The Failings of Travelling during a Pandemic

This one Geek had it all prepared to go travelling during a pandemic.

I got jabbed twice with Pfizer. Made sure people around me were getting their jabs and wearing masks 😷.

Bought my plane ticket to Hong Kong (in May), booked my quarantine hotel for 21 days (then 14 days, and then back to 21 days … oh come on!), then booked my post-qurantine hotel … then s**t hit the fan. Hong Kong decided to ban all flights coming in from the UK from July 1st 2021. Grrrrr.

My flight was on July 1st. 🤬

My cousin text me to tell me to cancel my flight and hotels… Whatever!! I wasn’t going to lose my money… I waited for the airline to cancel my flight, which they did. (I bursted out crying in front of my manager during a Teams meeting… Sorry Boss!!).

Then it was time to contact Booking.com to get my money back from the quarantine hotels (two hotels – as the HK govenment changed the quarantine time back to 21 days, and I stupidly cancelled one hotel, and booked another). If the hotel admin were stressed out then I was extremely stressed! I wasn’t going to lose out on almost £2K. But thankfully, the hotels agreed to give me back my money. I’m sure they didn’t lose out, since other people coming from the UK would have needed to extend their stays. Thanks Booking.com! They are so patient!!

I decided to get a refund for my flight. It was easy… but I didn’t expect a £300 admin fee from Cathay Pacific. Wow. That’s so extreme from an airline. 😦

Total loss (excluding things I bought for the journey and the hotel quarantine – since I can still use these now and next time):

  • £300 from Cathay Pacific admin fee (not happy… 😤)
  • £180 for PCR swab kits (not even used 😖)

Think I need to work a little bit harder to gain this money back (or just not spend on anything drastic for the next few months).

Do I care about my status in Hong Kong now? Not at this very moment… I failed to go back in time to validate my HKID card. Oh well! Did I really want to go? Not really… My boss was understanding and would have let me worked from abroad if I had the chance to go… It was not meant to be! The Heavens told me not to go twice. 😇

Not to worry peeps. I cheered myself up in the past 3 weeks (in the time I would have been in quarantine)…

  1. I cooked sweetcorn with raclette cheese. I cheered up after eating this.

2. I bought an expensive keyboard from South Korea on eBay (which arrived just before I was aiming to go to Hong Kong). You can’t type Romaja on Western keyboards… You have to learn the Korean keyboard!!

3. I took a picture of a blimp that read “Good Year” on it… What good year?

4. I went out with my friend Mrs Hen (long awaited time out with her)… we went to eat at Nando’s at London Bridge… she was late, so I ended up stationery shopping in Paperchase, and I bought a book (Swing Time by Zadie Smith – still reading it). Then we sort of met with her colleagues in Vinegar Yard for an hour before they headed off to another pub).

5. Went out all the way to Tooting and met up with Miss Money and Miss LuTu… Was gardening tips, even though I don’t own a garden…

6. Why did I go out to Leicester Square during the Euro 2020 Finals? I was craving some Korean food, and I wanted to go to Oseyo for them … then I took the Tube back and saw some wild fans going up the escalator singing (there were wild England fans everywhere, I’m just glad I didn’t go into Leicester Square to the witness the chorus singing and see the mess they made).

7. A fox appeared at Herne Hill Station on my way home … It brightened my evening …

8. And finally today, it rained, like it has been all over the world. I expect some services to be disrupted later on.

Cheer up Everyone!!!

I may have failed to travel in the last two years, but I have tried to enjoy myself (and I did get most of my money back). LOL! 🤪

KiKi & MiuMiu Market – London, Walworth Road / Elephant & Castle

And we have another Asian supermarket in the Walworth Road and, Elephant and Castle area… Despite the Asian backlash, which I personally haven’t seen or have come across since the start of the pandemic. Maybe my body language says “backoff or I’ll do something to you”, LOL! ^_^ …

Kiki and MiuMiu Market opened in late April, I’ve already been in there twice. They have a variety of frozen foods, bakeries, some things that aren’t available in Longdan or Daily Fresh Supermarket in East St Market.

Comparing some of the prices, it is slightly cheaper – depending on what you buy…

They’ve tried to utilise the space, but it does feel a little cramp… you may have to wait for people to finish what they’re doing to get pass them… In a way, it’s better than going to China Town for the moment.

Address: 141 Walworth Rd, London SE17 1RW

Golden Tea 凰茶- London, Elephant and Castle

Howdy peeps! Hope everyone is staying safe as usual. 🤓

Third lockdown almost over but with other variants running around at the moment we will never know what will happen in June…

Haven’t blogged for a long time, just haven’t found anything much to blog about, so here’s something I found on my way home one afternoon after a long walk in February. So many things change if you don’t go out and have a look at your surroundings. Not sure when this opened, but Golden Tea is another bubble tea shop in London. There’s a lot of Chinese students living around the Elephant and Castle – maybe it’s become a new trend over there with new flats and new shops… and hopefully a new shopping centre (or new social housing). We will see!!

Golden Tea looks very decorative and pretty inside compared to the building it’s based in. LOL. 凰茶 (Mando: huang cha; Canto: wong cha) means Phoenix Tea rather than Golden Tea.

They have a variety of teas for you to choose from, and there’s something slightly expensive desserts that you could try.

I ordered a large and a medium cup of original tea with brown sugar (one for MummyGeek to try out). I wanted the large one to have more sugar, but when I tasted it, it didn’t have enough sugar… I was a little disappointed. MummyGeek wasn’t sure about it.

Hmmm, I think if you like bubble tea, it’s worth a try…

And if you live in the area, it might be worth ordering on Deliveroo.

https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/london/kennington/golden-tea-elephant-and-castle

Address: Unit 13, 91-95 Newington Butts, London SE1 6SF

Bamboo Basket – Beef Brisket Noodle Soup 牛腩湯麵 (龍皇湯麵系列)

Hands up if you’re missing those xxx noodle soups from all those xxx Chinese restaurants? 🖐 Me, me, me!! I happened to be in China Town a few days ago, and MummyGeek spotted these in the freezer section in See Woo Supermarket. Wooow! There’s two rows of these noodles with beef brisket, duck, wonton, braised pork, and I can’t remember if there were anymore. The Bamboo Basket brand is not a brand I’ve heard of. Have you? It seems that they’re a UK brand. They probably made this because a lot of people are missing restaurant food… Mind you, it’s very convenient, so I hope this brand carries on selling these products after the lockdown.

I’ve eaten a lot of beef in the past few days… It’s one of those times when you just miss eating a certain type of meat, so when I had this, it was my third meal with beef in two days! 😬

I took a close up picture of the instructions. When I was making this, I got stuck on sentence 2. The soup base? Is that the water from the noodles or the already frozen beef sauce? I guessed that part…

Now to start cooking! Here’s the ingredients in its frozen state. As you can see, there’s no packets of soup like what you see in those packets of instant noodles. This is what you see in frozen meals BUT the difference here is that you don’t use a microwave!

First I heated up some water in a saucepan, then added the noodles. Cooked it for approximately 3 minutes, then scooped it out into a bowl leaving the boiling soup water in the saucepan.

Then, with the frozen beef brisket, I placed that into the sauce pan with the remaining water, and cooked for approximately 5 minutes… I added a bit more hot water, but I don’t think it was necessary… Afterwards, I poured over the beef brisket and soup into the bowl with the noodles, and voila!

Voila again! A slight close up of the noodles. The soup isn’t a clear broth, this one seems to be a darker broth from how the beef brisket was cooked. You can see here that they use ginger slices.

Now to start eating! The noodles were al-dente, so they weren’t too soft, and weren’t too firm. They were a bit like Japanese ramen noodles. Hmm. The beef brisket was soft and chewy. The soup was a little bland, but it still had a beefy taste … maybe I shouldn’t have added that extra water, need to do a re-test when I buy this again. So I added some chilli oil in to create some depth, and it sprung some life into the soup ^_^. It’s unfortunate there were no pieces of white radish, but considering the price, it is a simple meal for people who miss this type of food.

Well China Town is looking empty for the time being… hoping to see the crowds when Lockdown 3 is over!! Stay safe, take the vaccine when it’s being offered, and don’t break the frigging rules!!

Price of Bamboo Basket Beef Brisket Noodle Soup: £3.60 (at See Woo Supermarket)

Worth the price? – a definite yes! Defo need to try out the other flavours!

You can also buy them online if you’re in the London area (Zones 1 and 2 for the moment) on this website – just found it by chance… https://www.chinacentreuk.co.uk/product-category/soup-noodle-meals.

Epping Forest – The “Trip” Before Christmas

Happy Birthday to my Blog!! How many years has it been now? 9 years? A lack of posts in the past couple of years, but let’s wait and see. Hoping to get back into the food scenes again

Lockdown 2.0 is over, and now were into Lockdown 3.0 – we’re currently 4 weeks into this lockdown, numbers are going down, but it’s not enough for the shops to be opened or for public services to fully open. Lockdown 2.0 and 3.0 was month apart… Doesn’t this show you and us, how rubbish our government is at the moment?

At the end of Lockdown 2.0, I thought it was ok to go out and exercise with Miss Money. I think it was time that I took another hiking trip – but on the outskirts of London (forgot to mention that I’m now learning Korean on the weekends, so my time is taken up by online classes and binge watching K-dramas, and doing my homework if I’m not doing anything else. Might as well start learning it now before it’s too late!). My manager started a walking club chat group last year and it looks like we’ve been given an optional 30 minutes of our working day to go out and do some walking. Heheheheh. As I’ve not been doing much walking each day, this trip made up for the time I’ve been working at home…

Miss Money and I decided to go up to the North of London and into Epping Forest on one Saturday when I was free from studying. I’m amazed with how this forest exists on the outskirts of London and surrounding traffic… Here’s a few pictures of our day…

I stopped taking pictures as soon as it was starting to get dark, it was actually getting scary, and I started getting wild thoughts of someone going to kill us and bury us in the forest. And then at one point when it became completely dark, it felt like I was going to be in the Blair Witch Project or something like that… Always start hiking when the sun rises and way before the sun sets…

33,000 steps later, muddy shoes, and almost frightened that we would never get out of Epping Forest after sundown, we went to My Old Place in Liverpool Street. I was craving for these foods – aubergine in brown sauce and sweet & sour pork. Northern Chinese food has hit a spot in my heart. ^_^ My legs were aching by then, couldn’t move anymore. Should have bought some painkillers with me!!

Now that was the end of 2020. Fingers crossed we can all go travelling again in 2021!! I need to go out and travel. I don’t even mind going out in the world and working in another country with my remote access!!

Hoping for more new posts. ^_^

Haidilao Hotpot 海底撈火鍋- London, Piccadilly Circus (@Trocadero)

Made it to my 1000th Post!! 👏👏👏 Well done to me!

However I’m beginning to really dislike WordPress’s Block Editor, because I can’t seem to get the pictures to look the right size or resizing seems to be difficult and trying to centre is just a nightmare! It’s an annoyance for a long-term blogger who used to be able to control how a blog post should look like rather than the blogging site making you write a blog post in a certain way… Such an annoyance! Grrr.

(A few moments later after fiddling so much…)

But now after a few trial and errors, things seem to have worked out, I hope! (This was probably why I stopped blogging for a bit, as the picture/image issue was my major problem – how to edit them!). 🤓

Mr Sensible said he was disappointed of me and Miss Money, because we didn’t introduce him to Chinese hotpot. 🤣🤣🤣 I actually thought hotpot was already a famous method of cooking/eating in the cooking. I guess not! Shame on this geek for making assumptions. So it was decided we go and try out a popular hotpot place amongst the current Eastern Asians living in London – Haidilao 海底捞 (Canto: hoi dei l海底撈火鍋海底撈火鍋

Haidilao is popular and infamous for their polite service. It was defo polite service! I guess better than some other Chinese restaurants I’ve been to. Got complimentary dishes of strips of tofu skin and spicy peanuts.

At Haidilao you get to choose more than one soup base for your food to boil in (up to four soups I think). So the ones we chose were the ones on discount – Mala (麻辣) – a very spicy soup that burns your mouth for a short of period of time compared to other spices, and the other was Tomato – a milder flavour.

Miss Money and I decided on getting ourselves a bubble tea each, whilst Mr Games and Mr Sensible went for fizzy drinks. I don’t think my Thai bubble tea was sweet enough. Oh well.

There is also an area where you can create your own sauces to dip your food in after boiling – see my two little plates next to the drinks?

Haidilao basically asks you to order your ingredients using an iPad. So all the ingredients you order are raw.

Once the soups start boiling, start putting the food in, boil it for up 5 to 10 minutes, then scoop, dip in your sauces and eat. And that’s we did all night! Well, for a couple of hours… You can keep ordering more food using the iPad if you feel you haven’t had enough.

Mr Games wasn’t impressed with having to constantly cook, wait and then eat. Mr Sensible seemed to enjoy it – I think he would go and eat this again. And Miss Money and I were just used to eating this way. LOL!

After eating and leaving the restaurant did I realise that they really did offer a free manicure! Wow!! That’s called SERVICE!!!

Did you know that you can buy the soup bases for hot pot in a Chinese supermarket? MummyGeek and I spotted the Haidilao brand in New Long Moon Supermarket in China Town!! You can easily make your own hotpot at home. ^_^

Total came to £102.46, that’s with drinks, some other extra food not pictured about (some fish and hand-pulled noodles – which are pulled right in front of your table!).

My geeky rating: 4.7 / 5 (it didn’t impress Mr Games so much, so knocked off a 0.3 points)

Address: Unit 4 Trocadero Centre, 5 Piccadilly Circus, London W1D 7DH

Tel: 020 8150 0616

Website: https://www.haidilao.com/en/index/index.html

OutFry Vauxhall – Takeaway Korean Fried Chicken

I was really craving Korean fried chicken, but I just didn’t want to always go to Cheemc everytime I craved it, so I ordered from another place on UberEats. I ordered from OutFry Vauxhall.

I ordered a couple of items on the menu. Sweet potato fries and some boneless chicken strips. They arrived on the lukewarm side which was one disappointment… The chicken strips tasted bland and even with the spicy mayo, it just didn’t give me a good vibe. The sweet potato fries was just lukewarm, and I just didn’t enjoy eating them.

Overall, it was a disappointing takeaway. Maybe the cardboard packaging just doesn’t work for food travelling a slightly longer distance. Oh well!

My geeky rating: 3.5/5

Website: https://outfry.com/en/

Eastbourne Summer Break

Not much to blog about these days… so now I’m going back to the summer time. Finally got time to finish up a few more posts before the end of the year. Might skip the Christmas ads this year, as I don’t think Christmas will be the same this year.

We were all cooped up for a good 6 months. No travelling. Not much walking and exploring going on and Miss Money kept talking on our group chat about hiking so much during the lockdown. She misses the socialising (she still does). I’ve not missed as much as I have so many colleagues, and still trying to find my ground between working from home and when to go in to work!

So during the summer bank holiday, our last holiday of the year (I’m hoping to at least travel somewhere next year!!) we went hiking in Eastbourne.

Miss Money was supposed to plan this trip BUT she didn’t do very well!!! We started off from Victoria Station, and then headed to Eastbourne Station. Once we arrived, Miss Money said we had to walk to a car park area before we actually were going to do the hike… It was a long walk!

I thought the hike started from here… we were all wrong!

On we walked. The cliffs are quite dangerous, so I would advise not to go too close to the edge! Apparently there have been many deaths in the past. 😦

We walked on past the lighthouse and finally into the car park where we had a short break but were attacked by bees because of the food we had bought from the shop. Mr Sensible took a really cool picture of the bees attacking his food… I wish I had the chance to do that, but was scared of getting a bee sting.

After our short bee encounter, we carried on with a lot of hill walking and sheep poop. Sigh. It was painful.

And then, we went into a passage onto the right side of us where a few people were heading towards…

Hehehehehe, so Mr Sensible said we should stop off at the pub (which I think is a tourist spot) – I think it was an excuse to stop walking… Well, we saw where “Sherlock Holmes” once lived. Amazing find!! We had a bowl of cheesy chips and an alcoholic beverage. I felt like poop after all that hill walking.

Well after this walk, we headed back into town… I pulled a muscle, and I was determined not to walk anymore. (I got a bit moody… LOL! But surprisingly, the others didn’t say anything.) Thankfully we were on a bus route, so I took the bus, and the others walked to the town centre. The bus ride was fairly quick, and I know that I would have slowed everyone down if we rested (Mr Games agreed – LOL!).

Anyway, I managed to go into Wilko and buy some yarn whilst waiting for the group. It didn’t take them long…

Then it was homeward bound. Games, Sensible and Money were pooped out. HAH!

We somehow ended up eating in Bill’s Restaurant and Bar in Victoria. Games and Money ate the chicken burger… They didn’t think it was that great. Sensible ate the steak and eggs (I don’t think it was enough for him). And I had the mac n cheese – it was good stuff! Mr Sensible should have stuck to his original choice as the mac n cheese had enough cheese and bacon… Very filling!

Well, that concludes our “summer vacation”. I hope I get to go somewhere outside of the UK next year. My fingers are crossed… Let those vaccines commence!

Big Town – London, Walworth Road

Should apologise for being lazy at typing blog posts. Have got trapped into the world of WFH (working from home), virtual meetings, audits and NOW I have started learning Korean, AND trying to finish up projects for Christmas. PLUS partially worrying about the second wave… THEN some colleagues decided to break my desk at one site… And last but not least, just want to say, we have a bunch of hyprocrites and liars governing the UK (the England part that is)!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write about a restaurant. This trip happened post lockdown in July. Miss Pinky needed time out from rearing my goddaughter Baby B and (now my one-quarter godson… long story put short, I was doing more than his own godparents) Master B.

We ended up in Big Town, a Nigerian restaurant. Miss Pinky wanted to go this restaurant last year, but we couldn’t find the time! I think lockdown made me really concious of eating in restaurants at the time, but thankfully I have passed through that paranoia.

The interior looks very neat… I can’t remember the original layout from the previous café owner who I previously blogged about a while back.

Miss Pinky ordered bits and pieces as we didn’t know what to expect.

We had some stewed fish which is a little spicy but went well with the rice we had. I know Miss Pinky likes fish, so I thought she would eat most of it (she did).

Jollof rice, plantain and salad went with the stewed fish. Baby B seems to like plantain a lot … just like me!!

And we had a plate of the Big Town Suya Mix… basically some marinated meat and grilled and then powdered with spices. This was extremely spicy! The beef was a bit tough but I did enjoy this dish.

Forgot what the price came to, but it wasn’t that expensive. We got free chin chin (mini biscuits) and Baby B got some more (but spilt some)… Well that was our first outing for months…

My geeky rating: 4.5/5

Skipping the good and bad points… let’s just focus on getting the economy back to normal and FIGHTING this damn PANDEMIC!

Address: 302 Walworth Road, London SE17 2TE

Tel: 020 7358 4327

Website: http://www.bigtownrestaurants.com/

London China Town – Outdoor Eating

Have you been to China Town recently?

I know it’s a bit too scary to actually eat out… I’m afraid too. So most of the time I buy takeaway.

Photos were taken at the end of July, but all this Geek can say is, to remember to wash your hands before and after eating, and remember to keep your distance from passerbys and the next tables.

*Now that daily cases are going up, be ABSOLUTELY CAUTIOUS!!

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