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Brussel Zuid: Hello New Friend

Brussel Zuid

I tend to have a question in my head the moment I wake up. It varies from “What to eat” to “What the heck did I do last night?”. This morning, Leeds popped up without notice. Maybe because, this new old city has a certain charm that I find peculiar – much like Haarlem, Bingen and Ludlow. Those little place, there’s just something about it.

It was our third city for that Euro trip we went. Frankfurt and Amsterdam were the first two ย (by now you’d prolly figured that I’m not writing chronologically). While I like things to be in somewhat order, feelings dictate otherwise.

This was quite a bit of journey, one that didn’t sunk in until we were moving about. From Amsterdam, we went to Brussel Zuid. At first I thought this was the station I had stopped 7 years ago when I went to Brussels but it turns out they switched the transit station and I was slightly surprised to see the other side of Brussels.

Zuid in Dutch means South (or Midi in French) and it’s probably like the ‘hood side to the colourful and chocolate-laden city of Brussels. It was also my first time encountering a beggar on the street who were very persistent (didn’t help that she was sitting in a wheel chair along the main station). It’s relatively gloomy on this side, somewhat grungy too in terms of character and mood.

And here I got Syiks all excited to check out Brussels for 2.5 hours during our transit. Well, she was disappointed it wasn’t the Brussels we were all accustomed to. Nonetheless, we walked around anyway. I mean, considering we have so much time before departing for Kings Cross St. Pancras..might as well eh?

Brussels_Zuid_Colours2

Nothing was opened at 9ish morning, that and I think this area isn’t really the place for tourists anyway. But I guess, in years to come, this place would look better since Brussels Zuid is the biggest train station in Belgium, considering everyone transits here.

When we walked out, no map what so ever, just..simply walk – I spotted this

TinTin

Tintin acted as my beacon to navigate through this unknown place we wandered. If you’re out here, you won’t miss out on Le Lombard‘s iconic sign up the building. What is it you might asked? This is THE comic publisher for Tin Tin ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll definitely find Tin Tin all over the city, especially in Brussel Centraal but this was the one thing that stuck in my mind. Who would’ve thought, being here in a place you don’t know and you find a piece of Belgium’s history. Oh that kid in me jumped for joy over this discovery!

Murals, Brussels Zuid

Like most places that shares the same character as Brussel Zuid, you’ll find the heart in your face. Centraal is filled with beautiful art splattered everywhere. Some commissioned art but a place like this, the raw talent is released tenfolds without restriction. It’s there because there’s a story they want to tell. That’s a quality I find more expensive, one you can’t just buy anywhere. The colours very much jives with the other murals I’ve seen along the way. Unsure if it were by the same people but I suppose it’s the colours that represents them.

I don’t know how I spotted these since it was high above but I’m glad I did, just enough to know that you can find beauty in any place, any nooks and crannies. It doesn’t matter how established or developed the place is, there’s always something unique. And this is Brussel Zuid’s.

You don’t see Cubism painted on walls for public to see but this is what that is. Brussel Zuid is their public gallery for their artworks.

Graffiti, Brussel Zuid

While I initially started off to write about Leeds, there’s something about Brussel Zuid that’s pulling me to dive in further. And I like how this has turned out to be. The unassuming places, those places you pass by not knowing that there’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Even when you think a place does not fit in your world as you expected, take a chance and get to know this new place. Make the most of what you have and rock it out!

Thank you Brussel Zuid, for at first I thought it wasn’t much of transit trip but hey, looks like I actually did see some things I didn’t get to all this while. Kudos!

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TED Prize: JR

I know it’s a Saturday but I thought of this video off an on, I don’t know why. There’s so much goodness in JR’s words, works and thoughts.

If you’re ever in Paris and spotted paper graffitis (these days it’s cut-out shapes of drawings) on the wall, along the alleys – this was how it all started. Many moon years ago. It’s kinda like an signature, the other side to that Parisien romantic dream many people associate the City of Lights.

Anyway, I’d love for you to spend some time and watch this video, how much impact something so simple yet became a functional design that could save lives (or make lives better).

I always believe that while we can’t change the world, we can make a difference, at least to one person. We might not know about it but that’s what the magic is all about.

Perhaps you too might be inspired to leave a mark in the future?

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La Martellina, Firenze: That Enchanting Home

La Martellina, Firenze: That Enchanting Home

The word enchanting popped up when I thought of La Martellina, then I went to the website and that’s exactly what it’s described. Either that’s the feeling or I’m predictable?

Either ways, this 1200 over years old Italian villa is a hidden gem in Tuscany, build right next to the Arno river. I’m totally in love with this place, so big..it really felt like home. I wished we had stayed here longer than 3 days.

The one thing I overlooked during my stay here in Firenze is that, it’s a helluva more fun renting a car too. La Martellina is somewhat outskirt from the city but it’s all good. It was where I wanted to be. There’s so much to talk about this place, one I will be in time to come.

Just that right now, woke up early morning and was thinking “What’s the one thing you’ll want to rewrite experience in the trip?”

And this was it. I’ll plan to come back, I’ll plan to stay longer and I’ll plan to brush up on my rusty Italian. I’ll even ask Claudio to teach me cook some of his amazing food.

One of the storytellers I’ve came across during the trip, so full of life, like like a true Italian. Of course, watching him interact with Emilio, his super adorable, most wonderful and friendly hug dog will always put a smile on your face.

I’ll forever remember Emilio who always walked us to our bedroom from the gate.

Yep. I will make a return and I’ll rewrite this experience into a heck of a getaway.

Click on the photo and it’ll fly you to La Martellina’s page ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Getting the Right Travel Buddy

That Jumble Rumble

For today, only today
This is how I see
You and me
Far from everything
Yet so close to something.

For today, only today
Life turns into some jumble-wumble
About me, you, they, them
Little things we never give a damn
Suddenly, it all made more sense.

Tomorrow, maybe later today
This will all unfold
Those little things we hold on to
Will grow into something oh so wonderful
Something..more meaningful.

I didn’t know how to make a comeback, not that this is a comeback per se. I went back, 10 years back thinking how did I got around to do it then, everyday, sometimes two-three posts per day. Then, it all came back. Always go back to where you feel best, most comfortable, just at ease.

I’m no poet, not by a million miles that’s for sure but I find putting words thrown from my head somewhat like a therapy. It used to be THE therapy when I didn’t know how to express. Writing poems was all I knew. The ironic part was, I refused to write one (the very first one at 14 years old) when my English teacher asked us all to do for our homework. That poem, don’t know where it came from, entitled “When I Was A Kid” got quite a bit of words from her. Submitted somewhere too. That was when it all started. No. It started, then died for 4 years then it became a habit.

But that’s not the point of this post. Far from it. Oh dear fingers, can you go back on track..

That poem was the kickstart to everything that danywhere.com is right now. The poem I dedicate to my very dearest friend Syikin Harris about our journey when we travelled together last year around Europe. I didn’t know how to write, insisted I have to write, more like a need. It’s been bugging me since..at least 6 months and that was the result of the 2 minute free writing practice.

Bregenz_Friends

I know I want to write about my trip, every trip. But right now, this very moment – this precedes everything. That one of my biggest journey when travelling is the friendships I have with me, be it strangers or long time friends. My one month stint was truly about the people I’ve connected and reconnected. So expect some sappiness along the way. Sniff.

The thing about travelling is that, when you opt to travel with someone else (or more), it’s really all about make it or break it moment. If you blend well with each other, your trip will be even more awesome. If you don’t see eye to eye with your travel partner,..Houston we have a problem.

It’s almost common knowledge among my close friends that I’m very selective when I travel with other people. It’s just a matter of vibe, maturity, fun and all around complimentary. And that’s exactly how I would describe my super awesome travel buddy Syiks – complimentary. In every way possible.

Where I go left, she goes right. We balance each other out. We bicker A LOT while travelling too but after the first week of frustrations, we learned to embrace each other’s strengths. I dragged her for a Bali trip 4 years back on my birthday, which turned out to be her first travel plan and 4 days wasn’t enough to know the nitty gritty stuff about us but it gave us an idea who we are.

I’m that go with the flow kinda girl and she’s the OCD one.

And for this particular 31 days Euro trip we didn’t do detailed planning but we had the skeletal laid down. I throw in suggestions, ideas, places to go, to see and do while skyping and before you know it, Syiks turned my train of thoughts in excel spread sheets. I settle the entire transportation, she booked for accommodations and Coldplay concert. It was really a team effort although I felt like she put more effort in making everything laid out so that she can sleep in peace pre and during the trip.

I have to admit, it did came in handy tho that excel sheet of hers. But I also appreciate the fact that she went with opened mind knowing that traveling with me consists a lot of going with the flow stuff. The routine was, when we end up in one city,

“So any idea where will be going these few days?” she asked.

Then that’s where I come in, open the map, look at notes I had in mind then go from there. The trip was 50% early planning (you save a lot when booking for accommodations at least 3 weeks beforehand) and 50% play by ear. I don’t know why but I know Syiks is the type who likes things in order and for some reason she felt like she could trust me being in a continent she’s never been before (kudos for going through 21 hours flight straight!). I’m honoured.

Main HBF Frankfurt

I also remember, before meeting up at KLIA where Syiks arrived from Sydney 2 hours before our flight to Frankfurt that night, we talked a lot about the what ifs.

What if I get frustrated, what if I needed space, what if you can’t stand me, what if …

We made sure that we have an open communication with each other as I knew there’s no way to be fully prepared being with each other that long without losing our minds. And we did on a few occasions but it only made our friendship even stronger than before.

We bickered like nobody’s business, almost to a point like having a sibling really. The first week was tough because we were in a new place, in each other’s face all day and night and for some reason what she said and I said just never made any sense.

It took another good friend of mine, Hafiz who we met in London and then joined us in Paris pointed out why we were having such tensed moments when arguing. Then it all made more sense – we were not on the same page. D’oh! (There will be a post where Hafiz will pop up again)

We decided to make a friendship bracelet with both our names on it in Frankfurt. Now safely in Sydney.

We decided to make a friendship bracelet with both our names on it in Frankfurt. Now safely in Sydney.

Yesterday, we caught up a bit via imessage, preparing for my trip to Australia after 16 years and we looked back at our moments. We laughed about it but ultimately we knew whatever it was during that trip, changed us.

Changed us to be better people. Better communicators. Most importantly, changed us to be better friends to each other.

“Why then are you so picky with who you travel with? You love to travel, isn’t going with strangers part of the package?”

True. I do go out with people I hardly know on trips but mostly I make conscious effort that the vibe’s right. Travel to me is something sacred. And I don’t want to ruin anyone’s journey just because I’m a bit crazy. To each their own right?

Lindau

I can’t stressed out how important it is to find the best people to travel with, and when you do..hold ’em close ok?

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Mein Freund in Bingen (Part 1)

The language of friendship is not words but meanings. – Henry David Thoreau

I will forever look back to this day on how I decided to take my 14kg backpack to Mainz.  It’s a journey I’ll always remember about one of my most eccentric friend, Farah.

The trip started while I was lounging on Nad’s couch in Tooting; I received a surprised message from Farah saying that she was able to spare time for us to come over. It was really a no brain-er visit this one because UK and Germany isn’t that far and while we’re at it, we decided to do the entire Benelux (short for Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) before we head to Frankfurt.

I remember we rushed from Centraal Station in Amsterdam to catch the train to Frankfurt. We were always rushing when it came to trains. With heavy bags and all, I think we were lucky to get pretty good seats. Some of which were upgraded along the way. So on the way to Frankfurt, I managed to keep in touch with Farah and she had instructed me to get a connecting train to Mainz where she’ll be meeting us that night.

With a discman and Valentino Rossi’s autobiography book to keep me company .. I’m reminded that there was a reason why I wanted, no..needed to be in Germany.

Prior to my Europe trip, Farah and I had been keeping in touch via emails. I had such fond memories of us writing long emails to each other, talking about anything and everything surrounding us. And in that moment I knew that I had to see her. Had to talk to her. For what reason, I’m not so sure.

As far as I know, Farah is one of the most brightest person I’ve ever encountered. So bright, she’d give you a run for your money when you speak about philosophies and theories. I call her a genius. She of course will deny till she dies. But that’s who she really is, one who need not have to study, do homework and still manage to pull off a pretty amazing result. With a glance through, she could tell you the gist of it. For many years, I admire her talent. While she has her own temper to tame, I think it’s what makes her all the more interesting. She’s kooky yet funny. Sarcastic as hell but also down to earth. There are a lot of things about her that’s amazing which she’s not really aware off.

Anyway, so as we got off from Frankfurt and heading to Mainz, we met Farah and she then led us to another station, one where we would be heading to her home – Bingen. She said it’s a very small place. A very small place I find very charming indeed. However, that realisation only occur the morning after.

To think I was thousands of miles away from home, we were approached by other Malaysians in the train that night. Who would’ve thought? Then an Indonesian came to us and had a chat, sharing with us his 20+ years of staying in Germany and how he miss being back home. I thought that was a nice touch to my first visit here. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to strike up conversations with other people. People we might not even see tomorrow but is more than happy to fill you in for present.

It’s the one thing I love about being in Europe. Just the feeling that you’re able to make someone’s day by greeting them. As much as I would wish the same thing could happen in Malaysia, it’s not in our culture (I guess) to do it. At least not in the metropolitan areas. Everyone’s so hung up about their own world, there’s no time for other things.

The best part about it all is that, Farah said “In my years of living here, I’ve not met other Malaysians in the train!”.

When we got off the final station, we met with one of her housemate who happened to be dropping someone off. So hey, we got a free ride back! The best part was, her housemate was driving my first car – the VW GTi MK2. It’s a legendary car that one and boy, was I happy to jump in and be in the car with the sunroof opened!

Just recalling it right now is already making me smile. Oh how I miss Bingen.

The thing about Bingen is that, you could sleep on the road and you don’t have to worry about getting hit. It’s so quiet yet wonderful at the same time. We all bunked in Farah’s room which is the attic. This was when she shared with me her little escapade – out of the window, seating on the rooftop and be captivated by the view in front of your eyes. The best part is, you could even lay your head and look at the sky. No one will noticed.

It’s these moments, this kind of hide outs I’ve always loved doing since I was a kid. I love having a tree house, love having a secret garden no one knows..I just love having a place where I can call my own. And that was her space, her little corner of the world where no one else can take it away.

This was also the time when I discovered how fast internet could have been! Although Zoel had told me many times before when he lived in Stuttgart, I never actually knew how fast he had meant. The noob that I am. There’s a Malay word for it, “Jakun”.

Once we’ve settled down, refreshed ourselves.. the host slowly pulled out a box in front of me. I wasn’t sure what it was until she reminded me of a certain purchase I made a month before through her. Slowly, I unwrapped the bubble wrap..making sure I didn’t ruin it, lo and behold..it was the XJ200 scale model I’ve been hunting for someone’s birthday. Why did I put so much effort to look for this? It’s a rare piece and now that I have it in my hands, I was beyond happy. I knew I owed Farah big time for troubling her. And till this day, I couldn’t thank her enough.

See, that’s who Farah is. When you “get” her, she’s the kind of friend who would almost do anything for you without so much hesitation. But if you don’t, hey it’s your loss really.

Oh! And she even bought a bag of gummies knowing full well I had mad craving for it while I was in London. She actually managed to sourced out for Halal gummies somewhere in town and.. wouldn’t you know it..I happily ate them away ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a simple gesture but it meant so much to me.

Just thinking about it all over again making me miss her quite a bit too. What with the kind of lives we’re living today; she’s still there in Bingen where I believe is where she belongs and me in KL. So we have small window of opportunity to catch up but somehow we’ll make sure to drop a word or two saying “hey things are good. It’s heading somewhere bla bla bla”.

Maybe I’ll drop her an email after this. Just because ๐Ÿ˜‰

So the next morning, she took us out for a walk. As usual, it’s a must to go to the supermarket and get what we need. If you want to stock up food for travelling, always head for the grocery shop. Especially mineral water. You’ll save heaps I tell ya!

I remember being greeted by the cashier in the morning. How could one survive in Deutchland without speaking German? Eh, pretty alright I might say. Farah taught me a few words in German and I used ’em all the time. I had a lot of positive feedbacks too.

One time when I was in Farah’s room sorting out stuff, I accidentally cursed in German. Instead of asking what happened, she said “WHOA! Did you just cursed in German? Cool!”.

Yeah, that’s my friend alright. She was the one who introduced me to the word – Idiosyncrasy. Apparently, that’s how she describes my stories.

After our trip to the supermarket, we head off by foot to the ferry on Rhein River.

Rhine is the 12th longest river in Europe

Our next destination? Rรผdesheim am Rhein.


We didn’t know what the itinerary was since we left it in Farah’s hands to bring us around. I didn’t do much read up about this place to begin with so when I came, I had no expectations. So when we got on the ferry, she told us a little bit about this UNESCO World Heritage Site winemaking town. This place has a lot of events going on through out the year. One that’s most known for is the Wine Festival which happens third weekend of August every year.

We took the cable car up to the top of the hill where we can witness the picturesque view of Rheingau landscape. There’s even a hiking trail from the bottom of the hill and one can also pluck the grapes when the season comes. Too bad when we were there, there were no fruits.

Some of the views I remember from many years ago

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Grown ups can have fun too! Uluhati Edition.

Sometimes, in the midst of living; you tend to lose yourself along the way and having said that, it’s the only thing I could say about myself. I’m not sure what it was but I did. I had lost pieces of myself while fighting, caring and growing up. I miss writing, be it poems or stories and I really miss creating art the most.

These are my tickets to escape, my secret garden to hide out.

When I stopped doing it, I felt as if I’m a ticking bomb. The past couple of weeks had been me suffocating only because I didn’t know I was repressing so many emotions inside.

Today, I found the urge to write. No, actually I started writing a month ago..continuing a story I’ve abandoned. Slowly, eventually.. I’ll get there. Just like everything else.

It’s been a challenging year so far. What is only about 2.5 months since we started 2012 to others, it felt like I’ve been in it for 11 months. I’ve discovered so many things about myself. Forcing me to grow up a little bit more, if not be more responsible. And I won’t lie, it has been quite a challenge. Mentally and physically.

So one day, last month, the day I’ve been waiting for had arrived. There’s this gem in Hulu Langat, Selangor I went for a recce with a colleague prior to #TSDayOut called Uluhati. This little haven made me feel like I was revisiting a place in my mind that has not been attended for many years. It’s like a ranch. A beautiful one.

So yes, finally got to share this place with others (thanks to Farhah who’s been telling me about it months before) and I was really excited about it. We stayed over at the longhouse in Uluhati with the rest of the crew, Syidi came along too. In that brief moment, it felt as if we were on our way to “balik kampung”. Despite the fact that Syidi and I only just got to personally know each other last year, it felt like we were all going back for Raya.

While Uluhati is only 40 minutes away from the city, I think it was my perfect getaway from everything. Honestly, it did felt like I was on a paid holiday. The bbq served by En. Shaipuddin and his wife were just beyond words. There were grilled lamb (which En. Hafeez happily gorged down a few), tilapia, mushroom soup, garlic bread, chicken, fries…oh it was endless.

We weren’t ready for a feast but there it was, a celebration under the stars with laughter.

I couldn’t have painted a better picture of that night. There were no mosquitoes too. So that’s a definite plus. After a couple more plates of dinner (that turned into supper)..we played Chinese Poker and Bluff at the veranda as the wind whisper in our ears until 2AM. Retiring our bodies and minds on the comfy beds.

The next morning, we woke up to a cool breeze. So cool, I had the fleece blanket wrapped around me like a burrito. Just like waking up in the kampung, listening to feet stomping, alarm ringing and roosters crowing. The only thing that came to mind was “not to bathe in the cold natural water from the hills”. I’m a chicken cat like that.

Once again, ever lovely Riznida Eliza (En. Shai’s wife) made us Nasi Lemak and some toast bread. Oh it was good to be back with Mother Nature, even if it was just for a while. While waiting for the other #TSDayOut participants to arrive from Bangsar at the river; we got to see the sun rise overlooking the Titiwangsa Mountains.

Rasyidi beautifully captured the morning sun at Uluhati

Breathtaking.

Did I mentioned that there are goats, deers, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats roaming freely around this 2.8acre land? There are horses and ponies too! More about that later.. for now, we have to be at Langat River for bamboo rafting.

It’s an adventure day, a great outing to get everyone out from the comfort zone and explore together. Each raft had one raft guide from the local Temuan tribe. Technically, we’re in good hands because these people can survive in any parts of the world.

Little did I know I was up for a bit more adventure than anyone thought. And was very much unprepared for it too.

There were 20 rafts, 2 passengers plus one guide on each raft..going on a cruise along the river which took about 2 hours. If there was anything you should try in Selangor, and not wanting it to be too hardcore.. it would be this activity.

Half way through the journey, looking at the houses, little kids watching us city people doing what they do on daily basis..I realised our guide was slightly inexperience. But that’s not going to stop me from having fun tho.

That’s Salina, enjoying the breathtaking view

The first incident happened when our raft (Salina and I were paired up together) were stuck in between huge rocks in the middle of a very rapid current. While the young guide was trying to repositioned the raft, it was easier if we got off the raft and helped as well. From one thing to another, he had some difficulty and the raft floated even further away. Torn to save us or the raft, we all thought it was best if he took care of the raft first. However, if we made any kind of small move, we are sure to fall head first and that’s not good idea when I was holding my dslr.

Seeing as Salina was frozen in her spot, I had to do the one thing I never thought would come in handy in my life. I fell backwards and body surfed along the river knowing that I’ll grab the raft when I arrived at the end. My only reason for doing it was to actually my camera first and I knew I can’t stand any longer with the kind of rapid pushing us from behind. Salina took a leap of faith and did what I did.

What luck, Syidi & Aida were there to see how the incident unfold.

Thankfully, we both were at Kuala Kubu Bharu last November for white water rafting and The Paddlerz suggested that we should do body surfing as part of the activity. This is when you allow yourself to float in the river face up.

Who knew such trivial activity had the potential to save lives?

Truth enough we arrived where our raft was at, except that my thigh had hit a massive rock underneath which resulted in muscle cramp due to the shallow river. Which made it worst because I couldn’t support myself.

It may have looked like I was a klutz (and I am one) but this was just one of those where an accident just happened and all you can think about is saving your life (and the camera). I was pulled out from the river like a helpless body, walked a little bit on the river bank to sit on the raft. One of the guides told us that the river should be much more calm from here onwards.

Where the first incident took place before I body surfed.

“Good. If it was anything like that again, I don’t think I could save myself again because of the cramp.”

The camera was fine, miraculously! And we continued on our journey admiring the view. I had mentioned to Salina that our guide was actually lucky to have us because of the experience we had prior. Had it happened to other people, we’re not sure what it would have been.

I spoke too soon.

Our raft got caught in between two massive rocks and stronger current. This time, I knew I will have difficulty to move away from the situation. True enough, the guide had to literally pull me out of the water and pushed me up the raft. It’s during this struggle that my camera took a dip in the river before I managed to lift it again.

I got on to the other raft, the one where Tok Batin Andak, the head of the tribe was on while Salina went solo with the young guide.

From then on, I resolute to enjoy my scenery with my eyes and not behind the lens.

Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Oh well, things happened. All we can do is do our best to avoid getting hurt. And I don’t regret going on this adventure even if it had put my camera into comatose.

It’s what I needed. A moment to wake up to feel like I’m still alive.

The best part of the journey is still yet to come. When we arrived at the end point of the river, there was only the Mazda pick-up truck and all 6 of us sat at the back, going all cowboy right up to Uluhati. It felt almost like going on a roller coaster, what with the corners and steep hill we had to go through.

It was truly a fun time.

Minutes later, I saw everyone’s enjoying the cozy long house and greenery. It was also the first time the rest were introduced to this place. And while waiting for our next activity which was the blow pipe demonstration, we were welcomed with the yummiest home cooked food. It was so good, I didn’t even think of taking photos. (All photos after this are from the iPhone)

The long house with the picnic benches. Love.

What I like about the food is that, it reminded me so much of Negeri Sembilan’s food (where my dad came from) and I just love the fresh bite of the pucuk paku. If it was Pucuk Paku masak lemak cili api, I’d prolly grabbed the entire bowl ๐Ÿ˜‰

About an hour after lunch, we were all listening to Tok Batin Andak explaining the entire process about blow pipe. We certainly enjoyed his brand of humour. The kind of accidents that had happened while were quite scary, he made it priceless.

Tok Batin Andak and his many funny tales

While I don’t remember my experience with blow pipes when I was in Kuching decades ago, it was a good thing I get to experience it here. Tho, Syidi did mentioned that this particular ones are heavier compared to the ones in Sabah and Sarawak.

Yours truly’s target..was anywhere but the target point. Some are elephant hunter and one could be a rabbit hunter. It all depends how good you are at blow pipe.

My favourite part has to be when the participants were submitting their photos for the photography competition. That’s when you’ll get to see all sorts of shots from different eyes. Things you might’ve missed or taken for granted, this is when it’ll open your eyes (and mind). We even get to select the winners under a tree with En. Din. It can’t get anymore authentic than that.

I’ll come back again.

When everything was over, Aida and I hitched a ride with Syidi to Bangsar. Considering how hungry we were at that time, we joined Cal and Farhah for.. neither dinner nor lunch at G3 Kitchen Bistro.

The rest of the day was left dead.

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Airborne-sick

So here I am.
8 months later. I am so sorry.
While it seems like I’ve abandoned Wanderlust Theories, I really haven’t. In theory, it has always been in my mind. It was just never translated from brainwave to words. 
And that makes a lot of difference unfortunately. 
It’s not that I don’t want to write or that I had lost interest in this; I just went away discovering myself and then (hopefully when I’ve figured it out) share my theories about whatever I’ve been experiencing. So this entry is dedicated to everyone who’s been reminding me to start writing (David of MalaysiaAsia, Fie, Alid & Wilson of PlacesandFoods) and those who happened to read this. Seriously, I can’t imagine why anyone would read my rants but yeah, do know that every reader is special to me ๐Ÿ™‚
Life has been quite the roller coaster ride; physically and (especially) emotionally. The thing is, I realized I haven’t set foot in an aircraft since My Selangor Story started and I *think* I have forgotten what it feels like to take off. 
Dramatic right? I know. But it’s the truth. Really. 
Honestly, I do miss flying away to places I deem my escapism. It could be the schedule or something else. Somehow, I just never got around to getting onboard. I have sent and picked up people to/at the airport many times tho..
However, I am having fun doing what I never thought is possible. 
Not in a million years.
Then again, I have went on a trip with Johan Farid Khairuddin (or affectionately known as JFK) and Fie in his Cessna around Selangor & Kuala Lumpur back in April. That was probably the closest thing to flying I suppose? ‘Twas amazing!
When I said “I’d like to make Selangor as part of my journey”, I never thought that my feet will be planted deep in the ground of Selangor! It’s so deep, I feel like I’m the information counter for all things Selangor sometimes. Not that it’s a bad thing actually ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s just that, this experience, this job (if you may call it) has truly changed my perception of traveling. 
I’ve learned so much about myself as much as I have been researching about Selangor every single day. A journey I’ll forever cherish. 
Perhaps this quote by G. K. Chesterton said it best – โ€œThe whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.โ€
And in some twisted kind of way, maaaaybe that’s what He’s trying to tell me; that as much as I love traveling wherever, whenever, it is something else to discover your own country (or in this case, state).
I can’t imagine thinking back that I’ve been to places, seen faces and listen to stories which I wouldn’t be able to do without being part of Tourism Selangor. People who would just take me out and show me around Selangor as if I’m a foreigner. I can’t say how thankful I am for having such awesome people supporting my dream.
The best thing is that, my friends are now even more excited to go on an adventure in Selangor with me like they’ve never been before. That alone I think is an achievement itself.
It has been a humbling and cool journey thus far.
One I keep learning and growing from experience to be a better person. 

Here’s a big hug to everyone! Muah ๐Ÿ™‚
1

In Waking Up To A Dream

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever. – Oscar Wilde

There are millions of nonsense going through my head, it’s like a hurdle on it’s own just to wake up from that place. And I have been stuck in this dark hole for a bit. It’s as if I live in two worlds. 

Then, as I was watching Nat Geo’s Word Travels episodes, it got me thinking (eh doesn’t that happen all the time anyway?) .. in today’s world, we’re more open, more connected to this travel world that I used to remember it was one of those very exclusive/ very lucky people only get to experience. Now, there are more mediums allowing all of us to participate in this worldly adventures; even if it’s at the comfort of your homes.

Which I find very inspiring.

I always kept thinking that being a travel writer or of anything similar to that notion is a one in million kind of job. That it is probably easier to get a PhD for paleontology than to get your hands in travel writing. 

But now, that’s not the case. I have been lucky to meet people who in one way or another have invested in this what I nearly called impossible dream of mine and not to mention Him, who writes this in my book. Indeed, it always starts from you. If you want it bad enough, work for it; the universe will conspire to help you too.

Of course journalism has it’s own levels of appreciation. Like art. 

One can make something out of trash and calls it art. One can write about a place and calls it a travel experience. 

Everyone can be anything they want, create the dreams they see themselves living in. But what sets each and everyone apart is the substance, the personality one carries throughout the journey. And growing up in a society that doesn’t read, it makes that task much harder so to speak. 

Which comes to my next point.

For as long as I’m doing this because (and only because) I love it, then my intentions will always serve it’s purpose. To share with the world about what I see, do, speak, think and touch. Certainly, it’s always nice to know that someone out there among billions of people in this world reads my idiosyncrasies  and make effort to comment; I think I am still in the right place for doing this with the right mind frame and intentions even if I don’t get high traffic. 

I’m a romantic at heart, and I mean romantic in a way that, what I do, it’s something personal and I have to do it because it means so much to me.

Perhaps there’s to many “me” in this post. Although I feel uncomfortable putting myself in the spotlight, this one is exempted. Well, if I’m not doing it because I love it, it would just be another thing someone else is doing isn’t it?

So yes, I’m now revived to be back to write after hiding in the dark. And it feels good too.

I also agree with what Oscar Wilde had said as it is better to live the moment, embrace it and then look back as one of the pages you have made the most in your life rather than brooding about how a moment will have to pass. Because it will.

Therefore, live it.

0

Projection

A few days ago, Black Tomato had this interesting weekly competition and I got inspired with it and made this wallpaper of the thoughts I want to project out to the world. I think if each of us got around to fill in the blank canvas with thoughts and emotions, then stick it anywhere we always spend most time looking; we’d all be more positive and happy.

It’s just a theory but I really do think it would work because we will be able to to see our own state of mind laid out in front of us rather. That’s when you get to analyse yourself, see yourself for what you are than *think* about what you may be. You can’t disregard it, nor make excuses and delete it because it’s right there..in front of you.

Each and every word in that canvas are linked to each other one way or another. And a lot of them would not have been the case if it weren’t for traveling. It made me grow a lot in terms of being more humble and laid back. We know all things don’t happen the way we want it to be but if you go along with the journey to getting there, you’d learn a lot more when arriving at the destination.

The journey not the arrival matters. โ€“ T. S. Eliot

So I can’t imagine what it’d be like not to travel at all. Not able to see, smell, touch, talk and love while traveling would be absurd to me. Then again, even those who travel and not able to experience those little things are just as pointless as each place we go (even the places we already know) is capable to teach us something we can apply to ourselves.

๐Ÿ™‚ If you think you have not enough money to travel, I’d say bogus! Travel is just a state of mind – even the city you live in has a lot of hidden secrets you don’t know about. Go, discover your roots and have lots of fun while you’re at it.

4

Hello World.

Everything in life has a beginning and an end. We’ll start with the beginning (and just enjoy the ride while the end comes; whenever it wants)..which will be Kuala Lumpur, my birthplace.

Let’s just say it’s Wanderlust Theories introduction to the world.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and it’s people are normally referred to as KLites. Tall buildings, food, shopping malls, haze, more glorious food, colourful culture, a lot of holidays and summer 24/7 pretty much sums up KL to it’s core. Oh, not to forget it’s traffic jam as well. But that’s another story altogether.

                                                        This was taken from the Observation Deck in Menara KL.

I used to think that KL is only most beautiful during the night or very early in the morning; for the obvious reason until recently, I rediscovered this city in a different perspective and it is a lot more fun/warm too. See, the thing about living in a city is that, the real face is covered with concrete all over causing the true life experience of what made it the way it is now left unknown to many people, even KLites themselves.

To me what makes a place appealing would be the raw emotions of it’s people. With the hustle and bustle of the city, one rarely get to experience it aside from it being just another city. Ok, Tokyo probably can get away with this. Never been there before, but one day some day soon I will.

So back to KL.

I’ll write about what KL is in general for now and delve into my new discoveries later on in new entries.

KLCC pretty much put us in the map, aside from the Sepang International Circuit for Formula 1. For the longest time, when you ask any westerner if they know where Malaysia is, they wouldn’t know, unless you say a neighbour to Singapore. It’s quite frustrating because Malaysia has so much to offer but was hidden from the world. Now though, it’s a different case.

I must admit, KL has a lot of energy. It caters to everyone with all kinds of interest. If you’re the running type of person, there are various hills you can go to – Tabur, Broga or Gasing Hill; heck, while you’re at it, might as well run up the stairs at Batu Caves. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Get your body work out with ATV or Paintball in the jungle. Hey, nothing beats being one with Mother Nature right?

Zorbing will turn your life upside down, literally. A tad crazy but it’s a once in a lifetime thing being in a washing machine-like enviroment. Of course those who suffers from claustrophobia are not advised to do it.   

The KL I grew up with is very humid during the first half of the year. What with global warming, boy, you’ll probably want to sleep in the freezer. For someone who does not like the air condition system, I sure as heck is tempted to install one in the room but once May-June comes, hello rain! Open your windows, welcome the cool breeze into your space and it’s just as chilly. I am amazed with women like them who doesn’t seem bothered with the heat.

As of late, we’ve been getting many more Koreans and Arabs coming over to KL either for holiday or to stay. Considering the conversion rate to Ringgit Malaysia(RM), KL is pretty cheap to shop, eat & stay. It’s no surprise the Arab/Korean restaurants are booming here; unfortunately the authentic good Korean restaurants (mostly in Korean Street, Ampang) are non-halal.

With so many races living together here, it’s no wonder our most popular question in everyday life is “What to eat ah today?” and most frequent answer to this would be “Anythinglah”. I mean of course we can’t think straight when it comes to food; God, look at the choices we have here! Let me assure you that, good ‘ole Malaysian food is best served in small stalls by the street or drains. There’s just something about it that makes the food extra delicious. You can spend as little as RM2 for Roti Canai and Teh Tarik or spend a bit more for noodles, rice or our local Burger Ramly. Let’s not even talk about the desserts!

If I can say one thing that we are rich in, it’s most definitely food. It doesn’t matter what your budget is, you’ll be guaranteed for a gastronomical experience anywhere in the city.

We’ve got some nice places to hangout during the night too. Whether you’re the clubbing type of person, lounge or just want to go out for the heck of it; KL’s got it all! From Zouk to No Black Tie to ehem..

people who constantly serving us day and night, the mamak stalls!

What would we do without those hardworking fellas making and serving our food when we crave for something to munch at 2AM? I can’t imagine a life without them. No wait, I could – something like London. That’s not even a compliment.

Yes, they are our unsung heroes.

Seriously. Food is KL and KL is food. There’s no other way about it.

You know what? KL is alright. It’s not mad. Albeit the crime issues are terrifying but it’s not so bad after all (also because of the new discoveries).

I didn’t think it would be this hard to write up a place like KL but how wrong was I?

Phewh. I can now stop looping Maroon 5’s Misery.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure
– Paulo Coelho