weivern.com Bit by Bit, Putting it Together

CategoryTravel Tales

Send My Love

May 2017, London
It was 2AM in the morning, and I was woken by the loud “Ding!” on my phone – I had forgotten to keep it silent before I went to bed.  I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the piercing brightness of the screen, and somewhere in between being in the state of unconscious and conscious (mostly the first), my heart took a little leap when I saw who the Facebook message was from.  I think I must have smiled a little too. READ MORE



I start my walk from the Seaford Railway Station, and Google tells me to take what seems to be a more straightforward route than the trail that I have loaded on my watch the night before.  My feet takes me to a busy highway, and I trod along the unkempt, very much less-taken side path filled with stinging nettles that decide to make their presence felt from the beginning of my walk.  Ouch.  The drivers that pass me by are probably wondering what the heck I’m doing here, but there is no turning back until the next couple of kilometres where I converge with the original route that I have set.  To my left is an open field with roaming cattle and sheep, to my right is a green landscape that resembles a high-definition wallpaper, and ahead of me is a straight road that leads to the Seven Sisters Country Park, welcoming me in the distance. READ MORE

Journey to the West: Ghent & Bruges

“Why Ghent? Actually, where’s Ghent?”
Those were the common questions I would get when I share about our little holiday. I first read about Ghent when I was trying to find a common place to stay when we travel between Bruges and Brussels. I knew those two places are very touristy and my idea was to settle at a quieter area after the hustles and bustles of Paris.
Some online research led me to places like Ghent and Antwerp, with many seasoned travelers vouching for the first. Ghent is situated strategically between Brussels and Bruges, just a half hour train ride between those two and I was particularly intrigued to discover this “hidden gem”. READ MORE

Journey To The West: Paris

Nothing prepared us for Paris. Even though we had a scrumptious brunch at Le Pain Quotidien (I will later find out that this delicious chain of pastry cafes originated in Brussels, not Paris) at the St. Pancras Station before we departed for Gare du Nord, the French capital would soon present itself in a way that we will remember for life in a span of four short days.
But first – all aboard the Eurostar!!! READ MORE

Journey To The West: Prologue

We all have goals. Short term, or long term, they’re in the same to-do list that tells the stories of our lives. One of my short term goals was to bring mom to the UK as she had always wanted to see what life is like in that part of the world (and so did I). Another reason was more personal for me which I won’t divulge here, but let’s just say all those reasons combined with a desperate need for a holiday and the will to part with a chunk of fortune – it was high time we boarded that plane to the land of tea and scones! READ MORE

Pulau Redang, April 2015

“Vern, the email is out! Jom!”
My would-be dive buddy Bib, who’s also sitting next to me at work called out when she received the email from our company sports club. We’ve been planning to dive together for awhile now, and since places are limited, we signed up within the same minute the email was shot out. I was partly nervous, as I haven’t been diving since I first got my license about a year and a half ago – I wasn’t sure if I still remember the basic skills. READ MORE

Up in the Air

5C. I seldom get seats this upfront, especially when I checked in just hours before the flight. Maybe many are not too comfortable with flying anymore, given all that has just happened last year. I find it a little odd that my biggest worry until now is just missing my flight. Anything that happens up there, is beyond my control.
But I’m wrong. The flight is almost full. I look for my seat and find a tall man in his 50’s, with his grey hair neatly combed behind as my companion. He’s reading a book on leadership principles by Lao Zi, lost in his own little world. That’s what I like about flying. We’re all lost in another world for awhile. Sometimes you get chatty strangers who make your flight interesting, and sometimes you just appreciate the peace and quiet, even if it’s just as short as 45 minutes. READ MORE

North Vietnam, June 2014

1. Hanoi
The first thing I notice about you is that you’re hot. Sweltering, unforgivingly hot. And humid too. Each time we walk outdoors we’re sweating like pigs. When we’re unlucky, we’re sweating indoors too (darn restaurants with no air-conditioning!).  Much like a woman’s wrath, your summer fury is no joke.
You’re ironic too.  You’re a lot like Malaysia, only maybe thirty or fourty years ago – but everywhere we went, there’s WiFi. You’re divided into two quarters – old and new – and each time we get lost, we return to Hoen Kiem Lake to readjust our bearings.  Scooters and taxis are always zipping by and to cross the road takes some skill, and a huge leap of faith. READ MORE

Lost and Found in Hanoi

I will write and post more about my recent holiday in North Vietnam as soon as I get my photos sorted – but something significant happened to me in Hanoi that I thought deserved its own post.
So I lost my cellphone in Hanoi. My brand new, 3-month old Sony Xperia that I waited for almost a year to get.
Gone. Just like that.
But there’s more to the story than just that. A long one.
We had just returned from our 9-hour sleeper train ride from our incredible adventures in Sapa. Getting off the train, I took out my cellphone to take a photo of the morning scene at train station, and put it back into my pocket. We hailed the nearest cab the moment we walked out of the station (or more like the cab driver hailed us) to head back to our hotel in Hanoi. READ MORE

That (Corporate) Thing You Do

Occasionally, I get to sit next to nice strangers when I’m aboard a bus or a plane. These are people who emit good vibes that tell you, “Hey, I enjoy a good conversation.”
Last weekend, on my way back from Penang to Subang – I was seated next to a middle-aged man whose eyes showed years of experience and displayed a certain kind of warmth. He peered at the “Success” magazine that I bought for the short journey and immediately put one and one together. READ MORE

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