Thursday, December 06, 2007

Trip to Singapore 1-2 December 2007

Signed up for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon early this year and after on and off training, D-Day arrived. Since this is a personal trip, I decided to take the Aeroline bus to Singapore. I chose it because it allows me to start the journey from PJ, next to Menara Axis and return from Singapore back to Corus Hotel in Jalan Ampang. The buses also starts from Cititel in MidValley and Sunway Pyramid and in Singapore, it stops at HarbourFront (next to Vivo City), which is very close to my sister's place.

It cost RM80 one way and I must say it's very nice. If they would only turn off the video and put piped music, since there aren't individual screens, passengers sitting further from the screen could hardly see what's happening and the audio is nothing to write home about.

That's how the interior looks. I'll say it's ok and the seats recline way back allowing a comfortable rest or even just to read a book. They serve hot drinks and on the way there, we were served Spaghetti Chicken Bolognese......cold and tasteless. I think they would have done better if they served sandwiches and muffins. On the return trip (11:30pm), we got a packet of McDs containing hot McChicken and an Apple Pie. Yummy. That's more like it.


D-Day. Got up at 4:30am to get ready since I have to follow my sister and her bf who is running the earlier event. This is my first participation in any run event, but I can see that it was well organized. There were sufficient toilets and plenty of water available for runners.

While waiting for my 10km 7:15am flag off, I was excited. There were thousands of other runners and all strangers to me. Started to start sweating and feeling warm even before the start.

Finally we were off and down Robinson Rd we went and headed towards the Marina. There were lots of human traffic but since I wasn't particularly fast, it was relatively easy.

The farthest I had run before this was 5km on a training run, and after that all I did was between 3 and 4 km. So I was quite confident of going that far without stopping. Reached the first water station and gulped my cup of plain water down. Easy. Next water station, another cup. Then darn, I felt like going to the toilet but I figured that since I was sweating like a dog, the water should find it's way out the right way.

Reached the half way point before 8 and I felt confident that I had managed to keep to the pace that I had set without stopping. Then after another 15 minutes I saw a sign that said "9km" and I was exhilarated. I thought I had gone into a "zone" and had completed a few clicks without noticing it. I stepped up the pace for the last kilometer. After a while, I saw a sign that said "10km run - 7km". Darn! I saw the wrong sign.

It was tedious after that. I could feel the strain in my body but I kept going. The crowd was thining and it was easier to run.

During the final stretch, there were lots of cheering. I gave it all and sprinted with my heavy legs towards the finish line.

Finished in 1:21:54. Not the fastest time. But it's a first for me and something I can improve on.

Immediately after crossing, my left ankle seized up and I had to walk slowly to the field. Sat down to remove the ChampionChip, and got up with my ankle feeling much better but next in line was my upper body muscles getting cramped. It was awfully painful walking all the way to collect my medal and then going to the tent to get some free drinks and bananas. After 2 cans of 100plus and 2 bananas I managed to shrug off that cramp, only to be hit with cramps to my calf muscles after that.

I'm glad I joined the run. It was a great experience.

Took the bus back the same night and after 2 days my body has completely healed and ache free. Hope to be there again next year ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scottsdale, Arizona October 2007

After the 18hours hop over to LA, I took a connection flight over to Phoenix, Arizona.

And this below are the pictures for the most fantastic looking and feeling hotel ever! Hotel Valley Ho.

More photos to follow...

Gua Tempurung Caving Expedition, 14th October 2007

It was the Raya weekend where Monday was off, so my colleague organized an outing among friends to Gua Tempurung.

We wanted to go for the grand tour which would take 3.5hours. But a detour to Bidor for breakfast caused a slight delay and the tour was fully booked. We still manage to take Package 3 which is a 2.5hours tour where half is wet trek and the other half is dry.

It was a fantastic outing where we had to sweat it out crawling in the cool stream pass low and narrow passages. Even though I was sweating but since it was very cool in the cave I didn't feel tired at all.

Shots from within the caves.

An upward shot towards the ceiling.....if you have vertigo, it's not advisable to look downwards when climbing those stairs all the way up.

A shot downward. My camera lens/sensors had fogged up. But if you looked carefully, you could see a "ghost" on the rocks ;-)

A chandelier looking formation. This photo fails to do justice to it's size.

Looking out at the entrance after more than 2 hours in the darkness.

The rest of the trip includes devouring delicious Ipoh food and of course a trip to the other famous temple caves in Ipoh....

If you are planning to take the wet tour, it's advisable to wear jeans - it protects your knees from scrapes and has good traction, but it can be heavy once soaked in water. Shoes, strapped sandals or crocs type of footwear should be good. Slippers aren't good cause it can float away while you are in the water.

We didn't find any lockers available so do not bring any or wear any valuables. Bring a torch light, preferably water proof. We had to deposit all our handphones and camera into watertight plastic pouches and I was the mule tasked with making sure it stays dry. It was tough as, we had to crawl and splash our way thru some narrow and short passage ways and I had to balance the bag on my back, while water is dripping down from the ceiling. Fortunately, all the electronic gadgets came out nice and dry, thanks to the watertight plastic bag.

Would definately visit this place again, given the opportunity.

France 10th Sept - 25th Sept 2007

View from the coffeeshop in Schipol airport while waiting for my connection to Toulouse.

While walking to my gate.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Airbus Country

Yes, I was back in France after 2 years. Toulouse specifically. The first time was during winter. This time around it's late summer.

Caught this A380 waiting to take off when my flight landed at Blagnac.

That's the new SIA A380 undergoing testing before delivery. Yup that's the first bird to be delivered.

This is the place where the A380 tour is conducted. It starts at the boarding room that is recreated to look like the engineering room where flight telemetry data is analyzed. After explaining the A380 program, we were taken on a bus tour of the Airbus manufacturing sites. We were then dropped off at the A380 plant where we got to see the assembled planes undergoing testing. At that time, we also saw the SIA A380 taxing back after testing at the other side of the airport.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to bring any cameras during the tour so there's no pictures from the tour :(

Another shot of the A380 taken while we were driving pass the airport.

The A380 taking off.

MAS Golden Lounge, 10th September 2007

It's always fun to go early to the airport, check-in and skip over to the MAS Golden Lounge. It has a very relaxing setting with comfortable chairs. Food is good and you get to pick your choice of hot, cold or selected alcoholic beverages.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gwen Stefani's The Sweet Escape Concert in Malaysia - 21 August 2007

[Photos courtesy of Szue Fei]

It was a fantastic outing. Gwen Stefani was awesome belting out hits after hits. Well worth the RM257 tickets.

The concert were well choreographed and she gave her all. Listening to her songs on my mp3 player would never be the same again. It still brings back the feelings, be they happy or sad.

"Early Winter"

You, you know how to get me so low
My heart had a crash when we spoke
I can't fix what you broke

You, you always have a reason
Again & again this feelin'
Why do I give in?
& I always was, always was one for crying
I always was one for tears

The sun's getting cold, It's snowing
Looks like an Early Winter for us
Looks like an Early Winter for us
An Early Winter
Oh I need you to turn me over

It's said the map of the world is on you
The moon gravitates around you
The seasons escape you
& I always was, always was one for crying
I always was one for tears
No, I never was, never was one for lying
You lied to me all of these years


The sun's getting cold, It's snowing
Looks like an Early Winter for us
Looks like an Early Winter for us
An Early Winter
Oh I need you to turn me over

Why do you act so stupid?
You know that I'm always right

It looks like an Early Winter for us
It hurts & I can't remember sunlight
An Early Winter for us
The leaves are changing colour for us
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
Starting over & over & over again
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
Starting over & over & over again
& it gets too much, yeah it gets so much
It looks like an Early Winter for us

For Szue Fei's writeup, click here.

Below are a few clips taken from

Monday, July 30, 2007

Central Market, The Annexe, Sharing Space Photo Exhibition

Central Market, located in Kuala Lumpur is place to go to for Malaysian handicraft and arts center. Built as the main wet market before the war, the place was converted to it's current state in the 80s.

This was my second time to Central Market, the first time being in the early 90s when I first worked in PJ. I must say it's much easier to get here. I took the LRT to the Pasar Seni station, and just cross the street and you are there. There's also a parking lot in front of the Central Market but I reckon it's easier to take the public transport then risk getting stuck in the traffic.

Inside, the whole place is air conditioned and brighly lit, with lots of shops selling local handicrafts, fashion accessories, souveniours and snacks. There are also food courts and restaurants to tuck in some local cuisine.

Anyway the reason for my trip to Central Market is to visit the Sharing Space photo exhibition, a contemporary photography of Japan & Malaysia. Unfortunately, I can only visit this exhibition on it's last day so by the time you are reading this, they have already busy preparing for the next programme.

The Annexe is located at the other end of Central Market. There were a few art gallery on the ground floor, a cafe on the first floor, some studio on the 2nd floor while the Gallery is located on the top floor.

A shot of one of the walls with the photos. Note the 3 photos on the left are by Pang Khee Teik.

Gallery III.

I like the open space of the 3 galleries displaying the photos. There were interesting topics, themes, print types and sizes photography. Generally, it is an interesting exhibition and unfortunately the prices for the photos would have wiped out my retirement funds so I only went back with fond memories of the works.

Some shots from the gallery window.

No, this isn't an exhibit.

OK, I thought it's a new bank in KL.... KOK Bank.....hmmm I wonder who their customer base are....













Well, after this photography exhibition, the Annexe would be hosting the notthatbalai art festival. For more information, please visit the site:

Jakarta, End June 2007

This was a working visit...a very hectic one where there wasn't a chance for me to pop out and have feel for the place. So this photos were taken from my hotel room.

View of a portion of the Jakarta skyline. Superimposed image.

When the lights go out....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yuxi, China June 2007

Sitting alone at a corner of the Kunming International Airport is aShenyang J-6 (Chinese copy of the Soviet MIG-19).

One of the exotic food that I tried. Eaten more like a snack, it's fried till crunchy and tastes like biscuit. Tastes OK.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Things You don't find in Malaysia


I decided to try something heavenly and decadent that can't be found in Malaysia.

The one on the left is New York Cheesecake and the other one is the Original Glazed.

The doughnuts are actually very "light" feeling and not the heavy dough types that are normally sold at food stalls here. I preferred the Original Glazed compared to the cheesecake variety. It isn't overtly sweet, just nice.

On the last night, I pop into the place again and bought another 2! Maybe it was almost closing time, the staff offered everyone a piece of complimentary warm doughnut

The one closer to the camera is Glazed Chocolate Cake and the other one is Chocolate Iced Glazed. Both were perfect. Now if only they have a chain in Malaysia, the fitness centers would have booming business.

Back in Manila, Late April 07

I had been flying over to Manila for a few times since 2005 and this place have always been special to me. However, this would probably be the last for a long time to come. I will miss the contradictory nature of this place.

From a prosperous nation in the 60s and 70s, plain mismanagement and politics had dragged the country down.

Despite the wide disparity between the haves and have-nots, you could see Filipinos at all levels full of determination in moving forward with a smile and a song.

Abject poverty doesn't seem to put them off from eking a living by running simple enterprises.

Of course there are other reasons why I would always remember Manila...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Visit to A-Famosa Animal World Safari, Malacca - 10th September 2002

This post is actually taken from one of my old websites. I did not actually manage to finish the write up at that time but here are the pictures anyway.

I had decided to check out the A-Famosa Animal World Safari before recommending my friends to visit it. Conveniently located off the Alor Gajah exit on the PLUS north-south highway, it is about 1.5 hours away from KL or 15 minutes from Malacca. Upon exiting from the toll plaza, turn left at the roundabout. At time of my visit, there were no advertisement sign near the roundabout except for the road signs located in the middle of the roundabout. Bad idea - since there was a big sign put up for the national day celebrations that blocks the view.
The A-famosa resort is a big family oriented resort with hotel, holiday banglows, water theme park, riding and lots of other recreational facilities. Upon driving into the area, I felt very relaxed. The landscape has been well laid out with wide roads and big shady trees along the way.
The Animal World Safari is located quite a distance away from the entrance but the road signs are adequate. Upon reaching, I was surprised that each car would be charged RM2 for parking fees. I glossed over this minor issue (but more would be on the way), paid the fees and parked my car.
Tickets are RM32 for Malaysian adults. Foreigners have to pay slightly more for entrance.

The entrance to the Animal World

There's an hatchery for kids who don't know where KFC comes from.

The bird show.




The Elephant Show.

The Malayan Sun Bear

The trip to Monkey Island

There's also a cowboy show....what has it got to do with the Animal theme..?? But it was fun.

Mind if I took a sip?

Mind if I took a dip?

The multi-animal show