Mar 30, 2013

BALI DAY 2- GWK Cultural Centre

I think it’s high time I continue this writing practice. HAVE TO STICK WITH MY RESOLUTIONS. So much backlogged travel photos gunking up my laptop and weighing on my conscience is totally not what I need right now. 

So, let’s continue with Bali Day 2! Going to bed at 3am the night before made me a very bad riser. 

Everyone was bugging me to wake up. 

“breakfast is served! WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP”. 

Finally dragged myself off bed, cleaned up in the slimy green tiled bathroom and went next door, expecting a spread of hot crispy toast and warm tea. 

instead, sapta petala's breakfast:
Nice touch on the cutesy eggs but they taste kinda waxy and plasticky. I had to work hard to swallow the bread. 
And the tea tastes more like Chinese herbal teh than English tea. Still. It’s edible. After downing the breakfast, we piled into Nyoman’s awaiting car for the first destination of the day!
-Not so soon. The trip on the road took quite some time-
So. Here we are! GWK cultural centre. It’s situated quite high up in a .. hill? sort of windy place and you can see the flatlands all around you. Some slight drizzling when we first arrived but it stopped soon after. There’s some sort of entrance fee when we’re driving in. Only Sing Han replied the guy’s question. Then the guy charged us local rates! HEHEHE. Either he has Indonesian accent or we just look very local. At least we saved a bit on the entrance fees! And we were practically their first visitors that morning. That’s the problem. We came too early. Most of the services weren’t available yet.
trying to understand the map. as you can see from nian fong's yawning, we were still in *just woke up from car mode*

We just wandered around following the helpful map and took pictures around the place. very uncrowded and chill place.
First off, a.... sort of auditorium. I supposed that there will be some sort of traditional dance performances. But since we weren't into that stuff, so.. moving on! 

There are huge limestone pillars on each side of this... field(?)

apparently GWK is also a place for huge outdoor concerts. So beautiful and windy! I don't think there would be any neighbours complaining about the noise haha.
Another major attraction of GWK is also the huge sculptures of the Hindu god Vishnu. There is a mini map of GWK on the brochure, and the illustrations on the map are like Vishnu's head, the Garuda's head, Vishnu's arms... they're HUGE. more on that later. So its huge, and we took some photos, and moved on. 

Nian fong is looking up at the Vishnu head. Very nice views of Bali. we even saw a plane taking off. Should be near the airport then. 
next attraction: some milky two-colour pool. they tried tossing coins in for wishes. 
milky pool. sorry for the cardigans. HAHAHA. but it was really cold and windy and rainy!
went to some abandoned looking space and fiddled a bit with their traditional instruments. 
Too bad there aren't any signboards explaining the purpose of these items. 

finally its 10am! time for our free manicures and temporary tattoo services! MUST DO ALL THE TOURISTY STUFF HEH. 

we cheapos headed to the place and sat down waiting for the tattoo artist to put on his shirt. (he seems to be sleeping right in the 'art gallery')

the art gallery had some pretty nice things on display, but still, nothing on hand to explain. right in the middle of the space where we were supposed to be doing our manicure, there's a very intricate sculpture of vishnu riding on a garuda, with lots of surrounding curlicues and patterns on the garuda's wide-stretched wings. It seemed to be cut from huge pieces of cardboard stuck together.

pretty impressive. that was about two metres high. NOW THAT ONE HAD A SIGN. so i skimmed through it, and put two and two together. with my broken bahasa i also asked the manicure lady for some confirmation. so the two metre intricate sculpture in the gallery is just a model of the huge statue to come. 

turned out that HUGE VISHNU HEAD and HUGE GARUDA HEAD and HUGE VISHNU ARMS that we had seen earlier were just the separate tiny parts of a whole sculpture.  IN PROGRESS. and GWK stands for Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Sort of a park to tell the story of the mythical bird and god. the estimated final size of the statue will be 150 metres high and the wings span 64 metres across. 


WHOAAAA.  

here's the website if you wanna know more. 
spot gordon's cat!
so we took turns doing manicures and temporary tattoos and acting badass.
then the guys got into the mood and demanded manicures too. 

 
"sorry mom"


you can see behind nian fong is part of the vishnu model thing. By the way he loves his dolphin. which smudged and turned into a weird shark looking thing later. 

too bad the designs of tattoos were really limited. just flowers and stuff. which i don't like. AHHAHAH. finally (i was the last one to go for tattoo) chose this lizard one. 

(*makes lizard noises*tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk) 


the guy did a pretty good job. at the beginning he was really insistent on us just choosing designs on a particular page, so i thought maybe he used a stencil or something. turned out that he drew all of this by hand. 


STEADYYY. 


liz got her hibiscus kinda customised, suzian got a huge rose to block her bruise which she got in a fight with her brother lol, i got a lizard, nian fong got a dolphin, sing han got some hibiscus, and gordon got a CAT. HAHAHA. 


actually given between cockroaches and lizards, i'd chose lizards anytime of the day. there used to be one living under a cupboard in my living room. then whenever we were watching tv and the advertisements came on, the lizard would appear and gobble up any nearby bug. never did get around to give it a name though. :(





ended the visit to GWK with some more touristy shots. in all, i would give this place a 2 out of 5. it would be a great place to visit for a vishnu-fan but for me, the place seems rather abandoned and most of the facilities aren't maintained well. Nothing much of other significance here. Perhaps its due to being an obviously touristy place. We visited other places which were much more impressive (for me lah).

I would totally blog more but its been a seriously long day. Time to sleep. heh. hopefully i get my blogging mojo tomorrow and continues this stuff. Last time i hated reading blog posts with XX TRIP DAY 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4. 

now i understand why. TOO MUCH PHOTOS. 

please bear with me yah. heheheh. next up is bali's must eats. heh. 

GOODNAIT! 

*the font settings are murder. shall ignore*

Mar 25, 2013

Mulberries & Germs of Thoughts.

The mulberries in the garden ripened! So happy to see tiny bundles of them hanging from the spindly bush when i got back from church yesterday afternoon. Before that the bush looked so much like a hibiscus tree that i ignored it completely. Then dad told me that its "some sort of berry tree". So i happily braved the glaring sun to pick them off the bush. Plus some of the cili padi that is ripening like crazy. There's only so much spiciness that one can take. Anyone wants free cili padi?? 

There's a germ of thought that always worms itself into my head every time i help mom to pick the "garden produce". 

Hand-picking fruits in the sun, breathing in fresh air, ducking lazy bees, looking at all the greenery. 

I wonder why is it that we have the perception that working with your hands is cheap labor and one should stay in the office which means a better job? 

There are lots of people with calluses in their hands. Be it from growing their vegetables, churning cheese, baking, playing music, painting, carpentry.. All of these are also jobs, and respectable ones at that! 

The old perception of "office=success" should just bury itself and go die. the air-conditioning and fluorescent lights are as soul-sucking as the green plants are nourishing. 

Plus all that sweat is good for you. HAHAHAH. 

anyway. so that's the germ of thought. 

what do you think? 

Grace made Oreo cheesecake with strawberries for sukkie's birthday! I joined the ranks of the aunties and accidentally divulged the surprise they were supposed to give her. whatever lah.

she already knew everything.

The cheesecake iz surprisingly nice! one of the best she has made so far.

apart from being physically very thin, the taste and texture memang not bad. they put some sort of lemony-lime juice in the filling.

refreshing! :D

secret recipe cheeesy creamy stuff iz made for a mouthful only. This one i think i can nom bowlfuls. ehehhehehe.

grace wanna use the laptop again. i think her backlogged photo collection is even more humongous than mine. 

goodnight!


p.s: the mulberries turned out damn sour. mom says they aren't ripe yet. you have to wait till they're DARK PURPLE. almost black. gah impatience kills the cat. 





Mar 19, 2013

Economic Theories Explained.

HAHAHAH. nice to read this first thing when i got to office. had to suppress my laughs..must've been a Singaporean who wrote this. so true! 

So, for everyone who doesn't understand these concepts so well, you have a picture:


"SOCIALISM

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour

COMMUNISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk

FASCISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk

NAZISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you

BUREAUCRATISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then
throws the milk away

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy
grows.
You sell them and retire on the income

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (VENTURE) CAPITALISM
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by
your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption
for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

SURREALISM
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to
produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why
the cow has dropped dead.

A GREEK CORPORATION
You have two cows. You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds,
dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds.
You still only have two cows.

A FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three
cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce
twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and
market it worldwide.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows,
but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

A SWISS CORPORATION
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Both are mad.

AN IRAQI CORPORATION
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION
You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

A SINGAPORE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Cow pei and Cow bu."

Mar 12, 2013

BALI- DAY ONE.



Here goes. It’s finally time to blog about BALI! Last January, 6 of us hopped on the plane for a (sort of) graduation trip. "Graduation trip" as the official reason is pushing it quite far because only me and Suzanne were the real “graduates” while the others have a semester or two left. As if we needed a reason to justify madness. Travels shouldn’t be ‘justified’. If you feel like going, just go! Hehe. Anyway. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. 

If you can sense it, I’m a person of all talk and no action. Maybe once in awhile I can be serious enough to make a move but most of the time I prefer to laze around and hopefully someone will do it for me. Usually someone does. HAHA. I love travelling but my trips have a low probability of taking place unless someone else books the tickets, does everything for me and then leaves me with no options but to go. (I’m trying to change that!)

So. The trip was conceived as a slew of rushed whatsapp conversations and urgent calls. Once again we thank Airasia Zero Fares for all the commotion. Who wouldn't be tempted for a trip?? On one hand I had restrictions such as budgeting and timing, but on the other hand it would be the last trip that I can make with the volleyball mates :(

In the midst of all this, my ongoing final year campaign demanded my full attention so I forgot about my phone for a couple of hours. At the back of my head I planned my final answer to be “nope, can’t make it, really sorry!”. HAHAHAH.

Scrolling through the messages in my phone much, much later, the conversation ended something like this:

“yeah, joyce is on.”
“ok. 6 of us, tickets booked.”

waitaminute. 

BOOKED???!

My heart paused for a couple of seconds. :O
How will I explain to mom? How will I explain to my lecturer? From where will I get the money??

Ah. Screw it. BALI HEREEE I COMEE!

So basically I have liz and sing han to thank for making the decision for me. HEHEHE.

Unbelievably we managed to survive the long wait amidst torturing projects and finals for the day to come. WOOTS. It was the start of the new semester so we hung out around INTI for awhile before heading to the airport. 
One of the plus points of studying in Nilai—the airport is so near!

It’s fun watching the reactions of friends who’re all: 

what are you doing back here?”. 


“I’m going bali later!”. 


“… shieettt you…”
Without much trouble we reached the airport and said our farewells to Wilson the driver. It’s Gordon’s first flight and he’s really excited. Hence the camwhoring. Here’s a couple of them.
ok lah. i'm excited too. HAHAH.
 
Spent most of my time reading and chewing gum in the plane. If I ever get around writing a list of travel essentials, gum would be on it. You know how people stock up on snacks and chips and cup noodles before trips? I stock up on gum. Also the reason that I can’t ever be a stewardess (apart from not-so-customer service personality) is that my ears hurt like crazy during flights. It’s not just the ears getting stuck. It’s like someone pushed in a pin DEEP into my head through the ears. And moved it around, lengthening it. T.T 

everyone else asked for chewing gum too! See it’s totally an essential. Bring lots of it. 

After the smooth landing at 9:30pm, we were stuck in the plane for about 20 minutes. During the wait I turned on my bb and received a message from yatsin! So excited to see my phone still working in Bali (showing a weird data provider on the screen) so spent the 20 minutes whatsapping with him (bali showoff hahaha) before checking my phone credit. WHAT THE X IT WAS REDUCED BY TWENTY BUCKS. Since I’m not quite sure how the data plans in Bali work I just took out my sim card to prevent helpful credit deductions. (basically the only way i dared to "keep in contact" after that is with wifi. heheh)

The queue started moving then. Upon reaching the entrance we found out the reason for the delay. 

TOTAL STORM. 

The poor airasia staff got loads of umbrellas to bring us to the bus and everyone is soaked and I was worried of being blown off the stairs! With everyone looking ugly and wet (but still fun hahaha), the shuttle bus delivered us safely to the arrival hall.

Here I got my first bad impression of Bali. On the plane the stewardess apologized for running out of arrival cards. She also said that we will be able to get them easily at the arrival hall. So I thought its okay lah. 

When we entered the arrival hall, there’s a counter where the officers are waving for visitors from a certain country and giving them arrival cards. So I asked them for one. The lady rudely pointed to table B. When I went over there, the guy at table B only had a newspaper and nothing else. He seemed to never have heard of them before. 

So we went back and forth at least 4 freaking times at the crappy airport and no one is helping! Worse the lady at counter A became so rude and refused to give us any and said "you should ask airasia for it". Some officer seemed helpful but then left, never to return. 

Gosh the attitude. @#$%.

Finally Sing Han got some forms and we managed to join the queue. Then a helpful security-looking person sidled up and told us that with a certain amount we can skip the queue! 

BALI. Your airports need some serious cleaning up.

After the long delay, we finally left the airport at 11pm. Luckily the rain let up already so we can get to the driver’s car without much trouble. Nyoman (the driver) drives a newish Avanza and he told us that most of the good places for food were already closed for the night. Wet, tired, and hungry, we didn’t care anymore. Seeing a travelling cart noodle vendor still open in a dark street near the airport, that’s what we gonna have then!

Bali closes really early for the night. Dark, empty streets, the sound of trickling rain and reaaally windy. 

The stall we stopped at has a sign with Mie Bakso scrawled on it. There were about 5 tables at the tiny place. 3 tables had locals having their supper. Definitely a good sign.  
liz & suzanne! spot the coke bottle heh
starving faces. look at the oozing chili! mhmm


Trip planner Sing Han made the orders for us. “Mie Bakso, enam mangkuk.” Or something like that. HAHAHA. Communication barriers. Everyone had glass bottled soft drinks while waiting for the noodles. 
The noodles looked so good when they arrived! It took all of my self control to take 1 picture before starting on it. 
Mie Bakso is basically soup noodles, with bakso (meatballs. The bak is supposed to originate from the Chinese word for “meat”! Sounds legit. Chinese Indonesian fusion?). 

The version we had consisted of wonderful, flavourful beef broth, springy noodles and falling-off-the-bones chicken. The meatballs were slightly salty but the broth definitely deserves five stars. Customize your bowl all you want with all sorts of chili. This stuff is perfect for a cold and rainy night. MHMMM.  In all, the meal cost us 69000IDR.


Lesson Number One. What’s the easiest way to convert the Rupiah to Ringgit? 
Malaysians take note!
(According to finance student mr chew)
First you ignore the last 3 figures of the amount. So 69000 = 69. Then you divide the 69 by 3. That’s roughly how much the noodles cost us in ringgit.

***

Stomachs sated, Nyoman drove us to the budget hotel of the night-- Sapta Petala. This was a sort of random choice made after reading a couple of agoda reviews. 

Plus point. It’s really near to the airport. 

Other than that, the toilet is slightly creepy with lots of green tiling and a temperamental water heater. Since it’s a budget hotel we can’t really complain much. The bed is quite comfortable and there’s flat screen TV. No hairdryer but hong li brought one. Indonesia had different plug points from Malaysia’s. All of us ignored Sing Han’s reminders to bring adapters LOL. We ended up sharing his adapter between 6 of us, charging phones and camera and hairdryers. We had a “meeting” in the girls’ room to sort of discuss the itinerary for the next day and watch television, but halfway through the “meeting” hong li dozed off! There were weird sounds in the night but I concluded that it’s just the wind blowing through cracks in the windows. HAHAH.


fuh. working hard on the next post. till we meet again!