Christmas Holidays

By Chloe Coradetti, Mechanical Engineering, The National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore

12888519_10209261376231258_8562300690942046819_o
Stumbled upon a free art/music festival in Tokyo: We ❤ Japan

Hello Manchester,
I hope that you had a lovely Christmas holiday, I sure did!
Here is a formatted report of my adventures in chronological order.

Myanmar – 10 days – 5 chaps: a ripper water boy, a charming cat lady, a mad temple joker, a ginger philosopher and me, a happy frenchie.
Bangkok – 3 days – Same crew, DreamTeam

Instant Memory:
Walking through a pagoda, skipping happily around the delightful colours and golden sculptures struck by a shinny sun, Alex, walking ahead of us, was invited to sit with a family having a meal on the holy grounds. As they saw that Alex wasn’t the only Ang Moh around (singlish for white looking people), they invited all of us at their table (metaphorically). They generously and proudly shared their delicacies with us. We were all very touched, and no need to say that the food was delicious! Against what you would think, language barrier was not a problem: gestures, smiles, laughter and tone can be so powerful even in the lost meaning of a foreign language’s words.
This family was just bluntly generous, it is so rare nowadays (especially in our western culture?) that it just really resonated with us all; what a wonderful human experience!

12525125_10156485330510436_4824424304847433082_o
Table of the golden hearten emperors. Caption credit to Adam Rosillo

Summary: Funny & intense trip
Genuinely, the nicest and most generous population I’ve encounter. Very inspiring.
We also meet two Chinese travellers on our way to Bangkok. We shared a meal and a beer, but most importantly stories, political opinions and insights. I’ve learned so much that evening, it was eye opening.
We visited Yagon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inlet Lake and passed by Mawlamine on our way to Bangkok (yes we crossed by land, that was an adventure in itself for sure!). Exhausting bus trips, but that was the cheap option and it is also nice to actually feel the distances travelled as well as admire the countryside through the window. The landscapes were breath-taking as well as our nights due to some heavy banter or intense game of cards. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

Myanmar collage
From top left to bottom: Bagan field of temple in the early morning, Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, a pagoda in Mandalay as part of our road trip.

 

Bali/Kuala Lumpur/Melacca/Singapore – 15 days – Mum, Dad, Grand-Ma, and Sis’

Instant Memory: Family dinners are literally the best; you can switch from family gossiping to arguing over political opinions in half a second, and you eat delicious food. This time we were eating on of Bali’s finest specialties: Babi Guling, which is a slow cooked pig basically. You get a little piece of every part of it, crispy skin, tender parts, sausage and more: Delicious!!

Babi Guling
Babi Guling. Caption CNN

Summary: Lovely
Many exchange students who are doing a year exchange went home for Christmas to celebrate with their family. I was a bit saddened by the idea of not seeing them for Christmas but I didn’t want to miss the occasion to travel loads, I was very excited for it.
Therefore, my family decided to come see me for Christmas, and travel together!!
It felt so good to see them all again. Everything fell into places very quickly like we never got separated; that’s such a great feeling which is so special to family, siblings and very good friends. I’m very lucky and grateful that they managed to all come see me for Christmas.
We had a lovely time, and, I’m not gonna lie, having your parents with you make you forget that you are on a tied student budget which is very enjoyable.
Bali was a refreshing trade off between rice terraces, volcanic nature and beaches.
I have to admit that celebrating Christmas on the beach is quite something.
Melacca was especially nice with its jetty, good food and cool street market in which we got lost and ended up dancing in the alleys to the Indian music the vendors were playing.

Famille montage
Top: Kuta beach and Ubud rice terraces in Bali Bottom: Christmas Meal by 30 degrees!

 

Japan, Sapporo/Tokyo – 7 days – The Totally Spies

Instant Memory:
Wondering the streets in Shinjuku, Tokyo at night is very exciting. You never know what you are going to find; from the tiniest bar in the world to some School or Haunting House themed restaurants! After exploring, and getting lost in Shinjuku, we met on the metro back a very friendly and chatty Japanese women who started singing along with us (Mr.Bieber –Sorry … not sorry). She was really into all the musicians called Justin in general; I guess we can’t blame her when we know what Timberlake looks like… It was the most random and hilarious chat you can have with a stranger on the metro, only in Tokyo!

Japan montage 2
Hokkaido University Park, watching sunset on Mount Fuji around the lake, Manchester invading the Japanese metro, Japanese style bedrooms and mattress, Robot Restaurant performance.

Summary: What would be winter without snow?
I cannot recall a single winter break when I did not go skiing. This one was not going to be the first… I could not let this happen!
Off I was, with my two besties to JAPAN! You know, this country that organise crazy TV shows where you have to open a door thanks to some clamps attached to your nipples, kinda quite literally. The Japanese culture is so special and intriguing! I mean come on they have the best toilets in the world, so many options from auto cleaning to playing some water music to help you pee!! Of course I’ve tried them all … #adventure
Additionally, Japan has some pretty sweet skiing spot, such as Sapporo. We rented some gears and spent a whole day in the snow. And what a snow!!! One of the best I’ve experienced; perfect mix between soft powdery and harder tracks. It was AMAZING!

We were then off to Tokyo, to stuff ourselves up with sushi. Food was just absolutely wonderful. The city was impressive with its many tall neon lighten buildings, and its Imperial Palace; perfect mix of the modern and quirky culture with the noble history of Japan.
We totally rocked the metro system by the end of our trip: Pros 😉
My favourite part about Tokyo is probably all of the various tiny bars and restaurants. Why? Because they all have a specific theme and that, my friend, is brilliant! Every night out is going to be a unique experience. In the Retro Games bar, we ended up playing on some vintage Nintendo 64 and many more in a chilled atmosphere, surrounding by fantastic anime and cartoons figurines.

Japan montage 1
Retro Game bar, Teine ski station (credits Aislinn Crawford), Sushi ❤ and fortunes from Senso-Ji temple in Tokyo

Leave Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s