Category Archives: Travels

Notes and Pix from time on the road.

Bath Walking Tours

The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides does a fantastic 2 hour walking tour of Bath, England.

Our guide for the day - Roger

Full of intersting trinkets of information, some not available in guide books.

It was pigs last year. Are they milking it a little too much?

Bishop Oliver King. Gettit?

The Royal Crescent. Each of these houses about GBP4 million. Shared lawn with a ha-ha wall to prevent cows from coming in.

Window tax caused people to brick up windows to save on paying it. Brings old-new meaning to daylight robbery.

Great value. Free. Fantastic.

Jamie’s Italian in Bath

Whilst planning a trip to England, we decided that we must visit one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, if not in London, then in Bath.

Finding the Milsom Place restaurant was easy. The service was courteous and prompt; the staff was young; the food…. nothing to write home about. Not cheap either, even with the declining pound.

Rare steak arrived medium well, and the linguine had clumps in it. The ingredients however were fresh.

It must be said then, that through Jamie’s phenomenal branding efforts, his final goal has been achieved. As one who has watched countless of his cooking shows, drumming in the message over and over again that you could (with little effort, and even as an amatuer) cook half decent meals in your own kitchen without having to resort to fast foods or the supermarket packed variety.

So yes, I think I can do similar…

Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice

A couple of thousand years ago, a couple of dudes decided to move a couple of thousand tons of rock from point A to point B, and arrange it in a way that it would act as a calendar. They were engineers.

My best shot. Low low angle due to the many many tourists

Now English Heritage owns it, and the Neo-Druids are contesting the ownership – so I’m told by a security guy.

We were fortunate enough to get to Stonehenge as the Neo-druids were performing their 2 hour ceremony a day late from the Summer Solstice.

Neo-Druids and their ceremony

A photographer getting a picture of a druid getting a picture of him

Review of the “New Sentosa”

Made a trip to visit Resorts World Sentosa today, it being a public holiday and all. We decided that the parking rates there were too rich for us, and we’d leg it like tourists…

There were no signs in VivoCity pointing us towards the Sentosa Express; we asked the information counters – twice. And once we got to Lobby L, Level 3, we were greeted with this scene.

Sentosa beckons but first you have to find your way

There were no signage saying that if you owned a CEPAS Transitlink card, you could just go to the gantry and tap your card. Otherwise you could pay cash at a counter; and if you wanted to experience all Sentosa had to offer, you’d buy a package of something at this other kiosk…

We decided to hop a cordon and head for the Transitlink gantries; but were stopped by a staffer who told us we had to buy tickets. Going to the ticket counter, another staffer told us she would only accept exact change.

When I asked if we could just use our Transitlink cards, she blinked in surprise and pointed us towards the gantries…

Lining up for the trains, there were no clear signs telling you which station to stop at for a particular attraction. You found that information out INSIDE the train, after you’d finished sardining into it and sniffing at every other smelly armpit you were beside – in the form of a voice announcement.

At Resorts World (that’s at the Waterfront Station), we wandered around, had lunch and wandered some more. Yes, too cheap to pay the Casino Levy, so probably missed out on a lot inside the gaming areas.

The shops look relatively high-end, but seemed a little small compared to the large wide-open spaces there seemed to be at Festive Walk.

Places we missed included Universal Studios… because tix were sold out. I think we’ll come back after the glitch on Battlestar Galactica is fixed. It has been closed since 26 March. That’s *some* glitch.

On the way back, we took the Sentosa Express all the way through to the Beach Station, and back to Vivocity.

Sentosa, if you’re reading this, come on, it’s just some signs you have to put up. Put yourself in the shoes of a tourist, or an un-updated local.. what would you be looking out for? This way to buy tickets, this way to use your CEPAS cards. Waterfront station serves these attractions, Imbiah station for these attractions etc etc.

I give credit to your young team being helpful, they even wave at the Sentosa Express trains when they come in and depart each station. Signs will never replace the human capital; but they will sure make life easier for both them and your visitors.

I miss the Sentosa Monorail. It had 7 stations, was one way, and painfully slow; but it reminds me of the days when life wasn’t quite so hectic and when Sentosa was just a tourist attraction, and not a MEGA tourist attraction….

Haha.. Just saw the Wiki page for Sentosa and the joke that the name stood for “So Expensive and Nothing TO See Also”

Adventures in KL

Travelling to KL for work, I still found my share of foodie (and non-foodie) adventures.

Found time for another Coney Dog Meal from A&W… consumed in the comfort of my hotel room. Explains why the Root Beer Float looks a bit dead.

On the way to Malacca the next morning, there was this grok-grok sound coming from the back of the car. I thought it was recent accident damage that caused the wheel bearing to go. Halfway to Malacca, we got a call and had to stop at a rest stop to run some errands (send a few SMS’s). The sound got louder, and as we stopped, we found this…

Apparently, the mechanics only replaced 1 out of 5 wheel nuts after repair. That one nut had worked itself halfway out, and the thread inside had been stripped… We were going down the road at more than 100km/h in this condition. If we hadn’t stopped, we would have had another Final Destination moment; the wheel would have flown off, throwing the car off balance to the left, and we would have careened at highway speeds into the nearest safety barrier or ditch, or whatever. Datuk saved our lives.

We tried to salvage the situation by taking a nut from each of the 3 wheels and putting them in the left rear. The jack that came in the car was rusted badly and wouldn’t work. We were about to call for help when a road side mechanic showed up and helped us effect the field repair. We made it to the meeting on time.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls

After our meeting, we were treated to lunch at the 2nd best chicken rice shop in the whole world. Hainanese chicken rice balls at Taman Melaka Baru (google maps says Jalan Melaka Baru). Opposite the Public Bank (or EON bank, or something). No pictures though, sorry.

Cheap no less. 3 of us, 2 plates of 6(?) chicken rice balls each, 2 plates of chopped up chicken (it must have been a whole bird) and 3 cups of warm chinese tea. MYR17.

I called our contact in Malacca and scoured the net for information. Its only referenced here in the comments. Apparently, the tourists go to Malacca and visit Hoe Kee or Chung Wah for their chicken rice balls. The locals have it here in Jalan Melaka Baru.

You douse the rice balls in dark thick soya sauce and chilli sauce, fork it and chuck it in your mouth. The chicken comes in via the next fork. The rice balls aren’t too large and will fit in a single mouthful, the sauces are delicious, not too spicy – I could have done with a little more spice. And the chicken was tender. A cheap AND good feed.

The world’s BEST chicken rice, in my opinion, is no longer open. This auntie used to sell Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice in Lorong Mambong, Holland Village. I grew up on the stuff. Last I heard she’s retired, but still reigns supreme in the chicken rice department. My favourite food in the whole world.

Update 02 June 2010

When asked to drive up to do another prezzie, I jumped at the chance….

The place is Restoran Huang Chang Chicken Rice @ BB-376, Taman Melaka Baru, Batu Berendam, 75350, Melaka. And for the GPS inclined (map un-inclined)…

N 02° 14.343″
E 102° 14.493″

Almost worth the drive...