Thursday, 26 June 2008


I'm seriously having withdrawals from traveling and from being in Europe.

Jon just tagged me in this photo and I could barely remember taking that picture. Yeah it was that good!! lol.. jk.. but it was a great/crazy/wild night in Barcelona.

I wish I had more time to hang out with Jon, Bart and Jill. They seem pretty cool. For those of you who missed my blog when I was in Barcelona, I met these people in a bar in Barcelona, on my last night. (yeah the night before I missed my train and got stuck in Foix) Anyways, Jon and Bart are from Ontario and Jill is from B.C. 

Here's one of the pic. LOL!
I was wrapped in something because I was wet - another friend, Parker decided to "tackle" me and we both fell into the sea!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Day 1 - Back in Toledo

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm back... well, at least it's nice and warm here in Toledo... but ahh... what should I do with myself... on a nice day like today... on a Friday...

I keep thinking.. hey I can get a gelato! grab a bottle of beer and satisfy my growling stomach with a kebab (yummyyy) and have a lil picnic at the park!

wait a minute...! I forgot:

-there's no gelato in Toledo
-I'm not "old" enough to drink in this country (blody hell)
-it's against the law to drink in public (rolls eyes)
-there's no kebab in Toledo

... and yeah...

oh and! I was just told that next week is AVI's (UT's food service company I've been working for) last week! I'll have to apply a job with the new company... and they might not even hire so soon! Arghh!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Heathrow Airport, London

It's 1.20 p.m. I've already checked in ... it was uneventful - fortunately... knowing my luck... I'm just waiting outside the security for the departure gates. My flight isn't until 3.20 and (you can't bring water in) I'm sure I'll get thirsty later and I'm too cheap to buy a bottle of water. And there's free wifi too!

I know! It's awesome! So I'll just hang around for a bit out here... until I run outta water.

It hasn't dawn to me that I'll be leaving Europe - this is a trip I've been longing for so long.. (to be exact, since I was 16) and one I've learnt so much, experienced so much and met so many great and interesting characters along the way. My trip back will definitely be filled with memories from the time I thought I was in heaven when I was in Bern, Switzerland, to the time when I was out in the streets in Barcelona on that Wednesday night, to Foix where I got lost, to Nimes where I met Aunt Sybil for the first time in my life, to Cannes looking at celebrities upclose, to Italy where I've had gelatos and such good Italian food, to the 13-hour ferry ride on the deck of the ship, to Athens where the Greek words are so funky you'd think it's art - not real words, to Berlin - my favorite city of all (I want to own an apartment in Berlin - soon!), to Amsterdam where I tried my first space muffin and mushroom, to Coventry where I stayed with Rebecca (God, I didn't realize how much I miss her!), to Edinburgh where it's cool and cold, to Dublin where the weather was a lil depressing but I had a blast with Brian and co. and over the weekend with Ian... oh good times... to spending time with Roberta back in London and having chicken rice with Aunt Margie, Uncle Gary and the kids!

Final Day

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So today is my final day in Europe. Time to fly back to OH-I-O. Rebecca and her mom is coming to pick me up! they're the best I tell ya! anyways I fly from 3.20 p.m. and will arrive at midnight. I hope it's not just another boring plane ride. Cross your fingers for something exciting to happen!

Once back in Toledo, I gotta catch up with work at the IC and work for AVI.


and plan my trip to DC with Lauren! and possibly Siri too?? 

Day 44 - London

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's pretty chill.. I stayed home all day! =) I needed to... kinda prepare myself for the transition I'm about to face tomorrow. (Back to reality I mean)

I was thinking about joining the other couchsurfers for picnic at 6 then watch Rocky's Horror near the London Bridge - it's outdoor and it's free! Really tempting but all day it was really windy and we think it's gonna rain... oh well... In the end, I stayed home ALL Day.

I watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr and Michelle Monaghan. It was really funny! Good movie!!

Day 43 - London

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We got up at about 8 a.m. and headed out 15 mins before 9 as Roberta has to work. I found my way to the tube and headed back to Surrey. Another 2 hours. Oh well, it's not like I'm in a hurry.

I got back, had some food, did laundry, and just kinda chill. All I really wanted to see today is the UN Refugee exhibition in Trafalgar Square - which I had no problem finding because it's one of must-go places in London. It was cool - I got to interview some people working there. I hung around a bit because I was supposed to meet a couple couchsurfers in a bar in SoHo.

So I was walking around blindly right.. not knowing where I'm goin, all of a sudden, this guy came up to me and asked for the time. Next thing I know we where talking about Malaysia and that he's heading over there soon... and Indiana too..! Anyways, he insisted on buying me a drink.. at that point I'm kinda late for my appointment.. but I said yes anyways... we had a drink at Planet Hollywood.. a lil chat and I really had to leave before I got to finish my drink.

Then, I got lost on the way to the bar. I took a trishaw instead. Lol I know - there's huge traffic and how do I get around? on a trishaw.. I know, I'm so smart. Anyways, the guy was nice and he kinda "sped" after I requested him to - 4 pounds!

Then I saw Judit (a Londoner from Hungary) and her guest Nat (studying in Madrid but from Thailand) and they told me that they had to pay 6 pounds to get in!!! I was outrageous. So I tried calling Tony (another couchsurfer) who suggested the place - he didn't answer. But just as we were walking the other way, he ran out and got us in time!

He let us in through the backdoor. Pretty sweet. It was like an Indie bar with bands performing every night. It was pretty cool I have to admit.

The girls and I had to head back at 11. Once I got to Victoria station to catch the train back to Cheam, Surrey, that particular train stopped running. It was only 11.40 p.m.!!!! 

I quickly hopped on the one that goes to the closes stop instead and had to call my uncle to come get me instead. I felt really bad. It was 12.45 at that point.

Day 42 - Dublin

Monday, June 16, 2008

I got up at 5 a.m. - shocking! yeah! well, that's only because it's light out at 3 or 4 a.m.! anyways, I went online, hung around a lil and head out at 7 a.m. - took the bus to the bus station - but the bus to Dublin port has already left and there isn't another one till the afternoon! so I have to take a taxi 13 Euros. I bought the ferry ticket to Holyhead for 27 Euros... it's a 2 hour ride 8.45 a.m. -10.40 a.m. then from there I have to buy a train ticket back to London.. the ride is about 4 hours and the ticket cost me 77 Pounds!!! Dang it! I should have just flown with Ryanair... the most that would cost me is 70 Euros!!!! I didn't realize it at the time... I know it's bad but I never really convert or pay attention to what currency I'm using... it's so confusing! Sometimes it will be Euros, sometimes Pounds, and sometimes Francs (Switzerland)! And if I convert, I gotta convert to Malaysian Ringgit which is supper worthless in comparison and American Dollars! 

whew... oh well.. I know I've got SOME money left in my bank account... that's all that matters =)

Anyways I went straight to Uncle Gary's house, rest for a little bit and headed out to meet Roberta! She was a foreign exchange student from London in Toledo last year - I only got to know her this semester and we hung out a lil bit... she's cool! like me! lol.. no but she's a fun person - I was really excited!

It took 2 hours to take the train, tube and bus to get to Harrow, which is the other side of London from Surrey where my uncle lives. We met up and had dinner at Nando's! yeay! I love Nando's! I don't think the States have it... but we do in Malaysia! so, it was super expensive (if you convert to Malaysian Ringgit that it) oh well.. then, we went to a pretty chill bar... 

We watched Life is Beautiful before goin to bed... it was really good! btw Roberta has such a cool room! a bunk bed and photos and posters all over the place...!!!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

No to Lisbon!

Some of you may know, some may not, some care, some don't give a damn really,

But I was in Ireland, when the Irish voted against the Lisbon Treaty last Friday.

Basically there are a lot more new countries in the EU in the recent years that some policies had to change to adapt to the additional EU members. This treaty is supposed to improve the current state of EU but a lot have perceived that "the union is remote, undemocratic and ever more inclined to strip its smaller members of the right to make their own laws and decide their own futures." (NYTimes)

And, for the treaty to take effect, it has to be ratified by all 27 European Union members. The treaty was defeated because all but Ireland has approved. This is only because Ireland is the only state which put the treaty to a referendum because of its constitution. Other EU countries could have done that too, but "most governments are reluctant to risk the uncertainty of a national vote" - (such great confidence they have in their people eh?) Many political leaders were outraged by this but in general, the EU people are secretly happy that the Irish voted against it (according to the Irish I spoke to). In other words, political leaders of the EU are for the Lisbon Treaty but most people are against it and other than the Irish, they did not have a chance to voice their objections.

Basically, the Lisbon Treaty is
- dense and complex
- thus, confusing to ordinary Europeans
- if enacted, it would give Europe its first full-time president 
- create a new foreign policy chief whose responsibilities would include controlling the development aid that the union distributes.
- reduce the size of the European Commission, the union’s executive body, rotating the seats so that each member country would have a seat in 10 out of every 15 years
-change the voting procedures on the European Council, so that fewer decisions would require unanimous votes.

I have attached some "official" information about the treaty from

The Treaty at a glance

Small man-like figure walking on a page of the Treaty

On 13 December 2007, EU leaders signed the Treaty of Lisbon, thus bringing to an end several years of negotiation about institutional issues.

The Treaty of Lisbon amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them. It will provide the Union with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens' demands.

  1. A more democratic and transparent Europe, with a strengthened role for the European Parliament and national parliaments, more opportunities for citizens to  have  their voices heard and a clearer sense of who does what at European and national level.
    • A strengthened role for the European Parliament: the European Parliament, directly elected by EU citizens, will see important new powers emerge over the EU legislation, the EU budget and international agreements. In particular, the increase of co-decision procedure in policy-making will ensure the European Parliament is placed on an equal footing with the Council, representing Member States, for the vast bulk of EU legislation.
    • A greater involvement of national parliaments: national parliaments will have greater opportunities to be involved in the work of the EU, in particular thanks to a new mechanism to monitor that the Union only acts where results can be better attained at EU level (subsidiarity). Together with the strengthened role for the European Parliament, it will enhance democracy and increase legitimacy in the functioning of the Union.
    • A stronger voice for citizens: thanks to the Citizens' Initiative, one million citizens from a number of Member States will have the possibility to call on the Commission to bring forward new policy proposals.
    • Who does what: the relationship between the Member States and the European Union will become clearer with the categorisation of competences.
    • Withdrawal from the Union: the Treaty of Lisbon explicitly recognises for the first time the possibility for a Member State to withdraw from the Union.
  2. A more efficient Europe, with simplified working methods and voting rules, streamlined and modern institutions for a EU of 27 members and an improved ability to act in areas of major priority for today's Union.
    • Effective and efficient decision-making: qualified majority voting in the Council will be extended to new policy areas to make decision-making faster and more efficient. From 2014 on, the calculation of qualified majority will be based on the double majority of Member States and people, thus representing the dual legitimacy of the Union.A double majority will be achieved when a decision is taken by 55% of the Member States representing at least 65% of the Union’s population.
    • A more stable and streamlined institutional framework: the Treaty of Lisbon creates the function of President of the European Council elected for two and a half years, introduces a direct link between the election of the Commission President and the results of the European elections, provides for new arrangements for the future composition of the European Parliament and for a smaller Commission, and includes clearer rules on enhanced cooperation and financial provisions.
    • Improving the life of Europeans: the Treaty of Lisbon improves the EU's ability to act in several policy areas of major priority for today's Union and its citizens. This is the case in particular for the policy areas of freedom, security and justice, such as combating terrorism or tackling crime. It also concerns to some extent other areas including energy policy, public health, civil protection, climate change, services of general interest, research, space, territorial cohesion, commercial policy, humanitarian aid, sport, tourism and administrative cooperation.
  3. A Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security, promoting the Union's values, introducing the Charter of Fundamental Rights into European primary law, providing for new solidarity mechanisms and ensuring better protection of European citizens.
    • Democratic values: the Treaty of Lisbon details and reinforces the values and objectives on which the Union is built. These values aim to serve as a reference point for European citizens and to demonstrate what Europe has to offer its partners worldwide.
    • Citizens' rights and Charter of Fundamental Rights: the Treaty of Lisbon preserves existing rights while introducing new ones. In particular, it guarantees the freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and gives its provisions a binding legal force. It concerns civil, political, economic and social rights.
    • Freedom of European citizens: the Treaty of Lisbon preserves and reinforces the "four freedoms" and the political, economic and social freedom of European citizens.
    • Solidarity between Member States: the Treaty of Lisbon provides that the Union and its Member States act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the subject of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster.  Solidarity in the area of energy is also emphasised.
    • Increased security for all: the Union will get an extended capacity to act on freedom, security and justice, which will bring direct benefits in terms of the Union's ability to fight crime and terrorism. New provisions on civil protection, humanitarian aid and public health also aim at boosting the Union's ability to respond to threats to the security of European citizens.
  4. Europe as an actor on the global stage will be achieved by bringing together Europe's external policy tools, both when developing and deciding new policies. The Treaty of Lisbon will give Europe a clear voice in relations with its partners worldwide. It will harness Europe's economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic strengths to promote European interests and values worldwide, while respecting the particular interests of the Member States in Foreign Affairs.
    • A new High Representative for the Union in Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also Vice-President of the Commission, will increase the impact, the coherence and the visibility of the EU's external action.
    • A new European External Action Service will provide back up and support to the High Representative.
    • A single legal personality for the Union will strengthen the Union's negotiating power, making it more effective on the world stage and a more visible partner for third countries and international organisations.
    • Progress in European Security and Defence Policy will preserve special decision-making arrangements but also pave the way towards reinforced cooperation amongst a smaller group of Member States.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Day 41 - Still in Dublin

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We woke up at 4 p.m. lol...I know right? crazy! I was gonna take the ferry at 2.45 - oh well... decided to take the one at 9 p.m. instead. But then I went to the wrong port, and had to miss the ferry. I know, things like this always, always happen to me.

When I was waiting for the train, a bunch of kids just came over. They seem pretty harmless and one of them was really talkative. He sat next to me and started asking me questions like so what do u have in ur bag? do u have a lap top? Can i see it? 

I honestly thought they were normal kids. Then, he started unbuckling my pack and playing around with my stuff and they wouldn't stop! Apparently they were bums. Then a guy came and "rescue" me. He told him to get off of me and go away. They started "attacking" him instead. They were pulling at his paper bag and saying nasty things to him.. nothing you would imagine out of the mouths of 7-11 year olds. It was a disturbing moment. 

Right after the boy left me, a couple sitting on the same bench moved closer and the girl was kinda "consoling" me I guess? saying it's okay - and that she's never seen anything like that either. Crazy!

The in the train, I met an old lady and her daughter. Of course, my big pack started the conversation and I kinda explained my whole trip to them (I told them about couchsurfing too!) Then I asked them about the stop I was goin to but they weren't goin that far, instead they told the people around me to let me know. Everyone seemed to be so nice!!

Anyways, I got there only to realize I was at the wrong port. I missed the ferry. I guess I would be spending another night in Dublin. 

It was raining on the way back. I decided to take a taxi home. My driver was from Nigeria but he just graduated from University of London. We had a good conversation about the U.S. politics, the economy and all that good stuff. He was pretty chill! 

So, I guess I'll be taking the ferry at 8.45 a.m. tomorrow. We'll see what happens. ;P

Day 40 - Dublin

Saturday, June 13, 2008

I went to Merion Square where there's the Street Performers Championship. It was a 3-day event. It was awesome! It's like a big carnival! All kinds of FOOD, balloons, kids with painted faces, and the performers was really impressive.

One of them was the English Gents - featuring 2 guys with acrobatic skills - at one point one of them stood on the other's head!

Another memorable act was a Canadian guy - who was pretty funny - he reminds me of Vince Vaughn 

There were all kinds of other performers too! And games! - But it was really chilly - there were a couple warm moments but that was it... I was craving for curry that day - so I bought a box of curry with rice for 1.29 Euros! It wasn't spicy but it was good! 

Ian came back from his weekend with his family and told me that there was a BBQ party. Hey - u know when there's a party - I'll be there! It was cool - some of them were friends from his hometown - again, I was the only girl there - which was cool, that means I get to pig out on the grilled sausages and drink like there's no tomorrow. Lol - it was a good party, later, more people came. We ( Ian's 3 other brothers and one of their girlfriend) decided to hit the bar in town. We only got a chance for a beer, before they close... at 12.30!!!! Arghh!!! 

I was so mad that I demanded an explanation from the bouncer. He kinda mumbled something at me. So apparently, they told me that bouncers are usually stuck up and rude, and they won't even entertain girls (how odd!?) he spoke to me only because of my accent! - weird!

Oh well, we weren't about to call it a night - We went to a club (which generally open till later) till about 3 ... i think? I barely remember the night (yeah - it was that good, lol) then went to his brother's apartment before heading home.

It was a great night - I'll leave the juicy details out ;P 

Day 39 - Dublin

Friday, June 12, 2008

Today, I basically lazed around till 11 plus before leaving the house. Then I bought a city bus tour ticket (13 Euros) which was a waste of money really. Because all I did all day was spend 3 hours in the Guinness storehouse! That was all I had in mind really.

It's 10 Euros to get in but you get a free pint of Guinness!!! That's really all I was eyeing for... lol.. not really.

The building has 7 floors and each are dedicated to explain the history, process of making Guinness, advertising, etc. And of course, about Arthur Guinness, without him - there's no Guinness. Honestly, being there, I felt like a lil girl in candyland!! I was so excited that my heart was beating faster, the higher I get. The smell of hop (a plant used to make Guinness) at the lower floors and the waft of heavenly Guinness at the top floors. I felt like I was floating in heaven.

At the end of the tour, I went to the cafe on the 6th floor and decided to treat myself! I had a pint of Guinness (which was free!!) and salmon.... - 11.25 Euros. It was s000 delicious. I bet every single thing on the menu was good... I was so tempted to order another dish! 

Delicious lunch accompanied by a 360 view of Dublin. Purrrfecttt...!

By the time I was done, I hopped on the tour bus again... but it was almost 4. Most museums and other tourist attractions close at 5p.m. I was going to stop at the Jameson whiskey distillery though. But a long day, a full lunch and a pint of Guinness kinda put me into a napping mode. 

Plus, it was freezing out! I really didn't feel like walking around - getting lost, like I always do (something which I enjoy doing, only when it's warm out - and Dublin was not even close to that)

Later that night, I was supposed to meet Jada at Hogan's again. I was there for about 45 mins - but I never saw her. She doesn't have a phone and later she sent em a message saying that she was too tired. Oh well, I almost thought I was goin to call it a night at 11, when she didn't show up. 

But Brian came over right before I decided to leave and we went to a pretty chill bar called Anseo - which means "here" in Gaelic. We were there with a couple of his friends and one of them was actually living in Scotland at the time, but surprised them with a visit. They were great guys - I had a good time. Then - almost as expected (although I still can't accept the fact), the bar was closing at about 1 am (crazy! I know!) We went to a party instead! It was Brian's friend's neighbor's party. Lol. It was pretty sweet - the design of the house was really cool, the house was crowded with people and there's a DJ too! Pretty awesome!

Then, the landlord came over and complained that it was too noisy! Yeah - party was over right after my first bottle of beer. Oh well - we hung around for a lil bit, then headed home 3 a.m.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


Dublin is cold.

For some reason, I'm not enjoying the city all that much. I don't feel as adventurous as before. Perhaps because it's freezing out, or, everything is so expensive here, or, I'm starting to stress about going back to Toledo.


Oh, and on Thursday night, I arrived at Ian's (my couchsurfing host) house at 9 p.m., we chatted with his housemates, kinda hung around for a lil bit - then headed out to a bar - Hogan's to meet the other couchsurfers. It was international couchsurfing day! Yeay - I think it was the 5th anniversary of CS or something. Anyways - there was about 50 of us... pretty awesome - but I only got to meet a couple of them. Towards the end of the night, we randomly met Jada, from Colorado and she wasn't even a couchsurfer! She just randomly sat where we were.. she was really fun! We had Irish car bombs - it was her first! Later that night, Brian, another couchsurfer came over at about midnight. I sent him a request to surf on his couch but that didn't work out - it was cool that we came out though.

At 1.30 a.m., the bar was about to close! Arghh! Irish bars are dumb! Apparently they wanna change the closing time even earlier! I was outrageous! Thank God I don't live in Ireland!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Day 38 - Edinburgh ---> Dublin

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I got up early again, to shoot my couchsurfing host video. I know I could have done something fun/exciting/touristy with myself this morning, but I was too lazy. I took my time, had breakfast, pack (as u may already know, I take FOREVER to pack) then out to mail my postcards and head over to the cafe again to go online. I can't resist it!! 

Anyways, my flight is at 1655 to Dublin and I'll arrive at 6 p.m. I found a host, finally! Ian gave me the directions to his house. He seems like a nice fellow.. I'm excited! 

It's International Couchsurfing Day today. There are events goin on all over the world! I think once I refresh myself at Ian's place, I'll head out to the CS party!!

**I can't believe I've been traveling for more than a month now. It's surreal. I'll be flying back to Toledo next Thursday, (OMFG- that's in a week!) and start work with AVI, the IC and the Palestra.

****I know this is so wrong of me to even think about - but I think before the semester starts, I might head over to DC to meet up with Lauren! Gosh I miss her so much! Maybe Siri will come too!!!

Day 37 - Still in Edinburgh

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I got up reallllly early and went to the cafe at  9 a.m. to go online.. I was really worried because I still haven't found a couch in Dublin... I was there for about an hour then, went to the Royal Mile to join the free tour! My guide is Andy from Oklahoma.. and he was really knowledgeable and funny! I was so glad I didn't get the other guide - no offense to some of you bubbly (American) girls out there... but it was the exact impression of what foreigners have of Americans - ya know... the fake, overly enthusiastic, "skippidy skip", "I love everyone", "the world is perfect" voice, tone, facial expression, body movement... ewww... it was so annoying!

I talked to Jennifer, she's from Cincinnati! yeay Ohio! but anyways, she agreed... she was like I came to Europe to get away from people like that... and now... there's one right in front of us! lol..

During the tour, I met this Australian guy from Adelaide! and thanks to my friends who go there, I kinda impressed him with the little I know about the city.. he seems to be a cool guy... he's traveling for 2 months with this girl... she wasn't too friendly.. I was talking to him and she didn't even come over to say hi! oh well... it's his first time to Europe too and he covered so many more countries than I did... but he only managed to spend usually 2 nights and a day in a city... which was a pity especially for Edinburgh... there's so much to see!!!

After the tour, I went to The Elephant House, the cafe where JK Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book! How cool is that!! I ordered Haggis, which is a traditional Scottish dish... uncooked, it looks like a ball of sausage, containing sheeps 'pluck' (heart,liver,lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, mixed with stock and boiled in the sheep's stomach for about 3 hours.

Haggis is not served in that big sausage ball but it's cut open there's so much meat in a ball that it can serve 4 people! I only had one portion and it was huge!! It's served with swede/yellow turnip and potatoes... but that darn cafe ran out of potatoes... how can u run out of potatoes in a cafe.... in Europe! That's all they eat!!

Next, I went to the National Museum again, this time, I had a lil less than an hour... which is definitely not enough but hey it's better than the 10 minutes yesterday. The museum is huge! there's 5 floors but each floor to walk through it takes about 30 minutes, at least... 

At 5 p.m., it was pouring out... dang it...I don't have anything with me! no umbrella, not raincoat, no sweater, no jacket... all I have was the yellow scarf I bought from Amsterdam...

I stopped at a store to get wine and more chicken...and head home. OF course, the rain stopped right before I got into the apartment. 

I cooked and cooked and cooked..... I was a lil worried because Jenny and Niko are so used to food that actually tastes good... I really don't know how they're goin to react to this meal. I don't even know how this happened!? I kinda just mentioned I know how to cook Chicken with brie - wine sauce and scalloped potatoes... next thing I know, I'm in the kitchen, reading of the post it note where I wrote the recipe down.

At 8.30 p.m., we sat down and Jenny had her first bite. "It's good!" yeay! Yeah as it turned out... it was actually really good! I was really impressed with my cooking ability now. It kind of inspired me to buy cookbooks and start cooking when I move into the house with Melissa K, Haleigh, Kelly and Jenna in August. I'm so excited!

Day 36 - Edinburgh

The image below is taken from outside of St Giles Church on the Royal Mile. This is the only location where you can officially spit without getting arrested. (yeah -- ewww!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Although I went to bed early last night, I didn't get up too early today. It was good... At 11, I went over the the cafe across the street to use the internet... I was there for over an hour.. next I head to the Royal Mile which wasn't too far away and went all the way up to the Edinburgh Castle. It costs 12 Pounds!!! The most I've paid for any tourist attraction! But it was definitely worth it. It's a cool castle with tons of really good exhibitions... and the view of the city from the castle was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Then I just kinda walk my way down the royal mile - where I met the lady with the most piercings in the world! 

I saw her on TV before I swear! I managed to get an interview with her which was really cool! I had to tip her though... oh well... Then, I was at the National Museum.. which was ginormous!! but I was only there for about 15 minutes and they were closing at 5 p.m. =(

I stopped by Tesco to get the ingredients for the feast I'm about to prepare tomorrow. I was carded when I tried to buy wine and the lady wouldn't take my International Student ID card!!! She said only passports are acceptable! I was outrageous!!!

Anyways for dinner, Jenny cooked Linguini with a special kinda sauce... it has tomatoes in it... and stuff... it was realllly good! 
Jenny's such an amazing cook! After that, we head out to a cool bar and had a pint of Guinness... ahhhh!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Day 34 - U.K.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I arrived in London at 1 p.m. - And, I forgot how to get back to Uncle Gary's house... so I kinda wandered around and asked people. I took the tube to Victoria station, then took the train to Cheam. Once there, surprisingly, I remembered the way back to his street. But, I forgot which was his house. And my phone died. I spent like 15 minutes walking up and down the street - thinking.... hard. At last, I decided to try my luck at this house. 

And yeay! Aunt Margie came and got the door! I got on my computer and relaxed - updated them with my adventures! I can't believe I've been gone for a month! Then at 4.30 p.m. I headed out to catch the bus to Coventry to meet Rebecca!

I arrived at 8.50 p.m. and she came and got me! The last time I saw her was last summer! Gawd I miss her so much! Once in her house, All 3 of her housemates were cooking a feast for me!!
Dinner was amazing!! I was really touched! 
They were all having exams too that week. 

WE stayed up a bit - and caught up with things... Gosh the

re were so much to talk about.. I wish I had more time with her.. and that she wasn't preparing for exams... oh well.. next day, I took the bus to the train station to head to Edinburgh.

And, of course! I went on the wrong train and it stopped at Birmingham instead. An old man, who was really nice told me to follow him and he had like a personal assistant from the station to help him. That guy was awfully helpful. He told me which platform to go to and that it will be leaving in 5 minutes. 

The train ride was uneventful - although I had a good night sleep the night before, I fell asleep all the way till I got to Edinburgh.

Once there, Niko came to meet me. We got back to his apartment and met Jenny, his wife! She cooked risotto which was extremely delicious!!!

We all went to bed early as they had a busy weekend too... and I was just - exhausted!-

Day 33 - Delft & Amsterdam

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I was supposed to me Chantal at 8.30 a.m. at the central train station but i just couldn't get up! Finally, I was up at about 10.30 - talked a lil with Benhard and headed out.

I got to the train station at 12.45 and just kinda hung around and waited for Jeff. I decided that it was pointless to go all the way to Chantal's house and come back again. So, I left my bags in the locker, which costs me 7 Euros. It was kind of frustrating because he doesn't have a phone and there was no way in communicating with him. Anyways, I saw him at 2.45 p.m. finally. Honestly, I was considering going to Delft on my own, without Jeff, lol. Oh well, then he told me about his "magic pen"! It's erasable ink. So, instead of spending 20 Euros on my ticket to the day trip to Delft, I wrote the date on my Eurorail pass, then erase it later! smart eh?

It was only an hour train ride. Lukas, a couchsurfer who offered his couch to me came and met us. He seems to be really cool... he's got the dreadlocks and stuff.. lol.. anyways, there was a carnival goin on in town, which was pretty cool... we met like 15 other couchsurfers too!!! we went to watch a contemporay/weird/eccentric dance performance - I've got some pictures and videos... be sure to check it out!~ Then we headed to a bar for a Palm beer. Then to get pizza!!! We got a large and a medium and shared it between myself, Jeff, Donald, Lorraine and Mustafa - 3 Euros per person and we got 3 slices! great deal!

Lukas seems really cool and I really like Delft a lot! It's like a mini amsterdam - minus the prostitutes, and the annoying tourists. But maybe next time, & hopefully soon I'll be able to meet up with him again!

At 8 p.m., Jeff and I took the train back to Chantal's house for our "plans." She came to the train station to pick us up. Oh by the way, Jeff and I picked up 2 boxes of Ecuadorian mushrooms in the city center - 12.50 Euros each

Chantal works as an au pair which is like a nanny and I was surprised that there's actually a big number of teenage girls/ in their 20s from North America who take like 6 months up to 2 years off and work in Europe to take care of kids! The pay is usually not too impressive but usually everything is paid for and the families are usually very wealthy - pretty cool way to get away from home and work/travel/have fun with kids.

Anyways, we started munching on our mushrooms at 11 p.m. It usually takes 30 mins to an hour to take effect. This type of mushroom is great for visuals and hallucination and I think they encourage deep thoughts too...

Then, we watched Eurotrip! Jeff and Chantal was hallucinating and feeling the effect a lot.. but for me.. i just felt the room turning a lil the the pattern on the curtain looks like it was breathing..  and trying to talk to me... but that was it... I was tired too... which isn't normal. Oh well, it was an experience.

Come 5 am, right before Chantal sent Jeff and I to the train station, I went on the trampoline... for the first time in my life! it was amazing! the view around the house was amazing... morning was a lil chilly... it felt perfect - i didn't want to leave...!!

We got to the train station in Brussels, Belgium, and guess what? it was delayed for an hour. In the end, I missed my 10 a.m. Eurostar train. It's okay though - we've got 2 hours to kill. So we went to a cafe and got a glass of cherry beer and strawberry flavored hoegarden... and chocolate!!! So, good! perfect breakfast/brunch!

I'm now on the train back to London. It will only take an hour to get to London. Once there, I gotta figure out how to get back to Uncle Gary's house, rest a lil and head out to catch a bus to see Rebecca in Coventry! I'm ecstatic!

Day 32 - Still in Amsterdam

Friday, June 6, 2008

I left the house at about 1 p.m. - I went to Dam square and just kinda walked around... I was thinking of getting "brownies" but I really didn't wanna eat it alone.. So I bought a bottle of Stella Artois 0.69 Euros and a bottle of Leffe 0.97 Euros and a bag of chips 0.81 Euros.... and sat under the sun... on one of the benches and just enjoy the afternoon...then I head home, just to freshen up, before goin to a couchsurfing meeting in Harlemstraat, near the train station.

The CS meeting was at a bar, Du Lac - we had our own private room upstairs - I think about 20+ people showed up.. and I met Emily, from Canada, who's now working as an Au Pair(nanny) in Netherlands, Jeff, from Quebec, who's a fellow traveler like myself, Chantal, an Au Pair too, from Florida and a French guy but is currently studyin in Amsterdam...

LAter that night, I decided to get some space brownies with Jeff - it was 5 Euros but was really good!!! Then Benhard, my host came to join us. At 1 a.m. I was reallly tired.. so we started walking home... guess what? we saw 2 people "doing it" in the streets next to a car... caught pants down! lol.. interesting sight in Amsterdam!

Day 31 - Amsterdam

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the morning, there were only 2 guys in my room. They're both from Johannesburg, South Africa but are working in London at the moment. Kent and (forgotten his name) -  they were really cool... we talked while I pack - I don't remember the conversation but it was pleasant and one of them is really hot.. anyways - they are one of those people who are just living in a country and getting a job, just to get more to move to another country... they're thinking about leaving London after being there for about 5 years now... cool eh?

I checked out of the hostel, still hoping to get a host, in the end, I found Benhard! He said he was having exams but he still offered his couch...I was really glad coz I wasn't about to spend another 21 Euros to stay in a hostel, no matter how great they were. I took a taxi to his house 7.50 Euros

It's pretty cool - it has a really narrow front door but it's really long. Apparently, in the old days, residents had to pay taxes according to the width of their front door! 

Outside his apartment, there's this cool market which I'm gonna check out tomorrow. But it's time to do the touristy stuff. I went to the Van Gough Museum 10 Euros, which was nice.. but I don't really know how to appreciate art - so it wasn't like a mind-blowing experience...then, I went to the Anne Frank house... the original house where she and her family hid - and that was very worth it for me. 7.50 Euros - I was really tempted to buy her wasn't too expensive.. but I just can't afford to buy anything unnecessary now =( I wasn't allowed to photograph anything so I can't show you what it's like but if you happen to be in Amsterdam, GO TO IT!!!

- I started heading back at 9.30 but was stuck in the bus for an hour - I kept missing the stop coz I thought it was called something else! Then at 10.30, when I finally got off the right stop, this lady directed me to the opposite direction... So, I was walking in the dark, in circles!!! At 11 p.m. I finally got back.... whew....

Day 30

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Julia stocked up yesterday and we had a good breakfast! coffee, toast, camembert cheese, jam, ...She had traveled so much with her boyfirend, Alex, that I could just spend weeks just chilling, hanging out and listening to all their adventureS! She had to leave for class.. =( she offered me her bike and told me to bike around the neighborhood... There was a lake directly outside her house. It was beautiful! There were people cycling, sunbathing, doing's just like paradise and it's crazy that it's just outside her house - and she lives near the city! Berlin has so many lakes that i didn't know about!... so cool... and she told me to go see the castle, but i didn't because there wasn't enough time.. i came back and pack.. and left the house... my train to amsterdam is at noon... 

Things I love about Berlin

-Cheap kebab/gyros/shwarma

-Cheap beer

-Amazing ice-cream everywhere you go

-hot Berlin guys (the girls are attractive too)

-everybody cycles around

-most of the Germans speak English!

-there are so many lakes in the city and there's a river too!

-the history of Berlin (I'm not a big history fan but the history behind Berlin is just so fascinating to me!

Up to this point of my trip, Berlin is added to my favorite places in Europe. I took the train from Berlin to Amsterdam at 12.30 p.m. - I should be in Amsterdam at 7 p.m. At that point, I haven't found a host yet and I didn't even search for hostels. But I wasn't too worried. =)

Towards the end of the train ride, I heard some guys speaking English. Turns out 3 of them go to school in Texas but Kyle is from ? , Mike is from Massachusetts and Tate is from California

They all seem like pretty fun people. I asked them if I could tag along with them until my host gets in contact with me, and they were like sure!!! So we went to this hostel ...? The staff was great! and the dorm I got was clean, there were towels, and bed sheets and it wasn't too stuffy. There was 3 double deckers and there's a bathroom in the room too! So, I like that. 

After taking a shower, I went out with the guys to get dinner. Before that, we went to a "coffee shop" to get some weed. Mike was like a kid getting christmas present form Santa... rolling a joint and his eyes was wide opened , filled with excitement.. and he said, "I've been dreaming about this moment since I was 13!" It was pretty hilarious - Everyone was starving at that point, so - 

Medium pizza for 5 Euros! btu we saw unlimited spare ribs for 10 Euros - SO TEMPTING! After that,  we met up with 2 other girls whom they met in Prague. ? and ? one is form Illinois and the other from Michigan. They both have graduated a year ago but were taking  the year off. 

They were fun but the whole night - we've been walking around in circles - trying to find cheap beer- trying to find a club - trying to find french fries etc.

In the end, we randomly stumbled into a club - it was pretty small but the music was good and there was a good crowd- pub crawl was there.. anyways for some reason - we got a free shot of something each... pretty awesome - maybe coz it was 1.20 a.m. by the time we got there and we still had to pay a cover charge of 5 Euros.

Back in the hostel, my room was full and I think I woke a couple people up when I got back at 3.30 a.m.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Day 29 - Still in Berlin

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

First off, I went to the Altes Museum which has Egyptian collection and the Pargemon Museum but before that, I had my first currywurst! It's sausage with ketchup and curry powder! It's really good. Anyways, for the museum entrance fee, it's 6 Euros (student price) for 4 museums! good deal! but I managed to only go to 2 of them. They were cool, there's free audio guide too! so that was really informative... then, I went to Wannsee, which is about 45 minutes away from the city. I went to the Haus der Wannsee Konference, where the Nazi leaders met in 1942 to discuss the “Final Solution.” Today, the house has been converted into a Memorial Museum dedicated to the study of the Holocaust. 
"On January 20, 1942, fifteen high-ranking Nazi party and German government leaders gathered for an important meeting. 

They met in a wealthy section of Berlin at a villa by a lake known as Wannsee.Reinhard Heydrich, who was SS chief Heinrich Himmler's head deputy, held the meeting for the purpose of discussing the "final solution to the Jewish question in Europe" with key non-SS government leaders, including the secretaries of the Foreign Ministry and Justice, whose cooperation was needed.

The "final solution" was the Nazis' code name for the deliberate, carefully planned destruction, or genocide, of all European Jews. The Nazis used the vague term "final solution" to hide their policy of mass murder from the rest of the world. In fact, the men at Wannsee talked about methods of killing, about liquidation, about "extermination.""

I got really emotional... I've learnt so much about the holocaust recently... I put myself in the shoe of one of those Jews, I can't even imagine being sane under those circumstances... 

On the way back, I met a German girl - her English wasn't fluent but she was good enough that I can understand her and we had a good conversation on the way to the metro station..

Next up, I went to Potsdam, where there's a famous castle... and of coz, I couldn't find it... I hung around the metro station instead! it was huge and there was all kinds of food!!!! =)

I bought some strawberries back home and we had it with milk and yoghurt! so good!!!

Julia had to go salsa dancing tonight but she sent me on a mission - a drinking marathon! lol

1st stop 
A bar from featuring everything from Cologne! where she's from and I had a small glass of Kolsh!

2nd stop
Tachales Art House
It's basically a building filled with graffiti everywhere and on the ground floor there were 2 bars... then all the way up are art exhibition.. they were really cool!!!!

3rd stop
Where you pay 1 Euro for entrance fee, then drink as much wine as you want, and by the end of the night, just pay however much u think it's worth. I was there at 11 p.m. and they close at midnight. So there wasn't too much to drink. But I drank with 2 German guys - and they were really fun! and at the end of the night, 2 girls, one from Berlin and one from London joined us!

We were gonna go to a club to dance but I didn't wanna get back too late coz I will miss the train and would have to take the bus home... which I really don't wanna do...

IT was a lo0o0o0ong but good day. =)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Day 28 - Berlin


Thies, my host had to work today and he's got a long and stressful day ahead - so we decided it would be better if I stayed at another couchsurfer's place

Host #6 would be Julia Marx - she had surfed a lot but never hosted. This is her first - again, I pressured to behave nicely as a guest - which can be hard sometimes.. but I try =)

I met up with her boyfriend, Alex to leave my stuff at his apartment. Julia had to go to college and won't be able to meet me till 8.30 at night. On the way there, I lost my subway ticket. And of course, the the men who checks ticket came - and I don't have my bloody ticket!

There were 3 of them and they weren't in uniforms. Anyways, I had to get out at the next station, thinking I could get away with just buying another ticket. No, it was a 40 Euro fine. Great!

When I told Julia about it, she was like you could have just pretended you don't speak English and get away with it!!

Could've, would've, should've

At night, I met up with Julia, her friend, also another couchsurfer, Connie, Alex and his friend, also Alex. It was a good time. I had a pint of Berliner, then we went to a Spanish bar and had some snack and another drink. The subway stops running at 1 a.m. in the weekdays... so we had to hurry back to Alex's apartment and get my things, then rush to Julia's aparment.

I was tired at the end of the day.

Day 27 - Berlin

I got off the plane at about 11p.m. on Saturday, then took the bus, then the subway to meet Thies (couchsurfing host #5) - by the time I got there was midnight - he was having a pint of beer and reading the book "The Tender Bar".

Anyways, at first the subway map was a little confusing - but thanks to the help of my first hot-German-guy encounter, I found my way to Sudstern metro stop.

I don't remember his name but that encounter was the first of many hot Germans. Honestly I've never heard that German guys are hot... I was really surprised... pleasantly surprised... lol

It was Thies' first couchsurfing experience - I was a little pressured because I didn't want to scare him away from hosting more.. but anyways - he's a journalist for Spiegal online and he did a story on Couchsurfing last year! What a cool way to find out about it!

His apartment is just around the corner from the subway station in Kreusberg - which is really convenient. It's a cute little apartment and he has cool artwork and quirky stuff all over the place... that apartment definitely has character...

It was about 1.30 a.m. and we were still chatting...about life... well I don't remember really - then, he taught me how to make this amaying sandwich - with hot mustard, German cheese, ham, ketchup, corn and tomatoes. S0o0o goood!!!!! and a glass of red wine with it, of course!

By the time I was in bed, it was 3 a.m. He kept insisting that the couch was too short for everybody - I managed to prove him wrong. I fit perfectly in it - Yeah I know, I'm short!

In the morning, I went to the Burdenburg Gate - and there was a huge carnival goin on, the Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer Plats - which is a really building with stores and the Sony Center in it - there were a lot of cool cafes in the area too! Then I went to the DDR Musuem - I think that was the best museum I've ever been to in my life! It was like being in a scene in "Blast from the Past" with actually setting of a living room during the DDR period, real stuff that people used and just really interactive ways in learning about the history ...

I was going to go to the Museum Islands but it was a lil late for that... I hung around for a little bit and head home... Oh how can I forget this? I had the most amaying ice-cream here in Berlin and it's so cheap too!!

For dinner, Thies brought me to this place and I got a Schwarma dish. It was so0o0 gooood!!! It's a turkish dish with chicken and vegetables - wait for the pictures!!! and a Jever beer, which was brewed in his hometown, up in the north of Germany.

Then we went to the Oberbaum bridge and met another couchsurfer, Sebastien. He seems to be a really cool guy - We went to Yaams, a beach bar by the river. It was perfect! the weather was warm, the wind was blowing and the stars were out. The only thing missing was the moon.

Athens - on the way to the airport

On the way to the subway station, there was this middle-aged American guy who was sitting next to me at the bus stop ... he made a comment about how heavy my bags looked.... then i said something back and he was like...o0o0hh... ur from the States? Then I had to do the whole explanation about being a Malaysian but goin to school in the States.. then we started chatting... he seems to know a lot about Malaysia.. about how the Chinese are oppressed.. but then he was like what do u mean oppressed? most of the major businesses are owned by the Chinese anyways... I had to bring up that that wasn't the point! There's gotta be equal opportunities... the Malays won't benefit from the government spoonfeeding them... when are they going to stand on their own feet and be productive for their own country? Never! if it stays this way...

Then, he went on asking if I was traveling alone... and gave me this whole spiel about how dangerous it is for a girl to travel alone ... then, he took this to a racial issue... how being of a Chinese descent, it's so irresponsible of me to just set out on my own... how my parents should be devastated... blah blah blah.

What has race got to do with this????

He mentioned about some British girl who got raped and killed in Goa, India .. and that that case was only a small percentage of what really happens to young girls who travel alone... really, mister-I-know-it-all ... you're saying that even walking in the streets in Malaysia that for sure I won't get raped and killed? That if I walk in the streets in America, I won't get shot at? Be realistic now. I honestly have no idea what kind of bubble he thinks his daughters are in.

Really now? I'm sure he had the best intention but really... I thought it was really disrespectful of him to even use that intonation and say all these things to me... he added the in Greece "like in Malaysia" in families it's very the father should the one most respected... I asked him "Sir, what century are you living in?"

It was rude, no doubt about it... but this man has got to WAKE UP!! anyways, he said if his daughter did something like this (traveling alone) he would have taken to first flight to whereever she was and wring her neck.

Boy am I glad I wasn't related to him!