It was a last minute decision to make the trip and to stay a night in Bentong.
Bentong is about an hour and a half away from PJ. What a difference an hour and a half away can make. There was no sign of haze nor the lack of water!
We reached Bentong at around 12. Passed by with the promise to return Kow Po ice cream shop. We wanted to fill our tummies with salty Hokkien noddles from SHL Restaurant first. 2 rounds in and out of Bentong, 3 pairs of eyes spotted and exclaimed together 'There it is!'. Unfortunate for us, SHL was closed as they had to get ready for a function that night. (I found out later that a close friend of my FIL attended that function - what a small world!)
So we asked the uncle to suggest a place to eat. He told us to turn round the corner to the food court and eat something there. From the looks of it local people in Bentong don't really eat out much and even if they do, there is nothing famous about the place that they eat!
Anyways, we took his advice and headed to the food court. We literally stood in the middle of the food court wondering what to do! It's one of those places where everything is written in chinese and you have to sit at the proper coloured table to eat whatever that coloured stall is serving!
A little marketing goes a looonnnngggg way. We were approached by a lady marketing her beef noodles. And since she enticed us with a nice little cooling spot away from the hot encroachment of the zinc-roofed afternoon heat, we had our lunch from her stall. It helped that she also had a super keep-me-awake drink called 'keng chou ping'. Really 'keng chou' - with milo, coffee and tea and nicely 'ping'!
The noodles however was mediocre. Nothing famous indeed!
Ice cream to the rescue, all will be good. So, when Mr Driver Simon asked if we were going for ice cream, I looked at Mr and Mrs Driver with big 'are-you-kidding-me-don't-say-no' eyes! Between 4 adults and 4 kids, we had one scoop of durian, pandan, banana, vanilla, peanut and 2 choc scoops. I think I missed some flavours....but the gist of the matter was we had all flavours available and were playing rotating cups.
Checked into Tras Mutiara for the afternoon siesta. Not much of a siesta. For me, after that much of ice cream, the room we checked into was too small. I pity the neighbours down the hallway who must have been rudely awaken by my hyper kids! My daughter was screaming her lungs out singing 'rasa sayang hey'!
But for RM118, the 1 queen and 1 single bed was a tight squeeze. Next time I will throw my girl in her own bed!
Seems like a waste to sleep - that's not what holidays are for! :) We left about 1 hour later to buy the famous Bentong kaya and pineapple puffs. And then a visit to Chamang waterfall.
Mokie Homemade Pastry was a fun search. First locate Kg. Kemansur (general direction being left of Hospital Bentong). Once you are in Kg Kemansur, take the first left to Lorong Aman 1. And then just look for house no. 5. Alternatively you can call 09-2224825 for directions. I am not a fan of kaya puff but it was good. I gave the packet I bought away to my inlaws and parents. I kept the pineapple puffs for myself though. And it was so good. So good that I could eat 2 at a go without feeling sick! And by evening time, I didn't mind even eating another one! That is my measure of how different it was. The pastry is so different and not the least thick or oily! And you can really taste the pine in the apple! :) The address above is her house address. While the ladies ate and decided how many packets to get, the men tasted and played with the dogs. The kids? The 4 of them were on their fours playing with the dogs. It was trouble enough getting them to leave the dogs behind. And instead of saying bye to the aunty, they were busy bye-ing the dogs.
Next stop was to Chamang waterfall. It was in some parts up such a tight squeeze we were worried how cars could pass us if we encountered one. Thank God we didn't have to find out. And it was lovely at the waterfall. We didn't bring any extra clothing but it was a good think at least for my girl I always carry a change of clothes for her. I didn't have the heart to tell the kids not to get wet. So, I left the trouble of cleaning up to later.
The water was cool and clean. And like all waterfalls, remember to always play at the highest point. I can't imagine the folks playing downstream. We saw ladies washing their hair in the waterfall. My daughter pee-d near the waterfall (not inside coz she felt strange doing it inside the water). Hope the sun dries it up before it ever makes its way into the water! At any rate, the kids loved playing with the waterfall to bits. My son has no care in the world for what happens next. Just play first as long as mummy says 'yes'.
After that it was 2 very wet and 2 partially wet kids back to the hotel for a bath.
I am not sure what time we eventually went out for dinner. Mr Driver took us for a
unintentional tour into the kampungs of Bentong. We were on a hunt for dinner. We ended up while the sun was still in the sky at a place which looked kind of famous (in that there seemed to be many people eating there). It was quite a long wait but eventually the food came and it was satisfactory. Cost us RM100 for fish slices, pai kuat + kai wong, vege, tofu and omellete.
After that we went for a walk around Bentong town. Saw the famous Wan Tan mee shop we intended to have breakfast in. The kids had a ride courtesy of Mr and Mrs Driver on those 'things' that cost 50sen. It was so hilarious when the kids were on that ride and cameras went click click click!
Remembering that on a holiday the last thing you should do is sleep. Also given the fac tthat the hotel room was nothing to shout about, we went to a supermarket! Crowded like mad, we still parked and bought some things. We are crazy people!
Had yau char kwai (I mean the Driver family had that and tricked my kids into helping them finish it) and coffee/tea. Hubby and I had ice kacang and cendol. We had all this in Old Town White Coffee which was nicely situated next to our hotel. According to Mrs Driver, not something they will ever buy again. Good thing we don't stay in Bentong. Loads of great yau char kwai in PJ!
We went to bed around 11pm. Good thing I was dead tired else I would not have survived the tsunami that was my daughter's kicking! Hubby was like the great wall of China. Kick also won't budget. Son was peacefully sleeping on the other single bed. I was so tempted at 3 am to wake everyone up and rearrange the bedding!
Mr and Mrs Driver had the authority to have us up and AIS by 7.30 am. We were a littel bit late due to a last minute request from princess of all girls for milk! AIS by 7.35 am, we headed for the famous wan tan mee. AND MY OH MY....no wonder there are things people blog about and there are things which no one mentions at all.
Yau char kwai definitely NOT mentioned. Wan tan mee definitely mentioned!
Kopitiam Yuen Kee hosts the stall Hooi Kee which makes the best wan tan mee in Bentong! It's near the market and it'e really the place where you have to be there before 8 to even get a table to sit. We aren't talking school holidays here but seriously, the whole Bentong town must eat here everyday!
Worth mentioning in Bentong are the stuffed things - stuffed ladies fingers, stuffed brinjals etc. The stuffing is nice with a blend of spring onions, without it being over powering. And the tau pork is so different - thin and not too much in a mouthful. Very nice - mentioned in blogs many times.
The wan tan mee literally bounces in the bowl. Springy and the small portion is quite big for a before 8 am wake the stomach up meal. Coffee in this place is also quite good.
Went for a Sunday morning market stroll after that. Bentong sells quite strange wood related items. Some acting as incense, tongkat ali in the original form and of course canes galore! The Bentong ginger of course selling at RM16-18/kg. I didn't see any tofu. We bought some kok kok sweets in little packets. So great being a small town market! Those large cookie jars still hold fascination for the parents generation!
At around 9, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to make our descend back to our hazed, water stricken town.
Another pineapple tart after lunch with my nice cuppa waiting for me.....that's Bentong at it's best.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
It was a last minute decision to make the trip and to stay a night in Bentong.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I wonder what was the reason for my first dental visit!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Since returning to school after CNY, my son has been bullied twice.
Early in the school year, other kids from his class were being bullied. I know coz the parents were discussing this over the WhatsApp group chat. I felt sorry for the kids but glad that Christopher was not a target.
The 2nd incident caused us all to question him a little more.
We found out that the 2 times he got bullied was when he was alone in class. It happened either before or at the end of recess time.
The thing that irks me to no end is that he was alone in class during recess time because he intended to complete his home work in school. I mean, $^#& these bullies. My son is doing a good thing here. And for that he gets targeted?
His grandparents caught upon a sign just this week. To survive not being bullied, kids are advised NOT to be alone at all times, no matter what the circumstance. So, even if a teacher asks you to do something, you are NOT to do it if that means you will be alone.
When my mum told me this, I was so mad. IF the school knew this to be happening, why don't they get teachers to walk around, at least for the first few months, where the Primary 1 classes are located. So that if they see kids alone in the classroom, they can go advise the kid not to be in class during recess?
Christopher is taking all of this pretty well in fact. He doesn't make a big deal out of his bullying. And in fact my conversation with him about the matter is usually put to an end fairly quickly. I hope it is not because he was threatened. I hope he doesn't say much about it because he doesn't want to cause an over-reaction in me.
Like his first day of school, the more positive his reaction to a matter, the more I feel he deserves more. Which makes me resolve not to be so hard on him on other matters. And to respect his decision on how things should be handled.
I have told him to not go to class during recess anymore. I will accept that he has alot of homework to do and if he plays too hard and is a little dirty, I will accept it too. I just want him to have a positive learning experience in school. And to always know he can talk to me and I will listen carefully to him. It takes a lot of determination on my part to stop the chores and really talk to my kid. To heck with my own exercise and a clean house. Christopher deserves so much more from me too.
I am so proud of my son.
Labels: Christopher - Std 1
Chinese New Year was so different for us this year.
It was the first year celebrating with my new sister in law. Next year her little one will be joining us as well. I love that my kids will have a new cousin.
Also given Christopher is in Std 1 this year, we could not take prolonged leave of absences. School started on Day 5 so after the customary Day 1 at my inlaws place, we spent Day 2-4 in Malacca.
My dad's family is in Malacca. And my aunt from Kemaman and one of her daughters from Australia would be back. So, it was a reunion of sorts.
Dinner with the whole clan was a cluttery affair. We used to split up between the generations - the old generation and the young. However, this year, the young generation could not be contained in one table. We were 5 couples and 5 kids trying to squeeze into one table. In the end, one of the couples with a baby had to sit in the older generation table. I reckon they at least had a proper meal.
My elder cousin's daughter was literally an angel. She was well behaved and bowed even when she said sorry to you. A far cry from my Australian cousin's son, my daughter and even my other cousin's 8 month old baby girl. Although we received some comments on the comparison, I am glad taht I could handle the criticism. And I empathize with my other cousin's wife who juggling her 8 month old baby had not yet generated her thick skin!
My son was a charming boy. He has a tendency I realise to reach out to the ones who are a little shy. My cousin's son from Australia took a long time to warm up to the other kids and I found my son being particularly attentive when playing with him. It was great.
We did the customary Jonker Street exploration. This time without my son as he wanted to climb the St Paul's hill with my dad. Saw the most expensive and eye catching T in Hardrock. Good thing in a way they did not have my size in stock. If they did, it would be my 2nd time buying a T costing close to RM100.
We also did the boat ride, this time in the night. Differnt from doing it in the day, something about the lights.
My cousin's husband and her son fell ill the next day so they had to stay in and make an early start back to Kemaman. So, we did the customary cendol and other Malacca food and also made an earlier than expected start back to KL.
Next year, it would be back to Ipoh for CNY. Maybe a reunion in Taiping. Since my parents moved down, we have planned it to be a year with my dad's family and another year with my mum's. We shall see how best that plays out.
Labels: Chinese New Year
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It is only that he is here, that I realize how different my life was without him.
When he wasn't around, I was trying my best to just cope. I really put all my needs second place. Up to the point that after 2 and a half months, I was getting desperate for some of my needs to be met. Not those kind of 'needs' but needs as simple as wanting to go for a drive without anywhere in mind. Or my desire to eat tau fu fah without having to hunt for it myself in the midst of my already busy dropping off and picking up.
In fact I realize that my daughter has stopped asking me to go out kai kai/shopping. It used to be a weekly Friday affair, eating out and shopping. But when hubby was not here, my parents didn't favor eating out. So, even if we were to go out shopping/window shopping, it would be after an early dinner. It was half the fun. But for me to do it every Friday would be more stressful since my mum would not be able to handle it well.
In fact, now after 2 days at home, my son is complaining that we should go home earlier and not go around town. We have been admittedly doing so since it is 2 more days to CNY and I have not done alot of things. Hubby is the kind who likes to go out and I don't mind moving around doing errands etc. But to the kids, this is a far cry from what they have been experiencing these pass 2 months.
Another fact is that by 8.50 pm, Christopher gets chased upstairs coz my parents can't stand that the 2 kids fight and cry. Hubby and I seem more immune to this kind of chaos. Or maybe since hubby is mostly on his phone, he doesn't see as often as my parents a misdeed.
At any rate, on the 2nd night, I was shocked that it was already 9.15 and my son was still happily playing downstairs. I have had more work to do since my parents left to stay in their own home, so I never realized the lateness of the hour.
During lunch today, I thought about the errands I had to do when I get home. And I realized that I was not stressed about the work that needed to be done. So as much as I have more housework to do with my parents gone, I am less stressed about juggling that with the outside chores.
And strangely, before hubby went away, he always used to ask me questions like 'What did you cook today?' and I would sometimes get irritated that he would ask such a question. So my answers will be very short or I would tell him to go back and check for himself. But yesterday it didn't even irk me when he asked what I cooked for the night. It seemed like the kind of question my dad would ask my mum anyway. So, I answered in much detail, in fact asking him if he wanted to add anything else. I feel that this response has rubbed off from my mum's 'reporting' to my dad everything about dinner. Especially since my dad is very particular if there is enough food for his grandson.
So, in some ways, this feels new to me. Some things from my mum are rubbing onto me making some of the questions hubby used to ask no longer a source of irritation. I still have to nag for things to be done since my parents have left, that has not changed. And the relieve of external work no longer feels heavy in my mind.
There is good and bad in every situation. Hope I can keep the good and discard the bad. Hope everyone else steps up to the situation they are in.
That day while waiting for my daughter to finish her class at English Champ, my eye caught upon a notice on the board which made me so excited.
It was a notice to invite students to join an essay competition. One of those competitions that had a few words on how the essay should start. And then some key phrases they wanted in that essay.
My heart started to beat very fast and my head started to fill up with ideas.
Gosh, I miss that rush.
I love writing. And I love it even more when they challenge me towards a specific topic or some specific phrases. I find it hard actually to just write an essay without any particular aim. So, this kind of competitions add just the right amount of direction without making it boring, which is what the STPM/SPM english exam essays do. The Malaysian essay exams are literally a matter of filling in the blanks.
I wonder if as an adult there are any competitions like that. I don't mind that the prize is small, or nought at all. But I would love to get my creative juices flowing again.
Oh, what bliss.....what satisfaction when you pen the last full stop.
Labels: Just Ann
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
My objective for Christopher this year was to fill up his time with activity. Reduce the ipad fiasco and mindless TV.
So, for the year, he will have Eye Level on Mon and Wed evenings. Tue and Thurs he has to stay back at school for his activities. And then after CNY will start him on Mandarin and swimming.
It has been quite a feat trying to fit in Mandarin in his schedule. I can't do it on Mon and Wed coz those are the days he comes back late from school and with Eye Level in the evening, it may be too tiring. Tue, his activity ends at 4 pm so I reckon give him a break after that for homework and then rest. Thurs his Taekwondo ends at 2.30 so that leaves him some times in the evenings. However, most Mandarin classes seem to prefer to have 3 classes a week.
As of now, homework for him is scarce.
Had a chat with his Eye Level tutor and we concluded that he does take a longer time than others to conceptualize things. Like 10 + 15 is 25. Other kids will take maybe 2 lessons to learn it. But he will take 4. So, help with his maths is very important.
Language seems to come easier to him. I have little trouble teaching him BM, at least not yet. And he seems to pick up Mandarin pretty well when he is forced to focus.
Here's to a year of actualization! Hope he progresses on smoothly.
Labels: Christopher - Std 1
My girl has become quite a negotiator since she started school.
Labels: Caylee - Kindy