Off to Europe again!

london again

Hello everyone! I’m spending my New Year’s Eve on a plane to London. =D

I’ll be flying tonight to London, staying a day before heading (most likely) to Amsterdam. My itinerary is pretty fluid at the moment, nothing set in stone yet, since I’m going to be spending a month here.

However, I will be visiting Georgia (dubbed “the crazy post Soviet country” by SulphurSouls) for at least 7 days! I can’t wait to go there, it’s not a place most people visit and Tbilisi sounds like a great place to explore. :)

The Schiphol Snafu

schiphol

Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is one of the few that has an actual casino inside the boarding area. I was flying back to London and decided to spend part of my remaining Euros at the tables since I had nothing better to do.

Well, that and I lost 1,100 pounds in London on video Roulette machines. -_-

holland casino

I just had a buy in of Euro 40 and logic dictates that I put everything on a single number if I wanted to have a chance to win back the loss in London. Unfortunately, logic wasn’t working very well due to one last trip to the coffeeshop before heading to the airport.

I put Euro 5 on the number 29 (my age). I was the only one at the table and was just playing for fun, having partially forgotten the loss. On the very first spin, the ball dropped on…

win

You guessed it. 29. I won Euro 175.

casino chips

Jesus Christ. If I had my wits with me, I would have dropped all Euro 40 on a single number since that’s how I usually bet.

casino win

It would have netted me a cool Euro 1,400 which would have covered all my losses in London. >.<

BTW, this is the first casino I’ve seen that allows photography. :)

Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation

drinking

Coffee is arguably one of the essential items in the food pyramid. It’s the first thing most of us drink in the morning, especially if you’ve been out and indulging in alcohol the previous night. The entire global economy would probably collapse without coffee – problems waking up and staying alert is detrimental to most tasks. ;)

I used to massacre the system when I was in university. I lived on campus and we’re allowed one drink per meal purchased. However, the drink station is unregulated – it’s based on the trust system. My usual beverage back then probably had enough caffeine to kill a small elephant.

slops

The coffee dispenser deals out one teaspoon of instant coffee per turn and I would turn the knob 10-14 times into a small Styrofoam cup and fill it with hot milk. This evil beverage is drunk in one shot and is enough to keep me awake and wired for the entire night.

I would love to say that I used the time to study or catch up on assignments, but more often than not, that massive dose of caffeine is used to fuel all night sessions of Counter Strike or reading books which has nothing to do with my major. -_-

books

I pretty much continued this after I graduated and joined the rat race, except at a much lower dose. I would drink 2 sachets of instant coffee first thing when I wake up in the morning, just to jolt myself awake.

The sound of people trudging into the office in the morning is often followed by the long trek to the hot water dispenser with a packet of 3-in-1 instant coffee in hand. It is the cornerstone of the workforce – men and women just can’t function before their morning cup of Joe.

I have sampled pretty much most of the brands of instant coffee out there. I can’t say I have favorites per se, I usually pick up what I haven’t tried or is on offer. To me, coffee is just a vessel for delivering caffeine.

super coffeemix promotion

Anyway, I was walking the aisles of the local hypermarket doing my weekend shopping when I noticed a promotion with Super. They’re having a offer where you get a free JJ Lin notebook with every purchase of two packets of Super 3in1 Regular coffee. Each packet has 30 sachets of coffee each and at RM 13.99, that comes out to be a pretty good bargain.

free notebook

JJ Lin is the brand ambassador for Super’s Coffee and the notebook has a nice embossed cover with a matte finish. The inside of the notebook contains the storyline of Super Coffeemix’s TVC which aired earlier this year. It’s perfect as a gift for JJ Lin fans or to keep for yourself to jot down notes.

jj lin notebook

I keep mine beside my bed as a dream journal – a new project I’m going to start. :)

Bath, UK

bath

Bath is a small city a couple of hours drive from London best known for the Roman Baths. It’s supposed to be the only hot springs around England when the Romans came. The town has a really unique character, largely due to the stones that the buildings are built with.

bath cathedral

The buildings in Bath are made with distinctive honey colored stones called “Bath stones” from quarries surrounding the Somerset area.

bath us

I took a day trip there to explore this World Heritage Site. It is a very popular destination – the place was packed even though it was off season and full of visitors thronging the main square.

the bath bun

There is a local specialty called the Bath bun – it’s described as a bun with a lump of sugar baked in the bottom and crushed sugar and raisins on top.

bath bun shop

The best place to grab one is at The Bath Bun at the main square.

bath bun

It’s simple but rather tasty, especially when it’s freshly baked.

sally lunns

I have also read about the Sally Lunn bun, and was determined to eat it before I left. Unfortunately, I had spent way too much time wondering around and nearly missed my bus so I couldn’t sample this other local delight.

bath square

I would say that a day trip is too short if you really want to explore Bath, Somerset. There are a lot of inns there where you can spend the night and I highly recommend at least two days to discover the quaint city of Bath.

Santa can you hear me?

I have been so good this year. Well, maybe not, but with Christmas around the corner it’s time to write the letter to the good ol man up North and ask for the things that you want for Christmas!

1. A partridge in a pear tree

I’m totally serious. I would love to have a partridge in a pear tree. It would be remiss not to ask for this. How many people have actually gotten a partridge in a pear tree?

Patridge-by-John-Coulter

No? Well, there you go. ;)

2. Turducken

Christmas used to be all about turkeys. Well, not anymore. Turkey is so ’90s. The thing to have on your Christmas dinner table this year is the turducken. What exactly is a turducken?

Turducken

Well, put simply, it’s a chicken stuffed into a duck which is then stuffed into a turkey. Now how about that!

3. Travel the world and the seven seas

I love to travel and though I’ve been to Europe, Korea, China and several other SEA destinations this year, I would love to spend more time at each place…taking my time, going through every nook and cranny of the places I step foot on.

stonehenge

I’m particularly interested in doing the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which no self respecting traveller can call him/herself that until this ritual is complete. Starting at China and going all the way to Russia. I’ll send you a postcard from Russia (with love).

The Eurorail coming-of-age trail blazing is also something I’ll want to do – a pass to travel all around Europe at your own leisure. I’ll make Ireland my first stop, I’ve never been there and it’s home to St James Gate Brewery in Dublin, which produces the fine brew we call Guinness. :)

4. A new car

I’m not one for material possessions and love experiences more than anything. However, my old car has been through a lot of…er, vehicular mishaps and it seems like EVERYTHING is wrong with it. I probably should send it to a workshop but I fear that it would cost more to fix than to purchase a new one.

How I’m going to pay for the down payment and monthly instalments would require very creative budgeting but hey, since this is a wish list…

5. 5 gold rings

Seriously.

5_gold_rings

I’m so broke right now that 5 gold rings sounds (no pun intended) just about right.

6. A job as a travel writer

Somewhat related to the above, I know that the industry is hard to break in and not as glamorous as it sounds. It’s often a low paid job where you most likely have to top up the balance yourself and you spend a lot of time writing and compiling and doing good ol fashioned legwork. I even hear the Lonely Planet writers have to take a course in self defence before they even get sent out.

bath

However, despite all that it’s something I would love to do. It’s not about the money, it’s about setting your own hours and doing what you like.

7. A new digicam

I have a dSLR and a compact digicam and I tend to use the latter more since it’s shockproof and waterproof, two important qualities when I bring it on my vacations. However, all the trips and travels and misadventures has given it a good beating and I wouldn’t mind getting another one for Christmas. :)

8. Get to see my family more

I must admit, with my family scattered around, it’s hard to have the traditional annual family vacations that my father set a precedent for ever since I was a kid. My sister is married with a baby daughter in New Zealand with my mom and my dad is in Sarawak while I’m working here.

family

Blood runs thicker than water after all. The warmth of having family and giving and receiving support is, pardon the cliché, invaluable.

My dad and I used drink together and my mom has been known to have a pint or two herself. She actually can drink the two of us under the table if she sets her mind on doing it. Heh! It’ll be good to have a family get-together where we can just sit around the living room, nursing a pint of Guinness.

9. A notebook

No, not the ones made from trees, I have come to the conclusion that while having a 17” widescreen notebook is great when you’re at home, lugging all of it in its 2.7 kg glory while travelling is decidedly not.

One thing on my wish list would be for a small and compact notebook where I can write, access the net and run Photoshop while travelling.

10. Get another tattoo

I’ve always wanted to get another tattoo – I even know what I want it to be but I’ve put it off for years, going for piercings instead. I don’t know why I’m procrastinating on this since it’s not on public skin e.g. visible so it’s not a work related issue.

tattoo

I want a full color piece on my left leg, starting from the ankle up to the knee. It would be a rotting female corpse hand reaching up from the grave and gripping me, raking her fingernails and drawing blood down as a reminder. I guess the subject of the reminder is personal since I’ve subconsciously put it off for so long but I want to get it done soon.

11. More personal time

I would love to have more personal time for me to do the things I like. I love reading and have recently completed the Millennium trilogy – a series of novels which centres on Lisabeth Salander, a rather unique and likable character whom I can relate to.

books

I tend to be a voracious reader but I never stray far from my favourite genres – I picked this out on a whim and I’m glad I did. It’s a good read and I aim to do more reading – preferably not just on the porcelain throne. ;)

12. A Christmas dinner with friends

Since my family won’t be together during Christmas, I’ll love to have a nice Christmas dinner with friends complete with several pints of Guinness. Christmas is all about sharing, gift exchanging, letting them know how much they mean in your life and nothing beats a good dinner recounting with your closest friends – sharing stories, spending quality time (which all of us lack with work and everything) and just being together with good food and drink.

guinness girl

On the same note, Guinness is having some consumer promos on their Facebook so it’ll be a great place to find an outlet to have pre-Christmas and Christmas events where you can celebrate the festive season. Surf over to Guinness Malaysia Facebook for more details.

You’ll also get a gift all month long, courtesy of Guinness when you buy 6 pints of Guinness Draught or 1 bucket of Guinness Stout – a heritage collection glass with old Guinness ads! =D

There is also going to be games (Merry Mat anyone?) and surprises at selected outlets starting from 17:59 (the year Guinness was founded). That’s one minute before 6 pm.

guinness

Well, since I’m not going home for Christmas this year, I figured I’ll grab 4 of you and we’ll throw our own mini-Christmas bash instead! I’ve arranged for a cosy dinner for the 5 of us at Backyard in Hartamas, KL on the 22nd December at 7:30 pm.

I’ll select 4 of the most creative answers we’ll all have a great time this Christmas! Don’t worry about drinks and food, it’ll be on me! It’ll be fun, just comment here and and tell me “What you want for your Merry Guinness” this year. Make yourself available on that date and we’ll have an awesome time! My treat. :)

‘Tis the season to be jolly

purple_christmas_tree

It’s that time of the year again! The time where shopping malls are decked out with Christmas decorations and refrains of Hark the Herald Angels Sing echo through the centralized speakers. My friend Mel dropped by KL this weekend and we decided to have dinner at Finnegan’s.

feast

I bumped into Jolene there who sagely commented that I always seem to have a beer in my hand whenever she sees me. Heh! It’s true, I’ve grown quite fond of Kilkenny lately and they have a RM 50 for 3 pints promotion going on in some outlets.

kilkenny tap

Dubbed the Cream of Irish Beers, Kilkenny has an interesting history – it didn’t originate from a traditional brewery but from the holy cellars (I presume) of St. Francis Abbey in the 14th century. Put simply, it was Franciscan monks who started making this particular beer.

Interesting, eh?

kilkenny

Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale that’s smooth and rich – qualities which I rate highly. I’m a huge fan full bodied beers and stouts. It’s perfect for the festive season, although we don’t get very cold weather over here.

sandwiches

We shared a stew, open sandwiches, and a pork knuckle which nearly killed us (too much food for two people). I guess overeating is also part of the festive ritual.

pork knuckle

Kilkenny promotions are available at selected outlets throughout the country. I’m going to try my hand at “Cooking with Kilkenny” (has a nice ring to it, eh?) next! I plan to use Kilkenny in a recipe to see how it goes.

Find out more about Kilkenny here. I have a feeling this beer is going to be big in the coming years! You can get it at most Irish pubs (Finnegan’s, Delaney’s, Malone’s) and it’s also available at on tap in WIP, Sid’s, Royal Oak, Bulldog, Laundry and Jarrod and Rawlins. Here’s to more festive seasons with Kilkenny!

dinner

Fa la la la la, la la, la la!

Stonehenge Rock Cake

stonehenge me

I made it a point to go to Stonehenge during my trip to England. My only regret was that Stonehenge is not located in Amsterdam. I think I would have gotten much more out of it if it were there. ;)

rock cake stonehenge

Anyway, I have lots of photos and videos of Stonehenge so I’ll do a full writeup of this place soon. I read in Wikitravel that I should not miss the Stonehenge rock cake after immersing myself in the mysteries of Stonehenge.

stonehenge rock cake

I don’t know who wrote that but I can tell you that I’ve eaten better rock cakes. It’s 1.99 pounds (about RM 10) and it’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Go to Stonehenge to see the rocks, avoid the rock cakes. ;)

Jacket potatoes in England

jacket potatoes

Jacket potatoes are probably the closest thing to street food in England. These are hot spuds with toppings of your choice. The potatoes are huge – it’s more than a size of a man’s fist and rather filling, with all the carbs inside.

jacket potatoes stall

I had one during a particularly chilly day in autumn. There are a lot of fillings to choose from – I went with bacon and cheese.

jacket potatoes topping

The cost of your jacket potato depends on what you want on it, but usually costs about 4-5 pounds or so (about RM 20+).

jacket potatos

The jacket potatoes is put into an oven and toasted to melt the cheese and although it may be a simple dish, it’s comfort food – perfect for the cold weather. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...