Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Paddington Markets Sydney

Recommended by Bernard's Aussie colleague, before going to Bondi, we stopped by Paddington Markets which is a community based market with stalls that sell clothing, accessories, soaps, candles, bamboo phone cases, crafts, food and many more. These Australian designed and crafted products are exclusive only to Paddington Markets. The International food court particularly caught our attention as the menus were really unique and the food looked super delicious too.

Australian-made soap bars, baby shoes, phone cases, jewelry, earrings, accessories
Intricate bonsai

International food court with open air seating

Time to eat! I just cannot resist roasted capsicum, onions, salad, cheese, juicy sausage and a good relish combo. Loved everything about the filling but not the chunky bun.
The first stall Jackaroos: Hot dog- everything (onions, vegies, roasted bell peppers, cheese, mustard relish)

And an Asian dish - The Banh Xeo was really tasty. The pancake is full of flavors with the right amount of turmeric taste, goes perfectly with the tender well-seasoned pork belly, salad and dipping sauce (chilli and fish sauce).
Bernard picked his favorite meat - braised pork belly of course.
Banh Xeo - Vietnamese sizzling savoury pancake, made from scratch with rice flour, coconut milk, tumeric, mung beans served with bean sprouts, fresh herbs, salad, house pickles + dipping sauce.
Banh Xeo Bar's Vietnamese sizzling pancake preparation

Different Arepa of corn, beetroot, carrot or kale flavours make them so colorful. The arepas come with your choice of shredded chicken/ beef, pulled pork, black beans, feta, plantains (cooking banana) and salad.
La Reina Venezuelan Arepas which is made of ground maize dough
Arepas and Bowl

BAKED: Baked Potato with Bacon, baked beans, mushroom or veggies and kofta

Xesus Cold pressed fresh juice

Empanadas is a type of Spanish pastry turnover, either fried or baked filled with a variety of ingredients such as mince beef/ lamb, red pepper, Kalamata olives, onion, garlic, raisin, spices, sweet pumpkin, spinach, cheese, carrot...
Abuelo Argentinian Empanadas which look like currypuff, Yerba mate iced tea
Soda Bread - baking soda is used to make the bread instead of yeast
From the oven
Chinese, Asian food

Paddington Markets Sydney

Add: 395 Oxford St, Paddington. Sydney
Tel: 02 9331 2923  
Fax: 02 9331 4864

Market Trading Hours: Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm


Scenic World & Echo Point, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW Australia

Scenic World is a park with rides (train, cable car) and walkways to explore Australia’s World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, located on the corner of Violet Street & Cliff Drive, in Katoomba. At the Blue Mountains, blue haze blankets the mountains of eucalyptus forest. About 2km away, Echo Point is the Lookout spot to view the Three Sisters rock formation at close range. According to Aboriginal legend, the 3 sisters were turned to stones by an elder to protect them. These are popular tourist destinations so they will be crowded.

Tips: At Scenic World, the restaurants are only located at the main building, so it is wise to eat first if you are hungry before embarking on any rides. Go there early and take the rides as the crowd built up later in the day. The last ride is at 4.50pm.

I think it was an enjoyable day exploring the Blue Mountains with different modes of transport, walkways and bush trails. The cable cars allowed us to view the mountains in a more extensive way. Waiting time wasn't too bad, it was part of the fun. Walking was good but certain areas were rather sunny.

To go to Katoomba, you can travel from Sydney (about 100 kilometres) by:
  • Car - 1h 40m drive
  • Train - from Central Station, take the BMT (Blue Mountains Train) Line - Mount Victoria via Parramatta to Katoomba Station (1h 58m - 20 stops). Costs about AUD5.95 (with Opal card) one way (off-peak hours). We traveled on a Sunday with Opal so the fee was capped at $2.60 for all rides (train and bus)! At Sydney Central Station, check the screen for the platform number. Calculate your fare here.
Bernard and I were contemplating on driving to the Blue mountains but finally decided on a train ride. Did not have to worry about the car insurance, driver's license and we could just sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

Train to Katoomba. Quite comfortable ride in this double decker train
Katoomba Train Station

From the train station:
  • Walk 2 min to the Bus Stop outside Carrington Hotel, take bus 686 to Scenic World (3km) - Timetable. Getting around with bus is quite convenient, may have to stand sometimes. Wait time is 15 - 30 min. The bus stops at Echo Point, Katoomba Falls Road, Skyway Station, Scenic World (if you take the Skyway from here, you have to pay at the Scenic World main station where the entrance is), etc.
Carrington Hotel bus stop

  • Other options: Hop on either a Blue Mountains Explorer (AUD44, every 30 min) or Trolley Tours bus
  • Hop-on Hop-off Blue mountains Explorer counter is just outside the train station. From here, cross the road to Carrington Hotel Bus Stop

  • Or you could walk 30 minute the Three Sisters Echo Point or Scenic World

Rides and Walkway at Scenic World
1. Scenic Railway (red) - Capacity: 84 pax. It is the steepest passenger railway in the world that offers glass-roofed carriages and expansive views of the rainforest setting and spectacular Jamison Valley. There is a button at the side of the carriage to adjust the seated position up to 20 degrees. The original is at 52 degrees. While waiting in line, the crew went asking where the visitors were from and then sang a tune about that country. Disembark at the bottom station to access the Scenic Walkway and stroll through 2.4 kilometres of rainforest.
The crew sang "We love Malaysia" with hand drums

Time for wefie while waiting for our turns. Scenic views everywhere.

Scenic Railway with glass roofed carriages, the steepest passenger railway in the world.
From Railway bottom station we went to the Cableway bottom station via Scenic Walkway.

2. Scenic Walkway (green) - Options for various walks taking 15, 30 or 50 mins on an elevated boardwalk through 2.4 kilometres of Jurassic rainforest. Walkway loops are clearly signposted. There are 2 access points: Railway (red) or Cableway (blue) bottom station.
Scenic Walkway routes are clearly signposted.

3. Scenic Cableway (blue) - Capacity: 84 pax. The Cableway’s fully enclosed cabin provides a unique vantage point for viewing the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mt Solitary and Katoomba Falls in the 510m journey. Disembark at the Cableway Bottom station to access the Scenic Walkway (green).
Cableway bottom station
Inside Cableway

4. Scenic Skyway (yellow) - Suspended 270 metres above ravines, rainforest canopy, you can view the Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and Jamison Valley stretching to the horizon. There is a small area of glass floor to view the rainforest beneath the feet. We got down at the Skyway’s east station to access the Katoomba Falls lookout (via Prince Henry Cliff Walk: go down some stairs, 5min walk) and bush trail to Echo Point (1.1km walk, 45min one way with plenty of gorgeous lookout points).
Skyway (yellow) main station

The Skyway cabin provides a unique thrill as breathtaking views are revealed beneath your feet through the electro-glass floor.

Katoomba Falls

Bush trail from Scenic Skyway east station to Echo Point. Some of them crossed over the perimeter fence for some photos by the cliff.
Arrived at Echo Point - The Three Sisters rock formation which is a popular tourist attraction. According to Aboriginal legend, the 3 sisters turned into stones.

Alternatively, from Scenic World take bus 686 to Echo Point Rd opp Cliff Dr (4th stop). 

What we did: From the main building, take the Railway > Railway Bottom Station > Walkway to Cableway bottom station > Cableway up to main building > Skyway to East Station > Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Katoomba Falls and Echo Point.

EATS270 | Open 10:30am – 3:00pm daily.
Signature angus beef burger and chips. EATS270 is perched on the escarpment with expansive views of the iconic Jamison Valley, with outdoor and indoor seating.

Scenic World

FB Page:
Add: Corner Violet Street & Cliff Drive, Katoomba NSW 2780 Australia
Tel: 1300 SKYWAY or +61 2 4780 0200

Unlimited Discovery Pass (unlimited rides on the Railway, Skyway, Cableway and Walkway): AUD39 (adult) at ticket counter. Klook price: AUD37
Opening time: every day of the year from 9:00am – 5:00pm. Last ride at 4.50pm.
(Ample, free undercover parking is available on site)

Echo Point - The Three Sisters 

Add: 23-31 Echo Point Rd, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia
The Visitor Information Centre at Echo Point is a good place to pick up maps and find out more about the area. Parking - Time limits and parking fees apply. Parking might be limited on the weekend.
Hours: 9am to 5pm daily. Closed on Christmas Day. Admission is free.


Monday, 21 August 2017

Reverse Osmosis Water treatment Systems (Pros and Cons)

Reverse Osmosis
The semi-permeable membrane used in reverse osmosis contains tiny pores through which water can flow. The small pores of this membrane are restrictive to organic compounds such as salt and other natural minerals, which generally have a larger molecular composition than water.

  • The membrane pores are restrictive to bacteria and disease-causing pathogens to avoid waterborne diseases. 
  • Can filter/ reduce 
  1. Radioactive substances like radium and uranium, 
  2. Heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and lead
  3. Microbes; virus and bacteria, etc. 
  4. Nitrate, fluoride 
  • Incredibly effective at desalinating water and providing mineral-free water for use in photo or print shops.
The reverse osmosis process contains several downsides:
  • The small pores in the membrane is unable to block more dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine which are molecularly smaller than water (Binnie et al, 2002). For this reason, a carbon filter must be used as a complimentary measure to provide safe drinking water from the reverse osmosis process. Such chemicals are the major contaminants of drinking water after municipal treatment.
  • The removal of healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water. The membrane of a reverse osmosis system is impermeable to natural trace minerals. These minerals not only provide a good taste to water, but they also serve a vital function in the body’s system. Water, when stripped of these trace minerals, can actually be unhealthy for the body. HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER by World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Reverse osmosis also wastes a large portion of the water that runs through its system. It generally wastes two to three gallons of water for every gallon of purified water it produces. Reverse osmosis is also an incredibly slow process when compared to other water treatment alternatives. 
  • The are some precautions on drinking RO water though:
    1) Don't fill RO water in plastic bottle because of leaching effect. It's best to fill RO water in glass or stainless steel bottle.
    2) It's not recommended to drink RO water immediately after exercise. Isotonic drinks like 100plus can replenish the salt lost through sweat.
    3) Maintain a healthy diet or take nutrient supplements if you're to drink RO water.


Elken Bio Pure


Using Elken for 11 years. No problem. Just need to change the filter every year during our CNY clean-up. Elken is by far the best, but costliest too in terms of maintenance. R.O. home water treatment are not cheap. In fact, pretty expensive. So I see no point in using such system when other systems which does not remove minerals exist.

Coway bestest. After sales maintenance service toppest

I agree that RO system is not cheap. Chemicals are generally categorized into organic chemical or inorganic chemical. To know which chemical is organic or inorganic, you can Google the name of the chemical and if the chemical structure has a carbon atom or 'C' in it, then it's an organic chemical.
Most of the system in the market I've seen which allow good minerals to bypass are activated carbon filter. Organic contaminants contain carbon molecules which can bond to the activated carbon filter. A well designed activated carbon filter can filter organic chemicals and some inorganic chemical such as chlorine, lead and mercury. The disadvantage of activated carbon filter is it's not effective in removing most inorganic contaminants such as arsenic, nitrate, or heavy metals like chromium and cadmium. RO membrane can filter these inorganic contaminants. Most RO system also have pre- and post-activated carbon filter to filter organic contaminants. So a well designed RO system can filter both organic and inorganic contaminants.
There is no filter in the market which can differentiate between good minerals and bad minerals. This is a marketing gimmick. If the filter can retain good minerals in the water, chances are it also retains other inorganic chemicals in the water.
I do not deny the fact that some minerals in the water are essential to our health such as calcium and magnesium. Individuals who does not maintain a healthy diet can benefit from the calcium and magnesium content in the water to prevent certain illnesses. For those who drink RO water, the lack of minerals in the water can be supplemented from food intake.
Between a choice of drinking filtered water containing good minerals plus inorganic contaminants, or RO water which doesn't contain organic and inorganic contaminants while lacking good minerals, I personally choose RO water and supplement the minerals from food and nutrient supplement intake. A glass of milk contains more calcium than a glass of water.

Don't use any marketed brand. Water systems are simple and the technology is cheap and easily available. Just go to a water filter place. They usually have cheap, custom assembled RO systems. Tell them what you want an they will quote you. You can buy the filters anywhere.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Casa Green Condominium Cheras

Add: Jalan Seri Minang 4 Off Taman Seri Minang, Batu 9 Cheras near Bandar Tun Hussein Onn about 20 km from KLCC.

This is a high-rise condominium development built on freehold land. There are 326 units with built-up areas ranging from 1,765 to 3,380 sq ft. Some of the facilities featured in this condominium are covered parking lots, swimming pool, wading pool, gymnasium, reflexology path, picnic terrace, barbecue pit and more. This property is safeguarded by 24-hour security services.

Residents are within easy reach of many amenities such as shop lots, restaurants, clinics, offices, banks, petrol stations and more. Bandar Tun Hussein Onn Primary & Secondary Schools are within walking distance. Giant Cheras Mall and AEON Big Bandar Tun Hussein Onn are a short drive away.

This condominium has easy accessibility ot Persiaran Minang 4, Jalan Alam Damai, SILK Highway, Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) and Cheras-Kajang Highway. Public transportation in the neighbourhood includes buses and taxis.

Current price at iproperty: 1820sf at RM650k. 1797sf at RM628k. It has very comfortable big space for medium size family. The problem is the distance from the city (20km) and the surrounding older shops. There will be newer shops in about 4km at C180 Balakong.  

Floor plan: 1797sf - 3 bedrooms, 1 study (without door) and 1 utility room (at the back of the wet kitchen)
1797sf - 3 bedrooms, 1 study and 1 utility room