Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pretty Shop :-)

What do you think about this shop?

The most orderly and well arranged shop I've seen. Photo was snapped in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Crocodile Infested Waters and Elephant Escape at Chitwan National Park

The Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its rich diversity of flora and fauna which includes many types of birds and wildlife like elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Before doing the Jungle Safari tour, the owner of Eden Jungle Resort (where we stayed) informed that we need to wear dark coloured clothers and be very quiet in the forest. 

The safari tour is an all day event which can be divided into 2 parts, i.e. Part 1: Before Lunch and Part 2: After Lunch :-)

So that morning, the guide lead us from Eden Jungle Resort to the river bank.

I was worried when I saw the sampan that was going to bring us on crocodile infested waters.

The trick is to sit close to each other and don't move so that the sampan won't capsize.

No life jacket were given and when the sampan started moving I was afraid that we would capsize. Moreover, look at what was basking on the river bank:

I dread to think what could have happened had the sampan capsized. But it's all part of the adventure, isn't it?

Soon the sampan grew steadier and we continued on our way.

Pin drop silence ... we managed to spot different types of birds.

Soon we reached another part of the jungle and our guide lead us into the forest.

Our guide pointed out elephant dung, animal tracks, ant hills and all sorts of evidence that proved wildlife were around. The difficult part is to spot these shy creatures. I presume most of them are also nocturnal.

Soon we reached this lake where all the wildlife in the area come for water. Therefore it's a good place to spot these creatures (if you have lots of time and patience). Apart from spotting a few birds, I didn't see any rhino or tiger.

This spot is a haven for bird watchers. We saw many avid photographers here, each trying to spot and snap pics of birds and wildlife. Some of these photographers came with lenses as long as my arm!

Next we visited the Khorsor Elephant Breeding Centre.

Nothing much here except an exhibition on elephants and conservation efforts.

At the back of the centre is a long shelter with a few elephants, all with their feet chained to the ground.

This elephant was swinging its trunk and rubbing it against the tree trunk.

There was this calf who that unchained and running around.

I guess it must have been excited to see us that it started to make an escape - to be close to us.

When it started climbing over the broken fence, I started freaking out. There was no keeper around and we didn't know what to do. That girl in red pants must have instigated the escape, hahaha.

I tried pushing the calf back in but have you ever tried pushing a baby elephant - they won't budge. 

Soon it was free and started running around us. I could have sworn that I saw the look of glee and new found freedom on the calf's face.

Welcome to freedom, calf! Can you see the broken fence behind me?

Then one of the keepers who was standing a little further away started shouting at the calf. At the same time, one of the adult elephants in the enclosure started making a trumpet-like sound loudly. I guess it must be calling its calf back in.

So the little fellow climbed back over the broken fence into the enclosure and went to its mum.

This escape from enclosure incident was one of the highlights of my trip to Nepal. And this picture is just so freaking cute :-)

After the elephant breeding centre, we walked to a river and crossed a bridge to the other side.

Bridge over still waters. 

At the other side of the river, we saw this group of buffaloes (not too sure whether they were water buffaloes or not).

Look at the lady in red. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

As we were snapping pics of the buffaloes, an old man started shouting at us. I didn't understand what he was saying, but our guide told us that the guy was not pleased we were snapping photos of his buffaloes. I'm sure he would have shut up if we had given him a tip, or maybe snapped his fart face instead.

Then we got into the jeep and headed back to the resort for lunch.

Next: Spotting the Elusive One-Horn Rhino

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fairy Magnet Strikes Again!

My Fairy Magnet was in Saudi Arabia recently for a business trip. The fellow looked high and low for fridge magnets there but couldn't find any, don't know why. 

So if there are any entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia who wish to foray into the fridge magnet business, I think fridge magnets of ladies in the burqa would be a hit!

So anyway, my Fairy Magnet got me these magnets instead:

Why Germany? Because he was on transit there.

He was on transit at the Frankfurt airport.

Since the Fairy Magnet is indeed a Fairy Magbet, he added more magnets from his country of origin.

Fairy Magnet says that New Jersey is a shit hole. I haven't been there but would like to see what a shit hole looks like ;-)

New York! New York!

Beaufort, South Carolina looks like a quaint place to have romantic horse carriage rides and build dreams of living in lovely houses with white picket fences.

What is a South Carolina without a North Carolina :-)

Thank you Fairy Magnet!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Japanese Titbits

Angie returned from a 10-day trip to Japan recently and brought back stuff like titbits and souvenirs for her colleagues and friends. You can read all about her travel experience here.

She even took the initiative to sort out the titbits and made goodie bags for her friends:

Titbits galore from Japan!

As you can see from the pic, the titbits from Japan come in flavours like green tea and red bean. And none is fried. No wonder the Japanese always have such clear complexions and slim figures.

My favourite item in the goody bag is not a food item but this fridge magnet:

Looks like a cute geisha :-)

This will definitely add to my fridge magnet collection!

Review: Redang Reef Resort

We stayed at Redang Reef Resort simply because it had the most economical 3D/2N package.

For RM358 per person (twin sharing), we got 2 nights accommodation, return transfers from the bus station to Shahbandar Jetty, return ferry from Shahbandar Jetty to the island, 3 snorkeling trips and all meals (2 B, 2L, 2 D and 2 tea breaks). There's also free flow of coffee, tea and hot water.

A plank walkway leads to Redang Reef. I love the crystal blue waters!

At the entrance of Redang Reef, there's a nice little lagoon that leads into the great blue ocean:

Divers who are studying for their PADI certificate train in this area. 

Compared to the other resorts on the island, Redang Reef is one of the simpler ones. So for RM358 per person, don't expect luxurious facilities. You get what you pay for.

The resort consists of 2 blocks of wooden buildings like this:

When we checked into our room, we found a pile of debris under the air con. After alerting the workers, they quickly came to clear the mess and to clean up our room. From the looks of it, the rooms were not ready when we checked-in. 

This is the reception area where guests are advised to leave their room keys in case they lose it while snorkeling:

The Reception is perpetually unattended.

Redang Reef also has a simple souvenir shop ...

... which didn't have a wide selection of souvenirs. So I went to More More Tea Inn which is a short walk from Redang Reef to buy these fridge magnets.

More More Tea Inn was made famous by Sammi Cheng and Richie Ren in the movie, Summer Holiday. There's a wide selection of souvenirs and beach wear sold here.

At the back of Redang Reef is a secluded, private beach complete with hammocks and lounge chairs. And when I say 'secluded', I mean it's really secluded.

This private beach at the back of Redang Reef is so secluded you can even go skinny dipping at night and no one would notice :-)

This is the dining area where all meals (except dinner) is served:

Dinner is NOT served here :-) Instead is it's served in another part of the resort that overlooks the sea.

Meals are simple and filing:

This was breakfast on one of the days.

I like this signage in the dining hall reminding us not to waste ...

Remember the bloated stomachs of babies in Africa (that the media drives into your head) and you won't need a sign like this.

After your meal, remember to place all plates and cups into these basins:

Reminded me of church camps where we had to wash our own plates. But then again, there are some eateries who have started this self service thingy to cut cost and whatnot. I think it's a good way to instill discipline. 

 The dining area is also the official habitat of these four legged residence of Redang Reef:

Can you spot them?

All in all, the staff were polite and ensured that we were well taken care off. 

However from a facility point of view, the resort could improve on a few areas, like its WiFi coverage for instance. The signal is so damn weak in the rooms that I had to sit in the dining area to log in. Even there the signal is not strong.

I also couldn't recharge my mobile phone in the room because there was something wrong with the power point. So I had to recharge in the dining area too which thankfully had power points that were working. 

And for DiGi users, there's no coverage at all in the rooms. I had to go to other areas of the resort to make calls or to send text messages. I can tolerate no WiFi in the room, but no mobile coverage is very annoying. 

The resort could really do with a refurbishment exercise to spruce the place up and and improve its facilities, especially its broadband/WiFi which is a basic facility in almost all hotels and resorts these days.

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