Daisypath Anniversary tickers

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Zon Regency Hotel and Tai Son Restaurant at the duty free zone in JB

I'd managed to get us a decent deal for a night's stay at The Zon Regency Hotel at Stulang Laut - just SGD 75 nett inclusive of all taxes and breakfast. It was very easy to drive from the Malaysia Customs to the hotel which is located along the coast of JB facing Malaysia at the Stulang Laut area.

The hotel is not easily missed. As you can tell from the picture below, the hotel is like one of those massive hotels at Genting (First World anyone?).

Our check-in at the reception went smoothly. Strangely though, the hotel did not ask for any sort of deposit - whether by way of credit card or cash. In the lift, we found that we need to swipe our room key on a panel before we can press the button to our floor. I am surprised that the hotel has this type of security. However, the elevator is rather slow (we stayed on the 13th floor) so we had plenty of time to "fun" around.

Stepping out of the lift to the corridor, I was struck by how the layout of The Zon Regency Hotel so closely resembles that of Marina Mandarin's. Except that this hotel had no air-conditioning whatsoever in the corridors. The carpet of the corridors was also threadbare and stained. In short, the hotel looked like it it was old and could not care less about aesthetics or the comfort of its guests.
Our room was decently sized and we had a great view of the causeway and the coast. The TV was a small old CRT TV with some cable channels and the bed was too squishy and soft to be comfortable. However, the floor of the room was filthy and we decided to keep our slippers on the whole time. Forget hotel room slippers - none were provided. The hotel room was in short, basic and bare. WIFI connectivity which was free was sh*tty in the rooms, making it difficult to surf the net. And the bath-tub was grotty which meant no soaking in it.

My CEB was intent on playing games on his phone in bed so I read my book with my head on his tummy until I fell asleep. He woke me up an hour later to go shopping at the Zon shopping center. There was a departmental store called the Zon which was deserted on a Saturday afternoon. And rightly so. Talk about an extremely poor selection of cheap goods which were marked down even further. I love a bargain as much as the next person but the items on sale was just too awful to be bought.

The only decent shop to shop in the complex was Watson. There were also quite a number of KTVs on the third floor of the shopping center, and many booze and cancer-stick shops. Oh, and chocolate shops too. Prices were not cheaper compared to Singapore except for the duty-free items - booze and cancer-sticks. However one is not allowed to bring alcohol (beer etc), spirits or wine to Singapore without declaration of the same at Customs so we did not buy any alcohol at all.

There was a Mary Brown's and we probably should have eaten our dinner there or at Starbucks. However, we ended up giving the restaurant just outside the hotel, Tai Son Seafood restaurant a shot and it was a waste of good money. RM75 spent on satays (those were decent), fried noodles (oh so plain and unexceptional for RM12!), vegetables (awful ) and a sambal stingray which my CEB proclaimed the worst singray meal he ever had. I am not sure what we were paying such high prices for - maybe the view of Singapore across the water, which is nothing spectacular.

The breakfast buffet the next morning was alright. Edible but not tasty. Parking at the multi storey carpark is complimentary for hotel guests.

The Slog Reviews: 6/10. A very basic hotel hotel surrounded by lousy food and shopping. A good place to stay only if one is intent on buying lots of cheap spirits up to one's hotel room to drown one's sorrows. The swimming pool is also smallish, outdoors and looks just plain awful.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Latin Aerobics AGAIN

If not for my friend, I would have just skipped the class. As it was, the instructor was most surprised when we walked in 2 mins late. She said she thought we weren't coming back. With good reason.

This time, I manage to stand near the back of the class, somewhere in the middle of the room where there are partitions dividing the room pushed up against 1 wall. She sets us on a punishing routine and I spend a large inappropriate amount of time staring at her ass. She has on this pair of pants with two long tassels that are attached to each side of her ass. OF course, there is a lot of shaking the booty going on and I can see clearly in the mirror that I have a long way to go before I attach any tassels to draw attention to my ass. Half her age and double the ass. Way to go.

I think I have trouble with the turning around steps. This time, I turn so hard I end up with my nose 1cm away from the partitions. I also lunge and hit the lady next to me without meaning to. Luckily it is a glancing blow and I apologize.

Then the Visa Man routine begins and I start jiggling about like that fat sucker in the commercials, my knees to my chest and my arms pushing down. I cannot help but laugh as I watch myself. And to my horror, I cannot stop laughing. My friend catches my eye and she knows what I am thinking. Visa Man. She starts grinning and then I really cannot stop the guffaws. I laugh so hard I have tears in my eyes.

I tell myself to quit it because the instructor can clearly see us in the full length mirror but the laughter bellows out of me. Woo hoo. Visa Man! Even when the instructor meets my eye, I cannot stop.

The mirth cannot be contained and I bellow with laughter as my body shakes uncontrollably.

I think I am getting the work out I need.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ooo...10 months together!

Our marriage has rolled past the 10th month mark! We are grateful indeed because this month has been the most difficult month of our marriage so far. This time last year we were preparing for our wedding, taking our pre-wedding photos like the one below.

This time this year, we are finding out that maintaining a marriage is no less challenging than preparing for a wedding.

Talking about wedding reminds me - instead of composing a song and serenading me at our wedding, my CEB was struck by a wave of inspiration to write me a song only last weekend.

And this is what he warbled to me:
(To the tune of Que Sara Sara)

"When (insert unspeakable pet name) was just a little (insert unspeakable pet name),
she asked her husband, what will she be .
will she be pretty, will she be sexy,
and this is what her husband said to her

Oh (insert unspeakable pet name TWICE),
just feel your tummy
and face reality

And this is where my CEB chortles with glee so hard he can barely choke out the rest of the words.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A lesson in Latin Aerobics

A friend of more than 14yrs persuaded me to join her in her bid to get fit. Of course, I agreed eagerly, what with my having to buy larger skirts the past year. She suggested Latin Aerobics and since this sounded like something I could do given my exercise routine of running 5km/30mins twice a week, I agreed to commit to an exercise program with her.

The first lesson had me right smack at the front of the class (since I was a newbie) with a smattering of oldish ladies behind me. Everyone was dressed to impress...I meant everyone was geared up in nice black tights, proper shoes and a colorful fitting top. I had on my running shoes (which was inappropriate), a loose t-shirt and baggy home shorts. In short, I looked like a poorly dressed unfit bloop.

The instructor who had a really tight slim body for her age started the lesson by teaching us a few basic steps. I caught on easily because I'd spent a large amount of my life exercising to aerobics tape which had the same steps. Naturally, my confidence and cockiness grew as I stepped and sashayed along with her.

Until she started the music. Now, I found myself huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf while those grey haired ladies behind him seemed to be dancing effortlessly. I was soon out of step, out of sync with the rest of the class and having to face a full length mirror in the dance studio and watch that was a lesson in humility.

Then the instructor put on a different song and changed her steps. Obediently, I imitated her without thinking twice and somehow, I ended up looking like the fat man in the Visa Commercials. Exactly. Right down to the smile plastered stupidly on my face as I pumped my arms downwards and jiggled my knees upwards.

Mercifully the song didn't last too long and the next song was something about Africa. I tried my darnest to imitate the instructor who was doing some high-legged flamingo step but ended up looking like an ungainly elephant with three legs and two trunks.
Me whispering to Friend "That's it. I am not coming back."
Friend "It's not so bad lar...just finish this lesson then say. Anyway, take it like you are burning calories".

Inspired I again, I whirled and twirled enthusiastically for the rest of the class. With 10mins to go, the instructor decided to instruct us on a new move that was "Elegant" (like BallRoom Dancing she said). It consisted of putting one foot forward and making a 360 degree turn with arms stretched wide. I was happy. This was easy and beat looking like Visa Man. Then she did consecutive turns and there I was. Turning like a top. Free. Easy. Muscles stretched. I was as good as those old ladies in the class. Better in fact, since I was turning faster than them now. Hell, I could even beam at the lady behind me when we were turning ie. she's slow....old!

I was toying with the idea of meeting her eyes meaningfully the next twirl around - you know, to convey the message that "I'm not as bad as what the mirror in front of us makes out". And indeed I found myself meeting her eyes. But something was wrong with the angle. Then I figured it out. I was lying flat on my back and she was peering down at me. My twirl had resulted in me falling right over. I didn't even know when I hit the ground.

Something tells me that this Latin Aerobics thing and me aren't going to last too long.
Friend "Next week you coming back right?"
Me "Hmmm..."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Still domesticated.

Ugh, I know I haven't blogged for so long. I blame the the weekend jaunts overseas, my recent addiction to reading again(I've finished the 3 books of the Hunger Game Trilogy (I would wait for the movie and skip the books if I had a chance to do this again) AND the merciless onslaught of work (I'll clear 10 emails and there will be 20 more the next day so that those at the bottom will never see the light of day until the sender re-sends again and...again.)

But but but...today, I am seated in our houses's living room with the TV on, and quite determined to put off completing my Individual Development Plan until the last possible minute (I've got to do this this weekend though). My CEB has gone off to work so it is rather nice and quiet, and with 4 durian puffs in my stomach (courtesy of my MIL), I am, in the mood 2 ramble.

So, last night, my CEB and I had dinner at home. The first time the entire week that we've eaten home-cooked food. (I cooked porridge last Thursday, and chicken in herbal soup with a miso salmon dish on Sunday when my FIL came over for dinner). I'd been out to the supermarket with my friend P, and with her encouragement (as well as recipe), I decided to try my hand at cooking an entire fish. (I've only cooked fillets (Cod, Salmon and Batang) before.)

I didn't know that the fish sold in those nice blue plastic wraps in supermarkets hadn't been gutted. And it was only when I was about to pay at the cashier did P casually mention how I had to remove the gills cleanly. I almost didn't buy the fish until she persuaded me to bring the fish back to the seafood counter when a staff helped to clean the fish and re-wrap it.

Drawing on memory (what P said was needed but which I forgot to buy (but of course)), and a little help from my favorite cooking website, noobcook (which has never failed me), I spent 15mins preparing the ingredients (tomato, giner, sour plums and mushrooms) and seasoning the fish before popping it in the multi-tiered steamer (on top of the rice cooking below).

My efforts yielded me this. My CEB didn't quite pull the face I must have pulled when I first stated the sauce but from his grimace.... yeah, it was so salty-sour! I only used 2 sour plums and there were tomatoes (sweet) so I am not sure what went wrong. In any case, the promfret didn't taste good. A huge thumbs down for this first attempt. Maybe I really should have made the effort to go get the salted veg and spring onions which I didn't have on hand. Bah.

I also cooked 2 chicken kievs that I had. We don't have a deep fryer so it was quite a chore to tilt the little wok sideways so that the meat could be cooked in the sizzling oil. I thought it tasted awful and was quite minded to bin the 2 palm-sized pieces of meat. However, I figured I'll let my CEB try out the chicken kiev first and to my surprise, he finished one without any problem.

My third and final dish were the last 4 of the box of 2nd box of 1 kg scallops we'd bought during CNY, some Chinese vegetable and minced chicken. I like using minced meat to cook - it really is so easy to ensure that the meat is cooked through unlike cooking fillets! My CEB was late coming home so I had time to spend on presentation. And if you don't mind me saying, it tasted every bit as good as it looked.

But my domestic adventures do not end here. The first thing I did this morning after I crawled out of bed was to cook a pot of soup for our lunch and dinner. My CEB said he was going to be buying mutton bryani on the way home and we all know that's really healthy right?

Anyway, for a box that looked impressively big, this is what it contained. The packet of rock sugar is my own by the way.

I followed the instructions on the back of the box to the letter. I washed the herbs using a sieve but I could not figure out for a moment what I would do with the white packet that appeared to contain herbs. And yes, the instructions neglected to mention whether this white packet should be disposed, emptied (it could be that the herbs could not be sealed in a plastic vacuum bag liek the rest) or soaked as a pouch in the soup.

I figured that I'll just throw the bag in the pot. And I added some of wolfberries that I had for good measure.

And when the soup started bubbling away, it was just a matter of chucking the whole pot into the thermal flask and waiting for my CEB to return home.

After all my experimentation in the kitchen, I've found that the thermal pot is one of the best buys we've made and it is most easy to whip up a delicious and nutritious meal of porridge or soup with the pot. And I can also steam stuff at the same time - I've got a slab of Muar otah going.