A visual journey to Asia

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Milanes hits the local market for some noodles. 'Breakfast this morning at a local market. These women have been in business for about 60 years.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Surrounded by hundreds of Buddhas.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Off the ferry and to the farm.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Well stocked fridge of ingredient for bánh mìs, Vietnamese sandwiches that typically make use of a French baguette. The bread was introduced into the Vietnamese diet when it was a French colony. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'The eating continues ... shrimp burger.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Banh uot, Vietnamese steamed rice rolls. Photo: Kimberly Milanes For the love of pho. 'Mountain of bean sprouts. Our side of bean sprouts back home is a joke compared to this. We should all be offended,' says Milanes. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Pho forever.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Sweet treats on the streets of Vietnam. Coloured bouquets of sticky rice, with coconut. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Mini banana street treats.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Inside the temple. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Getting closer to the jetty. I was literally walking through a small community held up by wooden planks above water.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes A wall of wishes and comments from customers at the Paper Pepper Cafe. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'I'm so impressed with all the motorcyclists. As long as you can drive the thing, it doesn't matter what or who gets on. I especially admire the women wearing business attire and high heels while driving their bikes,' says Milanes. Photo: Kimberly Milanes At the very of end of the pier, where there are no barriers and you can jump straight into the water. Photo: Kimberly Milanes The Post Card Shop, filled with cards and stamps, where you can buy and send a card with international posting for less than $1. Photo: Kimberly Milanes On the road again. Milanes comments, 'Some of the many mountains I saw along the way. Looking back at this, it kinda looks like the mountain has a face of a gorilla.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Ice kacang, a $1 treat. Milanes compares it to the Filipino favourite, halo halo, and says, 'This was so good after being in the sun for too long. Tons of shaved ice topped with sweetened red bean, creamed sweet corn, colourful jellies and some other things all drenched in palm syrup, sarsi, rose syrup and evaporated milk.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Brother and Sister on a Swing.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Bruce Lee in a face-off with a wild cat. Photo: Kimberly Milanes Street art titled 'Kids on a Bicycle.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Mini memorial for flights MH370 and MH17. Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Piles of paper. It looked like people were throwing paper money onto the street ... not sure what this was all about,' says Milanes. Photo: Kimberly Milanes Petronas Twin Towers, in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia, once the tallest buildings in the world. It held the spot from 1998 to 2004, but remains the tallest twin buildings. Milanes' first impressions: 'Kuala Lumpur has NYC vibes.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes A temple with a view of the city in the distance. Photo: Kimberly Milanes Times Square Mall. Milanes says, 'I can't remember all the malls I visited in one night. There's literally a strip of shopping plaza after shopping plaza. Each are at least four floors.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes Batu Caves guarded by the gorgeous 43-metre high Lord Murugan statue. Milanes had a jaw-dropping moment when she set eyes on the golden beauty. 'Everyday, I have at least one 'holy shit' moment – moments when I fully realize how far away I am from home and that everything I'm experiencing is for the very first time. You know how some people cry when they see a celebrity? I wanted to break down right then and there, the moment I saw this.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Little friends along the way.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes 'Hindu temple.' Photo: Kimberly Milanes


To mark her quarter-of-a-century milestone, over a span of a year, Filipino-Canadian Kimberly Milanes is setting out to hit more than 25 countries around the world, where she will spend over three months across Asia, hopping from one destination to next.

From roadside eats spiced with local fare to eye-popping visual treats, Asia is an intoxicating mash-up of ancient architectural structures and sky-high towers, markets primed for haggling  and upscale maze-like malls for the nouveau riche, bottlenecked corridors and silent spots.

Milanes’ first stop: Malaysia (freshly wounded from the second Malaysian Airlines disaster). Nerves about the journey aside, Milanes jumped right into the fray of life in Penang and Kuala Lumpur ­– sampling noodles from the local market prepared by a wizened woman whose been in business for about 60 years, paying a visit to Buddha at a temple and getting inked by a henna tattoo artist and business student.

And next up on her map of must-see places: Vietnam, where she wasted no time tasting the North-American favourite on a blustery winter’s day ­– pho ­(pronounced/fər/), and banh khoc, Vietnamese pancakes stuffed with shrimp or pork and dipped in fish sauce with chili.

Milanes is building a visual capsule of her journey to date, updated each day on Instagram (follow @89ismiine) with her latest encounters. Featured are highlights from her trip to Malaysia and Vietnam.


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