Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crabbing at Jina & Eddie's

We hear its crab season this time of year. Atiqah pun memang dah banyak kali sebut nak makan ketam. Despite her allergies! And these few days dia demam pulak. Having anak2 yang dah besar ni some people say senang, but when they are sick they'ld act like 4 or 5 year olds! Tu belum bapa nyer... lebeh dari anak dia kalau demam...he..he.. Whenever Atiqah eats shrimps or prawns both her eyes will be itchy and swollen. However, she has no problems with lobsters & squid (sotong). But, we haven't tried her with crabs. When Jina & Eddie wanted to do a cook-out of crabs at their home, it was like pucuk di cita ulam mendatang. Shafinaz, Aziz and Eddie's roles were to go crabbin' kat Half Moon Bay...tempat fishermen unload their catch. Pergi beli ketam bukan tangkap ketam.. I think Shafinaz got them at less than 4 dollars per pound.. she's quite a negotiator! :) and I haven't seen ketam2 yang gemuk2 and banyak isi macam tu. O... except for the King Crab that has 'limbs' more than a foot long! The two couples were almost done cutting and cleaning those fresh smelling crustacean when we reached Jina's home. They divided them into 3 portions - one portion for masak lemak cili padi, the second for barbeque, and the third for sup ketam. Ahaa.. tak pernah masak ketam buat sup? Yours truly pun tak pernah...tapi Chef Shafinaz kita masak sup ketam hari tu memang sedaap! Itu lah dia rahsia selama ni... Ms Shafinaz kita pandai masak. Senang la nanti in our next get-together.. :) Jina's kuih keria was also a hit. I think she also made karipap.. banyak sangat makanan sampai tak ingat. Well, I just came with ayam goreng salut tepung.. O ya... selain crab season, it's also flu season.. We missed another family (Nani & anak2) sebab semua nya demam! Salbiah & Faizal had visitors from San Francisco & Stockton. Faridah & family couldn't make it either..

Oleh kerana dapur Jina tinggi sangat, terpaksa lah Chef Shafinaz guna 'stool'... he..he..







Eh...Eh... nampak macam model la pulak... :)





Outcome of our findings? - Atiqah is also allergic to crabs... ! Hmm....nasib la
At first the idea was to share the total price of the catch among us, but thanks to our new Haji & Hajjah (Eddie & Jina) yang murah hati we left only with heavier bellies... Next time dah tak boleh...kita kena share the load.. :)
Thank you also for their grand hospitality. May they receive abundant blessings from Allah always ...




Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visitors from Malaysia

Last 2 weeks Nureena, her baby Afrina and her parents (En Muhammad and Puan Norma) visited us from San Francisco. She's working with P.N.B and now seconded for a few months at a Venture Capital company in San Francisco. Her husband is holding fort at home with their other three children. It's good getting to know ladies like Nureena - very determined, very sharp, not easily intimidated and has good communication skills. Her experience studying in US before helped. I guess P.N.B chose the right person to represent the organisation. Seronok berborak dengan her parents too! They are here to help in looking after her 2 year old. This ex-army veteran banyak cerita... Just a few hours with them terasa macam dah kenal lama. Too bad her working stint is just for a few months or else we could get to know them better. InsyaAllah, umur panjang kita jumpa lagi........
Hello


Five ladies extended their stay and flew over to San Jose to pay us a visit after their official trip to the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) held in Las Vegas. My hubby also attended the 5-day show ....... and me, wishing I could have tagged along to Vegas. Instead, jadi driver for my daughters who have started classes. Anyway, the 5 ladies Shakila, Wahida, Wan Nor, Fakhriah and Ada were our guests for only a night. They touched down on Sunday morning from L.A. Sempat gi shopping in Gilroy and the next day visit San Francisco. I hope they had a nice time in SF considering they had only a few hours before having to leave for the airport. Seronok jumpa balik Ada since our last meet in March of last year. She was my ' friend in DC ' mentioned in my posting of that month. Ada and Hashimi's hospitality memang tiada tandingan. Needless to say about her cooking. Simple as it might look, her ayam masak lemak cili padi memang sedap! , As I have mentioned before US domestic flights allows 2 bags per person. Each bag has to weigh less than 50 pounds or else you'ld be charged with excess baggage weight fee. So watch your bags' weight..mahal jugak tuu... :o

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year & Rose Parade in Pasadena

Thank you to our hosts NurulSyam & Azura kerana melayan kami dengan baik nya semasa kami di sana. Also to En Rasli & family ... This picture is taken in front of Syam & Zura's home in Pasadena before we leave for the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. Baru anak2 dia orang nak bermesra dah kami nak balik. This young family came here about the same time as we did. Iqbal dah fasih 'speaking', siap slang lagi. Children catch up so fast! Even his younger sister is coming along fine understanding the language. I find that children who like to watch cartoons grasp the language faster. My son loves to watch cartoons unlike his sisters, and I believe he is better off in the English department than the two girls. My daughter Anis, on the other hand, is from a boarding school in Kuantan. I suppose her English is fine but I hope she'll get better in it when she makes more friends at De Anza College. She's brave so I have no worries. Somehow, Atiqah's English results are alright but she's a bit shaky in the Maths department. She has always been under her mother's armpits (bawah ketiak ibu..he..he..), nak buat camno...anak bongsu! Best nya tengok swimming pool rumah nie... but, not used this time of year sebab sejuuk - even in L.A! Wish we had one in Cupertino... :] The night before was New Year's eve.. 2008. Tak ku sangka berada di Los Angeles menyambut tahun baru. Tup - tup dah setahun kami di bumi Mat Salleh nie.. time flies so fast and waits for no one. Wish I had been more productive! Maleh dah nak berazam.. After dinner at Restaurant Haidar Baba we ventured out to the streets wanting to see how 'Angelinos' celebrate New Year. I was surprised seeing them booking a place & camping out along the streets on the side walks as early as that afternoon. Siap ada folding chairs, tents, sleeping bags, blankets... barbeque sets. At first I thought ......ramai nya homeless... Not only yang muda, yang tua2 pun ramai. In fact, one whole family - mak, bapa, anak2 even the likes of grandmothers and grandfathers pun ada - camped out on the side walk to welcome 2008 and to watch Rose Parade on New Year's Day. I don't know what their youngsters will learn into their adulthood from this experience. It's ok to sleep on the streets...? It's true polis bagi permit, but what sort of values are they giving to their children? Jangan la kita ikuut.....alhamdulillah, kita tak boleh tiru sebab kat K.L panas & banyak nyamuk! he..he.. In case you're wondering... Rose Bowl is a football stadium. American football.. kat sini the English football is called soccer. Soccer is being taught early in schools and it's popular among young girls. Currently, the US soccer teams are not world's favourites but give them time and who knows they might be a force to be considered. Atiqah now has P.E classes 4 times a week and ada exam pulak tu. Jadi for the class dia terpaksa lari at least 1 mile, - if the weather permits - and terpaksa main games like soccer, basketball. Soon they will learn about American football...dah la kena balik jalan kaki. Tiap2 hari kena pujuk suruh bersabar... There was going to be a big match between University of Southern California - Trojans and University of Illinois - Illin on New Year's Day. Of course that wasn't our choice to watch... I have heard of the Rose Parade since the 80s lagi when M.A.S was at the peak of the airline game. We were so proud of Malaysian Airlines System - our biggest carrier then - when she won the Rose Parade. I heard from someone in the consulate at L.A that M.A.S menang 3 kali. Of course now we understand why M.A.S is not winning any awards....looking from her state of affairs! Anyway, flowers are sooo expensive. From the name of the parade, one would expect to see tons and tons of roses, berbagai-bagai bentuk dan warna, bersemarak wangi nya di udara.. But, not all 'floats' were decorated with just roses. There were many other kinds of flowers too..one thing for sure, memang colorfull! Oh ya, what happened to our Pesta Bunga? Is it still on? Haa...... Rose Parade ni macam tu la sikit sebanyak. There were also other international participation in this parade: Taiwan, Japan, Mexico.... uuuurrgghh tak ingat... and United Nations. We did spot our Jalur Gemilang among the group! People come all over to watch the parade... just look at the campers or mobile homes. Patutla ramai yang book tempat seawal petang semalam. We heard that seats at the beginning of the parade - where they have speeches and shows - costs 40 dollars and more. And, this parade was covered live.. tapi tak sampai ke tempat yang hujung2 where seatings / standings were a little unorganised. I guess the footage will also be aired in many countries.

















I like this float....macam kereta Back to The Future. Also looks like 'transformers' ... ready to fly...



Universal Studios- The Entertainment Capital of L.A

Universal Studios - The Entertainment Capital of L.A - offers a Theme Park, Studio Tour, CityWalk, Cinemas, and Concerts all in one. Universal Studios ticket for a 2-day pass bought over the internet is really worth the money. Moreover it's way cheaper (jauh lagi murah) than the price of an adult ticket at the Ticket Booths. There are lots to see and one day is just not enough to cover all the sites. We picked to go during holiday season so just imagine the crowd, the line, the queue and the waiting time. One thing good is that the waiting time is displayed in front of each ride so visitors can choose the one with a shorter waiting time before queue-ing. But we knew we had 2 days so we were in no hurry.... making the visit very pleasant indeed! Especially with companions like Faridah, Suhair, Sara, Ozzie & Sabrina..The Theme Park opens at 10am but it's advisable to go earlier as queue starts even at the main entrance where visitors take their parking tickets. There are two types of parking : Preferred Parking & Regular Parking. The Preferred Parking is more expensive but it's very near to the entrance of Universal Studios. The Regular Parking is about 10 - 15 minutes walk to the entrance, passing Universal CityWalk - an area of night spots, cinemas, concerts, dining, and shopping. There are no entrance fee to Universal CityWalk and it closes around 12am during weeknights. If you have a van full of excited kids, I suggest go with the Preferred Parking! In case you have to wait for friends at the entrance, take pictures first at The Red Carpet or at The Globe to fill up your time. You'ld be too worn out and too tired to take pictures on your way back. Or your cameras might even be running out of batteries or memory space by then! Those are nice spots to keep as part of your memorabilia of Universal Studio. If you book your tickets on-line, make sure to bring along the printed copies. Nanti tak boleh masuk pulak... :) There are quite a number of eateries at the Theme Park but I preferred to pack sandwiches for the children. Some Theme Parks like Sunway Lagoon ( we went ages ago ) doesn't allow us to bring in food but Universal Studios boleh pulak. And if you bring along a Sponge Bob Square Pants Sipper Cup (alaa...macam botol air tu) you can save on re-fills of air soda. My children dah lama tak minum carbonated drinks so they turned down Zura & NurulSyam's offer to bring one. Zura & NurulSyam - our hosts in L.A, more of the lovely young couple in my next posting .. :) . The Theme Park is made up of an Upper Lot and a Lower Lot separated by escalators known as StarWalk - the bottom picture. You'ld be listening to piped-in music / songs all the way up or down when you take the ride. Listening to music lets your mind forget about the height of the hillside. Certain parts of StarWalk are quite steep (curam!). If I can remember well, Sunway Lagoon also has an escalator down to its wet area, but I don't remember listening to any songs. .. is there? The first thing to do upon entering Universal Studios is to look for the Studio Tour. Get the Studio Map so that you save time & won't get lost! Come to think of it, actually the area is not all that big....... It is just that everyone wants to start their day with a Studio Tour so the line might be long if you delay. The tour takes a bit over one hour, but you wouldn't feel the time passing by as you are comfortably seated on a tram. We go up a tram for the tour so no energy lost there. Just ooohs...& aaahs... and sometimes screams as we were taken through the exploration of Hollywood's most famous backlot (or backstage) in the world's largest working movie studio. Sometimes when we watch movies or TV shows we wonder how do they do that on a busy street of New York. The answer is build a real life 'mock city' ... as in the picture on the right. Siap ada street signs, cafes, shops and all the 'accessories'. We also wonder how speedy car chases negotiate dangerous moves and escape gunshots and explosions.. well, build something 'robotic', and digitally enhance the rest. Like this one on the right used for The Fast and the Furious. The tour also took us to the Clock Tower spot where the eccentric scientist of 'Back to the Future' did his stuff. But only the spot remains with no action. I think they are going to replace it with the Simpson's Ride which is still under construction. One thing for sure, this place updates within a few years with the latest and most popular. We witnessed the eerie smoldering remains of plane crash from the War of the Worlds. Steven Spielberg wanted it to have a real life size jumbo and a few demolished homes on set. We passed through 'Mexican towns'...'Cowboy towns'.. 'Japan'.. 'London'.. Wisteria Lane... Amazed to see such a set can create an image of a whole housing area. Those yang suka tengok Desperate Housewives would know and able to identify the houses. Frankly, I watched a few episodes and also missed many.. Not that desperate to follow the story! The tram even went into water for us to experience a close-up view of a model Ocean Liner & icebergs.. We were exposed to the Special Effects Stages..turned & shaken to experience earthquakes.. water gushing & flames thrown at us..helicopters crashing! King Kong! Jaws! There is even a small lake for scenes that involve water. Kita semua tertipu! Ha..ha..ha.. These days whenever we watch TV shows Atiqah would say... alah, Universal Studios... :)











Wisteria Lane.....


After the Studio Tour we ventured the Theme Park.












One of Universal's Animal Actors..








Happy Feet....






Appolo 13....












Super heroes.... I think...









My hero... I am sure....











The evergreen Incredible Hulk!







Fear Factor Live.. a show on extreme audience participation









Ozzie and Sara as Wilma & Fred Flintstone..







Jaws!....






Not sure whether it's life size... but that is already BIG!..















Scooby Doooo where are you?....he's at Universal Studios!





ooops... I forgot to mention this parking!







...also used in the movies









A scene from the re-enacted Water World






The girls with the one-eyed villain ..






Entah kenapa budak2 suka sangat dengan si Shrek nie... I don't know the story and haven't come around to seeing the DVD that my hubby bought for the girls.. my son says that the story contradicts the myths of fairy tales. Princes are not always heros and not necessarily be good-looking. Likewise the princesses as well.. ooo.. Anyway, Shrek 4D show was interesting enough. Seperti biasa kena queue, and get the unique glasses before entering. Besides the stunning 3-D, there is an extra dimension of feeling... your seat shakes & you feel as though you are riding with Shrek whenever he's being chased and you'ld feel water on you whenever there is a raining scene. All the children loved it... you could see the expression on their faces as they came out. But, I like Terminator 2: 3D. In addition to the 3D film, they have actors on stage acting out the roles of Sarah O'Connor & her son. It was clever of them to interweave reality with the fantasy of film. Siap ada gunshots, explosions, smoke...we also feel the falling sensation... betul2 technology in play.. I was too involved with the action that I didn't have time to take pictures! The Mummy Ride was quite interesting. They psyched you up even during the queue. It is like a roller coaster ride but without the 'loop'. Sara, Anis, my son and me went up on the ride. We were shaken forwards and backwards in total darkness. Only Sara and me were screaming our heads off! My son loves The Simpsons.. dulu2 kalau boleh I would restrict them from watching The Simpsons & Mr Bean. Tapi kalau dah besar panjang nie insya Allah.. they know themselves what is good what is bad, what is moral and what is immoral and what is funny and what is not.... His other favourite is The South Park.. sometimes he would update me with an episode or two and we would laugh together. Kelakar sungguh cerita tu, what's funny is that the story line relates to current events. Tu yang best!






hmmm....




Another ride that's interesting is Jurassic Park... but only Sara and Rizal took up the challenge of dropping straight from an 84 foot vertical drop waterfall.






The masked man called Zorro...









Spider man....


















Universal CityWalk






Studio Map...