Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Evening in Macau

Herbalife University 2010 reached its finale that evening. So was our little holiday in Macau as we would be back in Hong Kong the following day. My father's impromptu suggestion for us to tour the City of Dreams that very evening was much welcomed although Khalish was already in his pajamas.
The rain had reduced to a drizzle by the time we reached the city. All of us were relaxed. Particularly the boy in pajamas. Thanks also to the dazzling array of lights. Of course, I did not do justice to the exuberance through my photos, but, they surely captured the moments I would love to remember of our last evening in Macau. At least, for the year.




Macau, Briefly

The Hong Kong-Macau travelogue continued. I am undoubtedly a time traveller. Enter September 11, 2010.

I was jealous with Kamal and my parents for the chance to listen to Juan Miguel Mendoza and other inspiring personalities at Herbalife University, yet, I was also adamant to treasure my alone time with Khalish the son and Cimi the younger brother. We strolled from one street to another, passing building after building, all the while deciding that Taipa was one quiet town despite the hype of Macau, which we liked. It could be the drizzle, which then gave us an excuse to enjoy more tastes of Taipa, literally, from a restaurant. Thank you, Cimi, for the lunch. Most of all, thank you for humouring Khalish's antics, as well as his mother's. Came bedtime hours later, the little one still wanted to be out, remembering the fun he had during the day. Kamal and I wished we could pass him to Cimi that very moment.

September 12, 2010. My parents decided to accompany Khalish and I to Macau City as Kamal continued with Herbalife University, with Cimi. The four of us crossed the Macau-Taipa bridge, towards the real hype. Seeing the city during the day, I vowed to return there at night, already envisioning the vibrance.

To my disappointment, I did not manage to photograph neither Taipa nor the city as much as I wished to, despite my insistence to lug the camera along Khalish, the stroller, and the diaper bag. No stress though. At least, by lugging, I was in touch with the much missed weight-training.

At lunch, the restaurant that we chose only had an upper-floor seating area. My father queued downstairs to make order, while my mother went to the restroom. Khalish was already anxious to rest somewhere outside the stroller. There I was, with a 13-kilogram boy in one arm, a 6.8-kilogram folded stroller in another, a diaper bag slung over one shoulder, and a camera over another, ascending the stairs, then, crossing a sea of people in search of a vacant table.

We continued our little tour after lunch, only to be stopped by a heavy rain. Khalish was too tired by then that he slept soundly in the stroller. Oh, he even slept throughout a half-an-hour queue for a taxi.

The day's summary in photos:


B.r.e.a.k.

I always welcome a break or two from routines.

The ones I had for the past two weeks:

+ A video shoot for Herbalife Malaysia, Khalish included.
+ An impromptu decision to spend the weekend in Rembau, with visiting relatives. 



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Travelogue Continued: From Hong Kong to Macau

Look at Khalish; he made the whole journey fascinating in various manners, all of us agreed, in various manners, too.

September 10, 2010. Syawal 1, 1431 Hijrah. From our accommodation in Chai Wan, the six of us, namely my parents, my younger brother, Kamal, Khalish, and I, boarded the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) train to Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, Sheung Wan. Herbalife University in Macau commenced that morning with Leadership Meeting, which Kamal was supposed to attend. He decided not to though. More value for us to stay in Hong Kong longer. 

While the rest of the mornings in Hong Kong sailed smoothly, that Friday was different. Khalish wanted me and me alone that he threw a tantrum seeing me swapping his stroller for the camera as I suggested a fun family photo at Chai Wan. He continued sobbing in the train, keeping an eye on me, ensuring I was by his side. Kamal and I were lucky to be travelling in a group because there was someone else to help us with the other luggage as I had to surrender it for the stroller. Two medium luggages for two adults and one toddler, who was still in diaper, for a seven-day overseas trip, were self-proclaimed good feat. Heh. 

We managed to secure tickets for the 11:00 a.m. ferry and still had time to purchase the little boy's morning snack. The Cotai Jet was very comfortable. So comfortable that Khalish fell asleep as soon as the one-hour journey started. 

At Taipa Ferry Terminal, Macau, we instantly missed the efficient public transportations in Hong Kong. It took us half an hour to get the taxis. Then, there was the language barrier. All the while that we were in Macau, we communicated with most of the locals in writing or print. In some cases, sign language. We had a great time there nonetheless. 

That first day, after checking-in at Best Western Hotel, Taipa, we headed for The Venetian. Kamal and my parents proceeded with the registration for Herbalife University, leaving my brother and I to entertain Khalish. After a number of photos at the lobby, we explored The Grand Canal Shoppes. Oh, the grandeur. For a moment, I thought the perfectly beautiful sky was real.

It was also interesting to stroll in a shopping complex at a foreign country in traditional attires. There were curious looks, but we mostly remember the compliments for our apparels although I was in a very simple kebarung and we decided to skip the elaborate samping and songkok for Khalish. There were also requests for photos. 

We were going to a special Aidilfitri dinner with the rest of Malaysian muslims attending Herbalife University, thus the traditional attires. The buffet was sumptuous, the people were vivacious, and the atmosphere was festive. Our deepest gratitude to Herbalife Malaysia for every thing. The management even booked a hall within The Venetian for solat sunat Aidilfitri. 

When Kamal and I decided to be back at the hotel earlier, Khalish kicked up a fuss. He must have missed the merriment. Never mind, son. The next day would be as fun. 

My brother, Khalish, and I at The Venetian lobby, before we roamed The Grand Canal Shoppes.

The Venetian was so exquisite, it invoked charm and curiosity simultaneously.

From left: my mother, my brother, and my father.
Kamal, Khalish, and I look forward to travelling with them again.

The top management of Herbalife Asia Pacific also celebrated Aidilfitri with  the Malaysian muslims attending Herbalife University.

Thank you Mr. Bill Rahn, Mr. Rob Levy, and Dato' Ronnie Tan.
Thank you to Miss Lim Mun Yee's team from Herbalife Malaysia as well.
The drama that unfolded a saga later.
Khalish insisted to be out and about, even  in his pajamas.
That happened each night in Macau.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reminiscence: Aidilfitri 1431, Macau

A week had sailed by since Aidiladha. Yet, here I am, reminiscing Aidilfitri. Too precious a memory. There the six of us were, together on Syawal 1, at The Venetian, Macau:

Our third Aidilfitri with Khalish's presence.
Despite his lack of co-operation for the casual family portrait, I was smiling behind the camera.
He was insisting that I be in the photo, too.
That adamant, yes.

There, a collected Khalish and the mommy, who was still smiling from ear to ear because of the previous episode.

Psychedelic

To view Hong Kong, the city of lights, live, was psychedelic, exquisite, aesthetic, celestial, intense! My pompous alter ego begged that I return there one fine day, with enhanced photography proficiency and absolute sense of time. For the previous visit, my hands were full with Khalish once the metropolis tour by bus commenced, hence limited photo opportunities. I cherished each moment, nevertheless. As always.

Victoria Peak next time, definitely, or other creative points. Yes, with enhanced photography proficiency and absolute sense of time for the real psychedelic, exquisite, aesthetic, celestial, et intense effects in my photos. For now, the cherished:





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mood: Away

The week is about travelogue. Today, I share with you photos from a ferry excursion. How my parents, my younger brother, Kamal, Khalish, and I loved the Central. Trains, buses, taxis, and ferries, that provided access to the whole of Hong Kong Island, all at one place. 

I especially love the view of the city at dusk from the sea. Within the one hour onboard the ferry, all of us were mesmerised by the gradual change of light during sunset. Even the then crabby Khalish found the atmosphere soothing. Oh, do enjoy the photos as much as I do, ya. 



 

Now, my favourite photos from the excursion:





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hong Kong, Day Three: A Breather

      

Hot, hot Hong Kong. Thank God I remembered Khalish's hat and sunglasses. Too bad I forgot mine though. It was a good excuse to buy new ones, but, on a second frugal thought, I had better saved the money for a rainy day. I was also thinking of hopping on a tram, but, it was too full to accommodate a stroller and a toddler who did not prefer crowd. We treated him with lunch at IFC Mall instead as it was conveniently located adjacent to the bus terminal at the Central. How we loved Hong Kong for its efficient walkway that not only connected the Mass Transit Railway stations to public places, but also provided magnificent view of the city. Not to mention the width.

Other things I marvelled at: the compact petrol stations and the fact that Khalish was able to appreciate the beautiful city by keeping on doodling the towers and explaining, with passion, each squiggle to us. Sometimes, in gibberish. I knew then that he was growing tired though. 

Hyped from the activities, Khalish actually fought sleepiness, which resulted in crankiness. At Uniqlo, as I myself was hyped from my mother's request to shop for her and my father, Kamal took him out of the stroller and did what Khalish loved most about the traveling: ascending and descending the escalators. To no avail.

He wanted me, me, me. I decided to show the little man how fun shopping could be, and ended up showing everybody else, too. We tried sunglasses we fancied and did a self family portrait. Heh. If only my mother did not have to queue for the dressing room. And, Khalish lived happily afterward.

Around the Island in One Day: Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus

Being the simple, happy people that we always are, the members of Chez Chembong were truly excited about touring Hong Kong Island on the Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus. My happiness was simply based on these:

  • It was my first time on an open-top double-decker bus. Khalish's first, too.
  • I happen to love details. Therefore, it was pleasant to notice that the bus design did incorporate rickshaw element, true to its name.
  • In the afternoon, Khalish and I could take advantage of the air-conditioned lower deck. To escape the heat.
  • It was refreshing to sit and relax instead of walk, walk, and walk.

The tour was divided to two routes, heritage and metropolis. Having planned to maximise the hop-on and hop-off service, we each bought the one-day $50 ticket. I preferred the heritage route. The endless stairs connecting old school flats and shops reminded me of those cantonese series I religiously watched at 6:00 p.m. every weekday once upon a childhood. My brother and my father, meanwhile, gawked at the bamboo scaffoldings. Kamal, understanding my obsession with photography, took turns with my mother to keep an eye on Khalish, when he did not feel like being in my embrace, during which I handed my camera to Kamal.

More stories in these photos:

Eventually, a friendly local for us to refer to, mainly on places we intended to visit. The local was none other than the driver on our first Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus. Khalish, sensing that he was ignored by Kamal, decided to be mischievous.

The urban architecture glared upon us. Aside from the abundance of escalators, the skyscrapers were most memorable to Khalish. He immediately said "Hong Kong" while viewing an advertisement on the latest Canon compact camera filmed at the city center, and, upon seeing my Hong Kong t-shirt that my mother bought for all my siblings at the airport. Photographed here, from above, were The Lippo Centre Twin Towers, Two International Finance Center, The HSBC Main Building, and the neighbouring towers.
Old school charm at the southern part of the island. Congested. Yet, still charming.

My favourite place along the Heritage Route: Lascar Row. The row was doted with little shops and stalls displaying quaint antiques and unique jewelleries. I was lucky to chance upon a bald man in white sleeveless top. He completed the archaic look of the bazaar. Collectors of historical items would surely love to be here as there were even The Little Red Books on sale. Oh, there were other interesting displays as well, like the 'photography is not allowed unless the session is paid' sign. Hence a number of blind shots. Definitely my favourite place. If only I could be there longer.

While I traipsed along Lascar Row for photos, Kamal took care of Khalish at a shaded playground opposite Man Mo Temple. The main reason why I could not spend more time at the row. Surrounding the temple were fleeting stairs that led the pedestrians to flats after flats. Seeing the police personnel, I thought of one cantonese series, The Breaking Point. Yes, I used to be a cantonese series junkie.


From there, we hopped on the bus again and stopped at the Central. I was already missing Khalish then. I swapped my camera for him. He needed a diaper change, by the way. Next destination: IFC Mall.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hong Kong, Day Three: Hong Kong Island


Once, in Hong Kong, Kamal asked me whether I would return there again. We were about to wrap the day's visit, and I, in particular, was knackered from Khalish's antics. "Without the son?" I joked, to which Kamal replied with a chuckle, "yes, and free return business class tickets with free accommodation at a posh hotel."

"No, thanks." Kamal noticed my tired voice and he swerved to a different topic. Whether or not to bathe once we reach the hotel. Which actually put a smile on my face and a spring in our conversation.

Last Saturday, I chanced upon superb online articles on Hong Kong. Superb writings. Superb photos. Then, I realised that I did enjoy the tripping there, but I simultaneously wished to experience more of the culture aspects and capture the essence with my camera. More of the scenery, too. Yet, there Khalish was, all new to the compact travelling, seeking comfort from the familiarity of a mommy, hence the restriction in areas visited.

So,

expectation ÷ restriction = relinquishment. 

That Saturday itself, as the three of us were heading for the airport to catch up with Kamal's friend before his family migrated to Perth, I thought out loud, "give me the free return tickets; I want to go to Hong Kong again and explore more."  

Hong Kong, day three. 
The adults had a picnic dinner by a promenade at Victoria Harbour , where Khalish decided to enjoy the cool breeze. He was indeed cooling himself after losing his temper, which we suspected was due to weariness, insisting to be only in his diaper. 
Oh, reaching Youth Square that day Kamal asked me the question, he thought that he would sleep better after a warm shower. 
Back to the travelogue:

Ayah, the one who planned the entire Hong Kong tripping, changed day three itinerary to accommodate Khalish's rhythm. A slower pace, with less places of interest covered. What mattered to us was the fun factor, which we found on the Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus. Why? As summarised at its official website:
We missed the first ride, probably due to the photographers, namely yours truly and her younger brother, who slowed everyone else at the walkway as they were easily impressed with the architecture of the surrounding towers and even the walkway itself. It turned out to be a blessing because firstly, we could use the waiting time to do number one as we drank lots of water, and secondly, we managed to have a bus all to ourselves. Khalish was very happy with the ample space, of course. He could possibly be as happy seeing the daddy being the unofficial tour guide alongside the video guide.



More photos of our Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus experiences in the upcoming posts.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

:)

Kamal, Khalish, and I travelled to Kelantan for Aidiladha. Then, we also travelled within Kelantan, to and fro Kota Bharu and Tanah Merah most of the time, for the whole five days we were there. The week prior to Aidiladha was surprisingly hectic, too. Lovely.

The only bad aspect about being hectic with everyday life is the lack of time for me to blog. My Facebook status today reads, "We are back from Kelantan, bringing back good memories and a big bag of dirty laundry. It is going to be a busy Saturday." See you again after I am done with the house chores.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hong Kong, Day Two: Kowloon

To mark the end of the day's excursion during a vacation, I often wrote the details in a paper notebook. Not in Hong Kong and Macau. I was occupied with Khalish, Khalish, Khalish. I was so occupied with the curious and active toddler that I did not bother to use slow shutter speed to photograph the glorious Hong Kong city at night. Nonetheless, I shall be grateful that the boy could sit and sleep in his stroller for a long while. He could be less clingy to me when the other adults, particularly his daddy or grandfather, humoured him. Credits to a mini Little Einstein book, a compact doodle board, and a free toy truck from a chocolate purchase, too. Kamal and I rewarded his good demeanour with a pair of shoes, maximising the advance Aidilfitri angpau from the grandparents.

All in all, after Disneyland, my parents, my younger brother, Kamal, Khalish, and I enjoyed the efficient Mass Transit Railway services, the exuberant streets lining Kowloon; from Ladies' Street to Cheung Sha Wan Road, the hunt for halal restaurants for iftar at Nathan Road, and of course, the spectacular view of Victoria Harbour's opposite coast from Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. While traipsing in H&M at Langham Place, we crossed paths with fellow Herbalife distributors from Hong Kong, yet based in Malaysia at the moment, Millionaire Team Members Tom Wong and Angel Cheng. Khalish later had lunch at Langham Place's McDonald's.

Enjoy the photos, as much as we enjoyed the tripping:








Hong Kong, Day Two: A Peek at Disneyland

Among the six of us, Khalish and I were the eager ones about Disneyland. The former loves Playhouse Disney and Disney Channel. The latter is simply a child at heart. The rest of the adults voted for a mere peek though. Too little time.

Back at home later, I happened to find an article entitled 'Budget Disney' in Parents magazine. Reading it, I was happy we decided not to do the park in a haste. Preparation is part of the enjoyment, really.

There we were, enjoying the various coaches to get to Disneyland from Chai Wan, from a never-ending coach to a Disney-detailed coach. Maximising the little time, we lounged about the amusement park entrance while hunting for hidden Mickeys, photographing the moments, and promising ourselves to tour Disneyland to our hearts' content soon. The photos:

Train after train kept Khalish amused.
The adults, too, indeed.
Everybody was amused throughout the brief visit actually.
Yes, we were easy to please, and still are.

By the way, group photo was a must.
Khalish, seeing that I was not in the group photo, shot me with a pretend camera.

Above: "So, this is Disneyland, or, 0.000001 percent of Disneyland. Oh, Mickey, we shall meet again!"

Below: Khalish spotted hidden Mickeys, without anybody's clues.
In between spotting hidden Mickeys,  he had morning snack and became a model to mommy's camera.
 

Disneyland Resort Line.
The cartoon details induced funny characters among the passengers. Heh.