Highlight of The Month: Feb 2019

This is probably the best month of the year by far. Because I get to fly back hometown and enjoy some lazy days with my family. The trip back home was better than usual because I timed it with my bro. So, the long 4 - 5 hours trip was not that boring and sucky.

Before the trip back, I managed to plug in Adsense for this blog. It's a huge step because it's like a door that opens up to other opportunities. I was getting lazy prior to the trip day. I thought of doing it once I come back from holidays. But I know it will bug me if I do that. Rather than succumbing to my lazy self, I inserted the Adsense code and make sure it worked. It took less than half an hour I think. It's short and simple actually which only I discovered after I took action to implement it. It's the unknown that made it a little bit harder.

Anyway, fast forward ... zooooppp!! We're back home now. People would be like traveling to Japan, Korea, anywhere just to get to relax and take their minds off work. For me, going back home town is more than enough. It's a relaxed town for retirees. That's what my cousin said. So, most youngsters would rather go Singapore or somewhere else to grow their bank account and life.

Shot of city taken from Four Points Hotel

February was also the month of Chinese New Year. There was a lot of good food that's only available during this festival - pork yam dish, roast duck ... There's also a plethora of other home cooked meals like soups, vegies and dishes that's well tuned with love:

Fish stomach soup - The soft texture of the fish stomach was well dispersed through out the soup. The additional egg, onion leaves, carrot and a mix of salt and spices turned this bowl of seafood soup into a heart warming one.

Fish stomach soup

Tomato egg - We first saw this dish from a drama. There was a viral tomato egg rice thing going on that took the entire food industry by storm. It pops up everywhere. I didn't think it would be any good. But, mom said it is indeed good. But then, mom says that to everything that is healthy. So, I got skeptical. Like a detective sniffing out a lie, I knew the only way to discover the truth was to taste it myself. I licked it and like it.

Scrambled tomato egg

Prawn crackers - It's almost become a mythical food when it's near the festive season. It's very hard to find because most places are sold out. Me and my bros tried to look at it at local stores. There was nothing but hint of their fragrance. Or maybe that's just the salted fish nearby. We found it anyway in a local store near the ocean that sells a lot of sea produce. It's a humble store. The light prawn taste to it brings back childhood memories. It's good.

Prawn crackers

Watercress soup - Watercress is like one of the pricy vegie that they sold here in West Malaysia. Kinda sucky coz it's cheap elsewhere. It's the main ingredient of the show. Stuff some red dates, chicken meat and a bit of salt into there and you'll get a simple but yummy soup. I like the soft watercress texture. So smooth and light.

Watercress soup

Dark chocolate cake - We don't have motivation with us when we're not with our family. So, my bro only make this when we need a hotpot dish to bring to relatives' gathering. It's very yummy! The little sweetness does not cover up the chocolatey taste.

Dark chocolate cake

This year's gathering was a little bit merrier than usual. Relatives that are 6 hours drive away from my hometown decided to drop by for a visit. It's a rare occasion because we usually celebrate without them. So, we got more red packet money. Good gathering with awkward smiles here and there.

I asked an old classmate out in a place that serve Western food. The exterior looked like an office. There was nothing outside but the signboard is the only thing that indicates it's an eatery. I was a bit confused when I arrived. So, I stood outside and waited for my friend's arrival before going in. It was a short outing sharing about what's up with our lives.

Facial beauty isn't exactly a thing that I look upon heavily. I don't use facial wash - tried before but fell no difference. I just wash my face with water and towel. One of my bro bought some masks and tried it with mom. It felt good. So, when we got back, we tried it too. It was the first time I tried mask and I can tell why people love it. It's like a piece of wet tissue soaked in slimy stuff that supposingly have the moisturizing effect. It felt cool to the face and it transcended my facial comfort to a level that I never thought would be possible. It's fun.

When it's Chinese New Year, it's all about visiting temples. We visited around 6 temples. Each temple has their own uniqueness. I don't really recall the name of each temple but there's one where they got two puppies in a cage. They're so cute. They started waving their tails vigorously as we stepped closer. They also got a mini tortoise farm and koi fish pond.

Tortoise farm in one of the temples

Me and my bros had a great time feeding the kois. There was only two tortoises in the pond. So, me and my bros threw the feed strategically to separate the tortoise from the kois. The kois are fast and always got to the feed fast.

Koi fish pond

The tortoise however, being who they are needs a bit more time to reach. We threw the feed some place far to draw the kois away. Once we isolated the tortoises, only then we put the rest of our feed at them. Our feeding tactic helped them in eating a bit more.

Puppy licking my finger as I took this

Then, a different temple has this wishing tree. I think it cost 15 bucks for one of those talismans that are tied to a mandarin orange. We're supposed to write our wish on the talisman and throw it onto the wishing tree. The higher it is, the greater chance the wish will be granted. I didn't try it coz I would rather spend the 15 bucks on snacks.

Wishing tree

At another temple, they have these zodiacs erected on a platform. People put money on them for blessing.This culture is unheard of but that's what people is doing here.

Look at that dog at the back

When I looked at people, I noticed they pray differently. It got me thinking if there's a proper way to pray. Some put their hands together and keep rocking it back and forth as they chant something with their eyes closed. Others held their hands together at a still but without mouth movement. Some knelt down. Probably there's no wrong or right way to do it - you just need a sincere heart.

It was a fun 10 day. We enjoyed the bonding time. Watched Alita Battle Angel with my bros in a mall that has the best view of the entire town. Then, it's back to work. It's another good month.

The temple with the koi fish pond, puppies and tortoise farm


View of Sandakan from Four Points Hotel

View from Four Points Hotel from another angle

Flowers in memorial park

An unknown medicinal plant

Religious statue in a temple

Roast pork in the making

A walk way in memorial park

Fresh greens ready to be cooked

Red hot chilli

Unknown plant with inedible red hard berries

Kuey Teow

There's always a sports complex that we always go to for jogging in the morning. Our parents prefer going in the morning because that's when there will be less people and we can jog at our own pace without having to care about stepping on other people's children.

One time, my bro discovered a tortoise in the drain. He decided to pick it up because it looks like it has a  hard time finding its way out through the maze like drain system. In the blink of an eye, it has been with us for over a year. It has grown bigger since. My bro went to pet store to get the proper food that it will feed on. It's a shy tortoise that never opened up to us. His name is Kuey Teow.

One day, we decided to set him free. We're gonna return him to the wild. There's two locations that we thought of. One is to the pond in the sports complex where we found him. The other is the temple where the tortoise farm is. The final verdict is to release it to the pond. That's where he will be free.

My dad released the tortoise to the pond after me and my bro flew back to west. Big bro recorded video of the release. Kuey Teow disappeared into the murky depths as soon as he's released. Bye bye. 


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