Sunday, 27 November 2016

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro - Absolute Battery Power

I don't usually blog about the stuff I use in my travels because I'm not paid to do so. But I'm going to make an exeption this time because I'm really impressed with the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro especially its battery power.

During my recent trip to Nepal, this phone with the mother of all battery power (5,000 mAh capacity) lasted 9 days in the Langtang region without having to recharge. Incredible isn't it?

How I did it?

First of all, I switched the phone to flight mode at all times. In case you may not know, in flight mode all apps and whatnot in the phone are shut down and this saves alot of power. There was no coverage or Wifi in the mountains, so we didn't need to use any of our apps. However in flight mode I still could take loads of photos, especially since this mother of all phones has a 32GB internal memory and a 16MP camera.

Secondly, I switched off the phone at night and kept it close to my body to help preserve its power. Batteries die faster in cold conditions, you know.

My other 2 travel companions with lesser mortal phones were always on the lookout for powerpoints at every pitstop in the trek to charge their phones. And in the mountains, powerpoints can sometimes be difficult to find. For me, I didn't have to go through all that hassle because I had the mother of all phones.

My New Pursuit - Chartered Bankers Course

I recently enrolled for the Chartered Bankers course offered by the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB).

The course has 3 levels, i.e. Executive Banker (EB), Professional Banker (PB) and Chartered Banker (CB). Candidates must pass 3 modules (subjects) in each level to move on to the next.

While studying for my first EB module, Risk in Financial Services, AICB announced the accelerated route entry and I was lucky to get 'promoted' to PB level and skipped EB completely. I was overjoyed because having to pay for this course myself, being able to skip 3 EB papers means money saved!

On 20 Novenber 2016 I sat for my first PB paper, Marketing & Selling in Financial Services. It's been more than 10 years since I sat for a proper exam. However the whole process of preparing for an exam came back clearly to me - from mugging non-stop 1 week before the exam, getting my 2B pencils sharpened and last minute note browsing just before entering the exam hall. I even used the same pencil case that I used when I was in Form 6 and college!

Now that my first PB paper is completed, I plan to register for 2 more papers, i.e. Customer Relationship Management and Business Lending for the next exam in April 2017. If I pull through I'll move on to CB level. Wish me luck!



Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Glorious Food in Nepal

People have asked me before about the type of food available in Nepal, and especially on long treks in the remote mountains.

In this post I'll share with you photos of food in Nepal that I've had the experience of tasting during my three trips to that country.

(1) DHAL BHAT

The most common dish in Nepal is the dhal bhat:

This is dhal bhat with chicken curry that I ate in the mountains.



Dhal bhat served on heavy bronze cutlery in a fancy restaurant in Kathmandu.


The dhal bhat consist of steamed rice, lentil soup, vegetables and papad. You can also order chicken curry to go with it.

The local people eat dhal bhat for brunch, lunch and throughout the day. I daresay that the dhal bhat can be considered as the national dish of Nepal, if there's such a title.

The guides and porters in the mountain eat dhal bhat for ALL their meals. They claim that dhal bhat gives them energy to trek for hours on end. There's even a poem that goes like this:

Dhal bhat power, 
24-hour, 
No sleep, no shower

Apart from the dhal bhat, there're also other rice dishes like this simple meal of steamed rice and vegetable curry:


There's no fresh meat in the mountains, so I requested for a fried egg instead.


Fried rice is also another rice dish which is widely available:

Ate this mixed fried rice in the Langtang region. I love that they sprinkled cheese all over it.


(2) MOMO

The second food that I would like to introduce to you is the momo:

Momo skins are like the skin of Chinese dumplings. However momos can have various fillings like chicken, vegetable, cheese or even a combination of all. Momos are served with a dip which is usually tomato based.


During my recent trip to Nepal I had momos in soup for the first time:


Momos in tomato based soup.


(3) THUKPA

Third item on the list is thukpa:

Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup.


Not many people would know what a thukpa is when hearing it for the first time. Even I didn't know what it was but got acquainted with it soon after my first trip to Nepal in 2012. 


(4) TIBETAN BREAD

During my recent trip to Nepal, the Tibetan bread that I had in the Langtang region was flat and round like a chapati. It was different from the Tibetan bread found in the Annapurna region where it's puffed out like this:

Tibetan bread found in the Annapurna region is shaped like a colon (couldn't think of any other way to describe it) and puffed out.


Our guide, Sujan explained that Tibetan bread is prepared differently in different parts of Nepal which explains its different shapes.


(5) SOUP

If you would like to have a light meal, you can try the soup like this mushroom soup served and an egg omelette.



Sujan informed that ginger soup or tea is a good for attitude sickness and I drank it few times during the trek:

I told myself that I must finish reading Kiss the Girls during this recent 2 week trip to Nepal. Indeed, I finished reading the book and left it at Hotel Yambu for other travellers.


(6) NEWARI FOOD

According to Wikipedia, the Newar people are historical inhabitants of Kathmandu. Here are some Newari food:

Nobita wanted to try catamari (top left) which looks like a pizza. Raj ended up ordering another 3 items for the three of us which you can see in the photo. 


(7) OTHER TYPES OF FOOD

Pasta is also widely available:

I had this mixed pasta for breakfast during my stay in Dhunche.


And here's a collage of food that we ate in one of the restaurants in Kathmandu:
Clockwise from top left: Momo in tomato soup, chowmein (yes you read it right, they call it chowmein too like in Cantonese), briyani and briyani with papad.



Just to give you an idea of the choices of food (and prices) available at the teahouses in Nepal, here's the menu at one of the guesthouse in Thulo Shrapu:



All prices are in Nepali Rupee and as at September 2016.


So that's my pictoral introduction of food in Nepal. I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos as much as I enjoyed eating the food in the photos :-)


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