Thursday, 31 December 2015

Paris

Question :

Dalam banyak-banyak ikan, ikan apa yg asal dari Perancis?

Ikan paghiiiii.

You laughed, right? Right?


So anyway, yours faithfully went for a short trip to Paris with some friends. It was short but I had soooo much fun! Alhamdulillah for the lush weather, for the opportunity to set foot in the city of woooveee, and most of all, I don't think I say this enough but, alhamdulillah for friends who tune on the same frequency & wavelength as I do! Good company beats everything. Really. You know, I'm actually a really bubbly, talkative person but this persona is hidden under my 7 layers of shyness, inferiority complex and social awkwardness.

Tu belum campur my clothing layers lagi (coat, jumper, thermal wear).

It takes quite awhile for some people to get past these layers, but for some others, it's almost as though they can effortlessly crack open my cold, unfriendly exterior & penetrate right into my actual self. These people are the chosen ones, ones whom I put my trust in not to tell the whole world how annoying my jokes & non-stop singing can be hehe. It was the good company that made this trip memorable! I mean, Paris is a lovely city, but I'm not quite the city girl so for me to say that the trip was fun says a lot about the lovely souls who kept me company for the two days there :)

Since Zorro is comatose still (I refuse to call him dead), I'm left with only my phone camera to immortalise my moments. Which sucks, because I've never been one who is good at taking photos using a phone camera. When my friends saw me taking out my phone to snap a photo of Eiffel Tower, they wore this bemused expression on their faces. "Sheera, peliknya tengok you ambik gambar guna phone.".

I myself also pelik at myself. Nonetheless, we arrived to a very handsome Paris on a very beautiful day!

The sky was blue - the vibrant kind of blue, almost like background gambar passport. We went to see Eiffel Tower first, only 20 minutes by foot from our hostel. I expected it to be a lot taller to be honest, but still, I was mesmerised when I first saw it. Having seen it at least hundreds of times on social media, I thought Eiffel Tower would be yet just another building to me but it really does have its own charm, this one. There was what seemed like an immeasurably long queue of homo sapiens waiting for their turn to go up the tower. Eiffel Tower was built in celebration of 100 years of French Revolution, and it uses iron, in lieu of steel like most buildings today.

Afterwards we visited Arc De Triomphe, and then Musée du Louvre. As the day drew its curtains and nighttime came, we went back to see Eiffel Tower and lo & behold, the Eiffel Tower stood there in all its golden glory and sparkly lights against the pitch black sky!

Just... Magical!!

The next day we visited Notre Dame de Paris, and then Champs-Élysées (where I kept reminding myself to stop gawking at the price tags there because man, I can never afford any of the stuff there hahaha). We bought Laduree macarons because of all the rave & hype about them, but after tasting the macarons, I really want to say I nodded in great admiration & acknowledgement of the fancy flavours & ingredients in each bite I savoured, but nope.... I felt rather indifferent. Nothing extravagant for me to be honest. But that's most likely because I'm not a fan of macarons anyway, so I can't really tell apart a good macaron from a mediocre one??

Bought souvenirs for our loved ones back home, and then went to perform our prayers at the Grande Mosquée de Paris. Transportation was super easy in Paris because they have the metro, much the same as London's tube, and we could even use CityMapper app in Paris so it wasn't difficult to find our ways and navigate ourselves.

All in all, I enjoyed the touristy frolics with the girls(!!) - basically just trying to pronounce the French words of the metro stations (but failed at that obviously, as indicated by the faint disapproving laughter of other Parisians within our earshot), seizing every chance that came by to say "merci beaucoup" because that's the only accurate French phrase we could pull off, escaping potential scammers, striking various poses for the camera - but Paris itself was alright methinks. I probably wouldn't want to go back but if you're capable of scrutinising architectural details and its aesthetic values and historical significance and whatnot, Paris has loads to offer in those aspects! :) Now, enjoy my low quality photos hahah!




















Sortie means Exit, but the only thing that popped in my head every time I saw this sign was "sortie imma party till the sun down" hehe (skip to 1.44)


Friday, 25 December 2015

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating! :)



Is it a sin for Muslims to say "Merry Christmas" to our fellow...
Is it a sin for Muslims to say "Merry Christmas" to our fellow Christians? My friend and colleague Dr. Kashif N Chaudhry breaks it down.
Posted by Qasim Rashid on Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Original post here.

Love this time of the year in the UK because of the twinkling lights and atmosphere and pandemonium and familial banter (of my neighbours upstairs, haha), everything is almost tantamount to eid in Malaysia. Makes me miss my family & relatives soooo much, I miss them everyday but festivities like Christmas exponentiate the rindu. Anyway, boxing day tomorrow. My WhatsApp has been loaded with incoming requests from my relatives hahaha gotta put my Personal Shopper cap now! Also gotta do some workout (hewhew) because tomorrow gotta jostle with the crowd*. Okay, maybe not so much jostle as being squashed in between people's armpits. Haih, one of the perks of being short petite. Seriously. There's probably a whole other world up there that I don't even know of.



*That rhymes, right? Workout and crowd? Squinting my eyes now because of the brightness of my future as a rapper. Or a very competent contestant for a pertandingan balas pantun.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Brecon Beacons

After Bath, my friend (Amir) and I resumed our journey to Cardiff. We stayed over Feie's place. That night we went to Wok-Ker Shaker for dinner, and can I please just say this : everything was just so murah as opposed to London's exorbitant prices!! Nak nangis.

The next morning we went to Brecon Beacons. Feie said Brecon Beacons is a large area, like a daerah on its own. It's not even in Cardiff anymore, but still within Wales. People usually come for many things ; waterfalls, Pen y Fan, Black Mountain, etc. so different parts of it offer different things. We took a train from Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil, from there took the T4 bus and asked the bus driver to drop us at Storey Arms. From Storey Arms, we hiked up Pen y Fan. That's 886m of elevation.


Yeoreobun.

It was my first time hiking. And I am officially traumatised. For. Life.

Enough said.

Okay so maybe it was just a bad kkaebsong day with (extremely) bad weather. When we started hiking, the sky was overcast, and there was drizzle but we thought it was bearable and it would go away soon. But as we ascended further up, everything else just went "downhill". The wind started blowing like crazy I thought it was almost like a storm, the rain came and went and came again, the fog thickened, and then all of a sudden it hailed.

IT. FREAKING. HAILED. It was so les mizeghable for me because it actually hurt when the hail come straight onto my face.

And then my camera wouldn't turn on.

ZORRO. ACTUALLY. DIED. That was not just les mizeghable, that was les mizeghabut already I felt like I was going to combust & explode from the pent-up frustration of how much of a haywire the day had been.

Approximately 10 minutes from the summit, I decided to stop & not go up. Not because I gave up (I was so close to the top already!) but because the wind was insane. Since I'm rather petite, I could've actually been blown away!!! My head was filled with all sorts of gory imagination ; if I did get blown away where the hell would I end up at!! I even tried to form some plausible mental calculations, taking into account my educational guess of the speed of the wind and the direction in which I'll be blown away and if it was possible for my body to defy physics, against all odds.



Have to consider all possibilities, okay.

I thought I was going to die so I kept muttering the kalimah syahadah because I swear I thought my time was almost up. And I wanted to tell Feie how much I love my family and my best friends and everyone back home and wanted Feie to relay my last words to them in case my lifespan did cease at that very moment. The thick fog was not helping either!! The reason I agreed to go hiking in the first place was solely for the breathtaking view people had been telling me about but what did I get? A goddamn white blanket covering everything. Ugh. I was so, so pissed off and I felt horrible because that would mean I was pissed off at the weather and the one in charge of the weather is none other than The One!! ;( I also thought maybe I was experiencing Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) (in retrospect, I wasn't, guys. AMS only happens at >2400 metres of ascent, what the hell was I thinking haha over nya!) and I learnt about this in uni but I couldn't recall what's the name of the diuretic that is given to people with AMS (also in retrospect, it's Acetazolamide) so I was irritated at myself for not remembering that. I was cold and wet and trembling and my nose was runny and frankly speaking the only thing I could ask for at that time was to return to sea level.

I thought I wouldn't make it to the ground, but I did!!! I returned to the ground!! All limbs intact, in one piece!! Physically and emotionally beat but in one piece nonetheless!!


My exact sentiments upon reaching the ground, personified by Dash from The Incredibles.


Rasa nak cium tanah and say sorry for leaving the ground hahhah and promise I'll never ever commit a folly like leaving the ground again.

You know, sometimes the weather is just not in your favour and no amount of whining can change that, so you'll just have to deal with it. Feie (who has gone hiking for many times now, she's even conquered Snowdonia) said the weather was way too grim even for her, let alone for a first timer like me. Or maybe it's better to put it this way : if it's winter in the UK, sit your arse down and don't bother going out for outdoor activities. 'tis the time to be jolly & watch kdramas! Anyway, here are some photos I took before Zorro died on me.














c/o Feie's phone. Hahah look at my IM-GOING-TO-DIE face, sedih pilu gila




Bath



is a little city in the UK. It's actually a valley, surrounded by mountains, famous for its natural hot springs (very few of those in the UK). I was told by Natrah (a new friend I made!! She also happens to be my senior from MRSM haha talk about six degrees of separation!) that the architecture in Bath has both Roman & Georgian elements to it. All the buildings look similar in the sense that they all have this distinctive warm sephia-ish colour. That's because they have to conform to a certain guideline that is, to use bath stones as building materials. Natrah said if the people there want to renovate pun they still have to oblige to this. It probably has something to do with the fact that Bath is listed as one of UNESCO's heritage sites, so it would only make sense that they want to preserve everything.

Another singular feature of Bath is Jane Austen, the one who wrote Pride and Prejudice. I don't think she was born in Bath, but she spent several years calling Bath home. Some of her books centred around Bath as the settings. There's a Jane Austen Centre here but I didn't get to visit it, and apparently people in Bath hold a Jane Austen Festival annually. Natrah said during the festival, you'll be able to see random people just walking around nonchalantly in their Georgian get up, the whole enchilada will look like it's from an entirely different time & place.

Natrah told us the chronicle of how a swineherd (a person who rears pigs) who contracted some kind of disease was travelling with his pigs (also diseased, the same kind of disease... somehow) and chanced upon the hot springs in Bath. When his pigs went around the springs, their disease was cured! The swineherd figured that maybe he'll be cured as well, so he went on to bathe inside the hot water and as legends had it, he, too, was cured. That's how Bath was founded and everyone believed the hot springs' healing power.

"You see, babi is quite a big deal here," quote of the day by Natrah hahaha. I was in Bath for only a day so there weren't many things that I could squeeze in my time, only Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, Bath Guildhall Market, and Royal Crescent (it's a shame I went there when it was already dark, so no good photos of the Royal Crescent). Anyway, I'm actually glad that Natrah was there to take us around and she's well versed in the Bath subject. I felt like a downright loser for a moment because my knowledge of London is zilch, but don't worry I made a mental note to find out about any interesting trivia/stories of London so the next time someone comes visit, I'll blow him/her away with my knowledge muehehe.




Favourite photo of Bath Abbey!







The Roman Baths. Macam air tebu kan hahaha








That's the Pulteney Bridge where one of the scenes from Les Miserables was filmed

The thing at the bottom is called a weir

Thanks for everything, Natrah!

In the Bath Guildhall Market