Monday, December 31, 2007

Kota Bandung

Had a few days of leave to clear by year-end, so flew to Bandung recently. It’s our 2nd time there. Didn’t quite enjoy the place the first time but after reading and hearing about the place from others, hubby and me thought why not we give the place a second chance. This time around, Mama (MIL) and Papa-in Laws (PIL) joined us.

Highlights of the trip:

Makan Places
Dakken Cafe & Restaurant
An old bungalow turned into a Dutch-Colonial café. According to one of the waiters, Dakken is a Dutch word that means roof. I see! Food was good. Had nasi with sup buntut (ekor) and the ever-popular alpokat (avocado juice). Ahhhh..pure bliss!

The restaurant

Jus Alpokat (Avocado Juice)

Sup Buntut

Kampung Daun
If you are looking for a great place to eat in Bandung, you really have got to try spending some time at Kampung Daun. It’s more for the atmosphere than the food though. But it’s really worth your money. Found out that it was originally opened and operated by a Frenchman married to a local. Kampung Daun is located up higher from Bandung downtown. It's an eating place designed as a 'kampung' along a 200m stretch of a waterfall and stream.

The first step into Kampung Daun, it makes you feel as though you are entering a mysterious forest. Patrons are seated in private dining huts (they call them saung). We had Sundanese food. Ikan Gurame, Ayam Besengek, Ayam Bumbu Bali, Alpokat (of course!! MIL's and my faves!) and Durian Juice!!!

Sundanese Lunch

Our private dining hut

Other dining place in Kg Daun
Kuih-muih tradisional Bandung

Tangkuban Perahu
Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano, 25 kilometre north of Bandung direction of Lembang. The name means overturned boat and it is the only crater in Java accessible all the way by car. This is Bandung's most famous natural attraction. It was really windy and cold when we arrived and kinda felt like I was back in UK at that time.

The still-active crater

Sempat shopping..Good and cheap knitwear sold here

Hammocks sold along the road

Places to Shop
Factory Outlets
There are like over 30 FOs (Factory Outlets) in Bandung, and we did not have the time nor energy to go to all. The brands that they carry are Abercrombie & Fitch, MNG, Nautica, Fendi, Elle, Hugo Boss, DKNY, Esprit, Calvin Klein, Armani, Nike, Gap, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, Adidas, Victoria's Secret and many more. I personally favour Rumah Mode (the biggest FO) and outlets along Jalan Dago atas. These factory outlets, offer overruns and seconds on export garments at bargain prices. The shops carry both Grade A (best quality overruns) and Grade B (seconds with something wrong with them so they didn't pass quality inspection). Some also carry factory rejects but they wouldn't broadcast that fact! Don't be surprised if you see 'Made in Korea' or 'Made in Thailand' tags on the clothes too as many of the shops buy from agents who represents factories in these countries. Or, they are really made in Indonesia and mis-labeled on purpose! Buyers beware because some of the stores also sell fakes along with the factory seconds.

Factory Outlets buys..Gosh, baru perasan it's all black & white!

Rumah Mode

Pasar Baru
Pasar Baru is also a good place to shop for Batik, kebaya, other textiles and 'ole-ole' at really cheap price. We really shopped till we dropped here-spent 7 hours in this place alone! Rambang mata tengok all the kain. Bought quite a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever shopped this much! Maybe coz ada shopping expert with me kot! Hats off to MIL! Next time nak shopping, I know whom to ajak :)

Ready-made lace kebaya
The man tu tengah modelkan selendang for Mama
Hasil tangkapan from Pasar Baru
Paris Van Java Mall
It's a new shopping place. It’s more or less like The Curve here. Believe it or not, it snowed when we went there. Hehe, fake snowlah, sempena Christmas agaknya!

Well, we’re sure glad that we gave Bandung a second chance. Good food, good shopping, good hotel (we stayed in Holiday Inn) and good weather (was around 20 degrees Celsius-sejuk, tido kat hotel tak payah pasang air-con ok!). But then again, maybe its much better this time coz we had good traveling mates! So, Mama, Papa, where to next? ;)

My New Toy

N-Series, 3-3.5G, 2.8" screen, black colour, 8GB internal memory, GPS, 5MP camera, Carl Zeiss Optics...The definition of optimal performance...ahhhh, pure joy!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Secret Language of Sleep??

I am a seatbelt!
Find your own pose!

Seatbelt Traits and Tendencies
After a long night of The Seatbelt pose (and Seatbelts do sleep close to ten hours a night, quite a bit longer than the typical seven and a half), couples wake feeling warm, safe, and uniquely free of doubt. Regular doses of the pose can elevate Seatbelters to a new level of personal confidence, which buoys them to great heights in love and at the gym and can lead to plum promotions and camera time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Anniversary Joe

Things that I am grateful and love you for….
  • You hardly ever get mad at me
  • The way you fix me mean Ribena and Milo Ais
  • The ‘pokok’ dance you always do
  • The way you treat our nieces makes me feel that how great a dad you’re gonna be
  • The ‘MacGyver’ in you
  • You are a technology geek and I'm a techno-bimbo
  • You always open the door and drive my car outside the gate before work every morning
  • You stay up late with me whenever I have to do work so I won't be lonely
  • Your willingness to be converted to things you never would have considered liking on your own, like watching chic flicks, theatre, travel, rock climbing
  • The fact that you watch TV with me even Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty
  • Your ability to convert currency in a split second every time we shop overseas
  • You always support my decisions and choices in life
  • You never raise your voice at me
  • You tolerate my PMS every month
  • You never fail to offer me backrubs and massages whenever my PMS cramp strikes
  • Your great kisses and touches
  • You never push me away when I get onto your side in bed at night
  • In the mornings you sometimes put your arms around me and gently rock me awake so I don't have to wake abruptly
  • You come back home during lunchtime to bring me food whenever I am on MC
  • You always do the laundry. I hate doing that!
  • You never complain when I smell bad after gym
  • You never complain that my tummy and ass are expanding
  • You never fail to end your phone call with ‘I love you’
  • The way you put me before anyone else, even yourself
  • You apologise when you are wrong
  • Your infinite patience
  • You love me, just as I am

Happy anniversary beautiful man! The best four years in my life!

Salam Aidiladha

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

70's Baby

Came across an article forwarded by a pal

Are you a 70's baby? You are one if…

  • You grew up watching cartoons and animations like G-Force, He-man, She-Ra, Transformers, Thundercats, Silver Hawk, Woody Woodpecker and Chipmunks. Not to forget Ninja Turtles, Mask, Smurfs, Voltron.
  • You never missed Japanese series like Oshin, Moero Attack and Chiaki. There was one Japanese cartoon series if you remember called Toriton. I loved it!!
  • ‘Minum susu sekolah’ programme. It was just 30 sen per box! I remember no one got down with diarrhoea over stale milk like what the kids now experience!!
  • You shopped at Hankyu Jaya, Yaohan…
  • You wore Bata and Pallas Jazz shoes to school. There was also this high-cut shoes made in China..Kelas gitu!
  • Your snacks were Mamee, O-Ya, Ding Dang chocolate balls and 10 sen ‘Aiskrim Malaysia’
  • Your favourite games during school recess were Monopoly and Donkey cards
  • You idolised Michael Jackson!!!!

So, are you one? I am!! Cheers to the 70's babies!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bali Hotels and Resorts

Friends been asking me where to stay in Bali. Have only been there twice. Truly love the place and both hubby and I are eager to fly there again. Hmm, bila agaknya ye?

So, friends, here are some of my favourites.

Santi Mandala Villa & Spa, Ubud
When me and hubby went there, it was low season, so we felt like we had the place to ourselves. Santi Mandala is a little tucked away, it is not in the centre of the cultural haven Ubud, but why would you want to be, this location is perfect: privacy without isolation. There is a shuttle bus to take you to Ubud anyway.

If you love nature, peace and tranquility and are not seeking night life, this is it. The villa we stayed in was spotless, very romantic and we had a wonderful view, not luxurious but 'special'. It's nice in the morning hearing all the birds, roosters, ducks waking up at sunrise. For me what made the place special was the staff. They call you by your names – Mbak and Mas. They are forever willing to ensure your good stay and are always smiling. I can still see those wide Balinese smiles now, as I write. Well, If you wish to experience a bit of real Bali with luxury and peace, rather than the terrible tourist compounds of Kuta, Nusa Dua, then you can't go wrong with Santi Mandala.

View of the villas from the pool

Our villa

The pool

The open outdoor bathroom

Seri Suites, Seminyak
The Seri Suites is hidden away in a charming Balinese village, which means it’s out of range of the noise and traffic you may find in areas such as Kuta beach and the crowdier areas of Seminyak. It’s an excellent choice for people that want privacy and quiet on their holiday. The en-suite rooms that I tried are really well designed and equipped with a TV, DVD, stereo etc.

One special thing with the place is that the it allows food delivery from restaurants in town. Various restaurants pamphlets are put in your rooms. We tried ordering food from a northern indian restaurant. Boy, it was pricey but was worth it.

Pathway to the room
The pool

The living hall

Indian food we ordered

Grand Mirage Resort, Nusa Dua
There was a screw-up during checking in, so to make it up, instead of checking us in into our Deluxe Room, the Manager put us in a Suite! What was better was the fact that the suite was on the ground floor, and when you opened the door, it’s the beach!!

The Grand Mirage is not in Nusa Dua actually but in Tanjung Benoa which is a more tourist-friendly location. Nusa Dua has lot of quality hotels but little in the way of outside food and shopping, Tanjong Benoa on the other hand, has many restaurants and some markets. It is a very under rated part of Bali.The resort provides activities for those who are interested or you could laze by the beach and do nothing. A privately-run water sports centre was just next to the resort’s beach. You don’t have to do anything, just laze on the beach chairs and the operators will come to you with their lists of services. Not only that, you can also do beach shopping there : T-shirts, jewelleries, watches etc.

Grand Mirage Private Beach
Beach shopping

Mount Agung in the background

Turn-down service
Hard Rock Hotel, Kuta
This is a good hotel for the young at heart what ever age, but the hotel is dedicated to music so everything is themed that way. Rock & Roll, Reggae, Blues, Psychedelic, Pop and Alternative! So if you want Balinese, pick somewhere else. To those who's into surfing, this hotel is a good choice because it faces the Kuta Beach and located at the heart of Kuta town, where all the excitement is.

Famous surfboard

At the entrance
All-in-all, you can never go tired of Bali. It's very romantic! That's why Ashraff Sinclair claimed he went overboard with Bunga when they were caught locking lips by the beach there. Hehe..Perhaps will write more on Bali later. More coming!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Making Baby

It was during one of the Raya Open Houses that my parents hosted when this Uncle came to me and said “Apalah you ni, lambat sangat!” I didn’t know what he was talking about until I saw my pregnant sister deep in conversation with his heavily pregnant wife behind him. Oh, it must be bizarre to him that an older sister who got married earlier than the younger sister lets her younger sister to be ahead in the ‘Who produces the first grandchild’ race, huh?

Yupp! When my baby sister first announced that she was pregnant after only 3 months of being married, I actually trembled! I was flooded with all sorts of emotions! First, I was afraid of my sister having to go through all the pregnancy symptoms and not forgetting the delivery of the baby itself – how my mother used to say ‘It’s a battle of life and death when you’re in the labour room tau!’ I was actually afraid that I might lose my only sister in the process of gaining a new niece / nephew! Secondly, I kinda felt ashamed thinking about how others will view me as a failure!!

After my sister's 1st trimester, I stopped being scared for her because she 'expanded' gracefully and to me, she was one of the healthiest and most active pregnant ladies around! However, it took me a while to stop feeling such a loser because everyone; neighbours, friends, neighbours' friends, aunties' friends (Malaysians are very good at putting their noses in other people's problems) never failed to share their concerns towards me. Oh boy, you name it, they are very concerned towards you and their comments include things like, "Masih berdua ke, bila nak bertiga nih?", "Oooh, I'm so sorry for you, have you seen the doctor?", "Esh, esh, tak baik merancang macam ni!", "Hey, when you 'do' it, don't think too much of wanting to have kids, just enjoy it lah!", "Apalah you nih, why lah you let your sis have kids first? Tak malu ke?"

Tell me how would you react when things like that are said to you? I used to feel so down and even cried my eyes out but then again I thought, hey, it's my life! To hell what others wanna say! I chose to be like this. I have seen the doctor, I do enjoy it when I 'do' it, No, I'm not ashamed of letting my sis to have kids first, I love her kids, I adore those cuties pies!!! For me and hubby, regardless of what others say, we know 'what', 'how' and 'why' we do it. It's just a matter of 'when' we'll have kids, that's all. And yeah, you can't control what others say. They have the rights to say anything and everything to you. It's how you face, 'telan' or 'tepis' what they say. Malaysians are very caring towards everybody sebenarnya you know!! ;)

Oooh, my appointment with the gynae is on soon, better get it jotted down in my organizer :)

The First Attempt

Have always wanted to start a blog but procrastination was the excuse to why after for soooo long I’ve finally realised my intention! Guess it has been for more than a year since I first thought of doing this! Am fascinated by the way other good bloggers blog. Their stories are all so engaging. And since I’m always talking to myself especially in the shower and while driving, I guess why not I make an attempt to put my thoughts in writing? Lets see how I fare ay?