Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aristolochia gorgona sketch

Costa Rica trip plan

I want to join a group tour to Costa Rica, here is the details, tour is from May 1-10, then I will add a side trip for a few days to go to La Selva Biological Station to paint Aristolochia gorgona and other tropical vines.

May 1 Fri Flying into San Jose
May 2 Sat Small town of Fortuna, night walk of Silencio Trail, to see Spider Monkeys and exotic birds, and see Volcano Arenal at night
May 3 Sun Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, Rio Frio, to spot howler monkeys, lizards, caimans, sloths, and endemic birds
May 4 Mon Lake Arenal, Santa Elena
May 5 Tue Monteverde Cloud Forest, sky walk along suspension bridges at the canopy level
May 6 Wed Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park
May 7 Thu guided walk to the Manuel Antonio National Park
May 8 Fri back to San Jose
May 9 Sat San Jose optional activities: Jardin Botanico Lankester
May 10 Sun La Guacima Butterfly Farm
May 11 Mon La Selva Biological Station
May 12 Tue LS
May 13 Wed LS
May 14 Thu LS
May 15 Fri San Jose
May 16 Sat back to Vancouver

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Costa Rica tour

I found out there is a Eco Tour organized by my old college going to Costa Rica this May 2009 for 10 days. What an opportunity! I really hope to go and experience the rainforest and also hopefully paint the aristolochia gorgona.
The tour mentioned Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, and Manuel Antonio Rain Forest.
I think I will enquire about more information from the tour and hopefully will be able to do a side trip for my painting.
Aristolochia gorgona is at Estacion Biologica la Selva or at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.
I am reading up on both for locations to the above places of interest, I think they are located in more of less day trip distance.
Aristolochia gorgona flowers thru out the year and so it will be a hit or miss but I think with some planning I will be able to find at least a flower in bud or bloom to paint.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

wonderful gift from Japan

Thank you for my dear friend in Japan, this is the set of beautiful coasters made of Japanese handmade paper with exquisite design. So beautiful. I am using them to put dried food such as candies and chocolate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Borneo 1834

This is the beautiful limited edition bottle of Serge Lutens' perfume called Borneo 1834. I got the regular 50ml glass bottle. The scent is very complex, definitely reminds me of Indonesia.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is the Horned Cucumber from Africa. It tastes like cucumber. So you can have it as a veggie or a fruit.
I scooped out the pulp, blended it with Vietnamese orange juice, then add melon jello with it to make a dessert.
Here is the fruits and my botanical painting of Kiwano.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Final Painting from Indonesia Trip

I just finished this painting started in Cibodas in west java.
The 3 different species of Ginger plants are all very beautiful.
A lot of the ginger plants are edible too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

reading new novel

I am reading Mori Mari's translated novel called Sweet Room.

Friday, November 7, 2008

new fragrance

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens
It is a very dark and strong fragrance. Smell like an ancient temple for me. Patchouli, camphor and cacao as mysterious as the Indonesian shadow play. A very different scent for me.
Now I have 3 unique different scents:
Datura Noir: intoxicating
Borneo 1834: mysterious
Fleur de Liane: wet rain forest feel

Monday, November 3, 2008

wonderful perfume

I finally found a place in Vancouver to have the perfume that I was looking for. A lot of exclusive perfumeurs brand.
I bought the new one from L'Artisan Perfumeur called Fleur de Liane. It based in woods and grasses with some white flowers and very light scents. It is very comfortable to wear, not heavy at all.
I am already using Serge Lutens' Datura Noir which is heavy in Datura intoxiating scent mixed with coconut.
I bought a new one called Borneo 1834, nice one quite beautiful, no coconut but still tropically composed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

paintings from Malaysian trip

This is from a painting done after the first trip to Borneo and Singapore in 2002.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

stink bean

This is Parkia speciosa. The bean pods are in bunches on a 30m tree. The green seeds needed to be taken out from the large pod, and then washed and halved (to examine whether to have worm inside) and then boiled lightly in salt water. Then use strong smelling ingredients such as garlic, shrimp paste and spice to stir fry the stink beans. The beans are a bit bitter and strong smelling, so you can chopped it up and do fried rice with Indonesian kecap manis.
I will make my fried rice this couple days and take a photo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Phytocrene macrophylla male flower painting

Finished, new painting of Phytocrene macrophylla male vine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

exotic food

I made today:
Deep fried Pumpkin Flowers, with sprinkling of candied nutmeg.
Fresh Passion Fruit Juice
Vietnamese deep fried Tofu with lemon grass
multi-coloured jelly
Santol tropical fruit

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

new seeds germination

Momordica cochinchinensis
Aristolochia melastoma
Afgekia sericea
Gomphocarpus physocarpus
seeds of Bean family (tree) collected from Bogor Botanic Garden

Sunday, August 24, 2008

gac fruit and vietnamese red rice

I made Xoi Gac today.
I bought a gac fruit (Momordica cochinchinnensis) and opened it and take out the seed membranes and the pulp of the fruit. The substance is red and I mix it with washed rice and then add water and a bit of salt. I steam the rice for an hour and let it covered for 15 minutes. The result is the red rice that has a nutty and cucumber taste and nice orange red in colour.
It is full of vitamin A and antioxidants.
Here are some photos.
The male and female flowers are on different plants. The fruit is only picked from August to Jan in Vietnam but the flowers start appearing in April to Sept.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

garden in rain 2

Thunbergia grandiflora is flowering, as well as Aristolochia contorta.

garden in rain

This is Paulownia tomentosa and Aristolochia tomentosa. Both have velvety leaves with fine hair.
I have them in my garden, Paulownia is about 5 years old and Aristolochia is about 12 I think.
THey form the mini jungle in my backyard.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trip Plan revised

I have finally decided that despite the coldness, I will go to Vietnam in Jan 2009 before Chinese New Year or Tet. It will be relatively dry but cold. Best time to visit the national park as I am afraid of leeches. I am going to have new silk shirts made and shop for other nice items.
Day 1: Hong Kong, Shingmun Hiking to look for Aristolochia
Day 2: Hong Kong, Lantau Po Lin Monastery, and Big Buddha
Day 3: Hanoi, Hang Gai Street shopping for silk items, order custom-made shirts
Day 4: Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Cathedral, shopping, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Day 5: Halong Bay
Day 6: Hanoi, French Quarter, bookstores, dinner at the Emperor's
Day 7: Hanoi, Temple of Literature, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Old Quarter's 36 streets
Day 8 Cuc Phuong National Park
Day 9: Cuc Phuong National Park, Hanoi, 36 streets, Hang Gai
Day 10: Hanoi, Highway 4 cooking Class, Markets, Hang Gai pick up custom-made shirts
Day 11: Back to Vancouver.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

vietnamese vegetable

Not sure how to cook this veggie.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trip Plan changed

No vacation in the fall! So maybe in Jan 2009 to Borneo as North Vietnam is too cold. This time in Borneo, my 3rd time, I want to cover North Sarawak: Miri, Lambir Hills and Niah, and then Sabah: Kota Kinabaru, Kinabaru Park, Mesilau, Poring, and Tambunan. Stop over is going to be Hong Kong for transfer but not sure whether to stay a day or 2 there as it is too cold in Jan. Borneo would be still hot but rainny.
Got lots of time to plan and will buy a package custom tour to explore all the places.
Here are some photos.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

beautiful boutique hotel

Hanoi Elegance Hotel 3