Land of Blue Poppy

August 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

Way before i went to Bhutan, I read this book about a Parisian psychiatrist, Hector, who’s tired of those people coming to him with no real problems but their own unmet expectations. I followed him in his journey around the world in search for the answer to happiness. He met different people along the way, a young hostess in China, a fellow psychiatrist in Africa, a monk in China (or is it Hong Kong?), a quirky professor in the US calculating happiness and some others. Interaction with these people opened his eyes to things we usually take for granted. There were a total of 23 lessons learnt and my favorites are:

Lesson #20          Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.

Lesson #15          Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.

Lesson #8a          Happiness is being with the people you love.

And I’d also like to add on two more to his list:

Lesson #24          Happiness is taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

Lesson #25          You are only as happy as you want to be.

But what better way to find out about happiness than to visit the land of Happiness? Incidentally, I got the chance to visit the happiest place on the planet – Bhutan. I never dreamt of stepping into the exotic land of happiness until work gave me a chance to. It was a fun media FAM trip not only because of the beautiful place but also the group of people who gel-ed so well together.

The experience was SUPER cool and unforgettable! There’s just too much to tell. From histories of Dzongs and its religion, to dancing in a basement club, trekking 8km to the Tiger’s Nest and threading through padi fields, nope, can’t forget all those.

Many asked if the people are truly happy. You can’t deny that they are – leading simple lives, breathing in fresher than fresh air, ending every sentence with “Don’t worry”, and the dash-dot-dash humour, even I felt really happy. Of course they do have their fair share of desires like owning iPhones, but with TV channels like AXN & Discovery, it’s no wonder that they do.

Mountains and clouds welcome you as we land and disembark.

There are friendly people all around, take all the photos you want with them, they love it. Even the babies! Their training to be friendly and happy starts really young.

Buddhism is a major part of their lives with histories dating back to many many centuries ago. They took care to restore the Dzongs – fortresses that protected the cities. I love their choice in colours, its so rich, it gives life to all the stories painted in the temples. And one of the most famous one we trekked to is Taktsang – Tiger’s Nest. After which, a cute little calf decided to taste my camera.

Some of the other town sights are really interesting. From the Cinema that screens only one movie at any one time to the meat store filled with so much meat that one would think they have an underground farm. I love the quaint and colourful hole-in-the-wall shops scattered all around, and got so tempted to dive into them. We even get to experience the local Drayang where locals pay to have young girls dance or sing (in their traditional costumes) on a stage with neon lights. The funniest thing is that you can have five girls dancing five different dances on stage. Nope, no coordination.

We have the privilege to relax each night at some of the most luxurious properties. My favourite (and the most expensive) being the Amankora properties in Thimphu and Punakha. I like them because i have never experienced so much tranquil in a resort before, never had to cross a bridge over raging waters and take a 5 min buggy ride to get to the lobby, never woken up to see the lovely padi fields out of my windows, and never ever had no TV in the room to disturb me. Oh, and no mosquitoes. I enjoyed every single bit of my stay and really loved the shy property dog, Funky. I just wished i had more time to enjoy the resorts thoroughly.

I would like to go back some day.

Once in a lifetime, i’m…

July 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The truly happy ones.

Call me (aspiring) Chef Tan

July 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

Someone lodged a complaint – I need to learn how to cook. So I drew up an ambitious plan. But I’ll only post it if they are successful. To start off, cream of Portobello was pretty good. (Smiling from ear to ear) The recipe is from Noob Cook. She’s got lots of yummy stuff for everyone to try. Go see.

Sleeping in an Art Gallery

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

We finally got down to hanging up all the pictures and now it feels like we are sleeping in an art gallery. Loved it that it turned out nice. It was a stressful first night because we were afraid they might just fall off the wall while we sleep. I guess we will be fine.

The new machine: Rocky 8000

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

A couple of weeks back, we attended a course on personal excellence conducted by Pamela Wigglesworth. She said if we don’t write down our goals, we will never get about doing it. And so, I wrote: to learn to use the sewing machine.

She’s right.

Last week, I got my machine!! It’s just a nice and basic one but I want it to have a name as cool as Harry Potter’s broomstick. So I shall call Rocky 8000! The nice lady who sold me the machine also gave me a half an hour speedy tutorial on the basics. Now, I just need to figure out how to get it working on my own. So exciting!


July 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I took off with Dale to Bangkok (again) last weekend. There are always something new and interesting every time we go back. Even the view from above was welcoming, somewhat like a batik art piece. The river ran right through the land, giving life to the surrounding vegetation and villages. We met amazingly friendly people and just soaked up the culture. It was more eating than anything else. Sabai sabai.

I’ve always been excited about trying food from the roadside hawkers. Many people believed its dirty eating from there, and they missed out on the good stuff. Its very yummy authentic Thai food at really low cost. Just grab a seat next to the locals and pig out! 70 baht for a big serving of Mango sticky rice from the lady with a Mango on her headband, 30 baht for a plate of Phad Thai or their famous basil leaves with chicken with egg on rice for 40 baht.

Themed restaurants are hugely popular in Bangkok. Previously, we went to a place called Waterside, which served fantastic yet inexpensive food. This time, we explored Chocolate Ville, an oldie themed property recommended by our lobby manager. The area is so big it needs a map. It is a great place for taking photos at and chilling out with a few friends. Loved it!

Saxophone is the only jazz bar I’ve ever been to. Mood here is definitely good. The first visit here a couple of years back was much more high spirited. This trip, we simply came to chill. The guy on the saxophone was so good though! But you know I’m not much of a jazz lover when the only other person I know who plays the saxophone is Lisa Simpson.

Recharge with massage. You gotta choose the right ones, otherwise, guys get extras. There’s this morbid instance when I was in midst of my oil massage, lying on my back with a towel over me and my feet sticking out at the end. I peered over my tummy, eerie. Just like a CSI scene. Morbid.

JJ market has always been a highlight of a Bangkok trip. They have absolutely everything in the world, close to. Forget about directions, get lost inside! Wooohooo! Shop for 200m, indulge in snacks, shop for another 100m, drink! Apart from the heat, oh wait, heat comes as a package. We had fun people-watching while gulping cold beer. Especially at the guy who tried on 20,000 shirts in the heat. Yucks, good luck to whoever bought those.

Cheers to the groovy DJ.

We ventured into a slower part of the city – Thong Lor. While searching for the street with quaint fashion boutique and got wrong directions from the lady at the station, the lady selling coffee and even the postman. But the walk was nice and saw a few lovely Kombivan owners selling wares by the road. The most interesting sight was seeing Paulaner beside a mosque with a police station next to it. Hmmm.

Life is beautiful!

Attempt at being a world famous artist

June 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

One of the nice tea place in Singapore called Arteastiq, has this really fun thing going on recently. It turned from furniture slash tea shop to an art & tea joint where you can paint away on canvas and sip yummy fruity tea.

And so, together with a couple of friends, we had a fun 3hrs being ‘arteastiq’! I attempted to be Andy Warhol, painting lips and flowers. It felt like I’m putting on make up for many runway models! I wonder if that’s what he felt at that time.

Here’s Jayce painting fresh tulips.

And Bada painting a family of owls.

And here’s me & my messy colours:

While there are novices like us, I was o ogling at the seasoned Coplu fans who created exact replicas! Practice makes perfect I guess.

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