Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TRAVEL MEMORIES TO MIDDLE EARTH - PART 3

Was trying to clear off some pictures from my overloaded folders.  And I chance upon some pictures which I  have forgotten. That happens when one has several hundred folders with several hundreds pictures in it. 


How time flies and the pic above which  felt like taken only yesterday outside one of New Zealand's the oldest University in  Dunedin, is 2 years old.   This is sort of a continuation of my Travel Memories to Middle Earth - Part 1 and  Travellling Again? Part 2 written and posted earlier.

(We drove from the South Island : Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Queenstown - Invercargill - Dunedin  and back to Christchurch. 

Flew from Christchurch to the North Island: Auckland - Rotorua - Wellington - Blenhiem (stayed 3 nights) - Christchurch and home.  With several stops at various other places, but not staying the night,  the trip took us a little more than 2 weeks. Wish we stayed longer).





After the stay at Lake Tekapo, we drove to Mount Cook, had our lunch there and later proceeded to one of the most beautiful place I've seen - Queenstown where we stayed the night. We left the following late afternoon albeit reluctantly and proceeded to Invercargill!

We arrived Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost city late evening where we stayed a night at a very charming motel.  I still remember the owner, a tall elderly gentleman when showing us around commented how short I was but quickly changed it to 'petite', that I must be careful in the bathroom as I would probably have problem reaching for the water heater.... iishhh  'celaka punya orang'!  hahaha..  And no, I did not have any problem and no, I was not offended at all.  He wasn't that wrong after all..LOL.



crystal clear water of Lake Wakatipu,  Queenstown, a mesmerising place..


Queenstown's stunning and awe inspiring scenery! It is like a dream..



Queenstown




Above: Charming motel at Invercargill. The night was cold at -4% C but we were kept warm and comfy. That car is our ride.



As usual we did our rounds around the city the following day, and later left sometime late morning to Dunedin with several stops along the way.


one of our stops along the way, where we bought some souvenirs  for home.


A few miles before Dunedin, we saw a small cold storage store selling fresh and frozen seafood.  We stopped by and we were delighted to find lots of fresh fish, mussels and other sea food priced so reasonably too. We were surprised to find too that there were selling fresh fish heads at only 50 cents each!  Fish heads? Why? We were guessing that some Asians or rather Malaysians must be staying nearby ..hahaha...





 Source: Google Pics


our din din... now where's the fish head soup?

We literally jumped for joy at finding something so cheap at a most unexpected place.  We bought a large cut of the salmon flesh and 3 fish heads.. yes 3! It was so cheap after all and we thought we'd make soup of the 2 and another one to bring to our next destination, which was Christchurch, the following day. 

As the weather was cold, we were not worried of it getting bad. Still we kept it well in our airtight plastic container and we thought if it starts smelling bad after that, we could just disposed of it somewhere.





Streets in Dunedin - 
my feet were killing me with all the walking. Even with my comfortable boots, they were crying.. "please release me!"



my partners in crime... one the 'driver' another the 'cook'. 
I was the photographer and bookkeeper. Another friend, our porter and assistant photographer .. hehehe


After roaming the streets of Dunedin the following morning, we started our long journey to Christchurch in the early afternoon. The journey was supposed to take 5 hours  but it took us longer due to several stops along the way. We reached Christchurch around 9 pm and started to hunt for accommodation near the airport  as we had to catch an early flight to Auckland the following day. 


Goodbye Dunedin... till we meet again.

Bad luck as all the motels were all fully booked and some with vacant places were not within our budget!  I was thinking about the fish head since we could not find a place to cook it, we gonna have to throw it for sure.  We decided to spend the night at the airport.  But what about the raw fish head?  Luck would have it, the cold weather had kept it good and fresh and so we decided to keep it.  

We left the car at the designated location and lugged our luggage and the the raw fish head to the airport!  Yeah, the raw fish head slept with us at the airport floor and  flew with us to Auckland,  1  1/2 hour flight away.  Guess what we did first thing when we arrived our lodging in Auckland? 

Lovely memories of Auckland roaming about the city, shopping and going up the sky tower to savor the stunning scenery. 



Awesome sights of Auckland as seen on top of the sky tower



Auckland



Just showing off .. am terrified of heights and feeling vertigo..


We left Auckland the following day to Rotorua where we stayed for 2 days and later drove to Wellington. We stayed the night in Wellington and the following afternoon, took the Islander ferry crossing Cook's Straits to NZ's South Island and land in Picton.

(to be continued).


our Rotorua lodging


our simple dinner.. hmm.. am sure we had meat too..

 autumn leaves


baaa... baaa..




final pic in front of our lodging in Rotorua before the long journey to Wellington.



(to be continued - final part)


Saturday, September 6, 2014

JUDGING MRK 2014 'THE DASHING YOUNG MEN OF BORNEO'


What an honour it was. Met a friend at a Corporate Hari Raya luncheon the other day and after the usual greetings, he asked me if I could be one of the judges for the annual search for 'BUVAZOI TAVANTANG 2014' or 'The Dashing Young Men' popularly known as 'Mr Kaamatan 2014" (MRK2014) to be held at a hotel in KK on the 31st August 2014. I was taken aback a little but flattered as I had never judged a 'Male Contest' before though I have witnessed this annual competition a few times, maybe this the 4th time.

Judging beauty contest is of course not something new to me having been invited  to several beauty contests before but a Male Hunk Contest?  Gosh, what do I know about judging Men Hunk?  It was an honour even to be considered of course, and after a slight hesitation and asking whether it involved having to see half naked men in their trunks and he said no. .and it was not a contest where they will show muscles or something in their skimpy trunks.....pheww.. that would have been awkward. Not that I do not appreciate 'beauty' in men but I have this tendency to giggle and not able to look at them with a straight face. That is NOT what a judge should do. Being objective, professional and be ethical  is. So that being cleared, it finalised my resolute to say ok.  I was told that they would ONLY be judged in their traditional costume. 


Actually it wasn't much different from having to judge ladies' beauty contest. Or was it? There were 21 contestants.  They were made to appear on stage in 5's and each had to introduce themselves in any Kadazan local language of their choice and do a catwalk along the walkway with their own individual pose. They were judged on Looks,  Confidence/Personality, Costume and Posture/Catwalk (or something like that).   They came out fully attired in their most elegant and resplendent Male Traditional Costume, each representing a district in Sabah.




Yours truly and fellow judges
Re-calculating my scores..hehe

Gosh, it was harder than I thought..  Still as usual, I couldn't keep my face straight. They did their pose, strutted their best walk, engaged each judge with their best smiles and flirty eyes and more poses. All did very well and it was obvious that they were prepared for the competition and had practiced a lot. I could hear the audience cheering, whistling, clapping.  It however, didn't stop my funny bones from reacting. It wasn't funny like a funny haha ..and they actually looked quite elegant so I do not understand why it tickled my funny bones to the core.  It was so difficult to keep myself in check.  I had the deep urge to laugh out loud. I didn't want to appear rude and but it was compounded when I saw some of the audience laughing.

I know it was inappropriate to laugh and I felt very bad but the more I tried to control, the harder it became. I tried to look away, pinched myself, bite my inner cheek, I tried holding my breath, then hearing my fellow judges giggling, it just squeezed my laughter out even louder until I cried.. and I thought my gosh, my mascara must be running now and me looking like a panda and the thought made me laughed even more!  

Oh guys, I am so very sorry for laughing.. I know it was not a laughing matter but I just couldn't help it. It however, did not affect our judgement and those top 7 finalists chosen were the best of the lot! To the guys who didn't win, it wasn't that you were not good, just that your luck was not there that night and well, there's always next year.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I did have fun and wouldn't mind being invited to more Man Hunk Competition, as long as no swimming trunk please.   




Nigel, the winner of MRK 2014. 









 Esther Appolonius, a very talented lady, one of the entertainers that night.  She's hot! Sabah's answer to the legendary Anita Sarawak..







Buvazoi Tavantang "The Dashing Young Men'




Sorry, I laughed..


Cheers everyone..

P/s: Pictures are courtesy of Nikko San and Nelson Michael Photography

A LESSON ON LIFE FROM DAD...

Just sharing this beautiful message received from a friend through WhatsApp which I think also received from someone. Guess it has been ...