Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

This was taken from the walkway on the skytrain in Bangkok. I guess this is the advertising world equivalent of “location, location, location.”

I wish my car would this. A sure, nice way to beat the traffic 🙂

ps: note the infamous Bangkok traffic on the bottom right-hand corner.

Onwards and Upwards!

January: NYR #1 (Travel More)

OK, I previously wrote about my bite-sized 2011 New Year’s Resolution, and in the true spirit of the school-addict that I am, I’m making myself a report card! OK, maybe not a report card, but more of a progress report. The report card will come in at the end of the year when we rack up all 12 progress reports. And let’s just skip the parent-teacher discussion… that is one part of school I am glad to not re-live.

So, without further ado, progress report numero uno is here.

To kick off the year, I chose to tackle NYR #1. Travel more. As you (yes, you, my sole reader) already know by now, I am, by default, in travel-mode.. until recently that is, when I moved back to the motherland about 1.5 years ago (sh*t! that long already?). I discovered that being monogamous to a location (location fidelity?) is not my strong forte, and I do need to take a break (pun intended) every now and then to maintain the relationship.

January, travel-wise, was perfect! I started the year, exactly on 1-1-11, by diving in Weh Island, on the northern tip of Sumatra. It was the culmination of a 5-day road trip from Padang to Sabang that started in the last week of December 2010. Traveling and diving on the start of the year, it was the perfect way to start 2011. A+ for me!

Continue reading

Breaking Up with Myself

Scene: A business trip to Bangkok by day, and a tourist/traveller by night.

But the point of the story is not the business trip (who wants to read about boring business stuff anyways), nor is it Bangkok (though it is a great city).

The point is this: it was a wake-up call. A depressing one, but a necessary one.

You see, I met a group of travellers/backpackers during my night out in Bangkok.. and with one of them, I further explored Bangkok’s street life. For those two nights out in Bangkok, I was happy, relaxed, open and free. The night was forever young and anything could happen. There was nothing in my mind apart from the here and now, that very second at that very place.

It wasn’t until this morning, as I was checking out from the hotel, that I started to feel utterly depressed. I absolutely did not want to leave Bangkok, and I was dreading coming back to Jakarta. The thought to just stay in Bangkok, and basically abandoning everything here in Indonesia, flitted across my mind.. but the pragmatic and realist side of me quickly took over, and I got into the cab. “Airport, please.” Let it be said that I have never felt so down in a long time.. and the sheer suddenness of that sadness is probably what shocked me the most. Usually, you know when you will be sad… or more importantly, you know why you’re sad. Maybe a friend is leaving, or maybe you are leaving, or maybe it’s a long-overdue break-up… whatever.

But what I felt then, that was just unexplainable. Bangkok is not that much different from Jakarta, and it is so close and accessible that I can easily come back anytime. I have my family, friends, a home and a good job waiting in Jakarta, while in Bangkok I have, well, nothing. Plus, I was only there for two days on business, so the going out and shopping was just a bonus. So then why the inexplicable dread of leaving??

…and then it hit me. It wasn’t that I did not want to leave; it was more that I did not want to return. To Jakarta. To Indonesia. To “home.” Continue reading

Why I Love the Philippines

After a good few years of living in the Philippines and even more of calling it home (since I define home as where my parents live), the journey will come to an end this June/July. My parents are heading back to Jakarta-side, so I guess that’ll be my “home” from then on.

Like they say, you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And I don’t think I took full advantage of living in this beautiful country. I don’t even know how to speak tagalog after all these years, apart from the few words that I drop in so that they give me the “local” and not “tourist” price.

While I say my good bye in what could be my last visit “home”, I thought I’ll do another list like what I did for Indonesia. It’s not as well-researched (I’m stealing time on the library computer), but it’s no less heartfelt. Maybe someday, when I’ve left and truly realized how much it means to me, I can write a better-composed one.

1. English-speaking: makes getting around so much easier. But that means I lose the drive to learn Tagalog. Darn.

2. Friendly and happy people: I find the pinoys (the local term for Filipinos) in general have a happier outlook in life than, say, the general Indonesian or Singaporean eventhough financially they are as or less well off. A very laidback and outgoing, takes-life-as-it-comes nature. I like getting service from people who are happy giving it.

3. Weather: being somewhat above the equator, the Philippines have its hot months as well as its cooler months. Hot months are crap, but the cooler ones are just nice. You can walk around without getting sweaty and sunburnt, which means Manila has a lot of open-air parks and recreation spaces next to its oversized malls (which are, in contrast, perfect for summer).

4. Nightlife: officially, I know nothing about the Manila nightlife. unofficially, I know quite a bit 😀 and it’s goood. Cheap & fun; a lot of music, and even more drinks. And no ID checks 😉

5. My dad’s office: It’s like a one-stop convenience center. Free internet (which is where I am posting from), big big library, cheap international food, a commissary (where I can buy lots of imported goods and charge directly to my dad’s paycheck hahaha), a post office, a laundry service, banks, atms, water/electricity/DHL service.

Update

Now that I’m done with Uni, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling and even more general lounging.

My parents came to Brisbane to attend my graduation (Dec 15), and my birthday (Dec 16). We didn’t get to go to New Zealand as planned, so I turned 25 without a 25th-country-I-have-visited tale to tell.

But I still got to cross off one of my things-to-do-before-I’m-too-old/broke list: diving in the Great Barrier Reef! We (me mom & dad) went to Cairns, where I dove, dad snorkeled, and mom sudoku-ed.

After many visits to my parents’ friends’ houses in Brisbane, those from 20 years ago and more recent ones, we flew off to Manila on Dec 31st.

They spent New Year’s in Manila, me in Singapore, and my sister in London. Then on Dec 2nd, after 2 years of here there and everywhere, the whole family was reunited back in Manila. Yay!

Jan 3rd-4th: went to Anilao, where me & sis dove, dad snorkeled, and mom Sudoku-ed.

Jan 10th-11th: see above (but in future tense)

The honeymoon will end when my sis leaves (Jan 15th), then me (Jan 19th), then mom (Jan 20th), leaving my dad back to his Indomie-for-dinner routine.

In between all of that, I am doing my job applications *wish me luck*

Belated happy new year to you all, and my best wishes always!

Asti-fying the world.

Another update on my travels… I wonder if I can ever colour the whole map red? Either way, 11% is very good for now. And I am keeping up with my plan to have visited 30 countries by the time I turn 30.

Where I have been

10% of the world has been Asti-fied!

Yay!! 10%!! 1% more since August 2005!

I’m updating a post at my old blog about my travels. According to that, in August 2005, 9% of the world has been asti-fied. And now, with the addition of India (thank you Jothi!) and South Korea (thank you RB!), I’ve left my mark in10% of the world.

Here’s a pic of my conquest:

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Aaah, wen will that picture be all red?? Next stop: South Africa!!! Can’t wait!