Sunday, June 22, 2014

goodbye my nine-year-old companion.

it's funny how humans can forget something which has been a part of their life for so long when a new thing appears.

case in point- my car.
i did not realise that my old car was gone from the house  until mom told me that dad was not at home as he was away sending my old car to my uncle.

how could i not notice the missing car eh?
could it be because i am already used to my new car after just one week?

driving the new car for the first time was a really uneasy experience. it felt odd, out of sorts and my body could not adjust at all. so after having about one hour to ponder in the car about what was not right (definitely not with the car), i came to a conclusion that it was the position of the seat-  it was too low.
i was totally drowning in the too low position. i had to stretch my back and neck to look at the front. my hand had problem reaching out to touch the touch n go scanner at the tol plaza.

hence, it was the manual book to the rescue. i checked the related chapter, managed to find the lever to raise the seat, and voila, the seat and body then fit like a glove. from then on, it was smooth driving all the way. i felt as if i was driving a bmw although my car was just a toyota. lol.
a friend, my first official passenger, who got into my car on the first night the car was delivered, felt that he was sitting in a more luxurious car when i told him the car model he was sitting in. all signs positive here. i have also just filled two customer survey forms sent by toyota and i gave them an average of 8 out of 10 in all the questions asked.

i hope this car is going to accompany me for a long long journey to come. it isn't cheap paying for you ok. i have to think twice before shopping now.

so the old car is gone, it doesn't mean that i am unappreaciative of the service it had given me. it was still in good condition when i said goodbye to it as i serviced  the car on schedule all the time. some may say that my driving style was rough, but hey, it was always safety first ok. even a male colleague who got into my old car for the first time could tell that i sent it for servicing on time all this while.
i hope the old car is going to stay on the road for a long long time too because it is a good car.

may both the cars service their owners well and keep them safe in their journeys on the road.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

what a taylor-rific night

going to a taylor swift's concert? it is something i have never imagined i would do. however, i have done it and there is no regret at all. in fact, i am glad i was there when she entertained all her swifties (her fans) at stadium putra, bukit jalil on 11 june 2014.

i ended up going due to some curiousity and goodwill to help a few kids to attend the concert of their idol.

our journey started at 3pm from tm when the wind was howling and rain was lashing. phew! it was stormy! luckily the rain stopped halfway to kl and it was a smooth journey from then on. the first destination was cititel hotel at midvalley. one of the kids had to check in first as this was the place she was putting up for the night. the sacrifice one would make for an idol...not to mention the $$ spent.
haha...guess who is talking now. as if i had never done this sort of things before.

we had our dinner at alexis in the gardens first. i only had mangoes in the afternoon just so i could eat more. lol.
my cup of cappuccino. not bad.

soup of the day- minestrone. i needed something to warm my stomach.

lobster roll. someone ordered and i picked on like a quarter of everything on the plate. miss fries!!!!

seafood pizza...yummy. a slice for me please.

bittersweet chocolate...which is the worst chocolate cake i have ever eaten. the sponge chocolate cake was so dry. horrible. nobody wanted to take another bite after the first one and i ended up having to finish up the piece of cake.
actually everyone was so full that they did not want dessert but i insisted because it seemed an incomplete meal without dessert especially when one was in alexis.

we reached stadium putra at around 7.45pm. i read that the place was already bustling with fans since 3pm. there were many booths by the sponsors where they had cut-outs of life sized taylor swift for fans to take photos with. there were queues in all the booths.

there were also many stalls selling non-official merchandise such as notebooks, caps, t-shirts, bags, etc.
but the real deal is here, in the photo above....the only stall selling official tour merchandise....and they were not cheap mind you. the stall was also not that obvious and could easily be missed. only when we saw people holding the paper bag below, that we realised there was an official merchandise stall after all.

those t-shirts cost rm100 a piece. the kids bought piano score book for rm90 which had all the scores to all songs in the red album. the blanket in the middle hanging there with taylor's face, that was rm180. that was an ok buy since it was big and one could use it for many purposes. maybe a cover for die-hard fan. the most ridiculously priced item was a photo of taylor swift in smaller than A4 size selling for rm30. i wonder how many they sold of that.

they were happy just with their paper bags i think. hehehe.

i got category 1 ticket, rm497 and i was really happy with my seat. i could see the stage clearly and taylor swift could be clearly seen.

the fans were really die-hard. had to give them the compliments for coming out with different make-ups, attires (mostly red), huge cards, light signs, and head gears. their adrenalin was at the highest level even before the concert began. so imagine the euphoria once taylor swift started singing. i thought my ear-drum was going to burst with all the screaming.

we spotted two local celebrities at our section. one was jinny boy, hitz fm deejay whom i heard is a big taylor swift fan. he is the one standing on the left of this photo recording his fans screaming for him.

the other one was sheena liam, winner of asia's next top model. it would be hard not to notice her thin figure with her bleached hair. i think she might be there with her younger sister.

oh, i think mr and mrs swift (taylor's parents) were there too. they walked in before the show began and fans who recognised them took opportunities to take selfies with taylor's sporting mom.

the concert started a few minutes after 9pm. the time printed on the ticket was 8.30p.m.
this was the first look. one lucky fan standing in front of the stage was given the black hat by taylor herself. i could see her group jumping with joy after that.

practically everyone was on their feet once the concert began, well except for parents who accompanied their children. and there were many of them.

everyone in every section was screaming and i bet taylor swift could be talking gibberish, and they would all still be lapping up to every word. that was the kind of star power she had.

a small section in category 2 was really lucky as there was a mini stage in front of them.

this was how near they were.

taylor in i 'heart' kl black tee. that was such a nice tee to wear especially to please her fans here. i wonder if this shirt was given to her by a fan or her crew got it for her.

this was the set for the song trouble. she wore the same set as what she performed at brits award.

the encore- only one song. we are never ever getting back together.

the concert ended before 10.30pm so it was actually less than the 90 minutes reported. a bit short right? if hk artists put their concerts at only 90 minutes, they would be booed no doubt.

and one song for encore? i think this was the first time i had ever heard of that. usually there would be another set of about 3 songs at least. felt a bit shortchanged there eh?

well, the fans would have nothing to complain about i am sure. the organiser here would be paying taylor in US dollar so there was never a chance of getting lesser-priced tickets for sure.

well, she is playing in singapore now and the stadium is even bigger. the tickets sold for stadium putra was 7500 and they were all sold out in 2 hours.

all in all, it was a good night. i reached home at midnight and had fun sharing my photos and videos on fb. haha. had fun showing off eh. kakaka.

will try to upload the videos here as well. i am having some problems uploading in this post. maybe i will put the videos in a new post after this.

so did you go to this concert? what do you think??

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

some sights i checked out in penang

sight seeing was not really at the top of the itinerary in my trip to penang last week. it was more of an escape from the mundane routine at the office and to eat some good food and to stay at a nice hotel.
however there were 2 places in my to-do list as well, namely suffolk house and penang hill, and i managed to do them both. yeah!

anyway, the picturesque st george's church is too pretty not be captured again and again.

we went to suffolk house on our way back to the mainland.
while in penang, i saw a lot of small arrows with IS printed on them. i was wondering to myself all the while what it stood for. it wouldn't be for a wedding since no address was printed together.
i finally found my anwer when i reach suffolk house. the second sign under IS said 'to set'. i could only think of location set for shooting something when i saw that.

and true enough, when we reached the gate of suffolk house, the guard came rushing and said 'no tour, no tour'. the place offers tours to tourists besides their offer of meals. after i told the guard that i had a reservation for high-tea, only he let us in.

could these trishaws be props for the film?? or have they always been there??

there was a lorry loading things as you can see from the picture. they had actually finished shooting by then and was actually wrapping up. sob sob! it would be nice to witness something. anyway, some most of the areas were cordoned off and only the restaurant was not. one of the production crew did admit that they were shooting there but would not reveal the name of the production. she said i could always find my answer on google. and so it was what i did. my googling skill is not bad i would say hahaha.
with just IS, i managed to find out that the name of the epic period saga being shot here in penang is indian summers. it is about the final years of british colonial rule in india and penang snagged a part too due to its still existing colonial influenced buildings. bravo penang. the only cast member i know is the lady who played ron's mom in harry potter. the rest of the cast is not known to me.

i am not sure if they are still shooting in penang, but if you see the signs IS on poles, you can check out the places if you are keen to see filming in progress....or in my case, packing in progress.

this part of the estate was not open when we were there.....
but we still went and check out their settings.

this is a part of the restaurant area. it is dining back in time here and the serenity of the place is a bliss.

next up, the second penang bridge. it is super long....
and quite empty of vehicles.

long eh? this is like taken after the mid-point. i think we spent about 20 minutes on the bridge.

last but not least, penang hill. i wasn't really that keen on the hill actually. the thing that drew me there was the new funicular train. i was more excited to try it that checking out the view from the top. i guess the journey was more important than the destination this time around.

finding a parking space was difficult and i parked by the side of the road leading to one of the apartments around the area.

although the crowd was thick, buying the tickets was not much of a hassle as they were volunteers there guiding everyone. it is rm8 for malaysian adult. non-malaysian adult has to pay rm32 if i remember correctly. a non-malaysian child will have to pay rm15. the proof is in your mykad.

we waited for about 15 minutes before our ride came. it was an orderly queue and bearable. i had queued longer waiting for nasi kandar. lol

the new funicular train was really fast! it had no problem going up the steep hill at all and everyone enjoyed the ride....we especially enjoyed the ride down because we managed to squeeze into the front compartment and saw the whole route. check out the video at the end of the post.

on top of the hill, it was breezy and just slightly cooler.
i think this kacang putih stall has been around for ages. i could remember such a stall in my secondary school trip there.  the stall operator must be making a lot of money selling here since his was the only stall selling kacang putih here.

this is a gimmick for people to part with their money and buy locks to seal their love on penang hill. i wonder if the management would regret it one day when the platform cannot hold the weights of all the locks there. see what is happening now in paris on ponts des arts. they better have a plan b.

this is from the peak of the hill. that area on the left is the train station and the lock platform.

the whole ride down penang hill on the train took more than 6 minutes. i have sped up the video so it only ran half of the time. the ride down was far steeper than what one sees in the video. there was one part especially after the mid station where it was so steep that everyone went 'ooooooooooooo'. it was like on a slow roller coaster there for a while. it was worth the rm8 i paid.

some penang street art installations

here are some street art which i have not seen before. just like before, i still prefer those steel pieces compared to those painted murals. the steel pieces have more stories to tell and all of them are told in a tongue-in-cheek way. brilliant creativity. kudos to artists!

enjoy them....

one-leg-kick ah mah. see where her legs go.

why are those birds there?? mah in cantonese and it is the name of the bird.

affair gone wrong in this one by the window.

finally....i know where this minion is. not many tourists knew where this is as it is quite hidden. i didn't see people hunting for this.

the last time i went, there was only the steel piece on the right of the trishaw puller. however, there are 3 more additions to that piece now and i think they sort of spoil it and the purple big piece stole the limelight from the steel one. horror!
what was the artist thinking? simply finding an empty space to draw??

these two are next to the painting of the boy on the left. so imagine that piece of wall with 4 art installations. that is a bit gory right??

that's more.  the rest i have taken and posted before in previous posts. many of those painted murals are starting to fade. so go and check them out before they go invinsible. the one at clan jetty has already disappeared.

Monday, June 09, 2014

3 days makan-makan in penang

apart from having my meals at seven terraces, of course i ventured out looking for hawker fares while on the island. how can i leave penang without a plate of char kuey teow??

hence, after we checked in on sunday afternoon, we just set out on foot to look for the char kuey teow uncle who sells his famous dish from a mobile stall and he cooks his dish using charcoal fire. we walked and walked and walked and reach anson road...but alas, the stall was not opened that day because it was a festive day for the chinese. damn!!! it was the duan wu festival and the coffee shop opposite the location of the stall was not opened too. very disappointed! it took us 30 mins on foot just to reach the place from the hotel.

we just had to console ourselves with fresh coconut water after that. ;(
after we had swallowed our disappointment, it was time to fill some food into our empty stomachs and we reached new lane hawker centre.

it was only 5 plus then but people were already ordering and having their dinner.

we found our seats and started ordering.

oh chien. big oysters with egg. not a big fan of oysters but because i was in penang, i had to eat it. not bad and the oysters were big.

barbecued chicken wings.

char kuey teow. i had eaten better ones. sob sob.

if you don't know how to go to new lane, just look for sunway hotel georgetown. the centre is just in front of the hotel.

all of us were not wowed by the food here. it was just ok. we continued our walk back to the hotel after the meal and luck was with us as we stumbled upon kimberly lane's hawker centre.

i think this area has more to offer as they have their specialties here.
someone told me that the satay here was good.

we ordered our 'ching poh leong' from the dessert stall. we needed another cooling drink after spending quite some time on the road on foot in the sun. better not get sick.

this stall selling braised chicken fe
et, chicken wing and thigh and kuey teow soup is a must try.  well, not for its kuey teow but the braised chicken.
the chicken feet was very tender, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth and buttery. it was the best chicken feet i have ever eaten. despite the bursting tummy, we just couldn't resist.

this is another popular stall there, selling duck porridge.

the duck porridge comes with pork intesties and blood too. it is not for the faint-hearted.  i don't usually eat this kind of porridge but since it is so famous and popular, i must try it to check its taste. it definitely was rich in flavour and thick. i guess it good for all lovers of duck and intestine porridge.

the next day, we celebrated a birthday of my ex-colleague who is a penangite at china house cafe. this is my favourite cafe in penang i guess. it was my second time now.

i simply love its cakes but not its service without a smile. although i did find one waiter with a cute and ever-ready smile for its customers this time around.

i read that this is the longest cafe in penang. well one reason that makes it long is because it is actually made up of two shoplots back to back and it was joined in the middle by a courtyard with a pond.
can you count the number of cakes on this table??

the latte here was really smooth as well.

the others ordered this bento set.

and i ordered spaghetti where the normal tomato sauce was replaced with something like thick assam laksa sauce. it was really good.

aaah....the finale.....cakes. 5 pieces of them. i just couldn't resist. love the tiramisu here. some of the cakes have alcohol content and it is written on a card next to the cake.
i will definitely come to this cafe just for its cakes anytime i am in penang. i am very sure of this.

for people craving for midnight food, there is always nasi kandar beratur which opens at 10pm. yup, 10pm and you really need to queue to get your food. it is next to masjid kapitan.

this was where we were at the beginning of our queue. the white neon light was the shop, so the distance was actually not that far. well, think again. we queued for 50 minutes before reaching the shop.
50 minutes to reach this part and to check out what they had to offer.

and all in all, it took us 1 hour to get our meal. some people will say this is crazy but i guess there are just many crazy people out there because many queued too for their food. the fried chicken was good and the curry gravy too. gosh...totally salivating just thinking of the aroma of the gravy again. if you don't want to queue for good nasi kandar, i guess another place to try is line clear nasi kandar shop. as the name suggests, there is definitely no line there but it has equally good reviews.

the next stop is pastry shop for some cookies.

the shop looks dilapitated from outside but once inside, it is bustling with activities and customers and the appearance is quite presentable.

we treated ourselves to soya bean milk and it was good. but this bottle alone costs us rm5. a bit expensive huh??

the famous cookies here are the salted egg yolk and lotus paste cantonese cookies. they are not cheap too. a box of 8 costs me rm12. i did not even try any from the box which i bought home because i am not really a fan of salted egg yolk.

but i did try their egg tarts which i bought back for my breakfast the next day. not bad but not like wow.

the egg tart on this pamphlet looks more appetising eh? please do go for the egg tarts, they are really not bad. i am just a sucker for good egg tarts. i am hungry now while writing this.

the last place where we visited for a meal was suffolk house, the former residence of francis light, the founder of british settlement.
we went here on our way back but we should have gone here on the day we went to penang hill since they are both in ayer itam area. however, it is on the way too if one is making his way back to the mainland.

it is better to call for booking to avoid disappointment and to ensure the tables are ready for you.

this is the menu that they have for afternoon tea. they do serve lunch and dinner too, so go ahead and try them.
it is rm70 for a set for two persons and it is actually quite a filling set.

we had scones, chicken and mushroom pies, sandwiches, cakes and cookies. my favourites are the sandwiches and scones but i couldn't finish my part of the portion because of earlier lunch.

tea time starts at 2.30p.m. and we were there at 3. we lingered around till about 5 so it was time well spent looking at all the food and trying hard to digest whatever i consumed. did i put on weight? i did not go on the weighing scale. but but but.....i think the hip area is wider dy. sob sob sob! but what is a trip to penang without putting on weight eh???