Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ironman 2 - Review


Same old Same old  Sequel Syndrome- more money, more explosions, more over the top action more of everything but the the charm and heart of the first. Yes watch it, there's no harm in it. Downey still holds the movie, Paltrow and Cheadle ghost through their parts, Johansson shows off her mighty fine booty and Mickey Rourke looks like he's having fun. Shaft just seems to turn up to read his lines. Director Favreu writes in a fight scene for himself (-_-).

It also seems to be a blatant attempt to sell more action figures -  I count at least 2 new iron man armour, War Machine, the pimped out Whiplash and the drones - Navy, Air Force, Marines, Salvation Army, Postal Services and Pakatan Rakyat enforcer.

There's just too much of everything. There are more Avengers references (although I still have no idea how Cap's shield ended up in Stark's workshop).

Sometimes its' like the movie for grown men to share some secret joke - most women would not recognize Captain America's shield and were looking around why their boy friends and husbands were chortling when Stark uses it to prop up some machinery in his workshop.

OH and REALLY don't waste your time waiting for the scene after the credits role. Its nothing more than to show a close up of Thor's hammer which should lead up to the next Avenger to hit the big screen next year.

Good to see that it's looking like the Avengers will be based on the Ultimate Avengers characters - more flawed and realistic super heroes. This is going by the hint that Thor is sitting in some crater surrounded by caravans - reminiscent about the scene in the comics where Thor is some Greenpeace, tree hugging hippie instead of a pompous Norse God.

Still entertaining enough for an evening out with the missus.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Temples of Angkor in Brief


The South Gate to Angkor Thom which include the Bayon,
Elepahant terrace etc


It's been said that it takes up to 3 to 7 days to visit the many temples within the Angkor Archeological Park. To be honest without a person appreciating the history of the place the park would be nothing more than glamorized rock, the equivalent of a beauty pagent for sandstones.

I guess its still great for a day out of photography. If you're hard working enough and rush about like a mad hatter you'd be able to cover most of the temples below in about two days.

ELEPHANT TERRACE

Carvings at the Elephant Terrace.

PRASAT SUOR PRAT

The Prasat Suor Prat, 12 almost identical laterite and sandstone towers as seen from the Elephant Terrace. The Elephant Terrace is nothing more than a long wall so nothing really spectacular about it.


TA PROHM

The front of Ta Prohm - the ruins with the giant overgrown trees. Great to just explore around and take pictures if you're a shutterbug. Its close to The Elephant Terrace (approx ten minutes maybe by Tuk Tuk)


Carvings inside Ta Prohm.


Restoration  work within Ta Prohm.


The giant trees give the temple ruins the surreal atmosphere of an ancient civilization being attacked by Space Squids from the outer rings of Saturn!


BANTEAY KDEI 

Nex at the entrance to Banteay Kdei. It's so-so. Similar ruins to many other temples. However...


.... the surrounding area has a moat/lake filled with green micro plant life that gives the place a surreal feel. The surrounding yards outside the temples are actually great places for picnics if you've got the time - nothing better than take things easy with a cold beer under tree shaded thousand year old ruins.


Harvesting 'plankton'. While Nex was inside Banteay Kdei I wandered around the grounds. I saw this dude damming up the lake. Looked like he was harvesting the plankton but communication was shit. All I could  VAGUELY gather from him was the green tiny plant looking things came from underneath the lake.

TA KEO


Ta Keo took my breath away. As our Tuk Tuk drove past we suddenly were assaulted with this man made mountain sitting quietly by the side of the road.  It's actually quite a simple temple but the sheer impact of height of the mountain standing magnificiently against a startling blue sky was breath taking. It's a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Built in the late 10th to early 11th century and made of sandstone.

BAPHUON


A quiet moment... Near the entrance to Baphuon

OK I  admit I didn't really go into the Baphuon. I was already suffering from temple overload. I just wandered around the entrance.


Crossing the bridge to Baphuon

BAYON


A short walk from the Baphuon is the Bayon, one of the must see sites in the park. This iconic temple with its 37 towers with 4 sided heads said to resemble the Buddha and/or King Yayavarman the VII. It's surreal walking around the top with the images of peacefulness surrounding you at every turn. As peaceful as it can get that is with a hundred or so Japanese, Chinese, French and German tourists milling about and cam whoring all over the place.


Peace yo....

PHNOM BAKHENG

You ONLY go here if you want to try your luck at taking a picture of the sun set. The view overlooks the Tonle Sap lake but your luck depends on the weather. You could find the view at the top nothing more than a dry, dusty unspectacular sunset crowded out by an overloaded  temple peak with hoards of tourists. Getting to the top is tricky as the steps are very very narrow and steep. Keep the old folks away from this unless they are hardy enough.  I didn't bother to take any pictures of the sunset as the sky was too dry and there were just too many people perched on the edge of the temple to really enjoy the moment.

HOWEVER one thing you can try is taking photos in the morning with the sun behind you as you might then get a good shot of the lakes and surrounding countryside. Might be better during rainy season when the vegetation has 'greened up' after the dry and hot season.

Monday, April 19, 2010

This Blackberry Thing

Well I've got one now. Pressured by my staff from both sides of the Straits of Malacca who have been campaigning for me to answer their emails promptly and not shooting off replies when I come back semi coherent after drinking in a pub way past midnight.

It's cute when Peekz and Elle escorted me to Curve and did all the research for me and even picked up the model for me. I just stood around, walking around the toy and book shops until they called me to come pay for my new Bold 2.

So, has it changed my life? Well I can update my blog sitting on a toilet anywhere in Malaysia. I can quickly respond to facebook comments and there's this really cool torch light feature that I can use to shake around in the dark when I can't sleep at night. Oh and occasionally I do answer my staffs email queries on time.

However it's annoying when I'm walking in a public place and the busy sounds of beeping, chiming and pings come from my crotch area as if my balls are giving a blow job to R2D2.

Moving on...

It remains to be seen if the BB will change my life. I'm not a gadget person. My Neanderthal tendencies to have more of an affinity with more physical pursuits such as tearing ligaments playing futsal, reading the latest DC comics event of the year and the occasional collectable statues and ACTION figures of Clone troopers and Japanese ninja chicks with breasts like twin submarines. All very real and physically available things. Not various virtual applications that help you kill virtual gophers or find out if your accounts clerk had tea or fresh toddy in that coffee shop down the street only last week (yes there is some application which does this).

Also Elle downloaded most of the apps for me and for some reason my calendar now pings at 8am every day there is a rave party in town (with location and time). If you want to know who is playing in Zouk anytime of the week give me a call.

And NO I dont give out my Pin to anyone who is not from work or is not a ninja babe with boobs like twin submarines.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Siem Reap, A Pictorial


Cyclist in front of the Wat Preah Prohm Rath
along Pokombor Avenue

Siem Reap, the gateway to the wonders of the Angkor Archeological Park and the Tonle Sap Lake. It's a dusty little town and when we were there it was in the searing hot dry season with tempretures averaging 38 Degrees C.

Would you visit this if not for the Angkor Temples and Tonle Sap?

Yes, if only you have not been to Laos or Myanmar or Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi or basically any other Indochinese territory. They sell the same fine silks and arts and crafts that you would see in the other places. Prices however are great if you're a bargaining machine. The silks, sandstone and marble carvings are not bad, the fake books are a bargain, the beers cheap (see full prices HERE), the food is great in it's simplicity (i tell you, nothing like fresh food cooked without fuss, it simply brings out the flavors beautifully) .

IF you plan your trip with the visits to Angkor and Tonle Sap then Siem Reap is the perfect little town to chill out in after a long day outdoors. Get back to hotel, shower and take a leisurely stroll along river, visits the many markets for trinkets and art works and get those books out and catch up on your reading in the little cafes. Get a cheap massage at the many massage centers (although not as good as Thai massages) and then head to Pub Street if you're into a louder busier night to people watch.


Small pond inside the Angkor Musuem

The Angkor Wat Museum is a great informative experience. I could not take pictures inside but the 1,000 Buddhas Hall is beautiful. The sense of calm and peacefulness within that room must be experienced first hand to appreciate. Most folks say to go to the museum before visiting the Angkor temples so that you can get a sense of history before hand. I went later and found it a topping on my cake being able to enjoy the lost history of the place in a comfortable and educational environment after the temple/ruins/rock climbing exploits under the hot sun of the previous days.


Most of the roads are narrow and buildings are French inspired but the newer ones are taking their inspiration from cardboard boxes. Its the typical scene as time goes by, historical character gives way to industrialized practicality and bad taste.


Multi cinema entertainment - Patrons get to watch 6 TV shows at one time in this little shack along a dusty small road near our hotel. Trying to hear what the hell is going on above all the noise is another feat altogether. The weirdest experience hearing a cacophony of languages from the various programs on the multiple screens, with a Hindi movie, Rambo on a rampage, a Thai talk show and Cambodian news. The owner makes his money by selling drinks and cigarettes.

Another reason to visit the Museum...


I saw this statue as I walked from the FCC to the Old Market along Pokombor Avenue.


One of the realistic looking wildlife statues along the Siem Reap River. You might shit your pants if you stumble on the crocodile statue slumbering further along the river bank after a late night of boozing session.


View of Pub street from the Temple Club. Great place to meet back packer dates. If you're sociable that is.


Tea seller at the Old Market. The various flavors are packed into the colorful packs.


The quaint Night Market. Almost the same stuff as the Old Market and Center Market.


The elegant Foreign Correspondents Club (or FCC). Great if you want to have that romantic dinner before a night of wild animal sex. A bit pricey but you're paying for the ambience.


Some of the alleys behind Pub Street are chock a block with great little diners and restaurants serving everything from French, Italian and Chinese cuisine. Pictures are blur as they were taken at dusk and I was getting hungry and grumpy.


Night Market gangster...



Near Thnou Street near the Old Market.


Damn, I forget the name of this street. This building is next to the Old Market.


The vegetable section inside the Old Market.


Siem Reap is a great place to just chill and read among the many restaurants. They are cosy and the food is good. I find the amok fish over rated though.


You get this ladies selling these salted/chili mussels along the streets. Gave it a miss as there was no beer to go along with it...


Silk goods at the Center/Cantral Market.


Some water supplier beside Center Market


Simply called Chicken and Ant dish. The ants are soaked in the oil so they're not really crunchy. Not bad. Has a vinegarish tinge to it.


Row of shops along Pokambor Avenue just before the Old Market.


Freshly baked 'numpang' baguettes on sale in the early morning.


Kids cycling home from school.


The Ta Prohm Hotel near the Old Market.


The Old Market Bridge are. Great for chilling in the evenings with a cold beer in hand.


Yep, there are punks with spray cans in every corner of the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dumb Tit , SERIOUSLY

My neighborhood in Seremban was one of the most notorious in town. It bordered a rubber estate. This meant a predominantly Indian population who were hard core badasses (Carlos - Malaysian Indians are from India, not the Casino running fellers you have over your neck of the planet).

This meant a mean neighborhood with loose gangs who got into trouble quite often and would fight it out at other areas for reasons I had no idea what it was about.

Some of the families, mine included, who pulled in slightly more money (if you can say a two teacher family was pulling in that much back the the day) lived on the hill surrounded by the lesser fortunate.

Two things that made my living in that area a non-dramatic issue:

1. My grandfather (the Hindu one) was seen as a religious guru to everyone in the area. Folks would come far and wide to seek advice from him. My family also (except me of course) also was heavily involved in the temples in the area.

2. I used to be quite good at football. I represented the school and district and had built up a reputation as being a mean little bastard on the pitch (I was the smallest defender in the state). Men being men do respect athletic prow es especially as some friends and myself from 'on the hill' used to turn up and play football for the 'under the hill boys' in friendly games if they were short of players. Never ended up friendly with rival teams but although we did not really take on anyone in fights that broke out, we never really ran away either.

So even if my other friends in Seremban would not venture into the neighborhood late at night especially on foot or motorbike I moved around feeling very safe.

Back to my point:

I just got back from Seremban (went to visit the folks for the Hindu New Year today). And i get this story from my mum:

A rempit biked into my neighborhood and tried to snatch a gold chain.

From an Indian man.

In MY neighborhood.

This was my mum's understatement - with a look of pity she said "you know, the down boys (thats what we called them sometimes) are big and their gold chains you know soooo thick...." she trailed off.

Sorry let me illustrate my grief - WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

What WAS that DUMB FUCK thinking?????

Its a notorious Indian neighborhood. You bike in and try to snatch the gold chain from an Indian man built like a tank. And ALL of you know - Indian dude's gold chains are as thick as an anacondas asshole! It's NOT gonna break!

Imagine the surprise on Rempit's face in that split second he realizes its not going to be a snatch and run. It was a 'attempted' snatch, fall of bike and get smashed by angry Indian man.

Smash is a systematic beating - knees, ribs, then your face.

OK so a high percentage he was a druggie. I dont' know what he THOUGHT he saw standing by the small wooden sundry shop smoking a cigarette but I guess he must be contemplating religion just about now.

But drugged up tits rarely remember their shite anyway. At least he was lucky enough that the rest of the neighborhood was at work and not in the near vicinity.

Although i take no credit for this but I'd like to dedicate this beating by my neighbor to the Rempit to all the snatch theft victims in the country, to all the ladies who have been hurt and even more to the families of those who have lost loved ones to these cowardly bastards on bikes.

Peace and Happy Hindu New Year to all you Indian folks and Happy Vasakhi to my 'Bai' friends out there. (oh yeah this year the Tamelans and Bhais celebrate on the same day)

Monday, April 12, 2010

MORE Conversations with Women


Last week. 2 hot, smart women and I walk down the restaurant walk at the Curve. 

" Did you see that? eeeeewwwwwwww! That 'ham sap' pacat dude was leering and checking out that girl!"

I saw the rempit looking boy ogle the PYT, even craning his head back as he passed us. "That's normal la, she's cute what."

"BUT he's UGLY!"

"So?"

"Ugly men have no rights to ogle anyone!"

"Wh....?"

"Yeah, ugly men i dont know should not even talk to me, approach me at a bar and stay far away from me! They should just stay home and read newspapers! They have no right behaving like morons!"

And the best part is MOST women have that opinion in SOME form of the other. C'mon girls you know it's true. You'd rather Jude Law or Gerard Butler give you the wink and a leer compared to some dude who looks like a Wookie's butt cheek who would seem to have violated the sanctity of the princess power specialness that makes you the lovely, giving special, gracious angels that you are and always will be (note 'get out of jail free' card)

Well guess pretty men can get away with moronic behavior. The wonderful, special and beautiful world of a woman's mind...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali



When Ariel recommended Bebek Bengil i figured I'd had to give it a try. That fussy woman has the standards of the Queen of England and when she says - "can't go wrong" well I guess I must give it a shot.

SO... worth it?

YEAP. The duck is dry not like some of the styles we get in Malaysia and its fragrant. It's very nice in it's simplicity. Good stuff!


You MUST eat the duck with the chili sauce! NOW THAT is a MUST. I have decreed it! Its awesome - a mixture of chili, garlic, some onions, i think a bit of vinegar and maybe something tomato-ish? I'm not too sure. I dont cook but it is MOST EXCELLENT.


The Duck - simple prepartions (out of focus shot - i was VERY hungry!). ALso you MUST try the Baby Back Pork ribs, normally served after 2pm. It is fantastic with the meat literally falling of the bones! Of course wash it down with some cold Bintang beer (if you're a boozer like me)



Try to call early for reservations - it gets packed especially during the weekends. Try to ask for the Rice pavillion where you get to look over the lush green rice field next to the diner.


Patrons frolicking in the rice field.


The Rice Pavillion/Terrace



Quick Facts:
Bebek Bengil is in Ubud about and hour plus from Kuta depending on traffic. Its along the main Ubud street so your driver or cabbie will find it.

Their other famous dish the Suckling Pig needs advance booking of about 2 days. The Baby Back pork ribs is normally read after 2pm.

Best combination is hit Ubud early for a massage in one of the many spas there then head over to grab your lunch at BB.