Pics of the week; England

Seven days in England… #ponies #weddings #babies #glamping #crumpets, #cider, #bacon #Tickhill #Suffolk #London #family #friends #sunshine. Lovely. x

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100 More Things I love about you; Singapore…

On the eve of leaving my much-loved Singapore, I challenged myself to come up with 10 more ‘things I love’ following my ORIGINAL POST OF THE FIRST 100

I got to #199….

101# Kilo becoming Singapore’s hottest underground club the month after we moved to the neighborhood
102# Lau Pa Sat’s grand re-opening the day before we leave
103# Our United Coloured of Benetton multi-nationality flatmates staying up till 4am for the 2014 World Cup matches
104# Everyone’s comedic obsession with the PMI index during the haze
105# The only Singlish word I remembered in two years; ‘Kaypoh’ (Malay for busybody)
106# Marina Bay Sand’s child free section of the infinity Pool
107# JJ’s house band, Duxton Hill
108# Pita & Olives, level 3, 100AM
109# The roof of Marina Barrage at sunset
110# Bollywood Veggies, Kranji
111# Leaning that you can pay taxi fare on your EZ card, after about 18 month of living here
112# Botanical Gardens in the pouring rain
113# Just the name; ‘Cuppage terrace’
114# Matchbox hostel attic
115# Mozza restaurant @ The Shoppes MBS
116# The Jack Daniels photobooth at Beer Fest 2013
117# 28 HK Street &  Library Bar.  Singapore’s ‘secret’ speakeasies
118# Donkey Darbies
119# Yorkshire puddings at the Queen and Mangosteen, Vivocity
120# Universal Studios. Even with a hangover
121# Typo and their obsession with unicorn stationary
122# Coq N Ball Tiong Barhu and their Halloween giveaway prizes
123# Starworld Play, specifically Beauty & The Geek Australia
124# Saturday night drinking on The Bridge, Clarke Quay
125# The joys of being in your 30’s and buying basil plants
126# The kitchenware stores of Holland Village
127# Hubbabubba’s cover of I dreamed a Dream at Outpost, St James Power Station
128# Gold class at Great World City on a Saturday morning
129# The whole inflatable pool section of Mustafa
130# The hoola hoop section of Mustafa
131# Buying fresh vegetables in random alleyways in Farrah Park
132# Jewel Bar, Rangoon Road
133# The pastel swings at Raffles MRT
134# Sour plum vodka at Buyan Russian restaurant
135# Singaporeexpats.com
136# Cat Steven’s Baby it’s a Wild World
137# Casablanca, Dunlop Street
138# Fresh lime juice at Maxwell hawker
139# Red velvet cake from Department of Caffeine
140# Foodies, Tiong Bahru
141# Tokyo long iced teas at Blu Jazz
142# Online grocery shopping from Giant
143# G & T’s by the pool at Kentish Green
144# Groove dance studio, Dhoby Ghaut
145# How quiet the the new downtown line is
145# Tanjong Beach Club’s strobe lit swimming pool at Full Steam Ahead
146# Training Shed when it’s not raining shed
147# Seeing Carmen at Ballet Under the Stars, Fort Canning Park
148# DBS Movies by the Bay, especially their xmas eve screening of Love Actually
149# Fish Tacos at Lucha Loca, Duxton Hill
150# Civiche Sur Nuevo Latino Kitchen before it closed down
151# The miniature bottles of Hendricks at Level33
152# Olde Cuban Bar cellar
153# The posh soup stall at Tanjong Pagar hawker centre
154# Fig, pomegranite & goats cheese salad at Kil’s second floor restaurant
155# Free flow wine and cheese at The Mad Poet
156# Joo Chit Road
157# Having a campsite to ourselves on Palau Ubin island
158# 100% sugar bubble tea
159# Rummicub
160# Egg with Marmite solders at Drury Lane
161# A year of Breaking Bad / Mad Men / Homeland
162# Sneaking off for cocktails before finishing The Colour Run
163# Pasta Mondays
164# The Whiskey prize for 1st, 2nd & 3rd at Bellwethers quiz
165# Colin’s jokes at the Prince Of Wales Weds pub quiz & the bucket of Corona prize whilst it lasted
166# Rhianna at Formula 1
167# How afraid Singaporeans really are of ‘The hungry Ghost’
168# Drawing the shutters on work’s old shophouse windows, like you’re in an Asian period drama
169# HBO’s Serengoon Road
170# Friday night Maxwell beers
171# Cycling to 3 different cold storage’s on xmas eve just for honey roasted parsnips
172# Food photography shoots at Black Studio Ubi Road
173# Mascarpone pizza at the Italian between Boat and Clarke
174# The ‘love padlocks’ outside Central Clarke Quay
175# The fancy dress shop on level 2 of People’s Park Complex
176# Chatting to Singaporeans about their crazy ‘heaty’ and ‘windy’ foods
177# Learning to scuba dive
178# The glow of the purple letters that say ‘Welcome to Changi Airport’ as you arrive back home
179# Wondering why the practice the National Day flyover as many times as they do, 6 months prior to August
180#Laserwolf
181# Using the MOM toilets when you’re drunk at Home Club
182# The shimmer of lights at Boat Quay at night
183# A very boozy xmas day at the Pan Pacific & Chjimes
184# New Year’s Day Monopoly
185# Srilankan red rum
186# Guzzling duty free on the ferry back from Batam before you reach customs
187# Seeing the cats & bird man on the early morning cycle to work by Kallang river
188# Drunken stories from the night before of friends that wake up on Woodland’s border
189# Naming the floating turtle tray; Sir Thomas Raffles Jeffrey Archer Butler
190# Afternoon tea at Halia, Fullerton Bay, The W
191# The mezze dips at Istanbul restaurant, Kampong Glam
192# The outside bathtub at 1929 Hotel, Keong Saik Road
193# Watching the Little Mermaid & Mulan at Meraprime
194# Jumping in your own swimming pool with a hangover
195# Thinking that you’ll never be as happy again as that year you spent traveling. Being proved wrong.
196# Meeting the best group of friends a girl can ever meet on a Catamaran last May
197# Moving back to a city on a gut feeling , falling in love 1 month later
198# Finding that place in the world that fixes you
199# Being exactly in the right place at the right time in life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Nice one Philippines, you came through in the end. I love this place. El Nido is right on the Northern tip of Palawan, and a famous little party beach town where you can do tours to the Bacuit Archipelago. This consists of hundreds of cliff islands with tiny lagoons. Gwen (USA) and I opted on our boat from Alternative Cafe on the basis of Junior the owner using the following words “snorkel with sea turtles” and “secret beach.” The secret being it’s only reachable via a man-sized hole in the rocks that you can dive though to reach the shore.

It was here, whilst cruising on our boat that day, that we meet four tanned, bearded, castaway characters, also known as The Italians. Mauro, and Francesco 1, 2 and 3. Yes it’s a common name. The cliché’s don’t stop there. Through the next few days the boys parade around in Speedos, sang loudly & unashamedly, and educated us all on being naturally born foodies and the art of sharing all meals with almost everyone in a restaurant.  They also kiss each other constantly and everyone else within a mile radius, shouting “chio chio” all over town. As do we after a few hours in their company. Almost everything sounds amusing in the accent, and swearing was surely invented to be screamed passionately in Italian. You don’t tend to meet many Italians travelling. No one since the Naples mafia chicks in Beijing in fact. It was honestly like being in a flamboyant, infectiously fun scene from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin for a few days. Add to this my other new fave; Mark. He’s been to 64 countries, and co-founded our crab fortress on Las Cabanas beach. Honestly, you would not believe how long this kept us all all amused for; watching hermit crabs try and escape from a sand maze. We really do all have too much spare time on our hands. I also bumped back into Miro/Shelley from Manila who were friends with Rex from Cambodia, and a couple of Swedish girls and Argentine brother and sister, and American guy who taught us all about how to train cockerels for fighting (The National sport here.) So our nice big extended family, mixed with lots of football, sunsets, & bongo drums playing, and we had quite the blurred Tanduay rum filled few days. Bellisima.

Australia

Can I just say,  that despite being half determined not to, I seriously like Australia. I can say with 99% certainty I will at some point in my life come back here. It’s not that ridiculous kind of ‘love/lust’ for a place like Fiji – where deep down it’s an amazing fling but you know it’s not forever. It’s a slow burner, where you’re happy and content in a place, and you know you guys have a future together.  Insert love heart here.

Let this be lesson to my much naive self. Only 6 weeks ago Andreas, Thea and I sat on Mana Beach Fiji, BITCHING away about Australia. She’d lived here, and Andi and I just presumed it would be like NZ. Yuk. I vividly remember Thea flinging a $50p piece into the ocean in a joking rage, just to get it out of her purse. We all laughed. We all changed our flights to get out of here sooner. Oh ye of little faith. Some of my all time best memories have been here, travel and otherwise.

Maybe it’s moving at supersonic speed through the big wild world, or hitting the 6 month mark (15th Sept, woop/sob) but my short term memory is starting to blur. I feel like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates (watched it on the 12h Rainbow to Cairns bus this week). Where you have so many amazing memories you can’t cling onto them all. (I know this wasn’t the premise of the film, but it’s kind of the same.)

I’m being strict with myself and sticking with the formula. Having just clicked back to South America I see I narrowed it down to five ‘loves/hates’ so painful as it is:

Loved:

1)      The kindness of strangers –  From chicks in bars being super chatty, to randoms on trams helping you the second you get a map out, to Ebony/Tim/Brett’s hospitality and opening up their beautiful homes. (And Joe/Dan & Dana but technically you two aren’t Ozzy.) So many people here are genuinely super friendly, and in such a chilled way it’s not too keen or loaded, it’s just, you know, nice?! Ozzy’s love to show off their country.

2)      Tattoos & general eye candy  – My theory on tattoos it really suits some people, and Ozzies are those people. It helps when you parade round in singlets and wetsuits pulled down to the waist I guess, or surf, sail, generally strut around looking fit. I challenge you to find any single oz (girl or guy) anywhere in the world that doesn’t have a tattoo. There’s no prize. It’s merely for fun.

3)      Clothes – Oh my god the clothes. Never have there been so many gorgeous shops filled with exactly my taste. It’s like a fantasy world in which I would look this good, if only I had money to burn, and not living out of a backpack.  I can’t even talk about Sydney’s Glebe vintage markets again. I can’t, it’s just too painful.

4)      This is an odd one, as in it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to like, but it’s not the most obviously place for an epiphany, (I’ve had a few here). Sydney Fish Markets. What can I say, I visited Leeds markets almost every week for a year, yet it didn’t do much for me. However strolling through this place with my one Oyster in the mid-day sunshine, made me completely visualise coming shopping for dinner on a weekend and living here. In that moment I fell a little bit in love.

5)      (Ok, I’m going to cheat.) I fell a little in love in all of these places; Brunswick Street Melbourne, Walking over Ebony’s bridge in the twinkly 4am Melbourne lights, star gazing on The Great Ocean Road Yanapay road trip, sharing seafood & red wine on a warm Bondi evening, Sydney’s Hyde Park fountain, Sydney Botanical Gardens, Sydney Opera house (so basically every last inch of Sydney. I’ll move on, you get it.)That day kite surfing and chilling on the beach in Surfers, cruising Frasers wild coasts, diving on the Reef.

6)      (Ok, I’m breaking my own rules completely, there are 6 ‘likes’) But as most of the above are all place related, I just want to add a few that are people related too; Sky’s touching soliloquy on love in the crazy Melbourne play, Jen& Emma’s friendship waiting 90 mins in the dark/cold with me for a bus they weren’t even catching . Matt/Mark/Emily’s continuing love, and what’s bound to be a highlight of my life; the fact if we can’t all stay in Surfers Paradise forever we can sure as hell can take Surfers to Thailand. Full Moon Party Oct 12thpeople!

I could take or leave (Ok just leave):

1)      Yes it’s expensive if you aren’t earning Ozzy wages. Although, TBF it’s nowhere near as bad as everyone makes out. People try and put the fear of god into you, banging on about how bananas cost $17 a kilo. This is true, but only because of the droughts/bush fires that shortened stock supplies this summer. Just live without bananas then, you silly whingeing backpackers. Go crazy, eat an apple or something. Here’s the deal. Lots of stuff is exactly England’s prices. Pub grub is £8-10, trains/buses the same, sushi is actually probably cheaper. Win. The thing is that unless you hunt out bargains at superhuman effort (which for me lasted about a day) then it’s kind of easy to spend a fortune. You can’t/shouldn’t put a price on fun though can you.

2)      Working holiday visas and such talk. This goes for New Zealand too. (Poor NZ, I’m still hating on it 2 months later.) God the hostel kids are all over this here. No I am not planning to work. (They look at you like you are the Sultan of Brunei when you reveal this and then presume you are super-loaded.) I have no desire to stand in a field and pick fruit for 10p a week, so please stop trying to brainwash me into the idea. Misc Essex 18-30 holiday types keep bragging how they earned a few grand picking peas (not sure how many years it took um.) Then they blew the lot partying up the East Coast? It’s exactly like people that live in Ibiza handing out club flyers in exchange for a free shot every fortnight. You are being had mate. They all do it of course as it’s a requirement of your second year visa. I get it. And I should have pre-empted this rant by saying I haven’t turned into an elitist job-snob. I’m lucky enough to have saved enough to not have to work, I know. But GOD do they like talking about it. A girl actually spent an hour explaining the crisis of bruised grapes and their journey to our supermarket shelves. Step away from the production line lady. Someone give this chick a day off.

3)      Boganism – So the TV is completely dumbed down and catered for the lowest common denominator. But it’s no wonder. Pretty much anyone over the age of 30 here is a bit like one of  the characters from ‘The Castle.’ (NZ film that rips into chavy backwards Australians) Most bus drivers or anyone in customer services have an attitude that make you eternally grateful for being English and from a (slightly) more liberal/culturally evolved society. You do have to actually question whether it’s really 2011 most days with some Ozzy’s moronic attitudes towards race/sexuality/women/immigration/politics, I could do on. And this was in the cities, I didn’t even venture into the outback. A huge downside, but perhaps in 50 years or so they might have caught up to the political correctness bandwagon. Here’s hoping.

4)      Box jellyfish, dingoes, blue bottle jellyfish, sharks, snakes, spiders and generally anything/everything else out to kill you (red goon?) in this bad land. God, what’s your problem Australia. Why so hostile.

5)      The fact that I had to rush up the coast so fast that I had to bump off Magnetic Island (Wildlife Mecca) from my plans. I really wanted to go there and cuddle a Koala. Where else am I going to be able to go that? China – I thought to myself before realising I’m stupid and that they were in fact Panda’s. Upps. Although I wonder which hugs better? Either way, both are going straight on my new ever evolving to do list.

6)      So finally, if there’s one thing I hate about Australia, it’s myself for changing my flights to leave earlier L However I can’t take it back. I have myself a Singapore Grand Prix to get to!

Where I stayed:

Ches Motley, Melbourne (aka Joe’s house)
Ches Thomas summer house (aka MTV cribs) Great Ocean Road
Noah Hostel, Bondi Beach (Accidently, mid-key gate)
Ches Dan and Dana, Bondi Beach
Aquarius Backpackers, Byron Bay
Couple O’Days, Surfers Paradise (Heart it)
Brisbane City Backpackers
Mooloolaba Beach Backpackers
Pippies Backpackers, Rainbow Beach
Magnum Backpackers, Airlie Beach
Globetrotter Backpackers, Cairns

Fiji

Fiji is my happy place. All time top 3 (alongside Bali/Laos since you asked).

It’s like everything fell in place here; the weather, the food, the scenery, the mood, the people. Like everything collides so that only good things happen. Cliche fest, but true. I feel like I’ve been living in a montage of my own  best bits for the last fortnight, and it doesn’t even need editing. Life feels sped up here, it all starts to blur. Days are surreal, like being that nice tipping point when you’re drunk.  The day before can feel like a lifetime ago, as everything’s flown by in a giddy bubble from when I ricocheted off the plane to back on it.

I find it strange that I’ve met nothing but the nicest people continually. Only one complete idiot (James, Beachcomber – yes I hate you enough to name you – he had such a chip on his shoulder about me being 23.)  Or maybe you just meet people you like in places you like. In exactly the right place at the right time sometimes. I’ll stop gushing now. But what can I say, I’m in love and am gonna be raving about here for a very long time.

Love Love Love:

1) Bula – The word, the songs, the dance. It’s all one contagious good mood.

2) Beach chic. Shoes and shampoo are a dim and distant memory.

3) Bounty Rum. Mmm.

4) Speedboats. The only way is seabound.

5) Desert Island Syndrome – stir crazy/cabin fever is super fun in a weird way.

Hated: Nothing of course! but disliked:

1) Cava – hell no to tradition, it tastes rank. Plus wannabe hippies that sit crossed legs pretending to be chiefs. Have a word with yourselves.

2) Prices – Paradise is a little on the steep side, but I’m so in love with here I’ll let it off.

3) The slight bastardization of tourism here and the whole Catch 22 of tourism in developing countries. The whole all inclusive ‘resort’ is kind of different to backpacking.

Isa Lei (Fairwell) Fiji x

Where I stayed: Horizon, Smugglers Cove/BountyIsland/Beachcomber/Rata Kini, Manu Island, Bamboo, Nadi.

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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