Friday, 29 May 2009

The Hunt for the Forbidden Drink.

One of the more interesting tales from the holiday trip was the search for a most mysterious drink. This drink is said to be so wicked it was even banned in some countries you'd think, whoa, this is gotta be some drink for them to even think it not safe. But more on that later.

As most Malaysians know, Langkawi is known for its rich history, laidback attitude and friendly people. But that's the tourists' brochure version. Langkawi is most known for its tax-free businesses. Want to buy branded chocolate and perfumes? This is the place for you. However, most people come here for the alcohol and cigarettes but most are here for the former. Alcohol is pretty pricey outside tax-free zones so getting nearly half the price on the island is seen as really good deal.

After getting our rented car, we headed to Kuah, a 25-minute drive from our hotel. The journey there was pleasant; people were really laidback as evident in their driving. Back home in Kuala Lumpur even in the more rural areas you can still find rickety cars driven by even more rickety people zooming by. Over here, the people are just happy to cruise. At 40kph. My mother runs faster. But the slowness didn't take away anything from us, apart from time, of course. We got to view how life on this island, unhurried and languid, at its natural pace. After guessing to where to turn into we reached our destination and thus began the hunt...

The heat was unbearable. Our outfits were soaked, skin slowly being burnt brown by the scorching heat and the blazing sun. We walked from shop to shop with G-Milo Girl showing to the storekeepers her mobilephone the name of the drink. Being a 99% teetotaler*, I assumed she wanted to get a drink that was not commonly found back home. Just under half an hour, when we arrived at what was store 6 in our quest for this elusive, enigmatic drink, I decided to ask G-Milo Girl for the name. Lo and behold! Immediately, a wide grin was etched on my face as the name was finally revealed:


Yes, people, absinthe. The is the same drink that was banned in America till early 2007 and is legendary as it is infamous. I knew right away of its reputation and difficulty in acquiring it. The trio of Waffle Girl, G-Milo Girl and myself soldiered on. Undeterred, we went to practically every store that had hard liquor before being tipped off about this one big shop. If that shop doesn't have it, then surely the rest won't either I had jokingly said to the girls that I can only imagine that we enter a small, dark and dingy shop owned by a storekeeper with only one eye and a patch, following him into a labyrinth under his shop to the location of the unholy substance Instead, we ended up in a shop which was brightly lit and manned by an impudent boy. Alas, no shop on the island did not carry it but it was worth a shot.

This got me thinking, the more something is forbidden, the more it is infamous yet is somehow reachable, the more curious we are. I know for a fact that absinthe ain't Jolly Shandy, unless you view being jolly with hallucinations is fun. Curiosity killed the cat, we all know that but maybe a little curiosity is good.

Being a little bit naughty can't be wrong? Right?

This is Chris, signing off.

* = I probably imbibe alcohol typically once in a while but when I do I normally go for beer or liquor with low levels of alcohol.

PS: Upon digging further, I found this link. I normally do not advocate the consumption of alcohol, but if anyone were to check out the places listed in the link and can vouchsafe the existence of absinthe, do buzz me ASAP!

PPS: Post number 3 in a week! New world record!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Deep fried chicken skin. Cream on legs. Tight embraces. It was surely great times.

Considered to be Malaysia's premier island, Penang is a fascnating state that is as modern as the capital, Kuala Lumpur. It's been called a food paradise. It blends the old and new like no other.

Pfft. Only a true Penangite would say that. We all know the truth. Yes, we do. Malacca is where it's at, yo!*

Anyway, enough talk about state pride, let's get on with the show. The story begins when Waffle Girl and I had to take a flight down to Penang in order to catch up with G-Milo Girl who was there earlier on business. I've always been fascinated with being in an airport; I love the hustle and bustle of it, the constant rush of people wanting to get on their flights to see their loved ones or seeing secretive people trying to smuggle durians. The plane ride was pleasant, 30 minutes in the air and back down to terra firma. My only gripe is why do all stewardesses have to put on a tonne of makeup? I could bake cakes with the amount of foundation one uses. Anyway, Waffle Girl got hit on by a couple of just pubescent boys which upon looking at me decided it best not to try further with her. Comedy at 10000 feet above sea level was ensured.

As soon as we landed, we headed towards the jetty to get our tickets for the next day's trip to Langkawi. Then it was a dash to the the hotel to wait for G-Milo Girl. When everyone was freshened up, we went out for dinner together with a friend of G-Milo Girl, Sifu, who said that people driving cars had to be wary of people not driving cars. It was apparent that the people of Penang were fearless as heck as oncoming cars would have to swerve dangerously to avoid hitting them. Later, Sifu was gracious enough to bring us around Penang even though it was getting late for him.** Supper was a short trip down the road from the hotel to a quaint eatery called quaintly, Mr. Pot. Along the way, we saw transvestites. I have no comment. The food was all right. Nothing happened, actually, but I do like the name. Then I spent the first night with the girls and I must say this to all the guys out there: girls will be girls. One of the reasons was that all manner of products were used to tone, moisturise and do things to the skin that I never thought possible. Guys, take note: if a girl is putting cream on her legs, don't ask, just compliment her.

The next day was when we went to Langkawi so you already know that story so I'll just jump to when we got back to Penang after spending only the night on the other island. As you know, besides being nearly frozen to my seat, the journey back on the ferry was 3 hours, a good 30 minutes later than expected. When we got off, we were tired, hungry and smelled. (Actually, it was mostly me.) We re-checked in the hotel we stayed earlier, got prepped for dinner and it was out to Gurney Drive, roughly 20 minutes away. The first thing you'll notice is the congestion, long lines stretching from the beginning of the road till the very end. Then, you'll see the row upon row of shops, hotels and restaurants. My kind of town. Parking space was going to be an issue as everyone (I noticed a lot of old women, c'mon, give this poor guy a space to park so that he can eat!) wanted any space. So we found one quite right at the end, and while this is going to pain me greatly, hot damn can G-Milo Girl drive a car. She managed to squeeze her car into a tight spot which would've made some driving instructors green with envy. Dinner consisted of local fare; fried noodles, noodles in soup, and fried stuff. Stuff meaning deep fried chicken skin and squid. Now, the squid, I loved a lot but the chicken skin? Oh, man. The last time I ate chicken skin was KFC's when I was 10. But the minute I bit into it, damn, this is some good skin. Sinfully delicious was the phrase and rightly so. I wonder if my skin is smoother now. Hmm...

On the last day of the holiday, we woke up early, and headed towards the bus station to get tickets for me and Waffle Girl home as G-Milo Girl had to stay back for work commitments. It's never easy to say goodbye so we tacitly agreed to not talk about it instead focused our attention to make the last day as good as it can be. So we chatted in the hotel room's floor, crossing our legs and start regalling each other about our experiences. It was nice but what made it more intimate was to see how close the bond between Waffle Girl and G-Milo Girl had. It was special even though I know Waffle Girl would beg to differ since according to her I only saw a miniscule of it. I can only hope that my own friendship with them would be even a smidgen as good as theirs. As we finally parted ways at the bus station, I could see sadness but also happiness between the two girls as they embraced each other tightly. Words fail me. Folks, this is what real friends are all about.

The trip not only recharged the mind and body, it also recharged the spirit. I am already looking forward to the next adventure.

This is Chris, signing off.

* = I still love you, Penang. I mean, 30 cents parking? Unbelievable!
** = For that, thanks be to Sifu. Worry not, I will find a way back home if I was stranded in Penang because of your clear and concise directions.

PS: As you may already know, I don't post 2 entries in the same week let alone in 2 days but I felt compelled to get this story out. At least it's better than doing work.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Nearly heaved my breakfast out. Got sunburnt. Almost froze to death. Man, I wanna do all that again!


I haven't even changed from the smelly clothes I'm in but here I am blogging about the holiday I just came back from. You want to know why?

Cos it was damn fun, man.

Let me explain: my colleague and her best friend were planning a trip to an island called Langkawi, Malaysia's version of Hawaii minus the Alohas, half naked Polynesian women and flame-throwing, grass-covered males. So I jokingly said to my colleague, Waffle Girl, can I join? That was about two months ago. Then one fine day last month or so, she comes back to me and says, hey, remember that trip I told you about? Would you like to join us? I immediately said, urm, you do know that I was just kidding? Do you want to go or not, she said. If you're really, really, really, sure about this, I'm in. She shrugged, smiled, and said, we're absolutely fine and we'll be at the beach and you know what that means.

Which sane man would've said no?

Thus, four days ago I spent my first holiday of the year with two chicks. We had a blast, right from the get go. It started on the ferry ride as we nearly heaved towards the island. It was horrendous. I had to summon all my energy and mental strength in order to keep myself from heaving my breakfast of 5 eggs onto the front passanger. Yoga practitioners would've been proud of me. And when we reached the island we checked into the dinkiest hotel on the island, dropped our luggage and headed out on our first adventure. The weather was blazing hot while the humidity was sensationally, urm, humid. We explored the island, took pictures while I posed for them like an escapee from a mental institution and ate and ate and ate everything on sight. Then came dinner which was a feast big enough to feed double our number. I swear to you, them prawns were as long as Waffle Girl and her best friend, G-Milo Girl (don't ask), arms! So after stuffing our faces with delectables island-inspired dishes, we went to the only reggae-themed bar on the island, Babylon Mat Lounge. Now, I'm not a fan of reggae at all but the ambience and the beautiful company made the music sound great. Don't worry, I won't do dreadlocks. I won't go into detail as to what entirely transpired so I'll just skip to the end and say that when it came time to depart, a big sigh of sadness was released as we waved goodbye to the island. Oh, before I forget, the damn ferry back home was freezing cold. Even some English folk that were with us were cold. Brrr! Lastly, when it came to go on our own ways, the sadness multiplied tenfold as it had been an incredible time albeit a short one. But we know we're going to see each other pretty soon*.

It's funny how holidays can change your perception of things as you tend to come back from them a little wiser unless you're a dingbat, of course. You become more aware, more in-tune with yourself and others around you. Especially if you travel with your friends for the first time. You'll learn their quirks and their idiosyncrasies, what they like to eat, what they do when they sleep (sorry for the snoring, I swear, I didn't know I did), but at the end of it you learn to really appreciate their company. And that is what made this trip even more special; friends help you but great friends are there for you. If that doesn't make you humble and appreciative of them then I don't know what will.

The last four days have been mightily interesting and satisfying, to say the least. In some ways, it was like the Amazing Race: we hopped from one island to another within 24 hours. (Okies, it was 2 islands, but we did do the hopping.**) It was hectic. It was moist. It was draining.

But most of all it was helluva fun!

Thank you, Waffle Girl and G-Milo Girl, for this great trip. And if I seemed quiet at some parts, my sincerest apologies. I just wanted to savour the moments where I got to be with the two of you. Also, thank you for entertaining this clown at times as I know I've enlightened you two more about me. I can now get struck by lightning knowing that I slept in the same room with two gorgeous women. 


This is Chris, signing off.

* = I took G-Milo Girl's stuff by accident. So, yeah, I have to give it back to her. Tee hee.
** = Actually, it all started in Penang but I'll save that for the next post.

PS: Deep fried chicken skin should be made illegal. They taste so good but so wrong!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Number 18 and counting. Glory, Glory Man United!

Real men don't cry. Sometimes real men do.

I nearly did.

Manchester United drew with Arsenal but that was enough to see them clinch their 18th Premier League title last Saturday. It was one of the best moments of my football life. I may not play the game, but I sure as heck love it!

But the thing that got to me wasn't the end, it was in the 67th minute when a diminutive player from Argentina came off to be replaced. It was emotional, not just for him, he waving to the crowd as though it was his last game, but to all who watched him in person and on the telly. Carlos Tevez may not be as prolific as a goal-scorer he was once when he first started out but his ebullience, tenacity and never-say-die attitude has made him a much loved character to the Old Trafford faithful. All I can say is, keep the bugger. He is worth it. And if Lady Luck has a sense of humour, she'll make sure he punishes Manchester United were he to play for another club. I'm sure of it.

Besides that, while Wolverine was a complete bore and utter disappointment, Angels & Demons was surprisingly good. Tom Hanks for once didn't annoy me with his nasally voice, he actually endeared his character to me. Not bad, Forrest! And, of course, Ayelet Zurer is what a woman is: beautiful, strong and smart. Ooh la la.

Also, I'll be going on my first holiday of the year. Yes, before anyone thinks I'm a workaholic (only if the job is worth it) I thought I might as well unwind a little, especially since the last few months have been trying. I so can't wait to get me some, in my humble opinion, deserved rest and relax.

Here's to better weather and no more cases of H1N1!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Star Trek is absolutely friggin' brilliant!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Bye bye, my friends.

You never really feel the sadness until it finally comes.

The last month or so has brought many departures. It's never easy to lose a colleague, especially a dear one, to another company because you feel, why are they leaving? Did I smell that bad? After awhile you get used to it and working life* goes on. But the spirit of the team is no longer the same. The camaraderie has now been replaced with silence and instant messaging.

So, this post is dedicated to those who've left for much, much better pastures. I would like to thank my two seniors, my brothers Einstein and Jyaki, for teaching me everything I know and helping me to bullshit my way to where I am now. I hope you two boys get to do more things than here. And Angie, I'll see you at Rakuzen with 30 helpings of salmon sashimi.

Good luck to all and may your future be bright.

If you'll excuse me, it's back to the hellhole. Till 3.30pm!

This is Chris, signing off.

* = Working life is not the same as life. Err. Yep.

PS: The weather is so friggin' hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot!!!

Saturday, 2 May 2009


Poor Hugh Jackman. Looks like he has to wait yet again for that one movie to take him way above the top.

Wolverine was a dud.

It lacked emotion. It lacked a sense of urgency. Most of all, it lacked rage beyond rage. The only solid thing of the movie was Jackman's incredible muscularity. That, my friends, is what many of us aspiring gym rats aspire to be. But enough of the man praise. Even with his much improved acting skills, he couldn't bring out the suffering, anger, funny and sadness of the character. It probably has to be said that he had to make do with a patchy script as well as some dodgy directing. Bryan Singer, where are you?

But if you're still going to watch this, don't let my comments detract you from doing so. After all, it's good entertainment IF you don't overanalyse it the way I did. Seeing them adamantium claws slicing through things is a lot of fun!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: The lack of blood was kind of weird. Damn the PG13 guidelines!