Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Ok, so I'm not really that busy but I certainly feel like I'm constantly working or running around...
What happened to freedom 24??
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
- Finish my teaching course
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day learning/reviewing Bahasa
- Polish resume/CV
- Work on devising a method of income (e-lance, P/T jobs etc)
- Drink more water
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I love being back in beautiful Bali (30+ temperatures and all) but I already miss a few things back home - like Vancouver water! Also, one thing that I've noticed is how startlingly quiet it is compared to a few months ago - a lot less tourists on the street which isn't a bad thing at all.
I haven't taken out my camera yet so I don't have anything to show for the last couple of days. We're going to check out Sanur this weekend so hopefully I'll be able to share some pics then. Oh, I also have internet set up on my phone so feel free to send me an email - I love receiving them :)
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Also, I've recently learned that Tynan has downgraded even further to a 22L backpack!!! Hmmm, maybe I should think about moving to a 75L? Nahh...
Check out a video of him packing his gear in the old 28L backpack:
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm not worried though - Bali charmed me the first time around, I have no doubt that I'll fall under its spell again...
Oh, and if you have any suggestions on bringing Christmas cheer to paradise, I'm all ears :)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
So I downloaded the 157 page long pdf and started to read. I'm only on page 30 but I've got to say that a lot of what he has said so far resonantes with me. Maybe because I'm also in the midst of packing up my life but I feel a certain kinship to him and even found myself nodding in agreement to some of his points (dorky, I know). He does have a section on being a minimalist and I'm not sure that I have it in me to be one - those closest to me will attest that I'm a hoarder and a pack rat and come from a family of them. I don't think I can physically ever give up all of my possessions - not that I have a lot of valuable items, just that I've placed a lot of sentimental (undue perhaps) feelings on many things. I just don't think I could ever get rid of it all!
Anyways, if you want to read along with me, download Life Nomadic here. I'll let you know what I think when I finish...
Playing the 'tourist' in the courtyard of the Temple of the Heavens
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It was my first trip to China (excluding my foray to HK a few years back) and I must say that it was pretty incredible. My mom and I flew into Beijing and hit the ground running. Over the next 2 weeks we visited: the Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Great Wall (Badaling section), Bird's Nest, the Water Cube, Xiemen and Quanzhou (to visit my mom's cousins and aunts), Shanghai, the World Expo, Suzhou, Hanzhou and Wuxi. Phew, it's exhausting to even type that out!
We did the tour thing in Beijing and Shanghai and I'm not quite sure that I would do it again. In theory, it's a pretty good idea. Pay about $200 for a hotel for 3 nights, 3 square meals a day and explore a city and its main attractions. You get to meet a bunch of people (some cool, others not so much) and make quick friendships. However, you're constantly on the move and always on someone else's schedule. I like to take the time to explore a city on my own - do what I want to whenever I want to and that's virtually impossible when you join a tour. Plus anyone who knows me knows that I take my sleep quite seriously... and I wasn't quite happy with the amount that I got during the tours :P
It was also really nice to spend some time with our relatives. It was too bad that they didn't speak English or Cantonese and that I didn't speak Mandarin or any of the other 4 dialects that they all spoke quite fluently... it made for a lot of non-verbal communication - some of which I'm not 100% sure they understood.
Ps: If I had to choose between Beijing or Shanghai, I would definitely choose Shanghai. While Beijing has all of the popular attractions, it was really dirty and old fashioned in its culture (not in a good way). I was expecting a more modern city after the Olympics but that wasn't the case at all. Shanghai, on the other hand, is a very typical Asian metropolitan city. However, it has a certain charm and vibe that I didn't find in Jakarta or HK - closest comparison I think would be Tokyo. Lots of glitz and shiny lights but also a lot of Chinese culture mixed with international flair. It has a really unique vibe and pulse that I quite enjoyed. I guess it also helps that my mom and I had a few days to really explore Shanghai on our terms and on our schedule... that probably had a huge factor in the city charming us both.
Also, I'll upload photos as soon as the image uploader on blogger starts working again..
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
However, with every end comes a new beginning (deep I know). This new chapter includes getting my motorcycle license (!!!!), experiencing unemployment for the first time in 2+ years (a good thing), visiting China for the 1st time, renewing some relationships that have fallen by the way side and even starting new ones. In short, almost everything that once was is no more - or at least a little different.
2010 has been such a crazy and amazing year so far. I gotta admit - I'm pretty excited (and slightly nervous) to see how it will end!
And I know I took a break from blogging but I'll try to start it up again.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
We landed Wednesday night and met up with Rollan's dad for Kwetiaw Sapi - a beef noodle dish that is covered in a glue-like gravy. It tasted alright but all I could think of was that I was eating something that's similar to the goo that covers an alien as it bursts out of a human stomach. Ugh.
I quickly learned that Jakarta is quite known for a handful of things - malls and traffic jams being a couple of them. There are approximately 100+ malls in Jkt - everything from your super high-end shopping cities (literally) to your rinky-dinky Chinatown building. On our first day (Thurs), we hit up 2 of the larger malls - Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia. Geeeze, the level of luxury in these places is ridiculous - more suited to a high end hotel than a shopping center! Over the remainder of the trip, we probably visited another 4 malls? Sigh - no more malls! And, no more traffic! I thought traffic in Bali was bad - boy was I wrong. One day, we sat in traffic for more than 4 hours!!! And that's normal! Yikes, thanks but no thanks.
One of the more popular food dishes in Jkt is bakmi - a thick, ropey like noodle that is tossed in a secret (delicious) oil sauce and served with a side of clear broth. It was very good but we pretty much ate only that our entire trip - it's good, but not that good. And it wasn't just one place that we kept coming back to either. We ate it in a variety of places - from your chain restaurant, to a stall on the side of a street next to a sewage ditch to a tiny warung with cockroaches running around on the tables. I think I'm noodled out.
Rol, his dad and I headed out to Taman Mini one day. Taman Mini is basically an amusement park of sorts that features the architecture and culture of all the different provinces in Indonesia. And it wasn't just each province that had it's own little plot of land - the different regions within the provinces were able to showcase their culture as well. I'm glad I was able to experience a tiny snapshot of all the different place Indonesia has to offer - must come back and explore some of these cultures more fully!
One day Rol and I ventured out on our own. Our mission? Ride the public buses to Glodok (basically Chinatown of Jkt) and back. While we didn't ride the super sketchy metro-minis (broken down mini-vans), we did ride the main bus (that had AC thankfully). It cost 3500rp for a one way trip. All in all, the bus ride wasn't that bad. I had heard bad things about pickpockets and such but I'm happy to report that all our belongings remained intact. It's kinda cool but the main buses have a dedicated bus lane in the majority of streets - really increases the attractiveness of taking public transport as it's reliable and quick - no sitting in traffic for these buses! My only real complaint was that a lot of people on the bus decided that wearing deodorant was faux pas. Ugh, it was super smelly in there. Natural BO plus the humidity of Jkt equals a really pungent ride!
Another thing that Jkt is known for is its party scene. Lots of clubs, bars, and karoke lounges to satisfy any appetite (and if you're looking for a more seedy scene, lots of brothels too!). On Friday night, we met up with Rol's 2 friends Art and his cousin Kama and his gf Rica. I actually met Art back during the Olympics so it was nice to see a familiar face. We headed to Blowfish where a friend of Kama's was celebrating her birthday. Oh yeah, this friend? Her family owns Ayana Resort (where Rock Bar is). Freaking redic. All in all, I had an amazing time at Blowfish - it was so much fun!! The music was the best I've heard in a very long time. Mostly hip-hop with a little old-school and top 40 thrown in. I felt like I was in one of my favorite dance movies. Although the crowd was a little wack (very cliquey and snobby) I did manage to meet a UBC student who was trying to get into commerce - random! On Saturday night, we went to Alexis (jealous Ros?) with Art and Kama. The scene is very different from anything I've ever partied in. The music wasn't that great and the crowd was uh, interesting but I still had fun. And I'm glad I finally got to experience the 'wonders' of Alexis - although I'm pretty sure I'm of the wrong gender to fully enjoy them. From Alexis, Rol and I headed to Millennium - a pitch black, seedy club that was blaring tribal music. Needless to say, we headed home pretty quickly after that!
Rol's dad dropped us off at the airport Sunday night (after a day of hanging out with him in malls - what else?). Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:20pm but we were still sitting at the gate by 9pm. We finally boarded and everything was pretty smooth until we tried to land in Bali. We were going in for the landing when we hit the ground hard(!) and suddenly started ascending again. The weather conditions (lighting and thunderstorm) were making it unsafe for us to land! Despite that, our captain tried to land again. This time, we didn't even make it to the ground before we pulled back up. All the ups and downs were reeking havoc on my poor stomach - glad I didn't chunder all over Rol! We finally headed to Surabaya - a city in Java about a 30min flight from Bali to wait out the storm. Hours later, we all filed back in the plane and this time landed successfully in Bali - at 4am. Our original arrival time? 10:02pm. The price you pay to be back in paradise...
While I'm glad that I got to have a Jkt adventure, I'm ecstatic to be back in Bali. It just felt like home coming back here. This place has a very special place in my heart!