18 July 2012

Edisi: Ramadhan Bakal Tiba

Assalamualaikum. Annyeong!

Alhamdulillah! Few days more before Ramadhan arrives. Insya Allah, I pray this year will be better than the previous years.  Last year my fast perforated 2 days only. Therefore I really hope I will have none to qada' this year. What I really wish I could accomplished is to be able to perform the terawih prayers more. I don't like it when I gave stupid excuses to myself whenever I couldn't make it. Things such as "Ndak sempat" or "Nantilah esok, mesti pergi" are just too lame! And absurd. But I can't seem to get rid to those excuses. Like, my mouth is seal with it. And that I was bound to say them.

I started a mission for myself to achieve every Ramadhan since 2 years ago. I stick obediently to that rule for the past years. Note that it only apply on Ramadhan, ok. Insya Allah I will do the same this year. May Allah strengthen my heart. 

Breaking of fast session with the ladies will definitely be held. Itu acara harus setiap tahun. Harap kali ni dapat buat like last year where we went for terawih together. Pastu lepak2 share pengetahuan agama. I remembered vividly the stories Zai shared with us. Her experiences while she was in Mecca. And Kizzy also shared some ilmu she gained from the books she read. Memang masa tu best sangat, free dari gosip & dosa. Erk, kentara lah kan masa lain memang filled with gossips! Tettttttttt! 

Anyways, let us pray for a bless Ramadhan to all of us. Semoga keberkatan bulan mulia ni dapat ubah kita menjadi Muslim yang lebih baik. Paling aku mahu, semoga dapatlah timbangan sebelah kiri aku tu dikurangkan. Insya Allah, amin.

p/s This year PaRam at IndahPermai. Sebab aku trip diva lilin, aku suruh pekerja aku jak jaga gerai. Because I plan to just stay at Bunda's place. Pastu menanti kena duku kepala sebab awal2 sudah plan jadi malas.


17 July 2012

CutiCuti: Paris Day 1 - Palace of Versailles / Notre Dame / Seine River Cruise

Yeah akhirnya dapat idea supaya dapat upload gambar super banyak using the broadband. No more super lembab uploading process. Tapi kualiti gambar lari ke laut lah kan...sebab aku resized 2x smaller than the original file. 

So, on my eighth day in Europe...I departed for Paris. Naik Eurostar train, tiket aku beli online a month before the trip. Memang sudah plan macam tu, yang mana boleh beli via online better beli awal. Supaya ndak kelam kelibut allocate duit time di sana. Sudah aku ni selalu bingung mau differentiate duit dorang. Macam orang baru belajar baca Braille ah. Ok sila stop melalut. Isi penting adalah journey kau ke Kota Cinta ya Bie. 

I woke up very early that morning (19/06/12). Sunrise at 3am so ndak lah aku sangsi berjalan to the train station di pagi buta. Syukur, the night before sempat packing ala kadar. Only brought one backpack with me. Left my luggage & other stuffs in a locker at the hostel. It cost me £3/day for a large locker. 

The station is merely 10minutes walking from the hostel I stayed at. Haruslah aku arrived super awal. 
Waited near this gate. Senang kerja bila sudah beli tiket awal. At the gate, scan barcode dekat turnstile.
then to bag scanning for inspection at the Immigration Counter...just like what we have to go through at the airport. 
Every information about the journey is printed on the ticket. Kena make sure time of departure & which coach. Once at the platform, look for ur coach # ON THE FLOOR.  
Jangan sibuk melilau cari signboards ya, memang ndak jumpa. Lucky for me I watched the Running Man (ndak habis lagi sama RM kan); pasal tu aku poyo tahu yang nombor coach di atas lantai BUKAN di signboard macam selalu.

Harus aku hentam tidur the whole journey. Booked seat tepi aisle, no chance aku mau gambar kehijauan pemandangan through the window. Tapi memang view adalah super lawa! Saujana mata memandang. Damai tenangnya hati.
Arrived Gare du Nord half past 9a. Lebih kurang two hours journey from London juga. Read the French handsomely. 
Joined the Hop On Hop Off (HoHo) tour. Yup, tiket ni pun aku beli awal. There are 2 Paris' reliable HoHo that I came to know from the internet & I decided to choose this sebab tour ni include 4 different routes. Kiranya more places I could see & visit.

I also bought a day tour ticket to Versailles through this web. The tour starts at 11a & I should gather with the rest of the tour group by the fountain at Place St. Michel. Alas, due to some miscommunication between me & the staff at the metro counter...I couldn't make it on time. Yeah, tiket aku burn macam tu jak. Thanks to my carelessness I accidentally left the map in my luggage in London. I tried my best to hold myself back together & search for the metro station through the app I downloaded in my phone prior the trip. Yet it's just one of my bad day perhaps. I don't remember the exact name of the meeting place; instead I only remember it's a fountain situated near the Notre Dame Cathedral. So I search for the station near Notre Dame & of course directed to the wrong station. Keyword Notre Dame wasn't helping at all!

10 minutes more before the group boarded the train...and I was still searching for the bloody fountain! I swore I have made a clear live view where the fountain is; as well as how it looks like through google map. But when I arrived the metro station, the fountain is far from being seen. Asking the French wasn't helping either. They refused to speak English although they understand the language. I was in panic state...and tears started to fall when suddenly out of no where I firmly said to myself 

"This is it. The most anticipated part for ur first solo trip. Embrace the moment, calm urself. Getting lost in ur trip is the best thing ever happened to every solo traveller. That's what makes this whole trip unforgettable." 

And so I cleared all the negative thoughts in my mind. Baru tu aku realized I haven't eaten anything since I left London that morning. Halal foods are easy to find in Paris, alhamdulillah. I bought myself a pizza kebab which was too big a portion it's enough for 2 people to eat. There were fries & veggies as side dishes as well. I sat at a bench & indulged in my brunch. And only then my brain started to function back to normal. No more panic, no more tears. Most importantly, no more resentment against those uncooperative Fpeople. Sudah went through benda macam ni haruslah first impression towards their people adalah sedikit ke laut ya. Lain orang lain tanggapan so sila JANGAN judge my point of view.
Everything is well informed on the signboards but once u missed even a word...all will be in total chaos. I forgot the keywords "Fountain St Michel" I ended up wandering around Paris with this words on my forehead. "I am lost". Or this thing happened only to me?? Sedih. 
Just because Notre Dame is situated near the fountain it doesn't mean the station near it; is called Notre Dame. In Paris, it is so easy to get confused with the names. I later found out that the station I should get off from to reach the fountain & Notre Dame is Cite'. Gila jauh kot nama tu kan, langsung tiada connection whatsoever!! 
Bukan rezeki aku untuk join that tour; so I said to myself. Automatik positive vibe injected into the system. I can STILL go to Versailles by my own. Mesti pergi sebab itu tujuan utama turun France ok! And to do that, I first have to go to the only place that I'm sure of in Paris. None other than the hostel I've booked. I remember the station near the hostel...also the direction. It's all stored in my mind. Nasiblah that part belum ter-erase dari sistem. Republique is the only nearest station. Arah to the hostel pun sangatlah di hujung jari...less than 5mins walking aku sudah sampai depan pintu hostel. Ahaks. Mula kan perangai riak muncul!!
I googled the direction to Versailles through the desktop at the hostel. Free internet! Aku suka! The lady at the reception counter pun sangat2 membantu! Paling penting, she speaks English! Although with strong French accent at least we could communicate!! Ndak lah double K.O aku on the same day kan.
She gave me a new map & guide. In which later telah menjadi jeruk pekasam. Well, bagi nampaklah sikit kan aku guna map tu. Koyak tepi, crumpled lagi. Memang enhanced gila skill aku baca map sekarang ni.
From Republique to Invalides. I have to take the RER C service to reach Versailles. 
Kena beli new ticket as the carnet tickets I bought earlier is only usable for the Metropolitan Train. Versailles is situated in Île-de-France; 20km southwest from Paris. That's why kena beli tiket lain. As advised in the internet, I bought a return ticket. Memang bijak sebab dari Versailles tu amatlah menguji kesabaran barisan untuk beli tiket ya. Panjang yang bikin headache!
Awal2 sudah jot down notes takut sesat lagi. Boleh board the train to Versailles from both platform at Invalides. Just make sure the last station is Versailles RG Chateau. Yang Vick tu boleh tukar2 so jangan ambil pusing sangat pasal tu. Yang perlu diambil kisah is the last station. Sebab ada 2 stations Versailles...the other is Versailles Chantiers.

45 mins of train journey to the last station. Semua akan turun, jadi silalah kau pun turun. Out from the station, ada map direction to the palace. But since I already know how to get there; kali ni memang yakin gila...I just walked passed the board. Lagipun memang most of the people menuju istana tu...aku ikut jak lah jejak diorang. 10mins walking...kalau sesat ndak lah jauh aku kena buat u-turn kan.
The palace's map. Gila grand, sikit tercabut kaki berjalan dari main gate to the entrance. Ya, baru mau masuk palace's gate pun memang jiwa. Please remember that I've been using my superwalkertapaki service since early in the morning. Tu belum campur penat kesesatan lagi kan.
At last!!! Palace of Versailles Château de Versailles standing magnificently right before my eyes. Truly a dream came true!!! Syukran Ya Rabb.
As I said...rocky & sloppy path in order to reach the entrance. Tabah kan hati saya untuk berjalan. Alang2 sudah sampai, redah jak lah. Versailles is not famous only as a building, but it is also a symbol of absolute monarchy of the Ancient Regime. 
Miniature of the palace displayed in a glass box. Super besar! Super luas! Can't help but to imagine. How things will be if I were to live there with only Bunda & the brothers? Punyalah banyak kos itu ini mau consider kan. Fuh! Ntah berapa billion million habis sebulan. 
Echo of my voice could be heard if I shouted at the end of this pathway. 
Totally mesmerized by all the drawings on the ceilings. And I began to develop a new interest after my trip to Europe. That is to decipher the story behind the paintings. The story they tried to convey.
Handle at the window, too; symbolized something. View outside the window is the lovely garden. 
Hall of Mirrors / Galerie des Glaces. This hall is the central gallery of the palace; also one of the most famous rooms in the world. The main feature of this famous hall is the 17 mirror-clad arches that reflect the 17 arcaded windows that overlook the gardens. Each arch contains 21 mirrors with the total compliment to the 357 used in the hall's decoration. 

Ernie went here early this year & she tagged me in of her pictures there. That's when I fell in love with this chateau. 
At the end of the hall stood proudly these pair of giant stainless steel stilettos. 
Garden of Versailles / Jardins du Chateau de Versailles. The gardens cover approximately 800 hectares of land. As I was getting too exhausted, I decided to not enter the garden. One will need to purchase a new entrance ticket as the ticket for the palace does not cover the garden.

If I'm not mistaken it is 8,00 Euro per entry. I have to settle with this view only. *the pic of course* I sat at one of the bench; admiring this. The beautiful green garden, blooming colourful flowers & breezy air...perfect combination to soothe the soul. But surely can't cure the blisters around my foot
Out from The Apartment, gift shop is the last stop. Bought the macaroons on the second left just to get a taste of it. Memang ndak pernah makan before ni, sungguh kasihan. And of course the colours of the box attracted me. 

After 5 hours time spent in the palace...it's time to get back to the city. Thank God it's summer, it will only get dark around 10p. I still have time to wander around. I was confident I will not get lost this time because I already have the map with me. 
Ehem, selingan. Ini lah train station (apart from Cite') & fountain yang patut aku jejak di awal pagi itu. Huhu hanya sampai lepas balik dari istana. Hampas kelapa kan kau Bie.
River near the Notre Dame
As planned, batobus ride from Notre Dame will take place after Versailles. 
From Invalids, I alighted the train at Cite'. And walked few minutes to Notre Dame. I got to ride the batobus for free because it's included in the HoHo ticket. Dapat menikmati pemandangan Paris from Seine River. Bot tu pun stop di tempat2 tourist attractions. That evening, Eiffel Tower destinasi harus. 
Yours Truly cruising the Seine River. 
Three stops more to reach the infamous Eiffel! Memang excited mau berdiri bawah tower tu...ntah pasal apa, maybe sebab tu mercu tanda France so aku rasa logik ada feeling poyo gitu. But honestly speaking, I was more 'nervous' to enter Versailles than standing before Eiffel. History has got something to do with that I guess. 

Anyways, since it's already too long an entry I might just stop here for now. Will continue about the Paghee trip in my next entry.  

I'll leave u with this picture...taken at a park on my way to Trocadero. A perfect place to have a clear view of Eiffel Tower. 


14 July 2012

Solo Adventure: Part 10 - City of London

It's my last day in Birm at Ernie's. Moving to London city where I stayed for a week before going back to Malaysia. 

As I have 'mastered' the technique (teknik sangat) to use this machine...maka harus tunjuk taring tembirang di situ. Successfully bought the ticket to Victoria Station. I decided to take the 10a coach. Boleh getek lebih di London kalau sampai awal kan.
Seperti dicanang before, the bus departed from Birm on time! Sangat efficient, sekian.

I slept all the way to London. Macam penat betul dengan aktiviti the day before kan. Alkisah aku penat perah otak packing barang. Penat gulung2 baju bajan etc.
Arrived London Victoria at noon. Terus masuk arrival hall & aktiviti mendongak mencari signboard bermula. Alhamdulillah sepanjang di sana I have no problem reading the signs. Janji kau tau mana arah tujuan...and ikut arrow sign.
As for me apart from the signs, sometimes aku suka ikut orang. Paling penting kau kena condifent confident. 

Aku ni punyalah ingat Victoria Underground Station tu mcm Masjid Jamek Station. Once arrived...terkejut! Grand station it is. Macam mall pun ada juga rupa dia ah. 
Few days di sana, I got used to the scenery of people dragging their luggages. 
I looked for the sign to the underground station (big yellow arrow aku yang buat, arraso). Make sure u know ur destination! Always jot down every important points. Don't get mix up with the station's name. Contoh: Jangan hanya tahu initial Victoria Station jak. Kau kena tau it's either the underground or coach station. Unless kau familiar habis sama ni tempat, sila abaikan reminder aku. 
Bought the Oyster Card at the machine. Action habis kan ndak mau queue panjang di kaunter. I paid £10 for this; in which £5 is for the deposit balance. I did some reading about the Oyster Card & Travelcard before coming over. Made necessary comparisons between them & finally made up my mind to purhase OC. 
 I enjoyed taking pictures of the signboards...senang nanti kalau agak sesat boleh buat reference.

Kings Cross ni kira macam hub. It is a connecting station to all the underground lines. Pastu St Pancras International Station pun sebelah building jak, memang purposely chose the hostel which is only 10mins walking distance. Esok pagi kena bertolak awal to catch my 0545a Eurostar train to Gare Du Nord.
With my OC, I can also travel using the bus. Sebab gue udah capek, beg tiba2 super berat...maka naik double decker was of great choice. The bus stopped right in front the stairs to the hostel's main entrance. Gila super ndak rugi pilih hostel ni. Oh by the way, I stayed at Clink 78.
Promised to meet up with a friend who is currently living in London. And because I arrived 2 hours early from the check-in time, I left my luggages in the luggage room available at the hostel. Yeah, gue stay hostel jak. Murah! Kan budget traveler therefore kenalah bijak menabur mengatur belanja. 
Avie; my friend arrived at the hostel few minutes after I was done arranging my stuffs in the luggage room. And off we go to the City of London. Aku ndak plan apapun for that day because I left everything to her to decide. Aku berlagak ala tourist lah kunun kan.
Westminster Abbey!! Sangat admire sama building di sana. Very well taken care of...ukiran lagi sangat intricate. Fuh!!
Unpredictable London weather. I wore a jacket takut beku sebab sejuk. Suddenly sun goes out & the cold wind is gone. Adalah a bit chilly tapi masih boleh survived with just cardigan.
Pelawat toilet tegar macam aku memang rasa dunia aku yang punya bila nampak sign for restroom. Serius wei susah gila kot cari public toilet di sana. Most of the times kalau rasa mau terkucil, I just hold it until I reach the hostel. Batu karang ndak lama ni tau.
Trafalgar Square. Gary oppa of Running Man went here early this year as he won the Running Man Superpower Specials episode. And that made me wanna set my foot there as well. Seriously, the reason why I was excited about the square is because of him. Ntah lah kenapa pelik begini.
At Massala Restaurant. Memang masalah habis mau cari. Lunch-cum-dinner finally. After pusing2 jalan2...not to forget part kami sesat cari tempat makan alhamdulillah akhirnya dapat duduk. Look cosy tapi harga memang berpatutan. Thanks to google! Walau before tu hampir give up sebab semua suggested makan place that we went to...it's either closed or not operating anymore. Yet, bravo to us. Skill baca map google sangat reliable.
Marvelous meal was on Avie! Terharu kena belanja by a person whom I met for the first time. Before ni chat di facebook jak. Never thought we will meet for real. 
Avie, danke für die Mahlzeit. Also for showing me around the city! Angin bingai datang, because she could speak German so aku pun trip lah kan. Gomawo googletranslate. Ngek kantoi. Perut kenyang meant I'm all recharged! Boleh jalan senang hati. 
Piccadilly Circus. Before ni tengok gambar di web or album orang, can't believe aku di sana sudah. Di tengah kerumunan orang yang ramai. Syukran Ya Rabb!
Naik kereta ni balik Sabah...nothing is impossible right. 

We went to Oxford Street & did some retail therapy. Ndak boleh shopping berabis sebab tujuan hanya untuk cuci mata. Souvenirs & gifts are allowed but not excessively. Last stop was at Primark. Ni semua sebab racun Madu2 aku suruh at least stop by at the store. Nasib kan ndak melambung duit ditabur.

Kami berpisah dalam tube. As it was already getting dark, kaki aku pun sudah bengkak gajah...and I also need to repack my things for the next day journey jadi haruslah sedar diri. Before balik hostel, singgah beli top up & tidbits. 
Ehem, sangat kagum kot with the self service checkouts. Scan barcode barang kau beli & insert the payment. All by urself. Ndak payah kot mau ada cashier segala. Macam ATM cash deposit machine...minus the barcode scanner & change slot lah.
My dinner was the nasi lemak Ernie packed for me early that morning. Ndak bangas even berjam dalam tapau...thanks to the low temperature in London. Ahaks. 

Malam tu tidur nyenyak gila sebab penat paling maksimum. Totally worn out. Set alarm awal as I have to leave early esoknya. Gila bingai kalau ada hati mau tertinggal train kan.

p/s Too many pictures in this entry, sorry for that. There's just too many pictures I go insane(??) everytime I have to choose which to post here.