Bali : Introduction and the first night in Kuala Lumpur

2 September 2014

*oh Bali...*

I've been thinking how to start sharing our Balinese trip and the first thing that comes to mind is just a dreamy sigh.

*oh, beautiful Bali*

But let's start from the very beginning.

We boarded the Dreamliner to Kuala Lumpur, not later than about 10h after coming back from T in the Park (the biggest music festival in Scotland, one that people, now including us, are pride to have survived). We were exhausted and so happy to have the next 7h to just relax, sleep, read and watch movies. It was my first long haul flight ever and the novelty of it was indeed very exciting, but I tried to keep my cool and concealed it by sleeping (obvs.).

We flew with Qatar airways over a couple of war zones, oblivious to the fact that two days later hundreds of people would tragically die on the same route, many of them indeed having boarded the Malaysian aircraft with the same prospect as us:  of a glorious holiday in Bali (such a chilling thought, that I still have shivers just thinking about it). Our flight however was peaceful and uneventful, I managed to watch the Hobbit and sleep a little. The next flight (Doha - KL) was much the same, only even more sleepy.

And then we landed in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. We wondered if the tiredness we were feeling was already jet lag, or perhaps still just an aftermath of the festival. KL was hot. And by hot I mean you felt like in a sauna, a hot humid cloud hugging your person and suffocating a little, water vapour instead of oxygen in your lungs. The train ride from the airport to KL city centre went smoothly but then we surrendered and ordered a taxi (13MYR, around £2.5) to our accommodation.

After escaping from the heat into our budget but air-conditioned hotel room we decided to search for dinner - Chinatown seemed like a safe bet for good food. Because it was the Ramadan month, we had a lot of trouble finding a taxi driver in the evening, as it was the break of fast time - sunset.Three drivers in a row refused to speak to us striaght away, but we persevered and a 4th one turned our to be a lovely chatty fellow, who even knew where Poland was (he used to work for the French embassy and delivered letters to the Polish consulate in KL).

We had dinner in an Old China cafe restaurant, which wasn't the easiest to find but definitely worth the search (thanks Lonely Planet). It's one of the oldest restaurants in KL serving Peranakan cuisine - cooked according to the recipes of early Chinese migrants who married local Malay ladies, resulting in dishes with a unique fusion of Chinese spices and Malay ingredients. While the restaurant was probably on a more touristy side than we would like, we didn't have much strength to look for a more authentic place or a food stall.

 ^Petronas Towers in the background
 View from our room over KL skyline.
Old China cafe.

Below: crispy shells called Pie Tees 

Frankly speaking, KL didn't steal our hearts on that first night.

But the following morning it was time to go to Bali,  the island of gods.


Old China Cafe
  • Address: 11 Jalan Balai Polis
    Petaling Street
    Kuala Lumpur

What to do when you're jet-lagged?

12 August 2014

... there were a lot of first times during our trip to Indonesia. 

The first long haul flight, first time outside of Europe, first broken suitcase, first jet lag. 

When we came back I woke up at 3 am and couldn't go back to sleep. I made a cup of tea in our cold and quietly eerie kitchen and sorted through the letters which accumulated over the past three weeks. I caught up with the news, having carefully avoided it while on the other side of the planet for the fear of feeling too far away from home to cope. 

4 am slowly appeared on my red alarm clock so I made a thermal mug of sweet tea, packed left over chocolates and I woke up J to watch the sunrise. It's been on my bucket list of things to do before we leave Edinburgh for good. 

We weren't the only ones on the Calton Hill. There was a cute (and very drunk) couple who decided to see the sunrise after a night of partying. She kept forgetting his name was George not Jerry. He was very fond of her, I could tell. 

We settled on the top of the hill and looked over the Firth of Forth in silence, the sky changing from grey to blue to orange and pink. The same sky that's hovering over the rice fields and seaweed farms in Indonesia. I sipped the sweet tea, J took some pictures. 

An ambulance sounded in the distance. I imagined fellow Edinburghers still in their beds, quietly breathing, allowed to dream for another hour or two.The sun rose and it was time to go back. 

most pictures taken by J. 

PS. How are you? It's been ages since I've written anything here. I'm currently in Warsaw doing my elective on a neonatal ward in one of the hospitals. I'll write about Bali and Indonesia soon... 

4 years ago

26 June 2014

 It was a perfect summer day. We felt so lucky.
4 years on, it's a perfect summer day, I feel even more lucky. 

Perfect frame

11 April 2014

Before going to Capri last summer, I imagined the perfect picture I would like to take. It was a beach full of people scattered here and there with a handful of people swimming in the sea. All seen from a cliff high above, beach-goes the size of ants, with colourful umbrellas dotting the white sand. Very vogue, you get the idea. Of course photography rarely works that way, and my case was lost from the very beginning as there are no sandy beaches in Capri. I was determined to look for opportunities to take a perfect frame, capture the moment I'd like to put up on a wall and remember what it was like being on this gorgeous island.

My perfect frame is not what I thought it would be. We went for drinks to one of the bars near Gradola beach (read rock shelf with a ladder). The sun was setting in the background and we enjoyed a few drinks and munching on pistachios. We laughed a lot because I got tipsy quite quickly as it was still before dinner and we usually skipped lunch in favour of gelato.

When it was time to go, we walked back up the steep steps to the bus stop and I spotted a lifeguard's red boat anchored near the rocks where we were sitting. It looked perfect on the background of dark blue sea and a faint silhouette of Ischia island on the horizon. I changed my camera settings to RAW and took the picture above.

When I look at it I remember the warm breeze from the sea, how content we were after a strong drink and with a prospect of a tasty dinner in one of the small Capri restaurants. Often the perfect frame is not the one you paint with your imagination, but one that finds you when you least expect it. (please excuse the cheesiness...)

Weekend in pictures

6 April 2014

^^J's breakfast

 ^^my breakfast

How was your weekend? Mine was very quiet... I guess that's what I needed. I'm on a psychiatry placement now (more on that later), which has been very interesting so far but by Friday I'm usually drained and ready for two days of not doing very much.

On Saturday I read my new issue of the Cereal magazine and tested a new bread recipe. Today we went to church and to Brew Lab for some good coffee and spent the afternoon watching "The first position" - a fascinating documentary following young ballet dancers preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City (it's available on Netflix now if you fancy watching it).

Anyway, I hope you had a relaxing weekend and here are some posts from around the web I enjoyed reading this week:

A tumblr that will always make you laugh.
The most honest blog about motherhood I've ever read.
A beautiful and candid post on loss and hope. 
Have you been to Marsille? Me neither, but we can go for a night walk in Marsille thanks to Google Maps.
This post makes me want to go to Marocco. I love the mountains and colors.
If you've ever freelanced as a graphic or web designer I'm sure you'll agree that this video is too true.