What’s Italy known for?

italy

Italy. It’s the birthplace of the Mafia, Vespa and pasta. Hey, that sorta rhymes! ;)

I’m kidding, most people would think of something like Venice for example…the fabled city of romance where countless have fallen in love (though hopefully not through the canals filled with water that counts for streets over there).

The foot kicking the ball is actually a very nice place.

vinos

It’s a sophisticated city with a lot of cultural differences that you’ll only experience when you go there. It’s little things like how Northern Italy (still) thinks of Southern Italy as a bunch of uncouth people.

(Please don’t whack me, I don’t want to sleep with the fishes, a rather drunk guy in a pub told me that while I was backpacking Europe)

I’m into history and culture and during the last trip I actually met someone who fought in the war. Don’t ask me for which side, but it enlightened me that the Axis powers were Germany, Japan and Italy. I’ve always thought it was France. /history fail

war

It just goes to show that sometimes you have to actually experience to the country – not as a tourist, insulating yourself from the outside world by staying at multinational premium hotel chain which feels the same any country you go and not venturing out after that.

I do concede that the reception staff in Europe is quite pleasing to the eyes though. ;)

staff

However, if you step out of your comfort zone (and that swimming pool which is also available at your country of origin) and visit the places where the locals hang out, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of interesting bits of knowledge.

Of course, I’m not asking you to actually head to the seediest and poorest sections of town (even the locals avoid that) and granted, there would be times when you would have abuse flinged at you by the misguided youth and even have to extricate yourself from potentially dangerous and escalating situations.

graffitti

I have a story about that last bit actually, but it happened in London. Heh.

Well, the point is, it’s a great opportunity to travel and visit places you’ll normally not be able to…and as a cherry on top, won’t it be great if it’s all expenses paid? ;)

launch

That’s where RHB Now comes in!

italia mania launch

I just went to the launch and found out some really fun things about the Italia Mania game. It’s a lot of fun, having played it myself!

pizza

There was good (Italian) food, Vespas and a great big canopy at Ciao Restaurant in town. Lots of pizzas too, which I found very apt considering the nature of the app/game.

italia mania game

Just make any transaction online or on your cell phone/tablet with a minimum of RM 30 (your various monthly bills probably costs more than that) and you’ll see a button aptly called:

italia mania

Play the game and collect as many Star Points as you possibly can!

italia mania rules

You’ll be making a pizza – here are the rules.

making pizza

It’s basically a game where you match the ingredient showing on top with the ones available in the side and drag and drop it onto the raw pizza dough. See that mushroom I’m supposed to put on top of my pizza?

my pizza

It’s surprisingly fun, I was there for a long time trying to beat my own scores. Heh.

star points

The people with the most Star Points each week and month will get rewarded with awesome prizes!

vespa gts300

You’ll stand a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes in addition to the grand prize – which are 5 x Vespa GTS 300 scooters. Guess what the monthly prizes are?

3 x trip to Italy for 2

That’s for the players with the top three highest Star Points each month. As a bonus, the top players who have accumulated the highest Star Points throughout the campaign will win the Vespas! There’s also 5 x RM 100 cash weekly prizes. Head on to RHB Now for more details!

playing game

I suggest you go the Venice route if you bring your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/It’s Complicated (TM). ;)

An awesome start to 2011

jeanie

Well, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve just gotten into a relationship over Chinese New Year. It was a bit of a surprise to even my friends coz I was busy most of the time while I was back in my hometown. I’ve not been in a serious relationship for a long time so I’m glad all my friends are really supportive and happy for me.

facebook

I think being in a relationship is awesome!

relationship

Sure, it’s not smooth sailing, but nothing ever is.

couple

Awesome. It’s one of the words I tend to overuse but in the right situations there is nothing else that can substitute this adjective.

I’ve been up to quite a lot of things that would fall into the “awesome” category this year. It has been a very fruitful 2011. I spent NYE on a plane to London for almost a month long vacation in Europe.

wicked

I managed to catch Wicked the Musical (wicked is synonymous with awesome btw ;)) in West End.

amsterdam

I spent several days in Amsterdam – it’s my second time there within 4 months and I still love the place to bits. The tolerant and easy going nature of the Dutch makes this one of my favorite cities. I love chilling out at one of the many coffeeshops there too.

friends

Meeting new friends while backpacking throughout Europe was an awesome experience for me too. You get to see things from different cultures and some of the people you meet makes such an impact that you keep in touch even after you’re back.

georgia

I also went down the road less travelled and took a flight to Georgia. Now that was one of the highlights of my trip. It’s a post-Soviet country and there’s a bit of saperatist rumblings in South Ossetia but in general, Georgians are a very friendly lot.

georgian

In fact, I’ll say they’re hospitable to fault. I met people who bought me lunch and drinks and were curious about where I came from. Apparently, not many Malaysians visit Georgia. I think their hospitality in the face of poverty is downright awesome.

cny

Moving forward chronologically, I spent about 2 weeks in Sibu for Chinese New Year. It’s the place I was born in and even though I never spent much time there since I went to New Zealand for my high school at the age of 15, I still consider it my home.

reunion

The best part about Chinese New Year for me is the reunion dinner. I look forward to it every year and I’m thankful that my grandma is still around. She is the poverbial thread that binds us all. She’s getting along in the years and it always makes me happy to see her and give her a huge hug.

You know, hugging is not something that the older generation of conservative Chinese embrace (pun not intended) but my grandma has taken to it with a passion that surprised even me.

niece

Ever since I started giving her hello and goodbye hugs, she’s been wonderfully touched and even took to giving me affectionate carresses and pecks on the cheek. I wouldn’t have imagined she would ever do that, but it’s surprising how much she likes it and more than a little heartwarming that it has become part of our family tradition. :)

sister

My sister came back with her husband and my niece in tow this Chinese New Year, which was part of the reason I spent so much time back in Sibu. The last time I saw my niece was in the middle of last year when my mom had her lung cancer operation and she was a wee little thing back then.

She’s all grown up now – she’s a year old and for some reason she’s all smiles and laughter when she sees me, which makes me deliriously happy. Heh!

My niece doesn’t like strangers to hold and touch her but she’s taken to me and it’s an feeling I can’t explain when she gives off her baby coos and holds out her arms to be picked up. I love hugging her – she’s small, soft and she smells like milk. :)

kara

She’s awesome!

Do you know what else is awesome? A trip to Italy for 8D/7N, exploring over 11 cities plus a 3 hour ride in a Ferrari in Tuscany! All you need to do is to grab a Sunkist pack with the word “Awesome” and take a photo with it. You can upload it on the site or MMS it to 016 339 9950 and type . Start sharing your photo and get people to vote for you and you might be on your way to Italy!

There’s also a RM 500 prize for weekly winners and you can snag RM 100 just by being the highest weekly voter so there’s another good reason to join the contest. Sunkist is awesome!

sunkist

I think I’m awesome too! Everyone should feel this way. I read this article about control – if you let what other people think about you affect your mood, you’re basically giving up control of your emotions to others. Think positive and be awesome! :D

Surf over to Sunkist Daily Dose of Awesome for more details on how to participate. There are other amazing prizes up for grabs so hurry up and join the contest before it’s too late. I love Sunkist coz I’m always a bit lazy when it comes to eating right so it provides me with all the vitamins I need to be…

awesome

AWESOME!

…and please be awesome too and vote for my photo here. smirk

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