Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa Claws at Manhattan Fish Market

Shortly after the Cherating trip, Papa and Mommy were still on leave (15th November 2010). Recently, Papa saw an advertisement by Manhattan Fish Market on a dish called 'SANTA CLAWS' which was actually the claws of those huge, expensive crab that you normally see in those Chinese restaurants that offer live seafood with aquariums (of exotic live seafood) decorating their shop. Manhattan is selling the dish for RM35.90. Papa reasoned that since such giant crab is very costly to eat in Chinese restaurants and also there's no guarantee whether the crab tastes very good for such price paid, Papa said why not go to the Manhattan Fish Market in Sunway Pyramid to give it a try (at least we don't have to buy the whole crab just to taste it!), so off we went as the family outing of the day.

We reached Sunway Pyramid early, partly because Papa wanted to make use of free wi-fi to check prices of shares.So while Papa 'internetted', Mommy looked over Juan Or as he fooled around with a piece of bendable straw that Mommy took from a muffin kiosk.

After that we headed off to Manhattan Fish Market but found the restaurant was still not open yet. Never mind, so we took Juan Or to loiter around and we found this choo-choo train deco at the M&M's stall. Since we had a lot of time to kill, we allowed Juan Or to linger at the choo-choo train to his heart's content.

See the smiling M&M's figure at the choo-choo train? Juan Or loved to put his hand into the figure's mouth to be 'gobbled'.

Finally at 11 am, the Manhattan Fish Market resturant opened and Papa ordered for a plate of 'SANTA CLAWS. Here's how it looked like!

A closer look at the claws......

Both Papa and Mommy shared the dish while Juan Or looked on and fooled around. Don't be deceived by this photo below as if Juan Or was waiting to eat his share! Not at all. He refused to try anything from the dish, instead he climbed up and down the bench, walked here, walked there, so much so the Manhattan staff had to give him Mentos candy to keep him at bay! Well, that's good service by Manhattan! ^_^

So how did the crab taste? Well, nothing to shout about, really. Taste-wise, the flesh is naturally salty, but as you continue to chew the flesh, the saltiness revealed sweetness. However, the sweetness is nothing compared to the sweetness of those mud crab flesh! So our conlusion is the very high price you have to pay for when eating those huge or almost giant-like exotic live crab in Chinese restaurants may not be very worthwhile after all compared to paying RM70 or RM75 per kg for eating live Sri Lanka mud crab!

After Manhattan, we headed to McDonalds for our proper lunch, and then to an indoor playground set for Juan Or to play.

Somewhere near the playground was a stall selling toys and Juan Or was attracted to one toy puppy that yaps and moves. That was the first time Mommy saw his fondness for animals (though it wasn't a real animal!). He even patted and sniffed the 'puppy', and even said,"Sayang (love) puppy!" Even when Mommy coaxed and took him away from the stall, he still turned back to look at the 'puppy'.

This sums up our humble outing at Sunway Pyramid. :-D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trip to Cherating: Final Day 3

As mentioned in the last blogpost, after the barbeque dinner, Mommy went back to the hotel room (after Papa and Juan Or went back first) and found Juan Or already asleep, and turned out Juan Or had not taken his bath yet. And he slept the whole night through without taking his bath!

OK, never mind, so the next day, after he woke up from sleep (which was very late - as late as about 8.30am, only half any hour more to go before Mommy had to attend another meeting), Mommy asked him whether he was ready to go for bath and his reply was in the negative. So Mommy forced him to take bath instead. So there he was, in the hotel room's bathroom, screaming and crying all the way while Mommy bathed him! Apparently he was uncomfortable with the bidet-cum-shower shooting water on him! Hmmm! After taking bath, he was a happy boy again! ^_^

Papa also managed to capture some sunrise photos on his handphone while having breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. See....Papa has more photographic eyes than Mommy, right?

And here's Mommy's version of a later sunrise.

Mommy packed our things into the luggage before going for the next meeting. Then by about 1pm when the meeting finished, Mommy ate lunch at the hotel's restaurant (Papa and Juan Or had taken their lunch their much earlier) and immediately left the hotel as Papa wanted to start the journey as soon as possible before traffic builds up. We reached the East Coast Expressway at 2.04 pm and came out at 4.04pm, reached the Karak Highway's first toll at 4.07 pm and the second toll at 4.46 pm. We finally reached our house by about 6 pm. That night, Mommy merely cooked pasta for dinner since we already had heavy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for 3 days. Papa was drained off his energy because of the long drive whereas Mommy felt stressed out coming back to a messy house with loads of laundry and chores waiting to be done! Hahaha....back to reality and routine!

P/S: Do mummies out there feel stressed out too coming back home after an enjoyable outstation vacation? ^_^

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trip to Cherating: Day 2 - Morning Sunrise, Beach and Stuff Crabs

On the second day, Mommy woke up early, at around 6.30 am and managed to capture the morning sunrise at the beach. Beautiful sight! Wish Mommy can wake up everyday to the sound of waves beating the beach and the beautiful silhoutte of trees at the beach.

By 7.00 am, we went for breakfast at the hotel's restaurant and after that we headed for the hotel's swimming pool. Mommy had purposely bought a float for Juan Or from Mr. DIY's shop for this purpose. Juan Or was very eager when he saw the swimming pool. But as soon as he realized that Mommy wanted to take off his diapers and change into his briefs, he started crying in protest, holding on to this his pants tightly! So in the end, Mommy gave up coaxing him to try the swimming pool, instead Mommy changed into swimming suit and took a brief dip.

After that, we headed to the beach. Once at the beach, Mommy attempted to remove Juan Or's slippers. And this boy seemed to be a 'clean freak'. Since one side of his slippers was already removed, he didn't know where or how to put his bare foot when Mommy tried removing the other side! ^_^ But finally he realized he was supposed to go barefeet on the sand. You can see his reaction that it gave him a funny feeling to walk barefeet on the sand, but eventually he got the hang of it.

We took some photos too at the beach just for memory's sake.

Here are some beach photos captured by Papa on his handphone (which is more capable than Mommy's handphone to get better quality photos!):

Then by 9.00 am, Mommy went for two more meetings, i.e., the Annual Programme Review meetings for Food Science and Nutrition and thereafter for Biotechnology degree programmes, this time merely as normal participant. While Mommy was away for meetings, Papa took Juan Or for a rounding at the Kemaman area, to which Papa bought back some satar (fish paste dumplings of their local Malays).

After lunch at the hotel, another meeting went on and then followed by team building activities. Luckily only two games were arranged for the team building activities, so by 4-plus pm, it ended. So Mommy quickly rushed back to the room so that Papa can take us out for rounding around the Kemaman town and to look for stuff crab.

Indeed we found the restaurants for stuff crabs at Kemaman. However, the more famous one (can't remember the name of the restaurant) was closed, so we settled for second best at Restoran Stuff Crab Kemaman.

Stuff crab is supposed to be the specialty dish of Kemaman and Cukai area, so we were eager to give it a try. The dish finally came and mmmmm.......it was very tasty - very pure, i.e., lots of crab meat in the stuffing, but it was quite expensive - RM7 for one stuff crab. Papa ordered four, so the whole dish was RM28.

After that we headed back to Cherating and on the way, Mommy asked Papa to stop at the same keropok lekor stall again to buy some lekors to eat, some seafood snacks and a packet of not-yet-fried lekors. The not-yet-fried lekors were selling for RM5 for 10 long strips (of the lekor). Mommy only bought one packet to try because Mommy wasn't too sure whether it will still remain good when we transported it back to Klang Valley without any refrigertion the next day.

Turned out, the not-yet-fried lekors still tasted good after three days since the last day of the trip (of course it stayed in the refrigerator after we got back home). Hmmmm......now Mommy regrets not buying more!

This is how it looked like before it's fried.....

.....and after deep-frying.

Here's the lekors eaten with the chilli dipping provided.

Now back to the trip again. We got back to the hotel, had a barbecue dinner (which did not taste nice at all!) at the hotel and then went back to our room., though not at the same time because Papa took Juan Or back first while Mommy continued eating. There was a meeting going on at 8.00 pm on the laboratory's strategic management, but thankfully Mommy was not required to be involved, so it was yippy time for Mommy to get to rest and relax in the hotel room! Same thing, Mommy tried reading newspaper, but because of the hotel room's dim lighting, Mommy felt very sleepy and went off to sleep by 9.30 pm. Same goes for Juan Or - he slept early too (in fact he already fell asleep when Mommy got back to the room) without needing any coaxing, and that's probably because of the room's dim lighting. So aren't hotel vacations good for both Juan Or and Mommy? Juan Or is able to go to sleep early and easily, and Mommy gets to have plenty of sleep and rest - something so rare for Mommy if in own home! ^_^

That sums up our second day at Cherating. Stay tuned for the third day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trip to Cherating: Day 1 (Part 2) - Juan Or Met New Friend

After buying keropok lekor and some dry fish crackers, we headed to Cherating Impiana Resort where we will be spending the night and of course the faculty meetings.We reached the hotel at around 11.30am.

Just when we thought we were the earliest to arrive, apparently one colleague and his family had already arrived there since 10.30 am or so. So turned out we were the second earliest to arrive.

While waiting for our room to be ready for check-in, Papa took the opportunity to surf the internet using the wi-fi facility (which is only available at the lobby area) while Juan Or occupied his time by watching his Tom and Jerry DVD cartoon (Mommy brought two laptops along for that purpose!).

While the boys were busy with the laptops, Mommy took the opportunity to look around the hotel lobby area. This was how the lobby area looked like.

Then somewhere around 12 noon plus, Mommy received SMS from the main troupe that those who had already arrived at the hotel can go ahead and have their lunch first at the hotel's restaurant. It was a buffet lunch with a humble spread of Malaysian dishes - about 4 or 5 main dishes and a soup, plus desserts and ulam (Malay version of salad). It was at the restaurant that we met the other colleague's family who arrived earlier than us. There was where Juan Or met a new friend, Jonathan Tennant, who is 3 to 4 years older.

Juan Or did not immediately click with Jonathan - yes, Juan Or has always been shy with unfamiliar faces, but eventually with Jonathan constantly looking and smiling at him and with Jonathan's mum inviting Juan Or to join them at the hotel's swimming pool and playing water gun, plus Mommy constantly asking Juan Or whether he wanted to join Jonathan Koko or not, Juan Or eventually opened up. What's more, both of them loved looking at fish swimming in the pond overlooking the restaurant, so much so both of them became good friends with Jonathan putting his arm over Juan Or's shoulder!

Here's another 'good friend' pose! ^_^

Here are two more of Mommy's favourite photos of the day!

Later at about 2 pm, then only did the main troupe arrived. They had their lunch while Mommy had just finished lunch while Papa who had already finished his lunch much, much earlier (Papa's a fast eater!) went ahead to unload our luggage from the car to our room.

This was how our room looked like.

See the window at the top right hand corner of the photo? That's the bathroom's window. Hehehe....that's for you to peep at who's taking bath! ^_^ Supposedly that's for the bathroom's ventilation, right? Hehehehe.......as soon as Papa sensed Mommy going in to do a big business, Papa immediately closed the window and the window remained closed for the rest of our stay! Hahahahahaha! This is a classic example of how sometimes some things may look nice in interior designing terms, but actually it's not practical! ^_^

On the other hand, Juan Or seemed to get himself comfy with the room immediately. He immediately liked what he saw and started jumping happily on the bed (it was a king-sized bed!)! He was also able to drink milk without hesitation in the new environment considering he had previous history of drinking-milk-problem in places other than the babysitter's house. Here he was, drinking milk at the indoor verendah-like bench.

The faculty's general meeting was scheduled to start at 3.30 pm and then immediately followed by Foundation in Science Annual Programme Review meeting at 5.00 pm (this was the meeting which was chaired by Mommy), so Mommy quickly took bath of Juan Or since he had substantially dirtied himself during lunch and after that Mommy took bath as well. Then Mommy left the room for the meetings while Papa and Juan Or stayed in the room to rest and enjoy themselves.

Finally the meetings ended at 6.30 pm, Mommy went back to the hotel room and found Juan Or fast asleep. According to Papa, not too long after Mommy left for the meeting, Juan Or konked out and slept like a log - too tired perhaps. So even if Juan Or accepted Jonathan's mummy's invitation to play water gun in the late afternoon, Juan Or still would not be able to make it because of his tiredness. ^_^

We went for dinner at the hotel's restaurant, went back to the room and watched television and slept early. Mommy was surprised too that Juan Or was willing to sleep early. Otherwise had he been in own house, he wouldn't want to sleep early, he would still want to play and play and play. Mommy reckoned it was probably due to the hotel room's dim lighting which gives you the sleepy and lazy feeling....hahaha! So that night, Mommy got to sleep early - as early as 9.30 to 10.00 pm - never before in Mommy's life after Juan Or came into the world, and indeed a good and ample rest too! Call it luxury sleep! ^_^

That sums up the end of our first day at Cherating.

To be continued......

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trip to Cherating: Day 1 (Part 1)

Yes, for readers who read the previous blogpost, Mommy was actually packing up for a trip to Cherating. This was not exactly a holiday trip for Mommy but was an off-site Annual Programme Review Meeting trip organized by Mommy's faculty. It was because of preparing for this meeting that Mommy was so busy and stressed up in the weeks approaching 12th November 2010. *This explains why Mommy 'dissappeared' from the blogging scene for that period of time* By the way, the tentative programme set out by the Dean allocated about 95% of the time for meetings and faculty-related activities, so this is more of a working trip rather than a leisure trip for Mommy. *Sigh!*

We started our journey at 5.20 am from home (whereas other colleagues who started their journey from UCSI only started moving at 10.30am, i.e., one-and-a-half hours later than their scheduled time of 9.00 am due to some technical problems!). Because it was that early, Papa took a 'slow' (driving at 80-100 km/h) and rather unobstructed drive. By 6.17 am, we reached the first toll of the Karak Highway and the second toll by 6.52 am, and then entered the East-Coast Expressway at 7.22 am and finished at 9.57am. Then we went on a long stretch of trunk road in search of Cherating Impiana Resort, but along the way, we saw the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary, so we stopped by to have a look since it was still early (the meet-up time at the resort was set at 12.30 pm.

We entered the sanctuary's compound and saw the sanctuary in the form of a traditional Malay house.

Admission was free but there was a donation box for visitors to donate. Or visitors could donate by buying their souvenirs. To enter the 'house', we had to remove our slippers....

and sign the guestbook. Only Papa signed to represent all three of us.

The house stored a preserved dugong......

....and a model of a turtle's life-cycle.

Next was a flight of stairs that leads you out of the house but into the real turtle exhibit area. Funnily though, visitors are 'expected' to go to the real turtle exhibit area barefoot, yet when Mommy asked the personnel on duty, then only did she say that visitors are allowed to carry their footwear with them when they are still in the house. But the funny thing was the entrance only has the signboard that requested visitors to take off their footwear when entering, yet there is no extra signboard to indicate that visitor can carry their footwear with them!

"Uh-oh! Slippers are left at the front entrance, but this way to the turtles are already going out of the house! Go barefoot!? No way, it's so sandy and dirty!"

It was at this section that we saw adult turtles, .......

.....preserved turtle, ....

....and baby turtles.

Juan Or had a  fun time posing for Mommy too!

There was a small cosy garden in the compound too, and Juan Or was supposed to pose for Mommy, instead he was distracted by some plants and went on to pull out the plant! *Shake head*

Just outside the sanctuary's compound is the Cherating beach, so we went there to have a look too.

The sand here in Cherating is golden brown unlike over here in west coast where the sand is white (and boring! ^_^). And the waves in Cherating are bigger too than what you normally see at west coast. We managed to snap some photos at the beach.

We also saw this warning notice at the beach - warning visitors not to come to this beach without any permission from 7.30pm to 7.30am and visitors are not supposed to disturb or take the turtles and the eggs.

Mommy also managed to do a video recording of the beach and the sound of the waves, but too bad, Mommy's handphone can only do that much.

After the beach, we explored the trunk road and saw lots of stalls selling keropok lekor (wet type of fish crackers) and satar (the local Malay fish paste 'dumpling'). Papa was longing to eat satar (we first tasted this in a tourism carnival in Malacca and immediately liked it at first taste!) but too bad, none of the satar stalls seems to have opened for business but all the lekor stalls seems to be opened. So Mommy simply picked one lekor stall and bought some dry crackers and lekor. The difference between lekor stalls in the east coast and west coast is that in the east coast, the seller will deep-fry the lekor as and when the customers buy them whereas in west coast, the lekors are all readily deep-fried and left in the open air for customers to choose.

This is the stall that Mommy chose to buy from. It is the stall nearest to the arch structure that marks the boundary between Cherating and Kemaman of Terengganu. 

See....this boy was so happy that Mommy stopped over to buy something.

And finally, we ate the not-to-be-missed item - keropok lekor - selling for RM1 for every 5 pieces (in deep-fried form). The lekor here was much, much tastier than the ones sold in Klang Valley. This one had fish taste and tasted pure whereas the ones sold in Klang Valley had very little fish taste, instead had more flour in them!And the chilli dipping tasted good too! Yum-yum!

After that we went on our way to look for the turning into the Cherating Impiana Resort. So stay tuned!
By the way, while driving along the Cherating-Kemaman trunk road, Papa noticed the local people tend to want to overtake our car even though it was double line and the distance between Papa's car and the car in front was not too far away. Hmmmm.....that probably explains why it is common to read in the local dailies of head-on collisions happening in the east coast roads.