Thursday, May 5, 2016

Those days when we were still dreaming

Every single of us, a traveler, should have a similar story as Yuna's... about dreaming to fly and go to places far away when we were younger...

I am trying to revive the reminiscence on those days when I started to dream about travelling. Lets rewind the clock back to those years when I was still little boy, a boy with a dream. As the matter of fact, actually I didn't travel much in my childhood. Born and raised in low-income family, having very limited means, and having no car, my family didn't travel much. If my family got to travel somewhere usually for wedding occasion, not all of us can go along. Myself, luckily my mother bring me along for few trips, like only 2 or 3 time thru out my course of childhood, went for kenduri of relatives in another town like Dungun and further south in Kuantan. Kami tumpang kereta my uncles. I was so excited for the journey. At that time, I felt Dungun is just so far away from home. Like far away land. My mother had me to consume panadol before the journey, takut car-sick, maklumlah, tak biasa berjalan jauh.

Apart from that, I always dream that one fine day I could go to Kuala Lumpur. I always wanted to go there someday, it is like my big dream. My family lives next door to my uncle's who is my mother's younger brother. I grew up together with my cousins, had very close relationship. They are middle income family and the dad owns a car. They travelled quiet a number of times to KL visiting relatives. Every time they went there, I and my other siblings, always stood not far from them to witnesses them go off, at very early in the morning. Those days, going to KL would took more than 8 hours, so the journey must start as early as possible. I stood there trying to feel the excitement of  joyful event for them. After they left and disappear from sight, then I started to think and dreaming. I stared at the range of hills far away and asking myself, is KL behind those hills? I believe it must be far further,  KL is behind the hills after that hills after more hills. I kept on wondering, how far is far, how far is 8 hours journey. I wish I could experience it. And after they return home, I eager to hear their story about KL. Kids being kids, my cousins would tell me everything, from the pizza they eat, how deep the longkang around the house in KL (haha, becos we live in kampong so things like that is something to shout), the terowong they passed thru in Karak, etc. And I just started to wanting more to go there someday, you know, that was how I started to realise that travelling is about seeing new things and experience new thing.

As time passed and I grew older, I realized that I cannot just rely on someone else or specifically my family. I had to strive on my own to turn the dreams into reality. I had to study hard, cos I want to go far away and be able to travel, like my older siblings who already left the kampong to further study. If I don't study hard, I would not able to go where dreams are. So, I did study hard and score enuff good grades to qualify for course A-Levels, a preparatory for degree in the UK. But fate has it, I and the rest of the students never flown to the UK. That was a different story.

When I was in my early years as an working adult, I adore this one friend of mine in the office. He who is much older than me, always went for travelling like whenever he feels like it, like 2 or 3 times a year, and it is abroad. I, at that time could only afford to go for vacation within the country. But he,  going to Australia, then few months later I heard he just went for a trip in Hong Kong. I told him, "Bestnya kau dapat gi Australia, Hong Kong, merata-rata tempat, keliling dunia." I adore him, having the ability to have enuff fund to go travel. "Agaknya bila la aku mampu gi travel jauh2 mcm kau?" I kept on dreaming and foresee my years to come, to estimate when is the time I would have enuff money to travel. 
During those years, I had a sister who so happen staying in the UK for long term, following her husband further study. So, I got a plan to do part-time job at night at 7 eleven or such, so that I could collect extra money to buy flight ticket to the UK. However, not long after that before I started seeing myself as a part-time worker at convenience stores at night, I was so lucky to be selected in a team for this particular project. Yey! That is the starting, dreams turned into reality! This project is for PETRONAS refinery Melaka, and the best part was, the engineering stage to be done with Technology partner in Finland. It was in my 3rd year working in that Japanese company.
I still remember that night, the beginning of other side of my life, the adventurous and enthusiastic one. I got to start playing as a true traveler, I mean in foreign land. And I would never stop travelling until end of my life, never stop. That midnight, the very first time I flied abroad, far away to other continent. I even remember the moment I was queueing to board the big aircraft, bound for Amsterdam. How could I forget. We are a team of like 20 peoples that night, the hole team is bigger but some of the team already departed previous night and some on later date. I and other few of us, still young, especially the secretaries for the client. The ticket officer at the boarding gate asked us, "Pergi sambung study ke?", and we replied, "Tak, pergi kerja." The officers was like amazed looking at us, muda-muda lagi dah nak kerja kat Europe. Gitu...
Inside the flight I remember the aircraft took a long taxing before took off, the longest taxing period in my life, off course during that time I thought that was normal. All I saw outside during the taxing was the neon light on the runway tarmac embracing by the darkness. I am still in overwhelming state. And 13 hours later, when the flight minutes away to touch airport Amsterdam, becos it is in early summer so it is already bright, I remember for the very first time, I catch a glimpse thru the windows and saw a lines of trees by the airport runaway, a different kind of tree. I said to myself, wow I am now in other part of the world with different climate. I am in foreign land, with foreign things. I was overwhelmed.

After spent few hours inside the Schiphol Airport, we later boarded a smaller flight to Helsinki. When the flight about to make turn for landing, I saw the huge endless lakes with enormous number of small islands, like thousands, surrounded by a pine trees jungle. At that moment, I just knew the world we live is just awesome! I was for the first time, mind blown by the nature right before my eyes.
Arrived in Helsinki, the airport just smelled like IKEA. And yes, until today, whenever I step into IKEA, it always bring me back memories in those days in Finland, the office I worked, the mall we used to have our lunch, the apartment we lived, all smells like IKEA. And how could I forget the very first time I felt the cool air temperature once I stepped out from airport door. Everything looks so fresh, the sky, the air, everything so fresh! Just so cold and fresh like we were in a huge refrigerator. The wild flowers blooming by the roadside (Finland has a late spring in May, it still covered with snow in March and early April there). I kept on smiling, was so happy inside. I was then just few hundred km aways from the Arctic Circle. I was at one little corner of the earth far away from home, a corner almost at the top of this blue planet. I overwhelmed. How could I not. This is my dream.
I got to experience the longest day time in my life. It was dusk at 11 pm and dawn at 2 am in the morning. And the night time doesn't look really dark, it is like a sunset time, you know, the sun just set a little just waiting to rise again. It is stunning experience. The earth is so eventful and interesting. At 3 am in the morning, it was bright day light, but not a single person outside, cos it is still night time. It was like a ghost town. It is so weird! On the first day we arrive there, we went to the nearest train station to check the scene, and I was so excited to witness the scene, the shops, the items they sell there, and I did my very first purchase abroad there. Yes, I remember that first purchase ha ha. You know,  I was interested to see and learn the foreign language, foreign things, foreign peoples, what are written on the signage, the vegetations, everything that foreign and new.

After many years working, I travelled for business purpose quiet a number of times. Apart from my own travelling for leisure! My best travelling experience was flying in style with Malaysia Airlines business class A380 from Paris to KL, for free, company bayar. Best gila kot! It was the bliss, I am so grateful with all the kurnia from God in the course of my life.
How about your story?


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Perth Trip, Winter 2015 - Part 3

I did excursion to Frementle, an adorable seaside town, located about 30 minutes travelled by train from city of Perth. It is like KL and Klang. Calm and quite, not so much of the crowd, at certain part it just looks like a ghost town. I found the way to the beach. There's an old fort right by the beach, standing there one can see panorama overlooking the town and the ocean. I touched the Indian Ocean, the same vast ocean that hides the mystery of MH370. Time passed by slowly while I was enjoying the sunset by the beach, and get entertained by watching a bunch of aboriginal kids showing off their acrobatic skills on the soft sea sand. They made my day.

I had my dinner at the famous Kailis. I ordered BBQ Platter, haha.. the jumbo one. Temptation gitu. I forgot to check the price before place order. If I knew it gonna cost me $79, I doubt I pick that. Haha. Nonetheless, nothing to regret, money is not yours until you spend it right, plus, bukan selalu datang sini, once in blue moon. But, the taste not that outstanding though, I must say kinda plain taste. Well, mana boleh nak compare dgn Asian way of cooking, with all the spices, kan.
Talking about local food, other than Kebabs, the common one I suppose the most popular among Malay tourist must be Fish and Chips. Here in Perth they serve F&C with no plate but wrap with big paper - the traditional way of serving according to them.  What else to shout, hmmm I guess worth to mention the famous Apple Strudle at the Northbridge. The size is much bigger than I expected, boleh makan untuk 4 orang per pieces. The taste is so nice, something not to miss. I also eat the churros while I am in Madurrah. That was another excursion. I picked and choosed Mandurrah becos it is reachable by train, by day. I just wanted to go to the next town, no specific one. And I found Mandurrah on the map it meets my criteria. My intention is to sightseeing outside Perth cornubation. I wanted to see the scenery along the journey. When I was on the train, I recalled something when I saw the bushland at the rural part. I remembered many years back, someone did tell me that certain part in Terengganu have this distinguish look that reminds to Australia. And few years later, I heard someone else said the same thing! My curiosity at last get the answer, and yes, their saying is not baseless. See photos below, almost similar, kan. Madurrah is a small town by the lagoon. Not so many thing happens or any tourist attraction here. One activity to kill time I did is dolphin cruise in the lagoon. Cant recall how much it cost. I and the rest of the tourists on the boat managed to see the dolphin few times, close enuff. Kinda amazing, cos those dolphins are wildlife. Living in natural habitat.

Terengganu (Dungun-Marang coastal road)
The next day, I went to Perth Zoo, located just 5 minutes bus ride from the city. Not too bad for a quick look, nak melepaskan hajat. I just wanted to see the native animals i.e. kangaroo, koala, wombat dan Tasmanian devils. It is a must, tak lengkaplah trip ke OZ kalau tak tengok these exclusive animals, right? And did I say Wombat is like when a koala married with a pig, they got anak called wombat! I just learnt that there’s few species of kangaroo, includings one that sit on tree branch most of times.

I also managed to pay a visit to WA museum. My travelling rule, I have to do at least one museum. I need to know about the past of the city, then I could appreciate and feel the place a little bit more. WA museum is free entry. 

The day before I fly back home, I went to Kings Park, again. I love it here in Kings Park. That morning, I woke up at dawn, and went outdoor, got myself a cup of hot coffea and egg burger at Hungry Jacks, then took a walk all the way from the city to Kings Park. Enjoying my own time on chilly morning. I saw peoples cycling, walking and jogging along the way. At Kings Park, I just sit on a bench facing the calm beauty vista, enjoying the delightful view and the sounds of the birds chirping, feel the chilly breeze on my face, take a deep breath of fresh morning air…that was a perfect relaxing vacation the way I wanted to. Kalau mat salleh, mereka enjoy the morning scene in the tropical island of Bali or Phuket they call paradise, I, on the other hand, call their home paradise. Grass is always green on the other side.  

Cos the trip is on my own, I wont be able to do the long distance driving to those places far further in outskirt like pinnacles, wave rock, the gap, drive to the next town further down south, posing on the empty rural road in the middle of nowhere, etc. Nak ambik pakej, agak mahal. It cost $160 for day trip to pinnacles. Takpe lah, next time boleh datang  jalan-jalan makan angin ke Perth lagi inshaa Allah.
All in all, Perth definitely a world class city with high standard of living quality. Not overcrowded like Asian cities, peaceful and pretty setting. Thanks God this land fall to the right hand who know how to preserve, take good care and enhance the natural beauty.