Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Women should never travel alone....

seems to be the first thing people tell you....


It had only been 10 minutes since I had hit the streets of Georgetown on my street tour and I had already been hit on 3 times. Now my mom did want me to have a holiday romance well more like find a guy and get married soon! But I’m sure she didn’t have middle aged men in her thoughts!

I don’t understand why it’s acceptable for a foreign female tourist to be traveling around but not for a asian tourist. Even the hotel uncles had asked me if I was really staying alone, I told them no my friend will be joining me.

But why can’t we accept women to travel alone?

I needed a break and I wanted to go in the first week of December. I asked a few friends but everyone was busy wrapping up business ahead of Christmas and the long break and wanted to travel then. So when my friend in Penang said she could take a day off but I’d have to spend the other working hours alone – I didn’t even think twice.

The only reason I don’t recommend traveling alone is the cost as everything doubles in price and sometimes even triples. Plus it’s also nice to travel with someone like minded as you get to share joy but traveling alone has its perks.

I spent Thursday evening and Saturday morning alone walking the streets of Penang. I stopped whenever I wished, shot everything I wanted, smiled at a few aunties, obliged a photo or two, stopped for food whenever I wanted, walked in and out a dozen of streets at my own pace. I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with a person or if the other person could keep up with me.

I think this trip was one of my most favourite coz I got to do everything I liked.

Heck even when I write about having watched a women ply her trade, someone advices me to watch where I go. Err do you know such activities happen everywhere? From 5 star hotels, your local neighbourhood to probably the seemingly normal looking house 5 doors away from yours?

A certain prominent family apartment in the city centre has its interesting occupants. After you’ve gasped will you ask me to lock myself at home and not go out at all? As you don’t want to hear me getting hurt.

Here’s the thing you could get hurt in your own house and apparently even getting out of your car in front of your own home is no longer safe. I appreciate advice but only if it isn’t silly and by the way next time leave a name – you do know we track all our visitors and label them. Usually the anon’s get interesting names – names you don’t wanna know.

I for one hate paying exorbitant prices for a hotel in the centre of a city when all I do is sleep for less than 6 hours and shower at the beginning and the end of the day. Unless I’m on holiday to sleep in a hotel there is no way I’m gonna pay a ridiculous price at a place that despite the price and star rating still has similar activities going on albeit in a different name!

When I was researching where to stay I did hear about the activities on both the streets. I spoke to 2 guy friends on it. One asked me do you have a problem with it – I said actually no – the other told me about the activities even before I told him. Both knowing me they both told me to have a good time – though one’s a bit jealous I got to go on a holiday!

You see I believe in being street smart – know your surroundings, find out about a place before you go so you can be extra careful and don’t dangle gold jewelry and cash for the world to see. Travel in comfortable clothes and shoes – it’s also easier to talk to people on the streets and take their photos when you’re dressed like them.

So if alls that stopping you from traveling is the company and what society might think, throw both of the thoughts out. So instead of mumbling about wanting to go on a holiday and not having the right people to travel with, go out and discover the world, you’ll come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

Oh don’t forget to take the backroads, there’s so much to discover.

Lame KFC

Well my bubble burst yesterday, I headed to KFC to check out the WIFI. There was a huge sign outside the outlet saying FREE WIFI. I get my food and ask them for a password. They blink at me and all 10 staff working the shift didn’t know if the WIFI worked or if it needed a password or what it was either – one even rudely said its not working to which I asked “eh you just launched and its not working?”

All I got were stares.

Anyway I head to a seat and switch on the PC. I find the connection but for the next 30 minutes – though I was connected I couldn’t access the net and that new foot long burger is seriously horrible.

Seriously if you’re trying to beat MCd’s by offering breakfast and WIFI you better buck up your service and keep to your word. Don’t offer things you can’t provide – its lame.

ps : I checked their website – it seems they’re only providing it between 2 – 6pm – seriously you might as well not offer the service.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Murder she wrote

PeekingI spent sat making sudden turns and stops, confusing 5 cars, eating droolicious food and getting sunburned in Kuala Selangor. Damn it was so hot and when my colleague asked me how come I look fairer on Monday – I blinked at her. Turns out I looked pale ;p


Do go and watch Madmoney – awesome movie after a very long time – sigh wish I could do the same!








The biggest news of the week is actually the fact that my little town that has 2 shopping malls finally has a wifi restaurant which turns out to be KFC – woohoo. Now before you go yay – let me recap what happened yesterday.

It seems that 20 minutes after I left home, a guy from another nearby town who was being chased by another group of men hit his car into a drain right at the only entrance into my housing area. Then they attacked the guys car with parangs (aruva/ huge blades) and then got to him. Whacked the guy all over and went away with one of his arm. By the time the cops came the place was a bloody mess. The cops sealed the place off and everyone was stuck at home till 12 pm.

Anyway all the kepohchi’s (nosy ppl) spent the morning nosing around the place looking at the body and the blood gore and fishing stories. My mom was oblivious to everything and was probably busy watching Tamil serials when people called her to go check it out and she did ;p so last night while I was sitting alone in the office, she calls me up to tell me drive quickly past the entrance coz there might be ghosts. Lol.

Anyway today morning I had a good laugh as I was driving out – coz all the cars that are usually at home when I leave were all gone – looks like people left early for work. Ahem hello I don’t think murder happens twice in a row – this isn’t murder she wrote you know ;p lol

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friends

You don’t need to know a person forever to be their good friends. Sometimes people you have known forever are no longer as close, as you have both changed with time.

I used to have very few girlfriends as I’ve had horrible experiences with them – backstabbing, jealousy and the sort. 3 years ago I met 2 gals and we instantly clicked. From there we connected a few of my other friends some whom I’ve known for over 10 years and though we’ve been through some ups and downs – things have been good. Wow time has really flown pass as we’re about to see one of the guys get married.

Of course there are the few people I’ve met through blogging who are constantly part of my life. The 2 who are always buzzing around me, the one who constantly bumps into ppl who know me and we start singing the phrase “darn KL is so small!”

Then there are the friends I met a year ago through Flickr. Everytime people see me with them they assume its part of the group since they’re from so many different races but in truth I’ve grown really close with a few of them. It is not all photography but in many ways a bond linked by photography. I am truly grateful to Flickr that I got to meet them. There’s so many things that I’ve wanted to do that I’ve managed to do with them – some of us clicked instantly, some of us grew close over time but these are friendships that I will always cherish.

It is extremely easy to make friends, you have to open yourself to new experiences and different people to reach beyond the outer surface to learn who they really are, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. However keeping friends is the hardest thing, just remember it doesn’t end with the misunderstandings rather you grow closer because of them. Cherish the friendships you have and don’t be afraid to make new one’s

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rude freeloaders

If you know me long enough, you'll know I don't like rude people.

After having lunch with my friends I dashed off to Coffeebean to edit my overflowing number of photos. Anyway I'm sitting next to the paper stand as one its freaking cold and its the nearest table to the power point.

Anyway few people walked by to get papers and most were polite. Few minutes ago a chinese gal about 8 years old comes by and tries to take the papers. So I help her get the paper and after taking it she just walks away without even saying thank you.

few seconds later she comes back and hands me the paper as if I'm her servant - I decide to ignore her - kid starts mumbling something in Chinese and goes to complain to her mom who is as rude and does the same thing.

Like mother like daughter oh and guess what theyre a bunch of freeloaders - walked in to read the newspaper for free.

EXPLAINS THE RUDENESS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chariot Chasing

Chariot Chasing

Last night we headed off to KL to catch the chariot leave KL. By now you’d have known that I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve an addiction to Thaipusam. As we had left early to beat the traffic, we managed to get up close to the chariot.

The Chariot The last detailrs Thaipusam 2008
Having seen my photos from the previous chariot walks, the guys decided to join me in chasing the chariot. Seriously we chase the chariot – as we need to get in front of the chariot to get the best shots and that means running through dark alleys and sprinting to each different stops.

Me : when I say move you guys should move immediately
Friends : so we can only shoot if u say shoot?
Me : yes and no questions asked! ;p

what is she doing? Preparing

Photogs are like kids in a candy factory – we get so excited by photographic opportunity that we sleep, sit and even jump in the middle of the road ;p

Watching over Though the crowds were significantly smaller, the true devotees and the fans of the festival were there waiting for it to begin. Its funny actually when I first started walking some 15 years back, these were how big the crowds used to be coz then it wasn’t fashionable to walk behind the chariot. You walked because you wanted to. And those ppl were still there.

Oooh I don’t like the new addition to the chariot – the funky green light – I want my bulbs back! – gonna tell them that the next time I see them ;p

Thaipusam 2008 Curious Humour

I just got a call from my friend whose carrying the kavadi tomorrow insisting I use his camera tomorrow. No way am I going to abandon my baby (that’s what I call my camera) for anyone elses cam. He’s still trying to convince me ;p

Alrighty have a nice Thaipusam – will update when I get back.

Note to self : charge all batteries – hp, camera and self ;p

Monday, January 21, 2008

Time to downgrade

Time to downgrade ;p We were out photographing KL centre yesterday when this happened. It had us laughing throught the evening ;p





















Friend : hey look there’s pigeons in that hole.

Me and rest : oh yeah

friend : to photograph that you’ll need a dslr with a telephoto lens.

me : no you don’t – I just need to cross the road.

As my friend stands there flabbergasted – I cross the road and got the shot.

me : see (showing photo)

he : I’m downgrading to a Point and shoot camera!

Us : Laughing so loud – we had tummy aches ;p

Ps : no cameras were hurt in the process ;p

Where’s my gloating rights?

Hey its that way! The one year I’m finally in the public holiday zone of Selangor for Thaipusam and they declare public holiday for KL. Hello where’s my gloating rights? I demand the right to gloat ;p

I was out Sunday afternoon gallivanting across the streets of KL and we stopped by the temple to watch them shine and clean the chariot in time for the procession early tomorrow morning.

I just realized I’ve never really written about Thaipusam and its meaning.

Getting ready Thaipusam in Malaysia is a festival of 3 days for most but for the Kavadi bearers the journey starts 1 month earlier. Following a strict vegetarian fast, constant prayers, sleeping on floors and abstaining from any entertainment the journey ends at their destined temple.

The Silver chariot leaves the Maha Mariamman temple at Jalan Bandar, Kuala Lumpur in the wee hours of the eve of Thaipusam and travels 15 km with thousands of devotees to the centre of the festival at Batu Caves. The festival begins at the temple as soon as the festival flag is hoisted in the evening of the eve. Nearly a million people turn up for the festival in the next 36 hours together with the hundreds of kavadis and thousands of milk bearers who throng the cave temples accompanied by the sounds of drums.

The next day the Chariot makes its way back into the city to mark the end of Thaipusam.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Idiot Proof

If you think you're liasing with an idiot here's my advice :

- stop being nice
- stop being courteous

Instead
- scream or blackmail by ccing their boss

Your problems will get solved - trust me on this! You'll be amazed!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sweet Ponggal

PonggalPonggal this year was excellent in many ways. We’re back to routine, the old priest is back, the ponggal cooking time isn’t filled with animosity.

If you’re a regular follower of the blog you’ll realize I’m a bigger Ponggal fan then I am of Diwali. To us it marks the end of Margzhali and the beginning of Thai as it is with the rest.












Ponggal, the Hindu harvest festival and the beginning of the month of Thai. Ponggal signals the end of weeks spent harvesting rice and a thanksgiving to the sun for its rays of gold that flourished the crops.

Though not everyone’s a farmer, everyone celebrates Pongal in thanksgiving to the ever important rice that thrives on our plates. One the day families gather together and cook a sweet rice delicacy.

My ponggals have always been with the temple. I’d put a kolam at home the night before and the next morning we’d all be at the temple. The cooking only begins after I’ve put the kolam around the pot. It’s just a tradition we’re all used to. Each year they keepy making me promise to come back even if I get married. Lol no worries there! ;p


Ponggal Ponggal Sweet beginnings

Waiting for the milk to boil kinda gets everyone impatient. We’d start meddling with the fire and throwing in champor to get it going. We were trying to get them to throw in more champor when they tell us, y do we need that when we were using champor tree wood. None of us believed them an assumed they were lying – coz both of them are always telling little lies ;p

Sudam ah? Sudam marameh use pahnrohm ithuleh ethuku sudam?

Turns out Champor is made of from the champor tree. Whatya know! ;p


Ponggal The hardest part about ponggal making is the stirring. You need to continuously stir or you’ll have burnt rice! Now we use an extra large pot coz hey you need to feed about 30 – 40 ppl at least! Our chief stirrer is this aunty and believe it or not 2nd in line to her is moi! ;p everyone else will take turns to lightly mix the rice, give up and hand the baton or in this context the sugar cane back to us.

As usual I kept urging the priest anne to put more sugar! Well all we get is a spoon of Ponggal and how can it not be sweet! You’d think I’m crazy about ponggal the food but actually I only eat it once a year pipping hot while rushing to work! ;p

My cutesy boyfriend Oh yes btw this is my little smiley cutesy boyfriend – the one who beams when I introduce him as my boyfriend. Seriously! ;p

Hope you guys had a wonderful Ponggal and may the year be as sweet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Puthidai Malara

Ponggal

Vaikarai vaanathai sarasarappa
Vidiyal bumiyil miniminuka

Tavalntu nagarnthu, asaiyum
Megham ehnum mughamudi

Nadanam adum kathiravanin
Arangathai alangarithu

Mehla nithirai vilithu pani
Sulhtiruhkum eyarkai malara

Puthiyathor naal piranthathu

Puthithai pirantha Thai endrum aru suvai udan pongga yenthan vazhthukal

poem copyright @ visithra

Have a wonderful ponggal everyone

ps : wrote this for the blog in 2005 I think reposting coz it fits for Ponggal ;p

Monday, January 14, 2008

Picnic in Siam Reap

Angkor

One of the best things we did in Siam Reap was have a picnic. We decided to go local and just stop visiting temples (it gets boring after a while) before we headed back to Angkor Wat to watch the sun set (nope not a good place to watch the sun set but if the lights project took off its definitely worth going there in the evenings to watch the lights).

Every evening the locals will gather with their families by the lake that encircles the Angkor temple. You can get all kinds of food from fruits, corn, Cambodian snacks, sweets to roasted meat/ eggs and drinks at the stalls that dot the road and then cross over to the lake and sit on one of the mengkuang tikars (straw mat) that are placed by the hawkers on the cement hedges. Yep you don’t even need to bring mats, the Cambodians are an ingenious lot I tell you.

The lake is really huge and there are various points to sit at but best of all its really peaceful besides the occasional honk of the tuk tuk. Luckily the spot we were sitting at was neither near a temple or a corner, so the honks were limited.

Picnic by the lake One weird thing about Cambodia was you rarely saw cats and dogs loitering the streets. I’m not sure why so we were pleasantly surprised when a bunch of dogs politely came sniffing for left over bones. Yes the dogs were polite, interestingly we found them more humane then the people.

The dogs did not lunge at our food, left us at peace and waited patiently for us to give them food. Of course the 3 dogs fought among themselves but they left us at peace. We were pretty entertained with their antics.

We had ordered half a chicken which was shared by my friend and our tuk tuk driver and I had some corn and tapioca snacks (kuih/ palagaram) (I was vegetarian that day – you can survive as one anywhere if you ain’t that picky). I heard the sauces were really good, so was my tapioca snack.

Our tuk tuk driver like all curious gossipy asian men, couldn’t understand why both of us weren’t married. It’s normally the men who ask such silly questions. I never understand why this has to be discussed by perfect strangers. Just coz you’re our driver or traveling in the same train/ bus with us, does that give you a right to be nosy and ask such silly questions? Anyway smart mouthed driver here decided to be a smart aleck and claim oh you’re all too old to be married now.

Anyways we had a perfect little quiet picnic on the third evening of our revendouz in Siam Reap. If you’re looking to do something different do try this. It was an evening well spent away from the hustle of the mob that crowds the temples.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

workaholic alert

I'm currently sitting outside my office door and making changes to some work. i just realised my office wifi can be accesed outside the office doors albeit I'm sitting like a nut infront of one of the lifts on my floor.

2 people silently walked past me few minutes ago from the neighbour office. well can't do much still stuck here waiting to see if there's anymore changes.

sigh I need a break.

ps : maybe i should move to this spot - at least I wont freeze my bones off!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sweet December

I love the last week of December coz its one party after another. I’ve been sick for the last 2 weeks so I initially decided not to go out partying on Christmas eve but my friend and his wife wanted to celebrate it with me so I took them out for Christmas. It was a bit nerve wrecking to figure out where to take them as 1 his wife is very much pregnant, 2 they’re really not party animals, 3 I’m so over street parties!

Anyway we went for dinner.

Then I thought I’d take them to a few shopping malls and show them the Christmas decors – I know lame but turned out pretty well. We first headed to Pavilion as they were closing. Whoa the parking is so confusing, so was the layout – btw that was my first visit! I was looking for the big Christmas tree but couldn’t find it. Finally we walked out and as we were circling the building behold the tree! I’m quite surprised they closed so early – weird right?

It was kinda nice – after fooling around and taking photos walked out and headed to Star Hill to show the light room to my friends. That always gets everyone excited! Finally we find a singing choir and sat and enjoyed the music.

The tricky part was watching the crowd go nuts spraying themselves with foam without getting hit by the foam. So we devised a plan to head towards Mcds to get a view of the celebrations. Having witnessed one too many street parties I wasn’t really looking forward to getting foamed – but my friends who were from Seremban had never witnessed this before. So Mcds was the perfect spot to sit at, you should have seen my friends face when they sprayed a police car white – lol!

On our way back to the car – we bumped into a Christmas choir group. Nothing like carols on Christmas eve!

So how was the birthday? Mighty fine ;)

One of the most essential things about birthdays is having the people you love around you. I've cast my net pretty well - most of my friends who could make it last night - were there to celebrate my Birthday and I couldn't have asked more.

Celebrations started of on Friday with cake and a dozen roses from the office. I actually ended up picking out the cake the day before coz we were out after a meeting. My colleague had a ball decorating the cake as she wished! Now whose birthday was it? Hummm

Anyway the cake had 2 hearts and a smiley on a newyork cheesecake! Lol

The wishes began as early as Saturday from friends all over. A good friend called just to call me aunty ;p he kept saying he thought I would scream hearing his voice – the 3rd time he said it I screamed – I think he’s still suffering from loss of hearing ;p

Moving on from that we had a flickrmeet on Saturday which incidentally was also the first anniv of mine and kerv’s first ever flickrmeet. As usual we had awesome fun – and suddenly it was time to leave for the next party! My last shots as a 27 year old were pretty wacky – due to ardent requests, I stood on a chair in the middle of a restaurant flicking my tongue at a crystal ball hanging from the ceiling! Lol

Oh btw I always assumed the Sri Petaling LRT station was the Bukit Jalil station – a South African had to tell me which was which ;p lol

As we were about to leave the group sang Happy Birthday – awwwwwwww.

Then we trudged down Bukit Bintang to head down to the party place, hooking up with another friend on the way. Music was quite good that night and having not clubbed for some time – we were burning the dance floor! The clock struck 12 and the wishes, hugs and kisses poured in. we were dancing at the dance floor when the dj announces that the first bday gal who can prove her bday was the 30th would get a gift. Since they just gave away a black Label I assumed I could win one for the gang – so rushed off to our table to find my friend waiting with the bag ready ;p

When I approached the dj stand – the rest of my friends were standing next to it waiting to see what I’d win. It turned out to be something wrapped in a box – we dumped it at the side and continued dancing coz they were playing my fav songs including Yogi Bs Indian gal. Lol I love my friends – I brought a South African, a Chinese guy and a Chinese gal to an Indian club! It wasn’t the first time for 2 of them! Btw they love dancing there!

The clock striked 3 and it was time for me to head home and to temple for Marghazhi prayers! All in all it was a wonderful birthday celebration with some of my really good friends who were in town. I’ve been getting gifts for the birthday throughout the year – thanks a lot for everything guys!

Oh yes at the temple I currently have 2 little bf’s. Both are really smiley little cuties. The first one beams the moment he sees me and follows me around and tells me little stories. He has breakfast with me and watches me put the kolam. When ppl ask me about him, I tell them he’s my bf and kid beams back at them! Woo hooo ;p

Anyway birthday morning I catch bf no 1 and tell him its my birthday – guess what he does? He kisses me on the cheek without me even asking – awwwwwwwwwwww. That has got to be the biggest birthday moment!

By the way I’ve been invited to the house – weird I already know his mom and siblings! Err kids moving a bit too fast don’t you think??? ;p

The rest of the day was spent sleeping and yakking on the phone – coz err I had enough partying? I’m still sick – have been sick for the last 2 weeks – its such a bummer and haven’t seen the dr coz MY DR went on a holiday! I’m really cross with him!  sob

Maxis by the way has been screwing up my connection. First I thought it was my phone – I’d suddenly lose connection every other day where I couldn’t call myself though I was sitting right next to my phone. Anyway on the bday it really got on my nerve coz it had been more than an hour since I could receive or make calls. So I call up maxis and by the 6th call I was totally pissed and screamed at the guy who patiently listened to me complain. By the way if you’re using Maxis 3G hail the lord as they’re having problems – they confessed under loads of screaming.

Somehow screaming works coz the next day after getting back from temple and going back to sleep I was woken up at 8.50 am with a call from Maxis checking on my connection. It seems I’ll need to get the sim card changed! Grrr

I picked the wrong half of new years eve to go on leave – should have come in in the morning and gone home to cook something for the party! Instead I braved one traffic jam after the other to get out of PJ! Thankfully awesome food, lovely company and bottles after bottles of fizzy drinks were waiting for me! I swear we could have opened a mini coke stall!

Met some new people besides the friends who were already there. Food was delicious company was lovely. After stuffing ourselves with food and delicious HOMEMADE cheesecake, carrot cake and truffle – we proceded to take shots of the guys in Santa Hats. Yes Christmas was still on – on the eve of 2008! We totally forgot about the time!

Eh my watch shows 12!
Mine still has 7 minutes
Oh mine says another 2 minutes
(we suddenly hear fireworks) and go eh is it new years already?
quick switch on the tv!
hey its new year (watching fireworks on tv)

Lol so that’s how 2008 started – too busy to watch the time and totally confusing!

Well the party didn’t end there after exchanging wishes, hugs and smooches we decided to watch a movie and someone suggested the Chinese movie Lust Caution which I had wanted to catch. That was the most hilarious thing we did as the translation was horrendous and we couldn’t change it to Chinese and get someone to translate for us coz all of us couldn’t read mandarin. Imagine something like “feotus knock call home yesterday blew”

We laughed so much that the women began to turn into a slapstick and so we changed to another movie that started off with gory throat slitting and instantly I started guessing the next scene.

wait she’s gonna have a baby and faint in 2 secs now.
(gal does exactly that and the whole room turns to me)

Me : Mafia movies are like Tamil movies – full of predictable drama ;p

The movie kept getting gloomier so we voted to watch something else and settled on ratatouie. Eventually people started leaving while a few of us were still chatting.

Lovely new year indeed ;)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Long day!

The blog has duly served as a chronology to events in my life - the one's I want to share and the ones I don't.

Well it served its purpose again today. Woke up to a car that refused to start - turns out the battery died on me and when I searched the blog I realised the battery has lasted 2 years and 10 months - so now we know.

the day is just way too long - n its just the morning!