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

Take it easy

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Take a sad song and make it better

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This line from the famous song “Hey Jude” strikes a chord with me. Love how it inspires to improve whatever it is that’s not good.

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2017 so far has been an eventful year for me personally. It started with bringing in the new year in beautiful #Thailand. In case you have missed out on that post, you can check it here. I’ve even completed my swimming classes, have learnt enough to enjoy picnics at water parks and resorts. There’s still room for improvement though. Then, I’ve moved into a new challenging role on the work front. It’s something that keeps me occupied 12 hours on weekdays (which is why my blogging has taken a back seat, sorry).

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Call it growing up, getting mature, caring a damn or anything you’d like.. But I’ve even become calmer in my ways of dealing with life and it’s pressures. There used to be a time when I’d get hyper at the drop of a hat, but now I’ve learnt the art of letting go or simply ignoring all unwanted mess. ‘Keep calm’ is my new mantra.
In fact I’ve even reduced my social media usage altogether.

The travel bug has definitely bitten me and in fact I’m even open to exploring places as a solo traveller. Can’t wait for my next trip whenever and wherever that is.

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Of course l enjoy writing and that’s why this blog came into existence in the first place, but lately I tried my hand at getting poetic too. Here’s something I had recently put up on my Instagram account. In case you aren’t already following me on Instagram, follow @franchuadsouza now!
The intention is to get better at whatever I do and improve the overall quality of my life.

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. Stay happy always.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza.

I believe I can fly

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At some point or the other we’ve all wanted to know what it would be like to have wings and defy gravity. Of course the most common/ boring way I’d think of is to take a flight to some place. No matter what you choose from , whether sitting on a ferris wheel, sitting in a plane, bungee jumping , sky diving, parasailing etc, they all make us have butterflies in the stomach. Recently on my Thailand trip I attempted one such adventure and it was one hell of a thrilling experience. If you did get a chance to read my previous post, you’d know I’m talking about none other than Zip-lining!

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img_20161231_132824If you’re visiting Thailand in the near or far future, you definitely need to have this experience in your to- do list. Tree top Asia played host to my friend and I and we absolutely loved the whole #FlightoftheGibbon zip- lining experience. Everything was perfect about the experience- right from the bus pick up from our hotel to the drop back. The guides and other staff members are super fun to hang about with – literally. They make sure they’ll do everything to make you bounce like a monkey while you’re at it and yet you know you can trust them with your life. The 2 guides that left an impression on us were Jacile and Taxi (cute name, right?).

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There were 24 zip-lining stations , starting with the simple and short ones to the the last one of 300 meters. The view from the tree stations is amazzzzzing! You’re literally amidst tree tops. By the time you’re at the last tree station you’re fear has gone and you’re an expert at this. I loved the fact that the guides gave us the confidence to let ourselves loose and go all out taking selfies/ videos etc. They made sure to put safety first and just be super entertaining. As though  zip- lining wasn’t fun enough, we were offered a traditional Thai meal to complete the experience (which by the way was awesome). We even got a chance to visit the zoo..

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We were lucky to be around this group of 10 super enthu people from China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand etc, with the youngest member as old as 5 years! An absolute thrill it was. Zip-lining with Tree Top Asia has certainly been a highlight of my Thai trip and it’s going to be etched in my memory for a long long time.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post, as much as I enjoyed re-living the thrill of zip-lining.

Lots of Love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Take me home, to the place I belong

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Hellooo everyone!

I may be a little late, but wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! Let’s make the most of 2017!

Firstly I’m super excited writing this post as I have recently returned from my Thai holiday. I’ve had the opportunity to see some wonderful places there, and I’ve soaked in everything I could. Can’t wait to share all the details about my trip.

In Thailand I covered Rayong , Pattaya and Bangkok. Each of them were visibly different from each other and most of the time I had some lovely experiences. Two things that I can happily cross off my bucket list now are Zip lining and sea walking. Both completely differ from each other, One had this whole adrenaline rush taking over while I was zipping through and the other that needed me to be calm under sea  while I walked in it and fed fishes. In  Bangkok, I felt all those happening city vibes and it reminded me of things back home (minus the pat- pong shows). Something I’ve gone a step further in, is eating Thai food. I did not experiment too much with street food but managed to try and enjoy the food at a few restaurants here and there (unlike Singa..).

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Of course I enjoyed my holiday and everything but the one thing I missed besides my loved ones was the food! The first evening after arriving in Bangkok, while walking down the Phloen Chit road, I decided to stop for dinner at this Indian restaurant Bawarchi Indian that served authentic North Indian food. Located at the Intercontinental , I knew there were fewer chances of disappointment. Plus, I really craved Indian food by then.

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It’s funny how when I introduced myself to the VP Mr. Vinay Chawla , he mistook me for an Indian girl who was to come in for an interview that evening. It did seem a bit off with the kind interview questions he put forward, until he realized his boo-boo. 🙂
*good luck to all those that interview here- I hope Mr Chawla doesn’t intimidate you*
Trust me, he was way too kind after that.

Now talking about the restaurant.

Firstly I felt at home, looking at the Indian staff around to greet us and offer the best service they could. The walls, painting, decor, ceiling, the swing, the music set up, the instrumental hindi music that played – everything made me forget that I was actually in Bangkok!  The staff (mostly Indian too) were quick on their feet right from our cocktails to dessert.

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The papadum cones itself along with their dips already set the quotient high. For starters, out of the Tandoor Jhinga (tandoor prawns), Stuffed wild mushrooms, Ajwani mahi tikka (red snapper- again the tandoor way), and murgh tikka (chicken tikka), my favorite was the huge Tandoor Prawn and the mushroom. The spices they used for the tandoor were mouth watering. Loved how it was very Indian, yet had an interesting twist.

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As a mushroom fan, I went on to try the Cream of Mushroom soup. As rightly described in the menu ,it is pretty much a classic creamy soup tampered with some Indian flavour. Don’t be surprised when you find some tadka to your soup.

When you’re in a restaurant that tells you straight that they’re full-on into North Indian kind of food, you must try the Biryani. Exactly the next dish I’m discussing.

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Served in cute little kadais, the portion is just right for 2.  The aroma itself screamed yum! The long grains, the fried onions, the spices in the biryani masala, the earthiness from that chicken in there were bang on! I’m glad this wasn’t a fusion kind of dish.
There cannot be a bigger compliment to a restaurant than for a person who is on holiday, staying at a hotel , is ready to take the food home and eat it the next day for lunch/ dinner, cold if need be, but will have it anyhow. Yes, I took the parcel, err 2 of them- chicken and the Lamb biryani (they get the lamb especially from Mongolia I understand). Did I say it’s yum??

It’s strange and funny how even though I claim I’m stuffed after eating a-lottt of food, I have plenty of space for dessert. It’s like I have a separate compartment within my tummy for it. Indian sweets are mostly extremely high on sugar and rasmalai is no less.But who’s complaining? I had it all. 😀 nuff said.

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I dined here on a Monday evening, the only day there’s no live Indian music. I strongly suggest if you plan on visiting this place, make sure you get to listen to some Indian music too.

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Hope you enjoyed reading my take on #bawarchiindian
If any of you have visited or plan on visiting this restaurant or any place in Thailand, give me a shout in the comments below! I love reading what you’ve to say.

Until my next post..

Lots of love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza