Okay, so I really, really, really, haven't written in awhile. Was completely and utterly consumed with work. And now that I am officially on study leave, life seems better. Hehe. Still have to study though, but at least no work related matter at this point of time until 6 June 2016. My last final ACCA paper and seriously my undergrad exams were nothing compared to this. Sobs. I'll be taking P7 (audit paper), and this will be my 3rd freaking attempt! Haha. An exam I desperately wanted to pass. Please please please.
Anyhoo, just really glad to write again after I have been on hiatus for quite some time. And there's one crazy wish list I've always been thinking since last year. HIKING MOUNT KINABALU! Haha. That's quite an overstatement , I know. Me being myself, I am not an outdoor person. Would rather sleeping or watching movies than you know.. walking in the park under the hot burning sun. Haha.
Tehtap, acah-acah pose. Hiks
I've been reading this one blog, KAK KIAH SUKA TRAVEL and her experience on climbing Mount Kinabalu is sooooo funny haha. Well, Kak Kiah boleh, hopefully I can, too. Sobs.
We plan to go somewhere in March next year and preparation stage has begun. I climbed Broga Hill, once, few months back. Hehe. More like crawling actually, mintak nyawa sangat. And my face once became a permanent feature in the gym, well that was few years ago, I don't think I will subscribe any gym membership just for the sake of training. From what I've read, you only have to exercise, panjat tangga ke apa, and stay fit. Hehe.
May Allah ease everything, my exam and this crazy plan.
Apa kabar hari ini?
I personally love this movie so much, I have seen it twice. And probably I could watch this movie again, any time. The chemistry of Nicholas Saputra and Dian Sastrowardoyo were so off-the-charts.
And I was really glad that the second part delivered as I'd hope. 14 years of waiting after "Ada Apa Dengan Cinta" was first released in 2002. I was at that time, 16 years of age, definitely worth the wait.
The execution of the movie pushed all the right buttons for me. The cinematography was great, every scene is shot with purpose. And Indonesia in particular Jogjakarta, where the movie was mainly filmed, is so beautiful. Full of vibrant colours and Jogja really has an awesome view of nature, at its best.
Apart from the fact that AADC2 is totally nostalgic and it brings everyone back in time, what I like the most about this new sequel is the acknowledgement that time has passed. Everyone is looking at a different perspective now because time really flies and it simply means growth; a little bit older, a little more wiser.
And what gets to me most, Rangga back then was already intense with his so deep looking eyes and those pair of eyes are still... the same. Sigh. Ganteng bangat. He looks like one lonely soul searching for something and trying to go back to one place he always wanted; home. It is the place where the heart is, where his Cinta is.
The characters came to life through the story, the way they acted, made decisions, loved, lost and lived, they seem all so real. And I really love the friendship between Cinta and her friends, so sooo genuine and loyal.
True enough, somehow I think art imitates life, how all of us in one way or another feel that we can never move on from that one person from our past, the one who is now a stranger to us. Very, very relatable.
Kadang-kadang, kau fikir mudah mencintai semua orang daripada melupakan satu orang.Jika ada orang telanjur menyentuh inti jantungmu mereka yang datang kemudian hanya menyentuh kemungkinan.AADC2 is primarily a love story and on that premise, it definitely delivered. Highly recommended!
Well, when it's meant to be, it's meant to be.
Back then, and now.
Just arrived home last night from super last minute trip to Myanmar. Inle Lake in summer is a glorious treat. It was good 20 degrees. The colors are warm, the sun is splendour and the flowers abloom. It gets pretty cold in the morning and boy, I underestimated the weather! Was shivering like crazy.
And Yangon.. personally, it wasn't the most pleasant trip I've taken. Been there, done that. I've seen what I want to see, at least. And don't get me wrong, I super love Inle Lake but I didn't enjoy Yangon as much just because the weather was too HOT. It can reach up 40 degrees, day time. I can't even stay outside for more than an hour. Haha. Panas ngat ngat, tak tahan.
And I just realised upon looking our photos, that we looked tanned! Hiks. Mungkin kena tempek bedak tanaka sat lagi, I really think we're a bit sunburnt.
My first impression of Myanmar, it's like going back to the 80s. These folks live a simple and modest life. Well, their life may be small, incredibly simple as compared to our ideas of materialistic comfort but yet I've seen a tranquillity and happiness, they seem content with their life.
And for all the difficulties and unpredictability of life, some things remain so humble. Like the sunrise above. We deliberately woke up at 5.00 am to catch this view. Having missed the sunset on our first evening because it was raining so badly.
More on this later, which is entah bila. Haha.
Watching the sun go down behind the distant mountain, I just lost in my own thoughts. Hmm, definitely a sucker for those amazing colors and I could watch this scene over, and over again.
Cont'd from HERE
After a quick freshen-up and solat, we have been served an incredible Hyderabad Biryani for lunch. Well I'm not really a big fan of biryani but I was pleasantly surprised. Cannot comment much on whether it was a "real" Hyderabad, cause I ain't never had one before, mate! And was that a coleslaw? Never tried that one too!
To be honest, my stomach can't really tolerate with this kind of food, dia macam tak boleh telan, kenot go orang cakap. Being a mek, my comfort food would always be sayur air, sup, tom yam, budu! Ahaha #matilahnak.
But my friends said that was the best Biryani they've ever tasted! So, I think mama (we called Uncle Nabi's wife mama okay, haha, there's a story behind it, more on that later) really made with love using the best quality Basmathi rice, well-marinated chicken and the best saffron in town. Seriously I can't recall the taste of that Biryani because I've eaten something else; nasi impit and sambal ikan bilis my mom packed for me. Hehe. And they happily had my portion. Dasar kelaparan semua orang masa ni.
Hiks. Kena bebel walau di mana jua anda berada. Haha. Mom definitely knows best kan? She packed for me 30 small packets of nasi impit but I left 15 at home. Told her, that's too much. Hahaha. Rasain loh. Kalau orang tua cakap tu, tolong dengar dan ikut! Hehe.
On top of Houseboat Lily of Nageen
And while we waited for our shikara ride in the evening, we were sitting on the wooden floor on top of the houseboat. A great view of other houseboats lined up along the lake and we can clearly see shikaras in vibrant hues. Mostly in red and yellow, and they were so bright in colors, so vivid and beautiful.
When the boatman came, we then boarded a shikara together with Uncle Nabi. They took us to a non-tourist zone and we can feel the silence in a hidden corners of Nageen lake, floating literally on the surface of the waters. So calm and peaceful.
Pardon my acah-acah pose. Pretending to dip my hand in the water of Srinagar, checked!
It was cold that time. So cold to be honest, I shiver a bit. But seeing the reflections of the houseboats on the water, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed. Such a beauty.
Well, the boatman didn't speak much, perhaps because of language barrier. But we did chat with Uncle Nabi a bit. He told us that lotus season had not started, yet. The lake will only be surrounded with water lily and lotus somewhere in April. And from my observation, almost every house or houseboat in Srinagar had a little garden in their backyards. It is one of their sources of income, they might be selling bouquet of flowers or even the flower seeds to tourists.
We then floated in silence, embracing the moment. It was so amazing to sit in the slow moving shikara, watching the mountains around and you just see a life beyond what you've usually seen.
The famous Hazratbal Shrine
Hazratbal Shrine is visible from most parts of the Dal Lake
It's just beautiful
To be continued,..
You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. You’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way, ever again.
Honestly, I was a bit nervous. Travelling to unknown places in foreign countries is something I've done before, but I've not done it in a while, I think almost a year after returning home. And the fact that we were heading to Kashmir which most of us know this place as the conflict zone between both Pakistan and India made me a bit... worried.
I'm going to skip about Chennai first because it was just a transit. We waited at Chennai Airport for at least 5 hours before our next flight to Srinagar. So really nothing much to say.
And, guess who I met at KLIA 2? Miss JariManis! Tapi we never greeted each other pon. Takut salah orang, she was alone that time queuing at one of the Airasia's check-in counter. But then I still feel bad sebab I should have just said Hi. Sorry JM!
Flying over the Himalayas, India
Hmm, remember I have an overactive bladder problem in my previous blog entry? Haha. So, aisle seat and quick access to the bathroom would always within my choices for long-haul flight (in this case, 3 hours from Chennai to Delhi and another 1 hour from Delhi to Srinagar). But, not this time. I occupied the window seat on the plane from Chennai to Srinagar, contrary to my usual liking for the aisle seat just because of the view above; Himalayas mountain range, the planet's highest.
The plane that we took (IndiGo) from Chennai to Srinagar stopped over Delhi Airport for couple of minutes before departed again to Srinagar. And within 15 minutes of take off, we were already flying over Himalayas! I was really, really looking forward for this view.
No words to describe, I gasped at its beauty. So so sooo beautiful and Allah is really the Best of Creator. When the pilot announced that we were flying over Himalayas, everyone was looking at the windows, both sides, and stunned. It was soo amazing and Kashmir really won my heart at first sight.
We arrived on a not so typical winter weather, strangely. And Kashmir really greeted us in the loveliest way. It was sooo sunny and bright. But, as we stepped out of Srinagar Airport, a cool gust of wind hit our face, sending a shiver and a smile. I haven't told you that I really love winter time, have I?
We was enthralled, intensely, by the existence of so many Indian soldiers that first welcome us as we stood at the traffic junction just across the Srinagar Airport. But as we moved further, it was not that bad. They might have a very tight security in Kashmir but it was so peaceful nonetheless.
Houseboat Lily of Nageen
As soon as people think of Srinagar, we always see an image of Dal Lake with thousands of houseboats. And the wooden houseboats can only be found in Srinagar, India. Sooo rustic! Well, Kerala also has its own version of houseboats, but let's just not go there right now okay?
Among all other places to visit in Kashmir, stay in houseboats is definitely the most sought after. To be honest, who doesn't want to post a picture on Facebook or Instagram that has a check-in status of "Our houseboat for the next three days!" Hiks. Well, I did that. Haha.
So, during our stay in Srinagar, we stayed at the Houseboat Lily of Nageen owned by Uncle Nabi and his son, Ajaz. Interestingly, Malaysians make up a large proportion of Uncle Nabi's guests. Thanks to Dr. Faizal of Kembara Sang Kancil for his write-up about Houseboat Lily of Nageen. And the trip would not have been memorable if we did not enjoy the hospitality given by Uncle Nabi and his family. Really, highly recommended!
Well, we chose to stay in Nageen Lake instead of the famous Dal Lake just because Nageen Lake is less crowded with people and more serene. And we want to avoid sellers coming to our houseboat too. Haha. Tapi can't be avoided. They still came but not so frequent. Only one seller per night.
Houseboat Lily of Nageen; picture courtesy of Booking.com
These houseboats intrigued me, so did their history. They first came into existence during the colonial time, back in the 19th century, when British expressed their interest in buying land in Kashmir. But a restriction which prevents an outsider from purchasing land in Kashmir didn't allow them to do so. And I think this restriction still applicable until now. So British being British, they were smart and they came out with an idea to make a home in the valley without buying a land.
That's why most of the houseboats in Srinagar (both in Dal Lake and Nageen Lake) are so luxurious because they had the money to make the houseboats as beautiful and as comfortable as possible. Don't be surprised if you try to search the houseboats from any of the search engines, you might find some of them would have rather interesting names like New Buckingham Palace and other well-known cities around the world. Haha. Reason being, to attract tourists. There are hundreds of houseboats to choose from, so choose wisely okay?
Houseboat Lily of Nageen; picture courtesy of Booking.com
The living room and dining room of Houseboat Lily of Nageen; picture courtesy of Booking.com
We were surprised when we entered our houseboat. It was very clean and had a really cosy atmosphere. The living room was a showcase of Kashmiri carpets and embroidery, with chandelier and a massive wooden furniture. Macam dalam cerita Hindustan lama pun ada. Tinggal tak pakai sari je lagi kat dalam tu. Haha. But they do have flat screen TV okay! Banyak pulak tu channel yang ada. Ah-ma-zing.
The bedroom of Houseboat Lily of Nageen; picture courtesy of Booking.com
A carpeted hallway connects two rooms of which accommodate by Fana and her shuben (Room #1) and both Nini and I, we chose Room #2. Konsep mengalah kat situ hahaha sebab obviously Room #1 is bigger and nicer. Khen? Tapi since they both shuben and wife, so its okay. Take it take it.
Anyhow, both rooms equipped with fabulous Kashmiri carpets, carved wooden beds, cabinets, wall details and ceilings, colourful embroidered curtains and bed linens, chandeliers and attached bathroom with standard amenities.
Green for Room #1, and Blue for Room #2; picture courtesy of Booking.com
Part ni memang jenuh, sebab kalau tak, mereput la kau tak mandi. Haha. So so soooo cold, tak tipuuu. Sila take turn okay? But the best part, Houseboat Lily of Nageen considers Wi-Fi as an essential service so you can still communicate with each other. In our case, isu air panas! Hahaha. Plus point kat situ sebab nak update Instagram pun senang. Hiks.
We also got to experience a lot of activities first-hand such as burning wood in a traditional heater to heat up the room. It can get really really cold at night and in the morning in Srinagar but not too worried, the beds are equipped with electric heated blanket. Tapi still sejuk ya ampun. I think most of the time memang dalam duvet sahaja berkuntum sebab too cold to move around the houseboat. Haha. Hibernating.
And actually you can request from houseboat butler to setup the heater stove every night and every morning. We ended up giving a lot of tips to him, sedekah. Because he really is our everything, housekeeper, cook, cleaner, butler semua pun dia buat.
Our Srinagar stay was absolutely perfect. Uncle Nabi warmly welcomed us with Kashmiri tea mixed with Saffron (seriously the best tea I've ever tasted!), biscuits and cakes, and made us feel instantly at home. Rindu teh Kashmir please! Where to find ya? Sedap ngat ngatttt! Can't get any more Kashmiri than that.
To be continued :)