Saturday, December 25, 2010

PEACE-LOVE-JOY. HO HO HO!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Just a quick one. I am wishing the best of joy and the best of cheers to all my blog readers and anyone who happens to stumble into this blog.

It's the time of the year when everyone in regardless of creed and race feeling more relaxed for it's a holiday season and an anticipation of the coming New Year. Yeay!

Uppermost gratitude to the Creator for giving us good health, love, family, food and shelter. For all these that we are blessed, we should always remember to lend a hand and pray for the under privileged and the less fortunate. This is the time to love and to give.

PEACE, LOVE & JOY.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Most Beautiful Climb Ever

It's me. Before going down from the peak (:
I ended up a career in hotel line with Eastin Hotel being my last place of employment. Right after the departure, my mind was set for a goal to climb a mountain in Indonesia. In fact it has been planned for a year earlier.

Finally the day came to realised. My good friend Mahfiz whom I always went climbing with and 3 other friends from Indonesia embarked on a wonderful journey to Bali and Lombok Islands.

It's not just the climb that leaves a significant episode in my life, the journey it self was so wonderful and surreal. From the beginning till the end, it was filled with memorable insight of what Bali and Lombok were made of. I have too many photos to share here but very little space. It's so difficult to even know where to start this story from. So many things to share with all of you out there. The beauty of nature, the wonder of the people of these different parts of the world and even about climbing it self. Which one to tell first. I just had no idea. The reason why I missed writing in this blog in the month of May, June and July. Now I am trying to make it up for 2010 record's sake. This blog is my history and it shall serve its purpose.

A 6 km by 8.5 km oval-shaped caldera which is partially covered 
by a lake known as Segara Anak  (approximately 2000m above 
sea level and estimated at being between 200m and 300m deep)
the caldera also contains hot springs.

Mountaineering in Indonesia is slightly different from Malaysia because of the different topography and geographical condition of the mountains. In Indonesia, most of the mountains are volcano mountains unlike in Malaysia. Malaysian mountains are typically starting with highly dense tropical forest vegetations on the lowland to muddied and rocky upper elevations. Therefore types of attire and equipments might sometimes differ. For Mount Rinjani climb, I invested buying new shoes, new attire and new hiking bag.

Mount Rinjani (3, 726 meters) is the third highest mountain in Indonesia after Mount Puncak Jaya (4, 884 meters) in Irian Jaya, Papua and Mount Kerinci (3,805 meters) in Sumatra. It is also the second highest volcano after Mount Kerinci.
Anak Rinjani, smaller living volcano that
exploded every 3-4 hours. Obviously emitting
plums but no lava.  

Climbing volcano is totally a different challenge all together. I still feel that climbing Malaysia's mountain like Mount Tahan and Mount Chamah-Ulu Sepat are more challenging in terms of physical pain especially during rainy season. It's almost deadly and a nightmare. I feel like dying climbing those mountains but don't mind repeating the experience. Once a climber, always a climber. Ever heard stories of people who climb mountains with prosthetic limbs. Well, you can read one of them here. It's just amazing how will power and determination conquers disability and the once thought impossible. Everything is possible now, if only we want  it so badly (:

The best part that I will never forget climbing Rinjani is the scenic and picturesque view all the way from bottom to top and bottom again. We were climbing via Sembalun and going down via Senaru. We made a 3-Day 3-Night journey with a forth night spent at a resort in Sembalun. Almost all the view was superb.

A woman carrying a sack of vegetable from at a village
at the foot of Rinjani where we started to climb from Senaru.
I agree when people claimed it to be the most beautiful volcano in South East Asia. One of our camp site was nearby the crater lake and I must say that it was the loveliest camp site ever in my life. Beautiful bluish green water surrounded by pine trees. It was almost surreal when you wake up in the early hours. In the lake, there's a newly emerged active volcano, and lots of fish to fry plus a place where you can bath in a hot spring. It's truly a magical place to the spiritual.

There's a lot of mountain dogs that looks like wolfs. Amazingly these dogs could really climb up almost to the peak and they can stand the freezing temperature at night. I just wonder how they adapt. You see them every where especially near the camp site because they waited for the left overs from campers. At night near the lake, you may hear howling sound just like the wolf. A bit scary at first but then you get used to it.

Going up to Pelawangan Sembalun to see the view from
another peak but unfortunately it was raining.
Nothing to be seen but thick fog and prickly rain drops.
We ran down to Sembalun Village in a record time and
slept at a comfortable guest house. Phewhh!!
That's the end of our climbing and the rest one day
was spent at a water fall and back to Bali. 
Come morning hour, you will be greeted by the sound of bird chirping. Beautiful yellow bird I have never seen before. There's wild ducks swimming in the lake, so beautiful and serene. Needless to say about birds around the lake, if your are bird enthusiasts you might want to take pictures and compile it in a book. There's just endless beauty all around you. I have lost words to describe it (:

A lot of things can be said about Rinjani climb. I wish I could write about the Sasak people, indigenous of Lombok Island. Their culture, belief and so on but not enough time and research for that. Due to the limited time, we get to see very little of their life and culture. I will definitely go back to Lombok and Rinjani. This time to finish all the unfinished business (:


How to have a garden on a high rise

Yellow and red blooms from
my own little sensory garden.
Orchids and roses are among flowers that I admired most in this world. However, both floras are of a challenge to grow in one’s garden. Most orchids require cool, shaded area of high moister while roses need ample sunlight and ventilated area to grow healthily.

May be women are more sentimental than men about flowers. For me, flowers generate good feelings and positive thinking to a person. Orchids are strongly exotic and rare. It makes you feel very unique and different, while roses are romantically beautiful and soft. It triggers feeling of tender love.

Once a gardener, always a gardener no matter where you reside. I can never live in a house without plants. At least if not a garden, I can put some greens in a pot or a vase. There are many ways to do it, if only ones want to do it.

If you live in a high rise, doesn't mean that you can't have a garden. Yes you can. Go for potted plants or ready made planter boxes. Arrange and decorate as per your available space at the balcony or may be your house entrance. However, the first step to be taken is to take measurement of the area. Then to study what kind of sunlight condition the area has. What direction the area faces, whether it is East or West. If on the East side, it means, you get morning sun exposure and if West, means evening sun exposure. Then you will be able to know how many hours of direct sunlight. Whether the area is blocked by shades or not. All these are important to determine what kind of plants you can have in your garden. When you gather all these information, then you are ready for the next step, that is designing your dream garden. 

Scientific name: Brunfelsia pauciflora
Common name: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. 
A lovely powerfully fragrant flower of 
3 changeable colours. 
First bloom is deep purple, middle bloom 
is soft lavender and before it withers, 
it turned into almost white 
(Photo taken from Wikipedia)
Garden ideas can be had in the internet easily nowadays. So be diligent enough to discover the world of plants. If you had no idea at all and have a bit of a budget to spend for consultation, then feel free to hire a professional to do the job for you. Save you the hassle and hard work. Nevertheless, you still need to learn how to take care of the plants afterwards. 

In my case, I am my own gardener, designer and contractor because I run a business in this line now. I had a very small balcony on a very high condo. I can only have not more than 20 pots and it has to be in a straight line arrangement. I am lucky to have a house unit facing the East, which means, my plants will get at least 4 hours daily sunlight from 8am to 12pm for photosynthesis which is vital for any plants in order to live healthily.

Inspired by the recent project that our company had just completed, I wanted to create some kind of a sensory garden. It has to be all flowering vegetation with fragrance of various kinds. A bit ambitious, I know. Therefore, I planned to have only a few types, i.e. gardenia, jasmine, rose and yesterday-today-tomorrow. However, it ended up more than what I had planned for. Every visit to a nursery means more plants being added because I just could not resist.

Scientific name: Gardenia jasminoides
Common name: Cape Jasmine
A lovely smell flower almost like a rose.

Furthermore, I took it very personal that all the plants that are placed at my balcony been given enough TLC (tender-love-care). Each one of them carries sentimental value. Most of it was given to me. I hardly spend a single cent. Some were given by the kind hearted people who understood my passion for plants and some by the nursery itself during my various work visit. I am the luckiest person. Thank you all. Mwah! Mwah!

Scientific name: Ixora javanica
Local name: Jejarum
I know I look funny but I was truly adoring it. 
Something to share with everyone here is that, having a garden means a commitment. It is not just to have a beautiful garden that people could admire. We must know how to take good care of that beautiful garden as well. Learn a bit about plants that you have and what it takes to sustain its living. Admiration can only come after much sweat and hard work. It’s a challenge, I tell you. Not an easy task to cope with plant diseases and pests. Recently I had my roses infested by the spider mites. This is very common. Most of the leaves and flowers withered and fell. Lucky that I spotted it before it’s too late. However, it’s a continuous process of TLC. That’s why gardening can be a good therapy. One’s own distraction of this horrid world we live in.

Take care for now. Mwah! Mwah!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Crab or Crap

Eating like pandi (pig), 3 pieces of whole crabs by myself. 

This all that's left.
Ever heard of these; 'you talk like crap' or 'don't talk crap' and even worst 'cut the crap'. I hear these a lot of times even spoken to myself by one particular friend of mine (:

It means, I'm talking nonsense, so stop the nonsense lah. Hahaa... lots of them nonsense here, if you care to read along.

2010 is the least year of blogging for me. So far up to this posting, I only made it to 5 total posting compared to 41 in year 2009. My Goodness! This is so bad! How am I to catch up, then.

So I decided to put up more postings here before the year ends so that the difference won't be so great. It's a humiliation to my record in blogging and I am losing my reader's patience at times. I know. Sorry folks. I'll be more diligent.

All this while, I've been busy in my own fantasy world, some people like to say that about me. I've done lots of unusual activities, fun and not so fun stuffs. Later will write it one by one if you all care to read. 

Eating has been my pass time hobby. I had kind hearted people to sponsor on that. Thank Allah for every morsel that goes into my stomach, I pray for double rewards to be given to the spender (:

Sometimes my eating habit goes beyond comprehension. I ate like a pig or 'pandi' in Tamil (have lots of Indian friends). I am very fussy when it comes to food. Been working with the hospitality line previously, I had the knowledge of how an eatery should be operated, how a customer should be entertained, the cleanliness of the dishes prepared and how it should be tasted. Some of my fellow friends been complaining of my fussiness in food, that they had problems in choosing the right restaurant to bring me out for fear that I won't finish my food.

When I can't finish a dish, it means something is wrong with it without saying. It could be the taste is not correct, it's not clean, found hair in it etc. There's always reasons to it. Sometimes I kept it quiet for not wanting to disturb everyone else's appetite. Later I will tell, but people who know me will immediately catch that something is not right and would often asked why. 

A dear friend of mine always reminded me not to waste food. In some other parts of the world, people don't even have a choice but to eat just about anything they found around them. Of course I knew this a long time ago. But sometimes, you just need someone else around you to remind that again. I agree 100%. We shouldn't be wasting good food blessed by God on our table. We should only eat what we can, and never waste it if possible. 

Because of this good advice which I shall always remember till the end of my life, I sometimes order half 'nasi goreng' or share my plate with others. I won't let my lust for food overpowering the capacity of my stomach which is very little, in fact. So, why would I want to eat full plate of rice when I can only eat half. Make sense isn't it. For mixed rice, I will asked a scoop of rice instead of letting the mamak guy put so much and couldn't finish it. Every time I got an eyebrow raised from the mamak feller. But I am more concern of the scolds I will be getting for not finishing it. And I don't want to ever waste my meal irresponsibly. Most importantly, we must think of the less fortunate people out there who struggled for food unlike us blessed in Malaysia. 

Good eating habit is to eat in moderation although yes Malaysia is known as food heaven. Exercise regularly to keep that cholesterol level under control, and most importantly, try to be a vegetarian once a week. Out of respect for the animals. Give your stomach a break lah sometimes, folks. I practice this once a week, on Thursday as it is easy joining my Hindu friends and I tell you, it feels good. Bodily and spiritually, just like fasting too. Do it on Monday and Thursday like the Muslim does. It's to regulate your health actually, not just because it's religious. There's always a wisdom behind religions. Without religion, we live without rules on this earth. No dos and don'ts. We are just guide-less and clueless, don't you all think so. Well, we just need to think.

"The person I like most is the one who points out my defects."
    Caliph Umar

Holy Crap! Did I sound too religious. Hahaha! That's all folks. Till next posting. Adios!

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