Saturday, October 31, 2009

Health is Wealth

Today is a an eventful day.

First of all it is Halloween - so lots of people walking around in custome.
Secondly there's daylight savings for Nova Scotia, so by end of day (Oct 31), we'll have to reset our watches to 1 hr backwards. This means we'll be 12 hrs behind Malaysia instead of the normal 11 hrs we're familiar with.
3rd - Wife went to Pete's on here own (while I waited). Pete's have great discounts this week as its celebrating its 5 yrs in Spring Garden Rd. As a result our fridge is PACKED!

Lastly, its the first time I'm officially using my MSI card.
Yes I went to see the doctor. That's why wife went to get some veg and bread. Most of the things at home are meaty or either to be grilled.

Well I hope it would be the last (well except for Nov 19 which is the day both wife and I have booked an appointment for our H1N1 vaccination and influenza jab) time I'm using the card.

Its really troublesome to be sick here. Don't mention the fact that we do not drive, but even when you get to the clinic, you'll have to make sure that you have an appointment first. Of course, calling them is another issue - they hardly pick up the phone!!! Not to mention that certain doctors can be crap (fortunately the one that check me today wasn't). Then last but not least, medicine are not dispense at the clinic, but infact the pharmacy, so if you're lucky, clinic may be next to one, if not, you'll have to go find a pharmacy.

So, "health is wealth"...

Time to detox and be a vegetarian for a day or two... Nobody wants to go through being sick. Not even the caregiver (thanks wifey)....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

6 Months Already...

Just want to take a short break to update our blog and say that it has been ½ a year since we arrive here in Canada.

And, supposing that we'll be here for another 4 ½ years, that means we have just completed 1/10 of our time here.

9/10 more to go...

p.s. We've just got our new sofa bed we ordered. Now we can relax in the living space when we're tired with sitting on the wooden chair.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weird? You Tell Me.

We always read the weather forecast. Its important. Especially in Nova Scotia where the weather is always a little crazy at times.

Just like at this coming Friday's forecast.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Approved... Time To Roll Up Our Sleeves

Yup, Canada's Ministry of Health has finally approve the H1N1 vaccine.

They're quickly rolling it out nationwide. Provincial wide, Nova Scotia government will be announcing their immunization plan soon. Not sure if landed immigrants and foreign students would also have a shot. Will be staying tune to the needs from the online papers and also the university and see what they have to say.


Next aim is to cook up something like this:

Grilled Turkey and Brie Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney
Grilled Turkey and Brie Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney

Looks delicious. Are you salivating already?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Easy pocket guide: A Student's Guide To Shopping Essentials In Canada (Applies to Halifax, mainly).

As part of my continuation to the earlier blog entries I had written,
I'll like to share another tip for any other newcomers to this part of Canada particularly (Eastern side - Halifax, NS). Although its meant to target students, but it may apply to others who believes that there's always other better deals out there.

Here's all you need to know, to get going and being able to start your life and live within your budget. Personally I wish I had known most of these before hand so that I could have saved more.
p.s. you may be a bit luckier if you had gone to studying in bustling places like Toronto, Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver, etc as they tend to sell some of the essentials at a slightly lower price as oppose to over here.

So, here's the deal...

When down in Halifax, all you need if you pretty noob and new to the surroundings, just find out how to get to Halifax Shopping Center (HSC). The stores that you'll find bargains for your simply basic needs are.
  • Dollarama - simply things like light bulb, kitchen utensils, glue, stationary, gloves, scarfs, etc.
  • Walmart - don't buy it unless there's discount. But most things should be better priced then others like Zellers. They do have discounts regularly, so watch out for things like electrical items (boiler, mixer, mini-oven), clothes, shoes, ligthings, bedding wears, etc.
  • Sears outlet - if you want to find for slightly branded items that are on discount (believe it or not up to 70% sometimes), then this is the place to go. Its a little hidden here in HSC (behind of Walmart), so be on a lookout for it. You'll find your Timberland or Columbia shoes going for 50% - 70%. Clothes are also cheaper and of more variety. Of course you'll have to find if there's any your size or not. The trick is, there's no fitting room, they store tries to make it as hard as possible for your to try different things on and decide. They just want you to buy it there and then without much evaluating. And to top that up, there's no returns! But mostly the things there are at a bargain! Just that they may have some slight defects so be on a look out for it and see if you're comfortable with that.
As for food? There's no 1 particular place that sells them at a bargain. This is a bit tricky. I wrote a short blog on it comparing the various retail outlets here.
Personally I feel that Atlantic Superstore has the best offers although, you'll need to be careful as they are a bit more lousy when it comes to quality control (for fresh products). Sobey's on the other hand tends to offer things at a better deal if you'd buy a little more. e.g. a buy 2 of the same product and pay less overall.
Of course if you're not really into fresh food, then you could just settle with Walmart. But if you feel that you miss your home food and want to whip something like char kueh teow, then you could head to the Asian groceries. Just google it within Google Maps (type Asian Groceries) and you'll be able to see where they are located. There's even an Indian groceries at Robie Street.

I've snapped a shot of Walmart (Mumford road) and Halifax Shopping Center using Google Street view.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bus Service

One thing that makes us feel good about moving around without a car here is the quality of bus service in Halifax. Despite it not being as metro as Toronto, rest assured that bus service is to its mark compared to Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley back home.

Who cares about train or rail transit when you have great bus service that comes on time and on schedule!

Top that up, they even have a buses for disable

where the allow for people on wheel chair to go up to the bus on a ramp.

To top that up, the buses also kneels so that it won't tired elderly from jumping up and off the bus.

better yet, you can even attach your bicycle to the front of the bus in the even that you intend to take it around.

Malaysia should learn from this. Of course I don't have much hope that they would.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

False Alarm

There was a fine print on yesterday's prediction of wet snow. They said either rain or flurry. Guess the former happened and not the later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chances of Snow

Finally, or I would say, I spoke too soon. Weather report says that there's chances for flurries in Halifax tonight and tomorrow. Damn... and I haven't gotten my winter shoes yet.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Too Early For Snow

Damn. Central Canada (areas like Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, and Alberta)  experienced some short flurries this Thanksgiving weekend, something which shouldn't have happen. But if it did, end of Oct would have been the normal. This year, it came a little too early.

All the more reason now to quickly get our water proof shoes incase Nova Scotia experiences flurries too. I am not sure if there's any history of flurries happening here but we'll be keeping tabs with the news and folks here to be prepared.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Marlborough Woods

This blog is dedicated to my wife's 2nd sister and her husband who love trekking the most, and also to my parents who of late have found youth in their post-retirement days with the countless of adventures and morning walks.

Not long ago, prior to the torturing days of exams and assignments we're experiencing of late, we roamed the tiny Halifax peninsular at its Western arm side. We came across Marlborough Woods Park,

which is a street of untouch natural wooded forest found in the South End of Halifax that stretches in between railroad and the coast facing Halifax's Western Arm.

It was a bit of a experience. Walking just 2 of us in a quite surrounding which was pretty shaded and I could say spooky if not the least.

But conquering our fears, we stride on and was captivated by the beauty of the natural surrounding albeit the railroad that's always just a glance away.

Well, we did come across a pylon along the way and can't help but to capture it with a backdrop of a fighter jet's trail.

The trail took about 10 minutes walk give or take a minute or so. And we ended up at Atlantic School of Theology.

Which had some pretty old unique structures for its buildings.

A Bit Of Home

Was digging through some of our ol' photos taken when we visited Toronto and Niagara and I came across some shots that we took when we went to a few Asian supermarkets there.

frozen durian in a package (worry-free and torn-free durian delight)

but if you miss the memories of handling the actual thing, they the REAL deal too - FROZEN of course.

haha.. Ipoh's if definitely BETTER...

pathetically sweet Chile sauce....

Of course all of these stuffs are in Toronto. Sadly there's less of this in WASPY (western anglo saxon) dominated area like Halifax.


We've been busy of late which explains the big gap from the previous updates. 2 assignments, lab work and a week long streak of cloudy skies and rain (thankfully no chances of meatballs, hehe. Although that could also be good in away - no more worries about food)

Long story short, to put in an equation...

Machine Learning + Natural Language Processing + Prototype Demo Due = (Long nights + No Sleep + Countless Amts Of Coffee + Anxiety) - (Good night SLEEP + Relax + Feel good moments)

Could have put some derivatives or integrals or those fancy maths symbols but didn't want to bother finding out their html equivalent. Anyway, the good part is 1/3 of the semester is over, and another 2/3 of it go.

Google Street View

You really have to hand it to Google - they're really doing really good things. Street view is one of them. Check out an image of me surfing Street view. Here you can see the image of the entrance to the university (click to enlarge).

What I like about this is now I could get a view of the place I wanna go to in 3D perspective rather than the 2D view from you standard map. I am pretty sure this is also something welcoming for those in the tourist industry. Would be visitors could use this product to sort of get a feel of the place they want to go to before making that decision.

Street view is now available in Canada. Its a widely available in the US and UK but has been slow to get on air in Canada due to privacy issues. Most major Canadian cities has Streetview capabilities on Google maps e.g. Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary. How do you use it? Well just look out for the following icon on when using Google maps. If its colored in Orange that means there's Street view service over the area and you can then drag and drop it over a street you intend to take a sneak peak at.

Harvest Festival

Its a Thanksgiving weekend here now in Atlantic Canada.

Went to both Atlantic and Sobey's supermarket you can just tell that it is celebration in the air.
Most people here would treat thanksgiving much like how the Chinese would treat Mid autumn festival.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Abbundance of Food

Check it out.

An offer from a local store which is too hard to resist. Plus with the actual flyer there's a coupon which we could use along when purchasing this. It'll give us the free 1 pack of PC's the decadent chocolate chip cookie.

A meal for 4 which we could reheat the 2nd half for another meal plus a pack of cookies. We got the whole week covered. We're going for more!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beautiful Autumn @ Kejim

It's 1st Oct... Autumn is fully here.

Check out Novascotia's tourism blog.

Some beautiful shots of Kejimkujik National Park are shown there. The leaves are starting to turn red already. What I heard is that you only have at most 2 weeks to enjoy this. After which they will fully fall from the trees and wait for winter to arrive in the next 1-2 mths time.