Travel Tales: Rebecca Andrews
Name: Rebecca Andrews
Age: 30 something (+GST)
Current job?: Freelance writer
Favourite travel destinations and why?: I love Switzerland for its insane beauty and Japan for the incredible food but my number one at the moment is Egypt where the past and the present roll out together as though time doesn’t exist. Seeing pyramids for the first time stopped me in my tracks. I went on a Scenic tour led by an Egyptologist who walked us down hidden passages of ancient temples and showed us secrets in the Valley of the Kings and told us tales as we floated down the Nile on a riverboat. I spent the night in an Aswan hotel where Agatha Christie wrote ‘Death on the Nile’ and got to visit the oldest Nubian village in the country. I could go on but will summarise by saying I cried on the way to the airport the day I had to fly home. First time I’ve ever done that. I didn’t want to leave.
Best sunrise/sunset?: I once spent a sunset doing Champagne toe-shots in an infinity pool at a five star hotel in Hawaii during a hurricane. Most of the champers ($200 a bottle! I’m not rich! WTF was I doing!?) ended up in my eye but the whole situation was extreme, hilarious and sting-y. I’ll never forget it.
Best museum or gallery?: Namahage Museum in the north of Japan. It explains New Year’s Eve tradition that sees young men of villages in the area, dress up as mountain demons (in handmade grass skirts, grotesque masks and waving knives) then break into the houses of families to steal the bad kids. Think Santa’s naughty and nice list but rolled out by The Devil. I don’t understand why the parents play along but the reenactment they do in the stage area of the museum made me pee my pants in terror, while the real-life footage they show on the screen taken from inside the homes of local residents also had me peeing my pants (in hysterics – you’ve never seen kids so scared in your life).
Best meal you’ve had while travelling?: Oh I did a whole story on that right here and includes a sunrise tea in Nepal, breakfast in Egypt, coffee in Hawaii, lunch in Thailand, arvo tea in Switzerland, dinner in Japan, a cocktail in Portland and the most amazing midnight snack at a grandma’s house in Malta.
One food/drink people should avoid at all costs?: The Icelandic delicacy called Hakarl. It was like munging on a weeping tyre oozing blue vein cheese juice that had been sitting in urine, in the sun, in a garbage can. For years. Can taste it up behind my nose as I type.
Best/scariest/funniest drive?: The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay. I could do again and again. Waking up in your tent to a kangaroo eating grass next to your pillow, kayaking with turtles and stopping by private paddocks to follow trails made by local kids that lead to secret waterfalls and swim holes.
Best/weirdest/worst place you’ve stayed?: A backpackers in Venice where I booked the private room and came home that night to find a Korean girl in my bed. The owners had sold the other side of my mattress to her. Luckily she didn’t snore.
Biggest ‘wow’ moment in your travelling life?: I’ll never forget the first day I arrived in Mumbai and saw kilometres of slums made of tin slabs, pieces of trash and plastic sheets lining the highway.
Number one travel tip?: Take a hard ball (size of a tennis ball) for long trips in a car or plane. It will sort out sore muscles, weird aches and bring your feet back to life after hours of sitting in the same pozzie. Roll it on your thighs, the back of your neck, on your head. It’s the best, especially for a long haul flight. So are sleeping pills.
One thing you’d never leave home without?: I am a girl with curly hair so my answer is most definitely HEADBANDS.
Next destination?: Brazil – first time to South America and looking forward to Carnivale! Anyone got any tips?