Nova Scotia

How long has it been since I was last here… babies conceived during the last time I updated have already been born.

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The past year has been a whirlwind of mostly me, well…

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You get the picture.

Anyway, this summer I went to visit a place that was next to ocean, lots of seafood and rain.
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Nova Scotia!!!

I’ve been hearing many good things about the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada. Most of my friends have not been there, so I went with my grad school friends, Kelly and Xinyu. I really enjoyed it, next time I might go all out Anne of Green Gables and visit P.E.I.?

Our first stop was Mahone Bay which was close to Lunenberg. We stayed at the Kip and Kaboodle Backpacker’s Hostel for one night.

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The owner Greg was a very kind man, originally from New Zealand.

The first day we spend walking around Mahone Bay, which literally had just one of everything. (Except for restaurants, there were maybe three or four of them)

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The people in this town were super nice! This small town of… 900 people. We were obviously tourists being the only Asian people in town… and carrying a selfie stick with us.

The next day we went to Lunenberg.

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Lunenberg! Managed to catch a glimpse of the Bluenose, which in case you didn’t know is that boat on the Canadian dime. How’s that for important boats.

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After our day trip to Lunenberg, we went over to Halifax, where we stayed at St Mary’s University. It was quite affordable and close enough to the city that we could walk there.

When we were in Halifax, we did this tour of the downtown area on this unusual amphibious vehicle that goes on both land and water.
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They say if you walk down Spring Garden Road, you will bump into someone you know. Well, we don’t know anyone in this town, but we saw this lady the first time in the McDonald’s washroom and the second time outside the Central Library. We also saw a Japanese couple twice as well as this kid we originally saw at the Seaport Farmer’s Market. No joke.

We spent 2 days in Halifax and on our final day, we managed to book a tour to Peggy’s Cove on our last day.

Asked this lady to take a photo of us with the iconic Peggy’s Cove lighthouse.
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I mean, when you visit a fancy lighthouse and ask for a photo, I think it’s safe to say you want the fancy lighthouse in it.

We were better off with our selfie stick.

Anyway before we left, my friend Kelly picked up 3 lobsters at the airport because did you
know you can buy live lobsters at the airport.

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That is a wrap for my trip around Nova Scotia! Honestly, it was quite different from the usual vacations I take. I can no longer look at lobsters without thinking about how weird they look.

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Ning goes to Bangkok

Bangkok! South East Asia’s City of Angels.

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I love Bangkok, I’ve been here a few times. The food is great, the people are friendly, and the shopping is pretty awesome.

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I noticed that Thai school kids are always looking at their smartphones… and many of them have braces.

First thing you notice when you land in Thailand is the roaring tourist trade.

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This was especially true when I visited the Grand Palace. Floods of tourists everywhere.

English is not widely spoken here, but they smile a lot.

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The hotel I stayed at had no wifi in the room, so I had to run down to the lobby every time I wanted to go online.

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Many of the guests were sitting on the lobby sofas checking their facebook or whatever.

This was quite inconvenient for us 21st century folk. Everyone is always glued to their screens nowadays. How can I be disconnected from the rest of the world???

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When I was in the elevator, my ambiguous nationality piqued one little Chinese girl’s interest.

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It’s always interesting to visit Chatuchak weekend market which sells all sorts of things from clothes to pets.

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The Betta fish are as low as 20 baht (CAD 0.60)??? I don’t know how much they are in Canada but they are definitely not 60 cents.

I love Thai food, it’s one of my favourite cuisines. I visited this place called Thipsamai for pad thai.

To be honest, the pad thai was average and cost 90 baht while the orange juice was a whopping 160 baht. The pad thai at Khao San Road was better, and I mean Khao San Road restaurant in Toronto, not the actual road in Bangkok.

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However they are raking money like nobody’s business, so they must be doing something right.

I also got to have my favourite Bangkok biscuit in Chinatown. The biscuit guy is obviously very well protected with his many amulets.

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A great deal of my time was spent in various malls because when it’s 35°C out there you really don’t want to be anywhere without air conditioning.

I really like Tokyu department store at Mah Boon Khrong partially because they carry these amazing T-shirts by Grafika and they are literally the BEST.

I have T-shirts from here that I have been wearing for umpteen years and the quality is SUPERB. The prints are still in-tact, no cracks, NOTHING and keep in mind I wear these everyday*. The colour doesn’t run. It doesn’t shrink or warp in the washer and dryer either.

20/10 would recommend. In fact, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A+++++.

*People may question my fashion sense. I wear these at home when I want to be comfortable lah… obviously not when I am presenting my project during final reviews.

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review

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Just kidding, I don’t actually dress like the last one and I don’t have a Pomeranian.

I’m always amused to hear of Malaysian dignitaries with exquisite taste who like to carry luxury designer bags which everybody has difficulty pronouncing (like -ahem- the Hermès Birkin Bag) and then I went ahead and bought myself a backpack and landed myself with the same issue of being unable to pronounce the brand.

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Oops.

Swedish or any Scandinavian friends, care to help me out? Thule… Too-lay… Too-lee….?

Basically Bangkok is amazing. I most definitely will be back.

If you like this post on Bangkok you may want to check out my post on New York. Or my Facebook. Do both, actually. Also comment, because I read all of your comments. 😀

Edit(12 Aug 2015): One of my readers sent me some information and a recipe for pad thai. Check it out if you like.

Durian

IT’S DURIAN SEASON.

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I’m sure most of you have at least heard of this legendary fruit. Durian is a big deal where I am from. Some of the best durians are reputed to come from Penang island.

There are actually many cultivars of durian, and they all have really funky sounding names worthy of small time thugs.

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It is impossible to properly describe the odour and flavour of a durian without actually encountering one in the flesh. I have heard many descriptions ranging from mango and papaya to rotten onions soaked in turpentine. Very colourful, but not very useful.

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I went to the market this morning with my aunts to pick some durian. It was super fascinating to watch the sellers pick and cut durian.

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Sometimes a durian borer appears in the durian, which is quickly fed to the seller’s prize-winning Arowana as durian borer sashimi.

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My relationship with durian is complicated. I think I used to kind of like it as a kid, and then while on vacation in Pangkor Island I got food poisoning from durian ice cream.

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No durian for the next two-thirds of my life.

I then became the designated bee swatter at every subsequent durian party.

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My reintroduction to durian happened 3 years ago at someone’s durian party.

 

It didn’t taste bad. The texture was like… if ice cream grew on trees… it tasted sweet, and I kind of liked it a little bit.offer

 

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What do you guys know about durian? Share your thoughts in the comments! Check out a recent painting that I made of durian on my facebook page!

First Summer Adventure

A while back I blogged about my amazing experience flying and getting bumped up to business class.

Recently, I *may* have made fun of a completely insane flight schedule here while I was looking for flight tickets, which I did not take up.

This time flying from Toronto to Penang , I decided to fly with China Airlines because of the short layover and direct flight.

The day started off normally. I had to lug a couple of massive suitcases over to the airport, which wasn’t so bad because my friend helped me.

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My flight wasn’t till 10pm but I got the airport at 4pm because I was a super keener. So I listened to a few podcasts before being able to check in.

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The flight was about 4.5 hours to Vancouver. By the time I got to Vancouver I was so tired from all the packing and moving that I was looking forward to sleeping on the plane for the next 13 hours.

I decided to change into something more comfortable for the 13 hour flight.

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While I was waiting at the gate, I heard the ground staff call my name. They mentioned that WestJet allowed for 10kg in your carry-on while China Airlines only allowed for 7kg. Since my carry-on was over that limit, they had to check it in.

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I was so out of it I said “yeah, sure whatever” because I thought that I would only be away from my carry-on for a little while and I would rough it out. Technically they shouldn’t have taken my carry-on, you are allowed one personal item (in this case my backpack) and one carry-on.

So we got on the plane and I was seated next to this mega wizened lady. I fell asleep in my seat before we even took off…

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I woke up 2 hours later to find out that we were still on the ground.

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The plane engine was busted and they had to ship parts… from Taipei. So our flight was delayed for almost 24 hours.

We were told that due to limited airport hotel rooms available, those from Vancouver had to be sent home by cab to await the rescheduled departure time.

They put me in this room that was usually reserved for those with special needs. I had a king sized bed and massive everything. Showers, bathroom… everything was about three times the usual size.

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Keep in mind that they had taken my carry-on with all my clothes and toiletries so I had no change of clothes.

I had a meal voucher at the hotel restaurant but everything there was so expensive. I mean who pays $18 for 3 pancakes and $8 for juice? Apparently me.

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Since I had a whole day in Vancouver to do whatever I wanted, I decided to look for Japadogs.

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I also spent my day sitting at the beautiful waterfront eating Japadogs and staring at boats.

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When I got back to the airport I lined up for my new boarding pass and was given a coupon for inflight purchases and another meal voucher.

I was so tired from this ridiculous delay that I think I slept for about 8 of the 13 hours.

When we landed in Taipei they gave us chocolate to apologize for the delay. Those with connecting flights were ushered off into the business class lounge to rest.

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Since I obviously missed my connecting flight to Penang, they put me on a flight to Kuala Lumpur and then on MAS to Penang.

Now the entire point of my flying with China Airlines was because I wanted to avoid having to go to Kuala Lumpur… but nope, the stars determined that I had to fly to KL.

So I spent the next few hours at the China Airlines lounge in Taipei eating dumplings trying to sleep without actually falling asleep.

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My flight to Kuala Lumpur was pleasant. I actually watched a couple of Chinese movies, but by the time I got to KLIA I was pretty much busted. I rolled past immigration with my ninja turtle backpack over to the gate, only to find out that they had switched the gate.

I managed to catch a ride on one of those airport buggy things to the second gate.

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Only to find out that they changed the gate AGAIN.

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Needless to say that when I got to Penang my internal battery was so drained I was ready to pass out.

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China Airlines, providing me with the first adventure of summer.
Please check out my Facebook for more drawings of things! Whether you like this page or don’t, you should hit the “Like” button and comment! I look forward to it.

Summer

Summer is not my favourite season. Here is why:

It’s 10pm and the sun is still up.

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It’s 4am and the sun is already up.

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Bugs.

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Everybody just wants to go and “enjoy the sun”.

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The heat.

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The humidity does weird stuff to my hair.

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I don’t completely dislike summer of course. There are a few things that I like.

Rain. If it would rain all day, everyday. It would be magical.

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Summer Fruit.

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Barbecues.

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Looking at everybody’s tattoos.

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but most of all, DOGS ON THE STREET.

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I used to draw dogs exclusively for the first 10 years of my life.

I’m serious. I used to only draw dogs, never humans.

So if you have a pet dog that you want me to draw. Send me note via facebook!  🙂