Hotels in Sri Lanka

hotel sri lanka

Hotels are not actually places of accommodation in Sri Lanka. The word “hotel” means curry house, much like a mamak in Malaysia.

crown hotel

I’m not sure why it’s called a hotel either but it’s a good place for cheap eats and decent food.

sri lanka hotel

Hotels are scattered throughout much of Colombo and I’ve eaten at several during my short time here. I prefer the small establishments where the locals go.

hotel welcome

Most of the locals here order “short eats” – samosas and other deep fried savory rolls during odd hours of the day but the staple food for lunch is:

hotel staff

Rice! It comes in a mound with several sides of curry, pickles and dhall. You are charged by how much you eat and the rice is infinitely refillable (as is the condiments).

hotel rice

To truly appreciate the Sri Lankan culture, it is essential that you eat with your hands. It doesn’t take long to master – just use the tips of your fingers to get to the rice.

rice hands

However, I must warn you that hotels in Sri Lanka do not believe in serviettes, probably due to the cost. Instead, you have a piece of old newspaper to wipe your hands with.

hotel wash

It’s surprisingly effective – newspaper dries your hand and rubs off most of the olfactory offence you have rendered upon it.

hotel papers

You know the best thing about hotels in Sri Lanka? The rice dish cost me LKR 50 which is about USD 0.50 or RM 1.70. It’s very easy on the wallet! :)

rice me

I must warn people without a cast iron stomach not to drink the water though. It’s not boiled. I saw them filling it at the tap. >.<

Posted: 8:34 PM Sri Lankan time

McDonald's in Sri Lanka

mcdonalds sri lanka

I know, who the hell eats at McDonald’s when they’re on vacation right? Well, I’ve made it my personal jihad to check out McDonald’s in the different countries I visit for their localized menu items.

mcdonalds staff

It’s like stamp collecting – how do you explain it? I can’t, an inexplicable urge came over me and I told the tuk tuk driver: “Bring me to your leader!”

mcdonalds counter

I meant bring me to the nearest McDonald’s.

mcdonalds sauce

The first regional difference is their sauce – instead of chilli sauce, their chilli sauce is infused with garlic. Nice! There is no regular chilli sauce here.

menu liner

McDonald’s is renowned for their signature Big Macs. The Big Macs in Sri Lanka comes in two variants – beef and chicken (due to the religious constitution – Hindus don’t eat beef).

scratch win

The staff is very friendly and accommodating – but perhaps only to foreigners, since I noticed they were decidedly cold towards a local who was short LKR 50. I paid for her; it’s only RM 2, not a big deal to us, my good dead for the day. ;) I also got a free Coke from this scratch and win contest they’re having. It was either a drink, a t-shirt or a trip to South Africa to watch…you guessed it, cricket!

mcrice container

I ordered a McRice with Chicken (LKR 220 or USD 2.20). It also comes with the option of fish (since Sri Lanka is an island in the middle of the ocean) or vegetables (a sizable community here is vegetarian).

mcrice chicken

The chicken is nothing to write home about – it’s just a piece of fried chicken breast.

rice sauce

However, they do have a rather tasty sauce of onions with gravy that adds that extra dimension of taste to the chicken. The rice on the other hand, is really something I would take the time to draft a long correspondence back for!

mcrice

The interesting thing about their rice is that it’s heavily flavored by various spices and comes with a side serving of shallots. I notice that Sri Lankans loves their red onions. It’s served at almost every meal!

veggie burger

I also got a Vegetarian Burger with Cheese (LKR 360 or USD 3.60). It’s obviously not for vegans due to the cheese but it tastes good – like the Vege Burger I had in Melbourne.

chicken big mac

I was stuffed at that point but I insist on trying all their different menu items so I had a Chicken Big Mac (LKR 410 or USD 4.10) to go. It’s unusual, tastes like a McChicken instead of a Big Mac, but with two all-beef chicken patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

sauce

The other thing I noticed about McDonald’s in Sri Lanka is that they don’t have proper sealed sauces for take away.

sauce size

They use a flat round container instead. This is how it looks like beside a LKR 5 coin. I’m not sure if this is a recipe for botulism but since it’s Maccas I guess they should have reasonable standards, even in Sri Lanka. ;)

mcdonalds

McDonald’s in Sri Lanka is quite expensive when you consider the currency exchange. I paid the equivalent of RM 12 for a Chicken Big Mac. I don’t know how it rates on the Big Mac Index by The Economist magazine, but it’s certainly not cheap.

Posted: 10:04 PM Sri Lanka time.

I got pick pocketed in Sri Lanka!

sri lanka

>.<

I didn’t have much cash on me in LCCT so I only changed RM 350.22 into LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees). Thus, I had to find a HSBC ATM over here to withdraw LKR and managed to withdraw LKR 30,000 this morning (about USD 300 or RM 1,100) in two batches of LKR 20,000 and LKR 10,000.

lkr

The thing about Sri Lankan money is that it’s abnormally large and it doesn’t really fit into my wallet. In a fit of (ill-conceived) inspiration, I decided to fold the LKR 30,000 and put it in the back pocket of my jeans. I thought this would be a good way to budget since I won’t touch that money and only use the LKR 9,440 from the RM 350 (plus 22 sen) I exchanged at the airport.

*cue fun and games in Colombo*

I took a tuk tuk back to the hotel and realized that I have used up most of the LKR 9,440 during the day and reached into my left back pocket to retrieve the LKR 30,000. It wasn’t there.

I searched all pockets, my bags, my dSLR bag and even my wallet but the LKR 30,000 was nowhere to be found.

Fuck! I have walked through a huge portion of Colombo today and had to battle human traffic most of the time so I deduce that someone must have nicked it sometime during my adventures in Colombo.

It should be noted that the missing LKR 30,000 is USD 300 or RM 1,100. *insert expletives*

I’m broke and I didn’t even get the chance to spend the money. Damn pick pockets.

Welcome to Sri Lanka. :(

johan

Anyway, on to less depressing matters, I bumped into a reader on the plane here. Hello Jason. A special shout out to Catherine Cherng! Hola!

dialog

I also got myself a Sri Lankan prepaid card. I’m on Dialog - a Sri Lankan cell phone provider. Text me at +94779469842 if you need to contact me. Cheers!

Posted: 8:06 PM Colombo time

Alfredo Organic Black Bean Noodles with Scallops and Whole Pig’s Heart

start

I’m back with a cooking post! Yes, one of the signature sixthseal.com cooking posts complete with lots of alcohol, dubious ingredients and a healthy dose of obscure references!

You will need:
Organic Black Bean Noodles
Pig’s heart (whole – available at the non-Halal section of your friendly local hypermarket)
Scallops
Grozette FORMAGGIO da Pasta powdered cheese
Leggo’s Alfredo Pasta Sauce
Grapeseed Oil
Tabasco sauce
MasterFoods Mixed herbs
Onions and garlic

ingredients

It’s a battle of premium vs. proletariat ingredients! The measly pack of scallops set me back a staggering RM 42.35 while the gargantuan whole pig’s heart retails at a very affordable RM 3.50.

pig heart

Let me clarify – this was supposed to be an angel hair pasta dish, but I forgot to get the pasta and thus we made do with this pack of organic black bean noodles. The texture is surprisingly similar and it looks the bit too. Heh!

drink

Okay, to start off, you’ll need to ingest some ethanol to get you into a righteous cooking mood. My tipple of choice is Absolut Vodka.

cpr

The Tell-Tale Heart. Hmph. I shall give you a heart massage, CPR style.

cook pig

How do you cook a pig’s heart? Beats me, I’ve never cooked one before. I decided to wrap it in aluminum foil and chuck it into a fan assisted oven for 10 minutes.

heart

It turns out that 10 minutes isn’t quite enough so I suggest 20 minutes instead. I also took the liberty of rubbing salt all over the pig’s heart for my version of marinating. Heh!

cooking scallops

Next comes the scallops – scallops are reasonably fast to cook after defrosting so I just dunked it in warm (not hot) water for about a minute before draining.

drain

With the major ingredients out of the way, let’s get to the all-important sauce!

chop

Leggo’s ready made sauces already has bits of meat and stuff inside but we decided to fry some onions and garlic and chopped some sausages into it for a heartier sauce.

stir

We used grapeseed oil instead of olive oil for the frying, no particular reason for the choice - it was just there. The sausages were seared for a bit before the entire container of alfredo sauce was emptied into the mixture.

simmer

Leave the sauce on (very) low heat and start cooking the noodles.

noodles cook

I put in salt and a dash of grapeseed oil in the boiling water, much like cooking spaghetti. Drain the noodles after 3 minutes. I’ll love to inject the word al dente somewhere in here but there’s no way to get black bean noodles al dente. Oh wait, I just put it in twice. ;)

noodles

I emptied the noodles into a high sided plate and liberally poured the pasta sauce with garlic, onions and sausages on top. This is also where you add the powdered cheese and Tabasco sauce.

mix

The sides are important as a barrier against spillage when you start mixing the alfredo sauce into the noodles.

cream

Add a dash (or three) of mixed herbs and toss the pig heart’s on top.

scallops

Arrange the scallops on the side and I present to you:
 


final dish

Alfredo Organic Black Bean Noodles with Scallops and Whole Pig’s HeartIt tastes better than it looks, trust me.

good

You get to bite into the baked whole pig’s heart like a barbarian too. Get in touch with your Neanderthal roots yo!

RAWR. UGG HUNGRY!

eat

I pronounce it Good (TM)!

F&N Freestylez Show Ur Moves Finals

babes

Booth babes.

skater

Skaters.

graffitti

Graffiti artists.

What do they have in common?

outside

I was at e@Curve to catch the F&N Freestylez Show Ur Moves finals on Sunday. I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch first and was surprised to see the event in full swing way before the finals were slated to kick off.

dj

There were young ladies (the proper and politically correct term for this is actually “booth babes”, but who cares about being PC on sixthseal.com) handing out free F&N drinks to everyone at the Curve and I met someone I recognized!

girl

Okay la, I don’t even know her, I just wanted to take a photo with her. ;)

guitar

Anyway, the place was packed with people trying their hand at the various booths around, which includes a Guitar Hero section and a DJ hut. I see no expense was spared in the event management aspects. It was a rocking (pardon the pun) ambience!

There was a media session at Tony Roma’s right before the final B-boy faceoff where we got to:

media

1. Meet the judges

performance

2. Get a first hand demonstration of what the B-Boy scene is all about

food

3. Load up on food

jestina

4. Camwhore with Jestina

I was surprised to see the moves being pulled off by the F&N B-boys…coz I’ve seen it before! Street dancing is big in KK, Sabah and while I was doing my time there, some of the boys inside did the exact same maneuvers when someone managed to sneak a cassette in!

int 1

It was in fact, almost the sole source of entertainment during my time there so I was naturally quite excited when the beats started pumping out, with the bass reverberations guiding me towards the stage like a moth towards a flame.

int 2

I parked my ass (technically I was standing) right in front of the stage to catch the 10 teams in action. I’m not going to feature all of them here, just the ones that really caught my attention. I’ll be honest here – there are some teams which were rather mediocre and some crews who blew my mind away!

judges

I felt a bit self-conscious standing in front of the judges (L-R: Boojae, Fiona Jane Gomez, Danny One) though. It just didn’t feel Proper (TM) so I moved to the side a little to allow them an unobstructed view of the stage.

Okay, let me give you the lowdown of the F&N Freestylez Show Ur Moves finals:

Feasible Crew

Feasible Crew (from Sarawak yo, my hometown) came on the scene with buckets and rags for an awesome scene which was part dance and part cleanup crew. I wonder if they were paid for cleaning up the stage. ;)

wakaka

I like Wakaka Crew’s performance – they have a lot of slick moves in their repertoire.

Fresh Beat Rockers

Fresh Beat Rockers from Penang on the other hand tried WAY TOO HARD. Not in the good way if you catch my drift.

N Crew

N Crew is one of the two crews that have female dancers. There is one lone XX Chromosome in the group, but IMHO, they didn’t really impress. It looks like a lot of rehashed moves and a whole bag of clich├ęs and they lack that elusive Stage Presence Factor (TM). I tried to hunt down look for the female dancer but couldn’t find her after the event.

move 1

Move is the other crew that has female dancers.

move 2

Move has two in fact.

move

They got a lot of applause from the crowd and I think their Moves (pardon the pun) were pretty good too.

move me

No, I’m not biased. ;)

Elementz 1

Project Elementz impressed me the most with their costumes and their choreography. The crew managed to squeeze in a story with the short amount of time, with impeccably timed moves.

Elementz 2

It’s a story about a vagabond…

Elementz 3

…who met a rich (but stingy) man, and ended up opening up a can of F&N (and also a can of whoopass).

Elementz 4

The choreographed scene has a lot of elaborate and magnificent moves, like this airborne version of Karate Kid meets The Matrix bullet time.

Elementz 5

Mad skillz. I was seriously impressed.

Elementz 6

The Project Elementz crew was highly entertaining but made a whole mess of the entire stage with their elaborate props. Heh!

Elecolxhot

This is Elecoldxhot. I like their pure energy and I love the profanity ridden gangsta rap music playing throughout their routine. This crew embodies PURE ENERGY! I was amazed by the calorie burning performance they put on.

The 10 crews in the F&N Freestylez Show Ur Moves finals strutted their stuff and the judges did their thing, and so, I present to you, the winners:

Best Dressed Crew

Best Dressed Crew – N Crew

Best Choreographed Crew

Best Choreographed Crew – Feasible Crew (from Sarawak – represent!)

Most Entertaining Crew

Most Entertaining Crew – Project Elementz

Most Outstanding B-Boy

Most Outstanding B-Boy – Muhamad Haslam from Wakaka Crew

3

2nd Runner Up – Wakaka Crew

2

1st Runner Up – Move

1

Grand Prize Winner – Elecoldxhot

They snagged the grand prize with their hyper energetic performance!

group

It was a pretty entertaining night and it provides a real insight into the B-Boy and street dancing culture in Malaysia. Cheers to F&N for a great event!

end

There is one thing I noticed about the B-boy crews though – they have an obsession with huge, flashy basketball shoes. I think it’s standard issue for all the crews. ;)

Sing k

I’m not much of a karaoke singer but I love singing (though some would call what I do yowling). There are two classics which inevitably come up sometime during the night. This was from my trip back to Sibu. The song is a Hokkien number called Ai Pia Jia Eh Ya (Gotta do the blood, sweat, tears thing to succeed).

I can’t read or write Chinese so I always struggle (except at the chorus). The song goes:
Something something something
Blah blah blah
(chorus starts)
30% is decided by fate, the other 70% is up to you
You’ve got to fight your way to success

The other number that tends to be rendered is a song called “Friends”. This is usually belted out with much camaraderie and a lot of arms around each other’s shoulders. ;)

Project Alpha Sneak Twitpic

The rather grueling Project Alpha shoot is over! Here are the Twitpic tweets I’ve sent in while filming on set in chronological order:

twitpic 1

Project Alpha

twitpic 2

Makeup. I haz it.

twitpic 3

Noooo. My eyebrows!

twitpic 4

Lights, camera, action!

twitpic 5

Lunch break.

twitpic 6

So. Many. Takes.

twitpic 7

Fun but tiring day. Still more.

twitpic 8

Full day shooting!

twitpic 9

It’s a wrap for today! :)

twitpic 10

I’m cast but still a glamour tag. ;)

twitpic 11

Ze press is here!

twitpic 12

I’m going to eat fire in 10 min.

twitpic 13

Getting makeup done now.

twitpic 14

If you don’t hear from me later it means I died

twitpic 15

I am alive!

twitpic 16

Final shoot. Here with @cheesie

twitpic 17

@cheesie before her scene.

twitpic 18

Make up artists. Very important.

twitpic 19

How come I can never do this by myself?

twitpic 20

Does the cast eat the props? Yes!

twitpic 21

My second last scene. Drinking Part 1.

twitpic 22

@timothytiah and @fourfeetnine at the wrap party

twitpic 23

Have to be sober for my drinking shoot in 2 hours

twitpic 24

Need to drink all. Fucking lethal.

twitpic 25

It’s a fucking wrap! Drinking Moet.

twitpic 26

It is a wrap for Project Alpha. :)

A place for my head

c feminine

Greetings from a very feminine toilet! I kinda like it actually – it’s such a change from my minimalistic bachelors pad.

c alor

I met Eddie and Fish Fish just now, who flew over from the US for a day. Cynthia came down (technically up) from Australia. We did the Jalan Alor touristy thing (hey, the food there is good) and…

c gifts

…Ed came bearing gifts as usual!

c sleep

Good times with old friends indeed. I’ll be heading down to KL to spend time with them before all three fly off again tomorrow.

c blogging

Unfortunately, my car decided to get up close and personal with a ditch last night so I’m crashing at a friend’s place.

c car

Oh ya, Cynthia got a me a car from Bali to replace my totalled car. Heh! I’ll be driving this from now on. ;)

The OMG! I stepped on an electrical socket adapter! FAQ

Fret not, comrades! I’ve come up with an FAQ for this extremely common accident!

faq hole

Q: OMG! I just stepped on a stray electrical socket adapter while going to the loo in the middle of the night! Help! What should I do?
A: Don’t panic. Turn on the light and inspect the damage. Did you step on the white part (good) or the yellow part (bad)?

faq good

Good

faq bad

Bad

Q: How do I know if I’ve stepped on it on the face side up or prong side up?
A: It’s easy. If you stepped on the electrical socket adapter on the face side up, it would most likely twist or warp the contraption with no ill effects to you.

faq shatter

However, if you stepped on it prong side up, you will most likely feel a sharp pain followed by a string of profanity consistent with Tourette Syndrome. You will also notice some bleeding on the soles of your feet.

Q: Phew! I’ve stepped on the white part. What do I need to do?
A: Nothing. Just get another electrical socket adapter if you need it.

Q: How can I prevent occurrences of stepping-on-electrical-socket-adapters in the future?
A: This is a no brainer. Most people won’t them lying around in likely paths of foot traffic in your house…so don’t!

faq hide

Q: What if I’m not most people?
A: You’ll need to consult this guide frequently and often. It might also help to keep some disinfectant in your house e.g. Dettol.

Q: What if I don’t believe in disinfectant?
A: Sure, I understand you just want to go back to sleep after taking a pee. It’s all good. However, be prepared to walk gingerly for the next 2-3 weeks, depending on how hard you stepped on it, which is in turn dependant on your body weight.

Q: 2-3 weeks? Are you kidding me? Does it take that long to heal?
A: As a rule of thumb, yes. Wounds in movable parts of your body (palms, wrist, soles) takes longer to deal due to the constant friction and contact you make with various external objects during the course of the day.

Q: Do I have to see a doctor?
A: Most people won’t have to. However, if you’re a pussy or suffering from haemophilia (which causes your blood to not coagulate properly), it might be a good idea to consider heading over to your GP. At least for the latter.

Q: What’s going to happen to the poor sole of my feet after 2-3 weeks?
A: Well, you’ll form a hard callus where the point of injury occurred. You’ll notice that the skin is significantly thicker and rougher. It’s no big deal.

Q: Okay, what if I still want to leave random items lying around the house and walk around in the middle of the night with no lights on?
A: I strongly suggest snapping off the Earth prong. It’s the one that sticks up the most (the longest one) and from previous experience, it’s the one that causes the most damage. You can also opt to snap off all three for good measure.

faq dismantle

Q: Okay, I’ve done just that. Will I still get injured when I step on it in the middle of the night?
A: Nope, it has now transformed into a nice, benign surface with no pointy bits. It’s perfectly safe to step on, kick around, hide under dirty articles of clothing or anything else you leave around without causing any more harm to unsuspecting nocturnal creatures.

Q: Will I still be able to use the electrical socket after that?
A: Hmm…you can try. But how are you going to plug it in without the prongs?

faq plug

?

Are you going?

Heads up peeps! There’s a huge event coming up and it’s gonna be the party of the year. Hell, it’s a veritable celebration many centuries (2.5 or so, but that could just be a figure I pulled out from where the sun don’t shine) in the making.

Kuala Lumpur will be Ground Zero for this global celebration kicking off near simultaneously all over the world from Dublin to New York before hitting our shores.

I’m all set to party like it’s going out of style! In fact, I’ve already done a full dress rehearsal:

start 2

Sit on the porcelain throne before you head out. You don’t want to be rushing to the nearest WC when you’re out and about.

tp

Wiping is important. Do not underestimate the importance of TP after voiding your bowels.

brush

You can never be too rich or too thin…and no one would accuse you of having too minty fresh breath. Brush your teeth!

shaver

A clean shave does wonders. You don’t want stubble getting in the way of some lip lovin’.

shower

Shower.

soap

Pay attention to your underarms. Lather them well with soap.

towel

Wipe yourself clean with a nice fluffy towel.

going

Get your wardrobe ready.

iron

Iron your clothes. Creased attire is NOT sexy.

dress

Get dressed to the nines. It’s going to be a great night!

socks

Put on your socks…

shoes

…and don’t forget them boogie shoes.

You’re now ready to paint the town red black!

There will be internationally acclaimed artists you can groove to during your revelry and merrymaking.

It’ll be a golden celebration in the blackest dark of the night.

Are you going?

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