Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Another Report Card To Collect And Grieving For A Friend's Son

Report Card Day

Got to set aside a few minutes from my working hours and dash to Raimie's religious school tomorrow to collect his report card.
It feels like when you have schoolgoing kids, dashing to schools is part of your routine.

We'll see how Raimie did for his religious school exams. The exam look difficult, in my opinion for a 7 year old but I guess kids nowadays are way smarter than us when we were kids!

Grieving For A Friend's Son

While the world grieves for Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, we are grieving for a friend. Her son, just born 6 days ago passed away yesterday and was cremated on the same day. The baby had to go through two operations in his very young age. It is a sad day for all of us, especially for the parents who had waited for their firstborn eagerly.

I just want to let her know, that we are here if she needs anything and will support her. Hope she and her husband will stay strong.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

School Report Card

We woke up early this morning. We need to go to Raimie's school for his mid-year assessment result and see his class teacher. Raimie has to attend a replacement class today too so he needs to be at school from 7.45am to 12.15pm.

No major issues about Raimie with his class teacher except that he is still rather timid in class. For his exams, he got an A for all his subject except the Arts which he got a B. But the percentages were way down compared to his earlier exam. We were not too worried, because all the papers were quite hard and anyway, he is just in Standard One. He got third placing for his class and for the whole Standard One too. So, congrats Raimie. Do your very best again next time, OK?

We told him that for his final exam before the end-of-year school holiday, he needs to do his best and aim for first placing. If he can manage that (with our support, studying together with him of course), we'll treat him for a 2-days trip to Tokyo Disneyland & Disneysea. If he gets second placing, we'll just go for a day trip. If he gets third placing, we'll go for a hike into the mountains instead. Talk about giving pressure! LOL But no lah, we told him that jokingly.

It was rather funny when we went to his classroom. I guess we were at his school so often that all his classmates know us, and were calling out Raimie's name to tell him that "Raimie's Mama" had arrived. My little boy, just feigned ignorance and continued with his colouring. He just ignored us in front of his friends! He is always reluctant to show his "manja" side with us in front of his friends and rather act "cool". Oh my big boy... No more kissing his cheek in public anymore too... But I just can't resist making funny faces in front of him and his classmates and embarrass him a bit. Hahaha

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A Super City Vacation For Us In September?

I know we just came back from our vacation to Cameron Highlands barely two weeks ago, but I'm already planning for our next weekend break. Do you like to plan your vacation or weekend-break way ahead or do you wait till last minute? I always like to plan ahead, especially for an important date like our coming 10th wedding anniversary on Sept 4th.

I am now already comparing hotel prices of a few hotels in Kuala Lumpur for our coming 10th wedding anniversary celebration. It would be nice not only to have a nice dinner that night but also spend the night in a relaxing and quiet environment; which a hotel fits the bill (and maybe instead of dinner out, we can order room service instead).

We are not planning to go anywhere far, somewhere in Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya; which is quite near to our home is good enough especially considering that Raimie needs to go to school on Monday. Lucky for us, the Accor Hotels City Super Sale is on now for stays between July 10 - September 30, 2009. We can choose either to stay at Pullman-Putrajaya Hotel for a mere RM155 per night or at Novotel, KLCC at RM175 per night. The room rates are a bargain! At the moment, I'm leaning more towards Pullman-Putrajaya Hotel. What do you think?

Or maybe, we can combine our wedding anniversary celebration with our birthdays celebration and head off to Thailand instead. Both Zaini and I celebrate our birthdays just two days apart, three weeks after our wedding anniversary. A vacation towards the end of September in Bangkok, Thailand would be great too.

As a matter of fact, even before we got to know about Accor Hotels City Super Sale, we've already discussed about going to Thailand for our holiday. With the Accor Hotels City Super Sale, there's no reason not to go. Flying to Bangkok is not expensive, what with MAS and AirAsia having bargain airfares on sale. The last time I checked, I managed to get air tickets to Bangkok with AirAsia for less than RM500.00. Imagine dining, shopping and spa treatments while vacationing in Bangkok. Mmm... Maybe we can go for a visit to the Grand Palace, temples (or wats), the floating market and perhaps watching a Muay Thai (Thai boxing) match too after my shopping spree.

While discussing on the merits of a weekend break here at home or flying off to Bangkok, I need to keep in mind that to enjoy up to 60% discount on hotel rooms, I need to book online between June 23 - June 29. We'd better make our decision fast!


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Stopping And Smelling The Roses

Apart from the fruits and fresh vegetables available in abundance in Cameron Highlands, one can appreciate the beauty of flowers there too. For me, I always enjoyed looking at flowers blooming outdoors instead of cut flowers in vases. All these photos were taken at Equatorial Hotel garden. While walking around, we saw a chef picking up some plants, maybe for decoration for the night's dinner. Bees and butterflies fluttered around the flowers, but we didn't managed to capture any photos of the bees (not anything decent, anyway).

Monday, 22 June 2009

Mountain Strawberry Farm Visit

After our visit to Sungei Palas Tea Plantation, we went to Mountain Strawberry Farm nearby. The farm was a little out of the beaten path, so there wasn't too much crowd at the farm. In fact, apart from us there were only two other families there. The lovely thing here was the fact that we were free to roam the place unsupervised and unlike some farms that allow strawberries picking, this farm didn't require a deposit. Just take your scissors and bucket, and you are set to go.

We also took the opportunity to pick some vegetables too. It can't get any fresher than this. Choosing and picking your vegetables right at the vegetable patch! We were assisted by a farm hand, a very nice obliging Bangladeshi guy who had worked in Malaysia for 5 years already. He even let us taste some fresh carrots plucked right out from the soil and some strawberries too.

We didn't buy much, just the strawberries, some cabbages, cherry tomatoes and zucchinis.We totally forgot to pick up some Cameron apples (which they say taste like honey dew) that day! Raimie enjoyed eating a homemade strawberry ice-cream. Taste rather like an "asam" flavoured ice-cream as it was kinda sweet and sour.

Our visit to the farm was made enjoyable because of the relaxed atmosphere and friendly helpful people at the farm. We were able to take our time at both the Boh Tea Centre and at this farm.

There are plenty other sights that we are yet to visit, but then, there's more reason for us to return to Cameron Highlands in future! Maybe next time, we'll get the whole clan to come too. :-)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Day For Fathers Out There

We didn't plan anything special for Father's Day. Zaini did not want anything. Well, I told him earlier that our Cameron Highlands trip was an early Father's Day gift for him. He's been declining my offers to treat him for dinner so it'll be just eating home-cooked food for us later today.

To all fathers out there - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sungei Palas Tea Plantation And Boh Tea Centre

After breakfast on Tuesday morning, we made our way to Sungei Palas Tea Plantation which came highly recommended by the friendly F&B Manager at the Hotel. What better way to experience Cameron Highlands than following the advice of the people who knew the place best, right?

The plantation was quite near to our Hotel but getting there might be a challenge to some. Not only that the road is winding, it is quite narrow and could only allow a vehicle at one time at some stretch. Plenty of maneuvering may be required before you reach the Boh Tea Centre.
Along the way, we got to see workers going about their business, picking (or plucking) tea leaves, sorting them and transporting them to a collection area where more sorting were done. We hit the refreshment area first after doing our farm walk. We were parched! Nice view from the verandah too, overlooking the tea plantation. Acres and acres of it. The turquoise building in the photo below were the workers home. At the estate, a school, a Hindu temple and sundry shop apart from the workers homes were clustered together.

We parked our car nearby the Tamil school down there and walked up. If you want to omit the walk, you can drive straight up to the Boh Tea Centre too. Don't worry about parking, a very helpful guy will help you manouver into the best parking spot near the school.
After having our nice cold tea, we went to check out the factory tour.

5 stages of tea processing and photos of our factory tour

Before we left, a visit to the souvenir shop was in order. We bought a couple of Boh green tea packs and a t-shirt from Raimie.

Then we went to a nearby farm for a bit of strawberry and vegetable picking. Didn't visit Mossy forest or Mount Brinchang peak nearby, maybe next time eh?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Breakfast, Dinner And Snacks In-Between

On our first night in Cameron Highlands, we decided to try Equatorial's steamboat buffet dinner at Golden Phoenix Restaurant. The buffet was priced RM38.90++ for adults and RM25.00++ for children.

The buffet spread was decent enough. Apart from fersh seafood and vegetables, there were dim sums, fried items and roast items available. What I like the most was the roast duck. I made a couple of return visits to get the roast duck. Unfortunately, the roast items (roast duck, chicken and the BBQ chicken drumstick) took quite a while to be replenished as did the plates.

Overall, a good evening for us. The staff were accommodating and able to handle even the most demanding guest well. We were made to feel like we were in a posh restaurant with their treatment especially by the maitre 'd whom I didn't manage to catch his name. We got a perfect table, not too far and not too near the buffet area. But being served with some water before we started eating would be nicer. It took three requests for some water to finally get them.

Our breakfast on Tuesday was also a very pleasant dining experience. Meeting Equatorial's CEO and GM was a nice surprise and I had a rather nice chat with them during breakfast. It sure was flattering to know that the CEO read my posts on Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya.

Nothing beats a freshly brewed coffee for me and that was what I got. Raimie had cereal (without milk) and Zaini had omelette made from him from the kitchen. Breakfast ended with some fruits.

The scones and muffin, we didn't eat them during breakfast though, I stashed them in my handbag to eat while we were out sightseeing. Hehehe... I'm very kiamsiap (stingy) woman. Do you know how much scones cost in Cameron Highlands???!!! They were not cheap!
The Coffee Shop was a hive of activity during breakfast time. The staff (particularly the one in the photo below) were efficient and friendly.

Our second day experience having breakfast at the Hotel was a total turn from the day before. We were made to wait as the staff checked through a long list for our room number despite the fact we had breakfast voucher on hand. Unlike the day before, after verifying our room number, the staff just waved us inside and left us to find our own table in the crowded restaurant. Interestingly, not all guest were subjected to this check as most wasn't stopped at the entrance. Maybe we look like we don't belong there, I don't know...

I wouldn't have minded so much if not for the fact the service on the second day wasn't at all like the day before. Don't tell me the staff only work well when the CEO, GM and F&B Manager were around? Only Roger seemed to be helping hotel guests find their tables, but one man sure can't cope with such a huge crowd.

Needless to say, no freshly brewed coffee (just boring coffee taken from the buffet area) and no omelette on the second day. (I'm pouting inside, you know. LOL)

We did venture out for food, but not so much a full meal but for snacks. We had a few skewers of the celup (dipped) steamboat at the market and some steamed corns too. The corn was sweet enough not to need any butter/margarine and salt slathered on them. And I had those lovely cherry tomatoes for a snack and some strawberries, fresh zucchinis, etc... yeah plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables eaten while in Cameron Highlands.


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