Friday, May 29, 2015

One night at Langkah Syabas @ Kinarut

I understand I am always on the move. May it be for leisure or for work, I am always on the move. But the number one people who always get my attention is my FAMILY. 

My family and friends know this because I spend most of my weeknights with them (having to stay with them) and because we're just close that way.

I have always insisted on a family trip, so *I* took the liberty to organize this trip. I made sure it is SO NEAR to home that no one can say no to it, I made sure we're all in one car and come the same time so that we'd have to deal with each other throughout. I made sure that we're all in ONE ROOM (we can afford to, there's only 4 of us!) so that we can really spend the night together.

So I decided on Langkah Syabas Beach Resort  because of all the reasons I just mentioned. I had no expectations because I've never been to the shore / beach of the Kinarut Beach / Shore. After a 30 minutes drive (yes just 30 minutes!) we reached Langkah Syabas.

People were great - they welcomed us with a smile, we had a good parking right in front of the porch and we  were welcomed by TREES. SO MANY TREES!!

Not sure if we're in luck ... but a couple was to have their wedding that night and the beachfront was setup SOOO BEAUTIFULLY!! Mum and I were snapping everything away :))

 ^Our own private room with balcony.


^Some of the quirky things we brought 

 ^The sunset I was talking about in my Facebook

 ^Trees, palm trees, so many trees.

 ^The beautiful wedding hosted when we were there.

 ^We had a beautiful dinner at the Beringgis Seafood Restaurant.

AND GUESS WHAT.

Just as we walked out of our room to head to the restaurant, fireworks sprout out!! The wedding had fireworks halfway through it was AMAZING!

We were so lucky!

^I am so bad at taking food photos. 



So much fun under one night :)

What a quick way to get together with the family!



Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Borneo International Marathon Weekend

I have too many photos I have no idea what to do with.

But because I don't trust Facebook (I don't know why), so they're mostly shared on my blog :)

These were taken on the Borneo International Marathon Weekend where a lot of my friends were in town. I don't usually go out as much but that weekend called for gatherings!

 ^One of the beautiful evening I went for a jog.

 ^The view of Borneo International Marathon. Right before the sun almost killed me.

^One of my favourite evening. Catching the sunset at Sunset Bar Tanjung Aru with music as background

 ^Real people with real life

^What I have been busy with 




Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Walk Abreast @ In support of Breast Cancer Awareness with Kinabalu Pink Ribbon

Every year mum insists on participating one particular event.

Just one. 

It's the Walk Abreast organised by the Kinabalu Pink Ribbon and in awareness of Breast Cancer. My fourth year joining mum, and I've seen how this event has multiplied by leaps and bounds over the years.

Kinabalu Pink Ribbon Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kinabalupinkribbon

^My really honest family picture.

- Mum being sweet 
- Jessy having mum's back 
- Me without makeup 
- Brother being silly 

Among many things of course :)

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Japan - Day 3, Shinkansen to Kyoto

The first time I Googled about Japan, there were a lot of articles out there talking about the shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto. Everyone seemed to be wanting to give travelers out there one specific advice:

SIT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRAIN. 

So we did just that. The ever so helpful and friendly Japanese customer service guy at the JR Office Station in Tokyo reserved us the seats on the right aisle a day before the actual departure. and guess what, WE MISSED IT.

I had a hunch that we would miss it because I wasn't confident in taking the train really early in the morning at 9.00am. But thank heavens for the awesomeness of the JR Pass, we can book the next train anytime we like from any JR Station! So we estimated our journey, this time to be expecting Tokyo Station in less than half an hour to be able to FINALLY catch the shinkansen to Kyoto.

Luckily this time we manage to reach Tokyo station on time. PHEW.

I was fidgeting the whole time making sure we don't miss the train again, eventhough the shinkansen was to come in 10 more minutes. I kept thinking in my head, if there is one Japanese mark they had left upon me as well was their punctuality. "If they say, they're coming at 11.30am, and leave at 11.32am, they must leave at 11.32am right? Like not a second late???"  

YES. Not a second late.

The truth of the matter is, it didn't matter whether you'd miss that 11.32am train, because Japan's rail system is crazy efficient by the time you would sulk because you missed that train, another one would have probably come by just in time for you to dry your eyes.

Japan's train system functions in such a way that you will not have the schedule to reschedule your entire day's itinerary.

Before we boarded the shinkansen (bullet train), we made sure we bought lunch from their awesome convenience stores (because we are to travel over lunch, from 11.30 am to 2.10pm).

I think I went a little crazy (like I always do, I love their convenience stores!!)


^Yes I know this is a lot. But how can I not??

The promised Mt Fuji peaking through when you sit on the right side of the shinkansen. This view is merely minutes away from the time you board the shinkansen, so HOLD YOUR pillow down and WAIT! 


This is the famous right-seated train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto to catch the iconic Mt Fuji captured in my short video :)



I slept on and off during the three hour journey because it was a little bit impossible  to check out the scenery outside when the shinkansen was going super fast. When I first tried, I fell so dizzy. But I couldn't help to look at some of the breathtaking views of the plains and hills of Japan, I mean, how can I not - it's Japan out there!


^I was so fascinated by this HUGE solar panel Panasonic building, I took a photo of it :p

I remember posting on Instagram on the stark difference of a train ride I had from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Kandy versus this trip from Tokyo to Kyoto. Same duration of three hours but I had to sit on the floor with my legs jutting out from the train in Sri Lanka, and the complete opposite in Japan. 

Which was absolutely fine! I just felt, oh my God, our lives are so beautifully different. Both the experiences were so priceless I wouldn't trade it for anything! 

Read More Japan posts:

Japan Day 1: Day 1, Tokyo, Shibuya & Akihabara Electric Town
Japan Day 2: Disneyland

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Camping at Mondikot Deer Camp

My colleagues and I are always on the lookout for interesting, obscure places to discover. A few weeks ago, we decided on a camp in the insides of Kaiduan Village. I found out that Kim's humble abode, hectares of deer farms has been giving access to more people now - and is now open to public!!

The road to Kaiduan Village is ... not that easy. Uncle Desmond recommended 4WD to go through the roads, generally, it is still okay for normal cars to pass through but once you enter the sides of the road that are parallel to the river - that can be a bit stressful!

Make sure you hire a 4WD, or bigger cars, or maybe even ask Uncle Desmond about it!

^Photo by Rodney O Brien - When asked Uncle Wembley about the significance of this rock he said, "oh we just saw it lying around and we decided to turn it over." HAHA cute.


I spoke to Mr Desmond of Mondikot Deer Camp of our arrangements and he has been SO KIND to provide us with ALL the necessary details! We planned to camp for only a night :)))

Because some of us worked till 3pm that evening, we reached the kampung late in the evening, around 5pm, almost 6pm while the rest reached around 7pm.

 I had to rush to the kitchen area (they have a complete kitchen station you wouldn't believe it!!) so that we don't miss the daylight to cook our meals. I was also so kancheong that we won't be able to make the fire in time before dark BUT, to my pleasant surprise - the firewoods had a fire catalyst (rubber) already that all we had to was to burn it an voila!!

We've got campfire!! :)


I'm not gonna say that it was not cheating HEHEHE - but really, this was quite convenient for city folks like us :P

*peace*

 ^Massive bugs like this hanging out in the woods. I kept looking at these bugs because REALLY, I've never seen bugs these huge in real life before! SERIOUSLY

When uncle Wembley happily came to us with a black plastic bag, we knew we were in for an educational treat. He seemed ready to share with us some stuff, and he started distributing us these red beans and told us to eat it. LIKE, Just eat it. 

Where had it come from, what they were to taste like, it didn't matter, we believe him and we took a bite of its juicy meat. And then he said, try this "Limau Kasturi" (lime). 

I took a chunk of the lime and it tasted REALLY sweet. OMG! 

Apparently, these small red fruits are called "magic fruits" - magical enough to turn anything you eat after to something really sweet. 

I was so excited about this new-found discovery that I kept asking everyone to try it :)))  There mixed reactions - some said they didn't get to taste it sweet, some said it tasted weird but MOSTLY said it turned sweet!

^Magic fruits. Please ask the guard or Uncle Wembley for these magic fruits :) 

 ^Our camps! We were given kayaks / canoes for our use :) 


At night, we spent sometime eating and hanging out by the campfire talking about birds, the crazy city lives we have and the joy of getting away from it all once in a while like that night.

I even tried fishing (and failed miserably)!

SO GOOD to be out in the woods once in a while - I truly recommend Mondikot Deer Camp if you've got the time and 4WD to do so hehe.

Facebook: Mondikot Deer Camp 

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Tokyo - Day 2, Disneyland

I need to start this post with a fact.

After this trip, I Googled "the most populous city in the world" and guess what came in first? TOKYO.

Yes, seriously. Not any cities in China, neither in India, nor in America, but TOKYO JAPAN!

I haven't actually dive into the reason why Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, I'm sure there is some history, campaign, law or legislation to this, but I have yet to read it somewhere, so if you DO know, please let me know!

How true this article from IB Times is, must have somewhat truth in it because... planning to go into Tokyo Disneyland, without purchasing ticket online, on a weekend is a little crazy.

We had Disneyland in mind simply because, we just had to. We are child at hearts and we're already in Tokyo, might as well check it out. That sounded so simple.

We stumbled upon the Disneyland Ticketing Office while walking around Shibuya looking for the Robot Restaurant, and decided, HEY, let's see how much the prices of the tickets are!

So we entered only to see a spiral of people queuing what we could only imagine people would queue for - the entrance ticket of Disneyland. We followed the queue and after about less than 10 minutes we finally got to the counter and asked for tomorrow's tickets. GUESS WHAT. It's SOLD OUT. 

WHAT. CRAP we thought. Now we really want to go to Tokyo Disneyland more than ever!

BUT she said, we can still sell the tickets to you but you have to be there by 8am. It sounded okay... until we started counting the estimation of leaving our home and reaching Disneyland. So basically, we had to leave by 5. That means get ready by 4am. And when we reach Disneyland, we have to run for our lives to get to the main gate first to be able to confirm our entry?

OK. Challenge accepted. 6400 Yen (MYR 190) for each of us then!

After Akihabara,  we went home to sleep and get ready for a super early day.

Waking up at 4am during winter in Japan is NOT cool........ but we had to do what we had to do. So we took the suburb train into the city, and then to Disneyland and by the final leg of the train (towards Disneyland) we had already seen tons of kids in quirky costumes, bright makeup, cutesy facial add ons, and adorable hairdos. "We have to compete and run with these kids?!"

When we reached Disneyland, and upon reaching the train station, the exit felt like a standstill. THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE. I was literally taken by the waves of the crowd and I admit, I became so stressed. Already I am so short, so to be moved by these waves of people felt a little bit claustrophobic I must say.


^When you think you're earlier than everyone else at 8.00am...... 


My stress all changed for the better when we got in :))))))) Circle of Life played in background, and the Cinderella castle stood so gloriously there, it was ... magical. The queue didn't bother me anymore, although the cold did, but I was more relaxed after seeing everything Disney around me, THIS was what I had come for!



When we finally got in!!! We realised a lot of the characters and shows were speaking in Japanese........ I wanted to laugh at the whole experience but everything was really funny when I think about it, that I thought to myself, well, I am in Japan aren't I.

The first thing we did was to get ourself filled. With waffles. Seriously, it smelled so good we decided to start the day with a Mickey inspired waffle, omg so magical seriously how is this not!! And also because we can afford it (now that we're adults and stuff) :P


If you think the entrance was crazy, wait till you see the queues to the rides...... some of them had 4 hours waiting time. 4 hours!! We really thought it was crazy to do so until we figured a strategic way of going into the rides (you really need a strategy for Disneyland),

1) Use the fast pass where you can choose a time to come and once that time hits, you can skip the long queue and be allowed in. In this case, sucks to be those who are queuing!
2) Go to the rides that have lesser people (relatively "less"). Well, because eventually the goal was to try and see as many as possible things isn't it
3) When it rains and no one else want to ride on that ride, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!! (even if it means getting hypothermia while you're at it).
4) REST when you can, take a seat, look around. It's Disneyland! 


^ I love everything in Disneyland. This quirky magical restaurant top of Pan Galactic :)


^They had a very interesting way of getting into these shows, you actually had to be lucky to get into one! We had to scan our ticket at the lottery hall (yes it's called a lottery hall) and find out whether or not we would be able to get tickets to the "One Man's Dream" Show. AND WE DID! It was really out of luck and sheer random that we got it.. hehe.


^Daren was obsessed with this machine that churns out Disney inspired medallions. He would spend hundreds of Yen to get these medallions. I think he eventually had 15 - 20 of them :))


 ^This was how far the Cinderella castle to us. THERE WERE SO MANY people and no fireworks because it rained pretty heavily.


 ^The intensive 4am to 9pm trip to Disneyland was so exhausting that we decided to eat at McDonalds nearby our place. It was godsend. I tried this Hawaiian Pork because we don't have them in Malaysia and it's because meat just feel like a darn good choice after a cold long day in Disneyland.

I loved my Disneyland trip because eventually I went on to a lot of rides, 6 - 7 tops probably, had my Mickey waffles, explore magical buildings, saw the parade, got onto the Mark Twain ship, eat at a cowboy restaurant and just so much more all in such magical setting. 

But if you don't appreciate crowds and waiting, think of something else, don't say I didn't warn you! :) 

- Tokyo Disneyland, checked.

Read More Japan posts:

Japan Day 1: Day 1, Tokyo, Shibuya & Akihabara Electric Town
Japan Day 3: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto


Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.