I was back in Melaka again recently after an absence of more than 10 years. The only impression I have of it was it being a small town with red buildings.
This trip however, I was determined to get another perspective of the town. And since I had a few hours by myself, I decided to spend some time away from the 'red' town. I found a nearby interesting area which consisted of (about) 4 rows of old shophouses.
The windows were especially quaint and picturesque I thought.
I love that when I was snapping pictures of these windows, a gust of wind from inside suddenly blew the curtains outwards. Maybe there was a baby inside lulled drowsy by the whir of a table fan.
These windows perhaps belong to an elderly spinster who spends her days at her sewing machine and talking to her plants.
I was in the city recently (Kuala Lumpur to you; Kay-El to the locals). We arrived about 2, just in time for lunch, which was a quick noodle affair. The waitress got my drink order wrong (again). I love my Chinese Tea extra hot, but they always come either tepid or ice cold. I guess they think they heard me wrong when I say very hot (and it's blistering outside!) I don't make a fuss though and almost never send it back. Anyway. So I digress a bit.
Maybe it's me but I think (or should I have said imho? (1 second interval) naah!) KL has gotten very (very!) colouful. Yes, colourful in every sense of the word, but then this is a non-polictical blog (so I won't say more). It will stay that way for a bit longer too ;)
We were in KL to meet some friends, who wanted to check out an electric keyboard. The place is on Jalan Imbi but it was closed for lunch when we arrived. This is my Sky Watch image for this week :) Catch other images on here.
So we walked about two blocks away to a covered food stall area. By covered I mean roofed: no walls, as is a common feature of food stalls everywhere in the city. We KLites are quite hardy people - only need protection from the sun and rain: dust and other forms of pollutants in our food and drinks? No problem! Note to the traveler with a delicate stomach : bring sterilising tablets - loads of them! Seriously. No. I'm exaggerating (again, as usual).
3 pm is just fantastic to be in a place like this. It's not so crowded that one can get seats immediately and not so deserted that people watching is still quite possible. Like that guy watching me watching him (and taking a picture of him!) He turned away afterwards, so I couldn't take any more pictures of him!
The shop finally opened again at 3.30, by which time we'd gotten quite dusty and hot and sweaty; but no sweat! A few minutes in the shop with air-conditioning on extremely high, we're good to go! :)
I love these amps! I have never seen them in colours other than black. Now, they even come 'girl-friendly'! I shan't complain, but privately, I would have liked if they had baby blue ones or custards or or lime or. Hmm.
This is at Rantau Abang again, our favourite beach on the East Coast. :)
I was there last week, focussing on getting some vitamin D, after spending two weeks cooped up indoors, downing copious amounts of caffeine (not good I know), working on work.
This is definitely a different look for Rantau Abang from my previous visits. It's always been bright and sunny; blue skies, hot hot sun, beautiful puffy clouds; we had those too this trip, but this time, we also had dark rainy tropical thunderstorm days; two in fact.
It's not as bad as I probably make it sound. I actually loved that it stormed and raged. It was wonderful to look at the gathering clouds; and to watch the storm come in from the sea. After taking this picture, I raced against it, towards shelter, not for my sake, but for my camera's!!
Our second trip to the east coast this year! Second of many to be sure! No matter how many times one goes to the same place, there's always something new waiting to be discovered.
This time around, I saw a pretty looking beach from the main road and yelled to the driver (aka travelling buddy) to turn right, right now! We were going at maybe 80kph, so I got yelled at of course. I apologised immediately of course, but please make a u-turn right now because we just passed a lovely looking beach! The beach was lovely (except for the rubbish). I don't have a nice enough picture to put up on here though :(
We found something else on the beach; an Argentinian/Mexican couple that has been travelling around the world on their motorbike for the past 8 years! Talk about wow. Alejandro and Guadalupe have been in Asia for almost 4 months now and in this country almost a week when we met them, riding around and camping by the beach or in someone's backyard!
A sweet couple with a truly romantic story to tell. Alejandro had started out solo out of Argentina some 8 years ago, with Alaska in mind. But like that saying goes, man plans but god decides; in Mexico, he met and fell in love with Guadalupe and all plans to Alaska got waylaid! He invited her to join him in his travels. She said yes! and they decided to travel the world, starting from Greece. Not sure what happens to the Alaskan dream. Maybe after they complete their wanderlust? And then do one last trip? Who knows. Wish them all the best!
They're so brave too. To travel with not a lot of money; no sponsors, just raising enough money selling handmade jewelry to make it to the next destination! They hadn't any jewelry on them when we saw them, but they were looking for a quiet spot to make some to sell at a bike fair sometime in April in Kelantan.
Travelling is not without its dangers; especially on bike and its always good to display important medical information about oneself. Both of them are O+. Me too :)
No, it's not a musical. Nor a comedy. Just a baby bird, learning to fly. A bit apprehensive, a bit curious, a bit tired. A lot tired maybe.
The mummy bird (or maybe it was the daddy bird; I can't really tell) could be heard tweeting and chirping, coaxing this baby to fly.
He did fly, maybe 15 meters and landed here, the bottom of an electronic sliding gate, and stayed there for a bit.
I was about to leave then but with that birdie squatting there, I hung about a bit. Because I wanted to take pictures, and because I was worried I might scare it if the gate started sliding. I needn't have worried though; he stayed put even when the gate moved. I guess he was too tired to bother.
When we returned, the baby was gone. And apparently they never return. Not to say hi. Not even to have a look at the nest that held it safe and warm when it was just an egg. Ah well. C'est la vie I suppose. Bye bye birdie. :)
Not sure what this soft stem is called but it gets a beautiful shade of deeper red as it matures. That's what I noticed anyway. Maybe it's just my imagination. Don't we let our imaginations run wild sometimes?
I thought it was pretty exciting to find an orange among the broken shells on the beach. I'd never seen that before and this was long before Chinese New Year
The two week long Chinese New Year celebration (Feb 14 - Feb 28) is now officially over, but I only remembered this picture today. Should have remembered earlier. Darn.
There's a tradition among the Chinese single women (not sure if it's a Malaysian thing or an all over the world thing) to throw oranges into the sea (or any body of water) during Chinese Valentines (15th day of the Chinese New Year) in order that their future husband might pick up their orange.
Oh, but before they throw their orange into the water, they write their phone number onto the fruit. Oh, and the men will be right there, waiting to catch the orange of the woman they fancy. Make that orangeS and women. Using nets too to catch as many oranges as they can!
I think it's such a cute tradition. I think we Asians have so many cute traditions. :)
Anyway, so I'm wondering if this was such an orange. Only, it wasn't the right time then. And there was no ink on the orange either. Hmm, it could be someone who couldn't wait two more weeks! Perhaps.
I think next (Chinese) Valentine's I might throw an orange into a lake. :)
Just sitting in a run down shed; I think a shelter and place to nap when it's too hot to look for clams on the beach, and looking up.
The shade of blue looked so pretty against the dark of the roof. And then a wisp of cloud floated in from one end.
I whipped my camera out (as fast as lightning) of course :) But the clouds were faster. They moved so quickly out of sight again! Before I could take more pictures. Dang! Well, I did, but they weren't as pretty as I wished.
Two guys joined us soon after; just come back from the beach from clam collecting, both hot and thoroughly burnt from the sun! One guy had a little bucket full of clams; for his tea later, or perhaps dinner, but it didn't look like it would be enough for dinner. Well certainly an extra small portion by my book! Maybe he doesn't eat much. Maybe it's just appetisers. Maybe.
Whenever we are on the East Coast, we always make it a point to have lunch or dinner at this place. It's a wonderful little place, where the proprietress is a lovely friendly Chinese lady, and the waitress a sweet sweet friendly Malay girl who remembered me when I went for the second time! She couldn't remember my travelling buddy though. Haha.
We were back again on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia last week of January. It was much much hotter than it ever had been since we first started going mid last year. And of course I forgot my sunblock. And of course we spent too much time under the sun. And of course I was badly burnt. Ugh. Don't ask. Thank you.
But the clear skies and sunny sun meant everything looked technicolor brilliant and amazing! Each time we go to the east coast, we explore places we hadn't been before; take that little road there, follow the sign that promises some exotic obscure village or something. This time was no different. And we found a little fishing village called Kuala Abang, not far from Rantau Abang.
It's such a quaint little place; so much activity going on; bustling even! It was hot and fishermen were coming in with their catch, and there was a little station (more like a little hut) where they got their catch weighed in. And there were others who were playing cards. Some napping on makeshift counters. Some shooting the breeze, talking coffeeshop talk. Ohhhh, it was nice! I wish I could have taken pictures of all of that but everyone kept staring at us wherever we went; quite unsettling! Sigh. I need a camera with those huge lenses so I can go far far away, and take pictures unobtrusively! I had to settle for empty sampans (little 2-men fishing boats) :) But it's okay, I still like this picture :)
This beach in Kijal is one the prettiest beaches on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. I've been here four times already, maybe, in the space of a few months.
I always see something different each time I go. This time it's a mom and her three kids frolicking in the (extremely hot) sun.
One time we went, we went by motorbike. We parked the bike and went off to take photographs. When we returned an hour or so later, one of our helmets, that we'd left dangling on the bike, had been taken. All that was left was the strap. That was a nasty surprise.
Another time we went, there were mats and mats of fish being laid out under the sun to be dried. Dried salted fish! Yummm! Didn't smell too good at the time though.
Yep, something different each time. Can't wait to come back here again!!!
I drive by this abandoned building something like twice a week, and have done so for at least a year now but only saw this sign about four weeks ago.
The first time I saw it, I didn't have my camera. Aaarghhh! The second time I drove by it, the battery was dead. Double aaarghhh!!
The third time I drove by it, traffic was going too fast! What a scream.
Finally, a day came that everything was in place. Camera, check. Batteries, check. Traffic situation, conducive.
Still, I didn't manage to take a good picture. :(
But I so want to mention this sign, and this building!
This building has been left vacant for some time now. It's by Jalan Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, just before the left turn going into Jalan Maarof. It had been looking a bit discrepit of late, and maybe even bordering on scary.
But then again, that's relative right? Scary to some, inviting to 'others'. Guess someone saw that too and thought an appropriate sign was in order! I love it!!
The first time I saw it, I thought, oh wow, is this where my tax money goes to??? A 'no ghosts' sign???
Then I saw that it's a painted cut-out and glued onto a sign. My next guess is that someone pilfered the sign from somewhere else.
Haha, this vandalism I thought so cute! But I shouldn't say that. Really.
Caught in Butterfly Park, Kuala Lumpur!! A giant aphid on a heliconia! A gigantonomous aphid for sure!! Never seen any that size before, but then again, why am I surprised. I saw some huge huge Atlas Moths not too long ago in the same park!!! Not sure what the park keepers are doing right... or wrong... maybe seriously wrong...!!
Nevertheless, it was beautiful to behold, so white, and so fine, all the pointy things, feelers I guess, moving in slow motion, as if underwater. Alien-like even.
The best thing about little places is the big surprises they have in store for you.
I had no idea about Bungus Beach, except that it was quiet. And I'd seen pictures and read stuff on the internet. No tv, no fancy stuff. Which was what I was looking for. Quiet beach; hopefully no other holiday makers: just mingle with the locals.
And that was exactly what I found on this little bay facing the Andaman Sea.
Each evening, the fishermen in the area work together to bring in the catch. That evening, there were some five other fishermen pulling the net in. So synchronised, so rhythmic. Such a lucky break for me. Yaayy!
Such a curious tortoise! He stuck his head out, staring, staring, him at me, me at him, in total silence, until I had to fill the growing uncomfortable silence with mindless chatter. And he continued staring.
You can say hi to him too at the National Science Center in Kuala Lumpur.
I love the innocuous way that nature sometimes employs to surprise me. Cheeky, cheeky!
Found this leaf on the sands of a pretty little cove in the Teluk Bidara area. A stranger among pebbles, broken shells, and polished pieces of glass. A lovely little imperfectly almost perfect leaf. Not caring that it might be out of place. Making a statement in its own right.
Darvel Bay has got to be one of the loveliest place I've been to. We stayed in this cute little wooden house on stilts in the water just 50m offshore of the island of Tabawan.
Imagine waking up to the sound of water lapping against the stilts of the house and ending the day with a sunset like this to the sound of crickets. Or some other insect. Maybe cicadas. I think we heard crickets.
Check out my video 'Sound of Silence' early morning on Tabawan island. No human sound. Just the water and the insects. Pure bliss! :)
That building brings back so much memories. It was the tallest building in the state (don't know about country or the South East Asian region, I'd like to think so, but it probably wasn't) when it was completed. I just found out that that was in 1977.
And I just also found out that it's now called Tun Mustapha Tower!!! How awful. But that's just my personal opinion on the matter. I guess they (whatever authorities are entitled to do so) wouldn't have changed the name had there been a lot of protests.
This view is from the Likas Hospital, some 10km from Kota Kinabalu. I was in and out of the hospital visiting my mum, who was undergoing an operation at the time. Aug 2009. She's okay now. Recovering nicely and in the best of spirits. :) Love you mum :)
I love the beach. When there is no one else around. Well okay, not completely empty. Maybe just another soul per square 40000 meters. Yes.
And be the first one to make footprints on the sand. Yes!
I've been to this coastline at least five times now. And love it even more everytime. :)
This particular beach is Cherating. Quite famous. Not sure why. Because there are other more beautiful (imo) beaches along this coast! Okay, it's easy to fall in love with this beach. But wait till you see the other beaches. And I mean wowowowow. :)
Last November, we went 'wat-hopping', saw more wats than I ever had in a day and probably in a long time too.
This image of Budhha can be found in Wat Photivihan in Kelantan. Okay, I will say it, a Malaysian state steeped in historical and cultural heritage dating back to, possibly even earlier, the Srivijayan Empire in 3BC.
But really, we were surprised by the gems we found in Kelantan. Looking forward to another trip in March. Hopefully.
I was on Carey Island recently for work. Work. Hah. That's a lame excuse really.
I've been wanting to go to the island since time immemorial. An exaggeration, of course. Haha. Really.
Anyway. I had to 'research' Malaysian artforms, and Mah Meri sculptures were identified as one of them.
Lucky me. Woot! Someone said when you love what you do, it's not work. Clever fellow. :)
Check out the mask huh? This is what the Mah Meris call Moyang Kalo. Each mask tells a story. And how. :) :(
It's a masterpiece by this guy. Check him out. Master carver (30 years experience no less) Pion Anak Bumbong.
Firstly, it was mind blowing just to be speaking to him. Prior to the chat, I'd only read about him on the internet. He's a pretty famous guy in his own right. Wining miscellaneous awards. UNESCO among others. Giving interviews like some A-list hollywood star. That's pretty cool in my book. :)
Still, our chat was tinged with sadness. On my part. He was totally cool about it all though. His is a tribe that is on the edge of extinction. Or rather, assimilating into the generic general nameless faceless community at large. No identity. No name. No history. No heritage. Maybe I'm exaggerating. In this case I like to think that, but I'm afraid that I may not be.
His story told me of a rich heritage that will disappear in the name of development. Of palm oil estate development, to be specific. Give them 10 years? Maybe 20. Even while I was looking for them, and asked an orang asli girl, she didn't know what I was talking about. Maybe it was my strange (to her) accent. Haha. Sigh.
Found and fell in love with the white frangipanis in Rantau Abang.
There's a place in Rantau Abang that we always stay at. The guy who keeps the place is such a workaholic, he leaves the place spotless! Sterile almost! But one evening he wasn't quick enough, so I went snap happy!!
Oh, did I mention? I have a new camera and it takes pictures like a dream! Am so loving it. Pardon my McDonalds.
I mourn quite a bit. It's a persona I adopt to suit the 'moody writer' image. It suits me. Most of the time.
That's my netbook. And that's a cup of Masala tea to help me mourn (or calm down or just daydream in general).
So Mr Salinger left us last week. It was a bit of a sad moment. Not that I knew him personally. But I had read Catcher in the Rye, and was quite affected by it. So that allows me some kind of license to make a tribute of some sort doesn't it? Kinda. A bit. I guess.
My favourite bit in the book is the visit to his old English teacher and the events during the visit that, to me, lead to Holden's disenchantment with adults in general, and an eye opener for me to the unelegantness of being old.
I just spent the morning looking for the book. And couldn't find it. Hummm. Guess I left it back at my old house. Must get it this weekend. And read the book again. For old time's sake. :)
I was reading about designs on keris hilts the other night and discovered a thing or two about crickets.
Apparently in Negri Sembilan, a cricket is the soul of a house. Which is kind of spooky. Because as it happened, sometime mid last year, we visited the old Malay palace in Seri Menanti in Negri Sembilan.
And guess what landed on my hand as I took pictures outside the palace. Talk about spooky. Haha.
Well, I'm not too sure what it is. I think it's a grasshopper, but then again, I never devoted myself to the science of entomology.
I decided to look at pictures of crickets and grasshoppers, maybe my untrained eye can spot the difference.
Nah, I can't tell really.
Maybe it's the way the hind legs are folded in a grasshopper as opposed to them being open wide in crickets?
And this is the critter that jumped onto my hand as I took pictures. Surprised me the handsome bug, but I recovered sufficiently to take a picture :)
Now, I'm thinking, damn, that might've the palace's soul. If only I'd known. I might have made a wish or something. Can we do that? More importantly, could it grant wishes? I wish! Haha, that would've made my day.