Friday, November 27, 2009

Relaxing At Damai Laut


Just came back from a short 3 day 2 night holiday at Swiss Garden Golf Resort & Spa Damai Laut. We had made bookings at 2 places before the school holidays began, one at Damai Laut and the other at a resort in Cherating but cancelled the one at Cherating when we read in the newspapers that parts of the east coast were flooded.


We have never stayed at the Swiss Garden resort, so when we almost reached the place there was this signboard with the words 'Selamat Datang, Damai Laut Villa' next to a decrepit house and we jokingly told CoolTeen that we had arrived!


When we checked in, we asked the receptionist about the weather and she said that it had been raining every afternoon so we decided to quickly change and jump into the swimming pool. The pool overlooks the Straits of Malacca but from a certain angle it looks as if the pool connects to the Straits itself. We were quite alarmed when CoolTeen turned bright red from head to toe after he got out from the pool, and we had to go to the nearby town of Sitiawan (about 30 minutes' drive away) to see a doctor. Being unfamiliar with the town, we decided that a good way to choose a clinic was to see whether there were any patients in the waiting room! It turned out that he had an allergic reaction to the chlorine in the pool.


After that we had dinner at a coffeeshop nearby, then decided to explore the town a bit. Being city folks, the kids wanted to go shopping so we used the GPS on hubby's phone. There were a number of shopping complexes and we just chose the one at the top of the list, Manjung Parade. When we arrived, guess what...the whole building had been abandoned (about 10 years ago, we were later told)! So we ended up at Giant Hypermart instead.

Hubby and the kids' idea of a holiday is to do stuff while I would rather just laze around and do nothing. But it's 3 against 1, so the next day we had a go at kayakking, and being city folks, we only lasted 15 minutes before quitting! Also tried archery...and basketball with the kids. Even went cycling around the resort grounds.


The resort is a beautiful place, with lots of open spaces. It's about 7 km off the main road and on the narrow road leading up to the resort we have seen a monitor lizard and fed some wild monkeys with a mini safari.



On the 2nd day, we explored Lumut town. Lots of shops selling souvenirs for tourists...key-chains, fridge magnets, T-shirts, painted seashells, etc. Also lots of flies.


Met up with Phoebe for dinner, then we wanted to go the pasar malam at Kampung Koh. By the time we reached there at 9 pm, my kids were surprised that all the traders had already packed up and different from KL where the pasar malam usually closes at around 10 pm.

On the 3rd day we had one last swim in the pool before packing up and checking out.


Went to Teluk Intan for lunch and visited the leaning clock tower. We couldn't go in though, because it was closed for some upgrading works. The bells at the tower chime every 15 minutes.


We had fine weather for the few days that we were at Damai Laut, and it only started raining right after we left Teluk Intan for KL. God is good!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Igudesman & Joo in KL


I have been a big fan of Igudesman and Joo ever since I saw their videos on YouTube. They are a musical duo from Germany and their specialty is combining comedy with classical music. They are very popular in Europe and I had often wished that they would come to Asia. So when I got news at the end of September that they were scheduled to perform at the Dewan Philharmonic in November I quickly booked tickets through a church friend who was also very keen to go.

I showed CoolTeen one of the Igudesman & Joo videos on YouTube and he decided that he would go too, much to my surprise, because the dress code for the performances at the Dewan Philharmonic is formal wear...and CoolTeen is always in his T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. So we had to borrow a coat, trousers and leather shoes from hubby's brother. It was only just before we entered the concert hall that we found out the dress code is smart casual for this performance...oops!

They had 2 different performances, but I decided to go for "A Little Nightmare Music". Aleksey Igudesman is a great violinist and Richard Joo a fantastic pianist. Together they are just absolutely hilarious. You wouldn't think that a violin could sound like a cow mooing, a race car or even someone snoring until you watch them perform. My kids enjoyed themselves tremendously and hopefully they get inspired to practice more on the piano!

Even though the tickets were rather pricey for the 4 of us, the 1½ hour performance was worth every Ringgit we spent, and time flew by so fast that it was over before we knew it...and everyone in the audience wanted more.

autograph session after the show

people lining up to get their autograph...the queue was really long

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Know What It Is

I finally found out what the spongey stuff took me quite a while because in the first place I didn't even know what it's called. It's actually probiotic grains called water kefir also known as sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals, tibi and tibicos. There seems to be quite a lot of information about it on the internet.

From what I read, this drink has antibiotic and antifungal properties and it aids digestions, increases energy level, cleanses the liver, benefits the hair and nails, clears ezcema and acne, reduces bloating and flattens the tummy, stop cravings for sugar and sweet food and contributes to a healthy immune system. Don't know how much of this is true as I have been drinking it for only a week. Will blog more about it when I see some results.

Here's a video I found showing how the drink is prepared...

I can even flavour the drink with fruits and make my own homemade fizzy drink because carbonated water is produced when the kefir grains is added to sugar!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anyone Know What This Is?

My friend MK gave me a jar of this live culture drink she got from her dad in Ipoh. It seems that it's very much like the fruit enzyme drink that I make except that the fermentation process takes only 24 hours compared to the 3 weeks needed for the enzyme drink. MK doesn't know what it's called and neither does her dad, but they know that it's good for health.

Don't know what this spongey stuff is, but it's alive and will multiply when water and black sugar is added to it.

Black sugar...the kind used when we boil herbal tea (the leong cha that the Chinese drink to 'cool' the body)

Lots of bubbles appear after 24 hours.

According to MK, this is the process:

1) Pour the live spongey stuff into a plastic sieve and rinse it under the tap until the colour fades to a very light brown.

2) Spoon the spongey stuff into a clean glass jar.

3) Add black sugar according to this ratio 2:1, that is 2 spoonfuls of spongey stuff to 1 spoonful of sugar.

4) Add water according to taste, less water means stronger taste.

5) Leave uncovered for 24 hours. (I covered it with my sieve so that I wouldn't find an insect floating in it!)

Note: Do NOT allow metal to come into contact with the spongey stuff or it will die.

Can anyone tell me what the spongey stuff is and what this drink is called? By the way, it tastes good...a little like red wine (no kidding!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Cute!

Today the Sesame Street gang is on the Google homepage...


Yesterday I found this interesting website via somebody's blog. Aren't the cake pops (variation of lollipops) simply adorable? I must try making them one of these days...


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday,Sesame Street!


I have set Google as my default search engine on my PC and was pleasantly surprised when I saw Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street on the Google homepage a few days ago. For the next few consecutive days the characters from Sesame Street kept appearing on the Google page and I found out that it is Sesame Street's 40th!

I grew up watching Sesame Street and I love Big Bird, Snufalufagus, Oscar the Grouch and most of all, the Cookie Monster! I remember sitting in front of the TV every Sunday when I was little, waiting for Sesame Street to air... and how I still watched Sesame Street whenever I could even when I was a teenager!

I was trying to find a video clip of Cookie Monster on YouTube and watching the videos of some of the episodes really brought back fond memories. Here's Cookie Monster singing about his favourite food...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Funny Duck Song

Was looking at videos in YouTube when I found this rather amusing song...

...reminds me of how our kids can sometimes be just as exasperating as the duck in the song...but we parents still love them all the same!

Helen Steiner Rice, a famous poet, wrote:

"A mother's love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking."

I hope I remember this when my kids annoy me endlessly and drive me up the wall, when my nerves are on edge and my voice hoarse from spewing out threats, and when I veer dangerously towards acts of violence...if I were the lemonade stand guy in the song I might end up eating the duck!!