What is Bali to you?

If one were to do a search, Bali is probably one of the destinations that has been written about so much that there seems nothing new anyone can add to it. So we cannot profess that what we are about to share with you will.

In fact, this post is a ‘throwback’ (some folks like this term huh?) to the two occasions we did get acquainted with the island. Have a look (here) at our time there if you like.

Today our post is ask the question: what is Bali to you?

Do you have images of Hindu temples and people in traditional dress participating in ceremonies flashing in your heads? Or do you dream up of the beautiful surf that laps the white sand beach with a cocktail in hand? Yep. Those are surely two very different visions!

Some folks write about the wonderful time they spent in the forests, being robbed by monkeys (macaques really). Yet others tell of intriguing temples in seemingly nowhere, at least when one reaches the ‘entrance’ that leads to them. There are those who seem enthralled with the terraced rice fields (padi we call them), while some stay up late into the wee hours partying away.

Did you know that in Bali

  • Local vineyards produce and bottle their own wine
  • There many different craft villages where you can see artisans at work
  • Royal palaces of extinct Balinese lineages are gorgeous
  • Some of the best backdrops for golf can be attractions in themselves

What is Bali to you? What did you do when you were there?

I always feel like… somebody’s watching me…

Did you know that the title of this post is a song too? Heheh. Yeah, what a blast from the past. But today we are talking about Istanbul. Again? you ask. Well, yes. Because the last post referred you to our story of exploring the city for sights. This one’s about looking for something to shop – be it eating it or keeping it.

The one thing that fascinates us in the mideast and north Africa is its markets.

Grand Bazaar6
This’s a smooth operator

Now in Arab countries they are called “souks”. But in Turkish and Persian they are called Bazaar or Pazar. Even as far east here in the little red dot we call them “巴刹” (basha in Hanyu pinyin). Simply because the Malay word for market is pasar. Fascinating isn’t it how languages can be shaped by trade and linkages of people across the oceans? Btw this is legacy of the Persian traders who stopped by on their way to Canton for the China trade.

Word of warning

When you are in Turkish bazaars, you have to be wary of suave and handsome Turkish men.

Grand Bazaar5
Friends, after price battle royale

Even as Mel drafted this post, he is reminded of the experience he had bargaining with a most persuasive salesman owner of a shop.

For Suan had already fallen for the charms of this smooth operator, mesmerized and unable to negotiate. So it was all up to Mel now who remains unhypnotized, to obtain the best deal. Now you have to know that Mel had to feigh disinterest, being upset and finally eagerness to strike a deal with such an “adversary”. And we got for 80 Turkish liras what was originally offered at a “bargain” price of 300…

We’d tell you there is more to see and shop, but of course you also need to stop for the beautiful snacks along the way too. Wanna go shopping and eating in Istanbul now?

Summertime in Tokyo

This is almost an annual thing.

Suan tags along with Mel on one of his journeys to Japan for business. Now accruing the airmiles to do this is not an easy task. Besides concentrating our spending onto one credit card, Mel also have to be conscientious to save the miles for each flight so that Suan may tag along should her miles be not enough… and you might have read our previous rants about it here and here.

And this time we did not sojourn outside of Tokyo for there was no time.

So what’s a girl to do when she had all the time in the world during an entire week? No prizes for guessing… but yes the shops were all fair game. Fortunately there were two weekends, so poor Mel was roped in to ‘help’. There was a lot of holding the shopping bags and swiping the card (till it was red hot), but interspersed within are hours of culinary pleasure too… remember we said eating is an integral part of our every journey?

In our previous sharing of time spent in Tokyo (here, here and here), you might recall all the pictures of food, shops, stuff…. how will it be different this time? We’ve prepared a slide show for you. Enjoy!

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We know quite some readers love to travel to Japan. Would you prefer Tokyo over other cities?

The Long Journey Q3-18

And we’re back with yet another edition of our quarterly newsletter.

You might notice in the tags we’ve used for this post. Not the ‘Food’ one, but the one for change. As life carries on and circumstances change, surely one have got to be adaptable. Heheh… if the notorious North Korean leader can flip flop like that on a charm offensive (no matter if it is real or not), why not all of us?

Anyway.

Nothing much happened for us in this last 3 months for us except an extension – more like long weekends in Tokyo. Because it was mostly work, there wasn’t much in the way of sights – perhaps the colours of the foods would be it. In a couple of weeks’ time you will have the opportunity to read more about what we did there. Stay tuned. And you might have already read about our more recent short journey to Penang for the food, and some street art…

Read all about tradition and feasting in our latest newsletter here: The Long Journey Q3-2018.

Our Penang stories

As you will know, we have moved away from the table format of sharing our journalog in WP. Too much work and bugs to fix each time to try translating the formats into html to our liking. Also, we’ve stop subscribing to the premium service of WP (waste of money). So, this one’s going to be a link to handprint stories like our earlier one this year to Bangkok.

What is there to do in Penang? Eating of course!

Yeah. On this occasion we determined to stay solely in Georgetown, World heritage site. Staying close to the old town helps. Not really to see the murals (we did) or seek out the old shop houses (that too). Read all about those here. And we did not take the trishaw too, which we recommend you do. If it weren’t for clocking steps for the National steps challenge, we’d be sitting around all the way. But that helped, because it whipped up an appetite.

What did we eat to replenish the lost calories?

Wow. It was all a blur, because we literally moved from one meal to the next. Ok, so that’s exaggerated. It should not surprise that we had the capacity to eat more than usual, since we had been walking…

You will surely need to read it all here to know. Because the link will bring you to all the colors of food we had, and much more! Have you been to Penang?

Feasting on lobsters

We pride ourselves in finding some of the best deals when it comes to seafood. Not in our little red dot but outside of it. Because it is simply too high priced in our opinion, along with a basket of other things… but we digress. The point of today’s post is to share with you how you can affordably feast on some of the world’s best lobsters.

Yes. The world renown Boston lobster.

Now why they gave it that name we don’t know. And folks in Maine might dispute that… But we know these species of lobster with its large claws is native to an entire stretch of coast all along the New England states. So plentiful that at one time workers in this area would detest it! Yep, unions in the late 1800s actually contracted their employers to limit having lobster on workplace lunch menus to a maximum of twice a week… or something like that.

Incredible right? We probably won’t mind having them daily… heheh.

Can you hear our stomachs growling at the thought and sight of these lobsters? Are they really that good with butter oil all over them? Hmmm…. yum. Let us show you where you can find them and take delight in gourging on them. Ok let’s be civilized, refinely eat them off your hands. Not only did we have the lobster fresh, we also had them on rolls and on the go too.

Doesn’t this make you curious about our little adventure in sussing out the best lobster deals?