There's More to Your Adventure Than Tombs, Catacombs and Caves

My name is Melody St. Martin and I consider myself a rather adventurous Sim but when I embarked on a whirlwind tour of places I wanted to visit I didn't realize what a surprise I was in for! My friends had told me about their exciting travels to Al Simhara, Egypt, Champ Les Sims, France and Shang SimLa, China and I couldn't wait to experience it for myself.

Friendly Faces in Champs Les Sims!

Day 1 - I decided to start off with a trip to Champ Les Sims, France - my family has a bit of French heritage and I LOVE good food so it seemed like a natural choice. When I arrived I was dropped off at a BEAUTIFUL quaint countryside house. I was able to choose any room I wanted, hang out by the rustic fireplace and start planning out my time. I ran into a really nice traveler from China and she mentioned that I should really get a camera. Of course! How could I forget something so obvious! I immediately headed into town to the market place where I was able to pick up a cute little camera, I'm sure it's going to be perfect to capture all my future favorite sights. I've never been much of a photographer, but I suppose there's never a better time to start. I decided to try out my new camera in the market place. Looking around I saw an adorable French couple drinking coffee at a sidewalk café, a number of locals were coming and going from the nearby shops and I saw an AMAZINGLY cute guy sitting at the fountain. I HAD to come up with a reason to talk to him. Since I also happen to be quite a flirt, I decided to pretend I had camera troubles and started a conversation about SLR cameras. I'm not sure what that even means, but hey, it worked! After our chat he told me I should really visit the local Nectary. The town is known for its historic contributions to the art of fine Nectar making (or so I think he said - his eyes were really attractive.) I didn't want our chat to end so I kindly asked if he could show me the way. We agreed to meet up in the morning and head to the Nectary. I was getting really hungry - the food smelled SOOOO amazing. I sat outside where I could people watch and ordered a delicious bowl of Bouillabasse (so delicious!)... I just couldn't convince myself to order Frog's Legs, I'm not that brave. After my tasty meal I took a walk down towards the water. From the waterfront I could see the Eiffel Tower on the horizon, amazing! And a great photo opportunity. I ran into a small local boy fishing, he had already caught some frogs, some fish and even a little snail. I just can't get over how quaint and welcoming this town feels!

Day 2 - I took a nice lazy morning stroll on my way back to the market to meet my guide, and I snapped some photos along the way of some lovely local butterflies, some of the gorgeous local homes and a train I saw off in the distant mountains. He was there waiting for me and so we were off. Turns out we were able to hop on some nearby scooters and head up the hill to the Nectary. The rush of the wind blowing through my hair as I zipped around on my sporty scooter was so invigorating. I really need to take one of these home with me. Unfortunately as soon as we arrived, cute guy received a phone call and had to go (so sad!) He gave me his number, I'll definitely call him later. After a quick hello and chat about the history (They claim to have some famous heritage and relation to somebody named Jean Necteaux? Who knows), the Nectary owners were so friendly they let me just wander around on my own. I took some time to admire the amazing nectar collection - combinations of so many exotic grapes and other fruits - I never would have imagined! I wandered down to the cellar area and actually got to try out some nectar making by myself! I threw a bunch of fruits into the nectar tub and squished them with my own feet (eww!). Then I let the machine do its work and a short time later had my very own custom nectar to take home with me (I call it the St Martin Special). I took a few more pictures to document my creation and went on my merry way. I only have one more day - but there's so much to do!

Day 3 - Wow, how can this already be my last day in Champs Les Sims? I really need to come back here! I decided to spend the day picking up some souvenirs, little items to remind me of my experiences. At the shop I talked with a vendor who sold specialty goods - he convinced me to buy a tent (of all things!). I also decided to pick up a recipe for those Frog's Legs that I was too afraid to eat. I also bought a few local novels, some exotic fruits and even a little gargoyle statue (he'll look PERFECT in my garden back home). I know I'm new to this town (and country!) and I learned from another tourist that I really need to improve my Visa Level. It's basically my reputation with any country I visit. The more I visit, the longer I can stay and the more opportunities I might have to explore new areas! I might even be able to purchase my own home here someday, wouldn't that be awesome! For now - I'm heading back to Sunset Valley to get ready for the next leg of my trip - Shang SimLa!!

Sightseeing in Shang SimLa

Day 1 - After a long flight, I'm here in exotic Shang SimLa, China! The view as we landed was breathtaking - the lush green mountains, brilliant trees and breathtaking waterfalls! I can't wait to explore! Thank goodness I left my batch of France photos at home, I'm pretty sure my camera would explode! I get to stay at an old Monk Retreat that has been turned into a tourist home away from home. I've already met a couple who told me they were here to explore the Mysterious Dragon Cave - I bet that's the amazing thing I saw on the hill coming in to town! I can't WAIT to get out and see the sights, but where to start? I snapped some photos of my temporary humble abode and set off for town. No matter where I am, it seems like the market is a good place to meet people. I love looking around at all the different styles of clothing and décor in the different cities. The women are wearing beautiful dresses and robes; and the men have hats that look like they are made of paper. The entrance to the main city is amazing. The bridges and HUGE gates are so awe inspiring. I could take hundreds of photos of only the architecture! I was greeted by friendly locals left and right, and saw so many bikes rolling by, the activity here is infectious. I was itching to learn something new but my stomach was growling so I stopped for a quick bite of some fresh egg rolls. It took me a while to get the hang of using the chopstix, but once I was able to get a nibble in my mouth, yum! SOOOO good. I know it's only my first day but it's never too early to start thinking about souvenirs! I took a gander at the shops to see some samples of what I might be able to take home - an incense burner, historical books, more exotic foods, I could even buy my own fortune cookie maker! Sweet! I'm not sure how that will fit in my luggage. Hm… anyway, I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around town looking at the houses, the amazing temple at the heart of town and again the architectural history and detail.

Day 2 - I heard through the grapevine that while I was in Shang SimLa I just HAD to visit the Academy. It seemed like a good way to start the day! After a quick bike ride up the hill I reached the Academy. Nestled into the hillside it was so quiet and serene, hardly the place I expect to see such drive and determination at work. The martial artists I saw once I got there were so impressive I can hardly describe them. There happened to be a training dummy available for me so I decided to give it a shot . I have to say, it's MUCH harder than it looks. After numerous failed kicks and jabs, and a few bumps on my head, I'd had enough. The board breaker seemed like the way to go - boy was I wrong. You'd think ANYONE could break a foam board right? Apparently not. I ended my day with a hurt hand, and a little wounded pride, but excited as ever about having tried something new. I ran into an explorer when I got back to my room and he told me how much he just loves Shang SimLa. He's been back so many times that he's actually earned a Level 3 Visa! He can now visit for weeks at a time and is working on saving money to purchase his own exotic home. He likes to travel with his family but it's so hard when he's off exploring. He was telling me how excited he was to have a more constant residence so his family could come and travel with him! Maybe someday the cute French guy will come travel with me.. sigh...

Day 3 - 3 Days just FLY by! I've barely had time to check out so many other things I was told to look at. I was hoping to pick up one of those stunning fans I see the locals using, I haven't even tried all the food and I haven't even begun to learn about the new local insects or fish. Before I get carried away, here's what I DID do on my last day. I decided to venture a bit more out into the "wild" so to speak. I toured another remarkable old Monastery, walked along the river to get some amazing views of the waterfalls and chatted with a nice old man I met who told me something all about "the Resolute Fist" (I think). He seemed really excited like he was telling me a big secret, I think if I had more time I would have loved to have asked around a bit more. He started humming a little tune that he was kind enough to teach me before he had to get back to his work. My friends back home will be so impressed by my cultural learnings! I came across a pile of what I thought was junk but after digging around a little I found some really cool old artifacts. Little pieces of pottery, a vase, a bowl and the most adorable carved tiger I've EVER seen. I decided to keep the Tiger (he's so cute!!) but I sold off the other relics I'd found for a whopping $2500 Simoleons! Holy cow! I'm not sure how anything could top this.

Absorbing Al Simhara

Day 1 - After nearly a week of travel I should be getting tired but honestly I'm just so enthralled with all these new things. I saved Al Simhara for last as I think it's the most "rugged" destination on my itinerary. I feel like I'm a little more prepared after being so pampered on my other travels. Boy was I right, sleeping in a dusty tent is a far cry from my private room at the chateau. Is it worse? Absolutely not! Waking up to a camp full of fellow travelers is like nothing else. As per usual, I headed to the market first! Now that I'd warmed up to this new photography thing I decided to upgrade my little camera to a far more advanced SLR (now I actually DO know what that means). And wow is it snazzy - more options, more effects to apply to my photos, more sizes. This will really come in handy when showcasing my travels. To give my new camera a proper road test I decided to take a scooter tour around town (I REALLY do need to get one of those). I started at the Great Sphinx and it is as awesome as I thought it would be. Something in the air around the sphinx gave me a sense that there was some great magic and power at work there. After another short ride, I headed over to the Great Pyramids, it looked like there might be a way in, but I was so caught up taking pictures I hardly gave it a second thought. I decided to travel back through town towards the Temple of Hapshepsut. I spent quite awhile exploring around there and managed to find some scarabs and some sort of shiny metal (a shopkeeper told me later it was mummitomium! Strange name, I know). I wanted to head over to the Temple of Abu Simbel but it was getting kind of dark and a trek across the desert seemed a little too far for me. I headed back to camp and spent a cozy evening trading stories around the fire.

Day 2 - I met a really nice local family this morning, they couldn't stop praising the wonderful local cuisine so I promised to give it a try. I decided to head to the market again and find out what else I should see while I was in town. The merchant dazzled me with tales of adventures and danger, he even mentioned long-hidden secret chambers and treasures. His amazing pitch convinced me to buy some dried food (terrible stuff I have to say) and a shower in a can (I can't BELIEVE I bought that, how embarrassing). After the dried food incident I opted for a more filling meal, some Shawerma! How delicious! As I finished up, I overheard a charming melody and walked into the market square to see a snake charmer! I saw a local try to kiss the snake! No really, I did. Later, I overheard somebody mention an "adventure board" which piqued my interest so I headed back to base camp to see what my fellow explorers knew about this "adventure" stuff. Asking them about adventures REALLY got them going. They traded stories with me for hours, and I was getting more and more psyched about checking out some of the crazy things they were telling me! (Fire traps? Dive Wells? Yeah right.)

Day 3 - I got up really early today figuring maybe I could see what this adventure stuff was all about. I didn't even notice before, but the adventure board was right in my camp! (I'm not the brightest sometimes). I noticed a posting to help recover some lost papers, that seemed easy enough and I figured why not, this may be my last day, but maybe I could help somebody and gain a little more pull with the locals for my next visit. It turns out there was an abandoned building behind the camp, I had to push around a few statues and unlock some doors but I managed to find the papers. I also found some really cool ancient coins although I'm not sure what to do with them yet. It turned out that this little task was hardly a sample of the types of things I could help the locals with here but I really didn't want to miss out on anymore photographs or landmarks! I've already captured pictures of all sorts of amazing places, just a few more and I'd be sure to have a complete collection! Of course, my time is already up, need to save up more simoleons for my next visit!! I can't wait to return.

I just got back from the last leg of my trip and all I can say is wow. I saw SO many amazing things, took in some truly inspiring sights, learned about new cultures and met wonderful people, I can't wait to go back. I feel like I barely scratched the surface. There's so much to experience and collect, so much more to do! My friend Landon left me a message about his travels and told me he met a Mummy!! A MUMMY! I didn't even know there were tombs...

Thanks for reading - Melody

PS. If you are reading this cute French guy, I promise to call you soon :)