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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Revisiting Otot Otot Men's Sauna









Every time I go to Kuala Lumpur, I visit this sauna. It's a nice place to meet the locals and have fun with them!  I have posted here the landmarks which will guide you to the place. It's very discreet and unassuming, you wouldn't know it's there!

When I wentlast Saturday and Sunday, it was a mixed crowd of Chinese, Malay, Indian and some Caucasians.  I ended up with one Malay and lots of Chinese guys, maybe because I look Chinese as well.  I bumped into a friend there as well from Manila but who lives in KL.

The entrance fee for weekends was 30 ringgit, around 340 pesos. There were more guys on Saturday then on Sunday.  In my experience, better to come early, around 4 or 5 PM since guys are not that choosy, but I noticed, after 6PM, most of them just go round and round and round and round.  Such a waste of time really. 

I usually leave at 9PM but I learned last Sunday that they do serve tea and biscuits at 9PM. It's on the house.

Will definitely go back here again! =)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Travel Mantra - Sticking with what I know - especially on the food I eat




Unlike other travelers who are always looking to try something new, ako, I stick with what I know.

Especially with what I eat.

Even when I travel with my brother.  We eat in the same places, lalo na if our first experience was great.  We're kind of loyalists instead of adventurers.

I eat in this Chinese hole-in-the-wall carinderia type of resto every time I'm in KL.  The food is reasonably priced, it's not airconditioned, I think everyone around is speaking Cantonese and I order by pointing at the pictures.

And the food is delicious!  They have maintained the taste for more than 10 years.  Amazing!

A Hazy Shade of Mist Descends in Kuala Lumpur






This is the fourth time I've been in a city when a haze hits it.

First was in Hong Kong, during summer, when the city was hit by this toxic haze of pollution as all the usok of the factories of Shenzhen blew into the city.  It was acrid, masakit sa mata na haze.

Same din in Singapore, when, in a bid of wrong timing, visited the city when the usok of all the burning trees in Sumatra blew into the city.

And then in Beijing, around this time of the year, when the air turned a bit yellow, due daw to the dunes and the winds coming from the Gobi desert, mixing with the city's notorious car pollution.

Here naman in KL, some people are walking around wearing the blue mask, but wala namang smell ang haze.  I don't even know if it's pollution or are they burning trees again in Sumatra.  But that island is far away!

Anyhow, the city looks like London when the early morning fog starts to dissipate.  It's like the mist is really in the city.  Di lang nga malamig.

Flirting With Danger in A KL Dance Club

I was in a dance club last night and I met this huge, muscular guy whose face looked like a mixture of Vin Diesel and Liev Schreiber.

From the nose above, he had the latter and the mouth and the jaw was the former. He really had this commanding presence.

Anyhow, I don't know how he sailed my way, but we ended up talking and I learned he was from Morocco and he was doing business here in Malaysia.

Feeling ko, ang haba na ng buhok ko, gwapo na, macho pa, businessman pa!  So he talked and talked, mostly about business and how Malaysia was doing right now. I really liked it because the conversation was not frivolous or shallow.

So he was talking and talking and I was touching him here and there - because naman, he had the body of Vin Diesel, very muscular, nice chest, amazing biceps, kalbo, with beautiful piercing eyes and a very commanding voice - so my hands were busy making landi while he was like the talk show host of Business Asia.

I think an hour passed or so, naka-ilang beer na rin sya, while I drank water, charot!  And then suddenly he says "Do you know the movie Hostel?"

And I said, "Yeah"

"Hostel 1, 2 and 3"

"Yes" I said again.

"That's my favorite movie!" he said, with a gleam in his eyes!  He then proceeds to tell me that the movies were a torture movie series and that his favorite one was the first one, because it was a group of guys, watching other guys being tortured!

BIG GULP!! on my side. Warning bells sounding off!

I traveled alone to KL, my phone has no GPS, nobody knows where I went out tonight and I'm about to go home with a guy who says his favorite movie, among the millions of movies released over the past century!! - is a freakin' torture movie!!

(In my mind) - I'm outta here!  My body is not a torture chamber!

Oh well, I pretended to check my phone and said to him, I have an early appointment tomorrow, made some apologies and gave him a fat, wet kiss on the cheek.  And hurriedly left the bar.

Of course, I could've been wrong and he could've been a gentle soul, but seriously, I've never met anyone yet, who says his favorite movie, in the whole wide world, is a torture movie!  And I've been around.

Looking back, maybe if he said, "Fifty Shades of Grey", I think I could've handled my Christian Grey fantasy in the form of Vin Diesel and Liev Schreiber.

At least, she's still alive.

Everyone dies in Hostel.

Escalator Etiquette in KL


I've been telling Laura about this unique system in KL, HK and SG where people either keeps left or right, freeing the other lane, allowing people in a hurry, either to go up or down.

Here in KL, it's apparently keep left, but I think it's different in the other cities, so I told Laura, you have to be sensitive about these things and not look like an outsider or a stupid tourist.

I wondered what the system is in our MRT or LRT and then I realized, do our escalators even work!!

Spacious and Airy Public Transport System in KL






If only the MRT and LRT stations in Metro Manila were this airy and density free, I'm sure many of the car-riding public in the metro would opt to take public transpo.

I would.  I've lived in HK for years and I rarely took a cab.  Even here.  I only take a cab when a family member is with me.  

I take their expansive train system even going to the airport.

And every time I get to re-visit, may natapos na naman sila na new line!

And the fares are competitive ha. Kasi, I checked my fare from my hotel to the stadium, which is about 12 stations away, in other words, malayo sya.

I only paid RM1.90, which is about 25 pesos. Imagine, kalayo kalayo, yung lang binayaran ko!  I think it just gets more expensive if you transfer to the other lines, kasi if I have to go to KLCC, ayun, umaabot na ng RM5 or more.

Well, the pictures can be misleading though because it's the weekend - the loooonnng weekend after Eid, so I'm sure, most KL residents are out of town.

Good luck bukas!

Lounging around Fitness First Avenue K








Fitness First Avenue K is the third club I've been regularly patronizing every time I'm in KL. Too bad, my first two favorites have all closed down.

My favorite was FF Menara Maxis. I think it was inside the Petronas Towers e. You had to leave an ID in the reception below and then present your ID in the gym upstairs.

Then there was FF Menara mbF, which was very near Shangri-la Hotel. Ayun, I found out now lang na it closed na rin.

I loved that place kasi it was very cozy, andaming cute, and ayun, mabenta ang siomai. It was also the place where the people were the most friendly.

The Avenue K branch is now part of a fully-finished mall. When I went here before, kinoconstruct pa lang sya. Ngayon, gawa na. And the location is perfect for me because it's beside a bookstore!

By the way, it says Level 2 but it's actually in the 4th floor in Pinoy terms. Like in HK or in other places, ang GF for them is not Level 1 or the first floor. So may GF, may Level, Level 2, etc.

What confused me was their first floor seemed like the mezzanine floor? Anyway, basta nasa 4th floor sya, nasa likod, tabi ng Popular Bookstore.

Sometimes, I would wonder how foreigners see Pinoys in the gym. Kasi dito, they don't have the Retro mommies, and the noisy bekis, and the bro-bro Daddies all grouped together.

Like everyone else, I was sitting alone, sipping my tea, while everyone else was on their cellphones. Unlike in the Manila FF gyms, there were no 'cliques'.

I guess that says something about our Filipino ways. The gym is really a social club, as well.

Fantastic Body Jam Class at FF Avenue K in Kuala Lumpur


As usual, first order of the trip is to attend a Body Jam class. Sadly, FF Menara mbF has closed already so sa FF Avenue K na ako makaka-attend everyday.

I really preferred the former one because it was not very crowded. The latter is, OMG, parang palengke, a bekiloo every square millimeter! You wonder who is the queen among all these divas!

Anyway, I attended probably one of the best Body Jam classes ever - the energy of the class was very high and the instructor, Uchop, is one of the best instructors that I've ever attended, very confident, very expressive with his moves and just no holding back with him!

He did mostly old tracks, which was great and I thought I already saw everything in Body Jam but with him, you get to see something new from those vintage tracks I've done a thousand times!

He kinda reminded me of how Jing did those rock tracks last week. I reacted like, "Ooohhh that's how it's done pala, it's more expressive, more in the spirit of the tracks being played." Same with him.

It's fun to see old favorite tracks being danced to in a new light! It's really how the instructor puts his or her own stamp into them that makes them very enjoyable to watch.

He also taught the next class, called Dance Fusion. It's really more like my G-Force classes since the steps were very complicated and there's a step for every count. Feeling mo, back-up dancer ka sa concert ni Madonna!

And I loved it! The class composition was also very interesting! May bata, may matanda, may babae, may lalaki, may Chinese, may Malay, may Indian, may mga puti - it was the most heterogeneous dance class, I've ever attended!

The pressure was like attending a G-Force class. Wag kang tatanga-tanga and you have to have recharged your memory cells! We did four eights and ayun, anlandi ng steps. no holding back talaga!

Incentive na rin na cute yung chinito guy beside me. Mahirap pala sumayaw pag gwapo katabi mo. You have to concentrate more and not keep looking at how he dances!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Trying My Best to Stay Out of Cola Drinks!

Dear Lord,

I was really trying my best to avoid drinking Coke today. During traveling, I could easily down 5-7 cans of softdrinks at different points of the travel.
 
I did fail a bit when I reached the Sentral station. I bought green tea. Uhaw na e, and I wanted something sweet to taste. 
 
And I was stressed and pissed kasi I could not find the platform to the station I wanted to go to! Nothing like something sweet to drink to calm me down.
 
Hay good luck sakin bukas. I just hope it won't be a very hot day.

Learning to Travel Light

 
This is probably the lightest luggage I've brought abroad. I used to consume all the 30 kilos allowed when budget airlines were not yet in vogue.
Now, I'm down to 4.7 kilos.
That's for an 8 day trip.
The first time as well, I did not check in any luggage. Kaya ko naman pala.
I just miss Mama Queen though. She's my pillow. I wonder now how I can sleep without her!

Marking My 44th Trip Abroad!

I learned about an interesting statistic today.
News about the haughtiness of immigration officers have been in social media lately and since I was using a new passport, the immigration officer immediately asked if it were my first time abroad.
He also asked me if I brought my old passports (who brings all their old passports, except maybe when the visa you need is on an old one!!?)
The immigration people never used to talk to me but now, this guy even asked for my return ticket!
Anyway, his manner quickly changed from being haughty to congenial.
He was shocked to find I had already made 44 trips abroad in my lifetime.
I was also shocked myself because I've never worked or studied abroad and I only have one sister who lives abroad and I've only visited her once. Also, none of these were business trips.
Those were just all traveling for travel's sake! So that's where all my money went!
Sobrang kati pala talaga ng paa ko! I'm curious tuloy how many travels my brother has as well. Makati rin paa nun!
Anyhow, money well spent pa rin.....looking forward to planning my next 44!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Movie to Watch Out For: Bridge of Spies





I don't know why it takes Steven Spielberg so long to make movies, when his much older contemporaries, Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen can come up with a movie every year!
He's back this year though and the buzz for his latest movie Bridge of Spies has been very strong and I hope it gives him another shot at an Oscar Best Director award. He should've a third one because his body of work is just amazing!
I'm a bit excited about this one since I love spy movies and since Spielberg movies are more cerebral than the usual summer spy movie - this one should be something to watch for. I'm also glad that Tom Hanks is back in the spotlight.
I just think he went away for too long. Even Robert de Niro does not disappear from the limelight even if the movies he makes are just trashy comedies.

Movie to Watch Out For: The Danish Girl





I'm just glad that this movie, The Danish Girl" is going to get a theatrical run in the Philippines. The buzz from the arthouse community worldwide has just really been strong for this movie and I wouldn't be surprised if it does get several Oscar nominations in 2016 especially that the people behind it already have Oscars on their shelves.
I only realized when I read more about the movie "The Danish Girl" that the "woman" in this picture is actually the actor Eddie Redmayne!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book Review: Charlotte Gray


Finally I finished this book, Charlotte Gray, tonight while waiting for the US Open coverage. There are books which I can finish in a week, this one took me almost 3 months! There is actually a movie version of this book, starring Cate Blanchett, but I still have to find a copy of that movie.
At some point, I wanted to just give up reading it as parts of it were plodding, but soon as I reached the last two-thirds of the book, I finished that part in just a day, mainly because the action was quick and everything was unraveling very quickly!
I love books about World War II and this one, mainly set in rural France, is even more interesting because it depicts the politics of France during that time and how the people felt towards the German occupation of their country.
I don't think I really warmed up to the main character that's why it took me sometime to finish this book. Sometimes, it's really important that I identify with the main characters or at least care for them, otherwise, it's easy to just lose interest.
It's just good that there are many subplots and other interesting characters mainly the French ones, as the book moves from London to rural France.