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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

  1. Paris in April

    November 22, 2012 by Jo

    Back in April of this year, I went to visit one of my lovely American friends in Paris. Here are some of my pictures.

    Karen Turman was gracious enough to share her place with me while I was in town. Just check out the view out of my living room window. Isn’t it gorgeous?! Within 10 minutes of getting to her place, we were off to grab a decadent bite to eat. Later that evening, we went out with one of Karen’s classmates, argued in French with the waiter, got drunk, and stumbled home. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.

    The following day, Karen and I headed off to go get our hair layered at Espace Coiffure Paris. Seriously, it was the best hair cut I’ve ever had. Just check out Karen and my sexy layers!!! After an extended afternoon at the hairdressers, we swung by a market, grabbed some veggies, and then headed back to Karen’s fabulous apartment for some home cooking! Alex Dryer whipped up something delish while Fancy Dougherty entertained us with stories. Again, another delightful day in Paris.

    My last full Parisian day was quite the adventure. Alex, Fancy, and I went to the Champagne Region and toured 4 champagne-eries. Needless to say, I was drunk by 11am and loving life. :)

    Here’s a fun little story for ya: In case you didn’t know, the French are very…. French. What does that mean? Let’s take “customer service” as an example. In the States, there is an attitude of “the customer is always right” and will be accommodated in some way, shape, or form. In France, however, that is not the case. We, the group we were on tour with, had our first tour of the Champagne Region all in French. That in it of itself isn’t bad, shocking, or in anyway noteworthy other than the fact that everyone on the tour spoke English, and maybe half spoke some French. Yes, the tour guide knew that. And yes, her boss who was overseeing the tour knew that. And yet….that still wasn’t enough reason to do the tour in English. “What was the reason for that?” you ask. It was because the Tour Guide lady was in training and the boss had to check and see her performance. Yeah…. *sigh* Just as a bonus: Alex and Fancy took turns translating for me, and if the “boss” could hear something was left out, she would explain the details in (perfect) English.

    So. Fucking. French. *smile

    The next morning, Karen took me on a bike riding adventure around the city just moments before leaving for the airport. It was slightly stressful getting a hold of the bikes, but it was soooooooo worth it. To top it off, it was one of the few moments it wasn’t raining; the sun never seemed so glorious as the day I rode around Paris on a grey, city bicycle. :)

    In short, I had a delightful time and I can’t wait to go back. Sure, it was super rainy and Paris is full of French people, but those things only add to the charm of the city. If you’ve been debating about going – go! Watch Midnight in Paris before you go, bring someone you can cuddle with, and wander through the city with your umbrella in tow.

    Note: This is mostly written as tongue in cheek.


  2. 10 Reasons to come and teach in Israel

    November 13, 2011 by Jo

    20111114-003509.jpg

    10. The pastries are delicious.
    9. The food is fresh AND healthy here…more so than anywhere else I’ve been.
    8. The country has a lil’ scenic sump’n for everyone: mountains, ocean, dessert, big cities, OLD cities, modern architecture, and frankly, it’s down right biblical!
    7. To float in the Dead Sea
    6. To enjoy the gorgeous 21C weather during the November evenings
    5. The people are warm and ebullient like the Italians.
    4. The dancers are fluent in English the way the Swedes are
    3. The students are fantastic at focusing and they relentlessly practice the material
    2. There is free, open wifi just about everywhere!!!!!
    1. The organizers put a lot of thought, effort and heart into every last detail of how the instructors are treated.

    Dance Tel Aviv, thank you for having Kevin and me, for putting us up in a gorgeous apartment, and taking such wonderful care of us. The pictures I’ve posted on FB (and soon to be here) are dedicated to you.

    xx


  3. Dead Sea

    November 10, 2011 by Jo

    Gaaah, what a fun day Kevin and I had!!

    We planned to be out the door by 9am, which of course meant around 9:30. Yoni, one of our fabulous babysitters for the weekend, picked us up in his cute little car and road tripped it with us down to the Dead Sea. Two hours and a lot of desert later, we finally arrived at our destination. Needless to say, it was biblical. :D

    Here’s a quick blurb about the Dead Sea from Wikipedia:

    The Dead Sea (Arabic: البحر الميت‎ al-Bahr al-Mayyit, Hebrew: יָם הַ‏‏מֶּ‏‏לַ‏ח‎‎, Yām Ha-Melaḥ, “Sea of Salt”), also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth’s surface. The Dead Sea is 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water [...] It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

    Now that you know some stats, here’s an ever quicker run down of our day. We went to a spa/resort sort of place, covered ourselves in mud, washed off in a sulfur bath followed by a fresh water shower, had a massage (I snagged a facial), and then went down to float in the Dead Sea. Freaking fantastic day!!! I have a bunch of photos from my trip that I need to post, but until then, I’ll leave you with this. Hopefully you recognize this our signature pose.

    20111111-011439.jpg

    And, as legend has it, you really do “just float”. It was surprising and magical. And bizarre. Hahah, Kevin pretended to be sky diving….wish I had snapped a picture of that.

    Until later!!


  4. No Cheap Flights

    June 26, 2011 by Jo

    I feel pretty strongly that when I travel for work, I will not use budget airlines. When it comes down to it, they aren’t the less expensive than the larger airlines. I think these three ladies sum up how I feel about cheap airlines and why.

    Thanks Fascinating Aida for saying everything I wanted to say. Feck!


  5. Being in Greece

    June 4, 2011 by Jo

    Right now Kevin and I are in the middle of a four week tour across the globe: Seattle, WA; Thessaloniki, Greece; Melbourne, Australia; and Barcelona, Spain. On one hand, I’ll be the first to tell you I know how lucky Kevin and I are to get to travel to all these fabulous places. On the other hand, think about how much time I must spend in the air to get from place to place. Pull out a map quickly and just take a look at the distance……..I’ll wait……..yeah, silly, right? I thought so too, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go to a new country and hang out on the beach!!

    Ok, so to the point of this post. I knew when I left Pittsburgh two weekends ago I’d need to pack for winter (Seattle and Melbourne) and summer (Greece and Spain) so I brought some skirts and some rompers and then things to layer under them. So far it’s worked out just fine. That being said, it completely escaped me that I would need sunblock, a hat or bug spray, or anything else beach related. I was in H&M while in Seattle and I remember seeing the wide-brimmed sun hats and I thought to myself “Goodness, how silly! Who on earth would buy such a hat? I mean, really. Look at the weather, it’s all cold and rainy.” So unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to buy a US$10 hat and instead got to buy one here for 20 euros (about U$30). Great. To top it off, sunblock was another 15 euros. *feigned smile

    Arrr!! I think people should pay for their stupidity and clearly that is what’s happening here. That being said, my skin is totally work 35 euros. Now, bug spray on the other….well, I decided to skip on that much to my skins’ dismay. The mosquitos come out at dusk and of course, that’s the best time to rehearse; it’s not too hot, not too cold, nice breeze, and the dance floors are available. Hehe, sound like Herrang anyone?

    So enough griping; life is freaking amazing here. I’ve been waking up most mornings between 8-8:30 to the sun shimmering on the water. And it’s quiet. Oh, so lovely. I’ll post pictures once I’m not paying for internet by the Mb. Classes have been going well and surprisingly, the music has been outstanding. The DJs on Thursday night played one of the best set lists I’ve heard all year (more on who that was later). Otherwise, this is one of the first place I’ve taught at that is supposed to be a holiday + work that actually feels like a holiday!!

    Be fabulous and enjoy your week!!!

    xoxo

    Jo

    Oh, and btw, there have been lots of “It’s all Greek to me” jokes being thrown around. :D


  6. Luggage

    January 24, 2011 by Jo

    I want this luggage!! It’s not going to happen, but a girl can dream!

    Luxury Luggage Sets like this J-Crew Globe-Trotter Centenary Collection is a stand-out luxury luggage line that will stand out at any airport. Handcrafted by Globe-Trotter, the British company whose expertly crafted luggage has been carried by royalty and other discerning customers since 1897, J-Crew Luxury Luggage Sets are guaranteed to withstand the rigors of travel–or the weight of a one-ton elephant, whichever is worse–thanks to the strength of exceptionally lightweight Vulcan Fibre. Each and every case is handmade by an experienced craftsman in our own custom color combination. The collection is available only in very limited quantities and features a Vulcan Fibre shell, cotton lining, leather trim and straps. The collection includes a vanity case ($1,000), trolley case ($1,800), suitcase with wheels ($2,200), extra-deep suitcase with wheels ($2,300), and extra-deep suitcase with wheels ($2,400).


  7. Travel Days

    June 3, 2010 by Jo

    What an impressive set of Travel Days I have had in the last two and a half weeks!

    Here’s the run down on what it takes to be me (*tooting my horn):

    May 17, Monday: 9:25am flight from Berlin to JFK. Arrive into Pittsburgh at 6:30pm.
    Finally coming home from Europe! Can’t freaking wait! I’m basically coming home so I can rehearse for Camp Jitterbug and do some laundry.

    May 20, Thursday: 7:00pm flight from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis. Arrive into Seattle at 11:30pm.
    The idea was that I’d have time to spend with my family. Instead, I run errands for the next few days all over town.

    May 24, Monday: 2:30pm flight to Orange County. Arrive 5:30pm.
    Man, I love direct flights! They rarely seem to happen. It’s also fun to run into people I know, like Ben Morris. I want to rehearse with The Atomic Cherry Bombs before our performance on Friday night. Nikki was kind enough to let me work with the girls for about 2.5 hrs. We do a full dress rehearsal. I try to scare and motivate the girls :-D

    May 25, Tuesday: 12:00pm flight to Seattle. Arrive 2:45pm.
    Direct flights are fabulous! I rehearsed again before I left for Seattle. I continue to run errands until the day of the show.

    May 28, Friday: JUMP SESSION SHOW 7:30pm
    ROCKED IT. I was so very, very pleased with my ladies and myself. Sharon’s Bell Boy Routine went well and so did Stratosphere.

    June 1, Tuesday: 5:00pm flight to Los Angeles. 10:30pm flight to Sydney, Australia.

    June 3, Thursday: 6:30am arrival into Sydney. 9:15am flight to Perth. Arrive at 11:25am.
    It’s glorious in Perth at the moment. Oh how I’ve missed the sun shining. I have class to teach from 8-10pm that night.

    And there you have it. A rather crazy 2 weeks, wouldn’t you say?

    What have I gleaned from my last two weeks?

    • It’s important to get your frequent flyer miles.
    • With those miles you don’t have to worry as much about over-weight luggage.
    • It’s important to pack layers.
    • Just because it’s “Spring” on the calendar doesn’t mean Mother Nature is going to play along.
    • Having gloves on you is never a bad thing.
    • “Days Off” are really just days to do all the chores I wasn’t able to do previously (translations: not really days off)
    • I must remember to schedule “Lazy Days” where I am just sitting around doing nothing. My scheduled “Days Off” aren’t working out the way I had hoped.
    • If you’re planning on performing something with a group of people, it’s worth the money, time, and effort for YOU to travel and go see them. It would have been a terrible idea to have not seen the Cherry Bombs before the show.
    • Never underestimate the power of a cupcake, especially when your best friend brings you one “just because.”
    • It’s important to run things full out. This means costume and body movement. Doing that the hour before the show does not mean you are well prepared. Remember, your building muscle memory when you’re rehearsing, so make it count AND you’d want to know if your who-ha was going to be showing before you got on stage.
    • (Ladies) Every performer should own false eyelashes and glue, bobby pins that match their hair color, hand mirror and fabulously bright lipstick.
    • Be gracious and understanding. It goes a long way.
    • Keep pushing. You’ll get to rest eventually.
    • Claire Pedroza might be a Vintage Hair Genius. She did my hair for CJ and it was in great shape until I left for Oz. Tons of compliments. She rocks.
    • Empty flights are a godsend.
    • Getting to sleep horizontally is awesome.
    • Too many bobby pins set off security alarms.
    • Nick Williams travels more than I do.

    And there you have it! Two more things I think it’s important for you to know: how to pack for 10 Days in a Carry-On and What Happens to you crap after you’ve left if on a plane. Great reads, so check them out :-D

    `


  8. The Plan – Wedesday

    April 21, 2010 by Jo

    Our plan continues to change, but in general, this is what I think we are going to do:

    (This is from an email that Kevin wrote to a buddy of our back in Pittsburgh)

    ” We are still in Gotenborg, Sweden and our ideas for what to do next change daily, sometimes hourly, but it looks like we will all go to Stockholm this weekend for a big dance show, then take a ferry down to Riga, Latvia where hopefully our Lindy Mafia friends from Vilnus, Lithuania will pick us up and drive us to Vilnius where Juan and Sharon are teaching a workshop. Meanwhile, Jo and I will try to catch a ride from the Rhythm Junkies (Lithuania Jazz Band) who are hired at the same event in Kiev, Ukraine. Of course, we need to try to get transit visas through Belarus first. Juan and Sharon were already going to be in Europe. The volcano is [potentially] making them miss their gig in Slovenia . Jo and I where hoping to be back in the US for 10 days, but it’s smarter for us to stay since we have three big gigs in May that we don’t want to miss. Even if we go to the US, we may not be able to get back for in time. ”

    The latest and greatest! More to come!!

    Oh yeah, and you can follow me now on Twitter for my latest updates. I am trying to get them to sync with my site, but so far I am having minimal luck. Sigh.


  9. Stuck in Europe

    April 20, 2010 by Jo

    Here is the cloud of smoke I am trying to plan my travel-life around:

    Kevin, Juan & Sharon, and I are in Gotenborg, Sweden and our travel plans continue to change. Kevin and I were supposed to go back to the US on Monday, but that flight got pushed back to Wednesday (today). Unfortunately, the Gotenborg airport is still closed, meaning we’ve been rescheduled for April 24. Juan & Sharon were supposed to leave today but have also been rescheduled.

    Boo. I was planning on heading to San Francisco for a birthday party this weekend and it’s soooooooo not going to happen. On the other hand, Europe is a pretty awesome place to get stuck. Currently the four of us are still in the B&B we were staying in this past weekend, we have internet access, and a beautiful dance studio to train in. Life is pretty good, all things considered.

    Currently Kevin and I are trying to find a way to Kiev, Ukraine so we can make it to Swinglandia next weekend. I think we’ll head down to Stockholm, ferry to somewhere else, have the Lithuanians pick us up, we’ll hang with them for a bit, and then road trip to Kiev. Not sure if that’s all going to happen, but I think that is the (tentative) current plan.

    The latest updates in regards to flights information that I’ve seen:

    EUROPEAN AIRSPACE
    BELGIUM – Airspace open. Limited service
    BRITAIN – Airspace open over Scotland and Northern Ireland. Limited airspace over north of England. London airports closed
    DENMARK – Airspace above 16,600ft open. No landings
    FRANCE – Limited flights from Paris to international destinations. Most airports open
    GERMANY – Airspace staying shut to 0001 GMT Wednesday, apart from 800 low-altitude flights
    IRELAND – Airspace closed
    ITALY – Airspace open. Handful of flights resumed in and out of Milan
    NETHERLANDS – Airspace open. Passenger flights arriving and departing in Amsterdam
    NORWAY – Airspace reopened
    POLAND – Airspace closed
    SPAIN – Airspace open; all airports operating
    SWEDEN – Airspace open over central-northern Sweden
    SWITZERLAND – Airspace reopened

    Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull (AYA-feeyapla-yurkul) volcano erupts for the first time in 190 years on 29 March, 2010, opening a 500m (2,000ft) fissure. The eruption produces lava, a volcanic plume, and steam from vaporized snow.

    Click here for awesome satellite views of the Iceland volcano.

    For more details with what’s happening, you can read this Huffington post and this article about the Eyjafjallajokull glacier.


  10. Korea: CSI 2010

    March 27, 2010 by Jo

    You might be noticing that I am posting pictures and videos from event that happened over a month ago. Well, you see, I’ve been slacking, so now I am trying to catch up. So here are some favorite moments that were captured! Ooh, and make sure you get to the bottom of this post…that’s where some fun facts are!!

    And here are some of the performances from that weekend. Hot Club Stomp from Orange County and The Killer Dillers from all over put on a 30 minute show. Here you go!

    The Killer Dillers – “Harlem”

    OOOooooh, someone forgot to take off her leg warmers!!

    Hot Club Stomp – ” Keep On Jumpin’ ”

    Juan and Sharon

    Laura and Jeremy

    Mikey and Nikki

    Juan and Kevin

    Sharon and Jo

    Hot Club Stomp – “Shake That Thing”

    Tip and Tops Debut their new Hat Tricks Routine in Korea:

    Bonus Footage:

    Al & Leon Shim Sham in Fat suits:

    B-boy Battle – The teachers vs. B.Boy

    Some fun facts from my trip:

    1. I am under the impression that Seoul has the biggest swing dance scene in the world.
    2. There are 15 swing bars in Seoul – that’s 15 dance venues, devoted ENTIRELY to swing dancing, 7 days a week!
    3. Food in Korea is awesome!! They have some awesome red paste that goes on everything and is spicy-goodness. Unfortunately I don’t remember what it’s called, but it starts with a “g”.
    4. Heated floors are fabulous!!!! Except when you have mochi in your bag. Be careful not to let your goodies get cooked because then you’ll have to throw them out. Boo.
    5. Kimchi is yummy. Rumor has it that Kimchi is the reason why the Koreans never got SARS or bird flu. If you fly to Korea on Korean Air, there is a special on Kimchi….watch it!
    6. The Jack & Jill at Camp Swing It involved taking a shot of Soju (which is a Korean distilled rice wine, vaguely similar to Japanese Sake) before and after each partner rotation. To prove you had finished the shot, you had to turn the glass upside down on your head (NOTE: that’s why Kevin is doing that in the pictures above). When dancers were refusing to drop out, the challenge increased to half a bottle per partner rotation! DANG!
    7. Korean dancers are freaking awesome. They can copy almost anything, so if you’re planning on teaching there, don’t demo something “wrong” too often otherwise someone might think that’s what you want them to do. Set good examples.
    8. I loved our translators. Some of them translated word for word, some listened and nodded (but forgot to translate), and some told the class their interpretation of what we meant. Haha, there’s nothing like saying 5 words and having the translator speak for 2 minutes.
    9. So many people were dressed well. OMG, if I can find pictures I’ll post them. Cute tap short, amazing shiny suits (seriously pimp and not tacky), blue shirts with ruffles and bow ties….these kids can make everything look good!
    10. There was a costume room full of kimonos and sumo suits, wigs and giant fans in the place we filmed the Camp DVD. Interviews were thus conducted in costume, with props. Kevin, Shesha and I performed the Al & Leon Shim Sham for the camera while wearing sumo suits. SEE ABOVE.
    11. Camp Swing It was the first official collaboration of The Killer Dillers with fab Los Angeles’ group, Hot Club Stomp. That’s Laura Keat, Jeremy Otth, Mikey Pedroza, Nikki Marvin & Shesha Marvin. Awesome dancers, brilliant performers, real professionals. They were so lovely to work with. Here’s to many more…
    12. All the instructors were challenged to a battle by a single Korean B-boy. We were beaten. Badly. SEE ABOVE.
    13. We stayed in some awesome places while we were there. I wish I had taken pictures of them for you all to see. Oh yeah, make sure you watch some TV while you’re in your room because there is some funny fucking stuff on cable!
    14. There was a very, very charming marriage proposal. Thank goodness she said yes, otherwise that would have been very embarrassing! The guy sang to her in front of everyone while reading the lyrics off his iPhone!

    Thanks Kang Seok for making this all possible!!! xoxo