Friday, 3 May 2013

A-Z Challenge Reflections: What a trip

Made to Z as scheduled. Wow what a trip. My first time and am I glad I did it.

It is not the writing that was difficult but deciding what to write was more of the challenge for the A-Z. And I think that is also true for many things in life. It is not just about doing thing right but doing the right thing - the old management book said. Rather than prepared post I'd instead went for a day at a time post ... although the working titles, in our case working destination, the actual writing was done on the day of posting ... the most, was done a day before. And such relief was felt when a post was already written for the following day. Less pressure and more fun visiting other blogs. Felt less self centered. Perhaps for next challenge it would be wise to prepare my posts ahead of time.

Still the experience and lesson learned for opting a day at a time posting method is priceless. Write no matter how you feel, no matter if the creative juice stops flowing or as DL Hammons said you get constipated idea wise. Write without apology, J.A. Bennettt gave her most valuable of writing tips. Go on -- write and just have a good time, many of the A-Z Challenge home posts push you on. Everywhere you look and read words of support and encouragement were presented and shared so generously. That took you to the top of the wave of writing crest and moved you onward.

Side by side your writing buddies continue on even with daily life calling for attention. I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a member in such writers community. Thank you all of you of A-Z Challenge Team Organizer and participants. All the best, and see you around the blog.

Alternative Foodie

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Zombie Dice

We departed Kuala Lumpur at past midnight of February 20th, 2011 and arrived back at 4 am, August 20th 2011. A few hours extra than six months. We had much less in luggage than when we left. The first in our trip. Usually we have much more when we are back from a trip somewhere. This time our mementos are small in sizes. Digital brought home his Zombie Dice pack and I've all photos in our memory cards.

Digi Playing Zombie Dice by himself in Washington D.C.

Digi playing Zombie Dice with Rob in NYC

We are a long way from adopting a nomad life but we have learned many lesson while on the road - travel light and always be ready to adapt to changes. We also received so much kindness from so many people during our travel and that is the best of memories we have ever had. There is indeed so much to be thankful.

With that I wish everyone success in your writing and future endeavour. Keep in touch and take care.

Alternative Foodie
A-Z April 2013 Challenge

Monday, 29 April 2013

Yelps!!! Yellow penguins took our plane!

Two Yorkshire Terriers went to London
Highly energetic and eager for adventure
They thought they could find some Yak
To help haul their bulging backpacks

Instead they Yapped away with some couchsurfers
Exchanging stories of Convent Garden's treasures
And danced the night in between sips
Of carrot juice and mango lassi

It is not surprising they kept Yawning
Thinking about a plane to Paris
3 pm the next day it should be
Yay till noon then they could sleep

Was that a Yellow penguin flying by my window?
Or perhaps a Yaffingale?
No no ... Those were penguins riding a plane.
That was my plane too, mummy terrier said. Waking up from a nightmare.
3 pm plane had flown to Paris
Not 3 pm leaving for airport.

Two Yorkshire Terriers left London
Heading for one night in Paris
A plane late only
In time for KL breakfast
In 24 hours.

Alternative Foodie

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X is the XXIVth Post of A-Z Challenge

What is the XXIV post is to say THANK YOU to all the followers and visitors to nuttybean. It has been really incredibly awesome being able to share with you of our unforgettable six month road trip to Europe and USA. There will be two more letters to go after X but there will be no more photos to share. We dropped our camera from waist height on our last evening in Columbus. It broke. There was no time to shop nor the budget to buy a new camera - not even the point and shoot one. We had a long way home, every US Dollar, every British Pound and Euro counts. Those pictures of farmland posted in the previous W post, were among the last of our six months travel photos. We were not home yet. Two more letters ... Y & Z coming up next.

It is strange for me to write without illustration. I'm far from being a professional photographer but when words are difficult to put together and a photo speaks a 1000 words, the choice was easy. I tend to have photos to my words. How about you?

Alternative Foodie

Friday, 26 April 2013


Today is the letter W - and it is for Wooster, Ohio.

While in Ohio, we spent most of our weekends at Mike's parents'  in Wooster. There were special occasions, birthdays & Easter to attend. There were also spontaneous family gatherings or just lazing around.. We worked some weekends -  for food of course. We also went kayaking at the Mohican State Park, North of Mount Vermont with the local crews - Mike, Megan and Zack. Thoroughly awesome time but no photo - too scared that we might gotten our camera wet ... one never knew when kayaking if you could stay in your kayak all the time. Digi and I relatively stayed dry, but Megan and Zack got all wet as their kayak turned over. That could make a good photo capture but they would probably kill us for taking advantage at their misadventure.

Juicy looking raspberries next to be picked

This is the color  of berry you can pick ...

Have to say goodbye to the farm too

Long road ahead - driving on the wrong side for me

Our stay in the USA had come to an end, a few days short of six months since we left Kuala Lumpur. It was another difficult goodbye. Digi who had a hard time leaving Kuala Lumpur six months ago, was having much harder time saying goodbye to his Ohio friends. He did't cry though. Had grown so much while on the road.

Till next time, USA
Alternative Foodie

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Valles Caldera - volcanoes within a volcano - of New Mexico

In 2009 we went to Java Island (Indonesia) especially to see some volcanoes. Then there was  not much going on. The Merapi was pretty calm but no tourist was allowed to go too close so we just looked at it from a distant. Instead we traveled East to Surabaya and drive up all the way to see Bromo, a volcano inside the Tengger Caldera. Bart, knowing our fascination with volcanoes deemed that we must not miss the Valles Caldera of New Mexico. Off we went to day long road trip. Ahhh ... ancient caldera. It might come back one day who knows. It was the same day we went to Bandelier. We stopped at Santa Fe on our back to Albuquerque for a late lunch - overly hungry and a little affected by the altitude changes. I don't remember much of Santa Fe - just brilliant looking city in the sun.

Breakfast on the road

Approaching the caldera

A lone deer on the grassy caldera

The long road taken

Hungry walkers arrived at a restaurant
in Santa Fee

Our week long stay with Sandy and Bart was so packed with so much going on, and yet there were time for everything. Hiking and walk, long talks, sleeping late, spa and pool party included. Now we are back at our home in Kuala Lumpur, I'm missing them the most.

New friends at a pool party

My beloved Bart & Sandy

From Albuquerque, we retraced back to Columbus, then London, Paris and finally home, Kuala Lumpur.

Alternative Foodie.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Up in the Mountain - New Mexico

Way back in 1978, Bart my physic teacher took us up Mount Kinabalu. At 13,435 feet it is the highest mountain in South East Asia. Having reached the summit way back in 1978, was one of the best happening in my youth. Bart think it would be awesome to do another climbing, of the 10,378 feet Sandia Mountain. But this time we did it by driving and riding on the cable car. Yup, big cheating there ;)

Then we went to actually climbed a different kind of height at Bandelier National Monument. Not to the scale of a mountain climb but rather the sheer vertical of the climb to the Alcove House at the end of the trail. But Digi just took off and I had no choice but to follow up. Bart was right behind us. It felt like the longest ascend and descend of my life. Phew. As other mountain climbing we had done before, the view from the top and the feel of achievement worth all the pain and scare, and what sheer relief when you back at the canyon floor (in the case of the Bandelier).

In between climbs we spent our days going to concert,  visiting museums, going to the food market and cooking, eating and more eating and having great time meeting new friends. We will write about it in the next post.

Alternative Foodie

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Train ride to beloved Teachers

The train left Union Station, LA, just before sunset. Seeing places we had not seen before. Rows of factories. And more of them. As we left the lights of LA, the shape of low hills disappeared fast. Perhaps it was starlit night up in the sky. We saw only dark night. Was it the night of the eclipse? We were not sure.

With our tummies filled with Chicken BBQ from the dining room, eyes sleepless, Digi and I played the guess what word game, of places we passed before this last leg of our journey, to Albuquerque. To visit my English and Physic teachers, a husband and wife, who I last said goodbye in 1979.

"Do you think they still recognize you mum?"

"I've not the slightest doubt."

And there she was, my beloved Sandy, waiting for us by the train, calling "Somsiah!!!"

"Albuquerque at 6,000 feet! Here we go!."  Digi exclaimed.

And I couldn't wait to catch up with Bart and Sandy..

Alternative Foodie

Monday, 22 April 2013

Separated by Ocean - still a family

Once we arrived in Los Angeles and met up with Brian again, I told both brothers (Digi & Brian), no more tears at the next goodbye. I'm too old to bear another tearful parting. Compared to them I appeared as the cold hearted one. Five years earlier Digi protested tearfully while saying goodbye to his brother at LAX. He kept saying, "I don't understand why I have to leave my brother. Why mum?" With their father passed on just over a year, my heart was shredded listening to Digi's pleas and watching Brian trying to comfort his much younger brother.  (Brian is Digi's older brother from my late husband first marriage). So this time, the visit was much longer than previous one. Thankfully they had enough time be together and to argue around.  The goodbye later, though not easy.was much better,

Young Brian and 3 months old Digi
(Santa Rosa)

Brian and six years old Digi

11 years old Digi almost as tall as big brother Brian
(Digi then was my height, now am at his chin)

We stayed with Brian for almost three weeks before taking an overnight train to Albuquerque. While in LA, Digi and I spent our days walking around West Hollywood and to places that our feet could take us. We enjoyed our walk to the Hollywood walks of fame and later to the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA), just South of West Hollywood for Tim Burton's Exhibition. In between we walked to the Farmer's Market, browsing shops and checking on parks. On weekends, Brain took us to downtown LA for the LA County Museum of Natural History and to the Electronic Entertainment Ezpo that Digi had wanted so much to attend. Of course being underage he can only see all the posters and billboards from outside the exhibition halls.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Street Art
(on the way to LACMA)

Tim Burton's hand works

This is the 3rd of our USA Natural History Museum
after  the one in Washington D.C. and  the other in New York.

Art work outside the LA County Museum
of Natural History

Gamer's destination

With some Costumed Battlefield Players
(Electronic Entertainment Ezpo. LA)

We close our LA visit with a trip to Venice beach looking for some sunshine. Nope. Even in June, on the day we got to the beach there was no sun. Brrr we did in our skimpy attires. But we made it - coast to coast USA: New York - LA. Also it was a fun day people watching at Venice Beach.

Gargoyles by the Venice beach.

Cold day at the beach

Brian's front porch

We also cook a lot at Brian's, encouraged by the close proximity to to Farmer Market and Whole Foods. Brian also had a wonderful selection of herbs in his garden, right in the middle of a busy West Hollywood neighborhood. But we had to continue on with our journey and goodbye it was to be. We will be back to LA of course. InsaAllah.

Alternative Foodie

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R & R

We arrived back in Columbus exactly two weeks prior to trip to Los Angeles and New Mexico. It was then the end of May and beginning of June. Just perfect for Memorial Day weekend festivities. And the day before we left for West Cost, we managed to squeeze in The Art Festival. Here are our weekend edition of Rest Day in photos.

Official on Flag Day

Field of Honour

More Flags

As seen, Battle of Columbus

The warriors

Time for pow wow

In full dress

Pow Wow with Native Americans

Asian Festival @ Conservatory
(Thai Dancers)

Noah Ark?

Japanese team getting ready

I get thirsty too you know
(Dancers at the Asian Festival)

It was a really hot day ...

Artist work
(Art Festival, Columbus)

Digi and glass work

Just beautiful

Awesome read

I hope everyone is having a good R&R.
Alternative Foodie