One Day in Beijing

I never thought I’d go back to mainland China again after my last holiday in Shanghai 9 years ago left me less than impressed and with a cold but I suppose when the travel bug bites you, anywhere’s a go. Also, when you have a friend who’s adamant about going to Beijing and doesn’t want to go anywhere else, what are the other options right?

We flew Cathay Pacific because we booked our tickets quite late (about two weeks before the trip) so not very surprisingly AirAsia didn’t have the cheapest tickets anymore. I know a lot of people who pretty much only fly AirAsia because they have the perception that it must be the cheapest way since it’s a ‘budget’ airline but let me just say you can actually find better last minute deals from airlines that don’t have additional charges for a meal and luggage. You just have to be a bit more resourceful.

The only downside about flying Cathay Pacific was the transit in Hong Kong (instead of a direct flight) but that’s a small price to pay for complimentary hot food and free inflight entertainment!

When we got to Beijing it was already quite late so we just decided to have dinner at McDonald’s and call it a day because we’re old and boring like that. Haha. Plus, we were going to have a long day the next day based on the itinerary Yu Xiang planned for the three of us since no one else but him bothered to do any research and come up with an itinerary (such terrible travel buddies, I know).

So on Day Two we got up and ready and went to the Forbidden City because, well, Yu Xiang said so (and because it’s one of the main tourist attractions in Beijing if not the MAIN one).

Spring in Beijing is quite nice. The weather is cool and crisp but the blaring sun balances it out quite perfectly.

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But first, let’s take a #selfie! The sun’s not that good for your eyes, Yu Xiang.

The Forbidden City is humongous! Unfortunately, Grace and I are not exactly history buffs so we kind of had that ‘seen one, seen it all’ feeling when we were navigating the different parts of the palace which had once housed over five centuries of royal families and the ancient Chinese government. Yu Xiang on the other hand was very interested in the whole history of the place and every building, especially the royal chambers because he’s perverted like that wth.

I reckon if you’re really interested in every little detail you could spend the entire day there because the place is just so huge. We spent about 3 hours or so, and that’s only because we didn’t go into every building or stop to read every description of every artefact and artwork exhibited there.

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This photo was taken soon upon entering the Forbidden City. Please tell me you can see my grey highlights! :P

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So many people! But I’m sure it can actually get much worse than this.

Continue reading One Day in Beijing

Good in Bed

I haven’t taken an emergency leave since my terrible bout of diarrhea during my first posting as a house officer but this morning when I woke up with a scratchy, inflamed throat, I just knew that there was not a single chance I could survive seeing patients in Green Zone for 10 hours nonstop. Even though I’m sure it’s just a viral URTI, it feels horrible. I stayed in bed for 24 hours straight, climbing into bed postcall yesterday at 11 am and only stepping out of it this morning at 11 am to make a run for some meds. In between I had a really bad headache and few episodes of chills, waking up at 8 PM just to decide if I should turn on the air conditioner or not. In the end I just slept fully covered up with no air conditioning until this morning, hoping I would feel much better, but I didn’t. It sucks to have a day of leave wasted on being sick but I guess that’s one of the many downsides of being a house officer. Weekends and public holidays are considered working days and sick leaves are deducted from the minimal ‘cuti rehat’ we have as well. I just want this sore throat to go away stat.

 

Europe again, baby!

I realise I’ve been so out of touch with this blog that I have not even finished blogging about my last Eurotrip which was almost 2 years ago. Extremely blessed to have this second chance and I know I’ll be too busy/moody/lazy to update my blog after this so I’ll just post some of my favourite photos from the trip here. Would do the same on Facebook but I suppose all my ‘friends’ are super tired/jealous/bitter about seeing my awesome photos so I shall save them the disdain, being a great friend and all. Enjoy!

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Cold Feet

I’m here today because I have cold feet.

I’m about to start working again tomorrow in a new department and after weeks of contemplating and finally making a last minute decision, I now have cold feet. Perhaps it’s just because I’m nervous to even start work at all. Or maybe I’m terrified that all my weaknesses will come surfacing now that I’m so close to the end and there’s so little people to mask all these things that I no longer know or never did know in the first place. Or maybe it’s just because I had too much caffeine today and hence the anxiety and palpitations. It does that to me. I hope it’s just the caffeine.

It wasn’t a straightforward decision to be on such a long break; there was a lot of pestering behind it and constant pressure. I guess that’s what happens when people don’t really know how housemanship works and what stressors exist in my position. Can’t say that it wasn’t much needed or wanted, though. Five departments did leave me quite burnt out.

The last time I went on such a long holiday was straight after medical school. It was three weeks as well but I was traveling alone hence was homesick enough to be glad to be going home by the end of it, excited to bring all the gifts I had bought back home. It was different this time. I dreaded the end of this holiday, flaws and all, by the end of the second week. It felt like a dream. I’d completely left all worries about my bleak future in this career and having to come back to pick them up just feels like a big blow in the face.

Let’s just hope this feeling doesn’t last. Let’s hope it gets better with time or even more ambitiously, let’s hope it gets wiped off by the amazing experiences I’m about to gain.

I’m on a Train

I’m on a train heading towards Milan now. Yes, I’m on another Eurotrip but this time I’m with company. I realize I’ve abandoned this blog for the longest time. It’s not that I have nothing to blog about. It’s the opposite, really. I just haven’t made the time and effort to fill up this cyberspace I’m still avidly paying for every year.

The last time I logged on here was during a particularly terrible day in Orthopaedics; a day I still remember vividly and thank goodness I have not felt as threatened since that day. Oh! How I celebrated the end of that posting. And that was two whole postings ago. Since then I have completed my training in ObGyn and Paediatrics and I left the former feeling quite proud of myself to have survived considering my sentiments toward the department yet hoping that I never have to step foot into another labour ward ever again. Ever.

It’s two weeks into my Eurotrip and I have less than a week left to go. The one trip I’ve been looking forward to my entire Paediatrics posting is coming to an end. Yikes. And to think that my real life resumes a few days after that, double yikes.

But I guess we can’t play without having to work for it. Well, not me, at least. Not a poor old overworked houseman like me that’s for sure.

I realize that some people think that I have a lot of fun just because I post a heck load of fun-looking photos on my Facebook page (well, mostly photos of yummy looking food). But let me remind you that even the biggest fool of all should know better than to analyse things based on what they see on a social platform like Facebook. If I were to vent out every frustration I have at work I’d probably just end up suspended and get the entire fraternity sued out of their wits.

Well, I’m having a lot of fun now. I’m on a train with a woman who wears so much perfume I can still smell it in the air for a full half minute after each time she walks past. There’s also a scumbag who smoked in the toilet and made the whole train reek of cigarettes. I had fun watching the police rummage through his bags.

Yes, there’s police on the train. Europe can be pretty dodgy, haven’t you heard? I had just gladly left Paris two days ago and was reminded of how much I hated it this second time around. It’s the perfect definition of skin deep beauty. Yes, there’s glorious shopping and beautiful architecture but one just simply does not easily forget the horrible smell of the metro and the constant need to be so onguard. And now I’m headed for Italy. Argh. If it were up to me I’d have skipped these two countries.

But let’s not be ungrateful now. We all know that all this is better than having to show up to work at the hospital.

It’s an advantageous circumstance that I’m on a train now, heading to the fashion capital of the world, dressed like a hobo. It’s where I’d rather be because right now on this train, the view is beautiful and all the care I have in the world can wait til this train comes to a stop.

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