“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

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My trip to the Land of the Maharajas was a trip of both worlds, familiarity which is of Delhi and Agra, as well as of the unknown, Srinagar, Kashmir. I hadn’t plan to go away, it was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions! I had to go away, to reenergize & find the meaning of life, that’s when I decided I need to take a break – away from work & the mundane, routine tasks! I never thought that it would take me to this Sub Asian continent, for I have thought of going to Turkey this autumn.

Our journey began on Saturday, 20th October:

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1530 – met Amy, my ex-schoolmate at KLIA. We were requested to meet up at Counter L.

1630 – briefing by our tour agent & group leader (Counter F18)

1700 – immigration check by a stone faced & unfriendly officer. Should have gone through the Autogate instead!

1730 – coffee break at O’Briens and performed Asar prayer

1800 – boarding MH 190 to Delhi.

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it was a 4hour and 20 min flight, was served chapati, rice & chicken curry. Spent my time napping, watching Travel channel & part of Snow White

2100 (local time, 2300 Malaysian time ) – arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport, immigration check, baggage claim. Pretty clean airport = clean toilet, so I was satisfied!

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Our local tour agent was already at the airport, waiting for us – a small group of 18.

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2300 – checked in at Hotel Grand Sartaj, Delhi & served Indian cuisine for dinner.

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21st October, Monday:

Woke up early and decided to jot down a few notes about my trip to India.

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Checked out early as we have a flight to catch – off to Srinagar, Kashmir!

…. to be continued when time permits!

India, here I come!

Posted: September 22, 2012 in mi vida loca

India? You plan to travel to India? Of all places, India? Why?

“Why not?” I replied.

I’ve been there, lived there for a few months, I know what’s it like. So I know what to expect, but that was some time back, 19 years ago to be exact. Ohhh….my…. that seems ages ago…. things must have changed….

Am looking forward to visit the Taj Mahal again …. hopefully, am more appreciative this time around! This time, we’ll be visiting Delhi, Agra and Srinagar. Have been to the first two but not the latter! Looking forward to spend the night on the boathouse! Yeehah!

Will be leaving on the 20th of October! Mentally ticking clothes to pack and footwear to put on! I think it’ll be more rugged wear this time for me…. Can’t wait!

Have boots, will travel!

 

2011 in review

Posted: January 1, 2012 in mi vida loca

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A new day, a new year, a new beginning. Will it truly be a new beginning for you (all of you out there) and me? Or will it be like any other day? For me at least!

It’s time to reflect on your life, it’s time for change … but I have to admit that CHANGE is not easy. It takes determination and hard work and maybe a HARD kick in the butt (which I need NOW). Anyone can help me to cure this “sickness” of mine? PROCRASTINATION… I don’t always procrastinate, it comes and goes…. it all depends on my mood. Like right now, for instance. I’m supposed to be preparing a speech, but I’m right here typing an entry in my nearly forgotten blog! The truth is my heart is not in it, I don’t feel like writing a speech, my speech! But I’ll get it done, even though at the 11th hour!

So what will be my inspiration? Am looking forward to go on a short break abroad… no not Paris or London or Copenhagen or New York. Just a mere swim away to the Indonesian archipelago. This will be my 2nd trip to Jakarta and Bandung, the so-called Asian shopping haven! I secretly wished that I could travel to Turkey this winter, go on a hot air balloon ride over Anatolia, escaping from reality! But Indonesia will do, I guess. Not to forget, that my GFs and I will be heading to Bali in February 2012! Ahaha…the good life … all this traveling talk just boost my mood! Could I squeeze in more travel plans for next year? Turkey is still in my mind. Why not? It’s a beautiful country filled with heritage & history. Not to forget great food! My visit to Istanbul in 2005 has spoiled me! I guess, whoever has set foot on Constantinople will instantly fall in love with what she has to offer! It’s like a living museum, filled with culture and tradition! A sight to behold! If it was a man, I would have fallen instantly in love with him! *sigh*

Well, CHEERS to a prosperous New Year!

“to move, to breathe, to fly, to float. To gain all while you give. To roam the roads of lands remote: to travel is to live” Hans Christian Andersen

What I recall about mom, back when she’s of the same age as me today.

Year: Summer of 1985 (if I calculated correctly, back then I was quite an ace in mathematics)
Place: Most probably living out of suitcase at the Beach Hotel, Tripoli, Libya

A diplomat’s wife having just arrived in a very foreign land and maybe harsh environment which is very much different from her motherland / homeland (I do not want to be accused of being gender biased here). I doubt it was easy for her; however, she somehow made the easy transition from a working woman to a full time housewife / homemaker! That’s not an easy feat, I assure you, for someone who spends her time in front of the screen from 9-5, 6 days a week (that’s part of the life of a computer programmer). What more, with a difficult child by her side who is as hardheaded as one could imagine!

There’s so much time on our side, so mom took me on a “journey” of getting to know each other. All this while I knew her as a disciplinarian (she got that from my grandpa, a policeman), not much of a doting mother. She has always been very strict and stern that whenever my cousin and I hear the car door being slammed, we practically dropped whatever we do (shut off the TV) and ran to the bathroom to have our bath. Mom is very particular about our study schedule / timetable. We have to be all cleaned up by 6 @ 7, dinner, homework and revision, rest for a short while to catch our fave show on TV be it Air Wolf @ 21 Jump Street and off to bed (all in that order)! While on weekends our time was spent at the library or art lessons.

While in Libya, I used to watch her cook or bake and even help her do the chores as we often had visitors coming over for tea or dinner. She’s one fine cook, too bad I don’t inherit her “talents”! However, I discovered the joy of travel through my mom. She’s inquisitive and unafraid to travel on her own and to explore the unknown. She doesn’t mind visiting the slums in India, to see firsthand the condition of the schools there or to the government owned schools in Libya (high school students in their military uniform etc.). I guess she would have been a great Minister of Education, if she ever was interested in politics, but as we all know politics is dirty!

Well, yes, that’s my mom. She doesn’t lavish me with gifts or pamper me but she surely lavish me with knowledge, instilled in me the discipline that has shaped me into who I am today. I may not be the perfect child or individual, but I am ME and I am thankful for my parents, who have supported and encouraged me over the years. I could not ask for a BETTER TEACHER.

Thank you, mama!

What do I miss? My alma mater or my lecturers or my courses or the friends I made? Actually, I miss all the fun things we did together! How young and “innocent” we were then!

I remember vividly the day we first met, all innocent, cleaned up and raring to start a new chapter in our lives. A week passed by, then a month, our lives unfold before us. We’ve blossomed into young adults, in search of our own identity. You’d recognize us from a far, in our checkered shirts, Levi’s or CK jeans, boots or leather sandals and JanSport knapsack which slowly evolves into dresses or  skirts with fitted t-shirts or blouses and sling bags (towards the end of our undergrad / senior years).

Remember this, and what we did later?

Remember the days when:

  1. we went on a study/field trip to the National Art Gallery/ the then Balai Seni Lukis Negara (overlooking the the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station) and decided to skip / ditch our evening class!
  2. traveled all the way to Lot 10, to get them free 98° concert tickets (did we play truant again? I can’t recall!) or some other bands! Back then it was the Corrs, BSB etc.
  3. catch a movie marathon at Sunway Pyramid, until we went giddy with hunger!
  4. sneaked out to catch a concert at Sunway Lagoon
  5. go on blind dates for God knows how many times!
  6. spend all your waking time on mIRC Chat Room (what a waste of time!)
  7. ….too many to remember…
  8. oh yeah, stalking your CRUSH! … Damn, those were the days! The dumb things we do! LOL
  9. But, one thing which I will always remember = our Pre-ESL Nite!

Those were the days, when we were young =)

Care to share what you missed most? I can’t list them all here….if I do, I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop! See….

The Hijab & Me

Posted: April 23, 2011 in mi vida loca

Hijab or veil, whatever it’s called all over the world, it denotes the same meaning, a modest dress, which includes the covering of the head.

Me. Myself. and. I

My decision to wear the hijab was not an easy feat! Yes, I am a Muslim (born and bred of a multiracial heritage), but that does not mean that ALL Muslim women don the Islamic garb! I started quite late (early to some), at the DIFFICULT age of 18 or 19! Why is that?

Well, back in the days (20 years ago to be exact) when I made a promise to Allah SWT that I’d put on the hijab if I’d done well in my Lower Certificate of Education (LCE) or SRP as it was famously known then! Alhamdulillah, I managed to obtain 12 aggregate for my SRP. That was quite an achievement for me during my pre-/mid-rebellious stage and having gone through a different or a more liberal education system. Erm, I did recall cutting a few religious classes back then! How ironic!

Anyways, the year passed by and I had moved on to a different school (out of force!), a residential school right at the edge of the city center. It was another 2 difficult and dreadful years for me as I had to share my life with 6 other students in the dorm etc! What made it even worse was my parents weren’t close by, they left me to fend for myself while dad took the job in Delhi! I was reeling in anger for I felt lonely and abandoned! However, I slowly came to terms with my “independence” and “freedom” and started to ignore my studies. I was more engrossed in reading novels rather than my studying for History or Science! You see that was my way of rebelling! When D-Day arrived, I was practically shaking in my “boots”. I told myself, I’d be lucky to pass my papers and I couldn’t imagine braking my parents’ fragile heart. You see, I recalled myself barely studying but I somehow managed to pass my O-Levels exams!

My life was practically in shambles as I had no idea what to do with my life, where to go? I asked myself, was this the consequence of breaking my promise to God, the one I made 2 years ago? I believed so! However, I didn’t want to put my parents into another difficult situation (financially). This time I listened to them, reluctantly so, although they did gave me a choice, to study at a private or public institution. I chose the latter, and was luckily enough to be accepted! That was when I decided it was time to finally don the hijab!

Uh…the first few years wasn’t easy as most of my college mates weren’t wearing them and I was still feeling uncomfortable having something covering my head! What more when you have to think of clothes to match them. So the initial stages were like … now you see it, now you DON’T! It was like that, for a few years until I was more comfortable and confident wearing the hijab.

Flash forward – I keep telling myself, you feel more secure wearing them than without them. Plus, you need not worry about those BAD HAIR days! =) I’m now more than happy shopping for scarves and shawls, there are just too many to choose from!

The Libyan Uprising

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Libya, Our World

Checked on her blogger pals in Libya (KhadijaTeri, Highlander @ From the Rock, Anglo-Libyan). Glad to hear that they’re Okay and living one day at a time. Am following your posts / updates on the situation in Tripoli.

Highlander, we are very concern about the situation in Libya. It’s nothing like the uprising in Egypt! We never expected this to happen, the atrocities against ones own people. I personally have no concerns for Libya’s leader & his followers, but I can’t accept and abhor his actions towards those innocent people! Yes, he is not democratic, but oh please, have a heart at least! Is he so full of himself that he thinks he can go on forever? Well, I guess those brave / courageous countrymen of yours have proved him wrong. Can’t blame them for putting their lives at stake in search of freedom.

Am sorry for being so emotional, for I feel for your people. Yes, I was there long time ago, although for a very short while, only 3 1/2 years. But, I’ve seen the suffering, the propaganda, I love Libya too much for it has opened my eyes to the world. It has lead me to appreciate what’s out there. Can’t believe I’m shedding tears at this present moment. That’s how deep my love is for this adopted country of mine.

TripAdvisor™ TripWow ★ Globetrottingrien’s Trip Around The World (?!) Slideshow ★ to Giza, Tokyo and Shibuya by Shrzad Sulaiman. Stunning free travel slideshows on TripAdvisor

via Globetrottingrien’s Trip Around The World (?!) Slideshow.

Our journey begins just after midnight, clear skies and twinkling stars accompanied us all the way to Sagil, a little village not far from the legendary mountain, Gunung Ledang.

The Climbers (Photos Courtesy of Senor Syed and Kojak)

Along the way, we decided to make a pit stop, you know to stretch our legs, empty our bladder and bowels…ehehe, or catch a cup or two! It’s a two-hour journey you know, so it’s important that we drive comfortably and reach our destination safely!

We took the North – South Highway and exit at Tangkak, a village bordering the State of Melaka and Johor. Then, took the country road to Sagil where our guide patiently waited for us, in front of the 7-Eleven Store. It was 3 am, still much too early for us to do anything plus our bodies were crying for a much needed rest! Moi, our guide was accommodating enough to let us catch a wink or two at his little abode.

Morning came much too soon, we groggily, moved and transported ourselves into the awaiting vehicle to grab some carbs, protein & fluid before setting off on this treacherous journey!

Fueling ourselves with food

to be continued….