October 17, 2009

Happy Festival of Lights!!

Wishing everyone and their families a Happy Deepavali or Diwali!!!!!

Sorry-la... No photos this year as I didn't manage to go out to take photos of those beautiful kolums...

October 15, 2009

Trip to Bukit Tinggi Part Trois (Three)

This is my last post about Bukit Tinggi... I think 3 posts is enough to talk about a single place, right?

Anyway, I've been gone for the past few days as I've just been swamped with work. I've been running around in between meetings and also picking up some work as a colleague has gone off for her break for about a week.

I just realized that my little camera has just about turned 1-year old. Hence, my journey into amateur photography has just reached its 1st year anniversary!

I've definitely learned quite a bit during my 1st year but I have a long way to go to perfect my craft. Being the perfectionist, this is going to be a tough journey. So, most of the time, you'll hear me curse and swear when a picture is just not taken correctly in-frame. I believe that the better that you know your camera, the less time you'll spend in front of the PC correcting the photos. ;-)


When evening came around, the courtyard was quiet and still. However, we found out that it's because everyone had swamped the restaurants for dinner. We went down for dinner quite late as we were exhausted after spending some time at the Japanese Village earlier.


We had to wait almost an hour for a table and by the time we wanted to order our food, the selection was quite limited.

The next morning, we had to queue up for a long time for the buffet breakfast. It was pretty good. I was happy to have my scrambled eggs and some beef bacon. (Of course, I would love pork bacon with my scrambled eggs)

After breakfast, we spent some time around the courtyard before we had to check-out and take the 12pm bus back to KL.


The courtyard was quite empty as it happened to be the last day of the Hari Raya public holidays. With the day trippers gone, it was pleasant to walk around the compound as we would not be bumping into anyone.


There were a few swans in the small ponds just near the car park. I was lucky to catch them during the morning feed and they approached us.


It's strange to see one of the black swans sleeping with one leg up...


Before we left, we had a quick stop at the French coffee cafe and I managed to take some pics of the lovely pastries there...


Although the pastries looked fantastic, I couldn't bring myself to spend RM5 for a danish...

The trip was pretty good and I was completely exhausted by the time I got home. I would have loved to have used a few filters as most of the pictures taken were during bright daylight which caused a lot of photos to be "white-washed" or a little over-exposed.

Be prepared to spend a little bit more when you're planning to spend the night at Bukit Tinggi. Also, do bring your supplies of water or snacks as there are no convenience stores open at the resort.

October 08, 2009

Trip to Bukit Tinggi Part Deux (Two)

A continuation of my trip...

After a hearty lunch, we could not get into our room as housekeeping didn't have it ready yet. So, we decided to visit some of the attractions around Bukit Tinggi.

There are a few ways to get around the attractions, you either drive or take the shuttle or.... if you're really really up to it.. walk. We both decided to wait for the shuttle.

Being the school/public holidays, the resort was just filled to capacity with day trippers. There were not enough shuttles to go around and we had to wait 20-30 minutes before we can get on board one. AND... as usual, with typical Malaysian KIASU gusto, you will see throngs of people rushing to the shuttles to get on board with total disregard for safety... (imagine, seeing people jump up into the shuttle when the shuttle has not stopped properly...)


We took the shuttle to the Japanese garden and really looked forward enjoying the scenery there.

When we reached the signboard, I noticed something very interesting...

Me: *sniff sniff*... Uggghhh.. What is that smell?
EV: Toilet-la...
Me: o_0

Yes, there were so many people that you can smell the toilet as you walk towards the Botanical Garden as you pass the souvenir shop. Ugghh..


Within the Botanical Garden, lies a small Japanese restaurant. I looked at the prices and it is pricey to eat Japanese food in the "mountains". However, due to the big crowds, the restaurant was pretty packed with some patrons enjoying a late lunch or some dessert.


It was a relief to walk around the garden as it had been quite hot and humid after the showers which came down during lunch.


I did not go down the hill due to my knee problems and so, stopped halfway to enjoy the cool breeze and scenery around.

Besides the Botanical garden, there was a small Japanese garden at the other side of this "village".


The Japanese garden is designed in the manner of the Japanese style, using a lot of natural elements of water, wood, stone and earth in order to beautify the surroundings. The feeling you get as you walk around the garden with the tea house is one of being "united with nature".


I wanted to take a photo where I could "freeze" the movement of water and was glad that I experimented with the shutter speed settings of my camera. It is still not quite perfect but I understand the concept of using the shutter speeds to capture movement.

It is a joy to photograph in these gardens and I did wish that I had some macro lens or a superzoom to capture some of the more detailed elements. Oh well...


We left the Japanese village at around 5:30pm as we wanted to catch the last few shuttles back to the resort to rest in our room. Again, we had to face the mayhem of getting a seat on the shuttle when it came...

Now... what was there to do at night in Bukit Tinggi...

October 06, 2009

Trip to Bukit Tinggi Part Un (One)

During the recent Raya break, I took an overnight trip up to Bukit Tinggi for a short R&R. Well... It turned out to be less R(rest) and more A(activity).

We decided not to drive up as I wasn't familiar with the roads and also, thinking that there would be a traffic jam due to the public and school holidays. Boy, was I glad about that decision. Sure, it was costly to pay RM40 for the 2-way trip (up and down) but it really did save me from the stress and anxiety of finding parking and etc because the "hill" was packed to capacity!!


Colmar Tropicale was a lot smaller than I anticipated but that's because the entire place is just a hotel/resort for the guests to stay before they venture out to indulge in other activities.

This isn't a photographer's heaven but it certainly is a great place to practice my art. I've not done a lot of architecture photography and so, this was a chance for me to try it out.


Both sides of the court yard were lined with small stalls as well as hotel restaurants - Italian (pasta/pizza), a rotisserie, buffet restaurant, French fine dining and Thai/Vietnamese. Limited choice with limited seating. The crowds were so packed on the first day we arrived that we had to wait 30 minutes for a seat at a restaurant and another 30 minutes for lunch/dinner.


I took the view of the entire court yard from the observation tower, which lucky for me, had a lift!! Hehehe... After all, I was lugging my heavy equipment around and so, the lift was a relief!


Some shots taken here are great candidates for my fake miniatures and I can't wait to play around with that. Kekeke...

Food-wise, we were quite limited to the 5 restaurants around the resort, unless we were game enough to venture out to the Japanese garden, where they have a restaurant but the prices were just crazy... So, for lunch, we decided to have the Italian food as reviews said that the food was pretty good.


Portions were quite reasonable for the price we paid. Taste-wise, it was pretty good.


This "blob" is actually beef lasagna. Plenty of cheese and meat although there were not many layers but pretty tasty with just the right amount of tomato.

After lunch, we hung around the court yard for a little while as there was a looooong queue for the rest rooms. Our room was not ready yet and so, we just had to wait until housekeeping could get it ready.

Meanwhile, we planned to head to the Japanese garden and so, there was another loooong wait for the shuttle to arrive to take us there.

Well, good to stop here. I will continue with Part Deux (two) of this little trip... ;-)

October 01, 2009

You Need To Be More Sick To Get Well Faster...

Geez... This year has been pretty bad for me... Health-wise that is.

I've already fallen sick at least 3 times within the last 6 months!! And each time I got sick, I seem to be taking longer to recuperate. :-(

This time is no exception. I went to see the doctor twice to complain about the medication. Because of my throat infection, he prescribed some antibiotics which I dutifully complete the entire dosage long after my sore throat is gone.

However, this time round, I developed a "side-effect". I started to have diarrhea because of the antibiotics... So, I went back to see the doctor.

Doc: So, what's wrong?
Me: I feel much better, can breathe with less wheezing but I'm having diarrhea. Is it because of the medication?
Doc: Have you been eating out?
Me: No (*thinking* - I thought the doc told me to eat soft, non-oily foods the last time round... )
Doc: Then, it must be the antibiotics. 1 out of 3 people will develop this side-effect
Me: O_O

The doctor prescribed a round of medicine to stop my diarrhea. I still have to complete my antibiotics but will have to treat the side-effect in order to get well.

That's the funny bit about this time's bout with the bug. Am sure my immune system must have had a laugh.

However, on a more serious note, I did complain to the doctor about my breathing difficulties which caused me to feel like shit. He heard that I was wheezing and was afraid that I would start to develop asthma. Genetics may make me pre-disposed to asthma and allergies but I'd guess it had to be due to something else. The doctor also suspected stress which can bring this out. Regardless, I will need to see another doctor for a second opinion.

I have been feeling particularly stressed out and finding it hard to de-stress (i.e. gym) due to work/home issues. Just that when you see the doctor and he mentions a disease which can stick with you for life, or can be life-threatening at any moment; it is a wake-up call.

With the advancement of technology, we're expected to live longer than our parents/grandparents; but if stress is a major factor of daily life, I think many of us are just ticking time bombs where health issues explode out of stress. The sad part is, it's lifestyle-related.

Hmmmm... I need to sleep. Enough talk, I'm feeling breathless...
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