I currently own 3 film toy cameras- 1 holga medium format, 1 holga 35mm and 1 fisheye lomo. Each has it's own endearing quirk. I love using them as you never know how the pics will turn out. And in this age of instant gratification, film cameras keep you guessing until you finish up the roll or film and send them to print. And sometimes, it takes years before I finish a roll of film. *Patience is a virtue*

While sometimes the photos turn out brilliantly, other times, they are a huge disappointment. The roll of film I sent to print recent belonged to the latter category. I had assigned my little brother to use my fisheye during my wedding (almost 2 years ago!), but sadly, there was not enough light and none of the photos could be used. 

On the literal bright side, there were 3 photos in the roll that turned out pretty well. 

At a hipster cafe in Jakarta. I loved that trip even though I was down with food poisoning

Off to see jia jia and kai kai

Meeting junior college friends after many years
A quick tip on using a fisheye, go up close! When I get people to take pictures of my friends and I with my fisheye, they usually don't get close enough, which results in pictures like the above with a whole lot of background and not much of us.

I have filled my fisheye with a new roll of film and I'm excited to head out to take some pics. Anyone up for a photo trip?

Day 40 and 41: Jubilation

We were jubilant as the final plenary session was called to a close. The long days and endless circular arguments were over. It would soon be time to head home.
My outfit:
Salmon pink cardigan from Giant (who says you can't find nice stuff at such places?)
Grey shift dress from Nex 
Belt came free with a pair of pants
Angeline's outfit: 
Black blazer form Zara
Dress from Primark
Burgundy shoes from New Look

Since it was going to be our last night in Bonn, we decided to treat ourselves to some good food.
The top rated place according to TripAdvisor was fully booked so we chose to dine at Gasthaus Reduttchen. I'm so glad we did.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, I liked it already. It's essentially a little cottage next to a park.
The whole setting was beautiful and charming. Everything from the cushions to the bread basket exuded a homely atmosphere. The service was impeccable too. The waiter recommended that we get the set menu with between 3-6 courses. And he also offered great wine recommendations. The dishes are innovative and I'm told it changes with whatever is seasonal. I chose a lamb dish which was yum. The dessert was a little strange though. The herb sorbet tasted like medicated oil. Lol. 
On the whole, it was a great experience. If you ever are in the Bonn, you should head here for a nice night out. Take the set menu with the wine pairing. Great value for money.
I woke up with a great sense of anticipation on Saturday as it was the day we were headin home. All our bags were packed and we were dressed for the long journey back. A taxi ride to Siegburg train station, a train ride to Frankfurt, the a 12 hour flight home.
My outfit:
Tank top from Mauritius
Jeans from Mango
Ombré purple scarf from my mom

Angeline's outfit:
Burgundy cardigan from Uniqlo
Stripey boat neck tee from Zara
Mother's scarf and pants

Bye bye Maritim Hotel. Someone aptly described it as "That 70's Show meets the Soviet era". But I'm grateful that we were staying there as I would have been frozen if we had to make a commute. It's also a very functional hotel with the basics. The best part is I could go up to my room to charge my laptop instead of lugging the charging cables around all day. 

Till we meet again. Auf Wiedersehen.


Counting Our Blessings

Mr Kwek and I are back from our 1 week of adventures in Ho Chi Minh. Before we left, I was uncertain about the decision to stay in Ho Chi Minh for a whole week. Most of the people I spoke to that have gone there for a holiday told me a weekend was enough. After all, all the main tourist sights were in walking distance of each other and could be covered in a day.

But now that our trip has ended, we are so glad we went for it, 1 week was just enough. And we are thankful for all the blessings that were showered upon us:

1. For journey mercies.
Surviving Saigon traffic is no small feat. We saw a number of motorbike take a tumble in 1 week.
2. For friendships... enjoy the journey with...

... to introduce us to their world (you guys went above and beyond hospitality)...
... that transcend borders.

3. For all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes we were able to enjoy.

4. For the person that we can enjoy being with 24/7
Even squeezing oil out of lard is fun when we do it together
Several times during the trip, Mr Kwek and I just stopped and marvelled at how richly blessed we are. It's pretty amazing. And so we praise God from whom all blessings flow :)


In Search of Deer- Wildpark Venusburg Bonn

Having been to Bonn many times, I am usually at a loss for what to do on our precious 1 day off. 
I've just been going down the list of things to do and places to eat on Tripadvisor.
This time, I chose to check out Wildpark Venusburg, based on the 1 review on tripadvisor that I could read. 
Getting there:
Take bus 603 from Bonn Hbf (the main train station and the centre of Bonn). The journey will take about 40minutes and takes you through the residential outskirts of Bonn. Get off at the last stop which is Waldau. 
What to do: 
If you have young kids, they will probably love this place. There is a huge playground made of wood. We don't get such playgrounds in Singapore any more :( Sorry I didn't take a pic.
I was actually expecting a deer park like the Nara Deer Park in Japan, with the deer roaming free. So upon reaching there, we headed into a wooded trail to look for my deer. So we walked...
And walked....
And walked...
And saw nothing but trees and grass.
A look out point. But we weren't sure what we were looking out at apart from grass
Finally, an old man taking his walk in the park stopped to help us and told us that we were walking in the totally wrong area. 

So learn from my mistake. When you get there, walk straight in, then turn left. Walk past the large play ground, then the wildboar and deer enclosures will be on the right. 

The wildboar enclosure. I was sure glad they weren't free roaming

After wandering in the forest for over an hour, I finally found my deer!

While I was slightly disappointed that the deer were not free roaming, what I really liked about the park was that the enclosures were huge! Which means the deer can run around freely :)
I could not see the end of the deer enclosure
I was really happy to find the deer. It was a really warm day (36 degrees celcius!!) So the large deers with their majestic antlers were hiding in the shade.

After the max zoom on my phone
We were really tired from walking by then, so after gazing at the beautiful animals for awhile, we took a walk back to the bus stop and took a bus back to town.
On the whole, I'd say the Wildpark Venusburg would be worth a visit if you have little kids with you or if you have to be in Bonn over a Sunday when everything in town is closed.

A Bonn Bonn Walk In The Park

As mentioned in my earlier post, we got out of the Maritim before sunset on the last day (Sunday), so after packing my bags, I rushed out for a little walk in the park (Freizeitpark Rhienaue) which was close to the hotel to enjoy the bright sunshine, blue skies and green inviting grass.
Armed with a book and a bag of chips, I was hoping to find a nice spot on the grass to read something other than negotiating text or submissions for a change.  
I was surprised to find that the usually quiet park was abuzz with activity. Families were having BBQs, teenagers were playing frisbee and little kids were running around with glee. As I walked towards the open field, there seemed to be some carnival going on. Turns out, there was a balloon festival at the park that day. So this is what Bonn residents do on Sundays when everything else is closed. I have always wondered where everyone goes when I wander the empty streets of Bonn central on our Sunday off days. 
Looked like a whole lot of fun for the kids. I really wouldn't mind living in Bonn if I had little kids.
Since all the signs were in German, I had to ask around to find out what was happening. Finally, one of the staff told me that it was a hot air balloon festival and the balloons would be taking off in an adjacent field at around 7.30pm. I convinced my friends to ditch our initial dinner plans and found a nice spot on the grass with some currywurst to watch the balloons.
It was an amazing experience that I was glad to ditch dinner plans for. I have never seen hot air balloons before and I found that they were much bigger than what I had imagined. As we sat there, we thought about how we would never see such a festival in Singapore. And laughed over the number of government agencies that would have to give permission to hold such a thing. lol
It was almost 9.30pm by the time the last balloons took off and only then was the sun about to set. So glad to have stumbled upon the festival. It was a wonderful walk in the park :)

Back from Bonn Bonn

I'm back from climate change land.

It is a mysterious land where we celebrate the birthdays of negotiating groups. It was a majestic party with many Parties. 
The negotiations on my end went largely smoothly, even as I was co-Chairing one of the agenda items and running from room to room trying to catch up with the clashing tracks that I was also supposed to cover. As always, what made the demanding negotiations bearable and sometimes even enjoyable were the awesome people and for each one of you I am thankful. 

The excellent co-Chair, Parties and Secretariat

The ones who make everyday entertaining

The ones who entertain my request to go see balloons

The ones who keep the spirits up

The ones who love the island life as much as I do, and fight for their survival

The foodies

The delegation that became family

Bonn had been kind this time around. For the first time, the negotiations did not go into overtime and we managed to step out of the Maritim when the sun was still shining. It probably helped that the Bonn summer meant the sun only set past 9pm. Thank God for His little blessings. 
I sure made the most of every minute of sunlight I got this time around. I'll be blogging about more of that a little later. Watch this space.