31 December 2006

Out With The Old, In With The New

Since everyone is doing it, I shall too.

Here's a recap of what I've accomplished in 2006, in random order...
- Graduated B.A. (Hons.) Accounting & Finance.
- Traveled to Redang twice, Perhentian, Phuket.
- Picked up a new hobby - diving... and got certified too.
- Completed 8 dives.
- Started blogging again.
- Got a tattoo.
- Cholestrol down to acceptable levels.
- Taken up badminton, twice weekly.
- Celebrated 24th birthday at Poppy with 40+ friends.
- Made many new friends, caught up with some old friends, and lost track some.

As for 2007 resolutions and goals...
- Gain weight - currently 54.5kgs, target 60kgs by year end.
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification + 15 dives
- Commence Masters Degree

It's a simple list no doubt. But it will require effort on my part nonetheless. Wish me luck, just as I wish all of you all the best in 2007. Happy New Year!

25 December 2006

Tripping Phuket: Drunkards From Malaysia

Night life at Patong is amazing. Well actually, much of life in Patong only begins at night anyway. It's like having a street party every night of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year. The crowd is just perpetual.

Our first night was spent peacefully over chor dai dee, some satay foods from a hawker downstairs, and a bottle of Bacardi we bought at the airport. Main reason for our subtleness was the diving planned for the next morning.

Our second night was a little less subtle. We decided to check out the local bar scene and found one with a band playing just round the corner from Crown Hostel. The prices were alright, and the music was decent. But all in all it was nothing to shout about. We got weary by the middle of the second jug and votes were in favour of changing spots.

As we hadn't done much research on where to hang out before this, we simply walked the streets with our ears peeled for bands jamming their hearts out. 15 minutes later our feet brought us to this place...


Many factors contributed towards our choice of finding a place here. For one thing, they had a nice set up under the stars... air-conditioning not necessary. They also had a big enough stage for the band to play. There was a pretty big crowd there already, and that told us that the place couldn't be half bad. And there was the little bonus of this cute santarina as the hostess to greet us as we arrived.

It's not really a good pic because she blinked. Here's one taken with Robert's phone...

Much better!

We had many laughs at The Port. And the music was great. The service was fair and the waiters & waitresses friendly.

As we came to a close to the evening, Chow Phang decided to splurge by buying us each a round of 'Knock Outs'.

We still managed to comfortably find our way back to Crown Hostel. Along the way, we stopped for some photo-taking...

Damn drunkards!

Well like I said, we still made it back safely, without anyone puking... and everyone just seemed so "happy". LOL. The "Knock Out" worked... I slept like a baby.

We went all out on our last night in Phuket. Initial plans to check out the clubbing scene - Banana Club was dropped due to budget constraints. Where better to go to have a great time than the same place as the night before when we had ourselves a blast. So, back to The Port.

This time, we had more beer - 6 litres to be exact, more rounds of chor dai dee, more jokes & laughs, more friendly chats with the waiters, more music, and more of a great time.

We even came across another group of Malaysians there on holiday. It was refreshing to see people who looked and sounded like us. The initial sound of people speaking in Cantonese immediately caught my attention, and I just couldn't help but to walk over and say hi.

The evening at the Port continued with more alcohol...
Lots of Beer

Lots of tequila

A huge-ass customized extra strong Long Island Tea

And to it top off, a triple shot tequila for....

Air Asia Annual Dinner's biggest loser... RM5,000 lucky draw cash prize flushed down the drain man! This fella was so wasted, he didn't even realize he was signing MY credit card transaction.

And of course he wasn't the only one.

That's me puking all over Phuket. The locals were begging Robert & Chow Phang to lead me to the beach and do it in the sand.

Further attempts to get back on foot were futile. But that's not to say we didn't try. "Clear the way, drunk bastard coming through", "Malaysian drunk bastard!" ...I remember Soon Yean screaming as Robert & Chow Phang struggled with me. We were making such a scene that everyone we walked passed clapped & cheered & even hi5-ed us. WTF???!!!

On giving up the walk, we took a tuk-tuk back and sang songs by Beyond. I raced straight up the stairs for bed while the others continued on a little longer nearby.

Christmas Shopping 2006

Joining last minute shoppers at One Utama on the weekend before Christmas... what was I thinking?!

Agreeing to go after lunch because of my shopping companion... what were we thinking?!

Driving there... I definitely wasn't thinking!

It took close to 1.5hrs to find an available parking lot. The frustration was that I kept seeing others in front of me get lucky. And I was so annoyed that even though so many cars wandering around the parking lot had been doing so for more than half an hour already, there were still cars coming in. Does the parking management have no sense? Why did they even let me in in the first place?!

As for the shopping, the place was of course crowded. No surprise there. There weren't any huge price slashes worth mentioning. But I did find a nice FCUK cap in the 50% discount bargain bin. Bought that for my bro. Lucky him! Maybe I can borrow it sometime. LOL

It is hard to shop under pressure. My only relief was that for once, I had a decent budget to get some nice Christmas presents for some special people. All in all, it worked out to be a roughly-RM500-shopping-spree. And for the first time in my history of such extensive shopping, none of the items purchased were for me. Pity...

21 December 2006

The Malaysia Year-end Sales

An ad currently broadcasted over national radio goes "Malaysia's Year-End Sale - with discounts so good it can turn anyone into a shopaholic."

Do we really need more shopaholics?

Oh heck, who am I to complain! I think I shall go check it out to see how true the above statement is... and maybe spend a buck or two along the way. :o)

Anyone want to join me and the rest of KL's last minute Xmas shoppers this weekend?

19 December 2006

Tripping Phuket: Patong and Its Sights

We spent all 3 nights at Crown Hostel, run by Peter & his wife. It felt very much more like crashing at a friend's place than public accommodation. Peter gave us great rates (less than THB1,000/pax) for the 3 nights, and he offered much needed advice on where to go and what to do.

Peter giving advice on Phi Phi packages

It was also quite an experience to sit and listen to him tell stories of the Tsunami incident which hit 2 years ago, and how Patong has been recovering. If anyone is looking for a decent place to stay, with really clean toilets, and only necessary amenities, Crown Hostel located at Soi Saen Sabai is the place I'll recommend (not like I've tried anywhere else actually). As long as your expectations aren't high, you'll not regret it.

As our accommodation was located at the very heart of Patong, most of our time was spent wandering Bang La Road, Rat U-Thit Road & Thaweewong Road. What a commercial hub it is!

The Atmosphere
First thing I noticed was that there are probably more tourists than locals walking the streets at any given time, I kid you not! And my best guess is that of all the foreigners, 95% (or more) are Caucasian. Of this group of Caucasians, 19 in 20 are men aged between late-20’s & mid-40’s. And almost all of them have one thing in common – their arm wrapped around the waist of a local Thai girl. I shall not comment further. And please do not quote me on any of the statistics here.

Another common sight all day through is the hoards of Tuk-tuks and taxis around. They park their vehicles neatly along the sides of streets and solicit business in a direct sales fashion. “Hello sir, you want Tuk-tuk?”. If not interested, just smile politely and say no thanks. It’s safe to say that you’ll never have to worry about not having transport, unless you don’t have any cash either. Mind you, bargain and confirm the fare before getting in.

You'll also find lots of small shops selling clothes, bags, suits, souvenirs, perfumes and other forms of interesting trinkets. Bars & restaurants are a-buck-a-dozen as well, although not necessarily value for money. Massage parlors galore, with women sitting/standing around outside touting in their very Thai accent - "Hai sir... euu wann mahssargge?"

Bang La Road

During mornings & afternoons, this street is like any other.

It's a totally different scene when light turns to dark. They close the road for everybody to come out and play.

One of the agogo bars just off Bang La Road. Went in for a quick peek and didn't quite like the concept so we moved on (honest!).

Thaweewong Road
Running parallel to Patong Beach, it was really nice walking the stretch.

Unfortunately even though Crown Hostel was a mere 10 minutes walk away, this was as close as we got to the beach throughout our stay. Everything on the beach is chargeable, from the water sports right down to relaxing on the deck chair and/or using their umbrellas. I wouldn't be surprised if they one day decided to charge a fee for walking on the sand.

The highly popular Banana Club is also located along Thaweewong Road, but we didn't get a chance to try it out first hand due to horrendous budgeting... so instead we hung out at bars with live bands.

The Port is where we had most of our alcohol moments.

You'll also find McDonalds in this area, and Häagen-Dazs just a few doors down.

And this little roadside stall...


...banana pancake. Delicious!

Oh and look out for this signpost - "Drunk People Crossing". If you're wondering if it's really that bad, ask us about the drunkards singing (or screaming) their hearts out on the streets at 4am in the morning when we innocent angels are trying to sleep.

18 December 2006

Tripping Phuket: Fun Specialists

It is indeed nice to do something out of routine when routine gets dull. The many events during our trip to Phuket were overwhelming, and I came back with many souvenirs - memories of fun & laughter.

I must say that much of the fun & laughter had EVERYTHING to do with the company I was in. My advice to the rest of you - when going on vacations, pick suitable travel mates based on the type of vacation you're hoping to have.

In my case, the objective was to have fun, fun, and more fun! And I conveniently wound up with the following team of “fun specialists".

Name: Soon Yean
A.K.A.: Traveler/Malaysian drunk bastard
Specialty: Air logistics, language & nonsense specialist
Function: Catalyst
Responsibilities: Transport & food arrangements
Known for: Ignoring Chow Phang; Annoying Mervyn; Repeatedly reciting “Tonight… tonight… Thai boxing… Best of the best Muay Thai”; Puking over balconies

Name: Robert
A.K.A.: Adventurer
Specialty: Food, accommodation & nonsense specialist
Function: Coordinating accommodation & bar hopping
Responsibilities: Care for “Malaysian drunk bastards”
Known for: “it’s up to you guys… I’m OK with anything.”; Singing "Who the fuck is Alice"

Name: Chow Phang
A.K.A.: Island explorer
Specialty: “Spontaneous activity”, alcohol & nonsense specialist
Function: Fund management
Responsibilities: Initiate spontaneous plans; Creation of “Malaysian drunk bastards”
Known for: Asking/making silly & redundant questions/statements

Name: Mervyn
A.K.A.: Underwater explorer/“Malaysian drunk bastard”
Specialty: “Making-$-disappear” & nonsense specialist
Function: Coordinating water activities
Responsibilities: Diving arrangements
Known for: Blowing a 4-day budget by the end of day 1; Puking on sidewalks

Yea, I know it was pretty gay to have an all-guy trip. But as you can tell, there was a lot of nonsense to laugh about, and a whole lot of silly exploits to share. Many of which would probably not have taken place had there been gals (who we know) around.

Take for instance the many moments of wacky expressions & zany laughter which followed Soon Yean & Chow Phang’s excessive farting. Put it this way, if Kevin Costner was “Dances with Wolves”, Soon Yean can be “Farts with Sharks” now that he's a diver! (He’s going to let go the sausage on me for sure)

13 December 2006

Stories Of Phuket To Come

I've noticed a sudden surge of hits starting 11/Dec, a day after my return from Phuket. I figure you guys are really excited to hear about all the silly stuff I/we did up north. Trust me, we had heaps of stupid moments you're sure to laugh about.

Sorry to say, I'm all tied up this week and won't be able to share till a little later - hopefully end of this week. However, do check back often as I assure you there will be many interesting posts on the subject coming up very soon.

As a bonus for reading, I promise to include photos too!

01 December 2006

Being Mervs

I came back from work around 6pm, sat down on the lazy chair and did a bit of channel surfing. For the first time in a long while, I dozed off in front of the TV only to wake up an hour later feeling even more tired than before the nap.

It felt like I hadn't had good rest in over a week. Have I really been working so hard? I seriously think not. I don't pull all-nighters like during my college years anymore. I don't club on weekdays anymore. I don't wake up all that early either. I wonder why I'm so exhausted... and it's so sudden too. I was feeling great just yesterday. Hmmm...

Well, I'm too tired to ponder any further. Let it just be "It's tough being Mervs".

I suppose "being Mervs" will always be easier than "knowing Mervs". Do you know Mervs? More on that later.