Monday, May 31, 2010


Leicester Tigers scored a dramatic late try to give them the Premier League title, and me, the sorest throat of the year so far! Let's hope there will be an even sorer throat on July 11th!

Murray's time expires as Roger rolls on

As I rightly predicted last week, it was indeed a matter of time before this detestable Scot bowed out of Roland Garros. He did so in a straight sets defeat to Thomas Berdych. He will probably blame it on his 'bad knee' which he only just told the world about after scraping past 'Reesh-ard' Gasquet in the opening round.

I'm also glad to see that big-headed, full-of-himself Tsonga weakly depart the scene, retiring injured after losing the first set to Mikhail Youzhny in their fourth-round match.

Meanwhile, the Great Man rolled past good friend Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets, looking increasingly smooth and sharp with each round. He did have to come back from a break down in the second set to force a tie-break, but he never panicked and keeps on winning.

Roger will face a familiar foe in the quarter finals with rising Swede Robin Soderling, the man who he beat in last years final, standing in his way once again. Soderling has neatly made his way through the draw and Federer should be prepared for a tough one.

On the ladies side, Justine Henin held her nerve to beat Maria Sharapova in 3 sets, coming from a break down in the final set to score a big win over the Russian. ALLEZ HENIN!!!

And as a footnote, Venus Williams was thankfully beaten by Nadia Petrova - so we don't have to watch her stomping around in that hideous dress, watching her pull it back up over her bosoms more times than she served a ball, and getting an eyeful of her bumcheeks or flesh coloured underwear. Deary me, stick to the tennis Venus!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swiss Garden Resort and Spa

After cruising along a coastal road with the wind billowing in through the wound-down windows, and witnessing a flurry of grocery shops, restaurants and wooden houses from a bygone era still hanging on, we were met by the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa.

Its deep incongruence of location was alleviated somewhat by the tropical trees and vegetation lining its grounds, which made it blend more smoothly with the similar natural settings we had experienced en route.

Despite its mingling with old-age Kuantan outskirts residences, the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa is a world away. From the time where money was the muted means of living, now money talks.

As Kuantan continues to develop and grow, money will become increasingly important, and I wondered for a moment, just how much longer Kuantan's easy-living, wooden-housed past would hang on, in the face of widespread revolution. Kuantan, and indeed, Malaysia, is a land of contrasts as modernity and civilisation gradually settle and replace the old, creaking hallmarks of former Malaya.

Bearing in mind this historical backdrop, it is with gratitude I speak that we have the ability and means to keep up with the wheel of time which is rolling on, and to sample some of the finer things in life, as I report on our delightful stay, albeit a short one, at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa.

The lobby is the first most striking feature with tall bronze pillars supporting a network of gently moving waters around simple seating areas.

The colours of the lobby are revitalised at night along with the accompaniment of the piano being played at various intervals. As the cool draft filters in from the sea, the lighting provides a warm glow which reflects throughout the lobby.

The hotel grounds are nicely laid out, with convenient, direct access to a rather disappointingly boring beach.

My gorgeous wife poses amongst a row of hibiscus flowers

Lauren is a picture of happiness. Later at night it was me who had the biggest grin on my face when Lauren fell asleep on the bed in the air-con without uttering a word. I was watching, of all things - believe it or not, basketball (!) when I turned to see that she had dozed right off! (I'm not sure which was the most surprising - the fact that I watched a basketball match, or the fact that I actually quite enjoyed it, too!)

A banister leads the way to the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa

Water gushes down from the lobby floor above, onto the breakfast cafe in front of the pool

As I said, the beach was disappointing, and we spent the best part of 5 minutes there before heading back to the resort. We saw a lot of tiny crabs which quickly scurried into small holes they had bored in the sand, a motorbike trail, and a sprinkling of fine shells.

Oh yeah, my radiant wife was there too!

In the resort, jets of water stream out in tandem into the pool

We had some fun at the swimming pool, particularly in the afternoon of the day we arrived when the sun warmed up the water and made the experience all the more comfortable. The following morning we waded in the water but without the warmth of the sun as it hid behind the overcast sky. Lauren loved every minute of the children's pool whilst Fie and I took turns relaxing in the jacuzzi.

The beach babe kicks up a wave poolside

We had the jacuzzi all to ourselves on this morning

A rope conveniently cordones off the jacuzzi from the children's pool - my wife takes a break in the warm bubbles

And finally, we come to the room. It was a fairly basic room but was comfortable and more than adequate for our one night stay there. We did experience a problem with our door key card, but a very friendly and helpful worker came to change the batteries, and all was well again.

A hot bubble bath was particularly pleasing

A telephone beside the toilet. Cravings for food apparently come whilst doing your business on the pot. Or is that the call for help when there's no 'crap paper' around. (Crap paper is toilet paper and I use it in reference to an amusing experience in Petaling Jaya a while back with my family - one of those funny situations that is just never forgotten!)

And this was Lauren's favourite thing about the room!

And of course, the reason why we were at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa - my wife was attending her staff dinner with the theme 'Princes and Princesses'. I'm quite certain she would have won the prize for best princess had she been a permanent member of staff!

She did however, win 3rd place for an ad hoc dancing contest, bringing home RM50 and a hamper.

Lauren and I enjoyed some time in our room before she amazingly fell asleep completely unaided!

Our free buffet breakfast was a delight and we made sure to make the most of free food, along with orange, mango and guava juices.

So, we enjoyed this lovely time at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa and left feeling satisfied and wishing we could stay longer. It is extremely refreshing to relax and treat oneself once in a while.

As we left this symbol of modernity, we drove back through the old huts and shacks, dirty-walled restaurants and traditional Malay houses, to our home and rapidly modernising town-cum-city. And it struck me that it wasn't so long ago that people here would have left their old house to taste a faraway luxury, only to return to the same third world situation.

How things are changing. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swiss Garden Resort and Spa Taster

The swimming pool illuminated by lines of lights around tree trunks

The photo essay of our stay at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa is coming tomorrow

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Murray's Scare, Federer's Flair

Scotland's Andy Murray suffered a huge scare in his first round encounter with home favourite and former world number 7 Richard (pronounced Reesh-ard) Gasquet. Murray was looking out of sorts and had no answer to Gasquet's beautiful single-handed backhand shots......until......the Frenchman injured his knee. Murray won a close third set and ran away with the final two sets 6/2, 6/1 as Gasquet heroically battled on to no avail.

Meanwhile on Philippe Chartrier court, reigning champion Roger Federer demonstrated a little flair as he easily desposed of Australian opener Peter Luczak in straight sets, 6/4, 6/1, 6/2.

The draw is opening up nicely for Federer, his second round match will be against Alejandro Falla, while 27th seed Feliciano Lopez, who was due to meet the Swiss in the 3rd round, remarkably fell at the first hurdle to a qualifier.

Murray will have to improve his game and his emotions in the near future if he is to progress deeper into this tournament. He is mentally unstable and with opponents such as Chela, Baghdatis, Berdych and Tsonga possibly standing in his way to a semi-final with the Great Man, it seems only a matter of time before he is beaten.

Thankfully live coverage has appeared on the box, so I'm happy!


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