Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Catching a Fly with Your Bare Hands!

A fly in a small office can create much irritation and despite opening the entrance door big-big to invite the "pest" out of our tiny office, that larger than the norm bugger still prefer the comfort of air conditioning which would have been fine so long it stays stationary!

To cap the frustration, it even took to targeting the humans by landing on our hair, buzzing around our ears etc. Hence, imagine my shock when i caught it in a split moment as it was resting on my fringe. I thought i had missed but look at that black stuff in between my fingers!

The kind soul within me didn't have the heart to squeeze the motionless fly harder to ascertain its death. Therefore, i brought it out to the green patch outside the office for a proper burial. I released my grip and that supposedly dead prick took the opportunity to escape right after i took the above photo! Ass!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Thu Thu Baguette and Pho House - BBQ Pork with Noodle @ Vivo City Food Republic [Singapore]

With all due respect, i always have that impression that among all the brand name food courts in Singapore, Food Republic took the first spot for being the priciest; hence, i didn't really believe my friends when they claimed to have delish Vietnamese food at pretty reasonable pricing. 

Until i checked out the eatery, Thu Thu Baguette and Pho House, a week plus ago; okay, to be fair to Food Republic, you have to agree a lot of effort was spent on interior design and dining in its premises was unlike most other food courts. 

Even though this was housed within a food court, it had a separate seating section reserved for their customers. You may however continue to buy the drinks and even desserts from the main food court vendor. 

If i zoom in a bit more, i think i can submit the photo for photos taken on an authentic food trail in Vietnam! Speaking of the country, i think i should seriously consider a visit given my increasing acceptance for Vietnamese cuisine.

Fried Spring Roll - stupid me went to order this as i didn't realise it was included in the dry noodle that i would be ingesting shortly after. Anyway, coming back to the spring roll, it wasn't as good as the local ones we have which were bigger with sweet and crunchy turnips. 

BBQ Pork with Noodle - this entire set (with ingredients including spring roll, BBQ pork, noodles, two flattened meat balls and a bowl of relatively flavourful soup) only resulted in an outlay of S$7.90 which was already inclusive of GST! 

The pieces of BBQ pork weren't overly oily and had a soft texture that was nicely marinated with the familiar yet not cloyingly sweet flavour of satay! Thumbs up for the noodle too which i thought was more like vermicelli. It was smooth and complemented well with the pickled fish sauce (served in a separate bowl); giving it an appetising touch helped further by the distinctive aroma of coriander. 

I am so going to try their baguette the next time i visit!

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Location
1, Harbourfront Walk, Vivo City, 
#03-01, Within Food Republic,
Singapore 098585

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Fried Spring Roll - S$4.90
BBQ Pork with Noodle - S$7.90
(GST Included)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Up Close with the Deer @ Kampung Cai Ranca Upas [Ciwidey, Bandung, Indonesia]

One of the activities in Southern Bandung was the opportunity to get close to the deer at Kampung Cai Ranca Upas and for those travelling to Kawah Putih, it's just a few hundred meters away from the main entrance.

Now, when i heard about it, the image conjured in my brain was hundreds of free roaming deer trotting in landscape gardens; similar to the sight one would be greeted when they step into Nara Deer Park at Osaka, Japan.

Penangkara Rusa - meaning captive deer in Bahasa Indonesia; a fact lost on me since i don't know much about the language. Hence, i continued jumping up the steps leading to the platform; thinking of happy deer in a large compound that stretched beyond what my eyes can see.

Truth wasn't as expected; the area it encompassed wasn't huge yet compared to zoo standard, it was luxurious and i believe even bigger than what the world famous Singapore Zoo can offer. 

Faced with wet weather since the day before, i think it's inevitable to have muddy ground that's totally mixed in with the deer shit; my only consolation was that the cooler climate had kept the stench controllable. 

Ladies taking a picture! 

Information on deer which was lost on people who don't read Bahasa Indonesia. Of course i can complain as a tourist but when the local tourism is much more desirable, we have to give and take; put it this way, i could have paid higher for an English / Mandarin speaking tour guide who could help me translate. But i didn't.

Space, as you can see, was limited to within wire fences probed up by the wooden poles. It's supposed to be a deer conservation park although i don't really see a direct relation between conservation and captivity. 

Reaching the end of the raised sheltered walkway which led us to a platform where we can be closer to the deer which were crowding around in hope of a kind soul who will feed them!

Strange that they didn't make any attempt to climb up the steps to snatch the vegetables; honestly they appeared to be totally at ease with humans. 

Louise with one curious deer that thought she might have something (delicious) hidden in her backpack. 

With the kind of shoes i am wearing, i doubt i would want to sink my feet into the mud for a closer experience with the deer; furthermore, i didn't have anything to offer them. 

Wear boots if you wish to get closer! I am unsure if special permission would be needed to venture down but i guess you can always check with the warden. With the antlers, i am also wondering if it would be safe to be in such close proximity with the deer. 

The most decent selfie i can manage - there were supposed to be about three deer in the background; pity i was too slow and could only manage to capture the butt of only one. 

My elder sister, my younger sister and my mom had all disappeared; guess they were totally bored and as with most city gals, they came dolled up and would not want to run the risk of having mud splattered on them or worse still, falling into a pile of sludge! 

The other platform nearer to the entrance; the mud was deeper and there were lesser deer loitering there. p.s. one wrong step and i guess it's a must to spend for an entire change in clothing and shoes. 

Looked like a feeding pen for the deer.

While i was taking some final shots, Louise returned with a bag of carrots that cost her 10,000 rupiah a bag. Reason? Pretty obvious that she needed to bribe the deer get nearer to her!

They definitely recognised the black plastic bag!

I of course begged for a few sticks so that i can take the much needed photos for this post; darn was the tongue long! Even though it had the option to climb up the stairs to the platform to snatch the carrot, its feet ventured no more beyond the last step; maybe they had been conditioned to stay off the platform? 

The fawn with doe eyes; they were in fact generally quite tame and in addition to staying put, off the platform, they didn't attempt to bite my fingers off despite my cruel tricks to entice them closer without allowing them to take a bite of the carrots! 

My bad. 

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Location
Jalan Ciwidey-Patengan Km. 11, Rancabali, 
Ciwidey, Patengan, Rancabali, 
Bandung, Jawa Barat 40973, Indonesia

Pricing
10,000 Rupiah per person
5,000 Rupiah per car

Additional Information
There's a thermal pool nearby where you can soak in comfortable hot water even though the weather then was rather chilly. p.s. mom and Joyce disappeared to the commercial shops nearby to see if they could have any hot coffee/ tea!

Adventure seekers can try out the activities in the adventure camp! If you have sufficient time to spend in Bandung, you may also rent a tent and camp overnight. With the lack of lighting, i believe you might even catch the milky way on a clear night.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Situ Patenggang with the Ship Stranded Beside It and the Bahtera Resto Within @ Southern Bandung [Indonesia]

In the planning stage for the Bandung trip, the Teo siblings had a few discussions on the places of interests for the outskirt tour via a rented car with a chauffeur and one of the attractions that popped out was Situ Pattengang.

What we only realised when we were there was the existence of two entrances managed separately; one was under the same company that gave us Tangkuban Perahu and as expected, pricing was ridiculous for foreigners. Hence, under the advice of Mr Askan (our nice chauffeur), we opted for the one that charged us only 20,000 rupiah per person. 

It was an overcast morning just like the day before and although it resulted in a cooler climate, there's also a high risk of rain; bad for photography given the need to protect my DSLR.

Camping tents for rental for those interested to stay overnight and be awaken by the calm lake the next morning. From a link i found here, you can call the Glamping Lakeside Rancabali at 082180028888 to 081221618888. p.s. likely in Bahasa Indonesia.

A suspension bridge that would bring you to the massive icon of Situ Patenggang.

Don't you think it's like a stranded boat overlooking the lake? Of course it's purposely built as the lake isn't connected to the sea and unlikely so too since its location was 1,600 meters above sea level! 

The three ladies having a fun time rocking the bridge. 

It was chilly and the clouds weaved in and out quickly in an instance. At one moment, it was clear and the next moment, everything was shrouded in mist.

Left side of the bridge - aside from the lake, you can also catch a glimpse of the area managed by the same company of Tangkuban Perahu; yes, the expensive one. According to my sister's research before the trip, per person ticket was 185,000 rupiah on weekends. Contrast that to the 20,000 rupiah we paid via this entry.

Right side with tents belonging to Glamping Tent Resort dotting the lakeside. 

Ladies were done with shaking the bridge as other visitors had slowly streamed onto the bridge. Fun should be had without inconveniencing others.

With holes in between the planks of the wooden suspension bridge, i am proud to say i am no longer as scared as before. Well, it did help that the drop down, in the unfortunate event that the planks were to give way, wasn't like a few hundred meters. 

Evidence as above; if, a big IF, i am lucky, i might even have the tea bushes breaking my fall. Along the way to reach Situ Pattengang, you would drive past large swathes of breathtaking tea plantation.

Many visitors would make a beeline to the bow of the boat; in addition to having a vantage view of the lake, some like i assume we could possible recreate the signature scene of the titanic movie. 

To be absolutely frank, i don't think much of the lake; yes, it was calm, nice, pretty with a legend behind it yet not stunning enough for me to revisit in the future. In terms of beauty, the baofeng lake at Zhangjiajie was a few notches better,

Main section of the boat - it's a restaurant known as Bahtera Resto! Nothing beats having a relaxing time while surrounded by beautiful scenery at natural air-conditioned temperature. 

Outdoor kitchen that's in charge of toast, sides (like french fries). Actually, it's important the restaurant had it outside as everyone who walked past was enticed by the aroma of freshly grilled bananas and bread!

Sitting outdoor would be so desirable; however all the seats were taken and we had to take the indoor seating which was really a blessing in disguise.

In the cool weather, a mug of hot chocolate was the beverage to have; at 25,000 rupiah, it was rather thin although still nice to hold and sip from.

After the Pisang Goreng Keju at Stone Cafe, i know i must order the 25,000 rupiah roti bakar pisang keju from Bahtera Resto! Pity it wasn't as nice; banana should have been grilled longer, the bread wasn't toasted enough and the cheese could have been melted.

Menu of Bahtera Resto for your reference!

I mentioned earlier that sitting indoor was a blessing because it started pouring shortly after the food and drinks were placed on our table and the rain continued even after we were done!

As it was too heavy, we opted to stay a bit longer in the sheltered boat until the rain subsided. For a person who couldn't stay still, i had to do something and with photo-taking being a more difficult task with the rain, going to the toilet would at least be better than doing nothing at all.

It was slightly better after a while and i suggested going back to the carpark via the other route that would have us passing by the tents. While i was doing my best to don the raincoat, the ladies disappeared!

Thinking they had ventured to the edge of the lake, i made my way there.

Even though i highly doubted they would be taking a boat and having a round-the-lake tour, i still had to peek in for a better look. Nope, there were not there.

Muddy floor due to the rain - with such condition, there's only about 5 percent chance of finding my family members there since they would not take too kindly to muddy water splashing onto their clothes and shoes.

Found food instead; in actual fact, i was getting worried as the three ladies are not good navigators and they were nowhere in sight!

Mind started wondering - did they walk the other way? Maybe they went to the loo without telling me. Did they fall into the water? Last scenario was least likely since there were stall operators nearby.

This was the famed rock of love aka Stone Love; it's a love legend surrounding situ patenggang but the translation i had via google translate was totally unintelligible!

The thin crowd, no thanks to the rain! I ventured back to the location right at the start of the suspension bridge and gave my elder sister a call; if no prior arrangement was made, our rule of thumb was to meet at the attraction's entrance once either one of us made the call.

Turned out they were rather fixated to escape from the rain were already back in the car while i was searching for them and shivering in the cold!!!

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Location Map

As above.

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