Category Archives: travel

Hello from KL!

(Most of this post was written when I was in KL.)

Despite being accustomed to the slow and lazy island life of Bali, I am enjoying the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur a lot. It’s fantastic being in a big city where there are hundreds of food options. I feel like a recovering addict suddenly thrust in the drug of my choice – food. My belly will definitely agree with me when I say that I am overdosing on eating. I’ve eaten a lot of Chinese food, Indian food and fast food. In fact, the McDonalds food here is pretty bang on – a hundred times better than Bali. I’ve also fallen in love with a coffee chain called Old Town. Mmmm, the steamed bread with chicken curry is to die for (picture below).

Claypot chicken with Chinese sausages -from a cart on the side of a street in Chinatown

For you Ros…

Roti Canai w/ 3 different curries – Heritage Row


Teh tarik – Jl. Alor

Curry chicken w/ steamed bread – Old Town @ Pavilion

Lamb rack – Shook @ Star Hill

Besides the food, KL also offers a lot of malls – no surprise there. However, it’s different from Jakarta (read my review on Jakarta here). The malls are definitely nicer (more attention to detail) and it seems there’s a larger concentration of them within the downtown core – all within walking distance. That brings me to my next point: transportation. KL is a city set up multiple forms of transport. Besides driving, you can take the extensive train system (composing of 4 or 5 different lines), walk, bus or taxi. I’ve forgotten how nice it is to walk around a city since I’ve spent the last 4 months on a bike.

Medan Tuanku monorail station
Star Hill Mall – amazing!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in KL. I found the food choice excellent, the city planning efficient and the people incredibly friendly and intelligent. I’ll definitely be back.

Petaling Street – Chinatown

Petronas Towers at night

Hindu Temple – Chinatown

These things are amazing. They flip you on your back and have over 30 different kinds of massages. 70% off – only $3000 CAD

View from the Skybridge (66th floor) of the Petronas Towers. The 86th floor view is even crazier

Batu Caves

It’s 272 steps up to the top (where the caves are). Even this guy is tired

Skybar – Trader’s Hotel

KL Skyline – slightly touched up in Lightroom
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No Nyepi…

This Saturday (March 5th) marks the Balinese New Years also known as Nyepi. There are several parts and rituals to the celebration including:
Melasti: This happens a few days before Nyepi and involves the purification of all sacred objects. Taken from all the temples, the objects are then purified in the sea.

Bhuta Yajna: In order to appease the evil spirits, the Balinese make ogoh-ogoh (paper statutes made from bamboo and shaped in grotesque forms). Then, on the day before Nyepi, many of the major streets are shut down for the ogoh-ogoh parade. The young village men will parade these statutes around all day until they are burnt at night. This symbolizes the death of all evil spirits.
Nyepi: This is also known as the “Day of Silence” because the ENTIRE island shuts down for 24 hours (6am-6am). That means absolutely no one is allowed to leave their homes (hotels if you’re a tourist) or make any noise. No electricity should be used either – that means no a/c, no lights, no TV etc. If you must switch a light on, it cannot be seen from outside or else the Pecalang (the traditional security force) will come by and demand you turn it off. If they find you outside of your home, they will physically escort you home. The airport is even shut down for the day and all Indonesian television stations are asked not to air anything in Bali.
The reasoning behind this is because the Balinese people do not want to attract the attention of any evil spirits that may be flying over the island. If the entire island is ‘dead’, the evil spirits will fly away because they’ll think no one lives there.
I’m actually quite sad that I’m missing out – I would have loved to see the ogoh-ogoh parade and the chaos that it creates. Apparently in years past, they’ve made the ogoh-ogoh look like George Bush, Osama bin Laden and even Godzilla!
It would have also been very interesting to experience a quiet Bali – no cars honking, no scooters whizzing by, no one screaming at each other…
But, because of a few different reasons, I flew to Kuala Lumpur 2 days ago and won’t be back in Bali until the 8th – well after the island is back to normal. More on my thoughts of KL next…
(Click here to read more on Nyepi)
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Craving home

It’s been 3 months since I left home and I can genuinely say that I am sick and bored of all the food in Bali. Because I don’t have a kitchen (or fridge), every single one of my meals are eaten out. You quickly figure out what places are good and what places you’ll never go back. The problem is that you continually frequent these places until you’re bored! Then, the challenge is to try and found another place to eat at.

Coming from a foodie mecca, the culinary scene in Bali is depressing. I don’t care what anybody says, Vancouver has the best food in the world – at the best prices – hands down. Despite the abundance of ‘5 star chefs’ at various restaurants around Bali, I’d still choose Van’s scene any day. Plus, I’m 90% positive that the food in Van hasn’t been cleaned/cooked in ditch water…
I’ve developed an intense craving for lots of food dishes back home. This is just a small selection…

And yeah, I’m well aware that the Tuna Poke doesn’t exist anymore but a gal can still crave for it right?
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Byebye Dengue

Update: So, I was admitted into the hospital last Tuesday night and ended up spending 3 nights there. If you ever need any sort of medical attention in Bali, check out BIMC Hospital! Everybody speaks English and they take amazing care of you. My little plug aside, those 3 days were absolutely excruciatingly boring! Watching TV day and night, getting poked and prodded for countless blood tests and eating bland hospital food is not very fun at all. Although I suppose if you were to do any of those things, you should do it at BIMC but that’s besides the point. The point is, don’t get sick, and definitely don’t get dengue fever. And, check out Groomer Has It– it’s hilarious!

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Christmas in Bali

This is my first Christmas away from my family and I have to tell you it’s tough! I’ve never felt more homesick than right now. Christmas in paradise isn’t the same. For one thing, the majority of the island is Hindu-based so any signs of Christmas is purely commercial, catering to all the ex-pats. I wish I was home, opening presents with my family and Halo around our beautiful tree but there’s no sense in crying over something that can’t be changed right?
Anyways, the other day I attended a Christmas pageant at one of the local churches. It was definitely very different but I loved the enthusiasm and Christmas spirit that was present. The night consisted of 2 different Balienese cultural dances (one danced by 3 cute boys), a hip-hop dance, a dance by a bunch of little girls, a couple of choirs and a troupe of men dressed in funny wigs.
Check out a few pictures below.
Update: So I hope your Christmas was better than mine! I spent the majority of Christmas day curled up in bed with a fever, sweat chills and intense joint pain. I missed Christmas dinner but managed to stumble out of bed late at night to go to an internet cafe to skype my family (they were opening presents). It’s now day 3 and I still have intense joint pains, a fever, sweat chills, headaches, nausea, no appetite and earaches. I went to the hospital yesterday to get my blood tested for dengue fever. The test came back inconclusive so I have to go again tomorrow to get it tested again. Sucks to be me right now 😦
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