Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cruel Joke Played By Joel

We were in the kitchen, chatting.... Joel recalled a joke which he played on Ethaniel a few days ago and decided to share it with me.

He was laughing while telling what he did....

The other day, when he saw his unpacked baggage still on the floor (since we went to Israel and returned), it gave him an idea. A cruel one.

Joel opened the balcony door and made his way down the rope ladder, he turned his face a little towards Ethaniel so that he cannot see his uncontrollable-smile-turning-into-a-full-fledged-roar.

He said, "Ethaniel, I am running away. I am leaving home because I don't want to stay here anymore."

Ethaniel had a bewildered look on his face. Flushed cheek and teary eyed. He must have really been traumatised by his older brother's desire to leave home. What will he do without his best friend, playmate, room mate and partner-in-crime.

Joel couldn't stop himself and started laughing.... "I am just kidding!"

Since that day, everything Joel tells Ethaniel, he had a hard time believing it. Do you blame him?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Things Sold In A Jordanian Shop

I thought that I will post some of the things I have seen in a shop in Jordan. Its pretty unique.

Smoking device, using water and coal. It has a name... just cannot remember

An antique player

Mosaic art work of The Last Supper

Daggers. Cannot take it back via plane :-(

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Day 2 - Petra, Jordan (Part 2)

Walking in Petra that day was very hot and sandy. If you open your mouth wide and long enough, you can feel your teeth grinding on sand. Its my first experience standing, walking and touring a country with so much of sand. The nearest desert I have been to was Las Vegas.

Strangely when under shades its very cooling. Unlike Bangkok right now. Under shades or not, its HOT period.

Everywhere I look, I see brown and earth color. Green is not the standard color, as in Malaysia or Thailand.

Another view of the Treasury

Royal Tomb

Amphitheatre specially for the dead. Singing to entertain the dead.

My, what a hunk ;-).
This photo is specially dedicated to all you gals who regularly visits my blog (blowing kisses).
I have to admit, there are many beautiful men and women in Jordan & Israel. I should relocate there for the sake of my 2 sons.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 2 - Petra, Jordan (Part 1)

Petra is the new 7 wonder of the world. Since it was made the 7 wonder of the world, every tourist passing along Jordan will make a detour to Petra, according to Andy, our tour organiser from Singapore.

You might be familiar with Petra from the Indiana Jones movie.

We started early in the morning, trying to beat the crowd that will be going to Petra. I think we did a good job... There were not too many tourist at 8am.

Going into Petra itself is a 2km journey. Firstly 800m on a horse pulled by a guide and the rest 1.2km on foot. Unfortunately for me, I had an overzealous guide who pulled me at 120km per hour (a little exaggerated) which resulted in me getting a soar thigh. I was told that it was suppose to gallop, not F1 racing!!! "Slow down", "not too fast", "SLOW SLOW", apparently dropped on deaf ears as the young man ran to the "FINISH LINE". He was sure in a hurry. I suspect that he wanted to return for a 2nd round to get more tips. *sigh*
Almost killed me in the process :-/

Smiling because I didn't know what I was getting into

Its a natural rock formation

All along the 1.2km walk into Petra, there are amazing rock formations and interesting stones. There is option of hopping onto a horse carriage which cost USD20 for two person. But I opted to walk instead.

Two elephants side by side... No, not me and Charlotte.... The stone elephants. A natural formation

In front of the famous Treasury

I was personally quite awe-struck with such a piece of art. The artist has to be superbly skilled because a small mistake would have been disastrous.... Can you imagine, having to say, "Oops, I made a mistake, we need another surface to carve the Treasury." Unlike what we can do nowadays with the computer. Any error can be erased with a click of the mouse and redone easily.

The camel and I. After the horse experience, the idea of riding on the camel didn't sound too inviting

This very talented man can speak fluent Cantonese. He stayed in Hong Kong for 11 years. Very impressed... and what a small world! It cost USD7 for a small bottle of naturally colored sand. He can write your name in it too. Cool eh?

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where We Stayed 1st Night in Jordan

Our first night in Jordan, we stayed at Grand View Hotel. This would be my first and last time posting about a hotel we stayed whilst in Jordan / Israel tour. Every other night we were in different hotels. By the 2nd day, I stopped taking photos of our accommodation. Anyway, there were more interesting photos than the hotel.

Like the name of the hotel, the view behind the hotel is indeed pretty grand. No, not the Marriot Hotel view at the background .... the hotel which we WANTED to stay but DID NOT.... ;-)

Front view of the hotel

This is the view I am talking about. It was absolutely amazing! This is a photo taken at dawn just beside the hotel. I could stand there staring into the mountains for hours, with the cool breeze blowing into my face... Heavenly!

Admiring the beauty of nature... Ahem... Did I sound like I was talking about myself? Oops, I meant the mountain but it could be implied to me too ;-). I know, I know, self praise is an international disgrace.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 1 - Amman, Jordan: 10 April 2008, Thursday

Itinerary for the day:
  • Citadel
  • Roman Amphitheater
  • Amman city tour
  • Ash Shawbak Castle
  • Petra to spend the night.
We arrived in Amman after a 10 hours flight. I slept well on the plane, so, I felt fresh and ready to start the tour. It was about 5am when we arrived at Amman International Airport. We were taken to a local hotel to have breakfast. The weather was absolutely wonderfully cool. Oooo... I just love weather like this. If my guesstimate is not wrong, it was about 23C or less. Nice.

We were here for breakfast

Amman at dawn

Our first destination in our itinerary was Amman Citadel and Jordan Archaeological Museum. For more information about the Citadel, I found a tourist website of Jordan. Check it out.

Amman Citadel and Jordan Archaeological Museum

Janice, me and Judy. We were in the tour together... Pretending to be Samson, pushing the columns

What's left of the Temple of Hercules at Citadel Amman

Also on the Citadel Hill is the Jordan Archaeological Museum. This small museum houses an excellent collection of antiquities ranging from prehistoric times to the 15th century. There is an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a copy of the Mesha Stele and four rare Iron Age sarcophagi.

Dead sea scroll in iron

Roman Amphitheatre

You can stand at this specific spot and your voice will be heard all over the Amphitheater. No need for microphone

After that we headed for lunch but first we have to pass the King's Highway which was one of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. It was just absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. Very similar to Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, USA.

There are two routes connecting Amman with the south of Jordan: the Desert Highway and the King’s Highway. If your time is limited, use the straighter and faster Desert Highway. However, by far the more interesting route is the King’s Highway, which twists and winds its way through the heart of Jordan, connecting Madaba, Karak, Tafileh, Shobak and Petra. The King’s Highway is the world’s oldest continuously used communication route, and is mentioned early in the Bible. In Numbers 20, Moses requests the king of Edom to allow his people to "travel along the king’s highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory." (clipped from here)

Amazing slopes

The magnificence of the valley was indescribably beautiful

I am speechless gazing at the works of the Maker

The "Black Iris" is the official flower of Jordan. It only bloom once a year in the month of April. Hmm... what do you know... We were blessed enough to see this unique flower.

Ash-Shawbak Castle

Ash-Shawbak Castle, in rough, barren surroundings at 1,300m/4,265ft above sea level, is perhaps the most impressively situated castle in Jordan. It is perched on the side of a rocky, conical mountain, looking out over fruit trees below.

Shobak was originally called Krak de Montreal o Mons Regalis, and was the first outpost (1115) built beyond the Jordan River by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem to guard the road from Egypt to Damascus. It resisted many sieges until 1189, when it fell to Saladin's troops.

The towers and walls are well preserved and decorated with carved inscriptions dating from 14th century Mameluke renovations, but the inside is ruinous. Near the gatehouse, a well with over 350 dangerously slippery spiral, rock-cut steps descends to a spring. (clipped from here)

Ash Shawbak Castle from afar

We spent a night in a hotel in Petra. Tomorrow we will be heading towards Petra. The new 7th wonder of the world.

For more photos visit this online album.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Different Can They Be?

The first few days of our holiday, Joel had a very tough time. He missed me tremendously. He called me on the mobile phone, crying. Obviously I felt really bad. It was tough for both him and me. I would call him a few times a day just to check on him.

I was very distracted because I felt really bad for him.

The surprising thing was, I thought that Ethaniel was the one who will be having a hard time missing us. Apparently not. According to Mary, he was embracing life and really coped well. His older brother, Joel on the other hand, whom I thought was doing pretty well was the one crying his eyeballs out! He did not show any signs of emotions until I left him.

Joel said that he NEVER wants to be apart from me EVER again! Not 10 days... maybe 5 days is OK. *sigh*

I guess when he goes to camps for 3 days 2 nights for Royal Rangers camp, he doesn't even think about me... when all his friends are there and they have a great time together. But being left behind is no fun.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I am glad to be home since evening of yesterday.

It was great to be reunited with the boys. They are doing fine... Now back to routine.

Today will be washing, cleaning and the routine stuffs.

Unfortunately I am down with a bad cough and lethargy. Maybe because of the time difference and also the constant cough, I could not sleep properly last night. Will try to take some rest during the day time today. The heat in Bangkok is not helping. Extremely hot and humid.

Will try to get some post on my trip out in the next few days.

BTW, some of you were curious how I managed to go to Israel because it is restricted for Malaysians. Well, there are a few requirements... You have to be a Christian, going in a Church tour group and doing pilgrimage. It has been a popular destination for many Christians in the last 10 years or so.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On The Way Home...

I am currently in Jordan International airport waiting for board the plane. The flight is scheduled at 2.59am and right now its about 12am *sigh*. 3 hours more to go... We had to check in earlier so that we could get good seats, the flight is full.

I will try to write some post in the next few days.

I missed the children very much.

I am very excited to meet them... not too long from now.

Thanks for dropping by my blog while I was away and leaving comments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday. I told my boys that I will celebrate it with them when I return to Bangkok.

Its very special to be able to celebrate my birthday in the Holy Land.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Joel Baked A Cake

This is a very simple cake mix which we can usually get from the supermarket. Its absolutely delicious and my children love it. We have eaten it various times baked by friends.

So, we decided that we will try it too. I bought the mix and Joel baked it. Kind of. I had to help him with bake because he was not familiar with the oven and the heat was a little risky for him.

The cake was so delicious that we almost finished it in one day!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Playing With Hospital Bed

On the 2nd day of Joel's hospitalisation, he felt better and both the brothers had lot of fun finding things to play with.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Congratulations Mike!

I have been so busy with everything that I forgot about a wonderful addition to my older brother's family....

Congratulations, Mike and wife

on the birth of your baby girl.

We have not received any official information regards to weight, name and all because he is very busy working since the birth of their baby. Trying to bring back the bacon.

Read my post on both of them. They have just recently tied the knot April last year.

Will look forward to post some baby photos when I get it.

Bottom row: Mike's wife, Mike, Mom
Top row: Joel, me & Ethaniel
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Friday, April 11, 2008

How Do You Internet Surf Faster?

I would like to share my personal experience on how to save time when internet surfing. Very simple.

All of us would like to visit each other's blog and read daily post fast, easily and effectively. So, how to do that with a slow broadband line in Bangkok and sometime overloaded computer?

Following is what I do:
  1. Use Mozilla Firefox. You can download from here
  2. Using Mozilla Firefox, when you want to open a website just press "Ctrl" and "click" on the desired website
  3. You can open as many site as you want. Sometimes I open up to 10 websites at one time.
  4. The benefit is that, you can be typing your post while waiting for the website to download/open properly.
Try it

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This Is What Sacrificial Love Is All About

The night before we left for our holiday, I sat on my boys bed. It was bedtime. I just sat there with my notebook computer on my lap. Just hanging around while they listen to their online story - Adventures in Odyssey.

Ethaniel seeing that I was leaning on the wall, came over with his pillow and fit it nicely behind my back so that I could sit comfortably. He didn't even ask me if I wanted it, he just knew.

Then he went to his bed and used his bolster as his pillow.

Joel took his pillow over to his younger brother's side and shared his pillow with him. Both of them snuggled together sharing one pillow and fell sound asleep.

I wanted to remember that moment forever. They DON'T share their pillow with each other for ANY reason. Its a very personal possession to both of them - especially bed time.

That is my boys sacrificing their pillow for Mummy. They didn't have to say, "I love you, Mummy" but I could read their actions LOUD and CLEAR.

Yes. Is all this small little things that makes Motherhood so memorable.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Will Miss You!!!! *sniff sniff*

I definitely will miss my two boys.... I didn't know how much until two days ago.

Ethaniel took the digital camera upstairs. I didn't know why.

A few minutes later, I walked upstairs to take some clothes for wash... Then, I saw Ethaniel holding the camera. I told him not to mess around with it. He played his video clips.... I was shocked!

He made a video "Goodbye Message". It was meant for me to watch it while I was away from him. It was shockingly touching. He was in tears telling me that he loved me and to remember him, everyday.

Oh my. I was so touched. I don't think I have ever been more touched and moved. I didn't realise that my 6 years old boy could express so much of emotions that most adults know nothing about.

Ethaniel's "Goodbye" message to me which he took candid without my knowledge

I Will Still Be Blogging!

There is a new feature in Blogger which enables me to schedule my blog. So, I will try this feature.

I have a few post which I will be posting while I am away. So, drop by my blog to check it out.

I am not sure if it works.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Holiday, Babysitter and Packing....

I posted a blog that we are going for a holiday to Jordan / Israel. That will be in 2 days time. I have been packing since last week. Not only for myself but for the children as well. Both the children will be staying with a Jewish Missionary couple i.e. Laurie and Mary.

I initially asked SH to babysit but she had to return to Malaysia for the long holiday and Laurie was kind enough to take both our boys for 11 days... Yes. Very brave.

When I was hunting for a babysitter, I was a little panicky.... Being away from our home-country and without relatives nearby. I have never left Ethaniel more than 1 night, EVER. As for Joel, a few days only - when I went to Hong Kong. But that was donkey years ago. Other than that, we have always gone on holidays together... US, Australia, Singapore and Thailand.

God seem to have open ALL the doors for us to go to Israel, especially a placing in the tour group from Singapore (two person dropped out at the last minute), visa from the Israeli Embassy (eventhough at 2 weeks notice), tour dates falling on Songkran festival (if not, no way for hubby to join) and financial providence. So, everything seems to have fallen into place EXCEPT babysitter.... Then. Laurie agreed to babysit. Hallelujah!!!! I was jumping with joy and happiness. I knew that God will see us through.

The wonderful thing about Laurie and Mary, I could TRUST them fully because we have known them since the day we arrived in Bangkok. They are such wonderful and precious friends who absolutely love God and people. They have a heart of gold. They also absolutely love Joel and Ethaniel (hopefully they still feel that way after the end of the babysitting ;-)).

One of these days, I will write some of Mary's testimonies which she shared with me. She has been a great source of encouragement. In fact the testimonies she shares has many times sent tears to my eyes and leaves a great hunger in my heart toward the things of God. When I talk to her, I stay glued. Like a great story teller, the words flow from her lips with ease...

Thank you Laurie & Mary. You are an answered prayer. By the way, I have given Ethaniel some pep-talk about behaving well... No guarantee though.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lack of Energy?

Since December 2007 last year, I have been taking Essence of Chicken whenever I feel very tired and lethargic.

It all started when we traveled around Thailand. Holiday was tiring, you know. Driving, different bed every night, long hours in the car, etc. I noticed that all kinds of essence are sold in 7 Eleven. You can find 7 Eleven at every corner all over Thailand. Its not uncommon to see the local Thais purchasing the essence and downing it. So, I thought that I will try it. It really worked. I felt much better.

Of course, in the last one week, I have been having long sleepless nights due to my Joel's illness. Actually a few days before that, I was down with a slight flu. So, I was physically tired too. The Chicken Essence really helped me. I am going to take a dozen pack for my holiday to Israel. I have already bought it.

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