24 Aug 2011

Missing Cinque Terre

For some reason, I'm missing this lovely and beautiful place in Italy and the lovely time spent with my hubby there :) . Some photos below.

Along the walking trail
I just love the colours of this quaint little town (5 towns actually, all connected by train)

If my memory is correct, this is Riomaggiore from a distance

Vineyards everywhere. We went late autumn, so this was all that was left, however, we got to taste very fresh delicious wine! Though not really a wine drinker, I've to admit, I loved the dessert wine Sciacchetra. Here's a description found on About.com.
" Because of Sciacchetrà, a dessert wine made by selecting the best grapes from the harvest and setting them to dry on mats (like Vinsanto). Drying concentrates the sugars in the grapes, which are pressed during October. The resulting must is fermented, and what emerges is an amber-colored nectar, with a flowery bouquet and an intriguing taste - though sweet, it can have a fairly dry finish, and is an excellent dessert wine. Its complexity increases with age and it can be a rare treat."
Very fresh fruits, and  I've never tasted grapes as sweet and delicious as the grapes of Cinque Terre. Yummm...

Beautiful Olive groves everywhere! 

I love quaint shops, and just enjoyed walking into all these interesting shops found in different alleys.

The ocean in Cinque Terre roars! Powerful waves and just beautiful rock formations. Strangely, sitting there, listening to the crashing waves gave me a feeling of serenity and peace.

Olives about ripe for picking

 Dessert made of pine nuts

 My memory fails me..can't remember what this was called..but it had fresh seafood, avocado and herbs. Delicious!

Riomaggiore again.

Spot the fisherman? Notice his striking red bag against the rocks and vast ocean
Ahh...Cinque Terre...I will be back someday! For your beauty, and for your dessert wine. haha..

18 Aug 2011

Catching Fireflies - Piano Improvisation

My piano was sent for repair over the weekend, and I missed it terribly. When it was returned, I was overjoyed, and more so before the sound's so much more beautiful now. I took out my good faithful camera with the intention of recording whatever came to mind. As I sat there.. I saw the reflection of light on my piano, captured in the camera. An idea came to mind..and this is what I did. Basically I improvised (played freely) on my piano while using a hand from time to time to play with the light reflection. I'll call the piece Catching Fireflies. Hope you enjoy  the video.

16 Aug 2011

Turtle Watching again. (hey..if I could, I'd do it again for the 3rd time.)

Last month we went on an awesome Turtle Watching Trip.   At the request of my SIL, we decided on a second trip so she could share this wonderful experience that I had. We made a road trip, just the gals and our kids, awesome days we had! Here a brief photo post about stuff we did over several lovely days . :)

1st STOP- China Town in Kuala Terengganu

The Arch in ChinaTown

The children loved Turtle Alley best of all. It's a wonderful work of mosaic art in progress, headed by Prof Chan Eng Heng, a world renowned turtle expert and conservationist. Here are the kids, pretending to watch Turtle lay eggs. They really loved this particular piece of art. :)

Beautiful plaques telling a story about turtles line the wall of the alley

For some reason..the kids just loved running in the alley

We had to buy these..angry birds lantern! It's amazing how many things were going on in this little town. There's National Celebration flags, lanterns sold for the upcoming Full Moon Festival, Bazaars for upcoming Hari Raya celebrations, and people burning offerings because of the Hungry Ghost festival. It was wonderful that our children got to observe all these preparations and celebration in KT.

Playing with the reflection of the lanterns

2nd STOP - Kampung Pulau Duyung

Watching how boats are made. Guess how long this father and son team take to make a boat? Answer: One WHOLE YEAR! I wonder how long did Noah take to make his boat then!

Another boat making industry. This boat's almost done. It's HUGE!

3rd STOP - Turtle Conservation Center's mini turtle museum in Setiu.(Mangkuk)

My children were definitely more excited about meeting Pelf again rather than learning. haha.. Sorry Pelf they also got distracted by the little stools and aloe vera outside in your garden and the goats! Here's the main exhibition of skeletons found in the museum. I have to say, I learnt a LOT! and surprisingly though the children ran around a lot, they could tell and recall lots of info later. Guess they were somehow listening to bits here and there.

4th STOP- Ramadan Bazaar

Since me and my older girl are following the church's 40 day fast and prayer program, we decided to head towards the bazaar in the evening and Manir to break fast. Oh my...such awesome food!! We couldn't decide what to buy, and bought like how gluttons would! This is a sweet food made of palm sugar cooked in bamboo.

 Nasi Kerabu!! MMMMMmmm..too delicious! This was from Aunty Bee's, we also liked Fauzi's Nasi Kerabu very much!

We also headed to the famous market near the jetty where we spent a lot of time (and money) purchasing lovely batik clothing. After that we took this trishaw back to our hotel.

5th STOP - Suria Cherating 

Based on recommendations by Pak Su, we obtained this WONDERFUL deal. RM 100 a night at Suria (valid only during Ramadhan month), which has a lovely, BEAUTIFUL beach front!

Lots of water fun!!! Woohoo!!! :)

6th STOP - Firefly Watching at Cherating Village

At 8pm we headed towards Cherating Village to watch fireflies. It was an incredible journey. They took us on a boat ride into a really dark mangrove. At some point we saw just sooo many fireflies flickering in the trees. Our guide shone a red light, which attracted the fireflies, causing them to fly all around us. Magical is the only word to describe the experience of seeing these delicate creatures surround us. We caught some, very gently and the children just absolutely loved the experience, though they found the boat ride a little scary and rocky because of a fidgety passenger in front.
This is all I could take during the firefly watching. After that, it was pitch black, camera was useless

7th STOP- Turtle Watching at night

We headed out to Mak Nik beach, and met up with Pak Su, our guide. In the beginning it was  a little like a wild goose chase. We got to one, and it was done had covered up its hole. We saw two more that came up and turned around and went back to the ocean. Finally Pak Su told us, "Get into your cars, we going a short distance to see another one." So in great excitement, we packed the kids in and drove to a destination nearby. The turtle had just started digging a hole. It was a pretty long wait, and so worth it!!

While waiting, it threatened to storm! A few raindrops fell, but somehow stopped. Prayers work. :) Well, I was testing my camera to make sure there wasn't flash, and got this random shot of the lightning that jolted the whole sky. As Pak Su said "Someone above is taking a photo of us!" haha..:)

Here's the beauty that we saw. Amazing....see, this is my second time seeing this, and I'm still as awed as ever. I've included a video below.

8th STOP -MakNik Beach in the Morning

We decided to visit the same turtle beach in the morning to show the children what turtle tracks look like. We found several, some which had made Uturns. Found some fishermen there too.

Mak Nik is really a very beautiful beach even by day. I just love the rocks there, very beautiful. Just be careful as there are steep drops!! Definitely NOT for swimming.

Finally here's the video of our turtle laying egg. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! :)

Video 1- laying eggs

Video 2-covering up nesting chamber (the smaller hole) with hind flippers

Video 3- Covering larger hole with front flippers.

For more information on Turtle Conservation in Malaysia go here



9 Aug 2011

A short rendition of True Colours by my child and I

Decided to do a little home recording today. Not very good quality, I need to get a tutorial or help in setting up a better home recording system. In mean time, here's something I and my girl did today, rough recording. Hope you enjoy it. To you all out there... you're beautiful   :)

7 Aug 2011

Trekking Pine Trail and Bishop Trail- Frasers Hill

My family and I love Frasers Hill. We've been on the trails there several times already, and I'm always amazed at what I find there each time. My first post on Frasers can be found here -->Trekking Frasers Hill

The children especially love Hemnant trail, but this time round we decided to trek Pine Trail and Bishop Trail for the very first time. Initially we avoided it because we've heard horror stories about the leeches there. But after going through the horribly large, hungry and aggressive leeches at Ulu Geroh Forest Reserve while hunting for Rafflesia, we thought, this would be nothing.
~~~~Trekking Pine Trail~~~~~

Well, first we contacted the local ranger to inform them that we'd be on Pine Trail. They informed us in return that the trail was closed due to the rainy season which has caused several fallen trees along the path. We decided to try a portion of the trail then. In the end we trekked about 2km in and turned back when the trail got darker, and plus the constant sound of trees creaking got a little scary after a while, not really the sound, but the thought of a tree falling on us got my imagination wild!  Here are some pictures below. Pine Trail is really lovely, full of discoveries, and well known for the Bolonaphora flower. It's a really love trail. Some photos below.

Crossing a fallen tree. It was wonderful to see my children helping each other cross these obstacles.

More fallen trees along the path. It's all part of the adventure. :)

Bolonaphora buds along Pine Trail

Bolonaphora-Female infloresence (found near the buds)

Bolonaphora- male infloresence . We discovered these deeper in the trail.

Lots of very beautiful and huge fungus and mushrooms on this trail. Love the colour of this particular species.

Spotted these on a fallen tree. Beautiful!

A wild flower, found along this trail. There are also many herbs found along this trail.

It's worth looking carefully into bushes and grass to discover tiny species like this. This was just about 1 cm in length.

Love the colour here. Again, some sort of fungus. Sorry for my lack of scientific names. ;P
Eve of the same day we went bird watching around Telekom loop.

Then the sun set, and as it grew dark, the amazing insect orchestra of the forest came alive!! We stood in a huddle in that darkness listening, and while we were at that, the bats decided to fly around. It's amazing that some flapped quite close by us so we felt the power of their wings!

This was taken shortly before sunset. Always love the moon in Frasers Hill. It somehow looks closer and more beautiful there.

Night was spent watching the moon through our binoculars. I hope to invest in a good telescope soon.

An attempt at taking a shot of the moon.

Trekking on Bishop Trail

Bishop trail is about 1.6Km. This is known as the Pacat trail (Leech trail), but we didn't see too many although Jo got bitten by one. Generally the trail is narrow, Lots of fallen trees,  a little muddy and quite dark. But because of the dark, the gibbons really have a party in there. All along the trail, you hear the gibbons quite loudly.

This is how most of Bishop is, a trail covered with roots. So be careful not to trip

 Some areas are very narrow and once as Jo was trekking, a large part of the ground below her left feet gave way and she tumbled a little. I grabbed her on time. She was slightly shaken but continued as usual

Jo had this leech bite. She yanked the leech out by herself.

 This is how large the fungus on the trail is. Some larger !

 Our Star find on this trail was the Impressed Tortoise, found only on Frasers and Maxwell. I must say, we were certainly blessed and fortunate to find such a star find!! woo hoo!!! This fella was aggressive and crawls pretty quickly!

Another reason why we love Frasers..beautiful caterpillars.

So go trek Frasers. Remember, nature has full of surprises in store. We never see the same things twice, but we discover new things each time we trek. Some tips when trekking.

1.Wear long pants and long sleeved shirt. I say this, because twice I've been stung by some unidentifiable insect leaving a horrible itch for weeks!
2. Use mozzi guard, it will help to keep most leeches away.
3. Trek silently, keep alert. Beautiful things don't always appear right in front of you, they may be beneath logs, on trees, under bushes anywhere! I always tell my children to be on the look out, and many of the things you see here were spotted by my children.
4. Breath deep and relax. Don't be anxious or in a hurry. If you're constantly worried about falling down, and avoiding this and that, chances are you will not enjoy your trek, and neither will you see much.
5. Listen for sounds and the rustling of leaves. We spotted several interesting bird species, insects and chipmunks because of this.
6. Bring lots of water and energy boosting snacks for your children. Don't forget the binoculars and camera. Enjoy! :)

@All photos copyright of Martha@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com

This Post is linked at Happiness Is

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