Thursday, March 31, 2011

A-Z April blogging challenge starts tomorrow

If you hadn't noticed, I have signed up for the A-Z April blogging challenge which has well over 700 participants registered at Home of A-Z

I have been planning my 26 posts but I think I'll leave the writing to the actual day since I tend to write better on the spot. 

My blog posts will reflect our life in Kuantan, Malaysia; things we love, things we do, places we go, likes and dislikes; along with a word or two each day that you may not have come across before. (I'm an English teacher and love vocabulary, so I have some nice words lined up for you!)

We recently had our computer reformatted, which was a long overdue job, and it now works a whole lot faster, which will help me visit a lot more blogs writing the A-Z challenge. Notice the nice new buttons on the right-hand-side "Next blog" and "Surprise me!" They will take you to A-Z challenge participating blogs.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our reliance on running water

Yesterday we had no running water at all in our home. It appears that a large portion of Kuantan went without water. We couldn't shower, we couldn't really cook food without water, we couldn't do any washing, we couldn't use the toilet without needing a whole bucket of water to flush it all down.

We are very fortunate that we have some good friends here in Kuantan who allowed us, even welcomed and thanked us for coming to their house to shower and fill up some buckets of water to take home. Around lunchtime we went to our friend Santha's home where we showered and were treated to lychee drinks.

Last night we went to Serene's home where we showered once more and filled up four buckets of water for use at home. Both of our friends are parents of my former and current English students.

I realised just how much we rely on turning the tap and having running water ready to serve us. Without this luxury, even just for one day, we descend into a state of panic and turmoil, unable to live our day as normal.

Well, there are people around the world who don't have access to water like we do, and they have to live with it permanently. Certainly people in Japan have been living for quite some time now without water, and I wonder how they do it.

Thankfully our water is back today, apart from our hot water for the shower, so we're settling for a cold one for the time being. This water shortage has at least motivated me to have a considerably larger supply of water in storage. What if the whole of Kuantan had no water? If we couldn't just go to a friend's house to shower?

I want to be prepared

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pasar Malam (night market) in Bukit Sekilau, Kuantan

"Pasar Malam" is the Malay words which mean 'night market' in English. Every Thursday evening there is a pasar malam in Bukit Sekilau, just a short walk from my house. It involves a number of stalls stretching for 150 metres on a village road in Bukit Sekilau. As you'll see from the pictures, a variety of foods and other things are sold at this weekly pasar malam.

I ordered my favourite, nasi dagang, which is rice with a piece of fish and curry. The rice is wrapped in the green banana leaves, the fish curry tied with rubber bands in small plastic bags.It costs just RM2.

This portable restaurant on wheels sells steamboat food, in particular fish...

My wife's favourite here. This Chinese food is called 'Pau' and is like a white bread which may contain a variety of different fillings...

Foods waiting to be fried and sold...

My wife loves this little pink dessert...

Can any Malaysians help me to identify this little treat?

A variety of fruits are sold at this stall. The big green one is soursop, and makes for a delicious drink. At far left is a fruit named 'jambu air' or water apple. The fruit 'longan' can be seen at far right, but I'm not sure what the small orange-coloured fruits are?

Our favourite drink, 'air tebu' or sugar cane! Every time we go to the pasar malam we will buy this gorgeous drink.

This is the sugar cane juice extractor machine. The man simply pushes in sticks of sugar cane at the top of the machine. The dried stalks come out and fall on the floor at the bottom; the juice is caught behind in a container...

Here's one of a handful of clothes stalls...

We also bought some 'satay' - flame-grilled chicken or beef on a stick with peanut sauce...

Finally, here are some paper cars, which the Chinese use to burn as an offering for the dead...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sentosa Boardwalk links island with mainland

So I made a quick visit to Singapore on Monday, taking a 6-hour bus from Kuantan before returning the next day. From 4-8pm I rode the MRT, visited the nex shopping mall in the North-east of Singapore, and strolled the Sentosa Boardwalk, the newest in a long line of attractions.

It all started at the Kranji MRT

I sat quietly on the train, looking at the people sitting opposite me, everyone civilised, no shouting or disturbing other passengers. An older woman nodded off, dropped her water bottle on the floor and immediately woke up with a shock! Two young men entered the train and immediately whipped out their hand-held computer devices. One was sitting next to me, intensely tapping buttons on a fighting game. A young girl checked herself in a small mirror, putting her hair into place and applying a little make-up here and there. A few policemen boarded the train and alighted a few stops later. 

Eventually we reached Bishan Interchange

This is part of the new Circle Line which has been partially completed, so I had to try it out.

A waterfall scene outside the Serangoon MRT

The nex shopping mall in Serangoon area:

The nex mall is too big to take in in one day, let alone the hour or so I spent there. I did stop for a KFC and was delighted to order these fantastic 'cheese fries'

And if you couldn't be occupied with the several floors of shops, there is a terrific sky roof garden on the roof. Check it out:

This water playground is popular with the children!

There is even a place to take your pet dog for a run around in a secluded spot

Here's an image from the water playground:

nex mall is beautifully decorated

Soon I continued my journey on the Circle line where I got off at Dhoby Ghaut Interchange, hopped on the North-east line and travelled down to Harbour Front.

I was lucky enough to catch the sunset at Harbour Front:

Here I am outside Vivo City mall:

I made a journey through Vivo City where I came out the other side straight onto the Boardwalk

The Sentosa Boardwalk is made up of beautifully lined wooden planks, where it gets its name from. Here is a view of the Boardwalk from outside Vivo City mall:

You'll have to be careful where you walk in some places which contain water...

Warm lighting fills the Sentosa Boardwalk

Grabbed another picture of the sky at sunset from the Boardwalk:

A view of one of the restaurants on the Sentosa Boardwalk:

I enjoyed observing these wire structures of people playing some kind of sports:

Any ideas what sports they're playing, or what they're doing???

Here, two visitors check their pictures of this lighted stairway on Sentosa Boardwalk:

A view of Sentosa Boardwalk as it stretches into the distance towards Resorts World Sentosa:

At this section, some wooden panels on the Boardwalk come alight at night:

These obelisk-like towers emitted the colours of the rainbow to light up the far end of Sentosa Boardwalk:

With a quick swipe of my ezlink card which deducted one dollar, I was permitted to continue my journey on the Boardwalk a little further into an area surrounding Resorts World Sentosa.

An artificial cave was the next thing to greet me:

Saw this little light box on the floor, and took this picture of it. It looks magical!

Here are those wire structures, as seen at night:

Again, who can tell me what they're doing?

I love the night scenes in Singapore

I managed to capture the purple glow of the lightning strike in this picture of the Sentosa Boardwalk:

A final image of Sentosa Boardwalk looking back towards the mainland with all the illuminated buildings along the banks of Harbour Front, reflecting beautifully in the water.


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