Friday, October 31, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - Church of St. Nicholas

Church St. Nicholas, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

In Malostranske Namesti - Prague, Austria.

Inspired by the Baroque and Rococo architecture and designs, the St. Nicholas Church is a prominent beauty found just across the Charles Bridge in Lesser Town Square of Prague, Austria.

Interestingly, the building of this church was halted several times by impending wars and money problems, and was only formally completed by a junior architect (who by the way, is not related to the original architects of the structure) in 1755.

Guess the problem wasn't just in the light-bulb was it? *grins*

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halal Din Tai Fung???


I was reading up on several food blogs earlier today. Those food bloggers are brilliant! They can really whet my appetite with good, yummy pictures of food food food, even though food taste is just so-so. And apart from travelling, Meebops and I are big foodies (if you can't already tell from our fat paws!). We have really similar taste-buds and is always willing to try anything once.

But, i am also an unabashed creature of habit especially when it comes to food. Say if i like a certain kind of food, i can eat it every single day! For every meal too! (like Subway in the US, where i had foot-long Veggie Delight, half for breakfast and half for lunch, almost every single day). Best part is, i can eat them today and crave for them the next day - Heh!

The thing is, these are my ultra-comfort food - like the taste, easy to get it and its satisfying. We all have our own fair share of routiness in the day-to-day life. We go to work at exactly the same time, in exactly the same way, walking the same distance in the same direction, trying to complete the same old mundane suff at work... and i listen to exactly the same music on my iPod (over and over again until i get sick of it!). I just think that the dependability of it all is easing sometimes. To the extent where my monicker is "Cubbies the Predictable" (Right Meebops???)

And so, i have to travel to Jakarta on a work trip next week and before anything else, i am already researching on good food to eat in JKT, preferably near my hotel in Senayan City. Strangely enough, i cannot seem to find a lot of resources on halal restaurants and eateries in Jakarta itself but there is one that IMMEDIATELY caught my bearish attention...

Fascinating, absolutely fascinating!
Din Tai Fung... is actually halal in Jakarta. DTF is not even halal in Kuala Lumpur, where i personally regard as Southeast Asia's halal food haven. DTF is a Taiwan-based restaurant, specialising in meat / vegetarian dumplings as well as assorted hand-made/hand-pulled noodles and a variety of soups. Its basically, a Chinese Restaurant. They have a couple of outlets here in Singapore and each time i pass by the restaurant, i will literally "stick" my paws on their glass panelled kitchen windows to see what the chefs/cooks are cooking/preparing. The other restaurant that suffered similar fate (each time Cubbies passes by) is Lao Beijing.

DTF was also ranked as one of the World's Top Ten Restaurant in 1993 by the New York Times. Researching though, i found mixed reviews on the food (but food is also subjective...) but i thought i should satisfy my curiousity at least once. And at good chance too since the outlet in JKT is halal (Yayy!).

Here are some photos which i took from DTF's website (promise to put my own when i try the real deal! Hah!) First photo - Pork Dumplings or the infamous, Xiao Long Bao! (i think they'll use chicken meat as substitute in JKT)

Here's another yum yum yummy! photos i took from Wikipedia itself... My goodness, baos never look so darn stunning! GASP! *slurp slurp slurp*

Picture of the noodle that i would like to try... Noodle Soup with Shrimps (self-explanatory really...)

And last but not least, a chinese meal would never be complete without SOUP! This is their Shrimp and Pork Wanton Soup. Yummylicious!

And i have decided to give DTF in Jakarta a shot next weekend, at the outlet at Plaza Arcadia, Senayan, which is right behind Plaza Senayan Mall - the one i used to walk to from my hotel and was swarmed by an army of street beggers, peddlers and kiddos.

This time round, i won't be calling up my good old schoolmate who lives in Jakarta and say that i'm in town. Since my first trip in 2007 till my last in July, I've been treated like Her Royalty (not that i did not enjoy it of course... King Cubbies... Ooohhh..), ferried around in her SUV, to wherever i want to go and whenever. She gave me a tour of the city, treat me at dinner, gave me a lift to and from the airport... basically anything i need, i can get (except money, her life, her beau, mother, father, sister, house and car etc...) And it didn't make me feel like i can be independent in Jakarta, which really i need to be.

I don't know Jakarta apart from Senayan City and the 4 walls in my hotel room. And not that i have time to explore the city anywho... but yes, i would like to try out on my own this time. The furthest i went (on my own) during my last trip was to Mangga-Dua, about 40 minutes by cab from Senayan.

And apart from DTF, i will also be paying homage to Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suharti - where i fell in love with a juvenile chicken, fried to a golden crisp. We first met in Yogyakarta... And till today, i never forget and especially, never ever forget this first love i experienced. Mmmmmmmmmmm!!! Gurih lo!!!! Hehehe!

Will pick up my bravado this time... Cubbies wants to explore Jakarta on her own two paws! :)

Indonesia Raya, Merdeka! Merdeka!
Tanahku, Negeriku yang Kucinta!
Indonesia Raya, Merdeka! Merdeka!
Hiduplah Indonesia Raya!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - Overlooking Cesky Krumlov

Overlooking Cesky Krumlov, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

Ahh... The Charming City of Cesky Krumlov - another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is notable for its well-preserved Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

Just off Prague, Czech Republic, this quaint picture-postcard city of "Cesky" simply means Czech, or Bohemian, maintained its historic culture and character by stopping any major changes and demolition of the buildings / town since the 19th Century.

The picture was taken almost 4 years ago when TTT were in trotting Eastern Europe on big spirits and small budgets, but as far as we can remember, the city of Krumlov is a small but lively, cosmopolitan town surrounded by unspoiled countryside.

With a population of just over 15,000, CK is not overbearingly bustling like Prague or Vienna, but it does have its fair share of activities as you walk along narrow cobblestoned streets.

Dominated by a Castle stretching over the meandering Vltava River, this cosmetic town sports romantic nooks between Patrician houses where you can find attractive exhibits of world-renown artists and musicians... and depending on the time of year, festivals, concerts, and theatre performances are the major highlight in this city.

It was here that we also had one of the best pasta lunch we ever tried in Europe. The cosy inns, coffee shops, and ancient taverns are a treat that you cannot miss when visiting this charming city!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Fishy Tale On A Diwali Weekend!


Whoa... What a weekend it had been for The Travelling Teddies. We spent the looooooong Diwali weekend, home-away-from-home style and it was probably the awesomest ever. It's been quite a while (since the start of Ramadhan) that we get to leave the comforts of our individual lair and into the wild world of pleasure and pamper.

We bitched about all sorts of things and slept at 2am and slept in till 9am the next morning... stroll our way down to breakfast in flip-flops and bermudas (where Cubbies got her 3 rolls of butter croissants - yayyy! - and baked beans eaten with Rocket leaves - just the way she liked it!)... went up to the room again and continued hibernating till checkout.

What a life! If only every weekend is a long Diwali weekend, i'd be a happy happy bouncy bear!

Anyway, after we checked out, we made our way to lunch before heading home. Meebops suggested Popeyes Chicken. The outlet that we usually go to when we have the cravings for hot juicy chicken thighs (and breasts for Cubbies) is the one at Changi Airport Terminal 1.

And since we were in the city that day, we decided to give the outlet at the Singapore Flyer a shot. Meebops' been there before so it was a second time for her but as for me, it was my virgin experience on SF grounds. Man, it was breathtaking! TSF was a huge complex with a quaint little sanctuary at the foot of the flyer, which i'd really like to walk around in when the weather is better, because as soon as we reached SF, it started pouring!

So we took a break and went for lunch first since we were by then, famished. We ordered the usual fare of 2 chicken set each (upsized, with large mash and slaw) and a side order of that moreish red bean and rice.

This is the Cajun Mash - upsized! The gravy, which is laden with gizzards and fats, herbs and chicken shreds were absolutely to die for. Unlike KFC (whose potatoes tasted earthy and probably blended till almost powder-like), Popeyes mashed potatoes are lumpier and close to perfect! Very tasty and makes you want more more more! I licked it all off to the bottom of the plastic cup... Heh!

This is their infamous insanely famous, yummy and almost exquisitely scrumptious Popeyes Coleslaw - with just the right hint of tanginess and sweet sourish flavours. I just love the almost-chunky pieces of cucumber pickles that you can see before they disappear in your mouth... absolute heavenly...

OK... so the photo didn't do as much justice as i had hope for. Looked a little mushed up but if you have never been to Popeyes, you probably haven't tasted darn good fast food coleslaw. You have to try it. Definitely a star award from The Travelling Teddies!

We also ordered a regular side-dish to go with our chickies. This is also their famous Red Bean and Rice side which is very very tasty even on its own... Simply finger lickin' good. Meebops is not a big fan of red beans and neither am i but we simply can't resist this lil' number. A mixture of light sweetness and greasy goodness. Even though Cubbies is on a no-rice diet but heck, for this one, i'd take a day off - and i did! Haha!

Ahh... well well... spicy fried chicken never tasted so good! Cubbies didn't even wash her hands before eating (bad, bad Cubbies!) and before i took the picture, i couldn't resist a bite off the chicken drumstick! I am personally not a big fan of their buttermilk biscuits (crispy on the outside and soft on the inside) but i had it all to myself this time! Yum yum yummy!!!

Move aside KFC, McDonalds' and Church's Chicken (didn't try Church's in the US though...), Popeyes' here to take over the fried chicky world (in my heart at least!) with fat juicy breasts and killer thighs. Yummza! We pawwed Popeyes' countless of times that we can paw no more - cos we're too busy devouring the chickies...

Errmm.. moving on... Right after lunch, we went for a little walk at the mall. There weren't much shops around but we were fascinated by the Fish Spa treatment offered by Kenko. Though i am usually quite sceptical with the true benefits the fishes offer, i have to say, i was intrigued... After at least 10 minutes of asking each other, "How? You want to try? I'm good with anything... You want? You want, i can play along... How?", we finally decided to give the fishies some feet to nibble on. It was raining anyway...

Big Fish, Small Fish... and Medium ones. As a start, i wanted to give the tiny fishies a treat but the masseuse directed us elsewhere. I didn't like the fact that we were "optionless" but to the medium fish tank she showed us and there we went... It was intimidating just by looking at it!

Smile fishies! Smile!

See.. the one sitting on the opposite side of the large tank is Cubbies... Yup the one with white, pale, fat legs and curled up paws. See Meebops? Both her feet are already in the water, fully submerged!

It costs us S$38 (per pax) for a 30 minute "fish massage" and a 10 minute shoulder massage (which to me is super lame anyway). My gut feeling says that all this hooblah is painfully for pure entertainment sake but according to the website, the fishes actually nibbles off dead skin cells on your feet and helps improve blood circulation, lighten minor scars (which i don't have on my bear paws anyway...), ease eczema (poor fishies...) and releases stress and tension (the stress of dipping your precious feet to a swarm of hungry nibblies?... yeah right!).

Meebops was a lot braver than i gave her credit for!!! Bravo Meebops! She started her spa treatment first by dipping in both her feet, without much hesitation! A little squirmish at the start when the hungry fishes started nibbling but she was a-OK after 10 secs of giggly gaggles...This is Meebops and her paws in water.

"The fishies seemed confused... They're swimming the WRONG direction. The feet's THAT way!"

Cubbies couldn't bear to let the fishies nibble on her cute little fat paws!! So i dipped my paws in and out and continued to do so for at least 10 minutes (time is money...) before i fully submerged them for the fishes to devour. Aw man... I kept going, "I'm scared... eww.. aarh... takut la.. yakkk! Oooo... arrggh... eeek.. gasp!.." What an embarassment!

And after much coaxing from Meebops and from within my brave little self (and reminding myself how expensive this treatment is...), i finally dared to dip my fat paws into the water. Not sure if this is sanitized though... but its hard not to think negatively about how polluted the water may be when probably thousands of people already dipped their dirty smelly feet, before they changed the water to a fresh one! BAH!

My Feet In With The Fishies from thetravellingteddies on Vimeo.

My verdict is that the Fish Spa was a refreshing new experience for me to bond with the fishies.

Its not that i do not like it, but i am not comfortable with the idea of exploiting ignorant cute little fish friends and getting them to nibble on my "dead skin cells" - which is really, simply treating the fishes with disrespect (and as second class citizens) but it was an experience that i may probably try again (with larger fishes next time, Meebops?). I will stop after i feed the larger ones out of sheer respect.

The shoulder massage was very disappointing for me, personally, cos Meebops said hers was pretty good.

What a pawwing day it was.. despite the embarassing moments!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - The Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

The Synagogue of Pest is one of the most beautiful and Europe's largest and world's second-largest synagogue.

Its absolutely stunning exterior, which i mistook it for a mosque (especially the domes) at first look, has striking Byzantine and Moorish elements.

I also found out that during the Nazi regime, up to 20,000 Jews from the ghettos seek refuge in the synagogue were killed and buried in the courtyard.

You can also find The National Jewish Museum inside the synagogue complex.

Definitely worth a few hours exploring when in Budapest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - Budapest at Sunset

Budapest at Sunset, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

We walked through the city just when dusk is breaking. To the naked eye, it definitely looked like the sky was on fire, burning bright orange rays - which within a few minutes would totally engulf the city in darkness of the night.

It was the summer's worst in Europe during this period (2005) and i believe that it was also during the summer's "Hot Spell" that people from all over Europe are dying from heat stroke. Both Meebops and I were young, free-spirited, adventurous Travelling Teddies then (we still are, less the "young" bit though!) and even in this heat, we were optimistic and carefree - going where the feet takes us.

Of course, that attitude has to come with a lot of patience. We also had to take bottles of carbonated mineral water (which we soo hated, but that's all they had!) with us WHEREVER we go - EVEN TO SLEEP! It was HOT, DRY, HOT and HOT!

Well, the heat got to even the best of us. And i think, all who travel in twos and more will agree that there may be times when frustrations and selfishness gets in the way of a common compromise and understanding.

And that's what happened to us! We argued, we made up and then went for swimming at Hungary's famous bath house! Which is A-MUST in Hungary by the way.

And Oooo... You can choose to don a swimsuit or opt to do it in your birthday suit! *wink*

Sadly, this was also where we experienced bigotry and blatant white-supremacy-colonialism from........ a cashier at the supermarket!!! Meebops can tell you all about that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Oh yeah! Out of boredom at work, i tried out a simple test on OKCupid! - which is really a fun, brainless website where you can play games, meet people and work on painless quizzes. I don't usually log in but whenever i have the time at work to kill off some boredom (like right now), I'd stroll in and do up some online tests. Of one such instance is this "The Awesome Test of Awesomeness"

And this is how i fared...

Your result for The Awesome Test of Awesomeness....

Awesomely Respected

It looks like Respected was your greatest variable! That means you are awe-fully awesome. Folks know you and your awesomeness. You don't flaunt your powers in front of the general public. You probably don't want to make others feel bad, and we respect you for that. Not everyone can be as respected as you. You are Awesome!

Take The Awesome Test of Awesomeness. at HelloQuizzy

You know folks, its really not so much of the outcome of this test - Its really... the PUPPY... The puppy and its adorable PAWS! Check out the little pink PAWS... Oh my goodness...

If there is a cuter word than cute, this is IT!...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

A neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque terrace on the Buda bank of the Danube, perched atop Castle Hill - Budapest, Hungary –

Monday, October 6, 2008

Emptied My Kuching Mentel Today...

September's earnings were better than that of August's!

Emptied Kuching Mentel today and i managed to save a total of $134 for September. I like rounding off my numbers so i rollover my $4 back into KM so that'll make it $130 for September... and a grand total of $130 + $96 (August) = $226 in 2 months!

WOW WOW Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! If i continue this fantabulous habit that Meebops instilled in me, i should be earning approximately, $130 X 7 months (till April 2009) = $910 + $226 = $1136!!!!!

I am a happppieeee camper! If i bring all that to Melbourne with me, i will have roughly AU$1050!

Happy... I am very very happy :D


Friday, October 3, 2008

The Daily SHOOT! - Candi Prambanan

Prambanan Temple, originally uploaded by tgtwb.

UNESCO World Heritage Site - The majestic Prambanan Temple, also cited as one of the largest Hindu temple complex in South East Asia - Yogyakarta, Indonesia -

Its All About Momentum They Say!


I've been so busy with stuff the past week that i completely had no spare time for me blog! Arrgh!

And the rule of thumb in blogging is to constantly keep the posts updated, for momentum sake but its sooo difficult doing that with a day job! Argh! Argh! Argh! I know i'm whining instead of writing productively but Time! I needed time! Like if there was more than 24 hours in a day - i'd be the first in line to grab it like Dear Life!

Writing is stragely becoming rather difficult for me; especially to keep ideas flowing constantly. I need my muse! And then when you start writing again, it isn't easy. And this is especially when you write on travel destinations that you went weeks, months or even years ago, where most of what you did is a distant memory.

So i tend to depend a lot on the pictures i took, trying to recall what we did, how much everything costs and the feelings we felt during time of travel. Most of the time, emotions hit hardest (be it good or bad!) and it often cause such an impact that its hard not to remember.

I need to get my groove back and overcome the "blogging block" (is that what it's called?). I absolutely love writing and i love writing about our travels and our experiences when we are journeying, pawwing, trotting the world - but i cannot lie when i say that time is often a rare commodity.

Its one thing about having the idea and its nothing until you write it down.

Speaking of which, i'm thinking of trading in my old dinosaur of a notebook (which is still a spankin' good 'ol buddy of mine!) for a mini-me laptop that will serve my needs well when i travel - light and easy to pack.

I hate losing my inspiration and ability to write because it is probably the best thing that God blessed me with, apart from life itself.

I am never gonna give up. And as they say, remember why you started blogging in the first place, and hold on to that passion and determination!


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