It’s like I visited Mongolia or something…

A wider shot than the original - so you can see the BIG BLUE SKY
A wider shot than the original – so you can see the BIG BLUE SKY

As you all know – I went to Mongolia for a vacation, recently, and I took a lot of pretty pictures.

But the thing is I actually took even more than the ones you’ve seen. So voila! Ils sont ici!

This is a photo story combined with random things I think you should know about Mongolia.

Rocks and sky. There's a story behind this rock. Ask me in person. Used a VSCO filter
Rocks and sky. There’s a story behind this rock. Ask me in person. Used a VSCO filter
Lightly edited shot in the countryside
Lightly edited shot in the countryside
Wide shot of the gyrs we stayed in
Wide shot of the gyrs we stayed in
Shot of the gyr! And my Dad looking badass. Used a VSCO filter
Shot of the gyr! And my Dad looking badass. Used a VSCO filter
That sky!
That sky!
Sky, sky, sky!
Sky, sky, sky!
Me and my father-in-law? I don't know what I'm supposed to call him, but father in Mongolian is "Ow" as in ow!
Me and my father-in-law? I don’t know what I’m supposed to call him, but father in Mongolian is “Ow” as in ow!
I took this shot after a 30 minute solitary hike/walk up a hill in the countryside while listening to 90s tunes. I needed to get away and I got great pictures!
I took this shot after a 30 minute solitary hike/walk up a hill in the countryside while listening to 90s tunes. I needed to get away and I got great pictures!

They are famous for their meat and their dairy. I don’t drink milk, but I did eat a lot of sheep, beef and more sheep. It was delicious. Top three things to eat in Mongolia, horshoo (deep fried meat dumpling), horhog (meat and vegetables cooked in a pressure cooker with the heat from freakishly hot pebbles) and barbecue (you know this). Try and get home-cooked versions of this. Like by making friends with locals.

Mongolian currency is Tugguruk – and it’s about USD1 to MGT1,900. Think about it like Korean won (if you’re familiar) and it’s close. Things in Mongolia aren’t that cheap – you’re looking at pricing similar to Singapore for food and clothing.

Parking lot at the Genghis Khan memorial
Parking lot at the Genghis Khan memorial
Genghis Khan - shot from below
Genghis Khan – shot from below
I don't know what I was trying to show. Maybe that the statue is really big?
I don’t know what I was trying to show. Maybe that the statue is really big?

People are really into Adidas. Like REALLY.

Mongolian sounds like a cross between Korean and Russian. It sounds especially Korean to me because of that one time, I lived in Korea…

The city was modeled after Soviet cities. Whatever that means.

View from the apartment in Ulaanbaatar
View from the apartment in Ulaanbaatar
Streets near the apartment in Ulaanbaatar
Streets near the apartment in Ulaanbaatar
Downtown Ulanbaatar
Downtown Ulanbaatar
Downtown Ulanbaatar
Downtown Ulanbaatar
Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar
Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar
Sukhbaatar Square - lightly edited
Sukhbaatar Square – lightly edited
Genghis Khan (of course) - processed with a VSCO filter
Genghis Khan (of course) in Sukhbaatar Square – processed with a VSCO filter
Genghis' bodyguards. I used a VSCO filter
Genghis’ bodyguards. I used a VSCO filter
Lightly edited shot from the Sukhbaatar Square. Lot of construction going on in Mongolia
Lightly edited shot from the Sukhbaatar Square. Lot of construction going on in Mongolia

Alcoholism is a problem.

Pick-pockets are everywhere. Keep you money stashed safely on your person and don’t flash your fancy shit around.

Summer doesn’t start till July/August.

Buddha statue and me! I used a VSCO filter
Buddha statue and me! I used a VSCO filter
Soviet WWII War Memorial on what used to be the highest hill in Mongolia. Processed with a VSCO filter
Soviet WWII War Memorial on what used to be the highest hill in Mongolia. Processed with a VSCO filter

The Mongolian alphabet is the Cyrillic alphabet – aka the Russian alphabet.

Good places to eat while in Ulaanbaatar:
Broadway – serves great Western and other food.
Jur Ur – the best chocolate tart I’ve eaten in my life came from this place. There’s either coconut or bits of heaven in the crust.
Korean food is generally great – so you can probably eat that anywhere.

The two best things in Mongolia are it’s BIG BLUE SKY and it’s people. They are straightforward, warm and hospitable.

As we sped to the airport my brother yelled, "Take a picture - that's UB!" This is that picture.
As we sped to the airport my brother yelled, “Take a picture – that’s UB!” This is that picture.
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Holiday Burn-out

 The maximum I can spend on a holiday or retreat or any kind of getaway is about a week. This is usually because I get bored or tired of the vacation and want to get back to my real life.

While this might seem like a symptom of being perennially unable to switch off, I think this is an underreported symptom of vacationing that everyone feels – holiday burn-out. 

What exactly is holiday burn-out, you ask? It’s that feeling you get before, during and/or after a holiday when the fun or family time or leisure time isn’t enjoyable anymore. It’s just plain exhausting and stressful. And your 9 to 5 is starting to sound like a lot more fun than sunning yourself on the beach till you turn a flaky golden-brown.

So for me, I think part of the reason why I miss work and home, while I’m even on the funnest (real word TM DiniBlini) of vacations, is because I like routine. Another reason for this vacation intolerance could be that I actually find my life to be more interesting or exciting than a vacation.

Or maybe holiday burn-out is inevitable – we all feel it once we’ve passed that self-determined window of time that we allow ourselves to mentally check out. Mine just happens to be a week. 

I have friends who enjoy two, three or a month long vacations and I envy them. Is it that they really know how to live it up while on holiday or is it that I just haven’t found a place or time or experience worth missing real life for?

READ THIS: VOLUME 13

Hi friends – I’m leaving tonight for a much looked forward to vacation in sunny Valencia and rainy London.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re super jealous and want to smack me. I would be too/want to hit me.

Still, I promise pictures, stories and a much more tanned me (wait – this all sounds gratuitous), and in the meantime I leave you with links to all the articles/blogs/guides I’ve been reading to prepare myself for this trip. Note: This is London heavy – I’ve been preparing for Valencia by waking up at 6:30 am and running 5 km in sheer terror. At the thought of wearing a bikini.

SO – here we go:

I got these amazing Adidas sneakers from LEFTFOOT to walk all over Londontown – you can get yours there or at Vocab

First things first, I’m the reallest – wait no – that’s not right – what I meant to say is I prepped for my trip by going CRAZY trying to figure out what to wear. But what I wear in Singapore might be super unacceptable in Valencia/London, no?

So I had to figure out what’s fashionable there by turning to London fashion bloggers wishwishwish, who is quirky and what I would categorize as “quintessentially English” and park & cube who is chic and urban and oh-so-envy inducing.

I should start by looking travel ready when I get on the plane right? Wendy’s Lookbook does it right here and here

Confession time – all my stuff touches everything – my clothes touch my shoes which touch my toiletries which touch my…

Ahem.

Also, Preetha – my best friend and my future hostest with the mostest made the most amazing London itinerary which I will share later, after getting her permission.

In the meantime, I’m most excited about getting some pampering in at the very trendy looking Cucumba, strolling around Maltby Street Market and buying many MANY things from Boots aka a Soap and Glory superhaul – eep!

READ THIS: VOLUME 9

My not so sad breakfast this morning of the always satisfying Nutty Cranberry Granola - recipe from Shutterbean
This morning’s breakfast was the always satisfying Nutty Cranberry Granola – recipe from Shutterbean

It’s been one of those weeks – where I’ve been staring down the clock at work.

Just wanting to be somewhere else.

On vacation? Maybe? Sunning myself by the pool in some beautiful far away land? Ok – yes, definitely.

I could stay in any one of these beautiful hotels. My favorite being this ridiculously escapist Moroccan spot or this hotel ON A CLIFF in Portugal.

But first I need a new swimsuit. Ooh how about this one?

Before I wear that though I better make sure I’m all fit – I’ve been getting inspired by Lydia Elise Millen – Fitness, beauty, fashion and life(Style) blogger and all-around very pretty person.

And maybe when I’m on vacay I can use this stunning MAC eye quad by Pedro Lourenco ?

While I’m at it Imma gonna make sure I eat all them popsicles and partake in this new churro-ice-cream abomination.

Yeahhh.