Saturday, December 19, 2009

the weight thing

I have been looking at people pictures. And people watching. At the malls, sitting in restaurants, gazing out. On the roads, driving, stopping at red lights, looking (surreptiously) at pedestrians. Then looking at before and after pictures at sites like fitnessmagazine.com. And wishfully thinking I wanna look like her. Or her. Or her. Or her. Even her.

How did I get here? Girlfriends of course. Haha. And a book too.

'How to Meet a Man After Forty.. by Shane Watson'. Which I'd gotten ages ago, but never managed to sit down and read. I mean really sit down and read. I had quoted bits and pieces off of it to my sounding board :) He was teasing me about the quality of the stuff I read, so I started quoting lines from it just to prove him wrong. I like the book and I'm just over midway through it. OK I diverge.

The first chapter is called Am I Good for My Age? And it is hilarious! But it also made me think. Or rather cringe. One of the things I fear most is wearing stuff that is age-inappropriate. Under this chapter, Ms Watson has a section called Looking GYFA : Know Your Style and she categorizes all the different styles so neatly into;

Too Body Conscious
Too Youth
I think I can still do Scruffy Rock Chick
I'm doing Old-school Glamour
I'm a Chic Lady
Floaty and Feminine
Kitten Girl

In Too Body Conscious, she sums it up perfectly in this line - 'tight is cute on girls, and sexy on vamps with personal trainers, but can look desperate on a regular woman wearing ordinary underwear.' 

I wont go into the other sections, they're just as plain speaking as this. And spot on. And funny. OK I diverge again.

About three weeks ago (maybe 4 or even 5), I met up with some girlfriends and we had started talking about appearance. I thought that all of us looked good in our own way. However, at the end of that exchange, everyone in the little group unanimously agreed that I was a tad too skinny and needed to put on some serious weight! No boobs, no butts were their verdict. Hey, I'm not so vain that I got worried about that, but what scared me was one of them saying, if I didnt put on anymore weight, I would age before my age! Nooooo! Everyone immediately went into expert mode on how best to put on weight.

See, I do eat. A lot. I am hungry all the time. But the calories start burning off as soon as I so much as taste the food. And eating all the time does get to be boring very quickly. Anyway, so one of them suggested I continue eating the way I do, but also to start drinking weight gain formula shakes in between meals. Which I did religiously for about 2 weeks.

And I did notice some weight gain. And I could fit into (and bought) a super cute strapless bra! Something I never thought I could manage!! Woot!
But I was also going to the bathroom a lot. And my stomach was bloated and queasy the whole time. Is that normal? Even if it is, it can't be good. So I stopped taking the milk shakes. I feel better but the downside of it was I lost all the weight I had gained!! :(

I spoke to another girlfriend two nights ago. She said, I look good the way I am. Never mind what other girlfriends say. They probably are just envious of me and want me to be fat like all of them. I guess so. The thing is I do think I am too thin and I think it would be nice to have a little cleavage and a little more butt. Haha. Yea, I know. Didn't I just say I wasn't vain? Damn. The grass is always greener on the other side.

I will have to make up my mind though. There is just enough weight gain formula left to make two more shakes. I think I will have those shakes before the day is over. Damn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Langkawi ~ The sky on the sea!

Reflection of the sky on the Langkawi side of the Andaman

Wat Pracacinaram, Kelantan - Bots and Cats

This isn't your regular wat picture I suppose, but I just had to put up a picture of these felines. They were almost all over the place at Wat Pracacinaram.

This is my first ever wat. Ever. Yaay!

I had no preconceived idea about what a wat should look like and I was blown away by what seems to be a wonderful balance of quaintness and over-the-topness, not at just this wat but at all the wats we saw that day.

Well, except for the last one we saw (Wat Chonprachumthat). That I'll save for another write-up. :)

There was on-going construction at the time of our visit (that was November 2009). I guess they would have finished by now. The construction, however, in no way dampened our visit.

I also first learned the word 'bot'. One of the men said we could enter the 'bot' as it was unlocked. I had no idea what he meant. I thought he mispronounced 'boat'! Haha, stupid me. And travel buddy said, no he said wat. I kept my peace. I thought I could differentiate the sound of 'b' and 'v'. Still, one never can tell.

Anyway, afterwards, back at our room in Kota Bharu, I googled 'bot' and found out it to be the prayer house, or I just googled it again, it defines a 'bot' as the finest building in a Thai Buddhist monastery. Talk about wow.
This picture does NOT do it justice tho :(

Anyway, we didn't enter this fine looking building since we weren't sure that we could. Lesson of the day; in case of ignorance.. ASK.

It also happened to be something like all souls day or something. There were Buddhist devotees placing offers and burning paper money. We tried not to be too intrusive and kept out of the way. Good thing they were quite nice about us (me rather) taking their pictures :)






Wat Photivihan, Kelantan - the tale of the purple mangosteen

 
Welcome to the home of the largets reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia!

The second wat we saw in Kelantan was Wat Photivihan. Totally different from Wat Pracacinaram, and again different from the next two wats we were fated to see later the same day. I like this wat for the different trees growing in the compound. This one I'm standing under is a mangosteen tree. There is even a cocoa tree nearby.

Before anyone thinks I am an expert fruit tree person, let me set the facts straight. I DO NOT know my trees, except for rambutans, durians, mango and banana trees. I dont think I can name anymore. Maybe they'll come to me after I'm done writing this piece. It's always like that isn't it. :)


So I'm standing under this tree for shade, trying to make a meaningful picture out of the combination of concrete seats and over-manicured tree. As soon as I clicked on the click button, something dropped onto the ground next to me. I was creeped out of course. I looked down. A dark round thing rolled to my feet. I got really creeped out. I looked up the tree. Nothing out of the ordinary. I looked down again at the dark round thing. Then I saw that it was a mangosteen. Hmm. I should have taken a picture of the fruit. But as I said, I was creeped out. Who remembers anything when they're creeped out except to get away as far as possible as quickly as possible from the creepy place?

Anyway, creeped out as I was, I picked the fruit up. Looked up at the tree. It seemed to smile at me. I smiled back and said thank you. And walked quickly away.

I looked for my travel buddy. He was busy taking pictures. I decided not to bug him and took some more pictures on my own.

Afterwards, when we got into the car, I showed him the mangosteen. I said if I ate it, it would be the freshest ever mangosteen I'd ever eaten in my entire life. Would you like to have some? He shook his head. I said, but what if it were cursed or something? You eat some too, so that at least if we died or something, we'd die together or at least have dysentry together.

So he ate a wedge. And I ate the rest.

To this day, we have not experienced any adverse effects from it.

Phew.






Friday, December 4, 2009

A white antrium in Cameron Highlands

This fly spent some time on this white antrium, allowing me to experiment and re-experiment (taking pictures). What a lucky break (for me).

What a year!

Iced lemon tea. Egg rolls and peanut dip. Noodle soup. Lovely conversation. Movie.

How time flies. (when you're having fun)

How time flies. (when you don't want it to end just yet)

So sad.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Butterfly Park Kuala Lumpur - cool winged ones!

The Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur is a favourite haunt. I try to go often, but haven't been as much this year. I just realised it's already December... and I've only been...  twice!!!

These pictures are from October. The time I went, there were a whole bunch of Atlas Moths. Amazing winged creatures! They were HUGE! I hadn't seen them on previous trips so that was a nice surprise. I should go again. Maybe the park has more surprises in store. :)



Friday, November 27, 2009

Cameron Highlands - tea, tea, and tea

"We drove to Cameron Highlands Friday 13th November 2009. And visited the Boh Tea Plantation the next morning."

Not that it's in any way outstanding piece of information.

Just that this morning (28th November 2009), I was just going through old messages on my phone and saw a message where I was exchanging texts about driving to Cameron Highlands one of these days.  The most remarkable thing about it (to me) was that the texts were exactly almost 3 months to the date the date we actually went! So cool! :)

I am fascinated by order. He accuses me of being OCD about it. Among other things, but I'll save that for another day.

I love the idea of finding connection between events or actions. Especially when something seemingly so random and isolated can be explained in one way in relation with sometthing else or another or a pattern drawn from it. He says I have the capability of seeing things that aren't there. Fitting pieces that in reality do not fit at all, but just because I want them to. He may be right. But if I can fit the pieces, hey, then I will :)

Anyway, I thought it so cool to be talking about something in future not really knowing when that time would come and then when it happens, it happens in a nice round number kind of thing :) oh hey, maybe it's the number thing that fascinates me :) I'm a numbers junkie :)

This is actually the drive out of the tea plantation. I still feel like breaking out into the song from 'The Sound of Music' and do the twirling thing ala Sister Maria :) when I think of the hills and hills of tea bushes.








This is the tea factory at the end of the road. I was quite surprised to see it. Kinda old and spooky like, Norman Bate's motel came to mind almost immediately.

I guess I was expecting more Sound of Music and tea on delicate china, with hot scones and melting butter. They did have them. Not SoM. The scones and butter but no delicate china! The tea place (and shopping place) was crowded, so we ditched that place very quickly and made our way around the factory. He loves to look for 'pictures'. I just tag along and let my mind wander :) There he is looking for a 'picture'.


I swear I saw a shadow lurking just beyond that broken window pane!! Did I say I let my mind wander??
No delicate china here :) but I think that single rose rocks. Sigh. I need to work on my picture taking skills. All that stuff about composition, lighting, exposure, etc etc etc. I kinda like the reflections on the glass ;)


I guess the term here would be 'burnt sky'? I never think about those things. Too complicated. I rather like the little boy who came into the picture just as I went click :)
This is the front facade of the tea factory. It reminds me of the lego factory in Carlsbad.
I wonder how the locals get their mail. The one there looked like it had been closed for ages. I guess they didnt need snail mail anymore. It's all email now baby! Too bad though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cameron Highlands - Tanah Rata and Brinchang

What review about a place is complete without talking about the food experience?

Not that this is a review of Cameron Highlands.  Just happened to have some food pictures. :)

But first a little background information :)

CH is made up of two towns - news to me too. I thought CH was just CH. Oh no no no. It's Brinchang and Tanah Rata. Brinchang is newer and (imho of course) kinda garish. Tanah Rata is a little quainter and where we stayed. We even came back four nights later! :)

And we stayed at the same place. Kang's Travellers Lodge. RM50 (USD17.40)  for the night. Or EUR9.90. I've been thinking in Euro lately. Wonder why? :)  We had internet wi-fi access too. How dare Lonely Planets say it's a scruffy place. Hhhh! Snort. We had our laptops with us, and the kind lady manager gave us the password so we could use the internet for free. :)  There was hot water. No breakfast though. But it's ok la. We who can survive on cookies and water don't need all that much. Haha. Oh yeah, breakfast was RM5 or something like that.

Anyway, so there is a market place between Brinchang and Tanah Rata, which I shall christen the-market-in-between, where all sorts of stuff, mostly exotic plants and ordinary garden variety vegetables can be bought.

These are supposed to be ginseng roots, if the girl-in-charge is to be believed. I thought ginseng roots look eerily like human figurines. These just look like maggots to me.

This was breakfast our first morning in CH. Coconut pancake topped with a tad too ripe bananas. The chocolate sprinkle was a surprise. It was a bit too sweet for breakfast. Nice but we both agreed we wouldn't have it again. The second time we had breakfast in CH, we had scrambled egg and toast. At Kang's. The RM5 variety.
I am so envious of the children who went to this school! They're so lucky to have such a beautiful building for a school. It probably feels like going to the museum everyday! With friends!

Nothing beats having breakfast al fresco. And in CH, where the temperature is a cool 11 degrees (maybe?), it tops my best things to do on a Saturday morning list. That's my tea with sugar on the side, in the orange bowl :) The cook was kind enough to accomodate my request to have the sugar separately :)

Something I'd like to try for sure. Not this trip though. We had already had dinner and went walking around the area. This restaurant is on the other block behind the main blocks along the main street.


Penampang ~ Yaya siblinghood

Brother and sister outside a little shop in a little place called Kg Sarapung just outside of Penampang.

My security thing was sucking on my thumb :)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Kuala Lumpur ~ Cotton puffs in the sky

A fine untypical sky just outside Kuala Lumpur. Sigh.



Kuala Lumpur ~ Curious is as curious does

A boy who wanted to know more. A Japanese restaurant in Mid Valley Megamall, KL.


Tambunan sisters ~ sweet as can be!

Sisters in a market in Tambunan, waiting for their mom to pack up to go home. I can't remember their names now :(


Petagas Beach at sunset

A july sunset in 2009, not too far from my mom's place



Skywatching - Sunset on Petagas Beach

Petagas Beach, Sabah

Cameron Highlands - the local flora!





















This is a close-up of tea leaves before harvest.

I had, for the longest time wanted to go to Cameron Highlands. Think 15 years. Haha.

Each time I wanted to go, there was always something or other that got in the way!

So, last weekend (Friday 13th to be sure!) I arrived in CH! At long last!

I was surprised for one, at how bustling it was. I suppose I had always imagined CH to be quieter... in an English country-side kind of way. What I found instead was something busier and bigger. Not in a bad kind of way though.

I'm glad I came when I came. Before it gets too big, too commercial, too not-so-quaint anymore.

There is even a Starbucks on main street! And I got two bags of used coffee-beans to use as fertiliser! Haha. They were giving away bags and bags of them. For free. What a great idea.

We drove to the Boh Tea Plantation early Saturday morning;

1. for a spot of tea. Nah, not really. We'd had breakfast in town and were still quite full.
 
2. because that's what one does when one is in CH... it's one of those you haven't been to the place if you havent done such and such kind of thing.
 
3. to take pictures! yes! oodles and oodles of them!  Tea plantations are so scenic! Unfortunately, none of my scenery pictures came out nice enough to show on here. Point and click you know. And the weather wasn't too kind for that kind of camera. I am so jealous of my travelling partner. He and his camera make no less than stunning pictures!
 
Here are some flowers that caught my eye.
 
 
A flower that looks like it would be equally at home on a wet sandy beach or at the bottom of the sea in a place called Bikini Bottom! And I christen this flower Patrick :)

A georgeous lone pink rose! So pretty that all the day's light decided to focus their attention on it.
A fly decided to pose for a bit because the white of this Anthrium showed his glossy black off perfectly. Well, my point and click can only do so much...

This georgeous thing flirted shamelessly. Take my picture! Take my picture! She said. What else could I do? But submit to her demands.

This is how Patrick looks like profile view.

I couldn't decide which picture of this red flower I like best, so I decided to put both up.

These both wanted to be posted. :)


Phew! This is the fifth time I'm editing this post. Can't seem to get the positions of the last four pictures right :(
Whatever comes out, I'm not going to fuss anymore :)



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wat Maisuwankiri

I was in Kelantan again last weekend. For only the second time in almost 15 years.

The last time I was there, it was only for a night. And I wasn't really impressed.

It was December and the entire state (or so it seemed at the time) was under water! Of course I had to go during the Monsoon right?


Anyway, so it was with mixed feelings going again last weekend. It being the start of the Monsoon and all. Haha. What's that phrase? A glutton for misery?

Well, it was either South of Thailand or Kelantan. Both places that we havent really been there done that to. I was kind of jittery going to South of Thailand as the car wasn't in my name. What if the border police stopped us? What if they weren't satisfied with my papers? What if my car didn't pass their pollution test? or something this? or something that? urrkk.

Anyway, so we flipped a coin and Kelantan it was. Well, I did will the coin to flip for Thailand. It went for Kelantan instead. First it was heads Kelantan, tails Thailand. Then  it was best two out of three. And I wanted to do best three out five. But my travel partner put his foot down. The coin has spoken! OK la.

I was pleasantly surprised and glad we went to Kelantan. :) It is still underdeveloped relative to the rest of the country, but the weather was beautiful and we got to visit the wats! (And we will be driving or riding to South of Thailand sometime soon, maybe before Xmas or early next year! woot!!)

In so little words... the wats are amazing! Here are some pictures from Wat Maisuwankiri.



The monk was texting. I think he subscribes to one of those A Meditation a Day kind of thing.



This old house reminds me of my grandmother's place. Ah, her place was not as grand looking as this, but it evoked the same kind of feeling of home, of coming home. Miss her a lot. She passed away in 1983. RIP nani.

The balcony has a Romeo and Juliet-ish feel. A la Asian. I imagine me sitting at the window, dreaming and smiling at the moon and I hear a soft singing from below. I look down and there he is. A smile. That smile. His hands on his heart. Fall for you. Just for me. Especially for me. Only for me. :) Corny? Who cares. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

intellectual property

Seriously. @_@

OK so I did not write "all copyrights reserved" on this blog. Doesnt it go without saying though? Unless I give explicit permission to use freely?

I just found out that a travel company has used one of my blog entries to promote traffic to their site.
And there was no way to contact them.
And I mind that a lot.

Seriously.

There's nothing right about that.
They could've asked permission and I would've said yes but do link back to me.
An acknowledgement is always cool, right?

Honestly. Some people. Or should I say some @#$%^& idiots.... Did I spell that right??

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A fine morning at Starbucks ~ of monkeys and coffees

The other day, my sparring partner and I had coffee.
We usually ordered both lattes but that day, he decided to get an espresso.
The coffees looked so cute next to each other, that I just had to do something!

He'd just only ranted about the absurdity of the establishment's labelling system and so knowing how it would get him worked up again, I posed this question to him.

If my coffee is a tall... what do you think yours is?

He mulled over it only a second and went, If THAT is a tall then THIS is king-kong.

Sigh. He cracks me up (all the time). :)