30 Jul 2015

Visit to Kebun Kaki Bukit to Build a Mud House

I've taken forever to write this overdue post.

We first visited Kebun Kaki Bukit (E101 17' 6.6" N3 20' 50.0) in January when Adrian Wong invited us. We accepted the invitation at once, when we heard that the main goal was to check out the cobb oven there by making our own pizzas, topped with fresh Salmon which Adrian sells on his Seafood Group Buy page.

But before feasting, first work!

We went round looking for fresh veges which we could harvest to use as toppings on our pizza.

In between, children helped rake freshly cut grass...

and helped harvest calamansi. This grows in abundance there, and on our later visit we bought
enough to make our own Calamansi jam.

Work done, it was time to make pizza!! Using Lebanese bread as a base, kids topped it with fresh produce from the farm, Salmon and of course, lots of cheese.

Pizza ready to go into oven.Toppings...fresh mushrooms, herbs and vegetables from farm, Salmon, olives and cheese

This is how flaming hot the cobb oven is! Pizzas were ready in 3 minutes max.

Hugel Pyramid, elevated bed for plants.

We had a really great time! Thanks to Adrian!
2nd Visit ~~ February

We read on Kebun Bukit's Facebook that they were launching a mud house project. That's something we've always wanted to try, especially after reading about mud house from historical time.

Hay, from dried stalks of paddy (rice.)

First layer had been laid by other volunteers when we  arrived.

Model of what the completed mudhouse would look like

We helped make mud bricks by stepping on a combination of sand and clay. Every now and then, the tarp on which work is done, is pulled on all sides to bring the mixture to the centre (they called it "making a burrito"), and then stepping continues. Sand is added quite often till clay reaches correct texture. Once completed, hay is added to the mixture and then shaped into bricks.

Bricks completed, we helped arrange them on the previous layer. Holes are made so that the next layer of bricks will fill these holes allowing layers to merge.

When work was done, we were served a delicious lunch of pumpkin-vegetable curry with rice. Yummm....

3rd Visit~~ June

When we visited again, the walls had been built high and volunteers were working on the final phase before putting on the roof (which will be bamboo and palm leaves).

A new mud house ...partially bamboo, partially mud.

Wet the top of the dried walls with sponge before laying new layers of mud.

The clay pool had grown so large that it was a tempting mud pool. Needless to say after a time of making bricks, chopping hay, sifting sand and all.....the children had a total mud bath, top to bottom!!

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015


26 Jul 2015

Learning Traditional Dance

When DPAC announced that they were providing free Malay dance classes for two months, we immediately signed up.

Initially I signed up Nel only. Jo would have NOTHING to do with any form of slow dance. So she declined.

When I brought Nel to her first lesson, I wanted to learn too...so I enrolled myself. We really enjoyed ourselves. The teachers were extremely patient, and enthusiastic despite teaching during the fasting month. We learnt how to dance the Joget and Inang. I think we enjoyed the Joget best of all. This month they're teaching Zapin and Asli. I enjoyed the dances as well, but somehow Nel doesn't really like the Zapin music. Perhaps she isn't used to the music.

But it was also a great bonding time for us, especially when they had us dancing in pairs, and I especially enjoyed the group performances with choreography.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015


23 Jul 2015

MNS Boh Center Cameron Highlands (June)

We'd planned this trip for years but never got to it. Visiting MNS Boh had always been on our mind, mine especially, because it brings back really precious memories of a time I visited it as a college student with my friends. I remember trekking up the slope to the center in heavy rain, which drenched us totally, wetting all our bags and belongings. :)

Well this year, after 20++ years,  I brought my family along, together with 5 other families, good friends, and we spent 4 beautiful days there. The place is as lovely, though the shelter itself, a little run down.

To get there, you've to look for the junction to Habu Boh Tea Estate, and drive in. Thereafter there are signboards to guide the way.

You'll know you've arrived when you see a staircase . Don't miss it! (Children counted 78 steps in total, so that'll be the number of steps which you'll be lugging your belongings up! And we had to make a few trips!)

The Chalet is really a tiny room (twin size bed) with an adjoining toilet.
Walls are really thin, so thin you can hear the person next door whisper, fart or burp. :P

As for the toilet....it comes with very little running water, and you've to really let it run a while to get a bucket full. In fact when we first arrived, there wasn't any running water!! Thank God we brought a friend who knows lots about plumbing. So he did his thing and walla, we had water. He also had to go fix toilets in the dorm and in some rooms or there'd be no flushing! eeww.. I guess, that is the only downside to the centre.

Also sometimes switching on the heater caused electrical blackout! 

Dorms there can accomodate up to 30 people, and we really had a large group of children who ruled the dorm for four days and three nights! I'm sure they had plenty of riotous fun in there pretending to be pirates, mermaids and whatever.

 I've always bird-watched everytime I go to Frasers, but never in Camerons. Well I discovered lots of beautiful birds come to this area such as the Silver Eared Mesia and Streak Spider Hunter. The one in the picture, (Nilvata Grandis, I think) had caught a worm, 

 The Balcony along the chalet/rooms has got to be the best part of this whole place. We spent hours sitting there, enjoying the very cool, windy weather and scenery before us. Of course, conversations and coffee with friends made it all the more beautiful.

Because of the serenity and coolness of the place, we took walks when we liked, I mean...where else can you go to escape the maddening crowd and yet have beauty all around you.

The kids and even adults went exploring and discovered edible plants, insects, flowers and of course, tea bushes everywhere.

The children and I stopped ever so often to admire the beauty of wild flowers along paths there.

If only this lil house were mine, my children would have this whole terrain to explore everyday.

Behind the center there's a little trail that goes through the tea plantation.

 While we were there, we visited the mossy forest, and it was indeed beautiful, like my children described, a fairy realm!

To Book the place, I emailed Shazwani Noor Aziz at  mnsboh@gmail.com
In total, the place has -
8 chalets (tiny rooms actually) - total 16 pax
1 dorm 30 pax
1 kitchen and common hall/dining area. Kitchen comes with utensils and a fridge, but only the freezer is working.
BBQ zone

Pic below are rates sent by MNS

We'll definitely be going back, and as always, with the company of good friends. 

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015


21 Jul 2015

Camping on Perhentian Again.

Two years ago, we did a road trip east and camped on Perhentian Island. (Blog Post Here.) That trip remains fresh in our memory because it was so memorable. This year we decided to return to Perhentian, but to camp on Perhentian Kecil instead of Perhentian Besar.

But first a stop at Kuala Terengganu for delicious lunch, and a revisit to Turtle Alley, which we first visited on our road trip east 4 years ago!! While walking along China Town, we also discovered, a really tiny museum...mostly photographs, of Baba Nyonya heritage. I hope they grow that display.


We also revisited boat making workshops on Pulau Duyung

After  hearty lunch of Sambal Sotong dan Petai (yummmm) and nasi lemak for the kids, we made our way to Jerteh. I never knew there were padi fields in Jerteh.

Our GPS brought us to this vast expanse of padi fields and announced, "You Have Arrived!"  Hmmm!!!   

We eventually found our room for the night, a room above some shops, Emma Guesthouse . Very reasonably priced, and most importantly, clean and non smoking.

Early the next morning we met up with our camping buddies at Kuala Besut Jetty and set off for the island!! The boatman called himself Schumaker of the sea, and true to his word, he drove like crazy, making the speed boat bounce way up high, causing our butts and head to ache with each "Thump" on the waves, and cracking most of the eggs we brought!!

First sight of our camping spot! Rainforest Camping Perhentian. The main tent belongs to Wak Lan, the owner of this camping resort. Wak Lan is extremely hospitable and a humble man. He told us that we were the first Chinese family to camp on his ground and he was surprised we wanted to camp.

Path to campground, some steps uphill about 100-300 meters away depending on location of tents. Not very suitable for the elderly I think. 

Tents were provided. We were privileged to have brand new tents and airbeds! Campground also has toilet facilities and running water. However,bath area is open so no naked bathing! :P 

Cute sign, but necessary....coz a trail of HUGE black ants. A bite from these ants sting like crazy! I know coz I got bitten. 

See the little kitten next to Nel? It bounded after her when she went to check out the blue waters. The beach here is secluded and private, which was lovely. However, our previous campground on Teluk KeKe had better corals, right where we camped.

Wak Lan our kind host provided the children with an inflatable mattress which they played with hours on end.

We also borrowed a Kayak from the next beach

Snorkelling was awesome as usual. I think the children were most excited at seeing rather large sharks (Blacktip sharks). However, we did notice that in some areas a large part of corals has been destroyed. Swimming there, my husband found and collected beer bottle and cans, which we discarded off properly after. I felt sad for the fish. :(

Sunset was beautiful......and at night we lay on the rocks and watched a sky filled with stars. It was MOST awesome, that while we were there, we saw a really big bright shooting star, travelling quite a distance over the dark sky. Mesmerizing!

Meals are provided and campers are not allowed to cook own food on this campground. Most meals cost about RM 10 per person, and drinks RM 4 and above.

Total Cost:
Boat Ride 70RM per adult (round trip), 35RM per child (round trip)
Camp Site - Two Men-Tent  - RM50/tent
Snorkelling - Adult RM50, child RM30
Food on campground est about 90++ per day for a family of four.

After three days, reluctantly we left campground and headed back to KT, where we spent a lovely day with close friends. What a change to have delicious Austrian food instead of camp food (although camp food was pretty good too!)

Goulash and baked Wild boar, followed by delish Ricotta Mango dessert.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

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