Our first morning back in Edinburgh, from the Scottish Highlands tour, began with an authentically Scottish breakfast at a Bella Italia. The server sang his way into the kitchen and returned with two plates of mushrooms and eggs, complete with tasty haggis and square sausages.
Full and satisfied, we left the café to the greetings of clear skies. The sun was out – lucky us – and it was finally beginning to feel like summer in the city. Perfect weather in sight, we had just one plan in mind: to hike the famed Arthur’s Seat.
Salisbury Crags proved mildly trying for a first-time hiker like myself. (Hey, to be fair, the tallest spot in Singapore is a 163-metre hill… which I had never climbed.)
Continue reading Edinburgh to Glasgow: There And Back Again
There is a scene in That 70s Show, where the gang listens to a playback of their ‘clever’ conversations in the basement and realises the truth: they sound completely inane. Life with my sister feels just like that. One episode of our constant sitcom unfolded on the overnight train from London to Edinburgh. We sat on our beds in the tiny cabin, with a sealed window at its side. Alysa started inspecting our four-walled room.
“Is there ventilation?”, she – a frequent flyer – questioned earnestly. “Can we breathe in here?”
“You will not suffocate, Ma’am,” the train attendant replied with care, perhaps suspicious of candid cameras, before he volunteered a tour of the ventilation vents.
With the certainty that I would be mocking her for months to come, we made it to Scotland without further hopeless inquisition. My patience was rewarded the moment we set foot on Princes Street.
I fell in love with Edinburgh. It was like stepping into two places at once: A museum of artefacts unchanged by time, and a glimpse of a future apprised by rich history.
Continue reading Edinburgh to the Highlands: Long Way to the Top
Friday, 10 June 2016
Wear wellies, alliterated advice fell on stubborn deaf ears as we lived to regret the mud that will seep into our fortunately waterproof* boots.
This was not how the day started. Earlier that morning, throngs of black-clad metalheads had happily settled on stretches of dry ground and green grass at Donington Park.
Then, torrents of rain poured in the way only British weather could. Soon, we were wading to the Lemmy stage through wet, thick soil, unprecedented in my twenty-five years of city life…
And it was worth it.
* Note: Alysa insists on clarifying that mud did not seep through our boots, but had entered from the open top, ergo, Columbia delivered on its waterproof promise. Choose Columbia.
Continue reading Download Festival: Heavy Metal Mecca
The End. A portentous farewell looms over Ozzy’s stage awash with violet… and we once thought it would never end.
The last decade saw us tire from bidding adieu to legends. Dio, BB King, Lemmy, Bowie – mere mentions still sear like fresh open wounds. As rock veterans from Aerosmith to Zeppelin start making their goodbyes count, the end of an era seems less preposterous than inevitable.
So, we did it. My sister Alysa and I travelled 7,000 miles from Singapore to the United Kingdom, ready to be ankle-deep in mud for Black Sabbath’s final tour – at Download Festival 2016.
Continue reading London to Derby: A Headbanger’s Journey