I would like to thank the lovely Nisa for inviting me to a chain letter event; I was one of the top chosen three.
The ABC’s of travel is a chain letter event that has been going on for quite some time in the travel bloggers world. Each travel blogger completes the ABC list and invites 3 other travel bloggers to also do an ABC! So here you have our ABC’s of Travel:
A – Age you went on your first international trip
I was born in a beautiful Formosa. My parents took me to Ontario, Canada on my first international trip as well as the U.S.A. when I was only a year old. I was such a little baby back then.
B – Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where
The best foreign beer I ever had was the Oude Kriek Boon. It’s a fermented lambic fruit beer from Brouwerij Boon in Lembeek, Belgium. There were hints of cherry tartness & woody flavours. Tartness and sweetness blend well together. I always have a joy for fruity lambic Belgian-style beers. It has an alcohol volume of 6.5%.
C – Cuisine (favorite)
My favourite cuisine is definitely anything else from Taiwanese to Thai to Peruvian, of course everything has to be made and cooked vegan. One of my favourite dishes was the steamed, but lightly fried Taiwanese Dikon Radish Cake (蘿蔔糕) and my maternal grandma would feed me everyday whilst visiting Taiwan (yes, she knows they have to be made vegetarian w/o the usual shrimp or meat). It is funny, but I eat so many of them quickly without any condiments. They were so yummy!
And my favourite Peruvian dish was the vegetable squash stew w/ colourful potatoes served with garlic rice.
D – Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why
This is a tough question. My favourite destination has to be somewhere with vegan-friendly eats, of course, which was my top priority when it comes to traveling. I have to admit that Germany, France and Taiwan were my favourites due to vegan-friendly eats (plus the weather & experiences are very beautiful at the same time). It’s also affordable to live and explore in Germany and Taiwan, but beautiful to learn about the cuisine and culture in France. My least favourite would probably be Beijing, China. It is not very vegan-friendly, and very hard to get around especially you will need a private driver to take to specific places and speak their language. The second least favourite would be Istanbul in such a cold weather, plus it was challenging to find vegan restaurants in the centre except for yummy Turkish delights!
E – Event you experienced abroad and made you say “wow”
I took Spanish when I was in fifth grade, and studied it until graduation. Few years later, I forgot my Spanish. My parents warned me that Mexico is very violent, and so I grew up with an impression that I would not visit Mexico in my life. When my boyfriend booked tickets to Mexico City, I was pretty excited because I would be going to Mexico without even mentioning it to my parents. Everything I’d experienced abroad in Mexico City made me say “WOW”, and I even overcame my greatest fear of height by climbing the Teotihuacán. Staying in Mexico City made me want to tone my oral Spanish, and there are always new things going on in Mexico City from street markets to political rallies to street parades. I love the vibe and culture in Mexico City, and I was so happy I went despite my parents’ warning.
F – Favorite mode of transportation
I like riding on trains as long as they are air-conditioned because it is a great way to see the rural and countryside. There was one train I rode to Budapest on a hot, humid July, where the air conditioning broke down. But my favourite mode of transportation is flying, it has to be in a good seat for sure, either Economy Plus or Business/First Class.
G – Greatest feeling while traveling
You might find it odd, but the greatest feeling whilst traveling was eating a wonderful vegan dish or having the best coconut water in a nice airport lounge such as Singapore Airlines. Every country I have explored, will always have 1-2 favourite vegan dish I would remember. But I also love exploring new places with Doni, whether it’s a street market, or spending time with feral or stray cats.
I love being around feral or stray cats and being able to feed them daily wherever I explore SE Asia. It gave me the greatest feeling to care for others whilst traveling.
H – Hottest place you’ve traveled to
The hottest place I’ve traveled to was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The weather is steady from high 80s to 90s with some rain and high humidity. This is completely opposite from Thailand. Once you walk out of the air-conditioned flat or mall, your body gets all sticky from the humidity. You get sweaty after walking for couple of minutes. It is really uncomfortable to walk outside and I can’t imagine wearing my favourite outfits in this sticky, humid, hot weather.
I – Incredible service you experienced and where
The most incredible service I’d experienced so far was at Four Seasons Bangkok hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. They quickly accommodated my vegan requests for breakfast and dinner in advance. Their hotel rooms are huge, and breathtaking. I never had a better hotel service elsewhere.
J – Journey that took the longest
It was a hot, humid July of 2008. We were supposed to take a direct Deutsche Bahn (DB) train to Aarhus, Denmark from Hamburg, Germany, somehow the train broke down and we ended up being nowhere. It was the longest and most irritating journey we took resulting 3 long train rides from Hamburg, Germany to Aarhus, Denmark where we had to haul our 8 massive luggage (4 checked and 4 carry-ons). It was not a happy train ride experience. It felt like it was never ending especially in such a sticky, humid weather.
K – Keepsake from your travels
I always bring a souvenir from each country, but it’s always travel & good memories spending time with Doni, my lifetime partner.
L – Let-down sight and where
Anywhere that is let-down sight is animal cruelty and poverty indeed in Malaysia. I did not like how some locals treat stray and feral cats like scums and have witnessed far more than cruel. I’ve created a kitty awareness photo log here, feel free to share amongst others.
M – Moment where you fell in love with traveling
At age 19, I traveled with my family all over in China for one month and it was too much to do in a short period of time and bit stressful to travel with family. I went on a raw vegan diet whilst visiting China because I am so scared to try anything vegan in China. I guess international travel was new to me, but eating vegan in a different country was new to me.
At age 21, I left everything behind in Oregon, U.S.A. and visited Hamburg, Germany (technically the first European city I’ve been to), I suddenly fell in love with the culture, people, food, and the beautiful architecture. I just love the fact that I don’t have to speak German fluently, but to be able to live and experience comfortably in Germany. I knew after my stay in Germany, I wanted to see more, live there short-term, and try all different kinds of vegan cuisine around the world.
N – Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in
I tried to avoid big hotel chains, but it really depends because Doni is a Starwood Gold member so he has access to these hotels with good prices and benefits. It is great for 1-day to few days visit. From now on, we are sticking with local short-term properties where we can stay for a month or few months with flexibility.
There is only one nicest hotel I’ve stayed in: My general impression on Le Méridien Vienna was like WOW. I loved it, unfortunately I didn’t need everything there. It was a daily rate from 529€ (~$768 since July 2011) per night. On the first day in Vienna (Wien), we stayed at the executive suite at Le Méridien Vienna and we loved it there. It was a fantastic night to start with after nearly 24-hour flight and we were exhausted that day.
“Vienna features a room concept with large surfaces and deconstructed designs to reflect a seamless marriage of contemporary and traditional. Leisure and privacy are premium with a separate bedroom and spacious living room.” (Le Méridien Vienna)
It’s too bad that their room service dishes weren’t vegan-friendly.
O – Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling
Of course, vegan food pictures whilst traveling! What else am I obsessed with besides taking yummy vegan food pictures? For example, I do like taking pictures of unique vegan dishes such as Chiang-Mai’s fried flower salad:
Or even live in Mexico City and make something quirky (chocolate tamales w/ fresh avocados & cilantro):
Or even enjoy vegan Austrian pastries, that taste so much like European pastries:
P – Passport stamps, how many and from where
Far too many to count. I have two passports (one in the U.S. and one in Taiwan), but one expired this year so I had to get a new U.S. passport and ended up with more passport pages, which was nice.
Q – Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where
I was amused with the artistic appeal at Wellington waterfront in New Zealand. They do have the quirkiest art statues though. I don’t understand the meaning of these, but I find them quirky. I guess it’s New Zealand!!!
R – Recommended sight, event or experience
Photographing the Sydney Opera House before dawn strikes. It was so beautiful and definitely recommended to see and experience. I like how removed Sydney Opera House was before dawn.
Doni & I loved photographing anything before dawn.
S – Splurge; something you have no problem forking for over money while traveling
I always splurge on vegan dishes & sweets at the airports during layover or the next day flight or if the airport lounges are closed during certain hours. Eating out at airports are quite expensive, but it’s the only way to alleviate my stress being stuck at airports. I do hair appointments wherever I am when I feel that I need a hair color change.
T – Touristy thing you’ve done
I’m not a fan of tour groups or being a tourist. The “most” touristy thing I’ve done was photographing myself in Rome. I acted like a typical “Asian” tourist, wanted my pictures to be taken behind famous landmarks in Rome, Italy. I finally realized that I wanted to see more of Rome, not just the tourist areas. It can be so stressful to act like a tourist where there are loads of tourist groups from around the world crawling toward you.
U – Unforgettable travel memory
Doni’s unforgettable travel memory was bumping into my Uncle after 10 years at a large train station in T’aichung, Taiwan. It was a heartbreaking experience.
But one of my unforgettable travel memories was riding on a Tuk-Tuk to the airport. It was kind of a silly ride, but worth it! Just wear your sunglasses whilst riding on a busy highway!
V – Visas, how many and for where
With an American passport, I feel so limited. I have to go all the way to SFO or other major cities to apply for a visa in Brasil or China. I used to have a visa for China. Most countries do not require visas, but limited stay. For EU zone, you can stay up to 90 days, while in the UK, you can stay up to 180 days. You will need an entry visa in Istanbul. In SE Asia, the countries vary. As you can see, holding an American passport is a pain in the arse!!!!!!!
W – Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where
I also live in Oregon, where Willamette Valley is known for its best wineries around the world. No kidding, but the wines in Oregon are the best I ever had. Even tourists come to visit there because of great wines. The photo was taken by Doni: “the NXNW flight from King Estate Winery, taken on the restaurant patio. Usually consisting of three wines, they surprised us by adding a fourth that wasn’t on the menu”
X – eXcellent view and from where
I was in France in 2008. The first excellent view I had was at the hill of Montmartre. That was my first excellent view.
Y – Years spent traveling
I’m 24. I’ve been traveling internationally since I was 14 years old, so make that 10 years in total. I can’t remember much about my international trips with my parents when I was a baby, so I’m not going to count that.
Z – Zealous sports fans and where
Doni and I are zealous sport fans of Liverpool FC. We will be going to their matches in the U.S. this coming summer 2012. We went to our first Liverpool match in Anfield, Liverpool, UK which was the highlight of our lives!
After this, I want to hear the full ABC’s of the following wonderful travel bloggers, who have always inspired me!
I would like to add one more just in case if someone doesn’t have time: