1

The Epitome of Love is Food

The Hundred-Foot Journey

My favourite scene from the movie, the most moving one for me.

Since the day The Hundred-Foot Journey trailer premiered, I’ve resoluted to watch it by hook or by crook and when it was shown at Odeon all over UK, I somehow missed the chance to catch it! Given that the cinema is only 4 minutes walk from my place is not an excuse either.

Since I got home early today, I pre-heat my dinner I made yesterday and watched it for two hours.

Deep in the recesses of my brain, I somehow knew there has to be a reason why I didn’t see this movie when I should’ve – I wouldn’t have beenΒ ready for a tsunami filled with nostalgia crashing over me. That much I knew.

I was flooded by memories of long forgotten person in my life and the moment I saw Om Puri playing as Hassan’s father, I’m immediately reminded of my late granpa. Of whom I only spent 6 years knowing.

The essence of Om Puri’s character struck a chord in me and the floodgate opened like there’s no tomorrow. I haven’t missed him in the last 10 years and suddenly today, I’m back to being heartbroken again. A decade ago, I wrote my first ever monologue dedicated to him and read it out loud in class. A monologue meant as a closure after his 13 years absence. And then, I pushed it so far back in my mind, I don’t have that attachment memories to him as much as I did.

I feel somewhat guilty after realising it now. The first person I was thankful for existing in my life (no matter how short it was) who embraced me for me. My granpa who didn’t have qualms getting his little grand daughter her very first train set, a string aeroplane and entertained me with car rides to meet his friends, inviting me to sit outside of the petrol station to keep him company selling newspapers while my late granma attended the cash counter in Penang. That was how I remembered my early childhood of me and my grandparents from different culture, ethnicity, countries and at one point, religion too.

Part of the reason why I have this constant battle being different is because in Malaysia, you’re in one of this boxes to tick – Malay, Chinese, Indian or Others. My fucking problem (pardon my French) is that, I’m all four, for god sake. I’m not just one or the other. On face value, many Malaysians will say to you that they are not racist by nature (sure..) but when it comes to cursing or making comments, you can find every derogatory words describing one or the other so offensive, it makes me wonder what does being racist truly meant to them?

There is a point to this post about The Hundred-Foot Journey.

The scene above is the most powerful in the movie for me. It captures what Asian values are about, especially when it comes to the food they present. It’s this family equation that makes their food so rich and captivating.

Sure, there’s a reason why Michelin awarded restaurants exist for a reason and they do make good food. The amount of insanity they put in to create a dish to look so delicate, refined and complex yet simple is commendable. It might justify the price we pay to dine in as well and I’m all for the theatrical elements in fine dining cuisine but watching this movie reminded me why food is part of my life. Part of me.

If you’ve known me long enough, you would know that I’ve got this sick obsession with (good) food and more often than not, Asian food ranks the highest for me. Malaysian food is ace for me because we have chinese, indian, malay, thai and every other cuisines mixed into the pot. The only problem with Malaysia, like most things – we don’t know how to market ourselves and own it. It pisses me off a lot of the times but oh well, that’s Malaysia.

There is a line in the movie when Hassan repeated what Marguerite said when they were picnicking,
“Food is memories”.

That’s spot on for me, like I was hit by a lightning. It got me thinking about my memories of people with food and for my granma, it would be her winter melon and ham choy soups. One time when I was sick for about a year, she flew all the way to take care of me and I would remember going to the pot every time to have a peek, to see if I could have another bowl. My mum on the other hand, while isn’t the best cook but there’s one particular dish I love from her and always look forward with a plate of hot rice – fried assam fish. I remember the briyani I tend to eat with my granpa back then but I don’t think I was old enough to remember the food he cooked (many people told me of his infamous dishes). I have more people I go to for a specific type of food they do very well and it’s what makes me feel connected to them.

Food to me is not just food. It’s the hard labour of love consisted of blood, sweat and tears when cooking up a storm for a family.Β It’s that essential ingredient that makes what you eat heaven in your mouth. That’s where I put my money mostly. The smallest, corner shop making home-cooked meals. Yep.

There’s just something about food and me that’s inseparable. Sometimes sickening but more often than not, I find joy when I discover a new eatery worth my tummy singing.

Btw, this is my second post for today, a first since a decade ago (when my first blog was set up, I used to blog daily, sometimes twice or thrice a day) πŸ™‚ I guess, I just need to get it out about missing my granpa.

Image
0

Travel Tips: Food for Thought

Food for Thought

When you’re on the go pretty often, the one thing you should always have with you is emergency food. Be it biscuits, instant noodle or chocolates.

I couldn’t stress out how important it is to have food within grasp.

There were instances when our instant noodle saved our lives during our trip. I had my first taste of Korean instant noodle the moment we checked in to our apartment in Amsterdam. Wasn’t sure what happened but I felt dizzy and nauseous and it was starting to pour outside. Syiks didn’t asked, she just went to the kitchen and made me some to eat.

Korean Noodle Amsterdam

Times like this, critical moments – you’ll learn to appreciate the simple food in life. While I agree, having instant noodle everyday is bad for you. Having 3-6 packets for emergency in 31 days is indeed the best decision we’ve made.

Also, considering we stayed mostly in apartments in many of the cities we were in – it made it that much easier to eat. I remember we opted to stay in on our last night in Paris. It was a beautiful night that day, as we eat our meals by the window overlooking other neighbours playing guitars and chit-chatting at Rue Cremieux. It’s so lovely, reminded us a lot of Notting Hill. But that’s another story to tell on another post.

Kitchen Paris

So yeah, sometimes it’s good to just take a moment and have it to yourself. Always remember to take care of yourself first before you’re able to do it to others.

Oh and while walking, grab some fruits along the way. It’s the best kind of food to munch. Mia Market at Via Lucio Papirio, Trastevere Rome was another gem we found when I first met my childhood pen pal Giulia. The plums were so fresh, I could remember how crunchy it was and sweet too! It’s an organic shop for your everyday groceries AND also a place you can eat.

I also remembered buying a box filled with strawberries for 2 euros because it was in late afternoon and the market was closing in Frankfurt. You can find fresh goods at discounted price towards the end of the day.

I think eating 6 times a day is a good thing, provided that you’re eating good stuff. So my in between meals were usually of fruits and a gelato. You need all the energy to do all that walking.

Remember to include food in your check list when you’re preparing for a long journey. You’ll never know when it comes handy.

6

Hidden Acrobats.

Just when you think life is all about routines and schedules, just take trip to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island in English) which is situated at the other end of Selangor. Take my word for it, this is one trip that’s worth your time and soul.

It’s been a long time coming this one. Me and my ultimate gamer friend Hafiz had planned this trip for a very long time and finally got our heads together to go last Saturday. It’s usually the last minute plans that works for me, I just don’t know why.

Quite surprisingly, not everyone knows the existence of this island here. Which adds an air of mystery even more to this little place.

We decided to start early (what with the unpredictable weather and all), as early as 8.30am and instead of driving to Port Klang like we would to any other place, we decided to throw ourselves out there with the locals. That means, ditching the car at KL Sentral parking lot, take the KTM train to Port Klang and the speed boat from the jetty to the island.

I always believe to get the best stories, one should be a part of the society, which means taking the public transportation. Taxis, buses, trains, .. you name it. These are gold mines for great inspirations!

KTM ticket from KL Sentral to Port Klang is RM8.60 per way and it takes about an hour to reach to the last station (depending on the train speed, it’s inconsistent).

Be prepared to stand because every train is usually pack with passengers. On average it’s pretty cool inside, unless if the air condition is down .. that’s not going to be a pleasant ride. While we were inside, I was happy to see many of the passengers were reading to kill the time. There were many printed materials on the panels for one to read too. Jokes were among the most common one you’ll find in the train.

When we arrived at Port Klang, armed with very little information about our destination, we came up with a strategy – to follow this particular traveler who we assumed was also going to Pulau Ketam. Hafiz who did his research prior to this trip had mentioned that on average, there are many photographers who visit the island for some photography sessions. I guess last Saturday wasn’t in their plans.

Soon as we got out of the station, we saw this building with big sign “Jeti Pulau Ketam” and immediately headed for it. Much to our chagrin, that wasn’t the place we were suppose to take the speedboat/ferry to the island. We managed to ask one of the lady staff and she instructed us to walk on the other side where the actual jetty is located.

So here’s how you get to the jetty from the train station:

As you walk out of the train station, turn right where you’ll see an empty land with blue panels blocking the sea view. Keep walking until you’ll see an opening/entrance with the ferry/speed boat sign board. Then make a left into the entrance and go straight ahead. Voila!

Apparently there are two ways to get to the island, you get to choose either a speed boat which takes 30 minutes to arrive for RM7 per way or the ferry. And the boat ride ends at 6pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays; 4pm on weekdays.

No worries as the attendants are friendly and the seats inside are comfortable. You could even watch WWE matches throughout the journey. Along the way, you’ll see many fishing boats, villages and mangroves. Something you won’t see while you’re in the city, that’s for sure.

The salty air is one that you have to get used to and when you do, in an instant the air smells like normal. So for the very sensitive nose, this one can be a challenge for you but hey, it’s au-naturale. Can’t beat that!

When I found out that photographers who visit this island love to take black and white photos, it just doesn’t register in my mind. Why? Because everything about this island is just so colourful. It’s vibrant colours from one person to the other, one house to another. So it makes more sense to capture the lively spirit in it’s original state.


I knew people in this island are used to tourist going in and out of their territory but I didn’t know they were as friendly and warm. The first person to talked to us was Miss Na, who was on her bike and dressed in vivid colours. She probably represented Pulau Ketam to the core.

Oh yeah, besides walking, your only other mode of transportation here is bicycle. That’s RM5 per bike for rental πŸ™‚ But we preferred walking, just because we wanted to experience this area without missing a spot. Besides that, you might wonder if there were crabs around the island since it’s named after this creature and I’m glad to say yes, they were crawling sideways everywhere on the sand. Heck, I got to see salamanders crawling too. Not too excited for that one actually. :/

I love the wind. It was breezy. It was also hot. But not as humid. Or maybe I was to stoked about being in the island for the first time? You’ll be the judge of it when you get there.

If you feel like staying for the night or more, there’s only one hotel called Sea Lion waiting for your presence. And it’s just a short walk from the jetty. About 2-3minutes? If you’re a fast walker, you could even do it under one minute πŸ™‚

Only been there for a few minutes and I already loved the things I experienced. Not only was this island quaint and charming, it’s full of character. You can find good food (naturally) here, that is a sure thing.

Don’t forget to bring long lenses as well, you might never know when it comes handy. Actually you’ll need at least two types of lenses, then you’ll be satisfied with what you capture.

As we walked deeper inside, we discovered the many little things that were not around in the city anymore. Those old school junk food I used to buy when I was a kid can be found here. Such a joy! I was ecstatic to find my childhood chewing gum, Marukawa’s Fusen Gum, that still costs 10 sen per piece, fish/prawn crackers and fried ice cream πŸ™‚ It’s like a mini food land here.

Cheap yet very good food land.

You might be surprised when you enter the island, it seem quiet and lonely but when you get to the market, you’ll find the rest of the population hanging around there. I cannot stressed out how friendly these people were while we were there. It didn’t feel like a Malaysian thing (sue me for saying this but I’ve always grown up knowing the unfriendly people) and suddenly it felt effortless to put on a smile or say hello. In fact, you can wave all you want too. Which I did and was reciprocated πŸ™‚ Hey, I really like it here.

If there’s one thing I could say to describe Pulau Ketam is that, it’s a kampung life, a much more basic (not to mention super bright) kampung life than the ones on other parts of the country. How basic is basic? I realised as we were walking along the path, many houses didn’t have big furniture like sofa or coffee table. There’s cabinet but I think that’s one of the necessity ones. Then I wondered why and figured it’s probably due to the fact that it’s hard to bring it in. It could get to the jetty but the rest of the way, you’re on your own carrying it in the narrow streets.

Besides these things only takes up more space and it’ll only feel crowded for them. Therefore, they apply the minimalist concept, which I highly agree. For convenient sake, that is.

As we were exploring, we found a few attractions that one could never missed out on. There’s a Buddhist temple and a very pretty police station with mountain bikes parking outside. It’s possibly the prettiest police station we’ve ever seen. For the Muslim, the surau is called Balai Islam (I initially thought it was some Muslim station) when it’s a community hall instead. So I learned something new.

From my observation, I find that the community here are very tight. Just about everything in this island involves the community. They were the ones painting the buddhist temple garden or have a chess club for people to play.

Now, that’s one thing the city lacks and could learn from. I’m pretty sure everyone knows everybody here too.

It was so easy to be ourselves and take in the peaceful mood Pulau Ketam exuded. The docks were available for anyone to chill out and simply experience how simply life could be. That was what I learned from this trip. To simplify our life is to know what’s essential and what’s not. In reality, we could do so much without the things we have now but because we were so consumed with materials in this world, many a times we are blinded by it.

I love when a place I go strips down my belief to it’s core and show me the importance in living. And I like it the way Pulau Ketam is; secluded, mysterious and charming all wrapped in one. I wouldn’t want it any other way, and hopefully it will remain the way it is.

I thought I’ve seen it all while I was in Delhi with a small motor vehicle crammed with half dozen people. I didn’t know we have our own version of acrobats too! πŸ˜‰ Amazing eh?

As we walked further inside, we were welcomed with an array of dried fish. I’ve not seen this one before, I mean the process. I’m so used to the after product that it didn’t occur to me to know how it looks like before it was fully dried. The smell was overwhelming the first few seconds, and then eventually I got used to it.

It is a kampung life this one.

But we could only do so much walking for 3.5 hours that we needed to get something to eat. And behold, the best seafood in Selangor..well one of them. I like to believe to enjoy the best crabs, one should go to the island of crabs to be feasted πŸ˜› So yes! 

This chili crab is 1kg for RM40! Ours was RM48 for the extra weight. Look at that! I’m drooling as it is. Bah! For that price, you can’t get it anywhere else in the city. Yeah baby!

We wanted to order deep fried battered squid and butter prawns but..we decided to devote our life to the crabs instead. And wouldn’t you know it, Fish gave up 1/3 of the way. Thank god I’m a massive crabs fan (especially since I don’t have my braces on anymore)..so I managed to wipe it clean for the two of us! That was some hearty meal alright. Possibly the best. It’s just finger lickin’ goooood.

Thankfully, we still have space for dessert and I promised that we would eat the fried ice cream before we head out back to reality. So we did!

If you grew up to Japanese comic Doraemon, you might recognise the look of the fried ice cream looking like Dorayaki. Only instead of red bean paste, it’s ice cream πŸ™‚ It’s just yummy! While walking back to the jetty, we managed to witness people unloading things from the boats.

To watch them work with smiles on the face as they sing song or make jokes was a breath of fresh air to me. I’d love to apply that to whatever I do. It shows the spirit they have and it was such a precious moment to capture.

On the way back to the train station, we found a lady selling fresh steamed corns πŸ™‚ Oh yes, this has always been one of my favourite street food to purchase. I grew up going to night markets for this! And now, after so many years, I finally get to relive it. Walking while indulging in the sweetness of the corn. Yeah, the perfect end to our trip indeed.

I love every minute of it.

8

Guten Nacht

It’s been said too often that where there’s a beginning there is an end. I like to think only this chapter has ended and new one is in the works. For some of us, this is like an adventure of a lifetime, others an opportunity to mingle. For whatever reasons it may be, I don’t think it could have been done any better.

Ok, that part probably can do without the worst jam in Klang Valley – Taman Tar’s traffic jam.

If you must go to this area during peak hours, I advise you to study the alternatives to avoid this mindless traffic jam. If possible, avoid at all cost; especially during Ramadhan.

We were late by 1.5 hours stuck in the jam and headed for the wrong destination. All is well after because as we reached at the lower end of Ampang’s lookout point, we were told to make a run and take whichever car to Haven. (Hehe, I like how that sounded)

This particular part, with heavy rain to add, made the whole scene looked like it came from Amazing Race. Just a little bit of thrill to wake our tummies up πŸ™‚

Yup, you got it right. Our final destination for the grand dinner was at the top of Ampang’s Lookout point. The one place where I find solace in at night if there’s a need to get away from the city’s rush. And also to indulge in the food stalls by the brink of the lookout point.

Despite the many times I’ve been up here, this was my first time to go to Haven Restaurant. After all, there’s always a first for everything right?

The moment we arrived at the entrance, we were embraced by all of Haven’s staff! There were photographers taking our pictures too! To this fifth day, I’ve yet to get used to this sort of treatment.

As we walked further inside, we saw this hanging on the building across us. We were also taken away by their preparations for this Grand Dinner that we were late for. We felt really guilty for holding them back because we were told Haven closes at 10pm.

We arrived at 9pm.

Nonetheless, they were all smiling and receiving us warmly. We signed our name on the guest book and were given (our 6th) goodie bag! This must be what those celebrities go for when there’s events around eh?

We came here because of the view too!

I don’t think we could asked for more with our seating arrangements strategically facing the city skyline. Even if you’re not in a good mood, you won’t be for long when you lay your eyes on this majestic view πŸ™‚

I think there was a good reason why we were late. Had we arrived as scheduled, we would be basking in the coldness of the heavy downpour and would not be able to see the skyline at all.

As part of this grand dinner, Encik Anantharaj Appanan, the Managing Partner for Haven Restaurant gave a welcome speech to all of us. Hey, it was a pretty nice feeling to know that people around have recognised the power of blogging (although where I come from, it’s called the dinosaur blog era). It was really good, being here with everyone.

When we arrived, we were given a menu to choose our main course. The entire list sounded so delicious, it made me indecisive for a moment. Not to forget, a long list of drinks to choose from too!

After we ordered our main course, we headed to the buffet appetizer and desserts. When you know there’s Lobster Thermidor waiting for you to feast on, you’ll do whatever it takes to not delay it. Otherwise, there won’t be any left for you.

Ah lobstaaahhh.. how I love you so very much πŸ™‚

The very dish many who are close to me know I’ll go crazy for.

Just as we were picking out the various appetizers on the table, Haven’s waiters served our main course as well. So what does this mean? Full speed ahead when eating! My chicken chop was super yummy, that portion alone took me a while to finish. I can’t imagine what I’ll be like if I had ordered the ribs!

I think even Kings won’t be able to finish this! Just look at the portion. It’s an amazing race on it’s own. Why? Because Sy, Max, Thristhan and Dylan who were sitting on our table decided to have a ribs battle among themselves. You should see how the battle started! Now this is what I call food fest! Heck, Dylan and Thristhan even went for second helping of the ribs. It must have been finger lickin’ good for them to feed themselves more even though they were already full.

We were also entertained by One Night Service solo Razlan Saharuddin, Kak Ning, Hafiz and Wen Yi (I didn’t get to take your photo!) throughout the night. The best part was when Kak Ning took the mic and took control of her audience. Even Haven stopped in their tracks and listened to her tongue-in-cheek comments. She should be an emcee on the side too.

We laughed, we sang, we smiled, we cheered, we took (a lot of) photos and we celebrated.

Haven couldn’t have been any more sporting than to wait for the dinner to end towards midnight. Kudos for that!

We were very fortunate throughout this journey to be able to enjoy what we normally wouldn’t have stumbled upon. And here we were, making memories that will forever be embedded in our minds.

Oh, there were more goodies for us to bring home before we left Haven – mooncake by Casahana and an umbrella from Haven πŸ™‚ More reason to hit any strangers who tries to do anything fishy. Hehe. Not to mentioned the vouchers Haven sponsored for the 10 of us too! I’m sure this is not the last time we’ll be here.

That night, I think none of us wanted the night to end. We lingered on the deck for so long hoping time would move slower than usual. Alas, everyone will have to go back to reality the day after. Starting with Alid‘s super early flight. He had to leave us all at 6 AM and we didn’t get to say proper goodbye.

The many times I’ve been to the lookout point, it has always given me good memories. It started of as one and this grand dinner will only add one more into the collection.

It was a very merry MySelangorStory Monday for all of us.

Oh! Before I forget, I’d like to thank Tourism Selangor crew for driving us up and down that night! The things they did for us πŸ™‚ Everyone’s just awesome! Wee.

So Day 6 is coming by fast. Let’s see how I manage to conclude the week with one single post πŸ™‚

I would love to hear what you have to say or if you like this post enough to vote it, head over to MySelangorStory/GutenNacht.

16

Devil May Care

Secretly, I think MySelangorStory is trying to convert us all into food bloggers. The amount of food we ate.. even kings don’t eat this much. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and supper. Although, it is a good thing to eat 6 times a day as it burns more calories…(granted) if we eat moderately. Looking at the rate we were going.. moderate was a little bit further behind, I think.

Then again a schedule like Day 5, we probably needed all the energy so right after our “break” at Tropicana Medical Centre, we went to Frames, a concept restaurant outside Sunway Pyramid. There were a lot of trendy bars/restaurants and clubs around this area that I didn’t know. Some are very interesting but because it’s “trendy” therefore in a couple years down the road, it’ll be yesterday’s trend instead.

This Frames restaurant has an interesting concept. Like the name itself, the walls were decorated with multiple frame with photos (assuming they were all taken by different people). That was really nice actually.

It’s got this contemporary minimal design theme going along the place with a dash of victorian-esque feel to it. One theme you’ll see used by fashion boutiques around the city. It’s just one of those “in” thing at the moment.

The thing is about trends, it comes and goes. Following a trend is something I don’t really like. However, we live in a world where trend is taken seriously. I like to think that if you create a timeless idea, you’ll be assured to never be forgotten. And not be used too often by others too.

Frames is a place I’ll recommend for the camwhores. Because of it’s decor, it makes such beautiful photos for people who love to take photos. That’s the ticket to get people to come πŸ™‚


The way the menu was presented on the table makes it feel somewhat like being in a wedding, a little dainty touch which is something different from the other restaurants. A nice presentation, I must say. It’s a very design-y place. Would be a great attraction to those in the 18-35 years old group of people.

We had to choose among the many ala carte dishes to eat for lunch. After seeing Spectre‘s dory, I think that was one of the good choices. My spaghetti pomodoro sauce was a little too thick to digest. Tomato base pasta is usually lighter and easier to eat if you were to compare it with cream base but this was close to the creamy side. A little bit sad that I couldn’t finished it. Maybe I’ll come and try the grilled dory next time πŸ™‚

After our heavy lunch, we were given with an all day all parks pass to Sunway Lagoon. Considering half the day had passed by, we only had a few more hours to spend in the theme park. This theme park is actually pretty huge, much much much bigger than the few times I’ve visited before. So it takes at least a day to cover the entire place.

This all parks pass is worth RM100 excluding RM10 deposit for the wristband(which we only found out when we read the fine prints at the back of the ticket) and a few other rides in the Xtreme Park. You’ll get a discounted rate if you have your MyKad with you. If you would like to rent a locker, it’s RM5.

Now that we’re covered with the ground rules, we didn’t want to waste anymore time not using this pass to the maximum.

Don’t forget to apply sunblock cream on your skin. Even though Malaysia’s weather is unpredictable at times, I would advised you to use it anyway.

Thank god for Denise who brought her sunblock along in her backpack. Although I got tanned after the Sunway Lagoon escapade, I would’ve been darker without it πŸ™‚ The first ride we all went together was the Grand Canyon River Rapids. A ride I’ve been dying to go for ages and I finally got to do it!

We then went to this giant slide thing that my heart insisted in taking a plunge out of my chest while sitting on the float. Sorry Nicole for causing your back to hurt :/ God that was really scary. Super duper scary 90 degress down the slope! Holy mother of all crazy rides.

Since I’ve already established myself regarding not being the fun-est person on earth when it comes to theme parks, I immediately took the liberty to take care of other people’s belongings while they go for the other mad rides and horror house.

They even went to this ride that went 360 degrees. Crap.

They are truly the daredevils living among us. I must salute Wen Yi for her tenacity to brainwash me so that I’ll go for the rides but she too gave up in the end πŸ™‚ I like watching people. So I don’t mind standing on the side πŸ™‚

This is just beyond madness. I may be crazy but not crazy enough to go to all these rides. Haha! Yes call me chicken or as Alid would say “Fried Chicken”, it’s allllll goooooood baby.

Crossing the world’s longest suspension bridge wasn’t as frightening as I thought it would be. I manage to walk and look down at ease. Canopy bridge is a whole different story! I don’t even know how I got to walk all the way from the lowest level right up to the top alive.

On the suspension bridge is where people can do bungee jumping. Err, excuse me, what?! On the suspension bridge? Right. Okaaay.

Tian Chad went for it and even at his size, as he dived downwards, his head dipped into the pool. A little bit scary that one. If you really want to go for bungee jump, please head over to New Zealand instead. There used to be one in Menara Kuala Lumpur but not anymore. This is one of the rides you have to pay, RM50 with MyKad. Well, at least it comes with a certificate πŸ™‚

Flying fox looked cool. That is, if you’re willing to wait for 2 hours queuing up.

There’s the reverse bungee but it didn’t looked as extreme as the one I went at Menara KL. A tamer version but still not for the faint of heart ok? It’s an awesome ride nonetheless! I had fun being in it. Thrown off to the sky in a ball πŸ™‚ Crazy crazy.

We then decided to queue for the All Terrain Vehicle(ATV) and archery. Both are free to try with our passes. I’m aware that the ATV in Sunway Lagoon is nothing like the real ATV experience in the jungle but because it’s ATV, I’m all game for it. Like the name itself, it’s called ATV Scenic trail so you’ll be able to go around the park on a quad bike.

When it was our turn to ride it. I noticed the guide who rode with us only told us the stop/start button and breaks. And not to place our legs close to the engine. Then we’re off. Mid way going through the red earth trail, Alid wasn’t able to control his bike and hit the divider.

THIS WAS WHEN I GOT PISSED.

Not at Alid. But at the management of Sunway Lagoon.

Thankfully when Alid lost control of his bike, he was opposite me, so I was aware of the situation. Why would I be losing my mind over some little thing? Because.. those who hasn’t ride an ATV before will have this natural instinct to stop the vehicle by placing their foot out. WHICH IS A DEFINITE NO NO.

Any qualified instructor for ATV knows this for safety reasons.

I quickly asked him to lift his foot off, didn’t want his foot to get injured by the tyres or worst the hot engine. All the guide in front of me did was just look for a moment and then told him to steer it the right way. Things like this wouldn’t have happened had we were briefed properly you know.

Nevermind that.

After the ride was over, I saw Spectre walking uncomfortably. He told me his back heel hit the tyre when he tried to stop the bike with his foot.

HMMMMMMMMMMM…….

I rode an ATV along with my other 3 friends in Kemensah, in the jungle with mud, in the rain, on a steep hill with massive holes inbetween for 2 hours and none of us came back with injuries or had accidents. Some of us got stuck in the mud but that’s a given. And this is because the people who run the ATV Adventure Park are all professionals and stressed the importance of safety before/during/after we got on the bike.

Honestly, nobody wants something bad to happen to them so the only way is for everyone to play their roles. Then if anything did happen after that, it’s just meant to be.

Later, Some of us decided to go on the trampoline. It looked fun. And it was fun for the first few minutes. It’s one of the activities that challenges your stamina (with the harness on that is). Because there were 3 of us on the trampoline and only 2 employees working, one of us had to be suspended because they couldn’t manage 3 people at the same time.

This was when I started to feel the pain creeping from the harness. As they tried to shuffle between the 3 of us, someone else was left behind. So it wasn’t fun anymore. Max even got stuck in the middle as the 2 employees were arguing in front of him and left him suspended on his own.

Now I can understand why Sunway Lagoon injury stories comes up more often than any other theme parks. Their own management were not even focusing at what their doing. No, actually they weren’t even doing their job. Go figure why there’s death stories happened in this theme park before.

Sure, Sunway Lagoon is not responsible for any injuries or death happened to the visitors but such a thing wouldn’t happened IF their own employees were hands on with what they are suppose to do.

It’s easy for us to spend our money for entertainment, especially with the kind of “facilities” Sunway offers but seriously, with this kind of treatment, I wouldn’t want to spend any more money here.

I do hope the management will take this issue seriously. I believe it would do wonders to everyone on their side and their visitors πŸ™‚ I’m sure the rides were really fun but safety is very crucial when running a big place like this.

With so little time left, we all rushed to the hotel to get ready for our Grand Dinner. I’m not kidding when I wrote Grand. Hello, Lobster Thermidor for appetizer yo!

My last post for Day 5 Part 3 will be dedicated to our awesome sponsor at….. oh you have to wait for the next post for that πŸ˜‰

If you agree, disagree or feel indifferent, come share your views with me πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear them. And if you think this deserves a vote, click MySelangorStory Day 5.

6

The Medicalis

When I woke up on Day 5, reality hit hard. I couldn’t believe 4 days have gone by so fast and we’re leaving the day after. Good thing that reality came and went in a minute or two, I was back on this reality right away the moment I recognized the hotel decors.

At least we’ve still got one more day out of MySelangorStory.” I psyched myself.

This buddy system thing MSS had been applying throughout our stay is a good rule whereby whoever we share a room with, we’re responsible for each other. We’re suppose to know where our roommate is if one is not around. That way no one gets lost for no reason alone. Despite many times Chia Li had told me that I could go for breakfast first before she gets ready, I was adamant not to. What if Amelia asks of her and she’s not there, I’ll be sure to get some drilling. Also, if ever we couldn’t find the rest, we’ve got someone else with us to figure it out.

I highly approve of this system indeed!

Like many times before (especially during fasting month), my tummy has it’s own schedule to eat. When this message is transmitted to my brain, I automatically didn’t take any photos of our buffet breakfast at Sunway Pyramid Tower Hotel. I managed to shove nasi lemak into my mouth knowing how grueling our itinerary for the day would be.

After breakfast, we’re all set to go to the hospital. No, no one’s hurt or sick. This is one trip I underestimated since the day we were made aware of it.

This is Tropicana Medical Centre (TMC). It is situated in Kota Damansara, a place I often visit for IKEA’s meatballs, meet clients or friends. I never thought I’d stepped foot in this building. Then again, it’s a good thing I didn’t have any expectations for this visit. That way, I’m able to absorb and enjoy what they can offer us. Settle!

Going a day without warm greetings by people is a death wish. When we were greeted by TMC staff, all joy and happy to see us – it made the start of my day from nothing to Woohoo! Oh c’mon, if someone greets you sincerely, you would of course be just as elated as the next person too. Kudos TMC for rewriting hospital experiences for all of us even before we were briefed. πŸ™‚

We were attended by TMC Management at the entrance, it’s like a field trip but with a touch of VIP-ness to it too πŸ™‚ We were taken (even demonstrated) to many of their facility rooms like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner, Computed Tomography (CT) Scanner, Digital Mammography, Imagining Room (where Flouroscopy machine is seated) and even Sinar X room.

As much as I love to capture the photos of each and every machine they have, I was too busy figuring out what is where. There’s simply too many medical terms to remember and understand, I just had to put my camera down; chose to concentrate to what TMC staff was explaining.

It did felt a little bit like being in the Crime Scene Investigation scene.

When we were brought to see how the machines functioned, it opened my eyes to know how hi-tech TMC has been. Their state-of-the-art machines only speaks half of what TMC offers.

 
They even brought us to the Physiotherapy Center for kids and adults. The parquet tiles they used for this entire section is very similar to what I have in my house, the only difference is – they applied a special coating on the surface to protect their patients from falling down or suffer injuries if they do fall. Indeed, it shows how meticulous they were when they build this hospital. From a visitor’s point of view, it looks more like a gym than a physio room. Cool eh?
I remember drawing Mickey Mouse & Goofy as a thank you message to my doctor after my first surgery when I was younger and he pasted it on his message board at the waiting room. I would looked at all the messages/drawings that was pinned there. Somehow it gives a certain comfort while you’re waiting.
When I saw this thank you note on the glass door, it put a smile on my face. A small gesture is never too small to give an impact to others. 
In case you were curious, that’s how Brandon Lee looks like. Next to him is Mr. Alan Chin, TMC’s Marketing Manager who were so patient in answering my 1001 questions -______-
We also managed to make a trip to the Fertility Room. Most famous visit among all. Since we were divided into two groups, and I was with a bunch of curious cats, our tour lasted way longer compared to the other group. I’m not complaining, because I learned so much as everyone asked questions.
We even managed to go into the labs at the semen collection room, intensive care unit (ICU) room, delivery room, as well as the one and only – viewing room.
What’s this viewing room about? It is where some very qualified doctors play god. It is the room where In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is performed. I used to read this from science textbooks. Now that I’m able to be present where it takes place, it gives that much more impact. 

You know what would be perfect with this field trip? All schools should make a point to do the same. Our education system has been known to be full of flaws and students shouldn’t be confined in the classroom and books to learn something. They should go out, be curious and see things.

That and at least it knocks some senses in their head about what reality, responsibilities and consequences are about.
Yes! This would be the perfect visit. At least for the 16-17 years old.
Each doctor in the Fertility room has a featured wall and therein photos of every baby they had help. Got me wondered how do they remember so many babies but when you’ve touched so many people’s lives, you will somehow manage to remember each single one of them.
I didn’t know TMC is the leading fertility centre. With so many articles and success rates, this is something Malaysia should be proud of πŸ™‚ Hello, you can give birth to twins with 18 months separated in between. That’s.. almost unheard of until that very day. This world..it’s moving so fast, or I’m just not on the same page. Hmm.
Their suites are very comfortable. Being the kid that I am, I love their kid’s suites for it’s cartoon murals. It just brightens up the room. Their room rates is stated here and with the kind of facility they offer, I think their rates are affordable. It’s bigger, newer, cleaner and more comfortable than many other similarly reputable hospitals close to it’s rank. 
The best part is, TMC really wants to rewrite every patient’s experience being in a hospital. Their suites are enough to justify that.
As we waited in the International Patient Centre, I found a leaflet regarding the classes and workshops they offer for expecting parents like Ante Natal Class, Parent Craft Programme and many others for a very affordable price. Had I not found this leaflet lying on the table, I wouldn’t have known about it. See, there are many of us who are not aware what classes like this are able to help parents to expect after a baby is born. Those who do also knows that such classes are expensive to join as they’d charge you per session.
So this is definitely a blessing for all parents, one TMC should promote everywhere. I would know because I’ve got a friend who was interested but wasn’t able to commit to the price outside, and a few others who went and praised about it. 
For instance, the Parent Craft Programmed has 2 sessions, first session is about the development of foetus, understanding the stages of labour, the miracle of stem cells and baby immunisation. Second session comprises of nutrition in pregnancy, pre and post natal exercise, breast feeding and care of newborn. This package only costs RM140 per couple for both sessions. Tell me this is not the best news ever? πŸ™‚
I’m very glad that TMC really placed people’s needs as their utmost priority, even if they’re not (yet) a registered patient of TMC. Small steps like these would most definitely woo them in πŸ™‚ Hey, they won my heart like many other thousands of hearts out there too.
We were served with refreshments(more food!) before we left this incredible hospital. 
Amelia then announced of TMC’s new plan; to publish their own medical blog which is A GREAT NEWS. They should spread the greatness to others.They should and they must.  I hope they’ll go all out in advertising their services because I couldn’t imagine the amount of good deeds they’ll able to do with people.
Trivial fact of the day, the world medical derived from Latin medicalis/medicus for physician.
It’s only 1/3 of the day, and I’ve been made aware about the science of medicine. It’s a tourism on it’s own, one I just found out too. 
See, not expecting anything is a good thing indeed. I wouldn’t be as excited as this if I had expectations.
Well done Tropicana Medical Centre. You rock. 
There’s still 2/3 of the day to go and I assure you, it’s a ride not to be missed. πŸ˜‰ So stay tuned!
All thoughts are welcome here. It’s evident by the way I write that I love to communicate. Sooo..feel free to do so πŸ™‚ And if you think this entry deserves a vote, it’s been awesome to go to MySelangorStory/TheMedicalis πŸ™‚ Grazie mille!
12

Concrete Desert

There are many things in life we forget as we grow older, more technologically advance and intense surrounding like fresh air.

As the day goes by, each waking day is better than the day before.  I remember the morning after Day 1, everyone looked like zombies. When we woke up the day after, we looked a lot more fresh. Waking up at Kak Ani’s house got me feeling a lot more fresh. What’s the conclusion to all that? We’re breathing fresh air from Genting Highlands and now Sabak Bernam.

It only makes a difference when you have experienced it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Most of the time, I only bathed with hot water as I can’t stand cold. When I’ve been in a place without heater, I’ll make do with whatever I was given. Better than nothing at all right?

So when we stayed at Kak Ani’s, it’s understood that the water would be cold yet for some odd reason it wasn’t as cold as I thought it was. Which is a good thing on my end πŸ™‚ There is one thing I was very thankful during this stay – no frogs lurking in the bathroom!

After all this is a good kampung life, and like many other kampung areas, these creatures are bound to be around somehow… a memory that I will never forget when I wake up in the morning during my younger days at my dad’s kampung, only to find a frog standing at the corner(every single time); staring as I consciously refreshed myself. It’s just one of the things that comes with such a life. One I am very terrified of too. :/

Kak Ani’s home is by no means made of wooden structure, her house and many around this area are what I like to call the “new kampung”. Instead of wood, it’s made of bricks. Nonetheless, it still feels just as homey. To make this trip even sweeter, we wake up to the paddy field view!

We needed to get ready and be at the meeting area by 9AM. We managed to eat our ketupat and rendang for breakfast πŸ™‚ Well, Malaysians do celebrate raya for a month anyway. So why not? Unfortunately, my tummy is not used to super early breakfast but I managed to eat some anyway. Here the Malay custom would be to at least have a bite of the food that was served by the host as a sign of respect. Saying no too often offends many of them.

There is this saying that goes “Rezeki tidak baik ditolak” which translates something along the lines of sustenance or luck should not be refused. Anyone’s got a better translation for that do let me know πŸ™‚

When we got to the meeting point, we had to transfer our bags into the bus; just as Kak Ning and I were doing so, we saw an abandoned kite lying on the ground. She quickly picked it up; examined the structure and tested it out. She squealed in delight knowing the fact that it could still fly at that very moment.

It was as if the kite had found the kid hidden in her when she ran along the street, guiding the kite in the air at the same time grabbing our attention. My last kite experience was probably when I was 5 years old, and that was a plastic kite. This particular one was what I suspected, a homemade kite. There aren’t many materials you need to make one. Like the kite Kak Ning tried out was made of brown paper, strings and a few sticks to form the structure.

I realised, I’ve yet to write about our amazing tour guide – Kak Ning. This extraordinary woman here speaks so many languages. Among them are dutch, german, javanese, mandarin, japanese, some tamil/hindi and she is currently learning arabic as well. That’s only the surface of it. If there’s anyone in this world who should have a blog (aside from cab drivers), it’d be her! I swear, she will never ever in her life run out of stories to share and tell. Heck, she could write a book if she wanted to! I’d definitely buy it.

If I have to describe her with a sentence, it would be – she’s so full of life. That’s our storyteller.

Alid on the other hand easily fit in with the locals. He brought smiles to everyone in an instant. Think I’m exaggerating? Pictures don’t lie. It helps that he is from Java and speaks their second language. So there’s no need to break the ice for him.

After going around the city and Selangor, I noticed that the friendly Malaysians are the ones who aren’t bothered with the material things in this world. So it’s much harder to say hello to locals in Kuala Lumpur when they are so distracted with their own life as compared to those who just enjoy life for what it is. I’ve discovered that KLites are easier to approach outside of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. The same thing can be applied to those in Selangor too.

Which is sad really.

Another few more hours passes by and we finally made it to our last destination. Sunway is like .. I don’t know how to put it. It’s pretty well known for it’s ice skating rink (which I still love to go once in a while) and it’s very own theme park. That and the many universities surrounding this area. Of course, the most iconic thing about Sunway is it’s (faux) Pyramid and Sphinx. Till today, I’ve yet to know why. Kinda feels like Las Vegas a little bit.

Anyway, so we arrived at our hotel, Sunway Pyramid Tower Hotel; the hotel we only found out we were suppose to stay instead of the one printed on our itinerary, Sunway Resort & Spa. Just when we were all looking forward to the spa part. There were some minor glitch that hold our arrival, like the bus was stopped half way at the lobby for some ungodly reason or that we had to dumped our bags outside the door because there were no bellboys to help. A little bit strange but we’re all fine. Too much pampering is not good anyway right? We carried our bags in and waited for a while until we were given our room keys by Mr. Hafeez.

Oh I forgot to mentioned, as the days go by, our bags were stuffed with things. Not the ones we brought or bought but goodies we were given by our sponsors everyday πŸ™‚ I’m sure if there were anymore of it, our bags would’ve exploded! The bags were getting heavier and bigger like monsters.

My roomie for the next 2 days was Chia Li! This girl has very long black straight hair. One I envy very much. When she sleeps. I couldn’t tell if she was on her left or right… because her face was covered by her hair! Hehe. Not really a sight you’d want to wake up to in the middle of the morning and get scared off πŸ˜› Still she rocks! A very sweet girl indeed.

As soon as we checked in and left our bags in our rooms, we were instructed to go to Mantra for lunch. An indian lunch sounds just as appetizing as any other because we Malaysians eat almost anything as long as it’s good.

Due to some more glitches with Sunway City Berhad (who’s our other sponsor), our itinerary had to be shuffled. Instead of going to the theme park after lunch, we were told that our passes will only be given the day after. So what does this means? After lunch onwards… it’s free and easy baby! Albeit Monday will be a very hectic schedule for us since we had to squeeze the theme park in. Oh boy.

Some of us wandered in Sunway Pyramid shopping mall and a few went back to their rooms and kicked back or like Kemal, Sy and Victor, they camped inside Starbucks to hog the internet πŸ˜› . Amelia and I headed to Starbucks for some downtime. This is something I usually do when I needed to clear my mind. That and before this trip, I was craving for Chocolate Chip Frappucino but didn’t get around to do it.

So this was something I was on board for πŸ˜€ Hello CC Frap with chips!

It was a good thing to have some space not doing anything other than chilling for a short while. Just a little bit. Not too much. I’d like to call it an hour(or so) to reflect on everything in life. When you’re on the move so much, you need at least this sort of moment to just relax and look back. Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll be enjoying what you’re doing.

That’s how I would conclude my coffee with Amelia. Made me realised about a lot of things. Thanks Amelia!

Then I went to visit Kak Zara & Denise‘s room. I realised although we all are bunked on the same floor, each and everyone of our room sizes varied. Like a lot. Theirs were very spacious indeed! Mine and Chia Li were alright. We didn’t really mind the view (of the Pyramid wall) because we’re hardly in the room anyway.

After hours of time to ourselves, we walked to Sunway Resort & Spa for a buffet dinner at Sun and Surf. This buffet, according to Sy cost RM78 (not sure if there’s the +nett bit) with plain water to boot.

Being the food monsters that we all are, we headed straight to the buffet and gorged ourselves with soup, salad, bread/pita, roast chicken, sushi, rice, satay and god knows what. There were really a lot of food. One I try not to overload myself with. Wouldn’t want to feel like a Michelin going back to the room later.

That is until.. I saw the desserts. No wait, that was the first thing I saw actually πŸ˜‰

Looked at Spectre, by round 2, he was already leaning his back on the chair. I like to call this pose, the (very) satisfied king. He was a goner for the rest of the rounds.

However, there’s one other person who is the opposite. I present you, the comical Victor.

During this time when I took this picture, I haven’t indulged myself in the desserts. So he took the liberty to show me what I was about to miss. That … fella. I couldn’t even put a straight face when I tried to take this photo! Just look at the chocolate sauce dripping in his bowl. Tsk tsk.

Tempted by the force of eveeeellll..I took a hold of mine!

Unlike others, I prefer mine strictly marshmallows and strawberries because these are the only two most sinful combination that goes well with chocolate. It’s been my childhood favourite this one. Now that I was given the opportunity to eat all I want … bon voyage everyone!

However, there’s one slight problem to this perfect story..Sy found a few strands of hair on the marshmallows at the buffet counter. Thank god I took these marshmallows from the other side. Phewh. He’s got the whole run down of the story here. I hope Sunway City Berhad will be more aware about the happenings in their buildings even though it’s managed by other people. It’d be ashame to have what big reputation they have go down the drain for something like this.

Because guys have bigger appetite than girls, it’s only natural that I see a plate of oysters (after many plates of other things plus desserts) placed on our table. This is Thristhan and Victor’s battle. One only Sy, Spectre and I could watch as spectators. This was when Victor was taught how to eat oysters (there are many ways). After that, he went to take another plate of it for himself.

Oyster is best served cold, raw and with lemon. A dish not everyone would like tho.

After our stomachs are filled with God’s creations, we were allowed to wander on our own again.

And like many curious beings, we decided to walk around and see what Selangor has to offer for nightlife.

For the first time we got the Tourism Selangor guys to explore with us. Johan and Hafiz(yes the one who fed the monkeys). We had fun watching people performing, singing and dancing. It was time well spent indeed!

Amelia(the backbone to MSS trip) was with us too and I thought this photo which was taken with Alid’s camera looked pretty darn cool. At least we know what Pentax Optio WS80 can do by accident πŸ™‚

And this was also when Alid introduced us all to his dance moves…

I think he called it the “Duck Dance” Victor corrected me and said it’s some finger-piano-playing dance. Alid, care to verify this? It really was called the “Duck Dance”. Not sure where he got inspired from. Perhaps one of the many Hindi movies he was watching during the morning? See, I think among all the pairs Amelia’s made, this one – Victor and Alid has got to be the best match ever. Their both quirky, most definitely fun and animated.. not to mentioned, love Hindi movies too. So I’d say kudos Amelia! *These photos were also taken by Alid with Optio WS80 because my P80 died half way :/ Thank you Alid!* Mind you none of us were drinking either and we were definitely having fun.

One of the other dance we did was inspired from this group of people who were doing it πŸ™‚ Managed to record this, thanks to Alid’s Optio WS80 πŸ™‚ Phewh! Thank god for his camera because the rest didn’t have it with them.

 
In a nutshell, I think we certainly made the most of our night here because we only have one more night to go before we say au revoir to everyone.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you like it enough to vote, head over to MySelangorStory/ConcreteDesert πŸ™‚