Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gasing Hill Trekking with Qigong Members

After having been blocked by the authority at Puchong Hills for trekking, the chi gong group was disappointed. Yes, the trekkers are not allowed entry into Puchong Hills (a.k.a. Air Hitem Forest Reserve).

Since it was such a good and sunny Saturday morning on 28 April 2012, and after having been charged up wanting to sweat it out, it was really unthinkable just to go home and not doing something.

So after the false start, the group decided to go to another hill for trekking. The nearest hill to Puchong would be Gasing Hill. Charting out the route to go there required a bit to thinking as we would not want to be caught in traffic road blocks.

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC) ... hit F11 key for bigger displays.

Back (left): Jezamine Lo, Captain Tan, KL Tan, Brenda Lee, Grace, Cindy Lim, Tioh, Ms Tan
Front: KC Leong, Phoebe Tee, Pauline, Josephine, LimBB

With the help of KL Tan, who is well-versed with the areas, we managed to arrive at New Pantai Express Way and connect to Jalan Gasing where Gasing Hill is located.

We started trekking at 9:30 a.m. By then, there were only a few other trekkers in the hills. Just like other hills, it is shady here and we were in the shades most of the time, even though it was already noon time.

At the starting point ...

 Slowly but surely progressing into the hills

 Graceful action pose ... Jezamine leading the pack for some trail running

Cindy, LimBB and Grace

At Suspension Bridge ... (nearest) Brenda, Tioh, Pauline

The group adjourned to the famous Beansprout Chicken rice along Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya.

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bukit Kiara Trail Running Amid High Fencing

Another trail running session at Bukit Kiara (or Kiara Hill) of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 21 April 2012 ...

My mission is to understand the many split trails better so that come next Saturday, I am going to lead the Qigong (chi gong) members for trekking there. For obvious reason, I do not want to lead them to any wrong direction that could cause much anxiety ... :-)

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC Leong). Hit F11 key to view in bigger displays.

Yow Yeng pose ... Back (left) KC Leong ... Vik, David, Charles, Raymond Tan
Front: Chong YF, Rupert Chen, Jane Tan, Celina, Jamie Tham, Lai Yan.

A friend said that at once glance at the blue signs behind, we look like standing besides BN's symbol for election.
Yeah, it is almost election time; everyone is busy – running around, including construction work (to put up the high fencing) in meeting targets dates.

While running in the hills, we are surprise to see high fencing being erected surrounding the areas. Why would the authority want to fence up the parks that is for recreational purpose? The height of the metal fencing is almost 12 to 15 feet high, much like keeping criminals away.

Bukit Kiara is popular with trail runners and mountain bikers; these are responsible, nature and peace loving people. Seeing the high fencing would reminded us of the hostile environment that make us feel terrible amid such a serene environment surround by greenery.

Special thanks to Chong YF and Raymond Tan who help to lead the way navigating the many split trails in these hills.

 Another group photo near Pondok, at the cross-road area

 Running in single file meandering along the many trails

 Jamie – a fit and quite fast trail runner

Advancing to the View Point ... work in progress to erect the high fencing.
This area is bulldozed and the ground is muddy, spoiling the original landscape.

 At the View Point area

 Look at the high fencing ... easily 12 to 15 feet high

The metal fencing could be as high as Berlin’s Wall ...
Frankly, I have not seen such a high fencing so far; the irony is that they are being erected in recreational areas.
Does it warrant such a high fencing, for what purpose?

 Why? Why? want to fence up the area? while passing by a construction site

Scary Sh*t ... Nice and cute pose in supporting the poster behind, applicable only for mountain bikers (trail runners no need to be scared) ... :-)

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Puchong Hill Trekking with Qigong Members

The Qigong (chi gong) members went for another round of trekking at Puchong Hill on Saturday morning, 14 April 2012.

Led by yours truly, this time, we trekked in clockwise direction as the previous time (on 31 March 2012), we were trekking in opposite direction.

Though this is a fairly easy hill to tackle, it is indeed a good start for the qigong members in taking up trekking.

As usually, I would do my trail running by going forward and then backtracking so that I am with the group all the time. For the group that has trekked for two hours, I would have done trail running for almost the same time.

After the trekking, we adjourned to the famous Yong Tau Foo eatery stop in Puchong. I must attest that the food there is delicious and good. The shop is located between SJK (C) Han Ming, Puchong school and Sekolah Kebangsaan Puchong Batu 14 school.

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC).
 Before the start of serious trekking ... (left) KC Leong, KL Tan, Ms Tan, Cindy, Brenda, LimBB, CH Tan

 Somewhere in the hill ...

 Yours truly (KC) pratising trail running alone at Puchong Hill

 At the famous Yong Tow Foo eatery shop: Hmmm ... yummy, yummy ... LimBB, Cindy and Brenda
 Looks and taste really good

31 March 2012, Saturday, which was a rainy morning.

Despite the heavy rain the morning before, it rained again.

As you can see, the qigong members are determined once they have set their mind for trekking. Even the rain did not dampen their intention to trek.

Obviously, they were donning raincoats and carrying umbrellas, save for yours truly (KC) who is pro already since my record was four hours of trail running in the rain before (at Gunung Nuang) ... :-)

We started the trekking at 8:00 a.m. and successfully completed the whole loop in two hours.

Grace, who is her maiden trekking attempt, tripped a few times on the slippery ground.

 At the trail head ... (left) CH Tan, KL Tan and wife, Grace, Tan, Kwa NE, Lim Be Be, Cindy Lim, KC Leong

At the highest point of Puchong Hill

Posted by KC Leong

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hong Kong Tour Photos (2)

My holidays continued after the New Zealand trip ... one week later, it was another 5D4N free-and-easy holiday in Hong Kong from 6 to 10 April 2012.

My family and I stayed at Imperial Hotel for the entire five days, a 3-star rating hotel with twin-sharing room of RM 400 per day. Located along the main road of Nathan Street, Tsim Sha Tsui of Kowloon, the hotel is a very convenient point with only a stone's throw away to MTR station (underground train), Victoria Harbour, Kowloon Park, and a few mega shopping complexes.

What a stark contrast: there was no blue sky in Hong Kong, only cloudy and gloomy sky there (compare to the scenery in New Zealand). Nevertheless, I managed to see one but only a man-made one in Venetian, a huge and modern casino in Macau (in Part 2 of the photo album).

Do click here to view Part 2 of the photo album with photos taken by yours truly (KC). Do hit F11 key to adjust the optimum displays sizes.

 Taking ferry ride to Macau ... super tall buildings are amazingly built just next to the seafront

My runner friend asked me just to bring the usual big luggage bag with only underwear inside to maximize the space for shopping when return. Luckily I brought more than the underwear as shopping is not any cheaper in Hong Kong based on those items that I wanted to buy. Maybe it was the location that I stayed or the wrong season as there was no sales at all.

Equipped with the addresses of sportswear outlets that I downloaded from Google, I went to almost 20 shopping complexes wanted to buy running and trekking related sportswear (eg. Nike, Adidas, Columbia, The Northface, etc); only to realise that they are as expansive as in Kuala Lumpur, if not cost more.

 Venetian Macau Casino – the mega casino ... taking free shuttle bus service from the jetty right to their doorstep

The price of food is also expansive in Hong Kong, easily 2 to 3 times more compare to Kuala Lumpur (after converting to Ringgit). I asked the hotel staff that where could I get those outdoor eatery stalls as shown in those Hong Kong movies; the reply: there is none in Tsim Sha Tsui areas.

There were lots of people walking on the pavement of streets in a hurriedly but orderly manner. There isn't much mad traffic jam (or honking) as in Kuala Lumpur. What amused me when I watched TV for the morning traffic watch/announcement (in the hotel room) was that there were only about five moving vehicles in the TV screen at any one moment while a few other main streets were devoid of vehicles. How I wish that this is happening in Kuala Lumpur.

 ahh... blue sky

The streets are clean as I saw in one morning that the workers were washing the pavement thoroughly with soap and water right in front of the Imperial Hotel, Nathan Street.
For the 5-day stay, we took public transport – buses and underground trains – that are fast and convenient. Especially the underground trains, they are well connected and extend right to the basement of shopping complexes. Taking a connecting train ride was such a breeze and the timing of the arrival of two trains was of military precision: the moment we alighted from a train, the next train was approaching the station while we walked across the railway line about 30 feet apart.

The only catch with the public transport: one has to walk a lot. My Mount Everest Base Camp trekking member, Wong FK, said that I do like to 'trek' in the concrete jungles ... :-)

I presume this is one of the reasons that there are not many over-sized or over-weight people in Hong Kong or China. We never take taxi even once there; the funny thing was that the moment we touch-down at LCCT Air Asia Terminal, Kuala Lumpur, we took taxi home.

  Just like in Venice of Italy

Last year (2011), a radio DJ from Taiwan was guested for one week in the local 98.8 FM Chinese airwave. One morning,  the topic of discussion was on rail transport in Kuala Lumpur. Seemingly quite surprise with the disconnected ride, he said: "when I alighted from the LRT at Dang Wangi underground rapid transit station (along Jalan Ampang), I have to walk to Shangri-La Hotel side for the connecting ride, about 300 meters away under the hot sun.
One observation that impressed me most is the number of skyscrapers that are being built in Hong Kong. Not only that that are many, they are very tall indeed, easily 50 stories high. Most fascinating point is that these skyscrapers are built very near to seafront.

Another impressive discovery has to be the visits to Macau. Long time ago, when I visited Macau, there were only a few casinos with the famous round-top building that look like a cage for birds. People say that once you are in this casino, a gambler would be like a bird and be trapped – or lose money. Today, there are many mega-sized casinos in Macau having different theme that our Genting's casino paled in comparison.

 Galaxy Macau Casino – another mega casino which is just opposite of Venetian

We were lucky that Sharon, a friend who lives in Hong Kong, was able to take us for sightseeing at Macau. The casino that we visited was the Venetian that has the theme of being in Venice. The casinos provide free bus shuttle service from jetty right to their doorstep, and the buses are even in better condition than the public buses.
Looks like a 5D4N visits is not enough as I have not got the time to visit Disneyland, Ocean Park and many other attractions – maybe next visits.

 One of the magnificient halls in Galaxy Macau Casino

Now you see it; now you don’t -- The giant diamond in Dancing Fountain ... inside Galaxy Casino

Galaxy Macau Wishing Crystals of good fortune ... as one walk across one of the three bridges over the well, reach out to the nine groups of enchanted crystals and wave your hands.
They will sense your movement and respond with nine enchanting harmonies and beautiful symbols of love to bring you health, wealth and good fortune (texts extracted from signboard)

 At the main square

The famous and historic Centre of Macao: The Ruins of St. Paul ... once under the Portuguese administration from mid-16th century until 1999, when it was returned to Chinese sovereignty.

 Looking down the flight of steps
 Sharon, a friend who lives in Hong Kong, lead us for sightseeing at Macau.

Lisboa Macau Casino ... the original one that looks like a round-top cage (at right) for birds – or gamblers

Another casino, MGM, on the left of photo frame ... night view at Macau

Wynn Casino – impressive display of synchronised fountains that dance to the tune of pleasant music

Day 5 (10 April 2012) lunch at Sivlercord Shopping Complex, Kowloon before we depart to airport for heading home.
Lots of variety with choices of Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese food.

Hong Kong International Airport – a very busy airport with aeroplanes lining-up waiting for their turn to take off.

At the background are 20 blocks of 60-story high condominiums. A very good feng shui location (fronting sea and back support with mountain) save for the noise pollution from the aeroplanes.

That completed the 5D4N holidays in Hong Kong.

Do click here to view Part 1 of the photos.

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hong Kong Tour Photos

A short trip to Hong Kong from 6 to 10 April 2012 (5D4N) visiting the famous places in Hong Kong. Places of interest: Avenue of Stars, Symphony of Lights; flag raising ceremony, Victoria Peak, Madame Tussaud, Aberdeen Fishing town, Jumbo Kingdom for dinner, Lan Kwai Fong area, Wong Tai Sin Temple, Stanley Market, to Macau

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC).

Stay tuned for more photos in Part 2 of the photo album.
7 April 2012 (Saturday) - Flag raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square at Wan Chai (Hong Kong Island). Time: 7:50 a.m. 

 Next to Golden Bauhinia Square ... background is Kowloon

 Taking a tram ride to Victoria Peak; lots of people

 The famos view from the peak of Victoria Peak.

 The World Famous Home of the Famous (in the terminal at Victoria Peak) ... yours truly (KC) with The Beatles

 With the official cemaraman; photos can be collected at the exit for a fee

 Dinner at Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant at Aberdeen Fishing Town

 Grand and posh decoration

 8 April Sunday - Visiting Wong Tai Sin Temple

 May your wishes come true

 At Times Square @  Causeway Bay

 Happy shopping spree mood

 At Stanley Market

 Back at Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) ... The 1881 Herritage building

At Victoria Harbour ... after Symphony of Lights display; looking at Hong Kong Island

Stay tuned for Part 2 ...

Posted by KC Leong