24 January 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Chinese New Year!  Technically I'm a day late, I believe, but it is still Chinese New Year holidays here, so I'm sure it still counts.

KL has been, on the whole, very quiet the past four days.  Most people have gone home to be with their families for this festive season, or they have taken advantage of the extra days off work to go on holiday.  Which, for those of us still here, is great, because we can drive around and park without any jams or long waits!

Today, we went to a city centre hotel, the Concorde, to see a Chinese Lion Dance display.  Despite living in Hong Kong for three years, I have never seen such an acrobatic display before.  These lions were jumping up and down poles, and stretching skywards as the loud drums and cymbals crashed out a rhythm.  Pretty impressive, given that there were two men in each lion, sometimes one standing on the other's shoulders as they danced.  My ears are still ringing a bit - standing next to the cymbalists was not the best idea!  Here are just a few of the dozens of photos I took.

16 January 2012

Phuket - then and now

I promised a few posts ago that I would tell you more about our trip to Phuket.  We had visited this island to the South West of Thailand about 20 years ago when we lived in Hong Kong,  It was so nice, we went twice, and loved every minute of it.  So it was on our list of "must-dos" for Malaysia.  I knew the resort where we had previously stayed still existed, and it still looked virtually the same online, albeit bigger, sowe decided to spend five days there, just before Christmas.

Last time we were in Phuket, the airport was tiny, virtually a hut.  The scenery en route to the hotel was pretty much like this:

Now, the airport has been re-built and is much bigger.  And the roads most emphatically do not look anything like these photos.  They are built up, full of shops and eateries, bars and garages, and every other sort of outlet that virtually every modern conurbation has these days.  And yes, that includes Starbucks and Tescos.  No photos to show you of these modern day roadsides, they were just too commonplace to bother taking pictures of.

Our favourite restaurant, Gusto (with the great tagline "No view, but taste") had inevitably disappeared, but we did find another great place to eat, just a few doors further down the road, and still within very easy staggering, erm, walking distance from the hotel.  The drinks have changed a little in their presentation though.  This is a Mai Tai cocktail 20 years ago, beautifully presented in a hollowed out pineapple:

This is how they serve the cocktails today:

Yes, Phuket has definitely changed.  It is noisier, far more tourist oriented, and in places somewhat tacky.  But it still has plenty to recommend it - beautiful beaches, friendly people, fantastic food, and a lovely laid-back atmosphere.   We all had a great time - and when you have to meet the needs of two older-than-they-used-to-be adults and two teenagers, that is no mean feat.  That - together with gorgeous scenery and fun times (see below) - is why we're going back again at Easter.  Can't wait!

7 January 2012

Follow the yellow brick road!

We've always loved The Wizard of Oz in our family, so I thought it was high time I documented this family favourite in my scrapbooks.

A fiarly simple layout - didn't need much doing given the paper I used (from PaperArts in Stroud).  I created the photo montage using images from the internet, and a Jessica Sprague photoshop template.

Thanks for looking.

1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

The view from our balcony at midnight last night, taken with my new camera :)

Happy New Year - may it bring you everything you wish for.