When I was about 14, the family took a trip to the States after we managed to convince our dad that we were totally sick and tired of the land down under and that we were finally old enough to enjoy the rides at Disneyland. Turned out my sister Farah was old enough but just not quite tall enough (not reaching the minimum height for a lot of the rides), so her lanky sister had to spin through a lot of kiddy teacup-and-saucer rides with her or braved herself for Space Mountain (it did require a lot of bravado attempting the snaking lines outside Space Mountain and the posters do not lie. If they say it’s a minimum two-hour wait, it would be a minimum two-hour wait).
Apart from the four days we spent solely at Disneyland, California – we also took a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico and it was an eye-opener moving from sunny Cali to Tijuana which was so vibrant and exudes this melting pot of all things new and more foreign. We were often mistaken as latinos, with our tanned skins, and it was always something that surprised me – the semblance of our physical appearance even though we were of different races.
I remember going through alleys of street markets, and getting all touristy while trying out the bold sombreros. We even lugged back bags of mini sombrero keychains as souvenirs for our friends back in school. But a day was too short to fully take in the culture, life and traditions of Mexico but the smiles of the people there, I still recall their warmness and friendliness, have created quite a memory – enough to lure me back there. One day, I shall return. I have to.
The reason why this memory came back to me was cause the family recently organized a fiesta-themed party-cum-staycation. The menu, though not Mexican, was visually inspired by the colours of Latin America: figs, orange ombre cake with blueberries, salmon and asparagus lasagna, nachos with dips, nasi briyani, garden salad and a mushroom and potato fritatta. There was even a donkey pinata filled with macarons, proved to be an idea gone wrong cause mostly turned into crumbs or landed into the spa/onsen near it. Well, I’ve always wanted to hit a pinata – one more off the bucket list!
I’d say this was more Aussie cafe-inspired food!
Little brother enjoying some cooling iced water
A view of the private Japanese onsen in our room
Having the complimentary Moevenpick ice cream
An afternoon swim, a must for every staycation. Loved how the pool has transparent walls – we must have looked like we were in a human ‘fish tank’. Ery is testing out his GoPro and we did get some cool footage including one of me looking like a pufferfish!
After a swim, we dunked ourselves in the warm waters of the private onsen.
The exterior view of the hotel with giant chess board figurines and the spooky red-lit Merlion
More pictures in Part Two here!