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My attention was brought to this neglected blog recently, and it has been so long since I’ve last looked at it that I forgot the things written here. I was pleasantly surprised at how I have expressed myself in the older posts, and it’s also nice reminiscing the things that had happened in the past year.

Hence the decision to keep this blog alive, for future references πŸ™‚ I am also amused about the constant (not a lot) stream of hits despite me not updating for the longest time. Another inspiration to keep it going.

I made a life changing decision recently, and that was to return to Malaysia after 5 years in London. I know I say this a lot, but I really love it here and I think that this is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. I wonder why though as it wasn’t like I hated London or anything. I still think it’s the cold over there. How liberating it is to walk around with just shorts, a tank top and slippers! Ahhh..

I have also landed myself a new job, one which I get to meet new people and learn a whole new spectrum of things in addition to exploring restaurants and visiting places. So far, so very good πŸ™‚

As one chapter of my life closes, another one awaits..

Here are some pictures from Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort during my recent trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah that I’d like to share with you. We Malaysians have a lot to be grateful for!

Enjoy!

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Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort- Teaser

Went for a family trip to Kapalai Island near Sipadan in Sabah last week. Clear seawater, an abundance of live corals, colourful fishes and amazing chalets, oh and friendly helpers! Perfect short getaway!

It’s so beautiful and relaxing that I’d like to share it here, if I haven’t already spammed you with it πŸ™‚

Official website here

Taken from dad’s iPhone so it’s pretty blur and noisy!

Afterthought: This place pretty much feels like an unspoilt part of nature.. they are planning to extend the resort which means more tourist -> corals dying at a quicker rate -> it will become the next Tioman/ Pangkor/ Redang where there are hardly any live corals left. So if you go PLEASE be careful with your flippers!!!

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Skiing at Chamonix, Mont Blanc

I just came back from an awesome 4 day ski trip in Chamonix. It was great, magnificent and all the positive adjectives you can think of. We headed to Geneva airport on Wednesday night and came back to London Sunday night, so we had 3 full days and 1 half day of skiing worth. Now my whole body is aching, from my biceps to triceps to back to gluts to butt to shins to feet. Skiing is intense πŸ™‚

Some pictures with captions below, enjoy!

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A few thoughts from my trip:

1) Skiing is a risky sport.
I have had quite a few epic falls (as epic as the mountain views) which involves falling down non stop through half a black slope on Day 1 and falling off a platter lift off a steep slope on Day 2. It was so epic that someone even recognized me later that day and said with my fall I could have been onΒ  TV. Sounds funny when I recall it now, but the falls were at least 150m, so it was definitely scary when you can’t stop the fall.

2) Have faith and it will all turn out fine.
I felt that I had some bad luck at the beginning of the trip, misplacing my wallet containing cash, ID, train tickets etc (but not my passport hence I could still fly out of UK) + all the crazy falls. In the end, I just became more careful when skiing. And some kind soul passed my wallet to the Lost and Found counter, so I am very thankful that I am safe, and that I found my stuff.

3) I know nice people.
Friends who would help you when you need it are friends you should appreciate and keep.

4) It is fun to do something out of the norm.
I learnt some dance moves from the UCPA crew, spoke to some people from the UK, France, Belgium, Italy.. It’s definitely an eye opener speaking to different people from various countries!

 

For those interested in skiing: We went with UCPA, its the place to go if you want an all-inclusive, no hassle and simple trip. The package at about 280 pounds includes 3 meals per day, accomodation, ski equipments and ski pass to Le Tour, Les Grande Montets and Brevant (perfect for 3/4 days). So total trip inclusive of flight, transfers etc would be 500-550 pounds.. It’s definitely more worth it if you go for a 1 week long ski trip which should amount to 700 pounds inclusive of classes as well!

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Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

How many of us do that?

I did something which left me feeling rather uncomfortable today- speaking to random tourists near Big Ben and asking them to fill in a survey form (more on that later). Before leaving home, I was fairly confident, and I thought that 40 forms might be a bit too few.

I came back 40 minutes later, with only 8 forms completed. And the whole experience just made me feel.. different, weird. Not that things went wrong, it just didn’t go as planned. I expected the form to completed in 30 seconds (underestimation on my part), but it takes about 2-3 minutes excluding chatting time. And of course you have to scan though the flock of tourists to determine who will be more receptive, who will probably know English and who is rushing for time etc. You also have to face the occasional (polite) rejections along the way.

This led me to question, how often do I get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to something different? The truth is, very rarely, because I have not felt this uncomfortable in a long time. I only do things that I am confident with, but the trick to getting the most out of life is to try out something that you are not confident in. And then own it.

This discomfort is good. Now I treat it as a challenge. I will fill in the remaining 32 forms up tomorrow.

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My Hot Air Balloon Experience @ Cappadocia, Turkey

11 people died today in a hot air balloon accident in NZ. As I was reading the article and listening to the witnesses’ recount of the whole incident, I feel a shudder, thinking that this could have happened to us too.

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Cappadocia is one of the best places in Turkey for hot air balloon flights due to its interesting landscape and unique rock formations which has chimney and cavelike structures.

We had to wake up at 5am that day, the sun was not even out as we departed the hotel. The companies usually operate the hot air balloon in the morning to avoid the strong wind. Usually this experience starts before dawn so that passengers get the see the sunrise in the balloon (which would be beautiful) but the Turkish government has recently banned that because it’s more dangerous when it’s dark.

It was USD 200 per person for this experience, and as their tag line says this was truly a “lifetime opportunity” foe us. Here’s why:

We reached our balloon after the sun rose. It was 7am, windy and drizzling. But the pilot and co decided it was still ok to fly. We flew with the big and reputable Kapadokya Balloons, so if they say it’s safe then it’s safe, we trust their judgment and expertise.

Inflating the balloon took a while as it was windy. After being fairly inflated, the basket flew from one spot to another a few times and we had to avoid being too close. When the balloon was ready, the 20 of us including a Japanese and Korean couple quickly hopped into the basket.

And we flew. It felt so steady and safe. 5 minutes into it, sleet was falling down. Then the sleet cleared and we flew across the Rose and Pigeon Valleys and also the Fairy Mushroom areas. It was truly an experience to see these beautiful landscapes from the above, in the open air. By then everyone wasted no time in clicking and snapping photos. I have included some of them here πŸ™‚

After 45 minutes in the sky, the pilot, Gul tried to land. He attempted to land on the flat ground but couldn’t as there was a high tension wire nearby so we flew up again. After a while, Gul shouted “Landing position please!” and we held tight and stayed low like obedient primary school kids. There were no straps over our shoulders nor were there belts, so we had to hold the ropes in front of us for safety.

And then we hit the ground. It was a very rough and hard one, I totally did not expect that. And then another hit. This time a bit less hard, but still very rough. We were not stopping. The wind was dragging us still, I remember thinking at that split second that maybe we are flying up again because we couldnt land properly.

Boy was I wrong. Everything went downhill from there, literally. We had our third bump and was dragged downwards due to the balloon still being slightly inflated.

“Shit what if our gas tank exploded?” I thought.

Then the fourth bump, the basket got dragged down some more.

Oh my god, it feels as though we are going to overturn. Please dont overturn, otherwise we will drop off the basket” I thought somemore.

A fifth bump, and then it all stopped. We were safe. My grandmother was safe. She is a trooper at 79 years-old. According to the driver, we covered twice the usual distance in the same time due to the strong wind.

Now you know why we call it a lifetime experience. At that point in time, it’s all happened so quickly that you don’t know what’s next. Everything just felt out of control. I felt that we were truly lucky to have escaped unscathed, all 20 of us. We were shaken and our boots filled with mud, but most importantly we were safe. Thank god for my grandmother’s prayers.

PS: I drew a cross sectional view of what happened so you get a better idea of what happened.

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Turkey: A country so rich with history

I went to Turkey on Dec 21st-30th, 2011. There was 17 of us in the tour, and all was family ❀ I can safely say that I have one of the craziest, family members of all times, in a good way of course.

The trip was definitely an eye-opener to me. Turkey is mindblowingly rich with history and culture: it is one of the oldest inhabited area in the world, with the Greeks and the Romans being the earlier settlers in ancient times.

We had a very passionate and patriotic tourguide, Can, who (possibly) overloaded us with information and facts about his country. So here are my top 5 discoveries/ fun facts for you about Turkey:

  1. Location: Geographically, it is 97% Asian and 3% European. It is also not a Middle Eastern country. The capital is Ankara and not Istanbul.
  2. Religion: 99% Muslim, most of them more liberal as they can drink and smoke as they wish. We are also allowed in their mosques.
  3. History: Gained independence as Republic of Turkey in 1923 which was led by Mustafa Kemal aka Attaturk. This marks the end of the reign of the Ottoman Empire and the last Sultan.
  4. Name: Should be pronounced as “Turkiye” (Tur-Kee-Ya) per Turkish language, and not Turkey as in the chicken.
  5. People: You get some really good looking people of European and Asian heritage ie light colored hair and blue eyes , while some others are normal Turkish looking.

What? πŸ˜‰ Me having a laugh with sis at Cappadocia after our life threatening hot air balloon ride (which I will definitely blog about soon).

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