The last time we went for a family holiday was in November last year (I think?) Even then, I wouldn't really call it a "holiday" as such, as it was only a 3D2N break in Genting, and we were there to tag Ayah who had a meeting there. We only spent time as a family when Ayah had fulfilled whatever obligations he had during the meeting. Even then, the second night we were there, Ayah had to turun bukit as he had a prior commitment in KL, and he only re-joined us the next morning. Like most of our "tag-along" breaks, all accommodation and meals at the hotel were taken care by Ayah's sponsors. So, we only had to foot the bills for all the fun stuff at the Theme Park :)
The school holidays which had just passed was no different, as yet again we went for another tag-along break with Ayah. This time to Penang. Ayah was one of four speakers at a Cardio Meeting held at Ho*id*y Inn, Batu Feringghi, and he was given a couple of duties for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and again, all expenses for our stay at the hotel were sponsored by the organizers.
(Hehehe...So, by now you all have surely got it - we only go for a holiday when we don't have to pay for it! Hahaha! Cheap-skate, huh? ;))
Anyway, we decided to start our trip up to Penang on Friday morning and break our journey in Taiping - spending the night at my Brother Jame's place before continuing our drive to Batu Feringghi on Saturday morning.
It was somewhat a different experience this time around as we brought along Zaidy to drive us, and as we were in no rush, we managed to take a few "Jalan-jalan Cari Makan" (JJCM)and "Down Memory Lane" (DML) breaks along the way. It was a leisurely drive, and Ayah managed to get some sleep during the journey (which was just as well as he only had a 2 1/2 hours sleep the night before - NOT because he was watching a World Cup match, but rather because he had to attend to an emergency until 5:30 in the morning).
Suffice to say, the trip brought a lot of memories, and not to mention a few kilos back! Dang...Whatever kilos I had managed to shed in the last couple of months, I gained back half of them over the four days break :(
Anyway, just to summarize our JJCM and DML trip, the first stop we made on our way to Taiping on Friday, was at the Sg. Buloh R&R for our breakfast (where I had a bowl of Meehoon Soto - calorie counter started its duty then). The next stop was at the Tapah R&R to buy some fruits as buah tangan for my brother and family - the normal Jambu Air, Jambu Batu and Mangoes with the Serbuk Asam Boi and Kuah Rojak. We then proceeded to Kuala Kangsar as Ayah wanted to bring and show the kids his alma mater. We spent a good 45 minutes just walking around the school compound and taking pictures, after which we had lunch at the Sungei Perak Resort (where I had a plate of Char Kuey Teow pulak. "Kachiiiinnnggg!!" screamed the calorie counter!) The next stop was the Masjid Ubudiah Bukit Chandan, and I must say that we were very impressed with how the exterior of the Masjid was being maintained. It was simply beautiful.
We left Kuala Kangsar at around 3:45p.m, and ended up taking the jalan lama up north instead of the North-South Highway when Zaidy missed a turn - which was in fact a blessing in disguise as we ended up in Bukit Gantang. And of course, when you're in Bukit Gantang, it would be a sin NOT to indulge yourselves in their famous durian, right? And that was what we did. We just stopped by a durian stall along the jalan lama, and had the most delicious durians beramai-ramai. I think I probably had 7-8 pieces of durians at one sitting (calorie counter on over-drive!) I swear I could have taken in more durians, but the plateful of Char Kuey Teow which I just had barely 2 hours before that just didn't leave much space for me to do that! :( Silap strategy wehhh...
We reached Taiping Town just after 5:00p.m, and went around the beautiful Lake Gardens, and I decided to show the kids my primary school - Treacher Methodist Girls School. Tak mau kalah... Ayah dah tunjuk sekolah dia, Mommy pun kena tunjuk sekolah Mommy...Hehehe! I have to say that we were REALLY impressed with how clean the whole school was. Kudos to the teachers and pupils of TMGS! One thing I realized - the things that seemed huge around the school when I was schooling there seemed so much smaller last weekend. So many things have changed, but having said that, I was still overwhelmed with the familiarities and memories the visit to the school had brought back to me.
We later brought the kids to visit my Uncle Yang who was staying at my Arwah grandparents' house in Kamunting, and yet again, memories of how I had spent my days at my Atok and Atah's house when I was a child flooded in. I remembered playing hide and seek around the kampung, and I remembered how my siblings and cousins used to hide in our Atok's neighbours' houses. We were free to roam the kampung, and we were welcome to hide in all the houses there, tak kira mana ceruk rumah. We were known as "Cucu Tuan Haji Ismail" - the Tok Mudin Moden :)
After Kamunting, we made our way to Assam Kumbang to show the kids the two houses I lived in before I left for boarding school in JB. The house in Rodger Place (government quarters) where I spent the first 5 years of my life is still there and I must say is quite well-maintained, compared to the house in Jalan Sekolah Arab which we rented from 1974 to 1982. I could feel a heavy tug on my heart when I saw how the latter was pretty much abandoned and rundown, and I suddenly realized that my eyes were welling up with tears looking at the house which was once known among the orang kampung as the "Rumah Putih Jalan Sekolah Arab". It was not the only house which was abandoned there. A number of other houses which my childhood friends used to live in and which I used to frequent were also in similar conditions, if not worse. It was just so sad.
I left Assam Kumbang with a heavy heart, and we made our way to the Taiping Railway Station where my Brother Jame was to meet us. He and his family had just moved to a new house and I was not familiar with the new area. Jame met us outside the Railway Station - another place which brought a lot of memories back to me as that was where I used to bid farewell to my Mommy and Abah and shed buckets of tears everytime I had to go back to JB on the Keretapi Mel at the end of every school holiday in the 80's. I must say, the Railway Station didn't seem to have changed that much, even after 25 years since my last train ride from there. It was as if time stood still there.
We had a late tea of Satay Basree and Popiah Basah Cashier Market at Jame's place. It was sweet of Jame to remember my favourite - Satay Perut and Limpa/Paru, and I dare not reveal how many sticks of that sinful stuff ended in my tummy that day!! (calorie counter kerja kuat!) As if that was not enough, we had a late dinner and yours truly had Rice with Daging Merah and Telur Bungkus that night. Tak hengat dunia...
Breakfast the next morning was the customary Nasi Lemak and Roti Chanai (and I just couldn't be bothered with my diet dah at this point. Hehehe!) We only left Taiping at 11:00a.m.
The journey to Penang took us slightly more than 2 hours, as we were not that familiar with the roads. We checked-in at the hotel just after 1:00p.m and were given two rooms - the girls got one room all to themselves, while our Boy Chiman had to settle with sharing a room with his Ayah and Mommy :) We had lunch just before 2:00p.m and yours truly had a plate of Mee Goreng Mamak (the damage has been done anyway, kan? Might as well...LOL!).
The time after lunch was spent making myself busy unpacking stuff and making the rooms homely while waiting for Ayah to come back from his meeting. But, by 4:15p.m when there was no sign of Ayah coming back to the room, the kids and I decided to go down to the beach first. The kids went horse-riding before starting their sandcastle-building project, which later transformed into a dam-building effort, but which ended up as deep hole-digging venture between Hasya and Hilman and a few new friends they made on the beach.
Ayah managed to get away from his meeting and joined us at 5:30p.m. and what better way to welcome him to the beach than by getting him to watch Hanna go para-sailing! (I tell you...I know for certain that she definitely does not follow her Mommy. I would have peed in my pants even before I were to take off with the parachute!) So, that was fun. For Hanna. But, not for her Mommy who literally stopped breathing a few times watching her daughter floating/gliding so high up in the air! Lomah lutut den...
We had a poolside BBQ and Buffet Dinner at the hotel (which meant I basically walloped whatever I fancied at the buffet station) after which we decided to go for supper at Hard Rock Cafe. Malang nasib kami, as we didn't make any reservations, we couldn't get in. That place was filled to the brim. (A note to self - next trip to Penang, have to make sure I make reservations first). We made up for the disappointment by shopping sakan at the Hard Rock Shop, and later jalan-jalan at the night gerai along the main road leading to the hotel.
Sunday morning - after a breakfast of Teochew Porridge, Fried Meehoon, Scrambled Eggs and sausages (some in big and some in small portions...Hehehe!), the girls accompanied Hilman who wanted to go for a swim in the pool while their Mommy started to pack everybody's stuff back in the room. A good 2 hours were spent at the pool before the kids came up to have their shower and help me with the final packing.
By 12:30p.m everything was ready, and while waiting for Ayah to come back from his meeting, the kids and I had a few rounds of table tennis (which I'm sure did not help much in burning the newly-gained calories in me...) Ayah finally joined us for a couple of games at about 1:00p.m before we proceeded to have lunch at the Terrace Cafe. No need to tell lah what I had for lunch...too sinful :) Suffice to say there was Lamb Korma somewhere in it ;)
We checked out at 2:00p.m and started our journey back to KL. Again - a slow drive down as we were not in a rush. We made two stops on the way. The first stop was at Kuala Sepetang, just outside Taiping - for the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah just before 5:00p.m. I had the Mee Udang Special (with loads of udang and 2-3 Udang Besar thrown in) and we all agreed that the prawns were the freshest we've ever tasted. I have to say that the taste of the Mee Udang was not really out of this world, but, the fresh big prawns were definitely worthed the detour to Kuala Sepetang :)
We left Gerai Mak Jah just before 6:00p.m and continued our journey back to KL, making one last stop in Tapah to get some fruits and petais for my Mommy and MIL.
We reached my MIL's house just after 9:00p.m, syukur alhamdulillah...
Kesian the kids - had to go to school the next day, but, luckily they had prepared all their uniforms and schoolbags for Monday before we left for Penang, and I think they went to sleep as soon as their heads touched the pillow that night.
And with all the mix and match of food going through my esophogus over the four days, you would have thought that I would end up with a tummy upset, right?
Syukur alhamdulillah - nope.
But, the next day, I got this text from Zaidy -
"Salam, puan. Hari ini saya MC boleh? Sakit perut".
So, there goes my leave for Monday as I had to be on supir duty the whole day. His perut is not as durable as my perut it seems :)
Hmmmm...Maybe that's God's way of helping me to shed the excess kilos I gained over the weekend, kan? ;)
* Click here for some photos ;)