<bgsound src="http://www.ijigg.com/songs/V2BFBCGCPAD" > My Big Big Adventure: September 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Today, I have worked until 6:53 pm. Tired, what's more on Saturday evening. I am still in the office.

Raining heavily today, but compensated with good weather in the end. All well ends well.

Nothing much happening today except for work, lots of freeloaders who come for free food. Just hated the way they look, the glutony, the typical Malaysian habit unchanged for decades. Thinking further, I just felt more despice against these people.

Colleagues have left to join their family for dinner. I am here typing away, awaiting my brother to finish his tennis game so I could pick him up. So boring~

I could feel my legs aching from the endless walking and standing. I wonder how do the departmental store people could stand all day without complaining. I wondered...

Bankers' voice of complaints getting the documents from the buyers. Using our company resources to print is totally unacceptable. I felt so helpless, but did not want to interefere the state of politics here, just sticking with my routine of slipping quietly away. Not my business anyway, why do I care!

Tired, frustrated. Longing to be away from these mess and hit the shower and find peace in my books and bed.

No matter how bad it goes, tomorrow will be a better day.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Chiang Mai Trip: 10-14 September 2006

10 years ago, I was in Phuket with my dad. It was a mixed experience. I vividly remembered that we were stranded along the slip-road linking to the highway the whole day until our mechanic came to the rescue, due to some unscupulous petrol station personnel who got us into this mess by pumping water into the tank instead of fuel. That was past midnight ten years ago.

Here was I, once again, visiting the country that left bad marks in my memory. But this time, away from the much tourist-frenzy Phuket (like 90% of the populations are Caucasians! Even Thai speaks English!), the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is a more laid back state than its counterparts in the southern Thailand. You can still enjoy the flowers and trees, and people driving 40 km/h on the main road. Unbelievable!

My brother and I did a backpacking tour to this remote place. When I first heard of Chiang Mai, the image of cooling breeze just popped into my head, as this place was promoted as a winter getaway for the Thai Royals. I was dead wrong!! The weather is just as hot as in Malaysia, but not that humid. Understood from a Swiss guy, Stephen, I realised that Chiang Mai little winter comes in November that last till end of the year (weather could go down to 5 degrees celcius). That's it. Luckily I got myself on with t-shirt instead of sweater.

Walking is the only main thing we did here in Chiang Mai. When I said walking, I mean lots of them. My brother favourite past time besides computer is walking. He had even tried the walkathon or even the towerthon, or whatever ~thon you could find on the list you would probably see him. With the speed he is at, he could walk like 5km/h, non-stop.

Anyway, coming back to my little story of Chiang Mai.

On the first day, we did walk around the old city of Chiang Mai to find some interesting spot to rest and relax. Once, we spotted a delicious hotdog-alike thing by the road and got ourselves one to try. I don't know what it was called. But it was a grilled stuffed-minced-pork-and-grass-noodles hotdog. Delicious, but original, kinda funny taste.

Once in Chiang Mai, two things you would not miss for night activities are night bazaar on the east side of old Chiang Mai and the Sunday night market. As compared to the 7/24 night bazaar, things sold in Sunday market is reasonably priced. At least, it is not as expensive as I imagined it to be. Bargains are expected and required in these night markets. Delicated textiles (must get cotton & silk items) and decorative bags or wolven bags are popular catch too. Besides these items, local delicacies are must-try. We had mango sticky rice, noodle soup (pig blood with beehoon and some vegetable cordiment), fried eggs with mushroom in a banana-leaf boat, and of course some munchies.

Believe me, the food I consumed in Chiang Mai has stuffed me to the max. There are lots of hawker stalls at every nooks and crannies you could find. Coconut drink (the whole coconut for take-away), fried maggots and grasshoppers (yuck! I didn't try it), fruits selling cheap, rice supplemented by dishes, "pisang goreng" ala Thai, and otak-otak ala Thai, etc could be found easily on the streets. You could find it more appealing when you are around Warorot Market. Street peddlers would be gathered around for attention, which you would find somewhat similar to Petaling Street but only quieter, but on busier streets.

Most mornings in Chiang Mai, I had chok, besides toasted sandwiches from 7-Eleven. Chok, porridge the local calls it, has always invoke good feelings towards Thailand. I can still recall the taste of the hot delicious bowl of porridge complete with omega-riched egg and fried beehoon 10 years ago in Hadyai. Again, the chok didn't fail its reputation, but I just feel that the memorable chok was still the best I have ever had.

In Chiang Mai, it is not difficult to be with the divine. Surrounding the city, you can easily spot a Wat (temple) in every corner you turn to. Not one, but two to three along the same road. I felt fully blessed by the spirit of the divine. Sadhu! Sahdu! Sadhu!

One of the tourist spot one can't miss would be the Wat Doi Suthep, a temple that houses the relics of the Buddha, on top of the hill, at least 16 km away from Chiang Mai city. The legend, or rather, a true story, that told that the relic of the Buddha was placed by the Thai king on a white elephant, which this innocent creature just traveled miles to find a spot on this very Doi Suthep, turned its body few rounds and made a loud sound. That's the beginning of the fame Wat Doi Suthep.

On the trip to Doi Suthep, a funny thing that both my brother and I did on this rainy day. We were conned by one of the songkhew (red taxi), which charged us Baht 30 per person instead of normal rate of Baht 15 per trip. We were so angry that we decided to walk our asses up the hill instead of relying on this conman. The drizzle stopped, and we just walked up hill, ignoring the honking from the taxi, and of course the funny stare from the travel busses and local cars going uphill. Half-way 7 km more, I had decided to give up hope for the long endless walk, and took a red taxi instead which arrived at Doi Suthep in less than 15 minutes. One hour 25 minutes of walking up hill from Chiang Mai Zoo seem like an achievement to us! Along the way, we stopped by a rest area to relax and enjoy at the marvel of the gushy waterfalls and lush scenery. All this tirelessly climbing proved to be fruitful. I was so proud of myself.

Nothing much to do in Chiang Mai. Making a visit to the tip of Thailand and the Golden Triangle seem to be something you would be likely to include. We did the same. Chartered the service of a local tour agent for 850 baht + 300 baht for a boat ride at the Golden Triangle, we headed straight 3-hour trip to Chiang Rai. Unfortunately, we had left our camera in the guesthouse and had to get a disposable camera to capture the day's event. Felt so ironic because that was the only day that most variety of photos to be taken.

Making the boat trip was fun. We got to visit the Laos mainland, viewing the magnificent "Paradise Casino and Resort" from the river, and a gold-platted buddha statue and some images of Thai Queen to mark her birthday. After a short boat ride, lunch was the next itenery on the list. Taking the opportunity to visit the hill-tribe people (Ahka & Yau tribe) was another exciting adventure, not until you know that they were harrassing you to purchase their hand-made crafts that you found it hard to depart your money for. Overall, the experience was ok! Also, we got to make new friends, a couple from Seattle, and two girls from England.

Before leaving home, we visited Tesco (Thai calls it Lotus Tesco). Guess what? We bought three boxes of instant noodles, some local munchies, cashew nuts, potato chips (low salted Lay's) and Thai chilli sauce. Local priced, foreign appeal, where else if not Tesco? I guess I was tired of negotiating for prices at the local mart, or even Petaling-street alike stalls. Cheap, bulk purchase chain store like Tesco seems too good to be true. No wonder globalisation becomes so popular. Even the local papers are condemning these giants for taking businesses away from the locals. I just said fair competition, and giving the price customers want. At least for a foreign customers like me, I was happy. I presumed all customers alike.

Overall, it was a fun trip. The plan left on time, everything went well though with some hiccups along the way (that's where the fun was). Shopping has not been easy for not-so-good-bargainer like me, but I managed to get something I want. Just hope that Thailand is something I won't be doing for the next ten years.

Eat Out in Kuala Lumpur

Found this list in one of the website listed. Thought of sharing with you guys. Enjoy!

1. 大樹頭蘇記 - "So Gei" 14 Medan Imbi, 03-2148-1324, 12-3pm, 5.30pm-1am
2. 新峰肉骨茶 - "Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh" 3537-39 Medan Imbi, 03-2141-4064, 5am - 12pm
3 Madam Kwan -Lot 420/421, Level 4, Suria KLCC, 03-2062-2297, 11am-11pm
4 吃慣 - Jiak Guan 27, Tengkat Tong Shin, 03-21432287, 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm
5. Bijan - 3, Jalan Ceylonm 03-2031-3575, 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
6. La Fite - Shangri-la Hotel, 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 03-2074-3900
7. Bombay Palace - 215 Jalan Tun Razak, 03-2145-4241, 12-2.30om, 6.30-10.30pm
8. Ole Cafe - 48 Changkit Bukit Bintang, 03-2148-9007, 11am - 1am
9. Old China Cafe - 11 Jalan Balai Polis, 03-2072-5919, 11am-11pm
10. Zeta Bar - Hilton Hotel, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 03-2264-2264
11. Zouk - 113 Jalan Ampang, 03-21711997, 10pm-3am
12. Luna Bar - Menara Pan Global, Jalan Punchak, Off P.Ramlee, 03-2332-7777, 11am -1am
13. Durian - 榴槤市場(榴槤島 ) - Jalan Besar Pandan Jaya, 016-272-9843, 12pm-1am
14. Little Penang in Mid Valley Megamall
15. Pelita and La Bodega in Bangsar