A trip to erotic temple Candi Sukuh: Part 2

Symbolic penes at Candi Sukuh

This post is part 2 of 3 of D and my trip to erotic temple Candi Sukuh in Indonesia. Find out how we decided to visit the location and our journey to the site in part 1.
xxx
The motorcycle drivers deposited us at the foot of a hill after a rather calm ride (no one was tossed off their bikes, thank goodness). The way uphill was steep and would have taken forever if we had walked.

We couldn’t see the ruins from the entrance but the site didn’t look big.

I read someone’s blog which described Candi Sukuh as a mini Mexican temple. Did the ancient architects go to the same school of building design?

After paying for our entrance, we read the only description available of the site in the form of a faded poster on a display board behind a pane of dirty glass.

After reading, we entered the real site by climbing a flight of stone steps. I would rather climbed through the narrow staircase of the stone building near the steps but the gate was locked.

Stairs to Candi Sukuh
Stairs to Candi Sukuh

The real Candi Sukuh

When I first saw the real site, I was slightly disappointed at its petite size. I was expecting something on a grander scale but the area was rather small and could be seen in about half an hour time.

It was interesting how the ancient people “layered” the temple grounds so the main building was the highest.

Candi Sukuh
Candi Sukuh

Once I’ve gotten over my first world problem of being disappointed by the smallness of the site, I was in awe of the sculptures. I could not even draw half of these beings, how did they get them onto the rocks.

Gate of Candi Sukuh
Gate of Candi Sukuh
“I believe I can fly”
Candi SUkuh deco
Candi Sukuh deco
Wall carvings of Candi Sukuh
Wall carvings of Candi Sukuh
Basin of Candi Sukuh
Basin of Candi Sukuh
Mask of terror
Mask of terror

There was a couple taking pre-wedding photographs on the temple grounds. I think it’s really cool to take photos there because it’s a lot more unique than the general fake screens we see.

Wedding shoot at Candi Sukuh
Wedding shoot at Candi Sukuh

To the altar of Candi Sukuh

To the altar of Candi Sukuh
To the altar of Candi Sukuh

Stairs to rooftop bar of Candi Sukuh
Stairs to rooftop bar of Candi Sukuh

The highlight of the site was the rooftop altar which could only be reached by climbing a narrow staircase. The width of the entrance showed how petite 15th-century people were but us 21st century big boned folks also made it.

On the rooftop, it was a bit dizzying to see the tea gardens. I kept thinking I might slip and crash head first onto the stone pavement. Ouch!

Hi from Candi Sukuh's rooftop altar
Hi from Candi Sukuh’s rooftop altar

My only complaint

One embarrassing complaint I have about Candi Sukuh is the lack of erotic symbols. For a fertility temple, there’s too little eroticism around.

I was hoping for something like Haesindang Park but I only found two statues that were explicit.

Why Candi Sukuh is called an erotic temple
Why Candi Sukuh is called an erotic temple

I’ll leave you with this song from Flight of the Conchords titled Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor.

Follow me as I end my trip to Candi Sukuh with a hot sweet tea at a local warung.

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A trip to erotic temple Candi Sukuh: Part 1

This is post part 1 of 3.

I realize that a lot of my posts are about the destination: How grand the palace was, how sad the castle was and so on.

So this time, I want to do an experiment. Instead of bringing you straight to the destination, I want to bring you along on the trip to Candi Sukuh.

Are you ready?

Sights of Candi Sukuh
Sights of Candi Sukuh

Prologue

During my eight-day trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, D and I headed to Solo for a couple of days. I don’t remember why we chose to go to Solo but it might be because of the relatively short train ride to the city.

While in Solo, we took a day trip to Candi Sukuh. I admit that my motif for visiting was due to its unofficial title as being an erotic temple.

On the day we were heading to Candi Sukuh, we dropped by the tourist information center opposite Hotel Dana where we were staying at.

The man at the information counter tried to persuade us to take a taxi there but we insisted on taking the public transport for two reasons:

  1. It’s more indie.
  2. It’s cheaper.

However, we did take a cab to the main bus terminal because Trans Solo wasn’t as efficient as Trans Jogja (or Trans Jakarta, which I found out months afterwars)

From the main terminal at Solo, we hopped on a bus heading to Karangpandan where we to switched to a smaller bus.

The bus from Solo was a large bus. The seats were divided by a narrow corridor: the seats on the right could sit three petite locals while the ones on the left were for two. Being big-boned, we took the 3-seater for the two of us.

While waiting for the rest of the passengers to board, the bus was a bit warm and stuffy but it cooled down when the bus started moving as an endless gust of wind come in from from the partly open windows and the never-closed door.

As the bus chugged past fields of paddy, the bus conductor hungout of the open door, making sounds like an ambulance as we passed by motorists. “Wee-woo-wee-woo!”

In front of our row was a family with a doe-eyed child. The kid stared at us a while before turning to the front.

Show your sexy move

Usually when I am on a bus with TV, I am more likely to look at the box than the scenery. I think this has something to do with the TV being my baby sitter while I was growing up.

But I was really shocked when I saw the shows on the bus. They were was playing really sexy music videos.

On the bus
On the bus

Women dressed in strips of cloth writhed in front of the camera to loud techno music. I pretty much stared at the TV, wide mouthed. How on earth is something this sexy shown when Lady Gaga is “chased out of Indonesia“.

Later, the videos switched to wild life so I end up staring at the back of the head kid who had peeped at us from his seat.

At one of the stops, a boy came on board with a small guitar (a ukelele?) and serenaded each row. No one gave him money so he left after a round on the corridor.

Touchy feely on the bus

Finally, we arrived at Karangpandan station where we switched to a smaller bus. This bus was much smaller with two seaters on each side of the corridor.

I sat by the windows with D next to the aisle. A bunch of old ladies later came onboard.

The bus seats were rather cramped and I held on to the window edge with my fingers in case my butt slipped too far.

During the ride, I heard the old ladies chattering for a while. Then D spoke out loud, “Hello madams.” The old ladies twittered but stopped talking.

Later, D told me that the old ladies discussed among themselves how fair she was. This escalated to arm touching to see if the skin was real. When D greeted them in Indonesian, they looked sheepish. :3

Foot of the hill

The bus climbed up hills after hills on a narrow road. It then stopped in a small town. The conductor told us this was our stop for Candi Sukuh.

foot of hill where we got rides to the temple
foot of hill where we got rides to the temple

We found a motorcycle workshop and asked if they provided lifts to the temple. (I’ve read on the Internet that it’s better to get a motorcycle ride than walk.)

Two of the men volunteered after we discussed a price. I went along with the younger driver.

Wearing my hair gel-smelling helmet, I enjoyed the view of the valley and the cool air. My driver kept persuading me to visit the tea plantations and another temple faraway.

view of tea garden
view of tea garden

After a very steep hill, our motorcycles stopped and the drivers told us that they will wait for us while we visited the temple grounds.

Continue with the adventure in part 2 of the visit to Candi Sukuh and see how the site resembles the ruins in South America.

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Brunch at Drips Cafe, Singapore

TGIF! It’s #FoodFri again on YQtravelling.

I feel like I do not write enough about Singapore so here’s an introduction of a nice cafe in the peaceful neighborhood of Tiong Bahru–Drips Bakery Cafe.

I found out about the place from J who has impeccable taste when it comes to nice food.

My breakfast platter #2 (S$15.80++) was gigantic. I especially love the buttered toast. The bread was sweet and the butter salty but creamy.

The sausage was a little unfortunate though. It was limp and the sausage skin was too tough to saw off with my knife. :(

Drips Cafe brunch
Drips Cafe brunch

The caffè latte was normal and it wasn’t burnt, which to my untrained palate is good enough.

Drips Cafe caffe latte
Drips Cafe caffè latte

Setting

Enough about the food (Wait a minute, is this not #FoodFri?), I want to show you the rest of the cafe.

Interior of Drips Cafe
Interior of Drips Cafe

The cafe is on the ground floor of a shophouse. In the front are the counters for food and drinks, the middle is where the table and chairs are while deeper inside there are couches.
Drips Cafe
View from inside Drips Cafe

At the coffee section, there was a sign saying: “TRAVEL”. I was wondering why it was there. I think it’s because the romance of travelling.

Drips Cafe--Travel
Drips Cafe–Travel

The walls were decorated with paintings that were available for sale. Most of them were semi-abstract and priced too high for me to support the artist.

Paintings for sale at Drips Cafe
Paintings for sale at Drips Cafe

Bonus tourist attraction

Temple of the Monkey King
Temple of the Monkey King

There’s a temple dedicated to the Monkey God from the Chinese classic Journey to the West at the corner of the road.

I wasn’t sure why Sun Wu Kong would be deified since he’s a made up character. At the altar, there were figurines of the Monkey God.

Directions:
Drips Bakery Cafe is at 82 Tiong Poh Road, #01-05, S(160082).

The nearest MRT is at Outram Station (green line) and it’s just a short walk away. Checkout gothere.sg’s map.

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Review: Tune Hotel Asoke, Bangkok

Double room of Tune Hotel Asoke

For me, the most stressful part of planning a trip is booking the right hotel. The price has to be right. The distance to town should not be too far. The beds should be comfy with no bed bugs.

I guess that’s the reason why I keep choosing Tune Hotel when there’s a branch at my destination. When I found out that there was an opening sale for the new Bangkok branch. Tune Hotel – Asoke, I immediately made my booking.

During the sale, the basic room fee was 299 baht before taxes, Based on my past three experience staying at different Tune Hotels (Kota Bahru, Ipoh and Kuching), I decided that I needed to add on 24 hour airconditioning and Wi-Fi. The bill came around to 661.92 baht.

Tune Hotel Asoke bill
Tune Hotel Asoke bill

I’m not sure if it’s any cheaper than other hotels but I was sure that Tune Hotels have comfy beds and powerful showers. (5 star for 1 star price)

Airport to Tune Hotel

It’s a bit tricky to find how to take public transport from Don Muang airport to Tune Hotel as even the Web site is vague.

I printed out the hotel name and address (in English and Thai), showed it to the lady at the taxi counter who gave me a slip of paper and told me to wait for a cab.

To reach the hotel, the cabbie had to drive into the narrow lane of Sukhumvit Soi 14. The trip came up to be about 210 baht, even though the lady at the airport said it might be 350 baht.

If you are taking the public transport to Tune Hotel Asoke, stop at the BTS Asoke station. You will see a sign pointing to the hotel. Actually, you can see the hotel from the station.

Sign pointing to Tune Hotel at Asoke station
Sign pointing to Tune Hotel

After turning into Soi 14, you can see Suda Restaurant and a sign pointing to the hotel. (According to online reviews, this restaurant isn’t too bad. I’ve not tried it though.)

From Soi 14 to Tune Hotel
From Soi 14 to Tune Hotel

The hotel sticks out like a sore thumb (in a good way) among the posh housing.

Facade of Tune Hotel Asoke
Facade of Tune Hotel Asoke

The guard was very enthusiatic about helping me with my luggage. Unfortunately, I only had a backpack so he couldn’t help me. If you are heading out, he can help you call a cab too.

Checking in

Tune Hotel Asoke reception
Tune Hotel Asoke reception

When I reached, there was about 15 minutes before checkin time 1400. The receptionists were very strict about the time so I sat at the bench with the other early guests.

There was a play area where you can take photos of yourself and send it to your e-mail box.

Tune Hotel Asoke lobby
Tune Hotel Asoke lobby

Finally! 1400 hours arrived. I queued behind some of the guests who were even more anxious about checking in.

There was quite a long form to fill out. The receptionist also scanned my passport and the immigration entry form.

I was roomed on the fourth floor which is not the most auspicious.

Tune Hotel 4th floor
Tune Hotel 4th floor

The room

Double room of Tune Hotel Asoke
Double room of Tune Hotel Asoke

As the hotel only opened recently, everything was brand spanking new. I was quite happy that the toilet did not smell mouldy like it did in Kuching.

Strangely, there was a large mirror above the bed. It made the room seem larger but I cannot figure out what it is for.

Double room of Tune Hotel Asoke
Double room of Tune Hotel Asoke

Since I booked 24 hours of airconditioning, the key slot did not show the count down to my airconditioning-less hour.

Insert key here
Insert key here

As usual, there is a TV (which you can pay for) but I used it as towel rack. There’s also a menu for room service above the TV. The food is a bit overpriced though.

Le TV
Le TV

Wrapping up this post, I love everything about Tune Hotel Asoke, the location and price.

Bonus video

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A guide to walking from Malaysia to Thailand

To Padang Besar & Hatyai
To Padang Besar & Hatyai

When I was planning my trip to Padang Besar, Perlis, I wanted to walk from Malaysia to Thailand so I could tell people, “Yup, I’ve walked to Thailand from Malaysia before.”

So I flipped through the traveller’s bible, aka Lonely Planet, and was shocked.

In the tiny two-inch column for Padang Besar, the guidebook said: “Very few people, if any, walk the more than 2km of no-man’s land between the Thai and Malaysian sides of the border.”

NO INSTRUCTION, IT’S THE DAY OF DESTRUCTION.

After freaking out, I decided to become one of the “very few people” to walk to Thailand and back. And write a post about it. (Although another reason I’m walking is that I am too stingy to pay for the RM40 cab fare.)

A guide to walking from Malaysia to Thailand

Step 1 Get to Padang Besar’s immigration checkpoint

Malaysian side of immigration checkpoint border
Malaysian side of immigration checkpoint border

The entrance of immigration checkpoint is right in front of the big roundabout. Walk up to the toll booth-like area, keeping to your left since cars and motorbikes are on the right.

Step 2 Get your documents verified (and stamped)
Pass through the immigration checkpoint using the electronic gates if you have a Malaysian passport.

If you have a foreign passport, you’ll need to get it stamped at one of the officer’s booth.

Step 3 Walk a lot
It’s quite a long walk to the end of the border from the document checking area. Even though you will see a path (which is persumably for pedestrians) near the walls, do not take that route as it brings you to a dead end.

Weird murals
Weird murals

Admire the murals while you walk. I am not sure who the murals were put up for, perhaps it is for drivers who are stuck in a traffic jam.

Wave as drivers drive pass and motorcyclists give you a second look. Sticking out a thumb to hitchhike here does not work. I tried.

You will eventually reach the end of Malaysia’s border where a few officials hang around.

Step 4 Explain why you are walking to anyone who asks
The immigration officers will be curious why you are walking when there are motorcycle shuttles. The excuse “Because we want to” does not seem to satisfy their curiosity.

The officer practically interrogated us after looking at our passports. When we said we just wanted to walk to Thailand, he told that there were motorcycles shuttling people across. I asked where the motorbikes are, he pointed to the other end. I told him that I will not walk all the way back just for a motorcycle.

After being released, we walked to the Thai part of the border.

Step 5 Reach Thai border
There are no lines on the road to tell where passengers can walk, so be careful of traffic.

Follow the cars and where a bunch of people are filling up forms. Fill up the form and pay RM1 to the immigration officer.

Step 6 Enter Thailand
With the new stamp in your passport, head out of the immigration checkpoint. Do not be alarmed that it looks exactly like Malaysia but with Thai signs.

A guide to walking back to Malaysia from Thailand

Step 1 Get to Padang Beser checkpoint
The line back to Malaysia is not the same as the one you came in from. It’s at the other gate.

Step 2 Get passport stamped
Get your Checking Out stamp and hand over another RM1 to the person behind the booth.

Step 3 Walk back to Malaysia
The Malaysian folks will be less curious about you by now. Walk on. Same as usual, walk on the left side of the road to avoid traffic.

There is a sad duty free store along the no-man’s land.

The Zone duty free shopping
The Zone duty free shopping

Step 4 Get your documents verified to enter Malaysia

For pedestrian
For pedestrian

Show off your passport to the official at the toll booth. You must get an entry stamp or face being stripped naked during interrogation when you want to leave Malaysia. This is serious business.

Step 5 Get your luggage scanned
There’s probably no one in luggage check so just ignore this step.

Step 6 Back in Malaysia
At the end of the Malaysian customs, another officer will be interested in why you are walking. Answer his questions even though you know all the answers are in the passport which he is holding. Smile pleasantly.

Have you walked through the Malaysian-Thai border before?

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Visited: Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok, Thailand

It’s Friday again. TGIF! And Fridays are special days here as it’s #FoodFri, a day when I share a food-related post with you. Today, we will visit Cabbages & Condoms in Thailand.

Tell me, how can you not visit a restaurant with a name like “Cabbages & Condoms” especially when its tagline is “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy”. That is hilarious.

Before you go around thinking this is a kinky place where people eat salad after some naughty exercises, let me explain the name. Cabbages & Condoms the restaurant is run by the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) which helps with family planning. Someone who’s involved in PDA and C&Cwanted condoms to be as ubiquitous as cabbages, therefore the name.

When I found out that Cabbages & Condoms is really near Tune Hotel, I added it into my itinerary even though guide books warned that the food is mediocre for its price.

After checking in Tune Hotel on my first day in Bangkok, I walked to Soi 12 where the restaurant is located.

It’s hidden inside the alley, after one suspicious “club” and a posh-looking massage center.

30m to Cabbages & Condoms
30m to Cabbages & Condoms

Welcome to Cabbages & Condoms
Welcome to Cabbages & Condoms

After walking on the shady path, I came across a souvenir shop but didn’t go in.

Condoms, condoms everywhere

The place used condoms (not to be confused with condoms that were used) for decoration.

Exhibit A: Condom lampshade

Condom lampshade
Condom lampshade

Exhibit B: Condom fashion

Condom fashion
Condom fashion

Exhibit C: Condom clothes

Condom “clothes”

‘Romantic’ lighting

Being Southeast Asia, I chose to lunch inside the airconditioned restaurant instead of hanging out at the alfresco area with the sun shining on me.

The interior is a bit dark. The walls were decorated with condoms from other countries.

Interior deco of Cabbages & Condoms
Interior deco

My table was next to a wall with less racy deco.

“Cabbages & Condoms” is trademarked in Japan

There were a few news paper clipping in Japanese about the restaurant and a certificate of trademark.

While waiting for the food

I ordered a Tom Kah Kai and a coffee. While waiting for my drink and food, I found out that they have a recipe on the table mat. I wonder how many people actually copy it down to make a dish.

Recipe table mat from Cabbages & Condoms
Recipe table mat

I also discovered that the utensils were branded with the name of the restaurant.

Plate with restaurant's name from Cabbages & Condoms
Plate with restaurant’s name

Coffee from Cabbages & Condoms
Coffee glass

Recipe table mat from Cabbages & Condoms
Recipe table mat

I listened in to a table nearby of businessmen who were discussing companies in the networking industry. I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t hear any trade secrets which I could have used as scoops.

My chicken in coconut milk soup

My soup and rice came after a while. The coconut milk curdled in my sourish soup.

Coconut milk soup chicken from Cabbages & Condoms
Coconut milk soup chicken

It was a large serving which was probably meant to be share among a table of friends. Instead, all of the soup and rice went into my stomach, making me really bloated but also help me stave off hunger for the rest of the day.

The food wasn’t the best thing I’ve tasted on earth and was just “meh”. There wasn’t enough salt and felt like drinking lemongrass soup with hints of coconut.

The unsaltiness made my tongue confused. Was this supposed to be dessert or a main meal?

At the end of the meal, I asked for the bill. As expected, instead of a mint, there was a condom with my bill. I not-so-secretly slipped it into my bag before paying up.

Condom from Cabbages & Condoms
This came with my bill

At the exit, the restaurant cheekily had two separate boxes for condoms: Republican size and Democrat size. I peeped in and found out that they were the same size.

Condoms from Cabbages & Condoms
Sorry, We have no mints.

Review: Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok, Thailand
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 12
Food: So so taste
Price: $$
Pro: Fun theme and for a good cause
Cons: So so food than regular Thai places

Have you eaten at Cabbages & Condoms?

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Hidden treasures on the road: Second hand bookstores

I know books don’t make the best souvenirs:

Little Prince, Beauvoir
Little Prince, Beauvoir

Despite that, I always feel a sense of euphoria when I stumble upon second hand bookshops overseas.

The musty smell of the shop, the yellowing pages and the cheap price of books give me more thrill than shopping for clothes unless the garments are second hand and cheap.

Here are a few of the hidden treasures I’ve found during my travels:

BOOK OFF, Japan

BOOK OFF, Tokyo
BOOK OFF, Tokyo

BOOK OFF is one of Japan’s second hand book store chain. I was introduced to it by my host family in Fukuoka. At the end of my summer school, I sent home a heavy box of Japanese manga.

Popular manga usually go for 200 yen for a book while older manga are 100 yen. Foreign language books are not cheap though.

When I visit Japan (which is not often), I always have my eyes peeled for a branch of BOOK OFF on the streets. (There’s even some BOOK OFFs in Paris, if you are ever there.) When I see a BOOK OFF, I can’t help popping in to see their collection.

During my last trip to Japan, I had a free day waiting for the evening to come so I could go to Gintama Land. I found a BOOK OFF on the second floor of a building and spent hours in the shop, thumbing through comics.

Books in BOOK OFF are always in pristine condition. They look even better than most of the books on my shelf back home.

The Japanese usually read books stores while standing (it even has its own phrase “tachiyomi“). On weekends, it’s quite a sight to see everyone standing, reading while facing the bookshelves.

Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes

Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes
Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes

I was looking for a place to have lunch in the center of Nantes when I came across a second hand bookstore “Bouquinerie du Centre”.

The selection wasn’t a lot but it had titles which weren’t easily available in Singapore.

Trying to look smart, I picked up a few Simone de Beauvoir’s books which looked easy enough to be read. Le deuxième sexe wasn’t available, unfortunately.

But I must confess that the books are still in the suitcase since my move to my new rented room in August 2011.

Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco

Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco
Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco

While in the Mission District looking for lunch (again!), I found Adobe Bookshop. The shop was in a state of orderly mess with stacks of books arranged alphabetically according to author and genre.

I browsed the rows and rows of books, squeezing through bookshelves and found a man snoozing in one of the armchairs.

While I was looking for something to buy back home, a man came into the shop. He said he accidentally bought the same book and asked if he could exchange it for another. The shopowner agreed.

The old gentleman came to my aisle and was looking up and down for the author’s row. When he asked me if I knew where the author’s book was, I helped him in his search. We found it.

He then asked if I had my lunch as he was going to grab a bite. Although he didn’t feel threatening, I pretended that I just ate because I don’t think I should go around having lunch with strangers I’ve just met, even if it was in a book store.

Bridget Jones
Bridget Jones

While browsing, I overheard the shopowner telling a customer that the shop will be closing down as the landlord wanted to increase the price of the rent. I looked at the price of the books and wondered how the shop manage to stay open in the first place.

When I paid for my books, the shopowner asked if I was from overseas. I answered, “Singapore”. He then said that he was collecting foreign currency and if I had any money from Singapore to exchange with one of the foreign money in the plate.

I did have a S$2 note and I chose a pre-Euro coin from France. I said my thanks and left with my books.

I think the shop would have closed down by now. I feel sad.

This post was inspired by this week’s #Travel Talk on Twitter (#TTOT): Hidden treasures.

Have you stumbled upon hidden treasures when travelling? What was it?

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Hola! Let’s learn Spanish.

Spanish in 30 Days

I’m travelling to South America some time next year and I want to be able to speak Spanish to help me go through life easier.

I went to a Spanish language school a few months back and quite enjoyed it. My four semesters of French made it easier to pick up the language compared to my other classmates who were were thrown into the deep end of the Spanish pool.

Even though the language school has higher level classes, I don’t think I am want to spend about S$300 to improve my Spanish.

Self studying Spanish

What will I do then? I plan to self study.

I’m a fan of self-proclaimed language hacker, Benny Lewis, who evangelizes speaking from day 1.

While I probably won’t be as hardcore as he is buy speaking from day 1, I plan to learn from his methods and do a lot of self studying.

Spanish in 30 Days
I don’t think I will be able to speak Spanish in 30 days.

I’ve borrowed some language books and CDs from the library which I can practise reading and listening from.

For more listening and vocabulary practice, I can check out Spanish versions of pop songs (although I’m not that sure of some of their accents).

I also discovered that my current-favorite TV show/band (Flight of the Conchords) has Spanish dubs. I’ve put up a playlist of Los conchords in Spanish. If I can get my hands on the lyrics, I’ll be able to learn new vocabulary.

If you are interested in laughing out loud to songs, I recommend:
– Fashion is Danger [English | Spanish]
– You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute [English | Spanish]
– Business Time [English | Spanish]

Even though it’s still too early, I have a Spanish version of Bridget Jones’s Diary which I bought second hand while in San Francisco. I have the English version, maybe I can do a side-by-side readings? My goal is to understand at least 50% of the content by the time I leave for South America.

Bridget Jones's Diary, en espanoil
Bridget Jones’s Diary, en espanoil

To end this post, I bring you the only Spanish song I know all the lyrics to.

Indie Travel Challenge
This blog post was inspired by BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge weekly travel blog project.

Week 43 of the Indie Travel Challenge is a challenge to start learning a new language:
Q: Do you speak two languages or more? What are those?
A: Fluent English, Mandarin Chinese and Malay. Conversational Japanese, French.

Check out my other #indie2012 posts.

Do you have any recommendations for beginners in Spanish?

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#FoodFri Guīlínggāo in Singapore

Guilinggao
Guilinggao
Guilinggao

龟苓膏 Guīlínggāo is an acquired taste.

It looks like a jelly made out of squid ink. It tastes like bitter Chinese medicine, even when you drown it with the sweet syrup shops provide.

The only consolation is that it’s good for your health. In Chinese tradiotional medicine speak: It is good for “cooling” the body.

I didn’t like Guīlínggāo when I was a kid. It was too bitter. But now that I’ve grown up, I quite enjoy the bitterness and its contrast with the honey-sweet syrup.

If you are ever in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, try a bowl. Go on.

Kang He Tang

Have you ever eaten guīlínggāo ?

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Getting a fake identity at Khaoshan Road, Bangkok

Have you ever been envious of how spies get to have multiple fake identities?

Well, you can get several identities too while you are at Bangkok’s Khaoshan Road.

Illegally, that is.

I first heard about the possibility of making fake IDs from a colleague. After some “research” on Google, I decided that I must visit Khaoshan Road to check out these counterfeit identity card makers.
Fake IDs at Khaoshan Road
There were a few stalls with photocopies of IDs. Photocopies of some of the more popular IDs were displayed on A4 paper while the rest were in the rather thick folders.

I didn’t study what sort of IDs they faked. From my photos, it seems like they can make certificates as well.
Fake IDs at Khaoshan Road
Some of the stalls were unmanned, as I assume that the person in charge is hiding away in a corner, in case the authorities come.

20 minutes for a student ID

In the name of research, I approached a stall looked over by a woman. It felt safer dealing with a woman.

She told me that it costs 300 baht to create a fake student ID and would take 20 minutes. I asked for a discount but was denied when she heard that I only wanted one.

When I agreed to the price, she called out to a man. He had a pad with details to fill out.

After I filled out the slip of paper. He said the university name was too long and I had to change it. I made multiple variations until he was satisfied.

He then pointed to the folder on the table. Flipping through, he pointed a copy of a Singapore I.C..

I almost fainted. Can you imagine getting caught with one of it? It’s a fine of up to S$10,000 or imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both.
Fake IDs at Khaoshan Road
I waited for the final product in a cafe. When I received it, it did look like a real student card.

I’m refraining from posting it on the blog in case cops burst into my room to arrest me.

Have you ever had a fake ID made?

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