Thursday, June 30, 2011


This is somewhere over Khartoum. From near or afar, everything is shrouded with a veil of dusty muted brown. Now is it just me that find this depressing?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


In a relationship, the power lies with the one who give less, or love less. One has got the upper-hand power over the other. What kind of relationship is it when there exists such an inequality? It seems like a master-slave dynamics, which is perfectly fine to me, if you are talking about role-playing kinky sick (depends on who you talk to) stuff in bed.

In love and as in life, all should be equal.

In bed, that would be a different story.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Another story on my carrot cake.

I baked another carrot cake in the kitchen. I was slicing the cake as my flat mate, P walked in. P is an uncle-like Indian guy from KL.

"Hey P, want some carrot cake? Please help yourself eh." I said.

"Oh, no thank you." P replied.

Truth be told I was taken aback. "Okay, I guess my carrot cake is not good enough for you then. Oh well, more cake for me. Yay!" I thought. So I stuffed a piece in my mouth and moved to the living room.

Moments later P came towards me with a piece of my carrot cake in his hand. Wait, I thought I heard him said no when I offered him earlier. But then again, good things, no, great things were meant to be shared.

"What's it inside huh? You put carrot in it is it?" P asked me.

Imagine the bewilderment all over my face.

These words just slipped out of my mouth, involuntarily.

"It's a carrot cake, of course it has carrot in it."

And I have this expression written all over my face, involuntarily too.

"Oh God, seriously?! Are you stupid or what?"

Then, awkward silence...

Yeah, I think I had what some people called a verbal diarrhea, and a facial expression diarrhea too.

Maybe he was trying to make small talk.

But still, seriously?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Icing on the Cake

Baking has always been my picker-upper. No matter how heavy the workload, how daunting the task at hand, how long the day (or week) had been, how blistering hot the weather outside, how helpless and directionless I am with anything and everything, I bake. In baking, I know I'm calling the shot, confidently and I know I won't screw up. I know if I follow the recipe and instruction, I'll end up with a kitchen permeated with the aroma of a freshly baked cake, and a lovely cake on the table. I know I'm good at it, good at baking.

Work has been driving crazy lately. It has been hectic lately at work. Unfortunately it'll remain hectic for the few weeks. I've been running around like a headless chicken and will be a headless chicken for the next couple of weeks too. It has taken its toll on me, as I haven't been sleeping well, stressing out over work. (I know that's really lame and I'm such a loser.)

So naturally I turned to baking. Last weekend I made a carrot cake. After all these while I managed to get all the ingredients and utensils to put one together. I was elated looking at the batter rising into golden brown goodness slowly and steadily in the oven. Oh it turned out beyond delightful, soft and spongy texture contrasting nicely with a crunch of walnut, the carrot sweetness with a hint of the cinnamon fragrance.

Then I realized I should have made cream cheese icing to go with it. Oh well it was too late. But it still was good. Really good.

I shared the cake with a friend. She was first surprised, more like skeptical actually, seeing what I offered her. Then she was surprised, pleasantly at how tasty the cake was. "It was the best carrot cake I've ever tasted in years." She said.

Now that's my icing on the cake.

Tuna Cheesy Mess

This turned out to be quite messy. But it was so simple in my head that I decided to whip this one up for lunch.

Leftover tuna in a can flaked and mixed with finely chopped garlic and onion. The mixture was seasoned with pepper, herbs of your choice, I used Italian mixed herbs here, and a squirt of mustard (I ran out of mayo). The bagel was spread generously with cream cheese before piling up the tuna on. Then grated cheese was sprinkled generously over the pile. This was where messy started. Cheese all over the counter and more cheese and tuna flake all over the counter as it was being transferred into the toaster oven for a quick bake. It's time to eat when the cheese melted and turned bubbly brown.

Tuna cheesy melt became tuna cheesy mess. Tasty nonetheless, if I may add.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


When red was no longer celebrating happiness, joyfulness, nobility and regality, it caged the yearning for freedom, it silenced the weeping of loneliness, it stifled the longing for love, it fueled struggle for power, it masked the faces of envy and hatred, it hardened the heart of tenderness and purity, it buried the sanctity of spirit.

If only these red walls of the Forbidden City could speak...

Monday, June 20, 2011


The ferocity of the Sudanese summer sandstorm and the amusement of the year-round Sudanese English.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dauphinoise potatoes.

"What?" I hear ya.

While channel flipping on a late weekend morning, I came across a recipe on this potato dish. In spite of an intimidating name that I can't even pronounce, it was surprisingly simple to make. It tasted even better, creamy and garlicky and comforting. Straight away I sprung into cooking mode.
As this would a test run, I only use 1 medium potato, enough for one anyway. The oven prove dish was generously greased with butter and sprinkled with chopped garlic for the the background flavor. Then the thinly sliced potato was layered on, with seasoning of salt and pepper for each layer. I threw in a pinch of Italian mixed herbs at the last layer, along with grated cheese. For the sauce, it's simply a mix of milk and cream then pour over the spud but not covering it completely. I only used milk as I did not have cream. It was then loaded into a medium heat oven and baked until it bubbled up creamily and the cheese melted into golden brown.

Well my first go at this Dauphinoise potatoes was a tad salty. I think I was a little too heavy-handed in the seasoning, probably not fully awake yet while cooking, after all it was a weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can't Wait to be Back

I enjoy traveling, tremendously, though lately not so much, but that's another story. Anyway, I never ever had the desire to travel to China. It just does not appeal to me. Somehow.

Then last week I was in Beijing for a week, for work. I wasn't dreading the trip, but not exactly gung-ho over it either. Thinking of China, 2 things popped into my head: the army of bicycles sweeping the road and next the people being loud and spitting everywhere.

While I did see the latter, (I also saw a mother, or maybe a grandmother trying to get a toddler to pee by the corner next to the escalator IN a mall. Honest to God!), there weren't many. I guess the city cleans up pretty well but old habits die hard for some. You just need to wait for some to die I suppose. Then the bicycles. What bicycles? There was practically none. The street was just choked with cars, cars and more cars, and the network of roads and expressways was impressive to say the least.

The city was not what I expected. It was bigger, better, more amazing, more awe inspiring and full of surprises, pleasant ones. The subway is convenient and cheap and clean! It's clean! The cab drivers (those I hailed) were friendly and honest. They did not see me as walking dollars and trying to make a quick buck, even late at night in pouring rain. The night life was, well, hopping and bobbing all night long. The place was hot and the ladies were hotter. It's Beijing, baby!

This trip was definitely an eye opener. I saw a snippet of Beijing and it was such a tease, but I like it. I like it a lot.

Now, back in Khartoum, I'm busy scheming my way for another business trip to get back Beijing again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Here in 'Frica land, aside from the locals, I work with a lot of mainland Chinese. L is one of them.

Last week I was away on a week long business trip to Beijing. As I returned to the office on Monday, L came into my office asking me about my trip. Happily, I was blabbing away on how much I enjoyed the Beijing and how amazed I was with her vibrance and energy.

We were then small-talking into weather. To me, going from the over 40 degree Centigrade dry heat and dusty wind in Khartoum to the mid 30s green summery warmth and light haze in Beijing was simply delightful, in fact beyond delightful. L said he couldn't deal with the sticky humid KL air and he would sweat buckets. He would be showering constantly to keep himself fresh. I chuckled hearing that. But he wasn't finished. Confidently and casually, L said:"Here in Khartoum or there in Beijing, the weather is dry and I love it. I don't sweat at all so I don't need to shower everyday. I shower like once every 2 days, (and here came the kicker) sometimes even 3 days!"

Oh! My! God!

Too much information!

Friday, June 03, 2011


Suddenly I don't feel like traveling anymore.

It's weird, as one of the reasons I took up my current job and relocated to Africa is simply because I'd get 3 weeks off every 10 weeks I work, such that I can hit the road during that 3 weeks. Being in Africa, imagine the experience of amazing wildlife and exotic tribes and wonderful places and all the crazy things I'd be doing. That would be such a dream! A dream beyond my wildest dream!

I used to enjoy reading up for my trip, preparing the kits and making whatever arrangements. That get me fire up about my trips. Last trip home I picked up a guide book for the eastern African countries. I also forked out a lot of money buying a new DSLR, in anticipating myself roaming around this mysterious continent. But the urge to explore just subsided. The call of adventures silenced. Instead there are lingering doubts of if I still could rough it through. And more importantly if I wanted to. I'm just not into it anymore. I just don't feel like it anymore. For my next 20 days, I just want to fly home and sleep on my own bed.

Damn what the hell is wrong with me? Where is my sense of adventures, my longing for the exciting life traveling on the road? Am I getting old? Is this just the work stress talking? Am I really getting sick of traveling? Am I sick for not wanting to travel? Is this just a phase, like the confusing puberty? Did I just accidently get rid of my traveling bug?

Tell me, where do I catch that bug back again? Or are there drugs that I can take get me addicted to the high of adventures and travel again?

Help me!