Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Found Food Gems

We suspect we might stick with these two new finds for a while.

Zsofi. A rustic tapas bar at Dunlop street in Little India is just perfect for a casual night out. You get free tapas with every drink order. We of course made the mistake of over-ordering. Three of us had a mega tapas plate (yummy) and a pizza (not yummy) to share. My favourite tapas of the night was mushroom with garlic butter on toast. Sangria was good too. We'll definitely be back :)

Brunch the this morning was at Artichoke at Sculpture Square. It's got a somewhat similar rustic vibe to Zsofi, but set in the day. The food was simple and delicious, service was great. We even got a candy treat when we left. What a nice start to a lazy Sunday. Reservations recommended and more pictures here.

Grilled haloumi & buttered mushrooms on toast

Lamb + eggs + toast

Below the hot pan is a write-up on the place. I think it's really cool that it's stained with burnt marks.

And the boy attempting to look cool in the crazy heat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Layang Layang

It's been way too long since we last posted. After many months of just work, we finally had our well-deserved break at Layang Layang, an atoll off Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

The entire place is just that small. From runway straight to resort.

Diving is the main activity, and our star is the Hammerhead Sharks. We all stayed at Avillion, which is the only resort. The rest of the area is part of the naval base which obviously is out of bounds to nosy tourists. The only way to get there is by a propeller plane (40-seater/12-seater).

We had a total of 13 dives, it was not only till the last 2 dives that we saw the hammerheads. They like the cold water, so they are usually found deep in the water (below 30m), and usually in the morning. The first spotting came as a complete surprise. It was a 3pm wall dive at the Crack Reef, meant for the pygmy seahorse, but out came 2 hammerheads at around -17m. I unfortunately sat out on that dive because of a massive headache. I wanted to kill myself when I found out what I had missed. Luckily for me, we saw nothing but hammerhead sharks (some saw 5, some 7) at about -30m on the last dive, the next morning. Now, everyone's happy.

Our very bad proof of sighting. (Look at it from a distance and squint very hard)

This trip is also our first attempt at underwater photography. Despite the fact the we are using a simple point and shoot (Canon Ixus 75). We had a lot of blues and greens, did not know what to do and simply blamed it on the camera. Then, we met Ben. A fellow diver, at the little age of 13 had to teach us how to use the camera. He taught us how to change our settings and set the white balance. It was only after, that we had a little more colour in our pictures. For now, enjoy our pictures of blues and divers :)

Overall, the diving was not fantastic, other than the hammerheads. I guess there will be less of the blue if we had spotted them in the earlier dives. Some of of the sites like Shark Cave 1 was quite interesting with schools of Trevally and Surgeon fish. The Mantas and turtles were also pretty cool. We were lucky to end the trip on a high.

And don't forget to stop by a really good massage place if you have some time to kill at the airport in Kota Kinabalu. Jari Jari spa, it's about 5 minutes by car from the airport. A real treat for all of us, as the resort had no massage services during our stay. We had the Padi Field Massage for 2 hours at RM 330. Fantabulous!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bali oh so rainy!

Hey happy people, yay to the New Year!

We spent the end of 2010 and the start of 2011 in rainy Bali with a couple of friends from Finland. No, it's more than a couple of friends. Coincidentally, Sami had quite a few friends from Finland in Bali at the same time. Home for eight days was at Buah Bali Villa in Seminyak. We had our own little private pool. Nice.

Despite the crappy weather and extremely choppy boat rides, Poika and I did have some pretty cool sightings on our dive trips with BlueFin. The highlights were, 3 Manta Rays at Manta Point, a white-tip shark and a pretty cool drift dive at Jack Point. It was too bad we didn't have a camera with us. I am determined to bring a camera on our next dive trip.

We also had quite a bit of fun scooting around the city on our little ride, getting lost the whole time. Well, apparently everyone gets lost in Bali and therefore it is forgivable to be late in this city.

Ended up in one of many pretty rice fields

Most of our meals were at restaurants along Oberoi street in Seminyak.
The Junction// Chic decor and yummy Ocean Salad.
Ultimo// Great value for money. It's always packed at dinner time, be prepared to wait for a seat.
Mykonos// Pictured above. Yummy lamb chops. Good service and nice casual Greek ambience.
Kaizan// A wide variety of Japanese food. Also good value for money.

And we went to our all-time favourite Jimbaran Bay for seafood twice this trip. Absolutely love the random fireworks by the beach.

And for drinks...
KuDeTa// I think almost all visitors to Bali have been to this place. Filled with beautiful people.
Oceans27// We spent New Year's Eve here. Can't judge what this place is like on a regular day.
Rock Bar// Pictured Below. It was a pity we did not manage to get in, it was packed by the time we got there (at 6pm). And priority is given to hotel guests (Ayana at Jimbaran Bay), so pretty slim chance there. It was still nice to walk around the resort for the pretty view.

And I'd like to end this post with a thank you to the friends we spent our first few minutes of the New Year with (Kimmo, Kartri, Ollipekka, Anita, Anni). May 2011 be an awesome year for everyone! YooHoo!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pictures from the last bits of 2010

Oh too much partying in December to update posts! But here are some pictures from our first Christmas (eve) together...

Ha! He's so excited about his present.

We had a cozy dinner at Brasserie Wolf (pretty good steaks) with Aleksi and Timo and headed down to Going Om at Haji lane for some beer and apple sheesha and then to some crazy partying at Clarke Quay till wee hours in the morning. Hmmm.


All that excitement about North Korea has pretty much gone to waste for now. We've decided to put our trip on hold indefinitely. Sigh...why must MrCrazySpecky be so violent?! Boo...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting psyched up for North Korea

A bunch of us are in the midst of planning for a trip to DPRK next spring. It was something we talked about in Beijing, when our friend John was in a shop buying North Korean propoganda posters. We found out that they also arrange tours to Pyongyang. And now, John is gathering the troops and doing a whole bunch of research and planning. Thank you John :)

We are also reading about this very mysterious country so that we'll get the most out of the trip. Strangely, we managed to share a book without getting into fights! You can also get this book here.

This afternoon, I was watching the re-run of Nat Geo's, Undercover in North Korea, hosted by Lisa Ling, the sister of the journalist who was held captive by North Korea in 2009. It was like watching bits of what I was reading. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen. Also, watch this video on North Korean Mass Game. It's amazing how precise their timings are.

We're so excited about our trip. Can't wait to tell you more!

Bike ride to Marina Barrage

We initially wanted to get to Marina South Park but we got so confused with all the new roads in this part of the country that we ended up at the Marina Barrage. There is never a reason for us to go there, so this is our first trip since it was built about 2 years ago. We were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of cute kites up in the sky. I'm thinking I should organise a kite-flying day. It should be fun, even though we've never flown a kite, ever.

Saw this exact same whale kite in the sky. Way too cute. I want!

P.S. Marina South Park is no longer around. Gardens By The Bay is now under construction to take its place.