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Saturday, January 31, 2009

1st Mountain Climbing for 2009

24 January 2009 - My first mountain climb for the year happens to be Gunung Datuk. The organisers, Messner and Sirdar wanted to climb Gunung Angsi, but due to some reason, they'd changed it to Gunung Datuk just two days before the climb. I dislike climbing Gunung Angsi not only because it's a longer hike but also because there is a river to cross and I have to take off my shoes to cross over. Who knows what creepy crawlies are swimming inside the river, right? We don't want them nipping at my toes and sucking all my blood.

Since they have changed it to Datuk and the weather was hot and dry, I thought, why not sweat a little and join them on this hike. So I went.

There were 13 of us - David, Sirdar, Messner, PeterK, Cecelia, Francis, May Hui, Faith, Nicole, Terence, Eunice, Jason and Calvin.

We met in church at 7.30am. We left for Gunung Datuk at 7.50am, reached there probably at 8.30am, took a group picture at 9.07am and started climbing.

The first 100 meters or so was easy.

After 15 minutes, I started panting... My calves started murmuring. The slopes were getting steeper.

We stopped for a break at this point and chit-chatted a little.

Tree roots all over to help us climb. This looks better in reality than in picture.

Almost there.
I summited at 10.47am. 1 hour 40minutes from the start of the climb. Upon reaching the top, May Hui took out a HUGE packet of mee hoon from her bag and started eating.

Resting and enjoying the CNY breeze. It was really windy up at Gunung Datuk.

There was another group who shared our resting place. They actually brought a burner to make hot coffee.

video
Here's a short video clip of our resting place.

Most of my group went to the topmost part of Gunung Datuk. May Hui, Francis and I stayed back to look after our bags. (It's true!!!). In order to reach the peak, one must climb a few almost vertical metal ladders.

Those who made it to the top had a fun time admiring the view. The sun was scorching hot but the CNY wind allowed them to stay on top a little longer.

A few things one can do on top of Mount Datuk -
1) Admire the view
2) Sunbathing
3) Take pictures
4) Pretend you are climbing the boulder.

Just before we left the summit, we did some investigation. Three weeks prior to this climb, a group of my friends hiked up this mountain and one of them got lost. It seems that this person was off the track even at the start of the descent.

This is what we found. Notice the bigger picture above. He was supposed to go South-east, but he went North-west. Some of us followed the path and found that there was actually a pathway heading down. No wonder he thought it was the way down.

video

Here's a video clip. A group of us were heading down to the correct path, but the climber went to the other exit.

I forgot to mention earlier, while we were at the summit, the soles of Faith's flimsy shoes were coming off. I had a roll of ribbon with me and a pair of scissors, but it didn't helped much when we tied Faith's shoes to hold the soles and top of the shoes together. Faith decided to abandon her shoes and walk bare-footed. I didn't feel comfortable, so I gave her my one and only pair of socks, the ones that I was wearing to protect her feet. PeterK also took off his socks and asked her to wear them over my socks.

We walked for about 45 minutes before PeterK asked if we had any plasters with us. I had some and I gave them to him. He had blisters on his last toe because he wasn't wearing any socks. Someone wondered why I didn't complain of any blisters, and someone said, probably because my skin was thicker. Ha!

Descending was just as tough as ascending. At times we had squat on one leg and use our hands to balance, while our other leg would try to reach the next step. If the ground was wet... just imagine all the leeches would have a feast sucking all our blood.

The last of us reached the base at 1.34pm. We left the summit at 12.10pm. 1hour 24minutes. Not bad huh, considering we had a 15-minute rest when PeterK stopped to attend to his blistered toe.

We washed up and went for lunch in Pedas.

All of us were so hungry. At first we ordered 3 plates of noodles and later we had to add 2 more because our stomaches were crying out for more food.

It was a good climb, I would say. I forgot to add, while I was hiking up, I had trouble remembering my age. Seriously... I tried so hard to remember. Only when I was down at the base that I remembered how old I was. Temporary AMS??!

Gunung Ledang's next - 9th of February. I think I will skip this Ledang hike. I had trouble hiking up Gunung Datuk too. Must be getting old. :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shortbread Cookies

The first time I made these cookies was when Ruth and family returned from the States in the year 2006, and if I'm not mistaken, on Valentine's day. It was an experiment. When you try something out from a recipe book, not all would turn out well, but these cookies..... they were simply delicious.

Last Christmas my sisters and I baked 3 different cookies and the shortbread was one of them. Many have asked for the recipe and so here it is : -

When you do bake these, let me know how it goes and don't forget to give me some. :)

Note : Recipe taken from Family Circle - Baby and Toddler Food, published by Murdoch Books

CNY 2009-2nd Day

Like every year, we have our family reunion on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year in Uncle Allan's house. Aunt Alice will cook all the dishes including 1 "ham choy" soup.

We "lou sanged" again.

Pictures are blur but you can see that we are a close-knitted family. There were 54 of us family members who came for this reunion. Quite a big family right?

This was the highlight of the day - One of my cousins had a sting of real fire crackers and he lit them up that day. It probably lasted less that 40 seconds but it was fun to watch.

The children were in the world of their own. The boys were watching TV and the girls were in the room talking. Little Jared went all over the place with his tricycle.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another CNY Treat

I had class this morning and on the way we stopped at Ah Seng's coffee shop again. I had teh-si (tea with evaporated milk and sugar) and 2 pieces of steamed bread with kaya and margarine. Esther had pre-packed nasi lemak and a glass of water.

Matt and Minch came 5 minutes later (didn't plan to meet them) and they sat with us. They ordered their drinks and when the drinks came, 3 of us fought to pay for the bill. The wife of Ah Seng (we call her Ah Seng Soh) wasn't too sure who to take the money from, and so she decided to treat us. For a moment we were stunned. It's not the tradition of this coffee shop to treat their customers on the fourth day of CNY.

Later after class, I found out that my parents and Sze-En had breakfast in the same coffee shop and Ah Seng Soh also treated them.

Eve of CNY 2009

We had a reunion dinner in Aunt Sally's house.

My 2nd "loh sang" this year. As usual, I didn't participate in "lou-ing". I was taking photos with my camera. :)

Each auntie brought a dish.

Aunt Zainab made her famous curry puffs and pudding pelangi.

We celebrated my mom's birthday again. It was her actual birthday.

The aunties and uncles chatting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CNY treat

Today, after visiting Mctc's mom in the hospital, we went for a drink at this coffee shop called "Ah Seng".

We are regular customers there and every 3rd day of CNY the shop owners will treat us. Meaning that whatever we order, it's on the house. I don't think any other shop in the world would do that right? Hmm.... must do a survey. I know that here in Seremban, at least 2 coffee shops will do that if you are a regular customer. Usually they have a special day (during CNY) where they don't collect money from their customers.

BTW, I had a glass of iced milk tea (weather was so hot!) and 2 steamed bread with kaya and butter. That was my lunch.. well, not quite because Mctc ordered a big plate of Hakka mee (different stall, had to pay for this) and I stole one fourth from him.

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom's actual birthday falls on the 25th of January and this year happens to be the eve of Chinese New Year. So we've decided to celebrate her birthday one day earlier.

We went to a restaurant in Megaway, Sikamat, called Ah Lek. We have never been there before but heard that the food was quite good.

We had "yee sang", and I think this is the best yee sang I've ever tasted. We had other dishes too, I think all together 9 dishes including the yee sang and the sang meen ("long" noodles, a must for birthday celebration). The total bill came up to RM127. It was pretty cheap considering the most expensive dish was the yee sang... almost RM30.



Later we went to my mom's house to cut the cake.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 CNY Ang Pow Packets

This year's CNY ang pows are totally awesome.
These are CIMB's ang pow packets. They printed them red (the red is so niceeeee) and gold (which is even nicer).

This is from HP or Hewlett Packard. I baked some cookies for the owner of a computer shop (where I got my notebook from). 2 or 3 years back she told me that she love to eat cookies. I gave her a bottle of cookies then. This year, I had some extras and suddenly thought of giving a bottle of cookies to her. She wasn't in the shop when I went over, but her husband was in and he gave me these ang pow packets.

4 different ang pow packets from 4 different companies. Clockwise from top left, Public Bank, some weird company, Hong Leong Bank and Future Technology (I bought my ink cartridge and blank DVDs from this shop).

Left to right - HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Maxis (Tele-communication services).

Oh, I love these packets. 4 different colours and patterns. They are from OCBC Bank. It's not big enough to fit an unfolded note, so that's a minus point.

I think that SOGO's (shopping complex) the best. The packets are big and thick.

Rachel and I bought this pack because we were born in the year of the ox and so, why not, there were 6 a pack, we'll just buy a pack and share. I'll probably keep it for 12 years and compare the designs with the future packets.

Monday, January 26, 2009

CNY 2009-1st Day

Happy Chinese New Year to all, especially those who are born in the year of the ox. :). My mom, Rachel, I were born in the year of the ox (yes, we are that old already). And no, we don't look at the Chinese horoscopes to check what will happen to us this year. We are not that superstitious. :)

We, the children had plans to have breakfast in my parents' house. That's what we do every 1st day of the Chinese New Year. I can't remember when was the first time we did this, but I remembered Rachel was the one who suggested it. We would buy some eggs, baked beans and luncheon meat. Rachel would volunteer to cook them for us. When Tusi came two years ago, she took over from Rachel.

I arrived at my parents' house slightly after 9AM. Esther and her family was already there. Rachel came half an hour later. While waiting for Rachel to arrive, we distributed the ang pows.

This is a picture of my mom giving me an ang pow. Okay, I know I should receive it with both hands... but I was holding the camera in the other hand.

This is what we had for breakfast today. Usually Sze-En had the honour of setting the table, but Tusi did that task before Sze-En arrived.

My parents and Sze-En, all in red.

Even Molly was wearing her CNY dress.

After breakfast, I went over to the hospital to visit Mctc's mom. She had difficulty breathing and was warded yesterday at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital. Minch's grandma had a fall a week plus ago and fractured her pubic bone. She was also warded in this hospital.

I don't know about Mctc's mom or Minch's grandmother, but I feel sad for them because they had to spend CNY in hospital.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Molly's Got A New Dress for CNY

This is Molly's current dress. She looks like an old grandmother don't you think so?

Last Sunday Tusi showed us the new CNY dress that she made for Molly.

It was supposed to be a surprise to Molly and her mom (Sze-En) . Tusi must have seen the pathetic condition of Molly's dress and decided to do something about it.


It's really a beautiful dress. Sigh.... Do you think Tusi will sew me an outfit for the next CNY?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Disturbing

Disturb, disturb, disturb... ruffle hair... scratch the back...., tickle..

I love disturbing Sze-En.
Recently, I found that it's no more fun to disturb her. She seems to like her hair to be rumpled, and her back scratched. And when I stop disturbing her, she ask me to continue because she likes it so much. From something so fun, it has become a chore. :(

I remember when I was young, adults loved to mess up my hair. They did it lovingly but I hated it. When I grew up, I found myself doing the same to the younger kids. Most of them, if not all didn't like it at all. Sze-En is really an unusual child. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 CNY at Seremban Parade

I thought this year's CNY decor at Seremban Parade was lovely. I haven't been to Mid Valley to check out their CNY decors. Hmm... should I just make a trip on the 1st day of new year? We'll see...


Thursday, January 22, 2009

So Tempting

This is a Teo Chew mandarin orange. I was so tempted to peel one of these and pop it into my mouth, but I managed to restrain myself. I gave it to Tusi instead.

This CNY I have to forgo eating mandarin oranges. I've been coughing since Nov/Dec last year and it's not healed completely. Oh, it's much better now, but once in a while my throat gets itchy and I'll start to cough.