Things I love about Canada

Having lived in other countries and traveled extensively I’ve come to realise that Canadians really are the nicest people in the world. Like – the nicest. Japanese people are the cutest but also very nice and Taiwanese are also super nice actually…maybe Canadians are the friendliest! Much more than Australians…and American’s certainly not the loudest but up there with all those hot Latin American countries and those spicy Spaniards and feisty Italians! Anyways Canadians are definitely the friendliest and some other things I’ve noticed that Canada has going for it are detailed below.

Things Canada has going for it:

  • Poutine. This is like the best thing Canada has going for it, in my opinion. Some will say cheesy fries are just like poutine but they are so so very mistaken. What makes a poutine so special is the cheese curds – they have to have just the right amount of squeak to make an authentic poutine. It’s also important that you ask for the poutine to be layered – fries, cheese, fries, cheese, gravy. This way you can maximise the stringy goodness in every bite. I don’t really recommend putting the gravy in the middle because then the fries on the bottom will get soggy UNLESS you’re a human vacuum in which case it’s ok. My personal favourite is Smoke’s Poutinerie which is a chain in Canada – GET THE VEGGIE GRAVY. Why? It is far superior than the beef, this isn’t even about being semi vegetarian or environmentalist or anything – just pure taste. So much better! Current state: Drenched from my own drool.
  • Ketchup flavoured chips and dill pickle flavoured chips. This is also the best thing Canada has going for it. These chips are bursting with so much flavour it makes my taste buds want to tingle off. I personally love that feeling. My favourite brands are Old Dutch and Humpty Dumpty, both a little hard to find but totally super worth it.
  • Canada also has maple syrup but so does like some parts of America but really no one cares about syrup in America. Maple syrup is just like a staple for so many things – including meat. And is often the secret ingredient in a lot of dressings – a dollop of syrup. Sometimes I use it to replace honey. It’s good on ice cream. Pancakes of course – bacon a must!!
  • Celine Dion. She’s seriously our national treasure. WORLDWIDE everyone loves her. I mean that, like Egypt especially – everyone’s ringtone is Celine. And her voice is powerful and I’m in love with her because she’s everyone’s first love  by default.
  • Justin Trudeau – I mean, he’s super nice so it’s hard not to like him.
  • Diversity. I really really really really love that. The diversity in Canada is so nice in a way we encourage people to keep their cultures AND be super nice at the same time. So that’s the best.
  • I feel our air is pretty clean so when I breathe I don’t feel like there are pollutants going into my nostrils.

Actually one time, I asked a flight attendant who the nicest country in the world was because you know they travel everywhere and they meet all types of people and when you’re traveling it’s like stressful and you’re tired and everything and you know what? She said CANADIANS. PROOF.

  • Sorry and thank you, all the time. I actually love that. I am really constantly saying sorry or thank you and it makes me feel really good. You can never really be too apologetic or too grateful!

And with that, thank you for reading my blog post. I hope you get to visit Canada someday, it’s like the best.

  • Oh another best thing, Ceaser’s! They’re like Bloody Mary’s but WAY better. Instead of tomato juice (ew) we use Clamato juice – which sounds ew but isn’t. It’s clam juice mixed with tomato juice which make the whole drink lighter but with an extra special tangy PUNCH!!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments. I always love hearing from you. Thanks for reading!!!! You’re the best!


What to do in Sydney + more – Part 2/2

Note: Sorry there are no photos, I’m having a coding issue…fixing asap – let this be a test of trust! My recommendations are good, I promise!

Some things I didn’t do but would if I went back:

  • Watson’s Bay beach club for a fun day of drinks and chill. Must take a ferry.
  • Royal National Park – a 1.5 hour drive from the city I would have liked to do a rock pool called Figure 8, a coastal walk called Wedding Cake and see the Wattamalla Falls.
  • Sandboarding
  • Spend more time in the botanical gardens
  • The grounds of Alexandria – a really cool spot to eat lunch.
  • Hang out at Bucket List on a Sunday at Bondi for good vibes
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – actually I didn’t get a chance to go in.
  • And other outdoor related things, paddle boarding, whale watching, kayaking etc.
  • Visit some vineyards

Things I don’t recommend:

  • Sydney Observatory tour – $20AUD  – I did the night tour but I didn’t think it was overly informative or interesting which is a shame because I really love space. Either way, an observatory int eh city makes no sense of course because there’s too much light pollution.

Things I suggest you consider:

  • Renting a car – it’s a really inaccessible city. If you are time rich, you’ll never have taken the bus so many times and can do it but otherwise, rent a car. Sydney is huge.
  • It’s really expensive. I mean really. The food, the transit, the sights. For reference – Orange Juice $8, Bottle of Water $3, Bagel with salmon and cream cheese $15, 15 minute taxi $25, Didgeridoo $120-$2400 but the best looking ones start at $350
  • All the shops close mega early – like 17:30-18:30 and I would consider 18:30 as late. That is being open late.
  • This city is great for families minus the cost because there’s lots you can do here.
  • There are a lot of stores claiming to sell UGGS but they are not THE UGGS you see back home. And you know what? They’re expensive! (Shocker)
  • Buying sheepskin here if that’s your thing
  • Or buying a didgeridoo, which I did – and I got a discount on it and you can get your GST back on transactions over $300. Make sure you download the app if you need to make the claim, it will save you a ton of time at customs.
  • The sun is very hot – wear a ton of sunscreen.
  • The weather can be very unpredictable, like hail in summer unpredictable and the weather is cool in the morning and at night but blazing during the day.
  • The signage in the city is terrible – especially for bus stands.
  • Use an opal card to get around equivalent of an oyster or octopus except you must tap on and off everywhere including buses which I forget to do a lot.

If you have any questions – please let me know! Overall, I think Sydney is worth it but I wouldn’t transit over 14hours for it. It’s not incredibly special like it’s neighbour New Zealand which I think is #worth it even though I haven’t been there.

 

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What to do in Sydney + more – Part 1/2

So first, I think the most common question I get asked in Sydney is whether or not I like it. And now I insert a fact, A FACT – not showing off or being obnoxious but A FACT. I have been to around 60 countries and hundreds of cities.

Sydney is like a cross between San Fransisco and Bali – it’s a city on the coast. It has a city centre and operates like LA in the way that you need a car because it’s so big but the traffic isn’t as bad but the transit is hella expensive and just insane. Going anywhere takes at least 40minutes.

Additionally – people told me Aussies are so nice, they are average nice, being a Canadian it’s really hard to compare, we are crazy nice. Like – “Hey! Sorry” – person A, “Sorry” – person B, “No, I’m sorry”- person A, and so and so forth until someone says “Thank you” and then you hug.

I think people get offended when you say you wouldn’t want to live there – I don’t want to live there despite what immigration thinks. I like it but there’s this slight edge and bro culture to the city that I don’t like. Besides that it’s really, really far from the rest of the world. It’s even not thaaaaaaat close to New Zealand or Bali.

Overall, I liked Sydney – I think there is a ton to do. My recommendations are:

  • Spit to Manly walk – take the bus to Spit bridge and it is a 3 hour walk (but wear hiking clothes) along the coast to Manly beach, from Manly beach you can take the ferry back to Sydney with amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house. I much prefer this over the Bondi to Coogee walk – while very nice, if you have driven Highway 1 looks very similar.
  • The Toronga Zoo. This was really touch and go for me. I didn’t want to see animals caged up but hey, guess what they weren’t really! Yes kangaroos hoping around. The thing with the zoo is that it’s really expensive $46AUD – but 2 people had recommended me to go before I came and several others while I was there. The cool thing with the zoo is the main attractions, like the bridge and opera house and backdrops to the zoo and again, the ferry ride is incredible. I would have spent all day there. There’s lots of talks and shows and the wild ropes walk looked so cool. Plus the cable car which was under maintenance when I was there but really, I loved it. I also read you can do a Night Safari and camp overnight there which sounds very cool but it is expensive at $330pp.
  • The Fish Market tour. This is an early rise – starting at 6:40am the 2 hour tour walks you through the auction process, brings you to floor – explains where all the fish come from, what to look for in fresh fish and really anything you want to know about fish. I think it’s expensive at $35pp. (All prices in AUD) – the reason why I think it was worth it is because I really learned a lot and I might never get into the Tsujki Fish Auction in Tokyo so this was my next best chance.
  • Bondi Sunday Market – markets here are really fancy – I’ve never seen anything like it – they have fitting rooms and take credit card (that’s how you know it’s not cheap)- but you know what I learned? You can still bargain! HA!

  • Harbour bridge to the rocks, to the opera house to the botanical gardens walk. Really easy, really beautiful. Tip: There’s no need to pay $15 to go up for the view, you can walk the bridge for free and get spectacular views and photos if you stick your phone out through the fence. I recommend a selfie stick. Have lunch in the rocks- a very cute and quaint looking area but forget the rocks market, really boring but nothing special to buy.
  • Bondi beach for the icebergs ocean pool – from the walkaway you can take a photo of this iconic pool. If you want you can swim in it for $6.50 and even use the sauna! Note, Bondi beach is no where near as Nice as Coogee beach which is a 15minute drive away, a $25 taxi or a 1 hour bus with transfer.

  • Rock pools – Sydney boasts many rock pools and it was one of the number one things on my list – my favourite one (I only went to 2) was Giles Baths, Coogee – first it’s free, second it’s set a little but on a hilltop and backs against the beach with views of the coast and crystal clear albeit cold water. It’s also good to mention that the rocks are quite slippery and there are no change rooms (Wylie’s baths just down the way have all the ammenties with a $5 fee but I don’t think it’s as stunning but more convenient let’s say if you have a family)
  • Try All You Can Eat Pizza at The Society in Bondi on Mondays and Tuesdays  – $20 for pizza that my Italian friends say rivals Italy. It was delicious.

\If you’re wanting more Angela in your life, subscribe to my instagram @aforangela and follow my instastories! Send me a message, would love to hear from you. G’day!


First Impressions of Sydney, Australia

Note: Apologies for not posting last week – I took the red eye, and well, you’ll see…

I’ve been debating writing this for the past week but I think facts are facts and information is both knowledge and power so here goes and hopefully nothing bad happens to me but it’s the internet and everything gets taken out of context. I landed in Sydney after a red eye flight from Hong Kong – there is a 3 hour time difference, Sydney being 3 hours ahead of Hong Kong. Since I’m a night owl, I caught about 2 hours of sleep.

Upon landing, I did the usual things people do like go to the bathroom. I went through immigration and I already felt like something was weird – the officer looked at my passport, looked at me, hesitated and wrote something down on my customs card. Not even 2 meters away did someone ask to see my card and ask me if I was on holiday. I was on holiday, yay!

I wait for my bag at the carousel like you do, and the second I picked up my bag and placed it on the trolley, I got a tap on the shoulder, “Miss, can you come with me please.” said the officer. Of course, I complied but like why me?

He informed me he wanted to check that my declaration card matched the contents of my bag. But really, it seemed much more than that as he sought me out in the airport, not at the customs line, but at baggage claim for what I am assuming is to make sure that I did in fact pick up my bag and I am assuming that I didn’t have time to swap it with someone else (hey- I’ve seen Locked Up Abroad).

And let me tell you, it’s scary. First, I had nothing on me, not even the yogurt off the plane and second, this has nothing to do with Australia but how I feel in general – we no longer operate on the innocent until proven guilty method, we do a guilty until proven innocent. Which is really not cool and like what the fuck.

I asked if this was a random search (I mean, he sought me out, it obviously isn’t random) and he said no, it wasn’t, then changed his mind and said yes it was, then he said – isn’t everything random? Well the answer to that is of course, no. He told me he didn’t know what he was looking for, he was just doing his job – this I find particuloarly hard to believe because how can you find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for? But at this point I don’t really want to get all philosophical. So we go on.

I do have to say, he was very nice. But maybe that’s part of the strategy, who knows. So this is how the whole thing goes down.

Well, first, they ask you if you filled out your card and everything is correct – is that your name, did you sign this etc. Next they ask for your passport – my passport is in a passport cover, he pulled it out and said – “Oh! You’re Canadian!” sheepishly (I’m not saying Canadians can do no wrong, they can but you know we have a stereotype) – I said “Yes” – next question, “How did you get this passport?” – “I was born in Canada”…and then goes something like, “Really?” and I say, “Yes.”

The following is a conversation but in that a series of leading questions. He asked me what I was doing here – holiday, was I planning to work? I said no. This question came up several times in different formats and sometimes the same format – but with more pressure, “Are you sure you’re not here to work?” – I’m sure.

On my declaration form, I put “Yoga teacher” in the occupation – he makes a comment like “That can’t bring in that much money” – ouch, I said, “I think I’m doing alright”…

From there he asks to look inside my bag, asks if I packed it myself, will he find anything sharp? I said yes and no respectively. And at this point, I honestly feel like what if someone put something in my bag? Like I’m nervous even though I know, from when I last saw it was just a regular bag with clothes and shoes and all other things travellers have like sunscreen and selfie sticks.

Wow that’s nice looking packing – some might even call it professional.

Upon opening my suitcase he finds that it is incredibly organized (no surprised to any of my fans here) – I even made it extra organized this time with new storage bags. He is quite taken aback by this level of organization and asks me if I am a professional traveller, I say no – and at the same time wonder what a professional traveler is. Frequent flyer? Not even. I have 0 status on every airline. I’m just an anal Asian.

He looks through all my stuff – makes another comment, “I’ve only seen professional travellers travel with this kind of packing” – I don’t know what to say really because I still don’t know what that means and so I explain that I like different storage bags for different items because that way when you pull out a shirt it doesn’t mess up the pile (I’m a fold, not roll kind of girl).

And you might be wondering – when I say he looked through all my stuff, I mean everything. Even squished all my tampons which I really wished he wouldn’t do.

He also asked me if I was carrying more than 10,000AUD, I was so shocked – I mean, I wish I was carrying over 10K but I have 500AUD  which I would later learn is no where close to what you need for 6 days in Sydney, hella expensive.

In the end, I think he was both confused and disappointed. He closed up my bag and asked me if I knew my zipper was broken (the pull tab fell off somewhere) and I said I knew. And he said I should get a new one. Well listen buddy – I just told you I don’t have over 10K on me, I’m not rich. You can’t have it all.

I should also mention there is much racial tension in Australia in general. I’m still not exactly sure what I was the target for but I will note that I was “randomly” selected on the way back to check for explosives. So first and last impression, not the best.

Canada – I love you! I miss you! I stand on guard for thee!!! EEEE!!!

 

If you’re wanting more Angela in your life, subscribe to my instagram @aforangela and follow my instastories! Send me a message, would love to hear from you. G’day!


Sailing through Palawan with Tao Philippines

Over Christmas, my boyfriend and I took a 5 day, 4 night sailing trip across the islands of Palawan. It’s taken me 20hours (at least) to edit this video (my first time editing) – I hope you like it! And sorry for the shaky titles – after I uploaded the video to YouTube – it helped in stabilizing the camera but the titles I had already put in get all funky. I’m trying to accept it. Happy Wednesday!

 

 

 


Shopping in Bangkok: A guide to Platinum Mall

Bangkok has recently entered into one of my top shopping cities worldwide (others include NYC and Seminyak, Bali).

What makes Bangkok so special is not that is boasts lots of malls (I mean it does) but that it has wholesale markets. A wholesale market is where a retailer might come to buy clothes (or any item) in bulk and then resell said item at their store for a profit.

If you have time, and patience, and can survive a Forever 21 around Christmas time then you’re the right candidate for shopping in Bangkok! But honestly, you don’t need to be Forever 21 level serious because even I can barely handle that place but what you do need is a sharp eye and some quick decision making skills. Additionally, you need to understand what size you are what type of clothes look good on you as you’re often not allowed to try things on. They will however measure you with a measuring tape to see if the item will fit you.

Many clothes are free size HOWEVER, if you are larger than an American Medium, this is not really the place for you. The sizes here run SMALL. For reference, I am an America XXS/XS/S and I am a M-L, more on the L side of things here. There are a lot of “Free Size” items – one size fits all, these items are quite large on me, looking very oversized Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen style – so you can fit into some clothes if you are larger than an American Medium but you will be limited in your offering.

Tip: Bring a mini suitcase so you can roll along your purchases, this is going to be an all day adventure and you don’t want to be carrying stuff in bags, you’ll tire easily.

Tip: Don’t bring your family – I mean you can but I think that’s crazy, it’s so crowded and there’s so much stimulus it’s just a bad idea if you’re a serious shopper. I recommend going alone or with 2-3 people maximum.

One of the greatest places on earth!

One of the greatest places on earth!

A Guide to Platinum Mall

Platinum Mall, though is technically a mall in that it is indoors and covered AND has air conditioning, it’s really a market in a sense. It’s shops within a mall but some tiny shops, some bigger shops but don’t expect fancy displays, it’s bags of clothes and chaotic hanging of items.

As I mentioned, it is a wholesale mall – there is little bargaining here. If you buy 2-3 items at one store then you get the wholesale price. The wholesale price is about 100 baht difference to the single item purchase price or 3USD. These items do not need be the same and you can mix and match the items within the shop.

Platinum mall is pretty big. It’s divided into 3 zones, among 2 buildings and 7 floors (Don’t forget the basement!). Each zone is divided a little bit differently (see below) but what you can find at Platinum mall includes: Women’s, Men’s and Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Accessories (purses, scarves, fashion jewellery etc), Leather goods, and a food court. There are also some cell phone cases but this is not an electronics mall. It is majority, a fashion mall with items coming from Thailand, China, and Korea. (Note: I have done some shopping in China and do not feel the clothes are duplicated in this mall).

Navigation for Platinum - study it well.

Navigation for Platinum – study it well.

The best way to navigate Platinum Mall is zone by zone. It is not IMPOSSIBLE to find a store again if you need to but I would suggest if you like something in one shop, buy it right then. Most shops sell different items and the prices are not different. If you see an item again and the price is different check the detailing again – there will be a reason why the price is different – usually something is left out like a lining or additional lace etc). My favourite zones are 3 and 2 for Women’s clothes – I think here you can find clothes that are similar to Anthropolgie, Club Monaco, and American Apparel. You really need to have a keen eye for this.

Worst photo ever but the only one I have.

Worst photo ever but the only one I have. Accessories Floor.

All stores take cash and some take Visa – there are ATMs around the perimeter of the mall, for reference, on average I paid 250 baht per item (about 6USD). Some items are as low as 100 and some up to 2000. 2000 baht items are usually dresses of intricate or formal detail. There is a surprising amount of women’s formal wear here.

I’m very careful with my purchases and came out with about 10 pieces – spending around 4000 baht which is about 114USD. What a bargain!

Platinum Mall’s website states it is open from 8am-8pm Saturday, Sunday & Wednesday and 9am-8pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. It is in my experience that the mall really opens at 9:30am and closes around 6:30pm. It is advised to go right when the mall is opens and on a weekday to avoid claustrophobia. Here you will find locals and foreigners shopping till they dropping. I can handle the mall for about 6-7 hours and in that time I have covered a lot of ground methodically, eaten in the food court but am exhausted afterwards. Go well rested, wear running shoes, and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions! Happy Shopping!

The Platinum Fashion Mall, Juristic Person
222 11th Floor Petchburi Road, ThanonPetchburi, Ratchthevi

http://www.platinumfashionmall.com


A guide/review to Rabbit Island, Japan

Ohkunoshima or “Rabbit Island” has been my brother’s fantasy for over 2 years. “A fantasy is conscious, a dream is unconscious” says my brother. Rabbit Island is most easily accessible when staying in the major tourist city of Hiroshima in Japan.

This island’s population is thousands of rabbits. There are no natural predators on the island which makes multiplying easy!

It takes 60 minutes to walk the entire perimeter of the island. We stayed for four glorious hours and it was definitely enough time, it’s also possible to spend 5 hours there up to a max of 6 if you are taking it very leisurely.

But what everyone wants to know is, what did we think? “It was great, really enjoyed it, fun for everyone, fun for all ages, something for everyone – there’s history, wartime history, and I don’t know..” says Anthony, “A unique paradise on earth” – when asked if his fantasy became a reality he said, “Yes it did”.  Anthony’s an introvert and so he only really says what’s needed but I KNOW that he LOVED IT!  L-O-V-E-D IT!!! He’s so glad he did it. It was his fantasy come true and you know what? I loved it too!!

The bunnies are extremely approachable and before you approach them they will probably approach you. They love carrots and cabbage (you must buy these things before you get to the island). The ferry pier on the way there sells pellets – 1 bag is 100 yen but if you buy 5 bags for 500 yen – the 6th bag is free. This is enough food to last you for 4 hours. Tip! Save your pellet bags and exchange them at the ferry pier for a free postcard! 1 bag = 1 postcard.

There are rules when visiting the island – no feeding rabbits close to the road or walkways – we don’t want rabbits on the road, rabbit injuries are bad. You cannot cuddle or pick up the rabbits. You can try to pet the rabbits but you will soon see they view you mostly as a feeding mechanism. Rabbits have poor eyesight so it’s best to shake your bag of pellets so they know where you are. You need to put food directly under their mouths so they find it. Rabbits also bite!! Hard! I got bit a couple of times. Do not put food where your fingers are, they will bite them. Instead, put food in the palm of your hand like a small cup. Rabbits will come to you galore!

This was one of the best days of our lives. I think it would be especially fun for young kids. There are rabbits everywhere and they aren’t rabid or dirty which is nice. You do need to do a bit of planning as it takes a total of 2 hours from Hiroshima to Rabbit Island, this includes 1 Shinkansen, 1 JR local train and 1 – 12 minute ferry. If you’re not a fan of water, not to worry! This is a very smooth and very picturesque ride. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section. We would be happy to answer them. Oh, and the island is FREE! There is no entrance fee. WowZA! What a win!! Please see our photos below.

Bunnies love to photobomb

Bunnies love to photobomb

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Bunnies flocking to a carrot. They can chomp. Chomping bunnies.

Come rabbit babies !!

Come rabbit babies !!

Rabbit ears

Rabbit ears

Rabbit Swarm!

Rabbit Swarm!

Rabbit head photobomb, we love you.

Rabbits – you so funny.

 

This is my first ever YouTube video! You can like it and share it if you want!

IMG_7682

Anthony in heaven.