Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ni hao Shanghai - pt 1

I must admit, I have never been so intimidated to visit any place in the world, much like I was intimidated to my recent visit.. to China.

And it was for just one reason; language. 

I don't think any of my 'Ke-yi', or 'Meh si', or 'okay mou' - which are mostly Cantonese anyway would help me go far. And I did a terrible mistake of not learning any of the basic Chinese prior because I was just.. too.. busy. Also, doesn't help that I'm going there with my friends who can all speak Mandarin, or understand Mandarin at the very least. So I kind of took it for granted.

And that part intimidated me a little bit knowing that I cannot lose sight of them.

But it turns out, every trip is different and I'm different in every trip.

I've gone to so many solo adventurous trips that I am so glad I stuck by them like a baby guppy, because it reminded how much laughs and loves they always give me like old times. And that traveling in group means you sign up for group activities, and is about togetherness; which my independent self is always so bad at.

I was supposed to be in the same flight together to Shanghai with Carmen, but her flight was delayed and she had to settle for the flight the next day. Which basically delays one day of her schedule.

I reached Shanghai really late, around 3am, together with CH's sister and family. And all I wanted to do was to SHOWER. I don't know how CH convinced us to stay in Intercontinental where he works, but he did.... so it was SO GOOD to reach to a comfy bed and a luxurious rain shower. Shanghai and KK has the same timezone, so there was not much jetlag.


I told Beh, yes, I woke up just before 11am in time for us to get our snacks before breakfast before meeting CH. Intercontinental Shanghai Pudong is located within some eateries and malls, so it was an easy walk around. And the weather, was perfect!

Supposedly summer, but with a chance of breeze :)

I would probably choose a restaurant with photos if I wasn't with the boys.

We were so hungry, but took CH's word that he would take us to dimsum for lunch, so we agreed to share on a bowl of dumpling only prior. MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD T_T

And then the promised dim sum :)))))))

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dining in Rome & Venice

If Elizabeth Gilbert had dedicated a chapter of her life to the pleasures and delight of dining in Italy, and Dean Martin so much so longingly professed that your eyes could go big as pizza pie as amore, synonym to finding one's mojo back in life, or being in love or better yet, better than love itself........

One can only imagine the passion, intensity and life the Italian meals can create in most of us, for them to profess their surrender to these delicious cuisines.

1. They love their sweet life 
If we haven't already known, the Italians are notorious for being the world's most romantic, most pleasurable people in the world. They love a good life, and love a good way of living life. And what better way to celebrate life than through food. Italians usually start their day with dolce which basically means 'sweet' or anything sweet. I don't really take sweet stuff in the morning.. but you know what they say, when in Rome.......

If they're not puffed in sugar, or baked till golden brown and filled to the brim with cream, then don't even. This pastry below has rich baileys filling, and there's only one time it's good to indulge it at: 9.00am of course.

2. When in doubt, gelato 
First, the flavours. Try having to decide from an array of at least 20 flavours from a gelato parlour and then having to stumble another option of 20 to 30 flavours right next door after finishing the painfully delicious Pistachio gelato, you just ever had in your life. Next door you see lime sorbet, Nutella cream, rum and raisin and a million more. How does anyone ever stop trying these flavours? How do you ever claim the previous' was the best you've had? You just can't.

If you feel the need to fill those walks with a munch or put some perspective back in your life, I think you're gonna have to gelato. And please don't blame me when after half a day's walk you probably had 2 or 3 just before your next lunch adventure, I did warn you - because really, how do you successfully pass by the walks  in the beautiful city without having one cone in your hand all the time?

Everyone will forgive you for having cream all over your face, so just go for it. Life is short.

Friday, August 19, 2016

2D/ 1N long overdue Kampung Tenom visit

My late dad was born and raised in Tenom. Minus his amazing background stories of him having to walk for hours to and from school, having to continue to work at the rubber estates after school, then to study in the dark just before sleep, then sponsored by the Government to continue his studies in economics in Canberra Australia, and then continued his lifelong journey of being the awesome man that he was - he will always be fondly remembered as the hilarious dad and charismatic politician that he was.

Coming back to basics to where he was from is not only so humbling, but so refreshing from the constant chase in the city. We wanted to see dad's side of the family to announce that my brother is finally getting married (Finally! Hopefully that'll keep mum lay low for a couple of years -_-) and that he's pursuing his studies in KL.

Sometimes, I feel so bad that my dad's side appear so little in my pictures due to distance. I work hard almost 7 days a week, up to late night at times. And even this visit to Tenom was arranged right after work for Jessy and me.

Life can be so messy when you're in the fast lane.

We reached Tenom about 5pm, and immediately checked into this hotel at downtown called Sri Perdana which didn't really fit all 4 of us as he promised, but good enough. Luckily, us three girls are so short we manage to squeeze on to the bed HAHA.

Dinner after church :)

The next morning we woke up early to catch Tenom's famous breakfast of pork and egg. I don't eat it....... Don't ask me why, but the whole family loves it so I'm happy :D

And then we went and catch the Sunday market. 

 ^I wanted to snap a photo of this uncle with the I LOVE PM cap hehehehe<3 cap.="" hehehehehe="" nbsp="" p="" pm="">

Tenom is located right at the heart of Sabah, is one of the access to Malaysia's most famous adventure activity - the Padas white water rafting, between the beautiful valleys of the Crocker range. So beautiful, you'll see valleys and green mountains everywhere in Tenom.

Amazing landscape. You don't get to do a roundabout over a landscape like that every other day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Missing Venice

Sun lit alleyways, wooden windows, coffee smell, masquerades for sale, soft accordion in the background, stone pebble driveways, people drawing, flowers, fresh vegetables for sale, summer dresses, gondolas, Italian yells, glasses clinking, melting ice creams, chuckles and kisses.

I always think of Venice as a painting, a distant painting impossible to get acquainted with. A travel myth, an illusion, that only the people in the myth tells the love stories. A dream that only one can dream. I mean why wouldn't I, so many emulations of this canal city everywhere in the world. From the casinos in Macau, to Vegas, to every other entertainment city in the world, creators creating an illusion of a place so synonym with love and dream.

Until last May. 

Everything I envisioned of Venice was unfolding right by my eyes from the moment I stepped out of the train station. A grandeur of a welcome by the iconically decorated gondolas, slowly cruising the green blue waters in between the bridges and canals I remember mostly from paintings, amidst throngs of people clad in hats and summer dresses. I think it was the perfect season too.

I am in love. Am I the few that loved Venice so much?

I always fell in love with every, destination I've been in. I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to learning new places. I come nothing but with an open heart and mind. I take everything as lessons, and essentially part of the experience, I enjoy the good and the trials of an exploration, like I personally think every adventurer should. And Venice, was no less.

Staying with Cecilia was one of the highlight of the trip, yes. But the walk with her friend, Alessandro was when I fell head over heels with Venice. It made me put some soul and weight to this beautiful canal city, learning every trick of a pathway there is and every history ever embodied told.

But most of all, I genuinely, simply, just miss staring at the buildings stacked right next to each other almost creating a rhythm, a song in between the blue green waters. Worn and torn from time but still depending on one another. And the suave cruise of the lovely gondolas by slick tanned Italian blokes that seem so easy in small alleys but strangely tougher in big water pathways. Or maybe not so strange. And then it reminded me of my wobbly platform, the boat I was standing on.

I loved Venice. 

Like every other place I've visited, I miss everything about it. I miss everything I've just described, and I wished I could do it more justice then from my one dimensional pictures and words would, I wished that time and distance would give me chance to visit Venice again and relive the pleasantness of being in a painting I thought I've seen before. But like every promise, coming back to a place you've loved is almost always impossible to keep :(

I hope everyone that comes and sees Venice, sees Venice in her best days. 

Like I did, and fell in love with.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cooking class in Pattaya

Winning a lucky draw like free stays are GREAT, but when you're thrown into a destination you barely know of.............

I decided this would be a great time for me to bond with my little sister Jessy despite not knowing what we could do together in Pattaya. There were a few things to choose, from a floating market to petting the most adorable elephants. Eventually I decided to do something that would be more educational, in a sense, some useful information that we could bring back home and possibly apply.

I reckon cooking seems like the perfect bet!

So we decided on the website with the best SEO, haha, cause I simply Googled "cooking classes in Pattaya" and Walter and Lom came up first. I emailed Walter about 2 weeks before the actual date, and Jessy and I secured ourselves a half day class with him and his wife :)

Happy Chef Thai Cooking Class:

For every activity I do, I must choose the ones that are close to my hotel obviously for easy transport.

Getting there, was an adventure on its own. 

Jessy and I were given the options separately to choose the dishes that we wanted to cook. It seemed very natural for us to choose different dishes from another so that we could try, and obviously emulate the ones we liked back home.

My first dish was Chicken with Cashewnuts. OMG DIVINE.

I keep telling myself that I wouldn't be able to finish the dish........

But, I just kept eating.....

And eating.....

And next thing I know.. I cleaned up the plate! -_-" (must be the heat)

^So good.