The Long Awaited Birthday Gifts!

Like last year, I took part in NeedlesNCrafts Birthday Exchange. I sent my gifts to Shanny and was supposed to receive from Peggy, who is a Canadian residing in Quebec, Canada.

Peggy sent the gifts for me on 30 July, well ahead of my 26th August birthday, but the gift didn’t arrive!

Peggy started to get worried, but when I found out she sent via surface mail, I was not worried at all. I’ve been sending spices and food stuff to Ayi in Toronto via surface mail, and the fastest the parcel got to him was 2.5 months!

Today, EXACTLY 2 MONTHS after my birthday, i found this parcel waiting for me when I went to office (I had been away for 1 week).:

It was a huge and heavy package! no wonder Peggy had to send it via surface mail because it would cost her a bomb if she were to post it via Airmail. The package was definitely worth the wait, as Peggy put it in her private message to me via Facebook.

When I opened the parcel, i found several individually wrapped items:

Here’s a hand-written note describing the contents:

Yeah, there were EIGHT items altogether!!

Let’s see what they are:

No, the above picture doesn’t do justice. But before that, let’s see the cute card:

Isn’t it cute? It sums up well the life of a needlecrafter – trying to be ambitious and engage oneself in so many craft projects, ended up with UFO (unfinished objects!) and dozing off in front of the telly! I can really relate to that, hahaha!!!

And the note inside:

OK, now let’s see what Peggy got me. First a pair of handmade table mats (I am sure Peggy made them herself, being a proficient quilter), with the Canadian maple leaf motive and the pocket to put the cutlery  😉 :

A couple of magazines:

As if the books are not enough, Peggy sent me a Canada notepad, a mini mop that they use to wash the dishes, the bead kit and ribbon embroidery kit:

As if those above are not enough, Peggy also added in a Canadian notebook with a matching pen:

Oh, no! there’a another one – a patchwork/quilt kit:

Oh, Peggy, I still cannot get over the excitement! Thank you again, my dear…  The world definitely needs more Canadians like you! The gifts will definitely keep me busy for quite a while…

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:



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!

SEMESTA Raya Do in Klang Valley

Date: Today, 3rd Oct 2010

Venue: Dataran Putrajaya

Time: 12 noon – 3pm

I missed the FARISAINS (formerly SEMESTA)  traditional Raya do in Kelantan (3rd Raya), but I told my fellow alumni if I’m free I would attend the one in Klang Valley.

So, today, after sending Aina to her friend’s house (for Raya do too), I drove to the above venue.

I never thought there were so many other events around Putrajaya – weddings, Raya gatherings, etc..). I had to call a few alumni friends before I finally arrived at the place (it was just opposite the Palace of Justice) at 12.30pm.

It started quite slow, but eventually I fould myself chatting with other fellow alumni – some my seniors, but they are mostly were my juniors. I was the 4th batch of the school anyway!

Some of my friends are normally reluctant to come, because they said it is an open event, and if they come they won’t know most other attendees. Aren’t they aware that all of us are in the same boat? We eventually know many of us becausee we became regulars of such gathering! I used to be in the committee, and I know how hard it was to convince people to join such gathering. That is partly the reason why I keep attending Farisains’ functions whenever I can.

Normally I do not get disappointed either. Today for the first time I met Saufi (who’s 4 yrs my senior) and his friend, Prof Fauzi. Saufi works in Kuala Terengganu and Prof Fauzi is attached to UPM.


Prof Fauzi:

It was nice to be joined by these 3 wonderful ladies:

Bazuki , who is 3-years my junior, joined us too:

Bazuki who is well-traveled, in the midst of telling us his Afghanistan experience:

And here’s a special shot of Bazuki and I for the album 🙂 :

We were so engrossed in our chat that ( I think) the juniors were too scared to join us until much later.

It was past 3pm, and before leaving them, I managed to join them in their group photos. Here’s with Pade Gulong’s gang (SPM 2004):

Our “photographer” (we asked him to snap the photos for us) who was the MC of the day:

I was told that he is a tv dramatist who normally acts as the bad guy :-). Here he is, with Pade’s gang:

Another group photo (which doesn’t reflect the total number of attendees, because by then many had left) :

I wanted to snap my red Mazda2 parked in front of the Palace of Justice, but I also got a pic of Alimin 🙂 :

I took this one last shot before I finally left the place:

There are many others who left much earlier, such as Sseme, but I got a shot of Sseme’s laksam:

Photos taken using Nokia N79 & Nokia E52 phones 🙂

A Lengthy Brunch

Early today, I joined some of my friends in visiting another friend who is going for Hj next week.

We had nasi kerabu with fish & fried chicken, popia, cup cakes, and many other desserts for our get together. We also had a great time catching up with each other.

We were waiting for another friend to arrive, only to know that she had a fall some time ago, and could not drive herself. So we decided to visit her instead.

I only remembered to take some pix when it was time to pack the some food to our poor friend, and pack the leftovers to be taken home.

Here are some of them.

The batter-coated fried fish:

Some of the leftover condiments for nasi kerabu with a lonely popia (after we packed what we wanted to take home) :

Oh, I forgot to mention that, due to popular demand from a previous get-together at my place some time ago, the hostess ordered some “lompat tikam” (A kelantan dessert)  but this time without the green rice custard 🙁 .

Here’s the glutinous portion of the lompat tikam:

which we should take with the brown coconut sugar and the white sticky stuff (made of coconut milk and some rice floor as thickener):

All Packed and ready to adjourn our “meeting” to the second house:

We had another great time at Ch****’s place. Ch**** was definitely happy to have the nasi kerabu delivered to her:

Even those who wanted to leave early (one lady wanted to service her car today but decided to postpone it) decided to stay back until the end – too much good time to miss here:

We sure enjoyed ourselves tremendously:

Many times we wanted to leave but were held up with some “stories” to share.

The discussion became very hot when I talked about the “Disappearing Quran Pieces Incident” back in school in 1977! Ch**** even asked us to start a new “story” when we wanted to leave, but it was past lunch time. If we were to stay longer, we would have to force the hostess to get us lunch, and Aina who had to follow me would really die of boredom, LOL!

I know, it it was very hard to say goodbye:

It’s OK ladies. We’ve already promised to meet up again after S**** comes back from her Haj! 🙂