Tuesday, November 29, 2011

King's Palace

While my parents were here we decided to go to the Sri Menanti Royal Museum or as we have been calling it, the King's Palace, located in the royal state capital about 40km East of Seremban . I listed it in my "Places to Visit and Eat in Seremban and Negeri Sembilan" post awhile back here.

R and I had seen photos of it and were really interested to drive more inland towards the middle of Malaysia to see this place. Trying to find out exactly how to get there from Seremban wasn't that easy, all directions were vague. The best way to go, or the way we went, was to look for signs in Seremban town heading to Kuala Pilah on Federal Route 51 going east. Federal Route 51 East takes you from Seremban to Kuala Pilah. The road quickly leaves Seremban and takes you on a breathtaking climb over some mountains covered with trees and palms... really beautiful. Then, still traveling East on 51 you start to get local. You see local stands selling fruits and some grilling meat right there on the road. It's pretty nice. Before getting to Kuala Pilah you see signs to turn right to Sri Menanti on to N29 (south) which takes you to the royal town and then a roundabout towards the King's Palace. The place is pretty surreal and cool. The drive might be better than the actual 'palace' though. But it is fun to walk through. The building was built from 1902 to 1908, there are supposedly 99 pillars each at 65 feet and there were no nails or screws used to construct the place. Climbing to the top level was a steep ladder climb, fun.

As seen in the photo above and on the outside of the building, the main color theme here is YELLOW. There are tons of yellow bulbs all over the palace, we would have liked to stay into the night to see it lit up, but we decided to go back up to 51 travel further east to Kuala Pilah which on a quick tour produced not much interest and too much traffic. Maybe another day, because there are supposedly many old shophouses to see that haven't been torn down.

The palace is located next to the Sri Menanti Resort. Online I grabbed the following hours, but I am not sure they are accurate, best to check ahead. Hours Weekdays: Daily: 9.30am - 6pm; Fridays: noon - 2.50pm Weekends & Public Holidays: 9.30am - 6pm Thursdays (From 1pm onwards): Closed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bougainvillea Around the House

The orange Bougainvillea around the house is finally blooming in all wall planters at the same time. Some planters are full of more blooms than others, but they all have flowers!!! Some of the flowers are leaning towards pink. It has been over a year since they were planted.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Panasonic MX-900M Blender

So I have been putting off buying a Blender since we moved to Malaysia. Every time I'd see them in the stores I couldn't decide what to get. I was looking for stainless steel to go with the kitchen or black to go with the coffeemaker. But many of the SS models are imported models and just way too expensive. You see I bought a blender back when I lived in New York . It wasn't that expensive maybe $75 USD (but you can get much better quality appliances in the US for less cost than Malaysia). I bought it to mainly make frozen drinks like margaritas, etc. And when I used it, the thing barely could crush the ice to make the drinks, in fact, I don't think the ice ever got that small it was more like shaved ice. This was disappointing. I figured I had to spend a lot more to get something that would do the job but never go around to it.

So being in Malaysia, I immediately thought... oh there are good fruits here, we can make all sorts of frozen drinks!!! Every time I was in a store, I would think about my bad blender in New York and not be sold on any of the Malaysian blender options.

Well, my parents from Virginia were just here to visit R and I for the first time and they thought I really needed a blender so they said they were going to buy me one as an early Christmas present! We went around the shops looking and I was still being fussy. One day we happened in my favorite appliance store in Seremban called Syarikat Hoong Bee (Jalan Tuanku Antah Jalan Rahang) where R and I bought all of our Panasonic products for the house. We have been pretty happy with the Panasonic refrigerator, washing machine, fans etc. we have bought from the guy Jimmy there.

Jimmy said that the best blender is the Panasonic MX-900M Blender (now R said Jimmy just says that because he sales mainly Panasonic, which is probably true), nevertheless, he said it is the model that all the commercial businesses use.

I wasn't crazy about the idea of buying a white blender, but I was trying to be flexible because my parents were buying. But I did like that the model had a plastic container instead of glass because many of the real glass models just seemed way to heavy. He said the blender was made in Malaysia which didn't excite me (although strangely the plug is not a Malaysian plug and needs an adapter?). So I said OK to this blender to put a rest to the whole situation! I bargained him down to 140RM (about $46 USD).

Right after buying the blender we stopped by a fruit stand and picked up some fruit. All the fruit above cost 2oRM (under $7 USD). One Papaya, two mangoes, bananas and some strange small fruits on a stem. Does anyone know what they are called? They have a white fruit and taste pretty nice. I mainly bought them to try with my parents as they were trying all the local fruits (they liked Durian!!!).

So we decided to make some Papaya drinks in the blender using the whole papaya, some ice, sugar and rum. We put all the ingredients in and turned the blender on it blended it in like 2 seconds! It was amazing, there must have been something wrong with that New York blender. I can't wait to blend tons of things like pesto with my Thai basil ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monkey Palm

While R's mother was here we went to some of the nurseries. She bought this nice dark grey/black planter for me. I had been looking around since she left to try and find the right plant to put in it. I finally decided on something with a bit of height. The nursery told me it is a "Monkey Palm". More research online and I found its name is most likely Monkey Tail Palm (Synechanthus fibrosus). Have been watering everyday and the plant seems to be doing fine.

The smaller pots are Jasmine I planted awhile ago. They don't seem to be growing much or flowering under the patio. I think they might need more sun or larger containers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweet Home Vol. 31

The issue of Sweet Home Magazine featuring our home is available now!

As I mentioned previously, they came to the house to shoot our home and interview R and I about living in Malaysia.

They shot some of the antiques we had out which are mainly Persian items. It's fun to see these items in a magazine!

Pick up a copy if you can. It's in Mandarin, if you can read it. Otherwise, the rest of the magazine is great just to look at the pictures as it features a number of contemporary homes in Malaysia/Southeast Asia.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Main Floor Bathroom Pebbles and Wooden Slats

For Blue main floor bathroom, still my least favorite bathroom in the house, I removed the shower curtain I had put up when we first moved in and added some wood slats to the base of the shower area then filled with asian pebbles in grey. I think it looks better than the shower curtain.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Master Bathroom Pendant Light and Stones

I had bought this pendant light for the Master Bathroom awhile back, now finally it has been installed with the other lighting. By the way, you'd think it would be easy, we could just call one lighting guy and he could install all the fixtures in the house that we needed done (this round was something close to 20 fixtures and even after this we still have something like 7 fixtures left to fully finish the house), but no, in order to get things done before Sweet Home magazine came to do the photoshoot I had to call a number of electricians. Of those who were available, I booked a few and some showed up, some didn't. For the ones that showed up, they would do some fixtures but not others for various reasons (no tall ladder, not their thing, etc, whatever) so I had multiple electricians doing work at the same time to get things done. This, I have found seems to be the best way to handle a situation when you need something to get done fast in Seremban. If you believe someone will come at the scheduled time or be able to do the work when the person gets to the house, you will be disappointed. Double/triple booking seems to be the only option.

For the shower area, we found, actually R found these greenish stones that we added around the wooden slats. They turn a lovely green like the photos above when they are wet.

And are a softer color when dry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pertubuhan Penganut Dewa Seremban

Inside the Temple so close to our House.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Planting Bunga Kantan (Torch Ginger) from Fresh Seeds

I've written a few times on this blog about my Bunga Kantan plant also known as Torch Ginger (the plant's Binomial name is Etlingera Elatior) plant because the plant just keeps fascinating me. It is always in bloom and keeps getting pollinated so that I have what seems like a never-ending supply of seeds. So I have been experimenting on how to plant the seeds as there is very little information online or photos of how to do it. After some dialogue with Autumn Belle over at My Nice Garden I managed to grow some seeds. Then some more. Then some more. The images here are seeds planted on July 22 and the photos were taken about 40 days later. Many more seedlings have sprouted since.

So here is what I know, dried Bunga Kantan seed sprouts slower than very fresh seed. See the the photo above; three containers were very fresh seed and the top left was dried.

Recently, I decided that I want to grow some more Bunga Kantan to run it along the back side of our house between us and the neighbors and to keep experimenting. Below are some photos I took while planting more seed out in the Wet Kitchen.

I got some fresh seed pods (what I call the things above) from three separate finished Bunga Kantan blooms on my plant (a finished bloom on my plant here). When the blooms start to die they are pink, then they turn green and finally turn brown and get hard. So the pink ones should sprout seeds the fastest because they are the freshest.

In order to plant the seeds, you need to cut open the pods with a knife. See the photo above, the fresher the seed the whiter the small seeds inside it are. As the pods get older the seeds inside start to get black.

I have been planting clumps of fresh seed into containers nearly filled with dirt. I plant alot of them, well, because I have a lot of seed. But also because sprouting is sporadic so the more you have the better chance to get growth.

Lastly, I cover with a small amount of dirt. Enough so that when you water a good amount everyday, the soil won't wash away and expose the seeds. I find that the plants like more water rather than less.

As I continue to experiment I'll keep you posted. Also, if anyone has any experience planting these seeds, please post your tips.