Tokyo – Manila – Melbourne

Today is about..

Bidding goodbye to my beloved Tokyo and Japan. Dragging our big luggage from One@Tokyo hotel to Oshiage SkyTree station.Taking two trains to reach the Narita Airport. Eating one last Yoshinoya meal for the year (unless we come back in Christmas — which is very likely). Drinking Starbucks’ Seasonal Hot Azuki Beans and of course their softest Strawberry Chiffon cake. Sleeping all throughout the flight to Manila. Almost losing it at the Manila International Airport. And watching Booksmart on the way back to Melbourne.

Manila International Airport is Boring

I am in the Philippines waiting for our flight to Haneda in another two hours and let me tell you, Manila International Airport is hella boring!

So far I had brownies crips, not so mini almond croissant, and a sad hot tea from the only one food stall that accepts credit card.

And there is no bookstore! That’s just utterly wrong. Even the plain Melbourne airport has two bookstores. speaking of Melbourne airport.

This airport also doesn’t have a bar. How do you spend time here without beer or books?

That’s three strikes for me.

Fafa, on the other hand, didn’t need three. The minute we landed, he told me we are never going through Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport ever again when we travel.

You would think of us, fellow third-world countries people would have a better understanding of the airport. But by God, even some of our not-capital-city airports are better than this.

I have been eyeing their local snacks though. Many look so interesting that I am curious to try some.

The flight from Melbourne to here has been uneventful except for the nauseating last half-hour because of the gloomy cloudy weather. I managed to sleep most of the flight because I didn’t sleep much the night before. and I also half-read and finished the Train Man book. The book is bad. I will write more about it soon.

Ps. Toilet is clean.

Ten of Swords Trip Back Home

I think I experienced hell recently by sitting on a window seat in a plane for 12 hours without standing nor sleeping on my way back from Amsterdam to Melbourne. The only good thing about the flight was the Indonesian food (written in Bahasa Indonesia) on the in-flight menu: ikan bakar madu – honey glazed bbq fish.

Thankfully I had a stopover in Singapore.

I stretched my legs, had a quick meal (it was breakfast or lunch or dinner depends on which time I referred to) with my cousin, who was going home to Jakarta. I spent the rest of my hour at the airport in the bookstore where I bought a book about the city I once called home before boarding another plane that would take me to Melbourne.

This time, I requested an aisle seat, which I usually dislike because of all the disruptions, but I thought it would be better for me if I still felt like stretching. Weirdly, I slept off the minute the plan went up in the sky and only got woken up the next day when they served the in-flight meal (which I too wasn’t sure whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner).

A smooth immigration process and $83 taxi ride later, I was finally home.

Travel Pillow

Of all the things I wasted my money on, I had never once or bought a travel pillow. For the longest time, I convinced myself I didn’t need this or earplugs, or a travel backpack.

And the truth is that I didn’t. My flights were always acceptable and I am always ready to use up points to bump into direct flight whenever possible. But there I was, in the airport, delirious after gulping my sleepy night time tea before immigration nursing the burnt tongue of drinking the said tea too fast. I saw an array of travel pillows. 2 for 45 or 2 for 99. Who travels with two travel pillows?

I remembered my 8-hour flight to Singapore, followed by the 4-hour flight to Chennai, followed by the 2-hour flight to Goa, followed by a rehearsal dinner in Goa, followed by cousins’ pajama party, followed by cousin W’s wedding, followed by the same flights back to Melbourne. I remembered being almost dead when I reached the office.

It made me realized, at this age, I need extra support. I mean other than the tea and the Travelmate sleepless jet lag pill. Also, Amanda told me so.

Then, I sent a tweet: should I get a travel pillow? Or this will be one of another one of my travel sins?

I, of course, didn’t get any reply because I’m not Blake Lively. I went to the waiting room, but I was too early, another side effect of being this age. So, I walked back to the bookstore and browsed every single book available there.

Still tempted by the travel pillow, I weighed my options: it might be another stupid thing in my closet or a game-changer. What I should have done is google the review of it but it is seriously past midnight, you guys.

I went ahead and did the test. Squishiness, foldability, a pocket to save the phone, and of course, color. After what felt like a long consideration, I took the pink one to the cashier only to tell them I’m going to change it to black. Felt like it would be more durable for droll and being dumped into the inside of my backpack.

I paid for it together with a magazine called Collective when I saw the first sentence about buying unnecessary things (what a cliche). I hooked my brand new travel pillow into my bag and later took it off to hook it onto my neck immediately once I reached my seat. I immediately regretted not buying the noise cancelation plug as I was seated beside a talkative couple. 

Anyway, I just woke up and I’m still wearing this thing on my neck and hotel slippers on my feet and let me tell you it’s a fucking game changer.

I slept so much better and without any neck pain that I usually feel from my head bobbing while sleeping. Life has been upgraded and merely for 99$ for 2 travel pillow.

Back from Japan

11 days and 999 pictures later, I am back from Japan!

We touched down in Melbourne yesterday morning and I spent the whole day recuperating from the long and tiring plane rides back home. Between then and now, I have had Nasi Lemak (Singapore Airport), Briyani, spicy Szechuan chicken, a copious amount of lavender tea, a large flat white, a bowl of pho, and pasta puttanesca.

Those things combined with the icy cold weather and back to back meetings at work, I am finally grooving back into the daily routines.

Japanese in SQ – SG to Narita

I am on the plane to Japan. They served authentic Japanese cuisine and it was oishi!

If the food in SQ tastes like today, I am looking looking forward to another gastronomical experience in the air in ten days.

Oh, next ten days feel so far away.

It feels like writing on a clean empty pages of a book that will be filled with amazing memories. But let’s not deny it will go so so fast!

I wonder how can we make the holiday last longer? At least for it to feel longer? Wake up early or earlier? Stay up pass our bedtime? Meet the local? I should email Kota, my Japanese counterpart, for a drink? Wouldn’t that be weird?

Idk something needs to be done though.

To make our Japanese memory last longer, the first thing I am going to do once we land is to ask Fafa to try to the toilet. And for me to find a matcha pudding in Starbucks.

Oh man, I am kinda obsessed with Starbucks in Japan?

I should have started a blog category and start writing more about it years ago. Maybe I will.

Speaking of writing as in pen and paper. I have to ask Brenna of Battered Suitcase does she keep writing in her notebook and if yes why?

Ps, I bought a liquid art lipstick from Bobbi Brown in Melbourne airport today. My justifications: it’s a color that I don’t have currently and the tube looks innovative.

SQ Seat 58A 1.31 PM

I am on way to Narita. To Tokyo. To Japan. The last time I was there was in 2015. Less than 2 years ago, but with my constant yearning about Japan, it feels like a lifetime away.

We reached Singapore a couple of hours behind schedule. We headed straight to the food court for some chicken rice and teh-o.

I tried to book a transit hotel but it was full. Lack of plan on our part.

Ended up Ninja sleeping on the waiting room seat near the gate.

It was uncomfortable with occasionally being woken up by people onboarding and once by the Indian song played by the janitor.

A couple of dreams later — including the last one being unable to walk due to sharp pain in my tight and complaining it to Amma — I woke up to a real sharp pain because of the ninja style sleeping.

Having had enough with the sleeping, we decided to take shower in the lounge by paying $16 each at 5.10 AM.

It turned out to be the best thing we agreed on today.

I felt so much better and much more alive, relatively happier, and kind. I guess it’s true that they say nothing like a hot shower can’t fix. Feeling much lighter. We walked around and had kopi team breakfast: butter sugar toast and iced-lemon tea for Fafa, half boiled eggs and another teh-o for me.

We walked around and stopped at Starbucks to satiate my year long craving of Starbucks’ moist almond cake. I think they don’t carry it anymore 😞. Every time I tried to get it none of Singapore Starbucks have it. I think that’s officially become a memory from the past. RIP almond cake.

How To Take Bus from and to Melbourne Airport

Take the train to Southern Cross Station — From Southern Cross Station, take Skybus straight to the airport. Skybus leaves every 10 minutes. For more details, please check out the timetable here. Don’t forget to count the traveling time, which is around 1 hour from the city center.

Happy traveling, you guys!

Tomato Rice in Tiger Airways – India to SG

Who ate food at midnight 40,000 feet in the sky? I did. I just came back from a family function, packed my bag, and took a flight to be able to go to work right after I landed. It was a tiresome night and I knew a meal would help me forget about the piling paperwork that was waiting for me in a few hours. It came, I tore it open and had to force myself to finish it. The picture described it quite well. The Tomato Rice (I think it’s tomato rice) was such a disappointment. Here is how actual tomato rice looks like and its recipe.