My Laptop Has Retired

After 2.5 years of service, my Compaq Presario CQ 40 finally retired from active service. I did not intend my good friend to retire till the end of this year, but apparently his motherboard had early retirement plans that I knew nothing about.

Happy retirement, lappie!

Last Tuesday when I was working on my tutorials he just blacked out without warning. There was no significant slowdown in processing speed, and everything else appeared normal before the display went out. Unfortunately my countless attempts at reviving my friend proved fruitless, and the motherboard was officially declared dead by my tech savvy brother minutes later. His diagnosis was confirmed to be correct by the HP service center, which took 10 minutes longer than him to pinpoint the problem.

It's great to have competent, professional tech support at home :D

I've got myself a new lappie, an ASUS A53SV. There are some pretty cool features in it, but also some defects and problems here and there that I will have to iron out before being able to fully enjoy using it. Hopefully there are no serious issues. Fingers crossed! I've got assignments coming up!

Mesa Fishies!

A few days ago I bought a pair of swordtails and put them in a fishbowl. They're bright orange (well all swordtails are bright orange) and the female is bigger than the male :O The guy's only 3/4 the size of his girlfriend! The female sometimes chases the male around, but most of the time they're okay with each other's company.

Female left, male right.

The kiddie bottle on the right is fish food.

I haven't been taking care of fish for a very long time. When I was little I accidentally squeezed several fishes to death. Years have passed since then and hopefully these 2 swordtails are in better hands. Wish them luck!

Chicken Rice!

Our first day back at college saw us return to our usual freaky antics. About 10 of us had chicken rice together at a coffee shop called Leng Nia, and we happily took photos of our meal. There were other side dishes, but I don't intend to list them one by one here. The people at the coffee shop must have thought we have never seen chicken rice before.

I'm not the only one taking photos. Hehe

We were definitely not short of dishes.

The crazy things we do...

Bon This Way

Yesterday there were several events taking place in Penang, which caused traffic everywhere to be jammed up. There was a singing competition (something to do with Astro) at PISA and the YE (Young/youth Enterprise) were having their sale on in Queensbay. What I was more interested in was Bon Odori at Esplanade, because although I have lived here for 20 years, I have never been to this celebration before.

The Bon Odori festival is celebrated by the Japanese to honour their departed ancestors. See this Wikipedia article for more info. Of course here in Penang, it's more about the food, dances and fireworks. I've never been a fan of Japanese food (no, not even Sushi), so all foodstuff I purchased at the festival tasted weird to me. They tasted unique, of course. Maybe others love the taste. I don't know.

People mountain people sea. Extremely crowded.

Besides loads of food, there were numerous souvenirs on sale and there was a booth selling large balloons. The balloons were naturally a hit with the kids. A hit in the sense that they threw the balloons around and hit others' heads with them. While watching the dances on stage I swear I was hit by flying balloons at least half a dozen times. But those were just kids having fun, so no big deal.

The most popular activity during the event was probably the goldfish catching game, but the booth was so crowded I couldn't even get close to take a photo. By the time I managed to get to the front of the booth, there were only a handful of goldfish left, so I stashed my handphone back in my pocket.

I found Eastin Hotel's booth nice. I think it went on to win the best decorated booth prize.

The stage was in the middle of the field. I sat on the grass, enjoying the performances while eating.

The best part of the evening was the fireworks. I haven't seen pretty lights in the night sky for a very long time. The sky was very clear that day (thanks to my new spectacles), so I had a good time watching the fireworks. I tried to capture some of the explosions with my handphone. I'm not a very good photographer, but here they are anyway.




squeak... :P

I left shortly after the fireworks (it was a little after 10pm), but only arrived at home after 12am. Traffic was THAT congested. It was a great night though, so no complains.

That was my last outing before the new semester starts. Come Monday, I'll be back in college for the second semester of my degree. It has been a very, very, very busy semester break. I didn't even have time to finish cleaning up my room. Guess some of the dust will be staying around for awhile.

Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Last week I went for a stay with a group of friends at Hard Rock Hotel Penang, shortly after returning from Langkawi. It was a 2 day 1 night stay and it was free because a friend of mine won vouchers for the stay from an event that I was not part of. This blog post is a week late, but like I always say, better late than never.

The King of Pop on his throne.

The 2nd guy from the left has a cool hat.

The room.

Also the room.

Best part is, once you walk out the room, you can jump straight into the pool.

Thats' the room from outside. I took this from opposite where I was in the previous photo.

We spent most of our free time getting wet in the pool, but sadly I've lost most of my swimming skills. I floated and bounced around most of the time. The pool was 1.4m deep, so I was still tall enough to stand on solid ground when I was in the pool. I still had a good time wandering around the multiple odd-shaped pools although I didn't swim much.

The guys couldn't help but race each other.

Morning buffet breakfast. How many drinks can you take?

Lobby deco. Wonder how much it cost the hotel to get all these stuff.

Before leaving the hotel we had lunch at a restaurant called Pizzeria. There they serve all kinds of usual and unusual pizza, plus several types of pasta. The pizza was good, but the pasta was outstanding. So if you visit that pizza place, go heavier on the pasta. Not pizza.

Say hi to my buddies~

We ordered 14-inch pizzas, but I swear they turned out larger. MASSIVE.

Now THIS was really good.

I don't see when I'll ever have enough cash to stay in this hotel again. Well hopefully in a few years' time I'll be able to afford it. But till then it's bye bye Hard Rock Hotel. A special thanks goes to my friends for inviting me although I was not part of the original string of events that led to this free stay. Thanks a lot guys and girls. Cheers!

Langkawi Day 3

On Day 3 I learned my lesson and set my alarm to 7am instead of 6am. Everyone was happy to have more sleep. Today we went for the mangrove tour. Sailing on fresh water instead of salt water.

This is where we boarded the boat. It's in Tanjung Rhu.

Our first stop was a fish farm floating in the middle of the swamp (it was a pretty big swamp with deep water). They kept all kinds of fishes there. Fish that may or may not bite your toes off if you wash your feet in there.

The fishes were kept away from each other to avoid inter-racial conflicts.

Fresh water stingray. Here it looks like roti canai in water.

A narrower region of the mangrove swamp.

I like this rock formation. Looks like a scene from Lord of The Rings.

Somewhere halfway through the journey there was a cave that could only be entered if the tide was low. When the tide rises the cave is nearly completely submerged in water. We sailed in and out of the cave, which had a pretty low ceiling.

Entering the cave, side view from our boat.

The light at the end of the tunnel!

There was another session of watching eagles fishing. This time for fresh water fish. The last part of the tour was a bat cave, where you could see... well... bats.

A commendable but futile attempt to make my trip educational.

See those black spots illuminated by the light? Yeah those are sleeping bats.

Stalactites above, stalagmites below. Watch your head, watch your step.

It was nearly 3pm when we finally stood on solid ground again. We had our lunch before doing some last minute chocolate shopping. The others carried some alcoholic beverages with them. I being the usual anti-alcohol guy only took 2 boxes of chocolates home.

Lunch here. Reasonable meal, but don't expect too much.

Before leaving Langkawi we paid a visit to one of the must-must go places. A very symbolic place for Langkawi.

Dataran Lang. With the huge eagle taking flight.

After a 3 hour long ferry ride, we arrived at Penang exhausted. That night all of us slept like pigs. I don't know about the others, but I did not get much sleep in Langkawi. I'm a light sleeper and unless I'm knocked out, any bit of noise wakes me up. But lack of sleep aside, it was a very fulfilling trip and I can finally say I've been to Langkawi :D

Langkawi Day 2

The adventure in Langkawi continues in day 2, with me waking up too early in the morning and being forced back to sleep. :P About 45 minutes after my alarm went off, we started crawling out of bed to use the washroom. There were 6 of us and only 1 bathroom, so much cooperation was required.

Dawn by the beach.

After everyone got a chance to wash up, we went searching for breakfast and finally stopped at a nearly empty makan spot.

This place.

Sadly, this meal turned out to be the only meal I regretted in Langkawi. Unless you're willing to pay RM5 for 3 half slices of bread, don't go there. We were operating on a tight budget, so our breakfast had all of us wishing we just bought some biscuits from 7-Eleven.

After breakfast we went island hopping. No photos of us on the boat will be posted, because the wind messed up our hair and made all of us look like relatives of Conan the Barbarian. Our first stop was Pulau Beras Basah. The beach was pure white and the water was so clean you could see the fishes arguing about where to go for lunch.

In case you don't know where the boat took you.

I didn't take any photos of us fooling around by the beach because my handphone was allergic to salt water. I kept it 100 meters away from the beach.

Notice how the colour of the water resembles the colour of the sky.

From the island the boat took us to observe eagles enjoying a meal. The birds were obviously skilled divers, and they were not afraid of heights. While I was watching they were happily executing dives from hundreds of feet above the water. They clearly weren't shy about showing off their skills to the wingless humans below.

Circling above the water searching for prey.

The human presence did not bother them.

Moving along, we were shown the island(hill) that looks like a pregnant lady lying on her back.

Observe the shape of the hill range behind.

Our last stop for the island hopping trip was Tasik Dayang Bunting. It's a lake that was formed when a large cave collapsed (a very, very long time ago), leaving a hole in the ground that collected rainwater. Fast forward many, many years, and we have this lake.

Many things in Langkawi have to do with pregnant women XD

You can paddle a boat around the lake if you fancy it.

After returning to our room for a bath, we had lunch at a place called Red Tomato. The food there was awesome, but unfortunately I don't have any photos with me now. They serve western cuisine, and I prefer chinese food. If a guy who prefers chinese food says this western meal is delicious, it must be REALLY good. LOL

In the evening we visited the Gunung Raya tower. It was the highest point in Langkawi at 900 meters above sea level. Even higher than the Skybridge.

This tall tower sits on an even taller mountain.

Sadly, it turned cloudy the moment we got up there, so we couldn't see much. Only a few nearby islands. We were told that on a sunny day it was possible to see up to Thai territory.

Enjoying ourselves at the top of the tower.

We had extra time so we made a random trip to the Langkawi airport. As though we actually had business there...

Langkawi airport!!! Sampat.

Finally we had dinner at Orkid Ria. The cooking there is good although the seafood can be quite expensive. Just be careful to watch you budget and you can have a happy meal there.

Orkid Ria seafood.

The night was spent walking around Pantai Cenang, before we went back to watch tv and retire for the day. Tomorrow was to be another early day. We still had plans although it was our last day in Langkawi.

Langkawi Day 1

I recently spent 3 days and 2 nights in Langkawi. It was a trip organised by a group of friends. I have never been to Pulau Langkawi before, so naturally I looked forward to this holiday very much. I'm splitting the entire story into 3 posts so I don't have to spam this post with too many photos. Keeping it short and sweet.

We took a ferry early in the morning to get there. The whole journey took approximately 3 hours. I spent my time talking nonsense and watching a very absurd version of Gulliver's Travels.

The ferry leaving Penang Island.

Photos anyone?

Finally we caught sight of some small islands. It meant Langkawi was nearby.

Arrival at Kuah Jetty.

Since we did not have legs strong enough to walk us around Langkawi for 3 days, we rented a car. Avanza 1.5, Rm270 for 3 days. According to research we seem to have gotten quite a good deal, but I can't say for sure.

Our transport for the next few days.

Our first stop was the 7 Wells waterfall. It took us 15 minutes to hike up there. Another 10 minutes would have taken us to a nicer waterfall, but due to time constraints we had to be satisfied with the first waterfall we saw. It was more of a river than a waterfall, but still very nice.

Water and rocks. Nice eh?

I suppose this is where the waterfall starts, but I'm not going to risk my life looking down :P

Nearby was the Oriental Village, where we have the cable car up to the Skybridge, and also other attractions like the somewhat small deer farm.

Oriental Village.

Makan time for the deers. They're friendly.

My favourite for the day was the Skybridge. It can be found in the middle of some hills about 700 meters above sea level. Unless you have wings I highly recommend you buy a cable car ticket to get up there. The normal price for a 2-way ticket is RM30. If you buy your ticket at the counter after 5pm, it's half price at RM15. Don't waste too much time though. The cable car service stops at 7pm. Our tickets cost us RM14 (2-way). We redeemed them after 5pm, using promotional vouchers purchased from our car rental dealer earlier. Always ask around for promotions when you're there. Someone is always able to offer you a cheaper price.

Our promotional passes. It says Rm15 but we actually paid Rm14.

Taken during the ride up.

I haven't received nicer photos of the cable car ride yet. My friends had proper cameras. I was using my cellphone as usual. So the few shown here will have to do.

There. This is what the Skybridge looks like.

The scenery from the bridge was spectacular. The bridge sways a bit, so you might want to be careful, especially if you're afraid of heights.

This birdseye view photo was taken while I was walking on the bridge.

Strolling on the bridge was an eye-opening experience.

After that we checked in at our hotel. Malibest Resort. I just realised I don't have any photos of the resort. Too bad. I'll have to grab some from my friends. We took a walk down the Pantai Cenang road and had dinner. There were many places to eat and also shops for us to do window shopping, but everything closed at around 9.30pm. The rest of the night was spent sitting at a bar by the beach. I don't drink, so I merely enjoyed the music. I would, however, recommend the place to those who can drink. The atmosphere was very nice and calm. The place was called Babylon, if I'm not mistaken, and that's all for Day 1.