Sunday May 18, 2014
It's cold. It has been tough readjusting to the New Zealand weather. Mornings are horribly chilly and I often wish the outside would be as warm as my duvet sheets. We're approaching the shortest day too, so the sun doesn't pop up over Mt Victoria until 8am and it starts getting dark at 5pm. I'm pretty much over my jetlag now though, which is good.
This past week has been busy. I needed to get up to speed with everything that had happened on my project, as well as get things in motion for the bug fixing week. I had a very good performance review as well, and apart from a few issues slightly out of my hands, the update seems ready to go out some time next week. Further testing will reveal whether we will be overtiming... hopefully not.
It's been awesome seeing people again and feeling sociable and all that sort of thing. I went for brunch at Cafe Polo yesterday, and then second brunch at Aro Bake. Then we missioned back to Miramar for dinner at Gasworks before watching the new Godzilla movie. I was at church today for the first time in four weeks and apart from that, Sunday was pretty relaxed. I've been playing Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask in between trying to find games on iOS to spend my $40 iTunes voucher from my sister.
Friday May 9, 2014
I have had an amazing three weeks here, absolutely blown away by the hospitality of my family. They have spoilt me so much, taking me around the city to see the sights and eat the best food, as well as opening up their homes for me to stay. I am well and truly blessed to have them here in Malaysia and I have thoroughly enjoyed this holiday.
The last few days have been quite relaxing. I went to Malacca to visit my auntie after returning from Singapore. I still remember the landscape around her house from many years ago, and was surprised to see the beach that used to be there had been filled in, and the newly reclaimed land had started sprouting apartments and shops. Nevertheless, the day was well spent eating some great nyonya food and catching up with family.
Yesterday was just a flurry from shopping mall to shopping mall, getting some last minute gifts for various people. I even went into an IKEA store, just to see what the fuss was about. We ended the day with a swim at the Tropicana Country Club and then some Thai food from myElephant.
Sitting here sipping my last teh tarik at KLIA, it's almost time to head to the gate. Thank you to all who made this trip so memorable, I have had a great time.
I'll be seeing you New Zealanders soon.
Tuesday May 6, 2014
Finally got a bit of downtime again to do some blogging. After returning from Penang, my sixth uncle hosted us at his house for a couple of nights, treating us to decadent delicacies from his restaurant chain. We had Kobe beef, Iberico pork ribs, salmon, Peking duck, foie gras, Kingfish head... truly amazing food, the quality unsurpassable by anything in New Zealand.
On Saturday, we went for a walk around the Forest Research Insitiute of Malaysia (FRIM) and explored their famous canopy walk. In the evening we gathered for a big Lai Family feast - Chinese rojak, Nasi Lemak, Hokkien Char, banana and sago cakes, kueh muih, tapioca cake and to top it all off, a rich chocolate cake to celebrate my auntie's birthday. Of course there was too much food, but it was awesome and fun to see everyone again.
We flew to Singapore early on Sunday, with a few dramas at the security checkpoint over the body wash and hair gel in my bag (Jetstar offered to check in my bag for free to avoid me having to throw all of those out, which was extremely fortunate. Hopefully I can do that again). I caught up with Kheng Yong and Ted and we went to Gardens by the Bay to see the last day of the tulip festival. The domes are so nice and air conditioned, if only my leg would have stopped playing up, it would have been much more enjoyable.
We had some Satay by the Bay and some stingray too before playing another Escape Room, which, after three hints, we managed to complete with a minute to go! Ted had to leave us for dinner, so the remaining four of us went to a chicken rice place on River Valley Road to eat, before heading home after a long day.
Yesterday we went to the zoo and walked around for a while in the blistering heat. The last time I went to Singapore zoo was about 14 years ago, and this time, having been to Washington DC zoo and Central Park zoo in New York, I wasn't that enthralled. The animals are all lethargic, probably from the heat, it really is quite unpleasant to walk around, and there weren't many animals that I hadn't seen before. The best enclosure was the polar bear's because it was so well air conditioned, lolololol.
That night, my cousin took us out for some famous Singaporean chilli crabs at the No Signboard Seafood Restaurant in Vivocity. The gravy was rich and spicy and tasty, it was so delicious and I had such a good time slurping the sauce up and sucking the meat out if the crab shells and licking my fingers like a savage. Between the three of us, we had a chilli crab, a white pepper crab and cereal prawns - just perfect.
Today I need to find some plastic bottles for my "airplane prohibited liquids, gels and aerosols" and I'll probably end up wandering around the shopping malls for gifts too. Then it's back to KL for a few more days only :(
Thursday May 1, 2014
Our last full day in Penang was pretty relaxed (which is why I had time to blog about the previous week). We picked up Kiel and Connie for lunch and went to the famous Lorong Selamat char kuay teow place, with the auntie in the red beret. Considerably more expensive than your regular meal in Malaysia but the prawns were huge and the noodles were delicious. Besides, it's still super cheap by New Zealand standards (RM11 = NZ$4!)
We also went to Khoo Kongsi, a large heritage building that is the family house of the Khoo family, and enjoyed a fondue set from Haagen Dazs before trying another exciting room from the Break the Code Escape Room place - this one we actually manage to complete in time! So happy.
We had a short walk in the Botanic Gardens before it started raining heavily, so we waited in one of the huts for the downpour to finish while Kiel remained trapped under one of the bridges. By the time the rain stopped, it was time for dinner anyway, so we had some curry mee from one of the roadside food stalls in town. Yummo. My last night in Penang was spent wandering around the night markets in Batu Feringghi - much better merchandise than Petaling Street and more variety.
Also, I hate bargaining.
Now we're back in KL and waiting for dinner and karaoke. My uncle partially owns a fancy restaurant chain so I am guaranteed a good time. Woohoo!