Friday, December 23, 2011

Twins of Faith & Before I Forget

I know I owe the continuation of Surah Yusuf for quite a long time, I typed some, hoping to publish tonite, but realized that I had some missing facts to be clarified, and I left the binder in PD, so I guess that will have to wait.

Some updates, I feel guilty for not sharing this earlier, but better late than never, at least some bit of promotion despite the fact that not much difference that I can make tomorrow. What is it? I am attending this carnival tomorrow and Sunday, Twins of Faith, Family Carnival. It will be held at PICC. The activity are jam-packed from morning till 10pm on both days. Some of the topics that will be covered are Modern Economics vs. Sacred Principle by the famous Ust. Zaharuddin Rahman, One Faith, One Family by an oldtimer ulama', Sh. Hussein Yee and Exemplary Women of the Past by Sh. Alaa ElSayed.
There are also workshop session in between all those talks, some that I have already signed up to are:

  • Women in the Eyes of God by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Harlina Halizah Siraj
  • Struggling to be a Better Muslimah Everyday by Wardina Safiyyah Fadlullah

Just pray that I have the energy to focus on all of them, insyaAllah. :D

Before I Melissa Hill

This is not a book review. Nowadays its really challenging for me to finish a book. Hence I make a point to have any book/magazine available in my bag all the time, just so I can finish a page or two. On the way to-fro Bandung, amazingly I finished this book!! Whats so special about this book? just add up to another my destination to go > the city never sleeps, yeah you got it right, New York. Not just New York, but during Christmas time!! There's a part when Abby, the main character bumps into a stranger that took her on a quick tour in the New York city on the day before Christmas. The way Melissa elaborate on the city's vibe in this time of the year makes me wanna go even more.

And to add more reasons, I just watched this last weekend
The whole story revolves around New York. Just watching how the city was decorated makes me wanna start planning already!! But wait, I still have few more places on my list to go, so NY has got to wait  ;)

And I will not plan to go NY alone, not unless I have Det. Flack's no in my phonebook..hehehe... :P

p/s: Kak Tek!! di manakah anda~~~ same shout out to Senorita Aida y mi amiga Dieya !!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't tell my mom- finally~~

So many things to write, yet I am bitten by the year end bug. Howeverrr.... I need to get this one out of the way.

5th Dec 2011
Its my final day in Bandung. I woke up at 4am~ yes, Fajr prayers are early, sun risen at 5~ish but the actual business hours in most places are still at 9am. To me its a 3 hours waste already. It was raining heavily so I went back to sleep, somehow I was woken up by the sounds of kids, many of them!! I mentioned earlier that this guesthouse was located in the middle of pesantren. What a pesantren without a school right? So yes, its Monday and kids do go to school... (duh!!)
taken from my room's balcony
Looks like they had their assembly going on. I get ready for breakfast and waited for the kids to be dismissed before going down. I have to pass through the crowd in order to get to the cafe. Today the plan is just to walk around and maybe try to find some last minute ole-ole to be brought back.

After breakfast, I took a walk around the pesantren, its a complete complex on its own.
nursery, clinic, various guesthouses and parking area big enough for any event to take place
I took angkut with no particular destination in mind, trying to kill time before checkout. I was trying my luck to find the famous Kartika Sari. I thought I saw a big one on the route from Island Plaza to Lembang, asked the angkot driver, but he brought me to one of Amanda's Brownies chain instead. Since it was still early in the morning, they don't really have much baked good yet, so I just moved on. I board on the same angkot that sends me there as I know it will bring me back to where I started. This time I get to see more of Bandung. The area that it covers was Kalapa. And on this route I located the famous Jalan Dago, that is where most factory outlet was situated. I did not stopped though, first because I have no money :P and second, I am not the type that can buy there and then. I will need quite a significant amount of window shopping time before deciding, so I wouldn't want to risk missing my flight back ;)

Went back to the guesthouse, settled the bill and checked out. The driver drops me at the airport around 1pm. My flight was at 3.45 pm but I just liked to be there earlier.The flight was delayed (again!!) and I finally touched down in LCCT at 7pm. I recorded one safety violation on Air Asia (I just could not leave my work behind :P )
Do not do this at home. You should switch off the engine before refueling. Major fire hazard!!
My ex-housemate picked me up and after dinner, I reached home around 10pm. I came back exhausted but satisfied :D I learnt many new things.

Previously I know nuts about Islam in Indonesia, but through random conversation I found out they have few groups, biggest is NU followed by Muhammadiah. I even bought a DVD about the founder of Muhammadiah. That answers my curiosity why sometimes we heard Indonesia celebrate Eid one day earlier, because they have this different groups and school of thought. For now its a new knowledge to me. Its not my position to discuss which one was right and and which one is not. Its a long debate between them and I don't plan to dwell on that much more.

The people, despite most of them looks like 'preman', they are helpful actually, and people on the street does not look like people in the sinetron. I was always amazed by how beautiful those sinetron cast are, every single character be it the good ones or the bad one are all pretty and somehow looked pan-asian mix. In actual fact, most people are really close resemblance to us Malay (well, that is a broad statement) . Even among Malays we differ from one another. But the point is looks doesn't matter, its the inside that counts. I was scared to pull out my camera most of the time. I don't know what I was so afraid about, but I was just being cautious. But when I do took it out, I get few request ;)

I did managed to fulfill my objective, see the place as it is, experience a little bit of their culture annndddd....... came back with this :
I did not even busted the luggage limit...hahaha...
So there it is, my short trip in writing. Coming back I have more places to add to my list. Will blog about that later. Till then, daaa...... :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't tell my mom part 2

*Warning, this time it is really a long post with lotsa pictures (well, at least longer than the previous one~~)

So I went back to the room and start forking out all the cash that I have, after doing some calculation, I have enough money to pay the room, pay airport tax and some spare cash to get around and by 'cheap' stuffs. So I am not so screwed then..hehehe.. :D but first thing the next morning, I need to find a money changer. The amount of rupiah I have won't last me for a day.

4th Dec 2011
First thing after breakfast, I made my way to Jln Asia Afrika, as some tips that I got from the locals, that is where one of the money changer is. Besides, I have not really entered the Gedung Sate. I reached the area around 8AM, and many business were not opened yet. After asking few people, I managed to locate the money changer. In the midst of searching, I ended up in Braga area, though its not fully opened yet, I can see that the area is kinda hotspot area. Few couples were having pre-wedding photoshoot, and some youngster armed with DSLR were roaming the area.
Few shops selling some great artworks are on this street

After that I completed my pending visit to Gedung Merdeka. What's interesting at this place is the building's history as it housed the first ever Asian-African Conference in 1955. Malaysia of course was not part of it as we were still on our way to independence then.
History were made here
After that, I moved on to my next destination, Gedung Sate, nope, they did not sell any sate there, it was named so because of the shape of the building central's pinnacle which resemble the shape of satay. Another building that is yet influenced by European architecture. The building now served as government office and so happened there was a cycling event that was ongoing on that day.

Across the street, there is a whole market going on. Foods, clothes, leather goods and many other stuffs were on sale. But since I am running low on cash, I just did what I enjoyed the most :) took lots and lots of pictures!!
After I had enough of look-see, I board on another angkot and make my way to the all time famous Cihampelas Walk, I must say, without an expert, I wouldn't know which jeans is a real bargain, they all look the same to me, I wouldn't be able to differentiate the quality. 

I entered the Ciwalk Mall and yet another event was ongoing at the center court. One thing that impresses me was, when it was Zuhur, there is an announcement via the mall's PA system announcing that. Though they did not put on the azan, the announcement itself put Ciwalk Mall a step above other malls that I have been to.
And in the mall, guess what I did? I watched a local movie ;) (still within my budget, besides, I'd passed a meal over a movie anytime!!). For RP35,000, the movie was well worth it. The cinema was new and classy, seats were comfortably large and the closest seat to the screen ain't that close. The movie was not a thriller movie, despite the title, it was a romantic comedy and I enjoyed it.

After the movie, I decided to make my way to Paris van Java mall, to see what so great about it. I asked for which angkot to take, but seems like it was on the opposite direction. With my 'almost good' sense of direction, I decided to walk. After a few turns, I was convinced that I am on the right way, but I was pleasantly surprised to bump into this structure :

It was in my initial list of places to see, but since I forgot to print it out, I kinda forgot about it. The architecture have many resemblance with Gedung Sate, the roof especially, because it was designed by the same architect.

It was drizzling when I left the masjid, and it got much much heavier when I am less than 500m to the mall!! I was making the booth along the streets as my pit-stops. Most of the booth sold pirated DVD, and had I not been short on cash, I would have walked back with some serious damage on my wallet.

My feet were drenched but I continued the walk to the mall. Its scary to see how fast the water level risen in the span of less than half an hour. Must be due to the poor drainage system the city had. Anyhoo, I got to the mall soaking wet!! After a quick tour, my verdict, not so great at all. The reason it was getting quite a buzz is probably due to the vast brand it houses under one roof, which we found in most malls in Klang Valley, no big deal. However, this one caught my attention. I was not a fan, but I don't think we have this in Malaysia though.
You'll never dine alone?? erk..salah team...
And that was my last stop for the day. I board onto an angkot, heading towards Geger Kalong, where I stay and plan to retire for the day. The place where I stay is like 10 mins walk from the place where the angkot drops me. Along the way, there were a lot of stalls selling lotsa street food. I dropped by to sample some :)
gerai gorengan punya FB & twitter!!
The first one Es Pisang Ijo, is actually banana wrapped in crepe like dough that is green in colour. It was then cut and mixed with shaved ice, condensed milk, syrup, chocolate rice and some other jellies. The taste was akin to ABC but not so sweet, which I like a lot. Cost ~ RP 2,000.

Next was various type of fried stuffs (gorengan). From left to right, banana wrapped in curry puffs like dough and deep fried. Second one is potato doughnut with fillings (I bought chocolate and strawberry fillings) and next to it the glutinous flour both from white and dark glutinous rice, it was rolled onto icing sugar. Each of the gorengan cost RP 500. I asked for the local name, but the moment I got onto the next store, I totally forgot about it already :P 

Last but not least is tauhu pedas, the tofu has some very spicy filling and it was dipped in batter before deep fried, this one cost RP 1,500 each. The last picture was Nasi Uduk, based on my reading, I was expecting Nasi Uduk to be like our nasi lemak, but what I got was more like Nasi Ambeng, yellow rice, with fried tempe and omelet, plus some fried beehon with it, and it cost me RP 4,000.

I did not bought the food in one go of course :) this is some of what I have tried for the 3 days I was there, that I think was interesting to share. So there it is, my journey for yet another day in Bandung. The final part will come next :O

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't tell my mom part 1

*Warning, long post ahead.

Yes, the title is right, what I am about to tell you, please don't tell my mom. Though none of you knows her anyway..hahaha.. I will tell her personally later when she comes to KL this weekend :P

It was April, and I was stressed for some reason, and so happened Air Asia have yet one of those deal, and guess what, I booked a returned ticket for myself to BANDUNG in Dec!!! Me, myself and I. I did not even considered to ask another single soul to go with me. As the months gone by, I slowly looked up online, what so great about Bandung (save the shopping aside). Come November, the month flew very quickly. Things has been hectic at work with one thing came up after another, and next thing I know, it D-7!! I have not even secured a hotel booking. I was looking for few options and has been in contact with few places, but seems like they are all fully booked by now. One of the contacts gave me another options and alhamdulillah they still have available room. I didn't even bother to look up any further, and confirmed my booking right ahead.

Few days before the trip, I was tied up at work (who isn't?) and on the Thursday (1st) and Friday (2nd) we have the long awaited departments away day at Gopeng. My flight scheduled to depart from LCCT on Friday 7.15pm. So there I was cracking my head, how do I get to LCCT from Gopeng, the chartered bus only left Gopeng at 2pm, straight to PD. So I decided to give the second day activity a miss. So here's what my time looks like on Friday.

1100H : took from Gopeng to KL (jam somehow along the highway, only reached KL around 2pm)
1415H : board a bus to LCCT at the newly renovated Puduraya 
1600H : reached LCCT, took my own sweet time to have late lunch while waiting for the flight
1930H : board the flight (yes, as usual delayed Air Asia flight)
2100H : reach Bandung (local time, Malaysian time is + 1 hour)

The thing is, I didn't even printed the guesthouse contact no, I just remembered its name, and what if they forgot to pick me up? I did not bring my laptop, my phone is not 'smart', so there is no way I can access the net if at all I need to upon arrival. Better yet, all those things that I looked up online, all those places that I wanted to go, remain as a list in my laptop....yes , I totally forgot to print out my plan.

So there I was, in the plane, with a bleak vacation plan...serve me right!! Maybe if I had told my mom, none of this would have happened.. :P Oohh ya, at this point, only some people in the office knew that I am going to Bandung alone (plus my 2 sisters, I warned them not to tell mom yet, as sometimes she worries about nothing).

So okay, to cut the story short, the driver from the guesthouse did picked me up and I arrived safely in Bandung. I was suprised to find out that the guesthouse is actually in the middle of a pesantren!!

3rd Dec 2011

When I looked up for places to see in Bandung, this one caught my attention, Observatorium Bosscha. Maybe because I was partly interested in looking up the skies in the dark night trying to find the stars (don't ask me about constellation, I have no clue!!) . I hired a driver to send me to this observatory and we got there at 0800H. The visits starts at 0900H, so I killed time by having some walk around the area. Like any other observatory, it is situated at higher ground, and at this altitude and weather, the surroundings are just breathtaking!!
radio tower not for radio station, staffs quarters, and the main structure that keeps the giant telescope
The visit starts with a brief explanation by this lovely undergrad student of Institute Teknologi Bandung, as the observatory is a research center managed by the university. Later we were brought to the main telescope, another student took over and explained about how it functions. This is apparently the largest telescope in South East Asia, to date. Thailand is in progress of constructing a bigger one now.

I must say its a worth visit and such a pity that not many promotions are done to attract more outside tourist to the observatory. All the visitors are local people and from what I gather from the 'satpam' @ pak guard, only a handful of Malaysian visitors make a stop at this observatory, and they are mainly students.

The visit finishes around 1100H and I asked the driver to drop me at Gedung Merdeka for a little walk around the town. When we reached there, they are closed for lunch and without wasting any time, I find my way to Pasar Baru. I didn't plan for a mega shopping spree, but I do bought some stuffs there. I dare not took out my camera at the market, security reasons..hehehe...

From Pasar Baru, I was asking around on how to get back to the guesthouse. So in the end I took a 'beca' that cost me RP 20,000 (I know it was way overpriced, but I considered it as sedekah anyway) and the beca driver finds me an 'angkot' that goes straight to Geger Kalong, the district where I stayed. 'Angkot' is actually a modified van that could take up to 15 passengers at one time. The fares ranges from RP 1,500 to RP 4,000 depending on destination. They have specific route, and I think its the most cost effective mode of transportation. On the roadside, there is all sorts of people doing all sorts of things to make a living. At any traffic lights, the 'angkot' will be approached by either junk food sellers or 'pengamen'. 'Pengamen' is their version of street performer, except that they did not just stay put at one place, they roam around the street. This guy actually sang quite well. When the lights turned green, he will hand out a cup, and depending on the passengers, we can choose to pay, but from what I see, they seldom gets anything.
I didn't dare to take his photo face to face... :D
I went back, dropped the stuffs and went out again. This time to a shopping mall, Istana Plaza, I was only looking to draw some cash since I have spent most of my rupiah at Pasar Baru :P Somehow I was carried away and stepped into music store. After choosing few DVD, upon making the payment, I was short of cash!! I quickly ran to the nearest ATM, and guess what, my transaction was rejected!! I still have some RM, and I was trying to find a money changer, and none was available nearby. At last I have to split the payment between cash and debit card.

After that minor crisis, I board onto an 'angkot' and went back. That night, I was doing quite a detail calculation to make sure I still have enough cash to pay the guesthouse, and to go back...hahaha....

Will I have enough cash? what do I do next? stay tuneeddd........ ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Selamat siang ibu-ibu..!!! ;)


Lama deh nga ketemu. Coba tebak aku di mana sekarang? Ya bener, aku lagi libur, tapi ini hari terakhirnya kok. Ntar lagi juga pulang, lagi nungguin check in di bandara ni. Aku tu udah 2 hari kurang lebih di sini. Da dulu ya ibu-ibu, sampai ketemu saat aku tiba di Malaysia ;)

Do'ain aku selamat ya!! :D

Salam sayang,