Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two years ago something happened

I can still vividly remember the day Adelle was born. It was just past 5 am when I received the phone call from my wife that she was going into labour. When I arrived at the hospital, she was already being rolled into the delivery room. I was allowed to go in as I had attended the pre-natal classes with her. I fondly remember how I, as her breathing coach, simulated the kind of breathing exercises for my wife to follow...only to be told as soon as I started by the mid-wife that what I was doing was wrong! I remember chuckling to myself and telling my wife how what everyone thought what the baby was going to be was wrong. People thought the baby would be a boy (gleaned through the sophisticated means of looking at the shape of tummy), but what arrived was Adelle, a girl.

That was 2 years ago, yesterday. When I look at Adelle today, I realise how much she's grown; she talks quite a lot, she enjoys singing (or rather getting Mommy or Daddy to sing), she's cheeky when she wants to be, and for the most part, she's quite adorable (unless she gets into one of her foul moods due to sleepiness).

Adelle was quite happy (not to mention excited) when her birthday came. Throughout the day, several uncles and aunties called to say their birthday wishes. Also, wife had promised that they'd bake her birthday cake together, so Adelle had a hand in making her own cake though I think it was only limited to putting the flour into the mixing bowl. Anyhow, Adelle was very excited about seeing her birthday cake once it was all ready.

The chocolate birthday cake my wife and Adelle baked

We had a simple celebration after dinner with my parents, and Adelle got her wish to blow out her candles - twice! As you can see from the pic of the cake below, it's decorated with biscuits of Disney cartoon characters, and Smarties. It was the first time Adelle ate Smarties and what can I say...she loved them! We usually don't allow Adelle to eat sweets but since this was her special day, we made a slight exception.

Of course, we made sure we brushed her teeth before bedtime to get rid of all those sweet bits.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A walk in the park

One of the things Adelle likes best is playing. The other thing is swimming in the pool. Yesterday, the weather was good enough to go to our favourite park nearby to let Adelle get a bit of exercise and also to allow her to release all her energy (she hadn't been doing much y because we pretty much stayed inside the house the whole day). She's just rediscovered the joys of the slide as well as climbing bars again. So, she was extra enthusiastic about doing both at the playground at the park. Another of her favourites is playing the see-saw.

Talking about see-saws, do you even call them that nowadays? I mean, I hardly see the 'original' - the ones that are made up entirely of a long piece of thick flat wood with a fulcrum in the centre. All I see nowadays are those bouncy ones with springs. So the movements aren't exactly see-sawing are they? Adelle's still not too keen on the swing, but she's slowly warming up to the idea of swishing through the air.

Of course, as usual, Daddy would be lugging his photo gear along to get some shots of his usually more-than-willing model. The park's actually a good place to meet people. Once, I met an ex-colleague whom I hadn't seen in years for two days consecutively! And yesterday was no different. We met friends and chatted for a while and then we went for a short trip to the local supermarket. When it was time for Adelle to go to sleep, she slept like a baby!


More pictures here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The night

Remember the concert I talked about in my previous post? Well, everything turned out quite well. Though we did start later than scheduled (there's that Malaysian time creeping in again), but things moved on pretty smoothly when we did start.

I was told before the concert started that there was a possibility of the auditorium overflowing with people as the response to the tickets was overwhelming. But, in the end, there were enough seats for everyone. There was also the possibility of heavy rain (like the previous evening), but thankfully, it stayed dry. It was a cool evening, though.

The evening started out with carol singing, which was followed by performances by one of the beneficiaries of the concert. The first consisted of several children using large black bins which were overturned and used as drums. Then there was a Bollywood-style dance number (which I thought was quite hilarious), and finally, group singing. Of course, all these acted as a prelude to the highlight of the evening which was the choir singing. Yours truly was narrator, and I must say that the point just before you start talking is always the most nerve-wracking. But, thankfully, there were no slip-ups, and the choir performed splendidly.

Well, only 20 more days till Christmas, and this whole thing just sets up a nice mood for it.

Thanks to all who came, and hope you had a wonderful evening!

For more photos, click here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The day the cars stood still

Was there something special I missed about today?

It seemed like everyone else in Kota Kinabalu knew about it except me and my wife. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the JAM! It was ridiculous! It seemed like every household in KK decided to go to town today and so, jammed the whole city up. I wanted to go to the post office to pick up a package (which was delivered when I wasn't home, btw. Why do they always come when no one's at home?), but all my running to the post office from my parked car (it was almost five) was in vain. Upon reaching the counter, the lady said that that section was closed already. Apparently, they close at 4.30 pm (why?). The worst thing was, she also said that I could only collect my package on Monday. Aarrrrgh!

After that fiasco, we headed to Wawasan Plaza because my wife wanted to go to Parkson to exchange her member points for some items. So, we were approaching the place, and we faced a jam into the entry of the complex. Knowing another entry point, I drove round and was enjoying a smoother ride until I faced another standstill. And we stayed in the queue for half an hour, just to get to the parking. Aarrgghh!

So, when we finally got to the parking, we went to Parkson. Wife got her items, and we decided to go to Giant (yes, that same leading low-price leader I talked about before) to get some diapers for Adelle since it was on offer. So, wife took one pack and we proceeded to the counter. And the cashier scanned it, and the price was not the one on offer. Wife told her about the offer price we saw in the newspaper advert (the offer price was RM39.99, usual was RM51.99), but she didn't seem to know anything about it. So, without saying another word she left her counter, and went somewhere (to see her superior, we hoped).

And so, we waited. And waited some more. It was a good 15 minutes I think by the time she came back, and she told us that the offer was for a different range of the same brand. But we insisted that it wasn't. Anyway, wife mumbled about cutting out the advertisement to show her the next time and that ended our rather unpleasant affair at that place again (I never learn, do I?). Right after that, we left, got into the car...

and faced another jam!


Foul-mood-inducing outing today. Sheesh!

Tis the season to give

Hi peeps.

It's been a long while. I know I'm on a long break right now, and I 'm supposed to have all this free time on my hands, but that's just it...the holiday bug has gotten to every bit of me, especially my brain and fingers. I've been wanting to post so many times, but boy, the transformation of that desire into actual action is downright tough!

But, something's moved me to post today. My church is organising a Christmas concert next week so I'm just doing my bit to promote it. It's called "Festival of Hope", and though I'm not exactly sure what is going to happen in the concert, you'll definitely be enjoying some Christmas carols sung by a full-fledged choir. You'll have to pay to get in (RM30, RM50, RM100 and RM15 for students) but the proceeds will all go to several children's homes here in Sabah. All in all, it's for a good cause and what better time to show the spirit of giving than at Christmas time right.

Just to share with you a video my church did to promote the event.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shopping blues

Have been wanting to check out a new landmark in Kota Kinabalu but was not able to do so until today. That landmark is KK Times Square. It was opened not too long ago, though it has been completed for many months now. The architecture is not too shabby, and the whole place has a kind of regal feel to it but one thing that it clearly lacks is the one thing that makes such places come alive - tenants. During our short tour of the place, it seems that the entire place has just eight! And there are hundreds of lots!

Probably it has something to do with the accessibility to the place (you can only get there from one side of the road. You'd have to make a u-turn if you're coming the other way. And the u-turn is a long way off), but I think it has more to do with the glut in the commercial buildings here. KK is booming, no doubt. Shopping complexes are being built left, right and centre, but more often than not, a lot of the shoplots in these complexes are empty. You see, Kota Kinabalu is a small city and there are only so many people who can visit these places at any one time. Already, we have a few examples of these - even shopping complexes right within the city perimeter.

Yet, still more shopping complexes are coming up. There are at least 4 more big projects in progress that I know of within a 20km radius of Kota Kinabalu. So, I wonder - where are the shop owners going to find their customers?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trying to get back on track


I've really done it this time. It's been two whole weeks since I've written anything substantial here. It had nothing to do with the lack of material, nor was it due to the lack of was just, well, not done.

So, I thought I'd drop a little something here just to get things started again. Some two weeks ago, my sister-in-law who's in Melbourne tells my wife and I that she's going to get married (finally! Congrats to you and Tim!) and now she's all busy trying to plan for the big, momentous occasion. Well, I've been appointed the wedding photographer, and I must say that I'm pretty much excited about it already, though the wedding is still pretty far off. I'm already starting to think of what kind of shots I'd be going after. And they so kindly offered to buy me a book on wedding photography as my Christmas present (which I will gladly take, thank you!) and so I've been browsing which one is worth buying. And I think I've found one...

Closer to home, my wife just got her exam results today. It was for the test all government servants have to sit for to measure your competence in discharging your duties. The method for measuring your capability? Multiple choice questions! But lest you think that the exam is a piece of cake, it took both me and my wife three tries before we could get a distinction (required for a pay increase). I got mine last year, and she got hers today. So, it was reason enough to celebrate.

We went to Kampung Nelayan Seafood Restaurant. It's a floating restaurant, and it's specialties are steamboat and barbecue steamboat. We opted for the original steamboat since it's been quite some time since we last had it. So the food came, and it was pretty ordinary. The stock in which you boil your food was almost Evian-like: sparkling clear (that would mean pretty much msg laden without actual stock). But, we enjoyed it anyway.

Adelle had the greatest fun. There is a live cultural show every night at about 7.45 so we were in the middle of dinner when it started. We had told Adelle that there would be dancing earlier, and when she heard the live traditional music starting, she became all excited! She quickly wanted to go nearer the stage (our table was not too far away, but it was at an awkward viewing angle) and asked me to carry her there. She was nothing short of memesmerized by the whole performance. The show consisted of several traditional dances from the various indigenous tribes here in Sabah, and at one point, my wife actually had the opportunity to try out a blowpipe! Her prey - a bright yellow balloon. She missed the first time, but a loud pop rewarded her the second time she tried.

We stayed until the end of the show before leaving home. It was a simple, relaxing and enjoyable dinner all in all.

p.s. School holidays are coming soon!!! Only 9 days of school to go!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

No updates here

This is a community service message.

Forgive me while I try to sort a few things out.
Meanwhile, if you're interested you can head up to my photoblog.
I've just updated it.
Will write more when I'm not so sleepy!!!

Catching forty-winks in...


Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's just one of those days

Guess what?

I was locked out of the house today. In case you're wondering, no, my wife and I didn't have a fight. Rather, the whole thing started from a pile of dirty laundry. There we were, lazing in bed on an early Sunday morning (it was just past 6 am). Adelle was already up and was actively trying to get both my wife and I involved in her games. Then, wife says that we should put in the pile of dirty clothes into the washing machine so that we'd be in time to hang them up before going to church.

Being the dutiful husband that I am, I groggily got up from the bed, went downstairs, picked up the heap of smelly clothes and proceeded to put them into the washing machine. So, I opened the door to the side of the house (that's where the washing machine is placed), stuffed the clothes into the machine and started the wash cycle. Now, at the same time I was doing all this, the door decided to close on me. But, I hardly took notice of it. Satisfied that the clothes were in the good care of the machine, I turned back to go inside and turned the door knob.

It was locked.

I turned it again, just in case the knob was stuck or something. Still, it didn't budge. No matter I thought, I'll just knock. My wife would surely hear the knocking. After all, it was still early in the day, and the whole neighbourhood was still relatively quiet.

So I knocked. No response. I knocked again, harder this time. Still no response. I knocked harder still. Again, no response. I could hear Adelle squealing in the room upstairs, but as far as my wife was concerned, there was no response. So I went to the back of the house and started knocking on the back kitchen door. I looked at the time. It was 6.20 am. After a few minutes of knocking without receiving any sort of response, I stopped and went back to the side of the house. You might be wondering why I didn't go to the front of the house and just shout out to my wife. I wished I could, but we have a grille door that blocks the side walkway that links to the front part of the house. And I didn't have the key.

So, back to the side of the house it was. I knocked again, hoping this time that my wife would hear me since it was quiet then. No luck. I overturned a big pail and sat on it, thinking. Then I saw the piping that connects to the toilets upstairs. And in front of me, leaning against the wall were several chrome-plated bars that we had wanted to use as curtain rails but never did. An idea formed in my head. I could use the bars to knock on the piping. Since the piping would amplify the sound of the knocking, my wife would surely hear it. And what better knocking sound than the SOS - three quick taps, followed by three slow taps and ending with another three quick taps. Perfect! I was quite pleased with my self for thinking of such an ingenuous idea. So, I eagerly took the bar, raised it above my head and knocked it on the piping.

Tingtingting, ting-ting-ting, tingtingting.

I did this several times. But after each time, my good spirits slowly stated deserting me. Still, there was no response.

The next hour saw me doing either one of three things: sitting, knocking on the door, or tapping the pipes with the bar. When the washing cycle was finally done, I hung out the clothes to dry. Just then, my neighbour came out of her house. I said hi, and asked if I could borrow her phone. I quickly explained my predicament but leaving out the detail that I had been stuck out there for a long time. As it is, it was already an embarassing situation for me and to give her that extra bit of detail would have forever put me in her long-term memory filed under dimwits. She laughed as she passed me the phone.

Oh well, the embarrassment was more than worth it - my wife opened the door and I was inside my house again! When I was finally inside I looked at the clock. It was 8.40 am. My entire ordeal had lasted more than two hours!

Later in the day, I asked my wife if she heard any knocking. She said she did. Then I asked her, wasn't she curious that there was this incessant knocking that was going on? Her reply - she thought that it was the neighbour's kids who were up to some mischief as they are wont to do. She said she was actually irritated because it woke Adelle up. Then I asked her again, didn't she find it odd that the knocking was in the form of an SOS. Her reply - what's that?

What a way to start the day!

All happy

Last Friday, the whole family went to 1 Borneo (supposed the largest shopping mall in East Malaysia). My wife was interested in visiting the Sabah International Expo which was being held there. We had visited the same expo which was held a few years back, and we enjoyed the experience. After all, it was free for visitors.

So, after school we went home and changed right away. Then we headed of to 1 Borneo and we had difficulty finding a parking. The car park was packed! After going round a few times, we decided to stop and wait instead for people to leave. Not too long after we managed to get a parking lot. All of us went straight to the expo.

We met my uncle there who was with the Sabah Tourism Promotion Board promoting Sabah handicrafts. After a brief chat, we explored the whole place. The expo was quite big. There were many booths to see and lots of free food-tasting as well! My wife bought a few fashion accessories, Adelle was given a balloon and a small piece of sweet which she was absolutely fascinated with, and I got to take a few pictures and eat a few things. So, all in all it was a happy time for everyone. We spent more than three hours there.

Sabah handicrafts on display at the expo

One of the many booths at the expo

After the expo, we decided to walk around the mall a bit more. I previously spotted some nice-looking exotic sports cars which were on display when we first arrived and I had already told my wife that I wanted to take a few shots of them. There were models too, but I didn't shoot any of them because none of them were there when we came back. Adelle got to pose with some of the sports cars so she became my model. Finishing with that, we walked around a bit more and then, we went home - tired but happy.

Adelle's very own super car!

Beauty and the beast

Quick, run! Before they catch you for going beyond the boundary!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ocha on my mind

Edited: Pictures of food inserted!

This week is PMR (that's the Form 3 examination) week, so for my school the students in all forms except those sitting for their examinations are off on break. But, we teachers still have to come to school. It can be quite boring since there's nothing much to do, but at least we get to go back slightly earlier.

Anyway, the moment I arrived home today, Adelle calls me from upstairs. "Daddeee! Get readeee!". I ask her why and she reponds, "Go lunch!". So, I go upstairs and ask my wife what kind of lunch did she have in mind. Then, she replied by asking me if I had anything in mind (don't you think replying a question with another question is so normal?). I said no, and then she said she was thinking of going to City Mall (that's the place where I bought my Code 10 gel from. If you haven't read that story, click this). I immediately knew what she had in mind.

Earlier in the day, as is usual at school, I read the local newspaper which our staff club subscribes to. Among the many advertisements I saw, I saw one about Hana (a Japanese restaurant) having a promotion on some of its menu items. I remembered that my wife had been wanting to try it out but we just never had the chance. And since Hana is located at City Mall, and that's where my wife wanted to go for lunch, so logically, that's where she'd want to go right? Of course, I was right. And of course, I agreed. A gaping chasm was already forming in my tummy due to hunger, so all of us quickly got changed and drove to City Mall.

At the restaurant, we both browsed through the menu but I decided to leave the ordering to my wife. I told her I was hungry and that she could order anything - just as long as it would fill my tummy. So, she ordered three different dishes, and in addition to that, she took a plate of salmon sushi from the conveyor belt. Our dishes arrived quite quickly, so that was good. And as is usual, I also took pictures of the food, but right now, I can't share them with you. I usual do a bit of processing to my pictures before putting them here, but now I can't. You see, my monitor's screen has turned all greeny on me. I'm not too sure what's the cause. I've checked the connections from the monitor to the cpu and they seem okay. So, I'll just leave the monitor as it is for now, and see whether tomorrow, thing's will be whiter and brighter so that I can upload the pictures for all of you to drool on (hehe!).

The interior deco of the restaurant

My thoughts on the food? I would say the overall quality is quite good - except for the sushi. We found them quite hard to eat. The rice that makes up the rice balls don't stick together very well. And it doesn't help that you are using chopsticks to eat them. So when we try to put the balls into our mouths, the whole thing just breaks up. Probably the skill of those making the sushi is still not up to par? Also, my wife commented that the meat on one of the sushi balls was not very fresh. So, if I was looking for sushi, I'd probably find better quality elsewhere.

Food on wheels

But, we enjoyed the rest of the food. The sushi tempura bento was quite good, apart from the disingtegrating sushi, of course. The set came with rice, the tempura, the sushi, and a side dish of salad. We also found the ebi kushou don quite nice. This was rice served in a bowl topped with gravy, onions, sweet pea sprouts, and prawns. Appetizing.

Sushi Tempura Bento

Ebi Kushou Don

But, we thought the best dish was the watani gani maki. They looked like their sushi counterparts, but they were much bigger and they had different fillings (not too sure now what exactly those fillings were). They were also covered in bits of tempura which was a nice touch of adding some extra oomph to the whole thing.

Watani Gani Maki

At the end of it all, my wife was very full, and I was satisfied. We went to the 'low price leader in Malaysia' after that because my wife wanted to buy some french loafs. They were on offer at 99 sen each, but when we reached there my wife was told that the offer was only till 2 pm. It was already 2.45 pm then. So, we just bought 2 cartons of fresh milk and headed home and we did the the best thing to do on a full tummy.

We slept!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

The vanishing

I know, I know. I've done a vanishing act again. Could it be that after three months of blogging I'm already walking down the road towards bloggers limbo? I certainly hope not. I'd be very disappointed with myself if I ever came to that. I had made a promise to myself that this time round, this blog was going to last way, way, way longer than my first - and since aborted - attempt at blogging. And while I've more than surpassed the space of time it took for me to abandon my first blog, I still want to continue...

So, here are the latest updates:

Yesterday, Sabah celebrated the Head of State's official birthday. It was supposed to coincide with Malaysia Day on September 16, but since it was the fasting month, the governor decided to postpone all celebrations till yesterday, 11 October. My wife and I didn't initially plan to watch the celebrations and parade at the town field - we had earlier gone to the morning market near our house to buy some groceries - but my wife suggested that we go to town to have breakfast. We wanted to eat at our favourite bun shop (all sorts of buns there and the price is very reasonable as well), but it turned out to be closed when we drove past it. So, we settled for beef noodles as well, which was quite nice. Since this particular shop was just across from the town field, and we could hear the marchin band playing their songs, I suggested that we bring Adelle to go have a look and experience the whole thing. Wife agreed and off we went.

Of course, lucky me, I took my camera along (actually, I secretly wished to go and see the parade!) so I managed to take a number of shots. There were performances and all, but I wasn't very interested in them. What caught my attention were the palace guards (yes, the official residence of the governor is called the palace or better known as the Istana). They looked quite smart in their uniform and so, they were my main focus.

Look! I'm part of the parade!

That was yesterday. Today, Adelle woke all of us at around 6 am and then we got ready to go to the beach. We brought along her beach toys and we got her into her swimsuit so that it'd be easier to clean her up later. At the beach, Adelle was quite reluctant to walk on the sand at first. She also didn't want to use her toys to make sandcastles, but after I made a couple she became interested in what I was doing and went on to play by herself while Daddy and Mommy enjoyed a couple of sandwiches that my wife had packed. We didn't stay long as it was getting hot, so we left right after snapping a family photo.

Adelle enjoying herself playing with sand

Family photo at the beach

Just now, our Malay neighbour invited us over for dinner and we went, ate , chatted and came back. I'm feeling rather tired and sleepy right now so I'll stop writing here for tonight.

Have a good week ahead.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The long wait

Okay, okay. I'm guilty. I'm a procrastinator, and it shows. I've probably taken the procrastinator's battle-cry "Don't do today, what you can put off till tomorrow" a bit too far. I just had a look at the post date of this post where I said I would share with you the pictures I took of my friend's wedding and I was shocked to find out that it was over a month ago!

It certainly took longer than I had hoped. But, okay, enough dilly-dallying. Here are the pictures then in all their pixelated glory!


Wait. I forgot to mention that you won't see them here. I've posted them on my spanking new photoblog (erm, not new's been in existence for over a month but the procrastinator in me has not been as diligent in updating it. No fear, though. From this moment on, I will! Procrastinator's honour :p).

Point you mouse here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ain't nothing low here

You see it almost everywhere - that green cursive writing against a yellow background with a red dot dotting the 'i'. I even see it when I look out of my bedroom window. But the low price leader it isn't. I mean, how dare they call themselves that when so many of their things are way so much more pricier than the local supermarkets? Even when their items are supposedly on offer!

I am actually ticked off by their whole charade especially today. You see, this afternoon the whole family went to 'the low price leader' to get a few things - among others, hair gel for myself. So, I was comparing prices between the different brands and seeing which ones would be the best value for money. I decided to buy the biggest packing of the Code 10 Strong Hold gel (what can I say, I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy). The cost - RM8.90. I was quite pleased with myself since I had stood there in front of the rack with all those colourful jars and tubes of gel for quite a while calculating the whole weight/price ratio before making up my mind.

But, then later in the evening, my wife and I went to another shopping complex (after my friend so kindly volunteered to take care of Adelle) just for a bit of window shopping and as we were walking around, we decided to enter one of the local departmental stores here in Kota Kinabalu. We were passing the personal grooming products, and out of curiosity I went to look for the same gel that I had bought. And lo and behold, I saw it - the green 250 ml tub of the Code 10 Strong Hold Gel. And what greeted me when I turned it to look at the price tage? The price of RM7.70!


That was a RM1.20 difference! Not 10 sen, not 20 sen, not 30 sen but RM1.20! That's preposterous! How in the world can a smaller, with limited purchasing-power, local, one-outlet departmental store be selling this 250 ml Code 10 Strong Hold gel for RM1.20 cheaper than the so much bigger, and with so much more capital for bulk purchases, and with dozens and dozens of stores all over the country? Maybe I'm missing some kind of advanced accounting principles that are involved in all these price differences, but to the average consumer like me, that kind of price gap is absolutely absurd! It's totally illogical!

And they dare call themselves 'the low price leader in Malaysia'? Low price leader my foot! I can understand a few cents difference in products between different stores but RM1.20 is just way too much. Isn't there a law or something against proclaiming something you're not?

Well, at least now I know one place NOT to shop for the Code 10 Strong Hold gel.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Round 1

I guess it's still not too late to wish everyone a Selamat Hari Raya.

I'm enjoying my week-long break. And today being the first day of the celebrations, we went visitng...and eating. My wife and I initially thought of going to the Chief Minister's Open House at the Sports Complex near where I live. Several friends told us that it's such a big thing, with all the big 5-star hotels coming in presenting all their glorious food for all and sundry to eat. That's in addition to the numerous other smaller stalls all around the complex. It sounded so enticing!

But, since my wife and I had already promised a couple of our friends that we'd be coming to their house, we didn't. But, we told each other that next year (God willing) will warrant a definite visit to that food-eating extravaganza.

I actually woke up quite late today, but wife and Adelle were up earlier. So, that pushed back our time for departing for our friends' place. When all of us were finally ready, it was 11.20 am, and by the time we reached the first house (belonging to my wife's colleague) it was close to noon already. Along the way, we prepped Adelle so that she'd be able to wish the hosts 'Selamat Hari Raya' (actually we had been doing this since yesterday!), but no a squeak came out of her when she was face to face with the host. But, she warmed up to everyone later and helped give out packet drinks to other visitors! So, we ate, chatted and ate some more, and said our goodbyes. On to the next house...

The second house was my colleague's family house and when we arrived, all my other colleagues had already left. No matter. Again, we tried to persuade Adelle to say 'Selamat Hari Raya' but she refused (looks like we'll have to train her again for tomorrow's visits). As is usual when visiting open houses, we ate, chatted, and ate some more. Adelle ate as well. She finished off a couple of satay sticks all by herself. Before this, she had already been enjoying the Raya goodies at the previous house and she picked up right where she left off then.

At both houses, Adelle was pretty shy in the beginning. She'd stick to either my wife or me. But she's like a diesel engine - she needs a bit of time to get warmed up. So, when she was warmed up at the second house, she got my colleague's sister, her nephew and another boy to take her round the house for a walk! She also finally said 'Selamat Hari Raya' but that was when we were about to leave. Better late than never, right?

So, we left my colleague's place and went home. Adelle was already asleep in the car when we arrived and both Daddy and daughter went to the room to rest. Ngggzzzz....

Tomorrow's another day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tummy Expansion

I mentioned in my previous post that this week would be a week for binging. And it has already started from the first day of the week - Sunday! Of course it's not the Raya fare yet, since our Muslim friends are still in the fasting month. But, that doesn't mean that I cannot have an early start in exercising my stomach muscles so that it will be able to expand to accomodate all those delightful Raya goodies and food!

So, you know what this post is going to be! And like any good blog post on food, I am kindly and considerately including photographs of the food that has since inhabited my soon-to-be cavernous tummy. Now, if you're in Kota Kinabalu right now, there's currently a great place to go for your fix of Italian food.

The name of the place is Fratini's and just in case you're not too sure where it is, it's at Warisan Square (that more 'upmarket' shopping place beside Centre Point). Just walk to the block where Guardian Pharmacy is and you'll easily spot the red, white and green colours of the Italian flag which is also part of the logo of the restaurant.

Now, I use the word 'currently' because the restaurant is having a promotion on it's pastas and pizzas. I am sure that it's a good place to eat at any time of the year but what makes this place extra special right now is that you get 50% off of your orders of pastas and pizzas. How great is that? And the offer is good all through the day, not just at some odd hours which some restaurants are wont to do. But, the promotion ends very soon, like tomorrow (30 September)! So, if you are in Kota Kinabalu and want to sink your teeth into something authentically Italian - go, now!

So, this was the place where I had one of my first practice sessions for the coming open houses (my first was just the night before - a huge portion of lamb chops at the same restaurant I talked about previously). But, such extravagant feasts are best enjoyed in the company of friends so right after church, my wife, Adelle and I headed for the restaurant after a brief detour back home to get Adelle's lunch (it was a spur of the moment thing this). The friends whom we were supposed to have lunch with went ahead first.

The restaurant itself was pleasant with some Italian song playing softly in the background, and even though it was lunch time, it wasn't very busy which was good. Our friends had already ordered their food when we arrived so my wife and I made our choices from the rather extensive menu - which was quite difficult for me; everything sounded delicious based on the description in the menu. But, I finally made my choice after consultation with my wife and while waiting I proceeded to give Adelle her staple lunch of rice porridge.

So, here's what we had with accompanying pictures. First the pasta:

Penne Allo Zafferano (saffron and smoked salmon penne)

Fuisilli Alla Norma (pasta spirals in tomato and egg plant)

Linguine Al Frutti bi Mare (linguine with mix seafood)

Ravioli ai Gamberoni (Tiger Prawns filled Ravioli)

Now, the pizzas:

Supremo (half-topped with cream sauce, cheesem tuna, prawns tails, onion, chili and capsicum and the other half - tomato sauce, cheese, chicken breast, onions, capsicum and pineapple)

Hawaianna (tomato sauce, grated cheese, diced pineapple and chicken pastrami)

Now, I don't remember the exact taste of all those food I have mentioned, but I do remember that everything was absolutely yummy! I don't remember finding any fault with any of the food at all. Even Adelle, who was also eating the pasta after she had finished her porridge, enjoyed the food. Just ask her and she'll tell you! To chase down all that wonderful food, my wife and I decided to share a drink. We ordered a juice combo of avocado and banana. We found the drink to be average. We could hardly taste the avocado, and both of us thought that it was a bit too diluted.

Our friends had a dessert which had pancake, a dollop of vanilla ice-cream on a cut orange all laced with orange syrup. The result? All very sweet but not too bad.

So, that's about it concerning the wonderful lunch at Fratini's. A place that I'd certainly go to again for the delectable food.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tomorrow's the day

Holiday. One week.

That's what many teachers will be on the day after tomorrow. Quite a number of schools will be off for a week for the Raya celebrations and it's times like these where I really think, 'My, what a great job I have!'.

Several of my Muslim colleagues will be holding their yearly open houses, and I must say that my school has got to be one of the most organised where Raya open houses is concerned. We actually have a list of who's opening their houses for visiting. In the list will be the host's name, the address, contact number, and the day marked out for visiting. So, all you've got to do is to write down your name in the column beside the host(s) your intend to visit.

Open houses are great fun. You visit friends (sometimes in a convoy) and give warm wishes to them. And the best part of it all, you get to savour all those lip-smacking, drool-worthy, finger-licking delicious food. As far as my colleagues are concerned, they'll each prepare different main dishes. At one place you'll get assam laksa, in another place you'll get mee jawa, and in yet another place, you'll get something different yet again . Wonderful, no? No two places are alike. And did I mention how much I like the wonderful Raya goodies as well? Yep, next week will be a week for binging and I won't be surprised if I have to loosen my belt a hole or two...

Speaking of food, today my family and I decided to go for some western food at Hilltop Restaurant. But when we arrived there (it was already about 7.15 pm), the waiters told us that the stall had not opened yet! They told us they only opened about 8 pm!

Huh? 8 pm? I can't for the life of me understand why they'd only open at 8 pm. So, we didn't get our chops and steaks. We settled for Chinese food instead...which was okay. But, boy! It was expensive. Between my wife and I, the dinner cost us almost RM50! This is what we had - one meat dish for RM10, a prawn dish for RM18 (yikes!), grilled fish for RM8, coconut pudding for RM8 and a drink for RM1.80. I think we'll stay away from that restaurant for awhile, unless it's for western fare. It's supposed to be good and reasonably priced.

Aren't food prices supposed to go down since fuel prices have dropped?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Loss

I've recently come across some terrible news - news so tragic it's bound to leave no eye dry.

What shall we do, what shall we do?

Let the whole world mourn for something utterly terrible has happened!

In case you don't know already, here's the devastating piece of news: White Rabbit Creamy Candy has been banned!

Whose eyes in Malaysia have not been given the honour of admiring the red, white and blue wrapping with that oh-so-recognisable white rabbit on it?

Whose fingers have not had the pleasure of feeling the smooth wrapping and so, proceeded to twist to open the delectable treasure inside?

Whose ears have not been delighted by the sound of the wrapper being opened with the sweet promise of sugary bliss?

Whose tongue has not had the satisfaction of rolling round the cream-coloured morsel, savouring the saccharine sweetness of it all?

We all have, and so it was with a heavy heart that I read that this legendary candy has been banned - again! Sniff!


Okay, that's enough melodrama for the day. But, I guess we all have eaten this candy sometime in our life. A close cousin of this white rabbit candy is the prawn candy. I remember being extremely fascinated by the paper-like translucent wrapping of the candy once the outer wrapper had been taken off. I always imagined that I was actually eating paper. But, somewhere along the line, I did find out that the inner wrapping is actually made from sticky rice. But, now, it seems that we won't be able to enjoy this particular candy anymore due to the ban. Well, at least for the moment.

And it's scary isn't it? Can you imagine eating plastic? That's what's supposedly inside the tainted candy (melamine) - along with all the horror stories we read and hear nowadays about poisonous infant formula and other dairy products coming out of China. How greedy can humans get? Extremely, apparently - to the point of sacrificing lives.

Now, if you read the last line of the short melodramatic episode above carefully, you'd probably have noticed that I used the word 'again'. Yes, this isn't the first time the venerable White Rabbit Candy has seen a bad patch. Apparently there was a scare last year of contamination as well, this time the news was that the candy was contaminated with formaldehyde (that's the substance you use to mummify dead bodies!), and the Philippine's food and drug administration called for a recall of the product in the local market. The recall took place.

China seems to be getting a lot of bad rep recently. There was the poisoned pet food scandal last year (the cause was determined to be melamine as well), the toxic colours used in children's toys, and tainted toothpaste just to name but a few. I've discovered a whole lot more bad news about Made-in-China things here.

It seems the insatiable search for wealth has made some of us into unscrupulous, selfish, murderous people. Will all turn that way?

The future doesn't seem very bright anymore.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Murphy's Law

You know what it is right? It is an adage, a saying, that says 'whatever will go wrong, will go wrong'. And that's pretty much what happened today. Not to me, but to my wife and Adelle.

We are employing two men to paint our house fence and gate (I know, we could do it ourselves, but it's so time-consuming! You have to scrape off the old paint, then you have to paint all the individual bars that make up the fence. So troublesome! That's why we decided to employ someone before our fence and gate disintegrate from rust!). So, after having talked to them for awhile, she comes in through the front door and...hits her little toe against the sliding door. Ouch!

Then later on, Adelle in her excitement to have a look at the bicycle which we took out for her to play, accidentally stepped on my wife's little toe. It just had to be that particular toe. Double ouch! And my wife told me that later in the afternoon, she hit that particular toe against something else again - this time the legs of the bed frame. Triple ouch!

Well, that was my wife. As for Adelle, after an extended morning nap, it was time for lunch. So both she and I walked down the stairs and I went straight to the kitchen to get her lunch ready. I thought she was following me but she had other plans. The next thing I know, I hear a thud and her screams. I quickly run out and the first thing I saw was that she was on her back crying. Then I noticed a tooth.

I quickly carried her and called for my wife. She was bleeding quite badly from where the tooth must have fallen out so when my wife was by my side I passed Adelle to her to pacify her. We managed to stop the bleeding soon after.

Our guess is she must have tried to climb her high chair, which she normally does quite adeptly without any incident, and fell hitting her tooth on either the table or chair. It must have been really hard because the whole tooth including the root was dislodged! Contacted two friends in the dental line to ask for advice and basically, we were told that we'll just have to wait for Adelle's permanent teeth to show up - in 4 years time.

So, right now, there's a gap in her row of upper teeth. It's one of the two front teeth. Thankfully, there doesn't seem to be any other injuries apart from the tooth, but we'll be monitoring her condition for the next few days.

What a day.

The week that was...

I've heard it been said that it's good to look back at the past because it helps you look forward to the future. I've never really figured that one out. Whoever said those words clearly needed an addendum.

But, here's me looking back at significant events over the past week. Here are the events that happened during the week:
  1. Blog remained untouched for the longest period ever. Nine days! A record!
  2. My newspaper subscription started! Heard the motorcycle in front of my house on Tuesday and heard the very familiar *plop* of the newspaper hitting the ground. This is the first time in my life I've ever subscribed to a newspaper! Today in history!
  3. Malaysia celebrated it's 45th year of formation on September 16. Amazing!
  4. Adelle got to ride on a banana boat for the first time in her whole life! All 21 months of it!
  5. The supposed take-over of the country by the Opposition was a non-issue. The ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) remained in power even though the Opposition said that a new government would be formed on September 16. Politicians!
  6. Had my first taste of food from a Ramadhan bazaar for this year! Briyani with beef rendang, chicken curry and murtabak! Yummy!
  7. I'm sleepy right now. Is it any surprise?!
Have a safe and pleasant weekend. ;-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Long hiatus

Gee...I can see cobwebs.

After having disappeared from the world of blogging for over a week (I can't believe it's been that long!), the prodigal son returns. I'll spare you the numerous reasons for my long hiatus from this blog. Let's just say that this sometimes countable, and sometimes uncountable noun that is spelled as w-o-r-k has been blazing the trail of my daily living this past week.

And I'm not even done yet.

I figure all will be settled by the end of the week and hopefully, I will have a bit more time to spend amusing you with my rather unamusing life! LOL!

I have actually been wanting to write about Sept 16 which passed just a few days ago. It's not because it holds extra significance or anything (hey, wait a minute. It does hold extra significance - it is what is called Malaysia Day, the anniversary of the formation of Malaysia. And what's more, it was a holiday for us people over here in East Malaysia!). The main reason I want to write about that day is because it was an activity-filled day. Let's see, where do I start? The beginning is always a good place...

In the morning, my wife and I sent a friend to the airport. It was partly out of good will, but we were also curious about how the new Kota Kinabalu International Airport looked like. Although the airport isn't exactly far away from where I live by normal reckoning (it's only about 15 to 20 minutes away), but by Kota Kinabalu standards, it is quite a distance! I know many people in the Klang Valley in West Malaysia often have to go through between a 40-minute to an hour's drive just to go to work, but here, anywhere beyond 15 minutes is too far!

Anyway, I digress. So, taking our friend to the airport was the perfect reason for us to see the newly opened airport, and I must say I was quite impressed. Although the size is nothing like the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, it's a far cry from the old airport. Previously, if you were picking up passengers, you'd have to wait outside in the heat. There's no air conditioning, and if I remember correctly, no fans either. Of course, it's covered, but for an international airport (and after comparing it with other international airports in this and other countries), it's not something you'd expect. So, the new airport is a big improvement: air-conditioned comfort for both passengers and those waiting, and the design's not too shabby either. I brought along my camera to take shots of the new airport and here are a few that I like.

New Kota Kinabalu International Airport

Structure just beside the main terminal

Patterns that caught my eye

After saying our goodbyes, we went for breakfast. Then, we went back home to get ready for the next activity for the day: picnicking at Karambunai Lagoon. The lagoon is part of the Nexus Karambunai Resort and it is even further away than the airport. It's a good 30-40 minute drive away from the city centre. That's practically the other side of the world! Adelle was pretty excited about the whole thing. We told her that we were going to the beach, and we got her dressed in her swimsuit so that made things that much more exciting for her. We brought along her toys, change of clothes (for her and ourselves), and of course, for any activity under the sun, the essential sunscreen lotion.

The picnic was actually organised by the church I go to and it was supposed to start at 9 am but we only reached the place close to 11 am. We quickly put down our things and Adelle led the way to the water. She was a bit cautious of the water in the beginning but she quickly warmed up.

Adelle leading the way!

Then, we went on a banana boat ride. With Adelle! She was pretty brave about the whole thing. We got her decked out in her own life-jacket and my wife was in charge of holding on tightly to her. I sat right in front with my camera around my neck. A big risk, now that I think about it. I intended to take pictures of Adelle during the ride but I found it hard because I had to point my camera backwards and shoot without actually knowing what I was pointing at. All I got were legs and part of the face of the little girl who was sitting behind me. much for exciting pics of Adelle on her first banana boat ride.

The banana boat ride. Hang tight!

But, after the banana boat ride, Adelle played in the water with mommy and boy, did she enjoy herself. I think she enjoyed it even more this time because she could actually experience herself floating with the help of the lifejacket. She really had a blast!

This is fun!

Splashing good time!

I went on the boat that towed the banana to take pics of the youths during their turn on the banana boat. I don't know how many shots I took, but I think it was easily over 20. By the time I was back on the shore, Adelle was done playing in the water and so, all of us went to clean up and change. It was lunch after that and shortly after, we went home and rested.

Youths' turn on the banana boat.

Nothing like a little rest and relaxation...under the hot sun!

Then, in the evening we went out again. This time to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was sort of a surprise, he didn't know we were celebrating (actually, a few others who came along didn't know as well!) until we brought out the cake. He was so touched that we ended up getting treated to dinner by the birthday boy! Thank you!

Kashing. Man of the moment.

So, after having our tummies filled with food and cake, we all went home and we got Adelle cleaned up and ready for bed. It didn't take long for her to plonk off to sleep.

The perfect end to an eventful day.

Tired but happy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Strrrrrrike! You're out!

Another blow to the ruling Barisan Nasional as Member of Parliament, and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has lost his seat due to the Sabah High Court declaring the election result for the Pensiangan seat null and void.

That's the biggest news for the people of Sabah today, well, at least for those who have some interest in it. I've read and heard so many stories about the incident on nomination day (negative ones) that I have been wondering ever since whether the court could actually do anything about it.

Well, yesterday, the court did just that. Apparently there were 'irregularities' in the way the nomination papers were handled by the returning officer which caused other candidates to be disqualified from standing for election.

And now, I'm also just wondering whether it will be another white wash against the BN , as it was in Permatang Pauh, if a by-election were to take place (which almost certainly will).

I'll adopt a wait and see attitude.

p.s. What is happening to this country???

Monday, September 8, 2008

Safe Mode

Hi. I feel a lot better today. The fever's gone, and the sniffling is down to the minimum, but it's still there. Now all that's left is my throat and cough. It feels as if sandpaper is rubbing against it every time I swallow or, worse, cough. (Ouch!)

Thanks everyone for the get-well wishes. I think they have helped. I decided to go to work today, though me not being able to use my voice made my role of educator rather meaningless. My voice is squeaky but deep, but speaking can irritate my throat and causes some nasty coughing fits so I only try to speak aloud when really needed. Otherwise, I'm the dumb (as in not being able to speak, not stupid!) teacher that only occasionally lets out a squeak. Guess I'll be doing a lot of that for the rest of the week.

But, great news is I've finished editing the pics of my friend's wedding but since I haven't actually developed it for him to give it to him and his new bride, plus I haven't actually asked his and wife's permission to post it up, I don't think it's proper for me to show it to you guys just yet, no?

So, I've got some serious matters to attend to, so I'll end this post quickly and just do a bit of blog hopping before I get to work. But, please forgive me if I don't leave any comments on your blog, okay? But, who knows...I just might if this itch in my hands to leave comments gets the better of me.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

System still down






Friday, September 5, 2008

Tis the season to sick

I'm in the midst of editing the photos I took last Saturday of my friend's wedding and I'm not too sure exactly when I'll finish! The flu bug also caught me, so at this moment, one nostril is blocked, throat is a bit sore, and my head's kind of heavy.

Adelle is also sick. Actually, she hasn't fully recovered from her cough. Just this evening she coughed, and coughed...and vomited. So, we got her cleaned up and took her to the clinic. Had her examined but was told that her airways were pretty clear so nothing to worry about. That's a relief.

I'll end this post here. I'll just share a pic out of the hundreds I took last Saturday.

Good night.

The groom's car on the way to church.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My hopes

This is a day late, but hey, we're still in the whole Merdeka spirit aren't we? After all, Malaysia was really formed only on September 16 and we officially end our Independence Celebrations then. So, I guess it's still not too late to wish everyone a blessed Independence Day.

Speaking of which, I wish my country good things. A lot of things seem to be happening at the moment, though some of them not exactly positive. So, what better time than to record a wish.

I wish for better governance, that the country will be ruled, administered and taken cared of with more responsibility, transparency, equality, and impartiality by its leaders;

I hope that we, the people that make up this nation, will truly be of one race: Malaysian; that there will be no more lines drawn along ethnicity or religion, with no one being regarded as lesser than the other;

I pray that everyone, both young and old, will get to enjoy the fruits of their labour, not just a select and privileged few.

I wish that Malaysians will live up to their name as a caring and friendly people;

And I look forward to the day when all of us can truly say: I'm proud to be Malaysian.

Happy Independence Day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

And the award goes to...


Has it been so long since I posted an entry here? I thought it had only been two or three days. But when I logged in, I saw that my last post was the beginning of the week. Now, it's the beginning of the long weekend!

I have my reason(s) of course! I'll give the popular excuse - busyness. Busy with this, busy with that, busy here, busy there...which basically means being busy. But, if you asked me what I was busy with, I'd be hard put to actually tell you what it was.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised today. I got an award! The award was given to me by Nick. Well, I say, it's about time! I was wondering when I'd get an award for the brilliant writing I've been doing. Muahahaha!

But, seriously, I'm truly grateful for such an honour. Feels like I'm receiving the Oscar or something! Thanks a million, Nick. You just made my day!

On a different note, tomorrow's going to be a busy day for me. A good friend of mine is getting married tomorrow, and I've sort of volunteered myself to be his photographer. Not the official wedding photographer, mind you, but HIS, the groom's photographer. That means, while the official photographer will be at the bride's place taking pics of her getting all dolled up, I'll be at his place taking snapshots of him and his bestman tomorrow playing dress-up. But, I've also taken it upon myself to take pics of the wedding ceremony, but I plan to give the whole thing a more creative slant...I hope.

So, right now, I'm psyching myself up. Wife says to just keep on snapping - and that's what I'm going to do - snap till I'm dry. Hoping tomorrow will bring new perspectives and angles to me. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Emergency Aids

Life can be pretty challenging sometimes. It's already tough enough without having to endure the many trivial physical discomforts below. How many of these have you experienced before?
  • Difficulty in hearing a conversation
  • A painful injection
  • Sinus problems
  • Acid reflux
  • Toothache
  • Dizziness
  • Nervous attacks
  • Pins and needles
  • Difficulty in remembering a speech
Not very serious problems, but when they do come, it can still be quite uncomfortable. But I recently read that there are simple things we could do ourselves to make dealing with these discomforts that bit more easier. And where should I find these tips? A health magazine? Some fashion magazine? No. From a magazine for owners of a certain brand of car for all things! You'd think that all you'd read from such magazines would be articles on cars, their accessories, tyres, motor oils and what nots. But, it was interesting reading. I have not tried any of the supposed 'cures' yet, so I can't verify if they really work or not. Anyway, here's what I found out:

  • Hear better - Lean in using you right ear to listen to the conversation as it's better at following rapid speech patterns. However, when it comes to identifying a particular piece of music, your left ear does it better.
  • No more pain - Try coughing the next time you have to be pricked with a needle. It's supposed to lessen the pain as the cough causes an abrupt, momentary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, and so reduces the pain-signalling structures of the spinal cord.
  • Easier breathing - Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth and pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. It is supposed to loosen congestion and your sinuses will usually clear after about 20 seconds. Apparently this will rock the bone that runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, called the vomer bone, and so frees all the clogged pipes there.
  • Stomach acid - Sleep on your left and you're less likely to suffer from acid reflux. Reason? When you sleep on your left, your stomach is lower than your esophagus, and with gravity's help, prevents your food and stomach acid from sliding up your throat.
  • Pain in the tooth - Rub some ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and fore finger. This stimulates an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.
  • Light headed - Too much drinking can make you feel all woozy. To regain your balance, put you hands on something stable. This provides tactile input to the cupula (that part of the ear that's responsible for keeping you in balance) and makes you feel more in balance.
  • Stay to the rhythm - Getting anxiety attacks is not a nice feeling. Remember to blow on your thumb the next you get all nervous. Breathing can control the vagus nerve which is in charge of heart rate. Work your thumb, baby!
  • Sleeping hands and feet - When those prickling sensations come, rock your head from side to side and those pins and needles will go away in less than a minute. The action loosens the neck muscles and which in turn releases all the compression of the nerves in your neck, the usual cause of those tingling sensations.
  • Memory technique - Finding it hard to memorise that speech you're supposed to deliver in front of a huge crowd? Try sleeping on it. Review your speech just before you sleep and it's more likely that it will be encoded into long-trem memory, as most memory consolidation happens during sleep.

Let me know how it goes. Carol, you can use some of these preparing for that emcee job that's coming can't you?


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Date with nature

Creepy crawlies and flying stingers have been the order these past two days. Yesterday, all three of us were out in front of the house: my wife was trimming the grass, Adelle was busy 'helping' and I was keeping watch over her. I was going to clean up my car, but my wife got me distracted by something else. She asked to look at one of her potted plants. So, I checked it out and I saw a strange green creature. The first time I saw it, I couldn't make up my mind what it was, but it did look like a caterpillar - albeit a very strange one. Have a look for yourself at the photos below and see if you don't agree with me.

Creature from the potted plant!

Another view of the caterpillar

The bulge just behind the head with a bright red circle on either side makes it look strangely like the head of a snake. The black and white marking around that area further helps create this illusion. In my entire life, I've never seen a caterpillar like this. So what do I do? I take my camera and shoot it for posterity's sake. The caterpillar looked quite healthy. Well, what wouldn't since it's been devouring the leaves of my wife's plant. The leaf on which you see it in the photo was more than half gone. That's not counting at least two other leaves which have already been eaten. So, my wife gave me the duty of disposing it after I was done photographing it. I didn't kill it. I just picked it up and threw it into some bushes in front where it could eat to its heart's content (do caterpillars even have a heart?).

Then, this morning, the three of us were again outside the house - this time at the back. My wife and I decided to clear up our backyard a bit as it was getting a bit untidy. So, we sheared unwanted plants and hacked a few of the more stubborn ones. I was clearing the back fence when all of a sudden I felt this stinging pain on my left arm, then another, then on my right arm and I looked around and saw a small wasp nest. I quickly ran down shouting to my wife that there were bees at the same time. By the time I reached safety, I had been stung 5 times - 3 on my left arm, and 2 on my right. I washed my arms with water and that was the only treatment I had for the stings. The pain didn't stay for long and the swelling from the sting subsided not long after, and it was fine throughout most of the day, not bothering me one bit. But, right now, it itches. And I have half the mind to just scratch and scratch and scratch. Maybe I should have put some antiseptic cream to it or something. But, at least I've not experienced any other effects from the sting. Thank goodness Adelle wasn't there then. She had gone to the neighbour's house.

These things stung me - ouch!

Well, that's my date with nature yesterday and today. Not bad for someone who didn't even step out of the compound of the house, don't you think? Just to end on a positive note, the light that fell to the ground yesterday caught my attention. They reminded me of disco lights - not that I've been to many discos - but I thought the bright and dark patches of light made for an interesting pattern on the grass.

Nature's disco lights

Living to eat?

It seems I've been eating out a lot recently and this is another one about food (sorry, Nick). All of us went for lunch with some friends yesterday at Krishna's Curry House, and it's always a joy to eat there. The food is quite good, even better when you're being treated!

Food lovers

We had banana leaf rice so we had the usual yummy condiments that came with it. But, instead of white rice, we had briyani. Of course, a visit to the place wouldn't be complete without the fish head curry - the house speciality and very, very appetising. We also had mutton curry another dish I like, deep fried quail (which I didn't eat), and prawns in sambal (which were quite nice). To wash it all down, we had teh tarik (that's milked tea, but 'pulled' - can't think of any other way of saying it without going into a lengthy description - to bring out the froth) which is part of the meal and it can be replenished without any extra charges!

Yummy food!

Adelle enjoyed the food as well as the company though she seemed a bit shocked when we first arrived as I think she didn't expect to see so many people at the lunch. We had been telling her about it, but only saying that we'd be meeting a few people. So, Adelle wasn't very friendly and stuck to my wife. But she warmed up soon enough.

So, planning where to eat? Try Krishna's Curry House. Yum, yum!

p.s. Btw, in case you're wondering, I'm not getting paid for this post. Just sharing the joy of eating delicious food!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Full day

What's the best toy store in Kota Kinabalu? We don't have Toys 'R Us here, but we have something which I think is infinitely better! We have KK Toys! Why better? Well, for one part, they have quite a selection of toys. If you're into action figures and models, they have a pretty impressive collection as well: Gundam Mobile Suits; action figures from Final Fantasy to movie tie-ins; and models of cars, aircraft, and battleships. They also have games consoles, boardgames, baby products, dolls, teddy, we don't miss Toys 'R Us at all here.

The second, if you're a member, you get a year-long discount of at least 15%! And the best reason, they have a sale - twice a year! One's middle of the year (today...err, yesterday!) and the other one is before Christmas, in December. It's not your usual 10-15% discount. Everything is 30% off minimum while some can go to as high as 70%. But, the biennial sales are for members only - which I am. So, that's where my wife and I headed today. We brought Adelle along as well!

But, before the hard work of selecting the toys that we wanted to buy, we went for breakfast first at a nearby Indian Restaurant. The name is Devi's Restaurant. It's quite a popular place (it's even featured in the Lonely Planet guidebook) and it's a good place to have your fix of mouth-watering Indian cooking. Both my wife and I ordered a thosai each, and we shared a chapati. What can I say, they were both very yummy and this was enhanced more by the delightfully delicious curry, dhall, and that thosai sauce which I don't know the name to. The teh tarik that I had was excellent as well, so was the teh halia that my wife had (according to her): creamy enough with just the right amount of tea. Mmmmm...

I was also intrigued by colourful decorations hung on the ceiling of the eatery which I took a shot of.

Nice and colourful, don't you think?

After having our tummies filled, it was off to the battlefield that is KK Toys. When we entered the shop (it was only about 9.20 am), there was already a long queue at the cashiers and more people were milling about the place, searching for that perfect toy. We wanted to get Adelle some Mega Bloks, so we went upstairs where they are on display.

More people were upstairs. We didn't go straight for what we came for, we looked around first while Adelle busied herself getting on those tricycles with a long handle behind which parents can use the steer them. She was contented just sitting in them and mock cycling them, so that kept her occupied for quite some time. We decided to get her Mega Bloks because they were bigger than the Lego bricks, so easier for her to hold. Duplo would have been good, but it's hard to find them here. Not to mention, they also more expensive. After getting the biggest bag we could find (wife says it's more economical that way), we proceeded downstairs for more browsing. In the end, we ended up with a children's the Mega Bloks, a children's badminton set, two children's cooking sets (different ones), and a couple of bubble blowers (for the neighbours daughter). I had to queue for more than 20 minutes before it was my turn to pay. So, you can imagine the number of people that were there.

Adelle immersing herself fully in the whole shopping thang

Having accomplished our mission, we went window-shopping at nearby Centre Point (another shopping complex). We finally went home just before 1 pm. Adelle was especially tired by then, so she had a quick lunch before getting her nap.

Late in the evening, a neighbour came over to our place, and all of us (she and her two daughters, my wife, Adelle and me) went for a walk around the neighbourhood. I had been taking pictures of my wife's plants before she came so I brought my camera along on the walk. I managed to snap a few pictures of some small flowers which some would regard as weed. I thought they were until my wife pointed out that they are not - they are just wild flowers, she says. Well, whatever they are, I thought they looked quite beautiful standing against an all-green background, though I struggled a bit in getting them sharp as the sun was already low and light levels were not exactly helpful for handheld photography. Anyway, I was quite pleased with the results, one picture of which I'll share here.

Wildflower by the side of the road

So, that's our day. Hope you had a good one.