Musings from the Mosh Pit…

Thoughts. Tales. Travels. Whatever.

Birthday Bonanza in Bangkok – Day 1 & 2 April 6, 2012

I told my good friend Ava last year that I’d like to do something different for my birthday this year.  That’s when Bangkok entered the picture.  I made travel arrangements, researched on the hotel, the train systems, the currency, listed places to see and shop at and picked up a few useful phrases.  I also attempted to make an itinerary…”attempted” because with so much information, I pretty much gave up on the idea and decided we’d just wing it when we got there.  We were already ticketed a month and a half before our March 15 departure and I was crossing off the numbers on my desk calendar until finally the big day has arrived!

Day 1: We arrived at PAL Terminal 2 pretty early–about 3.5 hours before our 1030am flight.  It left on time and it was actually smooth flying–so smooth that I dozed off after the meal was served.  Ava on the other hand spent the hours watching Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill on the flight.

Di plane! Di plane!

Upon setting foot in Thailand’s Suvarnumbhumi International Airport (I can finally spell it without googling it!) we were totally floored at how big and beautiful it was.  Took a while to get past immigration (long lines!) and find my suitcase so our tour guide had already been waiting for us for a good 30 minutes before we showed up at the exit.  In the van, we were also joined by a Filipino doctor and his Spanish wife.  They were pleasant people and even if we weren’t billeted in the same hotel, we would see them throughout our entire stay.

That’s my buddy Ava leading the way…though admittedly we both didn’t know where to go to at first so we just followed the flock of people heading in this direction.

Once outside, this was the first thing we saw…colorful Bangkok taxis!  According to our tour guide, each color corresponds to the company of a particular taxi operator.

While waiting for our van, the doctor’s wife was kind enough to offer to take our picture.  This was the first of only 2 pictures of us during the entire trip that was taken by another person.  The first few minutes of travel from the airport was pretty fast.  There were hardly any bumps or cracks on the road so it was a comfortable ride.  When we got to the city proper and near our hotel, that’s when the bumper to bumper traffic appeared.  It gave me a chance to look out the window and take in the surroundings.  Bangkok reminded me so much of Manila–the traffic, the motorcycles that weave in and out of it, the little eateries along the road, the signs on the shops (they look the same except I don’t read Thai), the graffiti on the walls, the laundry hung outside of windows and yes, even the occasional man walking shirtless inside his property haha!  Though I must take my hats off to Bangkok for being a very clean city.  Even the markets, when they’ve already closed shop for the day, seem cleaner.

We arrived at our hotel, Citin Pratunam about 4 in the afternoon.  Pratunam is a shopping district located in Ratchathewi.  Who needs a 5 star hotel when this budget hotel is just as comfortable?  It’s clean, quiet and the staff are all smiles and always very helpful.  You can read about my review of this hotel here or you can visit their website.

When we finally settled in and did a quick freshen up, it’s time to explore the streets!  As soon as we stepped out of the small street where the hotel was located, we went wherever our feet took us.  There were so many street vendors selling clothes and some knick knacks that it’s hard to focus your attention on just one stall in particular.  Amongst the throngs of shops selling clothes, we finally found some vendors who sold food.  Apart from the shopping, we were really looking forward to the food!  And what better way to start the food adventure than by trying this:

Crickets.  Yes, crickets.  When Ava first whipped out her camera to take a picture, the lady vendor violently refused so my friend said, “If I buy, can I take a picture then?”  The vendor still refused.  She probably didn’t understand the question so another vendor nearby explained it to her and eventually she smiled when she realized we were buying.  There were all sorts of crazy insects on her basket…but these came highly recommended.  She was also pointing at the worms and giving us the thumbs up sign (which Ava wanted to try) but we ended up not buying it.  To be quite honest, it didn’t taste bad….it tasted like barbecue flavored chips actually.  The pandan leaves that it was cooked with gave it some flavor and good aroma too.  The only thing I had a problem with is that when you scoop them up on the spoon, some of them had their eyes on you which creeped me out a bit.  So, my eyes were always closed every time I’d put the spoon in my mouth.  This entire bag costs 10 THB.

A few stalls after the insects, I found some dumplings…fresh off the steamer!  You get 5 pieces also for the price of 10 THB.

We walked some more down the small street until we reached the intersection with the main road.  Across we found the Platinum Mall.  This was taken at the foot bridge as we made our way towards the mall.

After going around the mall for about an hour, we got hungry (crickets can’t really make you feel full after all) so we went up to the food court and ordered veggie dumplings and a plate of pad thai.  This is the first of 3 pad thais that we’ll eat during the trip and honestly this first one only gets a bronze medal from me.

After a long hot day, I couldn’t resist the urge to open a very cold can of coke.  We later on found out that Thailand is a “Pepsi Country” so finding a can of coke was hard to come by.

Day 2: The tour that came with the package was scheduled on this day.  Our guide picked us up at 8:30am and first on the agenda was Wat Intharawihan or The Temple of the Standing Buddha.  Here you’ll find a golden Buddha statue that stands 32 meters tall and 10 meters and 24 inches wide.  The place also had other versions of the Buddha statue.

Lotus flowers sold at the temple entrance

To enter the plaza where the giant golden Buddha stands, you’ll have to pass by a blue and gold gate with marble walls on each side.  These walls are also used to hold urns though I’m not quite sure who gets the honor of being laid to rest here.

The craftsmanship on these doors is really amazing.  It makes the entire structure pop even if you’re still some feet away.

Next we went to Wat Traimit or The Temple of the Golden Buddha.

Here is our friendly tour guide No. 1 Lok.  At the time we arrived, monks were still praying inside.  People can go in and stay in the back while they pray.  Although make sure you read up on the rules of temple etiquette.  Lok mentioned that her son, who is about 20 years old will become a monk in a few months time.  I asked her how she felt about it and she smiled and said that she’s truly honored.  Even if her son will leave her and can no longer experience the comforts of home, she considers it a blessing.

The last stop was at Gems Gallery, which according to their website is the “world’s biggest jewelry store”.  It was a pretty interesting place.  I’d never seen so many shiny things I can’t afford in one go…but they truly are very pretty (albeit some of the pieces bordered on “too much”).  After some welcome drinks, we were ushered into a small theater where a short film was shown about Thailand being known for their sapphires and rubies.  After the 15 minute film, you’ll be taken into another room where you’ll be shown how a raw stone is turned into something you’ll readily see on the red carpet at a Hollywood event.  Think of it as a small assembly line for jewelry.

Now, Ava and I are also fans of Kpop and we were delighted at the news that one of the groups we liked, Super Junior were also in town for their Super Show 4 tour.  We didn’t buy tickets online so we decided to take our chances and see if we could score some at the Impact Arena.

We finally made it!

It was way past noon, the weather was extremely hot and we were terribly hungry.  We saw a McDonald’s but it was still closed so we just took pictures of Thailand’s Ronald McDonald doing a gesture one does when greeting someone. We ended up eating KFC instead.

There were fan booths and sponsor booths.  Here’s Ava posing with characters from a local soft drink commercial.

This is probably the closest we’ll ever get to the boys…

Ava with Cardboard Kyu

Me with Cardboard Siwon & Donghae

While waiting for the show we hung out at the airconditioned food court and tried this.  I’m not sure what it’s called but it’s got crushed ice, syrup and gelatin.

We enjoyed the show (which lasted for about 4 hours) and luckily got a cab that agreed to take us back to the hotel.  The sad part was that the driver was asking for 600 THB which, if converted to pesos would make it THE.MOST.EXPENSIVE.CAB.RIDE.I.EVER.TOOK.  But it was late, we were tired and the hotel was very far…oh well…  It had been a long and eventful day but we’ll only get a few hours sleep (just 2 actually) before we had to be up and ready again for Day 3!

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High on GD & TOP! January 14, 2011

Filed under: confessions of a kpop addict,fangirl forever,music — fizzywoohoo @ 12:47 pm
Tags: ,

Daesung, Seungri, G Dragon, Taeyang & Top

I’ve been listening to a lot of Big Bang for the past few months.  I must say that I do enjoy listening to their music even if I cannot understand it.  Their songs are funky, lively, fun and they’re a bunch of very talented guys.  The group was mostly on haitus (somewhat) for most of 2010 with Daesung doing the Korean version of the musical “Cats”, Taeyang with his solo album “Solar”, Seungri doing work for his solo album as well and both G Dragon & Top working too on their GD & Top album release. And speaking of GD & Top…

I’ve been quite obsessed with them since last month.  Their performance at the MNet Asian Music Awards (well, it was actually Taeyang’s performance, and both of them were special guests) was awesome…I mean, the sleek tuxes, the pimped out gold medallions, heck, even Top’s white blond hair rocked! Shocking and unacceptable to me at first but I’m getting quite used to it. I’m still a little torn though with GD’s permed hair…it’s a little too Kid N’ Play for my taste.  Anyway, in celebration of my new obsession with GD & Top, I present their single “High High”.

And a live performance of the song:

The playful “slap in the face” action they did at 1:06 was quite adorable!

It’s a club thumper, this one.  Well, I don’t go to clubs but this sounds great when it’s turned up loud on my ipod!  It’s absoslutely addicting!  I sometimes catch myself  bobbing my head while waiting for the morning train on my way to work! The song is part of their 11 track album, GD & TOP, released Dec. 24th.  I wanted to buy it at the recent Kpop convention that my friends and I attended.  Unfortunately, the only copies available that day were already for the fans who reserved them online.  It was such a bummer for me then but..it’s not a problem for me now because my own copy is on it’s way! (Thank you fangirlasia.com!)

However, their other single “Knock Out”, after much anticipation from the fans, has now been banned from being performed at 3 major korean broadcasting stations–SBS, KBS & MBC.  Apparently, the title and lyrics were considered inappropriate and according to a statement the lyrics used “slang terms” which the networks “believed would damage the national psyche”.  Of course when I first heard it I thought it kicked ass…but then again I don’t speak Korean so I can’t really understand what they were rapping about in the first place.  I then consulted with the almighty google and here are the english lyrics to the said song:

“Knock Out”

Knock out, it’s a knock out, knock knock

T.O.P
Knock out, it’s a knock out, knock knock knock knock
When I see the two, I get knocked out
Wait, my hands reach out, shall we go out? You’re a knock out

GD
THIS IS DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE COMBO
DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE COMBO
THIS AIN’T BUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE GUM
I’ll chew you, spin spin together

T.O.P
Those ladies that are walking down the street
And even all the guys are screaming out my name (TOP)
My rap is Korea’s favorite food, all the youths are copying me
A motley, it’s jumbled, but also sweet
My two job adventure even broke colored lens glasses
All the WANNA BE STARs that resemble me
They try to chase and chase after me but I’m a MOVIE STAR
I may like toys more than girls, but laugh at me you’ll get hurt
I GET MEANER, you’re getting angry, aren’t you
I’m ORIGINAL
Even the corner store coffee’s name is T.O.P
My black eyes shake that woman up
My long eyelashes are born from natural freedom,
different from disgusting SMOKY makeup

GD
G-Dragon has come by separating the clouds
Fly super board, the Son Oh Gong on top of the BEAT
My MIC is a baton, I’m Napoleon on stage
HOMME WHEN YOU SEE MY SWAGG YOU SAID WANNA BE
The second Kwon Jiyong
BLING BLING BLING I can wear anything I want and it’s a photoshoot
You all know my name
BRAVO MY LIFE YO! SEOUL TO TOKYO! Record it and
Again they cal me Hong Gil Dong
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, I go through schedules all day
But when it’s night, I’M SO LONELY
All my scandals, wait for me
How can that oppa be hot?
My dog Gaho is more popular, my gestures are like hypnosis
This phone call is seducing you, my voice is like SWEET Medusa

I was born with this impressive voice
TOP & GD are like almond and chocolate
D D D D Diplo and our combination
An unrealistic fairy tale of your previous night

And here is the said song:

It may seem a little off…or waaaay off (depends on how you look at it) but I’d much prefer the original Korean version.  I’ve always felt songs are much better in their native language anyway..I don’t want them getting lost in translation.  Honestly I didn’t find anything wrong with it (except perhaps that I still can’t understand some parts even if it’s already in english), but then again, cultural differences would now come into play.  To each his own.  What maybe acceptable to one person, may be offensive to another.  Perhaps the suits at the networks disagreed with GD’s dog Gaho being more popular than him? haha…

I’m a huge rock fan as well (yes, you heard it right) so stories of artists or their songs being banned are nothing new to me.  For heaven’s sake, Slipknot are not the anti-christ and just because I listen to them doesn’t mean I can’t enter a church without fear of being burned alive.  Chill, ok?  Give GD & Top a break.  I don’t think the society will crumble if they use the words “bling bling” on their songs.  But seeing as how these 2 guys are already super talented, the news is not going to damage their careers that’s for sure.  I bet it’s only going to fuel up sales for their album. (which, last I checked, is already on top of the charts).  Take that, corporate suits!

Besides, how can you ban such good looking guys as these?  GD & Top….fighting!
videos courtesy of youtube
 

Fangirl Day! January 7, 2011

Last Dec. 29, I went to my first ever Kpop convention.  I think this is the second or third time (?) it’s being held in Manila but I wasn’t able to attend the previous ones.  I was really excited to go because as big as this hallyu wave may seem, there’s really not much merchandise that you can easily get here and that’s what I was really looking forward too.

I went with my sister and my friend Ava–who confirmed her attendance with me more than a month in advance and who also came despite being slightly sick….awwww, kamsahamnida!  And once we arrived we met up with my friend from work Mere–a huge Big Bang fan.  I must say that I do admire her influencing skills because I’ve already started listening and becoming a fan of Big Bang as well!  (But the dillema still remains: GD or Top???)

There was already a line snaking around the entrance of the Megatrade Hall when we got there and an excited mood in the air.  As soon as we entered, our sense of sight & hearing were assaulted–to the right is the stage where they were holding dance presentations and to the left are the many tables selling Kpop goodies.  Everyone kept floating in and out of the many booths.  They were selling cds (regular and special editions), dvds (concerts & live performances plus special boxed sets), tshirts, hats, pins, magazines, banners, ID tags/necklaces, bracelets, photo books, posters, calendars and every possible and imaginable knick knack to delight any and every fangirl–whatever her budget maybe.  You name it, they probably had it there…no wait, cross that thought.  There wasn’t really any drama dvds being sold which I found quite disappointing because that’s what I really wanted.

Me, Mere and Ava...with Dara and Taeyang behind us!

Tickets for Super Show 3? Check!

My sister and Ava

Of course we couldn't leave without having our photo taken with Lee Min Ho

Anyway, here’s a look at the goodies that I bought.

You're Beautiful OST, BigBang's BigShow concert dvd (the poster came with it), Taeyang's Solar album, a Super Junior Donghae fan, a Jang Geun Suk pad (Ava tells me firmly: Buy it na!) and the hats are courtesy of my sister.

My friend Mere on the other hand got herself some Big Bang stuff like Taeyang’s special boxed edition of Solar (with free shirt to boot!), 2 ID necklaces (1 is for safekeeping and the other is to be used for work haha) and the one item I wish they had another copy of is Big Bang’s 2011 Calendar.

iCovet.

The dance competitions were going on as we made our way around the tables.  We weren’t able to check it out but from across the hall I did hear Ukiss’ “Be Quiet” being performed and receiving a lot of screams.

After taking some more photos and making several rounds among the booths, it was time to leave.  Mere had to report for her half day duty at work while the rest of us were off to a late lunch.  Much love and thanks to the organizers, KFest Manila Events Management, the folks at the concession stands and the many fan groups/clubs that participated.  You’ve made me and my friends a bunch of happy fangirls that day.  We’ll be looking forward to the next one.

 

 

Super Show 3 = Super Excited!

I missed watching Super Junior when they came to Manila last April.  I’m still a newbie fan you see and only started listening to them when they released their fourth album “Bonamana”.  The first time I saw the video for that song, I was hooked and I never looked back.

A few weeks ago, during a particularly slow day at work, I discovered that SuJu has confirmed their return to Manila on Feb. 26, 2011 as part of the Super Show 3 Tour.  I immediately texted my good friend and official concert tag-team partner Ava and told her (I don’t think I even asked or contemplated the thought that she might say no haha) that we were watching. I even ended the message with the words *puss in boots eyes* so she couldn’t refuse me haha!

"Can we go watch Super Junior...please???"

She did say yes on the condition that we wouldn’t be getting the outrageously priced seats…and that we also have to go see Deftones when they come here  in March (duh? of course!)  I agreed, told her I had it covered and immediately made my online reservations.  I’m not sure if there was a glitch in the matrix but after I followed the instructions online, I got an email saying thanks and that it’s  still best to give them a call and place my reservations via phone as well.  Say whuuut?!  Bit ridiculous don’t you think?  Anyway, 4 hours later I was already handing over my credit card to the woman behind the ticket booth counter.

There’ll be no more feeling “sorry, sorry” (Yes, I just had to insert that in) for myself about not seeing them live this time. Let the countdown begin.

 

Pleasant Surprises December 28, 2010

I think it’s safe to say that being a shy person does not help my desire to accumulate more friends.  A close friend of mine (yes you, Kapatid!) even jokes around and says that I’m not shy…just anti-social.  Haha..I’m not of course, but just when I’m about to surrender to the idea that I might just be one, the Universe throws some very pleasant surprises my way.  These pleasant surprises are in the form of new friends…friends who from the first/early encounters make you feel so comfortable and so welcome that it feels like you’ve known each other for a long time (well, for me anyway).  I would like to take this opportunity now to give a shout out to them.

1)  “Z” – She’s someone who’s only been with the company for a few months.  I’ve never even had a conversation with her.  Now last week, as I passed by her desk, I noticed a cute photo of 2 guys as her desktop wallpaper. I didn’t know who they were but I immediately assumed they had something to do with Kpop since I was told she enjoyed listening to it.  I was still curious as to who the guys were.  On the last day of work before the holiday break we happened to enter the building at the same time and after she said hi I figured it was a good time to ask her my question…and so I did.  She laughed and told me they were her 2 favorite members of TVXQ/DBSK–one of the most popular Korean boybands.  I swear I heard angels singing hallelujah in my head and all I could think of was, “Yey! Another fellow Kpop/Kdrama addict like me!”  And when we both got up to our floor, and after a few minutes of settling down on our desks, we coincidentally met each other in the pantry…and spent about 45 minutes (work? what work?) just releasing the inner fangirl in us!  It was awesome!  Not bad for a first conversation huh?

Still can’t decide who my favorite member is..

2) “M” – I’ve been sharing & swapping stories/emails/pictures/music with her for a few months now.  Our common denominator in the beginning? The one who brought us together? Jang Geun Suk.  She’s even shared with me her other love, Big Bang–and her influence has pretty much rubbed off on me  because after Super Junior, Big Bang is the only other boyband I can name you all the members of.  Oh I really enjoy it whenever she drops by my cubicle to share her Big Bang videos (“Go to the S: drive and look for my folder…”).  It really is a refreshing way to break the monotony of work.

*ding dong* Delivery for Kamikazee Girl!

3) “Kamikazee Girl” – I know you’re reading this and you know you rock.  I’ll say it again, YOU ROCK!  You with your quirky obsessions with all things Japanese, Jun Matsumoto, Fashion, Jun Matsumoto, Cats, Jun Matsumoto, writing and blogging, Jun Matsumoto, paper and notebooks, Jun Matsumoto, the awesome-ness known as Brandon Boyd…and have I mentioned Jun Matsumoto?!  I have learned many great things from you Master! Obi-wan has indeed taught you well. *bows*

It’s really wonderful when you meet people who share the same crazy obsessions as you do…people who are open to sharing themselves, their stories, their time with you.  Thank you for being my pleasant surprises! Cheers!

 

Oh no she didn’t!….Ah, but yes I did! September 24, 2010

I have officially gone to the point of no return.  Here is proof that I am indeed riding the hallyu wave…

Oh Joy!

I’ve recently purchased these two babies right here…on the left is the OST (2) to the drama “He’s Beautiful” and on the right is Super Junior’s latest album “Bonamana”.  I can’t understand a single thing of course…except for the occasional “baby”, “girl”, “yeah”…and a few simple Korean words I’ve learned from watching my dramas…but I’m loving it just the same. They don’t come cheap by the way…especially the soundtrack…but it came with some very pretty, pretty pictures from the series, not to mention drool worthy photos of the male leads so it’s all good!

Oh and I just want to add….the senti songs on that ost are to die for! Love!  Love!  Love!

 

Super weekend! September 20, 2010

A.N.Jell

One of the best things that I enjoyed this past weekend was finally finishing (with proper subtitles!) the drama He’s Beautiful!  I did mention a while back that my copy had wonky subs towards the end which made my viewing of the last few eps very annoying.  I tried watching it over on www.mysoju.com but they’ve been having site problems recently so the loading of the videos was pretty slow.  I’ve been trying for 2 weeks now but to no avail.

But yesterday, choirs of A.N.Jells (haha!!!) were practically singing in my heart and the mighty DSL gods were smiling down upon me because the video loading on the site was super fast!  I was able to finish the last 2 eps in no time…actually “no time” really means 3 hours because I kept rewinding/repeating the scenes which were *kilig*.  (I mean, how can I not when the internet was so kind to me?)

I loved it!  It’s now one of my favorite dramas.  It’s right up there with Boys Over Flowers and Hana Yori Dango!  And just what I wrote on facebook: I now like byeulls (stars) and dweji tokki (pig rabbit) even more.  Yeppuda! (It’s beautiful)

The other reason for my super weekend came in the form of Korea’s biggest (literally & figuratively) idol group, Super Junior.

Who's who? I'm still working on that!

Honestly, I haven’t been a fan for long–I’m still learning about them and their songs.  Even though I wanted to see them when they came over last April for their Super Show 2 tour, I didn’t really exert any efforts in doing so. 

However, since the release of their 4th album, Bonamana, I’ve been noticing that my eyes & ears are glued to the tv whenever the video comes on.  And this past weekend–and most of the weekends that came before it–I’ve found myself googling them and watching their videos on youtube.  I’m particularly addicted to watching their appearances on the Korean show Star King with Charice Pempengco.  It’s like a double whammy–I’m watching Charice…and I’m watching them watch Charice! 

Like I said, I’m still a newbie fan and I’m still learning their songs.  Hey, they’ve got more members than Slipknot alright, so I’m still working on matching their names and faces.  They’ve got 13 members…but only 10 are currently active.  As of now, my name-face recognition is up to 8!–Hee Chul, Ryeo