Jolly June

This was probably the inspiration for George Lucas
to create the Jar Jar Binks character!
June kicked off with a farm-stay adventure at a goat farm in Kluang and ended with a road trip to Perak where I had an amazing experience in an award-wining hot-springs spa retreat.  I count it as a timely and well-deserved reward as I thoroughly enjoyed the drive as well as the generous gift of the spa stay. 

A trip to Kluang is not complete without dropping by at one of Kluang Rail’s chain of coffeeshops and I did – for lunch with kaya toast as dessert and hot brewed local coffee.  It was also good to walk around the shops to soak up the town’s laid-back charm. 

I decided to visit the town before checking-into UK Agro Farm for the programme of activities and farm tour because after the excitement of the farm-stay, all I wanted to do was to just head on home. 

Kaya and butter toast and bun with brewed coffee at
Kluang Rail Cafe
It was peak season at the farm over the Agong’s birthday public holiday weekend and as hundreds of visitors were expected the next day, I observed the kitchen staff baking batches of flavoured muffins to cater to the crowds.  As I passed through the lobby, their creatively designed lampshades caught my attention but I was puzzled to later learn that the lobby was strangely decorated in a kelong theme…  There were lots to see and do in the farm but it was particularly thrilling to watch hundreds of goats let out of their pens into grazing fields, trotting in an orderly fashion along a path bordered by visitors!

Throughout the month I enjoyed a great deal of good food in great company and as this is the season for the King of Fruits, I also enjoyed the best of yummy kampong durians. 

Peggy with Lisa Lee, dressed in the
hanbok, the Korean traditonal costume
I had the privilege to learn more about Korean culture as well as taste delightful Korean cuisine.  At lunch with a few friends in Passionfood, I discovered delicious new additions in the menu like pasta with minced black-sauce chicken and basil leaves.  I also had a delectable meal of South Indian food as a guest of Datin Ong Kid Ching and as I heaped my plate with food, I was delighted to learn that the classy ceramic plate I was using – was designed by her!

Compared to the hype surrounding Mother’s Day, Father’s Day came and went quite inconspicuously this June.  Most families usually celebrate with a family dinner at dad’s favourite restaurant or eating his favourite food – and we did both – sharing a delightful dinner and nibbling on dad’s favourite type of crabs.  Some merchants even rolled Mother’s and Father’s Days together and dubbed it “Parents’ Day” but it’s a name that has negative connotations for me because it reminds me of that dreadful day when my parents would meet my teachers to get a painfully honest report about me!

Minced black-sauce chicken with basil leaves pasta
at Passionfood
This Father’s Day, a friend who lost her dad three years ago, told me she still misses him dearly, especially on his birthday and on Father’s Day.  Even as I shared her sentiments, I’m glad we have an annual dinner date on his death anniversary at his favourite restaurant.  It’s a wonderful way to cherish his memory and celebrate his life by getting together to enjoy what he loved to eat!

As another friend looked back on his childhood, he recalled that each time he and his dad ate chicken he was offered the best part – his favourite drumstick – while his dad ate the chicken buttocks.  He always thought that his dad’s favourite part of the chicken was the buttocks until he discovered that his dad’s favourite was also the drumstick.  Then it dawned on him that his dad always made sacrifices to give him the best of everything! 

Dad's favourite type of crabs on Father's Day!
Fathers may still be here or no longer with us, but we just go on making precious memories and treasuring our dads.  Some time in mid June, I was in the middle of interviewing someone when my eldest sister phoned.  I gave her a brief reply, saying I will speak to her later.  When I spoke to her again, she asked me what my schedule was for the next week and I answered her with a question: “Why?”

Then she told me about the prize she won from entering a contest last year.  She described the 3-Day 2-Night stay inclusive of meals and spa treatments for two at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Tambun, near Ipoh and as the deal was to expire on 30 June, I agreed to go with her.  Besides organizing my work and appointments to free myself up for the final week of the month, I was so tied up that I did not give much thought to our destination.  In fact, I was busy writing till late and only managed to throw a few things into my travel bag at about 10.30pm before we left the next morning!

South Indian food on a ceramic plate designed by Dtn Kid Ching

Plump and yummy kampong durian!

Signboard at entrance to The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat at Tambun, Perak
The resort stay at The Banjaran turned out to be such an extraordinary experience on so many levels that it must be justified by a separate story.  But for now, I should summarize the entire experience with just one word: Wow! 


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