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.