Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wedding & Old Shanghai

Last Saturday was a holiday from the wet market scene. Mum had found a much cheaper and fresher alternative in our housing area, so going to the wet market is no longer 'critical'. Instead, we went to TC's wedding at the Church of Divine Mercy, Glenmarie. Only my second time there. Nearly got lost going there as we missed a turning, but we made it just in time. Loved the wedding mass. The celebrant, Father Paulino was very moving during his homily and the St. Cecilia choir was very good. SK got to see some of her old coursemates. Many did not recognize her. Mum and I just tagged along as Catholic weddings are usually a quiet affair. Good to swell the numbers a bit. Just one cutie at the wedding. The Edison Chen bad boy type. Complete with fancy, shaved hair. At first I thought he was wearing a cool, giant white earing, but it turned out to be a bandaid. LOL. After mass, lunch was served. Very meaty offerings of curry chicken, roast duck, roast lamb, buttered prawns and sambal cuttlefish. Quite tasty. Left soon after to catch our concert at 3:00pm. Wishing TC and his wife a blessed life in holy matrimony. When his wife finally moves back from Singapore, things should be more settled down.

On our way out, we got lost again. Wasted twenty minutes on the Guthrie Highway trying to get on the NKVE. The signboards were horrible. Managed to reach KLPAC at about 2:30pm. Luckily we arrived before the downpour. At the box office, I bumped into DanielH. Say his blonde bangs sticking out of his baseball cap. This year, we watched Dama Orchestra's "Glitz & Glamour". Another shi da qu offering with Tan Soo Suan at the forefront. Unlike "I Have A Date With Spring", this had more songs and less story. Old Shanghai caberet. Most of the songs were little-performed numbers that were not familiar to me. So I guess I did not enjoy it as much. For some reason, Tan Soo Suan looks so much more petite off-stage. All the sequins must add 10 pounds. Haha. Dinner was a simple vegetarian affair at Bandar Park OUG. Simple, cheap and fulfilling. For the first time I noticed the Budai statue on the altar was actually clutching a globe! So modern. Another Saturday comes to a close.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Birthday at The Apartment


BDAY2010SK5
Swiped from williamnyk.
Note: I made it! Blogged about this before October ended!

Last Saturday was my birthday party with the BFF. SK organized (always a stressful affair) the potluck weeks ago and after cracking the whip many times and throwing her weight around, she got things more or less settled. It was said to be the largest gathering of the year but it fell short at the last minute. Haha. But that's always to be expected I told her. Never-the-less, it was an excellent party. We had more than expected and the company was good. Here's a quick roll call of the food:
  1. SK: Fried bihun & curry chicken
  2. CarpeD: Savoury Fruit & Nut Basmathi Rice, curried eggs and Indian Grilled Spice Chicken
  3. KT & Ryan: OtahBoy's Otak-otak
  4. Junior & Nivlac: Salad
  5. Froggie: Pizza (tumpang!)
  6. EarlGrey & Dae: Popeye's fried chicken
  7. Apollo & Adrian: Suchan's Tiramisu
  8. Lifebook: Mini frankfurters
  9. The Chief: Soya cincau
  10. The Jaylex Foundation: Booze!
  11. Bunny: Seedless grapes


KT picked me up from home and when I arrived at Cheryl's apartment I was shocked to find that Bunny was among the first to arrive! Junior was busy assembling his salad (he makes cooking so technical!) and when The Chief and JL arrived, the drinks counter was opened. Due to the lack of air conditioning in SK's living room, JL kept on complaining that he was hot. Not surpirising coming from someone who always wears the least 'concealing' clothes to gatherings. XD. The food was great and there was more than enough to go around. And the crowd was kept happy with JL's blend of vodka, vermouth and orange juice. All whipped up in the gayest pink shaker I ever saw. Jacky was especially happy that night but that changed the moment he found out that we ran out of ice. Lotsa mingling and there was even a round of Uno. The guests were also excited about SK's new place and went for guided tours. KT pulled out her Instantmatic and took some shots of the events. Naturally, there was the cake cutting. Thank God they did not decide to create a fire hazard by lighting thurty candles. The Tiramisu was very creamy. Then we proceeded to the presents.


This year, Leggy gift-wrapped my gift more than a week in advance and posted a picture of it on FB. A virtual challenge for the others to outdo his flair with ribbons and wrapping paper. The closest contender was Lifebook's corrugated chic, but the crowd chose the former. Better luck next time! But KT's cute teddy bear wrapping does deserve a special mention. :). Here's what the generous BFF surprised me with:
  1. Janvier & The Chief: Dilbert Gives You The Business
  2. Bunny, JJ, Froggy, Junior and Nivlac: IKEA Fargrik dinnerware set
  3. CarpeD, JL, JY, Silencer, Savante & Leggy: Tefal Steam Iron
  4. EarlGrey & Dae: Fashion headphones
  5. KT & Ryan: A limited edition Fuji Instax Chocolate instant camera(the biggest shocker of the night)
  6. Apollo & Ken: A bottle of Pinot Gris 2006 (said to be a good year for Australian wine)
  7. LifeBook: A shirt from Red Herring
By midnight, the party ended and some of the gang went out for coffee. I on the other hand called it a night. Thanks everyone for coming. Love you guys and gals.

P.S.: Dear BFF, take note that I did not use the term SK's Pad to refer to her new appartment here. Sekian.

Friday, October 29, 2010

101010

What's so special about 10.10.10 that every Ah Lian and Ah Beng wants to get married on that day? Even SK's ex-housemate wanted to, but failed. She got registered on the 11th instead. Anyway, who celebrates the ROM date?! Riding on the popularity of this date, there was a wedding contest at The Pavilion where ten couples of newly-weds vied to be the "Perfect 10". Didn't spot any cuties, but I did see some weird wedding gowns. A very updated version where the groom looked like MJ-meets-Jack Sparrow and the bride looked like she stepped on a giant capsicum. Still, they looked totally precious together. The blushing bride also make good use of some body makeup trying to conceal a tattoo on her shoulder blade. She should have opted for more heavy duty concealers. But with her current style, I'd say that a tattoo isn't exactly out of place.

Here's another fashion wave that I totally missed (but I'm grateful that I missed it)-- leggings for guys. Saw this on a mannequin in Fahrenheit 88. Comes from a shop called Chapter 8. They were doing brisk busniness on that day. Would you don such a thing? I wouldn't even touch the shorts, let alone the leggings. But according to a colleague, he had seen such a style years ago at the TARC campus. The trend setters of tomorrow! Hahahaha. Perhaps they should just lose the shorts. The glimpse of a manly bulge would be much more attractive!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crystal Ball

A glimpse into the future~ KH & I living together.

"Dear, you're shedding your hair everywhere! I just swept the floor le. Ish, on the bed also a lot! When are you gonna cut your hair?"

"These strands are short la. They're your's. Blek."


I'll be looking forward to this. :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exactly 30 II: Navy & Shopping


LiuLi
Swiped from williamnyk.
The usual Sunday ritual-- Mass followed by lunch. For some reason, church was quiter than usual? School holidays again? Macam tak betul. Lunch was prawn mee at Taman Megah. After that, mum had a quick haircut there. I'm still wondering whether her mainland Chinaboy hairstylist is gay. Plausible. Soon after that, we shot up the Penchala Link down to The Pavillion. SK's always the first person to buy something-- an Acca Kappa hairbrush. MYR150. Goodness. Hopefully her hair is less tangled now. Outside the loo, I was approached by three US navy guys (sounds skanky, no?) asking if I could help them cancel their hotel registration at the Swiss Garden Hotel. According to them, the front desk of the five-star hotel could not speak English. Incredible. The fellow offered me MYR10 which I declined.

Prawn Mee

Moi: Why do you want to cancel the reservation?

Navy Dude: The hotel is too far from here.

Moi: Ever heard of a cab?

Navy Dude: We don't trust the cabs here.


Three navy dudes afraid of a taxy driver. I was speechless. In the end, I helped them send out an e-mail to their travel agent to settle the cancellation.

Navy Dude: Thanks! Can you tell us how to get to Petaling Street?

Moi: But if you're going there.... the hotel's just around the corner!!!


Continued our shopping at Parkson. Mum and SK were hounded by the persistent Mircoz salesgirl. Well-trained in the art of persuasion and cross-selling. They bought more than MYR200 worth of cosmetics. Then we had a nasi lemak break at West 57th St. Cafe. Their Mille Crepe was delicious that day. Fahrenheit 88 was just across the street, so we made a beeline for it. DanielH was right, it's boring. A short trip to Lot 10, then we were back at Pavilion. (Aunty Behaviour Alert!) Armed with 20 stamps from her previous purchase, mum and SK purchase some promotional Tefal pans from Parkson.

NL

Seri Petaling was bloody jammed that night, so we had dinner at another place nearby. Ordered steamed tilapia in hot bean paste, marmite chicken and stir-fried vegetables. Was shocked to hear than SK's colleague eats at that restaurant four days a week. I cannot imagine. There was a kid at the restaurant who used the chopsticks like drumsticks, banging every imaginable thing on the table. And his parents just let him. Never mind that he dropped the chopsticks multiple times, his mother would just patiently pick them up again. Felt like using the chopsticks on their heads! If you noticed, I skipped my swim that day. :P. Welcome to the fat 30s...

Steamed Fish

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exactly 30 I: Wu & Bites

Birthday or not, I went to the wet market on Saturday. For some unknown reason, there seemed to be less people in town that weekend and that made my visit to the market more pleasant. Unfortunately, I woke up blur and tired that morning and it didn't help that I encountered a burly uncle that morning over a very minor traffic issue. It wasn't a nice start to 30. Breakfast a simple meal of lum mee at the OUG market. After marketing, we immediately went out to Bandar Utama. Firstly, to get some chores out of the way. Was in Center Point to replace my lightning arrestor. The horrid mess of wires under my TV finally exploded causing little Cyan to jump for cover. Luckily my appliances were saved by that magical piece of circuitry. With that out of the way, we swung to One Utama to have a quick bite to eat at CBTL. An avacado chicken sandwich, big brekkie and smoken salmon sandwich at 20% off thanks to Citibank. At around 2:00pm, we went upstairs to catch "Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame" at GSC. Never liked Andy Lau, but a period Tsui Hark movie is something that I won't usually pass on. The overall feel of the movie was good. An entertaining enough story. With Sammo Hung choreographing the fights, one can't go wrong. Carina and Andy were suitable for their roles. And as a gay man, I obviously have to comment on Carina's portrayal of Empress Wu. Although not as haughty as Gong Li (but I guess that's not what the director wanted to portray), Carina brought a cold, calculating confidence to the role (but her wrinkles really showed... not good for a SKII spokesperson!). And her costumes and accessories were superb. Complete with Amidala-esque hairdos. Designed by Galliano and the late Alexander McQueen if I'm not mistaken. Little wonder she turned up in a sort of 1920s mini trenchcoat with a fur lined hat in one of the outdoor scenes. Unmistakably gweilo. And her chunky rings. Gotta love her chunky rings. After the movie, we did some shopping. As usual, I left empty-handed.

Chicken Avacado

Dinner was with my sister, bro-in-law and Cyan at Rosemary Bites. Decided to try their other stuff. Noticed another nearby restaurant with many more patrons-- America on a Plate. Did some scouting (little Cyan was freaked out by the crowd) and apparently that place serves pork and some other stuff. Ordered their clam chowder (way too salty, but I like salty), pasta in meat sauce (I'm not a tomato-based sauce person, but I liked it anyway), lamb shoulder in mint sauce, black pepper lamb chops, salmon in wasabi mayo (not as adventurous as advertised), fish and chips and fried chicken in tangy sauce (think milennium chicken rice). For my birthday cake, we ordered three plates of apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. For some reason, my bro-in-law and I both tasted garlic inside. The chef was amused! That's how I celebrated my birthday. Thanks everyone for the calls, wishes on FB and SMS-es.

BDAY2010Rosemary

30 is just a number. 30 is just a number. 30 is just a number. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jogja Trivia


glowing dustbin
Swiped from eruin_1.
Some random observations about Jogjakarta:
  1. The people there seem to have a love affair with dustbins that have a swivel lid. They're everywhere!
  2. For cheapo public toilets, shallow cisterns are commonly used with no flushing mechanism. Really not for big business!
  3. Over in Malaysia, buildings usually have stone plaques of VIPs who officiated them. In Jogja, they frame up the written messages.
  4. They are obsessed with the cartoon "Little Krishna". The blow-up toys are even sold at the roadside. At first I thought they were mini "Avatar" characters! It boggle the minds that Asia's most populous Islamic country has citizens that adore a cartoon with a Hindu god as its main character! This only shows how shallow Malaysians are.
  5. Horse carriages are still a common sight.
  6. The Jogjakarta Sultanate preserves the traditional dance and music. Even the ancient Javanese writing is still used.

This wraps up everything Jogjakarta related I guess. Hehe. Until the next holiday destination!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Passion's Signature

咖喱鸡 = Curry chicken (noun)
种草莓 = To plant strawberries (verb)

When we first started out, I was quite blind with passion when in bed with KH. Maklumlah, newbie. In my heat, I gave KH a lovebite on his neck. He had a tough time hiding that from his mother and colleagues. And so, from that day on, we made a pact not to mark each other in bed. However, KH recently broke his promise and gave me lovebites during the Jogja trip! And it was already near the end of our trip. One above my navel and the other above my right nipple! I was mortified! (sorry, no pics!) So for the first few days I was back, I was very careful not to run around topless. Soon enough, the marks faded... but the memory stays. Hehe. I will have my revenge!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

LRT Celebrities: Faux Fufu & PDA Pete


Hello everybody! I'm back with another episode of "LRT Celebrities". If you followed my FB status some time back, you would remember that I mentioned about some cute French students on the STAR LRT. Was quite disappointed that I could not spy cam the cutest of 'em all, but quicker than you could say "Parlez-vous français?", I was able to "record" the boy nearest to me. As you can see, he's of Asian descent and in my opinion bears some resemblence to Fufu!! Well, Faux Fufu doesn't look too bad actually, just take I captured him with a scowl on his face. Perhaps he was pissed with PDA Pete nearby. You see, PDA Pete walked into the train with PDA Patty in tow. Not smartphone type of PDA, but lai-lai, cheh-cheh type of PDA. Touchy-touchy. Manja-manja. Giggle-giggle. Yehhhh-yehhhhhhh. Pull-pull here. Pull-pull there. The type of scene where you would not hesistate to poke your eyes out with a giant fork ala Kassim Selamat. Annoying. For some reason, couples think the LRT is the bedroom. Like breeders who paktor at One Utama. The moment they step onto the escalator, their brain thinks that they've entered the privacy of their bed chamber and start groping each other. It defies logic. Ignore me, I'm just being bitter. :P. Anyhow... until next time!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Isn't It Ironic?


At the end of our Jogjakarta trip, basking in afterglow our lovemaking, KH turned to me and said,

"Baby, this is the longest that we had spent with each other. And I loved every second of it."

Ironically, those words made my heart leap with joy and bend over with sadness at the same time. On one had, it is of course wonderful to have one's boyfriend declare his pleasure at having you by his side. And on the other, it means that spending six consecutive days together is considered a big deal in our LDR. But I guess that whatever it is, I should be grateful for what we have and work towards a mutual goal. Although we are far apart, in our hearts, we are nearer than ever.

A totally random thought-- suddenly I remember what Jas told me at Japanese Dining Sun the other day...

"Oh, KH got that ring for you. You know what? You should get it engraved. His name on your ring. And your name on his."

Perhaps I should do that... Where I can get it done?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Post-YY: Paper Tiger


Crabs!
Swiped from williamnyk.
Our flight back to Singapore was quite early in the morning, so we checked out before 6:00am. The hotel had prepared breakfast boxes for us to eat in the van-- two pieces of bread, jam, butter, hard boiled egg, cheese and a banana. I sliced up the egg, put it on buttered bread and ate it with the cheese. Not a bad combination. Waiting at the Adisucipto airport was boring. The line took ages to clear because just in front of us, a "holiday facilitator" was helping his clients (more than 10 of 'em) to check-in! Those rich people really have it good. They think that they don't even need to show their faces at the check-in counter. Some don't even know the meaning of queueing! And the best thing about the check-in counter was the faulty scale. A bag of golf clubs only registered 4kg! The "real weight" had to be "worked out" and hand-written on the baggage tags. :S. The flight back was quite uneventful. For brunch, we headed to the staff cafeteria in Changi Airport. The guy beside our table used an iPhone 3Gs in with the cutest Hello Kitty cover. Really salute the fella.

Loyang Tua Pek Kong I

Back home in Bishan, we had the whole house to ourselves as everyone was at work. We unpacked (the luggage smelled of Minyak Kayu Putih! -_-"), showered and skanked. Was thrilled to find that KH had bought a cute little toy so we fooled around with that for a while. Wakakaka. Chilli crabs is supposedly one of Singapore's signatured dishes. And since during our Jogja trip the point came up that KH never ordered this dish for me, POD and Nic came to my "rescue". Hehe. Drove to House of Seafood @ 180. Their black pepper variety is not so nice when compared to the chilli crabs (Malaysia's equivalent is sweet and sour). I found the sauce too thick and black (like something out of the La Brea Tar Pits), and lacking the fragrance of Sarawak black pepper corns. The chilli crab on the other hand was quite good. Theg gravy was nice, with eggs and ground peanuts. Lapped up the thick gravy with fried man tou. The crabs were also large and full of roe. Definitely sinful. A cholesterol carnival.

Loyang Tua Pek Kong II

They then drove me to the Budget Terminal only to find that my flight had been delayed to 11:00pm!!! Stupid Tiger Airways!!! And so, I followed the guys to Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple. Interestingly, it has a Hindu temple beside it. Was quite crowded that day seeing that it was the Mid-Autumn Festival. After finishing up their pai-pai, they dropped us off at Tampiness One. We just sat down and shared a drink at Tea Dot before taking a cab back to the airport. KH was soo proud that he ordered a cab using an iPhone app. Only in Singapore. Nobody manned the check-in counter at the airport. We had to bang the door at the airport administration office to get them to call the Tiger Airways people. Unacceptable. Banned! I slept through the forty minutes. Even ignore the semi-cute China boy beside me. By the time I got home, it was past midnight. Poor SK had to wait up for me. That ends my holiday escapade with KH! Thanks for reading. We'll be back to our regular programming soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

YY V: Massage & Ballet


Duta Garden II
Swiped from williamnyk.
On our last day in Jogjakarta, it was considered "free and easy day". We had breakfast as usual, but after that I roamed around with my camera. Bumped into the manager again, and he brought me to the new wing of the hotel that's still under construction. Another twelve villas were being constructed opposite the road. Garden concept, with slightly more floor space. At 11:00am, the masseur that we had booked the night before arrived. She started on POD first before working on KH. It was fun seeing him squirm and shout under her ministrations. The masseur was amused seeing that POD on the other hand managed to sleep through it. Traditional Javanese massage seems quite standard, with some minor variations. While she massaged, I observed and chatted with the masseur. According to POD and KH, her skill was good and her hands were strong.

Pastello

We weren't keen on stopping at Malioboro St.. It looked no different from Jalan Petaling or the streets at Sala Daeng, so we gave it a miss. Nic, the city boy was missing civilization, so we asked Pak Gadot to send us to Ambarukkmo Mall. Quite a nice place with some decent retail space. Upon entering the mall, Nic was visibly more cheerful. Amazing. Pastello was the restaurant of choice for our lunch. The prices were quite fair when compared to the touristy places at Jalan Prawirotaman. I ordered a claypot beancurd dish with a minty drink. Walking around for a couple of hours did not yield much except for a couple of T-shirts.

Prambanan I

By 3:00pm, Pak Gadot picked us up and we headed to Prambanan, a Hindu temple complex about 18km east of the city. The place is dedicated to the Trimurti-- Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer and Shiva the Destroyer. Shiva's shrine is the most prominent and all tree of the main shrines are flanked by the Vahana temples, the vehicle of the gods. Nandi for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma and Garuda for Vishnu. In 2009, the heritage site sustained damage from an earthquake and is still being restored. Our guide was quite informative and explained much of the symbolism. He was also very keen to show us a bas relief of a demon with "a third leg". LOL. According to our guide, the missing pieces of the temples were replaced with undecorated stones and marked with a nail. Acording to him, it was to avoid the originals from being unkowingly replaced with fakes. Much of the temple's still in ruins. It's several giant 3D jigsaw puzzles all mixed up. I don't know how the experts do it. A whole bunch of internation school students were there too. I was disappointed at the lack of quality-- no cuties at all! :P

Prambanan II

For dinner, we requested Pak Gadot send us back to Ayam Goreng Suharti. POD had to taste her sambal one last time before leaving. This time round we ordered gudeg-- an interesting stew with eggs, fried cow skin, and young jackfruit. Being quite out of the way, we had to eat quickly and rush back to Prambanan to watch the Ramayana Ballet. Performed out in the open with the lighted Prambanan temples as a natural backdrop. An interesting tale of Rama's wife, Sita being kidnapped by Ravana, paving the way to war between them. Not all of the dancers were impressive. Interesting to note that the most of male dancers will flick the scarves at their waists on every move, and all of the female dancers flick their sarong tail. A graceful move. In the scene where Hanuman sets fire to Ravana's citadel, they actually set fire to the set! Unfortunately, we missed the last scene due to the rain. Oh well. It wasn't a total loss-- 2 cute Japanese boys were sitting in front of us. :P. POD took lots and lots of pictures until the clicking of his Nikon garnered stares from some of the audience. :S.

Ramayana Ballet

Just one more post and we're done! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 15, 2010

YY IV: Two Castles and A Volcano


Kraton II
Swiped from williamnyk.
Breakfast at Duta Garden was nothing special. But still, we were the guests who spent the longest time there. Wakakaka. POD was happily shovelling their bakmi goreng while Nic LOVED their over-sized bananas. No surprises there. Our first stop was at the Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat-- the palace of the Jogjakarta royal family. Ten successive kings had lived there. The current ruler is Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana X who ascended the throne in 1998. Coincidentally, he is also the Governor by default. Having arrived at the palace a bit too early, we were waylaid for a short time to a nearby batik factory. Seems hard to escape the sharks. The artist was a wild-eyed guy who did interesting batik paintings of dancing magic mushrooms and other weird themes. Beautiful stuff, but also very expensive. As usual, we were given the usual expalanations on the production process. Was surprised to hear that the beeswax they use is imported from the Netherlands. Another local craft relying on high quality imports. Heh.

Kraton I

The Kraton's quite a nice place. Too bad the beautiful grass in the palace grounds had been reduced to a muddy mess by the influx of visitors. Our guide was a woman who spoke English in a very controlled manner. It was as though her bun was too tight. She would not look directly at but at an angle. Totally weird. Anyway, the place was very beautiful with lotsa carvings, photos, paintings and antiques. Had a chance to look at the royal lineage and it seems that the they were blessed with lotsa wives and children. The family trees were really, really, really huge. Javanese culture takes center stage in the Kraton, but one can see the work of European and Hindu influences (one sees Kala everywhere). Even the old buildings were given offerings to appease the spirits. The whole palace is staffed by hundreds of people who still don the traditional attire and carry ceremonial keris. Missed the gamelan performance as we were rushing for time.

Taman Sari

Next was Taman Sari, the Water Castle. Actually a recreation of the original castle where the Sultan used to frolick with his wives and concubines. A royal retreat of sorts. Unfortunately, Taman Sari was overrun with batik sharks. Try to enter through the main entrance and they would waylay you, following you around like a shadow. But the main purpose was to tell their sob stories and direct you to their batik workshops at the back. We quickly ditched the guy and made our exit. Really annoying. Left town before lunch to head towards Mount Merapi, an active volcano. Based on the past days experience, we were afraid that it might rain, but thank goodness it did not. Pak Gadot drove us higher and higher passing lots of small 'hotels' that KH thought was for tourists who wanted to hike the trail to Merapi. But according to our guide, it was mainly for high-altitude sexual trysts. We arrived at a place that they called Bebeng.

Boyong Kalegan

It was actually a giant lava drain of sorts. The volcano was still about 5km away as the crow flies. Back when it last erupted in 2006, the lava flowed down and baked a few of the villagers who had thought that it was safe to hide in the bunker. The air was cool and lava rocks were everywhere. Throwing caution to the wind, we mimicked the local kids and ventured down to lava channel to take a closer look. Quite breathtaking really. Having worked up an appetite on that short hike, we left for lunch nearby at Boyong Kalegan. The restaurants actually a web of wooden pavillions on top of a freshwater fish pond. So obviously it was fish for lunch. POD was smitten by their coconut water with palm sugar.

Bebeng Merapi

Back in town, Pak Gadot brought us to buy some of the local snacks. Apparently bakpiah's a famous delicacy in Jogja. Kinda like Penang's tau sah peah actually. But they have it in many more varieties like cheese, pineapple and chocolate. We also stopped at a roadside stall to buy salak pondoh. He pratically jumped out of the van and stopped traffic for us! Back at the hotel, the manager, Rudy welcomed us and chatted with us for quite some time. To relax a bit, we all went for a swim in their mini pool. At one end of the pool, was a slope, kinda like a water slide. It caught POD and me unaware and we both fell on our butts and slid down! *glug glug glug*. Did a few pathetic laps. When we got up, evening snacks were waiting for us at the pool side. Chocolate muffin and coffee after a swim... negated! Hahaha.

Not knowing what to eat, we chose a random restaurant on Jalan Parangtritis. Kinda dark and manned by a gay waiter. While waiting for the food we took photos of the tea light like it was some kind of DNA model. Gay men are a rare sight in Jogjakarta. A quick rev of Grindr on Nic's iPhone showed that the nearest queer with was 300 miles away. Haha. The food was kinda nice, and our post-dinner activity was watching "Pterodactyl" on TV. A giant B-grade flop. Complete with jerky CGI that seemed to be missing a lot of animation frames and a big-chested blonde who decides to swim in a dinosaur-infested lake. Nice. Put us both to sleep at 10:00pm!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Phone Numbers

A little breather from my Jogjakarta posts in case you guys are overdosing on it. Takes ages for me to write and I'm sure ages for you to read (unless you're shrewd enough to skim). Glanced through my blog stats when I came across this keyword:

looking gay sex with contact number in puchong and kuchai lama area

Anyone care to give the poor fella a helping hand, or mouth or *dot dot dot*? But anyway, I can't believe that my blog actually appeared as one of the search results! Pening!

Monday, October 11, 2010

YY III: From Sulphur to Ciggies

Our day started early again. We had a long drive ahead of us to the Dieng Plateau, so Pak Gadot urged that we start early. On the day before there was news that the mountain pass was closed due to a collapsed bridge (alarm bells!), but luckily it was reopened. To be quick, we sat ourselves at the coffee shop at 6:00am sharp. Had some toast and chicken porridge before journeying off. The roads to Dieng was not unlike Cameron Highlands. But truth be told, the scenery was better. As we neared the main market, the roads were super-jammed with cars. Just a single lane each for uphill and downhill traffic ad people still wanna park by the roadside! To add to the chaos, there was a Halal-Bihalal (a mutual begging of pardon that is distinct to Indonesia) ceremony going on nearby. Not a total loss, it gave us the opportunity to observe the people there. The highland people there have a distinctive look. The mosey up and down the steep roads at a leisurely pace with basket in hand or a pesticide dispenser on their backs. Usually in a sweater or a sarong around their bodies to keep the cold out. Some of their children sport the distinctive rastafarian dreadlocks that is locally known as rambut gimbel.

Telaga Warna

The first POI was Telaga Warna. The literal translation is "Well of Colours". But it was a lake lah-- a sulhur lake with special colouration. On that day, it looked green. According to the travel info, the colour will change depending on your vantage point, the depth of the lake and the sun's rays. Around the lake was a small path, but we did not walk the whole length. It was littered with rubbish, but I did not find any condoms on the forest floor. The next attraction's also related to volcanic activity-- a crater lake. Basically a giant hole in the ground emitting the horrible smell of rotten eggs * 1,000,000. Even Pak Gadot was not keen to go near, but we ignored the warning signs anyway and just tread carefully (to avoid the bubbling at certain spots) towards the crater. The boiling water below was just cordoned off by a flimsy bamboo fence. For the sake of our alveoli, we did not linger there so off we went to a small market nearby. The bestseller there seems to be Edelweiss. The locals collect the mountain flower, preserve them, colour them, and create kitschy faux tree miniatures. It is said that the flower can last a long time and be subject to harsh treatment, hence marketed as the symbol of undying love. :S. KH wanted to buy one for me... I declined. :P.

Sulphur

Dieng Dieties

Moving on, Pak Gadot drove us to the Kailasa Museum, named after the mythical home of Shiva. The museum houses artifacts from the Hindu temples that were found on the Dieng Plateau. From there, we crossed to the temple complex opposite the road. The only noteworthy structure there's Candi Arjuna. Many of the locals farm nearby and charge tourists money for taking photos of them! Ouch. On our way back to the car, we took the super scenic route, trekking across fields, trampling in mud and most probably killing some crops in the process. Quite exhilarating really. The road less-travelled. Luckily we were not labeled as trespassers and chased out by irate, sickle-swinging farmers. More temples ahead, namely Candi Bima that is famed for the kudu carvings on its roof. I was quite hapy to leave behind the temples as I think I had an overdose already. On our way down, we passed by a long troupe of students trudging uphill in full brass band regalia. Dieng never fails to surprise.

Dance

Lunch was Kledung Pass. The lava-kissed lands are very suitable for tobacco and so at every roadside one can see farmers drying tobacco leaves in the sun. According to Pak Gadot, the tobacco industry brings much wealth to the people there, but the planting of tobacco is also a high stakes gamble as inclement weather can ruin a whole season's crop. Salak Pondoh also thrives there. We had a simple meal of nasi rames-- basically Indonesian mixed rice. The only difference is that the people here like their dishes sweet! Having filled our bellies, Pak Gadot drove us to an out of the way village in Pacung to see the local horn handicraft market. He made a few wrong turns before managing to find the place. We did not get to see the manufacturing process as they were still in Lebaran mode, but they were nice enough to invite us in to view their collection. Even Pak Gadot had a whale of a time eating kuih raya and chatting with the a couple of patriachs while we shopped next door. Quite amazing what one can do with buffalo horn-- dishes, bangles, boxes, combs, decorative sculptures. And they were all very decently-priced, although the horn's actually imported from Australia. Surprising.

Pucang

From there, it was a four-hour drive back to Jogjakarta. Upon arrival, it rained again. Pak Gadot dropped us at Dagadu Djokdja, a local clothing manufacturer that employs youths as their graphic designers, resulting in very nifty designs that are chock full of local flavour and pop culture. I filled up a questionaire and was presented with two button badges:

"Kapan ke Jogja lagi?"

It basically means, "When are you coming back to Jogjakarta?". A good question. Haha. And when the staff further asked me where I had been earlier in the day, my mind drew a blank. Wakakaka. Holiday mood lah katakan! A last change of hotel. This time's Duta Garden, hand-picked by POD himself. Nestled inside a residential area, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, but still walking distance to all the makan places. Just eighteen units inside a garden-style setting, complete with pool, koi pond and WIFI. Dinner was at an adjacent street, at a joint called Via Via Cafe. Packed with caucasians. Apparently it has many branches around the world, sells fair trade items, organizes yoga and cooking classes even. I bought a wooden toy car for Cyan there and a lerak fruit (sad to say that it's too mild to completely clean my silver Marc Jacobs chain). Also found customer-written travel guides hastily scribbled in scrapbooks. Interesting. The food was quite good (I had fried mihun and es dawet), but POD did not like it one bit. Back at the hotel, watched a bit of "Spiderwick Chronicles" and fell asleep...

Duta Garden

Via Via Cafe

Saturday, October 09, 2010

HPBDY to Moi

I was born in 1980 on the 9th of October. It was a Thursday. Do the math. It was 30 years ago. About a week before that, my mum's water broke a little and she was warded. Streams of pregnant women were wheeled in screaming and wheeled out happy mothers, but my mum was still there waiting for me. The nurses asked:

"What's wrong with her?"

"Ah, paip bocor."


On the night that I was born, I came out a feisty bluish-black bundle. Fast-forward today-- I'm thankful to God for the family and friends around me; the food on my table; the roof over my head; the clothes on my back; my health; and last but not least, my loving boyfriend of more than 3 years, KH. Not forgetting SK my trusty bestie too! I hope that God will continue to bless us and enrich our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Club 30 is officially open! Please register with the secretary general, SK. :P. Thank you all for the kind wishes. Muacks.

Friday, October 08, 2010

YY II: False Alarm & Winding Wonosobo

For your information, Jogjakarta's timezone is WIB - Waktu Indonesia Barat. GMT+7. What this is means is, Kuala Lumpur's time runs faster by an hour. Being the lazy bastard that I am, I did not reset my watch and my iPhone was missing the "Set Automatically" setting for Date and Time. And so, I stupidly set my iPhone alarm for 4:00am the night before. With BoB blaring in cool morning air that it suddenly hit me that it's only 3:00am WIB!!! Arghhhhhhhhhhhh... No wonder there was no morning call. Immediately jumped into bed, burrowing back into KH's warmth. At the alotted time, we got up and did a mandi kerbau before heading to the lobby. Collected our Borobodur sunrise tickets and complimenatary torchlights and followed the guide to Borobodur. The air was cold and mist was everywhere. It was very quiet and the trek up the wet and uneven stairs in the dark jolted me out from whatever grogginess I had earlier felt. Nobody else was on the top. Around us, floodlights illuminated the ancient stone structure. As the sky became lighter, more tourists arrived but the sunrise was nowhere to be seen. POD already had his DSLR camped out at the East gate but all he captured so far was faux sunrises simulated by the floodlights. By 6:00am, it was obvious that we had missed the sunrise due to the heavy mist that morning.

Borobudur Morn I

Bas Relief

Disappointed, we headed all the way down and tried to retrace the steps of the pilgrims of old-- start at the East gate and circle the shrine in a clock-wise. We tried to look for the bas reliefs that we learned about during the audio visual presentation the night before. With so many on the walls, it was quite lucky that we at least recognized several. One was of Buddha's mother, Queen Māyā having a dream about a white elephant descending upon her before she conceived Buddha. And another two more about Buddha's past life as a quail against a forest fire and a giant turtle who sacrifices itself to the people whom it saved. It was all very beautiful, but when you see sculpture after sculpture and etching anter etching... it starts to get a bit tiresome. Hehe. One of the repeating motifs that one sees is that of Kala-Makara. The Time God's head adorns all the arches representing the threshold between time and eternity. Finishing 4 concentric circles, we finally arrive at the stupas, each containing a buddha with a specific type of mudra. A pair of Japanese girls were seen giggling and trying to touch the Buddha's shoulder because their guide told them the belief that by doing so, a woman would quickly find a husband. :S. It's quite ingenious that the diamond patterns of the stupas were accomplished with stones carved like 'X's.

Borobudur Morn II

At the top was a beautiful view of the mountain landscape and we took our time cam-whoring there. By 8:00am, we were ready to descend the giant mandala. Made a beeline for the coffee house. Had bakmi goreng and fried rice that seemed to be a staple in the following hotels as well. Chock full of MSG goodness. Also had an omelette and later some free snacks that came with the sunrise tour-- banana fritter with shaved cheese and a chocolate muffin with cheese topping as well. Dutch influence?! By 10:00am, we had to check-out so we went back to our rooms. For some reason, the early morning air made KH very horny... so horny that we did not notice Pak Gadot knocking on our door. Hope he didn't hear anything. :P. Next on our list was Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon, two lesser shrines that pre-date Borobudur. Spent the most time at Mendut as there was a Buddhist Monastery there. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of juice there. :(. Can you imagine a monastery that is an amalgamation of Chinese, Japanese, Javanese and Christian influences? It was my first time seeing Buddhist images in stained glass.

Mendut Monastery

Like in Bali, we were brought to a silversmith, Anson Silver. Beautiful silver filligree, but the price was also as beauiful. Had a chance to look at how their artisans worked. They all wore plain-coloured Ts with large characters, kinda reminded me of a Pusat Serenti. :S. What was most interesting was the use of lerak to polish silver. Just by peeling the skin and brushing it, bubbles actually appear that can be used on tarnished gold and silver. Lunch was at Sekar Kedaton, a high-class restaurant serving local food at not-so-local prices. Though expensive, I really enjoyed the Iga Brongkos (a dark beef stew) and bebek bakar (BBQ duck). We were due to be in another town later that day, so we headed off. Seperti ular kena palu definitely describes the road to Wonosobo the best. Side mirror to side mirror narrow. And Pak Gadot had to floor the accelerator each time he had to handle the sudden inclines. We all just slept in the car with our heads lolling left and right. On arrival at Wonosobo, we were greeted by the sight of a giant abandoned mansion. Looked kinda like Capitol Hill. Amazing.

Wonosobo

Surya Asia Hotel in Wonosobo was quite pleasant. Our rooms faced the coffee house that was located smack dab in the middle of the building. It was kinda like an arcade with its natural lighting and it also came with a water feature. The air in the city was quite cool, so the rooms did not have air-conditioning. Feeling adventurous, we decided to walk out to see if there was anything to do in the town. By the time we reached the city center (the biggest ), the number of eyes trained on us was getting pretttttty uncomfortable, so we decided to double back. Dinner was at Murni Rasa Seafood Restaurant just opposite our hotel. It was quite a gamble seeing that it had zero customers! But it paid off. Food was good. The lady boss did the cooking herself. A scrumptious meal of salted egg frog legs, fu yung hai, stir-fried kangkung and fried chicken. Back in the room, KH and I actually watched "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li". A B-grade bonanza. I never liked Kristin Kreuk. And the cable TV was so adorable-- at certain intervals, a payment reminder would flash in the middle of the screen... looks like Surya Asia Hotel had some outstanding bills to pay! Another early morning the next day.... See the pattern? Why do I have to get up so early on my holiday?! :P

Wonosobo Foodie

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

YY I: Meet & Greet

Breakfast was kinda hearty-- soft-boiled eggs made with love by KH. Had some bread to go with it too. Since time was short, did not have much time to suck on the 'other eggs'. :(. One should never have to rush through a meal. ;P. Unfortunately, KH also did not sleep well the night before. Before you jump to any conclusions, I was not depriving him of his quality sleep. We suspect that the Mojito he took the night before had a role to play. At Changi, the check-in line for Jogjakarta was heavenly. Two long, snaking queues. It was the end of lebaran, so all the rich Jogjakartans were heading home with their multitudes of designer shopping bags. Miu Miu. Prada. Aigner. All a common sight. Luckily it was over in half and hour or so. Was fun going on a trip with Nic and POD again. Our last trip together was to Kuching. Nic had cut his hair even shorter. The couple must have an army fetish in the bedroom I suspect. :P.

The flight was not eventful. Just more passengers toting Burberry, flashing Dunhill and Schaumburg. :S. Was quite hungry, so KH and I shared a nasi lemak. Took them ages to actually serve it. And when it came, they had only a fork left. By the time KH finished the meal, the pilot was preparing for landing. The Adisucipto Airport is quite cute. The jam started the moment I stepped onto the tarmac. Can you imagine that it takes about 50m from the end of the tarmac to clear immigration and customs? Talk about compact. Arrival cards were only available at the counter. Imagine the chaos. There wasn't even a need for a baggage conveyor. They just dump it at one side. :S. Outside, we were greeted by Pak Bidi, our travel agent. Unlike in Bali where had a driver and a guide, our driver Pak Gadot had to multitask. Bidi just did the logistics and paperwork.

Jogjakarta2010-1

The moment we got into the giant van (they had thought that we were a family and would have tonnes of luggage), it started to rain heavily. That's the dry season for you. The weather's gone nuts. Lunch was at Ayam Goreng Surhati. Javanese fried chicken-y goodness. POD fell in love with the sambal terasi there. It's great if you can overlook the spooky faces of women in traditional makeup peering at you from the walls and the menu even. Her face was also plastered on a giant billboard on the highway. VERY HARD TO MISS. After filling our bellies, it was a fantastic jam to the Manohara Hotel located just inside the grounds of Borobudur.

Manohara

The welcome drink was a chilled jaggery concoction with a lemongrass stem. The hotel's made up of rooms sprawled across an area with winding stone trails dotted with mini lighted stupas and well-manicured grass. Due to its close proxiity to the site, it only has one storey. Outside of each room, one sees oil paintings inspired by the beauty of Borobudur. The rooms were a bit dated, but clean and comfy. Each room came equipped with a coffee table book on Borobudur. At the back, guests can relax on lounge chairs and admire the green landscape with the ancient stones looming not far away.

Manohara II

Before dinner, we walked to Borobudur and had a first taste of the peddlers there. Hawking their postcards, books and volcanic stone sculptures, they really were a nuisance. Come in the morning and they will tell you "morning price". Come in the evening and it will be "evening price". :S. Luckily they are not allowed inside Borobudur compound. We were quite late, so we could not make it up. We just lingered at the base went back to the hotel for dinner. Had some grilled fish, satay, fried chicken and fried rice with an accompaniment of a live degung performance. The vocals were too much even for me. The guy sounded like he was mourning the death of his favourite pet chicken. With a sunrise tour scheduled at 4:30am the next day, we quickly called it a night.

Jogjakarta20102