Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bario Day 2 of misadventures and a looooooooooong walk

The guilt of doing nothing was getting to us.


On the second day, we decided to embark on a walking trip to Bario’s famous salt trail. Now that I think about it, I wasn’t sure why we were so ascertain that walking around Bario was the right thing to do. Probably because everyone around us kept talking about how near in walking distance some places were.

We started the day fairly early, around 9am? After a delicious breakfast, we started our walk towards town but were flagged halfway through by Felicity who offered us a ride. We had been ambitious enough to wanting to walk, but thought we had the whole day to take it slow so we said yes.  

Upon reaching town, I rejoiced and rushed towards their town-hall that was supposed to be the only place in Bario to have internet connection. I WAS SO EXCITED. I started registering and logging into the government portal, and by the time I got connected, a string of beeps and notifications from work and random groups started ringing. After the 50th notification also….. I was beginning to realise, maybe I don’t miss the internet :-/



Yuen didn’t even bother to look at her phone, let alone connected to the internet, and I really admire her for that. She told me that the moment she’d switched it on, her phone would be beeping non-stop as well, and truth is, she was enjoying the technology-notification free life for the past 24 hours. She had finished her book in just hours of picking it up and I never had the opportunity to truly bond with Yuen not until the way we did for the past few days since we got into Miri and then to Bario.

I switched my internet off, and then off to start our walking trip.

We got lost in the first leg of our trip. We were walking towards another direction, when it was supposed to be the other. By the time we truly started our Salt Trail journey it was almost 11am. The sun was almost to its peak, and the roads were not covered in trees.

We continued walking.


Saturday, September 09, 2017

The Old Town Jiufen + Yehliu Geological Park + Shiufen


This beautiful town leaves an odd mark in our Taiwan trip. 

For starters, we decided to kick off the leg of our Taiwan trip by heading straight to Jiufen from the airport. With little to no expectations, we were heading straight to an old sleepy town we know very little of. We were going to stay in Taiwan for about 9 - 10 days, and we decided to start it with Jiufen. 

Honestly, I don't know much about this place, except from pictures and was first introduced to it by Yuen. It's a hilly old gold and charcoal mining town, now mostly big on tourism thanks to its scenic routes. It is very breathtaking. Every drive, crooks and crannies will leave you breathless. 

Thanks to the many climbs, some moments, leave you breathless a little longer than it should 😅


It's an alley town. Lots of alleys to drive into and out of, and some alleys are really small. Like, suspiciously small for cars and vans.... 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bario Day 1

Who has seen my long ass Instagram post? 😂 This is gonna be an even longer version of it but it will be informative so bear with me 😉 You can start with my Introductory post to Bario from here. 

We were shared that there are only two main ways to access Bario; 

1) Flight via Mas Wings from Miri (Only from Miri, so you'd have to fly to Miri first)
2) Drive for 10 to 12 hours from Miri



The 10 - 12 hours drive is apparently a treacherous one, where you must use a 4WD to go through. I know someone who has done it, and in some cases you'd have to sleep on the road / camp along the forest. Imagine - you are going to a forest in the HIGHLANDS. Initially I wanted to do this to save cost, but who am I kidding, I was coming alone and I wasn't so sure whether it would be a safe idea.

I am quite savage, but that seemed like too epic even for me.

Turns out, I wasn't gonna come alone. Yuen decided to come to Bario with me!!!

The flight was an adventure itself no less. 

It was a 12 seater twin otter flight via Mas Wings. 12 seater meant, it is 12 seats only 😐. It's a relatively, no wait, it is indeed a VERY small plane. Much smaller than any of the commercial flights you are probably used to, so please mentally prepare yourself 😜



When we got our tickets I wanted to laugh out loud because I realized it was numbered 1.ONE. Many thousand miles later, I finally had the chance to seat at number 1. Not even by accidental assignment of putting us into the emergency aisles, you know how they do that just to have someone there and probably be the first to flung out if anything happens.

When we got into the plane.......... we were looking for the seats not knowing it was free seating. The locals walked up to the plane so suave and sat around without looking at their tickets. We sat right behind the pilots sharing their same birds eye view 😳😅

The moment it started its engine............................ Yuen and I clenched hands.

And when it did started going mid air, I must have lost my stomach and my soul at that time because clearly that wasn't for the faint heart. I could hear every flutter of the wind, every switch turned on, every metal of the plane stuttering through the pilot's deck.

Holy grail!

The entire journey WAS SO BEAUTIFUL tho. En route to Bario were pristine green forests that looked like from Narnia or something. I have never had the chance to fly into the highlands! Between wanting to close my eyes the entire time, and wanting to experience this beautiful journey, I struggled with my shaking hands when taking photos of the scenery.



Coldplay Concert in Taipei, Taiwan

TODAY I feel like updating on one of the most awesome night of my life. It's one of those episode where kind strangers meet shameless Jacqkie, making up a truly awesome ride.

It's typical of my life really 😂 so here goes.


THE STORY



A couple of months ago, the entire world, or maybe South East Asia was in shackles knowing that Coldplay was coming their way to this part of the world. Somehow or rather, Malaysia was not part of the list as metropolitan Kuala Lumpur usually would................

The world tour for South East Asia would encompass Manila, South Korea, Tokyo and Singapore to name a few. Most Malaysians (from Kuala Lumpur mainly due to the accessibility) naturally gravitated and had plans to catch Coldplay in Singapore....... little did they know, or maybe we did we ALL know and didn't expect, that there would be a blood bath.

I LOVE COLDPLAY. I've listened to them since I was a kid, and their songs have saved my life many times, so I'm not going through the whole yap about how I would die not having to seen them live (yet). I am not bothered about other people's proof of their love to their favorite band neither am I here to prove to anyone, I just wanted to catch them LIVE. So I did what any normal genuine fan would do.

I logged in the night before, registered myself as a LivingNation member for the Singapore's concert.

For full excerpt of this adventure please click here 


My sister (which was the only motivation I had left at this point) convinced me to travel to another destination for this concert............................... which so happened to be the destination we wanted to travel to.

TAIPEI! 

The best part about this story is after this. After convincing me that we could catch *still* catch Coldplay in Taipei, I did the due of researching everything, by now my little girl is my only motivation, I did my part of registering for their side’s pre-sale, but I had to keep clicking “See Translation” (not English) on ALL the information, leaving some things obviously LOST IN TRANSLATION.


Long story short, we had a kind Samaritan helping us, full story here



ACTUAL CONCERT DAY

Mr Paul and I have remained in contact since the purchase of the ticket, including the payment and the actual meetup 😂 

The day was expected to be cold and rain, so I decided to ditch the style that I don't have in the first place to a bag of windbreaker hmmmmm comfy. I could sleep in it just thinking about it 😉


The concert was located in another district, so we had a few options to travel into and out of it. The best bet seemed to be the High Speed Rail, which Jessy and I have wanted to try either. The trains in Taiwan/ Taipei are amazing! They're very convenient, mostly had English translations "most", and even if you have problems around you, the Taiwanese were very helpful (although most DO NOT speak English). 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gloomy Episode, House Pt 1


Had to get a lot off my chest lately.

The couple of weeks have been very painful for me, mainly because of stress. 

None of that ex-boyfriend BS, nor loneliness (possibly – but right now I’m certain that it’s mainly due to stress). It’s a broken record I know and that every other week is a story of “how much I have to do” blab bla bla that I try to NOT say those words when I’m with my friends or family. Even I get sick and tired of myself. But alas, complaining is too easy. (So I do it again so casually like drinking water). FML.

So the past few weeks have been one of the worst. And I’m writing it down, and telling everyone especially myself.



I am building a house from scratch

This was the main bane of this episode in my life.

I would love to share with you the happy pictures of before and after like the Astro home channels do, but that wasn’t the complete truth. I struggled.

Not renovation, nor extension. I am BUILDING an actual house from scratch, brick and mortar.

This wasn’t the game The SIMS, it didn’t have a cheat code to multiply money, and I don’t have a partner to go through this together. (But honestly, after hearing so many horror stories of couples doing house renovations or house building – I AM SO GLAD I’M DOING IT ALONE).

It came about when my mum finally sold off one of our old house (after discussion with all us) at Indah Permai. It was our late dad’s house. It was out of the way, rental and maintenance were getting difficult and we each needed the money for various reasons. We split it 4 ways and I decided to use my share to build a house.  BUILD A HOUSE !! JACQKIE THAT IS THE LIFE!!!

“How many inches from the floor?” “How big are your windows?” “What material do you want to use for your doors, solid, aluminium or PVC?” “How big are your door frames? “The different types of rocks” “How far is your manhole from the house”

My phone was ringing and beeping every second. The grand project of building my own house and a place I can make of my own was so idealistic. Imagine all the whimsical Jacqkie stuff having a place they can finally call home, dreammmm!

But as it gets to the crunch time, which is about now, I felt CHOKED.

EVERY THING needed my ATTENTION. And it was daily. My phone rang between 7am – 11pm, and if it’s not ringing like I said, it’s beeping. If I’m already sleeping, things kept pouring in which jolts me up first thing in the morning. So if I’m not looking at my desktop, I am looking at my phone. 

The swift transitions between my phone and my desktop is nauseating. I literally feel like puking every day because of this. 

It's also because, last I checked, I don't have millions in my bank account, I had to scrutinize every little spend, detail and inch which basically taught me a lot about value. 
I was so frugal the first few days, and because of that, things didn’t move as well. And I became frustrated.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kota Kinabalu sunset cruise

A couple of years ago, we "gifted" mum a sunset cruise as a retirement present. It was in a form of a printed voucher hehehehe. A couple of years later, it still didn't happen and my sister wanted to do one now for her birthday.

Many amazing sunsets missed later, we finally chose a date (and a lucky promotional rate from the North Borneo Cruise) to go on board and one to finally coincide with Jessica's birthday.

Of course, that would mean, weather. And like most things, you can't control it. Days before our actual cruise we didn't want to think so much about it, but of course it was lingering in our minds. There is not one without drama of course, the whole week was forecasted to have thunderstorms and rain 😖

There was only one way, Let Go and Let God. Only time I try to wear sunglasses.



But that was the only timing to fit Jessy's birthday, and we only know the North Borneo Cruise that hosts sunset cruises, I understand many do this as well but they were the ones with a local promotional rate that I know of so yeay!

Normal rate: RM 296nett
Promotional rate: RM 188nett

It came with an evening dinner and drinks buffet as well, which was great food really, but honestly we're on board mostly for the experience and of course the sunset. If sunset had a price, it would probably be RM 188nett for us. 2 hours on board, 15 minutes of eating and 1.45 minutes of roaming and running around the boat 😂

Turns out it was...

MAJESTIC!! I MEAN LOOK AT IT.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Start 2.0


A couple of years ago, if you would say I’d be out there trying to understand the other half of the population and whatever their… (to say the least) intentions are but in general what “THEY ARE”, girl I’d be rolling on the floor laughing at you while eating my bread in my sweatshirt with my cats eating off of me.

Because truth is.
I would never see it coming.
And truly, genuinely, I NEVER CARED 💤💤💤

Today, I am laughing at all the things I’m learning in this department of my life, EVERY SINGLE THING. A couple of years ago when I found myself back to square one after a relatively long one, with its twirls and forth, among the first thing I did was, bought a cat cage.

YES, A CAT CAGE.

This post is about one “modern” woman’s topsy turvy and hilarious outlook in this part of her life, okay – (going back to first person’s point of view), about MY I don’t even want to say it… but yes DATING life. I went straight into a serious one after high school so my entire young adult was zapped, condensed and summarized into the only few things I know about this department, and stories from friends and social media (mixed feelings about learning from here) are the closest I’ve ever learned ANYTHING from about it

I've had to keep up with the vocabulary, tricks and trends in today's world throughout the past 7 - 8 years I've been conveniently ignoring. This modern, visual perfection obsessed, smartphone addicts, seeking instant gratification and rejection new world I'm just about to put my feet (back) in. 

Can I just go back to bed already......😧😧😧😧

Fundamentals

Every night these couple of years I’d drag myself home from work, and be welcomed by my cats saved and nurtured – eat dinner – and go straight to my room streaming TV series I’m never even bothered to pay or complete. I wanted to pass some time, and enjoyed every, damn second there is that I could do anything with my nights. Desserts before dinner? Sleep at 3am? Cats around my bed?

HELL YEAH.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

Heart of Borneo - The lost world of Bario

A few months ago, I wanted to set out on a rugged Borneo trip which would encompass the east coast of Sabah - from Tawau, Lahad Datu to Sarawak's Bario.

This came with a graphic plan of having to camp in the forest and sleep in the bus for a 12 hours treacherous ride.


Initially my goal was very simple. To do a Borneo trip. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wedding in the Family

If I had not known my brother and wife Anastasia, I would think that their wedding was the most beautiful I've ever experienced 😍

But because I know them, it became 10x more beautiful 😌

Because I knew their stories, I danced carefree, I revel in their pursuit to start a family, I took part in the process, and because I know I will grow with them.
 
^Screengrab of the actual day wedding day

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Walking around Shanghai - Pt 2

Not quite sure how many parts I have to my Shanghai posts 😂😂, because I have lost track of the timeline, and the schedules of my postings. HEHE

Anyway, I combined these posts of the two days that I had the pleasure to walk around Shanghai. First day, after the wedding together with the whole gang. Second when we were going back home.

The weather was perfect 😉😉 Aaaaaand I almost broke my neck looking at the buildings. Am I the only one that's appreciating these buildings?? I wanted to lay down face up on the floor looking at these buildings and make stories out of it. Imagining them come alive when everyone else is sleeping.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

That day we saw the Pope by chance

So mum wanted to go to Rome and Vatican since the longest time. You know, being Catholic and stuff. So like all of our itineraries, I planned everything myself. I would usually ask mum for her feedback, like what she'd really like to see, or Jessy what she'd really like to experience. Mum said Rome and Vatican and Jessy said food and also Vatican.

While I was sorting out our itinerary, we don't usually follow the itinerary through and through, there are days when we completely skip the entire thing, and because I am usually the ONLY person who knows exactly what we've planned - both of them wouldn't be able to tell if we had missed anything 🙊🙈🙉

So anyway, we were trying to decide when to go to Vatican, which was supposed to be after Venice. Look, this is crucial because we're buying the tickets online, tip: you should always buy the tickets online, the queue can be a bitch, so any purchases made online are non-refundable and just a matter of claiming it via the kiosk/ counter. So long as you don't change your mind or any shitty things happen on that day you're supposed to go - all should be good.

So we were like, should we go Thursday? or Friday? Or maybe Wednesday, the day after? I usually like to go to all the must see sights the earliest or soonest because I try not to jinx anything that might. So bla bla bla, after a heated but quick discussion, we decided to go to Vatican on that week's Wednesday.

When the day finally came, we looked at the weather and was told to expect light drizzles. There were some clouds, but not drizzles really. Mum is always with her scarves so all good.

Took the bus to the train station, la di da. Beautiful day quite frankly. I'm always with my map, for someone as blur as me, when it comes to travels, I'm quite savvy with my map, soooooo you can give me the benefit of the doubt yes.

By the time we arrive at the train station though...................................................................

Holy Vatican, THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE.

We were shocked, I mean I didn't know what to expect, by armies of people going in and out of the station and trains like ants on missions. Our eyes were roving everywhere, looking at everyone, in shocked. Most of them are tourists I reckon, they've got cameras, jackets, scarves. I was busy figuring out the ways to reach Vatican via the terminal, reading the map and stuff, but people kept pushing and shoving me everywhere I couldn't focus and stand still!! Okay *EXHALE* NEVERMIND, going to a holy place, HOLY MIND THEN. Told mum to stay put at one place.

Mum already is having shifty crazy anxiety panic eyes by now. Jessy by her side.

Mum's anxiety is like +100% by now. She kept raising her voice, ISN'T IT THIS ROAD? WHY SO MANY PEOPLE GO THERE? MUST BE THAT WAY? FLINCH FLINCH.

As usual, to keep myself sane, I HAD to ignore mum.

After putting my foot down, and asking mum and Jessy to follow MY LEAD we eventually queued up............................

I mean, that's what we basically did. We were so shocked looking at the crowd, we basically just stood there...................in the queue. We couldn't move. We don't know how to move. Watching everyone ran into the trains, PUSHED EVERYONE INTO THE TRAIN. I'm like, how THE F am I gonna bring my 61 year old mum in to this?!

By this time, no Hail Mary could calm me down. I even contemplate taking a cab from Rome to Vatican, like it didn't matter anymore.

But the reality was, it's expensive and we have go through this crowd whether we like it or not. After possibly the 5th train that we let go, we finally had the balls to barge in. Myself and Jessy had to start pushing people in so that mum would be able to slide in and follow our lead.

By this time, mum had already closed her eyes to calm her down 😅😅

Once in, we just slide into the empty cracks of the area, which barely fit 3 stumps like us, and stood like some piece of puzzles in a jigsaw. We couldn't move. There were no other options, I mean we were sandwiched by really tall people or by really bulky windbreakers.

Most people's stop is the Vatican... which is Roma San Pietro.

It's almost 9am by the time we arrive with the sandwich of other people. I could finally exhale. Again. I told mum and Jessy to stay calm and follow my lead... I couldn't believe we couldn't figure out the ways to the St Peter Basilica (the most famous holy place in Vatican) despite the throngs of people.. It felt like people were walking on all sorts of direction for me to figure out exactly where people were going.

WTF not that easy ka. Okay never mind, holy place, holy mind. After finally figuring out where most of the bulk were actually going, we finally got the jive to head to the direction of St Peter Basilica. Walk, walk, walk.

By the time arrive, there was a MASSIVE queue. Was it always like this, I wondered. By the time we finally manage to get into St Peter.... we were already sorted into barricades, it's like people were queueing to see something...

What's going on, clueless. How come most photos show an empty piazza?? And this is full??

We wandered around trying to find ways to go into the Basilica, without truly knowing.

THAT, THAT WAS POPE'S DAY OUT. 

Whaaaaat. Knowing absolutely nothing about it, and had no intentions to during our planning it was super luck that we chose to come to Vatican on Pope's day out! 💘💘

Mum couldn't believe our wild guess / luck that she kept asking me, really ah? Got Pope?

I told her yea 😄, and to settle down at one corner to finally catch Pope Francis and go through his service. AWESOME

Eventually Pope Francis came out waving hands to the crowd, saw him kissed some children, and then took centre stage to run through the service. The theme of his sermon was humility. Great stuff, and I loved it truly.

I must say it was pretty awesome. To accidentally choose a day date to go to Vatican to have the Pope come out! So learn from us, every Wednesday by 8.30am onwards!

*waves* Hi Pope! 🙌🙏😀
Thank you for always being nice!!



Read more of my Italy Posts: 
A day's out in Venice in Spring / Venice 
Dining in Rome and Venice 
Rome by Foot 
Airbnb at Venice 
Cost of Self planned 10 days / 9 nights - Venice & Rome
That day we saw the Pope by chance 


Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A day's out in Venice in Spring Summer

I have hundreds of photos of Venice but very few make it to daylight...............

WHY AM I KEEPING THEM?!?

Anyway, while I was updating my 2016 in pictures and seeing the photos of Venice reminded me of that lovely day out in town with Allesandro, our airbnb's owner's friend. Minus the fact that there were three of us ladies trailing him around, it would probably be a romantic walk for any for that matter. 

Venice in, spring / summer is so beautiful.... 😍😍


We went out sometime around 10am, a habit we cultivated over the years of appreciating what a good holiday meant. Some sleep in. It took us about 20 minutes from the countryside to reach town, and was then welcomed by the young kindred. 

He promised to bring us into the heart of Venice, into the alleys and cobblestones of this small but beautiful canal city. From the main piazza, to the hidden gems of old settlements. Which we did. To the canals, the ever so famous canals, to the esplanade off we went. With the singing gondolas or rather Italian radio (modern now) filling up the air. 









That day's weather was PERFECT. I mean look at it. 



Blue skies, sun out, fresh seas. Just enough breeze and sun, for hats and scarves. For gelatos, or ice creams. For wines or seafood. For skirts and shirts. 





I don't know who needs a cheese cake gelato, but now I do


After about an hour or so walk, we decided to have lunch in one of the small restaurants in the city. So tastefully done, so typical Italian in its ways. Allesandro ordered bolognese, while each of us tried different things separately. Fish, meat, pizza. 



This piece of meat of a 3 course lunch which I forgot what

How do people live in such a touristic city? I feel weird sitting in a restaurant people snapping everything away.. Including you as their subject matter in their pictures. 😒😒 I'll probably know soon, since KK is becoming one. 

We walked into galleries. And walked back out. 




We saw lots of masquerade shops. Had to buy one. Knowing me and my random choices in life. 


We went into the fresh market, and bought lots of prepacked risottos (because mum😂). I bought some fresh tomatoes and asparagus for dinner. I WAS SO HAPPY SHOPPING IN THE FRESH MARKET. I think it's the psychology of being in a holiday. Versus having to grocery shop when you're at home.......... Always rushing.  


Allesandro telling mum about their fresh produce yum




Stumbled upon a corner where all the painters would sit there for hours to paint on Venice ❤️❤️❤️ Some people are so talented. I just stared from behind. 

And then we ended the half day trip with a cruise ride back to where we started. The amount of mental pictures I took. Can't erase them from me, they're mine 😛😛😛





Nearby our stop was a supermarket, and I continued my search. We bought bacon, some butter. The meats in Italy are so awesome I'm just thinking of reasons to try them. Strip bacon, back, belly. Omg. 

By the time we were done for the day, it was already 4pm. Just in time for me to rest in, and start whipping out dinner. 

Except, sunset at that time was 9pm and we were wondering between to eat when hungry or dark 😂