Expedition To Canberra

Date of Visit:  April 18 2015

A quick pictorial post of my visit to Canberra, primarily to see James Turrell’s Retrospective at NGA, Canberra.  Unfortunately I can’t post any pictures from the exhibition since photography was prohibited.  In any regards, if you are interested, do a Google search on the artist himself…

Trees are especially pretty in autumn, one of the ideas for the design of the ‘Garden City’ is to promote a distinctive European feel…And walking by the artificial lake was very relaxing.

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Hues of Gold

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Hues of Reds

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Flags of all countries with an embassy in Canberra

Canberra is a geometric city with radials and axis… The direct axis from Parliament House to War Memorial

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Parliament House

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War Memorial

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The National Carillon on Aspen Island

A walk on Anzac Parade with many sculptural memorials…

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A hike up Mount Ainslie – the highest point in Canberra

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Panorama of Canberra

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Note the distinctive axis

I stayed at Hotel-Hotel, the newest and hottest hotel in Canberra or Australia at the moment…

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Entrance

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Rear of Hotel-Hotel linking to cinema, offices and alternative exit to the street

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Small, tight hotel reception

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Restaurant/ Cafe

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A play on linear-planes using recycled timber

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My room

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Artwork on walls

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External artwork – more bikes

I had a good dinner at the hotel.

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Octopus with smoked curd (?)

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Duck breast with figs and cherries

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Apple crumble

This breakfast cost $14.50!  Very steep for 2 crumpets – and a cup of Long Black! Totally not worth the $$! 😓

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2 small crumpets, honey and butter

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Cute salt container

External of the hotel at the back…

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Facade treatment at the back, sun-shades and vertical gardens…

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Origami facade at the frontIMG_2586

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The art gallery outside the hotel (at the back)

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More artworks… an eagle crafted from metal

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Quivo, Pavilion KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visits:  Various since April 2015

There are many, many restaurants in Pavilion KLCC – and the thing is, they all serve practically the same stuff!

I have been frequenting Quivo quite often when I’m in town.  I like the interior decor – pretty and swanky, like sitting in a furniture shop 😜 – and with the opened terrace, I can indulge in my favourite activity that is people-watching, while sitting high up in the high chair by the bar area!

Pretty swish interior

The barman is entertaining too when he’s juggling the bottles to mix drinks! 👯👯

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Bar area

Art-deco-mod Menu Cover! (Slightly tired nonetheless…)

To drink…

A fruit juice combo (carrot, berries,etc..?)

Vino blanco💃🏻

There’s also a wide range of alcoholic beverages and cocktails which I shall try and Instagram (check me out here ) next time instead…

Even though I have been there a few times, I only just realised that Quivo is a ‘Mediterranean inspired restaurant’ when I googled it!  😜  Ex..see..Q..see..mee!  Anyway, here are pictures of stuffs I’ve tried!

A piping hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with toasted pita bread.  Nice snack while waiting for the mains to arrive.

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Spinach Dip

The healthy Meze share plate.  There’s hummus made from chickpeas and spicy salsa with roasted peppers.  There’s an inflated pita bread to dip the hummus and salsa and crunchy crudités and olives for munching.

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Mezze Platter

Chicken Caesar with an overly generous coating of shaved parmesan cheese, but only a skewer of chicken.  Although, I like the salad, I didn’t like the rock-hard cold chicken nor the poached egg with a just-thawed yolk!

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Chicken Caesar Salad

We have tried a couple of the burgers on the menu. Here’s a picture of the Spicy Fish Burger that I’ve tried, it was good – and rather healthy with grilled barramundi and extra jalapeños for a kick!

Spicy Fish

The Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich was seared beef stacked with onions, grilled peppers, stir-fried mushrooms, cheese and mustard-mayo in a hoagie roll.  It was very American! So, I don’t think it is Mediterranean at all! Still, it was a nice stomach filler.

Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich

The paddle board pizza selections are highly recommended!  If I recall, you can choose to have either the regular or thin crust pizza base.

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Pizza Margherita

And last but not least, the Fish and Chips

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Fish and Chips

…’til next time!

#LagiLagiGilaGila: National Humour Magazine Exhibition @ Galeri Petronas, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Duration : 14 April 2015 – 15 July 2015
Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (closed on Monday). Admission is free.

GILA-GILA is a national humour magazine that was first published on 1 April 1978. It is a socially-accepted novelty and an important piece of history that embodies the brilliant minds of Malaysia‛s top cartoonists.”

Gila Gila is an equivalent of the American Mad comics.  It is a hilarious satirical comic publication that touches on the poignant cultural landscape of Malaysian lives.

Comics are also creative vehicles which provoke an insight to the cartoonists’s minds.  Whilst fun, it is also powerful enough to disseminate information through parody – a useful propaganda to reach out to the young and illiterates.

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1st edition magazine covers. Worth a few quid, ya think?

There are over 500 original artworks ranging from comic strips, editorial cartoons, rare first editions and sketches and drawings on display.

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B&W illustrations

As this is a restropective exhibition on Malaysian comics, portfolios of top Malaysian cartoonists are exhibited and explained. I believe there are also opportunities to meet with the artists on certain dates, however, do refer to Galeri Petronas’ webpage (here).

There were a lot of explanations on individual panel boards (thus information overload for me)… but what truly captivated me were the beautiful watercolours and the masterful strokes of the cartoonist-artists.  Comics are powerful in that one does not need to read nor understand the language:  A picture tells a thousand words.

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A comic tells a thousand words

Gila Gila caricatured and injected a sense of humor to a wide array of pressing cultural, social and political issues of the day.

Malaysian Popular Culture:  The identity and lifestyle captured in the scenes are all very familiar in the public’s collective memories.

Remember the day when when dad brought home a new bike?

Humour in domestic life

Bike ride through the kampung

Jungle Tales

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Backpacker

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AC/DC!

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Movie Star

Kampung humor

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Durian season

If animals can talk…by cartoonist Jaafar Taib

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Economic critique:   Poking fun at world economic – remember the GFC?

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IMF + International Mat-Salleh Fun *Mat Salleh means Westerners in Malay

In honour of humour, if you are in KL, why not go visit?  You might view comics in a brand new light!

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See you there!


            

‘Superhero Mode’ @Strato, Troika KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  May 17 2015

Tired of eating around the Pavilion and Suria KLCC vicinity, my brother and I decided to done our capes to venture further afield – i.e. to cut across the KLCC Park over to Troika, a residential building complex designed by Norman Forster.  *superhero mode*🙌

In the heat of a tropical showdown, getting to the restaurant on foot is a mission in itself.  First, we have to contend with the heat, find our way through the park,  dodge speeding cars  then upon arriving at the destination to find out where among the 2 buildings that ‘famed’ Troika Sky Dining is located.

After enquiring with the guards on duty, we were escorted to the elevator and transported to level 23A…slightly dishevelled and sweaty!

Since we were early – the restaurant only opens at 12pm – we were seated at Claret (the bar), downstairs and given the drinks and food menu to peruse… Interestingly, being an Italian resto, there were pages and pages listing pasta and pizzas… with only 1 page of mains…hmmm…😏

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I quite like ‘kiddy’ graphics for the menu

The downstairs bar area is called ‘Claret’

Circular stairs to ‘Strato’ restaurant

View down to ‘Claret’ bar

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Strato, the Italian restaurant on the upper deck

Bench-style seating for the lone diners. Let the KLCC park views do the talkin’

No kidding – check out our obstacles in getting to our lunch here!

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Part of KLCC park under construction/renovation – but see what I meant when I said getting to the resto was a mission! ☺️

We were entertained by a group of aunties reliving their high-school days, let loose in the marvel of the apps on their smartphones.  They were happily WhatsApp-ing and FaceBook-ing each other (whilst in the presence of each other nonetheless?!🙊…) and with their friends in virtual space.

Cute reminder, but why bother?? 😳

I ordered the No.3 Rickey (steep at RM36++) – gin, fresh lime, soda and no sugar – it was an OK drink.  I didn’t get any ‘kick’ out of it! 😛

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My gin – and a disconnected but ‘wired’ lunch companion

While waiting for my lunch, my tummy started to rumble.  I guess it must be a sign of heatstroke… So off I went to the Ladies’… Sometimes, I wonder why in Malaysia or in other developing Asian countries, things are always half-done.  Here, we have a beautiful restaurant which was very thoughtfully conceived, but when it comes to the servicing part – e.g. the toilets, guests are made to run up/ down the dusty fire-stairs to a toilet that doesn’t even flush properly!

Complimentary Foccacia

Much to our delight, there’s set lunch where we only need to pick a choice for each course! RM50++ for 2 courses and RM65++ for 3 courses.  Naturally, we opted for the later, dessert was bonus for braving the ‘elements’.

The octopus salad was good. The deep-fried transparent leaves added a touch of colour to a  well composed plate of yellow, green, orange…and a squeeze of lemon imparted tanginess to the salted and smoked bean puree.

Grilled baby Octopus with smashed borlotti beans and lobster oil

I had a little ‘surprise’ when the beef tenderloin arrived as I find it very small.  The tenderloin might have weighed less 100g, but for the price of the set lunch, I should not be surprised. Nonetheless, it was well executed and I enjoyed it.

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Pan seared grass fed Tenderloin, roasted root vegetables and porcini jus (there were typos in the menu, but I won’t harp on it! 😜)

Beef done medium-rare, accompanied by roasted turnips, shallots, baby carrot and spinach

Budino is a sweet traditional Italian dessert, rich and creamy like a custard pudding. Here, it is served with plumped-up sweetened cranberries and biscuit crumbs.  It wasn’t too sweet, so I was happy with my choice and it was a good end to our lunch!

Vanilla Budino & Mixed Berries Compote

We lingered a bit with our coffees after the meal…

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Complimentary Coffee

Typically in tropical climes, after a really hot morning, dark clouds will roll in to bring in a storm for a cool-down.  Seeing the dark skies, we decided to hurry home…

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The Twin Towers of Malaysia

Chocolate World Heritage

While sorting out my old memory cards, I found this series of chocolate sculptures that I took during my pre-blogging days.  Rather than putting them into storage, I thought I might share them in a post for everyone to see…

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Stonehenge

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Great Wall of China

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Great Wall of China

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The Dolomites

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Parthenon

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Parthenon in Athens

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Egyptian Tomb

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Egyptian Tomb

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Roman Amphitheatre

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Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Arc de Triomphe in Paris

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Japan’s Himeji Castle

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New York’s Statue of Liberty

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Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow

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Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow

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Sydney Opera House

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India’s Taj Mahal

The chocolate sculpture is a pastry chef called Mirco Della Vecchia who has a series of accolades besides being a Guinness World Record Holder.

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Armchair Traveller: Myanmar 

A friend of mine had just returned from his 2 weeks in Myanmar.  Whist overseas, I’ve been kept abreast on his adventure through pictures of places he’d visited and food he ate via WhatsApp.

Due to tight schedule, he had taken local Burmese in-bound flights e.g. Air Mandalay and Air Bagan.  Here is an article on air safety on Burmese airlines.

The pictures he sent had struck a wanderlust in me to visit Myanmar.  So here’s a sampler of Myanmar!  Hope you enjoy the pics and get as wanderlust as me!🐵

Cultural Sites: Yangoon, Lake Inle, Rangoon, Mandalay

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Buddhas…

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And of course the Monks…

IMG_1848If anything, he wasn’t Temple nor Buddha-fatigued, only Food-fatigued…

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Saviour came on form of Burmese beers and Burmese Wines:

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Dunhuang: Untold Tales, Untold Riches @Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Exhibition period:  26/11/2014 to 16/3/2015

Dunhuang is an oasis town on the edge of the Gobi Desert in western China along the Great Silk Road.  It was a famous center of Buddhist worship in the middle-ages, with pilgrims travelling from faraway to visit its cave shrines, comprising of hundreds of lavishly decorated caverns carved into a cliff on the city’s outskirts.

It was rediscovered by accident by a monk in the late last century.

The Dunhuang Library is hailed as one of the great archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century, on par with Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here are some pictures of a fantastic exhibition put together by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and no doubt Dunhuang is in my bucket list!

However, I better hurry because it ecosystem is very fragile.  Buildup of humidity and carbon dioxide—from visitors’ breath—are  flaking and discoloring the delicate pigment-on-plaster wall paintings, making it very vulnerable to mass tourism.  With Dunhuang entering the digital age, who knows, it might be closed to mass tourism in the future and the only way I get to see it will be via digital media!

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The 15.6 meter recumbent Buddha, serene in death with anguished disciples and mourners, is an iconic image of Mogaoku. 


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Artefacts from Silk Road times as well as replicas from the Mogao Caves.

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Scrolls and Manuscripts:  The Diamond Sutra, a copy of a Chinese translation of one of the Buddha’s sermons, generally recognized as the oldest known example of a dated printed book.

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Education Booklet

Some additional resources:

A really good article from The New Yorker here

The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online is a massive international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes.

Friends of Dunhuang