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Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Delights

Christmas preparations this year has been sluggish, partly because we are trying very hard to avoid the commercial aspects of Christmas and not to go overboard with the spending. We are, after all, the prudent pair.

Nevertheless, we did manage to do a little bit of decorating by converting Angie's batik painting into a nativity picture.

[The real meaning of Christmas...]

We also "went into business", producing our very own "limited edition" Christmas cookies. They're called Angie and Bart's Christmas Delights.

[All ready for packing]

[The finished product]

Angie and I would like to wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year 2007.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Carolling at Rasa Sayang

On 17 December 2006, we joined the Holy Spirit Cathedral Choir for carolling at the newly renovated Rasa Sayang Hotel in Batu Feringghi.

[Tree at the Lobby]

[Angie strolling along the charming pathways at the hotel]

[Lazy chairs between the pool and the sea]

We are due for another round of carolling on 24 December 2006 at Rasa Sayang Hotel and Golden Sands Hotel.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cake of Our Lady: Part 3

Yesterday (5 December 2006) was Day 10 of our cake mixture. We added 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of yoghurt (we used 'thairu'), and 2 cups of plain flour. Then, the mixture was divided into 4 equal portions. 3 portions were distributed to 3 of our friends. To our 4th portion, we added 1/4 cup of sugar, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Finally, it was popped into the oven.

[All set to go into the oven]

[Voila! The cake is ready]

[The texture was soft and moist, and tasted a little eggy]

It was an interesting experience taking care of the mixture for 10 days and we were rewarded with a delicious cake to eat. Yum, yum!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cake of Our Lady: Part 2

Today is Day 8 of our "cake mixture sitting". Three friends have agreed to adopt portions of the mixture when Day 10 arrives on 5 December 2006.

[Picture at Day 5: Just after adding fresh yoghurt and other ingredients]

[Picture at Day 6: The mixture rose, perhaps due to the friendly bacteria in the yoghurt]

Days 6 to 9 simply involves stirring the mixture. Each time the mixture is stirred, the mixture sinks because the bubbles are broken, only to rise again by the next day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cake of Our Lady: Part 1

On 25 November 2006, we received some cake mixture. This mixture came with specific instructions a.k.a. a recipe. This mixture is to be kept for 10 days. During the 10 days of "cake mixture sitting", we are supposed to stir the mixture on certain days and to add sugar, flour and yoghurt on other days.

On the 10th day, we are to divide the mixture into 4 equal portions. One portion is for us to bake (and to eat, yum yum!). The other 3 portions are to be distributed to 3 "faithful friends", who in turn will keep the "mixture going".

Day 10 for our mixture is Tuesday, 5 December 2006. If you (in Penang, of course) would like to join in the fun and to keep the mixture going, please let us know :o).

Double Birthdays

On 24 October 2006, we celebrated two birthdays. We celebrated Bart's father's birthday during lunch on the island.

[Dad's Diamond Birthday]

Later, we went over to the mainland to celebrate Angie's mother's birthday.

[Mummy enjoying her birthday noodles]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Five Nights in Bangkok: Part 2

On the fourth night in Bangkok, which was a Saturday, I went church-hunting to fulfill my Sunday obligation. The Church of the Holy Redeemer (a Redemptorist parish) is located on Soi Ruam Rudee (Road) and is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Phloen Chit skytrain station. I caught the 5.30pm mass which was in English. Since Bangkok time is 1 hour behind Malaysian time, I had actually attend mass at the same time as Angie, who had attended mass at 6.30pm (Malaysian time) at the Church of Saints Chastan and Imbert in Seberang Prai.

[Church of the Holy Redeemer]

[The church altar]

After mass, I explored the Sukhumvit area to look for dinner. I settled on a simple roadside stall selling fried noodles. It tasted similar to Penang Char Kuay Teow except that the noodles were like Wan Ton noodles.

[Fried Noodle Stall: It is located on a road with many, many massage centres (notice the signboards?)... don't get any funny ideas... I'm a good boy]

[My after-mass dinner: Costs 25B]

After dinner, I was at a night market at the Phahon Yothin area to savour the sights and smell before cathing a bus back to the Kasetsart University guesthouse.

[Roasted Banana in Coconut Sauce]

[Flower Lady: Probably selling flowers used as prayer offering]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Five Nights in Bangkok: Part 1

I was in Bangkok from 18-23 October 2006 for a work-related workshop. I had to go alone as it was not practical for Angie to take leave during that period.

On the whole, I could not do much sight-seeing as the workshop sessions lasted from morning till late evening. It was only at night that my colleagues and I went out either just to have dinner and/or roam around for souvenirs.

[Elephant Building: The Thais love their elephants...]

On the night of 19 October 2006, we took the MRT to the Suan-Lum night bazaar. It covers quite a big area and has a fun-fair ground. The things on sale were pretty similar to those at the Batu Feringghi night market except that there were more Thai products.

[Bangkok MRT Token/Ticket]

[Suan-Lum Night Bazaar Grounds: With the fun-fair and interesting structures]

[Mr. Stiff: A human statue at the fun-fair, moving only to acknowledge contributions from passers-by]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Magic Tree

We planted "magic trees" on 10 October 2006. After putting together the pieces of cardboard, we poured in a sachet of clear liquid at the base of the trees. After about 6 hours, the trees were fully grown.

[Magic Trees: Out from the box]

[In the beginning: Nothing on the trees]

[After about half-an-hour: "Leaves" started to grow]

[After a few hours: The trees are fully grown]

Apparently, there're some chemicals on the cardboard and in the clear liquid provided. The "leaves" are some form of crystals.

Cooling-Up in Camerons

We were in Cameron Highlands from 2-4 October 2006. We stayed at Equatorial Hotel.

On our first day, we went to The T Cafe in Tanah Rata for tea. The cafe is located above a fastfood outlet and its entrance resembles a fire escape. It has a quiet, romantic atmosphere. Good place to relax.

[Clockwise from top-left: Chocolate cake, garlic bread, apple pie, and scone]

The second day saw us on a half-day guided tour to the peak of Gunung Brinchang, the mossy forest, a strawberry farm and the Sungai Palas Boh Tea estate. The main purpose of going on this tour was to see the mossy forest. It is quite interesting with almost every tree branch being covered with moss due to the damp environment... looks like fairy-land :o).

[The peak of Gunung Brinchang is shared by the states of Pahang and Perak]

[Angie emerging from the mossy forest. Lots of pitcher plants and beautiful wild orchids too.]

[Here's Bart plucking his strawberries. Some farms in Camerons advertise their strawberries as being 'self-plucking'... quite funny use of language]

[Sungai Palas Boh Tea Estate: Workers harvesting tea leaves the mechanical way]

We were pleased that it was quite cold in Camerons during this visit. However, we missed the Camerons night market this time as we went up during the weekday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sitiawan Stopover

On our journey back to Penang after our stay in Pangkor, we took a detour into Sitiawan. We had two objectives here. One was to have seafood lunch at the coconut groves of Kampung Cina (near the famous Kampung Koh).

[A Villa like no other: This is just one amongst a few other seafood outlets in this village]

[Clockwise from top-left: Fried oysters, stir-fried mantis prawns with dried chillies, squid in sambal belacan, and choy tam. Cost us about RM30.]

The other objective was to visit Paul Ling, a friend from our university days. Paul took us to an interesting place called the Strawberry Cafe where we had some facinating desserts.

[From L to R: Angie, Aileen, Paul and Bart]

[Angie and her guava soursop]

[Bart and his peach soursop]

After meeting Paul, we made our way back via the coastal road, stopping by Segari. We had hoped to visit the turtle hatchery but they had closed by the time we arrived. But all was not lost. The sunset at Segari beach was beautiful. The beach is not suitable for swimming though - the waves were big and the beach slopes quite steeply into the sea.

[Turtle Hatchery at Segari]

[Sunset at Segari Beach]

Friday, October 06, 2006

Call of the Hornbills in Pangkor

On our descent from Bukit Tinggi, we made our way to Pangkor Island for a two-night stay from 26-28 September 2006. On our way, we stopped in Kuala Kubu Baru to visit Uncle Colin and Aunty Dolly, and we stopped in Teluk Intan to see the leaning clock tower.

[Give a few more years and it will be lying and not leaning]

We arrived on Pangkor Island at dinner time and we checked in at Coral Bay Resort. The next day saw us renting motorcycles (RM18 for the whole day) and zipping round the island in search of places of interest. We managed to visit the Dutch Fort, Sacred Rock, Fu Lin Kong temple (with its mini Great Wall of China) and Satay Factory. We also stopped at a few of Pangkor's famed beaches.

[The Dutch Fort: It looks better in the older Pangkor brochures than it is now]

[Optical Illusion... or someone shrunk the Great Wall]

[At the Satay Factory: Fish fillets being dried before being smothered in sauce]

[Pangkor Lai Fun: Lai Fun (thicker version of the laksa noodle) in anchovy soup]

[Pasir Bogak Beach: This beach brings back lots of childhood memories]

The highlight of our stay was to see the hornbills. Their calls could be heard from the hills on the island. We saw quite a few of them perched on trees by the roadside.

[The Pangkor Hornbill: See them on the trees or drop by the Sea View Hotel at around 6.00-6.30pm as they feed on cut fruits left out by the hotel staff]

Review: An enjoyable stay since we hardly visited Pangkor of late. We found our "food hunt" interesting, i.e. the Lai Fun lunch at Sungai Pinang Kecil and dinner at the stalls of Taman Seri Pangkor (located between Pangkor town and Pasir Bogak. Lots of shops selling dried seafood, satay-ed products and souvenirs - visit one and you have probably visited them all :o).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

High Hill Holiday

On 25 September 2006 (Monday), we checked out a place we've never been to before - Bukit Tinggi (now called Berjaya Hills). My sister Aileen joined us on this trip.

Our journey began on a wet morning, but thankfully the sun smiled on us as we progressed. We checked in at our two-room apartment at about noon and the overall climate was cool. Lunch was a 12-inch pizza costing RM35.

The main attractions here are Colmar Tropicale, Japanese Tea House, Botanical Garden, Rabbit Park, and the Bukit Tinggi Golf Club. A day trip to the first three attractions would cost you RM16. Guests at the resort are given complimentary passes.

[Bart at the entrance of Colmar Tropicale]

[Wandering along the streets of Colmar Tropicale]

[Highland Bookworms: We just couldn't resist browsing at the open air magazine corner]

[To enter the Japanese Tea House, you have to pay RM20 for a tea ceremony. Taking a photo on the steps would suffice, thank you :o)]

[Pretty pink flowers at the Botanical Garden]

What did we do there? Well... besides visiting the attractions, we watched a short stage show at Colmar Tropicale, played pool and went bowling.

Review: If you're looking for an activity-filled holiday, this is probably not the ideal place. If you're open to simply enjoying the landscaping and relaxing, you can consider Bukit Tinggi.