Travel Blog 4# – My Trip to Hong Kong and Macau

It’s been a long long time since I did one of these, and it has also been a loooong time since I went on this trip. But I took a lot of cool pics and did some cool shit that I want to tell you guys. πŸ˜€ So here it goes.

Before I even begin talking about this trip, I just want you to know one bloody thing. I went on this trip for the SOLE PURPOSE of going to DISNEY FRIGGIN LAND! Every other thing I got to do was simply a bonus. Now that we have that covered let’s proceed.

On the 22nd of November last year I went to Hong Kong with my family. I was super excited for this trip for the reason mentioned above so I was just this ball of positivity. It was almost like life just wanted to kick me in the face because it couldn’t take me being so uncharacteristically happy all of a sudden. You know?

I’m from Coimbatore. There are no direct flights to Hong Kong from here. I had to go to Singapore and get on my connecting flight from there. My dumb positive ass left my bag of toiletries in my hand luggage instead of keeping it in my check-in luggage. So that is a lot of liquids and you’re not allowed to carry that much liquid into the plane’s cabin. My stupid brain didn’t realise my mistake in Coimbatore and the airport security didn’t bother either. However the airport security in Singapore did care. And they told me I had to leave it with them. See, if it was just a bag of cosmetics, expensive ones at that, I still would have left it. No biggie. But those toiletries also consisted of my CONTACTS SOLUTION. I need that to put on my lenses so that I could SEE. I ended up having this huge argument with them and then finally giving up and leaving Singapore sans contacts solution.

It was so ironic to witness all these smiles and Christmas cheer on my way out. I simply had to take a picture to prove how life always has it out for me. -_-

This kind of put a dampener on my whole ball of positivity thing. I tend to just implode on everyone around me when I am upset. So I was just sitting in solitude on the plane ride. Not talking to anyone. Throwing up the stinky noodles they gave me for dinner on the plane. I was so looking forward to eating Chinese up until that point.

It took a while but I eventually snapped out of it and started to explore the beautiful city around me. I mean you just have to be there to get it. I’ve never seen a city so alive. I have high hopes for New York if Hong Kong is this magical. I’m the type of girl who prefers a concrete jungle over a real jungle. It. was. Paradise.

The Hong Kong Skyline
Christmas Decorations near the Harbour

I stayed at the cutest little hotel as well. It was just picture perfect everywhere.

On my first day there, we went to the Ocean Park in Hong Kong. It is a huge. I mean HUGE water theme park. This place also has pandas and some exotic animals and aquatic life for some reason. I went on some of the craziest rollercoasters I’ve ever seen. I even convinced my mom to go on them with me. I honestly thought she’d hate it. But soon she started wanting to go on crazier rides too. It was a weird kind of mother daughter bonding you don’t normally expect to see.

The next day, was the day this trip was all about. It was Disney Land Day. And it was hands down, the best day of my life. I am trying not to be corny, but it really is the most magical place on earth. You just feel happy there. Every other emotion is against the rules. It doesn’t feel like a theme park. It just brings your childhood in front of your eyes and makes you feel that everything you loved as a child is real. That nostalgia just slapped me across the face.

Every single ride. Every show I watched. I had never experienced anything like that before. The Lion King show is a beautiful musical that summarises the entire story in a 30 minute play. My favourite rides were space mountain, mystic manor and it’s a small world. They put so much detail into everything and it really shows. Even if you are not a Disney fan girl, I would still recommend that you go. And man, the parade! How they bring a celebration like that to life every day, I will never understand. But it was the best damn experience of my life. I think it’s better if I shut up and just show you.

Disney Land
Main Street USA’s replica
Tarzan’s Tree House
Every room in Tarzan’s Tree House was modelled after scenes from the movie.
Mystic Manor – AKA my future home.
The Merch Shop at Toy Story Land just HAD to be this.
The Moana Show had the coolest set
The Lion King Show
Scar
The Flights of Fantasy Parade
Lilo and Stitch’s float in the parade
Me at the end of the day πŸ™‚ I get why you’re so happy all the time Minnie, ‘cus same.

I honestly didn’t expect much from the trip after Disney Land but Hong Kong did not fail to amaze me. I went to some more beaches and places like Madame Tussaud’s which is a wax museum.

After this it was off to Macau. A Chinese version of Vegas, but nicer. It was really beautiful as well. It kept with the theme of Christmas decorations and fairy lights all over. The only difference is that everything looked richer here. Macau allows gambling so everywhere you could see, there was some bougey casino or the other. Sadly I was 20 at the time and not 21. So I was literally waiting outside every time my family went to a casino. It was kind of a bummer but it gave me a lot of alone time to explore and photograph the picture perfect streets of this country.

The casino’s were always accompanied by extremely luxurious hotels. One of those was called Venetian. You’d guess by the name that it was Venice themed. You’d be right. But how far does the theme go, you ask? They have an actual replica of the Rialto Bridge area, INDOORS.

This place redefined the term “man made wonders”, for me.

So that was it. After what was an amazing trip I returned home on cloud 9. Literally. πŸ˜‰

Throughout my trip in Hong Kong and Macau I had the most bizzare travel guides. They weren’t those offbeat silent types you generally get assigned by travel agencies. As entertaining as they were they also tried to trick us into buying stuff we didn’t really need. So if you are travelling to these places I’d suggest that you beware of such scams. But they are interesting and hardworking people to get to know. It’s just something I thought I’d mention. Anyway, see you in the next one.

-The Obsessive Writer.

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What is it like to make money as a Blogger on WordPress.com? (Advise on how to succeed on WordPress)

Can you??

That’s the question I get asked most frequently. The answer is yes.. but no? Let me break that down for you.

I started my journey on WordPress in the 11th grade. It’s been a whopping 6 years since then and it has been a wonderful experience so far. I am not the kind of person who tries to discourage anyone from pursuing anything. But having done this for so long, and having put my heart and soul into this, I have to be honest with you about the reality of this world.

I have been blogging for around 6 years now and a year ago I monetised my site. I almost have 5000 followers now. (Huge thanks to you all for that :)) I use the personal plan for hosting on WordPress. I monetise my site with WordAds. And I have made around 20 dollars in revenue so far. Yup. I know that’s not the number you expected. Neither did I. But, that’s how this thing works. You barely make a dollar for every 1000 views you get on your site.

So, how do you make those views increase? Well by writing better content. Content that people care about. I did not start this blog giving out advise on how to blog or write. I am a writer, an artiste, or I’d like to think so. I love poetry and writing of that kind. That used to be all I wrote. And yes, those posts got me a lot of compliments and made me feel really good. And I continued to write only that for a very long time. Back then WordPress used to let us repost our old posts. That was basically a way of republishing the same post over and over and making your post appear on the top of the feed in the WordPress Reader for the tags you’ve posted in. This was a common practise and it helped my content reach a lot of readers who enjoyed it. But unfortunately, WordPress has now made that impossible. And that is fair, I guess, in a way. While some people like me, merely republished a few times to get our content read, there were others who constantly spammed their content making the WordPress Reader unusable. And so, WordPress disabled this feature.

There are two kinds of ways you can get readers for your blog on WordPress.com. That is, either through other users like you on WordPress who find your post through the WordPress Reader and people who find your website through Google search results. It is a lot harder to get readers of the second kind. But I had no other choice. Since the WordPress Reader didn’t let me republish for views anymore, I started to analyse how I could get my site to show up on google’s search results. That’s when I started to write about things other people would care about like travel blogs, blogging advise and so on. These are things I had some knowledge about which other people would care to read. Publishing articles like this along with my regular dose of poetry helped me get recognised on the internet as well as write what I wanted.

If you have noticed, or been a regular reader of my blog, you would have seen that I have not posted as much lately. I kind of gave up. I put so much work into this. Writing almost every day at one point trying to get my views up. But it didn’t happen. Well, it didn’t happen as fast as I wanted it to. That’s the most important lesson I want to teach you about Blogging. You need a LOT of patience. That is something I lack in. I got very depressed about not “making it” and that affected my desire to write. I stopped checking my earnings, I deleted the WordPress app from my phone and moved on to other things.

Well why am I back then? you might ask. As much as I lack in patience, I am also not a giver-upper. I don’t like regrets. Maybe I won’t make that much money doing this, but I still love writing. Thats why I started to do this. Failure is no reason to give up if you’ve got a passion for something. I know I could have spared you this sob story of mine, but I am putting this out there because I want you to understand that this is the mentality you need to succeed as a Blogger. You need to keep trying no matter what. There’s a chance you might suck, but there is also a chance that you’re the next best blogger out there and giving up to early could be such a waste. Even the biggest blog on the face of the internet right now, had to start with nothing. It takes years to get some views and that is absolutely normal.

If you are serious about blogging, or writing or whatever it is that brought you here, I would suggest that you keep going. Write what you love. If what you love to write is also something that people care about reading, then great! If not, apart from writing what you want, think about what you know which could help others and write about that too from time to time.

If you are looking to blog on WordPress and monetising your site, here is the link to my post with information on all the plans offered by WordPress. It is worth the read to find the right plan for you – Free, Personal, Premium or Business? – Choosing the right WordPressΒ Plan

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your blogging endeavours. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you want me to write an article with any other information on blogging.

-The Obsessive Writer.

Can You Really Make Money By Blogging On WordPress?

Hello and Welcome to my blog. I call myself the obsessive writer because, well, that’s what I am. And through this journey I have come to learn a thing or two about blogging.

So to answer the question? Yes and No. I know how vague that must seem but that’s what you have to understand. Blogging is a vague concept. There is no formula or algorithm to master it. You simply have to try a bunch of things and see what works for you.

If you are interested in starting your own blog or site with the dream of making a few bucks off of it, good luck! But here are a few things you should know if you’re considering WordPress.

When you google “how to successfully blog on WordPress”, you’ll get a million relevant hits talking about SEO optimisation, Google Analytics and all that Jazz. And apart from that you’ll see that every WordPress related blog will mention two categories of WordPress which you can choose from,

  1. WordPress.Com
  2. WordPress.Org

What those two things really mean is that, WordPress.Com is a company or a site that lets you create blogs with a few clicks. You take care of only the content while they manage everything else. Sounds great right? Yeah. It sounded great to me too. That’s why I went for it. I am the proud owner of the Personal Plan offered by WordPress.Com

For more information on which plan is right for you, you can refer to this post where I’ve already talked about it.

So this service that sounds so good comes with a few catches. WordPress.com makes blogging easier but, it also places some restrictions. Since WordPress takes care of everything, you cannot access the code to your website. “Why would I need to do that?”, you might ask. Well, if you want to truly make your blog unique or maybe host external ads like Google Adsense in order to make money you need to access the code.

You can still make money without doing all that as WordPress.Com comes with WordAds. But it’s not as good as Google Adsense in terms of revenue.

WordPress.Org is like the nerdier brother of WordPress.Com. There is nothing you can’t do on it, but you have to do it yourself. It’s not that hard. There are web hosting services and domain name services which are very user friendly these days. So if someone else is giving you the hosting which is where your website is stored and someone else is giving you your domain name which is how people access your site, then what the hell does WordPress.Org do?

WordPress.Org provides a software called WordPress which you download and install on your website. Once you install that, handling your site is so much more easier. It will be the same as handling a WordPress.Com site. It has the same user interface. It’s just like using a social media site. You just have to take care or hosting and the domain. The rest is a piece of cake.

This also seems easy right? And it has freedom to modify or view the code too! So why did I go for WordPress.Com? Am I a dumb dumb? Well WordPress.Org only looks like a social media site. But WordPress.Com actually is one.

You know how when you post something on Instagram or Facebook, it shows up on the feed for people accessing the #tags you’ve made your post in? That’s how you get likes and all those followers. WordPress.Com has something similar. It’s called the WordPress Reader and it lets you view posts sorted by tags and categories.

Getting views on a website is no easy task. It takes years and years. But with the WordPress Reader which is available only for WordPress.Com users I instantly got my content out there and people were reading it.

So you must be wondering if I’m a baller now. Well the short answer is no. I got played. You see, before WordPress would let you cycle old posts and republish them. Doing this would bring your post back onto the top of the feed and more people would read it. I would schedule my posts over and over and expose them to a huge audience. I started to average at about 10,000 views a month. And then it all fell apart. They removed the ability to do that. I guess a lot of people started exploiting this and spammed the reader. Now my views have dropped to half of what they used to be because I only publish a post once. The only way it gets re-read is if someone goes looking for it intentionally.

The advantage of having a social media type reader where your post gets viewed at least once is still better than self hosting on WordPress.org where your post only gets views through search engines. But the advantage of WordPress.Com is not as big as it used to be. More and more people are moving to self hosted blogs and so less people are looking at the WordPress Reader.

So let me get to the point. The final verdict if you will. Can you make money by Blogging on WordPress? Yes. If you are ready to sell your soul and write click bait content. No. If you are a passionate writer and dream of filling your blog with poetry and other meaningful things which no one will ever google. I belong to the second category. I mostly post creative things. I started a blog with the intent to write and make money as an extra benefit. I barely make a dollar a month in spite of having a lot of subscribers.

If you are in it for the money. The best course of action would be to get a domain and a host and then use WordPress.Org as your Content management system or the UI. Your posts should belong to a popular niche like education, fashion, life style, etc and make sure you use popular key words in your posts. It will take a few years but soon enough, search engines will start indexing your posts at the top. And you’ll be making a bit of money.

If you are in it for the writing, get a free blog on WordPress or tumblr or just start an Instagram page and write your heart out. You’ll get honest feed back and loyal readers, but no money. At least not that easily.

-The Obsessive Writer

Travel Blog 3# – My First IPL (CSK vs SRH at Pune, Maharashtra)

You Americans have your NFL, your NBA and your baseball. And then there are all those football clubs with fans all over the world who worship either Ronaldo or Messi. But here in India, we’re all about the cricket. One of my very first posts on this blog all those years ago when I started writing, was about cricket. I’m not much of a sports person. I enjoy the outdoors and the fun in games. But the passion for cricket has nothing to do with that. Cricket is something that brings every Indian family together and that’s why it’s become so important to so many of us. Cricket is something I share with my Dad who I have a very close relationship with. Going to this game with him was a wonderful experience altogether. I’m always up for some father-daughter bonding. πŸ˜€

The World cup games are serious. There’s a lot riding on them. The Indian Premier League or IPL is the fun version of this battle. We have several teams that consist of local Indian as well as foreign players from countries like Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa. There are 8 teams currently and each team is named after a particular city. These teams are owned by companies and individuals. These matches are often friends battling each other for the esteemed IPL cup. And this is what makes it extra fun. Who wouldn’t love to watch the Indian Cricket team fight against each other when we’re so used to watching them play together in the World cup and T20 series games?

I’m from Tamil Nadu so naturally the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are the ones who represent my state. But the fans of CSK are spread throughout the country because the captain of CSK happens to be the most beloved ex-captain of the Indian Team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He’s not just a great cricketer, he’s known for his humbleness and overall character. Having witnessed all that in person I can vouch for him myself. “Captain Cool” as we call Dhoni, is the nation’s favourite. And so CSK has the biggest fan base in the country.

Going to a home game of their favourite team is something any sports lover would enjoy. And this wasn’t just any home game. This was a home game against our biggest competitor – The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) . It was undoubtedly the most epic evening of my life.

All the flights from Coimbatore (where I live) to Pune had terrible timings. So I departed at around 2:45 AM early in the morning. It was a long night. And after that, the next day, we put all the woes of uncomfortable travelling aside and set for our journey to the stadium where the match was going to take place. Just before we got into the taxi we were joined by some unwelcome guests who decided to “share” our ride without really being invited.

The crampy ride in the tiny car only got worse with the increasing traffic. I did not expect the roads to be so shitty and I definitely did not expect for the driver to be shittier. The IPL is played for 20 overs with each over having 6 balls. Each team bats for 20 overs with the other team bowling and they try to beat each others score. CSK won the toss and decided to bat second so it was SRH that batted first. We literally missed the first 8 overs of SRH’s batting. I was vexed and heart broken. The game was also going very bad for our team during these overs. So it was not looking very good. We spent a lot of money on this trip for just two days for one game. It wasn’t even all about the money. It’s not fun when it seems like you might be losing your first game.

Did I mention the shitty roads? We got to the stadium after ages and even after that we had to walk through piles of stones and garbage to get to the actual stadium entrance. The whole path was laid out so poorly and managed inefficiently. It’s a miracle we even got to the entrance without getting trampled. You’d wonder why the Chennai Super Kings had their home ground at Pune instead of Chennai, the city it is named after. Well that is because of some annoying politics and gullible people who follow the words of those politicians and caused misguided riots at the stadium in Chennai. So due to security concerns the matches at Chennai were moved to Pune.

I was mad at everyone. Starting from the unwelcome guests who shared our ride, our shitty driver who had no skill to even switch between lanes, and the idiots who caused the riots and moved the match so far away to Pune which had the worst stadium at the worst possible location.

As mad as I was, it was all replaced by awe and excitement as soon as we entered and got to our seats. We had AMAZING seats. I was right behind the bench where our players sat. We were so close to the ground. I’ve never seen so many celebrities at once in my life. And they were so good at the game.

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SRH batting at the Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium

The first thing I noticed was how tiny the ground actually was. It might look big in this picture and it always looked huge to me on TV too. But in person, I’ve got to say. Not at all what I expected. And the players were HUGE. Compared to the normal sized umpires they were like giants. Dhoni especially.

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The Chennai Super Kings retreating from the ground after they’ve finished bowling.

The first half of the game was over soon. It was not at all looking good for us. All we could do was stay optimistic. SRH has been playing really well this season. They’ve defended scores as low as 118 to victory. But this time they had set a high target of 180. It seemed like a very easy game for them to win.

We were seated behind the bench and in front of the players lounge. So if they needed refreshments or even a place to sit they had to come behind us and our row could see them up close. Most of the time people were just sat turned around staring at the lounge instead of the actual game and some newbie players like Lungisani Ngidi really seemed to love the attention. Then there were some like Jadeja and Bravo who ignored their devoted fans like they were somehow beneath them. I guess all that cheering gets annoying after you’ve been famous for so long. They could have also not wanted to distract the audience from the actual game. And then there was Dhoni. The poor guy was ducking for cover from his fans who managed to spot him through the glass walls of the lounge. They kept chanting his name as if that would make him come out. After he realised they weren’t going to stop he gave them a quick wave and ducked back into cover to make sure he wasn’t stealing any attention.

The thing is no matter how hard he tried to avoid it, he got all the attention. It was hilarious sometimes. An entirely different player would have scored a six and the entire crowd still chanted Dhoni’s name like him sitting in the chair was a bigger accomplishment than Shane Watson’s 6. I felt bad for the other guys sometimes. But towards the end of the game I kind of realised why Dhoni has such a religious following. His number 7 jersey was the most popular outfit that every single CSK fan had on.

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Dhoni’s number 7 jersey everywhere.

The crowd went wild every single time one of the players hit a six or a four. They went even wilder when someone scored a wicket. The went WILDEST when the cameras were directed their way. Everyone wanted a bit of the limelight. πŸ˜€ The best way to get yourself caught on camera is to make a lot of noise and bust out some moves.

The second half of the game with CSK’s batting was very intense. There was a thin line between winning and losing and everyone was on the edge of their seats. At that nerve wrecking moment, Dhoni’s powerful strike which landed an amazing six sent the crowd wild. It was the highlight of the match and it honestly made all the troubles of getting there worth it. Because I got to see it in person.

The match went on in a much more positive way than it started out for us. And somehow our guys managed to pull a victory out of their hats. I felt like I was a part of something huge. Something bigger than myself. There were tens of thousands of people supporting their respective teams in unison by executing crowd waves and perfectly coordinated chants. To belong. Isn’t that what we all want? Sports is the best way to do just that.

We were in the last and final moments that decided whether we were going to win or lose. Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu were the two batsman in the field and Ambati was very close to a 100. It was Dhoni’s turn to bat and he could have easily hit a six and finished the game early. But that’s not what he did. He wasn’t just famous for his amazing shots. He was an even better person than he was an amazing cricketer. He hit a single run and gave Ambati the chance to hit his maiden century and only when he was done hitting his century, Dhoni finsihed the game with the final shot.

This is what the people love. Ambati was the one who hit a hundred runs but the crowd loved Dhoni more for being the kind of person who would give his opportunity to someone else, a budding player like Ambati to help him reach greater heights in his cricket career.

The match had the perfect ending where we won. It was a great moment. After that the crowd started fanning out and the stadium got quite empty.

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The Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium after the match

The media was getting it’s statement from the important players of the match and everyone was congratulating Dhoni. He treated them all alike. Right from the rich businessmen who sponsored him , to the reporters and even the low level maintenance guy who cleaned the ground after the game.

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The Reception Banner for CSK outside the stadium

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Sweaty, dirty but happy me ft. a CSK cap.

This was a game to remember. I’m officially a Dhoni fan. Not that I wasn’t one before but I’m even more sold on the guy now. I never in a million years thought I’d have the time to go to a game. I’m glad I did. It was a “Legend—–wait-for-it——-dary” kind of night.

– The Obsessive Writer

Dry Ice Experiments

I decided to order take out for some ice cream and it came packed with some dry ice which I’ve never really played with before. So I did a little experimental photography. πŸ˜€ Here are the results!

P.S. Harry Potter, you can suck it.

– The Obsessive Writer

ROSES


This is my first attempt at digital art. Please let me know what you think! πŸ˜€ I couldn’t find a mouse so I had to make do with the touch pad of my laptop which is why the drawing is a bit trash.

Your feedback is much appreciated! Thank you πŸ™‚

– The Obsessive Writer

Enough

For a day, just a day

I would kill to be

Not anybody’s dream girl

Not the most popular

Not the kindest soul

Not the greatest friend

Not the best daughter

Just for a day

I would like to be enough.

©️ Abirami