The McVeggie Burger in Italy

Cart and I I don’t normally go to McDonalds. There are a lot of things that we can’t eat there. But on a fateful evening not too long ago, the pizza al taglio joint where we wanted to go to was closed, so we had no other choice but to drop by the only place which was still open where we had a pleasant surprise.

In lieu of the opening of the Expo in Milan, the Mcdonalds in Italy has created several menus inspired by various places in the world. So far they have the McAngus Bacon to represent Argentina, The McLobster to represent Canada and the McVeggie to represent India.

We tried the McVeggie Burger, which looks like this :

rinaz.net McDonalds McVeggie Italy

The buns are probably the same soft buns used for their fillet-o-fish, the patties are made of a combination of potatoes, broccoli, peas, carrots and corn. It’s topped with rocket leaves, a slice of provola affumicata, a slice of tomato as well as a type of red pesto sauce.

I actually like the entire combination. And I find it very tasty. The rocket leaves gives it a hint of peppery taste, there is the sweetness of the tomato, the creaminess of the cheese and the tanginess of the sauce.

Watch the video advert here :

Unfortunately, despite how tasty it is, I don’t think that it’ll last for too long. Vegetarian food aren’t very popular with a lot of people in Italy. Also at 7.50 euro, it’s quite a costly meal, so I guess we’ll just enjoy it till it lasts.

Or we could just make home made chickpea burgers.

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Achievement Unlocked!

Hi everyone!

It has been a while since I’ve been updating this blog. The reason why I’ve been away for so long is kind of silly, but I’m quite proud of my achievement . I’ve reached level 16 in Ingress.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

What is Ingress?

Ingress is a GPS based multiplayer game where the player control portals which is usually something of a cultural significance like a museum, or a historical monument.

To be honest it’s a dumb game, but it’s so much fun as you explore different places. It brings out the inner Lara Croft in me when I visit places that I never thought existed.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

It’s been about 15 months since I first started playing Ingress and at that time, I never thought that I’d ever reach level 8. But when I finally did, it was such a satisfying feeling that I could at last use level 8 items.  I thought to myself, “Now that I’m level 8, I’ll just take a break and relax”.

But I find myself enjoying the game and eventually I found myself at level 15. Wow, how on earth did that happen?

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

In ingress, you level up by gaining points but once you reach past level 8, you need to have enough points as well as medals.

Two of the easiest medals in the list to reach is the recharger, and the guardian. But there are always guardian hunters in Rome who break them on purpose when they are close to 10 days before the unlocking. Personally I despise this sort of gameplay, as it’s such a jerk thing to do where these players break only these particular portals even more so when it’s the same bunch of people.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

It used to be really hard to level up, but thanks to the new medals that ingress created not too long ago which made levelling up easier.

  • Trekker (For walking)
  • Sojourner (For daily hacks)
  • Engineer (For putting in mods)
  • Translator (For glyphing)
  • Illuminator (For fielding)
  • SpecOps (For completing missions)
  • Recruiter (For recruiting and levelling new agents)

With the trekker, I levelled up instantly from level 12 to 14 last December when I got the platinum so I thought that I’d try to grow that to an Onyx. But then the Translator medal came out shortly. I found out that I was good at doing glyphs and taking advantage of the frequent farm events which gives you more points,  in just two months I managed to get the onyx Translator, earning me a chance to reach the coveted level 16.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

This is my score at this pont of writing. Heh heh heh

But it was agent-stats which changed the game play dynamics for me. Agent stats is an extremely useful site that predicts when you’ll level up as well as the closest medals you could reach by calculating based on the way you play.

When I first used it earlier this year, it said that I’d reach level 16 in the middle of August. The next few days, after I uploaded my stats, it changed to the First of August, which would make a nice birthday present.  But the more I played and submitted, the shorter the prediction became and the more motivated I got.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

My game play is very simple – to keep my neighbourhood blue. It’s surprisingly easy to gain a significant amount of points by doing  only that :

  • Glyphing enemy portals
  • Destroying them
  • Full deploying resonators
  • Fielding

With about 12 portals within walking distance, you could potentially earn about 100k in a short amount of time.

Thanks to Agent stats, now that I visually see the progress that I’ve made, I think the way that I play has changed. When I first started playing, I was meek and didn’t want to attack too much as I didn’t want to upset anyone. But now I’m more diligent and aggressive. They attacked my neighbourhood? Good! Easy points for me. And then we’ll go break their portals as a revenge.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

I try not to depend too much on my powerbank and play till my phone runs out of juice which is a good 2 – 3 hours which to me is nice amount of time to play without being overly laborious. Doing something for too long, even something that I enjoy, is too much work and kills the joy for me.

So in a day I try to aim for 200K, which is a decent amount of points. Comparing to about a year ago, I’m surprised at the speed that a lot of agents are levelling up. I know a lady player who went from level 1 – 11 in 3 months! But things are different since when I started playing a year ago compared to now.

A year ago my neighbourhood looked like this :

rinaz.net ingress

It’s not that easy levelling up with just this few portals. 

And now it looks like this :

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

Earning a lot of points is literally just a stroll in the park for me.

The day when I reached 16

On the morning when I did my final 100k, I didn’t feel any different – it felt like any other normal day. But then the cheers started pouring in, from both faction and even from overseas was when I started to feel extremely motivated.

I did my regular rounds in the neighbourhood in the morning and then broke enemy portals on my way back home in the evening but stopped before my final few points before levelling up as I thought that it’ll be nice to do it live together with my faction members and share the happiness together.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

As we were farming, it took just one final glyph to reach the pinnacle. It was such a nice feeling seeing all the congratulations exploding all over. I think I’m the first female player in Rome to reach it, which was my primary source of motivation. Not too long ago, resistant agent ‘Fiuggi’ reached 16, making her the first female player in Italy – if I knew about earlier, I would have tweaked my goals to try to beat her … heh heh heh :-)

All in all, it was satisfying for me, especially that I did all that without a backpack account and without having to use any 3rd party software. I’m proof that it’s completely possible to play clean.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

And that’s my journey to level 16. A year ago, never did I imagine that I’d ever reach this level. But looking back, there are lots of things that I never thought that I’d do like leaving everything I know and migrating to Rome, learning to drive and completing the marathon.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

It’s been such an experience this past year and I’ve met a lot of interesting people and made friends long the way. I’ve grown a lot since then and I’ll keep these precious memories.

And now that that’s done, I now have the time for blogging and creating my cartoons more regularly. I’ve been neglecting them for far too long!

If you liked this post, you might enjoy other ingress posts such as :

Diary of a Singaporean now living in Rome, Italy