Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walking the Streets of Hong Kong

There are lots of places to visit in Hong Kong. Those who love shopping can find paradise in Hong Kong, be it in large shopping malls or street markets or shops along the roads.

When we were in Hong Kong, we visited most places which we did not visit during our first trip back in August 2005. The first place we explored was the streets and stalls in Sham Shui Po, the area north of Tsim Sha Tsui. One thing we noticed there was that, there were lots of shops selling electronic devices. We scouted around looking at digital cameras, as I was quite interested in the Canon EOS digital SLR camera. The prices of those electronic products in Hong Kong are very much cheaper compared to the ones in Kuching or even KL for that matter. There is also the Golden Computer Arcade, a building filled with shops selling only computer products and accessories. This is similar to the likes of Sim Lim in Singapore but way cooler and more impressive.

Some pictures of the streets in Sham Shui Po. As usual, it was rather crowded there.


Apart from Sham Shui Po, we also went to Central in Hong Kong Island. We walked along the streets in Lan Kwai Fong, a famous drinking haunt filled with bars and restaurants. The roads there were uphill and we had to push chubby kid through uneven pedestrian walks.


Nearby is the Mid-Levels Escalator, the world's longest outdoor covered escalator at over 800 metres long. Too bad we did not get on it because, it's a one way escalator; going downhill from 6am - 10am and going uphill from 10:20am - midnight. Chubby kid was on a stroller, so there's no way for us to push her down if we were to go up.


From there, we decided to go to The Peak. Walking along the streets to the Peak Tram Station saw us passing lots of sky scrapers, the most significant one being the Bank of China Tower.


The tallest point in Hong Kong Island is The Peak. To go up, we took the Peak Tram at almost a 45-degree angle. This photo shows us lining up, waiting to take the tram. Just look at the crowd.


It was very unfortunate for us that day as it was very foggy and misty up at The Peak. We can't really get a clear panoramic view from there. Anyway, these are some pictures taken from The Peak.


The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is also located at The Peak but we were not interested to go and have a look. Here's a photo of the wax figure of Bruce Lee outside the entrance.


We spent about 1 hour up at The Peak before taking the crowded tram back down. From there, we went to Causeway Bay, another popular shopping area.


In Hong Kong, there is also a Times Square and it is located in Causeway Bay.


It's huge, so of course we could not be bothered to walk through the whole building. Instead, we stopped only at the floor that sells electronic products and this was where I bought a new digital camera. No la! I did not buy the Canon EOS digital SLR. My husband says it's too bulky to be carried around. So we opted for the small and compact one, the Canon Digital Ixus 950 IS. He also bought an electric shaver. Both items cost much less than in Malaysia.

It was back to Tsim Sha Tsui after that, to have ramen for dinner at a Japanese restaurant before resting our sore and tired legs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sick

I have been sick for the past couple of days. Flu, sore throat and a bit of body temperature. Look and feel terrible. On top of that, my allergy attacks are back. I had some serious allergy attacks in the last few days. To make things worse, I'll be away on a course for 5 days. I wonder how I am going to survive that 5 days.

I am going to miss both my darlings so much.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Brief Stopover in Kuching and Off to Hong Kong

And so, our flight from Penang reached Kuching at about 8pm. When we reached home, we quickly unpacked. Soiled clothes goes into the washing machine, alcohol goes into the cupboard for alcohol and chocolates goes into the refrigerator. Then we prepared chubby kid for bed. Once she was asleep, we quickly had a brief dinner and started to pack fresh clothes for our Hong Kong trip the very next day. This was a working holiday, as I would be attending a conference and presenting a paper there.

After packing and a quick shower, we finally settled into bed and were asleep in a matter of a few seconds. It was tiring, as we were up and about for the whole day. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, my husband woke me up. He told me that he was not feeling very well. He said that he seemed to be suffering from food poisoning and he was very dizzy and cold. Oh no! No, no, no. This can't be happening. I quickly went to get him some medicine and asked him to rest as much as he could. At around 5am, he was still cold, dizzy and weak. I made him some milo but he did not have any appetite. He went to the next room to sleep, as he was practically shivering. My mother-in-law had already cooked some porridge for chubby kid, so I quickly scooped some for my husband. The warm porridge at least gave him some strength.

We had 2 hours before our flight to Hong Kong and we had to reach the airport in one hour's time. My husband was still dizzy and weak. Chubby kid was still sleeping. I quickly prepared everything needed and finished packing the last minute stuffs. When chubby kid was awake, I got my husband to have a hot shower while chubby kid had her porridge. Then, we were off to the airport.

At the airport, I had some problems checking in. Apparently, my name was not in the MAS system. What the heck! !@#$% I was cursing away at the travel agent lady who handled my booking. Such an irresponsible employee! She made a booking but never confirmed with MAS. The check-in counter MAS staff then tried to get me a place on the flight and finally, everything was settled after more than half an hour. Damn stupid travel agent lady! I was so angry!

With 30 minutes more to take off, we proceeded to our gate and waited there. Chubby kid was a little cranky. My husband was tired, dizzy and weak. I was upset and had a mild headache from lost of sleep. I went to buy him a can of 100+ to drink to replace the body salt he lost from the diarrhoea he had. Things were not looking good. I hoped my husband could withstand the journey.

We had an hour of transit in Kota Kinabalu en route to Hong Kong. No change to my husband's condition. Luckily, chubby kid was easy to handle alone. She slept on the flight to Hong Kong from Kota Kinabalu and so did my husband. We reached Hong Kong at about 3pm and there was this long queue at the immigration. Gosh! I glanced worriedly at my husband. He still looked pale. When we got out to the arrival hall, I gave chubby kid her milk before we all proceeded to the taxi stand, which was like so far away. We took a taxi to the hotel in Tsim Sha Shui. The damn taxi driver ripped us off by taking alot of turns here and there to get to our hotel. Our taxi fare was HKD380, which was equivalent to about RM160. !@#$%

When we reached the hotel and checked in, my husband rested while I took care of chubby kid. I gave my husband some more medicine and he slept for a full 2 hours before waking up briefly and continued sleeping until the next morning. I played with chubby kid in the hotel room while my husband rested. My father SMSed to ask if my husband was OK and if not, he would fly out to Hong Kong to help take care of chubby kid. I told him everything was OK and there was no need for him to come over. After awhile, chubby kid was also asleep. I, after such a strenous and long day, dozed off too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back to Penang

Our ferry ride from Langkawi back to Penang was uneventful. Chubby kid slept throughout the 3 hour journey, so I had the chance to go up to the ferry's open deck to have a view of the sea.


When we reached Penang, we had a driver waiting for us to bring us to our rented apartment. After checking in and resting for awhile, the driver came back to bring us to Queensbay Mall, a huge shopping mall, three or four times the size of tHe Spring, Kuching. We had Nandos for dinner there before taking a taxi back to our apartment.

The next day, the driver came to pick us up again. He brought us to have the famous char koay teow at Lorong Selamat. The char koay teow is fried on a wok heated by charcoal instead of a gas stove. Apparently, this aunty with a funny looking red hat and protective glasses has been frying koay teow for more than 30 years. Mind you, I was not even born yet when she started to fried koay teow.


Looks yummy right? Tastes yummy too! But, I suspect this was the culprit that caused my husband and a few of his friends to have food poisoning the day after. I was OK though. Fortunately, I was OK because chubby kid shared my portion of char koay teow.

The driver then brought us to buy tambun biscuit and Penang white coffee before dropping us at the airport, where we had Nandos again. Hehe... Why Kuching no Nandos one?

Sightseeing in Langkawi

We had almost a whole day of sightseeing in Langkawi. We practically drove through the whole island, stopping by places of interest on the way. The roads are pretty straightforward. We started driving around Kuah Town area and if you just keep on driving, it will take you back to Kuah Town. Yes, that's right. The road is in one big circle that covers the whole island. Hard to get lost even if you want to.

Anyway, we stopped at this luxurious resort called Awana Porto Malai, a place which I've only heard of but never seen. When I first set my eyes on it, truly, the place is luxurious in its own standards. I wonder how much the rooms here cost per night. The view here is really magnificent.


We then proceeded to the Yacht Club, where lots of yachts were docked. It looked like a parking lot for yachts. Fantastic view too.


Along the way, we saw lots of interesting houses. On some parts of the island, we would see dilapidated kampung houses and suddenly out of no where, there will be some luxurious resorts. Such a drastic mixture of architecture.

Anyway, we then stopped by a place called GeoPark, where the gang took the cable car to the top of the mountain. My husband and I did not follow, as it was almost time for chubby kid's milk and nap, so we just hung around at the GeoPark. Nothing much there but lots of tourists. There were people who paid to take photographs with an eagle and a python. My gosh! I just stood there and stared like I had never seen a snake before. How those people dare to put the python around their necks, I could not fathom. Not to mention that they are paying to put the python around their necks. If it were free, I wouldn't even want to do it.

Since we did not go up the mountain with the gang, I'll post up some photos taken by the gang at the mountain top. It was very hot up there but the view was breathtaking.


After that, we went back to our apartments to rest before proceeding to the Eagle Square in the evening when it was not so hot. There you go. Photos of the famous big eagle in Langkawi.


The day ended with dinner at Kuah Town and shopping for duty free items. Oh, did I mentioned? Our luggage was broken on the first day when we reached Penang. So, we bought another luggage, a bigger one, in Langkawi. Luggage is another item which is very cheap in Langkawi, apart from the kitchenware, chocolates and alcohol. So, our shopping was completed with a few hundred ringgit worth of chocolates, a few hundred ringgit worth of alcohol and a bigger luggage, which is only half the price of what you will pay for in Kuching. My husband also bought a sports shirt for himself and a cute sandal for chubby kid.

And so, that night, we started our packing. Luckily, we bought a bigger luggage. Otherwise, I do not know how our stuffs can fit in, especially the chocolates. No la...I did not buy a truckload of Kinder Bueno. On the contrary, most of the chocolates were gifts for friends and relatives.

We all had a really good time.

*Photos courtesy of Jason

Monday, April 7, 2008

Langkawi Island

We all woke up very early that morning, as we planned to savour some more delicious dim sum before getting on the ferry to Langkawi.


The journey to Langkawi via ferry took almost 3 hours. The ferry ride was OK. I was worried that I might get sea sick but luckily I felt fine.


When we reach Langkawi and alighted from the ferry, Whoa... the first thing that hit me was the heat. Gosh! It's so hot there. Extremely hot. While waiting for our luggages, we hang around at the jetty. Even the wind blowing was hot there. When our luggages were all out, we proceeded to the car rental counters outside. Oh man! There's so many people there. We waited for quite a while before we managed to get our rented cars. It was two Nissan Sentra for 9 adults and chubby kid.

With the help of maps, we proceeded to our rented apartment, which was not very far from Kuah Town. We were all extremely hungry and so, after unloading our luggage, we proceeded to a Thai restaurant that we saw on the way.


We savoured some delicious Thai food; not too spicy and tasted great, especially the tom yam soup. Hmm, I'm drooling now thinking of it.


After lunch, we proceeded to Kuah Town to survey the duty free shops. There's so many of them. And Kinder Bueno! So many of them too. And so cheap too. Oh my! Will my luggage fit I wonder? The gang went to survey the alcohol, which was also very cheap and bought some for a party that night.

After our price survey, we went back to our apartment to freshen up before driving around and hunting for food for dinner. We ended up having seafood again.

That night, the gang had a party, drinking screwdriver - orange juice spiked with vodka, while I slept soundly beside chubby kid.

It was a good day. Probably because I saw so many Kinder Buenos.

* Photos courtesy of Jason (I could not take many photos because I had to carry 13kg of load, while my husband was the designated driver.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cruising in an MPV in Penang

Having grabbed some maps in Penang Airport, it was rather a breeze driving in Georgetown. After a hearty breakfast of dim sum (very yummy indeed), we proceeded to drive around Georgetown in our rented MPV. It was big and comfortable and the aircond was cool.


We first went to look for the port where we were supposed to take the ferry to Langkawi but ended up in Church Street Pier, which wasn't the correct place. We finally found it and bought our ferry tickets, which cost RM105 per adult for a return trip.

We then proceeded to Prangin Mall, where the others were enchanted by the chinese calligraphy drawings and name stamp. My husband and I, on the other hand, left for a lunch appointment and came back again to meet the others after lunch.


We then drove around Georgetown and towards Penang bridge. The view of the bridge was breathtaking. Such a nice piece of architecture.



We crossed Penang bridge to get to Butterworth and drove around there, just cruising leisurely like we had all the time of the world. When we were back in Georgetown, we decided to stop awhile at Wat Chayamankalaram, where we took turns to go and view the reclining Buddha. A very nice piece of art work.


We went back to the apartment to rest after that and proceeded to Batu Ferringhi area to look for food. We ended up at Teluk Bahang at a seafood restaurant called "The End of the World", which used to be located right at the end of the road but is already relocated now. We had some seafood before proceeding back to Batu Ferringhi.


When we got back to the apartment, we packed our stuff, ready to move early the next morning, to take the ferry to Langkawi.

* Photos courtesy of Jason