Hong Kong was made for [Food] Lovers

I have officially been in this city for five days and it’s safe to say I am completely enamored with the place. It’s like all of my favorite cities combined and the FOOD, oh my god the Food here is phenomenal. There are restaurants everywhere, literally everywhere. In old Police Headquarters that have been renovated to dark alleyways that make you question if you’re even in the right place. This post is about one of those places hidden in a dark alleyway.

Down in Central Hong Kong there is a hidden gem called The Brick House. To get there is an adventure, you wont forget.

My cousin, Jason, has always had good taste in food; even so when he told me he wanted to take me to his favorite Mexican joint in Hong Kong I was entirely skeptical of the whole idea. I lived on the boarder of Mexico for two years and had sense become a serious snob about my Tacos. Northern United States is known for it’s terrible Mexican food and I was 8005 miles from Boston, I flew over the North Pole to get here. I agreed anyway, feeling apprehensive about trying Mexican Food in a city known for it’s Dim Sum.

To get to the restaurant you first have to find the entrance, and it’s hardly obvious. When we first got to the end of the alleyway I thought we were just taking a short cut like we often did to get around the city and avoid the heavy foot traffic. At the beginning of the alley there was a much more elderly man singing in what I could only assume was Cantonese. His voice rose and dropped beautifully while his notes hung in the heavy humidity that rules Hong Kong during the summer months. As soon as I looked beyond him and further into the alley I started getting nervous. Although Hong Kong is a relatively safe city I had been living in dangerous areas the last four years that if you walked down a place like this you were asking for trouble, but I trusted Jason and knew the end goal would be worth it, and it was.

The walls leading into the restaurant are smothered in Street Art, graffiti and love notes.

Once you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere where the tables for large parties are half inside, half outside with double seating along the alleyway. The walls inside the restaurant are also covered in street art. I was in heaven. Soon I was enveloped by the life of the restaurant, the music was beachy and the Margaritas were strong. I couldn’t wait to order food and try some of their delicious looking options.

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Naturally we started with Chips and Guacamole, because no visit to any Latino restaurant is complete without copious amounts of Guacamole…. I could also live off of Guac, it’s not only my favorite but the Brick House NAILED it. Also, the Salsa? Perfect!!!!

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Best. Ceviche. Ever.

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My new best friends ❤

Now anyone who knows me knows how freaked out I am by fish or eating fish or thinking about eating fish. The first time I tried Ceviche it took my friend Caroline and her Fiancee, Forrest, to convince me that trying Ceviche was 1) not going to kill me and 2) was actually delicious. The thought of eating raw fish horrified me and I didn’t totally grasp the science that the acid of the citrus actually cooked the fish and therefor it was entirely safe to eat. After that first bite I’ve become a bit obsessed with the stuff, trying it every chance I get in places where I feel comfortable enough to eat the fish and Hong Kong is known for it’s excellent fish. Everyone eats seafood here. On first bite I was hooked on Brick House’s twist on Peruvian Ceviche and by far it is the best I’ve ever had (sorry San Diego, you’ve dropped off my Good Mexican Food Map.) Let me just make it very clear: If you are going to visit Hong Kong you have to go here. You have to try their Ceviche and have one of their Classic Margaritas.

And don’t you dare forget to try the tacos, with homemade soft shell and incredibly fresh meat you wont ever want to leave the restaurant. I demolished two before even taking the chance to really savor the taste, on the third taco I took notes and it’s safe to say their Chicken Tacos are the best Hong Kong has to offer.

So thank you Brick House for the incredible experience, I will be back before I leave for sure ❤

Disfruta!

NerdyGypsy

Dive Tables may be the bane of my existence.

So for this trip I have been working very hard on getting dive certified. When I first thought about learning to Scuba Dive I thought it would be relatively easy to do and that it wasn’t that complicated. I was so wrong in so many ways.

Learning to dive is like taking a college class. The online course is divided up into 5 sections, each with 150+ pages of learning material. This does not include the controlled indoor and outdoor dives you have to do to practice all of the skills you read and learn about in the online portions. Dive tables are probably one of the most important things to learn because it can help prevent Decompression Sickness, also known as the Bends, as well as make sure you have an awesome diving experience with an adequate amount of time underwater.

When you dive your tank is 21% oxygen and the rest is Nitrogen, as you dive the air in the tank decreases in volume and increases in density causing more nitrogen to enter your body (i think I’m getting this right?) which means Nitrogen builds up in your body as you dive creating bubbles, which is why it’s so important to take safety stops every 5 meters/15 feet. So what is Decompression Sickness? Decompression sickness is a serious medical condition caused by nitrogen bubbles within your blood and body tissues. If the excess nitrogen in your body tissues is too high, when you ascend and surface, the nitrogen may come out of solution faster than your body can eliminate it, forming bubbles. These bubbles are usually in joints, fatty tissues and environmental factors can be huge game changers on how/when/where they form. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen? By taking safety stops to allow the nitrogen to work its way out safely but also by using dive tables to ensure you’re not diving out of a safe depth and time.

Least to say I’ve never been good at math and figuring the table out involves math. If it’s your first dive it’s easy, if you are doing a second dive in a close period to the first dive you have to account for the nitrogen that hasn’t worked its way out of the body yet. The residual Nitrogen is also why you’re not allowed to fly the same day you dive. So I’ve taken this test three times now and just feel like the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting something that seems relatively simple. So for tonight, I gave the test a break and headed over to a friend’s house where there were double chocolate s’mores, a bonfire, great people and a telescope to look at the stars.

Signing off!

-NG.

 

Travel Anxiety?

My favorite feeling in the world is right before the airplane takes off. The entire plane tightens up as it prepares to jet forward towards the speed of 567 MPH (or .85 Mach.) I always imagined the plane to be cat-like, sitting back on its haunches before taking off to anywhere you want to go. The first time I boarded an airplane I was 7 years old and off to Disneyland with my family, I was in first grade and was even allowed to skip a little school for the trip. Since then I have flown countless times and I’d like to think I don’t get too bad anxiety when I travel. A pretty standard level of ‘Oh god what do I want to wear while I’m there?’ and ‘Holy god, does this make me look ridiculous?’ was to be expected, I think I just fear that it’s not real, it is my first major international trip and what I’ve been dreaming of my entire life.

Recently the biggest challenge has been trying to figure out the most effective way of packing. Am I really going to be doing that much shopping there? Does it make sense to pack a wardrobe? I’ve vetoed taking any toiletries except for my make up and tooth-brush, as far as I can tell it makes much much more sense to pick those things up there. How many pairs of shoes do you think I’ll need?

You’re probably wondering where I am off to this time, and I cannot wait to tell you, but first you’re gonna have to guess. Some fun facts about where I am going:

  1. It boasts one of the world’s highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
  2. It consumes triple the world average of tea at a total of 9.8 million kilograms annual. This equates to an average of 1.4 kilograms of tea per person in ____ ____ per year. The world’s most expensive tea available in ____ ____ is Iron Buddha at USD2576.92 per kilogram.
  3. It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873.
  4. It is actually composed of more than 200 islands.
  5. It ended New York’s 11-year reign as the home of the world’s most expensive district for retailers as luxury-brand companies like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, Aigner, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs competed for space to set up flagship stores selling their goods to mainland Chinese tourists. In 2012, the average annual rents at Causeway Bay was USD338.87 per square foot.

Have you figured it out yet? This isn’t my only stop in South East Asia, while visiting I will also be making a stop into Thailand to go diving off of Kata Beach. I am hoping to swim with sharks while I am down there, as I love the teethy dudes to pieces. Sharks may be one of the coolest animals in current times. I will be bringing an underwater camera for these adventures, I cannot wait to post the pictures ^_^

Anyway, I suppose I better do the adult thing and look nice for work.

回头见!

Huítóu jiàn!

Sarah



You Asked It: ‘What got you into blogging?’

Note: So when people ask me about what I do and why or how I got into ToTTN or AngelicaDemone I always like to respond, I am going to start calling the blogs I respond to these questions in You Asked It. 


 

What got me into blogging? I honestly have no idea. I think it started somewhere when I was in middle school and just starting to realize what the internet had to offer for me. I actually started out on Blogger with your usual dark and moody teenager mind set, I wrote crazy amounts of poetry that when I now look back on I cringe due to the lack of grammar or spelling and at that age all I wanted to be was a famous writer. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was hands down my writing idol, after all she wrote her first novel when she was 13-years-old and my 14-year-old-self would have died to be able to do that. 

So I started blogging furiously, I wrote poems, short stories, I had chapters for novels that didn’t exist with no timeline to be found. I couldn’t ever finish a novel because I have a terribly hard time ending things, I never want the adventure to stop and it always feels wrong to put an end to it. Even when I write blogs now it can be hard to stop and not just continue onto the next story in the timeline.

Least to say my teenage self only really had a few followers, after all my blog was more like an online diary where I could freely express my feelings which was something that was hard for me to do with friends or at home. When I was 13 I went through some fairly traumatic experiences that have haunted me to this day and writing has been one of the only things keeping me sane sometimes and my teen years were so much about that.

As I got older I stopped blogging and just started keeping journals that I would hide all over the place, I’d have three or four journals going at once and kept in various places to keep all of my ideas and thoughts organized. Most of them haven’t survived over the years for various reasons, mainly being they can be a lot to travel with and many of them became digital with laptops being more common among the rest of the population class and less with the business class. Scroll forward a few years and you’ll find me on my way to Louisville, Kentucky and contemplating novels again.

I had the idea that I wanted to document my travels but I also wanted to write an apocalyptic novel based on the idea of the US being taken over by a foreign country and what that would look like. To do this I would have to keep close detail to the places I had gone and visited, the restaurants and local mindset so I could really capture the cities I would be writing about. After all if you’ve never been to Louisville you really won’t know where 2nd street is, will you.

Fast forward to when I moved to California with my boyfriend, Brian, and started to talk to people about all of the adventures I have gone on. It was easy enough with friends and family posting about neat things on facebook but I found strangers and friends of the family being curious about the adventures that I never really thought of talking about, let alone writing about. So last October I started Tales of the Traveling Nerd, my most successful blog thus far. It has seriously been one of my favorite things to do, I love to tell my stories of my adventures or talk about the favorite beers that I’ve gotten the pleasure of trying. 

Traveling has been my passion forever. I’ve always loved adventure, getting lost, trying new things, listening to new music, learning a new language and telling a story.So TL;DR: I started blogging when I was very young to cope with some really hard traumas that I went through and then turned it into my dream job a few months ago.

Feminism Vs. Rape Culture Vs. Self Defense.

*TRIGGER WARNING: The following post talks about rape and violence in the US.*

So a couple of days ago we had some big news come out in regards to the new Miss USA and her response to a very important question, what were her thoughts on the sexual assaults happening on campus’ across the US. Now usually I don’t get into this stuff or blog about it because I don’t want to start a shit show but this is seriously important. I want to make one thing very very clear before I start: I am a feminist, not an extremist, I recognize that not everything is a black and white issue when it comes to dealing with social issues. I am also a survivor of a few instances of sexual abuse and the topic of rape culture is really important to me.

What is rape culture?

Rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to a culture and it’s society to a point where it is normalized and even condoned and often times is expressed in victim blaming, sexual objectification and making things like rape and violence towards women not such a big deal and belittling the idea of it. We see it constantly in the US, in our media, in our schools, people we are supposed to be able to turn to for safety are blowing it off and it’s coming out as a scandal months later because of shady detective work done by the police. Back in February multiple states had to really take a good look at making a change because they still had rape test kits dating back to 30 years prior, rape culture is well and alive in America and we have to do something about it.

What is not Rape Culture:

Suggesting that women empower themselves by taking a self defense classes to protect themselves.

How do you stop Rape?

By not accepting it in your society, by standing up against it and making it illegal, by creating safe and effective laws that protect the victims that are effected. By teaching people what rape is, how they can prevent it and how to not do it.  The reality is that we may never fully stop rape.

How do you stop Rape when it is happening to you?

You fight for your goddamn life. Just because I don’t want to get raped and that I do not condone rape doesn’t mean that it isn’t a very real possibility when I close the restaurant and walk into the crowded streets of downtown to the bus stop. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t carry mace because bad things happen. People have been mugged blocks from my house. Is mugging bad? Yes. Is it illegal? Yes. Should you be aware of how to defend yourself against someone if they pull a gun out on you? Abso-fucking-lutely.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking responsibility for our own safety, saying that nothing bad is going to happen to us because we don’t want it to and it shouldn’t exist and expecting that to be a reality is a very, very, dangerous mind set. Understanding that Rape happens isn’t perpetuating rape culture or victim blaming, you can be against rape and still prepare yourself just in case it happens to you.

Who should be taking self defense and what are the benefits?

Personally I think everyone should take some form of self defense, if only for the fact that it really helps boost self-esteem (something we seem to lack here in the states.) In every class it’s pretty clear that self defense isn’t about beating the crap out of someone but about creating enough space to get away from the attacker and get help, which is pretty damn useful for just about anyone.

So what’s your point/TL;DR?

Miss. USA isn’t perpetuating rape culture. We as feminists talk all the time about taking power back and standing up for ourselves and keeping ourselves and our fellow woman safe. We talk about empowering ourselves by doing things that aren’t in societies views of our gender roll. By attacking Miss. USA for stating an opinion that is a pretty damn valid one we are taking ourselves out, so all I have to say is:

Congratulations Miss. USA! You go girl!!!!

Best salon experience ever. Of all time.

Best salon experience ever. Of all time.

So as you can imagine I’ve had a lot of different hair stylists in my adventures despite the fact that I get down right picky about who touches my hair. It’s a trust thing, you do well with my hair … Continue reading

NG Vs. The Dolphin

So in my adventures I generally come across very odd happenings with animals(see opossums and rattlesnakes for more info,) more often then not my travel buddies and I like to give wild animals plenty of comfortable personal space for some pretty obvious reasons. Of course there are always those couple of people in a group who decide the best thing for them to do is to hang out as close as possible to the wild animal, this is a terrible idea and here is a story of why:

When Brian and I were living in New Orleans we had some friends who lived on the North Shore. The place where they lived was right on the river (is that what you call it?) where a Dolphin liked to hang out by their docks. This dolphin also liked to follow them Jet Skiing and generally just like to play in the wake of the boats. D and L called it their guest because he loved to hang out at their docks more than anywhere else and gave him plenty of space to play with.

Now, as I said there are always one or two people in every group who decide they want to play with the wild animals and generally these are the same people also like to get OUT of the car with your CHILDREN to take a picture with the SUPER cute Bear cubs. Because that’s responsible, right? Anyway, the first Fourth of July I had in New Orleans we went to D&L’s house. I was so nervous about going I could barely talk on the way there and when we got to the house I was shocked at how HUGE it seamed to be, just sitting there on the water. We promptly parked the truck and walked into the party where things seemed to be a whole new level of relaxed. No one knows how to relax like people from the deep south. With in minutes of entering the party we had Watermelon-Jalapeno Mojitos in hand and we walked out onto the dock so we could jump into the water, anyone who knows the deep south understands how utterly hot and humidly miserable it can get in July. With in 20 minutes of swimming we finally had company.

Now, my first response was to get out of the water. I had no problem dangling my legs over the edge of the dock, after all what are the chances of the dolphin jumping out of the water to grab one of my legs when he has no previous history of violence? This thought process of course did not extend to me getting into the water with the dolphin and when I was invited to go swim with the dolphin I politely declined. The two guests of the party jumped in and swam out. As they were swimming we saw the fin dip in and out of the water and then disappear completely, that’s when we heard them get nervous.

“Where is it?”

“I don’t know!”

“OMG IT BUMPED ME!”

Quickly they started to panic, the guy who swam out gave out a yell and then started moving as quickly to shore as he could, leaving his lady-friend in the dust as they both got to the docks in shock. He held up his arm to reveal that the Dolphin had actually bit him and it looked nasty. Dolphin teeth are sharp, long and fairly needle like, least to say they can pack a punch even when used on accident. After all Sharks are incredibly curious and as they have no hands they rely on nibbles to figure out what certain things are, nibbles for them are a limb for us, fortunately for W the dolphin was kind enough to give a warning. As cute as they are Dolphins can be violent if they feel you are a threat to them or their pod.

In the end we got W bandaged up and the dolphin stuck around for about 15 minutes before getting bored and harassing some other boaters in the area, one little girl was sitting in front of her dad on a Jetski screamed with excitement at the sight of a dolphin following them.

Least to say the guy was okay, thank goodness, and the lesson was learned.

That Moment When…

You sit down to write and you have a billion amazing stories and so many incredible thoughts that you want to share but they don’t seem to come out right or convey the humor involved in the situation adequately enough to do justice for the story. Like how one of my very best friends, Missy, and I laughed over the action of eating gummy bears for almost an hour straight because we had *maybe* a little too much to drink. Some of the best stories I have I couldn’t even tell you because of how incredibly insane they are (street racing is dangerous, don’t do it.) 

So basically what I am trying to say is I have a little bit of a lot of writers block and I am trying to knock it out. In the mean time I will be posting pictures of my adventures ^_^ Have some suggestions on how to get rid of writers block? Post it in the comments!

Question 2:

Question 2:

So for those of you who don’t know, I asked my readers what questions they have and what they may want to read about. This is my response to one of the questions asked, I will link you to the … Continue reading