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Off We Go Again

23 Jun

It’s a long weekend ahead because of the Hari Raya holidays and we are off to hubby’s hometown to see the grandparents. We anticipate a long drive ahead, similar to during Chinese New Year when city folks go back to their respective hometowns. Oh well, part and parcel of the festivities and long holidays…

We will get there when we get there. Just drive safe and no hurry, safe travels to all!

Destination: Taiping, Part 2

25 Apr

Sleep wasn’t the most comfortable but I guess it wasn’t critical when thoughts of what we can eat made up for it. Honestly, it was the pillow and somehow, my little travel pillow didn’t help this time. Sigh…

The day started off early with a trip to the Casual Market for breakfast. Located in the middle of the town, this food court had plenty to offer. A friend highly recommended Stall 64 for the Curry Laksa but it was closed! Oh… disappointment kicked in.

But fret not, there were plenty of other choices and we had our fill. And the day was still young, so we headed back to Taiping Lake Gardens as the skies were clear and perfect to admire the trees.

It was indeed very pretty, all the trees leaning towards the water. The reflection and the surrounding was so peaceful and calming. We sat by the lake just to breathe in the fresh air and absorbed some Vitamin D (the sun).

Then we headed to Kuala Sepetang to visit the Charcoal Factory. It was very enlightening to learn how charcoal are made. After that visit, we went across the road and explored the mangrove forest to pass time so that we can have lunch at Lemon Tree Restaurant nearby (in Matang) for the recommended seafood porridge. Like last night’s dinner, the porridge was very good, and cheap!

Sated to the brim (burp), it was time to leave Matang and Taiping now filled with memories of cheap eats and wonderful discoveries. The drive back was pleasant enough and we decided to detour to Ipoh for coffee! After all, this was a gastronomic journey, why not cap it with some good coffee.

Now you see why the need for stretchy pants?

Closed! Not our luck this time.


But we had all these other options!

  

Feels like entering a long tunnel. Branches are so unique!




  
  

Mr Chuah has quite an impressive charcoal factory!


Mangrove wood are stripped of the bark, sun-dried first and then into the kiln they go


The backyard for all the wood supplies to reach the clusters of factories at this place

  

This kiln has been sealed to further smoke the 1,500 pieces of mangrove wood inside. 


This fella was getting some hot charcoal to actually bake some potatoes!

  

This kiln has yet to be sealed. Smoke coming out is actually the moisture from the wood. Foreground rubber wood are used for burning to smoke the mangrove wood


  

Laden with crab, prawns, fish, scallops and fishballs, best seafood porridge we had!


Iced coffee, iced milk coffee and toast before we head home!

Destination: Taiping

24 Apr

You know you’re courting fatness when you go on a foodie road trip and stretchy pants are intentionally packed along. All those food that will be eaten will surely go to the waist and the stretchy pants will accommodate this indulgence!

Well, with the tennis elbow limiting my exercise, an outstation trip this time is not a golf outing so a food outing is the next best thing. It’s an unexpected public holiday today and we made the most of long three-day weekend with Mom and M2 for the short getaway.

The destination: Taiping this time instead of Penang or Ipoh, our usual go-to places. The little town has a lot of cheap and delicious eats worthy to rival the two other famed destinations.

The drive on Saturday morning wasn’t too bad without the holiday-makers although there were some stretches that were slow and congested. When we finally arrived at Taiping, we looked for a place to eat for it was way past the usual lunchtime.

The Char Kueh Teow we had was good, at a ridiculously cheap price that you simply cannot find in KL – Four Ringgit. Even the Chicken Rice was Four Ringgit, and both had sizeable portions, not less at this price. Food prices in KL has soared so much recently and to find something good at this price was just amazing.

The rain was a spoiler especially when we wanted to see the famed trees at Taiping Lake Gardens. And came down even harder when we made our way to Matang for dinner but we took things in stride. No rush, no hurry, no stress, just go with the flow of the situation.

Our dinner was so so cheap. I seriously think if we ate the same things back in KL, it would cost twice the amount! The portions were big and the taste… Oh so good.

Towards the end of the evening, the sporadic rainfall prevented us from coming out of the car. So we just drove around the town, which had a similar feel to Ipoh. Hubby and I agreed that the town is worthy of a revisit plus a golf game thrown in at Taiping Golf Resort.

We called it an early night as the next day, we had a more comprehensive food trail to do and sights to take in.

   
 
  
   

A fallen raintree that was equally appealing

  

Dinner was so good

 

Tall People Travel Too

3 Apr

I speak purely from a shorty’s point of view when it comes to height challenging situations during my travels. The few encounters I had are definitely opposites for a tall person. A reader highlighted this to me.

It never crossed my mind that tall people also have travel woes – simple things like the hotel room’s mirror being too low and the shower head being too low as well for their tall frame. Wow. I never knew.

Hubby and the girls are all average like me. But my only sibling is a one tall dude, standing at six feet in height while yours truly, almost a foot shorter than him (5 feet 1.5 inches). I do remember brother dearest has mentioned to me before that normal beds was a issue for him. His feet would stick out of the bed but other than this, I have not heard much of his height travel woes.

Somewhere along the growing up years, he must have eaten more of something that I didn’t… How else can I explain this huge height discrepancy?

Wouldn’t it be awesome for the travel scene if the hospitality industry came up with two types of room: one for short travelers and one for tall travelers to address the height challenges? But would cost be a deterrent to make this happen?

Wishful thinking… so whether you are tall or short, keep on traveling so that there’s stories and experiences to share!!!

Short People Travel Too, Part 2

30 Mar

I must say I was impressed with the ample hooks in the bathroom of Kings Green Hotel at Malacca. It’s rare because most hotels that I have stayed at somehow do not place an importance on their availability, what more on height especially for short travellers. Could this be a hotel star-rating issue? A five-star versus a three-star for such amenities?

I remember when we were in Ipoh in August last year for golf as well, we faced a similar short travellers’ woes…

The hotel we stayed at was boutique-status and you would expect a nicer setup. If having a rain shower facility is considered a nice boutique offering, having no shower curtain certainly spoilt it.  I certainly didn’t place my dry clothes on the covered toilet seat because it’s so close by and water from such a height hitting a body would definitely splash beyond the imaginary demarcation.

In truth, I don’t recall any bathroom hooks (not even on the door) to hang clothes but I do remember the towel rack was placed at such a ridiculous height, it was impossible to use. I understand they may be trying to clear the floor but touching the ceiling? Goodness! How do I place my clothes? Throw them up and hope they land safely on it? Geez.

Maybe the boutique status was more of the coffees and cakes they serve at the lobby? Hmm… Now compare it a five-star hotel…

Several years ago, I was on a business trip to Singapore and stayed at Shangri-La on Orange Grove. Their bathroom was outstanding. Hooks everywhere and at a height a shorty feels right at home. Like I said, are such little details due to the premise’s space and ratings being a higher star-rating with full amenities versus a lower star rating with basics?

You would think that amenities were just stuff in the room and its fridge and bar, but no, additional hooks in the bathroom are actually an amenity too. Think about it the next time you travel…

Society must remember there are short people everywhere and because of this, I think I will start to document this little detail every time I travel from now on.

Ipoh-2016

The square patch above is the rain shower. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of where the towel rack was! 

Short People Travel Too

28 Mar

Although throughout the school holiday week, we did not go anywhere due to M2 wanting to prepare for her exams, we did go away on the last weekend before school reopened. We joined our golf club for two away-Interclub matches, a 2D/1N trip to Port Dickson and Malacca. It was a good short getaway I must say.

When we stayed overnight in Malacca at Kings Green Hotel, I was impressed with the hotel on two things: the pillows and hooks in the bathroom. The pillows were plump and just right! And the bed was equally good with the right firmness. For once, I didn’t have to whip out my travel pillow, which I brought along, to have a good night’s sleep. And the bathroom hooks! There was ample which is rare, with a row of four hooks at a height that short people appreciates.

This reminds me of our last hotel stay in December last year.

We were in Ho Chi Minh City when M1 was back for her Christmas break. The hotel we stayed at, Sunrise Central Hotel was pretty strategic. Located in District 1, just next to Grand Silverland Hotel (which I stayed at during my June golf trip last year as well), it was within walking distance to food and shopping. The room may be small compared to Grand Silverland’s room but was decent. However, one thing irked me.

There were just not enough hooks to hang clothes in the bathroom and the only one available was way too high! It is as though such tourist hotels are catered only to tall people with an easy reach to hang up their clothes or towel.

The bathroom door actually had a glass panel (unusual with such a feature) and there was no practical place for the hook to be except way above the glass panel. Why didn’t they consider having the hook at the wall right behind the door at a reachable height instead? The hook was at least a good six feet high or more.

I am average in height for an Asian at 156cm (5 feet 1.5 inches), not short but not tall either. When I stretched my arm up to measure the height of the hook, my arm was pretty straight upwards and I still had to be on tip toe to hang my towel. I don’t think this is right, is it? I can’t imagine how my girls dealt with it, as they are slightly shorter than me. Even the closet, the rod inside was pretty high up. Sigh…

Usually when such situations arose, I would, albeit reluctantly just put down the toilet seat cover and place my clean clothes on it because I don’t like to walk into a cold room after a hot shower even with a snugly wrapped towel. All that nice after-shower toasty feeling would be lost immediately once the cold air hits the skin.

Whoever assigned the contractors or installers to put these things up should remember that short people travel too and these things are important to us. And to consider adding another hook in the bathroom as well for practicality. Goodness only knows how clean (or unclean) those toilet seat covers are and for me, after a long day playing tourist, I seriously don’t need to do any yoga stretches in the bathroom to get to my clothes.

 

These babies were so comfy!

 

The row of hooks just above my eyebrows

 

 

3.45am Tops It All

21 Feb

What’s worse than waking up at 5.30am for golf? Waking up at 3.45am for golf! Yes. This tops it all – the 5.30am, 5.00am and even 4.30am in the past.

Over the weekend, I did just that, waking up at 3.45am. It was a day trip from my Club to Ipoh for an Interclub match. With the tee-off scheduled at 8.00am, naturally our entourage had to start the journey early, like in the wee hours of the morning at 5.00am.

But we left the club only at 5.15am and arrived after the two and a half hours bumpy bus ride. With 15 minutes left before tee-off, the tee-off had to be delayed slightly for us to have a decently paced breakfast without choking. And after a quick group photo session, everyone’s off onto the fairways.

It was my first time playing at Royal Perak Golf Club. The past few trips to Ipoh for golf and food, RPGC was somehow never on our agenda. Well, there’s always a first time.

It’s a scenic course with lots of trees, short old ones and tall ones too. The fairways were generally narrow and very undulating. One has to be accurate and straight when teeing off to have a good second shot opportunity. Our flight mates were very serious and good golfers. My partner—another Club member, not hubby—and I totally lost out to them in terms of the golf course knowledge and management.

Did we have a good game? Err… well, I wore my new Adidas shoes and it felt very comfortable. No pruned toes. And I laughed a lot because I felt I was playing jackpot and not golf, raking up several 7s in a row on my scorecard! It’s one of those days that you cannot do anything else but just laugh at yourself.

The Interclub match saw our visiting team losing out to the host team by only four points, 998 to 1002 with a Four Balls, Best Ball format for scoring. Oooh.. ouch, so close. I am sure revenge is on every members’ mind when we host them for a return match in the near future.

We headed home immediately after the luncheon and prize presentation. And in the blink of an eye, another Sunday went by so soon.

  

Such a Difference

3 Feb

The reality of the office now closer to get to is something I am slowly get used to. The old office was 18km away, each way, from home.

When we first moved to where we live now, I had measured the distances from each checkpoint of the highway – house to toll, toll to toll and toll to office. I even tried two alternative routes for choice.

But over the years, the shorter route saw an increase in toll charges and the other, a toll free route, was facing a highway construction that resulted in heavy traffic daily. So it wasn’t worthwhile to plough these two routes.

Now? I did a checkpoint measure from home and we are a mere 5km (to) and 6km (from) away! Such a difference.

Silly Me

6 Jan

With only four hours of sleep the night before, it was hard to function yesterday. I have forgotten what and how it’s like to dig deep into the reserves to function normally.

But we had no choice because M1’s flight was 8.00am and we had to wake up by 3.00am. Our body system and morning rituals were messed up a little because by 6.00am after checking in, we had two breakfasts already, once at home and another at the airport whilst waiting with her!

Thankfully it wasn’t an emotional farewell. There were some tears I’d admit and I managed to hold them at bay. But the void in the heart, it started to build and felt heavy. Sniffle…

After the goodbye, we headed straight for the office, dropping off M2 at school on the way (yes, she was late). I tried to work to keep busy but found myself constantly checking flightaware.com. By 1.00pm, I gave up and decided to channel my energy elsewhere. Otherwise the void would envelop me with more anxiety. Playing my virtual games didn’t help because I had the computer in front of me.

So we went to play golf.

And I played horribly because I couldn’t focus. A far cry compared to my December game where I hit 6 pars and every department worked so well. This time every department was not functioning. And not only the body was tired and sapped of energy, my mind kept wandering. I also kept looking at my iPhone whenever we had to wait, to see where the plane was! Silly me.

I was creating my anxiety further when Flightaware showed the plane had landed in Narita but we didn’t get an update from M1. Knowing full well the transit time was barely sufficient and the security process was probably very stringent with the inbound flight to the US, there may not be an update. Yet I was wishfully anticipating one. Silly me.

By the 15th Hole, a relatively short 100m across-the-pond-Par 3, the silly me changed from my usual iron to a shorter one just because it was a red flag. What was I thinking? Already tired to the core and a shorter club?? Big mistake. I dumped my shot into the water. Twice! Silly me.

After that, I told hubby we should just give up the last three holes because both of us had no more energy left to continue. Also I had no focus at all, it was pointless to carry on. Came home so drained…

By 10.30pm, I don’t know about hubby but I was knocked out and didn’t see my phone until 7.00am this morning that M1 finally updated. After close to 24 hours of travel, she had arrived safely but still one more car ride to get to campus. All that unnecessary anxiety. Silly me.

Trying Not To Cry

5 Jan

After three wonderful weeks with M1 home with us for her Christmas holidays, she left for the US this morning. Sniffle…

We had to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, and left for the airport by 4.20am for her 8.00am departure for Japan’s Narita International.

Heaviness filled my heart. No words can express the void a mother feels every time the child leaves home for the pursuit of education. No matter how grown up they have become, they still remain our baby. 

I shouldn’t cry or feel sad. After all, she starts the year as a Junior, midway towards her Food Science degree. Seemed like only yesterday when she left home to bravely travel by herself to start her Freshman year at university. But a Junior now and a seasoned traveler. How time flies.

I must say thank goodness for Skype and WhatsApp. With technology, we are able to get updates during the course of her journey when phones are allowed to be used. And with Skype, we talk frequently during school terms unlike the dinosaur era when I was in college. The only mode of contact was phone calls which were very short and expensive and of course, snail mail which Dad wrote me. A lot.

As always, I will be tracking her on flightaware.com and probably with anxiety as well. By the time this post is published, she would have flown almost two hours for the first leg. Hopefully, there’s no weather delay enroute to San Francisco thereafter.

Safe travels and pleasant flight while I try not to cry… Sniffle.