Pre-Aidilfitri in Pasir Mas

After our journey through Thailand to get to Pasir Mas, we finally arrived just in time for buka puasa at the dinner table with the family there. Nia and family were already there to greet us.

Here are some photos of the fun times over the days before we drove to Sitiawan for Aidilfitri!

Perak beckons.

Nia’s waiting for us at Pasir Mas

A Northern Route Back to Kelantan

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. Yesterday, we travelled out of the country as a family for the first time. Granted it was only over the border into Thailand, but it was something that all this while was out of our ability to do for fiscal reasons. It was almost time for Aidilfitri and we drove from Padang Besar to Rantau Panjang via Thailand to reach Tok Bah and Tok Ma’s home in Pasir Mas! Ain did a lot of legwork done beforehand, getting the Thailand vehicle insurance and such, days before we departed. We mulled over acquiring some Thai currency although we did not plan on stopping anywhere to buy anything. However, we stopped at a currency exchange and converted some ringgits into bahts. It was lucky that we decided on it as we had to pay some sort of vehicle tax at the border. We used the phone’s Map app to navigate. […]

Continue reading
V is for Vengeance

Year End KL Trip Part Three

Previously: Moving Day Day 5 The next day was the housewarming. Guests came, there were prayers and then food. And the kids of course played everywhere. Later that day, I went to rendezvous with Ivan and Phil to talk about nerdy stuff. Also, role-playing games. That night Irfan and Aiman watched Ayah Cik Farid put the TV in its proper place at the new house. Irfan used our media external hard disk drive that we named Promethium to test playing videos and music. Day 6 It was the last day of our trip to Kuala Lumpur. Ayah Cik and Cik Ma took the entire family to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. After breakfast, we headed back to pack up our gear. Before we left we took more family photos. The drive back was not too bad. There were a lot of cars, but no real jams. Not even at Pulau […]

Continue reading
Nia's suggestion has been tabled

Year End KL Trip Part Two

Previously: Arrival at KL After we reached Nia Nia’s house with Aiman, it was time for the littlest cousin to join the fray. She was happy that her Abang Irfan and Abang Aiman came visiting. Grandparents Tok Bah and Tok Ma as well as the cousins’ uncle Ayah G had been there for a day before we arrived. Together we were to help Nia’s Team move from this house to their new house further down south. It was a Friday so we all went for Friday prayers at a nearby masjid. Before the television was boxed up, Nia continued to watch her favourite videos. Earlier, Irfan watched Bright on Netflix. Nia celebrated her birthday days before our arrival, so we got to taste a bit of her birthday cake. Nia overlooked the boxing operations to prepart for the move. I also got to meet up with Shide. We went out […]

Continue reading
Texas Chicken

Year End KL Trip Part One

The last time I was back in Kuala Lumpur was November 2015, more than two years ago. I have not been back there since because, let’s face it: it takes a lot of resources for us to travel there. One of the reasons we were able to go back the last time was because of a paper miniature art commission that required an extraordinarily high number of designs. Without any sudden increase in art commissions we would not have the money to travel down south that far. Thankfully, I had extra teaching commission for an extra programme at work that would sustain us for the month. DAY 1 We have scheduled this trip this time because it was known that Nia Nia was moving house and we volunteered to help. We began our drive at daybreak. I had the wheel until breakfast just south of Changkat Jering after which Ain […]

Continue reading
So happy I got booped!

Nia and the Beach Cats

We went for an early dinner at Kuala Perlis with Ayah Cik, Cik Ma, Cik Su and young Nia Nia. The restaurant was by the promenade, right by the sea. Irfan knew exactly what would float Nia’s boat: Cats. So he introduced her to a stray cat by the beach. At first Nia more fascinated by the giant stone balls scattered all over the promenade. Then it struck her: Perhaps this can will not merely be a bystander or a passer-by. Perhaps she could make friends with this cat. She became even more excited when the number of cats who showed up increased to more than one. This cat knows where it’s at. The cat decided to move, turn and booped Nia on the nose with a fuzzy tail. Needless to say, Nia was beside herself with joy at being booped on the nose by a fuzzy tail. After dinner, […]

Continue reading
Balik kampung with car

Early Ramadhan in Perak

I drew the artwork above while in Sitiawan. It was the start of the second week of Ramadhan when we all drove to Perak for a long weekend to buka puasa with Irfan’s grandparents. Also, there was some business to be had in Ipoh with Wan Cu and family facilitating said business. It has been a while since we drove to their house in Ipoh from Sitiawan. I nearly got lost because the phone could not acquire the GPS signal long enough to tell us which direction we should take. But because of the ordeal we underwent, I think I will be able to remember it from now on. We left for home from Ipoh, heading north and parting ways with Atok and Opan at Wan Cu’s place.

Continue reading
Lok Ching AND Laksa

Comes A Nia Nia

Rania and family came back to visit us from Kuala Lumpur during the long weekend. We picked up Ayah Cik Farid and Cikma from the airport and had dinner with them at Kepala Batas. Nia Nia was asleep when she arrived, but woke up just in time for a meal. Nia Nia was still groggy from her sleep, but soon got her head back in the game upon spotting a cat and toddling excitedly after it. At home, Irfan began teaching her to operate his Rubik’s cube. Then suddenly there was a power outage! Thankfully Nia Nia did not give a crap. The next day, we went for a dinner at Kuala Perlis. We hung out at a restaurant across the road from the beach. Ayah Cik Farid showed Nia Nia the incoming tide, and she was impressed (and quite vocal about it too) with the rising tide and the […]

Continue reading
Nak! Nak! Nak! Nak! Nak! Nak! Nak! Nak!

A Vacation of Some Sort

And So It Begins The vacation began when Ivan came a-visiting from Petaling Jaya via the ERL. I picked him up at the Arau station and he gave me an early birthday present: the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide, which will eventually be its own blog post. Because of work, I had to spend the first day of vacation grading papers. But we did take Ivan out by the sea where we had some grilled lok ching and laksa. Gua Kelam With me on call for the grading work, we managed to take a trip to Gua Kelam. It was a work day so there were not many people at the park. Here are Ain and Irfan at the mouth into the dark tunnel of the shadowy realm. Once we got to the park grounds on the far side of the cave, Ain identified the spot where Irfan, Ayah Cik, […]

Continue reading
Still zzzz

A Hometown of Sorts

…Sitiawan! We drove from Pasir Mas to where I grew up and where nothing now looks familiar, except for the old house. Because I was not able to go to Kuala Lumpur for vacation earlier, I figured we should visit Atok and Opah in Sitiawan during Maulud Nabi. Of course Irfan was glued to his grandparents desktop computer for hours, even late into the night. So he was pretty tired in the mornings. It was a chore to wake him up in my old bedroom. We mostly chilled out and relaxed in Sitiawan. We wanted to visit my cousin, but they were not in town. Irfan’s Atok and Opah also took us to dinner, before I went to GM a Star Wars RPG session. Wait what? The pasembor and rojak place under the rubber trees had quite tasty food, even if there was a swarm of flies in the area. […]

Continue reading
The entire party

A Send Off to Mekah

For the first time ever, Tok Bah and Tok Ma in Pasir Mas got the opportunity to go on an Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca. We drove to Kelantan to see them off. En route, we got to see a herd of elephants, pale and monolithic, at about three a.m. along the Grik-Jeli highway over the mountains. They must have just crossed the road as their butts were to us. No, we did not stop the car to take photos. Tok Bah and Tok Ma would join a group of pilgrims from Terengganu and be escorted by Ain’s cousin and her husband in their journey. Many came from Pondok Lubuk Tapah and other places to see them off at the Kota Bharu airport. Yes, Ain shed tears at the airport. Irfan should get to know his cousins a bit more. Though I think his extraordinary height (and his somewhat introverted demeanour […]

Continue reading
His new hoodie

Ain and Irfan Go To KL

It came to pass that Ain and Irfan went for vacation back in KL but I was not able to join them because of work. A side effect of given a new position at work after one has planned one’s year end vacation and bought travel tickets. So while I held the fort during exam season, the anak beranak spent their time with Ayah Cik, Cikma, Ciksu and Little Rania. Here are some of the photos of what happened during their away mission. Mouseover the images to read the captions. They had a fun time there, visiting some folks including Zara and Aiman, and Irfan’s former uztazah, our old neighbour back at the tenth floor. Hopefully I would be better at planning vacations next year after I have acclimatised better to my work schedule as a teacher.

Continue reading
It's green

Visitors Formerly From the Tenth Floor

Over the Merdeka Day Weekend, we received some visitors, two of which lived back at the Tenth Floor with us back in the day Cikma, Ayah Cik the Younger and Ciksu travelled to the north all the way from Kuala Lumpur to spend time with us. Also, Irfan had some questions about Steam to ask Ayah Cik. After an afternoon at Padang Besar where no padang besars could be found, we had dinner at the beach in Kuala Perlis, which for some reason I keep calling “Kuala Selangor” by mistake for no good reason. Maghrib prayers were performed at Masjid Kuala Perlis which was built over water off the town promenade. It was the first time I visited this mosque. Unfortunately it was low tide. The next day, despite all odds Ain succeeded in organising an excursion to Gua Kelam. It was a great morning with clear skies. Unfortunately, some […]

Continue reading

Rafe’s 35 Month Birthday

One more month before Adik is 3! [[image:2014-adik35month-20.jpg:Happily eating Nutella:center:0]] That photo was not taken on Adik’s 35-month birthday but it was so cute I had to include it. The makers of Nutella can feel free to contact us if they want to use that photo. Not! Also, if asked, I will categorically deny that I am writing this entry on the first day of 2015. I deny it, I do! ūüėČ * Mouse over the pictures for captions So let’s quickly do statuses. Reading: check. Boy is literate. Speech: good. Food: OK. He does gravitate towards toast when we are on the road but will eat all kinds of things at home. He will chow down on roti canai, mama’s “spiky” lunch noodles (“spiky” is how he says “spicy” and he hates non-spicy noodles but doesn’t like it to be too spicy either), Pringles, goldfish crackers, and is following […]

Continue reading

Clearwater Beach – October 2014

We spent a short weekend at Clearwater Beach in mid-October. It was quiet, relaxing and warm. Just the perfect beach vacation. We were here in March for almost a week but I totally did not have time to blog about it. We had lots of fun then though. It is fortunate that my current project is in Tampa so it was only an hour’s drive to Clearwater Beach. [[image:2014_octclearwater_01.jpg:Me and the kids are watching pelicans divebomb for fish at sunset:center:0]] * Mouse over the pictures for captions This entry will mostly be beach photos with few remarks. I miss the warm and the sunshine as I’m sitting here writing this in Ohio (in December!). Ah well. We arrived on Friday evening and went straight to the beach to enjoy the water and the sunset. [[image:2014_octclearwater_02.jpg:Pelican on a pole:center:0]] [[image:2014_octclearwater_18.jpg:Look how clear the water is:center:0]] [[image:2014_octclearwater_19.jpg:Running and playing:center:0]] [[image:2014_octclearwater_20.jpg:Adik embraces the […]

Continue reading
On the platform

Cave of Dramatic Lighting

We visited Gua Kelam yesterday. Gua Kelam is officially translated as “Cave of Darkness” at the plaques we saw at the site. The cave is a tunnel that runs through a limestone hill for about 350 metres. Here are is photojournal of our visit. It had been a wet weekend with rainfall every day, aptly putting the “rain” in rainforest. Water was dripping from the leaves and roots and vines of the foliage above the entrance to the cave. In the 19th and early 20th century, Gua Kelam used to be a passage for tin miners to transport their ore from the mines to their staging area. According to the plaque, many miners perished during heavy rains when the river flooded the cave. The walkway that traversed the entire length of the cave began at the entrance. At first Irfan hesitated at the thought of travelling on a wooden walkway […]

Continue reading