All the engaged ladies (Put your hand up!)

Apparently, Aslan planned the proposal for over a year. As I said in my earlier entry, he thought of proposing on a lovely cruise around the Mediterranean (Exactly like my I-am-just-joking definition of the perfect proposal).

Being more of a logical thinker than a dreamer, he proposed in Singapore instead as he didn’t want to get the wrong ring size.

Aslan almost propose with a packet of diamond but he thought that would be so unromantic. So tacky. So cheap.

I am 100% clueless of what are the specifications for the ring (Like carat size, diamond grade etc) but I must admit, it is the most beautiful object I have ever seen in my life! Wait, let me rephrase that. The engagement ring is the most beautiful object I have ever received in my life!

So, after proposing, the next day, he brought me to Lee Hwa Jewelry at Somerset 313 to get my ring finger measured.

Nerdy me after sorting out the ring measurement…

It was ready just one day before we were to fly off to Glasgow.

Still speechless everytime I see this ring around my finger. Ineffable.

He even suggested I should get an insurance for the ring. It scared when he said that. I hope he doesn’t spend ALL of his savings for this. I am absolutely fine with a simple ring… A ring is just a ring, can’t marry it. Hahaha.

“You can’t put a price tag when it comes to love…”

*Blushhhhhhh*

Will blog more soon,

Love,
E.

Athens Day 1: The Acropolis

While having breakfast at the hotel cafe, I told Aslan to check his semester results. At first he was reluctant but my reasonings (“You don’t want to be haunted by the thought of failing for the rest of the holiday, get it over and done with!”), he surrendered and accessed the student portal through my phone. He passed with flying colors and will graduate this coming October! Hurray! Oh, what a way to begin a holiday!

Photos of the simple but very filling buffet breakfast:

 

First stop in Athens after breakfast, the Acropolis of Athens. (Do click on the link to learn more about the Acropolis coz I am a bit lazy to explain in detail, thank you very much…)

Nothing could ever prepare me for the summer heat in Athens. Coming from the Tropics, I thought I could handle it. Until I found out summer in Athens is a completely different kind of heat. It is dry and absolutely prickly hot. It is like being in an oven. I appreciate the sauna we have back home, I find that more bearable.

Our hotel is just about 15-20 minutes walk from the Acropolis. It involved a bit of hiking as the Acropolis is located on a hill but something about being a tourist that made a 15-20 minutes walk seems so effortless. Probably all that excitement helps. So, here are some photos of our walk from  Lyssikratous Street to the entrance of the Acropolis, bypassing Plaka.

The Acropolis is visible from our hotel and this is me seeking refuge from the heat of the sun by walking under the shadow…

Approaching the Lyssikratous Monument

Lysikrates Monument: Created by producer or choregos named Lysikrates in 335/334 BC who won the boys’ chorus contest at the Great Dionysia festival

I don’t know how to read Greek but this sign is interesting. Actually, any sign in Greek language looks interesting.

A peaceful stroll through the back alleys of some shops and houses near Lyssikratous Street. We purposely avoided the shops and cafes because we didn’t want to be pulled in.

Look up and there is the Acropolis.

Aslan was already super excited even if we were still quite a distance away from the Acropolis.

It was not hard to get to the Acropolis, provided you go to the right direction which is easy because the Acropolis is always in view from the street below!

Greek Evangelical Church

Not even noon and I am already burned. Gah. Nevertheless, the exterior of this church is artistic and beautiful. I think it goes back to the Byzantine era.

My Cammy’s photo looks dull compared with Aslan’s Debby.

You are almost there when you see this sign…

Greeks are full with philosophies, even on their graffitis.

After a little climb before the Acropolis, we were greeted by this amazing view of the city.

If I am not mistaken this is a temple dedicated to Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora.

It felt like a dream when I was there today. But that feeling was so familiar, like I’ve been here before. Dejavu?

Honestly, Aslan and I both thought we were early and there would be no queue at the entry. Again, we weren’t prepared. Almost fainted when we saw how freaking long the queue to the Acropolis ticket counter was this morning…

Meh.

Took us almost twenty minutes before we actually got the tickets and entered the site. Ridiculous. On top of that, morning is the worst time to go to the Acropolis. Why? Freaking cruise tours. Not just one or two but maybe a bazillion of those big ass cruise ships. Dayyum. Acropolis was soooooooo crowded, it was almost impossible to take a solo photo, what more to enjoy the site. But, for Athens, we braced the crowd. It was definitely worth it though. So, tip number 1, visit the Acropolis in the afternoon when it is less crowded but don’t go too late just in case it closes early.

Among the things we did to pass the time while queuing.

Wearing thongs is a bad idea when visiting the Acropolis. The marbles can get quite slippery sometimes, even when it is dry!

Almost there!

By the time we got our entrance tickets, the queue got longer and longer!

Entrance ticket cost €12 per adult and it also includes entry to various archaeological sites around Athens such as Ancient Agora, Archaelogical Museum of Kerameikos.

Outside the entrance to the Acropolis.

The Acropolis is a huge site, so as crowded as it could be, when you get to the main area, it is not that bad. But the stairs can be a little hectic and beware of your steps. Either you could slip and fall or roll down a steep hill or step on a tourist who’s resting on the steps.

Wait till you see the amount of people at the stairs…

Theatre of Dionysus

Very high up and steep, so, do be careful when you walk around the Acropolis.

These marbles are not as slippery as the ones near the Parthenon.

One of the many cruise tours. They travel in pack and like to destroy photo ops.

More tourists ahead at the Propylaea or monumental gateway.

Candid of me before going up through the Propylaea


Some of the views from here:

Here are some photos of the Propylaea:

View of the Propylaea from the Parthenon side.

I thought my first time seeing the Parthenon would be something incredible but the following view does kill all the excitement.

With all due respect, the Acropolis is an impressive archaeological site but due to the overcrowding of tourists and terrible eye sore inducing constructions going on, it kills the glorious moment.

But then again, the Parthenon is so beautiful, even with the amount of tourists and scaffolding around it, it still looks stunning! Either that, Aslan is an impressive photographer compared with lousy me.

Nevertheless, we took photos of and with it. Might as well, since we are here sort of thing.

Look at the expression on Aslan’s face.

Aslan took a lot of photos of me taking photos. Meh.

There will be revenge, just wait, Aslan… I will take photos of you taking photos…

The Parthenon of Scaffolding

Aslan refused to pose like I did in the previous photo…

My smile is creepy.

In Greece, it is super rude to pose behind headless statues. It’s no funny business, so don’t attempt to try unless you don’t mind a scolding from the guards.

The rest of the monuments weren’t so bad.

What’s left of the Old Temple of Athena

The ruins of the Old Temple of Athena and further back is the Erechtheion.

I love these statues, so beautiful and graceful looking.

From Aslan’s camera. Meh. I am so getting a new one.

View from the Acropolis is breathtaking.

And windy too but oh, the breeze (Although can be quite warm at times) provided a bit of relief from the dry prickly heat.

Odeon of Pericles (Please correct me if I am wrong)

From the Acropolis, you can spot the temple of Zeus!

Amazing view of Athens and the Mediterranean Sea

What do you know, I did take a photo of Aslan taking a photo…

That is all the photos of the Acropolis for today. We will be going back here again tomorrow with Aslan’s family, so, I will take more photos to show you.

After the tour of the Acropolis, it was such joy to drink sweet and overpriced flavored Greek slushie.

About 6 euros of sweet chilled goodness… Dayyummm…

Until the next part of this entry.

Love,
E.

The Long Road to Athens

After a few short days in Manchester and Liverpool, it was time to say farewell to the United Kingdom and hello to Greece. I have been dreaming of visiting Athens for a very long time. Since a wee lass, the tales of Greek Gods and heroes never fail to fascinate me. From there, my longing to experience Greece came about.

Even with the unstable economy, Athens is worth the visit. The city is beautiful. The people are so wonderful. The food is lovely (And not as overpriced as Paris).

Manchester International Airport is boring but nothing beats KIA though…

I had high expectations for Air France, the airline we used to Athens from Manchester. Probably due to the small size of the aircraft, Business class on Air France on that particular route was rather disappointing.

Aslan looking very tired. 

Yours truly

The seat was slightly firm, the legroom was more or less like Economy on Air Asia.

It was quite an old aircraft. Nonetheless, the interior was clean but plain when it comes to decoration. Then again, who cares about flipping decoration.

Still, cabin crew was very friendly and didn’t mind when we spoke in broken French. I must praise their food quality though.

Light lunch but absolutely delicious!

Hello, France!

My first time at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris. I used the Eurostar train for my last trip to Paris. Unfortunately, it was a short transit at the airport. We were chasing after time, hence, no photos of the airport. I love the design of CDG, very chic and youthful although can be a little bit confusing, especially for flight transfers from one terminal to the other.

CDG Airport, Paris

By the time we reached the departure gate, it was already time to board the plane. I thought I could check out the Hermes store but nah, screw that. If it is meant to be, it will meant to be…

The connecting plane was almost as similar as the last one. Dinner was roasted chicken with seasonal vegetables which I truly enjoyed. Dinner also came with a generous serving of blue cheese which I enjoyed (I am surprised myself because not really a fan of the infamous blue cheese before this flight).

Blue cheese, France’s national pride.

French version of tiramisu for dessert

 

Lovely chocolates courtesy of Air France

It was already dark when we landed at Athens International Airport or Elefthérios Venizélos. Duh, 1030pm, of course it would be dark. Silly me.

Athens International Airport from the tarmac

I was slightly puzzled when I realized there was no need to go through immigration after we got our luggages. It turned out that, when we got into Paris, customs already checked and stamped our passports. EU zone, so Paris to Athens is considered domestic flight.

We had three transportations to bring us to our hotel from the airport. Specifically, two cabs and Jo’s friend’s car. Once out from the air-conditioned airport, heat came over to greet us. Such a shocker after a nice cool summer in the UK. Meh. It was not so bad in the evening lah.

The journey to the airport took about forty minutes. Our taxi driver is friendly and quite philosophical. Typical Greek, eh? He made us feel very welcomed. The view of the city from the hilly highway is breathtakingly beautiful (from what I can tell from Aslan’s expression). Pity I lost my glasses somewhere in Glasgow, so, all I saw was blurred city lights. Meh.

 

As usual, uncle handed me the task of looking for the right hotel. After hours of researching and comparing, I recommended AVA Hotel & Suites situated in Plaka. It was the best decision ever.

Yes, Plaka is touristy but it was such a convenient and safe area to stay in Athens. I must admit, food is obviously more expensive compare to other areas in Athens but if you count in transport costs, it does not make much difference. Besides, nightly rate for AVA Hotel & Suites is affordable and decently priced compared with crazy expensive Hilton which is quite far from central Athens.

Every room at AVA is a suite, so, it is a steal when luxury is affordable. Does that make sense?

My bedroom; the duvet is a bit thin but it was alright lah.

The tv just next to the bed

The dressing table

The wardrobe and next to it is the lounge sofa, directly opposite the tv

The kitchenette

The wee but good bathroom

The cute shower stall

Uncle and auntie got the nicer suite, the Executive with the view of the Acropolis from their balcony. Apart from that, the bedroom is separated from the living room and kitchenette.

Just a sneak preview of uncle and auntie executive suite

Once we were all settled down, it was almost 1230 in the morning! Tomorrow will be an exciting day, so, stay tune for the next entry!

Love,
E.

A Little Bit of Glasgow

First day in Glasgow. Honestly, we did not do much. After check in and settling down in our rooms, we went to Buchanan Street to buy some groceries and that was it. Believe it or not, due to jet lag, I went to bed at 630pm. Damn.

My room at the Holiday Inn, City Center, Glasgow

The wee bathroom

Glasgow in summer is such a beautiful city, especially on a glorious sunny day. Such a welcoming homecoming.

Fasting here is a challenge. Sahur at 2am and sungkey at 913pm. AGH.

Okay, I will blog more soon, so sorry for the lack of photos, will do my best to take more photos.

Love,
E.

Summer Break 2012

After relaxing and resting for six days in Singapore, it was time to board the metal bird for the actual holiday.

Posing at the lobby with Mimi before making our way to the airport.

This was our first odd hour flight. Leaving Singapore at 230am! I spent the whole night trying to keep myself awake. I couldn’t count how many times I actually dozed off.

At the check in counter. First long flight with Emirates.

It is a treat indeed to be able to fly Business class. One of the perks being a member, one can use points for upgrade! The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 is okay but I still think Singapore Airlines lounge is nicer.

Chillaxing before the long flight.

Just a mug of hot chocolate for me…

While Aslan tried almost everything at the buffet spread.

It was  already 1am when it was time to board the plane.

Aslan putting away all our hand luggages.

Our seats, 7A and 7B

I love Emirates business class. Okay, that is an understatement. I love traveling business class, no matter what airline it is. It is a lovely experience indeed. Business class may be more expensive than economy but I think the extra fee for comfort is worth every penny.

Still, business class in Emirates Boeing 777-300R is a bit crowded with the 2-3-2 seat arrangement.

Ample space for my extra long legs.

Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s travel style, I decided to wear a loose leopard print top with a pair of tights. Comfortable but still is stylish.

All announcement in Arabic first, then English.

Socks, eye shades and noise canceling headphones my best friends to ensure a good sleep.

I love how Emirates does not switch off the a/c mid-flight like SQ. The cool temperature is important for a good night sleep. No photos of food onboard as I slept throughout the journey. I only woke up half an hour to landing time. Crazy, but true.

Before bed

After a good rest but I was not happy because my sleep was interrupted.

After 6 hours and 45 minutes, we reached the transit airport, Dubai International Airport Terminal 3.

Dubai Airport is probably the most packed airport I have ever been to, so far! It is narrow but ridiculously long in size!

Since we were only transiting, we didn’t have to go through immigration. But before we made our way to the lounge, we went through security check. When they opened up another line for me, I felt like a Queen. Hahaha.

My stay at Dubai airport was short but sweet. Perhaps I will go to Dubai for a holiday in the near future. Maybe during winter when it is cooler.

Before the arrival of bazillions people…

Emirates Business class lounge.

We spent less than an hour at the lounge. Even with the huge lounge, it was barely enough to cater for the large amount of travelers. Aslan and I then went on a hunt for Patchi chocolates.

After 20 minutes of searching and wandering around the never-ending long terminal, we finally found it!

Hard decision but this would be enough, for now!

The next flight was at 750am, taxing delayed things for almost an hour. The traffic at Dubai airport was just like the amount of travelers in the terminal, crazy!

Aslan and I

Goodbye Dubai airport, see you in a couple of weeks time!

Before the plane took off…

Some sceneries of Dubai from air…

Have lots of money to spend? Buy land and build a house here. :p

I think I slept for a good 4 hours and spent the remaining time listening to music, audiobook (Superfreakonomics) and watching movies.

Current favorite of mine!

Somewhere over Amsterdam…

Where am I heading to this time?

Glasgow, Scotland, UK!

This route is more laid-back compared to SIN-LHR-GLA. Going through Heathrow, London is a bit of a hassle with all the security checks and what not. Aslan and I have no problem with that but Aslan’s parents are getting tired of it. SIN-DBX-GLA route is definitely more relaxing but it takes slightly longer.

We will be in Glasgow for nine days and this is my first actual UK summer holiday experience. Excited!

 

I will blog more, I am so tired now. Must sleep!

 

 

He Put A Ring On It!

Aslan finally proposed to me last night, just before midnight. He took me completely off guard. Well, I knew he would propose one day but never thought it would be so soon!

Before he proposed, he asked me, “In your point of view, what is your ideal wedding proposal?”

Pulling his leg, I answered, “On a cruise around an exotic location and the moment you proposed, Angels will sing, the sun shining forming a halo on us, unicorns with wings magically appear and Atlantic emerged from the deep sea, restored to its former glory.” Then I laughed hysterically. He looked quite annoyed at my playfulness.

“Just kidding, it does not matter how, where, when etc, so long as you mean what you ask, that is perfect enough for me.”

“It does not have to be too elaborate nor perfect, what matters most is us together, always in love…”

He then held me in his arms and looked deep into my eyes.

It was then I realized he was about to propose.

Suddenly, I felt like the whole world just stopped spinning. I thought I knew how it would feel but expectation cannot beat reality!

In nanoseconds, so many ifs came to mind. I began to wonder, am I really ready for this?

It was almost like I was on the edge of a cliff and I had two choices; retreat to my comfort zone or jump into this new but uncertain journey in life.

“Effadylia Affendi, will you marry me?”

With a blush and a big smile I said yes.

This is the real deal, not just a playful status change!

August’s Lust

Holy cow. Today is the first day of August! Drat. What have I achieved in 2012? Oh well, another five months left for me to grab success.

I am still very busy with family and work now, so, I hope you don’t mind another want-related entry from me.

Here are the top four items I love in August.

Alexander McQueen Heroine Large Leather Tote £1,434.59

Yves Saint Laurent Arty gold-plated glass ring £174.16

Bowerhaus Lee- The Godmother Bracelet:  Rutilated Quartz Bracelet AUD800

Charlotte Olympia Dolly Leather Platform Pumps £550

Black and Gold. A perfect match!

Love,
E.