Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Our recent visit to Perth was delightful in many ways. The friendship of the company that constitutes the group, the cycling expedition if you can call that, the tours that complimented it all added to its success. However we found one approach without taxing oneself , never to walk around but sitting comfortably at a cafe while having a nice cup of coffee or tea a sure way of learning about the new place and picking its tradition and culture.

That we did. Anchored ourselves at a cafe in the centre of the city without any traffic breezing past we stopped to rest our tired feet and delightfully discover an approach of seeing things. Naturally we had to order refreshments for otherwise it would not be fair to the cafe owner who must have paid a high levy to start a business at such a strategic place. 

Yes this is what was once said as watching the world pass by. Our mistake maybe for not ever sitting down just a while and see what goes by. I guess this is what fashion photographers do as well. They look at persons around and notice amongst thing dresses people wear. For the moment that we stayed at the cafe, less than an hour, we could notice many things. It was just like a display of the city's culture at its best free of charge.This part of the city was devoid of traffic except for people moving around, in and out of the arcades, malls and shopping centres. Naturally the sidewalk cafes become a feature of the city too. Added to the beautiful spring morning, fresh flowers gracing their facades no wonder the seats were taken most time.

For the respite given as we rest our tired feet while savouring fresh brewed hot coffee and tea added with baked scones, we were entertained to an exposure of the city's culture of activities enveloping its people. My small camera helped in capturing those moments.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spring Time in Perth AUS

09.04 hrs  stopped at the bike shop for maps etc before getting on the track
I am in a bicycle shop at Perth. We rent our bikes here. It seems there is a big demand for rental of bikes from visitors and tourists that come into the city. Besides rental new bikes and accessories are also sold. The bike shop is a stone's throw from the apartment we were staying. Rental for 1 week is AUS $ 50.00. complete with a helmet, hand gloves and lock.

Believe it or not on the 8th of September 2012 I managed to cycle 35 kilometres from Perth to Fremantle in Western Australia. We rode in a group of seven persons, five men and two women all Malaysians. Actually we had joined a small group of eleven for a five day trip down under with the express condition to cycle there. Earlier planning was to bring our folding bikes along but possibility of renting bikes there make things easier.

The episode, I consider an achievement for a person of my age. The rest of the members, die hard cyclists from Putrajaya were younger 'youth' of 65 and below. Tired, exhausted after the return from Fremantle, yet we had the satisfaction indeed. However we cycled one way only and returned by train. However a day earlier we had a good exercise with cycling around the city of Perth and the Swan River. That alone must have made us clocked about eighteen kilometres. 

Weather wise in September and the terrain at Perth Western Australia were perfect for cycling and good cycling tracks all over the place would surely induce you to cycle at any time.

Let me take you on the track with several photos taken along the route. Should you feel like giving a test at cycling on such a route do feel free to contact. Perhaps we can plan one ahead. Nevertheless the early spring weather would be a good choice to descend on Perth or Western Australia.  

The two pictures above shows how the residents and visitors to Western Australia and especially to Perth took to the great weather during early spring time. Families gather at parks for picnics and to see the blooming flowers in the gardens and parks.

Perth in Western Australia offers cycling facilities many countries can adopt and put into practice. Malaysia especially the Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur area can definitely see to the facilities and planning done there. Be assured however it must take a strong and determined objective to carry out such a project because it needs dollars and cents besides contributions and commitment  from the public at large and all the relevant agencies. Cycling has to become a way of life again. Young and old, men and women cycled before. How much better if we could go back to that mode of transportation helping in many ways to curb some of the current issues that continue to plaque us.

 0828 hr 8/9/2012 in front of Mont Clare on Hay Street with a Mongoose bike

0907 hr at the bike shop on Hay Street

 1005 hr We had just crossed the bridge with the sign indicating that it was the highway from Perth East

1010 hr   We are set to cycle along the river bank on good cycling track all the way, passing fields, housing estates and parks.   

      1014hr.  As described above, with scenes like these all along the route you cannot feel tired far from being exhausted. While holding on to the handles, one arm naturally is positioned to click the camera.

  1140hr Our first halt for a breather and a good cup of coffee before the second stage to Fremantle . A restaurant cum facilities area by the cove allow all to enjoy the breeze from the Swan River and see people boating, para gliding water skiing etc.

1210hr The sign shows that it is 8 kilometers away from Fremantle but it will
  pass along some 'good' route as we moved through hillocks and natural countryside scenery.

1217 hr Sdr Hasnul ready to step on the peddles along the track set on this small hillock with a great scenery on its right side.

1216 hr the great view along the hillsides as we cycled on to Fremantle several minutes away.
1238hr . Just after noon as we near the Fremantle Port with scene like this representing the live styles of the people of Western Australia. Though there are large open space around, Parking of boats, yachts etc has to find a good approach. Deck parking is one sure way.

     1317 hr All seven of us two ladies and five men arrived at the Harbour 4 hours after our initial start at Hay Street Perth. Two ladies came by train and joined us here.

1334 hr Fish and Chips the favourite dish at the Harbour was our choice too

     1452hr after a short rest and brief visit to places at Fremantle we caught the train back to Perth. One compartment is always reserved for cyclists to board the train with their bikes. Ticket price was AUS$4.00 only one way.

This was a holiday break different from any we had had in our senior years. However it was good to know your 'capacity' and whatever else that make your body ticks. It is one sure way of not getting on to the doctors! 

Thank you to all the members of the group that make the brief visit down under to Perth especially a memorable one. Do I understand a trip somewhere else is being planned? With bicycles in mind too.

Zainal Abidin Mohamed  14/09/2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012


We are already inside the Spice Garden. Seen in the background the main entrance next to the main road.The sea is also just across the road.

 What a surprise ! As you discover this small man made pond near the entrance with plants organized all around.

The normal pandan becomes a signature introduction to spices in the country. The historical linkage of Malaysia's earlier trading components has become a business trait that pulls visitors to this place.

We should be glad to show our country for all its beauty and richness. I believe there are many places that we have never discovered and come across yet especially those that have been developed with all commitment  and artistic intentions in recent years. Unless we are on the moves and traveling and by chance come across such developments only then we are overjoyed and spirited and thankful that human quests, ingenuity plus finance are moved to give the best.

During a working trip to Penang recently we were encouraged to visit the 'Spice Garden' at Teluk Bahang in Penang. We never stopped at this site before even though we have passed by it several times. Maybe the adverts and its laid out along the winding North Coast road did not grabbed you as you drive past. No need to speak much but just look at the photos accompanying and you would I am sure like to include it in your future itinerary.

We dream of a garden. Now why can't we develop one as the developer at the site has done? It always struck me man's ingenuity to give the best and there is no laid back to what you can produce. The site was a contoured abandoned rubber estate with matured trees. Now we have one as well and you I suppose, somewhere in the vicinity of your home. Definitely not a rubber estate but some open spaces. Why can't we produce and do the same?    

Of course this is a commercial project, with RM pumped in and now raking its return from the entrance fees. Still it has to be maintained and updated. For all that we may acquire knowledge and expertise. That's what you really learn when coming close to such projects. 
Having toured the site and seen varied natural spices planted and growing, the visitor has the opportunity to smell them from large jars placed in this outlet. Curry powder of many varieties and dried spices are samples to be seen and tasted.

A small ticket counter at the entrance with pamphlets ready for collection. Materials from vintage shop houses and homes were used to construct the small office and ticket counter. Greenery has added spice to its decoration. 

                                              Pathways using discarded materials

Most intriguing was this giant swing with a platform built high above ground, giving a splendid view to the north and the open sea nearby. Below the pond which we discovered earlier and now with the floating leafy plants extraordinary.I was told the seeds for the plant were bought in Bangkok. Meaning if you have such a pond then you can dream of that floating plant in it. Grand. I guess it a water lily group. Maybe SOMEONE CAN HELP WITH ITS BIOLOGICAL NAME.

Naturally we have beautiful places in our country and thankful to entrepreneurs and developers who have taken upon themselves to preserve the beauty and perfection for posterity.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


IT IS THE 31st of August 2012. A public holiday and a long weekend too. Malaysia celebrates its 55th anniversary with the normal parades and speeches by its leaders especially the prime Minister. Switched on the TV or radio you will be reminded of its historical development. We missed out on the parade or spending good time seeing the TV program this morning. We had other important assignment to complete. Yes we went shopping on this public holiday. But we had to travel 200 + kilometres to and fro to get to the destination and back. We came to know that a certain factory in Kulim would be holding a special sale today and the next two days. I came to know from the visit that the factory had such sale once in six months and this was the day.

Kulim in Kedah has its industrial zone but this is the first time that we ever visited a factory in the area.  Now what do we buy here? Let me answer by showing you the following photographs. 

                                                           On offer at RM7.00 a piece

       Large colorful plate for  RM4.00 each and mug of the same color at RM 4.00 too

          Large dinner plate at RM 7.00 a piece.

 The bulls in the crockery shop ! No it is housewives, shop owners, wedding planners etc who came here to get a real purchase of quality goods. It is a Japanese factory that exports its product  but once in a blue moon open its doors to local purchasers offering not discarded items but quality goods that one failed to see any reject marks if any. At its offered price it is a grab.

Our choice for the day plus others as well. Not to worry as these plates will be part of the items in the kitchen for our opening restaurant. Coming soon

Now back at home we have a look at some of the other items also bought at the counter .Come to think of it, we thought Langkawi offers good items price wise too. Now from the purchases made AND with further discount at the paying counter you would prefer to locate such factory outlets if any. I guess you have to listen to the grape vines from people who know the market.

 Signing off with good wishes to all for the 55th Merdeka anniversary. Maybe a different manner of welcoming our 1957 anniversary. How did you fill the day?

* the bluish effect in the photos is due to the canopy laid over the concourse of the factory where the items were on display.