My Sorry Sunday Outing

Posted by Lakshmi
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Yesterday was the Sunday for which I had prepared so assiduously , painting away till the wee hours of the morning fortifying myelf with lots of my favourite Nescafe 3 in 1 and waiting to make a grand sale on the appointed day. The organizers had, after all, called it the' Inspirasi Wanita Programme' and I was certainly feeling very inspirational ....

It started straightaway with the wrong foot. First, the inner road leading to the Melawati Stadium was barred for all motorists. Not knowing this, the Inspired One ( Shikin was following me from her car ) drove smack into it, then reversed back frantically . Three cars behind me were all doing the same. I sped off to find the other access road, which, I'm sure you've guessed, were also similarly blocked. It being also a 'pasar tani' day and a full three day sale going in full swing, we went round in circles, large large circles. Those uniformed looking guys perched on the metal barricades were as clueless as they looked. They had no idea as to the directions I should take when I approached them for assistance. It was a case of me speaking in French and they talking in Swahili . Each imbecil of an officer ( serve them right!) directed us in different directions to the stadium entrance road. This, inspite of me explaining to them that we had special stickers and tags to be allowed in) Fat lot of good it did!. We got stuck in long car queues, broke several traffic rules,( like crossing double lines and making U turns when you shouldn't!) , got honked by other motorists and drove over the limit. We made 3 circles all round the stadium and it was beginning to look like the 'so near yet so far ' kind of a serial drama episode. Shikin was all this while following me as fast she could keep up. Quite surprising indeed, that she didn't holler at me to stop with all the mad driving antics going on. She was in a pretty good frame of mind, I thought and I wasn't complaining!. To cut a long drama short, we finally ended up at the back entrance of the stadium..... Aiyo.. what a feeling (sing Irene Cara)

Looking at each other despairingly and muttering even more, we realised that we had to lug all our stuff ourselves about 100 feet to the stadium door and down 3 flights of steps before reaching our booth. We both had several large bags each and seeing Shikin floundering with hers, I helped her carry hers too. I made two trips up and down the confounded stairs and long corridors and ended up looking like a hunched Olive Oyl wilting with oversized bags on each hand....

And that was just the start of my Sorry Sunday Outing..... Got to end now and will hopefully resume later in the day. It's tea time and I simply must energise myself with a cup of you know what. A tip... try it with a slice or 2 of ginger and you will feel the oomph like I do...

MBSA Carnival

Posted by Lakshmi
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I've been busy busy painting away in preparation for the upcoming MBSA / Selangor carnival which will be held at the Stadium Melawati on 22 March 2009. A booth has been given to us to promote our craft . There'll be other handicrafts and items too. Tg Shikin and I will be at the booth which starts at 9.00am and ends at about 7pm. So, I am thus trying to paint smaller items which would be more affordable to the Shah Alam crowd!. Honestly, it's a pain in the neck when people complain that our painted work of art is expensive. Tell me, please, how can we manage to sell it any less when all the stuff needed is either from Australia or US ? Goodness, even the brushes are imported! Are we that lacking in technology that we cannot source good quality brushes and paint locally? Talk about our race to be an industrialised country by 2020..heart-breaking indeed. Creativity has no price tag and coupled with the time spent and the painstaking attention to details and strokes, I find it very hard ( and I'm sure other such artists do too) to sell them on the cheap. Often times, I rather not part with my treasured craft work at all. I do admit to admiring my handiwork myself! Ha ha!!!

Just to let readers know how terrribly pleased as punch I was when the shabby chic roses which I had painted and written about earlier - it was the cutlery box with a circle of shabby chic roses - was bought almost immediately even before I had finished painting it. The buyer was oh, so so impressed that after just one look, she took it home before I could say anything. I wish to record my sincere thanks and appreciation to my sifu, Aniza, whose guidance was really instrumental in helping me achieve this. Err, sorry , I forgot to upload the picture. Will do it ASAP ......

I really hope to see other like-minded folk art enthusiasts at our booth inside the Melawati Stadium - Booth No 10- on Sunday, 22 March 2009 . Hopefully,we'll have better luck at our sales this time. Goodnight.

My trip to Raub

Posted by Lakshmi
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It was Tuesday, 3rd March and I had the most wonderful time at a true blue durian orchard in Raub, Pahang . The only long distance drive I had done was to Kajang and that to because of my art class. Imagine my excitement when I actually went to Raub, which is in Pahang. I was practically bubbling all the way. No, I didn't drive. I was driven!. By a Puan Sri, no less!

Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina. and she is not your conventional Puan Sri, let me tell you.. You name it, she's been there and done it. From white-water rafting, mountain climbing , jungle trekking, four-wheel drive treasure hunting,( she drives the 4WD) tae-kwan-do black belt holder,aerobics instructor and trainer.... I've no idea what else she does. But I do know that she even learnt how to drive a van and a bus and has a license to prove it. Oh, did I forget to mention that she's an excellent baker and cook? In fact, I actually came to like assam laksa ( which I had previously banned it from my menu as it smelled so fishy) and also how to make a delicious one, from her. She's presently training to climb Mt Kinabalu soon....

It was an hour's journey from Shah Alam and the six of us, namely,Datin Zaleha Samsuddin, Futom Ibahim , Maggi Ehsan, P S Sabrina , Mary Heng and yours truly ( Ha, I just realised that we are a muhibbah bunch ) were in high spirits. It was a pot-luck affair and we arrived at her orchard around 1pm. Dislodging our food there, we got into her 4WD and it was off to a bumpy ride uphill through sharp corners and winding dirt path, complete with deep ravines shouldering the path. I heard someone mention that the other farm owners ( all males) refer to her as the 'Tigress of Raub' as she is often seen driving her orange and black striped 4WD up and down the bumpy roads of the orchard . P S was taking us to the stream which was located a kilometer away from the orchard proper. Futom was beginning to sweat in fear and Datin Zaleha was closing her eyes in prayers. Mary Heng was quite safely lodged in the luggage compartment- thanks to her small frame!- Maggie was bobbing up and down . P S Sabrina was the fearless driver and I was the excited babbling one.

On the way, P S Sabrina drove up an even steeper and curving hill to show us an exclusive private holiday home run by a Mr Felix. Called 'Casabrina', it was a one of a kind resort styled home which also offers you your own butler and cook . Only four units are available and it caters mostly to the wealthy Arabs and the rich and famous kind. Certainly not for the hoi polloi. Each 4 roomed cluster unit is fitted with the latest wi-fi internet access and state-of -the art fittings , an eternity swimming pool (don't know why it called that!) and a outdoor glasss pane-see -the sky- and- the garden- luxury bathroom . It is an ' open concept' styled with a scandinavian theme with wide french windows looking out to beautiful green hills and valley. As it is located up the hill, the view is stunning, to say the least. As only one vehicle can go up at any one time - the road width is such -and no other vehicle can drive down at the same time, privacy is assured for the bathroom user!. The tag? US 2000.00 per night, excluding food. Be my guest.

Back to the orchard. It had a beautiful running stream with clear water gushing down big boulders. It felt cold but a few splashes later, we were all screaming and frolicking in the cool clear water. Rubbing the fine sand and using it as a scrub, soon we looked like we had been to a spa. After a good hour in the stream, we drove back to the orchard proper, feeling hungry. A beautiful kampung styled wooden house greeted us. It was like I was in a holiday resort. complete with a cobbled path leading to it. I took in great gulps of pristine fresh air, unpolluted by the dust and pollution of the city slickers. And the space! I mean, it was ' good to touch the green green grass of home' like ,free of obtrusions and obstructions. Just one kampung styled house ( a beautiful one at that) in the middle of an orchard deep in Raub. How about that?

No one spoke during lunch as we were busy stuffing ourselves as fast as we could. Hunger does brings out the worst in us! The durians tasted heavenly although I could not each much. I'm not a conventional durian enthusiast and the significance of a durian feast was lost on me. I did, however, learned to eat it together with 'pulut and santan' . This tip was courtesy of P S Sabrina herself. It did taste very good but it was a tad too filling . I was practically groaning all the way to the car parked 20 feet away. By then it was almost 4pm when we dragged ourselves to the car . On the way, against our better judgement, we stopped at the famous Bentong ice-kachang shop and filled ourselves silly with the sweet liquid. Needless to say, I couldn't get up from the chair at all and had to be hoisted up!

My sincere and heartful thanks to Puan Sri Sabrina for her generosity and kindness . I admire her zest for life and her willingness to live her life to the fullest as she sees it. I, on the other hand, must start to learn how to ride a bicycle......