Day One, short and sweet

I woke up at 3:45PM. What the flying fuck.

Haha I was so shocked at myself, and I still can’t believe it! My cousin was on the way back alr, so I thought I’d greet her first before deciding what to do next.

We had a good laugh when she walked through the door, but she just said “ah, it’s your holiday! Zero shame in waking up whenever you want and doing whatever the hell you want!” now those are words of wisdom.

Decided to do what I wanted to do for today, and that was to cycle around Stanley Park. Best idea ever! I just headed to the nearest bike rental shop to our place so that I could get cycling!

I was a bit optimistic in thinking that I could cycle around the entire park.. The place is ginormous! But also very very scenic.

The marina area where they have all the yachts and seaplanes kinda reminded me of the Flisvos marina in Athens. Cycle abit more, to.. Hallelujah Point, and you can get a really good skyline of Vancouver. Further on, along the seawall, is just a huge body of water, peace and quiet, and me generally enjoying the wind against my face.

I think cause I also haven’t cycled in awhile, it’s extremely freeing to be able to control where I wanna go, and when I wanna stop. And the initial fear of cycling in traffic, I mean there are some dedicated bike lanes, but otherwise I’m still cycling on the same lane as a car! And on occasion I cycled on the wrong side of it too.. So that was slightly scary! Haha and trying to beat the red light so that I wouldn’t have to stop.

Had to begin my journey back when I reached Lionsgate Bridge, cause it was getting abit late and I had to shower and head out to dinner. That ride back, though, really reminded me of driving through Hokkaido. That forest view! Also drove past some flower garden and an entrance to a lake.

Nearly expired cycling uphill on the way back to the bike rental store. But the gears are really good! I survived it! Just got abit confused at some of the intersections. XD

The evening eating plan for today was also quite fabulous. Blackened creole chicken at Cactus Club! Tasty, tasty indeed. And also, Bella Gelateria. There was a queue! But happily enough we didn’t have to wait that long. Besides, dinner was pretty filling, so it wasn’t a problem! We ended up with Whisky Fudge & Lavender. ๐Ÿ˜€

And I can’t sleep, which is why I’m awake at 4am. Damnit jetlag! Slept for about 4 hours nia. Maybe I’ll tire out myself tmr properly so that I’ll sleep normal hours.

Day zero – travelling back in time(zones)

My sleep cycle is completely messed up.

Midnight flight from KL – Narita was still alright, I slept through that and was feeling fine for the 3 hour layover. Japan possibly has the nicest airports! Neat shops and stuff to buy, and I think I just really like Japanese things in general ๐Ÿ˜‚

The food on this flight, well, I only got breakfast and that was mihun + egg. Hahaha quite a Malaysian fare, I think! But I thought it was OK lah.

Wandered around the terminal a little bit, and bought some Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory biscuits for May Yun. They looked really good, gorgonzola + honey, and salt + camembert flavored.

Second leg from Narita to Fort Worth.. I think I slept through a fair bit too, watched some movies. But this time, for some reason I started to feel my brain crying out in despair! Like I started to feel abit bored.

Didn’t help that the American Airlines air hostesses were kinda strangely curt. Manalah tau that some things are self-service? Like water? ๐Ÿ˜‚ And I’m not even being rude when I ask for things. So.. That put me off abit.

The food on this flight was pretty good though, haha I took all the Asian options. Pork + rice, and teriyaki salmon + rice. Quite liked both of it. There was some cold side dishes like banchan that was really tasty too!

Had like 7 hours at the airport this time. I was starting to feel more tired at this point and I decided not to go out into town although I should have had enough time. Might have been a good idea in hindsight.

Immigration was kinda cool, they had kiosks you could scan your passport so that you didn’t have to fill in forms manually. Doing this meant that the officer just had to eyeball you and make sure u look like your passport and you were free to go!

So I wandered around 4/5 terminals. Ate a pork rib sandwich for lunch, and that was quite good, actually. Was a toss-up between ribs or Tex-Mex. Also was quite tempted to eat ice cream, but I held off. Reckon I’d get my fair share of it in Vancouver.

Final flight, from Fort Worth to Vancouver. I was already nodding off at the terminal, so this flight I just KO-ed. But it felt kinda cold, so I didn’t really get to sleep well. But I am thankful they at least gave some water and.. Some snacks to pass the time. Cause I was starting to feel a little hungry by this time.

So landing in Vancouver was a “THANK God this is over!” moment ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I just wanted to have a meal and shower and sleep!

They also had the kiosk for the immigration but it couldn’t read my passport.. Had to do it manually.

Anyway, it wasn’t hard to spot my cute host, she was wearing a duck hat after all! ๐Ÿ˜ We took the train back, and her place is quite quaint! Chucked the bags, and headed off to catch dinner at a comfort food place. Stole some of her pot pie, and had some pork tacos which were a little dry, but alright. That pot pie, though, was delish! Chunky filling and nice sauce too!

We rounded up dinner with some servings of cake, and the biscuits I bought from Narita. And some peach tea. Verrryy noice.

Was also introduced to Queer Eye, and I love how they managed to bring out the best in their clients! Haha and that they’re quirky. And take care of themselves very well. Haha they’re really all quite good-looking! My faves so far are Antoni & Tan, they just appeal to me.. Haha like their general “type” of look. (lolol I pronounced Tan like a Chinese surname and just went, wtf kind of name is that?!)

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 ๅฟ—่“ฎๆทจ่‹‘ (Chi Lin nunnery) and ๅ—่“ฎๅœ’ๆฑ  (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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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.”

=================================

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!

IMG-20150626-WA0013
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.)

IMG-20150626-WA0017

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.

IMG-20150626-WA0016

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.

IMG-20150626-WA0015

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.

IMG-20150626-WA0012

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

IMG-20150626-WA0023

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

IMG-20150626-WA0021

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

————————————-

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

=====================================

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. =)

=============================

IMG_20150621_131910[1]

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!

IMG_20150621_105906[1]

Owl bags! I thought of Reeis somehow.

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

==============================

IMG_20150621_155011[1]

IMG_20150621_155939[1]

IMG_20150621_155303[1]

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.

IMG_20150621_160650[1]

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.

IMG_20150621_163634[1]

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

IMG_20150621_163916[1]

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