Ning goes to Bangkok

Bangkok! South East Asia’s City of Angels.

welcome

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

schoolkids

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.

tourist

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.

howmuch

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.

smallscreen

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???

emaillikefacebook

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

chinesethai

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

chatucak

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.

thipsamai

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.

pancake

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.

athome

review

dinner

oscars

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.

thule

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.

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Durian

IT’S DURIAN SEASON.

pick_durian

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.

thug

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.

durian_lover
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.

sniff

listenopenworm

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

feed

terkejut

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.

icecream

hospital

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

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

makan

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

 

eatlah

lick

 

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.

depart

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.

podcast

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.

changing

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.

checkin

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…

sleep

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

stillhere

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.

king

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.

makan

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

japadog1

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

japadog2

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.

chocolate

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.

lounge

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.

klia1

Only to find out that they changed the gate AGAIN.

klia2

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

FLIGHT_3

China Airlines, providing me with the first adventure of summer.
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The Great Canadian Outdoors

Everyone in our program has to go through two field courses where we go out into the wilderness and do outdoor things.

The first field course was held during late summer and was incredibly overwhelming.

fied1-1field1-2

The second field course was held during early spring. This time I understood what we were doing, I just didn’t know why we were doing it.

field2-1field2-2

This year, the course was held during the coldest week in April. The week before and after, it was nice and sunny and the weather was amazing, and then suddenly BOOM. Below freezing temperatures. Rain. Maybe a MINI TORNADO.

tent

The week after the field course it was back to sunshine, rainbows and happiness.The weather knows. It knows when we are outdoors.

Almost every day of the field course, we were outdoors measuring, recording and sketching things.Our trip started off on a very windy and rainy Monday at Ashbridges Bay and Leslie Street Spit where we collected data and made transects.

transect

Next day, we visited St Williams Nursery where they specialize in growing and selling native plants.

oak

After that, we headed over to Backus Woods, one of the best remaining examples of a Carolinian forest. We met this super tree enthusiast named Mary who knew everything.

mary

There was an overnight camping trip near Long Point, which was actually a lot of fun. We roasted marshmallows, had a barbeque and played games.

marshmallow

Next day we got to see how birds were tagged so that we can observe changes in their migratory path.

bird

Birds are cute. I like birds.

We visited the beach on Long Point Provincial Park near Lake Erie. It was 50km/h winds and a little bit of snow. So you know, not the best beach weather.

snow

sad

Nothing like a little snow on the beach to say welcome to Canada!

After our totally insane outdoors trip we had a planting excursion where we planted some river willow.

 

hammer_willow

We dug out trees, wrapped some trees in burlap, and planted a bunch of dogwood. All when the temperature was -2 Celcius.

 

plant_dogwood

All in all, the weather was not the greatest but I think the trip was pretty fun.I think the trip was quite eye opening… actually I think the weather added to how interesting it was.

If you like this you should like my Facebook page and follow me Instagram to see photos I took during the field course! 🙂

Maple Syrup Harvest

Yoooooo! I’m finally back after a bit of inactivity. An intense schedule would drive anyone into workaholic mode. Past few months have been busy but rewarding? Lots of really interesting stuff happened.

I did yoga for the first time, wearing all the wrong clothes because of my last minute decision to just pop in.

yoga

A lot of rendering  and playing Love Live! SIF while waiting for things to render.

render

And Chinese New Year!

cny

But the important thing is that I am here I am doodling again.

hey

A couple weeks ago I attended a maple syrup harvest organized by my school. It sounded like a unique experience and it was held at Hart House Farm in Caledon so I said… why not.

While we were on the bus, there was some girl next to us who was doing some school work. And here, Julie and I were trying to not think about school work.

work

We got to Caledon at about 11am and were greeted with a pretty amazing pancake brunch.

Julie and I had 2 helpings because… the food was really good.

makan

After brunch we went to visit the sugar bush where all the maple trees were.

sugarbush

The maple sap is carried away from the trees in this web of tubes all the way to the sugar shack where it is boiled down to syrup.

We got to sample some of the maple syrup produced right on the farm.Apparently it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to get 1 gallon of syrup which explains why it’s so expensive.

sample

The farm was really spectacular! Julie and I had been there before for our field course back in September. This time we walked about in the open fields in late winter, got our shoes muddy…  and sliced open a some insect infested goldenrod bulb to expose the fly larvae within.

gall_fly

It felt really good to be out of the city for a while. Even though half the time while we were at the farm we were thinking about school work.

But we got to decorate sugar cookies!

sugar

Overall I would say it was a really fun and educational short trip. I had a good time and I would definitely try to go again and again.

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Bella the therapy dog

Earlier this year I was feeling incredibly stressed and I was in dire need of some puppy therapy.

ning_stress

Rumour has it that our faculty had a designated therapy dog, but for whatever reason the dog was out of service. (Maybe, the dog was on vacation, idk)

dog_vacay

The days went by and my week of crazy came and went, and then I received an email from my mom, telling me about a therapy dog coming to my university… and has been coming 2 times a week for the past 5 weeks.

Obviously, my first reaction was, “Bye everyone, I’m going to pet puppies.”

surrounded

So that day I told everyone I knew that I was going to pet puppies and be right back.
hangout
That morning, I rushed over to the pet therapy room half an hour before the actual start time. I heard that I would have to line up for 3 hours just so that I could touch a puppy for 10 minutes.

That wasn’t true, I was there for 1.5 hours and all I did was touch dog.

I just really wanted to be first in line to pet the dog.

 

pet

And then BELLA CAME! She is a BEAGLE MIX! Beagles are wonderful. I love beagles. BEAGLES!!!

bella

Beagles are my favourite dog because they are small but not too small. And their ears. THEIR EARS!!!

me

Students came and went and petted Bella for a few minutes, but I sat there for over an hour HAHAHA.

julie

Bella was SO CALM. All she did was sniff sniff sniff. She didn’t lick at all! And basically she walked up to you to sniff you if you were a new person she had never met before. And then sat there and was petted by stressed students. Such a good dog.

stressed

Dogs are such amazing, loveable, non-judgemental creatures. I need 20 of them.

If you are at the U of T and need some puppy therapy. TODAY IS BELLA’S LAST DAY FOR THIS SEASON! Click here for details.

I was told that Bella would be coming back next spring. I will most definitely come back for puppy cuddles.

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The landscape architecture student

Today we will be talking about the landscape architecture student.

Here we see a new landscape architecture student eager to start their day doing landscape architecture student things.

idk

The students are frequently seen in groups in their natural habitat– the studio. While some of them return to their quarters to sleep at night, it is not uncommon to doze off within the studio walls.

sleep

A typical life cycle begins with the introduction of a project. Here we see a landscape architecture student reading the project description.

brief

Of course, their studio project isn’t the only project they have. They also have assignments on visual communication.

crash

Site engineering.

site_eng

site_eng2

 

History and criticism.

ciam

Roughly once every 2 weeks, we see the landscape architecture student perform a ritual known as “plotting”

plotter

They also face the panel which consists of their instructors and occasionally, guest critics. The landscape architecture student then has 5 minutes to justify all the design decisions made in the duration of 2 weeks.

critic

After the review, the landscape architecture student retires to their quarters for a well deserved rest.

It is not uncommon to rest before they even make it to their quarters.

rest

And then the following week, they start all over again.

done

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Feel free to share with your fellow landscape architecture students!

Disclaimer: Resemblance to anyone real or fictional is purely coincidental. Keep well, landscape architecture students!

Ning goes to New York (University and Chinatown)

Wei was at school so I decided to go sketching around her campus while waiting for her to be done.

 

campus

 

There was this statue on campus which Wei insists is supposed to be Athena. athena

 

It did not look like Athena to me,  especially at night.

 

sure

You be the judge. I was drawing this family where these Chinese grandparents were playing with their grandkids. I think their parents were either one of those mega elite students or brainy researchers at the university.

One of the grandpas asked me in Mandarin if I was doing my PhD. I’m not sure why he was so specific, I must have looked very smart to him.

prof

Chinese Physiognomy at it’s finest.

breakdown

 

One of the places Wei and I explored together was Chinatown.

chinatown

 

From my experience, Chinatowns look very similar everywhere because Chinese businessman always display their goods in the same style since time immemorial. Walking around Chinatown with Wei, we found a very interesting store. I kid you not, the layout of the store was like this:

store

 

Good thing is, you can buy a new cell phone, get some new Kpop tunes, a bubble tea and get your hair done all in 1.5 places. I loved it.

 

We had dinner in Chinatown with Jeamme,our friend from grade school. It was so nice to see old friends and eat food spicy enough to burn off your tongue. Just kidding it wasn’t that spicy, well maybe for the untrained palate it is.

makan

Just us being overly dramatic with our food. Jeamme is very proper as always. Of course we finished our meal with bubble tea. Not at the store which sold about 100 things, just a regular bubble tea store.

bubbletea

 

I told you Jeamme was proper.

If you like what you see, you should like me on the bookface.

Graduation

It’s GRAD season. My convocation came and went. According to friends who saw me walk across the stage, I looked super confused from start to finish. Like I wandered into the wrong hall and somehow managed to find a gown, and then started shaking hands with all these people in funny robes and couldn’t understand why.

dean

chancellor

Then the chair of design studies says congrats to me and for a few seconds I forgot who he was as well. I don’t see him very often you see.

chair

The speeches were pretty standard. “You guys have bright futures ahead of you and other things”. I think I could have been the only one who was actually listening to them.

listening

I was talking to some people about how valuable a university education really is. Being in the same program as I was, we have similar qualifications, but our experiences with school were extremely different.

lie

I feel like I did not go to the same school my friends went to because I definitely do not feel like I know everything.

If anything, university taught me how much I don’t know. But I did get pretty good at finding stuff out.

confusion

Which got me thinking about something. You know this chart, the one where everybody expects your life achievements to go in a certain order:

chart1

And then they conveniently forget to tell you that almost no one’s life happens in that order, because everyone’s life is different.

I propose a more realistic chart:

chart2

OK, maybe not 100% realistic, but you know what I mean. You can’t plan life 100% because it can suddenly throw a curve ball at you, and then you have to figure out a way to adapt.

Opportunities are different for everyone. I have some friends who found work immediately after school (or during school), some of them went back to school to pursue something totally different. Others went to grad school and some others are still looking for jobs.

Your life was different from everyone else’s from the get-go anyway, what makes you think it’ll be the same as everyone else after school.

So for those of you who don’t like to listen to other people talk, maybe pictures might be more fun to look at:

fineok

 

Congrats to everyone graduating! And to those who aren’t, YOU WILL BE OKAY, TOO.

I did a quick doodle on my Facebook page about me… tossing my hat. Which you should like! If you haven’t already. 🙂