A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: alexchan

Arriving home to a bumper harvest

We arrived home to find a bumper harvest from our cat Nyoman. Marie (my friend, schoolmate and travel companion ... turned catsitter and housesitter) had been harvesting the hair from the cat each time she was being combed. Perfect timing as it was spring and she was moulting.

While it will be some time before we have a hyperallergenic pillow, I reckon we are making good progress.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Kim gets a happy ending


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large_5550_12568087009761.jpgNew Norcia Hotel.
The weather in New Norcia [New-Norcia-travel-guide-156468] cleared and we were finally able to admire the exterior of the town's buildings.

Driving down from new Norcia to Perth [Perth-travel-guide-156950] Airport, we had a couple of hours to kill. We called into McDonald's for free internet and realised that our flight was delayed ... so we killed some time at the nearby mall.

Kim had bought an expensive (by my standards) Tissot watch in KL airport while departing ... an impulse decision which I wasn't comfortable with. In the mall (and later at Perth airport) he compared the KL airport price with the Australian prices ... the price at KL airport was half the Ozzie price! The difference was enough to pay for eight of the nine economy class flights flown during this holiday! Is that amazing or what!?!?!

You've probably heard of happy endings in a massage ... but this is truly a happy ending to his travels!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Monastic town of New Norcia


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large_5550_12566396686462.jpgIn the Abbey Church. Unless you’re close-up, some parts look like chalk paintings. But in fact they’re layers of different coloured plasters ... scraped off to form the design ... called “sgrafitto”.
The 5am arrival into Perth [Perth-travel-guide-156950] meant that we'd have trouble resting our sleep-deprived heads in a hotel unless we paid for the night before. Because of this, we drove to New Norcia [New-Norcia-travel-guide-156468], less than 2 hours outside of Perth.

For a combination of reasons, we still arrived at New Norcia Hotel too early at 8am ... but were fortunate enough to get a room straight away.

We took a tour of this historic monastic town in the afternoon. It was founded by a Spanish Benedictine monk in 1846 to establish a mission for aboriginal people. It eventually expanded to include several schools, including some for posh whites (which subsidised the missionary work for the aboriginals).

Today it is home to 14 monks ... they own the whole town and employ about 90 people in various trades, businesses and the visitors centre. It is also home to European design and arts held in the various buildings.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best for our visit. Also, the famed New Norcia bakery with its wood-fired oven was closed ... the solo baker likes to take Mondays and Tuesdays off!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Motorcycle Grand Prix


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large_5550_12566402589280.jpgThey zoom past really quickly ... and they buzz like flies (high pitched) because they have tiny motors.
We had a late night departure tonight from Kuala Lumpur [Kuala-Lumpur-travel-guide-1096867] to Perth ... just before midnight in fact. It was going to be another day of lazy gluttony when Kim found out that the Motorcycle Grand Prix was on at nearby Sepang racetrack. Wow! Just the sheer chance of that ... and the fact that we got our hotel room at a steal despite the event!

I opted to stay behind ... the thought of watching lots of glorified scooters go round the track in the hot humid weather didn't appeal ... yes they are glorified scooters, all very low cc, with the highest at 500cc I think.

Even the thought of some god of a racer with the name of a fashion designer, Valentino Rossi didn't appeal. Same with Casey Storer ...

The 5 hour flight to Perth was good ... the very new Air Asia X Airbus A330 was a bit cramped carrying nearly 400 people but I won't complain because it was so ridiculously cheap. It was an amazingly quiet flight where we were seated ... in full climb it was quieter than in a similar seat in a B747 with just the ventilation running (and engines off)!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Finding a Kiwi icon in a day of indulgence


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large_5550_12564470489055.jpgPetronas Twin Towers, home to Suria KLCC mall.
Day of Indulgence

We have a full day or indulgence in KL. This is great city of eating ... the relative affluence means that you can enjoy all the traditional flavours without sacrificing quality ... unlike rural Indonesia, chickens aren’t the size of a quail!

After the disappointment of exploring new malls this May, we opted for well-trodden path ... first to the Twin Towers (officially, Suria KLCC) then Pavilion. Both had amazing food halls but the shopping was a bit high-brow for us ... so we had a detour to Bukit Bintang [Bukit-Bintang-travel-guide-1358163] and Sungei Wang in between where you can get the usual bootleg DVD and blind massage without breaking the bank.

Meeting the former PM

At Pavilion, we ran in former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, surrounded by some fans! He is responsible for putting the country on the world map and bringing many parts of the country into pseudo first world standards.large_5550_12564470482904.jpgPetronas Twin Towers, home to Suria KLCC mall.He has his critics of course ... there have been some mega projects with variable degrees of success ... and he doesn’t hold his punches with his criticism of Western hypocrisy.

A former Kiwi icon turned Malaysian

At the superposh Pavilion mall, we saw a very elegant chinaware (crockery) shop called Crown Lynn. That is a very familiar name for Kiwis ... it was the default crockery for Kiwis during the period where there were import restrictions for these products. Yes, the dark days when people had to buy expensive locally made products ... but people had jobs.

A quick search on Google revealed that Crown Lynn was purchased by a Malaysian ceramic company called Goh Ban Huat. I guess it gave them access to a nice name for their high end tableware products. The world doesn’t need to know that Crown Lynn products were relatively industrial in feel ... thick cups and saucers for Kiwis homes and the Railways!

Crown Lynn suffered a different fate from eg. Royal Doulton or Noritake ... who have moved production to Thailand and Sri Lanka. Instead of adapting to world realities like the others, it faced a demise in all ways but its name.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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