SKY BAR ROOFTOP AT LEBUA

SKY BAR ROOFTOP AT LEBUA

THE BEST RIVER VIEWS IN BANGKOK

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Made even more famous by hosting the Hangover II boys during filming in Bangkok, Sky Bar rooftop at Lebua State Tower offers one of the best views in the city. 63 floors up and overlooking the river, it has become a must-do for a sundowner cocktail. Around ten minutes’ walk from Saphan Taksin BTS it is very easy to find, just look up and walk towards the tall cream building with the gold dome on the roof. It may not be the most relaxed experience as people will flock here on a clear day and it gets crowded, but the vista is one you won’t forget in a hurry.

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If you arrive before 18:00 (when Sky Bar opens) you can still have a drink and enjoy the view from Distil. This comfortable oyster and whisky bar has an outdoor terrace with a comfortable cushioned sofa area. The view isn’t as good as the main restaurant and bar but it’s slightly more relaxed as no-one is pushing and shoving to take pictures. Because of the popularity of Sky Bar it can sometimes feel like you are at a cattle market. The staff usher you down the steps at an impressive speed, and won’t let you take pictures from the top of the stairs. Once you are in the bar area there are no seats and if you are only having a drink it can feel a bit claustrophobic.

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If you are a fan of the movie try a Hangovertini. The mixologist at Lebua created it especially to celebrate the film, and although many people did not like how Bangkok and its citizens were represented on screen, the blend of green tea liquor, apple juice, Martini Rosso and rosemary honey, goes down much better here than the movie ever did. There are plenty of other original cocktail choices, as well as a good range of beers and wines. If you are coming for a special occasion it is worth considering dinner at Sirocco, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner at the world’s highest rooftop restaurant.

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Although the crowds at Sky Bar and the lack of seating don’t make for a relaxing drink, the unusual cocktails and arguably the best views in Bangkok make a visit here well worth the trip.

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Prowler – New York City’s Real-Life Female Superhero

It’s not the first time we’ve reported cases of real-life superheroes here on OC. But this sure is a first – a female superhero who has gladly shared her identity. And that’s not all. She’s also probably the first superhero to be concerned about her own safety. So she only patrols the streets of Brooklyn with fellow male superheroes. She is ‘Prowler’ by night, dressed in black spandex, red cat mask and clawed gloves, and Nicole Abramovici by day, a 32-year-old home-organizing businesswoman.

Abramovici is a part of the Big Apple chapter of a group called Superheroes Anonymous (only, she isn’t). She came to know about this group of male superheroes patrolling the city through a newspaper article and was inspired to join them. “I am one of the very few females active as a real-life superhero,” she said. “I wanted to help the homeless and the abandoned animals of New York, so pretty much immediately I decided on the name Prowler.” Abramovici admitted that the name Prowler isn’t always seen in a positive light, and is perceived as a person who creeps around at night, stealing. “But I wanted to make the prowler a force for good,” she said. On most nights, you can find her seeking out the needy with her superhero mentor, ‘Life’.

Photo: Canele Bernard/Rue89

Life said that he doesn’t think gender makes much of a difference for real-life superheroes. It’s all about helping people for him. Of his mentee, he said, “Prowler has always been very street savvy so my job was to show her the ropes as a superhero. She has been very helpful because she speaks Spanish and I don’t.” Abramovici’s own inspiration is from the classic female superheroes like Cat Woman and Bat Girl, who were “super hot and empowered.” She said that she feels like the same person under the costume, but what’s different is the attention, and the fact that she is able to make homeless people smile. Her enemies – poverty, destitution and cruelty against animals; her weapons – food, clean clothes and toiletries, which she distributes to the homeless to help them survive. During her nightly patrols on the streets of the Big Apple, she also gives homeless people advice on hygiene and takes time to just talk to them and maybe put a smile on their faces.

Photo: Canele Bernard/Rue89

Abramovici is quite unfazed about the fact that her identity is no secret. Both her parents know about her night-time routine, but prefer not to speak to her much about it. “I am daddy’s girl, so he worries the most, but they know I’m an adventurous person, and they trust me.” But when this news first broke out in the media, her two boyfriends were still in the dark. Abramovici had hoped that if they did find out, they would support her. “If the guys I’m dating see this I hope they’ll still treat me exactly the same. I’m still the same person,” she insisted. We do wonder how that turned out.

 

Mengunjungi Taman Kaktus di Cameroon Highlands

Anda tahu kaktus? Pernahkah melihat taman kaktus? Kalau belum pernah melihat maka Anda disarankan untuk mengunjungi Taman Kaktus yang ada di Cameroon Highlands. Disini Anda bisa menyaksikan berbagai jenis kaktus. Namanya Cactus Valley atau Lembah Kaktsu Cameroon Highlands.

Berkunjung kesini berarti Anda menenggelamkan diri dalam lautan kaktus yang dalam. Kawasan unik ini bisa Anda masuki dengan membayar RM4 untuk orang dewasa dan RM2 untuk anak-anak. Objek wisata yang menjadikan kaktus sebagai daya tariknya ini tak pernah kehabisan pengunjung yang selalu datang membludak setiap harinya. Kebanyakan yang datang kesini ialah para wisatawan domestik baik itu yang berasal dari Cameroon Highlands sendiri maupun dari berbagai daerah di Negeri Jiran. Cactus Valley akan lebih ramai lagi ketika musim liburan tiba (termasuk libur akhir pekan).

Kaktus-kaktus yang ada ditaman ini ditanam di media pot yang dikelompokkan sesuai dengan jenisnya. Disini Anda bisa menjumpai aneka jenis kaktus dari berbagai ukuran dari yang kecil sampai yang besar. Berada disini seolah Anda tengah berada dibelantara kaktus atau hutan homogeny. Kaktus memang berduri namun Anda tak perlu khawatir akan terkena durinya yang tajam karena sudah disediakan pagar pembatas untuk melindungi pengunjung dari gesekan durinya. Tak hanya kaktus yang ada disini namun juga berbagai jenis tanaman hias yang juga bisa Anda jumpai disini.

Beberapa tanaman berbuah seperti apel dan delima pun ditanam disini yang dimaksudkan sebagai tanaman penyeimbang. Oleh-oleh yang bisa dibawa dari kebun kaktus ini ialah kaktus yang dipajang dibagian display taman ini yang bisa ditebus dengan ringgit Malaysia. Harga enam buah kaktus mini berusia muda misalnya, sekitra RM10 atau Rp 30.000. Taman ini buka setiap harinya dari jam 08.00 sampai pukul 18.00. Taman ini bisa dicapai dengan berjalan kaki dari Brinchang yang hanya memerlukan waktu beberapa menit saja. Makanya jangan lupa ketika di Cameroon Highlands jangan lupa untuk berkunjung kesini!

Strange Wedding Customs – The Crying Ritual of the Tujia People

Throughout history, various cultures have had strange requirements of their women. But none perhaps as strange as the custom of crying before marriage, as followed in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. According to the custom, it is mandatory for a bride to cry at her own wedding, whether she likes it or not.

The crying marriage ritual was at its peak during the early 17th century and remained so until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. It is said to have originated during the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), when historical records reveal that the princess of the Zhao State was to be married into the Yan State. At the moment of the princess’ departure, her mother is said to have cried at her feet, asking her to return home as soon as possible. This is said to be the first crying marriage ever. Although the custom is not as popular now as it used to be, there are still a large number of families that practice it with gusto. In fact, it is a necessary procedure for marriage among the Tujia people, in China’s Sichuan Province. The ritual itself is pretty simple – the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of poor breeding. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding. Perhaps the girl was too happy to be free from her mother?

Photo: Explore Zhangjiajie

The ritual is practiced differently in various regions of the Sichuan Province. In the west, for example, the custom is called ‘Zuo Tang’ (sitting in the hall). Literally, this means that the bride is required to sit in a hall and cry. For a whole month before the big day, the girl walks into a large hall each night and weeps for about an hour. After about 10 days, her mother joins her and the two cry together. Another 10 days later, the grandmother joins the party. A few days later, the bride’s sisters and aunts join in too, in what can only be called a cry-fest. But then the crying isn’t just a random shedding of tears. There’s a song involved as well. Aptly named the ‘Crying Marriage Song’, the exaggerated singing of the verses is said to set the wedding atmosphere quite nicely. Some of the other songs are centered on themes of diligence, etiquette and filial piety.

If you think this is bizarre, well there’s more. Some enthusiastic brides do not limit themselves to just crying. They even swear at the matchmaker. Since women of the olden days had no say in their marriage and were at the mercy of matchmakers, they had full liberty to give the matchmakers a sound piece of their mind. But this isn’t practiced as often as it used to be. The whole point behind the crying marriage ritual is to set off a mood of happiness by using sorrowful words that are false. However, so many brides are unhappy with their lives and choice of husband that they are said to cry for real.

A bunch of women crying at a wedding, the bride included, does sound a tad melodramatic. However, when you come to think of it, it does let all the boohoos out, so the bride can probably let go of the pains of her life up until that point. Perhaps it helps in making a fresh start in life. But then I do feel sorry for all those brides who are unable to cry. I can sympathize with them. If asked to cry, I would probably only laugh harder.

 

How to eat fufu in Ghana, Africa

When traveling, experiencing the food of a culture can be one of the most exciting parts of the journey. Not only can you learn a lot about a group of people by their dining etiquette, but eating itself is fun.

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Recently, I was lucky enough to take a trip toGhana in Western Africa where dining rules and the cuisine itself differ greatly from that of Western culture. One specialty that is a local favorite, as well as a dish on every visitor’s list of foods to try, is fufu.

At first glance, fufu looks just like a lump of mashed potatoes sitting in some kind of soup. In your head you may picture yourself picking up a spoon, dipping it into the soft, creamy mound, and putting it into your mouth without a care in the world. Possibly it will taste buttery, and maybe there will even be some onions or chives in there.

If this is what you’re thinking, then you have never actually experienced fufu.

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Fufu is a cassava-based dish. Basically, the root-based plant is boiled in water then pounded down with a mortar and pestle. What you have now is a thick dough-like mixture that needs to be ferociously stirred, which usually takes two people, one pounding the fufu with the long, wooden pestle and the other reaching in and moving it around in between the pounding. As an outsider, I always found this a bit hard to watch, as it always looked like the person moving the fufu around was moments away from losing their arm.

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Once the mixture is completely smooth you shape it into smaller balls, which are usually put into a soup and served with meat. Each time I had fufu, it was served with fried chicken in groundnut soup, a spicy broth made with a peanut base.

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As most people who travel to Ghana will have their fufu made for them at a restaurant or someone’s house, the real task is knowing how to eat it. It is important to realize that in Ghana, eating with the left hand is considered extremely disrespectful. In this country, and many other Africa countries, your left hand is used for cleaning yourself (i.e. when you use the toilet) and the right hand is used for eating and handing things to others. Moreover, while Western dining etiquette places an emphasis on silverware, fufu, like much of the cuisine in Ghana, is eaten with the hands (the right hand, to be specific).

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Before dining, two bowls filled with water will be placed in front of you, one for washing your hands before the meal, and one for washing your hands after. To eat this dish, break off a small piece of the fufu and make a small indentation in it. Use this indentation to scoop up some of the soup, then place it in your mouth, and, without chewing, swallow. Yes, I said without chewing. I found this concept very difficult to grasp for some reason, as instinct tells most of us to chew our food. However, my Ghanian companion would scold me, saying, “You don’t need to chew it, it’s already soft!”

The texture is a lot like gum, as there is a stretchiness too it, but also a bit more doughy. While a bit flavorless itself, dipping it into the soup gives it a spicy peanut flavor while adding some consistency to the meal. Once you remember the etiquette and get used to eating soup with your hands, it becomes quite simple to enjoy this local Ghanian favorite.

Aogashima Island – Living inside a Volcano

Can you imagine yourself living in a giant volcanic crater? Well, for starters, you can forget about Starbucks. But it sure would be the ultimate destination to get away from it all. It’s not all that surprising then, that about 200 people actually inhabit the Japanese volcanic island of Aogashima, with only one school and a single post office.

Aogashima, a part of the Izu Archipelago, lies two hundred miles south of Tokyo, in the Philippine Sea. The island and its 205 inhabitants (as of 2009), are a part of Japan and governed by Tokyo. When I first saw pictures of this breathtaking location, it sort of reminded me of an inverted pudding on a plate. Or an oddly shaped donut. But Aogashima is really a volcano within a volcano. The island is quite well known for having a volcanic caldera within a larger caldera. So what you have is one big, giant crater, which is the island itself, inside which is nestled a much smaller version of itself. This gives the whole island a rather mysterious appeal, almost like something out of a fantasy movie. It’s hard to believe there are such places still left in the world, untouched by noisy human activity.

The entire population of Aogashima lives on a small part of the island. This is where most of the amenities are located, such as a general store and a helipad. While it’s unrealistic to expect a great night life or gourmet food options in a place as remote as this, Aogashima isn’t totally devoid of activities to pursue. For starters, it is a great place to relax and unwind, basking in all the serenity. Scuba diving is a popular activity in the intensely blue waters. You could also consider hiking and camping by the volcano, or visiting the volcanic hot springs. In the very center of the island is a geothermal sauna. The main volcano has scalding hot steam vents around one side, which are used to power the public sauna – a perfect way to relax after a long day of hiking. You can even cook food at the steam vents, in the pots available outside the sauna to steam your goodies. Accessibility options to and from the island aren’t too great:, as it can only be reached by ferry and by helicopter. Once you’re on the island, you have access to a 24/7 live feed of the harbor, so that you can keep an eye on the weather before venturing out.

If you are planning on visiting Aogashima , you might want to know that it is actually an active volcano. The last massive eruption was over 200 years ago, in 1785. 140 people are said to have died back then, and since it has been a while, the volcano might be in store for another eruption sometime soon. If you’re not the kind to take risks, you might as well sit back and enjoy breathtaking pictures of this amazing beauty of an island. I’ll leave you to it.