Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bali - We're Back

We're back from Bali! What a great time of rest. Here are the highlights in pictures:

Who wants to be a Millionaire? Their currency was so confusing, we kept mixing up the zeros especially since they don't have comma separators.

First things first, it has been quite some time since we sat a non-budget airline. To have them serve us food was quite a welcome. Note the chocolates on the side. :)


We arrived in the evening and saw this splendid cumulus cloud just before reaching.

By the time we reached the villa, the sun had already set. After unloading our bags, we quickly made our way to Jimbaran beach, where it is famous for its seafood. The food was... meh but the ambiance was something else. We could hear the thunderous waves crashing as we dined on the beach.

Here's how our room greeted us. Soft lights casting a dim yellow glow plus wide windows on two sides of the room to give ample light. Unfortunately for KS, there was no door to the toilet and the sliding glass doors provided those in the room to view you taking a dump or sitting in the bath tub.

Despite being a little tired, we still made it a point to swim in our private pool that very first night.

Our villa at Pat-Mase, Jimbaran, has 3 bedrooms, a private pool, a kitchen, a jacuzzi, a living room and a path to a larger public pool. We had to take a cabby from the reception to our villa since it was quite a distance to walk. Here are more photos of our villa:
View of my room from the master bedroom.
The living room with sofas that you will sink into comfortably on a lazy afternoon.

We even had our own jacuzzi but it didn't look like it was recently cleaned so we skipped that.

We even had our own cook who came to make us breakfast in our kitchen. In about half an hour, he whipped up a lovely breakfast for us:

video
Here's a video on the first sights/walking into the villa.

There were many water-filled-bowls-with-flower-petals thingy all over Bali. This one is flanking the entrance at the reception area of our villa.

On the way out the next day, we hired a driver and a van to take us around. Along the way, I noticed the eclectic mix of buildings that lined the roads. There were no standard looking shoplots, some looked like they had been there for centuries with their fading walls and shrines while some looked like it was carried over from Australia like this one: (I couldn't take more photos as the local scenery whizzed past as the van whipped into smaller roads and ignored uneven roads)
Their petrol stations too were quite nicely designed.

One of the first few stops we took was at this wood carving place. This was the only "cute" carving I could find, the rest were pretty serious arty stuff.

Thereafter, we headed to the volcano, Kintamani, if I'm not mistaken. Had lunch there overlooking this gorgeous view. The air was cool too so that was quite pleasant.

Then we headed off to a spice factory. Here is the cat that is responsible for the world's most expensive coffee:
...which Jan ordered and tastedNo, that's not what you think it is. That is the kopi sai, not miaw sai. Still, Jan said it had a very sandy texture which I refuse to imagine.

After that, we headed to our spa and had a two hour relaxing massage. Bliss.

The next day, we went to Tanah Lot to see the temple in the middle of the sea. First thing that caught my attention was this kite:
Heck, I've flown many kites but this was really something, sailboat in the sky. Was quite tempted to buy it back but not that I fly kites anymore.

Here are more shots of the temple grounds:
This was the temple which we couldnt' set foot on due to high tide. The waves were huge and crashing all over, quite scary when you think of being sucked into a swirling vortex of rolling waves and into the depth of sea.

Here was a huge bat which Jan tried to befriend and feed. Unfortunately for her, he didn't respond to her advances.

We tried the famous Babi Guling. It is made from various parts of the pig and we just ate whatever we couldn't identify. Blessed are the oblivious.

Stopped by Kuta Beach, which was brimming with bikini clad tourists with sunburnt shoulders. It is a happening area, full of people at all times, apparently.

And finally, we went to the second temple, the Uluwatu temple to watch the Kecak dance or Fire Dance. The place was teeming with monkeys who tried to snatch everything from sunglasses to dentures if they could. This temple was not as stunning as the Tanah Lot one but the cliffs were certainly breathtaking.

And here we were waiting for the dance to start and since I couldn't take a good shot of the setting sun, instead I took a photo of people bathed in the sunset and taking photos of the sunset.

Would I go back to Bali again? For free yes, but if I had to pay, I'd rather travel somewhere else next time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prank

Two days ago, I set KS ringtone to this song below without his knowledge. The ringtone starts from the 1:48 minute on this video. Thinking he'd notice it very soon, the night and half the day went by peacefully. I found out later he always sets his phone to silent.



THEN! KS happened to forget to set it to silent mode in the office yesterday evening. With his entire team pounding furiously at their keyboards and with full concentration on their tasks at hand, suddenly his phone rang "Abu Ne Ne! Abu Ne Ne!"

When he told me this, I laughed till I cried.

Having a Break

What a month of travelling! Grace & Matt just came back from DC, my parents are off to Beijing and now we're heading to Bali tomorrow. Ron, you going anywhere?

I'm so looking forward to the trip. Usually, our holidays would be packed from sun up to sun down, painting the town red. But this one, I'm expecting it to be a more relaxing holiday and rather excited about the private pool. There's not much shopping to be done (much to KS relief) but spas, spas and more spas.

Muscles, you're commanded to relax. Yeah, then come back to all the stress at work again... but at least! One week of relaxation! Woo hoo!

Being Conned

Yesterday on the way from my office to the HQ, I was stopped by a bunch of young guys at the Masjid Jamek LRT station.

"Miss. Miss! I give you free Jusco voucher! Just give me 5 minutes to explain!"



Curious, I stopped. Jusco? As in Jaya Jusco employing people to stand at train stations giving out free vouchers? Sensing a con job coming up, I waited for him to proceed.

"Miss, have you seen this ad in Jusco? In the newspaper?" He pulls up an advertisement from a Chinese newspaper. I reply a negative. He then proceeded to say that the sealed voucher he is giving me will contain a colour which will indicate how much discount I would get for purchases at Jusco.

Asking me to write my name (and only my name), I played along and ripped the voucher open.

Immediately, his colleague joined him and both exclaimed loudly, "Miss!! Wow!! You are very lucky! Only 200 people can win this type of voucher! You will win an electrical item shown here and the grey circle (on the left) has a hidden number. You go to one of the four suppliers (which I have never heard of), claim your electrical gift and scan the grey circle. You could win a trip to Bali, Paris etc depending on what number it is!"

Ah ha. I have heard of this scam. Think I was born yesterday?

"Call this number now (a handphone number, nevertheless) and speak to Ms Lim to claim your prize"

Thank goodness I was late for a meeting so I made my excuses and left quickly. I kept the "voucher" as a conversation piece. The whole procedure was so fishy, you could smell it a mile away. But it's sad that some people fall for this and loose their hard earned money for these scams.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oo... Looky Here...

As a corporation:
1. How would you attract me to join your corporate Facebook site?

2. How would you keep me interested for the next couple of weeks, that I'd keep coming back every few days to check out what's new?

3. How do you ensure I watch your latest advertisement over and over and over?

4. Get me to look at all your postings on the Facebook site?

5. And get me to scour your official website to look at sites I've never even visited?

6. And you want me to shamelessly blog about it?


Babi.

I have no clue to what the first clue is about: A light symphony, when and where does it flicker?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to Euthanize a Cat

Recently, I encountered a cat that really made me wonder how to euthanize it without going to a vet. You see, it's nose and whiskers were eaten away by bacteria with its bottom jaw protruding from the cavity. When I saw it, I got a shock and was even more shocked that it was still alive.

Its body was a malnourished layer of skin, its fur highly unkempt and the face still bleeding. I backed away in horror and she looked at me and meowed, licking her missing face. I know she is being eaten alive and will eventually die but I can't bear the thought of it suffering even while it waits for its impending death.

I cried for days, wondering how I could ease its suffering. Even after so long, it's still bothering me. Unfortunately, circumstances are such that I cannot report this, could not drag a vet to euthanize it. I won't go into details but I really tried. Short of taking an axe and chopping its head off or rolling over it with the car which I couldn't bear to do, I have simply exhausted my avenues.

Specky Kids

I was at an optometrist yesterday looking for a pair of sunglasses for my upcoming Bali trip when a family walked in. They had come to collect spectacles for their two girls who looked barely 10 years old.

My youngest nephew who is also below 10 years old is already sporting a pair and my good friend's eldest child who is not even 5 years old is also wearing one.

Although I was the oldest to wear specs amongst my siblings (they all wore specs starting from primary school while I was in secondary when I first wore mine), I don't remember seeing so many children during that time wearing specs like it is now.

I am just wondering, is it because kids nowadays are exposed to unhealthy eye habits such as TV and computers?

Anyway, on my hunting for a pair of sunglasses, I realised a few changes that is required to wear sunglasses:
1. I can't wear my specs (obviously) so I have to get prescription sunglasses. But that means, the frame will look like a normal pair of glasses.
2. So okay, I won't get prescription sunglasses. I can see without my specs, after all... I swear. Or I need to get contact lenses. Sheesh.
3. Design: my face is wide and flat, I need nose pads, hence no plastic frames. I was drawn to a metal one that looked like this:

but KS said he'd prefer me to wear something like this to cover more of my face.

I dunno. I just don't want my Bali photos to turn out to be a reference to those "Fashion back then" like we used to laugh at my parents old photos and geeky specs.

Perhaps it's best to stick to safe designs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Test

This Thursday I am yet again going to put myself through another exam, and as usual, I have no motivation to study or even memorize the exam questions which I am told are repeated.

It's a weekend, for crying out loud! I want to rest! Grrr... It's like I'm back in school all over again, pimple-faced and exam blues.

*****************
Update: I passed the test! Heck, I wonder what I can do with this certification...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Short Trip North

Warning: long entry ahead.

So after our short trip down South, the weekend after, we headed to Cameron Highlands with our cell group.
Surprisingly, Camerons has a lot to offer in terms of things to do compared to Gentings and Frasers.

Our first stop was a bee farm. There were many flowers and of course, bees. There was an agitated hive which caused us to stand and watch from afar as the staff tried to calm them down. Managed to spot a swarm of bees huddling under a branch - so geli.


And here's the honey comb, appreciating it's complex structure. They're truly amazing engineers.

The next day, we went to the peak of the hill and climbed this tower. Unfortunately, it was misty and darn cold. We climbed to the top, shivered our way into some photos despite the biting winds and quickly made our way back down.
Apparently on clear days, the view from this tower can cover Teluk Intan and Gopeng and Ipoh and... I can't remember what other towns.

Very nearby to this tower, we hiked into what is called a mossy forest, whereby the thick moss growing on the tree branches is solid enough for us to walk on it. So essentially, we were walking on tree tops.This picture depicts a cross section of the soft bouncy ground we were standing on - several branches being covered with the moss. If we jumped hard enough on the edge of the path, we'd plummet to the cliff below us.
Then we went to the Boh tea plantations. A few facts we learned:
  • The workers are paid a measly RM0.20 per kilo of tea leaves they collect per day
  • The tea bush needs to grow on hills as it needs good irrigation, no pooling of water after a rainy spell.
  • The hills can be very steep and the workers have to pluck the tea leaves by hand
  • The tea bushes are trimmed every three years. Otherwise they will grow as tall as a tree.
  • Some tea trees are untrimmed so that it can produce fruit to grow more tea bushes (see tea fruit picture below)

The tea fruit

The Boh Tea Centre is a new tourist building which won an award for its achitecture, and it is a really gorgeous building.

Place 3 was the butterfly farm with its many strange creatures, not just butterflies.

Actually, these two beetles were mating at first but after being under our scrutiny, they gave up. Seen here is when the top one was crawling off the other.

Cute toad. Thought it would hop off my palm and onto my face but it didn't.

Grinning lizard.

On the last day, we also went jungle trekking by accident. We were looking for the path that was supposed to lead us to the waterfall but after about an hour, with the waterfall sounds getting further away, we kind of figured we were on the wrong track. By the time we decided to turn back, we were too tired to explore the waterfall when we got to the right path.

Still, we managed to spot these ants making their way to goodness knows where, each carrying a small piece of stone/earth. Jan stopped one of them and wrestled its cargo from its grasp. The poor thing then dejectedly searched for its cargo before giving up and hurrying back to where it came from to pick up another speck.

Another place not photographed was the pasar malam. So many stalls selling the same things! Strawberries! Veggies! Corn! Flowers! Stuff that looked like stawberries... Sheesh. But one thing though, buying stuff from Camerons is like buying stuff from a China trip, you get cheated left, right and centre.

We stayed at the OMF building again (where I stayed last October) and had a great supply of delicious food - chicken curry, steamboat and what is Camerons without its famous scones?
Spotted this cluster of flowers which resembled a heart on the OMF grounds.

And, finally, with a bunch of good friends, what could top it off but playing a board game? We played Cranium which is like a combination of Pictionary, Charades (check KS trying to act out Hamster Wheel), IQ, clay modelling (spot the "mannequin" clay which only Jan managed to guess) all rolled into one.
video


We certainly had loads of fun. I know some of them are planning to go back again.

Phew, now for a quiet weekend before our Bali trip.