Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A little big of privilege

When we pass through the Malaysia Immigration once we touched down in Malaysia, we usually use the little privilege we have : passing as Malaysians even though I'm the only Malaysian. I just need to tell the officer that they are my family, and the officer would nod his head, no question asked. There were several counters for Malaysians and it usually went very fast. Different story for the foreigners lines, it could take a lot of time if several big flights arrived at the same time. When we got back from Busan, there were huge lines for foreigners, and I just told the officer that my husband was with me and we probably saved one hour. Thanks Malaysian officers for granting us this little privilege.

I said it is a privilege because it was different story going through immigration in French airports. I was always asked to queue in the foreigner line. Even when my daughter was 18 month old, she was crying seeing mommy queuing on the other side, nobody took pity on us. Since France is one of the most visited countries in the world, the foreigners lines could be long. Once we asked to queue as a family in the EU line but it was refused. I don't remember what happened later, another officer told my husband that I was allowed to queue with them. Anyway, this time, the privilege was extended to France because both times we went through the EU line.

Malaysia is a country that practicing price discrimination between locals and foreigners in some tourist destinations. For example, to visit the Petronas Twin Tower, a Malaysian adult would pay RM30 whereas a foreigner adult would have to pay RM85. Hubby was quite annoyed by this practice, sometime he refused to go to a place just because he had to pay higher price than Malaysians.

When I book our trip to Perhentian, I was warned that we needed to pay a Marine preservation fee, and foreigners had to pay a higher price. Tourists were paying in Kuala Besut jeti before going on the boat. When it was my turn, the officer asked if the white man beside me was my "suami" (husband in Malay), I nodded, he gave me two tickets for adult and one for kid. He just applied the local price to hubby because he was my "suami". Thanks for giving this small privilege!

Friday, August 04, 2017

Perhentian Escape : Another form of burkini

In Perhentian, we met a lot of French Muslims. They probably feel comfortable having beach vacations here as no one is going to tell them wearing burkini is a form of provocation to the society.

In perhentian, not only the Muslims are covered up. The Chinese from China too. I didn't dare to take a photo of them directly. Just checked out the photo above, the woman on the top right wore a black swimsuit that covered her whole body. Her kid in the middle wore the same type of swimsuit. In fact, my mother told me that my nieces and nephews also wear them. The only difference is they don't cover up their hair. I'm not sure if French are going to protest if Chinese tourists wear these showing in any French beaches. I grew up wearing T-Shirt to the beach, as we didn't use sunscreen. It could be the natural protection from sunburn. So covering is really not a big deal in the water, unless you want to show your body.

Perhentian Escape : The sweet burden on the back

This day, we paid for a half day trip to Pulau Rawa. The girls took turn to ride on husband's back. Aelig has been going to swimming classes, so from time to time she was comfortable enough to stay in the water by herself, with life jacket on.

 We went to snorkelling in Perhentian 4 years ago. This was Aelig riding on hubby's back.

Aelig 4 years ago.

And he had Awena on his back, the same age as Aelig 4 years back.

Three of them snorkelling around while I waited on the boat.

We brought with us some bread to feed the fishes, but she decided to eat some of them.

I stayed most of the time on the boat as I didn't feel like doing snorkelling. At one point I saw that hubby wanted to go further and deeper, so I went into water and put Awena on my back. As a non swimmer I didn't know how to well control myself in the water so I bumped into some corals and stones and hurt my foot and ankle. 

There were other people on the same boat and by chatting, I realized they were from the same hometown as me. They both had a girlfriend from China who enjoyed Perhentian very much. They were jeolous hearing that we could took one month off work to travel. It is true, annual leaves are usually one or two weeks in most of the Asian countries.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The junior diver

So, a new diver is born.
We asked if she would be interested to go diving with daddy.
She said yes.
Hubby briefed her about the process, she was all excited about the idea.
Normally the diving courses were for people more than 8 years old. Hubby asked the diving center, they accepted her.

The dive was scheduled for around 3pm, but the coach was late so they only started around 4pm. At 7 and a half year old, she went for the first dive.

It lasted for about one hour, she was underwater for probably 15 minutes. It costed RM240 or around 49€. So much more expensive than hubby's (RM70 per dive with own equipment).

Next time they can go diving together. Seeing how at ease she was in the sea, we were glad that we insisted to send her to swimming classes.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Escape to Perhentian Island July 2017

When we were planning the trip to Malaysia, we included a one week escape somewhere that both of us agreed. I understood that diving was not included this time.

As the time drew closer, I can feel that hubby can't just let go the idea of diving in Malaysia, which he truly enjoyed the last couple of times he was there. It was a hard decision because it means a huge suitcase full of diving equipment, and it was going to be a family trip. Beside taking off my precious time with my family, I have to stay under hot sun getting tanned, which was one of the last things I want to do in my life.

Anyway, I started checking into different locations we could go, which offers diving activities and suitable for young kids. I asked my family if they know of any diving trip that hubby could join. So diving was in the agenda. The diving suitcase was the first to be ready. However, I was so reluctant that I left everything at the last minute, nothing was reserved before we left France.

Touched down in Malaysia, my sister found a diver that is willing to accompany hubby, but this suggestion was refused. He wanted a family trip. At the very late minute, we couldn't find any hotel that was still available through online booking. We went through a travel agent with skyrocketed price and booked the flight one day before departure.

I know this was going to be one of the most boring trips in my life. But I had to go. 5 days in Perhentian Islands, dream of many divers. My role was to be the nanny while my husband dives. He made every effort to be with us whenever he can, yet I still felt so bored, especially when kids were complaining and fighting nonstop.

When hubby went diving, we walked around the island. The kids were attracted by different kind of swing.
Sometimes we just stayed at the beach in front of our chalet. Kids playing at the beach while I read. I finished 4 books I bought by the third day.

Hubby would sacrify a diving session and come with us from time to time. We would do trekking to the other side of the island. We bought two loafs of bread for fish feeding.

The island is magnifique in view. I used to enjoy snorkelling trips when I was 20+++. Not anymore because with sunbath freckles appear, and having two kids mean you have to take care of them day and night.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dining at odd hours

In general, French are taught to eat at the same time everyday, and avoid to snack in between time.
My kids were having a 4 meals schedule since baby:
8am - Breakfast
12am - Lunch
4pm - Snack
8pm - Dinner

Restaurants in our areas do not open until 12pm for lunch and 7pm for dinner. Between 3pm to 7pm, it would be difficult to find a place to dine except fastfood.

In Malaysia, it is a totally different story. We dine whenever we want. Check these out.

Dinner at 5pm, savouring satay in Kajang. Followed by supper at 11pm.

Dim sum at 11am.

Fried kueh teoh at 4pm.

I'm not sure if eating at all hours are healthy. We just want to be relax for a month.
Yes, we have touched town in Malaysia since several days ago.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

The new French president is younger than me

I feel old.

The new elected French president is younger than me, only 39 years old.

 A historical high score against the rival : 65% vs 35%. For the first time the traditional strong political parties from the right and left wings were left out in the final.

8,8% of blank vote, that shows how many French felt unsatissfied with the final two candidates.

I watched the final debate between the two candidates. Once again I admire the system, having the candidates talking about their programs, defend their ideas and attack their rival. You need to be excellent in public speaking at least to be able to be the candidate.

Anyway, I don't remember much of the debate, the few things I recall was:
- The "taxe d'habitation", one kind of local tax will be cancelled
- There will be fewer students in each class in the elementary schools, like 12 per students instead of 20++ today.

Hope for a better France, especially in terms of security.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When walnut is a dessert

My in laws have been to our place often to help with the DIY projects. When they were here, we usually had a tapas type of Saturday dinner. Over the time I had made almost the same kind of food.

 We usually have these...

 This when I was in the mood to make something visually attractive...

 My in laws brought this because they were cheaper in their place...

 Stuffed mushroom with something, I tried to alternat the stuffing..
I made this, I would like it to be a bit more chruncy, still need improvement...

So one day I was putting all kind of appetizer on the table, and since I know my MIL loves walnut, I purposely put it right in front of her. She was eating everything else except walnut and cheese. I felt weird, but when they had finished other stuffs they moved on to cheese. Then I realized they were following the appetizer-main course-cheese-salad-dessert-coffee kind of sequence. And when we moved on to dessert, I saw my MIL eating walnut, finally. I was like, oh!!!! Walnut in the shell is dessert!!!! When the shell is removed packing with nut mixed it is appetizer.

And I only realized this after living more than 11 years in France??? Oh my.

PS : In Malaysia we can jump from appetizer to dessert then back to appetizer and cheese. So, that's why I still couldn't get why eating in sequence is so important.

Now you see, now hopefully don't!

When we bought our land, we realized there was a big house right in front of our garden. We hesitated, as French people dislike houses with "vis à vis", they prefer to be able to relax in their own garden under privacy.

Don't know why, our neighbore decided to install so many windows on the North side of their house. It didn't bother me much, as I got used to those non privacy houses in Malaysia. 

So we finally did something to it. We bought 12 trees that would have green leaves during all 4 seasons, hopefully it would hide the view gradually. Hubby is conscious that he has a lot of maintaining works to do, as we can't let the trees grow too high.

I have never expected that planning trees needed so many times. It took hubby and my FIL the whole weekend. They had to dig up holes enough to put the tree in. It was hard work. On Sunday, an old lady cameby to tell them to stop as they were making some noise while digging. Oh, the sacrosanct Sunday. Hubby was supposed to mow the lawn but it was pu on hold. So no lawn mowing on Sunday then.