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Friday, December 23, 2011

Trips Abroad in 2011 - Beijing

I've had a blessed year in 2011 having been treated to 3 trips abroad (actually 4, but Bangkok was flooded during the scheduled period so it's been postponed to February 2012).

The 1st was to Bangkok in March, accompanying Allan on his business trip. I had such a great time shopping there that we immediately booked another trip upon our return, for the family to visit the city in November. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans and as everyone well knows, parts of Bangkok were inundated by flood waters....so we had to postpone our plans.

In October, Allan & I went on an all-expenses paid incentive trip to Beijing, courtesy of PM Malaysia, the company which distributes the premium Fitline brand of wellness products. I always enjoy my trips abroad and needless to say, this was no different :) It was made even more special because I got to dress up in a Manchurian princess costume. This was a privilege accorded to only those leaders who achieved the highest sales volume within the qualifying period.

First Day
Temple of Heaven

Handsome 'princes'

errr......handsome princes turned zombies??
(ala Chinese ghost movies)

We were treated to song, dance and traditional food
at the Mongolian Village


Second Day
Group photo in Tiananmen Square

The Square was filled with scores of people as it was the
Golden Week celebrating their National Day

Sugar candied fruit 'kebab' :)
('ping tong wu lo')

At the entrance to the Forbidden City

Inside Forbidden City

Summer Palace

Day 3
View of the Great Wall at Chu-Yung-Kuan Pass

Scaling....scaling....*huff* **puff**

Mission accomplished!

YES!! Powered by FitLine!



Day 4
Shopping at Wangfujing

Then it's on to lunch at the well-known hotpot
restaurant....can't remember the name though...


At the entrance to 'Street of Snacks'

Fermented smelly tofu

...care for some?...


Farewell dinner


A photo sampling of some of the food we had in Beijing



Next year's incentive trip is to Korea.....keeping my fingers crossed :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11

Newspapers, social networks, advertisements, etc were all abuzz about this unique once-in-every-century occurrence (the alignment of the numbers....as with previous years' 08.08.08, 10.10.10...)

Couples were either making a beeline for the Registrar of Marriage, or getting engaged, or making a proposal to or being proposed to by their significant other on this day. Eleven year olds were also celebrating their birthdays in style.

It was also a very significant day for our family. We celebrated our Dad's 72nd birthday. The entire family went for a hotpot dinner at Flaming Hot Pot in Sunway. Then we adjourned to my brother's house for the cake cutting ritual :) ..... a yummy ice-cream cake that he purchased online via Groupon.

The birthday cake

The birthday boy :)

3 generations

Triple 11!!!

With the grandchildren

Fooling around..... :)

A great big HUG for grandpa from the youngest in the family

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Royal Selangor Pewter

Ever since I was told about the Royal Selangor Pewter factory by my Dad, years back when he worked briefly for TDC (Tourism Development Corporation), I'd always wanted to visit the place. Yet it took a friend of ours from Germany to finally get me there after soooo many years of saying I'd go. Isn't it always the case.....places that are right at our 'doorstep' (meaning within the country), we almost never visit, until we entertain foreign guests, and show them around.

So last month, my husband and I brought our German friend and our 2 younger boys to the Royal Selangor Pewter Visitor Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

The super-sized Tankard outside the Visitor Centre

One of the exhibits in the gallery - Heritage Zone

The replica of our Twin Towers in the Contemporary Zone

The Chamber of Chimes within the Experiential Zone

We tipped the Giant Scale!
There's an actual gigantic block of pewter on the other end.
I think we totaled over 250kgs!

Entry point of the Factory Tour

The factory tour was the highlight for me. I got to actually see how pewter items were created.

Casting the pewter


Smoothening out the surface


Final Polishing


We also got to try our hands at one of the stations.....hammering indents onto the surface of a pewter cylinder. The hammering part was easy....but keeping the indents the same consistency, and aligned.....gee whiz! not at all an easy task. The professionals have to train for over 6 months!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bangkok Weekend Getaway

My husband had to go to Bangkok last weekend for a business meeting....and I decided to tag along :) I'd heard so much about the shopping in Bangkok that I just had to experience it for myself.

We managed to get quite a reasonable fare by Malaysian Airlines and so we decided to fly by MAS instead of AirAsia which was just several ringgit cheaper at the time we booked (and not inclusive of meals too). Most times, especially if you book early, AirAsia is still the cheaper airline.

Travelling from the airport towards our hotel

Part of Bangkok's skyline

Our hotel of choice was Baiyoke Sky Hotel booked through Agoda.com. We're so glad we chose this hotel because shopping is right at its door step! There is a street market in the morning until 12 noon or possibly later (because it was still bustling with activity when we left around 11:30am on Sunday). Then there're wholesale shops surrounding the hotel when the morning market is over. In the evening, the night market springs up! So it's shopping almost round the clock! Paradise for the shopaholic, limited only by the wallet :)

Baiyoke Sky Hotel viewed from the main highway

Victory monument. This is considered the centre of Bangkok and points/areas
in Bangkok are measured in distance from this monument.

After check-in and freshening up, Allan's business partner
brought us to Ploen Seafood Restaurant for an early dinner before heading to the meeting

Deep in business discussion :)

Part of the many dishes that was ordered. mmmmm.....food was delicious!

The ladies restroom. Let the koi in the water entertain you while you do your business :)

After dinner, we headed to Sofitel Grand Centara where the meeting was but we were caught in a massive traffic jam. The vehicles hardly moved and to travel a distance of a km or so took nearly half an hour. Needless to say, we were late by an hour, but since Allan was the speaker/trainer for the meeting, the people had no choice but to wait. They were very understanding as traffic congestion is the norm in Bangkok......anytime of day.

Allan delivering his training in English.

After the meeting, we went to the hotel's Sky Bar/Lounge for some light snacks and drinks.
A casual meeting to get to know each other after the formal one.

The view from the lounge was beautiful. Couldn't capture the true ambience with my camera.

Reading the menu with the help of a lamp that looked like a mini
one-eyed alien :)

The next day, Allan headed off for this business appointments while I met up with a Malaysian friendwho is now temporarily residing in Bangkok as her husband has been posted here for work. We hailed a taxi and headed for Chatuchak Weekend Market.

At 10:30am the place was already a hive of activity. So many people and sooooo many small shops! My friend said: "If you see anything you like and want to buy it, please do because I won't know how to come back to this exact spot later" .....lol. It's that big and confusing to the tourist.


They have one large section (rows upon rows) of shops selling pets. The puppies are put in a bin (like the bargain bins in shopping centres) for buyers to select. I've never seen so many puppies.


I managed to buy several things I liked and also some T-shirts for my boys. My favourite purchase for the day were my marcasite + garnet rings. We were so engrossed in savouring the merchandise on display, we didn't feel hungry at all. But eat we did as it was well over lunch time.

For lunch, we headed to the street food area and quickly grabbed a small corner to sit as the place was packed. I ordered fried rice. For drinks, we each had sweet, thirst-quenching, not to mention cooling, coconut water.

Pecky enjoying her coconut :)


We headed back to the hotel around 3:30pm as Pecky had to get back home to her baby. I freshened up and was whisked off to meet my husband and business partner for dinner. Dinner was at a lovely chinese restaurant (can't remember the name) where they only accept payment in cash! After dinner, we went back to the hotel. The taxi dropped us off and we immediately went into shopping mode at the night market! hahaha.

Next morning, we woke early, had breakfast and headed downstairs to browse the morning market. More shopping! Allan had also ordered several custom-made business shirts and a pair of pants from the tailor located just outside the hotel entrance. He ordered them on Saturday morning and collected on Sunday morning. Perfect fit!

Allan's business partner came to get us around 11:30am and as we had plenty of time before we had to head to the airport, he took us to Siam Paragon.

Lettuce wrapped in salmon. The Thais pay great attention to packaging

Ethan would love this cake

Buying some local sausages (in ball form) to try

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Siam Paragon. Allan and I were greatly entertained by the sights and the items in the supermarket area alone! We didn't even see the other floors. There was so much to see and experience within the supermarket area.....fresh hot soup to try, free salad tasting, free sampling of local thai snacks and desserts. We were pretty full by the time we went for lunch at a Japanese restaurant within the complex. A meal for 3 persons came to slightly under RM50.

Time to head to the airport. Our flight was at 7:40pm so we had lots of time to kill. Allan & I headed straight for some foot & shoulder massage (RM38 for an hour). Was a little disappointed with the massage as I've had better Thai massage in Malaysia.

My foot all wrapped up after the hot water bath just before the foot massage

Hello ah, you're supposed to be relaxing la, what's with the laptop



We found this sculpture immediately after the security checkpoint

Our flight was delayed by an hour. When we reached KLIA it was 11:30pm, and past midnight when we reached home.

I had a great time and am already thinking of my next trip back to Bangkok. This time I'd like to make it a family getaway :)

Sawadee ka!