07/20/13
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Easy Shopping

On July 20, 2013, Ivan and I had lunch with Neal at All Bar one.  Ivan had the Pad Thai while I had the Halloumi and pepper wrap.

Ivan and Neal walking around

Neal went back to work and we headed back to the apartment.

Later we left at 3 pm and went shopping on Oxford Street.  We checked out Zara, Top Man and Ann Summers.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Union Jacks for lunch.  We didn’t get to sit outside, but downstairs in the basement.

Union Jacks

It was nice down there.  Lil Dave got a specially made banana pizza.  Ivan and I shared pea soup, fish fingers, coleslaw, flat beans and onion and the Woodman pizza.  I love this pizza!!

We headed back to the apartment and took it easy for the rest of the night.

07/16/13

Shopping & Beatboxing

I woke up at 10 am on July 16, 2013.  Ivan was already up.

I used the internet and ate breakfast while Ivan went to ASDA with his parents.

We said bye to Denise.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I hopped in the car with Ken.  He took us to the Thorpe Bay train station at 12:05 pm.

We got the train at 12:24 pm.  Ivan read while I worked on the blog.  We enjoyed the lunch that was prepared by Denise.

Ivan thought that we should walk to the Airbnb apartment with our luggage, but it was too hot out.  So, we hailed a cab to the place.

Ivan went to get the key and then we went inside the apartment.  It had a big room for tango dancing lessons. 

Our room was hot.. but with the window open it was good, but noisy.

Ivan and I went out at 4 pm and shared a chicken raita wrap at Pret a Manger.  We also shared a lovely yogurt at Snog. 

It was time for shopping. 

Teal mannequins

We walked around Oxford Street and shopped at many places like Topman and FCUK. 

After, we walked around Carnaby Street. 

Carnaby 2013 sign

I noticed an alley and we found the courtyard Kingly Court.  It’s a nice area with free wifi.  Ivan and I used the free internet and chilled before getting food.

Went to Busaba Eathai for dinner.  Ivan and I shared aubergine with mushrooms and greens.  Ivan got the chicken green curry while I got a fish curry.  It was a delectable meal.

We went to London Wonderground.  Ivan and I tried to get a seat in the cute bumper cars, but they were all full.

It was time to see the greatest beatboxer in the world Shlomo

Shlomo beatboxing

He was awesome as usual.  It’s always amazing to see how he makes such cool music with just his vocals.

07/14/13
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Amsterdam

Ivan and I woke up at 9:30 am on July 14, 2013.  The Carnival Legend was late arriving in Amsterdam.

We had breakfast in the buffet with Tim and Gabbie.

We got off the cruise ship at 10:45 am.  We walked 10 minutes to the city center of Amsterdam.

Ivan & Jen in a klompen

Then, we walked around the city looking at souvenirs and the cool buildings.  Ivan and I got a falfael wrap at Maoz while Tim and Gabbie grabbed food nearby.

We went to the meeting place at the Dam Square for Sandeman’s New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour.  Our guide was an Irish man named Mark.

We saw The Old Church.  Mark told us about The Red Light District.  The windows are €75-105 for 8 hours.  The girls aren’t allowed to use the toilet, so they pee in a bottle.  You’re not allowed to take pictures of the girls.  They will come out of their window, chase you down and throw their piss at you.

Amsterdam canal

Our group saw lots of sights like The Red Light District, The Anne Frank Museum, the canals, the narrowest house and the Royal Palace.

Mark told us interesting stories and history about Amsterdam.

Unlocked bikes around the canals are thrown into the canal.  20,000 bikes are taken out of the canal a year.

The tour was great.

After, we did more souvenir shopping.  We all shared some tasty fries at Mannequin with the spicy samurai mayo.

Worried that we wouldn’t make it back at 6:30 pm, but other people were running late as well.  Back on board at 6:40 pm and the Carnival Legend left at 7:10 pm.

Ivan and I showered and went down for dinner.  Ivan and I each started off with a crab cake.  Ivan got the Indian dish while I got a cheeseburger.  Ivan and I shared a chocolate melting cake for dessert.  It was a filling meal.

Ivan, Lisa, Ron, Tim, Gabbie and me

We said good-bye to Ron and Lisa.  They have a place in Las Vegas, so we plan to meet up in August.

Headed to room with Tim and Gabbie to drink wine and chat.

06/22/13
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Robbie Williams concert

On June 22, 2013, Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Market Street in Manchester.  I lost a bra in Marrakech, so I had to find a replacement.

Laura suggested Debenham’s or Marks & Spencers for bras.  I popped in to M&S to try on bras.  Ivan and Lil Dave went to Phone Warehouse and Boots.  I found a nice bra and underwear set.

It was an overcast day.  We were hoping it wouldn’t rain tonight, since we were going to a concert in a stadium.

Our next stop was Primark.  It’s a great store with tons of cool selection of clothes, accessories, purses and home stuff with really reasonable prices.  Ivan and I bought some clothes and rain jackets.

Zara was up next, so Ivan could find the jacket he’s seen before.  He found one similar which looked really good on him, so he bought it.

We walked to Piccadilly Gardens – it’s what Morrissey sings about in the song Piccadilly Palare and not Piccadilly Circus in London which everybody thinks it is.  Ivan and I were both hungry and were thinking of an Italian place.  But, then we saw the Street Food Market.

Street Food Market at Picadilly

We checked out the market and found a great place selling chicken tandoori wraps.  Ivan and I each got one.  Lil Dave went to another stall to get a banana and chicken sandwich.  Our food tasted great.

Ivan needed a haircut bad, so we went to The Arndale mall.  We found Supercuts and Ivan got his hair cut.

Ivan drove us back to the apartment.  We chilled for 30 minutes before heading out again.

Ivan drove us to a car parking lot near Etihad Stadium.  Tonight, we were going to see Robbie Williams with Olly Murs as his opening act.  Olly doesn’t go on until 7 pm or so, but we wanted to make sure we got in the Golden Circle.

We walked to the stadium and got there at 4 pm.  There was a long line at A1 which Ivan found out is the best entrance to the stadium – closest to the Golden Circle.  Ivan read that the doors open at 5 pm, but the line started moving a few minutes before 5 pm.

Ivan researched that the Golden Circle is a great place to watch the concert.  Robbie Williams has been playing in this stadium for the last 3 nights, so people have been saying things on the internet.  The Golden Circle is actually a special ticket which we didn’t have.  We snuck into the Golden Circle.  A few people were checking for wristbands and the right tickets, but Ivan and I just waltzed right in with no trouble.

We walked around the circle to check out all the different views of the stage.  Behind the stage, there’s a screen with part of Robbie Williams’ face on it.  Ivan thought that the screen would open up later.  Two runways were on both sides of the stage.

Once you leave the Golden Circle, you’re given a green wristband that ensures your re-entry into the area.

We walked to the seats and sat down for awhile since we had awhile to wait.

Before the Robbie Williams concert

Ivan and I played games on our phones and chatted.

At 6:20 pm, we stood in line to get food.  Ivan was thinking ahead – he thought that the queues (lines) for the food would be huge after Olly Murs finishes.  I agreed, so we decided to get food now and eat it cold during the break.  Ivan and I each got a chicken sandwich and chips.  We shared the chips (french fries) and headed back to the Golden Circle.

We sat down on the side to wait for Olly Murs to come on.  He wasn’t on at 7, but at 7:30 pm.  Olly was very good and he’s quite cute.  He looks really young though (like 18 years old) – I think he has that stubble on his face to make him look older.  He sang all his hits like Dance with Me Tonight, Heart Skips a Beat, Dear Darlin’ and Troublemaker.  He was great and he danced around sexily for the girls.  It started showering a bit during Olly’s set.

We knew his last song would probably be Troublemaker which it turned out to be.. so we started heading up to the toilets during the start of the song.  I wanted to avoid the long line for the ladies’ toilet since it’s always long especially compared to the men’s line.  Ivan went to get wine while I went to the loo.

We ate our chicken sandwiches which didn’t taste bad cold during the break.

Robbie ziplining into Etihad Stadium

Photo by jenniewraight

Later at 9 pm, Robbie Williams came down a zipline for his grand entrance.  He took the stage and it started raining.  Robbie said Let me introduce myself, I’m Robbie F***ing Williams.  How funny!  He told the crowd that the next 2 hours, we would be his.  I know I was totally down for this.  This was my first time seeing Robbie and Ivan’s sixth time.

Robbie Williams is such a performer – people compare him to Freddie Mercury.  I read that he had gotten fat, but he looked good to me.  But, then again he was wearing all black for most of the concert.  Ivan told me later that he gained a bit of weight.

The rain kept coming back and then stopping – I’m just glad that it wasn’t too hard.  I’m so happy that we bought our rain jackets earlier at Primark.

The screen with Robbie’s face on it was being used for visuals on the big screen and his face which we thought was really cool.  A silver cast of Robbie’s face came out and the top of his head opened up and balloons flew out of it.

Balloons coming out of Robbie's head

Robbie moved around on the stages.  He is quite a good looking guy and very cheeky.  He definitely has charisma.

It was cool to see the visuals on the big screen and Robbie’s face which matched with what song he was currently singing.

Bright stained glass on the big screen

A bronze cast of Robbie’s face came out this time.  This one had stairs leading up to it.  Some of the band went up with Robbie.  The cast shot out fire from its head and it shot water out at the audience.

Olly Murs came out and sang Kids with Robbie.

Robbie Williams has so many wonderful songs and he sang many favorites like Millennium, Rock DJ, Come Undone, Let Me Entertain You, Bodies, Candy and Strong.

During the song Me & My Monkey, the screen had Robbie as a an ape.  Very cute and funny!

Me & my monkey visuals

Lil Dave came to the stadium to hear this song since it’s his favorite Robbie Williams song – he was hanging around somewhere.. I didn’t see him, but he said he’d come just for this song.  It turns out that the fans really love this song.

Concert from high up

Picture by samlyon4

Robbie came out for an encore and sang Feel, She’s the One and Angels.  It’s so cool singing Angels along with 49,999 other people.

The concert was amazing.  I really enjoyed it.  Robbie is wonderful to watch.  I’m glad that we’ll be seeing him again soon at Wembley Stadium in London.

After the concert, we walked out via the delivery entrance.  The queues for the bus were so, so long.

Ivan and I walked back to our car in the parking lot.  Our plan was to wait for 30 minutes until the traffic died down and then drive back.  We did just that.  We played on our phone and listened to the radio.

Right before midnight, we left the parking lot and it was pretty quiet on the streets.

05/26/13
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Seafood Magic

Ivan and I were waken up by Lee at 1:30 pm on May 26, 2013.  He wanted to know if we wanted to join him and Louise for lunch.  We said yes and got changed.

Lee and Louise had been up since 10:30 am.  We walked toward the sushi restaurant since Lee was craving sushi.

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We decided to check out Botanica Insolata which is a garden market which sells raw food, wooden decorations, flowers and plants.

We all sat down at Tahini.  The restaurant had a lunch special for 27 Euros, so we all decided to get it since it seemed like a good deal.

The appetizer was miso soup which came with fish along with the onions and tofu.  I thought it was alright.  I didn’t finish it since I knew a lot of food would be coming soon.  I don’t want to eat too much since I always seem to gain weight when I’m traveling.

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The sushi came out next which tasted pretty good.  Ivan didn’t want the chicken yakitori, so he got extra sushi.  I’m sure he was happy about that since he loves sushi.

The rest of the food came out next which was chicken yakitori, langostino tempura and noodles.  I really enjoyed the chicken yakitori probably since it’s been awhile since I’ve had it.

Dessert was up next which was a brownie filled with walnuts and vanilla ice cream.  It was a lovely dessert.

There are many cool shops in Puerto Portales.  I’m glad we got a chance to browse a few of them.  My favorite shop was definitely Insight.

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It’s filled with cool art, products and clothing.

I liked seeing the cool high heels like the hot pink spiked Christian Louboutin shoes.

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I would love to rock these shoes… but, they’re really expensive, very, very high heels and the heels look like that they might be uncomfortable. The extra height would be amazing. I would be over 5 foot then.

Lee thought it would be nice to walk around and check out all the boats.  It was cool to see the different styles of the boats and the cool names.  Some names are a bit lame like Sue Ellen or Sanity.  I prefer the cool ones like Flying Fox, XS and Dads Toy.

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Ivan, Lee, Louise and I headed back to the boat.  Lee and Louise went up to the deck to have a siesta (nap).  Ivan and I went to Wellies to use the internet.  There is a free connection on the port, but it doesn’t work on the boat.  You’d think the port would have an amazing connection considering how much the boat owner’s pay to park their boat at the port yearly.  The port should have strong routers along the port.

Ivan and I used the internet while we sipped on our espresso.  I worked on the blog.

We walked back to the boat.  Louise asked if we would like tea.  I said that would be amazing since it’s chilly out.  I was hoping it would warm me up a bit.  We chatted for awhile.  It’s so great to find people who are fun, cool, funny, laidback and don’t get offended easily.

Ivan did a few magic tricks and amazed Lee and Louise.

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I know the secrets to Ivan’s magic tricks and have seen the tricks performed many times – so I don’t usually watch too closely.  Unlike hypnosis, it gets repetitive.  Ivan does hypnosis which is a lot more fun since it’s always different since people have different personalities and imaginations.

Ivan and I bought colored streamers in Las Vegas to decorate the boat – one was the gay pride colors and the other was pink zebra print.  Ivan stuck some up, but did a poor job of it.. just scattered everywhere willy nilly.  I have decorated parties before with streamers.  So, I decided to decorate different areas on the boat which turned out looking cool.

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Kids passed by and wanted to come to our party.  I’m sure the parents saw the gay pride streamers and thought I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy their gay party.  I wonder how the gay pride colors came about.  I’m thinking that a gay man thought Oh, I just love rainbows! and he was very creative and decided to decorate his house with the rainbow colors with flags and blankets and somehow it caught on like a house on fire.

Lil Dave the monkey and Reggie the bear went out to get some dinner.  Dave said there’s a cool restaurant where animals can have fun and dance to pop music during afterhours which is 10 pm.  I hope Lil Dave doesn’t start any trouble.  He can be a cheeky lil monkey sometimes,

Later that night, Ivan, Lee, Louise and I got a taxi to Puerto Adriano.  It’s another port where Lee actually was thinking about parking his boat.  The area was nice, but it has way too much concrete which probably looks very too industrial during the day.  It seems more like a rock quarry since it’s surrounded by rocks.  It was also eerily quiet there especially compared to Puerto Portales.

We walked around the port to find a nice restaurant for dinner.  We soon found out that most of the restaurants close at 10:30 pm.  A guy said that some of the restaurants do close at 11 pm, but he wasn’t sure which ones.

Ivan looked up that the port was designed by Philippe Starck.  It had a lot of brown wood and teak floors.  It was modern, but not as nice as other Starck’s designs that we’ve seen.  I did like the weird tree plants I saw amongst the shops and restaurant.

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We walked really fast to the first restaurant we saw earlier.  I hoped that it was still open.  Restaurant El Faro, which is a seafood restaurant, was still open, so we sat down.  Since it was kitchen was closing in 30 minutes, we had to order as fast as possible.  I think the chef really wanted to go home or something.  The waiter was adamant that we couldn’t get paella since it does take awhile to cook.  Ivan and Louise were disappointed since they thought paella sounded really good.  Oh, well.. I’m sure we can get some paella tomorrow.

Ivan and I shared three appetizers and one main course.  The octopus Galician style and the mussels in a Seaman’s sauce (I’m serious – check out the picture! hahaha) came out for our starters.

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The mussels was a huge portion especially since it was only an appetizer.  Ivan, Lee and I were sharing a bottle of red wine which turned out quite nice.

We chatted and had some laughs.

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Our main course came out which was a Mix “El Faro” (small fish, Padron peppers and fried calamari) and grilled tuna steak.  The food was so very tasty.

Lee wanted to head back since he didn’t feel good and he was tired.

Ivan asked somebody at the restaurant if they could call a cab for us.  We weren’t sure if we’d find a taxi since it was so quiet in the port.  The taxi came really fast and we left at 12:20 am.

Louise and Lee went to bed soon after while Ivan and I used the internet for awhile in our cabin before going to bed.

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05/21/13
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Chilly Shopping

I woke up on at 2 pm on May 21, 2013 to find Ivan and Lil Dave already awake.  It was lucky that we slept through all the heavy rain.  Gerard said last night that it was odd for rainy weather to occur during May in Ibiza.  It was still overcast outside though.

Ivan and I used the internet before we headed out at 3 pm.  Lil Dave decided to go explore Old Town by himself.  I think he wanted to try to see if he could find any cool monkeys to hang out with.

We went to Bar Restaurant Vara de Rey for lunch.  Ivan picked out a few tapas at the counter. 

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Ivan and I shared anchovies, bacalao (cod), squid and a Spanish omelet.  Lil Dave got a banana omelet.

It was a chilly day in Ibiza.  Ivan and I forgot to bring jackets, so we decided to go shopping.  I needed to find a summer dress or a swimsuit cover-up anyway.  We spent hours shopping at many stores like Jack Jones, Inside, Zara and United Colors of Benetton. 

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Ivan bought socks, boxers and a sweater at Jack Jones.  I found a cute white cover-up and a dark blue summer dress at Inside.

Later on, I found a pink jacket at La Sirena.  Ivan liked the jackets better here, so he decided to return his sweater at Jack Jones.  But, he remembered that he had a long sleeve shirt and that might do for now.  He doesn’t get as cold as I do probably since he grew up in England.

It was time to rest at the apartment after our long day of shopping.  I worked on the blog while Ivan used the internet. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went out to dinner at La Bodega which was a busy restaurant we saw earlier.  The restaurant has interesting and cool décor. 

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Lil Dave got a banana stuffed pepper and a banana tagliatelle.  Ivan and I shared whitebait in vinegar, small Padron peppers, patatas bravas, cod fish la bodega, vegetable croquettes and Manchego cheese.    The meal was delicious!  The food came out really fast too. 

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We walked back to the Dalt Vila Castle and to our apartment.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I used the internet for awhile.  Jetlag is such an annoyance.  I can’t wait until we’re back on a normal schedule.  Ivan and I went to bed at 6 am.

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