Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The one about the KL trip...

The routine week beginning 13th November whizzed by swiftly - fueled by the anticipation of our planned trip to KL.

Monday the 13th itself we had a meeting of the Catholic Lawyers Diocese of Penang (our official name for the moment). We have planned a couple of masses - one at the Immaculate Conception Church in Pulau Tikus and the other at the Nibong Tebal parish. After the mass will be an exhibition cum talk on various legal issues facing parishioners and the church. More on that when it happens.

Tuesday morning, I travelled to Prai to a client's factory for a meeting. I was shown the organisation's set-up and factory premises. I must say it felt very good being able to identify with my client and what they do. It was also important for our simbiotic relationship to be involved with their build-up from the start.

Due to my late return, my mum dropped Jo off at work and she had a lunch date with Sue Khoon at Scarlet. The place was still opened! Sometime back I had thought they closed down. I made it in time to join them for a quick lunch. Must say the food came fairly fast but the fare was average at best.

The rest of the week went by without much fanfare as I cleared my desk to ensure no pile-up when we take off for KL on Friday morning.

Friday arrived soon enough and we got up early to make sure we cram in the day's full activities. This trip was for Jo and I to visit the gravesite of her Aunt Joyce in Malacca and to do a bit of shopping. Mel & Stacy were also going down to attend Stacy's convocation. She had just completed her MBA from the University of Sunshine Coast. So we've all decided to make a trip of it. Besides, we've arranged to stay all at Celina's place in Kelana Jaya.

Jo and I found Aunty Joyce's grave in Malacca easily enough with good directions from Richard. After paying our respects, we surveyed a few of the graves and were really impressed by their tombstones. They were really ornate and obviously had Portugese/European influences.

We made it back to KL by around 4pm, in time to meet up with Mel & Stacy at Ikea. After a fruitful browse in that store, we finally started towards Celina's at about 7pm. That night we had dinner plans - meeting some other friends at "El Cerdo" the Spanish restaurant which we had gone to last time around. As Stacy had not been there, we thought it nice to introduce her to the culinary experience that is so rare in Malaysia.

By the time Celina got home and we got settled in, unpacked and changed for dinner, we were all really really late. Jo's friends Shirren and Jason were already waiting at the restaurant since 8.15pm and Celina's friend Miki Choong (I think she's some celebrity host of a TV show - don't ask me, I've never seen her show) had also arrived early as well. We nicely waltzed in to the restaurant at 9.45pm, an hour and a half late!

All was forgotten when the chatter began, and the food ordered. Service was swift and unobtrusive (save for the proprietor Werner sitting down with us when ordering, which I thought was an informal touch that identifies the concept of the place) and the food was in quick time laid out before us. The appetiser platter of pork dishes was out of this world. So was the German Pork Knuckle (order for two shared by Mel & me). We ate whatever we could and asked for the remainder bone to be packed home. However, the waitress never brought it back to us! Must have decide to keep it for herself!! Yes, it was THAT good!

The girls discussing their orders with Werner...

All tucking in with gusto...

We were then treated to a strange KL culture (according to the Celina) - because after dinner we proceeded to Celina's friend apartment nearby for a house party. We got there, the party was a small one and at best we felt like we were intruding. The uncomfortableness lasted merely a few minutes (Thank God!) and we all left after having a courtesy drink - thanks of course to the kind hospitality of our host Nuria (Spanish teacher based here).

We got back to Celina's, sat around to chat and soon felt the effects of the day's activities. Morpheus worked his magic.

The next morning we got up fairly early. The plan was to have breakfast then head off to drop Stacy & Mel off at the Seri Pacific Hotel where her graduation ceremony would be held. Since we all got up drowsily, Stacy who was the most perky of the lot, went off to buy some Roti Chanai and drinks. Soon, our stomachs full, we were driving off (all 5 of us in my car) towards town. Jo and I planned to do some shopping at KLCC while waiting for Stacy's function to finish. Celina tagged along.

Stacy had just found out the day before that she was to be given the Dean's Award as one of the top students for her graduating class. She'd worked hard for the honours and kudos to her indeed!


The three of us got bitten by the shopping bug and to cut a long story short, a good five hours later, with Mel & Stacy already with us (they took a cab to KLCC), we found our way to my car - with shopping bags practically growing out of our arms - and started our drive back.

Dinner that night was at "Nero Vivo" a trendy Italian restaurant in the Bukit Ceylon area. Celina decided to drive herself there so we arrive first and pondered at the substantive menu. We were joined by Stacy's brother Damian who works with the Malay Mail.

Posing before the food arrives...

Jo and Celina sharing a joke...

One thing I've noticed about these "upmarket" restaurants in KL is that they have stopped serving complimentary water to their guests. I realise its their way of maximising the drink orders from their customers. When asked for water, the usual reply is "Still or Fizzy?". Look, I just want some pure God-made, rain-delivered water to drink. Does it have to come in a fancy bottle and Sophie's Choice?

With dinner nicely tucked under our belt (and stretching those belts a tad too) we moved on to a night spot nearby. It was a Jazz club called "No Black Tie". That night was a live performance by Gina Panizales and the Salvador Guerzo Octet. One of the guest singers was Salvador Guerzo's daughter Rachel Guerzo, herself a known lounge jazz singer in KL. We had an enjoyable time there and were joined by Jo's cousin Richard and wife Swee Kim.

The group at "No Black Tie"...

Rachel Guerzo taking the stage with her dad's octet...

Soon we found ourselves back at Celina's and although the night wasn't young, we wanted to make the most of it. Celina, Mell and Stacy sat on the balcony deep in conversation while Jo and I got changed. Mel then decided that he preferred to check his emails and I took his place - discussing with Celina and Stacy the psychology of people.

It was after 4am by the time I got to bed and Stacy and Celina went on till after 5am!

The next morning we got up, with bags under our eyes, and headed for 1-Utama shopping complex. We did breakfast at Deli-cious by Ms Read, another swanky outlet within the mall itself. The food was tremendous but the service was truly pathetic. It irks me so much to see fine places like these being run to the ground by inadequately trained service staff and disorganised work flow system. When will people ever learn.

The chilled-out group at Deli-cious...

Our journey back to Penang started around 4pm with stops at Sungai Buloh (to pick up some Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts) and again at the Sungai Perak layover. Tired but happy, we arrived to pick Ethan up from my in-law's around 8pm. After that, it was home, sweet home for all of us.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Hi Eugene.

Actually i found out about the Dean's award on the morning of the Grad ceremony itself. My dad and jerome had read Star paper in the morning and alerted me via sms followed by telephone call around 7pm. That is why i was the earliest to get up (not because i was always this perky in the morning but because of the news i became perky THAT morning). I then had to verify by making a trip to 7-11 to get the papers and decided to get you guys breakfast.

 

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