December 30, 2019

End of a Decade

Wawasan 2020
Satu pandangan jauh
Bukan impian malah kenyataan
Bersama kita jayakan

Still remember when I sang that song in early 90s, imagining in 2020 everything would be so futuristic with robots, flying cars and all, just like those in sci-fi movies. It's gonna be 2020 in a couple of days. Not much like what I imagined though.

And 2010 felt like just a few years ago. Woahhh... Time is running so fast it scares me mannnn cos I'm also getting old and reaching 40 soon.

Oh well... life goes on and we have to move forward. 
But before that, here's a recap of some memorable moments of my decade.

Ran my first Full Marathon. 42.195km! 

officially a marathoner

Did my Open Water scuba diving license in Tioman Island.

with my diving instructor, Jenny

Conquered Mount Kinabalu.

My first encounter with the snow. Learnt to ski and snowboard.

Went for umrah in Ramadhan. On my birthday!

I miss this place soo much!

Watched the Aurora Borealis.

Conquered the Everest Base Camp, and saw Mount Everest with my very own eyes.

Explored a lot of new places.

Learnt new things. 

Fell in love. Heartbroken. 

Had a scare and hard time when my dad fell sick. Alhamdulillah he is okay now.

Losses and gains.
I lost my mommy and my grandma and my cats.
Welcomed brother in laws, sister in law, nephews and nieces. And new cats. 

Happy times. Sad times.
On to the next decade! 

December 16, 2019

First time in Brunei

How often do you get a chance to selfie with the Head of country that you're visiting?

I guess I was lucky.

Visited Brunei in July (my first time in the country!) and coincidentally it was the birthday month of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

I was walking around the night market when I noticed some event preparations at the field in front of Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. Busybody mode on, I asked the workers what was it for. Turned out they were preparing for the Sultan's birthday celebration with the citizens that weekend.

So yeah... I crashed the celebration.

alamak Tuanku.. look at the camera 

 the Crown Prince and my big pimple. Gahhhhhh!!!!

must have one selfie with everybody's favorite prince 

Brunei itself is a small country so I just planned a short trip.

Here's some of the places that I managed to visit. Will write details of this trip when I have free time (when is that I don't know hahahah).

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

You cannot visit Brunei and miss to see this mosque because it is located right in the center of the capital city.

The mosque's most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold.

inside the mosque

Jame' Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque

The largest mosque in the country, and also the grandest. The mosque was built as a wakaf of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. It has 29 golden domes, because the Sultan is the 29th ruler of Brunei.

main prayer hall

Kampong Ayer

One of the most interesting things to do in Brunei is wander along the Kampong Ayer bridges and paths. It is fascinating to see how the people live on stilts. There's a few homestays here, I might give it a try whenever I visit this country again.

mosque and fire station

Royal Regalia Museum

The museum mainly houses the regalia of the Sultan, as well as the gifts that Royals and Head of State have given him. Opened in 1992 by the Sultan himself, entrance to the museum is free. You will have to leave your belonging and camera at the entrance so no photos inside.

Proboscis monkey

I wish I could go nearer or have a long-focus lens to capture photos of the shy Proboscis monkey.

Tamu Pasar Besar Gadong night market

You must come here because everything is cheap and yummy!

November 5, 2019

JJCM : De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan

Some time in April I got to know that the Malaysian award-winning celebrity chef, Chef Wan, has opened a restaurant of his own. Many of us grew up watching his cooking show with our moms so not surprisingly, the restaurant is an instant hit.

After six months, I finally managed to visit and dine at the restaurant. And I had a 'wow' moment the minute I stepped inside. This is definitely one Instagram-worthy restaurant hahaha. Sorry no photos around the restaurant though cos there's a lot of customers and I didn't wanna look so jakun snapping here and there.

Batik Room

Visited with the whole fam so the staff gave us a private room. Ok actually you need to spend a minimum of RM1500++ to be able to get a private room, but if you come in big group and order the set menu and drinks, it easily exceeds the amount. But anyway, eating at the main dining area is nice too as you're surrounded with colorful, gorgeous interior decorations.

The food served are authentic Malaysian cuisine, curated by Chef Wan himself and based on his original recipes. 

Starter - Kerabu pucuk paku with kerang, chicken/beef satay

Siakap bakar, with three choices of sambal

Daging rendang Selangor

Sambal petai tiger prawns

Stir fried broccoli and cauliflower

Ayam bakar

Jumbo sotong bakar with sambal hijau

Ikan jenahak masak asam pedas

I forgot to take photos of the dessert and the rice. To go with the mains, we can choose from three types of rice - Nasi telur Terengganu, Nasi minyak bunga telang or the usual Nasi putih. It's free flow so you can have all three since the dishes also come in generous portions.

For dessert, the set menu that we chose came with fresh fruits and Bubur Som Som. The bubur was soo good I love it!

The menu.

But it will be changed every 3-4 months to keep the excitement going.

The price is rather steep but it's nice to go there for special occasions since the restaurant has a nice ambiance and of course, good food. We went on a Sunday and Chef Wan was there too, going around the dining hall greeting guests from table to table, asking how the food is, whether everything is OK etc. Good effort from him to make sure the customers are satisfied.

De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan
Address: Lot 2-2, Level 2, The Linc KL, No 360 Jalan Tun Razak, Taman U Thant, 50400 KL
Operating hours: 11am - 4pm, 6pm - 10pm (Mon - Fri),  11am - 10pm (Sat, Sun, Public holiday)
** Reservations via TableApp **

October 2, 2019

Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon 2019

My 11th KL Marathon, since 2009. 

And I clocked my personal best (PB) time, ran 42.195km in 5 hours 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Shaved 1 hour 25 seconds off my previous best time at Tokyo Marathon 2016
And 1 hour 19 minutes off last year's edition.

This timing is nothing to shout about for elite or fast runners. But it is a huge personal accomplishment for me. Still stoked till today. Can't believe I can actually run with this timing. Cos if you know me and my running history, I was never a fast runner. I run just for fun. To lose weight. No proper training. 

I ran a PB for Half Marathon (HM) at 2 hours 22 minutes 53 seconds just 2 weeks before, at Sultan Mahmud Bridge International Run. The PB definitely gave me a motivation boost. I was confident to finally do a sub 6 and perhaps pushed to 5.30 this time around based on the timing. 

I don't run regularly but I guess my time in the gym pays off. All those cardio, strength training and stretching yoga poses definitely helps me getting stronger and fitter and slimmer ;p 

Still, I was really nervous prior to the marathon. Obviously Maybe because I didn't have enough mileage. Maybe because of the haze. Maybe because I was recovering from flu, fever, cough, diarrhea. And then the red flag decided to come, just a day before the marathon. Period pain. Fine. At least I don't have to stop for Subuh prayer during the run.

Come race day. Flag off was at 3.45am. It was drizzling at the beginning of the run. I kinda liked it because I hoped the weather would be cooler, although my feet would suffer with the wet socks and shoes. Lost my sister in the sea of runners just before KM1. Damnn it because I was planning to pace her. 

But I did okay running alone. Well I ran alone all these while. All the time, I watched my pace with my trusted Garmin Fenix 5S (this is like the best investment I ever did for sports). At KM15, I was reunited with my sister but she wanted to stop at Petronas station to go to the toilet. 

Hundred meters in front, I saw the 5 hours pacers so I caught up with them and continued running along Jalan Ampang, to MRR2 and then powered on to DUKE highway. Passed the 21km checkpoint and collected the wristband. Glanced at my watch. My time was 2:24. Okay not bad. A thought came to my mind, maybe if I pushed myself harder and didn't lose sight of the 5 hours pacers I could do a sub 5.

Alhamdulillah so far no major cramps, no nature calls. I remember last year, I suffered cramps on the highway and walked most of the remaining course. But deep down, I knew I wasn't ready for the unplanned sub 5 mission. My pace started to slow down as I started to run-walk on the highway. Mentally torturing, this one. And also because we merged with HM runners halfway through. It was very crowded especially at the water station. I could still see the 5 hours pacers' balloons far ahead but later missed them completely when I crossed the second checkpoint, just before exiting DUKE.

Ran through busy Jalan Kuching before we entered the dreaded Bukit Tunku. Parted ways with the HM runners here. Passed by a few stalls set up by fellow runners and supporters but I was shy so I never stopped. Run-walk strategy continued here. Walked uphill, ran downhill. Repeat a few times hahaha.

When we merged again with the HM runners after Bukit Tunku, I was really lazy to run due to the bottleneck. Just after KM40, I met my friend, Nana. Looking at my current timing, she encouraged me to do a sub 5.15. Sub 5 was out of reach but sub 5.15 is also good. Challenge accepted!

And so I mustered all the energy I had left and sprinted towards the finishing line. The time displayed on the timing board was 5 hours 14 minutes. Yasssss!!! I knew I did better than that because I started the run 5 minutes late.   

Marathon number 13 done and dusted. And my best ever.