Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chief Celebrations 2010: Party With The Gangs

Last year, we told ourself that we would plan this a month in advance, meaning by August we would be planning what we wanted to do for the Chief's birthday celebrations for this year much earlier compared to last year where we got slightly worried that we were late in preparations.

However, come August we were caught up in relocation works and the lack of connectivity, we sort of didn't realize how late we were in planning until SK sent out emails in preparation for William's birthday. By then we got internet up and running, and the Chief had already clued us in regarding the selection of food when it came to venue selection (we thought to take a rest from surprise parties, doing it every year would mean it wouldn't be much of a surprise already, no?).

So much more rushed this year compared to last year, that, on the Chief's actual birthday, we were running around looking for stuff to get in preparation for the parties rather than spending it together (and worse yet, we'd made it sound as if we were only going about our usual routine of going to the gym, getting a haircut, which we did in addition so that we didn't lie)!

We admit, the reason why we harried ourself over preparations were due to last year's Project Blue party where we had helium balloons and all that. It's quite possible that if we never planned for decorations last year we would have just booked a venue, gotten a cake, end of story. Or perhaps not. There's something about planning a party with all the little extras (to the point where it may almost resemble a kid's lawn party) that we like.

Due to a flare-up of allergy attacks, the Chief thought it prudent to avoid certain foods so that it didn't worsen the condition. This meant our choices leaned heavily towards porky places, hence celebration with the bloggers was at Checkers!

Bookings were made in a single phone call for a Saturday, attendance was confirmed, and on Friday we called up to ask if we could bring over the cake a day earlier. A waiter (whose first language wasn't English) answered our call and we sort of gathered that he misunderstood our request, we repeated our request and got a, "Yes, yes, no problem, ok," kind of response, so...ok. That evening we brought over the Secret Recipe White Chocolate Macadamia cake over to Checkers, and...yes, the waiter did misunderstood, thinking we wanted to have the party on Friday instead 'cos we saw the tables set out for 10 upon our arrival.

Thankfully that problem was settled without a fuss, and come Saturday went well!

Then came the following weekend (this is the first year where the Chief's birthday parties were celebrated on different weeks rather than the previous years where it was done on different days on the same weekend), where we hoped the Chief's allergies were subsiding, as the venue was at Oriental Banquet, Section 17 with the TTDI gang. The possibility of shellfish was worrying. The venue was kept a surprise from the Chief, who kept asking if we could change the venue to somewhere like Chan Char Teng at SS2 (where we could also order the giant milk tea meant for birthdays!). We kept mum and just drove.

The only concern we had with Oriental Banquet was that when we went over to make our reservations, we were informed that there would be a wedding celebration going on at the same time. We also had a couple of phone calls from them and a fax of their menu specials, advising that if we could, we should preorder our meals first. Since it involved a number of people, we didn't preorder and hoped for the best.

Turns out that Oriental Banquet had plenty of pleasant surprises for us! We got ourselves a room with a waitress to tend to our every need; instead of going for their set menus, we ordered ala carte dishes, and those were served at impressive speeds (we think we didn't wait more than 15 minutes before the food started coming in!) especially since a wedding dinner was going on outside; and the room was equipped with a karaoke machine and mikes!

Cor. Admittedly we didn't expect more than a round table on the first floor, and we were impressed with what we got! Oriental Banquet would be a nice place to go to again for celebrations.

After dinner at the Oriental Banquet, it was off to...Chan Char Teng at SS2 after all. Heh. Because not a single one of us had ever tried the giant birthday Milk Tea before! To qualify we needed to order it three days before or after the birth date (or on the actual day itself) and we needed to order at least RM30 of food and/or drinks. There was over 10 of us, but there was more than enough milk tea to go around as some were lactose intolerant (like yours truly) or had too many drinks already.

Big thank you to everyone who could make it for the parties! Here's to more to come, and that we plan them much earlier! With balloons! And confetti! Probably a pinata!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Selamat Datang Di Nusa Dua Bali

Because we've never been to Bali before, and prior to this trip we were quite busy and so did not have the time to look up what Bali has to offer, our only plans for this trip were to get daily massages, the Hard Rock Cafe Hurricane Glass for the Chief, and then see what else is there to be bought in Bali. We've already two wooden puzzles from Bali courtesy of the Taman Tun-ites when they went to Bali not too long ago, plus we already have the Bali Starbucks City Mug thanks to our sis and otousan.
What else is there to do in Bali? From what we heard, surf (hence there's a beach if we want to tan and swim), and look for babi guling to eat.

Sad to say, Nusa Dua is more of a place for us once we are bored of exploring about Bali, or tired of bargaining when we shop, and just rather stay in whichever hotel we checked in. The only avenue for shopping and dining within Nusa Dua was Bali Collection, while it may be a nice place for shopping for boutique stuff, we don't really think we'd get souvenirs there when you can bargain elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Nusa Dua is pretty with lots of greenery and the hotels were enough to make us think we were there on holiday instead of attending some congress - really, we needn't drool over the Hanging Gardens in Ubud. No dodgy streets or dark alleyways.

As we weren't in Bali for a vacation, our only free time when in Bali was after 6pm - and by 6.30pm, it's dark, similar to 7.30pm back here in Bolehland. Thus we'd only got to spend most of our time at Bali Collection for dinner before heading back to the hotel to soak in the tub (we bought bath salts the very first night!) while watching Dexter on our iPhone.

Quick aside: just when we thought 9 episodes of Dexter was more than enough to keep us occupied for the three nights we were in Bali, we finished everything in two nights. Thank goodness we had the pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis as well for our final night in Bali. Must work faster in converting telly shows for our iPhone!

So...Bali Collection. Only on the final day before leaving Bali did we get to explore the rest of the place, and only then did we realize our three nights there we only explored about one third of it...shy. Luckily our flight was late in the evening, giving us plenty of time to explore the rest of Bali Collection. We found a Sogo in there, which got us something unexpected!

Somehow or other we never could bring ourself to spend more than a hundred on sports shoes, the last time we bought sports shoes was in...August 2007. And because we don't remember how much those pair of Reeboks costed us then, we did remember that there was a very good discount on them (checking back and it's 60%!) and somehow thought that we paid less than a hundred for them (who knows, maybe we did). Hence we've not gotten any new shoes before this even when the Chief took us shopping in Sporeland where shoes were going cheap too (but still above a hundred after conversion).

And in the end, we didn't even get our daily massages because we balked at paying Nusa Dua rates. Sigh. Nor did we get any babi guling.

Next time, we'll go specifically for a vacation and get our daily massages!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dhoby Ghaut

Now this happened when we were in Sporeland. We've noticed at some point that at certain MRT stations, the name of the station would be written in either just English, English and Chinese, or even in Tamil (or Hindi, we're not too sure).

Given the multilingual aspect of Sporeland and Bolehland (although we hear mainly English and Mandarin in Sporeland), this bit of what would otherwise be background noise during our commute caught our interest:

"Dhoby Ghaut."
Oh, so they announce it in Chinese too.
"Please mind the platform gap."
Reminds us of the Tube's deep voice, "Miiind, the gap!"
Right. So they alternate between Chinese and English!
"The happy-happy warm platform."
What the hey?
"(Some mutterings we could not make out.)"
Was that the Chinese equivalent?

Now initially when we started paying attention to the announcement we somehow fancied that instead of just the one lady saying it in different languages, there were two announcers, one English and one Chinese. And with that in mind, we had this image that the English announcer would speak first, then the Chinese one would translate, then back to the English announcer, etc. And then the English one would suddenly throw a curveball by uttering a totally random sentence to be translated, and the results couldn't be made out.

We mentioned it to the Chief, and while initially critical about our assessment (of course), the Chief couldn't make out what was exactly being said too what with being slightly affected by our 'happy-happy' idea. This bugged the both of us a while until one point, the Chief got it:

"Berhati-hati di ruang platform."

And the last one was in Tamil (or Hindi).