Friday, July 29, 2011

Bali Random Shots

Panjors at Kuta Beach in the early morning.

Fishing boats at Kuta beach - mainly in use to ferry holiday makers around and to take surfers further out to sea if the waves are too tame closer to shore.

A Save The Bali Turtles monument along Kuta Beach - use it to threaten misbehaving kids that they the giant turtle will eat them in their dreams.
My early morning breakfast of hot nasi padang and Nescafe by the beach.
Yes, I was also fielding calls from the office....

The interior of the Lotus restaurant in Ubud - the deceiving entrance hides the lotus pool and the private family temple inside.

Early morning offerings to the main guardians/ gods

Landscaping at the Lotus restaurant in Ubud.

A Dirty Duck from where else Bebek Bengil in Ubud.

Rice fields along the drive to the highlands of Bedegul

A hungry mutt with young devotees at the main temple in Ubud.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tanah Lot, Bali

Tanah Lot is just one of those stops that all need to do in Bali. Is it a must see? Depends what does it for you. THis is the first time I've been here after almost 3 years of exploring the island as there wasnt any real thrill to make it a must see. But I wrestle bears before breakfast. Photographers i guess should head out here. Lover's who want to take dramatic pictures standing on volcanic rocks should pay this place a visit too. Little old ladies who want to pray for their wayward punkass 21 year old grand children also.

It a bit anti climatic and as is the norm in Bali they've set up an entire shopping market in the area leading up to the beach. The market of course comes with the normal tourist trappings like "take a picture with a python" or some wood carvings and cheap Bintang Beer t-shirts.

Its about an hour's drive from Kuta depending on the traffic on the narrow Balinese roads. It's still an important temple to the Balinese and prayers are still held here. If timing is right you'll prob catch a Balinese families prayer procession at the temple around low tide.

Nice place to take your mum or aunties or just to take in the sights of loud tourists cam whoring on volcanic rocks as waves break nosily upon them (the rocks not the tourists...)

Monday, July 25, 2011

By pool in Bali...

... working on a proposal, looking like a constipated monkey. Now I know what its like to be on the other end of the squnting, laptop tapping moron that annoys me at every Starbucks i go to, meaning i dont give a fuck but slightly annoyed by the bemused looks from the merry holiday makers who have nothing on their mind but the sun, sea, surf, sex and Slippery Nipples.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

What do you say when the inner demons win over the will for change?

Reminds me of that Roscharch line from Watchmen when confronted with the need for change for the greater good, between sacrificing his own principles or death - "never. even in the face of armageddon, never."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lokon Erupting

Fresh from the crater: Mount Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, erupts, spewing hot lava and sending a towering cloud of volcanic ash 1,500 meters into the sky on Friday morning. Authorities have evacuated more than 2,500 residents living within a 3.5-kilometer radius of the volcano.(Antara/Jemmy)
Lokon, in Manado, North Sulawesi last week.

A more peaceful Lokon in the rays of the dawn sun.
The pic taken from the dormant Mahawu volcano on my trip there in 2009

I visited Manado about 2 years ago. I read recently that the Lokon volcano that I had hiked up had erupted last week. - Go HERE for footage. It's surreal when you have the memories of an easy morning hike up a sleeping volcano jarred in one's mind when you see the footage of a slowly wakening giant of lava and fire.

These are more peaceful pictures i took on my one hour trek up the old lava trail from the village of Tomohon up to Lokon. Even on that trip the volcano was active but not erupting.

A picture of the steaming crater with boiling water inside. The smell of sulphur is strong in the air.
Dharma and my guide Antje against the back drop of the rising steam cloud from the crater.

My old post of the hike up Lokon is HERE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stupid Kids

Do you find teenagers these days to be lacking in brain matter? I am politely trying to say here that generally in my contact with punks below the age of 24, i have found them to be nothing short of stupid - the careless driving, the COMPLETE AND UTTER lack of common sense and a sense of responsibility. That and their own narrow minded sense of drama stemming from a sheltered life.

Wait. Its actually mostly the boys. (not to say the girls aren't turning out into little divas)

Seriously I've been hiring and firing staff, having contact with the fucktards from other companies and even close observations from the student residents in my apartment block and that's the fact that i have come to. Fact because i've been voicing out my gentle observations of the utter hopelessness of punk world to my friends who've had the same problem hiring good work these days. Kids just dont seem to have the drive.

What are our colleges vomitting out? Are they brain fucking these fuckwits with Barney's Guide to the Teletubby Alphabet in their college years?

What I think is that years of pamperring by baby boomer parents have left the boys a spoilt bunch of emo punks and the girls surprisingly getting more independent and resourceful (this is for the urban demographic). While the 'heartland's education system is geared towards creating an utopian Smurf society in Batang Berjuntai.

Tell me I am wrong.

Tell me you women who date men below 33 dont find them a bunch of whiny, insecure bitches?

How can i get good help? Where do I find them? Seremban? Endor? Gotham City

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Liquid Gold

The morning sun turns the ocean gold as we look for dolphins off the coast of Lovina in northern Bali. A cold breeze, sea spray in your face and the smell of the sea all about you. No other better way to start the day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Amed, Bali

View of a part of Amed with the Agung volcano in the background

I was supposed to put up this post back in 2008 when i did my mini road trip from Kintamani to Amed/Lovina/Ubud but somehow it got lost in my cache. I thought I'd put this up just to serve up a reminder that Bali is more than the Kuta's, Ubuds and romantic cliffside weddings (and also to you women who say its a girls spa holiday when we know its a surfer boy kinda experiece - its OK ladies, the 21st century says you can play by boy rules. no need to be shy about it)

I had hit Amed the day after i had stupidly climbed the Batur Volcano AND after coming down and feeling bored did the 3 hour trek around the Batur Lake caldera the same day. Which effectively meant that anything below my waist was a knotted up shitpile of pain. And yes, using a squat toilet was out of the question. I hit this little hotel almost at the end of town and just chilled out having beers by the beach. As the evening hit i decided to walk around the town and started to walk south along the main road.

Amed, is a cosy little town in the North East of Bali. It might take about 2-3 hours from Denpasar by those little mini vans that are available. It's a great place to just chill, the snorkelling is great. Nothing pretentious about it. You come here for a quite time to chill by the beach, eat at the little cosy cafes and take some boats out for snorkeling and some diving - there are some wreck diving sites nearby.

Padi fields on hillsides on the approach to the town of Amed

I head South as the sun shone brightly and hit the edge of the town. I saw some other buldings in the distance and figured I’d try to walk off the stiffness by heading to the other set of buildings and treating myself to a cold happy hour beer. The ocean on my left is now sparkling in the sunlight and the road I am on hugs the coastline. Somewhat dry shrubbery crops close to the ground offering me no reprieve from the sunlight but the strong wind keeps the mood chipper. I turn a bend and I am greeted by a chic white building beside the road on my right, overlooking the ocean from a vantage point. I can see from the road that it’s elevated dining area has a great almost 180 degree view of the ocean. Fuck this, beers call out to me from the restaurant fridge, and I climb up the steps to Sails, the restaurant in Amed. Its all white deco and simplicity is charming but more so it’s view of the ocean which is lovely and quite breathtaking.

My beer arrives and I settle down contented. I am happy.

My second beer arrives and I look out onto the ocean that is taking a deeper blue with the slowly setting sun. I see a single gull like fisherman’s boat speeding south on the wings of the evening wind. Then another, and another and another! Suddenly my entire horizon is filled by colorful little boats speeding in the same direction south, jumping, skipping on the waves as I look on it amazement. I count out to about 40 plus.

My waiter tells me it’s the fishermen, some going out and some going to pick up divers. Its an amazing sight but not as awesome as the sight that I witnessed at dawn the next day.

After a couple more beers I head back – I would say the best time to appreciate Sails is during the day or with light. At night you’re just surrounded by the darkness of the ocean bar possibly the lights from some boats out at night.

After a quick shower I head out to look for dinner and came across one of the many little restaurants in Amed that had a live band. The sea food was nice in a simple sort of way and the singer was doing Bob Marley and retro rock songs – a staple of what every surf town seems to like. From my conversations with the owner there is only one or two bands in town and they take turns singing in various outlets throughout the week. I chat with an English couple who were comparing Amed to Lovina and preferring the simplicity and small town feel of Amed to it’s northern neighbor which I agree totally – Lovina had nothing to offer except frantic dolphin chasing.

I wake early the next morning. I wanted to have coffee by the Indian Ocean and watch the day break with a hot cuppa. Camera in hand I wandered out onto the beach. The sky was now an explosion of gold, doubly reflected in the sea as the cool morning wind gusted in.

There were already some people on the beach and were looking out into the ocean. I look out, something’s not quite right in the horizon. I squint against the rays of sunshine and realize that the ENTIRE horizon is dotted with tiny specks. I squint harder and realize they’re the same fishing boats from yesterday except now they range in the hundreds! And they’re all coming back to the beach after an early morning of fishing. Its exhilarating as you see the tiny specks grow into defined outlines of the boats as they race each other back. It’s amazing sight and I curse myself for not having a wide angle lense. I took some pictures with an old film camera but I can’t seem to find them now after all these years. If I do I will put them up here though.

The boats now hit the beach and the fishermen immediately take out their wares and display them on the beach for sale. Traders, restaurants, even some tourists gather around to buy the bounty from the ocean. I look on a little and realize that I haven’t had that coffee yet. My stomach rumbles a little. Too many beers the night before demands food in the morning after.

I guess this is my memory of Amed – no frills, a mixture of chicness only because I stumbled upon someone’s good taste in a restaurant design and location and the unexpected glorious sight of the fishermen of Amed in full flight across the ocean at dusk and dawn. Would I go back a second time ? Probably not, as I prefer the lakeside of Batur for my solitude but I would head back to Amed just to share this experience with others who are like minded and appreciate the little things in life.

Statues in Amed

Black volcanic sandy beaches

One of the sea gull like outrigger fishing boats

View from Sails restaurant (picture courtesy of Sails Facebook page)
For more on Sails go HERE.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

An Ambassador, An Astronaut and Aze

I just got back from Manila and it was just one of those days when i spent within the space of 2 hours in the company of the Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines, Dato Sri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, our um... Malaysian aaaahhh.... siiiiiiiiiiigh Astronaut Dr Sheikh whatsisname while ending the night with wine at a chic restaurant in the company of model and FHM cover girl Aze Sasaki.

Sometimes, just SOMETIMES i find myself in situations other than alcohol fuelled acts of unintentional stupidity. I didn't take pictures though as i am not really a fan of politics or government funded space tourism and also thought it wouldn't be cool to shove an blackberry in front of a model who was enjoying dinner after a long day at a shoot.

I had hit Manila for a press conference and was invited to a function at the Malaysian embassy. I know his excellency Dato Sri Ibrahim from his days as the Secretary General of the Football Association of Malaysia and decided to drop by (and grab some dinner) as he was hosting a special function for our... siiiigh Malaysian astronaut Doc Sheikh who they were marketing as the first man from South East Asia in space (although i think there was a Vietnamese dude who made that trip in the '80s).

The Malaysian Astronaut - a doctor, model and a space adventurer. I am waiting for the action figures... -_-

It was a typical rah rah do with the astro... wait, we can't call him an astronaut as the Americans refused to take him up. Oh yeah since he went up on a Ruskie Rocket he's billed as a cosmonaut. Anyway they showed some videos and the Doc related some of his experiences in space, made some "no you can't teh tarik in space" references and ended with some rah rah 'you can do anything' chase your dreams shpeal. Got to say the dude cut a sharp figure in his dark open collared suit. I disappointed many a swooning Filipina when I hinted he may not be into the XX gene type when one of them explained," is that why he's here when his wife is going to give birth anytime soon at home?"

This is where i excused myself to look for more capatis.

I briefly caught up with his Excellency Dato Sri doc Ibrahim and he was his usual boyish exuberant lepak self. We chatted a while and exchanged numbers and we'll prob catch up the next time i hit Manila.

I had to rush off to another function with clients at Chef Laudico's Bistro at Bonifacio Global City. I arrived late and dinner was in full service. There were a bunch of advertising guys and creative sorts and i just stuck to the wine as my now capati bloated stomach was in a bitchy mood considering that Chef Ladico's had some really great dishes and my stomach store was all quota-ed up.

Suddenly the door opens behind me and some commotion came up, i dont bother but the guys behind me are staring at the top of my head. I turn back and this insanely tall woman with cheek bones about 10 stories high was shaking hands with some of the members of our group.

"Hi, !" she smiled and sat next to me, the only spare chair at the table.

I think i mumble something vague. But pretty soon we start chatting and I just got to say this woman was smart, strong, independent and a no bull shit taker. Aze Sasaki, a 5' 8" (excluding the extra 4" boots she had on) is a lean athletic mixture of Filipino, Spanish and Japanese. She's a model and a regular in FHM and was featured last March in FHM Russia as well. We talk shop and she tells me how Brazilian girls are taking some of the business from the local models in Manila. etc etc.

I felt she looked better without a gay stylist infected make-up but here, check out some of the pics of her from FHM:

This second pic was picked by the Girlfriend of Chindy as she taught Aze looked hot here.

Yeah, she has nice cheek bones yes?

I went home sober, chatted online with the Girlfriend of Chindy and slept soundly like a baby.

How else do you sleep after meeting an ambassador, an astro... COSmonaut and a hot model AND manage to get home sober? yeah, i AM getting old...