Genting Highlands Part 1!!!

At the end of June, Sam & I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a sponsored trip to Genting Highlands, courtesy of Resorts World Genting and Nuffnang. Genting is nestled on a mountain peak (maximum elevation about 1,860 m) in Malaysia, about 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.

I was really psyched for the getaway despite having been to Genting more than 10 times in my life because it was Sam’s first time there, and I wanted to take him to see places I used to hang out at when I was a kid and tell him stories about all the times my family spent there. I jokingly said I could walk around Genting blindfolded, and turns out, that was true for the most part. Genting actually has a very special place in my heart. My immediate & extended family used to come here for our annual trips together, so at every corner of Genting I turn to, I look at this place and go

“Oh, this eatery is familiar. Mum used to buy us breakfast at this place in the mornings” and a few minutes later, I’d be like “Hey! This is where my brother and our cousins used to hang out at night. And that over there would be their favorite place to buy snacks from.”

My tales of Genting are quite endless.

 From old childhood friends to aunties to cousins to maids to ex-boyfriends, Genting is my own personal treasure chest of memories. Before this trip I hadn’t gone back in a few years, so it was very nostalgic to be there again. Like I’ve said, I’ve been to Genting many times – but I’ve never experienced it the way I did this time. I stepped into fabulous restaurants that are new establishments (wish they were around during my time of frequent visits!), was brought to attractions I’ve never been to before, and of course… re-visited old ones.

The first thing I noticed when I got off the coach bus and stepped onto mountain soil was how much warmer it had become. Probably good for people who can’t stand the cold, but coming from Singapore, wearing a jacket outdoors is somewhat of a fascinating luxury. I recall having to don thick wind breakers whenever I was in Genting to face the teeth-clattering cold at night and during colder days, when I wanted to visit the outdoor theme park. This trip I was walking around in shorts and T-shirt without a problem, some times even breaking out in perspiration. Is this the result of global warming? :(

Nevertheless, I also realized it was noticeably cleaner than the last time I visited it. They’ve maintained the grounds quite well considering Genting Highlands has been around for a long, long time! At least 20+ years.

We were given complimentary rooms at First World Hotel, which had hordes of people waiting at the lobby,  the most people I’ve ever seen at a hotel, with good reason – it is the fourth LARGEST hotel in the world, going by the number of rooms. A whopping 6,118 number of rooms!!!! source: wiki

Lucky for us, First World Hotel was extremely near the outdoor theme park and other attractions, boasting an indoor theme park of it’s own, so while we had to walk around a lot during this trip, thanks to the proximity of our hotel to everything else, walking time was cut back by quite a lot.

The first place we were whisked off to was Imperial Rama, our pit stop for lunch on the first day. We only had 2 nights, so there was no time to be wasted napping even though we felt pretty battered from a 7-hour bus ride from Singapore to Genting Highlands.

Highlands hotel, as seen above, was normally our choice of accommodation for my family, but  I never got the chance to dine at Imperial Rama because it only opened for business after we stopped making our annual trips here!

Imperial Rama @ Level 2, Highlands Hotel is a Thai-Chinese fusion restaurant that serves amazinggggg mouth-watering food!! I crown this my new favorite spot in Genting. Even when we were just walking in, I got all excited because I could tell this was going to be a good meal… the place looked so fancy!

We were ushered into a private room tucked away in a quiet corner, which is a nice touch. I hate over crowded and noisy restaurants, but not that I noticed Imperial Rama had that problem.

This is the general public dining area, equally elegant and inviting :)

Sam is like…

“I am SO ready for my first proper meal in 12 hours!!!” Or probably more than that since our coach left at 6am for 7 hours, and before that we were sleeping.

Feeeed me!!!

My favorite thing about chinese restaurants? Their lazy susans! Otherwise known as a turntable. I like the concept of sharing food but find having to get up and awkwardly reach over half the table to reach the food terribly hassling.

I looked through our menu that was about to be served. Raised an eyebrow.

Jaw dropped to the floor. Did a little happy dance without anyone noticing. Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?!!?!?!? This is our LUNCH? All of that for 6 people (2 other bloggers Miyake & Yutaki, Sam & Myself, and our 2 guides & PR people from Genting)…

 If this is what our first meal looks like, I can’t WAIT to see what else Genting has in store for us. O_O

Lily Bulbs with Emperor Sprout Orange Salad - my first time trying a chinese salad. Surprisingly not bad and I ate more of this compared to the other dishes because it was refreshing and cuz I wanted to save stomach space for the main courses hehe.

Smoked Duck Roll – anything smoked duck is good to me.

Thai Fish Crackers – this did not impress me as much as the rest of the dishes, since crackers are just crackers to me, but Sam liked it.



Spicy Mango Salad with Dried Squid – Nice, but a tad too spicy for my liking! By the time I attacked this with my cutlery, the other dishes were already being served so my attention quickly diverted to…

King Prawn Tom Yam Soup - Like Sam is suggesting, THUMBS UP!!! (Y) I would give them a whole hand up for this dish if I could.

When I saw this on the menu, “K lor, tom yum soup only. How good can it be? Sounds quite boring actually, I’ve been to Thailand so many times before, have had tom yum soup as authentic as could be so how is this going to impress me?”

I was (happily) mistaken. This tom yum soup is surprisingly different from everything else I’ve tried and it’s currently my favorite variation – it is less sour, much more sweet and prawny tasting, still has a spicy kick.. and a thicker consistency compared to the clear Tom Yum Goong typically found in Thai restaurants. I LOVE IT! The king prawns were obviously huge as well, they looked more like crayfish or small lobsters to us. I finished the whole bowl with a grin on my face, which was a generous serving held in a heated bowl.

I made it a point to point out to the chef how delicious I thought it was – when they could, the PR people arranged for the talented chefs to seat down with us and have the meal together, it was interesting being able to meet the people behind our food personally and ask them questions about it, which they were more than willing to answer!

Braised Abalone with Pumpkin Sauce – This converted me into an abalone eater. ♥

During Chinese New Year, whenever my mum gleefully brought out abalone for her kids to enjoy, I would frown disapprovingly and not understand what the fuss is about. I thought it tasted like rubber. Expensive, edible rubber, lol. Guess I wasn’t eating the good grade ones, or it wasn’t prepared properly. BUT THIS… I think I had 4 thick slices all to myself, because the others didn’t seem that interested – lucky me!!!

I asked the waiter what the yellow colored sauce was, because it accompanied the abalone so well.. he looked confused then replied, “…Yellow sauce.” #okcan

Never mind.

Then when the chef came and joined us, I asked him what the yellow sauce’s main ingredient was… and I found out it was pumpkin!!! Which is why it has a subtly sweet taste to it. The chef also told me their abalone is from Australia, which is why it tastes so dang good.. everyone knows food from Australia is amazing!!!

Steamed Marble Goby Fish with Crispy Ginger and Garlic – man this fish was huge!!!

Don’t think I’ve ever seen this much fish on a plate. :o I’m not sure if I was extraordinarily hungry that day or something, but the food blew my mind. At least the tom yum soup, abalone and this fish really did. I couldn’t stop raving the entire time. The fish was fresh, succulent, and like the crispy ginger & garlic pieces on top, it was done to pure perfection.

 Around this time I made a mental note swearing to myself that if my mum ever visited Genting again, I’d convince her to dine here.. Even better, if I go with her I will personally bring her to Imperial Rama myself to try the dishes I’ve had the utmost pleasure of devouring! And hopefully the chef would still remember me. :)

Guinness Stout and Coffee Pork Ribs - Alcoholic ribs? Eh? That didn’t sound too great to me, so I had the coffee one. Regrettably, now I’m sitting here in front of my computer, 12am, wondering what the Guinness Stout one tastes like… *drools* Sam said it didn’t have any particular alcohol taste, it was pretty tasty.

The coffee sauce ribs were tender and topped off with a sweet, sticky glaze.

Green Curry Chicken with Golden Sweet Corn Fried Rice – “No way I’m going to have room for rice in this tummy”.. before the rice was served.

“WHY IS THIS RICE SO NICE?? I wish I could have another bowl. Why must I be so full?!” -

 after I had my first spoonful of rice. #truth I don’t even eat rice normally, I probably only have it 2 times a week, tops. Which is very little for a Chinese person. I loved the way Imperial Rama incorporated Thai food elements into chinese cuisine!!! It goes together so well.

I looked Sam dead in the eye and said, “Eh, even if we came on a 7 hour bus ride just for this meal, I don’t mind. It’s ridiculously good.” 

He laughed… but I was serious. LOL.

Last, but definitely not the least dish. Deep-fried Durian Tempura with Sour Sop – Ok.

 THIS SEALED THE DEAL FOR ME!!!!!

I am not a fan of durian, or its pungent smell. I will give my mother an earful if she buys durian back because it stinks up our whole house. I think it looks like yellow stringy gooey poop. If it smells like poop, then half my mind is already convinced that it tastes like poop.

I don’t know how… but the chef worked his magic and made this dessert into something I’d eat again, and again, and again. You’re about to be very, very jealous.

This durian tempura is flaky and crispy on the outside, without being too oily or crusty. On the inside is smooth custard heaven. It tastes like sweet creamy durian, except it has NO stench at all, in fact it smells quite pleasant. Just look at the picture, ok??? Cuz I have no words. I can’t even think. I’m salivating so much I am swimming in a pool of saliva. Someone throw me a life vest.

Like Miyake said, “How can this be so yummy?!?!” I don’t know how. All I know is I will never eat durian again until I come back to Imperial Rama in Genting :( Because nothing will ever match up, and I know this for a fact.

Sam, Myself, Le Amazing Chef, Yutaki, and Miyake pose for a group photo!!! #takemeback

Thank you Resorts World Genting for feeding us so well throughout our trip! It was quite literally food for kings.

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With our tummies now filled to the brim with all sorts of happy food, we return to our hotel rooms for a short break before scooting off to our next destination about a 15 minutes taxi drive down the mountain…. a Strawberry Farm!

I have heard about this place before, but it was is my first time here. Mum never bothered taking me to farms, she doesn’t like outdoorsy stuff.

Mandatory tourist shots ;)

Sam digging the Genting trip so far. He says this is definitely one of the better parts of Malaysia he’s been to.

This is Christine on the left, and Carol on the right!

 They are the sweet PR personnel from Resorts World Genting who attended to our every need and made sure our trip went smoothly. Thanks to them we had such a fabulous time!!! ♥

Strawberry farm – here we come!!

Upon first sight – I was kinda disappointed.

I was expecting Strawberry Fields Forever (did you read that in a Beatles voice?) but… it wasn’t the right time of the year, unfortunately. I was informed that most of the crops had already been harvested for souvenir and products sake. Nevertheless, the premises still looked pretty and there were fresh and plump strawberries waiting to be plucked if you look a little harder!

This is me scanning the rows of plants in the distance for strawberries….

Not really, just me being vain. :P

Oi people come here to pick strawberries, not flowers la!!

A farmer (I dunno what else to call him. An Indian strawberry farm helper?) saw me snapping photos then offered to help me take a few. He instructed me to hold a hand out, dangled a strawbie in front of my DSLR lens and then….

LOL. Genius!!!!!!!! How come I didn’t think of this?

And the Guinness World Record for largest strawberry in the world goes to…

I’m so happy I got my DSLR fixed up (it was totally unusable before) for this trip. I love how the photos turned out :)

Our basket of juicy goodness ♥ Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits!

With Carol, she & Christine picked most of the strawberries actually… I just pranced around like a fairy admiring the pretty strawberries. Don’t like to do the gritty work :P

I purposely picked a red flowery dress for this farm visit… only to look like a giant strawberry myself.

Only 100g for RM 6!

After picking our share of strawberries, we take a short walk over to the lavender and flower farm, just a few minutes away.

A mushroom and vegetable farm was also very nearby. I didn’t know there were so many farms in one area – I thought there was only strawberries!

An accidental shot of beautiful lavender blooms. Aren’t they beautiful?

I say accidental because I was using manual focus, but I only half-bent down to snap a picture of the plant on the ground without really knowing what exactly I was taking a photo of, hoping the pic would turn out nice… and it did!

If you think these don’t look like lavender at all, then you have the same thoughts I did when I first saw them. They look nothing like your usual lavender but upon intense googling, I found out that there are approximately 39 different types of lavender, and the scientific name of the type found in this farm is called Plectranthus Ecklonii Mona Lavender.

…Right. Let’s just call it lavender.

This just makes me want to frolic in a field of gorgeous wild flowers and take frivolous photos all day.

 I’ve been dying to visit Australia during spring time but I haven’t gotten the chance.. this will be my fix for now! I liked this place even more than the strawberry farm, because it was quieter and blooming flowers were littered everywhere.

Me snapping away with the iPhone to tweet pictures of later. Do I ever stop taking pictures? No.

Look mom!!!! I’m matchy matchy with the pretty flowers!

Then I spotted this WALL of… morning glories? Perfect backdrop for all your picture taking needs!!!!

 Too bad I was so iffy about all the insects flying around that I freaked out after a few snaps and went into the souvenir store, giving up on photos. Miyake & Yutaki soldiered on, a caterpillar even got onto Yutaki’s hat… but they weren’t fazed at all. That’s true dedication. LOL.

We moved on from the lavender & flowers farm… to a vegetable & mushroom / assorted plants farm! They don’t seem to stick to any particular theme.

These cacti are so brightly colored & cute!!! Wanted to buy one home because apparently they don’t need much taking care of, but I wasn’t sure how to take it home safely :3

Candid funneh pic of Sam gawking at something ahahah he is sometimes so primitive looking, like an orang utan. :P

I didn’t take any pictures of the mushroom farm because as interesting as it was, it wasn’t exactly photogenic. They weren’t growing out of the ground like you’d expect, they kept them in dark, cool, moist plastic bags in rows and shelves of different mushrooms.. which all emitted a musky smell.. so… no photos.

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After spending an hour ish at the farms, the sun started to set and we made our way back for dinner.

Dinner was buffet fare at Coffee Terrace @ Maxims Genting, Lobby Floor.

Don’t be fooled by its name… this is not just a place for coffee – it boasts a very impressive selection of buffet food!

I liked their octopus ball better than famous brands like Tako Yaki :) #craving

At Coffee Terrace, you get Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese, Western.. all sorts of food, with many stationed chefs ready to whip you up a piping hot bowl of Assam Laksa (my fav!!) or grill you some fresh seafood!

This is what Sam looks like when he’s starving but I’m forcing him to pose for a photo before he can take his food and eat it. Life of the boyfriend of a female blogger.

They’re either forced to take lots of photos for the girlfriend, or exploited for content themselves… HAHAHA. Anything for true love, right?

Christine and Carol patiently waiting at the table for us while we get out food first! They’re always so accommodating and patient, I felt right at home at Genting with them taking good care of us.

Here’s my plate – Round 1.

Think I went for 2 rounds, and was going to go for a 3rd round for dessert, but most desserts were already wiped out as we got there rather late… Kua kua! The food was surprisingly decent quality considering it had such a huge variety. I’ve had breakfast buffets at Coffee Terrace before, which was ok, I find their dinner much better. At buffets, I’ve learned not to expect too much and that most of the time, you either get 1) Quantity or 2) Quality. Most of the time it’s the former without the latter, but when you happen to get both, rejoice.

I especially enjoyed their indian and local fare. BBQed sting ray… chicken tikka.. get in ma belly!!! Too many different types of food to name individually!!

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We probably shouldn’t have eaten at a buffet considering what we were going to do next…

Run around and scare the living daylights outta ourselves in a haunted house experience located at First World Plaza!!!!!! O_O

This is what it looks like from the bottom and outside, you have to take an “elevator” up to an enclosed room, where the terror begins.

I think the elevator totally elevates the frightening atmosphere because it kept squeaking and moved so slowly… Check out the huge poster for the haunted house on the elevator!

We look very happy but actually we were quite apprehensive..  We almost had to force Miyake to go in with us, because she didn’t want to in the first place.

Hahahah she clutched onto my arm, going “SHIBERTY, why are we doing this???” Or was it, “Shiberty, why are you doing this to me?!?!?” I about pissed myself laughing, and shat myself in fear at the same time.

So.. what was it like in there?!

No photography or videos allowed (too busy running for my life to record anyway), but basically, A LOT of screaming and shrieking involved. Before we even stepped into the maze, someone in a disguise suit scared us and we jumped about 3 meters back. LOL. I remember going into the haunted house several times before when I was a kid, freaked the hell out of me.. this time? STILL DID.

It was almost pitch black dark, with narrow passages throughout the confusing maze. Half the time you can’t see where you’re even going. Loud noises and bright flashes going off everywhere. Things popping out at you from nowhere. At first we formed a single line, me refusing to go first, so I clutched onto Miyake’s back and Sam was the last one with Yutaki being brave in front… but when the creepy men in scary suits started chasing us, tailing dangerously close behind, we broke up formation and started pushing each other in order to get to the front so we won’t be the last person behind to get ?murdered? by him. Things got pretty rough and I stumbled a few times, but I was determined not to be the last person!!! I can’t believe how caught up in the moment we got!!!

You don’t think it sounds scary?! Wait till you’re in a dark dark room in a foreign country with these shady, possibly dangerous masked men in dementor outfits going “AGHHHHH” and chasing you at top speed from behind ya. Trust me, YOU’RE GOING TO RUN, whether you say you’re afraid of such things or not!!! Sam was all “I’m Not Afraid” like Eminem, but when they chased him, he screamed like a girl and ran like a bitch. LOLOL. They actually REACH OUT AND GRAB AHOLD YOU, it’s not like they stand behind glass walls and pull silly faces. My heart was pounding so fast it threatened to burst right out of my chest!!!!!! That’s some good cardio right there. I (we) screamed so much, my throat went hoarse for awhile. Miyake & Yutaki even developed bad sore throats the next day, poor them.

That was possibly the most fun I’ve had in awhile. I would do it all over again if I could!!!

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When we finally calmed ourselves down (took a good whole 10 minutes), we had a stroll around the rest of First World Hotel’s indoor theme park.

The shops at the plaza and indoor theme park rides mostly close nearing 12 midnight, which left plenty of time for us to do exploring even though it was already 10+pm!!! Gotta love late night activities.

The First World Plaza features a whole range of clothing brands, souvenir & gift shops, and it looks SOMEWHAT like a Malaysian New York City, it has a statue of liberty of it’s own and it never sleeps!!!

Or maybe it wants to be more like Paris… lol ;)

Indoor roller coaster tracks running through the mall. When you’re walking below and the coaster zooms past right above you, you’ll hear screams of exhilaration echoing through the building. Quite fun to watch.

We came across this Glow In The Dark bowling alley that blasted clubbing music the whole night, and decided to have a go at it.

Genting Bowl @ Level 2B, First World Plaza

Yutaki posing like a bowling runway model. LOL. Werk it!

I’m not a very good bowler, but since they say they don’t play much, it was a confidence booster for me :P

The most happening bowling alley for sure. Neon lights & all – all they need is a dance floor beside the bowling alley and Yutaki will be the first one jumping and grooving to the beat on it.

At the end of our game, I ended up getting… 2 strikes? And I eventually won with the highest points!!! Yipee yay!

Miyake & Yutaki went back to the hotel room to sleep, while Sam and I pressed on through the night with some archery. Whenever we go on overseas trips, we tend to pack as much in our itinerary as possible. I like non-stop action!!! Bring it!

This is the where you’ll find the small archery range in.

Gearing up!!! Safety first.

An instructor teaching Sam how to work a bow and arrow. Turns out it’s not that difficult after all, even I could do it… and if I can do anything relatively sporty, that means even children can.

Katniss Everdeen would be proud. I got close to a bullseye on my very first shot. ^.^

My biggest problem was letting go of the arrow… the finger gloves we were wearing made it difficult to let go of the arrow smoothly. In the end my aim was thrown off because it would rebound quite a bit.

The boyfriend looks sexy as an archer ;)

I love it when I get to spend quality time with him. We bond so much when we’re overseas together.

Genting is a suitable place for families, couples, and friends to visit – simply because there’s soo many things to do on one mountain – there will be an activity for everyone.

Most people will only think of it’s casinos. Sure, there’s a casino for the risk takers, but there is also the outdoor theme park for thrill seekers,trendy night spots for the young couples… and family orientated activities everywhere.

A slow walk back to our hotel room…. the lobby looks strangely empty and serene compared to the chaos that it is in the day time.

And with that, we retreat to our hotel for a well-deserved good night’s rest to prepare for the day’s worth of exciting activities in Genting that awaits us the very next day. I almost couldn’t fall asleep thinking about tomorrow.

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…. To be continued with Part 2 very soon!!! :D

 xoxo, Jess

xoxo,
Jess

Horseback Riding on the beach of Mornington Peninsula

I’m quite convinced there is no better way to see a beach than to ride on a majestic horse across the soft sand during twilight.

I’ve always wanted to try out horseback riding, and when I was in Australia, I figured it was the perfect time to do it. Great weather and scenery – Australia has arguably some of the best beaches in the world. 
Hi little pony!
When Sam and I arrived at Gunnamatta Horse Trails located in the Mornington Peninsula (about 2 hours drive from Melbourne), we really weren’t quite sure of what to expect. I mean, how  difficult can riding a horse be? You just haul your ass onto the big beast, and hold on tight so that you don’t fall off and embarrass / injure yourself. Right? 

Wrong.
I think horseback riding is anything but easy.
Daunting, tiring, challenging, gratifying, exhilarating, yes… but it’s nowhere near as simple as it looks. 

Before our 2 hour ++ horse trail ride into the Australian outback and beach started, we were given forms to sign (something along the lines of, “If you die, that’s not our fault.”) and we had to pick our helmets. That’s when I realize Sam and I had massive heads! Random but true. We had to use some of their biggest sizes.
When we were ushered into the stables area, I was literally shitting my pants. These horses were HUGE, and some of them didn’t look that friendly, or obliging. I’m uncomfortable and skittish even around little doggies when I visit people’s homes, imagine me in front of big giant beasts. Ok maybe I shouldn’t call them beasts, that’s a little unfair since they didn’t hurt no one that day and don’t have a record for being evil, but they sure are strong, and intimidating. Yeah, they look big and horse-like in the picture, but they’re really fucking ginormous in real life. I almost considered backing out at the last second. I asked Sam in a wimpy voice, “Can we not do this please?” but he ignored me. I’m glad he did, because horseback riding must be one of the most thrilling events of my life!
We were in a group of about 7 people. When they asked, “Who has zero experience in horse riding prior to this?” Sam and I were the only ones who raised our hands. Great, so everyone else knows what they’re doing, and the nerdy asian kids are gonna be the clueless ones again…

“Now, who is nervous about today’s experience?”

My hand shot straight up without hesitation. I thought they were going to go easy on me, but to my UTMOST horror, they went, “Okay, it’s Jess right? Jess, you can have our biggest horse today, her name is Audrey.” 

Mortified. You should’ve seen my face.

They then led the LARGEST horse in their stables that looked like it weighed 2 full tonnes over to my direction. I gave Sam the ?!?!?! look, and asked the tour people why I was getting the biggest horse when I’m the newcomer.
Her reply: “Oh, don’t you worry! Audrey here is very gentle. Sometimes the bigger the horse, the better it is for nervous people. It’s not in the best interest for large horses to make sudden movements because they’re so big. It’s the small horses that can be pretty mischievous. Come on up here, I’ll show you how to saddle a horse.”
The next few minutes were a blur. I vaguely remember trying to get onto Audrey’s back, but she was so dang TALL, all I had a was a stumpy stool below my feet to lift myself off the ground from – I failed the first couple of times trying to get onto the horse. I was really scared to haul my weight onto the horse. I know a big horse like that wouldn’t mind my weight, but if I asked you to climb onto an animal, wouldn’t you be worried about their reaction as well? What if it doesn’t like me, and throws me off??? With some help from the tour guides, I was finally on the horse. I turned around to look at Sam, who was already on his horse as well.



And the horseback riding officially begun.

We formed a single line, all of us on our horses, and set off into the bushes. It was the first time I had really been IN the Australian bush – I’ve taken road trips into the countryside, but always remained where there were roads and beaches, so our paths were quite urbanized. Now we were crossing serious rural farmland – there were no roads, but instead, what we saw were hordes of mooing COWS grazing on lush grass right next to us, barely a meter away as we trotted right past them! How about that. I don’t know why I haven’t experienced this part of Australia sooner.

I think I’m quite the retard. I tend to mimic animal sounds when I see them, as if to solicit some kind of response from the animal. For example, when I see a cat on the streets, I’d walk up to it and go “meow.” Or, if I walk past a person’s house and their dog is barking at me, I’d sometimes shout “Woof woof!” back. I have even gone “churp churp” to a bird before. DON’T ASK ME WHY I DO IT. I just do. So, out of nowhere, I decided to turn my head and go “moooooo” at a black cow that was startlingly close to me, just for the heck of it. To my complete freaking amusement, it actually moo-ed back at me, in a very deep, LOUD and trembling tone, and moved towards me. LOL I was so surprised and partly terrified, I almost fell off my horse. Can you believe that?! I can speak cow!!! I am gifted. I tried moo-ing at other cows that we passed, but none of them spoke Cow as fluently as that big black one.
I couldn’t take any pictures during the bush ride because I had to hold onto my saddle tightly, but I wish I could, because it was such a unique experience! I’ve never seen Australia like this before – being surrounded by this much flora and fauna. I was grinning from ear to ear, and 20 minutes into the ride I was a lot more relaxed, instead of holding onto my saddle for real life I’d be looking around at the scenery, truly appreciating my environment. Reasons like this is why I love Australia. So much freedom, so much beauty! The terrain was also fun and exciting for horseback riding. We had all these little downward slopes, upward hills, nooks and crannies that we had to maneuver through, which was pretty thrilling for a first-timer.
So, the actual act of riding a horse wasn’t so bad – you just have to balance yourself on the saddle and move “in tune” with the horse, and bear the discomfort in between your legs. The difficult part is really controlling your horse and making it listen to you. Make the thing go where you want to go. It was hard to keep up with the pace of the other more experienced horse riders because somehow my horse Audrey seemed to know that I was a noob. Perhaps I wasn’t dominating enough. Because she would constantly bend down, stop in the middle of our paths to graze on grass. My tour guide would look over with a disapproving look and shout at me, “No!!!! Please don’t let Audrey eat, she knows she’s not supposed to do that. Kick her!!!! Kick kick kick!” 
That stressed me out. I don’t like kicking horses, but she meant it when she asked me to kick the dang horse. They instructed me to dig my heels a couple of times (HARD) into the horse’s abdomen (stomach? dunno what part of the horse that was) whenever it was doing something wrong like grazing on grass, or when it’s not going fast enough, etc. Basically, kicking it gets it’s attention. The tour guides said it doesn’t hurt them, because they’re so strong… if we just pat them, they won’t feel it. I was unconvinced. When they bend their heads down to graze on grass, you’re meant to tug hard back on the reigns, to stop it from eating. I failed at this because Audrey seemed really hungry and stopped for grass ALL the time. I think I held up the group awhile because they had to wait for Audrey a lot, but what do you want me to do?!  Look, this wasn’t a machine. It’s a living breathing thing, who is a hell of a lot stronger than me and probably knows it. I tried to pull back on the reigns with all my might, but of course this horse is stronger than me! Sometimes when I tug too hard, Audrey gets a little pissed off and neighs / snorts suddenly. I did finally man up, and used a lot more force eventually, and Audrey seemed to be better behaved after the first hour passed.
Just when I thought my horsey troubles were over, the tour guide informed everyone that we were going to learn how to trot.
Trotting is like jogging for us humans. It’s faster than a walk, but slower than a run. So to properly do horse trotting, you have to….. man I can’t even put this into the proper words. It’s like you have to learn forward, but not too far forward because you might lose your balance and fall off the horse. Then you have to sort of stand and squat, alternating between those two motions as when your horse trots, it will bounce you up and down, up and down, so you go up and down with it. You’re not meant to be just plainly SITTING your ass down on the horse as it trots, as that is uncomfortable and difficult for the horse, apparently it strains their back. You also don’t just stand and squat, stand and squat, I was told you have to stand, then squat (ass lifted off the horse without touching it) for like 3 seconds, then stand, repeat process. It requires a LOT of strength and co-ordination to do it properly!!! Not my two best qualities. Seriously, doing squats while riding on the back of a giant trotting horse that you still have to guide and trying not to lose your balance while the instructor shouts at you for doing it wrong was very very demanding. We didn’t do this for 5 minutes, think we did trotting on and off for half an hour. 

The aftermath of horse riding, pictures taken the very next morning!
I posted this picture on Instagram and this was my caption: “Patches of bruises over my inner thighs, which I forsee them turning surer and darker colored in days to come, my legs literally don’t work anymore, I can’t walk 3 steps without groaning.. And my back feels like an obese giant sat on it the whole entire night.”
Yeah… not gonna lie. One of the hardest physical things I’ve had to do, like rock climbing when I was in Vegas. Guess I’m just not cut out for sports, huh? But I’d do it all over again if I had the chance, any day! In fact, as I’m writing this post, I’m looking forward to the next time I go horseback riding. I’ll be more mentally prepared, and hopefully they will want to trot less!
The best part about the tour was when we rode our horses out of the warm Australian bush, and onto the beach. It was nothing short of breath taking, and to feel that sea breeze on my face was priceless. It is regrettable that my camera didn’t capture the full beauty of the beach, but it seemed to stretch on for miles, and the twilight sky was lit beautifully.

This is me, on ma horse, Audrey! Say hi to everyone, Aud!!! I’m almost 1.7m, so imagine how tall Audrey really is.
Don’t laugh at how I look like!! I was wearing leggings + a random dress + Sam’s hoodie over my dress… and I had zero make up on, I was wearing my glasses (transition lenses that turn black to protect my sensitive eyes from sun light) and also had my hair tied up. And I was wearing a helmet. In short, I looked like a boy from China.

This is Sam’s horse, Jet! Jet likes to pee and poop a lot. I think I’ve seen Jet pee twice and poop once during our 2 hour trail ride. I could have lived my life without seeing a giant horse penis having urine splash out of it, or lived my life without smelling fresh horse poop. But, well, that’s life for you.

Sam didn’t do so well with Jet either… apparently when he tried to stop Jet from eating grass (glad to know Audrey wasn’t the only one), Jet got pissed off and yanked the reigns out of Sam’s hand, which cut him! Yikes.

Guess the smaller ones are more feisty, Audrey turned out to be quite a darling at the end of the day. A hungry, slightly stubborn darling, but a darling nevertheless. I found myself stroking her mane and going, “There’s a good Audrey.”

Just two horses hanging out!

Horseback riding on the beach was so, so nice. The horses seemed to like the breeze as well, and were easier to handle. Their pace was relaxed and easy as they dipped their hooves into the sea water… and I had the complete luxury of soaking up the experience at ease. Like I said, there ain’t no better way to check out a beach than on a horse. It looks different from up there.
I love how empty and quiet the beach was, away from civilization, just Mother Nature in her true form. The sand wasn’t the whitest or the softest I’ve seen, the waters not a sparkling blue, but it was so raw, and real.

I cut out my face coz I looked beyond spastic but here’s a slightly closer shot of Audrey & I!

I can’t believe all the adventures Sam and I get up to. Looking at this pic reminds me of us riding ATV vehicles and elephants in Thailand a few years ago. We sure do like to ride on strange things!
On our ride back to the stables, I was thankful that this awesome opportunity happened to me, but at the same time, also thankful that it was going to be over soon. Couldn’t wait to be on solid ground again, walking on my own two solid feet, instead of bobbing up and down on Audrey’s back. Riding for more than 2 hours straight was more than my body could handle, I was exhausted, especially since we had to drive a long way to get here earlier in the day. I was so knackered, I just FELL off my horse. I tried to use my leg muscles to lift myself off the horse and glide down, but I just fell, ungracefully, and ever so clumsily. Thank god Sam was there to catch me, otherwise I would’ve landed straight into a pile of sand that was covered in copious amounts of horse poo & pee, for real.
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We ended off this epic day with soaking in Mornington Peninsula’s Hot Springs. 

Soaking in a 35 degrees natural hot springs pool after a day like that…. JUST what we needed!!! I was floating in bliss. Something about that warm, natural spring water seemed to have magical healing abilities – I was feeling good as new after soaking in it for 45 minutes.

I was also really happy to get all that horse smell off me, and that I didn’t need to endure the 2 hour drive back to Sam’s home in Melbourne smelling of horse. The hot springs were only 15 minutes away from the horse riding place, and it was so so good – I’m going back there the next time I pop by Melbourne. They have different pools of different temperatures, and the whole set up and scenery was pretty mind-blowing. Too bad it was already relatively dark by the time we reached, I think it would’ve been the most beautiful around 5pm. 

Check out pictures of the hot springs here – and be very jealous!!! 
My favorite hot springs pool was at the top, where Sam and I gazed into the vast openness and the starry night sky…

The moon looked really round and red that night. It was lovely and serene out there.

It would’ve been more romantic if there wasn’t hordes of people around, but considering it’s such a nice place to be and that it was perfect weather to be out, I don’t blame those people for having the same idea as us.

xoxo,
Jess
xoxo,
Jess

Cottesloe Beach

I remember being blown away by this gorgeous beach in Western Australia a couple of years ago, when my friend Gwen told me I just had to check this beach out. It’s barely 40 minutes from Perth itself!!! I’d die to live so close to a place like this.

I haven’t forgotten it since then, and made it a point to go back there when I was in Perth recently!

Driving in Western Australia must be the best kind of roads you can drive on. Almost zero traffic and the scenery is amazeballs!!!!

Everybody look to your left~~~~ *sees the horizon*

everybody look to their right… *sees very expensive beachfront houses*

Along the way, we got lost but decided to stop at a random scenic look out and take some pictures and a breather!!!

Cool hair bro :P

Such happy, happy days in Perth!!! Missing it so much even though it was barely 3 weeks ago. I love looking at pictures like these. It always transports me back in time, into that moment, and I feel a temporary sensation of elation.

Spotted random bikini babes from afar, but this was as far as my DSLR’s zoom could go. Lol fail pervert moment.

Everyone in Perth is so dang good looking and FIT!!! Why is that so? They’ve all got like, this perfect tan, and toned bodies and long legs (especially the girls) is it the air that they breathe??? Or maybe the abundance of gorgeous parks and beaches promote a healthier lifestyle!

So idyllic. I just gazed into this for a good few minutes.

Hello Cottesloe!!!!! I’m so glad to you see again :D

It was a lot less crowded this time around. The sand was just as white and soft, and the waters ever blue as I remember it to be. I had expected hordes of people to be there! It wasn’t empty or secluded, but I guess it wasn’t packed because it’s not quite peak season although the weather was absolutely perfect for the beach that day.

My “beach” slippers have pearls and diamantes on them. I’m such a diva :P

No not really.. those are my “go anywhere” sandals. I even went to the Nuffnang Blog Awards in them HAHAHAH thinking about it now that was a pretty funny move.

Doesn’t the sparkly turquoise water look so inviting?? ♥

It took awhile to coax me in because I knew that even though it was a warm and nice day, the water would still be deceivingly freezing (it may look like a lukewarm temperature) That’s pretty much Aus for you, burning sun and freezing waters..

And here I am in the water, finally, freezing my tits off. LOL

Once you get used to the cold it’s the best feeling ever. We jumped and bobbed around on waves (not really, I actually mean getting dunked and trashed around like a rag doll) for hourssss!!! It was so rough but good fun. Saltwater up my nose and sand in my eyes wasn’t so fun though. Times like these I hate being short-sighted and having to wear contacts because contact lenses and beaches just don’t gel.

Surprisingly I didn’t get a sunglasses tan from my huge panda sunnies despite frolicking in the sun for over 3 hours!

Ahahaha Sam ♥

Me getting owned by a wave!!!!! :P After this picture I was probably immediately sprawled across the sand.

When in heat.. use nature’s free sun screen protector provided at every beach. LOL god damn we had to buy a bottle of sunscreen for $25 AUD in a mini mart opposite the beach. Soooo pricey!!!

Sam’s Baywatch moment. HAHAHAHA

I love everything about Cottesloe Beach. Even Taylor Swift loved it because she came here 2 days after I did and talked about it during her concert ♥_♥!!!

Cottesloe may not be world-famous like Bondi, or as popular a tourist spot as the Gold Coast (which are all beautiful beaches) but I think Cottesloe is my favorite. I have really fond memories here! Everything’s charming, from their hot white chicks suntanning topless on the grass to their awful communal open-cubicle toilets where people look at my butt and I am forced to look at others peoples butts. The last time I was here with Gwen we had the privilege of looking at 2 very elderly saggy women shower. LOL. They need to renovate their showers and toilets really soon and really badly. The good thing about their rustic shower was that you could still see the amazing ocean while you’re showering in your cubicle!!! By far the most unique showering experience in my life.

I haven’t been to many other beaches that are near Perth yet, if you know of other good ones that are worth checking out, let me know!! Sometimes the best things in life really are free.

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess
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