EN-rage!

My blood is boiling tonight..leading me to my blog at the wee hour of 12.28am. I was about to go to bed but decided to open a letter from ENRICH (Malaysian Airlines) JUST before going upstairs to sleep. I just had to, didnt I?

The big BLUE coloured cardboard card flashed before my eyes, and, snugly nestled inside it, was a very BLUE Enrich card.

I remembered the day I received my ENRICH Silver card a few years back…it was close to my birthday and I was so very happy about it. Now, the feeling of being DOWNGRADED far exceeds and effectively erases any of the past happiness associated with being UPGRADED from Blue to Silver. In other words, I’m feeling even worse than when I first started with my humble Blue card over 7 years ago. The letter said….

Dear Ms Lim

Thank you for being a valued member of Enrich.

In the past year, we noted that you have commendably accrued a substantial amount of Elite Miles. Unfortunately, the amount of Elite Miles you earned is insufficient to maintain your Enrich Silver membership.

To ensure that you continue to enjoy your travel experiences with Malaysia Airlines, we have reclassified your membership to the Enrich Blue tier and your new membership card is enclosed.

ETC…

So, my first point would be:

1. I have COMMENDABLY accrued a SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles. So if you already have acquired SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles, it means you need a gazillion of Elite Miles just to maintain the Silver. And btw, thanks for commending me.

2. TO ensure that I continue to enjoy my travel experiences with MAS….they are issuing me with the Blue card. Well firstly, the fact that even though they acknowledge I have accrued a SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles, I’ve been downgraded back to Blue. That bitter pill now ENSURES that I will continue to enjoy my travel experience with MAS? I think not. Yes, indeed I would be quite bitter each time I step foot on MH now.

3. how about all the enrich miles i did not redeem but had expired and been cancelled or gone to waste? Well maybe cos something like 30,000 points only takes you to Singapore and back?

4. Why should I even bother to reach Silver when all they do is downgrade you thereafter. Honestly, this method hardly bring the words “brand’ and “loyalty” to mind.

5. I flew from Taiwan to Tokyo, went to Maldives and also went to Adelaide in less than one year – guess thats not enough to maintain the Enrich Silver. SO what determines an ELITE route? A money making one for MH??

To say I’m incensed is quite an understatement. But sigh…I guess, its just a useless midnight rant from just another flier on MH. I guess it also shows the fact that Mums like me hardly have the opportunity to travel anymore and I dont see this trend changing for the better anytime soon. So as BLUE as I am, I have to accept the fact that…I’m  back to Blue.

And from today onwards, what little bit left of loyalty I had for MH, what with all that bad food, mediocre service, lousy sloping business class seats and their so called hospitality… has gone to the dogs. I will fly SQ every single time I get the chance. Get me my KRISFLYER asap! I’ll even enjoy the annoying layovers at Changi – shopping!

Goodbye Enrich.

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Re-living our blissful week in the Maldives

With all this ‘bustling’ activity on my blog, you would think I’ve disappeared into thin air after our trip to the Maldives. Yes well, I’ve literally been running on whats left of my spare adrenalin in my race to complete our home renovations. Can’t believe I’m STILL talking about our home renovations? Well, believe it!

Its my birthday month! Hooray! Best month of the year, as far as I’m concerned. I always pamper myself psychologically in September, and this year, hubby really managed to really surprise me with a gift the magnitude of Saturn. Thank you hubby…..*smooch*

And you know what marks its very OLD and 3rd anniversary this month, this year? Yes! MY FLAVOUR turns 3! I can hardly believe it. Thank you my regular readers for keeping this alive, and I hope I wont be too busy next year to keep it afloat. With the pending arrival of our No. 2, I’m not sure if I would still have time to have a poo, let alone write.

Our holiday this year to the The One and Only, Reethi Rah was awesome and its been awhile since we just, ate slept and did nothing everyday for a whole week. Short of the bad 3-4 days of rain, we managed to squeeze in just enough snorkeling and ocean dips. I noticed a satisfactory bikini tan line on my bum, so its all good!

The ESPA, spa at the resort was lovely, in a couples suite overlooking the water. We both had a clinical pedicure and manicure too, a thoroughly relaxing one where we sat in a chair very much like a dentist chair. They used a drill and small teeny blade to smoothen rough cuticles and rough skin on our feet.

Some pics from our trip…

The lovely blue sea...was crystal

View from the freshwater pool at the resort, overlooking the ocean

In the freshwater pool, where we spent most days.....chlorine free!

Having a snorkel. Do I look strange? Dont laugh...

The main beach on the resort on a cloudy day...and unfortunately, many days were cloudy...

With a little sigh, we had to leave, but in the words of Arnie the terminator….We’ll be BACK!

Ronnie’s Big Catch

Here’s a shoddy looking video of what went on this morning – Ron’s big catch! There’s more to the video but it was too much to post.

Warning: Do not watch if you think fishing is cruelty to animals. You may find certain scenes a bit painful to watch.

Windy Maldives

I dont know if its a blessing or not! Its raining every SINGLE day on the island. This afternoon, at 1pm, it was like a hurricane. I even had to take some video footage of it…

We had booked for big game fishing today, and last night we slept early in anticipation for the early wake up call at 6am, and it would be off on the boat at 7am. But alas! At 630am the captain called and said we had to cancel our little boat trip due to bad weather and my poor hubby was so severely disappointed. The sandwiches we ordered for the boat trip, however, was already made, so we had it delivered to our villa whereby we desolately munched on them while watching TV.

But suddenly, at 7.15am, the winds and skies cleared and hubby decided, heck it! Let’s go anyway.

So we called the captain and we were off! It was drizzling, even as we left.

I was like an excited little monkey (I had to video everything!) and I hoped we would catch something because we were told alot of people came back empty handed. The boat had 6 fishing lines and we fished using the trolling method. After about 45 minutes of sailing out to sea, we caught something!! I was on the upper deck, and the boat driver said to me….we caught something big…like the size of me! I was very incredulous AND skeptical.

But yes, it was a huge and gigantic sail fish that was taller than Ronnie!!! We couldn’t believe it!! The captain helped Ronnie reel it in. It was an awesome experience, and we had another couple hours to burn but the seas were rather choppy and I started to go green in the face. I had to semi-lay down. Finally, I had a headache and we had to head back. But thank God we caught something! It made it all worthwhile….

As tall as me...it was Ronnie's catch but I had to take SOME credit for cheering him on!

Male

Its 630am in Male, Maldives…I’m wide awake with excitement (also the fact that its 930am in KL) and from hunger pangs cos the last meal I had was at 615pm in KL before heading off to KLIA. I’m counting the hours til we get on the ‘boat’ to head off to the island…

No pictures (yet) today – maybe cause I’ve been busy playing around with my new toy since we left the house..

Sony Handycam - Don't play play...wait for my Directorial debut! Hee

Of course, the star of the show is Hubby – rather he is the guinea pig and very soon he is going to find me rather annoying! So if you see a grumpy man in the video, he would be instantly recognisable.

OK, the ‘man’ in question got out of bed to complain that my typing is loud and he cant sleep! Pooh, lousy Lenovo pc’s – not as silent as my Vaio!

Til later…

Mushi Mushi?

Lame blog title i know. But who cares, my smattering of mandarin, mixed in with some Hokkien and usage of cantonese words translated into what I hoped a mandarin speaking person would understand – got me around Taipei somehow. We are now in Tokyo! And i miss Jade Jade sooooOOOO much!

Our first pit stop was a ramen shop – abit too much MSG and not the best in town, but it got us fixed. Its cold and dreary, it been raining since we got in today, and I am surprised that Tokyo is still so cold in Mid May. Im keeping my fingers crossed that these rain clouds were not gathered near the Nuclear Power plants…

The best invention ever?? I declare it to be the electronic toilet seat warmers… ahhh, now thats one inviting toilet bowl. Its just such a joy to sit on it in a cold country, in a cold, hard, toilet.

We just had a dinner of delicious, very sweet and tasty Hokkaido crab legs shabu shabu – cant recall the name of the restaurant, bad me! At the end, we put rice into the now very sweet broth (based on bonito flakes) and egg and it was the best watery congee I ever had.

10am, TOKYO

Its now morning and my post resumes cos wordpress has some issues last night. I am determined to visit Odaiba today, which is like a little man-made island near Tokyo, I heard. There’s shops and restaurants there and since its new to me…i’m off for another amazing adventure, albeit alone …poor Sue…..

Hopefully I’ll be back with some pics of the place. til then, have a great Friday, TGIF!

Day of discovering Taipei

By the way, the shower water DID turn hot and cold while I was washing my hair last night so YEA, as i had predicted.

Anyway, I did a solitary sojourn around the hotel yesterday, starting at the Chinese Handicraft Centre (at least I tried doing something tourist-y!) but came out empty handed. There was alot of tshirts (nah!) jade (doenst look very nice) tea sets (too heavy to lug around) and art works (same). Key chains also arent my thing (but I did mull about getting a fridge magnet for my collection).

I did some research online before heading out yesterday morning and made a plan to visit the handicraft centre, followed by a investigative visit to a place I found online called Ximending – dubbed the Harajuku of Taipei.

Ximending

I stopped by a Mian Xian shop (founded in 1975 apparently) to eat starchy mian xian – you only get a plastic soup spoon to eat it with and sit on plastic chairs while you slurp.

Ah Zhong mian xian, Ximending, pic from the web

Mian Xian - pic from the web

Well, yes the set up at Ximending was quite Shinjuku/Shibuya-ish and I realise that the Taiwanese are quite influenced by Japanese things – shopping wise, anyway. Their clothes in Sogo (a major departmental store here) are copies from what you get in Sogo in Tokyo (alot of VIVI magazine stuff) and the prices! Just like Japan too. A thousand ringgit will get you 2 dresses in Sogo and maybe a pair of socks. Mitsukoshi (a posh departmental store in Japan) is also here, rooted closeby to the Taipei 101. 101 was the tallest building in the world until 2010, when Burj al-Khalifa was built in Dubai. A good long 6 years of tallest-hood for the 101.

101

We found that alot of people, girls and boys, all ride their little scooters and many ride bikes.

The weather is as hot as it is in Malaysia…but it makes me wonder…why dont more Malaysians walk or ride bikes as a mode of transportation????So weather is not an excuse! Must be the lack of 5 foot ways then…..

I found shopping in Taipei a bit of a disappointment. Things are very expensive although I believe that luxury goods are similarly priced or abit cheaper than Malaysia. We also get a 5% tax rebate at the airport. The variety of things here, the availability of certain brands (such as Roger Vivier, WINK WINK!) are good – to the Hong Kong standard. However, the other in between brands (between the uber expensive and the super cheapo at some markets) are such as Nine West and the rest. the normal stuff you get in Malaysia.

I went to Ximending with hopes of discovering quality things for rather cheap you would find in little laneways or alleys, but most of the stuff here were like RM20- Rm40 dollar polyester tshirts and very el-cheapo dresses that were mostly jam packed together on racks and all wrinkly. Basically, it was a version of Sungei Wang shops, but on the streets in shops.

We ended the day on the 85th floor of Taipei 101 for dinner. Ronnie and I were more keen on having stall food, but we were close by and planned to visit a night market last night. We were too exhausted to, by the way. So we had Taiwanese or chinese cuisine atop Taipei 101.

The view from 85th floor of taipei 101

The food was quite bang for buck, surprisingly, for something that seemed gimicky. It was RM340 per head for the dinner set menu which included abalone, scallop, shark fin (whole piece), half a lobster, 2 appetisers, rice with sea cucumber and fish maw (very nice!) and!! fruits dessert PLUS birds nest with snow jelly. OK so, we could only find 2 tiny strands of birds nest in it…haha…

A rather surprising end to the day, a romantic-ish dinner for the tired couple.

I wonder what I am to do today? I have done the top 2 things to be seen in Taiwan (according to the free guide books). Other than going to the national park or the zoo (which I even contemplated)..what shall i do?

Ni Hao Ma? Greetings from Taipei

My knee hurts because I just banged it against the bottom of this desk I am at right now. It made me say a feverish prayer.

It looks like an antique chinese table from some old chinese dynasty. Everything at this hotel we are at this time round is as old or probably older than I am. I laughed at the absurdity of it, but it took me over 30 seconds to figure out how to use the lever to flush the toilet after my poo. I was literally laughing out loud while I stubbornly pushed, pulled, twisted, prodded, pushed around the lever and finally stopping for a few seconds to study it more closely. Even after studying the thing, I still did the same, pull, push, twist – except with a bit more strength.

The flush

After a long 30 seconds, I finally found that it worked if I pushed it downwards – real hard. Hurray! I didnt for the life of me want to ask Hubby to teach me how to flush a toilet – I know he knew cos (1) He’s been to Taiwan (although this contraption may not be a common feature in younger hotels) and (b) he just used the toilet.

OK, toilet stories aside, I just realised that (Im not trying to be arrogant here but) its been a long while since I’ve stayed in such an old hotel. But wait, it’s very clean and I realised again…one of the most important feature of an hotel is the shower (and of course, the bed). The water should be hot enough and not turn hot and cold halfway through a shower. And thats what I didnt have to put up with, so I’m happy enough. It was just a blast from the past being in a hotel whereby the light above the sink in the bathroom is encased in one of those white, plastic boxes as big about1 foot white and 1 foot deep, and THAT was framed with a 1 inch thick wood around it.

The other thing I always evaluate in a hotel is the quality of their towels and number of towels provided. A face towel, hand towel and bath towel, reasonably thick – is indication of a well-run hotel, even though old. The lighting is also sufficient and there is a 32 inch flat screen tv. Another tick.

And this one provided the above PLUS bedroom slippers – so Hubby is happy.

Happy belated mother’s day to everyone, as Pastor Dr Tan said in church yesterday, even single ladies looking for husbands (and wanting families), or ladies who cannot conceive should be included,as Mother’s Day may be a sad event for them. After becoming a Mother, I have realised that it takes sacrifice and hard work. It takes up so much of your life, but there is so much joy and beauty to life. Something always to look forward to, and the bible clearly states that Children are a reward from God.

In the same vein, I just watched this movie on the plane: ” Love and other impossible pursuits” and there I was bawling my eyes out. It had the precautionary note by the synopsis : TEAR JERKER. I hate crying in the plane while watching movies. Anyway, it had the lovely and most beautiful Natalie Portman in it and thats enough reason to watch it, right? It was about a woman who had lost her baby at 3 days old and her having to deal with her young step son, amongst other issues.

Maybe the tears came alot easier because I am now a mother and to lose the child 3 days after the baby’s birth would be very heartbreaking. To lose a baby at all, is heartbreaking. And no woman (or man) should ever have to go through that. I really praise God for baby Jade.

Revived!

Just when I thought my blog has gone-to-the-dogs, I log-in (been eons since my last post and last log-in) to find that my sites visits were superbly healthy TODAY!

Tis a strange and marvelous thing.

As Baby Jade grows by the day, I realise that wow – I suddenly DO have time for a 5 min magazine read (even if its on the potty – and only for American Vogue, no less). I DO have time for a DVD – by the way, this new movie, “Going the Distance” starring cutesy couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long  – cracked me up! I’d give it 5 thumbs up – adult jokes, of course. I find I DO have time for a body massage, time for a dinner with friends accompanied by DRINKS after! Wow! OK, so I did scan my watch 9and more subtly, my iPhone) every 5 mins once the clock struck 1030pm. It takes half and hour to get back to Shah Alam from any where so I didnt want to get home too late for Baby.

So having said all that, I realised of late that I actually missed blogging, writing and YES, after today’s rant, my couldn’t-quite-put-a-finger-on-it void is filled! I type so quickly as my mind overflows with (cyber) verbal diarrhea.

Its 2011 – and after the whirlwind of 2010 (being pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding) – 2011 starts sedately as I renewed my ‘vows’ with my ‘career’ and juggle the Mummy job as well. I’m blessed to have a pretty capable Cambodian domestic helper and fantastic grandparents (to Jade).

Jade Jade is almost touching the 6 month mark – and I thought the day would take ages to come. How quickly time flies, how quickly she outgrows the obscene amount of baby clothes we buy her (I cant help it! The miniatures are so cute!) As clothes-horse crazy as I get, I DONT indulge in buying RM 600 baby Burberry dresses! hehehe….

My Sayang in her car seat

Hubby and I had a wonderful end to the year in amazing Tokyo (wait, that doesnt sound right) – its Amazing Thailand and Crazy Awesome Tokyo. We only ate and shopped but this time managed to be disciplined and took in 2 tours – one to Mt Fuji and another to Asakusa. OK so both within a range of couple of hours journey but STILL! 6 days in Tokyo doesnt get you much places if food is priority.

Anyways, it was the first time in 2 years I have seen snow.

Mt Fuji on a relatively clear day

Mt Fuji in the distance, two Swa-ku's in front

Delicious Kyushu Ramen

Gonpachi @ Roponggi. We were so excited to be here because the scene where Uma Thurman kills the crazy 88 was shot here in this restaurant. Food was average though...

Sigh – I love re-living my Tokyo holiday – it was superb, excellento, fab and short but sweet! A great holiday is hard to come by now that Baby is with us but there is always something to look forward to when we come home. JADE JADE!!

 

Last Leg

We are now officially on the last leg of our “tour” (sound like rockstars but clearly just two bored people) of Australia and am back in Melbourne to fly off back to KL soon. Oh how I never get sick of landing in Melbourne. The air is just so nice and fresh. Ronnie is confused, how much nicer is the air in Melbourne compared to Adelaide (he asks with a touch of sarcasm)

I reply that OK I rephrase, its not the quality, its the familiarity of the air!

I am happy and most glad to report that my excess saliva problem has abated and I now can (almost) go without a single spit for the whole day (not including spits i do in the shower…) and the horrific constipation I endured has seemed to also “cleared up” and now I’m just ‘singing in the rain’ (no sign of rain yet – but u get my drift)

After 1.5 months in Australia we are keen to go back to Klang’s Bah Kut Teh (upon touch down of course, as we usually do) and the Har Mee (Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee) from O&S beckons. The usual yakiniku we have at Munakata and also Dae Sa Kwan is a-calling. So we’ve got our food itinerary lined up for the first week. Even the SS2 char koey tiaw and the the Glenmarie Kwan Loh Mee promotes some saliva-producing.

But before I launch my mouth into all of that, my stomach is keenly abuzz now (almost lunch time) and we are headed off to my Melbourne crave – Crispy Chicken on rice in Dessert House. Ronnie’s eyes roll.

Till tonight (where we will be safely ensconced in K-Box Karaoke). I’ll be out. Ciaos!

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