Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A grueling 12 ½ hour journey back to Kuala Lumpur!

We thought that by driving back to Kuala Lumpur on the 3rd day of Hari Raya, the traffic would be less as people might still be on holiday and still going visiting. But, we couldn’t be more wrong!

The traffic jam started even less than 1 hour after we left my mum’s condo in Kota Bharu at about 11.30am.

Even the traffic in the opposite direction going towards Kota Bharu was jammed packed.

Originally, the plan was to take Route 8 south to Gua Musang and then take the Lojing-Tanah Rata-Simpang Pulai link and connect to the NSE near Ipoh. However, due to the jam in Machang to Kuala Kerai, my hubby decided to detour via Tanah Merah to Jeli.

From Jeli we took a small kampung Road labeled Route 66 (or “Jalan BN...” as was written on a placed in the middle of a sink hole LOL! *grin*) south to Dabong and finally to Gua Musang.

It took us a grueling 7 hours to get from Kota Bharu to the borders of Pahang.

I managed to take a photo of a scenery I hardly see here in Kuala Lumpur. It was so serene and mysterious.

But, there were also scenes I wish it wasn’t happening here in Malaysia. Hills after hills of virgin forest were savagely raped to make way for what they call agricultural purposes.

It was sad to see such sights, all in the name of agriculture. I wonder why the authorities are not doing anything about it. *sad*

From Gua Musang we continued as planned, taking the mountain road west and stopping near Tanah Rata to buy fresh veggies and white coffee and to do our prayers.

My hubby said the refreshingly cold mountain water he took for his wuduk really perked him up such that he was able to stay awake until we reached our home!

I think he forgot that he had a lot of help from me *wink* as I hardly took a nap throughout the journey to make sure that he stays alert and awake by talking and chatting with him until I could no longer think of a topic to talk about anymore! LOL!

What do you expect, especially when we had already traveled for more than 10 hours already? LOL!

Someone told me that men talks only 7,000 words a day, compared to women who talks more than 35,000 words a day. But, I think that day, I spoke more than 70,000 words! LOL!

No wonder I was dead tired the next day and spoke little! I had used up the next days words already! LOL!

Anyway, we stopped by for dinner and to do our prayers at the Tapah Rest Area at about 9.00 pm. After about a 30 minutes break, we carried on our journey and arrived safely at slightly passed midnight! A grueling 12 ½ hour journey back to Kuala Lumpur!

That wasn’t the worse. The worse was 4 years ago when our journey from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur took us 16 hours. We left Kota Bharu at 10.00am and arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 2.00am the next day! The journey from Kota Bharu to Gua Musang which normally takes only 2 hours on a normal day took us 6 hours!

When my son was getting restless, I told him to take a nap and said to him that when he gets up, we would arrive by then. He took a nap 4 times before we finally arrived home! LOL!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dinner at Kemaman Kopitiam, but in Kota Bharu!

Kemaman is a town in Terengganu, but we are in Kelantan, so, we got curious when we chanced upon this café on our last night in Kota Bharu for raya.

Looks like it had just opened for business as there were many telltale signs like a banner saying `KINI DIBUKA’ (now open) and the service by the waiters will tell you that they don’t have much experience yet dealing with the customers needs, whims and fancies.

We were just driving around town to see how traffic was at 9.00pm on the 2nd day of raya, and what else is new in town since our last trip back, when we chanced upon this newly opened café.

My son was spending the night at my mum’s house. He had followed my sister Lin back from my sister Chik’s house after the open house.

Aiman and KuMiki (my sister Lin’s son) just could not get enough of playing with each other, and Miki cried when my sister said that it’s time to go home, so, my sister asked if Aiman to come home with Miki.

When we said yes, but on the condition that the PSP stays home since they have been playing the PSP all afternoon, Miki cried again. Hmm…I wonder if it is Aiman that he wants to play with or the PSP? LOL! *grin*

Back to the café again, we were impressed with the marketing strategy as the shop was not only selling the food served, but also some other paraphernalia as souvenirs.

There were caps, aprons, T-shirts, 3-in-1 coffee packets and many more. They were even selling old time cups and saucers! I was even tempted to get a set! LOL! But managed to resist it! LOL! *grin*

However, with all the sales gimmick, the food was a little bit of a let down.

I ordered Curry Laksa, and it was nothing to shout about though I like the big pieces of prawns and chicken.

My hubby ordered the Hainanese Chicken Chop and he was a little disappointed with the taste, and it took them close to 30 minutes to serve it up. It was definitely not worth the wait.

My hubby also commented that there were more fritters than chicken as they had overdone it with the batter to fry the chicken.

This interesting looking cup with a tea pot on top is Vietnamese black coffee. My hubby didn’t like it either.

Oh, another thing, when my hubby asked for salt and pepper, all they had was pepper. They didn’t have any salt shaker, and, so did not serve the salt. *sigh*

They sure have lots to learn and they’d better be learning fast if they want to survive in this competitive world.

Sorry, got side tracked a bit, but, next posting is on the trip back to Kuala Lumpur as promised!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raya Open House at Burswood!

Sounds like we just went overseas for Raya, right, with the name Burswood? LOL!

Actually, that’s the name of my sister’s house. She had named it after a place she visited while holidaying in Australia many many years ago.

My sister’s house is a lovely bungalow built on a corner lot given by my mum many years ago. I love the layout of her house and hope to own a bungalow too someday, even if it’s a small one, for as long as it can fulfill all our requirements.

My sisters and I, and my two brothers all have a plot of land in a row next to my sister’s, thanks to my mum’s gift of love, but, at the moment, only my sister Chik (Adura) has built a house on her piece of land when she first started a business in Kota Bharu with her hubby many years ago.

I hope to make something out of my piece of land soon. I have had some initial discussions with my sister and brother-in-law while in Kota Bharu, and I hope that it will materialize into something that would bring me in some extra cash, rather than just having it laying there looking abandoned.

Anyone interested to rent it out for agriculture or to set up workshops or something? *wink*

Ooppps! I am digressing! Sorry!

Anyway, back to the Raya Open House at Burswood, my sister had an Open House on Monday, 21st September starting from 2.00pm. She had ordered Nasi Briyanni and all it’s accompaniments for the Open House from a restaurant, which according to her, is quite well known in Kota Bharu, but I have forgotten the name of the restaurant.

She made Chocolate Cake, and I had made a Carrot Cake for her too which I brought back all the way from Kuala Lumpur. She also made Apple Crumble and Custard Sauce.

She had also ordered Roti Jala and Kari Ayam, but, at 10.00am, the ‘caterer’ (not the same as the briyanni caterer) called to say that she is not up to making the Roti Jala and curry as she is too tired from all the visiting she made the day before!

Can you imagine that? Terrible, huh, telling your customer just hours before the function that you are simply too tired to fulfill the order? Uurrgghh!

She isn’t actually a professional caterer, but is a friend of a friend doing it part time who was recommended by a neighbour, but still, she agreed to make the food when my sister asked. She could have refused had she expected that she was going to be tired knowing very well how first day raya usually is. For sure this will definitely be the 1st and last time that my sister will ever be ordering from her again.

Immediately after getting the call, my sister immediately called the briyanni caterer to ask if she could add to her orders, but, unfortunately, the caterer was only able to accommodate an extra 10 more persons as all the cooking was almost done. Still, it was better than none at all.

My sister immediately got to work to bake more Apple Crumble to make up for the Roti Jala which wasn’t coming.

Everything was all done and ready just in the nick of time giving my sister just enough time to bath and get ready before the first guest starting arriving just slightly after 2.00pm.

Just look at the food spread on my sisters’ dining table!

My mouth is once again getting watering looking at all those yummy foods!

I lost 3 kg during the fasting month, but looks like I will be gaining 5 kg after the raya season is over! LOL!

Here are some photos of the relatives and friends who came for the open house…

From left, Aimeer (my sister’s son) seen here with my sister, a cousin’s daughter who I can’t recall her name, and my cousin Kak Ti, having a conversation with my mum.

From left, my brother Azan with our cousin Ima, and her two daughters, Bayu and Senja. Lovely and unique names, right?

My brother Ayis with his wife, Sufia and daughter Fatin.

My cousin Ima (in greenish blue) surrounded, from left, niece Kuyana, Senja (Ima’s daughter) and niece Kuyasmin.

I can’t recall who the person on the far left is but the lady in the pink baju kurung is my cousin Kak Na and her hubby, Abang Hafiz with their son, Farhan.

Some friends of my sister seen here with my brother Azan and mum and standing behind my hubby is my brother-in-law, Rizdwan (Chik’s hubby).

From left, moi (that means 'me' in french) with cousin Kak Na, sisters, Chik (in purple) and Lin (in white) and cousin Ima.

From Left, my aunt Fini (yup, she’s our young aunt), sister Lin and grand aunt Re’ (Fini’s mum).

My nieces, Adrianna or affectionatekly known as Nana and Kuyasmin. They both look like two peas in a pod. They both love pink too!

All in the family.......from left, Lin, moi, Chik, Azan and mum.

It was great meeting up with relatives whom some we have not met for a very long time.

The food was great albeit my sister went into a panic mode earlier in the day, but everything in the end turned out well.

Coming up next, the 12 ½ hour journey back to Kuala Lumpur!

Raya in Kota Bharu!

We woke up early to go for the Raya prayers at Masjid Teliput, an old mosque that has gone through many renovations and extensions, but still, on festive days like raya, it still could not fit in everyone. Many late comers had to pray on the tarmac parking lot of the mosque. My niece, Adriana, and I had to pray at the terrace area of the mosque.

After prayers, we went back to my sister, Adura’s (affectionately known as Chik) house for breakfast. Unfortunately I forgot to snap photos of the food that she had laid out. I must either be hungry or, the food must look so delicious (it really was delicious, especially her rending and kuah kacang) that we just dived into it without pausing to take photos! LOL!

After breakfast, we had a family photo session. Seen here is Aiman playing around with his Abah’s camera.

But, what I want to show you here is the small scar on Aiman’s left temple, a scar he got when rolls of fabric fell on him the day before when I was choosing my fabric to make my mum’s bed sheet cover.

My hubby said that it was a ‘heroic act’ on Aiman’s part because as the rolls of fabric was about to fall on his 18 month old cousin Fatin, he braced it with his body to protect her, but as the rolls were at the very height of his eyes and were heavy, they still toppled over, hitting his temple. I am just glad that it did not hit his eyes.

I had put ointment on it the night before and had wanted to put some more ointment in the morning, but Aiman wouldn’t let me. He doesn’t want the scar to go off too quickly. He wants to show it off to his Atuk in Kuala Lumpur.

My hubby said that it is a boy thing. A scar is considered macho, as opposed to girls, as I am sure we, girls, wouldn’t want even a tiny scar on our face, especially on raya day! LOL!

After many rounds of family photo taking, we made our way to my mum’s condo.

It was another round, or shall I say, many more rounds of family photo taking, with lots of laughter and joy, as always is whenever all my mum’s children meet up. The only missing sibling is my brother NikAi and his family who are in the US.

After the usual tradition of asking for forgiveness and giving out`duit raya’ to the younger generation and my mum, we finally sat down to another round of breakfast.

My mum’s table was again laid out with yummy food consisting of Nasi Dagang, Gulai Ikan Tongkol, Kari Ayam and all the accompaniments. My mum also made Pulut Kunyit which I requested as a note of thankfulness (tanda kesyukuran) for getting an Aras IV for my recent PTK.

My mouth is watering again just looking at the food! LOL!

Coming up next, Raya Open House at Burswood!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The breaking of fast at my mum’s new condo!

Yup! My mum has moved into her new condominium just before the fasting month.

As she had accumulated so much over the years, her condo is filled to the brim with furniture and things, it was amazing that there was still room to move around! LOL! *wink*

Anyway, I am not about to talk about the new condo as I forgot to take photos of the place in my excitement on seeing all the yummy food spread on the table for the breaking of fast! LOL!

Just look at the photos!

My mouth is watering just looking at them and I am fasting today!

I can’t wait for the weekend to cook some of the food I had for breaking of fast at my mum’s condo, but, it won’t be the same without my mum and siblings around. My brother Ayis and family came home. So did my brother Azan. My sister Lin was not around when we broke fast together as she was in Hong Kong with a friend.

My sister Chik and her hubby and two kids joined us for the breaking of fast and we had so much fun catching up on things. We made a lot of noise as we talked and enjoyed the food. The food was so delicious, I just couldn’t get enough of them! I must try to make one of two of the dishes soon! Oh! And I MUST have the BUDU! *grin*

After breaking of fast, we left for my sister’s house as we were spending the night there as my mum’s house has no more vacancy! It works out fine actually as I had already made plans to do the cream cheese frosting with my sister for the carrot cake I made and brought all the way from Kuala Lumpur!

Seen here is my son putting on the final finishing. He loves putting on the embellishments on the cake using coloured sprinklers.

Here's the final product.....

We retired to bed early that first night in Kota Bahru as we have had a long day.

Coming up next, It’s Raya in Kota Bahru!

The journey back home for raya!

It’s that time of the year again when practically the whole Kuala Lumpur goes home to their respective ‘kampong’ or hometown, irrespective of race or religion as practically everyone wants to take advantage of the extended weekend as Raya this year falls on a Sunday. That means for those working in the cities that have Sundays as a weekend, they get two extra days off!

This year, my hubby, son and I went back to Kota Bharu for raya. We have actually gone back to Kota Bharu for the last 2 rayas too, but not on the first day. We have been celebrating the first day of raya for the last two rayas at my in-laws’ house here in Kuala Lumpur, and then we would take a flight back on the second day of raya.

So, this year, I persuaded with my hubby to celebrate raya in Kota Bharu on the first day to make up for not being in Kota Bahru on the first day of raya for the last 2 years. I know it will make my mum very happy, but, at the same time, I know that my MIL might not be too happy, but, I guess, we can’t please everyone at the same time.

So, next year, it will probably be back to alternate years, as has been for the last 17 years of our marriage with the exception of the last 3 years. I think it is only fair.

Anyway, instead of taking a flight like we did for the last two rayas, this year, my hubby decided to drive, for two reasons. One, we wanted to avoid the big crowd as much as possible what with this H1N1 flu still lingering around. Even the government is encouraging people to avoid the public transport as much as possible to contain the spread of the flu.

The 2nd reason why my hubby decided to drive is because he wanted to try out the new Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (LPT) as it is said to be a smoother drive as opposed to the usual route via Grik. He decided to break the journey into two with a stopover in Kuala Terengganu as he figured out it will be less stressful than driving 7 -8 hours straight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu.

There is a 3rd reason. I want to show off to my son the airport that his mummy and her design team designed. *grin*

We started out our journey at about 9.00am on Friday, 19th September. The traffic was relatively mild with no jams at all along the way. That surprised us as we thought that with the school closed a day earlier on Friday, everyone would start their journey on Friday too.

Since it was a relaxing journey, we made a lot of stops along the way to take in and enjoy the sights along the way. We also wanted our son to experience the way of life first hand instead of just reading them from books or getting information from the internet.

Our first stop was at this row of stalls selling Lemang, a mix of glutinous rice and coconut milk put in a bamboo and cooked over fire for many hours. We bought 5 pieces to bring home to my mum and sister.

My son was initially unperturbed by the sight of the Lemang being cooked but immediately got excited when he came across the Otak-otak, a mixture of fish paste (usually mackerel) and spices which includes the chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed.

Otak-otak is one of his favourite snacks! See the excited look on his face? LOL! *wink*

We bought enough for him to snack on after the breaking of fast as we had already made bookings to break fast at the hotel where we were staying.

The stalls were also selling some pickled items, but we didn’t buy any, although I am a fan of anything pickled. But, this time around, I didn’t feel like snacking on pickles.

After buying what we wanted, we headed on our journey. As we approached Kuala Terengganu, we noticed stalls after stall along the road selling Air Nira, a fermented coconut water, and it got my hubby curious as he had never before heard or tried Air Nira.

After passing by several stalls, my hubby’s curiousity got the better of him and we stopped for him to buy a bottle to give it a try.

We also bought some other things as well like fish crackers and sago chips for snacks later.

We finally arrived in Kuala Terengganu at about 2.30pm and checked into Primula Hotel Kuala Terengganu.

Primula Hotel will always bring sweet memories to my hubby and I as this was the place that our love first blossomed some 17 years ago. *wink* We came here for work, but cupid decided to get to work too by bringing our hearts together at this very place! *smile*

Oopppps! I am suddenly getting all romantic and emotional! LOL! *blush*

Our room was facing the sea. I think all the rooms in Primula are facing the sea, only how good a view you will get. We got a good one this time, and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to take in the great view and started snapping away from the balcony.

After a much needed rest, we decided to take a stroll along the beach as we waited for the breaking of fast.

After breaking fast, we took a drive to the airport so that I can show to my son my piece of work that has taken me away from him almost every other Sunday for two years as I attend meetings and oversee the works on site.

I know that I am biased but I must say that the design of this airport is beautiful with so many fine detailing, but the contractor did a lousy job and did not do justice to the lovely design that my team and I had worked so hard to come up with. Despite several complains for the contractor to do good, it just fell on deaf ears as this contractor feels that he is ‘bigger’ than us. *sigh*

When we came back to the hotel, my son wanted to snack on the otak-otak which we had bought earlier. Seen here is my son enjoying his favourite snack.

We had sahur at the hotel at about 4.00am, and went back to sleep so that my hubby will be more rested for another leg of the journey.

We left Kuala Terengganu at 10.00am, and arrived in Kota Bharu safely at 2.00pm.

Coming up next, the breaking of fast at my mum’s new condo!