Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Wedding (Part 5)






Most of the guests were seated down ... most were chatting amongst themselves while others bask in the enchanting ambience surrounding them. The soft lightings, the captivating music, the charming d├ęcor’ ... I personally was very fond of the set up as a whole.

The emcees called for attention and kick started the night with a funny story of how SY and I met. Jon did most of the talking in English while CT countered in Mandarin to please our crowd in general. When they were done with their opening address, all the ballroom lights were turned off except the fairy lights from the backdrop and the ceiling drapes. Under an almost pitch black condition, Shaun pressed the ‘play’ button and projected our animation ... it detailed the story of the moment SY and I first met till the day of our wedding. The song used in that animation was ‘On This Day’ by David Pomeranz ... a romantic tune to compliment the atmosphere.

When the animation was done, the band immediately started playing an instrumental version of the same song ... the doors to the ballroom was opened and we marched in ... led by Thomas a.k.a. Malaysian’s very own ‘Kenny G’ on the saxophone. The spot light was literally on us as we walked towards the main table. We waved back bashfully at the cheering and clapping crowd. The 30 odd people from gym made the most noise. Haha. Really appreciate it fellas. Nash, a friend of ours, also from gym came forward and cheekily planted a kiss on both our cheeks.

When we arrived at the main table, our dads congratulated us and we took our seats. The lights came on and the Emcee signalled for dinner to be served. The food presentation was simple ... just the way we wanted it. We had the waiter / waitresses lining up and marching towards us in a criss-crossed formation to the sound of Bond ... the all fiery English female four piece string quartet band.
When the first dish (Four Seasons Hot and Cold Combination) was served, everyone dug in instantly. We were a bit concerned about the disheas hotels usually prioritize presentation rather than food quality. Our worries were unnecessary though as the food was excellent in terms of quality and quantity. *woot*

Before the 2nd dish was served, it was time for our dads to give their speeches. So my dad went up first accompanied by my mom. In the next 5 minutes or so, he spoke, quoted and joked to the applause of the crowd. Next up, my dad-in-law took over the mic with mom-in-law. A very steady bi-lingual (English and Mandarin) speech was delivered and I reckon our guests enjoyed it as much as SY and I did.

Everyone else continued indulging in the culinary offerings as the band serenaded them with delightful classical and pop numbers. It seems Chinese oldies were especially popular with our crowd and even SY’s 95 year old grandma appreciated those pickings with fond reminiscence. We proceeded up to the bridal suite for a change of attire. I put on a mandarin collared suit while SY slipped herself into a very glamorous champagne coloured ‘cheong sam’. She looked utterly gorgeous in that. We re-entered the ballroom just in time to enjoy viewing our pre-wedding photo shoot slide show. It felt kinda awkward to see ourselves being projected on the big screen especially with all the pretentious poses. Haha.

We followed up the slide show with a short video clip of the morning’s activities i.e. the games played between the ‘heng tais’ and chee muis’, the tea ceremony at SY’s place, the church reception as well as the tea ceremony over at my home. We were glad the video managed to capture laughter inducing instances as well as the starry eyed romantic moments that enveloped our union as a whole.

After that, we carried on with our speeches. I nervously delivered mine before passing on the mic to SY to convey hers. We thanked our families and friends for making the effort in being there to celebrate our wedding ... simply because their presence made it that much more special for the both of us. From there, we ensued with the cake cutting and the champagne pouring. Hand in hand, we ceremoniously sliced the cake and poured the champagne before inviting our immediate families up to stage for the toasting. In addition, we got a few of our friends, mainly a couple of ‘em heng tais to join us in toasting to our guests. Three toasts were offered all together. One for longevity, two for wedded bliss and finally, the third ... to show gratitude to all of our guests. YAM SENGGG!!!

We went up to our room once more or SY to change into her final gown ... a ravishing maroon red wedding dress with black embroidery. We made our way back into the party and went straight to the usual table to table toast. Mind you we had 41 tables to cover and time was running short. We rallied in quite a number of friends … mostly my high school and uni buddies and started our ‘attack’. With every table we went to, we screamed at the top of our lungs ... all in merry good fun. When it came to the tables occupied by our gym mates ... 3 tables in total, it was utter chaos. So much screaming I bet the people staying on the penthouse suite could hear us. *lol* By the time we covered all the tables, we were exhausted. Certain individuals were either drunk I guess ... and it’s rather amusing to see your usual sombre relatives acting all foolish and funny under the influence. We had apples almost everywhere in the ballroom to coincide with our theme, Apple of My Eye and we witnessed a few of ‘em drunkards taking a bite out of those apples hanging on the floral stands etc. Hilarious stuff ... haha. The guests began trickling towards the exit and we presented ourselves there with our parents to bid our thank yous and good byes.

One would think it’s all over eh ... well not exactly. While the hotel staffs were busy cleaning up the ballroom, my close uni mates were ‘waiting’ for me. Apparently, the groom should never leave his wedding standing or walking straight. So they piled me with a potent concoction of whisky and wine. I must admit that it wasn’t long before I blanked out ... and that my fellow readers, was the end to my wedding narrative. Hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I did ... writing it. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wedding (Part 4)






After lunch, we quickly packed up and headed straight to the PJ Hilton hotel where the wedding dinner is to be held. Once there, we checked into our bridal suite and it was pretty nice. A bottle of champagne was iced and a box of pralines to compliment the bubbly beverage. Rose petals were scattered all over the bathroom and some were gracefully floating in the tub. On the bed's cream coloured sheets, lay a sweet li'll bouquet of white and baby pink roses. Very nice touch this one because it matches the colour theme of our floral arrangements in the ballroom. In addition, our room being located on the 21st floor meant we had a magnificent panaromic view of the city. *woot*

Time was of the essence, hence we had little time to truly appreciate the suite and got down to business. We met up with the hotel's banquet planner, Elisha and ironed out the last minute detailings. We saw the Krystal Ballroom being set up and instructed for the sound checks to be carried out. Simultaneously, we called our decorator to ensure she'll be able to execute everything according to plan. YJ was at hand to help and he did a great job as our floor manager to coordinate with the hotel's staff. Shaun arrived soon after to do a dry run of the AV materials to be screened.

So many things were happenning at the same time and there were moments where it felt a tad bit overwhelming. Together, SY and I managed to calm ourselves down and as the minutes ticked by, we can see most of the things coming into place. The dinner tables being set up, the cutleries and folded napkins arranged accordingly, the wedding favours placed for each of our guests, pink rose petals sitting contrastingly on the lazy susan, the cream linened chairs with its striking gold tiebacks ... it's amazing really to witness everything being put together for the show. Up on the ceiling, champagne drapes were hung and it looked simply gorgeous with its fairy lights switched on. That helped enchanted the entire ballroom really.

Outside at the reception area, the registration and cocktail tables were being put together. At one end, stood our wedding portrait and on the other, a tall structure of a wishing tree where our guests wrote notes and well wishes on a printed card which was then hung on the tree itself.

The make up artist, May soon arrived and we told her to work her magic on Ivy first before my mom and lastly, on the bride herself. Jon and CT, our emcees came almost at the same time and they went straight into rehearsal. At the same time, our music band from Jason Geh's Entertainment were busy setting up their audio equipment.

Our cocktail reception was to start at 6:30pm sharp and at 5:oopm, our decorator was no where to be found. I called the coordinator, Jasmine and she assured me that everything will be up in time. At that same moment, I saw her zooming past in front of me, one hand holding her mobile to her ear and the other clutching a bag full of pink rose petals. At that point in time, we had no choice but to place our trust in her to do the job and to do it well.

Our names on the backdrop were supposed to be in gold but it turned out to be dark brown instead. We questioned Elisha and she explained that gold wordings against our chosen backdrop would not be outstanding enough. The fairy lights behind the backdrop were lighted up and with the various flower balls dripping from the ceiling, it gave a very unique garden feel to the setting. So the 'screw up' became a blessing in disguise instead. :)

We practiced our march-in with the music and all while everyone else did their part to make sure the show goes on. At approximately 6:00pm, we went up to the suite to prepare ourselves and left the rest in God's hands. *fingers crossed*

At 6:45pm, I came down to the ballroom and was rather suprised to see so many of our guests had already arrived. Looks like we've got ourselves a punctual crowd. I fluttered around greeting people while the stollers comprising of two saxaphonists and a guitarist enveloped the area with soothing tunes and charming melodies. The registration table was tastefully decorated with fresh flowers and lighted candles. Tucked in between were green apples to punctuate the our dinner's theme ... APPLE OF MY EYE.

Sitting majestically at the center of the cocktail area were a pair of ice carvings with the spotlight literally on 'em. Our cocktail tables had a simple but elegant centerpiece of twigs, candles and yes ... apples. Oh yea, musn't forget the eye catching floral arches with its flower balls towering majestically to welcome our guests into the ballroom.

Both Brian and Paul, our photographers busied themselves capturing special kodak moments on their huge dslrs as more guests flooded in. I took a peek inside the ballroom and the scene that greeted me was absolutely jaw dropping! It was breathtaking. From top to bottom, side to side, it was so beautifully different from how I last viewed it. The long flow drapes, the striking backdrop, the dimmed chandeliers, the floral stands along the walkway with its 'floating' apples and tealight candles, the sparkling champagne tower and the lovely wedding cake on stage ... all these complimented each other perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle that resulted in a magical picturisque set up.

The main table was decorated with an extravagant formation of long wavy twigs, lots and lots of fresh flowers, candles of various sizes and an abundance of green apples. It looked magnificent and certainly stole the limelight from the other 41 tables. Haha.

The bride soon graced us with her presence and every pair of admiring eyes were on her. Looking stunningly beautiful in her long tailed mermaid ivory gown, she rightfully commanded everyone's attention. :) Not long after, many of our guests began taking their seats inside and we informed the hotel staff that we'll march-in at 8:15pm. With this, other lingering guests were pleasantly ushered in.

At precisely quarter past eight, we cued our emcees and got ready for arguably, the biggest night of our lives. Positions people!!! It's time for LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!!! :D

To be continued ...

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Wedding (Part 3)






Hand in hand, we slowly and gracefully decended the spiral staircase of SY's home. Upon seeing us, the people below cheered and clapped while we flashed our happy silly grins at them. Kenneth, the 'tai kam ye' quickly went to do his thing and set up what was necessary for the tea ceremony.

When all was ready, SY's grandma being the matriarch of the family and her younger brother YJ (to represent the patriarch) sat down. We then served them tea while Kenneth offered auspicious words to commemorate the ceremony. Everything done and said has its meaningful purpose as with most traditions, hence, even the chinese tea served were mixed with honey to symbolize a sweet beginning for the newly weds. :) After sipping sweet tea, grandma gave SY a pair of lovely earrings and a red packet for me. SY's parents were up next and we served them tea. They reciprocated by bestowing jewelries and red packets upon us. My father-in-law gave me a thick gold chain and a matching pendant. I got bling yo! Soon, one by one, we repeated the process with all the other senior relatives. When that was all done, it was our turn to finally sit down and SY was literally dripping with so much jewelries I'm sure she was suffering from neck and wrist ache. LOL :) The juniors then lined up to serve SY and I the sweet sweet tea. In return, we gave them red packets. Might wanna add that I was a li'll weird out when YJ and YL called me 'che fu' (brother-in-law) out loud. Hahaha.

When the tea ceremony was completed, we still needed to perform a few more rituals as instructed by Kenneth, the 'tai kam ye'. We had to exit the door with our left foot stepping out first, SY's dad also had to 'shade' us with a red umbrella while we walked around the bridal car. Don't ask me why all these had to be carried out cause it was too much information for me to digest and remember on that day. :p Oh, and it was pouring cats and dogs too. According to Kenneth, if either the bride or groom was born during a rainy day, it will also rain their wedding day. How true??? ... I cannot say, but then again, who am I to dispute. :) Soon we tucked ourselves snuggly into the car and made our way to the St. Francis Xavier church, Petaling Jaya.

The journey took a good 20 minutes and by the time we arrived, the rain had stopped and the sun shone its majestic rays again. This was very delightful as we were blessed with a rather cool temperature throughout. We fleeted from one guest to another as people began to fill in. Our wedding booklets were distributed as the AV guy, Aaron did the soundchecks. Our four piece choir group were also preparing themselves with the hymns pre-chosen by us. My cousin, Derick was the dedicated Commentator while Ryan was the Reader.

At 11:00 a.m. sharp, we took our positions as rehearsed a couple of days earlier. SY and her dad stood at the entrance with Ivy, the maid of honor in front of them. Handsome li'll Ian, the page boy held pretty Anisha, the flower girl's hand ... waiting for the music to cue the march in. Way up by the altar, there I stood with Shaun, the best man. I guess some might have guessed that my heart was beating wilder than that of the African tribal drums. The waiting was simply 'excruciating' with so many mixed emotions experienced simultaneously ... anxiety, excitement, bliss ... I wondered what would others think of me if I were to pass out there and then. Haha ... just joking la.

Before I knew it, the music began. The congregation were hushed as the enchanting melody of Beyonce's Ave Maria flooded the entire church. Ian and Anisha both looked so adoring, him dressed smartly in a tux, holding our wedding bands and her, in an ivory dress with her floral head band and a rose bouquet in her hands. With her arm looped into his, the little ones walked towards the altar. Following behind was Ivy in her champagne knee length dress, also with a bouquet in hand, she looked absolutely stunning much to Leslie's pleasure I'm sure. Finally, the bride and her dad ... began marching in. She was first looking shyly downwards with the slightest hint of smile escaping the corners of her lips. As she approached closer, I was reminded again how lucky I am to be marrying her, utterly awestruck by her beauty and elegance and it was then that all the anxiety melted away instantly. Both father and daughter then stole glances at the many guests, smiling happily and waving gestures of thank yous.

Ian handed the wedding bands to Shaun and both he and Anisha took their seats. Ivy followed suit and I walked forward to greet the father-in-law and my bride. He placed her palm onto mine and we waited for him to take his seat before we proceeded to the two awaiting chairs positioned right up front facing the regally hung crucifix.

The entrance hymn was sung then as Fr. Simon Yong and the altar servers emerged. The usual ceremonies went on before Ryan went up to do the reading. Soon it was time for us to exchange our marriage vows. Angelina and Daniel both came up and stood beside us, serving as our witnesses. Before the eyes of God as well as our families and friends, we committed towards each other ... through thick and thin, through powerty or richness, in sick and in health ... a lifetime of togetherness. Amen. From here, the priest blessed and sprinkled holy water onto our wedding bands before we slipped it into each other's fingers. Words cannot describe but there is a certain 'feel' ... something almost magical about having the wedding band fit snuggly on my finger. It simply enveloped me with a sense of love and belonging.

Fr. Simon was a real joker ... injecting stinging humour every now and then to create a very lovely and jovial atmosphere for all of us. I proceeded to lift the bride's veil and we shared a very fine kiss as the crowd went wild with applause. After that, we went up to the altar to sign the registry. We put pen to paper as did our witnesses and the priest.

With that, we were officially married and recognised by the Catholic church. We stood at the center of the altar as the commentator announced and presented MR. and MRS. ADRIAN LIM!!! Again the crowd went wild with a wave of cheering, wolf whislting and clapping. :D

Grasping our marriage certificate, we very proudly and merrily marched out of the church's building to the tune of The Wedding March.

We spent quite a while taking photos with family and friends at the church's compound before heading back to my place for the second session of the tea ceremony.

When the bridal car arrived at my home, we couldn't get out. Why you ask??? ... well, because Ryan, the one dedicated to 'open' the car door for us hasn't arrive yet. Haha. So we had to wait for him to show up and he did ... about 10 minutes later. Our other guest started filling the house and made themselves comfortable. When we walked in, loud cheers and applause ensued. We made our way upstairs towards my home's altar. We said a little prayer and hand in hand, we lighted our Unity Candle. We then 'presented' ourselves to my grandma and grandpa who had both passed away long ago before heading downstairs for the tea ceremony.

Kenneth was again ready at hand to do his job. We served my parents first and they presented their daughter-in-law with a glittering set of diamond earrings and a pendant. My grandma was up next and SY got another set of ear rings. All these should keep my wife away from the jewelry store for quite a while I hope. :p As before, we went ahead with serving tea to the rest of our seniors and followed by the juniors serving us in return. Shaun and Ryan had a ball of a time calling SY 'dai sou' (sister-in-law). I wonder if she experienced that same inital awkward feeling as I did earlier. Hehe.

When all was wrapped up, our guests enjoyed the catered lunch while we went to the bridal chamber and had baby Jack jump on the bed. According to tradition, this act was performed in the hope that the newly weds would be blessed with babies in the near future. *LOL* The photographers required us to pose a bit for some portrait shooting in the room before we were finally able to change into our casual clothing *so so so relieved* and headed back downstairs for a scrumptious lunch.

To be continued ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Wedding (Part 2)






We parked the bridal car into the bride home's front porch. Waiting dashingly there was YJ, SY's younger brother. As dictated by tradition, he opened the car door for yours truly, I handed him a red packet and he in return, passed me some fruits before I stepped out of the car. The sun was just rising and it was a glorious morning indeed. While the other 'heng tais' gathered and readied themselves for 'battle', the photographers were busy snapping and shooting away. We then marched towards the front door to face the 'chee muis' head on!

We previously engaged a 'tai kam ye' ... a role usually played by an elderly lady who will guide us through the entire ceremony, proclaiming auspicious phrases etc. and to add the 'oomph' factor to the wedding celebration. Ours however, is a young chap instead ... and a bitchy one too I might add. Haha. YC was the appointed 'chief heng tai' and he kicked off the 'battle' with a very loud GOOD MORNING. You really have to know YC personally to believe how loud this little guy can be ... he's literally a walking loud speaker.

We had to pass a few tests in order to gain entry and claim the bride. Wrong answers or failures would warrant us to pay a price ... literally. Test no.1 was to source for the main 5 ingredients used in the Chinese cultural daily lives and we were only given 10 minutes to obtain it. The only clue given was that all the items were edible. ML knew the answer to this one ... we needed oil, rice, vinegar, salt and sugar. With the five empty bowls provided, he hurried to SY's neighbour and rang the door bell. *Ding Dong* and thankfully the neighbour was most obliging. Within minutes, we got what we wanted and presented it to the chee muis but alas, we were told not all of our 'answers' were right and so, kena 'saman'. Apparently, 'oil' wasn't one of the five ingredients ... excuse being oil is not edible. YC quickly 'proved' to them that it is and proceeded to drink the oil. Wahseh!!! Then CJ kena punish by brushing his teeth with a dollop of wasabi instead of regular toothpaste. Where to find heng tais like these man. :D

The second test came in the form of a quiz. 5 questions all together ... all concerning the bride. Her finger size la, which of her toe is the longest la, her worst fear la, what she detest eating la etc. After a few more 'samans', we went on to the next test. Four type of liquid concoctions were given (sour, sweet, bitter and spicy) ... and we were supposed to down 'em all. *Gulp yucks gulp yucks gulp yucks gulp yucks* .... nevertheless, we accomplished it ... no problemo.

Finally, it came to the part where we had to dish out the BIG ang pows to 'bribe' our way in. At first I gave them a 'huge' one. Hehe ... the day before I went to colour photocopy a couple of RM50 notes. Looks really authentic yo. They were fooled for a while I guess ... until they felt the paper quality. Haha ... more negotiations ensued, we tried everything ... stating that further delays would result in us being late for the church ceremony but the chee muis were stone- willed on getting my money. So no choice la ... have to fork the moolah out.

Once inside, I was given about 10 tissue papers ... each with a 'kiss' lipstick marking on it and was told to identify the one belonging to SY. It was tough and after pondering for a bit, I made my first guess. I was told it was wrong ... so punishment time. One of my heng tai had to do 5 push ups with 4 other guys piled on top of him. Kevin offered to perform this task and he did it with relative ease. Wonder if he managed to catch any of the single ladies' eyes with his machoness. Kekeke.

After this, we were finally permitted to head upstairs. Once there, we tried barging in. It was chaotic man ... so many people trying to power their way through the doorway. We pushed and they resisted. :) So we 'compromised' ... just another simple test we were told. We agreed and the door was opened.

The view that greeted me was like no other. Everything else was a blur and I couldn't take my eyes of her. Sitting there elegantly in her beautiful wedding gown, SY does indeed looked very much like a princess you so often read in fairytales.
I'm one lucky guy indeed.

Once inside, I was told to go on bended knee and to profess my love by saying 'I Love You' ... in ten different languages ... andddd English is not accepted yo. Hence without wasting any time, I started ... from the Malay language to Hokkien, Hakka, Japanese, Korean, African etc. I got stuck at no.8 but thankfully, Alban managed to connect to the web on his Iphone and googled. We were then equiped with hundreds of 'I love you's in every possible language known to man. Haha.

I rose to my feet and this was when the sneaky chee muis told me that it wasn't over yet. They hid one of the bride's shoes 'somewhere' inside the room and I had to find it. Derick, another one of my heng tais immediately told me to look beneath the chair the bride is sitting on. I guessed he must've played this game before cause it was exactly where he said it was. :)

Finally, I managed to successfully claim my bride, I took her by the hand and we exchanged a beautiful li'll kiss to seal the deal ... *bliss*

To be continued ...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Wedding (Part 1)






So this entry begins not on the wedding day itself but the night before. On the eve of our BIG DAY, I had a li'll gathering of sorts with some close relatives. We had a simple buffet catering and everyone simply ate, chatted bout the wedding, went gaga over my cousin's newborn ... Le Ann, admired the bridal chamber etc ... the usual stuff :) The elders in the family were insisting on certain traditions to be carried out, aunties giving their two cents worth on how to do this, how to decorate that, what to say, when to say it bla bla bla. *Pening* but it was all good la. CJ, my highschool mate also gave me a buzz asking if I was around and 10 minutes later, he popped into my house and asked me to be excused ... said his mom simply had to congratulate me in person. Mrs. Gan is the sweetest person ever and even insisted on giving me an 'ang pow'. I invited the both of them in and showed them my room which is to be the bridal chamber.

When everyone left, I drove over to SY's place. I know ... I know ... I know, ancient tradition decrees that the bride and groom shouldn't meet the night before the wedding but we really had no choice. I needed to collect the bridal bouquet from her and to pass her the ribbons to be tied to the bridal convoy. When I arrived at her place, coincidentally, Ping and Celest were there as well. The gals were having a sleepover of sorts ... well, they were actually there to scheme and 'prepare' the various games for my 'heng tais'.

I bid the bride goodnight and went home. Took a long shower, re-check my checklist once more and went downstairs to sleep on the sofa. Haha ... yea, you heard right, the sofa cause apparently, the groom is not to touch the bridal bed till after the wedding for some reason unknown to me. So just follow tradition lo. I dozed of at around 3:00am.

I meant to wake up at 6:00am the next morning but at 5:00am, I was already wide awake. A mix of emotions enveloped me entirely ... nervousness, agitation, excitement, bliss ... all mushed together. I paced the living room in total darkness running through the day event's plan in my head. I was thinking but not thinking ... haha ... doesn't make any sense I know but it was just how I felt at that time. My heng tais were suppose to arrive at 7:00am, so I quickly went to get prepared. A long hot shower managed to soothe the anxiety and I spent a good deal of time in front of the mirror trying to make sure every stub was cleanly shaven, every strand of hair in its right place etc ... haha, you only get married once k.

I received a call from the videographer and photographer ... telling me they were lost and couldn't find my home. So I gave them simple instructions but 15 minutes later, they called telling me they were still couldn't succeed. I was about to drive out to meet them when Jon arrived. (Jon's one of my heng tai and also the co-emcee at the wedding dinner reception later that night). So I hopped into his car and off we went to 'retrieve' the AV fellas.

We arrived home 10 minutes later and found that a couple of other heng tais had also arrived. I recruited a total of 12 all together and suggested a dress code of black shirt and black suits. Earlier, I purchased silver neck ties for all of 'em and they looked pretty smashing I must say ... like the Yakuza yo.

The AV people started doing their thing immediately, filming and snapping away as the rest of us had a simple breakfast of steamed dumplings and hot coffee. The plan was to leave for the bride's place at 8:00 am sharp (it'll only take us less than 10 minutes to get there) but we soon received a call informing that they were not ready for us just yet. So we drove around the neighbourhood for a good 15 minutes and when we got the go-ahead ... we headed towards SY's place and shattered the morning silence by blarring our horns full blasttt!!! It's time to get me my bride ... :D

To be continued ...

P.S. Oh yea, if you wanna view more photos of our wedding, please proceed to my Facebook. We've uploaded a couple of hundred shapshots there for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bitten and burned ... OUCH!

The washing machine sharply beeped thrice signalling that my laundry was done. I lazily dragged my laundry basket and loaded the pile of damp clothings into it before lugging it to the backyard for drying.

Staring at the heavens above, half the moon was hiding behind thick black clouds and its dusty glow radiating a sense of gloom to all beneath.

One by one, I tossed pieces of washing onto the drying lines when I suddenly felt a sensation on my left foot. At first, it was stinging and I simply shook it off. Then, the image of a fiery red ant sinking its fangs and pumping painful venom into my skin came to mind. Straining to look at my foot, I could see nothing out of the ordinary but then again it was under poor lighting. I continued drying my clothes attempting to ignore that nagging pinching feeling. A good 10 seconds or so later, I literally felt the pain spreading ... you could say from a pin point to the size of a twenty cent Malaysian coin. That's not all, it burned. Damnit! Grimacing, I quickly finished what I was doing and limped back to my room. There I noticed a faint pink patch on the bitten area and immediately ran it under cold water. A dollop on antiseptic cream later, it felt a teeny weeny bit better.

Now, about 10 hours later, the patch is gone but every now and then, it stings for some 2 seconds before it feels normal again. Let's hope it'll be all ok before my evening run later today.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

GLORIOUS HONEYMOON @ BAROS, MALDIVES (Part 3)






So here's the final caption of our honeymoon escapade to the Maldives. We had several exceptional dining experiences on this gorgeous island. One of them was at the Cayenne Grill. Since there wasn't a crowd, we were given free reign to choose any table we wanted and obviously we chose the one situated at the edge of the restaurant facing the Maldivian ocean. Now part of this restaurant actually sits on the water itself and with the spotlight switched on at night, it actually attracted a lot of em' fishes and provided us with a colourful array of marine species. Various kind of complimentary breads were served with yummy condiments. The tomato chutney was most delicious. They also had a li'll buffet spread offering sushis, fruits ... basically finger foods for us to nibble on while waiting for the mains. We both ordered the fish and they were both freshly mouth-watering delectable. In between, the waiter came to us and served us asparagus soup that came in shooter glasses. Now that's one of the plus point of this resort, they always try to give more that it's expected of them. Kudos Baros!

Included in our honeymoon package is a candle light dinner by the beach. We're praying for fine weather and that was exactly what we were blessed with. At the specified time, we made our way to the reception and the concierge led us to the beach. Staked on the sands were fire torches to compliment the entire romantic ambience and before long, we were enjoying a lavish meal of bread, salads, fish, chicken, sorbets and desserts ... all under the millions of glistening stars, the sea breeze in your face, the hypnotic sounds of the lapping waves ... simply a magical experience. Oh and they also took our photo and framed it up in a li'll Baros photoframe to remind us of this wonderful time we had. Nice touch.

On our final night on the island, we made reservations to have dinner at The Lighthouse, the fine dining restaurant and its menu fully 'designed' by Baros's Executive Chef, Mr. Damian Barret. From the moment we stepped into the Lighthouse, the resort's trademark excellent service was experienced. They ushered us to our table and like the Cayenne Grill, we sat on the open aired veranda facing ...what else, the panaromic sea of course. :) After much deliberation, I opted for the set menu comprising of the mango, papaya & fish salad, the rich and creamy lobster bisque which they prepared in front of us on a mobile stove, raw yellow fin tuna prochiutto, rose champagne sorbet, deep fried prawns, grilled duck breast and dessert. Now that's a mouthful huh. Oh and every dish served were paired with a different type of wine specially selected by the chef. SY went for the lobster pastry and seabass. We shared our meal whilst being serenaded by the live jazz band playing upstairs. Just before the mains were served, SY wasn't feeling too well and so, we opted to head back to the room and continued dining on our very own water villa's balcony. The staff very obligingly helped served our remaining meal there too.

We were due to check out at noon but our flight home was at almost 10:00pm. Guess what, the resort told us thay they've extended our check out time till the time required for us to head to the airport. How nice is that. :) So we spent the remaining hours lounging by the beach, another round of snorkelling to bid the fishies goodbye, swam with no less than 7 baby black tipped sharks ... one of em' cheeky buggers actually 'chased' SY and we got that on video. Hilarious!!! :D

At 7:30pm, we very reluctantly waved sayonara to the island and its wonderful people and were ferried to the airport. A slight delay at Male and another delay while transitting at Colombo resulted in us arriving a couple of hours late at KLIA but luckily, the good people at Atoll Paradise (our agent) managed to get us passes into the Business Class lounge where it was much more comfortable compared to the public waiting area at the airport.

SY and I are now diligently purchasing lottery tickets in the hope to hit the jackpot so we can quit our jobs and return to this amazing island that is Baros. Wish us luck!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A GLORIOUS HONEYMOON @ BAROS, MALDIVES (Part 2)






Ok, so continuing from the previous post, we basically spend all our time in a very very very relaxed mode. Waking up late in the mornings, going for lazy breakfasts, lounging on the beds watching dvds, napping as and when we feel like it, soak in the jacuzzy (bath salts included yo), literally jumping off our water villa into the blue blue ocean for a swim, savouring long lunches, snorkelling, romantic dinners ... basically just doing anything and everything together with wifey.

Ok, now to the highlights of our heavenly escapade. We took a half day tour to the capital of Maldives, the li'll town of Male. From the resort, the front desk staffs would send us off personally to the awaiting speedboat and 20 minutes or so later, we set foot on the capital which we were told is as large as 1km by 2km. So you can imagine how tiny it is and 2/3 out of the 300,000 population resides here. Hence, space is indeed a very much sought after luxury. First impression tells us that the country is rather poor. Economy relying solely on tourism and the export of fish, mainly the yellow fin tuna for the Japanese sushi market isn't sufficient to sustain its people's increasing cost of living. We had a local guide to show us around and we toured the city on foot. We were brought to the parliment, the president's residence, the ex-president's residence, the oldest mosque in the country (real tiny this one), the biggest mosque in the country (building funds contributed by several Islamic countries including Malaysia), the National Park which is in an embarrasing state of total abysmal (looks more like a drug haunt than a park), the National Museum (no larger than a 3 storey terrace house ... they're currently building a new one though), the smelly fish market and the colourful veg market. Throughout the tour we were briefed on the history of each landmarks visited and this was also where I managed to purchase my hair gel. I forgot to pack mine and hence, the first 3 days were very bad hair days ... so much so that even the wife also cannot tahan. :p Of course the guide brought us to shop for souveneirs and I dare say that everything offered were highly overpriced. We reluctantly purchased a few t-shirts, key chains and fridge magnets for our close family and friends before adjourning to a restaurant for a quick snack pit stop. Soon, we made our way back to the jetty and to the resort there after.

Being foodies, we also signed up for the Executive Chef's lunch presentation. This was conducted at the Sails Bar's bar area. A make shift stove was set up along with a table to place the necessary ingredients and condiments. And guess what, we were the only couple who opted for this, so we had the chef's full attention. The chef's huge and hailing from Sydney, he told us he has been with the resort for the past 3 years. Acting also as the resort's F & B Director, he entertained us with stories of his experiences around the region as he prepared our lunch. On the table, laid copies of the menu and recipes for our keeping. Damian Barret (the chef) started off with preparing the dessert cause it needs to be chilled after it's done. It's a local delicacy and it's called the Banana Halua. Slices of bananas were cut and its thickness depending on how ripe it is. It is then stir fried for a couple of minutes with castor sugar, chopped cashew nuts and a pinch of tumeric powder. When it's done, it's left to chill in a freezer before being served later with a refreshing scoop of coconut ice cream. Next up, our entree, a Maldivian chicken curry. All sorts of spices and condiments were added, from a variety of curry powder and chilly paste to ginger slices, chopped onions and many others. Lastly, pieces of chicken and coconut cream were included and it was left to simmer under a slow fire while we prepared the appetizer. Now this is an interesting dish and it's called the Tuna Prochiutto. Mine was prepared raw while SY requested to have hers cooked. Thin slices of yellow fin tuna were placed on a tiny serving dish. Then Damian blended an assortment of ingredients namely finely chopped onions, ginger, Kikkoman soy sauce, sesame oil etc before pouring it on top of the fish. We took a small bite and the flavours just exploded in our mouth sending our tastebuds into a very happy frenzy. It was really that good and the perfect mixture of saltiness and sourness worked up the appetite immediately. Before the entree was served, we were each given a lovely scoop of mango sorbet to cleanse the pallet. Its natural sweetness complimented the surrounding tropical feel flawlessly. The mains came up next. Piping hot spicy curry very much influenced from neighbouring India served with steamed rice and crispy popadums and the final kick came from the imported mango chutney from Sri Lanka ... utterly delish. We polished our plates clean as Damian fed us with more of his life's stories. Finally, our Banana Halua came out and it completed the best lunch we had on the island. Crikey mate!!!

That's not all, we even put our names down for the Dolphin Cruise. Just before sunset, we took the boat and headed out to sea. Approximately 25 minutes later, we came to a stop and gently bobbed on the ocean's surface before the boatman pointed his finger out signalling for our attention. Several meters away, we saw dolphins breaking in and out of the waters. It was very exciting for the both of us since we've never seen wild dolphins up close before in their natural habitat. It wasn't long before the these amazing creatures 'warmed up' to us and swam very very close to the boat. Further out, some of em' cheeky ones were showing off by leaping out of the water and twirling in the air before crashing back into the deep blue sea. It was a wonderous sight to behold. With the sun setting on the horizon, champagne with strawberries and canapes were served on board as we enjoyed the show these acrobatic marine creatures were putting for us. Another one of God's remarkable creations for mankind to appreciate I guess. :)

On the topic of marine life, we also went for night snorkelling. We made our way to the Dive Center just before sunset and was briefed by Hollie, the resort's marine biologist of the do's and don'ts, safety precautions and also what we can expect to see from this expidition. I personally have a phobia about going into the water after dark so I suppose this is one way of overcoming this particular fear. Apparently, there are a lot of nocturnal sea creatures around and it's very different from what we can see snorkelling during the day. We were joined by another ang moh couple and the five of us soon set out to the house reef ... about 20 meters away from shore. SY also rented a wet suit since we were told it might get a bit chilly after dark. Armed with high powered torch lights, we paddled out into the abyss with Hollie leading the way. What an astounding sight to behold as we feasted our eyes on multi coloured octopuses, striking red lion fishes, pencil tipped sea urchins, a sleeping baby turtle nestled cutely between the corals and many many others. Half way through, SY suddenly tugged my arm and pointed below. Beneath us, an adult black tipped shark of about 2 meters long glided stealthily below us. It was a very 'kan cheong' moment then. :D Apart from that, as we were heading towards the shore, we spent some time on the inner part of the house reef, the ones closer to shore and was graced with the presence of a very large stingray. It's black in colour and contrasted the white sands of the ocean bed in a very obvious manner. Not wanting to end up like Steve Irwin, we paddled to a safe distance before 'Wow-ing' beneath our snorkelling masks. :) We returned the gears and made our way back to the room feeling tired but most satisfied. It was an experience we will definitely cherish for a long time to come ...

Stay tuned for Part 3 ... :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A GLORIOUS HONEYMOON @ BAROS, MALDIVES (Part 1)






Honeymoon ... that very one word exudes elements of love, romance, affection and all the other sweet nothings you could possibly think off. Usually a once in a lifetime experience where newlyweds truly celebrate their union as man and wife ... away from the bustles of wedding planning and preparation, away from meddlesome relatives, away from stress at work and colleagues ... very simply ... away from the rest of the world.

So two days after our wedding, we took a cab to the KL International Airport and checked-in at the MAS counter for our flight to Male, Maldives. Neither one of us have been to the Maldives before, so you can say we were both pretty excited. We had some time for dinner and we binged at McDonalds. We previously dieted before the wedding but that has obviously gone out of the window now. :)

It was a full flight indeed with most of the passengers bound for Colombo after the transit at Male. Thankfully it was on schedule and we were beaming as the plane soared through the sky, flying us to our li'll piece of heaven on earth.

3 hours and 40 minutes later, we touched down and was taken aback by the condition of the Maldivian airport. For one, it's really tiny and it was also in rather poor condition. Since the camera we brought along ran out of power, SY was sourcing high and low for an electrical point to briefly charge the batteries while I waited for our luggages to arrive. She finally found one and were soon happily snapping away, not wanting to miss any part of our dream honeymoon.

After checking out of the airport, we were immediately greeted very warmly indeed by our agent (Atoll Paradise) and hotel resorts' (Baros) reps. Previous online reviews sang marvellous praises especially about the service rendered and we weren't dissapointed one tiny bit. They took care of our belongings and ushered us to the speedboat. Boat services run on a 24 hours cycle here. Cold towels were waiting at hand and throughout the 20 minute boatride to the island resort, we sipped on fresh juices under the watch of millions of twinkling stars as we were chatted and briefed with the wonders of the Maldivian islands.

Arriving at our destination, Baros Resort, front desk staffs literally greeted us at the jetty and walked us to the very zen-like reception. Soft lightings and the ocean breeze provided the perfect amorous ambience to start off our getaway. Whislt we were being registered, more cold towels were handed out as we were served a choice of iced ginger tea and a cocktail of mango juice with sparkling white wine. Tucked at one corner of the reception is the SLH plaque signifying that this 20 year old resort is a proud member of the ever distinguished Small Luxury Hotel group. Almost the entire place was refurbished some 3 to 4 years ago, so it looks spanking new ... much to our delight of course.

Tae, our petite Japanese concierge escorted us to our water villa and it took us a good 10 minutes to get there. It was worth the walk though as our villa, suspended by stilts above crystal clear waters looked every inch its beauty as pictured on the internet. Tae took us through a tour of our room, explaining where all the amenities are. Our four poster king sized bed occupied the center of the room majestically and it faces the open aired balcony, blessing us with a most picturisque view of the blue blue sea. There's also a plasma attached with a dvd player and also an Ipod ready port. I plugged in mine and we were soon adoringly serenaded by our favourite melodies. A bento box of cold sandwiches and a bottle of champagne on ice stood waiting and pralines served in a tiny coconut shell added a nice touch to the entire setting. All toiletries are from Acca Kappa and it is obvious, a lot of tropical influence were intended. An aromatherapy candle was placed most invitingly beside the jaccuzy bathtub for two. :)

At the balcony, two sunbathing chairs, a breakfast table and a daybed were placed for couples to either bask under the sun or simply to lazily enjoy moments of star gazing at night. Note that the villas were designed taking into account privacy as top priority. We couldn't see our neighbours and vice versa. So you do the math. :p

The bed and its plush pillows were so so so comfortable that we both slept through the night like babies. I guess we were also a bit tired out from all that travelling. The next morning, we hungrily made our way to the Lime Restaurant for our buffet breakfast and the intercontinental spread was divine. From an asortment of muffins to freshly baked croissants, asian noodles to miso soups, crunchy cereals to no less that 10 kinds of juices, salty pork bacons to juicy chicken sausages, waffles with maple syrup, crispy salads to fluffy breads ... you name it, they have it. Oh and not forgetting a chef-in-waiting to prepare your favourite kind of eggs and another to slice up a wide variety of fresh tropical fruits.

After breakfast, we went back to our villa and spent a few good hours catching up on our dvds. Very relaxing compared to the previous days running up to the wedding where everything was just so rushed and hectic. There's also a dvd library at the resort and rental is at no charge. We explored the rest of the resort and found the marine dive center, the gym, a games room, IT center, boutique the other two restaurants etc. Strolling round the entire island will take one approx. 15 minutes or so and we simply couldn't resist ooh-ing and ahh-ing over and over again at the panaromic view of the sapphire ocean. Even spotted a baby black tipped shark snooping inquisitively near the dive center. Way cool ...

I guess that's all for now, so stay tuned for more k ... :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mini Reception in Terengganu






SY has family in the sleepy city of Kuala Terengganu. Due to the distance and the fact that weekend in KT falls on a Friday and Saturday, quite a number of her relatives can't make it down to KL for our wedding reception. With that, we 'brought' the reception to them instead ... well, sort of.

So the in-laws, the wife and I hopped onto one of MAS's 737 and and less than an hour later, we set foot on KT's spanking new airport, the Sultan Mahmud Airport. *Hope I got the name right* The new hub is way better than the old one with much cleaner amenities. From the airport, we took a 5 minute drive to KT's latest tourist spot ... their front page grabbing stadium which collapsed not too long ago. That's RM300 million in tax payer's moolah down the drain yo. We happily snapped away and noticed all around, others were doing the same. Haha ... well, at least now that twisted piece of junk metal is good for something.

SY's uncle picked us up in his very sexy 3 month old Honda Accord and we headed straight to Jalan Kampung Cina ... KT's chinatown of sorts. First stop, Kedai Kopi Ping An *again, I hope I got the name right :p*. From the outside, it looks like any other typical coffee shop. It's quaint and it's old but let me tell you this ... they serve THE F**KING BEST ROTI BAKAR EVAAAAAA!!! Ain't kidding yo. The locals call this kinda bread 'paung' and the base of the bread is laced with butter whilst baked. Before serving, the paung is cut in half, re-heated in an oven and on the sides, generous slabs of butter and 'kaya' (coconut jam). The blend of creamy salty butter, the sweet aromatic kaya and the crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside paung ... heavenly I tell ya!!! We also ordered fried kuay teow on the sides but that's nothing to shout home about.

After a hearty meal, we walked around the area and visited SY's relatives. Being such a small town and catering for an even smaller Chinese community, everyone seems to know everyone there. We were stopped every 5 paces or so by someone or another for a brief chat to catch up. The in-laws went into the nearby Thean Hou Gong temple to pray. Built in 1896 during the Qing Dynasty, this piece of heritage is actually listed under the UNESCO's World Monument Watch programme. Cool huh.

More family visits before we checked into our hotel, the Primula Park Royal hotel. I learned then that this hotel used to be one of SY's favourite hotel back when she was a kid. I wonder if it's still her fav resort now that she has been to Baros. :p

We took a decent nap and took a stroll by the beach when the weather was most pleasant. Heck, we even bought a kite and it soared high indeed fueled by the ever strong ocean bayou.

Our dinner 'reception' was at Ocean Restaurant and we catered for 3 full tables. The food was nothing less than scrumptious and for very good money too. We feasted on lobster, an assortment of seadfood, steamed red snapper, roasted chicken & duck, fresh greens etc. By the time dinner ended, we were most gastronomically satisfied. :)

While SY's mom continued spending more time with family, her dad took us on a leisurely drive around the city before heading back to the hotel to call it a night.

The next morning, we were treated to an authentic local breakfast at the hotel's coffee house and the main item on the menu was nasi dagang. Sticky rice drizzled with gravy and accompanying condiments, it was delish. Since we had time before our flight home, we went back to chinatown for more makan session. We simply couldn't resist having more 'paung' and some noodles. SY's aunt also insisted on us taking home boxes of keropok lekor (local fish crackers) etc.

Our tastebuds were worked overtime when we went to a temple somewhere in the outskirts for a vegetarian lunch. By that time, I couldn't really recall what I stuffed myself with but I knew the food was goooooood.

We slugged our heavy bellies to the airport immediately after lunch and took a relaxing flight home promising to return again for more of em' killer paung. :)

Our first meal as a married couple


This was what we had immediately after our ROM ... delish!!! We had it at My Kopitiam, USJ Taipan. Soft steamed bread, flower bun dipped in thick chicken curry, piping hot half boild eggs, sweet Milo and iced 'cham'. Yummmsss ...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Q & A ...


Question :

If everything else is frozen except you, what would you do?

Answer :

Well, if you were sleeping, I'd just blissfully stare and gaze at the beauty that is you.

Well, if you were smiling, I'm here to laugh with you.

Well, if you were tearing, I'm here to cry with you.

Question :

Why?

Answer :

Well, Heaven sent me to love you. That's my purpose.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stag and Hen's Night @ Las Caretas






As with most wedded couples, the wife and I had our stag and hen's night before the Big Day. The only difference ... well, we had ours together at the same time and the same place. So yea, hence there were no strippers for me to stick mine one dollar bills onto. :p

We simply wanted to gather her friends, mine friends as well as our common friends together for some good food, rockin' drinks and for everyone to have a great time. I created an event on FB and duly shot out the invitations. We decided on Las Caretas becasuse it means a li'll something to both SY & I and it never fails to bring back fond memories. :)

On Saturday the 13th of June, precisely a week before our wedding was due, we managed to fill 4 tables with our close ones and the party began. A high school mate of mine, Ben even sneaked in a bottle of Absynth a.k.a. the potent Green Fairy ... 68% alco yo! *HIC*

Coincidentally, it was one of SY's gal friend, JM's birthday. We suprised her with a cake and got the waiters to play a birthday song for her and everyone else sang along.

We ate, drank, chatted and laughed well into the night. By the end, we had loads of fun and certainly hope so did the rest. YAMMMMMMMMMMM SENGGG!!!