Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Johannesburg Travel Guide - (South Africa)

 
Cape Town (Part 3Part 2 & Part 1) and Lion Park conquered, subsequently, its gonna be here we coming to get you Sun City. Where we will spending the hours at our leisure or at our whims and fancy, free and easy fullest. Into the coach after breakfast for the estimated two hours journey to north-west Johannesburg, our lunch break in between took place in "Upper Deck Restaurant”. Another similar ambiance to Kirstenbosch Garden Moyo Restaurant, boosting a laid-back rustic, huge lively garden and live music, Upper Deck Restaurant on the other hand is a grill restaurant. Wow! Impressive for someone like me who have always been fond of dining in a garden setting, shaded by trees and plants. Taking our seat at the already reserved outside dining area, thank god, instead of being cramped in the inside, noisy and packed to its rim dining area, we tucked into our meal consisting of soup, salad and opting between the seafood, steak and lamb platters. Washed down with canned drinks, some preferred chilled beers, whereas the sweet ending of the extremely and overly sweet local delicacies were too much to handle. All in all, I must say it was an appreciated meal. That's about it. Nothing sensational nor spectacular or something totally new to me and honestly, this kinda of huge portion meal will go down well for big eaters and not for small eaters. Basically, such a waste when you can't finish up.        



Despite literally forcing ourselves, maybe one or two managed to lick the platter clean, but for the most of us, there food went to waste. However, the good thing of it all, instead of leaving behind the portions, we helped our tour guide to pack them for the underprivileged whom we were told dig rubbish bins for food. Sad and heart breaking isn't it? I know. Here we are dining in a classy restaurant and there people are scavenging bins for food. In fact, for the past few days after our lunch and dinner, we packed whatever leftovers for the needy and poor people. Initially, we didn't know what was going. We couldn't understand what our tour guide was up to, but once it reached our ears, we too did our part in lending support to her kind deeds. Sincerely, something that touched us deep into our mind. More importantly, one of the best lessons to our travelling gram for making us realise not to waste food and to appreciate each decent meal we sometimes take for granted or fuss for no apparent reason. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Johannesburg (South Africa) - The Best Out Of The Rest

From Cape Town to Johannesburg (Cape Town Part 3Cape Town Part 2 & Cape Town Part 1). South Africa’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, also commonly known as Jo'burg or Jozi, our two hours flight obviously landed us at the airport. Subsequently, while journeying for another approximately 45 minutes to North West, Lanseria, I made sure I peeped out from the coach for glimpsing at this economic hub of South Africa and capital of Gauteng. At the same time, I gasped the fact that Johannesburg is not a safe haven for wondering around on our own due to its crime rate primarily, as narrated by our born and bred South African tour guide. Nothing really bad so far I have encountered for the past three days, but I must mention that I had a hard time with the immigration officer at the airport who insisted I greet him and I couldn't help but wonder why he was picking on me by asking a string of unwanted questions. I went like, what's going on. Baffled me. Why, why on earth? Trust me, I was so close to giving him a piece of mind when he rudely throw my passport back. Nonsense! A chip on his shoulder I suppose. The other person I must mention is our bus driver who wouldn’t stop complaining how unfair life is in South Africa. Nonstop he went on, each and every time I bumped into him. As if, we don’t have our worst share of unfavorable policies towards different races in Malaysia? Looks like people all over the world do come in different packages, you meet the good and the ugly as well. In fact, I was already forewarned by my social media South African friends what to expect in South Africa. Crime rate, people sulking and unwelcoming behaviour, which by far played on my mind prior to us stepping foot in Lion Park.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cape Town - South Africa (Part 3)

Another itinerary already lined up and prior being informed (Cape Town 1 and Cape Town 2), more importantly, glad I was that weather, as we were told to get ready, didn't bite deep into my skin. In fact, such a waste to carrying my thick jackets, because by this third day, I felt as though I am in Malaysia. Not cold, neither sweat dripping hot, supposedly the blessings of Cape Town's weather god, our day began once we journeyed for approximately 50 minutes. Luckily, the big rock which flew by to hit one of the back windows of our coach while we were journeying didn't hurt any of us. It did however shatter the glass, we still arrived in one piece in Nederburg Wines. One of the older vineyards in Stellenbosch, my-my, what more could I have asked for. Walla! For someone like me who gets tipsy over wine, like once a fortnight, I was grinning from one end to the other end of my mouth. How aptly, none could have been better for starting off our tour except warmly welcomed to the section where we were briefed, as well as we sampled the different types of wine. Temptation ran wild, mind you. As much as my mind indirectly sounded me, no Nava K, you should hold back, my heart and wine palate nonetheless literally wouldn't let me go. What the hack, I told myself. I went ahead and tasted, albeit, honest to goodness, I couldn't differentiate which is which in regard to the wine varieties. Others I think put on a drama as if they knew, maybe some really knew, yet, I clearly noted there were pretenders too, while the lady was explaining and also wanted to hear it out from us. I of course didn't utter no word. Frankly speaking, lemme tell you that if a wine can get me tipsy, its a fab wine. The best!       

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cape Town - South Africa (Part 2)

Day One in CapeTown was just a gist kick start to what else is in store for us. By two day, it just affirmed that Cape Town is a stunning beauty. Sincerely. For those of you who have already made your mark in Cape Town, I speak no further, but to those of you who are gonna explore Cape Town in the future, I bet you will not at all regret. Believe me. I clearly know what I am talking about. Cape Town by far is a nature paradise. Incomparable to the rest of places I have been to so far. Maybe I shouldn't compare because each is still its own wonder pleasure travelling gram, porn or lust (The Golden Triangle Chiang Mai, Istanbul Turkey, Norway, Fremantle Perth & Phuket Thailand), yet I can't help telling you that Cape Town is class of it own and one which I personally witnessed by the second day. Fun fantastic nature mesmerizing start and till our sightseeing curtains were drawn at end of the day. We started off with the drive from high up and cutting through the mountain slope that unveiled nature bounciness and bountifulness. Eye catching and eye gripping ultimate spellbinding view from the coach for approximately half an hour, in addition to a stop for admiring the beach, shores, ocean, hills and mountains, stretching from Mouille Point to Muizenberg. Chilly and wind lusciously blowing, we almost went berserk. Indeed. Later along the way, we had another stop at Karbonkelberg, a small peak forming part of Table Mountain National Park, a prominent landmark overlooking Hout Bay Harbor and famous for its short treks amongst mountain bikers.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Ennai Kathirikai Kuzhambu (Brinjal Curry)

Ennai Kathirikai Kuzhambu! In layman's terms, Ennai Kathirikai Kuzhambu is a kind of brinjal curry. Simply as that and let's keep it that way instead of complicating our food cooking matter. And when I speak about brinjal or even aubergine on the whole, pretty much quite a regularity in my house. Brinjal can be considered as our favourite and any which way it is cooked (Thai Style EggplantJapanese Saute Eggplant, Eggplant Tikka & Brinjal Stir Fry), we love it. But seemingly, its like a habit of mine in adding brinjal into curries or gravies (Nadan Meen Curry, Goan Prawn Curry & Vegetable Kurma). Of course, the stir fried styles (Terong Balado, Bengali Begun Bhaja & Baingan Bharta) does come into our food picture as well. Today, obviously, brinjal in curry. A vegetarian curry. Overall, a spicy, tangy, attractive, vibrant and exciting to your palates curry. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cape Town - South Africa (Day 1)

Another love rekindling travel of ours, trust me, I didn't expect South Africa will be where I will be landing (Copenhagen & Bergen). Never, not at all in my slightest moment I would have imagined I will be stepping foot in South Africa. Oh-my! What a joy. A joy which kept playing on my mind for the last one year or so, ever since we started planning for here we are coming to get you South Africa (Rome & Verona/Milan). By the way, lemme tell you that exploring South Africa was not bestowed because we knocked on heaven's door. Knocking on heaven's door may have gotten to god's ears, but without us relentlessly working our butts out, South Africa most probably would have remained unshaken forever as our life long travelling mission. Basically, we saved as much as we could. Saving and not by fluke shot for this rather pricey South Africa 10 days 7 nights holiday. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Golden Triangle Boat Ride (Chiang Rai - Thailand)

Myanmar (Myanmar Across The Border Of Mae Sai) literally ran over me like a big hot furnest bulldozer. Massive traffic in all directions between the cluttered roads, motorbikes and cycles, dust flying all over and weather really got to me. Sweat dripping soaking wet within the few hours, no, no, don't get me wrong. I am not sulking nor complaining. After all, what is travelling if you can't put up with expecting the expected or unexpected? There's by the way no guarantee to none while travelling, I guess we have to make do with it for the best or worst which in return does do a whole lot of good by exposing us to seeing and understanding how different parts of the world is functioning differently than ours. But if by any chance you are not someone who is apt for exploring the not nice context of travelling, I suggest you sit at home Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai Day 2 & Chiang Mai Day 1) and grow old as a grumpy pot. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice With Sweet Coconut)

It is one thing for cooking, the other is whether you must have all the ingredients? What then? What happens when you can't get certain specific ingredients? You are going to ditched aside the idea of making the dish? Or my question is, are you still going to go ahead by making do? Making do basically meaning, are we going to go ahead with the dish. If you are asking me, I am quite a good cooking runner. I always make do. Take this pulut inti for an example. By right, you need banana leaves, then again? So what? What about re-looking at how can we still make without the leaves. I definitely did fine. My pyrex showed me the way and I hand-crafted Pulut Inti for the serving style. See, I already told you? Nothing is absolute and you can still be a food hero in your own way. What is Pulut Inti? Clue already given. Glutinous rice with sweet coconut which must placed alongside our kuih-muih or local delicacies (Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly, Kuih Kosui & Malaysian Sago Pudding). Our Kuih-muih (Bingka Pisang, Bubur Chacha & Honeydew Sago Dessert)? The treasures of Malaysia and will forever remain as our propelling sweet treat, sweet delight and our sweet moment  (Wajik PulutKuih Buah MelakaKuih Sagu Kukus & Pumpkin Sago Dessert).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Myanmar - Across the Border From Mae Sai

Pretty much an effortless crossing over to Myanmar from the border of Mae Sai. Thanks to our adorable tour guide, we paid her I think RM200.00 and she did the rest. Pass for crossing over and where and where we should head to for the next few hours, all of it sorted out by this lady. While she got moving to getting the pass, we waited, and within the next less than 1/2 an hour, we walked from the arch that separates Chiang Mai and Myanmar (Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai Day 2 & Chiang Mai Day 1). My-my, what a interesting travelling moment. Crossing over to another country by walking. Hundreds of others were also walking from and across the border, I hardly noticed any tourists though, subsequently, we hopped into our van and there we were already on the busy and quite a messy any way is your traffic way in Tachilek, Myanmar. Weather on this particular day lemme tell was killer heat. Really really hot. Literally unbearable and the dust simply flying at its whims and fancy made it even worst. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chiang Mai (Day 2) - Thailand

What a start for the day. Couldn't have been any better (Chiang Mai Day One). No better in fact for a traveller like me who love nature all things nice, our first stop for the day in Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm was akin Nava K tinkle bell nature. Awesomeness. Utterly. Still memorable till this day. Rows and rows of colorful and different species orchids which were in my imagination smiling and greeting me naturally brightly. Though, honestly, I have never so far had any luck in growing orchids. Orchids I grow eventually depart to heaven happily or sadly. Strange that for someone like me who is into some serious stuff of gardening in my tiny plot of garden, I am yet to horn my orchid growing skills. I suppose its one of those things you still can't gasp despite trying over and over, until I think I have given up on growing orchids. Therefore, this trip of ours to Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm sincerely was a fantastic eye opener to propagating orchids and what else you can do with the orchids flowers you have lovingly cultivated. Those hair clips and accessories you can buy indeed caught up on me until I couldn't resist picking up a few pieces for remembrance as well.   




  
Butterfly farm in Bai Orchid too was another interesting nature discovery, but it wasn't something totally new to me (Malacca Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary). Having said that, nature splendour is still an appreciated splendour wherever it may be. Departing from Bai Orchid & Butterfly Farm, we then arrived in Chiang Mai Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village. I can't tell you if there's other long neck villages in Chiang Mai or if this is the only one, maybe yes, maybe no, I really can't confirm though, what became a tiny bit of question mark in Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village is paying RM50.00 as the unofficial entrance fee. Didn't make sense, honestly, I wasn't expecting it, then again for the benefit of the doubt, considering that its a source of income for the people, we didn't mind paying. After all, tourism is a big money chunking business in Thailand, additionally, nothing is free when you travel? Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village by the way I must admit was quite an intriguing culture of discovery the moment we started walking right to the further end. Not really a big area though, but definitely the ladies and young girls donning the long heavy gold metal piece on their necks I reckon are the spoken must do attraction in Chiang Mai. Of course, you are allowed to picture alongside them, and the scarfs and handicrafts are a buying pleasure of yours.   



An hour most to most in Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village, actually more than ample time, next on our itinerary was Maetaeng Elephant Park. Elephants bathing, elephants that won't stop eating bananas you feed them and elephant playing football and painting. Marvelous. We enjoyed every bit of our visit to Maetaeng Elephant Park, for the first time ever I tried the elephant ride which of course no doubt trilled and excited me, but stopping you every now and then for buying sugar cane and bananas for feeding I thought was corny money ripping. Subsequently, we browsed through the products in the souvenir shop, we had lunch in one of the restaurants and off we left for Chiang Mai Snake & Monkey show.   




Monkey show and snake show I believe will be included if you are in a tour, but honestly, since I have done it before (Krabi, Thailand), my enthusiasm while watching the monkey tricks and man to snakes wrestling didn't pierce right into my travelling heart neither mind. If you have not done it before, I suppose you won't stop being impressed.    

Two more stops for the day, touristy stops I must say. Silver and royal jelly and birds nest cottage industry visits. Pressure to buying was not so bad in the silver outlet, but at the latter, royal jelly and birds nest both in one outlet, the young doll sales staff was quite a forceful smiling humble thing until my guy friend didn't mind paying a couple of hundreds. Anyway I am in no way disputing the health power of royal jelly or birds nest. Go ahead, buy all you want, pay a couple of hundreds for healthy is wealth attraction in Chiang Mai. 
  

Day 2 in Chiang Mai ended with dinner and back to the hotel. Quite a fun-fantastic day I must say. In store for us tomorrow is Chiang Rai here we are coming to get you. 

To be continued................









Savouring Mutton: Spices and All Things Nice

I've cooked mutton countless times in all sorts of styles, many of which I've come up with myself. Mixing and matching ingredients ...