All I ask you, is let me be there

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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.

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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.

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The Parisian- Macau

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Breakfast like a king

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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!

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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

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Mama Mia, how can I resist you!

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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)!

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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.

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

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Send me the pillow

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I’m unsure if you may agree with me here, but when on a flight, it’s much better to be fast asleep. That way you don’t miss out on your rest hours, plus you feel fresh to go through the day post landing. Of course, I’m talking about those 3+ hours of flying.
Usually, in my case, as soon as the flight takes off and the excitement is done with, my head drops down and my eyes get droopy, in no time I’m fast asleep. This is applicable to a 40 min flight too. My flight routine goes something like this : get seated, wait for take-off, fall asleep, wake up for whatever snack/ meal, fall asleep back (it’s like magic), and wake up just before landing. Perfect.

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This time while flying to #HongKong my eyes behaved in a complete different fashion. They just refused to stay shut! This was even more strange considering I had a freaking tiring day at work and got onto this flight at about 1am! It also didn’t help that the seat was really narrow and the tray table was really really small!

The flight from Mumbai to HongKong was about 6 hours or so, and I had no intention of staying up all night through this one. Also, if you read my previous post, you’d know that from the airport I was to head directly to #ngongping360 and was to spend my entire day there. Just couldn’t afford to be sleepy on Day 1 in HongKong, now could I? Honestly as a traveller, I’m 100% against wasting any of my International time. After all of my previous trips Abroad, I assure you my day starts at 7:30am and ends only in the wee hours of the next day. There’s only exploring and so much more exploring to do.

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So here I was, wide awake like an owl. The things I did to fall asleep are daft (think Mr Bean). I tried counting sheep, I tried watching some absolutely sad stuff on the screen in front of me, I tried counting the number of people I could see awake, I reclined the seat back and forth, I even called for another blanket to keep me warm and cozy. Somewhere in the midst of all this I reminisced my Singapore trip and wondered if this one would be anything like it. Then I thought of sleeping masks too, but wasn’t ready to ruin my pretty eye shadow like that. I have the super power of ruining things / lives, trust me.

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Finally the universe heard me. The angelic air hostess came around serving beverages. 3 glasses of red wine did the trick! One-after-the-other straight! I didn’t even realise when I was in deep slumber. Directly woke up to the Pilot’s announcement just before landing.

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What are your flight experiences like? Do you prefer catching up on your sleep too? Or read? Or watch a movie? Or make conversation with that stranger seated next to you? Tell me all of those things you think of while on a flight. I’m really keen to know.

I’ll post more about my trip in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you may find and follow me on Instagram.

See you around.

Warm regards,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

It’s the climb

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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.

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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

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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