Tag Archives: travel

New Orleans Food Explosion

New Orleans has been on my list of places to visit for a while and this year, my friend and I got the chance to visit the city (there was a seat sale and it was my birthday, not that I needed an excuse). Upon arriving at the¬†Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, it was hot – even at the end of February, it was easily 25C plus humidity. From the designated Uber and Lyft pickup area at the airport, we hopped into an Uber and headed to our hotel, The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The 35 minute drive to the hotel was quick because I kept on asking our Uber driver questions mainly related to where we should eat and places to visit. Drivers are a wealth of information ūüôā

We had chosen to stay at The Roosevelt New Orleans because I fell in love with the pictures I saw online. It had old-world charm with beautiful ceiling tiles and gilded walls and a rooftop pool. The location was fantastic; right by the French Quarter but not within it, walking distance to most attractions, and near the streetcar lines.

Our main goal for this trip was to try as many foods as possible. We kept on adding to our list because we’d talk to people and they’d make suggestions and we’d add it to the list. Below are the places we ended up eating at.

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Top left: Wahlburger at the airport. Top right: Fried chicken from Krispy Krunchy Chicken (inside Chevron gas station). Bottom row: Butternut squash pizza and Italian cream cake at Domenica (at Roosevelt Hotel)

  • To kick off our trip to the USA, we ate at the Walhburgers at the airport. Burger government cheese (cheddar) with tater tots.
  • Domenica¬†(123 Baronne Street, located in the Roosevelt Hotel): ordered the butternut squash pizza and Italian cream cake for dessert. Both were delicious but I couldn’t finish the pizza, it was huge! I loved the combination of sweet and savoury of marscapone cheese and the dates/butternut squash.
  • Krisy Krunchy Chicken¬†(447 N Rampart St): The one we went to was located inside the Chevron gas station on N. Rampart St. It was recommended to us by Jack, the bartender at the Good Friends Bar. The fried chicken was surprising crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I’m going to have to try more gas station fried chicken.
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Top row and bottom left: Charboiled oysters, drum amandine, pecan bread pudding from Antoine’s. Bottom left: Fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese from Willie Mae’s Scotch House

  • Antoine’s¬†(713 Saint Louis St): This was a recommended place from my friend’s friend. It truly is an NOLA establishment with 14 dining rooms and we spoke with the current owner who seated us at the table next to the picture of his mom as a little girl. We¬†tried the winter special: charboiled oysters, drum amandine and pecan bread pudding, which were all very yummy, well portioned for a three course meal. Plus they have $0.25 drink special everyday, we had the lemon drop! You can also ask a waiter to walk you through the other dining rooms or just explore on your own. It is a must – the private dining rooms upstairs will make you want to hold your next party there.
  • Willie Mae’s Scotch House¬†(2401 St. Ann St): won the James Beard Award for ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region.” Ordered the fried chicken and mac ‘n cheese. I DREAM about this fried chicken. The chicken is covered in a layer of hot sauce and then battered and fried – it’s so juicy and flavourful and the crispy outside was to die for. Definitely worth the wait in line!
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Top left: Fritai from Fritai (St. Roch Market). Top right: PB, B and J Wings from Faubourg Bistro (inside 700 Club). Bottom left: Louisiana cochon with cabbage, cracklins and pickled turnips from Cochon Restaurant. Bottom right: Braised pork from Green Goddess

  • Fritai (2381 St. Claude Ave, inside the St. Roch Market): Fritai consists of¬†two fried plantains with pork shoulder in between, avocado, mango sauce, and pickliz. Served with plantain chips. This was a cool atmosphere since it was more of a food hall with other food stalls.
  • Faubourg Bistro (700 Burgundy St, located inside 700 Club): The PB, B(acon) & J wings were recommended to us while in line waiting for a table at Willie Mae’s. This I would say was the least favourite meal we ate because it was very one note. The wings were cooked perfectly but the PB & J on top of it wasn’t anything special and there wasn’t a crunch to it (would have preferred wings on its own). Would definitely go back to try some of their other menu items – it looks good.
  • Cochon Restaurant (930 Tchoupitoulas St, not to be confused with Cochon Butcher, though they have the same owner): We stumbled upon this place thinking it was the butcher (which is actually next door, down the side street) and so glad we found it.¬†This was one of my favourite meals:¬†Louisiana cochon with cabbage, cracklins and pickled turnips. The pork melted in my mouth and when combined with the other elements, it was a very happy marriage of flavours and textures.
  • Green Goddess¬†(307 Exchange Place): This restaurant is on a cute pedestrian only street in the French Quarter and we wanted to give it a try. I was super excited to try the Duck Off! only to be disappointed that their online menu is old. I can’t find a current version of it online and can only remember that I got a braised pork dish with fresh salsa, pumpkin seeds and a delicious sauce. I only wish they had updated their menu or kept the duck on the menu.
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Top row: Drinks and crawfish quartet at Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant. Bottom left: Breakfast sandwich and daily iced tea from The Daily Beet. Bottom right: Glazed Pork Belly PoBoy from Killer PoBoys

  • Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant (841 Iberville St): This was our first taste of crawfish in NOLA and we were in love. We shared the crawfish quartet:¬†Louisiana¬† crawfish √©touff√©e, crawfish bisque, fried crawfish tails and crawfish balls, served with fries and coleslaw. Portions were huge! My friend also got the Coconut Custard Bread Pudding that was creamy and straight from the oven.
  • The Daily Beet¬†(1000 Girod St): Perfect breakfast place (kinda too hipster for me but food was good). The breakfast sandwich is made of avocado mash, fried pastured egg, white cheddar, tomato jam, arugula on toast (though the menu says ciabatta). I also got the daily iced tea (a hibiscus berry blend). It was a good meal to start the day.
  • Killer PoBoys¬†(219 Dauphine St): Instead of the traditional oyster or shrimp PoBoy, we tried the glazed pork belly PoBoy with NOLA rum & ginger cane syrup, lime slaw, garlic aioli. It was piled high with pork belly and the slaw was a perfect combination of acid to cut the fat of the pork belly. Make sure to have lots of napkins on had, it’s a messy one!
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Top left: Birthday Champagne from the Good Friends Bar. Top right: Seafood omelette from Daisy Dukes. Bottom row: Muffuletta and Zapp’s chips from Central Grocery & Deli

  • Good Friends Bar (740 Dauphine Street): Though we didn’t eat here, the drinks were great and I got a bottle of free champagne for my birthday!! Our bartender, Jack was awesome – we got a couple rounds of drinks and even watched an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. A very fun atmosphere!
  • Daisy Dukes (121 Chartres St): It was recommended that we try the seafood omelette and it didn’t disappoint! Full of¬†crawfish, shrimp, tomato, mushrooms & cheese and the homemade biscuit was soft and flaky. I also tried the sweet tea – which is made in house and sweetened with tons of cane sugar. It was different from what we have at home but quenched my thirst.
  • Central Grocery & Deli (923 Decatur St): Home of the Muffuletta. “Each sandwich is made on a 10‚Ä≥ round Sicilian sesame loaf that stays crusty despite all it‚Äôs messy fillings. It‚Äôs stuffed with ham, salami, Provolone and a signature briny marinated olive salad filled with Kalamata and green olives and other tasty pickled veggies.” I wasn’t sure about it since there were things in the sandwich that I don’t normally like but once again, it was delicious (have I used this word too much??). The ingredients were fresh and it held together. The chips are a local brand and the Spicy Cajun Crawtators flavour was a slow spicy build up in your mouth. At first it seemed okay to eat lots but as you ate more, it got spicier and spicier. I had to stop.
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Top left: Croque Madame, waffle fries and Cola from District. Top right: Oyster PoBoy from Cajun Mike’s Pub n’ Grub. Bottom row: Eggplant Napoleon from Joey K’s

  • District Donuts (2209 Magazine St): Another great breakfast and lunch spot. We stopped by here before heading to the Lafayette Cemetery for a walking tour. I saw the croque madame on the menu and knew I needed it inside me. Nueske’s applewood smoked ham, havarti cheese, dijon, bechamel sandwiched on a griddled donut, topped with a fried egg. We also shared a keylime donut and waffle fries. I was in heaven! Thank goodness we did the walking tour afterwards because it was a lot of food.
  • Cajun Mike’s Pub n’ Grub (116 Baronne St, across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel): We had passed by this local bar enough times that we needed to try it before we left. The oysters were massive in this PoBoy and perfectly fried. I wish we ate there before our last day so we could eat there again. The bread was soft and when topped with mayo and lettuce, it was perfect.
  • Joey K’s (3001 Magazine St): After the cemetery walking tour, we were hungry again. Walked down the road and saw this place – they also had outdoor seating. Original plan was to just grab a drink but once I saw the food going to other tables, I knew I needed to try it. The eggplant napolean had breaded & fried eggplant medallions stacked with fried shrimp, topped with crawfish cream sauce and I got it with angel hair pasta. They were perfectly fried with a nice crunch to it. After this, it was truly time to head back to the hotel and pass out.

Needless to say, by the end of our trip, I was craving some veggies and got a salad at the airport. Can’t wait to come back!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these places or your favourite places in NOLA ūüôā

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Discovering Belfast

After spending a couple days in Glasgow, we flew to Belfast with Flybe.¬†¬†To get to Glasgow International Airport, there is a direct 15 mins bus ride from the city centre to the airport (6GBP for one way) that comes every 10 mins. ¬†This flight was the shortest flight I’ve ever taken – 30 mins in the air and you’re in a different city! This may not have been the most economical form of transportation but it definitely was the quickest. It was a small plane that’s similar to other smaller airlines (2×2 seating per row). No complaints about it. When we arrived, we found the bus/coach area and hopped on the #600 bus and got off at the final stop, Europa Bus Station (10 Glengall Street).

From the Europa Bus Station, the hostel, Belfast International Youth Hostel¬†is about a 10 min walk. We walked straight down Sandy Row until you get to Donegall Road and turn left onto Donegall Road and the hostel is right there. I’ve been using the KFC on the corner as a landmark. We got there early and couldn’t check in yet so we left our luggage with the reception.

We went on a search for food since we hadn’t eaten much that day. we came across a place called Bishops Restaurants (on Botanic Ave.) where we got some of the largest chicken burgers I’ve ever had! It was good but so much food since we got it as a meal. The chips (aka fries) were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, which were surprisingly tasty. Afterwards, we checked into the hostel and settled in. Simple layout – two sets of bunkbeds, storage lockers (you need to bring your own lock) and a sink in the room (toilet and showers were just outside of our room). No roommates yet.

We wandered around a bit and found a church and Queen’s University Belfast, which had a beautiful campus. It’s right next to the Belfast Botanical Gardens that included a greenhouse in it. ¬†There was a variety of flowers and plants – it also kept us out of the rain! Next we wandered “downtown” and saw that there were signs for the Giro D’Italia bike race. Lots of roads were blocked off and there was a big stage set up in the parliament building garden – ¬†also blocked off to the public. It was really exciting to see a lot of cyclists getting ready for the race; first time the race being held in Belfast! Having seen some of the city centre, we made our way towards the river and despite it being rainy on and off, it was a great walk.

For dinner, we wanted something different, possibly with vegetables. We found Falafel (on Botantic Avenue, across the street from Lee Garden). L and I both wanted kofta (grilled minced meat on a skewer) so we ordered the chicken and lamb kofta plates, which also came with hummus, baba ghanouli, salad and homemade garlic sauce: it was so delicious!! A great way to end the day.

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Travel Etiquette: Taking photos

Sorry for not posting another post sooner, we’ve constantly been on the road and I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit down and write. We as a society are obsessed with taking photos and documenting many aspects of our lives. Since we’ve been travelling for a couple weeks now, I wanted to point out a few things that I’ve noticed on taking photos while travelling. Take this as a guide or just a traveller’s rant.

  • Don’t use flash when there are signs that tell you not to use flash. There’s a reason that for that. The light from a camera or any light could damage the art piece, furniture, etc. ¬†Please respect the sights and make sure your flash is turned off.
  • Try not to stand in front of the monument/statue/painting for 10 minutes trying to take the right selfie. There are other people who would also like a photo as well. Take one or two and move on. Also, you can ask someone to take the photo for you.
  • Offer to take a photo for someone else. It’s a great way to meet new people and exchange brief travel stories. You never know who you’re going to meet. We met a couple in Athens who we ended up talking to for a couple minutes who were only there for a day and then moving onto a Mediterranean cruise (I’m very jealous because they were going to make it to Croatia – that’s on my list for future visits).
  • When in crowded places, such as stairs for example, it would be nicer to stand to the side to take a photo, not in the centre where everyone is trying to move forward. I know you’re excited to be at the Acropolis but so are the other 100’s of people who¬†are making the climb up to see it.
  • SMILE ūüėÄ

Sorry for the rant, this is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while because I know I’m guilty of the things mentioned above but sometimes, it’s not necessary to even take photos. Just enjoy the views¬†and the experience of travelling, you can’t take a more high res of a photo than the memory of seeing something in real life.

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Booking Accommodations

Along with booking transportation, accommodations would be the next step in planning a trip. We didn’t have a budget set out for accommodations but kept a simple rule of under $50 CAD per night, per person. It might seem like a lot to some people but we have been working adults for a couple of years so it’s us being hopeful in living in some sort of luxury – ie. not having to share a bathroom with others as much as possible.

Planning for a spring/summer trip quickly taught us that places get booked up quickly, especially for Dublin, Glasgow, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. For some of the cities, it was due to major sporting events and for others, we’re actually not sure why.

We used the following websites to book all of our accommodations:

  • Air BnB¬†– people post their own places for short term stays
  • Hostel World¬†– Online hostel bookings, ratings and reviews
  • Hostel Bookers¬†–¬†Online hostel and hotel bookings, ratings and reviews
  • Booking.com¬†– Online hostel and hotel bookings, ratings and reviews

Like booking transportation, we spent a lot of time on the phone and the Internet to figure out where we wanted to stay. There were a lot of factors that we kept in mind: where are the¬†“touristy” areas, what’s close to our bus/train station, can we get from where we arrive to the hostel by walking there, the type of rooms available (dorm vs. private rooms), and the price per night per person.

Below is a list of the places we’ll be staying separated into hostel, hotel and AirBnB categories. I will be updating this post by linking to my reviews on our stays with these places . I didn’t name the AirBnB places, they will be in my review posts. Also, I don’t have a full list of the places we’re staying at with the tour, so will also update as we go.

HOSTEL

  • Euro Hostel Glasgow – Glasgow
  • Belfast International Hostel – Belfast¬†
  • Barnacles Temple Bar House Hostel – Dublin
  • B&B I am here – GIOIA 66 – Milan
  • San Giorgio Villas – Santorini
  • Prague-1 Hostel – Prague
  • Baxpax Mitte Hostel – Berlin
  • Wombats City Hostel – Munich
  • Inner Amsterdam – Amsterdam
  • Station Hostel Backpackers – Cologne
  • Annex Copenhagen – Copenhagen

HOTEL

  • Hotel Giamaica – Rome
  • Hotel Cherubini – Rome (with tour)
  • Park Inn by Radisson Oslo – Oslo

AIRBNB

  • Paris
  • Marseille
  • Nice
  • Athens
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Booking Transportation

With all the planning happening, we wanted to¬†book all of our transportation before leaving home because we’re on a budget and had a limited amount of travel time.

We used a variety of websites to book the flights – hours spent on the phone and Internet to make sure we got the cheapest and fastest travel time options. Also, the airlines listed below are mainly budget airlines (it’s so much cheaper to fly with a regional airline rather than an international one). There are other budget ones such as Ryanairand Virgin Atlantic¬†but we didn’t book with them.

For the trains, the booking sites varied depending on which route we were taking. ¬†For Prague to Germany, Netherlands and Denmark, we went into a Travel Cuts and spoke to a travel agent because we weren’t quite sure how the¬†Eurail passes worked and we didn’t have enough time to wait for the mailing of the tickets to our home. It was good to get an understanding of¬†how the tickets worked. We bought a pass for 6 days of travel within 2 months for $500+ (Select 4 Countries – First Class) but when you book your train tickets on Rail-Europe.ca,¬†you enter whether you have a pass or not, the type and where you’re travelling to. The ticket prices shown are more of a booking fee rather than a full price ticket. The “cheapest” ticket of our travel dates were $12 CAD. In total for the 5 days of travel we spent just over $700 (including¬†an overnight sleeper train). It may seem like a lot but when we looked at train prices without the pass, it was about the same price for the second/economy class.

I knew that we wanted to go on the ferry at some point so Athens to Santorini seemed like the best route. It’s a 9hr ferry ride, which should be an interesting one since it’s a long time to be on a ferry for. I’m hoping for fantastic weather so that we can go out onto the dock. Will update when this happens ūüôā

We also booked a 10-day trip with G Adventures from Rome to Prague. It’s in the middle of our trip so it gives us a break from having to get to everywhere on our own. Plus it’s an opportunity to meet new people!

Below is a list of the land, air and sea companies we will be using to travel with:

AIR

LAND

  • Megabus – London to Glasgow, Belfast to Dublin, Edinburgh to London
  • Rail Europe – Paris to Marseille, Marseille to Nice, Nice to Milan, Prague to Berlin, Berlin to Munich, Munich to Cologne, Cologne to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Copenhagen

SEA

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Packing in progress

While booking for accommodations and transportation, I have put together a list of things to pack. It took a while because I wanted to bring everything and wasn’t sure how to pack for colder and warmer weather. The following list is what I came up with:

  • T-shirts (4)
  • Tank tops (5)
  • Long sleeve shirts¬†(3)
  • Hoodie (1)
  • Capris (2)
  • Long pants/jeans (2)
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Bathing Suit
  • Sandals/flats (2)
  • Running shoes (1)
  • Flip flops (1)
  • Toiletries (shampoo/conditioner mix, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts/solution)
  • First aid kit (bandaids, Polysporin, tweezers, gauze, medical tape/scissors)
  • Tissues and toilet paper
  • Baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf/sarong (1)
  • Medicine (Buckley’s day/night, Pepto Bismal, ant-acid pills, etc.)
  • Day pack
  • Backpack
  • Purse
  • Tea
  • Oatmeal packets

This is the final product!

Packing

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Backpacking through Europe

Over the past couple of months, ¬†I decided to quit my job and go on this travel adventure because it would be ¬†an opportunity to go see Europe without leaving my boss with a temp worker until I came home (considering there’s an event at the beginning of July). Another reason for leaving my job was because I felt that I had plateaued in my job – not feeling challenged enough and there wasn’t any room to move laterally or upward (there’s only two of us in the organization). I left on amicable terms and appreciate all my boss has done for me but I knew I needed to go.

I was debating on how to travel: 1) stay in a couple of cities and have it as home base, then do day trips, or 2) see as much as possible. As you can see from the list below, we decided to the latter.

As mentioned before in my travel news post, I will be travelling to Europe for just over two months. I’ve been planning for the last couple of¬†months, on and off and after sitting down with my friend, we’ve come up with the following list:

  • England
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • France
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Norway

I will be updating as much as I can with info on transportation, accommodation, attractions, etc. on the different places we’re visiting. ¬†Off to plan and pack!

Gloria

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Exciting Travel News!

I have been wanting to do some extended travel for some time now and there were discussions around Christmas time as to whether it would be possible or not and how it would be done. I now have an opportunity to do that! Some details:

Destination: Europe

Countries: France, England, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany (for now…)

Duration: 65 days

Modes of transportation: plane, train, bus and ferry

I’m so excited!!! Trip planning is in progress. Also, I’m freaking out about what to pack due to differences in the weather, where we’re going to stay, how to get to places, etc. There’s a lot to consider, especially for such a long period of travel.

More details to come ūüôā europe-map-2

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Why I love Travel

Sorry for the lack of posts, there’s been a lot going on in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to put into words why I love to travel and have no intentions to stop any time soon or for that matter, ever. Here goes nothing.

I have been travelling since I was 8 or 9 years old. I have no recollection of why I asked to go or how I came about travelling¬†with my relatives but it was my first memory of travelling without my parents on a road trip to Boston to visit a distant relative.¬†I remember sleeping on the floor in the bedroom next to my grandparents’ bed; swimming in the ocean in my pink bathing suit with black polka dots; and knowing that everything I had was contained in my purple duffle bag (I still have and use this bag today).

Now I look back at those photos and see the pure joy in my face Рit reminds me of why I love to travel.  The freedom to do whatever you want in the moment in your life because

When I came across ‘¬†article:¬†“Why you should travel young”, his words really stuck with me.¬†It reminds me of when I used to work at a coffee shop and recall having a conversation with a regular customer.

Customer: “Today’s my last day at work.”

Me: “Why is that? I thought you were happy with your job.”

Customer: “I turn 30 today ¬†so I quit my job and I’m travelling the world!”¬†

Those words have never meant a lot to me until now. I’m turning 30 next year and¬†have come to a cross road in my life where I’m asking myself, should I take some time off from work and travel or continue to make money?

My first trip was to Australia during university. I went on an exchange abroad and Australia was the furthest country I could think of. For six months I was in a strange country all by myself for the first time in my life and boy was I scared but very excited at the same time. By the end of my stay, I knew that I had become a changed women – knowing how to cook for myself, budget my money and able to co-exist with others that weren’t family. On my way home, I stopped over in Hong Kong and Thailand with my sister, which was a completely different experience – pace of life, accessibility to transportation, and so much more.

After that trip, I started taking time off once every two years for a big trip since I was going from contract to contract work and didn’t always have the funds to go for long periods of time. Our next trip was two years later that took us to Vietnam/Cambodia because we couldn’t find a good tour that took us to Laos, it was the next best thing. ¬†I managed to get a full-time position and it led me to Israel and I tacked on Germany for a week. ¬†A friend was getting married in London, so I spent a week there. In 2012, I was India for weddings and this past year, I went back to Hong Kong and spent a couple days in Singapore and Macau.

Through my travels overseas, I would recommend it to anyone who has doubts to see the world to JUST GO. It will be a once in a life time chance to learn about yourself as well as new cultures and people. Travelling has allowed me to get a glimpse of what life is like in the eyes of someone else and how I can enrich the people around me.  Kindness can be found in the most unexpected places along with new friends Рmy sister and I found it throughout Cambodia (despite there are still a lot of people living in poverty but they show pride in their country and are eager to show you its best).

I know that it sounds very hypocritical but throughout my twenties, I haven’t had any or many responsibilities other than paying for my phone bill on time or ensuring that I get to work on time. Now that I’m nearing the big 3-0, I’ve started to thinking more about my future – what I’d like to do with my career, when am I going to move out on my own and where I’d like to live, what’s my next vacation destination, where is my relationship with my boyfriend going, etc. There are a lot more questions to ask than I have answers. I’m currently sitting on the fence of what I want to do, but for sure, I’m dreaming of my next destination.

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Singapore

It’s been 5 years since I last saw my friend Ruth. Every time I go on a trip or mention anything of one, she hounds me about visiting her either in Singapore or Malaysia, depending on where she is at the time. This time, it so happens that she’s in Singapore and considering the flight from HK to there is only 4-5 hours, I had no excuse. My sister decided to come with me as well so we went to a travel agent to book the flight in order to get on the same flight. Ruth took us around each evening and we were very grateful for that! It was great to catch up with her and when we saw each other, it was as if no time had passed between us – which is exactly the friends I want to keep.

It also wasn’t too expensive compared to a flight from Toronto to Singapore. Flying with Cathay Pacific has its perks when within Asia – so much cheaper! Also, staying in a hostel was a good choice, though a last minute booking landed us at a place called Matchbox The Concept Hostel. I liked the idea of it but not in reality. We stayed in a dorm style room but instead of bunk beds, they were cargo style boxes stacked two high and nine wide with lockers on the other side of the room to house our stuff. The mattresses were too thin and it was just uncomfortable to sleep on.

Three days in Singapore was just a day short of being the perfect amount of time. It’s a metropolis that isn’t crowded. The accessibility by public transportation is very similar to that of HK but less people, which is great. You can get from the airport to the city centre by subway as well as be able to walk to most places, which is great. They also have a tourist pass which allows for unlimited travel on most public transportation routes for a specific amount of days. This worked out perfectly for us since we got the three day pass. It occurred to me while we were there that there aren’t any natural resources for the country to export so tourism and services are a major economy driver and boy do they know how to cater to customers.

It’s an expensive place to live though. The exchange rate was almost on par with the Canadian dollar (1CAD to 1.2 SGD). Alcohol is too – we paid for 3 drinks which came out to 42 SGD and they weren’t fancy drinks!

We visited as many different places as we could – Little India (really cool since we arrived just after Diwahli so decorations were still up), Gardens by the Bay, Orchard Road for shopping, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Fort Canning Park, etc. It was nice to get a good sense of travelling around and the different places.

My favourite part of the entire trip other than seeing Ruth was the food!!! I travel to eat and this trip was no difference despite the short amount of time. First night was all about the chilli crab – steamed and sauced to perfection along with other foods such as noodles, rice, shrimp, etc. It was so delicious at Jumbo Seafood. We also went to Little India and ate at the restaurant sitting atop the Mustafa Centre (the Bazaar is open 24/7). It was nice to see parts of Singapore from atop. Then there are the hawker stalls – traditional Singapore/Malaysian food. OMG! There were so many things to try that I don’t remember the names of all the dishes, so here’s a picture of it! Hawker Food

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