Sunny Serikin

Serikin is a little bordertown (at the Malaysia-Indonesi border), 80km from Kuching.

Last Saturday (16 October 2010)  was my last day in Kuching, sarawak. Our flight home was scheduled at 2.00pm.

Ida of PULAPOL Kuching was nice enough to offer to take us to this little bordertown.

We left our hotel just before 7am, and in less than 1 hour, we reached our destination.

We parked our car (there were very few cars then), and started to walk towards the shops lining the single street:

It was indeed very sunny:

There were not many visitors yet, but most make-shift shops were already open. I was told that these shops open only during weekends (i.e. Saturday and Sunday).

Most good are either locally made, or imported from the nearby Indonesia.

It was getting hotter and hotter  that I felt like I was roasting myself! No wonder Ida brought along 2 umbrellas for us. We decided to walk by the shady side:

It was a long stretch of shops, so I decided to capture more of them after we’ve walked about halfway through:

Another try at the same view:

As I looked back:

When I though we were reaching the end, there were still a lot more shops ahead of us:

We stopped at the point where the road is no longer tarred:

Ah, we could finally see the end of the stretch:

We turned back, got into the car, and then left Serikin.

On our way back ,we stopped at a place where the locals sell their fruits and vegetables:

and some handicrafts too:

I was so thirsty and bought some sugar-cane juice. Ida & Inda bought this local delicacy and gave 1 to me:

It was some glutinous rice cooked inside the pitcher plant:

Inside it was some “serunding udang”:

It tasted quite similat to pulut panggang!

We went to Bau (pronounced Bauk) and had the mandatory visit to the Tasik Biru (literally means Blue Lake). :

Tasik Biru has some legend attached to it. It was formed from some gold mining activities conducted in the earlier years. Despite looking so serene, the lake is polluted with arsenic:

We later went to Kampung Haji Baki and visited a house that sells teak products/furniture where I bought this quran stand (rehal):

We finally arrived at the Kuching Airport for our departure back to KL.

The Serikin trip was made possible by the generosity of these two people, Ida & Madi from Pulapol Kuching:

Our rented iswara was certainly insufficient for the 5 of us so theycame with their Avanza to help ferry us around that day:

They refused to leave us until we actually walked through the airport security to the departure lounge.

We are indeed so grateful to them for their warm hospitality!! Ida & Madi, thank you again!!

Meals & etc in Kuching..

Whenever I go out on assignment, I don’t like to talk about work. I’d rather talk about what else I do there (besides work), hence many people think that my job is very enjoyable (that’s the idea, anyway, hahahaha!!).

Apart from the great dinner that we had the day before, on Wednesday we had our lunch at this place:

And I ordered the Sarawak laksa, sans chicken pieces:

It was a simple light lunch, but we compensated with another seafood dinner that night. We had these:

The midin (a local vegetable) and some dried fish that taste like keropok (crackers):

crabs (background) and fish (no idea what fish, but it was a huge slice!):

We also had prawns (udang galah), but by then my hand was soiled, so the pic didn’t turn out nice:

There was another fish dish (terubok, i think) which i didn’t take any, because by then i was full:

On Thursday, we only had KFC for our lunch but that night we had a formal dinner with our participants. The dinner lasted until midnight!

One shot of the dinner:

It was funny because our table had the most number of glasses!

On Friday, some of us had lunch near India Street.

View of the India Street:

Another view:

Why were we there? Because soon after that we went to visit this shop:

I did some real damage to my finances at that shop and another one that belongs to the same family!

Later S and I walked back to our hotel. S agreed to join the girls to cross the river to buy some Kek Lapis Sarawak.

Just before they took the boat sampan:

Caught this pic as they boarded the sampan:

I was too tired to join them. I only asked S to buy me 1 loaf of the cake, because the 2 loaves that Nuni brought back in ramadhan (someone gave her) are still in the fridge – no fan of the cake 🙁 .

That night we had our last Topspot dinner, but I didn’t snap any pic…

Next entry of my blog will be on our visit to Serikin, just before we boarded our plane back to Kuala Lumpur…

Big Makan At Top Spot, Kuching

Since tonight  was the only night that we are not working, we’ve decided to give ourselves a nice dinner treat at the famous Top spot Seafood Food court.

The first dish to arrive was the harmless mixed vegies:

then came the bamboo-like shellfish:

followed by a fish dish (foreground) and the prawns(background):

There was also umai (melanau’s shashimi), which is a kind of salad which uses raw fish:

When I thought it was over, came the fried Midin (vegies):

and deep fried lobsters (in batter):

and another fish dish:

By the time the dinner was over we were exhauted!

Luckily we walked to the place, so walking back to the hotel helped burn some of the calories (though insignificant!):

We passed by the family of cats at the roundabout, facing our hotel:

Oh, by the way, during our afternoon session, I had the pleasure to meet Mr Wong Tee Kue who won a gold medal for Hammer Throw at Commonwealth Games 1998 (Kuala Lumpur). Here he is (in blue shirt):

Click on his name above to read more about him. It’s not everyday I get to meet in person a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist!

Good Morning From the Land of The Hornbills!!

Last night I was with a team of us flying to Kuching, Sarawak. We took a night flight and managed to check into Grand Margherita Hotel just before midnight last night:

Wait, EVERYONE had to fill up the guest forms:

The following morning I had a great time enjoying the buffet breakfast. Why? Because they have a good selection of pastries – pancakes:

soft croissants & german sour bread too (forgot to snap any pic).

After the heavy breakfast, we took a walk along the river, which is widely known as The Waterfront.

The view is always mesmerizing:

There were many attractions such as meeting a couple of  local anglers:

who were more than happy to see his catch (the prawn was still alive!):

And the famous “Gambir Sarawak”:

We also saw one boat with interesting advert:

We took a breather when we got tired:

with obligatory pose:

We also had some fun:

We later walked along the shops that sell local souvenirs:

We didn’t buy anything except for 2 bottles of mineral water.

It was getting hot, so we decided to walk back to our hotel:

Came across an interesting little car:

Saw the hotel where I stayed with my girlfriend the last time I was here (2005):

If it was not for the heat, it would have been a very nice walk back to our hotel:

My room didn’t have a nice view (not worth showing) but the guys got the river view, which I managed to take a look at:

well…. So far so good, but we have 4 busy days ahead of us, starting from tomorrow…. 🙁

The Closure of Syawal

Yesterday we had a potluck at work. WE had so much food and the guys were sporting enough to don themselves with the traditional costumes, though some were only partial 🙂 .

Before the big makan, we had a yassin recital session:

Let’s see what we had:

Sate:


Lemang:

and rendang:

Roti jala and beef curry (forgot to snap a pic of the curry in the huge flask):

Tomato rice:

with chicken


Pulut kuning:

Prawn sambal (forgot to snap a pic).

Fried beehoon:

beef kerutuk

Cucur udang:

and loads and loads of desserts (by then I gave trying to snap individual pix).

We also had fruits and  Longan drink which was a hit with most of us.

I captured this one when we started to “attack” the food:

Another one:

The desserts were on a separate table.

Enjoying the food:

Apart from feasting on the food, many of us had photo-shooting sessions too. I managed to join these youngsters here:

We were all in Raya mood, and had group photos. This one is for the guys:

and this one for the ladies:

My tummy was full throughout the day that I didn’t need to take dinner last night!

Selamat Hari Raya everyone!

MMCSB Family Day 2010

I’ve been very behind with my blogging. A few hectic weeks with occasional slow connection to the website didn’t  help. There are many things that I want to blog about but they just passed by, and by now they are no longer that great to write (or maybe I’ve fogotten about them to..).

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Anyway, over a month ago, the company where I work had an outing for all the staff and their family members. We had it at Suria Cherating Beach Resort. The resort was a bit run down, but otherwise, it was very private and cosy.

Nuni blogged about it much earlier here.I thought it was well written. Nuni even put a link to her gallery of pix of the day here.

I am going to use some of Nuni’s pix in my blog here.

We had so many games for our telematch. We had to even cancel a couple of the games (much to the disappointment of many of the kids!) because we were running out of time.

Water-filled balloons:

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It was about 3pm, but we lucky to have the shade:

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Limbo Rock:

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The ever favourite tug-o-war (ladies version):

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I was one of the organising committee members and was given a hat to wear that day. Nuni happily called me Makcik Sayur (The Vegetable lady), obviously referring to the lady vegetable growers who normally wear similar hats!

Makcik Cina jual sayur :p

But later that day Nafis enjoyed wearing it too:

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Later in the night we had a BBQ dinner with some shows planned. I was in charged of the “Costume Show” by the kids who were below 9 years old – now.. that was fun!

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And here’s me busy calculating (manually!!) the marks given by the judges:

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We also had some lucky draws (EVERYBODY stood to win something, only the values of the gifts varied). Mine was among the last 10 and I won an Electrolux Fruit Juicer (which is still in tact in its box – no attempt to open it, since we prefer to eat the fruits than to juice them).

Kudos to us, the committee members 🙂 :

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The above pic was taken at almost midnight!!!

For more pix on the games, etc.. please visit Nuni’s Gallery.

I am too tired and sleepy…

A Busy Saturday Yesterday..

I knew this weekend and the next 2 weekends are going to be busy weekends for me, despite being long weekends.

Yesterday, we started the day by having breakfast at the mamak stall in Setia Alam. After that we went to our new home nearby and got a few chores done. WE were supposed to meet the aircon guy there,but he was early (he was late last Monday), and we ended up meeting him at the mamak stall instead.

We went home briefly, before we went to Subang Jaya, to meet up with the built-in cabinet guy to look at his proposed desgin, and sign a contract with him. We went through his proposed solutions to our main bedroom, thr family area, Aina’s built-in wardrobe and a few other things that we asked him to do for us. We accepted his designs with a few changes.

In the afternoon (yeah, despite being a public holiday) I had to (wo)man our booth at the Karnival Iktiraf. Halfway through my duty, it rained and the area became very windy. I then saw our balloon came down very low:

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Initially we thought the wind blew it down and it would fly up again. Unfortunately, it was losing its gas, so to avoid any unwanted accidents, we had to pull it down. I managed to capture a few shots of my colleagues pulling it down:

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It was no easy task:

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It took 3 wise man to do the job:

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We finally took it back to our booth:

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I came home at about 6.30pm. There was my alumni AGM later in the night. I tried my luck and asked DH if he could send me to the AGM (Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort). He agreed, so l actually attended the AGM despite my earlier con-committed stance on attending it.

I however left the meeting at 10pm. I was told that the meeting finished just before midnight!

Progress on The New Home

DH has been working very hard to get the house habitable BEFORE Christmas, so that we can spend the 2 long weekends there. Nuni has already told us she would love to have some of her colleagues there for Christmas eve – to hang out and have a great time with the Wii.

Last Monday the grills were assembled (for the sliding door) and the security tint guys came to tint all the other glasses (windows and glass panels).  The sofa arrived on the same day. The boy who does the curtain railings came to take the measurements, and so did Martin, who’s going to build the some of the other fittings.

Anyway, here are some of the shots taken last Monday.

The lorry that brought the grills:

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The door grilled fixed:

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The door grill from inside:

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Grills for the side doors:

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The security tint guys busy in the master bedroom:

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There was a time when both teams were busy at the almost the same place:

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And here was our resting place upstairs when downstairs was dusty and noisy (aina accessing the Internet using my notebook and Maxis broadband):

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At the end of the day, the main lobby looks like this:

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The other sliding door:

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We try to minimise the need for the grills, hence only the sliding doors are “grilled”. Now, all the other glasses have security tint.

The dining table will arrive on Saturday. The curtain railing boy will the the fitting on Saturday.The house will be lit on Saturday too. The fixed phone line (and Streamy-X) will be available next week. The new HD Astro dish will be mounted within 10 days. So, I guess we are on track…

By the way, last weekend we spent 2 nights in Fraser’s Hills. Both MIL and FIL came with us while BIL came with his missus and their 2 kids. It was indeed a cool weekend. When we left the place, it was only 18C and we came down to a scorching 36C in Shah Alam 🙁 .

My Lunch Breaks This Week (So Far)

Yesterday (Monday) I managed to have lunch with a close friend, Aisyah, who was my colleague during my UNISEL days.

She wanted to have Curry Mee so we went to one of the outlets at SACC Mall (arg, forgot the name of the restaurant). I became a bit adventurous and ordered Thai Laksa. It was not that bad, really. Here’s my lunch yesterday:

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I also had a glass of soursop drink which was a bit too sweet to my liking. Aisyah paid the bill! Thank you, my dear friend.

And today, I had lunch with 3 of my current colleagues at one of the stalls in front of our office block. I seldom have my lunch there simply because it’s usually full during lunch time, and it can be a bit hot on a sunny day. Today we were almost famish and went out slightly earlier, hence we beat the normal lunch traffic. By 2.10pm we were back in the office (note: our lunch time is between 1pm-2pm)!

Unfortunately, of all days, today it rained 🙁 .

So, there we were, sitting under one of those gigantic umbrellas, but next to me the bench was wet (wiped it up just before we sat down):

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My lunch was very simple, “Nasi goreng kampung” and plain tea:

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Tomorrow will be my last day of work for this week, and I wonder what I’ll have for lunch then….

Pull Up Your Sleeves, Pullman Putrajaya!!

Last Monday, my company started a training session at the new Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside The buildings are impressive, and I was told that their food is great, so that was why we opted for the place. We are there from Monday to today (4 days) followed by another day next Wednesday.

It’s our first time there, and we were looking forward to having the training session there. Last Thursday (despite promising to pay only on Monday), I came to the place with the payment cheque (since our Finance department got it ready that day). I was hoping for a good service, knowing that this is a brand new (5-star?) resort/hotel and having paid in advance.

We had the first hiccup when they didn’t call me last Friday (as promised) to inform me the time for my staff to go on Sunday to do all the preps. When it was past 6pm, I had to call several times, just to get the promised info.

The second hiccup was when my colleagues called the given numbers on Sunday, just to be told that those guys were on leave! Wrong guys! My colleagues had to enquire at the reception to get access to the rooms (we are using 2 romms) and to get assurance that the networks and servers that they set-up will be secured in the locked rooms.

The third hiccup was last Monday, when the welcoming breakfast (which was promised to be ready at 8am) was only ready at 8.30am, and we were starting our session (with a VIP!) at 8.30am. As if that was not enough, the rice noodles that came was not enough! Even the sugar packets were not enough! And that day several of the participants were fasting, can you imagine that?

Last Monday the noodle was served in this warmer:

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To see how big (or rather how small it is), see here the actual container, with a little bowl:

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Do you seriously think this container is big enough to put noodles for 35 (YES, I MEAN THIRTY FIVE) persons? I think Pullman’s chef needs to go back to culinary school to learn basic arithmetic!

The last 2 days I was not there, but this morning I went back to Pullman to see how things are. The final hiccup (you can say the final straw) was when I was greeted by some participants who told me that they didn’t get to eat the breakfast because there was no more left. Today they served fried yellow noodles, AGAIN  in that little container. Can you believe that?????

I was so embarrassed, and angry too, that I immediately went to the reception to lodge my complaint. As usual, with their smiling faces, they promised me that it will not happen again.  Those were the same promises that I got last Monday, from another Pullman executive (whom I’m directly dealing with). Anyway, I firmly told them that they have next Wednesday (our final day there) to deliver their promises. I’ll update here in my blog, for sure.

NEVER IN MY LIFE I’VE COME ACROSS SUCH A BIG HOTEL/RESORT THAT UNDERSERVES THEIR PATRONS! I’ll definitely think many many times before I agree to organise another event at Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside, despite their food tasting great! I remember the Monday afternoon break when ubi ketuk was one of the two items  served, and there were exactly 35 ubi ketuk (no more, no less!) – so stingy….

Some update:

On the same day, we had better (in quantity too) food. We were served chicken pies, plus 2 other kuih.

For the afternoon tea, we were served 3 items: fruit tarts, turkey-filled croissant sandwiches and CHICKEN KEBABS!! The participants of our training programme were so surprised, and some of them told me that I should have complained much earlier.

Here’s the shot of the kebab:

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While we were having our afternoon tea, the Marketing director of Pullman Putrajaya came to meet us. She told us that The Chef offered us buffet breakfast at the Cafe for our final day (21st Oct). I politely declined. I thanked her for the generous offer, but we were therre for a training, and we were not asking for extras – we just wanted what is due for us, and what were promised to us. If they say there should be 2 items for breakfast, or any of the breaks, then we really wanted them to be enough for 35 pax, as requested.