Dear Readers,

Salam & Good day to all... I hope you'll have fun reading and probably collect something useful here. I welcome all comments & commends. Please don't be anonymous. I'd like to know my visitors :)

"La Tahzan, InnaAllaha ma'ana" (Al- Quran: Surah At- Taubah- Verse 40)
Translation: "Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." ~Edmund Burke~

'It's not what the world holds for you, but what you bring to it' ~Anne of Green Gables~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Malayan Tigers Roared So Loudly Tonight!

AUMMMMMMMMM....


Muahahahahaaaa... Happy happy happy!

Who is the CHAMPION of AFF Suzuki Cup 2010?!

MALAYSIA!!!

Say that again!!!

MALAYSIA!!!

For the first time in a very very long time, I'm so proud of Malaysia's football team. This young team reminds me very much of my own younger time, when Malaysia's football team was great.

You guys rock! Kacak sangattt!!!

So, CONGRATULATIONS to Malaysia's National Football team... and THANK YOU for making us so proud. I pray for this greatness to continue and all the best to all of you! 

Did you watch the match just now? I was impressed at how friendly the players from each country are with each other. When one about to get into a misunderstanding, another will come to calm the situation. When one was injured, another come to provide first aid... and they were not from the same team.

So, good job to both Malaysia & Indonesia teams & audiences. We have all shown a good spirit in sport (with a few harmless incidents... but should not be happening again in the future). But I have to say, I was worried with the safety of our players when they were in Indonesia. All the insults and accusations were unnecessary. Just stop it already.

Malaysia and Indonesia will always be inspiring rivals, I think. Which can be put to the advantage of both parties. After all, we are different yet the same.

And again, CONGRATULATIONS to HARIMAU MALAYA!!! Your roar that is echoing loudly all over the country is sending butterflies in the stomachs of your future opponents!

Cayalah!!! I am so PROUD!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's the time to disco....

Hihihiiii... First time experience in a disco a.k.a night club last night.

Company event...They wanted to try something different this year... So, disco instead of a hotel. I don't mind... I've never been to a night club before... And I would never purposely go to a night club on my own... Last night was my chance... So I excitedly took it... Ngeeeeee....

Some people were shocked that I've never been to a disco before. I was also shocked that they were shocked.

I don't think I look like a disco material... Errr...

Anyway, the experience... Eh, no big deal. Dark place, limited lighting, loud music, soft drinks, alcohol, crowded... Luckily it was a company event. So, not so dark, not so crowded and limited alcohol...

As I remarked to my good friend, Anastasia... Kinokuniya is a much better place... hihihihiiii... *The remark of a nerdy speechless :P*

I left as soon as all the lucky draw winners were announced...

My observation... most of the people tending the bars are Malays... which I suspected also Muslims... and they serve alcohol... which leave me speechless again. I wonder if they don't know... or think that they have no other career choice out there... or perhaps, this is what they love doing.

I'm speechless... really speechless... and sad... and disappointed...

Anyhow, as experience is vital for a writer... I can now say that, I've experienced night club... Not so much... But enough...

Once is enough :)

Speechless off to having fun at Kinokuniya... yeay!!!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Against the Current...

Last AidilAdha, my cousin & I watched this movie 'Against the Current'... A movie which in my opinion 'intriguing yet very disturbing'.

Intriguing because I have never encounter such depressed person who had tried everything to feel better but nothing worked.

Disturbing because it's difficult to understand how can someone go through all the troubles... just to end his life.

At the end of the movie, my cousin & I, we were both speechless...

The story is about a man who lost his wife and unborn child... so depressed by the lost, he wanted to take his own life by trying to jump off the building of his apartment. Luckily, his best friend got there just in time and were able to talk him out of the idea, out of desperation by saying 'Give it time. If in 5 years, you still feel the same, you can kill yourself and I will not stop you.' Something like that. So, that worked and the man changed his mind.

Not really...

Apparently, 5 years later, he still felt the same. But this time, he wanted to achieve something before the anniversary of his wife's death... He wanted to swim the length of Hudson River. His best friend & another girl friend who didn't know his real intention, supported him. The journey took about 1-2 weeks... I can't really remember. Along the way, they had fun, went through a lot together... he even made a romantic connection with the girl friend.

You would think that after all that happy times he spent with his best friend and a romance with the girl friend, he would change his mind...

Nope!

After he was done swimming the length of Hudson River, he was still determined to keep his suicide plan and just continued swimming to the wide ocean. Despite the best friend crying and begging him not to...

When he was already on his way towards the ocean, the best friend wanted to go after him, to bring him back. But the girl friend said, 'Don't... if he wants to turn back, he will'.

If I was the the best friend or the girl friend, I will do everything in my power to stop him even though it means breaking my promises... Some promises are not meant to be kept...

What if by the time he changes his mind, he's already so tired and no energy left to turn back? He will just drown and die with all the regrets of taking his own life, of selfishly leaving all his beloved, of not giving himself more time and of not trying hard enough to get better.

Of knowing that whatever the reason is, suicide is never the answer.

Life is full of challenges... He's not the only one being tested. If other people can get through their challenges, so can he.

If you believe in God, get closer to Him. He'll guide you. He'll help you. He'll make everything better.

If you don't believe in God, then start believing. Because... we are only human. There are times when we feel so hopeless, like everything is going wrong and nothing can help us... we start to look up to the sky, wishing for a divine power, to help pull us through.

I'm so disturbed by this movie... I wish, this is only a movie. A writer dark imagination and not based on some true events or true stories. Although it is not hard to believe that this kind of things could happen in real life as well.

Anyway, in conclusion... I don't think you would want to watch this movie. Unless you're doing research for your degree in psychology... Otherwise there are many other meaningful, non-depressing movies out there.

Have a great life everyone! Be good ok!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Salam Maal Hijrah 1432

Feels like faster than a blink of an eye... it's new year again... Soon after, we'll celebrate another new year.

The life of a muslim... We have two new years to celebrate but none will mean anything if every year is the same and the next year is no better than the last.

So, it's now time to gear up ourselves with those resolutions again... old, new, carry forward... anything! Lets set at least a target and work for it ok!

And... don't forget the new year's doa... before and after!

I wish everyone a successful and blessed 1432H!

Salam Maal Hijrah!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Suhaimi Mior Hassan - Kalau Berpacaran

*In Malay*

Good song... Good lyric... Good advice...
A reminder to all of us... single or not...

*****

Suhaimi Mior Hassan (Feat. Ana Raffali & Altimet)
Kalau berpacaran memang banyak pantang larang
Menjaga susila ibu bapa adik abang
Apabila berdua carilah tempat yang terang
Agar tidak pula mencoba aksi terlarang

Chorus

Boleh pandang-pandang...
Jangan pegang-pegang...
Duduk renggang-renggang...
Bertambah sayang...
Biar malu-malu..
Biar segan-segan...
Kerna malu itu perisai orang beriman.

Kalau berpacaran jangan tunggu lama-lama
Kalau dah berkenan jumpalah ayah dan mama
Hantarkan rombongan meminang dengan segera
Kalau terlambat kekasihmu disambar buaya

Chorus

Yeah kita sambung cerita
Kalau kamu berdua aku yang ketiga
Aku penambah perasa
Akulah pendarab nafsu serakah

Hai teruna bikin perangai selamba
Hati si dara kata tak apa
Berani buat terima padah
Kalau tak sedia ucap syahadah

Chorus

Boleh pandang-pandang (boleh pandang-pandang)
Jangan pegang-pegang (boleh pegang-pegang)
Duduk renggang-renggang (duduk rapat-rapat)
Bertambah sayang (nanti confirm dapat)
Biar malu-malu (jangan malu-malu)
Biar segan-segan (jangan segan-segan)
Kerna malu itu perisai orang beriman.

Hah hah haaa...

*****

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Energize... Transform...

These few weeks have been hectic for me... so many things to do... at the office and at home... and this will continue for a few more weeks...

Sometimes, I feel so tired I don't even realized when I fell asleep. Sometimes, I'm too tired that I cannot fall asleep. Sometimes, I'm so tired but I was too stubborn to admit it and force myself to do things that I like to do... watching tv, browsing youtube for movie trailers or songs, reading and like tonight... blogging... hihihiiii... There's a big chance I'm going to fall asleep in front of this computer...

I can be weird sometimes... no biggie :P

The thing that I like least about being tired is... I can hear myself thinking, but the thoughts were halfway. I can't express, explain or write about it. A few articles have been left hanging in draft mode and a few have been deleted.

There are times I wondered how much longer I can endure this 'low-level of energy and high-level of things to do' combination... then I look around... and I see there are some people who are in the same situation as I am and still maintain their cool...

I take them as example and I know I can and have to endure this for I cannot lose face...Heheheheeeee... sometimes pride is not a bad thing :)

You know... I have so many super-friends... as in super-friends, I mean working women who are also wives & mothers. I'm sure there are also men who are also husbands & fathers who could fall into this category, but in my case, I've seen only women...

Have you ever observe this women?

They woke up very early in the morning, preparing breakfast for the family & their children for school. Some of them cook dinner before they go to work because they are afraid they will not have enough time to do it in the evening. Work might finish late or... they might get stuck in the traffic jam.. *sigh*

In the office, they have to deal with so many challenges and stress... I don't need to explain further....

Then, they rushed home just to arrived in time for dinner... quickly microwave the foods, prepare the table... After dinner, there are dishes, pans & pots to be cleaned.

Don't forget... there is also laundry...

Plus, they need to prepare for the next day...

One question comes to my mind...

Where do they get all this energy? Some of them don't even have helpers at home. How can they be doing all this and still put on a fresh sincere smiling face?

Perhaps, this is the blessing of being a 'super woman'... Allah's gift to all women who are unselfishly sacrifice their 'me' time to make sure that their family is well taken care of.

If this is the case, I still have a longggg way to go...

But, I salute these women... I really wish that all your sacrifices are appreciated by your family...

and I pray that they will lend you a helping hand once in a while, if not always...

So... to all of us, please appreciate those that have been sacrificing themselves for us... our mothers especially... finish the load of dishes once in a while, finish the load of laundry once in a while, mop the floor once in a while... or cook for them once in a while... the act might seem little, but it sure means a lot to them...

I thank my 'super-friend' and not forgetting my 'super-mom' for being so inspiring and motivating...

Alrighty... it's now time for me to re-energize so that I can transform to a 'super-something' tomorrow... hihihiiiii...

Don't forget to brush your teeth before you go to sleep people!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Virtual Life.. Be smart, beware...

Life in the virtual world is as dangerous as life in real world... don't you think?

Nowadays, we all should learn how to appropriately carry ourselves in the virtual world as well... don't you think?

Are we invincible & safe when we are on the virtual world just because we only exist there virtually?

Nope!

Both lives, real & virtual can be equally interesting and dangerous.

Therefore, we must live both lives safely and must know how to do it :)

I don't have all the how tos... but today I'm gonna share some tricks that some people that we virtually know might be using when they are in the virtual world.

Funny, but an eye opening.

video


Be safe, beware, be smart y'alls!

Take care!

Jumping with Joy in the Scenic YANGSHUO, Guilin

 Anastasia & I just came back from Guilin, China. We loved it there! The place was amazingly beautiful! Plus, it fed the starving landscape photographer in me!

We loved it! We loved it! We loved it!

I've heard about the beauty of Guilin for so many times... I've yearned of visiting the place for so long...



I was definitely jumping with joy when I was finally there! I love that place!

We originally planned for 4 days holiday in Guilin. But thanks to Air Asia for changing its flight schedule, we ended up having to stay for 6 days there. We originally booked the 'Yangshuo Outside' inn, but due to an unfortunate incident at the inn, we ended up staying at the 'Yangshuo Magnolia' hotel. One thing we learned from our trip this time was that there IS such a thing as a blessing in disguise and we're very thankful for it!

Alhamdulillah!


As per our usual traveling habits, we only booked for accommodation and airport transfers. All the tours we arranged with the hotel once we're there and the staff very very helpful. They speak good English, so no problem at all. The driver that picked & sent us to/from hotel/airport was a kind man. Didn't talk much.

There was something about this place that made us generous tippers :) Must be all that beauty, serenity, freshness & overall satisfaction... but the guides were all nice & friendly people!

And again, I was told that I look like Chinese people... that's it! I gotta admit! I've got Chinese look! :P

I'm gonna share with you the wonderful scenery of the places that we visited and the activities that we did while we were there. Enjoy! Let's see if my joy can be contagious :)

This entry is a long read... but, you don't want a miss a thing!

The view from the room we stayed in... lovely... relaxing...

Around Yangshuo Town:
If you think that this place was like some old China town... opppssss!!!! You're wrong! We were wrong! In fact, a few other tourist admitted that they underestimated Yangshuo and that was a mistake! This place is such a tourist town that the West End street reminds me of 'Bintang Walk' in KL! Except that this town was surrounded by hills. So many shops, so many cafes, so many restaurants and surprisingly, so many clubs... which is not to my preference. All the loud noise in such beautiful, serene place, it just doesn't match.

And the nights were alive.

The thing that I admire about the development about this town is that, they didn't cut down the hills for development. They developed around it. Which is very nice, very unique and very caring for the nature. I like!


From my observation, there was no useful land left unused in this part of the world... impressive!

Liu San Jie Light Show:
OMG! The show was brilliant. With all the coordination of people, music, lights and the lovely singing. The director, Zhang Yimou is also the person responsible with Beijing 2008 Olympics opening ceremony. I don't know how to express the feeling when I saw the show. You have to be there to experience the awe. It was impressive.

Perhaps a little peek here? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ukofI9FrS4

By the way, just FYI... I love those songs! 

My only sharp photo during the show... taking photo under low lights... challenging...


LongJi Rice Terraces:


OMG! The place is breathtaking! The green hills, the fresh air, the amazing view, all that nature, the nice & friendly people, the good feeling! Priceless!

LongJi Rice Terraces is located in Longsheng, about 3-4 hours drive from Yangshuo. We didn't mind the long ride because we were so excited and happily enjoying the view on the ride there. Once we arrived at Longsheng, we have to change to a coaster, a smaller bus because the road up the hills was quite narrow and winding. The view of the hills? Mesmerizinggg... I can still see the image in my head.




At the village, we watched a show on the life and culture of the ethnic there... do you know that over there the women is the head of the family and they are the ones responsible to 'bring home the meatloaf'? Or in their case, the rice? Do you also know that over there, if a woman likes a man, they'll pinch the man's butt? Hahahahaaaa... I found that is so cute although that is totally inappropriate in my culture :)

And over there, the ladies... they have a very long hair... almost the same as their height. Their hair was so black & shiny even the grandmothers'! I was so jealous of them! Their hair were so healthy & thick... no white or red hair whatsoever!

Their secret? They wash their hair using the water that they wash the rice! Those rice they plant at the terraces must be ultimately organic!

It rained when we were about to climb up to see the rice terraces from an 'aerial' view. But, we climbed up nevertheless :) It was really foggy & misty... not to forget tiring. All the panting and sweating despite the cold weather... we reached the top to see white clouds and no view of the rice terrace what so ever... heheheeee... see see... despite the disappointment and the tiredness, I'm still laughing... lalalalaaaaa...

We slowly walked down... the houses on the hill looks classical... other than a few cafes and shops, the place looked untouched by modernization. I loved the peacefulness there... We stopped at a souvenir shop where we bought some beautiful table cloths... happy happy happy!

The fogs dissappered once we arrived at the entrance of the village... I was so thrilled to see the vastness of the rice terrace. The place was amazing!

Huangyao Ancient Village:
A trip worthwhile... enough said :)

Have you ever watched the movie 'The Painted Veil', starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts ? I watched it, I loved that movie... most importantly I loved the scenery!

I insisted of going to Huangyao once I knew that the movie was shot here. The ancient village was well preserved and you can feel like you're walking in a truly old Chinese environment.

You'll admire the old buildings and the landscaping of the village.. and the people was friendly too!

They were doing their 'business'. I shouldn't have disturbed them but I couldn't resist those cute faces!


Cycling around Yangshuo countryside:
My favorite activity! The countryside was amazingly beautiful! The ride was not smooth because of the puddles of mud, but it was really exciting.

From my experience from cycling in the town of Yangshuo... it was not dangerous at all. The other vehicles will not simply knock you down. They didn't even honk when we were slow & blocking their way. They would just slow down as well. But if you're blocking the road, please be kind enough to get out of the way :) The only danger when cycling is if you don't know how to handle the bicycle.

So in conclusion, the possible danger of cycling in the town of Yangshuo is you yourself :)

We cycled from the town to the countryside, then took the bamboo raft, then to the Moon Cave. But on the way back, we took a bus coz our bottoms were already sore... eiikssss...


Bamboo Rafting along Yulong River:
Mmmm... not my favourite activity coz the trip was slow and long (45 mins) and mostly because the nice view along the river were blocked by stalls on the river.

But, if you were here, don't skip this activity please... There were a couple of very nice areas along the river... if you were lucky, then maybe you get to shoot some nice photos as well.



I was pretty pleased with some of the photos I took. Of course I edited them a little bit before I uploaded them here, but the original photos were just as great :)

There are a few not too small waterfalls along this river... the drops were not deep, but it's enough to give us the suspense... hihihiiii... I enjoyed the waterfalls. It was fun!



Underground River @ the Moon Cave:
We loved this activity as well! Despite the tiredness, the sweating, the panting because of all the climbing and ducking etc... we got to see an amazing cave system and an underground river which was very clear and cold!

In the cave you can also enjoy a mud bath & hot spring... but we skipped both of that... 



We explored the cave wearing slippers! I gave myself a pat on both shoulders! Well done! Hahahaaaa...

We loved this activity! Plus, we got to meet a lovely couple from Ecuador where we shared a lot of laughs! They were really nice!

At the exit of the cave, we were presented by a mass of paddy fields! So green, so peaceful... so worth it!



andddd... Shopping! Yeehaaaaa...
silk scarves, table cloths, clothing, paintings, etc etc... just don't go crazy ok :)





Halal food? No problem!
Although this is the only Muslim restaurant in Yangshuo which food I truly enjoyed during my 5 dinners. Yummy yummy! They were friendly too!



 





Sooooo... how do you feel? Feeling like going to Guilin & Yangshuo or not? Ngeeeee... the place so beautiful, the memories so sweet and wonderful and amazing... I can say that, I'll be back! Definitely!

OMG OMG... I want to go there again!

Note: The challenge of this entry was choosing photos to share... there are so many that I want to show you... but I can't possibly upload them all here...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Mubarak 1431H

It's Eidul Fitri today... a day of celebration... yummy foods, thirst quenching drinks, sweet sweet cookies (lots of them), fashion show day, happy day... got to meet relatives and friends that we hardly meet throughout the year... heheheeeee...

Today is going to be my very busy day!

However, my post today will be dedicated to both of my very good friends... Ipin & Dr. W... who lost their beloved sisters during Ramadhan.

Ipin's sister passed away on Friday, 1st week of Ramadhan...
Dr. W's sister passed away, just yesterday...

I can't imagine how they are feeling right now... losing a dearly beloved is never easy...

I'm not very good at expressing condolences... because I know there is nothing I can say to ease their sadness... plus, I know my friends... both Ipin & Dr. W are two people with deep faith... so I know they'll be ok... it might take a while for the sadness to go away, but they'll be ok.

To Ipin & Dr. W... La Tahzan. Innallaha ma'ana. Sama- samalah kita berdoa semoga roh mereka ditempatkan bersama orang- orang yang beriman dan sentiasa dibawah peliharaan & kasih sayang Allah. Al- Fatihah.

To all my dear friends & acquaintances & fellow Muslims... Happy Eidul Fitri! But, in the midst of celebration, please don't forget to pray for others that are not so lucky... I'm really sad about the flood victims in Pakistan. I hope the little donations that we passed to them will worth every cent and that they will have the patience & strength to get through this challenge.

Happy Eidul Fitri everyone! Please don't overly celebrate this day... go easy on the foods *wink*

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI! MAAF ZAHIR BATIN!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Men vs Wild

I love this show!

Even though I have no confident whatsoever that I'm gonna be able to do what Bear Grylls does in this survivor show.

Bear Grylls has really got me to reconsider my dreams of becoming Indiana Jones.

You know, when Mr. Jones did it, it was cool, smart, fun & funny.

But when Bear Grylls did it, it was yucks, ouch, eewwwww, phewwwww, aaarrrrghhhhhh and a lot of sweating and panting...

I'm telling you... Mr. Grylls is insane... :)

Just look at him hanging on the tree like a koala!

But Mr. Grylls is also so cool and calm! You can throw him anywhere and I bet he'll be able to make it out of there alive and kicking and smiling.

If you watched this show, you'll realize that throughout the entire seasons (now already in Season 5), Bear Grylls never lose his temper. He always keep it cool and calm, stay positive and hardly lose that smile on his face. Even a hammock made of a bamboo and a roof covered with leaves was considered 'snug' by him.

So as all of us already know... it's all in the ATTITUDE!

If he was grumpy and complaining and whining and blaming his crew for not helping him, do you think this show is possible? Or even if it is, would it be entertaining and educational?

I don't think so... and I believe, neither do you :)

Complainer and whiner is never really likable... lesson learnt.

But then, in the terms of survival, like what Bear Grylls is showing us... being able to survive doesn't rely only on your attitude. You have got to have a physical that can support that attitude.

I'm imagining... I'm attempting an adventure... walking across snow covered Alaska in the winter... I'm 10-20kg overweight (this is half fiction :p), with very little lean muscles around my body, the only exercise I get is a 30 minutes walk in the park on Sundays (if I really do exercise)... food & water are scarce... stamina is really low, muscles are very weak. I keep on telling myself, "I can do this!"

Can I really? Yeah, with the right attitude, everything is possible. Slowly, take it one step at a time... it might not be as easy as compared to Bear Grylls. Probably with more difficulties... He's out of there in what? 1 week? Me? hmmmm...

But, Bear Grylls himself said that ... it's important to have a positive mind because it will push yourself to go on even though your body already wants to quit.

So, I guess I'm on the right track. Even though I really really need to... Exercise!!!!"

I think with the right attitude and physics, we can all be Bear Grylls if we want to. But don't forget, we must have his kind of stomach as well... did you see what this guy put in his mouth, in the name of survival? Yikessss... snakes (almost all kinds including rattlesnake), rodents, bats, frogs, scorpions, raw deer, some kind of lizard if I'm not mistaken, worms, bugs... ewwwwwww... but some of those things are considered delicacies in some part of the world... that's right :)

Every time he's about to put the 'food' inside his mouth, I'll go "Don't do it Bear! Don't do it!!!" hahahaaaa... 

This is why Indiana Jones seems like a better option.

Coz, you know... Mr. Jones is a movie... Mr. Grylls is real life... :P

But if Indiana Jones vs Bear Grylls... I'll choose Bear Grylls everytime!

Bear Grylls, you're truly an INSPIRATION! Stomach aside *wink*

Seriously... Bear Grylls really inspired me!

 My favourite episode. So funny!

Okay... The Sometimes Speechless is jumping off the bed and off to the kitchen... that's as much of an adventure that I'm gonna get for today... hahahaaaaa....

Good byeeeeeeeeee... see ya laterrrrrrr...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Isabella... I found it!

Finally, it's on book rack at the bookstore! Isabella by Muhammad Saeed Dehlvi. You better go get it! You better read it! It's so gooood!

Let me tell you the story of me and this book. I first saw this book at a warehouse book sale near my home about 20 years ago. That time the price was only MYR8.00. The first time I read the synopsis, it was really intriguing. I want it, I want it! But still I didn't buy it. Then, school holiday was over and I had to go off to school. Somehow, this book kept lingering on my mind. I can't get it off of me. So, I called my best friend, Ms. F & asked her to help me buy it. I don't think she even remembers that she helped to buy this book for me... heheheeee...

I read this book at least 5 times end to end (at least) if I remember correctly. If I hadn't lost my copy, I could have read it even more. I didn't actually lost it. I lent it to someone and that someone still haven't returned it to me. The problem is, I don't remember who was that someone! Arrrgggghhhhh... I love the old copy even though it was really worn out, the paper was already so soft and the cover was almost torn out. This book is the type of book that I would keep under my pillow, to keep me company.

Ever since I lost this book, I tried high & low to find a new copy. Everywhere I go, every bookstore I've been to... I couldn't find it. I found a copy online, but it is not the same... I just have to have the hardcopy!

But now... I'm a happy blogger! I've found a new copy of my beloved read... *skipping*

A little bit of book review:
Isabella is a daughter of a high Catholic priest in Spain. This book is the story of her struggle in finding Islam. In this book, there are a lot of religious debate between Muslims & Christians scholars, discussions and arguments about the differences of the two religions.
*****

This book is a really interesting book for me because I learned quite a lot about Islam & Christian from it. My advice to all who wants to read this book, please keep an open mind. The information that we gathered from this book, is for us to check, confirm and verify. Finding the truth is never easy.

To those who are already in love with Saifuddin a.k.a Laksamana Sunan, you're going to love Umar Lahmi. He's not a tough warrior like Laksamana Sunan, but he is a scholar and he is very smart. There's a saying that 'a pen is mightier than a sword'. So... they are both equally attractive... heheheeee...

Oit... stop drooling :P

Isabella by Maulana Muhammad Saeed Dehlvi --> original cover

Please forgive me, but I truly truly hate a book cover with a photo of someone on it... why on earth does the publisher designed this kind of cover?

That is not Isabella! Arrrggghhhhh....

There's a gift inside... a bookmark. Same design as the book cover...

To further torture me... I guess...

The cover tortured me... it's messing with my imagination. Plus, I've read this book so many times... The Isabella that I have in my mind is totally different. She has soft eyes, Spanish looking, a face full of thoughts, she looks very smart, has a slender body... her walk is graceful...

The drawing on the cover of the lost copy, really reflect how Isabella looks like... I miss that book *sigh*

I just had to improvise the book cover...
So, tadaaaaaaa....
Isabella by Maulana Muhammad Saeed Dehlvi --> cover edited by me :)

Lalalalaaaaa.... no more picture to mess with my imagination.

I even fashioned my own bookmark from the cut out :)

So, quickly go to the bookstore and grab this book before it is out of stock. This is no ordinary story book... you really can learn a lot of things from here... it is only MYR22.00...

The truth is out there :)

The happy Speechless wishing 'Selamat Berbuka Puasa!

p/s: Not gonna lend this book to anyone... I've learned my lesson :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What is Ramadhan...

...all about?

Like a blink of an eye, Ramadhan is swooshing past me. Feels like it started just yesterday, and today it is already in the third week. Soon, it will be over and we all have to wait for another year for it to come and visit us again.

How do you feel about Ramadhan? I'm sure the feelings are different for all of us for we are all different people in heart, in mind, in education, in beliefs, in religion, in faith... What if you & I are in the same religion? Would we feel the same about Ramadhan? Maybe... maybe not. Maybe our faith is different even though we are in the same religion right? Different level of faith :)

This year, Ramadhan revealed its meaning to me... Something that I think I should have known long time ago since I've been a loyal member of Ramadhan for about more than 2 decades. Even though I should have, I haven't... until this year's month of Ramadhan.

Before I go to what I learn this year, maybe I should briefly explain about what is Ramadhan?

Yes? No? Yes? Ok.... heheheeee...

Ramadhan is the 9th month is Islamic calendar. This month is a fasting month for Muslims. So, we fast from dawn to dusk, refraining ourselves from food, drink, sexual relations & anything that leads to it. Ramadhan is also a month full of blessings and forgiveness. So, during Ramadhan we should chase after those.

Why do we fast? Other than obeying the order of Allah, for me, fasting teaches me patience and strength... mentally, physically, spiritually. When I was muchhhh younger, I used to play catch with my friends at school during fasting month, even though we were fasting, full day. We were mentally, physically & spiritually stronger on those days I suppose. Running around in the field, under the hot sun was nothing... heheheeeee... Nowadays, I only managed a half an hour walk in the evening, followed by another hour of resting while waiting for the breaking fast time. So, I'm not sure which part is becoming weaker... the mind, the body or the spirit... hmmmm...

From health point of view, fasting is a month that gives your body a rest and a good time to flush out toxins. We've been feeding our body with foods for 11 months. So a one month of fasting is enough for the body to rest a little. Provided that we don't overfed ourselves during the break. It defeats the purpose.

I personally love Ramadhan, even more than I love Eidul Fitri. Ramadhan is the most happening month of the year! But seriously, I can't stand the too much of Ramadhan food market or bazaar. Most of the foods don't taste good & they are always so crowded.

Ok so, what is it that I learn from Ramadhan this year?

I learn that Ramadhan is a about SELF CONTROL.

That is what it is all about.

You see... Ramadhan is a month full of blessings and forgiveness. So, during this month there is no devils around to lure us towards temptations. This means, whatever that you do, it is all because of you. You can't blame it on the Satan or the devil. If you choose not to do the right or the kind things... it is all YOU.

Something to ponder upon...

If you are a Muslims and chose to or not to fast (without a valid reason).. it is YOU.
If you chose to tell lies or not... it is YOU.
If you choose to steal or not...it is YOU.
If you choose to cheat or not... it is YOU.
If you choose to be kind or not... it is YOU.

I think you get the idea.

So, in conclusion... Ramadhan is also a month where we can see what kind of person we really are. A month of revelation. This month alone... I read about a lot of crimes in newspaper. That was all them... humans that do not need the devil to lure them into doing crimes. I have my wrong doings as well, which were all ME. I also need to ask for forgiveness and work on improving myself.

Before I end my entry tonight, can I ask for all of us Muslims, to have a better self- control during this holy month? We are all aware of what we can or cannot do, what we should or should not do. But, if you are not sure, then ASK.

If we can't control ourselves in this one month, I can say that the future is 'grey'ish.

So, I'm praying for a fruitful Ramadhan for myself and all my fellow Muslims out there. If this is our last Ramadhan, may it be the best in our lives.

Take care y'all!

Disclaimer: I still need to improve my English when writing in the context of Islam, or any religion. So, please pardon me when my choice of word or sentence is inaccurate or misleading. Do correct me. The last thing I want to do is to misinformed readers who visits my blog.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hikayat Sang Kancil & Monyet

My favourite cartoon of all times... When I was little, this short cartoon was always shown on tv... a short clip with lots of education and moral values in it. I love this cartoon so much that some of the phrases stuck on my mind until now, a century later *wink*

The phrase that I sometimes use; *In Malay*
  • "Jangan monyet, kita tak boleh makan buah tu" --> when I want to stop someone from doing something that they are not suppose to do.
  • "Aku tak peduli, aku nak juga" --> when I still want to do something even though I've been told not to do it.
I can be a monyet sometimes *sigh*

These kind of educational cartoons are no longer shown on tv nowadays. When I was little, we were taught of moral values in the most entertaining and colorful ways. I think, this cartoon specifically has taught my generation to work hard, to be kind, honest & sincere... like the Kancil & Kura- kura.

The best lesson is to NOT be stubborn, lazy & mischievous... like the monyet.

Enjoy this short cartoon... other than the lessons behind it, it's also a reminder of what an amazing childhood we had *big grin*

video

If this is not enough, there are a lot more on YouTube *wink*

Take care y'all!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Once a blue sky in KL

There are times when I feel so tired with my beloved KL. With the sky scrappers everywhere, traffic jam almost all the time, the increasing temperature, the crowded area everywhere...

But, just when I failed to see its beauty, it served me with these...

Clear blue skies... along PUTRA LRT track...




Once a blue sky in KL... it is still a beautiful place to be...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

suggest@rapidkl

Today, there's a technical problem with Putra LRT. From end-to-end, which is from Kelana Jaya to Terminal Putra, passengers had to transit three times. Once at Pasar Seni station, second at Kampung Baru station & finally at Damai station. Throughout the journey only one track was used.

So, for example if you're going to KLCC from Kelana Jaya. First, take the train from Kelana Jaya, disembark at Pasar Seni station. Do not change platform... you just wait for a train coming from Masjid Jame'. Then take that train and stop at Kampung Baru Station. Disembark there and do not change platform. Wait until a train coming from KLCC arrived and take that train. It will take you to your destination. Waiting time for each transit, not so short... quite long. Well, only one track was operational. Imagine that.

But actually, I'm not here to complaint. This entry is more of a suggestion for improvement. Something that RapidKL should pay attention to, you know, to make their service literally rapid :)

Why am I not complaining? Hmmm... basically because there haven't been much technical problems with Putra LRT lately. I remember that it used to be at least once a month. But right now the service has improved much and with the 4 coaches trains... the rides have become smoother. Although if I'm not mistaken there are two incidents in July... Nevertheless, problems happen.  I'm sure they tried hard with the proper maintenance. So, I'm ok with that as long as  these technical problems do not happen frequently.

Another reason why I am not complaining is because all the other passengers were cool. I'm quite impressed with my fellow LRT riders today. None of us complained loudly nor whining nor cursing. In fact, I saw a lot of us laughing and joking about the situation. Our attitudes definitely helped us through the long waiting... and the strong air-cond inside the train definitely helped us who felt like sardines in a can :)

Plus, I had fun chatting with strangers and a family from Oman. I'm sure those children and their parents would tell their friends about this little adventure that they experienced in Malaysia. Luckily, there's a cool young lady (me *wink*) who helped them throughout the whole confusions... heheheeeee... 

Ok... what is it that RapidKL need to improve if I hardly have any complaint?

COMMUNICATIONS!!!!

Helloooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

To RapidKL, referring to today's incident, here I highlight the points where the clear & efficient communications should have been carried out:
  1. At the entrance of all the stations - we do not need to find  out that the train is delayed only after we have bought the ticket and already waiting at the platform. If we have been informed up-front about the delay, we could decide whether we want to proceed to the platform or look for another mean of transportation. All this while, this is what happened.
  2. Inside the train - please tell us, the passengers what is going on. Most of the passengers inside the train did not know that they were suppose to disembark at certain station. Some end up going back to where they were coming from. For your information, the announcements that were made can hardly be heard and most of the times the voice of the person were so soft, unclear, unsure and insincere. So, I would suggest training and an upgrade to the speakers inside the coaches. If you don't believe me, you can try it out. See whether you can hear those 'romantic' announcements inside a more than a crowded train.
  3. At the platforms - the incident this evening, there were hardly any Putra LRT staff at the stations, especially at the transit stations to inform the passengers which train is coming from where & going to which direction. Where were you guysssssss???? That was the time which is crucial for customer service to be around to help. I mean, come on! Isn't this basic?
  4. The pre-recorded announcement - 'Tren dijangka tiba lewat... kami memohon maaf...' not what we wanted to hear, at least not what I want to hear repeatedly. We're not expecting the train to be late because it is already late. We don't want to hear apology over and over. We want to know what is going on, what is being done, what are the instructions, which train is going where and at which platform should we wait... and we want to know that you actually care, ok :)

Another thing about the operation this evening... the train from Kelana Jaya kept coming, all the people disembarked and crowded the Pasar Seni Station but no train coming from Masjid Jame'. Up to a point when the train from Kelana Jaya heading back to Kelana Jaya, empty and we were all stucked at the platform. In my opinion, this is not a good strategy.

Ok, I guess that's all. I'll email these suggestions to suggest@rapidkl tomorrow. I don't think I can bear another round of technical problem followed by a bad communication by them.

Before I end this, to all RapidKL passengers... FYI, technical problem is a very good time to pay attention. Bad for reading books, listening to music or sleep pretending like 'I have no time for this madness'. Unless you intentionally want to go around in circles.

Impressed with KLians (is there such a word?) today, signing out.

-XOXO-

Monday, July 26, 2010

Big Enough...

I came across this news while browsing Yahoo.com last week.
The idea really stuck in my head especially when I saw how nicely it was done.
This is something that I would like to have... but, perhaps a little bit bigger, with a better plumbing system and a small beautiful lawn around it.

Sometimes we just forget that there is a big power in simplicity...

 http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

Friday, July 09, 2010

Something Weird in Football...

Well, obviously I'm still in '2010 World Cup' fever... heheheee... Even though Germany had lost 0-1 to Spain in the semi-final * so sad*

It's okay darlings! You guys can try again in the next World Cup. Hopefully Schweinsteiger, Podolski & Oezil will still be in the next WC... Brazil 2014! Schweini & Oezil --> I hope one of you will get the 'Golden Ball' even though the nomination list is full of tough contenders.

Anyway, since I'm still in WC fever, I went to browse for WC and football clips on Youtube. There is a pattern that I noticed in all the games. Things that men do on the fields that I would personally thought disturbing if I saw them anywhere else, outside of the fields.

So, is it only me or it is totally okay for men to do an a** slapping, a** grabbing, kissing (on the cheeks or on the lips), hugging (or a little bit more), holding hands, whisper in each other ears, etc etc when they are on the fields? In the name of the spirits of the sport, it looked totally okay for them to do that. Sometimes, they even do it in front of the cameras or during interviews, but to me, they don't look gay at all :)

This is something that I found really weird. But somehow, it's cool... hihihiii... They are still men... macho men. They are only showing us the 'girly' part of them *wink*

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks this way... waka waka waka *WC 2010 laugh*

If you don't get what I mean, you can have a preview... follow this link:

Have a look (perhaps, have a laugh? *wink*) and tell me if I'm wrong... hahahaaaaa...

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Let's talk about...

WORLD CUP 2010!

I'm not much of a football fan... in fact I hardly watch any sports on tv. Except when my country is playing... or if it's an Olympics... who wants to miss the Olympics? I love Olympics!

So, why do I suddenly want to talk about WORLD CUP 2010 when my country is not yet in it? *sigh*

Well... it is because tonight Germany beat Argentina 4-0! Yeah baby!!!

So this entry is a tribute to two of Germany's BEST players in tonight's game... Bastian Schweinsteiger & Lukas Podolski. You guys rocked! The way you guys passed the ball to the front of the goal post, OMG! So precise, perfect timing, great strategy!

Bastian Schweinsteiger & Lukas Podolski. (Pic from www.fifa.com)

But, actually the whole Germany's football team played very well. The goalkeeper, the defenders, the midfielders & the forwards. The defenders specifically, did a very, very good job *applause*

Old pic of the Germany team. Kahn on the left, Ballack on the right...
I likeeee...
Pic from http://www.berliner-fussball.de/

So, why do I support Germany?

Because I was so impressed with Oliver Kahn in World Cup 2002!

King Kahn: The only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (in World Cup 2002) (Pic from http://news.bbc.co.uk)






Hopefully, Germany will be in the final... andddd...

WORLD CUP 2010 CHAMPION!

Ok, enough already... nite nite...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Trip to Historical China...

really taught me to take it one step at a time... literally... no joke... stairs everywhere *panting*

This is going to be a long read... Please be patient & I hope you'll enjoy it.

**********

My travel buddy, Ms. Z & I decided to go on 8D7N adventure in China. This is the first time I ever attempted a travel adventure of this scale, I was a bit nervous. But I figured that Ms. Z is so much more adventurous & outdoor than I am, so I guess we'll be ok :) Until I found out she was also feeling a flock (flock right?) of butterflies flying in her stomach... then I felt a little trembling on my knees... heheheee...

But still, we kept our cool... plus, we already booked all the tickets, tours and accommodations. So, there was no turning back! Chaiyo chaiyo!


Places we visited:
Historical China... means that 'The Great Wall' and 'The Terracotta Warriors are a must' :)

But we added in Datong as well... you all don't really know what is in Datong do ya? ih ih ihhhh... apa la u all ni... :P

Well, actually, me neither... until I was planning our trip that I know what are in Datong... heheheeee...

Our Historical China Travel Map


1st stop: Tianjin 
Where we landed. The weather around Tianjin was cold. Sejuk- sejuk manja... since it is still spring. The places that we went first was The Ancient Culture Street where I felt like I was in a Chinese Kung-Fu movies... heheheeee... the rows of shops there are still preserved with their old traditional Chinese architecture. The carvings, the drawings, the colours... we even got to see people playing with the Chinese shuttlecock... something like our takraw...

After that, we went to the Italian concession which was just wow! It was so beautiful there with all those Italian architecture and ambiance... and those blooming colourful flowers... I love the houses designs there. Maybe I'll design my future house based on those houses. Plus the flowers on the staircases... I'm such a minah bunga. Who would have thought right? hihihiiii...

Ancient Culture Street
The blooming flowers... I loike...

Italian Concession

2nd stop: Datong

Datong is a rich city in Shanxi provice, so I've heard. Because of the coal mines. A friend of mine sent me an email once on a wedding of a coal mine tycoon in Datong. The escorts drove 'Hummers'. That's the escorts! There were also Bentleys, Ferraris... and I can't remember and don't know what brand were the other cars.

In Datong, first we went to the Hanging Temple. It took about 1.5 hours drive to the mountain area from Datong train station. The weather in Datong was cold, like in Tianjin. During the drive, we fall asleep. Not too smart and too brave for two ladies to go sleeping during a drive that far and to a place that we have no idea where it was... but my guts said it was safe to do so... and I believe so did Ms. Z's :)

That was a good sleep... nice...

The mountain area where the Hanging Temple was, reminded me of the view of the Grand Canyon that I used to watch on National Geographic.

If you see the Hanging Temple... you'll be amazed. In fact, all the places that we visited during our trip to historical China were amazing. Just wow. That day, the weather on that mountain was chilly. Like winter... I have to put on my gloves.

The Hanging Temple was built vertically on the side of the mountain. There are pillars placed underneath the structure. The amazing thing is that those pillars are just for decoration, not for support. The supports of the structure were inserted metres into the rocky mountain. It must be a very strong foundation since this temple has been there for about more than 1500 years! OMG! They were built 1500 years ago... no modern machinery to help them. How did they do it especially on putting on the foundations?

Inside the temple there were prayer rooms for Buddhist. The rooms were small... the aisles were narrow and the stairs were steep. Climbing a steep, narrow staircases on a temple 75m off the ground on a day as cold as the winter, can make your legs tremble. If you are afraid of height, don't walk too close to the hand railing along the balcony.

There were suppose to be a river flowing along the mountain, but they are currently building a dam. It would have been more beautiful if the rivers were there.


The Hanging Temple

After the Hanging Temple, we went to the Yungang Grottoes, another temple and again... wow! Here, you'll see so many carvings of the Buddha statues in different caves, presentations, sizes, colours... my favourite would be the music cave where there were so many colourful statues and each of them holding different kind of musical instrument. Those people were too crafty and patient. Carving a mountain into a piece of art were not an easy task, I believe.

Yungang Grottoes. The caves, the carvings, the view...


3rd stop: Xi'an

We arrived at Xi'an train station and our guide already waiting for us. Xi'an is a busy city and the weather was hot! Our travel agent already arranged for an hour at the local hotel nearby for us to refresh ourselves... just a walking distance from the train station. We had a very refreshing shower!


Then it's time to visit the warriors! Yeah baby!

The Terracotta Warriors. Each of them have different faces... impressive right?

There were 3 halls at the Terracotta (local people call it 'Ping Ma Yong') sites. Hall 1 is the biggest, the other 2 are smaller ones. Excavation activities in hall 1 & 2 are still in progress, while no activities in hall 3. This is because the technology to excavate the warriors while maintaining their colours is still unavailable. Actually, when the warriors were excavated, they have colours on them but after a few minutes, the colour disappeared. So, that's why they stopped excavation activities on hall 3 until the right technology was invented. The excavation activity on the emperor's mausoleum hasn't been started at all and the location is quite a distance from the 3 halls.

We had the chance to meet and get an autograph from the man who first found the relics. He must be so happy... I bet he's rich now. If he's not then he should be... if it's not for him, we wouldn't have the chance to witness such amazing ambition. That's right... the terracotta was built because of the emperor's ambition to have the same kingdom in his after life... phewwww...


The massive collection...

After the Terracotta, we went to visit the Great Wall of Xi'an. These walls are not as great as the Great Wall of China, but it's pretty great. It's huge... Xi'an used to be the capital of China long time ago. That's why it also has a protection wall. We learned a bit of Feng Shui here. Just for fun :)

The Great Wall of Xi'an :)



Then we went off to the Muslim street... which is my favourite place in China so far.

I'm not sure why but the feeling there was so peaceful. Plus there were a lot of trees.

The Masjid in Xi'an looked and made me feel like I'm in a palace garden. It's beautiful and calming. The faces there were so friendly...  

Menyejukkan hati...

Muslim Street in Xi'an

 The calm, peaceful and beautiful masjid in Xi'an


4th stop: Beijing

The city of the Great Wall. We visited a lot of places in Beijing. Tired... tired...

On the 2nd last day, we almost had to drag our feet... pancit! On the way from the subway station, we had to stop by Starbucks for a drink first before we could continue the way back. *panting... panting...*

How much walking we did in Beijing? Too much. The climbing? Too too much... what's up with all the stairs in the historical buildings??? They were really testing my legs muscles.

Our first day in Beijing, we went to see the Pandas at Beijing Zoo... yeay!!!!! They were so fat and cute!  Lazying around all day.... so syok!

Gerammmm...

Aaaaaaa.... so cute!


2nd Day - The Great Wall... we decided to go to the Mutianyu Gate because they said it's a combination of easy and hard climb, plus the view is much nicer there. The bus ride from hostel to Mutianyu was about 1.5 hours. We were so excited... until we saw the wall. It was up there, and we were down there... the up and down looked like a one day climb... *panting panting*...

That was why we took the cable car that brought us straight to the 4th tower... to save time :P

The cable car ride was fun... and to go down, we took the luge... It was nice although mine can't go any faster even I've already pressed all the way down. I upset a few people behind me that day... oppssss... sorry guys!

Mutianyu Great Wall has 22 towers. We climbed from the 4th-3rd and from 4th-16th. Arrrghhhhh... sweating all over but don't know why, we couldn't stop and kept on climbing. The view from up there could have been more amazing and I should have been able to shoot great photos... but, too much haze... no blue sky whatsoever... all grey... *sigh*

On the wall, we climbed too many stairs but still we have the energy to climb on the towers. We were not too bad. On each tower, there are people selling snacks & drinks. The price is slightly expensive. But, come on... they have to carry that from down there remember? The lady that we bought drinks from walks daily from Mongolia... that's not near.

I think I should visit the Great Wall during winter... I bet the view is going to be amazing.

The Mutianyu Great Wall - view from & on the wall

3rd Day - Tian'anmen Square, The Forbidden City, took the rickshaw ride along Beijing Old Town, The Summer Palace & watched KungFu Show.

We exited subway station Tian'anmen East and greeted by a swarm of people. Too many... it was Saturday and the place was full of local tourist. The day was hot and dry, there were too many people, too many staircases,difficult to get a clean shot... there were always someone who will inter- frame :)

I think I drank about 5L of water that day...

The swarm of people, The Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City. It is truly a city by itself. Huge area...

Then we took a rickshaw ride around Beijing's old town. We didn't plan this but the rickshaw driver was smart... I think his persuasion skill was very good. I would say that we got tricked into taking up his offer, but I didn't regret it a bit! The ride was enjoyable & not as per what I expected...

Our rickshaw driver explaining the meaning behind the structure of the door. He was funny, speak good English and very knowledgeable... He should be a tourist guide... or the tourism department should provide him with a nicer rickshaw.

The Summer Palace - we just browsed through the area because we are already so tired and had to rush back for the KungFu show. Everything at The Summer Palace was man made. Including the lake... The place is so unreal... I mean unreal to exist in old time because to me it looked modern. Overhead bridge, lakes and rows of houses by the lake, river cruise... The Summer Palace was built as a summer retreat for the royalties. From what I saw, I'm guessing that it was definitely a relaxing retreat for them.

The Summer Palace - I can imagine relaxing here... niceeee...

The KungFu show storyline was not so good... But the KungFu actions were impressive. Obviously, it is possible to do those flips and kicks and fly outside tv. However, those actions were done by professionals. Please do not repeat them at home *wink* No photo shooting allowed in the theater by the way.

Last day - Olympic's Bird Nest & The Cube - amazing architecture. But other than that... nothing. The highlight on this day was of course... shopping at the Silk Market... muahahahaaaa...

 We were there ok :)


Transportations we took:

We didn't try all public transport in China. Mostly because of language barrier. I so wanted to try riding the 3 wheels motorcycle. They look so cool. But, if we took those then we have to ride separately. So, we better don't.

However, we did ride on the train (hard + soft sleeper), took cabs, subways and also rickshaw around Beijing's Hutong (old town) It was so much fun! Better than we expected. Rickshaw ride around the old town is definitely a must do!

We took hard sleeper train from Tianjin-Datong. Thanks to the unavailability of the soft sleeper, we got to experience the hard sleeper which was so fun... heheheeee... The hard sleeper coaches don't have separate compartments. The 3 tiered beds are on open aisles. Lucky for us, we got the bottom beds. Otherwise, we have to climb up to the upper beds. Something I haven't done in a long time. We share our section with an uncle & auntie. The uncle was friendly even though he don't speak any English. It was not easy but I think we got what each of us was trying to say... hahahaaaa...

 Tianjin train station & a sample of the train ticket

At first, I thought that I would be uncomfortable lying down in open spaces, but once the light go out and the eyes so sleepy... I forgot all about that :P
Plus, the air were so soft and cool... make the eyes heavy easily...

From Datong-Xi'an we ride on a soft sleeper compartment where we share with friendly Chinese guy. At first, before the warm- up, we were all serious and not talking to each other. But, after the ice has been cracked, we couldn't stop talking... despite a communication barrier. He spoke a little bit English and we spoke a little bit Mandarin, you can imagine how crazy was our communication. After the ice was broken and with all the nut cracking jokes, I bet ours was the noisiest compartment of all. Heheheeeeee...

To Beijing from Xi'an we took a soft sleeper as well. At first, we suppose to share our compartment with 2 Chinese guys... one spoke a little English, the other one spoke a little than a little English. It was hard until of them found a compartment that we can switch to. So after that, we share a compartment with 2 Russian ladies who also spoke a little than a little English. It was very hard to communicate, so Ms. Z & I just communicate with each other.

In hard sleeper or soft sleeper trains, they provide each section or compartments with big flask where you can fill with hot water that they provided on board. So, we had our dinner & breakfast on the trains. They also go round selling foods/ fruits/ drinks... so no need to worry so much :)

Around Tianjin, Datong & Xi'an, we ride in a car since we already booked travel agents to bring us around. So, we have no public transport experience...
In Beijing, we took mostly subways to get around and taxi from/to the train station to/from hostel.

3 wheels auto, a motor-bicycle that is so quiet and a rickshaw... that visor the lady is wearing is a normal view all around Beijing :)

From Beijing to Tianjin... we took the 30 mins bullet train. RMB 88 for the hard seat which was not hard at all. The train moved at maximum speed of 327km/h... so fast!


People we met:
  • Our guides... YanYan, Mr. Wong, Fay and Monica and the drivers :)
  • The friendly uncle on the train from Tianjin to Datong
  • The nut cracking guy on the train from Datong to Xi'an. You rock!
  • The Russian ladies on the train from Xi'an to Beijing... and again at the Forbidden City.
  • The staff at Sanlitun hostel.
  • 2 American students on their holiday trip. The girl was so funny & cheerful. I can't stop laughing listening to her talking :)
  • And others like the funny sellers at Silk Market and the friendly taxi drivers...

Accommodation we stayed in:

Sanlitun Youth Hostel in Beijing, twin sharing en suite for RM37.00+ a night. Towels, kettle, tv and air-cond provided. The staff there were friendly, helpful and speak good english. The room was comfortable and the toilet was clean. There were even services everyday to tidy up the room and clean up the bathroom.

Access to the internet is also free for the first hour and the hostel was a walking distance to the subway station...
They even have cute pets! Kittens, rabbits, birds... I loved the kitten... she's so active and adorable!

Sanlitun Youth Hostel - Reception Area

I'll definitely recommend this hostel.


Our helpful travel agents:

We contacted Vivian Xie from EasyTourChina. She was very helpful and patient with me... I'm not a difficult client, but not so easy as well I would say. But, she pulled through. Unfortunately, she just resigned... because of personal reasons ok... not because of me :P

She arranged for our travel in Tianjin with Ms. Yan Yan, in Datong with Mr. Wong and in Xi'an with Ms. Fay. All three of them was very helpful, knowledgeable and fun!

Dear Vivian, thank you so much!

For the travel in Beijing, we arranged everything via our hostel once we got there. So, the visit to the Great Wall and Kung Fu show were arranged by them and not to forget, our guide Monica.

Thanks a lot you all for your help! We really appreciate it!


Finding halal foods:

Not too hard especially in Xi'an & Beijing. In Xi'an you can always go to the Muslim street... just make sure you don't miss to try the delicious plum juice. OMG! I want it... I want it...

But as always.... we brought our own ration, just in case... especially for breakfast *wink*

Our lunch/ dinner at Xi'an... yum yum... the spicy cold noodles, the soft meatball soup, the something made of potato... and the ever delicious thirst quenching plum juice! I wanttttt moree!!!!

In Beijing... not that easy but surprisingly we managed to find them... using our sense of smell of course. hahahaaa...You can easily find Muslim restaurant at Ox Street, there's one nearby the KungFu Theather, one nearby our hostel... so, not that bad.


Shopping like mad:
twice...
  1. Muslim street in Xi'an... lucky we still need to go to Beijing. So, our shopping in Xi'an were not as mad as in Beijing.
  2. Silk Market in Beijing - subway station Yong An Li. It can drive you mad. Trust me. There were so many things and I wanted to buy them all... arrggghhh.... Fortunately, I still have my self control and Ms. Z beside me. Just make sure that you bargain and that you have a rough idea what is the price range for the item.

Culture shock:
I have only two:
  1. Spitting - not an ordinary spitting. I don't want to talk about it coz it makes my stomach wants to empty itself. So, look where you're stepping on or sitting down.
  2. Public toilet - have no lock. It's a scary feeling trying to do your business and be on the look out at the same time... heheheeeee...

Weirdest question I got:
Are you chinese?
Oh yes... yes I am...
That was not the first time I received this question. That was the 5th if I counted correctly. But, when I got this question from Chinese in China... it really completed the weirdness...


Lesson learned:
  1. If you're NOT on a tight budget, I strongly advise against flying budget for a long journey... especially those that takes more than 4 hours with an economic seat that cannot recline. If you cannot imagine why I said this, I suggest that you try it once first :)
  2. For backpackers, travel light or lighter. We need our body to carry us for a time longer than 8D7N... heheheee...
  3. Same advise as always... on a short trip on tight deadline, plan well... this is the same as long trips as well. But for longer trip, you have longer time. So, I think you can afford to lose a few wrong turns, or time looking for accommodations or missed trains :)
  4. Be healthy & keep fit... especially if you're on a free & easy. I was not so fit, but fit enough to climb the Great Wall of China! Not too shabby eh?!
  5. If you're a shopping manic here... you're a shopping manic everywhere. So, make sure you bring enough $$ and a spare bag or two... or three??? too much... buy the 3rd bag there... heheheeee...
  6. Sharpen your common sense and guts... they are useful when you're not in a familiar places. My friends cautioned me so many times about how cunning people in China can be. Lucky for us, those that we met were all very, very nice people. 
  7. If you're visiting a country where neither your language nor English is the first or second language, please learn a little bit of the local language. It will help a lot. People will feel appreciated and impressed. It will make your travel easier :)
Looking back... I really truly enjoyed our trip to China with the cool Ms. Z *wink*. We've visited 2 great wonders of the world! We plan to do this again... different country of course.

Bila agaknya tu Ms. Z?!

Zaijian!