Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016

One of my favourite times of the year is Chinese New Year. Each year we visit friends, some of whom we only meet annually during this holiday. It provides a refreshing of friendships and the opportunity to catch up on what each other has been doing, as well as deepening solid long-time friendships. This year was no different. We enjoyed the company of great people, food and happiness.

With Fidelia's university friend, Ka Yi, at CNY

At Grace and Kenny's house during CNY

Paying a visit to some old English students during CNY

Excitedly driving from house to house at CNY

With Mr. Khoo and family for CNY

Happy faces during CNY!

Large CNY group photo at Dato' Johny's house

Leah enjoying playing with sparklers at a friend's house for CNY

All dressed in red, as is typical during CNY

CNY wouldn't be the same without spending time with some of our longest friends in Kuantan

Love visiting our friends during CNY

My favourite CNY breakfast, nian gao

Posing for another photo with good friends at CNY

The boys provide the music for lion dances throughout CNY

The lion dance in full flow at CNY


And more happy CNY times here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Streetz Cafe, Kuantan

The entrance to Streetz Cafe, Jalan Beserah, Kuantan

Streetz Cafe is located on Jalan Beserah in Kuantan. The cafe has been designed very well and is eye-catching. It presented us with a very good first impression. You soon realise why it is called 'Streetz':

The interior of Streetz Cafe, Kuantan
There is a road, or a street, running right through the middle of the cafe. The furniture, decorations and general ambiance are all very cool and give you the feeling you are in a very good restaurant.

Interior of Streetz Cafe, Kuantan

Interior decorations at Streetz Cafe

Waiting time was adequate and Fidelia really enjoyed her meal:

Lauren had a kids meal and enjoyed that too:

I ordered a typically western spaghetti bolognese and we also had a western pizza.

I was disappointed to find that Streetz Cafe had made the spaghetti with spices. Spaghetti is not supposed to be spicy. So I wasn't able to really enjoy my meal. As for the pizza, it had chilli all over it under the cheese, which made it basically inedible for us. My family quickly concluded that trying to Asian-ise Western food by making it spicy is not the way to do it, and at least to a Western palate like mine, is not appetising at all. Perhaps for local Malaysians, this may not present a problem, but for this English guy, I'm afraid it was off-putting.

And that's a shame because it's a beautiful cafe with a nice atmosphere, but when all is said and done, the ultimate litmus test of a restaurant is the food. And the Western portion of the Streetz Cafe menu was poor.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Top 10 Photos of 2015

It is always great looking back over the photos of the year. So many memories and so much fun. 2015 was the year in which I ditched my DSLR during our England trip, and opted for the easier-to-use-and-carry handphone and ipad. In December, as usual, the auto focus on my DSLR decided to stop working again, so I am using my Canon entirely in manual focus mode. It has been a challenge and I am still learning how to make use of all the features and functions on the camera.

Following are my Top 10 photos of 2015:

I love this photo of these small white flowers lying upside down on the ground with their stalks standing up straight in the air. They arrived in this position after a heavy downpour detached them from their plant

My daughters loved their new dresses from their English grandma so we went out to the park for a photo shoot. Here they pose perfectly atop a slide complete with umbrella to provide some relief from the scorching sun. Natural light is always my preferred condition to shoot in

Posing for a photo in front of the all-white Masjid Abdullah in Pekan, Pahang. 

Visited this stunning mosque in Pekan

A night view of the Petronas Twin Towers in KL surrounded by residential condominiums. I like that there is a gentleman visible in a unit mid-way up the photo

The London England temple on a cold autumn afternoon. Yellowing leaves decorate the surroundings and provide a natural frame for this beautiful scene. This was taken with my Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime handphone

This image became one of my most popular facebook profile pictures of the year. This was originally in video format, whereupon I took this screenshot. I was doing an experiment putting ten mentos mints into a bottle of coca cola!

The top 3 photos are of my highly photogenic and beautiful sister Florina. This one was captured at Citadines ApartHotel in Kuching while we were on a family holiday. On just my 2nd attempt I managed to get this shot of her hair flicking the water in a spiral motion

I swear she should be gracing magazine covers with shots like this! Taken poolside at Citadines ApartHotel, Kuching, Florina effortlessly models swimwear with poise and a smile.
Note: I edited out a child swimming in the background

My favourite photo of 2015 was taken near the start of the year and features the modelling of Florina at a recreation ground in Kuantan. Here she posed under a slide inside this cylindrical space with weathered green paint on the walls. Just love this photo!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

England Trip November 2015

After more than 9 years in Kuantan, we went back to England in November 2015. It was a double family holiday as we spent part of our time with my English family in Leicester and Nottingham, and part of our time with Fie's Malaysian family (who also flew over) in London.

I prepared for our England trip by fearing the worst regarding the 'weather' and 'food' - my imagination about them was 'dismal' and 'bland' respectively. As it turned out, we all loved the freezing cold weather as it was such a welcome contrast to the incessant heat we are accustomed to in Malaysia. There were times in England where I was outside and shivering, yet I learned to savour the experience. We also enjoyed the food, particularly the famous fish and chips, as well as the chocolate! Yes, the supermarkets were full of amazing chocolate at incredible prices!

We visited Leicester, Nottingham, Manchester, Bolton, Dagenham and London and met family, old friends and church friends. I went to Wembley, Old Trafford and the O2 Arena where I watched Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka play tennis. I entered the Mormon temple in London and twice travelled on an Airbus A380 - the first such experience in my life.

Our Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 - the largest commercial aircraft in the world. It is an absolute beauty and an absolute beast! We enjoyed two beautifully smooth 13-hour flights on the A380 and would definitely fly on it again.

On board Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A380

Boarding the Airbus A380 at KLIA:

Takeoff on the Airbus A380!

Landing at London Heathrow:

Here I am back at my childhood home in Leicester, England

Met up with some of my old Leicester friends

Autumn at the park

A cold morning in Glenfield, Leicester:

Got together with my brother and sister and did some photo re-enactments. That was really fun!

It was great spending time with my English family after so long being away

No trip to England is complete without real fish and chips! It was so filling and was easily enough for two people

I was thrilled to return to the Ellis Park astroturf pitches to have a kick around with my brother. I spent countless hours in my childhood playing football here. It's a very nostalgic place for me!

And here's Gaz retrieving the football after one of my awful attempts at goal:

Photo at Bradgate Park in Leicester

Sitting on the rocks at Bradgate Park with my Leah

At Wollaton Hall, the residence that featured as Batman's house in the movie

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was going to the O2 Arena for the World Tour Finals. We got tickets to watch Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Before we entered the stadium we bumped into the leading tennis umpire, Mohamed Lahyani by chance, and he was kind enough to pose for a photo with us!

A true photograph to treasure! Here we are with leading tennis umpire, Mohamed Lahyani, outside the O2 Arena in London

My wife and I hold the Malaysia flag at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United FC

The second portion of our trip was spent in Dagenham where we visited some of the main sights around London.

Seeing the sights in London

Visited Buckingham Palace

Stopped for a photo with two policemen in London. They were very happy to indulge us!

Visiting Westminster Abbey with Fie's family

Resting in St. James' Park with my wife and sisters

Another special moment was seeing Jae Jae the tiger at ZSL London Zoo

It was a great holiday and we did so many things and visited lots of places. We flew back on the Airbus A380 once more, a long 13-hour flight, followed by a quick 30-minute hop form KLIA to Kuantan.

Look at the size of those Airbus A380 engines!

Watching the beautiful sunset over Egypt on the Airbus A380 while flying back to Kuala Lumpur from London Heathrow


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