Magnifique Provence! St Rémy de Provence & Avignon.

After our first day in Provence, driving to the idyllic village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie through the Gorges du Verdon from Aix [read here]; we decided to go west on the second day to the City of Popes, Avignon

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Magnifique Provence! Aix-en-Provence to Moustier-Ste-Marie.

In 2011 my sister and I spent the summer in France that included 5 glorious days in the South. We split out time between the Côte d’Azur and Provence with 3 nights in Nice with 2 in Aix en Provence (Read: Indulge in the quiet side of the Côte d”Azur).

We rented a car in Nice from Budget, which turned out to be the most harrowing car rental procedure ever thanks to the lady they had manning the desk that day. Rude and a tad scary with her pencil outlined eyebrows, she was by far the most unprofessional person we had encountered on our trip. She asked us to see her at noon, then made us wait for 2 hours while she had lunch only to ask us to return the next day to pick the car up! Needless to say, our day was wasted waiting and we had to swap itineraries  around.

Anyway, we woke up bright and early the next morning and drove to Aix en Provence, which we used as a base for the next 2 days to drive to the Gorges du Verdon and Avignon.

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Cosplay, gadgets & geeks. Akihabara and Maid Cafés. Tokyo.

I was obsessed with lomography on a trip to Tokyo with friends 2 years ago, and decided to indulge this fixation by visiting the city’s electronic mecca, Akihabara, in search of the Diana.

We got out at the Akihabara Station from the clearly marked Akihabara Electric Town exit on a cold, rainy evening to bright flashy lights that blinded us instantly. We made our way to one of the multi-storey malls selling electronic ware floor on floor, jam-packed with people and machines alike. My friends bought a Fuji Polaroid camera that they would end up using in the States a few days later. I, on the other hand felt far too claustrophobic and rushed to kick-start the loom camera analysis.

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Indulge in the quiet side of the Côte d’Azur. Plage d’Èze.

The tiny village of Eze on the Côte d’Azur boasts of a quiet sliver of a pebble beach, with clear, bright blue waters.

Eze, between Nice and Monaco is far from the glitzy beaches of the French Riviera like Saint-Tropez, Antibes and Cannes and is a great place to spend the afternoon. It extends from the Mediterranean Sea, Èze-sur-Mer, to the hilltop with a medieval village, Èze-Village.

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Rose red city, half as old as time. Petra. A photo-journey.

Ah Petra, gobsmackingly magnificent, architecturally alluring, haunting and pink! Described by UNESCO as ‘one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage‘, as it features in their Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Additionally, the ancient Nabataean city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

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Superman is dead. What a Balinese man taught us about music and irony.

Made (pronounced Mad-a | a as in apricot) was our designated driver-cum-guide on my trip to Bali with friends for my birthday last month. As per Balinese culture, the firstborn is colloquially called Wayan or Gede or Putu, second Made or Kadek, third Nyoman or Komang , and fourth Ketut.

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48 hour wine trail. Sonoma Valley. A photo-journey.

On holiday in Northern California this February, a friend and I decided to drive up to Sonoma Valley one afternoon with the intention of perhaps spending a day or 2 in the area. We drove from Fremont straight to Ram’s Gate Winery on Arnold Drive Sonoma (got there just in time for the last tasting service) and onwards to the quaint MacAurther’s Place for the night.

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In search of the perfect pho. 36 hours in Saigon. Vietnam.

Pho, pronounced as ‘fuh’ or ‘fur’ is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup bowl, consisting of broth, meat, rice noodles and herbs, usually basil, fresh cut chilli and lime. We’ve had the most delectable pho in Singapore and were salvating at the thought of finding the best bowl over our weekend trip to Saigon 2 weeks ago. Continue reading

De-coding the Bento. Tokyo. Japan.

Almost everyone has heard of or been to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, made famous by the cult indie movie Lost in Translation.

Kozue, the Japanese restaurant on the 41st floor has a delightful view (including Mount Fuji on a clear day) and menu, which is where we decided to eat on our 2nd day in Tokyo. We chose the lunch bento box, Waka, and there on started the most amazing journey!

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48 hours in Lisboa. Portugal.

My sister and I had endeavoured to spend a 4-day extended weekend in Lisbon, December of 2012. We were traveling from Grenoble, where it had snowed all day and all night. In spite of the snow, the bus taking us to Lyon International Airport left on time. However 20 minutes into the journey, it took a U-turn and dropped us right back where we started. No explanations were given, the bus driver and conductor brought the bus back to the depot, exited and left all the passengers wondering if they should wait, stay or go! Apparently, they expect us to all process inherent mind reading skills.

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Cloud drama! Black sand beach. Amed. Bali.

Not so off-the-beaten-path, but far from the commercial beaches of Seminyak, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Jimabran, about 2 hours drive from Ubud (Read: Rustic green. Winging it in Ubud with Airbnb. 50/50) is the black sand beach of Amed. Still, clear blue waters make it great for snorkelling, free diving and standup paddle-boating. Continue reading

Chope a seat on the Singapore food train!

“If we don’t get to the hawker centre by 12, can you chope some seats for us?”

Chope, derived from chop, is slang for reserving a seat, often witnessed at a hawker centre where Singaporeans leave an object to reserve the spot, usually a packet of tissues.

Food seems to be synonymous with Singapore; a tiny island that has fast become a melting pot of tastes and ideas. Right from local offerings like chicken rice or the simple satay to spicy Peranakan food to molecular gastronomical food labs, Singapore can pretty much boast of having it all and doing it well; you certainly are spoiled for choice.

Here is what and how I ate my way through Singapore!

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