New Year’ Eve and Happy 2017

Our New Year’s Eve on 31.12.2016 was a peaceful and quiet one at our cozy home, unlike previous years where we would either be counting down in a hotel or be gallivanting  the streets of Bukit Bintang joining other rowdy revelers. Our girls and I prefer a quiet New Year’s Eve where we could watch fireworks display from KLCC, Mid Valley and other parts of KL at the comforts of our own home in our jammies.  Two families from our usual group of friends had some emergencies at home, thus we didn’t have our usual New Year’s Eve count down. Nonetheless, we had a sumptuous lunch at Overseas Restaurant, Jalan Imbi on that day.

Below – backdrop of KLCC and KL Tower taken just before the fireworks were released at the stroke of midnight.

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On 1.1.2017, we were at the Gardens Mall. Hubs, the mil and the girls watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the premium cinema at Gardens while I did what I loved most – retail therapy 🙂

Below – Cass enthralled by her favorite author, killing time while waiting for the movie to start…

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On 2.1.2017, we hung out with our usual group of buddies. After a light lunch at The School, we adjourned to a Japanese eatery and German pub and snacked on grilled saba and pork knuckles with crackling skin while sipping on beer and sake – chatting and laughing over everything.

new year backdrop/new year for sale/backdrop sale

2.1.2017 marked the end of the girls’ 6 weeks of school holidays. Today we are back to reality, back to structured days and me, I started the first day of ‘work’ feeling zombified and crabby, no thanks to my Aunt Flow. My darn alarm clock died down on me this morning. Thankfully I had my phone alarm as back-up!

 

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Hike To The Waterfall @ Ratu Rening

Hiking in the jungle is not the girls’ first. They had tackled Rangitoto Island in New Zealand 2 years ago as well as Stanley Peak and Victoria Peak in Hong Kong last year. But this is by far the toughest ever hike for them at Ratu Rening.  The hike to the waterfall on steep and very muddy terrain (it had rained all night) took us about 2 hours.  The descent was about 1 hour plus. I almost wanted to give up and make a U-turn but our Indon guide had warned us prior to agreeing to the hike that there shan’t be any U-turn. He also asked me several times if I was certain that I wanted to bring Cass along as the hike is not suitable for young kids. So I soldiered on, pushed my boundaries and challenged my stamina despite being breathless each time we climbed up a steep and muddy hill.  There were a total of 7 steep hills to conquer. Flat terrain was easy peasy for me, though muddy. What zapped away all my energy was the steep hills.  We could make a U-turn after reaching a stream about 1km away from our villa. Hubs and I had initially agreed to go back after reaching the stream but when everyone was super enthusiastic to hike for another 1.5 hours to the waterfall, especially Cass, we joined them.  Well, no regrets as the waterfall was a sight to behold. The water was crystal clear and icy cold.  The waterfall area is pristine and unpolluted as I think not many people would want to venture into such a risky hike to the waterfall.

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Below- about half an hour before reaching the waterfall, we had a nerve-racking balancing stunt on some slippery and rickety bamboo ‘bridge’ while holding on to ropes – crawling and climbing down steep steps towards the waterfall. I made sure I was behind Cass screaming to her to hold on tightly to the rope. And I hollered to my man to take a snap shot of this stunt for I know that the snap shots will be priceless and definitely a keep sake for future reminisce.  Am glad he obliged and despite lugging his humongous backpack and mine, he managed to whip out his phone to take a quick snap shot 😀

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Below – see the man with an orange float across his shoulder? That’s our friendly Indon guide.

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As we got nearer to the waterfall, the sounds of the gushing water got louder and louder… and the descent got tougher and finally, voila, we saw the beautiful waterfall!!

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Below – my tough cili padi with an indefatigable spirit braved  2 hours of tough jungle hike on unforgiving tracks without a single complaint. It’s always been her wish to tackle tough jungle hikes, just like her 2 sisters. Cass missed the 2 jungle hikes that her 2 sisters did in Hong Kong last year.  Her limbs were covered with mozzie bites despite me applying thick layers of mozzie repellent and lemongrass essential oil on them but she had no complaints. She was always ahead of all of us and I think she’s a hero in her own right.

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Crystal clear and unpolluted water – can you spot the fishes in the water?

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Alycia soaking in the sun after a long dip in the icy cool water…

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Picture perfect postcard shot of the waterfall…

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Despite the icy cold water and everyone shivering (it was drizzling lightly), everyone made a dash into the cold water. We brought along snacks and devoured on them like a pack of hungry wolves after our grueling 2 hours hike and long dip in the water.

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My baby girl and I…

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On our hike back to the villa, we had a close encounter with these lovey dovey creatures in the midst of their love session!

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I asked the girls if they would want to go to Ratu Rening  for yet another wilderness adventure stay and do another hike to the waterfall and I got three resounding YES!!  As for me, I still have reservations as my main turn-off is the lack of ensuite facilities in the bedrooms.  Well, I may consider doing this again after a few years when Cass is bigger and I have forgotten about all the inconvenience and creepiness of walking up and down slippery steps in the rain in the forest to use the toilet at ungodly hours.

Check out more updates and pictures of our villa at Ratu Rening Residency in my other blog.

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Back To ‘Civilization’!

After a 3-day-2-night stay in the jungle doing ‘camping in style’, I am SO SO glad that we are back home. To civilization!  During our stay in the forest reserve, we were  up close and personal with nature. Though the rustic villa at Ratu Rening was breathtaking, I just could not live comfortably without an ensuite toilet / bathroom in our bedroom. We had to climb up and down stairs and walk briefly (less than a minute) in the forest in the rain to reach our toilet where we would be greeted by a mishmash of jungle insects and creatures (lots of dragon fly, jungle roaches, baby frogs, camouflage insects, ants, lizards, etc) in the toilet when we visited the toilet in the wee hours of the morning *shudder*.   Cass was terrified of using the toilet each time and would stay frozen in a stationery position clutching on to me, lest the jungle insects flew to her direction.

Though the rooms are modern, there are still plenty of jungle insects inside them. Only 2 rooms are 99% enclosed to the top. The other rooms are open, leaving creatures and insects roaming freely into the open rooms! The two most adventurous couples chose the open rooms, sans air-cond. Thankfully it only drizzled on the two nights we stayed there. Had it rained cats and dogs, our friends occupying the open rooms would have been  wet.

I told the girls that they were camping in style in the jungle and that if they had so much complaints with insects and no ensuite bathroom, they have failed miserably and will never have the guts to camp in the jungle in tents sans toilets and bathrooms like how I used to when I was a teenager, where hiking and camping were my forte.  I even did a 1-day solo camp in the deep jungle during a 10-day wilderness adventure camp in Lumut. Yup I was that brave and dirt-resistant but that’s history now.

Our stay at Ratu Rening Residency brought me down memory lane. The loud sounds of insects filling the still of the night as we slept, the walk in the forest to the toilet in chilly air in the wee hours of the morning, the smell of nature, sharing our beds with jungle insects, the hike in muddy terrain to the waterfall, peeing in the wild (haha!), swimming in the waterfall, the BBQ at night, remind me of my camping days in 1987 – 1989. I am in awe that Cass has so much energy to reach the waterfall first and to return to our villa first, along with other kids during the 3-hour hike to and fro the waterfall.  The owner of the villa stated in her website that this place is not suitable for kids below 12 years old. I am so glad that Cass survived living in the wilderness.

That’s the aftermath of our 3-day-2-night forest retreat – loads of wet and muddy clothes and shoes.  I did 5 rounds of laundry today and my house now looks like a make-shift laundry shop.

I can’t wait to plonk myself onto my cosy bed now!

To be continued with more pix of our forest retreat and our challenging 3-hour hike in the jungle to a beautiful waterfall with pristine water and scenery…

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Weekend Getaway In A Jungle

In  under an hour’s time, we will be off to Ratu Rening (near Genting Highlands / Batang Kali) for a weekend getaway with our usual group of buddies and their kiddos. Hubs and I have been friends with these group of friends since we were teenagers. Our girls and their kids have been friends since they were infant. Our girls look forward to this ecological retreat in a forest reserve very much. Errr, but not me. I used to be a sucker for the jungle, camping in the wilderness, swimming at the waterfalls, bathing in the streams and rivers but ever since having kids, I have morphed into a clean freak haha!  Well, guess it’s time to un-morph myself back to what I was when I was a kid. Who knows I’ll love the wilderness and adventurous life once again. I’ve stashed away bottles of lemon grass essential oil, tea tree oil, lots of mozzie repellent and band aids in our bags for our jungle adventure! ha ha ha!!

 

 

 

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School Holidays

The mil came back from Hong Kong after being away for 4 months. As usual, she brought back lots of goodies from Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea and Japan.

We had Panettone Christmas bread for breakfast today. Panettone bread is something that we only get to eat once a year around Christmas, which my eldest sil from Hong Kong buys for us, thus is a holiday treat for us. If you’re new to Panettone bread, you’ll be shocked to see the price tag on it.

It has been a wet holiday the past one week.  Alycia’s tennis lesson had to be cancelled yesterday because of the rain and we couldn’t go to the park either. The past few mornings have been wet too, so I’ve had a good excuse to skip exercise. My bad, I must compensate and try to work out in the gym soon! Drama Queen is already planning on the next baking project in the kitchen and Cass has been spending hours on end doing art and craft.

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The mil ain’t feeling too well and my stint as sous-chef de cuisine has to be extended indefinitely.  Thankfully I have Drama Queen to help me out.

The girls have something to look forward to this school holiday. First is a 3-day-2-night stay at Ratu Rening with friends next week. Ratu Rening is a hidden ecological retreat near Genting Highlands, surrounded by a crystal clear stream and forest reserve. Second is our yearly end-of-the-year holiday at my parents in Ipoh where we plan to have several celebrations during this festive period 🙂

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A Quick Beach Getaway to Port Dickson

Port Dickson started life as a humble charcoal producing town, but in recent times it has turned into a thriving and popular beach destination.

This jewel of a destination is just 60km from Kuala Lumpur, meaning it is a popular destination for city slickers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Indeed, many of them own holiday homes in the area. It also means that the city is readily accessible for anyone who is visiting this exquisite area, it is actually just a one hour drive to the world renowned city.

But don’t go jumping for a rental car too quickly, because there is plenty to do and see in this picturesque holiday destination.

Naturally being near the coast, the area has a great abundance of beaches, with all types and levels of beauty. Teluk Kemang Beach is a popular beach for the locals, calm clear waters and beautiful golden sandy beaches, it is the perfect scene for a relaxing sunbathe and a frolic in the ocean. It is also a great place for water sports, the beach side is well stocked with exciting water based activities to hold your attention all day.

 

While you’re at a beach, the one at Tanjung Tuan to be exact, why don’t you try the thrilling climb up the historic local lighthouse?  Not only is it an amazing example of human engineering, keeping our oceans safe, but it also offers amazing views across the bay and beyond.

Finally after a great day at the beach, perhaps a relaxing massage should be considered, there is only one place to attend. The Thai odyssey is a famous massage parlour and is always reviewed well, thanks to their experienced experts in massage comfort, just be sure to book your slot well in advance.

So you’ve swum and relaxed, now it is time to sleep. Fortunately, Port Dickson has a myriad of hotels, ranging in all qualities and prices for you to choose from (Click here to find more options of hotel!). Below is a small selection of hotels, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Hotel Seri Malaysia Port Dickson
Lot PT 49, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson 71050, Malaysia
With a nightly price beginning at just RM133, this is a very affordable and good quality hotel. There is a pool and restaurant on site, ensuring you’ll never go hungry or bored and the free hi speed WIFI means you’ll always be connected; enabling you to be able to send those priceless holiday photos to your social media sites.  This hotel is available in Traveloka. Simply visit https://www.traveloka.com/en-my.

Corus Paradise Resort
3.5km, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson 71000, Malaysia
This excellent resort combines quality with reasonable pricing; with prices starting at just RM215 a night. It has all the amenities you’d expect at a high class resort including; pools, a gym and excellent restaurants. You’ll never be bored and the business centre ensure you’ll always be connected.

Ilham Resort Port Dickson
Batu 10, Tanjung Biru | Si Rusa, Port Dickson 71050
This is a high end resort and you get what you pay for. Spacious rooms and the highest quality possible, the hotel even provides a viewing tower, so you can enjoy the amazing views it has to offer. An amazing pool and brilliantly stocked gymnasium, all you could want on your resort holiday.

 

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Ocean Green Restaurant, Penang

One of the hubs’ favorite old haunts in Penang is Ocean Green Restaurant. It’s a seafood restaurant situated by the sea.  It is near Northam Suites Penang (our go-to hotel during and after Cass’ surgeries) and Gleneagles Medical Center.

This place is not difficult to located. It is situated by the sea side, at the end of an alley along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, just before Despark Auto College. It is easy to miss the turn, so go slow and keep left.

Besides the delish seafood, the waterfront vista is great too. I prefer to eat there at night as it’s breezier at night. During the day, the hot sea air blown into the open-air restaurant can cause you a little discomfort, especially on a hot and humid day.

Below – Revisiting our favorite old haunt @ Ocean Green on 7 June 2016. We had a very late dinner as everyone was stuffed from a day of non-stop binging on Penang food.

Below – no frills baked crab – with a light touch of salt and nothing else. That’s how we  have always liked our crabs executed.

Below – cheese baked crab – the hubs’ favorite and a dish that he will never fail to order whenever we visit Ocean Green.

Below – oyster omelette (hor chien).  Someone photo-bombed the picture as her tummy was growling and she couldn’t wait anymore!

Below – super crispy deep fried spring rolls with generous amounts of cabbage, crab meat and other ingredients.  Perfect appetizing appetizer!

We also ordered a plate of fresh steamed prawns (no picture taken). As we arrived pretty late at the restaurant, all their prawns supply was sold out and what was left was a pathetic 200gm of prawns which the hubs did not hesitate to accept.

Despite a day of pigging out, we still enjoyed our late night dinner / supper at Ocean Green thoroughly.  Did I tell you that while waiting to go out for dinner, I did an hour of jumping jacks and stretching in the hotel room?  That really helped in jacking up my metabolic rate to burn the calories at a much faster rate 😀

I can’t wait for our next holiday in Penang where I am pretty certain the foodie hubs will stop by Ocean Green again to tuck into all his favorite seafood 🙂

Ocean Green Restaurant and Seafood
48F Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah 10050 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang (Google Map)
Business hour: 12pm-11pm
Contact: +604-226 2681

 

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Lamma Island And Hong Kong Disneyland – 11 December 2015

Our 6th day in Hong Kong on 11 December 2015 was the most exciting day throughout our stay in Hong Kong.

In the morning, we set off to Lamma Island.  We took a bus to the city, then took an MTR to the harbour.

Below – While waiting for the ferry to arrive, the kids played ‘hot potato’ ball game at the quay. And the kids on the ferry on our ride to Lamma Island.

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Upon arrival at Lamma Island, the kids were famished. We bought fish balls for them to munch while we walked around the island to hunt for a restaurant to have lunch.

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Below – We had lunch at Andy’s Seafood. I wonder if this restaurant belongs to Andy Lau? Haha..

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Our lunch…

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This lunch consisting of simple dishes cost us a whopping RM500+ for 6 adults and 6 kids!  But it’s by the beach and it’s a holiday resort, thus the justification for the price I guess.

Below – at one of the piers at Lamma Island, after lunch.  The kids, their uncle Dick and aunt Sarah were in awe, watching a man fishing. He had a bountiful loot in his basket!

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Below – after lunch, we had to take a half-hour stroll to the beach. There were several groups of tourists on single wheel electric scooters traipsing the island.

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We saw this cute doggy on our walk to the beach…

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After a long and breezy walk, we reached the beautiful beach.  Walking along the island village reminded me of my camping days at Lumut and Pangkor Island about 30 years ago, when I was in my early teens.

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Below – the kids playing at the beautiful beach of Lamma Island.

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Whilst the kids played at the beach, I sat under the tree and enjoyed my bowl of ‘tau foo far’ which is a specialty at Lamma Island. We saw many tourists queuing up to buy the ‘tau foo far’ at a small stall along the way to the beach…

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We left Lamma Island at 5ish pm. By the time we reached Disneyland, it was 7ish pm.  Only Cass, my eldest SIL and I went to Disneyland. We took the MTR from IFC Mall to Disneyland. The rest of the kids commented that Disneyland is too kiddish for them. Plus the rest of the kids had been to Disneyland several times.   I thought Disneyland would be too boring and kiddish for me too initially, but when I was inside, I didn’t want to leave. It was so magical there!! I loved the ending where there was a fireworks display, a parade of all the Disney characters and lastly, the release of fake snow for a good 15-20 minutes.  All my favorite childhood characters came to life and with this visit, my childhood dream of visiting Disneyland has been realized 🙂

Below – the MTR to Disneyland is Disney themed. The railings, handles, windows, etc are decorated with Disney characters.

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I wanted to snap many pictures but it was pretty quite dim inside Disneyland. Plus my phone camera does not work well at night and in under dim conditions.

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We watched the kick-ass fireworks display but could not capture the pictures on my phone camera. I did not want to spend my time fidgeting with my phone and miss watching the fireworks.

The Hong Kong Disneyland fireworks and night parade pictures below were taken from flickr.com. Yup, they were this awesome, complete with blasting Disney music. It was very surreal.  When the fireworks display was over, fake snow was released.

We only had our dinner at 9:30pm after the fireworks display and snow fall were over.  We were never that hungry before and had never taken a dinner this late!

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Above – check out Cass’ Disney themed dinner. So enticing and very tasty too.

Below – my vegetarian lasagna, which was delish too. Perhaps we were so hungry that all the food tasted superb to us, haha!

After our dinner, we took the MTR back to IFC Mall, by which time my eldest bil was already waiting for us to fetch us home. It was close to midnight by the time we reached our hotel.

It was a long and tiring day for us but thoroughly fun-filled and memorable 🙂

 

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Bijas Vegetarian Restaurant @ Hong Kong University

With the continuous year end celebrations and feasting all over now, I am going to continue with wrapping up my 6 – 13 December 2015 Hong Kong trip postings 🙂

Now where was I already?? I had to go  through my photo albums and scroll down to check which was my last posting 😀

On our 4th day in Hong Kong, which was a very wet and chilly day, we went on a tour of Hong Kong University (HKU).

HKU is rated 2nd best in Asia in year 2015. Did you know that there are also 3 other universities in Hong Kong rated as top 10 universities in Asia in 2015? And what happened to all the universities in Malaysia? *shrug shoulders*

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After our tour of HKU, we had lunch at Bijas Vegetarian Restaurant.  This restaurant is located within the campus of the university. It was super packed with students and professors on the day we had lunch there.

This was our menu for lunch…

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Below – Vietnamese spring rolls.

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Below – assortment of yummy dumplings.

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Below – deep fried crispy tofu with raw green pea sprouts.

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Below – double boiled aromatic soup with an assortment of mushrooms and natural ingredients.  Though totally meatless, it was nonetheless full of flavors.

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Below – Bean curd sheet spring rolls (not in menu) but added last minute.

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Super crispy rice puff with a super healthy and yummy dipping of pureed carrot and potato.

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Below – stir-fried mock meat. Also an added dish, specially for the kids.

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Below – sauteed asparagus with macadamia nuts, fresh lily bulbs, baby sweet corn, shimeiji and red bell pepper.

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Below – mixed vegetables fried rice with pine nuts and red yeast. The rice with a very chewy and nice texture paired really well with the mock meat.

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Below – dessert was deep fried sesame balls

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Below – house-made soy bean milk with black sesame pudding.

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Though the meal was meat-free, it was nonetheless very enjoyable. Every dish was amazingly executed and uniquely flavored though no meat was used, not overly oily and there was no aftermath of insatiable thirst, which was evidenced that not much or perhaps no MSG was added into the dishes. I would love to return to this restaurant in our next trip to Hong Kong.

Below – after lunch, my eldest SIL treated the girls to some souvenirs at the HKU souvenir shop.

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Back In Ipoh

After a horrendous bumper-to-bumper crawl on almost the entire stretch of highway on the Perak side, we arrived Ipoh 3 hours+ later. It would normally only take 2 hours by car to reach Ipoh.  My bladder almost exploded and I had a massive tummy ache from an overly expanded bladder and a growling tummy, OUCH!

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After a quick lunch at home, I rushed to my childhood friend, Jo’s house to have a brief reunion with my former classmates. We have known each other for over 3 decades, some since we were just a few years old.

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Living in 4 different countries now (Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and USA), it’s a rare occasion for  us to have this precious reunion 🙂

 

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Hong Kong Trip – Day 3 (8 December 2015)

We went to Ocean Park today. The last time I was there was in 1994, with my mum during our Hong Kong and Bangkok tour together. WOW, 21 years ago!  Boy,  have I aged and how did time pass by so quickly??!

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Though it is my second visit to Ocean Park, I enjoyed myself thoroughly with the kids. I saw some newbies in the park – like this enchanting train (pic below) that brought us to the other side from the entrance of Ocean Park.

And this Flash Ride (Thrill Mountain) – as you can see from the pic below, this ride spins you up to 22 metres into the air, rotated 360 degrees by a robot arm.  It is recommended for those who love adrenaline rush.  Alycia and Sherilyn are both suckers for crazy rides like this. Yup, they went up this ride, the roller coaster as well as all all those tummy churning, neck-breaking rides.

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Alycia and Sherilyn wanted to go up the Abyss Turbo Drop (pic below – the twin tower thingy) but hubs and I said NO!! From 20 floors above ground level, you will drop, in a clean, vertical free fall, gawd!

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Alycia and Sherilyn went up this ride too…

Cass was in a real foul mood at Ocean Park coz she did not meet all the requirements for the rides – below 12YO and below height requirement. Poor baby girl. See her droopy lips and sulky face above? I had to bribe her to take that picture with me!

But we managed to sneak her into the white water rafting ride, yipee!  Though we rented rain coats (freaking expensive!), we got wet too!

Above – kids after the white water rafting ride.

Below – to the aquatic to watch the sea lions and dolphins in action. It was by far the most interesting event at Ocean Park. The sea lions and dolphins are so clever!

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The kids munched on grilled chicken thighs and lots of pop corns!

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Hot dogs, fries and pizza for lunch…

Hubs had to cheer up Cass coz she didn’t get to go up on any of the rides that her sisters and cousins went, except for the white water rafting. And she got hit by a toy gun in the eye when it rebounded. She was in tears and I got a heart stopping moment!

We took the cable car back to the main entrance of Ocean Park and then took a cab home.

The ride on the cable ride was exhilarating and it was during this ride that I found out that the hubs has acrophobia (fear of heights) haha!!

 

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Hong Kong Trip 5th Day – 10 December 2015

Today, all the girls attended a baking class, courtesy from eldest SIL.

Alycia followed her uncles and cousin, Lucas for a hike up Victoria’s Peak.

While everyone was busy in the midst of their activities, the hubby and I walked the streets of Wan Chai, in search of all the yummy food in Hong Kong. Yup, that’s the hubby’s passion 🙂

We stopped by at Kam’s Roast Goose, the world renowned roast goose specialist, after asking around for directions to the restaurant and using Google Maps.

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We were 3rd in the queue… but waited for over half an hour for the shutters to be lifted. Check out the beeline from the facade of the restaurant at about 5 minutes before the restaurant opened its doors. Like seriously, is the food really that good?  Well, in Hong Kong, you queue up in almost every eatery.

Below – menu…

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Below – our  plate of half a roast goose and ‘kon lo’ noodles.

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We also ordered a plate of jelly fish, century eggs with pickled ginger and ‘lai char’ (milk tea).  With takeout of 1 whole roast goose, ‘char siew’ and eat-in, total bill came up to over HKD1,500!

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Honestly, apart from the roast goose, the rest of the items were nothing to shout about. I still prefer the ‘char siew’ from the stalls at our local favorite neighborhood coffee shops 😀

After our roast goose lunch, the hubby and I joined the rest at the baking school…

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Below – Sherilyn and cousin Amber baking in action…

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Below – waiting for the buns to be baked in the oven…

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Below – Butter rolls that the girls baked…

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Below – Seafood soup that they cooked…

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And I had another round of lunch of delish fresh-from-the-oven butter rolls, soup and pumpkin salad…

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The girls with their cooking instructor (on the left) and aunt Sarah from Hawaii…

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We brought home over 3 dozens of butter rolls and had them for breakfast for the next few days 😀

 

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Hong Kong Trip Pictures

Hey world, we are back to our home sweet home last night!

Flight was very bumpy and rough for a whole hour during descent as there was a thunderstorm. Thank God we landed safely, PHEW!!

But we were not lucky in getting a cab at the airport. After queuing up for over half an hour for the taxi and no sign of any taxi coming, the 5 of us had to lug our super heavy luggage back inside the airport. Hubs then bought tix for the train to KL Sentral.  Long story short, we got home 3 hours later.  And by the time I had finished washing 2 loads of dirty laundry and cleaned the house, it was only close to 1am that I managed to plonk myself onto my comfy bed. How I missed my bed! 😀

Below – our last meal in Hong Kong, at the airport and it had to be at the hubby’s favorite restaurant, Cheng Du.

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Below – after lunch, we did some last minute shopping at the airport to get almond cookies and Disney souvenirs.

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Finally back at KLIA. We waited for over an hour  before our baggage arrived.

Below –  roaming the streets in Hong Kong on our last night.  We had dinner at Din Dai Fung at Causeway Bay.

Below – Alycia and Cass with aunt Krystle during our visit to the Hong Kong University.

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Hong Kong University is listed as the top 3 universities in Asia in 2014. It sure is my dream for our girls to get into this university one day!

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Below – our girls with their cousins at the book store inside Hong Kong U.

to be continued…

 

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Hong Kong Trip – Day 6 (11 December 2015)

Sorry for the long silence here 🙂

Been busy traipsing, shopping, eating and bonding in Hong Kong the past few days.

As I am typing this post I am queueing up for a ride with Cass at Disneyland and it is 730pm now. We arrived at Disneyland late as we were away at Lamma Island for an excursion.

It is just Cass, eldest SIL and I at Disneyland. The other kids say it is too kiddish for them ha!

Will upload all pix when we are back in KL 🙂

 

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Amazing Race To The Train!

HOLA from the land of pomelos, waat leet leet tau fu far (smooth bean curd), leng luis (pretty girls) and super crunchy bean sprouts!! 😀

We almost missed our ETS (Electric Train Service) ride from KL Sentral to Ipoh yesterday!  The ETS ticket was at 1pm and we hopped into the coach at 12:59PM!  Phew, what a real close shave!!

With only 15 minutes to 1pm from our condo to the train station, I knew that we may not make it coz Hello Shireen, you are in KL, the bustling city of horrendous traffic jam, not Ipoh ok. Even if it was Ipoh, we may not make it in just 15 minutes!

Hubs had planned to park his car and accompany the four loves of his live onto the coach to send us off. But we were super late.  Hubs only managed to park his car at the drop-off area in front of the KL Sentral station and directed me where to go.  But this lady with a faulty compass in her head went to the wrong station, DUH!!  As I ran down the escalator to the wrong station with 3 little girls in tow, ran up the escalator again, asked for direction to the correct station, then ran as fast as we could lugging 2 trolley bags, 1 lap top bag, an oversized handbag and the girls carrying their own bags, I felt like I was in a real life Amazing Race, trying to beat the time to win the race — which is to reach the train.  That was by far one of the most suspense, adrenaline rush of 15 minutes for me EVER and I thought that our RM80 worth of tix would go down the train tracks.  I really thought that we would not make it . I prayed fervently to God to help us and He never let me down, again 🙂

I saw the train master with a walkie talkie outside coach  C and I hollered to him “train ini pergi Ipoh?”, to which he said “YA” and I hollered back “tolong intercomm untuk tunggu YA!”  and the train master chuckled “relak… perlahan-lahan”  and I felt a tad relieved.  But our coach is no. F, FARK!! And we ran as fast as we could to Coach F and felt a GREAT sense of achievement the moment we hopped onto the coach. The time on the TV showed 12:59PM and the train moved off the tracks at 1PM on the dot.  What a close one, phew!!!

Memories to last a lifetime for the girls — our Amazing Race to catch a train back to Ipoh 🙂

See the camera shy  big girl? Aiyo *shake head*

 

Cass doing her school holiday homework on board the train to kill boredom.

 

 

 

 

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Matakana Village Farmers’ Market, New Zealand – 20 December 2014

Another destination to tick on our list of must-visit places the next time we visit Auckland is the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market.

Just 45 minutes north of Auckland lies the picturesque Matakana wine region, the home of over 30 boutique vineyards, olive groves, restaurants and the famous Matakana Village and Farmers’ Market featuring locally grown food and produce. Settled in the 1840’s, Matakana has a proud history and strong sense of community.

The 45-minute road trip to the Matakana Village was one that was filled with picturesque countryside with herds and herds of fluffy sheep and cows on green rolling hills. Though I was really knackered and sleepy from the days of lack of sleep due to jet lag, I just had to keep my eyes wide opened to enjoy the scenic green countryside.

On arrival at the Matakana Village, what greeted me was this tree blooming with beautiful lilac color flowers.  Behind me is a century old church. What a beautiful backdrop on a cool and crisp Saturday morning. I just had to snap a picture for remembrance. What a pity  the girls missed this trip as they had gone to do some indoor extreme sports with their aunts.

At the village market…

 

The ambience and setting of the Matakana Village market reminded me of our very own ‘pasar pagi’ (morning market), except that this village market is way cleaner than our local markets.

 

 

I got myself a cup of freshly made green machine juice on arrival…

 

New Zealand is internationally well-known for its good quality dairy products. Stalls selling cheeses are very common at village markets and are aplenty. But buffalo cheese, buffalo milk yoghurt and buffalo milk labneh? Er, no thanks. There were free samples to try but hubs and I walked passed them.

Available at the market are luscious fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, delicious artisan baking, Italian sausages, organic chocolate, flowers, fine wines, olive oil, nuts and the all important freshly brewed morning coffee with locally roasted beans; all with a live musical accompaniment.

Nestled on the banks of the picturesque Matakana River, the Farmers’ Market has  a unique experience that hubs and I really enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With such picturesque view of the Matakana river, we patronized the Matakana restaurant seated next to the river and had brunch by the river side to enjoy the view and experience New Zealand by watching how the locals go by.  Food was top notch.

 

Too bad the girls missed this trip. I know they would have enjoyed themselves playing on this tree house located along the river bank at the market.

 

We tried this Paella for NZD10. It would be cut throat price if converted into Ringgit Malaysia. And there is nothing really to shout about too.

 

 

 

How could I walk past the organic blueberry stall without getting some? At only NZD5 for 2 punnets, it’s a steal!!

 

We also tried this Greenlipped Mussel and Paua Fritters, which reminded me of our very own ‘ho cien’ (oyster omelette).

 

I thought that these 2 were ordinary trees until the MIL pointed out to me that they were Sakura trees! If only they had Sakura flowers blooming on them, I would be hugging the trees and collecting the flowers!

Till we meet again Matakana, I will definitely pay you a visit again the next time we visit Auckland. I think it will be in another 7 years’ time. And our agenda will be different by then. Perhaps Alycia will be staying there for purpose of tertiary education or perhaps we will all be there as migrants, who knows! 😉

 

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