Category Archives: Travelogy

Traveling opens the mind, allowing one to explore unimaginable possibilities and tempting risks. Dare you take the leap?

The One With Europe ’11 Day 2 – An Evening In Fez

An Evening in Fez

The day was spent mostly on traveling from London to Fez.

It was remarkably nice morning out in Notting Hill. We did a big breakfast at Mike’s Cafe, and then popped across the street for The Travel Bookshop, made famous by Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the movie Notting Hill. Never had I been so tempted to shop so much during a holiday. It would be rather silly to drag my books all over the place so I planned to return on my way home.

The journey from London into Fez has been nothing short of being remarkable. Some quick notes to be expanded later on:
– Never had I seen a budget airlines so determined to make money out of its passengers. Incremental revenue is one thing, but to trawl the aisle selling one product after another really irked me
– Had an insightful time at Fez airport. Let’s just say the Moroccan didn’t put much store to efficiency. It was also a tale of woes for the overbearing lady who lost her somewhat demented husband at the airport. The officers didn’t have to laugh so much
– Everyone jabbered in French, Arabic and Berber (the local language). Not that I could tell any difference. It just felt strange and rather overwhelming at times
– The journey from the airport, a good 30 minutes, took us through the French district, the “new” Fez and finally the Fez Medina. It was literally like stepping back in time as modern buildings and sweeping boulevards gave way to cramped alleyways and dark corners
– The Moroccan men like to loiter. A lot. They were literally standing everywhere in the street.
– Our accommodation, Ryad Alya, was amazing. Everything you saw in Sex and the City was real. Never had I been so amazed by a hotel.
– The staff was amazing too, particularly one local chap named Mahmoud, who is a medical student in the local hospital, speaks good English, loves sport and always up for a good cup of tea. That he is good looking of courses helped with the ladies
– The locals loved their tea; generously sweetened with sugar and spiced with mint. At last count I had four glasses of those sweetness before bedtime
– Dinner was at a lavish restaurant nearby. At EUR28 per person it was expensive, but it was an euthentic Moroccan experience; great food, impeccable service (despite the language barrier), live classic music, all within a cozy courtyard of a dar.

It was late nigh before we finally hit the bed. Fez in the daylight will be a photographer heaven. I can’t wait.

The One With Europe ’11 Day 1 – The Colours Of London

At Tower Bridge

I couldn’t have asked for a more eventful first day of my holiday. Who else can do all the following within one day?

– Trawled my way to Portobello Market and discover a little known Spanish church in Notting Hill
– Ventured into a swooning bakery called the Hummingbird and bought the most delightful muffin, ever
– Consumed eight cookies, five doughnuts and four grande coffee
– Stood out like a sore thumb among the suited bankers at Canary Wharf
– Dipped into the world of said bankers by having lunch at Morgan Stanley
– Mistaken the Olympic 2012 council building as the Mayor of London’s office
– Enjoyed the best of winter in London by strolling half dressed along River Thames
– Visited Tower of London and its endless (what else?) towers after two unsuccessful attempts two years ago
– Struggled to remain awake while being serenaded with Pachelbel Canon at Covent Garden
– Gaped like an idiot at the largest Apple store in the world (three storeys, man!)
– Being all nonchalant at dinner while the gorgeous Jessica Michibata and her F1 driver boyfriend Jenson Button canoodled at the next table

And London was not even my actual planned itinerary.

Okay time to get lost in the medinas!

The One With The Beginning of Europe 2011

Backpack & My Lonely Planet

By the time you read this post, I would be halfway across the way, on my way towards London.

It is the beginning of a journey of a lifetime… but then again I said the same thing of all my travels. With seven cities across the span of a mere nineteen days, I would be dishonest if I say I am not a tad wary. But hey the best memories are made by venturing into the unknowns, so who knows?

Fez, 20 Jan ~ 23 Jan
Essaouira, 23 Jan ~ 24 Jan
Marrakech, 24 Jan ~ 27 Jan
Madrid, 27 Jan ~ 28 Jan
Barcelona, 28 Jan ~ 31 Jan
Lisbon, 31 Jan ~ 3 Feb
London, 3 Feb ~ 5 Feb

As I make my way around cramped medinas, spiced coffee, crazy soccer fans, egg tarts and broadway musicals, I will attempt to chronicle my tales here. Although it is unlikely I will fulfill my wish to see some snow this trip, it will be a tapestry of memory to last me a lifetime.

Bon voyage, you and me.

The One With The Lamma Island Hiking Trail

To say that hiking is the third religion in Hong Kong – after eating and shopping – would be kind of an understatement. When I was tasked to plan for a hiking trip to Lamma Island, my research unearthed a mind-blogging amount of resources dedicated to this activity; a testament on how much the locals love a good trek up and down the hills (mountains?) of Hong Kong.

Here’s a summary of my findings:
1) The hiking trail in Lamma was said to be one to four hours long, depending on your circumstances. Losing sleep worrying whether you planned too-tight an itinerary for a day trip like this, in all honesty, would be utterly pointless
2) Doing a hike in autumn is always infinitely better than risking it under the wrath of summer. I have yet to come across a blog post about a pleasant summer hiking experience in Lamma thus far
3) Just because you live a five minute cab ride away from the terminal would mean you can leave the house 10 minutes before the ferry depart

The Ferry Ride

Hiking Excursion to Lamma Island

I embarked on the trip one Saturday afternoon with my Hong Kong buddies – Fanny, Maureen, Mandy, Billy and Faifai. It was first of the some of our outdoor group outings and hopefully it heralded more such events in the future.

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The One With The Sunday Day Trip To Shatin & Tai Po

There are only so many weekends a man could spend bar-hopping and club-dancing before he feels totally washed out and in need of a break in routine. It all sounded glamorous when one’s weekends are filled with dancing, drinking and merrymaking but, trust me, it gets stale. Sometime.

So in a bid of Doing Something Different, yours truly ganged up with some lovely friends to go up north towards the New Territories of Hong Kong, making a healthy day trip one fine Sunday.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Shatin Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Otherwise known as Man Fat Tsz, this is not an actually monastery as there are no residence monks. Located in Shatin, the monastery is some 400 odd steps up a hill at Pai Tau Village. The name, as you may guessed, come from the thousands of life-sized and small Buddhas at this place.

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The One With The Culinary Whirlwind That Was Bangkok 2010

I have been meaning to write about my Bangkok trip in September, detailing what happened day by day. But after a lapse of some two months and, coupled by the fact that how my seven days in Bangkok blurred into each other, it would probably be more worthwhile for yours truly to focus on the more blogworthy aspects of my trip in September.

Of course, top of my list is FOOD!

To my surprise, Bangkok has more to offer than just the good old Thai food. Perhaps that’s because the last time I visited was in 2006. My spending power was considerably less, so I don’t get too many options to spoil myself with.

But this trip was different. I get to try, try, and keep trying.

Seafood Dinner @ Bangkok’s Chinatown

Dinner at Chinatown

Easily the best meal for the trip was the first night when we headed down to Bangkok’s Chinatown for a huge dinner of seafood. The wait wasn’t that long, the crowd was jolly, the service was friendly, and all of us were in great spirit.

All those, of course, would be pointless if the food were less than spectacular. For about HKD100 per person, every dish was good till the last drop.

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The One With The Quest For Snow In A Winter Europe

The first snow. The surprising fall of snowflakes. The puzzling impossibility that no two are alike. The freshness chill that permeates the air. The laughter of children in a game of snow fight. The dazzling expanse of a white carpet over everything.

Ahhh…. for the longest time I have been yearning to see snow. Yes, I know that I had my first snow experience as a toddler, but how many of us will remember experiences from such an early age?

And so begin my quest to see snow… first in 2008, and then again in 2009. Little did I know that snow does not always happen at the end of the year. The few snow flakes I saw on the very last day of my Europe trip last year, while waiting out the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague was the best I could manage.

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The One With “We Love Bangkok” Day 3

Japanese Buffet at Oishi Grand, Siam Discovery

Let’s just say the day started for me with a delectable spread of Japanese buffet dinner at Siam Discovery. The food was delicious, I was starving, but just could stomach a third helping of their food.

I think I failed miserably as a wannabe foodie even on holiday.

Probably today will be the day when I should take things easy. Ah….. what do I know. It’s not even midnight yet. In Bangkok, the City of Sins Smiles, everything can change in a flash.

And I am fickle minded even at the best of time.

(This post will be updated again later)

The One With “We Love Bangkok” Day 2

The Nation - Bangkok on Red Alert

The second day in Bangkok dawned with a double whammy of bad news:
1) The scheduled event for the night was definitely canceled. Bad PR, but inevitable
2) The dreaded red shirts are taking the street again!

But being the ever resourceful us, we made alternative plans. A road side lunch, a relaxing day hanging out in the hotel room (champagne and strawberries are the bomb!), before dolling out for a big night out. God, I had so much fun. I can’t remember the last time I was, err, decent and still enjoyed myself so much.

(This post will be updated again later)

The One “We Love Bangkok” Day 1

Seafood Dinner at Chinatown

First day in Bangkok drew to a close. It had been a relaxing day, in room service and then massage and a some shopping (Dunkin Doughnuts!) before a huge dinner gathering at Chinatown. It was a spectacular site to behold, the twelve of us. Tucking into endless fresh seafood sent to our table, chatters over beer, and friendly bantering with the wait staff.

An experience only an authentic Bangkok roadside dining experience can give you.

(This post will be updated again later)