Friday, 31 December 2010

found bubble pearl tea in sandland!

i was at the mall last weekend and was just walking around at the food court looking for dinner when i spotted the "panda chinese restaurant" in one of the stalls. i remembered that i read somewhere that they have bubble tea, so i promptly made a bee-line towards it. hehe...


P1080015 boba-bubble pearl tea with chicken noodles at dhs 13…


some of my close friends will know that i’m a lover of bubble pearl teas! so i just had to try the variety here, to see if they’re anywhere near as good as those we get in m’sia. well, this panda chinese restaurant only has one flavour, that is the original flavour (and it’s not even white like the original flavour in m’sia!), but taste wise, they’re pretty close! yums!! one thing though, the “pearls” (for those who don’t know, it’s those black little jelly-like balls in the drink) are a bit too hard… i guess they don’t make the pearls fresh, but import it in like so many things here.

as for the chicken noodles, the taste is a bit bland. could do with some cut chili in soy sauce, but when i turned to look at the counter to see if they have any, it’s swarmed with people! i’d say it’s the busiest stall in the food court that day. it seems to be quite popular with non-chinese wanting a taste of “chinese food”. but for us chinese, it’s nothing great, really.


P1080048 the reason i was at the mall last sunday…


while i was at the mall, i did a bit of shopping, some of the stuff as shown in my previous post. on my way to dinner with my trolley full of stuff, it’s really a relief to discovery this:

P1080012 trolley holding area!


will this work in m’sia? or would all our purchases be missing from our trolleys when we come back to claim them, coz they were stolen by the very person who’s supposed to be watching them (read: the guard)? one thing good about sandland is that petty crime rate is very low. this is because tolerance for crime is low here, so most of the people here would not wanna risk loosing their jobs or worse, being deported back to their country, just for a few rolls of toilet paper or some woman’s clothes that may not even fit their wives/girlfriends!


recently, a new colleague joined my company. as the office was quite empty when she first came (due to everyone being on leave in this festive season) and she was sitting quite near me, i made friends with her. everyone will feel awkward and self-conscious on their first few days at work, so i kesian her and sort of took her under my wings. and she's so young, so green, tho' a lil over-enthusiastic... but after a couple of weeks, we discovered that she's quite tactless with her words. she's taken to asking us how much we make, how much allowance for this and that we get (even though we're of a different level as her!) and all those confidential things. she also loves to berperang mulut with the guys without giving them face, probably to show how smart she is. she didn't realize that the guys are just being nice and gentlemanly and letting her "win", but of course she can't see that, coz she's too busy being smug! apart from all that, she's also a bit... erm... like how the chinese put it, "talking without digesting her words in her big brain".

(at the hypermart)
tactless tracy: come, let's go buy some snacks
me: ok. i love munching on snacks while watching my drama series at night
tt: me too!
me: but they can be quite fattening
tt: ah, for YOU! (i swear she really stressed that "you" word!) for me, it's ok. i don't get fat
me: *speechless*

tt: *looking at my handbag* you bought that from malaysia?
me: yes
tt: nice. malaysia has a lot of nice fake stuff, huh?
me: *speechless*

first of all, i don't use fake stuff, ok? i'm not a brand conscious person, but i hate using stuff that carries the brand of something that it is not. i'll be very happy using a cheap pasar malam bag if it's nice enough. secondly, the brand of my handbag is not one of the upmarket brands. why would i wanna buy the fake when its original is not even expensive? the only reason i carry that bag is because i thought i ought to, for the purpose of my job. i choose that brand because it's not terribly expensive, but still it's leather and gives a more professional look that (i hope) matches my position. if it were up to me, i'd probably be carrying a bagpack to work!

anyway, i then looked over at her handbag and noticed for the first time that it's a coach. i don't know if it's an original or fake coach, coz i don't know about these stuff, but at that moment, this thought crossed my mind: "her coach is most probably a fake. that is why she thought everyone else is using fakes too!" hehe... bad, i know but at least i didn't blurt it out into her face! :P

Thursday, 30 December 2010


warning: ranting post ahead!

sometimes, i really wonder at the need of some people to feel good at the expense of others. they'll say sarcastic things, belittle others and be real patronizing, just so that they can feel so high and mighty.

ll: be careful, your parents will ask for more money
me: not my parents. they won't
ll: don't be too sure. they will squeeze all they can from you
me: no, they never did and never will. i've known them all my life
ll: u just wait. it'll happen soon enough
ll: then u must be one rich woman
me: no lar. i'm a spendthrift
ll: what u spend on? you don't pan-leng (cantonese for dress up), car also old car...
me: yeah, but that doesn't mean i don't spend on other things ar...
ll: such as??
me: just stuff. this and that. food
ll: wah, so the kopitiam earn all your money lah? i gotta open a kopitiam soon
me: you're being so patronizing. i don't pan-leng doesn't mean i don't eat good food
ll: where? burj al-arab?
me: so sarcastic! i meant back home lar…
ll: there's expensive food place in m'sia meh? how come i didn't notice?

burj al-arab
*image nicked from

up to that point, i didn't feel like chatting with her anymore… what a dem bitch, right?? just because i lead a completely different lifestyle from her, she thinks i'm some country bumpkin. in her mindset, only girls like HER – girls who dress up, wear makeup, use all the expensive skin care products etc – are chic and sexy and trendy. girls who are not like HER are all from the kampung, sua-ku, naïve, plain and backward. i really felt like slapping her! and just because her parents are bloodsuckers, she assumes everyone's parents are too! beh-tahan!!!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

mi casa…

ta-da! finally, i’m ready to show my apartment to everyone… ;)

P1080024 the entrance, from inside looking out. actually i just bought that shoe rack last weekend at carefour. before that, all my shoes were just lined-up in a row against the wall… and you see that intercom phone on the wall there? as everyone will need an access tag to enter the building, outsiders who wish to come in will press the button (like a doorbell) next to our unit number at the main door downstairs and speak into the intercom to identify themselves. after we’ve ascertain that they’re indeed someone we know/someone we’re expecting, then we press a button on the handle of the intercom to open the door downstairs for that person to come in. how cool is that?! (sua-ku mode)


P1080016 moving on into my bedroom, here’s my queen bed from ikea where lady guests can bunk-in with me. in the mean time, dou-dou and i get the whole bed to ourselves! :P


P1080017 my vanity table and mirror, also from ikea. u may ask why i bought the mirror in light brown colour, when my bed and vanity table are in brown-black, well, it’s cheap mar! :P but then, since my previous room in kl was in light brown theme, and there’ll be a mismatch of light and dark colours here anyway, so it’s ok lar…


P1080021 i was very happy when my bedside table arrived in my shipment cargo, coz i get to hide my “night lamp” under it. before this bedside table arrived, i just put the lamp on the floor but find that it’s a bit too bright coz technically, it’s really a table lamp! so with it hidden under there, most of the light are contained and it’s just perfect! oh, and that reading lamp is a MUST in my bedroom, for me to read a few pages (and then some) before falling off to asleep.


P1080022 at the wall opposite my bed, is the “toy trunk” that i brought over in my shipment cargo as well. and as you can see, my room is not square, but actually has 5 corners!


P1080023 from another angle… i just love my big built-in wardrobe!


P1080028 and here’s the living room. the first thing u’ll see is the dining table that i bought 3rd hand from my colleague, who bought it 2nd hand from Lamenting Lynette. i stacked up the 3 chairs coz it’s really a nuisance to mop the floor around all those chair legs! and it’s not like there are so many people sitting at the table everyday. in fact, i’ve only eaten at that table once so far, when i got home late from a training at abu dhabi and the staff canteen has closed and i had to call for delivery. most of the time, i just use it to put stuff…


P1080025 and here’s how the rest of the living room looks like, with my writing table at the far end and my clothes rack near the balcony door. i think i mentioned before that i chose this unit from the 2 that was shown to me because it has a bigger balcony and i’d be able to hang my clothes out to dry. well, as it turned out, the sand in sandland is a force to be reckoned with. every morning, every surface that’s out-of-doors will be coated in a layer of fine sand, i kid you not! i know it’s quite an eyesore to hang my laundry indoors, but no choice ar. besides, my balcony don’t get any sunlight at all. so i don’t get sun-dried clothes even if i hang them outside. that’s why i’ve given up on my balcony and keep the door firmly shut at all times…


P1080031 a closer look at my furniture… a 2-seater sofa bought 3rd hand from the same colleague who sold me the dining table (comes together with the throw pillows), a coffee table and pouffe from ikea, and my floor rug that i brought over from kl. as the couch is beige-white with no covers, i bought a big bedsheet to act as protector. it’ll also be easier for me to clean, by just throwing the bedsheet into the washing machine! i just wish it’s a 3-seater though, as i love to curl up on the couch to read and a 2-seater is just a tad too short for me to stretch out my legs fully. oh, and the stand lamp was bought from another colleague, who also bought it 2nd hand from Lynette.


P1080032 finally, there’s my billy bookcase, from ikea. i just love their billy bookcases! this is much smaller from the previous one that i sent home to bear hill, but i think it should be enough for now… ;)


P1080033 and here’s my kitchen. i just love all those cabinet space, where i can just stow everything away!


P1080035here’s a glimpse of what i have in one of my cabinets… a potential kedai runcit (malay for sundry shop) or what? :P


P1080037 and finally, i just gotta show you these! i had wanted to buy an anti-slip mat for my bathtub, coz i’ve slipped twice already while stepping into the bathtub and knocking my fat leg on the side! so while shopping, i saw these cute froggies which function just like an anti-slip bathtub mat, but SO much cuter! how could i resist? :P


and speaking of fat, i was doing rooms inspection today (as to what the heck am i doing rooms inspection for, i’ll explain it in another post later. for now, just accept that it’s part of my job!) when i saw a bathroom scale in one of the bathrooms. so i decided to “test that the scale is in working order”, and found that i’ve actually lost 5kg! loosing weight without really doing anything! dubai must agree with me… hehehe…

so ok, that’s it… my apartment is ready for visitors! now quickly go book yourselves a flight over here!!!

Monday, 20 December 2010

ice-skating in dubai…

i was thinking what should i do yesterday, instead of sitting at home watching movies, cleaning my apartment and doing the laundry, when i suddenly sighted my pair of skating boots peeking out from one of my open boxes. yes, let’s go ice-skating! :)

so i took the 3pm staff bus from my accommodation to the company and from the company, hailed a taxi to take me to hyatt regency. wait, isn’t hyatt regency a hotel, you may ask? hehe… yes it is, but they have a skating rink too. it’s quite near my company, with the taxi fare coming up to only dhs 13 per trip. another reason i chose to come here and not to the bigger rink at dubai mall is that the entrance fee is cheaper at only dhs 35 per session of 2.5 hours, compared to dhs 50 per session of 2 hours at dubai mall. actually there’s another ice rink in dubai, the al nasr leisureland, which charges dhs 20 per session of 2 hours, but that’s quite out of the way.

anyway, i’m glad that i chose to go to hyatt regency, as there were less people, even though the rink is much smaller. what i don’t like is that they have very limited lockers and very expensive too. dhs 10 per locker! we used to pay only RM2 for the lockers in sunway pyramid, and that also, N and i will always share one locker!

also, all the charges at the rinks here are per session, and not per entry like in sunway pyramid. meaning after a set time frame (2-2.5 hours), everyone will be asked to leave. not just leave the ice rink, but to go out from the waiting area as well. and after the ice resurfacing, if you wish to skate some more, u’ll need to pay again to go in.

P1070911 not a very big rink, but not too crowded too!
ok ok, i know i’m not supposed to go ice-skating, due to my bad knee. but i can’t help it! my legs were just itching to feel the ice under my skates, after so long! :P

anyway, i didn’t do any complicated moves, coz i’ve not been skating for so long and need some time to get my “ice legs” back (and i was afraid of falling!). i was quite wobbly at first and even forgot some of the techniques! but after a while, it all came back to me again and i was just flying through the ice!

ok, not really flying lar… :P

Sunday, 19 December 2010

on staying in the staff accommodation...

first of all, i'd just like to note that the staff accommodation is just an apartment building that the company has rented (most of) the units for the staff. there are some other families and non-staff staying in the building, but i dare say about 80% of the units are occupied by my colleagues.

1. fraternity/sorority hall?
contrary to my earlier perception, staying in the staff accommodation is not at all like staying in a university dorm. when we go back to the accommodation, we'll just go into our unit and close the door! no running to each other's units to chat or hang out. maybe it's just me being anti-social, but i also don't see other people running to each other's unit when i'm in the corridor. or maybe i just don't spend enough time in the corridors? hehe...

2. you're being watch!
i was chatting with Lamenting Lynette today and our conversation led to the staff accommodation. she advised me to move out, coz the people staying at the accommodation are real busybodies. apparently they know everything that goes on here, even behind closed doors!

lynette: don't you know the *burmese staff have a weekly gathering in Hanky Howard's apartment?
me: i seldom bump into anyone in the corridors and i'm not burmese! how should i know they have such gatherings?
lynette: you better know, coz they gather there and gossip like a bunch of old ladies, i tell u! so be careful of what you do!
me: aiya, i'm not doing anything illegal or scandalous. dun care lar, what they wanna say. i'm also not so kaypoh (busybody) wanna know what they're up to. they wanna have party ker, gossip sessions ker, sewing sessions ker... i dun care lar.
lynette: u better care. they know everything that goes on in the building, so u should know what they're doing also!
me: =_='''

but hmm... i wonder how can i get myself invited to these gatherings to have access to those juicy gossips. but then i'd have to learn to speak burmese! :P
*don't know why, but my company seems to have an extra high population of burmese compared to other places!

3. just like in school after all!
our hr sent out an e-mail notification that they will be conducting their year end "visits" to the accommodation soon. the objectives of such visits are:

- to ensure that all the employees are complying with the rules and regulations as per the employees handbook.
- equipment and appliances' inventory.
- to avoid having storage of unnecessary items / dangerous goods / alcoholic beverages.
- fire and life safety check.
- maintenance and hygiene check.
- initiating the best room competition and recognize the winner with a valuable award as per the following criteria:
1. cleanliness and orderly room
2. good condition of inventory items
3. overall room hygiene and housekeeping condition 
4. compliance to the rules and regulations of the accommodation

when i read about the "alcoholic beverages" part, i panicked a bit. what, spot check??? in sandland, we'll need a liquor licence to buy alcohol... but i didn't know we'll also need it to have some alcohol in our house! prior to my coming here, a friend just got back from langkawi and gave me a few of those cute little bottles of absolut vodka, as well as some chocolates containing alcohol, which i packed up and brought over here! and there's also that big bottle of benedictine dom that my mom packed for me, to be drank a tiny portion a day to increase alertness and general health and whatnot... which till now, is still in it's "packed" state (in thick layers of newspaper and tape, to withstand being checked into the flight cargo). then i checked with hr ("we can't keep alcohol in our apartment??" *with big innocent eyes* :P) and they said that these visits are only applicable to those of a lower level than me. so i'm safe! hehehe...

i guess there'll be plenty of parties being thrown at the accommodation between now and the date of the visits, as everyone tries to clear off their booze! maybe i should offer some kind of "storage service" for them to stash away their stock at my apartment, and as suggested by kg in fb, i can tax them by the liter! :D

but owh, here i was, thinking i'd surely win the "cleanest apartment" award, seeing that everyone else don't bother to take off their shoes upon entering their unit! :P

Saturday, 18 December 2010

kill! kill! kill!

ok, just a little update on the situation of my apartment, 1.5 months after moving in.

all the leaky pipes have been fixed and the burnt out light bulbs and faulty door knob replaced. i’ve bought my furniture and as you all know, my shipment has arrived.

i’ve yet to unpack everything, tho’. all the boxes that contained my kitchen appliances and food stuff are still unpacked, due to the cockroaches. that was why i’ve not taken any photos to be posted here, coz the pic would look so awful with all the boxes lying around in the living room!

and yes, the roach problem is still persistent, tho’ it’s getting better. i’ve been reading up a lot on ways to get rid of them, and in the process, have learnt quite a bit about these little buggers. i found that the species of roaches in the middle east are called the german cockroach, and are much much smaller than those we have in m’sia, which are of the american cockroach species. i also know that these german cockroach didn’t originate from germany. in fact, they don’t exist in germany at all!

anyway, i’ve seek the expertise of my company’s executive housekeeper for some tips on getting rid of these pests and he gave me some gel to apply to the corners of my kitchen. it’s said that when the cockroaches eat the gel, they will go back to their nest to die and when other cockroaches eat these dead ones, they too will get the poison into their bodies and die as well. it’s like a domino effect and the idea is to kill off the whole colony.

after applying the gel, i do see some dead bodies on my kitchen floor, but i still see some live ones walking about! i just pray that they’ve eaten some of these gel and are just waiting for the poison to take effect. or if not, hopefully they’ll come across the gel soon, or go back and eat their infected family members!

i’ve also read that boric acid are very effective in killing cockroaches too. then one day, as i was out shopping, i spotted a box of boric acid powder in the pharmaceutical section of a supermarket! frankly, if i were to look for boric acid, i’d have searched for it at the insecticide section. who would have thought i’d spot it at the pharmaceutical section? anyway, i’ve applied it around the kitchen and my whole apartment but as it’s in powder form, it’s quite difficult to apply. i used an old makeup brush to brush a fine layer onto surfaces, but if it’s a vertical surface, most of the powder would fall off. but they seem to work too, so it’s good.

then i remembered that my dad used to buy those chalk kind of poison for cockroaches and i realized that those must be boric acid too. i reckoned that the chalk form will be easier to apply, so i e-mailed my dad to help me get some. of course i didn’t let on how bad the situation is, just that i need some of those to get rid of cockroaches in my apartment. i guess my parents didn’t know how serious it is, coz they replied, “hahaha, those are dessert cockroaches. not sure if the chalk will be powerful enough!” and since sw would be going home to attend a friend’s wedding, dad can ask sw to bring them back for me.

and another friend, kg, mentioned that there’s a kind of cockroach bait that acts just like the gel as mentioned above. but i’ve been searching for it in supermarkets all over dubai and can’t find it! so i got kg to help me buy some and as he has some friends coming over to visit sw and sf, he got them to bring it over for me. so today, sw came over to pass me those packages!

P1070906 5 boxes?? my parents must be seriously thinking that dessert cockroaches are harder to kill than those in m’sia! :D

P1070907 2 boxes of baits, with 6 baits in each box. just what i need!

the WAR AGAINST COCKROACHES has begun!!! kill! kill! kill!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

greatest parents in the world!

i know a lot of us say that about our own parents, even when we grumble and complain about them... A LOT! but read on and u'll see that my parents are the greatest! :P

u see, i've been giving my mom a monthly "allowance" ever since i started working nearly 10 years ago. it's not much, just about 10% of my starting pay. this sum was determined by me and was readily accepted by my mom. without question.

i didn't give my dad any money, because he earned more than mom and by the time i started working, all the housing and car loans have been paid off. so there weren't not much expenses for dad other than the water and electricity bills, which are not really that much compared to mom's grocery bills. furthermore, i think my brother took care of those utility bills (not sure and didn't ask). the only money i gave my dad was for him to help me pay my ptptn (study loan) and car loan! :P

also, when my dad retired, he gets a government servant's pension every month. he's always joking that my brother and i are useless, only giving money to mom and not to him too, to which i'll always reply that there's no need for us to coz he's being taken care of by the "gomen". hehehe...

over the years, every time i switched to a higher paying job or gotten a promotion/pay raise, i'll ask mom if she wants an "allowance raise" too. but mom always declined, saying that she doesn't need any more money and just hoped that i'll have some savings of my own. and me being the spendthrift that i am where money was never enough, i just happily stuck to the same amount i've been giving her all these years.

then when i came over here to sandland, seeing that i have less expenses coz most of the major things are being provided for in my package, i thought maybe it's high time to start giving my parents a bigger allowance. so after getting my first full salary end of last month, i promptly transfered some money home and informed my dad on the amount that he's to withdraw from my account (my atm card is with him).

me: dad, B amount for yourself and C amount for mom, totaling to A amount.
dad: ok, so B amount is for X month to Y month. mom's C amount will also be for the same months.
me: no, no! i'm giving you both a total of A amount every month!
dad: wah, why so much??

see? best parents in the world, i tell u! most parents will just accept happily, so proud of their children for being so filial. and there are even some who DEMAND money from their children. i found out that a few of my colleagues here have been sending nearly ALL their earnings home, and STILL their families are always trying to squeeze more out from them!

there's this colleague who disclosed that her basic salary is 2100 dirhams per month, and she has to send home 2000 dirhams! that was why she's never joined us for any departmental gatherings or outings, coz she just can't afford it with only 100 dirhams (about RM85) of spending money per month. eating out can easily come up to 100 dirhams per person, or more if there's drinking involved. heck, the amount i spend on taxi rides alone are more than 100 dirhams per month!

there's also another colleague who sends ALL her basic salary home, and only survives on her tips (she works in F&B), service charges and allowances alone. and sometimes, even those would need to be sent home as well, when her family wrote to her about the family car having broken down, an old computer that needs replacing etc.

but not my parents. they've never asked my brother and i for any money before. not even once! not when they wanna go on vacations, or when they wanna renovate the house, or even when mom underwent a ballooning procedure recently, which her medical card doesn't cover and cost a bomb (even when i offered to bear part of the medical fees).

of course, i'll always give my mom double allowances during chinese new year, to buy all those additional food and delicacies, which tend to be more expensive during festive seasons. not forgetting all those ang-pao (red money packets) that need to be given out, which tend to be getting more by the year as her status in the extended family rose ever higher (she's a great grand aunt now!). but no matter how much extra i give her, she'll always give me back the same amount in the form of ang-pao! haiz... so i'll always buy some cookies, bak-kua (meat jerky) and other goodies home as well, coz i know it's useless giving money!

not only that. every time we go out shopping and i'm lining up to pay for our joint purchases, mom would always give me back the money for her stuff. also, when we eat out, dad will be the one paying. even when i wanna pay, he'll always be the one paying in the end. and when i said that i'll give them a treat to some special food that they've not tried before, such as korean food, dad would be so reluctant to go, saying that it's very expensive lar, better to just eat at home lar, mom's cooking is the best lar, bla bla bla... it's only after much cajoling, persuading, reasoning, pouting, lying and scolding (yes, really have to scold him!) that he finally agreed. that also, with much grumblings... they're so reluctant to use their own children's money! :D

when i insisted that they withdraw a total of A amount from my account every month, my mom finally agreed, only to add: "ok, i'll put it into a savings account for you".

where to find such parents, i ask u?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

crafting again...

with the arrival of my shipment cargo, i'm finally able to crochet again! my fingers were just itching to hook something! hop on over to my craft page to see the first item i made in sandland...

and with the weather getting colder, i'm just wondering if my next project should be a nice shawl that i can stuff into my bag when i go out. but i have two things to worry about:
1. i may run out of yarn halfway and not able to replenish my supply here.
2. winter may be over by the time i complete it! :P

mc arabia…

had my first mcD meal in dubai yesterday and the first thing i saw on the menu was mc arabia. so how could i not try it, right?

P1070860 a large meal at 20 dirhams…


when i tore open the wrapping, i found out that mc arabia is exactly like the grilled chicken foldover that we used to have in m’sia! it used to be my fav mcD meal, coz it’s the only dish with grilled meat, as opposed to the other deep fried ones.

anyway, their large fries is really super large! m’sia large fries is just like about one inch taller than the regular and sometimes, we don’t feel there’s any difference between the large and regular. but when i saw this, i went, “wah, can finish ar?”. even their drinks are jumbo sized!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

it’s here! it’s here!

finally, the stuff i sent over via shipment has arrived! good grief, took them nearly 2 months to send!! according to the girl who replied to my queries, the girl who originally handled my case has resigned. so they need time to trace back her cases, which was what caused the delay… yeah, whatever lar.

anyway, here are some pictures while i unpack and organize my nest… i promise to take proper photos of my apartment once i get everything organized!


P107085312 boxes in total. breaking sweat just thinking about the unpacking!


P1070855 first thing i did was dig out my water boiler, boiled some water and made myself a cup of pei-pa-kou drink! :P and yay, no more having to go down to the common dining area to fill up my water tumblers with drinking water!


P1070858 and just as i’m running out of books to read, my shelf is filled again! *happy*


P1070856 wonder why i thought i’d need my umbrella and so many disposable raincoats in the desert…

Saturday, 4 December 2010

pet peeve # 813522: people who vote-whore...

warning: ranting post ahead!

one thing that gets on my nerves is the fact that some people are so relentless in trying to get our votes, just so that they can win something. "click to vote for me!" "vote for my baby!" "vote for my pet!" "vote for my neighbour's colleague's brother-in-law's best friend's postman's spotted lizard!"

i mean, do you think i really care? if your baby is super cute, ok, maybe i'll vote for u. it's just a click of a button anyway. or if you're my personal friends and i really love your pets (that i've actually seen and played with when i hangout at your house), fine. but sometimes, there are those whom i barely know, barely speak to... but just because i'm in their friends list, they assume i'd vote for them? ok, some people will vote just to shut you up, coz they're generous that way, but i'm just not one of those people.

and some of these vote-whores are just so relentless! it's ok if you want to vote-whore on your fb wall. it's your fb anyway, so you can do whatever you like, but sending out chat/private messages to everyone in your list? ok, i may forgive you if you send them once. i may even overlook it the second time. but every freaking day for the whole week??? seriously?? how thick skin can you get?

so if you've been vote-whoring and suddenly find me not in your list of friends anymore, now you know why.

p.s: no, i won't vote for spotted lizards (or any lizard at all, for that matter) even if you're my bestest friend in the word. there are limitations in all human relationships and lizards are just not within any of those boundaries :D

Thursday, 2 December 2010

e-mails with my gm

from: stargal
to: gm

dear boss,

please find attached the file as requested.


from: gm
to: stargal

thanks for the file. but there's a little animal moving around my screen. is it a virus?

from: stargal
to: gm

boss, it's not a virus. it's just an emoticon (emotional icon - in case you're wondering), something to decorate the otherwise plain e-mail :P

from: gm
to: stargal

gen Y. tsk tsk tsk...

steamboat on a wintry night…

yes, winter. that’s what we call it here, although normally winter will conjure up images of snow, and snow is certainly not gonna start falling in dubai anytime soon! it’s just that the weather has changed to be very nice and cool, with the temperature of most nights to be around 20 - 24 deg C and daytime temperature at around 27 - 28 deg C. of course, i don’t have a thermometer, so this is according to yahoo! weather forecast. heck, even my apartment air-cond temperature (28 deg C) is higher than the temperature outside! when i step outside at 8am in the morning, even with the sun blazing, the air feels like a big giant air-cond has been switched on somewhere!

anyway, as we just received our monthly salary and seeing that tomorrow is a public holiday (UAE 39th national day), my colleague (a chinese national) and i decided to go for some chinese steamboat (or “hot pot” as they call it here). my colleague brought me to this restaurant near the creek (seems like all the chinese restaurants are concentrated near the creek area, huh?) called xiaowei yang, assuring me that it’s the most authentic chinese steamboat that she’s tried in sandland so far. all their waiters and waitresses are chinese nationals, and the kitchen staff too (i made sure to take a peek in their kitchen).

P1070833 yun-yeong (yin and yang) hot pot with spicy chicken… yun-yeong, you ask? wait lar, read the story further…

first, we ate the chicken straight from the pot and ignore the white soup next to it. it was cooked in dried chilly and was damn spicy! below the chicken are a bed of bamboo shoots and some black fungus. spicy, but sedap!

P1070835see the round dark brown thing at the bottom? that’s the little round chilly (dried) that they used to cook the chicken!

after we can’t eat anymore chicken, the waitress came to scoop out the chicken from the pot onto a plate. then she added some red and brown powder mixture into the pot and poured in the soup.

P1070834 now this baru considered yun-yeong, right? :P i’ve never tasted both the soups before. the cheng-tong (clear soup) is just like some watery bone soup, while the spicy soup is just… spicy! i can’t even make out its taste. i guess the best steamboats are still in malaysia!

P1070831the dishes that we ordered for our steamboat… quite big portions!

in the end, we didn’t finish the food and had to ta-pao (pack home) the leftovers. initially there were supposed to be 5 of us, but 3 of my colleagues had to work late. anyway, seeing that i just got my first full salary (last month was just partial due to my joining date), i decided to treat my colleague, who’s actually the graphics artist under me. total bill came up to 149 dirhams.

on our way to catch a cab home, we passed by this open park right next to the creek.

P1070837 people in chinese costumes doing tai-chi! at 11.30pm! in dubai!

that guy in white was actually doing some moves with a fake chinese sword. all around the park, there were a lot of pinoys playing badminton, indians/pakistanis sitting or standing around, arabs having picnics on mats on the grass and right in the middle of it all, a group of chinese doing tai-chi! it was a rare sight indeed… :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

round and round we go… not very merry, tho’

i finally applied for an internet connection in my apartment, but went through a whole merry-go-round process that was totally unnecessary! not to mention the amount of money wasted!

ok, here’s the (loooong) story. everyone i talked to (and even in their website), i was told that i’d have to go to the etisalat office to apply for an internet connection. and two of my colleagues even pointed me to the government building near to our apartment, where there’s an etisalat office there.

i was also told that i’d need to have my residency visa first before i can apply. so right after i’ve gotten my residency visa, i made plans to go submit my application. and it being a government building (and etisalat being government-run), i was of the opinion that they follow the normal government office hours. so i waited for my next executive duty* day to go submit my application.

*executive duty is when a manager/director/gm walks about the building after office hours to check on everything and then submit a report on his/her findings the next day. of course, there are other roles and functions, but i don’t wanna bore you with all those stuff. anyway, all managers/directors/gm will go on duty in turns, and on average, each will have 2 days of duty per month. duty starts from 6-11pm, and we’re allowed to come to the office at 12pm the next day.

so the next morning after my duty, with a copy of my visa and passport in hand, i got on a taxi and told the driver, “government building”. he just nodded and started driving. after a while, i asked him if he know where is it. he said, yes. to make sure he really knows it, i even told him that i wanna go to the etisalat office at the government building. he just nodded and said, “ya, ya”.

but then he made a wrong turning at a junction. i immediately told him that the building is in the opposite direction. he insisted that it’s the correct way. i argued that it’s not correct! apparently there are a lot of “government buildings” in dubai, all with etisalat offices, and the driver was bringing me to a further one! long story short, he had to make a few u-turns (coz that’s how the roads are in dubai, don’t ask me why!) and in the end, DID NOT even bring me to the government building that i wanted to go!

instead, he brought me to an etisalat outlet, along the very same main road and only a few blocks away from my apartment! and the fee came up to 40 dirham! i was so mad!! but i didn’t wanna argue with him coz we’ve wasted precious time driving around in circles and i still need to catch the 11am staff bus to the office!

so i paid up the blardy driver and went into the shop. but then the lady at the desk said i’d need a consent letter from my company, coz i’m staying at the staff accommodation. what the…??? the website didn’t mention anything about such letter. and my colleague in hr made a call to the etisalat office a few weeks back, and wasn’t told of such letter!

so i can’t apply without the letter. but i found out that the outlet closes at 9.30pm. ok, so i’ll just go to the office and get the letter from hr, then come again after work to submit my application. i hopped onto a taxi again to go back to my accommodation and the fee was just 7.50 dirhams! but i have to pay 10 dirhams as the standard minimum charge for taxis. 50 dirhams for NOTHING!

then that night, with the company letter in hand, i decided to WALK to the outlet, coz i reckoned it’s quite near. but i underestimated the distance, and ended up walking for like 30 min! so going home, i hopped on a bus instead. coz i already know where i am and where i’m going, and it’s much cheaper! anyway, upon reaching the outlet, i was told that for my building, i can only apply for the eLife package, due to some fibre optic thingy . eLife is basically a package with a higher connection speed, where they also throw in a lot of other useless “perks” like free 20 min international calls, 8hrs of free wi-fi at hot-spots, caller phone id, bla bla bla… things that i don’t really need. when i argued that my colleagues who stay in the same building are under the more basic al shamil package, the sales person said, “no, that’s from last time. now your building can only take eLife.” blardy hell, the cheapest eLife package is double that of al shamil!

but no choice lor. also have to pay for it if i want an internet connection. but guess what? the next day in the office, when i told my colleague about it, she said that was exactly what happened to her previously! but she was put off by the price and didn’t apply. then later she went straight to the etisalat office in the government building, and was able to apply for the al shamil package. she’s guessing that these outlets earn a commission from etisalat for every eLife package sold, so they tell people that their buildings/area can only go for eLife. argh!!! i’ve been conned!

so that night, i made the trip to the outlet for the 3rd time, on a bus. i told them that i’d called up the etisalat office and was told that the al shamil package is perfectly fine for my building (it’s true, i did make that call), and also, my neighbour had her al shamil installed just last week (not really true). so i want them to change my application to al shamil as well. the guy at the desk (the same one who did my application the night before) said he’s already processed my application and i can’t do any changes now. so i told him if it can’t be switched, i’d like to cancel it. he spoke to his colleague in tagalog for a while, clicked on his computer a few times, then said they’re not able to switch the package coz they only sell eLive at the outlet. what the hell??? instead of telling me that they don’t have the al shamil package right from the beginning, and that i’d need to go to the etisalat office to apply for it, they tell all these bullshit stories about fibre optic crap and that the cheaper packages can’t be installed in my building! if this is not a con job, i don’t know what is… and i nearly got conned too!

anyway, i canceled my eLife package and hopped on the bus to go home again… and you know what? as it turned out, all these merry-go-round was totally unnecessary. because when i called the etisalat office earlier that day, i found out that i can actually apply for an internet connection with just a phone call to them from my etisalat mobile number (with no charge some more!), coz they already have my visa and passport info!

so means i needn’t wake up earlier on the day after my night duty, take that super expensive taxi ride, make 3 to and fro trips to that outlet, walk my legs off for one of those trips, or get a consent letter from my company. heck, i didn’t even have to wait for my residency visa! i could’ve applied for it the very same day i moved into my apartment!

a total waste of time and money and energy! apply for internet also have to be so drama! haiz…

p/s: internet connection will take a maximum of 2 weeks to get installed. so yeah, no connection yet!

going chinese…

it was my working saturday (we have to work one sat in a month, on rotation basis) and my colleague, a burmese, suddenly had a craving for hot chinese soup. so she asked me if i wanted to try this chinese restaurant that is reputed to be quite good. being quite tired of all the cold, mostly “indian themed” food served by our staff cafe, i readily agreed.

we went to this restaurant called “china sea” by the creek. all their staff are from the mainland chinese, so you can’t get a more authentic chinese food than that! :)

P1070812 as there were only the two of us, we ordered a pot of seafood + beancurd soup…

P1070813 …and shared a plate of egg fried rice for one person (which we didn’t finish!)

P1070811my bowl of soup… ah, trust the chinese to make good soup!

total cost came up to 60 dirham for 2 persons, including a pot of chinese jasmine tea.

orange, anyone?

P1070501pure coincidence or do i have a secret penchant for things in the orange colour? heck, even my bathroom is in orangey hues! and i definitely didn’t have a choice in the colour of my bathroom tiles!

the bus…

N wanted to see the staff bus that i ride to and from work, which i’ve dubbed “bas kilang”. so one morning, i was quite early with 10 whole minutes before the bus was due to depart and seeing that there weren’t many people on the bus yet, i coolly fished out my camera from my bag to take this shot.

P1070807 the “bas kilang”…

as you can see, it doesn’t look one bit like a bas kilang. it’s just the feeling i get from riding it… well, i guess beggars can’t be choosers. this bas kilang is gonna save me lots of transportation money, so i shouldn’t complaint so much, should i?

Friday, 19 November 2010

1st movie in sandland...

i went for my first movie in sandland today - harry potter and the deathly hallows, part 1. even though the cinemas here are damn expensive, i can't possibly miss harry potter! and since i'm not working today, i might as well get it out of my system, rather than letting it sit at the back of my mind...

today i also went on my first metro ride, thinking that i'd be able to save some money from the taxi. so i took a cab to the nearest metro station from my accommodation, then take the metro to deira city centre. but as it turned out, the total fare came to be about the same... :(

30 dirhams = RM25.50 per person!

but even more expensive are their popcorn and coke... a standard size popcorn and standard size coke (both bigger than the regular sizes in m'sia) came up to 34 dirhams = RM28.90! that's like nearly RM60 per person for a freaking movie! good grief, i'd better start smuggling in my own snacks from now on. and to think that coke is so cheap in the market... :(

dhow ride in dibba, musandam

we had 3 days of public holiday this week due to the eid al adha. so on tuesday, 2 of my colleagues and i (we were later joined by one of my colleagues’ friend, a fellow malaysian) decided to make a day trip to dibba, musandam, which is in oman. oman is a neighbouring country to the u.a.e, and is just about 2 hours’ drive away.

P1070740 passing through sharjah, one of the 7 emirates of the u.a.e. i didn’t know sharjah city is so nice, coz everyone’s been telling me that there’s nothing in sharjah. people only stay there because the property is cheap, but most of them work in dubai. but what about this place??

the tour agent’s van came to pick us up at 7.30am at the hotel. but they had to go pick up 3 other groups from around dubai and sharjah, so in actual fact, we only started leaving for musandam at about 9.00am.

P1070743 leaving the city behind us, the landscape is only of the dessert…

P1070745then after a bit, it changed to rocky hills…

P1070753after driving for about an hour, we stopped by this place called “friday market” (even though it wasn’t a friday), which is said to be quite a famous market.

P1070755 there were stalls selling all kinds of fruits, as the soil of sharjah is said to be very fertile…

P1070756other than fruits, there were also stalls selling knick-knacks, pottery, carpets, plants and flowers…

P1070764we stopped again after driving for another 1/2 hour, this time at a scenic spot for some photo-taking. here i’m standing at the edge of a cliff that overlooks the black rocky mountains of sharjah.

P1070765 the van that we traveled in…

P1070769the roads were winding without any street lamp. i wouldn’t wanna be driving here at night! the view at some parts were great, tho’.

P1070771 we arrived in dibba at 11.30am. this is the oman side of dibba, just a few minutes from the border check-point. while crossing the border, our driver kept warning us that we’re not allowed to take any photos. but as it was an eid holiday, the omani border guards let us through quite swiftly. they didn’t even check everyone’s passport! but going back to u.a.e. is a different story. the emirati border guard checked each of our passports thoroughly before letting us through...

P1070774 we got onto one of the many dhows waiting there, and went up to the upper deck. that’s the omani flag, by the way…

P1070775there were deck chairs in the middle of the deck and cushions all around the sides…

P1070777here’s how a traditional omani dhow looks like… as it was a public holiday, there were quite a lot of people. the previous time one of my colleagues came, she said there were only 2 dhows, but this time, we had about 9 to 10 dhows setting sail together!

P1070784the sea was so BLUE! ours was the last dhow to leave, only setting sail at about 12.30pm. and the water was rather choppy that after a while, we got quite tired of the rocking motion…

P1070790 after about an hour, we arrived at a cove with a short stretch of sandy beach. here, we dropped anchor and are allowed to go for a swim in the water. people were just jumping down from the dhow into the sea, even though the dhow was quite high…

P1070792the dhow operators also prepared speedboats to bring us to shore, but they refused to bring the boat closer to shore (like some of the other operators), so we had to wade to shore and get our shorts wet up till our thighs. and it was really crowded there on the beach, plus there weren’t any place for us to sit (other than on the sand), so we decided to go back onto the dhow.

P1070786initially, my colleague and i had planned on going for a dip, but as only i alone wore my swimsuit under my clothes and the toilet facility was rather icky, my colleague lost her mood to change into her bikini. and without any kaki, i didn’t feel like swimming alone. so we just sat around, waiting for lunch to be served.

P1070795lunch was finally served at 2.50pm, coz they waited for everyone to come back on-board before starting lunch. i think they could’ve just let those of us already on-board to get started first, and those who went for a swim or to the shore can join in as and when they come back.

P1070796 instead, we had to queue up for our food…

P1070798after lunch, we set off again for home, at about 3.30pm.

P1070805halfway, our dhow stopped right in the middle of the sea. we thought it had broken down, but actually they just stopped to allow us to do some fishing. fishing lines and baits were provided and a few people in the lower deck gave a few tries. but the sea was even more choppy than when we came and the dhow was rocking violently from side to side, that i felt like i was gonna vomit at any minute! do you think i’d have the mood to fish some more? i just wanna get moving, dammit!

here’s a video of how bad the dhow was rocking. imagine rocking like that for 1 hour plus. i was still feeling the rocking motion even after i’ve arrived home!

P1070806 and the evening sun was streaming in that we kept changing our place on the deck trying to stay away from it!

all in all, i didn’t quite enjoy this trip. i should’ve thought of taking some seasickness medicine before going on-board, but other than the choppy waters, i think the dhow operators didn’t do a good job in the organization. i don’t think i’d be going there again… maybe to khasab, another part of musandam also famous for these dhow rides, but definitely not dibba!