Oct 29, 2013

it's tuesday night.

and also our last night at Empire Hotel, Subang. although i miss home and big fat Javen a lot, this is a pretty great place to stay in. 
LEGO man will miss the comfy bedsheets. 
spanking new hotel. all clean lines and modish stuff. 

for their lobby, think white orchids, granny smiths, and subtly changing lights behind marble walls. 

(@#$% i just realized that i deleted all of Day 2's photos. lemme die already. Pulau Ketam!! Kampung Sungai Lima!!)
where else would you find a hotel that acknowledges the power of the keycard? haha
one the bottom left is a beautiful handmade notebook from the TS team! more on that later. and i'm very proud of my new Stitch case from Krabi! 
nice rainforest shower in place of bathtub. 
LEGO man doesn't want to leave. 

I usually have no high expectations towards hotels, being used to the weird brand of Malaysian hospitality, but Empire Hotel's team has gone out of their way to help me out on many times! 

aaaand i could sleep really well without getting shitty sinus problems in the morning. how rare is that??

here's how the room is laid out: huge desk, wardrobe, safe, tea & coffee-making facilities, big ironing board. 

once you enter the room, it's an office space, then the washroom, then the beds, so your roommate gets some peaceful sleep while you work. 

tadaah. ignore my messy luggage.  
the contents of the tiny notebook: another version of the website stuff, like who our mentors are, profiles of the participants, etc.
spot me spot me!

huge thanks to Empire Hotel for sponsoring us participants of #TSBreakAway! Originally i had been rather apprehensive about doing posts with an advertorial-ish tone to it, and decided not to do anything against my "ad-free blog" principles. 

like, are we supposed to write about them in exchange for a free stay? what if they turn out to be a horrible hotel and i don't want to write about them? 

i'm not exactly a blogger so this is some serious unknown territory :(

sponsoring is one matter, but going out of their way to become an excellent example of hospitality is another matter. 

that is one thing that many Malaysian hoteliers sadly don't seem to realize. Empire seems to have a creative and wonderful team that's proud to be there. 

keep up the good job, and thanks again!

this is going to be one thankful last night's sleep in the hectic five-day-schedule! nights :)

Oct 28, 2013

#TSBreakAway Day 3: THE TRAIL

if you've been checking out #TSBreakAway's website, you'd know that the itinerary includes a trail for the participants to forge on Day 3. 

if you have not, hehe let me explain. 

basically #TSBreakAway is this amahzing project by the team at Tourism Selangor. 

they've been organizing monthly outings for bloggers to weird and wonderful places around Selangor, but this is a new project to get bloggers to rethink the way they write and basically get a major upgrade with workshops and activities. 

more on those workshops later (Vig from Obscura Festival & Dina Zaman so far!), but mostly i'd been rather worried about the third day. the 12 of us are required to go around Selangor on our own on a trail untrod! 

it's one of the most tiring days; having to stand under the hot, hot sun for hours, with the sweat dripping on the camera (i know, grosss) and petrified fingers. 

did many things i never thought i could, and came back with stories to tell!

*happy dance*

in all, a lovely, lovely day. 

before i go to sleep, here are some beautiful pictures taken by the Canon-sponsored 60D! 
pretty blue skies! 
thought the house was abandoned,  mana tau a shirtless guy climbed out from below!
these art installations. who would've thought! 
abandoned old buildings heheheheh.

paramotoring tomorrow!! :D


*my roommate is watching some scary-sounding documentary! (the Ghost-busters Team had some tales about their Selangor creepy trail today. I'M SCARED)

Oct 23, 2013

KL River after the rain.

man carrying his belongings, Masjid Jamek.

After the rain, the KL-Klang river at a glance: LOTS of grass clippings, chunks of Styrofoam in all sizes, red plastic bags, orange plastic bags, rusted milo tin can, oozing black mud.    

just wanted to write that down, heh.

anyway, things were getting hectic and at a moment i was squished up against a wall but now everything's chill, the calm before the storm, i guess. i don't particularly like to write explicitly because i'm painfully self-conscious and afraid of what others would think of me. but then again, it annoys me when i read my previous posts and can't recollect what that particular post is about. isn't that sad? 

before i chicken out, my point is, this weekend I'll get to go on a mini major challenge in the form of #TSBreakAway. it's a new pilot project by the Tourism Selangor board to nurture writers, so I'll get to have writing and photography workshops! (actually i've only heard about Dina Zaman out of all the mentors, but still, wheeeee)

exactly what i needed! 

at the beginning, me being the comfort zone slug, was insanely apprehensive about all the stuff we would have to do for the project. although it messed up my annual leave schedule and deadlines, but now i've decidedly dived in hehehe. gonna learn all i can! and throw away the annoying self-consciousness. 

alright gotta run. 

things to get: A CAMERA. 

Oct 9, 2013

What Does Travelling Mean To Me.

When I look around and begin to long for something out of the ordinary, the urge to travel begins. 

It may start with frantically clicking for cheap air tickets, or hearing a train announcement heading to a faraway destination, or idly toying with the thought of taking the plunge.
Whatever it is, take a deep breath and step out the door.

For me, how I get there is a huge part of the journey. 

Settling into an air plane seat, fidgeting in the car seat with friends, whooping on the back of a beat up bike, zooming along narrow windswept coastal roads, dozing on a rattling bus, drinking in the scenery from a trundling train, breathing in diesel fumes on a speedboat or tuktuk, all with the happy anticipation of What Lies Ahead.

Travelling means plonking myself somewhere out of my comfort zone, to see how small I am in the world out there, to remind myself that I’m not a special snowflake, to show myself how little I know.

Travelling is also a relaxing of the tightness around the shoulders, a sigh of relief, a squinting in the sunlight, knowing while my colleagues slog away in their grey cubicles, I’m right here.

I travel so I can meet new people. 

I travel with old friends so the friendship is refuelled and burns longer.
Writing about travel is another matter entirely. Words can make a place come to life, well-angled pictures stir longing within the reader’s heart. One post leads to another, and travel writing can restart the economy for a sleepy old town. 

It spreads the world that such a wonderful experience exists, it brings livelihood to entire communities, giving a little boy a pair of new shoes, patching a roof for the monsoon season ahead, and on a more personal note, it gives the writer something to remember.

Being able to tell stories and revisit it over and over again, that’s the very point of travel writing. 
These tranquil Kuala Selangor photos were taken on a spontaneous two-day road trip with some band-mates. We went on the wrong season, most of the rice paddies were harvested already, so all that's left is brownish muddy stalks. 

Who cares. 

The beautiful wide open space, dotted with coconut trees and malay kampung houses (these places really do exist!) made me want to pick up a paintbrush again.  
Crunchy sweet potato puffs at Kuantan. the least touted spots reveal the most surprises. 
Take a deep breath; go ahead.

Travelling means making the most of your self. So much have been written about travelling, so many writing blogs out there, encouraging you to take the leap, travel the world. 

Reality doesn't exactly allows us the luxury of job-quitting decisions, but what we can do is open up ourselves to see how far we can go. Even a  new detour into the home city is an adventure in itself. 

Go ahead. See someplace new. Open your eyes wide to see what the world, your country, even what your neighbourhood has to offer. You'll be surprised. I'm constantly surprised. 

Bon Voyage!