As 2014 closes

I’m down to the last couple of trips for the year:

Batam – the best friend has spent much of the year on board a ship anchored off Batam and this has seen me make numerous overnight trips over.

Lombok – or rather, Gili, for diving. New year will be spent there too, and I can’t wait 🙂

 

 

KL Overnighter

Took a short trip over to Kuala Lumpur with my girlfriend via coach, and I don’t think I’ll be repeating it any time soon.Coach takes waaaaay too long, and if there happens to be an accident, it’s worse.

We were putting up at Berjaya Time Square, which made for really awesome, posh digs. Agenda for the trip: eat, massage and shop, in that order.

Madam Kwan’s curry laksa. Food was generally ok, though I griped at having to pay premium for hawker fare.

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Back to Alor Star for dinner, at ye ol Meng Kee. We had a salted egg yolk crab.. each! And other stuff, which was glorious. Lots of touts, lights, and wonderful bustling atmosphere, though you’d get badgered to buy selfie sticks or whatever every couple of minutes.

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What’s KL without teh tarik and prata?

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And for my girlfriend, tudung shopping. I also picked up a couple of scarves, and it was tough picking out some when all were so dizzyingly colourful.

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I’d go back again, but next time, I’ll fly instead.

Shark Bait in Muara ver 2.0

Hello interwebs. It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Anyhow, guess who’s back from a dive trip? I’d recently changed my passport, and I have to admit that it was quite sad to retire the old one as I was rather proud at how abused it was.

Back to Brunei to check out them wrecks, first stamp in the new passport; this time with my best buddy in tow, who would go on to complete his Advanced Open Water and Nitrox certification.

Kolo mee to start the day right, courtesy of #bossroger. We’d arrived in the afternoon, our homie from Singers whisked us out for exotic eats. Note to self, do not eat crocodile again.

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The quest for fried chicken. Jucier than our local KFC, though it’s postulated that the extra flavour comes from hormone injections.

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Dive Day 1: Pre dive. Both of us were pretty apprehensive given that it’s been literally years since we last dived. The quest for mermaid sighting continues.

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Ocean Dancer.

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Best bud did his courses, while I hung around and got sea sick. Interestingly, while I don’t quite fancy diving, the disdain peaks while on the boat. Once in the water, things are generally fine and dandy. Pelong was pretty murky that day, with nothing much to look at. I had a bit of an incident where my mask flooded and I decided to kick to the surface to put it back on. Not the best decision, really. Luckily Pelong was rather shallow. If it had been deeper, I’d be in quite a bit of shit.

Dive Day 2 was nice- Australia wreck, US wreck, and South Bank. Best bud had a bit of panic attack on US wreck but was thankfully rescued by #bossroger.

Chill Day: On board #bossroger’s boat for a pleasant day of fishing, BBQ and plain old chillax.

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Coke boy.

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Loads of small fish were caught, though when we revisited the wreck directly beneath, the fish were four times as huge.

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Catch of the day.

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Destination: Pulau Kuraman. From Brunei to Malaysia!

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Good nosh on the barbie. Interestingly, the pork in Brunei is less strong smelling than what we get in Singers. There was lots of lamb and chicken, and best bud reports that he ate 10 chicken wings. I scarfed down loads of pork belly 😀

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#bossroger’s dog, Booboo, fed from skinny to regular size.

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Back to Muara, where we slacked off at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club with booze.

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Dive Day 3: Floataway boat with all our gear- battery died, but was somehow revived after. Things seem to be going to the dogs.

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One particular wreck site was uh-mazing, and absolutely teeming with marine life. The reef dives, South Bank and Abana Pole, were really nice. It was like hovering above a fish tank, and being able to check out all the weird stuff up close.

Us at the end of it: me, #bossroger, Best Buddy, White Person.

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One of the royal planes circling. #bossroger says it’s to burn off the fuel (?)

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Here’s hoping for more diving to come!

2013 Encapsulated

Surprise surprise, the tally for this year’s jet setting totals up to… 7. Chronologically:

Sariselka, Finland
Hong Kong
Tokyo, Japan
Muara, Brunei
Tokyo, Japan
Melbourne, Australia
KL, Malaysia

Best trip this year: Melbourne, hands down. Good company, good food, and stargazing, though there were some hairy moments such as when I thought I’d be flung off my horse while riding. Lapland comes in a close second, when I had the lovely surprise of gawking at the Milky Way outside of an igloo. Diving in Brunei was rather awesome, though I had a couple of near panicking moments when I was unable to descend, and everyone going down like a rock, leaving me clinging to the line looking up down left right at a wide expanse of deep blue.

Ah, fun times, and it’s been a good year with a good mix of travel 🙂

Mount KK is confirmed for 2014, and I’m hankering for another longish trip with my mum, as well as a solo trip to sort my thoughts out. Onwards!

Yonder Up North

One of the conveniences I’m most thankful for is the accessibility to travel. Singapore’s a buzzy, incredibly well connected hub and it’s so easy to just leave at the drop of a hat. Surprisingly, I’ve neglected Malaysia very much on the travel front, preferring to venture to further ground, with the thinking that heck since its so close by, there’s always another day.

So it was with a bit of reluctance that I had to head up to Kuala Lumpur for a quickie work trip with most details left unconfirmed at time of departure. My attendance was updated at the last minute, flight released as we weren’t able to get timely approval and had to be rebooked, and the accommodation and pick up was not set in stone even as I boarded the plane. But all was ok, as I’m a great believer of not worrying about travel 🙂

What I remember most significantly about trips up north are the endless bus rides, with street lamps zipping past intermittently in the darkness. Of course, those trips were yonks ago, and it was quite a feeling of deja vu to see the same sight again.

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Time was quite a squeeze, and I massaged the only free time I had available into meeting up with an ex colleague, who was there to celebrate her birthday, for dinner at Jalan Alor. It is THE place to go for lively street food and cheap, strong drinks after:

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An absolute riot of the senses- cars honking and driving close enough for their side mirrors to take out a kidney, a crush of human bodies, buskers singing, stalls grilling and hawkers hawking.

Chow:

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All this incredible nosh for ~80RM, and it comes highly recommended on Trip Advisor. Serendipitous find, given that we stumbled upon this gem. Word of warning – the menus are grimy and falling apart. The home made tofu and salted egg  yolk anything are delish though.

Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish
39 Jalan Alor, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 12-213 3082