Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tough Gets Going

The Adventure of Khalish in Atuk Ali's old Jimny Jeep.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Good morning, universe.

As my latest Facebook status goes:

Noraishah Mohamad Ali Kamil was merely thinking yesterday of waking up at 6:00 a.m. today. She forgot to consciously set her mind for it before bedtime as she usually does, yet she found herself waking up at 6:00 a.m. on the dot this morning. Now, she knows she will achieve her vision, as long as she sets her mind to it. So will you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He, One






.: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella immunisation at An-Nur Pediatric Clinic :.
.: Lunch at the Outback Steakhouse, Bangsar Village :.
.: Fun at Kizsports and Gym, Bangsar Village :.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Double Happiness

When Khalish turned one at 3:38 p.m. on July 12, 2009, Kamal was away from home for work. We decided to have a celebration for him with an outing and a meal in Chembong later during the week. So, Kizsports & Gym on Wednesday and a birthday tea yesterday, which happened to be my birthday as well. 
The photos of Khalish at the gym will be posted soon. For now, it is all about the weekend. How Kamal highlighted that Khalish is so similar to me in innumerable ways. How the three of us just lounged around Chez Chembong on that relaxing Sunday, being pampered by the parents. How we enjoyed the company of our loved ones and wished for more people to be able to feel such love. Yes, the weekend was simple and lovely. Happy birthday to both of us.

Truthfully, Kamal and I were flat from the hectic weekday. Somehow, we subconsciously took turns to rest and play with Khalish. Kamal took a power nap before lunch while I joined Khalish in the dreamland right after Isya'. My younger brothers were occupied with spring cleaning the whole morning and afternoon that our parents were in Seremban to visit our uncle and aunt, who had just arrived from Mecca. The only time left for the cheese cake which everybody requested was at tea time.
Thank you, Mak, for the special dishes, despite being tired from the makeover for your brother's room. Even Kamal who dislikes Kway Teow devoured a plateful. I, meanwhile, has been saving Sunday, sometimes, Saturday, as eat fancy day. So, a plateful for me, too. 
Before stuffing ourselves silly, we sang a birthday song for Khalish. He wore a clueless expression on his face throughout the rendition that Kamal and I were thankful we did not hold a bigger celebration for him earlier on. Heh. He appeared excited though when I held him closer to the cake to blow the candles. Little did we know that he seemed so because he would like to dip a finger into the rich cheese cream.

The cake must have enticed him immensely because he tried hard to reach for the first plate my mother handed to Cajib. So hard, the plate flew across the table and broke. Following the incident, everybody ensured that the birthday boy was promptly fed. At first, his Atuk humoured him. However, he hogged half of Atuk Ali's piece of cake that the latter had to send help signals to the uncles. Cilan dropped his spoon as Khalish tried to grab it from him. By the time Khalish and I reached the third uncle, my hands were already trembling from holding a well-fed toddler. Cimi saw that and fed me instead.
Was he furious by Pak Teh's act. He frowned and asked for more. It was Wan's turn to feed him then. She did not have a spoon, but could not get any as Khalish was already begging for another bite at the top of his lungs. Frowns and all. The moment the cheese melted in his mouth, a satisfied laughter, tongue out, replaced the bellow. Cheeky. Just like the mommy, according to the daddy. 

Last year, on July 19, Kamal was tightly tied to work that he had to pass the responsibility of fetching Khalish and I from Hospital Tampin, where Khalish was warded for jaundice once back from Hospital Pakar An-Nur, to my mother and younger brother. When he finally reached Rembau that day, he displayed a birthday card on my dressing table. The card was also signed by Khalish. How thoughtful of Kamal. 
This year, he was again busy with work. However, he managed to slip away from my sight while we were in Rembau, just to get me a birthday card. Back in our room, I caught him searching for a pen and handed him mine. I knew he knew that I knew of the card. What I did not know was the fact that he listened to a new song composed by our friend and his group, Bintang Batu, over and over again, just to copy the lyrics onto a paper before writing them nicely in the card. 
Thank you, Kamal. I also love this year's present. The right time to become a member at a better gym. Particularly, after that cheese cake. You know that I love you most.
Oh, Thank YOU for the wishes through calls, text messages, and Facebook as well as Friendster messages. They made my day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

To Do Today

1. Room groom
2. Car spa
3. Photobook final phase

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Playful Toddler

Obstacle turned peekaboo game.

A domesticated Cancer giving bibik a hand with the laundered clothes.

Chilling with Paksu and a fake Oreo, which was actually mommy's lens cap.

Khalish loves animals. Seen here with Cumi.

Khalish, Cumi, and a stuffed cow that used to be mine.

Khalish is One

"And, in the end, it is not the years in your life that count.
It is the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

Khalish, happy first birthday. 
Daddy and mommy always pray for the best in your life.
For now and the years to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

11 Months

One day left before Khalish turns from an infant to a toddler.
Of him being an 11-month-old:
  • Now, he has two lower central incisors, with the upper central incisors poking through the gum. The adults in the house usually give him either a slice of apple or a teething rusk to soothe the swollen gum. However, he prefers to bite the adults' flesh, particularly the maternal grandmother's. 
  • Because of the addition of teeth, I have advised my mother, who temporarily cares for Khalish and cook for him while the house in Bandar Baru Bangi is being renovated, to increase the coarseness of Khalish's puree. He loves brown rice. I fervently hope he loves it still as he grows up although the daddy detests it.
  • He still rolls his tongue a lot. Due to such oral exercise, he babbles a lot. Yes.
  • He sings tunes, too. One of them is that tune most babies sing when they are about to sleep. "A a a aaaaa" repeated ten times or so until they are in the dreamland. Khalish has composed other tunes as well. Nothing that resembled Mozart's genius, but the tunes could be very entertaining. He is most inspired whenever I sing nursery rhymes complete with actions. His favourites are Itsy Bitsy Spider and Humpty Dumpty.
  • As mentioned in a previous post, the first thing he does upon waking up early in the morning is to reach for his maternal grandfather's tasbih and imitate Atuk's spirited manner of zikr chanting. Kamal and I pray that he is surrounded with goodness during this imitation phase. Amin.
  • He is also at the phase where advertisements on television could stop anything he does. Azan has similar effect, too. If he fights sleep, the adults knowingly play lullabies or simply any tunes from a mobile phone. He will be asleep soon after. 
  • He has been napping less nowadays, particularly when there are children around him. Last weekend, during a lunch gathering at my parents' place, he was so excited about having playmates that he did not nap at all during the day. Yay, that resulted in an early bedtime.
  • About play time, he loves a particular soft ball, that produces sounds when it bounces or touches a surface, the most. It was bought the moment he rolled over. He crawls around the house while pushing the ball, and at times, he pushes it towards the adults for the latter to push it back to him. Apparently, as reported by, he is now at the phase where gravity fascinates him, too. If he happens to be at a high surface with a toy in his hand, for he always has a toy in his hand, he will drop that toy to the ground and waits for an adult to pick it up for him. Complete with a hopeful countenance. 
  • Second in Khalish's favourite toys list is a rumbling truck. Boys will be boys, eh. Third is a stacking toy. Whenever I guide his hand to put the rings through the pole, he cheekily throws them away from the pole and laughs heartily once the rings missed the pole. Nonetheless, he loves it as well if I guide his hands for an applause once a ring goes through the pole.
  • Oh, he treats every thing like a game. Meal time must be accompanied with a ball. Let's not start on the bathing and changing routines. There must be toys everywhere. In fact, he treats the furniture as toys, thus a game or two, too. A coffee table, to him, is a tunnel. He cruises while holding on to one sofa after another, and he lets go a hand, and at times, two, as he cruises. For our entertainment. 
  • He must be thinking that he is a bullet train because he has been crawling like one. No, no walking yet although the signs are obvious. He attempts to stand up while crawling, aside from the aforementioned fact that he lets go a hand or both while cruising. The cutest sign of all is his love for this particular pair of new sandals. Nothing fancy. Just ones from Bubblegummers that squeak as they touch a ground, to my horror. I loathe such shoes, sorry. Kamal and I will get him better pairs of essential shoes and sandals once he can properly walk. 
  • He has mastered the stairs though. The adults let him ascend the stairs to the top as we enjoy the satisfaction on his face as he reaches the peak. Actually, we are also in dire need of the exercise.
  • Another exercise Khalish provides us is a morning and an evening walk daily. Right after he has been bathed, he demands to go out for a stroll. If we playfully ignores his cries, he will crawl to the door and bang it. We also playfully go inside the house after a few steps outside, pretending that we have left something. How he protests the moment we walk back.
  • He crawls towards the kitchen if he wants another slice of apple or one more piece of rusk. Independent, yes. Nonetheless, the parents believe that food has been the biggest motivation for such act. Alhamdulillah, he enjoys each meal time.
  • Now that he temporarily stays in Rembau, there are plenty of animals around him. Stray cats. Birds in the backyard garden. His favourite being my the neighbour's chickens and goats. My, he laughs like a goat now. One day, I let him touch a chick. He used to avoid such contact with the animals a month ago. Now, to my surprise, he looks forward to touching them. Once Kamal completes his urgent work, we will bring him to the zoo as a birthday treat. That will be materialised on one fine weekday.
  • His love for the Monkey See Monkey Zoo book, among other cloth books in his collection, is another evidence of his love for animals. He likes the hippopotamus the most. Every time I read the book to him, he looks forward to yawn like the hippopotamus. 
  • Last week, he tasted lollipop for the first time. It was a treat from a dinner and breakfast host. I let him hold the lollipop only after I had fastened a plastic bib on him, and boy, he was so happy that he amused everybody in the living hall. Once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence is fine. 
  • He has a new set of clothing that I suspect will shrink very soon. After all, he is turning one tomorrow. How time is irrelevant. 
More photos of him as an 11-month-old:








Thursday, July 09, 2009

Good Morning

After three weeks of hiatus due to travelling and family gatherings, I am going to the gymnasium again. This time around, twice a week with my personal trainer, and thrice a week on my own. Just to test my level of self-motivation.

I used to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and not sleep afterwards. I found being a morning person uplifting to the mind, body, and soul. However, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. nowadays.

If I woke up earlier, I could pray in peace, with more time for zikr and meditation as well. Khalish has been sleeping with my parents in Rembau for the past two weeks because of the noisy and dusty renovation in Bandar Baru Bangi and he has been waking up early like his grandparents. The first thing he did upon waking up was to reach for my father's tasbih and imitated the way people chant zikr. Cute. Serta menginsafkan.

Could I at least wake up at 6:00 a.m. to pray, chant zikr, and meditate? God, I thank You for the physical strength that enable me to exercise and be healthy. Please bestow me such strength for my mind and soul. Guide me towards a quality life.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Made in Heaven

I am blessed with the best friends in the universe. Today, one of my chums informed me via a text message that she baked a cake for my taste buds. She works in Seremban, with occasional tasks in Putrajaya, thus a pit stop in Bandar Baru Bangi if I were not travelling. I am not at the moment, due to a minor renovation at home. Nevertheless, the only time she could make it for the cake delivery and a speedy update of each other's life was also the only time I had to run urgent errands. 
Back at home, I found the cake perched on top of the washing machine, which was placed partially outdoor. K-lynn did not reveal what cake it was, but, based on her recent visit to my place, I guessed correctly. Carrot cake!

I vividly remember how I drooled over the carrot cake from Secret Recipe that she brought along one fine evening. Being an avid baker, she was not satisfied with the taste as she owned a better recipe. I enthusiastically requested for a slice if she would like to bake one.
I had two slices, at one serving, of a whole cake. I kept a slice for Kamal, and I intend to share the deliciousness with a fellow chum, who is also a neighbour. If she has not read this post by the time I reached her compound, I would pretend that I was the one who baked the cake although she might be suspicious, because, for an ardent documentarian of my own life, I did not mention here about purchasing any oven. 
What did I do to deserve a chum like K-lynn and innumerable others? More importantly, I would love to know what greater deeds have I performed to deserve that sinfully scrumptious carrot cake. It was great with hot lemon tea.  

On a different yet similar note, I had a date with my TESLirious chums early last month. What began as a reunion plan turned out to be more cosy. Only four of us, perfect for a bed at The Apartment. We did what girls could do best, among innumerable other things: talked and shopped, and talked and shopped. Simultaneously. All day long. My personal favourite activity though was browsing through D's collection of our photos back in the alma mater. What a laugh. We wished the others were around to share the fun. This August, hopefully.


Monday, July 06, 2009

To Return


Northern Trip: Langkawi, Day Three

The final day of our mini vacation on the Langkawi Island. The initial plan to catch a sunrise at northern Langkawi remained a plan. Kamal was too tired from work, having successfully delivered the first four boxes to the intended outlets. I was too tired from being forced to burn the midnight oil. Too much caffeine, no thanks to the coffee Kamal prepared for himself but ended up in my system as he wandered away to dreamland right in front of the laptop. The laptop ended up with me, as well. By Subuh, I managed to strike through three items, which required Internet, from my Google Task.

Kamal and I had our breakfast at 10:00 a.m. We only left the hotel at noon. The first destination for the day: Pantai Cenang. How I wanted to try paragliding there, but could not because of time and clothe factors. "When you can't join them, photograph them" Kamal said. So we did. In the car, I looked into the mirror to find out whether or not my usually oily nose needed powdering. The finding? The whole face needed whitening. Not only my face, but also Kamal's. We laughed because we did not deserve the beautiful tan for the minimum time spent under the sun. 

Even for the photos of a scene at the paddy field, we did not have to bask like the buffaloes did. As Kamal needed to fight for the ferry tickets along with the other weekend travellers later in the evening, there was no time to queue for other tickets that we had to be contented with a view of the beautiful Laman Padi from the outside. Limited space for our lenses, but at least, the outdoor pavement was shady. 

The following destination was Tanjung Rhu, the other side of Langkawi that I told Kamal was the place I would like to stay at during our next visit. Kamal was thinking of the exact hotel upon seeing how soulful the place was. We were either on the seventh heaven, or, simply easily impressed. Heh. The sudden downpour smeared our plan to photograph the beauty of Tanjung Rhu though. All we managed to shoot were those photos of cheeky monkeys, that actually reminded us of Khalish. Kamal, whom I always link to positivity, suddenly vouched over lunch that life was indeed unfair because he had to continue with work while I got to gallivant with Khalish in a span of a few hours. 

Nevertheless, God proved to him that life was fair when he got the best Maggi in soup ever. My Air Batu Campur, while not as great as the one sold adjacent to Flat Taman Universiti, was good enough for me to write in my paper travel journal that I was going there again. Kamal and I agreed that it was the solitude. And I thought I was the only one with hopelessly romantic disorder.

In fact, Kamal's symptoms were more serious as he made cheap dark chocolate in Kuah as an excuse to keep me away from the airport as long as he could. I went overboard by buying a bottle of perfume. Fortunately, not for me, but for my mother. A new t-shirt for Khalish's nanny, as well. 
For two hopelessly romantic souls, our farewell routine at the airport was very short. Kamal had to rush to Kuah again as there were only two ferries left to bring him back to Kuala Kedah for more work. We did a public display of affection on Facebook nonetheless and simultaneously hoped that less users were around during that June weekend. June, our wedding month. Happy fourth anniversary, again, Monsieur Camus. Happy father's day, too. 

Northern Trip: Langkawi, Day Two

Day 2 in Langkawi. Kamal and I surprised ourselves by waking up really early. 5:00 a.m. was considered early for two persons who have been working like dogs the whole week, with one of them still experiencing severe fatigue. All in the name of sunrise. By 6:15 a.m., we were already crossing the road towards Pantai Cenang, aware by then that the actual sunrise was at the other end of Langkawi. Witnessing the break of dawn by the beach was still magical that we only returned to the hotel for the sake of Kamal's schedule. Yes, yes, he needed to work on a holiday.

While he was at work, I travelled, albeit merely through the World Wide Web. Kamal came back in time for lunch. Again, we dined at one of the restaurants along Pantai Cenang. Next destination: Makam Mahsuri. The mausoleum ended up as the only early attraction of Langkawi that we visited as we preferred a long stroll somewhere quiet. Not before we took a ride on Langkawi Cable Car though. 

About Makam Mahsuri. We loved the addition of traditional elements to the place. My personal favourite was the model houses, featuring conventional tools like penumbuk padi, which was once a childhood toy for me, my brothers, and our second cousins back in Rembau. Kamal reminisced about his childhood, too. How the kitchen resembled the one in Ketereh moons ago. Both of us loved the vast paddy field nearby. It reminded us of the wider paddy field along the highway from Penang to Kedah.  It also reminded me of Paya Kumboh. 

An hour before the closing time of Langkawi Cable Car, we reached the base of Machincang range. The queue for the tickets was long, so, we were thankful that we purchased redeemable coupons for the ride while waiting for our rental car at Kuah Jetty the previous day. Only to join the long queue for the ride itself. Funny. While Kamal and I joked about the silver lining behind the long queue, he saw an acquaintance and they managed to catch up with each other.

Nearing the end of the queue, a staff who had been managing the line, asked Kamal and I whether there were only the two of us. When we nodded, she let us jump to the most front row. We were in a cable car within a minute, along with two couples. One of the couples started a conversation to avoid jitter from the height. Together, all six of us loudly admired the gorgeous scenery. Kamal related to us the story of those sceptics who were adamant that the project would flop due to the popularity of Genting Skyway. For a project that involved staggering height, they were exceedingly shallow. The expression on the visitors' faces as they appreciated the ethereal view was priceless. If only such appreciation could be extended to the facilities, there would not be any vandalism. Perhaps, the local authority should erect as many 'Keep Langkawi Beautiful' sign boards in Malay, too, for most of the artless graffiti was in the language. 

For sunset, I suggested a spot called 'Pemandangan Indah'  that both Kamal and I saw on our way to the airport the day before. The place was aptly named. We beheld one of the most majestic dusk as the sun set behind the Machincang range, overlooking Langkawi International Airport. Too bad that the ground of Pemandangan Indah was ironically littered with rubbish. Aside from photography, one of our main activities there was rubbish-picking. We were seriously thinking of getting a thong meant for such activity for each of us, including Khalish. Next major thing to consider doing is to recycle.

For dinner, we were torn between Bon Ton and Cocomo. As I had decided for a sunset spot, Kamal had to give the final say for a restaurant. He chose the latter. How I loved the setting. The beach was calming, too, after the hype at Cenang stretch. The service was slow, but the sumptuous food and beverage made up for it. I recommend the chili crab. For our next stay in Langkawi, we would love to ditch fancy restaurants and indulge in cheap yet scrumptious seafoods. Any idea of such heaven?

Our idea of heaven for the night was dark chocolate for dessert.

Northern Trip: Langkawi, Day One

The travelogue continues. The fourth day. From Alor Star, we drove to Harvard Golf and Country Club, Gurun, where Kamal was to meet three colleagues for a meeting. Our arrival at Farhan's parents' place was greeted with the best 50-cent nasi lemak and Malay kuih-muih. Meeting, with a king's breakfast. 

We only left the club after a morning tea, during which we were served with cookies, made by Farhan and his wife for Aidilfitri order. Talented friend, he is. Before Friday prayer, there was enough time for a sales and marketing practice for Kamal's colleagues (who have delivered items before, but never saw Kamal himself did it). Unfortunately, the owner of that particular retail outlet was not around. Marketing, yes; sales, no.

We went our separate ways after that. 

After Friday prayer, Kamal decided to go to Langkawi earlier, wanting to maximise our time together with vacation (instead of work). "Friday is a public holiday in Kedah anyway; no supervisors around to manage goods delivery", he thought out loud. So, we bought ferry tickets at Kuala Kedah; booked a hotel for two nights and a car for two days; and re-packed our bags so that we only had one backpack for our clothing items, one (big) backpack for my camera, my favourite lenses, and the laptop, as well as another (way) smaller bag for Kamal's camera and tripod. Two backpacks and a smaller bag - plus four boxes to be delivered in Langkawi. Lucky us the goods were light. 

Our first ferry ride together was spent by catching up with sleep. We woke up to Sifu and Tongga. Entertaining, but we wished that we could sleep until the ferry stopped at Kuah Jetty. We also would like to munch the nuts we bought for the ride, but they were in one of the bags, placed at the front row along with other passengers' bags. Everything happened for a good reason, the wise men said. At Kuah Jetty, the nuts kept us occupied while waiting for half an hour for an automatic Wira (instead of a manual car). Calmness rocks. 

A late lunch was followed by another delivery. Friday was a public holiday, yes, but luck was with us - the supervisor was around for a deadline. At that moment, I knew that my travelling future would revolve around Kamal's schedules. Heh. I was right. Still experiencing the fatigue episode, and missing Khalish a la folie, Kamal and I decided that it would be best for me to fly back on Sunday - after all, there was more of the Northern region for Kamal; at least, a week more. Hence, a flight ticket purchase for me that very evening. 

During the drive from the airport to the hotel, we could not believe how Pantai Cenang had changed (or how long we have not been there, as individuals). According to Kamal, it resembled Kuta, minus the clubs. We also saw cheap motels right in front of the beach. While thinking of the bad architecture, we were also thinking "if we were more adventurous and not book a room just because it is a weekend, we would be nearer to the beach." 

However, Langkawi Boutique Resort was OK - as long as there was dependable WiFi, remember? We loved the vibrant painting along the walkway that led us to the accommodation building (from the reception building). I did not prefer the swimming pool, but I definitely loved another form of workout that the hotel provided, particularly for the guests on the fourth floor. Like us. Yes, there were no elevators. 

For the day's adventure, we did deserve a hearty dinner. Walking along Pantai Cenang area, we chanced upon innumerable interesting eateries. One of them was Haroo, owned by a charming Korean lady. I loved the barbecue set which came with ice cream and fruits dessert. We walked along Pantai Cenang area again after dinner. 

We were finally in Langkawi, as a couple. No. As a comot couple (after the sweaty walk ~ heh).

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Northern Trip: Partly Penang and Partly Kedah

Penang streets.
Ah, the third day in the northern region. Successful project so far, for Kamal (excluding that difficult client first thing in the morning who actually taught us to be tougher et calmer simultaneously). He seemed frustrated though that I was kind of forced to be confined in the car most of the time, except during those hours I helped him with the boxes or completed my own work. The truth was, I did easily become lethargic because of the severe PMS and routine, but I also enjoyed just accompanying him for work (and getting to understand his job responsibilities). Just being with him. Yes, both of us did miss Khalish! (We knew nevertheless that he was enjoying his maternal grandparents' love and their vast garden).
For lunch, I lifted my ban on refined carbohydrate mainly because of the increasing lethargy level, and partly because of the increase in my curiosity about nasi kandar authentic taste. Never mind your chuckles. Heh. At least, I'm done with my craving (so, that was what mattered most; and I could hear you chuckled again).  
The nasi kandar provided us the much required energy to attempt street photography. The key word: attempt. My, how we were drenched in sweat only after a few turns from where we parked the car. We fervently hoped that it was a sign of burnt calories. (More chuckles). The further we walked, the more calories we burnt discoveries we made of Penang ancestors' legacies - surviving shop lots from the Straits Settlements era (some battered, some renewed), a chettiar's black umbrella, and millennium-age businessmen with tools from the '50s. More of Kamal's work afterwards.
More successes, too, that we could afford to retire early. At least, for the day. Since we decided to go back to Feringgi for our last dinner in Penang, we had also decided to put a stamp to the decision: the dirty clothes were sent to a laundry service in Tanjung Bungah before we checked out of the hotel that morning. Since it was too early to pick the laundered items, we chilled with capati (for me) and prata (for Kamal). They were served with the best dhal gravy we have ever tasted. A much deserved tea time. Ahem.
The day was in fact about indulgence. After a power nap in the car, we had steamed seabass, a special menu at Moonlight Cafe. What attracted us to the cafe was the beach, which I noticed from our first day there. Later that evening, Kamal drove us to Kedah for an impromptu morning meeting with his colleagues. I fell asleep in the car once we reached Gurun. Kamal only woke me up for an approval over the only hotel he could find along the dark roads, Hotel Seberang Perak. About the hotel. It:
- was adjacent to Dr. M's place of birth.
- cost only RM55 per room.
- was the place JAIK caught two couples on khalwat (the day before).
- appeared like its worth (with squat toilet)!
- was not equipped with elevator, so we were thankful when we were moved to the first floor, instead of the top floor initially. 
- was the best hotel for us, somehow; have (free and fast) WiFi, will live (happily and prosperously).

Batu Feringgi beach, by the Moonlight Cafe.

Northern Trip: Penang

Teluk Bahang.
Another work trip for Kamal. This time around, he was to cover three northern states. The path included Langkawi, a place that Kamal and I have been dying to go to, together. 
Nevertheless, before reaching that island, we had to tour Kedah and Penang. Interesting, but tiring (and I definitely blamed premenstrual syndrome for the fatigue). The interesting part was segmented to these: 
- I drove Kamal's Accord for the first time on Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan, from Kuala Kangsar to Juru. Not that far, but it was an achievement for me who has been refusing to drive others' cars, fearing I might scratch them (despite the adage 'fear nothing but the fear itself'). Now, if Kamal's car disappears from the porch, he should know the person responsible for the loss. Heh.
- Within an hour, I learnt about sales and marketing just by viewing Kamal at work. OK, 0.0001 percent of sales and marketing.
- Kamal and I discovered that we disliked Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not because of the taste, but due to the constipation it caused. Yikes, but true.
- A promotional banner at Travel Lodge Butterworth stating 'RM50 a room' exactly meant 'RM50 a room, during the day, for only one hour'. Our gullibility got us in stitches. We ended up at the near-by Hotel Palm Inn. No complementary breakfast, two single beds (that moved apart with a single movement after they were combined), and a staff who blocked our car although parking spaces were aplenty. Those apart, both of us were happy campers. Always.
That was the narration for June 23. The next day, Kamal and I spent the whole day on the road, with a number of pit stops in the name of work. I assisted Kamal in any ways I could (and yes, another 0.0001 percent of sales and marketing lesson). Alhamdulillah, Little Trees were well-accepted wherever we went. Upon report after report of acceptance, his colleague remarked that I was Kamal's lucky charm. Indeed. For the great job, we treated ourselves at a restaurant that a fellow friend (who hails from Bukit Mertajam) suggested, Restoran Kapitan. The tandoori deserved two thumbs up from each of us. The grilled meats I ordered were delicious, but not as memorable as the tandoori. We mainly liked it for the WiFi though. 
In fact, the places we ended up favouring offered WiFi services, either at low price or (best of all), free. 
Maghrib was at Teluk Bahang. We survived the crawl after the bridge, thanks to the nuts bought from a client's Mesra. Kamal recalled a short camping trip there during schooling years. I became nostalgic about a family vacation (which was arranged so that we could visit Cajib at Balik Pulau). Those were the stories exchanged while in search for a good spot for photography. Truthfully, we preferred to rest at a good (with reasonable rate) hotel room. Nevertheless, it would be such a waste to lug the cameras and lenses along sans any photographs for a journey that we were looking forward to. So, we persevered and voila, we have photos for this mini documentation of our life. Thanks heaps, too, to the scrumptious laksa by the beach (that lifted our spirit). 
Nearing dusk, a group of youths set up a barbecue pit near our photography spot. I was asked to snap a group photo of them (using their compact cameras - too bad I was using 70-200mm lens then as the space was limited). What shocked Kamal and I later were the barbecued chicken and fruit salad they sent us - just for snapping their photos. Thank you, thank you. The foods were delicious!
We only found a hotel room at the so-called reasonable rate an hour after leaving Teluk Bahang. Thanks to Kamal who believed in my senses. Hotel after hotel, I kept telling him that we would find the room that not only suited our budget, but also our needs. 
At RM190, Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel offered us a nice room, with five hours of WiFi, chicken chop dinner on the bed, and breakfast for two, by a beautiful beach. Aren't we easy to please?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mahu, Tapi

Kamal and I have acknowledged that 2009 is our travel year. Even work trips have brought us to interesting places. The Borneo states, the country's southern tip, and recently, the northern part. Now, if only the Internet connection is stable.

Until I go to another place with WiFi tomorrow.