Friday, December 14, 2012

china town

Annie was asking me about China Town. She asked me if there was one here and I told her our Padungan road, the one with the giant cat statue was considered our China Town.

Then she asked if all the Chinese had to live there?! I explained that no, it was where mostly Chinese did business, selling Chinese groceries, running Chinese restaurants, etc...

She added, "Wearing Chinese clothes??"


"Er, not necessarily...."

Then I mentioned that there was even an India Street here, with the Indian folk selling spices for curries and such, and Indian restaurants, etc...

After digesting the information she asked, "So Kenyalang is for the Kenya people??"


Kungfu Panda

So we passed by a Chinese temple the other day and Solomon exclaimed, "Kungfu Panda house!!"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

happy birthday hubby!

So Hubby spent his 35th birthday mostly in bed, on pain medication, and shuffling around with a walking frame! The kids found it hilarious 'cos it reminded them of the "ah ma" (old lady) with the walking frame who appears (walking extremely slowly) in Mr Bean! 

Happy Birthday Daddy! We love you!

Anyway, It's been a week since Hubby's spine operation and he has recovered very fast! He escaped the house on Friday (drove off to a kopitiam and was reluctant to come back!)! He is not very fond of being house bound! Luckily he is not a woman going through confinement!

Well, after the follow up with Dr Wong yesterday, he has been given the green light to get out and about. He's pretty mobile now, though he still cannot bend down. So work resumes, and he will be travelling again tomorrow!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

screwwy spine

So Hubby has had a back problem for many years now. It comes and goes, getting worse with activity like golf especially.

This current episode started around 3 weeks ago, when he started playing golf again. He has been going gym crazy and doing strength training for the past 2 months but it didn't seem to cause any harm to his back. It seems that golf is the trigger factor.

This time it was extremely painful, so much so that he was walking with his butt sticking out to one side! Thus he finally decided  it was time to pay the doctor a visit.

So yesterday, after seeing the orthopaedic surgeon, and an x-ray and an MRI later, we were told that he had a slipped disc.

Discs are jelly-like circular cushion pads which go in between the spinal bones. Apparently Hubby's disc at lumbar 5 was dried out and fragmented and sticking out. It was pressing on a nerve which caused the pain and worse; numbness down the legs.

So we were told that an operation was the best option. After a second opinion from a spine specialist, Hubby decided to go ahead with the op that night itself. Have I ever mentioned that Hubby likes to do things straight away, chop chop, no wasting time, that kinda thing? This can be a good thing at most times, but also very stressful and scary for the faint-hearted like me!!

The first surgeon didn't help, by making it sound like it was an emergency and couldn't wait, whereas the second, more qualified surgeon was more relaxed about it. But anyway, by then Hubby had already set his mind to go ahead. He wants an active lifestyle and knew this was the only way to go.

The spine specialist reassured us that it was a very common procedure and he does a few every week. Mum's friend Aunty Lillian, an orthopaedic nurse at GH also assured us that he was the right man to do the op.

So yesterday morning, we set out for a casual appointment to see a doc, and by 4pm found ourselves 'checking in' to the hospital as an inpatient, prepping for major surgery! (on the spine nonetheless!!)

Anyway the op went well, thank God, and Hubby is home and resting now, albeit in a lot of pain.

He now has 4 very expensive titanium screws in his spine which will set off metal detectors! The doctor gave him a card which explains this.

So the doc went in, through two small incisions (around 3" vertical slits) on either side of his lower spine. He removed the L5 disc which he said was already so dried up and damaged it was almost like an empty space. Then he fused the two bones together using the pedicle screws. So basically there is no more joint there and the two bones will fuse into one over the course of 6-9 months.

Hubby's birthday is tomorrow so this is his birthday present to himself! A new back! Hopefully in 9 months time, he will be able to play golf without any pain!

Latest update: We found out that the first surgeon has a reputation for recommending surgery straight away even when it is not the best route of action! It was a good thing I felt uneasy with his hasty demeanour and talked to Big Sis who insisted an immediate second opinion was the way to go and suggested I ask Aunty Lillian who to see.

Thank God Aunty Lillian was very adamant that we request for Dr Wong for a second opinion and to do the procedure. Turns out Dr Wong is one of the best we have here in Kuching, and also happens to be a visiting doctor at that very hospital and was in town! Everything fell into place as usual. Time and again, we are amazed by how God puts everything into place. I'll bet God even made sure Hubby went to the gym for 2 months to strengthen his back muscles in preparation for this!!

I've also learnt that we must trust our gut feeling. With the first doctor, even though my brain told me he was extremely qualified and we should trust what he says, I felt very uncomfortable. When he suggested surgery in such a hurry and was just a little bit shifty (I now realize, in hindsight) when asked whether the urgency was warranted, something felt amiss. It didn't help that Hubby was totally comfortable with the idea and was in agreement straight away! I was near panic and he was not the least bit ruffled!! (Your spine?! Hello?!)

Anyway, in the end we got the best doctor and everything went as well as it possibly could have. Thank God.

2012 academic acheivements

So we're now about 2 weeks into the long year-end school holidays! There were prize-giving ceremonies and graduations to attend before school was out. Let's re-cap the academic achievements of this year...

Firstly, Eva graduated from kindergarten and she will be attending Annie and Claire jie jie's school next year! She also surprised us by receiving the prize for third place in class. A couple of weeks before this, she was also awarded a third place trophy for a maths competition organized for her year.

This year, Claire came in first in her class and was very proud to receive her certificate and book voucher. Claire is very meticulous with her work and puts a lot of effort into getting things right.

Annie was third in class and also bagged the progress prize. She studied extra hard for the second semester exams so she deserves it. So mummy was very busy taking photos this year! :)

Solomon has completed kindy A and will be proceeding to kindy B next year. He will be all alone, while the 3 jie jies are in the other school. I hope this won't be a problem!! I will be psycho-ing him before the school year begins! At least now he keeps saying that he is a big boy already and will be going to 'big boy class'! :D

Eva always brings Solomon to his classroom first

Mummy and Daddy are so very proud of the four of you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Country style

So you all know Kenny Rogers right? The country dude who sang "Islands in the Stream" with Dolly Parton? Well, he has this chain of restaurants, Kenny Roger's Roasters, and a couple of weeks ago, we went there for dinner with the kids.

After a lovely chicken dinner, we got up to leave and Solomon spotted the framed photos of him hanging on the wall.

He asked, "Is that Jesus?"


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween 2013

It's been a couple of years since we went for a Halloween party. So this year, I pestered everyone to go to the one at Sarawak Club. We had better take the opportunity to attend such activities, before our kids become surly teens and refuse to wear cute costumes or be seen out with Mummy!! (so lame!) lol!

It's not easy to find costumes here and even if we could, they would, more likely than not, cost a mini fortune. Moreover, I have to multiply by four!!

That's a bicycle helmet in disguise!!

So I bought a few pieces of Halloween knick knacks, when I was in KL for the reunion, and the rest were hand-made. We made lotsa Witches' hats using coloured paper and also simple robes using pieces of cloth with a slit cut down the middle for sticking the head in!! Brooms were made of bamboo sticks and palm leaves! Sis no.2 made an adorable pumpkin costume which unfortunately no one wanted to wear!! There were also some fairy wings recycled from years past...

Eva the fairy princess

This year however, the decor at the party was too scary for the little ones! Previous parties were very child-friendly, so we were not prepared for the scary material they had waiting for the kids! It was obviously organized by a MAN who does not have little children who will keep him awake at nights when frightened!!

Solomon refused to wear his costume after just 5 mins

The kids had to walk through a dark room with cobwebs, scary masks and skeletons hanging around. I carried Solomon through the room while he kept his eyes tightly shut! We were also 'treated' to a scary 'Thriller" dance performed by  spookily costumed characters who even came up close to the kids!! I was this near to kicking one of them away!! But I must admit that they did put a lot of effort into the props and decor.

Claire the orange witch...

Entertaining the kids once again was the clown, Uncle Banana, a.k.a. Uncle Jerry.... Kuching is really in dire  need of new clowns....

Annie the wicked witch...

Well anyway, luckily the kids were too tired to have nightmares by the time we went home to sleep! It was quite an experience for them, let's see if they want to go again next year.....

P1/97 first reunion

Thanks KP for this great group shot! One for the record...

On October 14th, I attended the first reunion for my uni-mates. We were class of  P1/97, the second batch of pharmacy students from International Medical College (now known as International Medical University), KL. We spent 1 1/2 years together in the old campus which was then at PJ old town. Then we went to Glasgow for another year, where we studied through summer!

It has been 13 years since we graduated and most of us have not seen each other since then! However, some of us are friends through Facebook, and it was when one of our classmates, KP, posted an old class photo, that the idea of a reunion began taking root.

So just via Facebook, we managed to get almost half of the class together at One World Hotel, KL, for a Sunday afternoon lunch. It was amazing and I'm so happy and proud that our ex-classmates are still so sporting and could make such an event happen so easily. It is not so simple to get everyone together, as most of us have family, work and business commitments (a lot of us have retail outlets to run). Not to mention the fact that many are no longer based in Malaysia.

ex-flat mates

So we had friends coming from Ireland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Penang, Ipoh, Sarawak and Singapore. I myself, flew in for a day trip. It was awesome catching up with everyone and some brought  along their spouses and their adorable 'mini me's'!! lol!

We spent hours chatting, finding out what everyone had been up to since we graduated and reminiscing the good ol' days! It was great seeing you guys again! We most definitely must do this again soon!!

Gorgeous photo stolen from Kah Fei's FB! :)

Ballet Concert 2012

This post is way overdue! I was kinda waiting for the professional photographs, so I could post prettier photos! (though I did get the photos last month...)

So The Dance Academy had their biennial reporting concert on 31 August, our national day, at The Pullman Hotel. It wasn't such a good setting, as the floor was level and not banked, so the audience at the back could hardly see anything. Also, the kids were told to arrive at 4, when the concert began at 7pm and ended close to 10pm! Worse still, they were not given food to eat! I do hope they will consider letting smaller children leave earlier next time! After all the parents' complaints they must have received, I think it should be better thought out next time.

Anyway, all that aside, it was a beautiful performance and everyone did extremely well! Annie and cousin Allyson are pretty much veterans when it comes to ballet concerts! They've been dancing since they were 4 years old I think.

that's Annie (middle) in  her first ballet concert in 2006!

 For Claire, cousin Alaena and Eva though, this was their very first ballet concert. Alaena and Eva are in the same class, so they did one item, and Claire performed one dance as well. Annie and Allyson are also in the same classical ballet and modern jazz class, so they both performed two dances.

Annie's modern jazz item

Claire dancing to Disney's, Tarzan's "You'll be in my heart" by Phil Collins

Eva's number was Disney's, Lion King's "Just can't wait to be king"

All the girls were extra beautiful and danced so gracefully! Even though they were nervous, especially the small ones, they overcame their fears and made us proud! They are all growing up to be pretty, young ladies!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

raining in the toilet

The other day, something in the ceiling pipes busted! So we woke up to find water dripping from the ceiling in the toilet! It was quite a heavy leak.

I could only call maintenance later in the day, so the kids had to get ready for school anyway, regardless of the busted pipe!

Then I overheard Eva and Solomon, while brushing their teeth under the leak, sing:

" Rain, rain go away...."  -_-

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Last week, the kids caught 4 tadpoles from the drain outside our condo. (It's a newly constructed housing area, so the drain was relatively 'clean'!) One of the tadpoles had already grown hind legs, whilst the rest were still pretty fish-like. I took the opportunity to tell the kids about the interesting life cycle of a frog. The girls already know this from school, but it was something quite new for Solomon. Or maybe he remembers it from an episode of Mr Bean cartoon! I don't know.

Anyway, the kids put them into a small tank and we wondered what to feed it. I figured they wouldn't die from one night without food, so I would Google, "What do tadpoles eat?" the next day, suspecting it would be something like seaweed.

Well, when we woke up the next morning, the kids were alarmed to find that there was only one tadpole left! The kids came up with possible explanations like the tadpoles turning into frogs overnight and hopping away!! However, the tank was covered, so even if they somehow magically transformed into frogs overnight, they couldn't have escaped!

That left only one grisly conclusion...

The lone survivor, was the biggest tadpole, the one with hind legs. So, he must've eaten the other three which could have very possibly been it's siblings!! or relatives?!!

The kids were totally creeped out at this cannibalism and wanted to throw the tadpole away! But I thought it would be educational to keep it to observe it's metamorphosis, even though I was a little creeped out myself!!

True enough, when I Googled it, I found out that tadpoles start out as vegetarians and become carnivorous (and yes, cannibal-'lous'??) once they grow hind legs! We learn something new everyday eh?

So we tried giving it fish food and luckily it seems to be eating that. There's no sign of front legs yet, and we are still eagerly awaiting...

Previously, when we were in Bali, Taiku also brought home a caterpillar for the kids. They talked about it spinning a cocoon and turning into a beautiful butterfly.

Because of all this, I think Solomon figures most creatures grow up to be something else totally!

I say this because, just yesterday, we caught a ginormous grasshopper which was perched on Kung Kung Titus' ladies finger plant. Sidekick had it in a container, and Solomon remarked, "When it grow big will become butterfly!"

I told him that that was caterpillars! Only caterpillars grow up to become butterflies, not grasshoppers!

So he asks, "Then become ladybird??"

Hahaha... I told him no, and he was still confused.

"Small grasshopper become what leh?", he asked.

"Small grasshoppers become big grasshoppers, that's all." I replied.

He looked a bit disappointed. Just a plain ol' boring, grasshopper!  


Friday, October 5, 2012

on fire!

So here's how the after-school-conversation went two days ago:

Mum: So how was school today dear?

Solomon: Good. My teacher say my school on fire next Friday.

Mum: On fire? You mean fire drill, when the bell rings and everyone goes outside?

Solomon: Yes.

Mum: Oh, that is not real fire, it's just for practice.

Solomon: No, my teacher say is real fire.

Mum: Are you sure?

Solomon: Yes, is real fire.

Mum: I don't think so. Who is going to set the school on fire?

Solomon: No, by itself.

Mum: No lah, it's not a real fire.

Solomon: See first la.

So the next day (no, not next Friday):

Solomon: Today my school on fire, just now. I go outside and see Eva.

Mum: Oh, you had the fire drill today?

Solomon: Yes.

Mum: It wasn't a real fire right?

Solomon: No, not real fire. Yesterday my teacher thought is real fire.

:)  Kids are so adorably blur.....

Friday, September 21, 2012

All things Chinese

So the other day we were at a Chinese restaurant and Solomon pointed to my glass and asked, "What is this?"

I told him, "It's Chinese tea."

So he picked up some peanuts he was eating and asked, "This is Chinese nuts??"

Hahaha! How hilarious a 4 year-old's logic can be!!! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bali pt.3 - dan lain-lain

Gosh, I've procrastinated and delayed blogging so long that I have forgotten most of what happened!

Well anyway the beginning part of the trip was mostly diving, diving and more diving. After those first few days, we had time to explore Bali a bit. We stayed at Sanur, and on the last night changed to another hotel in Kuta. The other places we covered was Tulamben when diving, and we also spent a whole day wondering  about Ubud, which was my favourite. I find the artsy fartsy Ubud much more pleasant than Kuta.

Though Kuta is also cool in it's own way; the whole place is like a big party! With more and more people from around the world flying in everyday to join in the fun! Hubby was just amazed at the number of planes you could see flying in every evening. They were like 5 mins apart and coming in non-stop!

The first few nights, we spent at Puri Mesari, a hotel in Sanur. It is a secluded hotel, tucked away in a quiet enclave and is a quaint place with the mandatory Balinese touches like frangipani trees, plenty of water features and outdoor bathrooms! I can see why many people are smitten with Balinese architecture and interior decor.

So on our first no-dive day, we went looking for vanilla pods which SIL and I wanted for our baking adventures! :) Thus we headed in the direction if Ubud.

Along the way, we passed an amazingly breathtaking sight! It was the Tagalalang rice terraces. Like everyone else, we just had to stop and take some photos.

 After quite a bit more driving, we reached Alam Bali Agriculture, the so called coffee and vanilla farm.

Here we tasted kopi luwak (civet coffee), the most expensive coffee in the world. Civet coffee is made from coffee beans eaten and passed out (yes, shit) by the civet cat!!! So we tried the kopi luwak for Rp50,000 a cup (around RM17) and it tasted pretty normal to me, though I am not a coffee drinker so...

 Anyway, as I said, SIL and I were there mainly to hunt for vanilla, but in the end we realized this place was a scam. It was just a small, sad garden with a few assorted plants like coffee, vanilla and cinnamon. There was no large scale farm at all.

When you asked the staff where the farm was, they would point vaguely down a valley which looked like secondary jungle to me. Then when I asked how they processed the vanilla extract (cause it was labelled vanilla oil and I have never heard of vanilla oil), they said that only the boss knew, as they sent the raw materials to Denpasar to be processed. When Hubby asked where the factory at Denpasar was ( I wanted to find wholesale vanilla), he replied he didn't know and quickly excused himself, saying he was busy.

So we bought some vanilla and other things like ginger tea at the shop. I bought the vanilla oil (as I suspected, it was actually not oil at all, but an alcohol based extract) at Rp90,000 per bottle. It was labelled with their sticker, but later on I noticed that the bottle's plastic seal at the cap was printed with a different company's name and address (Surabaya).

Sure enough, when we went to the Ubud market, we found the exact same bottle of vanilla extract (same brand as was printed on the seal) for a fraction of the price! Only Rp10,000 for a bottle! Boy had we been ripped off! I was really pissed off, but Hubby says one just has to be prepared to get fleeced every time you go for a holiday! It happens, more often that not! *Sigh* 

 I suppose it's not such a big deal, but the thought of them duping innocent tourists all year long and getting away with it really bugged me, so I complained on Tripadvisor. It was the least I could do, maybe I can 'save' one or two innocent tourists from wasting their time...

So anyway, after the 'farm', the next stop was lunch! Babi Guling at Ibu Oka, which I raved about in a previous post! Allow me to rave a bit more here:

A whole pig, hand roasted for 4 hours, over real firewood! What's not to love???

 Okay, okay, moving on... Next, we went for a heavenly massage at Sang Spa, then, it was time for shopping! The next stop was the Ubud market, where tourists flock to find a good bargain. It is full of souvenirs, handicraft, clothes, jewellery, etc.. It was fun haggling with the merchants, though at times hazardous! SIL suspects she was cursed by a young lady when she did not buy an item! The young lady was very rude and scolding in her native tongue, so we didn't know exactly what she was saying, but it was obviously nothing nice! There were some nicer and friendlier merchants, but on the whole they were very pushy.

The ladies ready for a 2 hour shopping spree (the men waited patiently at a cafe across the road).

So after dinner at Bumbu Bali, we went back to Sanur and the next day, transferred to our hotel in Kuta, the Sun Island.

It was a gorgeous hotel with a great location. So we had a day to explore Kuta, before flying home early next morning.

Hubby and I went about on a rented motorbike and SIL and friend hung out at Discovery Mall which among other things, housed a spa and most importantly for them, Starbucks!

Traffic in Kuta is pretty scary, and there is honking everywhere! I was so scared of banging my knee on a car or something, as we weaved through traffic.

Anyway, Hubby stopped when he smelled coffee and we discovered another coffee joint which was more authentic looking, Kopi Domba. Since the last coffee farm place was so dodgy, we suspected that the kopi luwak we had there was most probably not even kopi luwak! So once again we tried it, just to see if there was something to this hype that we just didn't get.

Well, it still tasted like normal good(ish) coffee to me and Hubby. Actually I'm probably the last person who you should ask, as my idea of coffee is the ice blended at Coffee Bean! It was even more expensive here, around RM100+ for a cup.

Well, at least we learned that kopi luwak is not farmed (as claimed by the dodgy farm place). It is apparently illegal to rear civets for this purpose, so Kopi Domba claims to pick the civet droppings from the wild! Thus our very expensive conclusion is this; kopi luwak is over rated.

The most fruitful outcome of our explorations of Kuta was the out-of-this-world satay babi we found at a roadside!! This again I raved about two posts ago...

Since we were in Bali, we of course had to set foot on the infamous Kuta beach!

Then it was dinner at Discovery Mall, by the beach to wait for the sunset. The sun was unfortunately behind the clouds, but it was okay. We did glimpse the gorgeous, huge, red sun just seconds before it set (it was setting so fast!) on Kuta beach on the second night of our stay when we ventured there from our hotel in Sanur.

So that was it, an amazing holiday! I do love Bali and the carefree hippie, beach bum vibe that rubs off on you when you're there. I wouldn't mind returning at all! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bali pt.2 - scuba diving!

So the main reason for the trip (aside from escaping life for a while) was of course to go scuba diving. The best chance one can have to see the adorable mola mola or sunfish anywhere in the world, is in Bali during the month of August! So this was our main target! Aside from seeing the rare and elusive mola mola, diving in Bali is just so so. (compared to Sipadan and Manado)

mola mola a.k.a. sunfish (Hubby took this pic)

The mola mola are usually at deeper depths and so they are hard to find. However, in the month of August, cold waters from Australia will encourage the mola to come up closer to the surface for cleaning. They have cleaning stations where smaller fishes will eat the parasites off their bodies. This is the best time to see them, when they come up and keep still for cleaning. So we were forewarned and prepared extra vests and hoods to protect ourselves from the cold temperatures which were expected to go down to around 19*C sometimes!

On the first day, we went to Sanur beach to take a boat out to Nusa Penida. The first dive was to be done at Manta Point at Nusa Penida. I forgot to take my sea sickness pills and thought I would just try going without them first! (SIL had some with her but I hadn't been on a boat for 2 years and had forgotten how bad I could get!)

So, by the time we reached Manta Point, I was pretty sick and forced myself to suit up and jump in anyway! Underwater, I tried not to turn my head around too much and was very close to removing my mouthpiece to puke! (yes, underwater!)

But it was worth the pain, as we saw two huge mantas swimming by almost immediately! The water was clear, but not as clear as the water was when we were at Manado or Sipadan, and the mantas were a distance away, so the effect wasn't as I had expected. I dunno, maybe I was expecting a magical moment swimming with gentle giants perhaps? But this was more like watching them on tv! Lol!

It was still a cool moment, as this was the first time I have seen real life, huge, wild mantas up close. However, I was still not feeling well, and the moment we surfaced, I promptly removed my regulator and puked into the water!

So the second dive was out for me. I decided to take a couple of pills and sleep on the boat. Oh did I mention it was cold as well??!! So I was cold, tired and sea sick and just had to take a nap.

The boat moved on to Crystal Bay, where we hoped to catch a glimpse of the mola mola. We had scheduled 3 days of diving here, in case the mola eluded us! So Hubby, SIL and Tzarina went down for the second dive, leaving miserable me on the boat, trying to keep my pills down.

That's Hubby going after the mola! FYI you're not supposed to do that!

And guess what? They saw the mola almost straight away! Two of them!! It was amazing! I was so excited for them! But when they came up, everyone was shivering and complaining of the cold! The temperature had gone down to a freezing 17*C!! Everything had gone right; the temperature was cold enough for the mola, and there wasn't any current to deter the divers!

I felt better after my rest, and the mola sightings had me energized, so I suited up for the third dive. Tzarina decided to sit this one out, as it was too cold for her taste!

This time however, we did not see the molas. The temperature was down to 19*C where we were, and I was gritting my teeth and clamping down on my regulator mouthpiece!! I was shivering and hugging myself while diving!! The dive master went deeper to look for the mola, but the current had started to get strong and we decided to surface.

So I was the only one who did not see the mola, but I did not mind at all! I didn't think it was worth braving the cold to try again!! Everyone agreed and so we decided to change our diving schedule and move to a different location the next day! Enough swimming in refrigerator water for us thankyouverymuch!

The next day, we went to Tulamben, a good site with a shipwreck, USS Liberty, just 10m out from the shore. The only downside is it is a 3hr drive one way, and we have to do shore dive, meaning walk out from the beach, not jump in from the boat.

We have never done shore dives before, so this was something new for us. The beach is a rocky beach, consisting of black volcanic rocks, so going over the rocks with all our heavy equipment while being battered by the strong waves was really difficult and super tiring! We were losing our balance and falling all over the rocks!

But the dive site was excellent, with a huge shipwreck teeming with reef life, and to the right of it a black volcanic sand field good for muck dives, and then even further left, a reef wall good for wall dives!

We did two dives at the shipwreck, where we met a turtle and found pygmy seahorses and saw creepy garden eels which came out really far from their holes in the ground!

The last dive of the day we did a muck dive and found many macro creepy crawlies to photograph! 

The next day we did Tulamben again, one muck dive near the shipwreck, a wall dive at the reef and another muck dive at Tasik Point further down the road.

nasi campur lunch break: warming up in the sun after a cold dive

Diving Tasik Point was easier, as it was volcanic sand and not volcanic rocks, so we didn't bounce about in the waves when going in and out!! I guess we were also getting the hang of shore diving. Anyways, muck dives are always very relaxing and slow paced as you dig around for tiny, tiny things to see!

Hubby shooting away

nudibranch: a favourite of underwater photographers as they come in a myriad of colours and pretty much keep still while you shoot!!

Nudibranch eggs! Amazing right??

Can't wait to start planning for next year's dive trip!! ;) Maldives? Komodo Island? Philippines???

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bali pt.1 - food, glorious food!

So last month, during the Hari Raya break, Hubby and I, along with SIL and her friend/colleague, Tzarina, went to Bali for a scuba diving holiday. August is super peak season for Bali diving, beacause that is the best time to spot the awesome mola-mola, a.k.a. sunfish!

The kids were all at HQ and also enjoyed themselves with cousin Hughie. They even went for a sleepover at Taiku's house, which they always love!

Bali was fabulous, and I'll report on the most important thing first, i.e: FOOD! :)

 So this is Rossi Vivo, one of the first restaurants we went to after the first day of diving. It is an upscale restaurant on Jalan Kuta, right in front of the main Kuta beach. It is a gorgeous, classy place, with a swimming pool of it's own.

They serve fancy and delicious food with prices to match.

L-R: angel hair pasta with asparagus, smoked salmon and caviar, in vodka sauce/ a puffed up pizza calzone/ squid ink risotto.

Here is Warung Mama Putu, a roadside stall which is just a little fancier than the usual shabby roadside warung. It was just 5 mins walk from our hotel, Puri Mesari in Sanur.

We were really hungry from diving and thoroughly enjoyed the good food here!

L-R: There was satay babi (much better than the tough, dry ones at the hotel!!), grilled barracuda, grilled cuttlefish, grilled king prawns, nasi goreng and mee goreng/ Avocado juice with chocolate sauce!/ Avocado and shrimp salad.

I love avocados! We only have imported ones here and they cost a bomb! RM5.99 to 8.99 per avocado!!

This is apparently the most famous babi guling (roasted pig) place in Bali. Babi Guling Ibu Oka in Ubud. This is her house, her shop down the road was full.

The babi guling here is without doubt, done to perfection! The meat is amazingly soft and tender, it pulls apart so easily. And the divine crackling is thin and so crisp! It is no wonder that the place is packed everyday! The accompanying dishes like the soup and vegetables however, are just so so. But the sambal was wonderfully super spicy!

When we visited to the kitchen, we found the staff turning the spit by hand and the babi roasting over real firewood! It takes 4hrs to roast one pig! These details are what makes the perfect babi guling at Ibu Oka!( I sound like an advertisement!) lol!

In Ubud, after everyone had a good massage at Sang Spa, we had dinner at Bumbu Bali. It's owner was a chef at a 5 star hotel. They offer authentic Balinese food, among other things. They conduct cooking classes as well, and one was under way when we were there.

L-R: Chicken cooked in coconut milk was rather tasteless/ The satay babi with rice was okay only, though the rice was very nice, with crunchy beans cooked into it/ The bebek bertutu (smoked duck) was very good!

On the last night, we changed hotels to Sun Island Hotel near Kuta. Hubby and I rented a motorbike and went gallivanting round town! :) This is when we discovered this soto ayam stall together with a satay babi stall surrounded with many people waiting to be served! This is a sure sign of good food!

The soto ayam was just a spicy soup with a few sad pieces of chicken and some strings of glass noodles. But I did enjoy it, as it was very tasty, with plenty of spices and MSG! lol!

Oh the satay babi!! This satay babi I think was the best thing we had during our whole stay in Bali! And the cheapest too! (Only 30sen per stick) It was soooo juicy and tender and tasty! No wonder there was such a large crowd waiting for this heavenly satay! It was wrapped in paper and served with whole chillies and salt. Sigh.... yummy...

This is Segara Asian, at Discovery Mall, Kuta, right on the beach and facing the sunset! It was definitely a magical location. Unfortunately when we were there, the sun was behind the clouds :( But it was still a pleasant evening, with a magnificent view.

The place is lovely, with a pool and huge colourful paper lanterns.

The food however was just slightly above average.

L-R: Duck three ways/ virgin pina colada and Bintang beer/ grilled cuttlefish

So that was the food chapter.... diving chapter next!
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