Monday, September 30, 2013

High!

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Excitement awaited as soon as Kamal announced his work destination for the weekend. The grand view along the expressway and the rich food came across my mind. Ipoh!

Kamal, Khalish, and I have been there a number of times, but never were we able to experience the place the way we would love to. No exception this time around. Kamal needed to work from Asar on Saturday until Subuh the next day. Khalish preferred to lounge about at the hotel after a heavy meal. Nonetheless, the three of us chose to cherish Ipoh within the time limit. 

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We decided to stay at Ipoh French Hotel for its proximity to Kamal's work place and the eateries. The chic room at a cheap rate were the main factors, too. The staff's friendliness was a great bonus. 

For lunch, we walked to Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice. The direction given by the hotel receptionist seemed to lead us to other restaurants though. We were about to opt for a different eatery when a Chinese man passed us by.

"Excuse me, sir. Do you happen to know where Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice is?"
"Yes. You just have to cross the street. The restaurant is at the other block."
"Thank you, sir."
"Are you from Kuala Lumpur?"
"We are from Selangor."
"Welcome to Ipoh!"

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To be cordially greeted by a fellow Malaysian has been rare nowadays. Therefore, such a welcome will always have special places in our hearts. Thank you again, sir.

Ipoh charmed us in various ways. I especially loved the aged side. Kamal noted the harmonious existence between the old and the new. 

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Khalish, he only cared about the food. When the chicken rice was served, he said, "this must be delicious!" Kamal and I agreed.

The rice was aromatic, the chicken was tender, and the sambal reminded us of my mother's special recipe. We actually drooled over the food on the other tables. All seemed delectable. Hence the packed char kway teow and chinese fried rice for dinner. 

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When Kamal left for work, Khalish and I made ourselves at home in the hotel room. Lego, Toca Boca, and The Adventures of Tintin for Khalish. The camera for me. Came the boy's bedtime, we chatted with each other.

He did miss Nick Jr., but he now felt like Dora the Explorer. He further narrated stories of his own adventures. Until he himself drifted to dreamland. 

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A new experience the next day. Well rested from Subuh until Zuhur, Kamal was fresh enough to suggest a lunch at Yong Suan, the home of Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah Ipoh, also known as Nasi Ganja. At first, the queue prompted a search for other restaurants. Yet, we were too curious about the brouhaha that we decided to brave the crowd. 

Soon, we found out the line was meant for those who wanted packed food. The restaurant itself was crowded, but we managed to find three empty seats at a table occupied by other patrons. Around us, people conversed in Malay, Tamil, Mandarin, and Cantonese. That, combined with the raw kopitiam ambience, made the place truly unique.

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The Nasi Ganja? Simply addictive. The rice was doused in assorted curries, perfected with spiced chicken, and complemented by salted egg, steamed okra, fresh cucumber, as well as coconut chutney. 

The aforementioned combo was the basic. The menu offered more choices. So did Ipoh. Now, Kamal, Khalish, and I have charted another route to and fro Bandar Baru Bangi and Ketereh, and it involves a detour to the capital city of Perak.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

The Kindred Spirits

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"True friends are always together in spirit."
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

(Yes, a date with a number of them today.)

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Photos: My Instagram

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Unorthodox

Create I

Today, the moment Khalish reached home from school, he asked me, "may I join art class during the holiday?" Absolutely, son. To celebrate his creativity, I would love to share the cards he created with a little guidance from the parents last May.

Create II  Create III

Photos: My Instagram

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Anak Pantai Sri Telong

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Pantai Sri Telong 1

Photos: My Instagram

Monday, September 23, 2013

Where We Belong

Pantai Sri Telong 1

Being in Kelantan last Saturday and Sunday reminded me of a beach retreat one beautiful May weekend. Two days and a night at Sudara Beach Resort, Bachok, for The Ketereh Clan. The retreat started with a potluck picnic by Pantai Sri Telong, ended with a delish lunch in Kuala Besut, with total relaxation in between.

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Ayoh, recovered from a recent illness, found the sand therapeutic. So was the presence of the loved ones. Mok particularly. Thank you, dear sisters-in-law, Kak Yah, Kak Ni, and Kak Na, for the mini holiday idea. How everybody cherished both Ayoh and Mok's smiles.

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Also cherished was the children's happiness. Abid and his uncle, Khalish, were contented enough with the sand and the sea. The beach was an endless playground, eh. 

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I indulged in the little details. Abid's familiarisation with the surface. Khalish's experiment with the natural elements. Such details, yes.

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About Khalish. He whispered in my ear, "the waves are playing with me, mommy." They were the best chums indeed. 

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Of course, Khalish played with Abid as well. A rarity actually as the former preferred to play with older boys. He must have been inspired by the bond between the elder cousins.

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Tea time soon. Free flow of banana fritters and sardine sandwiches. Abid, seeing the way Ayoh was fed, requested for similar treatment. Cuteness.

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Refreshed, my nieces,  Kak Ha, Kak Nor, Nana, and Fatihah, requested for portraits. Vice versa. In the meantime, a nephew-in-law, Nazri, quietly sculpted a sand crocodile. Creative hours.

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Khalish even announced his rebirth as Gandalf the Grey. Sri Telong became the Middle-earth. Heard now and then was Song of the Lonely Mountain, heartily sung by Gandalf himself. 

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As Kamal humoured Khalish, I resumed the portraiture session. For fun. We did wish the others were there, too. Those not in the photos had decided to return to the chalets. Mainly to prepare for the barbecue after Maghrib. 

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By 6:00, the sky was three shades of pre sunset. Gandalf the Grey lingered. One of his cousins, Husniah the Colourful, revealed more colours for the camera. 

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All of us loved the transition of lights. The darkness gently enveloped the brightness. Very grand Al-Latif's love has always been. Each of us showed our gratitude for the wonderful day in our own ways. 

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One common trait among us was the appreciation for those little things. The nieces marvelled at the sea shells. Within them were hermit crabs that further kept the nieces captivated.

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The children explored the beach. One scrutinised the first item that the waves passed onto his hands. The other mused on concepts foreign to him.

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At the end of the evening, Gandalf the Grey departed. Khalish was back to being his-true-self. "Mommy, what does Khalish mean?" he wondered. "Pristine" I affirmed.

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Kamal, Khalish, and I have learned a lot about ourselves through the people we were with and the places we were at. We would love to discover more. As fine as the sand, as vast as the sky, as deep as the sea.    

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