Hong Kong and Them Jellyfish!

Last weekend Dearie and I packed our bags and went on our first holiday again since… Bali. (Okay, that wasn’t so long ago, I was hoping I could make a more dramatic story by saying that it was our first trip since UK last year and how we really needed this break..) But! For a traveller like me, even half a year without going away seems a like a really long time. (Now I know why I’m constantly broke.)

When we were in Hong Kong the last time, we made a promise to go back and finally we got to fulfil it!

Us in Hong Kong 2 years ago. Time flies!

I won’t elaborate much on the trip since it mainly consisted of Dearie hunting for toys and me pretending to be interested, and me hunting for bags and dresses and Dearie pretending to be interested, and us hunting for heavenly Char Siew Pao at Tim Ho Wan (this time we both were really interested), and late-night cravings for KFC chicken.

Honestly I didn’t take that many photos in this trip mainly though, because, well, I didn’t bring my digital camera, and Dearie isn’t exactly Mr. Camera-Ready as proven by these few snapshots…

I might as well just stop trying, right?
I ended up taking selfies a lot (which is annoying since I can do that anytime and anywhere.)

I did, however, take some good pictures of jellyfish when we were at Ocean Park and I have always been fascinated by jellyfish. They are so pretty but dangerous too! Much like humans – who can seem good and nice on the outside, but bleak and poisonous inside. Looks indeed can be very deceiving.

Feast your eyes, fellow jellyfish geek!

I think Dearie had to drag me out of the exhibition because I spent too much time staring at these jellyfish. 
Sorry I haven’t been writing much, guys. Life has been kinda crazy, but if you have time do check out my other blog that I share with my sisters over at http://threeof1kind.wordpress.com/ ! My sister is an amazing writer and the blog will basically be more on lifestyle and photography stuffs – fashion, beauty, travel, and everything fun and colourful!
See you on the next post!
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Manchester-bound!

Now let’s move on to the part of the trip that Dearie loves the most: Manchester! Being a Manchester United’s biggest fan, it has been his lifelong dream to watch his favorite team in the one and only Theatre of Dreams, and I was more than happy to oblige! He has bought us tickets to the United – Arsenal match and it cost us both our arms and legs (ah! We’re limping!) but it’s a good thing that we both travelled together so we could look for cheaper options in terms of lodging.
However, I have to say that our accommodation history throughout our stay in the UK has been really pleasant. The hotel we stayed at in Manchester was Travelodge, and it was much bigger than Stanley House Hotel in London. But even in London we were pretty happy with our place since we didn’t spend much time inside the room anyway, and they provided decent daily breakfast. The most important thing to us was the location – it had to be convenient and near to the metro station.
Anyway, back to Manchester! (The short attention-span-me.)
So, we made our way to Manchester by train from London. The train ride itself was uneventful but really nice (uneventful in this way means we didn’t get robbed, or take the wrong train, so yeah, uneventful is a good adjective here). Our seats were pre-allocated so it was relatively easy finding out way.
Fast forward to a few hours later…
Hello Manchester! You’so pretty! We arrived in the late afternoon so the sun was shining brightly and the wind was blowing and I was freezing and my luggage was heavy.. Oops, okay, I’m not painting a very good picture here, am I?
Seriously though! We managed to drag our luggage and we initially decided to take a bus to the city near our hotel since we saw there was a free shuttle from the train station. We hopped in, but I wasn’t very certain because I couldn’t see the stop name where our hotel was at in the bus route. Luckily we asked the driver and turned out the bus didn’t go to the place that we wanted to go! So we quickly hopped out and after deliberation, decided to just opt for train!
The train there was nice because it wasn’t underground and we could admire the view along the way! The ride wasn’t long, in no time we arrived in our stop! It was a beautiful place near the river and our hotel was perched nicely in the side of the bridge that connected this side of the road with the one where Old Trafford was.

After checking in at our hotel, it was probably around 4 or 5pm, and Dearie couldn’t wait to go to the stadium! The match happened the next day, so we still had that evening to go check out the place first before the big mayhem the following day. What was memorable about it too was the weather! The moment we stepped out of the hotel, it was hailing! Real ice falling down from the sky! What a welcome, Manchester.

The walk to Old Trafford itself probably took 15-20 minutes. And there we were, at the Sir Matt Busby Way! Throughout our 3-days stay in Manchester, we probably went to Old Trafford like 5 times.  Well, that’s the main purpose we were there! Anyway, that evening we just walked around the stadium, took obligatory pictures and checked out the United store. This was when Dearie bought the thick black jacket that would survive him throughout the rest of the journey.
The next day passed by like a blur! We woke up early and quick to dress in our Manchester United’s attire – Dearie in his red jersey, topped with Cantona scarf that he bought the day before, and moi in the blue one. The atmosphere was so lively on our way to the stadium as we saw fellow fans going there as well. The surroundings of the stadium now resembled a flea market, with booths and people selling match scarves, shirts and all sorts of memorabilia! 
Oh! Another awesome experience I must share here is the pre-match lunch in the Red Café! People who bought the VIP package were entitled this lunch before the match and it was amazing! We sat with 6 other people in the table, two from Ireland, two from Malaysia, the other two from the States and then there were us. What’s fun was during the meal itself, they actually distributed a quiz that we could fill in as a table, and the table with the best score would win some prize! The questions in the quiz itself mostly circled around sports, although I remember there was one question of: “What is the name of Jamie’s Cullum’s wife?” to which we answered, “Mrs. Cullum.” Well, that certainly isn’t wrong!
Anyway, the questions weren’t easy okay! But the group managed to answer quite a fair bit, and to my amazement, Dearie actually knew way more than I thought! I know he’s a major United fan, but his sports knowledge really went beyond that, and it made me proud! (Aww!) Especially when one of the Irish guy was a sports journalist, yet Dearie had more knowledge than him, it seemed. Even though our table didn’t win in the end, I think that was a very good and clever idea to get everyone engaged before the match, and a chance for us to actually make new friends along the way too!
Next, the match! All I remembered was walking and trying to find our seats, and all I could see was people, people and more people! We had really good seats at Sir Alex Ferguson stand and wow, the view from up there was simply sensational! I think these pictures can describe better than any words. I could see Rooney, Van Persie, Ferdinand and all those players I usually could only watch from the television screen at home. If I was excited, I can’t imagine how Dearie must have felt!
The game was fantastic and we won! The energy was contagious, people were cheering and shouting and singing along, and it seemed like everyone was in pure sync. We were like droids army, systematically standing in line and following orders. (Weird metaphor, but you get the drift, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t YOU?)

The match ended with a 2-1 victory! Woo-hoo! I nearly had to drag Dearie outta there, cos he was kept asking me for pictures with his Cantona scarf. Bless him! Going out after the match was a pandemonium again! We made a stop at the store again to buy even more stuffs and we both bought the table-cloth jerseys and other souvenirs like coasters, mugs, and figures.

The next time we were at Old Trafford again was the following day when we went for the stadium tour and museum tour, checking out the football field up close and personal, hanging out in the players’ dressing room (no biggie..) and getting too much info on the club and its history that I cared to know. Haha, kidding! It was really fun!
One evening in Manchester, we went out to the city and had quite fancy Italian dinner with a friend of mine who was living there. I think otherwise we wouldn’t have figured out a way to go to the city beyond our hotel and Old Trafford so it was pretty special. Oh! Near to our hotel, there was this shopping center that has Nike’s factory outlet and I’m sure Dearie loved it because he bought tons of cheap football jerseys for his friends back home!
Thank you Manchester for the awesome experience! Thanks for making my Dearie’s dreams come true too!

London!

I haven’t written much about my trip to UK, so I’m going to try now. I hope I’m not forgetting any important stuffs! I have a memory worse than a goldfish so yeah, bear with me here!

So, UK, yeah! Let me just say that it was like a dream being there! I had a big ball of awesomeness throughout my 2-weeks stay and I didn’t want to leave! It was colder than I had anticipated too, and I realized now how crazy I was to think that the weather would just be bearable with just one thin jacket. I think I have the tendency to underestimate things, especially weather! In my mind I thought I was a thick-skinned (literally) wonder woman. “Jacket? NO! I don’t need this shit!” (while continue packing tank tops and shorts)

Yeah, shame on me. Luckily my sister convinced me to bring along his winter jacket, and that ended up saving my stubborn arse! I would say London was still quite alright without that winter jacket, but as soon as we got to Manchester, goodness, we were welcomed by some crazy hailing action! Even Dearie had to buy a thicker jacket at Manchester United Store, cos the only jacket he brought was this one from Uniqlo. Well, the fact that it was a very cool, suave-looking jacket didn’t hurt either.

Oh, sorry for jumping the gun here. Let’s start from London, our first stop! I figured we can split this into a few posts so you won’t have to read everything at once (read: I’m just lazy, give me a break!)

Our flight from here was like, 9 in the morning so we got there early for a quick breakfast first. I was so excited! Have I told you I love airports and flying in general? Anyway, I think I spent most of my time on the plane watching random stuffs on the entertainment system. (Yay to that!)

It was evening time when we finally landed in London and we actually took the train (or subway, or metro, as the Brits call it?) to reach our hotel! (Bless Dearie and his awesome navigational skills!) We reached our hotel late and most of the places were closed by then. We managed to grab dinner at one of the restaurants in the metro station, which wasn’t far from the hotel.

The next few days seemed like a blur, really. We visited all the places we had wanted to see, and more! Tower of London and Tower Bridge were the first few places we checked out on our first day.

You know, just chilling out, at Tower Bridge. 

Second day, we went to Warner Brothers studio where they filmed Harry Potter (yes, I’m a geek that way!) and it was super fun! Seeing all the props and costumes and we even tried Butterbeer! (not so good, though.) If you’re a fan, you would really enjoy checking this place out. I hope Dearie enjoyed it too. (I made him watch all the movies before our trip, and he seemed to like them, but that may have something to do with the fact that I might have given him the evil, threatening eye when I asked if he liked the movies. Psst.)

I even got up close and personal to Hedwig!
Third day was an eventful one! We were walking around the city, visiting Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, seeing the Big Ben and London Eye from a distance, and ended our day watching Les Miserables at Queen’s Theatre, which was really, really awesome! It was funny though, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of guards, and there were tons of people there. There was this moment when the ‘knights’ actually rode horses to the palace, and one of the horses pooped on his way, so there was this pile of poop on the street for the rest of the procession. And one of the guards had to walk on that road, and you could tell he’s trying to avoid the poop but it was right on his way. Haha. Damn horse can’t hold it in!

Also, we caught a glimpse of the Queen twice! (I actually just saw her once, because I was too short. But Dearie saw her twice.) And, that day apparently there was this delegation going to the Palace too, and guess which country?
Indonesia! Ha! Indonesian flags were everywhere, and Dearie made me take picture with it, it was really funny. Overall, the whole experience was just really memorable. 
After seeing the ceremony, we made our way to the theatre to see Les Mis. It was actually quite a distance, but once again, bless Dearie, he managed to find his way (through the map!) and we got there with half an hour to spare. Because we haven’t had our meal yet, we decided to step into one of the steak place nearby, and wanted to have a quick bite before the show. But it actually took a while for them to prepare our steak, and by the time our food came, we only had like 10 minutes before the show started and I just gulped my steak like I haven’t eaten in one month and in the end left quite a lot of french fries. We rushed back to the theatre, and the show has started! We had to wait until the next scene before they could bring us in, as to not interrupt the show. 
Now, this is one of the things I regretted. When we went to see the show at that time, we didn’t have much idea about Les Mis. The reason why we wanted to see it was because it was highly recommended by my sister, but we didn’t know much about the story and songs and everything. But since that trip and as soon as we got back to Singapore, Dearie and I started watching the show through DVD and absolutely fell in love with it! There was a period of time when I just played the songs over and over again throughout the day until my younger sister once came in to my room when I was listening to the song for the hundreds of times and she said, “Maniac.” Haha.
I made a mental promise to myself that I would go back again just to watch the live musical again because I can definitely appreciate it a lot more now and pay more attention to the details that I may have missed the first time around. 

What a majestic sight, huh? 
The next day, it was Dearie’s turn to be geeky so we went to National History Museum to see some dinosaurs! 
Dearie and the love of his love. The T-Rex.
And afterwards, these two geeks went to 221B Baker Street! Woo-hoo!

You can’t see it, but I was absolutely freezing here! There was a line of people queueing and it was really, really cold outside my teeth were cracking and I just buried my face into my scarf and I couldn’t even talk! Anyway, finally we went in and basically inside they had all these Sherlock Holmes’ artifacts from the costumes, pages of the books and the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, figures to re-enact some memorable scenes and a chance for us to snap some pictures.
Us, in Sherlock’s living room and fireplace.
We bought some souvenirs from the shop, it was cool!
That was London. It was all I could imagine and more. I wish we could have explored more places and had more time to spend there. I got a bit sad now thinking about it, but hey I will be back, I’m sure of it! As soon as I’m back in Singapore, I’m missing the weather and the cute accents and my scarf and my boots! But most importantly, I’m missing the adventure I got to share with Dearie! It was priceless. 
So on that note, we continued our trip to Manchester. Until the next post, let me leave you with this picture of me with Darth Vader himself, built from Lego.

Happiness Project – Day 20-23

1. I spent the last three days in Bintan with my family! It was such a great trip, and it was awesome being away from the city into the peacefulness of the nature and the great ocean. I definitely was in my element!

We tried out jetski and banana boat and we swam at the sea, spent time singing at the karaoke lounge, playing midnight foosball, tried out various different restaurants in the resort, took great pictures, relaxed at night in our resort room watching ‘Survivor’ and Discovery Channel, and most importantly, spent fun time together as a family. I can’t remember the last time all of us really went on a holiday together. It was really great.

Even though my body’s all sore now (result of being so unfit), and my butt hurts like mad, I am so glad we had that trip together, and I’m gonna post the pictures later on! 🙂

Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?

Ode to my oldest friend!

I’m back to civilization! Well okay, not that I’ve been gone to the jungle or anything, but I went to Batam for a few days to meet a friend of mine, and I had a really nice time! I’ve never been there before, and I imagined a hectic mess just like Jakarta, but it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, it was so calm and relaxing. It’s like being home without actually being home, you get what I mean?

Um, no? Oh well. Sorry. I’m not too good at being descriptive.

But I did some awesome shoppings (currency exchange FTW!) and most importantly, I got to catch up with my friend, who has been a friend since I was, what, 4? No, seriously. She and I were kindergarten friends, and we went to the same elementary school, where we got really close at one point for years. Our junior and senior high school were different, so we didn’t get to see each other that much at all, and it was even worse during university because I moved to Singapore.

But well, Facebook got us back in touch again and it was incredibly nice of her to let me crash at her place, and she chaperoned me throughout my trip (read: kept me well-fed at all times) and it was so nice to know that we haven’t changed much at all. We still get along great, and to think that she’s probably my oldest friend ever, is just amazing!

Go hug a friend beside you now because I’m feeling mushy!

Back from Sea!

I’m back from a super awesome short trip during this long weekend at Sibu Island!

Amongst many other things I love (which I’m actually currently making a list of…yes, really), I realized just how much wonderful it is being near the ocean.

I guess being a city girl all my life, I don’t really indulge myself in that environment. Yes, I’ve been to beaches, but I’ve never quite experienced them.

I liked the sea, but merely as a spectator, not a participant.

I think for the first time I stopped being scared, because the place was simply too beautiful to pass up. To just see it would be a loss. So even though I was secretly afraid at first, I wanted to go on and try.

I enjoyed this trip thoroughly. The snorkeling, the kayaking, the swimming, the strolling by the beach, the volleyball, the ocean, the waves, the boardgames, the energy of the people, I loved every minute of it.

It was such a great change of scenery from the everyday bustling life. I’d love to come back there again anytime! =)

Weekend in KL

I’m back to civilization from Kuala Lumpur over the weekend!

No, I’m kidding. KL was great! I had an awesome, albeit short time there. In fact, it feels just perfect, having another day will probably spoil the rotten ouf of the whole thing, ‘cos two nights with a snoring man is still tolerable, but any longer, you may have to shoot me. I need my beauty sleep, period.

We stayed at Ancasa Hotel, which is very convenient ‘cos Chinatown was just right around the corner, and you can always find cheap and good food over there. The place’s constantly packed too with tourists and locals selling various stuffs from T-shirts and fake designer handbags. The amount was just overwhelming! We spent nights having beers or cups of coffee in the street, enjoying the noise and surroundings and people singing ‘Country Roads’. It was pretty darn awesome.


Sometime, during the day, my dad or Laurie would crave a cup of coffee (the thing about travelling with caffeine-junkies), and we had to find a little coffee shop, conversed in funny Malay slangs (which I always found amusing, cos some Malay words sound funny to me) with the locals around, and I don’t know, it’s just more liberating talking to people when you’re a tourist, for some reason, as if that gives us an excuse to be an annoying blabber-mouth.

And of course, I visited the Twin Tower. I never really see a big deal of the place, but it’s just like, Merlion to Singapore, or well, what’s the equivalent of that in Jakarta, I wonder? I’d say Monas? It’s like, you gotta go there, otherwise you haven’t really been there, you know? But well, I enjoyed it too, and the tower was rather majestic in my opinion, which was cool. (Man, I love it that I just used the word majestic.)

We went to a couple of shopping malls also, like the Times Square, Sungai Wang and Bukit Bintang. Saw the KL Tower from afar, and wandered around aimlessly through the city. Oh! I had a full body massage over there too, which was a complete bliss!

I’ve always been kinda skeptical about massaging shops like these, ‘cos they seemed rather shady, and I heard lots of dogdy stories from people too. So my dad made sure we chose the ‘legit-looking’ shop, although it was also in the side of the street. It wasn’t in the mall or hotel or anything; it was just this little stand and as we were passing though, the workers approached us with the brochures of the service. It was a scorching hot afternoon, and I was like, ‘man, a massage right now will just be amazing,’ So I went in and had an hour of complete zen.

It seems like I was the only female customer in there though,which was…well, interesting. They asked if I wanted a male or female massaeur, what do you reckon?!

One thing I love about taking trips is also the fact that I got to stay in a hotel. It’s not that this experience is particularly exciting in itself, but I don’t know, I just love hotels. I love hotel rooms and I love the breakfast every morning. Hotel breakfast is one of the best thing in life, and also totally underrated.

There’s a downside of KL too. Well, it’s maybe not a downside, it’s just a fact. Every country’s different, right? Their taxis, for example. Although it’s clearly written ‘metre-taxi’ in big bold capital letters on the side of the cars, no taxi in KL operates with metre-system. You had to bargain your price, well, they demaded the price is more likely. I have a feeling we were ripped off everytime we took a cab. It’s annoying but that’s the way it is.

But I have no complaints for the rest of the trip. It was fun being with my dad, and seriously, it’s like I turned into five years old again! I kept like, clinging on to him, hugging him and making jokes and it’s like, what the hell is going on with me? Ha-ha. I love my dad.


Anyway, it’s back to reality now, ah bugger. It has been an awesome weekend full of denials (ha!)

This great hotel website

Movers and shakers of the world!

(Isn’t that an empowering opening or what?!)

Some of you are probably wondering (or not), about this big banner right here on my right. Why am I suddenly putting a travel site?

I used to have a lot of family vacations when I was growing up, and it’s something I would never trade for anything. The whole experience makes up my childhood, and even though I don’t remember much about watching transvestites’ shows in Bangkok, crossing the river to Hongkong, and feeding kangaroos in Sydney, I knew we were all there, and everytime we got together, snippets of funny stories from those trips never ceased to make us laugh.

It has been so long since we have one of those family trips, it’s harder now to get all of us together now that we’re busy with our own things. The next chance we get, it’s gonna happen for sure. My dad has been working too hard, and what for? What’s the point if he can’t even enjoy himself? Take a break once in a while?

The last trip that I’ve gone was that month-long trip to the States, and I absolutely loved it. It reminds me how much I love travelling in the first place. (also part of why I love The Amazing Race so much.) I think everyone should travel more, and see the world, because there’s nothing like it, really.

So when you’re all ready to conquer the world, there’s still the issue of accomodation. When we already spend much on the plane ticket itself, we sometimes compromise on the hotels. But we shouldn’t; it’s one of the most important aspect of a trip, because you don’t really want to share bathroom with 10 other people in a hostel, or worry about hygene for that matter. My friends and I spent a lot of time choosing hotels for our trip, because we wanted it to be cheap, but still good enough. We compared prices, locations, services from various sites and had to read many reviews before making our decision. It’s a lot of hassle.

Well, that’s why I’m putting this site here. I came across it the other day and I really wanna share it with you guys. They are offering affordable hotels rates in Asia Pacific region in just one site. Here.

From all around Asia to Australia, it’s so easy to find whatever hotels you want under any budgets (from cheaper to more luxurious!) For each country, you can find list of specific locations, and the site will show you all hotels within that area that you want, complete with the map, photos, hotel details, and rates.

(For example, if you click Indonesia, you will be able to see all hotels from each province and island. It really doesn’t get any easier than this to plan a trip anywhere.)

I also love the fact that in each location you choose, they provide background information and popular places in the area, which makes it even easier for us to know where to visit!

If I knew about this sooner, I would advise my dad to take a look before he went to Hongkong a few weeks ago. So yeah, I thought I’d share it here, and hopefully some of you find this useful. Here’s the website again. Here. Take a look and be inspired. Ha! It certainly makes me wanna pack my bags and leave for Cook Island or something. (Saw that on Survivor!)

In that note, we definitely need a family vacation again.

On a separate note, hope you guys have a great day. I’m gonna blog more later on.

Bits of Vegas

Vegas is somethin’ else. It’s a city full of energy, of excitement, of contagious wildness. It was intoxicating just being there, in the midst of crowds on the evening of December 31st.

We weren’t ready to leave San Diego yet at that point, so we were pretty sullen in the bus to Vegas. It wasn’t a short ride, either, and the bus was full that we had to sit separately. I had a black kid sitting beside me at the first half of the drive, and the next half to this gigantic, talkative elder man who wouldn’t shut up. He just wouldn’t. I was still slightly hungover (excessive drinking!), so I spent almost the whole ride sleeping. We stopped at this small town called Barstow, which consists of nothing more than open land and short-buildings and a transit centre where we grabbed a bite. I was this close to fainting, and seeing the faces of the girls, I was sure they weren’t far behind me either. By the time we reached Vegas, it must have been at least 8 pm at night. I was disoriented, tired, and feeling sick to my stomach, literally.

The first thing that greeted us when we alighted at this sin city wasn’t the dirty smell of cigar, or the sexy sight of roullete tables, but a full-packed bus station. Black people were everywhere, their asses at the big risk of dropping down due to their low-waist pants they were wearing. What is it with this desire to show off piece of cheap underwears? Oh, I can make a whole new entry on this subject itself, I need to stop myself now.

Our hotel was out in the boulder area, it was a typical casino-hotel. The casino was always full with middle-aged people playing slots machines. Bonnie called it a ‘retirement hotel’. We were the hottest people there, yeah, because we were the only ones under sixty!

We spent the next four days exploring the Strip. With the new year looming in, Vegas was at its most crowded state.

The three of us didn’t love Vegas as much as we thought we would. Looking at the pictures now though, I thought, “What didn’t you like it?” and I came up empty. I didn’t know why we weren’t loving it as much as we were San Diego or San Francisco!

It could be the fact that we couldn’t watch any shows because everything was sold out, and it could be because we weren’t swimming with money that we couldn’t simpy spend a hundred bucks to get inside a club for new year’s eve countdown. It could be because our hotel was far away from the Strip that it took us 2 bus rides and at least forty five minutes to go back and forth between the two. It could be because walking around in the Strip with heels was tiring and waiting for cab for two hours at 3 am on a cold, chilly night wasn’t much fun either.

But I guess that’s just the circumstances. The city itself is crazy beautiful and only there I have seen a beer bottle so big!!!

The street in Vegas, bursting of lights and energy.

A glimpse of Paris.

…and New York too.

More pictures here.

We certainly had eventful time there, that’s for sure. Yeah, my two-hundred-dollars phone bills was definitely eventful. Dammit.

Seeing Vegas pictures leaves me feeling the most nostalgic! I wish we could have given the city more credit, I hope we can go back there one day and re-experience it again.