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More on Tanjung Jara Resort in this post!

The Service

Attentive. Discreet. Classy.

That’s how I would describe it. And I firmly believe it is because of the excellent work done by the General Manager, Philippe Cavory. It’s really a case of leading by example. He’s everywhere! When we arrived he was at the lobby to greet us as we were served Tanjung Jara Resort’s apparently famous Roselle Tea. When we chilled out at the beachfront, we saw him walking the grounds, adjusting the bins and pinning back the curtains at one of the cabanas since he saw them out of place – no task too small or beneath him. At the little Malay cultural event, he was there to chat with the guests. And one afternoon when we were in the room, we received a call from the front desk saying that the GM wanted to serve us complementary wine and hors d’oeuvres. Wow!

Our surprise!

Our surprise!

It’s the little things that really leave an impression. Serving guests who were along the beachfront iced water on a hot day (all beach hotels should do this!), delivering our room service meal in record time when we told them the kids were very hungry, helping to carry my bowl of noodles back to the table when they saw my hands were full with Alyssa.

Activities

There’s a whole variety of activities to keep you busy at Tanjung Jara Resort. I’d have taken part in more of them if Alyssa wasn’t stuck to me since I’m still her milk bottle at the moment. For starters, I’d have visited the spa. The treatments sound won-der-ful. Oh well. We had planned to go for a hike as well, but the kids were having so much fun at the pool that we decided to just stay put.

We did get to enjoy the Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle event which is held weekly for guests, especially those not from the region, to experience traditional Malay village life. There were little stations for guests to try traditional games, local snacks and drinks, and there was even a monkey climbing trees to pick fresh coconuts that are opened on the spot. The kids loved the snacks. Ellery, in particular, made hundreds of trips to the snack table to help him to more keropok (crackers).

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Monkey picking coconuts

Monkey picking coconuts

There’s also an island nearby that’s a good spot for snorkeling. My brother and nephew went for a day trip and saw a reef shark, a turtle, lots of fishes big and small, tons of sea cucumbers, and Nemo, Nemo, Nemo.

Food

The breakfast buffet at Di Atas Sungei features a mix of Western standards and – the best part – local delicacies like nasi dagang (rice steamed with coconut milk in leaves). One of the mornings they served a soup made from pure fish stock that was sooo good. The freshly baked croissants are good too. They bake trays and trays of them. Philippe is French, so I suppose that’s why he ensures good croissants are available!

The food at Di Atas Sungei can be quite pricey for dinner though so we didn’t eat there at night. We found a wonderful seafood restaurant less than 5 minutes away from the resort that served up excellent food at cheap prices. Cheap and good – Singaporean’s love to hear that! Restoran Seafood C. B. Wee has been around since 1983 and is popular among the locals. Interestingly a lot of them come here to eat the Western food, but for all the 3 nights that we went there we had seafood.  I think we went through most their menu.

Restoran C. B. Wee

Restoran C. B. Wee

There were 8 adults and 6 kids (not counting the baby), so we really had a feast each night. Steamed fish, chicken, squid, lots of veg, small prawns, medium prawns, and giant prawns. I love prawns, but have never tried the giant ones before. It’s so much cheaper there than in Singapore. A single prawn sells for upwards of $25 at Newton hawker centre. At C.B. Wee, depending on how good the catch that day, you cold get a whole plate of giant prawns!

Awesome food. If you stay at Tanjung Jara Resort you got to eat here.

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Look at the size of that prawn

Look at the size of that prawn

Overall, Tanjung Jara Resort if a lovely place to stay if you are willing to make the drive up. My brother’s friend who joined us drove straight from Singapore to Tanjung Jara in 8 hours, and he drives fast. If you do come, you can be assured of a relaxing stay with good service and good food.

Some of the kids

Some of the kids

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The plan was to have breakfast at Restoran Hoi Yin again as we were not yet done with our curry mee fix, but unfortunately the place was simply too crowded for hungry bellies to wait, so we ended up at a prata place a few doors down.

After breakfast the boys couldn’t resist playing in the sea one more time before we left. They weren’t even dressed in their swimming clothes! From just dipping their feet, it became ankles, and knees. And when the waves splashed their pants, they just didn’t care after that and simply jumped into the waves. Ah well. That’s all part of the fun of a beach holiday :) I figured they could just live in their boardshorts for the next few days.

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

So, happy impromptu beach fun over, a quick dip in the pool, a quick bath, and we were off to our next destination.

Tanjung Jara Resort

Tanjung Jara didn’t look that far on the map but we took surprisingly long – 4 hours – because the traffic was heavier on this stretch. The entrance to Tanjung Jara Resort was just an understated carved stone wall with the name of the hotel on it. When you turn in, you drive along a narrow road lined thickly with trees and bushes – you can’t even see the hotel. It felt lush, secluded, and exclusive. When we finally saw the main building, it was like a secret revealed.

The hotel sign

What you see from the road

We were welcomed with three grand chimes of the gong – a sound we heard over the course of the next few days, ringing out in the background each time other guests arrived. I couldn’t help thinking it was like a reverse situation of the Hunger Games in that the gongs signified the arrival of more people, rather than the other way around.

You can get fish food from the reception to feed the fishes. The kids loved this!

You can get fish food from the reception to feed the fishes. The kids loved this!

The Rooms and Surroundings

The place was beautiful and calming. A sanctuary of peacefulness. Inspired by traditional Malay architecture, the hotel was designed to reflect the elegance and grandeur of 17th century Malay palaces. When you walk the grounds, you feel like you are in a lavish kampung (traditional Malay village). And indeed a lavish kampung it was. The interiors featured solid wood furniture with rustic, yet elegant, touches, and reached a level of comfort and luxury that YTL hotels are known for.

We stayed in the Bumbung Sea View Room, which was on the upper level of a two-storey building. Extremely spacious, there was a king-sized bed, a day bed, two desks, a bench to relax on at the foot of the bed, and still lots and lots of space for the boys to play even after we put in the cot. Then there’s the bathroom. Gosh, it is about the size of my master bedroom at home, perhaps even bigger. I especially loved the dressing table which was perfect for use as a diaper changing station. With all the space, it was very comfortable for the 5 of us.

Our second-floor room

Our second-floor room

The first thing they do in any room - jump on the bed :)

The first thing they do in any room – jump on the bed :)

The other side of the room

The other side of the room

Nap time heh heh heh

Nap time heh heh heh

Kids stoning at TV time

Kids stoning at TV time

The changing table! This is just tone corner of the bathroom!

The changing table! This is just tone corner of the bathroom!

Two sinks, lots of counter space, and less just half of the bathroom...

Two sinks, lots of counter space

Our house was built away from the seafront, but it was just a short walk to the beach. The waves can get quite strong on windy days, so make sure you watch your kid at all times when they are playing in the sea. Asher got flipped over by the waves once and had a bit of a struggle getting back on his feet. Jon was by his side anyway, but this is just to stress how important it is to watch your kids like hawks here. Waves ‘crashing’, is really an apt description. But also because of that, it is extremely fun to play among the waves here.

The single-storey beachfront room

The single-storey beachfront room

Many beachfront cabanas to relax in

Many beachfront cabanas to relax in

Lovely spot to enjoy a book

Lovely spot to enjoy a book

On a calmer day you can walk quite far out and it's still shallow

On a calmer day you can walk quite far out and it’s still shallow

Jon and the boys :)

Jon and the boys :)

Alyssa enjoying her first beach holiday

Alyssa enjoying her first beach holiday

We loved the pool too. It’s next to the beach so you can hear gorgeous sounds of the waves, but swim in the relative safety of the pool – ‘relative’ because you should always watch your kids when they are in water anyway (yes, I’m harping on this point, but it’s so important!). On the third day we spent the entire day  by the pool. The kids had such a good time, stopping only for lunch, and when they were forced out of the pool by a sudden, blustery storm. The rain was torrential, and as we scrambled to find shelter at the nearby cafe, especially for the then 3-month old Alyssa, it was as if we were escaping a typhoon. The cafe certainly made a lot of money from the storm though, because all the guests started ordering hot chocolate, coffee, tea and snacks. Alyssa was wrapped up in a warm towel and sleeping soundly, completely oblivious to the raging storm outside. She only woke up when we got back to our room quite a while later.

Chilling by the pool

Chilling by the pool

My wrapped up baby

My wrapped up baby

Ellery loved scooping the water out of the big pots to wash his sandy feet

Ellery loved scooping the water out of the big pots to wash his sandy feet

More on Tanjung Jara in the next post!

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Been meaning to put up this post much sooner but for various reasons was delayed!

Our  family, my brother’s family and my parents headed up to Malaysia for a roadtrip at the end of July. It was a  long anticipated trip that was planned months before. It all started with my Mum coming across an advertisement for a SAFRA roadtrip to Lake Kenyir. It sounded interesting but the driving schedule was quite crazy, so we decided to form our own convoy and head up ourselves.

We met at 6am at my parent’s place. Any thoughts of how 6am was nutty quickly dissipated when we saw that the Causeway had no queue whatsoever. I tried to get the boys to continue sleeping in the car but they were much too excited. My mum had also lovingly packed a cooler box full of cold water, fruit and snacks for each car. The boys immediately tucked into the fruit and happily munched at the back of the car.

A chirpy hello to the grandparents at 6 in the morning

A chirpy hello to the grandparents at 6 in the morning

Lots of comfy cushions & pillows

Lots of comfy cushions & pillows

They were really happy to be chucked right at the back of our MPV. When they found out a few months before that there were seats hidden in the floor they were so surprised and kept asking to sit there. We decided to make the road trip more fun for them by letting them sit right at the back. It was like their little space, and it was just nice for the kid’s short legs :) In hindsight it did throw off the balance of the car somewhat, and my neck got tired from turning around whenever they called me, but they had a great time so that’s fine.

Playing with their own things

Playing with their own things

Pillow fight!

Pillow fight!

Jon the driver, and Alyssa behind him

Jon the driver, and Alyssa behind him

Going in our own convoy was a good idea especially with so many little ones. Between toilet breaks and diaper changes we had to make quite a few stops. Food stops, less than expected because of all the snacks we had packed. Plus, we were looking forward to curry noodles in Kuantan.

Mmmm. I remember this curry noodles from when I was a kid! I think I was 9 years old when I first went to Kuantan with my parents and brother. I distinctly remember eating at the curry noodle shop every day, and that it was very good. We arrived in Kuantan around 2pm and the first thing we did was to head to Restoran Hoi Yin for a bowl of curry noodles. We were the last customers there and they had run out of chicken. But even just the curry gravy with lots of tau pok, fishcake and fish balls, it was delicious! We were fortunate to get some noodles at all because they are extremely popular. It’s something about the food in Malaysia, is it the quality of the ingredients? It just tastes so good. The texture of the noodles was just right, the fishcake and fishballs had a lovely bite. Yum!

(Fyi, Restoran Hoi Yin is at No. 31 Jalan Telok Cempedak, 25050 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)

Restoran Hoi Yin

Restoran Hoi Yin

Preparing our bowls of noodles

Preparing our bowls of noodles

Finally! After many years of waiting to eat this again :)

Finally! After many years of waiting to eat this again :)

Each a bowl (kids ate non-spicy kway teow soup)

Each a bowl (kids ate non-spicy kway teow soup)

We stayed the Hyatt Hotel in Kuantan, which was apparently the same place we stayed at when I was a kid. I can’t remember much about the hotel, but I’m guessing they hadn’t changed it much. It looked quite in need of some sprucing up. Our room was really disappointing in terms of cleanliness. I’m ok with small rooms, simple, old fashioned decor, and even some less than perfect housekeeping. But I really couldn’t bear the room we were given. It was sticky! Everything, every surface was sticky. Not sea salt sticky. It was like some kind of solution, or oil, or resin kind of sticky. Everywhere! The floor, the tables, the cupboards! Eeewww! And the boys were running around, then climbing onto the bed. I tried to get them to not step on the pillows but they’d sometimes forget. I used to be quite OCD about cleanliness, but my standards dropped drastically after the boys came along. Still, this was a bit too much. Despite all that I was willing to stay on in the room.

However, after the boys came back from swimming and I was going to shower them, we found that the bathtub (the only place to bathe) got clogged up! That was it. I really didn’t want to bathe in dirty water, step on a dirty floor and then sleep on a dirty bed. Not for the price we were paying.

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Beach area at Hyatt Kuantan

Our sticky room

Our sticky room

Thankfully the front desk staff were understanding and they arranged for us to change to a different room. They actually did it quite readily, which made me wonder if other guests had encountered similar problems before. The room we were given in exchange was completely different. It was like we had gone to a different hotel. The decor was different, the layout was different, and even the toiletries were different! I think we were given a recently renovated room. If so, Hyatt should quickly renovate all their other rooms!

The added perk of our new room was that someone lit fireworks at the beach in front of our balcony, so we got to enjoy a surprise fireworks display.

We turned in fairly early after a long day, and in preparation for another day of driving. We were heading up to Tanjung Jara next.

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

Happiness is picking seashells

Happiness is picking a bucketful of seashells

Playing 'monkey' in the pool

Playing ‘monkey’ in the pool

Enjoying the sea breeze together

Enjoying the sea breeze together

Sunset from our new room

Sunset from our new room

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Jon and I took a short break with his friends at Phuket for 2 nights.  It was a really short trip cos we only arrived there around 10pm on the first night.  His other friends had left for Phuket early that morning, but we didn’t want to have to spend quite so much time away from Asher.  As it is, it was already be the longest that he’d been away from us. 

You probably won’t understand, but I’ve been dreaming of eating cup noodles on a plane since my last KLM flight in 2007.  I have fond memories of my LON-SIN-LON flights via KLM when I got to watch movies the entire way and snack on steaming hot cups of noodles in the cold airplane in the dark while everyone else was sleeping.  It was just something that I really really enjoyed :)

My parents, aunt and grandaunt eagerly made an event of our being away cos they’ve always wanted to have Asher stay with them for a long stretch.  Two days isn’t very long, but since it was the longest ever, they quickly took the opportunity to plan a staycation :)  Aidan came along too, so it was a ton of fun for the grandies to have both grandchildren around for the ‘trip’ at the same time.  And, the two boys get along spectacularly, so it’s always lots of fun and very entertaining to watch them together.  They just feed off each other’s antics and utterances.  Very adorable :)

They arranged a two night stay at Fairmont Hotel cos that weekend coincided nicely with the NDP rehearsals.  They managed to get a room facing the Padang so the boys got to watch the fly past, helicopters, parachutes, and of course, fireworks!  I’ll have to get some of the pics that they took that weekend :)

What about Phuket?  Well, I was ill from start to finish of the trip.  In fact, I just got worse and worse.  I was also unable to enjoy all the spa treats cos of the pregnancy.  So I found myself sitting around while everyone else spent hours being kneaded and stretched.  BUT!  That was exactly how I liked it, cos I got to read to my heart’s content!  I did exactly as I planned.  Read.  I brought along my cousin’s copy of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  She had lent it to be a few months after Asher was born, but I never got around to reading it.  So I thought I’d start on it during this trip.  I targeted to finish the book by the end of the two days, which for me – a slow reader – was going to be a challenge. 

But I did it!  Stayed up late at night, woke up early in the morning.  Was utterly antisocial with Jon during breakfast cos I’d just read and eat (altho he didn’t mind cos he had his newspapers, and then in his words, he had “quiet”…tsk).  Didn’t really get much chance to be antisocial with his friends cos most of them weren’t even up that early anyway haha.  It’s a hazard of parenthood I tell you.  No matter how late you sleep, you still end up waking up at 7am Singapore time and find you can’t go back to sleep.  We had a good 2-3 hours before everyone was finally up, so we even had time to squeeze in a swim on the first morning before meeting them back at the breakfast hall. 

I also read through all those hours sitting at the spa waiting for everyone to be done with their massages, and was done just before we boarded the bus for the airport on the last day. 

I love the book!  I never watched the movie, and hadn’t heard what the story was about.  My impression was that it was some action packed book cos the movie adverts showed vampires chasing each other.  But it was completely different!  It was not at all what I expected, and so much more compelling and engaging.   To me, it’s not a book about vampires and werewolves and all that lore, it’s a love story.  It’s really a story about their relationship and it’s development.  Ok, it’s not a book to read to enjoy beautiful literature.  For that, stick to the classics.  But, somehow, despite all the cheesy lines, she manages to capture your imagination and pull you deep into the story.  Yes, there are plenty of cheesy lines.  How Edward is like a model/god/too good to be true, how he makes Bella hyperventilate/forget what she was thinking/lose her balance, etc.  And these lines are peppered throughout the book.  But, because of the way Edward is portrayed, I can believe that you would really think that of him, and you would react that way.  Oh, Edward!  ;)

Ya, I know many people think of it as a teenager’s book.  But actually, the many adults I know who’ve read it love it too!  But admittedly, it’s more of a girl’s book.  To the skeptics, and especially the romantics at heart, put aside your preconceived notions and give the book a chance! 

At the end of the trip I had only done a teeny bit of shopping for 2 pieces of kids clothing, had Thai food when we could (we managed to make our way to one of the back alleys where locals eat which we discovered the last time we came), and made a discovery about crepes. 

There are plenty of street-side stalls selling crepes in Phuket, and Jon and I found that there really is a difference in quality of crepes, even though they may be located side by side.  We thought that since their menus all boasted approximately the same range of crepes, it probably didn’t matter which stall you bought it from.  But on our last night there, we tried the chocolate & banana crepe.  The first one we had was made by a popular stallholder, and the queue was quite long.  I managed to study her method and found that she flipped the crepe before spreading the nutella.  She then let the chocolate bubble for a while before slicing the banana on top, folding the edges over, then pouring chocolate sauce on top.  It was a heavenly crepe.  Crispy on the outside, gooey goodness on the inside.  It was so good we decided to have another, but had walked while eating and decided to order the same crepe from a different stallholder.  Bad choice.  It was nothing like the first one, and I’m certain it has to do with the method.  This lady put blobs of nutella on the moist batter without having first flipped it.  She also cut the bananas straightaway onto the chocolate before folding the edges in and pouring the chocolate sauce over.  As a result, it was not crispy, more like man chiang kueh.  And the insides were too thick and jelak – not cos it was our second one for the night, but it was just too cloying to be enjoyable.  We didn’t finish that crepe.

So anyway, back to the Twilight Saga.  When we got back to Singapore around 1am, I was still quite awake and straightaway started on New Moon.  Within a week from the time I first started Twilight, I was done with the series.  I couldn’t put the book down!  I just kept wanting to go on and on, from book to book.  I was so energised!  It’s been a very long time since I’d read a book that really captured my imagination, that filled my mind with images of places and settings I knew every detail about. 

I found myself digging deeper into the Twilight Saga after I’d finished the third and fourth books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.  To my delight I discovered there was an unfinished book called Midnight Sun, which was Twilight written from Edward’s perspective.  After that, I rented the videos for Twilight and New Moon and made Jon watch them with me.  He had refused to read the books but promised to humour me and watch together with me :)  However, the movies were a let down.  If I hadn’t read the book I really wouldn’t understand why Bella loves Edward so much and why she feels so strongly for him.  They fall in love too quickly.  I had my reservations about the movie before watching it because a lot of the important story telling parts of the book have to do with narration and internal thoughts – how do you put that into a movie?  And as expected, it was no where as good as what my own imagination had cooked up.  Told Jon that the movie probably only captures like 25% of whatever you can think up on your own. 

The the worst bit (well almost the worst…it’s a toss up between the failure to live up the story and this), Robert Pattinson is so not my kind of Edward!  He seems just all wrong!  And what’s with that weird hair?!  Edward’s hair isn’t described like that!  I saw from internet articles that he’s apparently quite the acclaimed actor, and perhaps in other movies he really does do a good job, but in Twilight, he so bombed.  And it was clear, at least to me, that in the movie New Moon, Taylor Lautner who played Jacob was so much more convincing!   

The other bits that the movie was unable to capture properly were the portrayals of the other characters which I thought were quite central to the story, especially Alice. 

But I decided I liked the music from Twilight, especially after seeing the MTVs of Muse and Paramore from the DVDs, and went to get the soundtrack.  What a great buy!  I love the soundtrack!  It’s one of those CDs I can put on repeat and not get tired of quickly. 

 Now, I’m waiting for VideoEzy to stock Eclipse.  I didn’t catch it in theatres cos I hadn’t read the books then.  Didn’t want to spoil my reading experience.  And even though I know it won’t live up to what’s in my head, I still want to watch it anyway.

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Phuket

Everyone’s generally so busy we sometimes find it difficult to all be in the same place at the same time. So we thought we’d all take some time off and go for a family holiday.

Phuket was the destination of choice. Chill. Relax. I think we all needed some serious R&R.

We managed to snag a good deal on an apartment style accomodation at Marriott Vacation Club – 4D3N at US$250 thereabouts for 5 adults and 1 baby. Not too bad I think. The apartment was a very good size complete with kitchen, dining and living area, a spacious balcony, and 2 large rooms (1 with 2 queen size beds, and 1 with a king size bed). The most luxurious bit, I think, was the bathroom attached to the master bedroom. We could all fit into the tub!

The trip started early with us dragging Asher, asleep, out of bed at 6am. He continued sleeping in the cab all the way until we reached the airport, but was awake after that and didn’t nap till we reached the hotel.

Asher looked a tad sleepy when we first got on the plane

The flight up was Asher’s first! His previous trip was a roadtrip to Malaysia. I had read somewhere that the best way to help an infant relieve the pressure from flying was to let him suckle, so that was exactly what I did. Thinking that we were going to take off soon (cos the cabin crew went about checking our seat belts and all), I started to nurse Asher. But the flight was delayed, and just as we were about to take off, Asher finished nursing. Great. Exactly as I was telling Jon things might turn out…murphy’s law right?

Still, he handled the flight well, and didn’t seem bothered by the pressure. He was getting a little sleepy though and I was trying to rock him to sleep, but there really isn’t much aisle space on Tiger Airways. I had to dodge the drinks cart, then the food cart, then the shopping cart. In the end he didn’t nap, but had a good time playing on each of our laps in turn :)

Decked out in appropriate clothes – aeroplanes!

Marriot Vacation Club is located pretty near to the airport, and once we landed we were there in no time.

What did we do on the first day? Or rather I should phrase it as, what did the males do on the first day? Sleep! Yes, every single one of them. I, however, was nursing Asher and then carrying him to sleep. When he was finally dozing and put down in the cot, I went about unpacking all of Asher’s barang barang. Besides that, I remember being busy with something, I can’t remember what, and not being able to find the opportunity to take a nap even though I wanted to. I found it quite hilarious actually, and it reminded me of why our church’s Mens Breakthrough weekend has a segment in the itinerary that is specifically allocated to an afternoon snooze!



The stuff we brought, most of which were for Asher – cereal, jarred food, biscuits, etc.

But after everyone (every man) had their rest, the next fews days were spent going for walks by the beach, relaxing in the apartment, eating, reading, and just having a good time in each others’ company :) I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves :)

Asher going for his first seaside walk.

Studying the way the waves swept in, swirled around Jon’s feet, and flowed out

Then taking a walk in the sea! :)

Celebrating the twin’s birthday – eArThQuAkE!!

Swimming in the evening

Snoozing on Uncle Joe’s soft, comfy jersey :) Think Asher found his new mattress!

We frequently took the buggy to travel between the two Marriotts.


Going for another beach walk


Discovering the wonders of the remote control


Yet another beach walk
. Can’t get enough of those can you?

Parting shot


On the plane with Grandpa

Home sweet home



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Road Trip to Malacca

It was almost a spur of the moment decision to go to Malacca. We decided a week before that we would head up, and after a trial holiday at Sentosa, we were on our way to Malaysia! Asher’s first overseas (or over-causeway) trip. Hopefully this is just the beginning of our continued travels. Jon and I believe that having a baby doesn’t mean our travelling ways have to come to an end; rather Asher will join us in our adventures :) But I must say, travelling with a baby slows your pace down a lot. We can’t zip about on a whim and have to have regular stops to feed Asher and keep him out of the hot mid-day sun.

The weather the day we left was good – windy, clear, and not too hot.

Managed to get a shot of all 3 of us! :)

Anyway, among the things that I packed for the trip was a bag full of Asher’s toys to amuse him on the car rides to and from Malacca. His colourful ‘book’ that he’s had since he was born, a new teether JJSB gave Asher, an improvised car seat toy (I had seen in stores how some toys had clips which looked like clothes pegs that were used to attach the toy to the bar of the car seat, so I decided to just use clothes pegs, and some hook/rings from another toy of Asher’s to make a car toy!), his toy that my Mum gave him, etc. Actually my hand came in handy for many entertaining rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star too :)

The drive up was thankfully uneventful, and reached Hotel Equitorial safe and sound. We had requested for a cot for Asher, and it came in a most delightful shade of…pink! Haha. But he seemed quite happy to lie in it with his best friend Lotty :) In fact, he was so excited (to be in a new cot? To be on holiday? Just plain excited?) that he couldn’t stop kicking and waving his arms about!

Check out his legs…a blur of movement!

As we were only going to spend one night in Malacca we head off straightaway to do some sight-seeing, and EAT! We were starved! That, and we had been greedily waiting to devour all the yummy Malacca specialties. First stop – chicken rice balls! Don’t be deceived by the few balls of rice and their small size. They are really quite filling! It was a good thing we shared the dish, otherwise we wouldn’t have had as much space in our tummies for the other food.

We then went to were hunt down Donald and Lily’s Nonya restaurant which is known for it’s good, yet cheap Nonya food. We read about it in the Malaysia Lonely Planet guide, but the directions the book gave were wrong! So we ended up circling about, wandering into strange alleys, and finally just winging it and trusting our instincts. Yep, we found the place! It was tucked away in a non-descript, dusty alley, up a narrow flight of stairs behind a closed cendol stall. All that searching was worthwhile, though, cos the Nonya mee rebus was excellent! The tau kwa rojak was sedap sekali, and as a greedy afterthought, we also ordered char kway teow (after spying it on someone else’s table), which was yummy too! Did you think we forgot cendol? No way! Just that we were so eager to eat it that I never got around to take a photo of it haha. That happened for all the cendols we ate during the trip :O) We wanted to try their Nonya Laksa too but it isn’t available on Tuesdays, pity.

Besides food, we did do some minor sightseeing. I guess our main idea was to just chill out in Malacca cos both of us have been to Malacca on school trips to explore the sights previously. Maybe when Asher grows up we’ll do the sights again proper, but then again, he’ll probably have a school trip to Malacca as well.

In any case, what trip to Malacca will be complete without pictures at these sights?

The funniest thing happened when I was taking this photo. As Jon held Asher on the canon, I could hear a group of women tourists suddenly go, “Aiyoooo, hou tak yee ah!! Hoi siong ah, hoi siong ah!” (Translation: “Aiyoooo, so adorable/cute/interesting! Take photo, take photo!”) They were referring to Asher! He became a mini-celebrity of sorts, stealing the limelight from A Famosa for those few minutes. We found it so funny that he became a ‘sight’ for the tourists :) But anyway, I think he, as any baby would, charmed the people we met on our trip. From toilet cleaners to stall holders, passers-by to tourists, many stopped to pat his head and say hello :)

We of course also went to walk around Chinatown (which is where Donald and Lily’s is located). Pity it wasn’t a Friday, otherwise we could see the Jonker Street night market as well, but it was atmospheric enough as it was.

At one of the shops, I spied some slippers that I wanted to get to replace the disintegrating pair that I was wearing. It was cheap, and so comfortable! Best of all, the sole was non-slip – great for someone who has a tendency to be clumsy like myself :) And cos the Uncle said we could get a further discount if we bought 2 pairs, Jon decided to get a pair too since his slippers aren’t in the best of conditions either! I was so tickled that we were going to have the same pair of slippers because we are totally not into his-her things! This is such a rarity! Initially Jon said he wouldn’t wear his slippers when I wore mine, but they were so comfortable he couldn’t resist and wore them straightaway. So yes, a his-her slipper shot we never thought would happen :) But yes, if you do go to Malacca, there’s a shop along the main street in Chinatown (Jalan Hang Jebat) that sells Birkenstock look-a-likes called Hipopo. A good buy!

After yet another cendol stop, we decided to head back to the hotel in style – by trishaw! The Lonely Planet describes this as a must-do activity, so in the spirit of things, we went for it! Anyway, I’ve never taken the trishaws in Malacca, or for that matter Singapore, before, and neither had Jon. It was so kitsch, but so fun! Our trishaw had Boney M hits like “Sunny”, “Daddy Cool” and “Rivers of Babylon” blaring from it’s speakers, and it was decked out in a colourful but organised mess of artificial flowers. Asher was getting tired by then, and was pretty stoned for most of the ride :) I, on the other hand, happily sang along with all the songs :O)

I love this photo! During the trishaw ride we stopped by the Maritime Museum, which is housed in a ship, to take a photo. Jon held Asher high, while I called out to him to look at me. This pic captured the moment Asher smiled and at the same time excitedly kicked about, stepping onto Jon’s spectacles, causing him to make a funny face :) Priceless!

Back at the hotel after putting Asher to bed, we ordered room service for dinner! I love room service! I don’t know why, just something fun about it. I guess it’s just like how I like airplane food :) Anyway, the Hotel Equitorial deal comes with RM80 in credits which you can use at any of their restaurants or for room service. It was partly why we chose to stay there, cos we figured that once we put Asher to bed we can’t go anywhere for dinner, so room service suited us just fine. I must commend Hotel Equitorial on the effort they put in to make the dinner table look good. It came complete with tablecloth, napkins, and even a flower! If I’m not wrong I think most places just bring in a tray of food? Anyway, add the dim lighting (cos Asher was sleeping), and we had a lovely romantic meal. Romantically laughing over how bad the food was :) Ok, I guess the steak was alright, but really nothing to shout about. But my ayam penyet was like KFC (and maybe KFC is better), and the rice that came with it was totally dry. We also ordered a red date creme brulee cos it sounded like an interesting twist to a favourite dessert of mine, but the execution was all wrong. There was no crust of caramalised sugar to crack!! How can!! I love cracking the shell! Instead there was a dainty pile of already cracked gula melaka bits in the middle of the dish. That wasn’t all, the texture of the creme brulee was all wrong. It was not light and smooth, but more like thick, rough, mousse. A well-intentioned dish, but really not to my liking. However, the best disaster was the lava chocolate cake. We were so excited that offered that dessert, and were saving it for the last. We even strategised where to cut the cake so that the chocolate inside would ooze towards to berry compote. But we cut, and cut, and ate, and ate….and never found the lava! It was a molten rock cake! We thought maybe we read the menu wrongly, and ordered a brownie, but nope, the description was clear, there should be chocolate oozing from inside!! Bleah. A disappointment, but a good laugh.

After a disturbed sleep (rem from my previous post? Asher wakes up more when he sleeps in aircon…), we awoke to the sounds of students shouting and cheering while playing tug-of-war for PE. The losing team had to march around the field :) Quite old-school, but very nonstalgic.

We had breakfast of roti chenai, teh and kopi. Jon was actually sent on a mission to find a particular roti chenai stall that the Lonely Planet had recommended which was supposed to be near the hotel. It was supposedly one of the best in Malaysia. When Jon came back and served up the food, I commented that, “oh, this is what the best roti chenai in Malaysia tastes like. It’s so-so.” It was only then that he sheepish revealed that actually he couldn’t find the stall, tsk :O) Trying to sneak one past me! :)

Anyway, it was another lovely day for drive back to Singapore. Armed with the toys, and a filled belly, we made it back home in good time :) Wonder when our next trip will be, and to where?

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