Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Arts Travel

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Arts Travel!" 

Q1 via : Has a book or film ever inspired you to travel to a certain destination? If so, what & where?
  • : Lord of The Rings & New Zealand
  • : National Geographic always inspires me to see the world
  • : Sound of Music / Austria
  • Indiana Jones and Petra in Jordan. Haven't been yet, but some day I will
  • : I love all of the locations of the James Bond films
  • Crocodile Dundee - Australia. One of my coolest trips
  • The movie 'Long way Around" made me want to see Africa even MORE!
  • : "In Bruges" made me want to go see Bruges. Hopefully without the falling bodies and hit men though 

Q2 via : Which fictional world from a movie/book do you want to visit? 
  • : Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, naturally
  • : I have often how I'd look like The Simpsons-style, in Springfield
  • : The town of Bedrock - a page right out of history
  • : Middle Earth would be pretty fantastic too, the lovely Arwen would make a cool travelling companion
  • Atlantis. And OZ from the Wizard of OZ
  • If only Hogwarts was real... I'd go there in a heartbeat (as long as I had my owl, of course)
  • : The labyrinth from The Labyrinth film

Q3 via : What book or film location should absolutely not be missed?
  • Under theTuscan Sun...ahhh...Tuscany
  • Hobbit holes in New Zealand! Also, the Ka'a'awa Valley in Hawaii is well worth a visit, and has starred in lots of movies
  • Harry Potter locales in England & Scotland
  • Come visit me in NYC! Frequently featured
  • The film was solala... But the destination rocks: "Australia"
  • : The canyons of Utah of 127 Hours fame
  • Vigna Maggio in Greve in Chianti - where Kenneth Branaugh's Much Ado About Nothing was filmed

Q4 via : An artist during your travels that you absolutely love now?
  • Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona ...thought I didn't like his style...fell hard
  • Artists discovered during travels - many Japanese punk bands in Tokyo record bins
  • Oswaldo Guayasamín. Discovered him in Ecuador. Whole new perspective on life and people
  • Hadn´t heard about Swell Season until in Denmark last year. Love them now
  • : London- walk into the National Gallery, see the great works & you will become an art fan at least to some degree 
  • : Berlin is a great spot for discovering Street Art

Q5 via : Elizabeth Gilbert's book was called 'Eat, Pray, Love'. What would your book be called?
  • : "Life is Short and the Road is Long" 
  • : Live Without Regrets. It's my personal & family motto
  • Luxury Beach Life & a Bottle of Rum: a tale of a woman cashing it all in to live the posh pirate dream
  • : "Around the World in 80 Pints"
  • : 'Eat, Drink, Be Merry' - I'm aiming for Christmas sales
  • : Or, as per an exchange the other day, 'Throw Some Meat At It and Run'
  • My life story would be called "Mistakes Are Medals - I'm Highly Decorated"
  • : "I climbed, I camped, I conquered." - My mom just came up with that title for me, isn't she great? 

And there you have it, "Arts Travel"!  

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Best in Travel 2012!" Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT hashtag every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Arts Travel" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Bathroom Experiences Abroad

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT potty talk on "Bathroom Experiences Abroad!"

Q1 via : Coolest/most awesome bathroom you have seen?
  • : Best bathroom as La Tagliata Restaurant on the Amalfi Coast- looking out over the cliffs to the spectacular ocean
  • The urinal at our hotel in Croatia was disguised as waterfall! Way better than the troughs at sports stadiums here in the US
  • Hong Kong (hostel) toilets rock! Clean your teeth, have a shower & poo all at the same time!
  • : Mozart toilet in Vienna, listening Mozart songs while you're doing your thing
  • : I was blown away by how clean the bathrooms in the Zurich airport were. A germaphobe's dream
  • Any "sitting" (not squatting) toilet you encounter while on a 10-day trek in the Himalayas is awesome for me
: I think nothing will beat this toilet

Q2 via : What is the most disgusting bathroom you've encountered abroad?
  • : Worst ever toilet was in Tibet where you could see what people had had for dinner two days before heaped under the slit in the floor
  • : Public toilet in a hutong in Beijing. Squat toilets, no doors, disgusting smell, stuff from urinals ended on the floor
  • : A French village public toilet which with just one glance, turned my diarrhea into constipation
  • The other 'wrong' toilet environment I encountered was in Iran where the floor was COVERED in pee & the local ladies went barefoot
  • : A tie between: A squatter on a farm in Ukraine and, believe it or not, a toilet at a McDonalds in Manhattan
  • : Toilet in a KFC in Cairo. Flush didn't work alright. But there are many chocolaty spreads (you know I mean) on wall and sink

Q3 via What is the best "Loo View" you have ever had? 

: This breathtaking Bora Bora bathroom takes ocean views to a whole new level

: The Loo with View, Jordan

connvoyage: View from China's Tiger Leaping Gorge squat toilet

Q4 via : What was your most embarrassing travel bathroom experience?
  • : A goat headbutting me into a latrine in Turkey
  • : When a teenager on first trip abroad a guy at the urinals in the public toilets in Lausanne 'spanking the monkey'
  • Was in Malia, the toilet blocked, started rising and two of us were locked in
  • : Being caught off guard by the "cleaning jet" of water that squirted out of the toilet in Singapore
  • : Leningrad, 1986. Food poisoning. Public toilet, no locks, one tissue
  • : I clogged a no water toilet on a house boat once. Very embarrassing
  • Transparent toilet in Lausanne. Well, you’re SUPPOSED to push the button for the opaqueness- didn't see it 

Q5 via : What's the craziest thing you've done to be able to use a good bathroom?
  • Drag my kid to the front of the line: "He HAS to go"
  • : I paid of course! 3 euro to go inside a bathroom on the Champs Élysées in Paris! Worth it
  • Craziest thing I've done to find a GOOD toilet was walking a half mile back to the same restaurant where I ate earlier in the day
  • I've knocked on a few random houses in my day and asked to use the toilet
  • : I pretended I was staying in a 5 star hotel, shoewd them my card, and it worked! Bingo! I used the toilet
  • : Paid for a hotel room in India - just to use a "real" toilet for the first time in weeks
  • : Not me, but I had a friend who pretended to be blind so she can use the for disabled toilet and not queue

And there you have it, "Bathroom Experiences Abroad"! 

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Arts Travel!" Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Bathroom Experiences Abroad" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Winter Travel

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Winter Travel!"

Q1 via : Do you prefer winter travel to summer travel? Why or why not?
  • : I love winter travel in really remote places, adds to that sense of being in the wild. Must be well prepared though
  • : As a beach lover I would opt for Summer Travel, but I can enjoy a winter break with hot chocolate too
  • : Winter: has more options (hot or cold destinations) & often cheaper deals. Tho saying that nothing much beats a summer holiday
  • : I prefer summer travel. Travel often means waiting instead of moving. Would rather wait in the warm. On a beach. With a cocktail
  • Winter because I spend my whole life living in tropical country, I love to see snow!
  • : Though I love winter, summer is SO much easier for travel & packing
  • : Winter: My deodorant, sunscreen and ice cream bill goes down

Q2 via : What are your top two winter travel destinations?
  • : Norway, of course - for heaps of fun in the snow! And Australia for warmth
  • Canaries for winter sun and Paris, Hamburg or Prague for Christmas markets
  • A place I would like to be ..Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with frozen lakes in North East India
  • : UK seaside, wide open sand, salty rain and wind blows away the cobwebs. Paris, atmosphere in the short dark days is magic
  • Southern Africa (no time difference!) and New York I guess (Christmas shopping!)
  • : Whistler, BC. and Passo San Pellegrino, Italy. Good skiing, great food
  • : Love Disneyland for Christmas with all the lights & snow & love anything beachy
  • : Park City, Utah for skiing
  • : Easy choice: The Alpes with great snow for snowboarding! And I would go for Cape Town or Havana to get vitamin D

Q3 via : What's the best thing to do on winter travel?
  • : Without doubt snowball fights
  • : Relaxing in a hot tub in the snow with a glass of wine or beer watching the amazing Northern Lights
  • : Uh, to ski and snowboard of course
  • : Outdoor sighteeing! Its amazing in winter
  • : Relaxing in a hot tub with a book on the right hand and a tall cup of fresh coffee latte with whipped cream on the other
  • : Go for romantic long walks in winter, wrapped in each other's arms. It cant get more romantic than this
  • : It's a great excuse to turn your trip into a quest to find the most delectable comfort foods
  • : Find a farmers market/holiday market, grab a cup of hot cider & shop at some local stores/vendors 

Q4 via : Where would you most like to escape to this winter? Why?
  • : Diving in warm waters while the sun shines brightly
  • I just want to see snow!!! Give me winter snow
  • Marrakech for heat, just seems so exotic, the colors, the flavors, the noise
  • : Antarctica or the Arctic - if you're going to be cold, might as well do it properly
  • : Would like to be in NYC this time of year. It's perfect
  • : Above-water bungalows in Bora Bora. Always been a dream of mine to go
  • Easy – South Africa – I’d surf all winter long…well or backpack around South America
  • I'm dying to visit Brazil! Why? helloooooo, it's Brazil 

Q5 via Nick Healy: What are your best and worst winter travel experiences? 
  • : Worst winter travel experience was when I stayed at home
  • : Best: Drinking an Angkor beer and wearing summer clothes while the sun shone last winter in Cambodia
  • : Worst: School trip to Germany - 2 nights sleeping (or not) on bus, 1 freezing day at the markets
  • : Yellowstone in December - stunning. Bad part: a day driving 2 a closed entrance- had 2 turn back go around
  • : The best would be Christmas in the Philippines
  • Worst: -30C in Helsinki wearing jeans. Best: -30C in Helsinki with brand new long underwear
  • : I almost died of hypothermia hitchhiking in Germany
  • Christmas in Barcelona was pretty cool - there was snow on the palm trees

And there you have it, "Winter Travel"! 

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Bathroom Experiences Abroad!" Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Winter Travel" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Wimdu

During my trip to Taiwan in October, I had the opportunity to try out Wimdu, a travel accommodation website, for my stay in Taipei.  Wimdu encourages travelers to "travel like a local" by bringing travelers and hosts together and creating an opportunity for face to face interaction between the two. 

Wimdu is similar to CouchSurfing or other traveler hosting sites, except you may or may not be staying with your "host" at their home and you are paying for your accommodations. Hmm, not so sure what the benefits of Wimdu might be then? Me, too.

Until I tried it!

I wanted to try Wimdu because I didn't want to stay in a hotel. I find hotels impersonal and alienating, especially when traveling alone.

CouchSurfing is a great option for solo travelers looking to connect with others but I chose Wimdu because my time in Taipei was already packed with meeting various relatives, acquaintances, and fellow food and travel bloggers. I wasn't going to have much time to get to know my hosts and I didn't want to stay with someone merely for the accommodation.

The apartment I chose from the many options listed on Wimdu was perfectly located in the Daan district of Taipei. The location was incredibly convenient to the MRT, with plenty of shops, restaurants and bubble tea stands at my doorstep! The living space was very roomy and comfortable for me, and could have easily accommodated two or three additional guests, but I really enjoyed the fact that I had the whole place to myself. Plus, I loved the blue walls!

Upon my arrival into Taipei International, I followed the clear instructions that Roger, the property's host had emailed me. I arrived with no problems and Roger was so kind as to show me around the apartment and then take me out to lunch. Roger offered suggestions and advice on Taipei before leaving me on my own with an awesome apartment of my own in the center of Taipei.  

One small minor hiccup I experienced with using Wimdu was their messaging system. All correspondence between travelers and potential hosts are routed through the Wimdu site, making checking and responding to messages a tad inconvenient, particularly when you're traveling and constantly on the move. However, once a reservation has been accepted and a payment made, Wimdu allows hosts and travelers to contact each other directly so this inconvenience is a very short-lived one.

Overall, my experience with Wimdu was very pleasant and I would definitely use Wimdu again in the future when I want to have a local experience in my travels but still maintain my privacy and space. I truly felt at home at Roger's apartment and that's an incredible feeling to have when you're travel to a new and foreign place! 

© Connie Hum 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011

December 1 marks World AIDS Day 2011 and M·A·C Cosmetics is participating in a week-long effort to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

As an avid volunteer for humanitarian efforts, I love that M·A·C encourages its employees to volunteer to "break down barriers and build relationships within communities." Over 1,800 M·A·C employees from all over the world, including 40 M·A·C Artistes from Hong Kong, will participate in World AIDS Day as part of the M·A·C AIDS Fund (MAF) initiative.

To date, MAF has raised $228M USD through the sale of M·A·C’s Viva Glam lipstick and lip gloss. I had seen the celebrity-fueled Viva Glam ads but I didn't realize that 100% of M·A·C’s Viva Glam sales price is donated to help support HIV/AIDS organizations working in under-served regions and populations around the world.

That's pretty impressive work, M·A·C!

Help support World AIDS Day this year! Volunteer at a local HIV/AIDS organization or if you don't have the time to spare, go out and get yourself (and all your lip-gloss loving friends) a M·A·C Viva Glam product. Here's what ONE VIVA GLAM purchase can provide to help those living with HIV/AIDS:

  • 2 nights of shelter for a homeless person living with HIV/AIDS
  • 8 home-delivered meals for a person living with HIV/AIDS who cannot cook for themselves
  • 4 HIV tests for newborn babies to determine their HIV status
  • Medicine for 5 newborn babies to prevent transmission of HIV from their mothers
  • HIV tests for 14 pregnant women
  • Monthly transportation to/from medical appointments for a child living with HIV/AIDS 
  • 1 crisis counseling session for a person living with AIDS who is also struggling with addiction and homelessness
  • A six month supply of Omega 3 fish oil to help decrease the inflammation cause by the immune system’s battle against HIV
  • 3 nutritious meals for 3 children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa
  • 254 male condoms to effectively prevent HIV transmission
  • 24 female condoms for distribution by local Health Departments to prevent HIV transmission
  • 32 safe sex kits that include condoms and lubricant
  • 1 rapid oral HIV test
  • One year of clean, sterile syringes for an injection drug user to prevent HIV infection

Looking good, feeling good, and now, with M·A·C Viva Glam, DOING good too!

© Connie Hum 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

A New Standard With Hong Kong's Standard Vintage

My love for vintage fashion was finally quenched last month in Hong Kong when Standard Vintage's curator, Andy Chow, invited me to his studio for a private fitting. I was literally in heaven!

I spent the afternoon trying on some super cute Japanese vintage dresses Andy hand-picks for Standard Vintage's online boutique. Andy was great about understanding my love of color and helped me pick out some amazing pieces to try on. Personal styling tips and honest opinions were included!

What made Standard Vintage different from all my previous vintage shopping experiences was that Andy really knows his stuff. Andy can basically give you the history of almost any Standard Vintage item and he clearly loves each piece. I felt like I was handling precious heirlooms, and I guess in a way, I was. Instead of looking at heirlooms to store behind glass, I was looking at heirlooms to wear and look pretty in.

I was afraid the vintage Japanese pieces wouldn't fit since I'm not as petite as most Japanese women are, but I didn't have any trouble getting into most items. In fact, I ended up taking home FIVE vintage dresses that afternoon, including this gorgeous green vintage Valentino dress I fell in love with at first sight! I wore it the following week to Andy's birthday dinner. Isn't it amazing?

Photo courtesy of Harold Li

For those of you lucky enough to live in Hong Kong, Andy's taking his Standard Vintage pieces over to General Store the weekend of December 2 - 3 for Tea for Two. I'm pretty upset that I'll have to miss what will easily be Hong Kong's biggest antique and vintage event of the year (though I can't complain; I'll be in New York City). My loss can be your gain so don't miss out if you're in town!

Fret not, vintage lovers living OUTSIDE of Hong Kong, Standard Vintage has an online shop you can order from.

Keep up with any new findings from Andy, "Like" Standard Vintage on Facebook and follow Andy on Twitter.

I personally can't wait to see what other items Andy will find for Standard Vintage, and knowing Andy's high standard for vintage clothing, I already know they're going to be beautiful!

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Time Zones

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Time Zones!"

Q1 via : What are your secrets for fighting jetlag?
  •  Suck it up and keep moving, well that, and cans of Coke
  • : I always put my clock forward to local time once I've stepped on the plane
  • : Going east: sleep v little night b4 (4 hrs or less), have red wine w/ meal, sleep till morning food service & then I am good to go
  • : Melatonin & sleep when it's dark, get up when it's light. No napping in between!
  • Travel so often that time differences don't phase you anymore
  • : I rarely experience it...because my travel adrenaline kicks in and I tap into it
  • : I don't drink alcohol on the plane anymore. Water, water, water
  • : Natural light also helps mitigate effects of jet lag
  • : Always try to stay awake as late as possible. Generally feel rested the next day once I've finally slept

Q2 via : When & where were your worst time zone & jet lag experiences?
  • : BNA-HOU-SEA-Vancouver to turn around 36 hours later
  • : London>Delhi>London>LA in a week My body didn't know what to do, it just stayed awake
  • : Tampa, FL to Naples, Italy .. The champagne & limoncello didn't help my cause
  • Flying from NY-LA-SYD-Cairns without any long layovers
  • : Woke from a dead sleep on an empty overnight train out of Rome to a standing room only commuter train. Everyone was staring
  • : Sydney to Amman: No sleep and then straight to a wedding and served Mensaf- a sheep's head with its eyes
  • : NY to London to Dubai to Cape Town & back. I'm still sleeping that one off
  • Korea to China. China to Dubai. Dubai to Bahrain. We saw every sunrise on our trip haha

Q3 via : Have you ever missed something because you didn't change your clock to the correct time zone?
  • : Missed the cruise boat and ended up getting stranded somewhere in the bahamas
  • : Once woke up in Norway hotel at 2 o'clock, panicking thinking I overslept. It was 2am & 'midnight sun' was up
  • : Never missed anything but my friend called me at 4am to tell me she was engaged...lives in japan and forgot what time it was here!
  • I slept through the hostel checkout time because I didnt know it was daylight savings. It happens in Uruguay but not Argentina
  • : Not with travel but with daylight savings - frequently turn up late forgetting to change clock. My trademark
  • : I'm kind of a dumb ass i never change my time to the correct time zone...i like having it on home time LA
  • : My dogs try to convince me that I'm jetlagged when the clocks get turned back and they have another hour to wait for dinner

Q4 via : Should we scrap daylight savings? Why?
  • : I rather like having it light outside super late with daylight savings and the summer time
  • : I don't think it's a hassle and love the summer evenings... keeps!
  • : Na, it's kinda fun, figuring out timezones, makes me feel more like i'm somewhere else
  • : Absolutely. It's pointless and confusing. Move your working hours if you like, but not the clock
  • : We live in the age of internet and electricity - time zones are obsolete
  • : Gotta love that day in fall when you normally have to leave the bar, but then you get an extra hour
  • Probably. As fun as it is to time travel, we lose productivity worldwide, and it's confusing for international travel and business
  • : But doesn't daylight savings just make us appreciate daylight more?

Q5 via : What's your most hilarious time zone confusion situation?
  • : Finding I was meant to be at the airport, when I was on Isla Mujeres a taxi, ferry&another taxi away from airport. But made it
  • : 5 year old daughter 8 TZs away on phone. She didn't believe I was going to bed & she just arrived from school
  • : Spending half of every phone conversation w my mum trying2 explain what time it was where I was & why
  • : My brothers had a great time getting straight on a flight after a heavy night out - air hostess wasn't impressed with the mooning
  • : Going to bed at weird time in Australia because of jetlag, waking up at 7 and not knowing if it was am/pm so I went back to sleep
  • Flight from Tokyo left at 7pm on Wed and we landed in Honolulu at 7am on Wed - Got to live that Wed twice
  • : Waking up, showering, getting ready to go, walking outside, realizing it was 3am 

And there you have it, "Time Zones"!

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "How to Keep Travel in Your Life if You are NOT a Professional Nomad!" Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Time Zones" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#TTOT Round-Up: Out of Your Comfort Zone

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Out of Your Comfort Zone!"

Q1 via : How would you describe your comfort zone? 
  • My comfort zone is the universe. I am only rarely shaken of my basic belief of the core decency of people & the splendor of nature 
  • : Sitting in a bar with a cold beer, rucksack at my knees, hot weather, at the start of another adventure
  • My comfort zone starts in a good cafe and ends when the adrenaline level reaches about 25%
  • : Comfort zone is a guaranteed bed, meal, hot shower... Everything you don't feel the need of when you're on an adventure
  • : My comfort zone is defined by the people who surround me
  • My comfort zone is pretty wide because I love to try new things. But if I don't eat every three hours I'm not a happy gal

Q2 via : Share your most memorable "out of comfort zone" experiences
  • : When my host family in China took care of me when I was sick. I didn't speak Mandarin well..they didn't speak English. Humanity!
  • : Paddling on a sufboard across a Croc-infested river mouth in Boca Barranca, Costa Rica
  • : Sailing down the East coast US in Dec. with 20 ft. seas & 50 knot winds was definitely out of my comfort zone
  • Jungle huts in Africa (true story). No electricity, no running water. Just baboons beating on the walls at night 
  • : Bungy jumping the Nevis in New Zealand - 134 metres into a river gorge
  • : Quitting my career to travel Solo, that was huge the first time

Q3 via : What hotel experience left you furthest out of your comfort zone?
  • : An eco-lodge in Ecuador's cloud forest. No electricity and big bugs
  • : Finding out there was no flush and no sink and the only thing separating the room and the toilet was a curtain
  • : Creepy hostel had the floor painted blood red with flecks of paint splattered up the walls... It looked a little too real to me
  • : A hotel in Istanbul where the front desk checked someone else into our room after we had gone to bed, twice
  • : Ecolodge in Iquitos, Peru in the Amazon. Tarantulas everywhere
  • : Very thin walls at older Paris Hotel. Must have been honeymooners next door

Q4 via : Whats your best 'Won't be doing that again experience'?
  • Probably eating scorpions yuck
  • : Thinking tiny green things in Thailand were peas & eating spoonful - they were hot peppers
  • I won't be eating that corn ice cream in China again. Disgusting
  • : Eating fried guinea pig in Peru. Won't be doing that again
  • : Bus ride from Agra to Jaipur & this dude decides to make his "own" bathroom in the back of the bus (which had no bathroom) 
  • : Drinking shots of cobra snake whiskey along the Mekong

Q5 via : How has being pushed out of your comfort zone changed you and your views on the world?
  • : Taught me world is an extraordinary, magical, living thing... learn to take the knocks & shocks -feel more alive
  • : It's reminded me that life's too short to not love what you do each day
  • Being out of your comfort zone is why a lot of us travel. It makes you wiser & generally helps with patience
  • : Curiosity--The World is Just Awesome! Made me humble and earned more respect for different cultures
  • It has given me hope for humanity and the future
  • : It's taught me how to look fear in the face and overcome it
  • : "The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all!" (Richard Branson)   

And there you have it, "Out of Your Comfort Zone"!

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Time Zones." Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the Out of Your Comfort Zone discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rancinan Exhibit Opens in Hong Kong

Art in Hong Kong is set to take off in the coming years and it's a fascinating time to be living in Hong Kong. It's so inspiring to live in the midst of all the creative energy and talent in this city.

Last week marked yet another art milestone in Hong Kong with the opening of French photographer, Gérard Rancinan's exhibit featuring a selection of 30 photographs from his series: Metamorphoses, Hypotheses and Wonderful World at the Opera Gallery in Central.

The Raft of Illusions by Rancinan

At last Thursday's opening of the Rancinan in Hong Kong exhibit, art enthusiasts and collectors were given the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the internationally-renown photographer and his startling images.

Rancinan speaks with guests about his photography

A guest takes in one of Rancinan's images

Several of Rancinan's famous portraits are also on exhibit at the Opera Gallery. One of his portraits that especially caught my eye was his portrait of Yan Pei-Ming. I found the palette incredibly simple, yet visually compelling. I couldn't stop looking this portrait!

Yan Pei-Ming by Rancinan

Rancinan in Hong Kong will exhibit to the public at the Opera Gallery for a limited engagement from November 11 to December 1, 2011. The exhibit will round out its Asia portion of Rancinan's world tour in Singapore and Seoul in early 2012.

Opera Gallery, 2-8 Wellington Street, G2 Floor, M88, Central, Hong Kong
(852) 2810 1208

© Connie Hum 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A New Buzz at caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy

Hong Kong's very own caffè HABITŪ is celebrating its fifth anniversary in a big way with the opening of caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio! As one of the world's first coffee appreciation studios available to the public, caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio is hoping to cultivate the growing interest in coffee culture in Hong Kong.

Located on a relatively quiet street in Causeway Bay, caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio is a perfect setting for an afternoon of coffee workshops and tastings. The gorgeous 2,500 square foot academy is a converted apartment on the second floor and the eclectic vintage decor gave the space a compelling and inviting atmosphere.

During my coffee tasting workshop, I had the opportunity to learn proper coffee tasting skills and try the world's most expensive coffee, the Kopi Luwak coffee. The unique way that the Kopi Luwak coffee beans are processed, namely through the digestive tract of Asian civets (those new to coffee like to call Kopi Luwak "cat shit coffee") and the added enzymes are what makes Kopi Luwak so prized among coffee aficionados. I do admit that the Kopi Luwak certainly did have a smooth and full-bodied taste to it, but I'm not quite the connoisseur of coffee needed to fully discern the appeal of these special beans just yet.

Luckily, the expert baristas of caffè HABITŪ were on hand to help us learn the basics of coffee cupping (the technical term for coffee tasting) and how to discern the different flavors and aromas of the different coffees we sampled. Here is a sample of what Johannes Pong, nightlife columnist for HK Magazine, learned from our Coffee Connoisseur's workshop.

The goal of caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio isn't just coffee. The academy is looking to also promote art and a sense of creative community in Hong Kong. The studio will be hosting creative art sessions in conjunction with their coffee workshops, known as "Picasso Meets Espresso." It's a great idea and I love how caffè HABITŪ has optimized their studio space for this.

Coffee, art and creative workshops set in a lovely gallery-cum-dream living room space. I think I'm in love with caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio.

Workshops and events at caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio are available by appointment only. Events for private parties are also offered. Please check their website for details and class schedules. 

caffè HABITŪ Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio, 128-132 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
(852) 3104 0075

© Connie Hum 2011

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