23 July 2008

Bali - Day 1

The trip to Bali was decided upon a couple of months back. I'd like to think I was badly in need of a relaxing holiday. But in actual fact I was tempted to purchase the economy promo airfare offered by Air Asia.

I did not regret my action one bit. I had a glorious (over tul perkataan ni) holiday!

My flight to Bali was scheduled at 6.35 am. I was up by 4.15 am and the taxi which took me to the airport arrived at 5.00am. As I was loading my luggage in the taxi's boot, I saw my neighbour watering the plants. Awal benor ko bangun. Nak kata sembahyang subuh idak mungkin. Maybe baru abis baca kitab injil kot.

Forty-five minutes later I was at the domestic terminal of Soekarno-Hatta airport. The atmosphere reminded me of Puduraya, Kuala lumpur's bus terminal. Seriously, they should think of replacing the domestic terminal. It has surpassed its capacity and obviously has surpassed its useful life.

I joined the queue to enter the check-in area. Panjang bebenor queue-nya. Not a good start to my holiday. Fortunately the check-in went on smoothly and the plane departed on time (a miracle, this being Air Asia!).

Upon arrival, I was greeted by Nyoman, my driver cum travel guide in Bali. I had pre-arranged for my transportation in Bali a week earlier.

Went straight to the hotel. Checked-in and left my luggage at the reception as my room would only be ready at 2pm.

First destination - Pasar Seni Sukawati.

I don't really know why. But I remember liking this place a lot on my first visit a couple of years back. This time around it's just another ordinary looking crafts market to me. Perhaps, I've seen better looking handicrafts at the numerous crafts exhibition I went to in Jakarta over the years.

Next stop was Ubud.

Ubud is a small town renowned for its arts. Unlike Kuta, the pace here is more relaxed. There are plenty of nice little shops along the many small roads which runs through the town centre.

On the outskirts of the town, there are areas which are designated to paintings, wood crafts and furnitures.

One of the best things about Ubud is the town is surrounded by paddy fields and forests. I spent almost three hours exploring Ubud's town centre on foot.

Lunch was at Bebek Tepi Sawah. Simple je kan nama tempat ni. Tak payah susah2 pikior nama2 yang glamer. Jual apa? – Bebek. Kat mana? Tepi sawah. So why not name the place Bebek Tepi Sawah. Simple as that.

On the way back to Kuta, Nyoman stopped by at one of the painting galleries. Memang sial tau si Nyoman ni. The paintings were without doubt beautiful but I had problem with the price. Idak ada lukisan yang bawah Rp1 juta.

Dah le tu, the moment I arrived, I was accompanied by this man from the gallery who enthusiastically explained to me the meaning of the paintings on display. Like I really want to know why there were 3 birds in the painting and not 5. Kalo ada 2 ekor burung and satu lagi burung berkepala burung and berbadan buaya pun aku tak kesah le ooi. Yang penting cantik and murah.

I went back to the hotel and after a short rest, went out and explored Kuta on foot. Nothing much new to see actually. But with all the multi-national tourists flocking this area, you can not help but feel strangely excited. Pantuek tak statement tu?

There’s a new mall called Kartika Discovery Mall which is basically like any other malls in Jakarta. However, the mall is fronting the beach and it’s a nice place to watch the sunset while having a cuppa in one of the cafes.

Next entry : Kintamani, Tegallalang, Padang-Padang & Uluwatu.

Blissful Solitude - Bali

I spent four days on the wonderfully enchanting island of Bali. I will tell the details of my recent visit later. In the meantime, here are some pics taken which best summarise one of my best holidays ever.

14 July 2008

Do We Have This In KL's Taxis?

A few days ago, I hailed a taxi to get to my office. Normally I would take the Bluebird taxi which by 8.15 am daily would have formed a queue at Pondok Indah Mall 2.

However, on that particular day, the row of Bluebird taxis where not there.

So, I had to stand by the roadside of the main Arteri Pondok Indah road and hail the first taxi in sight. Lucky for me I did not have to wait long. Less than two minutes later I was in this yellow taxi. The mini LCD screen inside immediately caught my attention. Nice huh? And it's not even a premium taxi, mind you.

Now, it has been almost a year since I last set foot in Kuala Lumpur. I'm not sure if taxis in KL have been upgraded since then. As far as I could recall, the three major things which I could remember about taxis in Kuala Lumpur are :
  • Smelly
  • Dirty
  • Dishonest drivers

But of course, not all taxis (and its drivers) in KL are as described above. The above are based on my personal experiences.

Jakarta has the Bluebird taxis which are famous for its reliability. Most of the taxis in its fleet are new, clean and spacious. The same could be said of Gamiya and Express. Of course there are the lesser known taxi fleets which are not so well kept.

The point is, in Jakarta, we have a choice. If one needs a good and reliable taxi, then Bluebird is available.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said about KL's taxis. I have Indonesian friends who told me horrifying stories about their experience in a KL taxi. It's so "malufying" (embarassing)!!!

If I were the person in charge of the government ministry/department overlooking the taxis in KL, I would have resigned years ago for failing to improve the taxi services and uplift the image of KL's taxis.

Speaking of taxis, is anyone doing anything about the taxi touts in KLIA? I heard the problem still persist. Aiyahh.. mende macam ni pun takleh nak handle ke? Ada org dah kena suap ke to keep their eyes shut on the touts??

The most pleasant experience I had with a taxi was when I was a student in Portsmouth. This particular taxi driver lost his way and he immediately paused the meter. He resumed the meter when he finally got on the correct road.

Chances of that happening in KL? Aku potong jari kalo ada taxi driver that honest kat KL.

02 July 2008


I've been sick. Very, very sick.

I was down with a vicious throat infection. Which led to a high fever. Which led to a severe headache. Which led to an aching body.

Five nights in a row I had difficulty sleeping. The moment I lie down in bed at night, the coughing starts. I even had to resort to sleeping in a seated position. Memang seksa nak mampos.

The fever began on Friday night and by Monday I was on my first visit to the doctor. I was shivering like hell. Blood sample was taken. Negative for denggue.

The doctor asked me to continue taking panadol and precsribed me with antibiotics. And pills for the cough which according to the doctor would not cause drowsiness.

Bloody hell. I need something for my cough which would help me sleep!! By night time, I was cursing the doctor. I couldnt sleep at all. The coughing got worse and my throat was burning.

I managed to sleep a couple of hours before waking up at 6am. On Tuesday, the fever subsided but came back later that night. The cough wasn't getting less either. My throat was so painful that I had to grab hold of something to endure the pain each time I swallow.

By Wednesday, I went to the doctor again. This time around, I was referred to an ENT specialist who did a rhinoscopy. The first time ever I could see the insides of my throat and down my nostrils. It wasn't a pretty sight for sure.

The ENT doctor spoke in medical term. I was too tired to try to comprehend. ..

The doctor precsribed a new course of antibiotics together with a host of other medicines.

By Thursday, I was feeling a bit better. Still weak though. But there was improvement. The next day, the fever was gone and the throat was a lot better. My body wasn't aching anymore.

I wouldn't want to go through what I went through last week again. Cukupla sekali ni demam teruk. Sengsorang pulak tu. Is this a glimpse of my old days? Tak kot, sebab masa tu ada Jamaluddin Mat atas kerusi roda kat sebelah bilik aku. Silap2 Sepol pun ada sebab kena buang dengan family dia... Hamidah dah bedridden sebab gemuk sangat. And Peanutbutter pun ada buatkan bubur untuk kitaorang. We look after each other naa??

Anyway, what la is happening to Malaysian politics? The whole scenario is more likely to happen in a faraway country in Africa. But Malaysia???

We have a PM who's unable to think for himself and seeks the advice of his son-in-law. Then we have a DPM who's very scared of the wife (I saw her being interviewed, is she on botox overdose??).... Not forgetting the clowns by the name of Shahrir Samad, Nazri Ismail, Shabeery Chik and others in the cabinet....

And the sodomy charges against DSAI... tolongle... be more original occay!!! To Tan Sri Musa Hassan, should you need a matress to be carried to the court as evidence, please do come to my house in Taman Cempaka. Tapi bila dah amik tilam aku tu, ko replace le ngan tilam Vono akak Ziana. Kesian kan kat ko, bapak mengajar ngaji, tapi dapat anak macam ko!!