Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bagan Sungei Burung – Nature’s paradise at HOME


         We are now on the Recovery Phase of the MCO – it is time to break free but be safe too. So, is there a quick getaway with no crowds but only the sea, nature, cheap scrumptious seafood and a heaven for photography? Coming near you at Bagan Sungei Burung, a quiet quaint fishing village in Bagan Datuk, Perak. Take a nice slow drive through willowy graceful coconut tree lined roads. The trees remind me of graceful svelte super models on either side of the road. Watch out for the king fishers perched on electric cables as they wait for unfortunate fishes in the ditches beside the roads. 

The first thing that hits you as you enter Sungei Burung (Sungei - River, Burung - bird) village is the fresh aroma of fish and shell fish. 
How else can it not be in the air as the main industry here is catching and processing all kinds of sea food.
 It is a rare treat to see all the fishing boats and trawlers docked right into the village. Just like how we step into our cars in our porch, I guess they just hop into their boats! " Jom, Sayang (Come on, Darling) 😘 , let's take a drive to the islandsπŸ₯°, no need to dress-up, shorts and T-shirt can!" 😍

Restaurants line the river mouth and we had a feast  with the colours of our food as incredible as the colours of the setting sun. 
I am allergic to prawns and crabs, but that didn't stop my travel bugs from enjoying the day's catch with me just drooling. Not so bad lah, we also had squid and pork dishes, so I didn't starve or drooled too much. 

The food is gloriously fresh right off the fishing boats and prices are reasonable. No dieting here. Forget about tight jeans, just get wild and sassy here. You want spicy, curried, fried, steam, battered or whatever, just tell the chef. He/She will "wok" out your personal wishes. Food comes steaming hot from the cast iron wok, you can even hear the chef "clanging" his "wok chan" (wok spatula) as he performs his magic. Have dinner with the best show on Earth - SUNSET.

Night time is peaceful as just how a village should be - just walk around and wonder at the difference between the hustle and buzz of the city with just the sound of small chatter as people sit outside to enjoy the night air. 

Accomodation is clean, no fuss, reasonable and 5 minutes away from the jetty. It is almost like a home stay, all rooms have air-conditioning and are super clean.
 Individual rooms with large halls for group get-together,
family rooms 
and city-style bathroom facilities. Most importantly, FREE WIFI is available for you to send your photos pronto.

What's on for the next day? Morning has broken and farm fresh vegetables, huge combs of bananas, soursop, custard apples to buy for home. 

 This sleepy village has much to offer in walking trails,

 sun flowers farms (sunflowers are as large as dinner plates)
aquariums,


fish farms where you can buy cheap, fresh or dried seafood.

 and if you get too hot and bothered, why not step into this bright open bus and take a tour.

A guardian angel photo prop awaits, just make sure you position yourself properly or else you may have your wings growing our of your head! Moo Eng has the perfect distance here, looks like she just flapped in from above.

So follow this ANGEL, bring your cap, sun screen and lots of zest. Time to boost our economy and have a smashing GOOD TIME. Don't stop here, ask for the Blue Tears 
trip to see the iridescent pyhtoplankton on a night cruise. The ocean lights up in blue,
 the stars are twinkling in the sky,
and you can FISH out that diamond ring (NOT FROM THE SEA ok, you have to bring that along) and propose, "Will you MARRY me?" But don't go on one knee, cos you will topple into the sea and spoil the romantic moment.

And if the answer is "Yes" or "No," take her for the Sky Mirror experience the following day. After all, one should always stay as FRIENDS.

Acknowledgement to Ms. Lim Moo Eng for some of the pictures used in this post. 

Note: CONTACTS to get to this treasure site

And you can even brag about the ONE that didn't get away, 
or if no one believes you, these sunset shots should earn you some points.


Friday, June 26, 2020

RAINBOW BURGER – A COLOURFUL CULINARY EXPERIENCE

            EATING FLOWERS is probably not every one’s idea of a meal. I used the term “probably” and NOT “definitely” as culinary experiences have certainly gone bizarre. I mean how do you explain paying to eat in total darkness (acceptable for me), gourmet insect meals (I can still handle this), dinner in the sky over 100 ft in the air (going a bit far up) and at Alcatraz E.R., diners are handcuffed and taken to their “cells” (that 's really walking the GREEN mile to your table). All these are meant to enhance your total eating experience. Ya, OK, but what’s wrong with eating with the family at home in our own dining room? I guess, by today’s standards, this is not an enhanced total experience anymore!

         OK, OK I have digressed from the main topic again. Back to my long-time pal Rose (our children grew up together), she is into all things natural. And is a wonder at it too. Don't believe me, well this is her seedless lemon (300 grams), the lemon tree cutting was from Australia. 
   My super-market bought lemon at a little over 100g with seeds too. Can you see it?

     Can anyone of you grow a winter melon this big - 3.6 kg? Her 1st winter melon 
from her pant that is still reproducing like rabbits.
and she just spotted her 17th melon. So not fair, I took months to grow measly bean sprouts 😫 and was bragging about it.
          Winter melons can be kept for ONE year and MORE in a shady place as long as one does not wipe away the white ash protective layer. Besides eating this monster, she also plucks the young melon shoots and cooks them in coconut milk ("masak lemak" style).
U
   This is her RAINBOW BURGE– 
Bread bun from Village Grocer spread with black sesame Tahini/peanut butter and sandwiched with flowers, herbs and veggies from her garden. 
Nothing bought, burger ingredients: 

        1: Kedongdong shoots (Ambarella)
        2 & 3: Moringa leaves, young and mature (Moringa oleifera)
        4: Coral vine flower
        5: Brazilian spinach
        6: Bunga telang (Butterfly Pea flower)
        7: Dill
        8: Hempedu bumi (Andrographis paniculata, a herbal antibiotic)
        9: Mulberries
      10: Hibicus flower
      Yellow flower centre piece: winter melon flower and burger bun

       A different burger experience from cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes, no doubt. OK, I know what all of you are dying to ask, “Doesn’t Rose get a stomach ache?” That was the first think I asked after oohing  and aahing ... over the pretty colours. “No tummy ache lah. All just a change in mind set. More antioxidants, more colours the better," she said.

Are you ready for Rose's Rainbow Salad?

        Rose has been into organic gardening since 1997. She used to volunteer for 11 years in a group called Cetdem (Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia), a group promoting sustainable development. They are the Kuala Lumpur organic warriors. 

        Thanks Rose for the pictures and for educating me on your herbs, fruits and vegetables in your organic garden. Please save one fat winter melon for me, and I will definitely try your rainbow burger, but maybe we'll keep the Rainbow Salad for another visit. 
Keep well my friend.


FOOD BITS
        Hibiscus flowers are said to have a cranberry-like taste with tropical notes (sounds like wine?), often infused into drinks. An article in the Journal of Nutrition 2010 quotes Hibiscus tea may lower blood pressure in people at risk of high blood pressure. Meta-analysis studies in 2015 reported that drinking hibiscus tea lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However my take is, always do your own research and evaluate what quantities fit your body.

         Moringa oliefera or drumstick tree: Touted as medicinal super food and known as the tree of life. The leaves can be stir-fried with grated coconut and the pods (looks like and also called drumsticks) can be added to curries and stews. High in vitamins, magnesium, iron (said to be able to help in treatment of anaemia) and  proteins. Again, the quantities taken will differ with each person. I did do a stir-fried moringa leave dish and ate quite a bit for dinner with rice. Oh my goodness ... did Gismo man and I have diarrhoea, stomach upset and flatulence the whole night. Moringa in large amounts has laxative properties, obviously I didn't do my research!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND

EVERYONE .... IN FORMATIONNN! 

 What will we do without FRIENDS? BLOOD is thicker than water, that’s why I have my family. But, sometimes I want someone to “hyperventilate” with, and have a good yarn. Who else but a friend will listen to me rambling about my past, present and future without rolling their eyeballs.

"Blah ... blah, and the berries on the other tree are sweeter."
I ruminate way too much about life. I need to hang out with my pals, just be free 
 wild and sassy 
        And occasionally have a πŸ’BERRYπŸ’ good time.

 FRIENDS for different times of the Day? My 6.45 am walking partner 🚢‍♂️. Mary and I are out pounding the streets 6 days a week. Out with the dawn (street lamps are still on) for our 5 km exercise. I have substituted qigong with brisk walking since the lock down was relaxed. 
Mary is a walking cookbook. Her "mee siam" (Siamese noodles) is out of this world and her knowledge of meats and the different cuts for different dishes surpasses the butchers'. A real handy friend to have in hand!

Then I have the 3 Scientists (not 3 Stoogers OK!) going on holiday together as Travel Bugs, Kim, Moo Eng and I. 
Here we are at Pulau Sembilan, Perak to view the BLUE TEARS - a type of bioluminescence phytoplankton.
        We squabble, often without coming to any consensus. Our present argument is the origin of SARS-CoV-2. I believe it is from natural recombination, Kim is towards human intervention and has presented us with a collection of her conspiracy theories. Moo Eng thinks both are possible so she is our "referee" for the moment.
        We can do research for Q1 papers but we cannot SOS (Save Our Souls) in water. Here are two of us trying to look "gaya" (have style). But, how to snorkel when we were clinging on to the float most of the time ... ALAMAK.  
         We do better on land so here' we are on our hiking trails.

         I have Ah Con who always gets me into scrapes. She took me biking into the paddy fields in Langkawi. It should be made known that we haven't biked for over 40 years. We were kinda wobbly on the roads, worse when we cycled into the paddy fields on dirt roads. One minute Ah Con was in front of me, the next she had cycled right into a ditch. She rolled right in, lost her glasses in the running irrigation water and looked like a drown rat. 
          On another trip, she decided my soul needed some cleansing, so she dragged me on a yoga-meditation retreat in India for 5 days/4 nights. We had to wake up at 4 am daily, ate only vegetarian meals and were given only 2 meals a day to cleanse our bodies. I am not sure if my soul was purified, but I know I was HUNGRY all the time.

         Same with Savvy K when she has a bad day at work. She’ll be yelling for Thory from the gate, and he always rushes out to pounce on her. Then she will slump on the sofa, legs up and hold his "hand." She just “chills” as she unloads the day’s disasters, while her best friend just sits next to her and listens with his paw in hers. Thory really does listen patiently with offered paw.
 

         Some days, all we need is a good hug. It does not matter where we are or who is looking.
Just someone who understands that life can be daunting.

          And the best of friends know "Theirs not to question why, 
Theirs but to just sit beside you.

When you're down and troubled
And you need some love and care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night


You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there, yes, I will

Carole King; From her Tapestry Album 1971, Grammy Award for Song of the Year
Note: THANKS Lan Boey for the fantastic video of the hornbills, Acknowledgement goes to the naturalist who uploaded the hornbills on UVideo.