Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Singapore: Five Days Too Many

January 3, 2015
I've already seen more of Singapore that I was interested in. When people say you only need 1-2 days here, they really mean it. So my plans for the day was just doing some last minute shopping at Bugis Street and hopefully be able to pick up some kaya to bring back. My friend told me that you can get the at grocery stores, but the during my whole trip, I never saw a grocery store at all D: So then if I see it, then I’ll get it, but if not… not like I had a lot of cash and luggage space anyways. By the way, Singapore is NOT card friendly unless you’re dining at a restaurant or something. But since I visited a lot of shopping centers (like Bugis Street, not malls) and hawker stalls, you’re going to need cash.
Had this for breakfast in the morning before there was I was already really hungry and who can resist Hainanese chicken rice...

The night before, one of the guys from dinner asked to hang out too so we ended up meeting up but it ended up being a really frustrating experience because I couldn’t really remember which station we were supposed to go to. I originally told him one station (Station A) because it seemed close, but then I told him, nevermind lets go to this other station (Station B) instead. Ah wait, this other station (Station C) is close instead.

But when the day came, I ended up going to the very original station by accident x_x So I walked over to the right station, but second guessed myself and walked over to Station B. But then I didn’t see him there! So I was like oh fuck maybe I made a mistake and I walked back over to Station C again. But I didn’t see him there either.. If I remember correctly, I think I ended up going back between Station B and C again.

I was finally able to get wifi right across from Station C, and I messaged him.. like WHERE ARE YOU? And he was somewhere completely far away wtf. And said he went to the station but was running late so maybe I missed him the whole time I was going between stations. But either way he didn’t wait like I told him to… So I was just kinda like wtf.
But we met up in the end anyways… we went to Killiney for breakfast. I liked Ya Kun more though. Not sure if I'm eating it properly, but I pour a little bit of soy sauce into the eggs and mix it up, then dip the toast in.

After that, we just walked over to Bugis Street and I was just like fuck it and bought more clothing x_x I had to buy shoes too because I packed away all my shoes and it was already taken back to the States, so all I had were: Uggs, rainboots, and indoor slippers. Struggles L I mean obviously it wasn’t a problem in Tokyo/Seoul, but it’s hot in Singapore…and will be for the rest of my trip before I head home too.

It was really hard to find something that fit/that I liked but right before we left, I found this pair of flats:
So weird but cute at the same time.
To end the day, we ate at Eng Seng Restaurant for their black pepper crab :D It was the last one too…and it was quite big O_O I think it was like $80 for the crab? I didn’t expect to get such a big one so if I had been alone, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it wtf. Well, actually, I didn’t have enough even when splitting it wtf so I some of the money I gave to my friend was in USD so he can exchange to SGD later wtf. And sadly… he was also tight on SGD because the ATM ate his card, so I felt bad dragging him with me.

Went home and packed.

Next destination: Kuala Lumpur!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Singapore: Shitty Airbnb Stay

After the night I arrived, I already kinda got over the fact that they weren't willing to come get me from the station because if anything, they're really only offering the place to stay and coming to get you is an extra gesture. I guess I've just been spoiled in the past of being picked up from the station/bus stop every time.

But this wasn't the issue. The issue was that the house was infested with ants. Not to that extreme, but there's a noticeable amount crawling around. I did notice that there were ants crawling around on the first floor (my room was on the second) on the first night. But it was like.. I dunno, maybe a dozen in total crawling around throughout the floor, kitchen, counter, sink, etc. Not to the point where I found the entire colony. It wasn't on the second floor, and it didn't really affect me that much, so I chose to ignore it and assumed maybe it was normal for Singapore.

Over the next few days, I noticed that there were a few tiny ants, the size of a dot that you make with a pencil, running about on my bed. Like maybe 2-3 total every night. Not that much, just killed them and got over it.

On my very last night, I finally noticed a shit ton more ants on the bed. I see like 3 crawling around at a time. After I killed them, another 3 would just appear from somewhere. So I felt like I was battling ants all night and finally fell asleep (YES, I STILL SLEPT THERE). I realized this quite late at night, maybe around midnight or so. So I didn't want to wake up the "manager" to complain about it. The host himself wasn't there, but I also messaged him about, not expecting a response until the next day. Just for the records, I never ate in the room.

I was scared shitless by all the ants and that they would go into all my luggage and have babies and I would bring them back to the States with me and everything. :(

Okay, so that was already my last night and everything. I wasn't leaving the next day until noon or so. 

The host, let's call him "Fred", messaged me back saying that he didn't realize there was an issue with ants, and asked if I notified the manager.

I'm like ya, I told her about it in the morning but not at night because it was already very late when I found out.

And he's like, I'm not sure if much can be done about it since it's already your last day but you can move your stuff to another room even if it's for a few hours. 

He followed up afterwards asking me for feedback and to be "brutally honest" and I was, except I did it in my review, not through PM. I actually forgot to respond to his message, but it shouldn't really matter whether it came from my review or my message because my review would've been the same anyways.

Airbnb does a thing where you can defend your reviews if they're bad, which is what he did, but he was such an asshole about it because he attacked me personally.

I'm going to paraphrase a bit because I don't want it to come up on a Google search, but I don't mind sharing the actual thing if you ask.

1) His claim: My review states that he said there's nothing that can be done
My review said that there's mainly nothing that can be done because it's my last day. Key word: mainly. Because he did offer to transfer my stuff even for a few hours... which was all he offered and I was leaving in a few hours, so that more or less is mainly nothing can be done imo. But he quoted only the part where I said there's nothing that can be done.
Point invalid.

2) His claim: I knew that the manager was there for issues but I chose to contact him instead because he's in charge of payment
Except I told him that I told the manager after he asked whether I did. Is it not normal to contact him because it's his house...?
Point invalid.

3) His claim: My review states that I contacted him immediately but I only contacted him on the last night, not any of the previous nights
Uh, because I didn't know of the issue the previous night? If he even read my review properly, I said that I discovered the ants on my last night and contacted him immediately, so how is his defense even relevant...? Plus I made the fact that I just discovered it that night clear when I messaged him.
Point invalid.

4) His claim: Fred stayed in the room personally and found no ants. He asked my roommates and they said the problem appeared and disappeared along with me. The ants are a result of me eating/having food in the room.
Roommates? I only had one, who moved in on my 3rd or 4th night. So how would they know if it appeared along with me? Plus I TOLD them that there's an issue with the ants right before I left, so if they fixed it, isn't it natural for the ants to disappear as well?! Also, I told the manager (maybe her grandma) that I did not eat in the room when she asked. So why is he making shit up. Clearly there's a lack of communication between them, or he's just making shit up anyways.

He ended his response about how I'm conveniently using this issue for a refund and that there's a lot of questions about my integrity.
Fuck you. I never asked for a refund, and even if it was my intention, how is notifying him of an issue and leaving a bad review based on my bad experience not within my own rights?!?!? Not that he questioned my rights, but there's no relation to money and my integrity. Regardless of whether I had asked for a refund, the ants were in fact there, were they not?!

Makes me so angry just writing about this. I was very upset when I saw his response and I was actually terrified of all my luggage being infested with ants and their babies. :'(

/rant done.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Herp Derp Derp

If you didn't know, I'm going to be interning in New York for the summer. So I went to NY with my mom on Saturday and she accompanied me because her friends were here as well. So I stayed up the night before packing and everything and we arrived some time past noon. 

But then a few hours later... I realized that I didn't have my passport for paperwork that I needed for my internship. D:< It was a Saturday, so I couldn't mail it (even overnighting) and get it by Monday morning, where I needed it in my hands by 6:30AM. So the only choice I had was to take the bus back home the same night T__T;;; I didn't even get home until... 4:30AM. I slept in and took the bus back to New York the next day (Sunday) and didn't get settled into my place until nearly midnight :( Needless to say, I was super tired at work the next day.

Oh, but to derp more, since I didn't actually get to move in on Saturday, what happened was that my mom's friend had all my luggage because I wasn't able to get it to my place that night. So then on Sunday night, I realized that my hardcopy of the paperwork was still with the friend.... Derp... and I don't have a printer here, so... fml. Nowhere to print it, and it's just as important as my passport, that I wasted all my time and money on getting if I didn't forget it T_T I almost forgot the paperwork when I left home, but remembered it right before I headed out, so not sure why I forgot my passport =(

Luckily, I was able to print the paperwork at my friend's house on Monday morning, only to realize once I got to work that it was supposed to be submitted online, not an original copy. Fml.

On a side note, I would get sick the night before my first day, so I've been sick all week :( Just have an uncomfortable (not sore) throat and small cough.

It's been a busy week, but I'll try to finish up my Singapore posts soon, and maybe more updates on my first week.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Singapore: Kopi Tiam & Chilli Crab

January 2, 2015
It was my friend's last day in Singapore and she had a later flight, so we hung out until then.
Breakfast at Ya Kun (kopi tiam) We both had a set, one the original and the other their french toast. I liked the normal toast more. Kaya is sorta coconut based, so I was a bit iffy about it but after trying it, it's not too bad! I wish I had bought the jars, but no space :( And I was going to buy them the next day instead, but ended up not even seeing them anywhere. Arggg.

We spent the day doing some last day sight seeing.
(Earlier) Mona Lisa was in town... But didn't really feel like paying to see it in Singapore, seems more worth it to see it in Louvre lol.
Civilian War Memorial (Tugu Peringatan Bagi Mangsa Awam Pemerintahan Jepun)

After this, we walked over to Emerald Hill. Not exactly sure why she wanted to check it out, but oh well. It's a very dainty street though.
On the way there, saw this building with cool spiral stairs
Stopped by No. 5 (bar) afterwards.
They have this cool thing where they offer blank post cards, and you just write in them and put it back in the other pile and they mail it off for you :O So I sent one to my friend. Never asked how long it took, but it reached him eventually.
Watermelon martini (?)
They had these chilli vodka that they made...tried a taste of it and not really something that I would want to drink an entire cup of. A group of three guys came in some time after us and also pointed it out and we chatted about it for like a minute. Maybe 10-15 minutes later, one of them bought us a shot of it too lol. It really wasn't too bad... it was unique, kinda sour.
Found Merlion

We made a reservation at No Signboard Seafood Restaurant (I think) the night before, but we were careless and forgot which one we went to... so we ended up not going because we couldn't find it since they had three locations and the first one we tried wasn't it. We walked by it the night before and made the reservation so we figured we'd find it, but nope.

So we ended up at Jumbo. Luckily the wait wasn't that bad! Was told that I had to try chilli crab while in Singapore and I'm glad I did! I forgot how big this one was, but I think it the crab itself was ~$100, so it was probably around 1.2kg. It was pretty big, never ordered crab before, so not sure how expensive it compares to the States.
The meat was very tender and didn't stick to the shell at all. One crab was enough for two people. It's very messy to eat, but so good too. Second time having crab :D

I also ordered mantous, they're really small and each order is only one, so it also adds up on the bill (though a fraction of the crab's price) since I recommend getting quite a few and just eating it with the chilli sauce.
Guess I'm a messy eater :X
If you do go to Jumbo, just be sure to note that they charge you for things that they just hand to you, so be sure to say no if you don't really want them. We got charged for tea and the wet towels. You wouldn't really think otherwise if they ask you, "Do you want water or tea?" and they just hand you the wet towels at the end. They also charge for peanuts too o_O
Ice cream sandwich dessert :P

We called it a day after dinner because my friend had to go catch her flight and I think I probably just tried planning the next day, since it was my last day.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Singapore: Sentosa

January 1, 2015
Ahhh so I was running late to my meeting place with my friend so I ended up not getting to our meeting spot until it was like..maybe 45 minutes later? I think I was running late and made it worse by taking the slower train too... fml. So I couldn't find her in the end..and neither of us have phones/data so... after waiting/looking around for maybe 30 minutes or an hour, I ended up just going to Sentosa on my own. 

The Sentosa Express is SGD 4 but from what my friend told me, it was honestly just a simple walk over. So I probably shouldn't have taken it. Also I think when you're there, you can go between each station for free anyways? 

Photo spam:
Oh some point I was still pretty tired/sleep so I just took a nap on the beach area, but before that, there was this super creepy guy sitting nearby ish, who kept trying to say hi to me WTF. Even after I turned away from him, I still heard him saying hi. Stop creeping please T_T
Hold/take photos with snakes for like $10 or something
Merlion! I think you can go inside of it too (for a fee) 
Super crowded VivoCity; took forever to find where I came from

Finally met up with my friend afterwards because she returned to her hostel and received my spam of messages, so we met up there and ended up having Korean BBQ with two guys from her hostel that we met the night before, for the countdown. Korean BBQ was really, really expensive here (or maybe just this restaurant) x_x I was a fatass so I also got bibimbap as well.
We wanted to go to Marina Bay again, while it's more calm and away from the countdown madness. Such a big difference compared to the night before...
Mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich
Our agenda for the night was going clubbing haha. I think we tried going to Attica at Clark Quay but we ended up not going in. We tried to go to Kyo instead, but they were very strict on being 21+ :( Most clubs are 18+ in Singapore, I think.

In the end we just headed our separate ways. We already walked around a lot, so we didn't feel like going out of our way to try to find something anymore. At least this way I didn't have to worry about getting home because I would've missed the last train and I didn't have my contacts case to stay with my friend. Wasn't worth cabbing back either :X

Friday, June 5, 2015

Singapore: New Year's Countdown at Marina Bay

December 31, 2014
So we ended up going to Marina's Bay with a group of people from my friend's hostel. We took the train over and walked for a bit too. We got there somewhat early, so it wasn't super crowded yet, but as the night went on, they fenced off some of the area. Some New Year's concert/event thing was also being hosted too. 
Photo would've been so nice if it wasn't for that person's arm >:(
I thought I remembered taking way more photos but this was one of the two firework photos I found on my camera wtf. From what I remember, my eyes were glued on my camera too...Where did they all go?! >:( And it's so blurry too...

The guy from the hostel was so nice ;_; Since there was so many people and I'm not exactly that tall, I couldn't really get a good view of the fireworks, so he actually let me sit on his shoulders for maybe half of the time. :O I dunno if I ever even did that as a child lol.

To my knowledge, Marina Bay is the most mainstream place to go to for fireworks. By the time the fireworks were about to be set off, it was super, super crowded. I had to jump the fence to the other side (the concert area) and that was like a good 15-20 minute wait :( 

From what I was told, construction work has been really big in Singapore in the past few years, especially amongst foreign workers. So a lot of them come out for New Year's to kinda just let it go for the night. And they add to the crowdedness.
By the end of it, it was extra smokey. You can kinda see it from the photo, but it was worse in person. The smoke spread out too.

It took an hour just to get out of the area because there was so much people traffic. Luckily the hostel wasn't too far of a walk and I was able to catch the train home and it wasn't that crowded either.

Hmm... I would recommend coming here maybe once for fireworks because it's crowded, yeah, but it's the experience that counts too. The fireworks itself are just kind of there, maybe just 25% of it. Because yeah, there are definitely more isolated places we could've gone to where we can see the fireworks as well, but we decided it would be nice to see it from here ^^

Until next time~

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Singapore: Lucky Plaza & Bugis Street

December 30, 2014
I spent the night before packing up because of all the new clothes that I bought and making sure that everything could still fit, which I'm surprised it did... My next stop was...Singapore!! I took a long time before actually booking this flight (and the price increased because I kept hesitating) because it's a really expensive flight.. :( I just checked again to make sure and it's actually more expensive than I recalled it to be fml. T_T If I could, I actually would've preferred to celebrate New Year's in Japan for hatsumoude.

I had a 6 hour layover too, so I didn't get to Singapore until late and I had technical difficulties + forgot which station to go to when buying my train ticket. I almost missed the last train because of this. Eventually I was able to borrow this guy's phone to make a call to my host and it was really frustrating because she didn't pick up my calls and then texted me instead.. and it wasn't even my phone so I didn't know if I should text back or not (I did, after asking if I could). I also asked if she could pick me up at the train station but she's wasn't willing to..

It wasn't until I almost reached the station that I realized I did take the wrong train (because I thought it was at this other station) so I had to go backwards to a stop that I already passed. When I got off in the end, I kept walking around and wasn't even able to find the house or anywhere near it T_T;;;; I was getting so frustrated and it was super hot and humid too. So I just took a cab in the end. Thinking now, I wonder if he ripped me off..... because the ride took just as long as walking lol.

Got there...and realized the place didn't have wifi!! Fml for not checking properly. But fortunately, they were willing to turn on their own mobile hotspot for me, so I was able to figure out my plans for the next day. ^^

December 31, 2014
This girl from my Shanghai program that I met up with in Toyko as well was also visiting Singapore at this time, so we decided to hang out during our overlapped days.
Lucky Plaza (right off of Orchard Station)
It wasn't really that interesting. I exchanged my money here but I think the rates are about the same as the airport. The shops didn't really carry stuff that I was interested in. The place was pretty empty too. I ended up buying a maxi dress at this one shop though.
Ice cream sandwich, literally. These were sold on the street for like $1.50 hehe I usually got it with the sweet bread.
Lemon chicken and rice from Majestic Chicken Rice at this food court on the way to Bugis Street. It was okay. Wasn't blown away by it.

Bugis Street was about half an hour walk from Lucky Plaza. Tbh, Singapore isn't as "clean" as I was expecting. I mean it's very normal? I think I was imagining like sparkly clean, marble streets or something. It's not dirty, but I just feel like normal standards should be that way too.
Bugis Street has three floors and it's kind of confusing to navigate inside. Things weren't really as cheap as I was expecting because a lot of decent things were still like $25+. But I guess I just had the wrong impression of the place before actually coming :O There's a loooot of stuff here and while shops don't carry the exact same thing, it's possible to find an item at one shop selling for cheaper at another one. The clothing styles are generally similar from shop to shop.

Tried my best not to buy too much because I was running out of USD to exchange and because I didn't have a lot of luggage space, but still ended up buying quite a few things =( 
Outside there was a juice stand selling drinks for $1 lol. I got a blueberry one, I think, but it wasn't really that good. Very artificial. :( Lots of flies flying around everywhere too..
Super cute scallop shorts from Cotton On. T_T

We headed to Chinatown afterwards because that's where my friend was staying, plus I wanted to check it out too.
There wasn't really too much here, but I guess it's a good place for souvenirs.

Went to Maxell Road Hawker Centre for dinner
Hainanese Chicken and Rice from Hong Xiang Hainanese Chicken Rice (宏香鸡饭)
Muchhhh yummier than the other place. I think my favorite is probably the rice more than the chicken :X

Oh ya... when I was ordering, there was this lady in front of me and the three of us in total. We all ordered the set for $4.50, which came with everything above plus a soup, but the shop already ran out of soup so the guy didn't give it to her (he didn't say anything about it). The lady questioned him, like where's the soup? No soup? I'm only paying $4 then. And kinda argued with the guy over it...

I'm not really sure who to side with though because on one hand.. you're paying more than what it's worth (because no soup) but then the lady didn't really approach it the right way either lol. And on the other hand, it was still kind of a take it or leave it kind of thing. 

So the shop owner was pretty upset after that lady and just gave the other guy and I half a soy egg to make up for the lack of soup lol.
Tiger Beer! It's Singapore's fire locally brewed beer.

Okay, ending the post here because it's kind of long already. The next post is on New Year's countdown :)

Until next time!

Tony Moly Incident

After this semester, I concluded I just don't have the best of luck with Korean cosmetic stores. First one was in Etude House in Shanghai, read [here]. So I guess this would be the second one.

Btw, I do admit that it was probably my fault.

So I walked into the Myeongdong shop and started looking at their nail polish. I dunno about you, but sometimes I take out the brush to see the color, even if I don't actually brush it on to test out. So I did that. 

Then this saleslady comes over to me freaking out, telling me that I can't test it. I did get pretty defensive because she came out of nowhere yelling (not that angrily, but more in a scolding way) at me T__T So I was just like I'm not testing it!! Because I really didn't put any of the nail polish on myself and I only opened the bottle.

Then she kept repeating herself saying that I can't test it. And I started getting upset because I really wasn't but she kept accusing me of doing so. There was a language barrier fyi.

Eventually, I got so defensive that I started yelling back that I wasn't even testing it and that I was planning to buy it (truth) but now I don't want it anymore [because she ruined my mood] T___T

Dundundun...then the moment of truth. I noticed that there was a safety seal on it, wtf. Either I have godzilla hands and opened it without noticing or the seal was already broken in the first place. I'm not really sure which is the case though.

So I was like shit... The lady never actually forced me to pay for it but just scolded me, and at this point she was just staring at me in disbelief and upset. So in the end I just bought it because I was going to buy it anyways.. and I did  (possibly) "ruin" a sellable product, so I thought it was the right thing to do lol.

By the time I left the store, it was empty lol...I hope it's not because of my outburst. I'm so embarrassing ahhh :(

Incident #3 was just buying this volcanic face mask from Innisfree. I asked the saleslady which one I should buy because there was two and she recommended one over another. But when I went into a different shop, I overhead the saleslady there telling another customer that the one I bought is for oily skin. So I was kinda upset over that because I told my saleslady that I didn't have oily skin... and at this point the other mask seemed more suitable.

Apparently the shop in Myeongdong is a franchise? Because I wasn't allowed to exchange the one I bought at the other shop... :(

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Seoul: Insadong & Searching for Dongdaemun

December 29, 2014
I either slept in until very late or just lazed around in the guesthouse until quite late. When I was about to head out, the owner of the place offered to treat me for dinner (which was really breakfast to me) and I accepted. The first two days I did talk to him occasionally and also I read reviews that he did this to other guests before too, so it wasn't as sketch as it sounds.
We went to a local restaurant and I had sundubu. I think it was probably my only "Korean" meal here, aside from street food. We just chatted about various things like about life, why he started the guesthouse, and such. After dinner, we even got me coffee at a local cafe :X We chatted a bit more and a lot of it was just me giving him input on the guesthouse because it's actually pretty new, only three months old.
 Even though it was getting late and I had plans to go explore, I think traveling on your own makes you more inclined to accept offers of company. And really, those experiences are replaceable, whereas exploring can be done any time, even if it's in the future. As corny as it sounds I guess...

 So I tried to go to Insadong since my friend recommended it. She said that there was food and shopping there, but I didn't really like it. There were shops, but nothing interesting..

Lots of bars and stuff here it seems :O
 Next, I decided to go to Dongdaemun, but I'm not sure if I ever found it. I forgot which station I got off of, but it had many stalls that were being set up that sold merchandise like clothing and such. Then I walked for maybe 10-15 minutes (literally back and forth 4-5 times because I couldn't figure out the plaee) and finally found these two buildings, with lots of clothing shops set up, similar to Edae but indoors.

From what it seems.. it wasn't Dongdaemun at all, and I'm not really sure where I was tbh. It was also getting late already, around 11:30PM and my phone was dying so I didn't really feel like exploring too much, as places were starting to close and I had to wake up super early to head to the airport. Plus I had to pack...

But before heading back, I made sure to get more street food :)
Hotdog covered with fries! Tbh, they didn't heat it up enough because my fries were still cold :'(

I wish I had stocked up more on skincare stuff, but then again I only have one face lol. And it takes me forever to even use up one thing. I've been using the cleanser (below) since January and I'm not even halfway done, lol.
 Last minute shopping at Skinfood. Yayay samples.

So apparently the train ticket machines can't take 50,000 bills, so I was stuck because that was all I had fml. And everyone I asked didn't (or maybe weren't willing) to give me change. BUT THEN, this kind soul took money out of the ATM for me (and ate the ATM fee) T_T THANK YOUUU.

I dunno if I like Korea that much or not... like I'm not particularly in a hurry to go back, but I wouldn't mind going back either. I think it would probably be more fun with company :X

Next travel post on Singapore because I flew out the next day :)

Anyways, until next time!