Monday, March 19, 2018

Japanese Buffet Lunch @ XENRI

This is not a paid post.

If you have visited Japan and walked the regions around Kyoto, you will like the cosy interiors of this restaurant. We enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch yesterday at the famous XENRI's Japanese restaurant which is hidden in a quiet lane off the busy Old Klang Road.

We have eaten at this place several times as guests of birthdays and gatherings but this round, we paid for our meal at their Sunday's buffet lunch. Hordes of people were queuing outside even before they opened their doors at 12.00 noon! Goodness, it must be really good...

I was told that the boss of Elken loves Japanese food so much that he decided to set up this place for merely his own consumption with its chefs & seafood freshly air flown from Japan. The whole interior's set up until the food presentation are also being done to his meticulous perfection.

 I really love this area where there's a pond with colourful Koi fishes swimming happily! You really could feel that you are being transported to somewhere in Japan for a meal.

They have long tables of Japanese buffet spread being served from inside all the way to the corridors outside the restaurant.

The freshest salad bar with baby octopus to satisfy everyone!

You could feast all you can at their many trays of fresh sashimi and sushi with baked cheese oysters that made me drool. Look at the mochi balls. I wanna scream!

 The desserts are there with fresh cut fruits. I love their mochi that came with assorted flavours which were really soft with right textures, just like how the Japanese eat them.

 I watched this chef frying outside the restaurant. He was very calm and well focused to fry my tempura prawns.

I enjoyed these tempura which the prawns were so long and chewy.  I had more than just 3 prawns on this Round One plate.

My wife is a very light eater and she avoids certain seafood which she is sadly allergic to. She just had 2 rounds including the chawan mushi, kimchi soup and fried platters too.

This is my Round One with 2 plates and chawan mushi at one go! That's how greedy I could be. I won't share with you the photos of my Round 2 and Round 3 plates as I don't want to be labelled as a greedy glutton. Muahahahaha..

 Now I zoom closer to see yummy sushi rolls and fresh green salad. 

 These baked cheese oysters were the best I have ever eaten in years! Go try it yourself.

A plate of neat fresh fruits and mochi balls to finish off with their Elken's signature white coffee. Burp!

There are so many corners and partitioned areas to eat & relax.

That's my wife being partially hidden behind the screen of loose wooden sticks like a Japanese Geisha. The whole ambiance is very tastefully done up just like how typical restaurants are like in Japan.

We will be back soon!


Monday, March 5, 2018

Chinese New Year In Penang (Part 2)

It was a very healthy and stress free trip to Penang during Chinese New Year. We left KL early on Tuesday morning and the highway was smooth with very few cars, making it a relaxing drive. We stopped in Kampar to visit my wife's 8th Aunty before buying some ingredients for our steamboat. 

Everyday my wife would find time to hike up Penang Hill or take long walks with me around the famous Botanical Gardens. The air is always very fresh and clean around the gardens and definitely helped my lungs!

Created in Year 1884

This beautiful gardens were created by the British since ancient times. 
It covers a large area of over 70 acres of rolling hills and lush greenery jungles
with natural cascading waterfalls. Next year, I plan to bring my wife to stroll
around London's Hyde Park which is 5 times bigger and connects to
the beautiful sprawling grounds of Kensington Gardens. I will show
her my foot trails.

The present government has put in continuous effort to beautify and upgrade
this gardens from time to time. Now it has beautiful lily ponds outside to welcome
all visitors.

Someday I will be sitting on the benches during my Twilight Years
as a real Twilight Man to rekindle all my childhood memories
of this big gardens.

Flowers may bloom and wither but the sweet memories will stay forever
in my thoughts.

This place is perfect for leisure strolls and to admire its rich abundance of flora & fauna.

My wife was there to join my friend and his gang who were having
their tough boot camp session. I didn't join them as I was busy
looking for monkeys.

They have good landscaping too with perfect settings to hold a garden wedding.

Many photography enthusiasts took hundreds of photos of the fallen tree.
Once upon a time this old tree had stood very prominently but nothing is
permanently in life as the Buddhism teaching says.

This hot couple preferred to enjoy their intimacy by kissing and groping
each other continuously for so long. It really distracted my peaceful walk

Even the monkeys got excited to see the hot couple!
..Monkey see, Monkey do....

There are plenty of very old and unusual trees like this Cannon Ball tree.

This tree bears funny fruits that resembled the cannon balls! I think the monkeys
used them to play football too.

Let me share this secret! This is where the Malaysia's 1st water treatment plant was built
in Penang and many swore that the water from the hills of these waterfalls are naturally sweet.
Now you know why all the hawker food tastes better in Penang!

Good & clean mineral water helps to build healthy bodies like these plants from the 
Daun Kedok family. They are so mighty giant and bigger than my shoes!

I have the fondest memories of this cascading waterfalls where my late parents took
my family to have picnics and we played with the fresh & cooling water!
Those days we played outdoor and climbed the trees without all those gadgets
like computer games and iPads! It was rain or shine with fresh air.
Some parents today spoilt their kids to remain indoors as they
believed it is safer. Remember the saying that
...The Ship In Harbor Is Safe, 
But That Is Not What Ships Are Built For....

Further down the slopes, I saw cupids hovering above this young lovely couple who sat peacefully on the mat to enjoy their Valentine's Day! They were both sketching quietly on their own drawing pads while enjoying a whirlwind romance! Their giggles warmed my hearts and prompted me to walk up to greet them. I took a good look at their drawings and was smitten by their expressive drawings in myriad of colours! I have studied all the types of paintings of Art History in America but this couple drew something new like modern day abstracts instead - Lovebird's Art. I gave them my blog links and told them that I respect their passion to enjoy the mother nature instead of spending a bomb to celebrate Valentine's Day in posh hotels. I wish them success in their love life and future.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Chronicles Of A Caregiver (Part 2)

Early this morning at 4.30am, a Vellfire Limousine had arrived my door punctually to pick up my dearest wife. She was being chauffeured to the KLIA airport to catch the first flight to Tokyo, where she would catch a direct connecting flight to Houston in Texas. My wife will be away to attend an important conference about world's educational issues in San Antonio besides visiting selected schools for observation in San Francisco. How I wish I could follow her for another "WORKcation" trip but this is sooo impossible lah. My US visa had long expired liao and her lady boss is following her too. Ooops!! I will be Home Alone until next weekend. Haiks!

A few days ago, my wife visited a patient at her apartment in Happy Gardens after getting the help-requests from Doreen. We shall address this female patient as Madam Tan who is a church friend of Doreen and she is suffering from cancer of her ovary. Doreen had advised her to seek help and care from Hospis but she would need to get a referral letter from her doctor. Madam Tan is now bed ridden and would not be able to download the form from the website for her doctor to sign therefore my wife offered to help her on this. I was a bit sad to see this patient as she has lost tremendous weight, with her all skinny & twisted bones making it extremely difficult to move her frail limbs. Her pitiful sight clearly reminds me of my late mother during her final years. Madam Tan is a single lady who lives alone but her very kind friends helped out by hiring a full time maid to nurse and feed her.

Doreen and I have over 10 years friendship today since the time when her late hubby was stricken with terminal cancer. He was under my care and you can read this story on the last paragraph below.

My wife left me with an instruction to follow up with another patient this morning since she had to leave for overseas. She had earlier taken this friendly gentleman Encik Mohammed to see a clinic's doctor for some tests to certify his sickness to enable him to receive further assistance for palliative care. He was weak and had to struggle a bit to walk when my wife fetched him many weeks ago. This morning, I arrived at his flat to fetch him but his condition has worsened. He could no longer stand up or walk at all and his petite wife had much difficulty to help him. She had no strength to push his wheelchair up the slopes as his weight has suddenly increased like a 'dead-weight' which occurs when a patient has lost their ability to move their limbs besides the massive water retention. 

I wheeled him down from the 20th floor of his flat which had 3 very shaky elevators that often broke down every other days. It was scary to imagine what would be like if the elevator broke down while I was inside with this patient in wheelchair who carries a urine bag too. He has colon cancer which has advanced to affect his spinal areas therefore he had to see the specialist at the hospital for further check up and MRI scan. We made our way across the morning's traffic crawl along Jalan Kuching until the hospital where his accompanying wife got down to wheel him inside. I am just sharing with you the reasons he could not be able to rely on taxis or Uber drivers as he has special needs now to be carried up physically when his limbs are sadly too weak to move. The vehicle needs to be able to carry his heavy wheelchair too.

In July 2017, I had posted some sharing on my observations as a caregiver for terminally ill patients in the blog here. Today I will share about Doreen's late husband.

Case #4:
It happened over 10 years ago when fate had arranged to change my life to face the realities of life & death matters by becoming a caregiver myself. My wife had earlier become a Hospis caregiver since 17 years ago as she offered her time to help the NGO when they repeatedly appealed for volunteers to help with their daycare center for terminally ill patients, home visits for the bed ridden and to provide transport to fetch ailing patients to various hospitals for various check up and chemotherapy treatments. My wife had often encouraged me to sign up but I refused flatly as I was too terrified to see terminally ill patients. I would easily cry buckets of tears on seeing them in acute pain and unable to move. I was brought up by my parents who spent their entire lifetime helping the handicapped Spastics Children and running the biggest Home of the Infirm in Penang. To add on with the misery of  the terminally ill patients was too much for me to stomach. 

One day, my wife told me that she had been assigned to fetch a male patient to hospital for blood transfusion, early the next morning. She had been cautioned that she would have to help to physically carry the patient into her car. Sensing that it might be awkward for her to embrace much bodily contacts to hold a male body, she appealed for me to wake up at dawn to assist her for just once. I agreed reluctantly and followed her to fetch the patient at his house in Puchong. We arrived early before 7.00am as his scheduled appointment was at 8.00pm sharp at HUKM. If one is late, you will have to re-book another appointment for the following weeks as there were always hundreds of patients waiting.

The patient's wife Doreen ushered me to enter his bedroom and at that instant, my jaws dropped in disbelief. The patient Andrew was stricken with the rare bone marrow cancer and had been reduced to just a small body of frail skeletons. He greeted me and smiled shyly. My heart sank further to the floor with my head getting blurry on how I could assist him into my car. My experienced wife was quick and prompted to direct me the gentle way to use my 2 muscular arms to carry Andrew up slowly from his lying position. The minute I carried him, he cried out in pain with tears and I mistakenly thought that I was being too rough and inflicted his immense pain. Doreen sadly told me that his whole body's brittle bones and cells have been infested which causes the slightest pain when touched besides breaking easily too. There was no turning back and Hospis Care promptly appealed for my assistance to help this man who became my 'good friend' for 2 years. He had to make hospital visits every fortnight to receive completely new blood transfusions which would take him 6 hours per visit. He always became chatty and cheerful when his body had been replenished with new blood. It became my routine to fetch him and Doreen,  to drop them off before rushing back from my office to fetch him home. Andrew passed away in his sleep 2 years later and it was quite remarkable that he could survive so long as his case was advanced and very suffering. I learnt something from this case that his wife could never get over his death and still calls me every month for the last 10 years! She would just sound cheerful with good greetings over the phone but I could sense that she may have lost her loving husband but part of his memories still lived with me as she had witnessed how I carried and hugged her hubby from the bed to the car and hospital which repeated for 2 years. This had earlier prepared me better that it could also happen to me someday and I should try to overcome this otherwise I might sink into depressions. 
Andrew was a Chinese and Doreen is an Indian which blessed them both with a very pretty daughter with mixed Asian looks like an actress. The daughter was 10 years old when her father passed away and today she is in her final year studying law in Kuala Lumpur.

My article is just for sharing and solely for creating some awareness, just in case you might be able to help and advise someone you know who will need the palliative care. Just log in to their Hospis Malaysia website and download the referral form for doctor to certify with signature.