On my way home from Australia I spent a good 7 hours in Singapore Airport. I had run out of money and had $2 Singapore dollars to my name (which I spent on a Dunkin Donut…only $1.70). I tried to sleep in the quiet napping area but was repeatedly woken by cleaners banging their metal dust pans next to my lounger. In the end I walked and walked and then nosed in the expensive boutique shops. Places like Burberry, Bvlgari and Hermes. Feeling slightly like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman I hastily left these shops knowing that I wasn’t looking my best after a 8 hour flight with no sleep and no make-up on. Plus I had my j-neck cushion bouncing off my hand luggage which made me feel like I was a refugee from a festival.
Last week I returned from Australia. It was my first long haul holiday and also the first that I took all on my own. There are lots of stories I could tell you but I wanted to share one about human kindness.
In my last few hours in Melbourne before I flew thousands of miles home I wandered the streets looking for somewhere to eat. I stumbled across Pho & Co and since Pho (I’ve even made it myself before) is only second to ramen on my favourite foods I thought I’d treat myself.
I ordered summer rolls (chicken) and a bowl of their eye fillet pho. I had expected my started to come out first but they were both set down in front of me at the same time. No worries as I had some time to kill before my flight.
Not the actual bowl of pho…
The summer rolls were lovely, fresh and full of soft herbs with a nice flavour from the pickled mango (which is a first for me). The dips were standard, sweet chilli and a slightly puzzling hoisin sauce (didn’t feel very Vietnamese to me).
Then onto the Pho. I was a little worried about the lack of inciting smells steaming from the bowl and when I took a spoonful of the broth I could taste why. The broth was very light and had very little depth in the flavour. I expected to be able to taste the star anise and touch of cinnamon I have come to desire. Alongside was a plate of accompaniments. Including fish sauce, more hoisin sauce and some crushed nuts (I think) and chilli if I wanted to add. I don’t react well to fresh chilli so I left that out and added all the fish sauce and a little of the hoisin. It still didn’t lift the broth. I ended up eating some of the noodles and the beef, which was amazingly tender but again lacked seasoning as it languished in the watery broth.
Last month I went on my first ever ski holiday. I had missed out on the school trips as a teenager and well the opportunity had never come up before. I have to say I was nervous, scared even but not of the idea of skiing (although that did spook me a fair bit). No, the first thing to cross my mind was “what the hell do I take?” followed swiftly by “will I actually need to take a full on suitcase?” as most of my previous holidays involved either hand luggage only or a shared suitcase.
I had months to worry. All that time to try to research, I asked friends who had been before and spent hours looking at photos trying to figure out what people wore on these skiing vacations. To me it felt like I would need a massive suitcase and several bags. It all came flooding in and tried to overwhelm me. Packing for a cold weather holiday had never happened to me before. It was alien. Normally I would throw together a heap of sun-dresses, shorts and flip-flops and have plenty of room for goodies picked up abroad.
Christmas, New Years and a holiday have all rushed past leaving me in a strange mood as I attempt to finish my first full week back at work since the beginning of December.
My overwhelming spending desire seems diminished and I am struggling to put together outfits for work from my bulging wardrobe.
This morning as I walked to work I tried to think what was causing this. Was it post-Christmas/New Year/Holiday blues? Then it hit me. I missed the simplicity of living out of a suitcase. It sounds a little odd but think about it for a moment.
I try to travel light and take only the essentials. I long ago realised that packing 3 or 4 party dresses when I’m off to stay with relatives or in very cold weather just isn’t needed.
I’ve started a new collection inspired by a friend who loves to receive a magnet from friends who have been on holiday or away for work. Most of her magnets are pretty little things to adorn her fridge.
Every day I stand waiting for my train home staring at a huge poster intended to get me wanting to visit Egypt. Now recent events aside (it is unfortunate that they seem plastered everywhere at the very moment no-one wants to go there), the message it appears to be sending is slightly confusing to me.
A young women, tanned and lips slightly parted, looking wistfully away, and the words “and the stones spoke to me”. All this suggests to me is that she’s on some kind of horrible mind altering trip and is wandering aimlessly across the desert… I feel worried for her safety and hope that she’s tucked up somewhere with kind people looking after her.