Thursday, February 24, 2005


Bintulu 4 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005.

Thursday 24th February. Babang woke up early. Noticed that he did not sleep well the previous night. He woke up many times but slept again each time without much ado. I guess he missed his parents. On the way to school he asked whether the parents will be coming home today. When told that his mummy may not be strong yet to travel he remarked, “Why Daddy cannot come back alone first for awhile and then bring Mummy home?” We replied that Daddy has to help Mummy look after the baby. When asked whether he likes a baby sister he replied, “Yes yes yes! I like baby sister” Dedek on the other hand was just unconcerned.

The past few days, on fetching Babang from school, the first question he asked was whether Mummy is already home. Today was no different, except that today he showed a disappointed face. However, using diversion tactics and the playful antics of the brother helped eased him. He was laughing and singing the songs he learnt in school and we sang along with him. At one stage Dedek yelled stop stop. When we stopped and asked why, he said, “Now, everybody sing A B She” So he sang, “A B She G F F E, H M nn nn L L Peee”. When we corrected him he said, “Now everybody sing winkle winkle star”. When we again corrected him he started pointing at the school bus, lorries and trucks passing by. See see, garbage quackter!! He said. Ha ha!! that’s his diversion tactics!!

On arrival home I received a sms from Shaffik that they are about to leave Miri for home. So I told the kids that if they wash up, sit nicely and eat lunch, go to sleep after that, then when they wake up Mummy will come back from Miri with the baby. Surprise, surprise. They were very good, and dutifully followed directions and had their afternoon sleep without fuss.

Mini’s mother had baby Haadieya Hasya in her arms when they arrived. She passed the baby to me on alighting from the car and with the baby in my arms my first impression was Hifzhan when he was a baby, fair skinned and fair complexioned, soft but light hair, except that Haadieya appears to be a little longer, and her fingers were rather long too. She was, at 3.5 kg., heavier than the two brothers at birth. The thought that ran in my mind then was what a wonderful living being I have in my hand. This creation, this gift, this endowment from The Almighty is something we should always cherish. Something for us to treasure, to behold and to take care. Gender is then not a concern but just a preference and not something to fret about. We are thankful though that after having two boys, Shaffik and Mini now have a girl.

Babang was very cautious when approaching the little sister to the point of being shy, but Haziq was boisterous as ever. He touched Haadieya’s cheeks, held her arms and quite roughly too. When I quickly took the baby away he shouted, “I want to kiss the baby”. He kissed the baby on the forehead. Hifzhan, when asked to kiss the baby would smile shyly and approach the baby with a lot of caution. I asked Haziq, now that he has a younger sibling he cannot be called Dedek anymore but he insisted that he is still Dedek and that is ‘baby’ not dedek!! Very firm indeed.

The rest of the evening the two boys were just noisy. I read that as a sign of protest and I took time to keep explaining to them not to ‘shock’ the baby, that the baby need a lot of sleep, and that their mother is still not well and need a lot of rest too. They say yes each time but soon after they were up to their tricks again right until bed time. Its normal behaviour though and we will have to continue psyching them up every time.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Hi, Haadieya Hasya here, reporting to the world Posted by Hello

Hi, My parents named me Haadieya Hasya Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


BINTULU 3 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005

Tuesday February 22nd , 2005, Ram’s birthday and D/day for Mini in Miri. Babang and Dedek slept through the night without any problem. They did ask for the parents when they were going to bed but when reminded that Mummy has to be in hospital they accepted it and did not protest. On waking up they again asked for the parents but did not ask further when told that the parents are still in hospital.

Sent Babang to school. No hassle. Received a call from Shaffik that Mini had given birth to a 3.5kg. baby girl. So two boys and a girl for them and two grandsons and two granddaughters for us. When the two boys were told that they now have a baby sister, Babang was excited, but Dedek just gave a blank look. Reality would certainly sink in for him when the baby is brought home later in the week. He will realize that he is no more the dedek in the family!! Let us see how he reacts later.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Monday, February 21, 2005


BINTULU 2 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005

Our second day in Bintulu, February 20th 2005, a Sunday, was bright and sunny. The kids were up early and came into our room to check on whether we were up. Dedek came and whispered softly into my ear, “Dedek want to go to KFC”. I whispered to him why? He said, “Dedek want to eat chicken”. I then asked Babang where he wants to go today pointing to my ear. He came and whispered softly, “library”. I whispered why? He said, “Babang want to read many books”. I said to them that it is still too early to go anywhere, later we decide where to go. Dedek put his right hand out in a circle and said, "No problemmmm".

Shaffik and Mini apparently had repeatedly psyched the kids about the arrival of the new baby as the kids nonchalantly remarked to us, quite a number of times too since our arrival, of which a typical dialog goes like this:

Babang: Mummy and Daddy will go to Miri, Tok Bah and Tok Mi must stay with Babang and Dedek in Bintulu ok? (Note the use of the word “must”).
Tok Bah: Why Mummy and Daddy go to Miri?
Babang: Becozzzz Mummy go stay in hospitallll
Tok Bah: Why?
Babang: Becozzzz got baby in Mummy’s tummy. Got to operation like Babang last time in Babang’s tummy.
Tok Bah: But why Mummy got to operation her tummy
Babang: Becozzzz doctor has to take baby out. Otherwise how to take baby out? (showing both his palm, eyebrows lifted and his face in earnest!! very serious!!)

Dedek would sometime go up to his mummy, right knuckle on her tummy (as though knocking on a door) and cheekily say, “Hello baby, how are you baby” and so on.

After breakfast, we went to check on the house that Shaffik is putting up for rent while he fixed up whatever required fixing, like broken window panes, curtain rails and so on. New tenants are coming into the house soon. Hopefully they will stay longer than the previous tenant who stayed for only three months but caused quite a bit of setbacks in the house, but none that is too bothersome for Shaffik to fix though.

Shaffik also showed me the route he usually takes to send Babang to school as that route is to be used every time or Babang will suspect that we have other places to go to without him and will refuse to go to school!! Even when fetching him after school we are to be seen coming from the same direction or he will throw tantrum!!

We visited Mini’s parents in their house later in the evening. The kids came along too and were up to their antics and playful selves as usual, picking on Bella, their cousin, and making everyone laugh. Since Babang has to go to school in the morning we stayed only for a short while.

Monday morning. Babang woke up early to get ready to go to school. Babang reminded me several times that morning, “Tok Bah stay in Bintulu when Mummy and Daddy go to Miri ok?” Dedek on the other hand playfully says, “Mummy and Daddy go to Miri, Babang go to school (he pronounce it as “kool” not being able to say s) Tok Bah and Dedek go Air Asia to KL, Tok Bah house and play racing car”. He said this to playfully make Babang angry!! Appeared that the kids accept the fact that their parents will be away and that they will be left behind with us.

After sending Babang to school, Shaffik and Mini got ready to go to Miri. When they were ready to go Dedek went upstairs to call Tok Mi and said, “Tok Mi, go downtair Mummy going. Tok Mi don’t cry ok?” obviously psyching himself that he should not cry when his parents leave. All the while he was naughtily laughing and playing. Even when the parents were leaving he was cheerfully waving goodbye. True enough, for the rest of the day the children were well behaved and did not fret about their parents.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited.


BINTULU 1 – February 19th to March 23rd 2005

It is time to move on. We have scheduled to fly to Bintulu by Air Asia on February 19th and spend time with our son and his family. Mini is expecting their third child and is due for delivery on the 22nd which coincidentally is Ram’s birthday. (February is also the month when their other two elder sons were born).

Expecting to stay in Bintulu for a quite a while, until March 23rd precisely, we had packed quite an extensive amount of clothing, and also birthday presents and gifts for the grandchildren that Tessa had picked previously. In addition we had brought with us nine commemorative copies of a book titled “The Young Turks of PETRONAS” written by a friend, and former Senior Vice President of PETRONAS, to be distributed by Shaffik at his workplace. All these made our luggage overweight exceeding the standard allowance given by Air Asia, but were fortunate that we were not charged for the excess weight. If charged, we would have to pay RM50.00 for the excess weight, which is more than what we paid for the one way fare!!

Tessa sent us to the airport in her one week old Honda Jazz. A nice and cute blue colour job that is nippy in traffic. Nice registration number too. I was quite surprised to find, when sitting in the back seat, that the car felt quite spacious and that all our luggage could fit into the space behind the back seat and had yet a bit more room to spare. The classic smell of the interior, reminded me that it’s a new car, and I tend to watch all around the car while cruising along lest other vehicles came too close, and I wasn’t even driving!!

We arrived at KLIA timely enough for the check-in and boarding process, made innocent pleas, at time of check-in, for exemption of the luggage excess fee promising not to repeat in our future trips, and headed straight to the departure lounge. Boarded the aircraft on time, priority boarding as senior citizen too, and chose the second row seats. All went well so far. They wheeled the aircraft out of the parking apron to the tarmac and then there was no activity for a while…… I suspected something amiss. True enough, I felt a slight jolt of the tow truck connecting up to the aircraft again and I was sure then that something had gone wrong. They wheeled the aircraft back onto the parking apron, passengers looking at each other, all having that questioning look in their faces, while four busy looking men boarded the aircraft and headed straight into the cockpit, Aircraft Engineers no doubt. A little while later an announcement was made that they have a minor problem but requires about an hour to fix. We had to disembark and waited at the departure lounge. At this time, the lounge was already occupied by another batch of passengers heading for Bangkok. So, you can imagine the pandemonium and chaotic situation caused when they were boarding passengers for Bangkok. Either the passengers were not listening to the announcement made or they were too eager to board that you find a few Bintulu passengers boarding the Bangkok plane and some Bangkok passengers still waiting in the lounge. That reflected a lot on the quality and how well organized ‘they’ are!! Cant blame the passengers really, a high percentage of whom do not really wait for announcements before attempting to board, and this is true on all the flights I have taken in my whole life!! A good and systematic boarding ‘work process’ is needed to ensure orderly boarding. We finally got to board the aircraft and left KLIA bound for Bintulu almost an hour and a half delayed, part of which was waiting for a couple of passengers who had wandered away from the waiting lounge at time of boarding.

On arriving in Bintulu, Shaffik and his two sons were waiting for us. The kids were really excited. Both were shooting questions at us and both of them were talking at the same time, each trying to get our attention all the way home. Mini had prepared afternoon tea, and while chit-chatting over tea I pretended not to notice the kids playing and circling around me and their grandmother and also at the luggage that were kept at the side of the sitting hall. Each time they pass the luggage they would tap their hands on it. Patience got the better of them I thought, and Babang finally came up to me and asked:

Babang: Tok Bah Tok Bah, you are not going to open your bags?
Tok Bah: Not yet…
Babang: Tok Bah can open now?
Tok Bah: Why?
Babang: (long smile) obviously hiding his impatience to see what we brought for him…

Not wanting to heighten their excitement further, I opened the bag containing their gifts, birthday presents and goodies, with Babang and Dedek standing alongside. On opening the bag Babang had his palms on both cheeks and exclaimed, “there….. so many stuff”. They opened the gifts and boxes, all of which were identical except for one toy wooden fire truck and one forklift truck. Dedek impatiently tore open the wrappings of the forklift truck while Babang was carefully removing the tapes on the wrappings of the fire truck (very telling characters between the two brothers!!). Dedek had already started playing with the forklift truck while Babang was still struggling with his wrappings. The moment Babang got the fire truck out of the box and wrappings Dedek immediately dropped the forklift truck and got his hands onto the fire truck. Babang moved it away from the younger brother saying, “we share….ok?” Dedek said, “ok” but grabbed the fire truck anyway…. so much for diplomacy between brothers!! But Babang took control of the situation by telling the brother to let him fix all the attachments and peripherals to the truck and got his way. He pretended and dilly dallied fixing the truck while Dedek continued playing with the forklift, a silent strategy I suppose. At this time the other gifts of colouring books, colour pencils, chocolates and other goodies were forgotten. Concentrations were on the forklift and fire trucks!! Babang always displayed a picture of calculated patience while Dedek was the one who bulldoze into everything. And we, grandparents, look forward to the antics of these two little kids, the "apples of our eyes", during our stay in Bintulu.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Sunday, February 20, 2005

THE EYE – 17th February 2005

The follow-up consultation at Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital is now a routine monthly check up for Ram with Dr. V. Ramani, who has been treating her since the cornea graft procedure that she did in January 2004 and the intensive and intrusive treatment she had to carry out to recover the infected and almost damaged grafted cornea in late December 2005, and that was about the same time as the disastrous tsunami incident. (see my previous postings on the subjects). The eye has improved a lot and there is no more sign or trace of the infection or ulcer formed as a result of the infection although the eye is still red at certain portions. Her vision has also improved and she is able to read again although still with a little effort. We thank Allah for all that He bequeathed. The consultative visit to Dr. Ramani today saw her withdrawing the antibiotic eye-drop previously prescribed and replacing it with another type that should relieve Ram from getting redness in the eye, and indeed, after a few days of six-hourly treatment the redness is almost all gone. She maintains treating the eye with the eye-drop and artificial tears.

According to Dr. Ramani, there are still sutures to be removed and the astigmatism on the cornea to be treated. She suggested that these be deferred a little while longer, until it is absolutely certain that the cornea has recovered fully. Meanwhile Ram is to continue with the six-hourly eye-drop and artificial tears. The visits to the hospital is also more flexible now, not having to be religiously followed, as long as there is sufficient supply of the eye-drops and Ram gets to consult the doctor once in a month or so. This eases our plans and mobility.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Friday, February 18, 2005


National and State holidays are many and when the holidays fall close to the weekends, you will find working Malaysians adding on their annual leave to the holidays in order to have an extended period off from work. They will then take the opportunity to take their families away from home. As a result, the main roads and highways all over the country will be jammed with cars at the beginning of the holidays and again at the end, with the exodus of holiday makers criss-crossing all over the country. And this happens almost every other month in the year!! The recent Chinese New Year holidays, falling on a Wednesday and Thursday was one of them. Thursday was also the Muslim calendar New Year, and gazetted a national holiday, and since its already a holiday it was thus compensated by Friday being declared a holiday as well. Many people took the opportunity by taking Monday and Tuesday before the Chinese New year as annual leave and they have nine days at a stretch.

Our youngest daughter, Sita and family in Kerteh, in the East Coast, could not get away as her husband, Fahrul had to work during the holidays. So we thought it would be a good occasion for us to visit her. Our new granddaughter Najla being there was of course that added magnetic attraction.

We left Petaling Jaya in the afternoon of Monday 7th February. It was a very pleasant leisurely drive to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia where road traffic is concerned. There were not many cars on the road. I was informed that the roads, as expected, were busy on Saturday and Sunday. I noticed, along the way, that the green grass, shrubs, trees were changing to brown, a result of the hot and very dry weather and the low rainfall over the last few weeks. I even noticed bushfires here and there. I was hoping that there would not be any water supply problems in the East Coast as is common during the hot weather season but my fear was clearly unfounded. There was no shortage of water supply when we were there. The weather however, continued to be hot, hence the ceiling fans and air-conditioning in the house were running full swing to alleviate the uncomfortable heat.

We arrived at Sita’s house at dusk, grandparents full of excitement in the thought of meeting and playing with granddaughter. She is about four and a half month old and already conscious of strangers. For the next one week or so our daily routines were centered around this four and a half month old, taking turns in looking after her, carrying her, playing with her, putting her to sleep, feeding (she is just starting on soft solids), and so on. We did not go out much, doing it only out of necessity, more so with the hot weather. There were some visitors, friends of Sita, and also a former colleague of mine on his way to his hometown close to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur. A former staff and her family also dropped by on their way home in Kuala Terengganu on Sunday the last day after the holidays.

On Saturday, Fahrul was off from work. We drove up to Kuala Terengganu and spent overnight at my sister’s house. She and husband, both in the education field, had retired last year and had also recently returned from a short trip to the UK visiting their eldest daughter, who is doing her postgraduate studies in University of York, and her family. This daughter had also just returned for a three month break and to explore and research materials for her thesis. Another reason for visiting this sister of mine is that they will be holding a wedding ceremony for their son soon. We will not be able to be present then, so we took this opportunity to visit them.

While in Kuala Terengganu, we went around the town and also visited my former staff and colleague, who had recently moved into their new house. They had built a wonderful and large two-storey house (mansion?) with five bedrooms, a guest room, separate hall and TV area, dining room, wet and dry kitchens and an equally large garden with a built up pond and a natural pond. We imagined that a lot of effort will be required to maintain the house internally and externally and the garden as well. The large house and compound is definitely convenient for the family as they are now but I wonder what he and his wife will do once they are older and once their children are all grown up and on their own. My wife and I find our house a little too big for us to manage and cope with now that our children are all away and on their own so, giving them a number of years, they may be in the same situation we are in now.

On Monday 14th. we went to Kuantan as Sita has two days of work to do in Kuantan while we baby-sat Najla. Fahrul was with us too but he was doing the errands mostly, as they often do whenever they get the opportunity to go to Kuantan. There are better choice of stuff in Kuantan as compared to Kerteh. We returned to Kerteh on Tuesday evening after Sita completed her work. The following day, Wednesday, we returned to Petaling Jaya. Ram has an appointment with her doctor at the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital on Thursday.

I have always, from school days till now, associated the Chinese New Year with oranges, lion dances, noises of firecrackers and fireworks. However this time I did not see any lion dance nor hear the noise of firecrackers while in the East Coast, although I had quite a fair share of oranges. But when we returned to Petaling Jaya and along the way home we noticed lion dances and dance troupes on the back of trucks with their drums and regalia. That night, precisely at midnight, the silence of the night was suddenly shattered with the booming of firecrackers, flying fireworks, and other booming noises. There is currently a ban on firecrackers and fireworks….. what ban? Its only in the news but not in reality on the ground. Ah… well, I can write page upon page on the local laws and their enforcement or the lack of it!!

For now, we are back at home and trying to get back into the routines, while preparing for our next trip away from home which will be very soon!!

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

I am 4 months old and I can scream too!! Posted by Hello

See...... Mummy and Tok Mi listening to my lecture..... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Short Break In BALI

Having gone to Bangkok using Air Asia “Go Holiday” Package and satisfied with the service and facilities provided, we were looking forward to another package that we picked and this time it’s Bali. I have not been to Bali but have heard people having gone to Bali raving over the beauty of the place and how they enjoy the trip. As always, I went into the net and search Bali forums and everything else I could get about the place. There were quite a number of forums where tourists share their experiences and from what I can gather most have a lot of praise of the place in general and there were quite a few who described in detail their experience and about the places they visit. This attracted me to the place more.

Air Asia package to Bali includes a choice of eight hotels from the super five star, where you pay a ‘tidy sum’, to the smaller establishment, the two star hotel that you pay maybe three days equivalent to a one day in the super five star!!. I picked one four star hotel in a location called Nusa Dua that lies at the southern part of Bali and from what I gather its an up-market part of Bali. The rates quoted was very reasonable and I chose to stay four nights, flying into Denpasar in the evening of Monday and returning in the later evening of Friday, that gives four full days in Bali. Not enough, not enough cries those who have been to Bali often. Ahhh … Well!! It’s our first time, so lets just see first what the place offers us and maybe, given the opportunity, we make another trip and stay longer then. The whole package cost only RM 1350 inclusive of air-fare, the four nights in the hotel inclusive of breakfast for both of us. Whoa!!! Someone said, “I pay that amount for my wife, my daughter and me on return air fare alone. That is indeed a good deal”. Well, you gain some, you lose some. It’s worth noting that booking of this package was made two months in advance.

In the meantime, we had gone to Bangkok on a similar package, (see write up on Bangkok), following which Ram had a major problem with her right eye, the one that had a cornea graft procedure done in January 2004, (see write up on cornea graft - oversight). Because of this our trip to Bali hanged in the balance. We had 3 weeks to assess her eye condition and decide whether to go or forgo the trip. The package is neither refundable nor transferable, which means if we do not go we lose out all that we have paid. When the time came, conditions were conducive for Ram to travel but she will have to take extra precautions and protect the eye as best possible.

Ram consulted her doctor in the morning of Monday January 10th. 2005. The condition of her eye has improved a lot, the ulcer on the cornea had gone completely, and the doctor reduced the frequency of consultation to monthly from the weekly visit.

We left home for KLIA at about 1430hrs. by cab to catch the AK 904 flight to Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali scheduled for 1640hrs. On checking-in we were informed that the flight was delayed to 1920hrs. We had about three hours to kill. What do we do? We had a drink in one of the shops, took extra time to finish the drinks while watching the antics of people going by. We also surveyed all the tax-free shops in the satellite building, survey only, did not buy anything. Finally we checked into the gate for our flight at 1850hrs.

The passengers were a mixed crowd, tourists, businessmen, and workers going home. I asked one of them sitting near me in the plane where he is going. He said he is going home for good after working for two years in a plantation in Selangor. He stays in a kampong on an island which is another hour flight from Denpasar, and on arriving at this island he has to take a three hours bus ride home!! I guess he is going home quite loaded now, by his kampong standard I mean!!

The last bit of the flight into Ngurah Rai was very bumpy. There was lightning, thunderstorm and it was really pouring. It also took quite sometime before we could retrieve our luggage. I guess its due to the heavy rain. Meanwhile going through immigration and custom was a breeze. We finally got out of the airport at about 11.30pm. We picked up a self-drive car at the airport, a Toyota Avanza, and went straight to the hotel, in the heavy rain, with directions given by the staff at car rental. We missed the directions twice before arriving at the hotel but, no hassle, there were many people still up and about that we could ask for directions. Finally arrived at the Swiss Belhotel at just after midnight. The hotel is located in a quiet neighbourhood away from the bustle of tourists and commercial populace.

Checked into the hotel, washed up, ate snacks that we brought along as the hotel restaurant, there’s only one, was already closed then and there was no room service beyond 11.00pm. There are restaurants open around the vicinity of the hotel but we decided against going for various reasons, the main one being the rain. The hotel room was large and very comfortable with a king size bed, large writing desk, large lazy lounge chair, TV with satellite channels, in-room safe, and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was spacious too, with long-bath, separate shower cubicle, and complete amenities. At the price we paid it was really good. We peered outside the room but could not see much as it was dark with minimal lighting.

Woke up early the next morning and had breakfast. Quite a reasonable spread and choice of food for breakfast. Our room opens directly to the centre courtyard. There are two swimming pools and most ground floor rooms opens directly into either of the swimming pool. The set up, décor and landscaping was very nice, typical Bali. A lot of plants, wood and stone carvings, receptacles and other indigenous objects were arranged artistically in the landscapes.

After breakfast we followed the shuttle to the beach club, about 10 minutes drive from the hotel. The white sandy beach was impressive and clean. The hotel provides a gazebo and beach paraphernalia for guests’ use and serves snacks. There are masseuses providing their services at the beach at a very reasonable rate, a lot cheaper than the rate in the hotels or the many spas all over Bali. I later learnt that these masseuses are assigned specific areas at the beach and they are to take care of the cleanliness of the assigned beach as well. At low tide, they will gather all the leaves and other stuff washed down into the beach in the area allocated to them and buries the stuff. This is done daily, so the beach stays clean always. I also learnt that these people, the locals, the authorities, businesses, pay a lot of attention to making Bali an attractive tourism destination. Any anti-tourism activity reported will get immediate attention of the authorities. They realize that their income is from the tourists. We stayed awhile at the beach and returned to the hotel with the shuttle service.

We went for a drive around the Kuta area and stopped for lunch at a Padang/Minang restaurant close to the airport. Nice, cosy, air-conditioned and with very friendly service. We had the beef rendang and dendeng, the dendeng is dried deep-fried beef just like beef jerky, baked brinjals, sambal olek and sambal hijau with rice. These are the signature dishes in Minang cooking. My wife had avocado juice. Its creamy, with the added chocolate and milk I think, and was very tasty. I had susu gedek, I wondered what it was when they suggested it to me, and it turned out to be soya juice, my favourite anyway. The bill came to only Rp 75,000 or about US 10.00.

Throughout this afternoon outing, our first outing in Bali, we noticed the overwhelming Hindu cultural and religious influence with reverence towards idols, sculptured objects and monuments. Little idols and sculptured objects are noticed at entrances to buildings, shops and even some nooks and corners, while monuments are built in the centre of road roundabouts, road dividers and junctions. Walls are decorated with sculptures and figure carvings that depicts characters of ancient folklores and fairytales. We also noticed that almost all statues standing in public places are wrapped in black and white chequered (sarong) cloth. I wondered what the significance was but did not get an opportunity to get an answer.

Like any other town, the roads are busy with all sorts and types of vehicles, noticeably predominant are motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic. It’s amazing that I did not notice any accident throughout my stay, and I had quite a hard time avoiding any mishaps with the motorcycles when driving around. There are no skyscrapers, not even tall buildings in the city. The buildings are generally two or three storey high and quite a few goes higher but no higher than five storey high, I think.

In Kuta, the busy and highly touristy part of Bali, you see the extreme ends of cultures, mannerisms and behaviours amongst the crowd. You see the whites or westerners, some in the flimsiest of dresses, bikini even, and in their brash, brazen and arrogant behaviour and the locals covered up, graceful and polite, that which is typical of the easterners, although some were overly polite to the point of appearing subservient. The streets, the shops, cafes, restaurants, and the beaches were crowded with people. At the beach, people were doing their own things, swimming, surfing the waves (I did not notice many good surfers, perhaps most were beginners), sunbathing with some topless, or having body massages, which seems to be very common in the various beaches in Bali. Most of the time, in Kuta, Ram stayed in the car, afraid to expose herself lest she hurt her eye again after the bad experience in Bangkok recently.

The next day we drove north to Ubud, the arts and culture town of Bali. This day happened to be a religious festival day where prayers were offered at many of the temples and puris along the way to Ubud. I had to take many detours due to the roads in front of the temples being closed and one occasion realized that I had taken a wrong turn and was heading back south!! The country scenery along the way was beautiful, rice fields left and right, some farmlands and small or cottage industries, majority of which are the artworks of carvings, paintings and sculptures. At one stop I observed a young man, with a chisel and mallet working on a piece of wood. There were neither templates nor designs to depend on while he was busy chiseling away, and after a little while, voila, a carving of flowers was produced. In Ubud there are art galleries all over and also shopping arcades selling all sorts of indigenous products of good quality workmanship and mostly cheap. Accommodation facilities of various sizes and types, from the classy 5 stars to the ‘no’ star hotels, spas and chalets, are available, spread in and around Ubud town. You may find these spas and chalet facilities next to a rice field and asking further, I learnt that many owners of the spas or facilities own the rice field as well. I guess, they find it lucrative to convert part of their rice fields into tourist attractions. I also learnt that there are ‘homestay’ accommodations and holiday bungalows available. When you walk into one of these facilities it may be off the main road or a side road, and to the back of the facilities will be the rice fields, something which is least expected when inside the building. Whatever the accommodations, their designs, settings and décor will be typical Bali, playing a lot with the arrangement of carvings, paintings, sculptures of various kinds in their landscape and interiors. The town of Ubud, is a contrast to Kuta. Although tourists were many, they seem to be different than those you see in Kuta. Ram was more confident venturing out of the car here!! We feel a lot more comfortable, and the atmosphere seems more subdued, not busy, non hectic with an aura of peace. I could not help staring into the distant nothingness, the greenery, tranquility and peaceful ambience, definitely a place worth considering a stay, an extended one too, in my next visit to Bali. But alas, this trip we had to return to Nusa Dua, and return we did, only in the late evening.

We also went to other parts of Bali in the next two days. We visited, Jimbaran, Sanur, Uluwata and other tourist attractions. We also patronized one of the spas, The Royal Spa and had a wonderful experience. We utilized one of the promotional coupons available in a tourist magazine and obtained 40% discount at the spa. Jimbaran, with its many seafood restaurants and Uluwata are popular places to visit in the evenings and watch the sunset. At Uluwata there is a temple where cultural performances are open to the public every evening at 6.00pm. The place is on top of a high cliff with a vertical drop to the sea. All over the places we went to we notice many temples each with a myriad of sculptures and stone carvings. At one location not too far away from our hotel, as we drove along the road uphill, we noticed a signboard showing pictures of temples, puri, church and mosque. True enough, not too far away we came across a puri, a protestant church, a buddhist temple, a catholic church and a mosque next to each other, all sharing one common parking lot.

The afternoon before returning home we spent some time at the beach, had a meal at McD before proceeding to the Ngurah Rai airport at about 6.00pm for our flight home. No hassle at the airport with the check in, immigration and customs. As we had about an hour and a half before our flight, we browsed around at the many shops and outlets in the international departure area. We noticed that here too there were many massage services provided and quite many people having their feet and legs massaged. The flight home was pleasant, arriving at KLIA just before midnight and Tessa fetched us home. Thus I have discovered what visitors to Bali had been raving about all the while and agree that its one place that should not be given a miss!! The four days we were there was indeed short but sufficient and we certainly had a good time.

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya.

Ooooo!! Nice shade.... so peaceful Posted by Hello

Gazebo at Hotel Poolside Posted by Hello

Typical Bali Entrance Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Weekend Getaway

The evening after Shaffik and his family returned to Bintulu, Friday 28th. we decided to make a trip to Port Dickson. The PJ house had been too quiet with their departure. Furthermore we have not been to our PD condominium for quite a while, four months in fact. The last time we were there, the elevator was not functioning and we had to lug our stuff four floors up. I feel sorry for those on the higher floors as there are eight floors altogether in our block. The other blocks of condos surrounding ours are twenty floors high, and if their elevator fails ……… phew!!!

The Manager of the complex in PD is in receivership and a new management company had been appointed by the Liquidator to take over. They had called for a meeting of the owners, scheduled for Saturday 29th. to establish contacts and at the same time sort out the problems facing the complex. Basically, its money, collection of various arrears from owners. The failure of the elevator in the last few months is thus explained!!

We half-expected high tea to be served and thus skipped lunch and true enough there was high tea. Meeting initially went cordially until the agenda on collection of money came up when there was no more cordiality but arguments and more arguments, pandemonium even!! Finally it was agreed that since this is a meeting of Owners’, Liquidator and Complex Manager, the first being a large group of individuals and the other two are individual entities, the owners form a committee of representatives and take up the various issues with Liquidator and Manager. A committee was immediately formed and the outspoken ones, yours sincerely included, are in the committee. The Committee will meet up soon to discuss the issues accordingly. It was everyone’s hope that this arrangement will work.

Spent the rest of the day reading, watching TV and movies. After breakfast on Sunday we took a drive around PD town and stopped for lunch at a sea side food-court “Coconut Grove” near a Serviced Apartment complex in Tanjung Tuan. It was a breezy afternoon and coupled with the good service and good food served, we really had a relaxing lunch. We originally planned to return to PJ after lunch, but changed our minds after the lovely lunch and decided to take a nap, which turned out to be an extended snooze till later in the afternoon!! Finally returned to PJ in the late evening

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hey! easy mannn!!! Posted by Hello

Ah! thats better Posted by Hello

We try to keep Tok Mi entertained!! Posted by Hello