Friday, September 28, 2012

Club Med Kani Maldives - Arrival

We arrived at 9:45 p.m. local which was 12:45 a.m. Malaysian time. After a 4 hours flight, we were tired. Maldives international airport looks pretty much like the one we have at Pulau Langkawi. Small and rather unorganized. After clearing customs, we walked out of the arrival hall expecting greeting cards from Club Med with our name but there were none. Lost and unhappy, we asked around and were directed to a small Club Med counter. We were tagged with a green wrist band (something which  will bring us much more attention and privileges as we found out later) and  were asked to wait. And we waited and waited. We ended sitting by the roadside because we were supposed to wait for another flight from Singapore and since both flights are arriving apparently 5 minutes apart in the middle of the night, the management thinks that it is good logistic to group guests from this two flights together.

Read more about our experience about the Lagoon Suites at Club Med Kani Maldives and our experience upon our arrival ....(

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Irony of Travelling as a Parent

The day before we travelled has always been stressful as far as I could remember. There are always so many last minute errands to run and things to settle. Packing has always been done hours before we are to leave for the airport. I must confess that most of the packing is done by my better half, who would meticulously write down a checklist to ensure that every necessity are packed and taken care of, down to the quantity of every shirt, every pants and underwear packed. I, for one, am the careless one. Packing to me would probably take a fraction of the time that she would need but then again, please do not ask me the exact number of collar t-shirts I have taken, round neck shirts I have tucked away nor the exact location of my toothpaste or my shaver.
Instead of careless, I would rather say that I am more carefree. I am happy just travelling with as little luggage as possible besides my camera and my lens. To me, travelling, especially if it is for leisure and not business, got to be more spontaneous and carefree. As long as my passport and all necessary documents are in place, who cares if I should run out of shirts while I am away? Who cares if I bring back exactly the five pieces of underwear that I brought along? But then again, that is me.

However, now that I am no longer unattached nor have the privilege to travel alone like I used to, going on a holiday, or I would rather said, preparation to go for a holiday has become a totally different story especially when my children are travelling with me. I would love to be carefree but I can no longer afford that luxury. Besides making sure that I have enough milk powder to last through the journey, number of pieces of diapers, I have to ensure that all the necessary medication for any possible emergency are taken along, nasal spray, nose drops, paracetamol and the list goes on. With Chenya travelling as well, I would have to make sure that baby bottle special washing liquid, brush and sterilizing steamer are packed as well.  I will make sure that if we ever have to bring Ryan (when he was below 3) or Chenya now, I would avoid flying or taking any type of transportation other than my MPV. If I can not park my MPV in front of the hotel to unload all the stuff that I have brought along, you would NOT see me there. If I can not unload all the luggage and bags that I have skilfully fit into the luggage compartment right in front of the hotel so that the bell boy can take over, I am not going.

I used to enjoy travelling and being away from home for weeks and if it is a dream holiday, for months or never coming back to the reality. But with Ryan getting older and more attached and with Chenya growing up so fast, surprising, we find ourselves missing home the moment we left home without them. That is a deep sense of relief, to our disbelief, on the day we checked out.

Relieved, knowing that soon we will see our two little precious one that we have left home, soon. Relieved, knowing that soon, we could have them in our arms, and we showering them with our kisses and hugs. Relieved, knowing soon that Ryan will be running into our arms, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Daddy! Mommy! I LOVE you!” and Chenya waving her arms frantically in the air shouting “Aaeyyyyyeeeee!” with her cheeky smile. Relieved that soon we will be seeing Ryan jumping off the sofa and we will be shouting at him at the top of our lungs, “Ryan! STOP! You will break your leg!”….

OK…I need another holiday soon……

Friday, September 21, 2012

"No Way!"

Mommy came back from Beijing recently and the kids were totally excited to see her after so long. All her fears that Chenya will not recognised her or would want her anymore after not seeing her for over three weeks were unfounded when Chenya screamed in delight the moment she saw her mommy. Mommy of course was over the moon.
My mom came over for a visit and stayed for a week with us and an opportunity to do some bonding with her grandchildren especially the cheeky Chenya before we move to Beijing in October. One day, my mom, not being literate in English, asked us, what does "No way!" meant.

"Why?" I asked. She said that she heard Chenya uttered those words when fighting with her brother over toys. "Are you sure?" we asked her again in disbelief.

"I don't know" she replied. "But sounded like that. You know me. I don't know what they were talking in English." she continued.

When mommy came back from Beijing, she brought back with her gifts for both of them and as usual, they would fight over their toys. Somehow, children being children, always find toys belonging to others seemed to be more attractive than their own.

While Ryan was not looking, Chenya quietly grab hold of her brother's box of snake and ladder board game. The moment Ryan saw it, he got up and went after her sister. "No. Chenya! Kor Kor's one! Cannot Play!"

The moment she saw her brother coming, she turned around and ran.

"No Chenya!. Give me back!" Ryan went after her and was trying to grab the toy out of her hand...

"NO WAY!" she screamed back, pulled hard and with the toy firmly in her hands, she scurried to the kitchen with Ryan hot on her heels, screaming..."Daddy! Chenya took my toys!"

Both of us were too shocked and at the same time, utterly happy hearing what she said, to intervene in helping until Ryan shouted again..."Mommy! Chenya took my toy!"

"No Chenya....Give kor kor back his toy!" mommy went after her while Chenya was giggling cheekily in the kitchen, waving the toy in her hand as if to exhibit her victory in her `battle' with her brother.

She is definitely the fiercer one with a temper in the family and will probably soon be establishing her turf and boundaries and territories.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

US San Francisco : Pier 39 & Fisherman Wharf

"Make sure you get all the itineraries sorted out and all the places we want to go planned ya ..." my wife reminded me again and again like a spoilt CD repeating itself. Well, her concern is well justified as I am one who would like pro-castinate and pushes things till the very last minute before I actually act on them.

Forcing myself, I googled for the top places and must do activities for our up and coming visit to San Francisco and checked through the various reviews from the different sites. One such apparently `must do' place is Pier 39 and Fisherman Wharf of course. However, checking on the numerous reviews written on this site left me rather uncertain as to whether I really should waste time getting there. To be honest, while it does get some rather good reviews from visitors, there were also almost an equal amount of bad ones, ranging from over crowded, too commercialized, bad food and some puts it as outright `rip-off'. It seemed that the only repeating consolation to warrant a visit is to see the sea lions who have made Pier 39 their home. It seems that this place is a darling to visitors of San Francisco but locals seemed to avoid it like a plague.
Read the full story at my travelling and photography blog:-

Monday, September 10, 2012

When in Rome do what the Romans do!

My first impression of Beijing China was not exactly nice nor charming. Having heard too many horror stories of how obnoxious the Chinese can be and their rather disgusting behavior, I was really apprehensive.

For one, Chinese in China do not seemed to understand the meaning of queuing up for anything. They seemed to be a rather single minded very focused people who only sees their objective and where they want to go and what they want to do, and in the process, are totally ignorant of the people around them or the inconvenience that they could have caused others in their pursuit of their objective.

They don't seemed to understand nor have ever heard of the concept of `first come first serve'. There seemed to be only one concept in China (or places that I have observed so far) and that concept is "Me First and Now!"

Hence, during my first visit, being accustomed to queuing up for anything and everything, I find myself totally frustrated at every turn. At the airport, we have people cutting queues without an iota of guilt. It was even frustrating when it comes to taking a good picture. While I am accustomed to waiting in line for my turn to take a picture from a certain location, I found out too soon that that does not always work. You could end up waiting for hours because there will always be some Chinese who would just sneaked in. And the worst part of it was, they don't leave after having their picture taken, oblivious that there are still others waiting to take a picture. Instead, they would linger on, either having a conversation or comparing their pictures in their camera.

Well, the phrase "When in Rome, do what the Romans do" holds true. On my subsequent visit to the Forbidden City, I told myself that I will not be intimated and I will behave exactly like how a Chinese in China would behaved. Although I would still queue as much as I can, I will do everything I can to ensure that no one would be able to sneak in front of me. As far as taking a pictures is concerned, no more Mr Nice Guy who would wait till the person in front is finished with their pictures. I will just stationed myself where I feel would give me the best angle and I will make sure that I will not move either until I am satisfied that I have captured the angle I wanted.

There were certain occasions when I find some inconsiderate idiots just walking up in front of my camera while I was taking my shot. Instead of being frustrated and gets totally irritated, I find myself coolly picking myself up and walking right in front of them, oblivious that they too are in the midst of taking a picture, and anchored myself for the shot that I have originally intended to take.

I find myself happier, less irritated and suddenly more at home in Beijing as if I am now just one of the crowd. After all, that is what everyone else is doing. I think I am going to do well and fit Beijing before too long.
More Pictures on Jeju Island Coming up NEXT!