Kuching Trip in 2019

Kuching, Sarawak is an annual destination for my family. This year we decided to use our yearly Waran tickets for Hari Raya Haji. Since it coincides with the school holidays, there was naturally a price hike for all hotel rooms and transport. Hence, I booked a Homestay which I found on Instagram : homestaymuslimkuching

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My rented home has 3 air-conditioned rooms, 2 bathrooms and basic amenities in the kitchen like a stove, some pans, plates,utensils, cups, a kettle, blender and there was even a washing machine. The home has a rate of  RM250/night. Since I will be there for at least 5 days 4 nights, we were eligible for a discount of just being charged RM210/night. I paid a 50% deposit online to the owner, to lock the date and completed the payment with cash upon arrival at the homestay. We also had to pay a RM150 security deposit when checking in which is later returned upon checking out.

The homestay is located in Matang Jaya, where the residents are predominantly Bumiputra of which there is a balance between muslims and non muslims in the area. Matang Jaya is situated across the other side of the bridge away from the city. Nevertheless there are plenty of activities and places to go. The shopping malls may be less grand as compared to the ones in the city but it is easier to find Halal food/ restaurants within this vicinity including places heading towards Petra Jaya/ Semariang.

Homestays are generally cheaper if we are traveling in a large group. Of course, it may not be as luxurious and comfortable compared to our usual state of living at home. We missed a few things from home such as;

  1. The microwave – we had to reheat our food using pots and pans on the stove
  2. Comforters – each room was provided with a very thin blanket. I suppose it is a technique so that we increase the temperature while we sleep. In a way less energy is used to cool the room to ‘extreme’ temperatures. Hence conserve electricity and reduces the bill.
  3. Coway water filter machine – given the easy access to clean water at home, boiling hot water can be a chore. Ha ha. Thankfully, there is a NINSO nearby for us to buy drinking water in abundance. The 1.5 litre bottles were sold at only RM2.30 for 3 bottles.
  4. Night lights/ bedside lamps – I was so glad that I brought my doTERRA LUMO diffuser. It doubles up as my lamp throughout the night as I set it to 10 hours of usage. If I did not bring it, I’d have to resort to a totally dark room or sleep with the doors open. 20190810_141932-019203051808957857482.jpeg
  5. The many available wall sockets – Each room has only 1 wall socket. Therefore, it is advisable to bring your own extensions.
  6. The assorted shower gels/shampoo & toothpaste -the homestay provided one basic solution for shampoo and body foam which is totally acceptable. I miss having the many choices like we do at home. Hence, it is wise to bring pre-packed toiletries too.

ACTIVITIES

Our flight was damn early at 0750AM. The kids did not bath and we performed our Subuh prayers at KLIA. Check in at KLIA was easy as there are plenty of self check in machines available. Once we’ve printed the luggage tags , we baggage dropped our things at the respective counters.

In-flight menu was OK although we personally prefer Air Asia’s nasi lemak. Even the kids pancakes taste funny.

We touched down at Kuching International Airport (KIA) 10 mins earlier than scheduled and had to wait for our rented car to come which took hours. So we had lunch at SUGAR BUN, in the airport which was freaking expensive. Our rented car is an Axia at RM90/day.

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This time around for raya haji, we would be visiting our relatives. We do not have the luxury to do other tourist-ish stuff like we normally do. So Santubong Damai Beach and museum visits were not part of the schedule. Some of the little things we manage to do include;

COFFEE AT BELALAK ADDICTED

This roadside stall was once famous for its Turkish like brewed coffee. Nowadays however, perhaps because its time consuming, they have removed that extra unique element and replaced it with other coffee varieties on top of selling fried food/critters for tea. I ordered Kopi Let which is a mixture of coffee with cocoa. It is very sweet though but the coffee taste still come out strong. Price : RM4.90

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RECITING YASSIN AND TAHLIL FOR THE DEceased

This was a get together on my moms side. We sedekah our recitations to those we love and hope Allah will ease their sufferings, if any, in alam barzakh. Then we had food. Lost of food. My sister and I brought chocolate cake all the way from Selangor for the occasion.

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FOOD HUNTING

There is no doubt that the queen of Laksa Sarawak is still Moms Laksa. The broth is super delicious and the closest restaurant to replicate its taste is here in Melaka, Kolok Vs Laksa restaurant located along the SPA Highway.

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A bowl of delicious mi kolok is harder to find because everyone’s recommendations differs greatly as to how they decide that mi kolok is nyaman. The last time I had a delicious mi kolok was at Kets Kitchen in Matang Jaya. Now rebranded as POpular Food Court. Till now, it was so difficult to get hold of the pakcik who makes the mi kolok.

Sotong Kangkung from LOCK ANN is a must. It has now relocated just opposite Matang Mall.

We went to a new place this year. MAMI CENDOL. It sells cendol, shaved ice with toppings, rojak buah, sotong kangkung and mi belacan. We thought it was a bit odd though to tapau self service but we went along with the system. The taste was alright.

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We had our seafood fix as usual at TOPSPOT. It is open at night and we usually patron stall no 25. I recommend ordering their butter prawn. Damn delicious!

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If you yearn for seafood during the day, then TELAGA AIR is the place for you. It is equally cheap. They serve the dishes buffet style but they are still freshly cooked. Telaga Air is situated about 35 – 40 minutes from Matang Jaya.

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BUYING SOUVENIRS

I bring back kuih lapis and butter cake back to Melaka every year without fail. It is sad though that nowadays kuih lapis has become so commercialized that its lost its unique value during Hari Raya. I  also get my Sarawak orientated kain pasang from main bazaar or India Street for my working baju kurung. I plan to enrich my wardrobe with baju kurung that has a Sarawakian or Terengganu motive to it. Ha ha.

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A SPECIAL VISIT TO MASJID AL GHAZALI

This masjid is located just 6 minutes from our homestay. Al Ghazali is special because it was built with the compensation money the relatives received with regards to this whole family who died in the MH17 crash. InsyaAllah as long as people keep the masjid alive, it will be a continuous supply of good deeds for the dead.

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I hope to spend longer time in Kuching next year. Our family will be going through transitions in our everyday routine next month as we ponder and wait for where Mr Husband will be deployed for his specialist gazzettement.

I hope it is in a state where the weekends are the same as in Melaka.

05.08.1983

I came home to this. Obviously the one who wrote the ‘cards’ were my husband. Cause when my honest son came home he said,

“I didnt write this Mummy”

Funny thing is he brought me 2 bottles of perfume of which one of the fragrances is actually For Men. He probably didnt smell them and just point to what he thinks is a nice scent. LoL. Thankfully, it came in a small bottle. In a way, I could move on to another scent quick.

I also received an Alain Delon handbag. It would be useful for my work trips. I was planning to vlog about my thoughts on being 36. Maybe later cause I’m damn tired after a long day at work.

A one night stay at Dorsett Putrajaya

I love staycations. Especially when we landed on a bargain for a hotel room or an experience. Last weekend, it was my moms 60th birthday. After the feast I decided to check into DORSETT PUTRAJAYA hotel overnight based on its location near Masjid Besi and the Food Truck Area in Putrajaya.

Hotel parking was adequate. FREE of course. Reception was friendly. Room was spacious. Breakfast was a delight. I love how they give you mug options for your coffee. Cause mom’s ain’t gonna have enough of caffeine in those eeenny meeeenyyy white cuppas. Ee’s breakfast rate was RM25.

I booked a Deluxe Room with balcony for a night through Agoda.com and it was RM210.00 including service tax and fee. My room comes with a nice view, free WIFI, complimentary breakfast for 2, coffee. tea and 2 bottles of drinking water. There is an in room iron with board, hairdryer, bath robes with slippers and alhamdulilah a prayer mat. It’s those little touches that make your stay wonderful.

The bathroom had no bath tub but it was fine. The toiletries were cute. I had to try the shampoo and conditioner. It smelt like Lemongrass.

The hotel has an infinity swimming pool and gym on the top floor. The pool is open from 7AM to 7PM whilst the gym is open for 24 hours. The hotel was initially conjoined with a shopping mall but we noticed that only the main supermarket and a few eateries are open. I am not quite sure what happened to the rest of the business premises. The mall looked haunted. Such a waste of space and facilities. I really hope that Waterfront Hotel in Kuching would not suffer from a similar fate.

The scene outside at the balcony in the night was really really beautiful. I could stare at the mosque all night. We had dinner at the food truck area. The options were alright and they had a sitting area too for you to eat your meals. It’s like an open air foodcourt cuma yg berjualnya guna truck. We had western food – spaghetti aglio olio and carbonara with iced milk tea.

 

I would book a room here again if I had any business going on in Putrajaya. The location is calm. There is not much traffic for a weekend staycation. You could even get involved in healthy activities like walking or cycling.

Upon completion of my stay here, I received an automated email saying that I am now a member of Dorsett Loyalty Rewards programme. This entitles me to exclusive member benefits etc. Will explore on that later.

The perfect path by Allah. You just need to find it. And pray that you find it.

I believe that there is always A Reason For Everything. That we are here for a bigger purpose. For a certain purpose. It’s Qada’ and Qadar. It’s the Circle of Life to some. These demonstrations of Power and Knowing All from Allah comes in simple ways and sometimes it comes by in a difficult scenario.

The Attire

Once, my mom gave me this beautiful green top from Indonesia, a colour that I may not choose for myself but willing to wear if its a gift from someone. Just a blouse waiting to match with a proper bottom and headscarf. It turns out that I already have the other 2 items randomly matched to other pieces of clothing in my wardrobe.I then realize that when this particular outfit was put together, it came out to be a perfect attire. Despite the scarf was something I bought a year ago and the pants, a choice I’ve had since my maternity days – when the time is right, these clothings served as the perfect choice for the blouse at that given moment.

While on its own with different dressing combinations, the headscarf may not appear outstanding. However with time and the correct moment, it changes its fate to become a must item for the new attire with the green top as they go so well with each other. So I trust that if now I feel useless, less successful as compared to my colleagues, with time I will blossom to the purpose I am meant to be. Until then, I should persevere, work hard , pray and trust Allah.

The Cesarean section

A pregnant lady had an immunocompromised condition. Under unclear circumstances, she was not the best high risk pregnant patient as she frequently defaulted appointments with her designated midwife . It comes to a point where she falsified some of her medical details in her antenatal book which unfortunately to the unknown, she appeared as another normal pregnant lady.

One day she went into early labor and went to the nearest clinic. The medical staff at this rural clinic had no idea she was a high risk patient and trusted the records completely on what was written in her book. They managed her accordingly and she was sent to the tertiary centre for further care. We have no idea what the intentions of this lady is but Allah was Kind and Most Merciful to the medical staff and also the baby. There was an indication for an emergency cesarean section and the baby came out safely.

It was only later that a close friend of hers disclosed to the nursing staff that she was immunocompromised which means medical staff needs to practice strict universal precaution on top implementing specific standard of care towards high risk patients. Of course investigations into the matter ensued but what intrigued me more was the fact that Allah knows best and that He made it possible to protect everyone including the newborn baby who was involved with the delivery.

Over Sea

My uncle who was stricken by renal cancer with metastases just passed away . He was in Sarawak. His brother, my father is 620 miles away in Selangor. If he had passed more than 3 years ago, I don’t think my parents would be able to fly back to Kuching and attend the funeral in such short notice.

However, they were able to do that today as they learnt the death of my uncle at 715PM and boarded the flight at 900PM using MAS Airlines. How was it possible? Because they had a son in law K, who works there, in MAS for the past 1 year . K’s story of how he ended there was not straight forward. Nor was the story of how he became my brother in law as he fought for his love (my sister) despite the many objections from both sides of the family. His life was full of trials and tribulations since he was very young. He is now stable and is serving well in MAS and to both of my parents. Because he works with MAS, he and his family were entitled to certain benefits and privileges. Amongst them, cheaper flight tickets.. and that was what my parents get to benefit from as well.

Allah has planned it so well to get the family to come together and love one another. Who would have thought that my brother in law would work with MAS one day as one of the ground staffs. But he did. For he worked hard. He prayed harder and asked from Allah good things. Best things in life. And the best plan of it all was that the timing of his death was on where the next day it is a public holiday. Hence my dad need not to worry about requesting leave from his superiors.

We need to sangka baik with Allah. For we know we are already given a head start to put one foot in heaven because we believe in HIM. We just need to prove that we are worth His Love and Trust, and that we could swing the other foot into heaven by doing good deeds in this life. Trust His plans. It is the most complete, the best path and personalized for each and everyone of us.

My Mom’s Diamond Jubilee Birthday. She is 60.

Mother wanted to celebrate her birthday at Sama Sama Hotel. Again. She really loved the HiTea buffet there. It will be my second time going to the hotel but I think my parents have been there quite a couple of times. The rate so far is still the same.

Adult  RM65/ Children RM45

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We went a bit extra this time by getting her helium balloons, a bouquet of roses and presents. She even got a birthday sash. As usual, my younger sister L plans out the events. Food was great, what more can I say.

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As for presents, my sister and I got her crystal bracelets from this store near my place. The place is called Crystal Corner. When I first walked into the store, I wasn’t really sure of what to buy. Or how to buy. The lady there was nice to help me out.

She inquired about my budget and suggest I start on the low side. Which was less than RM500. Low pun berlubang jugak poket. She then mentioned that people buy crystals for various reasons. It can be a piece of accessory, a house decor, for work, for health or for love relationships. I told her I plan to buy for my mom. I suppose the best indication, InsyaAllah, is for her general health. If not, purely an accessory. 

I ended up purchasing 2 types of bracelet. One made out of Tourmaline stones and the other, Green Rutilated stones. The total price after a 20% discount, amounted for just over RM300. Coincidentally ,the store was having a 20 year anniversary sale, so I was eligible for a PWP RM20 promotion bracelet. I chose a brown one for myself. I wished I chose something better though. HA ha.

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I plan to make a second trip there next month to get something for my birthday. I kinda fancied the Tourmaline bracelet. It looks so pretty. Of course, gold accessories is best but I have yet to find something nice to my liking. Upon purchasing the crystals, the lady did some sort of cleansing ritual in this big bowl which let out this loud ringing sound. Having read up on several websites later, I find that there are several ways of ‘cleansing’ and ‘resetting’ the crystals of its purpose. As a muslim, I will not delve further into that for fear of syirik but I guess it would be interesting for some. Perhaps, it would be enough to just follow instructions to keep the crystals clean, ‘neutral’ (if it is appropriate to say so) and exert its beneficial properties without having to overclaim or be too mystical about it.

Anyway,

The Hi-Tea Birthday Party was great. We have another get together in September to celebrate both my sister and Dad’s birthday. That will be in Melaka. This time I will plan the event and of course I would tell you about it too.