Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dinner with my aunt and cousin

My Aunt (I call her San Gu, 3rd Aunt) from Melbourne just went to Malaysia and came to Perth to visit my cousin Siong for a week or so for the first time. She loves Perth.
She was scheduled to fly back to Melbourne on Tuesday, so we had a dinner on Sunday, 1 day after I got back.

Home cooking is best!

Pork ribs with chestnuts and mushroom, yummy.

Siong Ko's pudding dessert with caramel and pineapple. He must have a better photo and perhaps recipe on his website.

A photo together to mark the occasion.

I had so much food, and it's so great to see SanGu again, the last time was 2002 in Melbourne. And Siongko is going to Italy to meet up with his partner. They have a great page on Italy travel tips here.

Sneak peek of my trip photos

I arrived back to Perth last Saturday. Spent the last couple of days adjusting jet lag, unpacking, doing laundry, going through 2500 photos, stack of receipts, etc..

Here's a sneak peek of a collage of some of them.

I've put photos of the first 3 days up on picasaweb already. See below for links, or simply scroll down.
Flying with Emirates and landed in Dubai
London Day 1
London Day 2

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Venice is fantastic, Florence is stunning

Went to Venice on Friday. So happen that I bumped into Wojceich from Adelaide U at breakfast and he decided in 1 minute that he'll come with me to Venice. So we did and had a jolly great time with some 200+ photos. Venice is very beautiful. The water is greeny and looks clean. It is fantastic to go with someone.

Saturday, I met Alessandro at Fidenza and he drove me to a castle on a mountain at Bardi. It's not a touristy place so everything is in Italian and there castle is not super impressive like those with lavish paintings. The torture chamber is grouse. But I really enjoyed the alternative tour, seeing the country side from high up, and of course catching up with Alessandro.

We parted at about 3pm and I took a train down to Florence. It's already dark when I checked in and get myself settled, but I decided to went out for a walk. And the Duomo (cathedral) is simply jaw dropping. It literally stopped me and drew me to see it closer. I took some nice long exposure shot using only the floor as support without tripod, most shots turned out quite good. And there was a Charlie Chaplain buskler at one of the plazam very funny and entertaining.

Florence is currently my top ranked Italian city so far. Somehow, I just love it much more than other places.
Also the youth hostle I stay in (which is where I'm using the free internet) is great too. It is decorated vby many copies of paintings and sculptures by some local arts students. Very nice.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yes! Presentation is done

My first international presentation. Spent the whole day flashing up the presentation so that it makes more sense.

OK, they need to close the room now.

In short, it's done, and I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Amsterdam and no internet

There's no internet in the hostel I stayed in Amsterdam and I'm dead tired to write anything on the first night after a whole day of cycling in London, and a whole day of walking in Amsterdam the second night.

Now I'm in Modena, Italy. Conference is going on well. I'm very lack of sleep for many days due to flight schedule, and a long dinner last night that finished at around 1am. It was good though, a new Bologna friend took me and another new friend from Uni Malaya to a local italian restaurant and tried some authentic Modena food.

My presentation is at the last session tomorrow, shall prepare for it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

London Day 2

8/9 Sat

I woke up after 6 hours of sleep at 7:30am, got myself ready and the luggages packed. Woke Sylvia up to let her know I'm heading off at 8:30am and let her know what happened the night before. Then she sent me to the tube at Turnham Green to catch the underground to Liverpool Street where I'll meet YikGio. The trip was smooth and I got there 15 mins earlier so I called Tanliang up for a chat.

YikGio showed up at 9:30am and I followed him home. His place is just <10m mins walk from the Liverpool Station, fantastic location. I dropped my luggages there and we set out for a whole day of bicycle tour of Central London.

It is awesomely awesome to see London on bicycle with a good friend who knows the places quite well. Wow, where do I start, we went to so many places. I think we started off at the Tower Bridge and ended at the National Museum. In between there were the Big Beng, Packingham palace, Westminster Abbey, Thames River, London Eye, Bolough Market, lunch at Chinatown with his landlord Paul, St Peter's Cathedral, etc..

The funny thing is that I didn't learn all these places in English, so the names really do not mean anything to me at all. It's until I translate it into their Chinese names, then I go "Wow! I'm at XXX!! It's unreal." Like the da ying bo wu guan, tai wu shi he, etc..

Cycling around London is fantastic although it could be a bit scary at times too. But it's a really efficient way to see the place. There's no way I could have covered so many landmarks in London in such a short time if not by cycling. And YikGio is a fantastic tour guide, he took many photos of me in front of the landmarks, which is something I don't get very much as a lonely traveller a lot of the time. Thank you very much my friend.

I'm now on my way to the Stansted airport to catch my flight to Amsterdam.
Photos should follow when I get time to load them up.

Photos in my picasaweb

Windsor Castle, Oxford and dinner with Winson

As the title said, that's what I did today. Took quite some photos today. Need to sleep now. Watch this space for photos and details.

Friday, September 07, 2007

London Day 1

7/9 Friday

My first morning in London. The jetlag did not bother me much and I'm well adjusted from a late-nighter to a early-morninger by the jetlag. I woke up at 8:30am, Sylvia went out for an appointment already so I had some organic honey muesli myself.

Sylvia came back at around 9am+ and she made me some very nice omelette with smoked salmon, avocado and spring onion, on toast. It's fantastic. Then we decided to go to Windsor Castle together and after that I'd go to Oxford myself and come back to meet Winson at Fulham Broadway.

1 hour in Oxford, rush like mad. Saw a girl who looks like RongZuEr on train. Met Winson and his A level friend Jeff (a Medical researcher from from Malaysia living in Ireland).

Night back late, stucked at Earl's Court for half an hour got home at about 12:30am.

Photos in my Picasaweb

Arrived London

I touched down London at 8:15pm local time. Took about 1.5 hours to clear the custom, so many people.
My cousin Sylvia came picked me up and we reached her home at 10-ish. Relaxed a bit and bath, now it's mid night at London, which is 7am Perth time. I was still rather hyper active when I reached London, I think I'm ready to collapse anytime now.

Good night world.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Flying with Emirates and landed in Dubai

Emirates airline is fantastic. Movies, TV programs on demand, huge selections, altogether aboutmore than 500 channels to choose from! The screen is bigger than MAS and SIA and its a touchscreen! In addition, there are two live camera I can watch, one looking infront of the cockpit and another looking down to give a bird-eye view.

The air stewardess are very pretty and friendly too. Haha.
I got a window seat, but it really didn't matter because all three seats are empty, so I got 3 seats to lie down and had a good sleep. :)

The food are great. Breakfast was some cheesy crepe with salmon and baked tomato. I forgot to take a photo of the menu. :(
And the lunch was fried Hokkien noodle with seafood, and some salad with two small pieces of cooked salmon.

I watched a romantic pseudo musical "Because I said so" and half of Aaron Kwok's award winning "Father and Son" (After this we exile(?) was the proper name).
In the 11 hours flight, I slept (probably 5-6 hours), watch 1.5 movies, had two meals and went to toilet 4 times.

Oh by the way, there's WiFi on the aircraft also, and it's free to preview the inbox. To use it for 4 hours costs 10 USD. I didn't try.

Before landing at Dubai, I looked out the window, the sight is amazing! It's all sand, just a huge desert. And there are clusters of houses here and there connected by roads that looks like highways from the plane. And there are power line as well stretching vast distance. When it get close to the airport, suddenly there are patches of greens and knife-cut built-ups. The sight is just amazing! It's amazing that in the middle of a desert, a city is build and is flourishing.

Walking out of the aircraft was another shock. 35 degree celcius with high humidity. But tht only lasted for 20 seconds before I walked into a shuttle bus that took me into the airport.

The Dubai International Airport looks like any western airport with dutyfree liquor, cigar, perfume, huge posters, etc. The only difference is the people, many dressed like Arabic - white over cloth for man or black overcloth with veil covering everything except for the eyes for lady. Strangely, it looks to me that it is just as acceptable as any other clothing. The cultural/religeous stereotype somehow become relaxed when people are in a foreign land. This is probably my first bit of eye-opening experience on this big trip.

It's 2:30pm in Dubai now, 4 hours behind. I have another half an hour until boarding.

Updates 25/09/2007:
Photos are up at my picasaweb

Big trip Italy

I'm at the airport now, 5am in the morning. The flight is at 6am. 11 hours to Dubai, then transit for 2.5 hours, and the another 7.5 hours to London Heathrow. This will set a new reocord for me as the longest flight.

I'll spend 2 days in London, staying with my cousin Sylvia and will meet up with my Hobart housemate Winson and highschool mate Kenny (Yu4 Jie2).
After 2 days in London, I'll be off to Amsterdam for 2 nights 1 day. Then flight to Milan and make my way down to Modena where my conference will be.

The conference is 5 days, first day I'll only attend the afternoon session which is tutorial. I didn't plan to attend that as it cost 150 Euro and I didn't know who was presenting. But later the price dropped to 50Euro and Mubarak Shah is presenting. He's a leading researcher in my field and I read and use some of his papers. I'm very excited to be able to attend his tutorial.

Then it's 3 days conference. I'll be presenting my paper on Wednesday last session. (haven't brush up my last bit of presentation yet). Then I'll go to Venice for a day, Florance, Pisa (leaning tower) for 2 days. Naples (Pompeii) for a day and Rome for 3 days.

More updates will come with photos. Hope internet will be good.

Stay tuned.