Who Is Salt?

Posted by : foongpc | Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Published in


I don't know about you but I simply love Angelina Jolie. I am not sure if it's her acting skills or her beauty that captivates me. And so when I heard her latest movie "Salt" was out, I quickly took my time off work to watch it!

Warning : Spoilers ahead! If you have not watched the movie, read at your own risk. However, you may want to watch the trailer below.

Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who interrogates a Russian defector called Orlov who tells her about an elaborate plan to destroy USA. But he stuns everyone observing the interrogation when he reveals that Evelyn is in fact a Russian sleeper agent. After that revelation, all hell breaks lose.

Evelyn, in an attempt to clear her name, breaks out of the CIA building to search for her missing husband whom she fears is in grave danger. But as the movie continues, the plot lines changed and we were soon confronted with the possibility that Evelyn is in fact, a Russian spy.

There were enough action in this movie to rival a James Bond or a Mission Impossible movie. In fact, Tom Cruise (who played Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible) were originally asked to play the lead role but he had to turn it down due to his other projects.

Well, I would say Angelina did a great job and although some of her acrobatic stunts were unbelievable, they were pretty entertaining. She seems to have no problem jumping from one building to the other, bouncing off top of trucks driving on a highway, climbing down elevator shafts and beating the daylights out of the FBI agents and policemen.

The movie does have enough twists and turns to keep you guessing on the real identity of Evelyn Salt, but if you are alert, you should know who Salt really is halfway through. Even with some holes in the plot, all the action helped cover them and made this movie an enjoyable watch.

Maybe I am being biased here. I don't know. My review could be different if the role of Evelyn Salt was played by another actress. Still, I am rating this movie 7 out of 10 points. At least, there was never a boring moment.

The ending seemed like a good excuse to do a sequel. I would not mind watching the sequel if Evelyn Salt is played once again by my favourite actress, Angelina Jolie.


Random Notes 14

Posted by : foongpc | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Published in


1. By the time you read this post, I'm already in Cambodia. Yes, I'm on a 6-day holidays in Siem Reap visiting Angkor Wat on the first 3 days before traveling to Phnom Penh for another 3 days. After that, I will be flying back to Malaysia but instead of going home, I will be off to Redang Island for some snorkeling.

2. I hope I can still go online in Cambodia but if I can't, that's all right cos I need a break away from computers and internet!

3. There are two things I hate about traveling. The first is packing. I am just so tired with packing! If only there is someone to do the packing for me! Haha! The second is flying. Not that I hate flying but I hate the hassles before I get onto the plane and after I landed!

4. I haven't finished blogging about my China trip last year, and here I am off again to another destination. Would you like me to continue with my China posts or should I put it on hold and blog about my Cambodia trip when I return? Personally, I prefer to finish my China posts first. It had taken way too long!!

5. I love taking naps in the afternoon! But I can only take short 20 minutes nap. Anything longer and I would end up waking up drowsy! Now how am I going to get my afternoon nap while traveling in Cambodia?

6. Have you all watched Salt starring Angeline Jolie? The movie officially starts showing in the cinemas today. Guess what? I have watched it! Don't ask me how. Haha! And I have already done a review of the movie and had scheduled the post to be out in 2 days time, so watch out for it!

7. Since I am away on holiday, I would like to have a contest here on my blog. The contest is simple and fun. All you need to do is to leave your comments on this post and the next post. The top 3 readers with the most comments will win prizes from me!

8. Among the prizes is a book sponsored by booqc.com. Go visit this site now and tell me if you like shopping for books there!

9. I will reveal the other two prizes later. I want to keep it a surprise!! Haha!

10. Here are the rules.
- The contest is open to everyone from Malaysia and international.
- Comments with less than 8 words are not counted.
- Comments must be relevant to the post/posts concerned.
- Comments for this post and the next post will be added together for the total.
- Contest ends at 12am on 7th August 2010.

Have fun leaving your comments! : )


Rice Noodles Breakfast At Zheng Yang Pedestrian Street

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Published in


I am not a noodles person.

Wait....Let me correct that.

I am not a noodles person at breakfast. I do eat noodles for lunch or even dinner, but for breakfast? That is so not me!

My breakfast is usually fruits, fruits and more fruits. I think some of you already knew that.

Well, sometimes, I do go for toast with butter and kaya, half boiled eggs and a cup of hot coffee! In fact, these are my favourite breakfast food!

And so when Jam, his friend and I went for rice noodles breakfast on our second day in Guilin, I was a little apprehensive. Luckily, I am not a very fussy person and can easily adapt.

Besides, I was in China and the local people in Guilin do not eat toast with butter and kaya and half boiled eggs for breakfast! At least, not the average local people. Maybe the richer and more westernised ones do. I don't know. Anyway, that is one of the beauty of traveling - immersing in the local culture and food.

We went to this restaurant called Chong Shan Restaurant (崇善米粉店) located at Zheng Yang Pedestrian Street (正阳步行街).

The restaurant was very popular with the local people as there were many people lining up while we were there. As I was not good in Chinese, Jam helped us order our food at the counter at the front entrance. He was given coupons which was used to exchange for food inside the restaurant.

This is my rice noodles.

It is made up of pickled vegetables, pork meat, peanuts and of course, rice noodles. I kind of like it. It was not very different from the horse meat rice noodles I ate the night before at Hao Da Ma Restaurant.

There were many different types of sauces and spices available to add to the noodles. However, we only found that out much later and did not try them!

Besides noodles, we also ordered their herbal jelly gui ling gao.

I think I still prefer the gui ling gao at our very own Koong Woh Tong. Perhaps I did not like it to be too watery.

The price list was clearly displayed outside the restaurant.

Although I like eating this rice noodles, and we ate it for breakfast a few times, there came a point where I almost puked just by looking at it. I guess too much of the same thing is no good!

We had planned to visit the ancient town of Daxu that day. We would be going there by bus. But as there was still some time right after our breakfast, we took a walk along the pedestrian street.

Zheng Yang Pedestrian Street is a famous street in downtown Guilin. It is about 666 metres long (yikes! they should have lengthen or reduce it by 1 metre! haha!) and is surrounded by restaurants, shops, hotels, theatres, commercial facilities and scenic spots.

I love walking on this street! Look at how wide it is!

I guess I was still not used to the wide streets and roads in Guilin. Well, it was only my second day in Guilin.

There were not many people at this time in the morning. We came here again during one of the evenings and it was more crowded then.

Not only were the street wide, it was clean, which was somewhat of a surprise to me.

Before I went to Guilin, I always had this impression that it was a small town with old run down buildings. But as I was walking along this charming looking street, I was blown away by how modern the place was!

That's the clock tower in the distance. Nice.

Below is a restaurant with a windmill in front. Reminded me of the Windmill Restaurant in Malaysia.

Looking at that One-Line Cafe (on the left) sure reminded me of Starbucks coffee with its green logo!

After walking for some time, we headed to the bus stop to take a bus to Guilin Bus Terminal for the next destination on our itinerary - Daxu Ancient Town.


My Take On Inception

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | Published in


I learnt a new word previously not in my vocabulary this month. The word is INCEPTION.

According to the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, the definition of "inception" is an act, process, or instance of beginning or a commencement.

Yes, unless you are from another planet, you would have already heard about this much hyped and talked-about movie of the summer or probably the year.

Last year, Avatar blew me away. This year, it is without exception, Inception.

OK, before I go on, there are spoilers ahead. So if you have not watched this movie, read no further. But you might want to watch the awesome trailer below if you have not already done so.

I had attempted no less than three times to catch this movie. The first time something came up and I had to call it off. The second time, I had an unexpected urgent family matter to resolve. Finally, last night I succeeded in watching the movie in the best seat at the best cinema in KL.

Very briefly and without giving away too much of the plot, Inception is about a person called Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio of Titanic and Shutter Island fame) who can can enter the dreams of others to steal or obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible.

This ability had cost him coveted things and made him into an international fugitive. However, he is offered a chance at redemption in the treacherous world of corporate espionage.

But the interesting thing is instead of stealing information, Cobb and his team of specialists now have to do the exact opposite, and that is to plant an idea into the target's mind.

There were some pretty impressive scenes in the movie. One was the tall buildings folding into each other and the other was the slow motion destruction exploding around two people sitting at a street cafe.

But what I really liked about the movie is the fact that it made you work your brain cells more than usual. I would definitely not recommend this movie after a long hard day at work. Unless you are just watching it for the special effects and cool stunts without bothering to understand the story.

For the first time since Matrix, here is a movie that leaves you with things to discuss and debate long after you left the cinema hall. Yes, it is that engaging. I would say Inception is an original and contemporary sci-fi action film with deep, heavy stuffs that will either make you feel like you are not as smart as you expect yourself to be, or you are way smarter than you are! Haha!

There were no boring moments in the movie, at least to me, and in fact, it was one hell of a ride from beginning to the end. Scenes after scenes gripped me, not letting me go and at times left me totally speechless.

Leonardo DiCaprio did an excellent job as Cobb with his good acting skills and emotional depth. I liked him in Shutter Island and it was the same here.

I also like Ellen Page who played Adriane, the architect being trained by Cobb, with much subtle sophistication.

And Joseph Gordon-Lewitt is the major scene stealer as Cobb's assistant, Arthur. He looked ultra cool in all those anti-gravity and Matrix-like moves!

Marion Cotillard was also superb as Cobb's deceased wife, Mal, a central character in the movie.

In fact, all the actors and actresses did a good job in this movie and were perfectly cast for their roles. And of course director Christopher Nolan deserves a standing ovation for this brainchild of his!

For those of you who have watched Inception, did the movie leave you with many questions?

For instance, did you know why Arthur blew up the lift?
Why they could resuscitate Fischer Jr after he was shot dead by Mal but could not save Saito in the same way?
Why did Saito appear so much older than Cobb in limbo?
If Cobb and Mal grew old together in limbo, how come they looked young again when they attempted to kill themselves on the railroad tracks?

It took me some time to grasp the concept and answer the questions above. So I guess I was not smart enough for Inception!

As if these were not enough to keep your brain working overtime throughout the movie, it came with an unexpected surprise ending. So the biggest question that will remain unanswered will be.... Is Cobb still in the dream world in the end?

An almost perfect movie to keep you debating for hours or even days, I am rating Inception at 8.5 out of 10 points. Comes highly recommended and certainly, one of the better movies this year! Don't miss it!


My Two Rivers Four Lakes Night Cruise

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, July 19, 2010 | Published in


It was already 8pm and we were still trying to find our way to the wharf. Jam, my blogger friend asked the locals for direction but we were still lost!

Earlier in the afternoon, we had bought the tickets to the night cruise from a local agency. The tickets cost 120 yuan (RM57) each. The lady at the agency had reminded us to be at the wharf by 8pm.

After our dinner at Hao Da Ma Restaurant, we had walked back to Central Square and not once did we think we would not be able to reach the wharf in time for the night cruise. But as luck would have it, we somehow got lost and could not find our way!

However, luck must still be on our side when halfway, we bumped into the lady from the agency! She was actually riding on her motorbike and when she saw us, she was surprised why we were not on the cruise. After explaining to her we lost our way, she quickly pointed the direction to us and rode off to delay the cruise for us!

What happened next must be the most unexpected thing I ever did on a holiday. We ran as fast as we could, hardly stopping to catch our breaths, as if we were criminals on the run in a foreign country! Gosh! This must be my first time running like that during my travels! Thank God for the horse meat I ate earlier - perhaps that gave me the strength and speed, haha!!

By the time we reached the wharf, it was already 8.30pm! Needless to say, I was breathless and completely drenched in sweat! But thank God and thank that lady from the agency, we managed to get onto the cruise! Phew!! What an experience on our very first night in Guilin!

The above is the route of the Two Rivers Four Lakes cruise. Sorry it is all written in Mandarin. I could not find one with English translation.

Like its name sake, the Two Rivers Four Lakes scenic area consists of a water loop of two rivers and four lakes that enclose downtown Guilin. The two rivers are the Li River (漓江) and its tributary, Taohua (Peach Blossom) River (桃花江) and the four lakes are Rong (banyan tree) Lake (榕湖), Shan (Chinese fir) Lake (杉湖), Gui (Osmanthus) Lake (桂湖) and the Mulong (wooden dragon) Lake (木龙湖).

From the Li River, our boat entered a lock area, where water was admitted to raise the boat up several metres.

Once the water level in the lock area reached the same level as the lake, our boat continued with the journey. If you have been to Mines Wonderland and took the lake cruise, you would know the same concept being employed there.

The first lake we entered into was Mulong Lake. This is the view of the lock area as our boat was leaving it to enter Mulong Lake.

The waterway system was beautiful with buildings, trees and plants decorated with coloured lights. But since it was night time and the boat was moving, my photos did not turn out well. I guess this was the best I could do.

I managed to capture this nice looking Mulong Pagoda (木龙塔).

After Mulong Lake, we entered Gui Lake, followed by Rong Lake and Shan Lake respectively.

I learnt that there were altogether 19 bridges connecting the two rivers and four lakes! Wow! Sure beats Putrajaya which has only 9 bridges! Haha.

Now if you will excuse my poor photos, here are some of the bridges. I only managed to capture a few.

The above is the ancient twin marble bridge which separates Gui Lake and Rong Lake.

Some of the bridges were styled after some of the world's famous bridges.

Do they remind you of bridges you have seen somewhere?

And then I saw the most awesome looking bridge - the Crystal Bridge at Rong Lake! It sure looked as if it's made from crystals!

Now if you think those bridges are interesting, wait till you see what is underneath them!

Carvings, images and chinese characters on the walls and ceilings! Awesome!

Buildings beautifully decorated with coloured lightings lined the lakes.

I am not sure if this is a boat with a dragon head or a building on water! What do you think?

OK, I don't know why I include this photo here. It must be me feeling dizzy trying to take photos in the dark on a moving boat! LOL!

Finally, we came to the famous Twin Pagodas on Shan Lake! These two pagodas were the most magnificent structures that stood out that night.

I was so mesmerized by these pagodas I went back to capture more photos of them a few days later. More about them in my future posts!

After Shan Lake, we entered another lock area which brought us down back to the lower levels of Li River. We were then transferred back to the wharf. The whole cruise took about one and a half hour.

Coming up next : My 2nd Day In Guilin


I Ate Horse Meat At Hao Da Ma

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, July 16, 2010 | Published in


We had planned to go for the 2-river 4-lake tour at 8pm on our first night in Guilin. Since it was still early, we had walked around the huge Central Square and busied ourselves snapping photos.

After that, we crossed the bustling Zhongshan Road to the opposite side where a few shopping complexes were situated. It was time for dinner and we decided to look for restaurants inside one of these shopping complexes.

We chanced upon Hao Da Ma Restaurant ( 好大妈美食) on the 6th floor of Niko Niko Do Plaza (aka Weixiao Tang 微笑堂 ), the largest multi-storey shopping mall in Guilin.

There were a lot of stalls located in the middle of the restaurant where you could select and order the food you want. They would cook the dishes you ordered and deliver to your table.

Once your food is delivered to your table, it is recorded with a chop on the corresponding column as shown below.

We ordered cheong fun and broccoli.

And some meat dumplings to be shared among the three of us.

We walked around searching for the main dish for each of us. Then we saw this.

We zeroed in on this - horse meat rice noodles (马肉米粉)!! Yes, horse meat! So each of us ordered one bowl of horse meat rice noodles.

Rice noodles is a very common dish in Guilin and I would be eating quite a lot of rice noodles during my stay here. The bowl of noodles usually comes with fried peanuts which I thought was very strange at first, but I soon found out that the peanuts really enhance the taste of the noodles!

The pieces of meat you see there are of course horse meat. It was my first time eating horse meat! But I really did not find it that unique or different from other types of meat.

Our dinner came to about 18 yuan (RM8.50) per person. Not bad at all!

After dinner, we got stuck in a long queue at the lift. I realized it was past 7.30pm. We had to make our way to the Li River banks fast for the 2-river 4-lake tour!

We crossed the road and reached Central Square. But something happened! Somehow we could not find our way to the Li River banks from Central Square. It was almost 8pm. After walking for some time, we realized we were back at Central Square! Oh no!!

Did we make it for the tour? Find out in my next post, coming right up!