Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feverish Jiberish

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Ever woke up one morning and wished you hadn't? That's exactly how I felt the Monday and Tuesday that just passed. My throat was parched, like I had just ran a triathalon non stop and badly needed rest. The only ironic thing was that I had been resting for the last 8 or 9 hours at least. I felt so hot, yet so cold. Like I desperately needed a cold shower, but at the same time, wanted to cover myself up all over because goosebumps were crawling all over my skin. It was agonizing! My head felt like it was floating, and I couldn't move a muscle since I was aching all over.

I didn't think it was that bad, since I didn't feel like I was having that bad a fever. My body didn't feel that warm at least. So I just slept in... it was only towards the evening that I decided to go see a doctor to reassure myself. Julien wasn't too worried, since I could still hold a proper conversation.

At the reception, I realised that the staff nurses were wearing masks over their faces. You know, that ones that surgeons have on. Which was odd, because it's not usual practice for them. So then this old nurse calls me up to the reception and asks in a low serious tone:

Nurse: Do you have any symptoms of fever or flu?
Me: Yes
Nurse: ...... (her eyes almost popped out of their sockets) please hold on.

She then scurries off and disappears behind a door, leaving me dumbfounded, wondering if I had just contracted some terminal fever or something... I mean, how bad can a fever be right? THEN the news came on.... (yeah, they've got tv at the clinic). Apparently there's this new bug called the swine fever or swine flu (I can't remember which one) going around. There were some pigs in Mexico that were sick and this was transmitted to humans. It's been spreading in the US, and so far about 2 people in Singapore have it. Apparently, the government wants to take action to prevent this from becoming an epidemic in Singapore, like SARS that spread like wildfire then.

My jaw dropped..... so then they called my number, (I think they had me jump the queue). To cut the story short, I'm okay, it's apparently just regular high fever of about 39 degrees. The doctor had told me however, that if I start to develop the other symptoms (a long list of other things), then it would be a one way ticket to Tan Tock Seng hospital for me. Dang!

I'm good so far... just want to get well sooner. The weather's just been too disagreeable lately.

It's Wednesday and I tried to go back to work but ended up taking the 2nd half of the day off. Sniff...


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

T'was my birthday just last Sunday, (inching my way closer to the Big 3) and I'm realising I'm so blessed! I have such a blissful life with a wonderful yeti that I'm madly in love with and whom I'm going to share my life with. I have a wonderful family who love us both and have been very supportive and helpful with the wedding preparations this August. I have great future parent in laws who think about me and remember my birthday! And I've got great friends to party the night away with. Who cares if I'm almost 30 in 2 more years?

We had a great party on saturday evening. It's been a while since we all had a barbecue so we decided to organise one and fire up the grill. Great food. Great company. Great music. It couldn't've been a more perfect way to spend the eve of my birthday. A couple of hours before midnight, Julien had handed me my first birthday present. It was a magnet that blinked lights which screamed "Birthday Girl". I had to wear that for the rest of the night, which I didn't mind of course.

We partied on for the rest of the evening till it was midnight. That's when they presented me with the birthday cake all lit up singing the birthday song. It's always nice to spend your birthday with the people that you love and who love you. Another birthday gift was given to me this time with a card.

I was told that Julien had done all the organising, to buy the cake and gifts. For my second gift, his initial idea was to get me a doll house, since I've been telling him ever so often that it would be nice to have our own place eventually. But they couldn't find the perfect one, so Julien got me a large book filled with ideas and pictures on how to decorate your home!!! Perfect!!!

The question that remains a mystery to me till today is, How did he do it? - We see each other every other day. If he were to be exceptionally late, I would know. But life went on as usual. So how?

The next day, on my actual birthday, I woke up to this really nice email sent to me by Julien's parents. After which we adjourned for lunch with my family. More presents!!!!

Ahhhh... Life is beautiful...

CATS in Singapore !!!

Julien was raving about Cats the musical that he saw at Broadway when he was 15. So when it came to Singapore again this time in April, he wanted me to watch it too.

We both love operas and musicals. I've watched a couple myself. The Sound of Music, Turandot, Oliver Twist, just to name a few. They were all great, and so I was expecting nothing less from Cats last Friday.

It was a really nice "date" we had. It felt like one anyway. We both made an effort to leave work earlier for dinner, also to just chat and laugh over a banana waffle. Why should couples stop dating even after they get married right?

So we made our way up to our seats, and got comfortable. Just as the lights went off and it was all quiet before the musical started, Julien turned to me and whispered, "Oh by the way, Happy Pre Birthday Sweetheart..." - My heart melted like butter on a hot stove.

Took me a while to orientate myself again. Then Cats blew my mind away.

I loved how the cats came out from where the audience was sitting to involve them. During the break, they came up to our level as well, and jumped around the seats, looked through bags, as cats would do. It was awesome. Guess what.. we forgot our camera again!

Favourite cat: Munkunstrap played by Shaun Rennie. His voice is simply captivating.

Here's a clip of him singing at a charity event that raises funds for leukaemia research, after losing his younger brother to the disease 4 weeks ago.

The Best Pre Birthday Present Ever!

Malacca with the Chews Day 2!!!

Good Afternoon from Singapore!

I'm on medical leave today. Had a fever last night of 39 degrees and the doctor didn't think I should be at work yesterday or today. No worries, I'm feeling a lot better and should be back to work in full force tomorrow. =)

So since I'm home today, I've been tasked to write on the 2nd day in Malacca.

Malacca Day 2:

Having slept way past midnight, it was really tough waking up at 7am the next morning for our complimentary breakfast. Had I been given the choice, I would sleep in. But we had to take breakfast because we knew that lunch was not scheduled till at least 3 hours later. So we tore ourselves from bed. The morning sun and view was just amazing.

Breakfast was very good. Since it was at a peranakan restaurant, I was almost certain we were going to be served some spicy food. I'm okay with spicy food, just wondering if Julien's stomach could take it, especially in the mornings. To my pleasant surprise, it was an international buffet. On one side of the restaurant, was a long row of silver trays placed side by side, boasting an assortment of food. One tray held sausages to it's brim, another had ham, yet another was filled with rice, roasted potatoes, etc. To the left was a counter set up with chefs making pancakes and any kind of eggs you prefer. Yet another table was set up displaying an assortment of bread, cakes, cheese, and jams. The set up closest to where we were sitting gave you an option of porridge and soups with some other condiments of your choice to add. And of course, which hotel would forget fruits, and drinks all nicely displayed. That was one BIG breakfast we had which we had to chow down in 30mins.

After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel rooms. Yup, you read me right. We checked out after breakfast. According to the schedule with the tour, there were many things lined up for us on that day, so we would not have time to come back anymore. We would be taken straight to the causeway after dinner. It's a pity though because we never got to enjoy the amenities like the pool for example. We were too busy running around Malacca following the guide's schedule that we didn't really have time for ourselves. Guess that's another reason why we prefer to go free and easy.

First stop was to Jonker Street. We were given a few hours of our own time to do some shopping. So, we walked around a little since we were all still full from breakfast. The streets of Malacca today, remind me of Singapore 20 years ago. Majority of the buildings here are preserved by the government for heritage purposes. These buildings along Jonker street are now converted into mainly retail shops selling an array of merchandise. You name it, they've got it. Clothes, antiques, magnets, toys, China, pastries, etc. The others were converted to cafes or restaurants.

My parents went berserk when they chanced upon this row of shops selling kebayas. Traditional outfits that the Peranakan women used to wear. Apparently, my grandmother had worn a kebaya on her wedding day, and so the idea was for me to follow the tradition. I'm still toggling between the idea of the kebaya or the cheongsam. I'll keep that as a surprise first.

At the Kebaya shop:

We didn't buy anything in the end, but we did get some great ideas for the wedding. Julien of course, was getting really bored. He doesn't really like to shop. Unless it's for his shoes or electronics.

After a few hours of exploring, we all got tired and really thirsty, so we decided to break for lunch. Lunch was in this cute tiny cottage looking house. The owner had literally opened up part of his own home to the public as a cafe cum restaurant. It was very authentic. I wish we had taken some pictures of it. Unfortunately, we were too tired and thirsty to remember. All we wanted to have was an ice cold drink.

Next on our itinerary was a 45 min boat ride. I personally didn't think it was fantastic, although Julien managed to get some great pictures still. Most of us were hardly awake at the end of the ride. We all fell asleep!

Everyone was pretty exhausted after the boat ride, and were quite happy to leave on our air conditioned coach for our next destination.

We stopped over for a short 30mins at this store. I went crazy. Things I bought: Home made sauces, chilli belachan, herbs to make pork rib soup, and tons of tit bits! Tried the sauce over steamed fish the other day I made dinner. Julien finished it all!

For the most of you who know Julien, you would know he loves eggs. There is this particular type of egg he hates (because I have it too often). It's eggs boiled for hours in tea leaves and herbs till it takes on the colour and flavour of the tea and herbs. YUM! He tells me he feels nauseous each time he smells it. How ironic!

We then adjourned for dinner at a restaurant close by, before heading home. Dinner was a sumptuous 8 course meal.

Overall, it was a good trip with my family, but I guess given a choice, we would still prefer to take our time. As an after thought, we would not have visited that many places had we been there on our own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More HiLaRiOuS !!!

If you thought the last post about the ping pong dance was bad, I found something equivalent. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Malacca with the Chews Day 1!!!

Hi Everyone!

Malacca was a blast! Julien and I never usually would take the tour package, but we did this time, since we were going with my parents. Looking back, we were quite happy we did, because they brought us to places that we would never have travelled to, since we would only explore by foot like the last time. It was a different aspect of Malacca that we saw from the last time we came.

So here goes.... DAY 1:

The one main reason why Julien and I do not take the tour packages, is because we have to assemble by the coach real early. This time, it was by 6.45am (when it's still dark!). That meant we were out of bed by 5am. We all desperately needed sleep still...

We smiled for the camera nevertheless!!!

Took us about half an hour before we reached the causeway to enter Malaysian territory. We drove another 3 hours before we crossed over to Malacca. Once we did though, it felt like we were in another place altogether, surrounded with acres and acres of lush greenery as far as the eye can see.

Since it was still really early, our first destination, was to the bee farm/museum. When I think about a bee farm, I think protection. So I had in mind that we were going to be wearing some sort of netted outfits, before entering bee territory.

The only protective gear we were given, as you can already tell from the pictures were our very own clothes. I found out later that these bees do not sting and since this farm has been open to humans for a while now, they are quite accustomed to having humans in their midst. Overall, it was pretty educational. We were given a brief introduction on some of the different types of bees in the world and the different types of hives they build.

The highlight of the bee farm in my opinion, was that you get to taste the different types of honey these bees make. In all blunt honesty as conveyed by the bee farmer, "honey is bee vomit". A nice punchline before inviting your visitors for honey tasting, don't you think?

There were 7 types of honey for tasting. I went for pure honey. There were some variations, mixed with apple, for example. It was really good, but the major concensus was that it kind of made your throat feel a little dry after. Which is weird, because in Asia, we believe that honey is good for the throat. I remember my grandmother used to make me some warm honey with lemon to soothe my throat each time it was sore or raspy. And it always made me feel better.

We were all in better spirits after the bee musuem even though we didn't buy any honey. It was also because we were told that we would be stopping at the hotel to check in and be given some free time to do what we want. Most people will choose to shop. For the chews, that meant more sleep time.

Anyways, that news perked everyone up. We all still needed some sleep. Especially Rachel and Andy (Min's boyfriend).

We checked in, finally, and after checking the other rooms, Julien and I realised that ours had the best view!!! We could see the Straits of Malacca from our hotel!

I love these pictures... I like how there is this tiny cloud just above sea level.. It looks like a ship sailing in the sky!

The last time Julien and I were in Malacca, we had visited the remains of an old Dutch Fort where we had seen a painter with some great artwork. Unfortunately, we did not buy any of his paintings, much to Julien's regret, because he could not stop thinking about it since. So this time round, he brought everyone back to the old Fort to look for that mysterious painter. The result: We didn't manage to find that same painter, since it had just finished pouring, and no painter in his right mind would risk his paintings out in the open rain like that.. But we found this guy selling some old prints of Malacca in the 50s. Of course, Julien didn't know they were just prints. He had believed he guy when he told Julien that they were sketches.... until we went to another shop that same evening and saw the same sketch.

We were very happy for him of course.

When we were walking back to the hotel, we had noticed that there was a huge commotion just at the lobby. There were many police bikes parked at one side of the parking, and at first we thought something bad happened. I mean, it's not everyday that you have that MANY policemen in one location.

Turns out, there were that many policemen in the hotel lobby because they were escorting the King of Malaysia to our hotel! Imagnine that, to have a King commune in the same hotel that you're in! We felt different after. Like royalty. Haha.

It wasn't very long until it was time for dinner. It was a great experience for me since I love to cook! We stopped over at this restaurant called the "Nonya Sayang".

Why this was such a great culinary experience for me, was because the lady owner of the restaurant was conducting a cooking demonstration on how peranakan food was prepared and cooked. It was marvelicious! The special chilli is home made from dried shrimp mixed with red chillis. Just like how my grandmother used to make it at home!

What was funny that happened was when she stir fried the chilli paste, it made this stinging sensation up the nose when you tried to breath, as if you had taken wasabi, only by breathing. That was the only time everyone stepped out for a moment for fresh air. The rest of dinner was still scrumptous though. =)

We hit the night market after. We were more mucking around than really shopping.

Met up with our friends Jimme and Yihmay who happened to be in Malacca for a weekend too!

We had supper. Asam Laksa, which is noodles in spicy sour broth, and then headed down to this bar for a drink.

A great way to spend Good Friday!