Monday, April 26, 2010


April 14 - 16, 2010

It was supposed to be a farewell trip to a golfing friend, Datuk Iskandar. Unfortunately he had to report for duty as the new Malaysian Ambassador to China on the 11th. Since we had already bought tickets, we did not let it come to waste. So, another trip to Medan.

Two days after coming back from Shanghai and still nursing the cold I caught there, I was back to hitting balls. This time in Medan. First on our Medan Tour, right after arrival, was Royal Sumatera GC.

Flight mates @ Royal Sumatera GC. From left, Datuk Puad, Datuk Rosli, me, Not Yet Datuk Haji Amir, Datuk Mohd Noor. Datuk Rosli was the Tiger Wood of the group sweeping the top spot and the purse money almost everyday.

Royal's last hole. Of all the golf courses in Medan, Royal Sumatera came up top in my list. It has character and there are buggies for spoilt golfers like us.

We had lunch at this restaurant before a golf round at Graha. This place is famous for its soup and daging bakar (grilled beef). It was palatable.

On the second day we played at Graha Metropolitan Golf Club. It is a walking course. Perhaps it is a bit too much for a group of old men. Haji Amir taking a rest under the shade of the palm trees. I guess I was the fittest in the group. I also won the pool.

My caddy, Armayanti. She was such a good caddy that I played my best game ever in one nine. I got 6 pars. Unfortunately, for the second nine, I was back to my normal game of being consistently inconsistent. I blame it on walking in the mid day heat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shanghai, CHINA

April 10 -11, 2010
It was already dark when we got into Shanghai from Hangzhou. After dinner we went straight to Huang Po River cruise. It was an optional item on the itinerary. It was cold but the bright beautiful sight of Shanghai's famous landmarks made the cruise worth it.

Queuing for the Huangpo River cruise. There was a big crowd pushing us. I let out a big, very smelly fart. The Japanese lady behind me had to back out for fresh air. Anas had a big laugh out of this. Anyway, it was unintentional. I was having problems with my tummy. It could be due to the tea I was taking in big quantity. A new experience for a coffee drinker.

Male Sailors on Deck. Against the backdrop of New Shanghai.

Pearl Shopping Time

It was Chinese Traditional Medicines' turn. We were given a good leg massage while the doctors, professors and experts tried very hard to sell their medicines. I was diagnosed with liver problems and recommended to buy some medicines. The last time in Beijing, there was something to do with my lungs. I fell for it and bought about 4000 Yuan worth of medicines which I ended up not taking. This time I was wiser. Somehow, the person who massaged my legs lost interest in me when I told her I did not have that kind of money. No money no honey, I guess!

Our bus driver got loss looking for this Muslim Restaurant. Bob, our guide called the restaurant owner to come and fetch us.

Dinner Time

Nanjing Road, where all the branded names are.

Shanghai Airlines Travel Hotel (SAL Travel Hotel), our hotel in Shanghai. When we booked the tour, we were promised in writings of staying in Holiday Inn Express Wujiaochang or similar hotel. SAL Travel Hotel was obviously not Holiday Inn. I am not sure whether it was similar. On our last day, there was little chance of last minute shopping or any other activity since we were in the city's outskirt.
In Suzhou it was supposed to be Yijiakaiyuan Hotel or similar. In Hangzhou, it was either Hangzhou Tower Hotel or similar. Somehow, we ended up more in similar hotels. I guess, it is the travel industry's standard practice of promising something but giving something else (similar?). Who could really complain? Things changed along the way.

Our Big Group leaving for home. Pudong Airport
Anyway, it was a good trip for us. The tour group was friendly, the tour manager Aniza was kind enough to attend to our every needs and Bob was a jovial and helpful tour guide.
China is definitely a beautiful place to visit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hangzhou, CHINA

April 9, 2010

Our typical daily tour started with a morning call at 6am. By 8am, we were already hitting places on the tour itinerary. Usually, they were factories where hard sellings took place and people ended with some stuffs they might not need. It is the same with any China tour.

Phoenix Mosque. Also known as Hangzhou Phoenix Temple. It was established in middle Tang Dynasty, destroyed in late Song Dynasty and rebuilt in Yuan Dynasty.

Look who's coming to dinner? My favourite agenda on the tour itinerary

Spring Time

We arrived in Hangzhou from Suzhou the day before. The weather was cold and it was drizzling. We attended a cultural show at the Song Dynasty Village. It was a long wait in the cold for the 2-hour show but it was a good edutainment.

Cold and wet, waiting for the show

Show Time at the Song Dynasty Theater. My Tea Lady.

Xin Xi Lai Hotel, Hangzhou

West Lake tour. It is a scenic area that stretches for 60 square km of which 5.6 square km are waters. Unfortunately, it was drizzling when we got there. There was no sun and the temperature plummeted to near freezing.

Good spring experience

A stroll around the West lake in the cold.

West Lake is a very picturesque location.

Black corn experience. Very tasty for this corn lover. Just like the white corn in Thailand

The boat cruise on West Lake. It was cold and damp. Not a good day for photo outings.

West lake, the next day. It was bright and sunny. We decided to visit West Lake again for photo opportunities that we didn't have the day earlier due to the weather.

West Lake on a clearer day

Lunch time. Another Muslim Restaurant with good, authentic Chinese foods.

At the Tea Plantation

Green tea. Good for health. Good anti oxidant.

Tea picking. Here I learned that they picked only the shoots of the tea leaves. Early spring gives the best tea quality and we were there in early spring. Price could reach as high as 2000 Yuan a kilo. We bought half a kilo. The sales lady managed to convince us, coffee drinkers, to drink tea instead. More healthy, so she said.

We ended up with a few years supply of Hangzhou's premier Long Jin tea.

Travelling mates. Some were above 70 years old. Most were from Seremban. It was quite a big group of more than 20 people! Seen here with Razak, 71 years old strong (left). He is the father of our Tour Manager from Reliance, Aniza. Goh, the only Chinese in our Muslim Tour group is second from left.

Suzhou, CHINA

April 8, 2010

Suzhou is about 2 hours bus ride from Shanghai. It is known for its many canals and waterways and thus dubbed as the Oriental Venice. It is also famous for its silks and gardens. The city was founded in 514 B.C.

Suzhou's only mosque, Tai Ping Fang Mosque. No Muslim tour to China is complete without a visit to a mosque.

Lion Grove Garden. It belonged to a rich family but taken over by the communist government. It is one of the four most famous gardens of ancient classical style in Suzhou. It survived from the end of Yuan Dynasty. It is a combination of Chinese architecture, rock and plant garden.

Anas in the Garden

Me in Circle

One for the album. At a canal in Qili Shantang River town.

One of Suzhou's many canals

Snowy Sea Hotel, our hotel in Suzhou. It was like a commune hotel.

Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory. It is a one stop centre for silk complete with fashion show to showcase silk clothings. The models were a bit over the age limit. Ton went on a shopping spree assisted by the local guide Amy. She bought silk beddings that were supposed to be good for rheumatism and arthritis. They came with heavy price tags but Amy kept reminding the group that in KLCC one bed cover alone costs RM752. We blew a few thousands Yuans.

We left for Hangzhou after lunch.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chenghuangmiao, Shanghai, CHINA

April 7, 2010

It was 6.35am when we reached Pudong Airport, 5 hours flight from KLIA. We were met by our local guide, Bob, a pleasant young man.

Bob and the bus that ferried us around the places during our tour.

Chenghuangmiao was the first on our tour itinerary. It is Shanghai Old Town. Actually, the place is made up of new buildings of old Chinese architecture. It was cold and the place was crowded with tourists.
Starbuck, Chinese style. It was a bit too cold outside. We went in for a cuppa. A typical latte cost RMB24.

The family in Old Shanghai.

It was meal time. The lunch, as with the rest of the meals during the trip, was a sumptuous affair, with eight to ten courses. It was quite a feast and the meals were halal, good and plentiful. It was really something that I looked forward to and enjoyed very much.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Trains Are Coming, Port Klang

April 2, 2010

Our company was given the task of bringing several coaches from Busan, Korea to Batu Gajah, Perak. Zack, Shahrul and I witnessed the unloading of the coaches from the ship at Port Klang.
The Ship
UpUpAnd Away

Putting on the truck
Ready to be taken to the railways.