5. Medan City, Medan, Indonesia (FOOD)

hmm, threats in a city…

my faveeeeeeeee

durian shop – the shop that dedicated itself to selling durians. it was delicious, the durians, we shared, ate and ubered back. it was really crowded too.


yum food


moments of relaxation in a HaMMOCK – i thought to myself as i lay there – forget the stress. this is the life




simple but so good



eating here beats eating in flores island for sure


4.2 CSing near Sibayak, Medan, Indonesia

Another CS experience to remember. 

The family members were gathered on the mat on the floor after dinner, chewing on their bethel nuts. She showed me how to wrap it up for the final product.

leaves, first. all ingredients obtainable from the nearby small shops / the market.


married couple.


looking through wedding photos.

it’s funny, but they had multiple copies (10?) of their wedding photoshoot, this one. they insisted on giving this to us.
past vs present. happiness is simple?
just sitting. eating. chilling.
huddled in the living room.
we slept on the mats in the living room. it reminded me of the time in kampong luong.


4. Mount Sibayak, Medan, Indonesia

One of my favourite hikes, because
1) it was a low-effort, high-rewards kind of hike :p
2) relatively manageable – yet confronted with so many geographical features up close. the hissing vents! the massive crater. accompanied by the sulfur scent (?)
The pink hue in the morning, when we started our walk uphill. I recall staring in wonder as the glow of the sun’s rays reflected off the rough brown surface of the volcanic slopes, turning into a pinkish orangey glow. 

at this point, we started hearing some crackling sounds. 

going on – as you can see, a relatively flat terrain.

nearing some hissing vents

some people were taking selfies near the active vents – directly in front. check out ‘mount sibayak’ on instagram’s location tags to see their selfie videos with the hissing sulfur.
i wouldnt do it, duh.

the start of the rocky uphill

looking down / back upon a vast landscape

seems like it’s an inactive(?) and dried-up crater; people had climbed down and placed volcanic rocks beneath, to form heart-shapes, love and friendship declarations boldly strewn across.

summit! gorgeous.
that moving mist – it was somewhat scary, i wasnt sure what it was. what gas, or cloud? it was hard to tell. not cloud. some volcanic belch. hmm

Mt Sinabung right across is apparently one of the most active volcanoes in the region. I briefly wondered how it’d be if it were to erupt during my time in the summit there and then. D:

another view of the crater

closer-up of Mt Sinabung. look at that belch D:

there were just so many views, angles in this terrain. that’s what made Mt Sibayak a ++ too, this view from the summit looks different from the other viewpoint.

2. Pematang Raya, Lake Toba, Medan, Indonesia (Couchsurfing with Mery)

It was a memorable stay, and meeting Mery made a difference. We first contacted on CS, and while we were uncertain about going over to Pematang Raya (not a particularly strong part of the touristy trail hence the location was a little bit of an uncertainty) – but we managed to follow her instructions and made our way to this little town.
Mery’s an English teacher, and here the kids of the town come over for enrichment classes, as well as computer classes. It was really nice contributing, to be a part of the kids’ real-world application. They would learn some English vocab for the day, and at the end of their lesson I stepped in, for them to ask me those questions they learnt in English.
I remember sitting down in a chair while they crowded around me, and while some were shy, they managed to ask me their questions. Their look of absolute delight and giggles when I answered their questions – memorable. It was sweet, while briefly reminding me of my p-school teacher thing I had.
ew fringe


We went on a ‘field trip’ around the neighbourhood, led by the older kids who were supposedly more experienced / higher level. They were rather shy, but tried their best.

We looked at different types of plants /fruits in the neighbourhood.

We played some orientation games. lolll




me being teacher-ly



it was lovely. speaking to mery, too. she’s a strong woman, who clearly has a strong sense of drive and will. not dependent on a man, but clearly wanting to impact the world as a better place, and strive for a better life for herself in the process. i hope i can strive to be like that.


1. Lake Toba, Medan, Indonesia

Last September, I visited Lake Toba, after first hearing about it years ago, then later on in angie’s class when she mentioned that the volcanic crater lake is bigger than the size of SG!



the hammock life. i need

i remember lying down, lazing. and knowing it wouldnt last. fleeting joy, fleeting moments of tranquility before i would be plunged back again. 

i relished that moment where I sat, rocking, chilling, by you

perhaps it was sweeter though, knowing it would not have been forever

i tried to grasp that moment tightly while it lasted

perhaps that’s why i still replay that moment fondly





why so many pics of me? ha ha

morning view, we woke up to this at our doorstep





2. Maru Koala and Animal Park, Melbourne, Australia

A year ago I was here with my family. Another year passed so quickly. I can still recall feeding the kangaroo with its paws in my hand, its rough texture of its tongue as it nibbled the food from my palm.

Feeling excited observing the koala up close, walking towards the peacock. It’s been almost 9 years since we last came to Australia and saw some koalas, the last time in Perth when I was 16.

As usual, I count myself lucky for this annual ‘tradition’ of annual vacation, of fixed time spent with family. I know that it is with them that I can be 1) forced to sleep early, and hence sleep more – something I now appreciate as compared to the past, where I’d be a little grumpy for not exploring all day and all night and sleeping so early  2) sleeping in a hotel, and eating hotel breakfast / good meals for lunch


1. Melbourne, Australia





State Library of Victoria

In the ‘World of the Book’ exhibit on the 4th floor, I stumbled upon a time of the 18th century when the world maps were plainly sketched, and the lands of the Southern Hemisphere remained a mystery. Many European writers had leapt on this region’s unknown to weave their tales of far-off imaginary lands, inspiring a new genre of travel literature – the ‘imaginary voyage’. 




It’s been a year. Time flies. Posting these a year later, another annual family vacation. So far, this year has proved better.

1.3 Some of my favourite Havana shots


Written after the first semester:

I am almost seized by anxiety – for everything that I’m doing. It is 2018 and I am here, writhing in my seat, gnawing my nails anxiously. I have not changed for the larger part of it. 
What is at stake? A job I view with some displeasure. I can’t say great displeasure, because it is undoubtedly enjoyable at times. In this rather short, but also rather long escape from my toiling half of the year, what have I learnt? I certainly would not enjoy working as a museum guider, one who stands around and reminds viewers not to take photographs or touch artworks with their clammy fingers. I do enjoy what I’m doing — but? But what? I feel a bubbling frustration and a desire to reclaim my life, to reclaim my weekends, and the days after work. I find a sinking heart at the thought of my long 12-hour days, where I get home at 7+, dinner by 8+, sleep at 10 after some mindless scrolling of my phone. How can I seek a better balance of what i want? 
I know, I’m lucky to be able to foresee the periodic tides – high, and low. Maybe I just need better scheduling. But maybe, this is just not good enough. 
On this trip I’ve read: Of love and Laughter by Milan Kundera, How To Stop Time by Matt something, and the classic Old Man and the Sea. 
I’ve watched: Wonder, Taxi Driver, Logan’s luck(?) in Havana, Virunga, lots of Cuban history clips, The Greatest Showman, the Suffragettes, the Square… not bad. 
I feel so burdened by my displeasure. Why am I so unhappy? I think this discontentment could be due to my lack of exposure, possibly a lack of appreciation. or is it?
Dreaming of the aerial chunks I wanted to visit – Mexico and the USA, El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Guatemala, 

last few photos;

oh my gawd spanish grammar



the artsy lane near the cheapest hostel one can find in Cuba / Havana – Hamel’s Hostel at 5usd a night

On my last day in Havana, I caught a film for 0.04 cents, an old American film