Saturday, April 26, 2014

Phuket I: The Dreamland

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Phuket, a name I associated with, firstly, scenic islands, and secondly, home burglary. Each time I started to construct a post on my experience of the former, the experience of the latter popped up. Only after a year does the trauma heal. Now, Phuket is a name I associate with scenic islands. Period.


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One fine day in April 2013,

Kamal: I have a conference in Phuket. Jom?
Me: Jom. Let's go there two days earlier so that the three of us may have a mini vacation.
Kamal: You plan ;)
Me: Within two weeks, eh. Challenge accepted.

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So I did. Loving the packages offered by Malaysia Airlines Golden Holidays, I initially would like to use it again, but the only flight to Phuket available then was late in the evening. Kamal, Khalish, and I preferred to maximise our time there. After a number of comparisons, we booked the return tickets and the accommodations separately. Air Asia, two ways; Peach Hill Hotel, April 20-22, 2013; and The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, April 22-25, 2013.

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Aside from others' stories and the Indian Ocean tsunami documentaries, we had no notion of Phuket. Which we loved. The lesser the expectation, the more the wonders.

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Approaching Phuket International Airport, we were welcomed by a heavenly sight of the sand, the sea, and the sky, coexisting in harmony. Not yet landed, but we were already head over heels with Phuket. Khalish, the moment the three of us reached Kata Yai Beach, exclaimed, "beautiful!"

Oh, it was the same exclamation for our accommodation for the following three days, Peach Hill Hotel. He has always been as easily impressed as his parents. Albeit the inefficient receptionist and the non-existence of elevator to the third floor, we still loved the hotel. Its most basic room was not only spacious, but also distinctive; the rest of the staff were cordial; and its proximity to the beach and the town was perfect as the place was actually a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of Kata yet remote enough for a solitude.

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Naturally, we were most delighted about the beach. Our choice for Kata was indeed based on this:
"Situated 20 kilometres from town, beautiful Kata is a scenic gem, its clear water flanked by hills, and picturesque Pu Island sits offshore. Kata retains a village feel at its northern and southern ends and is perhaps more family-oriented, its one-kilometer long beach more peaceful than Patong." Wikipedia
It was hot when Kamal, Khalish, and I visited Kata Yai Beach, so we rented two umbrellas and two lounge chairs. The parents were able to relax as the boy had hours of fun with the sand toys. An hour before dusk, energised, we walked along the beach. The boy could not resist the sea, of course.

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The beach was lively with people from all over the world, but Khalish was truly absorbed in his own universe. One with neither time nor fear. A universe purely made of charms.

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The boy was not the only one charmed. The parents were, too. So much so, for the first time, all of us anticipated a great experience at the little islands the next day. 

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Dream, Khalish, dream.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Ultimate

A Note

A note,
for myself,
and yourself,
from our-true-selves.

| Photo: Once upon an adventure |

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Air Aishah

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O eccentric beings, welcome to Air Aishah, an airline that believes in one miracle: now, everyone can fly through time. The next destination is Phuket, circa April, 2013. Your mocktail will be served shortly.

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Above, is one of three million reasons I do not own an airline. Let us travel via my blog instead. More of Phuket soon.

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Home

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Photo: My Instagram

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Beautiful Week

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Photos: Senja, Bandar Baru Bangi

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ketupat Sotong

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Photo: My Instagram
I have always loved every single thing that my mother cooked. Nevertheless, Ketupat Sotong remains on top of the list. Number two is Nasi Himpit with Kuah Kacang. How I wish to surprise her with both dishes, prepared from scratch. 

One Sunday, as Kamal and I were marvelling at the fresh catch in Tok Bali, Pasir Puteh, we saw the squids and thought of one phrase: Ketupat Sotong! My mother-in-law, whose patience and passion in the kitchen I truly adored, agreed to guide me. 'Jom Memasak dengan Mok' session the next day it was. 

Monday came. Post Subuh, I received a call from my mother. A dear relative has passed away in Tanah Merah. Kamal, Ayoh, and Mok attended the funeral. I stayed at home with the maid because Khalish was a handful. Mok put a smile on my face though as she shared the step-by-step methods to cook Ketupat Sotong right before leaving.

The first step was to keep the child occupied with activities within the kitchen itself. The second step was to work hand in hand with the maid. The third step was to recollect the mother-in-law's instructions and the mother's ways as the child asked for more activities and the maid scurried around to finish other dishes.

Mok reached home the moment I filled the second last squid with the half-cooked glutinous rice. Oh, she did say that there was a room for improvement, but she added that it was an accomplishment for a first experience. Thankfully, she was there for the final touches.

The Ketupat Sotong that afternoon brought me back to 1996, when I first tasted my mother's version. Mak thanked Cik, my paternal grandmother, for the recipe. Then, I realised how special Ketupat Sotong has actually been to my mother and I. Through the delicacy, we have become closer to our respective mothers-in-law. :)

Tok Bali: Seafood Glorious Seafood

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Ketereh - Kuala Besut - Pasir Puteh

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A day before Kamal, Khalish, and I departed back to Bandar Baru Bangi, we accompanied Ayoh to Kampung Seberang Kastam, Kuala Besut. The furthest all of us have been for breakfast. It was worth every kilometer though. The Nasi Dagang was simply scrumptious. 

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To return to Ketereh, Kamal decided to drive along the more scenic route. Seeing the sign 'Pantai Bisikan Bayu', I requested for a brief stop. To which everybody agreed. Particularly the boy whom the parents nicknamed 'The Crab'. 

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The Crab thought that the weather was perfect for beach activities. Art on the sand was a must. He did think of immersing himself in the sea, but the waves were not amiable. He and I cherished the breeze instead while reminiscing our first visit to Pantai Bisikan Bayu, Pasir Puteh.

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