Anyone who knows me knows that I fixate on both GREAT and POOR customer service. I did a previous post on the great customer service I received from Samsonite after our new suitcase tore on 1st use, which left us sad and depressed until they went above our expectations to wow us with service.
On a trip like ours…
For anyone who has been following our careercation, you’d think that we’d been stuck in the Shinsegae Department Store in Seoul since we haven’t posted since April. But no, since Seoul, we hit up Shanghai, Saigon (David only due to an outbreak of hand foot mouth disease), Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Tainan, Taipei, San Francisco, and Dallas. We made it back to Seattle on Monday, July 16, 2012. We left on February 9th, which is about 6 months of traveling with little Keira and our travel au pair, Kayla.
Keira and Daddy with packed car on start of adventure on February 9, 2012
One of my best finds yet is the Babycafe at the Shinsegae Department store in Gang-nam, Seoul. It was only 2 train stops and couldn’t have been more convenient. On the 8th floor, there’s a playroom with toys and assorted toddler gym equipment. Keira could’ve spent all day there, while I kicked back to enjoy my chocolate croissant
We went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace to check out a bit of Korean history. It looked pretty small from the entrance, but similar to the Forbidden City in China, it was building after building after room after room… The entrance fee
Even though Keira is loving the people watching and eating, its been a challenge to find nearby kid-friendly places for her to run around. So what’s one to do? Improvise!
We discovered Kona Beans cafe in our neighborhood. It’s a large modern cafe that’s 4 times the size of your average Starbucks and open 24 hours. Continue reading
We all had a great sleep and woke up at 7am to get the day started!
Our awesome 3 bedroom flat is under $200/nt and in an area called Garosugil. The location is stellar and we’re surrounded by hundreds of trendy restaurants, cafes, cheap eateries and boutique stores. (Message me if anyone wants the contact for this place.)
First order of business was breakfast! So we stumbled upon a small eatery with nice looking photos (nothing is in English). We end up having a feast of mandu (dumplings), 2 orders of perfectly crispy bi bim bap rice pots, fried rice and all the side dishes and soup to go with it. Not sure if this was normal because we did see another guy eating ramen for breakfast, but after all the random pointing and sign language ordering, we just took it to a whole other level. Our travel nanny is liking the way we roll here too. Continue reading
The flight of doom from Gold Coast, Australia to Seoul, Korea during our Around-the-World-Adventure with a 1-year old will probably be the longest trip of my life. But now I live to tell about it.
The itinerary goes:
Gold Coast (4 hour wait) > Sydney (4 hour layover) > Beijing (3 hour layover) > Seoul Airport > 1 hour bus ride to Garosugil neighborhood > 10 minute walk to apartment
Preparations start with sandbagging Keira’s sleep the morning of the flight and getting her to nap 1.5 hours until 10 minutes before we had to check out of the hotel at 10am. She slept no problem. Score 1 for team Niu! Continue reading
Keira was born on March 6th, 2010. When I look back on that particular day, I remember all the details. But at the same time it all happened so fast like a dream.
It was Saturday afternoon and time for a cupcake run. So David drove me to Cupcake Royale and when I walked up to the cashier she said “wow, u look like you’re about to pop!” well, at this point it was the day before the due date, so we were pretty close.
I got greedy and bought two cupcakes – trying to pretend like I got one for David, but I actually wanted the second for myself. So I hop back into the car, excited to head back home to enjoy my cupcakes. David said he wanted to drop some mail that he forgot at home, so my cupcakes would have to wait… I waited 2 days later to eat them! Continue reading
Now with New Zealand firmly in the rearview mirror, I get a chance to reflect on ourtimes there. Our time was roughly broken into 4 phases:
4. South Island Campervanning
This morning we were all feeling pretty optimistic about getting back to civilization. And Happy birthday Keira!!! But we’ll be celebrating tomorrow because it’ll be March 6th back home – we’re traveling all day, plus David didn’t want to rob her of a day.
I dumped the toilet waste again for the 2nd time in a week and didn’t feel so bad about it, as I was envisioning the 5 star Westin hotel Sydney that was just on the horizon.
We got an early start cause the campsite starts turning off the hot water for the showers at 945am to kick everyone out by 10am checkout. Which is hilarious because it’s not like they have to clean lots of beds or bathrooms. I dunno, maybe they had to mow the lawn? Anyhow, we had some time to kill so off to the botanical gardens we went!