Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today, as I was sitting here, I could hear wafts of the drums floating in from next door. And I thought, I will miss feeling this, seeing this. The white picket fence. The big, flourishing , yellow Alamanda tree beside the fish pond. The clusters of Ixora bushes beside the gate. The big, tall Christmas trees slowly being eaten away by parasites. The squeaky front door grills that have watched me grow up. The secret shoe bench. The old school steps up from the living room. The cracking walls of the kitchen. The rusty yellow backdoor. The alternate passageway to the washroom. The special, old, creaky, yellow connecting door. The peeling floral wallpaper that’s probably even older than I am. The wooden doors with multiple rusty, tarnished locks. The jagged hole in the mosquito netting. The beautiful tiles with pictures of geese and ducks in the bathroom. The creaky cupboard bursting with clothes that’s missing a handle and that opens by itself. The matching furniture. The teddy bear curtains and bedspread. The squeaky beds. The empty green field visible from the window. I will miss all of this and more.

I am leaving a piece of my heart behind here. No, make that many pieces. So many memories shattered to fragments, left behind in every nook and corner. The slip and fall by the front stairs, the sprained ankle in the early recesses of the morning, the countless days being awoken by the sound of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the humid dinners, the run in with the cobra, Bob cowering under the bench during a thunderstorm, the walks back after taking the bus, the countless celebrations of birthdays, the slogging for exams and assignments on the aged wooden desk.
Will the hands of time freeze for a moment to just let me take this all in?

Change… it is the only thing that is constant indeed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Time to make you salivate boys and girls!

So today, I'm gonna introduce one of my all time favourite restaurants- Rakuzen. It's actually the parent company of Sushi Zanmai, Pasta Zanmai and Sushi Zen. And as you all know, I'm a big lover of Japanese food, especially sushi! So, Sushi Zanmai is one of most frequented places.

Rakuzen is a slightly pricier compared to Sushi Zanmai but for the quality and amount of food you get, it's well worth it. As far as I know, there are two Rakuzen branches. One in Plaza Damas, Sri Hartamas and another in Chulan Square, KL. And I tell you, Rakuzen is one of the best Japanese restaurants around, hands down!

Lets start by introducing my all time favourite dish in Rakuzen which you MUST try if you ever go...

Sushiya salad with Rakuzen dressing.
Orgasmic I swear. If you've had the Sashimi salad with Sushi Zanmai dressing, the Sushiya salad is something like that but just 10 times better. And that's saying something since the Sashimi salad already rocks socks!
The tantalizing pieces of thickly cut salmon coupled with the generous amount of crabmeat and slices of tuna is aboslutely yummylicious. And when paired with the Rakuzen sauce, it's like magic!
Okay, I'm making myself hungry now. =.=

I'm so sorry but I had a momentary lapse of sanity and FORGOT TO PUT MY MACRO MODE ON which explains the blurry picture. I think I was too hungry to care and wanted to dig in as soon as possible. >.<
Anyway, this was on their special menu for August. It's their Summer Roll and boyyyyy, I wish they'd make that a permanent thing on the menu! It was so awesomely good.
If I remember correctly, it had cheese, avocado and crabmeat.
The cheese really gave it that extra oomph!

We always order this when we go to Rakuzen too.
Coral Roll- Salmon and Avocado.
I think the combination of salmon and avocado is the best ever, I don't think I can ever tire of it.
When I hop over to Aussie, I'll probably stuff myself silly with so much sushi sticks you won't be able to recognize me when I get back. =/

This one's called Kanimayo Maki if I'm not mistaken.
It's just crabmeat rolls with a drizzle of Japanese mayo but oh, the simplest things are the nicest sometimes.

I totally do not remember what this dish was called but it's cream and corn patties which was superbly yummylicious!
All the that creamy goodness oozing out when you poke it apart.... Mmm.

And this is beef slices stuffed with enoki mushrooms. I don't remember what the official name of the dish was. >.< But it was scrumptious!

Anyway, I forgot to take pictures of our dessert after that because being the impatient, hungry eater I am, I just went straight at it.

But their macha ice-cream is really good and we had strawberries filled with cream which was insanely delectable.

Anyway, there's a picture of the 3 of us. Coincidentally, we were wearing the same colour scheme that day (green, yellow, white). Ah, great minds think alike!

I've just realized I'm really quite bad at introducing food to you guys because I keep forgetting to take pictures of the food! Gah, I guess I'm just too much of a glutton and attack the food once it arrives. Meh.

PS: Do make a reservation for Rakuzen if you ever plan on going coz it's usally jam packed with people. =)

By the way, know any other good Japanese restaurants? Do recommend them to me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

You Can't See The Forest For The Trees.

You know those moments when you lie idly soaking up the sun and you feel alive? Like you're really living. Not just existing. It's hard to describe really. The thing is, I haven't felt truly alive for months now. Everything seems so monotonous and dreary. It's college, home, sleep, assignments, tests, movies, trawling the mall and the cycle repeats. I think the only time I've come close to feeling alive these past few months was seeing the Taj Mahal in front of my very own eyes. But there were so many people there, jostling and taking pictures it was hard to just soak in the moment. To just be.

-An excerpt from my old Xanga blog (August 30, 2008)

Read that entry here.

This time a year ago, that was how I felt. A year later, I've finally gotten my wish. A blissful summer holiday spent at the beach. Listening to the waves crash upon the shore, feasting my eyes on the breathtaking scenery and sunsets. Being carefree, no assignments, no deadlines, nothing to worry about for that 4 days and 3 nights.

Bali heals the soul.


Let's start by introducing what my sister calls her beach bag- her hedgehog LeSportSac which is just so insanely cute!

It is known as her beach bag because she only uses it whenever she travels to islands. =.=

We took Air Asia there. This is the view from the plane.

The clouds were so fluffy that day. Like cotton candy. It felt like if I just reached out, I could have plucked them out of the sky.

Some part of Indonesia we were flying over.

Looks like something out of a Geography textbook, doesn't it?

Upon arrival at Ngurah Rai airport, we were immdediately greeted with fragipanis. Oh and we could bypass immigration cause Eu Shen arranged for us to go through the diplomat counter. Skipped the long queues, we did. ;)

The frangipanis were so frangrant! But I couldn't wear them for long because floral scents give me a headache after a while. =/

Anyway, our first stop was to fill our growling tummies with yummylicious food!

We went to this restaurant just 10 minutes away from the airport which was famous for their chicken.

True to their word, the chicken was really very good. I can't remember exactly what we ordered, but I remember everything was supremely crispy and delectable.

If you really want pictures of the food, I think Greg's facebook might have 'em.

This is the hotel we stayed in for the first two nights- Ramayana. Centrally situated in Kuta.

Shopping was really easy since it was within walking distance to the markets and Kuta beach was 5 mintues away by car.

Our room. The hotel is quite old but they've kept it quite nicely I must say.

In the hotel lobby, getting ready to go see the sun set at Uluwatu Temple and watch the Kecak dance.

First glimpse of the breathtaking sunsets in Bali.

The colours just seemed more vivid than usual. It was beautiful! Too bad we didn't have too much time to admire it since we wanted to go watch the Kecak dance. =(

My sister and I waiting for the dance to begin while taking in the picturesque view.
At least our seats were strategic, since we got an awesome view of the stunning scenery.

It was packed to the brim to watch the Kecak dance man. Everyone had to squeeze and squeeze just so that everybody could fit in and sit.

There certainly was no traces of the swine flu effects on tourism in Bali!

These flag like thingies are everywhere in Bali. I wonder what they are for?

To tell the direction of the wind? Or just for decorative purposes? I mean I know the checkered cloth is supposed to ward of evil... guess I should've asked our local guide huh?

Just look at it, doesn't it seem so surreal? My sister said the sunsets there don't feel real. They feel fabricated, like someone painted a backdrop and left it there.

But that's the amazing thing. They are so very real, and the beauty of it just takes your breath away.

Getting ready for the Kecak dance. These were the people who provided the sound effects. I admire the fact that they don't develop sore throats after each performance. They were constantly chanting, singing for close to an hour! Imagine doing that everyday!
Watching that big golden ball slowly set.

The Kecak dance is actually the story of Rama, Sita and Laksamana. If you guys remember, we studied it for SPM BM before. How Rama went to catch the kijang for Sita and told her to stay in the protective circle and left her in the charge of Laksamana but in the end she got captured anyway. I found it easy to understand coz I knew the background of the story but I without that, I would have been feeling kind of lost.
Oh well, at least now we know SPM BM literature is good for something! =P

And look at the crowd! Isn't it crazy?

And yes, that is real fire. The heat was scorching when they did that. I really pitied the people sitting in the front row.

Next, we adjourned to Jimbaran Bay for some scrumptious seafood!
Jimbaran Bay is basically this stretch of beach littered with restaurants serving awesome seafood. So, you can enjoy the seafood whilst listening to the waves and looking out to the sea.

Tried their coconut but was sorely dissapointed coz it wasn't sweet. I think all of us momentarily forgot we were in Indonesia and not Thailand where the coconuts are forever sweet. XD

But seriously, Bali reminded me very much of Thailand for some reason. And it wasn't just me, Greg and my sister thought so too.
I think it might have been because of the traffic and the roads (jammed and narrow) as well as the abundant use of motorbikes. And the shopping! Coz everything was so cheap there!

We tried their famous grilled corn and it was insanely HUGE and filling but supremely yummylicious!

I think it was because they put a layer of syrup or caramel on the corn before grilling it, making it super sweet. (I have a sweet tooth so I enjoyed it. =D)

Oh, and the people at the back of Greg were a little singing troupe. Seranaded us with old songs (obviously in hopes of getting tips) but the lead singer's voice was very melodious.

I think, our one and only group picture. All the others are missing someone! =S

Second day in Bali! Taken right after brekkie in the hotel.

We went for a walk at the market right opposite our hotel.

Quite a number of things are sold there- from souvenirs, to wooden carvings, t-shirts and clothes.

Their paintings was what really captivated me though. So many CHEAP and beautiful paintings over there which would have cost like three times the price over here.

My sister bought a really cool silver and black painting, which I don't have a picture of yet because it hasn't been hung up.

Oh and travel tip! When shopping in Bali (Like China, Thailand, India and Vietnam), you have slash the price by at least half and haggle like your life depended on it. Because otherwise, you're just getting fleeced by these Balinese vendors. =.=

Oh and they have very interesting stuff like this helmet for sale too! I mean, do people actually wear that? 0_o

This was right outside our hotel's bar. We had to go back to our hotel to deposit all our shopping bags!

One of the many stone basins around the hotel. The hotel's staff meticulously arrange a different pattern using the flower petals everyday! Such a tedious job but it's the extra effort that makes the surroundings of the hotel so beautiful.

Our 2 local Balinese guides and our 2 organizers of the trip- hard at work planning the day's itinery.

Kuta Beach!

Weather was super hot and sweltering in Bali. You realy cannot survive without sunnies coz the glare of the sun is so strong.

We passed by loads of paddy fields in Bali too!

Clear blue skies and grenery that stretches for miles and miles...

En route to Tanah Lot to watch the sun set.

The entrance of Tanah Lot.

I love the waves in Bali. They are so much bigger than our own which makes it a sight to see whenever it crashes upon the rocks. And because the waves are larger, the sound the waves is amplified. I don't know about you, but I always feel a lot more peaceful after listening to the waves. They may be loud and angry, but somehow it sets my mind and soul at peace.

And I felt... alive.

I think it's the combination of the picturesque view and the feel of the holiday coupled with the sound of the waves lapping against the shore.
In that instance, warmth spread through my veins, lighting them ablaze.

And I was happy.


Us, spoiling the view. ^_^

By the way, I am super in love with my Canon camera! I should probably name it...

The setting of the sun cast a golden glow onto the paddy fields.

It was a breathtaking sight indeed.

There were two dogs running across, sprinting across rather, the paddy fields.

Watching them sprint across the field, chasing each other without a care in the world... I could taste freedom.

For those brief moments, freedom became a tangible thing.

I suppose we were all like that once. Running freely across gardens and playgrounds and field with a kind of blithe innocence.

I really like this shot. The silhouette of the trees and people and the pagoda....

Gradually dissappearing.

That night, we had Nasi Padang for dinner.
Greg calls Nasi Padang Indonesian dim sum/buffet. Coz everything came in small portions (like dim sum) and when you finished a dish, they'd replenish it for you (buffet).

My parents- Raja Sehari. LOL XD

After dinner, we headed to Bali Coffee House to just chill before going for a foot massage.
We decided to try the world reknown Kopi Luwak in which the coffee beans have been eaten and er... excreted by the Civet cat. >.<>
Watching the waitress preparing Kopi Luwak (USD$20 for 8g, don't play play).

There we go! The aroma of Kopi Luwak is absolutely yummylicious. But the aftertaste is... interesting. It tasted a bit like berries but yet, not quite. Quite indescribable really.

3rd day, took a walk around Kuta area. This is the beautiful beach.

Made a stop by Starbucks to get drinks since it was so insanely hot! And I dunno why everyone was bruised during the trip. That's my cousin and my sister who both have bruises on their legs. 0_0

For lunch we went to this really quaint place called Bebek Bengil.
I've heard so much about this restaurant and am glad it lived up to its expectations.

Nah, this is the history of how Bebek Bengil got its name.

Bebek Bengil is situated right beside the paddy fields. So lots of greenery while you feast on their yummylicious food.
Again, I felt at peace. Looking out at the paddy fields, feeling the cooling breeze on that hot, hot summer day and enjoying the awesome spread.
Told you Bali is good for the soul. =D

Their signature dish- crispy duck. You can choose to have it with rice or mash.
If you guys ever go, YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE THE MASH because it is TO DIE FOR.
I'm not kidding! Can rival Chilli's mash seriously.
All that buttery goodness that melts in the mouth. Mmmmm.

Aside from that, their BBQ pork ribs was really flavourful too! A must try.

After lunch, we visited Ubud Art Market which had a plethora of things to look, see and buy. Too bad we couldn't stay for long as we had to go and check into our villa- Bidadari Villa.
Aptly name I must say because it was heavenly!

That's their outdoor shower. So you get to shower under the moon, stars/sun, rain. =P
I must say, the view is actually quite nice when you shower at night.
And somehow it feels very... liberating.
Me: Jie, have you ever showered outdoors before? (after I finished showering)
Sis: No wo. This will be the first time.
Me: It feels very... liberating.
Sis: (laughs) Okay, I shall go and liberate myself now and be one with nature.

Lol convo between my sis and I.

Their HEAVENLY bed. Mmmm. I miss the bed!

Their big bathtub. And that's my other sis with a bruise on her leg too. =S
I forgot to resize a picture of our private swimming pool. Aiya, you guys can go check it out on Facebook la.
On our last night, I tried Bintang beer. I'm normally not a big fan of beers (except for the Passionfruit or Apple ones from Belgium Bar) but this one was really light and surprisingly easy to drink.

And so ends my Bali trip! This was us, flying off into the sea. The takeoff and landings are quite scary yet thrilling because if the pilot misjudges, you'll end up in the middle of the sea.

Airport security was a bitch though because of the Jakarta bombings while we were there. Bali was suspected as the next target. =(
Why is it always like this? We travel to some country and surely something happens one.
We go to Bali, Jakarta gets bombed.
We come back from India, and the chain of luxury hotels we were staying in gets bombed (although it was in a different part of India la)
We were in Bangkok when the tsunami hit.
Post September 11, we were holidaying in Europe. (And we didn't have to line up to go to Madam Tussauds or the Eiffel Tower because there were so little tourists! Lol XD)
And when the Y2K bug was supposedly gonna hit, we were in the US if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway, the last picture for the day. Reliving the feeling of becoming overnight millionaires!
Since everything is by the thousands and millions in rupiahs, instant millionaires we became! ;)

Sigh, I miss travelling. I need a holiday from my holiday.
Oh the irony. =.=