Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm glad we did it...

Following on from my post about our June Malacca trip...

The next morning on 22 June, I took a shot of my daughter’s lips and also sent Daddy a MMS (and broke his heart, though he did say she looks like Angelina Jolie…).
Thank goodness the injury did not affect her appetite for a good buffet breakfast at the hotel as she helped herself to eggs, muffins, and bread, though when she hit at it at times with a spoon, it still hurt. When she told me it was painful to drink from the cup, I had the waitress help bring us a straw. Poor thing…
So she was extra careful that morning as she played ‘choo choo train’ with Simon as the kids waited for the adults to get ready to head out.

We sneaked in a few shots as I also made a call to reception to get them to make up the room. This time round, I asked to speak to the manager and let go my steam with rantings of the no extra pillows/no blankets (they brought them soon after), the aircon that was so noisy (and the elusive maintenance guy), and of course the shit in the toilet bowl. I told him that he has to make sure the chamber maids did their jobs well – obviously they had seen the poo (if not why would they cover it up), and did not bother to clear it. If they did not see it, it means they are not cleaning the toilet bowls after the last guest checked out. In any case, I made sure the poo man heard my case loud and clear (and thankfully we came back to an unclogged, and poo-free, toilet bowl that afternoon).
I got Rosabelle dressed in a summery halter that day since the sun was really hot that morning (luckily the rains cleared), and got a taxi from the concierge (a personal van actually) that brought us to Jonker Street. Glad she takes well to Gong Gong – at least I can be relieved of my duties at times since she likes to stick with Gong Gong too.
It was a short ride to the main tourist/sightseeing/eating area in Malacca, which I remember visiting over CNY 2007 with my family as well, and I’m glad our girl’s tribulations (and my lack of sleep) did not affect our happy moods this morning as we took in the sights. Me being me, I had already planned our stops last night (whilst waiting for aircon man to come…)
Malacca has somewhat managed to retain its old charm in spite of being all touristy, and you can see influences of the Chinese, the Malays, and the Europeans in its architecture and shops.
We went into quite a few shops to check out their foodstuff and from the start, poor Dad had to start lugging around two big bags of foods (they refused to heed my advice that such shops are a dime a dozen and can be bought before we head back to the hotel – Mum thinks ‘since we are here, let’s quickly just get it…’). So here we are, sitting and waiting in one of the shops as Mum unleashes her shopping frenzy of local delicacies…
We then came to the oldest temple in Malacca, and went in (my parents are staunch Buddhists so they made a token donation and lit some joss sticks) as well. Luckily Rosabelle was distracted enough by the pear I brought for her to let Popo take over from me and carry her (refuses to let my mum go near her, for strange reasons we can’t fathom…). Thankfully she could still bite from/off it despite the swelling on her lower lip.
We then made our pilgrimage to Ah Meng shop selling T-shirts (nothing suitable for kids), and also took some photos there (though Simon was adamant that I was committing felony by taking photos even when the shop signage explicitly told us not to…)
We had to take a photo of the Jonker Street sign, and stopped for a dessert of durian chendol (Rosabelle also had some).
We then headed to the usual church area for some camwhoring…
By this time, Simon had spotted the many tourist trishaws milling around and wanted a ride in it, but I was waiting around and hoping they could reduce the prices (by walking away) – they obviously did not, since they did not bother to call us back. I took my time then to walk around and explore other parts of the area, with an increasingly impatient Simon wanting his ride…
Our girl had the mood to pose for more shots, giving me a collage of her sweetest smiles ever (in spite of a painful lower lip…ouch…). She liked wearing her hat, which was just as well, given the hot day it was.
Finally, Simon got his wish when we settled on a 45-minute ride for 20 ringgit (about SGD10, or RMB50) with a young trishaw rider who blasted music from his MP3.
Our girl was contented to take in the sights as Simon sat on Popo’s lap (my Dad did not sit as it could not take as many people, so he rested somewhere else, closely guarding Mum’s treasures of Malacca’s delicacies…), and you can clearly see shots of her swollen lip from these angles.
We went around the area on the trishaw as the young rider offered to take family photos for us – see if you can spot us in these? He was taking many photos from different angles, and looked professional enough, since he has probably taken countless snapshots of tourists. However, after I browsed through the photos in the camera, I had a hard time finding the humans – guess his focus was on taking a panoramic shot of the whole aeroplane/train/ship…
Luckily I took my own photos as we stopped at forts to pose with cannons…and the whole trip lasted for only 30 minutes – maybe he wasn’t counting on us wrapping things up so quickly at each spot – guess 40 minutes includes lingering time at each stop.
We then ate chicken ball rice at one of the shops (didn’t go to the famous one as there was a long queue) – it was certainly nicer and cheaper than that at The Chicken Rice Shop yesterday. Simon was very pleased as chicken rice is his staple food…
After that, we headed back to the hotel and rested, though Rosabelle slept for only an hour (and Simon was strangely wide awake and did not want to sleep at all). We then headed to Dataran Palawan by taxi, a huge shopping mall with a strange medley of different small shops with nothing much to buy (except nonsensical knick-knacks), so the kids were more attracted to the rides and even drove some toy cars around… (as Rosabelle chomped on some muffins Mum smuggled from the breakfast table…).
By the time dinner time swung around, we realized there wasn’t any proper restaurants around, so guess where we went to again? Yes, the all-convenient Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre just opposite our hotel. I wasn’t very happy that Mum almost relented when Simon insisted on going to The Chicken Rice Shop again – one more time I hear ‘chicken rice’, I will seriously flip. So we compromised and went to Kenny Rogers instead where they have side dishes of rice, and yes, chicken. So effectively, he can get his chicken rice fix there too whilst we normal people ate OTHER things like mashed potatos, soups, vegetables, salads…

That night in the hotel, I made sure to watch Rosabelle well, and when I again heard her cry unusually, my Dad was again looking after them (or not?). I did not witness it, but she tripped in their room and fell on her swollen lip, making it bleed slightly again. Aiyo, so poor thing… so my Mum gave my poor Dad a telling-off (negligent as he may be at times, I’m sure he did not want Rosabelle to fall again, and kids being kids, it really is hard to watch over them, especially two of them, at times…).

I was very careful to not turn on any lights on the table since they are all exposed lamp shades – the last time Simon was here, he burnt his fingers touching the light bulbs (and yes, Dad was the one watching him), so I really could not afford another mishap! Thankfully it was an otherwise uneventful night (other than when I was harsh on Rosabelle and made her apologise for pushing Popo when Mum was trying to remove her diaper for her before bath), and I could finally get a good night’s rest.

Thinking that everything was a-ok, I did not count on it to actually rain heavily again that night and disrupt my sleep… drat.

The next morning, it was still pouring heavily, so we had a large breakfast first in the hotel.
I then went to borrow two large umbrellas from the concierge first (for free…) and we walked around the hotel, trying to wait out the rain. We visited the souvenir shop, where I saw a lady wanting to purchase the same umbrella for RMB60 (I whispered to her that she could borrow one from the concierge and she was most grateful). Seeing that there was no signs of the rain letting down, we went back to the hotel room first to pack up as much as we could before heading out for lunch.

Luckily the rain was less heavy by then as we went opposite to yes, Mahkota Parade, again, for lunch. Adamant that our last meal in Malacca was NOT to be at The Chicken Rice Shop, I lured Simon to Secret Recipe on the pretext that they were giving out free Ben 10 cups with every kids’ meal – he enjoyed the spaghetti as well. Our girl was munching on a breakfast muffin all along, so obviously she did not take much of the lunch I’d ordered for her.
When we got back to the hotel, we then returned the well-used umbrellas as the kids played around the stair area…and we then headed back to collect our luggage and wait at the lobby.
Somebody was pretending to sleep as she waited on the sofa…
Apparently there were two Konsortium buses that afternoon, and the one that came earlier refused to take us as there was another fetching us. Oh well… the second one came soon enough and we got on. This trip round, Rosabelle was adamant on harassing Simon, and kept wanting to sit next to and press at his remote control. I had to let her eat Ribena sweet and prawn crackers to keep her occupied – thankfully she managed to catch 40 minutes of sleep after some time and woke up just as we pulled into customs.
The bus ride back was very fast, but we had some hiccups at the causeway. Simon’s passport had actually expired (well, technically not so, as it’s less than 6 months from the usual grace period passports expire – something I can’t figure out), and my brother-in-law had to bring him to the Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority just a few days before our departure to get them to help issue a one-time permit. At the Singapore immigration on our way back into Singapore, the lady spent some time perusing this document (a trainee perhaps?), and after we left, she actually called us back when we were at the bus waiting area, to go into the office. Turns out my mum needed to sign some document to certify that she had surrendered the piece of paper to them – chay, so inexperienced, she should have asked her to do so there and then – what if we had left?

Obviously we had not, as we had to wait another 15 minutes for our bus to clear immigration. The folks were checking very thoroughly for things in the bus, and at one point, I was warning my mum that it must be her many bottles of water that they thought were alcohols, haha!

When we reached Golden Mile, luckily it was easy to catch a taxi back home to Simsville as my parents headed out to get dinner, thankfully bringing both the kids along as I unpacked. Mum told me Rosabelle was harassing Simon so much in the car, wanting to sit on his lap, that Simon was getting quite exasperated, haha!

That night, after a good dinner (no chicken rice for me, as you can expect), poor Rosabelle suffered from her misadventures in Malacca as she could not enjoy her favourite orange slices properly as her lips were smarting from the citrus juices. I had to help her place the slices gingerly into her mouth, carefully avoiding the lip area… After dinner, we even paid a visit to our neighbour’s house as she spotted Naomi Meimei and Gabriel Ge Ge at play, and she enjoyed playing with their toys.

I’m glad that we made the trip despite all the hiccups and mishaps, as she let Popo bathe her for the very first time that night – hopefully it’s because of the trip that has led to her developing a closeness for family, heh! But lesson learnt – next time, we’ll book earlier, and next time, I will try and watch over Rosabelle more myself, haha!

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