September, 2007

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Laaaatiooooo…..Ooo, hot hot…

Yang’s side of the family has been commenting that it is about time we change to a new car before our current Honda Civic depreciates drastically, especially after 5 years. So I have been bugging darling dearest on the subject and just 4 days ago, he started doing research on new cars available within our budget. And boy, was he so efficient as always. Just say that I’m a 286 while he’s a Pentium Core 2 Duo.:)

Even though I gave him conflicting information about the features I desired in a new car–such as looks – cannot look like ‘ah peh’, logo design – yeah, horse-power, fuel consumption–he managed to narrow down to 4 models – and he reminded me to be realistic, hee hee. He’d also created a whole bunch of really complicated looking spreadsheets comparing the 4 models based on user reviews, car specifications from manufacturers, forum feedback, and dunno what else; then ranked the four based on all that. By the time we’d gone for the first test drive this morning, we already had a probable winner based on all the information he’d gathered!

blog-new-car-CIMG2538.jpgSo, after hearing so much about the cramped leg room in Toyota Vios and the fact that it is made-in-Thailand, we decided not to waste the Toyota car agent’s time. Our first stop was Tan Chong Motors – Nissan showroom at Ubi. And by queue no, Lester (and don’t name your child starting with the word ‘Less’ ok?) came to serve us. We (or at least I) were glad to have him as he was the best car agent at the showroom. Boyish charm and clean looks, Lester knew his trade well. He also had that honest face and sincere disposition about him that placed me at ease that we were not misled by some crooks.

Vibes aside, our hearts were won over by the roominess, pleasant interiors, intelligent key performance, auto headlight system and fuel economy of Nissan Latio Premium. Of course, had not darling done his homework we would be shopping aimlessly from showroom to showroom feeling exhausted and probably confused at the end of it all. Nissan Sunny, the cheaper sibling of Latio, gave us a very cheap feel in comparison. It had limited leg room too.

Although we were quite decided on Latio after a test drive, we thought it wiser to check out other showrooms which were nearby. So we headed to Mazda at MacPherson road to test drive Mazda 3. Aiyoh, first impression already a goner. Nobody came to greet us or serve us for the first 10 mins we were there. Although we didn’t dress like VIPs, we looked interested okay! Anyway, a lady car agent finally came over to serve us.

The Mazda 3 has an aerodynamic design but I kenna knock my head against the passenger door frame when trying to get out of the car. Yang was more careful; at least he noticed the low door frame right from the beginning and smartly used it to cushion his head hee hee. Until now, I’m still feeling the concussion. I’m confused over whether to sue Mazda or not. The test drive gave me neck ache soon after and I didn’t feel comfortable at the driver’s seat at all. The black interior design didn’t suit my taste for elegance too. Sigh, the car agent made things worst by citing the inappropriate strengths of the car like, we can place golf equipment in the boot easily (but we don’t golf), telescopic meter gauge (who cares), hydraulic glove compartment and boot (so what), low CG (no wonder my head kenna ‘bua lu ku’), etc.

Darling also shortlisted Mitsubishi Lancer but its showroom is too far away. We discussed and came to an agreement that Latio shall be the one! We chose exactly the same color scheme as the one we saw in the showroom – red body with beige interiors :) My, sorry, our first red car! :D Zzroommmm!

Oh ya; the picture of the showroom car here we took after signing on the dotted line, and that’s our color. :)

Rawa Notes

blog-2007-Rawa-Island-CIMG2352 copy.jpgLing’s absolutely right about the kind of impression our Medang trip left on me. In fact, the whole experience of that island left me with a terrifically stinko feeling that immediately after that trip in June, I resolved that to properly wash off the image of a madly polluted island off my mind immediately, I had to visit a clean and pristine one.

Our decision to visit Rawa was almost an impulsive one because it was arranged rather last minute. The timing wasn’t really in our favor, since the best time to visit the East coast of Malaysia is outside Monsoon. Moreover, it was hard for our holidays to get in sync.

As it turned out, we were lucky enough to be able to properly align our work commitments in school so that we had a short window of 3 days where we were both free. As soon as our leave periods were officially cleared, we confirmed the booking with Rawa Safari – and this was just days before actual departure.

Up till this point, my only real exposure to the beach has been in and about Singapore. The beach at Rawa island on the other hand was alluringly clean with clear waters very inviting as soon we got off the speedboat. It really put to shame to kind of damage pollution has caused our own shores at the East Coast, let alone that of Pulau Medang. Unlike the Indonesian islands we saw and visited, the only sea traffic that comes in the direction of Rawa are that of tourists. There is little other passenger traffic, no fishing boats, and and certainly no fishing kampungs.

I imagine that three days two nights is about perfect for Asian visitors who already have regular exposure to sun and sand. Those staying outside Asia may want to plan for a slightly longer stay, though in terms of an actual variety of sights, there’s only so much you can do on the island if truly just lounging around isn’t your thing.

Well, that’s my introduction notes. In the next few entries over the days, I’ll write up entries about a few more aspects of our stay: our accommodation, eating and drinking on the island, our hill-side climb, and sunset / sunrise watching on the island. Our photos have been put up, so do look at it.:)

Rawa Rendezvous

blog-2007-Rawa-Island-CIMG2492-web.jpgI thought I wouldn’t visit this paradise island again.

Tucked away somewhere in the vast expanse of the South China Sea is a tiny, idyllic isle that sparkles in its crystal-clear, turquiose waters. The sun is often shining there and its sand are amazingly fine and white. Fringing the beaches is a belt of coral reef teeming with colourful reef fishes, and as you might be wondering, Nemo and Dory are its residents too.

Darling had been desiring to see Rawa Island after hearing me raving about it. His Pulau Medang stay was so disappointing that he must had felt the need to redeem the bad experience. I have been to a few pleasant beach resorts in the South East Asia and hence suggested Rawa Island Safaris Resort.

Rawa Island, or Pulau Rawa, is a privately run resort (owned by a royalty in Malaysia) and therefore its natural beauty is relatively unspoilt as compared to many nearby, commercial ones. Not a cheap vacation for 3D-2N stay, we decided it was worth the money afterall. So I made an online chalet reservation and also arranged with a local travel agency (Five Stars) for land transportation.

Thank God that the weather was fine throughout our stay on Rawa Island. The weather forecast for that region was thunderstorm and lightning actually. In fact, the weather was so bright and sunny that darling dearest got sunburn just after our first hour on the island! Next time, better not dare-devil and skip the sunblock.

Anyway, it was a small price to pay I’m sure. I was glad that darling found the trip to be worthwhile as he enjoyed the clear (& clean!) waters and lush vegetation. He had a great time shooting away with his SLR, mini-cam. and video-cam.

Since this was my third time visiting the island, it was not surprising that the newness and excitement were somewhat lacking. However, I had a fantastic time snorkelling – for I was braver this time. Thank God that I didn’t panicked or freaked out as much when I see any jelly fish swimming towards me or felt a sense a fear for the unknown waters out there. Thank God that the rented snorkelling equipment was in a better condition and somehow I was able to breathe through my mouth conscientiously.

blog-2007-Rawa-Island-CIMG2205.jpgI was encouraged to see many hard corals growing healthily: solitary Fungia sp. (mushroom type), digitate Acropora sp. (branching type in red, purple and pink branching out so beautifully), table Acropora sp., corymbose Acropora sp., foliaceous Leptoria sp. (brown bracket corals with violet trimmings), massive Goniastrea sp., Platygyra sp.(new orange-green brain coral growing near the jetty where traffic was high), clams in hues of blue sprouting in the rocks, different species of sea anemone housing their unique species of clown fish, a delicate and pretty yellow ribbon flat worm, a crouching stonefish / scorpion fish (ha, I can see you), spider conches, huge wavy top shells covered with algae, crabs, catfish, black sea cucumber, black sea urchins, parrot fish, half-beaks, many other fishes with iridescent colours (I don’t know their names) and of course, jelly fishes.

OK; I’ll continue in the next entry tomorrow.:)

A Seaside Getaway


The both of us have just returned from a trip at Pulau Rawa, a relatively unknown little island but with absolutely adoring beaches. We took close to 1029 pictures on two cameras, and it’s going to take a long while to sort them all out. For the moment, here’s just a quick teaser picture; do watch out for the proper album and also our write-ups.:)