Top 5 best things about my RTW

best things about my round the world trip

2 weeks ago, I shared the Top 5 worst things about my round-the-world trip.

Of course everyone loves a happy ending so today we’ll be looking on the bright side of things.

Top 5 best things about my RTW

5. Learning Spanish in South America

Taking notes for Spanish class
Taking notes for Spanish class

There is something about learning a new language: A new way to express yourself. A different way of seeing the world. Being able to eavesdrop on other people.

Check out the rest of the post…!

Down side of travelling: Top 5 worst things about my RTW

top 5 worst things about my rtw

Now that I’m back in Singapore, I can finally take a break from travelling and take a good look at my 4.5-month round-the-world trip.

My friend M asked me to summarize my trip in a list of Top 5 best and worst things about my RTW. Since it’s an interesting way to summarize the trip, I will share with you my two Top 5 list today and next week.

Since I’m a “bad news first” kind of person, we’ll be looking at the worst things things that happened during the trip. In one of the next posts, I’ll share the other side of the trip: the Top 5 worst things that happened.
Check out the rest of the post…!

Final day in Hong Kong=Eat all the food! [YQrtw Day 130 Aug 18]

polo bun from hong kong

Location: Hong Kong

[I am now blogging at Hong Kong International Airport. I’ve managed to misplace my camera (as well as break my glasses). I dislike posts with no photos so I’ll be recycling some of my Twitter photos of the day. That also means there’s only photo of food. Boo.]

Like yesterday, I woke up at an ungodly hour. However, I’ve made improvements with my jetlag and today wake-up time was 4am instead of 2am.

After posting my posts and a bit of Facebook games, I packed my suitcase for the final time. Since I only bought 20kg with AirAsia this time, I had to strategize my packing.

I packed most of the liquids into my suitcase and other lighter things such as clothes into my backpack. If I discover that the suitcase is overweight, Ill transfer some of the things to my backpack. If the suitcase is underweight, I’ll toss my backpack into my check in quota.

After everything was ready, I head out for breakfast. There wasn’t much choice around before 8am so I went back to the porridge place and got their signature dish as well as a “spring roll”. That meal was actually for 1.5 persons but I didn’t have dinner last night so let’s all forgive me for being a glutton.

Ocean Empire signature porridge and spring roll

After breakfast, I walked around the area, thinking up places to visit. Sadly, the shops weren’t open so I did the next best thing: Eat more food.

Next on my list was the egg tart from the cafe in Excelsior hotel. I had them on the first day and the memories of the flaky pastry is still in my mind. Plus, they have a coffee and egg tarts set. I’ve not had coffee for three days.

Egg tart and coffee set

After coffee and desserts, I needed to pass time before check out time. As usual, I opt for the most comfortable way of sightseeing–public transportation! I took the tram from Causeway Bay to one of the terminals and back to the same place.

While I was on the tram, my sister helped research things I could eat nearby. One of her finds were a “bolo bun” place which I noted on Foursquare.

I got back to the hostel and checked out. Since the reception area was in another building, I had to drag all my things there. The landlady allowed me to leave my things before my bus to the airport.

Now that checkout is done, it’s time for more food. My stomach couldn’t handle a full meal so I head to the “bolo bun” place with the aid of Foursquare.

Despite the name “bolo”, meaning pineapple in Cantonese, the bun does not contain any pineapple. It’s supposedly in the shape of a pineapple, thus the name.

Bolo bun in Hong Kong

After the meal, I still have about 2.5 hours to waste. I decided to take the tram to Happy Valley where the horse race tracks are. Coincidentally, this is where a few foot massage shops are (according to Foursquare, again).

I found the recommended foot massage place and sat for 50 minute of good-painful massage. The masseuse kneaded my foot like it was dough. While slapping my lower leg, he even commented that it was very stiff. Four months of travelling does bring stiff legs.

After the massage, it was about time for me to head back to the hostel and to the airport. Before I went to get my luggage, I checked out a few skincare shops (Watson and Sasa) to find something my sister requested.

There wasn’t any of what she wanted but I managed to buy something I want. I was thinking that I was losing interest in skincare since I’ve been doing the very basic while travelling. Thankfully I still have the urge to buy things. Long live consumerism!

To the airport

Near the hostel, there’s a bus stop where the direct bus to the airport stops. After bidding the landlady farewell, I dragged all my things and waited.

The bus arrived and there weren’t a lot of people. However, more people boarded at subsequent stops and the luggage storage place was crammed full of luggage.

The bus passed the sides of central Hong Kong, went into the underground tunnel and then the bridge to Lantau Island where the airport is. From the bus, I saw shops, mountains, cable cars and the road sign to Disney Land.

Pretty soon, we reached the airport. I dragged my stuff with me to Terminal 1 for a bit of shopping. I did get one bag which will replace my current slingbag for my future travels (in September!). It was a lot pricier than I expected but I really need one as the current is breaking at the seams.

Next was to Terminal 2 where my check in counter was. There was a free-to-use weigh so I checked to see if my bags were under 20kg. The total weight wasn’t so I had to do a bit more shifting before I got the weight undercontrol.

I checked in and went to the bathroom. I managed to break my glasses. I also discovered that I couldn’t find my camera after I got into the boarding area. Thank goodness all these happened on the last day!

A break for now

After today’s post, I’m taking a 2-week break from blogging to recharge and to find a stable internet connection (my parents cancelled the home phone line so no broadband for us).

If you miss my posts (aww shucks), please do go back and read the old posts.

Museum day in Hong Kong and it was great! [YQrtw Day 129 Aug 17]

dragon at hk museum

Location: Hong Kong

As I went to bed the night before at 6pm, I woke up at 2am.

Since almost everything is closed at that time and I don’t want to walk around the streets in the middle of the night and meet those scary gangsters featured in 60% of Hong Kong movies, I did a bit of blog updating and Facebook game playing.

Slightly before 7am, I decided it was time to head out for breakfast. I found out that there’s a porridge place nearby that serves food at 7am. Yum yum.

It was quite easy finding the place with a combination of Foursquare and Google Maps. However, it was 5 minutes before 7am when I reached the doors so I didn’t dare enter.

Instead, I walked around for two blocks before deciding that I really need something to eat.

I had porridge with a cup of hot soy milk. The porridge was really good as it was silky smooth and not chunky.

[See this video]

After breakfast, I decided to see more of Hong Kong. What better time to sightsee that early in the morning where you don’t have crowds of people to deal with?

I took the tram to one of the Hong Kong MTR station exit and let Foursquare and Google Maps do my travel planning. According to the apps, I was near the famous Central Mid-Level Escalators.

The apps were right but it was before 10am so all the escalators were going down. One of the downward escalator was also being fixed so I decided not to head to the top to take them all the way down.

Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators
Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators

A trip to Tsim Sha Tsui

Once the escalator was off the To-Do List, I made my way to the land opposite Hong Kong Island–the New Territories. This is where the famous Avenue of Stars and most museums are.

View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars
View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars

It was really cloudy and I could see heavy clouds sitting on top of Hong Kong Island, waiting to let out a flood of rain. I imagine that it’ll be a lot prettier if it was sunny or even at night when all the lights are on. (I love city lights.)

Visiting the Hong Kong Museum of Art

Looking across the narrow block of water and smelling ocean air got a bit boring so I turned my back and headed to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The museum wasn’t open yet at that time so I waited a long while before I could get in.

I’m usually less of a fan of art museums because I find that having just paintings is kind of boring. I’ve seen enough painting during this trip and I didn’t think I would like those at the HK Museum of Art that much.

But I was surprised by how much I liked the collection there. Maybe it’s because it has a lot of Chinese art which I didn’t get to see while travelling.

Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art
Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art

After 2 hours at the museum, it was time to feed my tummy. Luckily there was one of the branches of a famous ramen place nearby. I heard that there is usually a long queue at the Butao stores but there was only 5 other people in front of me.

Since I was eating alone, they found me a seat really fast. I accidentally ordered an extra serving of charsiew. The soup was very good but I ordered the wrong type of noodles and it felt like I was eating wanton noodles instead of ramen noodles.

Butao ramen in Hong Kong
Butao ramen in Hong Kong

Visit to the Hong Kong History Museum

After lunch, I was feeling the effects of waking up at 2am. I was tempted to go back to my hostel but I ploughed on. Next on the To-Do List was the Hong Kong History Museum.

The Hong Kong History Museum was great. The timeline starts waaaay back when there doesn’t seem to be any living organisms on earth to the time when Hong Kong is reunited with China.

Touch this rock
Touch this rock

The prehistoric parts were a bit dull but I love the second floor that talks about the different cultures in Hong Kong. They actually built houses inside the museum!


There were also audio visual halls where they show videos. I like that part because I can sit down and rest.

After visiting the permanent exhibition, I was very drained and wished to sleep. But I still have tickets to the temporary exhibition featuring clothes from the Qing royal family.

Emperor's new clothes
Emperor’s new clothes

While looking at the oversized clothes, I can’t help thinking how amazing it is that we’re able to see the clothes so near. Back in ancient China, a commoner might not even be able to see it from 1km away.

After a quick stroll through the exhibition, I decided to go back to the hostel. I took a bus that went through the undersea tunnel and saw lots of concrete walls.

Back in my hostel, I set my alarm for 8pm, thinking that I should check out Hong Kong at night. Unfortunately, when the alarm rang, I was still very sleepy and went back to bed.

Early morning movie and jetlag in Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 128 Aug 16]

kick ass 2

Location: Hong Kong

I learned that there are cheap, early morning movie tickets in Hong Kong. For 9am shows, the tickets are about HK$50 (S$9).

The one show that I really really want to watch here is Kick Ass 2 because I’m sure they’ll never bring it to Malaysia and even if they do, they will be a lot of censoring going on.

Even though I had to check out at 12 noon, I decided that I could still watch the movie and be back in time for check out.

The cinema is just around the corner for my hostel so I reached there about 20 minutes before the show started. I got my tickets and had to wait a while before my movie hall was open.

Kick Ass 2 ticket
Kick Ass 2 ticket

There were about 12 people watching the show. I guess it’s because it’s too early and it’s a weekday so everyone’s at work. I wonder if the cinemas make enough money from early screenings.

There were also a few senior citizens around. I know that morning shows are HK$20 (S$3.30) for them but I wasn’t sure this movie is for them. [Kick-Ass 2: Extended NSFW Trailer]

The show was great! Lots of action scenes and weepy scenes but too little topless scenes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Oh, Jim Carrey is in it as well so that’s an extra 50 points!

Moving to a new hostel

After the movie, I went to find where my new hostel was at. I found the check in counter but no one was there so I head back to the old hostel to pack up my things.

There still wasn’t anyone at the hostel when I got there so I called the phone number listed on the counter. A lady answered with, “Wai. Wai. Wai.” I tried shouting but she couldn’t hear me.

Another girl came in. As my room wasn’t ready, she told me to hang around outside until 12 noon for check in.

I headed to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. It’s been such a long time since I’ve had good Japanese food so I savoured every bite. The sashimi slices felt a bit too thick, though.

I love Japanese food
I love Japanese food

After lunch, I strolled in Eslite Bookstore, a Taiwanese chain of bookstores with the most gorgeous layout and very good collection of books. The books there are not wrapped in plastic but are free for everyone to read.

Then it was back to the hostel for me. There were three people waiting for check in so I waited a bit longer. The lady at the reception had a quick lunch of soup and rice before continuing with my reservation.

She told me that things have been really busy these days with guests coming from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. I found it fascinating that these foreign guests were able to find the room here because it’s rather hidden on the internet.

After paying my rent of HK$320 (S$54) a night, she brought me to a building opposite where my room was. It seems to me that guesthouses in Hong Kong have rooms all over the place and I find that pretty strange.

Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel
Single room with bathroom at Sun Kong Hostel

My new room is very nice (at least better than the hell hole ex-hostel I was at which smelled like backpackers who do not shower enough). My shower and toilet is at the end of my room. I found it rather strange showering right in front of the toilet bowl but it’s a small price to pay.

I napped a little and head out to do more sight seeing.

Awesome Hong Kong dessert

Based on a Foursquare recommendation, I went to Yee Shun Milk Company which specializes in milk-related desserts.

Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company
Steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company

There was a small milk “skin” on top of my pudding. The pudding was so rich and smooth I immediately decided that I will have one of these each day before I leave.

Since the eatery was rather small, service was curt. As soon as I cleared my bowl–and taken out my phone to take a photo of the spoon–a waiter took my bowl away. So I paid my bill and left.

Defeated by jet lag

Even though it was summer, the air was warm and humid because of the typhoon. I was planning to go on the Central-Mid-Level Escalators but the tram to the west never came.

By that time, I was sweaty, hot and sleepy so I zombie-walked back to the hostel. After a shower, I hit the sack at about 5:30pm.

See Hong Kong on a tram [YQrtw Day 127 Aug 15]

tramming in hong kong

Location: Hong Kong

[I was sleepy with jetlag on both the nights of August 15 and 16 so I wasn’t able to update the day’s blog post before midnight. Maybe nobody noticed… Anyway, here it is!]

I wanna hold your haaaaand
I wanna hold your haaaaand

I was fully awake at 7am even though I drifted to sleep well past midnight. It seems like it will take a lot more days before my jetlag goes away and for me to be familiar with GMT+8.

I took the chance to go to the common room to surf the internet. Wi-Fi on the fourth floor was non-existent, despite the sign outside giving the password for Wi-Fi.

The hostel that I was staying is a rather strange place. For one thing, they advertised themselves as at least 5 different hostels on booking sites. When the tourists get there, they are directed to the reception area on the third floor and then given a room or bed on another floor or at an entirely different building.

I was supposed to move out today because the bed in the 3-person room was booked. I asked the guy at the reception (who I think is the boss) about check out time and when I could move in. He was rather rude and replied me as if I’m trying to cheat him of a room even though I’ve made the booking online.

When he gave me back my change, I noticed that he gave me HK$100 less so I thought that he kept the HK$100 as the key deposit. Then I asked if I could have yesterday’s deposit back, he replied, “Of course not.”

So I pointed out that there as HK$100 less in the change, he said, “Oh.” and gave me a HK$100 note. No apology! He then asked one of the girls working there to bring me to my room.

The both of us had an awkward conversation about my travels as she spoke Mandarin with a Cantonese accent. I don’t know if in cases like these, I should step in and speak with my bad Cantonese or let her continue in a dialect she’s not very familiar with. In the end, I stuck with Mandarin.

My new room was any much better. It had a bed, a small table and enough space for my luggage to stand up straight. If I need anything from the luggage, I have to toss it up onto the bed.

Gundam character in front of Time Square
Gundam character in front of Time Square

Sightseeing in Hong Kong

After changing my accommodation, it was time to see Hong Kong. Thankfully typhoon day was over so the shops are open and the public buses are running.

I was excited to se e a lot of people on the streets. First stop on my to-see list was actually one of the Apple Stores. Using Google Maps in offline mode, I finally saw the place. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.

Apple Store in Causeway Bay
Apple Store in Causeway Bay

Views of Hong Kong from the tram

Since the sky was still pretty gray, I decided to take the tram to see Hong Kong. Unlike the trams in San Francisco, the trams in Hong Kong are double decker trams. The second level has open windows so it’s very breezy and is a great place to sightsee.

At HK$2.30 per ride, this is probably the cheapest way to get around, apart from walking.

Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Upper level of a double decker tram in Hong Kong
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Looking at Hong Kong from above
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
Entering dried seafood street. This guy must be hungry.
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong
End of the line for this tram in Hong Kong

I have 3G, finally!!!

After the tram ended at Kennedy Town, I gathered my courage and went into a convenience store to buy a local SIM card. I am never sure if I should speak Cantonese or Mandarin and my Cantonese is so bad that I am embarrased to say it out loud.

It turns out, they did have the SIM card for tourist that I was looking for. For HK$69 (SG$11.50), I get 5 days of 3G internet and HK$25 credit for calls and SMS.

I plugged the SIM card into my phone and was delirious with joy when the 3G sign came on. For the past 2 months, I was in South and Central America where the 3G spectrum does not fit my phone. I’ve forgotten how useful it is to have constant internet.

I felt like I have grown a third eye that allowed me to see where I am, plan my journey and constantly report my every move to everyone on the internet. [Find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.]

With 3G, I figured out where exactly I was and where the nearest cinema was. I made my way to IFC Mall but discovered that the movie ticket was HK$90. The miserly part of me refused to pay that much money for a movie so I looked for lunch.

Foursquare told me that there is a Tim Ho Wan branch at Hong Kong station so I went off to find the famous dimsum place. The directions were a bit confusing but I made it.

It was slightly before lunch time but there was already an unorderly queue. You pick up an order form where the lady scribbles a number. You order your food and wait for your number.

I ordered enough food for 1.5 people because I was too embarrassed to order only two dishes.

A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.
A feast for 1? Dimsum at Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong station branch.

After the feast, I decided to check out a second hand bookstore, Book Attic. I walked from IFC Mall to the bookstore and passed by lanes that I didn’t know existed in Hong Kong (aka I’ve not seen in Hong Kong shows).

These were medium-sized stone paths on a sloppy hill. The sides of the slopes are little stalls selling odd things. One stall was selling electrical plus, another selling colorful Chinese threads and one selling tacky for-tourist souvenirs.

At the bookstore, I browsed for a long time and finally bought one book. For a used book, HK$60 (SG$10) is kind of expensive.

While at the bookstore, I found a note left by a high school friend who’s now working in Hong Kong on my Instagram account. We arranged to meet for dinner so I had about 4-5 hours before the meet up.

I decided to take the tram again. This time to the eastern end of the tram tracks. The journey was long but it was very comfortable sitting on the upper level.

The end of the line of Shau Kei Wan is the residential area. I walked around taking a few photos before I got on another tram to the hostel.

Shau Kei Wan residential area
Shau Kei Wan residential area

Back at the hostel, I napped. I wasn’t ready to get up when my alarm rang 30 minutes before the meeting time. Thankfully, my classmate sent a message saying that he would be delayed for one hour. That means more napping for me!

After the quick nap, it was finally time to get out and face the world. My classmate, Lane* (not his real name), brought me to an “OK Hong Kong restaurant” as there were any spectacular ones around. The food was still good. I ate wanton noodles and beef horfun then some desserts at another place.

Lane gave many food recommendations which I saved into my Foursquare app so I wouldn’t be hungry for good food.

After dinner, I was sleepy again and went back to the hostel where I fell asleep.

A storm is coming to Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 126 Aug 14]

Dreadful typhoon day in Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong

According to the directions by the hostel, I could take a bus from the airport to the hostel for HK$40. Unfortunately, due to the typhoon, no buses on my route was going.

Dude, where's my bus?
Dude, where’s my bus?

I didn’t know about the no-bus thing and was waiting at the bus stop. Then a taxi man told me about the situation and proposed driving me to Hong Kong Island for about HK$200. I told him that I was on a budget and would prefer taking the train instead.

The Airport Express into Hong Kong island was HK$100. I paid and extra HK$5 to get to Causeway Bay where my hostel is.

There was eerily few people out in the streets when I got there at about 8:30am.

Only people out were tourists
Only people out were tourists

Checking in a rather dodgy hostel

At check-in, I was told to wait a while for the room to be prepared. I waited a long while and had to ask again for my bed before I was shown to my room.

My hostel is fortunately not in the Chungking Mansion area. Still, it wasn’t a proper hostel area. Several units in the residential building were turned into tiny rooms/storage space packed to the brim with beds.

When the hostel person and I got into my room, one of the girls on the top bunk woke up and screamed. She only saw the man and didn’t see me. I would scream too when a strange Chinese man comes into my room while I was sleeping.

After a shower, I head out into the streets for some food and to see what happens on Typhoon Day.

Typhoon day in Hong Kong

What is a hoisted typhoon?
What is a hoisted typhoon?

Well, nothing much happens on Typhoon Day. Only about 2 percent of shops were open. I ended up eating egg tarts for breakfast at a posh hotel. The Portugese/Macanese egg tarts were so good.

Awesome egg tarts with good Italian coffee
Awesome egg tarts with good Italian coffee

Lunch was a very expensive takeaway from the supermarket. HK$290 for rice, a bit of chicken, roasted meat and one half of a salted egg.

I explored the empty streets with an umbrella before I got the takeaway and went back to the hostel.

The wind was pretty strong and the rain was heavy. Almost everyone on the streets were tourists, specifically Mainland Chinese tourists. I think we’re the only fools going out into the typhoon.

Typhoon day in Hong Kong
Typhoon day in Hong Kong
It's raining water, sadly not men
It’s raining water, sadly not men

After I had my lunch, it was about 1pm. My head was aching from jet lag and I decided to take a nap. My nap turned out into a 5-hour sleepathon. I’m awake now and typing but I think I might go back to bed after I send this off to you.

Until tomorrow! Let’s hope the typhoon goes away and I can have some real food. Oh, I also need to figure out where I’ll be sleeping tomorrow because my bed has been booked up.

Literally the shortest day of my life [YQrtw Day 125 Aug 13]

safe landing

Location: Pacific Ocean

My flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong left around August 13 midnight and reached on August 14 at about 6am. The flight was about 14 hours long.

so if we do a bit of subtraction, we can deduce that August 13 lasted about 6 hours for me. That’s the shortest day of my life!

Of course this does not take into consideration that one other time I flew from San Francisco to SIngapore. But then I’ve forgotten how long that flight was so we’ll just take it that August 13 was the shortest day of my live.

Happy to blend in

Being on the Cathay Pacific flight from LAX to HKG was the first time in many months that I was around so many East Asian people. It was a weird feeling being one of the faces that blended into the crow,

I was expecting people to holler, “Chino!” as they did in South and Central America and the crowd to riot but Latin American stranger said that so all was calm and peaceful.

The 14-hour flight didn’t feel that long. I’ve been travelling so much on this trip that the process of getting from one place to another doesn’t seem very significant now. As long as I get there without vomiting, I’m happy.

Watching ‘Library Wars’

I did watch quite a lot of shows on the plane.

My very favorite movie among all that I’ve watched was Library Wars. It’s a Japanese movie adapted from a manga (Japanese comic) series. I have a friend who’s a fan of the comic so I thought I should give it a try. Plus, the male lead actors are all damn hot. Seriously.

Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, tears streamed down my face. I’ve forgotten how much Japanese films and manga make me cry happy/sad tears. There was quite a lot of book burning going on in the movie. Those scene make me cry silently. I think there would be less of an effect if they burnt Kindles. (Coincidentally, sales of e-readers have dropped so low in the period of the movie that they were mentioned once in a news program.)

The premise of the movie is that the Japanese government have set up a Media Betterment Unit (aka Bastards Who Burn Books) which censors unhealthy media in the public by deleting files off the internet and burning books. There is another much less funded unit against this censorship. It’s the “Library Protection Unit”” (or something like that) which helps preserve these so-called “unhealthy media” by gathering the materials in their library.

The public is free to use resources from The Library. The Library will also protect the privacy of the readers and not reveal what they have been reading.

Back to the plot, our gutsy Heroine signed up to be one of the Protection Team (PT) in the Library Unit because a member of the PT saved her from a jerk from the Media Betterment Unit. She even nicknamed this mysterious unknown person as her Prince (they do a lot of that in Japanese comics).

By 20 minutes of the movie, we–the audience–guessed that the hero (or her “prince) is actually our heroine’s rather nasty Higher-Up. He is supposed to be a lot shorter than her but the guy who played the role did a lot of Dreamy Prince roles that we cannot help associate him with Dreaminess.

There’s also the Sidekick to Higher-Up played by the guy who usually plays the leading man when he’s in his own movie. Sidekick and Higher-Up have a very strong bromance going on. But we know that they are straight because they do a lot of action-related training.

There’s also the Handsome-Smart-Well-Pedigreed-but-Snobbish-Boy and the Beautiful-Smart-Friend-of-Heroine. Even though Snobbish Boy confessed his confused love to Heroine, by the end of the movie, we all hope that the two Beautiful non-leading characters end up together because they are so smart and good looking.

I’m glad I watched the movie because reading the comic or else I might get the The Book is Much Better than The Movie syndrome.

Other shows I’ve watched were many of The Big Bang Theory episodes from Season 6. It’s funny how I started following this series in South America and not back in Singapore.

Bing Bang Theory on the plane
Bing Bang Theory on the plane

Bumpy landing

There’s a typhoon coming to Hong Kong about the same time as my arrival. Luckily, the typhoon was still in Guangdong when the place was landing.

It wasn’t a smooth landing as the pilot had to pull up the plane back into the air once.

Safe landing
Safe landing

There were a few crying kids. I’m not sure why they are dry crying with lots of crying noises but no tears. Is it because their ears hurt or that they are afraid to die? I wasn’t sitting near a kid so I couldn’t ask him.

I would tell the kid, “Hey, you should be crying when the adults are crying. Not now. Nothing bad is happening now.” Then I’ll point to a random corner of the screen and say that I think I saw a UFO.

Still, we manage to land safely and the kids stopped making loud noises.

It’s time to formally meet Hong Kong.

Onwards to LA for my transit to Hong Kong [YQrtw Day 124 Aug 12]

Location: San Salvador, El Salvador to Los Angeles, USA

After two months in Spanish-speaking countries, I’m finally leaving for Asia. But first, I need to head to LA for a transit.

In the morning, I was surfing Facebook and I realized that Cathay Pacific had a typhoon warning for the 13th and 14th on its Facebook page. The airline added that we’re allowed to change our flights for free.

I thought that it would be a great chance to extend my visit in the US and BUY ALL THE THINGS WITH MY CREDIT CARD.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get anyone from Cathay Pacific on the phone. In the end, I decided that I would wing it at the check in counter,

After checking out my hostel at 10am, I headed out to the post office and for breakfast. The weather was hot and I was sweating like nobody’s business as I walked around.

When I got back to the hostel, I waited patiently for my taxi at 12 noon. No car came during that time so I had to remind the hostel owner about the cab. She hurriedly made a call and a cab came after 5 minutes.

The ride from the hostel to the airport was US$30. It’s kind of expensive for El Salvador but the airport was 37km away from the city and about 45 minutes drive away.

When the cab sped to the airport, I admired the landscape. El Salvador’s hills and random jungles by the road reminded me a lot of home. I was glad to come and visit since it was a good buffer from the harsh Peruvian landscapes.

San Salvadorian sky
San Salvadorian sky

Felt up by airport agents TWICE!

I reached the airport around 1pm and checkin was smooth. What wasn’t smooth was when I got to my gate.

Turns out, passengers to the US require strict inspection. There were rows of table to inspect the contents of our carry ons. My purse, laptop case and electronic cases were zipped open and closed.

Next up was the body check where the officers felt everyone once in the front and once in the back.

The last inspection was the most ridiculous. There were several chairs and everyone had to take off their shoes. The shoes were then felt up. Luckily, I was wearing my most horrible pair of flip flops. The airport agent wasn’t too happy when she bended my flip flops around.

The flight from San Salvador to Los Angeles was alright. I watched Iron Man 3 and a couple of sitcoms during the 5-hour flight.

Thank Hermes for USB chargers on planes.
Thank Hermes for USB chargers on planes.

At LAX, I had to grab my luggage from the carousel and check in at the other terminal. The custom officers were lenient since I was only doing a transit.

However, at the luggage check for flights, I was singled out again when the metal detector flashed. Seriously, the only metal objects on me were my glasses screws and my teeth filling.

The TSA officer asked me to put out one foot. She felt up my leg and asked me to put out the other foot to feel. Do they think I was Resident Evil’s Ada Wong with some metal strapped to my thigh? I was wearing a maxi dress and look positively pregnant with my flabby stomach.

Anyway, I think it’s funny that I had to go through the legs check ups. I can now tick [] Felt up by TSA officers off my list of “Things I Do Not Want to Happen to Me”.

No shopping in LAX?

LAX waiting area
LAX waiting area

Now I’m in my LAX terminal. I’m a bit disappointed by the duty free shopping here (almost non-existent). Where are the Coach and LeSportSac shops? I have a shopping list for my family and myself. Tsk.

OK, I have about three hours to go before my flight. I’ll look for things to amuse myself before my flight.

Here’s something interesting about my flight. I will be flying around midnight of August 13 but arrive in the early morning of August 14 because I’m crossing the international date line. This means my flight is about two-day long and my August 13 only lasts about 7 hours. That’ll be fun!

I’m very excited about Hong Kong

While on the plane. I read Wikitravel entries on Hong Kong and I realized that I really really really want to be there for the food.

If this was a regular straight-to-Hong-Kong trip, I might not have been as excited. But I’ve been away from good Asian food for so long that I think I might cry when I eat the first siewmai that I meet.

A bus’s life in El Salvador [YQrtw Day 123 Aug 11]

a bus life

Location: Santa Ana -> San Salvador, El Salvador

Tree with very interesting bark
Tree with very interesting bark

Today I returned to San Salvador after three nights in Santa Ana. I still have my cold but the runny nose has shifted from the left side of the nose to the right. Equal opportunity virus!

I took the bus from Santa Ana to San Salvador. Since the day was rather dull, I’ll share something interesting about buses in El Salvador.

Bus 201 from Santa Ana to San Salvador
Bus 201 from Santa Ana to San Salvador

Here in El Salvador (and many parts of the world, actually), there are vendors who sell their products in the bus. Not that the buses have canteens on them but roadside vendors would bring their things onto the bus.

Roadside vendors' stalls
Roadside vendors’ stalls

I’ve seen people selling chocolate mix, soft drinks, fresh cut fruits, fried banana crackers and many more.

The vendors hop on the bus when it stops to collect more passengers and get off while the bus is leaving.

Sometimes, the vendors would still be on the bus when the vehicle has left the station. At the next stop, they would get off. I wonder if they walk back to their old stop or take another bus back.

Also, do the bus driver/conductor charge these vendors? If they do, how much “rent” do the vendors pay and do they make enough money in the end?

Rather cute statue in the middle of the fork of the road.
Rather cute statue in the middle of the fork of the road.

PS My newsletter was out today! Have you seen it yet?

PPS I’m leaving El Salvador for a transit in Los Angeles and I will be in Hong Kong in 2 days’ time. That’s right, my flight is actually two days long, I’ll update in a