Stonehenge on the eve of the Summer Solstice. A Photo-essay.

A memorable day trip to see the prehistoric stones on the eve of the summer solstice last month. Believed to be built somewhere between 3000 and 2000 BC, Stonehenge was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

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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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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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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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Paradise! Home to the Manta Ray & Mola Mola. Nusa Lembongan & Penida. A photo journey.

I just got back late last night from another exhilarating trip to Bali. 3 days in Ubud (Read: Rustic Green. Winging it with Airbnb in Ubud. 50/50) with a day spent on a group of 3 islands south-east of Nusa Dua, Bali that form part of the Lesser Sunda Islands – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan sandwiched in between. Nusa Lembongan is a 30 minute speed boat ride from Sanur, Bali and is well worth the visit for its untouched beaches, gorgeous rugged landscape and clear blue waters.

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Ah Coachella!

So, 2 weekends of Coachella pandemonium has finally come to an end and I thought this might be the best time to blog about my experience, albeit from 2012, of the music festival.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual two-weekend, three-day music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, usually in April.

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I would say, host. On Airbnb.

I  moved to Singapore from Dubai in 2010 with a list the length of my arm of exactly what I wanted of my new living space. It should be in the city (funny, since Singapore is tiny tiny tiny!), walking distance from the central business district (CBD), have 2 bedrooms (2 baths would be a bonus), be close to an MRT station that doesn’t warrant a 20 minute walk, have modern bathrooms (read swanky) and decent condominium facilities like a pool/gym/bar-b-que area/etc. Sadly, this added up to a sum total of E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E!

With the soaring rent rates and living standards in Singapore, I decided to put my apartment’s second bedroom up on Airbnb to defray the hefty rent I was forking out every month.  Continue reading

On the King’s Highway to find my pot of gold. Jordan.

A friend and I landed in Amman at the fag-end of May in 2009, bursting with excitement and a jam-packed itinerary with very little time to accomplish (4 days!). Travellers predominantly come to Jordan for Petra and/or the Dead Sea, using the modern desert highway to get to Petra from Amman. It’s faster, cuts right through the desert and doesn’t waste any time. We used the King’s Highway instead, starting at Amman, crossing Madaba, Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea, Wadi Mujib, Castle of Kerak and Lot’s Cave, relishing location specific stories and fables along the way. It’s longer, winding, and oh so much of fun as it skirts along the Dead Sea and dallies around the Jordanian countryside.  Continue reading

Postcard perfect Capri. A photo journey.

Gorgeous Capri while on holiday with the family in Italy over the summer of 2009 (Ref: Beyond Picasso. Venice Art Biennale 2013). A few of our favourite things..

Views from Monte Solaro; not to forget the hair-raising, constantly squeaking, single chair lift ride to the top!

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Beyond Picasso. Venice Art Biennale 2013.

Art, is the creative act of exposing the tender inner flesh of the unknown hidden behind expressionless reality, presenting itself at the threshold between reality and imagination

I enjoy art; in all its fluid forms and thought challenging seductive glory. I may not, however, understand all of it or pretend to. So, spending an entire week in Venice with the sole purpose of attending the Venice Art Biennale with my sister, to an amateur art enthusiast like me, was a mix of daunting and exciting.  Continue reading