Lilypie - First Birthday

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cameron Highlands revisited Pt. 2 - The Smokehouse

On our way to the hotel, we visited the famous Ye Olde Smokehouse which is located near Brinchang. I've heard a lot about this place but this is my first time visiting. The Smokehouse is as pretty as a picture!!


Lovely white setting with all white walls and rattan garden chair and slow, spinning fan and white piano!! Totally my dream garden/ outdoor dining area~

We wanted to go in for lunch but the price was too exorbitant! A normal steak set would cost RM45 and above and the scones cost RM8.50! I'd rather go somewhere cheaper for lunch... but then again, if not in a big group, the romantic surroundings and "patrons-only" photo spots would be so totally worth the price~ Hmm... next time, perhaps?

Also a really nice place for some "pre-wedding photography"... ^__^

Flowers, flowers abound!

Dunno why, this picture reminds me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' cottage...

Pops of purple

Angel wings

And a pretty frame

Update on low-lifes...

Low-lifes Part I

OMG! Cinapek works at my workplace!!! I saw him while paying for my breakfast just now and hurriedly turned my face around so that he wouldn't see me!

:-S

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cameron Highlands revisited - Sg. Palas Boh Tea Plantation

My last trip to Cameron Highlands was more than a year ago, where my friends and I went to celebrate Pakatan Rakyat's victory after the March 8 general elections. That time coming down from Cameron, I was almost late for my bus back to Penang so I asked my parents to bring my stuff and meet me at the bus station. On their way there they saw this house... fell in love with it... and bought it! So, that was also the time we got a new family home... ^__^

This family trip was to celebrate my Mom's birthday (21st June) and Fathers' Day. Thanks Dad for all the planning and the free hotel stay!

After buying strawberries at one of the farms along the Simpang Pulai highway, we stopped at Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation for tea. The road into the tea plantation is extremely narrow and full of blind spots... scary... x_X

From the carpark, there's a walking trail through the tea bushes up to the tea center.

The Sg. Palas Boh tea center. The last time I came here I was still a kid. Looks like they revamped the whole place. Nice modern architecture.

Nice place to take couple shots

Tea factory

The old-school way of processing tea leaves. Last time we could walk in and stand right next to the machines. Now all of them are behind glass walls...

Enjoyed a cup of hot tea. Sooooo many people! The odd one out? The frothy teh tarik... my favourite :-) Clockwise from top left: teh tarik, tehcino with caramel, tehcino with peppermint and tehcino with vanilla...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happier Days in Melaka - Part 3: Nyonya Dumpling

~photo courtesy of Ah Xian's blog

My favourite color combination is blue & white but I didn't know that there was a dumpling that looked this romantic until I met the Nyonya Dumpling. Two years ago when I first started dating the baba boy, he brought a nyonya dumpling made by his aunty for me as breakfast. *Love love*

Mom asked me to get some for her from here after she read about it in the newspapers. Turns out it's famous... and oh so yummy too! I ended up buying 10 of them.

Get it from:
106-E, Bukit Serindit, Melaka.
Tel: 06-283 4734

Best way to reheat is to steam it, not microwave it or it'll turn out stiff. Oh yeah and the Ba Zhang (salty dumplings) there are pretty famous too! :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The two low lifes staying upstairs...

A couple of weeks ago when I was in the lift going upstairs back to my apartment with Leonard, I encountered one of the most unpleasant neighbours a person can ever get. Together in the lift with us were these two Indonesian girls (one of them quite pretty) carrying a bag of durians, and a Chinese ah pek wearing a singlet and shorts.

Suddenly out of nowhere this Cinapek started scolding the two Indons LOUDLY... "Kenapa lu bising sangat? You everyday make noise... you are SO NOISY!!!" All four of us were shocked by his sudden outburst and were stunned into silence. The two Indons looked at each other and then back at me innocently, not knowing what was going on. "Tapi kami tinggal di blok lain..." they pleaded.

At first I kept quiet, and turned my eyes to the lit-up buttons on the lift panel, wishing that the lift would go faster. But the Cinapek seemed to ignore their innocent pleas and kept on screaming at them, his eyes raging with fire. It came to an extent where I couldn't take it any longer. He had been scolding them non-stop ever since we stepped into the lift. He could have scolded all he wanted, but when it became disruptive to others (i.e. ME!) he was crossing the line. Who picks on girls like that anyway!?

I retorted: "How can you scold people like that? Can't you just speak properly and not scream at people like that?" (Out of the corner of my eye I could see Leo quietly shaking his head and I could imagine him thinking: "Why must you be so busybody?")

Cinapek turned his eyes to me and said: "You don't know the noise they've been making!"

Well actually I stay just one floor below and I have never heard any commotion from upstairs yet so I said back: "Well you don't have to scold them like that, had you complained to the authorities?"

Cinapek said: "I have, but there's no use!" and THEN suddenly, he turned his anger toward me! "I think maybe you like the noise lah... you like lah... you got something wrong with you... you try staying next to them and see?" Etc etc etc...

By then, luckily, the lift reached our floor and we walked out, glad to relieve ourselves from the verbal terror that had just occured. I threw back a sentence after I stepped out of the lift: "That guy is just so rude!" while thinking to myself, well if you're so high-class and can't stand noise, why don't you just move to an exclusive condo with sound-proof walls!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had actually forgotten most of this episode until today when Leo and I saw Mr. Angry-and-Rude-Cinapek again. More correctly, I saw his bag of mangosteens first before I saw him. Actually, I didn't even remember it was him. He was with another guy who was shorter, fatter and uglier. Only the four of us were in the lift this time.

I was just back from church and was holding an "Our Daily Bread" digest in my hand over the Bible. Suddenly out of nowhere Mr. Short-Fat-and-Ugly shot me a glance, looked away and started mumbling "Freedom of speech ahh. The daily bread it seems... I think her bread is mouldy..." mumble, mumble, mumble... etc... while Cinapek gave some approving nods.

I pretended not to notice until I reached my apartment. I was like... >.<... *smoke billowing from the top of my head*... Who the heck talks like that anyway? Usually only 38 aunties talk like that, and it wasn't even any of his business! These bloody faggots (sorry, no offense to my lovely gay friends)... only a faggot would stand up for another faggot to talk like that, without even having the courage to speak up right in front of my face, right? Darn it, I hope all his mangosteens rot and have worms crawling in all of them!!! >.<

Saturday, June 13, 2009

[San Francisco] Cheesecake at Macy's

Week 1
Day 4 (Nov 23rd, Sunday)
Day 2 in San Francisco - Cheesecake at Macy's

Above the glitzy glamour of Union Square, there's an open secret which every San Franciscan knows. There's a Cheesecake Factory on the topmost floor of Macy's! ^__^

Being the American equivalent of our very own "Secret Recipe", The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain serves gourmet food and very, very yummy cheesecake. That was where our hungry pack was headed after our long drive back from Napa Valley!

Leonard dropped my parents and I off in front of Macy's while he and my brother went off to hunt for space in the craze of San Francisco's fully-parked streets! Not knowing that there's a direct elevator to The Cheesecake Factory, we took the escalators through Macy's, all the while fighting off temptation to wander through all those wonderful racks of gorgeous clothes... >.<

When we landed on the top floor, to our surprise, The Cheesecake Factory was practically JAM PACKED! It was like some scene in the O.C. where beautiful, well-dressed ,young people stood around holding drinks and talking loudly. The clock was nearly 9pm and I wondered why the Americans had their dinners so late... and on a Sunday night too! It was chaotic. Timidly, I navigated my way to the counter and put on my best American accent that I'd learnt from TV. The counter girl told me we had to wait for an hour, then gave me a pager that would blink when we were ready to be seated . An hour??!? That was like the craziest thing I'd heard so far... cos I'd never waited an hour for my dinner before.

Hungrily, we went to stand by the cheesecake display. The rows of decadently tempting cakes seemed to expand along with my appetite with every growing moment. Just then, my brother and Leo walked in, with Leo holding a stalk of red rose! Yay, my first flower in US! :-)

Since we had an hour to kill, we went down to explore Macy's and then wandered out in the freezing night to the streets of Union Square's shopping district. We saw a street performance, basked in the warmth of Old Navy and soon, it was time to go back to the Cheesecake Factory. This time, we took the elevator up.

There are 2 dining sections in the restaurant - indoors or outdoors, where other than food, you can also feast on the magnificient Union Square night-time panorama while chilling halfway to death. Thankfully, we were seated indoors. My stomach was grumbling when our waiter came to take our orders... I was rambling on with all my orders while he gave me an incredulous look! Turns out the American way of dining (read: slow-dining) is for the waiter to first take your drinks order, then go away and give you time to figure out what to eat, then the waiter comes back to take your food order. No wonder the Americans invented fast-food!!

I can't remember now what we ordered but it vaguely consisted of kobe beef steak, some spicy fish with Italian rice, pork rib rack, cheesecake and mango yoghurt drink! OMG, I miss that strawberry cheesecake!!!

Some photos of Union Square in the night time... (this were actually taken on Day 1 when we reached San Francisco)

While we were loitering around in Union Square 1 of these guys suddenly came up to us and requested we take a photo of them... when I asked them how do I mail it to them he just said nvm, we just want a photo... =_='''... wonder where they're going off to next... tsktsk...

This is the famous Sir Francis Drake hotel which is just one block away from our hotel. We passed by, and the faux elegance caught my eye. Went in to look around and also to use the toilet. :-P

Christmas in the hotel

Friday, June 05, 2009

[San Francisco] An afternoon in Fisherman' Wharf

Week 1
Day 5 (Nov 24th, Monday)
Day 3 in San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf

There are many different façades to San Francisco life, and Fisherman's Wharf is one of them. The Wharf is remotely different from the prim and proper neighbourhoods of San Francisco with their quiet European charm and trimmed lawns, and looks blue-collarish compared to the classy Union Square area.

A remnant of its seafaring past, it is now best known for its many restaurants and hawker stands serving fresh seafood. I couldn't wait to try it... I wonder what's the difference between Malaysian and American seafood?

We were overwhelmed by the long row of seafood restaurants and our ravenous stomachs, not to mention the huge lunch crowd. Didn't know which shop to choose from, so we simply entered the one which had the most fresh looking seafood on display! Sabella and LaTorre.

The yummy clam chowder is a must try. I didn't take any photos of it, but the creamy soup comes served in a breadbowl. Complimentary and refillable 'sourdough bread' in a basket - famous in San Francisco - was also served with our meal. At first taste, the bread put a frown on our faces cos it tasted real sour and we were thinking it had gone bad! I had many firsts here: first time eating lobster and first time eating raw oysters. It was a bit of a gastronomical adventure for me, cos I didn't know whether the oysters were really clean. They smelt of the sea. I spritzed some lemon juice on top, and gulped down. Yummy!

Lunch special: crabs, clams, shrimps and oyster.

The difference between American and Malaysian seafood: the crabs and shrimp were served cold, whereby here we usually get them cooked in sauce.

Fish and chips...

Boudin Bakery, where you can see how they make the famous 'sourdough bread' behind glass windows...
You can't miss this landmark at Fisherman's Wharf!

After having our fill we walked a short distance to Pier 39, which is an incredibly touristy spot filled with gift shops, restaurants, video arcades, stage performances, etc. The place was jam-packed with Asian tourists and American families...

The sky is blue at the Pier

One very interesting sight to behold is the sea lions basking on the docks at Pier 39! There were so many of them with making their lazy gawking noises... It was fascinating to see so many of these animals grouping so peacefully close to mankind. Funnily, the sea lions like to group together on the fully-packed docks, even though there were so many other empty ones... @_@... and they like to bully too! For the latecomer that tries to clamour onto the dock, the others will kick him until it falls back into the sea, but then it tries again, and falls again...

Beautiful view of Alcatraz Island... with yachts!

Blurred photo of Pier 39... argh... I only have one!

We were spending a lot of time inside the gift shops because it was freezing outside! This musical merry-go-round has all the Disney characters on it! Love it but it's too expensive!

Dead Santa sea-lion

Around 5pm, sunset at the pier. It was beautiful and romantic. We stayed there to watch the sun as it went down. It was tremendously chilly there as the sea wind blew at our faces and I hugged my jacket closer and pulled my beanie and hood down to my eyes, covering as much face as possible.
About 6 o'clock was the Christmas Tree Lighting which was the highlight of the night itself with many song performances. It was beautiful... this was the only clear picture I could get.

After that we went for dinner at one of the restaurants inside Pier 39. The food was similar to what we had for lunch, but the dining experience turned out extremely unmemorable because of the very unpleasant attitude of the waiter. Leo wrote down our complaints on the bill!

Next, we walked to the row of souvenir shops outside the pier which sold stuff at less expensive prices compared to the ones inside Pier 39. Here, I got my keychains, mugs, photo frames, and a musical cable car that sings "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" as it turns and rewinds.

Took the cable back to Union Square area... this is us inside our hotel lift, tired but happy from all that sightseeing... ^__^

[San Francisco] Morning in Union Square & Lombard Street

Week 1
Day 5 (Nov 24th, Monday)
Day 3 in San Francisco - Union Square, Lombard Street, Ghirardelli Square

It's a beautiful morning in this picturesque city! San Francisco isn't known as the "Most Walkable City" for nothing, so today we're gonna walk, walk, and walk!

Union Square

We had breakfast at a café in Union Square. San Francisco embodies the charm of European cities in its open-air cafés, where people can sip their morning coffee and enjoy the sun.

Behind us is a really cute aid dog

I found the bartender pretty cute too! ^__^

Coffee and pastries

Skiing season - kids, parents, teenagers... all in a skiing frenzy!

Dewey Monument in the background. One month to Christmas and they were still decorating the Christmas Tree!

I left my heart in San Francisco

The iconic San Francisco cable car! We took the Powell-Hyde line to Fisherman's Wharf. Behind is the unique turntable that rotates the cable car around.

The inside of a cable car

It was fun going up and down the steep streets of San Francisco

Lombard Street

The world's most crookedest street! I'd only seen this in postcards from my colleagues but this was the real thing at last!

Coit Tower in the distance, a view from the top of Lombard Street.

Walking down Lombart Street

Lombard St. is a one-way street, looks pretty interesting to drive down! There are residential houses on each side of the street, I wonder if they're worth millions...? But I can't imagine the ruckus if I were to live there... all that noisy chatter from tourists passing by your window everyday, and the occasional horns... @_@

Obligatory family photo at the end of Lombard Street - a well-maintained and beautifully landscaped flower street (九曲花街).

More scenery and sights along the way to Fisherman's Wharf... chocolate trees and houses!

Autumn Entanglement

Group pic at the waterfront, at the back is the Golden Gate Bridge

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli chocolates is a very famous San Francisco brand and the Square houses many speciality shops and restaurants. Basically, there was nothing much to see here, just to try some of its famous hot chocolate and ice-cream...

A clown played a trick on mama - spurted some fake ketchup on my jacket she was wearing! Gave her a real shock!

Christmas Tree in Ghirardelli Square -- one of many many more Christmas trees to come!

After visiting the Square we headed off to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. We passed by a line of art galleries, and there was Salvador Dali's works on display! Leo and I had just read one of Stephen King's latest novels "Duma Key", where Salvador Dali is said to be "the scariest artist". Spent some time looking at his artwork in the gallery - a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland.