Easyhotel, Edinburgh

Since I am in the mood of writing reviews on budget hotels , I thought I’ll just lump Tune Hotels and Easyhotel after one another. To those of you who are not aware, the Easyhotel chain of accommodation are just like our Tune Hotel – budget, simple and you pay for what you need.

I was on a business trip to the UK and thus, decided to extend my stay and take a trip to Scotland. I was initially deciding between Amsterdam and Scotland, but looking at the costs and all, decided on a Scottish Adventure!  The tour departs from Edinburgh and travelling from Liverpool, I had to find somewhere to bunk in. Hotels in Edinburgh are indeed pricey and I didn’t know how I stumbled across EasyHotel Edinburgh. The hotel is conveniently located on Princes Street, which is a shopping area overlooking the Edinburgh Castle!

Rooms

Their rooms are very very small – in fact, I chose the cheapest one without a window. Those which are larger and with windows are more expensive. And since this is NOT a business trip and I am paying in GBP, I thought I will choose the cheapest. The picture above is taken with the door (entrance) right behind me, so you can imagine the size of the room. The bed takes up almost half of the room and there will be no space for you to walk if you are bigger in size or if you are a couple staying in this tiny one.

 

Furniture and fixtures

There isn’t much to describe here as there are no other furnitures. Yes, there is a small mirror provided and several hooks attached to the wall for your clothes. No cupboards, no luggage racks. You will just need to place your luggage on the floor and try jump across it every time you want to go to the loo.

The bed is comfy and clean, sheets white, dust-free and pillows so-so. I did not pay extra for the TV but just internet access. The room is equipped with at least 4 plug points, so, you can charge whatever you want to charge.

Bathroom

The attached bathroom is equally as small – basically, you can sit on the toilet bowl and brush your teeth at the same time. It was alright for me, since I am not too ‘big’ anyway.

The shower ‘cubicle’ is located right next to the wash basin, in front of the toilet bowl. The size of the whole place reminded me of the toilets inside an airplane. The shower space is is just separated by a curtain and even a fitting room is larger. Anyway, if couples think they could shower together, they should forget it.

Overall

Well, I would say worth my money overall, I wouldn’t be able to afford hotels anyway. And, even though hostels are available, I am still not too keen on cramming myself into bunk beds. At least I had my privacy for two nights.

 

Tune Hotel, KK

This is an extremely dated post which should have come earlier on. However, due to my very busy schedule, I simply could not find the time to post this. Anyway, another hotel review – this time a very popular budget hotel in the Southeast Asia – Tune Hotels!

Yes, it does seem quite incomprehensible for me to choose a budget hotel during one of my business trips, but hey, I did want to try them out and I know they are not so bad. However, I am someone who is not choosy about hotels – as long as they are proper (ie no hanky panky activities) and clean, they’ll do. No point for me to pay so much for services which I don’t use. So, here..

Rooms

Upon checking-in, I purchased the comfort pack (shower gel, shampoo, towel) and also the 12-hour aircon and internet access. Air-con is quite essential for me and of course, to check my emails, internet access. I later found out that the room with the fan on is quite cool and for those of you who can’t stand cold, it may be best to leave only the fan switched on. No need to waste your money on air-con. However, do note that this may apply only for the hotel I stay at – other locations may be warmer and thus, you’d probably need the air-conditioning.

Their beds are clean and comfy, sheets white and pristine, just like all other 5-star hotels. Of course, they do not have those nice, colorful, batik-inspired sheets which runs across your bed, but hey, who needs those when you sleep. Their pillows are alright, firm and fluffy – in fact, they are better than some other full-serviced hotels. No strange smells, no stains.

The room is small, yes, and DOES NOT have a cupboard to store your clothes, chair or sofa for you to lounge on, table for you to write on or even a huge mirror where you can look at yourself. Instead, it has this foldable ‘whatever-you-call-it’ little table where you can put your stuff on and close when you don’t need it. There is a little mirror when the table is unfolded. This lil table is where I place my netbook when I work. Else, just cradle it while you sit on your bed.

And if anyone wants to watch TV, there it is, a very small one attached to the wall. Since I was there for work, I didn’t really need to watch any TV – I was out of the room most of the time anyway. If I am not mistaken, most of the available channels are local ones, so, it may not even be worthwhile buying the TV access. Might as well get internet and then watch youtube. Heh.

Bathroom

And last but not least, the toilet. Small, but clean – simple, as you can see. The shower cubicle, which I don’t have a photo of, is somewhat similar to those regular ones you can find in a normal household. There is hot water as well, which suits me just fine. I think the hotel is quite new and the bathroom tiles still has the ‘grainy’ just-renovated feel. The whole look and feel isn’t too bad – like I said, similar to your regular household bathroom (unless of course you live in a mansion but then again, if you do, you won’t be staying at Tune Hotels)

Overall

In short, I would say Tune Hotels are value for money and well suited for those who are travelling on a budget. As someone who dislikes overly large hotel rooms (they are so depressing) Tune Hotels are great. Most of it are located in nice areas (I think) and if you are bored, you can just walk downstairs and head off to the shops.

Thai Odyssey

My parents had been talking non-stop about going for massages and rather than them ending up at some dingy ones run by god-knows-who offering after-massage-services, I took them to Thai Odyssey. It was not planned at all, and since we arrived in One Utama very early one morning, we decided to drop by the branch and see if we could fit in three pax at one time.

Surprisingly, they had slots! Since it was not planned and I didn’t have a proper camera with me, these pictures are stolen borrowed from their website and Facebook pages.

So, we went for their aromatherapy massages which costed us around RM100 each before tax. We wanted something more relaxing, compared to the usual pressing and kneading and twisting without oil. Since it was my parents’ first time, I got them a couple room and I went for a single room myself.

Their single rooms are quite similar to others. Nothing special, just a small room with a bed. And of course a lil hole where you can put your face when the message is going on. Dimly lit, soft music playing, no smell, clean sheets. Okay, its not as if I can see the sheets anyway.

 The couple rooms in their 1Utama branch, on the other hand, were all on the floor. Yep, no beds, and I was wondering if they were comfortable. No beds, mean no hole to put your face and thus, your neck is twisted throughout the massage? I have had the same experience in Jakarta and it wasn’t that pleasant.

But anyway, after checking with mom later, she mentioned that it was quite comfy since they had a makeshift neck rest made out of a towel and pillows.

So, first, we had to pay. Yep, full payment before any massages. Then cuci kaki at this section. They won’t do any scrubbing or massaging at this point but merely clean.

After which you’d be led into your room, and get changed into disposable undies, climb up the bed and cover yourself with the towel provided.

Their massage is good. Yes, not too bad. And the masseurs are all Thai – they could speak a little bit of English, but not so sure about Malay though. The one I had was middle-aged, not too young, which is good cos that shows experience. My parents’ said theirs was not too bad either and the masseurs really worked their muscles.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – since we chose their aromatherapy massages, we got to choose the oil we wanted. After smelling a few, I couldn’t decide which I liked best so, from the menu given, I just picked – Relaxing. Heh. It didn’t smell bad during the massage, so, thank goodness.

Anyway, back to the massage.

Relaxing, not too painful – whole body worked, including head, shoulders and even my fat-laced tummy.

Towards the end, she asked me to sit up and did some twists and turns with my arms, head and and shoulders.

Final verdict: Value for money, definitely! Proper place, at least. If I were to go to Mandara paying full price, I don’t think I could afford it!

Holiday and insights

I just returned from a week’s holiday in the Scottish highlands. Cold, yes. Very! There was a hailstorm at some point of time and it even snowed (for 5 minutes, that is)

Anyway, my last holiday was almost 4 years back and this was a much needed break – from my job and studies. I did not touch my books for the whole week and now is slowly getting paranoid. Gotta start moving again or I will never finish.

I went on a business trip to Liverpool in the middle of the month and spent one week getting to know the University and colleagues. Right after, I hopped on a train and went on a tour with a group of very young people, mainly Australians. I think I was the oldest of the lot and it certainly was a good trip.

The only different thing was this time, instead of hotels, I stayed in hostels and B&Bs. There I was, cramped up in a room with 4, 6 and sometimes 10 girls. Some were okay, some came back stumbling into the room at 3am in the morning, drunk. Initially, I thought it was going to be quite torturous for me, but then again, it wasn’t that bad. I would perhaps do the same again – it saves me quite a considerable amount of money.

The trip was something different from what ‘people like me’ would usually choose to go – ‘people like me’ would perhaps go to big cities, sleep in nice hotels, eat good food and shop till you drop.

But no.

I took the road less travelled. Opted for cold, morning walks in the jungle. Slept in cramped hostels and ate budget meals.

 It is different, really. Very different.

Sometimes, when you say you need a holiday, all you need is just go somewhere and be away from civilisation, away from trafffic, people and pollution.

I wake up every morning to cold, crisp air. So fresh you can’t smell a single hint of smoke. So fresh that one single breath eliminates the need for coffee.

And the walks, yes.

Our tour guide will bring us to at least one ‘long’ (translate: 20 mins minimum, usually up hill) trek. And by the time you are done, you will feel so fit. Lol..

Perhaps my holidays next time should be like this.

Go somewhere different.

 

Are parents at fault?

I was reading the Sunday papers last week and there was this person who wrote in commenting about how different times are now with youths. He told a story of how a father’s sacrifices for his son has gone down the drain – while the son is all grown up and enjoying his life overseas, the poor father was left alone, poor and without anyone to care of.

The writer related that, the father, who despite not being rich, was able to send his son overseas to study. And gradually he was ‘made’ to send spending money every month – for his son to buy stuff, to fly home during the holidays and so on. And right after graduation, he sent some money again for his son to travel.

Throughout the story, it was made clear that the father was struggling with the payments,  and yet he never told the son anything and basically was able to come up with the money requested.

Anyway, the son soon graduated, found a good job, got married and lived overseas – far from the father and rarely came home to see him.

No money sent, nothing.

Although I do pity the father, and agree that it is not right for the son to treat him this way, but I also can’t help but think.. is this the new-generation parents’ fault?

Pampering your children and giving them the best are things that good parents should do – including ensuring them of a worry-free life, providing a good education and buying them things the said parents never got to have when they are young.

But then again, what does that teach your child?

Although I do not have children myself and I may or may not think differently when I do have some of my own, but I still think that maybe, just maybe, the father’s way of giving in to his son may be the cause of him being so ignorant.

Yes, ignorant.

Not so much of not being filial enough and all, but just plain naive thinking that the father has it all and he doesn’t need to worry about him too much. The fact that all these years, he must’ve told the son countless times – don’t worry, concentrate on your studies and I’ll take care of the rest.

My believe is always that, no matter how rich you are, your children needs to be educated that money doesn’t grow on trees and every one needs to work hard to earn an easy life. And that there are poor people around us, that the money they are using are hard-earned by their parents – yes, hard-earned. Even if you are a filthy rich minister businessman, the hours and torture  you put in your work are tough, no?

 

Heartache

Well, let’s just say that this isn’t something that you want to see when you get back from a day’s out.

But this is exactly what I saw just now when I got home from shopping.

OH.MY.GOD!

I have no idea what happened. When both mom and I got down of our car to inspect, there was nothing suspicious about it. Not attempted theft cos nothing was missing. The CD player is intact, nothing was out of place.

So, what happened?

We were standing there, shocked when one of our neighbours commented that when she came home around 11-ish, it was already damaged. We got out of the house around 10-ish, so, it mush have happened within that short period of time.

Mom quickly drove the car out to the mechanics – might as well get it repaired asap. Dad would probably nag non stop even if it’s not our fault.

According to the mechanic, there are two reasons:

1) Small stones being pelted or hurled at the windscreen
2) The intense heat from outside/inside the car may cause a small crack and eventually shatters the whole thing

The second reason, although possible, seemed unlikely due to the large gaping hole. Am not exactly sure, but if the mechanic says so.

The damage? RM300….

Breakout

I saw about 10 minutes worth of Breakout on Astro one day and thought it was good. Googling it to find more, I came across the complete set of serials in Youtube and like what people say, the rest is history. I managed to watch the whole serial within a week – and some in the mornings when I reach the office early.

This serial was not produced by TVB, but rather, Mediacorp – a Singaporean company. The cast comprise mainly of Singaporeans, of course, but also a Malaysian (Christopher Lee) and two Chinese (Dai Yang Tian and Zhou Ying) I was not a huge fan of Jeanette Aw but I found her performance in this astounding as a girl with split personality disorder.

Synopsis:

On her 12th birthday, Tang Ying lost her parents and older brother to a tragic road accident. Although she survived, she lapsed into a coma for 13 years. When she came out of her coma, she was stunned to realize that she was no longer a 12 year old girl but a 25 year old young woman. Trapped in an older body with her memory still frozen at age 12, Tang Ying struggles to cope with reality which includes the cruel truth that her family is dead.

Tang Ying suspects that there is more to the tragic road accident which claimed the lives of her entire family. As a result, Tang Ying embarks on a rigorous routine to learn and to familiarize herself with a society that has changed tremendously in the years when she was unconscious.

During this time, she befriends Zou Jie Ming, an autistic but highly intelligent savant, and Situ Dong Cheng, a down-and-out former lawyer whom has lost everything he treasured in his life. Together, they embark on a battle against Yang Tianwei, a cruel, ruthless and cunning man. Tianwei’s children, Yang Zhenfeng and Yang Nianqing, assist him in his evil deeds. The truth is finally revealed that Tianwei was the one who planned and executed the murder of the Tang family, making it appear like a road accident. Will Tang Ying, Jieming and Dongcheng be able to nail him and bring him to justice?

The plot was interesting enough for me to keep watching one episode after another and the interplay of the complexities of the characters are marvellous. Although ruthless, Yang Tianwei was someone who loved his wife and children to bits and one wonders if he really regrets putting both his children through the hell-hole. It was no wonder both his children turn out to be as ruthless as him, although Nianqing still has a bit of humanity in her.

As far as I understand, she is the only one of the three who has not committed murder at all, except for the final episode when she stabbed her father.

Another good series from Mediacorp, which sometimes I think is worth watching compared to some TVB serials.