31 May 2008

Just back from another trip ...

Sometimes, I wonder about my job, and how it relates to my life. And how it's true for everyone else.

I had this conversation with my cab driver in Ho Chi Minh City. We were talking about how Vietnam, while rapidly developing, is still a very difficult country to live in. Vietnamese live a hard life, he says.

I just answered my 40th phone call that day, and I told him - working in the city means more money, but you work all the time. And working the land means you may not have as much money, but you have much more time to yourself and your family. Some have that choice to make. Some don't.

That's my life now described. My decisions led me to this path now, where in exchange for career betterment, I have now less time for the things I like. Things that I missed doing.

I haven't been posting any new photos because I haven't really been photographing.
I haven't gone hiking for a while now.
I haven't gotten 8 hours of sleep for a few months too.
I haven't been able to see the sunset for many months now, except during my vacation.
I really miss going to gym.
And yes, I miss blogging too.
And yes, I miss commenting on my blogpal's blogs.

I hope I'll learn to manage my time better. I really miss a lot of things ...

21 May 2008

La-la-la-langkawi ...

Being in Penang, so close to the Islands of Legend, Langkawi, we obviously couldn't resist the temptation of dropping by to just sample what Langkawi has to offer.

It really got off to a bad start - there was a storm not long after leaving port in Penang, and the boat was rocking quite terribly - causing all of the people around us (except us) to throw up at one point or another. Good thing The Girlfriend fell asleep. I guess if you think you will get seasick, the best thing to do is to sleep. You can't be seasick if you're not awake, you know.

Anyways, reaching Langkawi 3 hours later, we were not the only people who're glad to be on dry land. I quickly rented a Proton Wira about to break apart. For RM60 per day, it's probably the worst bit of business I've done - words fail me here, because you have to experience the car to understand how bad it was. The shaking was so bad, it had to be measured with the Richter scale everytime we have to put the car in idle. And the fuel meter always shows Empty. And there are parts falling everywhere.

We stayed at the Mutiara Burau Bay - which I highly recommend - it's hidden away, quiet, and has a nice beach. No complaints about it. Food can be found nearby at the Telaga Harbour Park.

The weather didn't really co-operate, so we did the next best thing - we drove about the island. We basically saw every major beach there was to see - Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Tanjung Rhu, Datai Bay, Pantai Kok. The drives were amazing and relaxing - little traffic, and smooth most of the ways.

We ate in restaurants recommended by the guide books, and just took it easy.

When the rain fell unabashed, we simply went indoors, taking our time in Underwater World Langkawi. Penguins are seriously cute, I promise you. Try to coincide your visit with the feeding times, and also take the time to watch the 3D show. It's cool =)

We also saw the waterfalls at Telaga Tujuh and Temurun. And of course, we took the Langkawi Cable Car. Too bad the weather turned bad at the top of Mt Mat Chinchang, which meant we had to forgo the boardwalk. Well, that and the fact that there's basically nothing but mist to look at up there.

The rains basically meant we had to give up snorkelling or island hopping plans. And I also decided against doing any mangrove tours or kayaking. I don't like spending time at sea during unpredictable weather.

Anyways, Langkawi is a great place to go to for a short break in a natural setting. It's got it all - beaches, tropical rain forests, slower pace of life.

Good thing for us, the ferry ride back to Penang was smooth sailing in good weather. The time I spent on the ferry deck, just enjoying the breeze and appreciating the sunset was godsent.

Langkawi is great. Too bad the weather didn't turn out how I expected it to. But that just means that we'll definately be back for another trip !

18 May 2008

Slow down, chill out, eat well !

Some days back, the Girlfriend and I, we decided that life was too stressful. And we thought that driving a few hundred kms to the north, staying there a few nights, and just wander about looking for good food would be a good way to wind down and destress =)

So, on we went to Penang.

Food is obviously the main attraction of Penang to us Malaysians. Few Malaysians would challenge Penang's place as the food capital of the country.

But don't forget that there are plenty of other things to do between meals to burn away your calories =)

The day we arrived, we just took it easy, and tried out Lebuh Keng Kwee's famous Teochew Chendul, the irresistable Durian Ice Kacang at Kek Seng Coffeeshop, and went nuts with Chev at Gurney Drive and New Lane trying all sorts of hawker food. It's a foodie's paradise !

We wandered about Georgetown one day, discovering the Heritage Trail. And then we immersed ourselves with the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. And then I showed girlfriend that there is an End Of The World indeed ... and we settled for a Ship-ly dinner. Not content, we even went on to sample what is probably the best Murtabak in this glorious land called Malaysia !

And on yet another day, we ventured to the hills of Penang, scaling the dizzying heights of Penang Hill, and paying homage to the temple that the Kek Lok Si is ! And of course, what is a visit to the hills without a pit stop at the Air Itam market for the Asam Laksa? Or indeed, the sublime afternoon tea at David Brown's at Strawberry Hill?

And of course, we simply had to try out the divine Char Koay Teow at Lebuh Kimberly. Cooked in oil immersed in seafood ... the subtle flavors of Char Koay Teow only a true Penang hawker can create were all teased out, dancing and mesmerizing our undeserving tastebuds.

And obviously, you can't leave Penang without trying the Char Koay Teow at Lorong Selamat! And wash it down with some of the famous Peanut Ice Kacang, no less =)

Simply unbeatable ... only Penang can boast so much good food, so many things to see and enjoy, and so much relaxation in an urban setting ! =D

There is a pulse !!!

Ok ... I'm back.

Still adjusting to being really busy. Still not used to very little sleep, and lots of work.

Traveling to places often. And just back from a holiday (which I intend to blog about this long weekend).

Just did a digital photography workshop as well =). Hope people will like it !

Disappointed that a last minute trip to Shanghai didn't work out. But looking forward to the rest I'll get because I won't have to fly !

And yeah, I'll put some photos on the photoblog.

BTW, Iron Man rocks. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for ??

01 May 2008

May-day ! May-day !! =)

Alright. Hands up now those who realised that April was a busy month for me?

Right. That wasn't too hard to see, was it? 2 blog posts in an entire month? Gee. Something's gone terribly wrong.

I'm quite happy no one has taken the initiative to call the police and filed a missing person's report. It means if this blog slowly slips into oblivion, it'll be ok :). Of course, it wouldn't slowly slip into oblivion. With me, it'll either slip really quickly into oblivion, or not go anywhere at all.

What happened in the month of April to have kept me so busy?

Adjusting to the level of work. Adjusting to all the new programs I am participating in. Just plain lazy sometimes. A regional conference. And a week long adventure in Jakarta.

May has always been vacation month for me. And for the 3rd year in a row, May will be Cuti Cuti Malaysia month ! =)

This month, I'll head up to the Pearl of the Orient, and then reacquaint myself with the 99 islands in the Archipelago of Legend. It should be cool, spending time looking for a dot in the map, getting lost in traffic, and hopefully, doing next to nothing as well from time to time ! Sounds like fun to me !

Since it's holiday week. I'll hopefully blog a few more times and put some pictures too :). You never know.

At least there are all these pending tags I'll need to work on.