Monday, July 30, 2012

The Big Day Arrives

Finally, the big day for Yoges and Chathuri arrives. The wedding was held Cinnamon Grand Colombo which was a stone throw away from where we were staying. This venue must be making a fortune on weddings as two just ended earlier and there is one happening in parallel. The day already started early for us best men as we pose for pictures for their wedding albums. I will share the pictures when they are ready.

The ceremony itself started sharp at 17.30 with traditional dancers escorting us to the main hall and stage. It was later followed by the arrival of the bride's family. The religious ceremony than started with it lasting over an hour according to memory. Below was a picture of me and the gang observing the lighting the oil lamp.

Wedding

We only started eating at roughly 9.00 in the evening. The food was no doubt delicious! Well done on the menu and selection.

After several dance and laughters, the evening ended with the bride and groom exiting the venue. It was mayhem as we started throwing and spraying confetti. You can look at the damage it cost the groom in the picture below.

The final picture in the evening

So, my adventure to Sri Lanka comes to an end. It was a worthwhile trip and I am thankful for the new friends I have made. Pictures above are courtesy of my new buddies via facebook.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Temple Of The Sacred Tooth @ Kandy

Located approx 116 km away from Colombo, we took off on a van to the old capital, Kandy. Although the distance seem reasonable, the journey took us close to 4 hours and this included the less busy traffic on the weekend.

We hired a van instead of using a tour company and pushed off early at 8.00 (Well, we were running about an hour behind due to having a late night previously)

Upon reaching the venue on top of the hill, it was magical. You will need to make sure that you are properly dressed with skirts or shorts covering up to your knees at least. For the ladies that have mistaken this, there are sarongs for hire for about 200 rupees.

A brief walk after the security gates you will arrive at the entrance as shown below where you can purchase your entry tickets along with leaving your shoes behind. You will be able to see a few further pictures of my highlights here.



Once through the main entrance, you will come to the base where the tooth relic is stored. Thankfully we got a guide which kept us informed.



You can catch a glimpse of the roof that has the ceiling decorated with golden lotus flowers.



The picture below shows an artist impression of the princess hiding the tooth in her hair while taking it to Sri Lanka from India.



Within the grounds, there is the old palace.



One of the elephants that greeted us as we enter the site. They are getting reading for the procession in the evening.



The beautiful lake situated in Kandy with an island in the middle.



It was a worthwhile journey to get here but a bit too long of a drive especially if you are on a strict schedule like we were. It was also a bit dissapointing that you can't actually see the tooth as it is covered and in a room that is out of sight. The closest chance of you getting to view it is within its protective case being paraded on the elephants at certain times of the year.

It is also worth noting that there is apparently a ceremonial bathing of the tooth every Wednesday but I am unsure if it is open to public.

That's all for this post, I will be back in Colombo in the evening for a barbeque and a wedding the next day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Colombo Sri Lanka

Flew in early this morning to Colombo, Sri Lanka for the first time to attend my friend's wedding. Started early in LCCT this morning and we took off with Air Asia in a group of 9 pax.

The journey from the airport to the hotel took about an hour. It wasn't the distance that made the journey long but more due to the traffic and the road. I would not be caught alive driving here as I will be a hazard to everyone and risk getting banned.



We are staying in the Samudra Hotel which is part of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. A good value hotel and the one closest to the beach that I can see and the above is the view from our balcony. The tower is apparently occupied by the military and there is a train track in between that separates the beach from our hotel.



We did a short city tour in a van. We passed through a few temples and the old parliament. It seems to be a religious country with statues of buddha and other religious figures spread around in a roundabouts and next to the roads. We visited the temple below which I did not manage to catch the name but it was a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.



We ended the evening at Lavinia in a place called Bu Ba Beach Seafood Restaurant for drinks. It was located on the beach across the train tracks where the Tsunami previously hit. It is great to see that things have moved on since. The drinks are not exceptionally good but the atmosphere was nice. It is located quite remotely in and we would have never found this place without a local driver.

Everything is amazing so far and a new experience. Will be spending the next few days here and will keep you posted on my adventures here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Another day back home and as my family are back home, we decided to head to the cinema at Paradigm to watch Batman. XR was speaking so highly about it.

Like many other movies, they have posted a snippet of the movie on line. As their movie runs for over 2 hours, they could afford to post a 15 minute scene from the film. I did not watch this but be great for those to get a preview. Click play below to enjoy.



I did not find the movie to be that great as I enjoyed the last one, the Dark Knight and I recall watching it in a English cinema in Hamburg. I guess the previous set the bar too high. However, Anne Hathaway as cat woman makes up for it. There were moments in the movie where my attention seem to have drifted away, unlike the previous movie where I was glued to the screen.

If you have already watch the movie, please read on. If you haven't I urge you to stop and leave this post to avoid some spoiler. I am posting the poster of the movie to avoid you from reading what I have to say, so you have a few more scrolls to make up your mind.



Ok, you have had your chance. Well, if the nuclear bomb exploded at sea approx 6km away... Why wasn't there a tsunami? I also expect some effects of radiation in the next movie with a guest appearance by Godzilla or something alike. Just something I needed to get off my chest.

Well, till my next post... Take care!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Birthday Of Adeline Ong

Back in time for my loving sister, Adeline Ong's Birthday! We celebrated with a quiet dinner in Gourmandis at the new Citta Mall. Well, not so new but for me at least. This is one of the many malls mushrooming around since the last time I was back.

The service was not that great but the food was much better. Here is a picture of the pizza we took.



It was a Seafood pizza and I particularly liked the thin base and crust. The lamb combo was also yummy!

Last but not least, the birthday would not have been complete without a cake. Here is a picture of a small Red Velvet cake from Wondermilk that my other sister, XR bought!

Adeline Ong

Picture above taken on instagram by XR.

It was an enjoyable evening and it is so nice to be back home.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Artis Zoo @ Amsterdam

The weekend is here and what better way to spend it than in the Zoo. Thanks to a corporate arrangement, we have free entry tickets to the Zoo. It is the second year running that we are here and it is definately much better as I can last recall as it was going under some refurbishment the last time I visited.

Here is a nice picture I took of a brave Prairie dog that was standing in front of its colony against a crowd of people looking.

Prairie dog

Well, maybe it is just occupied with eating. Also, I learned that these Rodent family are called Dogs because they make barking noises. Did not manage to hear any of them though so I had to trust whatever is written on the sign.

It is always inspiring to see what mother nature has to offer but equally sad to see the animals being caged or in a confined space. So, I will be neutral on this topic and more against the animals in the Circus.

For more information and planning a visit to this Zoo in the city, click here to visit their official website.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Seafood at Visaandeschelde in Amsterdam

This restaurant lived up to expectations as one of the best seafood place in Amsterdam. It was walking distance from where we live in Amsterdam and we have always wanted to give it a try and a Friday evening meal was perfect.

Here are some quick snapshots of our meal for the evening. As we went for the 3 course menu, the dishes are in sequence from starters to dessert.

Assortment Of Cucumbers and Miso Mayonaise

The starters was a combination of fish with a variety of cucumbers based sides. It included a cucumber sorbet and jelly.

Fish, Squid and Ratatouille

The main course was a fish, squid and rataouille that was served apart.

Chocolate Brownie

The chocolate brownie included a long tube of cherry jelly and chocolate crumble with gold leaves. Yummy!

I hope the pictures of the amazing dishes did justice. Besides the food, the atmosphere and courteous staff contributed to the experience. The price was also of good value working out to be around 50 Euros per head which included beer and wine.

The dinner was relaxing and a good end to a busy work week.

For more information, visit their english page at http://www.visaandeschelde.nl/eng/

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Far East Movement @ Paradiso

Dirty Bass European Tour. As part of their new album, the Asian American team have decided to grace us in Amsterdam once again with their presence. It is not the first time they have been here in Amsterdam this year but definately the first time I have seen them. Was never a huge fan of their main hit "Like A G6" but the song grew on me.

Far East Movement

They sang their hits Turn Up The Love, Rocketeer and Live Your Life among others. It was an energetic performance with an intimate crowd. They even paid tribute to Beastie Boys which apparently inspired them. There was a lot of interaction with the crowd such as showering everyone with champagne (thanks to the tall Dutch who shielded me for most) and crowd surfing by the performers.

Here is a nice picture of me and Song Yia courtesy of the good folks at ASN-Online.nl. An asian social community site in the Netherlands.

Far East Movement @ Paradiso

Haven't had the chance to upload the videos I captured but here are some I have found from Youtube. It is amazing that some youtubers even recorded the whole show.



Waited an hour after the show for the meet and greet but decided to abandon our efforts after it became packed.

In general, it was an amazing experience. A bit short concert as the true performance only lasted a bit over an hour. Was not to fond of the opening acts but had tons of fun.

Till next time, can't wait for my next concert in Ziggo Dome for Lady Gaga!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Caving In Pecs

Started the day at 0830 when we headed over to the first cave at Orfu to do proper caving. The tightest spot and squeeze I have ever been in. We made a descent of only 40 meters in a group of 8. I completely lost the sense of time as I was battling my fear of heights at some drops. Couldn't help it by imagining everything that can go wrong (Thanks to bloody movies such as Final Destination)

Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my camera in there.

We headed to a second cave after lunch. This was more of a stroll and the cooling atmosphere inside was refreshing.

Still the evening to go before I head back to rainy Amsterdam. I imagine we will have a feast of meat and wine.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sensation 2012 Amsterdam

Had the opportunity to join over 40,000 people at Amsterdam Arena for Sensation. This year's theme is source of light. The cool part of Sensation (formerly known as Sensation White) is that everyone dresses in white.

Here are two videos that I have captured of that evening's stunning performance:





The event started at 10.45 sharp and I stayed till 4.00 in the morning. A new record for my endurance. Not a very seasoned individual when it comes to such events. Regardless, no regrets.

This event started out in Netherlands have since gone global and tours the world. Click here to visit their official website.

An experience that I highly recommend if you ever have the chance.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

Saw an advert on a billboard yesterday evening that this movie is "nu in de bioscoop". That is dutch for Now In The Cinema. The good thing about cinema in Netherlands is that all English movies are available in their original language unlike Germany where I had to go to an English Cinema for that.

Well, take a look at this special 4 minute preview if you haven't had the chance to watch this!



Trust me, it is an amazing movie in indeed. Marvel seems to be having a great year with blockbusters after blockbusters. I particularly enjoy the cameo appearances by Stan Lee in all Marvel movies.

Check out a picture I took of Spiderman upon my exit of the Wax Museum in Amsterdam not too long ago.



Not too sure if Tobey or Andrew was a better Spiderman but nevertheless I did enjoy both versions.