Friday, July 28, 2017

Murud 2017 - 1

As usual, the blog gets updated in July every alternate year :)  At least it is still active right?  And I try to update, so that in 2 years to come, I have something to refer to (if I decide to go again that is)  But I don't know how long this updating will take... I am actually at a lost on what to talk about.
 
Some of our boxes of ration.  Total 7 boxes - 4 for mountain + 3 for Kampung.  Yes, I agree with Barb. I think we over bought our supply this year (or is it because the group we travelled with were small eaters or the place we stayed in did not provide condusive eating environment?
And as usual, the days crept on me till I realized it was only 1 more month away from BKM/Murud trip.  And no, I have not prepared myself in any way - spiritually, physically or mentally.  Time to buckle up (how much can you buckle within one month??!!)
 
This time, I had to "take care" of 2 of us - Noel and me.  Not an easy task.  My trustworthy sidekick from 2013 (Lyd) was not able to join last minute.  Thankfully and with God's mercy, Barb was there to crack head with me.  5 of us arrived via plane.  3 via road.
On the way to the house.  This old man's "umbrella/hat" is sooooo cute!

As promised to Apu Neng in 2015, here's Noel to meet her.  I thank God it wasn't too late.
First Tea Time when we arrived.  We had so many visitors

First Meal in kampung courtesy of Aunty Alui... don't play play these folks... all their pots, pans, dishes are of high quality!

Complete team having dinner together.  The boys + Mdm arrived at around 4pm.  Nuba laya of course was the staple for Noel and I.
I had come to Murud feeling a bit empty.  Didn't know what to expect, but longing for that same feeling when I left - that strong presence of God.  Of being in that thin place.  To just sit and be silent at His feet.  But somehow, that desire weren't as strong as when I went back the 2nd time in 2015.  I wondered why.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 8 (Going Home)

We got up by 6am to get ready to go to KLSentral.  There’s 4 of us leaving today – mom, dad, noel and I.  Desmond and his family will stay on for another 5 days.  Somehow, we did not have enough luggage space.  I should have gotten that extra luggage bag in LGK!  But we managed to pack everything in and off we went at 8am.  Desmond went with us because he had to send all their luggage which he wanted us to bring home.  I did not want to take a taxi nor a train, because it was too expensive.  I also wanted to leave earlier, and arrive KLIA earlier, with hopes that we will have time to dash to KLIA2 to let mom and dad have a look.  So we took the same bus that Noel and I took when we had first arrived.  We arrived KLIA at about 9++ and quickly checked in but being the airport freak that we are (we all got this freak-ness from my dad who was working with the airlines before), I decided to just stay in KLIA and take it easy.  Where should we eat breakfast in KLIA but McD!  So we sat down for a relaxing breakfast and soon enough it was time to go in the boarding hall.

That’s it!  That’s our holiday!!  I absolutely enjoyed the time, especially when I was alone with Noel, it was a good bonding time.  And the time with the family was long enough to enjoy but also short enough not to get on anyone’s nerves.

Will I do this again?  For sure!  Where to next, Travel Bug?

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 7 (Melaka & KL)

I am glad that we decided to end our trip with a good accommodation.  Today’s breakfast is included in the package.  But just like all the theme park tickets that are included in the package, it’s only for 6 adults.  It’s okay, we will just top up for the other 1 child.  Breakfast was served at the ClubHouse.  A beautiful place with glass panels so you can see the beautiful green golf course outside.  Now, it’s dad’s turn to say that we should have stayed here for 2 nights so that he can relax and catch a game of golf.  Next time ya Dad.  Breakfast was nice and typical of most Asians, we ate our fill.  Onward to the next theme park… The Safari Wonderland… Jane had recommended this and we were looking forward it it.  Of course when the boys passed the waterpark on the way they kept on whining why we didn’t stay another night so that they can spend the day at the waterpark.  Bah, join the queue boys, next time ya….

As we were walking out of the clubhouse, we saw some brochures that says the resort now provides free transport to and fro Melaka town.  This resort is probably another hour journey into town, so giving guests free comfortable bus ride is perfect.  Ya, we really have to stay here longer next time.  Plus, they have services directly to and fro KLIA/KLIA2 as well!

The safari area was large, we started with the elephant show… the elephant were brilliant.  The kids managed to feed them and pat their trunks.  Such huge graceful majestic animals… I wish I am like them – big but moves gracefully.  I am big.  And clumsy.  Ouch.  Anyways… the show was like a drama where the actors are the elephants!  Such clever creatures.  At one part, at the sound of a gun, one of them just dropped dead.  Haha… so clever.  Yes, still gracefully.  I would have plonked down like a huge over riped jackfruit.

After the elephant show, we were quickly whisked away to a waiting cage truck.  It is here that I truly realise how much mom and dad had slowed down.  We were anxious to be the first in the truck, the first at the shows, but they could only go as fast as their old leg can go.  Dear Lord, please give me some more years to bring them around while they still can walk L  Everyone in the caged truck fell into eerie silence as the truck driver warned us to keep our hands off the cage and make sure we do not sit too near the sides because we were going to pass through some dangerous predators.  And we started the journey.  Indeed we saw so many animals, lots of predators and some were really scary as they paced impatiently.  I don’t know who are the ones on show now – us in that caged truck or them, out in the open.

Then we watched a “multi animal funtime” show, the animals were so clever doing so many tricks follow by the “colour of the birds” show.  All were well executed.  We were rushing back to KL that evening, so we didn’t linger much and we had to give “monkey island” a miss.  Yes, a 3D2N would be a better duration of stay.

We said our goodbyes to the animals and drove to the Freeport for shopping!!! We have mulled over the shoes and wanted to get a few pairs.  I needed shoes for work and mom needed sandals for work too.  Since Jane advocated Camel Avtive, bah, no harm trying.  When we got there, we got into a small disagreement because mom and dad needed food and yet mom didn’t want to eat at the foodcourt and there’s no other place to eat and etc etc etc… yes, if you are together for too long, you tend to get on each other’s nerves.  Also, because we had paid for the nephew’s entrance ticket to the Safari Park, it came with one pack of food – which Noel, being the tamchiak he is, wanted to have a share of!  Sometimes, I really wanna strangle that kid.  So, we decided to split before anyone killed anybody.  And we had more Auntie Anne’s (yes, you can tell I am crazy about Auntie Anne’s) as we walked to see if there is anything we can afford.  I got my shoes, and after everyone got everything, it’s time to head to KL.

But as we drove out, Dad said STOOOOPPPPPP infront of the durian seller.  Gosh… the durian were sooooo expensive but dad said let’s just eat a couple because we have been wanting to since yesterday.  Thanks for the treat Dad.  And so began the journey to KL.  We targeted to reach the apartment by 7pm.

I have heard about AirBnB before but had never used them.  As we were planning this trip I tried to see if there were any apartment near KLSentral / Megamall that we can stay in at not such a cut throat price.  And I found one, right beside KLSentral.  Which will make it so much easier to head back to the airport.  What is KL without its traffic right?  I was supposed to photocopy all of our ICs but had not managed to look for any photocopy shop so the check in process was a bit slow and Desmond, being tired, was so cranky!  I told you to swap with me to drive right??? I told you to rest and sleep right??? Gosh!  This is the part I hate most!  Dealing with cranky adults!  Cranky kids are easy to deal with, you just smack them.  Haha.

By the time we checked in, it was already about 8.  And I had to return the van to Putrajaya (another hour’s journey) by 10pm.  Togs were coincidentally in town as well and staying near KLSentral so I called her to go with Noel and I to Putrajaya.  I left my parents in the care of my cranky brother to take out for dinner and walkabout at the nearby NuSentral.  So the 3 of us headed to Putrajaya.  Phew, I am glad this “holiday” is almost over.

Jane was already waiting for us at Putrajaya Sentral.  We left the van there since it was still early to go for dinner at ioi mall.  It was a nice non-halal treat.  Thanks Togs.  Then we headed back to Putrajaya Sentral to return the van.  And because we didn’t managed to bring noel around Putrajaya much, Jane decided to drive around.  We really did enjoy it, Putrajaya is so beautiful and magical at night.  Then Jane dropped us off back to the erl station and the 3 of us got the train back to KLSentral.  It was about midnight when we arrived.  Noel and I then walked with Togs back to her hotel and finally went back to our apartment.

The apartment is in an affluent area.  It was a nice modern 2 bedroom apartment with complete facilities, crockery, cutlery, washing machine, dryer, wifi, cable tv – just name it, you got it.  But there’s a proble...  It was 2 bedroom.  But with 2 big sofabed in the living room, which was fine with me, but mom made a fuss.  Actually she made a fuss since Day 1, just because she didn’t get to stay in the master rooms in all the apartments we stayed in.  One of the rooms was a master bedroom and the other room had bunk bed.  Of course Noel wanted to sleep on the top bunk.  I don’t mind sleeping outside in the living room actually.  When we got home that night, dad was sleeping on one of the sofabed and the other one was empty; mom was sleeping in the lower bunk in the room.

Our flight the next day was at 12 noon so I wanted to leave by 8 out from the apartment.  That means I needed to pack that night.  So pack I did.  Don’t know what time I finally slept but I wished we had spent more time here, in this nice rich man’s apartment.  Definitely must stay here again next time.  End of Day 7.

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 6 (Cameron and Melaka)

Rise and Shine!!! We took off at 7.30am because we didn’t want to be caught in the traffic.  Yes, there was still a lot of people even it’s a Monday because school holidays have already started.  We left without breakfast because once again, the scones at Sungai Palas were calling our name.  Haha.  As we drove off, my nephew said he forgot his glasses in the apartment!!  Gosh… had to climb up again, and no end to our lecture on carelessness!  Delayed leaving by about 20 minutes.  But still there weren’t that many cars.  It was a nice cool morning as we reached Sg. Palas Boh.  However… IT WAS CLOSEDDDDDD!!!  Yes, they open on Mondays during school holidays but… they will only start doing so in December!!! HUAAAAAAA…. SO SO SO sad!  After taking photos just outside (still lovely view) we drove down to Cameron Lavender.  It’s supposed to open at 9am so we were in good time.  Good thing we had lots of food in our van – bread, fruits, corn etc.  So that’s breakfast.  So much for scones.  Huh.

There were already so many people waiting to go in Cameron and once we were in, mom went like WOWWWWWW…. And that my friends, is what I live for.  Mom is a green person.  She loves flowers and anything like that.  We spent maybe 2 hours there, till about then the stomach started to growl.  Mom said she wished we spent 2 nights there in Cameron, so that we don’t have to rush and she could visit more places… next time ya mom!  We couldn’t go to BOH but what’s a visit to Cameron without the tea, so we decided to have tea at Cameron Valley Tea Center.  By now, missing the junction and turning around is normal for us.  Haha.  We missed the junction to this roadside shop too!  At least we still got there… The journey and the getting lost is part of the fun!  Grabbed some tea as souvenirs and had a quick drink.  Time to go everyone!  Melaka is calling our name!  We need to reach Melaka by 4pm so that we can maximize our time there!

So off we went.  The highway seems to go on and on and on… I wanted everyone to try having a meal over the road – restaurant jejantas R&R was my target.  So when we passed through Sungai Buloh, we dropped by for “lunch”.  There’s an A&W there and we the older folks all love the float, so we decided to have our food there.  The kids don’t know A&W because there’s none in Kuching anymore.  Since we will be staying at a “hotel” where the food might be expensive, we decided to just tapau our food from here, to save the hassle and the expenses.  Plus, it would mean we had food in the car should we get lost or anything like that.  Remember, the kids and the older folks can’t be hungry…

On towards Melaka… in the KL traffic.  All the best Desmond!  Hahaha.  Waze brought us till Melaka safe and sound, and what should we see by the roadside but DURIAN!!!! Weeee!! We all love durian!  But not now, we need to check in ASAP.  Waze guided us to a deep kampong road and it went deeper and deeper, arrived at a small hut and said, you have arrived at your destination.  Whut?  We were supposed to go AFamosa Resort, not AFamosa kampong!  Out to the mainroad again, just another 3 minutes drive and we arrived at the REAL destination.  YAHOOO!!

We arrived about 4.30pm, had to drive to a few “reception” to look for the exact check in place, finally checked in and went to our apartment.  WOW!!!!  It was huge and luxurious!  We loved it!  Again, it was a 3 bedroom apartment so we all had our own rooms.  Nice.  Golf course, greens, pools… oh lovely!  Everyone off to the shower and grab a quick bite – we need to get to the Old West Theme Park before the first show starts!  But before that, let’s visit Free Port and see what we can get there… oh loooookkkk!!!! What’s that I see?  Someone munching on Auntie Anne’s?!  As usual, cut the chase and just ask WHERE is the shop – even if it means talking to strangers.  Even if it means embarrassing your son.  Why should you waste time to look if you can ask right?  Right.  So yes, eat your fill!  The Freeport was all full with branded stuff at good price.  Tried a few shoes from Camel Active and said we will come back tomorrow afte sleeping on it.  Noel was still on the hunt of watches.  Guess how much was the watch he wanted? RM450!!!! (with 60% discount) – but NO WAY.  That is enough for another holiday boy!  We then rushed of because the Red Indian show was going to start soon. 

Off to the Old West Theme Park.  Throughout the trip, ever since Langkawi, Noel and I are used to have our photos taken and at the exit point, the staff will ask if we would like to purchase the photos (at a crazy cost).  Same happened here.  We were handed cowboy hats and guns for the boys and CLICK.  Then they took back our hats!  Haha… we thought we could use it throughout the visit in the town! 

At the entrance, it stated that if it rains, the show will be cancelled and no refunds will be given.  Well, let’s hope it doesn’t rain.  There will be 3 shows – Red Indian Show, Parade and Street Carnival.  We got ready for the Red Indian Show… It isn’t as grand as the photos you see online, but it’s still fascinating as you see “the chief” blowing, breathing and putting out fire through his mouth!  Then… raindrops starts falling on my head…!!! Oh dear!! It was going to rain afterall!  And rain by the buckets it did!  Everyone had to run inside because the show was held openair.  We had to wait for the rain to subside.  In the meantime, they distributed raincoats for free and released the goats to “entertain” us… As the rain slowed down, everyone moved out to the theater again, but the red indian show couldn’t continue because it mainly involves fire.  Whilst I was not so impress with the show, I will definitely give them credit for still going through with the show despite the rain, in their costumes and all.  So we had the street carnival show and ended with the fireworks nonetheless.  However, because of the rain, as we walked out from the theater and into the “old town” almost all the entertainment was closed.  At the exit, they showed us the photo they took of us earlier and dad decided to buy 2 of it.  Memento said he.  It was still pouring as we head back to the apartment and called it a night.

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 5 (Cameron)

The family is here!!! Yippie!  Mom and dad were supposed to arrive at KLIA at 7.30am which means we should leave latest 7am.  As mentioned, SIL didn’t sleep at all so she was our alarm clock.  I had to put the laundry in last night as Noel and I were running out of clothes.  Thank God Jane’s apartment came with washing machine.  I thought I will just hang our clothes in the van as we journey.

We left the house at 7 and reached KLIA about 7.40.  Everyone went down to meet my parents at the gate except me – the van driver.  Didn’t take long and we are off to CAMERON!!!! Yippie!! Mom has been wanting to go to Cameron, she’s never been.  The last time I’ve been there was maybe about 15 years ago?  Goodness.  Before even starting the journey, mom requested for food already!  Haha… yes, mom and dad cannot be hungry.  Not knowing where is the nearest kopitiam and not wanting to waste any time, we decided to dropby McD at the road side.  A good decision too, then we could buy bread, drinks etc for the journey since it is located at a big PETRONAS station.  Tummies full we hit the road!

The journey was uneventful.  We stopped at a few R&R for toilet breaks.  My sil, nephew and niece are all prone to carsickness.  With the help motion sickness pill, they slept most of the journey.  However, true enough, going up the winding road to Cameron, our little girl decided to empty her stomach content! Hahaha… But it gave us a chance to stop by the road side to enjoy the nice cool breeze.  Desmond decided to take over the driving (I must have been too slow for his liking; he is a driver too, just like me.  We like to drive and have been driving the church van to ferry people right from the day we got our license)

Up the hill again.  We target to go direct to Boh Sungai Palas Tea Garden for lunch / tea.  Fresh scones with cream and freshly made strawberry compote… YUMMMSSSS…. It was a Sunday and the crowd was T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. Going up wasn’t so bad but we saw snaking queue of cars almost not moving coming down.  We thank God we were heading the opposite direction of the traffic.  The last time I went to Cameron was 15 years ago, but Desmond and his family came up last year so I assumed that they will know where to go.  We drove up and up and voila! We are at Tanah Rata!  Wait… tanah rata?  I thought Sg. Palas was in Brinchang?  Haha… WE MISSED THE TURNING!!!! Gosh Gosh Gosh Gosh!!!! To go back down and join the traffic would be insane.  We sadly decided to give it a miss… AND it will be closed tomorrow, it being a Monday.  So sad… L  It being noon and mom and dad needed their food already, we decided to just dropby any shop to eat.  Literally it was just “any” shop – mediocre food.  Our accommodation was in Brinchang, so we made our journey down and will stop at any place with strawberry or flower for mom to see.  That we did, which was boring since there wasn’t anymore strawberry to pick, but we did buy lots to eat.

 

Sungai Palas Boh was supposed to close at 4pm, and it was about 3pm when we decided to try to see if we can brave the traffic and catch the time.  We did try for a bit, but after considering what information was given by Waze, we decided to just forget about it.  So we stopped along the way here and there to see stuff and get souvenirs etc.  We stopped at KEA farm as well and enjoyed all the nice fresh sweet potatoes while walking around.  And then it decided to POUR!  Haiyah… this rain… kacau kacau saja.

Time to go to the apartment!  I saw a good deal on Groupon but when I contacted them, they said I don’t even have to buy Groupon and the price is still the same.  It was not so difficult to look for the apartment but what was difficult was that it was on a very steep hill and it being a manual van, your leg must really have the muscle!  I thank God that Desmond was driving!!

We got into our apartment fairly easily, though the steps and the lift location / system needed some getting use to.  Unloaded and lo and behold, what do we see from behind the van??? Mine and Noel’s erm… undergarments!!!! MUAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!! I hung our wet clothes on hangers and hooked them to the back of the seats and throughout the journey, the clothes somehow shifted and exposed the underwear!  Goodness gracious me! Imagine what other drivers behind us have been looking at!!! Gosh… so embarrassing!! Ah, thank God we are just foreigners in this land and that it was a rented van!

It was a 3 bedroom apartment so each of our little family unit was able to have our own room.  But the boys decided they wanted to sleep outside at the living room that night.  No issue for me boys… enjoy the “free” aircond!  After shower and resting for a bit, it was already 6pm and we decided to go for early dinner.  What else to eat in Cameron but have steamboat right?? Good thing we went early because a) it started to rain heavily and b) a HUGE group of students / teachers came in for their meal at the same restaurant.  It was havoc.  But we managed to eat in peace.

Next, no visit to Cameron is complete without visiting the pasar malam.  Just a few steps away.  The rain had stopped as we were finishing dinner.  Hurray!  We went our separate ways at the pasar and bought whatever we needed to.  Lots of fresh fruit, veg, corn! Etc… I wish we were going back to Kuching NOW so that I can buy all these cheap and fresh veg.  The ground was wet and puddles everywhere because it had just rained but it didn’t stop the crowd.  After waiting and waiting and looking for each other, we decided to walk back to the apartment.  The steep hill was really a challenge – more so when going down but slowly slowly wins the race right?  I dragged Noel out again because I felt that it was such a waste to just stay cooped up in the apartment when the weather was so nice and cool and there’s so many things to see!  Mom had wanted bedroom slippers (typical mom, wanting things after we got home) and SIL wanted some milo, crackers and maggi.  All the more reasons to go down to have a walk!  It was about 11pm by that time, but it felt safe to walk around still.  We explored Brinchang in the cold.  If we can’t go overseas, then we just enjoy the cold here right? J

Back to the apartment we all had a nice hot supper and then to bed.  SIL said at the pasar malam, one of the hawker said that Boh Sungai Palas will be open tomorrow eventhough it’s a Monday because it’s a school holiday… REALLY??? We should go try to go there!!! YIPPPIIIEEEE!!! Sleep kids!  We need to go out early to look for tea tomorrow!!!  The boys really did sleep out at the living room that night.  That’s what a family holiday is all about J  End of Day 5.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 4 (Penang and KL)

I had purposely booked a late flight out from Penang to match my Brother’s family arrival from Singapore.  So we had today still to explore Penang.  We have many places to cover though… so, rise and Shine kiddo!! Let’s go hunt for Penang Hokkien Mee for breakfast!  Walking on the empty streets early Sunday morning is such a nice feeling.  Unfortunately, the hokkien mee stall in the coffee shop we went to, as guided by waze had closed down.  So we just had whatever that was available.  Kueh Tiau soup – nothing to shout about.

As I’ve mentioned, I am very specific about the brand of tau-sa-peah that I eat.  Nothing less than Him Heang’s originals.  Did my research and the website says be early to grab the freshest and it might run out if you are late.  So after breakfast, we hopped on another bus to get there.  The bus driver was kind as we asked him to drop us where Him Heang is located.  We arrived, crossed the road and WALKED and arrived Him Heang as they were carting boxes of the yummy nuggets out.  Got boxes of them to bring home as souvenirs.

Now, to figure a way back to town!  Uber?  Nah, we still got lots of time, let’s take the bus.  But wait, it’s all one way!  How do we get to the other side of the road??  We asked an uncle was selling apam balik by the roadside and he said, mana uncle tau, uncle pun tak pernah naik bas.  Gosh.  Nevermind.  Come waze, googlemaps, show me your power!  Walk walk walk (why is this peah getting heavier??) walk walk walk… I think we walked for about 30 minutes, even passed through Loh Guan Lye hospital (if I was still with Amanita, I would have dropped by to our outlet there!) and finally arrived at a bus stop.  I sure hope that it’s the right route!  Waited and doubted but in the end the bus arrived.  Hurray!  Back to town it is!  We stopped by the hotel to drop of our haul before setting off again.

We have not done any history lesson in Penang, so… Fort Cornwallis here we come.  Did I mention we walked again?  All this walking is really good actually because we can stop at any time to take photos – which we did with the Clock Tower located just outside the Fort.  I am so glad that there was a free guided tour at the Fort and it was just going to start when we arrived.  Our guide was a local mamak and he was very well informed.  There were a few of us, and I think the guide was a bit bored with us because all of us were Malaysians!  I am sure the guides would be happier if there were foreigners listening to them.  But it’s okay… Francis Light, the barrack where they held all the indian prisoners, the cells, Sri Rambai cannon, lighthouse etc.  It was a very historical visit.  I am glad we did this tour.

And we literally skipped out from the Fort because we were going for NASI KANDAR!!!! Yippiediyeay!  We tried to locate the bus stop for the free CAT bus but can’t so we just opted to use the paying bus, which we didn’t mind as opposed to more walking!  And who would our driver be but the same bus driver we met this morning!  Since we’ve became “friends” this morning, whilst on the way, he told us about Penang and how long we should stay and where we should go.  He said mana cukup satu malam… paling kurang satu minggu… right… one week of nasi kandar… sure…J It was a pleasant ride, I always love talking to locals about their hometown.  I hope I too sound enthusiastic when I talk about Kuching.

We arrived Line Clear with a very long line waiting!  But the kind guy said if we wanted hidang i.e. not individual plates, we can skip the line and just be seated.  We knew what we wanted so that’s what we did.  And our glorious food arrived… oh… soooooooo good and satisfying.  I am coming back to Penang if it was for the nasi kandar alone!

When we were heading out to Penang Hill yesterday, we saw huge sculpture of Bumble Bee and Optimus Prime in front of one of the malls.  With some time to spare, we decided to go there just to take photos!  Crazy Transformers freak that kiddo!  So we hopped on another bus and you guessed it… WALK again from Komtar to the Berjaya Square… it took about 15 minutes.

After taking photos, we went inside the mall and saw some sculpture about tin smelterring.  Then even had explanation under the sculpture.  Wow… history class even without planning!  I like!

All throughout our journey in Penang, I was keeping in touch with Merlinda... we had wanted to meet in KL but time and work constraint made it impossible.  And now apparently, they (those crazy travel bugs!) were also in Penang!  They drove all the way from KL, and here we are on the same land.  Since they have checked out from their accommodation, they decided to come over and meet us at Berjaya.  AND were so kind to take us back to the hotel to pick our stuff AND send us to the airport!! How cool is that!!  Thank God for weird crazy spontaneous friends!  The last time I met Merl and Abi was when Kid #1 was still in kindy, Kid #2 was still a tiny baby and now, even Kid#3 is already so big!  And of course they were shocked to hear Noel’s grown up voice la… hahahaha…

After picking up our stuff at the hotel, we still had time to kill so we decided to go for Chendol.  Waze brought us further and further away and we thought maybe there is another stall else where which Waze knew better.  Alas! It took us to a mall so far away (I can’t remember the name of the Mall now) aaannndddd…. When we asked around, we were informed that the shop has closed down for more than a year! Hahahaha! Tough luck!  We still ended up eating chendol… in papparich… in Penang! Such irony!  But still, what matters is that we all managed to spend time together.  I know that Noel certainly enjoys the company of my loyar buruk friends *heart melts*

So… off to the airport!!!  We managed to arrive the airport on time, boarded on time and got to KLIA2 on time at about 7pm.  First thing first… a dose of Auntie Anne’s J  Then we took the ERL back to Putrajaya and there Jane and her parents were waiting.  Because the next few days the family will be going around together, we have decided to rent a van and the pick up time will be around 10pm later that night.  We had time for jalan – jalan and then dinner.  Jane took us to ioi mall (reputably the largest in Asia now?) and we walked around. It’s definitely a nice change from the normal malls we get in Kuching!  Then, Jane sponsored Noel on this super cool helicopter-can-turn-360° ride as his birthday present.  (Because his mom is too cheapskate to spend that amount of money for a game!)  Did I mention Noel loves my friends?  Aunty Jane just went up to No.1 rank in “mommy’s cool friends” list.  Haha.

Time for very late dinner… When we were in Uni, we always have our meals at this Chinese “restaurant”… The taukeinio would address us LengLui as in pretty girl so we address her as Cantik, and thus her shop becomes Kedai Cantik.  There is NO WAY that I will miss at least a meal here in Kedai Cantik if I am around this area.  Poor Jane have to take me there for my nostalgic meal.  It still taste as good but what’s more important is the sentimental feeling attached to the meal…

By then, it was time to pick our van up.  We went back to Putrajaya Sentral and the van was waiting.  Got the paperwork etc done and Uncle Kalang drove home with me in the van!  Erk!  I hate manual gears!  Erk! Clutch so hard!  I think Uncle Kalang was very worried about me driving it so he asked me to practice more.  Went home, and drove out again with everybody to around Putrajaya, to pump in fuel, to top up Touch & Go card etc… Then we drove back to Jane’s apartment.

Desmond and his family were supposed to arrive around 10pm from Singapore.  But, with very heavy rain and bad traffic at the causeway, their bus were delayed for 4 hours and only left Singapore at 8pm to arrive KL at 3.30am.  Good thing Jane told us that they might be able to stop at Serdang, so they asked the driver and yes, they can and they will arrive at 2.30am.  Oh the poor kids!  We had also asked if Jane can let us stay at her apartment that night, albeit only for a few hours because we will need to pick mom and dad from the airport early the next day.  Thank God for friends who are so generous!  Maybe this is what the early churches were like - All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32.  We took Jane home and lingered around till it was time to pick them up.  How Jane survive with such little sleep just to keep us company is beyond me.

Arrived at Serdang just as their bus were leaving.  SIL was worried because the place was so deserted and there were so many mat rempit.  I too, thank God that I arrived just in time.  Off we went to go back to the apartment.  The kids were excited to be reunited (as if they haven’t met for such a long time!) and it was fun to ride together in a van.  Reached home, got the kids to shower and had cold fried noodles and rice tapau-ed from Cantik as their dinner… Poor things.  I don’t know what time we ended up sleeping that night, but I know my SIL did not sleep for fear we all overslept.  What a long day.  Thank God for Day 4.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bitten by the travel bug - Day 3 (Langkawi & Penang)

Since we were already in Langkawi, I thought the next best state to visit was Penang.  I am not a fan of Penang food, so Penang has never attract me that much.  But I had actually wanted to let Noel try the ferry (I had taken the ferry with friends in 1999) that’s why I decided to go to Penang.  However, the ferry takes 2 hours and being limited on time, I decided not to.

We woke up, showered and went down to check out.  Yes, Mr. Overnight breath was still on duty.  Yucks. Again.  Actually, there was still another historical place that I wanted to take Noel to – Padang Besar Terbakar – but being the airport kiasu that I am, I didn’t want to risk it.  A reason for another trip!  So, we decided to have breakfast at any kopitiam.  I told Noel repeatedly during the trip that I am so glad he is opened to any type of food and that he is so easy when it comes to eating.  We had nothing-to-shout-about wantan noodles.  Well, perhaps there will be better food in Penang.

Off to the airport, returned our car and we were greeted by a loonnggg que at the customs.  When we got to the machine (after like 15 minutes) we were told that we didn’t have to check our bags because it was handcarry.  Haiyah, if I knew, I would have smuggled something out! Hahaha.  Went in to the boarding hall and did our reading about Penang while waiting.  Then a man sitting behind us asked if we could watch his bags while he goes to the toilet.  We did and when he came back we got talking.  He was from India and spent a few days in LGK onwards to KL for a holiday alone.  ALONE.  This is not his first holiday trip to Malaysia ALONE.  And he’s got a wife and kids!  And he’s here for a holiday alone!!  ALONE!  Aduh… I wonder why? L  I did asked him why, he said the kids are working and the wife need to take care of the house.  Somehow deep in my heart I felt sad for this man.  Perhaps in my case, being a single mom and only having a son (who will eventually marry and have his own family; sons are different from daughters you see…), I would do the same – go for holidays alone, but for him… I felt sad.

Our flight started boarding and we said our goodbyes to the Indian ALONE man.  Upon arriving Penang, I made a mental note to check out what brand of tau-sa-peah were selling at the airport because I knew I must buy some home.  Note taken: none of my favorite brand (read: have to find a way to the original shop.  Read: have to carry so heavy around town).

When I was telling friends about this planned adventure, they started telling me about Uber and Grab.  I think they have just started in Kuching, and having a car in Kuching of course I won’t be bothered.  But now is the time to try.  Went to ask for the price of taxi at the counter – phew! So expensive.  Checked Grab (yes, I’ve downloaded the app before the trip) and it was so much more affordable.  So got a Grab.  The guy was pleasant and it was a good trip to town.  He gave us tips on where to makan too.  Oh the joys of talking to locals!

After the experience in LGK and because of not so great advice on TripAdvisor, I was worried about our Penang accommodation.  Little India Heritage Villa.  Already lah the name little india kan? For sure lah lots of bau india! Yes… it was very fragrant!  It was before check in time, and our room was not available yet, so we left our things there and off we went to walk, walk, walk!  I will worry about how our room is later…

What it said about the location of the hotel was at least very true.  Just a couple of steps out and we came to the first of many street art!  A famous one too!  And I became a real street art hunter maniac!  Poor Noel having such insane mother.  It was initially hard to get our bearings so we just walked around for a bit.  And stopping every so often to pose with art.  Haha.  I wanted to go to Penang Interactive Museum first so we walked walked walked and came across Penang Curry Mee!  Yippie.  Meal 1.  Then walk walk walk – eh, what’s that?  Upside Down House!  Yeay… found it without even looking.  Since there was barely any queue at the reception, we decided to go in.

The museum was divided into many sections, each different theme – bedroom, toilet, coffeeshop etc.  There will be a staff at each section who will teach you how to pose and will help you take your photo using your mobile / camera.  The problem is, there are MANY people waiting for their turn at each section.  So you come in, pose, click and move on.  No time to appreciate the upside down art… I am sure it would be interesting to be able to see the details of how they do it.

Once out from the museum, off we went again.  Walk, walk, walk.  And I did not hear the end of “You should learn how to ride a bike mom, then we don’t have to walk so much!”  To… Penang Road Famous Chendol!  Am I glad that at the place, they have everything under Penang’s sun – Laksa Penang, CKT, Lobak, Chendol etc… It was crazy packed but there was there 2 young men who didn’t mind us sharing with them (they even offered noel to eat their lobak)  I ordered the chendol (self service by the way), laksa and CKT.  The chendol was normal, but tasted really good in that sweltering heat; we ended up having 2 bowls each.  The laksa was good, albeit a little bit sweeter than what I am used to, but the CKT was a total let down.  Again.  What is it with us and Penang CKT?  We can never get (or maybe it’s our tastebuds) a “good” Penang CKT.  After the not so satisfying meal, off we went again.  Walk, walk, walk, walk…. Have I mentioned how much we walked???

One of the best thing in Penang as well is their FREE CAT buses.  We saw one coming as we were walking past a bus stop so we just hopped on.  Next:  Penang Interactive Museum.  As you can see, I am trying to cross off all these bloody museums out of the way!  Not knowing where to stop, we just followed the bus to the terminal and walked to the Museum.  It’s not that far and well, we had to walk off our calories right?  Arrived the Museum and spent about an hour there.  More posing, more clicking…  It was nice and a must to visit – but maybe better to be done in 2 separate days?  But well, done.

Next:  Ferry.  One of the things a student MUST see is Penang Bridge.  It is so iconic right?  The longest bridge in Malaysia, and our PM during that time officiated by driving the first national car – of course it’s a must see.  But to be on the bridge, you won’t be able to see the bridge.  Thank God we had experienced this when we took Noel here when he was a year old (same route – Langkawi รจ Penang).  So this time I knew, we only have to take the ferry for him to see the bridge.  We took another CAT to the terminal and walked to board the ferry.  It was a good ride and we saw what we needed to see, and took the next ferry back.  I had wanted to visit the Clan Jetty but more importantly I wanted to catch the sunset at Penang Hill.

Uber? Grab? Taxi?  Nope.  BUS.  Haha… elcheapo mummy.  Another great thing about Penang’s bus system is that they are all so clearly labeled.  And punctual.  And plenty. We got on a bus in no time and headed to Penang Hill.  The journey took us through Ayer Itam, famously known for it’s laksa; perhaps another trip, I was anxious to get up the hill before dark.  Got our tickets and lo and behold a big group of primary school kids were lining up to go up!  And it took the teachers forever to get them organized.  *Eye Rolled* But in the end, we reached the hill just before it got dark.  Kiddo and I just sat there on the hill and watch Penang town transformed beautifully in the dark.  I absolutely love these moments, after the whole day rush, to sit back and just be enveloped in awe.  We had spent our evening in the same way in LGK as well.  Achievement unlocked J Penang Hill is such a happening place as well.  They even have a “love lane” where there’s mushy lovey dovey things along the lane and people took photos – all with extra charge of course!

Time to go down now… We escaped the herd of students and went down.  I wanted to be back in town not too late so called another GrabCar to the rescue.  What’s for dinner?  Nasi Kandar Line Clear!! Yippie!  I have read about this place a thousand times, and sometimes I wonder what’s so great about rice drenched in curry gravy?  Plus, this kind of mamak mixed rice is always so expensive.  But since we are in Penang, we might as well right?

It.was.fantastic.  Noel drenched his rice with “kuah lebih” and had to exchange with me.  But we both enjoyed it to the max.  We are in love.  With rice.  Drenched in curry gravy.  We vowed to come back before we leave tomorrow.  Hehe.

Happy tummy?  Yup!  Time to head back to the hotel kiddo.  Walk walk walk walk walk walk somemore, walk till you can’t take it anymore!  Hahaha… Along our night walk back to the hotel, we passed through so many interesting and happening streets, so many people, so many tourist, so many street art and so many food (but we were too full already).  We did stop for coconut drink at the road side.  It was a really hot day.
At the hotel, the guy on duty was very efficient albeit it being late – must have been around 10pm or something, smelled pleasantly indian (not like Mr. Overnight breath from LGK), retrieved our booking from online and gave our keys and grabbed our bags in less than 5 minutes.  The moment of truth… jeng, jeng, jeng… The room was… GOOD!  Oh thank God!  It was spacious, and clean.  The bathroom too was spacious and clean and Noel didn’t run out because of any cockroach or anything.  There was a wardrobe and 2 sofas and a dressing table even.  All for RM62.  Value for money man!  *pats myself on the back* End of Day 3.