Friday, May 31, 2013

At Random

1. Watched The Perks of Being A Wallflower recently. Falling in love with it. A++. Totally recommended! It's been a while since I'm really excited about any movie.. This one even topped the latest Iron Man installation. Love the lead role, he really carried the character well.

2. Alamanda is getting more happening these days. Many of my favorite stores and restaurants are opening their doors here. Earlier this year Uniqlo set its foot here and yesterday was Dorothy Perkins opening day. yeay! I was one of their first customers! haha... this is posing a very dangerous threat towards the health of my wallet. owhhh... What i like about it is that being a new outlet it has every size - my size is sold out in most of the branches! Tips, sign up for the Fashion Forward membership and get a RM30 voucher as well as enjoy 10% discount on all normal merchandise at Dorothy Perkins, Topman, Topshop, Ms Selfridge and Diva. I didnt know that Ms Selfridge is already here? Gotta check that out soon.  
Dorothy Perkins Alamanda

3. I've recently found the secret to cook a delicious Kimchi Jjigae. Yesterday I made the Kimchi Jigae with Beef Balls and it was the best Kimchi Jjigae I've ever made so far. The key is the longer you simmer the soup the better it tastes - minimum 30-45 mins. Also, add some anchovy stock to enhance the flavour. I used the maggi cube anchovy stock. My Recipe:

    Kimchi Jjigae with Beef Balls    
    - saute 2 cloves of garlic in sesame oil for a while and add the beef balls (i cut the beef 
       balls in half), cook until somewhat brownish   
    - after that put in the kimchi, gochujang and add water
    - let it boil for a while and add the anchovy stock
    - simmer for at least half an hour
    - Put in some spring onions and enjoy it while its piping hot!

Add ramen/noodles/other vege as u like. I had mine with the udon i bought a few days ago at Jusco. Made enough to save it for today. Cant wait for dinner tonite! Btw, I'm using the bakso beef balls which can be bought from Carrefour / Aeon Big. I think it's just perfect to use these beef balls with any kind of soup.

Kimchi Jjigae with Beef Balls and Vermicelli

Baso Sapi Beef Balls
4. I really have to buck up and complete my research / itinerary for our next trip or otherwise we will end up being lost later which will lead to frustration. Taking a taxi is not an option as taxis there are super expensive! I know I'll be super busy starting next week until right up to the trip but i still can't find the spirit to seriously get into it. Fighting!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pengkalan Balak Beach, Malacca

Ok, im having a really bad case of Monday Blues. So, today is not a productive day at work for me, like really. urgh. So I'd better do something else to occupy my time while waiting for the clock to strike 6. Ok, enuff of senseless ramblings.

Last weekend was a long one as Friday was the Wesak Day which is a National Holiday. We took the opportunity to go back to the Captain's homewtown which is located in Malacca. The Captain's hometown is very near to the beach, so everytime we visit, we always took the opportunity to at least to go and "see the sea". The nearest beach area to his house is the Pengkalan Balak area. Of course there are many other beaches along the Straits of Malacca - Tanjung Bidara, Klebang and Puteri but those are a bit further up. 

Pengkalan Balak is always busy on weekends with families taking their kids to play on the beach etc. Especially at the centre where all the stalls are, parking can be difficult to find. I find that Malacca beaches are more popular with the locals as it is located quite far from the city. PD is more accessible to tourists plus the beach facilities are somewhat more developed. Anyways, I would say Tanjung Bidara area is a bit more convenient as the place is a bit spacious. To save urselves from headache, just avoid that place. It's a long stretch of beach, and u can just choose which area u want to go and just park ur car on the road side. However, be mindful that there are no bathroom / changing facilities provided in these areas. So dont forget to bring water to take off the sand and sea water before u take off. A sarong might also help to cover urself.

I myself am content to just hang out by the beach and watch the kids having fun. The water is not that clear, visibility is non existent. However, the kids would still have fun as the water is shallow and the waves are gentle as the beaches located in the Straits of Malacca are shielded by the Sumatera Island. It was a hot hot day and it's nice just to enjoy the afternoon sea breeze in your face while watching the sunset. When we were there, there were lots of seaweed brushed on to the shore. Am not sure whether it has to do with the season or anything.

Last year i had the opportunity to go to a relative's holiday house located right in front of a beach. Like literally, the beach is just in front of the doorstep. That was the first time for me and i was kinda surprised that the area was packed with private homestays. These homestays are not that easy to find on the internet though. You kinda know these places through family / friends connections or come to the place urself - sign board is also non existent. Its nice to have those kind of vacation houses where you just escape from time to time.... i wish..

We also like to just hang around the beach front stalls / restaurants and enjoy the evening breeze. FOr seafood lovers, make ur way to the Kompleks Terapung Ikan Bakar Kuala Sg Baru (Kuala Sg Baru Floating Seafood Restaurant Complex). This complex houses several seafood restaurants quite similar to the Umbai Seafood Complex at much smaller scale . Food is quite good as well and price is reasonable. It is also a suitable place for family gathering. More pics of the complex here.

I dont have much pictures of Pengkalan Balak though. My collection has been wiped out as i recently reset my phone, it's been crashing on me. I will leave you with this one that i took last Saturday. Till then, toodles!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Langkawi Island

Our last trip to Langkawi was kinda unplanned. It was not in our travel radar for this year but we kinda made last minute plans with my in laws. Since we didn’t have anything planned in May, we agreed to go. I did some comparison between MAS and AirAsia and to my surprise, ticket prices for MAS to Langkawi is very competitive. So, MAS it was. But before that, I tried to book our seats through their call centre as it cannot be done online. It was REALLY difficult getting thru, to my dismay I had to make numerous calls (okay it was 3 calls) to get it done. Different person answering the phone were giving different answers / solutions. What I don’t get is that when u travel with an infant with MAS, you’re kinda forced to take the bassinet, even if u don’t want to. To me, passangers should be given a choice as not all babies like to be in a bassinet, like our Q for instance. She would rather sit on my lap than sleeping in the bassinet. We got it solved at the airport when we checked in our luggage. 

Our inbound flight was a new aircraft, im not sure which model. But it had tv screens even in the economy section! The new cabin lightings were quite exclusive with different moods. Take-off and landing was not that smooth, I wonder if it’s a pilot in training.

I booked the Langkawi Seaview Hotel, where we stayed last year. The newly renovated room was pretty nice.. It was clean and spacious and the bed was comfortable. Breakfast has also improved a lot. The last time I stayed here breakfast was terrible. Nasi Lemak was quite delish and Q loved the porridge.

newly renovated room
Since I’ve been to most of Langkawi’s attractions, I was not that much excited to go sightseeing. The weather in Langkawi in early May was HOT. Blistering hot.. We went to the Bird’s Paradise and Wild Life Park anyway for the kids to have fun with the animals. Upon entry the staff will request to take pictures of you. If u don’t intend to buy the overpriced framed pictures at the exit point, do not waste ur time and skip the process. The Bird’s paradise is recommended for kids. Don’t forget to buy animal feed upon entering the park. Other attractions can be referred to this website The list differs from the one in trip advisor though. 


Our trip this time is a bit adventurous I would say. We went to the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls and did island hopping to Pulau Beras Basah and Pulau Dayang Bunting. To get to the Telaga Tujuh Waterfall is quite very challenging. It involves climbing steep flight of stairs to get to the site. But it felt really good since it was a really long time since I last did any climbing. The waterfall are itself to me is quite small, so go on a weekday to avoid the crowd. 

However, the highlight of the trip was the island hopping. Man, it was the adventure of my life, in a bad way. I’ve taken so many boat rides before, but this was the WORST, EVER. It was unlucky for us to do the island hopping activity at this time cos it was not the right season at the Andaman Sea. The current was really strong probably because of the wind. I know for a fact that it’s the rainy season in Thailand, but it is a hot season for us.  The journey to Pulau Beras Basah was not so bad as it was sheltered by several small islands. Pulau Beras Basah beach has nice powdery white sand, it’s a shame we were not able to swim at the beach as the waves were high and strong. After one hour , we departed to the next island – Pulau Dayang Bunting.
Eagle Feeding on the way to Beras Basah Island

the resort was closed down

u can see the white waves from afar - its really choppy out there. that's the open sea (Andaman Sea). 

The boat ride to Pulau Dayang Bunting was really rough as we had pass through the open sea  - needless to say it was a VERY bumpy ride. At one point, our speed boat almost tipped over (FOR REAL), the waves were 3 meter high – I was shivering in my pants. Thank god that we managed to get back to the Jetty safely. I will not be able to forgive myself if anything happened to our Q.

I think it would be quite a while for us until we’ll be hopping on our next boat ride. I think I’ve lost it. I’ve always think of myself as a beach not so babe, but in this trip, part of the beach babe in me has died. I used to feel at one with the sea… Drama, haha. But seriously, I think I’m terrified thinking about the safety of our daughter. Even if we did go on a boat ride, it would have a been a thoroughly researched one.

Our next activity was shopping. Since Langkawi is a duty free island, it is a shopping heaven. Locals normally shop for table and kitchen wares, chocolates, cigarettes, perfumes and other duty free stuffs here. I was eyeing the limited edition Rayban Wayfarer – there was a 20% discount, but did not actually get it. A notable acquisition from the shopping trip was a pink Tefal wok which i got for RM75. As usual, can't resist Tefal, especially when its in pink. :P

I also would like to share a couple of places that we had dinner which is worth to try. Jai Island Cafe is one of the well known restaurants situated in Pekan (City) Kuah. It specialises on fusion cuisine with an affordable price. Do come early (before 8.00pm) as people will start coming after 8. However, do take note that it can be quite stuffy as there's no air-conditioning and limited fans. It would be best if u could sit by the river. Another worthy place to check out is the De Baron Bistro Cafe. It is very spacious with a lot of seating which is located by the sea and a cool place to hangout. There's a lot of food choices here ranging from asian to western. Best time would be during sunset as you can enjoy the view from the cafe.

De Baron Bistro Cafe

All in all it was an okay trip for us. Q enjoyed very much being with her cousins and that’s what mattered. On our way back home, we did talk on our next trip. Bandung or HCM maybe? We’ll see :P

On another note, we’ve secured our alternative destination to replace the now cancelled China Trip. I've read somewhere that the H7N9 flu is under control, but im not taking the risk. I’ve managed to get a refund on the hotel, but the flight fare is a lost case. Where to? Will reveal it after we come back :P. All I can say I’m psyched and keeping my fingers crossed hoping that everything will go smoothly. :) 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Still Alive

I have not said much about politics and the recent elections, but i just have to let this one out of my chest. I'm really happy that the general election is over-regardless of whatever the result was. I really hope that now everybody can just take a step back and just chill a bit. As a citizen, i really really appreciate that we were able to live in peace and carry on with our daily lives as we please and without any fear in our own country. and i pray hard that fellow citizens shares this value as well regardless on which side we are on. Full stop.

On another note, 2013 seems to me like not a good year to travel.. Why la, when i have all my travels planned out for the whole year up to early 2014.... With the bird flu and all, natural disasters etc. hmm. My china trip in June will have to be cancelled. I'm still mulling on whether should i cancel or should i postpone. I have a feeling that the bird flu thing is in for a long haul.

I can still recover the accomodation cost, but with regards to the tix, its a lost cause. I did enquire AA about this, but they said that, bird flu or not, their flights still runs as usual. So no refund or credit shell whatsoever. Kinda unfair, to me. I think its not a wise decision to risk ur health like this-especially when ur travelling with kids. I have learnt that, next time when u book ur tickets, DO NOT pre book ur seat, meals and luggage just yet. Wait until u are really sure that ur going on with the trip. Or otherwise, your hard earned moolah will just go to waste.

Since the captain has applied for leave, he insists that we still carry on with our plans with an alternative destination. We are still undecided. If its up to me, i would love to go on a snorkelling trip, but the captain hates being in the sun. and the sea. Argh... Hope we are able to make up our minds soon so that I we can start preparing the necessary. I'm not one to go on a trip unprepared, kiasu, i know :P

Our next trip later this week is to up north. This time we will be travelling with our extended family and hope everything will go smooth. I've started packing bit by bit since saturday to avoid last minute chaos. keeping my fingers crossed for an uneventful week in the office..!