Saturday, March 19, 2016

International Tulips Festival at Emirgan Park, Istanbul


This post is dedicated to the people of Turkey. Thank you for taking care of me and my mum when we were there a couple of years ago. It is unfortunate that the capital city of Turkey, Ankara suffered a gruesome attack last week. Giving into fear is exactly what these monsters want us to do. They want us to live in fear, and triumph us over a psychological battle. 

But they will not get that from me :) 

Spoiler and warning: THERE WILL BE LOTS OF FLOWERS IN THIS POST. LOTS.

For my other posts about Turkey
For other posts about the International Tulips Festival by The Istanbul Insider  

My euro trip with mum was initiated by photos from Fresh's Istanbul trip. I knew mum's favourite flower was tulip, so I showed mum some photos of her trip and she literally dropped everything from her hands, looked at me and said, "That's my dream". 

There's a long story of why we wanted to realize all my mum's dreams. The fact that she's much older now, she had gone through some major stress a couple of years back, are few of the reasons. So I said, let's do it, let's go to Istanbul.

1.5 months later we're off to Europe.

International Tulips Festival 2016 (every April) 

I've googled around to see whether the International Tulips Festival in Istanbul has any actual event of singing or dancing, or some sort of ceremony to initiate the Tulips Festival ....... but they don't It's just a celebration of these ridiculously beautiful (the colours are so vivid, almost fake like!) flower in one of the biggest parks in Turkey.

Free time to walk around all by ourselves?
SOUNDS LIKE AWESOME!

We took the bus from Sultanahmet (big city where the Hagia Sofia is) to Emirgan Park. It was quite dramatic, because it rained so heavily with thunderstorms and I swear to God, it seemed like the rain was so big, and heavy and everything was just wet. Including mum and I.

Let's just say, getting there wasn't one of our best experience.

We didn't bring umbrellas... so when mum saw a guy selling umbrellas for Lira 20. She just grabbed it and go. We were desperate.

To add more salt and pepper to our trip to Emirgan Park, when we asked the locals around where is it exactly, they told us it is about 40 minutes away from where the bus driver stopped us and told us.

RIGHT.

So we took the cab, all wet, frustrated and tired at 11am in the morning and then..........


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Last full day in Japan - Universal Studios Osaka Japan!


I am motivated to continue my Japan posts - that finallll streeettch - Universal Studios Osaka Japan!

Remember my (more) love than hate relationship with Disneyland Tokyo Japan story? I talked about how it was the most magical place in the world IT ISSS but how billions of people almost crushed me to death (because I'm half of their height)? And also, the fact that none of the instructions at least the ones I saw (safety ones, no less) and guides were in English ..... they were all in Japanese...

Anyway, this time I'm sharing with you my experience in Universal Studios Osaka!

I WAS SO EXCITED TO HEAD TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, SOOO EXCITED YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

Theme parks make me feel like a guiltless kid, like I can do anything and get away with anything. And wait till you hear the Jurassic Park theme song welcoming you at the entrance T___________T

All the feels.

And then you start looking for areas to explore and you see more novelties that you know too well.. Like the Harry Potter franchise T______________T and Back to the Future T_____________T

So much Tss So much crying T___________T. Because that's exactly how I felt. I am always overwhelmed with so much emotions every, single, time I enter a WB/ Universal Studios or Disney theme parks.

Since we manage to get the tickets first hand (unlike Disney where we had to claw our way in as early as 5.30am) for Universal Studios, we reached there about 9am (we expected there were still so many people regardless that it was a weekday, compared to Disney it was on a weekend) and figured it would be a MUCH better experience.

Indeed it was!

The weather was perfect, no drizzles, it started bright and shiny actually, I was confident that I could try out all the themed areas in one day. So I started with the Snoopy area (Universal Wonderland), riding on the unicorn (I'm sorry, but I did say I was a child) and started queuing up for all sorts of silly things.





LOOK AT MY GRIN.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Hi Osaka!


The first thing I did when I reached Osaka, was to .. smell it.

Yes, smell it. 

It was an exciting blend of freshly stirred street food and possibly the carbon monoxide emitted by road mobiles, and humans, maybe. Variety of odors wrapped into one welcome. Ah, so exciting!

True enough, within seconds of walking towards our hostel we stumbled upon a lively okamayaki marketplace with loud yells, clinks and laughs. And then it hit me, "I'm, in, Osaka".

Which according to most of my friends: THE LAND OF AMAZING FOOD. 



My first impression of Osaka, was that -- this city seemed like the more human of a city between the four! Don't get me wrong, TokyoKyoto and Hiroshima were exceptionally lovely, to the point they almost seemed flawless? but Osaka, seemed intoxicating, exciting, colorful, flamboyant just like the multifaceted human. Or maybe it was that district I stayed in. To know about the airbnb place I stayed in Osaka, please read here. 

Japanese have got to be some of the kindest people in the world. When we first reached the station, we weren't sure whether we're heading to the right direction, after a streak of kindness bestowed upon  us throughout our trip in Japan, it was only natural to (completely) trust them -- but seeing a formidable old drunkard who just peed on the wall approaching the dazed and confused us seemed like a red flag, but GUESS WHAT.

That bro asked us, "Can I help you find your place?" -- while trying hard to keep his balance.

Err. Nevermind.

We weren't sure whether we should take the chance, but the thought that even after drinking so much and having lost all his balance -- that he'd still have the heart to help people?

I'm just gonna take it there and truly believe that Japanese are some of the nicest people in the world!

^At one point I missed sleeping on tatami so much I just kept sleeping on floors back home. I MISS SLEEPING ON TATAMI MATS T_T


^The legendary okamiyaki that drove me up the wall. IT WAS SO GOOD.

We reached Osaka in the evening and I had already planned to meetup with Yoshiko :) I met Yoshiko when I was having breakfast in Kandy, Sri Lanka, as we both stayed at Gerald's place. Good food and good people are the best combination EVER. In that one breakfast seating of delicious curry and rice for breakfast, we exchanged stories about government and politics and how amazing our host Gerald was. I told her we're going to Japan next and that keeping in touch was in order :)

She's such a ball of energy. And THANK YOU so much, for treating us the loveliest dinner I've had in Japan. Because of you, I miss avocado fish salad everyday.

Please come and visit me in Kota Kinabalu Sabah!



Reached home pretty late after dinner so I decided to pass out after bathing because we've got one MEGA important day the next day - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!

Obviously, I'm a child. Obviously. 




Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.