Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Photos - Play

Zara wanted to play with some paint on a rainy day, she started making a mess. So I stripped her and let her paint herself silly in her tub.
When I was not looking, she found my really really old tampons, unwrapped the plastic wrapper, and started playing with it.
We were at my sister's place on Sunday, and she had a good time playing with her cousins. Here is here trying to strum the guitar. She's trying to do a yoga bridge, after seeing King's Wife's daughter Samantha did it. And here is her extremely tired, waiting for daddy's car at the lobby of my sis' apartment

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Life's Little Pleasure

Cocka Doodle wants to know what gives me pleasure, but he should know, it's everything to do with Zara, but I'll try to add in others too which is not related to her. 1) Smelling Zara's skin and hair after her bath or early in the morning 2) Having her wrapped her hands around me, giving me a hug 3) When she plant those lips on mine without being asked 4) Zara laying her head on my shoulder when I lift her up 5) Her funny ways of using words 6) Seeing the naked little bum of Zara's 7) The way she looks up on me to do things she can't do yet (like putting on the CD for her, helping her to climb up a chair, or reciting the nursery rhyme). "Mummy help" or "Mummy do" 8) Daddy shuffling my hair (a sign of his affections) 9) Biting on that piece of juicy duck with crispy skin.. Aaaaa 10) Seeing the 2 love of my life enjoying the food I'd cooked for them I won't tag anybody but it's an easy tag to do, if you are interested, please go ahead and do it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Funny Little Girl II

In the morning, Zara wakes up and demands for her milk. Instead of saying "milk milk" liked she used to say before snuggling close by to nurse, she says, "wants bottle breast" (thanks to breast feeding, she thinks all milk come from breast, even if it's the bottle). In the night, after she'd brushed her teeth, and come out of the toilet. Zara : "Zara's teeth so nice." Then she adds on : "Uh-Ker (uncle) XXX Seng's teeth not nice." Remembering Sengkor's chocolate coated teeth at May's birthday. She likes this new VCD Wow! That's What I called Nursery Rhyme very much. I don't quite like it because the nursery rhymes are sung too quickly, and the moving graphics too chaotic. She took the VCD to me the other day, tapping on it, she said "Mummy put this one". I told her, "Mummy don't like this one. Too noisy, make mummy headache" She replied, joining her thumb and index finger together, "Soft soft ma". Ha.. she thought I was complaining about the volume, so she suggested I turn down the volume. While out with my eldest sis and her baby Tasha, we teased Zara. Sis : Mummy tonight sleep with Tasha baby, you sleep with Yi-yi ok? Zara : Mummy sleep with Daddy only. (obviously, I can't sleep with anybody)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Leaving Zara alone

About 2 months back, Zara started showing some sign of independence. She wakes up in the morning, and if we still wanted to sleep, she would play on her own (although sometimes she stepped on sleeping bodies to get down of the bed, or to reach the other side of the bed to grab things that interest her). I could leave her in the room and take a shower as long as I have her 'approval'. Me : Mummy take shower Zara play on your own ok? If the answer is : OK. It means she'll be fine, the most she would do is come to the bath room and peek into the shower screen. If the answer is : Don't want or Cannot. Then it means she would cry if I really step into the shower. She would normally busy herself with her books, or just play with the bed side table (she pretends that's her piano). Zara understands instruction very well, and we can tell her "Don't carry this because it's heavy and it may fall on your feet (big books or small furniture)" "Don't climb on to the chair if nobody is around or you may fall" "Don't put small things in the mouth because you'll get choked" "Don't put the lotion/cream in your mouth because it'll make your stomach pain pain" and she would not ignore them. We still of course try to make the environment as safe for her as it can be, but it's good to know that even if she found a coin or a button on the floor, she wouldn't put it in her mouth; and she wouldn't climb up the book shelves or try to move the teak chair around when we're not watching. I caught a glimpse of what she was doing through sleepy eyes the other day. She was just playing in her own cot and talking to herself. When I saw how at ease she was playing on her own, I couldn't help but to climb off the bed and took a few photos of the moment. It's also a good feeling to know that if we need to leave her alone for a moment, she wouldn't do silly things to endanger herself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Funny Little Girl

I was working from home. I heard the little girl shouting for me from the stair case. Zara : Mummy where you (where are you)?!! Me : Here. Zara : Come, see. Me : Wait.. coming. I gladly went down to check. Zara : Zara queen! *grin* So here is the queen of the house.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Heard Zara farted. So I asked her, "Zara fart fart?" Zara giggled and said, "Like Daddy. Pooot" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zara having her favourite fishball for lunch. Daddy : Zara share share your fish ball with Daddy ok? Zara : Don't want Daddy : Zara must share share Zara : Zara share share with Zara only (clever answer) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zara vomited out some milk after her feed. Me : What happened? Why Zara vomit? Zara : *grinned* Zara choke! Urk! Urk! *demonstrated* ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After she'd finished playing with her toy, I asked her to clean up. Me : Zara! Clean up time! Zara : Don't want. Me : Zara, if you don't clean up who will clean up the mess then? Zara : Kakak clean up. Me : *surprised by her answer, but still put on a straight face* But Kakak didn't play with the toys. Why must she clean up? Zara : Uh-Ke Ah-Nua clean up then (Uncle Anuar is what she calls King's driver, and I don't know why she dragged him into this)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My father's birthday - photos

We celebrated my father's birthday on Saturday in Swiss Chalet, Ampang. It was a long drive for us. There were at least 10 Korean restaurants, 2 Korean supermarkets and 1 Korean hair dresser on the row of shops where Swiss Chalet was. There were many Korean kids and adults walking about and talking in Korean on the street. It was as though we were in Seol. We chose this place because the whole top floor of the restaurant were allocated to our dinner group which consist of 19 people. My eldest sis arrived last with Tasha. Tasha is about 5months now, and so chubby and cute. Every body gathered around her to hear her coo and babble.

While waiting for our main course, Daddy stuffed himself silly with home made bread (his all time favourite), and so did Zara (also her favourite).

I have to say the soup and the salad were wonderful. I had crab bisque soup and shared a salad nicoise with Daddy. For main course I had fried trout. It was horrible. It's just my taste buds I believe. Can't stand fish with very strong metal taste. Blech! Every body who had steak said the beef was divine.

While we were having dinner, Zara was so happy to have her cousins playing with her, she was running around, dancing, doing all kinds of silly stunts. She even wanted to walk on the wall because my youngest nephew suggested she can do it like spider man. My father grinning upon seeing his cake. The restaurant even lighted some sparkles on the cake. Zara said "Ah Kong's cake brink brink (blink blink)". Dad then distributed ang pows (Chinese : Red packets which contain money) to all his grandchildren. Zara was very happy to collect them although she has no idea what they contained.

Zara really had a good time but when it was back at home, oh my, she was crying and fussing, and it took her 1hr to settle down and sleep.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Zara is One and a Half

Zara turned 18th month yesterday! Woh, she's 1 1/2 years old now! This is on her development, just like what I did for the previous months. ~ Weight 9kg ~ Height : 80.5cm ~ Her 4 Cuspids (canines) are still not fully sprouted. Dexterity : Good in climbing up furniture, but still struggle a bit when getting down from a chair or from our wooden chest. There's not enough practice for her to climb up and down stairs, so she can't climb up stairs and down yet while just holding on to the wall, she's good in going up and down on all fours though. She can drink from a cup with a little spillage. She's very good in scoping things (ice, fish ball) from one bowl to another. Language : New popular phrases: I don't want! Adding "Only" behind phrases : ~ Want mummy's breast only ~ Want Christmas song only (she likes to listen to this Jingle Bell tune from a Karaoke VCD we have) Making longer sentences, e.g. "Take bath bath. Eat mum mum (Chinese : food). Christmas song. Read book book." (telling me what we'll do when we returned from the park) Very good at requesting for things, and making sure we hear her demands. "Want Bina (Ribena) ice." (when we gave her luke warm Ribena) "Don't want biscuit. Want con fakes (corn flakes)." She can count 1 to 6. Knows the name of the colours, but still don't know how to differentiate them yet, except for purple which is the colour of Barney. Able to recite and sing part of some nursery rhymes (Hey Diddle Diddle, Row Row Row your boat, Cobbler Cobbler mend my shoes etc). Knows a lot of animals names, some more uncommon ones, e.g.: Raccoon, panda bear, crab, octopus, snails, guinea pig, ostrich (thanks to my DK Visual Encyclopedia). Knows a lot of fruits and vegetable names, e.g.: Pineapple, strawberry, broccoli, ginger, water melon, pumpkin. Knows all my family members' names : My sisters and their husbands, the names of their kids, my father's. She knows a baby dog is called Puppy, and a baby cat is called Kitten. She knows how to use words like together ("Zara and mummy go home together"), loud and soft (for the volume of her songs), pretend ("Pretend drink tea"), shy ("Zara shy shy, don't want to say Hi" when we ask her to greet people and she refuses), shame ("Shame shame, Zara never wear baju") etc. Feeding / Food : Favourite food includes : fish, raisin, bread, fish ball, grapes, pear, wanton, water melon, spinach. Takes 3 solid meals and have 3 milk feeds (about 4~6oz per feed, and mainly on formula now). Emotions : Loving, gives lots of hugs, and kisses. More apprehensive with strangers now compared to how she used to be, will greet them, but won't let them touch her. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We just got back from the paed for Zara's 1 1/2 year old jab. Dr has to administer 2 jabs. One for her booster DTP, Polio and Hib, the other is Pneumococcal vacination. She walked into the Dr's clinic very bravely, said Hi to the Dr. Let the Dr check her without fussing. Then took her jabs. She just complained, "Bum bum pain pain" after the Dr has administered the 2 jabs. Then shook the Dr's hand, and waved bye bye and said "See you" and walked out of the clinic. Not a single tear nor wailing! That's my girl!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I am a Mum

I got tagged by LB. To qualify to be in his hug hug club, I have to oblige. ~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~ I AM a mother to a beautiful daughter I JUST NOW made my husband wake up at 5am to make milk for Zara I SAID he should help out more often because she's also his daughter I WANT to cuddle and kiss Zara all the time I WISH I had more patience with Zara I HATE loosing my cool with Zara I MISS the little girl when I'm at work I FEAR financially I may not be able to provide her and her coming sibling I HEAR her speak and sing (although tuneless), and I feel a great sense of pride I WONDER if I will be able to love her sibling as much as I love her I REGRET every time after I smack her for the naughty things she did I AM NOT the perfect mum although I would like to be one I SING to Zara in the car, when she's taking her bath, before bed time or on request I CRY when she gets a fever or get very sick (luckily it's not very often) I AM NOT ALWAYS there when she says something funny or achieves a milestone I MADE Zara home made fruit and vege pureed when she just started solids I WRITE about Zara's adventure and her development in this blog I CONFUSE about the things Zara says sometimes I NEED a good maid, who'll stay and work with me till my kids all turned 10. I SHOULD be nicer to Daddy, although he's not the perfect father, he does try (I think) I START thinking how we will cope with 2 young kids I FINISH this meme I TAG my SIL King's Wife and Mr Cocka

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Zara's Way, Zara Says

She likes to hold on to Mr Blue in the day as a comfort object.. But in the night, she will do away with Mr Blue, preferring the linen cloth instead. She says, "Daddy's cloth, Mummy's cloth (referring to our blankets), Zara's cloth" She saw Daddy working on our clogged drain pipe on Sunday. When the plumber came and worked on the problem, she pointed to the plumber and said, "like Daddy." She thinks all trucks are rubbish trucks. She says, "Rubbish Truck!" when she sees one and then fans her nose and says, "Smelly". She orders her meal. For breakfast Tuyam makes her oat, she will say, "put banana" or "put raisin", depending on what she wants. For lunch, she requests for "fish ball" or "bread and cheese". For dinner, she wants "steam fish and pork" (although we never cook pork at home and let her settle with fish). She requests to have us read her a book before bed time. "Read book book!" and then chooses her own book. "Crab book" (referring to my DK Visual Encyclopedia, she likes the pictures, especially on the living things) "Big book" (referring to her First 1000 Words Book) "Snake book" (referring to her Size Book, as there's a big snake on one of the pages) (her top 3 favourite) And on days she prefers a story to be told, "Maisy book" or "Mr Night book". She thinks mummy is her jukebox. "Mc Donald!" She looks at me and says. Asking me to sing the Old Mc Donald song. or "Bingo!" or "Baby" (and she would proceed to lie in my arms) referring to Rock A Bye Baby. She sometimes asks Tuyam to sing too, but Tuyam will be singing out of tune or forget the words, and Zara would say, "Kakak don't know one!"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aunty May's birthday

I don't get to use mummy's computer that often, that's why I cannot write this earlier. Last Thursday, while Daddy took airplane to go work work, mummy brought me kaikai (Chinese: go out) together with Ah Kim and Alicia jiejie. We went to this place called Delicious. Mummy said it was Aunty May's birthday. When we arrived, a few yai-yai (Chinese: naughty) uncles were smoking outside. Mummy just waved Hi from inside. Uncle Ah Seng was siting alone, not joining the smoking gang. Mummy chose a seat for us, then brought me for a walk. When we came back to the restaurant, all the uncles and aunties have arrived. Every body has seated and talking. I could not make out what they were saying, but they were loud, it made me got scared with all the noises, so I just sat down quietly. I was happy when my mummy gave me some prawn crackers from Ah Kim's plate. I just munched on my prawn cracker and kept to myself until this naughty uncle took Mr Blue away from me. I had to shout and cry in protest. I was being good, why must this uncle disturb me? I was so glad when Samantha jiejie came and they brought me out to play near the fountain. It was better than siting inside with all the noisy uncles. Later, some uncles mentioned they wanted to fork the aunty in the restaurant because she wanted to charge them RM100 to cut and eat Aunty May's cake in the restaurant (no wonder the aunty quicky kept the forks so that the uncles cannot fork her). So we left and went to sit outside to cut Aunty May's cake. Jomel jiejie (she said she's jiejie woh) said she wanted to bring me see baloon, but she bluffed me. There was no baloons, only flowers. Anyway, it was better than hanging around the noisy uncles.

Zara no eyes see. Mummy and the funny, noisy gang

Aunty May wanted me to help her blow the candle on her cake, but my mummy always told me candle will burn burn me, so I dare not go near the candle. After that, uncle Ah Seng showed me his dirty teeth. My mummy warned me, if I don't brush my teeth, my teeth will be like uncle Ah Seng. Now, I always brush my teeth every night, I don't want to be like uncle Ah Seng, nice face, but horrible teeth. I was very glad when mummy brought me, Alicia and Samantha jiejie home soon after the cake was cut and eaten.

Mummy later told me these are the other people who went to Aunty May's dinner who didn't disturb me : Uncle Chicken, Uncle JKN, Uncle GBYeow and Uncle 9393

Monday, May 15, 2006

Remembering My Mum

My mum was very stern. She used to pinch us under the table when we told on her (to my grandma, her mum). She used to scold us (for our carelessness) when we informed her we'd hurt ourselves, before treating our injuries. She used to cane us, when we were younger, and got naughty. My mum was a good cook. She baked, and cooked, and could whip up a feast for my father's big entertainment parties. She made all kinds of Chinese new year cookies, roasted her own roast pork and char siu. She made all the dishes my dad still misses after all these years. My mum was a very nice person. She did a lot of charity sales. She helped out a lot in church. My mum was a good daughter. She spent twice a week with my grandparents, bringing them for movies, meals and visiting friends. She spent hours on the phone with my grandma, talking about anything under the sun. She brought them for holidays. My mum loved kids. She was a kindergarten teacher, and a principal, without pay. She baby sat for friends' kids, for free. My mum was an animal lover. She cared for all the strays I brought home. She let the kittens sleep on her belly while she watched TV. My mum and my dad made a loving couple. They fought, quarreled, but they had their arms around each other when they went shopping. My dad never remarried because he still misses my mum. My mum was how my mum should be. She gave me advice on my relationships, left me alone to decide for things. She nursed my heart breaks with me, brought me to Australia to 'forget about things'. She chauffeured me to work. She bought me Taiwanese children story books, Japanese pop cassettes, Esprit clothes when she went traveling with my dad, she knew I love them. My mum was a considerate mum and daughter. She had cancer of the kidney, had a surgery to remove one of her kidneys, went for chemotherapy. She kept her situation from us, her four children and her parents, for seven years, She only had my father informed. My mum was a strong believer of Christ. She went to church every morning. She said the rosary upon waking and before sleeping. She abstained from meat (except sea food) every Friday. She went for pilgrimage tours. She said her faith helped her endure her cancer, she said she felt no pain in all her treatments. My mum left early. She had a relapse and we were finally informed of her illness, and within 3 days, she passed on, without us having time to react. She had not seen any of her grandchildren. None of her grandchildren has experienced her love. My grandma was immensely sad. She refused to come to our home, the memory of my mum was too hard to bear. She refused to speak to my dad, blaming him for not telling her any earlier. She refused to stay healthy; she bathed in sadness; she joined my mum 3 years later; fulfilling my mum's wishes, she was baptised before she left the world. After being a mum myself, I realised what both these women had done for us, caring for us, loving us. It's a shame I only knew this so much later. And I have not reciprocated the love the way I should. It's a loss for Zara, as she cannot experience the love of a maternal grandma, the way I did. Remembering them on Mother's Day, and my mum's upcoming 13th year death anniversary.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Picture This & That

Getting dirty after doing some painting. A very satisfied (but weird looking) smile. Fun at Kidzsports. The pool of balls is still her favourite. Dinner time with background music turned on. It's so easy to get her to participate (in eating) rather than having her messed up whatever we were eating. Bought her a wading pool. It's so fun to splash in the pool on a hot day. She kept pointing to her top and said, "Zara wear bra". I told her it's not bra, it's swimming costume, but she insisted and pointed at it repeatedly and said, "Bra!" and then giggled I like to see her going on all fours, then slowly flip herself to a sleeping position. She does that every time I mentioned "All Fall Down" when I recite the Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses rhyme

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This and That

Zara loves Roti Canai (Prata) and Nasi Lemak (coconut rice) very much. If we have it for breakfast, she'll be hanging around Tuyam, shouting for "Canai" or "Emak". She's smart, she'll take the part without the gravy or the sambal, if you give her those other parts, she would say, "Don't want. Spicy!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We went to Jusco after meeting some mummy and daddy bloggers in Kidzsports on Sun (read about it here and here), since it's members' shopping day. I got Daddy to look after Zara at the toy section while I went to grab things I need. Daddy joined me at the cashier once I'm done. I then realised Zara was munching on something. Me : You bought something for Zara to eat? (since the pram with all Zara's goodies was with me) Daddy : No Me : *shocked* Then what is it she's eating? Daddy : *quickly checked Zara* Zara, open your mouth and show Daddy. *dug into Zara's mouth, and scrap out some nut like thing* What is this Zara? Me : *angry* Where did she get that from? Picked up from the ground? Or did you see someone giving it to her? Daddy : I don't know Me : *even angrier* You were looking after her, and you don't know?? What were you doing?? Daddy : I'm telling you I was looking after her and I didn't see her picking up anything or anybody giving her anything! Me : ("Yeah! You are blind!" But I didn't say that) Please be more responsible when you are given the task to look after her!! Men! Didn't even realise his daughter is munching on something and how she got hold of that something to much! *slap head* ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'm trying to quicken the process to wean Zara. Every time when she asks for milk, I tell her I'll go make a bottle of milk for her. She'll protest, "Don't want. Don't want bottle! Want only mummy's breast!" But she'll suck on the bottle anyway when the bottle is placed near her lips. She's still nursing for her first feed and last feed though, I let her get her 'fix' then will supplement with some formula since I know my milk suppy is very low now. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zara sometimes like to call us by our names "Mummy XXXXX (XXXXX being my name), where you (where are you)?" "Mummy XXXXX, come!" "Daddy YYYYY (YYYYY being Daddy's name) come home di (come home already)." And I don't know who taught her this, but she likes to say, "Ah Ku ZZZZZ (ZZZZZ being my brother, the King's name) botak head (Malay : Bald headed)" since my brother has crew cut. (Tuyam denied teaching her this) . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zara as a whole is a very good girl, the only problem I have with her is during dinner time. She likes to climb out from her high chair, and scoop food from the dishes laid in front of her (she eats together with us, we don't feed her at a different time). She likes to complain about the food, "Don't want" "Don't like" "Not nice" "Blech" are some of her complaints. The last 2 days, I played a children music CD for her during dinner time. It did wonders! She sat down throughout (it could be us readjusting the height and depth of her chair too, since she's using Tripp Trapp, which we need to adjust the chair occasionally based on how much she has grown), chewing her food, while we can see her mind working on the songs (she has this far away look). She took lots of chopped vege (something she would spit out on normal days), rice, and fish. And because she's busy with listening to the songs, she left our dishes alone. I wonder how long this 'trick' will work on her.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Post Bali

After a week holiday in Bali, I had so much to catch up work wise and blog reading wise. Will need some time to clear some of these back logs. Although I have lots more to share, I'll have to do this only when I find time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you asked Zara how Bali was, she would say, "Drink" (she can't understand we went to Bali, to her Bali is the drink Barley). If you asked her what she did in her holiday, she can't remember the scenery or the car rides, but she recalled her encounter with the animals. This is how she remembers : "Pat pat snake" (she patted a snake in Lake Bratan, braver than Daddy, who ran away and hid behind me when the snake handler took out the big snake) "Hmmm... Pat pat ruh-coon (Raccoon)" (also in Lake Bratan) "Hmmm... Pat pat big deer" (she likes to punctuation her sentences with Hmmm nowadays. The deer was a wood carving found in Bebek Bengkil restaurant) "Hmmm.. Touch lion" (one of the stone carving she saw) "Hmmm.. Touch cow" (another stone carving) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My take on traveling to Bali: ~ Bali is a nice place to go to. If you are afraid of bombing, avoid the busy or the concentrated area, like Kuta. ~ I think it's ok to go with kids above 1yr old, but not below. Since drinking water is 100% mineral water, and it's not advisable to give any mineral water to kids below 1yr in fear that their kidney may not be able to handle the high mineral content. ~ Kids who can already take rice would have no problem eating in Bali, however, you need to inform the restaurant what you order is for kids so no spices or chili will be added. For younger kids, you may want to bring baby cereal along. ~ I sterilised Zara's bottle using only boiled mineral water, not even tap, just to be safe. ~ Every restaurant serves fruit juices, the water used to mix with the juice is also mineral water, I gave Zara lots of fruit juices, since she's not taking much vege and fruits while we were there. ~ Bali's main tourist attractions is not very stroller friendly (lots of steps, narrow path), using a sling or carrier will be better. Popular shopping street is better for stroller, but still very bumpy (uneven road surface and walking path). ~ Renting a car with a driver for the whole day cost (~10hrs) about 450,000Rupiah 350,000Rupiah (US50-US40) with petrol and parking fee all included. It's more worth it to rent a car, than to take a cab, especially if you are going to a few places. On our first day of travelling in cabs, it cost us 300,000Rupiah in total (Ellie's->Sukawati->Denpasar->Nusa Dua->Ellie's). We survived Bali, so I guess now I can probably plan for another trip to Thailand. :-)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bali - III

Day 4 ~ Sunday 29th April We hired Ketut's car again for the day. This time to get us inland to Danau (Lake) Bratan, near Bedugul. It is a town located 1400 meters above sea level. As we got nearer to our destination, the weather got cooler, and we started seeing rice terraces. Bedugul is a small highland town, a bit like our Cameron Highlands, popular for its vegetables and fruits.

Rice fields on our way; a stop before arriving Bedugul; at the Bedugul market; happy to get myself a pair of beaded slippers for less than RM30

There was some religious ceremony which has just completed when we arrived at Lake Bratan.

Around Lake Bratan; Pura Ulun Bratan, a small temple, can be seen on the pix, built on a small island in the lake; Zara trying out one of the boats for hire; Zara checking out the 'big swimming pool' (that's what she called the lake)

running around and exploring in the park surrounding the lake

For lunch, we headed for a nice restaurant in Pancung, about 20minutes away. It is located on a slope, so you get a good view of rice terraces. It's slogan for the restaurant, "A view to dine for".

Zara occupying herself during lunch. Pulling out petals from chrysanthemums, stopped only to munch on some prawn crackers.

We then headed to Ubud, where we'll be staying for 2 nights.

We chose the Barong Resort right in Ubud town. When we arrived, we got a bit worried, seeing that it's located right at a busy street, but was quite surprise the rooms are all tucked further in, and it's very quiet, only sound we heard was birds chirping. It's almost 3 times the price of Ellie's and hence more luxurious. The elegant room came with a little court yard, where we could choose to have our complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea; a huge bed to roll about (for Zara) and a sunken bath tub. We also got complimentary shuttle service to any where we wanted to go within Ubud, and 2x 1hr massage (I used them all since Daddy doesn't like massages).

Zara happy to be bouncing on the big bed; the little court yard; Zara feeding in style; and Zara playing in the sunken bath tub

Since there was still some sun light, we brought Zara to the nearby Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It's very shady in the sanctuary and rather well maintained. Monkeys were every where, but did not come near us, until I purchased a bunch of bananas. A couple jumped on me to snatch the bananas giving me a fright; and Zara started weeping (still cradled in her carrier) seeing me attacked.

After this incident, every time I ask her, "Are the monkeys naughty or good?". She would reply, "Naughty!" "Beat mummy (she thought the monkey beat me)." "Snatch many manana (banana)." "Zara sked(scared)". I seize this opportunity to tell her it's not nice to snatch things, and she must always ask nicely if she wants something.

Monkey Forest Sanctuary

As for dinner, we went to this very popular restaurant called Bebek Bengkil (or Dirty Duck). It's a very nice pavilion-style restaurant with a rice-field backdrop. Extremely romantic setting. With a toddler, and to prevent her from mosquitoes' attack, we took the seat at the main pavilion at the entrance of the restaurant.

The signature dish, crispy duck (duck seasoned with herbs boiled until cooked, then deep fried), delicious with the Balinese sambal

Zara having the drum stick; I was busy eating, and she came and hugged me and said, "Mummy, miss you (probably thought it was the same meaning as Love you)"; Daddy let her try his beer, and after a few dip and lick, dip and lick, she really behaved a bit strangely (I think she got tipsy).

Day 5 ~ Monday 1st May We just hanged around in Ubud, shopping. I bought some absolutely gorgeous handmade silver and beaded jewelry!

Yes, market again!

Offerings for prayers around Ubud

And for dinner, it was Bebek Bengkil round 2.

Our dinner : Balinese starter (absolutely fabulous), some smoke fish pate (even Daddy who is a fish lover complained this dish is a bit weird), and of course crispy duck again; Zara 'supervising' and checking out the surrounding; resting on a cushion; and thumbs up from Zara and mummy

Day 6 ~ Tuesday 2nd May

Time to pack up and go home on our afternoon flight!

We had breakfast at our courtyard; Daddy getting Zara to read on the plane; Zara running about in Changi (since we took SIA).

Friday, May 05, 2006

Bali - II

Day 3 ~ Saturday 29th April We hired a car with a driver for the day. Our plan for the morning was to visit the Southern coast of Bali, however, we changed our mind after speaking to Sam, from Ellie's. Instead, we asked our driver Ketut (almost every body is named Ketut in Bali) to drive us up to Tirtagangga, East of Bali using the coastal road. We wanted to stop to look at how salt are produced traditionally in Bali on the East Coast, but the road leading to that stretch of the beach was closed for construction. After more than 3hrs drive, we reached Padang Bai, a port on East of Bali for ferries to Lombok. We had seafood lunch there, and then headed inland.

Padang Bai : a port mainly used for travelers to get to Lombok. Clear turquoise water, very popular for snorkeling and diving.

Another hour or so, we reached Tirtagangga, the best surviving Bali royal water palace.

Around the water palace, Zara was fascinated with all the sculptures, especially the ones in animal forms

What surrounds the water palace fascinates us most. The lush green hilly rice fields, with lots of walking paths, makes a very nice stop for Zara to stroll around.

Zara very happy to be 'free' and not confined in her carrier or the car

Rice fields at the foot of Gunung Agong, seen here with its peak shielded by the clouds

We made another short stop at Candi Dasa, a small coastal town for coffee.

I love these photos. Zara was very chatty and was talking to me, while Daddy took these shots

It was then another 3hrs drive back down to the South. We got off at Kuta and did some shopping and had our dinner there. DVDs were going for USD1, I bought 10 Barney DVDs for Zara, and 2 sets of clothing. I'd gone past the phase of buying attractive handicrafts which I'd no used for. If I don't see a use for it, I don't buy it, it helps with the pocket. In the night, Zara slept soundly, while Daddy and I watched Four Weddings and A Funeral on DVD. (Ellie's had an extensive selection of DVDs for loan, and each room is provided with a DVD player.) It was a very long day, to be confined in the car most of the time from 10am to 7pm to see scenaries like this, I thought it wasn't worthwhile. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zara's moments in Bali We brought along Zara's comfort softie, Mr Blue to Bali, but unfortunately, it got lost in KLIA before we took off. Guess who became Zara's comfort object? Me! She's always saying : "Mita Boo, where you(where are you)?" followed by "Want suck suck Mummy's breast." (her exact words, no kidding! And her pronunciation for "Breast" is perfect!) "Want drink milk milk." And she continued to mumble, "Don't want Daddy's breast. Don't have milk." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She didn't have any bowel movements the day we did the traveling, I was getting a bit worried. Then she surprised me while we were having tea at the cafe in Candi Dasa by holding my hand and telling me suddenly, "Mummy (in a sweet tone), poo poo oh-di (already). Change dar-per (diaper) pis (please). Smeh-wee(smelly)." in one breath. Since then, she's telling us to "Change dar-per" every time she does her poop. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I think I'd been telling her she can't do this and that too often. One day during the trip, while we were getting ready to go out, she was singing (tuneless but I know she's singing) her own invented song. She sang and swayed, "Ten-not (Cannot) Ten-not Do Do Do. Ten-not Ten-not Do Do Do." It was a jaw dropping moment for us, followed by lots of laughing.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bali - I

I'd always brought along a travel guide on holidays. This round, I left both my Rough Guide and DK Eyewitness on Bali behind, and we did suffer the consequences. For 2 days, we just traveled long distant to places which are not appealing at all, wasting money and time *sigh*. On a brighter note, the holiday was good, Zara coped very well, in long car rides, on the plane, and even shopping long hours seated in her stroller or carried in the baby sling. Day 1 ~ Thurs 27th April We arrived Bali on Thursday night. A car has been sent to pick us up from Ellie's, our hotel in Nusa Dua. It was pitch dark even though it was only about 7:30pm. The owner, an English named Sam, helped us checked in. It's a small hotel, with only 8rooms, clean (most importantly) and gorgeously furnished. While Sam ordered dinner for us from a local restaurant (Ellie's doesn't do dinners), we freshened up. Zara absolutely loved the bath.
fun on the plane and in the tub
From our dinner of nasi campur (Malay : mixed rice) and fish satay, Zara only took the rice, some tempeh (Malay : fermented beans) and lots of prawn cracker (her staple diet for the next few meals). Day 2 ~ Friday 28th April There's no buffet breakfast in Ellie's, but you can order fruit muesli, pancakes, french toasts, eggs, and it'll be freshly made. You get to choose a hearty fresh juice or smoothie too. I like establishment like this, Zara is free to roam about, and because the place is small, I'm not worried she'll knock into people, or lost in a crowd. Zara had buttered toast, and half a glass of watermelon juice (for the next few days, she always had good breakfast, but took little from the rest of the meals). She wanted a dip in the pool after breakfast and mummy oblidged.

Zara absolutely likes having her back 'massage' by the fountain
In the morning, we wanted to go to this big art market Kumbasari in Denpasar (capital of Bali), but the cabbie we hired told us to go to Sukawati instead. What a con job! After 2 hours of car ride, and 110,000R poorer (~RM60) we arrived at a dirty and small market, not worthy of a visit, in a isolated town. The cabbie wanted to wait for us and do the return trip but we just told him off. We roamed around the town a bit, and then took a local transport to Denpasar.
Around Sukawati; sticks for Satay on sale and narrow alley in Sukawati market; taking the local transport back to Denpasar.
We really enjoyed walking about in the local Pasar Badung in Denpasar, it is a very big market with lots of interesting things to see.
Cooked salted fish; lady packing Balinese Gado-gado; different types of eggs (salted, blackened etc); tempeh (fermented bean cakes) of all sort
Flowers for prayers; bamboo leaves for weaving; drink vendor and a very bored Zara; local vege on sale from the baskets
After this, we went to Pantai Geger in Nusa Dua (where Nikko Hotel Bali is located). We didn't visit the hotel beach, but instead we hung around the local sea weed farms, and had grilled sea food dinner at a beach front restaurant.
After sea weed is harvested, the farmers have to dry them before selling them off; harvested sea weeds are transport by hand; women who need to take care of young kids are not spared; the sea weed farm right at the shore
Zara found a sea weed to play with; the sand around the farm is quite coarse, Daddy had to carry Zara while around walking in the farm; Zara rewarded Daddy with a hug; Daddy and Zara's footsteps
Zara loved the sand; resting on Daddy's shoulder with her head perched on Daddy's head; inspecting a sea weed