Europe Trip Day 2 @ 24-9 (cont')

24-09 Sat

We walked to the main street, and took a short bus ride to Princes Street. We bought the day trip bus ticket and got to take unlimited rides for the day. We got off the stop at the Princes Street Park. And my, the park was lovely! There were many people sitting on the grass and basking under the sun. The weather was just cool and sunny.

We got some directions from a guy, and then headed straight to the Edinbugh Castle. Eventhough the Castle was visible from the Park, but there were many streets leading towards it. The street towards the Castle was a little steep, as the Castle was situated on top of a hill. Finally, we reached the Royal Mile, and the Castle sits waiting for us. We even saw a man with painted face along the street, who was impersonating as "Braveheart".

Royal Mile is a long road with rich heritage and history of Scotland. The Edinburgh Castle sits at one end of the Royal Mile. The Castle architecture was nothing too grand, it looked old with it brown bricks and black mold. But still it was an imposing structure. Once we got the tickets, we waited for the guided tour near the entrance.

Our lady guide (*I forgot what her name was) was really good, she spoke eloquently and it was amazing how she memorised the chronology of the historical events. And not forgetting to add in some really good jokes. She brought us through various gates, showed us the canons, a chapel (it was a private chapel for the Queen back then), a grave for the dogs (!?), the royal residence and a host of other places in the castle. There was even a Scottish wedding going on in the chapel, and we managed to snap some quick photos of the newly weds and their "antique" cars.

After ending the castle tour, we walked down the Royal Mile and visited some shops selling tartan scarves, scottish kilts and scotch whiskies. Our next stop was the Camera Obscura. This building looks fairly common from the outside, but the true wonder was "obscured" in the building. Here we could see many of the optical illusions explained and showned. It was most interesting to say the least. Lastly, on the top floor, we were led into a dark room where all of us crowded over a big round table in the middle of the room. The guide explained to us that there is a obscured camera in this building, where it can be navigated to view most parts of Edinburgh city (kinda like a submarine, with the camera peeking out of the sea surface). The view of the city was reflected through strategically placed lenses and onto the round table. We could see people and buildings on the streets, all within the dark little room! It was definitely amazing to think that such idea was conceived. And hence the name of the building came from. Even the gift shop was interesting with lots of tricks and gimmicks to get for your own little magic acts.

Our next stop for the day was the Scotch Whisky Heritage Center opposite of Camera Obscura. We were ready for some whisky tasting! We were lucky to miss the last guided tour by minutes, and the lady was kind enough to let us join in. We were given a glass of whisky for tasting as the guide began explaining the steps of tasting and appreciating the whisky. I wasn't too keen on whisky, the taste was sweet with hints of vanilla, malt and chocolate. But it was a burning sensation in my throat and my stomach! Gosh, it was hard for a "beginner" like me to gulp down the rest of the whisky. Somehow I managed it but it left me a little tipsy. Next we were shown how the famous Scotch are produced and how to differentiate the colours of the aging whisky. All in all, it was an interesting tour too. And there was the whisky shop at the end of the tour to buy back some fine Scotch whisky. Oh, and we get to keep the nice glass, which we had used for the earlier tasting session.

It was late evening by the time we came out from the whisky center. The skies were looking dark, and most of the shops were closing. We took a stroll down the Royal Mile, taking in the view of the old cobbled streets, the closes (alleys), the old buildings, the cathedrals and the people around the place. All while we tried searching for a suitable place for dinner.

We finally settled into an Italian restaurant, Bella Italia, at the street's corner. It took a while waiting to be seated and ordering our pasta. The interior of the restaurant was nicely decorated where you get the cosy home feeling. The food was ok, but it was sad for me as my tooth suddenly started to ache tremendously. I couldn't enjoy my food. But still it was a nice place to have good Italian food. My tooth was still aching when we left the place. Little did I know that the ache was going to cause me tremendous suffering for the next few days...

The air was wet and chilling on the streets, with the wind blowing. I wasn't wearing enough to stand the chill and I was shivering all over while we waited for the bus to get back to the rest house. I swear I would wear the warmer jacket the next day. It was nerve racking to stand on the chilly streets. I realised how those poor people must have been, to be in hunger in the freezing night. I was glad when we finally reached the rest house, where I felt much warmer and my tooth ache subsided. It felt good to take a hot bath and settled into bed after a long day of travelling. But my misery wasn't to end yet, my tooth continue to torture me throughout the night. I couldn't get a good sleep, my nerves were like racking me up! I turned and fumbled in the bed, and rubbing my jaws to ease the pain. Even the painkillers didn't help....it was one of the worst nights I had....

...to be continued...


Lil' Brown Puppy

Lil' brown puppy,
Black beady eyes,
Lying flat on fours,
and tail-a-waggin'.
Woof! Woof!
Nay, this lil pup won't bark,
But it would,
Wipe and clean the screen,
with its flat velvety tummy.

"What? Wipe with it's tummy?"...you say,
Yup, that's what this lil pup does,
It peeks thru its beady eyes,
a puppy look to cheer me up.
Yup, that's my lil' brown puppy, with a string attached..
...to my Nokia 6230.


Types of coffee

Next time you step into Starbucks or Coffee Bean, make sure you know how to order your cuppa of coffee...

Espresso is a strong coffee. Under pressure, the steam brews the coffee through dark, rich, roasted, and powdered coffee beans. If you ever see someone downing a small cup of java, chances are that this is what they are drinking, or rather, chugging. Espresso can be served
short or long (allongé), the latter of which has extra water and is thus more diluted. You can add cream or milk as well as sugar to an espresso.

A cappuccino is
espresso coffee, topped (although it can also be mixed outright) with steamed milk or
cream. I prefer cream, but this is a matter of personal taste and health concerns. Cappuccino does not require additional cream or milk, but may be taken with sugar.

Caffe Latte
If you like the strength of a shot of espresso and the creamy appeal of a cappuccino but with less foam, then a caffe latte is for you.

Blend a quarter of espresso, a quarter of
chocolate, add 2 quarters of milk, and top it off with froth. Sweeter than most coffees and less strong.

Café au Lait
This is essentially a Caffe Latte but instead of espresso, regular brewed coffee is used. This is far milder than a latte.

Caffe Americano
Espresso diluted with 6 to 8 ounces of hot water or regular hot coffee yields an americano.


Europe Trip Day 2 @ 24-9

24-09 Sat

Reached Amsterdam Schipol Airport. Man! This airport is really huge, bigger than KLIA. It has so many sections, so many shops, so many places to eat...whoa...waited for abt 3 hours before getting on the connecting flight to Glasgow. Had to take a smaller bus to the Fokker plane. Unlike in KLIA we use the Aerotrain.

Finally reached Glasgow Airport around 10am. Breezed through the immigration, and took a bus to Queen Station in the town. From there, we bought train tickets to Edinburgh Waverly station. The train is quite similar to our KTM Kommuter, except it was much cleaner and comfortable. It even had a push carts during the journey selling drinks and snack. Cool! The journey lasted about an hour, along the way, we enjoyed beautiful scenaries, with cows and sheeps grazing the grass, and beatiful houses lined the street.

Reached Waverly station, the station was full of travellers. It was really busy, and we were a little lost. Tried to ask what looks like an info counter, but turn out it was not. So we tried to look at the directory, sort of figured out where the exit. But to our horror, we had to lug our luggage up few flights of stairs! OMG! It was so tiring. We must have looked dumb..anyway, we managed to get up to the top of stairs, and hopped on to the bus at Princes Street to Leith Street, which was where our Breakfast and Bed (B&B) place was supposed to be.

It was further than what I thought it would be. Hopped off the bus stop near a church, and we walked towards Pilrig Street, scanning each house as we tried to locate where was Craigmoss B&B. Almost, halfway down the road, we saw a red house, and we were delighted to know it looks good enough for a few nights' stay.

Another challenge laid ahead, our room was on the 3rd floor. And the only way up there is a flight of narrow stairs. I was lucky to have help from the guy, but I'm still amazed how Nix managed to bring his big luggage up there. Anyway, the room looked comfy and clean. Good. We were then ready to hit those places of attraction in town!

....to be continued...

Credit card payment to stay

"Malaysians can look forward to being able
to continue using their credit cards to pay for fuel purchases at petrol
stations, even after Hari Raya. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
Minister has intervened to prevent a boycott by petrol dealers following the
rise in credit card charges for fuel purchases."


I'm happy to hear this news, because I rely on credit cards alot to pay for petrol. That's the convenience of having a credit card, cashless transaction. I was shocked to hear when the petrol dealers wanted to stop accepting credit cards after Hari Raya. What's the point of having a credit card when you can't use it when you want to?

It's a good move by the Ministry to intervene. This should teach those big players not to burden the consumers unnecessarily just because they want to earn more money.


Korean lunch photos

Just got these photos from my colleague's camera, taken during last Friday's lunch at the Korean restaurant.

1. Our group photo, the birthday girl is the one in black (middle)...
2. Some side dishes before the main course...

3. Kimchi soup with noodles...
4. Stone rice

5. Pancake...


Wind-Up Sushi

These sushi toys are really cute...imagine having one of these running on your desk..
Your hungry colleagues might think they are hallucinating..what? Food can run? hahaha...

"These aren't anything like the USB Memory SushiDisk quality-wise, and the price reflects it. But Japanophiles will probably want to collect this set of wind-up sushi or get them as cheap gifts for colleagues. If anything, you can relieve the occasional work tedium by getting a few laughs out of seeing wound-up plastic sushi scuttle across the desk.

Click to see close-up

Price: US$12.99
Availability: Office Playground
Device: Wind-up toy
Basic specs: About 2 .25 x 1 x 1.5 inches, hard plastic, pack of 12 of 6 designs"


Honda City ZX

If you have been paying attention to the car ads in the newspapers recently, you would have noticed that Honda is coming out with its new Honda City - Honda ZX. The car body looks generally similar to the old model. But the rear portion has been altered slightly to a slimmer body. The interior looks much more space and it comes with this self-illuminating meter cluster. Cool! The meter cluster colours looks great.

Check it out yourself at HondaCity ZX.


My first taste of Korean Kimchi soup

This morning when I stepped into the office, something caught my eye. There's a bouquet of lilies on my colleague's desk. It was quite pretty. Found out later it was her birthday. Two of our colleagues had bought her the flowers...awww...so nice of them!
So we had a nice lunch party for her at a Korean restaurant along the row of shophouses near Maybank at Sri Hartamas. Although the restaurant's entrance was nothing to shout about...but the food was really out of my expectations.
We occupied 2 rooms, and ordered quite a lot of food. My group ordered a hot kimchi noodle soup, which was served in a steamboat style. It was put over the stove, with the red coloured kimchi soup boiling, and lots of vege, mushrooms, pork and the Korean noodles all in a pot. It looked very tempting and our mouths were salivating the moment it was served. (*of course the waiting did help to stir up our appetites).
The soup was just terrific! It was a lil spicy, tasted a lil like our tomyam, but with more kimchi taste. The noodles were just perfect match with the soup. We also had an extra piece of pancake from the next table. The pancake was so-so, a bit oily I would say. We also had other side dishes, all the pickled stuff, spicy and saltish. By the end of the lunch, we were all stuffed.
Oh...the next room happened to have a birthday bash too! What a coincidence! We found that out when they sang the birthday song too.
Well, the bill came to about RM20 per person for our group, including belanja-ing for our dear birthday gal. Not a bad deal anyway. But it was my first taste of an authentic Korean food. And it was not as bad as I thought. Yum yum.... =D~


Europe Trip Day 1 @ 23-9

23-09 Fri

5:15pm...got a call from Nix, time to leave office. Told him I would leave in another 10 mins.

6:15pm...reached home, took my bath and had dinner. Still on time. Last minute check on my luggage, trying to stuff in more things into the suitcase, mom's giving me all sorts of advices and questions.

7:50pm...why's Nix not here yet? the cab should be coming any minute..drizzling outside.. dad's calling me a few times advising us to take a train to KLIA. Traffic jams.. Should I cancel the cab? ask the cab driver to send us to Sentral instead? urgghhh....what the heck..stick to original plan.

8:00pm...Saw Nix's car round the corner..the cab is already in front of my house. Loaded our stuff into the cab, quick good byes..and good luck..and we're off to KLIA. Traffic turned out to be quite smooth on MRR2...stopped at Shell station after the Sg. Besi toll to buy reload card..duh~ why can't he buy earlier?? anyway, we're still on time to KLIA.

Check in was a breeze. wandered around the shops..bought a mag. Getting tired from a day's work, and I can't help yawning..gosh, I wish I were already on the plane. So that I could catch up on my sleep..11:55pm..we're on our way flying to Amsterdam...

Nix was on the business class seat...Me, of course I'm stuck in the economy class seat...sigh~ anyway, as long as it gets me to where I want to be..sitting alone ain't gonna be a problem for me.

An indonesian and a romanian guy are sitting beside me. I was sitting in the window seat. Should be just fine, no one to bother me while I sleep. zzz.....I dozed off minutes after I settled into my seat. Meanwhile the two guys were still incessantly chatting in a flurry of French and English...

60. Nokia 6101

This is a cool phone from Nokia! Nokia 6101, one of the few clamshell models from this mobile phone producer. And I've been waiting to see some sleek and cool clamshell phones from Nokia. (* yup, I'm big supporter of Nokia, all my phones have been Nokia.)

This is quite a standard phone, with call and messaging features, camera, colours, MP3 playback, browsing, Java applications and other neat applications. Available in white and black colours. Price is not available yet.

Phone Features

  • Digital VGA camera with dedicated camera button and self-portrait capability
  • Messaging features including Nokia Xpress audio messaging, email, and MMS
  • Two color displays: 128 x 160 pixel internal display with up to 65,536 colors and external mini display
  • Video recording and playback
  • FM stereo radio and headset
  • xHTML browser
  • Push to talk


  • Weight: 97 g
  • Dimensions: 85 x 45 x 24 mm


  • Infrared
  • USB with Pop-Port™
  • Local synchronization of picture gallery, contacts and calendar to PC using PC Suite
  • Remote over-the-air synchronization with SyncML

phone features phone demo

59. COPER PERODUA - new export model

This is a 2-door convertible adaptation from Perodua. Looks kind of sporty with its rounded body and funky colours. Though the front isn't too impressive. The rear lamps look cute and are well designed to portray the sporty and cute look.

Space wise, it doesn't look too spacious, just enough to fit snug for two. A weekend drive for the couple in this car may be just perfect. No pesky in-laws, brothers or sisters...hehehe

Since it's an export model, don't think we have any chance of seeing them on Malaysian roads. Wonder how much it sells though.

Personally, I quite like the black colour version with gold tyre rims...

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