happy year of the earth dog!

To those celebrating, Happy Lunar New Year \ 恭喜发财 !

2018 is the year of the Dog, according to Chinese zodiac. Interestingly, it's the year of the **Earth Dog, to be exact. This year, the lunar new year fell on Friday, February 16th, triggering one of the world's most eventful celebration -- traditional lion dances, fire crackers, lots of good, delicious food, among other things. It's such a pleasure for me to join in the festivities.

Here's a little photo diary of our first few days of celebration. 
There's not much but as usual, I adore the little decorations hung at K's parent's home, out at the garden. 
K folded some dog-shaped origami (last year he made roosters too) out of red packets and we hung them everywhere.

Some airplants at the front porch. The cutest.

Some airplants at the front porch. The cutest.

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The first day was mostly spent at his family home, also paying respect to his late grandparents at a nearby temple. 
As a family tradition, vegetarian food is eaten on the first day itself, which personally, is always a humbling but uplifting experience for me over the past years. The tastes of the dishes are mellow and in harmony.
Lots of mushrooms, tofu, potatoes, down to vegan shrimps stir-fried with cauliflowers etc. I do love my vegetables.

Strangers paying respect to their ancestors at the temple. 

Strangers paying respect to their ancestors at the temple. 

If you can see it, a dog-shaped origami hung on the rose plant.

If you can see it, a dog-shaped origami hung on the rose plant.

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Making 'kuih kapit' the traditional way on New Year's Eve. These moulds are at least 40 years old, made by K's grandfather. 

Making 'kuih kapit' the traditional way on New Year's Eve. These moulds are at least 40 years old, made by K's grandfather. 

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A candle lit in hope for a great year ahead.

A candle lit in hope for a great year ahead.

Someone's lighted a giant pair of incense.

Someone's lighted a giant pair of incense.

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We had scrumptious homecooked food until the third day, we went to Pavillion for dim sum with the family.
Xiaolongbao was the main, as it should be.
It was a nice brunch because everyone's around. Mostly what the New Year is about really, family coming together.

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The rose petals installation inside the mall is breathtaking. 
We took the chance to take some family portraits too. Always feeling like myself most behind the camera.

 

 

** one of the Chinese's Five Elements— wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — are believed to be the fundamental elements of everything in the universe. There are 12 Chinese zodiac signs and a 12-year cycle. One of the five elements is associated with each of the Chinese zodiac signs and 12-year cycles.

 

pre-cny, kuala lumpur — on the streets of. 004

Here are some photos taken over the past few weeks, with the Lunar New Year just around the corner. 
The streets are bright this time of year, here in KL—day and night.
Red lanterns hung, people splurge on decorations, colorful plants are up for sale. Tons of cookies out on shelves in supermarkets. Cakes, nuts, mushrooms, name it all.

We went around quite a bit the past few weekends, once to Petaling Street. As usual it dazzles in red. SS2 in PJ was no exception too. There are also some lively morning markets, so much to see (and so much to eat!). 

a store selling traditional rattan chairs. 

a store selling traditional rattan chairs. 

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morning markets. bustling with locals from 7am onwards.

morning markets. bustling with locals from 7am onwards.

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malls are so pretty this time of year!

malls are so pretty this time of year!

artificial flowers sold at Petaling St. (Chinatown)

artificial flowers sold at Petaling St. (Chinatown)

the towering 'lantern' at the Twin Towers.

the towering 'lantern' at the Twin Towers.

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So much red right? I wonder if other major cities are as festive as KL is, aside from the ones in China, of course. 
Would love to see the Chinatowns all over the world this time of year.
As usual we're attracted to the traditional side of things, if we look closely, there really are few decorations that are truly traditions—have this or that item been around for long? Is this a new thing?
Still, happy vibes everywhere!

 
 

(tips) to the highlands

We've just came back from our first roadtrip for the year. We're missing Cameron Highlands already! 
Pleasant weather + the steaming pots of fresh vegetables we have at dinnertimes. 
This time we rented a place from airbnb, simply because it's such a waste that we don't have a kitchen, when it feels like we're home whenever we're up there. 
Cooking every night is such a joy. 
We have wine at night, wear fluffy socks to sleep--it might sound exaggerated but believe me when i say i stood at the balcony at night, my legs were shaky from the cold gushing wind. 
The temperature is only a little below 15 degrees but we've gotten used to 30 degrees, so there's that. 
My face felt like it was frozen though. pretty much in heaven when it's not windy.

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To anyone hoping for a local experience instead of a touristy one, try to visit on weekdays instead of weekends. 
The traffic would be badly congested otherwise. We all love escaping from the city due to the crazy heat but apparently, we can't escape the traffic.. 
(yes you can, go on a Wednesday). 

So here are eight things we think you should probably do while you're up there; 
we've included some links from our previous posts too for an idea of how each area looks like.

  1. have nasi lemak for breakfast at the Yong Teng Cafe. order a banana pancake, drizzled with honey too, for dessert. the humble cafe belongs to an elderly couple who are both deaf + mute so you'll learn some sign languages while you're at it. they're super friendly when they're not too busy!
  2. go to Kea Market, walk to the very end of the rows of stalls before buying anything, you might find some good bargains in the deep corners. buy lots of fresh greens if you can. they're cheap and super fresh, crunchy. tastes nothing like those at the supermarkets. depending on the season, there'll be heaps of strawberries! i was told the higher production season is from May-August. 
  3. have lunch at the Barracks Cafe. their lamb masala, served in a breadbowl, is to die for. well, so far so good.
  4. go to the Cactus Point, not far from the Kea Market -- and buy some cactus to bring home. they need very little care, especially the spiky ones so choose carefully. the succulents with thick leaves tend to droop + die faster (ergh) in hot weather - so pick the spiky ones! there are countless varieties, thousands of cactus for sale here. if buying isn't your thing, just look at all the amazing plantsss
  5. go to the Cactus Valley and have fun while you maneuver your walks around the giant cactus. i've visited this place twice and still i see something intriguing every time.
  6. go to the tea plantation, just choose any! the views are amazing. if you're walking, just be mindful of the traffic. the roads are windy.
  7. explore Rose Valley. it really has the most beautiful of roses.
  8. if you're not renting an apartment, choose one of the steamboat restaurants in Brinchang for dinner at night, especially the ones using charcoal for their steamboat pots. order lots of local fresh vegetables. sit for hours. bring some wine for those cold nights. if you don't take alcohol, tea is perfect. 

Cameron Highlands is the perfect getaway, especially if you avoid the timing of the crowd. 
Needless to say, it's one of our favorite place to be. 
We'll have a few more posts coming up from this trip, can't wait to share our excessive photos archive, again. but hey, come back soon for a read!