Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Resolution!

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Happy New Year Glitter Pictures

Lets start the new year with new hope!

1. Continue to strive! I still have 3 more years to go to be a medical doctor!

2. Strike the balance! I wish to exercise at least 1.5 hours a week.

3. Gourmet food! It's time to put the recipes I collect into mouth-watering dishes.

4. Filial piety! I hope that I can put more effort in pleasing my parents and to continue in remembering their important occasions.

5.Love conquers all! Well, of course I wish to strengthen my relationship with Ryan *sheepish*

6.Family life! Despite my busy uni life, I hope to remain up-dated with family affairs and to help in anyway I can.

7.Friends forever! I will try my best to keep in contact with my friends no matter where they are in the whole wide world.

I have never 'publicly announce' my resolutions :p Lets see how many can I achieve at the end of 2009...

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 3rd ASEAN country that I have visited- Indonesia

I followed follow Aunt Lay Choo and her family on a trip to Bandung recently. We spent quality time catching up. I really enjoyed the trip.

Day 1
Chill out and some shopping

The plane touched down just in time for us to enjoy the slightly colder weather in Bandung compared to Malaysia. Bandung was a very busy city with the never-ending traffic and it does take quite a lot of courage just to cross the road. We could hardly see any traffic lights and neither could we see any traffic police (polisi in Indon)! Cigarettes were cheap (a mere RM0.25) and there is no ban.

We then decided to recover from the travelling and then proceeded to some shopping at the famous Rumah Mode. That was the main purpose of the trip—to shop until we drop! There were an array of Factory Outlets there with all the branded goods that you can think of with only a fraction of the original price.

Dinner was at a restaurant in a ‘pondok’ with local cuisine. We ordered the famous ‘sup ikan’ there and learnt that ‘sapi’ is actually beef. It was quite difficult to communicate with the locals to our surprise as Bahasa Indon is so much different from Bahasa Melayu!

Day 2

Uncle hired a taxi driver to rent an MPV to drive us around for the day. He also served as the our guide for the day. I find that Indonesians are generally gentle and soft-spoken yet hard to be dissuaded. There were lots of them selling bric-a-bracs on the street and at tourist destinations. Some of them actually followed us all the way from the top of the dead volcano down to the hotspring for about a 30 minute exhausting walk just to ask us to buy some necklace. You can also bargain to your heart’s content.

The highlight of the day was Tangkupan Parahu. It was surprisingly windy near the dead volcano. A local ranger then brought us to the live volcano and to enjoy the hotspring there. Eggs can be boiled there but we did not try. We just contented ourselves by immersing our feet into the hot water and apply them with some mud, which according to the locals, has some amazing beautifying effect.

We had the juiciest pineapple ever!

Dinner was at Kampung Daun with an amorous atmosphere. However, the food was surprisingly cheap with approximately RM12++ per head.

The most unforgettable dish was the dessert—Indon pancake with coconut milk which tasted like onde-onde. That was also the first time we realised the popularity of ‘sup buntut’ there but no one dared to order it…LOL…

Day 3
More shopping!

We used the most economical and popular way to get around the city—Angkutan Kota. The mini vans all had different colours to indicate the area they were going. The only setback was that we had no idea about the exact fare per person until we asked a local girl just in time to find out we had been cheated for quite some money :p
The best deal of the day was the various bags and wallets that we bought at the 50% discount shop. They were all branded and who can resist the temptation!

The Green Paradise

As usual, I wish to thank our drivers—Ryan and Daniel for their hard work. They each drove 850km in 2 days!

The other members of the trip were—Ye Chia, Yeu Sheng, Chean Ying, Nooi Hoay and Jessica.

Day 1
Southern Section
After a trip to the information center, we headed to Picanniny. It was quite an easy 1.2km walk (round trip). We all enjoyed the walk after more than 5 hours sitting in the car.

The final stop for the day was Mt William (aka Mt Duwil) which, at 1187 m, is the highest point in the Grampians. A steep 1.5-km walking track leads from the carpark to the summit. The weather was frigid with strong wind even though it was the first day of summer. We had to wait till 8pm but the sunset was spectacular!

Dinner was a simple meal with all meat…LOL… by the time we returned to the resort, it was already 9.30pm and everyone was flaked out and just aimed to fill the rumbling stomach with anything available.

Day 2
Central Grampians
We set out early in the morning to complete our trip in Grampians. We had some fun playing on the jumping pillows before we left.

Our first stop for the day was Boroka Lookout which offered the views of Halls Gap and the Fyans Valley, across the mountains to Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale. It was just a short walk and the day was still misty.

Afterwards. We headed to Reed Lookout which was also quite an easy walk to enjoy some excellent views of the Victoria Valley and northwards over Lake Wartook. Still filled with energy, we continued with a 2-km return walk to the interesting geographic formation known as the Balconies (aka The Jaws of Death).

Lunch was a small picnic with food bought from the local grocers at the Mackenzie Falls picnic area. We were actually planning to go to more waterfalls; unfortunately some of them were already dried up due to the severe draught. The walk down to the fall was effortless but the walk back was quite a strenuous feat. Everyone was perspiring perfusely by the end of the journey. The scenery at the fall was the best that I have ever seen in my life. I can’t imagine how magnificent the fall used to be when Melbourne still received bountiful of rain water.

With that, the journey came to an end. We spent some time discussing whether to continue with the walk to either Hollow Mountain or the Pinnacle but everybody was exhausted.

Why must I always get suntanned before I come back to Malaysia?

Jessica, Yu Wan, Ryan and I headed to Perth. Theoretically, we did not spend a single cent on the airfare because the flight was a ‘transit’ back to Malaysia. I also wished to thank Ling Weng (she stayed back in Perth for us!) and Bryan who were our hononary tourguides! We also had 5 star accomodation at the 7 bedroom house which Jia Huei, Yee Fang, Yi Jia and the others shared for FREE!!! Thanks Yi Jia for letting us to stay in your room ^^

I can’t imagine how cheap public transport in Perth is! International students are eligible for concession rate there unlike in Melbourne. So, to illustrate, Melbournians need $2.80 to go to the city but Perthians only need $0.77! And the ‘City Cats’ are free for anyone to tour around the city!Amazing, eh?

Day 1
City Tour
London Court is a street with UK architecture. It reminded me of the view in Bukit Tinggi in Malaysia.

Kings park is the place where we can obtain a bird-eye view of the Perth city.

Grass is Perth is definitely lusher and greener than in Melbourne. We enjoyed lying and sitting on the grass so much so that we took quite a lot of pictures there.
After lunch, we stopped by and had Twin Tower from Icey-Ice – the popular dessert in Perth.

The famous Swan Bell tower in Perth is the largest musical instrument I have ever seen!

I posed with the xmas deco in the city :p

We then waited for quite a long time just to taste the food in Ciao Italia. Everyone gobbled down the food when the palatable Italian dishes finally arrived. It’s worth the wait though.

Day 2
Rottnest Island adventure

Since Jessica does not know how to cycle, we split into 2 groups- Jess and Yu Wan boarded the hop on and off bus whereas Ryan and I rented bike each. Ling Weng and the others recommended us to cycle since this is the most popular and unique way to explore the whole island. I was amazed by my own stamina since I hardly ever pushed my bike up the steep slopes. We cycled from 11am to around 3pm and managed to reach West End. The scenery was breath-taking!

Quokka is the name of the cute marsupial!

We even had a dip in the Basin. It was hot summer but the water was icy cold.

Our guides busied themselves by preparing a sumptous dinner for us.

Day 3
Swan Valley self-guided trip

Ryan was of course the driver again. We tasted so much wine that everyone was tipsy by the end of the visit to Sandalford- the largest winery in Swan valley.

Why did everyone posed so weirdly?LOL...

We also visited Margaret River Choclate co. but we found nothing too special about the chocolate there. Lunch was my first fine dining experience in the midst of lush greenery in a winery called Oakover.

There were so much flavour for soft nougat to be tasted in Mondo Nougat factory too. We also visited the oldest yet the most modern winery in Swan Valley—OliveFarm.
The day ended with a quick dinner with the familiar roast pork and duck  and then a tour to the University of Western Australia and also night view at the famous Millpoint.

Moon sun rise!!! (Bryan Lau 2008) We accidentally saw this and this was when the moon was nearest to the earth in 33 years!

Day 4
Fremantle seafood and market
Smelling sea breeze and enjoying fresh seafood is the best combination! The portion was huge and it was really satisfying. Nonetheless, we continued to have dessert at Joe’s—the mouth-watering and rich chocolate brownies (a whooping $10!).

The market, however, was more or less like Victorian market in Melbourne. But, it has a display of more creative handicrafts.

Day 5
A relaxing finish
We accompanied our excellent tour guide- Ling Weng for a shopping spree. Despite that, Jess and I each bought some clothes and Ling Weng went back empty-handed.
In return for their kindness, the Melbournians prepared a farewell dinner to all our friends in Perth. We also bought a gift each to our worthy tour guides.
And this drew a perfect ending to our stay in Perth.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The fruits of labour

I had never known that finding a house to rent can be such a trouble! But I consider myself lucky. Wen Ter and Lin put in 20 over applications just to be accepted for 2 double bedroom apartments. Ryan, Sally and I applied for 3 houses (1 apartment, 1 townhouse and 1 villa) and none was rejected. Our current house in Dandenong is only 10 minutes maximum from the hospital (where I am going to spend my next year studying) and is in a secured complex with 70 over houses around us!

A lot of time was then spent on connecting the utilities, the internet being the most niggling one. Furniture hunting also occupied another half of my summer holiday. Yet the hardwork eventually paid off!

Ryan and I are sharing a bathroom with a huge bathtub!!!!!!

The kitchen !!!

My cosy room ^^

The front view of our house...

I just LOVE my new house!

We had a tiny farewell for Chau Wang and Wen Ter afterwards. Look at what Chau Wang ordered! 98% fat-ladened 'dong po' braised pork!

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