The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (Book Review) 

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A story about an aspiring Indian Chef who was on a very long and short journey. But its a walk that has led him to his destiny.

A taste of life“. Yup, that is how I would describe the story of Hassan Haji. I must say, I’ve felt like for one moment being part of the hustle and bustles of Mumbai, backpacking around Europe, enjoying the simplicity of life in Lumière, and having a marvelous time eating in Paris. Its because of those French and Indian dishes that were described in the story that it also feels like I was eating and traveling while reading the book.

However, there is actually more to the story, and it all boils down into this favorite quote that I’ve read – “Good taste is not the birthright of snobs, but a gift from God sometimes found in the most unlikely of places and in the unlikeliest of people”. A beautiful thought that was passed down from one generation to another. An idea that despite all the struggles and success in life in order to attain the one thing that inspires you to be more passionate; you should never ever forget where you came from, and to be humble in all the things that you do.

Although, it is quite different from the film adaptation, but it was entirely understandable. Definitely a must read especially for those who are a fan of the movie.

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Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (Book Review) 

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Oh what a beautiful story about a young adult who went halfway across the world to fulfill a promise, and along the way it had made her discover a lot of things about her mother, and especially about herself.

Plus, I was officially hooked, and after reading it, I knew that there was just something fishy and mysterious about Lina’s identity especially about her parents.

Anyway, as a reader of the story, you could totally feel like you were actually there in Florence, Italy. Taking it all in the beauty of the place, imagining yourself walking along the Piazza Signoria while eating your gelato.

Then another thing is that it is such a surprise to know that only a few weeks ago, I’ve just finished reading a book written by Richard Paul Evans. Who is actually the father of Jenna Evans Welch, the author of this very heartwarming novel. I mean, what a coincidence!

And if you’re such a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” then this book is definitely a must read for you especially if you’re totally into traveling. Cause reading this tends to feel like you’re actually exploring Italy even if you’re only within the walls of your bedroom, or laying in your couch. It’s like traveling using your book.

Seoul Searching 101: Bukchon Hanok Village

On our second day in Seoul, our first plan for our itinerary was to visit Nami Island and Petite France, and if we still have time, to also visit Jade Garden. But, such plan was changed. What happened was that when I went to the lobby to get something. I saw a couple there who were having their breakfast. At first, I didn’t know that they were also from the Philippines. In a way, they totally look so Asian, and so I did ask them. And then when they told me where they’re from. That’s when we had a good conversation using our own dialect which is Tagalog. Plus, when they finally knew our situation that we have no proper guide, that’s when the wife has stepped in to help us on how to get to Nami Island. By being our guide on our way there. I know it’s kinda hard to be friendly to such strangers, but my instinct was telling me that they seemed like a good people; and when I asked my friend if it’s okay for her to change our plans for the day. She did say yes and also made some inquiries of her own at the couple. And since our trip to Nami Island was going to be on the next day, we’ve decided to go for a different itinerary, and that was to visit Bukchon Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower, and of course, a food trip to Myeong dong.

 

But that’s the thing when you don’t have a tour guide; it will totally consume your day by just making inquiries on how to get from one place to another. And all of us in our group were first time travelers in abroad, so it was kinda hard at first. Fortunately, we were so luckily that the owner of the guesthouse is so accommodating, for he did helped us by giving directions on how to ride the subway, and where to go from one destination to another.

So for our first stop of the day, we’ve decided to go for Bukchon Hanok Village. For the reason that we wanna have that experience of wearing their traditional outfit called Hanbok. By the time that we’ve arrived there, I was totally amazed by the area. I mean, it looks modern but at the same time, it seems like you’re transported back into the past because of those old traditional houses that are still being preserved there, like the best of both worlds. But searching for the place where you can wear their outfits wasn’t really that easy at all. So instead, we took our time looking, and taking some pictures while exploring. But then, we were already in our limits. And by the time that we were almost on the verge of giving up, that’s when we’ve finally found the place. We were somewhere along the small streets of Hanok Village, sitting and looking so tired, and then suddenly out of nowhere, we just found it! At the very last minute! Then we went inside, and made some inquiries.

To wear such an outfit, it had cost us for about 10,000 Won. But it was totally worth it, for everything inside the dressing room looks so beautiful and colorful. So I had a hard time picking a color for my outfit. So it’s a good thing that the ladies in the house were the ones who’ve assisted us in wearing it. Moreover, I will never forget my reaction when someone told me that I really had to take off most of my clothes! I mean, undressing in front of them? Oh yes, I was totally shy about it. After that, we were given for about 2 hours to wear them. But I think we’ve mostly consumed for only about an hour of that by taking lots of pictures not just us with our traditional costumes, but also some pictures inside and outside that small museum.

One thing that made me worried at that time was leaving all of our money and passport inside dressing room. I was scared, but it turns out the ladies of the house were truly trust worthy and honest; but my advice, especially when you’re in an unknown country. Always bring your passport with you at all times.

All in all we had a great time, so we went back at the center of the village, looking for something to eat. And what we’ve chosen was a small stall that sells chicken barbecue. And my oh my, it was definitely delicious, for we all went for a second round of it. As for the three teenagers in our small group, they were craving for something sweet. So they also bought an ice cream with cinnamon bread on top of it.

After eating, our next plan was actually to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace since it’s quite near the area. Unfortunately, it was closed for the day. So we didn’t get the chance to visit inside.
I was totally devastated about it, but I was not losing hope since we still have one more place to visit and that is Changdeokgung Palace. But since it was already late in the afternoon, and by the time that we will arrive there, it is going to be close. It was such a double blow because I wasn’t able to visit at least one palace! Oh well, at least during our first actual day in Seoul, we were still able to do some exploring.

For our trip back to Myeong dong, I asked my friend if we could go back using a bus instead of the subway because I wanna see more of Seoul. During our bus ride, I can’t help it but noticed how truly absorbed these Koreans are into their gadgets. And you might think that it’s a country where they manufactured their famous Samsung phones. But most of them are using iPhones! Then another thing that I’ve noticed was that they are very respectful to the elder ones. On our way to Myeong dong, there’s this old lady who has just gotten inside the bus, and when some passengers did saw her. They’ve decided to give up their sits just for her to sit down comfortably. I was totally amazed and touched by such a wonderful gesture.

Then we’ve arrived at Myeong dong, but our bus driver, dropped us off at the wrong station. So we got lost again! Wandering, and walking out of nowhere, and then I was scared again. But, I think it was totally a good thing that it happened to us, because we were able to find the famous shopping and food trip district of Myeong dong. Talk about a blessing in disguise. And then, by the time we went back to our guesthouse, we were all laughing on how our day has truly turned out to be. What an adventure!

But the adventure for the day was not yet over, for we still have to go back at Myeong dong food district, and of course, to visit N Seoul Tower! I was totally excited, but first things first. We have to take a short break, and eat our dinner which was a packed of noodles that we’ve bought all the way from Manila, Philippines in order for us to save on our tight budget during our stay in South Korea.

To be continued.

Thank you so much for reading. 🙂