Photo Diary: Amsterdam

Thailand, Day Two: The Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, and The Siam Niramit Show

July 2, 2017

My day started earlier than the rest of my family’s. I woke up at 4 a.m. for no particular reason, checked my phone, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There’s the one lesson that I can never learn: not checking any electronic device in between groggy stirs. Oh wells, the damage has been done.

I got out of bed at 5:30 to shower, and by 6:30 I was ready for our hotel’s buffet breakfast. Our tour guide wouldn’t be arriving until 7:30 to pick us up for our day’s trip around Bangkok, so I took my precious time in the restaurant.

There was no such thing as Filipino Time in Bangkok, as our tour guide was already waiting outside with our van, even before the scheduled pick up time. I say this because, regardless if I have been exposed to countless cultures, I still falsely believe that it is a South East Asian thing to be late for a couple of minutes. But I digress.

So all 11 of us – me, my family, plus the tour guide and the driver – hopped on the van and proceeded to interject into Thailand’s traffic. Our destination for the day was the Grand Palace, where the body of Thailand’s Late King is still housed, and where the Temple of the Emerald Budhha is conveniently adjacent to.

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The palace doesn’t open to guests until 8:30 a.m. Since we were early, we had to wait together with a big crowd.

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This is the entrance to see the Palace itself, but we needed to see the Emerald Buddha first so we turned left just right before the gate.

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Taking of pictures inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is not allowed. This is the only picture I have with regard to it. But look at the intricacy of those walls. 

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Now here are some pictures of the palace itself

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If you didn’t already know, the entire country is still mourning for their King who died in October 2016. Thousands of Thai still line up amidst the heat, just to get into the palace and pay their respects to the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

After seeing these glorious structures and that majestic green god, I was surprised to hear that there was one more place we needed to go to. We stopped by a jewelry manufacturing company to see how Thailand assembles their most prized gems into necklaces and rings.

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A Jeweler meticulously inspects the rubies

We were then herd into a room full of displays, in the company’s hopes that we would buy a few shiny things. No such purchases were made. Thankfully, we didn’t have to stay long in such a tempting place. We needed to hurry back to the hotel, for a few hours rest, before our next activity that was to happen at 7 that evening – of which events you will hopefully read in my next post.

Love,

Signature

Good wagyu and a new experience in Shinjuku, Tokyo? 

Address: Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo, 新宿区Kabukicho, 1 Chome−26−3
Price range: 90-400 JPY
Rate on Yelp: 5 stars
Standing

Walking around Shinjuku with five hungry people who are depending on your choice of restaurant, but having no idea where to eat, is a situation you do not want to be in.

I created an opportunity for my family to grind my gears that one afternoon. After a long day of walking and going from one district to another, I found myself getting badgered with questions like “where are we eating?” “which restaurant?” “didn’t you search for it beforehand?” I should have, but I didn’t know which district we’d find ourselves last or if my family would be interested in wagyu. So there was really no point to look for a restaurant if I didn’t know where we’d end up in.

Finally, I gave in. I turned on my mobile data despite knowing that I would be paying 599 PHP once I came back home (I already saw my bill – it’s insane). I opened Yelp, the famous business locator app that I previously gave no mind until I met my now boyfriend. He uses it like a bible to find the best and cheapest restaurants in town.

I eventually found Jirōmaru, a Yakiniku place that only had 2 Japanese Yen signs next to its name. It was the cheapest around. Good reviews, only 0.6 kilometers from where we were standing. “Let’s check it out!”

I almost walked past it while I was looking at google maps. I thought that the front of the restaurant would be wide and conspicuously placed in between other establishments. Nope. The front was just about two and a half meters wide with two doors on each side of the facade. One door was for the customers to get into, while the other was for the chefs. As I peeked into the door I found myself looking at a line. This is a standing restaurant! One of the chefs firmly pointed that out when he saw us waiting and looking clueless about these kinds of places. My mom was not happy with this information.

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Much to my family’s reluctance, we stood outside for about 5 minutes before half of our group was allowed to go in. We had to wait for one couple to finish up because the space was that limited. I believe there were only about 6 small grills out on the counter. Three of us made our way to the grill that had just been cleared by the couple, while the other two waited for another 10 minutes before they could come in. My brother chose to eat at McDonald’s.

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As we were facing the area where the chefs stand, I noticed the small wooden blocks (bars?) hanging on the walls. Japanese characters were written on them, with numbers at the bottom of each bar. That’s how they displayed the menu, each wooden bar showed a part of meat together with its price. How nice. We couldn’t understand a single word.

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Thankfully, the chefs spoke good English. So they asked us if we’d like for them to pick their favorites for us. We said yes, and left everything entirely up to them. While the orders kept coming, with seemingly no sign of stopping, I thought that maybe letting them decide wasn’t such a good idea. I wondered to myself if we’d end up paying a fortune after dinner. The prices on the menu ranged from 100 to 400 JPY, which isn’t so bad compared to other sit-down (?) restaurants that offer wagyu. But small plate orders such as what were getting can add up. 

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True enough, our orders did add up to an amount I’d rather not disclose because it can speak of either two things: one, is that my family and I CAN EAT; or two, we got ripped off. The more that I think about it now, the more convinced I am of the latter.

We should have checked the bill more closely. Although, we could have probably paid for each slice of wagyu. I just checked the bill from another restaurant that we ate in on our last day in Tokyo, and one plate of wagyu was 900 JPY. I don’t know! I wasn’t briefed before going inside Jirōmaru.

Be that as it may, at least the food was far from disappointing. And even though I hate reviewing food (because I don’t know how), I’m going to list down a few thoughts:

  • The meat exploded like water, bursting from a dam, inside my mouth.
  • Scratch water and replace it with melted butter.
  • Wagyu does melt like butter.
  • The meat didn’t need any seasoning.
  • It was that flavorful.
  • Their sauce didn’t really do anything to the meat. Meaning, no added flavor.
  • Or maybe I’ve just forgotten.
  • Good thing the meat was that flavorful.
  • There’s a lot of rice in a small bowl.
  • Next time count the plates.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. The food was great at Jirōmaru, as proven by the countless five star ratings on Yelp. Trying a standing restaurant, and possibly having been fooled into paying more for food, was also a first for me which I may not rate as a five star experience. But both are great to add to the imaginary travel portfolio! That’s not to say that I have never been fooled while travelling before, just not with food in particular. But every traveller must go through these things, otherwise, what fun stories would there be to tell? So cheers to great wagyu and new experiences in Tokyo. May our future travels introduce us to more food minus the problems. 🍺🎉

Photo Dump: Food, Glorious Food

Day One

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Day Two

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Day Three

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Day Four

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Day Five

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Day Six

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Sweets

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Disney Sea, The Happiest Place on Earth: A Photo Diary

Question of the Day: What’s the first thing you do after entering the gates of the happiest place on Earth?

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My mother, always looking fine

 

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left to right: my brother, me, my sister, my mom

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Grace, who so generously bought us ice cream by the end of the day.

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