Monday, October 31, 2011


Pewter is a soft metal alloy, it used to contain between 85% to 99% tin, and the remainder of copper, antimony, bismuth and lead. Pewter is a fairly heavy metal that is traditionally used for pots, plates utensils and so forth. Today it's more of a decorative material and are specialised by companies like Royal Selangor. Decorative pewters are aesthetically beautiful for it shines with subtle grays and high contrasts. As you'd have guessed we no longer make pewter with any lead components due to it's toxic qualities. Picking up one of these decorative objects will surprise you with it's physical burden on your hands.

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Named after Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzadin Waddaulah the 29th Sultan of Brunei, talk about long names. It was built in 1988, five years later it was open during his majesty's 48th birthday. Rather than Italian influence, this one was Turkish fusion. With insatiable curiosity, I blended in amongst a group of tourist from Hong Kong down in the gown dressing area. I took up a gown and walked upstairs away from the crowd, with the stairs behind me, I found myself standing before a great wooden door easily two stories tall. The door seemed to grow taller as I approached, a slight push with the tip of my fingers loosened the door from it's position, it was unlocked, I invited myself in and was immediately stunned.The vastness of the main prayer room just took my breath away, soft thick green carpeting beneathe my feet, looking up and around the room made me lose my orientation and I almost slipped. The prayer room was immense almost the size of a soccer field and around three to four stories tall. Suddenly I noticed glaring eyes on my back, I turned around and found two cleaners looking suspiciously my way, knowing better I quickly walked back out the room, returned my black gown and exited the mosque.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Located in Bandar Seri Begawan. It represents one of the most lavish of buildings within Asia. Named after the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin the 28th Sultan of Brunei. Completed in 1958 with designs by the Italian architect Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli.
Composed mainly of marble it sits nearby an artifical lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer, otherwise known as village in the water. The main dome as shown here is covered in pure gold.It really is quite a sight to behold in person, one can hardly believe the extent the monarch has gone through in building these mosques. A must see.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


 A kopi C kosong in Malaysia AKA coffee (kopi) with milk (C) and no sugar (kosong). Just like the western counterpart, it's widely consumed on a daily basis and is one of the most basic drinks.
Fishball noodle, simple food, hot and to the point.
A cup of coffee and a bowl of noodles for brunch, great lazy way to start the day in Miri, all costing a merely 4 Malaysian ringgit, that comes at under $3 Australian. Now theres something to ponder about, for $3 you'd have a hard time even getting a simple salad let alone a meal and a drink, the next logical question one would ask then is, do Australians make at least 6 times more money than most Asians? Sadly no, then where does all the money go?  That my friend is the million dollar question.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Free music for all

After some dim sum for breakfast, we were on our way to the fresh food markets across the road when we ran into this group of musicians. They looked to be retired, would be my guess, and just genuinely enjoyed playing music. In the picture you can see they were actually playing on the side of the road and yes two of the band members including the drum kit is on a parking space. Not that anyone would argue but I find that it was a very neighbourly local event and their music provided an up beat mood to the surrounding areas. Made me feel happy.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011






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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nagano Grapes, 長野 巨峰葡萄

This is one of the most famous grape around Asia. It's huge in comparison to the usual breed of grapes, what's more, you only eat the flesh of the grape and discard the skin, it comes off surprisingly easy too. The taste is what makes it famous, it's the grapiest tasting grape you can ever find, it almost borderlines to fake grape taste. Running at 1580per box, it is considered quite a luxurious item.

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Kyoto, 京都 玉寿司

Our trip to Japan was kind of a budget trip, we never really spent a lot on anything expensive, it was more of a see-and-experience trip. But we all have to splurge once in a while, so we found this nice restaurant in Kyoto on the top floor of Yodobashi. We ordered some sake, two bentos and an assortment of sushis. Very very delicious and I can still remember the taste a long time after it, all for 7000.

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Kyoto Kiyomizudera Temple, 京都 清水寺

Since we arrived in Kyoto it had been drizzling, the next day it kept up more of the same weather. I promised my sis I would buy some 護身符 amulets for her and her family. I had done some searching previously and located this rather large temple in Kyoto. It is a world heritage site, the majority of the temple was built in AD 1633 upon 139 pillars of foundation. The name of the temple which literally means clear water temple got its name from a waterfall in the mountain near the temple. Myth has it that it can cure all diseases. Beautiful cherry blossoms can be seen around the temple during April, but too bad it was September. As we made our way out of the temple to browse around the shops nearby, we found a very nice antique looking shop selling pots and plates, we walked inside and found there was a cafe upstairs, being tired from walking in the temple, we decided to sit down for a coffee and tea, it was exquisite.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Horse Sashimi, 馬肉刺身

It is a delicacy rarely found outside of Japan, unknowingly stumbling into a small ramen shop in Kyoto for dinner, I spotted the sign on top of the bar. 馬刺し for 840円. I quickly persuaded my wife that this is a must try, she willingly agreed. When it arrived it looks just like any other raw red meat. It also comes with grated ginger, spring onions and soya sauce for dipping. We gave it a try and thought, it is a bit chewy and actually quite bland, there was not any special smells or taste to it, but anyway we gave it a try.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Tokyo Metro, 東京メトロ

Tokyo Metro and Toei are two main companies making up the Tokyo subway system. Navigating your way through the Tokyo subway is like threading through two needles at the same time, it requires first of all language, patience and well more patience. The two companies operate on few overlapping stations but otherwise work on entirely separate network lines. Subway in Tokyo is costly but effective, trains come on the dot and the next train is never more than a few minutes away. However I would caution travelling during peak hours between 7-9am and 5-7pm. The amount of people is astonishing and is an experience no tourist should be subjected to, you are constantly pitted between businessman jackets', and lets not mention the operators with white gloves shoving people back into the carriages so the doors can close.
A very interesting culture exist on the trains is  that one must not produce any audible noise either via talking (no more than whispering), or phones and gadgets. All audible phone rings are strictly prohibited and is appropriately shown on board the train via signs. This culture is unknown in other parts of the world, but I find it welcoming and makes the ride much more enjoyable.
There are also during peak hours, women only train carriages, very respectfully for women who want to ride with people that can keep their hands to themselves.

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