Friday, September 30, 2011

Blue Room Update

The other thing we managed to do before we left for our trip was to paint the Blue Room. It took a few coats of Nippon Seclusion Blue, but finally came together. The room is hard to photograph, but these images should give you an idea of the color.

The door trim and the door into the bathroom need to be painted. Reminds me that the trim on all the interior doors in the house need to be be painted. I have been procrastinating because it is oil paint and I hate working with it and also because I keep wondering if I should go with a light grey or white trim. If I go with white it will look good with all the white walls in the main part of the house, but white won't look so good here and on this small door that needs to be painted, it also won't look so good in our brown bedroom.

On my last trip to Ikea I bought five of these Vate 46cm wide lantern shades and the white Hemma fixtures that you hang them from.

My idea is that there are two electric sources already in the ceiling. One is for the fan and one is for the ceiling light that was here when we moved which we will remove. I've already asked our electrician if he can take power from these sources to make five lighted lanterns in the room as I want them to hang over the single bed/daybed we are going to put in the room. He said it can be done.

Here is a messy drawing of how it will look.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Botanic Garden of Ubud

One of the places we visited on our trip to Bali was the Botanic Garden of Ubud. The place was empty when we went. You start up at the top entry building and walk down a series of stairs into different gardens. There is also the "Rainforest" that we attempted to walk through but after the second falling-apart-bridge literally collapsed in one section as R walked over it, we turned back. On the way out of that part of the botanic garden we noticed a sign that had been put to the side of the entrance, from the back we could read that the Rainforest was temporarily closed.

This strange tree pod was in the herbal garden, I think. Anyone know what it might be?

I love these, they kind of remind me of hostas in New York, but these were taller and on or near the water.

There was a huge orchid building with many orchid plants. Nearly every plant was not in bloom though.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bali Trip

I've written about Air Asia's cheap flights in the past here. R and I finally had a chance to try Air Asia out. Overall, the experience wasn't that bad and because of the low airfare it made our trip to Bali very reasonable. The plane tickets were not booked during one of those very cheap Air Asia Sales, so we could have done better on the price. But who can complain for round trip tickets at 393myr each (about $125 USD).

We decided to stay only in Ubud, Bali during our seven day stay. It was good, but after a few days we found ourselves booking a driver to take us to temples and other sites outside of Ubud which was fun and a great way to see the rolling green countryside. The view above is of the rice paddy field behind our hotel.

As the trip was to be economical, we decided to stay at Nirwa Homestay where we bargained the price down to 200,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about 72myr or $23 USD) per night. You can see from the photos the place was charming, but for reasons I won't go into R and I wouldn't recommend the place. There are plenty of other places to stay that are nicer.

The terrace outside our room on the ground floor

Inside our room

The food in Ubud was pretty good compared to Malaysia, I guess because they have so many picky western visitors. We enjoyed some dishes you can't find easily around Malaysia. But, our favorite place was an organic restaurant out in the middle of the rice paddy fields (see above) it was a long walk from the main road, but actually not far from our hotel. We ate at Sari Organic almost everyday. A couple times for early dinner because it closes at 8:30pm -- you have to walk back in the non-lit rice paddy field paths and it gets very dark. When we were there it was around full moon time which meant that the place could stay open a bit later and the paths were not as dark. Actually, around full moon is a good time to go to Bali we were told by our guide because after full moon it is considered a good time for ceremonies and cremations (we saw a few of both while we were there). Anyway, food, alcohol and treats cost us -- I'm guessing -- no more than 475,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about 171myr or $54 USD) per day.

All in all, it was a great trip; we plan to keep checking the Air Asia sales and see where else we can go in Southeast Asia... the airport is close to our house and the flights aren't that long because Malaysia is centrally located!

I'll post some photos of the many unique plants we saw soon.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dining Room Serving Ledge

Before we went to Bali the last of the new items B made for the house was installed. We opted for a simple white seven foot Serving Ledge instead of a buffet or console as the space between the wall and the table isn't that deep. I like the sleekness of it. I'll try to find something else to place on the ledge or get a few more of these great Chinese blue and white serving dishes and line them up in a row of 5 or 6.

Now all we need in the Dining Room is a spotlight for the big wall. Eventually I want to put up six traditional bird color etchings (you know the kind you see in very traditional dining rooms) only I'll add some contemporary colored mats or even do some black and white ink drawings on mats and then frame them in strong silver metal. I change my mind all the time on this, and probably will many more times because the bird etchings are with my other art in storage in the US and I won't be getting it until we go back next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red Ginger Plants Planted

R and I have just returned from a trip to Indonesia. What a great break. I'll post more on Bali sometime soon. Before we left, I planted four Red Ginger Plants (Alpinia Purpurata) in the space between our house and our neighbor's near our front patio. I planted them nearly two weeks before leaving. There was rain while we were gone, but when we returned some of the leaves have turned yellow and I'm not sure if they didn't get enough water. Even with the yellow leaves, I think the plants will eventually take.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Exploring Port Dickson

While R’s parents were here we decided to take them to Port Dickson. Also located in Negeri Sembilan, it’s the closest Beach town to our house. It’s a bit embarrassing, but R and I haven’t been since we bought the house. In fact, we have only been to PD once when were looking to buy Bungalows back in 2009. We aren’t really Beach people, so I guess it makes sense that we haven’t been. Although after our recent visit, we are eager to get back to Port Dickson and explore some more. Why? Because it’s not only beaches (there are hiking trails and lots of bird and wildlife watching) and because it was like a 15 minute drive from our house... we thought it would take longer! I guess it is because our house connects right up to Jalan Tok Ungku and if you drive away from Seremban it leads very quickly right into the Port Dickson Interchange which is a toll roadway (about 3RM or $1 USD per direction) and the roadway was empty. We looked out at Palm plantations and other scenic views as we drove and before we knew it, we were in Port Dickson.

The main beaches, which we had seen with the real estate agent when we went before, are all around PD town. Doing a bit of research before we went with R’s parents, I found that to the south of PD is more low key.

I read about Pasir Panjang which is about 21 km south of PD. Online it said that this town is not really a beach town, but more a quiet fishing town on the water. So we drove South towards Pasir Panjang not really sure if we were going the correct way or not. We tried to stay as close to the water as possible but most of the time we did not have a water view, instead we were winding down roads filled with resorts or local houses or just scenic green. Eventually we made it to Pasir Panjang town and we took a right at the end of the town shop houses hoping it would get us closer to the beach. We drove along local homes and came to a clearing where we could see water so we got out and took a look.

Pasir Panjang

The photo above is where the local fisherman fish. It was lovely and quiet (except for the road hacking going on up the street). There were no beach goers. We looked around and asked how to get to Pasir Panjang Forest and were directed up the small hill. At the top of the hill one side lead to trails in the forest the other lead to the overlook of the water. We made it to the cliff and found a lovely covered dock at the base of the cliff. Stairs led us down to the dock where we enjoyed nice views of the water ... the best part, no one else was around! There is supposed to be a fish specialty made in this town called Ikan Bakan which is grilled fish in banana leaves, but it was too early for lunch so we headed back North towards PD in search of a small beach called Pantai Cermin that R wanted to visit because it is supposed to have some really cool rock formations coming out of the water.

Covered Dock at Pasir Panjang

It was a little unclear exactly where we were going but we knew that Pantai Cermin was in or near Tanjung Tuan a section of the PD coast where there are beaches and the Lighthouse. Going north we spotted a sign for Tanjung Tuan and Cape Rachado (another name for it) which we did not see initially going south. So turned left towards Tanjung Tuan. It took us down a long road and then past some resorts. At one point we could see beach or water on both sides. We saw no signs that were helpful, but we knew that the Lighthouse’s entrance, which was supposedly near the Blue Lagoon was also near Pantai Cermin and near the Ilham Resort. After a couple wrong turns, we finally found the Lighthouse enterance where we parked our car. We decided to go have a look and were told it was a walk uphill. So we started our walk up the at-times-very-steep road towards the Lighthouse. It was ok for R and I but his parents who are old struggled, especially since they aren’t used to the Malaysian heat. Anyway, it was a beautiful tropical forest path with all sorts of plants and trees, really nice. Eventually we made it to the top of the hill where the Lighthouse was. We walked up more stairs only to find out that you cant go into the Lighthouse, you have to walk around it. On our second walk around it, R walked down a trail which jetted off to from the left side of the Lighthouse. It was a path going downhill. A short walk down there were a couple benches overlooking the water. We sat down. After a few minutes we learned we were not alone. Above us there were monkeys in the trees! I counted at least 12 in my view. Their tails were so long! It was fun in there. R and I want to go back and hike some of the trails around this area.

After we walked back down the hill to the car and decided to head to lunch, on our way out we saw a sign for Pantai Cermin and turned on the short road which lead us directly to a beautiful curved beach. There was not a person in sight! We looked for the rock formations and determined that they must be around the corner behind a group of trees, if they were there at all. We were all tired from the Lighthouse trek that we didn’t have the energy to explore more. Although R and I definitely want to go back to check out that beach (whether it was Pantai Cermin or Blue Lagoon) and more of the wildlife reserve.

But there is much more to explore in the Port Dickson area such as the nearby town of Lukut and the Pengkalan Kempas Historical Complex where there are some rare carved monoliths....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Birds of Paradise

There are 12 or more Birds of Paradise at the front of my house! They have totally filled in and multiplied since we planted them in October 2010.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Entryway Ledge and Mirror

B completed and installed the Entryway Ledge and Mirror the other day. I'm happy to finally have something in this place because the electric box was really starting to annoy me.

Above is a photo of what it looked like before the installation or you can read my previous post here. I came up with the idea to create a white laminate door above the mirror to access the electric box. My design was one door so there wouldn't be any seams down the center of the white. But B thought one door would be too heavy and would sag. His solution, two cabinet doors. I think it looks fine given the awkwardness of what we were working around. Also, he had to make the cabinet and mirror six inches out from the wall in order to fit over the electric box which I originally thought was too deep. But after installation, I really like that the mirror and cabinets sit out that far from the wall it makes the mirror more stylish and contemporary.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teratak Perpatih in Seremban

Recently R's parents came to visit and we had a great time taking them around to different places. A nearby must see was Teratak Perpatih or The State Museum of Negeri Sembilan. We visited just after a rainstorm so it wasn't too hot out in the mid-afternoon and the sun was covered with clouds (somewhat of a rarity around here in the afternoon!).

I wrote about the State Museum in my "Places to Visit and Eat in Seremban and Negeri Sembilan" post awhile back here. What's great is that the museum is located right here in Seremban just off E2 at the main Seremban Exit 218 (you drive towards town and you will see the brown buildings on your right. Do a U turn at the Specialist Hospital turn and go back to the entrance).

Alright, the museum is a bit lacking, but you can go in these traditional houses which is pretty cool and worth the trip.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Plantings: Asystasia Gangetica

I planted some Asystasia Gangetica along the side of the house a few weeks ago. The first row in the photo are some plants I rooted after taking some from my neighbor's planter (which they were happy to provide as the plants grow so fast!). The row behind are just cut plants that haven't been rooted because we all determined that because they root so easily that the process of rooting in small containers first is unnecessary. So I just planted them in the ground.

Unnecessary indeed, because a week or so later (photo directly above), all the plants are thriving. I watered the plants a least once a day and they have grown very fast covering the ground as I had hoped.

I do have to plant another longer area near this part as well. When I didn't know what the plant was in my neighbors planter, I asked Malaysia Project readers for help in classifying it here. Sean L warned me about the invasiveness of the plant and I am still monitoring it to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. For now, the ground cover looks good.