Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dubai ... DO BUY... (Part ONE)

Finally, a little breather to post the stuff we did in Dubai. Do know that it is now 5.30am and I was woken up by a 4.08am phone call regarding work. Well, this is certainly the part I WON'T miss when I report to my new division in February. However, it did create just enough time for me to slip this post right in.. ;)

If I had only ONE word to describe the whole trip it would be... MAGICAL. :) The experience was truly very much welcomed seeing that a lot was going on at the home front. It was a very timely getaway for the both of us, from work.. from the kids.. heh heh heh Oh, and it was also time for the month long Dubai Shopping Festival , so we were expecting some great bargains too. Eventhough the whole idea was kind of impromptu and embarked on rather quickly, we did do a little research (in terms of my Lonely Planet :Dubai guidebook) and prepared a little itinerary on the things we'd like to see and do in Dubai. This particular document was then submitted to our travel companion, ZZ and Nazz as well as our bidan terjun tour guide , Radhi (he's Azrul's ex-M*X\$ friend now working in the Emirates) .

From our intel, we figured that our biggest problem would be getting an affordable lodging for our stay. One night accommodation in Dubai could range from AED300 (forex is about RM1 = AED1) up till AED1000 depending on which area you stay in. (More so if you'd wanna try the 4,5,7-star hotels) However, that issue was efffectively dealt by ZZ with her awesome bargaining power and her detailed & relentess comparison efforts (read: Kiasu mommy in action). We ended up staying at the Al-Khayyam (Khadra a/p Ayam?) Hotel which was strategically located by the Gold Souk in the Deira area - ala-ala macam Jalan Masjid India la... :) This proved to be a very sound choice as;

1. we only paid AED350 for a 2-bedroom "suite" ( = CHEAP)
2. we found a good place to fill our tummy with good and tasty Lebanese cuisine in the am or pm at an affordable price (= CHEAP, yet again)
3. we could just run down and bargain our way at the Gold Souk for pashminas, jubahs, table runners, Ali Baba shoes and such when we had free time. (= CHEAPer)
My sissy went a day ahead of us, so by the time we arrived in Dubai, it was straight to business. We went around town capturing the"must see" landmarks - Sheikh Zayed Road with all the breathtaking skyscapers : Emirates Tower, Dusit Dubai, the construction of Burj Dubai ; Burj al-Arab (took pictures from the guard post as we didn't wanna pay to go in. took also from the beach) before heading to our first shopping stop: Ibn Battuta Mall.

Ibn Battuta Mall : The mall was really one of a kind. It is actually themed after the travels of Ibn Battuta from China to India to Persia to Egypt to God-knows-where else. So, when you are in the China court, the deco will be Chinese inspired and so on. Sorry, not just the deco.. the whole darn exterior is also built using Chinese inspired architeture. So, from the outside you could tell that a China man is neighbours with an Indian man and the nextdoor neighbour is Egyptian and so on. Quite awesome, actually.. The interior is also do darn detailed and exquisite. There are also little exhibits on the findings along the way , it's a like going to a museum mall - so darn informative and you could shop at the same time. ;) The shopping was simply heavenly... I loved the Nine West sale and the Mothercare sale. Variety is superb, choices of stores, also superb.
Mall Rating =4 Thumbs Up.
On our way back, we stopped at Hard Rock Cafe to buy some merchandise. I don't know what it is about this establishment that makes me wanna get something from HRC everytime we travel overseas. It's like a kind of proof that we've physically been to the city, kot? Both hubby and me got a real nice jacket/sweater for ourselves that actually fits perfectly!

Morning came and we had 2 things to tick off our itinerary. 1. More shopping at the Mall of Emirates and 2. Desert safari. So, we decided to shop and ask the safari operator to pick us up at the mall. Pretty smart, eh?
The Mall of Emirates : This is also the home of SkiDubai, the indoor ski slope complete with the cable chair thingy and theme park. Can you believe it? A ski slope in a mall???? Only in Dubai.... We didn't get the chance to ski though, because of the timing, but we did a whole lot of shopping though.. There's Debenhams and Harvey Nichols (COACH had 50% off here!!!) in this mall, so variety is aplenty. Loads and loads of stores for kids - Mothercare (in Debenhams), Pumpkin Patch, Osh Kosh (tak sale); a whole portion dedicated to designer stores - Burberry, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Hermes, etc etc ; high street fashion - MNG (sale gila), Nine West, Clarks, you name it, they've got it! Variety is excellent, choices of stores, also excellent. Definitely my favourite mall! :)
Mall Rating =5 Thumbs Up.

As for the desert safari -- definitely one of the must do item if you go to Dubai. We got a bargain price of AED150 per person (again thanks to ZZ) and that includes: dune bashing, sand surfing, camel ride, henna tattoo, photo op in Emirati jubah and abaya, sheesha smoking, barbeque dinner and belly dancing show. Plus, they'll pick you up from wherever you want, some more.. Waaah! Great bargain, innit? Azrul got really screwed when we stopped to buy some drinks. There were no price tags what so ever, so he asked the storekeeper for the price. His reply? Price at the counter. He took 3 Cokes and walked over to pay, to his surprise, AED18 for his purchases. Bloody hell. AED6 , satu Coke-- cekik darah betul! Taula tepi gurun... Knowing him, he paid the price and bitched later. If it was me, I'd leave them at the counter -- hah, tegukla Coke tu sendiri.. We also stopped awhile to catch the sunset in the desert. Quite a moment.. During the camel ride, we got the frisky camel behind us trying to chomp our legs - thank God for the little baskety cover on his mouth. I bought Khadra a pink camel to remember this trip by and brought her little pink camel on the ride as well. Camel riding a camel. :) Of course, the other thing I had to comment was the belly dancing. The lady, Shahrazad, didn't look very authentic and ZZ was saying that this minah maybe Russian. Anyways, the gelek was a little suspect - macam ballerina ada gak, macam headbanging ada gak, macam gatal pun ada gak.. heh heh heh

Damn, it's already 6:50am. Enough for today, I'll post another one for the rest of the time we were there when I get to, okay? And that's a promise. :)

-dillz blogging out-

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Heading Back Home

Had a glorious time in Dubai.
But I missed my kids too damn much.
Utilizing the free wi-fi in Dubai International Airport.
Be back in Kuala Lumpur in 12 hours or so.

Good-bye Dubai. I'll see you soon...

-dillz blogging out-

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Busy Times Ahead

Just a quick note. I will be moving to a new divison after 6 years.
Busy making preparations and completing the hand over notes.
I meant SUPER-busy.
Off to Dubai on the 19th.
Will be back on the 24th.
Second honeymoon la babe... ;)

-dillz blogging out-

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bluey & Barbie Bikey

Finally... We got the kids their respective bikes to add on to their evening activities. Also, there's also the fact that we have promised them a bike each for quite some time. Khaleeq was promised a blue bike after he finally weaned off my boobies and Khadra was promised a pink bike to stop her from sucking her thumb. Since Khaleeq has stopped breastfeeding completely and Khadra is only on occasional tumb-sucking sessions, we figured we might as well get them the darn bikes.

Glad to note that Khadra is now riding her pink Barbie bike (with training wheels) beautifully. Khaleeq, on the other hand, has yet to grasp the very concept of biking. He just puts his legs on the pedal and expects it to move -- cycle it boy, cycle it!! Shesh... As for now, we are content on just pushing him around... heh heh heh

-dillz blogging out-

Khaleeq Goes to School

The time has come for my baby boy to go to school! He was so darn excited about the whole thing he actually carried his schoolbag on his back the whole journey to school.
Normally, we'd have a hard time leaving him at home in the morning. He'd be running to the shoe box to get his shoes and starts wailing as soon as we close the door. Pity, eh? So, that particular morning I made Khadra promise to take care of his brother at school. Her reply? "OK mom. I'll take care of my baby." So sweet, kan?
When we finally got to the school, there were already some parents there ensuring that their kid would settle down on their first day of school. I saw one new kid already crying his eyeballs out on the playmat-- sure enough his parents weren't around. :( Khaleeq went straight for the toy car, the toy house and then the slides. He was so jakun like that. And Khadra was always always two steps behind. (chewah!) I have to say though, with his BLUE apron on, I've still got some people asking if he was a he or a she! Shesh.. I really have to do something about the haircut!

After about 30 minutes staying over, we felt that he was settled in and made our way out of there. The look on his face when I picked them up later that afternoon was priceless. Eventhough he didn't say anything , I could tell that he was pretty pleased with himself. He's got this satisfied grin on his face all the time he was walking down the main steps to the car. I hope this would speed up his speech. I really pray that it does.
-dillz blogging out-

Birthday Galore

I started off not knowing what to ask for for my birthday. So, hubby just got me these cool stuff as a preview birthday present:
A pair of black Clarks shoes to show off my buffed toenails and a bottle of Eternity Summer for Her by Calvin Klein.
As I was sitting and reading the OK! magazine at Thomas & Guys, SACC Mall, Shah Alam it occured to me. ( I was dyeing my hair - I always have it done nearing my birthday!) I want a Coach handbag for my birthday. I actually feel that LV and Prada and Gucci and all that lot were not suitable for me. I didn't want to look like I am carrying an imitation, you know? They are just too darn expensive for a handbag and I don't think I'd want to blow that much money on them.
So, meet my birthday handbag from Coach courtesy of my hubby. Isn't it such a darrrling? The darn keychain cost us RM 175 but I had to have it. I just had to.. It just looked that it belonged there... We actually got the bag a day before my birthday. :) And to top the icing to my cake, my mom and dad agreed to redeem their Enrich points for my flight to Dubai as my birthday present. Isn't that the coolest? I'll be flying off to Dubai , thanks to them! Thanks ibu and encik! I love you both lots... So that makes me a very happy camper! :) No more shopping until the Dubai trip then!
That's me and my dad at Chili's Mid Valley , the night before my birthday. It was the first of a series of events that marked my 32nd Birthday on January 6th, 2007. We had dinner with the almost nucleus family; me, Azrul, Khadra, Khaleeq, mom, dad, Ewa and Kira PLUS Feizy. After the compulsory Happy Birthday to You jingle; mom and entourage headed back to Pondok Azlul whilst Azrul, Kira and I sent the underaged home. We had to attend a midnight movie - A Night at the Museum. ;)
The next day, lunch was courtesy of my brother-in-law, Abg Amran and wife. We had a scrumpious meal at Fatty Crab near The Mines. The butter prawn was yummy and the crab needs special mention. I can't remember how it was prepared but I do know that it agrees with my tummy!! heh heh heh
After Maghrib, we had a tahlil for our dearly departed paternal grandmother, Allahyarhamah Zabedah who passed on on my birthday , 5 years ago. So, every year since, we had always had a tahlil on my birthday. Pretty lucky, eh? Right after Yasin, tahlil, Isyaa', Hajat and Zikir Munajat ; we had our dinner and excused our little butts for another pre-scheduled event. ;) Azrul, me, Ewa, Kira and Feizy headed to Yow Chuan Plaza in our silver Camry for a karaoke session to test my vocals after the sinus surgery. ;) The road was pretty jammed up due to the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 launching in Titiwangsa so we were late for our reservation. So we had to wait for a darn while before they had a Medium sized room for us. After a little while we were joined by Boy and soo after Ewa & hubby came into the room carrying a cake for moi! I was pleasantly surprised as I actually mentioned on the way over that this would be the first year I didn't have a birthday cake. So sweet, kan?
I was supposed to meet up with some friends the next day but that didn't happen so I took the kids over to Pondok Azlul and basically caught up on my beauty sleep. ha ha.. And that basically wraps up my birthday weekend. ;)
-dillz blogging out-

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Khadra's Concert

The long awaited and anticipated concert finally took place on December 13th, 2006. Khadra's supporters included Azrul, me, Khaleeq, Bibik Parmi, Mek, Ewa, Kira, Naqib and Teyta. We had to send Khadra at 3.30pm to allow for makeup and such. The guests came in at 4.45pm. As I mentioned in an earlier post the show is entitled "Famous Musicals".
Khadra had four sets of outfit for the show. ONE: A dress she picked out from Carousel for the Sound of Music:
Updated: Khadra singing Tomorrow!
TWO: A tattered set of clothing for Oliver Twist and a black baseball cap (as below). I went around looking for pants and t-shirt that could be sent off for edging. That basically means that the edges will be ripped and I didn't want her Osh Kosh be ripped apart as such. So, I finally found a pair of pants at Carrefour for RM19 and a t-shirt from Jusco for RM6. When I got home, I diligently sew on patches on her t-shirt and pants so that she'd look like an orphan from Oliver's.

THREE: A custom made Thai princess costume for The King & I. This particular costume was tailor-made by the teachers at school. FOUR: A kebaya for her Tiru Macam Saya and Waktu Semalam Bung.

I can't for the life of me remember each and every song that she sang in the show but she really sang each one of them wholeheartedly. I could hear her voice distinctly every time and her expression is just so priceless. Even Marlia Musa commented that she loved Khadra's expressions. (Yes, her kid goes to the same school as Khadra) Here's a little sneak peek on her Tiru Macam Saya on youtube, courtesy of Kira. Just let the whole thing load up first before you actually play it one shot, okay?

During the Awards presentation, Khadra won the Best Artist award and us lot got a bouquet of flowers for helping out with the backdrop. :) Later, there were lotsa food for everyone. Everybody goes home a winner, and I can't wait for the next concert preparation!

-dillz blogging out -

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Creative Cats

I just had to share these pictures with you.

Khadra had her annual concert on 13th of December last year and the whole show was themed 'Famous Musicals'. So, the mommies and the daddies were invited to come over to her school to help with painting of the backdrops for the show. There were 7 screens to paint in total. 1 screen for Oliver Twist + 3 screens for Anna & the King + 3 screens for Sound of Music. So, I came by one sunny day and I was told that the teachers needed me to design the backdrop and draw it on the 9 feet by 6 feet gigantic plywood screens. (They were obviously impressed by my creative trees in the last year's concert heh heh heh) Great! I'd LOOOOVE to! ;)

So, here are my favourite two screens, one picture shows the inspiration of the design and beside it is the final outcome!

From Anna & the King:  

From Sound of Music:

The backdrops were painted in by the other parents and teachers but the finishing was mainly done by yours truly. You know, the shading, the borders, the 3-d effects and other details. Of course, I also had help from my hubby and Kira. We came in a few Saturdays before we were finally pleased with the results. Kira did the details on the Siamese grand entrance and Azrul's proudest masterpiece is the hilltop drawing from the Sound of Music.
(see below)

Turned out rather nice, didn't they?

-dillz blogging out-

Monday, January 08, 2007

Moving On

*from my other blog at Dilla Speaks Out

Concurrent with the new year, I have moved on to:


See ya and don’t be a stranger eh? ;)

-dillz blogging out-

Great News to Start the New Year

Just a little update from my previous posts. You know, the one from the 'other' place I used to call home.
I AM STILL ALIVE!! :) Obviously. I am NOT writing from the Land of the Dead. I was admitted on the 27th of December 2006 and I had a real breakdown the day before. Primarily I was worried about the anesthesia, not so much on the actual surgical procedure. I have an underlying asthma condition so my main worry was that I would not come out of my 'sleep'. I was not ready to leave my hubby and my kids. So, I cried in the shower and I broke down again when I tried to talk to hubby about it. The main thing that kept me going was the principle that if it was time, then I'd be gone anyways. In many other ways -- it didn't have to be through this particular operation, right? So, I did the next best thing , I got myself a nice manicure and pedicure. At least, my nails were buffed up real nice and I would go in-style!
Seriously though, my family came to send me off before I was wheeled off to the Operation Theatre in Level One of Pantai Medical Centre. I was kept at the reception area which undoubtedly was a scary place to be in. We were in this little area partitioned by a drapey curtain and I could here the next bed uncle wanting to go wee-wee and the nurse double-checking a Malay looking patient with a Chinese name tag. "Salah ni.. Wrong name lah.." Ai-yoo.. I kept on saying the Syahadah and read any Surah that I could remember. My ENT specialist and the anaesthesist (?) came for a little visit and answered all my last minute questions and that did make me a little better. After a little bit more of waiting, an abang wheeled me into Operations Theatre 2 at about 1pm and I was prepped. I remembered a needle poking into my left wrist and after a minute of so...

Wake up girl, wake up...

I tried to clear my throat and say something but I couldn't. Where is this place? , I wondered. I looked around and the clock on the wall showed it was now 3.25pm. It's over? It's over and I am still alive.. Alhamdulillah... :) Yahoo!!!!! I was wheeled back to my room with two strings coming out of my nostrils. Apparently, they were holding gauzes that was put in place to stop the bleeding.
I won't bore you with the image of blood gushing out of my nose the next day when the gauze were pulled out. It basically went well and I can tolerate the aircond now!!! No more blocked nose.. Yeay!

We've got the car and I have the pictures to prove it!

Azrul is very pleased. ;)

-dillz blogging out-

Moving Right Back In

It's 2007, why not?
I just got tired of staying in the same place for too long. Hoping that it'll be a good move for everybody's sake. ;)

-dillz blogging out-