Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gonna Make You Sweat

a recent spiteful remark by someone and the fact that i looked more like a panda myself in the pics created an impetus in me to actually change.

i had been at the bottom of the pit, feeling so low what with my mother's demise and the depression due to teaching at my current school, but a conversation with my niece Inas led me to the decision.

that i'm not going to just whine and do nothing about it.

that i'm going to change my life and the rest can just go and tut! themselves.

and so, i decided to go on a diet for the umpteenth time to lose the belly fat that is visible in the pics.

the first week was okay, but then i decided to make another major decision. inspired by The Biggest Loser tv programme, i decided to join a gym (which i avoided like plague in the past). i hated the gym because it looked so... masculiny and complicated. besides it's costly to become a member. 6 years back, i could lose 17kgs just on sheer discipline and determination. and back then i was on study leave. now, i'm a working woman in KL and sheer complacency in red with two horns can just create all sorts of excuses and play the devil with my will. But The Biggest Loser made the gym so attractive, as attractive as Chilli's or Secret Recipe.

which was why, on one of my excursions to KLCC, i decided to stop by at a fitness centre and check it out. the staff is friendly enough, calling me "kak" ("kak" is better than "makcik" or "nenek"). as the staff brought me to the gym, i couldn't believe it because i got excited when i saw rows of treadmills, cross trainers and other equipment; and the studio with the mirrors. i instantly signed up for 6 months.

on the first day, i was intimidated by the others who looked so poised and knew what they were doing. i couldn't even operate the treadmill on my own. one lady looked as if she came out from the Nike ad- with all the sweat, she still looked fabulous on the treadmill in that small t shirt which i know i couldnt fit. at least not in the near future. i joined the step aerobics - an exercise which i'm familiar with. but after 15 minutes i pancited and decided to do something else. it turned out that the class was an advanced class, and there were a lot of jumping with no intervals and also pirouetting. the next morning i had a major migraine plus photo phobia.

that did not deter me from going to the gym in the evening.

now, a week later, i must say that exercising has helped to improve my moods tremendously. my steps are lighter, and other than just fatigue, i'm okay.

hope to look fab during raya!

Friday, June 12, 2009

(updated with pics) Discovering the Roots: Travels to Shanghai and Beijing

the trip to Shanghai and Beijing is an enlightening one for me. not only because it connects me to my roots, but also i get to see one of the seven wonders of the world - the Great Wall of China.

the journey began in Shanghai. we arrived at Pu Dong Airport but we were held up for an hour because a fellow passenger had a high fever. 10 passengers around the affected passenger were quarantined. luckily for us, we were free to go. we then went to Cheng kuang miao, Shanghai Old Town. that's where arts and crafts are sold, and mozie and i bought some Chinese paintings from some friendly Chinese art dealers.
we found that in Shanghai, mopeds rule supreme, so it's a norm to see them honking at pedestrians. after lunch, we checked into our hotel - Holiday Inn, a nice 4 star hotel.

on the second day, we went to the Freshwater Pearl Centre. the staff opening a 4 year old oyster and scooping the last of the pearls.
it's normal to see white, pink, peach, black and grey pearls, but it's not normal to see purple and brown pearls. so i bought a purple pearl ring and brown pearl brooch. i asked to see the golden pearl, which is revered by the chinese, and that's when i learnt something abt the China chinese - ask to see something, and they will make sure you pay for it. these pearls were lovely because they're not cultured ones, they're natural pearls! 1 pearl costs RNB1280. one caught my eye - they're chocolate pearls, they look so much like chocolates that you want to eat them but hey, who wants to buy a RM600 pearl?
we then went to Nanjing Road, a stretch of road full of shops selling expensive items. how expensive, you might ask - well let's just say my RM200+ Clarks costs RM300+ over there. in the afternoon, we left for Suzhou. we stayed at a cekai hotel but never mind, it's only for a night.

the next day, our guide Andy, took us to the Government owned silk factory. the silk cocoons

making silk quilt
the silks are nice, but they're very expensive. i didnt buy any silk here. we were then taken to the Gate of the City where they still have a very ancient bridge which stood for 1700 years.
i love the park, the lake looks so serene. if i had to move to China, i would want to live in Suzhou. in the afternoon, we went to see a World Cultural Heritage site - Master-of-Nets Garden - the house of a government officer of a few hundred years ago. at Master-Nets Garden
after the visit, we went to shop at Suzhou Old Town, where we discovered a street market and bought Crocs for RNB15. we even saw a man pulling a monkey with an amputated leg, begging for money. i felt sorry for the monkey, because it was obvious that it lost its leg for the greed of a man. how cruel man can be! after shopping, we boarded the train to go to Beijing.

we arrived in Beijing to a rainy morning and it was 15 Celcius. we breakfasted at a muslim restaurant and received a very bad service from a sullen waitress. amidst the rain, we made our way to Tianamen square and took pics under our disposable umbrellas and rain jackets. we then proceeded to the Forbidden City. i marvelled at all the work and detail that went into making this magnificent palace - nothing was left to chance. we were told that no man could enter this palace except for the Emperor, the rest were his eunuchs, his empress and the 3000 concubines.
in the evening we went to watch an acrobatic show.

the next day, we went to the jade centre. after a briefing, we were taken to the display room where all grades of jades were sold. i bought a jade pendant and a small jade to be set on a ring.there were also bolts and bolts of silks and i bought a very pretty white silk. after that we were taken to a crystal centre. i wasnt impressed with the coloured ones because they can be found in malaysia, but i bought a very elegant and exclusive looking brooch with clear crystal stones. in the afternoon we had lunch at Cloisonne Enamelware Centre - where they sell enamelware but since they're all expensive, i bought a small enamel egg. in the afternoon, we climbed the Great Wall. it was magnificent! i marvelled at the architecture and at its sheer length and size. that's the feeling you get when you have to pant while climbing the steep stairs. you feel respect for the builders. of course, the first thought that came to my mind - how did they feed all the guards at all the towers?

the next day i could feel pain everywhere at my thighs and legs. even the bus driver laughed when i was ouching while boarding the bus. we visited the Summer Palace and the manmade lake. after the visit, we visited the panda zoo. then we went to the Russian market to shop for tablecloths and tablerunners. then we went to Ya Shao market where 2 hours is just not enough for us to shop. that night we had a dinner of Peking duck. seriously, i didnt see anything to rave about.

the next day was our last day. we took pics of the birds nest olympic stadium and went to the jewellery centre which was one of the sponsors for the games. the manager is a malaysian chinese who's very realistic and blunt about malaysians and beijing people. our last stop was at a mosque where the people there talked to me in mandarin.

at 4.45 we took off to go back home.

so what do i feel?

i just went to know how my ancestors lived in China. but as in all my travels, i'm glad i'm a malaysian.

how i miss malaysian food.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Trip Back Home

my friend Jeet got married on the 1st so i went home to KT with mozie. the ride home was quite tiring, but we arrived safely in the afternoon. the house was sadly, in disarray. the garden resembled a jungle in dry season. i miss my house, it's a charming single storey bungalow and meant to be lived in, not to be abandoned.

anyway, i became a guide and showed mozie around. took her to the crystal mosque and then to pasar kedai payang to shop. i had this urge to buy all the colourful silks. thankfully i didnt - after paying my tailor RM350 for my 3 baju kurungs *sigh*. the only thing i regret is that i wasnt able to take her to teluk ketapang for the ikan celup tepung.

i stopped at SS on monday and tuesday, and met old friends there. some of the students were there as well for their holiday extra classes. the teachers commented that i look rounder than ever *sigh*. i've to do something about this.

we came back to KL on the 3rd, stopping here and there. we even had a picnic at a beach in Dungun, an idyllic spot for picnicking or finding inspiration.

everything went well until we had our last stop at an RnR when i noticed that the needle at the petrol gauge fell sharply. i thought that i could make it, but i was wrong. once we were in Karak Highway, the needle pointed just above E and after a few kms the petrol icon turned a bright yellow - i panicked, and i know mozie also panicked. genting sempah was another 15km or so. we were quiet for awhile. finally, after spotting an emergency number on a big signboard (thanx to MTD), we called for the highway patrol to come and fill the car with petrol. i was cautious afterwards and filled another rm30 worth of petrol at genting sempah.

moral of the story? fill the tank up to the brim when you're going for a long distance journey.