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



A Grand Adventure

Ahhh this past year has been tough. I left my relationship, moved back to Vermont and most recently moved to Boston, Mass. Sometimes I worry that my life is a little too Eat, Pray, Love but then I remember that … Continue reading

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.

Writing Prompt: Describe snowboarding

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She's a skier and I'm a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She’s a skier and I’m a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

It’s no secret that I’m a snow bunny. I live for being at the mountain regardless of how average I am at it. It always starts when I wake up, my toes tickle me awake as my chest warms to welcome me to the day. My legs, on the other hand, force me to get out of bed in the most antsy of fashions. Sometimes it’s hard to even focus enough to eat, I do because I should but I’ll be damned if it’s not like trying to force a sugar high two-year-old to sit.

As soon as that crisp mountain air touches my nose I know nothing can touch me. I start relaxing into my body and into a more solid foundation. I am centered, focused and a force to be reckoned with. I feel sexiest on the mountain and covered with nice, warm, layers. You can bet sun or snowfall that I am headed to that mountain to experience my ultimate freedom.

Once I am at the mountain I know I am home and the snow shimmers a friendly ‘hello’ in a multitude of colors just for me. Snow is not white. My feet fit knowingly into my boots and with each click of the bindings my heart stutters and skips, if I’m lucky I’m there early enough to be the first one to carve their name into the side of the mountain. Even the cold bite of the ski lift against my legs after a hot run feels like heaven.

From the top of the mountain you know why the Gods and Goddesses would have picked Mount Olympus as their home, the view is breathtaking. You can see forever on a clear day, watching the mountains fade into that soft periwinkle blue before disappearing into the horizon. The chilly air stings my cheeks, sinking into the bones in my face, as I snap into my bindings and head down the mountain. My hips already know this motion, they live for this as much as I do.

Hashtag: Writer Problems

I keep looking at my drafts folder and I have come to a conclusion: I don’t know how to end a story.

I have a ton of really fantastic stories, like the time I accidently ended up at a nude country club with one of my closest friends, or when I mistook the YUM!Center in Louisville, KY to be a really really big KFC because I had never really been on my own in that part of the country.  I’ve written a ton of them up and they are fantastic but then I get to the end and I feel really really weird, choppy and like my writing doesn’t flow. Like right now I am sitting here trying to figure out what to write next and how to transition it properly. I think I over think writing.

When I was a teen I used to write all. The. Time. I must have gone through at least five journals a year, all mixed up with entries and periods of life and usually with odd spacings like I was going to continue a poem I had started in the middle of the night and fallen asleep to the process of writing. In fact I think most of the reason I survived middle school and high school is because I wrote so damn much. I had a series of blogs that I wrote kind of teen angsty things that later refined and got more descriptive as time went on; as if the words were slipping out of your own, experienced, lips. If there was anything I have ever wanted to be in life it has been a writer. At first I wanted to write novels like my Idol Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, she wrote vampire romance and basically made vampires that were to me what Angel and Spike were to most teens of the late 90’s, early 2000’s. The female characters in her book I revered because they knew what they wanted and they would be damned if they didn’t get it. Hell, I was downright obsessed with those books. I wanted very desperately to be her and for a very long time I tried and I came up with the same exact problem that I am having now, I have no idea how to end a story.

So if any of my fellow writers have any tips I would love some advice, do you guys have similar problems sometimes? What stories do you guys want to hear?

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!

Just A Thought.

So I have been working on this blog post for days and I am still not sure about how I am going to say what I am going to say, but I am going to say it anyway. Recently I have been noticing a pattern in the way people talk about women and it’s been starting to give me a little bit of a headache with the amount of frustration and anger these things have been causing me; it all  started with the word: “Entitlement.” For those of you who don’t know ‘Entitlement’ means:

-the fact of having a right to something.

“full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered”

synonyms: right, prerogative, claim

-the amount to which a person has a right.

“annual leave entitlement”

synonyms: right, prerogative, claim

So that being said we all know some pretty entitled people in our lives, we can’t deny they are out there and to do so would be silly. However lately I’ve been hearing it in a very different light that I hadn’t considered before.

Now we’ve all heard the term “Daddy issues” and we all know what it means. Just the phrase itself feels slimy to me, it screams cop-out on so many levels and is generally only used in reference to women. Very rarely do we hear of men having these apparent ‘daddy issues’ because when Men go out and get crazy and go to strip clubs or be the best cop they can be or randomly join the military they are just ‘having fun’ or doing what they have to because a “man has got to do what a man has to do!” As soon as a woman does these things on the other hand she is generally either A) Trying too hard, B) Has Daddy Issues or C) Is too ‘Aggressive.’ Aggressive… Can you imagine that? Being too aggressive? And usually these women have all of those reasons lumped into one large pile of fuckall (Oh yeah, that’s right it makes me THAT kind of angry) as an excuse as to why they have to prove themselves in their male-dominate fields or why they just went crazy and had more sexual partners than society deems acceptable for a woman to have. I am not saying those two examples are the only instances that this term is used, I am saying I am so livid with the term that just thinking about it makes it hard for me to come up with more examples. That being said, as of late, I’ve been hearing the word Entitlement used in the SAME WAY.

It all started on a friend’s Facebook (I know, Facebook right? How lame!) She was asking if it would be okay if she texted the man she had gone out on a date with the previous night first or if she should wait for him to text her. The responses she got made my stomach turn and I felt the progress of the feminist movement slide back in time a little, people were telling her that not only did men not like aggressive women (since when is texting someone REMOTELY aggressive?!?!?!?) and that it’s good that she asked instead of just assuming that she was entitled to text him first like she had earned that right. Er… Excuse me? Does anyone else not see a problem here? I had to put my phone down and walk away from it before I threw it at the wall. How. Freaking. Dare. They.

Of course the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how often women get referred to as entitled for doing things their way. Texting your date the next day to tell them you had a lovely time is NOT entitlement, it’s communication which is a vital skill to have in a relationship. So while I can still put into words (Because angry NG does not write all that well) my thoughts and feelings, here is a list of things that don’t make you entitled!!!

  • Texting someone.
  • Asking for something when you need it.
  • Asking for help.
  • Having standards.
  • Friendzoning someone (we will get to this topic later)
  • Having goals
  • Going after what you want
  • Achieving what you want
  • Loving yourself
  • Feeling good about yourself

These things however, do make you entitled:

  • Bitching about not getting the brand newest electronic gadget because your parents refuse to drop $600 on a fucking phone that’s going to be outdated in three months anyway.
  • Thinking you have the right to treat people like shit based on their class/way they dress/ect.
  • Assuming that when you do a good thing that the entire world owes you something. You should do good things regardless of whether or not you are going to get a thank you, don’t be a dick.

There. That’s not so hard, is it? So if we could never ever use the word entitlement again incorrectly to belittle someone that’d be great. I am just saying.

NG out!!!