Saturday, June 30, 2012

Il Bacaro

Had dinner gathering + birthday celebration with my colleagues at this Italian restaurant called Il Bacaro/Campbell House last weekend. Campbell House is actually a Heritage Boutique hotel in Georgetown. It's good to see that a lot of old heritage houses like this in Penang are now refurbished to give a new breath to this city and contribute to Georgetown's renaissance. 

Anyway, it's actually funny talking about how I got to know about this place coz I'm not a foodie and I hardly go food-hunting. I knew about this place because we actually ordered-in 'fine dine' Italian food for lunch at! Nope I'm not trying to boast, I just wanna say that cold-fine-dine-food-in-a-plastic-container is not appropriate. That's all...haha!! =P After so many disappointments, I finally got to taste the real fine dine-in and it's definitely better than what I had previously.

Friday, June 29, 2012

First Half Recap

If you haven't realized, the first half of 2012 has flown by already. Now that as I grow older (not that I'm very old la), I really do feel that time is flying by too quickly. The fact is...time moves in one direction, and memory in another. And this is one of the main reasons why I keep myself consciously aware to live the moment, cherish the present, anticipate the future, and frame the past. Sometimes when I look back at my old posts, I wonder what the heck was I writing back then but I don't bother to delete them coz it's part of my memories. 

Looking back at the first half of 2012, I can really say the past 6 months have been pretty awesome, or I should say it has been AMAZING despite being sick for a few times within the last 3 months. Life's been great and I'm really thankful and blessed for all the wonderful things that I've experienced and for all the wonderful people around me. Always counting my blessings and reminding myself not to take anything for granted. Hope that the 2nd half of 2012 will continue to be great! =)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Underrated Food Capital - #2 Penang

I've always been interested in travel-related articles and while I was randomly browsing through some articles on CNNGO few days ago, the following list caught my interest. After going through the list, the first thought that came through my mind was "Hmm...90% of all the food in this list can be found in Malaysia...but why is Singapore more well-known for all these good food when our country is also a food heaven??" Something must have gone wrong with our tourism marketing. 

CNNGO: 40 Singapore foods we can't live without

And then...I stumbled upon another article on TIME that did justice to Penang...oh yeah! =) But still, thanks to the list above, it's a good guide for Dan's visit to Penang this December. =P

TIME: Asia’s Best Eats: 4 Underrated Food Capitals

Live Life. Love Life.

Quotes to share: 
"I'm grateful to be alive. I see beauty all around me. I live with passion and purpose. I take time to laugh and play everyday. I'm awake, energized, alive. I feel the love, the joy, the abundance. I'm free to be myself. I'm grateful to be me. 人要有知足的心态,不知足的精神。"

Beach Day 2.0

9 June 2012 (Sat): PwC Beach Day @ Penang Water Sports Centre
Now that it's off-peak season at work, the SRC committee is back in action again to plan some activities for the company. I came back from my vacation just in time for this beach day. =P As stated in the title, this is the 2nd year we're having this beach day, and all the activities this year were pretty much similar as what we did last year, with an addition of Mr Lee's retirement party. P.S. Credits to XinYi & Adrian for capturing all these moments.                                        

Early birds who came earlier for beach volleyball.

Well, auditors may not be pro volleyball players but we definitely try our very!! =)

'Big' kids & the 'real' kids...haha!!

Time to kayak!!

Quite a lot of people came for kayaking despite the not-so-nice weather. Bottom-left pic: Gathering in the middle of the sea???

Once again, we may not be pro kayakers but we make sure we sail through every obstacles...haha!! =)
F&B department working hard to prepare food for everybody.

Let's get started!

The committee made a compilation of video messages and a photo collage for Mr Lee. Guess who did the photo collage? =P
Chung Ling school anthem = karaoke??? Erm...this equation doesn't seem right. 

Last but not least, a group photo before we call it a night. Thanks to everyone who turned up. =)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oh WoW!!

Yess...I've finally got my own domain after blogging for 5 years!! babeh!! Ok ok...I know i'm a bit overacting. =P Well my blog isn't popular anyway so getting my own domain is just for fun and to waste $10 annually...haha! 

Between my 'special mission' and US trip, I went back to work for 4 days and got this surprise:

Thanks Ali for the nomination! =) Honestly, my past 1.5 years with the firm has been pretty good and I'm really grateful for that. 

RM 250 Parkson voucher+gift card & a cert...not bad huh! 

Borrowed this book 3 months ago but didn't have time to read it. Re-borrowed it again now that I'm free-er, seems like China has a lot to offer...maybe China can be my next destination?? =P

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Years Later...Huntsville & Ft Myers

I'm back from the States and my 9-weeks' vacation has finally ended!! And nope, I didn't quit my job...I just took a very long leave. =P This time it's really time to get back to reality coz I'm out of leave for the rest of the year already. =.= I returned to work the following day after I extra days to rest and recover from jetlag. Luckily it's off-peak now so I'm kinda free at work and everyone is busy clearing their leave . =) 

This is our work-planner ; purple=leave...whoops! =p 

This is my fourth visit to the US...1st visit to West Coast was for sightseeing, 2nd visit to Hawaii was for BSB, 3rd visit to Alabama was for student exchange, and this visit to Alabama again was for an 'apparent' reason. When I told my manager that I was going to Alabama, he asked me what's there to see in Alabama? Good! =P Well you'll figure out if you scroll-on. 

You know it's not cheap to fly to the other side of the globe and this is the first time I'm paying for my own tickets to the States. Since I'm poor, I went for the cheapest option possible and was lucky to have accumulated enough miles on United to fly one way from US to Malaysia. So basically I only had to purchase a one-way ticket and redeem the other flight. The cheapest option I could find was to redeem MAS from PG-KL with tax of RM58, purchase Kuwait airways from KL-NY for RM1598, purchase United from NY-Huntsville for $237, and redeem Huntsville-KL with tax of $23. Just paying for one way is already more than my one-month salary. =.=

7-9 May 2012 (Mon-Wed): Pg  KL  Kuwait  London  NY  DC  Huntsville

KL-Kuwait. If you want me to comment about this flight, I'll say what you pay is what you get. It's decent. :P I had a row of 3 seats to myself and slept almost all the way. 

Transit in Kuwait for about 4 hours. This flight to London was full and I was sitting beside 2 young girls from Denmark. They are the 2 bare-footed ones in the first picture. I'm glad I was seated with 'em but I don't get it how they can walk around without shoes...the floor (especially the plane lavatory) is dirty!

3rd transit in London Heathrow. The flight from London to New York was also quite full. This was the first time I see Briyani rice for plane meal. Btw, this airline doesn't serve alcoholic beverages. 

4th transit in New York JFK. I arrived in the evening and my next flight was in the next morning so I had ample time to wander around from terminal to terminal. I managed to find a spot in terminal 5 to 'camp' for the night. This terminal is the only terminal with free wifi in JFK. Bingo! =) I spent the entire night working on my blog.

Had one more transit in Washington DC before my final flight to Huntsville. After traveling for 48 hours, I've finally arrived!! Super duper tired but it's great to be back again after 3 years!! =)

11 May 2012 (Fri): Meet-ups with UAH peeps

Went back to UAH OIPS to meet up with Dr Pottenger, Anita, and Kathleen. Kinda hard to believe that it's been 3 years since we last met...time flies!! Had a pretty good chat updating 'em about my life and I'm glad to see that everyone is doing great. =) Also met up with Dr Ong and Alan for dinner but forgotten to take pics. :P

Dan dan's house. Helped him to move in 3 years ago :P

12 May 2012 (Sat): Huntsville - Ft Myers, Florida

Dan's family had a 1-week vacation at the Hyatt Coconut Plantation, Bonita Springs and I tagged along. =P Departed early at 4.30am coz Donna & Donny had to catch their flight at Atlanta while the 3 of us continue our long ride in the SUV down to Florida.

The entire journey was about 12 hours, luckily Dan's iphone has unlimited plan...definitely made the long journey so much better. =)

Zaxby's for lunch...yummy!!

Massive bug-suicide after we entered the border of Florida.

Hmm...someone's notty!

Finally arrived our hotel!! 

Donna & Donny arrived earlier and stocked up on food supplies...woohoo!! 

Went for a stroll around the surroundings of the hotel and was in time to catch the sunset.

13 May 2012 (Sun): Chillax at Hyatt Coconut Plantation

Mother's Day breakfast prepared by Anna and Donny. =)

Time to hit the pool for some tanning! Well I don't really need more tan. :P

One of the hotel's activities...Bingo!!

Lotsa beef and shrimps for Shish kebab!! Yummylicious!!

Too much good food for dinner...haha!!

14 May 2012 (Mon): Chillax at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

There were two different hotels in this Hyatt...the one we stayed at was for the owners, the other one was the hotel for public. Walked over to the other hotel to use the pool there. 

Another round of tanning. As usual, I was stalking cute kids. :P

15 May 2012 (Tues): Outlet Shopping Spree

Even before I went, I've already done my research and knew that there was a factory outlet (Miromar Outlets) about 20 minutes from our hotel. I'm not a person who like shopping but outlet shopping is an exception coz the deals are really good and it's much cheaper than M'sia! If you've shopped in US factory outlets before, you'll know how overpriced these branded goods are in Malaysia!

Thanks to my bby for accompanying me to shop...haha! =) I don't know why but I always have the tendency to buy shoes in US. =.= 'Damages' made=$370 :O

Bf's ice-cream treat at Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream. =)

17 May 2012 (Thurs): Big Hickory Beach, Putt-Putt, Ft Myers Beach

Took a boat from the hotel to the private beach.

A lil' disappointed with this 'private beach'...not as cool as it sounds...haha!

More tanning?? Nope I think I've had!! Or else I'll really be "Khai the Thai". =P

I told 'em that I've never played putt-putt so they took me for a round of putt-putt game. It was fun and I did pretty good for someone who've never played golf.  

The nicer beach...Ft Myers beach. 

18 May 2012 (Fri): More Shopping!

Originally, we planned to go to St. Pete's beach but we got lazy on the last day so decided not to go. Instead, I asked Daniel to bring me to the outlet again for another round of shopping...whoops!! More 'damages' done...another $370!! =.=

Last round of tanning at the pool on our last day.

19 May 2012 (Sat): Ft Myers - Huntsville

Another long journey back. From sunrise... sunset! Thanks bby for driving all the way! Spotted a schoolbus-converted-lorry on the road...innovative huh!

20 May 2012 (Sun): Went grocery shopping together...something that we hardly have chance to do together. =)

21 May 2012 (Mon): Date night...another thing that we hardly have chance to do together. Watched the Avengers and had dinner at PF Chang's. <3 

23 May 2012 (Wed): Went over to the parent's house for dinner coz Anna was leaving to Pittsburgh the following morning. 

25 May 2012 (Fri): Camping at Lake Guntersville

Drove to Honeycomb Camb Ground at Lake Guntersville (about 50 minutes from Daniel's house) after he got off work on Friday to meet up with Donna and Donny.

This is how they spend their long weekend and camp in America. Typically you'll see lotsa RVs (recreational vehicle), tents, cooking equipments, boats, dogs, bicycles, food, etc. Here in Malaysia, people spend the weekends in shopping malls. =.=

Lake Guntersville

We arrived in the evening so only managed to go for a quick ride on Donna's boat before the sun sets. Nice boat!!

Saw some really cool RVs...cost as much as a house! Had group dinner with Donna & Donny's friends.

26 May 2012 (Sat): Tubing at Lake Guntersville

Spent the night in this RV.

Beautiful day to be out on the lake. =)

Thanks to Donny & Donna for bringing us on the boat for some tubing adrenalin rush!

27-29 May 2012 (Sun-Tues): Huntsville  Houston  Moscow  Singapore  KL

My fun-filled long vacation is finally ending...time to say goodbye again. Leaving this place always make me sad. =( It has been great being back here after 3 years. Thanks to Daniel, Anna, Donna, and Donny for the warm hospitality!! Hope to be back again soon!

Transit in Houston before my long flight from Houston to Moscow. Got the opportunity to fly Singapore Airlines because SIA is United's partner...awesome!! Watched 5 movies during this 12-hours journey. 

Played with the cute boy sitting in front of me before he fell asleep.

Transit in Moscow Domodedovo airport. SIA serves ice-cream!!! =D

Final flight from Singapore to KL. We really have a lot of palm oil trees here!!!!

Last but not least, my purchases!! Well not all for myself of course! Went with 3 bags, came back with 4 bags, and managed to fit 13 shoes into my!! I have a habit or arranging my purchases for a 'group photo' every time I return from a trip...3 years ago from US and 1.5 years ago from UK. =P

Alright alright, I know this is another lengthy post. I won't get to travel anywhere anymore for the rest of the year so no more long post I guess...haha!!