatre, but if you have never been before it is a great way to experience something a bit different without having to travel. If you have been before, you will be nodding and agreeing so that is good too.

There are so many opportunities to see performances. It often supports local groups, and it is usually a great night out, and often at very affordable prices.

We saw:
  • Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, by Black Martini Theatre at Murdoch University, for $10;
  • A Rogers & Hammerstein version of Cinderella at Koorliny Arts Centre for $20; and
  • A production of Taming of the Shrew at a local high school for $8.
All three productions were enjoyable, engaging, and had fabulous costumes. Two of the three productions had live orchestras.

  • Take some small change for a program, and for raffle tickets.
  • The bar prices (when applicable) are usually quite cheap.
  • Google the synopsis if taking children (just in case it is M-rated. I have been caught out and I know better).
  • Small theatres are great. Nothing beats being close to the stage.
  • Take a jumper, just in case.
I highly recommending having a look to see what is around next time you are looking to do something in your local area. I

Cath xx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Bali ... a beginner's experience

As Lela mentioned the welcome post, this blog was conceived on our recent trip to Bali. We will blog later on prices and tips and actual links to places, but this post is a quick snapshot to Bali through the eyes of a first-timer.  

This trip was my first time to Bali, and my second time to Asia. My other Asian experience was Cambodia, so my perception of Bali was very much based on that earlier experience. Cambodia, when I went there, was still very untouched by tourism, and the extreme poverty and effects of the Khmar Rouge was still very evident. I went to Bali mentally prepared for the same level of poverty, and it was very different from that aspect.

If I had to pick one word to sum up Bali it would be “beautiful”. The scenery is beautiful, the people are beautiful, and the atmosphere is lovely and cruisey. As we were only there for a few days, we didn’t do anything along the lines of tourist attractions. We wandered around and lazed at the hotel. It very much catered for the tourist market. Most of the poverty, including the begging, that you would expect from a developing country is hidden from the tourist view. The upside to this, of course, is that the tourist dollar is a big part of the economy. There was comparatively little litter and the restaurants were clean. We did see a cat with kittens in one, but no mice so this has to be a good thing.

Lazing by the pool

The money totally did my head in! So many zeros. However the Balinese people were lovely when I made mistakes and tried to pay them the equivilent of 20 cents rather than 20 dollars. I also totally admit that I was a little lazy when it came to converting, because Lela  was there to do it for me. I may have to take a cheat sheet next time! I did work out by the end that if I said “dollar” amounts, I could usually barter with that and then convert to rupiah for actual payment. 

While we are on the topic, I struggle with bartering. I know it is part of the culture, but it still gets to me when you know you are in a comparatively privileged position. That said, no-one seems to mind, and if you can’t get something for a price you are happy to pay you know someone else will be selling it just around the corner. Just don’t make eye contact if you don’t want to seriously look, and smile, say thank you, walk past and don’t engage if you're not planning on stopping.
The locals were lovely. We discovered that the men “like chubby women” and some were very persistent in telling us this. I don’t think the Australian ad with Rhonda did us any favours (or did us lots if you want to look at it as a bonus). I am quite fair and blonde, and I was a little sick of being touched by the time we left. Not inappropriately! But still a bit of invasion of personal space.

I love my rainbow Bali hat!
Tip: if you want to make some local people happy, take some Australian gold coins. It wasn’t something that occurred to me, but it is something I will do next time as we were asked quite a lot.
The food was divine. The bonus to it being in small servings, and cheap was that  it was a great excuse for long meals with more than one course which is something I wouldn’t do at home. I very much recommend going to a nice restaurant and having a three or four course meal. We had three courses plus cocktails for less that A$30 each. So very worth it. We were so full that we had to go back and sleep, but was a lovely night. Also try some traditional Balinese food. The one meal that I had was so good. Next time I will definitely be expanding my cuisine selections to include some more.

The beginning of each day ....

Tip: Order water at the beginning and end of every meal. As you can only drink bottled water there it is a good way of getting at least two bottles in each time you eat.

One of the bonuses to going with Lela was going to see the wholesale craft places. So much prettiness. I left wanting to start some sort of business just so I had an excuse to wholesale shop. Ribbons, bells, buttons, lace, materials and so much more. My favourite purchases were spiderman-monkey-bells and green ribbon purple cows. I have no need for either of these things, but they were fun.

Allow nap time. To either sleep or laze by the pool. So if you forget a book, do not fear! Firstly because it is a holiday, and secondly it is hot, and thirdly time just seems to move slower in Bali. Except the traffic. The traffic moves fast, unless you walk in front of it, then it stops. Which is quite convenient really, because no-one wants to spend their holiday in a hospital. (If you are looking for books in English, we found at least three second hand book shops. Full of lots of holiday type reading.)

I also highly recommend getting a massage on your first day. If you don’t like it, it is cheap. If you do like it, it  means you can get one every day. Biggest mistake we made I think was waiting until the second day to get a massage! Definitely a mistake I wouldn’t make a second time. (I should also note here that this was something people told me and I didn't pay attention! Learn from my mistakes). 

There will be a next time. I am planning a family holiday there next year and doing some more of the touristy things then. I have definitely been bitten by the travel bug.

Stay tuned for some more posts as I research that trip. Until next post …. Happy dreaming, and happy planning.

Cath xx

Sunday, 9 November 2014

B is for....Bridgetown Blues

**A-Z South West and A-Z Perth is an occasional series where we are tourist in our home state and explore WA with new eyes**

The Bridgetown Blues is an iconic music festival bringing new and old talent to the south west, and has been for 22 years! Held on the 2nd weekend of November, it is located in the beautiful Bridgetown, with the music festival spanning the main part of town.

The best way to describe ' the Blues' is to liken it to the entire town putting on a house party. And everyone is invited!
The buzz around town is contagious. Schools, business, council, residents....they all get involved in true down to earth country style.

Entertainment: Tickets can be bought via the organising body, Blues at Bridgetown, with varying options.
There is a mix of ticketed events, pubs with door charges and numerous free events and stages.

My absolute favourite was the street party. The main street is closed down, a market is set up and numerous stages are located along a strip of almost a 1km of road.

Street Party.....It. Is. Awesome.

Free Entertainment
This is followed closely by the Sundowner session on Sunday, located at the stage called "the Owls Nest", it is a casual finale for the weekend. Kids are welcomed, locals can have a catch up and its a great atmosphere.

Favourite band of the weekend...without a doubt, 19twenty and at 7 gigs in 3 days, including one at the local primary school, they were much loved by the crowd.

Transport: South West Coach lines has a bus service that will deliver you to the main street of Bridgetown. Or Bridgetown is a 225km drive from Perth.

On transport....this is a small country town. Normally the resident numbers don't exceed 3000. So you can imagine, no car parking high rises here.

Don't be a Dick. Park your car in a considerate manner. You may need to park on a side or back street. This may be a 5min walk to the action. Bridgetown does have a ranger, and he will issue fines.

Hot tip: Point your GPS to Roe St, especially the northern end, generally good parking opportunities are available on this street, in designated bays, and only about 3min walk to the main street.

 Accommodation:  Bridgetown has numerous levels of accommodations. Chalets, caravan parks, B-n-B's ect. However these book out super fast.
If you are coming in a campervan, the Showgrounds over is designated for you. If you are camping, space is available at the high school oval. Both of these venues have more info on the Blues at Bridgetown web site.
Also check out Gumtree, Air B-n-B and Couchsurfing for more options. Locals often let out a spare room or their front yard over the course of the weekend.

Hot tip: Bring warm clothes for the evening. Its spring, it might reach the low 30's during the day, but that doesn't mean the evening won't drop to 2 degrees overnight!
So overall, such a worthwhile event to go to! You'll get your money's worth.
Hot Tip: You don't need to be a fan of blues music to still have a ball.

Monday, 3 November 2014


What can you do with $5 a week. A coffee? The newspaper?

Go to Bali?

Yep. Go to Bali. It started several years ago. We, Cathy and Lela, friends from way back, needed something to look forward too, a collective goal.

We could only afford $5 a week and our original goal was to go on a trip to Europe by the time we hit 40.

Time went by and a lot changed. We realised time was short. And life was too awesome to wait until we are 40 to pursue travel dreams.

We took that $5 a week and went to Bali! (future post to come!). Whilst in Bali we realised the travel bug had bitten. We realised that we loved talking, dreaming, saving and sharing our travels and ideas just as much as the travel itself.

And so it was that Kris' Angels was born. It's a play on St. Christopher, the patron saint of safe travels and the hot chicks in Charlie's Angels. We might not be the hot and nimble chicks (and we are a duo), but we hope to have safe travels and a damn good time!

We hope you enjoy our little space on the blogosphere!