#aegeanodyssey2016 House of Virgin Mary, Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, Sirincę Köyu, Isabey Mosque and Selçuk Cottage Industry 

Today was a fuuuuuuuuull day for us! We booked a tour of Ephesus with Apasas, under recommendation from Rajab our host at Villa Dreams II (do check them both out, we love them!) 

One of the best things bout our hotel is the breakfast by the fireplace:

  
Sorry no makeup yet hahaa.

 
Deeeeeeeelicious breakfast typical ofnthe Aegean coast. 😍😍😍

With breakfast like this we are ready to conquer the day!!!!

Let me introduce you to Mira:

  
Our guide is Mira, who is an expert in weaving stories together and making everything so interesting! We learn so much from her!

Though we booked a tour of Ephesus, Mira managed to squeeze in so many many side trips on the way. 

1. House of Virgin Mary

  
Actually no one is 100% sure if the Virgin Mary actually lived here or not after the death of Jesus. However, St John did, and they think she would follow him. 

It’s just outside gates of Ephesus. Small place, we went inside where photos are not allowed. The place was found by some people from an American society who were staying in Selçuk, based on a book written about a bedridden and disabled woman’s stigmata/dreams/visions. 

She (a Roman Catholic nun) actually dreamt/had a vision that she met the Virgin Mary there, and she described the house in vivid detail. The guys in Selçuk thought, since they’re there, lets check it out and they found the house in ruins. 

Crazy thing is that she’s from Germany.

It was reconstructed and restored, with details based on the book. 

Now it’s a Christian and Muslim shrine, and people have pilgrimage there all the time. 

There’s also a wishing wall. 

  
Found a sweet wish, to always have rezeki and healthy parents. Amin.

2. Ephesus 

OUR FAVOURITE PLACE!

Ephesus is an ancient Greek city, and recently, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

 

The Gym at Ephesus


It was cold!!! And it’s supposed to be warmer in this part of Turkey 😂 I don’t understand this warm warm business so far everything has been quite freezing.

This is the entrance to Ephesus. Mira told us the story of how the inhabitants learnt that they used to build columns as a whole piece but then during an earthquake, they break and they have to make a new one. 

  

So since disease is rampant back then, before you get to enter the city, u need to go to the gym. Why? To get cleaned up! Haha.

   
   
Plenty of famous Greek gods here. Nike and the swoosh, Hermes at the hospital, Fortuna and crowd favourite, Medusa as well.

   
This was the toilet. Sajuk jua jubur tu. So they actually had slaves to warm up their seats first before they sit there so it will always be warm during winter and cold during summer. 

 
This one is a brothel. According to our guide the ladies in a brothel back then were educated. So they can talk to u about  pretty much anything. Only the rare 99% would be interested in the more obvious sex trade. Hahaha! She’s funny kan!

   
Down to Ephesus we go! This walkway behind me was supposed to be a boutique road where rich people go shopping. 

   
 
Here they do the parliamentary meetings. See the stairs, decorated with lion’s feet, symbolic of power. 

Same like us in Brunei, VIP sits in front, and more common people enter from the back.

  
Then there’s the library, next to the Trade Market! This library is the highlight of Ephesus and we can see why. Photos really do it no justice. It’s actually so huuuuge.

  
Then there’s the Odeon, a concert hall that can hold 25,000 people. 😳 the acoustics were amazing! I can stand on stage and speak normally, and 25,000 people can hear me. 

  
The hangout place for people, or for the ladies from the brothel to wait for sailors to come from the harbour. Me waiting for my sailor haha.

3. Temple of Artemis

 

single column of Temple of artemis, with Isa Bey Mosqu and St John’s Basilica in the distance.

 

Love this photo where 3 religions are featured in 1. Paganism from Temple of Artemis, Islam in Isabey Mosque and Christianity at St John Basilica in the back.

  
Cute ducks hanging out there haha.

4. LUNCH!

   
    
    
    
   
For lunch we had wonderful mezzes and stuff made by the ladies from a carpet weaving school. 

5. Sirinçe Köyu 

This is a shopping village. In this village, there was a man who made all the jewellery for the movie Troy. 

Haha we love him and we bought some jewellery as well. He offers the best price too!  

He also offered us a ride home (I think cause we hang out at his shop too long hahahaha)

 

We got ourselves sultanite rings! It’s green indoors and when outside, it changes colour to pink! Awesome!

  
Bought it as if someone held a gun to me or something hahahahah!

(No worries that’s just an antique and certainly not loaded.)

Also while we were there, it snowed! I have a video! Will upload on Instagram.

  
And we bought rose jam! And pomegranate stroop!

6. Isa Bey Mosque

 

One of the oldest and most impressive mosques in Anatolia.

Lonely man doing his Isya. 

7. Selçuk cottage industry 

We were also brought to places where they show us how they make pottery, carpets all by hand.    

   Pottery. Hrm, interesting I suppose. Hahaha. Difficult to relax when you are surrounded by ceramic and known to be highly accident prone hahaha.
 

Carpet making n the other hand was super interesting- the teachers showed us how they do the carpets from choosing silk cocoons, to weaving it, to eventually looming the carpets.

    

   
These beautiful carpets go from €200 to €100,000 depending on design, labour, etc. They are considered antiques in 10byears and their value appreciate the longer u keep them.

Then there’s Selçuk’s leather industry, where they showed us their latest collection by doing a fashion show hahah.

 Teehee!

Ok I’m so sleepy. Might edit this post with new photos. But it’s 10pm here and omg I can barely keep my eyes open! Good night! 

#aegeanodyssey2016 Walkabout Selçuk 

My first time with Turkish Airlines! Was expecting u know, a budget sort of service but actually, was so surprised that the 45 minute flight came with entertainment and a meal in a picnic box.   
       I napped on the plane and arrived at Izmir today at about 2pm local time and was very surprised to see a fabulous airport! It’s huge, clean and super new. So new in fact that they haven’t even secured advertisers for their billboards, which was still displaying nothing.

Upon exit, was hoping that there will be an information counter or something like that cause I wasn’t really sure how to get us to Selçuk which is where our hotel is. But nada. 

In the end kalah kalahan, we approached an taxi and duii, only €60 (TL160) meaning we only need to pay €15 each (TL40). Hahaa.

   
    
 The drive was so scenic and beautiful! Plus we were blessed with an amazing sky and weather.     

The drive actually reminded me a bit of Rome. But we love our taxi driver!

We passed by the sea and I think he could see how excited we were so he stopped to help us take photos.     

    
He mentioned that the island in the distance is actually Greece 😍

Beautiful view of the Aegean Sea.

We checked in to the hotel, which is actually a villa and to our shock and horror it is on the highest hill in the whole of Selçuk ahahahahahahahahahah.

The view however is something else.

   
         

Fabulous! The host is very nice and friendly and Villa Dream II is so homey and comfortable.

Hung out at the room for a while and after sufficiently freshened up, we set out for a walkabout.

   
    
    

   

Selçuk is a quiet town, more inclined towards the slower version of life. We saw cats, plenty of orange trees, and we even can pick the fruit off the tree. 
Hungry,we googled for restaurant recommendations and a pide place stood out in particular: Selçuk Pidecisi.

     
A family place, in Selçuk Pidecisi, this gentleman makes all bread and pides by hand.
My first authentic Turkish meal, we overordered as you can see:
1. Oven Tile Meatballs

   
2. Turkish Coffee  

  
3. Oven Tile Chicken

  

 4. spinach Pide  

  
5. This salad came with our food

  

 6. Lahmacun

  
7. More free bread which came with we assume the meat 

  
8. Tahini Pizza

  
This one was a special on the house treat❤️

So lovely

  
After dinner we walked more before we went back to the villa by shuttle and here I am trying to stay awake.

  
It’s 9.10pm.

And first time I’ve actually lied down in the last 48 hours haha.

Ahhh those little things we take for granted. :)

Tomorrow: a tour of Ephesus, the old city.

#aegeanodyssey2016 The tiring wait in an airport

Hi guys! 

   
    
   
After a super long 11 hour journey, we are FINALLY IN ISTANBUL!!!!!!!!!

Some of you may know that this is one country I’ve always wanted to go to all my life so I can’t tell u enough how excited I am to be here!

What I don’t love is zzzz all this waiting around in the airport. Haha. It’s winter so the airport is warm. 😖 I want to go outside in the “aircond” but then it’s too cold hahah. 

Our next flight is to Izmir then a quick train ride to Selçuk. 

What will it look like? 

Looking forward. 

For now ciao!

  

Am I the Menteri Kewangan II?

Was there some perlantikan I am not aware of? Apparently some smart and creative Bruneians actually translated my previous post (that somehow went viral) to Malay and claimed that it’s a quote from our Minister of Finance!!!

So please note that I haven’t been promoted to minister level recently. So if you see below whatsapp message, kindly please inform your friend that it’s a hoax:

jawapan Menteri Kewangan Kedua terhadap masalah kejatuhan harga Minyak dBrunei…
kebanyakkan org mengatakan bahawa dgn memotong 50% gaji setiap Menteri akan dpt membantu Rakyat, Kita ada 10 Menteri dlm Kementerian, Saya tidak percaya perbelanjaan Mereka boleh mencecah sehingga BND$1Bilion…
jawapannya ialah pada Diri Kita sendiri, Kita mesti bertanggung-jawab terhadap apa yg berlaku pada masa kini…
Tanya pada Diri Kita sendiri & jawab pertanyaan ini :
Adakah Anda masih membuang sampah merata-rata dan mengharapkan org lain akan membersihkannya…?
Adakah Anda tahu bahawa Kerajaan telah membelanjakan sejumlah wang bg tujuan pekerja, kemudahan & perkhidmatan bg tujuan mengutip & membersihkan sampah-sarap Anda sendiri…? ianya bukan percuma… dan Saya rasa perbelanjaannya adalah melebihi dari gaji kesemua Menteri-menteri dlm setahun…
Adakah Anda menggunakan kitar semula…? Sedangkan Kerajaan sentiasa mengusahakan supaya penggunaan kitar semula dijalankan…
Adakah Anda terfikir bahawa Kerajaan berusaha utk membelanjakan kewangan negara keatas jumlah keramaian penduduk yg semakin bertambah yg tiada tanda berkurangan terutama sekali dlm kemudahan membersihkan sampah-sarap…?
Adakah Anda menggunakan bahan-bahan alami sebaik mungkin & menggunakannya sebaik mungkin…?
Adakah Anda menggunakan tenaga elektrik dgn berhemah…? Tenaga Elektrik ada dibawah subsidi kerajaan yg tertinggi kerana setiap kali Anda menggunakannya, Kerajaan akan membayarkan sebahagian dari bil penggunaan Anda… jika Nada menggunakannya dgn berhemah, ianya dpt mengurangkan perbelanjaan Kerajaan, maka gunakanlah dgn cara yg baik & teratur… jika Anda tiada d dlm bilik, mengapa Anda perlu menyalakan lampu…? perlukah dinyalakan lampu jika Anda tiada d dlm bilik…?
Adakah Anda bejimat dlm penggunaan Air…? ianya juga sama seperti yg dinyatakan diatas… penggunaan air bg tujuan mandi yg sekejap adalah baik terutama sekali yg menggunakan water heater bg tujuan mandi…
Adakah Anda menggunakan atau memakan produk buatan tempatan di restoran…?
Adakah Anda menyokong produk tempatan, peniaga tempatan & pekebun tempatan…?
Tiada seorang pun akan terfikir atau berfikir mengenai dgn perkara tersebut…
Apabila Kita berusaha sendiri, Kita telah mengurangkan beban kpd Kerajaan…
Adakah Anda tahu bahawa masalah & krisis kekurangan bahan makanan adalah realiti yg paling ditakuti pada masa kini…?
Kerajaan masih lg mengimport bahan makanan dari negara-negara luar & harganya meningkat setiap tahun tapi Kerajaan masih menjualkannya dgn harga bersubsidi kpd Rakyat, maka usahakanlah utk membeli produk tempatan…
Adakah Anda berusaha utk mengurangkan makan daging…? sedangkan harga seekor kerbau & ayam semakin meningkat… Saya tidak mengatakan utk tidak makan daging tapi kurangkanlah makan daging… fikirkanlah dari mana daging tersebut didatangkan…? berapa subsidi yg telah diberikan…?
Adakah Anda menggunakan Kimia yg berbahaya bg tujuan menyuci pakaian…? sedangkan tanpa dikatakan pun Anda akan tahu bahawa ianya adalah berbahaya terhadap alam sekeliling… Kita memerlukan Air bg tujuan kehidupan alami utk makanan, minuman tetapi Anda telah merosakkannya dgn Kimia harian yg berbahaya… jika tanah dtempat Anda telah tercemar, Anda tidak akan dpt mengusahakan tanaman & ternakan…
Adakah Anda ramah-mesra dgn jiran, kawan2 & membantu meraka…? Pada masa kini setiap org hanya mementingkan diri sendiri pada kehidupan seharian mereka sedangkan d dlm hati Kita memerlukan antara satu sama yg lain… maka berbaik-baiklah antara satu dgn yg lain…
Adakah Anda berkongsi kereta bersama keluarga atau kawan-kawan…?
Adakah Anda pernah mencuba utk menggunakan pengangkutan awam…?
Sedangkan Anda tahu bahawa subsidi minyak ada yg paling besar… setiap rumah mempunyai 2-3 buah kenderaan… mengapa…? sekali-sekala, berkongsilah kereta…
Mengapa Anda menggunakan kereta besar pacuan 4 roda utk pergi ke pejabat sedangkan hanya Anda seorg sahaja d dlmnya…? Adakah Anda menggunakannya utk OffRoad…? mungkin tidak, kereta saloon sdh mencukupi bg Anda… setiap titik penggunaan minyak, Anda telah menambah hutang Kerajaan…
Jika Anda di sektor awam, adakah Anda bekerja utk mmberikan kehidupan Anda lebih baik atau Anda mahu menjadikan kehidupan org awam lebih baik…?
Adakah Anda memberikan khidmat terbaik Anda kpd org awam…? Saya ada melihat ada yg memberikan perkhidmatan yg baik dan ada juga yg memberikan layanan yg buruk…
Adakah Anda menyimpan wang Anda…? dlm keadaan masalah ekonomi sekarang, apapun boleh terjadi sehingga ada yg terpaksa tutup kedai & gulung tikar kerana masalah perniagaan yg tiada mendatangkan keuntongan… maka simpanlah wang bagi tujuan kecemasan dimasa depan… jika Anda berfikir utk masa depan, Anda akan berusaha dari susah sehingga senang…
Adakah Anda menjaga kesihatan Anda…?
Adakah Anda sentiasa menjaga kehidupan Anda secara Sihat…?
Adakah Anda tahu bahawa Kerajaan telah membelanjakan BerBilion Ringgit bg tujuan meningkatkan tarf kehidupan, perubatan, membangunkan Klinik & Hospital dan sebagainya…?
Adakah Anda tahu bahawa 3 faktor pembunuh utama dBrunei ialah Stroke, Kanser & Diebetis…? ianya ada disebabkan oleh cara kehidupan seharian Anda juga…
maka berlaku adil lah kepada Kerajaan & Negara…
Mulakan kehidupan Anda dgn cara hidup yg sihat…
Adakah Anda menyokong Persatuan Amal Tempatan & membantu inisiatif Mereka…?
Walau apa pun keadaan hidup Anda, ingatlah, ada yg lebih memerlukannya dari Anda… maka berkongsilah kegembiraan itu bersama-sama…
Hulurkanlah bantuan, tenaga & masa Anda…
setiap individu, Anda perlu berfikiran bijak & berhemah dlm setiap kemudahan yg diberikan dlm kehidupan seharian Anda…
Jika Anda seorang yg memegang kuasa, berfikirlah dgn bijak dlm menjalankan tugas… kurangkan penggunaan yg berlebihan kpd penggunaan yg lebih diperlukan…
Berkongsi adalah lebih baik…
Saya sendiri tidak tahu apa kesusahan yg dihadapi Kerajaan pada masa ini…
tapi Saya tahu cara-cara utk mengatasinya yg dpt dilakukan oleh setiap org tidak kira dimana mereka berkerja, umur, jantina atau apa saja yg mereka lakukan…
Saya rasa ianya bukan BND$2Bilion tetapi hanya BND$0.02sen sahaja…
C&P

To the genius who actually created this whatsapp, congratulations, u should work as a translator. 

Ok thanks bye. 

Hohoholiday!

Officially on long long leave!

Freedooooooom!

Love my job but sometimes u really do need a break from the same old 9am-6pm routine. 

My holidays are my “light at the end of the tunnel”. 

I make it a point to either travel, or learn something new. I feel it refreshes my mind, and helps me see new perspectives – which in turn allows me to be more creative. 

Will definitely miss my colleagues and beautiful cubicle. Please god don’t let them mess up my cubicle while I’m away.

Perhaps a post about packing tomorrow cause well, it is a struggle definitely:  

Backpacking- never easy! 
For now, good night!

One Pot Creamy Tuna Pasta

  Oh my god! How easy and delicious is this recipe?!

Easiest thing in the world! Yummiest thing in the world!

By one pot, I mean ONE POT ONLY. If you eat it from this pot, u literally have only one item to wash in the sink!

Here is the recipe.

One Pot Creamy Tuna Pasta

Ready in 20 mins – Serves 3

Ingredients

  • Pasta of choice (just estimate an amount enough for 3)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups of full cream milk
  • Fistful of cheese
  • Water
  • Salt & pepper

METHOD

  1. Chuck everything (except for the cheese) in a pot/skillet. Make sure the liquid completely covers the pasta.

  2. Simmer on medium for 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is  reduced.

3. Add in the cheese in the end, then season to taste.

4. SERVE! 

Easy right???? Bon apetit! 

2 Billion in Deficit

   

Click to see full article

Today’s big news popping up on everyone’s feed is about how oil prices continue to be at an all time low (still dropping in fact) and how we are in deep deep shit.

Why is it only scary today? Surely we already had this conversation when oil was $100 a barrel? This day will come, and it is here.

Now that it is here, honestly what can we do about it? What can you as an individual living in this 90% oil dependent country do about it? 

You cannot change the price of oil- you are scared. You are wondering about the future of Brunei. 

Some people even say, the answer is to cut 50% of the salary of ministers. I’m not great at maths but Brunei barely have 10 ministers in total, their spendings I don’t believe reach up to a billion. :)

The answer lies with us. We simply need to be awesome.

We need to start to live a green, self sufficient, and socially responsible life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are u still throwing rubbish on the ground in public places assuming someone will pick it up? Do you know how much we as a nation have to spend hiring workers, facilities, services in order to pick up after rubbish that YOU couldve just picked up for free? I don’t have exact figures, but I can bet that it’s more than a Minister’s salary in a year.
  2. Are you recycling? Save resources by finding ways to repurpose and reuse. Do you realise how much government spend just to maintain our rapidly growing (no sign of becoming smaller) disposal systems? 
  3. Are you using green materials as far a possible and disposing them properly? Do you compost?  Are your  actions hurting the environment? 
  4. Are you saving energy? Electricity. This is something which is highly subsidised. Everytime u switch on a light, the government is paying a portion of the bill. So if you keep it off, you save your money as well as the government’s. So use electricity in a more strategic way. If you’re not in the room, why do u need lights?
  5. Are you saving water? Same concept as above. Shorter showers, also is less strain on the wallet. Especially if you shower with the heater on.
  6. Do you eat local produce or eat in restaurants that support local produce? Do you support local farmers, local businesses? This is a no brainer. When we are self sufficient, we rely less on the government. Do u know the food crisis is one of the scariest realities of living in this world today? We constantly import from foreign countries, and prices actually increase every year. We still pay the same price, so it’s the subsidy that is increasing every year. So yes, buy local.
  7. Are u trying to eat less meat? Cow rearing is expensive. Chicken rearing is expensive. I’m not saying cut out meat from your diet but why not eat it less? Find out where your meat comes from? How much subsidy goes into them?
  8. Do u try to use less harmful chemicals in your washing? It goes without saying, these chemicals are harmful to our environment. We depend on nature to provide us with food, water and if you ruin it with your daily chemicals, we are the ones who will lose. If your land is polluted, you cannot grow your own food, rear animals, and how can you become self sufficient?
  9. Are you kind to your neighbors, friends, and helping them do the above? It is true that in this dire times, it is very easy to become selfish, to each their own. But reach out to your heart, and you will see that we rely on each other. Be kind to each other. Share this world.
  10. Do you carpool with friends and family? Or do u want to try use the public transport more? Fuel subsidy is a mega expense that we mere mortals are too small to even imagine! With all households owning at least 2-3 cars it’s not difficult to imagine why. Carpool once in a while. Why do u need to drive that big ass 4 wheel drive to work when it’s just you in the car? Are u going off road? No, a saloon car would do just fine. With every drop of fuel, you are increasing the country’s debt.
  11. If you are in the public sector, do you work to simply earn money or do u want go make public life better for everyone? Do you think you are sufficiently serving the people? I’ve seen excellent public servants, so it is not an urban myth. But I’ve also seen terrible ones. Let’s just be excellent and awesome. 
  12. Are u saving money? With this economic climate, anything can happen. Layoffs, perhaps? Or some companies may decide to close down due to bad business. So save money, in case it happens to you. Especially if you are the breadwinner. Know that you have a safety net, just in case you need to restart from scratch. 
  13. Do you take care of your health? Do you eat healthy, maintain a healthy lifestyle? Do you know that the government spend BILLIONS to develop human resources, acquire drugs, build hospitals, etc? Do you know the top 3 killers of Bruneiand are stroke, diabetes and cancer? These are all diseases that is highly correlated with lifestyle. So be fair to the country, start living a healthy life!
  14. Do you support local charities and their initiatives? Support the local charities. No matter how little you think you have, there is always someone out there who is less fortunate than you. Some have very little joy, and perhaps you can be the one to give it. Volunteer your time, energy.

As an individual, your job is to consume less, so it encompasses all facets of your life, and you need to persuade and cajol others to consume less. 

If you are in a position of power, this is when you can take willful action. Perhaps in your office you can print less, consume less. Reuse.

Less is more. 

Sharing is caring. 

I don’t know what difficulty the government is facing – but I know the steps above can be done by anyone no matter where they work, no matter age, gender, or whatever they do. 

Not 2 billion I guess, but just my two cents.