Monday, January 30, 2006

the car for me

after watching this, there is no doubt in my mind that Toyota is the car for me. if you cannot watch this, go to the link instead. this guy trashes this Toyota 4WD with anything imaginable, short of a nuclear blowout. it's Man vs Toyota.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

phuket, oh phuket


i am not sure if 'excited' is the word to describe how i felt days before leaving for phuket, thailand. you see, i am not a beach person, but i needed the distraction. it was my mom's birthday, and she too needed a distraction. with cheap $100 tickets and guesthouses on phuket, i thought, hey, why not?

it was a bad idea staying up all night to leave at 0500, but that was exactly what i did. if i had slept, i would have slept past the arrival time in phuket. this also meant that i fell asleep on the plane and in the taxi to Little Mermaid on Kata/Karon beach. at the guesthouse, i thought to myself, looks nothing like its pictures on its websites. then i thought of how Big Macs never quite look as good as its tv counterparts. inside our bungalow around the peanut shaped pool, i thought of how lovely it would be to just ... sleep ... now. and waste all our money on sleeping. decided then to pay a visit to Nicky at his bar on Patong beach. it was my mom's first ever ride on a tuk-tuk, i think she had fun.

Nicky has a very cosy bar with dusty ornaments adorning the big shack on the edge of his garage. his staff are just as friendly as his bar, and his cars/harleys? gorgeous.

i am no car/bike gal, but which girl would pass up the chance to ride on a beautiful piece of metal?

yes, am slut.

we did not do much that day and learnt very quickly that Patong beach is not the place to shop on if you are looking for a good bargain. with 2 tourists to every local on Patong beach, you are not likely to get a reasonable price at all. we were offered THB4500 for a bag when the next shop gave us THB3800. at Central Festival (a mall close to Phuket Town), the price was fixed at THB700. now, that should give you a very, very clear picture.

that night, i had Pad Thai at Little Star on Thanon Taina where our guesthouse, Little Mermaid is located. mom could not swallow a thing - if she swallowed anything, she'd puke. she was revolted at the fact i was eating noodles from a kitchen where pork was being cooked. that night, i slept like a baby.

tuesday, the next morning, my father arrived on the same early morning flight armed with Delifrance sandwiches for my starving mom. we rented a (very ancient) Suzuki jeep and made our way to the outskirts of Phuket Town to look for a nondescript muslim thai seafood restaurant for local muslims.

Singapore has not sold soda in bottles like these at the car rental shop/bar for decades, feels very ... old skool.

on our way to Phuket Town, could not help but notice how these guys are more concerned about controtting pests than proofreading their signboards.

i can safely declare that this restaurant is one of the best thai restaurants i have ever been to in my entire life. clockwise from top: deep fried tender beef with thai chilli sauce, stir-fried spicy shrimp, seafood tom yam (the best ever!), kale with oyster sauce. ordering with the local waitress was very difficult, a couple of smiles, laughs and a very helpful english-speaking restaurant patron, half the dishes we ordered arrived correctly. forget about a signboard, forget about looking out for this place on a map. the only way we found it was with a very bad hand-drawn map and the giant "No Alcohol" signboard. only thing i can tell you is to turn right before the Mazda showroom in Phuket Town and you can find it on the left side of the roundabout.

how DID they fry it so crispy and maintain the tenderness?

green curry ... yummy.

it was a very hot day and this cat was snoozing so comfortably on the ledge of the restaurant's window, with its mouth wide open. nice teeth.

we stopped by Central Festival as we made our way to Patong beach to introduce my dad to lovely Nicky. Central Festival is a shopping mall with a good variety of shops from Bebe, Body Shop boutiques to local low-cost goods. i highly recommend stopping by Central Festival. we did not have the time to stop by Ocean Plaza, apparently somewhere in this area too.

on a bench at Central Festival. they should put this everywhere in singapore.

tiramisu and a doppio at Starbucks, Central Festival.

my father promptly fell asleep on the chair and snored for all around us to hear.

we arrived safely at Patong beach after a picturesque drive through local municapalities/villages. here, i was on the phone with Joy and Damien who called to say hi. Nicky could not resist touching my shiny Canon.

The Pops got excited when he saw Nicky's cars.

A (yes, that's his name, "A") fixing the lightbulb so i could take better pictures of Nicky's white Silverstar. alas, it was not successful, in fact, a lightbulb was broken. mission was aborted.

the very cute puppy of one of Nicky's patrons who was getting his bike fixed up at the garage. big man, small dog. what an old face!

you'd be wise to heed that warning at Nicky's garage.

Nicky, self and mama before we headed back to Little Mermaid (note to self: you've grown far too fat).

when at Little Mermaid, we had a mini little fiasco of sorts. we needed two rooms of course and we had been out the entire day, so of course, we had not seen the second room. firstly, the receptionist did not lead me to my own room and sat on her heavy laurels on the squeaky office chair at the lobby. then she passes me keys to THE WRONG ROOM. i noticed something was amiss when i saw a cigarette and ashes in the ashtray, the glasses in the bathroom were upright instead of overturned and had toothpaste marks in them, and the two towels hanging on the rack were not uniform and neat. when i went back to the receptionist, she then gives me the key to the right room which is twice bigger and half as safe. the door faces the entrance of a second bar with full access to a public road - with no attendant, guard, etc. the front door of the room has no latch, and knowing how easily the receptionist gives keys to the wrong room to whomever, i was better off living on the streets. i told myself, stop being paranoid and just unpack. i checked the entire room, latched the windows, looked into the cupboard (you never know) and stared unbelievingly at the window of the bathroom. it's one of those typical square bathroom windows located at the top of the wall, just below the ceiling - for ventilation. what i could not believe was the fact that despite being big enough for a slim man to squeeze through, that this window was missing a latch. looked to the bathroom door to see if it could be locked from inside the room. no, it could not. went to my parents' room and told them, i do not feel safe sleeping alone in that room, this is how lone travellers get raped and killed in their own rooms.

that did it, we exchanged rooms. call me paranoid, but hey, if you're marked, you are marked.

showered and ran out of Little Mermaid to meet Thiru for a night out with Nicky. Thiru was coincidentally in Phuket, on the same beach for a conference. we took a tuktuk back out onto Patong. this time, we got to meet Nicky's lovely sister, Supriya.

Thiru aboard the Fiat on our way to Banana Disco. free as a bird.

this time, me, happy as a neneh bird in Banana Disco.

Miho on the left and Yukiko on the right - too cute.

Yukiko, happy with her free drinks and new friends, gives lucky me a kiss.

Banana Disco. never in Singapore will you find a picture like this on a tuesday night.

after Banana Disco closes at 0100 as it should according to the law, we head down to god-knows-where, we are all too incapacitated by now to care. these lovely Singaporean ladies were also at Banana Disco, i believe their names were ... er ... Janet and er ... Joyce? still do not know how three of them managed to fit in the back.

i know it's wrong, but we drove on. we sped through roads on the hills, up and down steep slopes, by the sea. one wrong move and we'd all be flung out of the Fiat, into the air, onto the sharp rocks below and into the deep sea. it was not our time yet, we were alive enough for Nicky to send each and every one of us home, starting with me. it was already 0600am and Thiru had a presentation at 0900 and the girls had a morning flight to catch.

i got up in the afternoon, Thiru woke up a quarter to 0900, and we do not know what happened of the girls. when i sobered up enough to face the parents without reeking of black label, we searched for some cashew nuts - it's cheap in Phuket at about THB150-200 per packet. one such specialised outlet is located on Kwang Road past Wat Chalong. for some reason, we stopped at this orchid place to ask for directions and realised it was the cashew nut outlet. highly recommended - do go. they have all kinds of cashew nuts - hot, butter, honey, chocolate (can you beat that?), garlic ... you get the picture.

we then drove on to the viewpoint overseeing Kata beach. it was beautiful but i am UNABLE TO UPLOAD THE DAMN PHOTOSTITCHED PIC. erhmm, *cough* so here, you only get to see 1/3 of the pic.

that night, we drove to Dubai Restaurant in Patong, it's on Ratuthit Road, just before Christin Massage, this huge mama of a massage place. excellent, fantastic food, very lacklustre sheesha though. we went back and thought of where to go to the next day with only half a day more of rental left on the jeep.

and so, the next day, we decide to go to Kamala beach. i want to live here for the rest of my life. took these shots from the hill where four beautiful villas, the Baan Lom Talay are located. am currently trying to convince Ravi to sell all our belongings to buy one of the villas. since blogger for some reason, or macs, cannot upload my photostitched pictures, please use your imagination and view these from left to right.

the water was simply wonderful - not cold, not warm, just nice. even when chest deep, you can see your feet at the bottom, on top of beautiful white sand. you are only chest deep 50m in!

crazy me went parasailing, it's called parasailing, right?

my not so smooth landing.

after a nice swim in the morning sun, some pineapple fried rice and seafood fried rice on the beach, under casuarina trees.

and a nice finish back at Little Mermaid's quaint little pool.

one last night out with the 'rents where they were dancing wildly with another bunch of italians. old skool rock - to which my body froze. only my head was bobbing. i flushed beetroot red when dad pulled me out to dance.

Phuket, we're coming back.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

too many things, too little time

too little sleep these days, and a lot of fun. you can't really have too much fun, can you?

had breakfast appointment with crazy friend who's down from hong kong for the weekend. but we never made it - he was having too much fun till 5am and has a flight at 4pm. good luck, fella.

and now, after so many days of rain and humidity, i am finally comfortable enough to wash my clothes. the dryer has not arrived and i am getting edgy. this is 2 weeks worth of laundry, i need them to dry before 0400am tomorrow, i need to be at the airport at 0500am.

will she make it?

*cough* stay tuned.

i have to be at the driving school by 1435, go back to the office to finish up before i disappear for a week and buy toiletries for our trip to phuket.

will she make it?

*cough* stay tuned.

(edna, we are old, look at how corny/tacky/lame i now am.)

we finally made use of the hookah (sheesha / water pipe) at home last night. lesson - get good quality charcoal / quick lighting coal. the stove was burning for 2 hours, it was not easy at all. but i guess we had some fun. bad coal coupled with strong winds = short sheesha enjoyment. now i have to clean up all the ash on the floor from winds / blowing to keep coal alive. dave was excellent and keeping the coal alive and i was waiting for the stove to explode. it's easy to get hooked smoking something that tastes like candy - just look at the junkie look on joy's face.

adios, guys, see you when i am back from pretty phuket.

setting up ...

dragon's breath

testing the goods

apple junkie