Sunday, November 30, 2008

San Francisco, USA (1991)

My friend and I made an extension trip from Honolulu to San Francisco in March, 1991. We joined several local tours to Sausalito and the Redwood park, Monterey, Pebble Beach...etc. Worth for a visit and what impressed me was the nice Italian food.
1/2. No need to tell what it is. The Golden Gate Bridge.

3. It's very common to see this type of building in many US cities. 4. Forgot where it was - maybe Monterey.

5/6. The first time we hit the other side of Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Langkawi, Malaysia (1990)

It might be the most interesting trip I took by myself and since then I started enjoying going on trips by myself. It was February, 1990. Supposed I was planning a trip to Phuket but gave it up as my plan was ruined when I tried to make it in the fall of 1989. Then I changed to this mysteriously cursed (by a princess for some reason) island Langkawi (100 miles south east of Phuket on the border of Malaysia and Thailand). Probably I just treated it as Phuket psychologically. I did regret I cancelled my trip to Phuket with this one as now Phuket is much too commercial.

1/2.Pelangi Resort (told to be five star resort) and I think I paid around HK$8,800 for the MH flight plus 3 nights in Pelangi Resort in Langkawi, 3 nights in Shangrila Penang and 2 nights in KL Hilton.

3. the resort. 4. the beach is very close to the airport and it's quite muddy instead of sandy. Then I came to realise it's not so-called pearl powdered like it was described in the Malaysia Airline package brochure.

5/6. In general, the resort is pretty nice with lots of facilities and at night time there was some live jazz music.
7. the resort. 8. Actually Langkawi was still a fishing village rather than a tourist hot spot.

9. There are quite many small islands around Langkawi. 10. I think I walked for around 5-6 miles along this long beach from the hotel.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Banff, Rocky Mountain, Alberta, Canada

These photos were taken by my good friend Flora who took a trip with her family to Banff, Rocky Mountain in Canada's Alberta province. The best season going there is in between June to August but of course the hotel and air ticket is double expensive. Once you get there, you would find the expensive cost worth it! Thanks Flora for sharing these nice photos! Seeing the mountain reminded me of a song "Four Strong Wind" by Neil Young as the lyrics mentioned about these Rocky mountain.

1/2. This hotel by the lake is extremely expensive, considering the hotel's water and power system being environmentally considerate.

3. Ain't it a paradies! 4. We should treasure these....

5/6. Note the calm surface of the lake

7/8. So spectacular!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kim Taro Grill (金太郎), Bangkok

1. the restaurant is situated at the side street of Novotel Lotus on Sukhumvit. The complimentary salad is very refreshing with slightly tasted Japanese soy sauce/vinegar dressing. Refill is complimentary too.

3. from left to right - chicken, beef, siloin. Chicken and beef are marinated a bit too thick. 4. I somehow prefer Sirloin as it's more tender and juicy. However, health-wise, it's not good to cook frozen meat from freezing point to done. The nutrients in the meat will be lost quite much at such a quick temperature change. That's also why I don't like hot pot with those frozen fat beef. Once in a while it's ok, but don't do that often.

5. What a tempting meal. 6. Cold noodle (Korean style) is pretty ok, but it's something really nice from a hot grill.

7. Kimchi is pretty good too. 8. the dessert - tomato in condensed milk. When I looked at it, I already told it's not something I appreciated. Yes, it is aweful. Not because I don't like condensed milk, tomato taste just doesn't agree with condensed milk. So the meal put a very bad remark at the end.

Chaophyra River on the rise

See all these places were already slightly flooded.

Yung He Restaurant (Taiwanese), Bangkok

It's sometimes quite hard to find some nice Chinese provincial cuisine in Bangkok. This one Yung He Soy Bean shop is located close to the intersection of Chongnonsi (Narathiwa) Road (actually, it's very near to the BTS station Chongnonsi) and Silom Road. If you miss some Taiwanese food during your long vacation in BKK, try this one.

1. Sea weed - didn't expect this shop made this one really nice and in some way it's better than some of the restaurants I tried in Taiwan. 2. Siu Long Bao - this one is quite ok but it's a bit too thick.

3. Stir Fried Bitter Gourd Leaves - not that good. It's a bit too old; so it's hard to chew. 4. Pork Chop Rice - The pork chop is really disappointing. Supposed the pork chop should be crispy outside and juicy inside with the strong aroma of quick deep frying (酥香). However, it's like the pork chop is soaked in some warm oil and the coating is much too wet and even quite disgusting. However, the steamed rice is really nice. It's hard to find nice steamed rice in BKK.

5. Hot and Spicy Soup - quite ok. 6. Beef Noodle - the beef is quite tender and the soup base is also nice. The only thing I would comment is that the Chef should first brown some rock sugar to make it as a "Red Burn (紅燒)" base for the soup. Quite a number of shops don't brown the rock sugar for the soup base.

Friday, November 21, 2008

No TV, No Phone, just an Island - Coral Island, Phuket

So glad to see the new album of Dido titled "Safe Trip Home" just released and certainly I grabbed it from the shelf regardless of the price stag. When I am back home, I usually turn on the TV set just like anyone else does to make the apt. with some noise. Tonight I turned it on but then turned it off because I wanna concentrate on listening to each song of this new Dido album, and have my mind traveling back to an island called Coral Island off Phuket. I played the last 2 albums of Dido almost every night in that resort. That resort doesn't have any TV set nor telephone communication. It's just the voice of Dido and the sparkling sea from the moon light and the light sea breeze coming in. Then I realised what a life without living in a box. There was one time I told my friends "I would never feel solitary if I walk back and look up to the sky and feel the Universe.". Now with my favourite music embracing myself in such a quiet land. What more should I ask for? That's already good enough for me.

1. This nice blue house on the beach front is around B2,000 at off season, B4,000 at peak season. I would recommend to try this one on the beach front. 2. Long tail boat resting in day time.

3/4. Strange that every morning when I heard the engine of this long tail boat, I felt so alive as I was seeing those villagers starting a new day of work.
5. Taken in July 2004 before the Dec. 04 Tsunami hitting Phuket. According to the hotel manager, as this beach is back behind the Andaman Sea, so it was just a slow tidal upflow of sea water to the hotel room, not splashing against it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a chance of re-visiting this resort. 6. Taken in July 2005 after the Tsunami. Apparently the beach was with some scattered shells and stone.
7/8. These 2 friendly dogs have been like an ambassador for the resort. They have been following me around without any annoyance. 9. the big tree in front of the resort.