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Sunday, April 29, 2012

In the nick of time - thanks to KLIA Express

My CEB called it "Adventure with the (insert unflattering nickname). I call it the second most disastrous travel encounter I'd experienced. The first was when I was due to fly to Melbourne on a 9.20am flight and I woke up at 8.20am. And that trip was to meet my ex-boss for the first time in her home country.

Anyway, this time I screwed up our departure from KL. Kind of. We were in KL the weekend before the last and our flight out was at 9.20pm. As we had flown out of SG on a flight the same time this week, I had assumed that our flight out was 9.20pm without bothering to check the flight itinerary.

So we had a good time shopping around in the afternoon before buying the 6pm bus tickets to KLIA (my bright idea to get tickets early in case they were sold out). Then we back to the Hilton executive lounge to get drinks and some nice chocolates. Something made me look at the flight itinerary in my bag and...MG, the flight tickets were for the 6.45pm flight back. It was 4.55pm then. Guess what saved us?

Oh yes, the KLIA express saved us. My CEB and I ran to KL Sentral (Thank God we were staying at the Hilton KL Sentral) and the earliest KLIA express train was at 5.20pm. While I queued to get the tickets (RM40 each), he went to the bus terminal downstairs to get a refund for the bus tickets (he only got back half the price we paid). The KLIA express train left punctually at 5.20pm and the journey took exactly the 28minutes it promised.

It was our first time on the KLIA express train and we wre glad to find out that it stopped at the basement of KLIA. (The KLIA express train does not go to the existing LCCT at the moment) We ran to the elevator and took the lift up to the 5th floor which was the departure level. As we both were very casually dressed, our flip flops made an embarrassing amount of noise when we ran across the concourse to the jetstar counter.

There wasn't a queue. Because the counter was about to close. The staff told us they were due to close in 1 min. The problem with flying budget airlines is that the counter tends to close 40-45mins before departure as stated on the itinerary unlike other airlines which have counters open almost 24-7. Also, there is no refund for budget airlines' tickets if you miss the flight. Although it cost us SGD46 for a round trip ticket to KL (including all taxes), it would have cost us a lot more to buy a ticket to fly back at the last minute.

It took almost half an hour for all the adrenaline to flow back out of my system after the mad rush to get the airplane tickets, clear customs, take the monorail to the departure gate and board the plane - we even had a couple of minutes to sit at the gate area before departure!

Thankfully my CEB wasn't too mad with me but he sure learnt from this experience that coming on a holiday with his (insert unflattering nickname) means that he needs to check the itinerary too instead of having the full extent of his contribution be limited to packing his bag.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The month of May 2012

I've counted - I'll be in Singapore only 7 days out of the whole month (weekends included). If not for my fishing trip in Malaysia on 14th and 15th, it would be just 5 days.

This means that next week will be my last aerobics lesson...I can't decide if I should continue given the amount of travelling I will be doing the next few months.

Speaking of which, I've been telling my CEB we should cut down on the amount of travelling but he is all about enjoying the good life. He has even asked to defer the Mini-Mobs for one more year (after deferring for one year to enjoy married life as a couple) so we can continue this hedonistic lifestyle of ours. I don't think it is going to be a question even given how many days a month I'll be around my Cheese-Eating Buaya unless he wants to accompany me to UK, Korea, Australia, Australia (Again!), Mexico and New York, and Australia again...

But next month, we will be in Japan to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! I'll be working a couple of days while he enjoys the good life but after that, it's off to the theme parks to celebrate! And I've enough SPG points to book nights at a really nice hotel. This trip in May is something I am definitely looking forward to!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

11 Months of Marriage

As I write this entry to mark our 11th month of marriage, I am accompanied by the gentle snores of my slumbering CEB next to me. I cannot help but look over at him from time to time and reach out to stroke his hand which is placed on my thigh. He is really awfully easy to love although he does have his moments which make me question the state of mind some 11 months back when vowed to be bonded till death do us part.

I feel so incredibly grateful to God for my CEB, for my marriage. When I look back at all the men in my life, I don't think I could have done any better. My CEB is not perfect but I think he is the yang to my yin (literally, bazi wise!). We have fundamental differences no doubt, but I realize that the key to this happiness I've found is that we don't try to change each other. A general policy of non-interference.

As my mum had said, go in with your eyes wide open, and after marriage, shut 1 eye. I did and do just that. And I am happier for it. I focus on the good in my CEB, I focus on the quality of our lifestyle, our health. I focus on keeping a clean and neat home for my CEB and learning how to cook some simple dishes, drinks (barley) and herbal soup.

I've also learnt to stand up for myself, and speak up or push back so I don't grow resentful. My CEB takes some prodding and nagging unfortunately for housework but now he does help out more on his own. Especially when I just don't do what I don't want to do - like mopping the floor. My CEB said he hates that, but I won't do it either. So I just don't mop and then he does it. :) It goes two ways though - like hanging up laundry. My CEB just won't do that at all so I do it.

It's compromise, it's not even give and take because that means counting and keeping score. I think we are in the marriage to give to each other...and when we give, we become richer for it. When my CEB gives in to me, I find myself softening towards him. And vice versa (I hope).

I know that whatever happens down the road, I'm still going to be grateful for these 11 months of marriage that I've had with him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cabin in the Woods (2012) Movie

Even when we were friends, my CEB would take a certain perverse delight in terrifying me. He once booked the movie "Legion" when we were supposed to watch "Citizen Kane" and I had nasty nightmares for weeks after that. Even today, I can't forget the scene with the ice-cream man elongating to a spider and the scene with the child monster climbing on the wall.

Well, this time my CEB told me he would buying tickets for the movie "Lockout" and only after lunch with my family when I was confirming the show with him did he sheepishly admit that he had bought tickets for "Cabin in the Woods"

Me "Oy! U know how I hate horror movies"
My CEB "Yah, but no other shows at the timing we want"
Me "Then can don't watch what"
My CEB *big grin and starts to make scary noises till I punch him in the arm. Hard. The noises coming out of him stop abruptly,

Anyway, I'd seen the trailer for Cabin and was prepared for 2 hours of squeezing my eyes shut, or peeping out through squinted eyes (The smaller the better so I can close them faster, right?). I was of course most unhappy because at my age, the goal is not to get wrinkles in a hurry. My CEB seems to be doing everything contrary to that - tickling me when I have a clay mask on, booking horror movie tickets...ugh!

Well, I hadn't read any of the reviews before watching the movie so if you have not watched the movie...you need to stop reading. Now. Spoiler ahead.

The Slog Reviews: ?/10. After we came out of the movie, we both turned to each other and said it was 1 of the crappiest shows ever. However, I couldn't get the movie out of my head for days after and 1 review I wrapped summed up how I felt. The movie was insanely genius. I thought we were in for a Slasher Type or Evil Ghost Type of Movie but no, oh no. This was way way WAY more than this. End of the world anyone? A combination of famous horror movies in the most creative way and no, I don't mean parody. Throw in female front nudity, lots and seriously lots of blood, a ballerina with a hole in the face, the Hellraiser's Lazarus Box...you've got an unforgettable movie going. A must watch. Esp for horror fans.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An example of a disastrous meal

I usually cook once on a weekday night for dinner other than on Sundays. My CEB had a craving for chicken cordon bleu and I had some excess spinach to cook, along with a packet of fishballs that my CEB had bought earlier in the week.

Unfortunately, I had no idea how to cook clear soup with fish-balls and I didn't have any stock with me so I decided to take out 2 cans of fish maw soup from New Moon and cook the fishballs in them. And yes, that was a bad idea.

Together with the idea of trying to cook spinach with mushrooms instead of dried shrimps.

The worst bit was trying to cook the cordon bleu using a frying pan over the fire. Because we seldom cook, I don't have a deep fryer or a convection microwave. So trying to cook the chicken without burning the skin was a challenge. My very observant CEB asked where the skin of one one of the fillets was when I served up the dish and I told him bluntly that it was charred. It is so much work trying to cook without the right tools. Oh but don't you worry. I'm going to fix that with the upcoming electrical sale.

But that could not compare to the soup which tasted bland and tasteless with too many fishballs floating around it. Fishballs absolutely do not go with fish maw soup!

I realize I've been a wife for almost a year and while I am getting the hang of it, I'm still at the bottom end of the learning curve in terms of domestic skills. I guess it all takes effort and constant practice.

Loving my CEB on the other hand doesn't require much of that. He still is, for 90% of the time, a really easy fellow to love. He does his bit of the housework responsibly on the weekends, snuggles up to me in bed in the nights, and he goes to Novena with me too!

I love his open mindedness, his open and direct manner (eg: when I caught him looking at my legs tonight, I asked him what he was thinking, and he said your legs are fat. Yes Yes his ears got pulled for that), the mix of manliness and yet endearing boyishness in him, and ooooo, he is so made for cuddling. I can't help but pull him close for a snuggle when he falls asleep first.

Never thought I'll say this but there is still no one else in this world I would want to wake up to and go to sleep with than this giant cheese-eating buaya of mine. Almost 11 months of marriage and I think how glad I am to be married to this great fellow.

Latin Aerobics Kicks Ass

Despite the weather as well as entreaties and diversions from my CEB and good friend, I proudly make it to my weekly Latin Aerobics class. There have been flashes of lightning across the sky so I park as near as I can to the community club and this effort to find a good lot comes with a hefty price - I'm late for the class.

My friend is already there dancing to the music. She has taken salsa classes in University and it shows. I make my way to stand near her but the instructor has a better idea - she waves me to a position across my friend on the other side of the room. I think she figures that if we do not stand together, we will not be disruptive for the class.

The problem with my spot is that I am behind 3 other ladies and I can barely see past them to the instructor who has on a pair of pants with tassels on the ass and knees. However, since I have made it there, I am determined to get the most I can out of the lesson. For the first time, the teacher incorporates jumping steps in the routine. The kind that you jump and fold your knees behind you. A lot of the ladies are unable to keep up, but to be fair, they are in their 50s to 60s. I get great delight in jumping as high and as much as the instructor does. That will show them!

Those ladies go to the back of the room and sit on those chairs to watch the rest of us. I know they have a clear view of me since I am at the back so I do my best to do myself proud. Lunge, I lunge. Twirl, I twirl. Flex my biceps, I flex. Shake my upper back fats, I wobble like a firmly set jelly-o. Jump in the air, oh my, hear me land.

Then the instructor does some sort of mass dance move, the kind I did in my secondary school days. She thrusts out both arms and bends her knee backwards and up. I am so caught up in the routine that I follow her without thinking. The heels of my too-big track shoes find themselves each a nesting place in my ass. Whomp Whomp one after the other. I yelp with surprise. I hear the bwahahaha above the laughter from the old ladies sitting behind. Shouldn't my friend be watching the instructor?!

I tell you, Latin Aerobics kicks ass - literally.


I have to confess that I have been indulgent of late. I got this last month - Chanel Grand / Large Shopping Bag.

And thanks to an article I read in a magazine, I've been on a spending trip on branded stuff from a certain website. My first set of purchases came this evening - a Kenneth Cole Silk and Chiffon Blouse (only USD 39!), 2 sets of Haviannas (USD 25!) and my CEB's swimming trunks from a brand I can't be arsed to drag myself out to the hall to check (USD 19!)

My CEB (holding up my Haviannas) "Just buy those SGD 3 sandals good enough. Why spend so much?"
Me (snatching my Haviannas back) "Then you don't buy Levis jeans lar, wear Lee or Panda brand good enough."
My CEB "Ok, then I will have enough money to buy (insert vulgar Hokkien word that rhymes with the end of Levis)"
Me !@#@$#$#

My CEB aside, I can't wait for my Kate Spade and Helmut Lang dress to arrive! If anything, today's parcel, as well as a trip to town to check out prices of some dresses has fueled my addition to the website.

Only 3 things stand between me and the items for sale. The security codes on the back of my credit card. Hah.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Battleship (Movie) 2012 and 1 more reason

Last week, my CEB finished work pretty early so we went for a weekday movie at 112. We had half an hour to kill before the movie started so my CEB suggested going to the Gold Class Lounge to get a drink.

A picture of the lounge which was deserted at that hour (7pm+) - there were about 4 staff and just the 2 of us. Entrance and drinks in the Gold Class lounge were complimentary thanks to the HSBC infinite card.

I really am starting to dig this card. So many little freebies/perks which makes a world of difference for the weary. And the lazy. If not for the card, I would not have to walk all the way to the common toilet at the cinemas instead of being able to use the gold class one.

But enough about that. The Movie.

The Slog Reviews: 10/10. OH yes, that's right. The last time a movie got a 10/10 rating was Real Steel. The CGI and graphics were awesome, and the movie was well-paced with the right blend of humor and action. My CEB grumbled that it was so trite that the good guys won but I thought it was an apt ending - Good should always trump evil!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Flasher at Latin Aerobics

I used to believe in the power of willpower, that nothing within my control was impossible if I set my mind to it. As my good friend once told me "U Gotta Hit It with Your Mind".

Armed with sheer determination, I told myself that THIS time, yes, this time, it would be different. My friend texted me she would be late so I made my way to the class first. Despite my being slightly early, there were already 7 ladies there so I could not take the prime spots just behind the instructor, nor could I see myself clearly in the mirror. Especially since I'd left my glasses (for driving) in the car.

The music starts and I find myself jumping and hopping to the right and to the left like a drunk one-legged toad with my hands held up in front of my face and the other knee crocked at a ninety degree. The instructor on the other hand looks really cool and I figure that I am just being too harsh on myself. I study her back as intently as I can - she is wearing a muscle-back shirt and I can see the flesh on her upper back wobbling.

So I try to shake as hard as she does to make my own back fats move in time too. It does not require great effort, having a great deal of them. Then the instructor lets out an insane cackle of laughter and starts skipping around. This makes me very excited. I want to prance too, like a pony, like a kid, oh watch me, I am young again!

Between prancing and making sure I shake every bit of me the way the instructor does, AND with my view of myself in the mirror obstructed, I forget how I look. I want to hit this with my mind, so my attention is focused fully on the person I must mimic.

When we do a side move and I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I am horrified. The waistband of my too-small shorts has rolled down to below my lower belly to expose my bright red panties. It is the action of moving my knees upwards to my belly that has caused this. I roll up the waist band of the shorts over my panties quickly.

I want to believe that the instructor bears me no ill will. But the next few moves involves bending over, wiping the ground and again my waist band rolls down when I bend down. I cannot concentrate any more, I cannot hit it with my mind anymore. The universe seems to be conspiring against me. How can I draw flowers in the eye or draw an imaginary violin when 1 hand has to keep rolling up the waist band of my shorts.

I tell you - it has to be a conspiracy of sorts to keep me from being the star of this show.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cooking Curry and Promfret for the first time

It hasn't all just been weekend jaunts. The weekend before last, I cooked dinner on Sunday. My CEB loves tonic soups so I decided to try cooking a pot using the packet of herbs we brought back from HongKong last month. To add flavor and bite, I added dried fish maw (which I'd soaked overnight) as well as half a spring chicken.

The challenge I faced was that the instructions were all in Chinese and I could not identify the various herbs by the Chinese names. My CEB was sadly of no help, so we took a wild stab as to which herbs required boiling first for 10mins before it was to be added into the mix. The thermal pot by LaGoumet has to be one of our best household buys ever! It's just a matter of getting the soup up to boiling point and then transferring the pot into the thermal pot where it retains the heat well enough to cook the soup and ingredients for the next few hours. No wasting time standing over the stove waiting!

After church and lunch, I was at Novena Square and saw a black promfret fish going at half price at Cold Storage. Despite the disaster of cooking the white promfret fish, I could not resist the temptation of buying the fish. We had a 1hour break at home before the movie (The Hunger Games) so I took the chance to season the fish with salt and the multi-colored pepper seasoning I'd bought from Cold Storage before popping the seasoned fish back into the fridge.

As for the other half of the chicken which didn't go into the soup, I decided to cook curry chicken with the AYAM brand of curry seasoning. I didn't have any potatoes which worried me because I was afraid that there was too much paste and too little chicken. However, everything turned out just fine.

After I got home, I started cooking the chicken curry dish first. The white gooey stuff in the pot is the coconut milk which I'd bought from Malaysia - 220ml in a packet. After that, it was just a matter of bringing the stuff to boil.

Next, I prepared the spinach dish. Spinach is both our favorite vegetable and I hadn't realized how easy it it is to cook it. My CEB likes the dish with dried shrimps so I soaked a handful in water for a bit while washing the vegetable in the sink.

It never fails to amaze him how vegetables just shrink in size when tossed into the wok. First I used olive oil, then fried the dried shrimp and garlic before adding in the vegetable. After the vegetable had somewhat been cooked to a slightly mushy state, I poured in the water which I'd soaked the dried shrimp in, turned off the fire and left the vegetables to stew in the water.

The last dish I cooked was the black promfret. Yes, the tail is missing. I could not figure how to cook the tail properly and it broke off in the end. I did my best to flip the fish around the wok without burning the skin but yet cooking it. It was not that easy! But I did it...somewhat.

My FIL, my CEB and I polished off everything on the table, even the curry chicken dish! I was surprised because my FIL has a sensitive stomach but he really liked the dish. That made me really happy.

Eating the black promfret brought back memories of dinner with my family (before marriage) years ago when I was growing up. When I told my CEB that, he said I was a sentimental (insert unflattering nickname).

My CEB has not changed the least. He still cuddles up to me every night, and falls asleep all curled up against me. Of course, he is still utterly full of mischief. Knowing that I had a mask on my face when I was writing this entry, he tickled me so get me to laugh. He is now in my bad books for trying to give me wrinkles. Bad Bad Tiger!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hilton at Petaling Jaya

I know it looks as if I have changed loyalty but the Hilton's Gold Membership Promotion for the first quarter (click here to read) was too attractive to pass up. And hence, we have been trying to clock the 4 stays before 31 May 2012 so as to qualify for the 40,000 HHonors Points.

Now, as we all know, hotel rates in Singapore are the most expensive in South East Asia. So, paying over SGD 200 to stay in an ordinary room in Hilton Orchard isn't the most ideal way of racking up the stays. KL on the other hand, offers more attractive options for Hilton hotels and the cheapest would be Hilton at Petaling Jaya.

And it was cheap (I'm talking about SGD120+ per night inclusive of 2 breakfasts and an upgrade to a room with executive lounge access) with good reason. Getting there by public transport (without a car) was a hassle. To get to Hilton PJ from the airport by train, one has to take the shuttle bus (RM9) from KLIA/LCCT to KL Sentral. There, one has to buy a ticket/token for the Kelana Jaya Line and take the train service all the way up to either the Taman Jaya Station or Asia Jaya Station. I prefer to get off the Taman Jaya Station Line BUT it is a lonely road leading to the back of the hotel and we all know that KL isn't the safest place in the world. Getting to Asia Jaya Station though is more of a hassle because it involves trying to cross more main roads and there aren't well, properly defined crossings but loads of broken pavement. Still, at least it is on the main road so one is that much safer.

Anyway, the hotel was under renovation. And all the executive rooms and the lounge were being ungraded. However, we were given 1 of the newly renovated rooms on the second floor facing the pool. So per the picture below, the furnishings and furniture and all were spanking new.

However, as with Double Trees Hilton, there was no bathtub in the room. The toiletries in the hotel were extremely well-packaged (see the pic below) but I assure you that once one removes the boxes, the contents are most ordinary. Disappointingly ordinary in fact.

Well as I mentioned, the executive lounge was under renovation so we were given access to another lounge. Needless to say, it was a far cry from the one at Double Tree. The selection of drinks and food was really limited and ordinary and although there was internet access, everything in the place was run-down, old and shabby.

The hotel provides a shuttle bus at 12noon to 1Utama but without the return service. Hence, we decided to go to 1Utama on our own for dinner. We walked the broken pavements to Asia Jaya Station and paid RM1.30 each to get to the end of the line - Kelana Jaya station. I had read that 1Utama provides free shuttle buses to the mall so we asked around and were told to cross a overhead bridge and wait at the bus stop in front of a row of shophouses (see pic of station and the overhead bridge we crossed).

After waiting about 20 mins, there was no sign of the bus so we took a cab instead. It cost RM8 one way. 1Utama was huge and had many shops including Coach. We thought of taking the complimentary shuttle back to the train station in the evening but found out that the shuttle service was only for 1Utama Card Members. The cost of being a member would be RM10 each. And even though we offered to pay a nominal fee to the bus driver to take us to the station, he refused unless we became 1 Utama Card members. So much for "complimentary" bus svc!

The Slog Reviews: 7/10. This hotel is really cheap by KL stations and for the Hilton brand but it is with good reason. I would suggest waiting till the renovation is complete before booking a stay there. And it would be advisable to rent a car or drive up from SG because this Hilton hotel is the most inaccessible of the lot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latin Aerobics - I will be back.

I missed the last class (the third one) because I was holidaying in Kota Kinabalu with my CEB the weekend before the Easter weekend.

If not for the fact that my friend had signed up for the class and was counting on me to turn up, I would have skipped the class yesterday as well. Having an exercise buddy really does help to keep one on the exercise track!

Fresh from the "success" of preparing dinner on Sunday for my FIL and CEB (which I shall blog about next), I decided to steam the fish slice that my MIL had given me for dinner before the aerobics class. Steaming the fish with lots of ginger slices (to kill the fishy smell), salted vegetables ( to lend taste) and some chili padi slices on the top was a fast and healthy option that required little preparation between the time I reached home from work and the class at 7.30pm.

As we were walking to the CC, my friend shared that last week's class was the toughest yet. And to my delight, I found out that she had the song "Move it like a freak" stuck in her head too since the last class. With the healthy dinner in my tummy and my spirits boosted by our little chat before class, I entered the dance studio brimming with good cheer.

We were slightly late so we had to stand near the back of the class and it was difficult to see the instructor past the girl in front of me. And once the music started, it became abundantly clear that missing one session hadn't done me any favors. I seemed to have two, no make it three, left feet that wouldn't co-operate and my movements were all out of time and not coordinated.

Midway through the class, a middle-aged man with a board comes in. He nods to the instructor and walks to the back of the class. It is impossible to watch the instructor and dance while watching him at the same time but I do my best. He appears to be taking notes and even a recording. I guess he could be short-listing dancers to take part in some parade or event. I also guess that he could be noting the class's attendance and instructor's performance.

When he leaves, the instructor comments that she does not know why he is there. I tell my friend that maybe he is there to take a video to post on YouTube, or there to find the world's worst dancer which would be yours truly. She starts to laugh her bwahahaha laugh and soon I follow. The instructor glares at us.

And as if to punish us, she puts on a really fast routine and I find myself twirling around, and making ridiculous motions with my hands such as mock-wiping my bum. She does not look silly doing it but I do. I figure that if I follow her exactly, I will not look silly too. So I resolve to shake every part of the body that she shakes and move as fast as her.

I concentrate so hard on mimicking her that I do not notice the distance between my friend and me. I twirl, shake, draw flowers in the air with my hands and poke her somewhere I have no business poking. She lets out a donkey bray of surprise and laugh the bwahahaha. I am totally unable to concentrate any more on the instructor. We stand there like two clowns chortling at our own jokes. The rest of the class is serious, all trying to mimic the grace of the instructor who is now scowling at us. It was an accident, mdm! An accident.

I do not fit in. But I will be back.

Maybe he is right.

It struck me that my CEB might just be right in calling me the (insert unflattering nickname) with a "Soh" at the back (like, Ah Soh!) when I received the following 3 items in the mail the same week. The PAssion Card, the NTUC Linkcard AND a RM2 voucher from Tesco from the conversion of my ClubPoints.

However, I've not totally turned "Aunty" yet! My Hilton Honors Gold Membership card came in the same batch of mail. So there! *sticks tongue out at my CEB

I beg to state for the record that I am still a balanced individual and not on the slippery slope of "Aunty-dom".

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A weekend at Hilton Double Tree at KL

It seems like not too long ago when I spent a weekend with my good ole mama at Hilton Double Tree at KL. The reason for the trip was to clock 1 out of the 4 Hilton Stays before 31 May 2012 so as to qualify for the 40,000 HH Points (Visa Infinite Card Promotion) and although Hilton at Petaling Jaya was the cheapest of the 3 Hilton hotels at KL, Double Tree was more accessible.

So, from the LCCT, we took the Sky Bus to KL Sentral where we then took the Kelena Jaya line to Ampang Park LRT Station. The cost of the train ride was just RM2 per person from KL Sentral. However, the overhead bridge from Ampang Mall to the hotel was under construction so we had to scamper across the wide busy roads.

Check-in took some time because the hotel was staffed with trainees. However, we were upgraded to a room on the executive floor, thanks to the Hilton Gold membership. And given two large warm biscuits to boot.

This was the welcome platter which greeted us in the room - fruits and miniature cakes. The cookies were from the reception.

And as you can tell, my good ole mama was more than delighted with all the complimentary food. Even though she was pretty stuffed from all the eating at the Rainforest Lounge earlier (thanks to the priority pass), she still managed to put away quite a bit of the pastries.

I'll give the decor of the room an 8/10. Like The Intercontinental Hotel in Melbourne, Double Tree rooms do not come with a bath tub. I think it is to do with the conservation of water, you know, eco-friendly.

After I'd managed to pry my good old mama away from the complimentary platter, we went to the executive lounge just across the lift lobby of the same floor about 5pm which was the scheduled tea time.

Our plans to go out for dinner fell through the moment we saw all that food in the lounge. I mean, the selection was simply awesome. I'm talking about quality and quantity here!

I'll let the pictures do the talking. And yes, those were chicken wings and samosas in the picture above and nice little cuts of roast beef in the picture below.

And tandoori chicken, smoked salmon around asparagus, all beautifully presented. I tell ya, the presentation of the lounge food is among the best I've ever seen.

And let's not forget the desserts.

I have to confess that I helped myself shamelessly to lots of biscuits to kill time while my mother used one of the lounge's computers to play her online game.

Ah yes, the picture below is the last helping of the lounge food I had before they closed the refreshment service at 7.30pm. But even after then, fresh fruit juice and a pot of warm milo for my mum were forthcoming.

We stayed till about 10pm before going back to our room. Hilton has a choice of pillows that a guest can select - contour, bamboo that sort of thing. However, I was too stuffed to think straight and made do with whatever was on the bed.

The next day, we took a train out to KLCC after a filling breakfast at The Executive Lounge. We were too full to have lunch so we decided to head back to The Lounge for the evening's refreshments. Again, the variety of desserts was impressive - strawberries with sugar!

And we did not have to spend a cent for dinner with all that lounge food. The chicken curry was thick and warm, and went very well with the yellow Indian flour thingy.

And from the lounge, we had a great view of the city. I took this picture while the sun was going down.
From the windows on the other end of the lounge, one can get a great picture of the twin towers.

The Slog Reviews: 9/10. A wonderful experience at Hilton Double Tree KL. I would have given the hotel a perfect score if not for the one too many trainees who were unable to assist effectively (at check out etc). Other than that, I'm looking forward to my next visit at Double Tree which is in 2 weeks time!

Monday, April 02, 2012

JetQuay - the Quayside Service at CIP Terminal

This post is long overdue but having experienced the Quayside Arrival service at Changi Airport when we returned from our KK trip today for the third time in 2 months reminded me.

The first time I booked the service through the HSBC Infinite Card butler was when we holidayed in HongKong in February this year. Because we were flying on a budget airline (Jetstar), we could only use their Gateway Departure service without the buggy. However, since parking at CIP terminal was free of charge, we were more than glad to park there and then walk (about 7 mins) to Terminal 2 where we took the skytrain to T1. (This would of course not work as well if we had check in baggage or lots of heavy items to carry.) If we were flying on a non-budget airline, we would have been able to do our check in at the CIP terminal and have the buggy ferry us right to the departure gate (there is an immigration counter at the CIP terminal).

Anyway, when we landed back in Singapore about 12.45am, there was a nice elderly gentleman waiting for us at the aerobridge with a large sign that had my name on it. He asked for the baggage tag for the check in luggage and radio-ed his colleague to retrieve our check-in bags for us while he whisked us off in his buggy to the CIP terminal.

Now, truth be told, before this experience, I never knew that those buggies that go beep beep beep around Changi Airport were for those using the Quayside service, and I never knew that T1 connects to T2 internally and T2 connects internally to the CIP terminal (both connection at the gates area).

However, what I do know was that I was so grateful for that service at almost 1am in the night. We did not have to wait for our bags at the carousel, and we did not have to walk to the immigration counter and queue for our turn. We were the only 2 folks using the immigration counter (there was an officer there) at the CIP terminal. I didn't dare to take a picture of the immigration counter area so I took a picture of the lobby instead.

While waiting for our bags to arrive, we grabbed a drink at the CIP lounge. The selection was very limited, and not just because of the hour we arrived. I had read pretty nasty reviews about the cold food and lack of variety and these reviews were spot on. I would suggest using the normal airline lounges instead (like the Krisflyer one) if one has time to kill before the flight out. However, I'm not complaining too much given that this is the only lounge one can use if one is flying in to SG.

Here is a picture of the lounge I took in Feb, but the lounge was undergoing renovation today. There is a toilet with shower but I couldn't find any towels or, toilet paper for that matter. I think it must be because of the renovation going on, because the last time, there was. In any case, this time round, there was a pot of warm soup.

As we were walking out to the car, my CEB said to me half-seriously that he was prepared to pay the annual fee for the HSBC card the next year given the perks like the unlimited use of the JetQuay service.

I cannot agree more - the jetquay service is a pretty cool service which saves a weary traveler a lot of time (like having to wait to collect the luggage) and footwork (to walk to the immigration counter) at the airport.

Edited to Add: Complimentary parking at Jetquay is no longer available if one uses budget airlines to travel. Bummer.