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Traveling Again, Part 3

30 Aug

I have always flown into Singapore via Changi Airport. However, for this trip, I flew in via Seletar Airport. And what a pleasant surprise it was! There was no crowd, no queue, and no delays at all.

I chose to fly from Subang Airport instead of KLIA as it’s more convenient. Subang and Seletar airports are smaller compared to the two main big airports. And Changi is world renowned as a destination by itself. But being smaller, certain perks are missing, like buying duty-free things. Oh well, this is not critical.

The trip ended too soon, and the weather was not kind during our return flight. As the plane descended, we experienced turbulence going through the clouds. It has been quite a while since I flew, so the nauseous feeling was just ugh.

Leaving Seletar Airport

Thankfully, the journey was not too long, and we arrived safely. Rain greeted us, and traffic built up on the way home. Not the best welcome home situation, but it’s nice to be home after an enjoyable getaway.

Arriving at Subang Airport

Traveling Again, Part 2

29 Aug

The trip to Singapore has been a good one catching up with friends and family. We had simple and sumptuous meals and memorable gatherings.

We tried Peruvian food

The four of us enjoyed delivered food and homemade cocktails in the comforts of our condo, chatting and laughing away. Precious is such of our friendship since seven years old.

Delicious gin collection

There was hardly any time for shopping, but we didn’t mind. And although it rained daily, it did not bother us. Luckily I brought my umbrella, which came in handy when we went to Orchard Road in search of some local food.

We had fishballs and mee pok and dessert.

Time has gone by too soon. We depart for home late afternoon today. I’m so glad we made the trip for friendship.

Traveling Again

26 Aug

It is exciting that I am traveling again by air! The last time I flew was in October 2019, going to Langkawi with all my high school girlfriends to celebrate our friendship. Three years have passed since that memorable trip. And as we all know, the pandemic struck in early 2020, and the whole world went into lockdown, my country included.

There were a lot of travel restrictions of varying degrees since then to manage the pandemic, and flying was the furthest thing from my mind. There was no need to fly anywhere, especially for the last two years. Also, it was a hassle with strict SOPs in place. But as the world is moving towards relaxing the travel restrictions, people are traveling again.

Two of my high school girlfriends and I spontaneously decided to go to Singapore for a short four-day getaway. We thought it would be great to catch up with friends and family whom we have not seen for so long due to the circumstances.

Besides visiting people, we will take this opportunity to enjoy the local food and play tourist in the city-island-nation. Exciting as it may be, we will be extra cautious for the four days in Singapore to avoid any unnecessary Covid-related situations. We fly off an hour past noon today! Whee.

What a Haul!

15 Aug

We did not play golf over the weekend; instead, we went fishing! The last time we did this was probably almost three decades years ago. Gosh, it has been a long time.

The idea to go fishing came about when the family got together over dinner and talked about doing outdoor activities. And since fishing is an activity M1 and my niece never did, why not let them try? A check off the bucket list for them.

The drive took forever. “Are we there yet?” I asked. Hahaha. It was a catch and release fishing pond near the airport, KLIA. The operator guaranteed five strikes per rod for the hour or your money back! Wow, how good is that?

The catch and release fishing pond

So my sibling, niece, and the three of us spent the late Sunday afternoon fishing. And we had such an exuberating time!

Getting ready for some action

Within minutes, strike one occurred, followed by another, and another! We had two rods, and the girls were delightfully having a blast. We adults could not resist the adrenaline rush and joined in the fun in the end. Why not? The day’s fishing haul made the activity look so easy and appealing.

Look at their impressive haul!

I must say my fishing record was never impressive. My biggest catch was a grass carp which was nothing of these massive-sized groupers in comparison.

Our haul and the inside of a grouper’s mouth!

Within the allotted time, the five of us caught 17 groupers! And we had several that escaped because we did not reel in fast enough. It could have been more, but 17 bites were more than what we anticipated.

The unexpected adventure turned out to be an exhilarating experience for everyone. The day was cloudy, the place was peaceful, and everyone had a very satisfying but tiring workout fighting the catch. Will we do it again? We may, but with the other young adults in the family who have not had this checked off their bucket list.

Golf Getaway, Part 2

18 Jul

It’s a mixed-feeling golf trip. Sometimes one can’t have it all.

Although it was nice to play at outstation clubs for a change, waking up early for the trip was not. We had to wake up at 4.30 am and then did a Covid test before leaving the house. The test was to assure everyone was safe to travel together on a bus.

The bus departed at 6.00 am, and the journey was pleasant enough without any traffic woes along the highway, and we arrived in good time. After a simple lunch at the clubhouse, we teed off for a round of social golf among ourselves at Penang Golf Club.

The course is very undulating, and buggies were allowed on the fairway, which was nice. How did I fair for this first game? It’s an unfamiliar course, and there were mistakes or mis-hits here and there. And for this trip, I opted to use my Scotty Cameron putter. Alas, putting was my biggest bane again. Sigh.

Penang Golf Club

After the game, the bus left for the hotel. Soon after checking in, we met with hubby’s sister (and husband) for dinner. It’s nice to catch up with family again after two and a half years of lockdown and not see each other. There was a lot to talk about over a delicious dinner.

Not local Penang food but Dallas BBQ duck!

They brought us to see another side of Penang. Typically, we would be around the town center or Tanjung Bungah area. But as we were in Bukit Jambul, we saw a different side of the island. All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. We parted ways, and sleep beckons after such a long and tiring day. We depart for Ipoh for the Interclub match the next day.

SPICE Arena Penang
View from our hotel room

Competitive Golf Again

14 Jun

Over the last two years, with the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging and upending the world, it was not just traveling and routines that got disrupted – sports and golf tournaments everywhere were canceled too.

At the onset, golf was not allowed in my country when the pandemic broke out. But soon, certain outdoor activities were permitted, and golf was on the list. Our golf club had to comply with the strict SOPs outlined by the government for golf.

On top of social distancing, players were not allowed to share the golf buggy. It was a single-player, single-buggy situation. And gatherings for meals before or after games were not permitted at the club, what more holding tournaments which draw a crowd, breaking social distancing rules. All these experiences and situations are now distant memories.

Finally, after a two-year hiatus of none competitive golf, golf tournaments are allowed again. And my golf club’s Annual Golf Championship resumed. Starting over the weekend for three categories – super senior, ladies, and juniors, it will continue for the next two weekends for the seniors and men categories. The thrill of high-level competition again!

I played over the weekend for my category over two days. What a battle it was. The adrenalin and pressure of playing high-level competition are totally unlike social golf. Every shot and mistake counts for your confidence and stress to do well. So how did I fare?

It will always be a what-if, could-have, and should-have situation.

Day One: what if I didn’t put the ball into the water on the approach shot on the first hole? What if I didn’t three-putt throughout the game for seven holes?

Day Two: how could I have dunked two balls into the water and returned with an incredulous ten for the Par 4, Hole 16? And I shouldn’t have four-putted on the relatively easy Hole 15, Par 3. But then, to begin with, I shouldn’t have teed into the water! The list could go on.

Disasters were aplenty, but there were some feel-good moments too. In the end, the bad moments far outweighed the good ones. All these are part and parcel of competitive golf. A little Lady Luck would have been better, and some calm nerves during the two days would have been helpful. Oh well.

I’m not complaining about the outcome of my participation this year; I merely need to build my mental strength to approach competitive golf better. And I need to trust my clubs and their distances more. Being unsure creates doubts, and this leads to disasters.

After all the golfing drama, the after-game camaraderie, drinks, laughter, and friendship with the other lady golfers mattered more than my performance at the Annual Championship. The occasion is now a cherished memory that was fun and challenging, and I certainly look forward to participating again next year.

When Life Gives You Bananas Instead

20 May

Recently the pandemic SOP restrictions for travels and visits have been lifted. So we visited my aunt and cousin – it was a fruitful visit, literally. We came home with papayas and bananas. So wonderful! It wasn’t a case of getting lemons and making lemonade, but bananas and making a bunch of yummies!

The papayas tasted very different from those from our garden, but nice nevertheless. We couldn’t figure out what species was the bananas, so we had to wait for them to ripen. And when they did, we still couldn’t pinpoint the species. Lol! Oh well.

We discovered the banana tastes best when combined with something. Eating it on its own does not taste as good. So what do you do or make when there are so many bananas?

First, there was the banana smoothie, which was so good and filling. I used lactose intolerant milk so that I could drink the smoothie too. Then there’s the banana bread baked by hubby. Delicious! After these two efforts, there were still a lot of bananas left, so I made a banana sorbet, which tasted simply heavenly.

Banana galore!

It’s such a simple recipe that I found online using just three ingredients. Bananas, which we had plenty of, and lime and honey! Blend them several times to be as smooth as possible, then freeze. Best eaten during hot days. So now you know, when life gives you bananas, make bread, smoothies, and sorbet!

A Joyous Time

2 May

The announcement caught us all by surprise. Hari Raya was assumed to be tomorrow, but last night, the news broke that the first day of Hari Raya is today. It is a long stretch of holiday for this festive occasion regardless of this. Given that May 1st is Labor Day, but as it fell on Sunday, the next day is the replacement holiday.

This year is a meaningful Hari Raya because Covid-19 SOPs are now relaxed, and people are traveling again. Due to the pandemic for the past two years, interstate travel was very restricted, so this is a welcome change.

As for us, we are staying put because we don’t want to get caught in the traffic snarl. To those celebrating the festive occasion, here’s wishing you Selamat Hari Raya and happy holidays! Have a joyous time together with your loved ones.

It’s a Small World

29 Mar

When we went to Forest City Golf Resort, we thought we had the perfect getaway from it all. Little did we know, we would bump into two golfing friends who were also there for golf. It’s a small world!

The first encounter was a brief one in the pro shop when the friend was heading out as we were walking in. A quick chat was all we had. The second encounter was equally brief, but we made plans to meet up for dinner as the friend had just checked in.

On Friday afternoon after our morning tee-off, M1 and I decided to visit Legoland, located not too far from the resort. Hubby opted out since he had work to do. So the arrangement worked out well.

Both of us spent the hot and humid afternoon wandering through the attractions at Legoland. The Day Pass ticket was not cheap. But we were upgraded to an Annual Pass as the theme park is trying to retain or attract visitors. So would we visit again with the Annual Pass? Perhaps.

No crowd, no queue, it was ideal

The plus side of a semi-post-pandemic situation is no crowds in a theme park. There was no queue at all the rides, not many wailing kids to contend with, and no icky arms close to us because everyone had to maintain the one-meter social distancing. It was perfect save for the humid weather.

The mini wonders at Legoland
Sealife at Legoland

After completing the outdoor attractions and rides, we moved indoors to Sealife aquarium. I think we enjoyed the air-conditioning more than the attractions! The rain came down when we came out from Sealife. It was a short drizzle, and the umbrella came in handy as we headed to the car.

That evening, we had dinner with our friends in the next township from Forest City, followed by a bottle of lovely French wine in the hotel lobby. It was a good getaway for us to rejuvenate and reset to face our daily routine.

Chap Goh Meh 2022

15 Feb

Today is Chap Goh Meh, the last day to celebrate the Lunar New Year. After 15 days of celebration, today is the finale. However, it has been a lack of celebrations again this year because of the pandemic and restrictions. But despite the situation, we are planning a big feast tonight to mark the occasion.

I have to admit I have gained weight over the past two weeks, eating and snacking on all the cookies without any discipline. So after tonight’s big steamboat meal, I will start my diet. From tomorrow onwards, no more cookies, more golf but no beer, and throw in morning walks to shed those extra pounds!