Space cakes in Amsterdam

amsterdam space cake

I have come here to highlight another gross violation of my good standing and name during my vacation in Amsterdam as well as to reassure everyone of my outstanding reputation which may have been tarnished with these revelations.

space cake cannabis

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam sells space cakes and space muffins for about Euro 5 (RM 20 or so). It differs from coffeeshop to coffeeshop – I assume they make it themselves since all the ones I’ve been to contain different packaging and sizes.

I bought and ate one as a snack one day. It tastes just like chocolate cake – what my mom would bake (no pun intended) in her very wholesome kitchen. It’s quite delicious really. My mistake was that I did not look at the ingredients before I naively consumed it.

space cake

The paper slip inside the space cake starts out with “Inexperienced marijuana users are advised not to eat space cake” and ends with the shocking revelation that the very item I was consuming contains 0.40 (measurements not indicated) of cannabis.

eating space cake

I rushed to the toilet and forced myself to throw up by sticking two fingers down my throat. Hereby, with my stomach totally regurgitated of the vile cannabis infused muffin did I take stock of what just had happened. I’m glad I managed to completely empty my stomach by voluntary vomiting after unwittingly consuming spacecake. I just didn’t know what it was.

This is the second time I’ve been fooled in Amsterdam. Well, I never! Hmph. action

Pub food in London, England

england draft beer

The closest thing to English cuisine is probably the food you get in pubs. Pub grub comprises of dishes ranging from bangers and mash to more elaborate Sunday roasts.

pub grub

I once asked a resident what the best food locals eat in London is and he quickly answered, in all seriousness, I might add – Chinese and Indian food. He went on to explain the cultural melting pot made curries and such a staple of modern gastronomy.

english pub

Pub food is probably the last bastion against the influence of globalization (not that I’m against it, it’s just that I want to eat proper English food, whatever that may mean, while I’m there). It’s best served with a pint (or three) of one of their local draft beers, which is nowhere near as carbonated as other beers – it’s pulled manually and comes up with a proper head.

england pub

One interesting thing I noticed about the pubs is that you can ask for an extra pull if you feel that the foam is too much. More beer. w00t.

I hereby present a selection of the pub grub that I’ve had during my vacation there:

Scampi and chips

scampi and chips

This is a variant of the popular fish and chips – substituting scampi instead of fish. It’s served with slab cut potatoes and green peas. I also had a pickled egg on the side. It’s an acquired taste, pickled eggs. I love pickled eggs with my fish and chips when I was in Melbourne.

Traditional full English breakfast

english full breakfast

It has the works – bacon, portobello mushroom, grilled tomato and toast.

Chicken pie

chicken pie

This chicken pie is rather unorthodox as the filling isn’t INSIDE the pie. Instead, the chicken filling is served on the side and the pie crust is empty. The boiled potatoes fulfills the carb intake and is best eaten with butter. Delicious!

Sunday Roast

sunday roast

This can differ according to which pub you go to but it’s basically a choice of meat with gravy and some sides to fill you up.

Scrumpy Pork Hock

pork hock

Now this is one juicy and remarkable piece of work. A huge chunk of pork is served with mash and green beans. The pork is tender – it’s the cut near the leg, also known as pork knuckle. It has a lot of tendons in addition to the meat and fat, which makes it all the more palatable. The gravy is made of apple and cider sauce. Mmm…

Bangers and mash with black pudding

bangers and mash

Bangers and mash is traditional pub grub – it’s sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy. I also ordered some blood pudding to go with it.

black pudding

Blood pudding or black pudding is a type of sausage made with pigs blood and it’s as tasty as it comes. Definitely a must try in England. :)

Grace Ng, CUBE on ntv7 and bloggers

grace ng

I just got a text from Grace Ng (one of the hosts of Cube on ntv7) a couple of hours ago that the show featuring bloggers which I am on is airing tonight at 8:30 pm. It was filmed in Empire, Subang a couple of weeks back. I still remember something she mentioned when I first met her and commented on her innocent and likable personality. Her reply is classic! =D

richard goh

This is the man who made it all happen – Richard Goh, the producer and an old friend of mine. I’ve known him for years – he is my mentor in some ways but I shall not comment further than that. A very cool guy to hang out with and a bro I can totally click with.

ntv7 cube

Anyway, the show is available for viewing online, just surf over to their website. I missed it coz I’ve been down with the flu for two days, but I’m watching it now. :)

South Korea and North Korea DMZ

dmz

I’ve been reading with MUCH interest about the latest exchange between the two Koreas – what the papers would undoubtedly call a “souring of relations”.

dmz fence

The shelling and the drama. Hell, I wish I was back there.

dmz us

Anyway, I just came back from Korea over the weekend and one of the more interesting places that we visited was the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that separates South Korea from North Korea.

dmz stone

You can actually SEE North Korea from the border.

north korea

If you use the binoculars or if you have a really good zoom, you can even see the poor North Korean folks slaving away at the farms.

prayers

Part of the DMZ consists of a tunnel (one of many) that the industrious North Koreans built (or a ruse by South Korea, depending on your leanings and proclivities towards conspiracy theories).

dmz aud

We walked down one of the tunnels which was allegedly painstakingly dug from NK under the DMZ right smack dab into South Korea territory where they can march their formidable (but undoubtedly emaciated) troops through.

dmz me

I can’t figure out how that can happen though coz when we walked through the tunnel I kept bumping my head (which was wisely equipped with a mandatory safety helmet) on the top of the route.

dmz seoul

No one would call me a basketball player, I’m certainly not tall but I’ll be damned if it really was the North Koreans who built it.

dmz end

It would take a lot of effort to transverse the distance with firearms with your head hitting the ceiling every meter or so.

dmz photo

I managed to sneak a couple of photos of North Korea while at the DMZ – it didn’t turn out well since security was tight and some people got their digicams checked, but I pulled it off.

korea dmz

Not that there’s anything to see anyway. :S

dmz prayers

Well, I guess their prayers for peace didn’t work so well after all.

Wardrobe woes

shopping

The people who know me personally always give me a lot of grief about my wardrobe, or rather, the lack thereof. I keep turning up in the same outfits every single time. It’s not that I have a drought in the attire department, but rather I have a few favorite shirts that I keep on wearing.

This is compounded by the fact that I am an impulsive shopper. Worse still, I am an impulsive shopper who tends to get the urge to shop at totally random moments (usually twice a year) and comes back with a shitload of clothes, most of which I wouldn’t wear (see favorite shirts above).

sale

I don’t go during sales or the usual periods people shop – I go when I feel like it. This is generally detrimental to my financial wellbeing as I shop on credit so when the credit card statement comes at the end of the month, my reactions range from being slightly taken aback to downright horror.

I have several credit cards but no debit card so when I saw Alliance Bank’s Debit Mastercard I decided to take it for a spin. I had an urge to shop and decided that a debit card would be a better one to use during my retail forays.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, I do actually shop for clothes – else, where would all my shirts come from? smirk

I set RM 750 as my daily spending limit – no more RM 5,000+ credit card bills (happened to me a couple of times). I hit the shopping malls and got the stuff that I really need. I decided that this time I’m going to buy items that I will wear regularly instead of one off items like the RM 575 jacket I got two months ago which I’ve only worn once.

Quiksilver board shorts

board shorts

This is one item I don’t have in my wardrobe. I have Speedos and Bermuda shorts but nothing even resembling board shorts. Why would a 29 year old who doesn’t surf need board shorts? Well, it’s perfect as beach wear! I had a string of beach vacations planned and I thought this would be a good investment.

buy board shorts

Price: RM 269

DC skate shoes

dc

Yes, I know I’m not a 16 year old skater boi anymore but can’t a man revisit the prime of his life? :p

old shoes

Besides, I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in ages, I’m still wearing almost 2 year old adidas tennis shoes. I figure it’s time to change the tatty pair of smelly shoes for some new ones.

dc shoes

DC shoes is not a brand I would choose to buy but one of my ex-girlfriends really loved the brand and bought a pair of them back from Australia for me. I spotted the DC footwear line and decided to get a pair – it’s useful for weekends and it’s also a pair of sneakers so it’s quite comfortable to wear.

Mark and Spencer vests

mark and spencer

This is an essential item in all men’s wardrobes. I didn’t know that until a recent image consultancy that I went for. I’ve never had the habit of wearing singlets or anything like that under my shirts.

cotton vest

To be perfectly honest, I think that practice is incredibly old fashioned and slightly repulsive as only octogenarians (like my late granddad) do that so he can wear his shirts more often without the need to wash it.

vest

However, during my image consultancy, I was told that wearing a vest under your work shirt actually bulks you up and makes you look buff and more authoritative. I’m all for that so I grabbed a couple to wear when I go to work. smirk

It’s RM 79 for 3 x 100% cotton vests so it’s a pretty good investment.

I spent less than RM 750 that day which is really good. That’s the benefit debit cards give you – you don’t spend on credit, you only spend what you have. Even better, I set RM 750 as the daily spending limit and the transaction bounced during the Mark and Spencer purchase so I took a pack of vests out. Nifty, eh?

alliance debit card

I’m using the Alliance Bank Standard Debit Card under HYBRID savings and the best thing about this card is that you get instant 1% cash back on all your purchases. It goes up to 2% cash back for the Premium version. I also really liked the financial control the card affords you. You can set a daily spending limit like what I did so you won’t go over a pre-planned amount that you’re willing to spend.

With more than 1.4 million ATMs around Malaysia, you won’t have any trouble changing your spending limit too! Find out more at my.alliancedebitcard.com.

Autumn in Korea!

autumn

I really like this photo – there’s another one where there’s a shower of leaves (artificially made by good ol’ elbow grease) in Mookie’s cam. I just got back to KL after partying in Seoul at this club called Noise Basement till 5 am last night. I had to rush and shower and quickly pack to catch the ride to the airport at 6 am. Heh!

That’s why I’m brain dead now…post again tomorrow!

A warning about Amsterdam Coffeeshops

coffeeshop amsterdam

I didn’t sleep much on the flight to Amsterdam from London so one of the first things I did was to pop into a coffeeshop and grab an old fashioned cup of coffee. I reckon a mug of Joe would warm me up and give me the caffeine hit to see all the sights Amsterdam has to offer.

smoking room

The first sense that something wasn’t quite right was the wonderful smell wafting tantalizingly out of the coffeeshops. It smelled herbal but it’s not cigarettes. I didn’t think much of it – if people wanted to smoke cigars or whatever it was they smoked over in the Netherlands, they’re free to do so.

coffeeshop menu

I entered the coffeeshop and looked at the menu in confusion. Super Lemon Haze? White Widow? Amnesia Haze? Afgani Polm?

cannabis strains

The coffee beans in Amsterdam sure has some weird ass names. I figured it was a direct Dutch to English translation so I just pointed to one that won some kind of award in 2009 and the nice person behind the counter showed me the product.

amnesia haze

It looked more like tea than coffee but perhaps that’s what coffee looks like over here. It’s my first time here so what the hell. There is another type of coffee which looks more like coffee though so I ordered that instead.

weighing hash

It came as a huge shock to me when it came to my table. It’s called Nepal First Cream and it came in a sticky goo that you’re supposed to crumble it into a smoking device (which I later learned is called a bong) and light it up.

nepal first cream hash

I was horrified! The proverbial light bulb came on and I realized what I was being offered. Cannabis! Hash! The travesty of it all! I couldn’t believe it and stormed out of the coffeeshop with righteous anger and my head held high with the THC laden hashish left untouched on the table.

Imagine that! Hmph! What has the world come to? action

We will, we will, rock you!

bath

I bumped into a group celebrating their hen’s night out at Bath, London a couple of days back. It was a short visit to Bath but I learned a lot about the Roman Baths and the architecture behind Bath.

I had a piece of news flashed to me while I was there. Mind you, I’ve seen Proton cars in London and it never ceases to amaze me what they’ve done.

china raft

However, this is not about that. The Proton team went to the Asia Pacific Rally Championship in China and it brought me back to my vacation on the trip before last to Guilin, China.

harrods shopping

The Proton Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) win made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the feeling much like buying gifts for friends – you don’t get anything out of it but knowing that you’re thinking of your friends while on vacation and making them happy makes you happy. You know what I mean?

china rafts

Of course this is not the rally but it still has a lot of hallmarks of it. I went on one of the old skool rafts and we were navigating out of time (and space) to get back in time before the bus departs.

I can relate to how the Proton team at the China Rally feels like. The Satria Neo S2000 is one of the 24 out of 44 starters that finished the race.

Not only did they complete the course in Longyou city against much more established motorsports teams but they placed second in the race! w00t!

proton-s2000b

Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson were the drivers behind the China Rally manoeuvring the Satria Neo S2000. Proton has always been the underdog and I’m glad they have the same mentality as I do – to rise above all odds and challenge The Establishment (TM).

I’ve driven the consumer version of the Satria Neo and I’m not surprised that they managed to finish second. Proton also had 4 Gen2s that finished the gruelling 229.19 km rally.

china

I have to be honest. This is one of the things that makes me proud to say I’m a Malaysian when I’m on vacation. :)

How I WON 200 pounds and LOST 1,100 pounds

This is a tragic tale of why you shouldn’t gamble on vacations. T_T

casino

I didn’t spend a lot – most of it was on meals, beer and stuff for people so I still had a lot of pound sterling left. It got to a point where I had to put my wallet in my coat instead of my pants pocket coz it was bulging so badly I couldn’t stuff it in.

The GBP 200 win

I was about to have lunch on Sunday when I noticed that everywhere was closed coz the eating establishments open from 12 pm onwards and I had an hour to kill.

I went into a casino – it’s a very small operation with 3 roulette tables and 2 blackjack tables plus a couple of slot machines. I went in and got 400 pounds worth of chips as my buy in. The interesting thing about their roulette tables is that it’s yellow and black instead of red and black.

casino 100 pound chips

I thought that was interesting and put down 200 pounds (the maximum bet limit) on yellow. Lo and behold, around and round the ball it goes and what number it drops on I do not know but it’s a yellow number. =D

I snapped a picture of the GBP 200 pound win and cashed out 600 pounds (400 pounds was my original buy in). w00t! *pops champagne bottle and pours a bubbly for everyone and all that

I thought this 200 pound (RM 1,000) would be nice to pay for my excess baggage home.

The GBP 1,100 loss

Anyway, just a couple of hours ago I got off a bus at Victoria Coach Station and said goodbye to a friend. I had two options – go back and pack (it was dark and I was really tired) and head to the airport for Amsterdam…

OR

Go to the lucky William Hill betting place where I won my GBP 100 for the lousy exchange rate I got the first day.

This was a losing streak so bad I embarrass myself recounting it. The roulette machine’s maximum bet limit was GBP 100 – I went in with a decision that I’ll bet 100 pounds on Black on the first spin and then 100 pounds on Odd on the second spin.

I figured this extra 200 pounds will help offset the exchange rate deficit since I’m going to be exchanging at least 1,300 pounds when I get back.

Well, I had to wait behind this dude who was playing 20 pence roulette so it took a while for him to finish. After he’s done I went and put 200 pound into the machine. I wanted to go for red since there was a bit of a red dragon going on but I remembered the Black-Odd routine and did that instead.

I lost. I went for Odd and lost again. T_T

I fed in another GBP 400 into the machine (for a 600 pound total now) and lost 4 times in a row.

Un-fucking-belivable.

It would be damn hard to get up from a 600 pound loss so I had a choice of walking away or hoping for a very unlikely last minute rally. I chose the latter and put in another 300 pounds into the machine.

The cashier at William Hill had to stop me coz the notes compartment was full and he took out the cash and rebooted the machine. Sigh. That was my money.

Anyway, with 300 pounds I had to go for numbers. I went for 10 numbers with 10 pounds each round (max bet limit) so the odds are slightly better than ¼ for a 36 times return. I swear Lady Luck was against me coz I thought I pressed 33 but apparently I didn’t. It came out 29, which I also didn’t put despite it being one of my favorite numbers (my age).

The next round was a savior round, if I had taken it. I didn’t pick 29 this time but 10 other random numbers coz I figured it won’t come out twice in a row. That was my lifeline, given by The Lord but I didn’t take it. T_T

29 came out TWICE in a row. Arrrghhhhh!

I’m down to my last 100 pounds and again I did not listen to the voice of God, resigning myself to fate and pressing random numbers. The result was a 6. A fucking 6 which I always get but didn’t in the last round coz I expected to lose.

I walked out with the tail between my legs having lost 900 pounds. That’s more than RM 4,500.

william hill dog races

Anyway, I was walking home, dejected when I saw another William Hill and though hmm…why not? I’ve already lost so much anyway.

I went in, asked what the quickest race was (it was a dog race) and quickly bet 100 pounds on some random canine. He didn’t even place. T_T

william hill betting slips

I decided to split my bets for the second round since this is not an even payout – the odds can be as high as 16 times so I can easily recoup my losses from a 50 pound bet.

I bet 50 on one horse and 50 on another – one a favorite to win and one a long shot with a high payout.

william hill dog races

Both of my dogs didn’t even get into the top 3. T_T

Total loss: GBP 1,100 in about 20 minutes. That’s over a RM 5,000 loss (more if you factor in the loss in currency conversion).

What you can do with RM 5,000:
Buy a nice d-SLR
Go on an exotic holiday to Egypt
Buy a new notebook

I could have used that RM 5,000 to squeeze in another trip to Iran before the end of the year. :(

Third time is not the charm. I should have just gone home instead of trying to win a measly 200 pounds and losing 1,100 pounds in the process. It was a mistake to head in when I still had one leg of my vacation to go. Oh well.

I stopped betting coz I only had 1,000 pounds left and I needed to change that to Euros to go to Amsterdam. Now I’m here at the airport. I just paid 20 pounds to store my excess luggage for two days while I fly to Amsterdam and I’m starving but I don’t want to eat until I’m in Amsterdam coz the things here are so expensive.

I’m even too cheap to pay GBP 9.95 for 24 hour Internet access at the airport so I’m going to post this when I’m in Amsterdam.

I go die now. Kthxbai.

Written: 4:35 am London time (GMT 0)

Posted: 11:42 am Amsterdam time (GMT +1)

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