Saturday, February 27, 2010

of dogs and abalones

Fun day! Well, sort of. I'm always a dog person, so whatever day that involves dogs are usually fun for me. And my younger cousin was getting a dog, a miniature schnauzer to be exact, so yeah. fun! She's ten years old, and my brother was handling a lot of stuff with the breeder, so I actually got to handle the small little bugger the most.

Meet Celine, a 2 month old salt and pepper mini schnauzer, whom I suspect I'll be seeing a lot of for the next few months. Because she's currently staying in my brothers house, not my aunts. She got sorta attached to me though, since i carried it all the way from the vets back home. Which by the way, the vet we visited was very good. Its somewhere past Klang Parade, called Lian's Vet or something. The doctor was genuinely concerned for the animals, and could care less about what the customer/owner thought of her, as long as the pet is in perfect health, and that really awed me. Totally recommend anyone whose looking for a good vet to go there.

Dinner was a late birthday dinner cum anniversary dinner for the parental units, and it was at Ah Yat Abalone Restaurant. Now trust me, I'm not someone who eats abalone every meal, and I still don't see the huge hubbub in the Chinese community over something thats tasteless and rubbery. Neither do I see the health benefits in eating sea cucumber, something which sucks the dirt off sea floors. But I have to admit, the abalone was pretty good. Albeit not something I'd consume everyday. I'll cry through the meal if i was paying, but hey, good experiance and money not from my own pocket. So here goes.

First dish was a soup, mine was 'Buddha Jumps Over the Wall', which is nice. Though I've never really found out why did Buddha jump over the wall, but oh well. There was another choice, the sharks fin, but since I don't drink sharks fin, then I took this one. Good choice though, cause there was a mini abalone in there for consumation. :P

Second and third dish was the abalone and the sea cucumber. All awesome food, but then again, they cost a bomb so they BETTER taste awesome. The abalone, I admit did taste good, but not something i would die to eat for. Don't ask me why the Chinese believe the sea cucumber has medicinal properties, I have no idea.

This vege dish however, is in here simply to show just how meagre the portion was. Four stalks of vegetable, hip hip hurray! First time I don't have to guzzle down my greens. >D

Dessert! Best part of any meal. Ours was originally almond juice, but we didn't particularly favor that, so we changed it to Mango Sago. It was pretty good, with the pomelo sprinklings on top. But the mango tasted fake though, like very.

Birds nest egg tart! This one was ala carte, not included in the set. I ordered it because... well, curiosity! I love egg tart, and I was curious as to how the birds nest would blend it. Heavenly should sum it up. The crust is perfect, melt in your mouth type. The birds nest smelt and tasted wonderful, and the custard just right. And i swear, my sweet tooth is overbearing. The two dishes I enjoyed the most was dessert. xD

There were more courses of course, a dish of noodles and a few others I don't remember, but it was only this few that stood out to me. Oh! Guess what happened when we went to get our car from the underground parking.

Thats what you see from the front seat.

And basically, the whole parking lot. Why yes, if you still don't catch my drift. The whole damn parking lot was literally, very literally full. The pathways and EVERYWHERE was parked to brim.

See the red arrow? That was our car. It was stuck behind two cars. But no sweat, the parking lot attendants just came and drove every car away and we could go out, but seriously, you have to be there to see the epicness of that scene. Pictures and words don't do them justice. xD

Its surprising to hear how the car owners just passed the key to these people though, I for one wouldn't do it. Breach of privacy and safety and all that jazz. But hey, it was an amusing sight. :P

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

shining lights

Kek Lok Si is a temple in Penang famous for its light, which they switch on the lights only on specific days. But for the fifteen days of CNY, they'll on it all the way, which also means this is a chance we can't miss. Partly also because of the bronze Kuan Yin which they had just finished constructing as well!

Dinner before going out! Thats all of us heading towards the coffeeshop opposite my eldest aunts apartment. Yes, my family turned to ants! And thats barely 1/4 of us. :P

Oh ar chien! Oyster Egg.... something. I don't know, but its delicious! Its egg mixed with starch and oyster, and its my favourite. Penangs one are the best, because its not as watery as the ones in KL.

Thats six tables for all of us! Can't possibly sit altogether without obstructing the walkway, so we all sat separately. And yet, ordering food and drinks is still utter chaos.

There was a horrendous jam on the way up though. If its smooth traffic, cousins said it would only take five minutes to reach Kek Lok Si, but with the traffic, it took us at least 45 minutes to an hour before we got there. So we do what girls do best - spoil the camera aka we camwhore!

We finally got there though! Pretty no? With all the lights on, it looks like fairyland. And it was gorgeous! One would understand why they only switch the lights on certain days, the amount of electricity it would cost!

But our main purpose to go there was to see the new Bronze Kuan Yin. Now usually, they would have a cable car to go up, and save everyone the trouble of climbing. But see, the line at the cable car was horrendous, so much so it would be at least 1AM before we finally get on the cable car, so we opted? To walk.

Yes, walk. Walk 10 minutes on an uphill incline to get to one Bronze Kuan Yin statue. One long file of people all huffing and puffing, with us cousins pulling on our parents because c'mon, their old, can't exactly take that. Throw in the fact that some of us were wearing heels, and really, it was torturous.

But hey, it was nice! Its been a while since I climbed like that, so I think I really need to get back to exercising, but the statue was... pretty worth it, I suppose. Very pretty, though my neck hurt craning to look up at it. But I love the carved pillars!

Pretty, no? All the designs are so intricate, and if I could, I would've clambered on the pillar like a monkey and take pictures of every different design, but sadly, I couldn't.

A cicada landed on my uncles pants! It was green, so I presume it's quite young, but hey, it was a surprise. The last time I saw one like that was when I climbed Ledang.

Group picture in front of the slab of carved cement!

Luckily, we managed to get tickets to go down using the cable car, so no more huffing and puffing going down the slope road!

Went home the day after that, and ... now boredom sets in all over again, along with the apprehensiveness of a new university. But... I SHALL PREVAIL? I Hope.

Monday, February 22, 2010

first day blues

I may not seem like it, but I'm actually rather shy to new people i meet. And sadly, when I turn shy, I turn very awkward and somehow end up looking rather scary. Point in fact, was when my college friends told me when they first met me, they were scared of me. Apparently, I look very intimidating. Shyness comes in a package with me? Even if i don't show it often, but its also very easy to get me to open up. Sadly, I'm not a talker though so... um, talk to me?

But I think part of the reason why I look intimidating is cause i used to have braces, and when I have braces I don't really smile. Now that they're off... its become a habit i guess. I'll try and smile more! But I feel awkward doing it, heehee.

So the only reason I'm scared of being pushed in to a new university is cause I won't be able to make friends. Orientation was... okay today, I guess. Sorta boring cause you only hear people yapping away... But I didn't meet new people! D8 Which also means no one to come follow me to Orientation Bash next week, cause Ga Yi wouldn't wanna go. T-T But oh well, there's tomorrow! Wish me luck~

Its never easy to forget someone. But forget I must.

obligatory visits!

The new year for the chinese is mostly about reunion dinners and family time, so its obligatory to go pay visits to the houses of relatives and friends during the fifteen days of the new year. Most of the time, I don't really go. Except for my uncles houses in Penang.

The looong line of cars that all went at once. We were all following my uncles car in one line, cause none of us knew how to get there. So it was basically 7 cars going one after the other, and the car me and my cousins were in, we were commenting on how it was practically a wedding entourage. Which made me laugh. xD Hmm, maybe we should get specific marks for the cars of the family next time. :P

The home of my youngest uncle, the first house we went to on the... fourth day of CNY, I think? I'm losing track. But anyway! Since its the easiest to gather everyone in the house, cause its single storey and not as huge as my grandma's house, we had group pictures!

The sisters.

The brothers.

And the siblings together, all taken with their mother. My grandpa wasn't there because his not the type to travel, not even a short distance, so he preferred to stay at home.

My lovely cousins! Minus the youngest one, because he was being naughty and refused to come down from his father, who was carrying him.

While waiting for dinner. My aunt cooked up a storm for us, all in pots to feed... thirty odd people I think, yeah around that number.

My favorite! Lamb stew! Or rather, rib stew... or something of the stew variation anyway. Nomnom.

Take your own rice or eat nothing! One pot of rice, empty by the time dinner was over. Actually, I don't think there was enough, one of my uncles went without rice, if I ain't mistaken. Lesson = Use two pots of rice when the whole family is around. Cause even if half of us aren't huge eaters, the other half are, and more then make up for what the half don't eat. xP

Alchohol after dinner! The ones who drank are legal, tqvm. But we didn't really like it anyway. There were 5 different types, and we didn't really drink it. It was more like, take a glass, sip, make a face, and pass it on. They all tasted like some sort of medication, blueks.

Finger puppets! Younger cousins had them, and being the sillies that we are, we borrowed them for a picture. xD

We went to second uncles house after dinner at youngest uncles, but I didn't manage to take pictures there cause it was late and I was feeling sleepy ommmm. But we did play Declare! Game taught by cousin, and it was fun! Fifth day of CNY, we went to my aunts place at Penang, over the bridge! Look above! Packed with people. Alll family. :P See how we can't exactly fit in to one living room, all of us? Thats only like, 3/4.

Headed over to my eldest aunts place after all the stuff in my second aunts. Like, somehow this year we started to go to everyone's house and everyone will chorus this extremely embarassing yet amusing verse of 'Huat ah!'. For those that don't know, 'huat' means luck, or wealth in hokkien, and its like.... omgwtfbbq embarassing if you do it alone, but with thirty loud voices, it can be hecka amusing. :P

Sunday, February 21, 2010

qing dong qiang!

Its the third day of the new year! Which aka also means the lion dance troupe is coming! They come every year on the third day, somewhere around noon or evening. But this year they were pretty late, so much so we thought they weren't coming. But they came anyway, and we quickly prepared everything. Yeap, preparations are needed for CNY lion troupe. First one is optional, but we like to put it. The huge red long firecrackers.

Those are hung up on the front gates, preferably held up by a long pole, and the front gates are opened wide to invite the lion in.

Oranges! One plate outside on the gods altar, with an angpau filled with an amount of money, and one inside the main altar, same amount of oranges with one angpau.

And push the tables and chairs back from the main altar so the lion dance troupe can access it easily! Preferably a wide space for it to dance.

And change! To pretty clothes so you don't look like a ratty ol' maid when the dance troupe comes.

Usually, when the lion dance comes, they'll dance outside whilst the red crackers are going off, and then they'll slowly dance in.

First respects are paid to the altar outside, where it'll do... some dance. It sorta bows to the altar, and stuff, I'm not sure how you describe it.

And then it'll... sort of like eating the orange, but instead the dancers will peel the orange and stuff and arrange it prettily.

It'll then go in the house, leaded by the music and stuff by the rest of the troupe.

It'll do the same to the plate of oranges inside the house on the main altar.

The oranges would end up like that, and the angpau taken by the dancers as a 'gift' for their work, sort of.

Lion dancers would never back out of the house head first, instead they'll go the way they came in, butt out of the door first, but only because its considered unlucky to go head first. Similarly, its considered unlucky to walk past a lion's horn, the one on top of its head, because it supposedly is the link of the lion to heaven. To me, its just a myth, but hey, whats wrong with respecting tradition?