Wednesday, August 14, 2013

a train Before Midnight...

On the midnight train, I was thinking seriously WTH was I running through the dark endless tunnel which in fact was a wrong way (again) to catch my train at Woodland Checkpoint back to KL. The point was I actually re-enter and re-exit Singapore within 15 minutes, just because I went for a wrong checkpoint counter exit to the bus station instead of train railway. I finally found an answer to comfort myself before I fell asleep: 

"A trip without getting lost won't be my own trip anymore, isn't it?"
I should know it from the beginning.

Ask people about their favorite movies, and the same titles come up regularly - Eat Pray Love, Fast and Furious or super heroes film series. But some movies have special meaning for people even if they don't turn up on lists of established favorites. These are the secret movies we keep in our pockets like lucky coins. And of course we would like to share those movies with friends around but just when others don't appreciate or find no connection to them, you'll know then there's something intimate about them, as if they belong to us alone. 

If the phrases "Daydream delusion, limousine eyelash" or "Baby you are gonna miss that plane"  mean anything to you, then we are on the same boat.

The opportunity to watch Jesse and Celine appeared on the screen, I felt deeply happy to see them again. I know I will love Before Midnight too, but I'm a little trepidacious, just because the first and second movies were so perfect and hit me so hard in the best way, I don't want anything to ruin the magic of them. What if this one isn't as good?  
   
I was 20 when I first saw Before Sunrise & Before Sunset. The perfect age and it was everything I thought romance was supposed to be, meet someone, walk around a city just talking!

I love Before Sunrise which came out in 1995, took place primarily in Vienna (of course I didn't watch it in 1995, I was just 4 years old on that year). A street poet wrote a poem entitled "Milkshakes" for Jesse and Celine which ended with lines of :"Don't you know me?....Don't you know me by now?" And the palm reader's saying: "When the stars exploded billions of years ago they formed everything that is the world. Everything we know is stardust. So don't forget, you are stardust." 

Then I enjoyed Before Sunset, which took place in Paris and filmed in 2004. Celine played the guitar and sang a waltz song for Jesse which is revealed through the lyrics to be about their brief encounter. Now this newest addition, Before Midnight took place in Greece, 2013, which is definitely the deepest of the three I think. They still loved each other but this time they were older, heavier and bicker. The forces pulling Jesse back towards his song and Celine's determination to pursue her career in France tested their bonds to limits. 

"Still there", Celine said, as she watched the sun sank slowly into the mountains.
"Still there...still there...gone". 

Is the sun served as a metaphor for Jesse and Celine's relationship? Will the romance live on and live strong? Or will the monotony of everyday life dull their sparkle? Now they're together, what happens next?

I could only say Before Midnight once again sweep me away and off my feet into Jesse and Celine's world. Definitely a must-see movie for fans of the previous films. If I were only allowed to see one movie this year, I would want it to be Before Midnight. If I were only allowed two trips to cinema this year, I would see it twice. I'm not exaggerating. When I knew this move won't be showed in Malaysia, I had made up my mind to visit Singapore, just for a movie. 

And this trip to Singapore, worth everything. I watched Before Midnight, met all my friends who I really want to meet for a long time, in less than 48 hours. The trip get me more emotional. I laugh because I'm happy, tears rolling in my eyes as I'm touched when reading my birthday card but then ended up giggling alone in the bus because those friends are so funny, I feel disappointed, frustrated, tired. I mean these feeling are much more better than what I felt in the past few months in which I did so many things but feeling...nothing. 

After all, a train Before Midnight, made me feel like I'm living again. I was thinking seriously WTH was I running through the dark endless tunnel which in fact was a wrong way (again) to catch my train at Woodland Checkpoint back to KL. The point was I actually re-enter and re-exit Singapore within 15 minutes, just because I went for a wrong checkpoint counter exit to the bus station instead of train railway. I finally found an answer to comfort myself before I fell asleep.

Don't you know that, don't you know that by now...? 

PS: Thanks friends who meet me up when I was in Singapore, I would not want to say Goodbye to every single of you. Not to mention, sorry for my selfishness to run away myself to other place and ruined the birthday celebration plan, a big thanks to those who willing to spare their time waiting at train station just to give me a birthday surprise when I came back from Singapore. 

Sometimes I feel like the world treat me too well, but I'm just giving away that little...shit

Hey me, Happy birthday. -13.8.2013-

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"P" for Phuket

Almost forgot it was Saturday.

At 5am, we arrived at our home in Phuket, Bodega. Too early for us to check in the room and hence we’ve heading to Patong beach to catch the beautiful sunrise. We missed the sunrise though, ended up killing time by building sandcastles on the beach, like a kid. Met a cute American girl, Mikiuuu.


Lying down on the couch near the window, feeling the hum of the town, read a book, fell asleep, read the book, fell asleep. Resting was the only way to get us out of our lazy state of mind after few days in Bangkok. Till the time when we could go into our dormitory.
                                        
Our day in Phuket finally brightened up when Cooper Yen, a solo traveler from Taiwan joined our dorm, which was then followed by Claudia. Since then, a bond named friendships was built between four of us and we’ve stuck to each other for the next few days. 

Yen is cool, with almost similar educational background (Biochemistry) with us. He had a lot of traveling experiences to share with. The best thing was we’ll never get lost when walked together with him, a good travel partner indeed. On the other hand, Claudia is a real laughter from Texas but worked in Korea as a teacher. But I guess she would no longer in Korea at the time I write this blog post and most probably is already busying preparing her new life in Brazil. I love her optimistic nature; especially when the time our rented motorbike was broke down, she was still holding a positive mind saying that everything happened for a reason, we might not know if anything worse would happen if the bike did not break down.

Our itinerary in Phuket began on the next day to Phi Phi Island. Departure from the pier at Chalong Bay to Phi Phi Ley Island and Maya Bay where the movie “The Beach” was partially filmed. The beach was commercialized and crowded with tourists. The tour continued hopped on to the next few beaches and eventually arrived at Khai Nai Island to enjoy ourselves like a swimmng, snorkeling and sunbathing. Personally felt that the beach and water not really satisfied my expectation. But undoubtedly, the view was the exact same on the most prevalent postcard of Phuket.

The next morning, waking up with no plan, so we decided to rent 2 motorbikes to round the whole Phuket island. The journey was fun, let me thought of the previous motorbike riding experiences in Pangkor island. Claudia tried parasailing, we stopped at the same food market twice to try local foods, sky was crying, we rode up the road which was quite dangerous to Wat Chalong at night and the unfriendly guy at petrol station. We ended our last night in Phuket, lying down on the same couch near the window. My eye was closing.

The last few hours before we left, there was a power cut at Bodega, the place we stayed. We had no electricity since 5am something. To make the matter worse, we had no water supply. So we just grabbed our toothbrush, had a quick face washing at a 24-hours fast food restaurant nearby. Leaving Phuket in this way kinda embarrassed. And of course, a scene saying goodbye to Yen and Claudia. Both of them leaving Bodega early in the morning to their own tour trip; Yen joined canoeing in James Bond Island while Claudia went for elephant riding. Life is made of ever so many partings welded together, isn’t it?       

For Cassey and I, finally, after 9 days trip in Thailand, “HOME” was where our heart is. Both of us back to the right track started our first job on the subsequent Monday after the trip. As what Claudia said, reality…

No one realized how beautiful it was to travel until he came home and rested his head on his old familiar pillow. I had been travelled here and there for the past few months but I feel like I’m just at the beginning of a big journey the life is.

The end of a trip always starts with another new one. Be ready anytime.
C'est la vie. This is life.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

in Bangkok, still...

Burger King on Khao San road is actually a good place to observe the streets. Me and Cassey spent almost an hour there staring at the street, writing postcards. The reason behind we’ve loitering around there was to meet two of my lomography friends. For those who don’t know what is lomography, click here.

Back to my stories, yeah, we were going to meet two new friends but I seriously have no idea on how they looked like. I told Cassey but she couldn't care less about it, telling me that "This is not the first time that you have done it". So I expected the other side to recognize me. When going downstairs, I saw a girl dressed like a tourist, looked like a Korean. 

“Are you….Darren?”

I was shocked, not to expect that she was her, I mean she was Be, the girl I wanted to meet. I knew Be through lomography website, we shared some ideas and decided to have film swap together. After that, with no reasons, we disappeared and lose contact for some times, like never knew each other before, till the date of my Bangkok trip approached. Then we agreed for a meet up to exchange the films personally instead of postage. 

Feeling glad when Be invited one of her friends to join us. Pui is a great lomographer, with good personality that showed his humbleness all the time. I admired his enthusiasm to his job as a sport new writer and of course his passionate towards lomography. 

Photo shot by Pui, at Burger King

We talked about lomography, movies, funny moments. Good chatting time in a cafe with vintage atmosphere. 

Then we back to our hostel, packed our belongings and left. We moved to another district of Bangkok, known as Silom. I had to say that Silom definitely showed a total different side than in Khao San Road. I prefer Khao San, the haven for the backpackers of the world. 


Guess what, when we're on the way rushing to jetty, we met someone, from Spain, still remembered him...Jero! I could not believe it when I firstly saw him. He was stunted too when seeing us. I mean, the world is so small, just like how the bird crapped on me the day before. Khao San Road, a place is not only a place, but an opportunity to meet loads of people. Things happened out of the plan and Jero finally joined us for a stay in Mile Map Hostel.


The next day, me and Cassey joined another half-day tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It's a good place to see how people do their normal trade of fruits and vegetables and ordering and eating in and during the boat tide. On the way to floating market, the tour van we took met with a minor accident, no one was injured, luckily. That night on the same day, we saw an accident. The victim drew his last breath at the occurrence place. Death doesn't bargain.   

How beautiful every last breath of life is.  


To awaken in a strange town, realized that life still going on, was one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. Cassey and I had our last shopping hours before leaving Bangkok. At 5pm, we've on the bus heading to Phuket town. The bus journey took us almost 12 hours to reach.

A brand new journey ahead, to be continued...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Still in Bangkok...

"Poop..." a slight sensation on my head.

Guess what, I had been crapped on by a nowhere yellowish, liquidity bird dropping. Not smelly though, gratitude. The world is so big but the bird picked me, all in all, a lucky crapping indeed. Since then, I got a hat throughout the whole journey. 


Arriving Kanchanaburi after almost 3 hours drive northwest from the capital, Bangkok, was really exciting. Forget to mention, me and Cassey joined a day tour trip and our first destination was River Kwai. Tourists were allowed to walk across the bridge on the River Kwai and could be really close to the train when it was coming.

Then, we met Min-su and Jero. We were all on the same tour van. We firstly talked to Min-su, she is a nurse from Korea. A solo traveler. Her previous traveling experiences with friends but rushing away after a quick look made her understood that there is something not everyone appreciates and can be fully enjoyed only when one can savor it on her own. Thus, she decided to go on solo trip. Jero, a spanish solo traveler, got into our van after River Kwai. I could hardly understand his English actually, somehow his body language and face expression showed his charisma and personality.   


After River Kwai, we moved on to Thakilen station, the moment that I waited for so long. The most interesting part was the train would pass by the platform slowly and we had to jump onto the train quickly.  The experience was unique in the sense that I felt like going back time to the historical age of old trains, the compartment had all wooden seats with a cushion and large open windows through which one can gaze upon the Kanchanaburi countryside. The train slowed down near the bridge where we can catch nice views of River Kwai. A gentle reminder, please choose the left hand side seats so that you could capture spectacular views instead of cliff when the train passing the death railway.
 
I was too excited when the train passing slowly. Too bad I had no chance to slip into the left hand side window to feel the breathtaking views. That’s made up my mind to visit here again. And I do really want to stay at Kanchanaburi. I found a nice guesthouse over there but too bad we already booked our accommodation during the whole trip, so I had to let go. Perhaps next time?

Hmmm… for sure, YES.



We had our lunch with gang of travelers, included Min-su and Jero. The next station, waterfall. Couldn’t control myself to stay calm when hearing the relaxing waterfall nature sound. The rocks were slippery, the water was cold, regretted I did no jump into the waterfall for the first second. 

Goodbye waterfall, goodbye Jero, till we’ll meet again. 

The end of this day tour. Jero was not following us back to Bangkok as he would want to stay in Kanchanaburi. Me, Cassey and Min-su, back to the van, left.

Min-su was going to left Bangkok on that night. After arriving, 3 of us headed to Khao San Road, to have a street food dinner together, also for a small farewell to her. I still remembered the reaction and expression of Min-su when she had intention to smell and try Durian. Yes, me and Cassey kept on persuading her to try durian and her wanna try new things nature almost made her retched. Hahaha...

Goodbye durian, goodbye Min-su. 

A long day indeed, felt like plenty things were happened even the day was just our second day in Bangkok. I was sitting in front of PC at Khaosan Baan Thai, beside me was seated by Sung Sung, the receptionist girl. We chatted for a while, ended up went for a movie together, World War Z. Watching movie in Thailand was a new experience for me as we had to stand up to show our respect when the King’s song played after the trailer shown. We learnt new Thai cultures from Sung Sung. She is actually a Thai with Chinese mixed blood flew inside her body. Knowing Sung Sung made me love this home more.
 
What does really matter when we come as guests and leave as friends. Strangers are just a friends before we've saying Hi, I still believed.