Thursday May 30, 2013
Just arrived in Singapore and the weather is predictably hot and muggy at 30 degrees, with thunderstorms on the forecast. I'm feeling much better than yesterday but still not 100% unfortunately. It was pretty grim.
Looking forward to hitting Orchard Road later today and hoping to meet up with the ever elusive Ted, who never even told me he had left New Zealand to go overseas!
Wednesday May 29, 2013
Yesterday: went swimming. Got out. Lazed about on the deck chair. Fell asleep. Majorly sunburnt. Went snorkelling. Saw heaps of fish and corals. Had a great time. Had to tow my cousin to the boat because she was being swept out by the current. Went to bed at 6pm with no dinner. Was suffering from exhaustion.
Today: woke up with food poisoning. Having a bad time. Tired and lethargic. No appetite. Saw the doctor. Pumped up on drugs. Feeling better. Went for reflexology. Sore.
Tomorrow: leaving for Singapore. Back to civilisation.
Tuesday May 28, 2013
I had yet another buffet dinner today, but thankfully I didn't feel too obliged to stuff my mouth silly on this one since it's part of the Tioman vacation package. I am however, pretty full, but at least I didn't over eat.
It's nighttime now and being in the middle of the South China Sea, light pollution is low and I was interested in what the constellations would be like here. On one side of the sky I can clearly see the Southern Cross and its pointers, and it reminds me of home. On the opposite side of the sky sits Ursa Major, the "Big Dipper", but unfortunately Malaysia is still too far south to spot Polaris, the North Star. The night sky here is interesting because the constellations are different, but it's definitely not as clear as what you'd get in Wellington. I can't see the Milky Way at all and the chances of seeing shooting stars is slim.
There's something else on the horizon that's catching my eye, though. There's a tropical storm all the way west, over the mainland. I can see the thick thunderclouds illuminated against the pitch black night sky from continual lightning strikes - we're looking at close to three or four strikes per second. The brilliant flashes of electricity pierce the darkness and reflect off the water, yet unfortunately my iPhone camera isn't good enough to capture any of the action.
Monday May 27, 2013
I slept three hours last night. I would like to blame the delicious Japanese buffet from Midori at the Marriott Putrajaya. I've been there three times in total (that's twice on previous trips back to Malaysia) and have always overeaten to the point where it's hard to breathe and move.
Anyway, we took a plane from Subang to Pulau Tioman and arrived just before noon. The island has some fantastic beaches and the water is invitingly warm. Temperatures are still hanging around the mid thirties. We're overlooking the west side of the island so tonight when it starts to cool down, we'll watch the sunset and have an explore. I've got a snorkelling excursion planned for one of these days too!
I am not missing the weather in New Zealand right now.
Sunday May 26, 2013
The title pretty much exactly sums up what I did yesterday. We went to the market in the morning for a quick browse at the local produce and brought back some fresh mango, jackfruit and lychee, as well as some beef and sotong nasi lemak and some tofu fah (everything was sooo goood). I took a brief nap in the afternoon to prepare myself for the night's dinner.
Last night we were at Five Sen5es at the Westin Hotel to celebrate my cousin's wedding. I had not seen her in 15 years and it was amazing to be there with my extended family to enjoy a wonderful meal in honour of the bride and groom. Like a typical Chinese wedding dinner, there were eight courses of decadent and exquisite food, including abalone, pork belly and Peking duck. It was a night to remember and it was made even more special because of my family.
The dinner was quite late so I had a few hours to kill beforehand. I walked around Pavillion Mall with my cousin's husband for a bit, and he showed me Tokyo Street, a collection of Japanese shops on the top floor of the mall, as well as a multinational alfresco dining alley with restaurants from Ireland, Italy, Spain, Turkey and more, lining a whole walkway. We wandered down to Starhill as well - the sheer opulence of the products on display were matched only by the ridiculousness of the male toilets. It seems fitting that a shopping complex that sells necklaces and earrings for over a million dollars should have two employees in the bathroom who operate a large bamboo lever system to deliver water to the hand basin.
Also, I love being five inches taller than everyone else. Malaysia should totally be a heightocracy.
Friday May 24, 2013
We rarely get thunderstorms in Wellington. I'm not a meteorologist but I'll say it's probably because of our geography and the wind that disrupts any huge thunderclouds from forming. We did have that one thunderstorm at the beginning of the month but it wasn't until driving back from Mid Valley Mega Mall today that I remembered just how powerful and thrilling tropical thunderstorms are. The lightning just keeps on coming, several air to ground strikes that produce continuous explosions of thunder. It's amazing, to say the least, but it is sadly disrupting my afternoon nap.
As I mentioned, I was at Mid Valley Mega Mall today, snapping up some amazing bargains. I got two pairs of jeans for NZ$40! There were heaps of other sales on, ranging from 10% to 70% off various items of clothing. I may have to return at a later date once I figure out what I want. There's a really nice batik shirt I was eyeing too, for only NZ$30...
And of course I was spoilt for food today. We had nyonya kuih and Penang prawn mee. I also got a drink named "Passionfruit QQ" from a place called Chatime. The size of the food courts here continue to surprise me. I swear there are more people in this mall than there are people in Wellington.
Time to get some shut eye. Big dinner on tonight!
Thursday May 23, 2013
The last time I was at Changi airport would have been more than ten years ago when I was here with my father. I've been here for just under two hours, just waiting at the gate to board my flight to Kuala Lumpur. Changi Airport is as flash as they say; there's some fantastic shopping options and an even more impressive array of food stores. I opted for a mango and pomelo sago pudding to see me through to KL where I will undoubtedly begin my epic food journey.
The flight was okay - surprising, especially since I was flying Jetstar. I highly recommend bringing your own food because theirs is rubbish. Seats were pretty comfortable and I was playing games on my iPhone and Nintendo DS to pass the time.
Oops, gotta run, boarding call!
Thursday May 23, 2013
I forgot how hard it is to blog with my phone. Maybe the webmaster (i.e. me) should look into enabling some kind of mobile-friendly interface.
After wrapping up some rather hairy issues at work, I had begun to mentally check out around 4pm. The euphoria of going on holiday didn't actually hit until I was out of the building and walking home in that familiar Wellington damp and darkness. I find travel exciting, even by myself, and I'm looking forward to all the delicious Malaysian food and of course, seeing family and friends whom I haven't seen in three years.
Oh food. The holiday has already started out well on the food front. I got a Zinger Double Down from KFC last night. I should get some KFC from Malaysia too, they have hot and spicy all year round and the chickens are much bigger and more succulent than what you can find here. Of course I will be wanting my laksas and cendols and kuihs too!
Sitting here in the middle of the check in plaza surrounded by all the duty free shops is somehow surprisingly serene. Some sound speaker is emitting native bird chirps every ten seconds or so. Unlike the last time I was here for my US trip, my flight plan is pretty straightforward and documentation is minimal. I've got people to take care of me at the other end so I'm not really worried about anything going wrong.
Unless there's some of those waterspouts that were over the harbour yesterday.
Okay I just checked, the weather is looking pretty good at the moment.
I'll try to blog a bit and I'll post some highlights on Facebook. Stay tuned for more!
Sunday May 19, 2013
The word "home" in English commonly means one's place of residence or a geographical area that one identifies with as their place of belonging. When I talk about home, my home is in Wellington, where I work and live. When I talk about home, my home is in Auckland, where I grew up and lived for 20 years of my life. When I talk about home, it's odd because I'm using the word in a way that many Malaysian expats will use it - our "home" is Malaysia. When we go back "home", we're returning to the motherland; and though I am officially a New Zealand citizen, Malaysia will always affectionately be "home", because it's where I was born.
The last time I was back in Malaysia was Christmas 2009/New Years 2010. It was full of fond memories... much of it spent enjoying the fantastic food, but also a great excursion to China and Hong Kong, and of course, seeing family that I had not seen in over 7 years. I'm always looking forward to long haul trips, and I can't wait to catch up with everyone and eat everything. People often have a list of things to buy or things to see when they go overseas - when you go to Malaysia, you have a list of things to eat. Whether it be the aroma of durian from pasar malam, or the anticipation as your favourite roadside cendol is prepared, or cooling off with some barley water as you wait for the bak kut teh or yong tau foo to arrive, or playing mahjong while your auntie prepares her famous nasi lemak - my favourite memories about Malaysia are often associated with food. It is such an important part of our culture and who we are.
It's been a while since I last blogged... Robot Unicorn Attack 2 has been out for almost a month now and is doing very well, with over three million downloads the last time I checked. We also released Turbo Racing League, a snail racer based off the DreamWorks Animation movie due out in July. Work has continued to be busy as I wrap up my duties before I leave for holiday.
At the start of the month I was in Auckland for Reuben and Shereen's wedding. Though the rain was torrential, the ceremony and reception were fantastic and it was great to catch up with people and celebrate the marriage of two of my good friends. I got to play piano at KCC's Sunday service and had a great time, and I got to see my nephew as well. It was a rushed weekend, but thoroughly enjoyable. The following weekend, Surya had made his way down to Wellington after graduating in a Masters of Science, so we went out for dinner at Ozeki and milk tea at Noah's Ark.
Finally, a decent milk tea place!
I went ice skating last night with Amy, Mitchell and Chloe. I was surprised at how good they were - it never really occurred to me that they had such hidden talents! The last time I had been ice skating was probably 10 years ago, at Sunway Pyramid in Malaysia, so it was a very awkward start to getting back on the ice. I've never really been one to ice skate or rollerblade or do anything graceful like that, so for most of the hour I was clumsily flailing like a moron around the rink. Despite my frantic yelling and panicked expressions, I had a good time and was proud that I bailed only once during the time I was there, and furthermore, only Mitchell was around to witness my elegant barrel roll, from which I recovered quickly and nonchalantly resumed skating.
It's now only four more sleeps until my flight back "home". Still many things to sort out and people to catch up with before I leave - exciting times ahead!