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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Serpentine. Rocks. Art.

I had not heard of Fischli or Weiss, but, on my sister’s insistence I decided to go see what the fuss was all about while on holiday in London last  month.

Congruous named, Rock on Top of Another Rock  is the first public sculpture by the Swiss artist duo Fischli/Weiss. The art installation sits outside the entrance of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park [for those of you going to see Marina Abramović’s 512 Hours this summer, the sculpture will be to your left].

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#StreetArt. London.

Quirky, thought provoking and colourful street art between Shoreditch High Street and Brick Lane.

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Chartreuse & Fondue in the Capital of the Alps. Grenoble. France.

I remember looking out of the window of my sister’s bedroom in Grenoble, wondering if the scene outside had gone through a vintage wash before presenting itself to me. I saw snow lined mountains, faded yellow homes and an old banged up Volkswagen mini-van. Ordinarily beautiful, but for someone flying in from a tropical busy city like Singapore, it felt cold and desolate.

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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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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

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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