Strangely, there is no official job title for it since the stuff on my name card doesn’t really match my real job. So I introduce myself professionally as a “Content Marketer” but the actual duties are that of a “Blogger”. It’s still unbelievable today that I’m an actual Blogger (with a big B).
Fun things I’ve been doing
Enough about boring work stuff, now it’s time for the fun stuff.
Since I was hired in March, I couldn’t take long periods of leave for travelling so I had been stuck in Singapore for a while.
I might have Stockholm syndrome since I don’t think life was that boring in the previous months:
I went to a friend’s wedding in May
I travelled to small town Raub in Pahang for a friend’s wedding. It was great meeting my old friends and getting to feast at the wedding dinner. Om nom nom.
I went to another friend’s wedding in Singapore
More happy things happened!
My sister is getting married
The official wedding dinner is happening next year but they’re going to register this year. More and more happy things happened.
I discovered that Singapore has improv classes
I absolutely adore improv ever since I saw it on Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Improv-A-Ganza is awesome too, with the same cast). I didn’t know it was a real thing that I could actually do.
Then I found out that The Improv Company teaches improv. I’m going to sign up for their longer course when their schedule suits me.
KLIA2 is the new terminal for budget carriers flying in or out Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s largest budget airline AirAsia moved its operations from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to KLIA2 on May 9.
I was flying to KL on May 10 so I had the chance to see the airport while it was still new. Here’s a peek at what the new airport looks like.
Before flying, I’ve read advisories from AirAsia telling travellers that the boarding gates are quite far so everyone needs to be early. The walk from the arrival gates to the main terminal did feel quite long, although the view of airplanes from the large windows helped pass time.
Things were still kind of bare when I was at KLIA2. I didn’t get much photos of the arrival hall because I wanted to catch my bus to KL Sentral.
The buses are located at Basement 2. I had booked a shuttle bus to KL Sentral from AirAsia. Turns out I could just hop on the bus and show my ticket.
I had more time to take photos when I was leaving KL. The departure level is the highest of the building and getting here takes more time than I expected.
I like that there are a lot more restaurants at KLIA2 than LCCT. Finally, more food choices. But I only got a cup of latte from McCafe since I ate multiple meals before leaving the city center.
After having my coffee, I had a really difficult time finding a normal trashcan to throw my cup. The human-FAQ couldn’t help me and only pointed to the recycling bins.
Prompt #16: What city in Europe would you like to visit the most?
Having visited Paris in 2011, I can’t really think of any other European city that I would like to visit. I think my imagination has been eroded from too much travelling.
Although I don’t have a a particular city in Europe that I’m dying to visit, if I were dying, I would choose to go to the fictional land of Westeros in Game of Thrones (which is kind of in Europe and filmed in Europe).
Credit: Robert whose handsome face I’ve cropped out
Compared to my current life, Westeros has 1000 times more swords and an infinity times more shadows dragons. Those are good enough reasons to go.
I would love have been a part of the storyline but based on my karma, I’d probably end up as Character Who Crosses The Road in the books or the film. Plus, I wouldn’t have survived a day in Flea Bottom.
Actually, come to think of it, I don’t feel like dying that soon. The one reason I want to be in Westeros is so that I can wear fantastic braids all year long (which I have been doing in a mini scale these days).
Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.
Today we’re having a cuppa in Peru.
While in Arequipa, Peru, I studied Spanish at a language school for two weeks. I stumbled upon EDEAQ through Google. It’s a great place to learn Spanish since they have 1-on-1 lessons that are much cheaper than the group lessons I had in Buenos Aires.
At EDEAQ, there is one tea break between the morning classes. After the tea break, you switch to another teacher.
During the tea break, I discovered that Peruvians drink a lot more types of tea than other places I’ve been to. (Even in China, I don’t think they bring out such choices of tea.)
These tea taste weird for my palate. I feel that anise should only belong in cooking but they drink it in Peru (and probably other places around the world!) Hierba luisa reminds me of lemongrass while manzanilla tastes like regular chamomile.
There was another very exciting tea that I had in Peru. That is coca tea (mate de coca). This tea is very useful for altitude sickness and motion sickness (not that it helped when I was on the bus to Nasca since I threw up as soon as the liquid hit my stomach.)
What makes this tea exciting is that it is made from coca leaves which is the same ingredient used in making cocaine. But this does not mean that every traveller sipping from coca tea bags are on drugs.
A cup of coca tea prepared from one gram of coca leaves (the typical contents of a tea bag) contains approximately 4.2 mg of organic coca alkaloid. (In comparison, a line of cocaine contains between 20 and 30 milligrams.)
[Hi, before you continue, I have to warn you that this is is a rather TMI (too much information) post. It has the most concentration of the word “naked” out of all my posts. In case you are curious, I’ve used the world “naked” before.
You are welcomed to imagine whichever person you want to see naked while reading the post, if that makes you feel better. You have been warned.]
One of the things you need to do in Turkey is to get a Turkish bath at a Turkish bath (hammam). For those aren’t sure what a Turkish bath is, it’s a bath where someone–hopefully Turkish for an authentic experience–scrubs you really hard with a loofah and let you lie for a short period of time on warm tiles.
Yes, you pay someone to scrub you in the nude.
The last time I let anyone bathe me was when I was a kid and didn’t have full control over my limbs.
I’m not usually a shy person when it comes to bathing matters. After spending a bit of time in Japan, I am comfortable with walking around naked in Japanese and Taiwanese onsens. But getting someone to rub my body with a loofah is probably a test of my limits.
Even though I have Turkish bath on my to-do list, my mom who was travelling with me in Turkey wasn’t keen at all. She’s the type who get squeamish in onsens so I understand that. In the end, I have to visit the baths on my own.
According to my research (reading loads of mixed reviews on Tripadvisor), there were a few baths around my hotel area. I eyed two and started looking for them.
I found Cagaloglu Bath’s side door after a long walk up and down Istanbul’s slopes. Fortunately, it was also the ladies’ side door. Entering the entrance, I passed by a poster of Kate Moss posing on some tiles before the screen that divided the bath and the outer world.
A long poster hanging on the second floor told me that it was one of the “1000 Places To See Before You Die”. That probably means that I’ll be paying for a lot of ambience too.
The little court had a few marble tables and stools. There were a lot of ladies sitting around looking bored. They wore the uniform white polo t-shirt and some brown pants.
I asked the lady at the counter for the price. Looking at the chart, I did a quick calculation and realized that it was quite out of my budget. But I already had my feet in the compound and I feel compelled to sign up for a session even though it would mean less lunch for me. I chose the cheapest package that included a scrubbing session.
Counter Lady said I could pay later and shouted to one of the ladies. The woman who answered reminded me of Rebel Wilson.
I was shown to a room and told to change. The room had a sleazy look to it. A bed with a plastic-like dark green fabric was pushed against the wall. A small dresser with a feedback form was next to the bed.
The room had a glass window which was frosted on the bottom half to protect the modesty of whoever was inside. Not that we need any modesty since we would be buck naked in the sauna room anyway.
So I changed out of my clothes and wrapped a towel around myself. Since I was paying a night’s worth of a hostel stay, I wore my glasses so that I could admire the marble hammam. But as I closed the door, Rebel pointed to my glasses and mimed taking them off. So much for getting my eye worth of the hammam.
I was told to wear clogs and I shuffled like some Ch’ing dynasty lady with lotus feet. Rebel helped by grabbing my arm and steadying me.
I walked with blurred vision, passing an empty chamber before going into the hammam itself. Rebel brought me to the round stage-like marble place and slapped the surface. I interpreted that as asking me to lie down.
So I lied down on the warm marble and tried to relax. It was a bit difficult because the marble is hard. Being half blind without glasses didn’t help with my experience. Everything on the ceiling looked like a blurry bouquet of lights as the sun streamed through some of the circles on the roof.
After a while, I flipped myself over like a piece of steak to warm the front of my body (while covering my backside with my towel). My neck twisted uncomfortably as I rested my cheek on the marble. I didn’t know I have cheekbones until the marble pressed against them.
I tried counting how long I was told to grill myself. It didn’t seem very long before Rebel appeared. She was armed with a loofah mitten and a bucket.
She flipped me around so I was facing the ceiling again. With a bit of warm water sloshed on me, she began her car polishing moves. Every inch of my skin was scrubbed.
Halfway during the scrub, Rebel grabbed my hand so I could feel the bunch of dirt that she had scrapped off me. There seemed to be a crazy amount of dead skin on me. I thought back the times that I had showered and wondered why there weren’t as much dead skin.
Then I was flipped over like a burger patty. My back, backside and legs were scrubbed. When all was done, Rebel patted my shoulder and escorted me to the shower area.
The shower area is basically a corner of the hammam. The bath lady waits for the pail to fill with warm water before giving you a good shampoo.
When I was lying down on the tiles, it was OK for me to close my eyes and not look at what Rebel the Bath Lady was doing to my body. But now that we were standing up, I awkwardly looked at the top of her head.
As Rebel finished my shampoo, I saw her give my body a look and give a nod. I felt it was an approving nod, or wasn’t it. I wasn’t sure what to do so I awkwardly smiled at Rebel instead. Then I was wrapped in a towel and shooed back into the room.
Back in the brothel-like room (where no one gave me a “happy ending”), I counted my coins for Rebel’s tip. My notes were too large and luckily my coins were just enough for tip.
I shuffled out of the “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, feeling sparkling clean but strangely molested.
I later discovered that the ladies’ entrance I went into was a dwarf compared to the real entrance which was very beautiful. I felt cheated that I wasn’t asked to leave from the main entrance.
Read more about other people paying to get scrubbed by strangers:
Even though I’ve stayed in Singapore for almost nine years, I didn’t know that it was possible to buy cheap tickets to various attractions. I always thought that I needed to pay full price, and thinking about it makes my miserly heart cold.
Luckily, my friend Lilian showed me where I could get discounted entrance tickets. Lilian who is now back in China (and whose wedding I attended) wanted to visit the South East Asia Aquarium (SEA Aquarium) before leaving.
Today is Chinese New Year eve, the second most important day of Chinese New Year (CNY).
CNY eve dinner is an important time for family to gather together, eat good food and be nagged by elders. [Note to YQ: Do not be a patronizing aunt when you grow up.]
Enough bitterness, I want to share a two-part series of collaborative posts to mark CNY.
Early this week, I asked on Facebook for information on how different people celebrate Chinese New Year in different countries. For the feature, I was planning to have many Chinese folks in different countries to talk about their traditions.
Unfortunately, not many random strangers on the internet took up the challenge. I guess this might also be a good thing since it makes the post more cosy.