28 July 2007

Eh ... what's that ... ?

Now that Dad has retired, he's spending a lot of time doing some of the things he loves best.

Gardening is one such thing - it's funny ... he's never been a great gardener when he was young ... all he ever does it help mum carry pots from point A to point B. But over the years, he's proven to be a great green finger ! Anyone familiar with the Kuan Yin temple in Taman Bukit Kuchai can drop by and see some of his handy work ! He and a few friends garden there on the weekends !!!!

Can you see it ? Click to see a better pic.

Anyways ... we have this bit of land opposite our house, which isn't developed. Dad puts many of the flowering plants there because mum doesn't like too many flowers within the house compound - messy, she says.

Today, while doing his early morning gardening ... he came across ...

It's about the same thickness of the pagar's wire mesh ... very thin and small ...

Gosh ... we call it a 'Green Bamboo Snake' in chinese, not sure what it's called in English.

It's so small you can't see it at first against the green background. And I really had to move very, very, close to get a picture. I was using my full 135mm zoom ... and was only 2, 3 feet away when taking most of the pictures.

Dad was getting freaked out. He doesn't take risks, and is quite averse to all sorts of things. He kept telling at me from across the road to be careful, and to keep my distance, reminding me that even the crocodile hunter didn't have a good ending. :P

Nice snake, no ?

25 July 2007

Manila Makan & Shop Place: Tiendesitas

Having been to Manila many times, and usually just sticking to the safe and tested formula of Greenbelt, Landmark and Glorietta Malls in Makati for my shopping and makan, I've never really ventured anywhere outside of that ... until this past trip.

I needed to stay really close to the office, and thus, was based out of Ortigas City, in Pasig, instead of Makati.

For the uninformed, Manila is not one city. It's a metropolitan with many cities within. Makati is one. Pasig is another.

Our local Pinoy seafood meals. Garlic fried rice, spicy prawns and steam tilapia.

This time, for makan and shopping, I discovered ... Tiendesitas ! Wikipedia link here.

The name means "collection of little shops", and is like a small scale Chatuchak / Lumpini night market of Bangkok. It has sections for food, antiques, souveniers, furniture, clothing, accessories, you know ... just name it, it's probably there.

And just like Lumpini in Bangkok, there is live band show at night ! Not bad at all ...

Shops mostly closed by the time I left ... but to the Bangkok faithful, doesn't it remind you of Lumpini Night Market ?

I was having an informal meeting with a customer there for dinner, and we settled on some local seafood at a stall called Fat Butchie's. It's seriously not bad at all ... !

Fat Butchie's !

If you ever drop by Manila, you should really go visit Tiendesitas. A word though ... it's open from 12 noon to 12 midnight, and toilets are located in Comfort Zones. You've been warned !

Ordering what we want ...

*** Photos are of terrible quality because it's taken with my old, outdated, ought to be replaced mobile phone, You are strongly discouraged from suing me if you suffer eyesight problems after looking at them. I know a lawyer very, very, well ***

While going through the phone, I discovered there were some other photos in there ... so might as well publish it, although it has nothing to do with this post altogether !

Jalan Gasing sees a fair share of accidents ! I know the driver is ok, sitting by the road behind the car. This is near Catholic High School, where there is a sharpish bend. Don't speed lah peeps ...

If you have difficulty finding parking in Bangkok, the reason is because there is no parking. Here, you look for prarking instead !!! LOL !!!

20 July 2007

Where to makan in Ho Chi Minh City ?

Traveling is tiring, but there are perks of being always on the go. I mean, how many people can claim to have eaten real Vietnamese food in Vietnam? I mean, Vietnam kitchen in 1U doesn't count! It's not in Vietnam mah !

My room service lunch - which is pretty good !

Last week, when in Ho Chi Minh City, I had a chance to try out the highly rated Quan An Ngon ("Delicious" in Vietnamese).

Nah ... address also give ... don't miss out !

Verdict: Good. Must. Eat. There. Every. Time. I. Go. To. Ho. Chi. Minh. City. Must. Try. Everything.

It's always full of people, both tourists and locals. In fact, there were more locals. That's always a good sign !

View of part of the restaurant from the 2nd floor. This is where you sit on low chairs, traditional Viet style.

They are a little like Marche - there are many stalls in the restaurant, each offering different specialities from all over Vietnam. But unlike Marche, where you walk around and order what you want, you order off the menu. Try out the noodles from Hue !


It's cheap - around 3-8 USD per person if you don't pop wine bottles ... and the atmosphere is decent as well. And you really don't need to take Vietnamese food with wine anyways ...

My noodle main course. It tastes much better than it looks.

I'm definitely giving this place a thumbs up, and will visit again !

17 July 2007

Manila Manila ...

Got a call on Sunday. On a plane on Monday. Meeting a customer in Manila on Tuesday morning.

That is what global business means. Singapore Airlines e-ticketing totally rocks !!! That's why I was happier flying thru Singapore than going direct from KL to Manila. Well, actually, I can't even be on MAS if I wanted to - no flight.

And if they had flights, I would still have to take Singapore Airlines because they offer better rates. Which beats me - why would it be cheaper to fly from KL to Singapore, then to Manila ? And not directly from KL to Manila?

Hmmmmm ... how to help MAS ?

I packed in such a hurry I forgot to bring my belt. Thank goodness my pants don't fall down without my belt.

Photos to follow if I have time !!

15 July 2007

Kelip Kelip Kampung Kuantan

It's sometimes surprising how little we treasure the little things we have in our own backyards, really.

Yesterday, Girlfriend and I took a road trip to Kuala Selangor to see the famous fireflies in Kampung Kuantan. I've been there like ... I don't know ... at least 10 times. But Girlfriend haven't been there before, so it makes a good trip ! I think a road trip every 2 weeks is not a bad idea, considering the many places one can go to from KL.

We took off from PJ at around 4pm, taking the old trunk road from Kepong, through Sungai Buloh and Ijok to Kuala Selangor. The roads are now much better compared to a few years back - must be something to do with a certain by election in Ijok some months back. Buy By Elections are not always a bad thing, I guess.

Pasir Penambang is just down the road from Kuala Selangor town, a few minutes over the bridge from town. Go towards the end of the road, where you will find seafood restaurants over the water, on stilts. And go early to get the sunset view =)

The roads were so good we arrived early. Having nothing to do, we went to Pasir Penambang, which is just another 20 minutes away from the Kampung Kuantan fireflies colonies for seafood dinner.

Dinner was by the riverside, with a sweeping view of the river and the mangroves opposite, lighted by a nice sunset. The world ain't that bad after all.

3 crabs for less than RM30. We ordered the black pepper crab, which turned out great.

She is a crab lover, so we just had to order some crab. Topped with some vege and some Thai style steamed fish, the dinner was great - around RM30 per person ...

Finally, after dinner, we went to Kampung Kuantan to see the fireflies. Well, the place had been definately spruced up - it's now got a really nice jetty, with proper toilets and landscaped surroundings. The fare has remained at RM40 a boat (4 person max per boat). But no more orange juice or mineral water - they previously provided some drinks with the fare !

There is already a queue by the time we reached the jetty where we board sampans to see the fireflies. The tour starts at 8pm, and last boat leaves at 11pm. Bring insect repellents - mosquitos aplenty just before dusk.

The good news is, there are still lots of fireflies along the river here at Kampung Kuantan. Apparently, whatever dam they were building upstream at the Sungai Selangor (Selangor River) had little ill effect on the fireflies. So that's good. =)

We ended the night by going for durian supper at Kepong's Durian Street. =) ... hehehe ... apparently, cholesterol is not a factor !

Go - if you're stressed out - take a road trip - don't just shop in KL/PJ/Damansara/Mid Valley - there's so much more to Malaysia !!! In the past few weeks', me and Girlfriend had visited places that feels a billion miles from the hectic pace of KL - all within an hour or two from KL itself ! You owe it to yourself to make the best of the natural beauty there is near our doorstep !

07 July 2007

Never been so busy before ...

Do you ever work, work, work and work and still have lots of work left on your in tray?

I've had one of those weeks when it was just running from one job to another, just doing things over and over and over and over again.

In addition to the generally large but not lethal volume of work, there were sporadic cases of firefighting, outbreaks of meetings which were energy sapping but ultimately non productive, sudden unexpected work dropping onto the in tray, and working with people who no understand engrish, but think understand you have to their point first time they say point to you.

Take that, then multiply that by around 3. That was my week.

Good news is - I feel appreciated at work. And that means a lot to me.

Bad news is - no bad news. What? Not happy there's no bad news? Maybe you can jump out of your window and break a leg. That would be bad news.

Totally unrelated picture of how they paint buildings in Hanoi. Just happened to be in the same SD card where the other pictures are, so I thought it's nice to share =)

Next week, and in the coming weeks, there will be travel. But for next week, I'm keeping the D80 home. No need to bring the heavy gun out for a business trip. It's too heavy, anyways.

And speaking of the D80, I was loaned with a device which measures air humidity. I put it overnight in my camera bag, which is placed in what I thought was a dry part of my wardrobe, which had a Thirsty Hippo inside .... and the humidity level was 60% .... !!!!! Too high !!!

In my mind, flashes of lens infecting fungus crept up, and I wasn't able to sleep well on Wednesday night, thinking of the fungi colonies that must be setting foot on my lens. So, on Thursday, I marched to the camera shop and carried home a dry cabinet.

Now, I can regulate the humidity ... so hopefully, my lens will be spared the dreaded fungus attack.

As mentioned earlier, I'll be on the road again next week !!!! Guess where to ?? This place is famous for a certain kind of noodle ... and I can still get Coke in glass bottles ...

Speaking of photography, thanks to all who've been dropping by my photoblog. Love you all !

03 July 2007

Morib on a whim

Do you love traffic jam? I don't. I'd say that unless you are a petrol station owner on a stretch of very jammed up road, you probably don't love traffic jam. It's a total, utter waste of time in my opinion. And it drive your fuel efficiency lower, and therefore is bad for the environment as well.

Last Saturday, Girlfriend and me planned to scout around Bandar Utama. She wants to move out to a new place, you see. So, I picked her up, and we were driving towards SS2 when the jam started to form ahead ... all the way from Section 14 towards the Sin Chew roundabout.

I thought I'd go towards Seapark to escape the jam. No help. It's jammed there as well. Finally, we made our way through Kampung Bahagia into the LDP. I thought that was the end of my troubles.

No siree ... more jam ... we decided to make a U-Turn at Tmn Tun and just give up. At that point, I've been in that jam for nearly 1.5 - 2 hours already.

Turns out that there was this massive jam towards 1 Utama, which backed up traffic all along LDP, and also caused traffic in roads feeding into the LDP to be also affected.

Someone - do something about the LDP will ya? Puchong residents like me pay toll to use it, and yet we have to put up with the jam !!!! Nowadays, I take alternative routes that aren't tolled. And actually safe money, because those routes are less jammed. Stuff you la, LDP. Whenever I have the choice, I won't be using it !

Girlfriend suggested we makan a little at Taman Tun, which we did. And while in there, she suddenly blurted out that she wanted to be at a beach somewhere.

So ... just like that, on a whim, we went to Morib !!!

Morib used to be a premier beach attraction - but like most beaches along the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, with the polluted waters from the Straits of Malacca washing up everyday, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year, it's bound to lose its charm.

Driving to Morib, while far away, isn't anything as bad as going to Bandar Utama. I took the Puchong - Cyberjaya - Dengkil - Banting way to Morib. Far as it is, it wasn't nearly as bad as the trip from Girlfriend's place to Bandar Utama. At least it wasn't jammed up.

So, how's Morib?

Let pictures do the talking ...

We arrived at high tide, so there was no beach !!! Except what you see in the background. Still, it was a good place to relax ... just not happy that there was a deejay blasting music and hosting RM2 karaoke sessions. How does that make a beach relaxing ? This fisherman was clearly unpreturbed.

It isn't the most fun filled beach, but it's relaxing, and there are a number of families there that day. I had a field day snapping pictures like these of families strolling along the sea. It was relaxing, a far cry from my traffic jam nightmare !!

And of course, sunset calms me down. Nothing beats a good sunset. It's like someone's putting up this massive show and is saying "Chill out ... tomorrow will be better." ...