Ava Monique *Nikki* (avavoom) wrote,
Ava Monique *Nikki*
avavoom

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Snorkeling in Mauritius; 5 Days in Manila; Beautiful Rome, etc.

Long time no update. I’ve been either too busy, or too lazy as usual. Anyway, the past few weeks have been good. I managed to swap my Athens turnaround on Valentine’s Day for a Birmingham, England layover. Seems like I keep coming back to Birmingham lately. I don’t really like the flight, but the layover is ok since our hotel is right next to the shopping area. For that trip though, I really wanted to check out Cadbury World, which I think is something like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I only heard of that attraction in Birmingham recently, and I’ve been itching to go ever since. But none of my colleagues wanted to go with meee! :( Argh. I didn’t want to go there alone, so I just ended up at the shopping area. Boohoo. Next time, I really, really want to go. Maybe I’ll go alone if no one really wants to come, because I heard that they might close it down soon.

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Selfridges at the Bullring in Birmingham, England

I had a layover in Manila in the middle of February, and since I just went home on my days off at the beginning of the month, and I was planning to go back to Manila again on my days off at the end of February, I wasn’t exactly excited about the Manila layover. I even tried to swap it away for another nice layover but no one accepted. I didn’t really do much but have dinner with my parents. I didn’t even meet up with any of my friends. But a pleasant surprise was that my dad finally dyed his white hair! Haha!

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With my parents during my layover in Manila (My dad looks much, much younger now that he dyed his white hair!)

Back in Dubai, I had dinner with friends at Ann’s flat. Too bad Trix was away that evening. We haven’t seen Gwynne in ages, so it was really nice to catch up with her. It was like a pre-birthday dinner for Gwynne and a goodbye dinner for Katy since she’s moving to a different accommodation, a building far away from us! Sniff! :(

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Katy, Ellen, me, Ann, Gwynne in Dubai

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Next up was a flight to Mauritius. I love the beach and I love Mauritius! It’s such a relaxing layover. Just like my last visit there, I kept taking pictures around the La Plantation because it’s such a pretty resort. Unfortunately, this time I wasn’t able to meet up with Yash, my friend from Mauritius. Next time!

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La Plantation Resort, Mauritius

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I never got to swim in any of the resort’s pools. Why go to the pool when you can hit the beach?

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Took many pictures around the resort but had to take a nap right after lunch. We were all too tired from the flight. Zzz. If only we could survive without sleep…

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The resort is still pretty even at night. I really had to force myself to wake up later that evening, otherwise if I don’t get up for dinner, then I’d be awake all night. (You really just can’t get any normal sleep with this job…!)

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Early the next morning, we went snorkeling! Yahoo! It’s actually my first time to go snorkeling. When I went to Boracay with college friends years ago, almost everyone went snorkeling, but Trix and I decided not to join because we wanted to have our hair braided instead! Haha!

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Me and my colleagues, all excited to go snorkeling in Mauritius!

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At first, I had a hard time breathing under the water. It took a while before I got the hang of it. I also had a hard time with the flippers because they were a bit too tight. I enjoyed the snorkeling but it probably would’ve been much better if we got to wear a life vest.

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I got really exhausted after snorkeling, but it was fun! Would love to do it again next time. We just hung out by the beach at the resort afterwards and posed for more pictures. Haha.

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Me and a fellow Filipina colleague, Lei, by the beach

After arriving in back in Dubai, I went back to my flat and hurriedly packed my things and rushed back to the airport to catch the flight to Manila. This time, I had 5 days off for the end of February because I managed to swap my Munich flight for days off. So I went home 3 times for the month – 3 days in the beginning, then 1 day for the layover, then 5 days at the end. I’m so happy I got to meet up with a few friends in Manila, but I think it will be quite some time before I get to come back.

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Carlo, me, Angela, and our ice cream cakes – YUM!

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After dinner with the girls – Janis, Justine, Jabi, me

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An ice cream afternoon with Tini and Jabi

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I was back in Dubai by March 1 because I had a flight to Dusseldorf, Germany. I flew with a rare set of crew – more guys than girls! There were 8 guys on our flight, which was way too many. There is usually just 1 or 2, or even none! But our flight was fun because everyone seemed to get along. I didn’t go out in Dusseldorf anymore except for the nearby grocery, because we now stay at an airport hotel and I was too tired to bother to go to the city.

When I came back in Dubai, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that someone took my India turnaround and accepted my swap for a Rome, Italy layover. That is such a miracle! Lucky swaps like that don’t happen very often! Anyway, it was still raining in Rome, just like my last visit there. Rain, rain, go away! But I still had a wonderful time, thanks to Emanuele! He took me around again, and entertained me by telling me all about the many different “legends” in Rome. Hehehe. Really wish I could’ve stayed longer!

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Me and Emanuele at Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy

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Me at another side of Piazza del Popolo

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Twin churches at the Piazza del Popolo

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Emanuele brought me to Piazza Cavalieri di Malta high up on Aventino Hill so I could see the “hole of Rome” or “keyhole view.” Take a peek through the keyhole of the gate, and WOW!!! I don’t even know how to describe it! What you can see from the keyhole is a magical view of Rome, with St. Peter’s Basilica in the middle, perfectly framed between 2 rows of trees. Let me steal a better description from a website: Known affectionately by Romans as the "hole of Rome" its abiding attraction draws queues of visitors to this peaceable "out of the way" spot. No key is required: it is sufficient to put an open eye to the keyhole, and focus. With kaleidoscope charm, a vision of St Peter's dome perfectly in perspective, framed by the tops of trees in the foreground, opens up. Often wrapped in a thin mysterious mist, seems to stand at the end of the garden path, just beyond the door.

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We walked to the nearby Parco Savello after, which had such a stunning view of Rome. It was breathtakingly beautiful!

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Zooming in for a better view of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

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Look to the right and the view is just as spectacular!

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Emanuele and me at Parco Savello in Aventino Hill (You can see the tiny dome of St. Peter’s on the left!)

I’ve been on leave since yesterday but I’m still in Dubai. I’m still waiting for Katy to arrive this morning, then we’ll fly to Jordan this afternoon for a 5-day vacation! Whee! I haven’t packed yet, uh-oh. Gotta go pack now and try to catch some sleep! :)
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