Penang – I

August 2, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Daddy had to go up North for a work trip last 2 days. Since I am going to do my amnio test next Monday, I thought I’d followed him so we could stop by at St Anne’s to say a prayer before the test.

We arrived in Bukit Mertajam at about 3:30pm on Saturday, the feast day itself. The road leading to the church was closed so we have to walk. There were lots of hawkers lining the street, taking the opportunity to make some money from the event. Some were blasting loud music and songs which I thought was very disrespectful.

We said our prayer in the old church, and then spent some time showing Zara around although it was a terribly hot day. Zara was very interested in the various statues of Jesus and the Saints available, especially the scene of the crucifixion. We tried to explain to her what was happening in each scene in ways she could understand. After that, whenever she see her book on Jesus (which we brought along for the trip), she kept saying, “Jesus pain pain”. “Bad people beat beat Jesus”. “Put Jesus on the stick”.

Zara receiving flowers in the old church; Around the church; an ice cream treat for her.

We then headed to Penang island. We stopped by at Nonya Breeze, a restaurant we discovered on our last trip to Penang a year before, for an early dinner. The food at the restaurant was still very good and authentic, and for a dinner with fish, prawns, chicken, vege, dessert, 4 drinks, it only came out to RM41. Rosie, the restaurant owner, even threw in Zara’s dinner (which consist of a small fish fillet and a bowl of soup) for free. No way we can get this kind of deal and hospitality in KL.

We let her have some fun at the beech before dinner.

We stayed in Bayview Resort as our favourite hotel Lonepine was fully booked. The resort was filled holiday goers from the Middle East. Our room got upgraded, and we got a very big and comfortable sea view room. Zara just felt so right at home in the resort, she even walked about among the fully robed Middle Eastern ladies without a hint of curiosity or fear.

After taking a shower, we went out to the night market to get ourselves some DVDs. With the police on their toes, the shop that we visited (which was recommended by Domestic Rat) was pulling down the shutters to close up, and then reopening after they got the all clear sign, a few times. Daddy and Zara got ‘shut in’ on one occasion and Zara wailed when she couldn’t spot me around. Poor girl.

During bed time, since Daddy had to share a bed with Zara, Zara warned Daddy by waving her finger, “Daddy, cannot snore snore.”

Weekend (lots of) Fun – Photos

July 25, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Weekend mainly is Zara’s time. We try to let her has as much fun as she can.

Saturday – Wall Painting

She wanted to do some painting, but when I prepared her paint and drawing paper, she said “Zara want paint body. Paint face, paint knee”.

So we moved her to the bathroom. Let her do some painting on the bathroom wall, and paint her body. After that, I just washed the wall out and gave her a bath.

Artist at work

Artist and her wall painting.

Sunday – Aquaria, KLCC.

Daddy was contemplating if we should go to the zoo or Aquaria, I suggested Aquaria due to the hot and hazy weather.

It was a good outing for Zara. She was very fascinated with the water creatures, and some of the other animals available on display, e.g. snakes, turtles, tortoise, spiders, frogs, raccoon (yes! There’s even a raccoon). Before the trip, I told her she’ll be seeing sharks, puffer fish, star fish, sea horse. I was a bit disappointed when I couldn’t show her any star fish or sea horses, I felt kind of cheated.

There really isn’t much show cases on colorful sea creatures and coral reefs. The main attraction is the tunnel through the big aquarium with sharks, Murray fish, stingray swimming about and above us. If it wasn’t for Zara, I don’t think we would have ever gone.

Zara was very happy to be in the Aquaria

We spent the most time in the tunnel. Zara kept saying “Shark fly high in the sky” after our visit because many times the sharks swam above us.

More time in the tunnel. And at last, we saw some living corrals, with some colourful clown fishes.

And then I got this as a present from Daddy. A Samsung MP3 player. We were considering an iPod and this, but an iPod costs RM200 more for the same features. So the $ factor decided for us.

Daddy got this for me so that I can play some classical music for the baby in the stomach. With Zara, I used to sit in front of my notebook with earphones stuck to my stomach. This would make me so much more mobile, and I can still move about and play with Zara, while the baby has a dose of his/her classical music.


July 10, 2006 at 12:27 pm

A few years back, I’d been on the Dolous ship with King’s Wife and her girls when it docked in Port Klang. It was more to bring the girls to visit the ship then to check out its book shop on board.

When I heard Dolous is back again in Port Klang, I told Daddy about it, and we decided to bring Zara there on Sunday. We arrived at Star Cruise Terminal, West Port 15minutes before it was due opened (@ 2pm), there was already a long long queue awaiting to get in.

Upon seeing such a long queue, Daddy started cursing and swearing. “Such a long queue!?” “You are crazy to want to come!” “Only Malaysians would queue up for such at thing!”
Zara was asleep, so she didn’t hear any of daddy’s ranting. I just said, “You don’t want to queue then go home lor.”
“You stay in the car and wait then. I go queue up, and call you when you can come.” (It always work if I pretended not to care and let him make the call, hee hee.)

So Zara and myself waited in the airconditioned car, and Daddy went to queue up. It wasn’t that bad, within 10mins, he called and told us to come, it was also good timing as Zara has awaken from her nap.

The Doulos

It was a hot day, and the ship was crowded! We could hardly squeeze into the book shop. When we wanted to get an ice cream, another long queue awaited us, so Daddy told me to just forget it. Despite the heat, Zara liked it though, to experience being on a ship, to enjoy the cool breeze on the deck. When Daddy pointed to her the sea below, she insisted, “Zara go down there! Go swimming!”

We spent less than 30mins on board the Doulos Daddy was so glad to get down from the ship. While we were getting out, check out the number of people waiting to get on board the ship! We spent sometime at the Star Cruise terminal, enjoying the cool breeze from the sea. Zara started exploring, singing, dancing, playing.

If you are interested, the Doulos will be in West Port till end of the month. Admittance is free, you just have to pay RM1 per car to park at the Star Cruise terminal.

Hong Kong Shopping – Photos

July 4, 2006 at 1:11 pm

For the first few days in Hong Kong, I tried to shop for clothes and shoes for Zara, but I couldn’t find anything. They were either the upmarket brands where every thing are ridiculously priced (even after discount); or they are cheap low quality stuff sold in the markets. The more popular local brands like Giordano or Bossini only have clothes for kids 3yrs and above. I was getting disappointed with the shopping.

On the last day, however, I saw there was a sale on in Zara! I love the kids clothes from Zara, they are ideal for Zara because she is tall and lean; most of the other international brands like Osh Kosh and Mother Care do not fit her well because they are made for bigger size kids.

Here are the loot I got for her, most of them are from Zara (which became more affordable after discount).
Baby doll clothes are very popular now in Hong Kong. People with flat tummy wearing ‘maternity’ looking blouse. I got myself one which will cater for the growing tummy. I also got myself a pair of sandals and a bag.

And what is going to Hong Kong without buying the extremely good quality dried sea produce/??. I got the viagra prawns mentioned in Domestic Rat’s blog too, but they are from Southern China and not Sarawak. I bought double of everything below, because I have to give them to MIL as gifts for keeping an eye on Zara and maid during the time I was away.

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Zara modeling her new clothes from Zara.

I got her a watering can from Hong Kong too, she really loves it, and immediately wanted to help Kakak water the plants.

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I wonder when I’ll go to Hong Kong again (the last time I went was 20yrs ago with my mum and sis), it’s not a holiday destination I have in mind. So I’ll wait for my next business trip.

What I like about Hong Kong
~ The transport system, cabs, busses, MTR are very good and extensive.
~ The porridge in Hong Kong is superb, so creamy and delicious. Anybody knows how to make porridge like the ones you find in Hong Kong?
~ The roast goose is to die for.

What I don’t like about Hong Kong
~ People smoke indoor, in buildings, in restaurants. Blech!
~ Food or dishes whipped out from restaurants are extremely salty for my liking.
~ Every where is so crowded, and there’s no green lungs!

Hong Kong – Photos

July 3, 2006 at 1:22 pm

I was back at home on Friday evening, Zara was very happy to see me, she has forgotten how upset she got. She hugged and kissed me, touched my face as though trying to ‘feel’ I’m real, smiled all the time and looked at me affectionately. For dinner she insisted, “Mummy sit with you (me)”. And kept following me every where. At night, she told Daddy, “Don’t want Daddy sleep with you (me), want mummy sleep with you (me).” And she wanted me to hug her to sleep.

Everything was just like before, she didn’t need any ‘warm up’ time.

Here are some photos taken during my trip.

My first meal; after I arrived and checked in to the hotel, it was already 3pm, so I just walked to a near by coffee shop (???) and ordered carrot cake (?????) for a quick bite. I had a table all to myself, but if I lifted my elbow any higher, I would have touched my neigbour’s elbow. The tables were laid just so close to each other. Around the hotel. I was staying in Causeway Bay ???, a very busy shopping district. Shops were opened till 10:30pm – 11pm.My first taste of the roast goose rice ????. It was in a small little neighbourhood restaurant ??, but it was pretty delicious.

Some safety propaganda in the MTR station.

View from the meeting room in the office.

Dim sum lunch with colleagues.

Dried sea produce shops ??? at Sheung Wan ?? (an area popular to get dried sea produce). I bought quite a fair bit from this shop.

The famous Yung Kee Restaurant ????, which supposed to serve the best roast goose in Hong Kong Island.

The display of Yung Kee facing the main entrance.

Stupid Mummy

June 27, 2006 at 10:56 am

Zara is angry I left her.

When I called her on Sunday, she chatted to me, ‘promised’ to be a good and brave girl. Say Hi and bye nicely.
When I called her on Monday, she came to the phone, said, “Zara play ball”, then quickly said bye and left.
When I called her this morning, she didn’t want to come to the phone, I could hear her shouting, “Don’t want mummy.”
“Don’t like mummy.”
“Stupid mummy XXXXX” (XXXXX being my name)

Tuyam told me the whole of yesterday, she has been mumbling to herself, “Stupid Mummy XXXXXX.”

Stupid is a word she picked up but I have taught her not to use, she never uses it when I’m around. She must be very angry with me for leaving her, using the word against me. *big sigh*

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On shopping and eating, I don’t find it so great here. I wanted to get shoes and clothes for Zara, but I have been shopping and couldn’t find much.

Food has also just been so so (even with local colleagues’ recommendation), the only nice food eaten so far is the roast goose… Aaaa, I would like to sink my teeth into another piece of the goose.

Post Bali

May 9, 2006 at 12:01 am

After a week holiday in Bali, I had so much to catch up work wise and blog reading wise. Will need some time to clear some of these back logs. Although I have lots more to share, I’ll have to do this only when I find time.

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If you asked Zara how Bali was, she would say, “Drink” (she can’t understand we went to Bali, to her Bali is the drink Barley).
If you asked her what she did in her holiday, she can’t remember the scenery or the car rides, but she recalled her encounter with the animals. This is how she remembers :
“Pat pat snake” (she patted a snake in Lake Bratan, braver than Daddy, who ran away and hid behind me when the snake handler took out the big snake)
“Hmmm… Pat pat ruh-coon (Raccoon)” (also in Lake Bratan)
“Hmmm… Pat pat big deer” (she likes to punctuation her sentences with Hmmm nowadays. The deer was a wood carving found in Bebek Bengkil restaurant)
“Hmmm.. Touch lion” (one of the stone carving she saw)
“Hmmm.. Touch cow” (another stone carving)

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My take on traveling to Bali:
~ Bali is a nice place to go to. If you are afraid of bombing, avoid the busy or the concentrated area, like Kuta.
~ I think it’s ok to go with kids above 1yr old, but not below. Since drinking water is 100% mineral water, and it’s not advisable to give any mineral water to kids below 1yr in fear that their kidney may not be able to handle the high mineral content.
~ Kids who can already take rice would have no problem eating in Bali, however, you need to inform the restaurant what you order is for kids so no spices or chili will be added. For younger kids, you may want to bring baby cereal along.
~ I sterilised Zara’s bottle using only boiled mineral water, not even tap, just to be safe.
~ Every restaurant serves fruit juices, the water used to mix with the juice is also mineral water, I gave Zara lots of fruit juices, since she’s not taking much vege and fruits while we were there.
~ Bali’s main tourist attractions is not very stroller friendly (lots of steps, narrow path), using a sling or carrier will be better. Popular shopping street is better for stroller, but still very bumpy (uneven road surface and walking path).
~ Renting a car with a driver for the whole day cost (~10hrs) about 450,000Rupiah 350,000Rupiah (US50-US40) with petrol and parking fee all included. It’s more worth it to rent a car, than to take a cab, especially if you are going to a few places. On our first day of travelling in cabs, it cost us 300,000Rupiah in total (Ellie’s->Sukawati->Denpasar->Nusa Dua->Ellie’s).

We survived Bali, so I guess now I can probably plan for another trip to Thailand. 🙂

Bali – III

May 6, 2006 at 1:25 am

Day 4 ~ Sunday 29th April

We hired Ketut’s car again for the day. This time to get us inland to Danau (Lake) Bratan, near Bedugul. It is a town located 1400 meters above sea level. As we got nearer to our destination, the weather got cooler, and we started seeing rice terraces.

Bedugul is a small highland town, a bit like our Cameron Highlands, popular for its vegetables and fruits.

Rice fields on our way; a stop before arriving Bedugul; at the Bedugul market; happy to get myself a pair of beaded slippers for less than RM30

There was some religious ceremony which has just completed when we arrived at Lake Bratan.

Around Lake Bratan; Pura Ulun Bratan, a small temple, can be seen on the pix, built on a small island in the lake; Zara trying out one of the boats for hire; Zara checking out the ‘big swimming pool’ (that’s what she called the lake)

running around and exploring in the park surrounding the lake

For lunch, we headed for a nice restaurant in Pancung, about 20minutes away. It is located on a slope, so you get a good view of rice terraces. It’s slogan for the restaurant, “A view to dine for”.

Zara occupying herself during lunch. Pulling out petals from chrysanthemums, stopped only to munch on some prawn crackers.

We then headed to Ubud, where we’ll be staying for 2 nights.

We chose the Barong Resort right in Ubud town. When we arrived, we got a bit worried, seeing that it’s located right at a busy street, but was quite surprise the rooms are all tucked further in, and it’s very quiet, only sound we heard was birds chirping. It’s almost 3 times the price of Ellie’s and hence more luxurious. The elegant room came with a little court yard, where we could choose to have our complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea; a huge bed to roll about (for Zara) and a sunken bath tub. We also got complimentary shuttle service to any where we wanted to go within Ubud, and 2x 1hr massage (I used them all since Daddy doesn’t like massages).

Zara happy to be bouncing on the big bed; the little court yard; Zara feeding in style; and Zara playing in the sunken bath tub

Since there was still some sun light, we brought Zara to the nearby Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It’s very shady in the sanctuary and rather well maintained. Monkeys were every where, but did not come near us, until I purchased a bunch of bananas. A couple jumped on me to snatch the bananas giving me a fright; and Zara started weeping (still cradled in her carrier) seeing me attacked.

After this incident, every time I ask her, “Are the monkeys naughty or good?”. She would reply, “Naughty!” “Beat mummy (she thought the monkey beat me).” “Snatch many manana (banana).” “Zara sked(scared)”. I seize this opportunity to tell her it’s not nice to snatch things, and she must always ask nicely if she wants something.

Monkey Forest Sanctuary

As for dinner, we went to this very popular restaurant called Bebek Bengkil (or Dirty Duck). It’s a very nice pavilion-style restaurant with a rice-field backdrop. Extremely romantic setting. With a toddler, and to prevent her from mosquitoes’ attack, we took the seat at the main pavilion at the entrance of the restaurant.

The signature dish, crispy duck (duck seasoned with herbs boiled until cooked, then deep fried), delicious with the Balinese sambal

Zara having the drum stick; I was busy eating, and she came and hugged me and said, “Mummy, miss you (probably thought it was the same meaning as Love you)”; Daddy let her try his beer, and after a few dip and lick, dip and lick, she really behaved a bit strangely (I think she got tipsy).

Day 5 ~ Monday 1st May

We just hanged around in Ubud, shopping. I bought some absolutely gorgeous handmade silver and beaded jewelry!

Yes, market again!

Offerings for prayers around Ubud

And for dinner, it was Bebek Bengkil round 2.

Our dinner : Balinese starter (absolutely fabulous), some smoke fish pate (even Daddy who is a fish lover complained this dish is a bit weird), and of course crispy duck again; Zara ‘supervising’ and checking out the surrounding; resting on a cushion; and thumbs up from Zara and mummy

Day 6 ~ Tuesday 2nd May

Time to pack up and go home on our afternoon flight!

We had breakfast at our courtyard; Daddy getting Zara to read on the plane; Zara running about in Changi (since we took SIA).

Bali – II

May 5, 2006 at 8:04 am

Day 3 ~ Saturday 29th April

We hired a car with a driver for the day. Our plan for the morning was to visit the Southern coast of Bali, however, we changed our mind after speaking to Sam, from Ellie’s. Instead, we asked our driver Ketut (almost every body is named Ketut in Bali) to drive us up to Tirtagangga, East of Bali using the coastal road.

We wanted to stop to look at how salt are produced traditionally in Bali on the East Coast, but the road leading to that stretch of the beach was closed for construction. After more than 3hrs drive, we reached Padang Bai, a port on East of Bali for ferries to Lombok. We had seafood lunch there, and then headed inland.

Padang Bai : a port mainly used for travelers to get to Lombok. Clear turquoise water, very popular for snorkeling and diving.Another hour or so, we reached Tirtagangga, the best surviving Bali royal water palace.

Around the water palace, Zara was fascinated with all the sculptures, especially the ones in animal forms

What surrounds the water palace fascinates us most. The lush green hilly rice fields, with lots of walking paths, makes a very nice stop for Zara to stroll around.

Zara very happy to be ‘free’ and not confined in her carrier or the car

Rice fields at the foot of Gunung Agong, seen here with its peak shielded by the cloudsWe made another short stop at Candi Dasa, a small coastal town for coffee.

I love these photos. Zara was very chatty and was talking to me, while Daddy took these shots

It was then another 3hrs drive back down to the South. We got off at Kuta and did some shopping and had our dinner there.

DVDs were going for USD1, I bought 10 Barney DVDs for Zara, and 2 sets of clothing. I’d gone past the phase of buying attractive handicrafts which I’d no used for. If I don’t see a use for it, I don’t buy it, it helps with the pocket.

In the night, Zara slept soundly, while Daddy and I watched Four Weddings and A Funeral on DVD. (Ellie’s had an extensive selection of DVDs for loan, and each room is provided with a DVD player.)

It was a very long day, to be confined in the car most of the time from 10am to 7pm to see scenaries like this, I thought it wasn’t worthwhile.

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Zara’s moments in Bali

We brought along Zara’s comfort softie, Mr Blue to Bali, but unfortunately, it got lost in KLIA before we took off. Guess who became Zara’s comfort object? Me!

She’s always saying :
“Mita Boo, where you(where are you)?” followed by
“Want suck suck Mummy’s breast.” (her exact words, no kidding! And her pronunciation for “Breast” is perfect!)
“Want drink milk milk.”
And she continued to mumble, “Don’t want Daddy’s breast. Don’t have milk.”

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She didn’t have any bowel movements the day we did the traveling, I was getting a bit worried. Then she surprised me while we were having tea at the cafe in Candi Dasa by holding my hand and telling me suddenly, “Mummy (in a sweet tone), poo poo oh-di (already). Change dar-per (diaper) pis (please). Smeh-wee(smelly).” in one breath.

Since then, she’s telling us to “Change dar-per” every time she does her poop.

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I think I’d been telling her she can’t do this and that too often. One day during the trip, while we were getting ready to go out, she was singing (tuneless but I know she’s singing) her own invented song. She sang and swayed, “Ten-not (Cannot) Ten-not Do Do Do. Ten-not Ten-not Do Do Do.”

It was a jaw dropping moment for us, followed by lots of laughing.

Bali – I

May 4, 2006 at 8:42 am

I’d always brought along a travel guide on holidays. This round, I left both my Rough Guide and DK Eyewitness on Bali behind, and we did suffer the consequences. For 2 days, we just traveled long distant to places which are not appealing at all, wasting money and time *sigh*. On a brighter note, the holiday was good, Zara coped very well, in long car rides, on the plane, and even shopping long hours seated in her stroller or carried in the baby sling.

Day 1 ~ Thurs 27th April
We arrived Bali on Thursday night. A car has been sent to pick us up from Ellie’s, our hotel in Nusa Dua. It was pitch dark even though it was only about 7:30pm. The owner, an English named Sam, helped us checked in. It’s a small hotel, with only 8rooms, clean (most importantly) and gorgeously furnished.

While Sam ordered dinner for us from a local restaurant (Ellie’s doesn’t do dinners), we freshened up. Zara absolutely loved the bath.

fun on the plane and in the tub

From our dinner of nasi campur (Malay : mixed rice) and fish satay, Zara only took the rice, some tempeh (Malay : fermented beans) and lots of prawn cracker (her staple diet for the next few meals).

Day 2 ~ Friday 28th April
There’s no buffet breakfast in Ellie’s, but you can order fruit muesli, pancakes, french toasts, eggs, and it’ll be freshly made. You get to choose a hearty fresh juice or smoothie too.

I like establishment like this, Zara is free to roam about, and because the place is small, I’m not worried she’ll knock into people, or lost in a crowd. Zara had buttered toast, and half a glass of watermelon juice (for the next few days, she always had good breakfast, but took little from the rest of the meals).

She wanted a dip in the pool after breakfast and mummy oblidged.

Zara absolutely likes having her back ‘massage’ by the fountain

In the morning, we wanted to go to this big art market Kumbasari in Denpasar (capital of Bali), but the cabbie we hired told us to go to Sukawati instead. What a con job! After 2 hours of car ride, and 110,000R poorer (~RM60) we arrived at a dirty and small market, not worthy of a visit, in a isolated town. The cabbie wanted to wait for us and do the return trip but we just told him off. We roamed around the town a bit, and then took a local transport to Denpasar.

Around Sukawati; sticks for Satay on sale and narrow alley in Sukawati market; taking the local transport back to Denpasar.

We really enjoyed walking about in the local Pasar Badung in Denpasar, it is a very big market with lots of interesting things to see.

Cooked salted fish; lady packing Balinese Gado-gado; different types of eggs (salted, blackened etc); tempeh (fermented bean cakes) of all sort

Flowers for prayers; bamboo leaves for weaving; drink vendor and a very bored Zara; local vege on sale from the baskets

After this, we went to Pantai Geger in Nusa Dua (where Nikko Hotel Bali is located). We didn’t visit the hotel beach, but instead we hung around the local sea weed farms, and had grilled sea food dinner at a beach front restaurant.

After sea weed is harvested, the farmers have to dry them before selling them off; harvested sea weeds are transport by hand; women who need to take care of young kids are not spared; the sea weed farm right at the shore

Zara found a sea weed to play with; the sand around the farm is quite coarse, Daddy had to carry Zara while around walking in the farm; Zara rewarded Daddy with a hug; Daddy and Zara’s footsteps

Zara loved the sand; resting on Daddy’s shoulder with her head perched on Daddy’s head; inspecting a sea weed

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