Saturday, August 6, 2011

Travel Memorabilia

A Collection To Remember

I am sure that a lot of my friends who travel frequently abroad will pop into souvenir shop to grab memorabilia, I am not exempted for sure. In this blog, I intend to share some of my collections over these years. Perhaps, you would have some similar collection as I do. :)

Fridge Magnet
Despite many forwarded emails that claim putting magnets on fridge are not wise because it would create magnetic fields and alter the cell polarity and structure of the food inside the fridge, ahem... my fridge is really full of magnets! For me, when I look-up a magnet in souvenir shop, I look for uniqueness of the design. Most of the times, I would pick landmarks type or scenery type as long as they are unique. :)
When I traveled to Australia Zoo (North of Brisbane), suddenly I have an idea to get 4 of the same shapes but different contents for the following layout. Nice right? ;)

Diamond-shape Magnetic Road Signs from Australia Zoo

Miscellaneous Souvenirs
Ha ha ha, of course, there are also a lot of instances that I would pick small figurines, crafts, bookmarks during my travel. Well, those souvenirs will go into my display case. They are sort of nice when is under the lime-light.
Pisa Tower (Italy), Trevi Fountain (Italy), Japanese Fans, Vikings (Denmark)
Art Japanese Fan (Kyoto), Venetian Masks.

Wall Art
Wall arts are rare among my collection, but the following two are hand-picked by Lynn & myself during our recent Hanoi Trip. We wanted something to match the wall-color and also something that gives perspective, so we bought this hand-stitch drawings from one of the stop-over Art Center on the way to Halong Bay from Hanoi. It is hand-made by under-privilege ones that were handi-capped during Vietnam war.
Hand-stitch Drawings between Hanoi & Halong Bay
Oil Painting from Hanoi

We bought this Pinocchio in Florence (Firenze) during our honeymoon. It is a fun souvenir because he dances when you pull the little string. However, we bought it at an expensive price. Sob Sob... it would normally cost about Euro10-12 but we paid Euro20 at Piaza Della Repubblica.

Cuckoo Clock
Triberg Germany is famous for Cuckoo Clock. It was one of a stop-over during our honeymoon. If you fancy cuckoo clock, this is the place that you should come: 1000-house-of-clock.

Jigsaw Puzzle
During my last trip to Taiwan, I fall in love with a series of jig-saw puzzles from Renoir Puzzle. If you carefully look each of the following puzzles, these puzzles talk about our love story in a way. Yes, I like the green-color theme puzzles because they give refreshing feel. (Red Face) These puzzles are still inside the box unopened. Where to get them, I mark it here at Google map.

Lynn travels alone in Europe hoping to catch her Mr Right :P
Elvin lays on grass field waiting for his Miss Right. (Trusting God to provide actually)

Elvin & Lynn finally Meet Each Other

Both Elvin & Lynn Home Sweet Home now...

The 3D Sphere Puzzles which are super cool

Owls Collection
Introducing my top-priority collection - OWL. Someone asked me why owl? Because Owl is elegant and idiom has it "Wise as an OWL". Actually, I think owl is kind of cool and unique in comparison to dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, etc. To be frank, looking for an owl is no joke during travel. Not many souvenir shops offer owl and especially really nice one! So, enjoy my collection from: Koh Samui, Penang, Ipoh, Bali, Venice, Taiwan, Truberg, Shenzhen, Melaka, Australia.
I recently came back from New Zealand and sadly I couldn't a nice owl. So, as replacement, Lynn and I got the Kiwis, a family of four Kiwis ...

Hard-rock City-Tee
I did collect quite a bit of Hard-rock City Tees in the early days of my travel. Today, I have become really selective on such collection. Partly, it is because the price is really expensive and secondly the quality of city-tee is somewhat lousy after few washes. :(
Perhaps, I should start collecting drum sticks from Hard Rock since I am picking it up nowadays....(grins)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Special Edition: Call for Earth Environmentalists

Recent months have seen extreme climate change not only in Penang but in many parts of the world. As I was following many news on natural disasters that hit China, Germany, Czech and Russia, I feel saddened by many lives that have lost. Have my heart become hardened with some many such news over and over again? Often my life would move on as usual after all it does not happen to me. Well, my inner spirit convicts me of being swept away for so long by my busy life and my lukewarmness towards things that did not happen to me. I have felt impetus driven outwardly to dedicate blog on being responsible to Earth for more than 2 weeks now. So, despite my original plan to write a blog on Rome, here I am writing this special edition on this important topic with the hope to instill in you some idea that we should have and right attitude that we should be harnessing.

Often as I travelled around and spotted many picturesque moutains, alps or rivers and be constantly amazed by how beautiful God has created it. Truly, this beautiful world was entrusted to us since Year-1 and, with a grateful heart, we should be a good steward of it. Deep inside us, we know that we are not the "monkeys which are entrusted with beautiful flower"!!

As I was flicking back on my many photos taken, I can't help but to share with you some of the most scenic natural spots that I have been.

Mt Fuji @ Hakone

Koh Tao Glacier River @ Jungfraujuch

Once, I read a news article about the effects of massive magnetic polarity created when massive dam like the one in China is built. Such abnormal magnetic pole is hypothesized to invite many unprecendented and undesired big & small earthquakes in China.
For details, refer]

So, is it a right choice when we turn on the 2nd largest dam in Asia which happens to be just on the east side of Malaysia? Only time will tell.
The following photo was taken when a huge flood swamped the northern part of Switzerland during my recent journey. The natural force is so powerful that I could just stand in awe. Will such powerful force hits us at home ground one day? My conscience reckons that I should do more than just watching the news and feel sad for those affected or just make another donations out of compassions.
Nay, to much relief, the above photo is just a "special-angle" shot of Scaffhausen Fall in Northern Switzerland. Today, the fall is flowing rightfully along the safe route. But, could it be another potential disaster if we continue to be selfish?

Raine Fall @ Schaffhausen

Yes, I intended to use this blog to inspire more Earth Environmentalists or Activists who dear to wear the blue shirt-with a big S in the middle like below. Haha... Forgive my humour here. But, I really want to urge to have the big striking "S" in you for this beautiful place called Earth. I think, this "S" stands for Sensitive. Yes, be Sensitive for Earth.

During my travels, I have come across some practical steps that we can take in our daily chores. To name a few:
  • Switch off your car engine when waiting at traffic lights. Let the air-con runs on battery instead of fuel. [Practiced in Japan & Bangalore!!!]
  • Eat less meat because meat induces gas released from us and it smells bad tooo... ;)
  • Use air-con responsibly. At least only turn on for short period of time to cool down your bedroom. Big No No No to all-day 24-hour air-con.
  • Plan your shopping and avoid making multiple trips to cut the fuel consumption.
  • Take a walk to shops or consider getting a bicycle for short-distance travel.
  • Support your local grocery shop for simple quick-buy rather than just travel some few kilo-metres away to hypermarket for cheaper product. You burn fuel and create more CO2 actually.

There are many good ideas that we can do to be a good steward of God's creation for us. Do you have good ideas to share? Why not walk the talk and start be sensitive towards her today?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Euro 2010 Master Plan

After my recent back-pack, I was often asked is it easy to back-pack in Europe especially due to the language barriers in this continent. Well, for those who are yet to do it, my number-1 advice is to get yourself a Eurorail Pass! With this pass, you tap into a very extensive rail network across many countries in Europe. Best of all, you are free from all the worry of unpredictable volconic ash from Iceland that once grounded many flights.

Next, you really need to do your homework by reading a lot of travelogue, looking-up google map, reading up more travel guide book, both english and mandarin, then chat with more people who have done it and many many more of work...... It is going to be brain-juice squeezing and eye-poppingly tiring to finally come out with a plan but later find out that it isn't perfect because you miss this spot and miss that spot which is covered by other.

Haha... really what make a travel plan tricky is connecting the dots formed by places to visit, places to dine in, hostel to stay, train to take and weather to consider....
Luckily, it is not my intention to discourage you from back-packing and also another reason is that Lynn & I just sealed the renovation deal for our sweet home this evening. So, I decided to be kind and share out our plan freely as shown below for your reference. It is not the perfect plan but close to in its own right. ;P

In addition, I want to give a gift of useful websites to help you craft out your own travel plan:

Another good news is that most of the train ticket machines operate in multi-lingual. It is just as simple as choosing the origin, destination, date to travel. After few selection, the relevant connecting trains are listed. However, do plan ahead before you travel on the day. Machines could be jammed with long queue sometimes.

Another good news for couple who plan to go honey-moon with Eurorail Pass is the couple pass which is cheaper.

To add some spice to this blog, I decided to share my one of my favorite photos in this trip. To few of you, it might as well qualified as a Windows 7 deskstop wall-paper. hahaha....

So, how about planning your stay? Ghee... I am always a budget person when come to stay. I am a hostel person and not so a hotel person. Some websites that I often use are:

But, of course you can refer to our choice except the one in Naples... which is a nightmare when you need to take bath (cold water in winter...:S). Our top recommendation is the Guelfa hotel in Florenze (Firenze). The handsome and helfpful owner, Mr Massimo, is simple awesome, because he upgraded us to have a private room with attached bathroom. :)

Last not forgetting, is our Malaysia's Amazing budget airline that flies direct from LCTT to Stansted Airport. Do get the entertainment system though to keep you accompanied for just RM30 per trip.

So, here you go, the 3 key tools that I used to plan our honey moon trip and another photo to remind me of how blessed I am to have my beautiful wife who changed the plan slightly to cover Almafi Coast. :)

Almafi Coast, Italy