44. Brunei Diary @ 29/8/05

It's finally going into the 2nd week of my 2nd trip to Brunei.
And that means I get to go home soon! =)
Boy, I miss everyone at home, I miss KL,
I miss my friends and my colleagues,
my bed, my fish, driving around in my car,
listening to radio in the mornings,
watching tv at home, eating home cook meals,
doing house chores, malaysian food,
and yes... of course I do miss that Mr. X very much indeed! =P
I just wish Thursday comes faster and I'll be on way home to KL.
Oh...that also means I don't get to celebrate National Day in Malaysia...
sob..sob... ='(
Getting bored with the food here.
Wonder where can I get more variety with reasonable price.
The menus are quite similar in every shop.
Not that I'm picky, I just wish for some new shops to have my meals.
And since I'm travelling with a Malay colleagues, seeking for those "halal" shops
have been proving a difficult task to accomplish.
So at the moment, I'm quite content with sticking to these 2 restaurants that we've been
visiting quite regularly. And a bakery (only I do the buying there). And a supermarket.
Oh, there's Gadong mall further away from my apartment where we're staying.
But can't seem to find a decent restaurant there. So we seldom go there.
But on our last visit to the place, I saw there's a night market around that area.
Thought of leaving early after work tomorrow, and visit it.
Hopefully it's there tomorrow.
Oh..man...I just remember I need to check my emails for my PM's updates.
Keep my fingers crossed...not much comments for the slides I've prepared...


43. Brunei Diary @ 27/8/05

My sense of working days and weekends has gone haywire.
Fridays and Sundays are off days in Brunei. And Saturday is a full working day.
So here I am writing this while waiting for a meeting to start on a fine Saturday morning.
I am so looking forward to Sunday where I'll be less pressured to rush my work stuff.
Fridays are quiet in Brunei. Wonder where these people spend their time?
Less traffic on the road. The place just doesn't feel like a city, it gives the feeling of a laid-back small town.
No wonder people here has so much patience and slow pace.
They must be one of those people who have the best patience behind a driver's seat.
(* I've been driving around here, and believe me, they are generally more polite and patient than majority of KL driver's).
You can be driving slowly (because you are enjoying the city view) and the car tailing you wouldn't honk at you.
You can stop in the middle of the road to pick up someone, and those cars will still be waiting behind.
I wonder when will KL drivers be like that.


42. Brunei Diary @ 25/8/05

Working here has been hectic.
There are meetings everyday to plan for and attend.
More documentation and compilation and preparation to do at later part of the day.
I had hesitations whether I could cope with them before I came to Brunei.
But all turned out to be fine up till now.
And thank god, hopefully everything will continue to be smooth sailing.
There will be little challenges here and there,
but as time goes on, I have learnt to cope and manage them.
And in the process, I learnt new things and discover more about my skills.
Have never tried to lead a team in my working life before.
Eventhough it is not leading a full team currently, but I'm leading my analyst
who accompanied me during my current stay at here.
I have to plan for each day, manage my schedule and issues.
Learn to resolve problems and communicate with various people.
Be it face-to-face, or through emails, or even online chats.
Just to get the message through and pull the team together.
The whole process is fun. I guess I can pull off the act after all.
Got some nice remarks from my Proj Manager. Boosted my confidence.
And surely more motivation to do better.
Life here is boring. Wake up every morning, enjoy my breakfast (which I
don't have the luxury of doing this back in KL).
10 mins drive to the client's office. No traffic jam, thank god!
Attend meeting, do lots of talking and fast thinking on the spot.
Plan for the later half of the day and next day.
Delegate tasks to my analyst.
Have quick lunch, then back to work in the office or in the apartment.
Lots of mails to be sent and take action.
When all communications are settled, brief and update my analyst again.
Then we concentrate on our own work.
Take short breaks now and then. Stop for dinner and relax.
Continue work at night. Or rest and relax reading my e-books and listening to music CDs.
Have brought my Desperate Housewives cds, but haven't got the chance to view them yet
ever since I come to Brunei.
And the whole process repeats for the next day...

41. Pangkor Trip Day 3 @ 22/8/05

Aah...had a restful night.
Decided to lie in longer, but Nix was persistently nagging me to get up...duh~

We took a longer time to enjoy our last breakfast on the island.
Taking in the nice beach view the holiday crowd.

A stroll on the beach under the morning sun...
the seaweeds were washed ashore with the high tide.
The shore looked a bit dirty.
We covered almost the entire beach.
Towards one end of the beach, we could find lots of seashells washed ashore.
Found a unique looking shell, which we never seen before.
It has a pentagon shape, has a flower pattern (in small holes) on the shell, and it's flat and white in colour.
We collected a few shells and let the waves wash upon our toes
while enjoying the rays of the sun falling on our skin.
Chanced upon two jelly fish lying on the shore.
Took some curious looks.

12pm - Time to pack our stuff and check out.
Waited for the coach to ferry us to the jetty.
This time I dozed off during the ferry ride. Too tired I guess.

Unloaded our stuff into the car.
Took some photos at the esplanade.
Then headed to the nearest KFC for lunch. Started journey back to KL around 2pm. Followed a different route. We followed the Ipoh signs and went on the PLUS highway. Took about 1.5 hours to reach Jelapang exit. Another 2 hours drive from Ipoh to KL.

Tired we were. But smiling faces greeted us upon the door. Loaded with food and goodies we bought.

Stories to tell and share. And sweet memories to fill the days.


40. Pangkor Trip Day 2 @ 21/8/05

Woke up to another bright and sunny day. Had a nice breakfast at the terrace.

Went to book ourselves for the round island trip (RM65 per person).
Trip started out around 10am. There were another group of 5 persons with us.
Malaysian family with 3 friends from China. Good, a little more company is always merrier.

A young lad from Penang was our guide. He gave brief introduction as we stopped at few places around the Pangkor island. We stopped by the famous Pangkor Laut Resort. It was on another neighbouring island. Nope, didn't set foot on the resort. Just view it from our boat. The resort was occupying the whole island. Very nice chalets, and swimming pools. All these came with a whopping price of RM800++ per night up to USD$12,000!!

Came to a spot on the island for fish watching. No much luck. The water was a little murky due to the high tide.
Not many fishes. The spot was also rocky. We're lucky not to get any cuts or bruises. But our Chinese friends were not so lucky. Just a disappointing snorkelling trip.

Finished the trip around lunch. Took some group photos.

Freshened up ourselves and booked a taxi to the town for lunch and shopping.
We visited a chinese temple "Fu Lin Kong" on the way to town.
It was situated inside a Chinese village. This temple has many dragon motifs and a mini great way in the surrounding gardens.

Waited long (1/2 hour) for our lunch. Ordered sambal belacan kangkung, sate fish and spicy squids. Worth the waiting time, the squids were really tasty!
Went shopping for ikan sate, ikan bilis and other dried seafood stuffs at the nearby shops. Then headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner.

2nd day has just ended...

39. Pangkor Trip Day 1 @ 20/8/05

It was lovely Saturday morning when we started out..
then it started to rain throughout the whole journey to Lumut.
But it didn't dampen our spirits.
Roadsigns, turns, highways, trunk roads..after almost 4 hours drive, we arrived at Lumut safe and dry.
The jetty has been renovated to a modern esplanade, with new stalls and food stalls.
Had asam laksa & OJ for lunch on the 2nd floor of one of the nice stalls, overlooking the jetty and the crowd below.
Aah~ What a nice view...
30 mins ferry ride. Air-con was damn freezing in the ferry. Children were laughing and screaming.
Finally we landed on Pangkor Island! The weather on the island was all bright and sunny.
Perfect for a beach holiday.
The Pangkor Island Resort proved to be a nice surprise.
The resort itself was beautiful and the beach was just perfect.
The room was facing the sea, and you could even hear the sounds of the waves.
Everything's set for a relax weekend escapade.
BBQ for dinner..just the thing to stuff our hungry stomachs.
Variety of food was great, though we thought the seafood are not really fresh.
A visit to the mini mart and a few games of pool to end the night.


38. Brunei Diary @ 15/8/05

Arrived Miri at 5:30pm on Sunday. It was a little hazy and the air smelled of smoke.
Though not as bad as in KL.
Took another 2 hours taxi ride to reach Bandar Seri Begawan.
Reached Brunei sleepy and tired around 8pm.
Had a good night's sleep.
Woke up at 7am this morning.
Reached client's office around 8am. Meeting and more meetings.
Long-winded talks. Getting impatient as I try to cover my schedule for the day.
Finally finished the job around 5pm. But the job does not end there...
After dinner and rest, compile documents for the day.
Got shoulder pain from sitting in a low chair and high table =(
*note to myself, no using that table to work on laptop again..
Time to unwind...listening to songs CD (*courtesy of DGJ)..hmm...
should I watch Desperate Housewives series tonight?...hehehe..


37. Rotten lunch + rude delivery guy

In a good mood for lunch. Two colleagues leaving today and we were eating at Chakri's Palace.
Don't intend to splurge, decided to go for the set lunch.
Turned out to be wrong choice.
The Fried Meehoon Thai style was totally plain like those "geng zai chao" which can be bought from the stalls.
Thumbs down.
Ice-lemon tea = OK
The dessert, Saku Piek (*what a funny name, no idea what it means in Thai) was also a big let down.
It was served in a small bowl (*mind you, it's smaller than your normal rice bowl).
It came in lukewarm thick coconut milk and some greenish sago.
Didn't look appetizing at all. Someone complained about the strong coconut smell.
I didn't expect anything fancy but it was a totally disappointing meal.
Make a mental note Chakri's will be the bottomm of my list...
The delivery man called me up after my meal. Sounded rude.
Spoiled my mood. I gathered I must be talking quite loud from my colleagues' look.
The man was asking for directions,  I thought he was supposed to be knowledgeable enought to locate the place or ask around the neighbourhood!
Never mind that, I tried to give direction as best as I could. But he couldn't care to listen, and keep on rattling on.
I don't have an inkling where he was, and how was I supposed to direct him!
Then he cut me short saying his prepaid phone is running out of credit, asked me to call back...what??? duh~!!!
(*which I definitely didn't do)
Felt so pissed off, and there was already a fire burning inside me to complain that fellow.
Back in office, he called again. This time he sounded more impatient,
telling me he''s in a hurry, he has more delivery to go.
What the heck! Look man, I'm not at fault here. He is THE delivery guy, isn't that what he's supposed to do?
I called up the customer service, and did a complain.
I was so pissed off with the delivery guy, that I felt I just had to vent it out.
First time lodging a complain, and I'm amazed how calm I was when I talked over the phone.
Felt so much better after the lady said she'll lodge the complaint to the courier company =)


36. What's Cooking in the Pot?

17:43 : Added a new blog as my personal tech resource -
jostechpot@blogspot.com This blog will have all the links and article clips related to work, products, solutions, project management, and other techie stuff.

35. Brad + Jolie - Aniston = ??

Jen & Brad are on the entertainment headlines again. Apparently, Jen said that she still loves Brad and is upset and "shocked" over media reports on Brad and Jolie. My, my...Jen & Brad were really the golden couple, I was sad when they separated. But I like Angelina Jolie too, she has got character. Anyway, that's how "love relationship" glitters in Hollywood. Here, read more on what Jen said on her interview with Vanity Fair.


34. Nonsense poem @ 15:20

*~ This poem is pun intended ~*
driving around in the City,
met a DGJ crossing the road,
lucky thing a Wira saw it in the nick of time,
with a Cue Stick in hand.
like a magic wand it waved,
DGJ scooted across the road,
and Pot itself into a big Hole,
and thus DGJ was saved.
* DGJ = da-gong-ji (big rooster)


33. Sweet & Chewy Konnyaku Jelly..mm..

Once in a while I like to practise my cooking skills in the kitchen. I was in the mini market last week, and bought a packet of konnyaku jelly powder.

This was my first time making konnyaku jelly, so I decided to go simple. No fancy stuff. Just plain jelly. Lucky thing, the powder mixture was everything-in-one. No need to add anything. Read the instructions...hehehe, sounds simple and easy. Should not be a problem for me... =P

So I used a small pot, poured in 500ml of water to boil. (* I used the mineral water bottle for measuring the water...pandai leh...)

Next, I poured in the powder mixture when the water comes to a boil. Slowly stir it while you pour.

Keep on stirring it to dissolve the mixture evenly, and to get the consistency texture (* you will notice the mixture gets a little sticky) Let it boil for 3-4 minutes.

If it's too watery, let it boil longer to "loose the water". If it's too sticky, add more water. (*use your cooking common sense)

After 3-4 minutes, I turned off the flames. I quickly poured the mixture into jelly moulds. This should be done quickly as the mixture gets cool quickly and it would stick to your pot. And you would not be able to pour it into the moulds. (* but you can reheat the mixture to "liquid-fy" it )

Let the jelly cool off and put in refridgerator to cold it. It's best served cold.

And that's how I made my first konnyaku jelly! Oh, by the way, if you want to know what flavour was it, it was kiwi-flavoured =P yum..yum...

For my next batch of jelly, I'm going to be more adventurous. hehehe...I'll add in canned cut fruits or nata-de-coco, and try out other flavours too.

Here's a little story of konnyaku jelly...

"What started out as innocuous agar-agar has evolved into colourful, mouthwatering post-meal desserts. Forget the agar-agar of ages past - bland and oh-so forgettable - and embrace these refreshing gelatin spin-offs!

A high-fibre dessert of Japanese origin, apparently eaten there as early as the sixth century, Konnyaku jelly now comes with bits of canned fruit embedded, giving it that edge over traditional jelly. They are also firmer with a chewier texture and come in an assortment of fruity flavours like lime, lychee and mango. Moulded in various decorative forms, they are cute and aesthetically appealing as well.

Konnyaku jelly is a healthy alternative for fruits and vegetables due to its source of fibre, and claims that it's cholesterol-free, low in calorie and actually absorbs fat. Highly addictive"
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