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Hong Kong wantan and some other things September 3, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Food, Hong Kong, Other Countries, People, Places.
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I always wanted to try the real Hong Kong wantan mee. I know there are lots of wantan mee stalls in Malaysia which are quite memorable and notable but there’s nothing like an authentic Hong Kong wantan.

The opportunity came when I was visiting Lantau island, home of Disneyland. The first obvious sign that it was a HK wantan dish is the size of the bowl. It was big. I don’t know why it was big because the among of mee in the soup was about the same as anywhere else.

Perhaps it has something to do with our visual appreciation of anything that feels and looks big – as if we will be getting our money’s worth. The char siew was also in big slices. Again, I don’t know why it needed to be so big.

The taste? Well, I have tasted better but to be fair to those chaps, there are better ones (wantan mee) in Kowloon which I so happened to bypass. I shan’t make the same mistake again when I visit the ex-British colony a second time.

As for accommodation, the Hollywood Disneyland Hotel gets the thumbs-up from me. Everywhere you turn, you see a Mickey Mouse logo or symbol. Even in the bedroom, the ears of Mickey stick out a mile long for your eyes to appreciate.

And on the streets of Disney town, there are uniformed guides to show you the right places. Nothing is left to chance. They have not forgotten that you are paying for everything. Don’t forget to bring all your spare change!!!

Koala bear in the wild August 6, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Australia, Nature, Other Countries, Places.
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And there I was in this little bus heading towards Apollo Beach somewhere in the big wide state of New South Wales.

We were about an hour’s drive away from Melbourne. Our driver blurted out: “Anyone wants to see a real Koala bear. They are all over the place and I know just where one might see a few or one.”

So the drive slowed down considerably. Sure enough, minutes later, the bus came to a stop. We all scrambled down like hillbillies and looked at the trees.

I finally saw one. The koala was happily taking its siesta. Too many tourists make it tired. According to reports (not confirmed), koala bears in the wild can eat a big chunk of eucalyptus leaves in a short time.

But since Australia has plenty of this type of trees, it was “no worries”.  The view on the beach front was awesome. Can’t tell you more because you weren’t there!! Sorry.

A chopper eye’s view of the 12 apostles of Australia August 6, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Australia, Miscellaneous, Nature, Other Countries, Places.
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If you haven’t been in a chopper (helicopter) then you must add that to your “Must-Do List”.

The experience will last you a lifetime. A few of us were sent up to heaven in this seemingly bubble-like mosquito-sized chopper and got a fantastic view of the wild blue yonder off the coast of Melbourne.

We were introduced to the “12 Apostles”. They were actually rock formations that had made Australia famous among foreign tourists. When we were there, only 9 Apostles were left because time and tide have erased the other three.

Still, now I know how a seagull feels over the ocean. The experience of being up in the air is surrealistic because everything is sort of quiet and still and then the helicopter dove in for a closer view.

Fantastico! Worth a million bucks. Some millionaires don’t even get to experience this because they are afraid of flying. Well, I have scratched another item off my Must-Do List. Must try mount Everest next but not K2, if you know what I mean.

Singapore Chinatown after dark July 20, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Culture, Food, Other Countries, People, Places, Singapore.
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Chinese all over the world have got this insatiable curiosity to visit other Chinatowns whenever they are on holiday on foreign soil.

Take for example, Melbourne, Australia. Right in the heart of this beautiful city is a neat Chinatown. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the kind of ambience that you will find in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But it is Chinatown nevertheless, even though many of the shops are manned by ex-Chinese mainlanders.

One Chinese can spot another “foreign” Chinese about four joss sticks’ fragrance away. Recently, I went south of the Malaysian border, down Singapore way.

Naturally, the island republic has her own Chinatown. It is one of the cleanest Chinatowns I have ever come across. The frontage of many of these old shoplots have got a new coat of paint and all significant repairs have been done. Quite impressive.

Some of the food stalls have items that I have not even tried before. Just goes to show you that it’s never too late to try something new.

The items were basically the same as those found in other Chinatowns, with a few variations, of course. Do I like it? Well, of course, Chinatown is Chinatown. It’s just like coming home.

So long as there are restaurants, roadside stalls and plenty of cheap souvenirs, we feel we have somehow arrive at the right spot.

The many faces of Singapore July 18, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Culture, Miscellaneous, Other Countries, People, Places, Singapore.
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South of border, down Johor way lies Singapore. For centuries Singapore has been part of Malaysia until the mid-1960s, then the boundaries were clearly marked.

Today, Singapore has a different geographical outlook. It is still like Malaysia in many ways but on other aspects, the Lion city and island state is totally different.

When a visitor goes down to Singapore from Malaysia, it is a study of contrasts. We are same, and yet different. That’s the flavour of the region. There are many interesting faces of Singapore. Beneath it all, we find we are very much the same.

One thing though, Singaporeans and Malaysians find each other quite interesting.