A Travellerspoint blog

Fundraising and Fun Raising

LocoCiNcoMiami Progress

Today April 20th, 2012 is our Launch Party for LocoCiNcoMiami, our fundraiser benefiting New Hope Cambodia.

A lot has gone down in the past six weeks that finally got us to this point.

The biggest hurdle to overcome was definitely finding the venue to host our event. It had to have the right amount of sophistication and class mixed with the ability to keep things on a very, very low budget and still appeal to a variety of people and age groups.

After many hours, days, and weeks of searching for a place that wouldn't charge us an arm and a leg, I ended up wandering around Wynnwood, Miami's edgy design district filled with warehouses converted to art studios. I followed a recommendation from a friend and ended up knocking on a very small door of a very large building (It just didn't seem like the proper entrance to what should be a very nice studio). It was the middle of the day, sun brightly shining in my face, and sketchy characters possibly doing sketchy things just down the street.

To my surprise, a man answered the door.

I immediately assumed we wouldn't be able to communicate in the same language and we both exchanged questioningly surprised glances.

Me: Is this the *BLank* Studio?
Man: "No"
Me: *Looks at sign above door that says the Studios' Name* "I'm interested in renting your space for a fundraiser."
Man: Is sold
Me: Oh, so I can't rent from the new owner?
Man: Sorry, no.

So I head back to the safety of my car and immediately google "museum space for rent"

Not so long after, I'm having a conversation with the owner of a gallery I used to live across the street from and she kindly refers me to the newly opened Coral Gables Museum.

I thought, there is no way a nice, new museum, would give me their space for dirt cheap and let me throw a party with an open bar in their venue and call it a "fundraiser."

But they they did. And they are. And so, our venue was locked down.

If anyone is reading this that doesn't already know about LocoCiNcoMiami and you're in miami on May 5th 2012, then you're invited to join the Celebrations.

Visit our Page for all the details

Also you can join us tonight at our Launch party at Blue Martini Brickell from 5-8pm, free appetizers, 2 for 1 drinks and the VIP section.

Tickets will be available at the amazing Pre-sale Value of $30! But you can also still buy them online here LocoCincoMiami Invitation and tickets

Come help us kickoff a great event!!

Til next time, Cheers!


Posted by Noemad 10:31 Archived in USA Tagged lococincomiami_party Comments (0)


A Fundraising Celebration Benefiting New Hope

sunny 25 °C

Hi Everyone!

Now that I'm back in my own bubble of the world and have had some time to get back into the swing of things (I can't seem to stop eating sushi!) I have been racking my brain as to how I could help raise money for New Hope. Then I realized:

Hey! Your birthday is coming up!
It just so happens to be a major non-holiday (Cinco de Mayo) that lot's of people love to use as an excuse to get slobber-drunk!
Why not give people a venue, provide a DJ and Open Bar, and charge everyone that comes a small fee!
All donations would go to new hope, and


A beautifully simple fundraising idea was born.

SO, if you happen to be in Miami on 5/5/2012 and would like to participate, here's where to go to sign up:


And in case you are not on my list of e-mail recipients, here's what it would say to promote the party:

Don't want to spend another Saturday night taking shots by yourself?
Tired of listening to your kids whine about not eating their vegetables?
Angry that your workplace uniform doesn't allow casual Fridays?

I can't fix any of that but join us for a Cinco De Mayo celebration that will surely make you forget having all those problems in the first place!

What you need to get in:

1. Sign up
2. Bring 1 friend*

That's it!

  • Unlimited tagalongs, but everyone must be signed up through Eventbrite. Also, if you're a couple and both of you received this invitation, you are both required to bring a guest. (Hint, invite another couple!)

Dress Code:
Dress in your finest red, white and green! I know you want to show off that Paleo-Cross-Fit-Body and panty-dropper dance moves, but please keep it classy Miami!

LoCoCincoMiami is a fundraising celebration benefiting New Hope Cambodia; all donations will help support education, healthcare, and food rations for children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. For more info on how you can help, go to www.newhopecambodia.com

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you there!

Posted by Noemad 18:02 Archived in USA Tagged fundraiser Comments (0)

The Similan and Phi Phi Islands


We only had 3 days to spare in the islands, and we definitely made the most of it. Phuket is right in the middle of the Andaman, so it was the perfect location for day trips to explore both the east and west Andaman islands. 

First we went diving at the Similan Islands. That was an exhausting but fulfilling day. It took a 2 hr bus transfer to the loading pier, plus another 1.5hrs by speedboat to get to the live-aboard dive boat. We only had one day to dive, but it really wasn't enough! The two dives we did were nice, but the spectacular stuff can only be done if you're on the live-aboard for 3-4 days. At least I'll have a reason to come back! But we did see lots of clownfish (nemo!) a couple turtles, a huge octopus, and a couple of us even caught a glimpse of a shark. 

Ko Phi Phi Don & Phi Phi Leh

Made famous by the movie "The Beach,"  Ko Phi Phi is every bit as spectacular as seen on tv. It's not easy to get to though, and it took us quite a bit of exhausted decision making to figure out.  There really are only 2 options for day-trips from Phuket: 1. Take a tour that picks you up from your hotel and takes you around several different islands, including Phi Phi, or 2. Take the ferry (which takes longer and it's very limiting because the last ferry leaves the island at 2:30pm) and then hire a long tail boat from the pier in Phi Phi Don to take you wherever you want. 

We chose option 2 because we just couldn't handle the thought of being on someone else's schedule and crammed in with a bunch of Japanese or Koreans (I hate to stigmatize, but they can be very rude) on a tiny speedboat. It was also perfect because we got meet up with Sam and Rachel (who were staying on Phi Phi for a week; Jealous!!) and hiring the longtail boat is a reasonable $ 15 when split among five people. In my opinion, getting to go where you want when you want it is priceless. 

We sped off to monkey beach first. Imagine dozens of little spider monkeys on the rocks and trees along the shore, happily grabbing bananas out of your hands! Then we headed over to Maya bay on the smaller island of Phi Phi Leh. It's a beautiful lagoon amongst monolithic limestone cliffs. All we could say was, "pinch me, is this real?" We then headed further around the island for some great snorkeling, rock-climbing, cliff-diving, and rope-swinging into the ocean. We finished off the excursion with lunch on Phi Phi Don (the big island) and took the ferry back to Phuket. All in all, one of my favorite days of the entire trip. 

Our last day in Phuket was pure indulgence. We slept in, hung out on the beach, got massages on the beach, had cocktails by the pool and did some last-minute shopping. Mircea and Michael treated us for our last Thai meal at our resort's restaurant on the beach at sunset. A perfect end to a perfect weekend. 


My best advice when planning a trip here is: 3 days is NOT enough!

Posted by Noemad 19:43 Archived in Thailand Tagged similan_islands phi_phi_islands Comments (0)

SPF I'm in Heaven


sunny 29 °C

Oh Thailand! Beautiful, Amazing Thailand, how we've missed those smiling faces! So happy that we arranged to spend our last weekend of vacation in Phuket. I couldn't have thought of anything more depressing than heading straight home at the end of our tour. Flying down the Andaman Coast of Thailand, you slowly see the layer of smog disappear, the sun shining brightly, and the view of a million tiny little islands dotting the coastline isn't bad either. We grabbed roadsodas at the airport and jumped in the cab to take us to our resort in Kata Beach. Here, they welcome you with a cold towelette and refreshing cocktail. It's time for bathing suits and sunscreen. 

Kata beach is perfect for us. When first planning a trip, you spend hours researching where to go and stay, eat and drink. Reading hundreds of reviews and asking friends for recommendations. But places are just dots on a map and pictures only tell a part of the story within its 4 corners. Finally, we get to experience it with our 5 senses, and it's no disappointment. 


The island is very mountainous, so what seems to be just a small distance away on the map turns out to be a trek sometimes. Therefore, each beach in Phuket has its own personality. Kata is a bit more posh, the playground for Russians, Finns, and Swedes. There are more blonde beauties here than my eyes can handle.  The landscape is well maintained, the staff speak good English (compared to some other places we've been), and even the street market vendors have better quality trinkets. The perfect laid-back beach town, Kata draws on a family friendly crowd, as well as younger and older couples. There are lots of restaurants serving both Thai and many international dishes all on the main road. But aside from a couple of pubs or your pool bar, the nightlife is a 25 min ride away in Patong.

Patong beach is basically Cancun, on a smaller scale. Bangalore Rd, the famous party street in Patong, is lined with fist-pumping clubs, ladies dancing  in windows, and promoters hassling you to see the "ping-pong" shows. You can easily bounce from club to club, drink buckets of vodka/redbull, take lychee shots at the Absolut Ice Bar, and basically rage til the sun comes up. The first and best bar we went to was actually a recommendation from someone we had just met on the planeride down- Scruffy Murphy's. An irish bar with a  great live coverband playing all the latest and greatest hits. But at the end of it, we were glad to return to our oasis on Kata beach. 

Posted by Noemad 12:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged phuket kåta Comments (0)

HaLong Bay, Vietnam

overcast 19 °C


So beautiful. Although luck wasn't on our side with the weather - it was very foggy - reducing visibility drastically. It also gave the bay a wonderful mystic and serene calm.
We took an overnight cruise on a converted barge through the bay. The barge was very nicely remodeled, it was like staying in a 3/4 star hotel. Elaborate seafood lunch and dinner was included the first night, breakfast and another lunch the next day as well.

We walked through a massive limestone cave system with stalagmites and stalactites and took a beautiful sunset Kayak tour which led us into a lagoon. A perfectly quiet setting was only disturbed by the sounds of birds and bats chirping.
IMG_0910.jpgStalagmites with a sense of humor

Stalagmites with a sense of humor


After dinner and a mini pre-birthday celebration for Sam, we headed to the deck for a game (or lesson in my case)  in Texas Hold'em. 
Our only disappointment was the pollution of the bay. You would think that with the amount of tourism they get for being a beautiful world heritage site, and major source of food, they would take care of it better. We even saw syringes float by while fishing for squid at night. Syringes! Ugh. 

On our way back to Hanoi (a bumpy 4hr drive) our bus was pulled over as a random spot-check by police - a nice reminder of where we were, just in case we had forgotten while out on the bay . The bus driver dealt with it, but our guide would not entertain us with the what/why/how of it all. Big brother is always watching and listening. 

This will be our last night as part of the tour, and I'm sure I can speak for all of us, that this has been an incredible, memorable journey. But it wouldn't have been as awesome if it hadn't been for this fun and randomly, but perfectly, assembled group. It's the people you travel with that always make a trip stand out, and you know when you can still stand each other by the end of it, it must've been phenomenal. We ate good food and food that made us homesick. We braved public transportation, public bathrooms, and some smells that we hope to forget. Not one of us escaped the wrath of disease! If it wasn't a hacking cough, a terrible cold, pneumonia, or the D-word that rhymes with rhea, then it was the hangover from the night before that got us.  But we smiled and laughed through it all, and those will be the memories we'll recite boldly. 

Last but not least, a major shout out goes to our fearless leader, Pooky! With a voice as dainty as a shrieking crane, no one could have made this trip run more smoothly than her. Who tells you to look out for lady-boys in every club and pub? Pooky. Who wakes your ass up extra early every morning cuz she knows you're going to be slow from that hangover? Pooky. Who makes the bartender smell the bottle of vodka and then the glass to prove a point? Pooky. Damn straight, she's the ish!

Tomorrow we're off to Phuket while the rest of the group enjoys a final dinner in Bangkok. After 2 weeks of vacation, I'm happy to say that I can't wait for some much needed R&R!

Posted by Noemad 03:13 Archived in Vietnam Tagged halong_bay Comments (1)

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