Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cape Town 2

About 7.30 am

About 9 am

These scene would be the first thing that greeted me every morning when I opened my eyes for the next three days depending on the time I wake up.  

I am not a habitual coffee drinker but sitting here on this crisp, cold and beautiful morning it seemed the most natural thing to do. I actually like this cappuccino very much. We were waiting in this little cafe near the bus stop at Strand Street to board the double decker bus to go on the city tour. 

We also had these to go with the coffee and they were delicious.

So ecstatic going on to the open top of a double decker (my first), I was falling all over myself. For these brief moments I became a child again, feeling so gleeful and free like the birds. The sun, the breeze and the incredible scenery made me light headed.


Not sure what this monument is about as we just whizzed past it.
(Just found out:The monument is of the first prime minister of the union of South Africa-Louis Botha)

This old building sandwiched between the new.

More exquisitely preserved old buildings.

A beautiful church with an obstructive white non-describable structure parked right in its frontal :(

Million-dollar homes at the foot hill of the Table Mountain.

Then the bus started towards the Signal Hill where the cable car station to the top of the Table Mountain is and the view is unbelievable.

Lion's Head

Lion's head from a different angle.

At the cable car station looking down on our right of the city.

Same spot as above pic but looking towards our left.

The cable car service to the top of the Table Mountain was closed for maintenance. Very disappointed as I was really looking forward to this part of the tour. K suggested we hike but I took one look up the mountain path and decided I will come back when the cable cars are available.

The Mountain
The picture above is when one looked to the left and the picture below when looked right. That is how near the Mountain and the Ocean are. Our heads didn't know where to turn to capture the whole panorama.

The Southern Atlantic Ocean

This was taken when the bus was traveling through the beach front towards the city. The next post will be at the V&A waterfront where we stopped.

Please note that the incredible blue skies that appeared in most of the pictures above have not been photoshopped or adjusted in any way. This was exactly (or even bluer if I remember correctly) how Cape Town looked like on the 17th July 2008 (and also for the next few days).
So much for a food blog but just feast your eyes on the panoramic views and be mesmerized like I was and forget about food for a while. 

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cape Town - City centre

City centre with the Table Mountain as a backdrop

This has got to be one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever set foot on.
The city is perched in between the Table Mountain (which is like a tiara and can be viewed from the whole city) and the phenomenal coastline of the Southern Atlantic Ocean. 
The Table Mountain is neither big nor very tall but it is so, so breathtakingly picturesque. I can use all the superlative adjectives in the English language and I won't be able do justice to the beauty of this city. Neither can the photos we took.  
K and myself were fighting over the use of the camera at the beginning of the trip but later compromised to him doing the sceneries and I the food, that worked out well and no more fights.
We arrived in the morning about 8 (2 pm Malaysian time). It was a little misty and cold about 8C - 10 C. A bell boy in the hotel when learned that this was my first visit to the city so very apologetically told me that it had been kinda wet and cold for the last few days. So I was all prepared to insulate myself well and carry an umbrella to go.

One of the many cobble stone avenues that displayed a colorful arrays of the native art and crafts. 

Saw this man with an eggiest head ever who was talking happily into a land phone set. I thought that was so funny, asked K to snap a picture of him and we were asked to pay. Now who laughs the loudest?

SA Museum

A piece of the Berlin wall.

Lion's Head viewed from downtown

Stopped by in a small place called Cafe Ros to take a rest and some coffee to warm up. Sitting there, the aroma from the small kitchen made us hungry, so we decided to have our lunch instead. 

Chicken Soup @ R23 (~RM10) 
This is the best chicken soup I ever tasted and that is from one who doesn't even like thick soup to start with. It is definitely made from fresh corn, fresh chicken and is beautifully flavored with herbs. K asked and apparently they added some pasta to thicken it a little but they didn't reveal the different herbs used. 

Salad Beef @R38 (~Rm17)
Very fresh greens but the beef strips were a little dry and too salty. 

Penne with mushroom and ham @ R30 (~RM14)
Doesn't look good but this is so, so tasty and perfectly done. 
It makes a lot of difference when ingredients used are fresh and you can tell that these few dishes we just had used the freshest. I was impressed and couldn't wait to start the culinary journey in Cape Town. Portions of dishes general are larger than back home. 

After the meal, went round a bit but fatigue caught up with me and tak tahan anymore, we headed back to the hotel. I thought I would just take a short nap but when I woke up it was about 8 pm. It was too late (not safe to walk around town after dark here in Cape Town, especially for foreigners) to go out for dinner. So K went next door and ta pau some Nandos Chicken and they tasted so much better than the ones in KL (again, the moon is always rounder overseas). That was our dinner the first day in Cape Town, so much for a culinary trip!

Friday, July 25, 2008

First Class Air Travel

After 10 days, 2 cities in 2 continents, more than 20,000 miles and 48 hours on board an airplane at 33,000 ft above sea level, home is the best place to arrive at. 
The longer the trip the sweeter the home coming. Ten days trip is just too long - a record for me traveling without any of my children. Five days would be ideal. 
But THIS certainly made traveling much easier...

Cabin of a 747 1st class

Fringe benefits got to be one of the greatest perks in life. Just being Mrs. K enables me to enjoy this entitlement which I would never be able to afford (or the Chinese in me would never let me consider paying for such extravagance). So while I can I'll make the most of it and enjoy every minute of this windfall as I don't know how long this will last. Until now, I still haven't quite get over or taken this for granted but I think I can get use to this lifestyle so I have to get on Air Asia once in a while to get grounded!  
I know unless we are some hot shot celebrities, heads of state or CEOs (which are also fringe benefiters), most of us would not get to see this part of the plane which is usually situated right at the front (in the case of a jumbo 747, at the tip of its nose). Since I am here I took the liberty of bringing you along on this tour of the first class. For long haul flight, this can't get any better unless maybe on the 1st class in a A380.

Airline food is not something to rave about but when they are served like in a michelin star restaurant and...

with Dom Perignon and wines to wash down, they get to taste pretty good.

This was the sweet lovely air stewardess assigned to 'take care' of me. Told you I could get use to this life style...
This is a food blog so let me bring out the food...

The Malaysian signature dish, chicken and beef satay for appetizer. Tasty but dry.  

The gravy for the satay is very good, comparable to the Kajang satay sauce. 

A cold appetizer of grilled lobster, smoked trout, smoked salmon with pink seafood cocktail sauce. 

Cream of broccoli soup served with herbed croutons. This was good.

Steamed seabass in oriental sauce which was K's choice and the best part of this dish, he proclaimed, was the rice. The fish was overdone as most food on board are (is it because they are precooked and then the reheating before serving that cause them to be dry?)

I knew I should have ordered the ravioli (I didn't because I am not that great a fan of goat cheese) as soon as I saw my ostrich dish coming. It tasted as well as it looked, dry, dry, dry and it took a lot of  Dom to wash that piece down.

Mango cheese cake with ice cream
This saved the day for me. 'My' stewardess dressed this up extra special for me to take pictures as she saw me shooting away at the food.

That was only one leg of my long journey. I learned as the trip progressed that stews and pasta are better bets for main dishes on board and don't skipped the appetizers and desserts as they are mostly good.

The best part of being in the 1st class in a long haul flight has to be the sleeping arrangement. 

Each individual seat converts into a bed. 
When dinner was served and done, 'my' stewardess came round with the linen to make the bed.

Like magic, the cabin lights get dimmed, day becomes night and it is time to zzz...

If not in the mood to sleep, turn on the screen and you have a endless choice of music and movies to keep you occupied for hours. 
For me (got to be one of the worst travelers ever) who finds it so hard to fall asleep on board an airplane, this device is a godsend.
I went through most of the English and Chinese movies by the end of the trip. 
The first leg of the journey to Cape Town took 15 hours with a stop in Johannesburg and it was fun. 
The homecoming leg stretched 28 hours with 3 stops at various airports and that was a nightmare (even without a single delay), don't think I'll be doing that again, ever. 
It started from Buenos Aires on the 23rd (which is 11 hours behind our time and half way round the world). By the time I touched down in KK airport today the 25th, I was a wreck and a total mess.   
Let me sort out my jet-lagged mind and body first and I'll get to the rest of the amazing trip. 
Have to get myself to bed now so as to break the Buenos Aires rhythm but I know I am going to dream of the Tango.... 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where To?

Amsterdam, Venice (Macao?), Auckland...?

After the Seri Mengasih food fair, I was totally stressed out and was grumbling to hubby about my urgent need to take a break - to be precise - 'I need a holiday!!' was all that transpired. 
Like an angel (wings and all), he managed to arrange a 10 days holiday (for me but work for himself) to far-away-lands beginning today!!! (destinations to be kept secret, lest the paparazzi get wind of it... :-p). Thank you so much, my love.
I am so excited and totally unprepared. What to bring, wear and and and??? I have been frantically surfing the internet for places of interest and most of all, for places to eat!
It has been more than 2 years since we took a holiday just the two of us. That was to Tuscany, so dreamily romantic as we stayed in a villa and was served unbelievable home cooked food at the terrace with Andrea Bocelli crooning at the background (honestly thought we were in a movie!). 
I almost strangled him (good thing I didn't!) when he accidentally erased all of our pictures from the computer (that was before Flickr). Trips to Tuscany (Italy), Jiuzhaigou (Szechuan), Johannesburg (South Africa) all wiped out. I told him I need to revisit all those destination to recapture the images. This could very well be the first installment... stay tuned. :-D


So sorry didn't have time to answer to all the lovely comments in the previous Oslo post. Thank you all for dropping in. Very much appreciated. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oslo, Norway 2008

A day in May saw K in Oslo, the capital city of Norway. It was an unplanned stopover but so, so sad, only for a day. 
He managed to get to the city but a little late in the evening. 
Below are some of the pictures he took of this beautiful city. He said the pictures didn't do justice to this breathtaking place and I took that as a cue and excuse for me to go there myself to be the judge!

There are something about cobblestone paved streets. I find them so romantic!

The National Theater.

The city stands on a fiord, with a large expanse of waterfront which are charmingly developed and one of them is Herbern Marina which K stumbled upon. 

Herbern Marina is truly a gem with beautiful waterfront and abundance of restaurants that serve fresh sea food. But K was too busy taking in the breathtaking sceneries and forgot all about shooting the food, so this is a no-food food blog post. 

He mentioned maybe a trip here for our next (which one???) anniversary..... and I am like sitting on my one hand and chewing the fingers of the other...might help more if I put them together and....PRAY!