I have always thought that our planet is a beautiful place. But I have never really comprehended nor imagined how beautiful it can be before visiting Alaska in 2012. It was my first time travelling for nature – previously it has always been for a mix of historic sites and culture plus a bit of nature but never was the entire trip dedicated to immerse myself in nature, from the landscape to the animals that depend on it.
When my dad first sounded the idea that we should visit Alaska, I looked at him incredulously. Mainly because I mistakenly thought that Alaska and Antarctica were the same thing (and I found out later on that a lot of people had this misconception). How on earth were we supposed to get there? And what is there to do besides looking at vast expanse of nothing but white?
This is the part where I’m glad that I’m such a dutiful daughter that despite thinking the idea was out of this world, I still went ahead and did some research. Of course, the first thing that I found out was that Alaska was NOT the same as Antarctica (how did I even make the connection?). I mean it was still cold, but summer seemed manageable and even pleasant. Secondly, it was not that hard to get to Alaska. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is well connected to other parts of the States and Canada. Alternatively you could take a 8-day cruise to and from Vancouver or Seattle. Which was what we did – we booked an 8-day Royal Caribbean Cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver and before the cruise we drove about 300 km to Denali National Park.
As it turned out, there is so much more to Alaska than the coldness it seems to have a reputation of. Here are my favourite moments in Alaska that hopefully will inspire you to get visiting next summer.
It was a cold and rather gloomy morning on my last day in London back in December 2012. I was flying to Copenhagen that night on the eve of Christmas Eve (if there is such a phrase) before the tubes stopped working, and I did not plan for any itinerary for the day (because it completely slipped my mind). I knew Little Venice was just around the corner to where I was staying at Paddington, so I decided to test my sense of direction and just explored the area by foot. Which was a really brave move considering I practically had no sense of direction and had no idea how to get to Little Venice. So I set off from my hostel shortly after breakfast, turned left instead of right as I had done all the days before this on my way to the tube, and started my little walking adventure. I walked for a distance till I reached the end of Westbourne Terrace, and I decided to look back to the street that I have been treading every single day over the past 7 days to find this.
I had a hard time deciding what the header of the month should be for May.
So I decided on London, the city I know and love best after Copenhagen. And since my favourite London friend’s birthday is this month, I suppose it is apt to dedicate this feature post to the city where he grew up.
By the Thames, London, United Kingdom.
We all just have to accept this fact: Samuel Johnson did not exaggerate. His famous quote, “No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford,” was true to the last word. Having visited London on three different occasions now, I still can’t get enough of it. It simply has everything, from old architecture to modern ones; musical plays and football stadiums; a place like Canary Wharf buzzing with serious looking people and hipsters’ den at Camden; expensive shops and shabby ones; dirty toilets and beautiful scenery. A place of contrast – some people may call it messy, but to me, they are all co-existing in a beautiful chaos.
The city is as beautiful during the day as it is during sunset, and at night. During Christmas period, it gets an added sparkle from the festive and twinkling lights. It may seem off-season to post Christmas pictures now, but just in case you plan to visit London in December, here are pictures that I took of some of the most beautiful sights in the city.
One of the perks of being a part-time badminton journalist is that you get access to all the press conference rooms and speak to all the world-renowned badminton players. In most places, you get to sit at the best seats for free since you will be the one telling the whole world about how awesome the tournament is. For an avid badminton fan (okay, almost maniac) like me, it was more than I could have asked for.
But another less known perk of being a badminton journalist is that you get to meet other non-badminton famous people. Like the minister of sports. Or a prince.
Yes, you read it correctly, a P R I N C E. I still can’t believe it till this moment. I have met and spoken to a real life PRINCE. Even though it was more than a year ago, I’m still hyperventilating as I’m writing about it. It all happened so fast that I did not even have time to faint right there and then.
I was just doing my post badminton match ritual at Copenhagen Masters 2012 in well, Copenhagen. It always pretty much goes by this sequence: you sit and watch a badminton match, when a match finishes you run off to the press conference room to interview the players if they interest you, then you return to the media room to jot down the quotes into your computer and return to the stadium again to catch the next match and repeat the same steps.
But that day I decided to break the cycle. I guess it was because I was rather tired from running around the stadium, but after interviewing one of the players, I did not return immediately to the media room. Instead a few of us decided to just hang around after a press conference and rested our feet. It had been a long day.
Suddenly the door opened and a few important looking men came into the room.