Mauritian Martians

November 24 – 29.

In between launching PLR Encyclopedia with my business partner Khai Ng and running house errands as a bachelor, I hastily packed my bags for Mauritius Island.

This is the first time I celebrated my birthday abroad, albeit for just a few days. Mauritius is 7 hours away from Malaysia by flight, and there are many more surrounding islands; I’d love to come back again. Mauritius sports a humble setting, boasting population of no more than 1.3 million people.

 

Surprisingly, I saw many Proton cars on the road; this is the first time I’ve seen so many Malaysian cars in another country! Didn’t feel like I left home.

People here speak Mauritian Creole, which is mostly of French language. Fortunately, people here speak English well even for a second language.

Reviewing back, a number of my travels is attending weddings. Just two weeks prior to this, I attended Padro and Vera‘s wedding in Jakarta, Indonesia. This time, I was to attend Jonathan Teng and Sharon‘s wedding.

It was a shame that Calvin Woon and Patricia Lin from Singapore couldn’t join me on the short notice; but we’ve been talking about it since early this year it would suck to back out on my promise right now. Besides, I heard Mauritius is a lovely island.

Got to admit I wasn’t as well prepared to come to Mauritius. Jonathan was the only person I know here but thankfully he, Sharon and their family have been very generous to me as a guest. The most generous treatment I’ve received ever, in fact!

After Jonathan and Sharon’s wedding and dinner reception, I was checked into Pearle Beach Hotel and hawt damn, it was super awesome! Not just because of the “all expenses paid” by Jon for coming, but really this is easily one of the most enjoyable hotels I’ve been to that I can remember.

The beach is enchanting too, rivals that of Bali in Indonesia.

It’s a shame that while I could afford my trip here from a few day’s worth of work, I actually had a whole year to find a date to come with me… and I didn’t do it.

I swear, when I come back to Mauritius I’m bringing a hot date with me. 😉

I didn’t take many photos this trip but I’m serious about coming back again… it’s a must, and I want to check out the nearby islands as well!

There will certainly be a Mauritian Martians PART 2…

There’s Facebook So Why Blog?

Many people forget that I have a personal blog. Fewer people realize that I STILL blog.

Among a few reasons, the contents of my personal blog are blocked from search engines. For a long time, I’ve stopped ‘promoting’ my personal blog every time I wrote a new post and save for small mentions in my social media profiles, not many realize that I still actively update my blog at least monthly.

While used to receiving anywhere from a few up to dozens of comments, my blog post comments as of recent years had plummetted to zero. This was eversince I’ve become active on Facebook and so are my friends and regular blog visitors.

With Facebook, I can share my thoughts in fewer words and a few updates later, uploading photos became a breeze. Since many users are hyperactive here, this is where all the comments and following have gone to.

So why do I still carry on blogging?

Call me paranoid. Call me a control freak. In as great and convenient Facebook is today, and with the shift of traffic heading towards its direction, I think it can go away one day.

That last line must have raised some eyebrows. It’s not out of imagination when you look into the past decade: Yahoo! was the leading search engine until Google took the lead. Friendster was pwned by MySpace, which in turn pwned by Facebook. And I don’t have to tell you about what’s going on between Microsoft and Apple do I?

That said, if and when Facebook were “to go” one day, I won’t be banging my head against the wall for spending so much effort and energy posting contents to a social media site that’s no longer around. (Look at what happened to Friendster today… I never had an account with them anyway)

Also, a 5000 friend limit on Facebook means that my maximum exposure is capped at just 5000.

I still like the idea of writing a periodical journal here, and the past archives can be easily referred back to. So I can look back some day and see how things have changed – or how some have not.

And when I’m no longer among the living one day, this blog shall server as a sizable account on how I lived up until my final moments.

New Zealand Chapter: Dunedin

Continued from New Zealand Chapter: Auckland…

Dunedin.

Where I had friends to meet in Auckland, Dulcie is the only person I know here. And I had to count on her to go around here.

The first thing on the to-do list was racing up Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

What a way to start the holiday in humble ole’ Dunners. Haha!

Got to know Dulcie’s friend, Jay, and within no more than a minute he invited me to represent Salmond College in the race up Baldwin St. A mercenary never takes a day off.

The air was cold and chilly, definitely colder than in Auckland. I jogged to the start of the street in an effort to warm up. The super steep street is intimidating but I was more excited to see how far my gym training had brought me in the past 6 months.

So I raced against other Amazon-like women… and prevailed!

It came at the cost of running out of breath and retiring down to the ground.

The street was no joke. My legs felt crammy yet it was the cold air that really got to me. The hailing stones that came minutes later didn’t help with things. LOL

While in Dunedin, I stayed with everyone else at Salmond College. Dunedin is basically a ‘students town’ because the number of students outnumber the rest of other occupations here.

Dulcie toured me around the college and the next couple of days here. Staying here, I didn’t feel like a tourist… more like another student! Haha. 🙂 And I’ve mentioned many times Salmond College reminds me of the fictional X-Mansion in the X-Men cartoon a.k.a. the School for Gifted Youngsters.

Speaking of that, only the best students get enrolled here so students here are truly aces in their own rights! Makes me feel like some non-enlightened, uncivilized barbarian now ey?

Dunedin is full of churches from many denominations, and most old buildings are preserved to this day. So walking around in Dunedin kinda brings you back in time too!

While here, I attended a mass service with Dulcie and her friends in the Holy Name church.

One of the attractions I went to in Dunedin is the Cadbury Chocolate Factory!

75 minutes of watching how chocolates were made behind the scenes and shipped to the entire world… not gonna lie, we had “chocolate orgasm”!


Meet Sarah our Cadbury tour guide. She’s been whipping out chocolates after chocolates magically from her pockets throughout the tour! I think cross dimensional pockets are no longer a thing of the future.

My stay in Dunedin was shorter than in Auckland. We did plenty of walking around and sight seeing including the Botanic Gardens, the old Railway Station, numerous churches, and life in slow paced Dunners.

It was an overall fun and exciting vacation but good things came to an end when it was already time to fly off.

All in all, it was 9 days well spent in New Zealand!

Even more photos on my New Zealand trip are found on my Facebook profile.

New Zealand Chapter: Auckland

It’s been months since I last went out of Malaysia for a vacation and this time, I chose somewhere closer to the South Pole: New Zealand!

My first stop was Auckland. For the next 4 days here I stayed in James Allen‘s apartment. The last time I met James was in Fukushima, Japan in 2008.

James, his wife Yuko and their kid Hanna moved here in April after the unfortunate tsunami and earthquake disaster hit Japan, not to mention the radiation leak in Fukushima that occurred as a result.

James had been really hospitable and generous while I was here; his apartment is smack dabbed in the middle of the city and most attractions were within walking distance. He also introduced me to some of the people he’s been working with on some really awesome Internet projects.

And guess who else I met?

I also met up with Delia while I was here! She and her sister Dulcie moved to New Zealand to further their studies since February this year. (I would later meet Dulcie in Dunedin)

So I finally caught up with Del months later. Meeting her was surprisingly convenient as her student’s apartment was about 15 minutes walk away; practically Queen Street connects everything here. LOL

But we sure did heck a lot of walking to find the Auckland Harbour Bridge! A nice gentleman offered to drop us there on the way. 🙂

We walked up and down the Harbour Bridge here. 🙂 It’s however comparably smaller than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Saw some people doing the bungee jumps; would had tried but cold weather really scared me let alone dipping into the freezing waters.

But hey, I did jump off the Auckland Skytower!

192 meters. Falling down at the acceleration of 85 km an hour. Totally exhilarating? Check this video out:

Too bad I couldn’t join any airsoft skirmishes, I must had picked the wrong weekend to come. The rugby world cup was going on and the All Blacks were to compete against the French team on Saturday. The weekend came to life and when the All Blacks won, the streets were high!

Even though there’s just slightly over a million population here in Auckland (4 million + overall in NZ) night life is big here over the weekends.

I made full use of my last day in Auckland by visiting as many as 3 tourist attractions on my own. First stop was the Auckland Museum.

Plenty of amazing relics, artifacts and things from the past. Learned the background of New Zealand and how it came about. Undeniably of course, my favorite wings within the museums are the WWI and WWII wings.

Next stop was the Auckland Zoo.

The zoo is huge, and I mean like REALLY HUGE! It was spring so some animals – notably the turtles – had been moved elsewhere. Some parts of the zoo were under renovation. Still, there was plenty to see.

Near the Auckland Zoo is MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology. Since it’s just a stone’s throw away, I went to check it out before it closes.

Visiting museums today really felt like going back in time. So I went through exhibits after exhibits, vehicles and aviators that blast from the past all the way through fairly recent history.

After spending a nice 4 days in Auckland, I caught the flight to the next destination further down south: Dunedin!

To Be Continued…