Thursday, May 11, 2006

we are moving...

check out our new home @

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bangkok Wedding, December 2005

Not ours, obviously ;-)

Jeff, Yen and I will be going to Bangkok early morning tomorrow to attend our good friend Siriwat's wedding in Bangkok! Wouldn't be bringing our laptops there. So, there will be more to come on our return. Watch this space!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

San Francisco & Chicago: The Journey Begins

This will be my first posting of a trip without Yen on this blog :-(

3.40am: I'm sure 17 hours from kul to sin to nrt to sfo ain't that long. At least it ain't the longest haul I've taken this far. Transit hour is different, of course. I had early doubts if I could survive my seven-hour transit at Changi for my 7.15am flight to Tokyo. Not anymore. A seven-hour wait shortens miraculously when you spend an hour blogging and the next 5 sec hitting the wrong key deleting the blog entry. There can't be any other more effective way in killing spare time. You bet.

12.30am: It was a good thing that Ian and Chunnie came by to take me out for coffee at East Coast. That took at least two hours off the wait when I first thought the wait will be too long to stand. This was of course before I decided to blog (and re-wrote the same blog an hour later).

2.35am: Here I am, blogging happily at the Pacific 'The Perfect Cup' Coffee Company before I made that not-so-perfect mistake erasing my blog entry.

3.35am: Chee Choy came online. We will be doing a wine tasting road trip through the California wine country around Napa valley when I arrive. Sounds like the movie Sideways, of course, minus the fact that we are not two middle-aged guys! (No, contrary to what you think... I'm not THAT old)

3.51am: made multiple copies of this blog in notepad in case I erase it again! Gotta go check in. I shall blog again when transiting at Tokyo.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Fraser's Hill - August 2005

Fraser's Hill derived its name from a colorful character in the colonial history, Louis James Fraser, who operates a tin-ore trading station in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Its relatively cool climate in the low 20°c's makes Fraser's Hill an ideal location as a hill holiday station from past to present.

The journey to Fraser's Hill takes approximately 2 hours from Petaling Jaya/Kuala Lumpur. A pretty good driving direction that we used is from One important thing to consider when planning your journey is the traffic control hour of the route from Gap to the top of Fraser's Hill. The route is open for ascending traffic flow at odd hours and descending traffic flow at even hours. We misjudged the time and only got to Kuala Kubu Bahru at 1.30pm, which meant that we would have to wait at Gap for at least an hour if we continue driving (The next ascending hour would be 3.00pm - 3.40pm). Fortunately, Empangan Sungai Selangor (Selangor River Dam Information Center) was conveniently located on route to Fraser's Hill. We took a turn out for detour and learned some facts about the dam and water supply in the country. The visitor center is well maintained and worth a short visit.

From the dam, it is a leisurely drive of 30 minutes uphill along the winding road to Gap through the woods. We got to Gap at 3.05pm and continued to drive for another 25 minutes before we got to the top of Fraser's Hill. The road was indeed narrow and winding that I can hardly imagine how one can drive safely during the off-control hours (road opens to 2-way traffic between 8pm and 6am). In fact, I thought I got a little nausea when I finished the drive!

We booked ourselves into the Guinevere suite at Ye Olde Smokehouse and we must say that we were very satisfied with what we saw. The traditional country house built in Tudor architecture used to be a Red Cross clubhouse build in the early 20th century and is now converted to a holiday bungalow. The place exudes an old yet timeless English charm, and aptly decorated with English silverware, china, paintings and the likes.

The main room in the suite is a king size bed with a sofa set. Going deeper into the room is a small dining area, with windows overseeing the front of the house and the mountain ranges. Next to the dining room is the dressing room, followed by the bathroom. From here, a door opens to the back of the house and leads to an open balcony that looks out to the garden. While the suite is not a typical all luxurious executive suite, we love it being cozy and comfortable.

We took a tour around the house, and decided that we will have Devonshire cream tea at the garden. Unfortunately, it started raining soon after we placed our order. We moved into the house, by the window and enjoyed our English tea. The Devonshire cream tea set comes with two scones, butter, cream, and strawberry jam for RM18. Yen loved the scones! We also read a little during the tea. The house has a collection of paperbacks and magazines. Not the best collection but I found this interesting 1966 book called "The Cat Who Could Read Backwards" and was reading it throughout our stay.

Before nightfall, we drove out to venture a little around Fraser's hill. Great thing about this place is you can just wind the car windows down to enjoy the fresh and cooling air. Like everyone else that came to Fraser's Hill, we gladly obliged to take a photo of the Fraser's Clock Tower located in the center of the town. Instead of having dinner back at Smokehouse, we had Chinese for dinner at the only Chinese restaurant in the town. The food was mediocre and as with every other business up here, they charged slightly more expensive than normal. (Alright I wasn't complaining, it was just RM33 for the dinner, anyway). Took a couple more photos and got myself a Ramly burger before we headed back to the hotel. It's just intriguing to find that Ramly burgers are always so good anywhere! (Noticed that it’s always about food when we travel...)

* * *

From our time together I learned to strike a balance between our interests. I got up early the next day and went around alone to take pictures of Fraser's Hill. Time seems to have stopped in this place. The English homes, woods and birds formed a perfect picture of serenity. What an ideal place for self-reflection!

(Now I'm eagerly awaiting my return to Singapore to get the films processed!)

When Yen got up we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast. The traditional English breakfast included fruit juice, porridge/cereal, bread, croissant, eggs, bacons & sausages, and coffee. It was a good start for the day!

We have planned for a picnic up here right from the beginning. Together, we brought along some fruits (grapes, mainly) and a bottle of Australian Shiraz-Merlot. So instead of having a proper sit-down lunch, we had a picnic. Spread our rug at the garden, poured the wine, and lazed under the mild sun and refreshing breeze. Sleep a little, read a little, eat a little, talk a little. It was just perfect. What more can one asks for?

Having requested for a late checkout, we headed back to our suite at only around 2pm to get ready for checkout. We planned to drive down at 4pm as the Gap gate is opened at even hours for down-hill. Not wanting to end this vacation as yet, upon checking out, we drove to the Jeriau waterfall (about 4km from Smokehouse). Unfortunately, the waterfall was a disappointment. It was certainly nothing of a spectacular waterfall sight that one might expect. On the other hand, we managed to end our memories of Fraser's Hill on a high note. Back in the town center before we headed down, we bought ourselves some pisang goreng (fried banana) and ubi goreng (fried sweet potato), and most deliciously, cempedak goreng (deep fried jackfruit).

The journey took us another 2+ hours before we got home at 7pm. Yen and I both agreed that the place is definitely enjoyable and we will be back!

p/s: Oh yeah, I haven't finish reading the book and I guess that makes up another reason to go back to the Smokehouse. Or I could just buy it online from Amazon.

More photos at pbase

11-Aug-05: More photos from my trusty FM3A:

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bangkok - June 2005



and more at pbase

(I was too lazy too write =P)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas Eve @ Hong Kong

Day 2, 24 Dec 2004, Friday
Nathan Road 彌敦道 (Shopping, shopping and shopping), Jordan Road 佐敦道, Food. French Toast 多士 @ 翠華餐廳, Dinner at One Peking 北京道一号, Tsim Sha Tsui East 尖东, More Food! Walnut Dessert 杏仁糊@大良八記, Fish ball 炸绫鱼球 @ roadside stall, "Turtle Jelly" 海天堂鮮製龜苓膏

The second day started with breakfast (bacon instant noodle 火腿公仔麵 and Wonton noodle) at some local coffee shop 源記粉面茶餐廳. 火腿公仔麵 wasn't something spectacular in retrospect, but that's something we dont quite often get locally. At 12.30pm, we decided to continue the trail from yesterday: to cover Nathan road and Jordan Road, and to extend the walk up to Yao Ma Tei and Mong Kok and end at the Ladies Market - this combined 5.6km route takes approximately 1+2½=4 hours, according to Steve Fallon in his Lonely Planet Hong Kong & Macau Guide. However, little did he know this: walking with one's girlfriend around the 'golden-mile' shopping area at Tsim Sha Tsui during an island-wide sale will result in covering the half the route in double the time. Of course, yet another fact he failed to account for is someone like me that stops every other 100 meters to take photographs. (I took >1300 photos in 5 days, not withstanding some lost photo opportunities when all three of my camera batteries ran dried while we're at Causeway Bay one afternoon!)

Anyway, it was good that we did most of our shopping that afternoon and had the remaining few days reserved for sight-seeing. The shopping therapy ended around 5+pm when we found 翠華餐廳 at Jordan Road. This is one restaurant that Stephen recommended for their 冻奶茶. We ordered a french toast set from the tea-time menu. Again, it was great food! *yummy* Rejuvenated from the quick bite, we headed back to the hotel via MTR at 6.15pm - we were to meet Stephen and his girlfriend Jo Jo for dinner at 7.30pm.

The crowd started to build up around 7 p.m. at Canton Road, where Andy Lau's Christmas Countdown Concert will be held. All major roads in Tsim Sha Tsui had been closed from traffic in anticipation of the crowd for Christmas countdown at various spots of Tsim Sha Tsui. It took us 15 minutes (!) to walk from Hoiphong Road to Peking Road, a block's distance of less than 50 metres. Walk is not quite the right word because you simply don't - you just get pushed by the flow of people from one end of the walkway to the other.

Having gotten passed the crowd, we met Stephen and Jo Jo at a Shanghainese vegetarian restaurant at One Peking Road for dinner. It was no doubt a great place to be at! We were seated near the windows overlooking the highrises in Hong Kong Island. From there, we had a totally unobstructed view of the nightly light and fireworks show across the sea at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island. Good company, mouth-watering dinner, spectacular view... what more can one ask for a Christmas Eve dinner! Thanks Stephen and Jo jo!!

We headed for Avenue of Stars 星光大道 after dinner, walking passed the famous Peninsula Hotel, thinking to view the lightings and christmas decorations across the harbour at Hong Kong Island. However, barricades were set up literally all over Tsim Sha Tsui for crowd control and there was no way for us to get there. (As a matter of fact, we were just a sliding door away from Avenue of Stars at New World Center, not knowing that the only way to get there that night was via Star Ferry Terminal. That will take at least 30 minutes away by foot, if we could ever get past the crowd before us). So, we headed to the direction of Tsim Sha Tsui East and finally ended the stroll for dessert near Canton Road at 大良八記. The warm meshed almond 杏仁糊 is superb! We bit farewell to Stephen and Jo jo after the supper and continued strolling. And of course more food after that - Fried fish ball 炸绫鱼球 from a roadside stall and Turtle Jelly(?) 龜苓膏 at Hoi Ting Tong 海天堂! (author's note: it seems inevitable that references to food overwhelms this post - Yen and I had been eating almost all the time when we're awake!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Hong Kong and Macau: The Travelogue

We, or to be more specific, I almost couldn't make it to this Hong Kong trip at all, having lost my passport on a weekend trip back to KL from Singapore three weeks before the scheduled departure date. It was a long story... However, thanks to God's mercy and faithfulness, my passport was recovered two weeks later! Without that, I would probably be blogging about spending Christmas alone in Singapore at this very moment.

Day 0, 22 Dec 2004, Wednesday
We spent the night strolling along Orchard Road in Singapore, enjoying the Christmas lighting along the road and on the shopping centers. Throngs of people walking and shopping even though it was a week night! I started packing at 12.00am after returning from Orchard Rd, and we only hit the bed around 2 a.m.

Day 1, 23 Dec 2004, Thursday
Tsim Sha Tsui, Star Ferry Terminal, HK Cultural Centre, Space Museum, Arts Museum, Nathan Road 彌敦道, Food. And More Food.

We had to get up at 4 a.m. to catch the 6.45 a.m. flight to Hong Kong. That translates us having 6 hour of sleep, collectively. *sigh* We arrived at Hong Kong around 11 a.m. and got on the pre-arranged airport transfer coach to our hotel. The Royal Pacific Hotel is located right at Canton Road, the shopping belt of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Trying to make up for the inadequate sleep (we didn't manage to sleep much on the flight either), we took a nap at the hotel before running down for lunch at a fully air-conditioned 'Dai Pai Dong'. Coined as 'modernized version of outdoor food stall' by Lonely Planet, this restaurant serves pretty good anchovy pork rice (咸鱼肉饼饭) and tea with milk (奶茶). Yen and I gladly ordered a cup of 热奶茶 and 冻奶茶. And true to what Stephen suggested, 奶茶 in Hong Kong do taste better than those we can find at local kopitiam in Singapore and KL. Of course, nothing beats teh tarik - Stephen would give a double thumbs-up for that I suppose.

After lunch, we followed the recommended walking tour route in Lonely Planet and went around Canton Road, Star Ferry terminal, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Arts Museum, and a small stretch of Nathan Road before heading back to the hotel for yet another nap.

It was more food after that, with Kelvin treating us and another friend of his to a scrumptious dinner at Peking Restaurant at Harbour City. This place serves superb 北京填鴨 Peking Duck! So was the prawn. And the shark's fin soup. And the dessert. And the conversations. Kelvin, 多谢晒!!

Went for a short stroll along the harbour after the dinner to catch the spectacular night view of Hong Kong Island across the waters. The sea breeze proved to be too chilly for Yen and we decided to head back at around 11.30 p.m. There was still a big crowd at the harbour and everyone seems to be in the Christmas holiday mood already! On our way back, the Christmas Snoopy decided to follow us back to our hotel. :-)

More to come...
Day 2, 24 Dec 2004, Friday
Nathan Road 彌敦道 (Shopping, shopping and shopping), Jordan Road 佐敦道, Food. More Food!

Day 3, 25 Dec 2004, Saturday
The Peak, Central 中环, Wan Chai 湾仔, Food, Causeway Bay 铜锣湾, Mong Kok 旺角, Ladies Market 女人街, Food, Yau Ma Tei, Temple Street 廟街, Food!

Day 4, 26 Dec 2004, Sunday
Macau, Ruins of the St Paul Church 大三巴, Largo do Senado, Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, Food 葡挞!, Clear Water Bay 清水湾, Seafood!, Lan Kwai Fong 蘭桂坊, D'aguilar Street 德己立街

Day 5, 27 Dec 2004, Monday
Shiung Wan 上环, Dim Sum 鱼翅燕窝蛋挞@潮江春, Western Market, Wife Biscuit 恒香老婆饼, 大家樂一哥焗豬扒飯

No reason for jetlag

Yeah, that means we both have to get back to work tomorrow :-(.

It was definitely one of the best holidays we have been together. The warm hospitality of extended by our dear Hong Kong friends taught us to treasure our friendships even more! Our deepest gratitude to: Kelvin; Stephen and his gf Jo Jo; Louis and his wife Angel; Sunny, his good friend Sam and Sam's wife, Karen!

We have had pretty tight schedule during our stay in Hong Kong and didn't really have much time to blog. (Okay, we were lazy =P). Sent Yen off this morning to KL by Aeroline and came back to organize the 1000+ photos we took during these five days and updating this blog now.

Will be posting the travelogue of our HK trip soon.