Pondering on “Facebook Depression”

I woke up today like any other day and like any other person in the planet. A laptop in front of me or a smart phone in my hand scrolling between Facebook posts for the recent happenings of my friends on Facebook. Today, I only bothered to read one post until I came to a realization.

It happened to be a post from my former officemate, a cheesy birthday greeting  accompanied by photos like any other posts in the platform. Suddenly, my empathy towards today’s generation has been realized. I’m rarely an empathic person but my thoughts regarding what “Facebook Depression” was all about dawned onto me.

Expressions of affections have become too commercialized because of social networking. It’s such a pity to see that the lives of people in this time succumb to the fact that the act of posting recent activities are nothing but mere entries for such undeclared social competition. Thus, everyone’s pitfall is the continuously expanding bottomless abyss of depression, self-loath, and resentment.

The enemy is unreluctantly vicious and judgmental with undeniably high expectations – no one but our own selves. As we silently scroll between posts of our Facebook friends, regularly everyday, for years, we have inevitably developed covetousness for someone else’s sense of happiness and satisfaction.

At some point in time, we reticently want to be like them. There’s no other way of putting it into words. We want to do what they’re doing, to feel what they’re feeling, to have the spending power they have, and to have the means and freedom to travel around the world.

And since we keep on thinking about these kinds of thoughts, the law of attraction suggests that we actualize these negative self-loathing and longing to the point that it affects the way we psychologize our thoughts, self-disposition and our daily lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the social media as a whole has an optimistic objective in providing such platforms and it’s commendable for them to do so. But somehow, there’s always the yin in yang, the darkness in light and the evil in goodness.

The best thing I could think of to counteract such negative effect of such privilege in utilizing social media is to use it in moderation. Keeping in mind the entire purpose of such platforms, which is to inform, to connect, to reach out and be reached, maybe our best option for now. After all, life is an endless journey of self-realization. Must be the same for all these platforms we accompany in our lives.

For the Love of QVB Heritage

For my long forgotten trip to Sydney way back in September 2014, I’m dedicating this entire post solely to the majestic Queen Victoria Building (QVB). Primarily because of my deep passion and appreciation to anything with precious historical value.

QVB is situated in the heart of Sydney’s central business district. The entire building covers the whole block between George, Market, York and Druitt streets. Just across the other shopping districts.

It is highly recognisable amidst the modern skyscrapers and flashy contemporary shopping malls. Its very presence speaks a lot of history. It was built in the late 19th century exhibiting Victorian Romanesque architecture by a Scottish architect migrant who moved in Sydney in 1884. The presence of columns, arches and great attention to details shows the influence of the American Architect Henry Hobson Richardson in the said era.

Let me introduce my next passion, timepieces!  QVB has two unique huge mechanical clocks with outstanding technicality and complexity. Australia’s history is carefully handcrafted to these masterpieces while figures circumnavigate the clocks. In addition, most of it has annual calendar features too!

Here are more photos of my visit at QVB:

The precise and uniform archeways are truly admirable. The depth seems like to portray infinity. Just like how QVB is carefully preserved throughout time. On the side, the phot may be cropped but it can be clearly seen how the spiral staircases are maintained, though most of it are off limits to anyone.

Dome ceilings are very distinguished in this building.

Arches and glass windows’ intricate designs.

Aside from columns, arches and other details engraved on every corner of this building, the tile work of the flooring is very notable too.

QVB is definitely one of those heritage sites never to miss out when visiting Sydney!

Road Trip Down to Mornington Peninsula

In the midst of Winter’s break, we drove 75km South East from Melbourne CBD to the famous Mornington Peninsula. The entire peninsula is divided into four areas: Northern, Western, Southern and the Peninsula Hinterland (Mid Land).

It’s a huge area to explore and different activities varies from season to season – From enjoying costal water activities (boating, fishing, swimming), to camping, horseback riding, trail walking, farm gating, wine tasting and fruit pickings. The land is also preserved for golfing and the natural hot springs are its best tourist attraction. So, for this particular day trip, we decided only to explore along the coastlines of Southern peninsula and visited the most visited lighthouse – The Cape Schanck.

A little trivia about this peninsula. At the tip of Point Nepean, Australia Prime Minister Harold Holt mysteriously disappeared while swimming in the coastal waters of Chevion Beach near Portsea way back in 1967. His body was never recovered up to this day. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to reach that point since it’s far off the road and takes a long time to walk to get there.

We started our trip at Dromana’s coastline to look at the historic colourful bathing houses – For they are no more than a shed, with no supply of water nor electricity, these make the peninsula famous for. It covers the long stretch of southern area’s coastline – From Mount Eliza, Dromana, Rosebud to Pointsea.

Next, we crossed the Peninsula and headed straight to Cape Schanck Lighthouse. It was built in 1859 as the second coastal lighthouse in Victoria. Built from limestone standing at 21 metres high, situated 100 metres above sea level. It is considered as one of the first buildings ever constructed in the state.

The entire ground covers the lighthouse, a museum in the old assistant’s quarters and accommodation in the old residence of the lighthouse keeper.

This trail naturally hollowed by trees is the entrance to the lighthouse’s grounds.

The view of the sea is stunning from this height. The majestic sea between the states of Victoria and Tasmania is enthralling to think that looking from this point, you are basically looking at the bottom of the earth. That only a ship ride away, you will be reaching Antartica!

Then we headed to the traveller-friendly Blue Mini Cafe! Famous for both locals and tourists, this is my favourite part of the trip! Because along the hours-long drive from the city, far away from home, is unbelievably THIS place! A cafe-restaurant with vintage items for sale; Decorated in rustic, uncoordinated sets of furniture with superb fine menu to indulge.

Upon entering the place, you’ll find this vintage fridge full of old-school kitchen tools, which are all for sale!

Their dining tables are made of vintage wood signboards which added to the homey atmosphere of the place.

There are metal scrap arts in one section made by Melbournian artists – Definitely locally made!

And for the love of stationery – This cafe offers a wide selection of different kinds of – well – STATIONERY!

Aside from vintage items, metal art scraps and stationery, there are local products for sale. And for those people with OCDs, this cafe arranged the products by colour!

This is the orange corner packed with a variety of locally-crafted items for sale.

Upon leaving the cafe, I found this interesting piece of art. A pair of boots growing organic things! Pretty, isn’t it?

Our last stop for the day was the village of Sorrento. I was not able to take photos of the heritage buildings along the area but I was able to capture a few shots of the coast! Oh, hi there little brother!

In this village you will find antique stores passed on from generation to generation and a good bargain hunting for rare treasures!

Along the coastline of the Peninsula are these century old trees preserved by local tourism! In general, everywhere you look, Mornington Peninsula is definitely a place worth visiting. Next time you decide to drop by the State of Victoria, don’t miss out this place!

Burning Kiss

The night was about to fall when I arrived at the place to meet him for one last time. It was a humble home being renovated at the ungodly hour located in a private village in the North of Metro.

I immediately recognized it as the home of my college best friend. What nostalgia summoned me there. I asked.

Upon entering the door, I saw three men, friends of the guy I should be meeting up with, they were discussing some serious matters to the house owners, the family of my best friend.

Lately, I heard they were trying to start a business in which I don’t have any idea on what it was about. At least, that’s the most my interest in the matter could get me.

Everyone noticed as I walk reaching for the sofa, but they did not bother to greet as they were in the middle of a serious discourse. I sat there and waited until he came, the guy I was waiting for.

He came in a shoddy condition, tipsily walked towards the room and fell right beside me. The cushion of the sofa saved his head from having a concussion from a bump he could’ve gotten if he fell on the wooden table or cold ceramic floor.

He was sweating in his burning body temperature and the air didn’t seem to circulate around the room that worsened his health.

I looked at him, trying to grasp his state, thinking what I could’ve done to ease his pain for a while.  But I saw a painful sight through his glasses; It clearly reflected his sufferings from his eyes. Red tint slowly covered the pearliness of his eyeballs that triggered my alertness to panic. Trying to make a signal through my hands, I tried to grab everyone’s attention. Yet, not one was alarmed of this guy’s immediate need of medical attention. My effort wasn’t recognized.

Not soon after, the family of four looked at his friends in disappointment. I guess their minds did not meet. Their mental states weren’t mutual as of the moment to agree on the various business proposals, or at least that’s what I figured.

Darkness took over the cloudy sky and his friends bid farewell to the family. I felt that I needed to go with them to assure this guy’s life will not be in danger or else, I know, it will haunt me forever.

When I once again checked his condition, his eyes were tearing blood. That time, I felt I was in inferno, looking at a demon suffering in flames. The entire house seemed burning in sizzling fire but not one item was scorching in fire.

The guy was such a wreck. I sensed his physical and emotional pains, which ripped me apart. Tears began to roll down my cheeks in sympathy for the life he’s trying to win over the god of death.

I wanted to help him, after all, we had memories to cherish and a good story of friendship to tell. I once again attempted to get their attention for the sake of their dear friend. They immediately responded and we hopped into their red sedan.

His head laid on my lap along our way to nowhere near a hospital. I no longer panicked as I notice his health gradually improving as if a miracle happened. I guess, all along, he just needed to be near me.

I pulled out my phone and suddenly called my best friend to inform her about what happened in their home. Talking to her at that moment, while the guy was soundly sleeping in my lap, cheered me up a lot.

It was a long drive from the metro. I napped and lost track of time, but surprisingly, the sky cleared for the daybreak. We reached our destination when his friends left us to finally have the talk. They drove the car back to where they came from without the intention of returning.

The serene nature-loving place was a hilly grassland far away from all infrastructures of the city. A native restaurant built out of interwoven splits of bamboo (sawali) stood there that offered a variety of Filipino foods and cultural dances for entertainment while you dine. It wasn’t that big, but it provides other amenities you could pay for similar to that of hotels – a massage parlor, perhaps.

The entire place was very relaxing and big enough to find your own spot to clear your mind for meditation. We both entered the restaurant to fill our groaning stomachs. The interior was very native with all the wooden furnitures and decorations. Fresh flowers aesthetically pleased the area and its aroma soothed the atmosphere.

Soon after we finished dining, we stayed for awhile and began talking. We discussed the roller coaster ride of our lives during those times we were tiptoeing around what could’ve been cleared as mutual from the beginning. But it was our fate, I believe, to influence each other at some point in our existence that prepared a stable foundation for the life partners we would separately end up with.

He ended it with a brush of his lips against mine. Not too long that would be considered arousing and expression of love. But a kiss that stayed and let me felt the sincerity from the heart. An apology, a peace-making act, and an au revoir until who knows when.

However, it was a burning kiss that left a mark in my lips. It was from a demon in flames that tempted me to ask for more. But I resisted and prevailed the act of the underworld. It was the perfect time to leave everything behind now.

I knew it was the end. The end of a beautiful yet chaotic long journey. It’s time to live our lives apart and just be thankful for the good and bad memories that were left hidden behind our usual recognition. From that day on, until the rest of my days in this life, I knew I had those memories stored in my head even if it no longer crosses my mind.

Finally, I got what I was looking for some time now. Peace finally came into me to continue the rest of my existence with the man I’m in love with. The man I want to be my life partner through the ups and downs that are ahead of us.

Ultimately, both of us attained peace.

Food Paradise in the Capital

If you are looking for a food adventure in Beijing, you should never miss the Wangfujing Night Market, known as Donghuamen Night Street by the locals.

The 100-meter long street food market is not hard to miss. Its eye-catching red lanterns and clean red stalls along Dong’anmen Street near Wangfujing Area is the perfect tourist destination at night. It opens at 6 in the evening everyday to delight everyone in the area. Several tourists would go a long way just to experience the market in the Capital.

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It offers a variety of authentic Chinese and exotic snacks: From the usual barbecues, noodles, “Tanghulu” or sugar-coated fruit candies, local desserts, dim sums, hamburgers, pancakes and grilled seafood to insects, snakes, spiders and other surprising finger foods.

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The market is famous for its grilled exotic snacks on skewers; particularly scorpions, centipedes, crickets, seahorses, starfishes and bugs. Several stalls sell these snacks to challenge your appetite.

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I cannot imagine having a bite of these snacks though. But I can’t help admiring them all!

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These creatures are known for its rich nutrients but bland in flavour. It’s crunchy and very delicious.

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Arachnids are also served in this market. Those legs are crisp and snack-worthy. It would be a fun food adventure only if I didn’t know they’re spiders!

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The harmful toxins inside centipedes and scorpions are sucked out of them before being sold. So these food are perfectly safe! You don’t have to worry about health concerns especially that these are prepared in a clean environment.

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Have you ever dreamt of savouring snakes and eels? With the markets cheap food prices, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

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A variety of grilled seafood is available to be indulged by those who cannot take to try exotic snacks. Seafood in skewers heaven! Fishes, shrimps, squids, baby lobsters and royal crabs are freshly skewed and grilled right in front of you.

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Crispy shrimps! These babies are satisfying to my hungry stomach.

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Just like any other street food areas, this market sells particular parts of chicken, pork, lamb and beef; Including intestines, kidneys and other inside parts.

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And of course, the famous steamed dim sums of Chinese cuisine! Served hot and perfect for the cold night.

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Some dim sums have dog meat stuffed in it. Be sure to carefully choose when trying out some of them.

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Once all stuffed and satisfied with all the dinner you get in one night, it’s time for desserts!

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One thing you should never miss to check out is the famous “Tanghulu” or sugar-coated fruit candies. Even in other markets around the area, these sweet candies are sold on the streets at any time of the day.

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The range of food in China is as broad is its vast land. The market showcases a wide range of local desserts to satisfy a variety of sweet lovers out there!

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Buchi-looking delicacies!

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China has a lot of creativity in using flour in preparing different desserts and pastries. All are equally tasty despite the differences in flavours.

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But don’t be fooled. Some of these sweet-looking pastries are actually spicy and contains different spices on it

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The market doesn’t only appeal to the food explorers. It is also appetising to the young and the young at heart. Aside from normal skewers, fruit candies, pancakes and donuts, these fried snacks with smiley faces will surely make your little kids’ night memorable.

White Night Melbourne 2014

In 2013, Melbourne is the first city in Australia to join the ranks of global cities producing all-night arts events. Melbourne is known as Australia’s international city of artistic innovation. It embraces the opportunity to showcase its commitment to art, music and diverse culture.

When my family moved in to Melbourne in 2013, we were still staying at the service apartment along Elizabeth St in the city. It was the time White Night Melbourne premiered in Australia. I can still remember looking at tweets of people all over the city exploring the different activities simultaneously happening that night.

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This year, I decided to join the fun and see by myself what was out there. I only had a few hours to spend since I needed to catch the late train going home on a Saturday night, so I wasn’t able to explore every activity that was happening.

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First stop, I watched the Moonlight Synchronised Swimming at the Melbourne City Baths. A lot of people were already queueing all around the block just to get in. I was able to see the show Almost an hour later and the queue was even longer than before! *Yikes*

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On my way to our next stop, we passed by this food kiosk catering Filipino food just for the event! Proud to be Pinoy! I wanted to try it out but the queue was so long. 😦

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Then I went straight to the State Library of Victoria where various light works were being lit up on the facade of the library.

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Just across the road is the Melbourne Central. We had a quick peek on what’s going on inside and found out that the iconic tower was also participating. Amazing!

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The event was city-wide extending up to the other side of Yarra River. Several artworks and light performances can be seen along every stop.

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There were also live bands performing in some corners in the city.

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One of the big universities in the city, RMIT, hosted the galleries for the exhibitions. We managed to get into one and snapped a few artworks inside. There were also short films being played over and over again for everyone to see.

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Sooner than we thought, the night was over. I needed to get leave to catch our train. The entire Swanston Street was literally filled with people. It’s like flooded with people all over the place. Took me at least 40 minutes to walk down from the library to Flinders Station, which is like only 6-8 blocks away!

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Good thing a stampede didn’t happen during the event. I pity those kids forced to be there at that kind of situation. D:

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Even the iconic Flinders Street Station was part of the event. Several light performances were being lit on different parts of its facade! Incredible works!

But the night wasn’t getting any younger for me so I headed straight back home. Too bad I wasn’t able to visit the activities past the Yarra River. Maybe next year then!

The Great Ocean Road Trip 2014

After moving to Melbourne for almost two years now, my family and I were able to go down further south west and drive the Great Ocean Road!

Generally, we love to visit tourist attractions to witness and admire the magnificence of natural wonders over spending hours sunbathing under the heat of the summer sun while sipping Piña Colada. We like to move around and hop from one destination to the other.

Through the service of Melbourne Costal Tours, we were able to drive all the way from Melbourne CBD and finish the 243km drive of the Great Ocean Road (GOR) Tour just in one day. How awesome is that?!

First stop, we headed to the Fairhaven Beach at Anglesea to see a glimpse of the stretch of GOR. We can’t swim though since sharks are having a feast, swimming around this area.

A few minutes later, we reached the Great Ocean Road Archway. Where the journey begins! We quickly stopped for a while to have a couple of mandatory shots with the archway. It’s a long day ahead of us.

After some mandatory travel photos, w were back on the road. Our tour guide and the entire tour itself was very flexible. We get to have a lot of quick stopovers to have quick glances and photo opportunities along the way. Perks of going in a small group tours rather than joining big companies in huge buses.

Along the Great Ocean Road, there were several lookouts on the way where you can have quick stops to have some photo opportunities with nature. The tour guide have chosen Teddy’s Lookout. From the lookout, you can see the view of the beautiful town of Lorne and the Bass Straight, the body of ocean between mainland Australia and the state of Tasmania.

Next stop, we pulled off at the carpark of Kennett River to find Wild Koalas resting on Eucalyptus Trees. We found three of them hugging thin branches on separate trees. They aren’t sociable herbivorous marsupials and sleep at least 20 hours a day. The Australian Government protects their species and touching them would cost you at least AU $10,000.00. Yikes! So better not get too close to them. A picture of them sleeping and their face tucked away from the camera is the most we could do.

Good thing, a group of wild birds were in the area and our tour guide gave us some bird seeds! These attracted the birds to come closer and be all friendly with our group.

Back on the road, we stopped by Cape Patton to look at the view. Everywhere you go at the Great Ocean Road, you will see the majestic sea and the powdery sands of the coasts! It’s so consistent.

While on our way to our next destination, our tour guide gave us the menu for lunch! Finally. Time to eat soon! We quickly chose what we want for lunch which is conveniently covered by the tour.

Then we headed to Apollo Bay Hotel at the town of Apollo Bay to have our lunch. All the meals were pre-ordered and were ready as soon as we got there. Cool isn’t it?! I never exerpienced having pre-ordered meals before. Not even in other tours around Asia! The Melbourne Costal Tours did a pretty good job on that one! How convenient! I ordered roast beef with roasted vegetables over Nasi Goreng and Fish & Chips to feel the ultimate Australian experience for the trip and it did not disappoint.

At this town, McDonald’s and other modern fast food chains weren’t allowed to operate including the big supermarkets in Australia – Coles and Woolworth’s – in order to support the local businesses of the town.

We had a few minutes left to move around and got ourselves local ice cream treats! Our tour guide recommended this little ice cream shop just near the hotel where we tried the famous Vegemite Ice Cream – a definitely must try!. Vegemite is an Australian product, food paste, a part of the Australian culture. It’s like butter or peanut butter used to be spread on bread or biscuits.

After lunch, we went to Mait’s Rest Rainforest Walk. As part of the tour, a temperate rainforest walk is necessary after all the heavy lunch we dug in.

Australia used to be part of the the supercontinent Gondwana before all the seven continents drifted apart. This rainforest still has plant species that are common in other parts of Asia. But in recent decades, Eucalyptus trees are taking over these plant species making the rainforest dry and prone to bush fire during summer.

The walking was just beginning. Our next destination is The Great Ocean Walk. We parked beside the road and started walking on the pathway all the way up to the cliffs in order to see the first few of 12 Apostles.

Our tour guide asked us if we want to do the 10-minute helicopter tour hovering the Great Ocean. A lot of tourists are doing it at that time. We can see several helicopters flying by the area.

For some time, we felt like Bilbo Baggins exploring the lands in The Hobbit with all the hills and grassy fields that surround me. It’s like standing on a cliff in the middle of nowhere! Amazing experience!

Not all tours pass by this area though so we felt extremely lucky to have the best tour guide in the area! Our itinerary was carefully and creatively planned.

Finally, we reached one end of the walk – The Gibsons Beach.

After reaching the edge of the cliff, we climbed down the 100-metre staircase to reach the powdery beach. Here we got a lot of photo opportunities with the few Apostles. *Hooray!*

The rest of 12 Apostles can be seen once you continue the Great Ocean Walk.

A few more sets of walks and we reached the Salt and Pepper Shakers. The two stacks in the middle were naturally formed by erosion over hundreds of years. Isn’t it amazing?!

Other natural formations include The Razorback – the big stack of land out in the sea.

The trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing Loch and Gorge. This area is known as the shipwreck area with hundreds of ships failed to set on land in 19th Century.

A family nearby is known to have acquired all the treasures from the ships carrying them from the coast up to the cliffs. Imagine how they managed to climbed the cliffs in 19th Century!

There used to be a heroic shipwreck in 1878 where an English man and an Irish woman survived.

Today there is a manmade staircase that allows tourists to go down to the sea almost enclosed by 60m high limestone walls. It is a natural pool tourists enjoy especially during the summer

Last stop was the famous London Bridge. It acquired its name after its similarity with the real London Bridge without knowing it will fall down too! In 1990, a couple was trapped in that stack in the sea after crossing the 15-metre wide bridge that used to connect the mainland to that stack.

It wasn’t 000 (Au emergency hotline) that came to the rescue. It was actually the Channel 7 (media) that went here to cover the collapse of the bridge and made a huge dramatic story out of it.

Though the couple refused to be interviewed for personal reasons. Some say the guy actually called in sick for work that day and went on to the GOR with the lover. It’s such an embarrassment to be interviewed on national TV knowing his boss would see his face after calling in sick. *Yikes*

And some say he was actually having an affair on that day and the woman with him was his mistress. *Insert ooooh expression here*

After spending our entire day out on the road, we had to leave and go back to the city. It was a wonderful experience getting in tough with nature again. ^^ Especially when our cardio were tested with all the walking uphill and downhill that we did.

And of course, the trip wouldn’t be this amazing without the awesome planning of Melbourne Costal Tours. I’ve always liked those companies that offer quality service rather than big companies that can’t consistently provide the service they promise to do.

Thanks Melbourne Costal Tours for the fun day! The tour guide, Campbell, was very informative and entertaining all throughout the day.  Non-stop chatting and telling us stories about absolutely everything we passed by while on the road. And most importantly, we managed to see a lot of places just in one day! ^^

Beijing Tea Ceremony

As a half-blood Chinese decent, =^_~=  it’s a satisfying experience to walk on the very land where our family’s first men walked centuries ago. This will be my first blog post regarding my recent trip to Beijing focusing on my favourite thing and the second most consumed liquid in the world – TEA! ❤

To give you a bit of my background regarding my love of tea, I used to be an obsessed coffee-drinker. Hot or iced, espresso or latte, taking a minimum of five cups a day. Then my obsession suddenly stopped for half a year. Then when I had coffee again after hiatus, my body started rejecting it. It’s not the caffeine that my body starts to reject, probably some other substance that coffee has.

That life changing event made me switch to my next obsession – TEA! Yay!

To make the most out of my trip, I made sure that I never miss the opportunity to experience the famous “Chayi” or “Art of Tea”, commonly known as the tea ceremony, in the very capital of China.

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I went to the little teashop within the grounds of Temple of Heaven. It is not hard to miss. It can be found before you leave the grounds, just beside the entrance/exit gate. It’s also easy to recognise because of the round arch popular in Chinese homes and the entrance is filled with tea mugs, teapots and anything about tea!

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Tea has been part of the Chinese culture as long as history could trace back. Tea is not just a beverage or a hot drink to warm up on a winter season. The ceremony is practiced in every possible reason you could think of. May it be to pay respect, to show gratitude, to ask for an apology or to celebrate an occasion. Aside from this, tea is consumed for health purposes. Its medicinal effect is probably the secret of Asians for being slim, youthful looking skin, having long life and less health complications as they grow old.

I’m going to share with you the steps of the tea ceremony I experienced during my trip. =^_~=image

Small teapots made of clay and glass are used in a tea ceremony. They say that this is one of the secrets of a good tea because of the environment it provides when brewing.

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Since Fruit Tea is the most flavourful, tasty and very enjoyable among the teas I tried during the ceremony, I’ll be using it as the example to show you the process. Fruit tea, made of mixed dried berries and other fruits, is passed on by the tea master to be appreciated by the guests.

Fruit Tea‘s medicinal properties greatly helps in digestion and bowel movement without the painful feeling you get from readily packed and bagged diet teas in the market. After steeping this particular type of tea for 4 to 5 times (without losing its flavor), you can even eat it for snack or mix it with your cereals.

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To start the ceremony, the tea master warms up the clay teapot, teapot pitcher (glass) and tea cups by pouring boiling water inside and out, then rinsing it afterwards. This process is done on top of the tea washing tray to cure or cleanse the tools.

Once ready, loose leaf is strained in the clay teapot, covered with a lid and brewed in a specific time depending on the type of tea. While brewing, boiling water is poured over the teapot to allow it to be hot and helps in the brewing process.

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Tea is then poured on the teapot pitcher (made of glass), which is then poured on the tall and narrow cup, one of the two cups used in the tea ceremony. The guests then sniff the aroma and appreciate the quality of tea as part of the process. The other cup is then placed upside down on top of the filled cup and guests quickly flip the cups so the tea is now on the second cup. This step is believed to bring prosperity, happiness and luck to the guests.

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Finally, after a long preparation, tea can now be indulged and seconds are welcome. Teas during the ceremony are sipped slowly and its aroma is enjoyed for almost an hour before the first sip.

Sipping is also traditionally done in steps and each signifies good health for the teeth, heart and stomach. I don’t really remember all the sips though.

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Another kind of tea is the Blooming or Flowering Tea. From the name itself, this flower bud blooms when immersed in water. It’s not as medicinal as the other teas, but it is very good decoration at home.

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My next favourite is the Lychee Tea or the Litchi Black Tea .It is good for the stomach and anemia and a teaspoon can be reused for 3 to 4 times.

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 Lychee Tea can be mixed with rose petals to further enhance its flavor.

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It tastes a bit sweet and exactly like Lychee! I bought a can of it that is good for months of consumption!

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The next tea is the most medicianl tea I have ever encountered in my life. The Pu-ehr Tea (others spell it as Pu-re / Pu-re / Pu’er / Pu-reh) or Sexy Tea.  This type of tea is dried, condensed, shaped in tablets and wrapped in paper. It is a gradually fermented and matured chinese dark tea (different from Western’s black tea) for a number of years, and just like red wine, the longer it is stored and sealed in tin cans, the greater its taste would be developed. Hence, the more medicinal it would get.

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Pu-ehr or Sexy Tea is the best tea for losing weight. That’s why it is called the Sexy Tea! It is also the best tea for lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol, controlling sugar levels of those suffering diabetes.  This tea can be brewed 7 to 8 times. Unlike the fruit teas I mentioned, this tea is bland in flavour. But because of its great medicinal effects, I think it cancels it out.

imageThe last but not the least kind of tea and is very popular worldwide is the Ginseng Oolong Tea. Popularised by Korean dramas, we all know the Ginseng is famous for treating various illnesses. Considering this fact combined with Oolong, it is easy to conclude that Ginseng Oolong Tea’s beneficial effects are doubled!

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Ginseng Oolong Tea is good for the memory, energy and kidney health. This can be brewed 5 to 6 times.

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The tea master also showed us the Pee Pee Boy. It is made of clay that is used to test if the water is hot enough for the tea ceremony. When the Pee Pee Boy pees when you pour boiling water on top of it, then it means you are ready to start. It doesn’t pee at all if you pour cold water. Amazing, isn’t it?

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