Thursday, 31 December 2009

4 Items You Must Have in a Hostel

I cannot emphasise enough on the importance of having these 4 items when staying in a backpackers hostel.

Item 1: Slippers or Flip-Flops
Always use a pair of slippers whenever you bathe in the common shower or when going to the loo. In these places which are used by every Tom, Dick and Harry staying in the hostel, you'll never know what's on the floor. So a pair of slippers would provide adequate protection for your feet.

If you've invested in a pair of good quality slippers, you could also wear them while gallivanting about.

Item 2: Plastic bags
Eventhough we're encouraged to reduce the use of plastic for the sake of the environment, I carry plastic bags of various sizes whenever I travel. I use these bags to keep my things dry whenever it rains, for storing dirty clothes, for sending clothes to the laundry and even to wrap my shower gel and shampoo in case of spillage.

But the most important use of a plastic bag is in the shower. Most common showers in hostels do not have hooks to hang clothes and toiletries. Even if they have hooks, it may not be enough.

With a plastic bag, I just dump in my towel, new change of clothes, toiletries, etc. and hang the bag on whichever hook, shower handle, door knob, etc. that I can find. Easy isn't it?

Item 3: Ear plugs
When you sleep in a dorm with one hundred and one other fellas who fart, snore and creak the bed whenever they turn or whenever they get up to go to the loo, ear plugs would come in handy.

Some inconsiderate dorm mates may even speak at the top of their voices and ear plugs are a good way to shut these fellas out from your head.

Item 4: Eye pads
When some insensitive idiot comes back in the middle of the night and switches on the dorm light because he can't find his way to the bed, you'll be glad you have your sleeping eye mask on.

To save money, you can get sleeping eye masks free of charge on your flight. But don't expect it on budget airlines.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

This is How You Open a Bvlgari Perfume Bottle

Last month I asked readers how to open a Bvlgari perfume bottle, but nobody gave me an answer. In fact, I received many hits looking for an answer to the question.

So here's the answer in 2 simple steps:

Step 1:  Because the bottle looks the same from all angle, you must first differentiate the top from the bottom. The bottom of the bottle is indicated by a small flat surface like this:

Step 2: Hold the bottom firmly and remove the top part carefully. It's quite tight, so make sure you have a good grip on both the top and bottom part; you don't want the perfume to spill everywhere.

The opened Bvlgari perfume bottle should look like this:

Take note that this only applies to the 5ml bottle.

The bigger bottle (can't remember how many ml) is much easier to use. Just press the top part downwards like an aerosol can and the perfume will squirt out.

Hope that helps!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Gastronomic Adventure in Malacca ... And Other Things ... (Part 2)

(Click here for Part 1)

We woke up late on Day 2 and decided to have chicken rice ball for brunch.

By making a headstart at 11.00am, we thought we could beat the crowd and secure a table.

But to our amazement, there was already a queue in the first kopitiam we went to. Come on people ... I'm sure there's more to life than queing up for balls at 11.00am.

So we moved on to the next kopitiam and thankfully it was not crowded yet.

Chicken Rice Ball

Malacca is the birthplace of the chicken rice ball. But I'm not sure if it has expanded to other states. What makes it different from the usual chicken rice you get elsewhere, is that the rice comes in a ball shape. That's all.

Service was fast but the meal was average. The steamed chicken contained layers of fat which I had to painstakingly remove, and the rice was not fresh. I think the Ipoh Chicken Rice on Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya is so much tastier.

No wonder the queue was at the other kopitiam and not here.

Next, we crossed the street to have Nyonya Cendol.

Nyonya Cendol

Look how different the consistency is compared to the Cendol Jam Besar we had the day before. But price also different lah. It costs RM2.00 for a bowl of Nyonya Cendol compared to RM1.50 for a bowl of Cendol Jam Besar.

While enjoying the cendol, it rained cats and dogs that we had to wait till the rain subsided.

Rain, rain go away ...

When the downpour turned into a drizzle, we continued walking and came to Hotel Puri.

The building used to be the home of philantropist and rubber plantation owner, Tan Kim Seng. He was a third generation Straits Chinese born in Malacca in the 1800s.

After undergoing extensive renovation, the place was reopened in the late 90s as Hotel Puri.

If you go to Malacca, don't forget to visit the hotel, even if you're not a paying guest.

Hotel Puri is a museum on it's own with its traditional interiors and deco. Makes me feel like I'm back in Malacca in the 1800s.

An open airwell is a common feature in most traditional Malaccan houses, just like this airwell in Hotel Puri.

A few doors away from Hotel Puri is Jehan Chan Art Gallery.

We spoke to Jehan's friendly daughter who takes care of the gallery. She told us that the length of some of the houses on Heeran Street could reach 220 ft!

That explains why Hotel Puri looks small from the outside, but it's super long on the inside.

Because the length of Jehan Art Gallery is so long, it would take Jehan's daughter (didn't get her name) a few minutes to put down whatever she's doing and walk to the front to open the door whenever there are visitors. By that time, most visitors would think there's no one home and they would leave.

After that informative conversation, we walked to the back of the houses to see the length from outside. Trust me, the houses are long indeed.

While walking, it started raining cats and dogs again. We ran into Geographer Cafe to chill while waiting for the rain to stop.

The cafe was the location of a few scenes from the movie Summer Holiday which starred Sammi Cheng and Ritchie Ren. As such, the movie was playing on the LCD screens in a loop, like some sort of promotion lah.

So we sat down, ordered drinks and watched the movie.

The rain didn't stop. It drizzled and then it poured. Over and over it was like that.

Since we were stuck there, we ordered sandwiches, fries and more drinks, and watched the movie again and again.

Before the start of the 4th round of Summer Holiday (yes, the rain lasted that long), thankfully the rain became a drizzle.

So we ran in the rain to Dahtaran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall so that we would be in a sheltered place from the irritating rain that never ends.

To kill time, I suggested we watch Avatar at GSC but the timing was not right. So we watched Bodyguards & Assassins - my first ever Chinese movie in the cinema.

Go watch it. It's good except for the part when Donnie Yuen's character stands in the way of a charging horse to prevent the bad fella from pursuing Dr Sun Yat Sen. It was a total illogical, bullshit scene.

After the movie we walked back to Jonker Walk for the nightmarket.

First thing we did was whack dinner.

I had decided earlier I want to eat radish cake, and thankfully the hawker was selling that day.

Dishing out radish cake

Radish cake = Delicious!

For dessert, Angie and I shared a serving of muah chi.

Muah chi. Don't know what's the English name. Some things in life you just can't explain in English.

Then we did a bit of shopping and I bought these:

Earring stand for RM30.00. Bloody cheap, but must bargain.

RM5.00 for 3 pairs of earring. Cheapest I've seen in Malaysia!

I must have pineapple tarts and teh-teh sar whenever I visit Malacca.

If not for the rain, my gastronomic adventure in Malacca would have been perfect; because when it comes to travel, hot and sunny is anytime better than raining cats and dogs.

Greener Pastures

I submitted my resignation letter today, or rather yesterday since it's already way past midnight now.

When I joined this company in March 2008, I thought I would stay for at least 3 years after changing jobs a couple of times before. But as fate has it, my new job came looking for me instead of the other way round.

A headhunter came knocking at my door at the end of October. When he explained to me the package which is better than what I'm getting, I became interested in "exploring opportunities", as what headhunters would say.

By mid November I found myself in the interview room doing a few written tests and undergoing an interview. In less than 2 weeks after that, I was called for a second interview and my fate was sealed. Things were moving in such a short time I can't believe it's happening!

I will definitely miss my current colleagues, some of whom I've built good relations with rather than a hi-bye kind of thing. The close proximity of my current office to the Monorail station made it easy to get to work, and I'll miss that too.

I'll be joining the new company on 1 March 2010. Hopefully it would be a good start to the New Year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Gastronomic Adventure in Malacca ... And Other Things ... (Part 1)

I was in Malacca for a gastronomic adventure recently.

When Angie and I reached Malacca, we decided to have chicken rice ball for lunch in the Jonker Walk area.

To our dismay, all 3 kopitiams we went to were crowded till the queue was overflowing onto the road. Look at the pics and you'll know what I mean.

Kopitiam 1: Queuing like nobody's business

Kopitiam 2: Not again!

Kopitiam 3: We give up lah!

In the end we had nyonya laksa at one of the other kopitiams. Couldn't tahan hunger anymore, so anything also makan lah.

Nyonya Laksa

After lunch, we walked along the small roads that the Jonker Walk area is famous for.

 Quaint and nice, reminds me of Luang Prabang

And we stumbled upon the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, the Cheng Hoon Teng temple.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Despite coming to Malacca many, many times since I was a kid, I've yet to visit this temple. So we entered the temple and looked around. It was nothing to shout about.

After visiting the temple, we moved on and saw some pretty buildings like these:

I also stumbled upon the Koong On Loong Goldsmith where my late dad always goes to whenever he wants to buy gold for my mum. Heck, I even got my ears pierced here when I was 13-years-old!

I got my ears pierced here when I was 13-years-old.

By that time we were already thirsty with all the walking. So we headed to the Cendol Jam Besar beside the Stadthuys for a dose of one of my favourite Malaysian desserts.

Look how watery the cendol was

Unfortunately the cendol sucked big time. There were hardly any ingredients in the cendol. It was only shaved ice, green cendol, coconut milk, gula Melaka and some miserable corn. Where are the other ingredients like red beans and cincau? Luckily it costs only RM1.50 per bowl.

After that lousy cendol, we headed back to the hostel on Lorong Bukit Cina to snooze for a while before continuing our gastronomic journey in the evening.

It was raining when we woke up. So we waited for the rain to subside and walked our way to Jalan Bunga Raya for some tasty fried oysters.

The famous fried oysters on Jalan Bunga Raya is only available in the evenings.

Each batch the uncle fries is enough for 6 packets worth RM6.00 each. And if he dishes out an average of 30 batches a night, he would be earning a monthly gross salary equivalent to the salary of a Senior Vice President in a multinational. I wanna become a hawker too!

 Parsley completes the yummi-ness of the fried oyster

After that satisfying meal, we walked back to the car and drove to the Portuguese Settlement to see the houses there decked in colourful Christmas lights and deco.

The Portuguese Settlement organises a competition annually to see who has the best decorated house. This year not many houses took part and many houses didn't have their lights on. It was a totally different experience compared to a couple of years back when the entire place was decorated to the max and I was mesmerised with all the lights.

After Portuguese Settlement, we drove back to our hostel which was near the famous Capitol Satay Celup. The queue was like a bitch when we passed the place earlier.

Now that it was close to 12.00 midnight, the crowd had lessen. So we got into queue and after about 30 minutes we got a table.

Satay celup

Malacca is the birthplace of satay celup. What makes it great is the special peanut sauce to boil your skewers of food in. If not for the sauce, satay celup would only be as menial as the lok-lok in KL which uses water.

I whacked at least 10 sticks of various items. But I was happiest to chom down 2 whole Century eggs with ginger, quill eggs, sausages with cheese in the middle and fishballs. Cholesterol, cholesterol, cholesterol ... But it was hard to resist.

Stay tuned for Day 2 of my gastronomic adventure in Malacca ...

Monday, 21 December 2009

My Favourite Marriage Proposal Line

I'm sure you've heard and read about how some guys proposed to their girlfriends.

The unimaginative ones do it the old fashion way by getting down on one knee with ring in hand before popping the question. The creative ones think of ways to make the event a memorable one.

My god daughter's husband proposed to her whilst playing Hangman. While into the game, one of the sentences he asked her to guess was, "Will You Marry Me?"

When she realised that the sentence was a marriage proposal, my god daughter burst out crying. It was super romantic and ingenious!

Ok so the guy can think of creative ways to pop the question. But I think what he says to the girl to ask her for her hand in marriage is also important. So what is your favourite marriage proposal line?

Mine is:

"(Girl's full name), for all that you are, and for all that you are not, would you be my wife?"

I love this proposal line because it shows that the guy acknowledges and accepts everything about the girl - her strengths and her weaknesses, her beauty and her ugliness. And despite all her imperfections, he still wants to marry her.

Isn't that something so beautiful in a relationship?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Thumbs-Up & Masculine Virility

Phallus worship? Phalluses in a temple in Krabi, Thailand.

I was reading Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and came across this paragraph:

"One of the free fallers, an obese woman, maneuvered toward the window. She was being buffeted by the air currents but grinned and flashed Langdon the thumbs-up sign. Langdon smiled weakly and returned the gesture, wondering if she knew it was the ancient phallic symbol for masculine virility."

I was wondering whether Brown made up that piece of information, or did he write it based on solid facts.

So I did a random search and according to WikiAnswers:

"The thumbs-up is the original sign for masculine virility. Virility, coming from the work virile means to be masculine and show signs of a grown man. In past centuries people have used the thumbs up as a sign of an ideal male specimen."

Who would know that a common finger gesture like the thumbs-up sign holds a completely different meaning altogether.

And I think the founder of Kacang Ngan Yin didn't know the original meaning of the thumbs-up sign either.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Bathing in Bath

As I told you previously, I stayed at the Bath Backpackers Hostel during my stay in the beautiful city of Bath.

On my first day in Bath, after a long day of walking and exploring, I decided to take a shower to clean the grime and dust before hitting the sack. So I gathered my toiletries, pyjamas and towel, and headed to the common female bathroom downstairs.

No one was there and I was happy as I've got the whole place to myself!

The bathroom was not big - only 3 shower cubicles. There was a stool and I used it to place my towel and clothes. I hung my toiletries on the hooks inside the shower cubicle.

The water pressure was good and the temperature was just right since the weather was quite cold in the evening.

As I was scrubbing myself, suddenly the lights went out!

I was horrified! What the fark happened???!!!

And then I remembered that the lights operated by movement. That means it will switch on automatically the moment someone steps into the entrance of the common bathroom. And after a period of time when there's no movement, the lights would switch off automatically. The lights only detected movement in the common area and not in the shower cubicles.

Since I was bathing for quite some time, and being the only one there, obviously the lights switched off because there was no movement. I think this must be the Bath Backpacker's sadistic way of deterring people from taking long showers.

I had to do something to get the lights back on.

While groping in the dark, I turned off the shower and opened the cubicle door. And while making sure I didn't trip over the stool and knock my clothes onto the wet floor (eeeyaaaa ...), I walked out naked into the common area, just to create some movement lah.

I was praying no one would walk in at that moment. Otherwise they would have gotten a fright seeing a naked Asian gal walking in the dark!

Thank goodness the lights came back on.

I quickly finished my shower, got dressed and got out of there.

Automatic lights are good for the environment because electricity is conserved. And you know how some people can be careless about leaving the lights on after they use the bathroom. But sometimes automatic lights can be troublesome, especially when I have to walk naked in the dark to switch them on again.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Refinancing My Home Loan

After 5 years of being a loyal paymaster to an international bank, I finally decided to refinance my home loan.

This time I'm choosing a local bank simply because they have offered me a fantastic interest rate. So far their service has been nothing but fast and efficient. So I've got no complains.

And from a 30-year loan with the international bank, I'm reducing it to 6 years with the local bank. I'm extremely motivated to do so after calculating the total amount of interest I would have to pay if I had chosen the 30-year loan. I could buy another property with that kind of money. So I'm not gonna let the bank earn a single cent more from me !

I might have to make some sacrifices for the next 6 years because when I reduce the loan tenure, the monthly payments increases. But I think it's an effort that's well worth it. I can already imagine the feeling of having a fully-paid-up property in my name in 6 years time !

Monday, 30 November 2009

Four Guy Stuff I Do Well

Here is a list of items I take pride in doing well because not many ladies know how to do 'em.

1) Map reading. I was in Singapore with a girlfriend and we were discussing how to get to Orchard Road from Waterloo Street. So we opened the map and I could pinpoint Orchard Road straight away, thanks to my habit of doing much research before visiting any place. A guy friend who was with us said that I'm the first lady he's met who is able to read a map. I was like, duh ...

2) Parking. I can park in all styles - side parking, 3-point-turn parking, L parking, backside-in parking; I can do it all.

You know what they say about women being bad drivers and poor parkers. I thought it was a chauvanistic way of thinking until I saw a girl struggling to park her Avanza backside-in at the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Complex. After many failed attempts, she drove off, probably hoping to find another parking space that can fit a 12-wheeler lorry trailer. I thought she was a disgrace to the gender.

Another time I was driving with a male colleague for a work assignment. When we reached our destination, he cynically asked if I could do the side parking. I said, "Watch me". With one turn of the steering wheel, the car was in. That shut him up.

3) "Offside". I understand what is "offiside" in soccer, thanks to my dad who patiently explained it to me during the numerous times we watched soccer together. I also learned from him that "offside" is known as "curi ayam" in Bahasa Malaysia. The year he died, I watched the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals alone and reminisced what he would have said.

4) DIY. I can assemble a DIY cupboard all by myself. My sis bought a bookrack from Giant and didn't know next to nuts how to assemble it. I came to the rescue and the cupboard was standing in about 2 hours. My latest feat was assembling a whole lot of Ikea furniture on my own.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

What a Movie Experience!

Yesterday I went to TGV KLCC to watch The Time Traveller's Wife.

Since it was a Wednesday, I thought all tickets were RM7.00 each. See, see price already increase to RM8.00, WTH!

I was early so I browsed around in Isetan while waiting for the movie to start. Saw a lovely zebra print legging that costs RM39.20 after discount. But didn't buy cause got so many other expenses this month and the next.

Soon it was showtime and to my dismay the rows of seats were so close to each other I could hardly get to my seat which was about 5 seats in. Must make a mental note that Cinema No. 12 in TGV KLCC is super small only a hobbit could go in.

Since The Time Traveller's Wife was already ending its run, that was the only screening for the day. So I thought there'll only be a handful of people in the cinema and I could spread myself out over 2 seats. Alas, it was not the case - half the hall was filled! So much for high hopes!

When the trailers were playing, a guy in a baseball cap came and sat on my left. And then a plump guy plonked himself on my right. Since when did single guys come to watch a soppy, romantic movie like The Time Traveller's Wife??? Times sure are a changing, man!!!

The plump guy was coughing throughout the movie I was afraid his phlegm and spittle might end up in my Coke which was on the drinks holder beside the seat.

And because the bugger was plump, coupled with the narrow space between the rows of seats, he sat with his legs terkang-kang. Whenever I reached for my Coke, my hand would brush against the side of his thigh. He must either be enjoying himself or thinking I was trying to molest him, WTF!

That was not the end of my movie ordeal.

About 15 minutes into the movie, a fat broad came and wanted to get to her seat right in the middle! The fellas sitting at the end ignored her because I guess they knew how terrible it is to get in. And so the fat broad raised her voice, "I need to get in!"

So everyone had to make way for Ms Humpty Dumpty. Since I am rather petite, I just lifted my legs into a croching position. Otherwise I could have sworn her butt cheeks would have slapped me in the face as she waddled her way in. Yes, the rows of seats were that close and she was that fat!

The lead character in The Time Traveller's Wife is called Henry, played by Eric Bana. Halfway through the movie I realised that Mr Bana also played King Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl. How come Eric Bana's character all named Henry, one?

I was amazed I could connect the dots about such nonsensical information. Maybe because surrounded by single men watching soppy, romantic movies and almost got slapped by the butt cheeks of a fat broad must have taken its toil on my psychological well-being.

And to end my entire movie ordeal, The Time Traveller's Wife sucked big time. I've not read the book, so I don't know whether the book is better than the movie. But whatever it is, I still think the movie sucked big time.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Introducing An Ugly Lover to Your Parents

What happens when it's time to introduce your gf/bf to your parents and your partner happens to be physically ugly?

You would have fallen in love with your gf/bf for one reason or another, and her/his physical attributes might not be one of them. After all, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

But parents think otherwise - they tend to look at physical attraction and not character. Most Chinese parents have a preconceived idea or notion of the perfect daughter/son-in-law:

Criteria for a Daughter-In-Law
Must look like Zhang Ziyi.
Must be able to cook like Martha Stewart.
Must be able to produce children like a dog, prefarably many sons.

Criteria for a Son-In-Law
Must look like Wang Lee Hom.
Must have a bank account the size of Bill Gates.
Must drive at least a Toyota.

I was having lunch with my friend ML and she was telling me about the time when her brother brought his gf (now wife) home to introduce to his parents.

His gf had goofy teeth and after the introduction, his mother (it's always the mother!) started complaining that his gf is not pretty. WTF! Is his mum going to be staring at her goofy teeth during humping time?

It is because of mother-in-laws from hell like these that puts pressure on any girl.

As a woman, cooking skills can be nurtured through practice. Babies can be conceived as long as she is able to (unless she is unable to conceive due to natural causes). But a woman can't change her looks.

She can improve her looks by changing her hairdo, use make-up, lose weight and wear impressive clothes; but these can only go so far. At the end of the day, in her mother-in-law's eyes, it's how sharp her nose is, how big her eyes are, how smooth her skin is, how slim she is and the list goes on.

To those of you who are planning that first introduction, here's my advice to you: Inform your parents prior to the meeting that your partner is ugly. Do this even if your partner is good looking.

By doing this, your parents won't complain when they meet your partner cause they would already be expecting someone ugly. Even if they do complain despite the prior warning, just say, "I had informed you earlier".

If your partner is good looking after all, then it'd be a pleasant surprise for your parents cause they would have been expecting someone ugly.

So you see, it's a win-win situation for everyone.

But whatever it is, tell your partner that your parents love her/him. We don't want to crush their spirits, because being ugly is absolutely none of their fault.

It's a pity that people tend to judge others according to looks and not character. For those who are good looking, the world is at your feet. To those who are not, we'll just have to live with it.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Buskers in Covent Garden

When I was in London, John and Nat took me gallivanting around. We were walking everywhere, from Westminister Cathedral to Trafalgar Square to Soho to Chinatown. Soon we passed through Covent Garden.

Covent Garden is an interesting place that reminds me of the flea markets in Amcorp Mall and The Curve. But unlike the markets in the Klang Valley, what makes Covent Garden a wee bit more interesting are its street performers or buskers.

Buskers are everywhere in Covent Garden:

This guy sang quite nicely. I think he was singing a Ronan Keating song.

You can even sit at a cafe and be entertained by a string sextet (not too sure if this is the right definition) while you enjoy a cup of tea.

This guy commanded the crowd's attention with his acrobatic stunts.

As we watched his performance, he asked for volunteers to help him in his stunt.

There was this oriental guy standing nearby. And the performer pointed to him, "Hey Jackie Chan, come here. I need your help."

Initially I thought the performer was being a racist, but then when I think again, it's quite hilarious actually. Imagine being refered to Hong Kong's superstar just because they belong to the same race. What an honour, hahaha.

Nat said we should go away in case the performer might call him Jackie Chan next!

I wanted to be called Zhang Ziyi, LOL !!!

Anyway, as you can see from the pic, the perfomer sought the help of a few guys, all of whom were from different countries sans the bald guy in red jacket who is a local. This goes to show the large number of tourist in Covent Garden.

The performer was talking too much and 'terhegeh-hegeh' want to complete his stunt. We couldn't wait, so we walked off.

Then we saw this guy:

Notice his left foot.

He tied a tin can to his foot and by tapping it, he created a musical instrument. How clever!

When the guy saw me shooting him, he obliged by waving to the camera. And when we turned to walk off, he called out through the microphone, "Hey camera woman, don't forget to drop some coins into the bag," or something to that effect.

I was like, wth! Since when did they get so bold in asking for money???!!!

I ignored the fella and walked away but he kept calling me.

I didn't want to give anything cause I was in a country where my currency is so damn weak. For a person like me who earns in the Ringgit, London's not the place to make donations in the British Pound.

So we contiued our journey to the Soho area where I saw this bunch of guys:

Ang mohs cycling rickshaws in Chinatown! They are certainly no match for the rickshaw fellas in Malacca!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cobra Dream

Two nights ago I had a bad dream.

I was holding onto a cobra's head and trying to prevent it from biting me. The cobra was vicious and it's fangs were out, ready to strike.

I figured that if I held tightly onto the cobra's head and keeping my arms far from my body, it would prevent the cobra from biting me.

The same dream repeated itself twice and then I woke up.

I feel that this dream is telling me something because rarely do I get a dream that repeats itself. But what is the message behind this dream?

Am I holding on tightly to someone or something that is not good for me?

Am I afraid that if I let go of someone or something, I would get hurt in the process? And so therefore I hold on tightly?

Is God trying to tell me to let go of someone or something? If yes, what is it?

Dreams are confusing and I think only time will tell what this dream truly means. But I sure hope someone would show me the way.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Raju Restaurant is Expensive!

My colleague and I went to Section 5 in Petaling Jaya this morning to collect a few newspaper clippings that we had sent there for framing.

After collecting the clippings and leaving them in the car, we realised it was already 12.00pm. So I suggested we have lunch in Raju Restaurant (yes, the famous one) before heading back to the office. The restaurant is only a few doors from the frame shop.

It has been a long time since I ate at Raju's. Most of the time when I wish to satisfy my craving for banana leaf rice I'd go to Nirwana's Restaurant in Bangsar. Since I was already at Raju's, I thought it would be a good opportunity to eat there again.

So we went in, took our seats and placed our orders. Since it was just before lunch time, there wasn't many customers around; so service was prompt.

The curry was rather mild compared to the last time I ate there when it was fiery with lots of spices. So it was ok for me.

But what made today's banana leaf rice experience unforgetable was payment time - my bill alone came to RM13.50!

I had basic rice and veg (RM5.50) and a plate of chicken varuval (RM7.00). Other restaurants charge average RM4.00 for the rice and veg and average RM4.00 for a plate of chicken varuval.

But what got me furious was the RM1.00 charge for rasem!

While other banana leaf restaurants serve rasem for free, Raju's charge it's customers RM1.00. This is a blatant case of daylight robbery.

After paying the bill and grumbling in my heart, I vowed never to return to Raju's again.

How Do You Open This Bvlgari Perfume Bottle?

Someone gave me this recently:

I was delighted. I mean, which gal doesn't like to receive perfume, right?

But when I opened the packaging, I realised I don't know how to open these two bottles!!!

Since when a simple thing like opening a perfume bottle became so complicated? What happened to simplicity?

The designers wanted to create something impressive and futuristic; but they forgot about practicality and simplicity.

Can someone please tell me how to open these darn bottles? I don't want to damage them cause they are too pretty to be thrown away.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

My New Ikea Furniture

I bought a whole lot of stuff from Ikea recently.

Because I'm a cheapskate, I wanted to save assemblying fee and decided to do it myself. So I just paid RM65 for delivery charges.

When the Ikea fellas delivered the stuff I started work immediately.

The Ikea stuff was enough to fill my entire living room.

I've assembled bookcases of varying sizes from Giant and Jusco, and they were a breeze. That gave me the confidence of doing this job similarly well.

The advertisements always tells us that it's easy to do-it-yourself; just follow the instructions and you would be fine, yadda yadda yadda.

But in reality, it ain't that easy.

What makes assemblying Ikea furniture difficult is the sheer weight of these furniture and the number of instructions that could go up to more than 25 steps for one piece of furniture. But the positive side about heavy furniture is that you know you're getting quality stuff.

I've learned my lesson about buying cheap furniture.

When I moved into my apartment about 2 years ago, I bought a brand new 3-seater Cavenzi sofa that costs only RM399. I was delighted because it was not only cheap, but it was so light that I could lift it with one finger like Mrs Incredible while mopping my apartment.

However, the damn thing caved in after just 3 months. And mind you, that sofa was hardly used.

The fucked-up Cavenzi sofa.

Anyway, after following the Ikea instructions to the T, I still made minor mistakes like banging a hole in my beloved Billy bookcase! But luckily the hole is small and hidden. Otherwise bang balls, man ...

In the end I managed to assemble these furniture on my own:

Malm Chest of 6-Drawers

Two Hemnes side tables

And my favourites - two Billy bookcases and a 3-seater Ektorp sofa.

Now my living room looks like a page from the annual Ikea brochure, hahaha.

After the long hours of screwing, hammering, lifting and carrying, my whole body was aching for a few days. Terrible, man! Didn't know assembling furniture could be that stressful.

Throwing away the packaging was another bitch.

Here's a tip for you: Unless you're a carpenter or a handy person, pay the assembling fee (I think it's 5% of the furniture cost). Trust me, it's money well spent compared to you breaking back trying to do it yourself and making mistakes in the process.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I Succumbed to Cheapness

After all the bally hoo and sandiwara about Celebrity Fitness taking over California Fitness, and the Lot 10 branch's facilities being sucky and all, I finally decided to renew my membership with Celebrity Fitness.

Reason is because I've got a corporate rate that was too good to refuse.

Paying RM999 per annum for a one-club membership is a steal. And if I wish to work my arse off at other clubs, it would cost me only RM1,080 per annum for an all-club pass. Celebrity Fitness got me by the balls.

The RM999 per annum is slightly higher than what I paid last year when the club was still under California Fitness management. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was something like RM60 plus per month and I had to pay it in a lump sum for one year. But even if the corporate rate has increased, it is still cheaper compared to other clubs.

However, the increase in corporate rate proves what my sister says is true - that Celebrity Fitness is more expensive than California Fitness.

She also commented that Celebrity Fitness is only out for money. Before they sign you up they'll promise you the moon. After they've got your money, they won't bother to arrange for your complimentary personal training session that they promised before you signed on the dotted line.

Whatever it is, here's a toast to another year of suffering in a cramped workout area. But hey, at least I get to work out, albeit in a not too favourable condition.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Enjoying Nature in Hovik

On my last day in Oslo I decided to explore the area around David's apartment before my flight back to London.

I left the apartment at about 12.30pm and walked down this road:

There was a school there and kids were playing in the park; must have been their recess time.

Soon I reached this clearing

and saw a body of water behind the trees.

David had earlier explained that I need to walk through the trees to get to the hiking trail. So I thought this must be it.

There was a signboard but I didn't understand a word as everything was in Norge.

Behind the trees was a small marina with lovely boats.

The surroundings were quiet and peaceful. Whenever I find a nice peaceful spot, I love to sit still for hours listening to my breathing and just enjoy the gift of 'being'.

But this time I had a plane to catch so I had to continue my hike.

Soon I reached this path

and sat on one of the bench to admire the scenery.

A lady with her dog came walking along the path. Her dog that was not on a leash took a liking to me and came bounding up to me seeking a pat on its head.

The lady rushed to pull her dog away from me and quickly tied it to a leash. She didn't even apologise that her dog made my clothes dirty, but I didn't mind cause the dog was a cute fella.

I didn't get a chance to snap a pic of the dog, but here's a pic of the lady dragging her dog away. Poor thing, it was just being friendly.

Later when I related the story to David, he said that Norwegians are so stuck up that they won't apologise when something like that happens.

Anyway, I continued my hike along the edge of the water.

I noticed that the sand was black, which reminded me of the black sand in Langkawi. The water was equally black.

Then I walked back into the woods. I was not afraid of getting lost because I just needed to follow any of the paths that have already been paved, and I would eventually reach the main road.

In my last post about Oslo, I mentioned that the Norwegians are great boating people. They are also great lovers of the outdoor. That's why you can find many opportunities in Norway to do outdoor activities like hiking, cycling and boating.

In fact during this hike, I met a few people from all ages and walks of life who were hiking in the area. Some of them were bringing their pet dogs for a walk, couples were jogging in the woods and some were just hiking as if it were their daily routine.

The Norwegian lifestyle is very different compared to the sedentary lifestyle of the Malaysians. While they love the outdoors and have an active lifestyle, Malaysians just refuse to walk anywhere. Even when it comes to parking also must park right in front of our destination. No wonder obesity is rising in the country!

When I was in Oslo, almost all the Norwegian men and women I saw were slim, fit and gorgeous! This is what having an active lifestyle does to you.

Now back to my hiking story ...

I saw houses and more sceneries like these:

After spending much time exploring the area, I realised I need to get back to the apartment to get ready to go to the airport.

I saw this opening along one of the path which led to the main road.

The path opened up to a futsal court. I had to snap a pic of it cause the sky was so blue!

When I reached the apartment, I told David that his apartment is surrounded by lovely landscapes and that he should spend more time outdoors. But he said he don't have the time as he is busy with work. By the time he reaches home, he's so tired and stressed he just wants to sleep.

Well, I thought spending time outdoors is one way of releasing stress. But what to do, as the Malay saying goes,

"Kalau hendak, seribu daya; kalau tak nak, seribu dalih"

If I were living there, I would make frequent trips to drink in the sights of the lovely natural surroundings of Hovik.

And then I'll be slim, fit and gorgeous as the Norwegians! Lead an active lifestlye is what I wanna do!

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