Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pinto Coffee + @ Janda Baik....

Coffee at Janda Baik! whoever thought of that! In the middle of the Jungle. Well it sound enchanting indeed. For those who love a little adventure Janda Baik which is just thirty minutes away from Kuala Lumpur; it so near and yet so far. Jump into your car and get there folks. The highway passes through one of the oldest forest in the world; a tropical jungle that have been there since times. Lush and lush of greens and at Janda Baik you can get closer to those magnificent trees; touch and smell it.  The flora and fauna is fascinating as well. It worth a day trip there to sample the uniqueness of the rain forest. A night-stay would be lovelier where you can enjoy the cool morning air of the forest and of course get to watch the morning birds that comes around to feeds. Seeping hot coffee and having breakfast at the hotel coffee house would be a little of heaven.

After attending a wedding at Bentong on Sunday 29 of last month we decided to go and have coffee in Janda Baik. It was our daughter Lin's idea. So, since Janda Baik is along the road on our way back to KL we decided to go there and have coffee in the jungle. It was late afternoon of that beautiful Sunday. I drove the Honda and with Lin guiding we eventually found the place. The road leading to the place was not paved but laid with concrete slabs all the way up the hills where the main building is. Thus, the road blended well with it surrounding. I like it. At first I was rather worried whether I could drive the Honda up the hill but try it anyway. Lin suggested that we stop halfway, park the car and walk up another 100 meter up to the main building. I did just that, just follow her idea and walk up. As we approach the main building I saw other cars park just outside; that mean we could have driven all the way up. Anyway, that short walk was a good exercise for folks like us.

Anyway, we walk up to the building and saw many people are already there even at this hour, just after 5pm.We found a table and ask for the menu; then relax a while looking at the ambiance. The architecture of the building was simple. They had construct an open space supported by tall wooden column as well a few made of concrete thus giving it a rustic look. The furniture was of wood too, I notice that the table were of recycled wooden roller container where cable was rolled. They had placed the wooden roller container on its side; the top they have put plank to give it a smooth surface and serve as a table for four.  Real tree trunks that had been saw neatly and turned into comfortable chairs can be seen in the restaurant. I like that instance I saw it; it my kind of furniture for such a restaurant in the middle of the jungle. 

The surrounding has been preserved with greens including a large open space of green field, kept perhaps for camping or games. We ordered Coffee, Rice combo and Keropok Lekor with the dip; how I wished we had the traditional Malay Cekodok. But I later found the owner prefer to served Western cakes than traditional fritters like Goreng Pisang or Cekodok. Anyway, the Coffee was good and I did enjoy it; it worth coming for the Coffee alone to this in the middle of the jungle cafe.  

As we sat to enjoy our coffee I saw more and more people began to arrive and soon almost all the tables were occupied. Amazing indeed that folks would venture this far to have some sort of an excitement in the Malaysian Jungle. That good Coffee does make the trip worthwhile.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kepyok - a Hidden Gem....

Kepyok; that is what our daughter Lin say they are taking us on a short retreat on February 4th 2017 to celebrate our 55th Anniversary. The name sound mystic and to me it had to be Javanese but I am not that sure; I thought to myself that I would soon find out what this Kepyok is all about. Artistic thoughts always excite me for I love all thing Arts.  For us going to a retreat it had to be a sort of a resort but then what kind of a resort is this. I have not heard of such a place call Kepyok before.  I googled and soon got some idea of where we are going for the weekend.  I then let my mind rest for that moment in time. I always love excitement and this is surely going to be an exciting weekend with the whole family. It not always that we got such an opportunity to live in another home together. For this weekend it going to be an extension of the celebration of our 55th Anniversary which fall a day before; February 3, 2017. 

Just after 2.30pm on that beautiful Saturday afternoon I took the wheel of the Honda Accord and drove all the way to our destination for the retreat. Our eldest daughter and her family went in another car whereas the newlywed couple our eldest granddaughter went in their. With me in the Honda are my spouse Asmah, daughter Lin and granddaughter Adilah; both took charge of giving the direction to our destination. With that taken care of I do not have to think but just to enjoy the driving. Driving to a destination that is unknown always seem to be forever to reach but then that is the fun of any journey. After driving for about forty minutes we got to our distinction. I parked the Honda and looked around; it looks unreal since the place is walled and closed. Daughter Lin assured me that we are at the right place; it a private place unlike the other resort that we have been to. Well that sound interesting. Daughter Lin went in through the narrow door to look for the reception with us following behind.  Now this is something new to me since all resorts have sort of a welcoming facade with the pomp and splendor to lure the tourist to stay but here there is none except a small Iron door. Interesting indeed and my mind began to wonder; great this must be an exciting place to wander.  As I set foot into the compound I was awe of what’s I saw; a large open space of greens and yet another door, this time with an intricate Javanese design that one often see in Bali. We enter this door and found the reception area without anyone waiting. We make ourselves comfortable in the cozy ambiance and wait. Then the host Yasmin appears and handover our the Kepyok; lock, stock and barrel for us to realized our dream from that moment in time until we leave the place. It now our home away from home!

The name Kepyok is already mystic to me and at this moment in time it adds to that mysticism. I later found the meaning of Kepyok; it a doorway symbolized an entrance into another space or dimension of the Javanese mystical society. Thus, I believe the reason why the owner of the place call it Kepyok.  Now I know for sure that I am going to have an exciting time at this private resort call Kepyok. Going through the entrance I now saw the resort itself. A whole complex, a fusion of the Javanese architecture and its environment been transplanted into the semi jungle part in  Beranang; a very smart idea indeed. Now I thought to myself who would have done that; surely someone with an artistic mind! Yes, I was right; I was later told by Yasmin that her son an architect design it, thus we saw a sprawling Balinese structure constructed with passion in this tropical jungle; just half an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and almost an equal distance from KLIA. I knew that there is a fusion somewhere in the design of the Kepyok. My mind was telling me that it not entirely Balinese but what! Now I know that it a fusion of the Japanese and Javanese heritage; voila you have the Kepyok, private home with its own mystic. Lots of care was taken to furnish the interior fitting and furniture with priceless Javanese works of arts. I loved every piece of it all. How I wished I had the space to do just that to my home.

After we all had settled down in own rooms and took a good rest I wander around to take picture just like a tourist does.  All over I saw a fusion of plants and water features just the like the Balinese way of nurturing water to enhanced the environment, thus creating an aura of tradition with its own mystic. To my eyes everything was perfectly placed to match the nook and corner of the spaces, giving it an enchanting look. Great ambiance indeed.

Come evening we had BBQ using the wood-oven they had construct for the guest's use. For that purpose, my spouse and the kids had come prepared to use the facilities. There I met the owner of the Kepyok, Zack and his wife Yasmin helping with the cooking. Yasmin had prepared her special Pizza pastry which to me is real special. It the real taste of Pizza unlike the fast-food Pizza that we get in the city. While Yasmin and our grand kids did the pizza, her husband Zack took care of the baking in the specially made outdoor wood-oven. The smell of the wood burning oven was indeed nostalgic to me for I grew up cooking food using firewood. I am told that they had construct the two-outdoor wood-oven from scratch. Our kids and grand-kids took turns to BBQ the fresh foods that we had brought from home. It was here in between getting the Pizza done that I got to know the owner and had an interesting chat to enlighten the evening. I do envy them for having this private home of which I could only just dream. Thanks to Zack and Yasmin folks like me could experience living is such an enchanting home, sort of a little paradise.

The next time I am there I would surely add a little of the Malay madness on food '' Steamy white Rice with Ikan Bakar and Budu and Ulam '' That folks would certainly add color to the already colorful culture of this little paradise on our doorstep.

To know more of the mysticism of this private home one had to be there to experience it. I did enjoy every moment of my short stay there and I believe others would too. 

Have a nice day.