Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This time I decided to bring my family and along with my regular hiking friend we headed out to Lauterbrunnen. Quality family time (we need more of that, okay!) The plan was to hike the Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg route.


Unfortunately, at halfway point to Stechelberg, my plan was abruptly shot down by my youngest  6 year old daughter who complained  her feet hurts, "Its the new hiking boots fault, Abah." she insisted. And who am I to argue with such  well thought excuse?

So we went to see the Trummelbach falls instead. Which was great and we had loads of fun there. and the children competed with the roar of the glacier fed rushing waters to see who could make the loudest noise. I was cool with the alternate screaming activity as long as they were having fun. After all, I recently acquired a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 prime lens to take pic in low light situation and the decision to divert our route to see the Trummelbach falls was great for me since what better place to test the prowess of this much talked about lens than in a dark and cold man made tunnels.

Enjoy the pics.

Staubach fall

Staubach fall

Yeap, thats 2 of my girls.

Another waterfall

Moutain walls rising on both side

Fellow hikers

The trail markers

And winter shows its face again...


The entrance

The tunnels to the the viewing platforms

Rocks and the mountain walls being illuminated by spotlights
placed strategically to enhanced the wow factor

Long way down!

Bus Stop

The Swiss Rural bus (Macam bas Mara la)

Monday, September 20, 2010


Place : La Cure, Switzerland, just a few kilometres away from the Swiss/ France border.
Weather condition : Damn cold and frosty.
Hiking time : 2 1/2 hours.

The foggy area is France, actually.

The hiking route was through a cattle farm. So a lot of careful stepping to avoid the taik lembu booby traps on the trail. To no avail. Terpijak sepiring (Looked like a pancake with icing because of the frost. Boih! Chis ko lembu!

Trail marking so you dont get lost. We did!

The trail sign on where to head next and how long it takes to get there.

And of course, we managed to cross the border to France, somewhere up the mountain, without even knowing it. We were surprised to see the Swiss custom and border office greeting us when we tracked back to La Cure using the paved roads.

Friday, September 17, 2010


In a chat room....

Blog Reader: Kenapa tak tulis pasal politik lagi dalam blog u?
Akula: Dah pencen. Blog tu pun dah tutup kedai.
Blog Reader: Missed your pendapat and views.
Akula: Alah, biasa je, pendapat and views orang lain lagi dasat.
Blog Reader: Btw bro, not that I nak kutuk you, but your current blog sucks! Citer pasal hidup and traveling jer! Masa kat NLNT (Nasi Lemak Nescafe Tarik) meletup-letup.
Akula: Hahaha, memang pun. Maleh la nak citer pasal politik.

Well, thats the opinion of a loyal peminat, when we chat a little while back.

I have to agree, my current writing focused more on the subjects that bore readers to death. Life for example, or traveling, and stayed away from discussing about politics.

My now defunct blog Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Tarik used to attract about thousands of hits a day, especially when I wrote about hot political issues. It was even featured once in a while in Malaysiakini if I quoted stories or articles published there. Readers actively participate and left comments to argue their point of views. Some liked my writings and others hated it of course, but none were shy to let their opinion be heard. Just the way I wanted it to be. I was even approached by a friend who was very active in politics to write some research materials for his political masters, which I politely declined to guarantee impartiality in my writings.

Then one day out of the blue, I decided not to write about politics anymore, and shut down Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Tarik after 3 years of active service.

I guess I just got tired of the never ending soap opera shit in politics. Nothing seems as it were. Promises were made and never kept. Ordinary people on the street like you and me were being made to feel as insignificant as the single cell amoeba. We were taken for granted and our intelligence were being insulted and stabbed brutally left and right by politicians. Morons reigns supreme.

Got tired of it all.

But that doesnt mean I didnt follow the happenings in politics.

I really think its vital for us to at least update ourselves with those current issues since it will helps us decide whom we will choose to lead us. I dont subscribe to the notion that the political leaders are the one who would determined our course. It should be the other way around. We, the man on the street, holds that precious votes and the choice to choose whom we think our leaders should be and what direction we want them to lead us. We are definitely not subservient to them. We reserved the right and the liberty to question and raise matters that involved our interests.

Its easier said than done.

I would describe our society as a society of sopan santun, berbudi bahasa and taat pemimpin. We were brought up that way and we were taught by our elders not to be kurang ajar. Thats what we are. We kept our opinions deep inside us and dare not question our leaders. When we finally had the courage to speak out, others including our colleagues and friends will label us as tak reti bahasa, takde adab, tak hormat. For me its not about being kurang ajar and all that, its about our right as the one who put them (our political leaders) up there in the first place. They owed it to us to at least listen to our opinions and what we have to say. Policies made should be sold to us, the ordinary citizens first. It should not be bulldozed and implemented at their whim and fancies since the end results will severely impact our life, not theirs.

I think, today, we are politically mature enough to decide whats best for us. Those days of simple carrot and stick methodology that were practiced and adopted widely by our leaders would not work anymore. We are more aware of our rights, more outspoken with our thoughts and are more diligent with our choices. When all these clash with the guards of those old, outdated thoughts and ancient way of doing things, it cannot but end in political chaos.

Interesting, yes. But at the same time its exhausting. Perhaps I will write again about politics when its volatile and swirling dust calmly settle down in the near future.

In the meantime, I'll stick to writing about travels and life in this blog that sucks.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Seriously, too lazy to write about this hiking trip.

Place : THE JAUN-SCHLUCHT GORGE, between Charmey and Broc.
Hiking Time : 2 hours (more or less)

Enjoy the pics, though.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


When I was courting, some of my ex's asked me to choose between her and cigarettes. Demi cinta setia. I really dont know why this was (and still is) the favourite love test of all time among ladies. I knew some of my friends chose the love of their life over the burning tobacco sticks. Good for them. Live long and prosper and healthy and lots, and lots of love all around I would say.

Its great, isnt it? But come on, if that is the measure of love, those tall, dark and handsome men in the romantic world of Mills and Boons will surely have fall on their muscled knees on the grounds, and laugh themselves silly. I'll go for death defying acts, or to copy David Blaine, expose myself to dangerous stunts like being buried alive or hanging upside down hundreds of feet on the air for days. Break the records and win a woman's love. Thats the way to do it.

Men are no better either.

In our society, its not unheard of that men asked his girlfriend to berubah and wear tudung. While the intention is good, ie, following the sacred religious dogma, what guarantees the act as ikhlas? More often than not its done because of cinta, which in my book is but a wrong reason to do it in the first place.

In short, the question that bugs me the most is why the imposing act? Kalau tak impose tak boleh cintan maut ke?

I couldnt help but think that sometimes the phrases and the supposed noble acts of demi kasih, or demi cinta setia is one of many contributing factors in the crumbling morals of our society nowadays. Men would definitely take advantage of the lovey dovey situations and girls might be blinded and sacrificed what they hold dear to prove their love. Be smart, boys and girls. It will not be a lovey dovey situation to be in, 9 months after that!

I am of the opinion if a person loves the other person so much, he or she should accept all that comes with the package, flaws, shortcomings, buck toothed or mata juling included. I mean, isnt that the greatest act of love that a person can show to his loved one? Accepting them for what they are?

I really think, sometimes changes that were asked for from the other is just to suit a particular person's thinking and lifestyle and the demi cinta setia factor was used blatantly for justification. For me, suggestions and discussions is okay, but to demand and to impose kehendak and then argue that its because love demands it, is very, very wrong. Seriously, we do not live our lives according to some Bollywood movie scripts and a person have every right to think and act for themselves as long as they do not disturb peaceful existence of other people.

Having wrote that, there is nothing wrong if someone wants to change on their own for the better demi cinta setia. Love should be the inspiring factor, and not to be used as emotion bargaining tools.

The thing is, changes must come from within oneself. Its never a good idea to impose our will, whim and fancies unto others.

Especially demi cinta setia.

Akula's note

For the record, my relationship with the above mentioned ex were burned off because she cannot accept my hazy, smoking self. ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Lavaux Vineyards is a UNESCO World Heritage site. So its no surprise that this is next on my list to visit, or to see, or to hike for that matter.

These anggur terraces stretched for miles and is located between Lausanne and Montreux by Lake Geneva. For those not in the know, basically there 2 types of grapes, one is for makan/ consumption (which back in my childhood days, were categorized as buah-buahan untuk orang sakit. A kilo of black anggur was very expensive then and only the sick, with the objective of pampering them, would have the opportunity to taste it, thus the label. Its also a popular buah tangan for my parents to bring whenever they visited their sick relatives or friends). The other type of grapes is for making wine. Grapes grown in Lavaux is for the latter.

As usual, I will leave my place at as early as possible to arrive at the intended destination before sunrise to capture some pics of the first sunlight. I went with my love one who obviously shared the same hobby as mine (that, or she wants to keep an eye on my outdoor activities! hehe). Daughters could not make it this time. I think its very hard for them to part with those comfortable, warm blanket and braved the cold morning.

We left Geneva at around 6.00 am and arrived at our destination at the Lutry train station where we parked our car. Grabbed our gears and backpack we walked up the marked path up the hill and unto the vineyards itself.

We walked passed by farmhouses and small villages. Some of these vineyards owners produced their own wine and this was marked by the roadside sign advertising their products. Grapes are usually harvested starting from late August to early October grape. This are also the time where many of the small wine makers arrange wine testing for interested buyers.

It as still early and theres not a lot of people around until the hiking path merged with a paved road. Stopped by to take pictures of the views which were simply (for a lack of a other words) breath taking. Its sort of different feeling and viewpoint from up the terraces, since we were no strangers to this area having driven along the road down below many times before. Continued our hike to the lakeside town of Cully to catch the train back to Lutry.

Enjoy the the rest of the pics.


Recently, I bought Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Volume 1, 2 ,3 from Amazon as additional reference material on how to improve my amateurish photo taking skills.

Scott Kelby tells it how it is. Forget all the technical jargon and those mind boggling photography terms. In this book he explained in a clear tone how to take a picture as if you are his shooting partner. Let say you are wondering how to capture those magical sunrise moments, Scott Kelby will tell you what aperture to use, how to set your tripod, what to expect and avoid, etc, without referring to the technical terms and the `why'. Its very practical and easy to follow. He also mentioned in this book, that hopefully once the readers know how to produce great pictures, they will be inspired to learn the more in depth aspect of photography. And he wrote it with humour too to keep this boleh bagi tidurnyer subject interesting.

I practiced with those tips in the books and the pics turns out much better than before. Take it from me, I have been doing this for quite a number of years and had accumulated a lot of reference books in my library shelves but I never come across a very good how to book like this one. Believe me, once you read a book about the fine points of photography, you are bound to counter the same materials again and again from other books as well.

I would go as far as to suggest that if there is ever one book you should read about photography, this is the one.

And no, Scott Kelby did not pay me money for writing this piece about his books. Not one single cent.

Happy shooting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I really was hooked with hiking.

The thing was, I never thought I will get into another activity since I am quite busy with all the running, cycling and traveling. And that does not include snapping pics!

How did I get into hiking?

Well, one morning about 2 weeks ago, I went walking into a forested area to find a waterfall, to do some practice of shutter speed shots of running waters. And of course, its a 2 -3 hours of walking to where it was located. Unknowingly, the search for the waterfall became a hike. To my complete surprise, I like it so much and was immediately and completely hooked.

In Switzerland the hiking trails are well marked with a very visible yellow signpost. Information of hiking durations and destinations were put up to give clear information to the hikers. Maps of the trails are readily available in the Internet. Difficulty rankings were given as easy, medium and challenging.

So far I had done 3 hiking trips, the first one along the de l'Areuse Gorge, Jura Mountain, the second at the Nozon Gorge, Croy and the third one was at the Vevey vineyards. Each trails were about 2 - 3 hours hike. The views were spectacular to say the least. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of marked hiking trails to choose from. Really-really cool. I am planning to hit those trails near Geneva first.

Photography and exercise.


Saturday, September 4, 2010


I always wonder how people took that amazing silky look of running water/ waterfalls. There are a lot of websites that explained how to do this. My favourite is The Digital Photography Schools website. The language is easy to understand, technical jargon is kept to minimum and lots of sample shots to show how a shot was captured. There are also a lot of simple tips and ideas on how to take great photos.

My second source of reference is from friends who I considered as veterans tahap sifu in this field. Some are great amateurs who did this untuk mengisi masa lapang, others are pros, making a lot of dough from their photos but both are very, very passionate.

My third learning source is from books, photo blogs and websites. There are a lot of good books out there, but I found out some are a little bit expensive for my budget. I love to visit photo.net to view and study their photographers published pics.

Having been into this since about 7 years ago, I really think photography is a lifelong learning process, and still consider myself as a low rank amateur. But the satisfaction of viewing the end result of a photo really worth all the efforts and preparations to capture it.

Enjoy the pics.