Friday, June 28, 2013

Dream Vacation, What's Yours?

Hmmm... mine is Santorini Island, Greece!

With its aegean sea, thousand years of history and great weather, that's heaven on earth. I've always been a history buff. I love history, I even scored straight A's during my school years (yes, that's the 'vain' in me talking!)

I have always been fascinated with islands, histories, cultures and arts and this comes from a non-artsy person. I can't draw a single line. Give me a crayon and I'll probably 'kill' it before managed to produce a decent straight line!

It probably sounds cliche but being an Aquarian, I have fondness for water. I love islands. I love the emerald and sparkling blue sea. I love everything about the ocean. Relaxing on an island is my top pick for vacations. Luckily, in Sabah, we have many islands to choose with. Within KK City's distance itself, we have the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, a cluster of islands: Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Gaya Island, Sapi Island and Sulug Island, forming a marine park. These islands can be reached by speedboat rides under within 20 minutes! They're a big hit among local and international tourists. My personal favourite is Sapi Island. A nice place to indulge in water sports and I love their yummy grilled buffet lunch!

Now, back to Santorini Island, I won't go in details about its topography and history. I'll let Wikipedia does the explaining. Click Santorini Island, Greece for info. I first saw the island in the hit 2005 movie, The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants, where Alexis Bledel's Lena Kaligaris went to Santorini to meet the Greek side of her family. Oh.My.Gosh! I was totally bowled over by the scenic aegean sea, its surroundings,  the people and the whitewashed building structures of its principal city, Fira. The bluest of the blue sea. Totally heaven on earth! I could imagine myself sitting in a sidewalk cafe, basking in the Santorini sun, having conversations with friends while sipping wines and feasting my eyes upon the scenic natures banquet!

I have this idea of celebrating every milestones of my age in islands. Well, celebrating my birthday each year in an island is not a bad idea at all. Even it isn't, at least maybe every 2, 3 years? I remembered during 2011, I celebrated it at Mabul Island in Semporna. It was one of the best birthdays ever! Next year, I'm planning to head up to BALI!



Sunset at Santorini, Greece (images courtesy of Places To See In Your Lifetimes )  To see more stunning images, click on the link)

Here are pictures of my birthday vacay in Mabul Island (Feb 2011)
Stayed here, backpacker lodge Sipadan.Com. I always travel in backpacker style. Easy on your wallet & more laid back
The map of the island

Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) jetty. Day 1, Feb 9th  (Arrived at noon)

The very first (morning) day 2, Feb 10th. Woke up & straight to the deck. It rained the night before, still a bit cloudy..



Relaxing on the lounger with my friend. High tide. It 's a pure bliss!

Reading and lounging at high noon!
Low tides..about 2.00pm.


Looking forward for the sunrise! About 5.40am. Day 3, Feb 11th (D-Day!)


Sunrise, playing hide and seek..

About 6.15am, after sunrise

Me, in glorious sunset silhouette..

There are tame dogs in the island. This one was really friendly towards me, it literally dogged my steps :)



Early morning is normally high tides. You wanna have a morning swim? Just jump into the ocean :)


Just like them! It's about 6something AM, during high tides. They just jumped off from the deck and splashed around


The Sea Gypsy or Badjao Laut, a.k.a Palao children..it is said that in the gypsy's tradition,  newborns are normally thrown into the sea in a quick dipping ceremony so that they will grow into a strong and courageous sea warrior.  This is one of my favorite shot. They paddled from their boat to our deck in the early morning, begging for money. That boy was around 9 years of age and that little girl was about 3 years old. This was actually during the high tides. 

This is one of my favorites (like the pic above!) I think I, managed to capture this child's expressions quite well. Colors are gorgeous, too! 

Just beachy.. :)


Brown! After just an hour or so..

Morning dip! 

Went snokerling. This was about 18-20m deep!

Divers surfacing..


....and here are the collages...I got hundreds of amazing pics but hey..I can't possibly upload them all...so there..




One of the figures (diving & swimming among the fishes) is my friend. She did the night-diving activity.










                         This was me, getting wasted on my birthday, Feb 11th! Drunk & browned!

Last fill before going back to KK! 

The Brownie Effects!

Waiting for our ride!


Kg. Pakalangan's jetty! A short cut to Semporna town. This is normally where the boat docked when it's low tides in Semporna's jetty. It's about 20-30 minutes ride by road to the town.

Checking-out. The backpacker's office is located at Semporna Jetty



All in all, it was a very memorable birthday vacation ever! I'll definitely visit Mabul Island again.

Meanwhile, Santorini, you're my dream and I'll step on your soil one day, certainly!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Japanese Lunch Date @ Wojamama Japanese Restaurant, 1Borneo Hypermall


Well, did I tell ya that I have a fondness for Japanese food? Yeah, I love them. So does Korean's. All things that not swimming in cooking oil, they'll definitely win me over. Anytime.

Last Friday, that would be 21st June 2013, I received an SMS, an invitation to be exact to a lunch soiree with my ex-colleagues. It was then decided that the lunch date venue would be in Wojamama Japanese Restaurant located at 1Borneo Hypermall KK. It was actually another farewell party (albeit a small party) and was a lunch treat by one of the lecturers in my former office. I liked the menu selections and yes, if I could, I'd love to sample them all :)  I had smoked duck (totally loved this!)  and crisp dory fish & chicken bento palate. Wojamama has an extensive menu selections of course. Beside the usual sushis, there are a la carte menus as well. Hmmm..I believe they do catering services too.  Prices are a bit on the expensive side though.  

With Deedee..she looks like a Japanese, no? She's Kadazan btw..

Oh well, look at my rounded face..


My former colleagues. Lunch treat was courtesy of  Prof Dr Daw Khin Saw Naing, (2nd right)

with Deedee & Roza
All in all, it was a very nice lunch.

:)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Adieu..

After about four years with School Of Medicine, UMS, the verdict from "twin towers" finally arrived. It says:

"Dear Miss...you shall be rotated to a new department and shall be reporting to commence duties on the 3rd June, 2013"

Translation: I've been rotated to a new department, in a new building. This time around, I'll be the 'sexytary' to a Director and will no longer be serving my former bosses (Deputy Deans). Now, my employer's policy is:  for every three or five years interval, Secretaries, Assistant Registrars and Senior Officers are being drafted for service rotation program. No exception. So, this year, my time has finally came.

Of course I enjoyed my four years working relationship with my former department but at the same time, I'm craving for new environment. For 6 years (the previous 2 of the 6 years, I've worked with a similar department back in KL) I've been working with two medical schools for two higher learning institutions and I felt that it's time to explore new avenue. This time around, I'll be working in a department which develops and monitors students' co-curricular activities (CCAs). I think, I'll enjoy working with students. We'll get to go places and GET PAID doing it. Travel and get paid, who doesn't want it? I knew I do! :)

So, here's to a new working relationship. May it'll be an interesting and fulfilling years!

Oh Leo! (Image courtesy of www.buzzfeed.com)


My farewell party. A momento with a co-worker


Tokens of appropriation inside the goody bag


“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”  - Jack Kerouac, On The Road

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