Friday, 25 June 2010

one of our walks - Cameron Highlands

There are quite a few walking trails in the Cameron Highlands area of Malaysia ..... but for a very easy walk into Tanah Rata from The SmokeHouse Hotel, walk towards the Parit Falls, which means 'Pit', which unfortunately reflects the sad state of its affairs. The waterfalls are polluted with garbage and debris, though the surrounding forest is still very much pristine. Parit Falls can be accessed from the main road at a right turning just before Brinchang Town. The waterfalls collect at a wide pool that may be used for swimming, but the temperatures are freezing and the rubbish floating really is not that welcoming for swimming!

But the walk was interesting.

From the hotel the first thing you see on the walk is the All Souls Anglican Church!
  and some of the other things we saw when we walked to Tanah Rata....

 typical style home in the area .....
and to the left off the side of the road towards the Parit Falls ......

some of the pathway can be muddy after the heavy rain ....... but wear comfortable shoes and watch your step!

 and then at the end of the walk, you come to a large park full of flowers which are all just so beautiful and then straight into the town of Tanah Rata .......
To read the blog posting about the town of Tanah Rata - click HERE

for other blog postings that I have done on our visit to the Cameron Highalnds in May 2010 see below:

Click here to read about Booking the Bus .

To read about the bus trip on May 7 to the Highlands, click HERE.

For the posting of: In summary .... COMFORT

The posting on The Smokehouse Hotel is here.

Click here for the blog posting on the Rocking Chair

To wander around the gardens of the hotel, click here.

The blog about the flowers of the Highlands, click HERE.

hope you enjoy the numerous postings I have done on the Cameron Highlands!!!

update Jan 2011

a few new links that maybe of interest to you:

Thursday, 24 June 2010

spectacular light display

spectacular light display
Originally uploaded by Leone Fabre.

June 23 2010 ...... the opening of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

What can I say?

simply beyond stunning.

When we first arrived in Singapore nearly four years ago we saw this area as one one hole in the ground... and look at it today!

You just have to give credit to Singapore for being able to achieve so much is so short a time ...... not just with MBS, but with everything.

Singapore is only 45 years old and look where it is today!

I went early to see the World Championship Climb and stayed to see the lighting spectacular and am so glad I did.

Will blog about it more later - with more photos - but in the meantime, read this blog posting on the Championship climb:


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Part of the The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)

Part of the The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)
Originally uploaded by Leone Fabre.

this is just one of the photos that EnergyU is using for their on-line training!

Rec'd yesterday:
I am an instructional designer, contracting with Midwest Energy Association (MEA), and I am currently creating an online course which will run on Energy University ( I was wondering if it would be possible to include some of your photos in this course - I came across excellent examples on your Website. Any photo used will have the appropriate "copyright" or "photo courtesy of" information noted.

MEA ( is one of the country's leading energy organizations, working with members to pursue operational excellence by providing them quality training and information resources. The EnergyU e-learning portal provides over 15,000 employees nationwide with access to Electric, Natural Gas, Liquid/Petroleum, OSHA and Leadership online training courses.

.... and from Wikipedia about the actual pipeline...

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), usually called the Alyeska Pipeline in Alaska or the Alaska Pipeline elsewhere, is a major U.S. oil pipeline connecting oil fields in northern Alaska to a sea port where the oil can be shipped to the Lower 48 states for refining.

The main Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs north to south, almost 800 miles (1,300 km), from the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the Gulf of Alaska at Valdez, Alaska, passing near several Alaskan towns, including Wiseman, Bettles, Livengood, Fox, Fairbanks, and Glennallen.

Construction of the pipeline presented significant challenges due to the remoteness of the terrain and the harshness of the environment it had to pass through. Between Arctic Alaska and Valdez, there were three mountain ranges, active fault lines, miles of unstable, boggy ground underlain with frost, and migration paths of caribou and moose. Geological activity has damaged the pipeline on several occasions.

Since its completion in 1977, the pipeline has transported over 15 billion barrels (2.4 Tl) of oil.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

2010 World Championship Climb

The Marina Bay Sands 2010 World Championship Climb to the Sands SkyPark is the first event of its kind: a speed race to climb the 55 floor Marina Bay Sands hotel, showcasing the courage and skills of some of the fastest climbers in the world.

The event is a team speed competition, with seven teams of three climbers each, representing seven different regions of the world. The climbers are all world class professional climbers from a variety of different specialties and strengths. Each team includes one female and two male climbers.

The race is a team relay, with seven climbers on each of the three towers.

check here for images of the preparation!

Each team must climb the three towers is succession, followed by a sprint across the SkyPark to a dramatic finish line where TV camera's, news medsia and a special celebrity guest await the winners.

A few moments later, skydivers will descend from the sky, pass over Marina Bay Sands and land in the waters of Marina Bay to signify the conclusion of the competition and commencement of the evenings entertainment.
 below: the arrow points to where The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is now situated:

image below:
before the SkyPark was added ...... image taken in August 2009 ......

the above image was when they were repairing the Merlion (after lightning damage) and in the background you can see the MBS being built.

So to watch these climbers scale the THREE TOWERS of the Marina Bay Sands, will be amazing!

Tomorrow - Wednesday June 23 2010.

Monday, 21 June 2010

nine years ... how time flies!!!

June 22 2001 ......... this was the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer and secondaries in the lymph nodes.

First image:
two weeks before I was diagnosed - in Brisbane (Australia) with my daughter Janine....
Only those that have gone thru this and their carers know what devastating news this can be. But the ONLY way to get thru such a diagnosis is to be POSITIVE - though not always as easy as it sounds - and have the best carers around you .... the medical team and the love and support of your family and friends.

Second image:
Two days after surgery ....... all I wanted to do was get OUT, breathe in the fresh air and walk in the park across the road from the hospital!
I know I would not have managed to survive without John and the amazing support I had from so many people.

Third image:
the day I lost all my hair - August 2001. We may have been laughing, but it was just such an awful experience. John was amazing though, he kept my spirits up every single day.
I was told by my surgeon that it would take twelve months out of my life with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

and he was right.

Fourth image:
the day I finished my chemotherapy (which is why I look so puffy) and just a few days before I started the I am with Zac.
Not for one minute can you let yourself become negative. For most patients, cancer is the most difficult and frightening experience they have ever encountered. ..... and most will never want to hear the words "be positive" or "never become negative". It is enough of a battle to just get out of bed every morning.

But for me I found that everytime I started to feel negative, I just had to try harder. 

I am not saying this was easy. Far from it. 

I am not saying I was brave. Far from it.

But I had so much love and support around me all I could think of at the time was "try harder" or "be strong".

Looking back now ... I see that all this did help me.

There are many support groups for those diagnosed with cancer all over the world.

All you need do is check with your local Doctor.

But I hope and pray you never have to.

the town of the Flat Land - Tanah Rata

 This time next week five of us will be ready to leave on the overnight coach to the Cameron Highlands.
I have done many blog postings on our visit there in May 2010 and if you are interested in reading any of them, see the following:
Click here to read about Booking the Bus .

To read about the bus trip on May 7 to the Highlands, click HERE.

For the posting of: In summary .... COMFORT

The posting on The Smokehouse Hotel is here.

Click here for the blog posting on the Rocking Chair

To wander around the gardens of the hotel, click here.

The blog about the flowers of the Highlands, click HERE.

There are a couple of blog posting I did not do, one of them is the town of Tanah Rata and the other is the walk from the SmokeHouse Hotel via the waterfalls to Tanah Rata.

This blog posting will be about the town of Tanah Rata.

Tanah Rata is a town located in Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia. The name "tanah rata" means flat ground in Malay and it refers to the relatively flat area on which the town is located amidst this highland region.

It is a town of contrasts .... a mixture of old and new, of Malay and Western, of clean and dirty, of tourists and locals ..... so be prepared for anything!!

But first of all, you gotta know where you are going ..... 
 above - the main street of Tanah Rata and then the steps to walk up to the stores ....
 ... and suddenly there is a STARBUCKS ...... just waiting for Andrea!

you just never know what you are going to see as you cross the road or turn the corner ....

 and the amazing BUFORI ..... a Malaysian sports car parked outside the bank!

 Tanah Rata is the largest town of Cameron Highlands, but its tourist appeal lie mostly with European travellers. This is because of its quieter environment compared with Brinchang, wide spaces and choice of backpacker or budget hotels with their own gardens or walking grounds. Most of the establishments here consist of cafes, sundry shops, souvenir outlets and businesses. Compared to Brinchang, the town has few hotels within the commercial area or shop lots; most are located among the surrounding areas, where there are backdrops of mountains and forest for a serene environment. Some of the famous hotels in Tanah Rata include the Heritage Hotel, located on a hill slope, and the Strawberry Park Resort, located a few km off the main road in a remote, forested area. The bus that travels from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands will make its final stop here before heading back down. Brinchang is only 5 km away so it's an easy walk if you're fit.

Cameron Highlands was named after and discovered in 1885 by an English man named William Cameron during a survey operation in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Forging a path through the dense vegetation, he finally reached a magnificent and sublime plateau ‘shut up in the mountains'. From then on, the British colonists recognised its potential for growing tea, a precious commodity.

My next blog posting will be of the walk to Tanah Rata via the waterfalls.




Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Singapore: it's all about LRT MRT SMRT PIE BKE AYE

Singapore has the absolute best public transport system in the world, seriously. It is a shame that other countries (such as Australia) do not take note of how to do a job efficiently as they try to reinvent the wheel.  They just want to waste taxpayers money without looking at other countries and seeing what can be done with a little forethought.

I use the public transport system wherever I go ... it is fast, easy and very convenient. If I have been shopping or visiting friends and it is late, I sometimes use a cab to go home.

But where we live at Bukit Batok, it is so convenient as we are right beside the Bukit Batok MRT (rail station) we are also only 5 minutes walk to the Bus Interchange. These buses run all over the island and I never have to wait more than 15 mins during off peak. With the train system during peak time the trains run every 60 seconds ..... yes, that is every single minute! Then it eases off to every 3 minutes and during 'off peak' times the trains run every 6 minutes.

We cannot ask for a better service.
The ticket is also very simple. It is called the Ezi Link card, you tap it on the 'gate' on the way in and again on the way out ... your fare is deducted at that point. You top up the card at every rail station and some other outlets. It is a type of debit card and can be used for MacDonalds, car parking, bus, train and soon a few stores will accept the Ezi Link card for payment. 
To use the Ezi Link card on the bus - you tap the card on the way in and just before you get off at your stop.

The MRT is available over most of the island and there are new lines being installed all the time. Where there is no MRT (train line) then there is the bus service or the LRT (Light Rail Train) which is an automated one carriage 'train' that runs from a MRT interchange station and out thru some of the more densly populated area's. 

This first image shows where the MRT lines are situated .... we live on the RED LINE .... if I need to go to CHANGI AIRPORT I would take the train from Bukit Batok MRT to Jurong Interchange and change trains to go along the GREEN LINE to CHANGI AIRPORT ... this would take one hour and 10 mins and cost $1.82. If I took a cab to the airport at around mid afternoon it would take 35 minutes and cost $27.00.
 This image here is one of the LRT lines. If I was visiting my friend Lesley, I would take the MRT to CHOA CHU KANG MRT (just two stops away) and then take the LRT to PENDING and walk about 200m.
which is what we did last Sunday ..... John and I left Bukit Batok at 1.15pm and we were at Lesley's by 1.45pm..... and this is what we did:

We took the MRT from Bukit Batok to Choa Chu Kang MRT....
the above image is from the Choa Chu Kang MRT looking across to the LRT station. You can actually see the 'train' as it pulls into the station. We walk down under the MRT station to reach the LRT line. 

If we took just the bus, it would take 38 minutes and cost 88cents. By taking the MRT and LRT it took 28 minutes and cost was $1.10.

The Choa Chu Kang MRT/LRT Station (NS4/BP1) is an interchange station serving the Choa Chu Kang area of Singapore. It is part of the North South Line and it is also the terminus of the Bukit Panjang LRT Line.

The station was opened on 10 February 1990. It used to be the terminus of the Branch Line before 10 February 1996. With the opening of the Woodlands extension, trains can run directly from the station beyond Yishun MRT Station, to Marina Bay MRT Station, and hence the branch line was incorporated into the North South Line from then on. Terminating facilities for Marina Bay-bound trains are still present.

The LRT station opened on 6 November 1999, on the opening day of the Bukit Panjang LRT line.
we waited on the LRT station for about 3 minutes for the train to arrive.

The Light Rail Transit (LRT), also known as the Light Rapid Transit, is the light rail component of Singapore's rail network, consisting of localised rail systems acting as feeder services to the Mass Rapid Transit network. The first LRT line was opened in 1999 and the system has since expanded to three lines, each serving a public housing estate.

The system is closer to an automated people mover system such as those found in many airports around the world than a traditional light rail system. All the lines are fully automated and elevated, and run on viaducts in order to save scarce land space in Singapore.

Although the Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain people mover and the Sentosa Express is relatively similar to the LRT, they are not part of the system.

Lines are constructed by the Land Transport Authority, with operating concessions currently handed to SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit

The trains on the LRT system are fitted with rubber tyres, rather than steel wheels, on specially-constructed guideways from which its power is also sourced. All cars are fully automated and driverless, and are controlled from their respective depots.

What I didn't realise at first was the windows change from clear - when at the station - to opaque when it is moving. This is to sop people feeling nauseous when traveling at heights along the lines. Very, very clever!

The following images were taken as we were in the train and going along the line .... you can see where it weaves in and around the buildings and some construction work as well.
and then we arrive at our destination at PENDING LRT STATION.

Pending LRT Station (BP8) (pronounced as pern ding) is an LRT station on the Bukit Panjang LRT Line in Singapore. It was opened in November 1999. It is operated by SMRT.

Well worth the experience to take a journey on one of these even if it is just to see how efficient Singapore is with it's amazing public transport system!

Click HERE to read about my blog posting of our recent trip on the new circle line!