Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Pun Pergi Spain Uolss

Quoting Lao Tzu " A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving". That was what I did.

I back packed and toured Spain recently. Something that I did not believe myself. It was kinda last minute decision. Husband supposed to have a training in London for two days. Since I was on sabbatical, I thought why not I follow him and in the end we ended up extending the trip to Spain. Isn't that fantastic? Andalucia is a place in my wish list to visit and definitely as I step on bumi Spain, it was a dream came true.

To write my whole Spain experience would mean coming up with a travelog, which I intend to, but I don't know when I am able to do it. Suffice to pen down here the brief tour itinerary plus guide notes in Spain. Some friends have asked me to share it with them and here it is.

Day 1

Flight to Madrid depart from London Gatwick via easyJet

Arrive in Madrid

Take Metro (train) from Madrid airport to Tirso de Molino (change lines twice at Nuevos Ministerios and Tribunal). Metro ticket in Spain can be shared. It goes by number of trips and not personal to holder.

Check in at Eurostar Madrid (less than 5 minutes walking from Tirso de Molino)

Self- walk tour to Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel, Palacio Duques De Uceda Viaducto, Catedral De La Almudena and Palacio Real


Day 2

Madrid City Tour (hop on and hop off) Route 1 and Route 2 + museum visit + shopping + walking tour around Madrid city


Day 3

Check out from hotel

Take Metro from Tirso de Molino to Atocha Renfe to catch train to Cordoba (Renfe train tickets were purchased online earlier). Train journey takes about 2 and half hours from Madrid to Cordoba

Arrive in Cordoba.  Purchased bus ticket for two day Cordoba tour (hop on hop off). The same bus brings you to Hotel Maimonides Eurostar

Check in at Maimonides Eurostar (exactly in front of La Mezquita)

Tour of La Mezquita and the surrounding places of interest, including Calahorra Tower, Roman Bridge, Galeria de la Inquicion, Historic Centre of Cordoba and walk along the streets surrounding La Mezquita


Day 4

Check out from hotel

Visit Medina Al Zahra (tour of Medina al Zahra including watching the film would last about 4 hours)

Board bus to Granada (ticket can be purchased at bus station near the Renfe train station). Bus journey takes 2 hours.

Arrive in Granada

Check in at Best Western Hotel Dauro 11 in Navas, Granada, smack in the middle of the town.

Register at Play Granada for walking tour of Al Bayzin. There is a mosque here, and this is the only mosque in Granada. Tour lasts for 2 and half hours.


Day 5

Climb up to Al Hambra

Collect ticket to enter and visit Al Hambra (ticket to Al Hambra including Nasrid Palace should be purchased 2-3 months in advance as tickets tend to be sold out very fast). Visit to Al Hambra would last at least three hours.

(Recommendation is to spend at least 2 nights in Granada so that one can visit and explore more places in Granada)


Visit the street mercado in Granada. If you want to shop for souvenir, shop in Granada because the prices of these souvenir are a lot cheaper than in Barcelona or Madrid.

Check out from hotel

Board the bus to Seville. Journey to Seville takes 2 and half hours

Check in at Hotel Derby Seville (hotel located in front of El Corte de Ingles, famous store in Spain)

City tour of Seville on hop on and hop off bus


Day 6

Continue tour of Seville

Visit places of interest such as Seville Cathedral, Giralda and Guadulquivir River

Take the tramp back to hotel


Check out from hotel

Board train to Barcelona. Train journey from Seville to Barcelona takes 5 hours and half

Check in at NH Cornella hotel (nearest Metro station is Cornella Centre). NH Cornella hotel is a bit far from the city. It is about 20 minutes by train to La Rambla. The hotel rates of course is cheaper here plus the room is bigger and cosier. There is a shopping mall nearby the hotel and this is where I borong saffron.

Day 7

Tour places of interest in Barcelona. Metro ride from point to point

Visit Plaza de Espanya, then MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) at Mont Juic (Metro stop Para-lel or Liceu)

Visit Parc Guell to see the park and Gaudi’s building (Metro stop at Lesseps). We walked to Parc Guell and it was very high indeed despite the escalators to the Parc. Some took cab. Ah well, why not exercise the legs :)

Visit Plaza Catalunya and La Rambla (Metro stop at Catalunya). Be watchful on pick pockets. La Rambla is the hot spot. The kebab restaurant in front of Plaza Catalunya is out of this world, although service was slow.

Visit Sagrada Familia (Metro stop at Sagrada Familia)


Day 8

 Visit Camp Nou (Metro stop at Collblanc)


Check out from hotel

Take Metro to Sants Estacio to go to airport

Check in at Barcelona airport to return home

If ever there is a next time to Spain, I would want to go to Toledo, Malaga, Cadiz and Gibraltar. Due to constraint in time, had to give these four places a miss.

To describe the experience ... quieralo ! It was worthwhile and I don't think I want to arrive yet.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feeling Thankful

I know I know... I have abandoned this blog for long.

I have been wanting to write, and write lots, but never got to do it.

To blame on my poor time management, I guess is not fair because I know that I really work hard, be it in the office or at home juggling my time for the family sake.

I wanted to write about my experience and journey as the Head, how tough of becoming a leader and whom the 20 staff looked upon, and how sometimes I wish my staff could understand my needs as the superior, like they don't mind working for me and to make me feel proud of them. I really appreciate them, in every single way and I hope they do feel the same way towards me.

Anyways... why I decided to pen in the blog today is because I would like to relate something which will be etched in my mind and tagged as "Gratitude" ever.

I met one of the tea ladies at the office late today. She used to sew the beads for my baju kurung. I totally forgot about her for some time. So the other day when I bumped into her again whilst she served food in one of the meeting rooms, it dawned on me... "Hey... She is the one who jahit manik tu! What happened? Why have I forgotten about her? "

One of my bajus which she beaded

Maybe because my ex-secretary has resigned and that previously all arrangements of these baju maniks have always been arranged by her. (See betapa sebuk nya lah Kak Lang ni!) I only saw her briefly because I was always on the move to go to meetings, outstations or even just hibernate in my room to focus on pieces of work.

There are at least 5000 people working in the twin buildings yah, and not to bump into her for months is pretty normal.

After I texted her early today if I can send my baju kurung for beadings, she requested me to meet her on one of the floors she was working. It was already half past 5 pm. She was elated to see me again. After giving her the necessary instructions and when I was about to leave, she struck a conversation, deep one, which we never before had.

From then, I knew that she is 3 years younger than me. She worked as a tea-lady in the company for 13 years. The starting pay was only RM600, now has been revised to RM900 for starters. Her income now is around RM1100 only (!) She stays in the flat in Wangsa Maju, with friends and she has never been married before. She is from Kelantan; parents are still alive and she hardly goes back to the hometown because going back to hometown means giving money more than the usual "gift" every month to the parents and siblings. With that meagre income, it is difficult to make end meets, the transport (she takes the train to and fro), the rental of the flat, utility bills and food. God.. at this point, I felt like hugging declaring my empathy. She is thankful that she is able to do the beading although it is some way limited because she could only do it at night and during weekends.

She asked a few things about me; asked about my secretary and why she resigned and some other stuff. She was surprised to know that I have a 20 year old daughter and have 5 children. She also told me that she regret that she is not married yet at that age, she once had one or two "friends" whom she thought could be a life partner but things didn't turn out as planned.

I wish I could lend my ears longer but with profound regret I had to excuse myself as it was already passed the start of another meeting which I had to attend.

We bade farewell whilst she chipped in to say that she was very tired today. She was grateful that she didn't have to worry about dinner showing me a wrapped halved O'Brien tuna sandwich that one of her friends gave. Instantly I knew that was the sandwich I had for lunch today and they served them more than the number of attendees of the meeting. Yup that sandwich must be the same correct one!

To cut the story short, on my way back home just now, albeit at 9 pm something, although it was late by a normal person's standard, I am so thankful that I was going home to my own comfortable house, my lovely Aces and an understanding husband (I do feel neglected these few weeks but I am the one to be blame cos circumstances happened whereby I had to work harder than him).

Despite my endless complaints and laments about the enormous amount of work, the challenges, the stress, the push, the unnecessary worry, I should be grateful for what I have, for who I have become and for the love around me.

All thanks to Allah.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Keeping Up With Trying Times

My heart goes to the family of our heroes who died in Lahad Datu and Semporna whilst fighting against the rebels and the  invaders from Sulu. It is difficult and challenging time for them and hanya Allah yang mengetahui semuanya. Semoga roh mereke dicucuri rahmat dan mendapat syafaat Nabi. I saw the remains of the arwah Supt Ibrahim and L/Kpl Azrul arriving in Subang this evening. I cannot help but shed away my tears as I watch how devastated the widow and the mother of the deceased respectively.

There is so much writeup, suspicion and accusation on this Sabah standoff. What I can say is from what I suspect and gather, many of the Sulus have been in Sabah for some time already. Hence the militants rebels received assistance from inside. To have the illegal immigrants stay in our country and later created bloodshed is definitely cruelty. Why did we allow the immigration laws to be flaunted?

If we are not careful, one day the same will be applicable to the illegal Indonesians who live here. There are millions of them I think, like my ungrateful maid, and a whole more men from Seberang. If this goes uncurbed, God knows what will become to our beloved country… God help us. They may not be militants like the Filipinos, but you can never be too confident.

As I face the challenging times of being a full time mom, wife, boss, lawyer and later in the evening changing shift to the most industrious bibik, I cannot complain. If I think and compare the trying times of the widow of the heroes who died fighting the battle and upholding the justice for the country, I am nowhere near them.

So last weekend was penuh with the activities of cleaning the house, washing and ironing the clothes, etc etc…. For a moment, all my urat and sendi were terkejut demam because of the sudden surge in the work load. To stop, will make the work even mount higher. 

A few things I realised in the Janet-of-trades-mode:-

No 1
I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder.
I want to complete every single thing until the end. I made sure that ALL dirty clothes as at 1pm are washed on the same day. This also applies to clothes which are not ironed. ALL have to be ironed on the same day.

No 2
I want the kids to taste the cooking from my air tangan regardless when I am bibik-less. Although I can buy the food for our meals, I still insist to cook at least one dish, even if it is goreng telur or sambal udang. Yup, these were the dishes I did cook for the weekend.

No 3
I cannot sleep if I am stress. I am stress over the fact that there are so much work to do in the house. Therefore, when there is opportunity to take a power nap, it became "powerless" nap. Instead of an hour nap, I cut it short to half hour only.

No 4
When I am so kiasu to finish the house chores, I forgot that I can be very disoriented. Hence, I lost a parking ticket, I chipped my ring and I accidentally forgot my handphone pincode which resulted in my line being blocked!

No 5
I have lost 3 kgs at least with the amount of sweat I drained out.

No 6
The connective tissue disease has gradually disappeared. It must have been the chi from the ironing!

No 7 (I will make this the last one or otherwise I will be like a zombie tomorrow)
Alina really knows how to take care of the dishes. She is my life saver.

I badly need a hot chocolate now....