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.

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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???

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.

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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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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!

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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.

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 (Guggenheim and MoMA)

I went to New York last year to visit a very good friend of mine, Wei. She’s my friend since we were little kids.

nyc

So Wei had to attend class in the mornings so I had the whole day to visit museums. I was going to meet Wei later in the afternoon so that we could go to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) together and I could finally see what the big deal was about.

So I Google mapped my way to 5th Avenue and spent my morning there.

bus

I went to the Guggenheim. I was disappointed, not because the stuff in the Guggenheim Museum wasn’t rad (because it was pretty rad) but because they closed the spiral thing to set up an exhibition.

The whole point of going to the museum is to climb the spiral thing!guggenheim

I saw a bunch of Cezanne and Matisse.

cezanne

And a couple that I’ve seen that are really famous but their names escape me.

matisse

There were these Japanese tourists who for whatever reason seemed to be following me… into all the museums

japan

The real party started at MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art.

Let me break it down for you, the history of art, according to Ning.

arthistory

During this time I was taking a class in Modernism and Modernity and I hoped to find something interesting to put into my final essay.

elephant

Needless to say I found a lot of interesting things, though none was really suited for my essay.

My favourite painting in MoMA was Charles Demuth’s Corn and Peaches. I guess it speaks to my tastes.

demuth

One day, when I can afford this,and if it is for sale, I will buy this painting.

If not, I will buy MoMA.

And I got to see the famous white Square. Or White on white by Malevich.

white

To those who say “I could do this in pre-school!” I know when I was in pre-school I could not draw straight lines even with a ruler, maybe in elementary school. Pre-school Ning was a rebel who only drew dogs.

Well, it was bigger that I thought it would be… and there were a bunch more of Malevich’s squares to keep it company.oof

Oof. It’s by the same guy who painted the can of flying spam.

But my favourite piece of artwork. The Plank.

nakedfragrance

Yes. That’s me, planking next to the plank.

Here’s a link to the actual piece.

It is my favourite because of the description. How can anyone not love this plank.It’s called The Absolutely Naked Fragrance. Below is the description from the MoMA website:

McCracken began producing his vibrant monochrome “planks” in 1966. While the polished resin surface captures the aesthetic of surfing and car culture unique to Southern California in the 1960s, the title was drawn from advertising slogans in fashion magazines. The work’s interaction with both the floor and wall is meant to call attention to the space occupied in the gallery by both viewer and object. “I see the plank as existing between two worlds,” McCracken has said, “the floor representing the physical world of standing objects, trees, cars, buildings, human bodies, and everything, and the wall representing the world of the imagination, illusionistic painting space, human mental space, and all that.”

Wei said I should have written about the plank. I think I should have listened to her. But whatever, Gray’s Papaya afterwards. ($5 for 2 hot dogs and a drink)

grays

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