Tuesday, December 31, 2013

all is well to usher in 2014

the final day of 2013. a day to reminisce the year?? or a day  to look forward to 2014 instead? or both???

hmm.....i am not that keen to reminisce and then list out all the achievements and failures and stuff. sentimental is not a strong word to describe me.

anyway, ending 2013 well is a good start for 2014.
and what better way to end it than to do a bit of spring cleaning in the house. oohh....it was so good.

cleaned the rented house in bidor yesterday with the help of a 14-year-old who volunteered his help. he had few days ago pulled the weeds outside the house and got rid of all those unwanted long creepers on the fence. phew! gardening is not my cup of tea. thank goodness i have him.
we worked for three hours non-stop after having takeaway lunch from kfc which i bought back to the house. he did not even tell his parents that he was helping me. he told me his conversation with his father where he told his dad that he was going to help someone clean the house but not the name of the person. and his dad complained that he did not even bother with the cleaning at home. hahaha....

we swept, mopped, wiped, and threw stuff away. phew! it was good work and i was so grateful for his pair of helping hands and he did not complain at all and just did whatever i told him. without him, i wouldn't be able to do so much. now i can go back to a clean house to start the new academic year. well, there is still a little to clean, but those are things i can manage easily myself.

i also threw some stuff away back here at home and it was good to see things more organized. space is very  very important ok. you don't want to have things cluttered everywhere. even the brain will be in a mess because of the disorganisation at home. so if you have nothing to do come this new year, go clean the house ;)

one of the things i got rid of is my old pencil case which i have been using for more than 10 years. it is a leather pencil case which i got from esprit in germany when i went to visit my aunt. the zip is broken finally and it is time to say goodbye to it. well, i might still keep it to store my space stationery but it is definitely not coming to school with me. a colourful bright and psychedelic case is following  me instead. it was a gift from a friend for my birthday few years ago. finally i get to utilise it.

i still have quite a lot of things to sort out once the school year starts such as my own personal time-table. that is going to be another headache. and according to the indian almanac for 2014 down here, i shouldn't think of changing job or looking for a relationship.
i have given up looking for a that special someone. i mean, if it happens, it happens. who doesn't need love.

initially, i thought my 2013 will end with me announcing my a change career wise. unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. there is still no news and half of me has given up getting any news come january next year. but i guess the other half is still keeping the fingers crossed. hope costs nothing and one can always hope.

mom and dad are back from melbourne already after spending 3 weeks there and i think they brought the whole melbourne back. hahaa.....
check out the things they brought home.

nespresso machine.....yeah! long black, latte, cappucino.....all possible at home now. the one i bought from japan could not work due to the difference in power voltage and it sort of exploded when i plugged the machine into the power socket.

their annual supply of cod liver oil and glucosamine pills.

lots and lots of chocolates. they got cheaper cadbury chocolate when they went to their factory in tasmania.

i don't know if these nut bars are for personal consumption or not.

different fruit and nut cheeses for dad.

pain relief cream for my knee. haiz...if i can make one wish for 2014, it will be for the pain in my knee to go away. unfortunately, there is no miracle for my condition.

rainbow loom!!! the latest craze in the united states!! i read about it in the local newspaper and it was actually created by a malaysian who is now an american citizen. i did my search online and found stores in aussie which sell the kit and got my sister to get it for me.

and since getting it, i have been very very busy haha.....and also you will hear my cries of frustration when the design i was working on did not work.

i worked on my loom for few hours last night and was rewarded with these above. good gifts to give the kids....and for myself. my aunt is waiting for one. i am going to get my sister to buy me more rubber bands and an extension to the loom. hehe...i need to make longer bracelets!! the length now is too short!!!

okok......writing about it makes me itch to go back to more bracelets.

i hope you have had a good 2013. i think my 2013 has been good. the only bad news to me is my knee. that is something which i find it hard to accept and part of me still does not want to accept the fact. went for a few holidays....japan!!! yeah...finally. everyone in the family was good....well, grandpa left, but it was his time.

hope 2014 will treat me well. let me strike a lottery perhaps? heehe...i shall not be greedy and just wish for good health and world peace.

happy new year!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

randomness in the holidays

life is kinda aimless at the moment.
there is nothing much to do since coming back from hanoi and i have been sort of rotting at home.
wake up at 10, breakfast, newspaper, facebook, play my games and laze around till the day turns dark and it is time to sleep. keke....what a life. there is some sort of reading done in the free time as well. a novel or two and recently, mills and boons. hahaha...guilty pleasures.

anyway, it wasn't all gloom and doom at home. i did make a few visits to kl and we did have visitors dropping by.

first to drop by, two kids from bidor who wanted to go to education fair being held in kl convetion centre on 14 and 15 december. so i told them to take the bus down from bidor, and i picked them up at the bus station here. then they stayed two nights in tg malim and i drove them down to klcc two days in a row. am i good or what?

well, i also took the opportunity to catch up on movies just released. hehehe....that was more like my main reason of going down. i managed to watch hobbit 2 and captain phillips. i prefer captain phillips more although i was sitting on the 4th row and the screen was like super big. it was a nail-biting movie from the beginning till the end. there was not a boring moment at all. which just means that there were some boring moments in hobbit 2 and i felt that the silly addition of an elf who had good feelings for a dwarf was totally unnecessary. can't wait for hobbit 3 to get to the ending and i am sure it will be the most exciting of all.
christmas spirit and decorations are everywhere you go in kl malls.
this big christmas tree is outside klcc near the water fountain area.

bringing the two kids to kl, i also took the opportunity to bring them to eateries i frequent. they of course liked them a lot.
our pasta meal at ben's.

after lunch, it was business in the education fair. browsing all the stalls and asking all related questions.
man, education is an expensive journey.
want to be a doctor and get your degree through private colleges? please prepare about half a million just for the tuition fees ya. want to join an engineering course and get your degree? it will be about rm150,000 not including living expenses. these were the two courses we asked because these were the kids' interests.

then they went to listen to their talk, and i went to watch my movie.

this was lunch on day 2 of education fair trip. brought them to madam kwan's and we all had the same nasi bojari. yummy. i was eating in a rush, rushing to make it to the cinema. didn't even finish fried chicken and rice. well, not to worry. it did not go to waste. the boys finished them.

dinner was all in tg malim. one night i brought them to leong kei for fried noodles. and their favourite was the friend kuey teow with egg.
the second night, i brought them to eat satay....the one located next to old town coffee in tg malim.  they loved the satay and the sauce. good recommendation according to them.
there was no more beef, so we ordered all chicken.
i had mee rebus that night. it was all right. i had eaten better.

after the two boys left, i was quite free already. in fact, i had nothing to do loh haha.

well then, we also had some unexpected visitors. gosh, i was in my pajamas when they came at 10p.m. the pair of shorts with pink sheep. hehehe.

the visitors were from germany and also local. family friends.

the next day, we went out for lunch. chicken chop at e&l restaurant.
our hainanese chicken chop. nothing was left on the plate by the time everyone finished.

then yesterday, also made a trip to kl to see relative....and had a feast again. muahahaha...
i had to fill my tummy to the fullest of course since there was no one to cook at home. hahaha. noo need to eat dinner after that. save one meal.

steam fish with bean sauce, marmite pork ribs, stir fried vege with prawns, and wat tan yin yang.

but the best dish at the restaurant was this one.....beef noodles. yummy!! really good. can't remember the name of the restaurant in kepong already. reminded myself to take a photo of the front of the shop, but when we finished eating....we just walked out and i forgot.

a new shirt to add to my wardrobe. finally a lacoste polo. been wanting to get one for ages...but the price was too expensive. and when i went to isetan the other day during the education fair weekend, they were having clearance sale. haha...i got this shirt at 60% discount. woohoo....totally worth it.

sammi cheng love is love....her latest album. my first time buying an album on itunes since i got my macbook. saw a friend posting on facebook that he got it.....and i quickly went and get mine although i have also pre-ordered at yesasia.com. i downloaded the album in the morning of 20 dec.....but later when i checked again at night, the album was not available on itunes anymore.

previously, sammi had updated her facebook saying that the release of this album would be delayed to 23. so i was kinda surprised that it was available on itunes on 20. haha...maybe they forgot to inform itunes people to take it down due to the delay. anyway, lucky me.....who got to listen to the whole album earlier than most fans. i even facetime with a friend and played the whole album for her to listen since she did not get to buy the album.

yesasia will only ship out the album on 26 now according to the latest email i received. well, in the meantime, let me learn one song first ya. i have got a kid to translate all the chinese words into pinyin for me. hahaha......that is my favourite song from the whole album.....chase, a song which is sort of like a sequel to leslie cheung's chase and is about depression. they have taken down the official music video. i had the chance to watch it before that and it was sort of like an homage to leslie cheung as the final screen showed mandarin oriental hotel, the one which leslie cheung leapt from.

so what do you think of the song? good?

i am starting my countdown to christmas now. not that i have anything special on that day. the only thing is that once christmas is over, everyone will be coming back from australia hahahaha.....

i have also finished my work of analysing the exam result which was released recently. so my job is done for the year.

the chinese will be celebrating winter solstice festival tomorrow where everyone will be eating glutinuous rice balls. well, there won't be any prayer or celebration for me since i am still supposed to be in the mourning period for my grandpa's death. but aunt's friend has brought her some frozen pre-packed ones. hmmh....not my cup of tea at all. so i will skip it.

happy winter's solstice everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

touristy things to do in hanoi 2

this is a continuation from the previous post.

in the afternoon, my cousin and i continued to hao lu prison or also known as hanoi hilton. well, it is not the hilton hotel we are talking about.  it is called hilton because american soldiers who were captured here during the war were treated way better than the local civilians outside the prison ground.

the condition in the prison was really clean and it was not spooky or scary at all. so different from the torture prison in cambodia.
entrance of the prison.

a guillotine.

corridor of cells.

wall mural on the prison walls.

some exhibits showing things left by captured american pilots and their living condition in the prison. there was video playing on the tv which gave very detailed story of hoa lu prison and its history and the american occupancy in the prison.

a black and white photo of the prison ground.

the underground sewer which prisoners used to escape.

we spent about 1 hours exploring whatever is left ofr the prison ground. 

the last destination of the day- women museum.
get your ticket before enterin this building.

statue of a woman holding a baby.

this museum was built to celebrate the roles of vietnamese women in their society, detailing their struggles in the past, their roles in the family, the cultures, rituals, etc.
it was indeed a celebration of women. every country should have this kind of museum.

i think there re 4 levels in the building and each has its own theme. i can't remember them so won't go into details. just going to share some photos i took.
i was attacted to the beautiful ao dai which shimmered under the spotlight here. on the left, was a picture of a woman in tribal custome.

portraits of vietnamese women.

couldn't remember the name of the goddess they were referring to in this exhibition but their prayer's paraphernalia is really elaborate and grand.

hats hanging in the museum.
these are the normal conical hats but have been painted in different designs and colours.

some elaborate customes used in prayers for the goddess.

we spent about an hour too in the museum. we exited at closing time which was 5p.m.

outside the museum, we saw this:
bottle green house. how creative and it works just like a glass green house. what a great way to recycle plastic bottles.

some creative phrases on notebooks found in the gift shop outside the museum building. keep calm and....

af ter that visit to the museum, we decided to head back to the hotel before going out for dinner.
on the way back, we passed hoan kiem lake again and this time, we were seeing the lake in lights.
turtle tower in the centre of the lake.

we saw a few couples taking their wedding photographs around the lake. guess this is the most popular site for photo shoot.

entrance to the temple of the jade mountain....we did not go to the temple as we were required to pay. we only walked all the way till the ticket point.

this red bridge; the huc bridge will bring you to the temple.

the entrance to the temple....where we stopped.

lights all around the lake.

we did some window shopping on the way back to the hotel.
my cousin bought a painting from this shop here. again....one whole row of shops all sell similar things.

ok, there was no one whole row for this stall here. just them....selling roast pork and roast chicken.

coffee anyone? i did not buy any vietnamese coffee back but my cousin did. she bought those instant mix.

and at weekends, there was a night market....a lloooonng stretch of road with stalls in the middle of the road selling all kinds of stuff. we did not see many youngsters during our walk in the city in the day time, but came this night market, they were all out in pairs.
the street was just a stone's throw from our hotel...so convenient.

dong xuan street is the street to go to if you want to buy your christmas and chinese new year decorations. definitely spoilt for choice.

we put our things back at the hotel....and off we went out again. i was already not feeling well at that time. the throat was actually very dry and inflamed because of the dry air and i could feel a fever coming. however, eat i must and we ended up at a the moose and roo pub and grill. this place was rated number 1 at tripadvisor.
talking about tripadvisor, i have come to notice that most of the highly rated places are actually nearby backpacker places or places where lots of foreign tourists stay in. hence, you wouldn't find many local restaurants or street food in their list. so don't trust everything you see in the list.

anyway, we didn't really choose this place based on its number 1 ranking. i was craving for some good western fod, hence we chose this place. but seeing my almost sick condition, i wasn't really able to enjoy whatever was placed in front of me.

all foreigners in this pub. and there are a few backpacker places down the road. see, this place was rated so high because it is like in the centre of a backpacking district.
my cousin had red wine, while i had cocktail.

roast pork and mashed potato. only i ate. my cousin was saving her tummy for her bon cha, a vietnamese dish which she had near the hote.
the roast pork wasn't that bad but i felt that it was too lean and there was not enough fat. it was pork belly but lean pork belly. man, they didn't eve give me the crispy skin!! haha....i craved for that. the mash potato was so-so. the ambience at this place was good and the servers were all friendly. even the boss was there serving customers. but in the end, i did not finish my food. i just couldn't wait to get back and go to bed. i was going to be really sick if i did not do that.

 and bed was at legacy hotel previously known as an hung hotel. they have 3 hotels in the old quarters itself. my cousin and i had passed all 3 in our walks hahhaa.....so all 3 are definitely conveniently located.
the big bathroom we got in our second bedroom after coming back from ha long bay and checking in again. we insisted on twin room and this was what they gave us. a queen bed and a single add-on bed. my cousin could not sleep with someone else on the same bed....so that was how it turned out. this was really a big room. of course i got the big bed ;P

well, that was my last day in hanoi. it was all in all a good trip except the haze and dry weather. definitely worth visiting if you ask me and i won't mind going to vietnam again.....but to other parts such as ho chi minh city or sa pa in the north.