May 12, 2015

Quarter Life Crisis

I woke up on an especially depressing Monday, all groggy and cross-eyed. (it may have been due to me waking up late and getting out the door within seven minutes of waking up)

so ... yeah. work has been weirdly depressing lately. 

what's going on? i'm doing what i've always wanted to, i'm supposed to have fun at it, i'm supposed to be super fulfilled. 

but somehow, it's just... haih. 

(maybe i'm just being discontent and impatient)

there's room for improvement. there always is. 


while i keep myself positive with mini pep talks (which don't really work, because my inner discontent is this loud trumpeting elephant), i'm thankful that Enthel shared this. 


If you're immensely dissatisfied and unreasonably angry at work, please watch this. 
If you're kinda sorta disappointed with life, please watch this. 
If you're not quite sure what you're doing, at this time, at this place, please watch this. 
If you're facing a quarter life crisis, please watch this. 

He made SO MANY valid sucker punch points here, it hurt. 

It's a long watch, to be sure, but please do, and then think about it. 

It's good investment, anyway. 

May 6, 2015

Tioman - Bagus Place Retreat

sometime around late last year, i had the amazing blessing of doing one of my favorite stories thus far. will post the link here when it's uploaded but in the meantime you can purchase the 2015/16 copy of Time Out Malaysia Visitor's Guide.

i was hosted by Bagus Place Retreat, a beautiful little resort located off a secluded cove in Tioman. plus, it's super private with nine chalets in the whole place.

here's what i mostly did during my free time:
1 mini lego dude photoshoot on the balcony. this was taken on the railing with waves crashing away below. trees swaying gently with the breeze. the whole works. 
2 clambering onto giant rocks and then taking stalker-artistic-type shots of the really cute family that's also staying there the same time i did. 
3 admiring the limestone cliffs of the island from a hammock on the pier. legend has it that those limestone outcrops make up the backbone of the resting dragon princess that's so enthralled by the beauty of Tioman that she just lay down here to sleep. till today.
4 more photo-taking from the giant rock. hope this gives you an idea of the paradise. that's where everyone at Bagus Place hangs out at night. they have an honest bar policy where you can make your own cocktails and stuff and just pay up when you check out. if you're not too confident (like me) of your bartending abilities, the friendly staff there will help you out. they are good at it. 
5 more stalkerish-artsy shots.
6 AND READ. Bagus Place has two really nice second hand book sections, and i basically zoomed right in on my first day and checked out their titles. i may or may not have finished rereading Brisingr during my stay.
7 more reading.

after reading Gravity by Tess Gerritsen, i have to say this is one writer that can creep the hell out of you.
8 where i do most of my reading. that purple towel was hung out to dry after a snorkelling session.
9 also sketched a bit. there's something therapeutic about sketching when travelling.
10 hahahah just bought my gold casio watch.
11 this is grace koh's birthday present to me (i think i used like half of her book vouchers hahah)! so i lugged this book along for the trip :D
12 and sunned myself on the rock while the sun sets. afterwards, you can watch the blazing stars from here too. if there's one nitpick about Bagus Place, it's the beach. as you can see there are lots of reefy parts here so you can't exactly stomp everywhere. but yeah. that's basically my only nit to pick.

on my final night, we had a mini darts competition with the staff and a bunch of Japanese expats who were there for the weekend. also spotted a mini black and white sea snake snaking its way into the rocks.

a huge fat thank you to Rosie and her wonderful team for my stay. truly enjoyed myself.

(to know more about Bagus Place, please pick up a copy of the 2015/16 Time Out Malaysia Visitor's Guide hahahaha)

anyway i had to check out really early in the morning to catch the morning ferry for the bus back to kl.  the ferry situation's kinda messed up (lots of prebooking required, and the tide is serious business), so i arrived in Mersing at 9am but the bus won't be departing till 12noon.


so i do what i always do. jalan-jalan lah.

(the last time i visited tioman during my inti days, we had kfc at Mersing then drove home)

i've always chalked Mersing up as a good-for-nothing-except-for-tioman-gateway town, but Malaysia has its beautiful spots everywhere you go lah.

case in point:
beautiful work on the walls! 
"last time the opposite new street don't have one. now is all new buildings. block my view. ya i sell things here for many years. me and my wife, we have been here for long long time."
made my way back to the really cute bus station (it's a five minute walk from Mersing town centre but seriously try not to venture it in the scorching hot sun)


here's a mini series on buses in Mersing:

ok that's all. [inserts abrupt ending] haha. 

this lego man basically reflects my mood lah. i wanna goooo backkk againnnn!

haha goodnight guys.

May 5, 2015

Saigon on wheels

i'm a rather trigger-happy person, always trying to follow what photographers say on photography blogs and doing things like 'follow the light', 'find your direction', and whatnot.

Anyway, here are some random shots of a city that basically functions on wheels. everyone will tell you they learned to cross the road in Ho Chi Minh, which is funny because only HCM will give you a version of the road that's so different from anything else you've experienced in your country.

Motorcycles everywhere, motorcycle-sized parking lots, motorcycle-dedicated security guards... ... ...

motorcycles (i keep typing mother cycles i must be super sleepy) as lorries... 
also, i find their streets very clean. interestingly clean.

nah. buy this if you're interested to see more interesting Saigon bike photography hehe.

Day 5 : HCM again! And then some disappointment

Commencing my Vietnam travel log! To refresh your memory (and mine), here's where i left off: we came back from Mui Ne with its amazing sand dunes, and with a day left in the city, here's what we did. Maybe it's a waste la but we basically just wandered around the city. 


We checked into Hotel Duc Vuong again. The hotel was undergoing renovations so they gave us the honeymoon suite. Jeng jeng:

siauli taking advantage of the hotel wifi and also waiting for me to be done so we can go grab lunch. 

*view from the room!*
nah. ho chi minh. 
more spying on rooftops. 
(i'm getting lazy. just typing in useless captions)

so i finally got ready and we went for lunch. again at the pretty good noodle place by the hotel. we ordered something different this time! 
this is bun cha (pork roll, beef roll, fried beef, crab patty, shrimp, with vermicelli noodles)
couldn't remember this. must be some chicken ball soup. and like most meals in the city, it comes with plenty of greens and fresh lime to squeeze over the whole thing. 
selfies before food arrives. 

so after lunch, we tried to hail a cab, but it began to drizzle. so this dude on a cyclo (Vietnam's version of tuk-tuks, but on bicycles) came up to us and told us that Chinatown is definitely doable on a cyclo, and charged us a rather hefty price. the dude looked really old and vulnerable and said he needed business for the day, so i wanted to give in. haha but then again, it was drizzling so who in their right mind would wanna get on an open-air bike in the rain? 

luckily the staff at Duc Vuong saw us being all uncertain and came out to rescue us and send us into the safety of a cab. Then the cyclo guy became all abusive and loud and scolded us in Vietnamese. And the staff told us, "cyclo no good, he cheat." (haha something along those lines lah)

so in the relative comfort and safety of a cab (it's rather cheap), we arrived at Chinatown. 
the cab's interiors. the cabbie also told us about how Malaysian tourists usually like to visit the Mekong river for one day trips. too late lah, it's our last day in Vietnam. 

and this is the Chinatown market!

(purchase of vermicelli rice rolls)

this is where sl got really extra angry with the Vietnamese sellers. maybe they're out to get an extra buck, maybe they genuinely don't understand what we want. but either way, it kinda left an unpleasant aftertaste to the trip. 
animal-shaped breads sold by the road.

anyway, at the end our mood was kinda spoiled by certain experiences with the vendors so we didn't have the mood to walk around Chinatown any longer. hailed a cab and headed back into town. 

some shots of the city from the cab. 
afterwork hangouts

hahahahahha. of all things, we went to a mall. found this! 
so Oggy is a rather big thing in Vietnam. Guess because Oggy is a French cartoon afterall.

wandered around the mall, found this! SL says French Baguette is like super mega popular in Singapore with long long long queues snaking out the door. But the French Baguette in HCM is kinda..empty. haha so we headed in lo.
got cake, pudding, egg tart.
that yellow thing might have been honey. i've already forgotten.

lots and lots of postcard-writing to catch up on.

walked back after that... it's better to walk instead of taking cabs and risking cyclo drivers and whatnot. HCM is basically built for walking.

(this taka plaza has some pretty cheap goods. too bad we found it too late and the stalls are all closing up danggggg)

sigh sorry this is such an half-assed post. possibly because it's a half-assed day.

there is just one too many times where the locals would overcharge us if possible. it's disheartening, and even if i'm willing to let it go, it just happened too often to let it pass. it's tiring to be constantly second-guessing people and counting every cent and then wringing change from the people who then pretend to not understand you.

damnit i just want to travel without feeling like an ugly person.

perhaps we shouldn't have allowed the way they treated us to affect the ending of the trip, but somehow the day itself felt like a waste to me. maybe i'll think differently next time. if there's a next time.

after hanging around the mall, we went shopping for some touristy pants (touristy, yet but super comfortable and lasted till today hehe) that grace wanted. if you wanna do some touristy shopping, Saigon Square's pretty good.

sigh. this trip was... two years ago? there's just a couple more posts left. bear with me.

work has been crazy. ok time to sleep. bye.