Archive for January, 2010

Jan 27 2010

Posted by under Diary,Hobbies,knitting,Trips

The Day We Said Goodbye To Chengdu

Finally, yesterday (Tuesday) we were getting ready to leave for home.

At 9.30am, I visited the shop that sold wool and knitting needles for the last time. I had to get some needles for a NeedlesNCraft friend.

I bought 2 pairs each of the knitting needles of 4 various sizes, with one of them in jumbo size (bamboo):

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One set is for me while the other set is for the friend. All the above cost me only 12 yuan (RM6)!!! If that’s not a bargain, then what is?

We checked out at 11am, and by 12 noon we were patiently waiting to check-in at Chengdu Airport.

Our flight was supposed to be 4.5 hours (to KLIA) but the plane had to make an emergency (humanitarian) landing at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport because one of the passengers had breathing problem. Please read DH’s blog here.

So, instead of arriving home by 9pm (that was my pessimistic estimate), we ended up arriving home just after midnight!

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Jan 27 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Day 4 in Chengdu

Last Monday was our 4th day (not counting the first night we arrived) in Chengdu. Like the third day, I decided to take it easy. I told DH that I just wanted to go back to the busy shopping mall, and hopefully I could do some shopping.

I thought that being Monday, the malls and shops wouldn’t be as crowded as the previous 2 days. How wrong I was!! The crowd was maybe slightly less than the weekend, but most shops were bustling with activities! I got too intimidated by the crowd, and also the fact that I could not speak or understand their language beyond counting up to 8.

We just ended up walking around the area, passed by an old (closed) monastery, and mainly seeing many people doing their shopping!

On our way back we bought some bananas and some huge strawberries. That was it for Day 4 :-( . I was getting very homesick!

Our next trip will be in June, and it’ll be to Hakou, Hainan. I’d better learn some Mandarin now!!!

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Jan 26 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Day 3 In Chengdu

With very tired and aching legs, we started the day (Sunday) much later and with no ambitious destinations in mind.

First we headed back to the restaurant at Jinjiaba Street for lunch.

Again, with no Chinese language, we ordered by choosing the pictures in the menu (how I wish they have more pictures!). We ended up with 2 dishes of beef (we intended to have one chicken dish).

This beef dish was hot and spicy:

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It tasted like the dish DH used to cook (yes, he once was a good cook!) using the bharat spice we blended ourselves.

The other beef dish was more like a very spicy and dry stir fry beef:

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Both the beef dishes were very oily to me :( , but they sure tasted good.

The other dish was a kerabu (salad?) with tripe pieces inside:

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I don’t like the taste of tripe, so I couldn’t enjoy the dish.

After the lunch, we took a cab to the famous reconstructed “ancient” Jinli Street.

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The items on sale are similar to those I found in Yangshuo, but with highly marked up prices :( . I didn’t intend to buy anything anyway. Never mind that even in Yangshuo I didn’t buy much, hahaha!

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The Chinese are surely very creative. They had animal-shaped candies, and many other crafty items for sale.

I was excited to see some early blooms of the cherry blossoms:

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Spring is near!

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I don’t know why I agreed to have a photo taken at this little bridge:

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The local’s favourite food:

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A final shot of the place:

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We walked back towards the town, thinking that it was near! After a while (and when my legs started to ache badly) we took a cab back back to the hotel – so easy peasy!

We went out much later, just for a stroll near the shopping mall.

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There were soooo many people, that the photos couldn’t really capture the actual scenario.

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View from a pedestrian flyover (which is exactly above the main street!):

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I was getting very homesick then…

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Jan 26 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Day 2 in Chengdu – Part II

After the Panda Base visit last Saturday, we took a cab to Jinjiaba Street, hoping to have another lunch at the halal outlet we discovered just the day before.

Unfortunately, the eatery had just closed (after concluding their lunch time). So we walked towards the main square, en route back to our hotel. Luckily we had the “pancake” earlier, so it should last us for quite a while.

At the main square, there were a lot of people! I guess they came out to enjoy the open space (with respect to their cramp apartments.

Beautiful dancing fountains:

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Taking another different route back, we camde across more statues in the mall:

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Even the locals enjoy taking their photos with the modern colourful statues!

We had a lunch of rice (thanks to my rice cooker) and Brahim’s chicken curry and took some rest before we headed back to the main square!

The shopping mall was definitely well lit and in the mood for the Chinese New Year shopping:

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Finding a spot to get my photo taken was quite a challenge:

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There were still many people at the main square.

We came back to the hotel later that night, with me fully knackered and with a pair of aching legs :-( . Why do we have to do a lot of walking each time we go for a trip? Quoting the king in Cinderella, “I am not getting any younger…” :(

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Jan 24 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

For Linda!

While we were at the Panda Base, despite not many visitors, I saw all sorts of poses by them.

While I was in a quiet part, I suddenly thought of Linda, and wanted to do what she loves to do. So, Linda, here are the shots dedicated to you:

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I think I got excited and carried away:

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And the final one:

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I sure can still jump, can’t I? Hahaha!!!

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Jan 24 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Day 2 In Chengdu – Part I

Yesterday (Day 2) we went to the Panda Base, which is about 13km northeast of Chengdu.

I am too tired of walking for the past 3 days that I am not in the mood to write much. So, let’s enjoy the pix…

Buying tickets (who else!):

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The tickets were ¥58 each. A quick look at the tickets:

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No guidebook or map to guide us in. I tried to memorise the big map;

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Too much for this old brain to swallow. I instead went up the stairs on our right, to the Tourist Information Centre (The Panda Museum is there too).

I asked if they sell any guidebook of the place (like in Keukenhof). There was none. The lady at the counter told me that if I buy postcards from her, she’d give me a map of the place for free. So I paid Y20 for a dozen postcards, all with pictures of pandas (and got a map).

Quite satisfied, I came down the stairs:

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So we walked in, with a “too simplified” free map in hand.

First stop was the golden panda:

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This billboard reminds me of James Herriot (I love his “All Creatures Great and Small” books and BBC-TV series. He made veterinary sounds interesting!);

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We had to go through a few avenues of bamboos:

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Eventually we came across the red pandas:

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Some close-up shots:

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They are not really pandas :( :

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We kept on walking, until we came to the adult panda enclosure. Who said after 9am all pandas snooze off? This one is still busy eating (it was almost 12 noon by then):

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This one is a sub-adult (youth?) panda, with a special pose for me:

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And this one is still busy eating (panda bears consume a lot of the bamboo leaves that the Panda Base has to buy the bamboo shoots from the villagers!):

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Sequence of panda munching on bamboo leaves … burp!:

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The panda visit concluded when we found out that the nursery was closed. We took a breather by having some coffee at the Panda Cafe inside the reserve. I ordered “pancake with chocolate” (expecting fluffy pancake) but what came was merely a “lempeng”. What a disappointment :( :

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Even the chocolate spread was tasteless!

We then visited the nearby Swan Lake. Some visitors bought the fish food and fed them:

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Saw a peacock too:

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On our way out,  I obliged (to the photographer) for a shot at the entrance:

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Earlier I saw a souvenir shop outside the Panda Base, so I went there to get some souvenirs. Not much of what I wanted (and could afford). I bought some but I need to get other souvenirs elsewhere before I go home, or many friends will not get anything from this trip.

I however came across a Panda wannabe:

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Shots of some of the pandas we saw:

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Jan 22 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Day 1 In Chengdu

We started to walk towards the city centre at about 11am, and only came back to the hotel at about 4pm.

I however have these pictures that I would like to share:

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Senduduk:

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Chairman Mao:

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Who said you can’t have blooms in winter? The Chinese have proven us wrong :-) .

Spotted this halal outlet:

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Islamic calligraphy inside the restaurant:

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A dish of beef, a dish of fried chicken and a plate of fresh veggies, all ordered via sign language!:

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At the main square:

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Chengdu is the birthplace of Taoism:

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We finally found the big mall where there are many statues that I just couldn’t resist getting my photo taken:

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Another one here (while I was identifying the location of the mall on the map):

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We found the Kowloon Plaza in the mall:

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The plaza has 11 floors (not including the basement) that has shops selling mostly fashion garments!

And I ended up  looking slightly different (more like the local, hahaha!):

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After sight-seeing on foot for over 4 hours, we decided to go back to our hotel. On the way back (walking on the different side of the street), I came across this shop:

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I always get crazy when I come across threads, wools, fabrics, or any needlecraft kits, so I ended up buying these (ignore others that are not yarn):

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I bought some knitting needles too (but forgot to take any photo).

These yarns have the following tags:

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,

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Can someone who understands Mandarin tell me what they mean? I want to buy more, but I don’t know if the yarn contains wool, cotton or just plain acrylic? There are some percentage on the tags, but I just couldn’t figure out anything. Help!!!.

Some one helped me to understand that the above tags say there are 80% and 94% of wool respectively. Looking closely at the tags, now I think I know which are the characters that mean wool!! So I’ll buy more wool before I leave for home :-) . Now… where can I put them? I only have ONE small check-in bag :( . It already has a rice cooker in it.

tomorrow we hope to see the panda bears..

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Jan 22 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Chatty Chengdu People!

What do you call someone who is from  Chengdu? Chengduan? Chengduese? Or Chengdese?

Whatever it is, my first impression of the people from Chengdu (let’s call them Chengduans) is that they are so talkative! When we were checking in at the Air Asia counter, we came across a very noisy group. The girl on duty at the counter told us that they were from a tour group, going back to Chengdu. The girl also told us that there were other groups too who had checked-in earlier, and just as noisy. On enquiring, we were told that the flight was full!

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The departure lounge was also noisy. I thought that was it, but I was very wrong. Throughout the 4 hour flight, they were just talking and talking and talking! And at the top of their voices too! Despite that I did manage some nap :-) . So, the noisiness continued until we were at the baggage collection at modern Chengdu airport.

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This is not my first trip to China. I’ve been to Beijing, Hong Kong and Guilin before, but I have to say this trip to Chengdu is the noisiest so far! :-)

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When we entered the taxi, I thought there would be some quietness that I desperately needed. I was wrong!! The cab radio (no, not the commercial radio, but the communication radio between the cab drivers and their base) kept on giving breaking transmission. To make it worse, the lady cab driver that we had could not speak English and took us to the wrong hotel! The problem with China us is the different way we pronounce their words (from the Romanised version). We had a map of the city, with some of their characters, as well as the location of our hotel, but the lady couldn’t figure it out. Finally we asked her to call the hotel telephone number and let the hotel staff tell her where it was!

It was a good one hour ride from the airport, where a good portion of it was spent going round the city. It would make a good “city ride” if not for the late hour! When we finally arrived at the hotel, it was past 11pm.

Not a very good start, but at least we have Internet in the hotel room. Never mind that we cannot access Facebook and Twitter (we knew that from our trip to Guilin last year). Let’s hope that I’ll have a better day tomorrow!!

By the way, our only entertainment on tv is the CCTV9! DH, next time we travel to China, can we stay in 5-star hotels like Sheraton?


2 Comments »

Jan 21 2010

Posted by under Diary,Trips

Chengdu, Here I Come!

Or should it read “Bye bye Facebook”?

We are leaving for Chengdu (China) soon, and China doesn’t allow access to Facebook.

I however hope to be able to update my blog from there. Hopefully I get to see some panda bear.

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Jan 17 2010

Posted by under Diary,Family

Our First visit to a PLKN Camp

PLKN or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (National Service) has been around in this country for several years now, but our first 2 sons “escaped” from it. They were just not chosen.

Nafis, our 3rd son, however, got a call to go for the session which started 2 weeks ago. We sent him off at Shah Alam Stadium, as blogged here.

I remember asking him about the preparation, etc. He just answered saying that most of the stuff would be provided. When we told him to get his long hair cut, he  told us not to worry, because when they reached the camp, they’d get the haircut anyway.

Last Saturday (not yesterday), Nafis called us to inform that every Sunday is the visiting day. Half asleep (at the time of the call), I told him that we didn’t intend to visit him that weekend. I told him I was just too exhausted and would like to spend the Sunday at home, unpacking some boxes and tidying up some of the stuff at home (which I did!). I told him we would visit him today.

So, the plan today was to visit him, before we visited Mae, who is in Sg Gadut, Seremban.

At 10.30am we left home, and just slightly over 1 hour later, we arrived at the Kem Millennium, Beranang. After registering ourselves, we walked (now… that was quite a long walk!) into the compound, all the way to the Dining Hall (the meeting place).

Soon Nafis came, in full uniform. We asked him why some of the trainees were not in uniforms, and we were told that trainees who came to the hall to meet visitors must wear their uniforms!

We also found out that one of the trainers/teachers was a second cousin (by marriage) to both my mother-in-law and father-in-law! He came to talk to us too.  The trainer was told that Nafis had a grandpa in Kelantan, and after Nafis told his grandpa’s name, the trainer said that they were related!

After a while of talking, DH asked about the stripes on Nafis’s shoulder, and the trainer told us that he (Nafis) was the leader. I asked Nafis, was he the class leader or the group leader, only to be told by the trainer that Nafis was the leader of the all the 422 trainees in the camp! What???? Both DH and I had a good laugh. Ok, ok, Nafis was a prefect in school, but he was not the Headboy.

I asked the trainer who chose him, and what was the criteria of the selection. He told us that the trainers (about 30 of them all together) decided to choose him. They saw that Nafis had confidence in presentation and handled the Q&A session well. Wow, I am so proud of my boy! Which mother would not?

Here are some of the shots taken just before we left.

Look at the stripes on the shoulder:

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Chatting with our distant relative, En Wan who is an x-army, and now a trainer there:

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Another view:

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Another for the album:

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One obvious change that I could see on Nafis (apart from the haircut) is that he doesn’t slouch anymore. Nice posture:

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DH took some shots as we were walking out.

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This is just one stretch/part of the long walk:
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Nice surrounding:

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And finally we got out of the compound:

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Here, outside the camp is where they do their daily march:

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I hope the national service programme (PLKN) will give my son the opportunity to improve himself, especially leadership-wise.

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