Saturday, December 6, 2014

Istanbul-Day Two


Day 2- 1st November 2014


It is must be said that we made all our daily plans while having our breakfast/lazing around/getting ready.

We decided to not go to the Sultanahmet area (all the main attractions are there- Grand Bazaar, Haga Sophia and so on) during the weekend so we would just stay in Taksim for the weekend and explore slowly.

Eli was the map reader, route decider because I could not read a map unless it was Google Maps.



SO YUMMY. I WANT SOME.


We both declared that the biscuits we bought last night was perhaps Hera's gift to us. It was the moonpie kind, where there is some biscuit covered in marshmallow covered in dark chocolate. But this one had coconut flakes on it.

AMAYZING. (Any Malaysians reading this and planning to go to Istanbul, please email me so I can give money and ask you to buy a box of the biscuits)

We decided to look for Istikal Cadessi, a hip and happening avenue 1.4km long. How can we miss that place, right?

So, armed with a zipped up brown hoodie, gloves in my bag, money slipped into various pockets, digital camera, bottled water, wet wipes and everything us girls might need, we left the house at 8 am ish.

Note: Sport shoes/Converse would be appropriate. I used my gym shoes and I think have walked more in those 8 days  as compare to total usage before this.

We decided to walk, and just take lanes that looked nice. We enjoyed the architecture of these buildings and think we found the British Embassy .. but the lower floor was a tattoo parlour.

So maybe not. 

We came upon the Istikal Cadessi, without knowing that was the place, and walked down towards what will later be revealed as Taksim Square.

We saw 3 Starbucks.

Headbands. Eli bought 4.

"We should buy for the apartmenttt"


There were flower stalls near the Square selling fresh flowers and also headbands. A man stood with thermos of hot water and packets of tea/coffee for sale. A group  of policemen (very very attractive ones) were in the area and Eli pulled me back from gawking and taking their pictures.

Yes, by this time I had my camera out and was taking pictures of the pigeons. People were feeding them and I was trying to not get too close.

Taksim Square. People feeding pigeons.


A group of local kids asked for me to take a picture of them, and said "Internet" when I showed them.
A view from the monument in the picture below.


We walked a bit more, doubled back and took pictures at the monument before Eli chose to buy some of the headbands.


We then decided to "See if the coffee is the same here as back in Malaysia" and risked our lives to cross a busy street to go to the nearest Starbucks.


I can't even describe that cake we had. It has a banana taste, with some cream and walnut I think.

It was the most beautiful Starbucks I've been in. All wooden floors and amazing deco and furniture. 

And the pastry selection? I even drooled at the cake with chocolate covered raspberries on top when I did not even like raspberries.

Verdict: Coffee was better, and the heater in the Starbucks was good enough that I unzipped my sweater.

After an hour of people watching while sipping on my latte, we decided to continue "just walk down any lanes we want to." before grabbing lunch and resting for a while.

You should know that the next hour had no planned route at all. We merely stood at an intersection and go:

"Which one looks more interesting?"

Random hidden alley. Look at how pretty the building is.

And that has led to us coming across many interesting stores:

1. A store that sells pickled vegetables, all pretty in bottles. We went in out of curiosity and came out with a bottle of olive oil (me) and cranberry oil (Eli).

2. A small bookstore that sells Turkish books or English books translated into Turkish.


Eli, in her element. Its a pretty small store.

"I wish I can read Turkish."

"Buy a book you have the English version of then."

That was how I convinced Eli.

3. A small art gallery with a fat black and white cat resting on a cushion. The owner called it a physco. 

4.Gawked in front of the dairy sections of a supermarket and was tempted to buy something with eggplant and cheese.

5. A cafe with cushions outside for dogs and cats.

We then realised that in order to get back to the general area of the apartment, we had to do an uphill climb.

So we did, and came across another Mango and Zara. 

Lunch was decided to be bought from the cafe beside the kind Turkish grandmother's store because the night before, we had our noses pressed up against the display window.

The guy spoke English. Enough to explain every single dish there is and to ask if we wanted to eat there or to pack it up. With a hand motion of wrapping up.

What we had:


Food: Two rice, 9 stuffed mussels, eggplants, chicken, two sodas.
Total: 34 Turkish Lira if I am not mistaken.

Rice, chicken cooked in some kind of tomato sauce, eggplant cooked with beef.

We also before that bought stuffed mussels sold on the street side.

Note: Although our parents told us to not eat street food ... come on. We want to taste Istanbul, so we did.

The mussels, were stuffed with a kind of sticky rice cooked with herbs and they provided lemon wedges as well. AMAYZING.

While eating and moaning in delight, we decided to rest before going out around 4pm to get dinner.

Rest = Me napping while Eli smoked and looked up the fish market in her guidebook. I helped a bit by asking Google what should we eat in Istanbul.

"It says Balik Pazari is the place to go. Fish market that is in one of the lanes perpendicular to Istikal Cadessi."

We both looked up Google Maps and somehow, read it differently. Like, totally differently.

We also at that point of time did not know that the Cadessi is:

1. 1.4 km long
2. Has about 3,000,000 visitors on a weekend day.
3. Has about 4 Starbucks, 4 McDonald's, 3 KFC, 2 Burger King.

I am sure you can guess what happened.

Guess.

Yeap, we got lost and walked around a lot. Before we decided to walk the opposite direction, and further on. Before finally stumbling into it.

Let me tell you that while we were searching, we had to power walk because if you didn't, you might just get trampled by the crowd. The number of people left us breathless and we had to stop at the sides to catch our breath.

Note: Amount of hot guys were astounding too.

We walked down the sloping lane, surrounded by seafood restaurants and fishmongers. There were few other lanes from those, and one was mostly for bars.

Common tourist gifts. But, I was worried on how to fit these in my luggage.

We stopped at a store that sell teas, bowls and spices, and Eli, using her charms and language skills, asked one of the attendants where are the shisha bars.

Note: The guy was interested in her coloured contact lenses.

"Are you hungry yet, Hanis?"

"Nope. Shisha time?"

"Yeah. The guy said from the Balik Pazari arch, go left for 250 metres, and it is on the right."

Seeing as we are not professional walkers, we were stumbling blind guessing the distance. 

We were giving up and decided to stop at a corner into a lane for a breather when, as the theme of our trip, we found the place by accident.

There were very comfortable sette chairs for us to sit on. Eli ordered apple shisha, and I decided not to break my shisha cherry.

1. Mama will kill me.
2. The cold was already giving me pre-asthma attack symptoms.

But man, the smell of the shisha was so good that I was closing my eyes and inhaling the scent.

While Eli was trying to choose the shisha she want, I had my phone unlocked in my hand, and what the waiter did and this is pretty normal there apparently, took my phone and logged into the cafe's wifi and typed in the password.

Imagine the look on our faces when he took my phone.

Most cafes and restaurants has Wifi and if the waiter does not grab your phone from your hand, just ask them if they have wifi and they will be happy to type in the password.

I had apple tea. AND IT REALLY WAS SOOTHING ON THE SOUL.



It was warm and juicy, and really hit the spot. Eli had cinnamon tea, really strong. We enjoyed sitting outdoor, at 5pm (dark already), enjoying the cold and warmth of tea.

Then, we got hungry.

We went back to the seafood lane and went into a cafe, all warm and bright and decided to order:

Fried Mussels and Calimari Rings.


They came with a garlic creamy sauce, and of course there was free bread on the table and a bowl of pickled small peppers.


"Surely not cili padi (spicy small peppers us Malaysians love)." - Famous words said by Hanis before she bit into one.

It was really really spicy.

The food was really filling and we stumbled back home, proud of ourselves.

I was still jetlagged so by 8pm I was snoring in bed, and wide awake at 3 am (9 am in Malaysia). This was the pattern for half of the trip there.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Confession No.69



And oh how the stars

 had all fallen out

Broken and glistening

with the promises

He had whispered

Into her ear.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Istanbul - Day One

Day 1- 31st October 2014


Our flight was at 2.15am, and we arrived at the airport (KLIA) around 10.30pm ish with parents, brothers and a concerned boyfriend in tow.

I remember my parents acting as if they are sending me off to go study in Istanbul for 6 years, instead of 9 days. Both of our parents (Eli and I) expressed their worries, but as I have thought out loud so many times since March:

"WE HAVE BOUGHT THE TICKETS SO NO CANCELLING."




We boarded the plane around 30 minutes before take off and I told Eli to "wake me up when its food time" but my body knew that already and I woke up 5 minutes before snack time (A chicken curry pastry thingie .. yucks) and breakfast (Omelette,sausage and mushroom. The bun with the butter and cheese spread was to die for.).

The plane landed at Abu Dhabi airport about 8 hours later, and we had a 3 hours transit at Terminal 3.

Verdict: Tons of people. And if you're wearing a jacket be prepared to take it off during the scanning process. If you're like me, hijab and jacket wearing, make sure to wear a long sleeved shirt underneath.

Once we got passed that, we were in the tax free zone but with no UAE dirhams. There's 2 restaurants (Burger King and an American theme one) with a small foodcourt.

Note: We hung out in the women surau (praying room), and since it was early early morning, there were not many people praying then. 

The lines to boarding could be quite confusing because the gates were nearby to each other and there is not much space for a long queue. We had to ask several people if we are in the right line.

4 hours flight and we landed in a rainy Istanbul. 

An interesting note on the landing: If I am not mistaken, the runway starts/ends right at the cliff edge.

We were greeted by rain, coldness and wind that blew my scarf over my face. By the time I walked down the stairs and scuttled into the small bus that will take us to the terminal, my fingers were numb.

"No one said anything about the wind."

By the time we got into the airport, so grateful for the heated air ... we got lost and walked right past the Passport Controls because we were 

1. Amused by the advertisment for "The Sabah Post", a local paper in Turkey (I assume) while Sabah is a state in Malaysia.

2. Trying to kill the unfounded fear that Malaysians actually need a visa after all. (This is after each of us had checked multiple times on the Malaysia Embassy side and Turkey Tourism Board side.)

Once we were lining up (not so long because we were among the last to get off the plane + a lot of counters + gotten lost for 10 minutes gave the crowd time to disperse), another fear popped up in our minds.

"What if they think we are mail order brides for ISIS?"

I looked at Eli from the corner of my eyes and decided her various piercings and colourful hair would make her look less likely as a candidate than ... me.

But of course, less than a minute at the counter and I was skipping away to the Arrivals Hall.

There was an information counter, and he told us we could take a shuttle (train), bus or taxi to go to the Taksim Beyoglu area. We decided on taxi aka most expensive but easiest.




And this led to one of the two freaky/bad moments we had in Istanbul.

The place was hard to find, and eventually the taxi dropped us near the Euro Plaza hotel, which is on the map we printed from Dogan Studios. He waved his hand in the general area and said the place is nearby.

And went off.

It was drizzling and cold. 

We texted the manager (Who only spoke turkish) and texted the owners about being lost, but the messages did not go through.

We were in front of a kebab store (Doner is the name for kebabs) and I went in to buy some for us. 

Ever watched Taken 2? Yeah, I kinda felt I was gonna be taken because the men in the store looked like in the movie.

Hot + bad guy vibe.

Or maybe cause they were dark, broody and said nothing.

I pointed to the menu, having no idea what I am ordering and just said "Two".

A man took out two skewers of beef, put it on the old fashioned grill and started to chop up tomatoes and cabbages. He took out soft flatbreads and toasted those before wrapping it around the beef and veges.

7 Turkish Lira for each.

Eli said my face looked really worried while in the store, but she herself was worried about being lost that she could not laugh at that moment.

Across the street was a grocer, and the owner was kind to get one of his helper to take us to the apartment.

The boy, late teens perhaps spoke a bit of English and I found out he is Sulaiman and was from Syria. The route he took us through .. was through back alleys and there was the fattest furriest cat on a car (Eli and I both exclaimed in delight but it was more of a way to distract ourself from thinking we are being kidnapped.).

While waiting awkwardly in front of the apartment, a man appeared who is a friend of the manager, and he spoke English and said Soner was shy to meet us.

Aww.

He helped us carried our heavy bags up 2 flights of tight round staircase and gave us our keys.

Note: He was definitely a Turkish Delight.

The moment the door closed and locked, we both collapsed on the floor and laughed in relief.

Apparently I was not the only one who was thinking of just staying at the Euro hotel if we got conned.

For the next half hour, we got stuck to our phones and the Wifi to inform worried parents/boyfriend that we are safe.

One view from the kitchen window of the apartment. See the middle high building? At night it has fairy lights.
View from our bedroom window.

By that time, it was 3pm ish and we both decided that we should start exploring the next day. Before it got dark, we bundled up and walked 4 minutes to buy some grocery necessities.

From the cutest Turkish grandmother ever.

Note: My only experience of the Turkish grandmothers are during umra' and well .. they can be pretty mean especially in shoving themself into narrow spaces in the saf.

She spoke no English. And found us amusing as we bought a carton of mineral water, bread, sodas and biscuits. A guy in the store helped with the prices by writing on a piece of paper.

It got really dark at 5pm, and both of us pressed our faces against the windows and wonder if we are playing it too safe (By few days later, we were going out at 7pm and coming back few hours later).

So what did we do? Enjoyed our kebabs (Mystery meat we first labelled it until we found out it was Spicy Beef) and was amazed by how full of beef it was. Made some hot Milo (3 in 1 packets brought from home) and we patted ourselves on the back for arriving safely.




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Istanbul: The Basics.



Location: Istanbul 
Date: 31st October - 8th November

We started planning the trip in March, and by the first week of April we had bought the tickets and paid the 25% deposit on the apartment.

Flight Details:
Ticket Price: RM2,056

Airline: Etihad


Details: A layover of 3 hours on the trip there, and 7 hours back. Both at Abu Dhabi airport. 

Total flight hours (one way): 12 hours ish. This is from Malaysia.

This was the cheapest option, as well as the shortest ish duration of layover.




Apartment Details:

Price: 300 Euro for 8 nights (This is a off peak season rate) and for 2 people. If its 3 people, 10% increase and 4 people (max) its 20%.

Location: In a quiet street in the Beyoglu area, the apartment is an old 4 story building renovated to accomodate 5 units (1 being the basement level) with 3 different rates.


Apartment: One bedroom, one bathroom, one living room with a small dining area and a kitchenette. It came with a small stove, coffee machine, water heater, washing machine, iron and board, hairdryer, wireless internet, tv and satellite, heater, air-conditioner.

Opinion: I really liked the apartment, though our taxi driver found it impossible to find and dropped us off about 300 metres away.  (It cost about 60-70 Turkish Lira from the airport to the apartment and vice versa) Its not suitable for family with kids, and people who are really particular aka would like a proper hotel. But if you are like my friend and I, who did not want a hotel but want our own bathroom, the apartment would be great.

Link: Dogan Studios Istanbul. It is owned by a couple, who lives in Germany. The units are managed by a local shopkeeper. Semih and Semra (the owners) are really friendly and helpful because I remembered asking them questions like "Is there a lift?" and "Is there an iron and board?" to which the answer was no and yes.

Payment: It was made via Paypal, and the remaining 75% could be paid before you arrive or you can pay in cash to the manager (Soner who only speaks Turkish).

Next post, I would be talking about the expenditures, travelling/public transport, obtaining food, weather and all.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Istanbul, From the Soul.


I arrived back in Malaysia at 2.30pm on Sunday, and I think I nearly cried because apparently I missed how green Malaysia is.

Istikal Cadessi, mid morning on a weekday. 
Istanbul was ... amazing. I think it was a city that called to my soul. A city full of history, culture and an amazing combination of the old days and the modern days. I think there were times that I nearly stopped right in the middle of the busy Istikal Caddesi (a 1.4km long avenue) and just let the spirit of the place flow into me.

I know, cheesy. But making Istanbul my first ever travel destination was like getting that first perfect boyfriend. 

The one who remembers how you take your latte, and that your dessert should be chocolate, or apple based. The one who hold your hand while you visit those hidden art galleries, and let it go when you're reading because he knows you need your freedom when you do that. The one that can look at you, and read your soul. The one that you had to let go because it was just not the right time.

I briefly half seriously considered just staying there, teach English/Malay and get myself a nice Turk guy (they are really really attractive, in general. With their beards ala' hipster style, and glasses, and those eyes). But then Mama decided to remind me that I would be cut out of the will if I don't come back as scheduled.

Would I go back? Definitely.

Maybe in few years' time, after I go to couple more places (which has to be decided).

About a year before the Istanbul trip was planned, I asked someone who just came back from there what he thought of it.

"I fell in love with it."

"Slowly or quickly?"

"Both ways."

It was the same for me too.

Waiting to check in luggage. Last picture in Istanbul.




P/S: I will be posting more pictures and blog about the trip.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Confession No 68

Abu Dhabi International Airport

As I sit, awaiting for the connecting flight, I wonder if you will be here, waiting for the same. Would you smile, I wonder. This fantasy of mine.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Confession No.67



Coffee shop. Upon Istikal Caddesi. 


So I have,
Visited and greeted this city,
Sat and stood upon many spots,
Walked and climbed the lanes,
Dined and sipped upon establishments,
And for every single moment,
And I do mean every single moment,
Wondered,
If you were once here too,
Doing what I am doing,
And thinking of that unrequited feeling. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello From Istanbul!


We are currently in Istanbul. So cold, windy and rainy. Here is the view from the bedroom window and the kitchen windows. I will be uploading more pictures on my Instagram, hanisgorgeous. Follow me there!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

4 Days.


4 days to go and I am in a bit of a panic.

Why?

Some of the vital pieces of clothing I need for my trip , I ordered online. And they are not here yet.

"WHY DID YOU BUY THEM ONLINE?"

Well.

1. Jeans from Dorothy Perkins.

You see, my size for pants from that store is either 18S or 20S. And no, S does not mean small. It means short , leg-length wise. None of the stores I went to had those sizes. 

"Why not get an 18R and get it altered?"

Brilliant idea. If I could wear something other that bootcut because the rest tends to hug my calves.

While ordering, on 8th of November, the site was very confident in saying "The latest your order will arrive will be on the 20th."

26th and not still here. And since I had to take the cheaper delivery, I could not track the order. And the FAQ? Not helpful. It finally mentioned that sometimes, "2 weeks are the minimum." which it did not say at all while ordering.

"Contact us." means I have to call them. No email.

Brilliant.

2. My jeans jacket.

On the 11th, I went to  Fat is Fab bazaar, a plus size clothes bazaar and saw the most amazing jeans jacket but my size was not available.

So the seller offered to post it over. I was delighted, paid for it.

This all happened via Whatsapp.

14th

"Hey, have you posted my jacket?"

"I'll post it on Thursday."

21st

"Hey, have you posted it?"

No reply.

23rd

"Hey there, I was wondering if you have posted my jeans jacket yet? Thank you.|

3 hours later- "Hey there, I don't know if you're reallly busy or I'm not getting your replies but if its the latter, here's my email. I need the jacket by next week. Thank you."

"Hey, yes. I'll give you the tracking number tonight. Busy at the factory."

25th

"Hey, can I have the tracking number please?"


No reply till today. I have been really polite and patient because I know how these clothing businesses can be really busy and some of them are also studying so they have to divide their time. But, come on. I have bought stuffs from many online shops and they usually update me if the stuff shows signs of being late, or it comes on time.

A particular nice shop even texted me asking if I've got my stuff already because she was worried. She didn't text me a week later, but the day after I got the parcel and I admire that.

Man, I am close to losing my temper. 

*takes deep breath*

When people ask me what sites I plan to visit in Istanbul, I just go "The usual places. The local scenes you know."

I got a confession.

For someone who loves planning and making checklists, I kinda have not researched on where to go, and what to eat.

I know, terrible.

But, at least I have done most of my shopping apart from 3 things I can get at Mydin on Thursday, and also the jeans and jacket. I might have even tried to compensate for that by buying a nice handbag/sling bag type and a sweater.

I got a question for you guys.

How much money would I need for food + transportation + entrance fees at Istanbul? I would be staying there for 8 nights and accommodation is paid for already.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bound.


To read the first part: Void.



He curled his fingers over hers, his head tilted forward till he could see the doubt in her eyes. His throat was dry and grated with words too reluctant to be voiced.

"I'm half elated."

"And half?"

"Scared."

The word were whispered against the shape of her lips, his breath stolen away by this succubus that had been haunting him for months. 

"Of corrupting me?"

"It was never corruption that scares me."

"What was?"

The etchings on her skin glowed warm under his fingertips, a nod against the softness of her neck as he trembled, ever so slightly.

"Us being bound together, in the ways of legends."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Void.



She tilted her head back till the edges of her curls rested on her hips. Her eyes gleamed with the knowledge she had obtained as her lips formed a sardonic smile. She ran her fingertips along the lines of her palm and lets out a sigh.

"It seems, that you are too late."

"Too late for?"

"To corrupt me."

With a flick of her wrist, she showed him the marks of pleasure she had obtained. Show him the differences in patterns, the accumulation of exposure.

"Aren't you glad?"

"Why should I?"

Her smile took on the shape of pleasure as her fingers reached forward and slipped between his.

"Your excuse is void now."





10 Days.



It seems that Istanbul is in mere 10 days. Our flight would be around 3.15 am, and I expect to look like a bedraggled participant of the Amazing Race. If it is possible, I would like to wear tracksuit pants, a t-shirt with a cardigan pulled over it. Feet in comfy socks and slippers. 

But nah. The only thing my vanity would let me do is skip the contact lenses and just put on my glasses. Which is a big deal, because it has come to the point that most of my friends have no idea I am blind as a baby bat as I never wear my glasses outside the house.

I am quietly excited. Thanks to the mighty deities of the working life, where work will pile up 3 weeks before you are bound to take 9 days off, and not the 4 months before where you spent most of your time staring at the screen.

And no, contrary to popular perception, I have not packed my luggage yet. But, I do have about 8 check lists:

1. To Print - Stuffs like a copy of my passport, the e-ticket, a copy of my identification cards, few copies of my contact details and also a map of the Malaysian Embassy there.(Bro: In case Taken 2 happens to you, you have to know where to escape to)

2. To Query - I am very thankful that the apartment's owner is a soul of patience because I keep asking if there's an iron (yes), towels(yes), lift (no) and so on. I have also asked about using a local sim card (not advisable as it tends to not work in foreign phones), roaming (too expensive) and the sockets there (two pins, people).

3. To Do - Paying the rest of the rent via Paypal (do not transfer the money from the bank account linked to Paypal to Paypal because the latter does not have the option to pay in Euro, hence your bank will have to do it), flu shot (for winter and parents who worry), inform my debit/credit card provider that I shall be using the cards abroad.

4. To Buy - This one is the longest, to no surprise.

i) Pepper Spray, contact lenses, toiletries (refer to ii), bag for toiletries, international adaptor and of course clothes and shoes (Never have I had a better excuse to splurge and buy from the online Dorothy Perkins website, "The stores do not have my size Mama").

ii) I am a Toiletries aka things you can buy at the drugstore/pharmacy junkie. In fact, when I went to Outward Bound School, I had a small orange bag that was well stocked with everything one might need in the jungle. I swear I get a rush everytime I opened it and took out the sanitiser/baby wipes/mosquito repellent/sunblock.

5. To Pack - Has three lists: Luggage, Hand Luggage (Backpack + Handbag) and Toiletries Bag (which will be put in Bagpack).

I think you can already imagine the things in these lists, but I would make sure to throw in a pashmina in my bagpack.

I got one more weekend to go before the trip, and I guess it would be filled with last minute shopping such as: Sweater, charger, prepaid number, toiletries and maybe a small bag. And of course, a half hearted attempt at packing. Who am I fooling, everything would only be packed 30 minutes before going to the airport.

Mama is worried about our safety. Dad is worried we would get lost. Lil Bro is worried our asses will be Taken 2.

Eli is worried that we would look like potential brides for the IS. I am worried that my weight will increase from all the food.

Typical Hanis.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

68 Days.



I started the countdown at 218 days, and now its at 68. My level of excitement is slowly increasing. The number of checklists I have drafted is increasing as well.

Clothes I Need to Buy.
Stuffs I Need to Buy.
What to Pack in my Hand Luggage.
Questions on Istanbul.
Pre-Trip To-Do.
What I Will Eat There.
What I Will Do There.

And so on.

Do not misunderstand me, because I ... well, I realllly enjoy writing out these lists. I wrote out the 3rd one while at a seminar few days ago and decided that one must definitely pack a snack in case of emergencies. 

Snacks in Hanis' Hand Luggage Ideas.

A bar of chocolate.
Sweets.
A tupperware of sliced bread.
A can of tuna spread.
A can of Pringles.
And a zip locked bag of something healthy.

Yesterday, I submitted my application for the holiday. 9 days in total, from 30th Oct right till 11th Nov. It was approved few hours later and made it a bit easier for me to breathe.

Now, the things I should do in the next 69 days:

1. Get vaccinations for flu as it will be winter then.
2. Obtain a coat.
3. Shoes.
4. Find out what to bring to airport to get ticket. - Recheck ticket details.
5. Phone roaming.
6. Visa charges.
7. Make a list of questions to ask.

Which reminds me of a list I haven't written.

Things to Do 10 Days Before

Which probably would made up of:

Print directions.
Print tickets.
Download map app.
Download Turkish language app.
Buy paracetamol/anything to do with possible minor pain/discomfort.

But yes. I'm really excited for this. Its like the butterflies you get days leading to the first date with that dream guy of yours. 

68 days, do be easy to me.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Food Cravings




1. Time: Around brunch time of Monday.
Location: Office desk.

So, here I am fasting on a day that feels so miserable for 3 reasons. One: My tummy and back hurts. Two: Signs of an asthma attack an hour ago. Three: I am hungry.

Because of the way my tummy is hurting, soup comes to mind. Hot yummy soup that comes from a Campbell tin. Yes, I am hopeless against those.

I then remembered that there is a can of Seafood Chowder at home.

My Top 3 Campbell Soups

i. Potato and mushroom soup.
ii. Seafood chowder.
iii. Potato soup.

And do you know what goes best with a warm bowl of soup? Garlic bread.

Hanis' Garlic Bread

Melt some butter (baking butter if you can) and mix with minced/chopped garlic and dry herbs.

Note: Do add the garlic bit by bit because you do not want the taste to bite down.

Brush on your choice of bread, stack sideways together and wrap in foil, with a small opening on top.

Pop into an oven (140-150 Celcius) for about 20 minutes to make it fragant, warm and soft with a hint of crisp on top.

Now, imagine dipping a piece of that bread into the thick, warm soup before eating it.

My tummy just grumbled.

2. Time: Around tea time on Monday
Location: Office desk.

I have a container of red sauce in the fridge. Its still there because it had the misfortune of being a bit salty. Yesterday, I used some to make lazy pizzas.

Lazy Pizzas

Using the garlic bread recipe, toast the bread slices in the oven on one side. Flip over, cover with red sauce, chopped mushroom/tomatoes/capsicum/any deli meat of your choice.

Sprinkle generously with your choice of cheese.

Pop back in oven for 15 minutes at 150 Celcius. Or until the cheese melt and bread is a bit crisp.

But today, I wanted nachos. You know, with those tortilla chips buried under the sauce, chopped tomatoes and capsicum. And all hidden away under melted cheese and enjoyed with sour cream.

My tummy just grumbled.

Of course, you can buy a tortilla wrap and just cut those into tiny pieces and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 120 Celcius until they become crispy. Voila'!

Now just put them in an oven proof dish, put some sauce and chosen vegetables and grate cheese all over it.

I figure the oven should be around 150 Celcius until the cheese ooze and melt.

You can always choose what to put in the oven:

i. Tortilla chips with melted cheese, to dip into sauce and condiments.

ii. Vegetables sprinkled on top of baked nachos.

Its 19 minutes till work ends, and I know what Mama has prepared for the feast (More like dinner).

Beef noodle soup.

Bits of beef, tripe with juicy fatty parts cooked in a clear soup with some spices. The soup and beef are eaten with glass noodles and rice cubes.

Condiments: Fried tofu, chopped fresh herbs, crispy fried shallots,some green veges and dollops of a sauce made from blended bird pepper, soy sauce and lime juice.

It would be hot, spicy, succulent and so so tasty.

2 more hours to go till I can break my fast.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Hanis' Lunches


In an effort to be healthier and save money, I bring my own lunch every Monday to Thursday. Not on Friday because I usually have lunch with friends then.

Sometimes, I bring breakfast as well but somehow I lack the interest to think what to cook for breakfast because somewhere in my mind I keep thinking eggs and bacon.

People been asking me how I manage to bring packed, healthy-ish food for lunch and 90% of the initial conversation goes like this:

"Oh, you bring lunch from home?"

"Yeap *takes a bite*"

"You live with your parents, right?"

"Yeap."

"So lucky, your mother cooks for you. That's why you can bring food from home."

"Erm."

"Its hard working and then going back to cook."

"Actually, I cooked all of the packed lunches."

"No way."

"I do,"

"Does your mom not cook?"

The last question is such an insult. Perhaps these people (mostly women in their 30's with a handful of kids at home) grew up in a dictator's kitchen where you may only eat what the Mother made.

Mama cooks, nearly every day unless its the weekend (where the parents tend to go out and leave the children to fend for themselves) or when she is sick/tired/not in the mood.

I do eat, what she cook. And if I don't feel like eating, I am free to cook what I want, provided that I clean up every single surface used.

Sometimes, I even cook for the family.

Once people finally accepts that it is I who made the lunches, they'll ask me how do I manage to.

Basically by planning ahead, cook in batches and keep the menu interesting.

Okay, there are way more details that deserve their own posts. Hence, the birth of:

HANIS' LUNCHES

What you can expect:
-When to Plan
-When to Cook
-Healthier-ish Replacements 101
-Cooking in Batches
-Multi Task Dish
-Cooking Up Excitement
-Recipes here and there.

Not that there's many, but still perhaps enough to give you at least couple of weeks(8 days worth) of unique lunches.


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