Category Archives: Travels

so… Hong Kong

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I was in HK for training last week, for a week with Talika and it was good to finally meet up with the peeps I communicate daily with online through skype and email for work. at least now, I have a face to match with the names I write to.

yes, if i haven’t mentioned it before, i’m actually working now at home – full time+flexi hour. so this guarantees my hours at home being ‘full-filled’ 🙂

so, back to Hong Kong. it has great food i can’t deny that, public transport is very efficient, very nice place for a social life as there are so many international people working and living there, and it’s safe; no snatch-theft or ppl breaking your car window to get the bag you left inside – the downside … crazy hectic rush humid small crammy – to  sum it up, if I were to stay for 1 more week, I’d be admitted for having fits or a nervous breakdown. the standard of living is high, like 3times compared to M’sia, living spaces are very small and very expensive, but if you want to live in a bigger place it’ll be far away from town. there are people everywhere from all parts of the world, all walking fast fast; even the escalators in the MTR (subway train) is fast and you’ll have to keep to the right if you don’t plan to walk up so that others can.

view from the office window; narrow skyscrapers

the buildings are all very high and slim coz the inside space is small, so they go upwards instead of sideways. in living quarters, there’s no ceiling fan, just aircon hence the greenhouse effect – super humid climate! in local eateries, the place is small too with MAX 50 heads so when it’s full inside, ppl queue outside waiting for others to leave. our experience of taking the minibus (max 14ppl) was thrilling, if I was single and on the minibus with my boyfriend – it would’ve been a romantic experience. we’ll be hanging onto each other so tightly!

LOL

in one day (Sunday), we got to Stanley Beach, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and had lots and lots of local food and then all the way back to Sai Kung. it was really nice seeing HK in that way, before joining rush hour the next day. because we stayed in Sai Kung, just to get to the office, we had to take 2 buses and 2 trains and walk up a steep steep concrete hill with steps which became our morning exercise. all this in 1half hour… and the same routine going back. I really don’t know how my good buddy can do that every week!!

O.o”

so one week and it was enough for me, I was so ready to head back home – plus I was missing the kids and they were missing me. there’s no place like home…

there’s no place like home.

The trip alone

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i actually managed to survive the journey to Penang with the 2 lil ones alone!! thank God!

Arielle was still down with diarrhoea and she was so weak she couldn’t walk so i had to take the stroller. Air Asia delayed our flight for half an hour and during the wait, we had to visit the loo a few times coz this lil girl of mine just had to. poor thing… but she was a good girl, no tears or meltdowns.

i had to ask the crew to help since i have a baby (2months old) strapped on me, a stroller with a 2year old and a big hand carry bag. it was also raining that night. they were very helpful seeing that i was in a difficult condition; they helped carry the stroller down the stairs and kept it in the cabin for me while Arielle walked the short distance to the plane (since she refused to be carried by a stranger). another crew came to carry her up into the plane when we reached the stairs. so, from the waiting area to the plane inside, i only had Ashton to take care of as the rest of the things that was with me was taken care of by the crew members. if you have young kids and you don’t know yet, you can actually use the stroller with you so that you don’t have to always carry baby around. it will later be passed to the crew when you reach the landing area before you board and will be kept inside where the luggages are, and when you reach, the crew will pass the stroller back to you so you can use it along the way back inside the airport. but the only setback is that with AA, there are staircases so you might need some help carrying the stroller if you’re alone.

inside the plane, Arielle was already tired coz it was already late so she slept soundly – such a good thing!! Ashton pulak woke up to ang-gu ang-gu and smile for a while … he charmed the lady beside me and she carried him for a while till he wanted to nurse. that was when the tragedy started. as he was nearly finished he suddenly burped and all the milk he took came gushing out of his mouth and both of us got all wet. i didn’t bring an extra change for him so i had to make do with a napkin cloth that i brought instead. what was worse was he had also made a big poo poo and it had stained his pants!!  the lady beside me was an angel as she helped me clean and change him, got her hands dirty and all and i felt quite embarrassed about it all. i was so grateful to her (a mother of 2 young adult children) and profusely thanked her. i suppose it must be due to the cabin pressure and the bumpy ride due to bad weather that he was feeling unwell. there was also a bout of crying and fussing.

when we reached penang, it was already over midnight. it was dark, most people are tired and everyone just wanted to go back home. we waited quite a while for our luggage, a whole lot of ppl crowded around the belt to get their stuff. i waited patiently far from the crowd, and then as more ppl left with theirs i finally got nearer and saw my big bag. i tried to lift the 29kg bag with 2 hands (baby on the sling) but a big lady beside me helped to take it off the belt. 🙂  i’ve help everywhere, not to mention stares as well.

all in all, the journey which i thought at first as impossible had become possible. thank God for strength and for kind ppl who have willingly offered their hand. because of that, i’, now happily in my hometown enjoying my one month stay here… the longest period of time here since i started work in kl in 2003.

And the dream came true for me

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I love the UK. There, I said it. After a year of living in a place where I couldn’t understand the language, stepping into another where suddenly everything makes sense really makes you feel you don’t want to leave. Ever. My journey began by arriving at the Birmingham airport. I flew with Ryanair, the UK equivalent of AirAsia. We landed, literally, with a thud. I seriously thought the wheels were going to break through the plane. But apart from that, this budget airline was on time, so no complaints in that department.

14-Nov: I was greeted by friends whom I met back in Kajang (they were students then). It was great to see the trio after all these while.

From left: Maya, Peter and Derek (my hosts for the trip)

First stop was the city of Birmingham, the 2nd largest city in England after London. There, we went to a Malaysian restaurant (where else) and I must say:

a. They serve wicked teh tarik (I had two)

b. Their roasted duck, pork belly and char siew rice was awesome

c. Their char kuey teow was approved by my Penang friend. Maya, btw, is a Japanese girl who lives in Penang and speaks perfect Hokkien. I think she is more Malaysian than Japanese.

The food was so good I forgot to take pictures. Oh well… After stuffing ourselves silly, we head over to Oldham. There we stayed at the Travel Lodge, something like your Tunes hotels, with a bit more extras offered. The room we had came with a double bed and a sofa bed. You can sleep 4 persons in there.

The room; Peter trying to look cool honestly

Outside the hotel

The place itself is nothing glam; to be expected from the price you pay for the rooms. You step into a very immaculate lobby, simply designed as it is, check yourself in and off you go to the room. That was day 1.

15-Nov: Big day for Peter, Derek and myself, as finally we will be going to dream land of every Manchester United fan, OLD TRAFFORD. But first, we head to Manchester China Town.

The Grand Arch of Entrance

First stop was to have dim sum at the Pacific Restaurant. I found out breakfast in UK doesn’t start until 11am, which made me kinda suffer cos’ the moment I awaken from slumber, the first thing my tummy would do is growl. And having breakfast which is really brunch kicked up a really good appetite. It was a very cosy restaurant, and we were the first customers to arrive. Talk about being hungry. By 12pm, the place was packed to the brim. The waitress that served us, we found out, was from Penang who have been living there for 7 years. And as usual, the food was gone before any one of us could snap any pix.

Beneath the smile hides a rumbling stomach

After lunch, we head to the THEATER OF DREAMS. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

After 10 years of supporting them, I have reached Manchester United Football Stadium

The United Trinity (United legends)

Below: Sua Pa Kau Trinity

We went first to the Mega Store and I purchased a few paraphernalia, in the hope of converting my wife and kids to being Manchester United fans as well. Time will tell ;P. We also purchase the tour tickets at 12.50pounds a piece.

The pilgrimage begins...

The tour starts

Inside Old Trafford. Sometimes, you can see the tour guide on the telly (he works as a steward on match days)

Rabid fans

Stretford End

The Munich Tunnel, a memorial for the players and journalists whose lives were lost in the 1958 air crash...

Before the tragedy at Munich the club belonged to Manchester. But afterwards, Manchester United captured the imagination of the entire world.

It was an emotional trudge through the tunnel, remembering the lives lost, shattered dreams, the mammoth efforts to rebuild the club…

Players changing room

The tactics board, and the place where Fergie unleashes the famous 'hair-dryer' treatment

The tunnel to the grounds

Some of you may recognize this, the pre and post match interview board

Totally excited, as you can see 😉

At the dugout

Home side

After the tour that took about an hour, we continued with a visit to the museum…

Players' kits

The trophy cabinet... it's not even half of what they have


Even the memorabilia from match with the Malaysian team recently in 2009 was on display

The Champion's League Cup

The FA Cup

And the hooligans

These are memories that will be forever etched in my heart…

After the highly satisfying trip, we headed over to Trafford Place, a massive shopping mall in Manchester for dinner before heading over to Nottingham, the place where Derek is staying.

To be continued (mainly because I feel that after the Man U trip, talking about anything else seems insignificant)

Hot, Humid, Haze & H1N1

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wow… so much for the anticipated homecoming. the weather condition here is really bad, everyone at home here in Kuching was down with stomach flu and Ayl is down with flu (no, not H1N1 thank God!) come to think of it, nearly everyone we know has fallen sick – our neighbour, Ayl’s friends and their baby whom MIL is babysitting, Rachel & Ryan (the siblings MIL babysat for also), even the lady at the watchshop i went to was eating plain porridge with a huge bottle of 100plus (isotonic drink) by her side which indicates a high probability she’s also suffering from an upset stomach. and the haze is not getting any better.

HONG KONG

Arielle got sick with diarrhoea when we were in Hong Kong and today, she just got better but has developed a very wet cough, caught from Ayl. i fell sick too with stomach flu (or was it also in HK come to think of it), but thank God it wasn’t serious and it lasted just for a few days. so, because Arielle was sick, our Hong Kong trip was uneventful. we practically stayed in the apartment and ate at home at the Welch’s expense 😛 (thanks so much guys); didn’t get to go anywhere except our first day at Disneyland which was uber hot!! we had HK Dim Sum – yes it was superly nice but expensive (everything in HK is expensive!), HK’s charsiu, HK’s milk tart and breathed in HK’s very humid and polluted air… hahaha. but though the city’s packed with people, it’s clean like Singapore and due to the recent flu outbreak, a lot of public places have the automatic-waterless-sanitary-handwash machines at our disposal. good thinking there.

family pic at HK Disneyland

family pic at HK Disneyland

HK Dim Sum - yummy!!

HK Dim Sum - yummy!!

our wonderful hosts

our wonderful hosts

another thing we learnt about HK is that accommodation can get crazily expensive and SMALL!! super culture shock for us to see ‘pigeon holes’ everywhere; with apartments’ average height at 60+ levels; living space at 30 – 40 sq ft. a friend of mine said that she can actually read the subtitles off her neighbour’s tv as she sits in her own living room. i can’t even begin to imagine how it’s like in Japan. coming back to Msia made me appreciate how luxurious we actually are, where space is not as confined.

PENANG

we had Ayl’s parents join us for a week in Penang, and although i had a few things in mind planned on where to bring my in-laws (being their first ever trip to my beloved pig-land), it was too hot to bring Arielle around. so at least we covered Penang Hill, B. Ferringhi beach and most of the makan-makan; did i mention it was also the durian season? mmmmm-mmm… right time to be home.

going up the Hill in the tram

going up the Hill in the tram

the lovely couple up in Pg Hill

the lovely couple up in Pg Hill

sandy beaches and blue skies

sandy beaches and blue skies

building sand castles with grandma

building sand castles with grandma

pig out sessions

pig out sessions

missed out meeting a few friends i wanted to meet but had a nice surprise when some unexpected friends turned up for our small gathering over lunch/dinner. all in all, pigland is still and will always be my homeland no matter what. it was goodbye again all too soon for me.

KL

didn’t really get to do much in KL coz we stopped by only for such a short time – should really have stayed longer so that i get to shop for some things before heading off to Kuching (esp maternity clothes!!) it was all so rushed and we didn’t really get to have the time to meet up with people. esp so when we got back from HK and Arielle was sick and it was best not to tire her out too much by going out the whole day. so, mostly we got together with whoever we thought were significant to us over lunch/dinner and that was about it. we can always rely on facebook right?

lunch with the Wangs

lunch with the Wangs; regret didn't have banana leaf rice instead 😛

dinner with the gang

dinner with the gang

so, as of current, i’ll be here in Kuching till i deliver in End Oct – and have i mentioned it’s a BOY!!; so meantime, i’ll live with Ayl’s family and hang around with baby and Arielle till Ayl comes back again from Slovakia for his winter break in End Dec (2 weeks). we will see if baby is fit enough to fly (hopefully) and if he is then all of us will fly back to Slovakia together Beg Jan – which will be in the dead of Winter, aaaahhhhhh!!! talk about from one extreme to another.

more photos uploaded on facebook, check it out.

Homecoming

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ok, here is our itinerary.

flight from Vienna: 17/July
transit in Bangkok and arrival in PENANG!!: 18/July
– we’ll be in land of the good food till 25/July; then flying to KL at night.

in KL: 26/July, 27/July (morning only), 31/July & 1/Aug (till noon only)

in HK: 27/July (night), 28/July, 29/July, 30/July

– flying to KUCHING 1/Aug; and will be in KUCHING till 7/Aug.
– flying back to Slovakia 8/Aug

detail itinerary in KL:
26/July
– family photo shoot in the morning with Jesse&Eric
– Sunday church service
– lunch with Dave & Peich
– REST!
– dinner with gang

27/July
– breakfast with Ps Chan & family
– official errands like passport & banking stuff
– noon leaving for airport to HK

31/July
– lunch with SSCSM
– dinner with ex-IPO

1/Aug
– Free time in the morning (hope to see Goon’s new baby girl)

as you can see… fully packed!

F.O.U.N.D!

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FINALLY!!! 

introduced to us from an Indonesian friend from church, this humble restaurant is the ONLY MALAYSIAN food (yes, THE ONLY) found in this region (Slovakia/Austria). the place is Millenia/Millenium City, Vienna (1hour’s drive away from Brats) and is among one of the Asian outlets available at the food court of this mall. 

the food is acceptable for Malaysian standards, especially so if you’re ‘near to death’ from your ceaseless cravings and you just got-to-got-to-got-to-GOT-TO-GOT-TO have it!! the owners (chef & asst) are a husband and wife team from KL and they speak Cantonese. they were really friendly with us and with Arielle around, we shared some common ground as they have a 3 year old son. they conversed mostly in Cantonese (much to my discomfort) but even so, it’s always nice to meet people from our home country. nothing beats Malaysian hospitality (MH – hahhaahaha) as they offered bio-juice and chocolate pudding to Arielle. 

too bad it’s only 1 shop, we confirmed this fact when we were at the Malaysian Embassy getting our driving licenses done (coz Slovakia doesn’t accept International Driving license anymore…*pppphhhh*). but on the other hand, at least something than nothing right. 

anyone interested in opening a M’sian restaurant here in Brats? 🙂 Slovaks are quite open-minded with trying new kinds of food. a bak kut teh shop alone will probably thrive here as well – Japs love them and so far, my place is the only fix they can get; wonder how much i’ll get if i charge per bowl. hmm….

note: it’s called ‘cuisine’, don’t play-play ah