Monday, August 13, 2007

Redang trip

Last month I went to Pulau Lang Tengah as a part of team building with colleagues. Though I enjoyed beaches very much but Lang Tengah wasn't as attractive. Food there was scarce that we need to fight for food (yeah, think of hunger stricken places where people offer foods there!). While service was not bad and the snorkelling trips alright, overall I would only give 4 points out of 10.
So this trip to Redang - I wasn't anticipating much but expected it to better than Lang Tengah.
Ahoy, we went to Kuala Terengganu by bus at 11.00 pm. We were at the Putra Bus Station by 11.00 pm. Knowing the long journey, we took turns to visit the washroom and by the time everyone is getting excited and listening hard to the announcements of our bus arrival, suddenly a man came to us.
He asked "Ahmoi! Bas pukul berapa? Pergi KT kan?"
HL: Bas pukul sebelas
The man: Sekarang pukul berapa dah??!?!! (on an angry tone)

At a look on our wrist watches, it was already 11.05pm.
The man: Bas sudah keluar tau ka..... nih banyak kali panggil apasal tak naik?

We quickly grabbed our lunggage and left for the bus. The whole journey to Redang and back, we were more discipline with time! Hahha.... good lesson there....
Reaching KT at 6 am and all look like this, take note of all the sleepy eyes after 7 hours journey by bus....

We took ferry from the KT jetty to Redang Island.... and we stayed at Redang Beach Resort.

The resort was nice, food was superb and service was satisfactory. More More Tea Inn was the main attraction.

Snorkelling is the main activity and a short "diving" lesson (shallow diving only la...) top the water sports activities.
On the last night, Redang Beach Resort featured an open air disco. After our dinner at Summer Palace, having porridge steamboat, Steven and Jen Yi danced their nights out! And the YMCA girls doing their stunts! We also celebrated Ai Chuen's birthday with a simple Pandan layer cake! We had Chivas to go with the cakes, what a great combination!

We had a feel of Redang sunrise the next morning - having purposely woke up at 6am just for that.

Leaving Redang, we went shopping at KT, buying keropok lekor and keropok ikan.
All thanks go to Mun Hui for having suggesting the trip, all the way to the bookings and coordinating till the end of the trip. Thank you also to Fern Nee and Wai Kheng for being great room mates. Shiao Chin and Ai Chuen for having great ears to listen to my forever long stories. Jen Yi for all her charms that add great moments to the trip and her husband for the "diving class" and having to accompany the leng luis....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Trip to Solo, Indonesia

Being an award winner of the Selangor Youth Award is truly rewarding. Little did I know, after such astounding experience in SSEAYP 2003, I still have a chance to experience something similar this year!

This trip to Solo, Indonesia - specifically to Sragen village - is fully sponsored by the Selangor government. More than 30 participants join the trip, including the Selangor Exco YB Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil.

The father of Selangor Menteri Besar came from Sragen, so when we went to Sragen, we were treated like grandchildren getting back to hometown. Slightly pampered, I would say, we were treated like VIPs.

The flight via AirAsia took only about 2 hours to reach Solo airport. As our flight was very early, we reached there at about 8 am. Upon reaching the airport we were greeted by Sragen government officers. We did not have to fill up our departure card. Just 20 minutes wait in the VIP room, we then have our passports returned and directed to a bus.

Eeeoooo eeeooo eoooo went the siren of the police car. Then the van that carried Datuk Abdul Rahman, followed by our bus. Behind us, an ambulance trailed. On our bus there were government officers from Sragen to make sure we were comfortably served. Bapak Bambang guided us to sceneries we saw along the way to Novotel Hotel.

After breakfast in the hotel we then visited Bupati Sragen (government representative of the district), Bapak Untung Wiyono. As we entered the visitors' hall, a poster greeted us with a smiling face said "Local people buys local products". Upon entering the first few steps of the hall, we found the same person on the poster standing right in front of us, that was Bupati Bapak Untung.

We were given a short feast of various delicacies from Solo - ranging from crackers, fried eel, sweet delicacies and dumplings. (Wow I didn't know is that difficult to describe food!) Then we were given a short briefing about Sragen and how Bapak Untung ruled the area. Exchanging of gifts entailed and then to lunch. During lunch we were entertained by singers. Bapak Untung, a chief police, a chief army and Datuk Abdul Rahman each sang songs to entertain the crowd.

That day, we were sent to visit Batik centre, organic rice mill, Sragen training centre for youths and sight-seeing. Each of the places we went, we were eating and eating and eating as food was served. When we reached the hotel to refresh ourselves, we were all very full. After having a bath we then were escorted again to a village for dinner. On the bus, the government officials who accompanied us even prepared some sweet delicacies for us just in case we were hungry on the way to dinner.

Dinner was served. Porcupine satay was among the dishes - yes this is the first time I am taking porcupine. Songs and music accompanied us the whole evening with youths from both countries taking turns to sing.

Back to the hotel, we were all tired and slept like pigs.

The next morning, we were brought to visit more places - from rattan furniture centre and pomelo farm to a man-made dam. We were taken around the dam on boats. Along the way towards a floating restaurant, there were many parts meant to rear fishes. We ate fish (obviously) as our main dish that afternoon.

Then, in the evening we were on our way to Yogjakarta. In Yogja we had Ayam Goreng Ibu Suharti for dinner. Then it was free and easy. I went to the pub downstairs in the hotel to enjoy songs from the live band.

The next morning was shopping spree and after lunch we were sent back to Solo. In Solo, we have a night's rest and then flew back to KL, bringing along with us crackers, batik and souvenirs from Solo and Yogjakarta. Datuk Abdul Rahman brought back more than 80kgs of souvenirs from our many gifts exchange sessions in Solo.

The trip is very meaningful to me as I have learnt new things, met new friends and gained new knowledge.

Solo will be a place where I will visit again - hopefully for homestay for a few months to learn the culture there and the delicious food there.

Add some pictures here later, but here is a photo of my room mate and I, with Renny from Solo. Notice the background..... a bed filled with goodies to bring home!!!