Monday, 29 March 2010

Two Trips a Year

Entrance fee to Westiminister Abbey in London is a cool GBP15.00 (approx RM74.00). That's why I just passed the abbey and snapped a photo of it from outside :-)

Travelling is expensive, no doubt about it.

When daily expenses starts eating into savings, most people would put travelling last on the list of "needs" as travelling is definitely a "want" which you can go without.

As for me, travelling is important. It not only adds spice to the routine of life, it's also a breakaway, a learning experience and definitely an enriching experience. I want to continue travelling as long as I am able to.

But since travelling needs $$$, I have devised a plan according to my budget, i.e. to travel twice in a year - one in the first half and the other in the second half.

The first trip will be within the region with a plane ticket averaging RM1,000. This would allow me to travel to places like South East Asia and South Asia.

The second trip will be a "bigger" one, meaning the destination will be further from home, with a plane ticket averaging RM2,000 and above. This means Europe, Middle East, South Africa, etc.

It's tough especially when the yearnings of travel are deep, but the pocket ain't deep enough!

Now that I've just started my new job, I was rather apprehensive that my new boss may not approve long periods of leave.

But during our recee trip to Langkawi recently, we spoke quite a bit and I was relieved to know that she's an avid traveller herself. So she understands why I need to travel :-) In fact, she has verbally agreed to approve my 2-week leave come year end, yippie!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

I Can't Open This Stubborn Jam Bottle

I bought this jam a couple of weeks ago and till today I can't open the damn bottle.

I've tried all sorts of methods - putting a rubber sheet around the cover for a good grip, waiting until the bottle is in room temperature, heating up the cover on the stove, etc.

I even brought the bottle back to my mum's place to see if she know of any special tips in opening stupid, stubborn jam bottles. Unfortunately her attempts were also futile.

I think I need to bring the bottle to the office and get one of my male colleagues to open it. I need a pair of strong hands as mine ain't strong enough to open this stubborn bottle.

Note to self: Never ever buy Steffi jam again !!!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

My Oregano Plant

This is my new oregano plant. Bought it for RM9.50 from one of the stalls at the Friday market behind my office building.

Opening price was RM10.00 but the seller wouldn't give me for RM8.00 that I asked for. So had to go with RM9.50 loh ...

Anyway, when I moved into my apartment 3 years ago, I left my balcony empty cause I didn't want to clutter it. Everything has to be zen like, you know.

But lately I've been wanting to plant flowers to make my balcony colourful and alive. But somehow couldn't start my green fingers engine. Maybe I was too busy cyber-farming on FarmVille :-)

This oregano plant came about after a friend suggested that I plant herbs instead of flowers. And if this oregano grows well, I wanna start planting petunias in hanging pots on my balcony.

I think I need to harvest my oregano soon.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Blower Man and His Blowjob

If you walk along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang in the evenings, there's a high possibility you might bump into this guy:

I call him the Blower Man because he does a very poor blowjob - he blows hot air and dirt from the road right into your face.

The Blower Man is actually DBKL's (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) "innovative" way to clear the road of dried leaves and small rubbish.

After using his handheld scud missile ala Iron Man to blow all the dirt and rubbish into a heap, Blower Man's sidekick will come and collect the rubbish into plastic bags for disposal.

What annoys me bout Blower Man is the way he does the blowing, which is often right smack into the face of pedestrians and anyone in his part.

Look at how Blower Man blows into the face of people at the bus stop.

I'll run far far away whenever I see Blower Man approaching cause he's hazardous to my health. Not only I inhale dirty air, but my clothing gets dirty, my skin feels sticky and the worst is when the dirt that he blows gets into my eye.

Gathering rubbish via blowing may be a fast and efficient way to keep the city clean. But it certainly annoys the hell out of me.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cheap Chocolates in Langkawi

I was in Langkawi for the past 1.5 days for a recee trip. Visited 2 hotels and lotsa restaurants to survey the best places to host a regional meeting. The folks at all these establishments were hungry for business and fed us like pigs - all for free!

So a recee is an absolutely good thing ;-)

Being a duty free island, Langkawi is a mecca for chocolate lovers who wish to satisfy their craving without having to burn a hole in their pockets.

If you want to know what are the price difference betwen chocolates in Langkawi compared to the mainland, take a look at the pic below.

After Eight Thin Chocolate Mints are sold for RM21.90 (in Langkawi airport) and RM36.00 (in LCCT) !!!

Now that's what I call a bargain!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

4 Important Tips to Stay Healthy While Travelling

Falling sick during your travels can be a huge bummer. All the things you wanna do and experience ain't gonna happen if you're lying in bed with a fever or flu.

To avoid all these disappointments, it is extremely important to stay healthy and here are 4 ways to do it.

1) Drink lots of water.

Water is extremely important to remain hydrated, especially when you're in a tropical country where it's hot and humid.

Bring along a bottle of water wherever you go. It is not only the best way to keep yourself hydrated, but it's cost savings during meals. Most eateries sell drinks at exhorbitant prices. By bringing your own water, you not only keep yourself hydrated, you get to save money too!

2) Eat lots of fruits and vege.

Our mothers have been drumming this piece of advice into our heads since we were little. So why not use this piece of advice during travel as well? After all, mothers know best :-)

3) Avoid foods that you can't identify.

No matter how adventurous you wanna be when it comes to eating, avoid foods you can't identify - at all cost.

When you're in an unfamiliar country, you never know what the locals eat. Like for example, do you know that the Vietnamese eat dogs? The thought of putting the flesh of those little cute, faithful creatures into my mouth would give me a stomach upset for days on end!

Eat where the locals eat is good advice for travellers who are on a budget. But sometimes what the locals can stomach might not be ok for you. Take a look at these stalls:

Would you eat from these stalls?

Always pick a stall that you think is clean and will not cause you to fall sick.

4) Go to toilet everyday.

What goes in must come out, and you've got to ensure it happens everyday. Otherwise your body will be filled with toxic and you'll fall sick eventually.

To be able to go to the toilet everyday, drink lots of water and don't forget your fruits and vege too.

Some people can't do it regularly when they are travelling because of the change in routine and food intake, or they are uncomfortable sitting on a "throne" that is not theirs. Someone I know can do without going to the toilet for up to one week whenever she travels! And that's nasty!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Potatoes Galore in Ngadasari

Note: This entry is specially for those who love potatoes as much as I do!

Whilst hiking through the Probolinggo areas of Cemoro Lawang and Ngadasari, I was amazed at the amount of potatoes in the area.

Potatoes, potatoes everywhere ...

As a lover of any dish made of potatoes, it was a good experience observing how potatoes are planted and harvested before it ends up on our plates :-)

I guess the journey of a potato begins as a tuber waiting to be planted.

"Oohhh ... so this is how baby potatoes look like ..."

As it grows bigger, leaves start to sprout.

I present to you ... potato plants

This is the first time I'm seeing a potato plant. All these while I only know potatoes as round, brown vegetables (or fruit?) that reveal yellow flesh when the skin is peeled.

 When the potatoes are ready for harvest, farmers do it by hoeing the soil.

Harvest time ...

Then they gather the potatoes into baskets that are joined by a stick, just like how people sold nasi kandar in the old days ;-)

I think you must be super strong to carry these baskets filled with potatoes.

Apparently the price of potatoes have taken a dive from IDR5,000 a kilo to IDR2,000 a kilo. Heck, I could eat potatoes everyday with that kind of prices!

The hotel where we stayed, Yoschi's has signboards proudly declaring it has the best potato dishes since the past 20 years.

Signboard outside Yoschi's restaurant.

I'm not surprised since Yoschi's is located in the heart of Ngadasari where potatoes are aplenty. So it would make sense to specialise in a dish who's main ingredient can be found easily, plentifully and cheaply.

"... the best potatoe dishes since 20 years"

By the time we got back to Yoschi's, it was lunch time and we were famished.

After seeing all the potatoes during the hike, and motivated by Yoschi's reputation as a potato sifu, I decided to order a potato dish.

The menu had an extensive choice of potato dishes, which made it difficult to choose. In the end I ordered a potato pancake with tomato sauce that costs IDR17,000.

Potato pancake with tomato sauce

The dish was not only delicious, it was so huge that it could feed a battalion (just kidding!). I didn't have dinner that evening.

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