Monday, July 25, 2011

Langkawi Buffalo Park

Fun time  with buffaloes

I have to admit I'm not one to sit around on a holiday. Even on a wedding destination which was already packed  with ceremonies. Now you know I'm a kind of pain in the ... with my folks who say that I can't stay still !!! So while  many chilled out and pampered themselves at the hotel, I made contact with my blogging friend, wChinner. She made the arrangements for my husband and I to do an short escapade on the river to  the mangrove swamp. And when I heard about the existence of a Buffalo Park, my mind was made up right away!

No mooing greeted us at the Langkawi Buffalo Park. It was all too quiet when we visited. In the building where the mozarella cheese is made, there was no activity. A pity 'coz we wanted to watch the manufacturing  process.

We headed to the big shed following a signpost. There the buffaloes stood, busy munching  away their green meal. After a while we caught sight of a farm hand who introduced himself as Din. He was busy with the day's routine but stopped to answer some questions.

Happy to talk to you! 

Good day visitors! 

Snuggling and sharing 

It's scrumptiously green

The Park looks like a small outfit. Some water buffaloes are reared for draft, others  for their milk. However when I come close to these tough bovines, a nagging thought  says to stay clear or  be hooked  and dangled in the air! See how their deep ridged  horns stand out prominently above their hunk of flesh, curving backward in a crescent. Din pointed out that the buffaloes are from India and are the milking types.

Hooked for life!

We are buffaloes for riding.

Nice cool water to keep the temperatures down.

That early afternoon, the hot sun kept things quiet at the park. So we occupied ourselves with the big beauties. My husband was cooing at the little ones. Inevitably he always goes soft  when he sees kittens, puppies, calves, babes...

A cutie too heavy to carry and cuddle.

Our short visit ended on  lovely melting moments. We ordered  a big scoop of buffalo ice cream and had to lick it fast  before it trickled down our hands. We bought 4 small vitagen size cartons of buffalo milk for our friends who were also wedding guests. They gave a pass on this nature escapade, the heat being the deterrent. In the fridge were some slabs of mozarella cheese - made from 100% buffalo milk which  is far superior to 'regular' cow's milk. Pricey no doubt but the creamy, low cholesterol  stuff is much sought after and fast scooped up by the local hotels.

Melting before my eyes!

More than meets the eye with buffaloes!

Ready for a bullock cart ride?

They were kept in  separate pens  from the milking ones

General info for visitors

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aprons go a - walking

Some of The Sunshine ladies  ready to pitch their salesmanship! All for a good cause.

Really it was a good loud  burst of laughter  that started my morning with the my team mates for the charity event at the Bukit Damansara  Walk -a - Fun.

Grace, all chirpy on a Sunday morning says, 'You want me to wear your apron, now you wear my hat!'. From behind her back she produced a chef's hat and plonked it on my head. ' From Hilton Hotel,' she declares. 'Me??' 'Yes, you!'

Okay, no ifs and buts. I willingly kept it on. The money - savvy me says, "Hey this is a great promo for the  tea towels we want to sell this morning.'  My friends were there to lend a hand to sell the lovely tea towels that we've worked on as a fund raiser for the residents of Sel Cheshire was  also heart warming  to see  a few participants donning the aprons  right away after having purchased them. Thanks guys!

My team - Sis-in law, and Grace and Carlos from Argentina.

Thank you for wearing and supporting our aprons

My team comprised  Grace and her very sporting  hubby, Carlos from Argentina and my sister- in- law. The morning was cool after an early light shower. All signs pointed to a great walk with the people from Bukit Damansara and beyond  streaming in. Families, friends, cousins, office  mates - all different combinations  each made up a minimum team of 2 and maximum  4 to do the walk.

We were flagged off by the DPM.  Such a rush of adrenaline  to be part of the 'herd'. Excitement was in the air. Just by the mosque we had to solve the first clue marked by a big  ?. The answers were all within a range of 20 metres. So that's what this Walk -a - Fun means - the fun is to look for clues, get them all correct  and within the best time. Hopes were high for the truly great prizes of desirables like  a 42 inch LCD TV. Not only one but 3! Wow! such wonderful prizes waiting to land into some hands - if only the mind and the body can synchronize. Now who will win?  Aiyah, not us! To tell you the truth, I gave a wrong answer.That's for misreading the question! Sorry folks.

Just up another road  incline, as we pushed on, I caught sight of some familiar faces. They sure liked my attire.'What's cooking, Keats?' Amin asked. ' Just cooking  up a sweat!' Sorry, nothing to sell.' More laughs  and we continued  with increased  leg  power towards the finishing post.

We did well . The tea towels got  good response and there were orders for the aprons. Now the volunteers will have to get  busy with their spare time. We surely can't wait to tell the good news to the artists at the Home. For it is their work that we had proudly worn. And it all started with the batik sessions we had at the Home. We helped our friends turn their hibiscus motif  into a practical household  product. You should have seen the happiness in their faces when they saw their work and their names printed materialize into something they didn't dream of. Well, my friends, for starters, these tea towels and aprons are flying to the Netherlands. That's one country I know where they are going as personal gifts:)

Thank you Bukit Damansara Residents' Assoc. You did Great! Thanks for the booth to sell our tea towels.

All our tea towels rolled into neat bundles  making brisk sales that morning.

Some of the 550+ eager participants

Thirst no more for creativity!  

I walked it my way! Of course following the route .  Waiting to get to the marshals to validate time etc

Still smiling after the 4 km walk. 

Super prizes donated by sponsors. How's  that ? 3 units of 42 inch LCD TVs to give away , fridges, ipad etc.

Happy to finish the race . Hubby  was the chief judge.

Spot the celeb! She sponsored a big set of her CDs.

President of The Bukit Damansara  Residents' Assoc, Tan Sri Aziz  thanking all participants - a fun way to enhance  the muhibbah spirit

Winners all

Friday, July 8, 2011

Art for Nature

Surprise was in store for the residents of Selangor Cheshire Home. I brought lots of toilet rolls and recycled paper and said," Today, for our activity, let's pay a tribute to trees!'

A quick explanation on tribute and  answers were forthcoming from the eager participants about the benefits of trees. 'Fruits!' -  they didn't forget about their mango tree which is lush with spikes of flowers. May the sun and other elements help them to blossom and bear fruits!

We sang to the tunes of London is Falling Down  and The Wheels on the Bus . The  leaves changed with the seasons in different hues of green, red, orange and brown.

Soon everyone got busy. A couple of residents worked on the forest floor while the rest  'grew' their trees. Short, medium, tall trees slowly took shape.Yes, a forest was in the making. The cyclindrical  toilet rolls got their splashes of green and brown and the crowns took on their random shapes. The free nature of the activity seemed to be working fine with interest all round.

A little help goes a long way - adding colour to the trunk

Nature and caring brings us close
Upon our encouragement, the residents wheeled themselves to their mango tree in The Sunshine Garden. So, what's next? Amidst explosions of laughter, we gamely  hugged the tree. Certainly the day was begnning to feel different. I said, 'Yes, let's do something to remember today. But be careful - don't jump out of your seats!' It was fun and under the shade of the leafy mango tree, it was not surprising to find the heat simmered a couple of degrees  under the verdant foliage. This simple act was engaging.

He wanted to be the first to hug the tree - always enthusiastic, never allows anything to get into his way to enjoy our activity sessions. 

I can't believe myself - up close with our tree, under its shade, feeling  the bark...

We can reach you - Aye for trees!

Spikes of flowers  - please tree, tell us when ye will be laden with fruits?

Last but not least, it was time to put pen to paper and express our thoughts and feelings for trees. We sang once again to enjoy the songs. In a small way, this activity brought home the importance of trees in this climate of green degradation.

Our forest is 'alive' . Sing and enjoy nature. Preserve and conserve.

If we plant now, we plant for the future.

Colour me

Work on the forest floor

Art for nature

The forest floor is dark and moist - what lives there?

Instant trees???

My buddy, Linda  had cooked red bean and sago dessert for a mid morning  snack. It was relished with appreciation and there was enough for  us volunteers too. As usual, a resident led in 2 songs that always bring our regular sessions to its close. Heartily we sang The More We Get Together and You Are My Sunshine. So ended a wonderful morning.

My buddy for the morning in the activity session. Food for the stomach and activity for the soul and  heart.

A friend I've known for 20 years in my time as a volunteer at the Home. Proudly I wore his batik artwork which we turned into tea towels and aprons. Can't see the positive message below the hibiscus? - The Day Is As Good As We Make It. How true! We had a most enjoyable and meaningful session. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Destination Wedding - Langkawi

Life is so beautiful. The past few days we were embraced in what seemed a never ending treat and privilege to be part of a friend's son's wedding.

The happy couple with their family members  

It was Gul and  Mala's big day. The destination - Langkawi where their families and friends were to witness  and partake of the lovely moments and to the uninitiated like us, a first hand experience of a Sindhi wedding, replete in splendour. People from all over the world hear of the charms of this idyllic, legendary  island in the Andaman Sea. The beautiful invitation had different cards for different events with a guide to attire. There were the Ring and the Sagri, Sangeet Party, Mehndi and Ghari ceremonies and culminating in the Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Reception. Beauty surrounded us. In the ceremonies conducted, the shower of genuine love and caring by the parents and relatives, the great hospitality accorded, and the painstaking attention to details with breathtaking views of mountains and the turquoise blue sea  as backdrop  for a truly memorable destination wedding gave us a beautiful  time of our lives starting from the smooth welcome at the airport to The Westin Resort and Spa.

The ballroom where the Ring and Sagri  ceremonies  and the Sangeet Party  took place.

Well -positioned stage for the Ring and Sagri Ceremonies to take place. 

All set for the prayers

The dressing up was very much part of the different events. All my legwork to look pretty- from bangles, ear rings etc to the clothes came off nicely. Needless to say, the gorgeous bride  was stunning in all her outfits. She looked relaxed and her dear brother who gave her away was prompted to praise her - ' what you see is what you get ' in his thank you speech.

My hubby and I were blown away by the riot of colours. The clever mix turned each venue  dressed differently into a wonderland to step right into. I have not ever seen him slipping in and out of clothes changes, something quite unheard of. But he was sporting and carried it off with panache. So I tagged along  my handsomely dressed guy and we partied .

For most of the wedding attendees, the hotel was their heavenly oasis for their 3-4 day stay. However, we managed to squeeze time early one morning and stole away  for a nature jaunt. My blogging friend, wchinner  caught up with me at Breeze. A nature guide herself, she was occupied  but she arranged  a boat trip for us  to the mangrove forest and a visit to a relatively new tourist attraction, Buffalo Park. That was when I slipped into my fave tees and jeans. Back at the hotel, after a nice shower  and hair wash,  it was time to look glamorous again!  - time to wear the saree for the Wedding Ceremony.

Floral arrangements  that dazzled the guests

Three beauties in a row at the Ring, Sagri and Sangeet Party

Rose among the thorns!!

The Sangeet Party  was much fun - it went on till the wee hours of the morning. Champagne, 
cocktails etc  flowed freely. 

Ladies who greeted the guests with beautiful things for the Mehndi.

The bridegroom's parents  leading the groom ( in blue ) and family members

Inviting, charming, alluring, so heavenly...

The priest specially flown in from Hong Kong  to conduct all the religious ceremonies 

In -laws embracing  and having much in common.

The fun had already started . The mood was contagious.

Heavenly Spa  - the perfect setting for a lovely evening. 

All eyes on the intricate  henna painting on the bride

One of the guests showing off the  lovely artwork.

At  Heavenly Spa where the Mehndi took place. Lady guests were greeted with such a lovely array of bangles, fancy potus , tatoo stickers and  Indian sweets.

Inside the Spa, ladies waited for their turns to have the henna painting in this awesome setting.

From the Spa,  take a walk on the beach. 

Food  - immensely spoiled for choices. Svelte figures can forget about the calorie count!

Delicate garlands for guests.

Everything's just heavenly right here.

Relaxing, soothing ambience

Enjoying the sea breeze and the company

At the Ghari ceremony - a religious ceremony performed on the eve of the wedding day in order to pray for the prosperity of the couple and their families and to illustrate  the end of the couple's old life and welcome in the new.

Just showing a wee bit of my back! Dressed for the Wedding ceremony by the Pool Deck 

Gorgeous setting

Happiness overflowing