Friday, November 14

Exciting Days Ahead

I learnt the meaning of literally being "picked up" yesterday! But in fear of jinxing myself, I shall not share the exact details (yet). And if indeed it all works out well, I'll be back on the 23rd of Nov. Taiwan postings will have to wait.

I'm saying bye to the shores and am heading for the seas!

P/s: Appreciate your prayers for safety. =)

Wednesday, November 12

Taiwan Travel Log | Day 1 (30th Oct)

Finally getting started on this! I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me as I look back on my most recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan. This is a particularly significant trip as I finally made the leap of faith, to go places alone. And just to illustrate how much I enjoyed it, I have made a decision to travel alone once each year, destination and duration will not matter. =)

And so, here we go!

For starters, this was very much an impulse trip in which, my total planning for it came up to about 1.5 weeks, and that count started after I bought my tickets and accommodation to Taipei via AirAsiaGo.

The reasons why I like AirAsiaGo is because it's fuss-free and one doesn't have to go through another round of decision making when searching for places to stay, and making booking mistakes like booking for one less night - trust me, this has happened before. Also, I personally think that AirAsiaGo packages are pretty decently priced, though you'll tend to get not-so-favourable flight times. But that I can do with. The other caveat is that when booking flights through AirAsiaGo, you get no other amenities, so, no baggage allowance, no meals etc. And that's where the "hidden costs" are. I don't recall ever paying so much for 20kg's baggage allowance (RM79 one way if I had not mistaken!) So, be prepared for that too.

I started my trip on what I would consider a really good note, in that my KLIA express train ticket from KL Sentral to KLIA2 was discounted. Apparently, it was a promotion made known to the public via local newspapers but as you might not know, yours truly does not look into the papers. In any case, there was this nice uncle dressed in uniform who was at the ticketing counter and he was telling passengers about buying tickets via the newly installed credit card kiosk and with any Visa card, you'd get to purchase your ticket with a discount. And who doesn't love discounts?

I certainly do. Too bad the promo was only for the month of October, if I am not wrong.

So I got to KLIA2, and the Dad was waiting for me to have lunch together before I flew. It is noteworthy that I was not the only one excited about my solo trip. Both my old folks were either really excited for me as well, or they were just worried about their demure and innocent daughter going overseas all alone. Ha!

I had this fantastic fusion pizza at one of the restaurants near the main entrance to the departure hall and Dad had his usual aglio e olio, and both dishes were really yummy, so much so I ate a wee bit too much and didn't end up touching my nasi lemak at all which I had pre-booked for my flight, since I would only be arriving Taoyuan at 10ish-pm, I figured I'd be needing dinner because if I had to look for my hostel in the dead of the night on an empty stomach, that would not have been pleasant. So yes.

Immigration was a breeze and I boarded my flight, said a quick little prayer and I was sound asleep before takeoff - my usual modus operandi. I woke up 2 hours into the flight to a headache, and seeing that I had another 1+ hours into the flight, I decided to pop some panadols to make the pain go away and resumed sleeping.. And then it was touchdown and I was super eager to get my very pink luggage from the carousel and get to my hostel for the night so much so I barely paid attention to the airport except for the fact that it had free wifi. Don't say that's not the first thing you do when you touchdown at any foreign airport because that's a lie!

And I'm really quite apologetic that this is turning out to be much wordier than I had expected, it's partially because I had packed my camera into my luggage because I figured that there wouldn't be anything exciting for me to take photos of at this point anyway. So Day 1 really does not have any photos to show..

Collected my baggage, texted my parents to say that "I couldn't have missed my baggage from a mile away" and said that I'll text them again when I get to my hostel. Looked for the signboard which would ultimately lead me to the bus that everyone takes into Taipei from Taoyuan - the Kuo-Kuang 1819 bus which costs 125NTD.

They actually tag your luggage as you board the bus from the airport so when you alight, they can ensure that you are not taking someone else's luggage with you. I found that very thoughtful, though a little time and effort consuming on the driver's side.

My stop was the final stop at Taipei Main Station and knowing that I was going to be alone with no one to depend on, I was prepared. I had the map to my hostel in my backpack along with detailed directions. The hunt for Homey Hostel was on! Super glad that I decided to pack light to go so it was not a problem lugging my baggage up and down the pedestrian bridge to get to my hostel, coming back is a different story, you'll just have to wait till Day 7 to get to that part.

Was I scared being all alone, at midnight, in an unfamiliar town, trying to navigate my way via a map? You bet I was, noting that I'm not fond of maps and directions to begin with. And I'm not afraid to admit it. I was a little afraid that I'd not find my hostel, what happens then? As I walked back and forth a couple of times, checking my map in hand to ensure that I was in the right direction, I finally, spotted the brightly lit Homey Hostel signboard and I was the happiest girl of the hour. At that moment, I knew the world was mine to conquer, dramatic much! I was also super glad that my bag had wheels so I just rolled it everywhere. Super convenient.

Made my to Level 7, where the hostel was based and was directed to the counter to collect my keycard, which is an arrangement that all travelers staying at Homey would encounter if they are checking in past 10.30pm. Rolled my bag along with me through the common area and tagged my keycard at the door leading to the room in which I'd be spending the next 7 nights.

I was pleasantly surprised at how cosy the room felt, it's not my first encounter with dorms, but I felt that my home away from home for the next 8 days was going to be a really pleasant one. The keycard that gave each of us access into our rooms also acts a power source for our individual sockets for light and charging stations. So it's basically like how it would be like in a hotel.

Then! I had to make my own bed. Hahaha. So much for the cozy and pleasant feelings. With my bedsheets and pillowcase all in place, it was time to unpack, rest and prepare for the adventures of Day 2, more on that soon, with photos!

Before I end this post, here's a youtube that I've been listening to as I wrote the 1212 words above.

拳擊手 - 雲鎂鑫

And allow me to bask in some reflected glory by saying that the singer was my classmate in uni. How cool is that. =)

Happy mid week folks! x

Tuesday, November 11

Something About Cake

21 Guns - Green Day & the cast of American Idiot

Do you know what's worth fighting for
When it's not worth dying for
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating

Does the pain weigh out the pride
And you look for a place to hide
Did someone break your heart inside
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

When you're at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

Did you try to live on your own
When you burnt down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?

When it's time to live and let die
And you can't get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms.. give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I
Credit - Metrolyrics

Heard this song playing at dinner earlier, and it has to be one of those songs that no matter where or when or who you hear it with, you'll hum along to the tune. I love this song. It's possibly one of my all time favourites.

I really wanted to eat cake. So I bought cake, and ate cake. And now I'm a happy girl.

I hope Tuesday's been kind to you too! xx

Can I Kiss You?

Quiero Besarte - Lunafly

This song makes me happy. I think it's got much to do with the fact that it's so free spirited, the whole happy vibe has me smiling along to the tune!

I have yet to get started on my Taiwan trip posts, and I am slowly feeling like I'll never get to it. I'm such a lazy bum sometimes. I shall though, I shall.

I've been spending quite a huge chunk of my free time cleaning and tidying up the house. And I realize that I actually kinda enjoy doing house chores. Or maybe it's the fact that I feel a huge sense of accomplishment seeing things neat and tidy after a long and tedious process - my home is a very messy place, I live with a bunch of hoarders fyi. Doesn't help that my doggie feels the need to mark his territory in every possible corner (-__-).

Speaking of whom, the poor doggie has completely lost his appetite, please pray for him to get well soon, he's usually a greedy fella who'd love anyone as long as they'll feed him.

Alrighty, so much for today! Sending love to all.. xx

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Saturday, November 8

台湾回来后 的感想

如果有如果 - 鄧福如(阿福)

说真的, 我还没想好。 也或许 很简单的 就, 我很爱自己一个人。还是 我觉得自己一个人过的还瞒自在的。

I'll write an English version soon, along with details of my (solo) travel in Taiwan. Maybe it'll be a big hit and I'll get to travel the world fully sponsored from then on, like a celebrity travel blogger. A girl can dream hey!

The song was playing in my hostel and so, sharing it with you peeps! x

Wednesday, October 29

Wednesday Tune

Love 911 - NOEL

Who doesn't love a feisty girl? And abs. Fast becoming a fan of NOEL.

Update: The above is the OST of the movie by the same title: Love 911 (2012).

Sweet, simple and cute. xx

Sunday, October 26

10 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Me

Because I find reasonable amounts of self disclosure healthy. =)

1. I recently learnt how to cook an egg using the microwave and it is perhaps one of the best things that has happened to me because now I can cook myself an egg even when the kitchen is locked up!

2. Contrary to the norm, I don't like it when people comment that my hair is very brown. Yes, I do color my hair, quite often actually - Liese Bubble hair color is another great product because it is absolutely fuss free and easy to manage, but hair dye colors don't last very long on my hair and it always fades into this light blonde brown, much against my wishes.

3. I always prefer to have milk in my coffee or tea. I've even tried it with green tea, but that didn't work out so well.

4. Recently, I keep catching myself thinking about "Loving the sinner, hate the sin". So I decided to Google it (yes, I google a lot of things), and I came across this article, which I think EVERYONE should read. Here it is (again), if you didn't click on the "article" earlier.

5. I love shopping for groceries! I can spend 10 minutes walking the tissue/ toilet paper aisle thinking which is the best tissue/ toilet paper to buy. Which is exactly why I don't shop for groceries much. I waste too much time deciding.

6. When I drive alone, I totally believe I'm a competent driver. But when I have passengers, my driving is questionable.

7. I purposely don't color my toenails so they are left unattractive so that I will deliberately wear shoes instead of slippers when I go out.

8. I love Japanese / Korean rice. And mushrooms. And avocado. And sweet potato fries. And..

9. I went window shopping a couple of days ago and was trying on some winter jackets (on the premise that I'll be in Seoul for winter) though I bought absolutely nothing, and I really wished that I lived in a cold country and I can already hear myself regretting wishing that in the first place. But that doesn't change that fact that them winter jackets are so pretty!

10. Mom had me go look for a slow cooker, and not knowing what it looks like, I just went around asking random stalls if they had a slow cooker, most of them said they only have pressure cookers. What's the difference?! Imma go Google that now.

Fantastic - Henry

"Girl, you're fantastic. You know that?"
Thank you Henry, I do happen to know that. :D

I amuse myself sometimes. xx

Wednesday, October 22

Happy Deepavali & A Mini Food Review

Inet is sucky today. =(

Happy Deepavali everybody! I had the chance to feast on some extraordinary mutton curry yesterday for lunch, courtesy of a very good friend. And I wish I have the chance to wear my saree out someday soon. Coincidentally, the saree was made for the very same friend's wedding! And the saree cloth was actually purchased by another good friend of mine all the way from India. I like how one thing links to another. =)

If you've been to Mid Valley in the past week or so, you'd have seen this. If you have not, go and see it for yourself now! It's super gorgeous. I love colors, so this is something that I really really like.

Image credit: The Star
Read about Ruden Prakash (the artist) here.

I woke up thinking maybe I should compile a quick list of some of my favourite go-to food. Considering it's Deepavali today, and one of the few many things that Malaysians truly celebrate as a whole is our glorious food.

As most of my friends would know, I am not particularly adventurous when it comes to discovering new eateries, mainly because I am a creature of habit, and also because I am extremely lazy when it comes to having to drive long distances just to fill my tummy. How unnecessary.

In any case, here are some of my favourite picks, or at least the 10 that I can think of today. Keep in mind that I tend to stick to some basic rules with my choices:

1. I emphasize that distance and location plays a big part in my choices. And parking availability too.
2. I also pay attention to price (quite a fair bit) because well, I am a penny pincher that way, plus, good food doesn't always have to expensive food, or expensive food may not always be good food.
3. I totally dislike large crowds at meal times, ie, the likes of Antipodean, Burgerlab etc. (Note: their food may be good, but I personally can't justify the waiting time just to eat a meal).

So here goes!

1. Sin Lay Peng in Lucky Gardens would be my go-to 大炒 place. It's the corner lot. I've heard some friends saying the food is not great and service is bad but in all my experiences, I've only been let down once. What I typically order from them would be marmite sotong, fried egg with preserved veg, stir fry vege of any sort, spinach century egg soup, and lastly, marmite pork ribs!

2. McDonalds is my go-to comfort food of all times. Especially during their lunch and dinner set promo. Too bad that they stopped allowing free refills. I love their sundae cone, it's one of the best icecreams around (and cheap too)!

3. Marmalade in BV 1 for salads. And their pumpkin soup. And their orange duck something wrap.

4. Starbucks will remain my favourite coffee joint, because I am loyal that way. Tsk. More so I like that my RM11 will get me a decent sized coffee as compared to some hippier joints where RM11 (or more) will reward you with two sips of coffee. Then again, I am not a fussy coffee drinker so I don't take into consideration the whole origin of the beans, the roast temperature, the aroma etc.

5. My favourite roast pork place is in Pudu - Wong Mee Kee. This is the furthest I will willingly drive for food.

6. My default breakfast place is the corner lot coffee shop in Lucky Garden underneath the slightly dodgy looking massage parlour with the yellow signboard. I love their steam bread which comes with kaya and butter, or their fish head noodle soup, or wantan mee, pretty much everything is yummy.

7. Mamak food is another of my favourites. I'd go to Devi's for puri and banana leaf rice. Pelita for their sup kambing and roti canai, and Syed's in Lucky Garden for their tandoori and satay. And as with all mamak's, my favourite drink would be either a teh tarik, or a kopi tarik. Or if the weather is really hot, then the iced versions.

8. For Korean food, the typical two places I'd go to would be Uncle Lim in Hartamas, or if I'm alone and not craving for BBQ in general, Ko Hyang in the Gardens is a good place too.

9. Japanese food wise, I really enjoy Senjyu's. But they're quite pricey. I would typically skip Sushi Zanmai in Gardens because the queue is maddening though the food is decent. Sushi Tei is another good place.

10. My most recent and most favourite meal place is Beyond Veggie. I've got some real mushroom crush. I previously went to the one in Tropicana because that was the nearest to me, but now they've opened a new branch in Mid Valley! And they've got brown rice option, healthy eating so win-win. The prices are not particularly cheap though.

Of course, these are my personal opinions and I don't speak for the general public. 

P/s: I know in the earlier part of my post, I claimed that I like cheap food, and then it turns out that 50% of the things on my list are not exactly cheap. But bare in mind that out of the 10 places I've listed above, my most frequently visited places are 1, 6 & 7.