living from a suitcase – a story

“Are you sure it’s here?”

“I’m pretty sure, I came back here a week ago just to check it out”

“Alright, just that it’s getting pretty dark ”

“You don’t have campfires in the day, Rovik”

The four guys emerged into a clearing , surrounded by elk trees and moist air.

“Do you see it now?” Francis said as he walked towards the log around the smothered campfire,

“Alright, alright , I’m sorry I doubted you. It’s just been too long” Drew replied , placing the backpack on the bed of leaves collected in the clearing.

“Way too long. I’m glad we did this” said Prince. He reached his arms over the shoulders of the other guys and pulled them in for a huddle.

The guys held each tightly and just let the sound of the forest moderate their own breaths.

“Nobody can take this from us” Rovik said finally, breaking the silence. “Alright , let’s start the mix. Prince, why don’t you get the ingredients and whip us up the special stew , the rest of us will start the fire. ”

” You know I got it . I’ve been wanting to cook this up again for a long time” Prince replied.

The tall muscular figure walked over to the backpacks and rummaged through for the food.

“It feels so good to be out of the office. People get so irritating sometimes” Drew said over the crackle of the fire that had just formed.

“Isn’t that why you ran for office? To serve the people?” Rovik said, warming his hands now.

“People don’t know what they want. All they care about are themselves” Drew said

“Amen to that. Fuck People… except you guys, I love you guys. But fuck you all too.” Francis said, breaking into laughter.

Rovik smiled and walked over to Francis, and gave him a friendly slap on his shoulders.

“How have you been man? Last I heard you had quit the P.D. What have you been up to?” he asked .

“Probably screwing around with his girlfriends” Prince said cheekily. “Food’s almost done guys”

“Well yes. I couldn’t take the hypocrisy. Memorandums and proceedings… it was just too much for me. I’m not a political creature , I can’t navigate that jungle.” Francis replied, ending his statement with a sigh.

“Come on, you’re a born leader. I remember people would wait for your word when you walked into the room. Even I couldn’t make a decision without consulting you.” Rovik commented.

“Thanks Rovik. But I’ve moved on. I’m much happier now, running a steelworks place down on Smith. ”

“And it’s the best steelworks place around, isn’t it? These are the hard workers that deserve our country’s appreciation.” Drew shouted across the fire, smirking.

Francis stared at Drew for a while and smiled. “Thanks Senator , you’ve got my vote… buddy”

“Alright, enough with the love story. Food’s ready to be devoured by you fiends. This may be my best stuff yet.”

The men grabbed their bowls and walked to the pot over the fire. As the night grew darker, and the wind blew colder, the men poured the hot stew into the bowls, admiring the glossy surface as it settled.

“Prince, my man. You seem to have outdone yourself again.” Drew said. He took a spoon of the stew , blew on it slowly to cool it down, and placed it  in his mouth. “I’ve never felt more like a man. Beef Stew, out in the forest, here with my men. All we need is a bear to wrestle”

“Don’t prophesy now. The night is still young.” Rovik said, laughing .

“You’re a great person, Prince. I’m sorry about what happened between you and…” Francis began.

“Don’t say her name. I haven’t completely moved on” he said, staring at his bowl.

The campfire went silent for a while. “I’m sorry I brought it up” Francis said, breaking the silence.

“No, it’s fine. If there’s anyone I’d want to to talk about this to, it’s you guys.

She broke my heart. I gave her all I could. I gave her a house, I loved her every night, I even told her every day how beautiful she was. But she just wanted something else and she decided to fuck her colleague instead. I asked her why she did it and she said that she can’t let her happiness be inhibited.

Didn’t she realise that she wasn’t thinking about how I felt? Did she really not care for me at all? ”

Prince continued staring at his bowl. He placed it on the log he was sitting on, got up and looked at the group . “Give me a minute , guys.” he said and walked into the forest.

“I never thought she was such a bitch” Francis said.

“I saw it. You tend to meet certain people in life who want to be destructive rather than constructive. The people who want to break things as they move through life, rather than heal the brokenness. ” Rovik chimed in.

“Well it’s a lot harder than you think to keep wanting to heal. Thinking about yourself only keeps the world a lot easier to understand.”  Drew said.

“I’m surprised you’re saying that Mr Senator. Isn’t it your job to serve your people? That’s what you ran on …” Rovik said, and then stood on the log, getting into pose. “I am You are Me. If I didn’t care about you, I can’t say I care about me” he bellowed, impersonating Drew.

“Fark off , and get your ass down from that log” Drew shouted, clearly angry.

“Hey, chill… I didn’t know you really felt so different now” Rovik said, slowly stepping down.

“Well, get off your high horse Rovik. Just because you travel all around the world, get yourself into all these romantic misadventures and make stories around yourself doesn’t mean you get to expect the same of us. We live real lives, lives that are defined by the hurt and reality of this world.” Francis said, pointing his finger at him.

“Woah woah, those are some sharp jabs. My life isn’t all roses as well. I’ve been living out of a suitcase the past few years.” Rovik said, defensively placing his hands on his hips.

“And what about all these sweet little things you seem to always have on your hips. It’s a different girl in every country, a different fuck every time. Tell me you don’t think you have a better life than any of  us.” Drew chimed in.

Rovik stared at Drew, and then stared at Francis. His eyes started to burn. They had seen this side of him before. It was a cold burn, a flash and then a shade. And it would hurt.

“I’m a romantic, I draw stories about love and life and all that jazz. But I am not a hedonist… I’m not in this for the carnal pleasures a much as I am for the pleasures of the soul. What do you think I desire more? Lips on my dick every other night , or a soul to bond with. If you even think you know me, you’d know it’s the latter.” Rovik said, his voice almost chill.

The campfire went silent for a while. The three men sat , looking into the campfire.

“Maybe this was a bad idea… We’ve all grown up way too much apparently” Drew said.

“Nonsense. This is exactly  why we need to meet. If we can’t open up to anyone else, it’s to each other”

The three men turned around. Prince was back.

“Listen, brothers. We’ve been through tough times. We’ve seen each other through hell and heaven. We can’t be afraid of each other now. ” he continued.

“You’re right” Drew said. “I have a confession to make”

He picked up a twig from the floor and started twirling it around his fingers. His eyes were glued to it, intense.

“I’m stepping down from office next week. I’ve decided I can’t be Senator anymore.”

“What??” Rovik said, immediately. “But why? And what are you going to do ?”

“He’ll be joining the property business with me” Francis chipped in. “We’re going to re-develop our town and bring back the wealth that’s rightfully ours”

Prince walked over and sat next to Francis.

“That’s funny, brother. I actually did hear you were going into the  property business. But I heard something else too” he said, looking at Francis.

Rovik looked at the pair, intently. “What was going on? ”  he thought to himself.

“You see, Rovik.There’s a reason why I tried to get everyone here. I know you’d be able to talk to these guys.” Prince said, pointing to both Francis and Drew.

“Francis quit the  police force and formed his own mob crew. He’s been running rackets around the city, impoverishing the hard workers and keeping things under his belt. Drew here, has been supporting it”

“How do you know all of this Prince?” Rovik asked, calling him out.

“Because after my wife left me, I wanted to come back and make a life back home. And that’s when I found out someone was destroying its very essence. It killed me to find out it was these guys” Prince replied.

“Is this true?” Rovik asked the pair.

Francis stood up from his log and walked over to where Drew was sitting.

“Yes.”

He sat down next to Drew and pulled out a cigar, which he started to light up.

“I told you this world was going to the shits , Rovik. You inspire me a lot, but this  is not one of those times. It’s time we tell  you about the reality of this cold miserable world.  And maybe then, you and Prince will join us. Who else to share the wealth with than our brothers?” Drew said, a smile now appearing on his face.

“I don’t want any part of this. Have we all let our losses affect us so badly?” Rovik appealed to the group.

“It was never a loss. It’s just the way things are. Our elevations were the inconsistencies, they were random occurrences that happened but could never be sustained. This form of living, selfish and cold , is the kind that will keep us breathing at the end of the day. It’s survival.” Francis said, and then offered the cigar to Rovik.

Rovik stood up and walked over to where Francis was sitting. They were now sitting across each other : Francis and Drew on one side, Prince and Rovik on the other.

“Tell us a story, Rovik. Tell us one of your beautiful stories.” Prince said, putting his arm over Rovik’s shoulder.

Rovik stared at the fire, letting it warm his soul up again. He felt the heat, and his nerves tingle with excitement.

“Alright, I’ll tell a story.

Milan has a beautiful history. There’s so much to see and do in the city, but the one thing that captured me most about this city was this girl. We’ll call her Sofia. I met Sofia on the steps of the Duomo, a large Gothic church near the centre. She was feeding the pigeons and I asked to join her. She then invited me to get some gelato, and I convinced her to spend the day with me. I took her to dinner, and then took her back to my place and we made love.

The next morning, I was ready for her to say good bye, but she decided to stay. She played with my hair, and stared into my eyes. What are you doing, I asked her. Falling in love with you, she said. I laughed back, and asked her if that was too fast.

We’re Italian , she said. Life’s too short to not want to fall in love. I stared back into her eyes, and then kissed her deeply. We spent the whole day in, making love multiple times and watching Italian soap operas. I had a flight booked for the night to Barcelona and hadn’t decided whether I wanted to leave or not.

I told her about it, and she kissed me. Stay, she said. I will, I lied. I couldn’t believe I had reached here. Was I falling in love? I wanted to find out what was wrong with what I was seeing. I started trying to find flaws in her, to ask her about her history and her background. Who are your parents? What’s your job?

She started getting annoyed, and by the end of the night she asked me to go catch my flight. This was silly, she said. This was stupid, I said. I walked out, got onto my flight, and then felt the weight of my arrogance settle. I ruined the moment, by refusing to believe in the good. I was looking for what was wrong so much I forgot to factor in the beautiful.

It’s been a while since the incident. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find Sofia again… I hope I do. But I know what was possible. I knew it was real, I knew I was a force of action and that I was doing something. I was living. I could never deny that.

So I keep believing. I keep hoping. I don’t lose hope on the good. And you shouldn’t too. This world needs more believers like you guys once were. We need to heal this world. We just need to.”

The campfire was silent. The brothers stared into the fire once again. Every moment crept back on them … the stories their lives had been built on. They had done great things, they had build legacies. They had truly lived.

“What would you think if I sang out of tune?” Prince chimed in.

Francis and Drew looked up. Rovik looked over to Francis, and smiled.

“Would you stand up and walk out on me?” he chimed in, walking over to Drew.

“You’re my brother. No matter what you’ve done, we’re in this forest again. We’re safe here and we can decide to move forward. ” he said to the pair.

“Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key”

Rovik  sang, and then gestured to them.

“You know I can’t resist” Drew said.

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends”

Francis and Prince joined in.

Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

And the forest was filled with music, just like it was meant to be. In the darkness, they had found the light that they thought they had lost. And with a little help from their friends, they were back where they were supposed to be.

We all need somebody to lean on.

geronimo.

 

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i eat giants for breakfast

be absolutely ludicrous.

Somewhere in my life, a fire erupted …. no, an explosion occurred inside of me causing me to be always craving adventure. Nothing was ever going to be enough but I was not going to sit down and eat brunch every Sunday. I was not going to waste my breath on a life mediocre.

So I wrote, I built my adventures in my head. I explored made up worlds, with lives of characters that represented  ideals of mine. I was a mercenary, and then a old sage on the brink of death. I was death, and then I was life. I built the Last Saloon and recreated the Moment of Revelation.

And then I couldn’t just write. I had to see, I had to touch, I had to be. No one was going to tell me what I could or could  not do. I had enough of that in school, especially in an education system designed to “assign” people to the lives they are supposedly fulfilled to live. So I began eating giants for breakfast.

I began by saying yes to more things. I was kayaking on the Saturday, and training for a marathon on the Sunday. Is that for me? Yes? I’ll do it. No? Who says so? I’m still doing it.

And then I started dreaming. I started seeing friends explore lands I had only seen on the television. I saw friends championing causes; making the world better. I also saw people complaining about their lives, how they wonder how they got stuck where they were.

So I ate another giant and asked What If? I asked What If I made this a priority. What would I need to do? I put it on a piece of paper, stuck it behind my door and saw it every morning I woke up. I’d do push-ups while looking at it – I was getting mentally synced to achieve my goals. This was happening – this was not a wish, this was a desire and that’s something that’s derived deeper. A desire lives in the depths of your soul, it claws at you from the inside till it can be realised.

I broke away from the  people that said “Let’s stick to what we know” and started hanging out with the dreamers and believers. These were the people who said “We can build something”. I valued the people who kept me grounded, but I was not going to around the people who kept me floundered.

And one day, I started “winning” the game. Fruits of the seeds were starting to show. I was able to open doors to meetings with people of influence and convince them to support me. I was able to learn how to play the game of life; how to navigate some of the pitfalls that open themselves up to the wayfarers. I was able to build teams, share my vision and bring them on the journey with me. I was building on past successes to achieve more.

I failed many times too, but every fail was a fail forward. I stood up, dusted my knees and ran on (I imagine my marathon taught me a lot about that) .

My lifestyle changed. I was high-octane. Testosterone and adrenaline are concentrated in my blood stream. From the music I listen to, to the sports I participate in, I’m living a life of energy.

I stand here, a veteran of stories. I’m only 21. Let me say that again. I’m 21. In the past 3-4 years I’ve probably seen more than some people can afford.

I’m more privileged than most, and I recognise that privilege. But the money I spent was all money I earned. I used my stories to make money by adapting them. I made my life a story – a manuscript of a journey tirelessly threaded.

Having said that,  I have a lot of people to thank , my family especially, but I also want to recognise that a lot of this process was started from that explosion. That was something internal. One morning, I woke up and just decided to eat a giant.

Giants still roam this earth. Giants still intimidate people. But I want others to start waging battles against these giants. I want to ignite that explosion in others. I want people to travel, to start organisations and companies, to go on YouTube , to convince world leaders to take on a policy stance, to live extraordinarily.

Find your giant, look it straight in the eye and then begin to chew at it. It’ll wriggle, it’ll try to run away from you, but you know you’re stronger than it. Why?

Because now you’re larger than life.

geronimo.

Good Morning Saigon! – My Crazy Travels

So, once I came back from the US, I took a week off travelling to meet my close friends in Singapore and do some work , as well as to celebrate the New Year. Once that was done, I packed my bags and was off again.

It was meant to be an ORD Trip for Ding Hao (he calls himself Damien now) and I- so we only booked our flight and hostel and left the rest to chance. We went for 5 days, 4 nights which in retrospect was a tad bit long. Neither of us had visited Vietnam before and so it was exciting. We heard a lot about our district – that there would be pickpocketing and all that stuff.

Some essential tips :

  1. Only travel on the registered Taxi Companies. Anyone else hustling you is going to be an invitation to trouble
  2. The motorbike ferries are certainly interesting but only go on it in the day – and if you’re really willing to take the risk
  3. Keep your belongings on you – split your cash and never carry anything that can be easily snatched – especially handbags

That being said, Damien and I were more than excited to begin.

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One thing you should know about Vietnam is that cars are rare on the streets. Instead you have swarms and swarms of motorbikes flooding the streets. There are every few pedestrians, in fact the walkways are mainly used to park motorbikes and not to walk.

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Our hostel was the exciting Phan Anh hostel in Pham Ngu Lao (the Backpacker’s District) . It was clean, service was great and they provide good breakfast. This was my first time in a hostel and I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting people along the way. We went out with some of them and had a blast.

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These are just some of the people we managed to meet and hang around with!

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On to the attractions now! The first thing we visited was the War Remnants museum. This was where they showed all the artifacts and weapons/equipment used in the Vietnam war, from a Vietnamese perspective. After reading through the museum information, you become a bit confused on who’s really on the right. Vietnam basically stood its ground that all its affairs are its own and the US had no business there.

And I guess in a lot of ways that’s valid. There’s definitely a lot more to the war than that but one of the saddest conclusions from the war was that all those who used to be Southern Vietnamese ended up migrating out because of fear of being punished by the Socialists. In the end, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh (after the great leader) to commemorate the success.  When you walk through this museum, you realise that a lot happened in this country and a lot of lives were hurt .

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One of the saddest exhibits in the museum is the Agent Orange exhibit, where they showed the effect the chemical agent had on the Vietnamese due to the US mass usage of it. It’s disgusting and abhorrent how anyone could do something like that to people. It reminded me why I served in the CBRD department of the army. To prevent evil occurrences like these.

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The day after we took a bus-ride down to Cu Chi tunnels to visit the infamous war tunnels. Now to digress for a while, the first day you reach the city, find an affordable tour agency and book your tours. The ones that matter most are the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong Delta trip – the rest are pretty lame and not necessary. We spent a total of $20USD for the bus-ride up to Cu Chi and back, as well as the bus-ride to Mekong and back, the ferry service, a lunch, and a hotel stay. Really value for money.

Ok back to Cu Chi tunnels. This was really  interesting. Granted, it has been commercialised for tourists, but there’s still a lot to learn. For one, these traps weren’t built by soldiers, but by the locals who converted to Guerillas to fight the US Soldiers. This is really a product of their innovation.

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Let’s take a break from the attractions to talk about the nightlife. Now as backpackers/young tourists, nightlife is an important aspect of travelling. You want to meet people and celebrate. Alcohol here is dirt cheap – you can get beer for a few cents off the dollar. We visited this club called Lush which has a really good mix of locals and expats , as well as good music. There was a lot of fun here 😀

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Based on the recommendation of a local friend, we visited Acoustic bar as well which is a really chill concept for local musicians to exhibit their skills. It’s really popular here – people support local music very avidly and for good reason. The music here is amazing. The bar is packed very early and you have to come slightly before 8 in order to even get a seat.

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Ok back to the attractions! My architecture buff took over as we visited some of the epic scenes in Saigon. This is the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Just next to it is the Post Office. It looks a lot like the Grand Central Station in New York, just slightly smaller. Also very grand.

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A few metres away is the Reunification Palace. It closes during lunch time so we didn’t get to go in. Again, another beautiful building.

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Now you probably realise I was on a selfie spree while in Vietnam. Most of my pictures are on Instagram to log my journeys so I had to follow the trend. I even infected Damien with the selfie virus.

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Most of you are probably looking forward to this. The food commentaries. Well, the first thing we ate in Vietnam was the Pho. Pho is this delicious noodle soup made with beef and rice noodles. Very simple, but can have so much diversity depending on the sauces and condiments you add that they provide on the table. Our favourite was Pho Le, which is apparently the local favourite. No tourists were there cos it’s really in the heartlands.

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Another local popular dish  is the Banh Mi, which is basically a snack sandwich. It’s made out of yam paste, vegetables and cured meat put in a baguette. It’s inspired from it’s French colonial past, and it’s really a good snack in the middle of the day, or for breakfast. It only costs 80 cents!

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The seafood is a must-try. This was at Hong Hai seafood – really cheap food . We had cockles, clams, escargot and all kinds of shellfish. AMAZING!

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Pho is not the only noodle there. There’s plenty of other noodles. This one is called Bun Bo Hue, which is made with carrot and has an oilier broth. But so amazing! We also had the Vietnamese Spring rolls, which is made from Rice Paper, and has lots of vegetables inside. You have to eat it with sweet chili sauce.

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They also have a local ice-cream shop that takes advantage of the fresh fruit in Vietnam, called Fanny. The ice-cream is really affordable and is a good counter to the heat in the area.

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Considering that Vietnam used to be under the French, it’s not uncommon to try the French food in the area. We went to this place called Le Forkette, which has affordable French Food at fine-dining service. I had the duck confit, and it was a joy chowing it down.

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Now, you can’t be eating the big-name items all the time. Near Pham Ngu Lao is the Backpacker Street where they serve all kinds of food. One night, we just grabbed a quick meal and I ordered the Vietnamese pancake. It’s a lot of seafood and meat with vegetables stuffed in a crispy shell. So sinfully good. We had this at Five Oysters.

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And a local drink, very few know about is the Egg Coffee. It’s coffee with a dollop of raw egg inside that adds a whole layer of flavour to the coffee. Must-try. Thanks to Samantha for recommending this to me.

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There are plenty of noodle dishes in Vietnam. I forgot the name of this one, but we just wanted a quick lunch and we ordered it from a streetside stall. It was really sweet from the peanuts but still a good meal.

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These are coconut cakes – damn shiok.

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And this is Pho Le, the one that I mentioned earlier. It was my last and best pho.

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Dessers are big here in Vietnam. They have their regular custard flan which is sweet but nothing exciting. This dessert below is highly recommended in the market, it’s very colourful. I can’t remember the name 😛

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And of course we have to talk about Vietnamese Coffee, which is basically filter coffee. When you’re there , take the opportunity to visit the local chain – it has a very distinctive Vietnamese name and looks like a Starbucks. Okay I found it, Trung Nguyen Coffee. The coffee is slightly stronger and tastes better than your Starbucks for sure.

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Now, we decided to take a 2D1N trip to Mekong Delta during our trip as well and took a 3 hour bus ride up to the area. The Mekong River is a huge span of water that supports so many lifestyles and jobs – you really wonder at how much power the river has.

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There were many things we did while on the tour, but my favourite was when they brought us on one of these smaller boats deep inside to the trails where we met the locals.

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We saw how they made coconut snacks – really sweet and chewy ones.

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We saw crocodile farms.

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We saw them make lacquer art – which is a really unique form of art that takes a lot of effort. Really earned my respect here.

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They took us on horse trails.

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And we of course visited the Floating Markets. The produce here are fresh and you should try one of the fruits.

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We also got a chance to visit a Rice Noodle Factory where we learnt how they make rice paper and then make noodles out of it.

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This is the fried noodle pizza – a good mid-day snack as well!

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And finally freshly made honey tea – with bees flying all over you. This was all from one trip to the River – can you imagine the diversity provided by it?

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On the last day, Damien and I decided to splurge all our remaining money buying souveniers. There are two markets you can go to. Ben Thanh Market is the tourist favourite because it’s accessible. You get grabbed a lot here so be careful, but you can haggle the prices very easily here. Try to cut your prices by more than 50% – they’re severly marked up here.

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Just 100m away is Saigon Square 1, where they also sell goods but the prices are less negotiable. That being said, the prices are generally lower here as well. So you can take your pick.

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There was a lot done in the short span of time in Saigon. We wished we booked a longer trip to visit Nah Trang beaches, Hoi and Hanoi, but that’s an adventure in itself.

Really take the opportunity to meet people while you’re in Saigon – that was one of the best decisions we made. Here’s wishing you all the best in your own trips!

geronimo

It’s New York – My Crazy Trips!

I’m back with another travel review! I must apologise for the delay, there’s been too much to  do and see. The adventurer in me has been let loose, and it’s raucously living life.

Okay, so back to my trip. After visiting Chicago, my family travelled further east to New York. What’s visiting the US without visiting New York right? I watch a lot of TV and Movies ( don’t ask me how, even I surprise myself) and so walking through New York was like walking through the theatricals you saw on screen. It was incredibly surreal and fascinatingly exciting.

We went down to the City on the first day, and explored Wall Street. This is where the Stock Exchange and all the other famous banks and financial buidlings are. We went on a weekend, so there wasn’t much crowd beyond the tourists, but I could just smell the stench of money here.

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We visited Rockefeller Centre as well, where NBC films most of its shows. I took a picture to look like 30Rock hehe. If possible, go up for the studio tours. You can check out where Jimmy Kimmel has his set, or where Friends shot their scenes! The film-maker in me got very excited.

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And then of course, one must visit Liberty Island to visit Lady Liberty! It’s a ferry ride away from Battery Park (where the security is Airport level and super tight). Try to book online for tickets to bring you up to the crown or pedestal, because on-site tickets only let you roam the island itself. It’s good enough for a decent selfie like mine, but I would have loved to have gone on top.

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Grand Central Station, where some of my favourite romance scenes (yes I watch lame lovey dovey movies as well ) have happened and also where Madagascar had its epic chase sequence. I swear, the place is grand, and still functioning. I recall Charlie Todd doing many amazing scenes here including the light-up, and the Harry Potten IRL scene.

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And then we have Times Square. It’s everything people say it is. The heart of commercialism , with huge billboard ad screens and millions of shops. The land-planning of the area is unique such it channels a rush of wind through the centre. It was basically freezing cold. I visited the place on Christmas. It was beautiful.

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Oh ya, one of my favourite pictures is this one of a bird with the skyline in the background. It flew so close to us, I had to snap it.

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Now comes the food! Now there’s a lot more food I haven’t tried while being in NY. I wanted to try White Castle, some of the famous steakhouses, some of the famous pizzas in Little Italy but I couldn’t . Too little  time, too many calories.

I did manage to try these though! IHOP was one of those things you have to visit just to try it. Sinful pancakes – but oh  so good.

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We also had Korean food in Koreatown. Now , when it’s freezing cold outside, Korean BBQ is dabomb. Had this with Preston, together with Kimchi Soup. We really enjoyed this meal. In fact, I want to go back once I get the chance to.

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The rest of the meals were pizza, your normal mishmash of American cuisine, or something in the middle.

Now, I’m an architecture buff. And like I’ve mentioned, the US has amazing architecture. The Statue of Liberty was shipped from Italy, but still, look how amazing it stands in the middle of the island.

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Just walking through the city, you can feel tiny, with grand buildings flanking you. I’m glad Singapore’s main areas are not like these, I wouldn’t like to perpetually feel like an ant.

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The famous bull of Wall Street is also a tourist attraction. It’s derived from the term “Bullish Market” which means the market is doing extremely well – love how ferocious and strong it  looks. Now that’s machoism.

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We also visited World Trade Centre, or rather the site of the destroyed one. This was a really sobering experience because you recall the news coverage and the lives that were lost. The memorial pools have the names of the people who passed etched into it, and you can touch and feel the shapeless void left behind. It’s really a tragic memory.

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But at the same time, it’s a story of hope. They’re rebuilding the tower stronger and louder, as a sign of recovery. If you read my Chicago post, you realise it’s an American spirit. That when you’re beaten down, you pick yourself up and come back stronger. Hope and recovery – it’s the heartbeat here. You feel like you  always have a shot. Very impressed.

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One of my best memories was meeting up with the EDB peeps while in NY. I’ll always love  having friends in every town I visit – sharing experiences and making new ones.

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So that more or less concludes my trip to New York. There’s definitely a lot more stories to share, but I’ll  leave those for my Facebook Albums, or my storytelling in person to cover. This should give a gist to those who ask me what to do in NY .

My more in-demand post – My Weekend in Vietnam – should be out by the weekend! One of my favourite trips as well. Look out for that one!

Till then, keep believing people!

geronimo.