Monday, December 31, 2018

The Stray Dogs near Alex's Auntie's House @ Alor Setar [Kedah, Malaysia]

Back in July, i made a trip to Langkawi and departing from my usual preference to stay put on the island given that i don't have sufficient days; we decided to make a trip across the sea to Alor Setar, where Alex's auntie stays! 

The first thing we noticed upon arrival at her house was the number of stray dogs loitering outside! Now, i will be apprehensive if they are wild dogs but apparently, they were fed by Alex's auntie and hence, were rather friendly.

I wrote 'rather' because i was still a stranger to them and their 'welcome' for the group of us was a series of loud barking! However, the barking stopped when Alex's auntie stepped out of the grab car! 

While Singaporeans are more accustomed to pedigree dogs and generally treat stray dogs (mostly mixed breeds) with disdain, i am the minority who would prefer the latter. I had the opportunity to mix with one when i was working in Animal Resource Centre and found her to be intelligent and so lovable! 

At Alex auntie's place, there were easily about six dogs when we were there. While she did her best to feed them, the rule of thumb is that they would not be brought into the house. 

Quite a good move as dogs are known to be loyal and she would have someone guarding the house when she is away and there are leftovers most of time; this is like the earliest form of sustainability!

There were a few puppies and you know how good they are in gaining sympathy from humans! Cuteness max although i guess they would have grown significantly over the past five months. Unlike humans, dogs reach adulthood in about one year.

My favourite puppy! A short-haired cross breed, it had the most adorable face that my heart melted and i even contemplated bringing it (not sure if it is a male or female) back to Singapore! 

Hard to separate the mom and the kid though and i don't think i can bear the heartache (emotional and financial) to keep another dog. Anyway, they would be happier in an open environment.

Mom and kids; actually Alex's auntie also not sure if they were the family but in life, your so called family might not be closest to you sometimes.  

Guess i have bombarded you with enough dog pictures taken over a mere 30 minutes. Last picture; this dog looked like a golden retriever right?

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Click here for a summary of my trip to Langkawi, with a day trip to Alor Setar.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Wakasho Chia Seed Jelly - Healthy and Nutritional Snack! #chiaseedjelly #chiakon #singapore

In the midst of shopping for Christmas gifts at VivoCity, i chanced upon a pop up store by The Cocoa Trees where the friendly promoter offered me a small pack of chilled jelly. 

I took one bite and immediately purchased four bags in one go. A few days later, i went back to the same place and grabbed another ten bags of the amazing chia seed jelly! 

Made in Japan, each bag contains ten packs of the jelly which comprise of two healthy ingredients; the superfood (chia seeds) and konjac (konnyaku jelly). You would find plenty of websites touting the benefits for both ingredients; alternatively, you may click here.

The handy pack with instructions on how to eat, that i don't understand. I took a picture using google translate and the English message was "never suck jelly, pinching the bottom pinching up, please chew well and enjoy little by little".

Didn't quite make sense to me at first but a colleague who understands Japanese recognised a warning sign in front of the pack that the jelly could pose a choking risk for the elderly! Therefore, if you are passing the chia seed jelly to people from the older generation, do remind them to bite and chew the jelly instead of swallowing them whole! 

Now, let's enjoy the jelly, which is best served chilled! It wasn't overly sweet and the texture of konnyaku jelly, coupled with the chia seeds, made this Japanese dessert a real addictive treat.

They come in various flavours like apple, lemon, peach, mango and grape. I tried almost all of them, except peach, and my personal favourite is grape! My mom loves it and actually asked if i could add chia seeds to my osmanthus jelly; well, i guess it's worth a try!  

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Website

Where to Buy
You can get them in The Cocoa Trees, Cold Storage and i heard, even NTUC.

Pricing
Usual price is about S$6.50 a bag but The Cocoa Trees physical stores were having a promotional S$10 for two bags. With the discount of more than 20%, i am already deliberating if i should buy more as the promotion would end soon on 06 January 2019! 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Day One of My Langkawi Trip!



My first trip to Langkawi coincided with my virgin visit to Terminal 4 of Changi International Airport and i must say i was literally blown away by touches of the Peranakan heritage and the almost fully-automated check in process! 

After checking out the terminal (departure hall), which included but not limited to taking a pee at the Peranakan-themed toilet, exploring the Peranakan Gallery and realising there's a dead fish at La Mer's aquarium, it's time to board the plane! Nope, it's not Scoot even though i mistakenly thought i had booked Scoot! 

Walking down to the departure gate.

Our schedule Air Asia plane; A320-200. I wonder why planes are not christened like the way they are for the ships / boats; a name like Metal Red Bird 01 would be cool. 

In order to save a few bucks, i don't opt for seat selection nowadays, especially when it's a night flight. There is exception though; when there's a risk that none of us would be assigned to a window seat on a day flight. 

Bypassing the iconic Changi Airport 81-meter tall control tower.

It appeared to be a busy day for Changi International Airport, with an obvious queue ahead of us for planes to take off; resulting in a delay of slightly more than 30 minutes! 

Here we go, up in the sky.

Noticed a foot print on the wing. Nothing as alarming as seeing the cover of the wings tearing off; as i remember from a video i watched. Alex loves to watch videos of air plane accidents and I can't help recalling the videos whenever i am taking a plane!

Landed safe and sound at Langkawi International Airport. I actually took two time-lapsed videos using my phone and am considering if i should upload them as the quality wasn't fantastic. 

Ramp stair coming our way! 

While aerobridges (also known as jet bridges) are convenient for passengers, ramp stairs (alt name; mobile staircases) are no doubt cheaper and i guess, easier to operate too. 

The airport was almost deserted! 

By the way, people were taking photos and i thought i could do so too. In Singapore back when there was a budget terminal, i was actually stopped from taking photos. Oh well, i should have gotten used to the strict adherence to the rules and regulations in Singapore. 

Self driving? Remember to rent a car from the many counters near the luggage belt before you exit! We got a Perodua Axia from Miesya Mesra Travel & Tours at only RM 60 a day! 

Exiting the arrival hall; not much shopping available in my opinion although you may wish to apply for data from the mobile provider counters. I didn't bother as the Data Travel plans from Starhub is easier without the need to change sim cards.

Collected our car and it's time to hit the Langkawi roads! 

The nice lady at Miesya Mesra had already told me the car would only have a bit of petrol and we would have to travel to the nearby petrol station to up the petrol; which we did immediately after exiting the airport.

As Langkawi is an island with no land connections, the roads are generally not congested except for those undergoing expansion, road work etc. Hence, i would strongly recommend self-drive, where possible! 

An old school fun fair! Pity we didn't have time to check it out as we spent most of the evenings drinking beer and being considerate tourists, we are fully aware of the fact that we shouldn't drive if we drink.

Driving to park at a shopping centre's open air carpark - reason being the hotel we had booked for our four nights didn't have any parking on site! Not that i am complaining since the mall was directly opposite the Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel

Even though it's just a two-floor mall that's not huge, you can find duty free shops with cheap booze and chocolates, food establishments like Old Town, Starbucks and even a few local travel agents.

No prize for guessing what my first meal at Langkawi was.

Yes, bloody KFC and you don't even have to guess who suggested it; of course it's Alex although i didn't raise much objection as i do enjoy trying Kentucky Fried Chicken from other countries. 

In the past, there's a noticeable difference between the KFC in Singapore and Malaysia. However, the fried chicken business is now highly competitive and even i don't go to KFC as often; my personal favourite is Arnold's Fried Chicken

Checking in to Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel; for my review, click here. In a nutshell, the stay was comfortable, staff was friendly and WiFi was amazingly strong; almost like home. ! 

Driving out as i didn't have much planned for the day.

The main island of Langkawi is about the same size of Singapore but its terrain is much more beautiful with 99 islands surrounding it. The above should be Pulau Dayang Bunting which we would be travelling to on day three of our trip.

Even on the mainland, hills and mountains jutted out of the grounds; unlike Singapore where you would be greeted by either flat grounds or tall blocks of public flats.

Kuah Town - the district capital of Langkawi. I had considered staying at Kuah which had quite a number of hotels but decided on the Cenang area for its more relaxing vibe and proximity to the beach.

Masjid Al Hana - the mosque with yellow, onion-shaped domes! 

We parked next to this small lake with bridges that appeared to be from before the 90s when such things were rather popular with the masses. 

Our destination was, however, nearer to the sea.

Eagle Square (also known as Dataran Lang); key and ONLY attraction was the gigantic eagle that appeared ready to take flight! Click here for more photographs. 

My attempt on taking an artistic shot. 

On our way back to Cenang as we thought of catching the sunset while having a glass of beer at one of the restaurants along the beach! 

Changed our plan as there was a Pasar Malam Temoyong (Temonyong Thursday Night Market) and since it took place only once a week; guess we shouldn't miss it! How was my verdict? Click here for the answer. 

Well, we didn't spend too much time at Langkawi's Thursday Night Market and had sufficient time to book an island hopping package with LV Island Travel for only RM 30 per person! 

More shall be shared when i come to day three of my trip. Hopefully it wouldn't take another half a year as i already have another travel scheduled sometime in March.

Walking along the main Cenang street - i would not be coming out with a separate post on the street as there were road works when i was there and i was too lazy in taking more photos. 

Directional sign pointing towards our next stop.

Recycling of cans; tourism has its ugly side and in the past year, we have heard of Philippines closing down Borocay and Thailand deterring entry to Maya Beach of Phi Phi Islands. 

The large Langkawi sign! 

Our next stop is the Cliff Restaurant! Commanding a great, elevated view of Cenang Beach, i left somewhat disappointed with the food we had. Check out my review here.

A skink spotted near the washroom of the Cliff Restaurant! It's the adult version of what i found previously in my office! 

Taking a walk at the Cenang Beach after food and booze! It was a pity that the sunset wasn't spectacular that day; it was much better in day four though.

Another advantage to staying at Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel; there's a duty free store on the ground floor selling a rather good selection of chocolate! 

Pricing can be insanely cheap like RM 5.90 for 3 packs of 4-finger Kit Kat but just a piece of advice; check the expiry date! The best before date might just be about 2 months later.

I ended the night rather early back in my room at Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel as my travel mates were exhausted. While they slept, i continued to work on the photos that would be uploaded to this blog. Such is my life. 


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Detailed Postings for the Day

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