Crazy Lady at the Nail Salon

Today’s a Public Holiday in Singapore…

On that note, a very happy Hari Raya Haji to all my Muslim friends! 💚

So like almost every other hardworking office-enclosed adult on this tropical urban jungle island – I took the day to nua (translates to: relax till you melt to a pulp-like being).

And so decided to pop by my neighbourhood nail salon to get my nails done.

And mind you – I planned for my brain today to be in nua-mode. Means, “pulp-like” mode. Means, I don’t know 1=1 or the Sun rises in the East or that Donald Trump isn’t a white man, but rather, an orange man.

So I wasn’t prepared for what was about to come… 😩

Everything was pretty much going dandy; with the most complex thought in my head being the choice of colour of my nail polish.

Then this other customer came in and started to creep the crap out of me.

Omg, I think she actually did creep the crap out of me… I had to do the big business as soon as I came home! 😱

Ahem. TMI, for you.

Anyway, she looked pretty okay and sat down being super-duper concerned about her health and how her medication is making her feel.

Okay, that kind of raised a flag for me.

Then somehow we moved onto the topic of ‘marriage’ and then she got all disappointed in me when she found out I was in a loving relationship and we are soon to be married.

And apparently it’s because, she doesn’t agree with the concept of marriage.

Now here’s the funny part – she herself is married with 2 fully grown children.

So the beautician asked about her own children getting married, and she got pissed.

She went on like this (in Mandarin), “No! My children can never get married!! I will NEVER approve!”

The beautician and I exchanged questioning glances, and I swear I tilted my head and raised my right eyebrow a little – because apparently I’ve kissed goodbye to tact.

Me: Why not? It’s not compulsory to find someone and get married, but what’s wrong with it?

Woman: Everyone just suffers at the end! People get married, then get divorced! Then get married and divorced again! Can be more than 3, 4 times, you know! 

Me: Oh, is that so? (In a sarcastic way, may I add – because once again, I kissed tact goodbye) Well, there’s good and bad in everything.

Woman: Marriage is useless. It just makes people suffer. My children don’t need to get married. They can take care of themselves without a partner. 

Me: I fully agree that every single person should be independent and capable of taking themselves without being in a relationship just based on reliance – but, okay – what if your children co-habited with a partner? 

Woman: Hmm… No, no. I think they don’t need to. Just stay with me forever.

Me: As long as they are happy, I guess. 

Woman: They can have friends, but they don’t need to leave me.

Instinctively, I opened my Plants VS Zombies app on my iPhone – because it sort of when with it. She was like a relentless zombie chewing away on lives.

Yes, you might call me a bitch. And I’m not going to disagree with you either.
But I grew up under someone who wanted so badly to keep & control me like a mad person – it was entirely unhealthy. Her nightly prayers with me at bedtime included lines like, “May this child always tell me the truth, and if she should lie – may it eat up within her so much that she will be forced to tell me the truth because the truth shall set her free.” And this is just one example.

Only after many years, I realised it wasn’t normal.

So it pricked a nerve thinking that there are other people suffering this same silent cry that no one else really notices/helps.

And Plant VS Zombies has really fun quests lately! So I’ve gotten hooked again! 😄

Beautician: But what if next time they’re old? Won’t they be lonely? 

Woman: They have each other what! They can take care of each other! 

And IMMEDIATELY – I said, “Huh? Like the Lannisters?? That didn’t turn out really well…”

They both obvious don’t watch Game of Thrones… and they were both looking at me weirdly. Swear the beautician was freaking out that her shop had two nut-job customers.

But siblings whom don’t intend on having partners and taking care of each other…?

Image Credit: http://www.thewrap.com

#ifyougetwhatimean

It was really quite disturbing. I need to do something else to legit nua today…

XOXO, G. 

Disgusting taxi scam in Hanoi!

Just last week, my friend Arati and I flew to Vietnam for a little girlfriends’ getaway.

We were super excited! Prior to the trip, I didn’t really bother looking for attractions; I was more interested in learning how to survive there.

And an important one that I read was: Only use Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis!

We got to the airport at about 8PM there and didn’t see any Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis, so we asked the airport staff for assistance. And she told us to use any of the airport taxis, they’re okay.

She seemed quite nice 😇, so we decided to trust her.

BIGGEST F**KING MISTAKE OF THE TRIP!!! 😡 😡 😡

First, the taxi driver gave a quote instead of turning on the meter. That was already a huge red flag and I was ready to walk.

Taxi Driver: US$30! 

Us: No. Meter. 

Taxi Driver: US$30!!! 

Us: No. (Was pulling my luggage away)

Taxi Driver: Okay! Okay! US$25!!

Me: No, I said METER. 

Then he very reluctantly agreed. And till now I regretted getting onto the taxi. It was such a horrifying experience!

We should’ve just turned away, but we were tired after the flight and wanted to get to our hotel.

We got onto the taxi and the meter was turned on, but after driving about 3 minutes out, there was a toll booth. And he stopped, telling us we needed to pay 100,000 dong. I read that it was supposed to be absorbed by the taxi company, but thought I could be wrong. I didn’t want to think badly about someone who is trying to earn a living.

So we gave him 100,000 dong.

Then he drove up to the toll booth. Showed his taxi ID and drove off!!!! He didn’t even have to pay the toll! What the royal f**k! Within 10 minutes of seeing the country I was already abhorring it.

And I kept on eyes on the movement of the meter – just as I read; the ‘non-legit’ taxi companies’ meters move at the speed of light. The meter was jumping at 2,000 dong every 5-8 seconds!!!

Then throughout the journey, he pointed at random buildings lesser than 5 times – telling us their names. Which honestly I didn’t give a flying rat’s ass about, I was already cursing him, his family and entire ancestral line. Hearing him blabber just pissed me off, but I tried to be light-hearted with Arati about it anyway.

We were nearing the hotel area at Old Quarters, and then there was a couple with their luggages standing by the road. This f**ker just stopped the taxi, lowered his window and shouted, “Go airport??”

Arati and I looked at each other, “Wtf?!”

Like, hello royal wanker. WE ARE STILL IN YOUR TAXI AND YOU HAVEN’T EVEN FULFILLED YOUR JOURNEY ON THIS ONE, YOU WANT TO TAKE ANOTHER ONE??

I CURSE YOUR BOWLS OF PHO TOO!!!

Roar.

Then he drove couple of meters down and told us to get off.

Me: This isn’t our hotel! 

Taxi Driver: Inside! Inside! 2 minute! 2 minute! 

I don’t know what is it about these people who cannot speak proper English; they somehow simply love to repeat and shout what they’re saying twice. Like that’s supposed to ease the communication. Him repeating his words just made me repeatedly angry at him.

Me: No, I don’t see it! 

Taxi Driver: Inside!!! 

I knew he wasn’t going to cooperate. So just decided to pay him off. Meter said 367,000 dong, so I took out a 500,000 dong note. It was the smallest I had at that time.

He took it and asked Arati for 70,000 dong more.

Me: Why?!

Taxi Driver: Tourist! 

Me: So you want to cheat my money?? GIVE ME MY CHANGE BACK! 

Taxi Driver: Tourist tour! I give you tour! Tour 200,000 dong! 

Me: That wasn’t a bloody tour! I didn’t even ask for a tour! 

Taxi Driver: No, no! 70,000 dong more! 

Me: No! You want more money? Take 3,000 dong! So give me back 130,000 dong!! 

Usually my mathematical skills aren’t so quick, but somehow at that moment I was so filled with fury and literally wanted to tie a rope with dongs and throttle the guy… I already calculated 3,000 dong to be like S$0.20 anyway.

Taxi Driver: *takes out a 200,000 dong note* This! Tour! I give you! 

Me: You didn’t give me a tour! I didn’t want any bloody tour. Give me back 130,000 dong NOWWWW!!!

Taxi Driver: *makes angry sounds and gives me back 130,000 dong* 

Arati alighted first, and just when I was about to – something told me not to… because he didn’t even open the boot for our luggage and was ready to drive off!!!

What the hell man! How disgustingly low can these people get??

So I opened the door super wide, refused to alight and asked Arati to get the luggages out first. If he wants to drive off with the luggages, I was ready to whack the guy.

We pulled our luggages along and looked for the hotel, but simply couldn’t! We were in a foreign country where almost no one speaks any English – the only ones who did were tourists as well! We asked uniformed officers who gave us all different directions…

From the “2 minute!”, we walked about Old Quarters lugging our luggages for about 60 minutes!

And it started to get dangerous – we spotted some men following us around. One guy even touched my suitcase, till I yanked it away and glared at him. And somehow he scurried off.

Usually I’d be quite scared in such situations, but at that moment I simply didn’t have the luxury to be scared. It was running late, we were hungry and tired, Arati was freaking out like crazy, no one was able to help us properly – I couldn’t freak out too.

Then I remembered that I kept a record of the hotel’s contact! Why didn’t I think of that earlier. So stood in front of this rather crowded tourist spot, and made the phone call. The staff came over to walk us over – thank God!

It was an absolute nightmare!

The stupid taxi driver actually stole 100,000 dong from us, citing that it was for toll. He didn’t even drop us off at our hotel, just so he could take another passenger. He had the audacity to demand for 200,000 dong extra for a ‘tour’ for naming a few random buildings on the way over. And he almost drove off with our luggages!

And when I had WiFi to do some research, I found that the wanker took a longer route too.

It was awful, awful, awful.

Within the first hour of visiting Vietnam, I was already missing Singapore. Hardly felt like it was a proper holiday if I had to be so on guard all the time!

But from then on we all entirely Mai Linh taxis, which were all amazing. They were professional, rates were very reasonable (by Vietnamese standards) and we felt super safe with them. And when we took the taxi to the airport, we didn’t pay for the toll!

Only down side was Mai Linh is popular with the locals as well (which actually is a good thing!), so most Mai Linhs are taken up.

Vinasuns tend to be bigger, so better for larger groups.

Now, be VERY careful about the spelling of the names as well. I spotted a ‘pirated’ brand that are similar to Mai Linh; spelling was something like ‘Mai Lin’ and it had the exact same green. But they’re not Mai Linh! Read up that other tourists were conned in those imposter-brands as well. 😰

On the left is Vinasun and on the right is Mai Linh.

vinasun, mai linh, taxi, vietnam
Image Credit: http://cafef.vn/

Trust me when I say this – don’t trust what the locals tell you. Just stick to Mai Linh or Vinasun!

We trusted a local and it ruined our mood so much!! You really don’t want that when you go for a holiday.

Gosh. Sickened to my bone over this.

Anyone else have any other con stories to share? Tell me in your comments!

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels: Otaru; BEST Seafood In the World!

24-25 March 2016

As usual, I jumped out of bed pretty early! Found it quite an annoying oxymoron… Especially since I’m on holiday. Why can’t I be this perky going to work? 😩

Well, today Mark and I had quite an exciting day planned out. We were driving out of Sapporo and into Otaru! So we made sure to fuel up nicely on breakfast.

And had a tray of choco-powdered mochi to munch on during the ride! 🍡

And lets not forget the beer.

It was a very enjoyable ride! Traffic wasn’t as congested (maybe because it isn’t as densely populated) and such gorgeously scenic views too!

See the snowy mountains in the distance? That was our stop!

First time Mark looked so happy and fresh after a long drive.

Otaru is a hidden gem that Mark discovered. Absolutely not touristy at all and is famous for its utterly fresh seafood!

Being a small town, their buildings are mostly quite short. The roads were very clear, the people were neighbourly and it’s all next to the big blue ocean.

Our first meal simply had to be seafood. Anything else would be a carinal sin. We went to the centre of town and headed straight to the market like we were on a mission! 😎

Down this road, we were bombarded with an endless stream of unbelievably fresh seafood that will have you going, “Oii-shi! (Delicious!)” even before you put it in your mouth.

Most of those shops actually had their own restaurant as well! So you could pick out your food and they will cook it nicely for you.

At the end of it, we chose this place!

It was already about 2-3PM, so people already had their lunch… Rather quiet. But we liked it that way!

And it was nice to listen to the television that was broadcasting a baseball match.

Of course, we picked our lunch.

Mark pointed out this one right here… And the shop lady insisted that I carry it! *gasp!* Was a tad petrified because the crabs in Singapore would’ve snipped my fingers right off! But these were completely docile.

The reason seems to be that they have no real natural predators in the wild, so therefore haven’t developed any form of aggressiveness since it’s unnecessary. Probably in a few more generations they’ll realise, “HUMANS WANT OUR MEAT!!!” And then they get crazy fierce.

But for now, we can enjoy them.

Okay, readers. Get ready to drool.

It was a glorious meal. Ahh~

Even just thinking about it now makes me feel like booking the next flight back.

The seafood is crazy there! Look at this picture of the shop owner and a catch he made! 😱!!!

With stuffed tummies, we drove up the mountainous areas and to our inn!

This inn was located high up along the snowy ski areas.

And it’s so cute how they actually printed out the names of the guests on the board at the lobby!

Mark’s name, right there! 👇🏻

The room was like a pretty movie set. ❤

And at night we had a guy who introduced himself as “Japanese bed-maker” come in. He opened the storage cupboards and expertly laid out our futons.

He did it so nicely, I almost didn’t bear to lie on the bed and spoil it…

Anyway, the main reason why we went to this inn was for the onsen (hot springs). The last time we went to Arima Onsen, it was summer. I still enjoyed the soaking… but winter would definitely be a better time!

Through our stay there, we soaked every chance we had. I loved it!

It felt amazing to soak in the hot water in the cold season… And what I love about onsens is that, it’s somehow liberating to just go naked in a private yet public area.

No one looks at you, really. Everyone has what you have; at least in those gender-separated ones. Albeit during my visit to Arima previously, a fellow guest from China commented she loved my butt… I just assumed that it’s because of the saying about certain types of butts being good for child-bearing. And maybe she wanted her son to have a wife with good child-bearing features…? Well, anyway. Yes. And I don’t know anyone there… I most probably won’t ever see them again.

So there. It’s liberating and relaxing. I felt so amazing after soaking! ❤

After our night soak, we drove down the hills a little to the town area again where we had some supper!

I had a head of messy locks, makeup-less, hungry and super blissful! 😌

Here’s a shot Mark took of me while I was trying to teach him how to take photographs. Honestly he’s horrible at it.

“Rotate it, then it’ll become portrait.”

The night passed by super quickly and after a morning soak, we had to get ready to catch our flight back to Tokyo!

Shuttle bus to the airport after returning the rented car!
P.S. I simply loved the Toyota we rented! But Mark said they don’t sell it in Singapore, because well… Singapore has a small market and only a few models are brought it every round. 😔

I’m going to end this post with this picture of the restaurant owner with this HUGE tuna that he caught.

Absolutely in awe at how large that fish is! 😱 😱 😱

And then suddenly the Bible story about Jonah being in a fish’s belly doesn’t seem all that unfeasible anymore…

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels: Post-foodpanda Vacation Begins!

Just some time last year, Mark and I spent 2 weeks in the lands of Nippon as celebration for his graduation!

This time… Well, he claims it’s to reward me for all the work I put into my work at foodpanda. 🙂

Yes, Japan is evidently a favourite choice for the both of us.

And yes, I have left foodpanda officially. It was definitely one of the most difficult decisions and heart-wrenching letters I had to write… Kind of felt like I was breaking up with someone I care deeply about; but I’m mature enough to understand that our time together is up. Better for things to be fond memories than bitter ones, yes?

So at about 4AM, Mark and I lugged out luggages onto the car, and his mom delivered us right to Changi Airport. My face was still utterly swollen… Gah.

And because McDonald’s breakfast was simply too passé… We decided to be really Asian about it and have congee with siew mai.

Some of the most freaking expensive congees I’ve ever had!

Plus wasn’t even tasty. PLUS wasn’t even warm! I don’t understand the theory… It’s not like my seat is halfway across the world. It’s literally lesser than 10 feet away from him. How did hot congee become room temperature that quickly?

My buay song + sleepy face.
“I paid so much for this??”

So Mark decided to work for a while to earn back the money we lost on such a breakfast…

Haha! Kidding, kidding. Just those typical emails.

After 6 painstaking hours on the plane…

It was horrible, really. I decided to watch The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 and Part 2. Seeing that I missed it in the cinemas.

I barely survived part 1… but I figured, “I cannot just not continue this! No matter how crappy, I need to give this closure.”

Believe it or not, I was constantly dozing off during part 2. It was like F.O.R.E.V.E.R.R.R.R.R. Very painful… Just made the flight feel even longer than it already was. I just went, “F**k it, the closure is just closing my eyes.”

After the customs and all that jazz, we immediately made our way to Narita Station. Honestly we have sworn off taxis when we spent about S$200 the last time we took one from our apartment to the airport.

When the meter was like 18,950‎¥ (approx. S$200), I thought it was broken! Turns out the only thing broken was my bank account and desire to take taxis in Japan again.

But anyway, if you really look at it – Japan’s train lines are much like Singapore’s. Just a lot more complicated… but with a little bit of thinking, you’ll get it. 

Still kept my PASMO card!

One of the coolest things I love about the train stations in Japan is that they have these vending machines inside.

And these FamilyMart ones have quite a comprehensive range of drinks and pastries to snacks. Crazy love!

Mark being all gangsta because he gets to eat a snack openly at the train station… In Singapore, he’d be slapped with a 3-digit fine and probably a complimentary feature on STOMP.

Finally arriving at my apartment!

Mark and I booked this apartment on Airbnb. Last time we stayed in Shibuya, which was great! But we wanted to try somewhere more ‘outskirt-ish’ this time.

They’re such a sweet neighbourhood, they have these little projects all over. The station has community flowers planted outside and the seats are donned with knitted cushions!

The apartment we are at now is simply amazing!!!

It’s super comfortable for the 2 of us, with enough space for our chubby bodies to move about, while still giving us the intimacy of a couple. 🙂

The place is considered quite spacious, actually. It’s nowhere like a shoebox apartment. We have a comfortable kitchen cum living room and even a tatami bedroom to boot!

Our host is really quite awesome. Through my stays at Airbnb homes, this is easily one of the best. 🙂 She really puts in thought into the place.

There’s music, some DVDs, clean sponges, snacks…

She even labelled the recycling bins in English! Recycling is a huge thing in Japan; it’s practically a part of their lifestyle. So my previous time here, I had problem sorting out the trash.

But this really helped out!

She even left behind a booklet with information on how to use the home appliances and a useful map on the amenities around the place!

And when I finally got hooked up onto the Wifi, I realised she was trying to get in touch with me to see if I checked in okay.

I haven’t met this woman yet and I love her already. Hahaha!

Really recommend this place!

View from outside the apartment

All my friends know what a pee monster I am.

I’m always pee-ing. It’s a bit unhealthy, really. But it’s what I do. I pee.

So no one can really blame me when I think it’s important I love features of the washroom. 😀

I’ve always loooooved this part of the toilet bowls in Japan!

Okay, so above all the toilet bowls there’s this tap.

And so once you’re done with your business, you flush by twisting the knob.
“Small” is up, “Big” is down.

And then water will flow out of the tap and flow into the flushing system!!!

So basically the water used to wash your hands are recycled into flushing your waste out!!!

I love this feature so much I keep on telling Mark our new house has to have this! …if it’s available in Singapore, that is.

Well anyway, for dinner we put on our shoes and did something a little different. 😉

We stopped by the supermarket and picked out items to cook for dinner! ❤ Instead of going to some restaurant, we wanted to do something homely and simple.

It was pretty interesting, this supermarket. The cashier didn’t pack any of my purchases for me. Instead, he simply moved my items from a grey basket to a yellow basket to indicate that I’ve paid for them. So I will then move myself to a counter where I will pack my own things with the number of plastic bags provided.

But anyway, COOKING TIME!!!

We spent only about S$30 for a bowl full of fresh vegetables, beef and our own little bento bowls.

Yummy to the tummy and the bank account!

We had a feast!!!

Our dinner was amazing, our apartment is amazing… Tomorrow Mark has plans awaiting! 🙂

Really cannot wait! Till next time, guys! ❤

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels to 香港 (Hong Kong): A Different Hong Kong Experience

24-27 June 2015

It’s been 4 full years and Mark is finally graduating from SMU! 😀 So for his graduation trip, we decided to go around his favourite places on Earth. Mainly places that serve up his beloved food

We planned for a 2-week-long vacation to Hong Kong & Japan!

First up… Onward to Hong Kong! *happily pulls luggage*

Hong Kong has been one of my favourite countries for the longest time – with the simple reason that my dear Lily is from there! 😉 So before getting to Japan, Mark and I stopped at Hong Kong for a few days.

Continue reading #GeraTravels to 香港 (Hong Kong): A Different Hong Kong Experience

#GeraTravels to 四川 (Si Chuan):Winter Wonderland Exists in Hai Luo Gou Glacier!

 

10-11 December 2014

All you snow-lovers will absolutely adore this post! During this part of my trip, we went to a glacier which was downright AMAZING.

Continue reading #GeraTravels to 四川 (Si Chuan):Winter Wonderland Exists in Hai Luo Gou Glacier!

Your Answer To Affordable & Great Connectivity in Thailand

Advertorial

Travelling is awesome! I simply love travelling, but staying connected can be so notoriously expensive. *shudders*

Whenever I budget for my trips, I always set aside additional USD$50 for my mobile phone bill.

The traditional SMS is expensive enough. Phone calls are the worst! Once some “wrong number” called me and I was billed for it. Ugh. Pissed, please.

And if you connect yourself to the web, your phone bill will be nice enough to provide you with 4-digits to buy lottery.

BUT!

Now when I head down to Thailand, I’ll be able to enjoy unlimited data connection at only USD$14.99! And if I want, I can opt for 100 minutes of local/international calls! Whoop!

All by the awesome people of BuyThaiSIMCard! 🙂

No more biting my nails over my next phone bill.
No more not reacting in time to emails/messages.
No more cutting phone calls with loved ones short.
No waiting in those diabolically frustrating long queues at the airport for my Thai SIM card.
No more updating social media with #throwback updates, because I can do them on the spot!

Always be connected seamlessly to the rest of the world like you’d be back home- only difference is you’re actually in Thailand! ❤

Why wasn’t this service up when I last went to Thailand??

No more waiting till later to update my Instagram! My vacay pictures can be shared immediately!

This would’ve been awesome if it was available when I was in Krabi! I would’ve spammed my Instagram feed with heaps of gorgeous sights of the beaches. 😀

So why is BuyThaiSIMCard so awesome & different from other providers? …other than the company’s name being ridiculously easy to remember.

Because they make it all so amazingly affordable and unbelievably convenient!

Step 1: Pick The Plan That Best Suits You!

Various plans to cater to your needs!

BuyThaiSIMCard currently has these plans to suit your sort of usage!

So if all you want is just mobile data- no problem at all. You get unlimited data- so go wild! Others can still contact you at your usual phone number.

Want to be connected via the traditional phone calls as well? No problem as well. 😉 Go for the ‘Weekender’ or ‘LongStay’ plans- depending on the length of your stay, and get your very own Thai SIM Card to enjoy the super affordable rates.

Step 2: Get Your Very Own Thai SIM Card!

Your purchase will be swiftly sent over to you in a nice envelope over the weekend!

If you planned your trip in advance and have time to spare, opt for your Thai SIM Card to be delivered to your home! This way you can do any preparations and share your Thai number with your family & friends.

If you’re running short on time, BuyThaiSIMCard can also deliver your Thai SIM Card to any destination you prefer in Thailand! So once you land, you can collect it easily. And you can totally escape from those looooong and sloooooow queues for Thai SIM cards at the airport.

Step 3: ENJOY! 

Insert your brand new SIM card into your device upon arriving at The Land of a Million Smiles- Thailand! And join in the smiles with this great value-for-money mobile connection!

Your incoming calls are free! Which is really wonderful.

And you get a 100/150 minutes of free outgoing calls- but even if you exceed the limit, it is really much more affordable than not having a Thai SIM Card.

Another additional perk is…

BuyThaiSIMCard includes these totally adorbs Thai stickers!

Can you spot the spelling error…?

Well, in my opinion- it’s what makes it even more authentic. Haha! Because every time I head down to Thailand, there all these small English errors all over the place! As much as I advocate the proper use of languages- but this sort of makes it real y’know?

Slap them onto your suitcase!

And good news for my readers! ⭐

Simply key in the code ‘grthaisim‘ to enjoy a 10% discount off any packages from BuyThaiSIMCard (Pocket Wifi Router excluded from this promotion). 

Valid only till 30th June 2015! So don’t miss out on this! 🙂

For any questions, head down to their website (http://buythaisimcard.com/) and click on ‘Contact Us’.

Safe & fun travels, everyone! ❤

XOXO, G.