Thursday, November 13, 2008

Egypt Tour : Day 1-2

For as long as I can remember, I had always been fascinated with the ancient Egyptians and everything else to do with it. Even as a kid, I made a childish vow to myself to visit Egypt one day and see the wonders for myself. To me, it is like THE place to visit I die or something similarly corny. I finally got my wish granted 2 weeks ago.

It wasn’t even a planned vacation. When I heard that my friend was looking for travel partners, I just jumped right in and signed myself up a few days before the closing date of the tour. Always one to travel on my own, I have never joined a tour group before but looking back, I have never made a better decision in my life. No regrets at all as Egypt is as beautiful as I’ve always imagine it to be and so much more.

We flew Gulf Air and had a one night stopover in Bahrain. I went around town with my friend and a couple of new-found friends. We went window shopping in one of its spanking new malls. What strucked me about Bahrain is that the city lacked imagination. Everything looked sterile to me somehow. However, to be fair, I didn’t had enough time to explore the city and the anticipation of going to Egypt the next day kinda clouded my judgement.

My first sight of the Pyramids! Wee!!!

Arriving in Egypt the next day, we were all in high spirits. To me, it’s as if I’m a child who had been let loose in a candy store. We were met at the airport by our Egyptian guide, Walaa. I was secretly thankful that he speaks excellent English and that he isn’t bad looking either. Sure helps with the concentration for yours truly who is a little short on attention span. Our first destination is to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. I was a bit disappointed and worried that we would not get to try out Egyptian food but that proved to be baseless. In tune with the infamous mad schedules of a guided tour, we were whisked off to the Citadel of Saladin straight after lunch.

The Citadel of Saladin

Being a Friday, the traffic was smooth as Egyptians had the day off but the entrance to the mosque was jammed pack with local and overseas tourists all eager to enter after the Friday afternoon prayers were over. While waiting in line, I realize that a whole line of Egyptian schoolchildren, presumably on a school trip, were staring at us and giggling away. It’s as if they had never seen Chinese people before! I smiled at them and a bunch of them waved back. So adorable and friendly! One parent or teacher came over and asked if we mind taking photographs with some of the kids and we obliged.

Throngs of tourists crowing the Citadel's entrance

By the end of the day, me and my friends had been approached by numerous groups of tweens all asking to be photographed together with us! Man, I felt like a superstar! Everywhere I turned, there’s a group of tweens either smiling at me or waving at me or waiting to take pictures together. If I’d known, I would have prepared some autographs! LOL! *kidding*

The Alabaster Mosque

The Citadel is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cairo today. Legend has it that Saladin chose this site because of its fresh air. Apparently, meat would spoil within the day anywhere else in Cairo except for this site. Walaa said this is BS as the site is simply a great location to build a fortress due to its higher grounds. Within the Citadel is the Grand Mosque or also known as the Alabaster Mosque as this material is used to cover its interior and exterior walls. This mosque also housed the tomb of Mohammad Ali, who is considered to be the father of modern Egypt.

Tomb of Mohammad Ali

It rained a teeny bit while we were leaving the Citadel and a beautiful rainbow can be seen. What a beautiful sight to greet us for the first day of my Egypt tour. We were then driven away on our bus to the town of Alexandria which is 3 hours drive away from Cairo. Arriving after a 3-hour bus ride, we sat down to a sumptuous seafood dinner. Each person was served 2 whole fried fish for the main course. Boy, I was full looking at the fishes alone. Fried fish really ain’t my thing.

A rare sight of the rainbow after a few precious drops of rain

Stiff from the flight earlier that day and also the long bus journey, we were more than glad to reach our hotel, the Hilton Green Plaza. However, seeing the places, me and my friend felt rejuvenated again and went around exploring around the hotel as it has many shops and restaurants surrounding it and even a cinema nearby. People are always looking at us and throughout my bus ride, people are just merrily waving away. I must say I didn’t expect such warmth and friendliness. Everywhere I look, men and women of young and old age are greeting me with a smile or a wave. I’ve never felt so welcome anywhere else. Mama, I am home...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Look for My Blog

After 5 years looking at the same old layout, I finally took some time off to update the look and feel of this blog and viola! How do you guys like the new look?


I know, I don't have those bluish-greenish eyes like the sexy lady in the pictue but hey, I do have long dark hair and I'm fair-skinned. OK, so my nose isn't as sharp and my eyes aren't as big but I do have well-defined eyebrows.


Ooo, did I mention my lips are just as kissable? :p

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Movie Review - Babylon A.D.

Yesterday, me, hubby and a group of friends rushed through the massive jam in the city after the heavy downpour to catch the premier screening of Babylon A.D. We won the tickets through an online contest so imagine our surprise when a girl jumped out and were practically shoving a bunch of tickets in our faces before we even get near the booth to collect our tickets. “Take them, they’re free tickets”, she was saying as she displayed the tickets like a magician would with a deck of cards. That ought to have triggered alarm bells that the movie is just a whole lot of bullshit.

Initially, I wasn't really interested in going when I saw that the male lead is Vin Diesel. Anyone who is nicknamed after a petroleum-based fuel can't be that good an actor to start with. Vin Diesel was actually just playing a role that he has played so many times before. A tough guy hit by a sudden conscience out to save the world. How many times have we seen that? I was yawning 15 minutes into the show.

"I'm SO tough I eat nails for lunch! (Nah, it's really just bunny meat)"

Set in the near future, the story basically revolves around the mercenary Toorop (Diesel) and his job of getting a package (young pretty blonde thing - Melanie Thierry) accompanied by her 'nanny' (played by our very own Datuk Michelle Yeoh) safely from Mongolia to America. What he doesn't know is that the girl carries within her a virus that could threaten all of mankind. Oh shudder.

"Do we look like we spend nearly all our lives in an isolated convent?"

Apart from the action-sequences, which can actually be very headache-inducing at the best of times, there is nothing else worth spending your time and money on this particular movie. Adapted from a French cyberpunk novel by Maurice G. Dantec called ‘Babylon Babies’, the movie version is just a mesh of stupid storyline, no plot, lousy acting, corny dialogues and a most exasperating ending. All of us were like 'Huh?' when it ended. That's it, motherfuckers? That’s the end?

I can almost hear the director shouting to the cast and crew, 'Hey guys, let's wrap this up quickly, we only got 5 minutes left. I'm running out of film!" I mean, the ending really leaves the audience baffled as to what just transpired. According to Wikipedia, director Mathieu Kassovitz has expressed outright disgust with the distributors, 20th Century Fox, for removing the movie from his control and altering it significantly. He described the film as "pure violence and stupidity" and that "parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24." I couldn't have agreed more.

This has got to be the worst movie I have been to this entire year! Ptuit!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Who's That Girl?

Writing the previous post, I was reminded of an incident which happened 12 years ago which coincidentally is the previous Rat Year for the Chinese. I just finished high school and was working part-time to earn some extra moolah while waiting for my SPM results. Me and then BFF found a job in a local supermarket as cashiers.

Being a supermarket, the staffs are required to work in shift. Me and BFF usually tried not to be separated although we were usually assigned different counters. Then come this one fine day when I was to work in the morning and she was to take the afternoon shift.

Imagine my surprise when I saw her at the counter when I get in that morning. Still, happy to see her, I bounded over and greeted her. She beamed back at me. The scene still plays vividly in my mind till today. The conversation below is not exact but similar. After all, this is 12 years ago.

Me : Hey, I thought you are working the afternoon shift today?

BFF : Yea but they changed me to morning shift at the last minute.

Me : Oh great! Then we can have lunch together today. I'll come down and meet you at 1pm.

BFF : OK! See you!

Me : See you!

I went up to my own counter after that short conversation as work was about to start. A little after 1pm, I went down to get her but I couldn't find her. Back then, we don't have the luxury of mobile phones like kids do nowadays. Feeling a tad sad and confused, I resigned to eating with other colleagues that day. But as I left the office for lunch, I was surprised to see her coming to work from the direction of her house wearing different set of clothes.

As it turns out, she was working the afternoon shift that day and just got in to work. She was nowhere near the supermarket that morning and no one else saw anyone that even remotely resembles her that morning anywhere near the supermarket. I know she wouldn't play a joke on me so I was dumbstrucked.

We both quit the job soon after and I never did found out who or what I spoke to that morning. Spooky.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Hate Rats!!!

People say that those that are born in the Year of the Horse of the Chinese zodiac don't get along well with those born in the Year of the Rat. Being a Horse, predictions say that it will be a bad year for me this year. Of course, the Scully in me pooh-poohed the very thought of it but now that almost 2 months had passed since Chinese New Year, I am not so sure anymore.

You see, I had been suffering from backache since early March. The first doctor I went to told me to sit tight and if possible, get myself chauffeur-driven to and back from work if I do not want to end up in a wheelchair. She said my nerve is causing the backache. It got so bad that at one point I can scarcely walk let alone use the staircase. The muscle-relaxant and painkillers do nothing to improve my situation. I had to kiss my high heels goodbye.

A couple of weeks or so later, I went to another doctor who told me that I had problems with my bones. She said I probably had the wrong posture when I sit or walk and that is causing the pain. More muscle-relaxants and painkillers and even physiotherapy didn't help. I was getting worried at this point as I was scheduled to go for a holiday with my hubby in Bali at the end of March. We can't reschedule as everything had been paid for much earlier. I decided a break would do me good after all and so we went.

Luckily, the pain started to subside a little and I was able to walk around with relatively minor discomfort during my holiday there. Alas, it wasn't going to be the holiday I had in mind as it was raining from the afternoon that we arrived. So much fun sloshing your way through murky muddy waters in temples and the market of Ubud with your jeans soaked up to your knees in search of souvenirs I tell ya. Nevermind that too, I didn't even manage to see the famous sunsets of Bali even though I went to Tanah Lot on Day 1, Jimbaran on Day 2 and Uluwatu on Day 3! It was just too cloudy. However, Day 4 was a bright sunny day but it was also the day we were scheduled to depart. Now if that wasn't down to bad luck I don’t know what is.

Water, water, everywhere...

Sunset at Tanah Lot

Lunchtime at Kintamani looking over at the still active volcano in the distance

Tourists with brollies

Sunset at Jimbaran

I was barely back to work after my trip before a severe bout of food poisoning from a buffet dinner to celebrate birthdays in the office landed me in bed for 2 days straight with diarrhea and fever. I went to the toilet 6 times on the first day so much so that my knees tremble when I tried to cross my legs. Poor, weak me lost 2 kilos in those 2 days which was so hard for me to gain in the first place. Sigh. Damn the catering company! 'Best' caterer's the name to avoid, good people.

The very next, I received a call midday through work that my mom got into a very bad accident. It was so bad that her car now is to be declared a total loss. It is a miracle she survived with only a bloody lip and minor scratches. I cannot believe so many unfortunate things can happen consecutively in such a short period of time. I think I need to soak myself in Holy Water or something. And to think that Mickey and Minnie Mouse are so deceptively cute is just too scary a thought to entertain. Even Ratatouille.

By then, I had been on medication for more than 1 full month so I decided enough is enough and I finally went to a chiropractor last weekend who came very highly recommended thanks to my relatives. After he fixed my back, I thought "Hey, this isn’t so bad". That’s when he gave me a strange look and told me that he noticed my jaw is not aligned properly and needed adjustment as well. What am I now? A car which needed alignment?!

Anyhow, I am now only supposed to eat non-solid food for the next 3 weeks but porridge day in and day out really makes me miserable so I resorted to eating "soft" food that doesn't require much chewing. That’s not all, I am forbidden to laugh loudly or yawn too widely. Let's see what happens to my backache and jaw after my follow-up visit to him in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I shudder to think there's still about 9 more months before the Year of the Boar arrives. Pray for me!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Malaysian General Elections 2008

With the General Elections just over, many Malaysians like me all over the country are feeling ecstatic with the outcome. It is so exhilarating seeing democracy at work. I don’t remember being ever so hyped up about elections in our country before this but this time around, I can literally feel the winds of change blowing even before the campaigning had even started. My family and I stayed up till the wee hours of Sunday morning to cheer and boo as the election results were trickling in on the television screen.

It is of no secret that many Malaysians had been generally dissatisfied with the ruling government. The government was either both blind and deaf not to realize or they were just pretending that nothing was wrong and hope the anti-establishment sentiments it will blow over in time. Either way, it did not do them any good not to listen to the voice of the ‘rakyat’. The Malaysians voters had matured over the years and we are not a child so easily pacified with a candy anymore.

I may not be any political analyst but even I can tell that we will be seeing an extremely exciting era in the government pretty soon. I personally feel that the Indian community will be even more dissatisfied with Samy Vellu for not being gracious enough to offer his resignation ala Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon even after MIC suffered such a huge humiliating and embarrassing defeat at the polls. Enough is enough already. The guy just can’t seem to take the not so subtle hint from the people he is supposed to be representing. Honestly, I feel not an ounce of sympathy to see him going down.

Also, any less than honest outgoing officials of those states won by the Opposition are now cowering in fear as it seems that Opposition supporters are hell-bent of digging up any past corruptions details or wrongdoings. I predict that more skeletons will be coming out of a myriad collection of closets in the months to come. Its drama time and I can’t wait for the premiere. I hope to see that no more politicians will be off the hook with just a slap in the butt even when they built a mansion illegally and that no more bills will be passed or changed in the Parliament without a closer scrutiny.

The loose alliance of DAP-PAS-PKR will face tough and challenging times ahead of them as government seeing as to how most are tasks with the job for the first time. They better do a kickass job if they want to get re-elected for the next term. After all the fiery ceramahs, Malaysians would not expect anything less. I however wish them all the best and pledge my full support for them because when I woke up this morning, I felt than the sun was just a little bit brighter and the birds singing were just a little chirpier knowing that check-and-balance is now present in the government.

I say we ‘yam seng’ to a better, fairer, more transparent and accountable government. YAM SENG!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Many moons had passed since I last posted in my blog. Now, I know many of you are asking why I stopped writing. Well, the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

The story started many months ago when I tied my Blogger account to my Gmail account, or so I thought at the moment. You see, when we tie a Blogger account with a Gmail account, we had to key in our Gmail address and also provide the correct password to the Gmail account. After a successful tie-in, you only had to key in the Gmail address and the password to the Gmail account to gain access to your Blogger account therefore making away with a separate username to the blog.

Say for instance, my gmail is with the password ‘ccc’. I remembered the username wrongly and I keyed in with the password ‘ccc’ and voila, it goes through. I didn’t suspect anything was amiss since I hardly use the Gmail account anyway. After all why should I since I can provide the correct password.

Many months had passed until one fine day I discovered that I can’t login to my Blogger account anymore. I then proceeded to try to login to the account and discovered that I can’t login either. Just out of sheer curiosity, I tried and when I see my own inbox it finally hit me that I had tied my blog to a total stranger all these while. A stranger residing in another country with a similar name as me but not quite me.

This stranger must have changed the password and with that, I can’t access my blog either. Holy crap! I tried emailing Google for help but to no avail. I also tried getting help from forums and discussion sites but to success whatsoever either. As a last resort, I even emailed the owner of the account for help but the bitch wasn’t responding. What’s a bad ass chick to do?

So last weekend, after half a year of frustation, I decided that all avenues had been exhausted and decided to do the unmentionable. All I can say now is, it feels good to be back! Hip hip hooray!!!