So after the wine tour we went for that Saturday, the 9 of us checked into the villa we booked for the weekend. It was on a hill called Mount Martha where they had a lot of really nice houses in this really nice residential area. The houses on the hill overlooked the sea down below. It was really nice... but told.
I didn't get many shots of it but this is how it looked like from the driveway outside.
There were 5 bedrooms in the villa, 3 of them looked really nice with a window overlooking the sea view and all. Ming and I who were the only non-couples there (along with Ming's sister) decided to give the nice rooms to the 3 couples. We damn nice right?
This is how the nice rooms look like.
Nice huh? They look as if they were made just for couples to go in there, light up candles and have a nice romantic night together err... playing... scrabble.
And this is the Master bedroom that Grace and David stayed in.
The Master bedroom has this really big connecting toilet to it but the toilet just like everything else in the house was done in a very old fashioned kind of style so I found it a little creepy.
Now on to the remaining 2 rooms where the non-couples were staying (me, Ming and Ming's sister).
This is the room Ming shared with his sister.
I know right? It's not too bad but compared to the previous rooms, it looks like we just went from 5-star to like... 2 and a half star.
My room on the other hand was smaller. I didn't take a picture of it because everyone said that my room was haunted. When they all walked into my room for a while they said they felt depressed and all and there was like something in there that was scaring them. I didn't have a choice though so I just... well... bit the bullet and slept in that room.
I didn't want to take a picture of it though. Didn't want to catch a picture of something that I shouldn't be seeing.
This is the living room with a fireplace. There was a real fireplace ok!
Then when you walk out the balcony there are some tables and chairs for us to sit on and chill.
And the nice dining room with a kitchen at the back for us to prepare our meals.
So seeing the kitchen and all we all decided to go grocery shopping right after checking in. We went to the nearest supermarket we could find in the quiet town and shopped away. Our trolley filled up so quickly it was as if we were all hungry refugees seeing a fully stocked supermarket for the first time.
The experienced housewife in the group (Grace) was shocked at our shopping habits. Like when Ming brought one huge bag of mushrooms to the trolley she said
"You obviously don't cook that much.. you don't need that much mushrooms!!!"
"I do cook a lot... and that's how I know we need that many mushrooms and more!!!"
The bill in the end came to something like AUD200-300 I think... just enough groceries for the weekend.
Grace just sat down and gave us her shocked face.
After grocery shopping it was time for us to hunt for dinner. We were going to try this little Chinese restaurant there for some noodles until Ming spotted something else that drew his attention away : Indian food. I cannot begin to tell you how much Ming loves Indian food.
We stood outside looking at the menu until this Australian guy came out of the restaurant with a lot of take-away. He was heading towards his new car (some new Merc jeep) and Ming just openly said
"Nice car Sir, you look like a man with great taste! Tell me is the food good?"
Now if I were the Aussie I would've been a little puzzled at first but the friendly guy just replied
"Yes!", then got into his car.
That was enough for Ming to go for it so we all had Indian food that night and it was great.
On the way out of the restaurant later that night we passed by this other restaurant that had something really cool. Check out this restaurant and tell me if you spot anything.
Notice how there's an arcade game machine in the picture? They use that game machine as a restaurant table!
What a cool idea.
We all went back that night and played some games. Taboo was one of them. We played Guys vs Girls in taboo and the girls won (but we played again the next day and the guys won back our pride... maybe the girls let us win but no matter we won anyway!!)
The next morning when I woke up though, the food we bought from the supermarket was all cooked and ready for breakfast.
We had a great breakfast that morning!
I really enjoyed the weekend stay at the villa. It's the first time I've done something like that. I mean it's a bit old and creepy at night but overall with the right company, it was a great place to stay.
We did almost nothing but just relax and play board games all weekend and it felt really nice.
I would do it again some time. Not too often but some time again :)
If you've been following my blog since 2 years ago you'd know that I once had a recurrent corneal erosion. If you want to know a bit more about what it is and how I got it, check out my previous blog entries here, here and here.
In a nutshell though I got it more than two years ago when I happened to injure by cornea by scratching my eyes hard one morning. Scratching your cornea I guess is something that happens to a number of people but if you're unlucky your cornea doesn't heal well enough on its own.
Then whenever you sleep at night and your eyes are dry, your corneal sticks to your eyelids or something. So when you wake up in the morning and open your eyelids, it pulls out a piece of cornea with it and you experience really bad pain. To make matters worse, sometimes if the area of cornea pulled out is big enough, it will hurt so bad you won't be able to open both your eyes for a few days until your cornea heals back again.
Fortunately, the cornea is a part of your body that heals really quickly on its own. There are many ways to treat it so I went for laser surgery two years ago and since then it's healed. Had no problems with it at all until last night when I woke up experiencing the pain in my eye that I know so well. Surprisingly since I wrote about recurrent corneal erosion I've had quite a number of readers who e-mailed me sharing their experiences as well. I guess it helps to know that some others go through this with you.
I'm going to see a doctor on Monday but now I'm worried. I'm worried that it might be bad enough that I won't be able to go to New York and meet My Hello Kitty there for this trip I've been looking forward to for a very long time. I used to feel really sad when I had this problem. But I've learned to look at it more positively. While this is a big inconvenience for me, I'm glad that it's nothing permanent and something that can be solved. It's nothing that would affect my living a normal life. So well... that's it. I'm just a little worried about having to miss my New York trip. Everything's already been booked and paid for. I hope I'll still be able to go and have fun.
Anyway on the happier things, catching up with some Project Alpha episodes.
Here's episode 15 of Niki Cheong's interview with Xiaxue
If you haven't seen London.. check out this episode where Niki and Xiaxue go sight-seeing around London with Ming as a tour guide.
Makes me really miss London myself. I wanna go back!
Told My Hello Kitty that I'll take her back next year if I have the money to. You also get to see Boss Ming featured in there !!! We were in London for the shoot. Well I was behind the scenes but Ming was the guide since he's been in London for years and still finds a way to go back there a few times a year. See the camera he was holding though, that's the infamous "Beast".
It also features Borough Market. I blogged about it some time back. Remember?
This episode is of Jojo, Niki and Xiaxue right outside the stadium of the big Chelsea Vs Arsenal game there. Love the spirit the English have for their football.
And here's the least episode with Niki and Xiaxue where Xiaxue talks a bit more about her husband Mike.
I love how in this episode Xiaxue talked about Mike being untidy and Mike defended himself saying "You have understand... she has OCD". HAHA! I have OCD too :(
Ah love catching up on Project Alpha on the weekends.
Have a great weekend everyone. It'll pass much quicker than you think :)
Last weekend in Melbourne we decided to get out of the city for a couple days just to see the countryside a little. I had no idea what the others had planned. All I knew was I was to be up early Saturday morning and be in the car. That's it! ... oh and there was something about us renting a Spanish Villa for the weekend.
So after like an hour and a half drive we ended up in this place called Port Sea.
It's like this really really nice and quiet peaceful town. The whole town has just one main shopping street and on a Saturday afternoon you can see people walking their dogs in their tracksuits. You almost want to think that everyone there lives a very long stressless relaxing life.
We had lunch near the sea where a lot of people seemed to be going for some fishing. So since we were at a coastal town, we did the most cliche thing we could think of: We had Fish & Chips at this place called The Rocks.
Everyone was being totally tourist about it. It wasn't just Ming with his big camera that he calls "The Beast".
It's everyone else too.
See I took this picture of the other side of the table and everyone was being anti-social looking at their cameras.
The food was just okay if you ask me. Just didn't think the fish & chips were anywhere close to the one I used to like a lot in London. The view though was great.
Imagine sitting with 8-9 friends having lunch and overlooking the sea.
After lunch we spent the afternoon doing something so many people have told me about... touring the wineries where all that Australian wine is made.
You basically go see huge beautiful wineries like this with all the plants that churn out the grapes they use to make wine.
If you're lucky you also get to see a little bit of the backroom operations.
This is where wine is made.
See that huge metal pot of grapes inside? They probably use machines to squeeze them all up but can you imagine those days where you would have to take off your shoes and step on them all? A lot of work, though it would be made easier if I had a pair of BIG CAT boots.
After you're done seeing how the wine is being made, you get to try out the wine at the bars there. Plus if you find something you like, you buy a bottle.
One of the wineries we stopped at was this one called Port Phillip, a very modern looking one that apparently cost like AUD 15,000,000 to build.
Now I'm no expert in wine. I like wine but I can't have a glass and roll it around and comment about its bouquet or body or... well whatever. I just know I like it and I like it. In my limited knowledge about wine though, I also know that when you go wine tasting you're not supposed to actually drink the wine they give you to sample (ironically I learned that from watching Family Guy because Peter got drunk at a wine tasting in one episode).
They have these buckets on the side where you're supposed to spit it out. Being the Asians we were though, we never let booze go to waste. So by the time I was done with our 3rd winery I was already feeling very... "happy".
At one winery we decided to sit outside in the cold to have some wine (when every other sane local there was seated inside). You know... we thought since we don't get cold weather in Malaysia much might as well savor the moment right?
Well that was right for us.. until about 5 minutes later when we realized our balls were freezing off. So we ran off before we had the chance to order.
My Dad loves wine so I bought him a couple of bottles. They were really cheap though. At least compared to the wine we get back here.
Such a fun experience... you know getting high and all indulging ourself in wine culture.
I would do it again.
In the next entries, I will blog about the Spanish Villa we stayed in :)
Last Friday we were all walking around Chadstone Mall. Not sure why we ended up there because I kinda prefer walking around the high streets in Melbourne Central rather than at a mall. We already have plenty of malls in Malaysia to walk around in.
The guys and the girls split. The girls decided to go and do their own shopping and the guys (ie Ming, Pierre, Vuitton and me) just decided to go do our own thing. Met up with Jia Jer and his younger sister and this really nice girl named Joey. Took a picture with them but it turned out to be a really blur one so I'm not going to post that up.
Anyway, we were walking around until we spotted "Build-A-Bear", a shop that allows you to create your own teddy bear.
We all made a bet that if one of us was going to make a bear, all of us would so Ming was the first to start.
I then followed suit whereas Pierre and Vuitton backed out *ahem*.
If I know My Hello Kitty well enough, she doesn't really like typical teddy bears (except for Lolo). So the most straight forward choice for me was to go for a Hello Kitty one.
This is how the Hello Kitty looked when I first picked the skin.
Next you were supposed to put in this little heart that I was holding (to give it a heart), and then step on this pedal that would blow up filling into the Hello Kitty.
By the time that was done, this was how the Hello Kitty looked like. Hello Kitty Bogel!
Now I didn't want it to be a typical Hello Kitty. If I understand my girlfriend right, she likes quirky and silly things. So I decided to do something that the sales girl said had never been done before.
I decided to dress the Hello Kitty up in a Yoda costume. I thought this stuffed toy would really represent elements of both me and her in one. I mean she, being the Hello Kitty and me... being a Star Wars fan!
I bought the costume and started working on it.
Man wearing tiny clothes and tiny Yoda pants for a Hello Kitty ain't an easy thing to do.
It's quite cute though, has a little gap in the back for its tail.
I struggled with it for a while but eventually managed to pull through.
Then I made a custom-made birth certificate for it and gave it a name.
At the end of the process, here's what I ended up with.
Everyone... meet.... HELLO YODA!
(Notice how Hello Yoda too has a light saber. Don't fuk with Hello Yoda)
The girlfriend is going to hate it isn't she?
Shit ... I knew I should've gone for Hello Vader instead!
I'm actually blogging now from a villa somewhere way outside Melbourne. It's going to be a relaxing weekend. Out here with David (one of our partners for Nuffnang Australia), Pierre and some other friends. Will blog about this weekend next week or something.
In the mean time let me catch you up on what else I've been up to in Melbourne this far. Reached on Wednesday morning but was too tired to go into the office because I didn't sleep much on the plane. Was one of the unlucky passengers that had a seat that just wouldn't recline. So I was pretty much upright for the 7-8 hour flight. There goes my day. So Ming went into the office and had all the meetings without me.
Thursday though I headed to the Nuffnang Australia office with Ming to catch up on a lot of updates on how Nuffnang Australia was doing. I'm quite excited for Nuffnang Australia. It's grown really quick in the past 12 months and I think we're beginning to see a lot more activity on that front. Lots of other things we're working on too.
We had a great lunch that day. Ming brought us to this restaurant that he wouldn't allow me to tweet about or blog about. I took a picture of the outside of the restaurant and he warned me not to share it with anyone else because that restaurant was like his secret place. So fine....
Ming ordered enough food to feed a Mongolian army. So much that we couldn't finish it all that he went around with a plate passing the food on to the other side of the table. Had to take this picture here because it's not often you see Boss Ming waitering around.
The afternoon was spent in the office too until of course Pinky came in to tell us that the Coffee for Nuffies session was starting soon.
You guys know about Coffee for Nuffies right? It's a monthly coffee session we started in the KL office where we invite 4-5 Nuffnangers to the office just to have coffee and meet any Nuffnang Staff.
Our Melbourne office decided to start one and Ming and I were supposed to be the "Nuffies" the Nuffnangers here would meet.
Had a great time meeting a lot of the Australian Nuffnangers. Some were Malaysians living in Melbourne now too including Michelle here whom I know has been following my blog for a while.
Always love meeting up with Nuffnang bloggers and it's something we try to do each time we visit an office in another country. Just like how we met up with some Pinoy Nuffnangers while we were in the Philippines a couple months back.
Gotta go now guys. Will blog more soon.
I miss home.
Updated: On my slow Sunday afternoon I just finally caught up on some Project Alpha episodes. Here's to share some of the latest.
Last night over dinner we all had a intense discussion about Apple. You see it all started when I saw for the first time an iPad. Our Nuffnang Australia office has one so I was playing around with it yesterday. It was cool and all but in 5 minutes it went from everybody crowding around wanting to play with it to being left on the table alone doing nothing.
The conclusion was... I'm not going to buy one yet because I really don't know what I would use it for yet. I think I'll just let everyone else use it first and show me how they use it on a daily basis before I think of getting one in the future. Besides, in a few months they're probably going to come up with better versions of it.
So anyway back to Apple. My first Apple product was an iPod. I bought it in London because in London where you walked a lot you kinda wanted an MP3 player and the iPod seemed to be the default choice. I loved it but it wasn't exactly enough to turn me into an Apple Evangelist.
Then right after I graduated and before I started Nuffnang with Ming, I bought myself my first Macbook. That was when it happened. I loved the Mac OS.
Suddenly all my frustrations that I had with Windows disappeared and using a computer became so easy! I turned .... straight away into an Apple Evangelist.
Then I followed up with buying some other Apple products. Not stuff like the Apple TV or iPod Shuffle because I thought they were useless but the iPhone for one. This is when it started going downhill from there.
1) The first iPhone I got was the iPhone 2G. It looked cool and flashy and all that but it lacked a lot of important features like 3G, the ability to forward SMSs and etc etc. I even wrote an entry about this back then.
Shortly after, Apple came up with the 3G which and 3GS with upgrades of what the iPhone should be able to do as a normal phone. I couldn't help but feel led on. As an Apple Fan, I bought the product as soon as it came out but only to find that the product's features were inferior even in those times. Why? Companies these days when they come up with expensive high-end electronic products they make sure it has the best features of its time. Why deliberately wait if not for the reason to just make us buy another one again? I eventually bought the 3Gs when it came out so if that was the reason it worked perfectly!
2) Then recently the leaks of the new Apple iPhone come out. Apparently found in a bar. The minute I saw this I thought that this was getting totally old. Heck even CNN who reported it was asking experts if this was just another marketing ploy by Apple. Sure... you use it as a marketing ploy once, great. Use it as a marketing ploy as many times as they did, I think it just starts to insult my intelligence.
But the Apple evangelists eat it all up and go all the way for it.
3) So what else does Apple do?
Jason Chen is the tech blogger in the USA that "leaked" it. He apparently bought it from a guy who found it in the bar just to write about it. So Apple got the police to ask him to return the phone which he did but that wasn't enough.
They got the police to raid his home and confiscate all his computers and all that.
What is this? Because somebody in Apple slipped up (assuming this was a real leak and not a marketing ploy), the blogger who blogged about it gives the phone back eventhough he's paid good money for it. And you still go in and confiscate his stuff. Not to mention that it is these tech bloggers and journalists that give Apple all the hype it gets anyway.
And of course with this raid and all... some people may think that oh.. yeah maybe it wasn't a marketing ploy. Maybe this time it was a real leak. Well call me cynical but I'm thinking.. maybe they knew everyone was thinking it was a marketing ploy so they decided to do this raid to convince people that it wasn't. It worked at least to some extent.
4) There are a lot more reasons to why I've lost my faith in Apple but I'm going to go to the most recent one that was the ultimate tipping point for me.
Just recently I upgraded my Macbook Pro and bought a new one.
It's the one on the right in this picture.
The new Macbook Pro I realize has a unibody. So that means you can't take out the laptop battery when you've plugged it in. Now in my experience, when you leave your laptop battery in when you plug in your laptop to power, it will slowly kill the battery life. Eventually you'll have a laptop battery that lasts like 5 minutes.
I was totally frustrated when I found out about that. I travel a lot! How can I not have a laptop battery that works?
So I tweeted my frustration and some of my dear followers replied that the new Macbook Pro has a chip that regulated the power between the charger and battery so even when it's plugged in, the battery life doesn't die like traditional notebooks. I was impressed... and happy for a while. Until I checked with a number of my friends with Macbook Pros and they tell me that all their batteries after a few months or a year, don't last very long.
So is that chip just marketing speak again? Or does it not work?
What does Apple want us to do? Send back my Macbook Pro every 2 years to get them to change my battery for me or to just buy a new Macbook Pro?
Because of this frustration of knowing that my laptop battery ain't gonna last... for the first time ever I actually considered moving back to a Windows based laptop if this Macbook Pro battery dies on me in no time. That's right... goes against the saying "Once you've had Mac you never go back".
So everyone, that is why I no longer love the Apple Brand as much as I did before. Sure I still use their products and I still probably will buy more of their products. But I will be very objective when talking to people about them. I won't go "THIS IS THE BOMB THIS IS THE BOMB" without evaluating myself. I would probably just go "This is good but this is what's not good about it.". I will no longer love the brand anymore.
Maybe one day I will have my faith in Apple again.... until then... this is it.