Friday, December 8, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 8 & 9: West Iceland

The whale-watching town
Akureyri > Dalvik (35 mins)

We were recommended by our host to drop by Dalvik before heading west. If we are lucky enough, we may spot a whale coming up to the shore and do its magical thing - spouting water and do a few backflips, stuff like this. Despite keeping our eyes on tour boats, which apparently have the best chances as the locals would have a better understanding where to spot a whale, we did not see Moby Dick, unfortunately. 

Dalvik is a small harbour town, with a few tourist attractions like the museum or swimming pool, or hiking and skiing tours for the sporty.

Journey to the West
Dalvik > Airbnb (3 hours 40 mins via Route 1, 4 hours 10 mins via coastal route)

The drive to West Iceland is going to be one of your longest drive in the whole trip. We continued with the coastal route - and to be honest, there isn't much to see. You'll pass by many small towns, explore, get lost and immerse in the beauty of Iceland, take breaks, breathe.

Friday, December 1, 2017

December Scribbles - 2017

Here am I sitting at my desk in a half-empty office, having a break from prepping for the next meeting, still 80% stuck in holiday-mode from my recent trip to Xi'an, thinking about what to achieve in life, and scribbling thoughts here - which is pretty much the original purpose of having an online journal, isn't it? It's been a while since I have written anything personal - probably an annual habit, and I thought, why not? So here's a break from all the food and travel posts.
Dear reader,

In yet another blink of an eye, we welcome December again - a season of festivity and joy. It's also a period where you sit down, calm your heart and soul, and reflect on the year that is soon to be gone - along with your list of unachieved resolutions. Don't worry, you are not alone, I probably have half of my 30 items still unfulfilled. On a brighter side, January comes and you'll probably have another list soon.

A couple of days ago, we came back from my fiancee's hometown in Xi'an, China. It's a nice, ancient city, a perfect getaway for history fanatics (and foodies - the lamb skewers, nom). We went with the main objectives of visiting her relatives and giving them invites, and to take our second pre-wedding photoshoot. Speaking of which, I am very excited to show you the final products (probably in the next Scribbles). In addition to their professionalism and PS (photoshop) skills, it is not expensive at all at around RMB$4900 (which converts to SGD$1000) and includes a crazy lot of free gifts - some of which we have no idea how to bring to Singapore because of the considerable size. (Don't worry, I will include some posts of Xi'an within the next few weeks or so.)

Over the recent months, Lady M and I have been busy preparing for our wedding in February. We did a checklist - as detailed as we could - and tried to follow as tightly as possible. Thank God that we are not lacking behind much, it seems that there are so many things to do, to get, to settle. The procedures, the finance, the guestlists, the gifts, the decorations, the food, and the list pretty much goes on and on, and on. To be honest, we pray every night that may God pave the way for us and make the preparations a joyful and not an overly stressful process. God is good, even when we fail in so many ways. He is good, all the time.

"December will be magic again."

The sun goes down, and the moon goes up. That is all, folks. Have a pleasant Friday.

nom on.

- Thomas Chan

Friday, November 17, 2017

7 Best JB Cafes That You Can Walk From City Square

Johor Bahru's cafe-scene seemed to be blooming in recent years. The reason is pretty simple - Singapore's cafe food is too expensive. One plate of egg benedict and a cuppa at a decent cafe costs probably SGD$25. With the exchange rate now, that is equivalent to RM$75 and that can settle a pretty good 3-person meal (thank you Malaysia, truly Asia). That's why Singaporeans flock over during the weekends or holidays, and THAT IS WHY JB prices are rising as well. Wah lao. (Sorry ah, limbeh Singaporean so need to complain a bit.)

My mother always told me "ah boy, you siao (crazy) ah, go all the way to JB and eat, worth the time and money meh?" Okay, I don't go to JB all the time. Sometimes, the customs queue is a huge turn-off, but I do catch some movies and restock my own contact lenses there (damn cheap wei - but that's another story). So whenever I'm there, might as well go try cafes, yeah?

No car? No time? No problem. Here are 7 cafes that you can walk from City Square - the mall just after the Malaysia customs (if you're going from Woodlands Checkpoint).

Disclaimer: Cafes are not ranked in any way. Just that the first picture makes a good cover photo.

1. The Replacement Lodge and Kitchen
33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

This dainty, modern cafe sits at a prominent spot in Jalan Dhoby (aka Jalan Cafe or Jalan Hipsters, just kidding) and features an exterior of clean white walls - now this is worth mentioning because buildings are generally old and torn down around the area. The design of the cafe is minimalistic - pretty wooden furniture paired with white-washed walls. Sibei hipster.. and so much inspiration for my future home. To start off, The Replacement is seriously, and I'm saying it with a serious face, seriously insta-worthy. OMG, damn it, just look at this.

Friday, November 3, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 6 & 7 - North Iceland

North Iceland is home to two magnificent waterfalls (save the best for the last eh) and the Mývatn geothermal area. Wake up early on Day 6 to prep yourself for what's to come. Lady M and I headed to the supermarket, Bonus, in Egilsstaðir to get some bread, juice, yoghurt (and chocolate) - yeah that's like our standard road-trip snacks. It's a 2 hour-plus drive to the day's first attraction - Dettifoss, so you better be prepped.

The largest waterfall in Europe
Egilsstaðir > Dettifoss (2 hours 10 mins)

Besides carrying the title of the largest waterfall in Europe, do you know that Dettifoss is known as "the beast" as compared to Godafoss, which is "the beauty"? People have told us that Dettifoss is so powerful that you will hear the gush and feel the tremble of the ground before you even come close to the waterfall. Well, there might be some exaggeration on the "tremble" part, but I shit you not, this waterfall is crazily strong with an average of 96,500 gallons of water crossing its bow every second! Most paths to Dettifoss are gravel roads (meaning unpaved), but the journey is definitely worth it.

Trivia time! If this waterfall looks a tad familiar, it has appeared in the opening scene of Alien: Prometheus (2012), where the pale-looking being swallowed some shit and fall into the fall. Fall into the fall (see what I did there?)
Would you just look at the mist?

Friday, October 27, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 5 - East Iceland

On Day 5, we explored Eastern Iceland with the intention of self-taking our pre-wedding photos and my engagement proposal. Since the drive was short, we decided to wake up slightly later and had the best breakfast we had at our Airbnb's host with servings of cheese, jam, salami, smoked salmon and bread. The best thing? It's free of charge!

Airbnb (Þjóðvegur) > Egilsstaðir (2 hours)

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining with the cold winds. Without much hesitation, we began to make quick stops in between the drive towards Egilsstadir for our DIY photo shoot.

Friday, October 13, 2017

6 Superfoods That You Should Be Eating More

Happy Friday! This week's guest post is by Susan Conley from Cook the Stone ( who is kinda a superfood-manic. I am pretty sure you have heard of superfood before, let's see what Susan has to share about these superfoods that you should be eating more.

The term “superfood” has been abused as of late. Whenever there’s a new food supplement introduced in the market, expect its makers to label it as a superfood to highlight its nutritional value. But this trend should not make you cynical of foods that are in reality packed with all sorts of nutrients that can keep us healthy.  In this article, I will list down some of the true-blue superfoods that everyone should be eating more of.

1. Eggs

Source: Huffington Post

Do you love eggs? Let me tell you something--- I can’t have breakfast without it. Whether it’s a sunny side up or scrambled eggs, I should always eat eggs in the morning. Why? Not only because it’s delicious; eggs are also very nutritious. 

A large egg contains high levels of iron, selenium phosphorus and vitamins A, B2 and B 5. It also has choline, a nutrient that supports brain function. It is also rich in two antioxidants that promote good eyesight—zeaxanthin and lutein.

And don’t worry as eggs won’t cause heart disease unlike what your folks used to believe in.