Saturday June 8, 2013
Since being back in Auckland, I've been scurrying around the place meeting various people and helping to organise decorations for Jono and Charlotte's wedding. I arrived safely on Thursday morning at Auckland Intetnational Airport where Jono picked me up and took me to my parents' shop in the city; conveniently this meant he could pick up his suits for his wedding. Later that day, I met Mat at Sean Connolly's Grill for one of the most tantalising steaks I've ever had - wagyu rump with miso hollandaise sauce and garlic and herb butter, with a side salad and the famous duck fat chips. Absolutely delicious! If I had infinite money, I would definitely be back to try everything else on the menu.
Friday I was helping to set up the French Bay Yacht Club for the wedding reception, and then off to Howick for the rehearsal, via Greenlane McDonald's for some Georgie Pie! The pie tasted like childhood - that familiar crispy pastry with the hearty filling of mince, steak and cheese. Great job on replicating the pies of yore, would eat again.
And finally today, a special day for two dear friends who are now husband and wife; today was a lovely day and many of us there were privileged to share the occasion with you. The ceremony was touching and the reception was fun and delicious. It was good catching up with friends and talking about my overseas travels, and it was good getting to know acquaintances better. I was humbled by the great feedback I got for my speech and I'm glad that my anecdotes resonated well with people.
The reception ended early so we squeezed a little bit more out of the day by grabbing some milk tea from Jay's Tea on Dominion Road. I'm exhausted but today has been incredibly fun.
Wednesday June 5, 2013
I'm sitting spitefully outside the Changi Qantas Airport Lounge because they denied me entrance since I'm only "business class", not "business max". What the hell.
The Thai food last night was delicious, especially the tom yum soup and the mango salad. Thankfully I didn't overeat on this one, because one of my cousins called me up to go for a second round of badminton. After a quick rest from food, I headed off to the courts.
And boy did I get sassed :( I'm just not used to playing in the heat like that, I was sweating buckets and my serve was bad and I lost all three games that I played. Two were close, and though it was disappointing, it was fun and a good learning experience. The players there are super hard-out, as you can imagine, and their precision and judgement is amazing. With talent like that, it's no wonder Malaysia is the best at badminton.
Another two hours to wait before the departure gate opens. I haven't found anything worthwhile at duty free and I need to charge my electronic devices for the 11 hour flight ahead. I might grab some food around 5pm so I don't have to eat too much of Jetstar's crappy meals.
Tuesday June 4, 2013
I was wondering around Mid Valley Mega Mall on Monday in an effort to burn off all those delicious things I had eaten in the morning. I had curry laksa and some home made glutinous rice, as well as some red bean sesame balls and an egg custard tart. My main purpose for being at Mid Valley was to pick up my overpriced glasses, which I found out were made from the same materials they use for aeroplanes and it's super strong and amazing and yadadada. Despite the price, I really like the lightness and look of these glasses, and given its durability I think I can justify paying that much for them.
On the way home, we stopped by a fruit stall and bought some local produce. We continued home when I spotted a roadside durian stall and we quickly pulled over. The durian was expensive but so deliciously creamy and rich in flavour! The best kind of durian. So good. And if that wasn't enough, I continued stuffing my face with cendol and rojak, also from a roadside vendor. Yummo!
Today I went to my uncle's country club where I played badminton with my 16 year old cousin, who prompted beat my ass down. It's very difficult to play in the heat here, and it was made worse by the fact I've been lazy for the past two weeks and I'm so fat now. I cooled down in the pool for a bit and we went for lunch soon after.
We're heading out for Thai food soon. It's my last night in Malaysia and I've had an amazing holiday, seeing so many of my aunties and uncles and cousins, and eating all these awesome things and getting fat etc. It'll be somewhat refreshing to come back to the cold, but I doubt I will be enjoying it for very long. I'm looking forward to coming back home, and though I will miss all the things I've enjoyed, I know that I can always come back to family in Malaysia.
Monday June 3, 2013
I spent my last full day in Singapore just wandering aimlessly around various touristy spots like Little India, Chinatown, Suntec City (which was under renovation and completely boring) and Raffles City. There was a lot to see, especially around Chinatown, and despite the heat, the walk was pleasant and relaxing. I didn't end up buying anything except food and drinks during the day; given the Singapore dollar is one-to-one with the New Zealand dollar, the better bargains are in Malaysia where our dollar is worth 2.45 Malaysian ringgit.
I made my way back to Orchard Road and went around a few of the shopping malls I had missed on my first visit. It had begun to rain but these smart (yet still crazy) Singaporeans have linked all their shopping malls with underground passageways so you can stay dry and air conditioned. I ended up at 313@Somerset where I had dinner with my cousin who I had been staying with.
After dinner we went to Gardens in the Bay, a large park on the south side of town by the Marina Bay Sands hotel. At night, the canopy is lit up with some amazing light structures and every so often there's a musical show accompanied by some synchronised light choreography. The night view was pretty interesting and much more tolerable in a cooler temperature, but most of the attractions there had closed. Maybe next time I should visit early in the morning.
After a brief flight the next day, we were back in KL just in time for lunch and my auntie and uncle took me to eat some delicious char kuay teow. I didn't want to stuff my face too much because there were some big dinner plans!
Last night for dinner, we were treated to a fantastic dinner at Jaya Palace. Five of dad's six siblings were there, along with various children (my cousins - I counted 10 present from 16 possible). The food was amazing, especially the deep fried duck egg prawns and of course, the abalone, which I love. My uncle had also brought some French wines and some Japanese whiskey for some added joviality, and once dinner had started to wrap up, we busted out the karaoke machine!
I'm hungry now. I think I'll be doing some shopping today and catching up with another one of my cousins who I missed last night. Only a few more nights to go before I return to New Zealand so I guess I should be making the most of it. Eat all the things!
Saturday June 1, 2013
Obelix (of Asterix and Obelix fame) has a penchant for visiting foreign countries and exclaiming that the locals are crazy. Well, here I am in Singapore and yes, these Singaporeans are crazy. They work too hard. They rush everywhere. It's a high stress environment and it's not healthy. They have signs on the bus and trains explaining the correct way to board and alight (give way to people alighting!) because there's always such a mad rush to get on.
I met up with Ted and Amber last night for dinner at the Ion Food Court on Orchard Road. Still wasn't feeling 100% due to the food poisoning, but I tried to eat as much as I could stomach. It helped that it was close to 9pm as Ted had only finished work about 30 minutes prior. It's silly. He works 12 hour days for pittance. Dinner was great, and I enjoyed the mango salad the most. There was plenty to catch up on and it was interesting, yet a bit sad, to hear how they were finding Singaporean life. We left the food court close to 10.30pm and went for dessert at Somerset, before saying our goodbyes. It was close to midnight when I got home and was shocked to hear my cousin was in his bedroom on a conference call to his work.
These Singaporeans are crazy.
Today we spent at Sentosa Island, visiting the Merlion, exploring the SEA Aquarium, riding the luge (the Rotorua one is way better!) and watching the water and lights show. It has been an exhausting day. We got caught out by the thunderstorm a few times but overall the day was filled with fun. The SEA Aquarium boasts the world's largest oceanarium, and it was certainly impressive to witness thousands of fish coexisting in this gigantic tank. Though much of the aquatic life was similar to what Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has, there was plenty more to distinguish the SEA Aquarium from the aquariums I did visit in the US.