Category Archives: Uncategorized

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6 Awesome Reasons to Go to a Harvest Fest this Fall!

With the fall season steadily picking up in the Twin Cities, there is more than one way to keep entertained! And even for the super-introverts, there surely is something to do.

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If you’ve added apple picking, zombie pub crawls or halloween parties to your bucket list for the 2017 fall, then you should definitely make some time to attend a Fall Harvest Fest in Minnesota this year! After all, it’s one of the locals’ top fall activities, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Creative Pumpkin Carving: one thing people certainly look forward to every fall, is the amazingly creative display of carved pumpkins everywhere. Whether you are an amateur or a seasoned “pumpkin carver”, this is definitely an activity that anyone can learn and enjoy1 Experiment with creative styles or just go for the fun designs!

2. Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest: there is no fall without a pumpkin pie. This is the “unspoken” official dessert of the season. And whilst you might want to prepare one at home, why not enter a pie eating contest at one of the local fall harvest fest? And plus, if you’re lucky like we were at the Stillwater Fall Harvest Fest this weekend, the contest was free! And the winner got a food shopping gift card of an attractive value. And for those who did not win, who cares. They got a free pie. And they showed amazing team spirit.

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3. Chili Cook-Off Competitions: I didn’t know there was at least 8 ways of cooking chili until I attended the Stillwater Harvest Fest. Well, that is definitely something good to know, and a great activity for all food lovers and chili connoisseurs! So if you’re heading to a fall harvest fest this season, make sure to check out the food competition booths!

4. Beer-Tasting Like Nobody’s Business: if you didn’t get the chance to attend any Oktoberfest event in the Twin Cities, then a Fall Harvest Fest might be your last chance (or perhaps your best excuse to go beer-sampling without having to explain yourself!)

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Beer is so special that it grows in its own garden. Beer Garden.

5. Well… Comfort Food Everywhere! Harvest festivals are always great ways to indulge in different kinds and varieties of foods, and a great time for food sampling. Don’t worry about the extra kilos (at least not yet), you’ll need to burn those calories to keep warm anyways!

6. Memories to Look Back To: great memories are always made with great company. So whether you want to spend time with your family, friend or significant other, a fall harvest fest is a great event to bond, rekindle and just simply.., get together!

What’s your favorite fall event?

Leave me a comment below!

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

PS: I prepared some unique travel tips for you. SIGN UP HERE to receive them right now.

Linking back to City Tripping this week!

Wander Mum

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5 Key Facts That You Need to Know About Atlantic Hurricanes

With the public outcry, the repeated requests from my readers and the facts that I directly (Hurricane Harvey in Houston) and indirectly (Hurricane Maria in Dominica and Puerto Rico) experienced two atlantic hurricanes during this hurricane season, I felt the need to develop a “hurricane series”.

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The purposes of this hurricane series are to 1) raise awareness on the multimodal devastating nature of hurricanes as natural disasters (for those who are still underestimating), 2) to share factual information and pictures of the aftermath of hurricane Maria and to 3) give recommendations on how you can provide hurricane relief in Dominica and why not, other areas affected by hurricanes.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a Hurricane expert, and I will keep informing myself and share what I learn with you. Feel free to share your knowledge on this topic as well in an informative manner. But to start with, here are 5 key facts that everyone needs to know about Hurricanes.

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1. Here is the actual definition of a hurricane: a hurricane is a “specific name” for a severe tropical cyclone. According to Wikipedia, a hurricane is “a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain”. In simpler terms, a hurricane is a group of storms that form along a low-pressure center and moved in a circular fashion, and are characterized by heavy strong winds and heavy rains. Depending on where you are, such tropical cyclones are called by different names. However, once a tropical cyclone moves at the sustained wind speed of 74-76 mph (miles per hour), it is considered a hurricane. If a tropical cyclone develops over the Atlantic ocean or northeastern Pacific ocean, it is called a “hurricane”. If it develops over the northwestern Pacific Ocean, it is called a “typhoon”. If it develops over the South Pacific or Indian Ocean, it is called a “cyclone”. 

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2. Hurricanes are Classified According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: a lot of people have heard of hurricane categories 1-5, but the more I speak with people, the more I realize they don’t actually know what it means. And it’s Ok, because I used to “not know” as well. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale assesses hurricane severity based on the sustained wind speed, and this in turns helps to assess the likelihood of property damage. In other terms, the higher the “sustained wind speed”, the more deadly and damaging the hurricane is.

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3. For each country and region prone to hurricanes, hurricanes develop during a particular season, and there is a reason for that: hurricanes basically develop over large water surfaces, and are fueled by the evaporation of water. That being said, in the Caribbean, hurricane season usually starts in June (start of summer) and continues until November. That is when the waters get heated the most.

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4. Global Warming Potentiates Hurricanes: if you didn’t believe it before, believe it now. Think about it: when the oceans are getting heated up by the sun, three things happen, according to fluid dynamics:

a. Water evaporates, condenses and falls back as rain. And the more water evaporates, the more rain will fall, and the cycle goes on.

b. Water also expands in the ocean and occupies a larger surface, and that just gives more room for more water to evaporate and… the cycle continues.

c. More heat produces more energy to fuel the hurricane: based on the points that were made earlier, this makes sense.

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5. Hurricane “Warning” and Hurricane “watch” are issued in islands prone to hurricanes, and these mean different things: do you remember this “74 mph” we spoke about earlier? That is the cut off number that meteorologists use to determine when a cyclone becomes a hurricane. A hurricane watch is issued when you suspect that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) will form in the next 48 hours. So this means “there is a possibility, let’s keep watching but let’s prepare and start taking precautions”.

A hurricane warning is issued when you expect  hurricane conditions develop in the next 36 hours. Therefore, a hurricane warning is issued within 36 hours. This means “it is going to happen, let’s take more aggressive precautions and let’s evacuate”.

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If you learned something in this article, please share. Make sure you subscribe to be notified of my next blog post: “Here is What People Truly die of during Hurricanes”.

Additional resources to keep you informed:

  1. Wikipedia (has almost everything)
  2. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html
  3. https://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

Have you ever experienced a hurricane, a tropical cyclone, a tropical depression or a typhoon? Please let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 


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Chicago: 4 Hours at Navy Pier

Category : Chicago , The USA , Uncategorized , USA

If you only had 4 hours left to spend in Chi-City, where would you go?

Navy Pier is one of the top attractions in Chicago, it’s almost like what Darling Harbour is to Sydney. You can’t go to Chicago without stopping at Navy Pier! (well, that’s the impression I got from going there). So I was pretty excited that morning.

And no, I wasn’t driving. Because you can’t snap and drive!

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From the city, you have three options to get to Navy Pier. 1) Take a shuttle, 2) Take a regular bus, 3) Take a taxi. The third option is not really necessary, as you have regular buses passing and shuttles that service the area. And if you’re stuck in traffic, a cab would really not turn out to be the most cost-effective option, so I recommend you take a shuttle or a bus.

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Then I met with these wonderful beauties! It felt awesome to reconnect, after such a long time. We were actually 4, but someone had to take the picture ^_^

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1+1+1 =3 . We were actually 4, but someone had to take the picture 🙂

After close to half an hour of deliberation and potentially convincing arguments, we decided and all agreed to take a ride on the Ferrys Wheel, which is literally the highlight of Navy Pier itself and one of the top attractions in the city. The 200-foot wheel celebrates the 100th-year anniversary of Navy Pier, which is also why it is called “Centennial Wheel.”It is also 150-feet high in the sky, which makes it pretty amazing – so we were definitely looking forward to an exhilarating ride.

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It was summer, and we went in the peak hours of the afternoon, so the waiting time was pretty long. So if you decide to experience this, I recommend that you go early in the morning…

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… unless of course you don’t mind spending some time taking selfies like we did! (Spoiler alert: can you see the tourist behind us taking a selfie of us backward? He/she should have asked us to turn back though… Just kidding. I am pretty sure we are obstructing his/her view).

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Being at Navy Pier is almost like being at a daily fun fair, fit for kids and adults. Of course, the big kid in me would want to stay close to the kiddies attractions, but have a lot more options of things to do like bicycle riding, watching a movie (IMAX Theater), taking a boat ride (Seadog Boatcruise), watching a play at the Shakespeare Theater, touring the Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass, etc. It’s the ideal place for a family fun day out, a date, or simply, just to chill between friends.

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If you go with kids though, you can’t really stop at Margaritaville… Can you? Unless of course, they take the non-alcoholic drinks. For adults, make sure you ask for one of their special Margarita cocktails! They are to die for (literally).

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Finally it was our turn to hop in! I got to say this: The view is as AMAZING as it is claimed to be! However, we were “a tiny bit” disappointed (and perhaps it was our fault for being too excited in the first place) because we thought the wheel would be moving very fast, but it was super slow. Nonetheless, the view was all worth it.

I can’t wait to go back (soon, hopefully), to experience the rest:)

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 Linking back to City Tripping this week!

Wander Mum

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Happy Freedom Day, South Africa!

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Today, South Africa celebrates Freedom Day.

Historically, it commemorates the very first elections held in the country after Apartheid on that day, in 1994.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chain, but to live in a way that respects and enhances freedom of others”. (Nelson) Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013).

Such celebration brings a fair share of emotions to me, not just because I am of African descent, but also because I had the privilege to visit his beautiful nation earlier this year. (Check out My Trip to South Africa).

I wish a mysterious rocket would take me to South Africa right now to rejoice with the people as they celebrate #FreedomDay!


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The Colosseum

One of Rome’s #1 touristic attractions and a publicly accepted symbol of Roman resilience, the Colosseum is a double amphitheater which was created under the Flavian dynasty.

Why double? Because it is made of two superimposed amphitheater

Why the name colosseum? Because there used to be a massive status of the then Emperor Claudius Caesar Augustus Nero in front of the building.

The colosseum used to accommodate    50 000 – 80 000 people, and was a famous arena for gladiator fights, parades and the re-creation of classical mythology wars. Try to picture an open “Broadway theater”, Roman style, where gladiators fight for their life, honor and the honor of their King and Queen. Each fight ended up with at least one opponent dead, the body of which was carried through the “death door”.

Today, the Colosseum is also considered as a site for Christian remembrance where homage is paid to the Christian martyrs who lost their life during the Roman revolutions.

Every good Friday, the Pope leads the stations of the cross starting in or near the Colosseum.

In Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2002), the Colosseum was recreated by computer imagery for a few movie scenes. Also, a scene from the movie Jumper (2008) was filmed at the Colosseum.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing:)

Cheers,

Clem😊


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The Trevi Fountain

Category : Europe , Italy , Rome , Uncategorized

The largest baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous in the world, the Trevi Fountain has gained worldwide notoriety through several films including La Dolce Vita (by Federico Fellini), and through its coin throwing legend.  

Historically, it is said that 19 NC, a young “virgin” girl led thirsty Roman soldiers to a source of pure water 13 km from the city of Rome. Following the discovery of that source of water, the then Emperor, Augustus, ordered the construction of an aqueduct that would connect Rome to that water source, and the Aqueduct was named “Aqua Virgo” in honor of the young girl. For over 400 years, the aqueduct served the entire city of Rome.

People say that throwing coins (using the right hand over the left shoulder) is meant to bring luck and make one’s wishes come true. Everyday, 3000 -6000 euros are collected from the fountain, and donated to charities in Rome. Could your luck come from the Gods being pleased by you giving to the poor without even knowing? Perhaps…

Fontana di Trevi at night

The fountain was recently restored (2015), and the works included the installation of more than 100 LED lights for night time lighting. 

If you ever get to visit Rome and have a close look at the foutnain, you’ll notice:

– Oceanus, son of Uranus and Gaia, and Greek Titan god of the ocean and fresh waters. He is illustrated alongside with tritons (half and half mermaid), which are each trying to tame sea horses (hippocampus). The tritons guide Oceanus’  shell chariot, and this work with the theme fountain: Taming the waters.

Of course, all this magic was happening behind me while I was having Romans favourite dessert: Gelato❤

And then I ran into a Pikachu band, which warranted an obligatory picture. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and much as I did writing it:)

Cheers,

Clem.


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My Trip to Rome

Category : Europe , Italy , Rome , Uncategorized

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Rome had always been an unknown world to me until I was fortunate to visit this historical city two weeks ago. Since I took that trip, my perspective on so many different aspects of life has changed for the better. I was fortunate to see a lot of historical sites, get to know this city in more depth and really picture and imagine life as a Roman 1000 years ago.

But even with all these things, there is just something about “being in Rome” that just touched me in a specific way that I still failed to explain, but I hope  that when you visit (if you ever decide to), you’ll understand what I mean. Was is it the incomparably preserved history? Perhaps. Was it the fact that the city just emulates a walking museum? Maybe. Was it its transcendent touch with Catholicism and admirable transformation to a christian city despite being a pagan city in the past? Maybe. Or was it the fact that culture and religion still co-exist with respect to each other? I don’t know. It was just something. But until I figure it out (perhaps tomorrow, in 10 years or at my next visit), allow me to share with you the highlights of my trip, coupled with some  uniquely useful advice if you’re planning to visit!

This is how I was able to visit Rome in one week, which was just enough time to make me decide whether or not I would want to come back! Feel free to jump the days and skip to whichever activity you prefer, but don’t forget to absolutely check out the TRAVEL TIPS AND TRICKS and TRAVELING ON A BUDGET sections that are particularly relevant to this trip to Rome!

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Monday: Arrival in Rome in the afternoon. I made my first mistake immediately when I arrived! (check it out here) and I hope this never ever happens to you! Eventually, I had dinner with a friend I had met at the Comics Guesthouse.

Tuesday: I woke up late and was really tired, and because I did not want to lose the day, Walked around and took a quick trip to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. 

Wednesday: The public transport system was on strike, and although most sites were within reasonable walking distance from my accommodation, I was pretty worn out and decided to take the day to rest. I am happy I did, because I never really got the chance to rest after my Trip to Durban (South Africa).

Thursday: This was my favorite day. I did a Rome City Walking Tour, and this put everything in perspective for me. In fact, without that tour, I don’t think I’d have been able to grasp the depth of the city of Rome and understand the meaning of every fountain, every building, every sculpture and every structure as well as I do today.

Friday: I visited the Piazza Venetia, the Colosseum and the Roman Forums. 

Saturday: The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (The Pope’s personal chapel) were the highlights of my day.

Sunday: I went to see the Pope and received his blessing. I also did a tour of St Peter’s Basilica, which is the Basilica where the Pope celebrates masses on special occasions (mostly catholic feasts). In the evening,I did a tour of one of Rome’s most heartwarming neighborhoods, Trastevere. 

Finally, check out my TRAVEL TIPS AND TRICKS and TRAVELING ON A BUDGET section for new articles relevant to all your travels, including Rome!

Hope you feel inspired today!

Cheers,
Clem.

 


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Welcome to Durban! South Africa’s Best Kept Secret…

For all the who have been following this adventure on Facebook (Travel with Clem), Instagram (TravelwithClem) and on Twitter (@travelwithclem) and SnapChat (I can’t remember the username but I am pretty sure you can find it on my IG), you know how excited I’ve been about this trip!

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Thank you for bearing with me through the 7 (or more) days of secrecy, it was hard for me too:) But after reading this post, you’ll agree that Durban was definitely worth it!

I went to Durban for a business trip (as it is the case for all my other trips). By now, you’d know that I seldom take vacations, I just always seem to be at the right place at the right time:) I’d love to tell you how amazing Air Emirates was. but I’ll probably keep that information for my blog post on the best airlines to travel with:)

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Going to Durban was a melting pot of emotions: exhilaration, astonishment, fear, apprehension, skepticism, excitement and of course inspiration: if you had been away from the motherland for as long as I had, you’ll perhaps know exactly how I felt:)

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During my trip, I met a local, quite an interesting encounter. He insisted on me trying the Bunny Chow, Durban’s favorite dish, which consists of a bread fountain filed with a savory curry sauce and a meat of choice. I knew there was no scenario with me not trying that dish, so I made sure to experience it before leaving.

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Or more like…as soon as I arrived.

As beautiful as Durban is at night, the best sceneries are truly witnessed during the day.

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Durban beaches are one of a kind. I have traveled to several countries and island, and there are simply none like the South Beach and all the other beaches you find in Durban. Walking along the Promenade is simply such a unique and relaxing experience. You can see both locals and tourists enjoy the walk everyday, at all hours of the day.

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Walking on the Promenade is very safe, and you can see Police officers patrolling around the area all day long. In addition to the safety component, it’s also very clean. You’ll see a lot of garbage cans (like the one in the picture below) all along the sea shore.

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While walking up and around, you’ll also notice local merchants selling their products (mostly, souvenirs and beachwear) along the beach.This is something very typical for African cities.

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I was repeatedly told by local folks that the uShaka Marine World was a must see before leaving Durban, and I am so grateful to have been able to go there. In fact, this is the top attraction I’d recommend to anyone going there on a short stay.

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uShaka is a great hangout spot for all people (whether single, in couple, or even families). You can relax on the beach, enjoy one of their animals shows or simply grab a bite at one of their restaurants. There is something in there for everyone.

This epic structure gladly welcomes you at the entrance, and you have no option BUT to take a picture! (Caption: Clem with her newly found – and short term travel partner extraordinaire)

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For anyone planning to go there, I’d advise dedicating the entire day (morning to afternoon) for a full uShaka experience.

Because we were pressed with time, we were only able to watch the Dolphin Show, which was amazing on its own! But if you really want to explore everything, I recommend keeping a picture of these showtimes so you can schedule your time accordingly!

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Getting this close to a shark was epic, I had never seen one so close! For those who are more adventurous, there is an option to enter the shark tank (in a protected and highly secure cage). We actually saw some people in the cage in the tank while we were there. This is not something I’d recommend to anyone, however. You never know what could happen.

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This babe knew we were into her(the turtle). We had been stalking her for a while now, and eventually, she decided to come and say Hi. 🙂

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I promise, I was not trying to take this fish home:)

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I can safely say, and this with no reservations, that the highlight of our trip to uShaka was the Dolphin Show. This was simply amazing. I mean, seeing a dolphin this up close, getting to observe uShaka’s knowledgeable staff and they interact with their dolphins, and  just being in this whole environment is just something that everyone should experience. I definitely changes your perspective of marine life, but it also makes you realize the beauty in the little things that we so often overlook.

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And did I mention how affordable this was? For only about 15 USD, you can get a whole day pass to the uShaka Marine World center, and take advantage of everything: all the 4 animal adventures: Dolphin Show, Seal Show, Shark Feed and Penguin Feed, and also have access to the beach!

We decided to only stay for the Dolphin Show, and given how amazing this was, I can only imagine how the Penguin Feed, Seal Show and Shark Feed would have been. <3

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Durban is definitely a place that I’d love to go back to, very soon.

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Clem<3

PS: if you’d like to see more pictures of my trip to Durban, Check out the awesome video I posted my Facebook page: Travel with Clem (took me several hours to work on in between flights…so no pressure) Hope you enjoy!


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5 Silly Things EVERYONE does at the Airport…

I recently returned from a short trip and it was quite interesting to notice (once again) the things that people tend to do in airports, when traveling.

Actually, I have noticed these for quite a while now, but it’s becoming way too obvious and way to hilarious that I have to write about this!

  1. At the check-in counter: go straight in front of the counter (and skip the whole labyrinth) when the check-in line is empty, or pass straight right under when there are only a few people: I actually do this a lot (guilty!) and I always smile at myself when doing this. I mean, what’s the point of making the line when there’s no one in front of you? (Spoiler alert: I also do that at the bank, school and all other applicable public services. Please don’t judge).airport-security-line
  2. Pray that your bags are not overweight! When you’ve spent your summer shopping in Paris, London or Saint Lucia and you’re ready to check-in for your return flight, the idea of having your bag weighed could be an instant trigger for a panic attack! If you’re traveling with me, you’d catch me saying a few prayers, like the extra pounds are supposed to magically disappear… And sometimes they do! Nah, who am I kidding. If this happens to you and you’re lucky, the check-in agent might actually turn a blind eye and let you pass (depending on how overweight your bag is, though).20150531_112213.jpg
  3. After you’ve passed check-in and airport security… Window-shop at the Airport Duty Free stores! This is definitely one of my favourite things to do while waiting! I particularly like to stop at Perfume and souvenir stores. However,  my sister and I discovered a Makeup store at the  San Juan Airport  and it has become a mandatory stop for us ever since! You can get to sample and try different products, and you can even get a (light) makeup done for free! All you need to travel in beauty! (feel free to leave your comments below if you want to know more about that specific store, or for my recommendations of Duty Free stores to absolutely checkout while traveling!)selfplannedtrip-duty-free
  4. Take a selfie along the way! Hey, doesn’t cost a thing, doesn’t hurt a being. There are so many reasons to take an airport selfie: the background is amazing, the lighting is amazing, and you almost never need a filter (unless you’re feeling super fancy). Plus, you can update your Instagram or Snapchat to let people know what you’re up to (or not, the latter applying to me depending on my mood). IMG_8037.PNG
  5. Finally, remove your seatbelt before the seatbelt sign is turned off. Why?????? I really don’t understand why people do that though, I think that’s really the silliest of it all -_-. The sign is on for a specific reason, and the seatbelt should not be removed until the sign is off… I really don’t get why people remove it ahead of time. This one definitely takes it home.  seatbelt-sign

Which one of these silly things are you guilty off? (I definitely do all of them, except #5!)

 


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Have you “bean” to Chicago yet?

Have you “bean” to Chicago yet?

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Summer isn’t really summer when you are in the “wind city”, and it’s definitely not a vacay when you have to catch the red line every morning at 5:00 AM to head to the hospital!

But hey, you’ve gotta love what you do or there is no point in doing it at all.

Despite the hustle, I managed to steal some moments.

I loved every moment of it, except the “wind” part of it!

Check out My trip to  Chi-city here!


Clem’s Fun Moments!

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