Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Have (Healthy) Knees, Will Run

Last Sunday, Sept 9th 2012, I did something totally out of my norm. I woke up really early at 4.30 am, took my bath and went for a simple McMuffin at a McD near Sunway Pyramid with my husband. Waking up that early on a Sunday was not normal for me. What's more abnormal was that I sacrificed my (beauty) sleep to run. 

My husband and I took part in the 2012 adidas King of the Road (KOTR) Malaysia. It's actually an annual event organised by adidas in 5 Southeast Asia countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore). There were 2 categories in the KOTR M'sia leg we went to : 10km and 16.8km. Well, of course, a self-proclaimed short-distance runner like me would naturally avoid any running event that is longer than 400m. I have to say, throughout the last 29 years, the longest distance I've ran at any one time was a 5.2km. That was in May 2012 when Standard Chartered held a pre-Standard Chartered KL Marathon event in Putrajaya. And my 5.2km, for goodness sake, was only a Fun Run category. :-)

Almost 5 months after my biggest achievement (I meant the 5.2km), I made myself to believe that I could hit the road and run again. This time around, let's double the distance. 

Yeah, I ran the 10km on Sunday. How did I feel about the run? 

At the starting line : **yawned** sleepy, with butterflies in my stomach
After flag off : kind of dizzy seeing runners of all sorts of sizes & shapes running past my husband & I 
At 1km mark : "What am I doing here?"
At 4km mark : "Where's the finish line?"
At 5km mark : "Shoot.. She's here. I can't let her overtake me".. (read : She = an ex-colleague I was not so fond of)
At 7km mark : Body finally warmed up and felt lighter. Suddenly blown by the running spirit, especially when seeing many runners became walkers. 
At 8km mark : Pain felt at the toenails. New pair of Skechers failing on me? Please, don't.
At ~8.5km mark : "Shoot!!! I'm not going to make it in 100 mins." Checking on my feet now. There you go, black toenails on both right and left feet. No excuses now. Just <2km more.
At 9km mark : When seeing an official photographer snapping away photos at the right side of the road, "Dammit!!! Why am I always on the wrong side of the road?". My husband was spotted, twice!!
At 10km mark : "Where's my husband?"

My unofficial 10km timing was around 1:32:53 (10.72km was logged from MapMyRun which I had switched on in my pocket the whole time). Not a fast time, I know. But hey, it's still MY personal best. :-)

After 3 days, I still have the black toenails. Decided to take matters into my own hand, I popped the fluid out. No pictures of the 'surgery', though. That's 18SG-rated. Plus, it's gross.

Despite getting the black toenails on my first major running event, I have a feeling that I'll be hitting the road again. Just like the recent KOTR, I just loved the way I felt and looked after getting a real good workout. The other plus point was, I got myself a fancy Finisher medal. Weeeheee...

But I guess the best part was just spending time with your special person, running on the road, feeling young, and believing that you're just as capable...

Now, let's get back to the physiotherapy session, pls...

p/s : photos from facebook, courtesy of Mr Daddy..


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phuket 2011


I suddenly feel the need to catch up with things, especially when I have not blogged for quite some time. There are still a few travels that I haven't got around to writing about, so I'll just start (again) to write about our first trip travelling as a family, just me, Mr Daddy and our beloved cute Miss Princess.

The trip was to Phuket, Thailand. It was back during the Awal Muharram long weekend holiday in November 2011, Mr Daddy's birthday month. In fact, the trip was my birthday gift to him, as we never really went travelling overseas together as a family after we had our first baby. So, I felt the timing was right, celebrating your spouse's special day with your special ones, spending the long weekend in an exotic destination.

We're going on a vacation!!! Woohoo...
It would be Mr Daddy's first visit to Phuket, but the second for me (I've been there before on a family trip when I was 12-13 years old). But of course things were really different 15 years ago, it hasn't been hit by tsunami yet. Phuket has obviously changed a lot, and for the most part, for the better. :-)

The Room
I had booked a Deluxe Room with Pool Access at The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa. It would be your normal hotel room, with neighbouring rooms next door, except that you have a small pool at your balcony. I thought having the pool right at our balcony doorstep was kind of a splurge to surprise my husband. However, I was the one taken in for a fancy surprise when told that we were upgraded to the Sala Pool Villa, 3002, with breakfast for 2. I was like, WHOOAAA!!! Your own villa, with your own pool, in a Westin? That was a luxury that average persons like us could never resist. Hihihi... The advantage of being a SPG member, I believe. 

** Well I know, these iPhone pictures don't do any justice to the room. It's prettier and homelier in real life.

The hotel is huge, built on the hills by the seaside, and all rooms look out to the ocean. I have never been the person to be so fond of waking up very early on weekends, but I did wake up much earlier the next day just to lounge on the chair by our private pool. Heavenly....

Although the breakfast was provided, we didn't get much out of it. No halal food was served, so we just had the toasts, fruits and the familiar cereals for Miss Princess. :-)

Kusuma Seafood
People say, when in Paris, do as the Parisians do. So naturally, when in Phuket, apart from trying to practice my 'neung-song-sam', 'sawadeekap' or even 'ha-sip baht', I made hunting for the best tomyam in town our main agenda.

I found quite a number of blogs that mentioned Kusuma Seafood, a delicious halal Thai food at very affordable prices, very famous among Malaysians & Singaporeans. It was said that the owner was from the northern part of Malaysia. Based on the good reviews, we decided to have our dinner at Kusuma Seafood. We see that it was quite famous, so we thought the locals sure would know where the restaurant was.

We took the tuk-tuk from the Jungceylon Mall up to the mosque area (cant remember the name, but a tuk-tuk driver said he knew the mosque area, as he's a Muslim too. Many tuk-tuk drivers would claim they're Muslims. Wallahu'alam).

Happily squinting dapat naik tuk-tuk.. cheeky girl!
Then from there, we started our search for Kusuma Seafood. After walking and carrying Miss Princess up and down the main road for almost 1.5 hours, we still couldn't find the restaurant. No locals knew of it, or we probably asked the wrong people.

Long story (and long walk) short, we finally found the right place. It turned out that Kusuma Seafood was not really a restaurant, but rather a stall among a few other food stalls by the roadside. Sigh!!

This was what we were looking for..
Why didn't we find it when we walked past the area? Because the stalls were only set up at 5pm. Earlier than that, you'd find that the area was actually a parking space for the shops there.

By then, we were really exhausted, frustrated and hungry. So while waiting for the Kusuma Seafood stall to be up, we treated our tired feet to the foot massages at Sirinan Massage, just across the food stall area.

Poor little girl.. just as tired as us... 
Tips to find Kusuma Seafood

  • It's along the Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Road
  • If you're coming from Jungceylon (main entrance - facing towards the ocean, not to the hills), the stall will be on your left
  • You will pass Thanon Hatpong street on your left (dont turn into the street), then you'll see a row of shops on your left after the Thanon Hatpong junction 
  • You should see the Siam Commercial Bank & Sirinan Massage across the street
  • If you managed to find the Friendly Dental Clinic among the shops - you've successfully found Kusuma Seafood!!
  • IMPORTANT - Dont bother to look for it before 5 pm, as you wont find anything and you'll end up having foot massage across the street

Below are the pics of the shop and its surrounding area (after 5 pm).

Phuket Night Market
After dinner, we took the tuk-tuk (again!) to go to the Night Market. Thought of getting a flavour of Phuket, walking among the locals :-)  

Durian yang besau gile.. Jakun!

Selain daripada durian yang super-huge itu, I also went jakun when I saw these.

Tak sure what that stuff was..
Money tree? Donation to build a temple.

The next day, we didn't go out far (to Patong). Just went to the small town near to look around the area. Then after lunchtime, we headed back to the Westin to spend the rest of the vacation lazing around the hotel, and fooling around by the beach :-)

One of the best vacations I've ever had, though it was just a short weekend break... Will we return again someday? InsyaAllah..

Flying back home!!!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012 Bandung, INDONESIA


3rd February 2012, we left Jakarta for Bandung. Pak Among, the supir came from Bandung to fetch us at the hotel. It was a Friday afternoon, and not the very best time to leave Jakarta for Bandung. As mentioned by Pak Among, Indonesians work half-day on Fridays. After the Friday prayers, the people of Jakarta normally drive out to Bogor or Bandung for the weekend. And true enough, there were lots of cars on the highway from Jakarta to Bandung. Driving in the famous Jakarta 'macet' (Indonesian for traffic jam) plus the pouring rain, we reached Bandung about 5 hours later, a journey that should've only taken ~3 hours to reach.

Muka bosan stuck dalam macet
Muka nak buat hal
Bandung - Accommodations
We stayed in Sheraton Bandung Hotel & Towers on Jl. Ir. H. Juanda. It was our second visit (the first for Mr Daddy) and we felt very happy to return. This time we stayed in the Superior Room. Unlike the Deluxe Room we stayed in the first time, the Superior Room seemed weathered. The room was of decent size, which was fine with me. The bathroom, however, was not up to expectation. The shower room was very smelly with stains on the walls, the bathrobe was obviously old and smelly and the standard bathroom kits were not up to SPG standards, in my opinion. 

** No pics of the room though.

Bandung - Sight-seeing
Tangkuban Parahu was the only place that we went for sight-seeing. We reached there at about 9.30 am or so, and there were still not many visitors. As usual, as soon as we stepped out of the mobil, we were flocked by the locals trying to sell us jackets, souvenirs, kuih-muih, etc. Biasa dah kan? So, buat dunno je.

Going up the mountain
A group of Jakarta cyclists

A family photo.. hehe

Pokok kulit ular.. nice kan

 But be careful.. If you start talking to them, they'll follow you wherever you go, offering help and advices on the best spot to take photos. Perhaps you need it more, instead of the souvenirs they're trying to sell, but... depends la. I prefer not to strike any conversation with any of them, unless you really want to pay an exorbitant price for a normal jacket that you could get cheaply at any of the Distros in Bandung town.

See that guy, already following Babah...
Bandung - Shopping

This time around, we didn't go Distro-shopping much, though. But still, spent some time visiting some of the fav outlets...
1) Jl Setiabudi - Rumah Mode
2) Jl Dago - Uptown, Episode
3) Jl Riau - Formen, Heritage

However, I felt that there has been a drop in quality in some of the fav outlets. Some kaoses (Indo for t-shirts) in some of the Distros looked old and smelly (more like the ones sold in bundle shops). Hurmmmmm....

Apart from the Distros, I also love Pasar Baroe. The textile shops are abundant and selling good quality kain at cheap prices. We went to this one shop and saw this 2 Malaysian ladies bargaining the prices and ordering a lot of kains. They even had a big bag ready to keep the purchases. From what I heard, they were buying kains for Hari Raya, and they're bringing back AT LEAST 2 pasang of kains for each family member. We too, bought a few pairs for Hari Raya, but they're all cottons. (I dig cottons, I'm going back to cottons now).

Paris van Java
Mr Daddy, for one, loved Paris van Java a lot. I believe it's because there's a MU Cafe there :-)

Family photo lagi yeay!!

..... and also the Cafe Halaman yang sedap. If you're coming from the main parking lot with the MU Cafe on your left, Cafe Halaman will be 3-4 shops on your right.

There's also a very cool music store, Duta Suara Musik that stocks a lot of good music. A staff introduced Mr Daddy to a local talent, Tulus, yang besh!! This was also where I picked  up Tompi's and Stevie Wonder's Concert for Mr Daddy (which could be very hard to find in Malaysia). Pendek kata, memang marvellous la ini kedai... 

Mr Daddy's finds
Departing Indonesia at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta, one has to pay the airport embarkation tax of IDR 150,000 (approx ~RM 42) per passenger. I wasn't aware of this initially, but luckily Pak Dani reminded us. So I had already saved IDR 300,000 for the tax to be paid upon check-in. I was not too sure of Ms Princess, however, but thought since she's just a baby, the tax is not applicable to her. Nonetheless, out of courtesy, I asked the guy at the check-in counter anyway. 

Me : Kalau anak kecil ini, harus dibayar tax juga?
Guy at the counter A : Ya. (without looking at me)

I panicked a little as I didnt have enough IDR to cover for Ms Princess' tax. Went to the next counter where Babah was checking in for Mama & Iqah. 

Me: Babah ada duit lebih? Untuk Inas tak cukup ni.
Babah : Duit sume kat Mama. Mama pergi toilet kejap.

Feeling unsatisfied, I asked the guy at Babah's counter the same question. 

Me : Untuk anak kecil ini, harus dibayar airport tax?
Guy at the counter B : ....... (not answering, not looking up at me)

Then I went back to my counter and asked again the same question (that's 3 times already),
Me : Anak kecil harus dibayar airport tax atau tidak?
Guy at the counter A : ....... (not answering, not looking at me)

Suddenly, a lady came up behind the guys at the counter
Lady saviour : Tak perlu, ibu. Check-innya 6 orang kan? Tapi bayarnya hanya untuk 5 orang aja. Jadi udah pas.

Bengkeknye aku time tu, rasa nak cekik2 je mamat Indo kat kaunter dua2 tu. Bijik mata aku memang dah nak terkeluar dah tengok dorang, tapi dorang tak angkat muka langsung. KO MAMPU nak pungli (read : Pungutan Liar - Indonesian for bribe or cheating people of their money) terang2an cam gitu?

Dah la perangai buruk pungli, flight delayed plak tu dekat sejam. B****K betul... 

The worst was... when we reached KLIA and claimed our luggages, I found out that the stickers on my luggage have been stolen. I normally would wrap my luggages, but since it was just a short distance trip, I thought I wouldn't have to...

I said that they have been stolen and not accidentally damaged by the other baggages, sebab the stickers were not torn but peeled off!! I could still feel the strong adhesives/glue on the areas of the stolen stickers. If the stickers were damaged because the bag was rubbed off with other bags, then the rest of the stickers would still be there on the bag (sebab glue tu kuat). Tapi yang ini, all the stickers were gone, peeled off in one piece. Arrgghhh memang bengang abis la kan... 

Masalahnye, the stickers yang hilang tu sume my fav stickers. The Deustchland sticker, the Neuschwanstein Castle sticker, the Scotland flag sticker, and my most favourite, the Czech coat of arms yang sangat colourful itu....  sighh... sighhh lagi... dan lagi.... Masih lagi terasa bengang dan geram everytime teringat.. 

If you're in my shoes, who do you think would do that?