Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter eggs

Easter eggs, originally uploaded by Anja.2012.

Happy Easter:) we head to church this evening at half eight for Easter Vigil!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pancakes along the street

Pancakes along the street, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

I was tempted to buy this on Sunday afternoon. The aromatic whiff reached my nose before I spotted the lady. I would like to hear from those brave enough to have tried this please.

Easter break

Easter break, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

We start Holy Week which leads to Easter Sunday. I've taken leave and will be home. My violin and I will be bonding these few days in preparation for my lesson after a three week hiatus on Monday.

This picture was taken as I walked from the entrance of Intercontinental hotel towards Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chin Minh. Ignore the grammatical error and focus on the lovely shades of egg-ohs surrounding the cake. I love their selection of pastel colours.

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chin Minh

I managed to enter this shop on the last afternoon just hours before leaving for the airport. I'm not sure whether sizes are universal but I found the T-shirts snug around the waist. ( s/m/L) I tried the T-shirts for men but it looked big and I looked bigger in it. So no, I didn't buy any T-shirt despite trying a few on. HRC is linked to Intercontinental Asiana Saigon. And it's near the Notre Dame Cathedral. That's your landmark. I quite like walking in HCMC it's less humid than Malaysia. The narrow sidewalk and the traffic was a little scary but once you get to the main street, walking becomes enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How much would you spend?

What would you pay for a painting? I saw a nice original painting with orange as the main colour and little white Vietnamese hats interspersed between orange drenched fauna. Striking. The cost 135 USD. Price brought down to 120 USD. Nothing lower. And I walked out empty-handed. Perhaps it's time to start painting classes. Do they have any in KL? An orginal painting for a fraction of the price. Art is subjective so a lopsided head with beady uneven eyes would be art to some and trash to others.

This picture is of a shop along the road leading to Ben Thanth market in Ho Chin Minh city. Only two art shops this was the second one. And if you zoom in the picture, my painting is the orange dollop at the middle of the picture.

Check prices in KL before you leave for Ho Chin Minh. ( I left it too late and wasn't too sure what was the going rate for canvas sizes and original compared to reproduction)

Monday, March 25, 2013


IMG_6355, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.
My mother sews well. And because of this, I am able to appreciate nice stitching. Don't you think the colour selection is good? I bought this to put my shoes when I leave them in the car. I think it's too nice to use for now. So I'm saving it for after Easter maybe.

I bought this from one of the two shops located inside the General Post Officer in Ho Chin Minh. The price was decent and the quality of the material better than what I'd bought the day before at the local market. So the trip advisor was correct. Things are cheap here. A hassle free environment to shop. No sweating and shoving ( unless you crave this).

Palm Sunday

I have been fortunate to attend mass in different countries. Last Sunday we attended Palm Sunday mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral Ho Chin Minh City. The cathedral is a 2-minute walk from Intercontinental Hotel. So it wasn't scary walking at 5:20am. We arrived in good time for the 5:30am mass. And managed to get some palms . The mass was in Vietnamese but we had googled the readings in English and downloaded on the phone. The choir singing was glorious. Somebody fainted ( the heat was a bother we felt like fainting too) But she came around in a few minutes. I consider it a blessing being able to attend mass during any conference without forgoing lectures.

The picture is the Cathedral bathed in lovely lighting which they switched on minutes before mass began. And if you can see, the flower arrangement at the front of the altar is actually made from palms.

Immigration At Tan Son Nhat Airport

Immigration, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.
Tan Son Nhat Airport is new. The signs are clear. And you won't get lost finding your way from the terminal to immigration. Once you get here, it's a bit of luck. If you're unlucky ( the row to my left) the couple had some problems and papers and questions to answer with things taken out and shown to immigration officers a few times. There were no smiles. but at 10pm I wouldn't be smiling much too. When we flew out ( at a decent time) the immigration officer ( a different one obviously) wished me a safe flight. One person took pictures here...and got ticked off. He's lucky he didn't get fined

We had a slow drive from airport to Intercontinental Asiana Saigon. We saw loads of motorcyclist with different number of people being squeezed on the one bike. Their helmuts are different from ours. Theirs are smaller and neater. I'm not sure whether our bigger sized ones offer more protection because if it doesn't...we should adopt a sleeker head gear

Ho Chin Minh

"bánh cuốn, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.
I was away in Ho Chin Minh City for a forum over two days. Back this evening knackered but pleased with both the forum ( for attending 99% of it) and the shopping( for not spending all my USDs exercising self control more than usual) I think the next 3-4 posts will be Vietnam based with pictures as a trigger to memory. Oh dear, the first picture I've posted is food. I can't help it. This was breakfast on day 1 and day 2 because I loved the consistency of the wrap and the burst of flavour when I bite into it.

1. Intercontinental Asiana Hotel is good for a few reasons.
- Bathtub is a good size facing the Tv at a correct angle. The sides give you a ledge to put your shower gel.
- Shower gel is a nice lemon pong which is something I would buy.
- Bedroom slippers are non-slip and thicker in material compared to others
- The bed is high. So you can play act being in the era of Henry the Eight where their beds are very high you almost need a stool.
-The rooms open with a touch sensor of card. No slotting needed.
-If you're catholic it's handy for mass. The hotel is walking distance ( 2.5 min or less) to the Cathedral.
-It's linked to Hard Rock Cafe which closes at midnight.
-It is easy to get a taxi from the hotel to town
-If you choose to walk to Ben Thanth market you can ( and should ) it'll take you 20 minutes tops.
- you do not need an adaptor for plugs.
They have 6 plug points in the room. You do not need to take turns charging one gadget to the other.
- Their pho is good.Their Banh Cuon is also GOOD.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Strawberry hair ties

Strawberry hair ties, originally uploaded by mondatime.

Have you a selection of these stashed somewhere in your drawer? I have three containers full of scrunchies and clips and pins. My hair must have grown since the last hair cut. ( And it must be a long time since I visited my hairdresser) Because this evening, I can tie my hair up. ( Just about) It looks like a little bud with strands hanging from the sides and the fringe looks terrible. but hey hey it's tied for the first time in years.


 I fly out to Ho Chin Minh tomorrow evening:)  How much appropriate will it be to use this Longchamp bag for the visit. This bag is a limited edition for Spring 2012. I first saw it in Taiwan at the shopping mall below that tall tower 101.The bag is called Autour d'Ha Long. Ha Long bay is a Unesco  World Heritage site located in Quang Ninh province in Vietnam. I won't be travelling anywhere near there. Ha long means "descending Dragon" .

Traffic Jam - 21st March 2013

Traffic Jam - 5 January 2013, originally uploaded by John Oram.

My journey from work to home was the longest. It took three hours and I watched "derek" a youtube video on autistic nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall playing the piano....and 7 episodes of Brideshead revisited. I also stared outside to my left and right intermittently seeking comfort from fellow travellers with similar fate. My right leg is more toned than the left and I have watched a lot of Anthony Andrews!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coffee Bean

Coffee Bean, originally uploaded by Ali Alsayegh *Wikielia*.

Good morning. It's Wednesday. I feel exhausted and I blame the 1.3 hour journey back home yesterday. Driving in a slow traffic -jam must take more energy than I am aware. Because it feels like I've run 10KM instead.Coffee and a cold shower to get rid of the slight headache.

SMURF village update this morning:) There! Headache cured!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Have you been here?

Interesting coffee place in the heart of kl, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

I was caught in a jam yesterday evening. But for once, I wasn't driving. So I could look around and see all the buildings around me. And I spotted this place. It was different because the exterior looked new. And then I saw the sign. the traffic lights turn green just as we passed so this was the only shot I got of the place.

The website says they serve plain and simple food. And their menu is updated on a weekly basis.  I cannot wait to try it out. Please click below for the official website. I could do with a mug of coffee now.
LOKL coffee

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be careful handing these!!

Be careful handing these!!, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.
Two more weeks to Easter. I saw this at BIG at Publika. I guess these plastic eggs and some chocolate eggs will crack as much as the real thing when dropped. So I think this sign is warranted. I won't be buying this. My lastg big cadbury egg-oh was years ago. When I didn't count calories and I was a good ten kilos lighter:) That blue kinder rabbit to the left of this picture was tauntingme to bring it home with me. Such wonderful self-control...I left it standing firmly on the shelf.


Penang food in KL, originally uploaded by Fred @ SG.
My aunt gave me this from Singapore. Bought from a nyonya restaurant in Katong. We were there for dinner in Feb this year. That visit was different, instead of the usual Orchard Road scene, I stayed in Tiong Bharu and witnessed the older parts untouched by progress. And I saw bits of Katong;the shop houses ( the restaurant was in a shop house) very like ours in Malaysia, and the people were more laid back in dressing.

Back to the otak. It's on the list of food I like to snack on. I realise I like smelly food. On the list, there's keropok lekor, Petai, fried brinjal ,seaweed crackers and moo cow. The last is the only one odorless. Otak-otak is fish paste with spices wrapped in banana leaves and it is either steamed or grilled. I've been microwaving mine and eating it with bread.

running shoes

running shoes, originally uploaded by Anjan Sarkar.
I used my relatively new ( explanation later) nike free fun shoes for my last two runs. And guess what? No knee swelling nor pain. Am happy. Nike free runs give minimal support. My initial runs resulted in severe shooting left knee pain the day after. I changed to new balance with a thicker sole and the pain disappeared. Lately, I've found this thicker sole runs less enjoyable and decided to chance it. Now, my options have increased from 2 ( new balance shoes) to 4 ( additional 2 free run shoes) to choose from during any run.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

L. T Meade

 originally uploaded by clarkmaxwell.
I 've found a new author to like. All this through Guternberg free ebook site. Let me introduce you to her first. Her real name was Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith. She was born in county Cork. ( Yay Irish!) She began writing at the age of 17 and wrote 300 books in total. If she were working in a university like me, she would be a full professor easily.

I have downloaded ( and read) all the available on this site. And then three days ago I found a different site with many more titles.

I'm going to list the two sites here as links. ( Hathi doesn't allow you to download as PDF unless you are a member and I havent found out how to be the meantime you can read it online)

Project Guternberg

Hathi project

Dinner at nice Indian restaurant

After mass and stations of the cross, we had dinner at an Indian restaurant down the road from church. This was my second visit. I had rava thosai with fried bitter gourd and fish curry. It was served on a banana leaf which made it tastier ( psychologically) than served on a plate.

Betel Leaf.
Authentic Chettinad Restaurant
77A Lebuh Ampang
50100 kuala Lumpur
Tel number:Phone
: +603.20325932
Mobile: +6012.3992312

Click Here for a link to their website

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

bedak sejuk

bedak sejuk, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

I uploaded this picture and the one before on the samsung S2 using Flick. Didn't realise there's no words after the caption. I'm just after my (almost daily 5 km run) so whilst seated at the desk admiring my nike+ miles...I 'm going to write a bit more here. I wonder whether bedak sejuk is a nyonya thing. I remember using this as a reward to relax. If you take these beads and mix them with water, they become paste and you smear it on face in whatever order and motion you fancy. To get a better cooling effect, you must lie beneath a fan. I still have a tupperware of bedak sejuk...I transfered it from the original packaging because that didn't fit into the drawer. I will look for it when I'm next back home. And yes, I think I will try it for old times sake provided there isn't a pong from the stale bedak sejuk.

a very small violin

a very small violin, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

This little violin belongs to the 6 year old niece. Please note the markers on the instrument and also how small it is compared to my palm. She played twinkle twinkle little star with great concentration. Some pursing of the lips when the bow slipped and a silent grr to herself when she touched the wrong string. All this with determination written on her face. I guess she'll be making major progress in the next year and will give us a recital when we next meet.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vanilla cupcake!

Vanilla cupcake!, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

When this is made with real vanilla pods/paste you get a lovely subtle taste which makes it tastier than the ones sold commercially. Do you like the heliotrope icing on the top?

The last time I baked was longer than I care to remember. And that was a task for the exams. Nothing special ...banana cake which I practiced every day for a week. This cupcake in the picture was made by WNN and I got to sample this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed there'll be carrot cake on Monday for us.

Have u read this?

Have u read this?, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

Temptation comes when you least expect it. It's the little things which test you. The times booksale has ( consistently for the last 2 years) been during Lent making it a bit difficult to remember I'e given up buying magazines and books during Lent.

New silk-cotton sheets:)

New silk-cotton sheets:), originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

we now have some lovely smooth sheets. How smooth are these you ask? As smooth as the sheets you glide into at the hotels. No more wondering why the feeling isn't the same at home. The secret is not just in the number of threads. ( Yes I've only JUST found out) You need sheets with a bit of silk in them. Cost a pretty penny. But the feeling is unforgettable. Here's the new sheets up for display. You'll have to take my word for's as smooth as butter:)

Monday, March 04, 2013


冥想 Karma, originally uploaded by 【K】.

I was going to do something different...but the whiff of karma soap kept coming through intermittently. It was previously on the dining table ( where the laptop is now) I have sinve moved it to the bedroom.

I can't sing enough praises of Karma soap which I believe is one of Lush's best sellers. I don't have to wonder why. The lingering fragrance is lovely.

KFC - Kentucky Fried Chicken

I had this for dinner. It was meant to be lunch but one thing led to another and it seemed sensible to eat when work was all done. Which was roughly about 7pm. Incredibly hungry by the time I had my first bite of the lovely chicken so it tasted yummy.

A lovely end to a day which started off with me being rather crabby in clinic. This is what happens when you exert self over the weekend and stupidly think you can recuperate on a MOnday clinic session with many patients.

Gardens by the Bay another view

Gardens by the Bay, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.
I took quite a number of pictures in total. Well over a hundred I think. So it was quite hard deciding which to upload. Finally decided on this one which was taken at the start of the trip. From the ground floor if you look up this is the view that would greet you. Walking on that walkaway ( which you will eventually when you take the lift to the top and slowly make your way down) was a bit scary.But the view from the top was lovely.

I forgot to mention the cost....for a single conservatory it cost S16. reasonable I think because it 's a nice experience. Makes me remember the jungle trips we ( brother and I) were forced to go with my dad most Sundays when we were younger:)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Gardens by the Bay

Waterfall, originally uploaded by andreaban2009.

I finally got to visit this place. The previous attempt was foiled by pouring rain and a bit of thunder. in contrast we had clear skies and hot sunshine today. Two domes to choose from due to limited time. Otherwise you can visit them both. We chose the rain forest. No regrets at all. It wasn't peak season I think. The line wasn't long to get them tickets. need all members of the group to be there when you buy the tickets. ( this took some arranging...even though we were just 5 )

Here is the sight which greeted us the minute we entered. Thunderous water and cool rain forest feeling. We spent quite a bit of time here just oooh-aaah-ing and taking pictures. Much later on...we saw a guy decked with knapsack of lenses and a tripod and a macro zoom lens. 

You take a lift to the 6th floor and walk up one floor to be at the top of that waterfall......the spiralling walk down was incredible. I'll post a separate picture after this post soon. Oh boy! I had an enjoyable time the weather was so nice and cool inside this dome. Slept on the way to the airport...and on the flight back home to KL after this. Old age catching up eh? hahah