Penang Trip 2013 P2 – Georgetown, Street Art By Ernest Zachas

July 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

Continues from here.

♥June 2nd♥

The last 3 years when we were at Penang, we stayed in Traders Hotel, but decided we would try a smaller hotel this time. Hence we chose Noordin Mews, a small hotel converted from a corner prewar shop lot, which is near Traders.

It was a rainy morning and we took it slow. Breakfast at Noordin Mew is ordered from a menu (not buffet). This is Zara’s.

And I have poached eggs on toasts.

Not deterred by the rain, we walked over to Jalan Kuala Kangsar, where my favourite dry grocer Fook Weng and kitchenware shop are located. Then it was time for lunch, which we had in Nonya Breeze, another must stop every time we went to Penang (even the girls would insist dropping there for at least 1 meal).

As always, the meal was good.

The girls’ favourite is the Inchi Kabin, and the fried mushroom. Zara almost licked the plate clean.

(Nyonya Breze, 50, Lorong Abu Siti, Georgetown, 10400 Penang, Malaysia. Tel: 04-227 9646)

Before we went to Penang, the hubs had already done some research and picked a few places for dessert. One of them was La Vanille, which serves one of the best macarons in Penang.

The price is not cheap though.

Girls have a tough time choosing the flavour, because we only allowed them to order one each initially.

They sell cake toppers too.

The macarons in fact were very good, instead of 1 each, we ended up having 3 each!

(La Vanille, 122 A Hutton Lane, 10050 Penang, Malaysia. Tel: 04-226 4024)

After our macaron fixed, we just thought of walking around Georgetown. The girls were attracted by the exterior of a toy museum, and wanted to enter.

Ben’s Vintage Toy Museum is just a small set up, but with lots of vintage toys.

Some of the items are still in working condition. The girls, after exploring the whole place in 5 minutes, spent most of their time playing this Tomy pinball machine which was made in 198x.

(Ben’s Vintage Toy Museum, 55, Lebuh Acheh, Georgetown, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia. Tel : 014 308 6657)

And by chance, we came across this bicycle shop. The friendly shop owner was distributing Georgetown Street Art map.

Click on the pix to get the full size map

We were wondering how to get around to see all those street art. The girls although can cycle a 2 wheeler, we were not comfortable they ride around the busy town. The shop owner took us to another section of his shop and recommended us Japanese style bicycle with a basket as back seat, and suggested we take 2, so we adult can paddle while the girls sit in the basket. Zara was a bit reluctant, worried someone she knew would spot her in one of these *roll eyes*; but soon she was enjoying herself too.

The price for these? RM16 per bicycle, we took the bicycle at 5pm, the owner said we can return anytime before 7:30pm, and that’s the price!

(Chin Seng Leong Bike Shop, 84, Armenian Street, 10200 Penang. Tel : 0125533553)

So the girls each held a map and navigated, while we did the paddling. It was quite fun, and the girls felt it was like a treasure hunt they were going on, hunting down all Ernest Zachas‘ streetart. And these were what we saw.

For every street art, there’s an unwritten protocol, people just stood away from the art and waited for their turn to photograph or to be photographed.

This is not by Zachas, but still it’s worth a photo. The Chinese writing said, “If I couldn’t fall asleep, the shop will remain opened. If I overslept, shop will be opened late.” 😛

As for this at the Chew Jetty, it’s already faded and almost all gone.

The girls enjoyed hunting down all these street art, as much as we did. In fact, they wanted to do it again the following day, but we didn’t, as hubs thought a Monday traffic in Georgetown would be more difficult to navigate than a Sunday’s traffic.

For dinner, we had heard so much about Tek Sen Restaurant, and it was nearby, so off to Tek Sen we went.

Well, the food is good, but wasn’t like really THAAAT good. Maybe they do better pork dishes.

(Tek Sen Restaurant, 18, lebuh carnarvon, 10100 Penang, Malaysia. Tel: 012-981 5117)

Back to Noordin Mews, girls were eager to see what the house keeping folks did with Fifi. There she was, placed in the middle of our bed.

This is the room we got, with a King bed + 1 day bed which converted to another single bed. I slept with the girls on the king bed, while the hubs slept on the single bed.

As with all holidays, the girls have to write in their journal before they are allowed to watch TV or use the iPad. So they wrote about their ‘adventure’ hunting down Zachas’ street art today.

Continues here.


July 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I’m a morbid person. I like to talk about death with the children, just so they know it’s not something to be afraid of, and that everyone goes through it.

Yesterday is one of the rare moment where Zaria has to go for a class that Zara doesn’t attend. Alone in the car with Zaria, we had this conversation.
Me : One day, if daddy and mummy died, of all the aunties and uncles, kuma (姑妈), yeeyee (阿姨) that you have, who do you think you would want to ask to be your parents?
Zaria : You and daddy both died?
Me : Yeah.
Zaria (thought a while) : Hmmm. I want jiejie to be my mummy. o.O”

Today over lunch. I told Zaria to keep quiet because I want to ask Zara the same question.
Me : One day, if daddy and mummy died, of all the aunties and uncles, kuma (姑妈), yeeyee (阿姨), ah kim (婶婶) that you have, who do you think you would want to ask to adopt you? Zaria has given me her answer, but I want to hear what you say.
Zara : Who did Zaria pick?
Me : Can’t tell you now. You tell me your answer first.
Zara : (thought a while with her finger tapping her chin) I want to live alone with Zaria. We’ll take care of each other. o.O”

I want to cry just knowing how close these 2 are.

The girls do almost everything together. I’m lucky to be able to arrange that they attend the same morning session in school, go for almost all their extra-curicular activities together. Although they annoy or irritate each other sometimes, most of the time, they get along very well and have a lot of fun together.

Zara has numerous times stood up for Zaria when Zaria got punished. She’s blocked the cane (coming down) that was meant for Zaria, told us off when we scolded Zaria too much and threatened to send her to boarding school (the little one can be a tyrant at times, if you’d been following me on Facebook or my blog), “She’s your daughter too you know.” And it shows by this question, that they do love each other very much.

It warms my heart knowing that their bond is so strong. *wipe tears away* 死也无遗憾咯.

Here is a piece of writing in Zaria’s journal (written end last year). I made her write about her sister, and think about how it would be if Zara is no longer living with us, after they had a big fight, and she said Zara was a rotten sister and asked us to send Zara away.


2 Children, 2 Reactions

July 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

We got home from watching Coppelia Ballet very late on Saturday.

The girls fell asleep in the car on our way home. When they got home, both of them have to take a shower before they went to bed. Of course, both were in a foul mood. I helped them by quickly soaping them and rinsing them. While Zara cooperated, Zaria was throwing a tantrum, spitting toothpaste all over the shower cubicle as a form of protest.

After I’d finished rinsing Zaria, when I wanted to get out of the shower cubicle, I slipped and fall. BANG! I was sprawl on the ground. My left upper arm, abdomen, and right thigh hit the threshold of the shower screen, and I lay like that for a couple of seconds. Zara, who was brushing her teeth at the sink, rushed over and tried to pull me up. “Are you ok mom? Can you still walk?”
Although in pain, I stood up and moaned. Zara asked, “Can you still go to work?”
I asked her why she was asking me this sort of questions.
She replied, “Oh, because if you can no longer go to work, we’ll be poorer.” o.O”
She then helped me out of the bathroom.

Now, all these while, Zaria stood frozen in the shower cubicle. When I turned to her and glared at her (I probably slipped on the tooth paste she spat out). She glared back and me, “What? It’s not my fault wut.” and stomped out of the bathroom. o.O”

No apologies, no asking if I was ok from this girl. This girl has very little compassion. *shake head*


And how was the ballet?

Throughout the ballet the girls were talking with their friends (who sat on the same row) and occasionally exchanging seats (until someone at the back went SHHHHH).

While Zaria was interested in the whole 3 acts, Zara at act 3 was getting bored (guess it was getting really late). Making remarks like “When are they going to stop?” (when 2 guys danced). And when they finally did she went “YEAH!!!” and cheered so loud like she was in a football match and her favourite team scored a goal. R-U-D-E!

As for Zaria, when the lead dancer put on white tights and came out dancing she said, “Now I can see his butt which are like two paos and his giant penis.” o.O”

Malaysia Haze

June 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

The last couple of days, all we Malaysians (and Singaporeans) talked about was the haze! Facebook friends including myself were reporting on API, where to get masks, what was the visibility outside, how the haze was affecting us (itchy skin/eyes, smokey, choking feeling etc).

People were wearing masks, and my girls out of fun, put on theirs as well.

The girls didn’t go to school for 3 days, and were locked up together with me in the study, with ironiser and aircon turned on and doors and windows all shut. Pity them as they are the outdoor type who likes to cycle and runaround at the park.

I made them write about the haze when we were under house arrest, reluctantly they did (hence the sloppy writing) or they won’t get to use the iPad or start their playing session.

Now that the skies are clear and blue, and the fluffy clouds are back, we hope we’d seen the last of the haze.

Sri Lanka Part 7 – Apa Villa and Going Home

June 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm

The post and summary of the trip can be found here.

This was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥29th March 2013♥

The last day of our trip, we just wanted to spend time in Apa Villa and enjoy the place. According to the staff there, the property was built 100 years ago, and owned by a Sri Lankan. It’s now bought over by a European who then converted it to a small boutique hotel (only 6 rooms). It’s a beautiful place with a main house, a vast garden with mature vegetation, and another little house next to a pond. Our room was in the main house, opening up to a courtyard. There’s a big living room with huge furniture, and lots of art work.

One of the table at the dining area.

Server carrying breakfast to the guests.

Even the room key has character

Right outside our room

The courtyard

I absolutely love the old tiles used in the house.

And the garden, beautiful, with lots of flowers blooming. In the mornings, we saw some (wild) peacocks in the garden, and lots of birds visited the place. To maintain the garden, there were quite a few gardeners tending to the garden, making it very beautiful and tidy.

Fallen leaves strung up to decorate another tree, what a great idea

The pond house is away from the main house, where it housed 2 other rooms. I love the swing and the tranquility.

These are the people that added charm to the place. Our friendly server for 2 days.

The gardener who tended the garden.

Apa Villa has two properties near Galle, one is the one we stayed in, i.e. Apa Villa Illuketia, which is in land. Another Apa Villa Thalpe, which is by the sea. Guests are welcome to visit the other property while staying in one. So we thought we’ll spend some time at Apa Vila Thalpe, 15mins tuk-tuk ride away, so the girls can enjoy the beach.

It is another beautiful place.

It was a scorching hot day, so we just enjoyed the pool, and didn’t head to the beach.

After spending the morning there, we headed back to Apa Villa Illuketia for lunch, and then checked out.

The other 2 dishes (pesto fusilli, fish cutlets) weren’t that great, but boy, their Tuna Burger was heavenly…..

The girls were so tired, so we waited for them to nap in the living room before we left.

After their rest, it was the journey up North towards Colombo. I wanted to try ayurvedic massage, and this was my last chance. Asanka made a stop at Hikkadua, not knowing which Ayurvedic Centre was good, I just picked the first that we came across. Hmm…. it was just ok.

As our flight was very late in the night, Asanka had invited us over to his house for dinner and a rest. His MIL made us string hoppers.
Oh man, so much work.

These would then go into the steamer.

After a sumptious dinner, Asanka drove us to the airport.

The thing with flights to and from Sri Lanka is they are all arriving late in the night, and departing late in the night. Our flight out was 1am+, and the girls just propped themselves up on the seats at the waiting lounge and slept.

Overall, Sri Lanka is a beautiful place and still relatively affordable (except for the flight) to go to. We hope to go back soon before they become too developed and crowded with tourists.

I Will Never Let Go Of Your Hand And Keeping Quiet

June 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

We were in the car, and we heard the Hai-O parents’ day advertisement on radio. The ending was a man telling his parents, “I will never let go of your hand.”

Zaria heard that and started saying,
“Aaah, it’s silly.
Well, Don’t tell me, when he goes to school, he’ll have his parents go to school with him as well?
Don’t tell me, when he grows up and becomes a businessman, he’s going to drag his parents here and there and everywhere.
Don’t tell me, when his parents are dead, he’s going to dig out their bodies, and drag their skeletons everywhere.”


And on another day before I was about to make a call to my manager.
Me : I’m going to call my boss, so please be absolutely queit.
Zara : Can we burp?
Me : No loud burping
Zaria : Can we fart? Because I’m just about to fart?
Me : NO!
Zara : Can we breath then?

Yeah I know, I have very entertaining kids.

Sri Lanka Part 6 – Galle and Surrounding

June 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The post and summary of the trip can be found here.

Day 7 journey
This was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥28th March 2013♥

After the meager breakfast at Saraii Village, the breakfast at Apa Villa was a feast!

Huge portion of fruits for us to share.

Girls get eggs and toast.

While we adults got served Sri Lankan breakfast of appa (hoppers) and string hoppers. They were served with a light coconut curry and a sambal.

We usually have our apom and putu mayam (Malaysian version of appa and string hoppers) sweet. So, to have the appa with egg, tasted a bit odd for me, but I don’t mind the plain ones.

Initially, the plan for the day was to go whale watching, one of the to-do things in Sri Lanka. As I terrible motion sickness on our journey to Happutale, we thought we should skip it. I probably won’t be able to take the journey out to the sea. Hence we decided to take things easy that day.

We started our tour for the day late morning. Asanka brought us to a Turtle Hatchery at Habaraduwa. We had to pay a fee to enter the small establishment. There were a couple of cement tanks for newly hatched baby turtles and rehabilitating turtles rescued from the beach/ocean.

Newly hatched green turtles

Newly hatched green turtles swimming with an albino turtles

This turtle was caught in a fishing net, and have one of its flippers severed and amputated. It no longer can sink (according to the guide in the hatchery) and will never get release to the ocean.

A small area was allocated for turtle eggs incubation, with markings indicating when the turtle eggs were buried.

We were asked if we wanted to release baby turtles (the ones in the tank) for a steep price (~USD30?), we didn’t as we don’t really know if the hatchery is a non-profit organisation, or doing all these for profit. And of course, there’s a donation box to welcome any contribution.

After a while, the girls were more interested with the beach where the hatchery was located than the turtles. Don’t blame them, it’s a lovely beach.

We broke for lunch at a local cafe. Such cafes are aplenty in the town area throughout Sri Lanka, and it’s good for tea breaks or simple lunches. Usually they are very clean, and the price for a meal is very cheap.

Not far from where we were, 2 cheeky boys were spotted.

Asanka then dropped us of the market at Galle, as I wanted to get some spices. He was to meet us later inside the Galle Fort.

The fish market was getting less busy but the fish still looked fresh non-the-less.

A fish monger offered his shark teeth for sale, but no, I wasn’t going to bring this home.

Curd were sold in terracotta pots, again I refrain myself from getting one just for the pot.

Just behind the fish market, it’s the spice market. There are only a couple of shops selling spices.

We just picked one to enter. Told the shop owner what we wanted, he quoted us a price, and we started bargaining. I forgot the exact amount, but I think I paid around RM50 for 500g of Sri Lankan cinnamon.

After some shopping, we headed to the Galle Fort.

A little about Galle taken from Lonely Planet:
Built by the Dutch beginning in 1663, the 36-hectare Fort occupies most of the promontory that forms the older part of Galle. The Fort is an amazing collection of structures and culture dating back through the centuries. Just wandering the streets at random yields one architectural surprise after another. And be sure to take in the dramatic views of town and ocean from the encircling walls. Unesco has recognised Fort as a World Heritage Site. A key part of the Fort’s allure, however, is that it isn’t just a pretty place. Rather, it remains a working community: there are administrative offices, courts, export companies and lots of regular folks populating the streets.

Road signs leading to the Main Gate.

Nearby there’s a big bus station, so lots of buses were seen outside the Galle Fort.

And again, school children are often eager to have their photos taken.

It as a day where the temperature was close to 40C, it was so hot, the heat we endured walking from the market to the fort made us so sweaty and tired. Good thing Asanka was waiting for us at the old gate, so he brought us to the lovely Pedler’s Inn Cafe to avoid the afternoon heat.

It’s an old colonial house converted to a cafe. There were long wooden benches with cushions. After a nice cool drink each, the two girls and I took a nap, the hubs went walking around, and Asanka watched a cricket game.

Late afternoon, when the heat is more bearable, we started exploring the fort. There were lots of nice old buildings, little jewelry shops, boutiques, souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.

I chose to get my afternoon snacks from a mobile vendor.

Unlike Malaysia where most street food is packed in plastic bags, when you buy street food from Sri Lanka, it’s likely that it’ll be packed in someone’s homework page. Mine was a page of English homework. Talk about recycling!

Sri Lanka is famous for their gems, we went to one recommended by Lonely Planet, PS Weerasekara Fashion Jewellery. Their items set in local and imported gemstones are more contemporary and hip compared to other shops. We each got ourselves something as a souvenir.

Outside another jewelry shop, a gem stone cutter was demonstrating how gems stones are cut the traditional way.

There were many old buildings seen, and some of them are still in used.

And makes a nice backdrop for a wedding photo.

A lot of people were heading to fort wall close to the sea to catch the sunset, so we headed there as well. Many locals were exercising there, or just relaxing.

After the sunset, we headed back inland where the shops are, because the girls wanted to get some souvenirs. Before that, ice cream first.

We headed to the parking lot where Asanka was waiting for us.

This ends our sightseeing tour in Sri Lanka. That night, we brought Asanka out for dinner at the famous Kingfisher Restaurant at Unawatuna. It’s a small little restaurant with tables set at the beach. It was dark when we arrived so we couldn’t take any photos, but gosh, the food was good! Best of all, it’s very reasonably priced. All of us, including Asanka, enjoyed it. (The girls enjoyed it not because of the food, but because they could play sand while they waited for their food).

Sri Lanka Part 5 – Hambantota Salt Flats, Southern Coast

May 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm

The post and summary of the trip can be found here.

This was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥27th March 2013♥
Of all the hotels that we’d stayed in during our Sri Lanka trip (actually in all the hotels we’d stayed in), Saraii Village was the stingiest with their breakfast. Breakfast was just an egg each (yes, only ONE), and some toast. Another big family who occupied the 2 mud houses and the tree house had to cook instant noodle to feed their group.
(They even charged us for the water!)

This was the resident dog in Saraii Village which ‘guarded’ our tree house, and followed us almost everywhere we went within the compound.

We checked out after breakfast and then started our journey along the southern coast.

Tissa is famous for curds, a staple in Sri Lanka, so many curd stalls line the road at Tissa. I was tempted to get myself a pot just for the pot…

I remember seeing salt pans around Tissa area on google map when I was doing the Sri Lanka research. So when we left Tissa, we kept a look out and then spotted them, i.e. big squarish lakes, at Hambantota. These are the salt flats (flat expanse of salt left by the total evaporation of a body of water), which Hambatota is famous for.

We walked around the area, and then an extremely friendly salt miner came over to talk to us. Upon knowing we were from Malaysia, he asked we could send him post cards from Malaysia, so I passed him my phone.

Thuwan, the salt miner, then showed us around. He told us that in March, the salt crystals were still not fully formed yet, there was just a thin layer of salt in the salt pans. In April, when the salt crystals were ready for harvest, they could be as thick as 3 feet. Salt miners will then have to shovel and break the crystals to harvest them. He went into the salt pan, and then tried to shovel out some crystals for us.

Shovel of salt, not much, because the it wasn’t time for harvest yet.

Salt crystallization happened at the banks too.

The girls, wanted to try to mine some salt.

Thuwan brought us to the salt factory, where he worked, for a visit as well, however no photos were allowed. Apparently, Hambantota produces 30% of the salt in the whole country, and is the major industrial activity in the District and also one of the oldest in the land. The girls now have first hand knowledge of how salt were mined (crystals), then processed into the table salt that we see.

Bidding farewell to Thuwan (and giving him a small tip for his time), we moved on. We saw lots of greyish white balls being sold, and asked Asanka what they were. He stopped at one of the stalls to show us, and let us have a taste.

The fruit, wood apple in English, or Divul in Singalese, is mushy and sour, with a strange custurdy-saw-dusty texture, and a quint smell.

Divul tasting turned to a fruit feast.

We had more king coconut. The girls have some fist size watermelon (but very juicy and sweet).

The stall owner was kept busy cutting this fruit and that for us.

We spent so much time at the stall, 2 school boys came by and tried to befriend the girls (but the girls seeing these were boys, didn’t want to entertain them).

Driving along the coast, we soon came to Dondra Head Lighthouse at Dondra Point or Dondra Head, the southern tip of Sri Lanka, near Matara.

Paying a fee, we got to climb all the way up to the light house. The view from the top was quite nice.

After a climb up the stuffy lighthouse, the girls didn’t mind the glaring sun and heat at all, and wanted to explore the beach at Dondra Head, I just hid under the shade.

Lunch that day was a local cafe near Matara. Besides pastries and buns (which were quite delicious), they made very good Chinese fried rice too. It seems Sri Lankans love Chinese fried rice. So it was a satisfying (and cheap) lunch.

Going to the beach was one of the things we promised the girls. None of the hotels we stayed were next to the beach, hence taking the opportunity of being at the Southern coast, we asked Asanka to stop at a beach for the girls to spend some time at. Asanka brought us to Mirissa beach.

Along the coast near Weligama, we saw fishermen selling their catch. As fish is one of our daily staple, we just have to take a look what is available.

Love how these fishes were displayed.. on a leave with sand sprinkled on it.

And this is the guy who was managing that stall.

Everything looked so fresh. If we were staying at a place with cooking facilities, I would have definitely bought some to try.

The fishermen’s boats were just docked nearby.

And across the street, there were some interesting sights too.

At a big junction (Habaraduwa) just before Galle, we turned in land to get to our hotel, Apa Vila Illuketia.

Oh My!! Of all the hotels we’d stayed in Sri Lanka, this was the best and most luxurious. We took the smallest room due to budget, and requested for extra bed. This is our bed.

And the extra bed we got was queen size, so the girls were very happy to share that.

The girls, after ooo-ying and ahhhh-ying, seeing the beautiful layout, and inspecting the room, wanted a dip in the pool.

Just to show you the courtyard where our room is.

We decided to eat in that night. Siting at the patio, listening to insect chirping and frog croaking, it was quite lovely.

The main house where our room was located (4 rooms in this house, and another 2 further away in another house), and where the dining area is at the patio.

The girls have hot dog and burger, and we had Sri Lankan set dinner. It was great stuff!

Sri Lanka 2013 Part 4 – Saraii Village,Tissa Wewa, Kirinda, Yala Safari

May 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm

The post and summary of the trip can be found here.

This was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥26th March 2013♥

Looking at their website, we were so taken by what Saraii Village has to offer. Staying on a tree house! That would be nice.

Look beyond the novelty and there’s nothing else. We took the bigger of the tree house, i.e. The Nest. We were told there were 2 floors, one for the children and one for us. The 1st floor was only good for putting our luggage, as it was moldy and dirty with tree brunches sticking out from the middle of the ‘floor’. So we were all sleeping on the 2nd floor, which was fine, it’s just that I believe we were mislead in some ways.

The ‘siting’ area consist of cushion laid on branches. While Zaria was siting there soon after arrival, one of the cushion fell right through the big gap of the railing down to the ground. It could have been her! We banned the girls from going to the corner for the rest of our stay.

Getting up and down the tree house took a bit of effort, and it’s an adventure itself. From the room, climb down to the 1st floor.

Then from the 1st floor, to the ground.

The ladders are sturdy, no doubt, I just didn’t like the idea of having to do this middle of the night to go to the toilet, which is shared between the 2 tree houses.

We stayed 2 nights there, and throughout our stay, no one made our rooms, cleaned the toilet, cleared the rubbish bins. The 2nd night, it was raining in the afternoon when we were out, and we came back to find 2 of our mattresses were soaked wet. We were given dry mattresses but had to change our own bed sheets. A bummer, because after a long day out and all you wanted to do was to rest.

If this is all fine for you, it is then the place for you. We got loud peacocks calling in the night and in the morning lots of birds were seen around the village. A truly back to nature place.

Now back to the day. The plan we had was to go for a half day safari in the afternoon, and spend the morning at Kirinda. We got Asanka to pick us up after breakfast, and headed to Kirinda, which is 25km away from our hotel.

On our way there, we passed by Tissa Wewa, a huge man made lake near Tissa town. It’s such a beautiful place, even when it wasn’t on our agenda, we asked Asanka to stop, and spent some time there.

The hubs was having a great time taking photographs of every thing.

There were many local (colourful) transport bringing locals there.

And many Vendors doing their business from their bicycles or motorbikes, selling fried fish and prawns from the lake (no photos), drinks and decorative items.

It’s a place locals like to hang out, not just to sit around and have a picnic, but also to bath!

When I went near the banks, these guys didn’t even shy away, but instead, came closer to me and started soaping themselves! Such good sports!

They seemed to be having fun attracting an audience, and the girls and I have fun just watching them.

Kirinda is a beautiful beach with rocky outcrop with a Buddhist shrine built on a big round rock.

There were quite a lot of people going to the shrine for prayers, probably because it’s Poya Day (full moon prayers day).

The girls who like adventures, turned the rocky outcrop to their play ground.

Kirinda Beach looks nice from afar, but because it was late morning, and extremely hot, even with the girls’ begging, we didn’t go out to the beach, we spent all the time at the shrine. It definitely looked like a very good day to have a cool dip, and again we saw some locals washing themselves at the river outside the shrine.

Asanka suggested we have lunch at Serene Park, a place his clients usually stay. It’s located next to Tissa Wewa, we were back there again. The midday sun was getting hot, so no one was bathing when we got there.

Guess who came out to bath instead? The buffaloes!

Local lunch at Serene Park was pretty good.

Zara who never used to like eggplants, couldn’t stop eating the ones prepared at Serene Park.

The dessert was a plate of papaya and a bowl of refreshing local curd (Tissa is famous for curds, i.e. buffalo milk yogurt).

However, for these, plus a pasta for the girls and drinks, it came up to almost RM180, a steep price to pay!

We booked our afternoon safari with Saraii, so we went back there after lunch to wait for our guide and the safari jeep. We are very glad, we got this very knowledgeable, sharp eye safari guide, Dinesh.

There are a couple of national parks in Sri Lanaka to go on a safari, we chose Yala National Park just because it is renowned for the variety of its Wildlife, and it’s the best park to spot a leopard. The cost of going on this Safari is not cheap, for a 5hr half day safari, the price is USD43/head (children are counted as 1/2 head). It was quite an experience though, so again, it’s something you shouldn’t miss when you go to Sri Lanka.

We had to go on a safari jeep, get entrance tickets and get registered (and go to the toilet if need to). Once we entered the park, we are supposed to stay in the jeep all the time, so going to the bushes to release yourself is not possible. There are only certain areas dedicated for a pit stop, for a half day safari, there won’t be time to stop.

Once we entered the park, Dinesh started pointing to different bushes, different directions to show us the animals his sharp eyes spotted. We were intrigued by peacocks which were every where, and wanted him to stop for us to photograph them. After a few stop, he told us that we did not have much time especially for peacocks as they are every where. He told us to focus on animals which are more rare, but he’ll stop if we saw something we really want to photograph. We went with his suggestion, and here are some of the things we saw.

(don’t know how Dinesh could even spot this among the bushes while navigating the bumpy road)

(Ok, biology isn’t one of my best subject, I don’t know what are the names of these birds we saw even though Dinesh mentioned their names when he pointed them out).

Things got excited when we started seeing mammals! Like wild boars (no photos though as they were really fast), and elephants!

One got really near. These are wild elephants, no chain marks on the legs, not trained, just wild and free to roam.

I think a Safari is considered successful/complete when a leopard is spotted. Dinesh was eager to let us see one, but by evening, there was still no leopards spotted.

We saw more things, but still no sign of the leopard.

Another lone elephant spotted.

As dusk fell, we were giving up hope, as all safari jeeps have to leave the park by 6:30pm, we were running out of time.

Good thing was Dinesh WANTED us to see the leopard, so he used whatever time that’s left to drive through the park again and again (although most other safari jeeps have started to leave the park). We honestly didn’t think we’ll see one and then there it was.

Resting on a rock.

Only 3 safari trucks (including ours) saw it. What an achievement! Even though it was a bumpy ride (literally), we left Yala National Park happy.

On our way back, Dinesh in good spirit, asked if we wanted to stop at a supermarket to buy snacks or drinks. We didn’t want to, instead, hubs wanted a stop at the temple to see people praying during Poya.

It was an exceptionally long day, we were all tired and dirty (from the dust at Yala) when we got back to Saraii Village. So imagine how annoyed we were to find our mattresses at our tree house all wet AND to know we have to change the bed sheets ourselves?

Putting Things Into Perspective

May 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The girls were making Teachers’ Day cards for their teachers.

Zara wrote on her card “Happy Teacher’s Day“ instead of “Happy Teachers’ Day” that I wrote for her.
Zaria wrote on her card, “Dear, Teacher, Belinda” instead of “Dear Teacher Belinda,”
Zara wanted to write “And” but instead wrote “Ad”

I got irritated. So I lectured them.
“Yada yada, so many mistakes on your cards… AND also you can spell wrongly… Don’t even know how to use punctuation… Can’t even plan your writing properly. Yada yada.”

Both girls corrected their mistakes by putting stickers over mistakes, drawing over wrong punctuation etc etc, while I was yakking away.

When Zara was done, she looked at me and told me calmly, “We are children. You are an adult. When children do things.. there’ll be some imperfection, it cannot be as perfect as an adult.”


Then added, “Do you think if I did it so perfectly, teacher Casandra will think it’s my work or your work?”


Ok. She’s putting things into perspective.

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