Friday, November 30, 2007

Hug A Hooligan Today!

The European Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini wants to curb football violence by sending the thugs and skinheads for adventure activities like wall climbing and canoeing to generate a sporting spirit!

Holy Mollycoddle the Maniacs Batman! I thought we were inviting the mirth of gods and extra terrestrials alike when we decided to get sensitive with our Mat Rempits but it looks like even in Mat Salleh Land the urge of one upmanship prevails and they've put us Malaysians in our place by taking convict-material charity to a whole new level! Not enough they're a menace to society with broken bottles and Fists of Drunken Fury, now we're putting paddles in their hands and training them to scale over security barriers! Spiderman is thanking his lucky stars he's got a cushy job with the odd goblin and sotong waaaay over in the Big Apple.

But what the hell, every one needs some TLC right? Why not a knuckle dustered lout with the fighting rage of a blue balled pack of hyenas? We are all the world's children anyway so why not eh?

Yeah why not, go ahead, hug a hooligan today. Show them you care.

Go HERE for more of that fuzzy feeling!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Am Celebrity

"He's a celebrity", came the hushed answer to my enquiry about the emcee at my friends wedding. " What do you mean? He's a celebrity?" I asked a little confused. I didn't recognise the pretty boy dude at the podium flashing his pearly whites at the crowd.

"He's the host of that morning TV show."

"Oh...Is that it???"

"Yeah."

So it just hits me like a slap from an angry woman that we have as much 'celebrities' running around Kuala Lumpur as Datuks. But what IS a celebrity? Someone who is famous and popular or just someone who has screen time on TV and movies? Nope, it can't be because even our radio DJs are celebrities and I still can't pick them out in a crowd!

I 'm a confused nugget sitting right here because last week I heard that the dancers kicked off the TV reality show called Now You Think You Can Dance (I think this is the title that was show on NTV7 or 8TV are now called 'celebrity dancers' and you can book them for events and functions.

Angelina Jolie is not referred to as a celebrity first, she's an ACTRESS, David Letterman is a TALK SHOW HOST, Tupac is a DEAD RAPPER and Tom Cruise is an IMPOSSIBLE GRINNING LEPRECHAUN/HOBBIT HYBRID MUTANT SAMURAI MARTIAN. When Oprah went back stage she DIDN'T say "We're not booking anymore short fucking CELEBRITIES who'll fuck up my couch ever again!" She just mumbled, "fucking ACTORS..."

So this 'celebrity' phenomenon is almost a Malaysian creation(well not quite but screw it) as all our celebrities seem to be triathletes as they almost always seem to be multi talented. I guess its only inevitable. You're not going to sell that many English albums in Malaysia to pay for that BMW M Series.

So they sing, DJ, read the news, act in local dramas and now even do the odd stand-up comedy routine to build up their profile while they rake in the ringos from emceeing events, posh weddings, going into music and movie/TV production to sell back to the stations they work for or the advertisers they have schmoozed with.

Fair play I guess but it just gets me wanting to me a 'celebrity' too. What the hell do I need to do man? Ok, lets see:

1. Blogging is a communication medium. Check.

2. Communication skills? I can communicate with my dobi dude effectively. Check.

3. Popular? I have more than once been hugged on facebook. Check.

4. Popular requests for my presence? Hmm...lots of requests from alcoholics to meet them in pubs so CHECK.

5. Other celebrity friends? Fuk...

6. Offer to emcee? Fuk...

Hmmm.... This is still salvageable though.

HANNAH TAN!!!! Please call me!

Now anyone out there need an emcee? I however do not do children's birthdays if I'm not allowed to swear at the fucking clowns. I hear they're celebrities too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A1 Grand Prix Qualifying

By the time most of you guys read this the final results of the A1GP will probably be out. I was at the track yesterday for some informal meetings and managed to get some random shots in the Sepang International Circuit.

The Pangaea hospitality area above the paddocks. Classy wine and dine sector reserved for teams, sponsors and partners. Its run by the A1 folks and it's very European so feel free to ask for champagne and oysters anytime you're there.


SIC with A1 teams and their country flags.

Malaysian Alex Yoong flashes past the Portugese booth.
There's quite a lot of potential here in A1 especially when its dependent on skill then tech. It just needs a push to get folks behind it. It surprised me last year when the Malaysian team was fighting for positions in the top 5 and yet did not seem to get much coverage in the local media.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

The longest word in the world? Dunno, but today's word for the day kids is:

Paraskavedekatriaphobia
It essentially means the fear of the date Friday the 13th. Go HERE for more details.


"Fly you fools! FLY!!!!! Today the droids will have their revenge!!!!!"

*Picture and toys property of Chindiana Trails

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Malaysian Independance Tennis Festival

Let's help them out. The press and promotions are misleading. The Malaysian Independence Tennis Festival comprises 2 parts - the glamour match-ups which are essentially catwalk showtime matches between Sampras vs Federer and Nadal vs Gasquet have COMPLETELY overshadowed the Challenger Series that is on going at the Jalan Duta Tennis Center. I hope those dudes at Jalan Duta have some support and not have to slug it out in front of the Bangladeshi cleaners and the occasional squirrel.




I just got back from the Nadal and Gasquet match held at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam. We had excellent seats but picture taking took a beating when we found protective netting in front of us. The rest of the stadium? What can I say - toilets that didn't work, 2 NORTH ENTRANCES?????? What the fish people???? And RM10 hot dogs that tasted like it had been cooked by a blind chef over a match stick. At least there were some trees and bushes around the seasoned old stadium in case Nadal needed to take a piss...

Maybe it was the rain or too much emphasis on Sampras v Federer but the stadium was slightly above half full only.


I'm more familiar with the Stone Cold Stunner than a good forehand, more in tune with the Tombstone Piledriver than Serve and Volley so bear with me as I describe the match.

It was pretty obvious that Nadal came to give the crowd their money's worth. It was a match that bobbed about between careless errors and some nice rallies but overall they were both coasting. Nice contrast in styles - Nadal's power and athleticism and Gasquet's more refined and deft play. Still it couldn't stop me from looking at my watch in the hope I could get back home in time to watch the second half of WWE RAW on the telly.

The end was anti climatic as it seemed Gasquet ran out of gas or just plain interest in the game. Final score 3-6, 6-2 and 6-3 to Nadal.

I've a feeling that Sampras and Federer will be much better as Sampras will have to play his current forms A game which should at least keep Federer on his toes.

Tips - no umbrellas allowed inside the stadium especially if its raining outside and of course the bottled water you're planning on chucking at that girl behind you who can't stop bleating "vamos nadal" for the hundredth time.

In a preview of the upcoming Sampras vs Federer match this Thursday, Fedex beat Pistol Pete 6-3, 6-4 in Seoul last night (20 Nov) in the first of 2 or 3 exhibition matches between them in Asia. Go HERE for the news.

Here are the following matches including the challenger series:

CHALLENGE MATCHES Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam
DATE
MATCH
START TIME
FINISH TIME (APPROX. ONLY)

Nov 22 (Thu)
Clash of TimesPete Sampras vs Roger Federer
8:00 PM
10:00 PM

MALAYSIA OPEN (ATP CHALLENGER SERIES TOURNAMENT)
National Tennis Centre, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur
DATE
MATCH
START TIME
FINISH TIME (APPROX. ONLY)

Nov 17 (Sat)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Qualifying Round
10:00 AM
6:00 PM

Nov 18 (Sun)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Qualifying Round
10:00 AM
6:00 PM

Nov 19 (Mon)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Main Draw 1st Round
10:00 AM
10:00 PM

Nov 20 (Tue)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Main Draw 1st Round
10:00 AM
3:00 PM

Nov 21 (Wed)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Main Draw 2nd Round
10:00 AM
10:00 PM

Nov 22 (Thu)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Main Draw 2nd Round
10:00 AM
3:00 PM

Nov 23 (Fri)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Quarter Finals
12:00 PM
10:00 PM

Nov 24 (Sat)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Semi Finals
3:00 PM
10:00 PM

Nov 25 (Sun)
Malaysia Open (ATP Challenger Series)Finals
4:00 PM
7:00 PM
Remarks:• The above schedule is subject to final confirmation.• The finish time of each day will vary depending on the duration of tennis matches of each day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jim Ross Top 5 Quotes

Good Ole' JR as Jim Ross is fondly know in World Wrestling Entertainment is one of the best play by play commentators whether it's sports or sports entertainment.

One of the longest serving personalities in the business he's been thorough a lot, especially suffering from Bells Palsy and a colon operation but still shows the immense passion for the business he's in.

In true WWE style he spun off his own range of barbecue sauce (picture shows JR with the Divas from WWE), cookbooks and a restaurant.

Here are some of the best quotes I remember from the many nights I sat in front of the TV watching grunting monsters put the smackdown on each other just to satisfy my own pent up feelings of revenge for the office politician!

Mind you I'm quoting some of the more general quotes for the wrestling challenged folk out there. Here goes:

1. On WWE Diva Maria in a hot blue figure hugging dress - "She looks like she poured herself into that dress and forgot to say when!"

2. "Jeff Hardy is quicker than a hiccup!"

3. On WWE owner Vince McMohan - "He could bring a tear to a glass eye."

4. Standard comments during matches:
- "He's being beaten like a government mule!"
- "He's tougher than a 2 dollar steak!"
- "He's out there showing admirable testicular fortitude!"
- "Its gonna be a slobberknocker of a fight!"
- "There he goes, running like a scalded dog!"


5. On wrestler Papi Chulo's dodgy fur coat - "That's the finest roadkill money can buy!"
Ahhh.... wrestling, love it or hate it, it still is one of the best senseless but most satisfying waste of time possible!

Cue the Legion of Doom's opening intro. Come on say it with me.. " WHAAAAAAAAT A RUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSHH!!!!!!!!!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toto, We're DEFINITELY NOT in Kansas Anymore!

And so we're out of the gates! The sounds of thundering hooves on the soft turf fades into the background and tunnel vision appears in the haze in front! The crowd's cheering raises in a crescendo, almost renting a tear in the perfect blue sky above! We're on the home stretch and we can see the glorious finish line ahead. We just don't need to fuck up! Just a little bit more....! a little bit more!!!!

And then....

Well we were so close weren't we? Just another month and a half and maybe we would forget all the drama and screw ups over the past year and fulled by Chinese New Year booze and 'Chee Yok Kon' we would go into elections forgetting wat the fuss was all about.

But then consistency of Homer Simpsonique magnitude has always been our forte. So what do we do? Over the space of less than 2 weeks:

I'm not going into the whole Bersih March last week. More qualified people than my dumb ass have written on it from both sides but how its almost a script for a bad sitcom when we get cops recording a statement from a 6 year old for following the poor feller's parent to a rally. So after being drenched by water canons and running from tear gas, Junior's statement's going to read - "Went to rally because baby sitter dont work weekends and grandpa and grandma balik kampung. Didn't want to miss Power Rangers but mummy said it wouldn't take long and said she would buy me McDOnalds ice cream after but we couldn't because the motherfukers sealed up the shop and wouldn't let us in when the cops came for us"!

Don't you get the feeling we're in the Twilight Zone after hanging a right at Oz? Lets have a play with numbers. Official Malaysian media and independent sources have differing numbers of participants in the march last week. So is it 4,000 or 40,000? I'm confused man...

And with that going on we have 60,000 at Zakaria's Derus satay fest in his illegally constructed palace where a reported 350,000 satays were gorged on by the hungry folk of Klang.

Looks like free satay beats the call for transparency you idealists you!

And then my personal favourite - Proton's Islamic Car - What the fuck??? Some folks need to get with the program! A Mecca pointing compass and specialised storage isn't going to bring in the business. Maybe better quality vehicles, working power windows and fuel efficiency might just help you sell a few more in the market? A lemon is still a lemon whether its a muslim lemon, a Hindu lemon, a buddhist, jewish,catholic or even communist lemon.

Hey, only in Malaysia do State councils give out more brooms than Hogwarts on Quidditch match day. Go HERE for more details and HERE for the backlash. Man, its juvenile at best to shame the poor dudes in the district councils but why make a fuss about not meeting the the collection of assesments? Shouldn't more pressing matters be the bane of every municipality like the continuing destruction of our environment, illegal factories polluting the rivers and maybe just about respecting the tax payers and looking out for the well being of Malaysians in general? Did anyone catch the drama queen from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council who called off a meeting because he was irritated with the line of questioning and his tummy was rumbling up a storm? Go HERE for the drama.

You know what, I think its all just bad PR. PR is a skilled and disciplined craft and it can bridge many differences even without comprising on the beliefs of warring sides. I hate to think the elected officials are just mirrors of ourselves although I must admire their creativity as I've never looked at a stewardess' skirt and think of describing it as a 'skirt tunnel' . Gotta love them good ol' boys!

What else, oh yeah looks like our government buildings are now training for the Olympics 100 meters swimming finals when the RM4.5million Perak State Corporation administrative building took a dip in a lake before it had time to even get occupied. Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara eh wot? Go HERE for the Sultan's disappointment.

D 'OH!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Teluk Cempedak, Pahang

I've been stressed lately. I've got this major rant in my head but can seem to get the thoughts out in a coherent bitching session. So I'm posting these pics from 2 weeks ago when I was in Kuantan just to keep this blog warm till tomorrow when I unload a can of whoop ass on some idiotz!


So this is Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan, Pahang. The most deceiving piece of sea front real estate that I've ever seen. Driving up a road that ends with a McDonald's is not a good introduction to Kuantan's main beach. Its actually not bad and typical of the beaches on the East coast stretches as far and the eye can see.

As is normal the standard boardwalk for the locals who just seem happy to chill out in the shade. I have to admit it was too frikkin' hot to dip in the sea even at about 9.30am.


The standard Shop Selling Beach Front Crap.


The playground - The startling colours of the play area juxtaposed with the quite serenity of the hillside rudely reminds us that Malaysian designers are unimaginative or colourblind or both.


The scenic drain that quietly unloads 'some' stuff into the ocean...

I like this. The gangplank walkway action path that hugged the coastline and led to an adjacent beach. First time I've seen this on any beach.


Life, as rocks by a beach, to be caressed by the gentle touches of the warm sea only when the tide is high. Just like a 5 year old marriage. Hadiharhar! sorry.....

Final stretch to the other beach. Couldn't get the name for it. The whole walk takes about 15 minutes.

Lookout points. The only relief from the blazing sun.

The sea bed is supposedly treacherous it doesn't gradually decline into the sea but falls suddenly into deep water.

Not a bad place I guess for a first time tourist in Kuantan. but i hear that there are better party place which I MUST find soon for my next trip.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

EAST and WEST

Holy Colonialism Batman! I've found myself dealing with a bunch of Mat Sallehs who are getting their feet wet in Asia for the first time. I've been so used to expats who've lived in Asia and acclimatised here that it's quite surprising that some old remnants of old skool superiority complex still exits in the world with the newbies. I'm NOT going to bitch about it as I've promised myself to be a happy Smurf at least until the end of the week. So below is just a graphic comparison between uz and themz.

This images were supposedly created by some Asian sinsei dude. Didn't bother bout the details as the images are strong as it is. I forgot to save the actual descriptions so am going by memory so bear with me:



WEST vs EAST


Children


The Boss



Retirement




Turn-ons


In a restaurant


At a party


Weekend


Self-esteem


Queue


What they're thinking


Networking


Punctuality


Making a point

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rubber Head!

Somewhere out there, at this very moment there is ANOTHER human being punching his or her way past the boundaries of innovation and ground breaking experimentation, to further ensure that mankind is ready to face all challenges that the Universe will hurl our way and to ensure the longevity of our species. Hurrah.


You know what? Just for this I think we should send him up to space courtesy of the much vaunted Malaysian Space Tourist Program. Imagine the experiments he could carry out on behalf of us morons, for example - The development of The Durex Emergency Re-breather and Buoyancy System, the crowning glory of the Malaysian rubber industry and Western innovative panache.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coffeeshop Millionaires

KPIs be damned! Spread sheets begone! Budget/excel sheets/assumptions away with thee!!!

I met an old friend in Seremban the other day. A scruffy feller with the dress sense of an '80s bodybuilder and who was only recently just mullet free. And yes, he WAS wearing purple colored MC Hammer 'parachute' /body builder sweat pants. He's a trader, mainly in raw materials in construction. Money is in the bag.

As we were chatting he brought up some project he was doing and he was looking for an investor. I then realized that I had another friend, part of a conglomerate who was looking for exactly what my buddy had in mind.

"Hey do you have a business plan?"

What? Yeah just call my business partner, this is his number.."

"No. no, projections of revenue compared to the investment you want la, your distribution channels, etc"

"Aiya, just call my friend, he's doing the sales, then this feller does the transport, and then..." followed by him thumbing through his phones for phone numbers to send to me.

The other friend i wanted to hook him up with was a senior executive in an Indonesian conglomerate. He lived and breathed business plans and projections and data.

So I tried again:

"Look I have this company that is quite large. They can invest in this thing but you need to give them what they are want."

"But why la? This is sure go. There is a shortage now and he can re-export." came the slightly exasperated reply.

"Because how he works is he'll send it to his business development team to study it and his finance guys need to look at the projections and they payment schedule compared to the returns...."

Then it all dawned on me....

The difference between 'Mr. T' sitting in front of me, a self made man who scrapped his way up by taking risks and my other slick friend with an American degree, in his Boss suits who travelled on first class flights - the one who plays badminton with friends twice a week at his leisure and the other who lives at the whims of the market or the next big deal peeping out from endless corporate functions and events, hiding among the other suits who just might have what he's looking for:

Mr. T had all information in his hand. He knew the very process of extraction of raw minerals, the logistics of moving the cargo, the issues of transportation, the import/tax duties in every Asian country, he knew potential buyers even, and probably where their mothers keep their false teeth. He just wanted to concentrate on what he was good at and find partners to handle the other areas of the business. He had all the information in the palm of his hands plus he doesn't really like to interfere with his weekly badminton sessions you see.

Mr. Boss on the other hand was in charge of a large force, his business development Directors, his sales team, finance team BUT would have to refer to them to make a judgement call. He knew a little of everything but NOT everything like Mr. T.

I sat there looking at T, comfortable in his ways. His was a simpler life. Doing his own thing because he knew where every step would take him. Not bogged down by larger issues which slowed the decision making process but working at his own steam and letting his abilities serve him.

He would never be able to deal with large companies. His style would be that of decision maker to decision maker and done with a handshake over a Nescafe in a food court. Something that's dying out as fast as we can kill our environment in the name of progress. His business partners are people have worked with him for almost 15 years. Some even 20.

He quietly goes about his day to day work, bypassing tolled roads, eating in coffee shops and taking the train around KL because parking and driving is expensive compared to Boss Man who travels and dines first class on the company expense account.

Whose life would you want?

Mr. T is made up of 3 friends of mine. That conversation with T actually took place in a food court in Seremban. T actually exists and he's 70% of what I've described but the other two share almost all his traits and more importantly they don't run unshaven around Seremban in purple parachute pants.

They work hard and fast. Their loyalties are strong and unwavering. Their word is their bond. Their LIFE IS THEIR OWN. They have time for what counts - family and themselves and more importantly they will not compromise on the fact that eating at any fancy restaurant in KL is the worst return on investment compared to a good Old Skool coffee shop or a outdoor mamak under a tree somewhere! Oh, and there must be time for the weekly badminton knock about with the lads. That's something that can't be compromised.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

HAPPY DEEPAVALI Y'ALL!

I'd like to wish all my family, friends and you readers of this blog a HAPPY DEEPAVALI and Happy Holiday (s). Hope you've taken tomorrow off as well!

Two favours please:

1. Can you people please stop asking me to bring Murukku to the office or pass it to you the next time I see you????????? This has been going on for decades! Hey the Murukku is for visitors who take the time to come over to your place and not for lazy bums vegetating at home. Anyway can someone tell me what is the fuss over it compared to the other more zesty delicacies available on this special day. You want Murukku? Go down to your local petrol station store.

2. I miss the fireworks man. Lucky my family wasn't born morons so we didn't burn any one's house down nor shot off our fingers but festivities have never been the same again since we've lost the fireworks rights to a handful (and now fingerless) idiots. We've lost a bit of our soul to the occasions right there folks.

Have a great day people!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lap Top Gone Bye Bye

Yesterday 2 jokers walked into our new office and calmly walked out with 2 laptops and a hand phone. This is the second theft in our new office block in the same month which our trained personnel from building security failed to inform us earlier about. Security cameras caught 2 or 3 Indian fellers. 1 tall and 2 short. One fella had that stud in his ear.

I got back from a site recce and found just my power cable still plugged in and and empty space where my machine was sitting. The best part was even though it was lunch time there WERE people in the office. Sure there were some workers moving stuff around but it's amazing that they could move in unplug the laptops and move out undetected.

This is in the PJ area and a friend of mine had her laptop stolen from her car in SS2 and according to Bart another 2 more making it a total of 4 people we know in the space of a month. Oh, the other was in Taman Tun also from the car I think.

This however is not as scary as the Price Waterhouse Cooper's laptop stalker thieves who would tail the employees from the office to wherever they went and break into their cars if they forgot to take it out.

Well folks, looks like taking the lap top out of the car just isn't the only anti lap top theft remedy anymore. You'll have to glue the sucker to your ass!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halong Bay, Vietnam

It's just after dinner. The sea is calm for a windy night. The smokers are having their puffs outside the captain's cabin below. I'm standing on the open air upper deck of the Halong Phoenix, one of the many boats that ply tourists around the famed Halong Bay. Its a glorious night. Its slightly chilly and windy. The stars are weakly trying to compete with the generator powered lights of the 37 boats which are anchored in the middle of the ocean among giant limestone outcrops and tiny islands. The 3 day old full moon is shining like a lamp in the night sky. The reflections of lights and the moon shimmer off the surface of the sea all around me. Inexplicably, 'Nightshift' by the Commodores comes on at the back of my head. There is not much other sound except for the quiet chatter of my fellow cruise mates below. Everyone seems contented after the sea food dinner. I have a cold beer in my hand and its going down well to the sounds of the quiet droning of the generators from all the boats in the area. Suddenly some moron downstairs sees it fit to start a party by playing some Dr. Bombay techno/nasal rap shit at max volume for the whole ocean to spaz out to!

That was by best and worst moments of my trip to the World Heritage site in Vietnam, Halong Bay. Below are the in-betweens:



Halong Bay is about 3 hours drive from Hanoi with a compulsory stop at an obvious tourist trap selling some really ugly trinkets. Only useful for the toilet and the cafeteria.


The main jetty. We took a one night package where we stayed over on a boat/junk in the middle of the ocean amid lime stone outcrops and little islets. Since I was stressed from work and was feeling my normal anti-social self I paid for the slightly higher package price of about USD79 per night as I was hoping it would rule out holidaying groups of families. Also because I had some extra cash from getting my room and board free in Hanoi.



This was quite frustrating in terms of taking pictures. I already have the picture capture ability of a cock-eyed drunk but the weather although clear, threw up a slight mist above the sea. Also the sun always seemed to behind all my key subject matter. Note - Pictures from the hilltop of Titop should be taken after midday so you get the sun behind you for the shot of the limestone outcrops in the bay before you. The islets with the caves should be shot in the afternoon also. And be prepared for night photography. Its truly beautiful and peaceful at night and the caves are quite impressive especially with the tasteful lighting system. I'm kicking myself for not being better prepared.



As this was an unplanned trip, I had no idea what I was getting into. The actual itinerary included lunch on board upon arrival on the boat about just after mid day. Explore some caves, kayaking, head back to boat for dinner and then karaoke (optional). Day 2 was, breakfast, Titop island, head back to town for lunch and back to Hanoi after that. If I had it my way, I would stay 2 nights as you can also stay on an island and the kayaking bit was rushed as everyone was rushing back for dinner. No pics on the kayaking trip as I didn't have water proofing for my camera but it was relaxing and fun (well at least until the part where we were rushed)

The Halong Phoenix series - there are 5 of these bad boys plowing the seas around the bay. They have about 15 rooms for guests. Fully air conditioned with working toilets. We got lucky unlike poor Nex who got stuck with over 30 passengers on a tub on his trip. My vessel had a grand total of 8 of us on this trip! Lotsa leg room here!


Surprisingly comfy and clean quarters for my first stay on a boat


The dining area. Impressive, most impressive...


Settings for meals. Food wasn't bad. They do serve pork but special requests can be made for vegetarian dishes as we had a vegan on board and she was satisfyingly looked after.



Jang, our guide. The chirpiest dude I've ever met. At this point he was singing us a traditional Vietnamese song. He dreams of hooking up with a Western bird because he finds Vietnamese women nowadays very materialistic. Holy Asian-wide epidemic Batman!

That little girl is An. That's her mum. She's scares me. Her Vietnamese parents migrated to Australia and are Oz citizens. They spent time in Malaysia under refugee status for about 2 years. They were on holiday to visit family. She's 6 and she was discussing Australian politics, debating the meaning of Jack as a nickname for John Kennedy and that John Howard is too old for another term with her equally scarily intelligent 12 year old brother! I felt like retiring back to Seremban to rear chickens when the debate on light saber battles came up and I sorta gained some respect back from the kids (Anakin's cross saber beheading of Count Dooku would be very unrealistic in real life. It was just Lucas looking for some John Woo dramatics. Pow!)

The Captain. Couldn't get his name as he didn't speak a word of English. Plus this is the only time he smiled during the whole trip.


Son of The Captain.

A view of a somewhat posher looking boat. This is almost near where all the boats parked for the night.


Sea Tag.





The jetty at island with the Cave of Wooden Slates ( I think that's what its called)

Interior of the cave. Lighting systems worthy of Zouk. Only thing missing was Paul Oakenfold, some E-fueled ravers and fag smoke. Sorry...cigarette smoke.

The guides HAVE to refer to this as the finger pointing to the sky. Ladies, does it do it for you?


There's the usual blah-blah how it was discovered but you can Google that.


This shot is probably taken a million times. Its the main view of the pick up jetty when you come out of the caves.

A plant, a woman and a life saver. There's a message in there somewhere folks...


Just some random shot from the boat while waiting for dinner while the rest were swimming in the sea. I swim like Big Bird. With a camel tied to my back.

Kaorake hell begins but all in fun of course. Cheap booze and a long day got Luke and Jang bonding from the get go. We bought a few rounds for the crew who were tense all day. Then realize that the sailor boys were cheap dates when...




...all hell breaks loose in the form of a full on Techno party that lasted 3 hours! The fishes in the ocean must have wished they slept with their dead kin in the ship's freezer! I hate frikkin' Techno so decided to camp out by the beer chiller and drown out the pain.



Our boat from another angle.


Day 2 - Titop Island.

Only good for the view from the lookout tower although after the buildup by the guides, the view wasn't as orgasmic as i expected.



One of the little docks nearby.


Half way point up the climb. It takes 400 steps to get up the hill to the lookout tower on the hill.

The view of the islets is supposed to be great from the lookout point on the top of the hill but as the sun was against us it was just a little to blinding to appreciate

More kayaking around Titop. But my choice is the kayak from the floating village near the Caves, under the mouth of a rock cave and into an open bay surrounded by trees. About 2km total back and forth.

So there you have it. A pleasant surprise made special just because I went into this not expecting anything much. I wish I had shots from the kayak. I wish I had brought some Motown with me, I wish I could kayak out longer and just vegetate on the island and spend more time with the locals. I wish I had time to actual swim in the sea a little. But all those petty wishes are really unnecessary. They were cancelled when my very first wish was granted. The very first thing that I thought to myself when I got into the van for the 3 hour drive to Halong Bay which was, "I hope the fuking toilet on that crap boat works." Well, it looked and worked like a dream.