Tuesday, October 26, 2010

shopping in HCMC

Though the Vietnam trip was only two months ago, I am already forgetting bits and pieces of the trip.

When I did my research about Vietnam, I somehow got the impression that HCMC was a shopping haven so yours truly planned the itinerary involving major shopping spree. Now, I am not saying HCMC has nothing to offer. They do but my budget does not permit for bigger purchases like dresses and blouses. I bought a lot of novelty t-shirts. And purses. I bought three purses during this trip but I am still using my purse which I bought three years ago.

After checking-in, we headed to HCMC’s Chinatown, Cholon in District 5. It is about 30 minutes car ride from where were staying. All the WWW will tell you that Binh Tay Market is one of the best place to go. Well, it is if you’re looking to buy wholesale. The whole market is packed with gazillion of things from clothes, shoes, household items, and kitchenware. Everything you need is there. Unfortunately, it is not a good shopping place for tourist.

We only bought purses and a cap for myself. The place was too stuffy and the rain was not a big help. So we decided to get some lunch before heading to the next shopping place.

If you’re unsure where to eat, fast food is always the easiest option. We head down to KFC. The menu differs slightly but it wasn’t the best KFC ever. In fact they ran out most of the items in the menu. *tsk tsk tsk* I ended up eating a fish burger in Saigon.

They also serve egg tarts very similar to Portugese egg tart. The taste okay-okay larr.

Our next stop was An Dong Plaza also in District 5. It’s not really a shopping mall but more like Greenhills in Manila where inside are stalls selling clothing and what not. Unfortunately, there weren’t as many choices. I did buy a pair of sunglasses and earring though. Btw, my friends said that the streets outside An Dong are like Kotaraya in KL. Macam larr juga.

Day two shopping at HCMC was somewhat scary and disappointing too.

We were at the Saigon Central Post Office, taking photos and sightseeing. We went to the gift shop and found the exact purses we bought at Binh Tay Market at a cheaper price! They also have really cool stuffs like paintings and sculpture. I wish I could bring some of it back, but I was content to buy a small drawing of the Saigon girls. Cost me less than RM10.00.

Next stop was the very much talk-about Ben Thay Market. The moment I stepped into the place, I freaked out. The place was super super crowded and the vendors were pulling, tugging, yelling and all that. We didn’t even need to venture that much. Each stalls sell pretty much the same thing but choices are plenty here than Ben Thay.

I am not very fashion conscious but the fashion available is pretty backdated. Like the 90’s. of course this is my own opinion larr. So it’s safer to buy t-shirts and cloths if you like. The Vietnam silk is pretty but too much bling for my taste.

The Ben Thay Night Market opens from 6om onwards and is located along the two roads adjacent the market. It is very much like the local night market with stalls selling clothes, food and other things. Nothing much though I did bought one Kimono robe on impulse. It was rather cheap after intense bargaining. I think I was the first customer so they did not want to jinx the sales for that night.

I have a very nice red colored kimono robe and nowhere to use it.
Go figure.

Day three was a visit to Saigon Square, another popular shopping spot in HCMC. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there was 2 Saigon Squares. We went to the one in District One, near the Ben Thay Market. The other one is located near Saigon River. Anyway, Saigon Square is pretty much like An Dong Plaza, two floors of almost the same things but with better choices. I did found one nice top though, which I bought for less than RM10.00. What joy!

You know, if you’re a size M and below, you will have easier time to find something that fits. So maybe I am a little bias when I say there is nothing to buy. *whistles*

We wanted to buy some Vietnam food and we were told to get them from the supermarket because it is much cheaper. We asked around where to go and they suggested Diamond Plaza. I don’t know whether they don’t understand what supermarket means or we’re just bad at explaining what we were looking for. Diamond Plaza is a departmental store. Very much like SOGO KL. Now, we compared the prices of some of the items available like branded bags and what not and after converting it to MYR, the branded goods in HCMC is cheaper than in KL.

Comparison is only made to several items, so this observation may not be accurate as well.

So, if you plan to shop at HCMC, bring along plenty of cash. You can opt to pay in Vietnam Dong or USD but better Vietnam Dong because of the currency exchange rate. More value for your money.

I just notice I never finished my Manila Trip post kan?

be safe people

A quick one.

Wah… October is almost over and somehow the guilt about not achieving anything significant has not kicked in yet.

Have I stopped caring?

Anyway, many unlucky things happened to people around me the past few weeks. I am not that superstitious but it does make me wonder if I have walked under a ladder lately or crossed path with a black cat.

Everyone is having car problem. Died battery or signal light. Weird sound coming from the engine or the car just refused to start at all. However, the worst award goes to my Sister 1. She was about to pick my parents and Brother 2 at the airport two weeks ago. They arrived midnight, so my sister drove to LCCT alone because Brother 1 was working. Besides, she drives a Kelisa and we are a “happy” family so it would not fit everyone in.

So she stopped at a traffic light, when suddenly *bam* a Viva hit her from behind. Apparently, the Viva was stationary when it was hit by a van pekerja. The driver of the van dozed off and could not hit the brake on time. My sister’s car was badly damaged and it is still in the workshop due to some ‘technical problem’ with the insurance people.

Why ‘some’ insurance people are only nice when they want you to buy the policy from them but when something happen, *fuyoo* so very the rude one like tidak kena ‘servis’ 10 tahun ni.

Anyway, my sister is fine. Carless but fine.

The thing is, I was already asleep when I received her phone call about the accident on that night. I thought she wanted to tell me that she has already picked up the parents, but she started her conversation with “La, I had an accident”.

I swear my heart stopped beating for few seconds.

So next time, before anything else, please start the conversation with, “La, I am okay but I had an accident”. And, please get Call Waiting because it’s not funny when I cannot get through the phone. My imagination went overdrive. I mean, would you not worry knowing your family member or you friend is at the highway somewhere in the middle of the night with strangers who banged her car?

Have you people not read/seen the news lately?
I haven’t read the newspaper without cringing for a very long time. What have we become?

The only thing we can do it to be careful and take care ourselves really well. The ‘tidak apa it won’t happen to me’ attitude really needs to stop. Better be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t care anything happens to you, think about your loved ones.

And to all psychos out there, please go get help. I know a few whom I'd like to send to Bukit Padang.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

why not me?

Was listening to the radio this morning, about the things guys do for a girl, and I wondered, "Why not me?" It was a long, LONG ride to work.

I blame the medication.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the flapjack experiment

I am not a great cook. In fact, I would not call myself a good cook. I can cook without sending anyone to the emergency room. And to me, that is an achievement. Once in a while, I do have these weird urges to cook something. I’d go in the net, look for the simplest dish and happily slave myself in the kitchen.

Since I do not have the ‘gift’, I tend to follow the recipe word for word. Sometimes I wonder if those people really enjoy their food that salty/sweet.

The other day, I read an article in Y! about a dad who creates artistic pancakes for his daughter. When I say artistic, I meant 3D ferris-wheel, aeroplanes pancakes.

I oohed and ahhed when I develop this craving for pancakes.

My parents were out of town last weekend, so the timing to make the pancakes was perfect. Perfect because my mom is not there to comment every single thing I do in the kitchen.

I got the recipe from the net. There are plenty to choose from and I picked the easiest one of course. I like allrecipes dot com because they have automatic recipe calculator, which calculates the ingredients based on the servings. Bought the needed ingredients because we are still at the ‘temp’ house and I don’t know where everything is.

Sunday morning, I woke up early to make pancakes. Or Flapjacks as Ekiel calls them.

To make 18 servings, because there were six of us and each will have 3 pieces, I sifted 3 cups of wheat flour, 2 tbsp & 1¾ tsp of baking powder, 2 ¼ tsp of salt and 2 tbsp & ¾ tsp of sugar.

Then I added in 2¾ cups & 1 tbsp of milk, 2 eggs and ⅓ cup & 1tbp & 1tsp of melted butter. I should have replaced the melted butter with vegetable oil instead because it was SUPER salty.

Mixed them well.

I pour the batter on a frying pan with medium high fire. It doesn’t take long to prepare them but to cook 18 servings, well, 18 servings bah. So some turned out a little burned.

The pancakes turn out well except for the saltiness. After the first one, I added in some sugar to balances the taste. I know you’re supposed to eat pancakes with syrups or some sort, but the only thing we have at home is pineapple jam, which didn’t turn out too well. There’s honey but I don’t fancy honey. My brother used the sweetened condensed milk and that turn out better.

Next time, I’ll try it with peanut butter. I heart peanut butter.

So here you go people. If I can make pancakes, so can you.

Ekiel loves flapjacks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The great conversation

I reluctantly woke up this morning for work.

Dragged my sorry arse around the house when I bumped into Ekiel who was waiting for me outside the bathroom door.

Ekiel: You got work today?
Me: Yes. You want breakfast?
EKiel: I have school today?
Me: No. you want milo?
Ekiel: How many days I cuti?
Me: Two days
Ekiel: Then I go to school one day and cuti again?
Me: You wish larr. Then you school five days and cuti two days again.
Ekiel: It’s not going to get more easy?
Me: Sorry kid. Welcome to my world.

He has problem waking up early in the morning for school.

Ekiel: I have school tomorrow?
Me: Yes, sleep now. Tomorrow you cranky again, don’t want to go to school
Ekiel: Because I cannot wake up
Me: That’s why you must sleep now
Ekiel: But I cannot sleep
Me: So how?
Ekiel: Mommy, why can’t we go to school at night? Then in the morning we sleep
Me: Eee.. go to sleep larr you

Mommy and son sure think alike.

My mom, dad and brother 2 went to KL for brother 2’s convocation.

Ekiel: I miss mama, papa & Boyo.
Me: Why?
Ekiel: Because they go KL. I don’t want them go KL
Me: Why?
Ekiel: Because I want them here
Me: Why?
Ekiel: Because we are family

While holding his English workbook in front of sister 2

Ekiel: X is for… (whisper) Mommy, X is for what?
Me: [peep over the book] That is so wrong. It’s not Xmas, it’s Christmas.
Ekiel: Mommy!
Me: Xmas Card
Ekiel: X is for Xmas Card [flipped next page] Y. Y is for…
Me: [peep over the book]
Ekiel: Y is for TULUR

Y is for YOLK

He used to tag along whenever I am sent to work but today…

Me: You want to follow send me to work?
Ekiel: No thank you. I rather watch cartoon.

*sighs* The only man in my life pun rather watch cartoon than to hang out with me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Think Pink

I need to do this entry before the month ends. With October being the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, some bloggers like CheguCarol plans to wear something pink for the whole month to encourage everyone to be more proactive in cancer prevention.

With my procrastination problem, I rather not commit to anything. Remember my learning a foreign language? The book had mysteriously disappeared.

Anyway, I have heard plenty of stories about cancers being detected too late and I always wondered why didn’t they go and get treatment earlier. Surely there were visible symptoms no?

Apparently there isn’t.

The only thing way to detect cancer is through check-ups.

I understand the fear of being told that you are terminally ill because I am scared too and my fear of the afterlife is not helping either.

How does one continue to live in pain, knowing that his or her time is almost up?

I would be devastated because I have so many things I have yet to do.
Like learning a foreign language.

However, my biggest concern is Ekiel. When I think about me not being around, I worry. I know my family would take him in, but…

I plan to stick around for a very long time, to see Ekiel be the great man he is destined to be.
For that to happen, I need to start taking care of myself.

With my mom complaining about ‘womanly problem’, I take it as a sign that it is time for a Pap Smear test. I am not joking when I say I have never done Pap Smear before.

I had to drag my mom to come with me to the Family Planning Clinic to do the test. She gave me all kind of excuses, but when I told her she is a black pot, she slammed the bedroom door and reappears a few minutes later, dressed and ready to go.

She nags at my aunt who refused to see the doctor for another ‘womenly trouble’.

Of course the thought of some stranger poking ‘there’ is embarrassing. Bah, kan for authorized personnel only. *whistles* but this is the only way of doing the test. Besides, the whole procedure only takes less than 5 minutes. The nice nurse was very professional and explains what she was about to do so I would not freaked out. She started with a breast cancer examination then proceed with the Pap Smear. There was a minor, very minor discomfort which lasted less than 30 seconds and I’m done.

I paid RM28.50 (for first timers, RM25.50 for the next visit) and the result is available in a month time.

It was an easy and painless procedure.

Even my mom laughed about it when she came out of the room.

I laughed louder at her because she told me she heard stories that the male nurses at the clinic are always eager to do the test on patients. I even told the nurses this and they laughed too. Not as loud, but they still laugh because the only male in the clinic is the doctor who does not do this test unless there were complications.

So girls, there is nothing to fear about the test. The result is of course a different story.

There is no need for an appointment for the test and there are many other tests available at the clinic at very reasonable prices.

No. 613, Jalan Budaya off Jalan Kebajikan, 88000 Kota Kinabalu
P.O. Box 11361, 88815 Kota Kinabalu, Jalan Kebajikan, Kota Kinabalu
Tel: 245209 (General Office), 210358 (State Manager)
217553 (advisory Line), 222703 (Clinic)
Fax: 088-210813

Monday to Friday 8:00am - 12:30 noon
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Saturday 8:00am - 12:00 noon
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays