It’s five-o-clock over here…

A friend of mine is teaching me (High Dynamic Range) HDR photography. While he’s taking pictures of Trees and vistas i’d thought i take a picture of my 5-o-clock moment… 100mm Macro, 2 stops apart from center, merged together. Oh, Vodka tonic, lime, and a Caper berry…. So refreshing on a hot summer day…

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Southern Food in NC

People with refined or discriminating taste may not realize or even enjoy the thought of eating what one may consider as “Southern Food”, they are missing out. In many fine restaurants, excessive refinement and deconstruction of well-known dishes leave’s you wondering what you just consumed.

Undeniably enjoying a meal with an elaborate presentation of balanced flavors and contrasting elements, rare ingredients harvested from remote locations melded together with obscure parts of an animal’s anatomy have proved quite unforgettable, even though the equivalent to a house payment exchanged hands, I enjoyed ever minute.

Fine meals come in all forms and recently several were enjoyed visiting Donna and her husband Brooks, some dear friends in NC. There is no elaborate presentation here however some of the finest meals come out of Chef Brook’s kitchen.

We start with breakfast of soft fried eggs, grits, non-nitrate bacon, homemade jelly, and strong coffee. Grits, for those who are not familiar with the item is ground up corn, simmered with some added butter salt, and pepper. The creamy texture of the grits mingled with the yellow yolk and the sweet, saltines of the bacon just complements each other, add a side of Donna’s organic homemade jelly, yum!!!!!

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For dinner, pork chops, collard greens, and lima beans. The pork chop is marinade with a secret BBQ sauces and charcoal over a hickory wood fire. Until this day my friend Brooks will not let go of the recipe for this wonderful BBQ sauce, it is a tomato-vinegar base (NC style), sweet, sour, and tangy. The hickory smoke from the fire and sweetness of the sauce make the chop one to remember for some time.

Brooks-5However, the star of the show, and always has been for myself, are the collard greens. Collards are a large deep green leafy vegetable with a texture similar to cabbage and a nutritional value equal to none. Chef Brooks simmer them with a little sugar (I think), salt, pepper, and a smoked ham hock. The ham flavor permeates the green and no words can describe how good this is.Brooks-8

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Combine this meal with a fine California Zinfandel and the companionship of good company and it is just an extraordinary Southern Meal! Oh, of course every NC home has a bottle of Texas Pete on the table, the local hot sauce.

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Back to Malaysia, i’m craving some curry fish head soup ;)

Horse Shoe Bend & Lake Powell – Page Arizona

People have fallen to their death taking pictures of one of the most photographed sites of the Grand Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend. We are on our last day in Page, Arizona.

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Lizard tracks …

LakePowell-55The Glen Canyon Dam divides the Colorado River, on one side is Lake Powell, and on the other is the start of the Grand Canyon.

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On the Lake Powell side, people line the shore camping. Winnebago type adventurers also have a big presence here.

LakePowell-50 We are on a short hike to Horse Shoe Bend so bring water.

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Be careful along the rim, there are no railings and definitely watch your children.

With my camera attached to my tripod laying flat on the ground, I set the timer, laid on my stomach, and slid the camera over the edge holding on to the feet of the tripod.

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Next, Southern cooking in NC…

Antelope Canyon – Page Arizona

This is one of the most beautiful natural places i have seen.

I’m in the US this month visiting in Phoenix Arizona. Four hours north of Phoenix is the little town of Page situated on the border of Arizona and Utah. Outside of Page is one of the most wonderful natural places on earth, the Antelope Slot Canyons. Created by rain and wind millennia ago the walls are 50 to 100 feet tall, we hiked down into these canyons for a few shots.

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Gets a little tight…

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You start by squeezing through these crevasses and descend into a wonderland.

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Some tips…

  • Take the photographers tour. $50. Private guide and no crowds.
  • Use a tripod, F11 or higher, ISO 100 to 1000 depending on the daylight above.
  • Bring a brush and blower for your camera. Gets dusty down there.
  • There are many tour operations but come on your own. Come early when they open. The canyons are operated by the Navajo Indians and you must pay to enter. $25 for group tour.PageMap

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Next Lake Powell and Horse Shoe Bend…

 

Lunch and watches in KL China Town

We walk past the flower market and into KL’s China Town in search of watches. Who knew you could get a real Rolex for $15, must be my lucky day.  Of course i didn’t buy any…flower market kuala lumpur

fake watches

You would miss it if you did not know it was here but tucked behind the fake designer bags, shoes and the real Rolex watches is the Koon Kee restaurant, only five tables and their specialty is Char Sew Noodle, a thinly sliced pork BBQ with noodle, or the other alternative, chicken feet soup.

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So little time, so many to go… Next, off to the US for a short visit unless i come across something like this!

Most Expensive City in the World

Recently Singapore has been bestowed upon itself as the most expensive city in the world taking the number one spot from Tokyo. This bequeathness (yeah i know this is not a word) is false and determined by the cost of housing and owning an automobile in this wonderful city. For the average traveler, like you and I, Singapore is as cheap as they come, you just need to know where to look.

Along with my friend Ms. E. we are here again in Singapore by chance, and any chance to get to Singapore I’m going to take it.

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Chopstick Store

Chopstick Store

Buda Tooth Temple

Buda Tooth Temple

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Buda Tooth temple

Buda Tooth temple

Marina Bay Gardens at night

Marina Bay Gardens at night

Some of the cleanest hostels in Asia will be found here in Singapore like the Backpackers Inn in China town, $25 a night. A wide range of  hotels can be found for any budget like our room at the Bliss Hotel $70 a night, next to it is the Hotel 81 for $85 a night. Of course if you want to see what a $300 dollar room is like in Singapore see this post here.

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 Gondola ride to Sentosa Island…

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A passenger in our Gondola...

A passenger in our Gondola…

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Therefore, except for the hotel and gondola ride, everything you have seen thus far is free for the traveler and there is so much more. See the other posts on Singapore if you are so inclined.

The food is so good and so cheap like this place the Osaka Ohsho. You order off an iPad and your Gyoza is prepared fresh and delivered ASAP. At $8 this is the best Ramen and Gyoza outside of Tokyo, hands down, take my word for it, it is so good, go here…Singapore022014-116-1Singapore022014-121Heading back to the US for a short visit… Dave

 

DragonFly

I found this little guy on my window shade, just sitting there. I quickly got my camera hoping he wouldn’t fly out the window. When i returned he was still there, just sitting there. It reminded me of a friend of mine who found his father-in-law the same way, just sitting there, not moving, just there… Unfortunately they are both dead. Well all the better to take a few shots, of the dragonfly, not the father-in-law…

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