Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunday Mass in Bali

The crowd after morning mass
 I attended Sunday mass at the catholic church in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia last Sunday. The name of the church is Gereja Katolik Bunda Segala Bangsa. The morning mass on Sunday in Bahasa Indonesia starts at 0800. And not at 0830am. Most websites gave me a link to a forum which has this time. ( Incorrect!)
Inside the church
 The church is lovely. And guess what? It is air-conditioned. Imagine that. I still can't get use t the idea of a Catholic church being air conditioned. Makes me feel like it's too comfortable and posh.
Interesting how it sounds nicer in Bahasa Indonesia
Let me tell you, the singing by the choir was glorious. Absolutely amazing. And the mass stretched to 1.5 hours as a result of all the singing( which was lovely) and a rather prolonged homily by a visiting priest. ( Whose parish was chosen to animate mass that Sunday). The taxi I took from the hotel chose to stay and wait for me. It cost me rm45 in total. Would have been cheaper for him not to have waited but he did.

Bahasa Indonesia and our local language while at a glance may be similar, are also in many ways very different. the accent and the formation of simple sentences are different enough to make me not understand bits of the homily. The order of the mass is the same anywhere in the world. ( Thankful for that as I've heard mass in Latin, Thai, Vietnamese and German and Tamil and Mandarin and Cantonese)

Monday, November 24, 2014


Krishna is the equivalent of Mydin in Malaysia. A cheap store where you are assured you can afford most things in it. My only gripe, we had ( again) very little time to browse. We were given 45 minutes and i spend a lot of time just browsing and taking pictures leaving the actual shopping to the last 15 minutes. Only to realise, there was a long line to pay.
Empty shop
There was a deja vu feeling when I entered the shop and only at the end did I realise that I had been here before a few years ago. *duh* Felt a bit silly. Such a difference from the last time, which coincided with the Indonesian holiday and what we had was bus loads of locals doing their shopping here as well. It was packed like sardines. And this time I am no exaggerating.

And this time. Almost zero strangers apart from our little bus group of people. It felt weird. He he. I think the shopping spirit wasn't all there.
I did pick up some souvenirs for friends. And a pair of slippers for the little niece. Which cost a mere RM4. ( Woo!!) And I got three t shirts which are locally made with some cute indonesian words on them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Our table
We had dinner organized for us at Jimbaran beach. This is THE place to be when the sun sets. It is apparently beyond this world and worth waiting. But the evening we were there, the clouds were out. The sunset was muted. Not really disappointed. But the organizer was. Dinner was still good. With the obvious boisterous company, it was destined to be good with or without the glorious sunset.  Just a note, chairs tend to sink when you sit on them. And we were all a bit lopsided throughout dinner. Plus it got darker and darker and the atmosphere changed to a darker cosier one,
The many tables on the beach
The tables you see in the picture above, were packed with people by the time we finished dinner. So this really is the place to hang out in Bali. Sadly, we were only too eager to leave this for Kuta and Hard Rock Cafe. Yes I'm shallow that way. But hey hey, shopping is always a good thing. By this evening, my rupiahs were down to a measely RM50. And so any shopping had to be in a "posh" place which accepts credit cards. ( HRC was just such a place)

Balinese Offering

Such lovely colours....found by the road
These are daily devotional gifts seen in most shops in Bali. And here they are in abundant just as we were walking towards Pasar Seniwati.

APSR Bali 2014

At the congress
Last weekend I was in Bali for the 19th Congress of Asia Pacific Society of Respirology 2014. It was held at the Bali Convention Center Nusa Dua, which is a gated area housing in addition to the congress venue, 4 other hotels. We stayed at the Laguna. ( The taxi-man told us the President of Indonesia would also stay at this hotel when he comes to Bali. Fancy that!) The other hotels are The Westin, Melia, and the Hyatt. All within walking distance to the convention centre but let me just tell you Bali is hot hot hot. And even just standing at the hotel foyer ( open concept, no aircon) you will have sweat pouring down your forehead and back and you'll be stickily unhappy within 10 minutes. So no, I wouldn't recommend walking at all.

We did however walk one afternoon. The bus service was non-existent and we didnt want to miss the afternoon lectures. It was a downhill walk and we were in a group so I must confess it wasn't such an ordeal as expected. But I wouldn't do it again anytime soon.

Nusa Dua is a lovely place ...secluded and quite a distance from town ie Kuta and any remotely decent priced shopping areas. As a result of this, I did minimal shopping during this trip.

We did go to Pasar Seniwati. And I got 4 paintings there. ( Which was what I wanted anyway !!) Batik in Bali isn't so nice. Their prints are almost all the same, and the nicer ones are rather expensive rm300++. I think if you're interested in actually shopping for Batik, your best bet is Jakarta. (nod)

Somewhere near Pasar Seni Seniwati

Just look at the selection of paintings. What I wanted was a really really huge painting. But I changed my mind at the very last minute, and settled for a significantly smaller one. Still no regrets. I wouldn't have found a nice to hang it had I bought the huge painting.

Sanggar Kerja Jabatan Perubatan

Cutting the watermelon ( group effort)
We had a department team-building session yesterday ( ie Saturday) in Puri Pujangga Bangi. A whole day event starting at 0800 and ending at 6pm. I had a lovely time. Here is our group at task number two for the morning, fruit sculpting. I think we had a well balanced group. Everyone pitched in and we worked quietly without much fuss. Jobs were designated to each member and nobody was left out.
Ta dah! The finish product
And THIS is our team's production after one hour of work. A terrapin named Michaelangelo. ( That's right from the Ninja turtles) Minus the mask because he is on holiday in beautiful Malaysia. (Ahem)
More news on Bali ( which was last weekend's trip for a conference after this post. I am still recuperating from the trip. Aiyoh!

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Malaysian umbrella in Europe. 

Here we are just before we waited for the bus to bring us to the bottom of the hill...and before the rather steep climb to Neuschwanstein Castle. ( After spending money on umbrellas for each respective European trips...I did the sensible thing this year by packing my own trusty umbrella) As a result of this, we have this picture of the Lung Foundation of Malaysia Umbrella bobbing up and down as I walked towards the bus stop. You can just about make out other tourists...also with umbrellas. Again, a wet day for us and a rather cold one as well.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

St Wolfgang

Look look!
The bus took us to St Wolfgang where we spent some time walking about and taking pictures ( me) and spending money.(me again) It had stopped raining at this stage which was nice. But the roads were still wet and some of them were slippery. I had quite a time walking ( fast ) down some narrow lanes. Had to rush to avoid being left behind by the ferry.

Where is St Wolfgang you may well ask. It's in central Austria. ( Yes we did a fair bit of travelling thanks to the lovely tour which allowed us to see many interesting sights in our limited time). St Wolfgang was part of the tour package. The "Sound of Music" tour would have been nice. But there really wasn't enough time.

*interesting to note, the spelling "Doktor" is similar to the Malay spelling

Salzburg ( After ERS 2014)

Mozart's Birthplace
As you can see, it was a wet morning in Salzburg when we arrived. The guide told us en route that we had limited time here and promptly passed us a map. And so we left the group directly upon arrival and raced right here to Getredegasse 9 5020 Salzburg.  Here you see, the famous yellow building where Wolfgang Amadeus  Mozart was born on January 27 ( 7 days after my birthday btw) 1756. The Mozart family lived on the 3rd floor and the tour includes a walk through the original rooms used by the family. ( So exciting!) And there was also an exhibition inside of Mozart's baby violin ( swoon), his harpsichord and other instruments which I am not sure what their names are. But they look like baby grand pianos.

Interestingly I got to know that the face of Mozart is not what we are familiar with on the merchandise sold ie chocolates, T-shirts , music books etc. In truth from the letters written by his sister Nannerl, he was in fact a plain looking boy and as a grown man not handsome and standing roughly 5 feet nothing.

I can't give much of a description of Salzburg cos we had a whirlwind visit. But I will say this, it was so exciting walking down the streets and imagining Mozart doing the same.

Mozart's residence ( ticket office)
By 1773, Mozart's family decided to move to bigger quarters. And after some negotiation, they moved to this place and here they held mini concerts for guests. Interesting to note, that Nannerl herself was an accomplished musician. She and her brother would often perform together. I wonder what it must have been like to be overshadowed by her brother. I'm guessing women in that era were used to staying in the background.
The restoration progress

Miniature replica
We weren't allowed to take picture inside, but you can see the house and its set-up from this replica. I had an absolutely lovely time here, browsing and listening to the audio guide. Truly an experience I won't forget.

My purchase from Salzburg
Here is the English translation of a book written by Mozart's father, Leopold who was the person responsible for teaching little Mozart the violin. A lucky find in the gift shop. here I am just about to read the book as the bus whirls its way back to Munich. Euro 29.70!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lush Munich

Picture taken from Glamour Girlz 
Only because LUSH isn't available in Kuala Lumpur ( in Malaysia to be precise) I normally get excited when I get to a Lush shop. I found the one in Munich by chance. Making it even more special. And for this visit to Munich, my  must-have soap is ( drum roll please)  : Sultana of Soap.
My previous favorite was Karma. That's a definite second on the list now. 

What do I like about this? 
1. The Smell.
It actually smells very nice. Perhaps not when you first sniff it. When you lather, the oil reacts and you get a lovely vanilla-ish smell. The bathroom will smell lovely too even when you're not showering. And so what's not to like? My only gripe, is the smell changes in warm temperature. I left my bar of soap in my bag for 2 weeks before unpacking. And the smell was a bit different. But after airing it, it returned to the nice smell. ( Thank goodness)

2. Creamy texture.
This is different from Karma which leaves you squeaky clean. The soft texture of the soap means you mustn't drop it. It'll change shape. the sultana bits also fall off easily. And the top bit where the sultana bits are is I suspect where the nice smell comes from. My first bar has withered leaving only the bottom bit minus sultanas. It doesn't smell half as nice. 

Oliganum and bergamot oil. That's the secret of the smell I've fallen in love with. 

* anyone visiting Munich may find this helpful. the Lush shop is opposite the  Assam Kirche

Same feet, different country

My feet were clad in sheer charcoal stockings.
What I like about the weather in Europe generally is the lack of humidity. This allows more walking minus the sweat. The sticking icky feeling is not nice. In Malaysia, walking is only nice indoors, where it is air conditioned. So most of my walking is done in shopping centers. And you can guess the speed  that I take maneuvering between a lot of other shoppers, their babies in the push prams and their shopping bags. Is it any wonder that walking during shopping sprees even though it leaves us tired-out does not count as exercise? How unfair. Otherwise I would have a trimmer flatter tummy with less suggestion of a muffin-top.

The first picture is taken at the end of our Dachau concentration camp tour. Oh boy! We walked a lot that day.My legs were tired and heavy at this point. And I confess to sleeping like a log that night. Out like a light-bulb directly after my shower. ( Which means horrendous puffy hair the next morning) SL and I are quite a good match for walking. I suspect she slows down for my benefit. Whatever the reason, we're usually paced well and tire at just about the same time. And more importantly our tummies get hungry around the same time too. ( Okay that's a lie, mine goes off a good 1 hour before SL gets hungry)
Our feet in Austria
The second picture is us on a boat at the Lake District in Austria. That's right, we managed to squeeze in that and Salzburg as well. It was a bit rushed and tiring. But we weren't greedy so as a result, the short trips were nice. Loads of pictures. the two pictures in this post were by SL and her camera. ( She does like taking pictures of our feet.) Her feet are in espadrilles and mine are in French Sole. I refuse to be seen wearing runners.

Just a short note on French Soles, and this cut in particular. They are surprisingly comfortable even at the end of the day. And it does look good in pictures too yah?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sauerkraut and pretzels

The meal above went very well with beer. You can just make out the golden yellow fluid to the top left had corner of the picture. But since we're talking sauefkraut let's focus on this sour cabbage and the fermentation process. Here it is served with pork sausages. This fermented cabbage isnt' just found in Germany. It is also found in french ( as a dressing) in soup ( Russia) and eaten traditionally by people in Pennsylvania on New Years Day.  I wonder whether it has as many health benefits as the Korean KimChi.:)
We ordered a pretzel each and then wondered how to eat it.Everyone else around us appeared to be happy with theirs except us.  On its own it was a bit tough and salty. This loopy bread is best eaten with cream cheese I think. Or eaten with intermittent sips of beer.

* This lunch was at Viktualienmarkt