weekend

I just had a great weekend with her! :D

room

It’s like a mini vacation of sorts where we mostly chilled in the room.

thai green curry

I think the only thing we ate was this Thai Green Curry Chicken with Rice Vermicelli that you dip into the creamy curry.

mango sticky rice

…and mango with sticky rice. The mango was unripe and has practically no taste at all though.

gloria jean beef lasagne

I did eat again later last night though – noticed I was getting really tired with low blood sugar so walked out and went to the closest place to get something to eat. Beef lasagna of all things. She doesn’t eat beef so I reckon I’ll eat as much of it when I’m alone. smirk

She did leave some the clothes she was wearing yesterday though.

clothes

I noticed that only one side has been slept on. Haha! That was where we were and when she left I slept on that side too. You smell nice. :)

jonys shakes boracay

Jony’s Boracay’s Original & Famous Fruit Shakes. Well, that’s what it says on the signboard anyway. Heh. Jonah’s Fruitshakes is the original place to go if you’re craving for a mango fruit shake, spawning a host of imitators, usually with variations on the name like Jony’s, Jody’s etc.

Note the slight difference in spelling?

yellow cab

That’s how it works in Boracay, I saw 3 (!!!) different Yellow Cab Pizza while I was there too. The above is the original. There’s also a hilarious one which dubs itself Tapsi Cab (with similar font and colors) which is basically run out of someone’s house, but it actually served pretty decent burgers at a really cheap price.

…so who cares, as long as it’s good? :D

point 1

Back to Jony’s Fruit Shakes, it’s part of Jony’s Beach Resort and it’s located at Point 1 at White Beach. It’s actually a pretty nice place to chill and enjoy the sea breeze. They also serve food from different parts of the Philippines as well.

It’s rather overpriced and commercialized (saw a huge group of Chinese tourists come in) but I reckon that’s the price you pay (smirk) in places like Boracay – which was why I avoided the overrated and over-mentioned Ibu Oka franchise in Bali and asked in Denpasar for place where the locals go for babi guling instead.

jonys original fruitshakes

The restaurant attached to Jony’s Fruit Shakes is called Maya’s and I would give it a wide berth if I were you. The food is very mediocre and there are better choices around for the equivalent of RM 25-30 per dish restaurants. Go for the shakes, not the food.

tilapia

Crispy Fried Tilapia
This comes with 3 dipping sauces and is from the Luzon area. It’s pretty good – freshly fried and crispy, bit it’s the dip that makes the dish work…and seafood in Boracay is super fresh!

adobong manok

Adobong Native na Manok
I actually wanted goat kalderatta (a Panay dish of goat stewed in coconut wine) but they ran out of that, so I went for this one instead. It’s supposed to be a festive local dish of chicken simmered in soy sauce, spices and vinegar with organic chicken liver mousse.

I was really hungry then so it tasted good but in hindsight it’s really below average and quite forgettable. Except for the chicken liver mousse. That is superb!

…now for the shakes!

boracay fruit shakes

Just look at the sheer variety they have to offer. You can custom make it yourself too – simply request for the stuff you want and they’ll mix it for you.

jony mango fruit shake

This is a Mango, Pineapple and Banana fruit shake. PHP 100.
It’s really good. The tart and sweet mango is balanced by the smooth banana and pineapple lends a tang to it. The shakes costs about RM 8-10 each, depending on what you want.

banana nutella shake

Bananatella fruit shake. I don’t even know if this can be called a “fruit shake” anymore. Heh. It’s a mixture of bananas and Nutella! Now, isn’t that awesome!

I really loved the fruit shakes at Jony’s but you’ll have to drink it really, really fast. I really don’t know if Jonah’s is better, but Jony’s does an awesome fruit shake! It’s wonderfully thick and difficult to suck up the straw at first but that’s the optimum time to drink it coz the minute ice particles inside will dilute the drink down as time progresses.

It’s subject to entropy as all things are. ;)

fruitshakes boracay

Drink up as soon as you’re served! It’s loaded with calories and sinfully delicious, but it’s also sensational – a sublime beach drink. :D

helmet diving apparatus

I went helmet diving in Boracay and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my Boracay trip! Heh. I’ve seen it being offered in other places with names like sea walking or reef walking but never got around to doing it.

boracay helmet diving

It’s quite an interesting experience – there are various touts independent tour operators offering helmet diving at White Beach. We were approached by one while having the famous shakes at Jony’s with Xinxian and managed to bargain it down to PHP 800 for two, which works out to 400 pesos per person (about RM 30).

sea walking

Helmet diving is called such because there’s a really long hose connecting the helmet to the oxygen tanks on top.

helmet diving boat

The journey started with a short speedboat trip to a floating sea platform on the Bulabog Beach side of the island.

helmet diving platform

The floating sea platform is where the entire operation is done. It’s anchored to a prime spot in the ocean and there’s an area at the sea bed where you can roam around.

helmet driving instructor

We were briefed by the guide on how the basics of reef walking and I have to admit, I didn’t listen to half of what he said. Posed photo. smirk

helmet diving

I was walking around instead and it’s quite interesting to see the locally made reef walking helmets. These are not the Sea Trek/Seawalker helmet diving systems but jury rigged ones made to resemble them. The helmets have clear glass plates so you can see out and you can breathe normally while you’re underwater.

sea walking platform

The experience is totally unlike scuba diving. You descend down the ladder while the helmet is fitted over you by someone on the platform. The ladder goes down 10 – 15 feet to the bottom of the sea and you get to walk around and look at the corals and feed the fishes.

reef walking

Helmet diving allows you to actually reach inside the helmet so you can equalize the pressure in your ears if you need to. I can do it without pinching my nose but I made the mistake of wiping the glass inside the screen, which made it fog up – you can see half of my face is obscured in the underwater photos. :)

There’s also a scuba diver that takes shots and videos for you. I didn’t realize the guy was taking a video so I posed for a photo instead and wondered what was taking him so long. Haha!

helmet diving photo

You have pieces of bread to feed the fish and you get to spend 15 minutes at the sea bed watching and touching the fishes. I quite enjoyed it – the only thing that bothered me was that the homemade helmets tend to drift away if you’re not holding on to it.

helmet diving boracay

I would have thought the water pressure is enough to keep it in place but the current will shift it around. The guide told us to keep one hand on it. You can take your hands off for a while if you’re standing perfectly still but once you move, you’ll have to hang on to your helmet. Heh.

Despite that minor design issue, helmet diving is quite fun! I didn’t think it would be after scuba diving but I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the time reef walking on the sea bed and exploring the marine life. It’s a totally different experience.

reef walking boracay

I wish we had more time underwater instead of just 15 minutes and before long we had to climb up the ladder back to the platform. The CD with the photos and videos were ready by the time we were up there. Helmet diving might be commercialized and scuba divers might scoff at the restricted movement (the hose limits where you can go) but it’s still a lot of fun.

reef walking photo

I had a blast and I’ll recommend it if you come across it – helmet diving is a totally different experience altogether and I’m really glad I tried it! :D

nz milford sound

I went to New Zealand last year and traveled around the place. New Zealand is beautiful during summer. I reckon summer is the best time to visit NZ – having lived there, I know how unforgiving the cold winters can be and the reduced amount of daylight is a bit of a turnoff.

mitre peak

Summer on the other hand has plenty of sunlight and warmth to go and do the things you love. The pointed Mitre Peak shown above is probably one of the most famous sights at Milford Sound.

milford sound

Milford Sound is a fjord that is probably NZ’s most popular tourist destination. The vista is truly breathtaking and the tips of the mountains are topped with permafrost…even in summer. Rudyard Kipling is said to have called it “the Eighth Wonder of the World”.

nz rotorua

Rotorua is one of my favorite places in New Zealand. I fell in love with it the first time I was there – about 17 years ago. The smell of sulfur that assaults your nostrils as soon as you get there is off-putting to some…but to me it smells like VACATION! :D

rotorua

(which it was)

fox glacier

Glaciers in summer?

glacial hike

Yes! It is in fact the only time you can do a glacier hike. Summer is the best time to hit Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier and walk about the place.

Franz Josef Glacier

It’s about 1-2 hours and an amazing experience for those who’s doing it for the first time. Imagine cooling off the summer heat with a nice visit to the glaciers. You can experience extreme hot and cold weathers – hell, almost four seasons, in just one trip. :)

milford

New Zealand is one of the those places that has something for everyone:

auckland quay

I can go out and hit the exclusive clubs at Auckland Quay with my friends and end the night by eating a sausage roll to soak up the excess beer…and wake up the next day to go bungee jumping.

quaint cafe

My sister can sit and have a long lunch at one of the quaint cafes.

lake tekapo

My mom can take a leisurely stroll along Lake Tekapo.

church good shepard

My dad can soak up history by visiting the Church of the Good Shepard.

yj house

New Zealand is such an awesome place that you won’t be able to glean even the surface of what it has to offer in a single trip. I’ve did my high school in Christchurch and I’m lucky enough to have a sister who lives in Auckland so I can crash at her house, eat her food and drive her car for free visit her to enhance family ties.

permafrost

However, it’s really not that expensive to visit New Zealand. The flights are very affordable with AirAsiaX. I also recommend staying at backpacker places and renting a car to drive around. Your license is valid in New Zealand. Begin your journey by surfing over to Pure Joy Summer 2011 where you can discover all the wonderful places you want to go.

nz rotorua pool

Fancy a dip in the Champagne Pool? smirk

goi choon start

Banh cuon is a term used to describe rice flour rolls in Vietnam. I was wondering along the streets of Hanoi when I decided to pop into a street stall to try one of their offering. I don’t quite remember where this was as I was just walking along and taking in the culture but it was really good.

Goi Cuon stall

The Northern part of Vietnam (including Hanoi) has a slightly different varient of Banh cuon. It’s a “rolled cake” which contains pork, shrimp herbs and rice vermicelli wrapped in rice paper.

Goi Cuon woman

You can see them prepare it fresh right in front of you!

Goi Cuon plate

This version also has a healthy sprinkling of pork floss on top and it’s served with a dipping sauce which has lime, sugar and fish sauce called Nuoc cham.

Goi Cuon preparation

It costs VND 15,000 for a plate (about RM 2.40) for a plate of four rolls and unsweetened iced tea is on the house.

Goi Cuon dip

I love the yin and yang concept of Vietnamese cuisine – they always have raw vegetables and herbs to complement the dish.

Goi Cuon dish

The dipping sauce is something awesome too. I ate it without the dipping sauce first but with the nuoc cham it makes it all the more better. Street food FTW in Vietnam!

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is one of the places you must go to when you’re in Hanoi, Vietnam. The show costs VND 60,000 (about RM 10) and it lasts about 45 minutes but it’s well worth it. It might sound like a commercialized show to catch and it probably is, but it also gives you a dose of culture.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre stage

Water puppet performances started back in the days when Hanoi had periodic floods during the monsoon season. The preamble to the show states that the farmers started this as entertainment during those times and thus, most of the themes reflect life as peasants – agriculture, fishing, and the odd folk tales thrown in.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre puppets

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre show can be pretty packed so I bought my tickets a day earlier so I can get good seats. Photos and videos are allowed – they use an honor system where you declare and pay to use your camera but no one bothered (which won’t be surprising considering most are backpackers) so I didn’t either. smirk

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre procession

I also met this solo traveller from Australia who told me she managed to get a room for USD 7 not far from the theatre. It comes with toothpaste and soap to boot, something I paid triple for but I can’t remember the name of the hotel for the life of me.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre orchestra

Anyway, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre starts with a classic orchestra playing traditional instruments at the side. These people also double as the narrator and singers during the show.

The puppets that they use ranges from huge two foot boats to small balls but it was so well choreographed that you’ll be surprised that it can be done from behind a bamboo veil.

Agriculture skit

Funny fishing puppetry

Harvest Festival. A story about a student returning after graduation with themes of filial gratitude.

Legend of the Restored Sword is a myth about King Le Loi who triumphed over the Ming invaders with a magic sword and him returning it back to a giant golden turtle.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre ending

Master of Puppets!

They manipulate the puppets from behind and this is their encore!

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre master of puppets

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is pretty interesting – you can see most of the footage here but it’s well worth a visit for the ambiance.

balcony jumping

Okay, this is a rather ill conceived idea that got into my head ever since the mangrove tour guide guy told me the water was 5-6 meters deep from the individual water chalets. I’ve done cliff jumping in Ton Sai and bff Lainey knew that I was gonna do this from the way I pondered and reccied the exit points.

There is an emergency ladder system about 100 meters from our water chalet and to be safe I deployed the life buoy (standard in each chalet). I didn’t know how deep the water was or whether there are any rocks under it so I needed the life buoy as insurance just in case I jumped into rocks and can’t resurface.

I must let it go on record that this is not recommended at all! It was a lot of fun for me but the water at high tide is only 1 meter deep (!!!). It’s a good thing the bottom is sand or else I’ll be in a shitload of trouble from jumping from the balcony into the sea.

The video is funny from bff’s commentary and how I kena tiu by the security guard when I appeared seemingly out of nowhere…in my briefs. smirk

Go watch! =D

crabs at krabi

Well it’s technically at Ao Nang before we took the ill fated longboat to Rai Leh. Heh! The miniature crabs comes in abundance and you can literally pick them up from the beach.

They have the Zerg Burrow research too – much like Brood Lords (or Guardians in the original Starcraft) – which also leads to the reason behind the lack of updates on the blog. I’ve been playing too much Starcraft II. >.<

Regular programming will resume REALLY soon – promise.

massage airport

Where else can you get a cheap massage right at the airport for just 300 baht (RM 30) for 50 minutes?

massage travel companion

There is this really chill place with water features and professional masseuses at the Krabi International Airport and since we had time to kill before our flight departed, I went for the Royal Thai Traditional Massage. My friend opted for the foot reflexology (which costs the same) instead due to her sunburn.

massage

I was heavily sun burnt and it hurt like hell when she masseuse kneaded me. However, she did some magic which involves:

  • Kneading my butt checks which magically made my piles go away
  • Twisting me in configurations that I never thought the human body can do
  • Lying under me with her knees up while I was on top and pulling me towards her bosom

massage krabi

It was that last bit where gender confusion kinda set in. She told me to relax and just put my head down. I’m not sure if those are fun bags or silicone. Hmm…

massage lady

(S)he was strong though and the massage did wonders to my tense muscles. She even applied aloe vera lotion FOC since I was so sun burnt. <3

railey

How do I even begin to describe this epic adventure?

railey longboat

We just checked into our hotel in Ao Nang and decided to head down to Railey East at about 7 pm since I read that there’s algae there which glows brilliant blue in the night. The bioluminescence is supposed to surround your body in “a million tiny blue lights” so we headed down despite the longboat telling us that we HAD to get back at 8 pm coz that’s when the last boat departs.

railey travel

I reckon we could just pay any longboat operators hanging around to get us back at 12 am. We were going to Wing It ™ in the true spirit of ADVENTURE! =D

The trip to get into the longboat sounded the death toll for my Blackberry. To reach the longboats, you have to wade through waist high water and I wanted to Twitpic everything since I didn’t pay RM 38 for BIS international roaming for nothing. Unfortunately, everything got wet, including my friend’s bag and my Blackberry.

railey beach

That’s okay we’re still going to enjoy the glowing algae! By the time we got there it was nearly dark and we were starving so we ordered food at the incredibly over-commercialized island. There are bars right on the beach and food stalls which were predominantly dominated by Caucasians.

railey food

We jumped into the water after that and went for a swim towards the elusive bioluminecent algae.

It was nowhere to be found.

I don’t know if it’s coz of the rain (we were thoroughly soaked) or the rocky seas but the algae just wasn’t there.

We finally gave up trying and decided to create our own creature instead – The Beast With Two Backs ™.

beast with two backs

Trying to do that while in that weather is nigh impossible. The waves kept pushing us inland, the rocks lying under the beach kept cutting us, and I lost my fucking underwear.

* Watching this video is discouraged – you can’t see jackshit from the darkness

We finally gave up and just went back to the beach. No longboats in sight.

We walked to Railey East. Nope, no longboats either. We walked back to Railey West and a kind dude manning a tattoo place with dreadlocks said we could try taking the employee only longboat back – it departs at 10:30 pm.

railey smoke

* The soaked cigarette is still smokable, just a bit…watered down smirk

However, there was no guarantee that we can actually get on the boat and it doesn’t stop in Ao Nang so we’ll have to take ANOTHER taxi from there.

We walked back to Railey East to play Spot The Longboat Operator ™. I reckon the game would have been fun if we were not thoroughly drenched, with no cell phones (my friend left hers at our hotel in Ao Nang and my BB died a watery death).

rock

* The rock that thwarted our intimacy

I think we must have walked back and forth from Rai Leh East beach and Rai Leh West beach at least 7 times in vain before the same dread locked guy told us that it’ll probably would be easier just to stay here.

diamond cove resort

There are several problems though:

  • I don’t have a cell phone (my BB died in the rain and waist deep water while getting on the longboat)
  • We were both drenched with no towels and no change of clothes
  • I lost my fucking underwear to the tides of Rai Leh
  • My digicam (which is thankfully waterproof) is running very low on battery since it hasn’t been charged since I got here
  • We have to go to Phi Phi Islands the next day
  • I left my medication in Ao Nang FML max

Finally, we were so exhausted, wet and bearing cuts from our attempts to recreate the cocktail Sex On The Beach (or Sex In The Sea rather) that we just decided to stay on Railey. There’s a hotel called Diamond Cave Resort which goes from 2000-3000 baht (RM 200-300) per night but since is low season we managed to get a rate of 500 baht (RM 50) – a tip from the dread locked dude again.

railey strip

Thankfully we had a bottle of vodka with us or else I’ll have withdrawal symptoms from the lack of GABA agonists (clue to what meds I’m taking LEGITIMATELY) – no need for a degree in particle physics for that.

We were a bit concerned about missing the boat to Phi Phi Islands the next day but we woke up super early.

I had wrung my clothes and left them to dry at the balcony but it still wasn’t dry.

It was an adventure indeed – one we dub the Rai Leh Rendezvous.

railey hotel

One thing about hotels in Krabi though – they’re very big on animals as towels. smirk

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