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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.

Forest City Golf Resort

28 Mar

Forest City Golf Resort is a lovely golf resort. But I have to say there aren’t many choices within the resort as far as dining is concerned. Nonetheless, food is not the main highlight of this trip, as there is much to share of the two golf courses – the Legacy Course and Classic Course.

Each course has its characteristics, appeal, and challenge. Being there for the first time, we were unaware of the layout at times, as we did not have a caddy to guide us. But since buggies are allowed on the course, this predicament was not a big issue. We had all the time in the world, and at times, a short drive up to see the layout was necessary before hitting our shots.

Both courses had very pristine fairways, even the roughs along the way. The ball floats nicely on top, and it is not difficult to get out from the rough. The tee boxes were a joy as they were even and had carpet-like quality grass. As for the greens, it wasn’t as fast as touted. But all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

There is hardly a blade of grass out of place on the fairways. The only thing messing up the perfect condition was an unexpected bird poop I spotted on our second day. It was indeed jarring to the overall greenery of the golf course. Even the wasteland features were immaculate.

The eye-sore bird poop on the fairway!

The only thing we did not enjoy was the annoying crows. They were very aggressive, following us throughout each game and coming in packs to hoover in our buggy, looking for food, which we did not have. I suspect they have honed their senses to zero in for grub. After all, the resort is four years old, and the crows have been around since its inception. I was glad for the sanitizer provided by the resort, and I used it on the buggy each time after shooing the crows away.

The golf course is as good, if not better, as some of the golf courses in Thailand without the price tag and long journeys that include flying and taxi rides. For us, it’s only a four-hour drive with allowance to detour for a meal and time to spare to settle down before the allotted afternoon tee-off slot on the first day.

We will make another trip down south again soon, very soon.

A Getaway!

25 Mar

It is nice when we can have a getaway after staying put for so long. When M1 had to clear her work-leave days, we jumped at the opportunity. But the trip had to include golf for us.

So here we are, at Forest City Golf Resort in Johor, for our golfing fun and her, a relaxing escape from work stress to enjoy the other activities.

The lobby area of Forest City Golf Resort

The drive down south was pleasant, and we arrived at the resort ahead of schedule yesterday. The golf course was not busy at all, and being buggy-on-course, we thoroughly enjoyed this.

The fairways were in superb condition, likewise the greens. Even the tee boxes were excellent, level all the time, unlike our club where we find the ground not even to stand when we tee up.

We play our second game today.

Holiday No More

7 Feb

Somehow I don’t feel the holiday spirits of the Lunar New Year even though we are at Day Seven of the 15 days-long celebrations. We are not visiting anyone, nor are we having guests over.

Better to stay safe at this point because yesterday, the Covid-19 cases spiked up to 10,089, a five digits figure again after a few months below this threshold. Not a good sign.

It is back to work today for all three of us, although I have to admit it’s slow for us. I most likely will spend time working on my miniatures to pass the time.

What a Journey! Part 2

4 Feb

We came home on the second day of the Lunar New Year. And what a journey it was. So unlike the trip when we went, this return trip was so much more pleasant and unexpected.

There was hardly any traffic build-up along the way and smooth sailing all the way home. Another record of sorts as we made it home in five and a half hours with just two stops only. As far as I can remember, we never made it home in this time frame. Usually, it would take between seven to nine hours. And there was once we did it in ten hours.

It is nice to be back and chill at home. I’m not even working on my miniatures. For once, doing nothing at home feels great! Visits to family or friends are minimal, if not none. There’s now the Omicron, and we are being extra careful not to go out unnecessarily.

What a Journey!

31 Jan

On Saturday, we left town to head North to hubby’s hometown. What a journey we had! The highway authorities had advised travelers heading that way to begin their journeys before 10 am to avoid congestion. So we did, albeit a little bit late, at precisely 9.51 am.

Heavy traffic in both directions

And dang, we drove smack into the worst snarl ever! Our past pre-Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner journeys were typically a six-hour drive from our home to hubby’s parents’ home.

This time, it took us 6.5 hours to reach Ipoh! Not even halfway to our final stop. This stretch is usually a 2.5 hours drive, but not on Saturday. It was a terrible drive. I wouldn’t even call it a drive but a crawl.

All in all, it took us ten hours to arrive, a record drive for a journey that would usually take 4.5 hours during the non-festive time.

But we were in good spirits as we had packed all the comforts in the car for the trip. And we knew there would be traffic woes, however, we didn’t expect it to be this bad.

It’s okay, this trip is for a good reason and that is to have the Reunion Dinner with the old folks, an occasion that we have missed out on the last two years because of the pandemic, lockdowns, and travel restrictions.

A Symbolic Growth

28 Jan

The preparations to usher in the Lunar New Year are almost complete! We finally put up the red cloth for the entrance this morning. And we got it right this time, having measured the hanging points and having two ladders to put up both sides in one go.

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I was in the garden. There was a new pineapple fruit growing! How fortunate as a pineapple signifies prosperity and its timely growth is symbolic of welcoming the Year of the Tiger on a good note!

With two days left to the Reunion Dinner, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all travelers a safe journey, and to everyone, a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!

Short Staycation

18 Jan

A short staycation is just what we need to get away from the daily routine. I have been playing golf for almost the whole week. A game on Tuesday followed by a stretch from Thursday to Sunday – I need a break!

It’s a good thing M1 had her work leave approved on Monday. And today is a public holiday – we took advantage of the situation.

We went off to Awana Genting yesterday. But being in Awana, how can we not play golf? So we decided to play a game, my fifth in a row.

Cable car ride and our customary game selfie

Thankfully, I wasn’t too tired because the weather was not hot, and the pace was very leisurely. We had the golf course to ourselves, save for a few holes when the monkeys came out to watch us play.

Overall the holiday destination was not very crowded, which was good to maintain social distancing. We were, of course, being very careful and had our masks on the whole time.

An indulgent dinner at Burger & Lobster
Vertical soil-free farming at the hotel

It was a short break but a much-needed one. With good food, some shopping, and cool air, it was a wise decision to have this short staycation.

The Year That Wasn’t Again

31 Dec

The never-ending year 2021 finally concludes today. I look back, and what a year it has been! I feel history has repeated itself, with the year being another year that fell short of expectations like 2020 because the pandemic has dragged on.

When the nation went into lockdown again in May, we were short-changed for several months to have a good year. And the lockdowns implemented under the Movement Control Orders (MCO) had so many versions, I lost track of it all.

But life goes on. With what we had experienced in 2020, we handled 2021 a little better. We became more accepting of the situation and were more productive, and the hobbies picked up in the year before continued. We also got vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, and it was our passport to venture out (if needed) without hassle.

Towards the end of the year, I picked up another new hobby – felting. What fun this turned out to be! Felting is immensely enjoyable and therapeutic when I am not carving or crafting miniatures as it is a short and fast activity to complete.

Looking back, being home this time around wasn’t so bad because there’s so much to do at home, and I love it. There is no rush or fear but simply comfort and ease. As long as there is good time management, the days go by quickly.

M2 came back for her Summer holidays, and it was great to have her home. My cooking skills improved from last year, and there were many great mealtimes together at home as a family since we couldn’t go out at all.

Then M1 came home for good after completing her Master’s degree, and both of us are very blessed to have the family as a complete unit. But soon after, M2 returned to Ireland, and M1 started working. By the third quarter, we were juggling work, albeit not much, and playing golf when the country reopened to more activities.

But just when we thought things were improving with vaccination and economies opening everywhere, the world saw a new virus variant! The Omicron. The pandemic management globally was sucker-punched with this new development. Travels, activities, and economies were restricted once more, and many countries faced fresh lockdowns. When will this onslaught of the unknown ever end?

So we start 2022 with uncertainty again. I see no point in toasting the New Year for better fortune and goodness. Just brace yourselves to stay negative (Covid-wise) in a positive way, stay healthy, and stay safe. Goodbye 2021, I wouldn’t say it was the best, but we survived. Happy New Year, folks!