Anything and everything under the sun


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Winter Holiday - Yosemite National Park I

First road sign that says Yosemite!

We have been planning for a winter holiday since middle of last year but it was supposed to be the Big Bear Mountain. But after looking at my friend's pictures when they went to Yosemite National Park, we decided that maybe that's a better place to go. It is between 5-6 hours drive from OC. So plans were made, hotel was booked, winter stuff were bought like tire chain, his winter overall, snow boots, ear muffs but we couldn't find winter boots for me. Apparently they are not easily found in this Southern California area. They have the regular Ugg boots but I wanted something more outdoor-sy type that I can go trekking in. So we decided to stop at Tulare, a town about 1-1.5 hrs to Oakhurst where our hotel is.

First stop was of course the Super Target but unfortunately they have none either. Upon asking the staff there, we were told of a Big 5 Sporting Goods store just down the road which might carry what I wanted. Since it's already middle of winter, there is really not many choices left but I found one that is easy on my eye (gotta have cute ones!) but the price listed was 85 before tax. If possible I really do not want to spend too much on something that I might use one a year. So I decided to ask one if the guys there if I could get any discount on them. He went somewhere and a few minutes later came back telling me that he could give me them for 60! Yay! So, the next time you shop and want to get a discount on non-discounted items, do not be shy. Just ask for it. You just might get it.

Once we paid for everything, it is time to continue with the drive. Michael is not the type who likes to drive too long and I am afraid of driving in the mountain areas. So he did all the driving while I am in charge of keeping track of the rest areas. Yup, that is usually my job. Id give him updates on how far away is the next rest areas should either one of us need to use the restroom or if we need to fill up the gas!

We reached Oakhurst around 1pm and the check-in time at Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn Oakhurst was 3pm but when we went in and asked the receptionist, she said we could check-in immediately. Phew! I guess the hotel was not pack so our room is ready. Finding the room is not quite easy since the hotel consist of a few buildings up the hill. But the room is spacious. It only cost us around 80/night and they even have indoor pool. Which brings to another story. We went there all prepared with winter clothing for a rigid winter temperature only to be faced with a rather summer-like temperature. Neither one of us brought our swimming attire so we ended up having to buy them too. Sigh!

Best Western Oakhurst Lobby

Chukchansi Casino

After lunch which was chinese food for me (pretty bad) and pizza for him, we just stayed in the room. Me watching tv while he took a nap. Poor Baby. He gotta be tired after that long drive. When he woke up, we decided to cehck out the casino which was only 15 min drive from our hotel. I was rather surprised to see the parking lot packed. Can't really imagine where all those people came from. Lol! It was also very chilly at night and we were lucky that as we parked the car, there was an open-air bus or tram drove by and asked us if we needed a ride to the hotel. Very good service indeed I must say. We did not stay long at all since it was pretty boring and we had an early day the next morning but I did manage to play the Star Wars penny slots so I was happy.

The queue at the South Gate Entrance.

We started the day with breakfast of the champion aka Carl's Jr and started our journey by stopping by at the Tourist Centre just 5min up the road. The 2 older ladies manning the office were very helpful and cheerful and very happy to hear that I am from Malaysia. They wanted to talk but we had to leave and continue up to Yosemite National Park. The fee to the Park is 20 per car (7 day pass) and for motorbike is 10 each. Do keep the ticket with you because they would ask for it when you drive down.

Road to Mariposa Grove was close to traffic but you are allowed to walk in. We went to Yosemite Valley and wanted to go to Mariposa after that but by the time we get back down it was 3pm and we spent time at Mariposa, we would have to drive down to Oakhurst in completely darkness. So in the end we decided against it. Next time, definitely!

I hope you would enjoy the pictures and story on this part I of our winter holiday at Yosemite National Park. Do come back for the next post. I took lots of pictures and will try to put most of them in a few posts.

In the background is El Capitan

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Chai

Picture taken from google image

Tomorrow January 26 is a Chinese New Year and in Malaysia, it is one of the public holidays and that means a 4-day long weekend. (At least!)

So I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my chinese friends and readers a very happy and prosperous Gong Xi Fa Chai! For those who are not yet married, have fun collecting ang pows (packet money) while for those who are already married, well, it is time to give out those ang pows!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama - The New Kid on The Block

I wanted to write about our recent trip to the Yosemite National park but since today is the inauguration, I thought I would write about that instead. I will write about the trip next ok?

I woke up at 6.30am this morning and turned the tv on. Today is the day that Mr Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States of America and I would not want to miss it. Not that that was the reason I woke up early. That is just the normal time for me to wake up so I can help Michael get ready to work. His coffee, sodas, water and lunch.

Anyway, when I see the throng of people in front of the White House, it reminded me of the day when Prince Charles married the late Princess Diana. Don't you think so? The picture was somewhat the same with thousands of people waiting to see and millions more glued in front of the tv. It was surreal. President Obama (no more president-elect!) is likable. Like Diana was. He is rather young (for a president), so was Diana when she married Charles. He listens about things and the world, so did Diana. He is a people person and so was Diana.

Now, I am no expert in politic. Not Malaysian politics and definitely not other countries. That is why I hardly ever talk about politics. What I say and see would be from a layman's point of view. And as a layman, I see that President Obama is very likable. Nobody knows how different he is going to be from the previous ones but what he inherited is by no mean 'peanuts' problems. And boy, does he already has a lot on his plate or what? The economy is at its worst. Housing market is down and people are losing their homes. Financial market is somewhat free-falling no thanks to the greedy bast***s and the administrative that enabled them to keep being greedy bast****s that they are. Companies and businesses are closing and people are losing jobs. More and more people can't afford healthcare while the healthcare companies keep making millions of profit by charging exorbitant fees and denying healthcare to (some of) the subscribers. Then there is the Gaza situation where at least 700 civilians died including children and women. I doubt anybody inherited that much as does President Obama. Let us all pray that he would make good judgements and decisions that would be good to the majority.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crazy Crazy Weather

Image taken from

It is mid January which means it is mid-winter which in turn means that it is supposed to be very cold. Well, maybe not very very extremely cold like in the east coast or north east or everywhere else in the US but it definitely should not be in the high 80s F! Since Saturday, we have been getting temperature in the 80s F and we are going to continue getting these temperature until at least end of the week.

I am telling you, the whole US is getting a pretty crazy weather. last week the news reported that in some part of Alaska the temperature was like between -30 to -50 and since US has yet to adopt to the metric system, you know those are in Fahrenheit. I don't know about you but if I were there, I would die standing! But somehow made me think, if you pee in that kind of weather, would your pee freeze before it touches the ground? Hehe. Can someone please answer me this?

Anyways, in this weather it is humid, very windy (we have wind alert out) and very very very dry. Now my skin is so damn dry that I just can't stop scratching. Argh! But I am so looking forward to the weekend. A long weekend that is for Monday is a public holiday. What are we going to do? Well, my drear friends, we are heading up to the Yosemite National Park! Woohoo! The hotel was booked yesterday and now we just need to get ourselves ready for the cold temperature. My friend has offered her winter boots and some winter clothing since I do not have any winter clothing. Well, nothing that can survive any outdoor acvtivities in the 20-40F temperature. Hopefully we have same size feet since I really don't want to buy something that I only use once or twice but if I had to then that is another story. I

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Palestine Relief Fund - MERCY Malaysia

Dear friends

I am writing this on behalf of my blogger sister Elviza who is a lawyer, a wife, a mother, a daughter and in her spare time volunteers with MERCY Malaysia, a non-profit organization focusing on providing medical relief and sustainable health related development for vulnerable communities.

From the page of MERCY Malaysia;

MERCY Malaysia has initiated an emergency response assessment team on the 30th December 2008 to Egypt in response to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 300 people and wounded more than 1,500 people.

The team, aimed at conducting a rapid assessment of the humanitarian needs, will be led by MERCY Malaysia President Datuk Dr. Jemilah Mahmood and EXCO Member Norazam Ab Samah.

We appeal to concerned Malaysians to send in cash donations.

MERCY Malaysia's basis of assistance to the beneficiaries relies on the support and generosity of individuals such as you to contribute to the PALESTINE RELIEF FUND.

It will support our efforts to procure emergency surgical kits, additional medicine and hospital equipment which will be channeled to the affected communities in Gaza.


Cheque payable to MERCY MALAYSIA
CIMB Account No : 1424-000-6561053

You can get more information from MERCY Malaysia or at Elviza's blog. MERCY stands for Malaysian Medical Relief Society.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another New Year

Is it too late to wish everybody a Happy New Year? Nah. I think new year should be treated for the whole month just like birthdays. *wink* SO, Happy New Year to all my readers. May this year be a better year compared to 2008 although with the war that is going on, who knows.

Anyways, we had a good weather last week and this week. At least during day time where it is around mid to high 60sF. Once the sun goes down though, it is a different story. I am not complaining ok? How can I when other parts of the country is experiencing a minus-something temperature? I am thankful that as cold as it gets here, I still don't have to wear gloves or stupid hats that make my head looks funny and/or ugly. Nor do I have to wear 3-4 layers of clothing.

But I do find doing laundry a tad bit difficult. You see, the apartment building is set up in a way that one have to go outside to do the laundry. It is not far but the outside is nevertheless, cold. There is only 1 washer and 1 dryer so it takes 2-3 loads to finish up everything. That means you would have to go out 4-6 times to get the laundry done. If you know me well, you will know how fast my hands get cold. Just by transferring the laundry from the washer to the dryer, my hands are already numb. Maybe I should start wearing my gloves when I do the laundry. Hmmm...

On another note, I sent my passport to the Malaysian CG in Los Angeles to renew it. My passport is expiring in July so I had no choice but to renew it here. It is going to take 3-4 months to get it done since they have to send it back to Malaysia. Mind you, this is for the old type of passport which means no-chip passport. :( The New York office have the machine to do the passport with chip but they would only do passport renewal for Malaysian in New York and the surrounding areas under their 'jurisdiction'. Do not ask me why they can not or would not extend the service for other Malaysian in other part of the country or why can't they provide the LA office with the same machine. Sometimes it is just hard to understand what they were thinking when they set up the offices around USA. And I should just stop trying to understand. I just want my passport renewed and sent back to me without any problem.