I know I’ve probably said this many times, but I’ll say it again. Time absolutely accelerates when you have a baby. I can’t believe Ethan is already 3 years old! I still have vivid memories of the entire birthing process at Mt. Elizabeth Novena, and felt like I didn’t leave that hospital that long ago, and here I am writing about him turning 3 already. Whoever said that you’ve got to cherish time weren’t kidding at all!
Anyway, for this year’s celebration, we’ve decided there were to be no parties/gatherings. It was going to just be a small getaway to nearby Johor Bahru in a resort taking him to places we assume he would enjoy, i.e. Thomastown, Angry Bird park and swimming pools. Having said that, he did have a little pre-birthday party at his school already the day before his actual birthday on the 21st July.
I wasn’t there for it, and apparently he needed help to blow out the candle! Like a tradition, his grandpa and grandma made it here to celebrate his birthday with him and arrived a couple of days early. Even his aunty made it this year!
His birthday falls on a Friday this year, which meant I had to take a day off work. I arranged for a private car hire (SGTaxi) to take us to JB which had been a rather smooth experience. Starting the trip on a non-weekend day helped, and meant that we were able to get to our first stop, at Thomastown, in under an hour! Reaching our destination though, we worked out pretty quickly that Thomastown ain’t nothing like Legoland we visited last year.
The place was pretty dead, and choosing a weekday probably didn’t help. In theory, Ethan should be having balls of fun given there were no queue and just about every ride we went on didn’t involve anyone else! There was one show only by Bob The Builder, where Ethan briefly showed some signs of life, but soon got bored of it.
We paid for the ticket for Hello Kitty as well, which was a waste. Basically walked in and out of it in less than 5 minutes. We were pretty much done in 2 hours, and left the place to head over to KSL resort to check in. Things improved a little at the resort, where we had a chance to go to the hotel swimming pool. It wasn’t fantastic and again we were done pretty quickly. The dinosaur water theme park next door was closed by the time we got there but it really didn’t look anything more than just swimming pools decorated with a few dinosaurs on the side. So we never actually ended up going there.
The highlight ended up being the shopping mall directly attached to the hotel for the adults. Although my impression of it seems to be a shopping centre with floors and floors of shops just selling phone covers and charging cables. Not a lot in it for Ethan, but at least he did get to enjoy a ride around the shopping centre in an electric car! RM10 for 10 minutes (from memory)
We managed to find a Japanese restaurant called Kinashi… where we though Ethan might enjoy eating there. As usual he spent most of his dinner time watching his iPad while we feed him. We know it’s a bad habit, but it’s the only way he would actually eat something… i.e. Japanese food and iPad.. When food was done.. the birthday cake came.. with lots of photo moments.. He still couldn’t blow out the candle!
The next day was suppose to be a trip to a durian farm. Due to lack of planning/research, a quick phone call to the farm quickly dampened our ethusiasm when we heard that there weren’t any durians yet and were told to come back end of August. So, we had to have a fall back plan. We ended up going to a supposedly grand indoor swimming pool at Tiram, owned and run by the same people that ran Adventure Cove in Singapore! Except when we got there, what we saw was a rather dead mall with most shops closed and the whole place looks like it’s under heavy renovation! The indoor pool was rather unimpressive, certainly not what I had in mind! The water wasn’t heated at all, and the general condition is rather ‘old’. Having said that, Ethan did have a bit of a blast, especially on this watercycle.
The adults had some fun on the big banana…
And before you know it, we were again done in less than 2 hours. Again, we ended up finishing the afternoon with a trip to a shopping mall, this time at Aeon Tebrau. Wifey loved the shopping centre. Not much in it for Ethan again, but I think Ethan had fun just playing in a display Proton than he did swimming earlier!
We finished the day with a slight twist. We dined at a French restaurant! It wasn’t far enough from the hotel to justify catching a taxi, so we walked. It was a good 20 minutes walk, and even involved walking over a pedestrian bridge to cross a 6-lane highway. But in the end, the trek was worth it. It definitely had its identities mixed up, with Spanish music playing in the background, while most of the decor suggests it’s Mexican/Spanish. You can imagine the food probably won’t taste too ‘French’ either..
After dinner, we had our little moment, in an attempt to avoid climbing the same pedestrian bridge, by attempting to cross the road at a seemingly not too distant traffic light. It’s only when we got to the traffic light that we realised there weren’t any zebra crossings as such, and had to decide risking our lives crossing a six lane highway in Malaysia! In the end, we had to backtrack to the pedestrian bridge effectively doubling our trip time back to the hotel.
On the last day, it was a quick trip to Komtar shopping centre, not far away from the hotel where we paid Angry Birds Park a visit. Ethan probably would have enjoyed it more if he wasn’t tired. He didn’t quite have enough sleep the night before, and we can tell by his droopy eyes he wasn’t going to last long in the park.
We were probably done in just an hour, at most 1.5 hours. He was simply too tired and fell asleep on my shoulders while we had lunch.
Before you know it, it was time to head back Singapore. I guess Johor Bahru is Malaysia after all, and setting your exceptions low helped not to get disappointed. More importantly, we did enjoy the time together with the objective to celebrate Ethan’s birthday. That.. I think we achieved.
The trip ended with Ethan catching a slight fever, probably from lack of sleep and not drinking as much fluid as usual. What he didn’t realise is that daddy will be on a flight to Brisbane for work the next day. It will be the first time I am actually away without wifey and Ethan. Believe it or not, they’ve been to every work trip with me so far. Won’t be for long though, as they will fly over in a couple of days to Brisbane as well! Get well soon!