Monday, 31 May 2010

Disneyland Becomes Disney World

If Bruges is like Disneyland, Bled is like Disney World.

After five hours behind the wheels, we found ourselves in a little village in Bled. Jure and his family welcomed Andrew and I into their house and gave us our own room with thee comfy beds.

Come to think of it, since I started this trip, I’ve only really slept on one couch at Dheej’s. Don’t get me wrong. That couch was comfortable and as long as I have a place to rest my head for the night, I can’t be happier.

Andrew and I took a one hour leisure stroll around Lake Bled and I am just amazed by what I see. The calm and clear turquoise green water, the snow-capped Alpines Mountains in the near distance, the lone church on the island in the middle of the lake, Bled Castle mounted on top of a cliff - it was beyond my wildest dreams.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Where's My Oversized Yellow Sombrero?

Wii sped down the autobahn at 160km/hr today enroute to Munich. She felt like Speedy Gonzales - only without the oversized yellow sombrero. She likes the German already. She is one happy Wii.

GTA

It was an 8-hour drive from Bruges to Munich. I got my first taste of driving on the highway in a manual car on the wrong side of the road. I don’t mean wrong side literally but the Europeans must know they drive on the wrong side of the road, don’t they?  

Andrew and I arrived at Alex’s place in the late evening at 6pm. Alex was originally from Romania but grew up and is studying in Germany. He told us many stories about Romania and German and its cultural difference. In Romania, one could just show up at a friend’s place and be expected to be welcomed warmly into the house; such is not the case in Germany. He said he liked and missed that about Romania very much. With the world cup coming up and Germany being a hot favourite, I’m sure he won’t miss Romania for a month.  

Given we were all sleeping in the same room (but ON different mattresses and couch), Alex moved his telly into the kitchen so that he can continue his GTA game, which he got from his friend just yesterday.  

“Would you want to play?” “Not a good idea because Andrew will have a heart attack tomorrow if I drive the same way on the road as I do in GTA”

We both laughed.

No Special Coffee For Me

I was told coffeeshops are dime a dozen in the Netherlands. Where were they when I drove past the country enroute from Belgium to Germany?

The Long Road Ahead

Here's a teaser for my itinerary for the next five weeks which start and end in the picuresque city of Bruges in Belgium.

30-May Munich, Germany
31-May Bled, Slovenia
2-Jun Ljubljana, Slovenia
4-Jun Zagreb, Croatia
6-Jun Rijeka, Croatia
8-Jun Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
9-Jun Split, Croatia
11-Jun Dubrovnik, Croatia
13-Jun Sarajevo, Bosnia
15-Jun Belgrade, Serbia
17-Jun Novi Sad, Serbia
19-Jun Sibiu, Romania
21-Jun Cluj, Romania
24-Jun Eger, Hungary
26-Jun Budapest, Hungary
28-Jun Bratislava, Slovakia
30-Jun Vienna, Austria
3-Jul Stuttgart, Germany
4-Jul Bruges, Belgium

Did someone say roooooooooooooooatrip!?! :)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Penguin Family

I held a family of penguins in my hands today. :)

More Bruges

Michelangelo's Madonna with child sits quietly behind wire mesh in Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk. I stared at it and wondered what it would take to become a great artist like him.

A wonderfully delicious strawberry and chocolate laced cupcake nearly got me into hyperactive mode with its pure sugar content.

Last day in Bruges before I set off to the Balkans! :)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Small But Not Tiny

Whoever said Brugge can be explored in a day hasn't visited Brugge or is an idiot. You take your pick. Bruges may be a small place but it's not tiny.

The day was spent walking around Bruge with Victorya and there wasn't enough time to see it all! I need more time in Bruges!

Make a Wish

Sometimes, I wish you don't exist.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Outskirts of Bruges

Liezy drove Maciek and me to Portbrugge and Damme today.

We got sand in our shoes in Portbrugge and got ice cream in our hands in Damme - the biggest sand dunes I've seen so far and the best ice cream I've had so far!

During lunch, we went into a restaurant which Liezy said, afterwards, that it was catered for the elderly. That would explain the dog that acted like it owns the place – the old ones can’t catch him. Haha.

Later in the evening, I filled my tummy with McDonald’s dinner and danced the night away on my 4” heels.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

All Stars Come to An End

If I didn't tell you, you'd think it's chicken I've eaten and won't know it's really a rabbit that filled my tummy.

It was a brown hare named Thumper. Thumper had led a good life and was a leaading character in the movie Bambi before it met its demise.

The fate of all Hollywood stars...

Rainy Day in Disney

The drizzling rain meant I was stuck at home for half a day and I took time to cozy up on the couch, lazing the day away till late noon.  

Like a cult ritual, Andrew and I met some other CSers for a game of pool after dinner.  

Liezy, Maciek and I were chatting till 3am in the morning like old friends, even though we had only met each other a few hours ago. That’s the beauty of CS.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Goodbye, My London Love. Hello, My Disneyland Love.

The Eurostar takes me away from my London love and brings me to Brussels, where I caught another train to arrive in Bruges, which is known as Disneyland’s inspiration.

Andrew picked me up from the train station and took me on a quick tour around the city center.

As one might be aware of, Belgium is known as the land of beer. I had my first Belgium beer and I have a feeling I will be very acquainted with Miss Kriek, or as some may call it, cherry beer.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Wicked End

I paid a visit to Tate Modern today and confirmed that modern art is not my cup of tea. I had my doubts after having visited a few museums of modern art previously but today, I’m putting my foot on the matter. Like seriously, a piece of cloth soaked with menstrual blood is not art! It’s faux-pas.

A 45-minute bus journey, which usually takes 15-minute, allowed me to experience rush hour in London and again, I feel appreciation for Singapore’s efficient transportation system.

I first saw Wicked’s poster in Times Square three years ago in Times Square and since then, I knew I had to go back to NYC or London for it. That’s always a good excuse to visit NYC. :)

A discounted ticket from Leicester Square got my toes tingling and at 6pm, I waited patiently for the long-awaited play. The stage was impressive and for 40 pounds each, I got Michal and myself some pretty darn good seats. I attribute this to the training I had from choosing seats at the Esplanade back home. Wicked is truly wicked!

Love the twisted love story and ditzy blond female lead!

Michal walked me home, despite my repeated reminder that he would miss the last train home. Who said chivalry was dead?

London Loves Me More & More

Today, I caught someone taking picture of moi walking down Leicester Square.

Also, I have a girl telling me "That's a nice dress".

And a guy giving me a one over before saying "Wow".

London does love me! And I'm getting big-headed. Haha.

In View of The Hot Weather

On route to Tate Modern this afternoon, I hear this announcement in the Canary Wharf tube station - "Ladies and gentlemen, in view of the hot weather, it is advisable to carry a bottle of water with you".

Two thoughts popped into my head simultaneously.

First, I almost laughed out loud. How weird is it to hear such an announcement at a train station? If this is Singapore, we would hear this announcement every single day! And then we'll complain. Typical. Haha.

Second and more importantly, guess which smart ass already knew to bring a bottle of water. Hint for you - the one who brought the hot weather everywhere. :)

London has moi to thank for its good weather -  just trying to reciprocate the love. No hard feelings when it denied my departure to Ireland. I'm generous like that. ;)

Summer's Calling

Summer is finally here, baby! The weather is scorching hot! And I have reasons to believe I bring the good weather, baby!

Be.Patient.

I.Do.Not.Have.Time.To.Write.

I.Am.Too.Busy.Having.Rounds.For.Goodness.Sake.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Konnichiwa, London!

Since Apple, Ray and I were heading to a Japanese festival today, I decided to dress the theme and put on a red/black origami-printed dress. Once a fashion student, always a fashion student. :)

The irony of the Japanese festival - it was hosted by a blond.

At Westfield, I shopped to my delight and purchased a pair of sunglasses (I broke my fav pair last night, so technically I’m not breaking my rule of not shopping on the trip) and a fabulous ring from H&M. Even more delightful, I wrapped my arms around two topless hunks posing as lifeguards at A&F. I almost wished we were at the beach where I can feign drowning, so they would have to perform CPR. Haha.  

After that, it was off to Chinatown for a session of pool. It’s really becoming a trend!  

It was Korean for dinner before I met Michal for a night cap at Canary Wharf. Michal lost a bottle of Baileys to me when we placed a bet on the distance between the most-southern point of Italy and Greece being shorter than the distance between Poland and Singapore. Michal must not know that I don’t bet to lose.

Some guys just have to learn it the hard way – I hate to lose.  

But I lost you, didn’t I?

TFL

When you miss your tube stop in London, you don't curse yourself but you curse the Mayor for approving all the ridiculous length of the tunnel walkways to get from one line to the other. TFL doesn't work, Mayor Johnson.

Someone should come to Singapore and take a leaf out of our books...

The Willing Party

"It's scary how you know you have not been brainwashed but you accept that you will be".

Words from a Singaporean who hopes he's in exile in London.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

London Shows Its True Colours


This morning, I made my way back to Apple’s. Before you get the wrong idea, I spent the night at someone else’s because the trains had stopped and the night bus wasn’t near where we were partying at. Wait, why am I even explaining it to you? Anyway, London has most certainly impressed me with its party scene.

In the afternoon, a walking tour through London with Dan made me realised how beautiful the city is. The fusion of modern and ancient architecture took my breath away and for the first time, I saw the city beyond its littered streets. I vaguely remembered St Paul's and it seemed like everything needs a makeover once in a while. I never knew London was such an interesting place. I’m sure you know the reason why.

Dan kept reminding me that I have to return his laptop charger and I kept reminding him “What charger?” He must not know that when you decide to lend someone something, you should be prepared to not get it back and when you do, it’s like hitting the jackpot.

Later in the night, I met up with Justina at a salsa club. There, I moved to the salsa music for the first time and I was charmed – by both the dance moves and a particular guy.

Ending the day in a salsa club was definitely ending the day on a high note.

Not Just Hot

Someone remarked “On one of the hottest day in London, you are wearing leggings”.

I retorted “This way, I can be hotter”.

So bite me.

Friday, 21 May 2010

A Birthday In London

A CSer, Johnny, was celebrating his 30th birthday and posted an event on the forum. Who cares I didn’t know Johnny? It’s a birthday party and where there’s a birthday party, you find me.

Johnny introduced me to another Singaporean, JP, and I cannot be happier for I can speak in Singlish! You have no idea how much I miss butchering the English language with the lah-es and leh-es.

A pub crawl was on the agenda and with two Singaporeans around, the party was on! First, it was a bar on a boat in Embankment with the gorgeous backdrop of the river and London eye, then a.. I forgot… and finally, we find ourselves at Porterhouse where we dance the night away to some fantastic live music.

I dropped my sunglasses and damn, it broke. But that didn’t damper my party mood a single bit. I finally have an excuse to shop!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Old Trafford – Theatre of Dreams

Unless you visit Old Trafford yourself, you can’t even begin to dream how magnificent the place is. I got to visit the VIP room and press lounge, which was different from the usual tour. I must come back for a live game next season!

On a somewhat related and, yet somewhat unrelated side note, Weihao is going to be overjoyed when he sees what he received in the mail in two weeks’ time. Well, he’d better be or at least pretend to be!

You listening, Mr Kam?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Who Is Dheej?


I was supposed to meet Dheej at 12pm in the city center. I took the bus in the wrong direction and ended up wasting an hour. On top of that, the bus driver won't accept my Northern Ireland Sterling pounds, so I literally had to beg someone to exchange some change with me! Then I paid for a pre-paid mobile phone SIM card that allows unlimited data access but only to be told my new HTC phone is not supported by the network. No liking how the start of the day was going at all!

After lunch at Dheej's place, he showed me the sights of Manchester for the afternoon. We spent the day continuing our repartee, just like in our emails. Well, it was good to catch up in person! He’s the sort of guy whom you’re friends with instantly - you make fun of each other and take no offence at all. It’s still weird to think that he’s British of Indian origin and he speaks fluent Japanese with his Japanese girlfriend.

My day turned better after a delicious stracciatella ice-cream. :)

After dinner with Hayley and Michael, I moved to Dheej's apartment, which was arranged before I arrived - just in case anyone gets the wrong idea.

Dheej said I was lucky that the weather had turned from horrible to good when I arrived and I proudly informed him that I bring the Summer wherever I go. He must have missed that memo. A few of Dheej's friends came over for some drinks later in the night and I met Kelvin, who is a Man U fan. So now, I have company for Old Trafford tomorrow! Woohoo~

You must be thinking "Who the hell is Dheej?" Remember the two foreigners whom I brought to a Chinese Opera last year? When we first met, I think he didn’t believe me when I told him I’ll visit him in Manchester this year. Well, he must have missed that memo too.

Somebody Always Does

Somebody always know somebody who knows somebody who knows you. So think twice before you get naughty with that somebody!

The Meaning of Freedom

Dheej is an avid jaywalker.

He says to me "What are you going to do when you go home and lose your freedom to cross the road as you please?"

Like I said, Dheej is an avid jaywalker.

Monday, 17 May 2010

And I Approach The Holy Land

From Dublin, a ferry ride and two train rides take me through Wales and Chester, and I stepped foot on Manchester ground at 9.30pm.

On the first train, a guy in the seat on the next aisle took his hand out and said “I met you last night. How are you?”

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind in the five seconds that followed…
Didn’t I sleep alone in my bed last night at Aisling’s (Colm’s sister)?
What’s his name?
He’s got some lovely blue eyes and if I had met him last night, why wasn’t I staring into them this morning?
If that’s some pickup line, it’ll be one of the worst I’ve heard.
He’s reading some book titled Dragon Keeper.
Is it as good as Eragon?
Is the book part of a series?
What is the colour of the dragon?
Will it be rude if I ask to borrow the book for a second?

Then I snapped out of it and presented my most puzzled look.

Turns out, I had met John (which happens to be his real name) at James’ birthday party the night before. I’m surprised he could remember me at all. I’m guessing it’s either he has got quite the memory or I had made quite the impression. If it was the latter, why the hell then did I spend last night alone in my bed?

Maybe he didn’t believed me when I told him his name was nicer than the other Johns… But I was telling the truth!

Fanny Almost Spent The Night On The Park Bench

It was a long day of travel and fanny wasn’t too happy about being trapped in a small space for seven hours. But fanny had a change of mind after I informed her that all flights from Dublin airport were cancelled for the day, which meant it had to spend the night on the park bench if I had chosen to fly.

Fanny was appeased when I arrived at Hayley and Michael’s and had a nice comfy sofa bed for the night.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Putting The Theory To The Test

Have you heard of the theory“You drink to prevent a hangover”? The illogical logic is that if you kept on drinking, you’re technically still drunk and won’t be hungover.

Well, to put that theory to test, Colm and I had a Heineken (and a HUGE burger) each for lunch. Gourmet burger kitchen is officially my favourite burger chain in the world. After trying really hard to finish our burgers, we met Paul, Sarah, Killian and Emma for more drinks at Krystle bar again. Hey hey hey, just putting the theory to the test!

Colm bid us goodbye after drinks and grouchily went home to Limerick. I would be grouchy too if I knew my friends will continue putting the theory to the test while I feel the hangover kick in.

It's All Relative

I never dreamt I would say this. But the weather in Dublin is so much better than Belfast, even though it's only 18 degrees C!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Balls & Hunks In Dublin



So I finally left Belfast today and went back to Dublin for the weekend, just in time for some partying. But something more exciting happened before the partying began.

I got a ticket to a live rugby game which most rugby fans would kill for, all thanks to Colm. Leinster was playing Munster in its home ground and Colm had come from all the way from Limerick to Dublin to lend some support to Munster. The game’s akin to that of Man U playing Liverpool at Old Trafford. The rivalry runs deep and you could almost taste the blood in the air. I love the atmosphere of live games*!

The rain was falling, the weather was freezing, the fans were cheering and the fight went on. Despite Munster’s best efforts, Leinster trashed Munster 16 to 6 and Colm was getting the brunt from his friends back at the rugby club where James (Colm’s friend) was celebrating his 30th birthday. Now, there were quite a number of eye-candy rugby players and I must say I was starting to like Dublin already. ;)

However, there were so many of them (the eye-candies) and I had a hard time remembering all their names, I decided to just call all of them “John” (John being one of the most common names in Ireland). This way, I can flirt safely and say “You’ve got a really nice name, John. I met another John three minutes ago but I like your name better”.

While the drinks were flowing, John (whose real name is Dave) taught me the basic footsteps of traditional Celtic dance. I did wonder to myself if he was preparing me for what was to come at the dance club later in the night.

After the candles were blown, the wish was made, the cake was eaten, and the toast was given, a whole bunch of us headed to Krystle to dance the night away. The size of the club was very impressive – it was littered with two open-air pubs, many VIP rooms (one of which we got access to!), even more bars and an underground dancefloor. Well, you know you’re in a posh club when they provide cosmetics in the ladies. The club was filled with beautiful people (haha, I would say that, wouldn’t I?) and all I can say that the beautiful people won’t look so beautiful or remember what happened when they wake up the next morning. ;)

I was put up at a hotel for the night. And there I was thinking (before the trip) I won’t get a chance to enjoy the comfort of a hotel on this trip. I don’t want to jinx it but I do think that I have all the luck in the world!

Dublin surely lived up to its name of party town and I’m sure I will be back for more!

*This makes me yearn for a live Man U game or NBA game… One day, I will!

Don't Spread Your Germs To Me

So far, I have two boys who tried to kiss me. They don't get that I'm friendly NOT because I can't wait to jump into bed with them.

I hate it when boys try to spread their germs to me!

The Eyes Say It All

An email to Stalker dear...

On 05-May-2010 8:25 PM, "Wynnii Lu" wynniilu@gmail.com; wrote:

The trip... where do i even begin? I update the blog sporadically so best to refer to that. You have the latest breaking newsheadlines on that blog. Haha. I think I should really write about the things I've seen and done before I forget. But the booze beckons!
I'm eating too much and drinking too much! The plan to lose weight from the walking and carrying my baackpack has failed! Miserably!

I have all but given up hope on meeting cute guys, or any guys for that matter, on this trip. Whenever someone finds out I'm travelling alone on this trip, they give me the "You are crazy" look. No, they don't say it out loud but they say it with their eyes quite clearly. They don't want no crazy girl. They want the demure, all bidding Asian girl and they can't find the slightly hint of that in me. Their loss, really.

Till I have internet connection again.

Go read the blog. You'll love to find out what happened to me today.
XO,
Stalkee dear

The Kid Who Is Too Tall

I kept forgetting I'm in the attic and kept hitting my head against the low slanted ceiling whenever I turn on/off the radiator on the wall. Many bumps on the side of my head now. Ouch!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Saying Goodbye to Caroline

Caroline is heading to Australia for a year for a working holiday and today, we celebrated her farewell. She will be stopping over in Singapore for four days enroute and I've been telling her so much about Singapore, she must felt like she has already visited.

Donna, Greg, Caroline and I went to Caroline's favourite place, The Apartment, for dinner. A bunch of her friends joined us for drinks after. Caroline is now all set for Australia with her outback hat!

After many strawberry daiquiri and margarita, we continued the after-party at John's place. All of us were seated in a circle and somehow, it reminded me of a scene out of The 70's Show. I felt like I was in college.

Did I mention that Caroline is leaving three days and she hasn't packed? Now, you don't wonder why we are friends. Don't they say birds of a feather flock together? Haha.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Imparting the Chopstick Skills

I told Caroline that if she can learn to use straws as chopsticks to pick fries up, she would have no problem with using real chopsticks at all. I'm a good teacher and she's a fast learner. 

It feels like winter here still. I'm all wrapped up in scarf, beanie, boots, leggings, coat - the works!

Getting Ready For The Road On The Road

Donna and I decided to pamper ourselves and got our nails done today. Yes, I may be on the road but that doesn't mean I have to be unglam. ;)

This colour will last me three weeks. Woohoo~

Turning Back The Clock

Please go re-read posts dated 28 April 2010 onwards so that you are updated fully on the (mis)adventures so far! I've updated with pictures and boring stories! All for Stalker dear!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Nobody Goes to the Giant Causeway

Remember how I was saying that I bring the bad weather? I stand corrected. 

Today, the sun was up and shining - in Belfast, they call it the perfect day. Nobody brought the good weather. ;) 


Donna, Caroline and I went on a roadtrip to the Giant Causeway of Antrim - Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. We drove all of 3 hours and made many photo stops along the way. We had so much junk food along the way that we skipped lunch totally. Dinner was a delicious meal of fish & chips at Pontrush. Donna's weight loss plan is going down the drain along with mine. Haha.
Words cannot even to begin to describe how magnificient the view at the Giant Causeway was. I went snap-happy and I must have about 200 pictures of the roadtrip. I would put up pictures if I'm not such a bag of lazy bones. 


I promise to get the pictures sorted out and let them speak a thousand words each so I don't have to write at all. Yeah, such a bag of lazy bones. Haha.


Update: I got the pictures sorted! Amazing effort!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Hailstones in Summer

When I woke up at 11am, what did I woke up to? Hail-freaking-stones. Yes, it rained hailstones and yes, it rained hailstones in Summer. Only in Belfast, my dear. Only in Belfast.

I finally had my first proper McDonald’s lunch today at Belfast Central (Royal Ave). I tried Chicken Legend with spicy tomato salsa sauce and man, did it feel good to sink my teeth into my favourite comfort food! Hooray!

Caroline and Donna went to visit a friend in the afternoon so I decided to go around the city on my own. I figured the best way to get a quick overview of the city is with the hop-on-hop-off bus. Turns out, the 4pm bus was the last which meant I wont be able to hop on and off as and when I want, and while the ticket is valid for 24 hours, I wont be able to use that tomorrow - I’ll tell you why later. The tour operator, Mark, knowing that I will only have one ride on the bus, told me that I could go back on Thursday to go on the bus again. For free! See, I told you I only meet the nicest people!

For 10 pounds, the tour was worth every penny. I saw the longest road in Ireland without a pub (a miracle sight I would say), saw the shopping mall which two historical buildings made way for, saw the peace wall which kept people from both sides of the wall killing each other because “if you can‘t see ‘em, you can‘t kill ‘em”, saw a mural dedicated to George Best from Man United (which would have made me very happy but knowing that we didn‘t win the title, it didn’t feel too good), saw the place where infamous Titanic was built and many more of this little but historically-rich city. I think Belfast has come a long way and I feel a kinship to it - Singapore is a little city and has come a long way too.

Caroline and Donna came back into town at 7pm and it’s shopping time! At least for them. It wasn’t till 9pm before Caroline and I headed home. She made a lovely meal and as lousy as the weather was this morning, my mood wasn’t dampened at all.

I’m heading to the Giant Causeway tomorrow! It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. I feel so culturally intellectual already! Haha.

Random Thoughts While In Belfast

Did you know the Titanic was built in Belfast? Well, now you do.

I spent £3 on three fashion accessories today. Tell me about getting a good bargain!

You know how some people just disappear from your life? You wonder how they are then you think, if they cannot be bothered, why the hell should I care.

Monday, 10 May 2010

It's an Irish Thing

This morning, it was raining in Dublin central. This morning, I walked with my red umbrella in Dublin central. How smart was I to have an umbrella with me? Very smart, I daresay.

After getting my bus ticket to Belfast at the Tourist Office, I strolled along the city central for a bit before heading back to Killian’s to get my bags. At 4pm, I’m on the bus and my way to Belfast. I slept for most part of the journey. I’m a sleep monster! :)

Caroline met me at the bus station and brought me to meet her friends, Suzie and Donna, at a chic restaurant/bar called Apartment. Caroline has wrote the day before “Can‘t wait to beat that number with cocktails!” in reply to my “Don‘t get me started on the number of pints I've had since I arrived in Ireland” on my facebook page and she made good her words. So again, I was in a bar before I saw the rest of the city. It’s an Irish thing, I think.

It’s a miracle how this universe works, I tell you. Caroline is from Belfast and she’s heading to Australia in a week’s time for a year. She sent me a message over Couchsurfing about a month ago and asked me to meet her up during her 4-day stopover in Singapore enroute to Australia. Turns out, I’m headed to Belfast before she leaves and although she doesn’t ever host, she generously offered her home for me to stay. Yes, just like that. She’s excited for me going on my trip and I’m excited for her going on her trip. I told you it’s a miracle how this universe works.

I’m sleeping in the attic tonight. I’m very happy. I feel like a kid. Then again, don’t I always? :)

It Wasn't A Dinosaur But...

Remember what I said about Manchester?

We lost the title. I don't wanna go Old Trafford now. :(

Randomly Random

I think you're quite mistaken, Madam. I am not interested in your son.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Now, We're Talking

In Limerick, I've learned..

A binge is 4 to 5 days.
A sesson is a day.
A few is 5 or 6.

It's no wonder over 10 million pints of Guinness is sold weekly. You gotta love the Irish! :)

The Likes Attract The Likes

Last night was so massive that the word massive is not massive enough to fully describe how massive the night was. Suffice to say, nobody had any idea how we even ended up in our own beds. 
 
It was a good pub crawl followed by a night of booty-shaking at some dodgy nightclub. We picked the pubs randomly and had one point in time, stepped into a karaoke pub meant for the white hair generation. It was hilarious because everyone were throwing us queer and dirty looks while we sang along to the classic tunes. And that dodgy nightclub? It opens one day a week and only from 12am to 2am. They must make really good money there and by that, I mean laundering money. Oh, I forgot to add, we headed to another pub for a few more pints after the dancing and found ourselves stumbling into the house at 4 in the morning.

I can safely say that I’ve seen more of the insides of pubs and bars than I have of anything else in Limerick - all courtesy of  my friend and host, Mr Ralph Bird. Someone should tattoo “Danger after Drinks” or “Keep Away from Drinks” or “Do Not Allow Near Drinks” on his forehead in the name of safety of everyone’s liver (especially mine). I don’t know who is going to be reading this but whoever is, let’s just say Mr Bird didn’t come back home with his shirt last night.

Also, don’t get me started on the ridiculous number of pints I’ve had so far in Ireland. I downed a few Guinness, something I would steer clear of in Singapore. The Guinness here taste different from the ones we have back home. They’re much sweeter and lighter. Patrick says the beer doesn’t travel well, even the ones in England taste different. I replied, “They get seasick eh”. He cracked up.

This morning, everyone wondered how Ralph even made his 7am flight. We were taking bets on whether he overslept in the London or Singapore airport. That’s how much faith we have in him. Haha.

Did someone ask if anything interesting happened before the massive night begin? If you really want to know, we were all  recovering from Friday night in the morning and only made it out of the house at 1pm. Ralph said “Angela will drive us both out to county Clare for some sightseeing“. Now, a point to note here - when he said “sightseeing“, he’s really using the term very loosely. I saw all of 5 minutes of Dromoland Castle, before we drove to Durty Nelly’s, which is, again in Ralph’s words, “one of the most famous sights of Ireland”. It’s beside Bunratty Castle - one of the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. But really, who cares about Bunratty when they’re serving Bulmers at Durty Nelly’s?

The sun was up, the group (consisting Ralph, Angela, John, Colm, Killian and I) was happily chatting, the Bulmers were flowing and it is during this late afternoon when the party had quietly started before any one of us realised it. Dinner with the elder Bird family and Killan at Cherry Tree saw more white wine flowing and my organic Monkfish took second priority. By the end of dinner, the massive night was off to a good start and you have read all about it above.

Later today at 4.30pm, Killian gave me a ride to Dublin so that I can make my way to Belfast tomorrow. I’m surprised Killian and I made it to Dublin in one piece, given he was still hungover from the massive night out. He let me stay in his apartment for the night while he stayed at his girlfriend, Emma’s. Killian, Emma and I had dinner at a nicely decorated but casual atmosphere restaurant in the Ranelagh village. I picked Caesar salad for dinner. I am a changed person now - must have been the result of the visit to Knock Shrine.

I have been blessed to be meeting only the nicest, kindest, most generous and craziest people so far. Yeah, I don’t mind the crazies. As I keep telling Ralph “The likes attract the likes”.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What Happens On Saturday?

Today is a Saturday. You know what happens on Saturday? You rest on Saturday because of the big night out on Friday. Also, you rest on Saturday because of the expected big night out on Saturday.

Friday, 7 May 2010

I Conquered Mount Brandon!

Ralph, Killian, Colm, Gordon and I drove out to Kerry today to climb Mount Brandon.  Yes, I climbed a mountain today. The path was teetering on the edge of the mountain and… Wait, what path? There was no path! It was just stones and rocks. Have a look at the video to judge for yourself.

And have I mentioned I suffer from acrophobia? I have definitely gone faaaaaaaaar beyond my comfort zone! The boys had thought I would want to turn back after an hour and I guess I just have to prove to them that while I love my dresses, I ain’t one of those who is  afraid to break a nail.

I deserve a Guinness after the 4 hours hike and I had my Guinness after the 4 hours hike.  Actually, they made me. My very fist pint of Guinness in Ireland - as the saying goes “When in Rome, do as Romans do”.

We’re heading out for dinner and drinks later. It’s Friday. I need not say more.

Update: We got home at 3am and the boys kept the party going in the garden shed while I throw in the towel at close to 4am and headed to bed.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

When There's a Will, There's a Way

So I made it to Limerick. Finally! When there's a will to party, there's a way to party. :) But more of the party later.
 
Ralph drove 2.5 hours to pick me up from Knock Airport and all of the 2.5 hours journey back to Limerick, he wouldn’t let me forget how he drove 2.5 hours to pick me up.

By the tenth time he reminded me how he drove for 2.5 hours,
“Again, I must remind you that I drove two and a half hours to get you.”
“Yes, I know and thank you for that. I really appreciate it. You should have let me take the bus or something. It was really nice of you to drive two and a half hour to pick me up. You're such a gentlemen. I owe you one.”
 
I played the nice card against his guilt-trip card. He went speechless. I won the hand. :)

First stop, the infamous Knock Shrine where Mary supposedly made an appearance some time ago. How long ago exactly, I don’t remember. Ralph threatened me with death if I were to tell anyone he visited the shrine. As you can tell, I don’t respond well to death threats. Haha.

We had dinner with Patrick (Ralph's brother) near his casino. Yeah, Patrick owns a small casino. I should have played a hand or two to win some funds for the trip. Maybe next time. I met one of Patrick's staff, Ben, and Ben started speaking to me in Mandarin. Ben is from Shanghai and man, it felt good to finally be able to speak some Mandarin in foreign land.

After a quick shower at Ralph's family home, Ralph did what he does best and brought me to a cozy pub that was a 5-min walk away from his home. The night ended quietly but I can feel that it's only the calm before the storm.

Where Do I Even Begin?

So I sit here in front of the computer, thinking hard on how to get started on writing about this round the world in ready-to-wear journey. 

Quite honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been a week now since I left sunny Singapore. So much has happened in the sport span of a week - some, you’ve already read about, some you have not. I realized some thoughts and feelings I had on the first few days have already escaped me. I will make an effort to jot a mini daily journal from now on. 

Try as I might, I shall recall the (mis)adventures thus far...

London Continues to Love Me

My flight got cancelled this morning. Yes, second time in a row. Yes, second time in a row in less than 12 hours. Before you go "Holy cow! Not again!", calm your nerves down. It ain't the end of the world, my dear. But it most certainly is marking the near-end of my patience with what's-it's-name-again volcano.

The cancellation turned out to be a good thing. You'll find out why later…

This morning, I woke up in the musky smelling Hilton room, quickly* got dressed, braved the morning chills, and arrived at Stansted airport at 7am. I walked up to the flight information display screen and saw "CANCELLED" marked clearly and loudly next to flight number FR103. 
The first thought that came to my mind? "Damnit, I could have slept in!"

You'd think it should be "WHAT THE FUCK?" But a lady doesn't cuss. Not in public anyway. If anything, I would only do that in the blog.

I honestly can't believe my luck, or there lack of. There were only four flights cancelled for the day and my oh my, FR103 happened to be one of the four out of the millions of flight that took flight in the world today. Hooray! I should really buy a lottery ticket and believe me, when I say my chances are one in a million.

Anyway, I made my way slowly to the Ryanair queue and after a good 20 minutes of waiting, I was attended to.

"Hi there!"
"Good morning, how can I help you?"
"My flight to Shannon got cancelled twice in a row now. Is there another flight for me to get into Ireland today?"
"A moment, please. Let me look it up for you."
"Sure."
"The next flight to Shannon is at the same time** tomorrow morning."
"Tomorrow?! Would you be able to put me on a flight into Cork today instead?"
"No, sorry, there are no more seats available for Cork."
"What about on other flights into any other cities in Ireland then?"
"Hmm… I do have one last seat into Knock at 14:55 today."

I think I may have be the chirpiest person at the Ryanair counter. No point shouting or blaming the already stressed out staff, isn't it? It ain't  their fault that this shit happened.

Anyway, I've decided (the first smart decision of the day) that since Shannon airport doesn't quite agree with me flying in today, I'm going to pull a fast one on it and fly into Knock instead, and then make my way overland to Limerick. I ain't resting till I get me some Guiness in Limerick.

It was about 8.10am when I was finally booked onto the next flight to Cork. If you don't already know me, I hate waiting at airports. It's my most-hated part about travellng – waiting at the airport gives others the cheery anticipation of their destination but for me, it's simply a bad waste of my time and bad waste of money on five-dollar coca-cola. Honestly, give me cancellations, give me delays, give me anything but please don't make me wait at the airport.

At 8.40am, I find myself standing in Hilton's lobby again. I've made a decision (the second smart one of the day) to go back to the hotel, have my breakfast - which was already paid for in the reservation but wasn't enjoyed in the morning cos I had to rush to the airport. After a hearty breakfast of Frosties and toast with peanut butter and nutella, my mood was lifted instantly. Gosh, I'm easily satisfied eh.

So here I am at 10.20am, sitting in front of a Lenovo desktop, typing this away solely for your amusement. I am going to spend the rest of the time here updating my blog (finally! See, there is a silver lining to this cancellation).

P/S: Cork, Knock – what's up with the Irish cities names~?

*Now, the word "quickly" is relative.
**That's at 8.20am.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

London, Let Me Go

London, if you are hearing this out there, please stop loving me and let me go to Ireland. Happiness is not about having the person by your side but having the person in your heart.

Take it from me, London. Let me go.

London Loves Me, I Think

“I don’t want to be stuck in London. Of all places, not in London”, I keep telling Jean-Marie (back in Marseille). You’d think once you repeat something often enough, it’ll come through. Not when you’re praying very hard not to be stuck in London, no.

I shouldn’t have left Marseille. It is France’s way of punishing me for leaving too soon!

I don't understand why London would love me so. Twice I'm here and both times, I forbidden to fly out on the pre-booked flight. It's a sign but a sign of what? I'm definitely eager to find out!

This trip is turning out to be quite an adventure. A week and quite the number of twists in turns of events. I know, I know. I should be more diligent and be writing about travel stuff, but then it's my trip, my blog, my photos, my thoughts, my words. So bite me!

I wonder what's in store for me next... A dinosaur terrorising Manchester and I can't visit? I'll definitely be looking out for that in the newspaper!

Important Information Regarding your Flight BB918D

From: Ryanair Cancellations 
To: wynniilu@gmail.com

Dear Customer
We sincerely apologise for the cancellation of your flight departing the 05th May 2010.

The flight has been cancelled because of the ongoing closure of the controlled airspace in Europe following the volcanic eruption in Iceland

TO REBOOK FREE ONLINE:
Click on the link below to rebook to the same destination airport on an alternative flight free of charge, subject to availability. Customers can access this link up to the 07/05/2010 for travel on flights up to the 20/05/2010.

https://www.bookryanair.com/SkySales/FRManageBooking.aspx?culture=EN-GB&pos

PLEASE NOTE: If your booking has a return flight included and you have already checked in for this flight you will NOT be able to transfer your flight to a different departure airport online. If you wish to do this you will need to call our reservation centre on the following number. Alternatively, go to the airport ticket desk and they will transfer you onto an alternative flight. We have instructed airports that passengers affected by these flight cancellations may not be able to check-in online and therefore airport staff will reissue boarding passes at the airport free of charge.

TO APPLY FOR A REFUND ONLINE:
Customers who are booked on any of the below flights, who wish to cancel and claim a full refund on the unused flight(s) can do so directly by clicking on the link below and entering the required details. Refunds will be processed in 30 working days back to the form of payment used to pay for the booking.

http://schchng.ryanair.com//r.asp?i=50BB918D031400-FR0103650820STNSNN9450BQFXQBC&lg=EN&p=1

Click here for the written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with the Regulation EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004

http://www.ryanair.com/doc/faqs/EU261_EN.pdf

YOUR CONFIRMATION NUMBER IS: BB918D
ITINERARY/RECEIPT - All times are local.

PASSENGERS
1. Wynnii Lu
Your flight details are as follows:
GOING OUT
From London Stansted(STN) to Shannon(SNN)
Thu, 06/05/2010 Flight 103 Depart STN at 0820 and arrive SNN at 0945

**************************************************************************************
Ryanair Holdings plc (Company No. 249885) / Ryanair Ltd. (Company No. 104547).
Registered in the Republic of Ireland. With registered address Corporate Head Office, Dublin Airport, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

**************************************************************************************
Dear Ryanair Cancellations,

Do you even realise that I'm headed for Ireland, home of your Corporate Head Office?

I have about 10 people waiting in Limerick for me and a big party was to be thrown to welcome my arrival but that's all gone down the drain now. I am extremely upset that I will be no part of the merry-making that is happening in about 3 hours in Limerick. Imagine me not getting smashed tonight! What will my friends think?


Also, I am inclined to believe that your esteemed company will be footing the bill for my Hilton stay tonight. Yes, it may be Mother Nature's fault but let's not play the blaming game, shall we? It'll do neither party no good. Afterall, I can't possibly go after her, can't I?

I look forward to my compensation cheque mailed to me in no less than a month. Yes, I'm giving you up to a month. I'm nice like that.

Your Sincerely,
Wynnii Lu

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Maybe, Just Maybe.

A few days of pillion practice, I think I can bloody perform stunts at the back of the motorbike.  With the blindfold on! Bloody perform stunts, not perform bloody stunts, mind you.

But the one thing I failed to master, putting makeup on while riding. Maybe with another few weeks of practice. Just maybe. :)

Another Side of Marseille


I saw more of the city of Marseille today. You'll like it as much as I do. And you'll love the chicken sandwich which is bigger than a fork. Look at the size of that! It can feed a family of five for five days. But I ate it up in one setting. I am definitely eating waaaaay too much~

I saw the Arabic, Asian, Latin encloves - all in walking distance of each other. When I stepped into an Asian supermarket, it's like I never left home! Maggi ketchup!

The Horror!

I'm going to make a sensible and logical decision tomorrow - something which I haven't done in a loooong time. I mean, I did go out with him. How sensible could that have been!?

And as usual, I digress. Also, that's another story for another time over a couple of Sangria and tapas.

Anyway, tomorrow, I'm going to buy a pair of flat-sole boots instead of the gorgeous calf length midnight-blue leather heeled boots. See, I lack even the adjectives to describe the soon-to-be purchased boots.

The horror!

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Hamptons of France

Over the mountain we rode on motorbike in the rain and after a good 25 minutes, Jean-Marie and I found ourselves in Cassis. Cassis is like the Hamptons, a getawaytown from town. We had lunch with Bruno’s parents at their place, where Jean-Marie and I will stay for the night.

Jean-Marie took me riding down the coast of Cassis and while it was drizzling, I still enjoyed feeling the sea breeze on my face. Too bad the sun wasn’t out or Jean-Marie and I would be sunbathing beside the pool in the house.

Dinner was lamb and potatoes cooked by Jean-Marie. He loves cooking and he said I don’t make a perfect woman till I know how to cook. Does he know if nobody’s perfect, then I’m nobody?

Bonjour!

An email...

Hiya!

Send me your address. I'll see when I can send my love. And you know what I meant by love, love...

Did I mention my Dad wants to bribe me to shorten my trip to 2 months by offering to buy me a car? I'm thinking only a vintage Volkswagen can do the trick. One with a retractable roof, of course. Then again, it's real silly that I would pick a 2nd hand car..

Also, have I mentioned how stupid I am by forgetting the one thing I'll definitely need on my trip? My good old laptop charger. So, I'm typing this message with one miserable finger on the phone. Aargh! I'm sure you'd read that somewhere online but no harm making you laugh and making your day again. Now, if you will just credit 5Euro into my bank account for your pleasure at my expense.

All right, my finger's tired. Off to bed I go. Off to work you go.

Cheers,
Wynnii (from Marseille)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The View Throws Everything Out Of the Window. Literally.


Ralph flew to Shannon to visit family back home in Limerick, while I went to Jean-Marie’s. My plan was to go to Nice for a few days but since, Ralph and I weren’t exactly in Marseille while we stayed with Sandy and Sheila, I changed my travel plans and decided to stay with Jean-Marie in Marseille instead. Also, the weather forecast for Nice was cloudy with showers. Boo. Am I bringing the bad weather with me?

When you read a classified ad in the papers that say “Charming Parisian-style apartment”, be forewarned. What it’s really saying is “Small one room apartment which barely fits two; toilet is outside the apartment; shower has  no door; and kitchen is really where the bed is. Lastly, you have to climb flights of steps to the 5th floor”. Mind you, I’m not complaining about Jean-Marie’s place. I’m merely pointing out the truth about Parisian apartments. But the apartment’s got quite a view. You can see the Notre-dame cathedral just above the city. With the lights shining on the cathedral, the view makes you forget about the inadequacy of the apartment.

Also, Jean-Marie cooked a mean dinner of potatoes and duck; and really, I didn’t care if Jean-Marie and I had to share the small space between us.

P/S: Jean-Marie showed me one of his favourite secret spot in Marseille. It was an oasis of clear blue water amidst a quarry. I can't reveal more of the secret spot cos it's meant to be a secret!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The French Kicked Some Irish Ass

The weather’s not too kind today. Showers throughout the afternoon. We stayed indoors today to watch Toulon beat Leinster in rugby. It was an ugly slow battle. I wished someone would just punch someone and make the match far more exciting. 

Another fantastic dinner of linguine with crispy bacon bits and just salty-enough cream sauce; with ice-cream and chocolate syrup to end the fantastic dinner. I raise my glass and drank to Linguinii. I miss my penguin.