All I ask you, is let me be there

Gallery

IMG_20180621_071252

Hi everyone,

The only thing on my mind right now is Travel. OK, not the only thing. But I really want to go out, explore, meet new people, make travel pals, and see the world. It’s not only about seeing the popular and fancy destinations, but I look forward to the simple and humble ones too. I want to have experiences, I want to tell stories.

img_20170102_221511

Travel has taught me so much. As I look back, I’ve noticed how I’ve evolved as a traveler, right from chalking out the entire itinerary days in advance, to packing accordingly, to learning to navigate through Google maps (I’m still terrible at this), and to realizing that souvenirs are not meant to be bought like you’re Santa Claus. While planning your stay, Sure, it’s easy to just book the first fancy hotel you see on the list and trust that everything will be perfect in terms of amenities, safety, and service. But that comes with a huge price! If you have the moolah, why not, right? But it’s a different experience altogether researching about the locations you’d be visiting, their distance from your hotel to help you save International travel time, the offers going on etc. I can proudly say that I’ve loved my stay at the luxurious Parisian in Macau and in the same breath admit that I have saved a huge bit by staying at the Atlas, a hostel in Hong Kong on my last day there. The key is planning right. At the Parisian I enjoyed the fancy buffet, some time to myself by the poolside , those fine dining meals, gambled at the 360° Casino and even explored the Venitian property (as the properties are linked internally) with the gandola rides and strutted in and out of those high end luxury shopping stores. The Eiffel Tower within the Parisian property, especially in the evening was an ethereal experience too, completely worth it’s hype. The reasons behind picking a hostel on the other hand was, one to know what it was like to live in a hostel, and two, because as per our itinerary we were to be out & about the entire day and all we needed was a decent place to wash up & rest when we returned late at night. It worked out perfectly. Of course, we checked reviews about safety, service, the staff etc and then finalized on it.

P1040062

The Parisian- Macau

P1040066

Breakfast like a king

P1040077

Cuz tea, why noy?

To me, travelling is much more than a relaxed holiday. It’s more learning & discovering, whether it is about different cultures, different types of societies, food, fashion, languages or anything else. Honestly none of my trips Abroad have ever been with the intention of going easy or relaxing. The only relaxation time is either at the spa or when it’s bed time!

IMG_20180625_142429_HHT

Beer spa at @SenseofTouch Hongkong!

Just thinking about it, is getting me pepped up. I should be making a list of destinations I would like to visit soon. Hoping it all comes together even sooner! I think I deserve a trip to say the least.
If you love travel , or you’re planning a trip let me know how do you go about it? What kind of a traveler are you? I want to know all about it!

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Doing that thing you do

Gallery

IMG-20181221-WA0031

Hi all,

Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Christmas season. The year has almost wrapped up & honestly I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I think I’m otherwise a kind person, so when I say 2018 has beaten the shit out of me, you should believe.

Anyway now that I’m glad it’s coming to an end, to keep some distracting thoughts away I started thinking about plans for the coming year. Not resolutions per se, but more like a bucket list. In the past I’ve attempted making a list of things I’d like to accomplish but I’ve somehow put it away after drafting 2-3 points. Maybe I should’ve tried after chugging some chilled beer, well it’s never too late!

IMG-20181220-WA0055

Bucket list for 2019:

– Visit Pondicherry in South India. I’m keen on exploring those French colonies on bicycles and seeing the beautiful Auroville ashram. I will be picky about whom I go with here because honestly I wanted to do a solo trip.

– Take up a new class. There are a couple of things that seem interesting but I need to figure how feasible it really is with my work timings. I’m thinking of contemporary dance, learning a musical instrument, or even attending a bar tending workshop.

– 2018 has damaged my hair (and me) and by the looks of it, it’s beyond repair. I’m thinking maybe Hair spa? Need to do a little research on how this works.

– Here’s a fact that I often use to get away from the marriage topic. I cannot cook. And that’s 100% true, I don’t know how to prepare a single dish from scratch, let alone an entire meal.  No plans of marriage for me, but it certainly wouldn’t harm to learn some easy to cook recipes.

– Commit to a charitable cause. It’s been on my mind for sometime now. I want to spend my time with the old & the lonely, with under privileged kids, with cancer patients. And I do not want it to be a Birthday or a Lenten or a Christmas deed. I want to definitely commit to this. If possible, I request you to add this to your bucket list too.

– A tattoo. For close to 2 years, I’ve pushed the thought away. But maybe the tattoo was destined to happen in 2019. Hint : It will have a musical sign for sure.

– Take mom on a holiday, whether domestic or International doesn’t matter, but a nice pampered vacay is what we need. Look at us from the recent Goa trip!

IMG-20181220-WA0019

– Post a lot more here on the blog

– Maybe get a life!

I’ve tried to keep my bucket list as basic and achievable as possible.  I really don’t care about things like Bungee jumping off a cliff or sky diving or scuba diving or seeing the Eiffel Tower. Maybe at some point I did, but with time these things have changed.

Let me know what do you look forward to in 2019.

Anyway wishing you all a fantastic end to 2018. Be happy, be safe. Travel a lot, read and blog a lot more!

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer

Franchua D’Souza

Mama Mia, how can I resist you!

Gallery

On this lazy Sunday afternoon as I lay in bed with my feet stretched out to the cupboard next to it, I’m thinking mozarella cheese. I’m thinking Burrata cheese. I’m thinking home made pasta. I’m thinking a glass of fancy red wine. I’m thinking some great music. I’m thinking great company. I’m thinking of a great Italian pasta bar in Hong Kong. Oh wait, I’m transported to Pici (Pronounced as Peachy)!

IMG_20180625_130003

If you’ve read my previous travel posts, you will know that I’m not a big fan of South East Asian cuisines. Considering it is an acquired taste, I think my palette is opening up to it, but I can’t say I’m fond of it yet. Thankfully Hongkong has so many options available, I survived it without missing Indian food.

Here’s another thing about me. I’ve never gone trekking in my life, well at least not until Hong Kong happened. On one of my days there, the inner athletic in me decided to go trekking on the Dragon’s back. A legit 4 hour morning trek with a few stops to admire and click the scenic views.

P1030858

P1030849

P1030832

It was certainly a personal accomplishment and what better way than to celebrate it with some great Italian food!

P1030881.JPG

IMG_20180625_125853

If you’re in Hong Kong, you’re probably well acquainted with Pici. Initially I called it everything from PC to Picki to pishi. On being seated, I finally gathered some courage and decided to get it out of the way with and asked what’s the place actually called! Peachy it is!

IMG_20180625_125813

IMG_20180625_113804

IMG_20180625_120301

It is hard to miss Pici. If you’ve not visited it yet, I strongly suggest you give it a shot. It’s definitely worth the hype. The food for one is amaaaaaaazing, I mean I’m actually drooling thinking about that burrata cheese and gnocchi Al pesto pasta right now! I’m not a Tiramisu or Panna Cotta fan generally, but boy! I really did enjoy my dessert too here. Did I mention they’ve got some interesting cocktails?

P1030879

Pici is well located and that’s another plus point. The place has got such a relaxing feel and vibe to it, the music and decor certainly add to it. The staff is warm and welcoming, happy to give their recommendations when needed. And the fact that you get to see your pasta being made in front of you is just so cool.

P1030886

This restaurant is all about a great experience. Having been able to have super fun conversations with strangers, I won’t be shy in saying this restaurant can actually be an ideal place for a first date/tenth date.. Whatever! I mean this is where I got to know about the ‘Brad Pitt returning to Jennifer Aniston’ rumour. Don’t forget to make a reservation in advance, I tell you! You can thank me later.

IMG_20180625_125928

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you’re visiting Hong Kong, you should definitely put this on your list of restaurants that need to be visited.

I’ll keep sharing tidbits from my Hong Kong trip here on the blog. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer

Franchua D’Souza

It’s a small world

Gallery

IMG_20180626_101834

When one hears of Hong Kong, it’s imperative that Disneyland comes to mind. At least that was the case with me. I couldn’t wait to see Mickey & Minnie Mouse and try all those exciting rides.

IMG_20180807_080503

IMG_20180626_133625~2

Hongkong Disneyland is no less than any fantasy world. It transports you to a completely different world where kids and adults are left amused. Disney characters that we’ve all watched as kids come to life and how! I personally enjoyed watching the parade (even though I could only tell a few characters by their names).

IMG_20180626_110734

IMG_20180626_110739

IMG_20180626_111014

What’s the point going to Disneyland and not trying those wonderful rides, right? I can boast of doing most of them, and if given a chance would love to experience them again. From the many rides I attempted, the “Big Grizzly Mountain Mining Co” was my favorite. The others that should definitely be tried are The Iron man ride, Star wars ride, Toy Story & It’s a small world.

IMG_20180626_104932

IMG_20180626_131921_HHT

IMG_20180626_123402

The day I visited HongKong Disneyland, the weather was really hot and humid. Also rushing from one ride to the other to avoid the queue lines didn’t quite help. Here I must mention how well the property is planned, it’s got restaurants and refreshment stalls strategically located. Also, I was so thankful that the staff handed me a map of the place in English!I couldn’t resist from getting some Disneyland merchandise and picked up that cute Mickey hairband you see in my picture. Known for being the practical person that I am, I had to keep convincing myself that I would re-use the hairband somewhere, maybe at a theme party and it wasn’t just an impulsive purchase. In fact I also got some cute souvenirs to gift friends back home.

IMG_20180626_141014

Thank you Disneyland for this wonderful experience!I truly had a great time and it has definitely made my HongKong trip so much more special.

 

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

 

You know I dream in colour

Gallery

IMG_20180624_133031

To be honest, I do not understand abstract art. With all due respect to the artists, I don’t understand random patterns, shapes, designs, colours splashed around in the name of art. It must be very rare that I look at a painting and feel the depth of it. These things just don’t hit me if you understand what I’m saying.

IMG_20180624_130055

IMG_20180624_110550

The kind of art I understand are those that are clear and direct. Those where I don’t need to think deep or use my imagination to figure out what the artist is trying to say. Recently while strutting around Hollywood Road, Soho Street, and areas around Sheung Wan, Central and Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong, I came across some absolutely beautiful works of art. These were spray paintings or wall scrapings across random street walls, some in restaurants and galleries and others outside busy streets & Hotels.

IMG_20180626_201408

IMG_20180624_121513

IMG_20180624_104933

IMG_20180624_141349

A fact that really impressed me was that many of these paintings looked good in real, but when I held a camera to take a picture, the painting was just something else. It’s like the painting came to life. In fact quite a few of them had this unique quality. It made me want to click so many more pictures.

IMG_20180624_104446

IMG_20180624_141235IMG_20180624_140107

IMG_20180624_130724

I’ve never gone Street art hunting in the past on any of my trips , but after Hong Kong, that’s definitely going to change.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and the post. I’ve got plenty of street art pictures, it’s just so difficult to share them all here.

Let me know which of these are your favourite. Have you seen any of these on your visit to Hong Kong? Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer

Franchua D’Souza

It’s the climb

Gallery

Hong Kong!

It was never on my mind. 7 years back when H&M wasn’t in India, someone had mentioned to me about how shopping was affordable at H&M in #HongKong, I wondered if I’d ever be lucky to get a chance at either, H&M or Hongkong. Years later, the Universe conspired for both to happen 🙂

Having been to other South East Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand & Bali over the last couple of years, I knew that this was going to be an interesting country too. With some prior research, some tourist reviews online and personal advice from people, the go-to list was ready. It did take some alcohol / coffee to understand the maps too.

If you’re travelling to Hong Kong and have a whole list of places to visit within a week, you better get started right from the Airport. The best way to start your HK trip is by visiting the beautiful Ngong Ping Village at Lantau Island. Don’t fret looking at Google maps, it’ll show you it’s 2 hours away by the MTR, you don’t need to take that. It’s just about 20mins away by bus S1 from the airport. Oh and worry not about all that luggage you’ve been travelling with because the team at Ngong Ping 360 will make it convenient by letting you drop off the luggage at a counter so that you can enjoy the rest of your time without it. Your luggage will be safe, just hold on to those tags they give you.

IMG_20180716_173033_041

There are a couple of highlights about this place.

1. The crystal glass cable car ride to the island.

This is apparently the world’s longest cable car ride that takes about 25-30mins to finish a distance of 5.7kms. The view is super scenic while passing through all that greenery around you. You can also spot the Airport runway and actually see planes land and take off from time to time.

2. The Big Buddha statue (Tian Tan Buddha). You must be prepared to climb 268 steps to see it up front.

3. The beautiful Ngong Ping Piazza

 

4. The wisdom path.

5. Walking with Buddha : An interesting 20min video about Buddha’s life

IMG_20180716_172749_230

6. A theatrical act by some great performers with an inspiring message (they even have a few dialogues in English besides having subtitles on a screen)

7. A fun 4D ariel ride that will take you through Ngong ping.

9. Po Lin Monastery

The weather was beautiful when I visited Ngong Ping 360 in Lantau Island , in fact it even rained for some time. The view from the Big Buddha is to watch out for. There are a number of restaurants that serve Chinese / Western food so you won’t be hungry for sure. You may also check out some of the stores for souvenirs if you’re not comfortable with street shopping.

To cover all of this you require a good 5 hours, so plan your day accordingly. It’s definitely worth it.

Have you visited this place? Or plan on visiting ? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re keen on knowing more about my Hong Kong escapade, I strongly suggest you follow my Instagram page.

Instagram handle : franchuadsouza

Stay tuned for more about my trip.

 

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

 

 

Take it easy

Gallery

 

DSC_9754

Dear Life,

From whatever I’ve known and experienced so far, I’ve been fortunate to have a happy and positive Life with very little to complain about. You have shown me some extra ordinary times, and then you’ve made sure I see them terrible ones too. You’ve made me realize the importance of simple and predominant things like family, education and spirituality; yet your teachings have also carefully taught me how loved ones, text books and faith can fail me. Through personal experiences, you’ve made me cognizant of how powerful the mind and the heart is, but through others you’ve even shown me how sharp and equally powerful the tongue or even a pen can be.

dsc_9732.jpg

Like many people, in my case too I’ve often complained how the grass has been greener on the other side. Looks, talent, study ranks, income etc, constant comparison with others did bring me down. But with time I’ve accepted that the grass is green where it is watered. Today I feel much more at ease with exactly those same points I cribbed about. Today I know that more than these or the “oh-so-tempting- materialistic things” , it’s virtues like patience, calmness, integrity, and overall humanity that will make me a better person.

dsc_9768.jpg

I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to some wonderful people along the path, people that live by example, people whom I look up to, people whom I can relate to. On the other hand , you’ve also taken away some of my very own , people who meant the world to me, people whom I called good friends, people who I connected with, thereby making me cherish the people I’m left with even more. You’ve made me believe in the Universe, and believe that whoever is meant to be in my life, will be in it anyway.

dsc_9731-e1499960089126.jpg

Thank you for teaching me in your own unique ways to not be dependent on anyone or anything. For teaching me that life in fact does go on, even after I lose my most precious people/ things. I’m proud of how easily I’ve given up habits I never thought I would. It showed me that with the right amount of determination, I could have strong will power.
I’m so grateful that you’ve made me a person with an extremely high level of tolerance, sometimes it amazes me to think of how composed I was in the most stressful situations. While I’m at it, I need to Thank you for making me passionate about Music, Travel and of course Blogging. They all have this magical calming effect on me. They help divert my mind and give me some amount of strength.

dsc_9752.jpg

dsc_9806.jpg

I truly hope as we continue our journey ahead, you continue to be kind to me. Phases get difficult and stressful at times, and there are those days when I feel like nothing good is happening. Take me through it successfully without letting me give up or break down. Lets be as relaxed as possible , and focus on taking it easy.

Yours truly,
Franchua D’Souza