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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jinjang Soup Kitchen (Part 2)

Here are the pictures to share. Finally got it from my colleagues. So I am not gonna elaborate more since I've already blogged about it earlier.
A group picture before the crowd starts coming in.  Last Friday's special was fried rice, fried dried beancurd (contributed by someone from the neighbourhood) and vegetable soup.
 Jeffrey, the person in charged briefing us on our duties.
 The onions got to my eyes when we helped to peel them.  :p
Me & a fellow colleague having fun washing down the premise after our service.
See how much fun we had!  We met up at 10:00am that morning, helped to peel baskets of onion, briefed on our duties, served the meal, ensuring enough utensils as well as food, tables are cleaned and lastly, washed down the whole place.  By time we are done, it was already 2:30pm.
Another group photo before we called it a day. :)  We have a right group with the right kind of attitude that day.  Each of us enjoyed the exerience tremendously!

If you wish to know more about this Soup Kitchen, check out their website HERE.  Maybe you too can volunteer your time! :) Have fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Time Out For Girlfriends!

Today I met up with two girlfriends of mine of 17 years.  It had been awhile since we last met.  In fact, I do meet every now and then with one of them, Josephine.  It was the other one that I hardly have a chance to meet up.  The good news for this time round is, the other one will be getting hitched soon :).  Am so happy for her.  And the bad news is, I wont be around to attend. :(  Sad-nya! :(((

We had dinner and chatted till 11pm. It was awesome.  We should do this more often. *thumbs up*

A Short Getaway to Philea Resort Malacca

Sometime ago, I heard of this place called Philea Resort, which was awarded the 'Best Green Hotel' in 2011 by the Malacca government.  Quietly tucked away in our city of historical a well planned out resort nestled amidst lustrous of green with little log cabins built from prime Russian pine wood scattered within it, dotting along a man made stream filled with pebbles.  Sounds lovely ain't it?

Not too long after 'sometime ago', I chance upon a promotion on Groupon where the rate were going for 55% lesser.  And so, that's where we were yesterday & today :). Yeah, I was at the run yesterday.  Got home, showered, took a cat nap till the husband got home from work before we head to the resort.

It was indeed a lovely resort.  The cabins were rather nice.  It felt very much like I was sleeping in some log cabin somewhere in the jungle (just like in movies :)).  Interior were nicely designed with pieces complementing each other.  Landscaping were well kept too.
And it is not called the 'Best Green Hotel' for no reason.  Other than log cabins, they even used former 'railway sleepers' (timber/beam laid in a railroad track) as staircases & perimeter fencing. 
 Crawly plants growing on the railway sleepers that moonlighting as staircases.
In the midst of the resort, there is a huge man-made waterfall & river surrounding a huge swimming pool.   Nice right?

Overall, we sort of like the place.  'Sort of' cause the cabin is really cozy and nice.  We don't mind going there again.  Just chilling out in the cabin.  The staff are really friendly unlike most resort/hotel in Malaysia which we have been too where they only greet foreigners.  We were welcome with cold towels & a refreshing fruit punch at the lobby plus a complimentary fruit platter in the room after that.   Whenever we came upon a staff, we are always greeted with simple greeting plus a huge smile! Plus points!

But between Philea & Avillion, we would rather spend them at Avillion.  Reason being:

1) Avillion has an pool strictly for adults only - peace & quiet for some tanning + cold beer + dipping in the pool.
2) It is less stuffy in Avillion probably cause it is by the sea.  It was really hot & stuffy at Philea.  Wind-less.
3) Though the log cabin is really really nice, but it is not sound proof.  Extremely not sound proof.  Our neighbour was a couple with a child.  We can practically hear every words they speak!

So now, if you happened to googled for 'Philea Resort' and came to my blog, you decide for yourself.  I would still go to relax if the rate is good.  Oh, I was told by the reception that from now till further notice, Standchart credit card is one the the bank that entitles you to 55% off it's publish rate. :)  So, if you looking for somewhere not too far away to fill this school holidays, maybe you can consider Philea Resort.  I believe the kids would enjoyed it. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Standchart KL Marathon Carnival - Oh.... shoot!

Today, I completed my first 5km run for 2012. It was the StandChart KL Marathon Carnival in Putrajaya in conjunction with the 'Thousand Youth Gathering Event' in Putrajaya (Himpunan Jutaan Belia Putrajaya 2012).  And well, confession time.  I was there not because I supported the youth nor the government but simply because I supported my bank's event.  :p
It has been a while since I last ran.  Prior to the job, I have a running buddy in the morning.  Since I started the job, zero running (that explains the widening of my butt, arms, thighs & etc... I wish they would just go one place... the boobs...lols...).  Really must find more time.

Well, I did did a few 3 & 4km but that doesn't count cause it was on thread mill. Anyway, did my 5km in 45min. Sigh... walked more than run. A good 10 minutes slower than my last run. I wonder how am I gonna survive 10km next month.  Deep shit......!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Helped To Make Less Go Hungry

Today I volunteered at Soup Kitchen under our bank's CSR project.  This is also part of the reason why I love my job.  It provides me opportunities like these to contribute back to the society so I can do more bad.  Lols...  Our bank's CSR, I was told, has always been organized by the Human Resource Department.  However, this year, they decided that each department would undertake to organize a CSR event instead.

We kicked started the chain of CSR events today at the Jinjang Soup Kitchen, organized by Marketing.  This first round was organized for us, the committees.

Arrives at 10am sharp, helped to arrange all tables and chairs & peel some onions while waiting for the chief for briefing.  After the briefing, we were divided into 3 groups.  One group serve, one group ensuring there are constant supply of clean utensils and another group, out at the diners to ensure tables are clean.  And we rotated our duties every 45 minutes or so.  In between, we need to ensure food & water are refilled and so are condiments. :)

And so, it was like that from 11:15 ~ 2:15pm.  None stop.  And after that, cleaned up and washed down the entire place before calling it a day. :)  It was fun working along retired aunties and uncles as well as other colleagues.  We shared so much fun and laughters.  I bet everyone who came in for a meal too enjoyed themselves... :)

I'll share some pictures another time.  But first, I will need to steal from someone. :)

Have a great weekend!  I know mine would be for I am happier already! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Miss Miss Days...

I am not sure if I've blogged about this, but 10 years ago, I was involved in this,
and this,
and this,
 which subsequently, resulted in this.
Your's truly, being crowned Miss Malaysia Fitness 2002 2nd Runner Up + a subsidiary title, 'Ms Hospitality'.  Never tell much about it cause I was sort of, ermm...., a little  shy about it.  Don't ask me why. 

Until last Sunday, when one of the girl (the current Mrs Malaysia Universe), found us thru FB and got some of us together for a catch up dinner, we dug out some photos to share.   
It was such a lovely evening laughing away reminiscing on our good old days! And of course, the must-not-be-missed photo sessions.
It was such a pleasant evening and we were all so zest up on planning a proper 10th year Anniversary come July 2012. :)

Earlier today, at work, I met up with Terri for lunch to catch up on things other than the pageant.  Didn't get a chance to talk to her much that day.  As we were talking away, I pointed out this.
I said looking back at those picture, we are like almost perfect.  Perfect hair, perfect body, perfect smiles.  Yet, at that time, we still think we are fat & etc.  We still can point out 101 flaws.  Hahaha...  Covering up our expose tummy la... cannot wear this la.. cannot wear that la... oh my....!  Goodness me.  Lols...  Looking back at it now, I was gorgeous! Hahahaha....  Totally unlike what I've became now.  But then I guess, I probably need another 10 years to tell me that I am totally HOT today.  

Hahahahahaahaha..... what to do?  We are our biggest critic. :) Am I right?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 2 : Exploring Incheon & Racing Amazingly to Jeju

Here's a little map found on google for your ref.  Arrived in Incheon on the night of Day 1 and spent the next half day exploring the little town.  

Woke up to a rather chilly weather at this quaint little guesthouse called "Lazybird Guesthouse".  It was recommended by a friend who stayed there last year.  Pretty nice place really.  Love it.  The funny story was, when I booked it early this year, it was located somewhere else.  Only to find out they have moved house prior to our trip but our rsvp still stands.  Like that also can...
Breakfast is serve from 7:00 - 10:00am in its' cute little kitchen that leads out to a cozy patio.  All are DIY.  There were breads, coffee & tea all spread out.  Just help yourself to it. :)  I don't know if I am weird or something.  I like it like this.  Simple.  Bread and coffee just nice.  I dislike those international buffet spread out in hotels.  Too overwhelming. Seriously, most of the time is more of greed than just breakfast. :p
Had my breakfast out in the patio.  Lovely.  I wish we have lovely weather like this too here in Malaysia.  With out weather, I can already imagine a totally under utilize patio in the future.... Lols...  Who would wanna sit and baked in those heat here? Definitely not me.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the sun, yes.  But I don't like feeling sticky from the heat. Not only were the patio is nice, the orange deco sorta add some zest to the entire place!  I like that!  Happy colour!
Little pots of colourful blooms filled a corner of my breakfast place.  Pretty isn't it?  If only our flowers blooms like that too.
Gathered some info from our host and off we ventured out to Incheon leaving our luggage all packed up in the guesthouse.  We both got so excited when we came upon our first cherry blossom tree, right outside our guesthouse and spent a good 10 minutes oooh-ing and ahhh-ing snapping away. The ajumas working away on their farm nearby must be wondering where these two jakuns come from....hahahahahha.......
There was really no doubt about the prettiness of cherry blossoms.  They simply took our breath away. Mine for sure (I am the jakun-er between the two of us).  It still does whenever I see this picture!  Total beauty.  Some friends told me that the cherry blossoms in Korea are lighter in shade.  I noticed that too. they were not as pinky as those we always seen on postcards/poster/tv.  More like a much faded kind of pink.  Pretty in it's own away.  Did spotted one or two really pink trees or white.  But majority are just really light pink.
As we walked out to the bus stand, both sides of the road are all lined with cherry blossom trees.  I can imagine the entire place will be really pretty come next spring.  Anyway, we walked out to the main road (there were hardly any cars in this part of Incheon), hopped on to Bus #202 from a bus stand in front of a church.
The plan was to get to Incheon ferry harbour and from there, get on a ferry to Wolmi Park, then Chinatown, then BuPyeong (underground market), and finally back to the guesthouse to pick up our luggage before heading to Gimpo Airport for our flight to Jeju in the evening.

The public bus ride was good.  It took us through the more remote part of Incheon where we get to see villages, farms & etc.  Along the way, old ladies and men hopped on and off the bus.  I took a picture of this particular ajuma cause she is wearing Paul Frank's socks.  One of the many favourite thing of mine.  Lols....  I combed the entire Jeju & Seoul after that for it but found none.  I concluded that it might have all been bought by her.  Lols.. seriously, of hundreds of socks shop/stall, there were none.  Plenty of monkey but non Paul Frank.  Unbelievable.  
We got to the harbour with a public transport!  *thumbs up*
While waiting for the ferry to arrive, I bought a packet of tasteless prawn crackers from a little stall next to the ticket counter.  As I was munching away feeling all disatisfied (cause tasteless), the lady who sold me the crakers came out and start shouting to the direction of the sea as if she was calling out for someone or something before looking at my direction and started talking about something which I have zero clue.  After awhile, she gave up, went back into her stall and came right back out with a packet of crackers in hand before starting to shout again.  I really thought she might be crazy or something before I seen her opening the packet and throwing handful of crackers out to the sea. Only then I realised she was trying to tell me I can feed the seagulls with it.  Lols....  I turned to the husband with my eyes bout to pop out, "Shit.. this is bird food!  No wonder it's tasteless!"....hahahahahahahah 
He laughed and I quickly recheck out the packaging.  THere were illustration of human cartoon eating it and we caught sight of the ajuma eating them.  I guess it was also human food.  Lols....  In the end, I just fed them all to the birds anyway.  It was tasteless.   
The ferry arrived on the dot.  One thing we learned in Korea is, they are really punctual.  If the schedule says it will arrived at 11:18, it WILL arrive at 11:18.  So good!  Wish Malaysia is the same too.  Whenever I travelled, I always cant help but noticed so many things I wish my country could adopt.  SImply can't see anything from us they can adopt.  Sigh.... I love my country so much.  Lols..

It was my first time getting on a ferry like this.  Where they use to transport vehicle.  Interesting.  We stayed on the deck throughout enjoying the cool breeze and sun while watching some passengers feeding more seagulls with the tasteless crackers we bought earlier.  Hahahaha...
I am glad we actually decided to stay a night in Incheon and spent half a day there before departing for Jeju.  It was in Incheon that we get to see the plenty of cherry blossoms in full bloom.  Really a sight to behold.  It is like the entire town is planted with cherry blossom trees as if they are turning the town to a cherry blossom town!  Felt really lucky to get to experience it. I believe it would have all been gone if we arrive a week later.  There were no more blooming trees in Jeju when we were there and only one or two trees still in full bloom in Seoul.  Nothing like Incheon.
Arrived in Wolmi Park some 20 minutes later, got into a seafood restaurant, pointed to a picture and here come our lunch.  Something something guksu.  Guksu actually means noodle.  It was yummy just a little plain.  Only noodle with clams.  But I love their noodle.  Very different from what we have here.  Their's is soft and taste natural.  Preservativeless.  Unlike our's - yellow & hard.  This noodle cost us approximately 25,000W (RM60+).
Generally, I finds the cost of food in Korea is on the higher side as compared to Malaysia.  A simple meal would cost about RM60+ for two on average.  Street food like chicken skewer or sausage roll or corn crackers would start at 3000W (RM8.40).  

Our first taste of Korean kimchi that was served prior to our guksu.  How does it taste?  Well, for a non-kimchi lover, it tasted just like our kimchi!  Hahahahaha..... I don't hate kimchi, but I don't love them either.  I can eat them but they are not one of my favourite food. :)  Like that la...  so I really can't tell the difference between the Malaysian & the Korean's kimchi.  THey taste the same.
Check out the rows of cherry blossoms.  A pretty sight isnt it?  It was sort of exciting at first but after awhile, everything just got stale.  Turn left, cherry blossom.  Right, cherry blossom.  Look up, still cherry blossoms.  Lols..... The entire stretch from Wolmi Park to Chinatown (about 10km long), are covered in cherry blossoms.  Wolmi Park is just a fun fair kinda park with kids' rides.  More like a park catered for the locals in Incheon.  It was not in our initial plan.  Since our host recommended the ferry ride across, might as well cause it docks here.
The stretch from Wolmi to Chinatown was a really looonggg.... walk.  Not only that... lack of signage too.

This is really funny.  We met him at one stretch of the road where he stopped by the road to take picture of those lovely flowers.  We asked for direction towards Chinatown.  He pointed us to the correct direction and off we went.  We walked for a really long time and we met him again resting in his truck parked on the shoulder of the road.  He kept pointing to the direction we were to go. As we walked past, he kept waving us back and said a whole lot of Korean while walking to the back of his truck.  I thought he was going to give us a lift.  Yay!  Seriously, it was a really long walk.  We felt as if we are walking in circle...lols...
Instead, he gave us two packet of this "Andong Bellflower Extract".  Hillarious...!  The first thing that came to my mind was... "my god... it's gonna be a really long walk...".  He gave us ginseng tea!  Lols... (I didn't know what bellflower was anyway and just assumed everything is ginseng!)  lols... Tasted a packet on the second night we were in Jeju and it taste... ermm... overwhelming.  It's like some kind of very strong herb extract.  Concentrated herb juice or something.  And, I got sick the next day! I had a feeling that it must be really super duper heaty.
It was indeed a really long walk.  At one point, we asked two old Korean ladies on our path.  Instead of telling us how to get to Chinatown, she just hold my hand and pull me along.  Meaning... to follow her.  Lols... 

We got to Chinatown alright... but didnt get to explore.  Just had a glimpse and decided that all Chinatown in the world are the same.  We spent too much time walking and enjoying the flowers.    Hahaha...  Got ourselves a cash card each and hopped into a subway.  Got off at Bupyeong and did a quick round of it's underground shopping before getting back on heading for Unseo for our luggage.

We underestimated the distance between Bupyeong and  Unseo.  More like 'me' underestimated the distance since I am the one who planned our itinerary.  Believe you me, we almost missed our flight to Jeju.  I've never ran like that!  For a moment I thought I was in the Amazing Race!  Lols... seriously, I don't think I am cut out for Amazing Race after this.  Hahahahahaha..... Just for your easy planning if you are heading for Kimchi Land, the distance between Incheon Airport and Gimpo Airport would take approximately 40 minutes by subway.  Just allocate an hour travelling time to be safe.
We practically ran out of Unseo station, grabbed our luggage which we have arranged for our host to deliver, ran back into the station and headed for Gimpo Airport!  Our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:10pm and we are suppose to check it at least 40 minutes prior to departure (5:30pm).  FYI, there were no web check-in for Jeju Air.  We only arrived at Gimpo Airport station at 5:50pm!!!   I ran all the way to the airline counter while the husband manage our luggage.  It was crazy.  

When I arrived at the counter, I just kept saying that we are late! We are late!  The officer at the counter told me that it's ok.  The departure time has been changed to 6:30pm instead.  Cause when we bought the ticket, it was still winter.  Now that it is towards summer, the departure time has been changed.  I was still panting away while mumbling I've luggage on the way... please wait.  The officer must have felt sorry for me.  He told me not to worry.  We have plenty of time!  Lols...

And so, thanks to changing of season, we didn't missed our flights! :) There are few airlines that serve the route but I found Jeju Air offer the cheapest fare during that time.  We got our's for just about RM175 per person.  Return flights.  If you are keen, you can purchase the tickets via their web at Jeju Air.  The earlier you book, the cheaper they are.  It is something like our Air Asia except it is much better.

1) You don't need to walk to the plane.  There are shuttle buses that drive you right up to the plane.
2) You don't need to buy luggage space.  The fare include a maximum of 15kg per passenger.  
3) You don't need to pay for drink on board.  They will served you their famous Jeju's Hallabang Orange Juice which I am sure they would oblige a few more serving if you ask.

After 'Jeju Air', I sort of feel cheated by Air Asia. :p  Everything also need to pay!  Even for plain water.
Arrived in Jeju one hour later.  Exited at Gate 5, got onto one of the red & white airport limousine bus #600 headed for Seogwipo.  The journey took about an hour and cost us just W5000 (RM14/person).  It will stopped at a few larger hotels around Jungmun area before it end in Seogwipo.  It will announced each stop in English/Mandarin/Japanese.  It's hard to miss your stop.  Worst worst, just get off at the last stop and grab a cab.  But be sure to have your destination written in Korean.  For more info on buses in Jeju, you can check out their website HERE.  I am honestly impressed with the works of the Korean Tourism Authority.  They really did a great job to assist tourists!  Information are abundant!

Anyway, our cab couldn't locate our hotel even with a gps.  He took us to a place which was not our hotel and kept saying that this is what the address said (I think cause all I heard was bunch of hangul).  Lols... We decided to take matters into our own hand.  Reckoned that the hotel would not be too far away judging from the maps in our phone.  And so, we paid the driver, got off the cab, lugging our luggage into the night, drizzling and cold, on a strange land, looking for our hotel.  Sounds kinda pitiful hor...hahahahah... We found it in the end ok.  It was in fact very near to where we were.

The owner of the restaurant (picture above) saw us, again a bunch of hangul coming out of his mouth like bullets which we can't make any sense of, before he decided to try japanese instead.  Lols....  Really, we realized that Japanese is more useful than English in Korea.  Lols...Finally a common language.  Hahaha... Though we don't speak much Japanease, I've learned enough Japanese vocabulary to understand what he is trying to tell us.  Hahahaha...
In the end, we just called the hotel and get the Korean guy to speak to them.  And guess what, our hotel is just at the next turn behind the restaurant.  Lols... so near!

To repay his kindness, we had dinner at his restaurant after that.  We told him to serve us anything that is yummy.  When the food arrived, to our horror, it was all some kind of internal organs.  Not sure if it was from pig/cow/chicken.  Yucks.  None of us a fan of internal stuff.  To be polite, we just TRY our best to eat as much as possible.  Until a moment ago, while I was updating this, the husband saw this picture and went..."Yucks.....! Why you put this picture....eeeeiiii....!"... hahahahahhaa....

Seriously, after a long day, this kind of dinner?!?  Lols.... 10km of walk, 1km of run (it was a long run from the station to the airport), 1 hour of bus ride and we came to this kind of dinner...?  Lols....  After that first night in Jeju, on all subsequent night, whenever we walked past the restaurant, we would just look straight ahead and walk as fast as possible to avoid having the need to oblige.  Hahahahahaha.... I know we dont need to... but it's fun doing it anyway!

Useful sites:-

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Survived A Year! Yay!

I told my boss yesterday... I said... "You buying me lunch tomorrow.".  He went... "Oh, why?"  I said, "Cause today is the first day of my second year working here...".  He replied.. "Oh, only one year you have worked here?  It felt as if I've known you for so long...."... I wonder this is good or bad?  Lols...

Yep, time does flies.  It felt as if I just started the job couple of months ago.  Without realizing it, it has been a year.  

Ok, I survived a year in a banking job which was anything but mundane - deadlines, long hours, waking up at ungodly hours, mad traffic, people management, but somehow, all rolled out to be rather ok.  What started off as a 9-5 job; wishful thinking on my side, still remain wishful... hahaha...   

Well, am getting a hang of it all and I am still one piece.  Just less 'life'.... hahahaha 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 1: KL to Incheon

So, am back from kimchi land. All I can say is, it was awesome, awesome, awesome! Beautiful weather, clean, super convenient transportation, nice Korean that speaks Hangul to us continuosly despite of knowing very well that we are foreigners. Yeah, I love the last bit best! 

Before we went on the trip, friends commented that communication would be a problem and that we are very brave to opt for a free & easy trip. I was ecstatic on hearing that! Super excited and full of anticipation. And now, I am glad to say that it did not disappoint me one bit. Not many Korean speaks English indeed! 

You can say that I am crazy but I love going to places where they don't speak our language. Only then I feel like being on a holiday! I can speak any language I feel like it. Even Cantonese! Whatever they replied would sound so exotic to my ears. Nice! 
I am glad that for this trip, our flight departed LCCT only at 2:30pm, unlike so many other trips which departed in those ungodly hours of the morning. Woke up, took our time, sent Rumba & Sunshine for boarding, had breakfast, before leaving for the airport on the pre-arranged cab that arrived at our door on the dot. I still remember once, how we had a cab that never turns up when we were bound for Bali. That's exciting in a different way - stress. Hahaha...
 The six hours flight were alright, we watched movies & played games.  But still, I wish we had that Doraemon door where we can just walk thru it to wherever we wanna go instead of being stuck there, on a chair, in a flight, for 6 hours.  I dreaded anything more than 5 hours of flight unless of course if we are traveling in Business/First Class/Premium, that would totally be a pleasure.  Anyway, I survived.
Arrived in Incheon at about 9:30pm local time (8:30pm Malaysian' time).  Once out of immigration, headed straight for the Tourist Counter and got them to help us to call for our guesthouse.  Yeah, they are generally very tourist friendly.  We waited at a designated place and our transport from the guesthouse arrived 10 minutes later.  :)  
The weather that night was chilly and misty.  It was already 11pm by time we got out of airport and got to the guesthouse.  As the guesthouse is a house, not a commercial hotel/motel, it was located in a housing area, away from shops and all.  Instead of going out for late supper, we had cup noodles instead!  Korean cup noodles that is!  They have a corner that is stock up with dry food.  Every item is  just 1000W (RM2.80).  Self service.  Put the money in the basket and have your noodle in the kitchen.  Just like our own home.  Nice!

When you just arrive in the airport, if you have any problems or doubts, just head straight for their Korea Tourism Desk.  Not only will they advise you on your tours and etc, they will also help to call if required!  Oh yeah, they speaks English in case you are wondering. :)