Sunday, July 27, 2008

I am on vacation...

Folks, we arrived back home yesterday July 26, at just past seven in the morning. The KLIA was shrouded with mist and it looks gray. We got out of the airport in a whiz and took a Limousine taxi back to our home in Ampang Jaya. Home sweet home. It was real nice to get back home. We were dead tired after that nineteen hours flight from Newark to Kuala Lumpur. It look like that we had to take a vacation to just take it easy after that wonderful holiday in the US. Like our good friend Louis from Seattle says, we do need a vacation after that vacation. How true. So folks I am taking a vacation starting from now. Have a nice day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yani busking at Davis square...

It was seven in the evening. At this part of the world in summer the sun do not set at that time unlike in the tropic when by this time the sun is already at the horizon. Indeed a beautiful day to go to the park and enjoy the evening in an atmosphere of freshness and tranquility. I decided to take a walk to Davis Square which is near our house just to do that, relax and enjoy the day. As I approach it I heard someone strumming and singing. It was real nice to hear lives music been performed at such a place. I look on and found a gorgeous artist strumming her banjo and humming/singing evergreen melodies. I found a comfortable bench and sat and listen to the melody of great music and songs of the past, of my growing up era. I love such music and song and felt good about it. Her contribution adds color to the environment of this park.

We often see such person perform alone or in a small group at street corner or at the subway. We do get such performers in Kuala Lumpur. One day while walking through the underpass toward the LRT [Light Rail Transit] station at the KLCC, I notice a group of young man playing their musical instruments and singing along. I took my time and watch them perform. Before I left I donate some Ringgit in appreciation of their contribution to making the environment full of colorful music and songs.

And today at Davis square I felt real good, getting to listen to good music been strum by this artist, while delivering a beautiful song. She seems to enjoy doing it and the song just flows from her. So natural and I believe she love sitting there and perform, what folks here call busking. It is more of the love of doing it and enjoying every minutes of it that made her solo performance so good and enjoyable. I continue to sit and enjoy her music and song and when she stops for awhile I took the opportunity to congratulate her. She was delighted and thanks me for appreciating her kind of music and song. With that we got into introducing ourselves and in a way became friends. It was real nice to get to talk to her. She then proceed with here performances and I continue to enjoy her presentation.

Soon there were crowds, with parents and their kids listening to her performance and a numbers of the kids came forward to meet and sang with her. It was indeed nice to see kids so responsive to music and song. In a way it gives them the opportunity to be exposed to music at an early age. A good beginning for kids, for Music, Math and Science are subjects that have a chemistry of its own. And the combination often increases the IQ of kids, thus nurturing them into successful students in whatever discipline they pursue in their education. For that matter all our grandchildren goes to music class and I believe it would help them in their education, as well it would provide for them a better quality of life during adulthood.

Later on via an email she has this to say of herself:-

" Thank you for listening to my music. Let's see, I've been playing the banjo for 30 years, and have been in many different bands. The banjo is an Appalachian style with no back and my style of playing is clawhammer. I really like the sound it is clear and melodic. Some of the songs are original and others traditional. The song always makes me feel good. My whole family is musical and a few of my sibling are professional players. ..Thank you, Yani."

Thanks Yani for giving so much to making the day of others so wonderfully colorful. I believe everyone that day felt good as well. As for me it was really an enjoyable evening in a place faraway from home. Folks have a nice day. [Posted in NY]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a whale of a day!!!...

It was a beautiful summer day here in Boston. The weather was great and cooler then the previous day. It was indeed a great day to go for another adventure. So this time we decided to go Whale watching.

Whale comes often to the shore of the New England states. It is one of their favorite grounds to raise their young or just to come home to and enjoy the warm water of the Atlantic off the coast of Massachusetts. There are regular boat service that plies the whale home or playground and the Boston harbor. We board one of the boats, a huge one with cafeteria and seating like in the wide body aircraft and off we went. There are two daily trips now, one at twelve noon and the other at six in the evening organized by a local company. We took the twelve noon trip. It is a three hours program. The going trip take one hour, one hour the boat would just drift slowly while we watch the whale at its best and the one hour trip back to the shore.

The Service by the Boston Harbor Cruises come with a guarantee, if you do not sight whale, you get to come again for free. As tourist we took it easy and enjoy the trip on the boat. The ride at time was smooth and at time choppy, like most of the time if you ever had an experience been at sea. Anyway it was a good boat ride and I enjoyed it, what we a steamy hot coffee and some snacks to go. As usual with me I took the time to take photos as the boat speed on and when the wind is too strong I would get back in the cool comfort of the boat and just enjoy the ride.

Soon the first whale was spotted and everyone rushes out with their cameras and snaps whatever shots they could and I did just that with a stop to change batteries. It was an exciting moment for me and the family and I believe for everyone on board. Before one excitement end another group of whales appears, making a spectacular show. And with that come the running commentary by the boat's people [see image below]. It gives more information of the species of the whale that just emerged. It was indeed a majestic sight to watch those whale made it usual appearances, first you see the hunch back and then it sprout gushing fountain and then all of a sudden it just jump and got back into the water. Before you know it, you could only capture the tail in your camera. Well it was not that easy to photographs all those exciting sighting but I managed to get a few good shots which as an amateur cameraman I believe I did well. How I wished I had a telephoto lens and just wait for the right moment to get the best shot. Well, what is the best shot!!, I sometime wonder. Anyhow I am happy to get whatever images on that wonderful summer day in the middle of the Atlantic sea and sharing it here with all to see and enjoy.

Indeed an exciting and colorful day at sea, somewhere in the Atlantic ocean. Thanks whales for that great show. We all had a great day. What a Day!. Friends do have a nice day as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The vege Artichoke...

It was curiosity that brought my attention to this vegetable that folks here call Artichoke. We went to the local market and bought a fresh Artichoke and went into the adventure of preparing and eating it. It is the American thing and I had been rather curious of this vegetable that we do not get often in Malaysia. Goggled for direction of how to get thing done, we followed the directions of how to cook this vegetable and found out that it is just a rather simple vegetable. This video shows the way of how you eat it. The result is that you either like it or you don't. With that it ends my curiosity of the vegetable. Above is the image of the vegetable that we prepared. Have a nice day. [click on the image to enlarge]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Carol and Mel of Bainbridge...

Wake up to a cool summer morning here in Seattle. No we were not sleepless in Seattle. In fact we had a good sleep last night after a rather hectic sightseeing tour of the city the previous day. It is what we come for, to see the city and like all tourists do we just enjoy the day until we are down. It look like age is catching up on us and I had indeed got a good sleep, a total rest for the next adventure.

The weather was on our side, cool and comfortable. Indeed a beautiful day in summer. Unlike Boston the weather in Seattle was great for a day out in the sun. A day that tourists like us loves. It gives us the opportunity to take its easy and walk the streets. Enjoying the day care less of what's happening in the other parts of the world. We come to enjoy living and we are happy to be doing just that.

That day was the Forth of July, a holiday here in the US, the Independence Day. With such a beautiful and historic day we decided to visit a friends of ours, a couple who live on the island Bainbridge, off mainland Seattle. We decide to do it the easy way to get there. First we take the public transport which is free here and then walk from the forth Avenue to the Pier 52, where we board a ferry that ply the island. Actually it is more of a ship then a ferry that Malaysian are use to. Like the Penang ferry, it carries vehicles as well. This one is rather big and it has all the comforts, like a cafeteria and good seating to makes your travel an enjoyable one. The ferry has two decks. After awhile I decide to go on a discovery trip of the ship and enjoy the scenes as the ferry move toward the island. I then got a cup of coffee and went to sit with my spouse and our daughter and enjoy the rest of the trip, watching the ever changing scene as the ferry move on. Half an hour later we arrived on the island and there waiting for us is our friend Mel; happy to see us arrived at his island. Indeed a picturesque island, a dream place for folks who call this part of the world their home.

Everyone on the island was out to celebrate the Forth of July and there was an atmosphere of festivity all over. Mel took us for a walk toward his home. It was real nice to get to see the local folks here enjoy their holiday. Mel who is more then ten years older then me could just walk and walk, so we just follow him while enjoying the walks as well. And eventually we arrive at his home; a beautiful home with flowers all around. The happy and smiling face of Carol greets us at the door. There were the hugs of friendship and happiness at the doorway. It was just like coming home after a long lapse of absence.

Mel and I seem to be of the same mindset and wave length on many fronts, so it was easy to chat on subjects close to our heart. From culture to politic, economic, history and travels. It was real nice to be able to discuss so freely on the various subjects that comes to our minds. Carol, Lin and my spouse Asmah chips in to gives inputs to the discussion and at time became serious as thoughts we could simply change the socio cultural/political scene of the world. I even brought the subject of the Jurassic!! and left them to ponder further. But then it is like that for folks of our age. I believe like me Mel was once one of those young people who want to do changes to the world. We would want a better world now and for the not too distance future as well. Even in our chat we are still gunning for changes. Well it look like we are going to continue doing that for ever.

Carol had cooked especially for us and as it was lunch time, we all sat at the dinning table in the kitchen and enjoyed the home cooked meals of Salmon and vegetables stew and fresh salad. The food was simply delicious, the Salmon was baked perfect and the vegetable stew was fresh and tasty. The drinks of fresh fruits juice complete the wonder of having lunch with friends. We chat along while enjoying the meals. As usual in a situation like this times passes by fast. After awhile we move on to see the other part of Bainbridge. All along our path were garden of flowers in the color of the rainbow. At the sea front nearby there is a marina with boats of all shapes and sizes, like those that you often see in movies, in the story of the rich and famous.

We found a nice Tea shop and then sat to enjoy tea and continue to chat. Surprisingly we found out that some of the tea they served here comes from the highland of Malaysia. The lady who served us says that she has been many times to Malaysia. It is indeed a small world we live in.

Since it was rather late we decide to call off the day and board the ferry back to the mainland, happy that we made it to Bainbridge and met our friends Carol and Mel. Folks, Bainbridge island is an enchanting island with beautiful people and I believe visiting Seattle would not be complete without been on this picturesque island. Thanks folks for making our day so colorful. Have a nice day. [Please click on image to enlarge]

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The day they gave us Seattle in color...

Of Louis and Elena...

Many things happen in our life when we less expected it. It is the same with our friendship with Louis. It all started when he posted comment in my blog and eventually I suggest to him why not we communicate more via the email. And with that the friendship develops with both of us exchanging personal information that soon brought us closer together. I told my spouse about this person that at the beginning was not a blogger as yet. I always refer to him as just a cyberpal, like in pen pal that we all use to have in the pre Internet era. And then he began to blog. With that it takes him into a new dimension, a citizen of Blogsphere.

So thing just develop from one phase to another and I felt that we are no longer stranger although we have yet to meet. Cybersphere actually bring people together and we often felt very close to each other. And when we met in his home city last week, it was sort of just putting the final touch. Instead of just seeing each other in cyberspace we got to meet the man himself in person and shake his hand as well as Elena's, his charming other half. What a way to go from cyberspace to the real world. That day we sat for dinner at that cozy waterfront restaurant enjoying that fresh fish, we felt just like some old friends that got the opportunity to meet again after a lapse of some times. No, it was our first meeting and the aura of friendships just burst with love all over. It is that human in us that brought us together in an atmosphere of friendship. For us as tourist it was indeed great to have friends in a foreign land. His Mrs. and he took their precious time off to take us out on a sightseeing tour of the city and with running commentary all along. With that we got to enjoy the trip that no normal tourist would get. It is this wonderful friendship that made our trip so wonderfully colorful.

Sitting for dinner and talk about things of interest, it was just like been in a dream story but this one is for real. And when we were in their beautiful home of which I am familiar from the images that he had send me, we sat and chats and yarn on things of interest especially of their many trips to Malaysia. And as grandparents we do exchanges the many wonderful episode that folks like us encounter with our grandchildren, of which I consider as the new species in our midst. Every stories told about the grand’s became a joke of sort and we all do enjoy telling it. That my friends are the beauty of grand parenting. They have made many visits to Malaysia since the eighties and from their many stories, they did enjoy their trips. I am indeed happy that they enjoyed their many trips in Malaysia for we do have many in common, which I believe help them to enjoy the hospitality of beautiful Malaysia, my home. We really enjoy that wonderful day with this couple.

Of Rita and David...

As for Rita Ho, it is the same thing. It is also a story from cybersphere to the real world but the difference is that Rita Ho and her other half David already got blogs when we start to get to know each other. I made a few comments from time to time and she did the same. And on certain subject we just communicate by email. As we go along we seem to have the same like and dislike. The chemistry just works perfect. She is in a way the generation of our children although she was born a little bit earlier then our eldest daughter who is now forty five. From reading her blog I found that she is more Malaysian in her heart then some Malaysian that I know. She is so concern of the plight of ordinary folks and that what's made her so different from the rest. David blog is a narrative of what happen in real life as he sees it, especially so of his wonderful journey into the unknown territories which includes his Malaysian adventures. Somehow in my heart I know that that this wonderful young loving couple do made great friends. Their images in cybersphere show that aura of friendship and when you do meet the real person, that love for life shows, thus the friendship just bloomed.

The first time we met was when they invited us for dinner on the third day of our visit. In person she is simply gorgeous, a person full of love and enjoy fine living. I tried to photograph her the best I could and I believe I got her true self as seen in the image above. We just sat and enjoyed that sumptuous dinner and chat all along as thought we are old friends, perhaps true in cybersphere but that evening is the first time we ever met. With that it just cemented that friendship between our families. It was indeed great meeting them. Asmah, Lin and me did enjoy every minutes of that dinning.

Blogger families brunch...

Just before we depart for Boston, we invite both couple for a sort of a brunch of Indonesian food at Julia's. Our daughter had got the restaurant in the Internet. We ordered food like Malaysian do with the exception of Louis who ordered Nasi Goreng which he had felt in love with during his many visits to Malaysia. For a starter we had that wonderful Indonesian drink of Avocado and hot tea. The Avocado with chocolate was simply delicious and out of this world. It is the Indonesian way of turning fruits into drinks that you would want to come back for more. This is the first meeting of this Seattle Blogger and with that the blogger in us took over and the chat seems to find no end in sight. Well, it was indeed a wonderful get together of blogger and their friends. My spouse Asmah did really enjoy the company and as for our daughter Lin, it is I believe her first encounter with this new species call Blogger.

At this period of our journey of life, episodes like this continue to make our lives so colorful. It is folks like these that give so much in friendship that made living so wonderful. Travels open up our mind and I believe that is why we all seem to enjoy each other company. It is I believe friendship at its best. The appreciation of each other culture and accepting that after all we are of the same species that enjoy living on this blue planet of ours.

Folks many thanks for making our lives so colorful and interesting. Have a nice day.

Note: Rita's latest posting is here

Monday, July 07, 2008

Five wonderful days in Seattle..

Arrived back in Boston to a foggy Sunday morning. The Jet Blue aircraft touch down on a soft landing at Logan and we are back home in Boston, after a five days wonderful holiday in Seattle, a city on the northwest of the US. It is actually on the other side of the US and we had to fly across the continent to get there. The flight back was just five hours whereas the flight to Seattle took six hours. Seattle is in a different time zone. It is three hours behind Boston, so in a way we gain three hours while staying there. We left for Seattle on the evening of July 1, 2008 and stayed there until yesterday.

Before leaving Malaysia at the end of May I thought that it would be a good idea to 'kill two bird with a stone' like visit this city in the Northwest and as well getting to meet fellow blogger. In the exchange of notes with each other the motivation to meet gets stronger and without much ado we make flight arrangement and inform the blogger friends that we are coming their way. They were delighted with our decision and both offer their homes for us to stay. Just imagine that we had never met before and yet these two blogger are already willing to takes us into their home. That shows how close we blogger are. Cybersphere in a way was our common home and with all the notes that we had exchanges; we soon began to know more of each other although we all actually had not met in the real world as yet. It was indeed very nice of them to make such offer. We appreciate the offer and thank them very much for their generosity.

But then we thought that it would be best that we live like tourist while there, thus we choose to stay in a hotel in town. The next time if ever we are there we would surely be staying with them but for now we would just play tourists. After making ourselves comfortable at the hotel I call them and made arrangement to meet. And friends, that is where the fun begin, the start of a wonderful stay in enchanting Seattle. Folks I shall write more of those wonderful moments we have had with Louis and his spouse Elena, with Rita Ho and his spouse David as well about another couple that we met and enjoyed our day in their home at Bainbridge Island, while holidaying in this enchanting city in the northwest.

To all of you, my spouse Asmah, our daughter Lin and me do had a great time. You folks are simply fantastic. You do make our holiday in Seattle so wonderfully colorful. Thanks so much and do have a nice day.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tea with friends...

It is one of those day that we get to meet the friends of our daughter and their family. They had flown from California while her mother from New Jersey. On this hot summer day it was a good idea to have tea in the comfort of a five star hotel in the heart of Boston financial District. We took the T to South Station and then had a good walk along those buildings where the roads and pathways has been upgraded when those steel infrastructure was torn down after the big dig was completed. Now there are trees and landscape garden with bloom everywhere, turning the whole area into a garden of sort. A place where you could just sit and enjoy the fresh air or just watch the crowd rushing toward South Station. We took our time to walk along the seafront and enjoy the panoramic view of the Boston waterfront, where ferry boats are anchored for a cross the bay crossing to the other side of Boston. It was indeed a magnificent sight to watch and while there we saw a sail boat full of tourists just pass by and it jolted us with the firing of a cannon. In a way it disturbed the peace of the seafront. I believe it do this often when it arrived at this seafront. We enjoyed the breeze and eventually arrived at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

We took our seat at the lobby and wait for the party to arrive. Just as we were getting comfortable at our seat they arrived. We placed an order and then wait while they got us a table big enough to accommodate all of us. We whilst the time away while we wait. Take some photos and exchange notes. The waiter came and usher us all to a table setting with petals of fresh roses strew all over the table turning it into a pleasant freshness that fresh flowers often do to us. It refreshes us and made us feel real good.

We then sat and indulged in the fine culture of the Tea. With varieties of cakes, indeed another world of enjoying tea at its best. We chats and yarn on things that came to our mind in the atmosphere of friendship. In a time like this time passes fast and we ended that wonderful gathering with a promise from the couple to meet again in Kuala Lumpur next summer. Have a nice day