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Thursday, July 06, 2006

KL, Malaysia

January 2006
KL, Malaysia, I'd never had any picture of Malaysia in my head before. I did not even know what language Malaysians usually use in their daily life. I did not know how their city looks. I went to *source (1) Kuala Lumpur for business and it was a short trip. Tell you truly, I did not remember that whole things where I visited in KL :P. If I knew I would write up this travel blog, I would have noted them and taken a lot more photos :P Sorry about that. Oh there was only one thing that I remember: Pitronas building :P Of course everybody knows that. Anyway, it was impressive looking through the window traveling by tour bus. KL was over my expectation. While riding around Golden Triangle, I was surprise. Really. I'd never imagined KL looke this western, modern, and being bustling metropolis. Golden Triangle is the commercial hub of the city where most of shopping malls, five-star hotels and trendy bars are. Golden Triangle also contains the famed *source (2) Petronas Twin Towers and has a hectic nightlife. I stayed in that area and went out with friend that night. Anyway, KL was not as busy as Bangkok even on Friday night.

The next day I went for sight seeing. *source (3) The National Monument was one of the spot that I guessed most of travelers must drop by. After that we went to have some photo shoots in fromt of the palace and back to the Golden Triangle again to the shopping mall which I also don't remember what it called. We just rided around that area at all time. I didn't have any chance to take the MY monorail. Well, I think MY should have many more attractions that I missed. Those are what I must find them out!

*Source (1)
*Source (2)
*Source (2)
*source (3)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tokyo, Japan (III - Honeymoon)

December 2005 / January 2006

Tokyo, Japan, I got 2-week time spending there in Tokyo during December 2005 – January 2006. It was really good fun over there since my husband was there, my sister was there, my cousin was there, and I had nothing to worry about. Last couple times, I was traveling with worries due to some emotional troubles. Well, it doesn't mean that those time were not good, they were, but there were just something bothering me occationally durring last both trips.

Talking about this time, we were lucky that my husband was sent to his Tokyo office. I was a follower :P He went there 2 weeks ahead. To stay with him did not mean we did not have to pay. I’m not sure whether in some other countries, the hotels charge per head. In Japan, they do. My experiences, I didn’t. Well, it was fine for that.

Most of my three times spending in Japan were in winter. I didn't choose to visit there in winter, but for some reasons, I had to be there in winter every times. I don't like Coldddd weather...

Alright, I’d better start my tale. This time in Tokyo, we stayed in Hotel Villa Fontaine, Roppongi. *(1) Roppongi is a district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan, chiefly known for its nightlife and the presence of Western tourists and expatriates, although the vast majority of visitors are Japanese. The area features numerous bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment including hostess clubs and cabarets.

We daily took a train by using the station that connected right in the hotel. The station looks quite new. *(2) It’s Roppongi-itchome Station - Numboku Line (well, please don’t let me describe all about details :P Follow my link and you would have a clue) It was quite convenient cuz we took only like not over 2 minutes from the station to get into our hotel. Last couple times, I stayed in my cousin’s places which were >1st in Yokohama and 2nd> in Kawasaki. Both are located around Tokyo and it didn’t take long to ride from there to the city. It was also convenient, but it took about 10-15 minutes walk from the station to her place. Sometimes, it took 30 minutes or longer than that cuz I dropped by the shops along the way walking back to her place :P Sometimes bookstore, sometimes restaurant hehe :P

Before I finish this chapter up, if I do not talk about Roppongi landmarks, people would not believe that I really reached there. First is Tokyo Tower which we went for New Year Count Down. We just could not find any other landmark but here which was nearest to our hotel. We had been waiting there for 3 hours outside with 0/-1 degree C till they started counting down. Wait just for shouting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year! Then nothing rather than that. After that we walked back to hotel, dropped by Family Mart and bought some instant noodle :P Hence now I could tell people I had New Year count down at Tokyo Tower, no one of them knows how suffer it was. I hate colddddd. Anyway, we got many nice photos from that spot :) It was packed with teenagers and tourists. Some were crazy, they took out their shirts -_-" walking to show off their bodies on the street.

The other is Roppongi Hills. *(3) Roppongi Hills is a newly multi-purpose complex located in the heart of Roppongi. Called the city that never sleeps, it houses more than 200 stores and restaurants in addition to a hotel, a movie theater complex and a membership library. Its proximity to Ginza and Kasumigaseki, where prestigious shopping and dining establishments and most government offices are located, has assured its status as Tokyo’s new center for business, commerce and entertainment. More Roppongi Hills photos (1) (2)

OK, we can move to the next Chapter now :P

*Source (1):
*Source (2):
*Source (3):

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No, Not My Day (@ Mount Jeans Ski Resort, Nasu)

If I'm not wrong, my husband got 5-day New Year holidays so we planned to go out of town for ski like other Japanese do. We did not plan to stay over night since the place we were going to is not far from Tokyo.

Our destination was “Mount Jeans Ski Resort”, Nasu. It took about 2 hours to reach Mount Jeans Ski Resort from Tokyo Station. It took 1.5 hours by *(1) Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train - Shinkansen is a high-speed rail system that serves as the core of Japan's rail transportation network. In the almost 40 years since it opened, the Shinkansen network has carried over 6 billion passengers without a single major accident - WOW!!) and 0.5 hour by bus.

His friends went over there for 1 night ahead and met us up the next morning at the bus terminal where I totally had no idea where it was. Why’s that? Because I woke up soooo early. We went out of the hotel at around 5:30 AM. Since the first day in Japan this time, I woke up at noon almost everyday. Not sure why – whether? Time Zone? I only had half day in Japan everyday.

At *(2) Tokyo Station heading to somewhere at the bus terminal that I didn’t know, there were many of Japanese teenager brought along there ski gears. I think this thing might be what most Japanese “must do” lists in their teen hood. For me, I had had no experience on ski, but I almost did at Lake Tahoe, California. My husband is good at ski. He had had not ski for 10+ years so he was so keen for that and he looked forward to leaving out of town. He looked very fresh that morning. Maybe if there was not him that morning, I would have missed to go there :P (Because I might not wake up).

*(2) Tokyo Station (東京駅; -eki) is a train station located in the Marunouchi business district of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace grounds and the Ginza commercial district.

* Source (1):
* Source (2):

Why was it not my day? – My husband's friends, they went there as a couple. The boyfriend is very good at snowboarding. His girlfriend could do, but not good. They both could do though. When we met, they asked us which one we preferred. My husband definitely chose ski. For me, I just thought that maybe snowboard was cool so I said “of course, take snowboard for me, it looked cooler”. There was a small slope for the snowboard beginner but I did not noticed until I came back down the hill. They (my husband's friends) did not ask whether I wanted to practice it first because that was my first time for snowboarding. We took the lift up to the top of the mountain. Oh man, that was too high (too practice). I practiced snowboarding up there. I didn’t know how to begin. The way to do snowboarding is to put the snowboard across the slope because it can stop. I didn’t! So I slip down and fell miserably. Worse than that, hahaha… I can’t help laughing - sorry, I didn’t tell you that my husband changed his mind to do snowboarding (although he was very keen for ski) and he tried to help me on that so not only me who fell that bad, but both of us fell and rolled by sticking together. I laughed so mad, but other didn’t -_-.

When our (couple) friends went snowboarding by themself. We both were left somewhere at the top of the mountain. I still tried pushing myself able to slide properly. How much I tried, I just could not get it right. While laughing so hard together with trying, I was sliping down again and my body was twisted and the upper and lower part of my body went opposite side since the snowboard was so heavy that I could not easiily get it to the proper way. Oh my godddd, I hurt my knees finally. Right that moment, I stop laughing and all along the way back to the bottom of the mountain, I was so upset.

Want to know how I and my hubby went down? We both just carried our snowboards and walked down the moutain whereas most of the people all around the area are happily playing their ways. Shame on me. My hubby had to return his snowboard and hired ski gear, then went ski while I was waiting for him down there. poor huh?

We planned to go some hotsprings in Nasu but time did not permit so we went for dinner at Nasu Kanya restaurant right away. The place was good and the food was great.

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Japan Photo Gallery (Set I)

Japan Photo Gallery (Set II)

*Thank you (1)
* Thank you (2)

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All You Can Eat

"Santorini" Seven Nights Hideaway

Traveled on August 2003
Santorini, Greece, We looked forward to leaving for Santorini after our 4-night in London. My boyfriend booked Santorini tour package from London. We had never heard of *(1) 'Santorini' before. We had no idea what it would be like except the white houses along the cliff postcards. I didn’t expect that it took quite long to fly from London to Santorini. It was 4+ hours. And I did not expect to see that this island is very v-e-r-y far away from Athens. I could not believe that human live this far.

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*(1) The Greek island of Santorini Greece or Thera is located in the Cyclades islands, in the Aegean Sea, Mediterranean at coordinates 36°25' N 25°26' E . Santorini Island Greece is with Mykonos, the most famous holiday destination. It is a small group of volcanic islands and its name was given by the Venetian in reference to Saint Irene.

The island was also called Strongili and Kalisti and was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions but what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera. The island of Santorini is related to the myth of Atlantis, the amazing views from the villages of Fira, Oia perched on cliffs, the sunset, the black and red beaches, the wine ...


More international flights than any other website!

While plane wheels were touching runway, I looked through the window and could feel hot outside. It really was - in August, it was summer. The agent bus took us passed by Fira, Santorini capital to Oia Mare Villa Hotel, Oia, a village, one the most beautiful Sunset spot in Santorini.

Oia Santorini: Oia, pronounced ‘Ia’, is the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its quiet life and fantastic sunset, and is certainly the most beautiful and picturesque village of Santorini. The village is also situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Oia is situated on the north of the island, 11 km away from Fira.

The bus actually did not take us right to the hotel, we walked there together with Santorini taxi – donkey (In Santorini, they drive only on the main road that connects the villeges. In such areas, walk ONLY). There were full of steps on the way to the hotel, good that we had him – donkey, otherwise we would probably die there. Even walking down the steps with bare hands in the afternoon, it was suffering (for me). Imagine I walked up and down the steps every single day in 7 days. This was fun though. We laughed every times we were climing the street. When we forgot something, I was the one who did not go back to get those, so he was. That was part of the funny things over there.

Below - Some pictures of Oia Mare Villa, the hotel we stayed. Oia is famous for its imaginary sunset and its narrow passageways get crowded in the evenings. The most popular spot to watch sunset is by the Kastro walls. Oia Mare Villa is considered the clostest to the spot.

When you come up with plan to travel in Santorini, I recommend you stay in "Oia". Other villeges on Santorini island are where you can visit during the day. Click on source link below to see more Oia pictures and info.

(Thanks to) Source on Oia, Santorini:
>> Oia Pictures from
>> Oia pictures from

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Food in Santorini: Greek Salad - Gyros -Souvlaki Hmmmm... Yummy

One thing that I had never expected was I hardly found Chinese restaurant there in Santorini. I always had a perception that there’s no way that I would never be able to have Chinese food at any where on this planet. Here in Santorini planet, there’s only one I guess and it’s not in Oia, it’s in Fira.

Fira, capital of Santorini, it’s packed with travelers. Of course, everywhere in Santorini was packed with travelers. In Fira, there were more backpackers I guess. If I’m wrong, pls correct me. You can find cool local stuff here. Well, maybe, do not expect some local stuff with very local price, Santorini is small; economy here is mostly for tourism. Most product prices are absolutely not local. Fira is fun, but if you look for hideaway trip, hide yourself in Oia, absorb peace and nature in Oia, and fun in Fira - to take a bus from Oia to Fira is 10 minutes long with 12 Kms distance.


First Greek Salad we had in Fira, Santorini

Back to my opened topic, we had first Greek meal in Fira - "Greek Salad" and *(2) Gyros (Kebab lookalike - Blend of beef and lamb topped with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce). First Gyros in Greece was ok to us. Greek Salad was great! When we were back in Bangkok, I made Greek Salad but no one seemed to like it :(

*(2) A “gyros” is a full turn and the verb “gyrizo” means “to rotate”. In Greece, gyros is also a type of fast food. The gyros turns, cooks and becomes a sandwich for hungry passers-by.


One night, we planed to have a romantic dinner in our hotel because the terrace looked so good. We therefore walked down the hill to buy a "big" Gyros pack with some beer from one of the food shops right at Oia bus terminal. This Gyros tasted totally different from the first Gyros we had in Fira. Our impression on Gyros totally turned from "ok" to "great".

We ended up with unromantic dinner, we were just too impressed with this great meal. Plus, we laughed a lot while I was showing him my stupid gestures. The whole conversation we had was just about stupid funny talk. This would probably be considered romantic. Do you think so too? :)

After that night, we forgot every single restaurant but this shop (@ Oia bus terminal). If you go there, you will definitely find this shop.


Gyros from the mentioned bus terminal food shop... We had it almost every nights. Not only great taste but also good price - We picked good choice!


And this is the father and son who operate the shop and make such nice food

Find out about Gyros:

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Yes, we did have a romantic moment in "Santorini"

My boyfriend (then) is not a type of people who expresses himself well. He always expresses by his meaningful actions or what he provides to me (could be things or else). London-Santorini trip was a trip that made me considered that he became a big part of my life. Romance for us was not to be under candle dinner or stuff like that. He took care of me very well. I could notice that every single thing he did, he cared about me. He tried to do everything to impress me. (We were not just a newly couple, we had background - good or bad I won't tell :P and our relationship had been like three years by then) Well, by now he'd probably forget about it :P He becomes my hubby now.

While we were walking pass by a local jewelry shop, I dropped by to have a look at one of the pretty rings there. That was pretty. It's a Santorini ring. It has Santorini church on the ring. It's not an expensive one. It's just a simple silver ring. I said to him right that moment not even consider to buy for me because we'd been paying quite a lot already. Next day, he did and gave it to me. The ring therefore represents my meaningful memory rather than hundred photos and all that. It represents one of the best times in my life. We've been in the first year marriage (now it's July 2006), after wedding, I told him honeymoon was not needed. Santorini trip should be more than enough. We ended up with honeymoon in Japan though -_-'.

Check out our hotel in Oia, Santorini, it was great

Check out more about Santorini

Santorini Hotels by

Santorini Hotels by

London, UK: I Miss You Dearly

August, 2003
London, UK, My boyfriend (then) was sent for work in London office (HQ) for three months. It was in the time of war between USA and Iraq. I tried to convince him very much not to go; the reason was not because of the fear of war effect, but the fear of being without him spending time together on weekend :P I know I was silly. Eventually, I had to let him go. It’s actually worth waiting for. We both wait until he finished his work, then I went there and we traveled together. I remembered very well how happy I was on the day I was flying there.

For some of you, I think you can imagine how much I missed him. I knew he also did. Three months for me was like forever. We arranged our times to chat everyday. He planned so well where he would take me to. Moreover, he reserved a restaurant for us even before I arrived there. How lovely he was! (Well, now, not so sure about that :P). I arrived Heathrow Airport in an early morning. Right first moment he saw me walking into the arrival hall, he headed to me and hug me so tight. Wow! he had never done that to me before. Though I was being hurt by him, it was very delighted :P He came with very wringle shirt and trousers. I guessed he did never iron the clothes while he was being there.
This picture of bigben and house of parliament showing above; I took it on the first night I arrived London. It's right behind my husband's apartment.

Click here for your London Pass

Whatever, you decide, with your London Pass in hand you are sure to have a great time sightseeing without having to worry about your budget!

San Francisco Bay Area, USA: Filled My Impressive Memory

May, 2001

is a place in my "Must Talk" lists. And Berkeley was a place where I arrived first. I actually e-mail many of my friends when I was studying there in Berkeley mentioning a lot about "Berkeley". Those ones were gone. I should have kept them all.

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First time in Berkeley was strange; there were a lot of weird people. Some were real weird, some were faked weird, some were weird and homeless and some were homeless. For me, most of them were weird and homeless. Some were gross. Some were faked handicap. Before we came over here in Berkeley, my uncle's friend's Japanese wife told us that "Berkeley is strange". We were doubt about that. One week after we moved in my place and surveyed around Berkeley, we just realised, these dudes were jam-packed.. hehe. The reason for this is because Berkeley offers shelter and services for homeless and transient people.

Berkeley looks old. UC Berkeley has been existed like hundred years. It is an oldest campus of all Cal. Berkeley got smell. And it’s a Berkeley smell. Everyone (students in my school) called it 'Berkeley smell'. Since my first step into some Berkeley places e.g. my school and the housing center, I smelt it. My first day in Berkeley: after I went to pay my tuition fee there in school, I went to the housing center to find a place to live. Got a few listings, but called them the next day. I stayed in San Jose for my first few days in SF Bay Area in my uncle’s friend's home.

First of my phone calls (to house listings), it was a funny conversation. Well, maybe not for me. I was not sure why the woman I called was laughing at me for the whole conversation. I thought my English would probably not get too funny accent to make her laugh this much. We made an appointment the same day (also with other places). We all (my uncle’s friend, my sister and I) drove all the way from San Jose. We went to see the other landlord before getting to her house. She took me to her “NICE” backyard (She claimed it). Well, I took a quick look then said good-bye right away. You can imagine how her opened house was and how her backyard was.

We all back to the car and laughed on her NICE backyard, then moved to my first-call house. On the way in downtown Berkeley, I was getting bad stomach ache feeling like going to the restroom so bad. We followed Yahoo map to her house but still could not find, then she and her husband drove out to lead us there.

We finally got there and she left us alone (in my to-be room). That was my great moment to quickly get into the restroom in there. With window opened, I was soooooo happy releasing my stuff :P. Hur, eventually. After I finsihed with my business in her restroom. I got out with decisive answer with “Yes! We take this house”. They were like “Are you sure??”. We ended up with this house in a real short discussion.

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My Cozy Place and Around

I finally moved into this house with my sister (She was with me in Berkeley for 2 weeks then moved to San Diego). Not sure why I suddenly decided for this house, but while I was looking through the opened window, I felt really imposing and cozy. When we both first moved there, the house owners (both of them - husband and wife) were very kind to us. They took us out around almost everyday before my school. She said to me that first she got my call, he could sense something that I would be the person to live there in her house. She could touch that I was kinda funny person. She mentioned that noone asked her for reducing the rental, but I negotiated a lot. That's why it was funny on my first time talking to her.

I was actually not so "normal" that time. I was just dumped, man. She confessed to me first time she saw me she thought I was an addict - she noticed by my awful look. She seemed like she really liked my sister because my sister was talkative and she looked more "normal" than me. Well, I knew that but I just could not pretend to be happy all the time.

San Francisco Tours & Activities

One month later, I got many many friends and that suddenly took me out of the blue, but nobody knew I tried hardly to hide my tears while my class was going on. BTW, by time to time, my house owners and I spent more times together on chatting and drinking. Right in front of the kitchen bar, we always drank and shared personal stuff. They said "You are crazy", I said "Yes I am :D". That was great. That was cozy. They drank, they smoked, I talked more and more telling them how my day was. Most of the times, we finished up with "I Was DrunK". I love it though.

Her cooking could compete with hotel restaurants. She liked to cook, sometimes she made a special meal, she did not forget to take part of it for me and put the plate on my stairs. She's not American, she's Korean. No matter western or Korean food, it was greater than great. Anyway, my apparent favorite menu did not need taking any afford to cook it; it was just fresh oyster with a kind of Korean source. OMG, really miss it. Really miss the way we sit and talked in front of the kitchen bar in evening time.

We met each other again in June last year (2005) by my nice surprised visit. We had Korean food at downtown Oakland, then moved for some drinks at Berkley Arena.

I lived nearby Claremont Resort & Spa and environment around there was terrific. If talking about Claremont, Claremont Resort & Spa always pops up in my head. I'm sure people around there think so too. By taking 5 minutes walk from Claremont Resort, it took me to College Avenue - College Avenue is the main shopping drag in Rockridge. By day it's crowded with shoppers buying fresh flowers, used books, and clothing; by night the same folks are back for dinner and locally brewed ales in the numerous restaurants and pubs. Most restaurants were always packed on Friday night. To drive along College Avenue from Berkeley, it takes right to downtown Oakland.

If you read the next chapter, you will have an idea how much I love Berkeley and East Bay

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Travel Around Berkeley and East Bay Neighbourhoods
Auther: Eugene Liang

{I invited my Berkeley brother, Eugene to be an hornour writer for this chapter. He's from Brazil but very good in Russian food cooking - his master piece menu was "Chicken Straganoff". He's good at writing expression too. Enjoy his journey :D}

sf bay area map Before going there, let me brief on San Francisco Bay Area and Easy Bay first, *The San Francisco Bay Area, also known as the Bay Area, is a geographically diverse metropolitan area that surrounds, and is named after, San Francisco Bay in Northern California. Home to almost eight million people, it is composed of cities, towns, military bases, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks sprawled over nine counties and connected by a massive network of roads, highways, railroads, and commuter rail.

The Bay Area, unlike the typical metropolitan area, contains several distinct urban and suburban centers. While San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area (having surpassed San Francisco in the 1990 census), for most of its history San Francisco was the largest city in the region, and remains the traditional and cultural center. The metropolitan area comprising the city of San Francisco together with Oakland and San Jose is the fifth-largest consolidated metropolitan area in the United States, behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington-Baltimore.

*East Bay - The eastern side of the bay, dominated by the city of Oakland but also including Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont, Livermore, Hayward and several small cities, is known locally as the East Bay. The East Bay is split into two regions, the inner East Bay, which sits on the Bay coastline, and the outer East Bay, consisting of inland valleys separated from the inner East Bay by hills and mountains.

Source: (with thanks)

New York New York

Shanghai, China

Hong Kong (II-N)

Tokyo, Japan (I-II)

Binton, Indonesia: Where I had my First Time

Somewhere in 1999
Binton, Indonesia, I spent only one night here. It was for my first time... No, it's not a one night stand or something :P It was my first time in the golf course. You almost got wrong, didn't you? I'd been practicing golf for a while and most of the time, I played with iron7 in the driving range so my dad asked whether I wanted to join his (golf beginning) group of friends. Yeah, why not. Most times, there were always bad shots hitting the ball on the real grass. Never thought that it was this hard. The beginner group could only go till hole9. My dad's group finished hole18 along with great view.

Well I did not remember any other things in Binton rather than my first-time golf course. Later, I went for other 2 golf courses which are in San Francisco and Thailand. Well, it didn't work out. Now, I gave up! I guess tennis would match me better.

Singapore, Singapore

Oakland, New Zealand

Sydney, Australia

Monday, July 03, 2006