Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meet Joe Black

It’s a movie which is so slow and long, yet it is so attractive; so little words yet everything is understood with the contact of the eye; so slow to give you time to feel the emotion and ponder upon your life; so attractive that it keeps you to the end. She had those beautiful dreamy eyes which gets your love all the time, and the na├»ve look on the little’s boy face make the mood just right.


It really slows things down in life, to give a perspective to know what is important in life. I am so busy everyday with so many things, but did I put my time at the right place. I believed I am here to pursuit happiness, to give.

I know money is not everything, that it can’t buy happiness; yet I still spend a third of my life working for money. Between a corporate career with a $12,000 monthly salary and a home-based job with just $330, how should I choose? I should listen to my heart while I still can, so that I won’t exchange happiness for money. I think slowing down and savor every moment in life is really a nice thing to do, and everyone should do that. I should stop doing things which I don’t like, unless it is for the happiness of others which I care for. Life should be slow and simple, not luxury; but just pure happiness that money can’t buy. 

Ponder out of the raining window and feel everything is just nice; ponder at the dark sky and wonder about life; staying up late at night and feel everything is just good. Am I living my life? I think I am :)

It’s how I choose to live my life so that I can't say I live life without regret; that I wake up one day saying I don't want anything more.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friendship

Besides youself, work, family and your true love, friends probably comes next. The thing is they come and go, and we are probably the one who let this happen. I mean we didn’t stop them from leaving, and slowly we forgot about them. We remember they are good friends, yet it seems so far apart.

It is easy to maintain a friendship when we are always around each other, such as studying in the same school, working in the same place and joining the same activities. The friendship might build up for a few years and gave us many happy moments, until we moved on: either graduated, migrated, change job, retire or etc. Since we have less time together, the friendship sort of faded of. It’s still there, just that it is no longer that close; we are occupied with other things such as new job, new friends, new hobby and etc. We could try to salvage that, by messaging or come out sometimes for some activities, but that rarely happens.

When we want something bad enough, there is nothing which could stop us. Yet, we as human might become lazy and complacent, or had put our priority elsewhere, until one day we realize what we are missing. I probably had missed all my friend’s birthday, if someone or something haven’t reminded me; I had only remembered a few person’s birthday since young, and that is pathetic and a bad excuse for myself.

Though I can change everything overnight, but everything starts with a one small baby step. I think birthday is good thing to remember, and getting in touch with old friends once a year is pretty reasonable and feels good (we need an excuse to meet up anyway). To overcome my brain’s “defect” to remember birthday, I shall rely on Google Calendar to give me both email and SMS reminder. All I need to do is to scout around for their birthday, and I will never forget them again, muahahaha! It’s a bit of cheating, but technology should be used to improve our social life. Either a text, or a lunch/dinner, or a present, is better than forgetting all about it.

I know there is no easy way to maintain a friendship forever, but I guess we just have to try and remind us about it. Sometimes I think about my own life so much, perhaps its part of my life as well to think about others.

Perhaps it is the thought that matter :)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Annapurna Circuit Day 1: Kathmandu to Besi Sahar

We would start the trekking a day earlier, due to the expected transportation strike the next day. We took a private car to Besi Sahar, with 5 people in a Toyota Corola. The journey took around 5 hours, and it is really a painful journey.


We embarked on the so called highway across the mountains, which look more like a trunk road full with big busses and lorry with sign such as “Please Honk” and “Drive Safely”. They have colourful big vehicles, much like those in India I supposed. I was lucky we are on the left side of the road, as the right is the cliff most of the time and it looks pretty dangerous.

Anyway, our driver is a safe driver. The sky gets dark pretty soon, so I didn’t get to see much of the journey. Anyway, we got ourselves a Guide (Deepak) which is pretty good and caring, and a Porter (Prem) who is quite funny and nice and time; both of them speak English pretty alright.

I was told by Preta (a UK traveller I met in the trek) that you could actually take a bus + rafting trip on the way to Pokhara (perhaps the same apply to Besi Sahar). You take a bus ride until the rafting point, then you raft for 2-3 hours, and you got pick up by the bus at another point and continue your journey for just USD 20. It’s pretty cheap and time saving, worth exploring.



We stop somewhere along the “highway” for our dinner, and we order some Chinese “Chow Mien” and some Chicken Masala which feel very much like lamb; they food are pretty alright, except it is not really Napalese food. The journey is really painful, with a crammed car and bumpy road, and long hours. We reach around 11 plus at night, and the entire town is dead quiet with a few locals roaming the street. Luckily 1 small lodge is still open, and we have a place for the night. The place is nothing much (like most other lodge on the trek), but with clean bed for the night.


Tomorrow the walking shall begin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Annapurna Circuit Day 0: Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu

It is 26 September 2008’s night, and I am busy packing by bags for the Annapurna trip and stationary for the children. The RM 200++ worth of stationary (with contribution from Ah Fong and Hui Peng) talk up 60% of my 65 liter Deuter bag, and it’s super heavy. I felt very exciting as it would the most adventurous trek I embark on so far.



We book our 21 days tour with Nepal’s Heian Treks (27 Sep - 17 Oct 2008) which offer us a very good price thanks to Richard’s recommendation. It cost us USD 596 (cost is ever rising due to global factor such as food and fuel price) per person, including Permit Fee, Guide, Accommodation and Food in the Mountains. It excludes Insurance (about RM 60 per person from AXA), Visa Fee, Airfare, All Drinks, Food in the City and Porter. It you are adventurous enough and tight on budget, you could just fly to Kathmandu, get a Trekking Permit, and head for the mountains without Guide, Porter or Travel Agencies. Many Europeans do that on the Annapurna Circuit, without Guide or Porter (you could easily find porter on the way).

We fly to Nepal by Royal Nepal Airline, it’s comfortable but always late (at least by 2 hours). The air ticket cost us around RM 1900++ (used to be RM 1600++ few months back, thanks to the recent fuel hike). Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you need to pay USD 20 for 15 days of VISA (USD 40 for 30 days), and a photograph as well. The queue at immigration is long, so it would be wise to rush to the immigration counter as soon as you landed (rather than running around taking photograph).

From the Aerial view, Kathmandu is really pretty big city with way too many custom houses across many miles. Kathmandu is really a very chaotic city (I was told that Bombay is worst), with small and bumpy road, and honking could be heard for 24 hours non-stop, and most did not obey the traffic rule. I was told Kathmandu is short of clean water supply (water is being pumped from the ground, though the mountains is full of clean water), so it’s advisable for tourist to consume mineral water (RS 15-25 per liter) and boil water. Nevertheless, it is still a very attractive and safe city (just noisy and crowded).



We get out of the airport 3 hours late (2 hours due to plane delay, and 1 hour due to immigration), and was told there is going to be a transportation strike the next day so it is advisable to go to Annapurna region by tonight. The public bus is no longer available at this time, so we have to take a private car for USD 100. It’s a pretty hefty fee, but we have no options.


Off we go to Besi Sahar (5 hours of bumpy road ride on the so called highway, ouch!), the starting point of Annapurna Circuit. We have yet to explore Kathmandu (though we had a glimpse of Thamel area), and that we have to wait until the last few days of out trip.

Photo Links: 27.09.2008 - 17.10.2008 - Annapurna Circuit Day 01

Monday, October 20, 2008

Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Last time I had this dilemma, should I criticize someone if I know what he or she is wrong, or just keep our silence? I try to point out that he or she is wrong, but that didn’t goes very well as they tend to be defensive. I felt compelled to the right thing and correct his wrong, but my good intention is not served in the end as well. Perhaps my intention is good, but my methods are not very effective.


I realize this by revisiting the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It’s a really repetitive book with a lot of examples, but it does teach a really simple life lesson: how to deal with the most complex being on earth, Human. I read it a few years back and found it pretty boring, but I revisited it during the Annapurna Circuit trek and found it to be quite interesting and effective as well. I did some practical on the trip, and it does help to strike up a few good conversations and make some friends.

So what is it all about? Though it had many principal or lessons, but it is mainly talking about putting your focus on other people. Rather than talking about yourself and your own interest, you should focus on your friend’s and his interest. Find out about his culture, work, travel and etc. We don’t criticize or condemn them, encourage them to talk about themselves and listen, smile, praise when necessary and etc. Basically put them as your primary focus and they would be happy and probably like you. It’s true that we like to talk about things which interest us, and we like people to listen. So find out about what they like, and encourage them to talk more; so we could eventually strike up a good conversation even though we are not a talkative person.

For summary of all the principals, visit http://www.notesofintelligence.com/influence/basic-summary.html