Our last SG retreat to Avani turned out to be so much of a success doing nothing that we decided to go to another place this year where we could just hang out. It was touch and go a few times but the Yoongs made it happen.
Some 3 weeks after CNY break, you don't really feel the need for a holiday yet. So the 14th of March drew by without much anticipation right until Friday the 13th itself when I brought out the bag to be packed.
From my experience with Avani, I really felt the need to bring out our camping gear this time round. So, I packed my air mattress, sleeping bag as well as a pump. All that in, it really did look like we were going overseas!
My mum came along with us, so we didn't go with the rest of the morning group. There were 7 families going and with the kids growing up many of us could not converge and go at the same times. So most of us met at a later time in the (now) famous Woong Kee Tau Fu Fah shop, and the others caught up with us at the hotel itself.
The hotel was basic but comfortable. We were all given rooms next to each other. So the Yoongs, Lings, Chins and ourselves lucky drew ourselves into our rooms. Glad to say the day bed turned out quite alright for my 8 year old son to sleep in. So, we didn't pump up the air mattress after all. The Lings and the Chins rested in. The Yoongs just couldn't keep still so teamed up with us to make some noise. By this time, the remaining group came trickling in so we could not venture far.
And then it was time for dinner!
We tried a new place - Restoran Huang Ting - this time, as suggested by my mum. Although the internet did not give us a right address and my mum was not great in giving me directions. We thus got lost, was late for our reservation and in fact I got a little anxious. Ipoh to me has always been 'you-can't-really-get-lost'. I don't always know with certainty if I should turn right or left, especially when I venture in areas I never went to when I was younger. But what is a wrong turn but another right turn home!
But with a crowd of 4 cars following you, well....that's a different matter. And for once I found myself using Waze in Ipoh! And finding roads that I have never seen before!
We arrived at last at our dinner place. I never knew First Garden was so near to Buntong! Dinner was CHEAP! It cost us only RM51 per couple! Cheapest dinner EVER! Taste wise was marginally good. Although we did forget to try the purple cane drink which was so famous there. But after all that stress finding the place, I totally forgot!
After dinner, and a little drama about which car which kid wanted to sit it, we toured the Railway Station. WHAT A CROWD! So, we skipped it and went ahead to Kinta Riverfront. the kids burnt all their calories there running races! Perhaps SL and John also used up many calories there. The rest of us took pics and became maids to the 16 kids.
Back at the hotel, with 16 kids, it was a mad house! I had to knock on 5 doors to find my kid.
The following day was Day In at Tambun Lost World. There was a dim sum rendezvous but we didn't see the likes of anything coming back. The rest of us settled for hotel buffet.
Now, Tambun Lost World is worth going especially when you have school going kids. Any younger perhaps you will need their friend to be with them to enjoy the petting zoo and some of the water areas. But the school going ones will enjoy it the most, if they are of comparable height. The rides in the dry theme park are relatively NON scream stoppers! You know when you are screaming, it means you are still OK!
I spent most of the time talking with the other mums then actually playing with the kids. Because we were 14 adults spread out at different areas, most of the time we would keep an eye on the kids in our area and allow our own kids to be watched by the adult in the other area.
The reason why I was talking most of the time too was because we joined an 'amazing race' and I had burnt my fingers in a zip line activity. So water and burns don't really go well together!
At 6 pm, we were all tanned, tired and in need of a good shower. I mean the adults, not the kids. The kids would have continued playing if we had let them. And with all that activity it is a good thing that food is sold in Lost World and it tastes good and it was not that expensive! Like the Chocolate pancake we had at 5:30 was somewhat AWESOME!!!
We had intended to go to Aneka Selera or dinner. But at 6:30, we were all too tired and we opted for a cool, comfortable sit down dinner instead. We went to East Ocean and paid RM100 per couple for a sumptuous dinner. At least who needed to sleep could sleep while the parents ate!
I could not believe it, but there were some eager for the Hot Springs at night. Perhaps if not for my fingers, I would have went. But as it is, some of us decided to get drunk instead. We retired close to midnight that day. For me, it was a night of minimal sleep with a bandaged hand! Thanks be to SL for the bandage.
Day 3 was a real bummer for the kids coz they knew we were all heading home. Good thing no one cried this time round. The lack of a swimming pool in the hotel helped. So there was no over bonding in the morning time. We had buffet breakfast at the hotel which we were supposed to be charged for since some of our kids are tall, but didn't happen! We 'toured' the souvenir shop and bought a few things. Coming home now and trying the 3in1 they provided in the hotel room, I would have bought some if I had known. I will the next time I am in Ipoh though! At 30 gm, it was not too rich nor too light for a white coffee!
We left around 11 for DNS/CTS kacang putih in Buntong, Ching Han Guan, Salted Chicken and Tau Fu Fah. A few of us left for home after that while some of us had lunch. THe group further thinned out after lunch and some went on to buy Swiss rolls.
On the way home, I asked hubby and Christopher which one they preferred - Avani or Tambun. Hubby and I prefer Avani. I reckon Avani had more togetherness and was more relaxing. Christopher loves whatever he can get his hands on!!!
It is for that purpose after all we do this. Not for the adults but that the kids will have memories of each other to draw them closer. That even when the adults are not around, they will have someone close enough to them to turn to. Such is the purpose that we do all this.