Friday, October 27, 2006

Bagan Sungai Buloh 271006

Friday afternoon and with a few hours to kill, we decide to go for a drive to Bagan Sungai Buloh, a fishing settlement on the Malacca Straits.

Pls click map for better view.
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The River 271006

Sungai Buloh, with the view towards the estuary, which is just around the bend. Note the water-birds and mangroves.

Upstream view, with jetties to land the catch of the day.

A boat, not exactly laden with fish, arrives from the sea.

The main landing jetty. I guess the boats are all out at sea ...

... minus the not-so-seaworthy ones.
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The Birds 271006

A couple of Grey Herons.

A White-winged Tern (thanks to KFChan for the ID), migratory, just arrived to avoid the cold northern winter.

A Brahminy Kite soars.

A Grey Heron in flight.

And a Little Heron suspiciously eyeballs me.
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The Coast 271006

From Bagan Sungai Buloh, we make our way along a coastal dirt track, atop a levee separating mangroves (and sea water) and human settlements.

Yellow lichens on coconut trunks glisten in the late afternoon sun.

A flock of crows ruffled by my presence.

View into the Malacca Straits from an opening in the thick mangrove swamp.

Coconut palms swaying in the breeze.

The Critters 271006

A pedigree stray dog rules over his mangrove-y domain.

At the water's edge, mudskippers playing hard-to-get.

Ugly-looking dude.

Brave Pop here is chief of the clan, which has disappeared into the mangroves behind him.

At the corner of my eye, a huge wild boar ambles into the undergrowth, not to be seen again. Too late to get a decent photo ... dang!

The dirt track leads us to Jeram (4.2km south of Sungai Buloh) where we take Route 5 back to Shah Alam.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Cafe Indo_Chine 151006

Second day in Hanoi, a Sunday morning, and we are meeting old friends, Mr Binh and Mr Hiep, at the chic Cafe Indo_Chine in the southern part of old town. But first, I have to ride pillion with Mr Binh through the famous Hanoi bike traffic.

I've ridden pillion in Hyderabad (India) before and since I reckon Hyderabad has worse traffic, Hanoi is no big deal. In fact in Hanoi (and Saigon) the bikes 'flow like a river' and when you cross a road, just move forward slowly and the bikes will gently flow around you. Never make a sudden movement, and making a U-turn is absolutely not cool.

Arriving at Cafe Indo-Chine in one piece, I enter the tastefully designed eating house. Note the gent in the red shirt.

Inside the compound a stall is dishing out some tasty-looking chow.
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The Tiles 151006

On the way in, FREE WIFI announcement.

Mr Binh's kids tucking into their brekky.

Then I spot the artistically laid tiles ...

... and I get curious.

Upon closer scrutiny, the tiles reveal an interesting thing or two ... or three ...

The Man in the Red Shirt 151006

After admiring the tiles, I come face-to-face with the man in the red shirt. He's no other than Mr Phú Quang, renowned Vietnamese song-writer (reliable sources say he's in fact #1 in Vietnam) cum Indo_Chine owner. Being the sucker that I am, I walked away with an autographed CD from him. :-)

Mr Binh and Mr Hiep seem unable the resist the temptation of a photo-shoot with Da Man too.

To end the morning session, what better than to have a get-together photo. I've just noticed Mr Binh's kids are missing!

Thanks, Mr Phú Quang, great stuff!

Click images for better view.

Uncle Hồ 151006

After Indo-Chine, we pass by a huge square.

It's Uncle Hồ's.

This Uncle Hồ ...

Hồ Chí Minh lies embalmed behind this door, unfortunately not for display like Chairman Mao in Tian'anmen Square when we were last there.

The Temple of Literature 151006

An old stately government house, as we leave Uncle Hồ. This is the posh part of old Hanoi, mainly government properties.

Next stop is the 1000-year-old institution, a Hanoi landmark - the Temple of Literature. In the old days, temples and institutions of higher learning are synonymous.

This is Vietnam's first national university, founded 1076, when Europe was still in the Middle Ages, and without any university yet!

Click images for better read.

The Courtyard 151006

Another yard and gate to pass, as typical ancient temples want you to do.

Dedicated to Confucius, in the middle of the inner courtyard, a squarish pond awaits, flanked by structures sheltering huge stone tablets.

This inner courtyard is reserved for the Emperor.

1000-year-old stuff here.