Monday, December 31, 2007

Adios 07 Welcome 08

2007 – is it really over??

07 Spinned away

Darn the year flew in a snap! I can still remember the birthday celebrations last year which was followed by an awesome New Year party. The year nearly started on the wrong foot when someone tried to snatch my bag but thankfully I didn’t lose the bag or injure myself.

Then work got crazy, I finally resigned the job, something I should have done years ago. I’ve never felt so relived and the last show with the old company was actually fun – saying my goodbyes, one late night after the other yakking with different people and realizing I wasn’t alone in how I felt about certain people. Thinking I’d have sometime for myself, I resigned only to start work 2 weeks later! More change happened in that 2 weeks that in the last year. All I can say is its been a weird year. That was just March!

Take me anywhere Life? Serene Blur Dreams are made here Morning at the Cathay Peeping sunbeam Patterns Mysterious light
It’s definitely been a travel year. Normally I try to fit in one overseas travel and another in the country travel. 2007 saw me in Cambodia, Malacca, Johor, Seremban, Penang, Taiping - Perak, Bagan Lalang Beach in Selangor and finally Kuala Kubu Baru and Frasier hills in Pahang. Not bad for someone whose work doesn’t really take her traveling. Each trip rejuvenated me amazingly but I miss say Penang was the best coz it came at the precise time. I was at the end of my nerves and desperately needed a break from routine. What can I say it worked its wonders ;)

There were the bad moments – like the little trick that turned nasty – that I truly regret – and thankfully everyone has forgotten. The ups and downs – you never understand them but you live with them. The ups and downs in my friends lives – the ones that left you praying that they survive the trying times.

Peace Texture On top of the world Missing memories The wrath of Durga Shadow Play Concentration Faris Sowing for the future The Flower gal Stop! God ....Will you be my side Nooooooooooooo Hidden beauty Us Windy love KLwalk #3 at Kampung Abdullah Hukum Reality Brinjals galore Walking on the edge IN THE EYES OF TIME

My close friend’s wedding that had me traveling week after week! I’m glad I did – nothing beats being there for your friends on their big day. Thankfully the wife and me have hit of as well – just spend Christmas eve with them ;) I’m awaiting my little niece soon.

The friend whose wedding I couldn’t attend but all throughout the day I spent smsing the friend who managed to be there. How time passes!

Thaipusam was amazing as usual with an extra touch – finally followed someones kavadi. The experience is different as you’re praying for their success as well. Thaipusam season has already begun – some of them have already started prayers while my friend will begun his fast on the 2nd. The prayer sessions will begin the first weekend of January and after all the gloating my friend did showing off the photos I took of him, his friend is insisting we follow him as well ;p heheh oh dear this is gonna be interesting.

The much awaited release of Sivaji – and the nuttiness that followed!

Do you want this? Do you have to take my photo again???! Cheeky

The children from the home that have found a place in my heart – miss them lots coz I haven’t been able to go by for sometime – still trying to do what’s possible from the sidelines at the moment.

The wonderful friends I’ve made, I’ve traveled with, the one’s who have made my life colourful, the one’s who became closer over time, the care and love I’ve gotten from each of them – the one’s who stood by me sometimes knowingly and sometimes just being there at the right time and not knowing it. Thanks darlings.

Being able to do what I love – enjoying life as it should be. Much to be thankful for.

Getting recognized for my work, getting printed, – now if only people will stop stealing them!
Reflection Fireworks The Bride White and Black Ancient Potrait of a Devotee My beloved city - KL Light Looking up Framed Waiting Beyond the barrier

2007 has been special – nothing to change about it – though I wish one thing had turned out differently – oh well life is life.

07 still hasn’t ended – I’m off to a house party in a few hours – the birthday was a blast – besides the 3 hours that led to me screaming at the 6th maxis customer service agent I spoke to! Lol more on that later ;p

Happy New Year everyone – may 2008 bring you all that you wish.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twenty Eight ;p

According to one friend I turned 41 another 2 have ganged up to call me aunty. The problem is my turning 28 woke most of them up to the fact that they’re turning 30 in just a few days! ;p

Sorry darlings I’m still younger than you.

The birthday has been awesome – will write more tomorrow.

Bye love.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Step into time

Morning light

Are you from OUG? No? I have a sister there – Rebecca.

Everytime he saw me – he would repeat the same question. Where are you from? KL? The question will then be followed with the same line. I think I answered the sweet old man at least 6 times, yet somehow he didn’t make my eyes roll. Probably because he asked with such sincerity I could only blame his short memory to the repeated questions.

The Cathay Hotel I was staying at the 103 year old Cathay Hotel on Leith Street in Penang. The old man was one of the few old men looking after the hotel. The Cathay hotel was an old colonial mansion that stands right in front of the more famous Cheong Fatt zhe mansion or better known as the blue mansion.

Up and away When I began looking for a place to stay in Penang, there were a few criterias to consider. Affordable, in Georgetown, clean and safe. Somehow the price and the place didn’t seem to match. Always a sucker for old mansions, I just had to check the place out. So I called them to check on the details and make my booking. Even after putting down the phone, I wasn’t so sure I was getting what I had been told. The little rooms in the restored mansion turned hotels in the area were going for triple the price they had quoted me.

I decided to check the rooms upon arrival before sealing my stay, after all I could always find another place to stay on the other more popular backpackers lane – Chulia Street.

Let me tell you a little secret, I’ve only taken the bus to an outstation location in Malaysia thrice. All three times, I was traveling with someone from that location and they handled the tickets and everything. This trip was my first trip alone on a bus to another state and I was wondering how would I figure out which bus company to travel with.

Hidden The rain did the deciding for me. it began raining the second I got into my local bus heading towards KL. I got down from the bus 45 minutes later into a semi heavy downpour and wrapped myself in a shawl and made my way towards Pudu bus station. I discover that KL pavements are meant for walking in the rain, there goes my romantic ideas of walking hand in hand in the rain. I’m sure no such dreams included slipping and holding on to dear life to the nearest pole.

As I reached the covered sidewalk towards Pudu, a man was bellowing – Penang! Butterworth! Penang! Butterworth! Penang! Butterworth!

Actually it sounded like JB at first but somehow my please-do-not-fall-look looked like I needed a bus to Penang as the guy stopped me and asked me if I wanted a seat to Penang. After checking the price and contemplating to continue walking, a thunder sounded from the skies and with that I whipped out my purse and handed him the money. Thankfully the bus looked good on the inside, and what do you know it was pretty comfortable too.

I settled into my chair and was already freezing from getting wet in the rain. Smsed my friend to tell her I was on my way to Penang and it was raining cats and dogs in KL.

“It’s the same over here” came back her reply.

Family Looks like someone was waiting for my arrival. I prefer the rain anyday, who wouldn’t want to walk in cold weather on cold roads, at least I wouldn’t die of dehydration. Rain all you want darling, I;m on a walking tour – were my thoughts before I snuggled into the chair.

Now how would a story written by me not have its buts?

Somewhere between the last tollgate on the highway towards Butterworth, the bus suddenly stops. As I was busy chatting on the phone, I gave no notice to the words the drivers assistant was mumbling. A few passengers seem to be getting down and though I was puzzled, I ignored it. A minute later I hear something about Penang and curious I asked the guy what the fuss was all about.

Sesiapa yang pergi Penang kena tukar basla cik adik!
The people heading to Penang have to change busses love!

I quickly cut the call and stuffed the book I had been reading into my bag and hurried out totally bewildered by the situation. Later I find out it’s a common practice by busses to shift their mainland passengers with the island passengers. How would I know?

White fortress Luckily the other bus was as comfortable but I was in for another surprise. I had assumed the bus will stop at Komtar, Georgetown. It seems Google lied. Buses now stop at the Nibong terminal. Now Nibong is on the other side of the town and the moment I got down, taxi drivers began warring their taxis at the most ridiculous prices. I told one guy I’d rather walk to Georgetown than pay RM 25.

City buses don’t seem to ply the route or they were having a siesta at 4 pm. I walked futher down the road to catch another taxi. The first one demanded another exorbitant price and when I asked him if he’ll use the meter he laughed at me. So I told him to take his laugh with him in different words.

I finally got a cab for RM 12. My friends were surprised to find out I had haggled.

Welcome Just off Penang road, Leith street was one of the few places I had never been on the island but it probably had the widest road. Later we find out the mansions belonging to 5 friends of Cheong Fatt Zhe were billed 45 degrees away from the streets for Feng Shui. Now that’s another story all together let me get back to the Cathay.

Walking into the Cathay’s parking lot was like walking into the past. The cars were new but everything else seemed to have stood time. An old fashioned fountain stood at the centre, with the magnificient Cathay as its backdrop.

Are you from OUG? I stepped into the lobby to be greeted by an old man sitting in a semi cylinder shaped reception area with a huge glass mirror right above it. I was slowly falling in love with the place but I made myself check the place first. Of we went up climbing the steep but magestic stairs. The house is pretty tall so you can imagine how tall the steps were.

It was like walking back into time. My room door was opened and I was surprised to see 2 double beds in a huge room again with high ceilings. Even the bathroom was spacious and most importantly clean. I walked down happy as a lark at having found this gem of a place and confirmed my stay.

old but not forgotten He opened this huge ledger and began to fill in my details. The ledger itself had stood its time, I don’t think they even make those books anymore.

My friend who arrived later, a fellow photographer and old mansion lover also squealed in delight at the place.

I probably shouldn’t have taken an aircond room though as I had to call them 2 nights to request for the aircond to be switched off as it was controlled by them -we just couldn’t take the cold!

Good morning The caretakers are pretty proud of the place. On our last morning there, we circled the place taking photos of every little detail that had caught our eyes. The mirrors placed all over the homes, the windows, the open courtyard in the centre of the mansion, the mirrors above the reception, its huge doors and stairs.

Reflected Shades of Brown The Cathay

Fond Memories Seeing our apparent interest in the place - we were clicking away, he shared a few stories with us.

“When I was younger, I used to think a giant lived here, as the doors were so tall.”

Keeping with traditions He showed us old photos from the snake temple, and answered our questions on the place. They have an interesting record system. Rooms are marked systematically with crosses and stars to denote the details of the room.

Still Ticking The clock, probably at least half the age of the place didn’t tick, rather the seconds arm glided smoothly around the perimeter of the clock powered by electricity.

Morning at the Cathay The Cathay was beyond my expectations. Thankfully I hadn’t picked one of the backpackers hotel on Chulia street. On my walks later, I discovered they were as shady as their appearance.

The Cathay - a simple hotel true to its old world charm.