A Bangkok getaway II

Oh such fun. Being away during a super long weekend. You might not know it, but the lunar new year falls every year between the gregorian calendar months of January or February. And after giving out red packets (of money) and eating all the peanuts equivalent to a year’s normal consumption what is one to do?

In the past we used to stay in the little red dot and visit even more relatives and friends (and eat more peanuts). But today with the constant contact we already have every now and then, plus social media it seems we’ve run out of conversations when we meet face to face! So this is the second year that we’ve determined to move away from the familiar faces and to a place where we are not so familiar with.

But where can one go in these months of the year? For a quick jaunt that is.

Obviously China and much of northeast Asia (except Japan) is closed. Tokyo would be wonderful to be for a few days… or it might be places such as Australia. Our surrounding archipelago of islands sounds like fun too. Or it could be the land of smiles. Where’s that you ask? You must have not been watching any of the infomercials promoting Thailand huh?

So here we are lounging by the pool of the Conrad Bangkok, writing and sending this post before we head off for another culinary orgasm in the Asian city of Angels (yeah here’s looking at you Lala land).

Think of this as a post card that says “wish you were here”… (NOT!)

Do you enjoy visiting Bangkok? Because we do. What are your favourite things to when you visit a city besides eating?

Traditional shops

This link made us think. Not just because a publication from Hong Kong have gotten into the action of seeking out what the heartlands of our little red dot offers. But because it is something we take for granted. Living amidst the sights, sounds and smells of the heartland shops, one can easily get lulled into a sense of normalcy.

A sense of entitlement. Afterall we are heartlanders living in HDB flats no? So today our post is about the little traditional shops that we found all over our little red dot. And a mini photo essay at it. Noticed the big red one huh? That’s a showroom in somewhat of the heartlands… wow…

Did you enjoy seeing these sides of our little red dot? If so, unfortunately this wraps up 2017 as the last post. Enjoy the last two days of the year.

2018 awaits us all!

The great northern journey

Finally. We’ve made it. Yep we are finally on terra firma of the most northerly state of the US. It had been a week at sea and we were so excited to finally get to the frontier state. And we started off with a flight further northwards to the city of Fairbanks.

Was it fair?

Well yes! Because we had wonderful weather, though for folks such as we the temperatures were still a wee on the low side. So you will see us still in coats and sweater though the weather appears to be sunny or downright blazing hot. Yeah, photos can be deceiving aren’t they? Plus the frivolous change of weather within the space of minutes an hour can literally leave you frozen stiff.

Anyway.

This journey was fantastic as it was short – just 5 days. But it was definitely well spent. Particularly on the food. Because we had more than our quota of the delightful Alaskan King Crabs throughout the journey. Sick or not (yeah Suan was down a little on day 1 & 2), we weren’t going to deprive our gut of the delish delicacy. To the point that our tour mates were literally amazed, or perhaps aghast…

Heheh. It was not all food of course. And from more native American cultural appreciation, experiencing an earthquake, to wild life sightings, we did it all again. In our essay here, we asked if Alaska is the last frontier. We hope you had an opportunity to read it.

What do you think? Is it the last vestiges of a wild north?

Dive deeper into Beijing

The city is such a juxtapose. As it hurtles towards modernity, it had lost quite some of its original charms. Or so it may seem. Scratch a little deeper and perhaps you might find a gem or two that remains.

In this post, we share the links to two short essays.

  • Food. Yes in any major city or culture one needs to see, smell and taste the way food is prepared. Remember we wrote that there is history coming from food too? Well, this short essay shares what can be found in Beijing. Read more about it here!
  • Now aside from the Great wall or the wonderful sites in the city itself, you should know that there is much more just surrounding the city. And nowhere is it more intriguing as the Sacred way (here) which leads to the tombs of the Ming Emperors.

There you have it. Honestly even a full week in Beijing is not sufficient. Just like spending a few days in NY City wouldn’t really ‘count’…

And so ends our series on Cathay – ahem, China. The middle Kingdom was home for 4 years and there are much more memories than possible to pen on this little blog. Believe us when we say what we put in this blog is but a mere fraction of what we’ve seen and done. We spent a chapter of our lives exploring this giant continental sized country. It is full of juxtapose, even till today and we hope this inspires your curiosity to go put your handprints there.

Next up, time to rotate to North America and we shall share some reminisces about Canada and the Caribbean. Heheh, beautiful memories those journeys were too. There is just so much to share and such a limited time to write and publish. That’s coming soon!

Imperial Capital 北京

Empires.

You’ve read about them. Might have watched documentaries about how they rose and fell. One common thread of these huge political entities is the grandeur of their capital. And Beijing is one such example.

Not capital till the early 1400s, the city was a ‘mere’ provincial town on the northern reaches of the Chinese empire. While it was ‘capital’ of regional kingdoms and fiefdoms, it was only because of Chu-Ti’s ascension to the throne that got the city into the limelight. Not wanting to remain in Nanjing where the founder of the Ming dynasty (his father) domiciled, he preferred his own base in the north where he had previously been the feudal prince.

Thus an imperial capital was born.

And it has continued growing ever since, gaining weight (we mean size) and transforming into a city with so much to see and do. Because it is filled with such a diverse array of relics and imperial wonders. You have to know we are all privileged. During the imperial era, no commoner would easily ever set their eyes on what you now take for granted to visit and see. Unless you became either an eunuch, a soldier or a palace maid.

The city is a must to visit and we cannot profess to provide a guide. But we’ve compiled a few stories on Beijing. Starting from the cover here, we dive further sharing with you what we saw with our eyes (umm…camera). Enjoy!

Have you been to Beijing? Does it put you in awe?

Food tour of 张家界

Since we are on a roll here with food posts, here’s one that also happens to be a handprint story.

Perhaps you’ve not read our journalogs (two parts) on the journeys we made to the “avatar” inspiring landscape of Zhang Jia Jie (张家界) here. And so we tell you, you’ve missed out! LOL. But today’s post is not about the beautiful landscapes that you missed because misty days made us miss some too.

Rather, we want to share with you the incredible food journey we experienced while journeying through the misty lands that seem to be forever (at least when we went) shrouded in mystery…

Really you ask? What can there be in them mountains?

From strange looking edible fungi to tuber that is medicinally sought after, such are the wonders that nature produces. Could this be the reason that the sages of yore went to the mountains to seek out the meaning elixir of life? Perhaps. But more important is that the loss of such habitats is irreversible. Which is why we are advocates of conservation and a limit to development. Through land use intensification coupled with adequate infrastructure for living and playing, we can save these bastions of natural pharmacies alive!

Such were some of the meals that infused these local ingredients into both a feast to the eyes and the stomach. Because eventhough there were only two of us, we still got the usual many course meals. It was hearty indeed for every day we are surprised.

Take a read here and whet your appetite to make the same food journey. Wouldn’t you like to visit the land of the avatars?