Hey there… Thanks for checking out our Adventures of 2 Girls blog & Facebook page 🙂 Pam has done a fab job in blogging here thus far so now it’s my turn… *flexes fingers*
Most people know me as ‘Magic Babe’ Ning… the award-winning fire-eating sassy female magician & escape artist and FHM cover girl. But truth is, I’m really different off stage, out of character. There are some days (the good ones) when Pam calls me her “dorky BFF”. Why this award-winning journalist picked me as her BFF (best friend forever) escapes me.
But so you know more of me and not my larger-than-life stage character… I’m the kind of girl who firmly believes in shaping your own destiny. A great way would be to print your horoscope and do origami with it. Speaking of which, if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, I’d be a professional origami artist. But unfortunately, I hate paperwork.
However, I do love writing. In fact just this morning I sent off a letter to my WorldVision sponsored Mongolian boy, Batsaikhan Gunbileg, assuring him that the other 9-year olds in school won’t pick on him because of the endearing English name I quite recently gave him. In my patient letter to him I said, “Don’t be silly, Someoneyourownsize, why would anyone pick on you?” I know. Kids these days.
Anyways. Yes, our story so far.
Just yesterday we finally officially signed with our publisher Marshall Cavendish International, and Pam’s mom was very happy and excited for us. She heartily congratulated the 2 of us girls when she heard the news, and then asked the very important question.
“Is this Marshall fellow from Singapore or where ah?”
Brilliant. I love her sense of humor. Truly. With her inborn talent, the woman gives people like our professional comedienne friend Irene Ang a serious run for her money.
So now Pam & I have signed away our lives for this new book that will be published in fall next year. The Adventures of 2 Girls will be all about our interesting travels (awesome place, great sights, fab restaurants, the best travel service providers, interesting people, fantastic experiences, eye-opening routes, etc) and if you’ve read our own personal past blog entries, you’d know some of the weirdest things & hilarious situations we’ve gotten ourselves into…
To name a few: a 10km/h police car chase; being near sex-trade/ organ-trade/ take-your-pick victims in Vietnam; getting my “fine ass” boiled till my capillaries actually bled in a Takayama onsen because we soaked too long in the Japanese hot spings (read: doing it wrong!); me being rudely startled when I was naked in the hotel bathtub just about to take my shower after the BFF, by an aggressive mutant-looking bug that looked like it had a mean stinger, gross legs and roach-like wings; me being a free all-you-can-eat bug buffet in Cambodia because I liberally sprayed a bug repellent spray that repelled everything except for sandflies that must have been starving for days while the BFF was perfectly OK despite being next to me because she went all natural. I must have received a few hundred bites all over, where the bug spray came into contact with my skin.
Hmmm. I’m beginning to see a pattern.
(Pam, why is it always meeeeeeeee?)
Anyway. I digress. Earlier in the week, the BFF & I got our faces dissed by the all-powerful woman working at the Italian Consulate counter. We didn’t manage to even talk to a consular about getting our long stay EU visas for 9 months. I now realize why they have a safety glass counter separating these officers from the people on the other side of the cramped room.
I’m a realist and my gut feel/ instincts have always served me time and again all these 28 years. But Miss Sunshine Pam was as usual, wide-eyed and busy tailed, truly positive that some nice patient smiling Italian consular would help stamp our visas so we could do our 3 month Italy-3 month France-3 month Greece travel adventure for our book… though the general ruling is that after a max of 90 days you gotta haul your asses out of EU. That’s right, the whole of EU and not just one of the many EU countries. Furthermore, you can only get back into EU after a minimum of 91 days. That’s how strict these Europeans are.
On hindsight, I guess it’s in a way my fault. The BFF had come straight from her work at Mediacorp Radio, where she’s a DJ for 938LIVE. So Pam did dress pretty decent. While I came from home because I didn’t have a gig to prepare for at the studio, so I was dressed in my favorite Supergirl t-shirt. Hey. It was comfy.
We must have seemed to the counter woman like penniless University students, because she wasn’t the least bit helpful and on a scale of 0 to 10 for service, I’d give her about a minus 28.
“But I read on your Italian Embassy website, all you need is to show your passports, indicate your intent for travel, prove that you’re financially secure and speak to a consular. We’ve waited over an hour, can we please talk to someone who can advice us please?” the BFF was still trying to earnestly explain to the stony faced Singaporean makcik (aunty) who must have felt all powerful behind the shatter-proof security glass counter window that didn’t even have speaking holes.
“No,” the fellow Singaporean flatly refused, staying her ground. She was following The Book and probably looking forward to getting off work and not waiting to serve the 30 over people squashed in their petite kitchen sized waiting room. She continued deadpan, unblinking. She showed 2 brown fingers the size of sausages. “Only 2 ways. Study visa from university there. Or work visa from company there.”
“But…” the determined pint-sized BFF still continued. It almost looked like a match between David & Godzilla. Sorry. Goliath. “…there must be some other way!”
The bureaucratic worker sniffed. “Can lah. You have one million dollars?”
Say what? I sighed. This was getting no where and there’s nothing worse than having precious time wasted.
The passionate BFF still didn’t give up. “Really? I didn’t see it on the website.”
“Tell you what,” our all powerful counter makcik was obviously tired of us. Her plump brown hand offered a scrap of paper through the slide door of the counter top. “You send email here and say what you want. But you may not hear from them lah, because what you want is cannot. Not possible.”
With that we were unceremoniously dismissed. Looking at the tiny slip of paper as we left the tiny stale-aired confines that felt quite claustrophobic because there were over thirty individuals waiting their turn at the Counter of Un-Romantic Rejections and Broken Hearts, the BFF & I realized that the email address given was a general one for Italian visa inquiries and not at all to a specific officer with a name. Lovely.
But after a hearty lunch of comforting assam laksa, we felt a lot better. Also the rest of the week was spent meeting some truly amazing people… feisty street-smart folks who have traveled the world, backpacked solo, passionately loved the places they came from or went to… I truly felt very inspired and am thankful for this gift 🙂
I think it’s a blessing actually, that we can’t spend all 9 full months in EU as previously planned. It’s a bit of a tragedy for Pam because Italy is her favorite country in the whole wide world. But in the broader sense of things, we now effectively open ourselves up to traveling the rest of the world!
Our first stop from sunny Singapore will be Hawaii (we plan to leave this 18 March), followed by other states in the USA & Canada… before spending summer in Paris, and the last 3 months elsewhere before coming back home in November.
Also, several fantastic folks have approached us about sponsorship too… this truly lightens the load for us girls, so thank you dear angels!!!
Ta for now, more later…
Quote of the Day: “Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.” – Lawrence Block