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Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz

I always heard this on radio but I didn't know it was Jason Mraz' until I went to his concert.  Meaningful lyric.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

It was a June-ful of FUN!

I know I suppose to complete my Day 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 of our South Korea vacation, believe me, I am trying to too but I simply couldn't find the time to do it.  Because my entire June is gone. Let me tell you why...

My busy-ness basically started from the last week of May.  As I've earlier blogged, I ran 5km in the Standard Chartered Fun Run event in conjunction with the National Youth Day in Putrajaya that weekend.  I got a little tan from the run.
After which, I left for a short recuperating getaway to Philea Spa Resort in Malacca.  Got back the next day for a chilling out session with friends over cool beers.  The weather is simply too hot these days.  Chilled beer somehow seems so tantalizing!
On the first Sunday of June, was out in Petaling Street/Central Market area for a street photography outing with my bunch of photography enthusiast colleagues.
It was 3 hours under hot sun, roaming thru streets looking for 'interesting' subject to shoot, experimenting on different techniques, improving on better frame. It was a crazy hot afternoon that left sandal tanned lines on my feet.  I got yet a little more tanner! 
On the second Sunday of June, we were out baking under the cloudless blue sky at the Super GT Race in Sepang International Circuit.
Believe me, that was one super HOT day.  Hot sun, hot cars and not forgetting, hot girls too!  We all got really really tanned from this.  I was still all red when I got to work the next day.  I think one might catch a little whiff of burn if they sniff hard enough... hahaha...
It was a great opportunity for me to practice more panning.  Love this shot though it can be better.  Oh yeah, I even got an autograph from Cyndie Allemann from Hitotsuyama Racing Team driving the Audit R8-LMS.  It's not that I idolized her but, I am very proud of her achievement from a women point of view.  :)  
On the third weekend of June, we were off to Pulau Sibu again (went last July).  We simply love it too much and decided that we shall try to make it an annual thingy.
This time round, it was a little crazier (and more fun).  We hyped up their sunset aerobic.  There were just us in the beginning.  Towards the end, there were at least 40 pax.....!
We got a little more creative after couple of cans.  We moved the beach table from the sand into the water so that we have a table for our drinks, tidbits & sandwiches.  It was rather cool.  We get to feed fishes while we munched down our sandwiches.  Imagine this... cold beer, snacks plus colourful fishes swimming around you.... how awesome can it get?  hahahahaha....
Some of us pretended to be a peacock to get close to one!
Other than archery, we went for flying foxes too..... :)  Wiiii........................................!  Thank God the breakfast remained in the tummy!
The backdrop look rather surreal isn't it?  Like some scene out of Jurassic Park or Terranova.  I tell you, this place is addictive.
Nights are filled with game of monopoly, bargaining, negotiating and everything else we can think of over some really nice wine and even nicer company!  Oh, we even went for a moonlight jungle trekking on the first night we were there.  The sight of lighted up bobbling fishing boats out in the black sea from where we were up in the hill plus the sky full of twinkling stars simply took our breath away!
On the fourth weekend of June, last Friday, went pick mom up from the airport when she got back from her 21 days Europe Vacation.  She looks good!
Some of the postcards that arrived in my mailbox all the way from Switzerland & Munich.  Pretty isn't it?  Hope to cover that part of the world someday - Parisian coffee, Belgium chocolates, Brussels beer, Swiss watches and etc.... :)  
But, for time being, let's just concentrate on these: Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, China, South Korea, Japan & Philippines.  The rest can wait. ;)
I requested for just a plain navy blue, medium size, long handed Longchamp.  Instead, I got 3!   A small short handle black for my casual days, a medium long handed navy & red with Eiffel for dailies.  How wonderful is that?  

Due to her huge & heavy luggages, instead of taking a coach back, the husband & I took a drive back to Kluang on Saturday to send her home!  Left KL at 10am, arrived Kluang at 12:30pm and back to KL again at 4:00pm.  Need to rush back on the same day due to prior engagement.  Nevertheless, it was a leisurely & enjoyable drive.  
And this morning, woke at 6:15am (overslept a little), accomplished our first 10km run!  It was quite an achievement on my part though I took 1:40:11 to complete.  But then again, I did not train.  What was I expecting?  :p  It is not the TIME, but the distance!   
Like what a friend shared on her FB... "The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham.  Whoever John Bingham is, I couldn't have agreed more! 
 The first two finisher from our little group of 4. :)
This is the first '10km participation' for all of us.  The guys have never even done 5km.  Their very first virgin run! :p I was worried they might rolled down the hill... hahahaha....

There you have it.  My entire June.  Don't even asked about the weekdays for they are all filled with works, dinners, dancing, house chores & etc.  And, I am so TANNED.  :p

So you asked, what's in store for July?  Well, I planned to do nothing and recuperate, complete my South Korea travelogue before end of July where there is gonna be another exploration to somewhere INTERESTING1 (Shhh.....! Don't tell anyone! hahahahahaha....).  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 3 : Island Of The Gods - Jeju

Oh my.... I am only at Day 3 of my Seoul/Jeju Travelogue.  By this rate, when will I ever reach Day 8?  Next year perhaps?  With more trips coming up and not forgetting the dailies.... OMG OMG OMG...Lols....  I need to buck up.!
Anyway, so, this is Jeju, also known as the Island of the Gods.  All I can say is, it felt as if I've live there! :)  I love it there!  It was a pity that we only have 2 full days on the beautiful island.  Initially, I learned that 2 full days would be sufficient for Jeju and so I purchased the domestic tickets.  Later on, as the date was nearer, I did a thorough research and realized that to fully enjoy Jeju, 2 days would not be possible.  Especially for me, I love nature.  :( At least a week would be lovely!  But nevermind, another time.  Maybe I shall retire there. Lols...
One thing about South Korea is, their weather forecast is extremely detail and accurate.  The night before, the Iphone says it gonna be a rainy tomorrow and true enough, rainy + gloomy.  The rain we experienced on our first day in Jeju were in fact look just like some heavy fog; like those in Genting, where it was just foggy and you won't get drench.  We were out exploring umbrella-less.  What we thought was just fogs turned out to be super dense drizzle.  We were drench within seconds.  Lols...  Got into a G26 (Korean version of 7Eleven) and grabbed an umbrella immediately.  Interesting. :)

As we explore, we stumbled upon the infamous Maeil Olle Market in Seogwipo and had a great time checking out the local produce and sampling a variety of yummies.
Jeju is known to be the main exporter (or only exporter) of Hallabang Orange which I called it the nipple orange.  Well, it does look like boobs don't it? :p  As usual, when come to local stuff, I couldn't resist and bought one to sample. I happily paid 2000W for one.  Only while I was munching down that it crossed my mind, "Isn't it a little expensive for an orange to be RM5.60?".   I thought I was conned.  Anyway, sometime later in the afternoon, I bought another bunch from a street vendor which also cost about the same each.  Was told by the guide we hired for the next day that it is expensive during this time cause it is not in season!  No wonder.  
There were many varieties of stuff sold in this Olle Market.  Assortment of kimchis, fruits, seafood, meat, fried chicken, hanbuk (korean costume), kitchen utensils, mini markets, vegetables, snacks, stockings... basically everything that you would need, even shoes!  Oh yeah, plenty of umbrellas too.  Shouldnt have bought from G26 cause it was much more expenive.
Many different kind of shell fish but I only know abalone.  :p  Dont know what are the rest!  And this is  not even a lot yet.  Wait till you see Noryangjin on our last day!  That's a lot!
Since we have yet to have our breakfast, we decided to try some snacks here not knowing exactly what it is.  I always finds it very exciting sampling foreign snacks.  
I was so happy when I discover it has a hotdog within it.  It was a breaded hotdog bun on skewer or something.  Yummy!  Lols.... Another fun thing of being in Korea besides not speaking the language is everything you order or buy is a surprise.  You never exactly know what you ordered or bought!  Lols... Take food for instant, you can't ask them what is it?  Or how it taste like or etc.  You just point at it and hope for the best!  Lols....  So imagine how exciting the first bite is!  Cause your brain can't exactly tell you how it should taste or smell since you dont even know what it is.  Therefore you wont have a preset mind on it...hahahaha...
Oh yeah, they even sell undies too.  I took this picture cause I thought the flowery ones will look rather 'sexy' on the ajumas!  Hahahahaha....
All the vege were so huge, green, nice & fresh!
Came across a stall that sells herbs & dried goods.  The above pictures are prepacked herbs for cooking Samgaetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)!  I bought some home but ended up giving them all to my in-laws since they cook everyday.  Not sure how it turn out though.  If not mistaken, it was about 3,000W per pack.  (RM8.40).
I also bought some of these.  Approximately 7000W (RM21) for 100gm or something.  About 3-4 pieces.  I later learned from the expert at a famous local samgaetang restaurant that they are real.  Just that they are not grown on a specific famous ginseng land.  
Another snacks - tempura prawn & squids.  It was delicious.  It was basically our breakfast that day.  Together with that breaded sausage thingy.  One thing we noticed about the Korean's gastronomic is, they love fried food.  Most food are either fried or grills.  
A Tofu stall.  Clean & neat.  Very well organised.  I've never came across a tofu stall/factory here in Malaysia.  Most tofu that I've seen are distributed to vegetables stall in the market.  We don't have a specialized tofu stall like this one here. 
Went for coffee at a corner shop after filling our tummies at the market.  I tried my hand at coffee art and DIY-ed a 'love' in the husband's latte!  Lols.....
Some seaweed yummies I bought from the market.  We basically munched on this throughout the day as we trekked on the Olle Trail.  It was nice.  Walking in cold weather, talking and munching away at the same time.  hahaha... ended with lots of crumbs all over me... hahahaha...
Me enjoying my java while people/car watching.  The beauty of travelling free & easy is, you get to laze as long as you like.  Till you are tired of people watching, then you can move on.  There is no time constraint.
The symbol of Olle Trail.  So what is an Olle Trail?  It was actually a trail made from the hidden and forgotten routes of Jeju Island, which cars can't access.  The routes will take you to forest, mountains, beaches, and remote places and offer unrivalled views over Jeju's unique, dramatic, volcanic landscape.  For more info on Olle Trail, you can visit their website HERE.
We finds the trail rather nice way to explore the island.  Basically allowing one to see at things from different perspective where we get to enjoy what the Island of Gods have to offer.  The beautiful colours Spring would bring (in our case), the cool breeze, fresh air, birds watching...  At one stretch, we even caught sight of a white stork/something like that.  Lols... Not familiar with bird species.  Nice!
A view of the harbour we caught at one stretch of the trail. :)  Nice right?  Foggy isn't it?  It was actually drizzling!  Yeah, and so, we were walking, along the trail, hand in hand, under an umbrella, irritating the life out of each other, while munching down seaweed yummies.  Romantic?  Lols...
Outside the entrance into Cheonjiyeon waterfall, a photo session with the mysterious & unique Dol-harubang (stone grandfather) statues where you will find them everywhere around the island.
We waited quite a while to have the waterfall all to ourselves.   There were plenty of Chinese tourists who just wouldn't care less and climbed into your frame of picture.  Hmm....really, have plenty of unpleasant experiences with them too from wherever we travel.  I wonder... Maybe it is just us that is not used to it. :)

Note: It cost 2000W per person to see this waterfall if I remember correctly. :)
After Cheonjiyeon, we walked to the harbour at the Seogwipo marine harbour.  We wanted to go for a Seongwipo Leisure Cruise around the island so that we get to enjoy it's beauty from the outside.  Unfortunately, due to bad weather, it has been cancelled that day. :(

Note: The cruise cost 15,000W per person and run at 11:00, 2:00, 3:20, 4:30.
Nevertheless, we had great fun playing with the umbrella (trying to destroy it more like it!). :)
Plenty of trees like these with little red berries all over.  Looks yummy but luckily was told that they were not edible. :p
Here I am, forgotten how to set the auto-timer.  I was trying to run for it in two seconds I think.  I realised that my long legs were not as long as I thought they were.  hahahaha...
We walked trail 6 for almost 13km - thru roads, parks, slopes, people's house garden.  There were not a single rubbish bin at sign and yet, everywhere is perfectly clean.  What is WRONG???  Was it them or us?
Arriving at Oedolgae Rock Formation after a really long walk and was greeted by this beautiful scenery of a cliff.  There was a story behind it, a legend or something, I forgotten what it was all about.
Apparently a part of the famous DaiJeungKam series were shot at this very spot.  In fact, I also noticed that most places in South Korea are made famous by movies. :)  Here you have it, Malaysian version of the famous Dai Jeung Kam.  Lols... I thought the cardboard fit my face rather nicely... hahahahaha...
You know something?  Let me share with u a little secret.  Blue water like this, and cliff like this always makes me feel like jumping in especially on a hot day.  It felt so refreshing!  Or I love sitting by the cliff watching my feet dangling.

I thought this photo turned out rather nice.  We approached another fellow tourist to take for us. :)  Tips: If you are using a DSLR, make sure you have a simple point and shoot for situation like this!  Chances of having the photo turning out well is higher with a point and shoot for a non-dslr user.
We took a cab back from Oedolgae instead of walking as the sky were getting dark.  Got back to this bbq shop around the corner from our hotel and ate our hearts out.  Total awesome.
The owner even shared with some home cooked meals for her family.  It was basically the most delicious meal we ever had on our first three days in South Korea.  We had two kinds of pork, assortment of side dishes that came with it, rice, liquor and the total bill came to about RM70+.  I thought it was rather reasonable.
The husband & I got all happy after finishing up just a bottle of soju, giggled and laughed as we walked out the restaurant, into the streets, checking out all the other shops.  It was so funny.  Not sure what it was that was so funny though.  You get what I mean?  Lols...
We learned later that people in Jeju are generally well to do from agriculture.  Most shops in town were just side businesses.  No wonder they are still sustainable despite of not much crowd.   Another thing is, there were plenty of shops selling hiking stuff - shoes, hiking stick, bags, clothing and etc due to the geographic nature of the island.  If you wish to get quality hiking stuff, there are plenty of options here. A little pricey though.  :(

Nevertheless, it was a great, happy & giggly Day 3 in Jeju!