Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the datai experience

This was quite a few weeks back, but I wanted to document this magical experience so that when I read it back (which I surprisingly do!) I will remember it for a long time to come.

We have been wanting a beach holiday for some time. Imran really wanted to make sand castles and I just needed to relax on the waves amongst the sea breeze, especially after the pregnancy, delivery and demanding first few months of Rania's life. Now that she is stable and settled into a routine, we thought she deserves her first holiday! It was important that we had time just the 4 of us for 4 days to just bond and enjoy each other.

We decided to stay at Andaman in Langkawi and it was our first stay there. I even managed to enjoy a relaxation massage at the spa perched up on a hill overlooking the Andaman Sea while Dino babysat both the kids, which was such a treat for me.

But, an experience I shall never forget is the walk to Datai resort which is only next to the Andaman. As the kids enjoy the outdoors pretty much the whole day, they are so tired in the evenings that we decided to put them to sleep as usual at 7pm and get a babysitter to watch them in the room.

We were looking forward for a nice quiet dinner and the restaurants in Andaman didn't seem to be too appealing, so the staff suggested that we go to the Datai as they had some nice places to dine in. As both resorts belong to the same owner, you could actually use the facilities there and charge everything under one bill. They did say that we could also use a car, but we decided to walk in stead.

I am so glad we chose to do that, although we didn't feel that way at the time! It was a long beautiful walk by the beach in the forest. It was dark with only a few path lights, and everything was quiet that you could only here the crickets and the waves beating onto the beach. We kept walking and walking, but the path just went on and on. I got quite scared and although Dino said he wasn't, I know he kind of was too! It was too late to turn back (and get on the car in stead!), and we thought we must be almost there.

But, we weren't. After about 15 minutes of (fast) walking, we saw a swimming pool and a beautiful traditional hut in the middle of nowhere, and of course there was not a soul there! We decided to go inland from the pool area as we thought this pool has to be part of the Datai Resort. But the path just went on and led onto a bridge. I was still scared but couldn't help but to stop and look at the tall and majestic trees surrounding us. They are so tall - taller than I have ever seen in my life. Dino wanted to rush ahead until we get to civilisation, but I insisted to pause and enjoy the magical experience! So, we kept walking and stopping and walking again. I gasped and almost cried just mesmerised by the beauty of nature.

After more walking, we started to hear some noise of people talking and laughing, as if from a restaurant. So we followed the sound and soon enough we reached a massive stone wall with stairs behind it. We walked up and arrived in this magical place. Still panting from the unplanned exercise, we sat down for a nice dinner while still enjoying the surroundings. I was just so glad I didn't put on my high heels that night!

I knew Datai won many architectural awards and is known to be amazing, but I was taken aback with its backdrop - the 50 million years old tropical rainforest! I wonder if it feels as breathtaking as it did in the daytime, but the adventure we went through was pure magic!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

rania on solids

Rania is 5 months yesterday and is happily eating now. I still can't believe I introduced solids to her so early at just over 4 months when Imran only had his first taste just before he turned 6 months.

She was waking up earlier than usual from her naps, so I thought it was a sign that her stomach wanted more than the milk. That was when I thought perhaps she was ready for the good old solids, and to my amazement she was keen from the start! I was rather surprised as Imran took a while to learn how to 'eat' from the spoon.

As with Imran, I started giving her some baby rice mixed with breastmilk and slowly added apple or pear puree to it. Now she is eating pureed carrot and rice, potato, pumpkin and papaya. Her favourite seems to be the apple, but I am excited to introduce her to more exciting foods when she turns 6 months.

She is getting to be more and more sociable these days and likes to be talked to. She is also quite strong, already turning to her side and always wanting to raise her head. She's quite good with entertaining herself - she can spend a good 15 minutes just playing with her toes!

It's true when they say that babies' looks change from time to time. I definitely think she's looking more and more like me when I was a baby, although I might just be imagining it! Whatever it is, she is the darling of our family for now - and even Imran thinks so!