Bangkok round three #2

[ Manmade light seems brighter than God’s.] – fastfinger on Flickr, 31st Mar ’06

Day 2. So where’d we go this morning? Woke up nice and early, LS and her boy discovered some nice internet cafe nearby that was like THB9 an hour. That’s right folks, THB9 a fcuking hour, not a minute. Cheap and comfortable with decent speed, what else can you ask for?

So yeah, we took a cab and headed down to stop number one for the day.

One word: Chinatown.


I’m not sure if these pics captured the feel of the hustle and bustle, but hey at least I tried.



Kewl looking telephone box : )

-~-

It was at this point that SJ jie‘s A80 died on me, so yeah no pictures for this part. LS and her boy went back to the hotel, while V and I continued walking around Chinatown, literally walking up-down-left-right. We tramped through the small alleys, squirmed our way through the crowded backlanes and had our fill of window shopping.

And yeah, we finally made our way back via the train service. The train service’s different from the BTS over there, incase you were wondering. The BTS is mostly overhead, while the train’s underground. Kinda like our MRT actually.


Hualamphong railway station, courtesy of V’s K750i once again. My trusty backup cam as always.


This is the actual train station. MRT station I mean.


The ticket dispenser’s nothing too out of the ordinary..


.. but look at what we got. Woot, not tickets dude. Plastic tokens!


Apparently China’s using the same system as well, according to V. The value’s encoded into the tokens, and you drop ’em into the gantries after getting out. Sweet, no need to head back to the machine to get your refund : )

(Now if only Singapore had this too, it’ll be a lot friendlier to the tourists.)


And the rest of the station seems to be pretty much the same.


We took a couple stops up, got out at Si Lom station and headed for the nearest shopping center. Boy, were we starved at that point. Walking too long without food is no good for your stomach.


And yeah, this looked good. I say again, looked. Chester’s Grill wasn’t all that fantastic.

We crawled our way back to the hotel after that, and took a long rest. Me? I took time out for a leisurely soak in the bathtub, reading my copy of Eragon. One doesn’t get a chance to do that at home after all heh heh.

-~-


Dinner later on was at Outback Steakhouse.
(Honestly, I hadn’t even eaten at this bloody place back in Singapore heh.)


This outlet was pretty good; nice quiet place to have a leisurely dinner, relax and chat. Other than the un-ordinary pricetag once again, not too bad at all.

-~-


Pretty post-Christmas lights at Siam Paragon : ) The displays there are really kewl, I’ll show you guys another one in the upcoming posts. Singapore’s displays?

One word: bah.

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Bangkok round three #1

[time clock] – Barb Henry on Flickr, 24th Mar ’06

[postdated entry]

It’s a little odd to look at my watch now and not have to subtract an hour off the time. I’m still getting used to it.

But I’m sure I’ll get used to it, just as the feelings of my stay at the hotel slowly fade away, the streets and constant traffic becoming but a blurred haze of memories in the back of my mind.

So, where to begin?

The first: our Jetstar flight to holidayland: a week’s worth of relaxation.

Arriving at Bangkok’s new international airport: Suvarnabhumi (pronounced as Suwannaphum)

After reading a whole lot of negative comments on the airport, I had expected bad things. A lot of bad things, in fact. However, the airport seemed to have cleaned up its act since then, and was even decently operational on our trip.

Immigration counters cleared us off at a reasonable speed.

The luggage did not get lost, merely a little slow in arriving.

Plenty of waiting cabs.

Not too bad, all in all. Perhaps even a 3.5 upon 5 marks. The airport had a general unfinished feel to it though, something like what a bloody warehouse would look like. On that count, I was more or less justified in my expectations.

-~-

If you had read my previous research posts, you would have seen that we had indeed read up on a shitload of places. I did not write about our final choice of accomodation though, something I did not have time to correct. So here goes : )

We settled on Samran Place Hotel in the end, due to several reasons:

  • It was decently priced at THB900 per night.
  • There were next to zero negative comments on various hotel booking websites. This was an incredible record.
  • The location wasn’t too bad, being situated in the vicinity of Asia Hotel. This meant BTS accessibility, and shopping center proximity.

I was pretty doubtful that such an ideal location existed initially, but they were removed soon enough.

(A separate review for the hotel to be done later; I’ll keep you all in suspense for now.)

-~-

So we walked to MBK after unpacking and admiring our hotel room. Well, a pretty long walk considering the distance. But hell, we had time. And dinner at this Japanese restaurant called Zen, where Jordi joined us after work : ) He’s working full-time now, and seems to like his work a lot.


My katsu don. Ordinary.

And catching Night at the Museum after that. Pretty funny I must say : ) The unfunny part came after the movie when we were leaving the shopping center.

We couldn’t find a proper exit, and had to leave via the carpark, walk past some stinking garbage and stuff. Either we really had lousy topo skills, or the building management sucked.

The end of day 1. (.. ohmanohmanohman, 6 more posts at leasts!)

Househunting Thursday

[Untitled] – V‘s Flickr, 25th Jan ’07

Today’s Friday. For everyone back in Singapore, no big deal to it isn’t it? Other than the fact that the weekend’s coming : ) It’s Australia Day over here though, so yeah this is more or less a public holiday with nothing much left to do.

*rolls eyes*

So I’ll be writing about our long day yesterday, where we walked all over Caulfield looking inspecting apartments. So the standard procedure’s to borrow the key from the real estate office (with a deposit of AUD$50), walk over to the apartment, take a peek and return the keys within an hour. Bloody impossible without a car, given the distance.

So yeah, you could imagine our day. Borrow key, inspect, return key, repeat process. We were hopping off and on trams the entire bloody day. Oh yeah, trams are a big part of getting around Melbourne. The only good thing was that we didn’t get charged per trip ‘cus we had day tickets. Imagine the transport cost if we did that in Singapore *sweatdrops*

Apartment A was at Balaclava Road, but we had to get the keys from Prahran (that’s quite a distance away), so that was a pretty long trip in itself.

Imagine:
– we had to take an hour’s worth of tram ride to the city,
– then the Connex train service from Flinders Street (city) down to Prahran.
– And after taking the keys, we took the train again down to Balaclava (two stations away),
– and another tram to the supposed location of the apartment.

.. and it so happened that the location was wrong, and we had to take the tram again further down the same road before we found it.

And guess what awaited us there?

This. Well this was merely one of the stuff that turned us off. Leaky toilet bowl, no hot water, lousy cabinets (and I really mean lousy, dipshit bloody low-quality lousy) and yeah, we didn’t think it was worth AUD$170 a week so we dropped this one.


A hurried lunch at Prahran; this one was AUD$5.50.


Look closely at this public telephone.


Send SMSes here, wow.


Random shots while we were on our way to Apartment B: the spiderweb of tram lines overhead.

Apartment B was at Finlayson Street, which is a really quiet street, the next thing to being deserted that is. But the apartment was once again.. shitty. A little better than Apartment A, but not much. No photos to prove it though.


Walking to Finlayson Street, waiting for the traffic lights.


Taken somewhere near the unsatisfactory Apartment B. And it cost $185 per week.


This was Apartment C over at Halstead Road. Sadly enough, same condition. By this time I was quite certain that rental properties in this price range were all pretty crappy.


But one mustn’t forget to take nice pictures while being pissed.

It was a pretty lousy day actually. V lost her poncho on the tram (or train, either one) while we were rushing from place to place. That one was bought during a Giordano sale on Christmas Eve, and yeah kinda shitty. I’m wondering if we could find the same thing over here though. And my jacket had squished beetroot sandwich from V’s lunch, because I didn’t know her sandwich had squishable stuff in it and I left it in my bag heh. Oops. It still hasn’t been cleaned yet.


At Glen Huntly, waiting for the tram back to the train station.


We had a try of this upon our return to the city. Lord of the Fries : )


This cost AUD$4, but the fries are really good. Not too chewy, soft texture and flavorful. Remember to try this if you come over.


On the tram home, Hard Rock Cafe caption: No Drugs or Nuclear Weapons allowed.

So we’re still keeping an eye out for accommodation, any deals to recommend? We’re on the lookout for either a studio or a one bedroom apartment either in the city or Caulfield. The budget right now’s $200 per week heh. Pretty pricey isn’t it? The price of living. I’m really looking forward to getting my own house.

Enjoy your Friday people!

Monday grumbling, Tuesday hunting

[Untitled] – V‘s Flickr, 22nd Jan ’07

This seems to be turning into a daily post sorta thing. Well, I bet this wouldn’t last so let’s make the best of it while I’m still in the mood to write.


Monday wasn’t much of a day. We ate in the city at this Hong Kong cafe in Chinatown, tried to settle some of our bank stuff (note the word tried) and went down to Caulfield thereafter. That’s beef fried rice BTW, yum.


We’d gone over to Glen Huntly and Caulfield over the weekend, so the area wasn’t totally new to us. The idiots who populated the school were kinda amusing though. Amusing in an irritating kind of way, kinda like the flies that populate the area. I would go “fcukin’ flies!” everytime we made our way out to the tram or bus stop, and swat at them ineffectually.

Sidetracked.


So yeah, V and I went down to our university together: she had to finish up her course application, and I had to restart my fight to stay in Caulfield instead of going over to the Gippsland campus. So there I met with the bozos who ran the place.


Someone at the Service Center directed me to the IT faculty, who then directed me to the Service Center again, and then on to the International Student Support Unit, and then back to the IT faculty, where I finally got a coherent reply from a nice lady over there.

Level of irritability: 11/10.

Well, the end of the tale’s that now there’s hope for me to study at Caulfield after all 😀

So we went househunting at Glen Huntly and Carnegie after that, scouting the various real estate offices there. Caulfield didn’t seem to have any real estate offices, and these two areas were the nearest neighbours.

Glen Huntly’s a really quiet little town; a street with two rows of shops and that’s about it. Carnegie has a considerably longer street with more little shops (more Korean shops surprisingly) and lotsa real estate offices hmmm.

No results though. The offices all had photocopied lists of available rentals for people like us, and most of the houses/apartments were already taken up, crap.


Carnegie.

Moral of the story? Do your househunting online, make inspection appointments and that’s about it.


Great shots of the day.


Failed shot of the day, the macro focused on something else instead : (

-~-

Today was quite a fruitful day actually. We went back to Greensborough and got most of our bank stuff settled. The old guy at the WestPac branch there’s really a friendly fellow. Does his things slow but steady, never missed a single thing out. His name’s John BTW. No photo though ;p


Quick cash chute: imagine if someone actually threw the cash into the dustbin heh.


It was 3 p.m. when we finally had lunch. Red Rooster hmm, some kinda fast food over here.


The food doesn’t taste too bad, but the chicken was smaller than I’d expected for a roast quarter chicken.


Greensborough, Palm food court.


The open blue skies always make me feel like taking more pictures.


This pamphlet was given out to me by some PETA guy outside KFC the other day.


Squint and see if you can read it properly, it sounds icky ;p I’m still eating chicken though.

I took a late evening run around the neighbourhood, made a wrong turn and ended up very nearly losing my way. And brrrr, was the wind cold! Good exploration of the area though heh.

So, how was your day? : )

The domestic Sunday

[Untitled] – V‘s Flickr, 21st Jan ’07

Woot, scary pic of me dozing half-naked. I hope this doesn’t turn off too many people heh. Stop the puking people!

Anyway, Sunday photos as promised. Onwards!


We didn’t really do much yesterday. Like what the title reads, it was a really domestic day. We went out with the relatives to two different suburbs, and joined them for lunch and shopping. This feels like what we’ll be doing by ourselves on future Sundays heh. Shop, clean the house blah blah blah. Ugh.



Numero uno: Richmond, where a lot of Vietnamese stay.

The wind was pretty strong that day, no kidding about that. And woot, cold cold cold. The weather felt really good : )

Lunch was at this Vietnamese cafe the relatives frequent.

It sorta looks like kuay teow with beef plus bean sprouts, with squeezed lemon and a dash of chilli sauce. Good stuff though. You absolutely had to have the chilli inside, else it would’ve tasted like something was missing.


The menu..


.. and a close up.


The exterior of the cafe.



We walked around Richmond thereafter, grocery shopping with the relatives.


And a second round of shopping over at Footscray. This is yet another Vietnamese community.


Don’t ask me why we were visiting these areas, but it seemed to have all the foodstuffs they wanted.


Sweet tasty pineapples! We had a bite from the cut samples lying around : )

Good shots of the day:


Tomatoes @ Footscray : ) I thought these little buggers looked pretty good.


Yellow rose in detail.


These looked like hibiscus but hmm no prizes for the right answer.


Untitled.

To be continued : )

The first Australian weekend

[Untitled] – V‘s Flickr, 20th Jan ’07

.. I can’t believe I took 274 pictures on Saturday. Granted a lot of them were duplicates, but that’s still a bloody lot isn’t it?

*shakes head*

So it’s been raining on and off since Friday, and the weekend’s been no particular exception.

-~-

We woke up late on Friday, since the rain seemed to make sleeping in a really good option.


Jesters: great juicy little pies. We had these at Greensborough (which is another mall, bigger than Northland) on Friday. Makes for a good filling snack, I’d say.


A picture of the family dog: V and I are currently staying with her relatives for the moment till we get our own place. The pet’s ten years old, but still pretty much hyper.

-~-

Here’s a few snaps from our walk around Flemington yesterday.



This was written on the ground : ) For the unimaginative, it reads “You don’t have to f**k people over to survive”.


Here’s a look at Australia’s tram service. It more or less complements the bus service, and is much more reliable methinks.



Lunch was at this place called Laksa King. Not too bad laksa, but it needs to be more spicy IMO. I guess Australians aren’t too used to having their tongues burnt.


V and I took the tram down to the city after lunch. This is a picture of the information they put up at every tram stop, showing all the stops and the expected arrival time of the tram.


There’s this ticket dispenser inside the tram where you could use coins to buy the tickets, or else purchase the Metlink tickets from shops that display the blue Metlink logo. Kewl eh?

General info: all tickets are unlimited rides and can be used on train/tram/bus, only separated by the zone and duration. The destinations are split up into three zones, and the duration into either 2 hour or a full day.



Random snaps of the Melbourne city area.


Gundam pictures for ZM : )


This is where Chinatown Melbourne is; short little street, overpriced thingies. Nothing much to it.


The ladies’ washroom is actually downstairs o.O



More random building snaps.


Horse-drawn carriages by the road. See how big they are? I positively shrank in comparison.


This is St Paul’s Cathedral, currently undergoing restoration. More magnificent than it looks in the photos. And in case you were wondering, nah I read that off a signboard, I didn’t do research.


Flinders Street train station, and this fellow was probably wondering why I was taking his photo heh.



Pictures of the Southbank area. It seems to be a favourite relaxation spot for people to just sit and chill out : )


A view of the Yarra River, and a stone carving that’s on the bridge.



Heavy rain at that juncture. We walked back to the Flinders Street station after that..


.. and took a train to Caulfield. That’s where I would’ve been studying if things didn’t screw up, and it’s where we would probably be living in the near future.



Caulfield : )

Caulfield‘s actually a pretty small town, consisting of several streets of small shops, a supermarket, the university campus, nearby residences and not much else. And I thought Caulfield would be big o.O Deceived by the map once again.


Headed back to the train station, and back to the city area once again.



76 shots of the falling raindrops were taken, but these were the best shots by far. (See how bored I was?)


Cute doggies that were snapped on our journey.


New rings from our trip to Bangkok : )


Bourke Street: the shopping zone of the city.


And so it was the tram back to Bundoora once again.


With one final picture: SportSG! (It actually read Sportsgirl but yeah I exercised creative control.)

-~-

A whole ton of pictures yet again. I’ll write about Sunday in another entry : )

Yep, I’ve reached.

[Untitled] – V’s Flickr, 17th Jan ’06

As the above title reads : )

Temporary accommodation now, whilst we look for a suitable place to rent and settle down. It really, really sucks to be three hours in front of Singapore, right now ’tis 11 p.m. and I’m almost ready to sleep. Z, this sucks.

To the guys that sent V and I off at the airport, thanks once again : ) I certainly wasn’t feeling too alone.

Airline food. Not too great, not too crappy.

SIA was good as always, and even more with its new selection of movies on board. The flight still sucked anyway, and I didn’t sleep much, sandy-eyed when I finally reached Melbourne at 9-ish a.m. (Australia time).

Our luggage in the back of the van. Great airport service from the lady there, who hailed a van specially for our ton of luggage.

Took a cab down (cost us AUD$50++ woot it certainly wasn’t cheap) and proceeded to finally unpack.

Went down to Northhill Northland for lunch after that. Northhill’s a local shopping mall in the area, small by their standards but I thought it was pretty big as it was. And yep, my first look at an Australian mall.

Fish & chips, first meal over here. The fish was quite bland, and so were the fries. Or maybe it’s just me and my tasteless tongue.

I was really tired after that, and conked out on the bus to and back Northhill Northland.

Our messy stuff, spread out all over the room. At least we had Internet access heh.

That’s all for now, I’ll update tomorrow again I guess.

P.S. To answer WX’s question about why I was leaving, well I’ll be studying overseas for awhile in Australia. Future plans? None fixed at the moment, we’ll play the cards by ear as things go.