My Asia bucket list

Hong Kong
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In the past two years I think I can safely say I’ve covered quite a bit of Europe.

London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Pompeii, Barcelona, Zurich, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Budapest, Porto, Lisbon, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast … and yet there are still a few more cities and countries that I want to see.

But before I go around Europe for a third time, I really want to pay a visit to my family’s continent: Asia. I’ve had layovers in Singapore and Hong Kong for a few of my trips but I haven’t properly experienced Asia since the last (and only) time I was there in 2003. And being about 10 at the time, I really didn’t appreciate what Vietnam and Singapore had to offer. Most of the time I just complained about 1) the heat 2) eating only Vietnamese food 3) no video games/DVDs to watch 4) uncomfortable beds. There’s probably more to add to that list but I feel like the hole I’ve dug myself is deep enough for now.

Tokyo Japan
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JAPAN

My ultimate wish at the moment. My friend’s just come back from a little two-week vacay and I lusted over her Instagram feed the entire time. Japanese is my favourite cuisine and I’m all for an efficient public transport system. I’m also a big fan of novelty items so I feel like Japan and I would really appreciate each other.

VIETNAM

I really need to give my home country another shot. Everybody I know who’s returned from there has had a blast so maybe I really was a knob and couldn’t appreciate it the first time round. I mean I remember loving Halong Bay and riding around Saigon on motorbikes. Considering I couldn’t even watch an MA-rated movie legally at the time, I’m sure the next time would be magical. Being able to speak the language has its perks too. Hello to not getting ripped off and to bargaining everything.

HONG KONG

Don’t really know too much about this place but every one from high school seemed to fly here during their summer holidays. It seems to have a great night life and I hear they make some kickass noodles. Din Tai Fung is apparently the shit in Hong Kong. (Don’t know how it can get any better really, but this rumour is enough to get me on a plane there.)

THAILAND

Probably won’t be heading there until things settle down. Also probably won’t be participating in a Full Moon Party because frankly I’m too old for that. I would instead like a massage by the water followed by a few cocktails and a giant serving of pad thai, please.

INDONESIA

Going to Bali seems to be something every Australian does at some point in their life. Might as well tick that off. Flights are cheap, photos look lovely and think of all the mi goreng I can eat. Yes.

INDIA

I’d really love to go here at some point. I hear it’s best to leave India until the end of your travels though just because it’s so intense. I’m not sure what people mean by that but I can only imagine how different their society is.

CAMBODIA

Angkor Wat. Pretty much.

CHINA

I’m not especially dying to see China, but I’d really love to climb the Great Wall. It’d also be quite interesting to see the different regions of China and how the culture, customs, and food differentiate from one another. Also a lot of my friends are from here so it’d be nice to see what the country itself is like.

My second open letter to the Doctor Who Pop-Up shop

Doctor Who shop Sydney
Image courtesy of the BBC

Dear Doctor Who pop-up shop,

You’re back! I’ve missed you. And you’ve got a new fancy address: Shop 9.28A World Square Shopping Centre, 644 George St, Sydney. Sheesh. What a mouthful.

You’re a lot bigger this time ’round too. Bigger on the inside you might even say – didn’t know there was an entire back section filled with more merchandise!

From clothes to stationery to manchester, you have it all. I was very surprised to see such an array of Doctor Who clothes! From ‘Capaldi’ polo shirts to apparel from Her Universe, including leggings, dress and t-shirts.

I of course left with only two pens this time. But I must only make practical purchases now, I’ve decided. The Doctor likes clever companions.

I did spend a lot of time wandering around you though. Browsing. The TARDIS photobooth at the front is an especially nice touch – brava! If only I had friends who wanted to take photos inside a time machine with me.

I must admit I did walk around quite smugly because, a few days earlier, I was privileged enough to have watched the very first episode of Doctor Who Series 8: ‘Deep Breath‘. Peter Capaldi was magnificent and I was hoping to run into some crazed fan and tease the hell out of them.

But seriously, I can’t wait to share my review of the episode. I have to wait until August 24 to do so though. Damn confidentiality agreements.

I really hope you don’t leave any time soon. I quite like having a place in the city to geek out at.

Please don’t leave. Time and space can wait.

Best,

Sophia 

Review: The Inbetweeners 2

INBETWEENERS2_12January_0050
Image courtesy of Roadshow

Directed by: Iain Morris and Damon Beesley 

Starring: Simon Bird, Blake Harrison, James Buckley and Joe Thomas  

****

Awwwww friend! Football friend!

This movie now joins the immortal words of the first season of The Inbetweeners as one of the definitive highlights of the entire series.

But before I get down to the nitty-gritty, let me just confirm: yes. It is better than the first film. So much better in so many ways.

At its heart, The Inbetweeners is about a group of disgustingly interesting characters (with whom we could all probably relate to in some way) and their struggles with life, the opposite sex and their bodily fluids. And this is pretty much what the entire movie is about.

The film picks up several months after the first movie finishes and Jay, the grossest and the best, is now down under in Australia, “the sex capital” of the world. He sends the others an exaggerated report of how he’s living in a mansion and been getting a lot of action and, of course, they decide to join him.

Will agrees because he’s miserable at university – his ‘friends’ sticky-taped all his furniture to the ceiling.

Simon agrees because his girlfriend, Lucy (from the first Inbetweeners movie), is driving him insane – she burnt all his clothes and microwaved his PS3.

Neil agrees because he wants to be a dolphin trainer – to be fair he does eventually get there … kind of.

“Without being too philosophical about it, there is a certain classlessness to gap years in Australia. So we sent them Down Under,” says creator Iain Morris.

Nope. The Inbetweeners 2 is anything but class. Profanity and nudity reign supreme.

The boys only appear in Sydney briefly – in front of the Opera House (or a “spaceship” according to Neil). They then head to Byron Bay because Will thinks he has a chance of getting laid and to then to outback because Jay thinks he has a chance of winning his ex back (and getting laid – probably).

From the bogans to the hipsters, any Australian who watches this will be able to relate to the colourful characters the boys meet.

Prepare yourselves for 96 minutes of laughing, crying and potentially pissing your pants. The Inbetweeners 2 is all cringe and disgustingly delicious.

The Counter

The Counter PetershamThe Counter, 96A Audley St, Petersham

It’s been awarded one cup in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Cafe Guide awards 2014. It’s accessible by public transport. It serves peanut butter milkshakes.

I ordered a brunch dish that contained zero meat and I left utterly satisfied. (The mushrooms, the cheese, the truffle!)

These are the signs of a quality cafe. Definitely recommended.