Friday, January 25, 2008

Brief Escape from Reality to the Land of Millionaires

And in the that land, I too became a millionaire for a brief moment. I spent it all during my brief stay there. I glad I did for I begun to have a headache from seeing the amount of zeroes on the bank notes!

One of my travelling companion specifically requested that we stay in the tourist area so that everything touristy is within walking distance. Unfortunately, due to work commitment, the previously-mentioned companion hand to rain check and go to a land of sand and dessert.

Little did I know that we were travelling there during a peak season. A week before our trip, I frantically search accommodation. With the help of internet and a credit card, I managed to secure a room before departing to the land of millionaires. I kept my finger crossed and hoped that the website was not a fraudulent site!

In my rushed preparation, I accidentally left my favourite lens – the kit-lens. I had initially pondered how to fit the kit-lens and my newly acquired second-hand lens into my small camera bag. The dilemma of choosing which lens to bring during my walks was conveniently solved by me accidentally leaving the kit-lens.

Day 1 – Sunday 20th Jan 2008

By 9.30am we already had our luggage checked-in and were having an unhealthy dose of fast-food breakfast. An hour later, we made our way to the red air craft.

The flight was uneventful. No onboard entertainment. My little master had brought his PSP along and played it to kill time. Before long, he dozed off. I managed to get a little shut-eye.

Around 1pm I got my first glimpse of this Millionaires Land. Half an hour later the plane safely landed at Bandar Udara Ngurah Rai (named after a local warrior), Bali. We bought taxi coupon from the counter and headed to Inna Kuta Hotel. The first thing I noticed was this ‘bowl’ of flowers on the dashboard. Later I learned that it is sort of offering to their hindu god. While Balinese are predominantly Hindus, they practise a slightly different kind of Hinduism than the one practise in India. The marked different is their caste system. They don’t have ‘the untouchables’.

Another thing I noticed while on the taxi was that the air was somewhat damp. It was like it had just rained. I asked the taxi driver. True enough, it rained on the previous day. According to the taxi driver, normally, the weather would be fair on January (i.e. it does not rain on January).

We reached the hotel at 2pm. We were showed our room voucher (printed out from internet!). I was utterly relieved that the hotel accepted the voucher. The bellman showed us to our room. At RM200+ per night, the hotel was up to the standard. The room was comfortable. Our room was on the ground floor. The ‘back’ door opened to a Balinese garden. The downside of having the garden at your doorsteps is that mosquitoes are part of the ‘package’.

After a short rest, we headed out for lunch. We walked along Jalan Pantai Kuta. We passed lots of shops that seemed to scream “Tourists, come in and shop!”. After what seemed to be a long walk in the hot sun, we settled for yet another dose of fast-food for lunch. The long walk had sort of agitated my little master. He was eager to get back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.

And so, we returned to the hotel and let him go for a dip in the pool. No one else was in the pool. He soon grew bored. He agreed to for a walk on the beach thinking that he could go for a swim there. To his (and ours) disappointment, the crowded beach was dirty! My little master was sensible enough not wanting to swim in the murky water. We walked back to the hotel.

By the time we returned to the hotel, it was already 6pm. While my little master went to the pool, I continued walking in searched of decent restaurant to buy take-away dinner. I managed to find a small ‘nasi padang’ restaurant tucked in between those wooden shops. The price was reasonable. And the food was good.

The night ended early for me. I was already sound asleep at 9am, oblivious the fact that my little master being ‘attacked’ by mosquitoes!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm Back

After some last minutes arrangement, which included room reservation during peak season at a tourist spot (hint 1), I managed to get away for awhile.

Where was I? It's a place where I became a 'millionaire' (hint 2). More of it later - when I have proper keyboard and internet connection.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Leaving life undone

My laundry is not done. My bag is not packed. E-mails unread (hence unreplied). Some other things that I normally sorted out, is still in mess (among them are my bills). But I'm determine to go away for awhile. If I'm stuck somewhere and could not call anyone because my mobile phone telco barred me (for not paying the bill), so be it!

Life is more than just work and mundane stuff.

I'll do what can be done before I leave on Sunday!

p.s. To my dear friend who read this blog re, if there's no update after two weeks, you know what to do.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Soaring High

It was lunch hour. The square was somewhat deserted. There were no queue. I made my way to the ticket booth. RM15.

"We are open until 31st August" the lovely lady behind the counter said.

I was ushered to a small glass pod. My heart started to race. Oh God! It was a lot smaller than what I'd imagined. Reluctantly I stepped into the glass pod. It immidiately swayed a bit under my feet. Panicked, I quickly sat on the bench to my right.

A few minutes later the pod moved backward and upward. My heart raced faster. I shifted to the opposite bench. I looked down, the pod had left the ground. I felt a bit dizzy. Before I knew it, the pod was back on the ground. I thought it was over but it continued moving.

After 3 rounds, I was calm enough to use my trembling hands to take some photos. I was glad when the ride ended after the fifth round. Stepping my feet back on the ground, I could proudly say I've been on "Eyes on Malaysia". It was my first time ever on a ferries wheel!

p.s. This a jotting from a person who is sort of afraid of height.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Layar Tanchap

I’ve heard about it from somewhere last year. What is it? As a friend put remarked, it sound somewhat fishy and kinky. But it was nothing like that. Ma Hen let me tag along to Galeri Shah Alam for a session of “Layar Tanchap” last night. I was supposed to taking some photos for her.

Quoting Ma Hen:
“Layar Tanchap is a free alternative to expensive night out in discos and night club”.

After going to one, my take of “layar tanchap” is some sort of a mini art festival. There were a few ‘booth’ selling art related stuff. And there were people doing life painting. But the main course on the menu is the performances at the centre ‘stage’ (actually the people performing at the centre of the pavilion). I’m sorry I didn’t get the names of the performers. There were songs, poetry reading, and a short film. The first lady who sang beautifully with her husky voice. There was a Japanese lady who agreed to do the sang the chorus with one of the bands.

And I particularly like the performance by another young lady who not exactly sang a song. She composed some poetry and sang two of it to the strums of guitars. Even though I wasn’t paying attention to her words, I loved it. The emotion and the music just gelled together! The last time I heard poetry being sung was ages ago near central market. It was the time when certain local artists were still young and regularly hang out there!

Anyway, I why wasn’t I paying attention to the lady? I was trying to take usable photos. I am capable of taking usable photos when there’s enough light (available light photography), unfortunately there wasn’t enough light in the area. I have to use speedlight (also know as flashgun). My skill in using speedlight is still relatively non-existence. I had a hard time figuring out the settings on the camera and external speedlight just to get usable photos (more photos).

Where was Ma Hen all the while? Mingling in the crowd. Some of the organizers and performers are her friends. Around 11pm, Ma Hen made a ‘diva like’ exit (saying good-byes to her friends) while me, like a good side-kick, made a quiet one.

I enjoyed my first “layar tanchap” and hope to go for the next one. Thanks Ma Hen! Don’t forget to bring me along to the next art scene!

p.s.: Except to the lost of sensation (hopefully just temporary setback), the injured finger is recovering just fine.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's 2008!

My first post for 2008.

I can't type much. If you notice, my previous entry was rather short.

I'm short of one digit (no pun intended). No, I still have 10 fingers. Just that I cut my left index finger pretty deep while cooking last weekend. Yes, I do cook once a while, especially when nothing seems to appeal my appetite. Good thing the knife was angled in such a way that it cut deep, otherwise it would have slice off a little piece of meat from my finger! But a lesson learned, I shouldn't be using any sharp object nor heavy machinery when I don't feel well.

Accident aside, I never realized that one less of a digit would cause any trouble. Especially in typing. After all, I do have another perfectly good 9 fingers. But no, after years of using 10 fingers, missing one caused chaos! With that realization, my new year resolution is to cherish all the little things that make our life meaningfull and happy.

So what's your new year resolution (if any)?