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Cherating Travel Diary – Part One

13 Oct

Inspired by Suan’s idea to keep a travel diary during her Hong Kong trip, I’m chronicling my Cherating trip.

Day the first:

We met up at the office for breakfast. Of all mornings there had to be a massive jam on the LDP that day so quite a few people were late for the 9am rendezvous.

Which left more time for camwhoring.

Me and Elly, my frequent lunch victim.

Club Med Cherating trip - Share on OviThis was my ride all the way to Cherating. A Nissan cruiser we use for our roadshows and promos, with Cruiser driver Richard and salesdude William as his co-pilot. I played spoiled princess by reclining in the backseat. Richard drives fast but he was careful on the turns and even with my car sickness, the ride was bearable. Tip for other carsick prone people: don’t eat anything too heavy, have gum or other stuff to nibble on and stay hydrated.

Drama did ensue on the road, though. With five cars and rather haphazard co-ordination, it was inevitable there would be some problems. One car got lost which threw our schedule off; we had to wait at the Temerloh rest stop until the car and its wayward passengers arrived.

Once we got to Cherating village, I couldn’t help but appreciate how blue the sky was. A far cry from the cloudy vistas of Klang Valley.

 
 

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We arrived at Club Med at 3pm, hungry and exhausted. I was rather dreading the 6pm inter-team football match later at 6pm. Bosses had ‘brilliant’ idea to break us into three teams, naming them after Japanese cars: Nissan, Honda and Toyota. They made me captain of the last team which made me a bit apprehensive about having to choose football, volleyball and basketball players. I admit I suck at team sports. Ask my secondary schoolmates: I was never cut out for athletics and I don’t think I’ve ever not been unfit all my schoolyears.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one out of shape. Years of sedentary activity will do you in, you see. Most of my collegues were deskbound and it was plenty hilarious to see their antics on the field. Team Nissan outplayed us all but we had fun. I even managed a decent tackle but never, never make me goalie.

Then after football and plenty of bruises to show for it, we cleaned up and had dinner together. Also caught a show at the Club Med theatre arena which is always a fun thing to do.

You see, every week the GOs will perform for a few nights and entertain the crowd with song and dance skits. They’re high-school production level yet impressive in the amount of work you see, cooked up in such a short time. After that, I cajoled colleagues into joining me on the dance floor.

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I danced until my right knee gave out and then by 11.40am I was ready for bed and preparing for the next day.

My sole disappointment was in the lack of GO company. GOs or gentil organizeurs are Club Med’s hospitality experts who sit with you at meals and keep you company throughout the trips. They’re fun, very knowledgeable at what they do and help make your trip anything but ordinary. Then we found out that Club Med was all booked out and the GOs were tied up with all the other groups. Disappointing, but still, I was having a lot of fun anyhow.

The next day would bring more fun and laughter…and some GO company. 😉

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Retreating to Club Med Cherating

13 Oct

Well, just returned from my 3 day, 2 night stint at Club Med Cherating with the office crew.
The weather was great – sunny, nearly cloudless skies and lovely starlit nights. Beach still as clean and water as gorgeous as it was last time. Club Med Cherating recently had renovation work done, with quite a few changes instituted as well.
The good:

  • Open Bar. Cocktails all night and day? Happiness in bottles for those who drink like a fish.
  • Spruced up rooms. My twin room was lovely and spacious compared to the tiny cabin-like room i had the last time.
  • Still plenty of yummy GOs (gentil organizeurs) to ogle.Nothing like staring at stomach muscles so defined you could play tick tack toe or a game of checkers on them.

The bad:

  • No coffee servers. All self-service now. I miss brewed coffee.
  • Pastries disappointing. Food standards seem to have dropped a little since the last time I was here.

Played football, volleyball and tried out archery there. Also hung out at the beach for a bit but also spent some quality nap time. Danced till my knee complained the first night; the second night my colleagues were too plastered to join me so I chatted up a local GO instead. Very nice, very young, very buff, very good company.
Here are the photos I took on my Nokia N82. Nothing I could hold anyone for ransom for, sadly. It was still nice to be able to enjoy sand and sea, and be able to have fun with people you share an often stressful situation with.
Would I recommend Club Med Cherating? Oh heck, yeah. It’s gorgeous, plenty of things to do, with food and drink all-inclusive and far from the hustle and bustle of Klang Valley. Would I go there again? Maybe to a Club Med in another country, though of course I can’t recommend Cherating enough.

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I return to you

10 Oct

Cherating

Club Med Cherating…again. Second time going, but this time I have most of my colleagues for company.

Am team leader of Team Toyota. Will we survive football, volleyball and basketball competitions? We’ll see.

I hope the beaches are still as beautiful as I remember, the sand as soft as it was two years ago.

Am staying clear of the stinging jellyfish, though. Brrr…

Be back Sunday, and hopefully no new drama erupts.

*blows you all kisses*

Day the Second in Hong Kong

23 Jun

Here is where I correct the name of the hotel. I didn’t realise it, since we arrived when it was all rainy and all I could think about was dumping my things, but we were staying at BP  International House.
BP as in Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouts; his wife founded the Girl Guides. And who just happens to share my birthday.

Yes, I was a Girl Guide. My knots still suck but, hey, I’m a half-decent cook and seamstress. :p

BP House is somewhere I’d recommend. It’s really very good for a 3-star hotel, with excellent views from the hotel window and a very satisfying hotel breakfast. The staff are friendly, the rooms, though spartan are pretty adequate and clean. No bedbugs.

It was a little sad to be checking out, especially as BP was much better than we’d imagined.

Unfortunately, it left us with a sinking feeling that our next hotel would be far, far worse.
It was.

Guangdong Hotel is, quite frankly, unimpressive but for its location. It’s just a minute’s walk to the MRT and is pretty much smackdab in the city centre, with easy access to Nathan Road. The staff was indifferent, you weren’t lucky enough to get a hotel breakfast here, and the rooms? Well, they were a bit bigger than BP and ours had a bathtub. A view? Forget it. Not unless you fancy looking at tall, musty-looking buildings.
After we’d dumped our stuff and unpacked, we headed off to where our feet would take us.
That meant shopping and using our new Octopus 3-day passes!



We came to a few realisations about shopping in Hong Kong:

1. Hong Kong women have small feet. It’s hard to find anything larger than size 39.

2. Hong Kong sizes are one size smaller than ours. So if you wear L, you’ll have to look for XL.

3. XL-sizes are near impossible to find

I swear, Hong Kong, when it comes to clothes is made for the skinny, petite or possibly bulimic.
But Suan did find a Bossini where the t-shirt sizes were kinder to us and I did manage to find pants. In XL.

I seriously considered not eating for like, forever?

Still, Hong Kong can be a fun place to walk and explore. Also a heaven for shopping…if you can fit into Hong Kong sizes.


(Me, a little weary after traipsing Hong Kong. I did score a nice messenger bag at Esprit for half off. )

I found Hong Kong to be pretty pedestrian friendly, and though my feet ached after hours spent on my feet, I liked how much more convenient walking is in HK compared to KL.

Alcohol, for you liquor lovers, well…it costs the same in Malaysia. More expensive in some places, even. So this is definitely not a place for you to go boozing. Still, there are plenty of coffee shops – try the local Pacific Coffee franchise. Of course, Suan being Suan, we opted for Starbucks instead.

Day the second also saw me really missing the Internet. Free Wi-Fi isn’t something easy to find in Hong Kong unless, of course, some poor sod’s left his router wide open for people like yours truly to leech off.

Stay tuned for Day Three and impromptu lion dance shenannigans.

Part 2, where Erna has not gotten herself killed. Yet.

14 Jun

Part the Second of Day the First (still without dim sum)

So I left it where me and Suan arrived, slightly soggy, at our hotel.

BI International, for all our expectations, turned out very decent. The staff was courteous and attentive, the room spartan yet comfortable and it was not that far a walk to the nearest MRT. After dumping our bags, we then proceeded to explore the city.

Suan decided Nathan Road was a good place to head towards and head for the road we did. It was windy, rainy and yet, pretty crowded. As Suan said, Hong Kong can make you pretty claustrophobic if you let it. People line the roads, day in, day out, crowds and crowds of them all the time. Still, it’s a very pedestrian-friendly place with easy access to MRT stations, convenient walkways. Just watch out for the eye-poking umbrellas. Hong Kong people love their umbrellas – go down Ladies Market and look for the umbrella vendors. Big one, small ones, one with handles, ones that lie flat, lacy ones, transparent one, polka dots and Winnie the Pooh-ones…

After all that walking, we didn’t end up buying much. I got a soft silicon case for my mobile phone but not much else. Then we went back to the hotel where I fell asleep to dream of dim sum. Perhaps tomorrow? Alas, that was not to be. We found other delights to make our day. But that’s a tale for later.

Hong Kong Suey

14 Jun

It’s my second day here in Hong Kong, but I only managed to get Wi-Fi today, folks.

But we have chronicles! From day 1!

Chapter 1 of the Dim Sum adventures (dim sum not included)
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Because the gods decided that we had some serious karma or yuan fen together, I ended up with Suan in Hong Kong. She won a trip and I get to freeload! Muahahaha. Though secretly I wondered if I should make offerings beforehand to ensure she didn’t kill me before we arrived home.

   
   

In her infinite wisdom, Suan decreed I should stay over the night before we were due to fly. The cab, after all, was going to come get us at 6am. Said cab ended up arriving at 5.45am and neither of us had gotten any sleep. Suan spent half the night packing and I was fending off vicious mosquitoes in the guest room.

   
   

So we arrived at KLIA roughly around 6.20am – Suan was surprisingly chipper while I was bleary-eyed and craving a Mushroom Swiss at BK. Suan bravely resisted the call of Starbucks and she ended up breakfasting on croissants and coffee – after I dug into my burger, of course.

   
   

The flight left promptly at 9am, with us bagging nice seats next to the wing which  meant plenty of leg room. Huzzah! The 4-hour flight proved a little more eventful than we liked – a lot of turbulence on the way, ending up in a delayed landing at 1.20pm.

   
   

Since Suan had done all the research, I was mostly the faithful, yet ignorant, sidekick. She recommended that we get the Octopus Travel card which came with one free airport transfer and unlimited travel on the MRT over a 3-day period. Only HK220, with a redeemable value of HK50.

   
   

The Airport Express is a lot like KLIA Express, but the seats are wedged much closer together. What I like is that you get the choice of 3 stops – as compared to KLIA’s sole stopover at KL Sentral. We got off at Kowloon City, which also happens to be linked to a swanky mall. Suan finally gave in to her Starbucks fixation. Honestly, Hong Kong does a better job at Starbucks than we do – the sandwiches are totally delectable-looking but Suanie isn’t enamoured with their lattes. "Too much milk…too little coffee."

   
   

We bravely attempted to get to our hotel by foot but ended up taking a cab. It was starting to rain, not to mention the choppy wind made Suan declare she was getting a jacket.

What happened next?

Tune in tomorrow. Me and Suan are going to the promenade! At 10.01pm!