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!

 

 

Kembara Media 1Malaysia Mukah Day One

My journey began with a flight to Sibu via Malaysia Airlines. It is now official, I have been to Sibu by all means of transport. The quick flight, about half an hour was like a dream. I was allocated seat 27C but since I always love sitting by the window, I moved to 27A. As I made my way to the seat, I met a very good friend of mine, Elaine! It was pure luck I got to meet her despite her hectic schedule as a stewardess. I wished we could have spent more time together, we haven’t seen each other for such a long time. Perhaps, that could be arranged someday.

Before any journey starts, here’s a compulsory jeans shot from me.

Goodbye KIA, see you again in a couple of days.

Kuching looked a bit hazy this morning…

My number 1 favorite airplane kacang.

Elaine at work

I waited for quite a while before I could steal Elaine away from her duties. Hehehe.

The moment the plane landed at the new Sibu airport, I had to rush to the baggage carousel and catch up with everybody else.

A friend of mine, Ms Azreen, was on the same flight! Lol. Funny how I only saw her in Sibu airport!

The new Sibu airport is not 100% ready but by the looks of it, sure is bigger and better compared with the old one.

We wasted no time in Sibu, after we retrieved our baggages, straight onto the chartered bus we went.

Our ride for the whole trip.

Sitting at the most front seat was a bad idea. The drivers here are ‘cowboys and daredevils’. Luckily the bus driver is very experienced.

First stop was lunch at the district office in Selangau. About an hour and twenty minutes drive from Sibu airport, Selangau is a very quiet town surrounded by lush greenery. We were greeted by the district officers and then was served really good lunch prepared by the local ladies.

It was from this lunch, everyone could guess I was on diet. I was probably known as the girl who ate little.

My lunch.

After lunch, we had a quick visit of the main area of Selangau. It is a very compact town, the general layout reminds me a lot of cowboy town.

Welcome to Selangau

The market area just by the river

The people of Selangau are very friendly, this cheerful mak cik sells a variety of local kuehs, among them penaram or the ufo kueh I call it, a favorite of mine.

Peaceful area to clear the mind before the journey continued…

A peaceful mind plus full tummy made the journey to Mukah a rather comfortable one. Mukah looks completely different from my memories. The first and last time I was in Mukah was in the mid 90′s.

Back then, Mukah was just about to wake up to development. Now, there is the iconic Menara Pehin Setia Raja in the center of the new Mukah town and all sorts of industry around it. Mukah is no longer a sleepy town. To be honest, I am quite impressed by the rapid development brought on by our government, specifically under SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).

Undeniably, it seemed obvious that Mukah, on whole, is still lacking in terms of man power, especially skilled workers. To resolve this, the state government has a few plans of developing the minds of the local by building more schools in the area and soon, HR Training centre, UiTM campus as well as UNIMAS R&D Centre. (I will discuss this matter in the next entry, stay tune). Hence, Mukah aims to be Sarawak’s Smart City by 2030.

Mukah is a division rich with cultural background. Despite all the hoo-has with the rapid growth of industrial sectors such as SCORE, Tanjung Manis Halal Hub, Press Metal just to name a few, the more traditional industries from tourism (Pesta Kaul, homestay etc) to manufacturing local goodies like kuih sepit, sago and tebaloi still going on strong.

Mukah’s tallest building… For now lah…

During the media briefing by the representatives from Mukah Resident Office.

Mukah as seen from the highest floor of Menara Pehin Seta Raja

Hilda with Aliey

With Hilda of the Jelly Beans Collector, photo credits: Aliey Eyezie

Our ride, Lanang Bus.

After such a long journey, I was very pleased to find out where our home would be for the next few days… Kingwood Hotel Mukah! It is the best hotel in Mukah and the location is very strategic, right in the middle of town!

My roommate for this trip is Aliey of NTGravityZone.

Candid of yours truly waiting to be checked in taken cheekily by Aliey, an expert in taking candid. (You will find out why soon…)

Again, another one. I look posh, Angelina Jolie-ish. (Perasan much)

Our room was located on the second floor and oh, it may not be as luxurious as the room I stayed in Marina Bays Sands Singapore but it attended to all my basic needs AND, the A/C is top-notch. Artic condition in less than five minutes, my kind of A/C.

My side of the room. Lol, hope I didn’t snore… Sorry Aliey if I did. Hehehe.

The bathroom, I absolutely love the hot shower. AWESOME POWER SHOWER, y’all!

While Aliey decided to shower power, I had a power nap. Oh God, the bed, perfect. Thank you Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia Sarawak for placing us at such nice hotel. I feel so pampered and loved. Hehehe. Thank you Sarawak Bloggers for choosing me! Thank you Kingwood Hotel Mukah for the lovely hospitality. Definitely will try the resort the next time I am in Mukah.

Dinner was interesting. We were brought to Selera Hujung Kampung at Kampung Kuala Hilir Oya, about half an hour drive from Mukah where we had a welcome dinner with the 1Malaysia Komuniti Kuala Oya and Pekan Dalat. Also present was  YB. Dato’ Seri Muhammad Leo Toyad, MP of Mukah P. 213.

Dato’ Muhammad Leo Toyad is a very friendly MP. Humble and knows Mukah like the back of his hand. His best advice: Try the super fresh seafood. Thank you, Dato’!

Another candid taken by Aliey

Table buddies: Farhana from Utusan Malaysia, Caroline from Bernama and Hilda.

Yu Ji from the Star and Max from New Sarawak Tribune (Also a friend from my uni days at Unimas)

The food served at Selera Hujung Kampong is amazingly delicious. I enjoyed the midin belacan most, so freaking good.

Fresh umai! Even if I am partially Melanau, I don’t eat umai. *Gasp* I know, embarassing.

Ikan Asam Pedas: I am hopeless if you were to ask me to name the fish. It was fresh and good fish. End of story. Hehehe. Sorry y’all.

Chicken satay

Fried crabs

Grilled fish, smoky but juicy.

Midin Belacan!

There was also karaoke sessions (Thank goodness they didn’t ask Sarawak Bloggers to send a representative, phew, if I were to sing, a storm would be nearby) and lucky draws! Thank you Rozalinda of RTM Sarawak for being the karaoke savior for the media delegates. Lol.

Her performance was entertaining and divalicious. (Photo credits: Aliey)

Unfortunately, my name was not lucky enough, so I didn’t win anything but…

They presented us with a souvenir bag filled with the local traditional kuehs! Oh, love, love, love!

Thank you, Aliey, for this photo!

Group photo taken by Wee Hui Zheng

The night could have gone longer if it was not for our tight schedule tomorrow. We left for Mukah around 1030pm and oh my, it was such a good feeling when my body felt the bed. Stay tune for the next entry, it will surely blow your mind!

Love,
E.

Queenstown to Auckland

After such a tiring day-out yesterday (Plus all that bruises and sores), Aslan and I had a nice sleep in. Two days before we barely slept because of the super tight schedule. Sleeping is such a luxury these days. Anyway, since our room had no breakfast package, we decided to walk to town and get some pies from Ferg Baker.

Queenstown had such lovely weather today.

Feeling chilly because no food in my tummy

Sun was out!

To cut the story short, once we got back to our room, the front desk called saying that it was already time to check out. We thought check out time was 12 noon, turned out it was 11! So, we had to rush everything and that included breakfast.

Ferg Baker beef pie!

Arrived at the airport on time. Queenstown airport is small but still more entertaining than KIA. :p

Aslan posing with his latte with a mock airplane over his head.

The flight to Auckland via Jetstar was boring so I will fast forward to our serviced apartment. We took a van from the airport, it was more convenient and direct compared with the bus. We enjoyed our stay at Auckland City Oaks during the last visit, we decided to stay there again this time.

View from the entrance

Bathroom

Shower stall

Washing machine: Helpful when it comes to the dirty laundry

Cooking area and sink

Wardrobe

Living/Dining area

Bedroom

 

Tired from our journey, we only went to the grocery shops nearby to buy ingredients for dinner as well as breakfast.

 

I cheated, can food for dinner… Haha

Our dinner setting: Aslan spreading butter on his bread.

The room package comes with a breakfast basket.

Bananas, muesli bar, orang juice, yoghurt and muffin.

 

Sorry for the simple entry. Will blog more tomorrow!

Love,
E.

 

Gone Skiing

Last night, we tried booking for a ski package through the hotel concierge. Since none of us has any credit card, it couldn’t be processed. We were told just to go to the ski centre and buy directly.

Since this was our first skiing experience, we were absolutely clueless on everything. How to dress, what to bring, what to do later etc. We basically roughed all the A-Z on the basis of sink or swim. I am glad to tell you, at the end of the day, we managed to swim but just barely. Meh.

Queenstown at 8am

 

I was dressed for an artic winter which was not necessary because it wasn’t that cold up in the mountain. In fact, I was sweating like I was in the desert while skiing. Meh.

 

The ski centre is located in the town centre, roughly about 10 minutes walk. We purchased the beginners package for NZD150 each. The package includes return bus transfers, ski gears, jacket/pants and two skiing lesson. The bus journey took about half an hour. The scenery is just breathtakingly amazing.

 

The view from the bus on the way to Coronet Peak.

 

The whole preparation before the actual skiing lesson began took almost an hour. First, jacket and pants fitting. Second, ski boots. I find the ski boots uncomfortable. They are really heavy and it is kind of awkward walking in them. Third, the ski gears, also heavy.

After putting away our stuff in the free guarded locker, we made our way to the ski ground.

 

The area on the left, but further down, was where we took our skiing lessons.

The training ground.

Snow school for kiddies

In order to go down this slope, you have to purchase the beginner’s ski lift, NZD90. Aslan and I weren’t confident enough, let alone knew how to ski, so we skipped this option.

The ski lift

However, we did go on the magic carpet and skied down the beginner’s slope.

 

Before I show you more photos of Aslan and I skiing, let’s talk about the skiing lesson.

Skiing is harder than I thought it would be. The first thing we were taught was how to bind the boots onto the skis. Toes first then use the heel to lock the bind. Before that, must scrap of any snow on the boots, if not, the bind won’t lock.

Toes first, then the heel.

I took almost a minute trying to get my boot bound to the ski…

 

The lesson began with us skiing with only one ski, which was our left foot. Uphill was a bit tricky but downhill, easy. Repeat with the right foot then finally, both feet. The ski poles are an absolute help, made skiing (And going uphill) a lot easier. With both skis on, it felt as if I had longer and much clumsier feet. We learned about how to ski uphill, downhill, decrease/increase speed, slowing down, stopping, jumping and doing corners. The first lesson lasted for almost two hours.

Now, the most important thing one should do before skiing (Or any other high energy requiring activities) is to eat a good heavy breakfast in which Aslan and I didn’t do. Boo! Imagine, skiing for two hours and surviving SOLELY on Up and Go liquid breakfast?! Newbies indeed.

By the time the first lesson was finished, I WAS SO HUNGRY, my body was shaking. I think I burnt almost 2000 calories from the first skiing session. Apparently, snowshoeing alone can burn up to 500 calories an hour while skiing, up to 400 calories an hour! That explains the hunger. AGH.

My second mistake, eat till I was as full as a python. Damn. It made the second skiing lesson almost impossible.

 

Putting our ski gears up before we go for our lunch break

 

Exhausted from snow school. Meh.

 

For lunch, I had fish and chips, chocolate chips cookie and a big bottle of Gatorade while Aslan had a huge beef burger with cheese paired with a huge bottle of Mother energy drink. Lunch was pricey, almost NZD50 in total. Sorry, no photo because we were too tired to get the camera from the locker.

Half an hour after our meal, we resumed our ski lesson. This time, things got more tricky. We learned about doing corners while going down the big slope, far from the wee hill we learned skiing. To get there, we went on the magic carpet. I went down the hill once and fell down halfway as I didn’t want to injure anyone due to the fact I had trouble slowing down even if I excelled in the practice this morning.

In my opinion, it is a lot easy to ski in the morning when the ski ground is still fresh and not melting. In the afternoon, the ski ground is more slippery.

After many falls, fatigue started to creep in and that was when I told Aslan I couldn’t go on with the lesson. I insisted that he should go on but he didn’t want to leave me alone. So, we both stopped and decided to spend the day taking photos and skied nearby the beginner’s ground.

I believe in order to ski, one must have a good stamina and be in the best shape ever. Skiing takes up a lot of energy and uses a lot of body muscles. That reminds me, you have to do warm ups before skiing, don’t wanna shock your muscles. The most used muscles are the arms and legs.

Aslan and I agreed the next time we decide to do a skiing trip, it will be at least three days long. One day is not enough. We both enjoyed skiing but we think we would enjoy it more in the future once we lost more weight and build up a stronger stamina. Everyone has the potential to be good skiers, but don’t know how to harness that power.

Enjoy the following photos!

Coronet Peak had more crowd in the afternoon…

Navigating through the ground with this amount of people can be quite challenging, especially if you are barely a beginner.

 

Now, photos of us skiing…

 

Wedging the skis in order to slow down but I guess Aslan did it wrongly because he failed to stop and fell down. Hehe.

Skiing down the wee slope

Skiing uphill is really tough.

Love the expression on Aslan’s face

 

My turn…

 

OMG, I am skiing!

Skiing down expertly before…

I fell down and bruised my left calf. Boo…

Still in high spirits no matter what…

Moi with the very ill-fitting snow cap. Meh.

 

After more falls and failed attempts of skiing (Due to fatigue), we took more photos of the scenery.

 

 

It was 4pm when we left for the town centre.

View of the entrance to Coronet Peak; I was talking to one of the staff when Aslan took the photo.

Before we boarded the bus

 

The amazing view from the peak

 

I was so tired from today’s activity, I slept the whole way back.

 

Cheeky Aslan, guess this is his revenge for the last photo I took of him sleeping on the way here from Auckland. Wonder what I was dreaming about, smiling in my sleep. Hahaha.

 

Full bus…

 

For dinner, we went to a Turkish Kebab cafe.

 

Posing with our meals

 

Aslan’s lamb kebab combo.

Hummus and pita. Mmm…

 

Bruised and tanned, we had such a good ski holiday.

Stay tune for the next entry!

Love,
E.

 

Auckland to Queenstown

I must admit, the flight schedule for this holiday was a bit tight. Imagine, I just arrived from Singapore yesterday and now, off to Queenstown via an early morning flight. With only three hours rest from last night’s late outing, it was quite a challenge staying awake.

Luckily we stayed nearby the airport, so, we didn’t have to leave the hotel that early. The hotel shuttle took us to the Jetstar Terminal where we did the check in ourself at the counter.

Check in and the printing of bag tags and boarding passes were all done here.

We waited for about 45 minutes or so before we boarded the plane. It was quite a full flight and some of the passengers also went to Lady Gaga’s concert yesterday. They were all out sleeping on the floor. Lol.

Sleepy Aslan with our hand luggages.

Almost everyone onboard, except the cabin crew and pilots, were soundly asleep. It was about 15 minutes prior to landing I woke up and started taking photos of the beautiful scenery around Queenstown.

Hilarious. He didn’t even notice I took a photo of him…

Snow-capped mountains!

This is just the early days of Winter, can you imagine the height of Winter???

Queenstown Airport.

We took the cab from the airport to the hotel. Kinda regret that decision as it was expensive! About NZD32+ and the bus is only around NZD6+ per person. AGHHHH. Well, at least next time we know.

We will be here for three days. The highlight of our trip is skiing at Coronet Peak. Being comfortable budget travelers, we decided to try out The Rydges Hotel just five minutes walk away from the town centre facing the beautiful and scenic Lake Wakatipu.

I will show you the view we love most in Queenstown after I show you our room. For NZD99 per night, the Economy room at Rydges is worth it. Although it does not come with any breakfast, the room has all the basic necessities. Well, the heater was a bit dodgy but we survived the chilly weather with our thick wooly socks and not to mention, thermal wear. Haha.

Located just near the jacuzzi area on the sixth floor, this room is alright during winter where no body bothers to go for a dip. Peaceful!

The retro looking but functional bathroom

The bath and shower.

The view outside

Tired from the concert and the travels, we rested for two hours plus before heading out for lunch at the town centre.

Walking around Queenstown is literally a breeze. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. We could not resist taking a photo every step of the way.

Approaching the town centre

First stop was the ever so legendary Fergburger at Shootover St. Aslan and I were quite lucky we arrived before the crowd came.

A must do when you are in Queenstown.

It was quite hard to make the final decision but in the end, I settled for the lamb burger while Aslan went for the beef burger with cheese.

The extensive menu

After ordering and paying for our meal, the next tricky part was looking for a vacant table. We waited for almost ten minutes before we managed to find seats at the bar.

Look at the amount of people waiting to order as well as waiting for their meals.

The BIG AL, can you finish this monster and beat the current record???

Aslan and I while waiting for our burgers…

It is comforting to know they cook the meats separately.

Finally, after the long wait, our burgers were ready!

I just could not believe the size of the burger, so huge!

The bottled juices were alright but the stars would be the burgers

My hand and the burger…

Little Lamby NZD12.50: Prime NZ Lamb, mint jelly, lettuce, tomato, red onion & aioli.

I love the burger, the bun is really nice, crunchy on the outside but soft in the inside. Perfect! The lamb patty is just scrumptious.

Me and little lamby

The Ferg Burger with Cheddar Cheese NZD12.00: Prime NZ beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion, aioli and cheddar cheese.

Aslan and the Ferg Burger

We went around the town centre in order to walk off the calories. The first store we went to was a candy shop. *Fail*

The Remarkables Candy Shop

Literally like a kid in a candy store, in awe.

Just looking around…

More candies, mostly imported from the UK.

All kinds of chocolates and fudge

Buying some candies for the family back home…

Psycho snails. Hahaha.

All sorts of licorice…

Chocolate coated stuff…

We then went window shopping at the nearby shops. Nothing interesting but we did buy a few stuff at the pharmacy.

Posing with Aslan’s drink, his favorite Irn Bru.

They even have a small branch of Louis Vuitton here.

With the statue of Ferg himself…

Odd pose by the lake.

Chillaxing…

The fake smile pose…

With the ducks… Quite a random pose…

Aslan happy to pose with the ducks…

Showing them ducks the duck face… :p

It is a wonder how the ducks can withstand the freezing water of the lake!

Just a few blocks away from where we took photos, the hot chocolate sign from Patagonia Chocolates.

Hot chocolate and Maciatto.

Before going back to the hotel, we checked out Ferg Baker just next door to Ferg Burger to get some desserts.

Posing with my chocolate eclair which you can’t see coz it is in the bag…

If I weren’t so full from lunch, I would have bought so many things from here. Why? The following photos will demonstrate.

Admiring the Raspberry Brownie from afar…

Along the way to the hotel, we took bazillions photos of us with the beautiful scenery surrounding Lake Wakatipu.

Aslan took this photo to show that no matter how the place was, I was still hooked to my phone. =.=’

The gloves kept my hands warm…

Candid pose.

Aslan and I

I love this photo, so classy. Can pass for an advert for LV. Just need to photoshop out the dude behind me.

A very happy Aslan

If it was not for the cold wind, we would have stayed on and take more photos. We arrived back in the room before sunset to sort out the arrangement for tomorrow.

It will be a long day, so, an early sleep is pretty much needed. Will blog about our exciting skiing adventure in the next entry.

Wait for it!

Love,
E.

Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball 2012 Auckland

When I found out that Lady Gaga will be in this part of the world for her Monster Ball, I was more than ecstatic. Quickly, I looked up the dates for the Singapore shows. Unfortunately, the May weekend, from 25-27, I was extremely occupied with my girl’s wedding, I had to let it go.

Then, another opportunity came along. The Monster Ball would be held in Jakarta! I had everything planned out, almost bought the ticket, flight and hotel when I found out about our last minute holiday to Melbourne. It was definitely a blessing I did not purchase the Jakarta concert because it was cancelled! Phew.

I can’t describe my disappointment for not being able to go but I kept calm and said to myself, “If Gaga and I were meant to be, destiny will arrange everything.”

I was in Singapore, waiting for our flight to Auckland when I read Teh Kah’s FB status update. “Watch out for Lady Gaga, she is in Auckland for the next few days!”

I realized Lady Gaga NZ Monster Ball would be on the same day I was due to arrive in Auckland. I quickly asked Teh Kah if there would be any more ticket to the concert. The rest? History.

Long story cut short, due to the snowstorm in Christchurch, a lot of concertgoers couldn’t fly to Auckland. That unlikely event was the key factor how I managed to get a ticket at the last minute of a completely sold out concert. A miracle!

The original price was NZD180, I got it for NZD30 cheaper!

After lunch at Fish Pot at Mission Bay, we went to Vector Arena downtown Auckland to check out the scenes and perhaps purchase concert merchandise.

By the time we got that, there were already a few enthusiastic monsters lining up at the entrance. Some were dressed like Gaga herself! I bought one t-shirt, not exactly cheap, NZD50 each but the memory comes with it is priceless!

Teh Kah and I before queueing up to buy the merchandise…

Woohoo!

Teh Kah posing with some of the nicely dressed monsters

The queue to the front row is super long.

Later at night, after dinner and change of clothing, Teh Kah’s father dropped us off. People were already slowly filling up the arena. Believe it or not, it was Teh Kah’s mum who insisted Teh Kah to go to the Monster Ball! How cool is that?

Vector Arena at night

We went through security check without any problem. The opening act was by Lady Starlight. The performance was interesting although I could not wait for Mother Monster herself!

Warning: All of the following photos are taken by me, unless stated. If you want to use it, do ask for my permission. I swear, I won’t charge, I just want my credits. Thank you!

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you my ticket is general entry, standing. Burned so much calories from all that standing, jumping around and dancing.

Lady Starlight in action

We waited for about five minutes after Lady Starlight performance ended before the curtain withdrew and bam, the stage set was visible. It was such an epic moment. All the monsters squealed in delight in great harmony.

A medieval castle?

The lights were dimmed and suddenly, this chamber melody began and Gaga’s dancers were on stage bearing the G.O.A.T banners.

I then realized hey, this is not some chamber music, it is the intro for Lady Gaga’s ‘Government Hooker’ and at that instance, Gaga appeared on stage on a big horse! Her outfit is epic cool!

This was when she started singing ‘Government Hooker’

I am not exactly an expert photographer, so not all of the photos I took turned out great. I am quite sad that a lot of good moments were blurry. Meh. But do enjoy the photos!

Lady Gaga before giving birth to herself.

Lady Gaga’s live voice is powerful, rich and sweet. She sounds a lot better live, more soul. Not to say she does not sound as good in her album but her live performance is legendary!

She performed over 25 songs from Born This Way and The Fame Monster album and went through numerous costume changes! Her stamina is amazing, her dancing does not affect her vocal ability. I was completely blown away by her impressive performance!

Her dancers are amazing!

By this time, she was performing ‘Born This Way’

It was hard to take photos of the concert due to a few reasons…

First, I wanted to enjoy the concert and at the same time, capture these moments. There are some uncaptured moments because I was savoring it to the last bit. Secondly, the enthusiastic monsters who danced and jumped wildly around me kinda make it hard to take photos. I don’t want to hurt them with my zoom in lens. Also, I would like to respect them as concertgoers myself. Third, damn lighting kinda messed with my photos. Boohoo. Still, I am thankful I managed to get some good shots of Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga performing Bloody Mary

She wore this costume and performed Bad Romance and Judas

I love her make-up!

Only Gaga can look good with this hair color. I’d look plain crazy

Lady Gaga performing Fashion of His Love and then Just Dance

The following photos are blurry. Sorry!

She came on stage as a bike performing Heavy Metal Lover. A very sexy performance too!

She definitely has a nice ass.

Not my photo, taken from www.fanpop.com just so you can see how the whole thing looks like. I didn’t manage to take any clear photo. :S

She also performed the acoustic version of Hair on her piano bike. I was completely in awe, therefore I didn’t take any photo. I love it when she performed You and I. Awesome!

Photo credits: www.littlemonstersofficial.blogspot.com

Her epic meat dress made an appearance too although I couldn’t take any clear photos of it.

Photo credits: The List UK

Alejandro!

Scheide

Scheide was her last song before she came back on for two performances, The Edge of Glory and Marry the Night.

I love this outfit

The last photo of the night…

A dream come true. Would be absolutely crazier if I managed to meet her in person. Oh well, I am more than thankful already. Maybe next time. Hehehe.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Love,
E.

Kia Ora!

In the last post of this series, I left you wondering, where the heck is this girl going to next? Well, when it was time, Aslan and I made our way to the departure lounge.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to Auckland, New Zealand! Woohoo!

It will be my second time to that beautiful country and I am very excited coz it will be winter and oh, such an escape from the heat in Kuching/Singapore.

Our metal bird

This time, we will visit two NZ locations, Auckland and Queenstown!

While waiting to board the plane

This time, Aslan and I were seated at row 41, aisles J and K. Kinda regret that decision, should have purchased the front seat for extra legroom. Nonetheless, it was not that bad.

Aslan looking happy before discomfort gave him a visit.

Me looking weird.

Aslan and I

Okay, as much as I love doing the budget haul, I must confess, it was a bit hard to adjust to budget economy from awesome luxurious Emirates business class. Aslan and I could not stop comparing this flight with our last one. Meh. Spoiled brats.

I think paying a bit extra flying on SQ or QF or EK just to name a few, even on economy class can be more worth it than flying budget. At least you get free entertainment and free food. Oh well, beggars like me, cannot be choosers! :p

Anyhow, we spent the 9 hours plus flight sleeping. Before that, filled in immigration card, eat the smuggled goods we bought from the city and airport and perhaps told each other silly stories. Gossiping. Haha. Or try to outdo each other’s score in Temple Run.

My aching back savior

Yours truly sleeping.

Finally, day light.

Aslan still asleep just minutes before we were about to land

Auckland from air!

Immigration clearance and baggage retrieval was fast. It was 10am when we arrived at the arrival hall.

Aslan said it felt surreal to be back here again so soon!

Due to miscommunication, waited for half an hour for the hotel shuttle.

Because we have another flight to catch in the wee hours of the day tomorrow, we decided to stay at a Auckland Airport Kiwi Hotel just about 15 minutes drive away from the airport.

The hotel shuttle

Hotel exterior. Notice the big Kiwi bird on top? Hehehe.

Check in was a breeze. We had to pay $30 since we wanted the room before 2pm. We waited for about 5 minutes plus before the room was ready.

Waiting again…

It was such a relief to find out our room was situated on the ground floor. No need to bother to lift the bags upstairs.

Excited and nervous to see how the room actually looks like…

The room was a pleasant surprise. It was exactly how the hotel management described it. The only trouble with the room is it is a bit worn but don’t worry, it is clean.

It does reminds me of an American motel.

The beds

The tv/workstation/coffee tea making facilities area

The open wardrobe

The bathroom

Power shower with hot water. Awesome!

It is unfair that some people say the room is small, I bet they never stayed at AirAsia’s Tune Hotel before. Auckland Airport Kiwi Hotel is not bad for short stays. Affordable and comfortable, a irresistible deal indeed!

After a quick rest and shower, it was time to go to the city to meet up with our friend Teh Kah. Since we are on a budget, we decided to take the bus to downtown. We waited for a good fifteen minutes at the bus stop nearby our hotel before being picked up.

Waiting for a bus in the middle of nowhere. Or so it seemed like to me.

The ride took almost 45 minutes and cost $5.60 per person. I guess that is A LOT cheaper compared with the cab, easily can cost up to $30!

Bus ticket

Aslan and I bored in the bus, so we took this photo.

We were dropped nearby Queen Street and not long after that, we met up with Teh Kah. She was in the midst of buying a new pair of Ugg boots when we arrived. Hehe. After her purchase, she brought us to Mission Bay for lunch at our seafood cafe, Fish Pot!

Quirky deco

The before meal pose

Fearing I would overeat, I went for a soup while Aslan and Teh Kah ordered fish and chips each.

Seafood chowder: I am a bit disappointed with this soup, not the best. Should have ordered the fried calamaris. Boohoo.

Luckily we ordered this Whitebait Fritters to share. It was nice.

Tarahiki and chips! Oh, the best ever! Crispy on the outside but so juicy and moist on the inside! Lovely!

Posing with our food!

Our lovely friend, Teh Kah. Always spoil us with crazy delicious meals whenever we meet up. Hehehe.

Aslan enjoying his meal, been waiting for it since last year!

Satisfied from breakfast/lunch/tea, we then walked to the beach front to take some photos of the majestic Rangitoto.

Teh Kah and I before going onto the beach itself. Still too full from late lunch.

Hello Rangitoto, we meet again.

Before making our way to Teh Kah’s place, we stopped by Vector Arena to check out the scene and purchase some concert merchandise…

Eh, what concert, you wonder? Well, to be honest, I never planned any of this at the time I arranged the whole holiday, it just happened…

I am going to watch Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball! I will tell that story in more details in the next post, so wait for it!

Love,
E.

Singapore Quickie

Today was another loooooong day for Aslan and I. I woke up around 530am, finalized my packing before getting ready to go to the airport. It does feel weird to go to the airport so soon after arriving back home from Melbourne just three days ago.

To be honest, we planned this trip long before uncle decided to go to Melbourne at the last minute, the same reason why Sabah was cancelled. Not that I am complaining, I had so much fun in Melbourne, even if it was brief.

At our favorite cafe, Coffeebean, before boarding the plane

Our usual drink

Sleepy face

First flight, to Singapore via Air Asia. Since it is the school holidays, it was almost a full flight.

Filling in the immigration card before he dozed off for a power nap

The tired but not so tired face.

Before going to the city, we went to the Left Baggage counter to store our bags. Why? Yet another flight to catch later in the evening. Rather than being stuck at the airport for five hours, we decided to go to the city to settle a few things.

Our first time trying this service. Quite affordable too. Less than 10 dollars for one day.

We took the cab because we were too lazy to use the bus or train.

But then we kinda regret that decision because it cost us roughly SGD25++ to get to Hilton Singapore from Changi Terminal 1. Meh.

Where we would be staying on the way back.

We chose Hilton Singapore because it is located just a stone’s throw away from the Singapore’s shopping heaven, Orchard Road. Honestly, we are a bit tired of Fairmont.

Ion’s just next door! So is Garrett’s Popcorn and Wendy’s. Haha.

I used to love going to Wheelock Place when they had Borders Bookstore. The new Marks & Spencers is now open, so better check it out. I love the Women’s clothing Limited Edition collection!

Buying tickets for the MRT to City Hall

Singapore is a ‘fine’ city indeed.

We wouldn’t bother going to City Hall if we knew there was a Sumo Salad branch at Somerset 313. Meh.

My favorite salad bar, Sumo Salad.

I absolutely love the Low GI Avocado Chicken Salad. Just so good!

I think I will try to prepare this when I am back in Kuching. Mmm…

Sitting by the fountain to have lunch. So sad.

Aslan’s pasta salad.

Everytime I am at Raffle’s City, I always go to Canelle on the basement floor to buy my favorite salted caramel macron.

Waiting to be attended.

If you love me, buy me this if you are in Singapore and I will love you long time. Hahahaha!

Enjoying my macron before the MRT ride back to Orchard.

After we went around Kinokuniya, we unintentionally discovered Paul’s super famous bakery, opened recently and well, bought some pastries.

Happy face.

OMGGGGGGG

*salivatessss*

Frankly, it was really hard to decide which one to choose. Since I already had lunch, I thought a sweet pastry would be nice. So I bought the chocolate croissant while Aslan had the apple pie.

No place to sit, had to stand against the pillar.

Aslan’s apple pie!

My chocolate croissant!

We shared a piece of canelle.

Definitely will dine in next time!

From Ngee Ann City, we walked to H&M coz I wanted to find a suitable outfit for a last minute concert tomorrow night. On route, we came across Mr Ice Cream and I shamelessly bought a durian wafer. Bye, diet. It was nice knowing you.

The simple pleasure in life: ice cream.

After almost an hour, I found my outfit. We were quite exhausted then but since we were still early, we decided to take the train to the airport. From Orchard to City Hall and then from there changed to another train that took us to Bukit Timah interchange before reaching Changi Terminal Two. The whole journey took about 45 minutes to an hour.

He had to stand up all the way, poor thing.

While I managed to find a seat

Took the train to Changi T1 from T2

Retrieved our baggages and then checked into the next flight. By the time we found a seat in the departure hall, we were sooooooo freaking tired. Tempted to sleep but at the same time, didn’t want to miss our flight.

Still an hour to spare before the departure gate opens.

Stay tune for the next installment! ;)

Love,
E.