Jun 082014




  • We stayed in two places in Lima on two different occasions
    • the first was Hannover Hostel which was quiet and had good breakfast. It’s located  in Magdalena del mar which is a local area and not too touristy.
    • the second time we stayed at…. which also had good breakfast, a great common area with lots of movies.


  • we stayed in two places here as well.
    • Recoleta hostel was a great hostel. Cheaper than most and had free breakfast, wifi, fresh towels and sheets. There was common areas and a kitchen and the staff are so lovely. We stayed there long enough to call them family.
    • We stayed at another more locat hostel called tywantinsuyo. Just up the road from recoleta hostel. The break was great and we also stayed here long enough to feel like family. The ladies who work here are sweet and helpful.


  • In iquitos we stayed at Gondrinas hostel. Its only S/. 18 per person which is a great price. No breakfast but simple space with a pool.
    • they also offer tours into the jungle which is what we went with. It was a fraction of the price. Only S/. 110 a day per person compared to AUD$100 a day per person.



  • Buses:
    • The buses are more for longer distances but in Lima and Iquitos a bus is usually used.
    • There are specific stops (bus terminals) for buses and you can usually ask the hostel or hotel where to get a specific terminal.
  • Collectivos:
    • Are like a van that run like the buses but are more for local travel.
    • Are used more often in Cusco and arouns the Sacred Valley.
    • Collectivos are easy to catch. Generally waiting at a stop and saying the name of where you want to go to the drivers and they will let you know what bus or collectivo.
    • Its also much cheaper to catch Collectivos or buses. Pay attention to what other locals are paying and hand them the same money. Sometimes we were told more than what others were paying.
  • Trains:
    • to get to Machu Picchu there are a few ways you can go. There are trails of course like the Inca trail. There are sometimes buses that get you to different points but it is common for people to take the train to Agua Calientes.



-Ceviche can be shrimp (prawn), Octopus, or fish and is raw and cooked only in lemon juice. It is delicious and we were fortunate to find a place located in El Punto right across from a pier and restaurant. Its worth a drive!

  • In La Comar (a shopping center on the beach at Miraflores) there are lots of places to eat.

-Norky’s is a chicken place with a family deal. The chicken is cooked beautifully and the portion is enough for 4 easily.


-To save money stay out of the main square and head down small side streets. From the square take Avendida Del Sol and take the first right. That street has many small local shops that have a Menu del Dia which is a daily meal. Its usually soup, main, and sometimes a drink or dessert for S/.4 (less than 2 dollars).

-The Malenese is a breaded piece of chicken breast and it often served with rice, chips and salad. The chicken in Peru is so nice and fresh.

-Jacks Cafe is only a walk from the main square and has international food and great coffee. Try the milkshakes too. MMm…

- Also there are lots of markets around (our favorite is Rosaspata marqado). There you can find fruit, veg, and meat. There is also several supermarkets around.



Spanish is generally the language spoken. But in many places including Cusco and much of the sacred Valley they speak Quechua. Its the Incan language.



-Going to Machu Picchu is a must, but book in advance and definitely book Waynapicchu. Its the mountain next to Machu and its about an hour and a half walk up and down but its a beautiful view of machu picchu and the valley.



Love Alexandria and Family.


 Posted by at 5:19 am
Jun 072014



  • Many hotels in China are for residents only and are much cheaper than tourist hotels. Hostels are small but if you are traveling alone or with two people they should suit your needs.
    -In Shanghai a local woman showed us Hantings Hotel in Lujibang (near the metro station) and they accommodated us (although they spoke no English). We stayed there for several weeks and we would stay there again if in Shanghai.
  • We stuck with Hantings in Beijing and they were helpful to the best of their ability. Even walked to a place to get our phone recharged.
  • In Wudangshan we stayed at (…..). The place is run by a lovely young couple who were very accommodating and generous. They had delicious food and made meals that were fresh and delicious.



Trains and metros

-Metro stations are easy to catch in Shanghai and in Beijing. You simply purchase a ticket before and scan your way. Connecting trains are easy to navigate as well.

-Train travel throughout China is more complicated. You need to locate a travel agency or place that sells tickets. Do this in advance because trains fill fast. Once you arrive at a station you need to go through security and head to your waiting area. When the time comes for boarding your ticket is checked and you are allowed to head to your train.

-There are many types of tickets. Seats, open sleepers, and rooms but they generally do not serve food so have money to buy something or bring some of your own.



There are buses but we only took them once or twice. We stuck with the metro, since it was fast and the stops were clear.



  • Shanghai:
    • In China in general look for Food Republics. Its a food court with lots of choices. In Shanghai near People’s Square there is one in the shopping center called………..
    • Try the make our own soup places. You can add your own ingredients and they cook it for you. Its very good.
    • In may restaurants near Lujibang you can find cheap meals for 10 to 15 Yuan. Most of these places don’t have English menus but if they have pictures then you can point to what you think looks good.
    • Try the bubble teas too from Coco. They are a nice cheap treat.


  • Beijing:
    • Wangfujing has many places to eat as well as a the Oriental Plaza which has another Food Republic.
    • There is also a Sushi Express that has dishes for 6 Yuan a piece. It was a delicious meal.
    • In Beijing you can find a crepe like wrap that has a crunchy crispy cracker inside it with egg cooked on it with some herbs and spice. Its 2 or 3 Yuan and a great snack for the road. You can even find a place that sells them in the Food Republic at the Oriental Plaza but on the street is much tastier.



  • Wudangshan has delicious food over all. Its easy to find vegetable and tofu dishes cooked with lots of flavour as well as meat dishes if you prefer.

-Just note that a chicken combination dish usually means different parts of the chicken such as the neck, feet and who knows what else etc.



  • Finding English speakers in China is not easy. If you learn some chinese it will be very helpful. We found that even with a Chinese language book we were struggling to pronounce the words properly. But with that said we got by with gestures and pointing out words.



  • For Chinese Visas (if you plan on staying longer than 30 days) don’t get a multiple entry visa. It will cost money to leave and reenter China. Instead simply get your visa renewed while you’re in China. Its much cheaper and will take only about a week.
  • Also on a Chinese Visa application they ask you for specific locations of your stay. In our case we didn’t know where we would be so be simply put that we were backpacking around China and our visas were still approved. However it might not work for everyone.


Love Alexandria and Family.


 Posted by at 5:19 am
Jun 062014

Back in Australia…2 years today we left on our adventure…WOW!!!

What was a one year trip has become a 2 year incredible adventure around the Globe. There is sooooo much to see in this beautiful world. A gift indeed. I guess each post really says it all but this has been so profound and such an amazing time traveling with all its challenges, rewards and enriching experiences. I am truly grateful, blessed and feel privileged to have done this trip and met the wonderful people along this journey. I wish you all a safe, prosperous and fulfilling life ahead. I would like to thank all those that gave us the opportunity to learn and give; to those that crossed our path and shared their lives with us and us with them. The opportunity to volunteer  and be part of the great work many of these people do everyday as opposed to the little time we offered . I commend them on the day to day commitment and contribution to change and support those to live a better life, a healthier life, not to mention saving lives.

I want to thank everyone that has come along with us on this Journey; through your comments, sharing through the blog and personal emails…Each of your beautiful comments and feedback enriched us and we thank you with all of our hearts for joining us. We are truly grateful.

Thank you for all those that supported us to make this possible from day 1. Thank you Julie Stephenson and Family, all those from our working bee, real estate agent Simon Finlayson, neighbors , Gold Coast bulletin, the many adventure stores, our Families and friends.   We hope we have also created an opportunity for others to draw and contribute from our own experiences and perhaps given you some guidelines and tips to your own travels.

Thank you with All of our hearts. may your lives be enriched with enormous love, joy, good health and prosperity.

We love you and thank you for being apart of our lives and look forward to another chapter in our lives.

Until the next time we meet…Are you living a fulfilled life…if not what are you waiting for…Live Life Now, and be nice to one another.

Lots of Love

Faris, Gincori, Alexandria and Tahira


 Posted by at 11:50 pm
Jun 062014

Hong Kong:


  • For the four of us it was difficult finding hostels that were big enough for us and our luggage but for one person, staying in Causeway Bay, Chungking Mansion or the like should be easy to find a place to stay.



Buy an octopus card for the buses and metros. It makes getting in and out much easier.


  • Hong Kong has an amazing metro system. Trains come every 3 mins and the system is easy to navigate. We used the metro mainly.


  • If you know your way around then a bus is also good for getting to places that the metro might not stop at.



  • In Tsim Shu Sui there are many local restaurants as well as international restaurants to try.
  • In ISquare in the supermarket they have really nice sushi for cheap.
  • On Ashley road is a place called Tectonic Pizza. You can get a 24 inch pizza that is delicious. But be aware you might struggle to finish this monster.
  • Try the lemon ice tea at any local restaurant.



  • More people spoke English here than in China. It was easy to ask questions and inquire generally. Of course many people only know a few words.



-If your on a budget, I wouldn’t stay in Hong Kong for long. In general its not a cheap place. But if its a beautiful city.

  • Take the tram to the peak at night and you get a beautiful view of the whole of Hong Kong and photos.
  • There are visas places in Hong Kong for China that will do your visa for you.


Love Alexandria and Family.


 Posted by at 10:56 am
Jun 052014



  • Check out a place before you book. Many places advertise a good price but are infested and have wires hanging out of the walls.

- In Varanasi the Ganpati Hostel was really great. They had Gange River views, a beautiful courtyard, nice staff and free wifi.



  • The train system in India is nothing like Thailand. You are better off asking a local to book for you. And make sure you book ahead or you will find that all most seats have been taken.
  • Also on many trains they have a maximum on foreigners. So check in advance.
  • According to what we’ve heard, third class nonAC seats are incredibly crowded. People pushing often preventing people from getting off. If you try this out make sure your assertive.
  • Second class seats or sleepers, are ok, still a bit intimate and the length of the sleepers are not made for tall westerners.
  • In our experience first class seats were the best. They serve food, breakfast, lunch or dinner and the seats are comfortable and reclinable.



- Local buses are great. They come frequently and you can ask locals were they go. They are generally cheap but watch what others are paying because some times they see foreigners and try to rip you off. But not always.

  • Also be aware that person space is not considered important on one of these buses. Close contact is unavoidable but watch how everyone helps you out. They don’t mind squeezing 3 to a seat made for one. They will hold things for those standing…even babies and no space is too small for another person to sit.



-Food and Drink you can get anywhere:

  • Obviously depending on where you are you can sample local cuisine at almost any restaurant.
  • Street food in India is more of snacks… Not meals like in Thailand. Although you can have a meal of samosas, its nice to head to a restaurant and have a curry and rice.
  • Make sure however to get street food that is cooked in front of you and is fresh to avoid getting Delhi Belly.
  • Masala Chai (tea) or just chai (normal tea) is delicious and you can get it almost anywhere. Even shop owners offer it to customers as a courtesy.


  • Kolkata:
    • Has many types of street food. Try the paneer roles and dhal balls.
  • Varanasi:
    • In Varanasi there are samosas, fried bread, and much more. Our favorite street food was the mango drinks. There are several stands but one in particular near the main ghat was delicious.
    • Also try the brown bread bakery. Its down an alley way but not hard to find. They focus on organic, and charity. The money goes to help women of the community. (there is also a Brown Bread Bakery in Delhi in Paraguage). They have a delicious buffet breakfast with fresh curd, fruit, eggs, bread and granola.
  • Rishikesh:
    • In Rumdula there is the Buddha cafe. Has all your non-Indian food cravings. Including pretty good pizza, and falafels.
  • Dharamasla:
    • Specifically Mcleod Gang has many choices of places to eat.
    • Our favorite was a Tibetan restaurant on Jogiwara Road next door to the Four Seasons restaurants. They have delicious momos, chopsuey and chowmen. They also serve breakfast porridge, barley and pancakes.
    • There is a Japanese restaurant further down on Jogiwara road and they serve soups, sushi, and set daily meals.
    • In Norbilingka is the Norling Cafe that has delicious Thanthuk soup. Its a traditional Tibetan dish.
  • Spiti Valley and around:
    • on our travels through the Spiti Valley we found that passing through Batal there was a small place to eat. Served by a couple with love and care. The food was delicious and the portions are a good size. All for 25 Rupees.


  • There are many languages spoken in India. The north and east generally speak Hindi but English is national and many people understand it. If you do learn some Hindi and couple that with dressing like the locals you will be accepted much more and appreciated.



  • Wear modest clothing. India is generally hot but it is not usually ok to show to much skin. Keep your legs covered with a skirt, or pants and keep your shoulders covered.
  • India has traditional clothing such as a Punjabi Suit or Sari. They are easy to have made for you and the locals will appreciate you more and accept you.
  • Men, in some areas, wear a duti but its not customary everywhere.
  • Give way to cows. The cows will not move for you and you shouldn’t expect it. Cows are sacred animals in India and they openly roam the streets.
  • In Rishkesh go water rafting on the Ganga. Its an amazing experience. The Ganga waters are ice cold but refreshing. Don’t go in the rainy months when the Ganga is swollen and can be very dangerous.

Next…Hong Kong

Love Alexandria and Family.


 Posted by at 10:19 am
Nov 222013

Hello Everyone

Apologies definitely in order for not getting posts out. No excuses!

Thank you all for those who have kept in contact via emails and have been following our Journey still.

Ok, lets catch up here…23 May – 31 July 2013 we spent in USA. We left Mexico city and landed in Los Angeles and drove down to San Diego after visiting Beverly Hills and Venice beach.  The girls wanted to check out out the infamous Rodeo drive…you know how it is. A few hours driving down the californian coastline to our hostel  in Point Loma…I do love San Diego as I had lived there for a while years ago.

Hostel was impressive actually and recommend highly. Its called Hostelling Intentional, Point Loma. We stayed for 3 nights, did a little shopping in the city of San Diego, visited the San Diego zoo, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Ate at some of the local restaurants and checked out some  local beaches. Having a car was great to get around.

25th May we headed to Arizona to catch up with family and stay for a while and use as a base. After 5 hours of driving we were there. I could distinctly notice the difference in landscape and temperature crossing California into Arizona…From Beach to Desert. yes it was hot, everyplace was air-conditioned. but what amazing mountains, sunrises and sunsets in the desert.

On the list of the places we wanted to visit was Sedona.What an incredibly majestic place. The mountains, rock formation and terrain has nature once again exhibiting its powerful beauty. We went on some amazing treks, one not to miss is the west folk track.we had a great time. A must to visit when in the USA.

Pictures below of our Sedona trip  with the next blog The Grand Canyon


Until the next post…Are you Celebrating Life!

Lot of Love

Faris and Family


 Posted by at 10:11 am
Aug 192013

So yesterday we went to the anthropology museum. We heard from a friend that it was a wealth of information. Trust us, it is.

We walked down Reforma which is a beautiful area and street lined with trees and, benches and surrounded by stone architecture. It’s actually quite European. We made our way to the Museum, paid the $57 pesos and headed inside. Within the first hour we saw the first section but we all needed a moment outside to recover from all that we have seen. There was just so much to see. So many artifacts. Honestly I didnt expect to see so much of what was there. Some broken pots and some bones perhaps but not all the jewelry, the sculptures, the weapons,and the gold. Gincori and Tahira mentioned how amazingly gifted these people were.There were items that were so intricate and items that were so grand and large. Yet with no precision tools and machinery. Dad was intrigued by the glyphs, the carvings and the spiritual ceremonies of each culture, especially in the section related to the Mayans. Personally as an artist I was really inspired. I kept looking at the designs on clay pots, and bowls and thought, I want to do that. There were shapes in stones, and tiles that I wanted to use in my own work. I photographed jewelry, carvings and structures that resonated with me. It was amazing for all of us to see the differences between the different areas such as the Yucatan and the Mayas to the Aztecs more central and the Olmecs. Each culture was very different in how they represented the world around them and their beliefs.

It felt a bit overwhelming in some cases. However we walked away feeling that it was Far more worth the $57 pesos which is about $5 AUD. There were boards with information in Spanish and English but so many of the small plaques were in Spanish and there were things that we were unsure what they were used for. We used our imagination though. I think that made it exciting; just guessing what things were. We all had different ideas. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

We definitely recommend a visit to this museum.

So far we have been enjoying our stay here in Mexico City. It has all the restaurants, cafes, and shopping you could hope for in a city as well as local life bustling all around you. There are many cultural things, such as museums, galleries, and historical cites to check out. We are looking forward to the next few days exploring the city and taking it all in.



With Love

Alexandria and Family


 Posted by at 6:12 am
Aug 182013

Here in Merida, on January 5th and 6th the whole community joins in festivities to celebrate the birthday of a new city. Merida used to be a Mayan city, but when the Spanish (“El Mozo” Montejo) came they established it as a new city in 1542. For these two days of celebration the main square and some shops close.

Around 6pm we left our home and decided to check out what would be in store. We grabbed a bite to eat and headed for the square. We made it in time to see a Mayan performance of dance. Then we followed the crowd around the square and realized that stations had been set up around the square and 2 others squares for dances, singing, and celebrations. It was amazing seeing the men dressed in typical Mexican clothing from the past and seeing the traditional dresses the women wear that are common still today.

At each station different dances would be performed in couples. Everyone danced in unity, with castanets in their hands and bandanas around their necks or waving in the air. I felt the best dance was a dance where a pole is placed in the middle of the floor with ribbons all in different colors. Each couple gets a color and then they dance around the pole going back and forth making designs and patters with the ribbons. Its amazing. It seems that there was no room to mess up a step or the whole dance would be ruined. Also they danced with trays on their heads with glasses filled with, what I assumed was water, but could easily been some sort of alcohol. Then when they began to spin around, the glasses moved to the edge and began tipping slightly and spraying out. They danced with perfect balance and no one dropped anything.

After, everyone moved to the streets were several large bands were standing. Everyone gathered around the sides and back. As the music began we all started to walk towards the square. It was beautiful to be sharing this moment with the local people as they sang and held candles and honored their past. We arrived at a stage in the main square where about 40 guitarists and singers began to play for the last 20 minutes before midnight. Then the clock struck twelve and fire works went off, right in front of us from the city hall building behind the stage. The family and I really liked it when the fireworks began to stream down like rain from the roof top. It was like it was snowing with fire. It was quite spectacular.

The whole night was an amazing cultural experience that i enjoyed with my family. I loved experiencing the history of this place with all the local people.

Alexandria and Family


 Posted by at 4:04 am
Jun 292013

14 September 2013 I left Playa del Carmen, Mexico to Vava’u Tonga to join up with my dear friend Julie and a small group with WhaleSwim Adventures to swim with Humpback Whales and explore our photographic passion.

Wow, what a life changing experience, one I will never forget.  An almost indescribable  3+ weeks it was. I say almost  because in my new found connection and awareness with self, I find myself passionately processing images and writing like I have never done before, not to mention how I feel personally. There are so many layers to my experience, but I have written a poem with a couple of images I would like to share with you in reflection.

I look forward  to sharing more as I work through and finish my  collection of images.


Beyond the depths of the ocean 
Great Courage and Strength emerges,
Playfulness of Life beckons 
I am    I see    I do    I feel.


Softness and Grace flows divinely 
Intimacy…Energy…Heart pulsing 
Expansion and Vulnerability, Nowhere to hide
I play    I love    I connect    I touch 
I am seen and I see.


Profoundness, Reverence and Privileged 
Humbled experiences deepened
 Soul free    Heart open    Body alive
There is…


 Fire and Moon entangle in a dance
Passion    Desire    Release    Birth 
New beginnings, a Gift of the present
Guidance and Wisdom
Friendship…Love…Soul mates 
Divinely Orchestrated. 

          © Faris Mouasher



Until the next Post…Are you Celebrating Life

Love to all



 Posted by at 4:52 am
Jun 272013

Thailand Tips:

We have calibrated, as a family, some tips over this trip and we will be sharing these tips by country over the weeks to come.


-Check online websites for good deals (such as

-This can save you money, even if you don’t book online.

-A Little Bird Guesthouse in Chiang Mai

-Went for about 100 Baht per person which is a little more than $3 AUD

-Its clean, safe, and central. The staff are helpful and accommodating. And the it had a great backpackers atmosphere (not to mention free unlimited wifi).

-Be mindful that photos are sometimes deceiving and places may look different than advertised.

-Also its a good idea to keep a copy of your online booking and the price you agreed to pay, since in some cases we were told we needed to pay more.

-In some cases, places charge cancelation fees so read the fine print when booking.



-Taking trains in Thailand is a must.

- Book online at:

  • The overnight second class sleeps are comfortable and roomy.
  • Lower berth, on the bottom, is more spacious than the top yet the upper berth is still comfortable.
  • The upper berth does get cold during the night due to the AC, so a jacket or extra blanket is recommended.
  • Also eat before getting on the train and bring some snacks if you need them. The train does offer food but its more than you might want to pay.
  • On day trains, they might serve you food in your seat for free. Remember though, that they aren’t large meals so you might want those snacks.

-All in all, taking a train in Thailand is a pleasant experience and is a great way to see the sights while traveling.


  • Buses are easy to catch.

-Usually you can find the schedule from your hotel or hostel.

There are several ways to find out but another way is to head to a bus station and check out the schedule. You just rock up at that time, pay your way and off you go. Generally you use buses for transportation further than an hour or outside the area your staying in.

Taxis and Yellow Buses:

  • In some places, such as Chiang Mai, I never saw any buses. Instead the yellow bus is used. Its not really a bus but more of a covered truck (or ute).
  • Its best to negotiate price before hand. Ask locals or your hotel/hostel staff for a reasonable price to get to your destination. Often times drivers will take it but if they refuse you can bargain or hale another yellow taxi. It helps to have a map that you can point to for the driver as well. Also locals catching the same taxi might even try to help. The Thai people are really sweet and eager to help.
  • Toktoks (three wheelers) are also an easy way to travel but we, being 4 did not manage to experience them while in Thailand.
  • If you find a good Taxi driver, sometimes it worth keeping in contact with them and using them for your day trips as we did and saved not just money wise but also the hassle of finding someone you trust. Not to mention, they can be great guides.


In Bangkok:

  • Ko San Road has  various restaurants, bars, and street food, markets as well as entertainment. We found that street venders selling vegetarian Padthai were simple, cheap and delicious. 25 Baht for a plate which is less than $1 AUD. Mmmm…


  • In Phuket Town there are some large markets. These markets have a wide variety of food to sample, so put your bib on and get trying.
  • In Patong, there is a surplus of seafood restaurants serving fresh fish. As long as its cooked well its safe to enjoy.


  • On the road leading to the KoSak national park, there are many restaurants. At one place in particular, marked by heavy cement round tables and run by two young woman, this small place serves delicious banana pancakes.


  • Where to begin. In our top 4 we have:

1. Tip’s fresh fruit smoothies:

Located in Sompet market (just across from A Little Bird Guesthouse) Tip serves fresh, delicious fruit smoothies and, our favorite,fruit, muesli and yogurt bowls. Delicious and filling for breakfast…lunch…or dinner. And although its not cook, its safe to enjoy. Tip, who was trained in a hotel, was knowledgable about our sensitive foreign tummies.

2. Next is Dukes Burgers across the road from the burrito place, just down the road from Tapae Gate is Duke’s which has some yummy burgers for an international meal.

3. Just down the road from Dukes around 7 or 8 street venders open up shop, (close to Sompet market). They have all sorts of dishes to try. We’d recommend having some Padthai, tom yum soup, green, red or yellow curry. And for desert don’t miss out on a stick rice with mango.

4. Over at Warroot Market more street venders come out in the evening. There are lots of things to try especially the friend chicken, sweet potato balls and 6 baht turnovers.


The Thai language is simple but easy to miscommunicate. We were told that the reason, many times people looked at us with confusion, was due to us simple saying the word but in the wrong tone. This could change the whole meaning of the word or make it unrecognizable.  But when we did get it right we were met with appreciation from whomever we spoke to. We said, hello, thank you, how much and numbers in thai and this helped us communicate as well as allowed us to better connect to the locals. In the cases were we got things wrong, if they knew what we were talking about they were quick to help us pronounce words and tell us how to say what we were after.


-Try a massage. You can get a massage almost anywhere in Thailand and its a great way to relax.

-Take walks around, this is a great way to see people, things, and experience life in Thailand. From a car you miss out on too many things.

-Always carry toilet paper with you.

-Be aware of cultural difference and attire when traveling in Thailand or anywhere for that matter.



Love Alexandria and Family.


 Posted by at 10:08 am