Outstanding Blogger Award

Many thanks to Tanya from The Red Phone Box Travels for her nomination for The Outstanding Blogger Award. Tanya and I have been following each other for a while. She takes me to places I’ve never been and I encourage you to check out her intriguing insights and photos.

As part of the award nomination, Tanya’s posed the following seven questions:

Why did you start blogging?

Blogging brought together two of my favorite activities: writing and photography. When I started, I had recently taken up street and travel photography. Initially I used Flickr but I found that I was as keen on the stories behind the pictures, as the pictures themselves. It was a natural step to start blogging about them.

When I started, I had another blog devoted to food. Unlike more successful food blogs, I chose not to post recipes and my photos were … meh. Food photography is not my thing. Most times, I’d be well into my second bite before thinking “I shoulda taken a picture!” It was a niche type blog devoted to stories around food and cultural heritage. I’ve since retired the food blog and folded everything into The Sandy Chronicles.

What souvenirs do you buy on your travels?

I don’t buy souvenirs anymore. It’s not only that I hate shopping but I almost always regret it when I get home. I unpack and wonder “What the heck am I going to do with this?”

Souvenirs that I didn’t buy (Laos)

Buried my box of souvenir regrets are:

  • a salwar kameez which was perfectly acceptable business attire in Bangalore but not so much elsewhere.
  • eight strands of cultured pearls bought in Beijing’s Pearl Market, never worn because … pearls?! I’m not old enough
  • an antique, hand carved chess set complete with Chinese emperors, empresses, dragons, soldiers etc. It had its own wooden box lined with (I suspect) lead weights and it weighed a ton. I had to buy another suitcase with wheels, just to carry it out of the market. I’d purchased it for my son, who freaked out when he found out that the chess pieces were made from real bone. So far as I know, he’s never played with it.

Name your top 5 cities that you’ve visited

Here are the cities I’d want to visit again.

TOKYO– because it’s such a contrast in modern and traditional culture. It’s busy and crowded without being suffocating. It is my favorite city for urban street photography.

HONG KONG – If there ever was a place that is part of my DNA memory, this would be it. Back in the early 1900s, Hong Kong was the transition port for the Chinese diaspora. Pretty much anyone who left mainland China to go to America or Europe, went through HK. The first time I visited Hong Kong, it felt like returning home.

PARIS- It took me three visits to actually like Paris. I enjoy it now because I’ve seen to all the tourist spots and I can avoid them. My husband has family there, so whenever we travel to Europe we’ll stopover. I like going for extended stays, renting an apartment and pretending to live there.

NEW YORK CITY– Here is a city which everyone thinks they know. It’s the place of movies, TV shows and modern story. Exploring NYC is like experiencing every book, movie and street photo I’ve ever read or seen.

LONDON– On the other hand, London is a place which I grew up reading about. I was born in an old English colony where everything – language, education, government policy, business – was based on British tradition. Children books were filled with references to high teas, crumpets, clotted cream, jumpers, wellies, Big Ben, castles, glens and moors. It was fun to actually see everything in person. When I last visited London, I hadn’t yet taken up photography as a hobby. I need to go back to take some pictures.

What’s the best dessert you’ve ever had on your travels?

Kueh in Singapore. Kueh is a Chinese-Malay word for ‘cake’ and it covers a range of sweet & savory snacks, whose only similarity seems to be that they’re made from batter. I like the sweet kueh, especially those flavored with natural coconut.

Kueh is sold in market stalls, snack bars and coffee shops all over Singapore & Malaysia. When I first arrived, I’d buy individual pieces from an upscale pastry chain. One day, I went to a local market and saw huge pans of kueh, sold at a fraction of the price. Everything looked delicious but all the labels were in Malay and I didn’t have a clue what they meant… so, I just pointed and got one of each!

Most novel was a customized version of kueh that McDonalds created for their McCafes. It was combination of European and Asian cakes with layers of whipped cream mousse, sponge gateau and sticky rice cake. It was lighter than the real thing. Quite nice but not nearly as good!

Have you ever travelled somewhere by boat? (ferries, cruise ships, river boats etc.)

It’s not my preferred travel mode but I have travelled by boat. Pre-pandemic I used the ferry regularly, between Vancouver Island and the mainland. I once took a cruise up to Alaska. I also ferried across the English Channel. It was such a bad experience that I didn’t venture on boat again for another twenty years. I’ve also sailed around Holung Bay in a steam ship, took a river boat cruise up the Mekong and down the Yellow River in China.

Excursion on Mekong River (Vietnam)

Do you have a favourite travel movie/book?

I don’t know that I have a favorite but the latest travel movie that I’ve enjoyed was ‘Serangoon Road’ It’s a TV series set in Singapore 1960s. It was good in that setting and scenes were well done. It was also interesting to see this part of Singapore’s turbulent history. Whereas the settings (location names, shop fronts, food stalls, eating houses) were familiar to me, the political & domestic unrest of the time, was not.

What are you looking forward to when the lockdown/covid-19 restrictions in your country finish?

I look forward to going back to Vancouver Island and seeing the wild Pacific again.

Wild Pacific Trail (Vancouver Island, Canada)

The second part of the award is a nomination process posed with a different set of questions. My apologies to Tanya but I’ve decided to forgo the nomination part. I have favorite blogging friends but many of them have an awards-free policy or have been nominated before.

Instead, here’s an open call to anyone who’d like to respond to my three inquisitive questions:

  • What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  • Has your blog changed since it’s beginning?
  • How do you think the pandemic has, or will affect blogging?


  1. Hi Sandy, loved reading more about you, interesting facts for sure. London and Hong Kong, I love those cities 🥰 Haha funny about the souvenirs, I used to buy lots from my trips to find out at home I had no use for them. Once I got this tea set from Istanbul. I loved drinking apple tea from those cute glass cups but when I go home I realized the apple tea was mostly sugar and that I need a good old mug for my tea! I also used to buy tons of scarves from Thailand never to use them again. These days I don’t like to buy anything I don’t really need. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sentiments exactly. The best souviners are good photos! In retrospect, I think travel journals are also good. I wish I’d done more of those when I was traveling, just so I can remember more 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol yeah, buying souvenirs only make it much harder to move around, and as a light packer, it does irk me a little. Great post, and I enjoyed learning more about you. Thanks for sharing!


    1. All non-essential travel is discouraged within and across provinces. Even the ferry from the mainland is refusing to sell tickets for leisure travel to the island, and thats within the same province. I expect its going to stay like this until late this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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