Saturday, March 31, 2012

I've Quit My Job to Travel... AGAIN!

** Original post was accidentally deleted during my travels in Malaysia. This is the best reproduction of the original as I remember it.**

Yes, it's true. I've quit my job to travel! AGAIN! And I couldn't be any happier!

March 31 was my last job working as an English teacher in Hong Kong. Teaching English here has been a great learning experience for me, but the traveler in me is just itching to get back on the road!

My first travel adventure? I'm hopping on a plane RIGHT NOW for ten days in Malaysia to celebrate my freedom from employment and a return to my true passion: travel and travel writing!

I'll remain in Hong Kong for another couple of months to hang out with friends, organize upcoming travel (mis)adventures, and get started on the projects that have been placed on the back burner until... Wait for it...


Can't wait to return to the city and friends I love!

Seriously, I'm over the moon ecstatic about my upcoming plans and I can't wait to share them all with you!

Until then, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the sunshine and good food in Malaysia. More to come soon!

© Connie Hum 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: Special Travel Moments

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Join either of the two sessions at 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT to get in on all the fun travel talk! Just follow the #TTOT hashtag! 

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

Q1 via : What special travel moment do you most want to relive?
  • : That very first moment when I stepped on a plane and knew I was leaving NZ for the first time
  • : Eating my quiet alfresco BBQ dinner on Kangaroo Island, realizing there's a kangaroo right next to me enjoying his too
  • : The special travel moment I want to relive is being the only person inside the Great Pyramid of Giza one evening. Awe-inspiring
  • : Seeing the breach of a humpback whale on an Alaskan fjord cruise
  • Stuck in a lightning storm on a floating restaurant in Florida when a manatee and her cub come up to the dock for a snack
  • Kayaking at night with bioluminescence all around. Just magical
  • : Feeling the heat and smell, when first arriving in a hot climate gets happy every time
  • : At 18, landing in New Delhi at night, alone. It was scary/exhilarating. I'll never have that same feeling again while traveling

Q2 via : Where would you travel to have your special travel moment? What would it be?
  • I'd like to hit my last continent, a little ice walking and photography in Antartica
  • I'd like to stargaze in the Sahara desert, or throw a massive party on a private island with all my friends
  • Riding a horse across the plains of Mongolia, returning to my yurt and catching sunset with the local nomads
  • I've always wanted to recreate Darjeeling Limited. I want to be these guys
  • Climbing and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro with any of my close friends willing enough to come and try it
  • : Apart from the moon, I am dying to see India. The sights, smells, experience. Feels like would be amazing
  • : I want to go to space and float around a Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
  • : Visiting Petra in Jordan and hiking up Machu Pichu

Q3 via : Post a picture of your most memorable special travel moment

: Anak Krakatau's amazing show

: Spending a night out in Antarctica

Seeing U2 for free with just 10k others at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

: Glacier landing in Alaska

Swimming in the Devil's Pool at the edge of the Victoria Falls was pretty special 

Q4 via : Where is your personal paradise?
  • : No question the Himalaya, a destination that never fails to take my breath away
  • : Any "private" beach on or around the Dalmatian coast in Croatia is my personal paradise
  • : I'm a history buff, so for it me its historical sites, temple, monuments. I'm a junkie
  • : My personal paradise doesn't have a name. I could never find it again without a local's help. It's 150km south of Marsa Alam, Egypt
  • Probably Cape Cod, or maybe Agerola on the Amalfi coast
  • : My persoal paradise is my parents backyard... unspoiled views of a beautiful big lake and barely a sound around. Bliss
  • : Una Wantuna beach in the south of Sri Lanka
  • : Never felt more in tune with myself & earth than when walking barefoot frm island 2 island in the Okavango Delta

Q5 via : What travel experience are you most likely to tell your grand kids?
  • : Most probably the first time seeing the New York skyline
  • : I'll probably have to share being stranded above the Arctic Circle in a small isolated village on September 11th, 2001
  • : All of them! I might use all of my travel stories as bedtime stories instead of fairytales
  • : My Greek vacation to celebrate a friend's wedding. Backpacking across Europe
  • : When I visited my Grandfather in Cyprus & stayed with him for a week - wonderful experience, wonderful culture
  • Edited versions of all until they decide to do it all themselves
  • : They might be laughing at our stories cos we mingled at our backyards whilst they will be visiting planets and outer space

And there you have it, "Special Travel Moments!"  

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Sustainable Travel!" Submit your questions HERE!

See you next Tuesday 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT for the next #TTOT!

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

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Special Travel Moments" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Monogamous Chinese

The Monogamous Chinese, a new up-market Chinese restaurant located in Hong Kong's Soho district, specializes in authentic Sichuan and Beijing cuisine. By hand-making all of their noodles and dumplings, as well as preparing all sauces in-house with imported ingredients from the famed provinces, The Monogamous Chinese stays faithful to the tradition and preparation of each dish, hence the name.

The Monogamous Chinese's walls decorated with commissioned modern Chinese artwork

Several weeks ago, I was invited to dinner by The Monogamous Chinese. Fearing for the well-being of my stomach ulcers (they often flare up when I eat spicy foods), I was apprehensive about eating an entire meal of Sichuan's famed spicy dishes. Eventually, my inner foodie decided that I couldn't miss an opportunity for a sampling of The Monogamous Chinese.

Vegetable spring rolls

The dinner started off with lightly-fried vegetable spring rolls served in Communist memorabilia. The spring rolls were quite standard, but the serving dish was a nice decorative touch. The sweet and sour dipping sauce was a good amount of sweet to balance out the sour, something increasingly rare as I find most restaurants tend to over-do the sweet to sour proportion.

Wok-fried tofu

Next was the wok-fried tofu with homemade scallion sauce. The exterior had a light crispness and the inside tofu held its soft consistency. I avoided the scallions and chili peppers, but found the bite-sized cubes well salted for my liking, even without the extra seasoning.

Sichuan style noodles, or dan dan mein

The Sichuan style noodles in spicy peanut sauce, also known as dan dan mein, had quite a kick in its thick and creamy sauce. It was the first dish that I had to eat in small portions to allow my taste buds respite, but I enjoyed the entire dish before the next course came out.

Deep-fried black-bone chicken with Sichuan chili peppers

The Monogamous Chinese's signature dish is the deep-fried black-bone chicken with Sichuan chili peppers. The peppers packed quite a punch! I could only handle a few bites of the chicken as the peppers really set my mouth on fire! Darn my ulcers!

Ice cream souffle balls

By the end of the meal, my dinner companions and I all needed some help in cooling our taste buds. Thankfully, The Monogamous Chinese offers ice cream souffle balls as the perfect remedy. As most of you may know from my desserts addiction, this was my favorite course of the night. The ice cream hadn't turned into an oozing mess in the frying process and the sugar coating added that extra bit of sweetness. A great way to end the meal!

Happily well-fed dinner companions

Overall, The Monogamous Chinese keeps its promise of providing diners with authentic Sichuan cuisine. The atmosphere is casual and the decor vibrant and fun, the perfect combination for impressing out-of-town guests.

Most dishes were rather tame, which was good for me and my ulcers, but those looking to blow smoke out of their ears may be slightly disappointed. Of course, there will be plenty of Sichuan chili peppers left over from the black-bone chicken if you need more heat.

The Monogamous Chinese, 59 Caine Road, Central, Hong Kong
(852) 2523 2872

© Connie Hum 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: Lost in Translation

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Join either of the two sessions at 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT to get in on all the fun travel talk! Just follow the #TTOT hashtag!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "Lost in Translation!" 

Q1 via : What have you learned not to do or say in certain countries?
  • : "I'm looking for a rug" in a Turkish market
  • : Never tell an Italian your son plays the cello. 'Cello' is a local slang for a certain male body part
  • : Don't wave or eat with left hand in certain Arabic countries...(left hand is traditionally used as substitute for TP) 
  • Do not attempt to try and tip people for superior service when in Japan -- very offensive
  • : One for the ladies, don't touch a monk in Thailand
  • : Don't whine about the price of locally brought goods & services then go and spend $20+ bucks on a night on the beer
  • : Dont act like you expect every person to speak English

Q2 via : What's the funniest, most ridiculous "lost in translation" communication meltdown you've experienced?
  • : Speaking to a Vietnamese guy who mispronounced the word 'important.' It became 'impotent' - "You must be very impotent"
  • connvoyage: In Turkish, "thanks" sounds a lot like "testicular." I had trouble pronouncing it correctly all the time
  • : Told my Italian BFF I was reading "King of the Sheep." I insisted it was a famous book: "The Lord of the Rings" 
  • : First time in Germany, I learned quick that DAMEN is the laddies toilet . Not the mens
  • : I got offended when a Swede said 'sluta' to me. It means 'stop'
  • : Trying to say my roommate Amy and I were related, but ended up saying we "had relations"
  • : Asking for a tasty bit of "polla" (cock) instead of chicken "pollo" in Spain

Q3 via Robyn Boswell: What adventure/disaster have you had because you mis-interpreted someone?
  • : Florence. Ask if they have seafood on the menu. Nods her head. Trippa. I'm like wow. Interesting. Taste. Turns out to be Tripe.Urgh
  • : Taking the wrong train for misinterpreting Cyrillic
  • : Frequently walking into men's toilets because I don't know the word for man or the pictures aren't giving any clues away either
  • : The "salad course" at a restaurant in Fes turns out to be 18 plates! And that was just the first course
  • : A tour of the Giza pyramids became a trip across the desert via camel. No clue how that happened - still
  • : Not a mishap, but what I thought meant "bus comes tonight" turned out to be "bus comes tomorrow". Made for a longgggg wait
  • : I believed a Gorkha friend that it was a 'simple' walk. 8 hours later, crying in pain, we got there

Q4 via : What's the funniest street/public sign you found on your travels? Photos?

: Part of an anti drink drive campaign sign I saw in India once

connvoyage: Confusing street sign in Lijiang, China

: "Day of the Shark" shoot @ Breezy Palms Resort

: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Q5 via : In what country/city did the locals make you feel most welcomed, even when you couldn't communicate with them? 
  • East or West wherever you go- India is the friendliest country! Even if you don't speak a word -locals want to interact
  • : I think this is a tie between Japan and Morocco. Both super-welcoming! 
  • Chiang Mai. The locals there are a bit more hospitable compared to in other places in Thailand
  • : Malawi - one of the friendliest countries in the world
  • I'm probably bias, but Vietnamese people are the greatest! When I lived there, I was called beautiful every day
  • Turkey - for sure
  • : Definitely Cambodia, smile for them is a universal language. Love it 

And there you have it, "Lost in Translation!"    

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Special Travel Moments!" Submit your questions HERE!

See you next Tuesday 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT for the next #TTOT!

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

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Lost in Translation" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: Forms of Travel

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! Join either of the two scheduled sessions at 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT by following the #TTOT hashtag to get in on all the fun travel talk!

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

Q1 via : When has the journey been more rewarding than the destination?
  • Bus ride from HCMC to Siem Reap - long bus ride but the experience was very humbling and genuine
  • : The first time you go on a plane is pretty special!
  • : Our 3-day trek from Marrakech to Sahara - Ourzazate, the gorges and the endless small towns were amazing
  • : Traveling with my mom. It doesn't matter where to. Love hate relationship all the way
  • : An 8 days bus ride from Madrid to Toledo on my Andalucia tour. We got to stop in small towns where I ate authentic cuisine
  • : Train rides in India are always an experience never to be forgotten, though be careful don't have to unexpectedly share your bed
  • : I took 16 months to circle the globe without getting on a single airplane. I LOVE THE JOURNEY

Q2 via : Show us a photo of the quirkiest mode of transport you have found on your travels
: Sand buggy followed by eating sand whilst sandboarding in Huachachina, Peru

: Long and bumpy bus ride filled with people, chickens, eggs, and four motorbikes in Cambodia
Zorbing in New Zealand

:  Easily a jitney, which is public transportation in the Philippines

Q3 via : What fictional form of transportation do you wish existed and why?
  • Travel by twitching my nose - like Samantha in Bewitched
  • : Hoverboard from Back to the Future 2 obviously
  • : The phone box from Bill & Ted's would be pretty awesome too. Those guys never got jetlag
  • : The umbrella from Mary Poppins. Nice to fly with it
  • : The flying car from the Jetsons. Because it could just fold into a briefcase when I'm done with it
  • : Just give me a car or a plane which doesn't need any kind of fuel!
  • : That chick on "I dream of Jeannie" she could blink me to a location 

Q4 via : Have you ever taken a risky form of transport?
  • : Bus to Vilcabamba in el Nino season. Bus in front of us skidded off road down a ravine. 36 dead
  • Had a well dodgy flight in Burma 'no seat' 'but I need this flight'..15 mins later, kid you not a deck chair tied with a bungy
  • : We take tuktuks and drive through Bombay traffic everyday! That's risky each single day
  • A 16mt camel skin rope, up a sheer cliff face to reach Debra Damo in Ethiopia
  • : Taxi in Uganda w/ cracked screen where I had to hold the car door closed as he overtook lorries at high speeds
  • : Hot air-ballooning is great, but something abt being in a wicker basket thousands of feet up next to a tank of gas is unsettling
  • : Climbing the Tibidabo in Barcelona in high heels was pretty risky

Q5 via : Is there a form of travel specific to a place that has specifically made you want 
to visit that destination?
  • : Taking the train from through Vietnam. Eating Banh Mi, staring out the window, watching rice paddies pass by
  • : Always wanted to go to Shanghai JUST to ride on the Maglev
  • The moon. My understanding is you need a rocket to get there
  • : The Trans-Siberian Railway - an iconic journey & amazing way travel through five time zones
  • : Cable cars / trams in San Francisco
  • : Laos to ride an elephant. Or Cambodia. Or anywhere to ride an elephant

And there you have it, "Forms of Travel"!   

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Lost in Translation!" Submit your questions HERE!

See you next Tuesday 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT for the next #TTOT!

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

Have YOU got anything to add to the "Forms of Travel" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Video: Blogging 101

Recently I posted my Social Media Week Hong Kong Wrap-up blog. Here are the video recordings of my portion of Blogging 101 during Social Media Week Hong Kong, in case you were curious.

My talk starts at 4:15.

Remember that I mentioned Nokia_Connects presented me with a free Nokia Lumia 800 Smartphone? Watch my reaction! Plus, find out what I was doing BEFORE I "became famous."

For all the Blogging 101 video recordings of the panelists: film critic; James Marsh of Marsh Attacks, food blogger; Janice Leung of e_ting the world, and Razlan Manjaji of You Got Me Blogging, refer to Jay Oatway's YouTube channel

Now you've heard me talk about what inspires me to travel, but the big question is: What inspires YOU to travel?

© Connie Hum 2012

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