Serenity in the midst of chaos

Now we all know Hong Kong is really bustling, rarely a quiet moment to be had. Which was why the trip out to 志蓮淨苑 (Chi Lin nunnery) and 南蓮園池 (Nan Lian gardens) was absolutely worth the trip!

It’s free, and to wander about the place to take pictures of just rest and relax can really take up the better part of the day. (which it did for us) was really glad that my parents enjoyed themselves too cause it meant that nobody needed to rush around.

I remembered the taxi driver said to us that the begrudge restaurant there was super expensive and not with the money… Like taking tourists for a ride and ripping then off. So we took his advice and had a late lunch at the nearby Plaza Hollywood food court (Food Republic) which was also good. Wantan mee, with woh tip, and some steamed rice (with chicken feet + pork & squid mince) to share. And also had some cute pig shaped custard buns as dessert. XD

The cabbie on the ride home really dotes on his grandson, he chatted to mom about him while watching videos of him. Haha!

Also. 5 people to a cab kind of sucks when you’re the smallest person, but thankfully I didn’t have to feel cramped throughout a traffic jam.

Midnight meals on touchdown

Always the best. XD

Went to a random resto place opposite our hotel to have something to eat. Curry fried rice, porridge with pork+century eggs, mom-style beehoon canto style (but not as good as the one at home of course), one whole portion of siu yuk, and siu yuk + chicken rice! All devoured , all good.

The other thing is that 7-11 has some nice things too! Discovery of the night was definitely Kowloon Dairy milk. IN A GLASS BOTTLE! and if you return the glass bottle you can get a $1 refund! Quite neat XD glad they’re still staying true to the original. 😀

wrong turn, but right company. =)

Walking back from Hummingbird Cafe yesterday… I took a wrong turn, and I turned at one interesection too late. Met a girl who looked lost, and with a guidebook. At first I thought of minding my own business, but looking back, I changed my mind — and decided to ask if she needed help.

So it turned out that the backpackers place she was looking for was closed, and she had nowhere to spend the night. I asked her to follow me since I knew of a backpackers behind the hotel.

She’s French, on holiday in Indonesia for the past month. She’s travelled PLENTY of places. Jakarta, Surabaya, Solo, Jogjakarta, Palembang, Bandung, and headed to Medan the next day. Phew, what a list.

I let her stay with me for the night — Since I had a spare bed anyway, there was nothing to be lost by just utilizing it. =P

If it was me in her shoes, I’d completely understand the feeling of being lost and helpless at that moment. I’d help where I can, however I can. I’d do it for someone because I could see that they would do it for me.

The night went well – everyone had a good shower, a good sleep. And a good amount of stories being shared about herself, and stories about me. Some things to do with family, culture, and her internship in Vietnam.

“Was having a bad day, and I decided to stop at a bakery to treat myself – have some cake on the go. Since I couldn’t bring the whole thing with me into the subway, I ate it outside, while reading this advertisement about a work programme – and here I am! That cake has brought me places.”

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Anais, thanks for the company =) You may not know this, but I was feeling a little lonely, a little homesick. And that my mind was travelling the darker reaches of my memories. You made me look forward into a world where people always keep their eyes, minds and hearts wide open, always learning new things about anything and everything at all. You helped me remember. =) Safe travels, and may we meet again sometime!

Friday evening in Cibadak

So after work today, Me, Bear, Andre & Nadya met at Cibadak.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I was not expecting the amount of food gloriousness that night.

The main agenda here was Nasi Campur, so we rushed off to get a number (street stall being efficient, I LIKE!) so that we didn’t have to wait too long for the food to prep when the stall ‘officially’ opens at 7pm. Nadya suggested we take a walk and explore the rest of the street, so off we went.

LET THE MAKANS BEGIN!

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Started with Putu Pisang! I spied it from the corner of my eye, and I thought — hey, that would be a good appetizer. So off we went! It was fresh, full of banana, and the combination with dried coconut shavings was amazingly good. (Then again, I could have been biased because I was starting to get hungry.)

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Walking on a little further, we saw some Sate Babi. Was thinking of whether to eat there or not, when Andre said that we could tapau it and eat with the nasi campur when we got back to the stall. Done deal. OF COURSE I’M UP FOR SATE BABI. =D Bear and I stayed to pick up the tapau while the couple went off to make sure we had seats for dinner later, and wait for the food.

After the tapau, we headed back to wait together with them for dinner. In the meantime, there was a Sekoteng Jahe stall right next to it, and we were getting a little hungry. (Sate babi with the food, remember?) so we had a bowl of that to share.

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Ingredients (It’s a mix of these ingredients in jahe (ginger) sweet soup):

  • the jelly thing reminiscent in the Thai dessert Thab Tim Grob
  • bread (I have no idea why, but somehow in the grand scheme of things, it works)
  • peanuts
  • attap chee (i.e. palm fruit. another omgyay moment for me! I LOVE attap chee)
  • crackers / biscuits

Finally, the main agenda: Nasi Campur 88 (Siang Siang). CHOCK FULL OF STUFF! And is very tasty too! Each portion was about IDR40k so I don’t think it was cheap, but the plate was packed full! Also, they have some crazy spicy chilli oil thing which I made a mistake of taking a small spoonful. The hot soup helped lift the chilli off my tongue so it was a real lifesaver.

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Ingredients:

  • a generous handful of Samcan (i.e. siu yok)
  • also another generous handful of Casiu (i.e. char siew)
  • some fish paste thing, sliced thin
  • some meatball thingy, also sliced thinly
  • and a bit of chicken, I think.

With that done (remaining stomach space: maybe 40%) we went on in search of more snacks. =D Saw some yummy looking guotie, and Andre was in the mood to eat Bakut (basically pork rib soup + sayur masin / salted vegetables) so we went to eat BOTH. =D Forgot to take pictures of the bakut because we were too busy eating it. =D Bakut itself was good, milder in taste than the ones we get in KL.

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The guotie stall guy taught us how to mix the epic sauce, which included garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil (but this is flavoured I think) and vinegar. Heavenly combination when eaten together with the guotie.

Next up was the yakitori stall, which we stopped by cause it also happens to be owned by Nadya’s friend. The marinate sauce they dip it in before BBQ-ing the sticks is sweet, and topped with some spice powder. The interesting one was the ham & cheese sando on a stick. It’s surprisingly palatable =D

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Heheh what we also discovered while eating this: Nadya’s friend looks ALOT like tai sou. Especially from the side view. Bear and I agree it’s because of the high cheekbones, and just the way she smiles. Maybe its the pointed chin, and the eyes. =P No pics, cause I promised her I wouldn’t sell her pic. =P

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By this time we were almost full (maybe not the Bear, cause that’s what he is.) but we had enough space for one more dish. Ending it on a sweet note, we headed off to the stall across the street – Wedang Ronde Jahe Alkateri!

Wedang Ronde basically is Tangyuan. The soup’s gingery kick was just whoa (but in a good way), and they even give extra ginger extract / sauce(?) to make the soup EVEN MORE GINGERY (or if you feel like it needs to go over 9000). It was a mix of big and small tangyuan, the large one stuffed with peanuts. Yummy. =D

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And that concludes the epic food trip, on an epic food street, with epic food people. I’ll always be thankful for the hospitality you both have shown me. =D

about the angkot

So yesterday, the Bear and I took the Angkutan Kota cause we were too damn lazy to wait for a cab. Finally managed to board one (I know! It’s nothing interesting, but it’s an experience!) and I was surprised. =D

There was a girl who was neatly dressed, carrying an inkjet printer. She asked us where we were headed, and we told her. She was like “ah! But this one doesn’t go there, it goes to BIP! Maybe you can board another one that will take you much closer to where you need to go.” We also made some small talk about how we were actually here for work, when she asked us “Siswa?” (which means ‘graduate student’ – she meant to ask if we were studying! XD makes me feel young again!)

The ride was slow and steady – was altogether enjoyable barring the fact that we were already late. Who cares!

The driver was also being quite funny – because we are pretty tanned, but we don’t speak Indonesian, he assumed that we were Filipina. And he went on to talk about Manny Pacquiao. (laughs) but it was kinda fun listening to him talk about it.

the work week begins.

Today I learned the hard way that to be able to fast for a day, I have to start the day right. Simple meal of bubur cannot last me until buka puasa. Daaaamn hungry by the time dinnertime came around.

It’s not like I intended to do so, I just kinda forgot about lunch cause I was busy with things.

Today’s dinner was at Rumah Makan Legoh — Andre asked me to try the babi cuka but because I was too hungry, I completely forgot about it. SAYANG! but I will definitely go back there to try again, cause the cumi lada garam was actually quite tasty, and the broccoli jamur was a good complement.

Also had the first dose of jus alpukat! :3

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The bear was also in town for the week to help out with some projects, so we walked a short distance to BIP (Bandung Indah Plaza). Time and time again, it has been proven that supermarkets are a very good way to pass the time. Bought some biscuits, sunshine carrot juice and chloro broccoli juice! Can’t wait to try this random stuff.

Also, before I leave, I am going to buy back random assorted packs of instant noodles. They really have an interesting selection!

walkabouts in Bandung

Taxi drivers are interesting people.

One of them nearly ended up moving to KL but he couldn’t bear to leave his family behind – so he stayed back, preferably till he could afford to bring his entire family over. After all, his wife is taking care of his youngest child at 6 years — his 2 others have grown up, and maybe one of them will get married next year. Orang Bandung sememangnya peramah.

The other guy preferred to talk about religion — I mentioned that Buddhism had origins in India, and has a pretty large influence in Thailand. We did agree though, that as long as religion teaches you to be good, and not harm others, you’re pretty much doing okay. =)

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The day started off at Trans Studio Mall — nothing interesting, reminds me of Times Square cause it’s got a theme park in the mall. However, I did like the glass roof =D

I loved the bookstore though. It’s like on crack – they have bags, art materials, books. Found some pretty fun things!

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Owl bags! I thought of Reeis somehow.

And was once again tempted by the travel themed Moleskine books. =P

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Wandering around the older quarter where the Bangunan Asia-Afrika is, and along Jl Braga, was really fun. Just looking at people do their thing.

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The Ed Fest 2015 is a small street fest (at least from what I could see) but there was quite a number of interesting street stalls and food stalls there. There was a band that was playing pretty bossa-nova / jazzy style covers of “Love Me Like You Do”, “Just The Way You Are”, and even a nasyid song. Pretty good! The main stars, are the bassist and the drummer. Don’t stereotype *anyone* =D Tudung girls rock!

There was also a Charlie Chaplin street performer, and a Hello Kitty street performer too. Hahaha, all kinds of stuff you see after sundown.

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There was also this sculpture that just made me go, WTF?! hahahaha I don’t even know what or why it was where it was.

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Also, the field right outside the big mosque — also known as Alun Alun Bandung was CROWDED. FULL OF PEOPLE.

Surprisingly people love taking photos of themselves! #selfiemania I tell you. Along the same lines, there happened to be alot of street photographers taking random shots, and also some people doing fashion shoots along the streets. Kinda unexpected.

Before entering the desert realm..

In a few hours, I’ll be on a plane to Abu Dhabi!! =D

First real trip of the year, to visit the very special guy XD I am really excited! ahhaha! I think it’s also because I really miss him, I can’t wait to see him~~ Talking on Hangouts is fun, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, the hugs, the kisses, all of it that comes with the regular dates. =D In an exotic country too! Sandy, but hey, I’m not really complaining – I love this stuff =D

I expect there’ll be alot of sand and beaches, and hopefully not so much of the shopping stuff – I really prefer exploring the older parts of town, something that KL is quickly losing. But hopefully, they’ll preserve their history and the makan~

On the bucket list:
Desert safari!
Burj Khalifa
Burj Al-Arab
Deira Souq (the gold, spice and the rest of it!)
Bastakiya (an old quarter nearby the Deira Souq)
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (a crazily huge mosque!)
Jumeirah Mosque (maybe? still a really beautifully constructed mosque)
Corniche (beachside area)
Emirates Palace hotel (just to take a look, it’s crazily grand)

Alright, time to head to the airport! =D

Day One, Istanbul

Let me say this now – I HATE FLIGHT DELAYS!! Especially when its been delayed by 4 hours and no one informed us beforehand.. having to spend few hours in an airport is really boring. We were lucky though that mom and dad managed to get us all into the airport lounge.. INTERNET I RABURABU YOUUUU~

Flying with a handicapped person has its benefits I suppose, mostly getting to skip the queues. 😛 but most people were quite accommodating, so we are quite thankful for that.
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Haha we got abit lost looking for the Topkapi Sarayi, but we found Sultanahmet and Aya Sofya cause they’re really quite hard to miss 🙂

The palace itself is really huge and amazing, the architecture is quite something else. They had quite a few displays on armor, the sacred treasury which had a lot of items from the Kaabah.. even an English translation of the Quran which was being read out while we were in that section. And the small section which was the council hall where they held meetings.. and a display of clocks and assorted watches given by people from different parts of the world!

In the evening it was also quite a different vibe to the place. Lots of neon lights, restaurants still packed to the brim… just window shopping for baklava and Turkish delights was fun 🙂

Unfortunately some of the people we met wee pretty dodgy or rude… Lawl kamon la, we’re (potential) paying customers and we weren’t being rude, there’s no reason to think were being unreasonable or demanding. Sheesh.

However, not all is bleak here… we did come across some people who were genuinely nice and welcoming, so that was nice 🙂 like the hotel manager who explained the interesting points and sights for first timers and all.

before I go.

Am kinda excited for this trip cause I’ve never been before! First stop, Istanbuuuu (as aichan calls it XD)~

Did my packing at the 11th hour really, man that was pretty intense. But I managed to fit most of the things in, I hope I’ll still have some extra space for shopping! >_<