Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Much Is Your Blog Worth

My blog is worth $20,323.44.
How much is your blog worth?

I did this test at the above site, and this blog worth only 20k. My parently blog worths more, around 37k. And my third blog, which I don't spend much effort to maintain, worth 0.00!!! :P Really padam muka!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More Pleasant Travel Trip

Sorry for the long silence. I have been away for conference last week, and been traveling this week to USA. Well, this time we don't get to got to New York City already. We are in Houston again!

The last time I came here was 1.5 year ago, before I was pregnant second time. I didn't know MAS has changed the flight schedule, and I like it better this time. Since we depart from KL 3 hours earlier, we manage to catch the connecting flight from LA to Houston on the same day. Which means we don't have to spend a night in LA airport like before. With this new schedule, I departed from KL on Monday instead of Sunday! I like it this way, coz I don't have to travel on my personal non-working day! :)

And the total traveling time is also shortened as a result of that too! This time, from KL airport to Houston airport, only took us 24 hours. Last time was over 30! A more pleasant trip this time...

Monday, March 19, 2007


I have never been to any European countries. I am a frequent traveler myself, but mostly in this part of the region. The only country I've been to, outside this Asia Pacific region, is USA.

I have a few cousins studied in UK, and two of them are still there now. I mostly travel for business purpose. The company used to have a lot of meetings in UK, but since I joined they have moved everything to Houston. No doubt, I have the opportunities to travel there, but on the other hand, I also lose the opportunity to go to Europe (for free!). :P

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Airport Security Game

Recently I came across this game, which was originally meant to be a joke about the hightened airport security, after the liquid ban policy last year. Try it and and see how much you can score? Warning: This game is quite addictive!!
Airport Game 1 Airport Game 2

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sydney, Australia

Few years ago, I went to Perth with hubby and we had a lot of fun there. Before going, friends warned about lacking activities etc. In fact, they were wrong. I came back with a very good photo album that attracted whoever reads it.

Well, most of my friends prefer Sydney more than Perth as it has more to offer apart from its great natural beauty. They like its seductive outdoor lifestyls, exciting events and its nature.
You can hire a car or join the local tours. There are events range from the local town craft fair right up to festivals that attract tens of thousands of people. There are hundreds of sports, arts and community events as well as exhibitions and festivals.
You can experience its nature with mountains clad in sub-tropical rainforest and islands rich in marine life. Lots of mountain hikes that rise through wildflower meadows to glacier-carved lakes.
In terms of accommodations, Hotels in Sydney are fabulous in terms of choices. From cheap budget motels, to international hotel chains, and also exclusive luxury boutique hotels!
Food and wine are also famous there, and it fits all budgets. You can also check on the aboriginal culture that is full of histories. For more detail, check on the Sydney tourism website.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Karachi, Pakistan Trip - Conclusion

Finally I have the time to write this.
I went to Karachi last week on business. It was my first trip to Pakistan, and it happened during our Chinese New Year. I was a bit reluctant to go, hearing too many security warnings, but I am glad I went.

These are the few things worth sharing:

It is much better than what people told me. It really just looks like another Makati City in Manila. No doubt, armed officers (or guards??) can be seen everywhere, but it is to the similar level in Manila. Like Manila, we have to be scanned before entering any buildings. The only extra security measures I noticed, in comparison with Manila and Jakarta is, they also open and examine the bonnet when vehicles enter the premise.

In a country with frequent bomb scares, this kind of safety measure is appreciated, to help protecting our lives. But I have one question, not specific to Pakistan though: how do they know my luggage in the boot doesn't contain a bomb? They didn't scan my luggage in the boot.

Oh, I don't know whether there are curfews or not (as told by some), but we were out at night without any problems. I forgot to confirm with the locals about this.

Airport and Immigration Process
My office has very good relationship with the immigration officers and the airport. Upon arrival, we were greeted by an officer before immigration counter. We had express lane, bypassing queues/protocol/etc. I felt like a queen. :P

Similar process on return - upon arrival to the airport, I skipped all queues (or crowds), followed the officer bypassing everything, only waved my passport and went straight to the check-in counter. Best ever experience in any airports. :)

Similar to India, I was advised to drink only branded bottled water. Do not take salad/salad-dressing, only eat cooked food.

The food was fantastic. We had a great dinner on a roof-top restaurant called Bar-B-Q Tonight. The restaurant occupies the whole building, and the roof top is opened for seating. On a clear day, you can see the starry sky, as we did. It was breezy and very cozy.

It has an open kitchen at the ground level, which you can see how the food you ordered is being cooked. Very fun.
BBQ Kitchen

This is the lift that brought us to the roof-top. Very cute and old fashion. The lift's door is not sliding, but is to be opened outwards, err... well, like any doors. My pic is taken at the wrong angle, can't see clearly. There is this guy standing outside to help patrons open the lift door. Fun, isn't it?
BBQ Lift

They serve local and western food, but we only ordered the local flavors. Their naan is extremely tasty, very different from those in KL. Garlic is finely chopped in their garlic naan, which tastes just too good that it can be eaten on its own. Their chicken kebab is very different from ours. I hope I have two stomachs to eat them all. :P Sorry no photos, I was too hungry to take any. :P

Smoking Lifts
Yes, they are allowed to smoke in the lifts, otherwise why they have ashtray in the lift? This was taken in Marriott. I forgot to check out at Sheraton.
Smoking in lifts

Beautiful Buses
Their public buses are very beautifully decorated. And their traffic is much better than ours.
Public Bus

All local people that we met are very nice and polite (except the Marriott Hotel staff I mentioned in previous post). My colleagues are so hospitable, offered to take us out for dinner and sightseeing. Unfortunately I left 2 days earlier than the others, they went to one's house and had great fun there! The drivers are very nice too. One very chatty guy have been to a lot of places including few cities in China and Malaysia. We thought he must be rich to do that, no? :P

Not much greeneries in the city. I don't see many trees at the road sides, and what I saw was mainly dusts, rocks, paved and unpaved roads, constructions, etc. This is something that the city hall should improve, if they care of the quality of air for their people.

I didn't have the time for sightseeing. I've heard about great shopping for textile, which I will try next time. I heard that you can buy the textile and get the shop to taylor make for you. Of course, I will need my colleague's help to collect and send to me. I heard that the workmanship is very good, worth trying.

Yes, I have plans to re-visit the city, and I am not afraid any more. Just don't put me in Marriott Hotel will be fine. ;)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bad Experience with Marriott Karachi

I copied this as it is from my other blog. The reason is, I want more people to read this, as it is something really worth sharing... I will write my conclusion in another post.
Imagine this:
You made hotel reservation a month in advance. Midnight, upon arrival at a security heightened country, you found out that you have to share room with a complete stranger, and you have no other options but to accept it. Not only that, you have to sleep in the living hall on a made-shift bed, and yet expected to pay around RM700 ($200) for that.

This happened to me, in Marriott Hotel, Karachi. This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever encountered in my travel life.

I arrived Marriott Karachi at 2:30am KL time. I was exhausted, desperately needed a shower and a good sleep. But upon arrival, I was told that the hotel was overbooked, and they have simply put me and another lady stranger in the same room, without seeking our agreement. Though this lady comes from the same country and same company as me, I do not know her at all! Furthermore, I need my privacy to express my breastmilk, and this has completely infringed my privacy rights!

The Full Story
During check in, we were not informed about the situation. They just made us sign the check-in form/agreement. Then, I got a glimpse of the room booking printout – someone shares the same room number as mine!

Upon asking, the receptionist then told us their problem of insufficient room. They have ‘kind enough’ to upgrade me and the other lady to an expensive presidential suite. They convinced us that it has two separate rooms.

We thought it was two bedroom suites. We finally agreed to say in the ‘two room’ suites. BTW, same thing happened to my boss too, has to share with another HK lady.

But then… when we opened the door, it was actually a 1-room suite. They put up a made-shift bed in the living room, in between the dining table and sofa; expect one of us to sleep there! And they dare called this as ‘2 separate rooms’!


I needed my privacy to express my breastmilk. The other lady was kind enough to give me that room. But I feel bad. My boss has to stay in her living room, coz we arrived later than the HK lady who took the (only) bedroom already.

We were very upset of this incident. After arriving in the Pakistan office this morning, we told the officers, and we were asked to change hotel and do not pay for the night we stayed. We did, with a lot of arguments at the lobby. It was just too dramatic just now, if you can imagine.

It is just not right in principal:

First, they were not honest with us. They should inform us the situation, instead of conned us into signing that form/agreement and used it against us. That receptionist brought us to our room. When we realized the real situation, he tried to sneak out. He thought he could just dump us into the room and his duty was over.

Room Rate
They expected us pay the full rate of Rs11,900 (RM700/$200) each, for sleeping in the living room. Only after we protested and refused that room, they then offered us half the price. But that wasn’t what we want. Even with that half price, none of us would like to stay with a stranger or in the living hall, especially on business trip and for me – who need privacy to express my breastmilk.

Gender Discrimination
This really pissed me off. There are 6 of us from my company, 4 females 2 males. The males arrived later than my boss and I. They got single (normal) room. We had to share. The HK lady arrived at least 3 hours before us, she had to share with one of us. Why it has to be females to share and the males have their own rooms?

Unprofessional Attitude
The staffs were rude. They kept defending that it was ‘2-separate-rooms’. Ya, one is living room. We told them that it was unacceptable, but they just don’t understand. The worst thing is, until the moment we cancelled our stay, they still thought we were being difficult, and they couldn’t understand why we were not happy with their ‘nice presidential suite’.

What Is Acceptable?
Well, if they have problem with availability, they should have called our office yesterday, and immediately arrange for us to move to another hotel. It is actually more professional that way! If they really want to try that so-called presidential suite, they should have checked with us instead of conning us and trying to dump us in that room. If it was agreed by our office, then we will accept it. Furthermore, our office would be able to advise them who can be put together and who cannot.

Next Steps
I am going to write to their HQ, and I’m also going to write to our procurement department to de-list them as our panel hotel. It is not cheap to stay in that living room, you know?

I am so happy that we have taken necessary steps, and I had some kind of pleasure – seeing their shocking faces when we cancelled our stays. Moving into Sheraton now is a good choice. This hotel is much newer, larger, with better facilities, and cheaper!

Added on 6 Mar
This incident in Marriott is only an isolated case, which should not be used to evaluate the country. Please do not generalize this experience to the general public. In fact, I enjoyed my trip very much, met a lot of nice and helpful people. Sheraton is also a very good hotel to stay in. I will write separately to share the fun with you all later.