Thursday, July 30, 2009

He's Barack Obama

Stuck in Bangkok airport now and Angie Chong chooses this very moment to send me this! perfect timing!

Thanks Ah Chongzzzz!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tomohon Market, Tomohon, North Sulawesi



The Tomohon Market - Open from about 6am to 10am everyday. Where locals go for their daily supplies and tourists come to gawk at the local meat section. As I've mentioned before eating what many of us would call 'exotic meats' may be disgusting for many but to the locals this is a norm. Part of their way of life. I do not judge them based on my habits and culture. The produce are fantastically fresh. Fruits, vegetables are gorgeous. According to the locals they do not use much insecticide for their crops.




AND OF COURSE....


Fido is food here. Considered a meal for a special occassion.


Most of the animals especially with fur are blow torched after being killed to get rid of the fur.


They are then gutted and cleaned just like any other meats you'd find in your local wet market.

Rat - The difference between jungle and the city rats is the color of the white tail for the forest forager.


Bats - tastes like beef.


Besides the python above, there were also wild boars for sale.

The market is also next to the van station where you can take the blue vans down to Manado and to the neighboring districts. Careful walking along the meat section as all fresh kill meaning you'll probably be walking on a bloody floor of bat blood.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yasmin Ahmad - Rest In Peace

My fav ad from Yasmin. Maybe because the little old lady looks a little like my grandmother (white sari and all although Ammama was a lot gentler and softer spoken). Also to see Tamil spoken in a mainstream commercial on national TV which is not an ad for curry powder.

So who else do we have that's going to remind us about who we are and that we need each other no matter what race or religion, more than ever?

Cleavage

Man, not good. I used to be quite good at not staring. I mean you normally just give it a once over, make a judgement call,

a. "Pushup/maximizer. Mine bigger..."

b. "Man, I wanna REALLY.......!"

c. "HOLYMOTHEROF GOD!!!"

d. "Oh.... high chest bone. Moving on..."

.... and move on. I normally do a good job of not staring at the shouting boobs of an obvious attention seeking woman UNLESS it's someone who I don't expect to see with jugs. Then I just keep flicking over to see where the hell they came from. My aunties should not be showing cleavage, the office accounts clerk who drives that beat up Kancil should give us warning that she borrowed that dress from the Sales/Servicing Manager and tomboys should not have cleavage in the first place (I keep expecting to see industrial masking tape across their chest).

I haven't been out clubbing in a long while. The extent of my contact with women in the past 3 months reads - colleagues, my PA, my staff, surly stewardess, 'tudung-ed women in office and at events, old lady with face mask at airport, young lady with face mask at airport, surly immigration woman with face mask at airport, marketing manager in demure office tailored suits (and if she's flying on a business trip, with a face mask).

SO I ended up in Zeta Bar with some friends. And proceeded stare like a retard Smurf backstage at a Victoria Secret's preview. This was not good. it took me a good 15 minutes to get my darting eyes under control. (that and 3 shots of whisky - it was someones birthday). I settled down but was deeply let down by my seemingly Neanderthal gawking.

Anyway I figured that since women use the visual impact of their bobos to test a man. You can imagine them thinking when they see :

a. Stares like a deprived maniac for 3 hours - "deprived maniac."

b. Looks at tits while talking to her - "Loser only interested in my 'girls'. Doesn't care if I'm the regional manager of marketing."

c. Looks at her friend's tits while talking to her - "fuker can't even give me face....."

d. Pays complete attention after giving said chest area a once over - "Hmmm..... there's hope. Lets see what car he drives first."

e. Pays complete attention to her, compliments her matching shoes and hand bag while never leering at her boobs - "gay... ."

So it's OK to look. It's what you do after that makes or breaks your man ass. In Zeta, the girls at the table probably went - "never give face.. Even if he's got a nice car I think he's a gay retard mother..."

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission

"He's worth more to us alive."

WTF statement is this for a government agency formed to enforce the ineffective Anti Corruption Agency?

So we've got the plot of a bad B movie but placed in real life it's stunning that such blatant loss of life in the building of a government agency can happen in this century with only arrogance from said agency.

Will we ever know the truth? Unlikely. Doesn't matter who investigates this case, a Royal Commission, Special Branch, Interpol, Inspector Gadget, etc... the outcome will probably pin the blame on some poor scape goat - Indonesian worker, drug addict, cleaner and maybe even the victim himself ("he was tired after his 9 hour interrogation, sorry i meant 'interview', slept in our office. Woke up groggy and went to look for coffee but walked out an open window instead. We promise to keep all windows in our building locked from now on. Unfortunate accident this."

So the MACC, who they? Cops? the Illiminati? Imperial Stormtroopers? Rogue Tellytubbies?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why I Need A Girlfriend

1. My plants need watering when I'm away for work. Priscilla is drying up badly, Dopey, Doc, Happy and Grumpy are starting to lose their leaves. Ringo and George are just plain droopy. Only Spartan 300 is holding together (although one leaf is turning brown).

2. Someone needs to be able to let my cleaner lady into the apartment during my now regular trips abroad. The crib is starting to look like the inside of a baboon's ass.

3. Venting to her about official politicians who would suck the sweat off a dead man's balls just to get ahead of the game and that I would love to Tombstone pile drive them through a table of nails but cant so she needs to hear me out. At least to pretend to care...

4. Someone to pick me up at the airport when the flights arrive at 11.30pm and those SOB cab drivers REFUSE to drive in any earlier than 12.30AM so they can charge the after midnight extra fees. Additional points if she turns up with ever so slight make-up and Chanel's Allure and a smile :)

5. Someone to play sms ping pong with when I'm bored in the departure lounge of some airport bored out of my balls because of another delayed flight.

6. So I get to watch The Devil Wears Prada without feeling guilty at enjoying a chick flick.

7. To help me off-set hotel and cab costs when I travel for my holidays.

8.Someone to wash my car. In a tank top. And butt shorts. With a Decepticon tattoo framed by a Sarawakian tribal motive. And a smile :)

9. To help me practice the practical theories of the Kama Sutra. Regularly.

10.To remind me of all my relatives birthdays.

C'mon ladies, any takers? I'm clean, my mama loves me and I'm told I only snore in my sleep if I've had one too many beers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sultan of Brunei takes his government to task

Impressive - the Sultan has a go at his government, officials and Ministers for dicking around. If only.......

It puts a spotlight on what government officials are up to without supervision. Was it me or did he break down just a little when mentioning officials going after 'donations' under the name of the Sultan?

More on You Tube - Titah Pedas P1, P2, P3 and P4.

Thanks to the Gliding Peacock for the heads up.

titah pedas p4

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mahawu Volcano, North Sulawesi, Indonesia



Sunrise from Mahawu. In the foreground left you see a solar panel that powers the transmitter for the local Manado television station situated on the top of the volcano.

The Mahawu volcano, about 40 minutes from Tomohon town offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside of Tomohon and the city of Manado with the outlaying islands of Bunaken and Manado Tua. Standing about 1,300 meters the excursion to the peak is actually made much easier after the government paved a bitumen road almost to the top. Now it just takes about a 15 minute climb up a steep trail to say you conquered the Mahawu volcano. This actually makes the whole trip a bit of an anti-climax as there is no sense of accomplishment when you hit the peak to enjoy the view in a time shorter than it takes to down a shot of whisky.


 Left to right - Manado Tua island with its dormant volcano in the distance, the almost invisible low lying popular dive island of Bunaken and the coast of Manado town.

For coach potato tourists this is actually one of the few volcanoes you get to conquer without breaking much of a sweat. You do get a lovely view of farms, volcanoes, the Mahawu crater, the islands of Bunaken and Manada Tua and the town of Manado itself lying below.


The view of the Lokon volcano just above the Mahawu crater rim


The vegetables farms on the way up to Mahawu.


The farms at sunrise

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spare Boxers Anyone?

Man, all this travelling is taking a toll on my wardrobe. I've been away every week for the past 3 weeks. The weekends have seen Manado and Kota Kinabalu taking me away from KL excluding the various day trips to Singapore and Jakarta over the weekdays. My apartment is a mess! My laundry hasn't been done in weeks. I dropped a load off at the laundromat yesterday. The future of my privates being comforted by clean linen now lies in the hands of my laundry dude who now faces the challenge of expediting the cleansing of my clothes. If he screws up (which he regularly does) I'll have to leave for Brunei tomorrow with the mantra of "just turn it inside out" for my briefs.

I'm car-less as well with Chindy Mobile 2.0 being traded up for a new version 3.0. Now I'm at the mercy of those asswipe jackals - The Malaysian Taxi Drivers. I've hated travelling lately, when I get into the LCCT late at night and the cab drivers REFUSE to pick up passengers until well past 12.30am so that they can make the extra Ringos from the midnight charges. This normally leaves me cooling my heels for 45 minutes to an hour AFTER a 2-3 hour flight. The taxi concessionaire is probably in on this action as they tell impatient passengers to upgrade to the more expensive limo service if they cant wait. When I asked the dude who do I complain to, he nonchalantly said "Ministry of Transport". Fuk man, if we can't even keep punks like cab drivers in check how else to fight the rest of the societies villains (snatch thieves, triads, Rempits, the Teletubbies...)?

I go to Brunei tomorrow night with only the thought of good pasta and the enchanting company of the Gliding Peacock and Fang the Assassin. After my breakfast meeting on Friday, I will end up working out of a Chinese cafe who is 'borrowing' the WIFI signal from a hotel nearby until my late evening flight at 8pm. I'm so restless. I've missed futsal and have had no physical activity since the Manado volcano climbs and hikes ten days ago. I need to get fit again. Gunung Agung is quietly waiting in smug silence in Bali. If I dont turn up with some form of fitness and training he's gonna turn me into a crying baby Powerpuff Girl.

Cab still won't come to pick me up. The office is too close and the traffic is still bad. If I was going to the airport these fukers would be my beeyatches. One call and they'd all turn up at my doorstep pronto!. Never mind the traffic, a flood or a giant mutant papaya attack on the city. Bastids.....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gunung Lokon Volcano, North Sulawesi, Indonesia


The Lokon Volcano with it's steaming crater

The Lokon volcano is located in the highland district of Tomohon about and hour's drive from the town of Manado in North Sulawesi. It has recently become active in the with small tremors being felt occasionally. It has an active 150m x 250m crater at it's base which is a small lake/large pond of startling blue water (when you can see it through the steam). The peak itself is about 1,580 meters.



The trek up the volcano takes roughly an hour. You make your up along an old lava trail that has now cut an almost alien worldly swath through the mountain's terrain of tropical vegetation. It can get a little tricky at some parts especially when the rocks are wet from the rains. Some caution when navigating these rocks - shoes with grip are essential.






The peak of Lokon


The final section of the lava trail. Can imagine the fiery scene in the past when the fresh lava spilled over and flowed down the mountain.


The plume of steam from town


Closer. The tiny blue dot you see on the left is Dharma,
impatiently running to the top.



The crater rim.


The steaming hot crater. You can just about make out the blue water through the smoke/steam


It gets hot at the top. In a way we were lucky as it was an overcast day with intermissions of bright sunlight breaking through the heavy cloud cover. We had to be catious as the sulphuric smoke would billow about depending on the wind conditions. I assume breathing in too much of that stuff might result me growing pineapples out of my ass.


Antje taking a break.


You can see a bit of Tomohon town and Tondano Lake in the distance
.

On certain days it seems that the crater is like a cloud churning factory. Puffing out billowy white puffs of smoke that lazily drift up to join their whispy white brethren chilling nonchalantly in the blue, blue sky above.

The most magical sight was when I took a walk out about 3 in the morning, down the little path that lead up to Onong's Palace. The full moon was out, bathing the plain with brilliant moon light. The sky was clear so I could still see the distant sparkles of stars. Lokon stood out, a darker grey against the night sky. And in the moon light it looked like the volcano was giving birth to baby clouds, gentle wispy buds of floating cotton, slowly drifting up into the cold night sky. It made me feel that I'm just part of a bigger world. One that does not care about deadlines, office politics, who gets to that cashier counter first or takes that car park closest to the lift. In this world, the rules of eternity held sway.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

North Sulawesi, Indonesia - Overview



Gunung Lokon volcano in the Tomohon district

UPDATED 12 July '09 - just added some pictures of mu guide Antje and 'Superman Jesus' with some notes.

Original Post

"Better you bring rain coat in case it rains. Coming down volcano not easy when raining," said Antje our guide.

"Its OK, we're water proof," said Dharma the Hard Core Hippie dreamily, as she gazed out the window of the van that was trundling up into the Tomohon highlands. She didn't really care what the forces of nature would throw at us. She was just going to take it all in and have a ball of a time.

I guess that set the tone of the trip. The first trip in more than three years that I've traveled with someone else. And almost the entire trip was made up of little perfect moments. Before you clowns ask, NO, I did not get any action. This was strictly a buddy road trip. This is just an overview and I'll be writing more detailed posts on the various areas I traveled taking in the fantastic raw beauty of North Sulawesi. More well known for it's undersea diving experiences North Sulawesi offers a fantastic opportunity of re-discovering on land the virgin natural beauty and resources of a life that seemed to exists 50 years in the past.


It's a bird, it's a plane, IT'S JESUS!!!

It was rather unexpected to find out that North Sulawesi is predominantly Christian with almost 75% of the population counted as church going folk. There is almost a church every 200 meters! Super 'Hesus' above can be found near the Citra Villas project on the way from Manado town to the Tomohon highlands. It was sometimes like being in a Eurasian town with the sounds of wedding dances, laughters and Cap Tikus whisky being downed to the sounds of '60s and '70s bands with the sudden burst of Techno for the younger kids.


Antje

My guide Antje (prounced 'Yan-je). A great patient guy with an affable demeanour generally reserved for tour guides and saints. He's got Dutch blood hence the name. According to him there are only about 80 guides registered with the North Sulawesi tourism board. But there may be only 10 who are active. Most take tourists on the Highland Tours - which take you to the Tomohon highlands, some old Japanese caves and scenery along the way. More adventurous stuff has to be requested for. Most will comply happily. Get them to order the local dishes for you - most are a mixture of Indonesian and Chinese style cooking.


Onong's Palace, Tomohon, North Sulawesi

We stayed at Onong's Palace for the first two nights. This is an extremely cool little getaway, 10 glass chalets set among a lush tropical jungle on the side of a hill overlooking the Lokon volcano. If you don't draw the curtains, you literally feel like you're sleeping in the middle of a jungle in a four poster bed. Being in the highlands the weather was cold in the nights around 19 degrees C especially after the tropical rains. From here we were able to explore the surrounding districts, Lokon volcano, Mahawu volcano, Tondano Lake and the hot springs further south west.


Dharma takes over the kitchen

The crazy, impulsive, live for the minute, earth child, Dharma, invading the kitchen at Onong's Palace to show the cook how to make pancakes and toast. (actually the cook was the receptionists who was pulling double duty since we were up at about 6am to start our hike up Lokon volcano.


The lava trail

The hike up Lokon was tricky as we had to maneuver up an old lava trail running down the volcano. In terms of scale you just might see a tiny, tiny dude in a red shirt, just above and off the middle left of the picture where the rock meets the bushes. (can enlarge pic for further clarity)


The active crater at Lokon volcano

Chilling out at the crater was surreal. With the soft bubbling and boiling of the water from the volcano creating huge, billowing clouds of steam that rose up in the gorgeous blue sky.


Tomohon morning market 6am to 10am - fresh python meat for sale

Manado and the rest of North Sulawesi is still living a life untouched by much of the 21st century. Exotic meats here are basically a normal staple diet. Dog, cat, monkeys, bats, city and jungle rats, wild boars, etc are all part of their diets. A walk in the Tomohon meat market was a life changing experience. More in an upcoming post (not for the squeamish). Dharma and I understood that we can't judge the people and their lives here. We have no right to. This is part of their world as they are somewhat cut off from the rest of Indonesia where they eke out a living from fishing and agriculture. The people here are extremely friendly and warm, ready to offer strangers hospitality or help.

Tondano Lake

The beautiful Tandono Lake. A great experience exploring the 50km circumference of the lakeside that was bordered by lush rice fields and corn fields.


Dharma waiting for her Bintang Beer while the rain pelted Tandono Lake.

We hit Tondano Lake for lunch. Which was excellent. Fresh lake fish cooked with the most freshest of vegetables from the surrounding farms. This was somehow perfect as the hot fresh food arrived while the heavy rain churned up waves and ripples from the normally placid lake. The local Minahasan food here is EXCELLENT. The best dishes I've had in a long time. I'm not talking about the exotic meats but mainly the fish, pork, chicken and vegetable dishes. This trip was almost about food as it was about the treks and exploring the surrounding districts.


Hot Springs at sunset

After lunch we hit some hot springs further south west. Dharma wanted to take a dip in the steaming waters. It was perfectly quiet as it was a Sunday and most of the crowds had gone into Manado city to enjoy their public holiday. As the sun set over the steaming water, and me neck deep in the green pool, I dreamt of ice cold beers and crunchy bacon strips that would've made my soak in the volcanic pool perfect.


Sunrise from Mahawu Volcano

Monday morning we speed up the Mahawu volcano and rush up to the peak to get a view of the sunrise. Tired, with thigh muscles bitching up a storm we get to the top and are greeting by a beautiful dawn as the golden rays light up Lokon mountain nearby and the coast near Manado city.


The Rat and Bat Happy Meal

When you're in Rome and all that.... We tried out the bat and jungle rat local dishes. Bat's not bad, cooked into a fragrant curry with lemon grass and some other spices. The meat has a beefy aftertaste and the wings actually taste a bit like those black flat mushrooms (but a bit more rubbery) you have in that Chinese vegetable dish. The rat however was a bastard to eat - almost no meat, the little fuker was just bone and sinews. Too much chili drowned out any taste. Not recommended unless you want it for boasting rights.


River Restaurant Minahasa Lagoon Resort

We hit the Minahas Lagoon Resort on Monday. Great service and an infinity pool with one of the coolest views that I know of. However it's way to pricey for the average Malaysian.


The dormant volcano on Manado Tua Island in the distance


Trekking along the coconut plantations on the foothills

The morning of our flight back we got some of the staff to take us exploring the hills near the resort. Fantastic! The trail took us past lush green tropical jungles, past gurgling streams, skirting coconut plantations before depositing us on a road by a beach.



What do you say to a trip that lets you have an ice cold beer from an infinity pool over looking an ocean at sunset with the view of a volcano in the distance? As I take this picture, a beautiful woman does laps behind me, setting off ripples in the water. The slight ache from the climb up active volcanoes is slowly starting to ebb. The memory of the gastronomic delights savored on lake sides, hill tops and beaches create a warm fuzzy feeling. As the setting sun cools the air around me, I sink lower into the warmth of the pool. The sky is now golden. My own golden ale in my hand is fast disappearing. "Hey you want another?" calls Dharma from the edge of the pool. Sure, why not? I give her the thumbs up and put the camera away.

:)

FREE

The Malaysian obsession - something for nothing. Bragging rights and generally not appreciating the VALUE to an object, service or product. It's as if it the god given right to think that as long as you know a friend, contact, supplier, relative, pet monkey, you can make a call and Christmas comes early.

The Manchester United vs the Malaysian selection game is next week. I put in my bookings for my clients in March. Of course the tickets will sell out. How often do the Red Devils come to Malaysia? Even non fans who just want to get in on the glam factor want in. BUT I'm still getting calls from people asking for free tickets. The cheap seats are still readily available. GO. BUY. THEM. The VVIP seats are long gone to VVIPs, VIPs and the VIP hanger-ons. 

JUST BUY IT. It wont give your balls rashes or create mushroom patches under your arm pits. People will not think of you a social retard if you stand in line to get a ticket. Really. 

This is Manchester United. Not a Mawi dangdut concert. There is a bloody value to it. Even IF I had tickets I'd be charging your ass for them. 

But I don't. 

REALLY.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Butt ASS Busy

I fly to Manado in a coupla hours. still frnatically sending out emails and making some calls. dont think i will have internet connections where i'll be going. Plus I DONT WANT to think about work. Yesterday hopped down to Singapore for a coupla meeting with only 2 hours sleep. Almost fuked myself up when i missed some points in a heated discussion. Managed to recover. lucky had backup. passed by really pretty woman in changi airport. we both smiled at each other as we passed. two lives connected by a smile across opposing travellators. I didn't look back. I think neither did she. I have been summoned to a meeting now. have to rush in and out. damn that would mean turning up in a t-shirt, cargo pants and my hiking boots among some corporate big wigs. fuck it, i've been seen in worse. i'm half packed. worse case i just turn the underwear inside out on day 3. need to get numbers down for contacts in Manado. i've had no breakfast. getting edgy. got to also get last nights booze out of my system.

Shit havent changed money into Ruppiahs. Have every currency now and not enough Indonesian Rps. Can't buy my Bintang beer from a road side stall - my fav hangouts in the rustic countryside.

Sister coming over with noodle soup. Aaaaaahhhh.... the bonds of family. Warmth and fuzziness blanket over my being. :)