Monday, August 18, 2008

The one with the dialogue.. of a broken toe

It was 2 days ago. I was getting out of bed. I climbed to the foot of the bed and somehow the littlest toe of my right foot got caught in the gap between the mattress and the bed frame as the rest made it out of the bed. I think. It's either that, or that i accidentally folded and sat on it. I felt a sudden twinge. But being the clutz that i am, the pain was rather typical and i did not think that i had hurt myself seriously till i looked down on my foot. (That was after hubby asked, "why are you walking like that?" I casually said “Oh, kaki i tersangkut kat katil tadi..”)
Much to my horror and amazement, i saw the fifth toe sticking out pointing at 2 o’clock! In shock, i could not help but to burst into laughter! It was really funny! Painful, but really funny nevertheless. I swear if you look at it, you will hoot in disbelief too! (I have a pix taken while waiting for the doc but am not gonna post it since it looked too awful!) I pointed to hubby still in utter astonishment and he thought that i was pulling some kind of an acrobatic stunt, that i could do that naturally. Can u believe that? I then finally stopped laughing when suddenly it hit me. Is it broken? He stopped the chuckle too and we rushed to the clinic. I was then referred to the hospital.
I had officially broke my toe. It was after seeing the Ferrari & Liverpool avid supporter doctor who twice jabbed anaesthetic on each side of the toe and with a Bismillah pulled it with a small ‘ktak’ sound and an X-ray later that it was confirmed. (I sure hope it has nothing to do with hubby disclosing that he is a Mc Laren fan).
The conversation that took place in his clinic was as follows:
Doc: So what happened to you?
Clutz: I think my toe got dislocated or maybe it's broken.
Doc: Okay, let's have a look at it. Over here (pointing at the bed while making his way).
I carefully slipped off my slippers.
Doc: Boleh pakai slipper lagi?
Clutz: :) (tersengih)
Doc: Did you kick him? (suddenly he asked, referring to the hubby)
Clutz: What? Nooo! (How could i? That's derhaka ok)
Doc: Did he kick you then? (Lowering his voice now, followed by a laughter)
Clutz: Hahaha.. Takkk (Berani la buat)
Doc: So what happened?
I told him.
Doc: Hmm.. oklah i percaya that is the truth (Chaih)
Clutz: Well it is, trust me. (reassuring him though i cannot help laughing along because i too can't believe how it happened)
Doc: Ok i think i believe you (still laughing.. haha)
He said in most cases where ppl hurt especially their pinky more often than not, refuse to tell that they were involved in a fight. So that's why he asked.
The poor broken fellow is now tied to the guy next to him and will have to be bound together for 2 weeks to allow it to heel naturally. Two times a day, i need to put ice on it for 10 minutes or so. But i can walk fine. Not as good, but still, fine. Alhamdulillah, Thank God.
I still make it to my cousin’s engagement later that evening and my friend’s wedding yesterday afternoon though in slippers :)


My sister-in-law just reminded me of my birthday. I honestly wasn't aware it was coming so soon.
Hmm.. perhaps i didn’t realise how time really flies..Or that i don’t think it's really that big a deal.
Or perhaps i was trying hard not to think about it (and it worked!).
Or i was hoping i still have months to go.
Or maybe it's because i have had 27 birthdays before? Haha.
(I remember having gone to the circus with grandpa (and my brother) on my 7th birthday and only realised that it was my birthday the next day!). So maybe it happens like every 21 years? I wonder.
Oh, and the other day i have also forgotten my best friend's birthday! When i wished her apologetically, she went.. "How can you forget? It's only 20 days away from yours!" Maybe that's why i have forgotten hers. Because i didn't remember mine. Gosh, i hope nothing serious is happening to me.
p/s: To the best friend, again, I am sorry. And yes, i still owe you a wedding present due to my absence. To SIL, thank you for reminding. And the proposal sounds kind of fun too! :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dr. Martens

A cousin of mine is busy looking for one to replace his old pair that he has given away only to regret it later. He has been bugging me (not that i don't enjoy his bugging) on msn on this and i decided to write about the footwear -- Dr. Martens, Doc Marts, DMs.

I am a shoe lover (though i have to admit to have a weakness for bags too). I have a pair of Doc Martens purchased wa.....aaaay back when i was about 17 years old in which i love to bits and still have them till this very day!

It was the IN thing at that time. Everybody has to have one. And so, with much love (for shoes) and determination, i finally get to buy the shoes from the neighbouring country, as our place in JB has not many variety. You can only get them from places like the Old West or Rock Station at that time and the designs were very, very limited (and that the kind available were more of those the skinheads would wear - 10 or 14 holes).

I bought my DMs with the hard earned money i received from working 9-5 while waiting for the SPM result as my parents never shower us with such luxury and trust me, it will only be asking for death if i ever voice out such request. It is by far the most expensive shoes i've ever spent on (though i just splurged on a black heel pump that is of higher price yesterday, but it was at a 60% discount, so practically the DMs still remain my most expensive shoes). It was about RM400 after conversion but it was money well spent. (Mum, if you're reading this, i know i said it was around RM200+ last time (or did i say RM100+?), but that was so long ago, so let's just forgive and forget, ok?)

I used to pair them up with jeans, mini skirts, even dresses for outings, it was perfect. Mum and dad used to tease me of the difficulty to take them off and putting them back on when visiting but i didn't mind at all. I was very happy with the pair! :)

The classic
Dr. Martens boots is in black leather and with the signature yellow stitching (as small pix above). But they do come in different designs and colours. I once saw the one in electric blue and fell in love with it instantly. But being the practical gal that i am, i managed to refrain myself to fall for it since it will be odd to be running around in electric blue boots in most cases and that you can't pair them up with a green dress or a red skirt. Maybe some of you would, but it's just not my style. So, i bought myself a 6 holes in light brown suede instead (large pix). (They now have this delicious chili red pump i just saw online).

I've stopped wearing them altogether now, but back then in college days up in North, it has served me well (apart from my selipar jepun) during my years of exploring the island of Langkawi going up and down the hills of Telaga Tujuh and Durian Perangin to name a few, during nights out fishing at the jetty and going to classes (in style) when it was raining cats and dogs, given it's durability. My brother had several times worn the DM's to the wet market nowadays because not only they protect him from the wetness, they are non-slip too!
As for me, i'm planning to keep it. I may use them again some day. For hiking or something and if it goes back in style i'd still wear them, even with the hijab. Or with kids. I don't mind :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kampung - an unintended long entry

Last week, we visited grandma (Mak Wan) at his kampung, my better half. Wasn't my first time being there, but saw it in a different light nevertheless as we get to spend a longer time. Brought along the kid brother. Who too, found consolation from the place. The city boy. Grew up knowing very little about living in a village just like his elder sister. Whom only once in a blue moon gets a taste of the kampung ambiance when he was still so young.

We had a kampung. Our great grandmother's (Tok Nek). Whom we only visited if and when we pass by the house to or from my hometown when travelling, when she was still around. She passed away when i was 14. My brother was then still at the tender age of 6. The large compound, the wooden house, the trees, the breeze of Mak Wan's house took us back down memory lane. He can still remember the house quite vividly. Where the great grandmother spends the last years of her life. Mostly alone. The house was built far off from the gate, a row of rambutan trees would welcome each visitor from both sides of the road leading to the house. It has the old fundamental wooden structure in the middle, sandwiched between the concrete extensions of the living room and the kitchen area after remodelling. On the side, lies a large porch with curved arches, where we normally would sit to enjoy the kampung breeze and listen to the sound of crickets singing in accord. There, we would also play games and run from one end to another to prove who was the fastest and gave out lame reasons to justify our losses in giggles, but at all times refraining our eyes from even the slightest gaze at the small gate where you could gain access to the dark area under the old wooden stretch. At the back of the house was a massive land area with many rubber trees.

He remembered how we used to walk (and sometimes run) as fast as we could from the kitchen area to the living room at the front, passing the cold, dark wooden part of the house, never dare turning our heads or even the corner of our eyes towards the old rooms for it was very gloomy and never once fail to give us the chills. We would visit only these 2 concrete parts of the house for afraid of any unwanted encounter. Though none of us really ever did.

She (the great grandmother) would only stay at the kitchen area, where a room and a small bath was built specially for her to better access the kitchen for meals as she wouldn't want to leave her home. She was always very quiet, the great grandmother. Sitting on the wooden dining chair unspoken, looking pale but pleased with our visit, every time. Clad in small floral prints cotton baju kurung and batik sarong, as she normally would, a small bun always neatly set on her long, gray hair. A warm smile would draw on her small face, exposing fine lines that had gathered from her 90 years whenever dad or any of us uttered something that amuses her. I wish i had a photo of her and her house too, for the house are no longer there, replaced by a factory after she was long gone, but i don't. I did not know her well. What more my younger brother. All i have is this remaining memory of how she used to look like and what used to be there that soon will fade as time passes by. But with this entry, perhaps it could help me remember how it all used to look like once again, when that day comes.

Today, at her age of 89, Mak Wan's house is still very much alive and well taken care of for she stays with 2 of her children. Sometimes 3. Though old, the house is far from a state of dreary. Unlike aruah Tok Nek's. Even though she can now barely stand up, the house is still as lively as can be. Each room are filled with bright sunlight, the sound of the tv surrounding the living area, the kitchen, busy with sounds of the frying of keropok and the clanking of cups and dishes, and the trees are still green and bear delicious fruits each year. Near the house, within the large compound sits another wooden shack now used to keep old, unused stuff. An old well that is no longer in use are a few steps away from the main entrance to the house.

That day, we relived the memory of aruah Tok Nek's house, ate juicy fruits, even plucked them ourselves and get to bring home some too, rode on the bike (which once belong to my hubby), had keropok, hand picked bunga kantan, in short, had great fun. That day, i took the opportunity to photograph the only kampung i have left. And today, i shall have the privilege of sharing them with you.

from private grounds

2 guys savouring on durian kampung

city boy wandering around

the boy and his kampung

boys on truck

the bike and its proud previous owner

his favourite pastime before he could legally get his hands dirty on car engines

the gleeful brother on the 17 year old bike

old well

lovely window

Mak Wan in the living room

checking out the old shack

the kitchen

this is how you do it, she says..

a skill i picked up on the day trip..

menjolok buah manggis - for the first time in my life:
here's a bag-full of the crap.. i mean crop.. heh

another thing i handpicked and get to bring home for asam pedas and tom yam!


one for the album
(kindly excuse our selekehness.. hehe)

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Bali Story (err.. yes, finally)

The Hotel
It’s called the Abian Biu Residence. A small boutique hotel with only 10 rooms located in the serene area of Kerobokan near Seminyak perfect for un-happening couple like us who prefer peace and quiet. Our room – the Kamajaya Ratih (which means the Goddess of Love as told by our nifty tour guide) was decorated modestly yet amicably with a sizeable bed with canopy, colourful stained glass decorating the large windows and the door to the outdoor bath. Huge, rustic handcrafted doors fixed at the entrance as well as to the terrace added more charm to the room (although hubby didn’t really fancy it. But that’s what makes it Balinese, right?). The outdoor bath was amazing (i initially thought it would be creepy!) and finally, it has a kitchenette as well as a separate dressing area.
The hotel carries the elements of Oriental-Javanese in its concept which was very ideal for yours truly given her roots are a mix of the two clan (as you can clearly make out from the combo of slightly slit eyes, somewhat fair skin and the unmistakably broad nose.. hehehe). We were also told by the tour guide that the name Abian Biu translates Perkebunan Pisang (Banana farm) in bahasa (told you he was nifty!) Though there are no banana trees in sight, i believe the Heliconia (it belongs to the banana tree family,right??) being its signature decoration validates the name.
The staffs were friendly and accommodating, hospitality was superb! The hotel also has a Spa and we couldn’t be any happier to get the free 30 minutes foot massage included in the package!
However, only if you plan to sign up for tours (that provides pickup from the hotel) or that you plan to stay put (ie. you do not expect to get around on foot) that we would recommend you to stay at this hotel as it is situated rather distant from town and that it will take some familiarity of the place for people to find it. Even for the locals.

Abian Biu Residence
(i was shocked to learn the name of the tea we were drinking after half way! :D)
The Tours
An arrangement (and negotiations) had been done 2 weeks prior to the trip via internet (don’t you just love what technology can do for you!) and Bali Star Island was responsible for presenting Bali at its best to us for the next 3 days.
Day 1 – Uluwatu Tour

Sunset and Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple, Seafood Dinner at Jimbaran
It was a half day tour which starts at 4.30pm. As our flight from KUL-DPS landed around 2pm, we had just enough time before the tour. The journey from our hotel to the Uluwatu Temple took about an hour, in which our tour guide had utilised to enlighten us about the island. The Hindu Temple is located right on the edge of the sea cliff overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean. It is one of the 6 biggest temples in Bali and one of the great places to view the sunset. We saw the fascinating Kecak dance performance here at the temple that tells the story of Ramayana. Very unique indeed.
The power supply went out just as the Kecak performance was ending. The event happened due to the rationing of power supply in conjunction with the recent petrol price hike in Indonesia. Different parts of the region will be subjected to the power cut-off for a few hours every single day.
The tour then include a seafood dinner at Jimbaran Beach where we were seated right on the beach with the view of the sea front to end the evening. Having your meal in company with the sound of the wave and the sight of airplanes ascending & descending from the nearby airport was heaven especially for those into beaches and aircrafts :) There was also a local ensemble going from one table to another, putting together songs for you and your companion. A very romantic place if you wish to watch sunset too!

Day 2 – Kintamani Tour

Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud & Kintamani
We started the tour at 9.30am. We stopped by to see some batik making and silver work at Batubulan and then proceeded to Ubud to see the Rice Terrace at Tegalalang en route to Kintamani. Luck was not on our side as the paddies were yet to be sowed at the time therefore, as much as the view was extraordinary, the terraces were patchy with brown soil. 

Kintamani, a hilly countryside offers a spectacular view of the volcanic Mount Batur and Lake Batur. The cool climate contributes to the lush greens and abundant fruit orchard which can be seen along the way to the plateau.It was simply breathtaking!
The brilliant landscape and the fresh, cool breeze brushing our bare skin made it possible for us to protest the buffet spread peacefully (luckily we weren’t that hungry). You can also spot the biggest mountain in Bali, Mount Agung in the background - a volcano now remains inactive after killing about 2000 people of the island when erupted in the early 80s.

Mas Joko (bersarong) kelihatan berposing di Tampak Siring @ Tirta Empul & Goa Gajah bersama isterinya, Neng Baizura hehe..
After the sucky lunch but a splendid panorama later, we stopped by at Tampak Siring aka Tirta Empul a holy spring water temple. Here, a big water source (which was so cool by the way) can be found which is believed to cure all kinds of illness and being used for cleansing and purification purposes by the local people. A palace founded by the first president of Indonesia can be spotted just on the hill next to the temple. 

There’s a myth to the existence of the spring water, but my memory is a bit rusty now. So i better not try too hard here for afraid that i might change history. Hehehe. However, the guide did tell us that they believe if one spots a white eel in the pool where the water source is, it will bring prosperity to the person but he also said that he had been there a hundred times but never once saw it. Haha! Perhaps next time, Ketut! (By the way, Ketut is a nickname to a fourth child, or eighth, and so forth).

Next we visited Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) in Gianyar, originally a dwelling for Hindu priests. Hundreds years prior to that, a Buddhist temple was erected nearby in the eighth century but was later destroyed by a massive earthquake (the rubbles are still kept here). A small cave shaped like the capital letter T with a massive stone carving at the entrance is situated at a steep river valley. Bathing pools can be found close by, filled with water from spouts held by six female figures (one of which was actually stolen as what was conveyed to us). While the true history of the name remain uncertain, some say the name of the cave originates from the statue of Ganesha, part of the statue being an elephant. The tour did not include the visit to Tanah Lot but how can you go to Bali and miss the chance to see the Tanah Lot Temple. I heard the sunset there is gorgeous too. And so, we requested to extend the tour to Tanah Lot for the sunset.

Sunset and dinner at Tanah Lot
Before reaching Tanah Lot, we spent about an hour in a painting gallery in Ubud looking at the various art collection produced by local and foreign artists. I loved it, though we didn’t purchase any piece.
We finally arrived at Tanah Lot before 6pm. The place was flooded with tourists and the sea water was rising then. The guide led us to a restaurant nearby to enjoy the beautiful sunset where we had another round of seafood dinner (and had suffered mild diarrhoea (for me) and not so mild one for him).

Day 3 - Bali Rafting and Ubud Tour

White water rafting at Ayung River

Besides the scenic view of Lake & Mount Batur at Kintamani, another highlight on the trip has got to be the white water rafting adventure! We were told to be ready for pick up at 8.15am. But after 45 minutes of waiting, i knew the driver must have had trouble finding our remote hotel. But the van arrived as we were about to get the front desk to contact the rafting company. We joined a nice older couple from Singapore, Peter and Joanne (who thought we were Filipinos by the way) on the journey for the rafting experience. We were joined by another couple from the States and a guide in one raft. It was a 3-hour rapid love affair with the river and i enjoyed every second of it! Except the part where we need to climb the never-ending steps of hell get to the restaurant after the rafting ended. Phew! Well i guess every love affair comes with a hefty price, ey ;) The water level was measured at 3 and that was good enough of a rapid for me.

Ubud Art Market, Puri Saren (Ubud Palace)
We skipped the Monkey Forest as we were drained from the rafting. So we went to the Ubud Art Market for souvenirs that's just opposite the Ubud Palace aka Puri Saren where we next visit. There was a preparation for a royalty cremation in progress. The body, as we were informed has been kept more than a month as they were waiting for a good day for the ceremony to be held. The body will be laid in a cow-like figure (the riding animal of Lord Siva the Destroyer that represents death) made of wood before burning with an 11-tiered structure properly made of carved wood (which i am not too sure what it symbolises but for a commoner, a 5-tiered structure are normally prepared for this sad occasion).
The tour ended about 5.30pm and we wrapped the day with a 90 minutes body massage at the hotel spa at night followed by dinner from Mc Donald’s.

The Villa

Villa Victoria
We checked out from Abian Biu Residence and moved to Villa Victoria on the fourth day. We decided to experience the Villa as it was the popular mode of stay when you travel to Bali. Since staying at the villa is pricey, it’s only wise to stay in and chill to make every cent/second worth. Hehe. The place was introduced by a friend of mine, Harry (bukan nama sebenar) who went in May and said that it was beyond doubt a whole new experience and we thought we ought to try it! The villa was very private, stunningly done and of course, very comfy. The design was a mix of traditional Balinese and modern, with a private swimming pool, an open-air kitchen and rest area, a huge bath, a plasma TV complete with the DVD player and a very comfy bed that puts me to sleep every few minutes, no kidding! I had to stay away from the bed to prevent myself from dozing off! My fellow traveller really enjoyed the dip and spent hours in the pool. There was a food delivery guide provided by the villa that enabled us to order in Mid Eastern food from Queen’s Tandoor (something like our D’Tandoor) for dinner besides Mc Donald’s (again) the next day. The food was good (at last!).

The extend - Kuta on Day 5

Kuta Beach
We woke up rather behind schedule the next day and decided to take one last plunge before breakfast. I had started packing and it was heartbreaking that we only had a couple of hours before leaving. And then while having breakfast he said to me “why don’t we stay another day?” So that’s how it was decided. Since we travelled on concession tickets, the extension was not a problem. We visited Kuta at about 5pm, and saw the sunset (yup, another one) by the beach. We plan to look for a nasi padang restaurant but we changed our mind as soon as we got to the place. It looked pretty unconvincing and we didn’t want to risk having diarrhoea again. Not much shopping were done at Kuta. We were merely checking out the much talked about place that was very crowded and didn’t quite fancy it (like i said, we are an un-happening pair). But we did purchase quite a number of DVDs that we watched back at the villa as they cost only RM4 per piece! We took the flight at 2.30pm the next day and i get to try out the nasi kedewataan (plain rice served with veggie, fried chicken, fried anchovies and peanuts with a special extra hot sauce) at the airport before leaving Bali. Very yummy!
[Useful Tip: Be sure to search as many alternative and choices possible for place of stay and the tour packages. I highly recommend booking online as you can get very good prices and discounts too ;)].
p.s: Thanks Harry for the tip-off on the villa. We really loved it there!