Travelling with Nanny Wen

I’m home!


Funny how being overseas kind of warps time. And I mean even nearby overseas.

I’ve only been away for a little over 24 hours but it feels like days. Maybe because every time I go overseas, I’m stoned from lack of sleep.

My computer is still not fixed so I’m still using Fluffy. I don’t really like using Fluffy to blog cos I need my dual screen to work my pictures and get a better sense of the progression of my text.


You know the pink border I use for my pictures? They look white on Fluffy. So, like, if the colours on my photos look funny, I won’t be able to tell.

Anyway, this has been a crazy trip.

Nanny Wen and I had a lot of fun getting each other lost.

Both of us have the same bad habit of not paying attention to where we go because we like to follow people.

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

I don’t know about her but, for me, it’s because I’m always lost in my own thoughts and can’t be bothered with something as mundane as directions.

Yesterday, at Changi Airport, after we went through the departure checkpoint, we started searching for a place to sit down and have breakfast.

As we walked, we talked, and didn’t really notice where we were walking. We kind of started following each other. But I think I was following her more because breakfast was her idea.

We came upon an escalator and went down it. Probably because the escalator just happened to be there.

And we found ourselves at the arrival checkpoint.

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

After some oh shits and embarrassed giggles, we turned around to go back up the escalator, but the escalator was only downward travelling!

More oh shits.

I made a face at her and said, “I don’t want to travel with you anymore!”

She reminded me that I say that all the time but I still continue to travel with her.

I suppose it’s nice to have someone to strangle once in a while.

But she was very sweet and emptied a soft-boiled egg for me today so I forgive her.

Nanny Wen

Anyway, after a bit of panic, we found a staircase that we could go back up on. Wen had to clumsily lug her suitcase up the long flight of steps. Haha. I was carrying a giant tote bag on my shoulder so it wasn’t that bad.

Hmm… I took too many photos today in Kuching and they won’t all fit in one post cos it’ll take me like 10 hours to write.

Will talk about our adventure at Kenny Sia‘s new fitness centre in a separate post!


Photos from Kenny Sia’s camera

I’m lazy today and Kenny Sia just e-mailed me a bunch of photos he’d taken of me and Nanny Wen while we were in Kuching, so today’s blog post is a photo gallery!

We were there on a press trip to cover events, and Kenny very kindly sacrificed his weekend to take us around during our off hours.

Dinner at Four Points Hotel by Sheraton:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Nanny Wen

Shopping at The Spring:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Second dinner at a hawker centre (after Four Points):

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Kenny Sia, Sheylara and Nanny Wen

The last time I was in Kuching, Kenny looked through the photos I had taken on my camera and he was really amused to see that I had taken tons of photos of photographers taking photos (including of him).

Seems like he’s done it back to me this time!

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Another second dinner (Kenny always took us out for more food at his favourite places after we’d finished dinner with our official hosts, even though we kept protesting we couldn’t eat anymore):

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Notice the cup? How did a sugar cane drink stall in Kuching get CHIPPY British Take Away cups??

Nanny Wen

Mmmmmm…. crabs!!


Nanny Wen

At the Kuching kucing:

Nanny Wen

Nanny Wen and Kenny Sia

Nanny Wen and Kenny Sia

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Taking shelter at someone’s tourist van while waiting for our turn at the kucing because the sun was really scorching:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Nanny Wen got her giant Teh C Special:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Actually we shared it. And, even then, we couldn’t finish it and Kenny had to help:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Nanny Wen’s failed attempt to take Kenny’s photo (wrong focus) mwahahaha:

Kenny Sia

Pass at last:

Kenny Sia

Taking a photo of my Sarawak laksa (yum):


At the massage parlour to soothe our aches after our 10 km mountain race:

Nanny Wen

Wearing the bigass inhouse slippers:


That’s all!

End of photo gallery! =)

Princesses in the jungle

When Kenny Sia met up with Nanny Wen and me after our 10km jungle/mountain race, which was advertised as a “Nature Challenge”, but should have been named “Suicide Mission” instead, he couldn’t stop laughing his ass off.

Thanks to her jungle tweets.

Nanny Wen's tweet

Nanny Wen's tweet

Nanny Wen's tweet

He laughed till he was red in the face. He was incredulous. “Didn’t you girls know what you had signed up for?”

No. The answer is no. I had asked and asked and researched. But no one could tell me and there was nothing on the Internet which told us what was in the trail and what to prepare for.

I mean, I had a more realistic expectation of the challenge than Nanny Wen did, but the actual experience far exceeded my wildest imaginations.

Kenny was dying of amusement.

Kenny Sia, Sheylara and Nanny Wen

But he was also very proud of us because he said our trail is more raw and challenging than Mount Kinabalu, which he had climbed.

He called us princesses in the jungle because he had an image of us as city princesses with nice clothes and makeup, so it really amused him to imagine us roughing it out in a perilous jungle.

Anyway, I can’t blog about my jungle experience yet because I’m waiting for photos. I didn’t bring my camera for the race and I’m glad I didn’t, even though I wish I had.

So, today, I’ll talk about some random stuff that we did in Kuching.

First photo taken upon landing:

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

We were hosted at Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, which is only minutes away from the airport.

That was our first and last taste of city princess treatment. We shared a nice big room with a nice big bathroom that featured a rainforest shower (which didn’t work or I am too retarded to make it work).

Four Points Hotel

Nice, funky stuff in the room.

Four Points Hotel

Dinner was the hotel’s continental buffet. It was truly welcome because I was starving!

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

I only managed to take two photos of the food before I was stopped by a waitress.


The restaurant has a no-photo policy. Which was just as well, since that meant I could get on with the food.

After a filling dinner, Kenny took us out to dinner.

That wasn’t a typo. We had two dinners that night.

But first, we made a brief stop at The Spring, which is Kuching’s biggest mall. (Kuching only has two malls, according to our tour guide.)

The Spring, Kuching

It was raining and I took this photo from inside Kenny’s car.

We spent about 15 minutes in there, enough time for Nanny Wen to buy a cheap towel and for us to give the mall a once-over, and then we headed off to a hawker centre.

This was our after-dinner dinner:

After-dinner dinner

For three people.

Kenny Sia, Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Everything was so good!

I feel bad that Kenny always pays for our meals when we visit Kuching, but he refuses to let us pay, claiming that he is always pampered and not allowed to pay when he comes to Singapore, so fair’s fair.

The yellow drink is freaking awesome. It’s like a mango milk concoction with lychee. I need someone to make me that in Singapore!!

Nanny Wen does really sillly things. She bought a cheap towel at The Spring to use during the trip, right? We were going to stay in a longhouse on our second night and we assumed towels wouldn’t be provided. (We were wrong, but we still used our own towels.)

On our last day in Kuching, I spotted something on her towel which I hadn’t seen earlier.

Nanny Wen's towel


It’s the freaking price tag. She used the towel for three days with the price tag still attached.

Nanny Wen's towel

I wonder if she even realised it was there.

Our pilgrimage to the famous kucing in Kuching:

Kuching, Cat City

On our last day, Kenny took us out for breakfast. We had Sarawak laksa and soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast.

Sheylara and Nanny Wen at breakfast

The eggs were so huge!!! And the toast was so nice!!! It’s a little different from the kaya toast in Singapore. It’s a lot more, I dunno, organic and authentic than the commercial Ya Kun variety. I mean, Ya Kun is nice and all, but eating the ones in Kuching fills me with nice, happy feelings.

Kenny Sia's thumb, with eggs

I ate a LOT of toast. I had Kenny order a second set after I finished the first set and my laksa.

Sarawak laksa

I’m gonna miss the food again!

By the way, I skipped two days of events because they’re kinda long so I’ll blog about them another day.

Yay! Kenny just commented on an earlier post!

Kenny Sia's comment

See, I wasn’t lying. He can’t stop laughing!!! He’s still laughing two days later!

Okay, look forward to my mountain race post! Nanny Wen just told me that her colleagues asked her how come when she told them the story it doesn’t sound treacherous at all.

Hopefully, I’ll get some photos that can give you an idea.

If not, I’ll go back there again one day and take photos.



The real Kuching Kolo Mee

About two hours after we’ve had our fill with Sarawak laksa, Kenny Sia took us to a hawker centre in Kuching city to try the local kolo mee.

Our tummies were seriously put to the test there.

Not only did we each get our own bowl of kolo mee, we were also tempted with a whole bunch of other local favourites for sharing.

For instance: Rojak, sotong kang kong, siew mai and all kinds of colourful desserts.

Kuching local food

They were all very good but I could hardly eat more than two bites of each dish after polishing up my kolo mee. (Remember we had eaten two hours before.)

The kolo mee is sweet! I mean, sort of literally.

Kuching kolo mee

It’s tasty but — and I know Kenny will kill me for saying this — I prefer the Singaporeanised version. You know, the Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee franchise?

Kenny says it’s wrong. The kolo mee you get in Singapore has apparently been modified for Singaporean taste buds.

But I like it. Heh. The Singaporean version, that is.

But I shouldn’t compare. The real Kuching kolo mee is nice in a different way. It has a sweet sort of fragrance. It also comes with a dish of vinegar and chilli, which you’re supposed to pour over your noodles. The vinegar is optional but I think the locals all eat it that way.

The vinegar gives the noodles a sourish taste, so the dish becomes sweet and sour and salty all at the same time. Haha. Which is exactly the way I described Sarawak laksa.

Okay, I’m sorry, I really suck at describing food, especially when I can’t remember the taste very much now. It’s been over three weeks.

So, I’m going to distract you with more photos.

Kuching kolo mee stall
The uncle who cooked our kolo mee.

Kuching kolo mee stall
The back of the uncle who cooked our kolo mee.

Spoons and dishes
The uncle’s artistic arrangement of our utensils.

Kuching hawker centre
The hawker centre.

We didn’t finish up all the food. I think we only managed half. I felt bad because Kenny had bought so much food for us but I was totally bursting at the seams!

Still, it was great being able to try so much local food. That’s the best part of travelling, isn’t it?

Okay, one of the best.

Other bests include shopping.


Kuching – Receiving the VIP treatment

I have been on media trips before.

But never have I received such personalised, VIP treatment as the one I received from, jointly, Jetstar Asia, Tourism Malaysia and Sarawak Tourism Board, on my four-day media trip to Kuching.

Luggage tags

I didn’t even realise that our luggages had been tagged “VIP PTY” (which, I assume, stands for VIP Party) until during our return flight, while we were checking in our luggages.

It explained the shock I received when we first landed in Kuching.

Before I go into that, though, I want to properly chronicle my journey by showing you some random photos I took while on the plane.

Snapping a photo of a Jetstar jet while seated on a Jetstar jet:


Yeah! I got a window seat!

I also sort of secretly took a photo of my media compatriots, all seated in a row beside me. But I’m not going to risk my life and post it up because it shows them in varying states of consciousness, it being a crazily early hour on a Sunday morning when we left Singapore.

So here’s one very awake me, instead:


I was very much looking forward to whatever was in store for us.

This trip commemorated Jetstar Asia’s inaugural flight to Kuching (from Singapore). Yes! We were on the very first Jetstar plane flying to Kuching.

Onboard with us was Datuk Michael Manyin, the Minister for Tourism for Sarawak. We boarded the flight together after being introduced to him at Changi Airport.

Datuk Michael Manyin

Our VIP treatment at Kuching International Airport was probably thanks to him. The moment we stepped off the plane and traversed a ridiculously short connecting tube, we were greeted by flashing lights from a mob of photographers. And garlands.

Kuching International Airport

Yes, we were garlanded. *lol* Here’s mine:


I thought they were there just to welcome the Datuk. But they were there to welcome us, too!

While I followed the VIP procession past the mob of photographers and garlanders, I suddenly heard a voice call out, “Sheylara!”

I thought it was one of the organisers about to tell me that I had forgotten something or some other.

But then I turned around and saw a very familiar face, instead, beaming at me.

It took a second for me to register the face because my brain had been momentarily stupefied by the flashing lights and garland. And because the face had had a hair cut since we last met.

Then I went “OMG” and bounded to him.

It was Kenny Sia, Malaysia’s most famous and popular blogger.

Sheylara and Kenny Sia

We both said, almost at the same time, “What are you doing here?!”

He didn’t know that I was part of the media group he would be taking around Kuching later in the afternoon.

I didn’t know that we had priority clearance, and that we didn’t have to go through customs, so was wondering how the heck Kenny had managed to sneak into the… well, inside.

Anyway, we were then ushered into a nearby room where a press conference was about to begin.

The front-row seats were reserved for us.

S'pore Media

It was all quite formal.

Press conference

But no less friendly.

Our Sarawakian hosts were very, very hospitable. We even got to meet several tribal people wearing tribal costumes. I guess that was our first introduction to Sarawakian culture.

Press conference

Army of photographers:

Press conference

At the end of the conference, some of us received interview requests. That was quite weird and amusing. Media interviewing media!

RTM (a state-owned Malaysian broadcast station), interviewed me on my thoughts of Kuching.

Interviewing Sheylara

I remember vaguely blabbing about Sawarak laksa and Kuching kolo mee.

That was quite trippy, if you must know.

And then there was mingling, and introductions, and refreshments.

Kenny being introduced to Leong Wai Kit (NTUC Media):

Kenny Sia

Javad Namazie (Gadget3) and Nicholas Sarasta (Tourism Malaysia) pretending to be cool:

Javad and Nicholas

Okay, fine. They are actually quite cool blokes.

And then we were off! In our little van! Away to our hotel!

Group photo

Only five of us in the photo are actually from the media. The others are, um, assorted related people. Okay, I will be talking more about them in the next entries to come, so we’ll leave it at that for now.

Time for adventure!

Group photo

But to be continued in the next post, okay?