Category Archives: Foreign

Adventures of an Azn in Amsterdam

Amsterdayum!

I know I’ve been slacking once again on blogging but alas, a new post about my amazing trip to Amsterdam last week! I was there a total of 7 days and while that seems long, it passed by wayyy too quickly. I stayed with my good friend and freshmen roomie Youli, who lives in the dorms literally down the street from the Anne Frank House, or Anne Frank Huis. Casual, living by the secret annex where Anne and her family hid for years. The prettiest canal was right next door, too…

View of canal from Amanda's room @ sunset

Nearby canal during the day

In addition to the endless amount of beautiful canals, Amsterdam is home to many great museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, Rijkes Museum, FOAM photography museum, and of course the Anne Frank Huis. I got to visit all of them for free thanks to the handy dandy museum card Yo borrowed for me from her roomie : )

Leaving our mark in the Anne Frank Huis

There are also a couple of sex museums in the Red Light District which I didn’t get to see, but that’s fine by me…
Speaking of the Red Light District- my prude and wussy ways didn’t prepare me properly.
So there are actual red lights in the rooms where the women showcase themselves in. The women stand in the windows, tempting anyone who walks by. They even tried seducing me, I guess in case I was lesbian?
Like Tyga says, it was Rack City, rack rack city, b*tch. Cause they wear close to nothing, cha chas errwhere. There are also blue lights in some rooms for the array of transgender prostitutes. Yo told me she heard a couple prostitutes speak for class and one lady became a prostitute because she really wanted to buy a dog. True Life: Hustlin’ to be a puppy mama.
No photos of the red light district because I heard if you take a photo even near the women, you get thrown into the canals!
There are also live sex shows which I guess is just live porn, hopefully with a plot, maybe a music number or two? (We did not attend, I think I would have fainted).
Coffeeshops, which are different than cafes and coffee places, were at every corner. Coffeeshops openly sell weed, space cakes, brownies, all the stuff that’s illegal in the States. There are also plenty of smartshops, which sell shrooms and other natural substances.
You would think a wuss like me would be overwhelmed but I actually think it’s kinda cool! Amsterdam is so chill and I even met a man from London who comes to Amsterdam every once in a while to relax (or in other words, get high legally & easily). Though Amsterdam is so much more than just the Red Light District & coffeeshops.
It’s also home to Heineken! We went to the Heineken Experience, which was AWESOME (definitely got a bit drunk from the 3 beers they provided us).

All of us at the Heineken Experience with our first round! Some awesome people: left to right: Jarred, Cynthia, Amanda, Youli, (me), Jen, & Carolyn.

Amsty’s also full of bikes! The Dutch love to bike and it made me miss biking back home in LA. I did get a biking experience as we double-biked it (I sat in the metal square behind the biker that the Dutch consider a seat) and we biked multiple times to Vondel Park, Van Gogh Museum, to get friites, all over! It was so fun though I felt bad for Carolyn who had to pedal me around the city in day & night, especially after I ate a large meal…

Me & Carolyn, my biking hero

Jen biking Yo!

I also got to visit markets like the flower market, Albert Cuyp market, and another random clothing/vintage/jewelry market I stumbled upon when I ventured the city myself one day.

Tulips! Amsty's main flower @ the flower market

My two purchases from the vintage/jewelry market

Another highlight of my trip was a wonderful place called DE POEZENBOOT. While it appears to be a normal boat, it’s actually a SUPER BOAT FILLED WITH CATS. Yes, I was delirious with joy. It’s a cat animal shelter that started way back in 1968. My new Dutch friend David kindly accompanied me and we talked to the nice lady who manages it. She was very passionate about the boat and just cats in general. I told her I would probably end up joining her and living there one day…De Poezenboot made me miss Peaches (my cat back home) a lot !

DE POEZENBOOT

Meow

and after the magic of De Poezenboot, we stumbled upon LMFAO & FAR EAST MOVEMENT shooting their new music video next to the church by the Anne Frank Huis! Seriously the best day ever. I rebelliously stood next to the back-up dancers and blended in for a while…until they started dancing and I realized I had no idea what the routine was, let alone the song. Hokuto from Quest Crew was also there choreographing it! I was dying and probably the most excited, obnoxious American there. I was literally 5 feet away from them. Almost tried patting or poking them but was scared I’d get a restraining order put on me. But yeah it was so cool! And hours later when I walked to Central Station with Yo & Cynthia, I saw the Party Rock Bus again (the bus they got into earlier) and screamed “OMGAW FAR EAST MOVEMENT!” They all looked, cheering along with waves & smiles. heheh. I think they were shooting another part of the video atop the bus as it drove through Amsterdam.
I looked up the song and it’s called “Live my Life,” and Justin Bieber sings in it too though he was nowhere to be seen that day.

Hokuto from Quest Crew, Redfoo from LMFAO & Far East Movement. So close I could smell their swag.

Me blending in with the back-up dancers trying to sneak into the music video...

The PARTY ROCK bus

After the madness with LMFAO & Far East Movement, David took me to get some traditional Dutch food and I tried croquette for the first time! It’s very yummy, sort of a mashed potato-meat filled fried thing. I also tried this minced “American-style” onion pate’ dish.

Croquette!

Raw minced meat with onion yumminess

My favorite photo of the day, hi David.

DELFT: DAY-TRIP SATURDAY

On top of the world! Well, Delft at least.

We climbed a gabijillion steps and made it to the very top of the New Church in Delft, a cute & royal city in South Holland. We also had a kick-bike tour of the city, it was the coolest day trip!

Me & Yo atop the New Church!

The cool kick-bikes we used to tour the city

Best photo at Delft: Adorable child, father staring me down & thinking I'm a pedo for photographing his child, cutest grandma with tongue sticking out ready for the photo.

After the day trip to Delft, we went to see Laidback Luke, whose spins were quite impressive.

At AIR for Laidback Luke

The night didn’t end at AIR, newfound tour-guide David gave me a night tour of the city after, filled with swans, glistening canals, impromptu ballet, and falafels : )

Goodnight, canals.

I’m sure ya’ll are getting bored as this post is getting long (too much awesomeness in 7 days to try and squeeze into one post) so I’ll end with some happy food photo highlights from Amsterdam:

Meet Stroopwafels, my newest weakness.

Stroopwafels, aka beauty in a bag. Holland is known for these babies and I ate way more than I should have during my stay…It’s two pieces of waffle goodness between a layer of caramel. I had fresh ones, packaged ones, ones dipped in chocolate…

Smoked Salmon and Prosciutto.

Nom-Nom sandwiches served at lunch in Delft. Smoked Salmon with cucumber and Prosciutto with an egg-salad base & some other sauce.

Homemade Gouda, i love you.

Well that’s a quick (as quick as it can get) synopsis of my week in Amsterdam! You guys should definitely visit if you get a chance and eat all the stroopwafels & pancakes you can get your hands on. Amsterdam is amazing & I miss it, but I’m pretty glad to be back home in Londy : ) Cheerio folks!

Bye Amsty, miss you already!

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From Food to London Life

let’s ketchup !

But really. My super excited post about the rare snowfall the other night has inspired me to actually keep this thang updated. I started this blog freshmen year 2 years ago after much encouragement from my suitemates (I just read my first post) and managed to write NINE posts in TWO YEARS. I am truly a lazy human being…But fret not you few people who actually read this blog, I am makin a comeback! While this was initially intended to be a food blog, I am turning it into an everything blog for London purposes. My first London post was about 20 days ago, I’m hoping the time between posts will be shorter in the future…To make up for the past 3 weeks I’ve been here in London but MIA on WordPress, here are some quick highlights of the days I’ve been here! Also, London ketchup is really good.

Day 1: Officially moved into our flat on Crawford Passage!

The courtyard view from our flat

Day 3: Our 1st encounter of The Perfect Chicken. It’s a fast food restaurant that has become our 2nd home and go-to spot to eat late at night. Their chips (fries) are THE BEST. I’m positive I’ve been to The Perfect Chicken 5 times already.

Day 5: Brick Lane/Old Spitafield’s Market

Book in window on Brick Lane. Current life motto

My vintage pigeon sweater buy at Brick Lane! I like pigeons. Photo courtesy of Kristin Yinger

British band in the making

Day 6: Tower of London/ First Pub Crawl

At zee Tower of London in front of the London Bridge

Day 6: (continued) My first venture on my own (in which I didn’t get lost) in search of Top Shop for the last day of 20% student discount/stumbled upon St. Pauls!

Personal success

St. Pauls Surprise

Day 9: The London Eye/Big Ben/Parliament

Us aboard the London Eye! Photo courtesy of cute couple in neighboring Eye capsule whom emailed Lydia

Good ole' Big Ben

Day 12: Borough Market

Veggies galore @ Borough Market

Day 13: Portobello Road

Ah, Portobello!

Day 14: Chinese New Year 2012 Celebration in Chinatown

So crowded I didn't even get to take a picture of the cool dragons...

Day 17: London Dungeon/Harrods

Harrods by Night

So there’s a little taste of some of the things I’ve done so far in London! Short and not descriptive cause once again my laziness prevails…
Hope I can stay consistent with my posts and keep you guys updated and hopefully entertained!
My London Swag is picking up slowly and I can’t wait for the next 5 months of my life! Cheerio folks!

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a study-abroad miracle

and on the 21st day of London…

SNOW. Yes snow was upon us last night in this beautiful city of London. Born & raised in sunny So Cal, I have been deprived of the magical wonders of snow. Apparently it rarely ever snows in London so for me to experience it within the first 3 weeks here was truly a study-abroad miracle. I was literally delirious with joy as snowflakes would land on my nose and lips. I ate them and it even tasted magical. Yesterday was amazing, which is why I have finally decided to update this blog 18 days later from my last lazy & insufficient post. SUSAN’S FIRST SNOW DAY HAPPENED and I definitely don’t want to forget about it when I’m old, gray, & telling my 20 cats about my younger years. And the best thing is, I can technically say that it was snowing in my HOME, because London is my home now :’)
Okay so a bit of only THE BEST NIGHT EVER:
After our delicious Bangladeshi dinner, we (me, my roomie Kristin, and Barbara, my friend from Hungary) ventured out into the snow, running and eating the snowflakes like we were 5. We then proceeded to make the coolest snowman (my first snowman ever!) named Oscar, our very own California Roll. For my fellow snow-deprived So-Cals, making a snowman is a workout! I had no idea that you literally rolled a small snowball into a giant one…I thought I was supposed to mold it like a sandcastle…
Our baby Oscar was composed of our carefully rolled snowballs, branches broken off a nearby tree (thanks to Kristin’s tallness), a carrot I forgot to eat weeks ago, and Kristin’s Weetos, her perfectly-round and chocolatey cereal. Who knew there would be another purpose for Weetos besides turning Kristin’s normal white milk into delicious chocolate milk? We made Oscar’s eyes, mouth, and a heart on his chest from the Weetos. We then added the finishing touch to Oscar with the Safari-Sombrero hybrid of a hat that I was wearing to shelter myself from the snow (I brought no hats to London of couse…). It was Kristin’s from Piccadilly Institute, a club we went to earlier this week. We all attempted to bring back our stolen hats but only Kristin’s survived the journey home…
Oscar was lookin’ fly. But there was one flaw to our beautiful creation: Oscar was in fact TILTED, 45 degrees at least. Barbara said he had a little too much to drink! A kind Brit man who walked by later said the same thing when admiring our Oscar. Oscar’s apparently an alcoholic and had a gooood night last night.
After giving birth to Oscar, our other frands Alex & Lydia joined us and we had an awesome snowball fight! It was intense, snow was all up in my pants. We also had a sudden snowball fight with 2 random British boys on the street. We then got ambushed by more guys from the ROOF. Unfair because we only managed to throw 2 snowballs at them (only 2 reached the top of the roof) whereas they threw like 30 at us from atop…Seeking revenge we prepared a bit of snowballs and put it in the safari-sombrero hat and decided to go up the flights of stairs in the main building to try to get to the roof and secretly attack. We didn’t actually get access to the roof however :( But it was still so much fun! Alex decided to drop a snowball from the top floor in the stair opening. It was so cool. Kristin also left a snowball outside the attackers’ door. We then all ran down the flights of stairs crazily, giggling and dropping snowballs. My heart was racing and we were running for our dear lives, though no one was chasing us…
Alright, this post is getting pretty long and I’m getting hungry so I think it’s photo time! You all must meet Oscar…who actually “self destructed,” exact words of Kristin. After our first snowball fight, I discovered him, split in half, with only his carrot nose on the cold, cold ground. It was an emotional few minutes :'( He lived a short & (hopefully) happy life. Next time maybe we won’t make our snowman tilted…Oscar had a few too many drinks and blacked out (or whited out actually i guess)

Me & Kristin rollin our California Roll Oscar

It was Love at first Roll

Snowball Fight!

R.I.P. Oscar :'( Me crying with his carrot nose in hand

London Wonderland

Truly a magical night :’) I love snow and am so happy I got to experience it in my current home of London! Ahhhh still so excited. But also hungry…Bye guys! : )

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months later…

Greetings from London!

So once again I have failed to update this blog for months…but now that I am in the beautiful yet chilly city of London, I hope I can update with not only food adventures, but life adventures! hehe. I’m currently in London to study abroad for the next 5-6 months and today was officially day #3! So far so good : ) There are 8 of us journalism kiddos from SC and we have been venturing out daily, learning our way around our home for the next semester. I still know nothing and will probably get lost the second I step out alone…I’m hoping to be a skilled Londoner by the end of this trip! We’ve hit the town to some pubs and a bar a couple nights already and let’s just say it is awesome to legally be allowed to drink! hehe.
So as usual, I’m super lazy and tired so will update ya’ll more later! I shall leave with one parting photo of the first telephone booth photo of many with my 7 fellow journalismers. We are the Crawford Crew (we live in apartments called the Crawford House) CHEERIO : ) !

telebooth!

Trying to stuff 8 journalists into a telebooth...

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fruit of the year

mangosteen: “the forbidden fruit”

Today I had a craving, which is very normal, I have cravings like 50 times a day. But the craving was for something I haven’t tasted in almost a year. Behold, the delicious fruit of MANGOSTEEN, known as the Queen of Tropical Fruit, which originates in Southeast Asia and apparently is “forbidden” to be grown or sold in the U.S.

My Very First Mangosteen :)

The first time I tried it was in China of last summer. Indeed, it was love at first bite. It’s very depressing though because they are unavailable in the States, although rumor has it some are secretly smuggled from Canada & sold in parts of Chinatown. I also read an article that said many farmers have tried to grow them in the more humid parts in Florida. Mangosteens can only survive in the tropics, so shipping them to places like China is easy. However, the U.S. is a different story. And according to a New York Times article, writer David Karp said that “Because fresh mangosteens can harbor insect pests, the Department of Agriculture prohibits their being brought from the main countries that grow them in Southeast Asia.” However, Karp also said that mangosteens can be imported legally from Central America countries, and Puerto Rico. Not so forbidden, I guess! Just very rare.
So perhaps there is hope for me to be reunited with the mangosteen?! Until then, I wait & just stare at my photos of our last encounter.
The center is the part you eat, the white, soft, & juicy part. It’s seedless & succulent, and you crack & peel to get to the center. If you ever get a chance, you must try these! They put apples and oranges to shame.

Ripe Mangosteens from last summer, China


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CHINA 2010

ching chong ling long: China Trip ’10

Soooo I’m going to make up for lost times & share with you guys some of the yumminess I ate last summer when I went to China! I literally gained 10 lbs alone from that trip. Everyday was delicious and I took so many photos of food, I think my camera started drooling. Here are some highlights:

CROCODILE

Crocodile!

Only parts of that dish are actually crocodile. My mom picked out a piece for me & it tasted like chicken. Wasn’t too bad.

Centipede Quiche-thing

Yes, it was not that great. Hardly tried it, who knows how well they baked in there?! It was basically an expensive pan of centipedes chillin’ in an egg. My dad ate like half of the thing -__-

Silkworm Egg Pizza

Couldn’t even get myself to order it.

"Man Tao" + Condensed milk = <3

Pringles a la China: Crab + Seaweed

Chicken Feet TO GO

People in China LOVE their chicken feet. It’s even in to-go snack packets, kinda like us Americans and trail mix or something.

beany

Best beancurd EVER

Chicken Nuggets on a stick!

The Coolest Dessert Place (the "snow white" one on the left was the best)

A cool peanut I found in a peanut appetizer dish

Baby meat buns in Shanghai

Duck's Blood (mehhh)

Fried milk cubes!

DINOSAUR EGGS (not really- some kinda duck eggs i think...)

Shanghai Dumplings, one of Shanghai's best foods

Rock Salt Tea Drank (foamy but okay)

Sunny-side up toast to go! (so cute)

Those are just a few of the gagillion foods I ate during my trip to China & Shanghai last summer. Wishing I kept up with this blog back then so I could’ve updated/uploaded more. But better late than never, I guess! If you guys ever get a chance to visit China, definitely eat as much as possible & worry about the calories later! I especially enjoyed the street vendors that sell food made right in front of you. Really comforting snacks that you can smell from miles away…

And all the animals you get to pick fresh before you eat them! It was actually quite sad & I almost thought about opening all the cages and letting them out. We went to several restaurants with some animals that would never be allowed to be eaten, let alone sold in America.
Ie: stingrays, pretty birdies, crocodiles, beetles, frogs, turtles, fox-racoon type furry critters, scorpions, snakes, & even DEER. Thankfully the restaurant said not many people eat deer anymore (I asked many questions, cause they sure had a lotta explaining to do!)

Here’s some pics for proof:

WARNING: Super sad :(

Crocodile -caged with mouth shut :'(

Scorpions- fresh & ripe for picking!

Sting Ray- quite the pricy guy

Some of the many snakes & turtles up for selection

Basket o' frogs

Unidentified bird

A cute pointy-nosed critter that apparently tastes good...

WHAT ABOUT BAMBI?! I truly considered buying all these beauties- who wouldn't stop looking at me, pleading me for help...

But have no fear, once I strike it rich, I will buy out all these animals & set them free!
Until then, they are someone’s dinner…

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