Monday, 12 February 2018

The Intern

2 days after I had Intern 3, I just had enough of him and his nonsense.. I let him off my team.. I did not want to mentor someone with that kind of attitude.. I gave him to another team, yeah and his new supervisor was fuming mad at him day in day out..

I wish him well, but I have serious doubts where he'll go, if data entry is where he's comfortable at, being a college graduate-to-be, so be it..

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The day my intern pisses me off

So now I have a team of my own.. a staff and 3 interns.. one of them said something today that I felt shouldn't be said by any employee, not just interns.. Sometimes I wonder what these kids learn in school/college..

Intern 1:
Fast and eager learner, able to grasp what was taught easily and able to repeat it back to me without difficulty, and do them fast and almost correct.. Only thing is likes to play phone and relies too much on google translate, we all know how wonderful google translate can be sometimes..

I can live with this - as long as work gets done, I'm really ok.. dependency on google translate is something that can be worked on..

Intern 2:
Did not turn up on second day and half the day on third day, without informing anyone, I gave him the benefit of the doubt of his reasons two days in a row, I did not question him further because I honestly think he doesn't understand my question (on why he didn't turn up/late).. Takes forever to complete his assignments..

Again, as long as he does what is asked of him, however slow, I'm ok, although I would probably make some remarks in his report about his missing-in-action-days, as I believe it won't be the last..

Saving the best for last... Intern 3:
So Intern 3 learns things quite ok as well, but slow in execution and full of spelling,                   spacing                          and cApiTaLiSatiOn errors.. I am kinda OCD on this: uppper case where it should, and lower case other times.. He has a weird fascination of random capitalisation, or not where it should, and an inconsistent use of spaces..

I decided today I would teach him something new so he can move forward and help me down the weeks as I was planning the workload for them all..

Barely a minute sitting down with him, he asked me something which left me stunned, "Do I really need to learn this? We don't learn this in college. I don't think I need to know."

Ok - I admit it's a tough one, but if one is to work in a travel industry, one has to know this even the basics..

I was stunned..

I crafted a seemingly innocent sarcastic reply, "If you think you don't want to learn this, it's ok".

And I just walked away..

And for the rest of the day, I basically just ignored him, gave him some tiny updating work to do and leave him be.. and he also did not ask if there's anything else he can do instead, all he did was sit there and play with his phone and took his own sweet time to complete the simple task in an hour or two (which I could do it under 10 minutes myself)..

They all learn at different pace so I have to teach them separately, which is fine, I am more than happy to sit down and guide them, and then I do my work and double checking their work at night.. and as interns, they are paid too, not to photostat and do filing like many other companies out there, but to actually learn and do the work as a full time staff would..

So it's that kind of attitude that really puts me off..

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Birthday Trip: 5D4N Chiangmai-Chiangrai (part 4/4)

Day 4: Exploring the city

The last day before we return the car, we went around exploring the city.. First we went up to Doi Suthep temple perched atop the mountain 15km away from Chiangmai city, however, it takes about 1 hour drive as the drive isn't an easy one.. 

On our way, we witnessed a fatal accident, the victims' bodies were twisted from broken backbone and there was a lot of debris on the road, we dare not look and just drove on.. Luckily I wasn't driving.. 

At the bottom of the stairs up to Doi Suthep

Looking back down from the top

Fortune telling sticks

A section of the temple

Fresh orchids

A Hmong girl resting after a hard work "performing" 

So spiritual that this tourist was chanting at the tree

From the entrance to Doi Suthep

On returning to the city, we stopped by Chiangmai Premium Outlet where each of us bought a shoe and some clothes.. it's not your usual premium outlet, the big brands were missing, only the mid-range and some unheard of brands..

Beside the premium outlet is a Starbucks outlet.. it's unique and it's pretty..

The side entrance

Front facade of Starbucks

Inside Starbucks
 After enjoying a drink inside Starbucks, we proceed to return our car near the airport.. The office of Budget Car Rental is located opposite Centralplaza, however not many Uber drivers know this place. there's a famous Korean grill restaurant beside it, and it's easier to find rides using that as the pickup point..

Office counter

Found a perfect parking spot just right at the door

After that, we just grabbed a ride to the Night market.. it's so huge that from 5pm to 12am we were there, we only managed to cover 1 street.. there's like 3 or more stretch of the night market that we didn't even cover..

And yes, it is super super crowded and packed, people jostling for space.. I would say it's 10x worse then Connaught night market, famous in Kuala Lumpur..

Near Tha Phae gate

This trip was made possible sponsored by my friends for my birthday and they also bought me dinner to celebrate..

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Birthday Trip: 5D4N Chiangmai-Chiangrai (part 3/4)

Day 3: Watching sunrise on the summit of Doi Inthanon

4am.. Woke up to the freezing temperatures of around 4 degrees Celcius, the water was too cold to shower so all we did was just to wash up and freshen up, had a quick bite, and then drove off to the summit at 5.30am..

When we reached around 6am, there was already a long queue of cars and scores of people scrambling for the best spot to catch the first Thai sunlight..

6am - Still dark but in the horizon, the ray of the first sunlight

Slowly  but surely

The crowd, when it was bright enough for photo

Just before the first sunlight

And the sun

Here's the timelapse videos:

Once the sun is up and bright, we make our way down to Phra Maha Dhatu, the twin pagodas built to commemorate the 60th birthday of the Thai King and Queen.. 

Shhhh I am meditating

The twin pagodas facing each other, taken from the parking lot

It's windy and freezing still, overlooking the mountain range

Another shot of the mountain range, the Himalayans end here

After this, we left the national park for Chiangrai, from here it's a 4.5 hours drive, mostly along mountainous terrains, except for the flat 20 mins bypassing Chiangmai city.. 

Half way to Chiangrai, I gave up driving as it was too tiring and too sleepy for me to drive the entire way, so I pulled over and had a friend take over the wheel for the rest of the day in Chiangrai, while I catch up on some rest and sleep in the backseat.. 

We reached Chiangrai around 2.30pm and for a quick lunch before visiting the White Temple and Blue Temple..

The front of the White Temple, before the entrance booth

I guess it looks good on pictures only but nothing great in real life

Legends has it that one must never backtrack or reverse as they cross the bridge

Pretty right?

Entrance of Blue Temple

The pagoda behind the main hall

After visiting the temples, we adjourned for dinner in Chivit Thamma Da (or as I pronounced it, Chivit tamada).. It is a huge complex in a series of bungalows that depict different areas..

It need a signboard!

At the courtyard of the main dining hall.. It's a very Victorian style kinda building..

Part of the dining hall

The verandah where we were seated, overlooking the river

And this is where my friends celebrated my birthday dinner here.. 

I chose a chocolate mousse cake, cos I love chocolate cake, served on a Victorian styled plate

After dinner, we drove back to Chiangmai, a distance of 200km and takes 3 hours across the mountain range, often a single lane highway which is Highway 118, notoriously dangerous and all those deaths and accidents that happened between Chiangmai-Chiangrai that we read in the papers, all happened on this highway.. 

Highway 118 is so bending and winding that you need 200% concentration and full alert when driving this road.. You cannot see much ahead of you due to the darkness and sharp bends every corner, definitely not for someone who's not used to driving Genting or the old Cameron route, and multiply that difficulty by 10. 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Birthday Trip: 5D4N Chiangmai-Chiangrai (part 2/4)

Day 2: Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand and it is the tip end of the Himalayan mountain range.. At 2565 meters, it is the highest point in Thailand..

We booked a car from Budget Car Rentals.. It is reasonable and the cars are mostly new.. I asked for a medium-sized car due to the distance we plan to drive and also for us to sit comfortably.. and they gave me a Honda Accord 2.0..

Our car was delivered to us free of charge to the hotel at exactly 9am sharp as booked.. After doing all the paperwork and a quick inspection of the car, we headed off on the 60km drive up the mouutains, along the way, we stopped for brunch and 7-11 to stock up snacks and drinks.. and en route we went to The Giant cafe, cafe suspended from a giant tree..

Paperwork for the car

Inspection form
Before beginning the journey, a mandatory shot of the car
Stopped for lunch in a local coffeeshop
A street in Chiangmai

My first time driving in Thailand.. Our driving licence is in English so there's no problem.. 

Stuck in traffic trying to get out of Chiangmai
Apa lagi, wefie lor!!

Stopped here for toilet break.. Chiangmai Premium Outlet Kad Farang.. we came back here on Sunday and each bought something.. 

Waze led us on a mountain off-road track and driving a sedan car up a 40 degrees steep slope with 4 adults and bags in it is no fucking joke.. Even the "L" gear I use is barely enough to climb.. I was very, very worried and paranoid we would not make the climb, and we also cannot back up because it's a single lane dirt road on the cliffs.. so it's a do or die drive..

See that yellow portion? Waze ask us to use that road, when there's a proper tarred road the other way!!!
Stupid waze!!!

If you're driving in the mountains, always double check for any off-road!!!

Arrived at The Giant all stressed up
Option to cross the suspended bridge or use the stairs

Overall look of the cafe

Signboard outside the cafe

Stressed look

Trying to destress
I can be my own showman 

Another shot

I floored the accelerator hoping it will have enough power to climb.. slowly slowly we made it through and back on to tarred road, not before some 20 minutes of driving on L gear.. there were some points the wheels just doesn't have enough grip but I was determined enough to get us and the car through the mountain in 1 piece.. 

I did what anyone would, lift my feet off the pedal and then slowly rev the car and rapidly turning the steering wheel hoping to catch some grip amongst the stones.. 

Reaching the entrance of the national park where we have to pull over and pay the fees first..

Main entrance and checkpoint #1 of Doi Inthanon National Park

THB300 per pax and THB30 for the car..

Most mountain road in Chiangmai (and highways) are single lane both directions.. so overtaking is really, really dangerous and tough.. 

We camped the night in the national park.. It was an awesome experience!

Gotten our rented camping gear and off we go!

Map of the national park in case we get lost

The tents are provided for and all we need is just to move our stuffs in and set up the base and sleeping bag

Arrived safe and sound

The car is also safe

Our two tents

Entrance to the campgroind

Waterfall nearby

Do you know that sakura blooms in January in this part of Thailand? Look here, a stretch of cherry blossoms in full bloom!


Sakura and a songthaew

An entire stretch of sakura trees

I was there!

The biggest bloom

Ok good night..
it's about 9 degrees outside but inside its comfortably ok.. not cold...

We can't sleep so we ventured out into the dark and stumbled upon rows and rows of brightly lit farms

From far its really beautiful...

Next post, watching sunrise at the summit.. time 6am, temperature 4 degrees Celcius..

Hot right now!