Aceh Diving Trip

Monday, February 9, 2015


Bismillah...

I'm currently sitting on the balcony of my room which faces the ocean. It's full moon tonight, very windy and you can hear the sound of waves fiercely hitting the shores.. Honestly, I'm quite worried if the waves are going to be as big as today tomorrow. The fast ferry was cancelled due to rough sea and we had to take the big ferry which was slower. But still it was a bumpy and rocky ferry ride that many got seasick and puked..

Luckily I did not.. Just imagine.. The waves were so big that even as I stood on the deck I could feel water spray on my face..




We arrived on Sunday in Aceh after spending a night in KLIA2. 
There's this carpeted area in level 2 where everybody spread their sheets and sleep there. So we slept there with the other travelers but obviously it was not part of our plan because we were hurm.. ill prepared hahaha
It was really cold and by 3 am I was already shivering!
I got with me my sweat shirt and then I'd to take out one of my pashmina to make it my blanket while everybody else are all ready with sheets, fluffy blankets and pillows



We spent the whole day sightseeing; focusing on the 2004 tsunami remembrance attractions. 

"Kita mesti menginsafi kejadian tsunami!" Kataku sebelum bertolak.

But I had one of the most demoralizing experience ever! Hahaha I was not allowed to enter the Baiturrahman Mosque because I was wearing jeans! The exact words of the security guard,

"Kakak.. seluarnya ketat... Ini masjid..."

I was flummoxed!  I'd always entered masjid wearing jeans but was never stopped haha

So if you're planning to visit Aceh and visiting the mosques that survived the tsunami is in your itinerary, DO NOT WEAR JEANS.

Well I manage to enter and performed solat in the end because our driver told the guard that we are from Malaysia and I need to pray there..


We went to the beach in Lampuuk to watch the sunset and stopped by Masjid Rahmatullah before heading to the stalls which are famous for grilled fish. In the mosque there were still some cracked columns from the tsunami and the pictures of pre, post tsunami and during the reconstruction process.



At the beach there were small huts where you could sit crossed leg and enjoy grilled fish. 
Actually,  ikan bakar dia nampak biasa jak tapi sedap gila!!!!!! (^^)
It took some time for them to prepare the dish so I was a little too carried away with my own emotion while gazing at the coastline while my friend dozed off.

It was almost hard to believe that the land was once destroyed by the waves upon seeing how normal things are like around there. I know it's been a decade but looking at how they are now seems like it never happened at all. If it were not for the fish trawler and that big ship and the dome that got drifted away inland, there are barely trace of the catastrophe...

I was blinking away tears thinking how many lives were lost on the coastline where my eyes were laid on. I can't bear the lost of one, I can't imagine what pain the people here have endured from losing many loved ones in one fateful incident.

It was almost dark when we left the beach. The two men seated at the front were talking about the aftermath of tsunami. According to Pak Saiful, Banda Aceh changed a lot after the tsunami. Even though it was indeed an ordeal, if it weren't for that day, Aceh might not be as developed as it is today. He said, the people have very much improved in religion, in akhlaq, in education, in economy etc etc...

"Walaupon tsunami ini musibah tapi hikmah yang datang dengannya itu juga banyak ya pak.."



On top is the view from my room in Fina Bungalow. We booked a diving package in Rubiah Divers which include all transportation, accommodation and 5 dives. Meals were not included but there were very good food in the area where we were staying and the price were very cheap! Like around RM 15 per meal and for that you can get a very decent portion and delectable ayam penyet set and drinks. There was also this food stall where we like to buy pisang molen. How I wish we have it here in Malaysia



To be honest, I freaked out a little bit when I saw how small the diving boat was. I had some silly thoughts when we first board it. Because the waves were big, and there were 9 of us on the boat plus the tanks and the other equipment; I was actually thinking what would I do if this boat were to capsize hahaha

But the boat was actually totally safe. It rocked violently as we were set to jump off but it was alright. 2 divers have to back roll on opposite sides simultaneously to gain balance and I thought that was hurm.. cute hahaha

My favourite site would be Canyon because the corals are so huge there and there were a lot of beautiful colourful coral fish. Although they didn't come in large school but still they are beautiful. And my newest encounter would be the Devil Ray! Yeay!

It was quite far but it was big enough to be visible in that distance.


The three of us v(^^)v
Best jugak travel dengan dorang ni walaupon suka pegang handphone... After our second dive, I actually vomited.. Three times... And these guys were cool enough to held me tight as I vomit in the violent sea dan dorang pasrah gila berendam muntah aku hahahaha

"Jom balik bilik..."
"Awalnnye..."
"Ya! Supaya kamu bole maen handphone di bilik..."

Hahaha





Tanzania: Maasai Village

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bismillah...

Alhamdulillah I've uploaded the first video from our Tanzania trip. I'm suck at video editing thus please bear with this super amateur video production hehehe

Anyway, this one was recorded while we were visiting a Maasai village on our way back from Serengeti. We were of course quite nervous; we didn't read anything about the Maasai before the trip and we didn't know what to expect. But we had a really good time there with Ponja, the Maasai chief as our guide in the village.

According to Stephan, the Maasai is one of the most popular tribe because they preserve their customs and cultures to this day. They still live in Maasai boma; a house made of cow dung and mud. And as we cruise along the road in Tanzania, we can almost always see the Maasai boys and men herding their cattle and goats..

So here is the video (^^)




Thank you for watching!

Tasmania: Mt Field National Park

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bismillah

Okay now let's continue with our Tasmania trip.. First and foremost let me share with you one quick fact; Tasmanian wilderness is actually listed as UNESCO world heritage!!! \(^^)/

So, as I told you earlier I took no part in making the itinerary so I was clueless. But this was the first trip that we actually made a lot of changes to our original itinerary because when we got there, there were just too many things to see and do that we finally opt to go for nature and just leave the museums and forts for another day since we visited a lot of that in Melbourne.

On our first day, we chose to go to the Mount Field National Park, which was about 1.5 hours drive from our hostel. The streets were still very calm when we were getting ready to start. An old man, probably in his sixties were standing idly a few meters from our car. The engine was running, all of us were already inside the car and I was adjusting my seat and the mirrors when Mar said "GG jalan!" in a stern voice. I was of course surprised because it was not in MR's nature to suddenly become so tense early in the morning.

And when I turn to look at MR, there it was, the image of a male private part behind the passenger seat window. "OMAIGAD!!!!!!!!" And then I just stepped on the accelerator and sped off with the tires screeching. And when we reached the junction at the end of the street, RA was still clueless to what have happened. 

"Ko tak nampak ke?"
"Tak... Ape bende?"
"Kite pon rase pakcik tu pelik dari awal lagi.."
"So sekarang kite nak drive gi mane ni?"
"Hurm.. rasenye GG kene pusing la.. Macam sepatutnye U turn tadi.."

That was just how shocked we were to the old man's flashing feat (^^")
We had to turn a few blocks to get to the right street to exit Hobart and head towards Mt. Field National Park. We also stopped at Nando's to pack some lunch and was in the lookout for Woolsworth so we can shop some groceries on our way back later.



So the best thing about Tasmania is that you can get this National Park Passport at a reasonable price (that I don't remember how much) that will enable you to enter all the national parks and it includes your vehicle too.



We spent the whole day doing walks inside the park. We went to the waterfalls; Russel falls, Horseshoe falls and Lady Barron Falls.



Russel Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Lady Barron falls

And we did the Tall Trees Walk. And at one point of the boardwalk, there was this set of ancient looking binoculars that were once used to estimate the height of trees so we sort of played with it and tried to estimate the height of some of the trees there.


We had our lunch there in the forest and I asked a stupid question,
"Ade macaque tak kat sini? Nervous pulak nak bukak food..." 





And before leaving, we sat here and ate some sandwich.. There were kangaroos hopping around as we eat.

I say, nature lovers will definitely fall in love with the diversity of flora and fauna in Mt Field National Park. We had a very peaceful time as we pace along the scenic short walks that we didn't realize it was almost sunset when we finished. If we had enough time, we would have gone to the longer walks that will take you to the higher elevation but it will take a full day just to do that. 

She who fears destitute~

So on our way back we manage to stop at Woolsworth which was about to close in a few minutes and the others let me shop for food dan di atas ini lah hasilnya.. Actually this include some food that we brought from Malaysia.. But when SJ was around, we used to shop minimally and it was enough for everybody for the whole trip. Being me, I just binge shop to avoid starvation (^^")

And when we got back at the hostel, I parked exactly at the same spot that morning..
But then changed my mind and drove to the third parking space from that one when the song in the radio at that time sings like this...

"....Flashy people flash around..."
Hahaha I don't think that's coincidence.. that was a sign~ 

So next will be our trip to Mount Wellington and I will introduce to you "Jodoh Pasti Bertemu~" hahaha

Welcoming 2015 (^^)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bismillah..

OMG OMG OMG.... I haven't been writing for quite some time now. To be honest, I've been experiencing something that I always heard about but never had before.. WRITER'S BLOCK... It's just so weird that I can't put my thoughts into words... Anyway, Happy New Year! (^^)/

I don't know whether it's just me or what, but I think 2014 went by just like that and poof! it's already 2015... 2013 was a harsh one for me; perhaps my ultimate year of sorrow for now. Thus, I'd promised myself to make 2014 a much much better one. I was determined to start anew.



Let's just start with our trips.. We haven't got any destination by the time we were done with Tasmania and NZ. I was only saying to my friends that I feel like going to Indochina; one of the reason is because I was broke so I wanted to go for the cheaper ones first hehe We got the tickets quite late and it was not that cheap and RA brought along 2 of her colleagues. I was worried at first if my itinerary was too packed and we were moving about everyday that it might make them tired and not enjoy that trip. But, Alhamdulillah both of them were such a sport and was okay when I carelessly planned our mode of transport from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. Haha seb baek aku tenang orangnya :p

Our second trip was to Tanzania. This was something that suddenly popped out of my mind and we were lucky enough that there was a promo on that day. We bought the ticket immediately! I say this ttrip was like a very very very different experience altogether. Whenever I say that I'm going to Africa, the first thing that people will ask me was "Kamu ikut tour dari Malaysia?" And when I said "No", then they will start nagging about safety and about we're being too brave. In all honesty, I was quite nervous myself because we heard many things about the continent but all that was later proved wrong. Safari is actually a very expensive activity and I was emailing this long list of companies to compare price and then I'd opted a small local company for the tour because it was the cheapest of all. As a precaution I actually emailed all their other guests to avoid scam hahaha semangat kan. Better safe then sorry bha kan. And Alhamdulillah, their service was very good, they treated us like princesses and we felt safe throughout the trip :)



Our last trip was to Nepal for hiking! \(^^)/ Actually to get a glimpse of Everest has always been in my wishlist. I'm not sure whether it was initially in the others' wishlist, but it seem that over the years our list naturally merged and it lengthened~ hahaha We were in Nepal for 16 days and 10 days were spent on hiking. I didn't  have a proper shower for 10 days!!!!!!! That's a personal record!!!! Although it was mentally and physically exhausting, that was the best hiking experience ever. I'll do it again some day.. When I'm rich because it is actually quite pricey... The rest of our trip will be written in other posts... Pada entah kurun ke berapa~ heeeeeee...

Career-wise... Of course, that I've now become somewhat senior, it got more challenging but I've set it at the very beginning of the year that I'm going to be more productive. I was determined to learn as much as I can, I wanted to improvise a lot of things and I challenged myself to implement new things that seem impossible in the past. Well, not everything turn out the way I want, though . But I guess those things that didn't work out was worth trying rather than being kept in my temple, isn't it? And I think, best of all, I was blessed with a good team that now our role is being recognized and I hope it stays that way or become even better while I'm away for study leave, inshaAllah.. Hehe I'm still learning to put aside personal things so it won't affect my professional life... Tapi kadang-kadang, memang ada urge mo tumbuk jak muka difficult people who like to make others' life difficult... Hahaha

And at 28, you find that the "Bila kawen?" questions start to evolve to "Aku ada kenal sorang yang tengah mencari..". And then there are some aunties who seem to be fond to match me with their sons and I got dizzy thinking of how am I going to make a rejection sound kind and nice... Adoi.. Seriously this is more taxing to handle than climbing to a 5000 m peak. And it's even suffocating when your cousin goes like "Pak cik nda ada ka kawan yang ada anak bujang untuk gg?" to your dad... Hello! Do I look like I'm a miserable single damsel in distress??? Pastilah tidak kaaaaannnnnn...

To me, everything in life has its own time and place. Yes, many of my friends got married through this match making process that was arranged by family or usrah.. But that's not for everybody.. And I hate it very much when people start suggesting me that because I have never ever ever lament about still being single.. I never even complaint.. Orang lain yang sibuk ni~ I know clearly what I want in life and I know clearly what I want in marriage as well so if I haven't found the one yet, I am okay to wait.. I don't know who is it yet. He might be someone who is already in my life but we have yet to realize it or he might still be out there... This might sound childish but I don't want to get married just for the sake of having someone but I want to be with someone I want to live with and he should also feel the same...

So, that's it for now sebab aku sumpah mengantuk gila ni~

Tasmania~ I'm in love

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bismillah....

I guess it all started during our trip to Melbourne when we found a small booklet about backpacking in Tasmania and the book made Tasmania sound so interesting. And then during the MATTA fair, there was this booth dedicated only to promote Tasmania of all the regions in Australia. We took all the booklets and brochures back and I honestly had kept it hidden underneath the rest of the booklets that I got from the expo.. We were actually so eager to go to NZ and I actually already booked a return ticket to NZ and we were supposed to spend 8 days there and spared 5 days for Tasmania.

But then suddenly I received an email telling that our flight has been rescheduled and our trip to NZ got shortened to 5 days only. We were being positive that it's worth to spend 9 days in Tasmania. So we manage to grab a $10 one way ticket from Melbourne to Horbart and another $10 ticket from Launceston to Melbourne. That was our best deal ever! And the best thing is, I later LOVED TASMANIA MORE THAN NZ!


The trip was right after my depressing months, so it was a trip in which I look forward to recharge and start anew. I didn't study a thing! When we were waiting for our next flight at the airport, I was clueless to the things mentioned by MR and RA; the walks, the gorge, the mountains, the national parks. We were basically revising our itinerary that I'd took no part in and I just listened. I did the hotel bookings for Tasmania though but I didn't know where they are and just booked them according to the itinerary in our shared Google spreadsheet.


Tiger airways check in and boarding is in a different terminal so be sure to know where you should be going. During our time there were still some constructions going on but maybe now the main terminal is connected to the Tiger Airways', I don't know.. Anyway I remember there were no seats at the check in hall and the boarding hall was a very small one with about 3-5 boarding gates. And they are very strict about hand luggage. You must have only one piece with you.

I remember there was a small sushi stall in the boarding hall because I was very hungry and went to look for things to eat heeeeee So the above is and eagle eye's view of Melbourne city


So during flight, we continue to revise our checklist and MR mentioned about Tasmania or was it Horbart as having one of the most cleanest air in the world. And to my surprise, as we step out of the aircraft and filled my lungs with Tasmanian air, MashaAllah, memang fresh! It felt like early in the morning when actually it was already near sunset! Serius aku bukan exaggerating..


So as usual, we picked our rental car at the airport. MR was actually taking the pic of the car from every corners before we start using it tapi kami pi berposing2 jugak di dalam. You know, so that we don't get charged for scratches or dents that already exist before we use it.This is just for precaution.


We spent two nights at The Pickled Frog hostel. The wi-fi was not working during our stay so we just hang around at the hall at night and chat with the other travelers. We met this very friendly French guy who seem to know everybody at the hostel. He was apparently on a very very long working holiday and have yet to find a job there. And the funny thing was we met him again at Launceston and he told us he already got a job as carpenter at a barn there. Dia ni macam sot sot sikit and macam high jak selalu sebab tu macam diingat betul hahaha



Typically Australia, everything closes at 6pm!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stress ok~
The receptionist told us the Woolsworth would still be opened until 8pm but we got lost and couldn't find it and walked back in despair...


So lemme show you the map of our entire trip before I get started with my 'series' :p


So, we started from Horbart and then to Bucheno.. Jumpa 'Jodoh Pasti Bertemu~' hahahaha


And then from Bucheno to Cradle Mountain. And staying in a cabin within a national park is the best experience ever! Nanti aku bagitau kenapa (^^)


And then from Cradle Mountain to Burnie.. Okay, aku ada buat sesatu yang bodoh masa ni hahaha
Luckily la bff travel aku ni understanding and nda marah pon dengan kejadian super bodoh itu..
 We just laugh it off and continue our journey happily.


And lastly, Burnie to Launceston...

Tasmania is one of the very very very best trip...
1. It's the first place where we got disconnected from the rest of world for 9 days!
2. The first place we traveled without GPS
3. Jumpa pacik flasher muka innocent...
4. Found snow at an unexpected place.. Although we read about it in the guidebooks but still got really surprised
5. Outnumbered by wallabees...

Yeah~ Tasmania is all about...

signboard dekat exit from Horbart airport and yes we were ceaselessly surprised throughout our trip

As usual, the posts will take some time to finish because I am trying hard to manage my time with all the things going on in my life.
Pagi ni aku menulis pon sebab aku macam stressssssssss betol..

It's really hard to go on with what you've been committed to when you start to feel unappreciated..
And when you start to feel it actually stunt you..
Experience is growth and you progress as you manage to settle more and more tasks..
But in my field, you must also expand in knowledge...
Like applicable theoretical knowledge..
And I wonder why is it so hard to let you do so...

Anyway.. memang la post aku ni slow..
Sebab ini bukan travel guide..
Tapi kisah kami ;)

From Amsterdam to Brussels

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bismillah...

So after Iceland we flew back to London and then went to Amsterdam. We arrived rather late at night and we found it hard to find our hostel. And, unfortunately,  I had mistakenly made two bookings at the same hostel for the same dates. The hostel actually emailed me for confirmation when we were still on the way to Amsterdam but I couldn't access my email while we were in Luton so I have to pay anyway huhuhu

The streets on which we lived was rather scary however there were quite a number of halal food options in the area. And I wouldn't recommend this hostel anyway because I think they lack security. The girls who shared room with us just came back from the police station when we checked in. One of their room mate the night before had stolen their stuffs which include their credit cards.

So, first thing the next morning was getting ourselves the public transport tickets. We went to the train station at first but then was directed to another building which was about 5 minutes walk from the station. We went to the counter and asked how to go to Zaanse Schans. I remember the two guys at the counter were very funny and helpful at the same time.


So there are two options; one is to buy a ticket like the one above and another one is to purchase the IAmsterdam card which entitles you to free entrance in selected museums and attractions, free GVB public transport and discounts on items in selected outlets. Which is better? It really depends on your itinerary. We took the 48 hours IAmsterdam card and then bought another 24 hours public transport ticket. They are activated upon the first use and this is by element. Lets say you use tram at 8 am and enter a museum at 10 am, so the transport element is activated at 8am and ends at 8 am 2 days later while your  museum  element will end at 10 am 2 days later. Faham ka? hahaha


We took a bus to Zaanse Schans. I remember it took us around 40 minutes to get there. I'd thought that Amsterdam was a rather well-preserved old city since the buildings were mostly dated back in the 19th century. How do we know? Most of the buildings have the year of construction imprinted on the building. But when we arrived in Zaanse Schans, it felt like as if we just got off from a time machine. Everything look so.. antique; the houses, the boats and of course the windmills. 



This man was singing some dutch songs when we arrived. When we got to the platform to watch the sails of the windmill, he continued singing from below. 



So sweeeeetttt~


There used to be thousands of windmills here in the olden days and this village used to be one of the most important industrial center for the Dutch . Many of them were destroyed. Today, there are only a few which are restored and some are newly built windmills. We were very fascinated actually because these are real working windmills in which they solely depend on the wind energy to get things done!

On top is the oil mill in which they produce oil from grinding peanuts! 


This is the saw mill which is one of the new windmill. We were shown the video of how it was constructed  before we enter the windmill itself. Bukan sanang ok! They tried to mimic exactly how the ancient windmill was built so it requires very high precision and accuracy. 

Aku selalu fikir, sebab dulu2 teda sangat benda yang melalaikan, sebab tu dorang punya inventions mengagumkan hahaha


Believe me, we spent more than an hour in this windmill and I think we were the most interested visitor of the day. The manager just stood there with us the whole time answering our endless questions.This place really incite our curiosity. We watched the whole process; from moving the log from the canal into the windmill then removing the bark and to the cutting process. Some people do find this place boring. But we really appreciate the hard work, the complex and immaculate design and engineering of the windmill and all the machinery, and of course the end product. 



Later that evening, we decided to do the canal cruise since it's free with our IAmsterdam card. We met some Indonesians who were there for some conference in one of the University.


I was very impressed with the captain's maneuver. The canal is very narrow and at one time we even did a u turn. I predicted the captain would need to adjust the position several times before we could complete the u turn. But No! He just did a single spin on the steering wheel and succeeded!
I think the cruise is very interesting and everybody should try at least once if you happen to be in Amsterdam. It gives you the opportunity to view the boat houses up-close and you can even peek into some of them to see what it's like inside. I saw a couple having early dinner in one of the boat house.

Since Brussels is just a few hours away so why not hop in a train and head there. 

We stayed in Meininger Hotel and booked a six bed dorm. I say we made the best choice! The hotel is about 2-3 minutes from the subway and there were many halal food around. We didn't know there were many Muslims in the area.

When we arrived there we were confused about the location of the hotel and I guess it was clear inour face that it prods this lady to approach us. She can't speak a word of English so I initially didn't know what she wants from us. Then she just took the booking voucher from me, look at the address and instructed us to go straight in French.

"Ooooo nak tolong rupenye. Ingatkan nak ape tadi.. Merci beaucoup!"




If you ask me, Brussels is my second favourite European city after Prague. It's extremely beautiful and the crowd and the pace is hurm tolerable hahaha eyh ka aku pernah cakap Lucerne 2nd after Prague?
But really, I love it there!


The waffles are very popular but we didn't try it because we were not confident with the ingredients. But we went to this chocolate shop and shopped like crazy. At first the lady was hesitant and was rather harsh when I asked "Do you have those that don't have alcohol in it?"
"Of course we have.." I sensed annoyance in her tone..
I think, I should have asked "which one of your chocolate that has no alcohol in it?"


Ha! Ada drama tahu masa dalam kedai chocolate itu!
It's not about the lady because she transformed into a very sweet chocolatier when she saw each of our basket were filled to the brim

A few minutes after we entered the shop, suddenly a swarm of Chinese tourists came in to shop as well. And then came this blonde lady who always held her handbag in front of her. I actually noticed her because I think her behaviour was rather odd, you know. The way she was looking around was weird.. And the way she held her bag was weird... Yang sangkut beg d tangan macam pegang bakul d pasar tu bha..

And I found it strange that she was the only one who was just looking around and didn't pick up any product to look at the flavour, ingredients or what ever. Okay, I was not staring. Aku memang jenis kalo ko lalu depan aku, I can notice 90% of what you're wearing, how you behave... I don't know why.. Super power kali...

So... Mo d jadikan cerita.. This woman stood next to me at one point... I just ignore her because I was busy choosing chocolates.. The area has free wifi and suddenly I felt my phone vibrate and when I slip my hand into my bag to grab my phone, guess what! There was another hand inside!!!!!!!!!!!!





She was going to steal my purse!!!!! Luckily I had too many stuffs inside my sling bag that she might have found it hard to find which one is my purse \(^^")/
i was stupefied! I went to the back of the shop and start rummaging my bag and fuh~ my purse was still in there...

MR was the first to notice my panic reaction.
 "GG kenape?"
"Perasan tak pompuan yang blonde ade beg kat depan tu. OMG! Die seluk beg GG!"
"Huh? Alamak tadi die berdiri sebelah kite jugak!"
And MR start to rummage her bag as well and Alhamdulillah nothing was stolen too~ 


RA and me had an extra day in Amsterdam so we spent an entire day sight seeing. Surprisingly, we found it was very different during the weekends compared to the weekdays. There were so many things going on on the streets and we even saw a man in a penis suit walking around and it looked like someone dared him to do that, you know. It was really funny, though.



We took a tram just to get this cliche picture.. I think almost everybody who went to Amsterdam must get this one, right?



We went to Madame Tussaud, went to find some souvenirs and then went back early to pack our stuffs...




So that's the end of our Eurotrip.. Actually, there are a lot more things that happened and I didn't get to write everything.. InshaAllah, we'll be back to Europe again in 2015.. Oleh itu, aku harus berjimat cermat tahap dewa mulai saat dan ketika ini.. Oh tidak! Tiba2 lapar...