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Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Homestay Larkin, Johor Bahru

We had crashed three places during our Singapore Family Trip with Pak Ein and his wife, Kak Ngah and her family. All arrangements were done, as per normal booking via Booking.com, as well as phone calls. Let's ignore the whole 3-day-to-day story, this time, I'll divide them into places. Take it and go!

This was our first lodging.

No. 28 Jalan Raja Udang,
Larkin, Johor Bahru

Initially, we were planning for a big group of 10 adults, 4 kids, and 2 infants. Hence, getting ourselves a HUGE bungalow was indeed, a good idea, since everyone has agreed to pay, according to room sizes. However, plan was changed where my two stepsisters, obviously their husbands and kids, need to withdraw, due to one ridicule conflict.

Since the booking was made and deposit was banked-in (RM100) before the incident, we had to proceed with the original plan. Moreover, the location is close to perfect, less than 5 minute to Larkin Bus Terminal and lots of eating places. As I called Puan Maimunah accordingly, we managed to secure the booking date, for one night stay at this beautiful, clean, SPACIOUS, affordable price, of this one and a half story bungalow.
If the bungalow itself is pretty huge, you can expect the lawn. Perfect for those who want to have barbeque or even planning for family fun games. Nak guling keliling rumah pun boleh. Hahaha! Owh, owh, and the porch is also huge, it can occupy at least 6 cars at one time! Cool huh?

This bungalow is awesomely fully furnished, equipped with 4 huge rooms with separated and attached bathrooms, air-cond in 3 bedrooms, 2 huge halls with sofas, carpets, TV and astro, 2 dining halls with wet and dry kitchens, complete with cutleries, stove, fridge, microwave, cooking condiments, and what not! You just need to get the chicken jer. J
Getting inside the rooms was the best exploration of the day. We ran and inspected each room, and fought to get the best. The rooms can actually occupy 3 to 4 families but having the lavish of liberty, we divided two persons for each room. (Kak Ngah + Husband + Kilfie), (Pak Ein + His Wife), (Us), and Kak Ngah’s kid (Athirah + Adieb). But most of the time, we stayed at the hall, shouting and cursing the football players, while watching final game of Suzuki AFF Cup 2012.
Nephew suddenly shouted from some corner of the house, the minute he found the secret hall. That was the highlight of staying at this homestay, where the owner has completely renovated and modified the upper level antechamber, into a huge praying spot, complete with ablution room. This is the main reason why the owner has restricted, the tenant should be Muslim. From this level, we can actually view the lower ground, entirely. Well, of course, with parental supervision, for sure.
Overall, it is HUGELY and HIGHLY recommended to stay, with affordable prices VS the space offered. The key passing and dropping can be done in a minute, for the owner stayed right vertically aligned with the bungalow. Personal experience? Pleasant arrangement resulted to 3 happy feminine faces. And a monster kid!
Note : Do call Puan Maimunah (definitely not the kid in the above pix) for more great price. I got RM350 for one night, as per gazetted on Dec 2012.

(Second and third lodging will be in the next coming entries.)

Lofi Inn, Singapore

We spent the second night at Lofi Inn, Singapore. A hostel, to be exact. We decided to get ourselves a single bed in 8-bed mixed dormitory room, since there were 8 of us. Voila!

This was our second lodging.

Address 43 Dickson Road, Little India
Singapore, 209518
Phone +6563920224

We got discounted good deal from Booking.com that offered SGD$26 for each bed and plus point that led us to book for this hostel was due to the toleration of having baby inside! (Most of hostels/hotels around the world disallow baby, for others harmony. No? But they are humannnnnnn!)

It was quite challenging to get to this hostel since we came from Sup Tulang Merah at Beach Road Garden. No, the challenge wasn’t due to the location, it was due to hiring two taxis at one time! Not two cabs, we HARDLY get a cab! I mean, SUPER DUPER HARD TO GET A CAB till I thought of laying flat like died possum at the middle of the road! And it was 10PM! Shooh!

I wasn’t sure why they didn’t want to stop (fine, I’m not pretty or sexy enough), and if there were, they wouldn’t want to go to Dickson Road! Like huh? Aku boleh tebar duit, nah, nah, nah! Tanak?? But we finally managed to get two cabs, using different route, splitting ourselves into two small groups, with hubby and I as the marshal for each. And so I had to confess to Kak Ngah and Pak Ein, that we usually don’t take cab in all of our trips, besides Vietnam. Trust me, we didn’t do it on purpose. Hokey hosey?

The registration was smooth and the receptionist allowed us to pay the extra deposit using RM. (It is good to tell the truth that you don’t bring extra SingDollar.) Besides having attached bathroom and lockers, the room was actually pretty small for a big crowd, but the way they arrange it make it nicely fit for the 8 of us. The youngsters were forced to occupy the upper beds (including hubby and I), while the veterans took the lower beds. (Matilah cakap kakak sendiri veteran hahaha!)
The facilities and services are quite normal, similar to other hostels, ie: laundry, dryer, communal area, game room, lift access, luggage storage, designated smoking area, wifi, and the best part, the cool rooftop bar. Breakfast is served here. Since they were serving eggs, bread, juice, and sausages, we politely rejected the sausages due to you know why. At the rooftop, we met one uncle, who has been staying at the hostel, for many months (and still staying there). He said, unlike Malaysia, the house price in Singapore is ridiculous, and living at the hostel is less costly. Well uncle, Malaysians also complaining the same thing. Sama jer. Anyways, he is enjoying his life to the fullest, mix around with different foreigners, everyday.
While lepaking at the rooftop, watching Pak Ein and hubby smoking, the rest of us enjoyed the night by sipping milo, alongside the...rain! Pfft!

Since this hostel located in the heart of colorful Little India, it is actually reachable via MRT (estimated 10 minutes walking). Cabs are quite easy to get but who needs cab now, huh?! Personal experience? Simple. Period.

Note : Do visit Booking.com to get best price and compare with other sites. 

First lodging can be read here.
(Third lodging will be in the next coming entry.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shalin's Cup 2012

“Huh? Space U8?”

“Yup. The competition venue is at Space U8…” said Kak Ngah.

“Where on earth is Space U8? And why play bowling at Space U8? I thought Sunway Pyramid is the best venue for bowling?” I confused.

“Weh, that one is for Masters Competition. This one is Shalin’s Cup, and Shalin’s is at Space U8. Duhhh…”

“Heil Kak Ngah!” as in Heil Fuhrer. Hahahaha!

Right after we came back from Singapore, my niece and nephew had a bowling competition. Kak Ngah is a school teacher and she actively joins internal and external co-curriculums. She has also equipped herself with bowling ethics, tricks and tips, just to coach her kids. Her kids started to bowl since Standard 5 and honestly, that was actually a bit behind of being a starter, in becoming international bowlers.
But who cares. Better late than never. “Heil Kak Ngah!” as in Heil Fuhrer, again.

Two weeks before, my sister enrolled her children in Shalin’s Cup (a collaboration between Shalin and Milo), just to give them some exposure and capture several experience, playing out of their comfort zone (they are currently playing under 12 and 15, and heading for state now). 
 
They’ve been practicing for a week before we went to Singapore and I guess, that should be enough. Not? Well, they had to. I purposely took a day off to accompany my sister, and to cheer for my niece and nephew. Plus, I loveeeee laksa, in Shalin's. Sedap! Nephew played in the morning session, while niece played in the afternoon session. Meaning, I was there for the whole tiring day. “Love me or I’ll spank you, Athirah and Adieb!” And I got spanked by them back. Pfft!
Adieb is shy but a sweet talker to his auntie *pointing at myself*. Well, I always fall for his trick, to get things for him (but he is clumsy!). He’s handsome (must have gotten it from his dad) and I remember him as a stylish and trendy kid. He chose his own shirt at the age of 5 and dressed himself, cutely! And now, he’s a big boy, though he’s in Islamic fast track, when he back home, he still keep-up with spiky hairstyle, with a full palm of hair gel and mousse! Hahaha!

So he played the game, for Boys Under 12. Along with 3 other kids, one of them was super duper confident and poyo to the max! He was only Standard 5! Hahaha! Kids…but he’s good you know, I had to admit. He was very consistent! Strike, else spare. How he did it? With a lil bit of attitude! That was what my nephew didn’t have. He’s too reserve and shaky. He always feels under-confident of himself and it was quite difficult coz he's lefthanded. Not until that poyo kid had gone wild when he didn’t get the strike, once or twice. Then I saw evil cheeky smile on my nephew’s face.
Nephew scored 742 with 140 average (not at his best, usually 170-180) and finished no. 40 out of 80+ contestants. Pity him, to compete with KL kids who came with groups of noted clubs and coaches. Heavy bowling balls and big sized body. But again, bowling is all about you. You fight with yourself. Isn’t it?
Then niece started to tremble. Hahaha! No, not because of this guy. *lariiiiii*
(Ohmai...I am sooooo dead. She's gonna kill me!)

Back to her. Athirah is my mini me. Enuff said. I’d give her the sun and the moon, if she asks for it. Wait! I am not practicing favoritism (do I?), but there just her in me, and I stand on few solid reasons. She was born to replace my mom’s lost. She was born on the same date as mine, with 20 years gap. And I hold her most (during baby days) compared to other nieces and nephews. So, be it.

She adores me. That was what Kak Ngah always says. I used to be self-conscious, as I was (still) role-modeling her. Luckily, she took only the good thing out of me. Else, mati la kena cerca dengan kakak sendiri. Hahaha! She’s a smart kid. She scores A in all subjects. She plays guitar and she bowls. And she’s petite! Recently, my sis moved her to a better cluster school, just to get my niece a better bowling coach, for free! What a smart mother.

So she played the game, for Girls Under 15. Along with her new schoolmates who screamed whenever they bowled, to the far right of the lanes. Terkejut makcik! And my niece told me that girl is famous for her screams. Scream? Kalau tepuk pengakap tu takpe la jugak. Hahaha! Well, that’s how she gains her confident, good for her. Maybe that’s how she frighten-off her opponents, rite? And I saw my niece’s face. There goes, another under-confident look, sat on the bench, silently.
Well, she didn’t put her best, I guess. Niece scored 803 with average of 150 (usually she got 180-200 if I'm not mistaken). She finished 29 out of 45 contestants. Most of the girls are bigger than her (in fact bigger than me) and some kids are playing for states, so it was really a great exposure for her. Nonetheless.

I would love to blame the Singapore Trip that we had earlier that weekend, for their so-so performance. They had to walk under the hot sun, and waited for a cab at midnight. They were complaining about no taps in toilet, and drinks were expensive. Well sayang, that’s how Acu travels. And I know that you haven’t had enough, right? See you in Padang!

I leave you guys, with a mom-and-kid conversation.

“Mak, I want to join the school trip to Singapore.”

“You've been there...and it is costly.”

“It’s okay, the school will pay for it.”

“Yeah right, with weekly collection of some amount, for the whole year, isn’t it?”

*Silent*

“Actually, Mak has arranged something with Acu. We go to Padang.”

“Padang?”

*Silent*

“Via flight.”

“By aeroplane???”

Turkey Strike! And now she screamed like Shalin. Hahaha! So, where to, is not the point, GETTING INTO THE FLIGHT IS! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feel Like A Scientist At National Planetarium, Kuala Lumpur

Well, as I mentioned in my two previous posts, I would have not visited interesting places in KL, if it wasn't due to my nieces and nephews. This time around, I brought them to National Planetarium.
The blue dome stands handsomely next to the tower, with huge stairs welcoming the visitors. It is located on top of a hill of Lake Gardens, about 120,000 square feet in area. Around the area, they built a replica of Stonehenge, Jantar Mantar, and "Balai Cerap", where these places were part of astronomical observatory mediums during past. The tower is also a place for star-gazing where "ahli falak" do their work, to decide on Puasa and Hari Raya date.
Coincidentally, there was an eclipse watching event happening during the night but we didn't wait since my sister needed to rush back to hometown. The fun begins with 3D movie "Fly Me To The Moon" that was 100% suitable for kids. It was a fun journey of 3 cute flies to the moon where all viewers are laid on super comfy seats, with 3D spectacles, enjoying the movie right on the dome ceiling.
In the main hall, there were lots of exhibition of space-science related. Documentaries being aired, together with informative facts on space, astronauts, rockets, stars, universe, and what not. Gravity room is also one of the must entered room, if and only if, you are not dizzy with the ultra-violet lamp and motion sickness.

For more info, you may visit their website at http://www.angkasa.gov.my/planetarium/

Open: 10am - 4pm daily except Fridays
Space Shows: 11am, 2pm, 4pm. Fee: Adults: RM3, Child: RM2
Space Movie: RM6 (Adults), RM4 (Children) 

For me, it is a must place to visit, for your kids can have an idea on how the space look like, and they get to learn all the space-science related matters. Who knows, Malaysia can have another astronaut in the near future :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hey Birdie Birdie Birdie! Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

I was called to visit KL Bird Park the moment I saw "World Largest Free-Flight Walk-in Aviary". It happened that my sister and her family came to visit us, so niece and nephews really enjoyed bird watching.
Unlike them, hubby and I purchased the ticket way back in March, when we visited Orchid and Bonzai Exhibition @ Taman Tasik Perdana, where it was discounted to RM15 instead of RM25. With the size of the location, it was superbly worth the price. 
My niece took this opportunity to learn on how to use her DSLR, with the help of hubby, while I just watched and enjoyed those beautiful birds that freely flew and walked around us. Nonetheless, almost all small-sized birds were caged, with CCTV on, for the sake of their safety. Wow...
Each section was divided with wires according to the bird's nature. Frankly speaking, I didn't know the names of the birds, not until I read the info boards. And of all the names, I was tickled by the name of "Burung Hantu Carik Kafan". Hahaha! Like seriously, scary huh? *pfftt!* (Owl on the right side, wearing Magneto's helmet, it is. KAHKAHKAH!) I felt like having one! There are soooooooooooo cute!!!
There were bird shows but we didn't grab the chance, for it was already late. As per usual, parrots were the main actors in every bird show. One of the bird can really imitated what the visitor's said. We challenged the bird by saying few words (funny words) and guess what, it CANNOT repeat the word coz it didn't understand. Hahaha! Stupid human.
Half way, we saw beautiful waterfalls and more colorful birds. We stopped for quick lunch under the gazebo, where I "tapau" from home. But beware, birds are all over the places, mind their poops and do not feed them with your foods ya!
We were entertained by one arrogant peacock that spread its beautiful tail and make a circle turn and went away. Hahaha! Lawak gile, macam "Hoi, aku cantik kan? Kan?" Patu blah...
The fun continued when we reached the ostrich area, where one of the ostrich was stand-sleeping, putting its chin on the rail. Hahaha! Can sleep like that ke? MasyaAllah, why la these birds so funny?! Did you guys experienced all these?
We finally ended the visit and stopped at flamingo area, where I almost drop my jaw, when I saw a pair of HUGE pelicans! I was super amazed till I felt like crossing the gate and hug them. Hahaha! We once, shouted at the flamingos when they were all sleeping with one-legged stand. What a good balance they have.

For more info, you may visit their website at http://www.klbirdpark.com/index.cfm. They have packages, promotions, and discounts at all the time.

Special Admission Rate for MyKad Holder
ADULT : RM 25 only (Normal admission rate: RM 48)
CHILD (3 - 12 years old) : RM 12 only (Normal admission rate: RM 38)

For me, it is a must place to visit. You can bring your kids for birthday party, bring your family for family day, bring your staff for seminar, bring your students for field-trip, OR, bring your spouse-to-be for pre-wed session!

Colorful Night At I-City Shah Alam

If it's not because of my sister and her family came to KL, I wouldn't want to visit I-City, the "light wonderlands" a.k.a "color city", in Shah Alam! Hahaha! But I was wrong! I must go :)

We were all equipped with sweaters (I was with the most exaggerate) as we read, there was a "cool room" there. So we expect to see some kind of snow here and there lah. And we agreed to get in and play with "snow", regardless how much we have to spend.

It was quite late when we reached there. We parked our car at the basement and walked up to the open area...then we saw these.
I was astonished at first, coz the lights were colorful. The autumn trees added into our excitement since we just got back from Seoul, and watched the real maples and clovers.Then I started to get bored when I saw this! Huh? The same firecrackers light? This light has been on the road since 1990's la weh! Well ok, memory lane maybe?Satisfied with that area, we walked to the building where it is believed, to be the location of "cool room".
Then there was a huge and tall white Christmas tree. Yeay! We were on the right track to the "cool room"! Can't wait to see the snow! We hold it, still, and snapped few pictures with castles, deers, bridges and all.Then there was the "cool room"! (To the right.) And what was inside? A room with white interiors, decorated with colorful lights, IN AIR-CONDITIONED!

WHERE THE HELL IS THE SNOW??? (No wonder they called it "cool room" instead of "snow room"...) I want snowy :(
We didn't enter. We walked to other open area, with more maple trees, Christmas trees, and started to play-posing. That's the best that we can do there.
We ended the night by going back to the first open area, and had fun snapping photos with this giant cactus, where my nephew did something kinky with it. Hahaha! (And I took my Viet-sweater off! Crazy hot ok!)
To go again? (Yeah, it's free.) Kudos to M'sia for having this place for weekend night-out. At least, you can play in these beautiful cheerful lights with your love ones.

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