The prancing horses are limping

The recently concluded Spain F1 race was once again disappointing, well, at least for a Ferrari fan like wifey and I; and of course, for the rest of the Tifosis. Needless, to say it’s more disappointing for the Ferrari team itself whom I’m quite sure has high hopes this season to start it with a more convincing performance to make sure that it stays at par with team McLaren and grab not only the constructors’ championship but also the drivers’ championship – an which Massa missed to take home after McLaren’s Hamilton scored points on the last race of 2008 leaving Massa behind by just one point.

This season though, McLaren has its own share of dismal performance and in fact the 2008 driver of the year had to settle for 9th place during yesterday’s Spanish grand prix. Moreover, its second driver Kovalainen even retired during the early part of the race just like Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonen. With these results, fans like me now wonder what is going on within this more experienced teams that this year, they haven’t challenged team Brawn so far.

What makes this even more interesting is that team Brawn is a new kid on the block amidst the F1 big boys. Team Brawn was formed by Ross Brawn (an ex-Ferrari big boss) after Honda decided last year to permanently take their hands off the prestigious Formula One race due to several reasons that were hounding their team, one of which is the obvious non-performance – even just compared to it’s Japanese counterpart, Toyota; and of course as an effect, corporate sponsors probably stopped renewing their contract, which during the on-going recession a loss of even just one major sponsor is a big blow especially to a team who is engaged in one of the most expensive sports in the world.

Honda’s pull out was quite a surprise, although rumors about that decision had already spread around the F1 community. And that for a moment, left both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, basically jobless (but still millionaires nevertheless). Then came Ross Brawn to the rescue. I don’t know what actually took place or if Ross Brawn has anticipated everything that he was able to start up the whole team (engineers, R&D, mechanics, sponsors, logistics, etc.), but whatever Ross Brawn did was all perfectly executed. Proof of that? Brawn has been winning since race one and its driver, Jenson Button stepping up the top position (with Rubens Barrichello, at some point) of the podium without any of last year’s champions either on his right or left side. And to think that Jenson was never seen in the podium in 2008 (or so I think).

The on-going success of team Brawn is what makes every follower and/or fan of F1 wonder what is making this newbie zoom past other matured teams. Was Honda cursed then and did Brawn’s entry to F1 casted the bad eddies away? Is Ross Brawn some kind of F1 magician who adopted and turned a dying team into one team to beat by just a flick of its magic wand? Or is it because his team’s most contested and controversial double diffuser a very big factor which is leaving the competition behind? Whatever that is, it is just making the prancing horses (and the rest of the teams) to start limping behind.

***

Don’t get me wrong, although I now have all my respect and admiration for team Brawn, I’m still a Ferrari fan especially now that I won’t be any guilty cheering for a team whose one of its major sponsors is AMD. Go figure.

And by the way, this blog was edited while getting my car washed at a Shell gas station in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Which reminds me to get one more of the Ferrari toy. Hahaha. 

 

Mood:  3/10 Honks!

There’s a word for it: Stroboscopic effect

 

I’ve just watched the live Bahrain F1 race and during one of the laps I saw a shot of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari overtaking the Fischicella’s Force India car which is actually one of the exciting moments of the race – watching a red bully battle out with a fighting underdog. The shot also shows something that made me remember what was one of the things that kept me wondering if there’s a word for it; fortunately indeed, it has.

This is called the Stroboscopic Effect which was answered by someone when I posted my query (more than 5 years ago, if I’m not mistaken) in one of the automotive forums that I used to frequent – Autoindustriya.com. Here’s the definition according to Wikipedia: … It also accounts for the “wagon-wheel effect“, so called because in video or motion pictures, spoked wheels on horse-drawn wagons sometimes appear to be turning backwards. In a sense it can be compared to the audial effect called beat.

So there you go, the next time you see a wheel, especially those running fast, and wonder why it is running backwards for moment despite the forward motion, always remember that there’s a word for it. It is called Stroboscopic effect.

***

While finishing this post, I suddenly remembered that my wife mentioned about our baby having this fascination of watching the wheels of the vehicles right beside us every time we take a trip. And it may be because of this the same phenomenon that fascinated me when I was a kid. Even until now, this seemingly forward-reverse movement of the wheels still attracts me like magic shows do – Life’s simple pleasure.

***

I won’t blog about the recent F1 race but instead I’ll direct you to Allen on F1 for the updates. I myself am going to check it out to know why there’s so much controversy with this one part of the Formula 1 car, the diffuser. This is a part that has been blamed by some of the teams, especially the former front runners – Ferrari and McLaren, as the reason why the newest team – Brawn – has dominated the first four races of the 2009 season. Hmmm, interesting, isn’t it?

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

Fast

 

It’s just two and half, and yet almost everything has happened so fast.

Friday. We went to the beach – it was Marcus’ first. The weather was crazy as it was forecasted to be one hot sunny day. It indeed looked like it in the morning but just before we left the weather changed. It shifted from sunny to gloomy. Fast.

We pushed through anyway. And just more than an hour later we were at Munting Buhangin beach in Nasugbu, Batangas – 80 km. away from home. Quite fast considering I was driving defensively. It may be because of the well paved road – at least just before Munting Buhangin where it was muddy, rocky, and steep. Or it may be because I was expecting that some of my colleagues are already waiting for me. They weren’t.

With the absence of the group, lunch wasn’t what I expected it to be but I still had a good time – with just the three of us. Watching our little baby frolic on the sand and being with him to enjoy his first dip in the water is just worth every time.

We left just a couple of minutes after my colleagues and bosses started arriving. They’re staying overnight. As much as I wanted, I just can’t. I have an exam the following day.

Saturday. I was up very early in the morning and this time I wasn’t blogging. I was preparing to leave for Ateneo Rockwell.

By 7:45 am I was in a room sitting with a group of serious looking men and women. We’re all taking the entrance exam for Masters in Business Administration course.

The exam was in two parts. Part I was English and math. I think I did well in English. But I think I did otherwise in math. Part II was very new to me. I never had such exam before and interesting as it may seem, it was one hard, migraine-inducing 100-item 40-minute test. I never noticed the time. It flew so fast. Results will be on Monday. I’m not expecting to pass.

I was home just past noon. By the afternoon, we were out. After dropping wifey at Intel, Marcus and I were left to our own devices. Out of the blue, I decided to pay his godfather a visit for the first time. Luckily, he was at home but they’re preparing to attend mass. At least, he and Marcus met albeit short and fast.

After killing time in front of the Jollibee statue of a nearby mall, and wondering the whole time if Marcus was having a conversation with his current favorite figure, we headed back to pick up wifey. We then headed to the mall. Marcus needs new pair of shoes. He has damaged his third footwear and the new one was of a bigger size. He’s growing. Fast.

On our way out, we dropped by a computer shop to check the HP Mini. They have slashed its price from approximately Php 21,000 to Php 18,000. In a matter of weeks it has gone down. Fast.

Sunday. Today is the first F1 race for 2009. It’s in Australia and we’re now watching it live on TV. Now this is fast.

 

 

 

Mood: 4/10 Honks!

Earth Hour, anyone?

 

I was attracted to this thought-provoking blog and my curiosity got me reading it. Despite being a self-declared environmentalist and a greenpeace wannabe, I seem to understand where the blog’s author is coming from – she’s fed up with all the hypocrisy and hype. What I find funny though that after reading the blog I noticed an unlikely ad that should not go along with the radical post:

Say what?

Say what?

Ads are insensitive, huh?

***

Last year, I supported this campaign. The only thing left at home with the power ON during the 1-hour period was our refrigerator – having spoiled food is anti-earth, just in case you don’t know. This year (or tomorrow), I’ll commit to support it once again. I still believe that instilling awareness bit by bit by to everyone is a good start to saving our beloved Earth because we actually don’t have a choice, do we? It’s way better than doing nothing. As one line goes, “let’s change, or the climate will”.

***

I have one guilty pleasure which I’ve been wondering if it’s anti-earth – watching F1. And a day after the Earth Hour is celebrated is when the F1 season begins. Isn’t it ironic?

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

Leadership, Changes and Transition

The problem with having a rather routine task every week is that time flies so fast that by the end of the week I’d wonder what kept me busy, why I was busy at all and my frequently asked question during every weekend, “what have I accomplished so far?” Sad to say, my frequent answer is, “I actually don’t know”, and sometimes worse, “None.”

Having those questions and answers may therefore just lead to a conclusion that most part of this week, I had another dose of the SSDD syndrome. But as much as I love the mere (and weird) thought of having it (and imagine myself once again in the setting of the movie – Dreamcatcher), it is sometimes just what it was meant to sound in the first place – boring.

Yet again, as I reflect on what has happened so far this week, my days haven’t been SSDD after all. In fact some of the days have been interesting enough that I regret at the thought of not having the 25th hour for me to blog about it. And so today, I have at least a couple of lull time. Let me kill some of it.

Last Thursday, I attended what seems to be among the best FLM (Front Line Managers) session – despite being the last one. Initially, I responded to this invitation as tentative because for some reason I got the feeling that this session will be somewhat just like any commencement exercise that are as predictable as clock works. With this thought in mind, I dragged myself just thinking to make the most out of it and at least end it with a perfect attendance.

Im exposing my identity. Thats me at the center smiling.

Ooops, wrong forum. I thought I was attending a trick or treat event.

 

Beth explaining the role of a manager.

Little did I know that a couple of minutes after the session started I’d be as attentive as if I was at home watching the Mythbusters on TV. The invited speaker was a former employee of our company. She is Beth Arriola who was our HR Manager then. Although her name was one of the most familiar during her tenure, it was my first time to listen to her talk. She discussed about the difference between Change and Transition – topics of which I’ve blog several times, without knowing that although being seen as synonymous, both are in fact far different from each other if viewed from another perspective.

 
To explain the difference between the two, Beth referred to William Bridge’s definition of Changes versus Transition. Looking at the meanings of these words – with the global recession on going I’m sure these two are as popular as Obama and McCain – one will see that each word has its own essence; and by understanding both will help guide a person which one he is currently dealing with. The explanation she had on the Powerpoint foils was the simplest yet the clearest I’ve read so far or I haven’t read that much lately? I’m quite sure it’s the former.

The word marriage always makes a foil catchy.

The word married always makes a foil catchy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What also amuses me while listening to Beth’s message was that I can relate (but I’m sure others in the room do as well) to the other things she stressed.

  • She mentioned three keywords to help us through the transition period – PLAN, DO and ACT.
  • She advised everyone to have the mind set that there’s life after work – whether one is leaving it after 4 PM or leaving it for good (and whether he likes it or not).
  • She also reminded us to keep our external networks connected (read my recent blog – My Network and 2 Analogies).
  • And lastly, she encouraged all of us to never let our self-respect and pride (Filipino) down even during this time of uncertainty. Kayang-kaya nga ba kung sama-sama?

On my way home that afternoon, I did realized that I’m quite lucky that I changed my mind and attended this final session. Had I skipped this one, another opportunity to learn (both about the subject matter and the speaker) would have been lost…and did I mention already that I got a free book – The Toyota Way for having attended all the FLM sessions? I can’t wait to claim and read it – I’ll have 365 days to read it next year.

***

Also related to this topic of change are the news that made it to the headlines this week. I’m sure that everyone by now knew that Barack Obama had a historic win over John McCain as the first black American president.

But I’m also sure that not everyone knew about the recent Formula One’s (F1) event, which despite being the last race for this season was nevertheless among the exciting. This race in Brazil had me and wifey sacrifice precious sleep by waking before 1 AM for the live feed on TV and just in time to see the race start after a brief downpour that added the element of excitement – as if the close match between Ferrari and McClaren isn’t enough.

Eventually, and over me and wifey’s frustration – obviously we’re Ferrari fans, Lewis Hamilton grabbed the 2008 driver’s championship title by one point (thanks to Timo Glock or Toyota) over Felipe Massa. And this one is another historic race in F1 as Hamilton being the first black driver to attain the most coveted title in auto racing.

I now wonder, if Michael Jackson’s changing color? My bad, can’t help it. She said anyway that “It don’t [sic] matter if you’re black or white…” Ti abi.

***

Erratum: My editor-in-chief (that’s my wife) said I can’t have a mood rating of 10/10 Honks and be happy – although I argued that the more I honk at other drivers the more I’m pleased. Anyway, to avoid further discussion, I’m now changing it – 1/10 is the highest. 10/10 is the grouchiest. *LOL*

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Itsy Bitsy Sunday

No I’m not having a compressed hour Sunday, but rather than dwelling only on one point of interest my mind disagrees with it. There are just so much things going on inside my head right now that I think it’s a good idea to post a mixture of topics to cater to a broader aspect of my thinking brain (glad it’s still working).

So before I dig into the fridge and search what’s for lunch, here are today’s tidbits:

Short term and long term plans

As I’m finally counting down to the inevitable “bumhood”, I now have the following plans:

Short term:

1.Prep up the sofa for employment hiatus.
2. Polish the remotes (TV,audio,aircon).
3. Upgrade the PC.
4. Blog, blog, and blog more (and try to earn from it in the process).

Long term:
1. Learn, learn, and learn how to raise a kid.
2. Fix the leak in the roof.
3. Find a job.

Writer’s cramp?
While reading my usual newspaper – The Philippine Star – I can’t help but notice that Francis J. Kong and Bum D. Tenorio, Jr. just posted email clippings for most of their articles. These two are among Philstar’s writers whom I read most of their articles and sometimes it fascinates (or irritates) me to see them cut and paste forwarded emails and get paid for it. It’s a good thing I still enjoyed reading both of their articles today.

Philippine F1, anyone?

The recent F1 Singapore – F1’s first night race – seemed to shut (just a wild thought: if alumini is plural for alumnus, is shut a singular of…) my hopes for the Philippines to get significant publicity (good) over our Asian neighbors. I can’t help but wonder will I ever be truly proud to be a Filipino?

Well, I’d like to help raise this bid for us to conquer the F1 scene. I’m thinking, why not have the first real live F1 street race in the Philippines. This time there will be no modification on the roads or clearing up of vehicles in the streets. I can just imagine how these F1 cars will perform over our buses, jeepneys, some mad motorcycle drivers and our suicidal jaywalkers.

Paging the FIA. Interested? Oh by the way, no more G.H. Mumm ceremony, let’s propose using our San Miguel Grande beers to be sprayed while we’re at it.

Misery loves company

Often times I’d wonder who else got problems. So today, I tried to look for others who might have some problems other than me. So here are some of the people and their problems they’re facing right now.

  1. George Bush – America’s economy. If this doesn’t make one stutter, what will?
  2. Benjie de Lara – a 6-year-old boy with a fourth stage cancer. Want to help? Contact his mother Elenita at 09293289591 or donate thru the Star’s Operation Damayan. Call 527-7901 and look for Millet Dioso.
  3. Filipino veterans – they’re not getting their pension. I assume that one American congressman’s grandfather might have been in hand to hand combat with a Filipino during the Filipino-American war.
  4. Philippine Senator Manny Villar – double funding for a C5 project. So what’s new? I think he can handle that.
  5. Chinese milk manufacturers – does Melamine rings a bell? And count me in as one of those angry at this SNAFU. Now I’d have to think twice before I eat my favorite White Rabbit candy. At least the female cows in China are free from breast suction gadgets at least for the mean time. The male cows I know are smiling broadly. Mooooo…
  6. Fat bellied policemen – the new PNP chief Jesus Versoza is out to revive fitness consciousness to these “pugad baboy” characters. Any tremors on the next few weeks won’t come from below. Its origin will most likely be from PNP camps around the nation.
  7. Philippine Olympians – most of the officials are staying put especially Aventajado who is running for another term as the Philippine Olympic Committee’s chairman. Where was he when our athletes went down on bended knees during the recent Beijing Olympics? I bet Aventajado was beside the Chinese team during the awarding thinking that these are our tsinoy delegates. Hayyy…can’t help but rant.
  8. Jessica Zafra – her computer (laptop) keyboard is filled with cat fur. I’d like this to be my problem.
  9. Tanya T. Lara – sunburn while in Manhattan. Let this one also be mine.
  10. Obama and McCain – waiting game for the U.S. presidential seat.
  11. Kimi Raikkonen – hated the rain. Hated the night race. My wife still likes him though – is this a sign that I should block all Kimi tags and searches in our computer? Damn, she’s got her own laptop.
  12. Tingting Cojuangco – freaking out over wrinkles and Alzheimer’s. To each his (or her) own, they say.
  13. Lucy Torres-Gomez – misses having dates with Richard Gomez. hmmmm…
  14. Hagar – Helga
  15. Archie – between Veronica and Betty
  16. Mr. Wilson – Dennis the Menace

Hey, I must have skipped the other sections and got stuck in the Philstar’s comic section – the last 3 people I posted with problems are comic characters. Sorry about that. Time to have lunch, I guess.

Something Looks Familiar

This afternoon I was once again in the waves of ennui and surfing the internet trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my Sunday while feeling guilty of having to skip mass again and while also waiting for my wife to come home.

Emails checked. Multiply.com updates checked. Friendster.com scanned – not much friends in friendster (isn’t that an irony?). Favorites list scanned back and forth. Lurked forums done. Emails rechecked again for the nth time in just a couple of hours. Thankfully I’m free from mouse to keyboard ratio recording or I could be sending red signals to the ergonomics guru of our company.

Not really knowing how to bail out of my PC’s chair which is getting claustrophobic and butt-hot while I move the mouse aimlessly, I suddenly realized I was looking at Formula1.com’s interview with the recent winner of the Canadian grand prix, Robert Kubica. Having watched this last race’s replay (I was at work when it was shown live), I must admit that it was one of the most exciting I’ve seen so far this year. It was one for the books of fame and for the books of unfortunate events, which by the way F1 races will always be – even the famous Michael Schumacher has his own share of fame and shame.  This is the race wherein Lewis Hamilton rear-ended Kimi while on their way out of the pit lane – which brings the conspiracy theorists like me raise an eyebrow out of suspicion.  Hmmm.

Robert Kubica of course wasn’t one hypocrite not to accept the fact that he felt more hope when these two leading drivers crashed. It was not only his day to win but it was his day to lead the drivers’ championship with 42 points. After all, his consistency during the past races eventually paid off and June 08, 2008 became the day for him to be in the middle of the two drivers in the podium for the first time. It was the day BMW claimed the most coveted win of every races. It’s the day their sponsors have been waiting for…and wait, something looks familiar in the picture. Ahhhh…our company’s logo.

I’ve got used to seeing Mclarens and Ferraris (Renault, of course included) exchanging top positions for years that it took me until now to realize that right beside BMW’s logo is Intel’s. It may have something to do with the fact that Intel’s Philippine site is closing this year that I forgot to cheer my heart out when the whole BMW team was cheering and savoring the huge champagne during the awarding ceremony.

BMW and Intel’s win may have been late to be fully relished especially for us working for the latter, but as they always say, “A win is a win”. Now I don’t know if I’d be celebrating next time if BMW takes the 1-2 position once again. Hopefully yes.

Go BMW. Go Intel. Greetings coming from a Ferrari fan.

***

Frankly speaking, i never thought the BMW guys behind have any chances of winning a 1-2. Now, I stand corrected. Taken on April 2007 in Suria KLCC.

Day 3 (The Hottest Race)

This is the day! This is what we came for.

With my red shirt on and my wife donning a white shirt with a bicycle print on it (a bad sign?), we readied and waited for 11 am. It’s our shuttle’s pick up time (we paid a return trip to and from Sepang, which costs us RM100 each). We will be on our way to Sepang F1 Circuit for the much-awaited race. We will be sharing the ride with other hotel guests – a German father & son, Indian couple, & a Filipina with two of her sons.

The trip took us a couple of hours before we reached the area. The road to the circuit was jam-packed with cars, taxis and buses. On that day, almost all roads lead to F1. And with the blistering sun worsening the wait, other cars had to pull over to cool off; Others had to roll down their windows, as air-conditioning seems futile. Good thing we had a proud Malay driver giving us insights of their race track, making us more eager to get out of the van and have the race started in front of us.

Despite the confusion and uncertainty of our time of arrival, the sight of uniformed fans (also stuck in traffic) wearing the dominant red Ferrari, blue and white BMW, & yellow and blue Renault team shirts gave me goosebumps all over. It’s race day indeed.

Eventually, we arrived at PC3. This is where we had to take an approximately 100 meter-walk to the C3 entrance. Along the way, we sprayed ourselves with sun block lotion – a must on this hot event. Our ticket is free seating (or standing), which makes it more compelling to do so.

After another hour of waiting (and watching some of the pre-race programs), we finally heard the roar and whine of the F1 cars during the pre-warm up lap. I was shooting a video and was about to say a couple of insights & introduction, but the excitement and delight of seeing the cars drove by got me teary-eyed and felt a lump on my throat. In the end all I can utter is “Finally!”.

As the Star Sports hosts on TV would say, “…the five lights illuminate…the lights are out…the race is on…”, the race started with the two Ferraris on the front row. Unfortunately, it changed all so quickly that by the time it passed turn 8 which was at our right, one of the Mclarens already started gaining some distance from the two Prancing Horses. At this point in time though, we actually didn’t care yet. The rhythm of the 20 cars passing in a blur in front of us is just music to our ears and pure spectacle to our eyes.

By the middle of the race it became clear who is winning this one. It was a bit disappointing to see our favorite team trailing behind the two Mclarens that at some point I heard my wife shouting an cheering for another team. She’s turned into a double agent.

At the end of the 56 laps the race winner, in order, was Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi.

After the all the finishers were done with their victory lap, the crowd at C3 started packing up (and sadly, leaving most of their thrashes behind). It is pointless to stay, the awarding ceremony is out of sight. The Mclaren fans holding their flags up high, the Ferrari fans down. My wife didn’t care anymore. No point crying over spilled milk. She actually posed in front of a couple of team flags as souvenir for this race.

We met up with the rest of the Duta Vista guests at PC2. The Indian couple’s the lucky one this time. Their team won and somehow, we had fun reviewing the race while our van was crawling at the traffic once more.

We arrived at the hotel by past 8 p.m.

Next: Day 4 (Chow Kit & The Monkeys)

Day 3: The Hottest F1 Race

This is the day! This is what we came here for. Our shuttle ride started at 11 a.m. and the trip took a couple of hours before we reached the Sepang area. The road to the circuit was jam-packed with cars, taxis and buses. On this day, almost all roads lead to Sepang. And with the blistering sun worsening the long queue, other cars had to pull over to cool off while others had to roll down their windows as air-conditioning seems futile. Good thing we had a proud Malay driver giving us insight of the race track, making us more eager to get out of the van and witness the start of the F1 race. We shared the ride with other hotel guests—a German father and son, an Indian couple, and a Filipina with her two sons.

Despite the confusion and uncertainty in our time of arrival, the sight of uniformed fans, who are also stuck in traffic, wearing the dominant red for Ferrari, blue and white for BMW, and yellow and blue for the Renault team sent goosebumps all over my body. It is race day indeed.

Eventually, we arrived at PC3 where we had to take an approximately 100-meter walk to the C3 entrance. Along the way wifey and I sprayed sun block lotion which is a must during this event especially that our ticket is free-seating which makes it more compelling as we’d be under the hot Malaysian sun.

After another hour of waiting and watching some of the pre-race programs, we finally heard the roar and whine of the powerful F1 cars as the pre-warm up lap begins. I was shooting a video and was about to say an introduction, but the excitement of seeing the cars drive by somehow got me emotional and I felt a lump on my throat. I was only able to muster the word ‘Finally!’

Me and the essentials for the race: a cap, sunglasses and a bottle of water. Red shirt is for my  favorite team.

As the Star Sports hosts on TV would say, “…the five lights illuminate…the lights are out…the race is on…” the race started with the two Ferraris in the front row. Unfortunately, everything changed so quickly that by the time it passed turn 8 which was on our right, one of the McLarens already started gaining some distance ahead of the two Prancing Horses.

By the middle of the race it became clear who is winning. It was a bit disappointing to see our favorite team trailing behind the two McLarens that at some point I heard my wife shouting and cheering for another team—she turned coat, hahaha. At the end of the 56 laps the race winners are Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi. The McLaren fans held their flags up high, the Ferrari fans down but my wife didn’t care anymore. There’s no point crying over spilled milk.

It is obvious by now that she has recovered from the Prancing Horse’s loss.

After all the finishers were done with their victory lap, the crowd at C3 started packing up—sadly, leaving most of their trashes behind. It was also pointless to stay because the awarding ceremony is out of our sight.

We met up with the rest of the Duta Vista guests at PC2. The Indian couple’s the lucky one this time. Their team won and somehow, we had fun reviewing the race while our van crawls its way back to the hotel due to heavy traffic. We arrived at the hotel by past 8 p.m.

Day 2 (Haggling It Out)

After a breakfast of a variety of bread we bought last night, we were off to the Central Market. The place looks from outside a bit old and just the ordinary cheap market that is common in the Philippine provinces. Entering it however would change all that impression. Inside is mixture of souvenir items, watches, shirts, jewelry stuffs and other items that are sure would make one dizzy as well as delighted. And what I like about this place is that right at the middle of the market are great restaurants, coffee shops and once again, bread stores (we’d learn later, that all over KL, there’s Berry, Bread Talk, Bread Story & Bread History, to name a few. All of which sells almost the same product line but of different prices that caters to all budget bracket).

Lunch for today was just at a nearby mall. One thing I find nice about the food courts here is that it is self-serviced. They’ll just serve you rice on a plate and will let you do the picking for the rest of the viands. Then they’ll charge you according to the amount of food that you got on your place. Nice, huh.

After the meal, we went to straight to Petaling Street (aka Chinatown) which is just across the mall. This place is comparable to the Philippine’s Divisoria in terms of merchandise: Faux watches, shoes, shirts, bags, you name it, it’s all here. It is also a good place to buy souvenirs here. Be ready though with your haggling skills. The better you are with it, the greater chance of getting a good deal.

Feeling the effect of dizzying bargain hunting, the group called it quits at Chinatown. We agreed it was time for us to see the mighty Twin Towers.

From Petaling we looked for the bus (buses there are numbered, not “tagged” as it is here in Phil) that would take us to KLCC. It was our first bus ride. It costs us RM0.7 each. Back home it is equal to P10 fare. And most likely you won’t find one offering that minimum price for an air-conditioned bus.

Once we got out of the bus, and impatiently waited for the pedestrian lights to turn green, we eventually saw ourselves facing the Twin Towers. Awed. Overwhelmed.

But since we knew from other people that a visit to the towers’ sky bridge is impossible at this time of the day, we tried to make the most of the day’s visit.

Situated between the two giant structures is the Suria KLCC mall. And at its center court was BMW’s team F1 car on display. Other F1 related activities – e.g., F1 simulator drive, ticket sales were likewise on-going and we just can’t help but pose in front of the displays. Any F1 pose is worth taking. I had to set the embarrassment aside. Let it be.

By the end of our coffee break (at the mall’s Dunkin Donut outlet) we went across the mall to exit at the other side. And yes, of course. The two giants are still there.

One thing I learned from reading photography tips is to avoid cliché shots. But who cares? We are at the famous Petronas Tower. We can’t help it but pose just as everyone I saw did – i.e. get yourself (and the whole group in this case) in the frame and make sure that the towers’ tip and structure is in it as well. We repeated those cliché shots over and over. Different pose, different angle, different location. But both towers had to be there. We didn’t mind the weird stares from other tourists. For sure, they’ll do likewise anyway.

After almost emptying my camera’s memory and after feeling a bid of neck strain we nodded that it was time to go somewhere else. Lake Garden.

It was a bit late in the afternoon already when we arrived. There’s an event at the park so throngs of people were gathered in front of the stadium and we learned it’s a rock concert. At that point I was actually curious & interested if the band would play songs in English or Malay. We tried to wait for it but the humidity’s taking its toll on us. We got tired, sweaty & hungry with my wife forcing a smile (warning sign) so decided to leave even before the concert started.

To end the day, we had dinner again at Bangsar, this time at Sri Nirwana, which serves mostly Indian Food. The place was packed with a diverse list of customers, locals & foreigners alike. Again, they don’t serve beer, which again could have come great with the spicy food served on banana leaf. Once more, we dined alfresco.

We had a hard time flagging a teksi after the meal. The passing BMW’s, Benz’s, compact cars & a good variety of Protons somehow had a de-stressing effect on me while waiting for elusive taxi. After more than an hour of hunting it, we got one at last. Whew!

Next: Day 3 (The Hottest Race)