Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Enlightenment of India

This has been an amazing trip. As you can tell that I've been rather absent from blogging. Hehe... Guilty as charged.

photo 4


Well, it has come to an end of my awesome journey in India. And I'm flying off back to reality tonight. Back to my work, to my paintings and my family and friends. Which I also missed dearly.

I made some new friends on this trip which I hoped to keep in touch and will be able to travel with again. I made some new discovery, about myself and my new perspective in life. I would say, it has been a really enlightening trip.

India, overall, has been more wonderful than I had anticipated.

Well, I had anticipated the pollution, the dirtyness, the touchy men, the sleazy pick up lines; but what I didn't anticipate was how insusceptible I was to Indian food. With all the Indian cuisine and curries I've been scoffing down on a daily basis, I was surprised I didn't even catch a single belly bug.

Though so far I've avoided street vendor food but I have taken food from stranger's hand and ate the whole glob down; to be fair, it was in a temple, and one of the cleanest temples I've stepped in in my life. Those sikhs can really keep their holy places clean.

I've been to the slums, and stepped over piles of children's shits (literally), gazed at the railway tracks in which they filmed "slumdog millionaire", calculated their living cost in those hands-me-down shabby shelters (which would range between 250-400 rupees, not more than RM24 per month), and more kids than I could count running everywhere, asking for 2 rupees for a photo of/with them; or a bottle of coke, or juice, or some candies. Anything you have was a luxury to these kids.

I will hold these memories dearly to my heart as I pack to leave for the airport, later tonight.
The toughness and harsh reality of poverty as a reminder to my blessings; and the wondrous cultural exposure that was so different to my own, or to anywhere I've ever been.

Either way, India has successfuly captured my heart. I felt myself falling in love with every growing seconds of staying in this country. I still know very little of this place, as I have admitted before; and despite that, it did it for me. With that I will depart with a heavy heart, hoping one day I will return, and soon; with more adventures in mind, more generosity to give and more stomach for their exotic spiciness.

photo 3

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Toshiba Portégé Z830 Ultrabook

Short Note: internet has been quite difficult to get in India, so pardon the lack of updates. But everything should be fine from now on because my third week in India is going to be FABULOUS!


Toshiba Portégé Z830 Ultrabook

So this is a review of the latest Ultrabook by Toshiba… which… I have with me.

It’s my new TOY!

nicolekiss and toshiba ultrabook
Well, I lost my previous laptop to theft so I guess this would be an awesome replacement. :p


This is my second Ultrabook to own to date, and the first thing I noticed about the notebook, it is SO THIN! And LIGHT!
Like seriously. 1.12kg. I even used it to play ping pong lately. More of that coming soon.

And it is SERIOUSLY FAST!
I can play sims social flash game on my Ultrabook like a BREEZE. Faster than my other ultrabook and a Macbook Pro. I tried. Okay, you guys are going to hate me, I know, to use such a big and powerful tool to play something so petty. LOL.

toshiba ultrabook 2


toshiba ultrabook thinness


Seeing that I’m not a very technical person, and will probably write a less than satisfying technical review on such a great device (so I heard from everyone); it didn’t stop me from trying, so here is my version of the review of the Toshiba Portégé Z830 Ultrabook:

The Toshiba Portégé Z830, to me, is the first laptop worthy to be throned as the king of Ultrabooks! Weighing at 1.12 kg, it is 0.23 kg lighter than the 13.3 in MacBook Air. The thinly packed machine comes with a whole load of muscle: an Intel Core i7 2667m Processor, 6GB Ram, and of course the creme de la creme 128gb SSD, SD card slot, LAN port, VGA port, HDMI output, fingerprint reader and more.

It’s sad that Toshiba took away the awesome backlit keyboard for the Asian market, not sure why, but the spill proof keyboard will definitely be a plus for many.

I cannot emphasize this enough; the machine is blistering fast thanks to the SSD. Photoshop now opens in a mere 6 seconds and same goes with other programs (fast start-up). The battery impresses me with a 6-7 hours back to back usage (surfing, documents and youtube-ing).

Priced at RM 4799, I have to agree that it’s a little steep, but the good stuff that this Toshiba Ultrabook packs in just shows the world that future laptops will be following the footsteps of this powerhouse.

typing on my toshiba ultrabook


Would you pay that much to own one of the world’s lightest, and really fast (according to me and my sims social :p), 13” Ultrabook to date?

This post is brought to you by Toshiba and Intel. Join the conversation on the Toshiba Portégé Z830 Ultrabook, Inspired by Intel at www.facebook.com/ToshibaNotebookPC.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Riding through India

photo 2


It’s been seven days riding through the desert region of Rajasthan of India with Jane and Angela; both acquaintances I met for the first time at KLIA an hour before departure.

It’s no easy task juggling between balancing my iPad on my lap and my eyesight on the road, our driver Dev Raj may be 51 years old with 32 years of driving experience under his belt, but he’s one heck of a maniac on the road; especially small narrow dingy congested roads filled with cows and gargantuan lorries; all while maintaining a steady speed of 100km/hr.

He has to be one of the safest sane road maniacs I know in India.

Today we’re spending seven hours on the road steering towards the jungle of Ranthambhore safaris; hopefully for some sights of wild tigers. After stuffing ourselves silly, and Dev Raj, with snacks, drinks and chocolates (not the healthiest to-go lunch), we’re now tucked up cool and comfortable underneath our shawls and jackets, surrounded by man-made tent we made out of our rented Innova; by attaching more scarfs and shawls against the windows to block out the ravenous sunlight of India.

Backpacking my ass.

So far, I’m safe from food poisoning, sun stroke or any form of diseases one might get out here, as far as I’m concerned anyway. Let’s hope it stays that way. And to my blessing, I’ve been indulging, more so than I’d like to admit, the wondrous Indian delicacies every single day since day two when I decided to order myself a plate of special Thali; and anxiously waited 24 hours after for any trip down hell a.k.a. toilet. Since then, it’s been meal after meal of mutton curries, kulfis, briyanis, cheese naans, etc. And yes, don’t forget canned diet coke which I absolutely cannot live without out here. NO ice, thank you.

special thaili
Special Thali

Good bye weight lose plan. Good bye budget spending.

Hello credit card bills.

Day two in India and I already busted my budget by paying off all the money I brought, and more, to an arranged tour around India, complete with a driver and a six-seater van (comfort does have a price). And got myself a designer saree worth USD190 that same night to be worn when visiting Taj Mahal; it’d better be worth it.

Though to be fair, and in my defence, we did get a fair price as compared to what we heard our friends paid when they travelled in India; despite the fact we weren’t really living in 4-5 star hotels. Anything with a clean bed, a decent toilet with hot shower and wifi is good enough for me; though we did had a pretty shit hotel that didn’t have any of those a few days back. Guess we can’t have it all. I’ll be happy enough if we can spot even a single tiger in the safari tomorrow.

In the meantime, it’s gonna take more than the days I had and have left to understand India. I’m still clueless about this country no less than before I arrived on this land.

color powder


I have realised this though, Indian boys do seem to like to flirt a lot.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Delhi Belly Syndrome

It’s been more than two years since I’ve travelled over +3 time zone difference alone.

Though technically I was with two other travelling companions whom I’ve just met today; but sitting on the aisle seat all by myself did feel a bit nostalgic, a bit scared and a bit strange.

It’s been two years too long to know how this feels, which used to come so naturally.

For the first time for what seemed like forever, I was venturing into unchartered territory – India. The big peculiar unknown lies in the east to our west. It felt stranger to be venturing into a nation that was so similar to China in many sense but all so different together. For one thing, no one is going to look like me; well, 99.99% locals, at least.

I’ve heard so much about this place. The noise, the pollution, the delhi belly, the people, the taunts and tricks of making a living out of squeezing every penny out of you. There were two sides of stories from my peers, one of high praises of intense cultural exposure and food whoring; the other, well, of hell.
It’s not halfway across the globe, but it might as well be, I’ve never been more unfamiliar and anxious crash landing into this part of the world without any research at all; careless of me.

I suppose it’s a good sign that I didn’t find the plane ride, which composed of 90% Indians, less satisfying or comfortable than it should be; as opposed to what I’ve heard from a couple of friends, one a stewardess who swore the damn hell out of flight consist of mainly people of this part of the world, what with demanding passengers and very unaccommodating and loud attitudes, the other a travel junkie, mainly for business, seemed to have successfully convinced me my flight to New Delhi was going to be a pain; suddenly, flashes of my Nepal journey popped into mind then.

None of that; lavatories, for one, were still clean as spec halfway through the flight; which would not have been the case if it were a flight to or from China. The trip was in fact, thus far, a very peaceful flight; despite the hyperactive baby sitting next to me whom I’d sworn would be the living hell of my six hours journey, and who, surprisingly, fell into a deep coma as soon as the airbus was in the air. Nice baby.

And you know what the other good news is?

I’m writing again; as in really penning down my thoughts. This has not happen, except for the occasional rage rants, since the last time I lost my touch with life (abstract meaning here which you don’t need to know), then with travelling, and then with writing.

Maybe this isn’t going to be such a bad trip to start with afterall.
In the meantime, I’ll cross my fingers in case I have just jinxed myself.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

My New Pair of Eyes

judith leiber sunnies


I got two new pairs of genuine GEO contact lens lately which I’m going to bring to India with me (to freak the locals out, lol, jk).

I’ve always resisted colorful lens because I prefer to wear my lens out on a daily basis and if I have to have a few pairs that I own, they would have to be something that doesn’t look like they hop out of an anime.

So my usual go-to colors are brown, hazelnut, grey and black.

And I really love grey series because they’re unique but subtle enough to still be worn daily with normal make-ups. I have been eye-ing for these two pairs for a while and now I finally got them. ^^

silver lens


I’ve been looking for this pair forever! I’ve asked few contact lens site before and they’re always sold out or no stock. Maybe because it’s a very popular color, but I love the rim-less sides that gave a very silver-ish siren-feel effect to my eyes.

It’s a three tone color lens so it’s very natural and I look like I have naturally grey eyes; or silver angelic eyes. :p

three tone color lens 14mm CM955
Close up


The other pair is something I have before but in brown, so now I, again, went for the grey one. It’s a two tone color circular lens.

two tone color lens 15mm WI-A25


My friend said it’s sort of creepy, like a vampire; but I love it.

I find this pair hauntingly beautiful under sunlight.

surreal look
See what I mean? It’s super nice with photos or for the days I want to create a surreal mysterious look.


What do you think, which lens do you prefer on me?


I got both pairs from geo4msia.blogspot.com (prices are from RM29 including poslaju)

For your reference, the first pair is 14mm CM955; second pair is a 15mm WI-A25
(I got them really fast cause they were all in stock; if the lens you want are out of stock, they do deliver within 10 working days.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Penang Food Festival Buffet @ Saujana

oyster omelette


Last night I was invited to dine at Suria Cafe at Saujana for their Penang Food Fest Buffet that's on-going till 14th March 2012.

Which was the convenient coincidence since I was craving for Char Kuey Tiao for the past 24 hours.

char koay teow


It was a nice concept to have all this made-up stalls near the buffet area that made diners felt like ordering straight out of a hawker centre in Penang, you get your fried carrot cakes, mee mamak and Kuey Tiao fried on the spot for you by the hotel's chef.

Bringing in the whole stalls is definitely a crowd pleaser, however if this is a long-run themed buffet, it wouldn't draw crowds back again for something you can get the same from local hawkers; for the price you're paying.

But if you want to enjoy the luxury of dining your street food in style, Club Med style (all inclusive of the price package) that is, then it's worth that one try.

romantic buffet dinner
Romantic candlelight dinner with hawker food


I sat outside cause I found it so much more romantic underneath the tree lights with a candlelight. Furthermore it was a pleasant cooling evening with no whatsoever mosquitoes.

Char Kuey Tiao was a rather disappointment, prawns were fresh; but I ADORE the mee mamak. One of the best mee mamak I had.

mee mamak


nicolekiss
tied my hair cause I hadn't wash it and was getting wee bit oily. :p


The other thing I enjoyed immensely during dinner was something not-so Penang-ly.

Their lamb cutlets were juicy, tender and so good to eat.

lamb


Below are photos I took with my iPhone 4 camera.

candle light kopitiam dinner
candlelight 'kopitiam'?


penang food buffet in saujana


Rest assured my Penang food crave is now officially over.


Suria Cafe, The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Saujana Resort Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS
40150 Shah Alam Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia
Contact: (+603) 7843 1234
Website: www.thesaujanahotel.comLink