24 September 2020

Book Review: Loop by Koji Suzuki

After reading Ring and Spiral last year, I figured I was interested in the Ring trilogy enough that I picked up the third book. And lo and behold, there is a massively major twist to the whole story. Guess what? There's a simulated reality, existing parallel to the real world, and the events that happened in the previous two books are all events that have happened in the simulated reality known as the Loop. And yes, there's a virus that is slowly ravaging the Loop world, but somehow, that virus jumped into the real world, and is slowly destroying life on the real world as well. So what do you do now?

As with the previous book, the suspense of this book took a while to build up. The first half was more science fiction, explaining concepts of physics such as gravitation. I didn't mind this, but it isn't the page turner that one would otherwise expect after reading Ring. However, as with Spiral, the pace picks up at the second half, when you slowly realise that life in the Loop and in the real world are more entwined with each other than you would otherwise think.

22 September 2020

A Weekend in Hamburg: International Maritime Museum

The last item we checked out before we headed back home to Berlin was the International Maritime Museum. This massive museum is located in HafenCity, near the Speicherstadt, and houses plenty of artefacts related to seafaring. It opened in 2008.

20 September 2020

Book Review: The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

I didn't expect this book to be that engaging, but it turns out it was a page turner. And it wasn't even fiction. This is the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni American man from San Francisco, who chased a dream. A dream which included going back to where the story of coffee begins, in the Yemeni heartland, and exporting it for the world to consume. And yes, it wasn't an easy path.

In this book, I learned a lot about coffee. I am not a coffee dilettante, I cannot tell a good coffee from an average one. But after reading this book, I have a little bit more appreciation to the cup that I get every now and then from a coffee shop. See, this book gives you a brief history of coffee, and how it became a drink that changed the world. It also tells you how to approach coffee in a quantitative and scientific way, how to talk using coffee terms, how to evaluate it. And of course, it tells you how Mokhtar Alkhanshali chased his dream and achieved what seemed to be impossible.

18 September 2020

A Weekend in Hamburg: Petit Amour*

It's been awhile since I have been to a Michelin-starred restaurant. The last time I was in one was in autumn of last year, when I spent a brief weekend in Amsterdam and dined in Bolenius*. So this time, since it was my birthday weekend, we made it a point to make a reservation in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hamburg. We opted to go to Petit Amour*, and yes, we were quite excited about it.

16 September 2020

How a City Changes in 8 Years

Recently, I took a walk along Berlin's Spree. And it took me to areas which have changed a lot. I was walking alongside the East Side Gallery in between Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Strasse, and I must say, it felt like a totally different city, compared to the first time I was there, checking out the wall.