Category: United Kingdom

Having A Wales Of A Time

I had the best uninterrupted sleep for ten hours straight in the Welsh countryside.


So I woke the next morning and noticed that the flock of sheep was still lustfully staring at me through the bedroom window. They must have been staring at me all night long, while I was asleep. Wonder what is it about me that they are so interested.

I may be as hairy as they are, but hey, can’t they see I’m not their kind?


This is Nigel’s humble little abode and where I stayed during my two days in Conwy. Nigel works from home and in his spare time, runs his online business selling aromatherapy products at

It may not look like much from the outside, but Nigel is renovating the building all by himself. Seems like in the West, it is common practice for the man of the family to do up his house with his own hands.


It’s different here in Malaysia where we can just pay some migrant workers peanuts to do the dirty job for us.

After breakfast, I hopped into Nigel’s car, ready to see what Conwy has to offer!


The entire North Wales is dotted with castles, and Conwy is a historic town very much like Malacca.

Unlike Malacca, the historical site in Conwy is not just one tiny gate. The star attraction here is the imposing Conwy Castle located right smack in the middle of a living, breathing town. It’s close to 800 years old and still extremely well-preserved.


It was unlike anything I’ve encountered before in my extensive travels. I could not resist the opportunity to climb up the highest turret of the castle and indulged in my fantasy pretending to be a knight in shining armour.

Except my “shining armour” is not an armour, but the extra 20kg of fat around my waist.


One thing I can’t deny is that the views from up the castle is breathtakingly awesome. I like how Conwy is small enough to be surrounded by the 800-year-old castle wall, because it lends the town a very medieval feel.

The funny thing is, I LIKE that medieval feel.


Maybe it’s the countless Warcraft and Age of Empires games I’ve been playing, but I felt extremely comfortable walking on top the castle in a medieval town. As if I really belonged here.

Either that, or I’m just a big giant nerd.

Please don’t give me The Wedgie.


We left Conwy shortly afterwards to explore the surrounding places. Being a local, Nigel knows all the hidden gems and brought me to all the places off the beaten track.

Like this giant rock erected in the middle of nowhere.


It doesn’t look like much at all on first glance, but I was told that this is a “Standing Stone”. Apparently, this big stone that was once worshipped by The Druids 4,000 years ago.

The Druids? I thought they only existed in computer games.

Or in World Wrestling Entertainment together with The Undertaker.


This is another 4,000-year-old prehistoric stone structure built by The Druids which functions as a burial chamber. Instead of wasting land and burying people in individual tombs, The Druids used to just chuck dead bodies into this hole, hundreds at a time until it’s full.

Nowadays it functions as an excellent bomb shelter in case of World War III.


The Welsh landscape reminds me of something straight out of the Lord of the Rings. Even in late winter, when all the plants are dead, it still looks quite amazing.

One thing I noticed about Wales is how much stone walls they have.


There are miles and miles of stone walls here, all built by hand. At first I thought the walls are there to separate the sheep, but then I don’t know why they need it to be made of stone?

Then I thought, presumably it’s to defend the Humans against the Orcs.

Like in Warcraft III. Damn those green-skinned Orcs!


Another thing that impressed me is how beautiful the cemeteries in Wales are.

It’s very different from the ones we have in Malaysia. Our graveyards are so spooky they are used for horror movies.

In Wales, all their dearly departed are buried in some amazingly serene location, either atop a hill or right next to the sea.


This is like the ultimate luxury, the 5-star hotel version of a resting place.

It’s actually very calming just to chill out and sit around here. You don’t even realised you’re being surrounded by hundreds of dead bodies.

Until someone tap you on the shoulder and you turn around and realise no one was there.

Tu Hwnt i'r Bont

This is one of my favourite pictures taken in Wales, of 15th century tea house by the bridge.

I thought the house looks very pretty and romantic. Until I was told the name of the house is something ridiculous-sounding like Tu Hwnt i’r Bont.

That’s like having a cute girl at the club wink at you, then coming up to you and say “Hi! My name is Kitty Ba Na Na.


Nigel had to return home early to prepare dinner. But the sun was still up and I wasn’t ready to call it a day yet. Without any destination in mind, I decided to set out on my own and wander around the area.

The walk I had in Conwy Valley was easily one of the most memorable ones I had ever done.


Being late winter, the tourists had not invaded while the locals prefer to stay at home. With the streets and parks deserted, I virtually had the whole great outdoors to myself.


I walked aimlessly until I arrived at a quaint old gate. There’s an arrow on it saying “Walking Path” so I continued walking, until I eventually heard sounds of water flowing.

A few minutes later, I arrived at the site of the most picturesque river streams I had ever seen.



I don’t even know my way around and I managed to stumble across such a breath-taking sight so easily.


The best part is, there was absolutely no one else around but myself.


I was just sitting there, soaking up the calmness and serenity of the place, thinking this is exactly what I was looking for when I travel – a chance to really relax my mind and free myself from all the stress I have back home.


I love it. If this were in China, they would’ve made hordes of noisy tourists descend upon it already.

I honestly did not want to leave.


Alas, it was getting dark. If I were to linger around any longer I surely would not be able to find my way back.

I arrived back at my host’s house in time for dinner. My jaw dropped looking at what was laid out on the dining table.


Roast Welsh lamb, complete with mint sauce, served with mashed potatoes, carrot and leek on the side, drenched lovingly with homemade brown gravy.

Knowing my favourite beer, they even prepared Guinness Draught for me to go with my meal!


Dessert was the sinfully delicious bread & butter pudding, another traditional Welsh recipe. There were so much good food and the portions were so huge I had trouble finishing them.

It was Welsh hospitality at its best. I was truly very pampered by Nigel and Diane.


I actually felt quite sad having to leave Wales. It is such a magical place. Everything is so breathtakingly beautiful that I find it very difficult to leave.

As I prepared myself for bed, I looked out the window and saw a familiar face staring back at me.


It’s those damn sheep again.


And this time, HE’S HORNY.

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Falling Asleep In Wales

While I was in Manchester, I was deciding on how to get myself to Ireland.


I got two choices to travel from Manchester to Dublin.

Obviously, the fastest and cheapest way is to fly. There are heaps of low-cost airlines in the UK. If I book early a one-way trip to Ireland could cost as low as EUR 10 (RM48).

The other way is to take the train and travel overland through the country of Wales. From there, I can then hop on a ferry to cross the Irish Sea to Dublin.

This takes longer, more expensive and yet somehow it seems more exciting to me.

Most Malaysians don’t know where Wales is. In fact, unless they’ve been to the UK, most Malaysians probably don’t know Wales as a country even exists.

A lot of us tend to think that England = Great Britain = United Kingdom, which is a bit insulting if you were to relate it to the Welsh. Because it is a bit like saying Selangor = Peninsular = Malaysia. 


United Kingdom is a union of four countries, England being just one of them. Wales is another member of the UK, and it has its own political and cultural identity that is very much distinct from the English.

It also has the most kickass flag I ever seen. Because no other country in this world can claim to have a freaking DRAGON on their flag but Wales.


The difference between England and Wales is apparent as soon as my train crossed the country border.

Immediately, I noticed road signs here are written in two languages: English and Gibberish.


It wasn’t until later that I realised "Gibberish" is actually the country’s official language, Welsh.

I find the Welsh language incredibly fascinating. To be able to speak Welsh fluently, you’d first have to hiss and cough and generally make the kinda sounds that only Gollum from Lord of the Rings could make.


Most things written in Welsh are too long and complicated to pronounce.

For example, the word "humps" in Welsh is "twmpathau".


I can imagine the Black Eyed Peas is gonna have so much trouble singing "My Humps" in Welsh.

Anyway, after a 2.5 hour train ride, I finally arrived at a station called Llandudno, which I found out later is NOT pronounced “LAN-DUDE-NO” in Welsh.

My friend Nigel was waiting for me when I arrived at the train station.


Nigel is a Welshman who was planning his visit to Sarawak once, and stumbled across my entry on the Kuching Food Awards. He travelled to Kuching earlier this year and I had the privilege of taking him and his son around to sample our local food.

Little did I know that three months later I would have the chance to visit his hometown as well, and he was nice enough to offer me a place to stay and take me around.

We were supposed to do some sight-seeing on my first day in Conwy, Wales. But I just came off a fourteen hour long flight journey so I was honestly too pooped to do anything at all. I just wanna crash!

So Nigel took me back, and after an excellent dinner cooked by him and his wife Diane, I was ready to hit the sack.


The one thing I love about the Welsh countryside is that it is so peaceful and quiet. So peaceful in fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE not to relax.

When I was younger, I suffered from insomnia. One technique I used is to close my eyes and imagine in my head “how many sheep jump over the fence” to lull myself to sleep.


But in countryside Wales, there is no need to do that at all.

Because there is always a herd of sheep staring at me outside my bedroom window


Even if I cannot sleep, looking at them will confirm make me fall asleep.

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Inside Old Trafford Stadium

What the heck.


Man United lost again over the weekend. This time by 0-2 to Fulham, an underdog they’ve beaten twice before.

I think I’ve really jinxed it. Before this, they had like a two month undefeated record.


The day after the Liverpool match, I had a chance to follow the Mister Potato team visit Old Trafford again. This time to see what goes on behind the scenes in The Theatre of Dreams.

Tickets to the stadium tour were sold out pretty fast. Many disappointed fans turned away at the counter, but we were lucky to have made an earlier booking.

I must say, the experience was nothing short of sensational.


The stadium tour itself although very short, was extremely well worth it.

We walked through the same tunnel the players went through and sat on the same bench manager Alex Ferguson sat on just a day earlier. We were literally just centimetres away from the pitch.

To our surprise, the section devoted to the players was actually quite small and basic. No plush sofas, marbled pillars or gold taps.


Can you imagine stars like Ronaldo and Rooney hanging around a place like this? It’s nothing quite like the luxurious six-star facility I had expected for those mega-rich star players who earn obscene salaries of at least RM 500,000 a week each.

There’s a bar that serves food and beer (after the match) in the player’s lounge, and even a creche for them to leave their kids for car with the nannies.

An International Honours Board lists every player that has every played for Manchester United since their inception.


David Beckham is arguably Manchester United’s most famous player on the Honours Board.


His name is listed there, right above the Butt.

Other stuff of interests around Old Trafford includes this chewing gum disposal board.


I bet something somewhere in that tray has Alex Ferguson’s spit in it.


“Respect The Game, Respect The Referee”

In football? Yeah right!


Without a doubt, the best part about visiting Old Trafford for me was the opportunity to enter the players changing rooms.


This is the exact same spot where players freshen up and get changed at half-time while listening to Alex Ferguson’s fiery lecture. The shirts on the wall show where each player normally sits.

We must have visited the stadium at the wrong time, because while we were about the enter the changing room we noticed a someone familiar inside.

Holy shit.


Ryan Giggs, is that you!?

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London Bridge Fell Down Because I Was Too Fat

London, home of the English Premier League, Spice Girls and Nuff Nang (the slang, not the blog advertising company).

London has certainly got a lot going for it.
The Queen lives in it. Leona Lewis lives in it. Mr Bean lives in it.
Not to mention four years from now, the city will host the 30th Olympic Games.

It’s undeniable that London is a city people hold with high regard.
As a status symbol, fashion labels often list London as one of the cities where their presence are felt. More often than not, you see big labels proclaiming themselves such as “Topman – London, Paris, New York”
Very rarely do you see them go “Topman – London, Paris, New York, Kuching

If I had any regrets about my trip to London, it is that I didn’t managed to spend enough time there.
Of course, I went to visit the few must-see famous tourist landmarks.

Like the Big Ben and the Westminster Palace, where the British parliament presides.
All I could think about is that it blew up in the movie V for Vendetta.

Saw the Tower Bridge, also mistakenly known around the world as the London Bridge.

Went to Trafalgar Square and molested the lions.

Doing the royal wave

Visited Buckingham Palace, where The Queen lives.

Well, actually I only went as far as the palace gates.
Tickets into the palace are 15 pounds (RM100) and we could’ve gone in if we wanted to, provided we booked in advance. But we didn’t, so all we did was look at the ‘toy soldiers’ standing outside.

These royal guards used to stand at the outside of the fence where mischevious tourists could make funny faces in front of them. Supposedly, they are so well disciplined that they will not move, laugh, bat an eyelid or get an erection no matter what you do to them.
Then again, some tourists are also a bit too much lah. I heard stories about the soldiers having to put up with tourists blowing cigarette smoke in their face, placing banana skins on the ground, or even sticking an orange inside the gun’s barrel.
Eventually they smartened up and moved the guards into the palace grounds out of reach from the tourists.

Gotta wonder what’s up with the furry black hat though.
Not sure if it’s meant to intimidate, but if I was the enemy I’d surely die laughing.

The London Eye is one of the newer London attractions.
I paid 15 pounds (RM100) for a 30 minute ride up the bicycle wheel to get a bird’s eye view of the city. I tried getting the girls to come with me as well but they were like, “What’s so special? Singapore also have what!”
Well, it’s different lah! In London, you can see lots of old church. In Singapore, you can only see Orchard.

Admittedly, it’s a kinda overpriced.
To be honest it was terribly unexciting as well. Pretty much, the only reason I went was because our Olympic cyclist Josiah Ng proposed to his fiance Kim Ong and I thought it was awfully romantic.

Salvador Dali sculptures can be spotted outside the Dali museum next to the London Eye.
Now, I never really understood much of Dali’s artworks. Like, what’s up with the headless armless naked girl with the golden egg in the middle?
But then I noticed something about the sculpture that amused me to no end.

Some stupid spider went and built a web around her crotch!
Poor girl must be not having “it” for a long time.

I like how London has its own trademark identity. The Tube, the red double-decker bus and the red-coloured telephone booth are just few of the things that are distinctively London.
The phone booths aren’t as innocent as it seems though. Inside almost every single one of them, there are stickers promoting “services” catering to all kinds of fetish.

Blonde, brunette, lesbians.

Or even trannies if that’s the kinda stuff that rocks your boat. 😉
One thing I really liked about London is that some of the best museums and art galleries in the world are located here, and they’re all free of charge.

While the girls went off shopping at Primark, I popped by the Natural History Museum to visit some…

The museum is really quite exciting, if you’re a nerd. Never in my life have I seen such an extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons. They have almost all the species from Jurassic Park on display, and more.

The only dinosaur they don’t have is the Dickonosaurus. Too bad, because the only person in possession of that is me. Hehe.

Coincidentally, while I was there, the London Fashion Week was happening right outside the Natural History Museum.
Security stopped anyone from coming anywhere close to the action, but I heard Baywatch star Pamela Anderson was there too which I found very funny.

Apprently the museum has so much dinosaurs that it’s even attracting living dinosaurs.
Anyway, the Natural History Museum is a great educational fun place for kids. Apart from dinosaurs, it also has an interesting section on human biology.
There, Little Johnny can find answers to all the difficult questions bugging him in life. Questions such as, “Where do babies come from?”

The answer Little Johnny is looking for comes in “zombie porn”.

Harrod’s in Knightsbridge is another place I highly recommended going.

Here’s the thing. You don’t go to Harrod’s for shopping though because everything there is too bloody hell expensive.
Like I bought three donuts from the Krispy Kreme instore and the bill came up to 3.60 pounds (RM 23)! Sweet Jesus Mohammed Al-Fayed! For that price, I’d expect somebody to feed me and wipe my mouth.

Instead, head over to the luxury washrooms on the 1st floor and help yourself to some designer perfumes, free of charge.

On a more sombre note, the basement of Harrod’s has an Egyptian-themed shrine dedicated to Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of the chairman of Harrod’s.

Encased inside a glass pyramid in front is a wine glass, still smudged with Diana’s lipstick from the couple’s last dinner.
Also in it, is an engagement ring. Dodi purchased the ring just a day before they died in that tragic car accident.

A city as large as London has so much to offer that I can’t help but to feel that I’m missing out if I only stuck to the tourist route.
At night when the shops are closed, I went out with the Tiger Beer people to check out Shoreditch’s infamous nightlife.

First stop, the Great Eastern Dining Room.
This restaurant serves Asian food catered to western palates.
Normally I find angmoh serving Asian food a bit suspicious, but dinner here was easily the best we have had throughout our time in London. I love it so much that when I came back for it the next day, it’s already fully booked out.

Over dinner, I learnt the truth about Dawn Yang, my travel partner for one week.
You may have heard those nasty rumours circulating about her on the Internet. Well, I witnessed it first hand.
And yes, I can confirm that the rumours are true…

Dawn eats. A LOT.
She eats so much even I got scared.
Whoever said models starve themselves has certainly not met Dawn Yang. While everyone was satiated after just eating one pork rib, our girl polished off at least EIGHT of those in one go!

How she managed to maintain her slim figure I have no idea. I am twice her weight and only ate half as much as she did that evening! Bravo, girl.
After dinner, we crossed the road to Shoreditch’s finest Cantaloupe bar.

This shabby yet chic bar has proved popular with the young professionals working around the area. It’s a Friday night and the clientele is a strange mix of jeans, heels and people in their work clothes. In a corner, the DJs spinned up kickass chillhouse music to complement the lively chatty atmosphere.
The only bummer about Cantaloupe is that you gotta walk damn far to reach the toilets, only to find this sign.

What drink do you order when you’re out in pub with a bunch of people who works Tiger Beer?

Why, Tiger beer of course! 😉
Asian beers like Tiger are actually considered premium brands over here. While it’s common to buy four bottles for RM20 here in Kuching, poor Londoners are paying something like 3 pounds (RM20) for just ONE bottle. How lucky we are.

To get us to the next destination, Tiger Beer arranged for us a tuk tuk!
Fancy riding a tuk tuk in London? Hell yeah!

It’s incredibly bizarre sitting in a tuk tuk, cruising down the streets of LONDON as red double-decker bus and black cabs whizzed past by.
When we arrived at our destination, instead of saying “Sawadeekap! You want buy suit? Massage? I give you good price!”, our driver simply went ” ‘ere ya go mate, ‘ave a good evening!” in full-on Bri’ish accent.
Something doesn’t quite match over here.

This is Dawn Yang – The Far East’s most desirable export since 1932.

Our next stop is Juno, where Tiger Translate artists Monorex did their Secret Wars live graffiti art battle.

Again, although I personally preferred the right hand side’s sarcastic artwork, the crowd cheered louder for left and he won.
Next stop, Koko!

Stupid big-boobed British chick blocked my camera

This is one of the most awesome and popular clubs in London.
Koko is housed inside a century-old theatre that used to host shows by Charlie Chalpin and Madonna.

It has since been converted into a party venue where, when big names like Coldplay and Mika aren’t holding concerts, independent UK bands rock the live audience crazy with their original gigs.

Our time in London was short, but at least I’ve experienced both the tourist and local sides of London. Still, I reckon there is so much more of London left to explore. 13-hour plane rides aside, I’m not gonna hesitate coming back here again if the opportunity arises.
To finish off this entry, I must relate to you this conversation I had with a Leonado diCaprio look-a-like French dude outside Cantaloupe bar.

This one is for you Cheesie. I know how much you dig French guys. 😉

Leonardo: Hey man, where are you from?
Kenny: I’m from Malaysia.
Leonardo: Malaysia? Where’s that?
Kenny: Well, you know where Singapore is?
Leonardo: Yeah, I know Singapore. I’ve been there.
Kenny: And do you know where Thailand is?
Leonardo: Yeah, of course! I’ve been to Phuket and Bangkok before.
Kenny: Well, Malaysia is sorta between Thailand and Singapore.
Leonardo: Oh, ok. I’ve never heard of Malaysia.
Kenny: But that’s only part of Malaysia though. I’m from Sarawak, which is on a whole different island.

Leonardo: Really? Sarawak!?
Leonardo: I know where Sarawak is. That’s on Borneo Island, right?

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