Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pangkor Laut Resort

We needed a few days vacation from our vacation. A lay-on-the-beach, no-worries, all-rest-and-relaxation kind of vacation. Time was running out and we were still undecided as to where to go! Fortunately, our dear friend Liza came to the rescue. Within 1/2 hour of seeing her, we had decided that Pangkor Laut was our destination. We had the best char kuay teow in town, then headed over to the YTL office to book our vacation.

A couple days later, we were on a boat headed over to the private island resort of Pangkor Laut. Ok, we ran into car trouble while driving over to Lumut from KL but luckily that didn't stop us. Phew.

It was everything we expected and more. The service was impeccable. We had rooms in the Hill and Garden Villas that were just beautiful. And because everything was prepaid, we didn't have to worry about extra charges. It was wonderful going to the beach or pool and not have to sign for towels - someone would come up and lay out towels on a chair along with an bucket of bottled water chilled with ice. Breakfast was a sumptous buffet spread and for lunch and dinner, we all had a choice of one appetizer, main and dessert. We definitely didn't go hungry.

We also got spa treatments for everyone. The spa came highly recommended as it was award-winning, and one of Matt's family friends had also worked on it when it was first created. The spa setting really lived up to our expectations. There was a mostly outdoor bath house experience before the massage that was really enjoyable. They kept serving us all sorts of tea. We ended the treatment in one of beachside the Malay kampung houses on stilts where you could lie down and listen to the waves. Bliss!

The three days went by too fast. I want to be back!

Playing Tourist

During one of our conversations about our previous trip to Malaysia, Stefano had mentioned that he hadn't really seen any of the touristic spots. It didn't really occur to me that that was the case. I guess as a local, the best parts aren't necessarily the tourist sites. So I made it a point that we played tourist some of this trip.

Some of the places we visited:

- Melaka (boy, was it hot!)
- Batu Caves (lots of steps, monkeys)
- Putrajaya (thanks to Chieu Yin and Saw Kim, but what a ghost town on the weekend)
- Istana Negara (saw the tour buses lined up off the highway and pulled right over)

That's not bad, right? But we ran out of time before we could go up to the Twin Tower bridge. Well, that'll be for next time!

Qus and Sylvia Tie the Knot

We were fortunate enough that our trip coincided with our friend Quddus' wedding to Sylvia. And it was also a great opportunity to meet up with Chieu Yin and Saw Kim, and Jessica and Ban Fu, all whom I haven't seen for ages. The festivities were held at the Cyberview Lodge, a beautiful resort set among lots of greenery. We arrived in time to catch some of the fun and games when Qus and his entourage went to pick up the bride.

We saw some of the tea ceremony and then wandered off to check out the surroundings.

Then Chieu Yin and I got 'interviewed' for the videographer. We had to answer questions like, how we first met Qus, how he changed after meeting Sylvia, and finally a message to the couple. It was rather nerve-racking but for Qus...

Here we ran into the couple getting some pictures taken around the resort.

We had an hour to kill so we decided to take Stefano on a quick tour of Putrajaya nearby. CY and SK were great tour guides. It was so quiet there during the weekend that we could stop almost anywhere to take pictures. When we got back, a rain shower had passed and the chairs and decorations were set up for the garden ceremony.

Quddus looking all serious awaiting his bride.

It was a short and sweet ceremony, and then they were the new Mr and Mrs Chong.

Oh, and Jessica and Ban Fu made it in time all the way from Penang. I was real happy to see my bff!

Shortly after we headed over to the beautifully decorated ballroom for dinner. We were all nice and hungry by then.

Qus' brothers were really entertaining as the emcees for the night. And then Qus really stole the show with some jazz tunes dedicated to his new wife. And the footwork to match!

It was a real pleasure to have been all together there for this special occasion!

Happy Chinese New Year

Boy, am I in need of an update. Our trip to Malaysia was fantastic. The time passed so quickly and before I knew it, I was back in Milan again. How I miss the warm weather, family and friends!

We all ending up arriving on the same day, my sis and matt from Chicago, and us from Milan. It was the eve of the Year of the Ox.

We were only going to 'balik kampung' on the 2nd day, so we had a 'how-many-KL-malls-can-you-hit-in-one-day' kind of day. We did see a couple lion dances.

I think the count ended up being 5. Or was it 6? Of course with some stops for fortification.

Here I'm missing a bunch of pictures from our day back in the kampung visiting relatives. They are in my sis' camera. But the end result was the following. Stefano was quite impressed with how many red packets you could bag during the new year!

Since the Chinese New Year celebrations stretch out for a good 15 days, there were many more lion dances and dinners to be had. Here we are at my aunty Connie's house, warding off the bad spirits with the lions, and loud firecrackers and drums.

Picture with my mom's side of the family. There's a good number of us, no?

We had yee sang countless of times. The higher you toss, the more luck the new year will bring!

Lots of food...

My cousin Edward teaching Stefano how to play mahjong.

Another dinner, this time at our house.

The menfolk chowing down.

We also celebrated dad's birthday.

Look at the kids goofing around. ;-)

A family shot.

Plus one. Poor matt was not feeling well. ;-(

Another with my cousins.

I probably hadn't celebrated CNY at home in 10 years. That's too bad because it was the one time you were sure to meet all the relatives, even the far flung ones that you would only see once a year.
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