Meet ‘Tio’ the Pooping Log

‘Tio’ the Christmas log is a traditional feature in Catalan homes during Christmas. It is supposed to be fed and kept warm by kids in the home, after which the log will be hit with sticks till it ‘caga’ or poops out presents for the children. This was just some of the traditional Andorran festive…

Bon Nadal Andorra La Vella

Folks in the highest capital city in Europe Andorra La Vella (3,356ft) gear up for the Christmas market at Placa del Poble in the historic quarter of the city this weekend. The Christmas season festivities will start this weekend all over this small country (just over 450sq km) in the Pyrenees mountains – with a…

Sunrise from Montserrat (Video)

Good morning Montserrat! Who would have though a random purchase of Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’ by the other half would lead to a memorable stay at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain? The view of a beautiful sunrise on a crisp morning over the Llobregat Valley is a great start to the day…

Traditional Tiffin Take-Away

I spotted these beautiful tiffin carriers that used to be a common sight in most Malaysian kitchens at one time. Unlike the stainless-steel Indian tiffin carriers, the Malaysian version is usually in plain pastel colours or adorned with beautiful motifs – usually flowers. I’m not entirely sure, but I think these originate from the kitchens…

Flashback Friday: Paris at Dusk

From my file pix: This shot was taken in 2009 from the viewing point between the bell towers of the church of Notre Dame in Paris. Am not sure if I’ll want to make that claustrophobic & physically challenging climb up the winding steps of the bell tower to the lookout point again. But to…

Acculturation: The Asian Mother Mary

The staple of every altar in the home of our Roman Catholic friends and family are Jesus, Mother Mary and St Joseph (if he was lucky to be a part of a Holy Family image or statue.  The poor man is often forgotten). The most common portrayal of Mother Mary is of course that of…

Eerie Ruins by the Sea: Al-Jumail

Qatar does not have much of a rich and spectacular history as it’s neighbours in the region. This county was once home to migratory Bedouin tribes, fishermen and pearl divers who built small settlements along its coastline – trading their finds with passing land and sea traders. Unlike the surrounding regions, this area does not…

Mythical Langkawi (via Ferry)

It’s been 15 years since we last visited Langkawi Island, the mythical island believed to have been cursed for seven generations by a young woman – Mahsuri – who was falsely accused of adultery. Locals believe the curse has been lifted as the island began to prosper over the last few decades after at least…

Frosty View: Transpolar Flight Scenes

As mentioned in an earlier post (Sunrise at 38,000 feet), I’m one of those passengers who is busy fiddling with the in-flight entertainment system during red-eye flights (I try to be really quiet – promise!). If I’m at the window seat, I’m often peeking out at the changing hues of the sky, or the cities…

Heritage Trail: Assumption Church, Penang

The Church of the Assumption on Farquhar Road in Penang was built in 1786, the year Captain Francis Light and British settlers landed on Penang island. They settlers set foot on this tropical island just off Butterworth/Seberang Prai on the mainland of Peninsular Malaysian on Aug 15th – the feast of the Assumption of the…

Killing Fields: Choeung Ek

In all my travels, this is the most disturbing spot that I have visited: the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and in particular the ‘Killing Tree’. Against this tree trunk, the head and tiny bodies of babies and toddlers were smashed as their helpless parents who were awaiting execution watched. At the of the tree…

Drive through: Scotland

Driving in unknown territory with unfamiliar traffic rules can be quite daunting. Thus, we usually avoid driving in countries with left hand drive cars – simply because the last thing you want on holiday is to drive into oncoming traffic, deal with the authorities in a foreign country, or worse, get into an accident and…