Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the tag “travel”

Hey, it has been a while

Yes, I know it has been a while. I have returned from my trip to Israel and Jordan on Monday this week. I had a GREAT time! The 18 days I spent was filled with fun, sights to see and activities to fulfilled. I had so much fun during the 3 weeks that I decided to extend for another 10 days. Well I stayed on at the request of my ever crazy Brazilian friend, Dede. She was scheduled to visit Israel for work. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the extra days, I could spend a little more time exploring and fulfill my appetite with more of the local culinary.

I don’t know where to start with sharing the fun I had. But what I can tell you is that I met new friends from around the globe. Each has a story to tell why they were visiting Israel – some was business related, some were students on international exchange program and others were holiday makers such as myself who wanted to see the Holy Land. By the end of this trip, I have lost count on the number of times I had to answer “Why did you come to Israel?”. At times, I deviated from the typical answer and just stop at “Why not, Israel?”

Each vacation I have taken in the last several years, I have come back with fresh perspective on life in general but also gentle reminders of how lucky we are and to continue to live regardless. Israel is one destination many of my family or friends wouldn’t necessarily consider visiting anytime soon. The immediate reaction when I mentioned that I was going to Israel “Is it safe to go there?”. Thanks to media broadcasters, Israel is painted as a dangerous place where bomb attacks is a daily activity. I have felt safe throughout my one month stay there. Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps. Hence, I could walk the streets at midnight or early hours of the morning without any worries at all. The only time that I felt a little scared when I was in Jerusalem. I happened to be in the Arab quarters within the Old CIty of Jerusalem and saw the chaos on the TV screen. The shopkeeper translated on what happened – a bomb exploded at the Jerusalem central bus station where it was reported approximately 30 people were injured and one tourist died. As you can imagine I was in shock for a few minutes. Although the Old City and the bus station was some distance apart, it just send hit home the fragility of life. All I know is that it wasn’t my time just yet. I didn’t want this unfortunate event to deter me from continuing to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

On this note, I will wrap up my thoughts. I would love to share more but I have felt a little under the weather over the last few days and I should be getting some rest.

Layla tov from me! לַיְלָה טוֹב.

Ready, set and almost ready to go

Just two more sleeps to go before I set off on another trip. Over the last week, I have been running errands to make sure my check list is being met. My itinerary is finalized and this mini adventure will last just under 3 weeks. What are the final three destinations you might ask. The are Israel, Jordan and Switzerland. If you’re wondering how did Switzerland get into the mix, there are no direct flights to Israel from Singapore. Hence, I have to transit in Zurich to reach Tel Aviv.

Israel is a destination very few Asians will choose to have a vacation. Unless the primary reason is religious. The immediate reaction when I do mention Israel is ” Is it safe to go there?” or “Why Israel?”. The answer is “Yes, Israel is very safe place to visit” and “Why not Israel? It is has so much to offer and beautiful mediterranean coast lines”. Many always associate Israel as the ongoing war with Palestine as reported on the news. I don’t blame everyone for seeing Israel just for that. If one dares to step outside of the image and research what the country has to offer, you might just like it. And very few media will show the beauty of this place.

So, I am very eager to explore the place and excited to catch up with friends and ex-colleagues while I am there.

It would be a wasted opportunity if I don’t spend a few days in Jordan since it is next door to Israel. Petra is on the list of must see. That will be covered in the short visit.

I should stop here and save the details for another day.

Project Comeback

It has been a while since my last post – naughty me! Well I have been keeping myself busy researching for my upcoming travels. Yep, I am going travelling once again. There are so many places I have yet to leave my footprint. I even thought of blindfolding myself and throw a dart at a world map and see where I hit. I didn’t want to go back to Europe since I spent 4 months there. Gave some thought to Asian countries like Japan. It would be timely as a friend recently moved to Tokyo for work. Middle East was also considered. I was eyeing on going back to Israel and visit neigbouring countries such as Jordan and Egypt. But with the political unrest that was stretching for several weeks, I quickly strike Egypt off the list. I have visited Israel twice back in 2008 and 2009 for work. As with business trips, I only managed to see a small part of the country and haven’t completely soaked the flavour of the place. Morocco is another country on my bucket list that I would love to visit. So I included in the list to see if I can squeeze in some time there.

Ok, after much thought and research, the countries who is lucky enough to have my presence are Israel, Jordan and Switzerland. Switzerland is my transit hub to reach Tel Aviv. I am excited because I want to do and see places in the Israel. And I will also have the opportunity to catch up with ex colleagues cum friends. Since I am in Israel, it would be shame not to pop over to Jordan. I will be spending a very short time to see the 2 key highlights – Petra and Wadi Rum. While Zurich is my transit hub, I may just spend a few days in Lucerne to wind down before I fly back home. It’s only one week to go before I embark on my trip.

The travel plans is part of what I call “Project Comeback”. This trip is to reward myself for completing chemotherapy session and a good opportunity to do some travel before I start work. It was one month ago that I had my chemo and I had to wait before I could find out if treatment worked. On Tuesday, 8 March I had to do another round of blood test and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan. I couldn’t sleep very well the night before the tests plus I had to wait for another day before I knew the results. I visited my oncologist Wednesday morning. I have to share the FANTASTIC news. The scan showed that tumor is gone in my body. I am very happy. The treatment has worked. I was silently confident that it did (grin). Why would I make travel plans ahead if I didn’t..haha!

Project Comeback:

1. Plan a holiday and make sure I enjoy my reward.

See the world

2. Look for work upon return from the holiday. Unless someone has a magical formula to turn my bank account to a bottomless pit. Anybody has a spare magic wand I can borrow???

3. Continue to work on my inspirational list.

4. Formally create a bucket list. We all have some form of bucket list floating in our heads but how many crossing off the list?

Bucket list

5. Get my health back into shape: Chemotherapy kills all the good and bad cells in the body. Even though I am physically ok, I am working on getting my internal back on track especially on my immune system. My doctors’ has advised that it will take several months for my immunity to return to “normal” – mind you I don’t think I can be “normal” like an average healthy person. I am still trying to understand what my body can cope with. I have incorporated some light exercises such as swimming, brisk walking and pilates.

I am delighted to report that Project Comeback is underway and shall be a work in progress.

Signing out for tonight.

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