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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ostarija Babji Zob (Slovenia)

Of the various restaurants we went to in Slovenia, Ostarija Babji Zob in particular left a deep impression on us, for the comforting and beautiful food as well as friendly service. 

We ordered a Home-Made Mushroom Soup (3.90 Euros). Thick soup with chunks of butter and plenty of mushrooms with each spoonful made for a promising start. One could almost imagine an old grandmother in her kitchen stirring a pot of mushroom soup lovingly.

I am not a cream pasta person, so when ordering the Noodles with Spinach and Smoked Trout (10.20 Euros), I specifically asked the waitress whether it was cream base. She said that there was very little cream. I went ahead with ordering it and realised that something must have been lost in translation because it was a cream pasta! Nonetheless it was surprisingly good. The creamy taste did not overpower and they were generous with the smoked trout which was not too salty.

My husband got himself the Carniolan Sausage with Mustard and Fresh Horseradish (8.80 Euros). The Carniolan sausage is a Slovenian sausage and contains at least 75 to 80% pork (aside from bacon), and at most 20% bacon. It tasted pretty much like the German wurst.

Value for money and very close to city centre.

Ostarija Babji Zob 
Cesta Svobode 8
Bled 4260

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vintgar Gorge (Slovenia)

We were checking the weather forecast everyday and were hoping for good weather in Slovenia since the weather in Europe has been pretty volatile. 

We were lucky and enjoyed good weather at Vintgar Gorge. The ravine is located approximately 4 km north-west of Bled. 

These beautiful wildflowers welcomed us at the entrance. Entrance fee is 5 Euros per person. 

The gorge is 1.6 km long. What is the origin of this name? One interpretation is that it originated from the German Weingarten (vineyards) while another interpretation says that the gorge reminds one of a wine glass.

With the turquoise and crystal clear waters, it was difficult not to make comparisons with the Plitvice Lakes. If you are energetic, Plitvice is definitely a better option because it has more floral and fauna and offers views from all angles. That is not to say that Vintgar Gorge is not worth going. It is great for a short and easy walk.

A boardwalk has been constructed around the gorge and even if there are steps, there are not that many. For the adventurous ones, they can always veer off the path slightly and walk down the rocks where they will be closer to the water.

The walk takes around 1h-1h 30 min to and fro, depending on how many photographs you want to take of this picturesque gorge. This is good for a half day trip.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ezbuy: Bad experience

I have been spending the last couple of months doing up my house and of course, one component involves buying furniture.

Buying furniture in Singapore can burn a substantial hole in your pocket and we decided to shop for some items on taobao.

We set our eyes on a light brown dining table which cost around S$350 (excluding shipping costs). In our purchase request to Ezbuy, we specifically stated that we wanted 原木色.

When the item came, it was dark brown. I know brown is brown, but there has to be a reason why we specifically chose light brown and not dark brown.

I wrote to Ezbuy telling them that they had sent the wrong table. And then all the angst started.

First they said that they could refund S$100. In the first place, I did not choose this table so why should I accept S$100? I asked for a replacement instead.

Every email from them has someone stating "We could understand your mood and situation". No, you do not understand. They said that as I did not purchase insurance, "ezbuy offers free compensation up to $100 per parcel". So S$100 was the highest compensation they could refund.

I think it is worth noting that in addition to the price of the item and shipping fees, there is also this component called agent fees that you have to bear. I quoted their website which stated that "With ezbuy, we offer basic visual inspection to detect obvious errors made by the sellers." Why am I paying agent fees if their guys didn't detect that this was the wrong item? They then sought to bring up the lack of insurance again, stating "but if you have purchased the insurance, the compensation is capped at S$2000".

At that point in time, I had asked several times whose fault it was - was it the Sellers' fault? The inspector's fault? Or did they purchase the wrong item to begin with? Needless to say, I didn't get a straightforward answer.

After much probing, ezbuy finally admitted that when their purchaser ordered the item, they didn't leave any instruction as to which table I wanted.

How can I expect to receive the correct item when their purchaser did not even order the correct item?

I went on to quote from their website:

I told them that the insurance covers the situation where the items are found damaged, lost or having any issues listed in ezbuy's inspection coverage. It does not cover a situation where their own purchaser purchased the wrong item.

Ezbuy replied stating that "... inspection is needed to inspect problems being generated from purchasing process or problems from seller. No matter where the problem lies in, inspection team should have inspected it out, if not, then we concluded it as a lapse made during inspection coverage, which means that it is inspection team's fault thus making customer didn't receive correct items, even purchasing department made a mistake firstly, inspection team could have inspected it out and should have inspected out while it didn't."

At this point in time, I was not only irritated by the fact that they were trying to lay the blame squarely on me, but was disturbed by their English as well. Give me the red pen.

I knew there was no way ezbuy would return my money parked safely in their account. I raised the white flag and accepted the S$100.

It is ridiculous that they make you buy insurance when the cost of insurance is 3% of the total value of item cost (including domestic shipping fee).

Anyway, the long and short of this entry is that Ezbuy ordered the wrong item and refused to refund me in order for me to buy the correct item.

Buy at your own risk, especially with high value items.