firstly let me say that the weather is just so bad that makes me want to just go somewhere else except sydney. just on the weekend it was so intensely hot. now someone walks in and turns the switch around and now its really wintery cold. whats wrong with you sydney. arggh!
then this crazy woman in the office whom i shall call ape girl "jane" take note she's an executive but keeps on blabbering left and right at the topmost range her squeeeeky voice. far out! i just hope someone has the guts to say a big SHUTDAFUCKUP!
there you go. i realised blogging makes my soul bit lighter now. And again, Jane has a counterpart who seats adjacent to her. I call him Gimli, the king of dwarfs. Although he has no hair he is so barbaric and always makes the annoying noise all the time. As frequent as he smokes like a chimney! Anyway my two cents is that executives should either be stripped from their title if they don't have the proper decorum on how to act their age and how to act their positions. Also, they can go back to their caves where they truly belong.
anyway living in the city can be a pain. firstly the security guards are so strict i.e., when it comes to guest you have to signin and they have curfew! they treat us like all of us are studying. we're decent professionals for crying out loud. just counting the days till the lease expire and off we go! also the pain of travelling everyday to work. although only takes me 25 mins but for some reason i always feel exhausted day in day out.
whatelse, oh the good thing is that i started to read again. i finished a book called a thousand splendid suns, it was phenomenal. there were so many things i didn't realise about the middle east and its culture. the dark ages in afghan history. the way the story unfolds was really riveting and i love how each character develops in the journey that intertwines their own stories. at the end i can't help but marvel at how laila has redeemed herself and mariams memory lives on...
My memories of Istanbul is very specific and distinct. You can tell that from all the places that I have been, Turkey is the most interesting of them all. You find a different culture, cuisine, people in a city where irony and contradiction is just in front of you. From old town to modern posh hotels. Church and mosque coincide peacefully. Richness of its culture from the various spices, cuisine that it has to offer. From Europe to Asia.
Two days that I was there I try to get the best out of Istanbul as much as I can. I would have stayed longer and I would have spent more money here. But that's the problem when you save the best for last. I mean you have limited time and money to see and experience everything. But I did not fail myself. I went to most places and I can go in two days. I've seen Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi, Grand Bazaar, Taksim, Karakoy, Galatica Bridge/Tower, Kadikoy, Optimum Outlet in Asian side. I wasn't able to eat much this time around and it would have been better if I did experience the best of Turkish Cuisine including the interesting elastic ice cream I've been hearing. But there's definitely a next time. I would come back to Turkey.
Last night in Istanbul I went to a historic hammam to experience it. I felt like the scrub took away all the toxins buildup from the rest of my european trip and replaced it fresh fragrance of the soap that I was soaked in.
I did enjoy the hotel I booked. Million Stone's hospitality is unparalleled. Vault Karakoy is too commercial and lacks honest warm hospitality of the former but their façade is something they can boast to its guest. The only SLH where I didn't get the special treatment. But still its not too bad I like its hollow interior.
Contrary to Smart Traveller's advice of the high degree of caution due to danger. I did not feel any threat of danger at any point and perhaps this is one of the safest city I went to that I can think of. To be fair, I did walk past 12 at night on dark street but people are friendly and nice. Which makes Istanbul my second city after Paris that has special place in my travel vault.
This city has its innate charms no matter what. The rained poured at night time but nothing can stop the allure that the city of lights can offer. I met my friends back in London randomly and we agreed to meet in Paris for our first night in the city. It was nice having photo taken at Tour Eiffel even with rain. I heard that Paris is more beautiful under the rain. I confirm it is equally beautiful no matter what.
Earlier that day we went to Hermes in Saint Honore, I believe this is the flagship. I was so gob smacked to see how massive it was and the range is endless. I did buy something for myself. Call it destiny but the belt I bought is a perfect match with my style.
Pressed with time I scanned my mind as to what I would be needing for the rest of the trip. I realised that I am about to ran out of clothes to wear. So thinking about brands, Zara is to Spain. Burberry is to. London. Hence, Kenzo is to Paris. I ended up buying the pair of shoes I've always wanted to buy online, this time I do have the size. Got a Tee as well with the infamous Kenzo Tiger.
Ended with a wonderful champagne and macarons complements from Les Jardin de la Villa. Ja'taime Paris. No matter what.
Except for custom pricks who confiscated my tax refund. schmucks!
London greeted me with a warm sunshine. Again it was concealing its true self. Similar to when I first arrive two years back. I went straight to my mates hotel just to drop of my bag and headed out to Westminister to see the familiar sites. For me the best hotdog in London is the stand just at Westminister Abbeys tail. While we were eating the heavy clouds started to breakout with light drizzle eventually turning into a crybaby pouring all over. It sucks because all our plans has to be cancelled and diverted into shopping spree. Yes I did get the shoes i planned for at Selfridges but. Marks and Spencer is nowhere to be found. Note to self is to research ahead of time. I taught I knew London very well as this is my third time in the city. I guess not.
Watched a musical at west end, it's one of the long running classics, Miss Saigon. Maybe it's the sheer exhaustion or the really bad weather dawning on me. But I think it's the vibe inside the theatre, warm and nourturing that quickly brought me to dreamland. To be fair I did enjoy the first half of the beginning act. The songs were familiar. But I struggled to snooze. The war scene and uprising is just to heavy to take. Yes I felt like I was in dreamland, fading away and not accomplishing anything. I was merely wishing things I planned for come into fruition. Oh well.
Felt like I wasted my time in London all for nothing. You are expensive. You are rude. You are unwelcoming. Your nothing but wasteland. Far out..
The rain started in Berlin and went all the way to London and Paris. The experience was horrific. I went to Berlin Wall only to find out that it's only a tourist attraction at day time. It's completely hopeless at night. The signs weren't illuminated. To make it worse, Schoneberg is deserted. I read that Berlins nightlife is one of the best. But on a rainy Monday who would have guessed it was dead.
Two things stood out for me. One is the train s-bahn and u-bahn. I love the rail system in Berlin complicated yet easy to understand. Secondly, the people were nice. In particular the old lady who helped me navigate through the railway system. I talked with her all throughout the journey and learnt that she teaches German to foreign pupils. I got myself a quick session of the language with illustrations. She was nice and i realised that even though I wasn't able to see the historic places, sometimes going out to experience the warmth and hospitality like engaging with people is enough to satisfy my rainy journey in Germany.
The trip to Greece was only for a short while. It was a day trip to a Greek Island called Mykonos. Overnight stay in Athens and a very short visit to Acropolis. It was more of a relaxing vibe that only a minuscule of time was spent on an effortless hike to Parthenon. My overall assessment is that I would definitely go back and explore the many beautiful islands that Greece has to offer. And of course also explore the ancient ruins and the mystifying archeological sites.
Mykonos is too commercialise that sometimes they lack the warmth I was looking for. Unlike in Athens people are so welcoming and very friendly. To compensate, Mykonos has the natural beauty of cliffs, mountain and of course the blue Aegean Sea. I also like the white fascade of the hotels and organised huts situated on beach shore.
One of the reasons I flew to Greece is to do a mileage run to retain my gold membership with Aegean Airlines. At the back of my mind I was adamant to take this flight cos my mum suggested against it. The services of Aegean maybe simple (from lounge to aircraft configuration); however what they lack in that area was overcompensated with their warm hospitality. I flew business intro Europe. However within Greece I flew via Olympic Air (part of Aegean air). The airport in. Mykonos was so small, crowded and chaotic. The one in Athens is much better and just meet my standard.
I stayed at Sofitel Athens (5 star) which was just a quick walk from the terminal. It ticked all the boxes and exceeded my expectations. I stayed in one of the executive room with free access to the club room. It was just perfect cos I don't need to use any of my priority pass limited access (only one left and I am reserving it for Vienna). Sofitel also allowed me to leave my luggage for four days which sealed the deal as my preferred hotel.
I spent more than 150-200 euros for this trip and majority of it went to transport via taxi. Mykonos' transport system is limited and Athens' broken Metro trains. The first spot I went to in Mykonos is. Kalafati straight from the airport and I paid 30 euros. Due to my tight schedule I was planning on catching another cab to Elia, however no response from taxi company so I decided to walk instead. First 20 minutes was good. The walk was scenic, however after the 30 minute line exhaustion took its place. I felt my skin getting burnt quickly and I decided to buy sunscreen which is a jumbo bottle for a whooping 20 euros. Eventually I threw it away. Then an hour has passed and on the verge of giving up as I sat in the middle of nowhere under the scorching heat of the sun. It's sweltering I tell you. I was drenched in sweat and my skin is darker than ever. Right when this guy in red car asked for directions. I told him that he went the wrong way and should go to next adjacent road. After he made a U turn, I muster much courage to finally look back and put an expression like puss in a boots. He did ask me where I am going and if I wanted a hitch. His name is Sam from Lebanon and he's here on a week holiday. He thought I was crazy to due such journey and it's ludicrous to do what I did. He finally parked and gave me tour of the area. According to him this is his favourite beach and I can see why. Left side is for straight and right side is for Lgbt. After that I stayed in hut and ordered my San Pelligrino and never felt this free and relax as before.