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Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

A Short Break

Today is the last day of May. 

 

Lately, I have been feeling lethargic. Tired. Exhausted. There are so many things to do, in so little time. Work has been increasingly demanding for the past two weeks and I seem to forget that I am still struggling with my studies. At the rate I am going at the moment, I think I need at least another 3 years to complete. And… that is IF I complete because right now, I am still unable to see the light at the end of this journey. I keep telling myself that this increased pressure at work is only temporary, since we are in a midst of a huge project now. It should be over in two weeks time. I hope by then, I would be able to redirect my energy and focus towards other things in life.

 

My husband was kind enough to suggest that we take a short break over the long weekend because he felt that I needed some rest. Plus, I am unable to take leave from work during the upcoming school holidays (because of that project) and we wanted to spend some time with the kids. So, we took the kids to… whereas… but Cameron Highlands!

 

Dekat. Mudah. Menarik.

 

I had a good rest. And so did the kids and my husband.

 

I managed to complete two novels that I have wanted to read for so long.

 

One thing I realize is that the prices of the fruits and vegetables are extremely expensive now compared to some few years back. And to think that we drive all the way up there just to get them cheaper and fresher.

 

And of course, having tea at the Cameron Valley Tea Shop (there are actually three of them and we went to all three!) is an activity we would never miss doing whilst in Cameron Highlands!

 

 

I wished I could stay longer but two days was just nice. 

I feel refreshed, calmer and stronger, and all ready to work hard for the next two weeks!

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I was bloghopping just now, and read an entry about Khalifah Umar Al Khattab here.

 

 The author was relating a story about how Khalifah Umar used to drink alcoholic drinks (arak) before he became a Muslim. And we all know the famous story about how Khalifah Umar buried his newborn daughter alive during jahilliyah times.

 

I find it quite interesting the way he hopes Zaid Ibrahim will follow the footsteps of Khalifah Umar – and reform himself to be a better person. Because when Khalifah Umar declared his syahadah, he completely became a new person – an extremely pious and God-fearing man. When he became the khalifah, he made so many changes and reformed the Islamic world. And Allah accepted his repentance because Khalifah Umar is one of Rasulullah’s sahabahs who has been promised Jannah. And he used to be an alcoholic!!!

 

Seriously, I think that the character assassination attempt by BN (i.e. by portraying the doctored photo of Zaid drinking a bottle of beer) has done more good to Zaid than damage his reputation! I should thank UMNO for this because people are now more openly admitting that they know our UMNO ‘leaders’ drink and gamble!

 

 

Anyway, we took the kids to watch How To Train Your Dragon in 3D last Sunday night. No, not in Ipoh of course, but in Midvalley KL since I was on official duties last weekend – 3D is still alien to the people living in Ipoh!

 

Not only were the kids excited, so were we! 

It was a cute story. It was worth paying RM56 for the tickets – RM17 for adults and RM11 for kids because the 3D effect was just fantastic. You could almost feel the dragon’s sharp tail piercing through the screen right into your face!

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Kota Bharu, the Islamic City

I am proud to announce that after 35 years ++ being a Malaysian, I have been to all states in Malaysia – the final one being Kelantan.

 

When one of my friends discovered for a fact that I have never been to Kelantan, he was stunned. “Eh, you bukan orang Tok Guru ke? And you have never been to Kelantan???” :P!

 

As I had expected, the journey was exhausting – it took us 6 hours to get there on Friday and another 6 hours back on Monday. The kids got very excited about Kelantan but we managed to force them to sleep for awhile – I didn’t want them to get so tired and start throwing tantrums.

 

Personally, I find Kota Bharu a very livable city. The city is quite huge, and there are so many new buildings and shopping malls that I find it hard to believe when people say Kelantan is a “negeri yang mundur di bawah kerajaan PAS”. I love the billboards and signages – the ladies are all covered up and tulisan jawi are everywhere including at the non-Malay shops. It was quite a funny sight when I first saw a Chinese sundry shop displaying its name in Jawi – it was something like “Kedai Chan Cheng”.

 

 

Since I was on official duties, I had to arrange my time to only visit the most important places in Kota Bharu – Pasar Siti Khadijah (I did not buy anything there), Pantai Cahaya Bulan (beautiful beach + good food) and Wakaf Che Yeh (shopping!). We had dinner at the most famous Yati Ayam Percik (sedap giler!) on Saturday night and at the New Horizon Restaurant on Sunday night.

 

 

But the highlight of my visit this time around was Kampung Pulau Melaka.

 

We drove to TGNA’s house on Monday morning, just before we left for Ipoh.

 

And his house was just exactly like everyone had described. No fences, no bodyguards, not even a guard house! We actually managed to drive through the school (on our right) and the mosque (on our left) right into the compounds of his house! I did contemplate knocking on his door to meet the man in person, but both of us did not have the courage to do so. We quickly took photos in front of his house and left.

 

Takpelah, dapat gambar dengan rumah dia pun takpe lah!

 

 

By the way, when we arrived on Friday, the local Sinar Harian newspaper reported that TGNA had led an istisqa prayer (a sunnah prayer to seek Allah’s blessing for some rain) as Kelantan had suffered severe drought for the past few months. He was leading the prayers, and when he was reciting the surah during the first rakaat, it rained heavily! The whole congregation was soaking wet – and the rain stopped upon them saying the salaam! This story, gave me goosebumps!

 

I would definitely make it a point to return to Kota Bharu Bandaraya Islam in the near future, insya Allah!

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Mee Udang di Pulau Aman

Lama tak update blog.

 

Maybe it’s because I have been traveling quite a bit this past week, and will continue to do so until next week. No doubt, it can be exhausting but once in a while, it can be fun. Penang, KL and Kelantan – all within 10 days!

 

Anyway, we were in Penang last weekend for an exhibition in PISA (Penang International Sports Arena) – and I brought the whole family along since it was a weekend.

 

And we met Lim Guan Eng on Saturday morning when he came to officiate the event!!! Meeting the Chief Minister in Penang was like a dream come true – but we were not fast enough to snap a photo of him with the kids. But the kids sempat salam dia. Seronok budak-budak tu!

 

 

And on the way back from Penang (we stayed at Equatorial Penang by the way) we stopped by at a new place called Pulau Aman.

 

 

Actually, one of my closest friends has been pestering me to try the mee udang (prawn mee) at this small island called Pulau Aman. Truthfully, I have never even heard of this place.

 

How to get here? From Penang, take the first exit after the Juru toll – i.e. Batu Kawan (the toll fare was RM1.10) – and take the road to Stadium Batu Kawan – right till the end. There are quite a few sign boards showing the way to Jeti Pulau Aman. Upon arriving at the jetty, take the boat to Pulau Aman (RM6 for adults, RM4 for children – return ticket). It was quite a small boat and my kids (including myself) were terrified! The boat ride took us around 10 minutes.

 

Anyway, upon arriving, there is a restaurant on the left – Restoran Terapung Pulau Aman.

 

We tried the mee udang  as suggested by my dear friend and we have only one word to say – FANTASTIC!

 

Berbaloi naik bot yang menakutkan tu!!

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Doha, Qatar

I spent five days in Doha, Qatar last week on an official business trip.

 

I haven’t been to Doha before, but I find some similarities between Doha and Dubai. Doha, despite being a much smaller city compared to Dubai is developing rapidly… thanks to the oil and gas industry. There were so many new high-rise buildings along the coast, that when you stand on one side of the city, you could see all these developments quite clearly. It was quite a sight, actually. Cantik.

 

 

 

And Doha is also a very clean city… maybe because of the small population, and because the government has lots of money to spend in order to keep the city clean.   

 

There is also an Islamic Arts Museum in Doha along the bay, which houses different types of artistic items originating from Muslims all over the world. The materials on display were quite fascinating, and some of these dated centuries ago, maybe as early as the 8th century.    

 

 

 

There are also many Malaysians working in Doha, especially in the oil and gas industry. One of my friends, a young couple with four kids, have been living in Doha for the past 4 years and they simply love the place. The pay and the benefits are higher compared to what they get in Malaysia… almost triple, so I guess it is worth it.

 

However, everything in Doha seems to be expensive. For example, a plate of Nasi Beriyani would cost you about 40 Qatari Riyals (by the way, the exchange rate is one to one with Malaysian Ringgit; i.e. 1QAR = 1MYR), a taxi ride would not be less than 40 QAR for a 10-minute ride (simply because the hotel would not allow you to take the normal metered taxis which would be much cheaper). And the hotels… the rates are unbelievable! The event was held in Sheraton, which averaged QAR 1400 per night, so we had to settle for another hotel… a much cheaper hotel for around QAR 640 which is a distance away from Sheraton. Regardless of the lesser price, the hotel was superb and quite close to the Souks (souk = market).

 

The souks were also quite nice. But of course, the items sold were expensive. I like to give out fridge magnets as souvenirs for my friends, but even that costs QAR5 each – and the shops, they won’t entertain your bargains!

 

All in all, it was an interesting trip – except for the fact that on the flight to Doha on Qatar Airways, I had to sit next to a guy who got drunk from drinking too much beer! Seriously, when are the airlines going to ban alcohol on board? It was quite an unpleasant experience!

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My kids just completed their final examinations on Thursday.

 

Alhamdulillah, I think we managed to be more prepared this time around. We reviewed the syllabus a few times, including their hafazan. The elder twin appeared calmer compared to the last exam. She even took time to rest and play after every revision session. I am not worried about their position in the class. I just want them to get something from their learning activities. Insya Allah.

 

Anyway, mom and dad was talking about Felda Sg Klah Hotsprings on Saturday. Since the kids have finished their exams, and dad’s birthday is coming up this Friday, we decided to give it a go. I have been there in December, during the Family Day, but we didn’t get to explore the whole area since most of the time, we were occupied with games and telematches.

 

It was quite disastrous, actually.

 

I woke up at 5 on Sunday to cook nasi lemak… only to find out that we could not bring in food into the area. (Apparently, the rules have been there but they decided to only enforce them recently).

 

The kids got all excited to mandi-manda in the cool pool (there are two types – hot and cold)… only to find out that the cool area was closed for renovation.

 

So, we took the kids into the hot pool for less than one hour (they didn’t like it very much), took a walk around the area, and finally went on a tram ride before leaving by noon.

anak

telur

rumah

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Naughty us!

We received three wedding invitations for Saturday, 6th June 2009. But we decided to skip all three and take the kids to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort instead! Actually, my parents bought an apartment there some two years ago and as a compliment, we get to enter the Waterpark for free – tapi tak pernah pakai pun! Saturday was our first time there using those complimentary passes.

 

I decided not to ‘mandi’ at all, but the kids and abah mereka had lots of fun. I finished reading a book, and had a good rest drinking teh tarik for the whole five hours!

Bukit Merah_2

 Bukit Merah_1

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