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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday flowers

In the centre of KL town there is the lake gardens which houses a park, lake, a bird sanctuary, several colonial buildings with posh restaurants and even a high end hotel called Carcosa. Near the bird park is Taman Orkid, an orchid park not unlike the one in Singapore's Botanical Gardens.

The park is free of charge and has charming fountains with rows of beautiful orchid blooms. At one corner there were these small vendors who sell plants and I picked up two stunning orchids at RM 40 a piece for the house.

This one is sitting pretty in the powder room.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lunch in Bangsar

The day started off really badly, my tennis coach cancelled half hour before the lesson, the house phone line went down for no reason, then the internet crashed. The Telco guy came around and poked around for over an hour, mumbled something unintelligent and left. I spent the next hour on the phone trying to get in touch with the phone company only to be put on hold for another hour and then talking to more morons. Sigh, not a good morning.

We had to leave the house, shake off the bad karma so drove down to Bangsar for lunch. The WIP at Bangsar shopping centre went through a facelift few months ago and I always liked their char kway teow so popped in to have a look.

The whole place looks amazing. Very urban, a little kudeta sans seaview, nice modern feel.

I had the char kway teow and T had the tandoori chicken. Great lunch still and might come back for the cocktails.

pics via

Hope tomorrow will be a better day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gone to Heaven

As a treat to myself, I booked an appointment with Hammam Spa in Bangsar today. The reviews have been encouraging but I was not prepared for how good it was.

As you walked through the low double doors, your eyes take a couple of seconds to adjust to the dim lighting. The dimly lit indoor courtyard is rectangular and surrounded by romanesque columns. A multitude of Moroccan lamps hang from the ceiling while smaller ones are tucked within the arches of the columns. Overall effect was hynotic and I was instantly relaxed.

Four large lounge chairs face the quintessential water fountain and it is here I sat waiting for instructions.

About 10 years ago when I visited Egypt, I had the hammam and gommage experience and while it was a totally bizarre, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope that this would also be something to write home about.

You are asked to change into paper panties and a paper tube top and then led into a tiled hot room. In the sauna, there is another fountain with even more elaborate and beautiful mosaic tiles. She starts by bathing you with a black soap that has been blended with crystals, a receipe that begins the first level of detoxing.

You sit in the warmed room afterwards for 10 minutes and the scrubbing begins. Another tiled room adjacent to the baths has two stone beds where you lay and get a thorough exfoliation. A special glove worn by her literally takes off a layer of skin and dirt and by the time I turned around, The bed was littered with matchstick like black debris. Gross beyond words but liberating nonetheless. Better out than in yes? Or in this case, better off than on.

Step 3 was a moorish body polish and then an hour long massage. The massage was one of the best I've had. Helen has the most harmonious massage techniques I've ever come across and at some point of the long strokes applied on my back, she made me feel like I want to spring out and do charity work or sing musicals. It was that uplifting.

I bought two more sessions with them and can't wait to go back in a few months. Maybe next time I would do a pedicure, just to sit in this adorable alcove.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shoot first. Sightsee Later

I watched the funniest movie recently - In Bruges where Colin Farrell plays this Irish assassin lad and Ralph Fiennes a baddie. The script is side splitting hilarious from start to finish. There were too many funny scenes but here is one memorable part. Ray is Farrell and Jimmy is a dwarf actor Jordan Prentice

: Why didn't you wave hello to me today when I waved hello to you today?
Jimmy: I was on a very strong horse tranquilizer today; Wasn't waving hello to anybody. Except... maybe to a horse.
Ray: Huh? What are you talking about?
Jimmy: Just horseshit.
Ray: You from America?
Jimmy: Yeah. Don't hold it against me.
Ray: Well, that's for me to decide, isn't it?
Ray: [to Denise] You from America too?
Denise: No, I'm from Amsterdam.
Ray: Amsterdam! Amsterdam's just a lot of bloody prostitutes, isn't it?
Denise: Yes, that's why I came to Bruges. Been trying to get a better price for my pussy here.
Ray: Huh?
Ray: You two are weird. Would you like some cocaine?

Here is a scene between Fiennes and the other lead Brandon Gleeson.

Ken: Harry, let's face it. And I'm not being funny. I mean no disrespect, but you're a cunt. You're a cunt now, and you've always been a cunt. And the only thing that's going to change is that you're going to be an even bigger cunt. Maybe have some more cunt kids.
Harry: [furious] Leave my kids fucking out of it! What have they done? You fucking retract that bit about my cunt fucking kids!
Ken: I retract that bit about your cunt fucking kids.
Harry: Insult my fucking kids? That's going overboard, mate!
Ken: I retracted it, didn't I?

Watch the trailer and then you would be convinced. i am, I want to go out and buy it and watch it again!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back in the game

V's kids came round this morning to use the tennis courts. Being a busybody, I went and joined them. They were having lessons with their new coach but we joined in after their hour ended.

Coach Sepandar is Iranian, started playing professionally at 10 and was a national player by 16. He is now coaching as he attends university here in Malaysia. We sparred for a few rounds and he taught me some new footwork. His English wasn't great but we understood each other fine. At the end of my half hour, I was exhausted but it was really fun. At RM 50 a hour, I thought it was really affordable, so will now take individual lessons with him every week. It would be great to start playing again and perhaps get to a level where I can play with T who is too good for me.

Hmm, wonder if it would be too wayang to now buy some serious tennis gear like the one Sharapova wore during the French Open.

After the game, we went with the kids to Fukuharu, a newly ( 6 months ) opened Japanese restaurant in Jalan Ampang.

Terrace @ Hock Choon,
Lorong Nibong, Off Jalan Ampang.
Tel: 017-209-8477

Food was good especially the sashimi. Tuna and salmon cuts were fat and fresh. The lunch sets were really good value, RM 29 ++ for a main, small starter, chawamushi and dessert.

( pics from masak masak blog )

I think I will be going back there very soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photography Adventure

Last night during dinner, we were talking about doing a trip to Bangkok with our friends. Adam is another cameraphile and he and T spent most of last night talking shop about gear and techniques.

I spoke about a photography school that I read about and how they bring people of tours that can last a day to 10 days, while teaching students how to take better photos. The boys are psyched now and want to do it.

Photography of Asia by Jonathon Taylor will keep the boys busy while me and C go shopping. D recommended a hotel a few months back and I want to blog about it before I forget.

Tenface Bangkok is located just off the shopping strip. The rooms look really funky and spacious.


Today is my birthday and T has offered to make me breakfast on couch. I think I smell sausages, eggs and something else, kippers maybe. Anyway, I am just famished, need to soak up the alcohol from last night. We had dinner at Tamarind Springs with some few friends and there was one bottle of wine too many.

It still is one of my fav joints to have dinner with good food. I started the dinner with a Tamarind Martini which was really yummy. The cuisine is laotian, vietnamese and burmese so there were banana flower salads to steam snakehead fish in lime and chilli to thick coconut curries. All tasty.

Malaysia is still celebrating Hari Raya so at dinner we were treated to some fireworks in a distance.

During the day, we were browsing in Robinsons and there were these stunning retro kitchen scales from Typhoon, a UK brand.

I picked the black one though the cream one would better match our vespa. Dont' you think?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Whatever Whenever

That is the motto of the W hotel. Whatever , Whenever. You can ask for anything, and R did. She wanted to go swimming at the rooftop pool and didnt have a swimsuit, so she got them to go buy one for her and send it to the room!

For the last night we splurged out and booked the W for a night. The hotel is uber cool. Here is a shot of the lift. The TV screen you stand on regards you with a Good morning or afternoon depending on the time of day.

The W logo is massive and the first thing you see when you enter the lobby. Behind the logo is a video of flames, totally Hell's Kitchen feel.

All the rooms have fab views and here's ours. The bed is the star though, you sink into it and it is like sleeping in a cloud.

Because it was pissing down, we could not enjoy the hotel pool but how I wished I did.

That is a mosaic wall, stunning isn't it? The view from the deck chairs is of the HK island, like the one in our rooms.

For the last night, we were invited to the races at Happy Valley. T'ss friend is part of a syndicate that owns 6 horses. Two of them were racing that night and we were invited to go watch and gamble some.

The security didn't like me cos I was in jeans ( no one told me that there was a dress code !!)

We didn't win anything though but the scene was electric. P's horse came in second and we were just jumping up and down in excitement.

Back from HK

Spent 7 nights in the bright city of Hong Kong and now home. The trip was one long adrenaline rush, people to see and places to go, no time for R&R at all. Weather however was not on our side and Typhoon signal was hoisted to 8 on two days. Nonetheless, we went out and poked around the streets to see whats shaking.

By pure chance, I found a brochure map of Star Street, just off Pacific Place on HK island. The past few years HK have seen a burst of chic little shops in old beaten up back streets. Star street has become like Soho, with little designer pizzerias, boutiques and coffee shops.

Classified Mozzarella Bar was the first one on the corner, with seating for no more than 8. It is unassuming and offers patrons light lunches and gourmet products for takeaway.

OVO home has a flagship store there too and they have lovely household items like stained glass vases, designer furniture and rugs.

My absolute favourite was this shop Sonjia. Entering the corner lot shop felt like entering a secret alcove. The rickety doors open onto a tiny space filled with hand made pottery and glassware but go through a second set of doors and you come to the clothes section where each garment was one of a kind and housed in a dramatic room with vintage chairs and a stuffed peacock.

The hand crafted electric blue goblets stole my heart but I could not resist the natural stone coasters. Each piece was unique and I settled on two, the pale grey /brown and a purple/cobalt blue/pink .

When you hold it up against the light, the true beauty reveals herself.

They are now sitting pretty on my desk. Stunning.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cruise on Victoria Harbour

HK skyline is best viewed from the harbour and the junk boat is quintessentially HK so we will be going on a cruise on Aqua Luna. This company runs day cruises and 45 minute harbour cruises on a luxe junk with sofa beds and your ticket entitles you to a cocktail onboard.

Sweet. They also run cruises at night.

Walking Hong Kong

Tomorrow we fly to Hong Kong and will be there for a whole week. It's baby christening on Sunday and we have been invited to stay with them on Clearwater bay for the weekend but we will spend the remaining days in Hong Kong Island.

Ginny and hubby are also heading up tomorrow for a weekend, and Rethi has settled in so it will be great fun catching up with everyone in the numerous bars along Soho or LWF.

I will have so much time to shop but want to see the rural side of HK. Just outside the bustle of HK, you can find lush forests and mountain ranges. There are many beautiful hiking trails that lead to untouched beaches and ancient villages but I didn't where to start.

Then I found Jackie Peers, a professional photographer online. She runs WalkHongKong that organizes walking tours to these hidden and obscure spots. Jackie also gives photography tours and teaches amateurs to better use their camera. I was really keen on doing that with her but due to time constraints, we can only do one walk with her- The Dragon's Back Hike.

"The Dragon's Back trail was hailed by Time Magazine as Asia´s best urban hike ``This is the city´s finest and most surprising ramble... The glory of it all is that you´re so close to the city, but could hardly feel further away´´. "

I hope it is not too hard on the feet cos I haven't hiked for ages. This walk will take 3 hours and looking at the photo, it is probably all uphill.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It was the best of times and the worst of times..

After a week of family bonding, I am home. The trip was intense to say the least. Daily activities start at 10am in the mornings and usually ended around midnight. By the end of each day, my feet were aching and belly too full from eating.

Everyone at home is in high spirits due to the impending arrival of grand daughter numero uno. My sis is very healthy and has no complaints at all, even after 4 hours of walking in new ION mall at Orchard road.

We even got a look at my niece when we visiter her doctor at paragon for a scan. The baby looked rather chubby on screen and was pouting, perhaps annoyed at being on display for all to stare at.

During one of the evenings, I treated my parents to a meal at Akanoya, at Orchard Parade Hotel. This Japanese joint is unlike others in that the chefs are quite theatrical. The food is Yakitori style and the fresh produce is laid in front of you just like in the supermarket cold section. Point to a veg / seafood and they grill it to perfection for you.

The food is handed to you by the chef on a wooden plank that is shaped like a paddle. One of the customers asked to hold the paddle and she could not lift it at all, that thing was heavy !

Food was good but expensive but we came for the experience.

On a another day, we headed to ION, the newest mall in town. It occupies that spot where the foreign maids used to hang out, in Orchard. ION resembles an alien mothership and it is a maze indoors. As usual with new malls, it was mobbed even on a weekday.

Came across a store Vom Fass, that had on display, vats of speciality oils and vinegars even cognacs and liqueurs. You can purchase 50, 100 or 250 ml glass containers and fill them up. After tasting about 10 different ones, I decided on pumpkin seed oil and truffle oil.The aroma of the pumpkin seed oil was especially strong and so lovely.

On the weekend, we headed down to Sentosa for a bit of sun. My sis and R came along because he wanted to try the segway machine and my dad wanted to do the luge and the flying fox.

The day was scorching but we soon forgot about it as we lined up for the ski lift to the luge station. Even my mum took part and she had a blast.

Afterwards, my dad went to the newly opened MegaZip Adventure where he did the daredevil obstacle courses. There was a 15 metre free fall Parajump

The Climbmax suspended 40 feet in the air

And finally the 450m flying fox down to the siloso beach.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off Home

Today I am heading home to see my family in Singapore. Instead of taking the 5 hour bus down, I booked tickets on Airasia and it only cost me RM 164. Cheaper than the luxe bus actually.

T is staying in KL while I am away, this trip is mostly for me to help my sis and mum before the baby comes. Of course, there will be the friday night and saturday night drink sessions. Someone told me that the Killiney post office has been closed down and revamped as KPO- a chic new bar opened by Sam Yeo, who also runs Wala Wala. They as boasting nasi lemak, hokkien mee and burgers on their menu. Comfort food!

Sounds interesting and I love checking new places out, so will head on down for at least a cold one.

Back on Sunday so have a great week ladies!!