Saturday, June 27, 2009

HCMC - Part 3

Some sightseeing photographs of the city.

Reunification Hall
Took this photograph on our way to have a look-see of the 'Windows Cafe'.. where the young and hip hang out. We thought we could be one of them. But even on approach to the cafe, the music was too much for our ears! We decided to go to the Creperie & Cafe which was more to our taste. :-)
Little Garden Square near Reunification Hall
General Post Office
A building from the French Colonial Times...

Beautiful Windows of the GPO

Mosaic Floor in the GPO
Notre Dame Cathedral
Definitely the one in Paris is much nicer!
Municipal Theatre - Day
Known as the Opera House in Colonial Times

Municipal Theatre - Night

Municipal Theatre - Finely Carved Figures on the Rooftop
City Hall - Day
City Hall - Night

Hotel Continental
Popularized in a novel...My guidebook says to have afternoon tea in the courtyard. I went in to have a look, and was like "Eh? Why like that one?" . It's err..not very attractive lor. So...decided to forgo afternoon tea here.

The Caravelle Hotel

My travel guidebook which has very beautiful photographs...somehow deceived us into expecting more than what things really are. In addition to the disappointment of Continental's Courtyard, the place to have a drink was at the rooftop bar at The Rex Hotel. So one night, C and I happily dressed up with some cleavage showing :-) and trotted off to The Rex Hotel's rooftop bar. Waliow!!! It was really NOT what we had expected. Sorry lah. But I expected something like Vertigo over in Bangkok. This place is abit like Coliseum (remember the old restaurant on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman?) on a rooftop. This place looks like it's from the 60's. C says even the waiters look like they were from that era too. hahahaah... But we sat and had a drink anyway, chatted the night away, and indeed did enjoy ourselves.
We also visited the Jade Emperor Pagoda Temple. It looked pretty in my guidebook. But in actual, the place is quite old. I guessed the temple did not receive that much donations to upkeep the building, or perhaps the temple custodians just didn't want to spend the money? We did the usual prayers with joss sticks and gave a small donation for "teem yau".
The other main thing that we did (or rather the other ladies) was trying their luck at The Majestic Club. Apparently, most hotels in Vietnam has casinos now. Both C and I weren't really into it.... and we were only there to get the free food! Hahahahah..... the seafood porridge and pho is pretty good. And so is their lemon soda.
Oh yah. Also argued with some masseuse. You see...there were lots of flyers of spas etc given out on the roadside. Obviously, we wanted the cheapest. And before we went, I specifically asked about the price and tips. The answer was "tip up to you". C and I went off for a USD 7/- hairwash first, which we were quite happy, gave the shampoo girl and hairstylist USD 1/- tip each. No complaints there. Then the other ladies decided to come for a foot massage. At the end of the session, I gave my masseuse USD 1/- tip. He took it, stared at me with his sad puppy eyes and said "I got no salary. Only Tip"...expecting me to give him more. C's masseuse didn't want to take the tip. C thought maybe she wants Vietnamese Dong, and then took out the local currency. Again, the masseuse refused to take it and repeated "I got no salary. Only Tip" like a parrot. Of course we were upset and demanded to see the owner, whom conveniently was not around. We just gave them the amount on their promotional leaflet and stormed out. Geezzzz...don't you hate this nonsense???? We were actually quite happy with them, and was even saying that we will go again the next day. But their stupidity caused them to lose future business. And that's quite alot...as we are a group of six.
And then there's the shopping... bought some embroidered tablecloths, laundry bags, lacquer-ware, cashew nuts, dried longan. I tell you... really must bargain like crazy at the Ben Thanh Market. We had a local guy with us...so he did the bargaining for us. Really cut down to less than quoted. But one of the shops along Dong Khoi was quite good. The initial quote of the wares was even below the final price of the market! So obviously I bought more tablecloths from this Dong Khoi shop... :-)
Okay lah.... think that's about it all. Overall, think it was quite a good trip but Macau was better lor. Until next year for our annual girly trip again....

Inspired?

Whenever I watch 'The Biggest Loser' on cable, I immediately get the inspiration to workout, to rid those bulges that's protruding at all the wrong places, and to be fit as a fiddle.
The only problem is that I do not have any fitness equipment at home. Perhaps I should get a cross-trainer, hop on it and workout together with the TV contestants.
Do you think this would work?

Was there such a thing?

Was there such a thing 30 years ago?
What thing?
I meant a monthly flea preventative that controls the fleas and ticks in dogs like Frontline Plus.
Does it exist 30 years ago?
If it does, we must be a bunch of ignorant pet owners!
We could have saved a whole lot of time and anguish ridding the pests.
I remember crouching over our pet doggies (ranging from pomeranian, to pekinese spitz), combing their hairs and trying to get rid of the fleas, ticks, the eggs and what-nots. It was not a very pleasant task, I tell you.
Now, if I ever have a pet, I am wiser.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HCMC - Part 2 - Mekong River Delta

We had a half-day tour to the Mekong River Delta on Saturday, 20th June.

The journey from our hotel took almost 2 hours to 'My Tho'. The distance was not a problem. It's the humps and bumps that we had to encounter. The roads are pretty bad....and sitting in a van certainly was not comfortable. Felt like we all had whip-lash!!!

As it was raining cats and dogs on arrival at 'My Tho', there was absolutely no way that we could board the sightseeing boats. As the tour was just for the 6 of us, we could amend the schedule a wee bit. We went for lunch first instead. We had all sorts of seafood or should I say riverfood?? for lunch. Thankfully, the rain stopped when our stomachs were filled. :-)

Here are some photos....

This is where we had our toilet stop...

On Arrival at My Tho

At the River, boarding our Sightseeing Boat

Fisherman with his Catch


Arrival at a Small Island
Cottage Industry - Coconut Candy Making

We had a pony ride...

Then we took small sampans ...

Our guide

Our Boater

Actually, the sampans are motorised, they just turned it off and row with the oars for this bunch of "sann-pah" cityfolks. The moment they took us to our sightseeing boat, they turned on their motors and zoomed off!

Okay. Tired liow... more tmrw.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HCMC - Part 1

Our adventure started before we before we arrive at Ho Chin Minh City....

Happily, six Ah Pohs went to LCCT's Old Town Kopitiam to have breakfast before our flight to SGN. Somehow by the time we finished breakfast, it was boarding time already. Not only that, the queue at the security X-Ray was mega-long. The six of us were in two different queues. C, J and I were in the shorter queue. As we were taking the escalator down, we heard our six names called for FINAL BOARDING. Rushed like crazy to the gate....but we still had to wait for the other three. The AirAsia fellas announced ALL six names again. And then, I saw the 3 Ah Pohs entering the duty-free shop. I quickly ask C to go call them.

AirAsia Guy - Where are the rest of your friends???
Me - I've already asked my friend to check if they are held up at the immigration (have to bluff bluff lah. Can't exactly tell him they went into Duty Free Shop, right??)

But then, he saw them rushing out from the Shop.
AirAsia Guy - AHHH?? Pergi Shopping? ADOI!!!!!!

Needless to say, we were the LAST people to board the plane.

Then on the plane, W (the only non-Malaysian Ah Poh) in our group suddenly asked "Err. Does Vietnam need Visa?". We knew that Malaysian don't require one for Vietnam. But other than that?? Who knows?

On arrival at SGN, we all went through without any hiccups. Then W was denied entry, and proceeded to the VISA ON ARRIVAL counter. And guess what? Needed a sponsorship letter, which she didn't have. So...there was going to be a long wait of RED TAPE and what-nots. KC waited with W, and 4 of us went ahead to the hotel first.

Apparently, the airport officials even printed out the return boarding pass for W...ready to ship her back to KUL. Anyway, there was some travel agent guy or whatever in there, which then "assisted" with the sponsorship letter from his office. A small price to pay for not being shipped back immediately! W and KC joined us about 3 hours later at the hotel.

Now..the hotel. It's a new small boutique hotel right on Dong Khoi. It's location is really GREAT, right across from the Sheraton Hotel, and there are lots of shops, restaurants in the area. The room is new, clean with crisp white sheets, duvets, LCD TVs, bathrobes, slippers, mini-bar....
The only drawback?
It doesn't have a REAL window....Thus, we really don't know whether it was still dark or bright outside!

Fake Window in the Room

Anyway, we went to Pho 24 for lunch on the first day. Just in the Dong Khoi vicinity, there are like three branches! What did I have? Pho Bo and of course, the Vietnamese Coffee...

Vietnamese Coffee @ Pho 24

Other stuff that we had....on other days....

Lunch @ Lemon Grass

Lunch @ a Chinese Restaurant, Mekong Delta

Coconut Ice-Cream @ ????


Took some photos of the other food places...will post tomorrow...

40 Today!

H turns 40 today!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUBS!

And where is he? Out drinking with his office mates...
Err..just as well ler. Was rather tired today. Arrived back from HCMC/KUL yesterday, and didn't sleep well last night. Kept on waking up like 5 - 6 times. And had to wake up at 6 am to ready boys for school....

Summer Break....

Boys summer break starts in less than two weeks, and we will be spending the summer holidays back in KL. In addition to the usual lazy days, we have some important things to do. For one, I need to sort out my S2's EXTRA two front teeth. H needs to have surgery to remove these two teeth. I'm told that the surgery can't be done by a dental surgeon, but must be performed by an oral surgeon. I don't really know the difference. But I supposed one should always consult their neighbourhood dentist first, and there's a Plano Dentist that is great for cosmetic dentistry.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All Packed....

...and ready to go. Sis' cake boxes took half of the luggage. Bought quite a lot. Why? Cheaper here maaa....

S1 is still ill so won't go to school tomorrow. With no maid, how?
So H is bringing S1 to work with him tomorrow. He already told his secretary to reserve a meeting room for S1. When S2 found out about tomorrow's plans, he was disappointed that he couldn't join S1 at H's office! Then I think they'll be back home after lunch.
Again, I asked if I should cancel my trip. Both H and I said in unison "NO! You need a holiday"... then H added "we need a break from you ..." I guessed my trip is a GO.

Okay...will blog about my KUL/HCMC trip later....

Welcome, PRINCESS!!!

First princess after 5 boys finally arrived today! Weighing in at 3.36 kg.

Actually, she's supposed to be due in 3 weeks time. But due to some complications, doctor suggested an early C-section. I supposed she is very excited and can't wait to join the 5 boisterous kor-kors!!!

WELCOME....Baby Princess!!!

Errr.. think the parents still have not decided on a name...so will just stick to Baby Princess for the time being...

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That..

Chose this as the title of the post due to the mish-mash content...

Sick Boy...
S1 was sent back from school today...He has a fever plus pretty bad cough and blocked nose. Actually, he had a slight fever last night. But this morning, fever was gone and he said he felt good enough to go to school. But at 11 am, school nurse called and wants him to be picked up. Bad mommy I am... was in the middle of my painting class. Hence I just sent the driver to school to pick him up, and then I. Took him to the clinic. His throat is not that bad, chest is still quite clear. Doctor advised him not to go swimming as his ears are slightly inflamed and she's worried that if he does, he might get an ear infection. Gave him some meds and said that it should clear in 2 - 3 days. When we were in the car, I asked him if mommy needs to cancel her Ho Chin Minh trip or not. And he said "NO lah" very loudly. H concurred. So guessed H is all prepared to look after his boys.

Not in Time lah...
Remember I mentioned the painting that I am doing for H's birthday?
The Assyrian Lion on the Ishtar Gate?
Well, it won't be finished in time for H's birthday.
There's just too much to do... after spending hours and hours on the blue brick wall, my H says it looks too new...and not 5000 years old. So... today, I had to do a grey transparent wash over it to 'olden' the brick. And then I still have to use white to bring out the cracks. I'll show you a pic when I am done with it. It's sooooo much work.
What did the birthday boy say? He said no need to hurry lor..... after I come back from my holiday first.

Haven't Packed..
Am travelling on Wed morning to KUL, and I haven't packed at all. Not my clothes nor the items that my sister asked me buy. Been so busy and tired, and lazy... I know I have a part-timer to do the mopping, washing of toilets and ironing. But I still have to sort out boys' breakfasts in the morning, put load into wm, hang the clothes out in the sun, wash the dishes, boil water and other little stuff. You must be wondering why am I still blogging and not packing??

Finally SOLD!
Remember H's Pool Table?
Yipppeeeee!! It's finally SOLD!
Okay. We didn't get a good price for it. But we are getting rid of it!
Finally, my living area will be FREE of this BIG table.
I'm having the workmen come over tomorrow to dismantle the table, and then deliver to the buyer's house. Yay!!! The space available thereafter!!!

Other Trips
Will be back in KUL with the boys on the 7th of July. When I booked the tickets, AirAsia was so much cheaper as compared to KLM and MAS.... so of course fly by AirAsia lor. But today, I saw in the newspapers that KLM has some super-duper specials. *sigh* there goes my extra 5 kg baggage allowance... Actually, we only bought one way tickets to KUL. So there might be a chance that MAS has discounts out off KUL...then I might get the 20 kgs per person allowance. Why only one way?
Because we cannot decide when we wanna come back...might want to go on a holiday somewhere.

Anyways, H and I will go to Bali on the 17th of July till 22nd of July. Yeah. We are dumping boys with my parents. H will fly from CGK and myself from KUL...meet there. We gonna dive, play golf and of course play with each other. Hahhahahahah Quite scared yet excited at the same time. Why scared? So long didn't dive. Not even sure if I can remember how to sink! Hahhaha. So, we'll have to go for a refresher course with H's friend end of this month. :-)

Later...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tired....

Been so very tired lately..... thus the absence of posts from 'ole me. Since my maid left, I've become the maid. H says that I probably don't know...but everyday, I have a SOUR FACE that he has to face!! Urged me to get a full-time permanent maid. But I don't think it makes sense since boys and I will be going back to Malaysia for summer for at least 3 weeks. I don't want to have a new maid, and then leave her in my empty house. H kept saying that he will be around. But he'll be at work though....so not much help is it?

Anyway, I did have a part-timer come in last Sunday and today. Told her to come again on Thursday. One thing good is that she is quite flexi with her hours, as she sells rice in the morning, and she's free from 9 am. So as and when I want her to come in, she can. She seems alright and quite efficient. She did clean 2 bathrooms, mop the whole house plus the terrace outside. Also ironed a big basket of clothes, wiped the glass doors, cleaned-out my BBQ set, washed the floor mats and swept the gardens all inside 4 hours.

Hopefully, with the part-timer sorted out, I can have more time to do other things...like H's birthday present! I have to hurry and finish his present (a painting of the Assyrian Lion from the Ishtar Gate)...before I leave for my girly holiday next week. Ahhh....yes. Don't think I've mentioned before. I am actually flying back to KUL on Wed, 17th, to join my girlfriends for our annual girly trip on Fri, 19th. This time, we are going to Saigon. And yes. My trip is paid for by the generous birthday girl again! I fly back to KUL on the 22nd, stay overnight and then fly back home. In time for H's 40th the next day. Talk about JUST IN TIME!! ...that is if our flights don't get delayed BAD!

I actually forgot that I am going away and there's NO maid.... until my mom texted me the other day asking what's happening with boys while I'm away...since there is NO maid. I checked with H and he said he CAN manage. He will even wake up early to make breakfasts for the boys, and be back home to before boys get home by bus. BUT BUT..... what about laundry? Boys only have limited sets of uniforms. H again said NOT to worry. He'll sort it out. I guessed he can send the laundry to the 'Laundry by the Kilo' shop. Don't think can wait for the part-timer since she won't be coming in so often.... Anyway, I'm sure he'll be able to manage lah...

Tired also because we had guests from Malaysia. Family of 5. Went to the airport on Friday to pick them up, dinner and some shopping. Saturday, took them to SeaWorld, then a mini-theme park and some shopping. Sunday, brunch then more shopping, and finally BBQ at home. Monday, breakfast at Social House then to Kidzania... I didn't send them to the airport as boys had Mandarin and I had to rush home to open doors for the boys.

Ok lah. Abit lazy now..... Nitey Nite.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ze French Maid???

That's what H called me this morning.... when I was mopping the floor in my shorts and spagetti-straps....with quite a lot of exposed cleavage! Hahahahah

Anyway, since no maid... I have become the maid. And just today, I've done the washing, hung them out under the sun, washed 3 bathrooms & 1 toilet, mopped 4 bedrooms + upstairs living + downstairs living + dining, changed sheets for my guests (whom will be arriving tomorrow) as well as washed the floor mat and kitchen towels. As I am typing this, I am pooped!!!!

I try to look on the positive side of not having a maid... my boys are indeed learning SOME responsibilities. Packing their own PE Kit, water bottles, shoes. I tell you... they are indeed spoilt. The maid used to take out their shoes from the cabinet, and the other day, my S1 came out of the house, he was like a bit shocked and panicked "My shoe is lost! Someone stole my shoe! ". He had forgotten that he had kept his shoes back into the cabinet! Aduh! They've also been making their own beds every morning.... Yup! Before school. Good huh? Even H has been making our beds since the maid's departure. But I think he is very scared that I will be 'mang-chang' in no time... with all the housework. Kept asking me to get the part-timer to come ASAP! My driver is looking for one.... think she's coming on Tuesday.

Without maid, cannot die one lah. Just a bit more difficult, and schedules need to be adjusted so that I can be home when boys get home. I think house a bit dirty is okay.... it's the laundry that needs to be done EVERYDAY otherwise it will certainly pile up HIGH! Yesterday, did make some mini cupcakes (about 65 of them!) for H to bring to work today. Also made a very yummy roast chicken with thyme and lemon for dinner. All the 3 boys enjoyed it!

But don't think there will be any cooking whilst my guests are here. Just gonna eat out.

Later...