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.

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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.

icecream

hospital

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

 

eatlah

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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.

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…

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

If you like what you see here please check out my facebook and give me a thumbs up! Also my twitter for funsies. I try to update there most of the time…. when I’m not swimming in an ocean of work that is.

Do you guys have Instagram? Maybe follow me on Instagram as well?

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.

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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.

Drawing from Life Stories: Ronnie

Penang is full of colonial buildings and ever since the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing, boutique establishments have been popping up like mushrooms after the rain.

heritage_house

 

I’ve been going around the old Georgetown area to draw buildings since high school, you know, before it was cool. *hipster moment*then

Actually, it was pretty cool already, but after the listing things went into overdrive and everyone started doing it.

now

One of the first buildings I ever drew was St George’s Church in Farquhar Street mainly because parking was convenient, and there was always shade. Shade is very important especially in this corner of the world.

I went there to paint on Sundays. Obviously since it was a church, there was Sunday service.

I met a little boy named Ronnie who was about 9. He was a curious kid, and would drop by and watch me after church.ronnie

He has a younger sister and brother who tag along wherever he goes.

I learned that he lived with his grandparents in the kopitiam (Chinese style coffee shop for you non-South East Asian folks) across the church. I don’t really know much else about him, but he seemed like a good kid with very heavy responsibilities for his age.

Ronnie was very well behaved. He looked after his younger siblings and dressed them in awesome clothes.

drawing

Ronnie is probably in high school by now. I hope he and his siblings are doing well.

highschool

RONNIE. YOU GO RONNIE.

If you like this you should check me out on the book face. I mean facebook.

The Best Flight Ever

Today I am going to be blogging about the best plane ride I have ever had.

When I was younger my parents told me about their trip to the US. They were flying from Tokyo to Hawaii, and then the flight was oversold and my parents were upgraded to Business Class.

dad

I thought this was the stuff of urban legends because maybe back then technology was not that great and maybe there was a bug in the system idk.

That was until something similar happened to me.

airport

I was flying from Taiwan to Vancouver after spending summer in Malaysia.

When it was boarding time, my ticket wouldn’t go through.

scannothru

Obviously I panicked. School was going to start in less than a week and I was stuck in Taiwan.

panic

And then suddenly.

businessclass

WALAO EH. SURE BO. But I won’t complain, I will take this. I ACCEPT.

majide

It was really cool having the stewardess address me by my name.

champagne

But I was too excited and I downed in all in one sitting. Not my proudest moment. And I ended up KO for 6 hours of my 12 hour flight.

ko

Turns out, I got upgraded because my seat neighbour had requested earlier that the seat next to him be empty, but since they oversold the flight, they couldn’t save the seat next to him anymore, and they had to upgrade someone.

I ended up being taught how to fly businessby my seat neighbour, Bill.

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I had my own flight slippers. And toiletries. It was kind of a big deal.

slippers

So I can personally vouch for it! Airlines do still oversell their seats and I suppose chances of you getting bumped up is higher when you travel alone…maybe. The point is that it still happens.

I must admit that ever since then whenever I fly I always secretly hope that I will be upgraded again hahahahaha

denpasar london

Unlikely to happen again though haha, I feel that the next time I get to fly business will either be because I collected enough miles or because I can afford the ticket. But I think economy class isn’t that bad, I’m not so tall that I cannot stretch out my legs at all so it’s still pretty good.

I’d love to hear feedback from all of you folks who read my blog. Do you like these comic strips that I make? Please leave a comment! Or Like! Or share! Or do all of them! 8)

The Great Room Cleanup

The other day I had this strange philosophical moment. I had a thought, a cluttered room is a cluttered mind. Haha, I don’t know why all of a sudden this came to my head,  not sure if distracted… or genuinely want to clear out the space, but regardless, I decided to do a major cleanup of my cave.

While I was cleaning my place, I stumbled across a bunch of random things that were quite delightful. I’ve done the bathroom and kitchen, and have progressed to the bedroom… part 1. So far I have found:

  1.  Random piece of hot pressed watercolour paper.
  2.  1 Free cookie coupon from Cookies by George
  3.  Hand sanitizer.

TREASURE HUNNTTTT.

I also came across some old sketchbooks from last year when I was really into buildings and stuff, (I drew a bunch of buildings in the inner Georgetown heritage sites and made friends with cats) and also some drawings I made while I was on vacation in Bali, Indonesia.

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Tanah Lot! It’s a really pretty place. People flock here to be a tourist, watch the sun rise/set. You know, standard tourist things.

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Some lady on Jimbaran Beach, also in Bali.

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Me… drawing limau kasturi and some flowers. I do not recall where the plants came from. Tropical plants right? They just sprout up all over the place.

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A block of pre-war houses on Armenian Street, Penang. It was over here that I made friends with a calico cat.

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Cheah Kongsi inner courtyard. I sat here to hide from the sun… Penang humidity levels are pretty intense.

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Nagore Shrine. I really enjoyed drawing this one. I got to drink ginger milk tea.

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The view of some houses from St George’s Church, also Penang.

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Some ah pek having his lunch in a coffee shop.

After I stopped working, I also did some paintings of a coffee shop on Stewart Lane as well as the infamous Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow auntie.

stewartlane

Stewart Lane! I think the pigeons are the best part of the painting.

I sold this painting at Tesoro. *v* THANK YOU PERSON WHO BOUGHT THIS. Even though I didn’t really get any money out of it , but at least I was able to sell for a good price. All proceeds were donated to our Grad Show fund!

lorongselamat

Lorong Selamat!

For those who are new to the Penang street food scene, Char Koay Teow is a kind of fried flat rice noodle dish which is really popular here, Lorong Selamat (literally means… Selamat Lane) is where of the most famous CKT stalls are. The old lady who makes this is quite notorious for… her temper, she has gotten onto Internet flame wars before, lol. but dayuuummm she makes a fine CKT. *v*

I also got chased out of her shop because there were customers from Singapore coming over and I was “taking up space” by sitting there and drawing her. Even though I bought her crazy expensive char koay teow every time I visited.

That’s it for now! I might find more gems as I continue on my room cleaning adventures.