Friday, September 25, 2015

Pure Alexia

Remember the book on sale that I bought a while back? Well, the English title is The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks. It's a fascinating book full of real life stories of people who've suffered from different health problems. I haven't finished reading yet, but what I've read so far really fascinates me and it's about pure alexia. Click on the link to read more information on it, but basically speaking, Oliver has met some patients who have lost the ability to read letter and/or musical notes and/or the ability to recognize daily items, yet they still retain their ability to write (although they're not able to read what they've written).

They have found ways to navigate life with their disabilities. It's heartbreaking to read one story where the woman's condition gets worse as time goes by despite her best efforts to navigate life with her disabilities, but in another story it's truly encouraging to read how another woman manages to live a full life despite her disabilities. In fact, she even manages to use her experience to help out similar patients deal with their challenges. It's fascinating to read how a musician who has lost the ability to read musical notes can rely on her/his muscle memory and his/her ears to play a piece of music. It's heartwarming to read how other people around the patient have helped them navigate life.

But seriously, imagine for a while that you've lost the ability to recognize daily items. You go to a supermarket and then suddenly you realize you can't read the labels anymore and you can't even be sure if what you're looking at is an apple or an orange. You pick up the newspaper and you feel that what you see is written in Martian language. How would you feel? What would you do? 

All in all, even though I haven't finished reading the book, I HIGHLY recommend it. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

I found The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by accident and I'm loving it already. I also love the videos that have been made so artistically. 

For example, I'm often guilty of jouska. Click on the link to read the description and let me know if you've done a similar thing. I definitely do that A LOT ha ha ha ha ha ha...

Here's one video. When I was watching it, I felt like pumping my fist to the air and shouting, "YEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! This is the kind of thing I love so much!" 

Ahem...okay, let me just calm down and let you see what I mean.  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Siam Wellness Centre (Malta)

One of the things we usually do on our holidays is find a good place to have a full body massage and this time when went to Malta at first we thought we'd just go downstairs to the spa section at our hotel. First I asked the receptionist if I had to book through them, but she told me to go downstairs and book straight from the masseuse/masseur. So I went down and there was only one person waiting there and he said that we had to book from the receptionist. How confusing! But anyway, since there was only one masseur, it wasn't ideal for us since we wanted to have the massage at the same time. There are plenty of small massage parlors around the hotel, so we thought we'd check out some of them. The first one we went to was actually closed when we tried to book (I like the fact that they often put a sign in front to let us know how many types of massages they offer and how much they cost), so we went to another one called Siam Wellness Centre.

The place was very very clean (I can't help adding this because the tiles were white and I couldn't even see any dirt anywhere) and they could take us all together for a massage and they even had one couple's room. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!! So we booked in advance, paid €5 booking fee and they gave us a piece of paper with their phone number in case we wanted to change the time or cancel. If we cancel or change the time by phoning or sending them SMS, we won't lose the €5 booking fee. Loving this system! :-D

We had two massage sessions there. The first time around I tried the relaxing massage. Very relaxing indeed, but it wasn't that satisfying because I was actually craving for something harder. Yep, my own mistake for not choosing the harder type LOL!!! I had actually wanted to try their new herbal massage, but the owner said that preparing the herbal balls took 20 minutes, so it wasn't possible. If I had known about this, I would have told her when we booked, but she said at that time that we didn't need to choose yet. So if you want to have a herbal massage, better tell them in advance that it's the kind of treatment that you want. Fortunately we did go back there, so I had a chance to try the herbal massage (this time I mentioned this right away when I booked). 

My first time having the herbal massage. I really liked it. The only thing that I had a little trouble with was my soles couldn't stand the heat of the herbal balls, so she had to wait for a little while before pressing the herbal balls on my soles he he he...I smelled like herbs when I got out. Lovely! R2 had the relaxing massage and the harder one and he loved them both. All in all, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this place! One of the best experiences we've had and if we ever go back to Malta, we won't hesitate going back there. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Mdina/Rabat Area

Okay, let's continue with the Malta trip photos, shall we? Before I started, though, I'd like to say that because there were four of us, we decided to use the Airport Transfer facility to get to our hotel. After we arrived, we found the Airport Transfer desk easily, so we booked the two-way transfers right away. Then we were told to wait outside (there was another Airport Transfer desk near the waiting area outside). Unfortunately, we had to wait for over 30 minutes (after 30 minutes, I came back to the desk to complain and even then we still had to wait some more) as apparently there weren't anybody else (yet) leaving to the same direction. The other four or five groups (who stayed in a different area) could leave the airport within 15 minutes already. Thankfully it was already over 8 pm, so it wasn't scorching hot to wait outside, but we were worried that MIL would've been way too tired already. 

R2 and I both agree that the airport transfer in Malta wasn't as effective as the one we used in Budapest. However, at least we didn't have to wait too long for our car back to the airport (only 10 minutes after the appointed time). Oh yeah, we paid €10 per person for the two-way airport transfer. 

Okay, now on to the photos. One day we decided to go to Mdina/Rabat area. We actually decided to go there the day before, BUT turned out the bus going there only left every hour. Although there were three different bus who go to that direction at different times (every hour for each of them), but still when we missed the first bus, we had to wait for a long time. That's why we decided to go elsewhere that day and we made sure we were in time to catch the first bus to Mdina the next day. We were a bit worried that there would be no seats left as the journey would take around 70 minutes. Luckily for us, though, there were plenty of seats. Phew!

Actually, even for shorter distances, a lot of bus drivers in Malta were a bit crazy whenever they hit the brake to stop their buses and it was tough for MIL who has bad legs. One time the bus was totally full, so we had to stand up. A woman with her son were sitting on the front seats and she immediately got up to give MIL her seat and she had to stand up for the rest of the journey (30 minutes). Very thankful for passengers like her! 

When it was time for us to leave Mdina, we were SO lucky that when we got to the bus stop, 20 seconds later a bus arrived and again we found seats. :-D After all, it was such a hot day and we were tired already. Since we didn't buy any bus card, we had to pay €2 bus fare per person for each trip.

Here are some photos taken in Mdina/Rabat area. We went to a church, a museum, and a catacomb (which was rather tricky to find) since we bought the Combo Ticket.

The lovely church floor tile.

The next few photos were taken from the museum. 

The giant squid and my hand. OK, OK, to be fair, my hand is more like a kiddo's hand in size (probably a 10-year-old kid LOL), but the squid is close to 1 metre long.

The photo below was taken in St. Paul's Catacomb. In some places it was so dark that R2 had to use his mobile's light to guide the way. The steps in some parts were rather tricky/slippery as well, so we had to be careful. It was a fascinating place, though.

 One of the many colourful windows/doors in Malta.

Last photo: a funny toilet notice we found somewhere. Mind you, the toilets were quite low, especially for men he he he...