change yet again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:20 AM

I hear of more and more people getting married in the past couple of years. Maybe cause I'm getting to that age where the people around me are all looking for the same thing. I'm happy for a lot of my friends and family members who are getting married. I too dream of that day. Since I was young, I always thought I knew what I wanted. I always thought that by a certain age, things would come naturally to me; to anyone.

But as the past few years have gone by, I've realized that certain things about me haven't changed much and I'm not what I expected to be at all. Sure I have all these material things, a secure job (as secure as advertising can be...), a decent place. Hopefully I don't sound ungrateful, but I guess what I'm looking for is something beyond this. I want to be a better person. I want to change.

Yet lately, I seem like I've slipped off the tracks and things ended up blowing up in my face. It's forced me to question my own motives and the decisions I've made in life. It's been hard to look at certain people lately, knowing that I've veered off my original path and headed straight for a dead-end, and dragged them along the way.

Sometimes we just want to grab our old selves and shake the shit out of us (or is it them?)... Slap some sense into that absent-minded brain of ours. It's too bad time machines haven't been built yet. But I suppose it's why we have a memory; to learn from our mistakes.

It's funny how in movies, they usually flash a montage of all the events that lead up to the character's realization of some mystery or event. It really reflects the reality of it how it goes in "real life". When something major happens, we get all these flashbacks and then... "FUCK!" is the word that usually comes out of our mouths. Unless you're a very proper person... Then it'd end with "Gosh darn it!"

Bah. I suppose if all decisions were made for you in life, there'd be no point in living it...

haven't done this in a while...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:19 PM

So like many other fanboys, I pre-ordered my copy of Modern Warfare 2. I wanted the special edition that comes with the night-vision goggles and all, but I wasn't ready to fork out $150. In hindsight, I probably should've picked it up with the NVGs, but oh well. I finished the game after two weeks of playing after work. I was rather disappointed with the ending, actually. I guess it leaves it hanging for MW3. I wish I could play online.

Tonight, I decided to sit down and play a game I downloaded earlier this year, that I never touched. I turned on Mega Man 9 to take a break from all the effects and complex gameplays; just two buttons, a direction pad, and nothing but fun. Or so I thought... Much to my chagrin, this supposed classic game beat me down and then some.

I didn't remember the original Mega Mans to be this hard. Mega Man 9 is harder than any other game I've played lately. It's so repetitive, tedious, and sucks up all your focus. It was actually stressful to play it cause the slightest mistake at the wrong time meant redoing all that you just did. I couldn't pass any of the levels.

What was supposed to be a nostalgic moment soon became a moment of frustration and helplessness... The fun ended with me cussing at Mega Man for not being able to jump high enough or being able to slide like Mega Man 4 could...

Needless to say, my time's been going more towards video games lately. But once the holidays start, I'll hopefully lay off the Xbox and get more productive til Montreal. I wish I knew what was in store for this year's break. Ugh... 2009 went by way too fast. It felt like yesterday that I was in Tremblant skiing. At least, it'll be a White Christmas this year, as we're supposedly getting dumped on tonight. Let's make a snowman.

cycle of life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 11:37 PM

Bicycles... I regret ever buying that KHS hybrid two years ago for $500-600 cause for that price, I could've gotten a really decent road bike... But oh well. It's now my backup bike for anyone who's in town and wants to ride with me.

About a month ago now, I went with Tessar to buy an $80 12-speed VeloSport vintage bike in Scarborough, which was a really good deal, until the problems came flooding in a week later. A faceplant, warped rims, blown tire... Sigh. But it's still my favourite bike to ride, despite all the problems and grief it's given me. I'm keeping that baby and turning it into my every day bike. Gonna pimp it out. It's a bit of a project bike, but piece by piece. Just have to be patient.

As for the third bike, I bought it off of Craig's List, but I traded this metallic blue 59cm Raleigh Rampar for a 53cm frame metallic grey SIS L'Image road bike. It's considerably, smaller, but the 59cm frame was a bit big for me. And because of the small size of the SIS, I'll probably be turning it into a fixie, when I have the money. Hopefully by next spring, it'll be converted. Pictures to come...

I've been thinking about volunteering at CBN (Community Bicycle Network) and hopefully learn how to build and repair bikes so I can really start getting to know my bikes better; especially to maintain them. But I've spoken a lot about volunteering in the past and it's never happened so we'll see when it actually happens... haha.

The past two weeks have been blasts from the past. I saw some college friends from my very first year at Sheridan 7 years ago. I haven't seen these guys in forever. Hooking up with them was so fun but talking about the past really made me think about how old we are, and how long ago that was. It brought back up some really good times and people I had completely forgotten about. And just yesterday, I had dinner with a friend from high school who I have barely spoken to in almost 9 years. Brought some memories back. It's always a really fun time to catch up with people in person. Catching up with people through emails and Facebook just isn't the same, really.

Looking back at the high school days and the early college days, it almost feels like a dream; another life. Memory is weird like that... If you don't hold on to it, it'll fade like a forgotten dream in the morning. You need that spark to revive it from time to time. At least, the important ones; the good ones.

i remember it swell.

Sunday, July 26, 2009 11:50 PM

It's been pretty busy since I got back from Asia... I've been denying myself a lot of me time. Between work, friends, and family, it's been quite a challenge to get a full 6 or 7 hour sleep night. I also discovered a library of documentaries online. I'm a bit of a documentary freak, so I sacrificed quite a few of my sleeping hours watching these things.

I think all that lack of sleeping caught up with me Thursday night, when I was working from home and suddenly, I think a muscle just gave... I was having crazy chest pains everytime I breathed, preventing me from having a good night's sleep. It got worse Friday night after work on my way uptown in the subway, when it started to cramp up and made me breathe inconsistantly. It really hurt to breathe. When Tessar picked me up, I could hardly get 3 words out before needing another breath of air. After 4 hours at Scarborough Grace, the doctor took some x-rays and dismissed it as me having pulled a muscle. His prescription: two tylenols. Ass.

So for Aaron's bachelor party Saturday, I had to contain any sort of laughter as it causes chest pains through the inhales. Anyone who knows me knows it's hard for me to contain my emotions. The night was filled with fun and laughter. I was literally laughing with tears, holding my chest. It started getting worse near the end of the night, so I left shortly after midnight and slept for almost 12 hours. I think that cured the chest pains, though I'd like to think the laughter was the real remedy...

I'm not completely cured, as it still hurts to take fast deep breaths. As such, I haven't been able to yawm properly since Thursday. And when you're really running low on sleep, it gets pretty damn frustrating. One thing that's working to my advantage though, is sneezing. When I feel the sneeze coming, I can't help but inhale quickly, but then the chest pains kick in and cancel the sneeze to nothing. It hurts, but it's good, cause there's no spray damage all over my hands.

It seems 2009 is a popular year to get married. We saw two weddings in India, one in China, and I've seen countless numbers of brides and grooms roaming the streets of Toronto this summer; not to mention all the bachelor/bachelorette parties that I keep seeing. I've been trying to help my brother and my sister-in-law plan their reception in September and I gotta tell ya. It's a lot to think about. Especially when it's less than two months away... Can't wait to throw on that tux though. I still have to write my speech. Can't decide if I should say the speech in Chinese too... I'll have quite a bit of trouble with that, considering I can't read Chinese, so even cue cards wouldn't be able to save me. I know this sounds strange coming from a guy, but I think I'm getting a bit of wedding fever... Sigh.

travel journal: part 3

Monday, June 29, 2009 11:24 PM

In the span of a couple of days, a lot of things have happened. Michael Jackson's sudden death was one of the most talked. It's really too bad that he couldn't have finished his last tour beforehand... Being the fan that I am, I'm sad to see him go; though at the same time, it's good he finally found some sort of peace from this unforgiving world. His music will always rock my world and his dancing will always be off the wall. Thanks for changing the world the way you did.

Speaking of change, I should get back to trying to finish the travel journal. This next bit changed the way I view my life quite a bit. India really opened my eyes as to how good I have it in North America.

Day 6: The real adventure begins.
We arrived at Bangkok Airport from Guang Zhou at 2:30am. We had to wait for the Air India booth to open at 8:30am, so we decided to save ourselves some money and crash at the airport. It felt a little nomadic and bummish with our backpacks, chilling and sleeping at the airport. The hours passed by slowly but we tried to pass our time joking around and sleeping. I had a hard time sleeping though. We would've hung out at the internet station if it wasn't so damn expensive. It was 100 Thai Baht for 20 minutes or 300 Baht for an hour. That's about $9 USD/hour. To use the internet... Rip off.

We originally wanted to fly to Kolkata but then there were cheap seats available to New Delhi for 12:55pm. So we bought the tickets and boarded the flight. I found the stewardesses' on Air India weren't as pleasant, but we got service nonetheless, so I can't complain.

We got off the plane to 39°C heat... It was HAWT as shit! But at least it was dry heat as opposed to Hong Kong's humid heat. We went through security fine, but then it went downhill from there... We lost a chunk of money due to currency exchange fees, and we went on a prepaid taxi service with a driver who didn't know how to get to our hotel. At that point in our day, we were still feeling somewhat adventurous and feeling that ounce of excitement of something so new, different, and unknown. Until the driver dropped us off in the middle of a busy intersection in Old Delhi. He told us to make a left and walk for 5 minutes and that the hotel should be there. We argued with him to drop us off in front of the hotel, but he would have none of it. He insisted taxis weren't allowed on that road. We got frustrated and stepped out of the vehicle to grab our backpacks.

The stupid cabbie had the nerve to ask for tip. We left him and kept walking. Before today, I had never seen this kind of poverty. Kids running around the streets, rickshaw taxis everywhere, motorcycles, tuc-tuc taxis, lots of stray dogs and men, and many many more shameless stares and leers at us. It made it really uncomfortable to walk through the area. Kids would run by and yell something at us, street vendors would try to get our attention and sell us shit. All senses were overstimulated by the sights, sounds, smell. That sense of excitement quickly turned to fear.

We eventually ran into a couple of police officers after walking 10 minutes down that street. They informed us that Hotel Broadway was a 15 to 20 minutes walk back the way we came. So basically, the taxi driver should've told us to turn right and walk for 5 minutes... We were not pleased. After some heckling and such from people as they drove/walked by, we found the hotel. Oh, there was also a security guard who took a photo of my female cousin with his cellphone camera as we walked by. Creep.

It's a hell of an experience so far, I must say... I'm really starting to miss home now. We've only been in India for a few hours now and I find it quite mentally stressful already.

Day 7: Indian Summer.
We woke up fairly early to pack a few things and plan our day. It was decided that we would walk to Connaught Place since there are a lot more tourists in that area. My cousin also decided to wear a nice dress with a thin sweater overtop to be less revealing. But instead, she built quite a fanbase for herself. Men and boys of all ages looked her up and down (mainly down)... The women and girls also stared. Unlike North America though, if you make eye-contact, they don't look away. Since we were Chinese and pale skinned, we obviously stood out from the crowd. We got got many stares, but my cousin got the most. It was so bad it made all four of us uncomfortable.

We got lost a few times on the way but we reached the New Delhi train station. Among the mostly dirty-civilians we saw everywhere, a strange clean and well-dressed man approached us and spoke to my brother. We decided to go with him as he told us he works in Block N of Connaught Place and that Block P, where we were headed to, was on the way. He lead us into the metro and got us to Block P. What's funny was that he was on the phone quite frequently in the metro ride. After he dropped us off and headed back to work, another man approached us almost immediately and started talking to us. He was just as friendly as the other man. We told him what we were looking for and he lead us to the tourism centre. I'm 85% to 90% sure that those two men worked together to get us there and they probably collect commission from that tourism centre...

Anyway, after much inquiries and bartering, we ended up with a complete 8 day tour of India. This included a flight to Kashmir, then seeing the "Golden Triangle Tour" from Delhi to Jaipur to Agra. Then it's an overnight train to Varanasi to see the Ganges and ride elephants, then another overnight train to Kolkata to catch our flight to Bangkok. The price of the tour probably could've been cheaper, but us being from North America, it was cheap in our standards. In Indian standards, however, we most likely got ripped off pretty damn good. But still, thanks to my brother, the price was lowered significantly from the original.

This deal also included a day tour of Old and New Delhi for the rest of today. We saw Humayans Tomb, Gandhi's Smirt, and ate at a touristy restaurant (more expensive in Indian standards). We then went to see Red Fort, and walked through the park where Gandhi was cremated, saw India Gate, and then drove by the President's Palace. Of course, our day was filled with shameless stares and heckling from beggars and vendors.

The sites were pretty nice. The structures were historic and great and unlike anything I've seen before. The heat was pretty insane. Our driver told us that it was a really hot time of the year. Even him, being a local, was struggling to keep cool. Things I've noticed was that the men pissed anywhere in public, there were stray dogs everywhere, the traffic was chaotic, the men to women ratio was pretty ridiculous, many of the locals thought we were Japanese and would yell "konichiwa" at us. We feared for my cousin quite a bit as we walked down the streets and we were still so uncomfortable everywhere we walked. Everytime I would see a foreign white person at some of the touristy areas, a part of me wanted to run up to them and latch on to them...

travel journal: part 2

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 7:54 AM

I'm home safe and sound after a month-long trip. I'm still a little jetlagged, as I keep passing out before 10pm and waking up early in the morning... I'm trying to find time to see what the damages were to my finances from this trip, to unpack and to organize myself. Starting work right away and not giving myself time to recover from jetlag was a bit of a bad idea, but still, at least I have an income again! Here's the second part of the travel journal. Going to try and write what I can before I leave to get my braces taken off... Monumental day!!

Day 4: I can see clearly now the rain will come
Rain day 2. Woke up at 7am. We stayed the night and will be spending our nights at a relative's house in Guang Zhou. As we were leaving, there was a disgusting giant spider that came running across the kitchen. I didn't see it alive as I was putting my shoes on. But I saw our auntie kill it with her slipper and these giant legs, the size of a tarantula, all twitching and shit. So nasty. I couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the day...

We took a bus to go to this area of the city where it seemed a lot less run down. There were more streetshops. After walking around for a bit, we went into this four story mall that sold nothing but glasses frames. It was crazy how cheap everything was in Guang Zhou! For the frames that I got, I paid 85 RMB which amounts to roughly $14 USD. I'm going back there tomorrow to get the lenses fitted. I think it'll be around 390-500 RMB ($65-83 USD).

We ran a little late for lunch to meet up with more relatives. We ate at a Japanese barbecue restaurant, owned by a Japanese man, but could also speak Canto and Mando. It was much like the Toronto Korean barbecues, but instead of a gas grill, they used hot coals with a cross-wire grill. Everything was uber delicious. The relatives were great and very hospitable. Some I had never met before, and a few others, I hadn't seen in ten years.

After lunch, our distant uncle took us to a driving range. On our way there, his driving was pretty insane! He made his own lane, drove onto oncoming traffic; it felt like a rollercoaster. Thankfully, we arrived alive to hit some golf balls into the wet grass, as it was still drizzling a little. Afterwards, we went out for dinner at McDonald's with my mom's middle school friend, whom I've met once before.

I've noticed in Guang Zhou that the police here is not intimidating at all, except for the fact that they could be corrupt, but that's all preconceived thoughts. In terms of their uniforms and just looks, they wore no bullet proof vests, they seemed older and less fit, and the uniforms in general were not that intimidating. My cousin was much thicker than most of the officers there. Though I'm sure they could still kick my ass... Another thing is the service here; it's so efficient and great. It's probably due to the fact that the employees are overstaffed because of cheap labour, so they have to provide excellent service due to competition.

Day 5: Guang Zhou, Rain City
Third day in GZ and once again, I wake up to the sound of rainfall. I think it's been cemented in my head now that GZ, ponchoes and bicycles, and rain go hand-in-hand. I haven't truly missed home yet, though I have thought about it a few times, mainly due to the living conditions here. It makes me think about how good we have it in North America. I've realized now that I'm quite a princess for cleanliness. I always thought I'd be able to handle something like this since I've always loved camping, but I guess outdoors dirtiness in is a totally different kind of dirtiness from urban dirtiness. But I think this is only the beginning, as India I'm sure will be much worse. So I guess this will be a nice transition to get my prepared for what's to come.

The sky cleared up a bit as we stepped out to pick up our glasses, but then started to pour again shortly after. Our auntie took us to this park where my parents went to on their first date at Shamian Park. It was beautiful. My dad's such a romantic, heheh. I wonder what it looked like back then... The rain had dissipated by then, making way for a beautiful view of the riverside, though the water could have been less brown and murky. It made me want to hear stores about the details of how my parents met. I've only heard a couple of stories.

We met up with my dad's cousin later and he treated us to a fancy dinner. It was so good... The service again, was excellent. We had a lot of fun in GZ on this last day, although I miss having showers. I say this because I only showered one day while I was here because the heater wasn't working, and also because you had to stand over the squatter toilet to shower. The squatter toilet, you have to manually pour water into it to flush, and after a number 2, you can only imagine the type of smell that comes out of there... Like I said, I'm a bit of a princess when it comes to these things... Oh and GZ was pretty hot too, so the days I didn't shower, I used a wet towel to wipe myself down instead.

We packed our backpacks after dinner and caught our flight to Bangkok to lay over to India. We didn't purchase out tickets beforehand, and it's in the middle of the night, so we have to wait until the next flight and purchase the tickets then. We'll be flying Air India, I believe.

travel journal: part 1

Monday, June 1, 2009 3:38 AM

Sine leaving for the trip for Asia, it's been really really fast-paced and I haven't really had a chance to use internet all that much, so I've been writing in a journal to keep track of my observations and events. I'm just going to type it out here.

DAY 0.5: Leaving on a jet plane
I got to the airport 3 hours early since they say that you should do that for international flights. I got to the airport at 6:40am and was checked in, went through security and reached the waiting area by 6:55am... It was quite a long wait from there.

Lift off was at 10:30am and it was a rough flight over. 15.5 hours of air time with 3 meals and barely any sleep. I tried to drink some wine to put myself to sleep but no such luck. So we watched movie after movie. One of the movies was Ip Man starring Donnie Yuen. Amazing fight scenes, highly emotional. Forget Jet Li and Jacky Chan.

DAY 1: Hong Kong
We reached HK early in the morning local time. The subway right from the airport to our hotel area was sweet. It was so clean, well-maintained, and lots of room. TTC sucks compared to this. We walked over to the South Pacific Hotel, checked in, and walked around while waiting for Vincy to meet up wit us. The hotel rooms were a tad small, but pretty good for HK. It was pretty humid and warm there. Cockroaches running around the sidewalk, lots of people, a few stares here and there, but nothing too bad. It really sucked we couldn't read the menu signs for dinner, but at least we could speak and understand quite well. Free internet in the subway is awesome. We were recommended a place by a friend called King's Hotel and it was so weird. It almost felt like a sex hotel... It was one floor, and no hallways. As soon as you open the room door, it's the lobby. These rooms were all pimped out, and the workers weresurprised to see the 4 of us walk in...

DAY 2: HK shopping
We started the day by going to a cafe lounge for breakfast to use their complimentary computers. We noticed that school uniforms are really ugly in HK. We later met up with some friends and went shopping. First stop was at UNIQLO. Great clothing for a pretty cheap price. Felt like H&M but a lot better, though their t-shirts are a bit too wide for my body... Shame... I thought we had already adjusted to the time change since we didn't feel tired much, but by 6pm, it hit us hard. We passed out from 6:30pm til 10:30pm. Then we were wide awake.

We went out to Lang Kwai Fung to party it up with some foreigners. It was pretty crazy. Lots of white people and CBCs, lots of pubs, lots of booze and drunkards. We stayed out pretty late, playing Chinese drinking games (our local HK friends taught us) and drank the night away.

HK has an urban/modern feel, but at the same time, very grungy. Almost like Chinatown, realy. It's humid and hot, and I've decided I can't live here. Too many people and no sidewalk space. It gets rather frustrating when you're in a hurry. I can't even imagine what India will be like.

DAY 3: Arrival to Guang Zhou
Rain. We packed up our bags and went out for breakfast. By 12:30pm, we were on the bus to Mainland China. The coach was uber nice. It was brand new with leather seats, soft head cushions, reclines 5 times more than a crappy Greyhound coach would in North America. Funny how that works. Everything about that coach was superior. It even has a side door in the back to let people in too! Only thing missing was a washroom.

The highways were filled with rather large billboard signs everywhere with large Chinese fonts. The billboards were at least twice the size of North American billboards. It was overpowering...

Guang Zhou isn't what I remembered ten years ago. I don't remember much of it from then to begin with, just that there were a lot of constructions sites back then. Now, it reminds me of HK, with the modern tall high-rises mixed with grungy old buildings. Everything is cheap here, especially the food. The girls are much cuter than Hong Kong girls for some reason. Hannah, if you're reading this, you're right about the toilets in China. Kinda gross...

asiabound - day 0: toronto.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:06 AM

It's 4am... I'm still up. Cleared all my photos from my camera, all packed except for the stuff I need in the morning. Got my shots, my pills, my documents. There was a mix of feelings between excitement and nervousness earlier, but now, I just feel too tired to feel either. Why bother sleeping when I have to be up in an hour and there's a grueling 15.5 hour flight waiting for me?

Essentially, the itinerary's going to look something like this: land in Hong Kong and spend about 3 days there, then fly to India for a bit more than a week to see Darjeeling, Agra, Kolkata, Dheli, and Varanasi. Then it's off to Thailand to see some beaches and relax/backpack for about a week and half. After Thailand, we hit up Macau for a day then back to HK to catch our flight to Guang Zhou, China to visit some relatives for a couple of days. Then back to HK to shop til we drop.

Heh... As I'm typing this, the feeling of excitement is starting to come back. Funny how that works. The thing that worries me and gets me a little nervous is the thieving and the kid beggars. I've been told that they are quite relentless, and the whole ordeal is that you know by giving them money, you'll attract a swarm, and you're only fueling the cycle. But if you don't give them anything, you feel heartless, torn, and helpless to help these kids.

I think backpacking through some of the rural areas of India will really open my eyes. Which for me is part of the purpose of this trip. I'm hoping in Thailand we'll get to rent some bicycles and bike around the local areas.

Anyway. It's already 4:24am... I still have to shave my head. I'll try to update when I can. Photos will probably get updated on FB faster than posts on this blog, but I do intend on writing a traveling journal while on this trip. Toodles.


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