Well Traveled, SOLZ!
When packing for a trip we all know the wisdom is “Less is more”. Pack your bags and then take half of it out. But, I was going on a destination-packed, adventurous and elegant cruise to Asia. Surely I needed a full battery of shoes for every occasion, right? A pair to match every outfit. Flip flops, sturdy trekking shoes and the strappy heels I can wear for almost a half hour. I packed them all. And then, I thought of schlepping this overstuffed bag halfway around the world; its contents in danger of spilling all over baggage carousels in Singapore.
What to do? Just in time, I acquired my first pair of SOLZ shoes. (Full disclosure: SOLZ biz is in the family). They were comfortable and versatile. I decided to be daring, do the unthinkable and take the SOLZ challenge. I downsized to one easy to wrangle roll-aboard.
Could I survive a three week trip with only one pair of shoes?
Los Angeles to Tokyo. Tokyo to Singapore. Five movies, four sudokus, and all of Steve Jobs on audio. My head is a little fuzzy and my feet are possibly a half size bigger. By this time, I would have cast aside the restricting clodhoppers I usually wear; but, wow, I’m loving my SOLZ for being comfortable, flexible and a little forgiving.
Singapore is an easy introduction to Asia. Even at 2:00 a.m., everything works. The airport is spectacular and transportation by shuttle to our hotel is fast and efficient. Everyone speaks English. The city is festooned with red lanterns and profusions of flowers. Happy New Year! Can we get food at this hour? Yes! A local place just a block away will have noodles!
After a few unconscious hours, it’s time for breakfast. More noodles and shrimp at the local hawker place and we are off by MRT to Chinatown. The New Year’s festivities are still going strong. It’s busy, crowded, full of treasures and trinkets, incense and nonsense. A friendly guy shows us the way to the best jade shop and after intense shopping it is time for dim sum sustenance.
We are ready for a temple. The mesmerizing sound of chanting emanates from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. People slowly pass a long row of monks, making ceremonial offerings. Tables are laden with fancy food and flower offerings. Upstairs, there are 1,000 Buddhas to see; so, we check them all out.
There’s this new architectural marvel of a tower shopping casino complex with a rooftop garden called Marina Bay. In order to reach the lofty view, we have to go up and down escalators and negotiate what must be miles of shopping concourse; but, we also get to experience the dazzling global high fashion world. At every step, my SOLZ are comfortable and fashion forward in a minimalist way.
It’s tea time at Raffles. A sudden storm makes it impossible to leave. It is raining buckets; so, tea becomes cocktails and we segue into the evening. A long day ends with a local dragon dance ceremony. It’s loud, colorful and fun. After circling the hawker stands we succumb to the best pitch and eat like locals. Giant grilled prawns and Tiger beer. At the end of the day, I reflect that we have walked miles and experienced some of the most elegant venues on earth. My SOLZ shoes handle it all with comfort and style. So far, my SOLZ have met the challenge perfectly.
Sail away! We explore every corner of the beautiful Azamara Quest. A couple of sea days give us time to enjoy the ship. My SOLZ are at home at the spa, the pool, the fitness center, the casino, and up and down, down and up the stairs. I could run a mile on the jogging track on the top deck, but opt instead for the hot stone massage.
Our first excursion is strenuous. We fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia and stay overnight at Le Meridian. Angkor Wat is maybe the most amazing place in the world. We see three of the temples, climb countless steep stairs, ride on elephants and get immersed in Hindu and Buddhist culture. We walk about 8 miles. It is about 93 degrees. I can attest that these SOLZ shoes I am wearing can handle it all. Our group straggles back to the ship, some battered, blistered and in need of medical attention; but, my SOLZ are survivors.
Bangkok. Royal Palaces and temples. Gold stupas and Bhuddas. My favorite is the huge gold reclining Buddha. Makes me feel like taking a little nap, but no -- must go for a longboat ride to explore the river and canals. Bangkok is a city of contrasts!
Our week in Vietnam is jam packed. We travel by ship, boat, sampan, donkey cart, bicycle and motor coach. It’s a blur of museums, rice paddies, shopping, temples and good food. I have never seen so many scooters. Or, so many people on one scooter. They practice free-style driving here! Nobody pays any attention to the traffic cop at the intersection. He’s just for show. It takes courage and determination to cross the street. I could still be standing on that corner in Saigon!
Back home on the ship, we decide to make sure we have tried all the dining options and entertainment possibilities. There is too much wonderful food and the ambiance is both elegant and casual. After a little brush up, my SOLZ look spiffy everywhere and excel on the dance floor even if I don’t.
A few days in Hong Kong. We have heard there is a little dim sum place in Mong Kok that is the world’s best. These spots are always hard to find. Up and down alleys, weaving through crowds, we suddenly come upon a crowd at a doorway. This is the place -- Tim Ho Wan (“the cheapest restaurant in the world to have a Michelin star”). We’re given a number, place our order and go to dim sum heaven. Thank you, Anthony Bourdain!
Why do we have to take the Star Ferry and ride escalators to the Mid-levels? The tram to the Peak? I don’t know! But, it is fun working our way down, exploring the galleries and shops, the little restaurants and tea houses.
We love the W Hong Kong, with its amazing views of the harbor and comfortable trendy atmosphere in the Living Room. A great place to wind down and people watch.
Our trip comes to an end. With flight delays it takes more than 24 hours to get home.
So how did I survive with only one pair of shoes? Through temples and rice paddies, museum and mausoleum, rain and burning heat, elegant dining and dancing at night? Fantastic! SOLZ lightweight, flexible construction allows the human foot to function naturally. At the end of the day I knew that my feet had been able to balance and move smoothly, without jarring my frame at each step. They actually make your feet, ankles, calves, and whole body feel poised and stronger, and on top of that, their sleek look won many admiring glances. And, because SOLZ are such space savers, I had room to pack a few souvenirs. Did I miss all those shoes that didn’t make the cut? Not at all! SOLZ more than met the challenge.
After a great trip, I’m exhausted; but, will soon be ready to go again. My SOLZ took a trip through the washing machine and got a quick air-dry. Now they look brand new. It’s time to venture forth again.