Friday, October 31, 2008

bestest friend in the world!

2 days before my climbing trip, i called up N and whined to her that i've not started preparing for my trip yet! nothing at all! not even a list of things to bring! *panic*panic*

a few moments after i hang up the phone, i received an sms from N:
shampoo, comb, hair band, cap, facial cleanser, cream, lotion, tooth paste, tooth brush, lip balm, hand gloves, sweater, long johns, long pants, shorts, t-shirts, socks, shoes, slippers, lingerie, knee guard, head lamp, sleeping bag, plastic bag for dirty laundry, rain coat, elle blue bag pack, waist pouch, camera, mp3, charger, water bottle, power bar, isotonic drink, medicine, plaster, sweets to sooth your throat, leg warmers, umbrella, towel

then the night before my departure, N came over to drop these off:

winter coat, in a zip lock bag that allows us to let the air out so that it's really flat and won't take up so much luggage space (any specific name for such bags ar?)

a big ass head lamp for our midnight summit attempt,
taken from her mom's shop

pic via mms from N, as a preview
of how big ass the head lamp is!

N even went to her company's panel doctor to get me some medicine! medicine for diarrhoea, altitude sickness, fever, headache, dizziness and stomachache. also various sizes of plasters as well as a pack of strepsils! all these in another smaller zip lock bag.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Terry Fox Run Kuala Lumpur 2008

argh, was just reminded (by auntyjo) that the Terry Fox Run will be this sunday! dang! N and i were planning to go... but did not realize it'll be so soon after my climb. i'm still nursing my muscle aches, how lar wanna run? unless someone pushes me in the wheelchair lar!

and anyway, i'm scheduled home to m'ca this weekend, so...

but i'll still go buy the t-shirt lar... just to support the cause. called up the canadian high com just now and got to know that tomorrow will be their last day selling the t-shirts at the high com. after that, we'll need to be buy them at the run location (lake gardens) on the event day.

those in KL, go for it! you can run, walk, skate, skip, push your baby's stroller, walk your dog (can ar? not too sure abt this, due to halal-haram reasons, but check with the canadian high com @ 603 2718-3333!) or whatever way you wish to propel yourself forward. and it's free! no participation fee needed and it's a non-competitive event. funds are raised through donations and t-shirt sales (RM25 per piece - to be worn during the run), and the proceeds are used for cancer research. so make it a family outing! make it a special date with your special someone! walk hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with your best friends! it's for a good cause, after all...

anyone interested can just show up at lake gardens (tmn tasik perdana) latest by 8.45am, to be flagged off at 9.00am.

more readings:
1) About Terry Fox
2) The Terry Fox Foundation

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

mount kinabalu challenge: failed!

i'm back! and just to put it on record, i failed to make it to the summit!! boo-hoo! ok, details later. i'm beat from all the unpacking and washing of laundry the whole day today! (and walking like an old woman with a serious case of rheumatism!)

read also:
updates and such...
mount kinabalu challenge!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

bento #19: the one with the half rice

got home at abt 9pm yesterday. didn't know what to get for dinner, and it was raining. then remembered that M's parents were in town, and she called earlier to tell me that they're going to the vegetarian place. i quickly called her to see if they're still eating, and they were! so i had M ta-pao a vegetarian salted fish fried rice for me...

they were not home when i got home, so i decided to save time by taking my shower first. when i came out from the bathroom, it's already 10pm... and the food portion was so big! i don't want to be eating so much so late! so divided it into half and that's how my bento for today came about lar... :)

a thousand splendid suns: a blardy good read!

this is a book i read a few weeks ago, but only found the time to blog abt now. i would say this is one of the BEST books i've read so far. khaled hosseini did it again... no, actually he didn't do it again, he did it better!

i just couldn't seem to put it down! being a slow reader, i normally take abt 2 weeks to finish a good book. and esp now that i don't take the train to work anymore and spend longer hours in the office, i've less time for my reading. but this book! i finished it in just 3-4 days!

it's really REALLY really good! for all the readers out there, and even non-readers, go grab yourselves a copy!

updates and such...

*phew* the spa has finally been launched! so now i'm back to the office, but still need to do some follow-up work... with the press, sorting out the event photos, burning CDs, etc etc... on top of my usual work load.

yours truly with the guest usherettes for the launch night...

anyway... i've been doing a lot of post-dated posts lately, if you've not noticed already! i keep starting a post, but did not manage to finish it. or i just upload the photos i want for a post, then just save as drafts until i find the time to finish writing them.

don't seem to have much time for myself lately... and have been missing my orchestra practices! my cello is collecting dust in the corner! *sigh* really need to start attending practices more actively. i've no idea what's going on in my section as well as the rest of the group. YW was telling me that the orchestra is in a bit of mess now... gotta go get myself back into the pack!

on another note, i'll be off to conquer mount kinabalu this weekend! *shudder* i've not been training! just hope i make it back in one piece. flying off to KK tomorrow, starting the climb on sat, summit on sunday morning and back to kl on monday. so if you still dun hear from me by wed or thurs, please call emergency!

oh yeah, found out that my trip to borobudur, which was originaly planned to happen in the next 2 weeks, had to be canceled. so sad... :(

read also:
mount kinabalu challenge!

Friday, October 17, 2008

work work work!

argh!!! i'm so burnt out! this past few weeks have been really crazy!

i'm in my room at the hotel now. it's past midnight, but i'm still working... burning the CDs for the press kits and checking all the press kit folders to make sure everything is ok.

boss said i can sleep in tomorrow... we only need to be at the resort at 8.30am, which is a good thing. have not been getting enough sleep lately. was working until quite late yesterday, and then had to rush over to sg. wang to collect something for the launch as well as get some last minute name cards printed for my bossboss. got home at abt 10.30pm, dead tired and have not even packed! and boss wanted to get down to the resort early to have breakfast with mr. t! having a morning person for a boss is really quite torturous sometimes! *sigh*

a long and tiring day today... bossbossboss is down at the resort and we finally had a meeting with the full team. so lots of confirmations and decisions done. tomorrow will be another long day, with last minute guest list confirmations, briefings, meetings and lots of running here and there! oh, not to mention the night arrivals of some of the guests...

ok, i know i'm not making any sense to anyone. *yawn* too tired to explain or go into detail on what's going on. just waiting for the last few pieces of CDs to be burnt and then will just crawl into bed.

good night!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

siem reap: day 4

ok, final installment of my siem reap trip...

we're going home!

breakfast of chicken sandwich at the red piano = USD3

as our flight is at 11.40am, we reckoned we still have some time to burn... so what else? more shopping lar!

last minute shopping at Artisan d'Angkor...

ok, need to rush back to the guesthouse to pack up, as we've booked a tuk-tuk to come at 10.30am to bring us to the airport.

argh! we've bought too many things! need to pack and unpack and pack again... so 10.30am came and went and we were still in our rooms trying to stuff all our things into our bags!

of course the tuk-tuk driver did not wait for us! nothing else better to do ar? we ran out of the guesthouse, frantically looking for any available tuk-tuk to bring us.

at the airport, finally! pray we did not miss the plane! ran in like 2 crazy women to the check-in counter...

flight delayed, thank god! *phew*

trying my best to finish up my water before boarding...

at last, announcement for us to board our flight...

going home... bye-bye, siem reap!

flight was quite empty... we even get an empty seat to put our carry-ons! keke...

N checking out news from home... from someone else's newspapers!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

bento #18: the one with all the shapes

been dying to try out my onigiri moulds, and also went to buy L size eggs for my egg moulds... but STILL the eggs didn't fill up the moulds! argh!!! anyone know where can i get XL eggs? are eggs in japan really that large?

made an extra set for my intern... 3 pcs of onigiri, 2 pieces of McD chicken nuggets and 1 egg. a bit plain right? had wanted to include some baby carrots, but all my baby carrots had dried up from being in the fridge too long! :P

i think the onigiri turned out really well... so cute!

close-up of the bear-faced egg... this still looked ok, only the ears were a bit flat

but the rabbit really can't do lar. the ears were like chopped off! so ugly!

if you're wondering how come my onigiri looked reddish and
yellowish, here's why. beef and chicken flavoured furikake from isetan!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

siem reap: day 3

on day 3, we were not as eager to jump out of bed as on day 2, coz we were really feeling the tiredness in our bones. we had to negotiate on who to use the toilet first, so that the other can laze around in bed a while longer. i forgot who won, but i think it was me! hehehe...

as we only booked the tuk-tuk driver for 2.00pm, we decided to take things easy for a bit and woke up slightly later. and seeing that it was already quite late, we decided to just grab a quick bite at our guesthouse's cafe.

this is my brunch: breakfast without sausages = USD1.50.
N's breakfast with sausages was USD2.00

after brunch, we still have some time to kill before another visit to the wat.
so we decided to run over to the old market place for more shopping! woo-hoo! :P

walking around the psar chaa, or 'old market'...

went down to the entrance of our guesthouse to meet our tuk-tuk driver. but before we climbed onto the tuk-tuk, N managed to snap the below pic. this has been puzzling us since day 1... one motorbike with licence plate and another without. when we asked the tuk-tuk driver (Aleang) abt this, he replied in his limited english that it's not a requirement. but why did some bike owners pay for a licence if it's not required? hmm...

with or without, both are fine...

on the way to the wat complex, we had Aleang do a detour to the post office, where we sent off some postcards and bought some stamps and cambodian coins (which by the way, is not in use anymore. now even their smallest denomination is in paper)

sticking stamps onto my postcards...

then when we hopped back onto our tuk-tuk, we were trying to find out from Aleang abt the kind of entertainment the cambodians have... and asked abt the kind of movies they watch. so aleang turned into this one of only 2 cinemas in siem reap to show us... most movies are local productions, with only a few rare foreign movies once in a blue moon.

this cinema looked like those that i used to go
with my parents when i was in early primary school!

first site of the day is Ta Phrom, the site made famous by Tomb Raider. well, i've not seen the movie, but moving around this place, i can just imagine the mummy emerging from its sarcophagus. yeah, it's THAT eerie!

the famous giant tree roots of Ta Phrom! at some parts,
the roots are literally lifting the stone structures off the ground

N caught me doing this! question: guess what was i doing?

answer: trying to take a photo of this tall tree lar! :P

considering these ruins are so old and crumbling, there were little measures taken to ensure the safety of the visitors. just a 'danger' sign and that's it!

enter at ur own risk, dun say we din warn u!

met this cute little local girl at one of the sites... her mother was at the entrance of the site peddling something (i forgot what. postcards or something) and she was just sitting on one of the stones doing her colouring...

when i gave her chocolates, she pointed at the battery-operated fan hanging at my neck, said something and squealed with delight.

showing her how it works...

then on my way out, i gave the little girl another piece of
chocolate and she sweetly presented me with one of her drawings!

at another site, there were a bunch of kids peddling these bangles... but no, we did not buy any even tho' they pestered us to. feeling bad that we didn't buy anything from them, we decided to give them chocolates too. these kids were a bit older, around 10-12 years old, and they can speak a bit of english. when they saw how cute our chocolates were, one girl, after getting one chocolate from me, boldly came up to me again and actually bargained with me for more!

holding out one bangle, she said, "lady, u give me one more, i give you free."

finally, we came to our final site, the icon of cambodia! after Aleang dropped us off, we were just walking along this path when suddenly we get the first glimpse of the angkor wat between the trees... it had a sort of a magical feel to it, as if we've stumbled upon a castle in fairyland!

at the east gallery, before stepping into the angkor wat compound.
we're to make our way to the west gallery where Aleang will be waiting for us.

with no budget to hire a guide, we had to rely on guidebooks to shed light on the myriad of stories depicted by the bas-reliefs on the walls... sometimes, we'll cheat a bit and hang around a tour group and try to catch the explanations of their tour guide... hehe...


after a while, it started to rain. luckily we read up
enough to know to bring along disposable ponchos!

getting ready to go up to the higher spire...

it was still raining pretty heavily after our tour of the higher spire... and because the steps are narrow and slippery, everyone had to line-up to go down in single file. actually there were many staircases, but only one with handholds.

waiting for our turn to go down...

clinging on for dear life on the way down!

anyone who's been to siem reap would rave abt the majestic angkor wat
bathed in
the golden glow of sunset... but i only saw a wet and gloomy angkor wat! *sigh*

ok, enough cam-whoring... get me out of the rain pls!

wet and hungry, we told Aleang to bring us to the nearest makan place... but along the way, we got worried that he'll bring us to some makan stall that's famous with the locals, coz we're still very cautious abt 'food hygine'. the worst thing to happen is to fall sick when u're traveling! but Aleang knew better and brought us to a thai restaurant just off the main road. i had fried rice and N had kueh-tew that looked a lot like our 'wah-tan-hor'.

but their mango kerabu was delish!


we saw earlier in the map that u can pick up at any shop in siem reap, there's a free cello performance, Beatocello in Concert, every friday and saturday at the Jayavarman VII Hospital and were very curious and eager to go see what it's all about

Dr. Beat in action...

turned out, it's a solo concert by Dr. Beat Richner, a cello playing swiss pediatrician who dedicated his life to helping the children of cambodia. his 'concert' is actually to entice tourists over to hear him talk abt the children of cambodia and his hospital. we were also shown a preview of his up-coming video on the passive genocide of the cambodian children and his fight for their wellbeing.

this doc is truly an inspiring figure. his hospital was built for the children, and treatments and medications are given out free. without any fundings from the cambodian gov nor any ngo's, his concerts are just one of his many ways to keep the hospital running.

concert poster at the front of the building

after the concert, souvenirs were sold at the front lobby
as a fund-raiser. so i bought this t for USD10

back at the guesthouse and done bathing... and since this will be our last night in siem reap, let's take a look at the shopping we've done so far!

mostly souvenirs and gifts...

N doing an inventory of the stuff she bought!

Friday, October 10, 2008

siem reap: day 2

i was looking back at some of my posts, and realized that i've only posted day 1 from my siem reap trip more than 1 year ago! kakaka... so here goes day 2. hopefully can still remember the details.

despite waking up so early, the sky outside had already discarded its dawn cloak and the sun was already shining brightly. it felt more like 8am than 6am! we excitedly jumped out of bed and prepared for a full day of adventure with some serious wat (temples) to see!!


breakfast bright and early at the Boosters Cafe...
see, the streets were still empty!

my menu choice, Tropica Muesli = USD3.00

N's breakfast: Sausages & Eggs (comes with a basket of buns) = USD3.25

arrived at the main gate of the angkor ruins complex...

3-day entry pass = USD40 per pax

ok lar... i won't bore everyone with descriptions of all the different wat we saw... to tell you the truth, i myself also forgot the names of the wat and the story behind them! now when i look thru all the pics, they're just one stone wat after another! need to refer to our guide books only i'll remember... :P

but from what we saw, we can tell that these amazing structures will not last long. thousands and millions of tourists come here each year, and yet the cambodian gov is doing little to preserve them. all the preservation efforts we saw when we were there were by foreign associations or organizations. and it's sad to see many parts in most of the structures crumbling or lying in ruins... at the rate they're going, it could all be gone from the face of the earth in a little less than 20 years!

the Baphuon site is being restored by the French gov

Baphuon is so dilapidated that they cordoned off the whole structure

old and new... the parts that were restored
were easily recognizable from the original


taking a rest in one of the many huts
with fresh coconuts... 2 coconuts = USD0.50

N with our tuk-tuk driver, Saman

the sun is really out for the kill!

we went to see a few more wat... until our legs
couldn't take it anymore and were screaming in protest!
btw, that's N at the top of the steep and narrow stairs...

initially we had wanted to spend the whole day seeing the wat, but our bodies thot otherwise. we were beat! so we decided to just see the more famous sites and forego the smaller ones.

on the way back to town, N's guidebook fell from the tuk-tuk. here,
she's running back to the tuk-tuk after retrieving her book! keke...

N, nearly reaching the tuk-tuk, sempat lagi take pic of me.
see, even Saman can't tahan us and is laughing at us! :P

in my previous post, i posted a pic of their roadside petrol station...
that was in the rural area lar. in town,
they do have modern and proper petrol stations.

finally we reached the old market place, bid Saman goodbye and went to look for food! have not had anything since breakfast!

craving for some 'normal' food... something we're familiar with!
so decided to try out this italian place...

my choice, creamy fettucine with shrimp = USD3.20
+ can of coke = USD0.75

N's lunch, fish fillet in yogurt = USD4.20 + coke = USD0.75

well, even tho' we were dead tired, but how can we just go back to our guesthouse to rest, right? we need to make full use of our time here mar! so we enquired ard for a tuk-tuk to bring us to the silk farm.

worker boiling the cocoons and extracting the silk strands...

silk dyed in different colour, some
using natural dyes from tree barks, leaves, flowers etc.

workers spinning silk...

half of the cocoons at the farm were left to mature and the pupae
to turn into butterflies for the production of more silk worms!

silk worm... no, that's NOT my hand! nor N's, for that matter...

the silk farm is kinda far... took us abt 45min on the tuk-tuk to get back to the old market place. on the way...

rush hour cambodian style! this sepia version
made the place looked very rustic hor?

the roads were very pot-holed and filled with water, that we don't really know how deep the holes were until one of the tuk-tuk wheels went into it. more than a few times, we were worried our tuk-tuk would overturn!

along the way, we saw many interesting things... one was a family of three on a motorbike. the dad was at the wheel, the mom behind and the child terkepit in the middle. the interesting part was, the kid had his/her head in bandages and the mom was holding on to an IV drip pole, with the tube attached to the kid!

this is how pigs are transfered in cambodia!

moving around the town of siem reap, we noticed a lot of korean establishments around, esp korean restaurants. both of us being korean food lovers, we can't help but salivate at the thot of bibeembab! keke...

yums... so happy to be eating korean food!

long wait......

finally! their bibeembab is quite nice lar... only thing is that they substitute some of the vege with local vege, and it was kinda weird

when we got back to our guesthouse, we discovered that there was a power failure in the area... no lights, no water heater, no air-cond... so we decided to go out again, to the old market place. the whole place was running on generators...

and we met N's friend! imagine, of all the places to meet ur friends...

we shopped and walked ard for another hour or two before calling it a day.

read also:
siem reap: day 1
weekend trips, mini holidays & vacations
snippets: siem reap trip
next stop: siem reap