Monday, December 30, 2019

Thank you, 2019



2020 is just around the corner, and I am grateful for all the things I've experienced this year. When it comes to my travels, 2019 is probably my most traveled year yet. It seems that every year, I'd try to exceed what I have achieved from the previous years. It's not that I'm in a hurry or in a contest, but I just grabbed the opportunity because they rarely come these days.

Anyway, I won't keep this long. Let's go back and relive the travel highlights of my 2019.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Journey to Halong Bay, Vietnam



It was one crisp morning when we left the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Aboard the bus, everyone has a hard time to hide their excitement. For the next four hours, we journeyed our way to the northeast part of Vietnam and explored the wonders of the emerald waters of Halong Bay.

Legend says that not too long ago, Vietnam was under war, and they had to ward off the invaders. To help the fighters, the gods sent the dragons. The dragons, possessing some magical powers, began spitting out jewels and jade. These precious stones then became islands and islets, linking with one another to form a wall of defense against the invaders. Several rocky mountains suddenly sprung underneath the emerald sea, causing the invader's ships to sink. The dragons decided to dwell on our world after winning the battle. The mother dragon was later named as Ha Long.

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Charming City of Hanoi, Vietnam



The moment I sat down on my assigned seat, I immediately fell asleep. Our flight took off minutes before five in the morning. I was seated at the window seat, and I thought of waiting for the sunrise at 36,000 feet above sea level. But no, sleep prevailed, and the next thing I knew, we were already on our final approach to Hanoi's Noi Ban International Airport. The queue to immigration and customs weren't that bad. However, it took me a while to realize that our hotel driver was already waiting for us outside the arrival hall! I should've gone there after claiming my local sim card. My bad, my bad.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Autumn in Tokyo: The Long Wait Is Over



I know, I know. I hate to write this sentence as an opener of my blog entry, but here goes nothing: It's been a while since the last time I updated this post. I felt like I was still in high school, feeling apologetic for not updating my blog regularly.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Eight Glasses of Beer



My friend and I went on a road trip and explored the towns of Bendigo, Echuca, and Ararat in the state of Victoria, Australia. These towns are at least several hundred kilometers away from Melbourne. They're so far that only a few foreign tourists know about these places–including me, totally undetected from the tourist's travel radar. Before this trip, he told me that life in the Australian countryside is so much different compared to the big cities like in Sydney and Melbourne. Aside from having a more relaxed environment and a laidback lifestyle, the locals are known to be friendlier and love engaging in small talks, which unfortunately I kind of hate. For now.

We made a quick stop at Bendigo for a quick lunch before driving further north to the town of Echuca. Located near the border of the states of Victoria and New South Wales, Echuca is an idyllic Aussie town surrounded by rustic cabins and old but restored buildings no taller than three floors. The place reminded me of a scene straight from an American Midwest film from the 80s, albeit the cowboys, tumbleweed caught in the desert wind, and guns. The shops close as early as six in the evening, and the only shops open for the rest of the night are pubs and Maccas (the Aussie slang for McDonald's, FYI).

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Vivid Sydney 2019



I hate to write this, but it's been a while since the last time I updated this blog. Apologies, but I was too preoccupied about a lot of things lately–my plans for next year, new work environment, and a whole lot more. I was feeling anxious that I've lost my writing mojo. So not me. But I just realized that I am too blessed to be stressed! Last May, my mom and I went to Sydney, Australia. My fourth time, her first time. Thus, I became her tour guide.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Group Tour at Seoul, South Korea


The plane banked to the right as it prepares for its final approach. It was 7:30 in the evening and the twilight sky glowed propitiously. As we cleared the clouds, the entire expanse of Seoul spread below us. The world suddenly felt wide and open that I wanted to jump and taste freedom. The city lights started to glitter just like stars dropping to earth. Buildings big and small collided in a mixture of light, shadow, and geometry. Tiny vehicles rushing along tangled lines of streets and avenues creating twisting threads of lights–they all intertwined together in a magnificent mess of dream. I sighed, amazed at the view laid out before me.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Winter in Niagara Falls, Ontario



The sun didn't show up. My aunt told me that she would pick me up at past 7 AM. Thankfully, she showed up on time, and I was very excited to visit Niagara Falls. The steady and soft drops of rain started to fall from a sky of gray velvet. It softly hit the car windows as we drove south of Toronto. Despite the weather, the rain calms me.

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