a traveler's tale: worry about that later

I did mention somewhere saying that one of the most important things to survive this trip or any trips for that matter, is to have a clear knowledge of directions, to gather information regarding the place you're about to visit.

However, sometimes no matter how well-prepared you are, there will be things happen beyond your control. Sometimes you might miss the correct exit from the MTR (which happened quite a lot. Hahahaha) or you just cannot find the hotel or simply you're required to ask for a direction.

They're inevitable, but how you behave matters. I always enjoy the idea of being lost. Surprised, aren't you? I'm famous for being a control-freak at work, but when it comes to traveling, I enjoy being lost now and then. I always manage to find more interesting places or some unexpected acquaintances (so far). My motto is as long as we're in the safe range of time period, not about to miss a flight, it's ok (see how control-freak I am, HAHA).

Not just about being late, or not able to find direction, sometimes it's about not knowing things, expecting a surprise. In short, less worry, just enjoy the moment. 

Probably the best way to learn about a city is to go by walking. I did mostly on this trip and I must admit I not only had so much fun and worked out (without losing any weight), I felt that I was actually part of the country, the culture and many other thing.

So in short, never forget these two keywords when you're planning to do what I did: #holiday and #adventure.

a traveler's tales: finding mickey

My favorite disney's movie (well, one of them anyway) is The Little Mermaid and one of the songs from the animation is Part of Your World. So can you imagine how I reacted when I hear that song on my way to the theme park? I jumped like a monkey, although then my cynical nephew reminded how old I actually am. 

I believe that's the charm of this theme park. Forget about the rides, forget about the food (seriously!), it's all about the memories. That first sparkling connection we had with any of the characters from Disney's movies.

I remember how my sister first bought me Cinderella video. Remember the scene where the birds woke Cinderella up in the morning by calling her name? That's how I first met Disney. I'm sure we all have our first encounter and it's somehow magical, isn't it? 

To keep it short, if you're an adrenaline junkie and you missed all Toy Story movies, I must say, this theme park might bore you. 

However, the theme park itself, in my personal opinion is a bit small, but if you count the whole area, which includes hotels, the shuttle station, trains station, that's another story. I believe, with many development plans in the future, this theme park might have more varieties. Anyway, Disneyland (currently) is divided into 5 main areas. They are: Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toy Story land and Adventureland.

My favorite so far is the most dangerous one, Mickey's PhilharMagic (yeah, right!). Hahaha. NOT! But one of the clips featured in the 4D movie is Part of Your World, which had me (almost) crying. Most of the rides allow kids with minimum height of 4 feet. So go figure! 

I spent the last 6 hours all alone. Taking my own photos (with or without timer) in the most inconvenient position, making me look like one big nutso. But I had all the fun I could possibly have. I met a very exciting young toddlers who's crazy about my new Mickey's Ears or this very kind uncle who agreed to take my photos. 

I guess in a way, I want to say that I had great time!

a traveler's tales: lost in translation

So my nephew wasn't really on the mood to travel on our way to Hong Kong. This time, he half-deserved to behave such way due to my inability to locate our first hotel, although it kind of ruined the whole idea I had in my head about our trip, but I forgave him. HAHAHAHA. Anyway, Billy decided to stay at the hotel after the first afternoon we arrived at Hong Kong. I tried to persuade him to change his mind, but he looked really tired and I thought maybe it's better that way. 

But me, I'm an adventurous one. I was not going to let anything hold me back. I was planning to visit some places and I did. I went to the Central part of Hong Kong, which is basically the business and shopping areas. For someone who enjoys walking, this whole area seems like a perfect heaven. I was walking from side to another, at least 20 to 30 blocks before taking MTR (Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway), hitting another station. Stopped by some coffee shop, sipping my black coffee and dreaming of living there.

My other favorite part is Mongkok, which where the hotel we're staying located at. It's like a collision of the old part and the new part of the city. In just between a couple of blocks, you can actually change the scenery from H & M, Dior, Armani to the stores that sell spare-parts for heavy machines or plumbing equipments. It's like the awesome meat district in NYC. HAHAHAHA.

The other part that I spent most of my time is Tsim Sha Tsui. Again, you can find plenty of high-end clothing boutiques, along with fancy hotels and many museums. I sat at the park of the Hong Kong Museum of Arts before I cruised along the Victoria harbor, all by myself. Looking at families, friends or maybe lovers. I felt this strange sensation.

That feeling lonely in the middle of the crowd captured me. That crowded train I took back and forth seemed to take longer. The self-taken photos at certain part of the city seemed nothing, but stupid. At times, I didn't even feel the excitement of taking photos. I suddenly remembered Sofia Coppola's movie, the one with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannsson. How one can be extremely lonely in the brightest and loudest city of the world, I felt the same way.

Traveling alone can be very difficult (especially if you're an acute narcissistic person, which I am by the way). A wise person said, two is better one for no reason. That person has experienced the loneliness of being alone.

a traveler's tale: a very long 20 minutes

As the pilot announced that we soon would land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 20 minutes, my nephew Billy was sleeping on my lap. For that very long 20 minutes, I couldn't help myself to ask this question: what's worse than traveling with a kid? Traveling with a sick kid.

Not that I was being cruel and rude, but series of questions and ideas that popped in my head were: 
  1. Maybe I should send him back to Jakarta
  2. Maybe I could just leave him in a pawn shop and collect him on my way back from Hongkong
  3. Give him a couple of hundreds bucks and said, "see you, kid!"
And no, I decided to stick to initial plan and hoped that he'd get better in time. Apparently, Billy does not share the same traveling spirit I have. He doesn't really enjoy cruising and learning about the new environments and cultures. Breakfast for him is anything served in 3 minutes or less, while I was having this wild dream of enjoying dimsum in Hongkong, bakut tea in Singapore, or some other local dishes.

I also questioned my decision of taking this huge responsibility. What affected my decision of not traveling alone? Certainly not because I needed someone to take my photo with Mickey Mouse. Or maybe I was too chicken shit? Then I remember it's because I care for my nephew, this is his gift for passing the challenging grade six. He deserves this. Maybe he's not at his best condition, this is when I come in, be a good supporter.

And ...

He just asked whether it's possible I could carry his backpack as well. Arrrghhh.

So yeah, it's going to be a little bumpy, more work and less fun, but I must also keep in mind these two keywords: #holiday, #adventure. Also, I must keep in mind that he just turned 12, he after all is just a kid. I have made my decision and I must stick to it. Alright, I'm ready to fly again, Hongkong here I come!