Hackney City Farm, London.

At the start of this year I ambitiously declared that I have found a magical way to slow down the time.

Yet 2017 has simply been ramming itself like a charging bull on steroid, and I’m at loss once again on how to make the time stop. With a blink of an eye, it is already March. The weather got a lot warmer, the daylight stayed for a couple of minutes longer each day, and flowers start to blossom; spring is just around the corner.

It is strange to think that just a couple of weeks ago I was trying to ease back into the chilly weather in London, having spent December and January back home in the tropics. And on one of the coldest days of February, we visited the Hackney City Farm.

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Being surrounded by friends who grew up close to the nature, I have often behaved like an ignorant city girl in comparison. I remember asking someone, to both his bemusement and amusement, whether the flowers on the flowerbed we walked past were real (they clearly were).

Don’t get me wrong; I love the nature. I really do (except for those crawling insects that come with the nature in the tropics, and maybe snakes. And a couple more weird looking animals). And I have a weakness for cows – I think they are one of the cutest creatures alive. I am just never exposed to them very much.

So imagine my excitement when my friend told me about Hackney City Farm, which was set up for people like me: so I don’t have to drive (not that I can) for hours to see cows and horses and donkeys, and I get to immerse myself in the earthy smell of manure right at the heart of the city.

We agreed to meet right around lunch time so our first stop was brunch at Cafe Frizzante, which was located inside the complex. It being located inside the farm added a nice touch to the location.

It sounds barbaric now that I think about it, but the first animals that we encountered at the farm were this.

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The bacon and sausage that were once pigs.

Continue reading “Hackney City Farm, London.”

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Back in Copenhagen, again.

There is nothing quite like your first love (in Europe).

Everyone remembers their first love.

It probably happened a long time ago.

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This was taken 8 years ago in 2009, when I was probably 8 kg lighter.

For some, it might have been just a short-lived crush. But for many, it lasted for a few years.

Because for some reason, you kept coming back for more…

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2010

And more…

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2012
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2013
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2014

Continue reading “Back in Copenhagen, again.”

Borobudur Temple: righting the wrong.

No visit to Jogjakarta is ever complete without paying homage to the world-renowned Borobudur Temple. Situated in Magelang, about two-hour car ride away from Jogjakarta city, Borobudur Temple is worth the journey – it is after all the biggest Buddhist temple in the world and at one point in time was one of the seven wonders of the world.

We made a grave mistake of visiting the temple not only in the weekend but also on the eve of an Indonesian public holiday. Which was definitely not the wisest thing to do since Borobudur is one of the cheap destinations for pretty much everyone living in Java. Also, because we are not the earliest risers in the world, we only got there at around 11 AM. Considering some dedicated photographers would have already been ready with their tripod set up at about 5 AM, we definitely deserved the huge line forming at the ticket counter, not to mention the baking hot sun.

The line to get the tickets for local.
The ticket counter for locals.

At least among the things we did wrong, we got a couple of things right. Like the fact that one of my friends is non Indonesian and could get her ticket at the Borobudur International Visitors Centre. Check out the queue for that.

Nothing.
Nothing.

She did have to pay for the price for that, being a foreigner and all. Her entry ticket was USD 20 while ours was less than USD 3. Reminded me of my time in Taj Mahal when I had to pay a much higher ticket price as a foreign tourist (750 Rupee or USD 12) while my Indian friend paid close to nothing (20 Rupee or USD 30 cents). The best part of this arrangement was that we had the spillover effect from her being a foreign tourist and a very kind guy in the counter helped us to get the local tickets through the backdoor and did not even want to receive any tip! Truly hospitality at its best.

Continue reading “Borobudur Temple: righting the wrong.”

Jogjakarta getaway.

Jogjakarta is like a sneaky little person with a lot of tricks up its sleeve. At first glance, it could barely call itself a city. With an international airport that just about works and a city so small that it spans around 32 square km, I really did not expect much out of it save the legendary Borobudur Temple.

The terminal.
The terminal building, which was just 50 steps away from our plane.
Cue chaos.
Cue chaos.

A closer look, however, will reveal that there is so much more to the place than a mere small town behind its time. The city may not be massive, but the province stretched far and therein lies a historic place with rich culture and lively art scene.

As is customary in most of my posts, I will start my praises of any place from its food.

Continue reading “Jogjakarta getaway.”

Kuala Lumpur in 23 hours.

Different people have different reactions when faced with unexpected situations.

Some people take selfies after they survived a plane crash.

Some others go hysterical, or even come up with interesting theories surrounding a crisis.

For me, as long as the unexpected situations do not manifest themselves in the form of cockroaches, flying prawns (there really are such insects, I swear), lightning or someone tickling me from the back, I generally remain calm and composed.

Until the next day, when the reality of the situations start sinking in – I spent pretty much the whole day thinking of the events that happened over last weekend and playing every scene in my head. I think this is what psychologists would have analysed as a case of delayed shock (or in layman’s terms: v e r y   s  l  o  w  ).

Before you jump into conclusions, nothing disastrously bad happened to me nor someone I know personally. But one thing was for sure: it was a very bizarre weekend.

I wrote in my previous post that I was going to have a weekend trip to KL for Future Music Festival Asia 2014. It was meant to be straightforward – reach KL early in the afternoon, get changed, head to the festival and take a bus ride back to Singapore the next day.

But of course nothing in travelling is ever that straightforward.

We reached KL two hours later than expected due to the traffic, and the moment I had access to WiFi from our hostel, I was greeted by a text from a friend informing me that the festival had been cancelled.

Cancelled. The festival we took a 5-hour bus journey for. The festival where Pharrell Williams was supposed to play! Poof. No more.

In our disbelief, we searched the net for more news and found a few articles confirming our news and when the official website finally released some sort of confirmation, we knew that it was time for Plan B. Except that we did not have a plan B, so we had to come up with something on the spot.

Apparently this is the only sign that could be found at the venue.
Apparently this A4 piece of paper is the only sign that could be found at the venue. Photo courtesy to ST Communities.

So I think it is of utmost importance that I write a guide of what you can do, should you find yourself stranded in Kuala Lumpur for 23 hours because the festival you came all the way for was cancelled at the last minute:

Continue reading “Kuala Lumpur in 23 hours.”

Jakarta, through different eyes.

It is funny that ever since I started this blog in December, I haven’t actually been travelling. The only place I have visited since Christmas day was my hometown, Jakarta. Under normal circumstances, I would not count such as travelling. However, my latest trip back home was far from normal. Five friends of three different nationalities came along with me to spend a long weekend in Jakarta, which certainly had to count for something. Hence, this is my first real post-travel blog post ever since this blog was set up, and I am pleased that I am writing about my own hometown.

I remember fretting for a few weeks leading up to the trip, trying to plan a perfect getaway for my friends. Living in Jakarta for 17 years as a rather antisocial person meant that I was practically clueless about cool hangout places and interesting things to do. So it was really down to a bit of online research, asking some more experienced friends  for tips and outsourcing the tour guide service to two of my friends that I managed to pull the weekend through, very successfully if I may say so.

As a reminder for myself, I have listed down the below of what I deem to be the winning recipe for my fantastic weekend in Jakarta.

  1. Food, glorious food. Always fill the trip with good food. From artery-clogging sweet martabak, to a goat’s eye in milky soup to crispy curly fish – when every single meal is to be remembered, even if all else fails, the food will always be fond memories. After all, the closest way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.
    Crispy, curly fish.
    Crispy, curly fish.
    An eye for an eye.
    An eye for an eye.
    Ingredients: flour, sugar, butter (loads of them), chocolate, cheese, condensed milk, more butter.
    Ingredients: flour, sugar, butter (loads of them), chocolate, cheese, condensed milk, more butter.

    Continue reading “Jakarta, through different eyes.”

A close shave.

Last weekend was meant to be productive. I had it all planned out so well. In order to get enough rest post Chinese New Year, I cleared out the weekend for myself, and my laptop. It was supposed to happen this way: I would have come home on Friday, cooked a healthy dinner for myself, watched a few episodes of ‘A Game of Thrones’, slept for good eight hours, exercised the next morning, written a blog post, researched about my upcoming trips, watched a few more episodes of ‘A Game of Thrones’, uploaded Myanmar pictures on Facebook and so on. Basically a very productive weekend in terms of resting, researching and writing.

But I got home on Friday evening and got as far as cooking my dinner before my plan was shattered into pieces. I tried to switch my computer on and this appeared.

The blue screen of terror.
The blue screen of terror.

I like blue in general, but when it appeared on my computer screen and was just stuck there, it was the colour of a nightmare.

And that basically rendered my whole weekend plan useless.

Continue reading “A close shave.”