30 May 2006

Life's simple pleasures

Boy, this must be meme season. Or people are all infected by the meme craze. Get over it peeps - it's world cup season. Think football, will ya?

The spooning erm .. I mean, singing angel tagged me with this simple meme about life's 10 simple pleasures. Oh, well, it's not so hard ... so here goes ...

10 Watching a sunset on a remote beach, with a camera in hand, and cold beer within reach, and with a sea breeze fanning me. You can't top a sunset, ok?

09 Hitting a perfect drive on the first tee when 20 other people are looking at me. Better still if I end up making a birdie.

08 Eating a bowl of warm, mum-cooked red bean tong sui. No one makes it better than my mum. No one. Not even YOUR mum.

07 Chilling out in a nice hang out, with soft lights, light music (not too loud), talking with friends, exchanging travel stories. All while having a nice cup of tea. Or coffee. Or cold beer. Or white wine. Well, as long as it's nice, and I'm with friends, heck, even plain water is cool.

06 Knowing that the RM300 you donate each year puts a child through school for an entire year.

05 Driving home from work. It always calls feels good to come home.

04 Taking photos from the window seat of a plane. I've always been fascinated by the view up there. And the clouds. I know, I'm childish. So, sue me. Or arrest me.

03 Trekking alone on the south island in New Zealand. As far as trekking goes, nothing beats New Zealand.

02 Eating my two oranges each day. There's something about a cold orange that's just pleasurable.

01 That I get to travel all over the world in the job I do. I just love to travel.

Gosh. How do I tag 10 people? Nah ... I'll pretend I didn't see the zero in the 10. I'll just tag Pelf. I hope I've got her this time !!! YEAH !!! Tag 'em while they're on holiday !!!!

29 May 2006

2006: A Thai Odyssey

Currently on a secret trip to Bangkok ... wooOOOOooooWeeeeEEEE ...

Had a good time shopping like a mad man in Chatuchak ... the place didn't change ... the folks at my regular stores still remember me !!!

And I passed the weekend market Thai test ... I did all my shopping, bargaining, and asking for directions in Thai today ... and no one guessed I wasn't native !!! YaaaaAAAaaaaAy!!!

Chatuchak ... best place to shop for bargains

Got myself bags, socks, phone accessories, aromatheraphy stuff and even some local Thai art. I need to shop for more bags now.

Then went to Dee's Arundo. In case you don't know, Dee is my Thai friend. And Arundo is a restaurant he co-owns with some friends. Hanged out, did a bit of pool, tested the new Singha Lite and had a nice time chatting about the times.

Then we had the authentic Thai 'massat' deal ... they must have known I was a little sick and tired of the Thai massages I've had previously which either lacked effort or did not cover the full suit of massage. Well, in case you don't know, the real deal Thai massage is around two and a half hours of pressure massage (at first), followed on later by the massuer forcing you into Yoga posses.

This time ... damn ... I'm all hurt and still feeling the pain. When I first saw the massage lady, I thought she would be another of those rip-off deals - but damn - petite as she was - only 5 feet - she packed a punch. Apparently, the smaller or skinnier the massuer, the more pressure they can exert.

See, since their bones are smaller, it means that although they might all exert the same force, the ones with the smaller bones make you feel more pain because the same force is transferred down to a smaller point. Whatever. It just hurts.


26 May 2006

Busy ... Busy ... Busy ...

First of all, I'd like to say that this is not a rant. I'm not complaining ... I'm just providing status update. (Not like many people will actually care what my status is, but it's nice to know you don't have to make missing Moz reports, right ?)

Compared to the previous job, this new job is a lot of fun - it's a lot of work, but with work, comes discovery, learning, the broadening of my horizons, the opening of new opportunities and so on. I'm really busy, I've barely got myself acquainted with the new offerings here and already I'm doing quite a fair bit.

I'm forseeing more busy days ahead, but I'm not complaining. I don't think I'll ever settle well into a job where I sit idly on the desk from 9 to 5 and collect a payslip. That's just not me. So, here I am, too busy to write funny stuff anymore ... heck, I ain't even trying ... but I'm happy so far.

My diary is stuffed with travel dates - Bangkok next week, Hong Kong soon, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, etc. all coming along. So, well, it's all going good - from a professional point of view.

It also doesn't help that TMNet is again ... DOWN ... damn those people. So, the combo of no time in the office to blog + no access at home to blog = no blog. I'm stealing a bit of downtime now in the office ... in between tasks.

So, please don't file any missing Moz reports. I'm still around, I'll be busy, I'll update less often, blogs will be lame for the time being.

24 May 2006

Top Ten Adjustments I Am Doing To Conserve Electricity

Ok. Adjust yourselves. You'll hear some very similar excuses soon. "Our power prices is still the lowest in the region ...", "The price of goods should not be increased ...". You get the drift.

If you haven't heard, the electricity tariff is increasing at an average of 12% on 1st June. This means you've been hit twice this year ... yes, we've had a petrol price increase. And while we're promised there isn't another increase this year, no one told us we won't get a water or electricity tariff increase.

So, with the hole in your pocket getting just that much bigger, what can you do to combat the likelihood of poverty that this electricity price increase will bring about ??

Here, the Top Ten Adjustments I Am Doing To Conserve Electricity ...

  • I'm gonna start getting used to cold showers instead of hot / warm showers.
  • I'm hiring foreign workers to fan me to keep me cool - like how the Roman Emporers get fanned in the movies. Screw the air conditioners. It's cheaper.
  • I'm replacing all the bulbs at home with jars full of fireflies.
  • I'll force my sister to generate her own electricity whenever she wants to watch 20 episodes of Korean serials in one go.
  • Please contact me if you have one of those antique coal powered irons, ok?
  • I'm stopping all my all-day BitTorrent downloading with immediate effect. I'll now just do BitTorrents from 8 pm - 8 am ...
  • I'm scraping all the Hip Hop / Rave / House parties planned at my place and replacing 'em with Pajamas parties. You need less lighting for Pajamas parties.
  • Next time I see my mum about to use the electric kettle, I'll stop her, and give her a magnifying glass instead.
  • To all my friends that are coming over to watch World Cup, I'm charging an electricity surcharge. You have been warned - but I'll waiver if you'll bring a six pack.
  • I'll have to ask my friends to stop using my microwave oven to dry their socks and underwear. Just hang 'em out to dry, will ya? Yes, even if it means people will see that you're wearing underwear with Power Puff girl pictures.

Top Ten Dumb Guys Way To Crack Da Vinci Code ...

Ok ... let me confess first before I proceed ... yes, I'm sure I want to confess ... no, I won't change my mind ...

While the entire world was swept up by the Da Vinci code fever (much like the Harry Potter craze) and went nuts over firstly the Dan Brown book, and now the movie starring Tom Hanks ... I practically gave it no notice. I didn't read the book - I don't like best sellers. And I haven't watched the movies - I hate queuing up to get tickets. Or calling to book 'em. Or buying 'em off Internet. I simply wait till the craze had died down a little before watching movies - after all there are no prizes for watching movies first.

Anyways, like I've mentioned, the world is ablazed with Da Vinci code madness. And I'm starting to feel a bit of it too ... and likewise most people on the street ...

And here ... the Top Ten Dumb Guys Way To Crack Da Vinci Code ...

  • "What Da Vinci y'all talking 'bout man?"
  • "Forget it man ... it's another rip off like 'em Sudoku puzzles ... I ain't cracking my brains over that ..."
  • "Look, you don't crack a Da Vinci Coat, ok? You tear a Da Vinci Coat, understand? Your England damn keng, ok?"
  • "Ok, first you need to understand that you have to use the numbers 1-9 only once diagonally and horizontally. Then you ... "
  • "I don't care what Code it is, it'll crack up when I tell 'em this joke .."
  • "Just fast forward the DVD to the last chapter ..." <- These are the same people who would probably fast forward all Jet Li movies to the fight scenes only ...
  • "Ha!! Speak to the devil. You'll get more than just the answer to the Da Vinci Code ... you'll get other juicy gossips as well. But devil will ask you to trade in your soul lor ..."
  • "Just bite it open ... Da Vinci Code is a new type of nut, right?" - Alvin the Chipmunk
  • Just let the Hardy Boys have a go at it ... or if you're a girl, maybe you'll give Nancy Drew a chance. No?
  • Apparently, Da more Vinci shoes you buy, Da better your chances to crack the Code. So get going, all Da girls ... and Da cross dressing guys ...

20 May 2006

What you find in hotels ...

Before anyone files a missing person report with the police, let me just say that I'm still around in planet earth.

Some of you in the know would know the past week was my first in my new job, and it was a very exciting one !! I was really busy getting myself adapted to my new environment, and I must say I'm loving every minute of my new job !!

I was in Singapore from Wednesday to Friday on training, which explained my lack of updates ...

I met with some old friends in Singapore. Glendon bought me drinks and got us a stage front table at Balaclava Bar. TQ.

As a frequent traveller, I thought I had seen it all ... but you know what they say, surprises comes in the most unexpected places ...

On Thursday night, after hosting Cynthia, Pansy and Martin in my room (I had a small suite, so it was pretty spacious) for an evening of catching up, I realised it was waaaaAAAaaay past my sleeping hours. And making things worst, I felt a grumble from the Mozzie Tummy. Damn ... hungry pulak ... why of course, it's almost 2 in the morning.

So I look thru the minibar ....

'Kay ... let's see what's there ... Almonds ... Pringles ... Mints ... and what's that metal can there ... ?

Maybe I should have a look ... it's WHAT ???

No kidding: Intimacy Kit ... what the heck is in there ??

Ouch ... and how much would that set me back ???

Gosh ... guys ... next time you travel, bring your own intimacy kit, ok??

Me? I found nothing in the mini bar to fulfil the urge for supper, so I just ordered room service ... Club Sandwich.

17 May 2006

Top Ten Pet-Peeves About Holidaying Alone

Well, I'm finding myself in Singapore today, and maybe Sydney next week, then Bangkok the week next. It's kinda exciting. Anyways, if you've been reading my blog recently, you'll realise I've been in Beijing and also on the East Coast of Malaysia. Beijing was a work trip with some tourism activity slated into the free time between work. East Coast is a blast, a great holiday by any measures ... but ...

But for the past few years, most of my holidays were all taken alone. Yes, I've been either holidaying on my own, or I've been doing it so last minute my friends all can't get leave approved.

While taking a holiday all on your own is great, there are times when there are problems. Here's like the Top Ten Pet-Peeves About Holidayin Alone ...

  • I normally end up eating in McDonald's or some other fast food place because there's no one taunting me to down the scorpion instead. =(
  • There's always one part of the back that gets a nasty sunburn cause no one is helping me with the sunblock.
  • Everytime I tell the folks I snorkeled along a whale shark or a school of dolphins, they think I'm imagining it. Or exaggerating. Or inventing it. Damn.
  • Like how I never the the photos properly cause I always end up taking my own photos ...
  • The guys at the hotel, resort, chalet or hostel always ask you why you're travelling alone. Heck, it's not against the law to travel alone, OK ???
  • That when I need to pee in the bushes, there's no one to look out for me ... =(
  • No one to encourage me to go and chat with those pretty girls I meet on holidays =(
  • No one wakes me up if I oversleep and will miss a flight, bus, sunrise, a hike, a city tour ... oh well, you get the idea. I soooOOOooooOOo need a travel alarm clock. But they don't normally work. On holidays, I normally need someone to shove me about to wake me up.
  • When I run out of money, I can't simply borrow from my travel mate. Which means I normally spend 15% of vacation time looking for ATM machines or Currency Exchange Guys ...
  • Can't get drunk because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to stagger all the way back to the hotel without getting something stolen, or worse still ... I might get brokebacked !!! *gasp*

Journey To The East

Well, this is my little scribe about my short break before I took up this job ... my journey to the east coast.

As usual, there are tonnes of pics (20+ in this post) and you can click on 'em to see a bigger pic. You have been warned ...

Since some years ago, I've always wanted to take some time and then journey to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia - if nothing else because I've always been fascinated by the laid back atmostphere and the stronger identification with the Malay culture there. For many years, it remained nothing but a fascination - either I had time but the timing was wrong (rainy season), or the time was right, but I was stuck in some faraway land, such as Thailand.

So, this time, sensing my opportunity - good weather, break from work, etc. I resolved myself to travel to the east coast - at all costs !

I could have stayed on in Beijing after completing my project with the previous company, which sounded very appealing, but I was more determined to see the east coast instead - the bookings have been made, the plans somewhat laid out, and Beijing can wait - I'm sure they won't dismantle the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

So, I proceeded with my plans to be in Cherating and then in Pulau Perhentian Besar.

So last week, on Wednesday, I made the long drive up to Kuantan. It felt like I was driving forever - I've driven much further distances - but never alone - I normally have company with me for long haul drives because I always believe 2 is better than 1 in these scenarios - imagine stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre and with no company.

After what must be an eternity, I reach my intended destination - Impiana Cherating. The name's a little misleading - it is closer to Chendor than it is to Cherating, but who the heck cares. One plus point about this resort is that every room has a seaview - and the beachfront is long and deserted - I was practically walking the entire beach all afternoon, and at one end, I was all alone - ah - me, sand under my feet, breeze in my face, serenaded by the waves lapping the shore. Perfecto.

Perfectly deserted but for some local villagers in Cherating Impiana

It was the perfect start to the holiday. Even the boisterous Chinese tourists can't make me unhappy - those guys didn't seem to appreciate that we're in a beach resort - normally a place to relax, and were going around playing games and having a jolly good time at the expense of some quiet time. =(

Next day, I took the long drive from Cherating up to Kuala Besut. Here's the funny part - I had no idea I was headed there. The tour agency simply told me that once in Terengganu, there are plenty of signboards that will show me the way to Perhentian Island Jetty. Bullshit !!! There's practically none !!!

From Cherating, I went past Kemaman. No sign of Perhentian Island signboards. Ok ... then past Rantau Abang ... still no signboard. Then reached KT ... still no signboard. Woi ... die ... I was closer to Kota Bharu than Kuala Terengganu, I have passed the Merang jetty to Pulau Redang ... where the (^*& is Kuala Besut??

I see ocean and island ... am I close to Perhentian already? Nope ... turned out to be Kapas

And still no Perhentian ... I think that might be another island, maybe ...?

Then finally, after nearly 3 hours on the road, I reached Jerteh ... and the junction to Pulau Perhentian Jetty ... people are right when they say the journey is half the fun !!

My first glimpse of the beaches in Perhentian Besar. This is off Tuna Bay Resort

I stayed at Reef Chalet, an 11 chalet resort which had basic chalets - bed, bathroom, fan and electricity from 6pm to 8am. And seriously, that was all I needed. I met up with Rashida, one of the owners, who was staying in the next chalet, and she gave me lots of tips about the place.

The boat from Kuala Besut stopped offshore near my chalets at The Reef. The red roofed building is the famous Mama's restaurant.

And Awie (not the Wings Awie, mind you) came and pick me up in a speedboat ...

The chums @ The Reef fixing up Astro. Here's 1 of 2 resorts in Perhentian Besar with Broadband Internet, all thru Astro. Guys who can't be without their daily does of surf can stay here. Not me though ...

First things first - I went snorkelling. In fact, most of my 3 days there I spent either relaxing, snorkelling, taking photos or sleeping. It's as close to Moz paradise as one can get, seriously.

My resort was at Turtle Bay, which had fine snorkelling at either ends - from the beach, to the right of the jetty, there are many rocks - swim out and you'd find a good variety of fishes, corals and sea cucumbers. I actually spotted a turtle (probably a Hawksbill) feeding at this part of the beach.

One of my snorkel spots off Turtle Beach - only reachable by boat since it's a beach without any resorts or mountain treks to ..

And on the extreme right - just in front of the glass bungalow at the Perhentian Island resort - there's another great snorkel spot - again, you have to swim pretty far out - but the rewards is plenty of corals - staghorns, table, fan, brain corals and especially the soft corals. I saw so many little Nemos (juvenile clownfishes). But there's a downside to all those Nemos - their damn parents - adult clownfishes actually are very teritorial and bit me 7 times in those 3 days. I so protest against anyone making Nemos a mascot for anything - they're so unwelcoming !!!

Clear water off the Tuna Bay resort. Tuna Bay is all isolated - so if quiet is what you want, here's the place.

The rocky side of the beach off Turtle Bay. Good for snorkeling only at high tide - good variety of reef fishes, rays and even a turtle and 2 black tip reef sharks spotted off here, further out to the sea (aroudn where the boat is)

And here, the sandy end of Turtle Bay. Good snorkel here too ... just be prepared for clown fish attack

A view of the beach front at The Reef chalets - it's a great beach, if only a little strewn with dead corals.

Can you spot the 4 bite marks on my shin? One 2 hour snorkel near the good spot in Turtle Bay's sandy side yielded 5 clown fish bites - 4 on the right leg, 1 on the left.

But there's a downside to all these offshore corals - during low tide, a lot of tourists actually step on them.

Look, assholes, corals are living animals. Show some respect - DON'T FUCKING STEP ON THEM !!! If you are about to drown - wear a bloody life jacket of use a body board to stay afloat. It's bad enough these corals have to take your jumping into the water with your sunblock not dried (a key contributor to coral bleaching), that they also have to contend with global warming (corals are very sensitive to temperature changes) and that all these increased tourism activities do strain the ecology of the reef - you HAD TO FUCKING STEP ON THEM!!! FUCK YOU !!! Go pick someone your own size. If you're drowning, step on your mother-in-law instead. See what your wife might say !!! Have some respect !!!

Ok. Rant over.

Aaaaahhh ... my view in between snorkels ... zzzZZZzzzz

And plenty of big spiders on this island ...

Anyways, back to the snorkelling, I did take a trip
- RM25 if arranged by The Reef - plus another RM10 for the gear - out to Turtle Beach, Shark's Point - saw around 16 Black Tipped Reef Sharks - largest about 1 meter long, and Turtle Point - didn't see a turtle underwater, but did see it from boat when it surfaced for air for a very short while. Add to that the Moray Eels, stingray, sea slugs, rich coral varieties and plenty of smaller reef fishes, I think it was a trip to remember.

One of the snorkel spots visited, just off Turtle Bay, had plenty of fishes and corals. And it was on this trip that I spotted a stingray and the turtle, near this spot.

Shark Point, just off Flora Bay, where I spotted shark after shark. All black tip reef sharks about 1 meter long.

They got it right ... and no, it's not the Dead Sea.

I had a snorkel malfunction at Shark's Point, which freaked me out. All of a sudden, my snorkel just feel apart - I'm left with my mask and a portion of the snorkel, and sucking in sea water instead of air. Thank everything good in life that fellow snorkeller Irene was nearby and helped me back to the boat. If she wasn't there, maybe I'd be shark food. *Thanks, Irene*

All too soon, I had to leave the island - the trip's over. But before leaving, Rashida, who sent me off, told me to take the coastal road down to KT.

I took her word for it, and boy, it was a stunning road. We're not advertising enough about this road, boys. Watch out for the part when the road meets the sea at Penarik - simply stunning. All along the coast, you would find houses, shops and coffee shops just by the sea - the people probably don't realise how lucky they are to have that view !! It's worth a billion bucks !! I so wanna build a seafront home in Penarik.

The stunning beaches in Penarik

All too soon, the coastal road ended, I was in KT. Pelf couldn't meet me - she was away in Dungun, so I got lost in KT trying to find some fast food to fill myself before driving on. But I had no luck at all - I just couldn't find that place. So I settled for some good ol' Nasi Dagang - which was excellente.

So on with the journey. 10 hours after leaving Kuala Besut, I reached home. The batteries are truly charged, and I'm all ready to start work on Monday.

What a holiday ...

Along the coastal road to KT ...

15 May 2006

'I' meme ...

It's really my luck, being tagged for the SAME meme by 2 people. Che-cheh and pelf tagged me for this same meme. I looked fun, so what the heck ...

I AM: who I am ... which means I really don't know how to answer this because I'm not too good at all describing myself.

I JUST NOW: day dreamed about spending more timed in Pulau Perhentian and how I'd build a nice seafront house in Penarik, Terengganu.

I SAID: ... "Not another meme ..." when I saw I got tagged. But hey, what's a little meme between friends?

I WANT: to retire early and spend retirement sailing on the East Coast from my seafront house in Penarik, Terengganu (obviously I'm still daydreaming).

I WISH: everyone well. Most of the time anyways.

I HATE: to loose control. I'm a control freak - I want everything to be under control, and I don't tolerate situations that aren't planned properly. Having said that, my last holiday was anything but planned, heck, I didn't even know how I would arrive in Perhentian ...

I MISS: the sun, sea and surf already. I always miss the holidays anytime I'm NOT on holiday.

I FEAR: that I might someday forget my roots. Which is why I'm thankful I ocassionally get pulled back to earth by friends and family.

I HEAR: birds chirping in my backyard garden.

I WONDER: everytime I look up into the skies and see the stars, whether we are really all alone. Someday, I hope we'll all know the answer to that.

I REGRET: NOTHING. I don't look back in regret or anger or pity - I always look forward instead =).

I AM NOT: a typical blogger. Oh, well, who is?

I SING: when I want the karaoke room to be emptied quickly. There is an inverse relation between my singing and how full a karaoke room is. The harder I sing, the emptier the room.

I CRY: when I watch sad stories in the cinema or on DVD. I know it's not very manly, but you won't know unless you were looking at my face - when you should be watching the movie !!

I AM NOT ALWAYS: in a good mood. Who is?

I MADE: an ad-hoc holiday plan, and I totally enjoyed it !!!

I WRITE: blogs because it's a great way to let off some steam and take my mind off work.

I CONFUSE: people a lot. I think I need to work on my explanation skills.

I NEED: a girlfriend. At least that's what everyone tells me. But I have a feeling girls DON'T need me. But I'll tell you what - I'm thinking I need more personal time instead - I think I've been working waaaAAaaAaay too hard.

I SHOULD: be grateful for what life has provided me so far. I always want better, but you know what, I ain't doing too badly either.

I START: each day with a prayer and hope for a good day and to meet nice people.

I FINISH: each day with a thanks for the day that was, no matter how good or bad, and a silent prayer that I won't be getting any calls from work.

I TAG : Angel, Inevitable and Infectioner. Hehe, finally, I know enough bloggers to tag ... =)

14 May 2006

Moz does Beijing

Hehe ... must have been a long, long, time since I last blogged anything. Sorry to guys who've been dropping in to check on me from time to time. I'm back and blogging will be more regular from now on.

Warning ahead ... lots and lots of pictures. So brace if you use Streamyx or dialup. And you can click on the pictures to view a larger pic.

Yours truly was in Beijing was a very short period, on work, and managed to squeeze in some time to take in some of the sights of the ancient city as well. Basically, I have always planned my Beijing trip, but due to my resignation, the management thought it was a bad idea to send me to Beijing. But the customer kicked up a fuss, and I was sent back there, even thought it was like, just before my leaving the company (I have left the company now - I start my new job tomorrow). Read this to get some context.

So, how was Beijing?

Fun. Of course, there was the work, and I arrived in the middle of a sandstorm (which had lasting effects for my entire stay) and very little time, but heck, I was there on business. Sightseeing is a bonus.

Let's see what I did ...

I had fast food Peking duck. Mickey (the customer), who is from Hong Kong and had been to Beijing many times before suggested this famous duck restaurant, so we hopped onto a taxi, and was driven to this place. We saw a long queue and police vans outside the place - which told me it was the right place. So we queued, got our seats - you share table here - no such thing as your own personal table. And here's what we got.

For RMB70 (RM 35), you get duck soup in a cup, condiments, the 'popiah' to wrap the duck slices in, pre packed sauce and of course, the duck itself. The serving is generous - most girls would finish only around 1/3 of the duck. Chinese Stout Beer is extra ... around RMB15. Not cheap, ok?

Tasted good, although it was just the fast food version. After we finished, we realised there is actually a proper restaurant right behind the fast food one (still the same restaurant, just different shop lot) where we could have eaten the proper thing.

That night, we went to Lotus Market, a place full of pubs and had a few drinks before retiring to zzzzzz.

Next day was all work, but for lunch, the customer took me to ... Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant. It's a very small, nondescript place tucked in some quiet street, but it's an absolute must go place if you're into food.

This place has the most famous Peking duck in Beijing, and only serves limited Peking duck dishes daily. Normally, you had to book a week ahead, but it was holiday time in Beijing, so we got ourselves seats with ease.

Great food - what did I have here ?

Yummy. Makes me drool just thinking about that Peking duck ... we had some other little dishes, such as a Szechuan Sweet and Sour soup, long beans cooked in some funny sauce and rice. But the highlight was definately the Peking duck ....

After work the same night, Jason (one of the customers) took Mickey and me for Hangzhou cuisine. The idea was to get some Beggar's Chicken. However, it was all sold out, so we ordered the next best thing ...

All of those dishes were really delicious. What's striking about this meal is that Hangzhou cuisine has cold and hot dishes, so you order them in balanced portions. Here the drunken chicken and the cow stomach were the cold dishes. We later ordered some noodles to go with the food.

The next day was all work - we worked till late night, and dinner was nothing but Pizza Hut delivery. Oh well, work comes first.

On Sunday, I still had to go into the office in the morning, but before work, I decided to get a sneak preview of some of Beijing's best known sights ...

The famous Tiananmen square, and the gardens at South Nanchizi Road were some of the sights I managed in the morning before I had to go to the office. Then I dashed off to the office, and got out only after lunch ...

So, I rushed down to ....

The Forbidden City. Also called the Imperial Palace Museum, since it is now a museum. I had only 3 hours to see everything, so I walked like a mad-man on a mission. It's quite big - walking from one end of the other takes about 20 minutes of brisk walking (not the shopping walking, which is slower and more relaxing - that would have taken 40 minutes, I guess).

And I actually covered the whole place in that time, but I really didn't get to really enjoy it. It was part Amazing Race, part National Geographic. Half the time I would be walking real quick from one part to another, snap a picture and leave. I wish I had more time so I can do the place justice. I'm so going back there again.

Some of the palaces I was looking forward to seeing, such as the Taihe Dian was closed for restoration. *Sigh* .. this is that palace you see in the movies where all these officials would be kowtowing to the Emporer. I so wanted to take a picture from up there. I guess I'll need to come back another time.

But I did get to rub those knobs on the doors. I don't know what that's all about, but everyone does that, so I did it too.

And at night, Mickey and I went to Wangfujing. This place is like Petaling Street + Sungei Wang of Beijing - all the shops are here, and all the hawker food as well.

Well, I didn't try any of those, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Apart from the sand and dust, and the work too, Beijing was a blast. There were so many other places I didn't get to see, but I'll be back, I'm sure, and next time, I'll take some time off to see more.