30 March 2007

Simon, we need a bigger stage this year.

American Idol Season Six - 28th March 2007

The Final Ten night was very good, featuring Gwen Stefani and the music of people who influenced her music. While everyone else were belting out Gwen Stafani songs etc, the two Hot Mamas this season : Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones, were having a Donna Summer Duel on their own.

LaKisha went first and sang Last Dance. As usual, the judges were impressed and the audience roared.

Likewise Melinda came out and did Heaven Knows, and brought the house down. Who cares if Simon hated her dress?

Donna Summer would have got goosebumps, had she attended the show that night.

I hope these two ladies will be in the Grand Finale. They deserve every vote in order to get there. It is not every season we saw REAL talent like this, not even the season when Fantasia won. Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks? Puleeeeze!

If America vote any of these two out of the show before the grand finale, it is final proof that America has no taste.

29 March 2007

Chiang Mai here I come!

I have not finished blogging my China trip and I am already off to Chiang Mai in Thailand for six days of work plus pleasure. The working part will involve the following work :

1) Wake up.
2) Attend seminar.
3) Coffee break.
4) Attend more seminar.
5) Lunch. Eat.
6) Attend yet more seminar.
7) Coffee break.
8) Attend still yet more seminar.
9) Dinner.
10) Hit the town.
11) Sleep.

Repeat steps 1 to 11 for the next 4 days.

If this is work, I shudder to imagine the pleasure part of my trip....

Mrs. Wombat : "What's that you say????????"

18 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 6)

21st February 2007 - Guilin city
(No no no! Why didn't I bring along my camera tripod????)

After dinner, we attended a ballet circus production entitled "Dreamlike Lijiang". Now for someone who is used to Chinese acrobats in traditional clothing doing traditional stunts, this is indeed an eye-opener. It ran for a hour plus and is worth every RMB of the ticket's price, except for the free handphone calls and loud local chatter. No cameras or video are allowed, yet I managed to post these images. How? That's what Google Images is for. For more information go to :


All I need is for Cher to make a cameo appearance, this would have been perfect :

After that we were shown Guilin's night scenery. As it was raining we were shown only half of the whole lot. The rest will have to wait for tomorrow night :

When I was a young boy, there was a TV sci-fi series called "U.F.O.". The flying saucer would often hide underwater and when it emerges it often gives a display similar to this :

This is Guilin's famous Glass bridge. According to the tour guide, it was made entirely out of glass :

Wombie : "Wow."

Mrs. W : "That's really glass?"

Wombie : "Yup. I wonder why they forbid us from walking on it?"

Mrs. W : "Isn't it obvious? Have you checked your weight lately?"

And thus ended our first day in Guilin. The next day is going to be a very bad day for me, no thanks to a cup of coffee, a bowl of instant noodles and a very tall hill. Stay tuned.

(To be continued...)

15 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 5)

21st February 2007 - Guilin city
(I came all the way here to look at that piece of rock????)

At last, after one and a half day of bus ride from hell, we arrived at Guilin. This was taken from the hotel when we had our lunch.

Wombie : "Wah... like KL lah. Very posh condominiums that!"

Tour guide : "Those buildings? Those are veli common, for our workers to stay in. Not posh at all. China veli good to its workers."

Wombie : "Wow!"

Mrs. W : "I think she is spouting propaganda and pulling your leg."

Wombie : "Izzit?"

After lunch we went to a place when silk products is demo-ed and sold. Here the guide was telling us clueless "South Seas Water Fish" (Nanyang Sui Yee) that even the leaders of the G7 wore their silk jackets when they last had their meeting in Beijing :

The life of a silk worm. And what does it get in the end? Being boiled ALIVE! Very fair.

Silk worm cocoons. This is the final stage of life of a silk worm just before it is boiled ALIVE to recover the silk. Looked more like an Alien nest to me :

No, this is not our hotel room for the night, although I wished. These are silk bedding products. The whole set costs half a Kancil :

So what did I buy? 100% pure silk boxers! RM 50 each. Cool, smooth, it is like nothing next to your skin... (Rkaru : "Too much too much information! Geli!")

After getting slaughtered at the silk shop, we went to see the symbol of Guilin, Elephant Trunk Hill :

A long long time ago (yeah yeah...), a celestial elephant escaped to the Earth and landed in Guilin. It liked it here and refused to return to the heavens and stayed for three years. The Heavenly King got angry and sent his army to capture it and the battle went on for 3 days and 3 nights. It was a stalemate.

Finally the elephant got thirsty and stooped down to drink from the Lijiang River. The Heavenly King took this opportunity and stabbed the elephant to death using a sword onto the back of it's head. (Yeah right, very fair fight, that.) The elephant died and turned to stone. You can see it in the photo below. The left most extremity is its trunk. (No, the one at the bottom is not Wombat) :

Full view of Elephant Trunk Hill. The pagoda/tower at the top of the hill represents the heavenly King's sword :

Tour guide : "Any of you wanna climb up there to the tower?"

All of us : "You must be FAQing joking!"

I never knew tulips can grow very well in China. (No, neither is that man Wombat) :

(To be continued...)

14 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 4)

21st February 2007 - Day 3 : Lipu to Guilin
(The Lost World - Nope, no T-Rex here.)

After our encounter with the democracy seeking fishing eagles, we were off-loaded at another Lijiang attraction call The Lost Word. Basically it is a commercial park built by Taiwanese investors and is based on the local folk's culture. It surrounds a huge lake.

No, none of the back of these heads at the entrance are Wombat's nor Mrs. Wombat's :

I spent close to 3 minutes waiting for this guy to get his ass off the rock so that I can take a shot of it which is inscribed with the name of the park. After 3 minutes I gave up and included him as well. The other two guys are my Ewoks :
More boat rides. The missus is not pleased as she is susceptible to sea sickness. Another travel-sickness pill for her. (Yes Rkaru, those two on the boat are authentic Guilin chicks...) :

This is not authentic local architecture. It was purposely built for display to us unsuspecting tourists :

Now these are the real houses the locals live in :

Yet another H.O.E. shot :

Remember, it is winter. Yet they are half naked. I know times are bad but.... seriously, these are the natives local to the area but I forgot which tribe as I was too busy looking at Guilin chicks. They make a very good follow-up to the Village People though :

(To be continued...)

13 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 3)

21st February 2007 - Day 3 : Lipu to Guilin
(Lijiang River - The fishing eagle, or was it a duck?)

Yet more Heaven On Earth shots :
So tranquil, so peaceful, so quiet, so far away from the commercial world---

Hey get that @#$%^&* hot air balloon out of my view finder!!!!!!

Okay, here is the local Lijiang River fisherman. With him are several "Fishing Eagles" (as translated directly from Mandarin), a Cormorant bird with duck-like webbed feet and an eagle's beak. Majestic looking birds, they are. They are used to fish for fresh water fish along the river in a rather unique (or some may say, cruel way) :

The fisherman is retrieving one of his birds that has gone fishing a minute ago :

He held up the bird on a bamboo pole :

...and let it come to rest on his raft. Where is the fish?

Fisherman held the bird by the neck and gently squeezed it upwards towards the mouth of the bird :

Slowly the fish is disgorged from the bird's neck via the mouth :

There, the whole fish, still alive and kicking :

Of course by this time most of the tour group are barfing their lungs out while some are threatening to call the SPCA...

Close up view of the cormorant below. See that gold string around the neck of the bird on the left? The string let the bird breathe but prevented it from swallowing the fish. The one on the right is one little show-off. It was posing like hell as long as I point my digi cam at it :

Bird #1 to Bird #2 : I tell you ah, someday our boss is going to get a Stephen King event from us, like in The Dark Half and all those sparrows. I am growing tired of swallowing and disgorging everyday! I want my freedom! I want democracy now! FREEDOM!

Bird #2 : Are you nuts??? You want to be sent to Guangzhou and get roasted???? Shaddap and keep quiet!

(To be continued...)

12 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 2)

20th February 2007 - Day 2 : Guangzhou to Guilin via Lipu
(a.k.a. The Eight Hour Bus Ride From Hell)

36 Malaysians spent two hours burning close to RM 1,000 worth of firecrackers and fireworks by the lake next to the Silver Cave Hotel, Lipu town, which is a halfway stopover for the night on our way to Guilin. I wished I had bought the Sony T50 digi cam before I came here, instead of using my ancient Canon A400 :

Local chinese : "You fellows are barking mad! You are burning money!!!"


21st February 2007 - Day 3 : Lipu to Guilin
(Lijiang River raft ride)

Finally, I came face to face with the famous China country toilet : This one is roofless. Very efficient ventilation:

I wonder why the ladies refused to utilize the female version of the same? It can't be because I am holding a digital camera right outside :

Bamboo raft ride on the Lijiang River :

Okay Rkaru, here's an authentic Guilin chick. She is acting out the part of "Liew Shan Jie", a lady famous in the local folklore, and involve singing a famous chinese folk song of the area. In the days of old, prospective men looking for a bride are supposed to duet with her. If she likes what she hears, she gives you a silk ball (held in her hand in this picture) and the man will get lucky. If she does not like what she hears, the man gets sentenced to three years hard labour (or something like that).

Nope, that handsome guy is not Wombat :

First of my numerous "Heaven On Earth" shots :

More of my H.O.E. shots :

(To be continued....)

09 March 2007

Magical Mystery Tour : Guilin - China 2007 (Part 1)

On 19-2-2007, Mrs. W and I went to China on my company's tour. It lasted until 26-2-2007 and covered Guangzhou, Guilin and Yangshuo.

(Rkaru! Liverpool supporter's flag! Five European Cups!)

We landed at Baiyun International Airport in the late afternoon and were immediately whisked to Five Goats Hill, which is supposed to be the symbol for Guangzhou city.

Legend has it that a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away--- sorry, wrong movie. A long time ago, a famine struck Guangzhou and a lot of people starved to death because nothing can be grown as food. Then the gods took pity on the Guangzhou people and sent down five goats from the heavens. If you look closely at the highest located goat, you will see it is holding a stalk of grain in its mouth. The goat gave this stalk of grain to the starving people and they planted the grain and eventually harvested it as food and the people no longer starved. This statue is built to commemorate this miracle.

I looked around me and all I see are non-starving people. It is the second day of Chinese New Year and I think the whole of China is here. It is CROWDED! If you think you spotted Wombat in this picture, think again. You wish.

Night was spent at Canton Hotel. Four star rating, but the English translation is no star.

"Sir, does you speak the England?"

(To be continued...)