Sunday, December 29

Travel clan reunion in Toowoomba, Australia

31 Oct - 5 November 2013

After numerous places have been pinned in the world map, (ewah), it feels incomplete to skip visiting bestfriend who stays abroad especially when we stand chances to experience the living style even just for a while. So I decided to grab tix with Zera to pay a visit our dear friends aka travelmates all the way in Toowoomba, South Queensland, Australia.

We arrived in Coolongata Airport in early morning, so were instantly brought back by Ju and Ezam to navigate a few lookouts at Springbrook National Park where we once visited together a few years earlier, only this time we have another plus one, Kimi!

Oh yes, not to mention that Kimi was so growing up, as compared to the last time I saw him before leaving Paka. How time flies so freaking fast.

We went to Harbour Town,find some personal stuff and souvenirs to take home, and having our big,fat,yummy Kebab for lunch before heading to Toowoomba city. It was almost when day the was  dark, we arrived in the windy Toowoomba city. 

The attractions around Toowoomba is Japanese Garden. It was a serene and quite park, that we enjoyed the peaceful walk around the park.

And of course, the couple is bright enough to bring us strolling around uni area. Welcome to the University of Southern Queensland.!

One of the common activities held in the country is garage sales. And definitely we took the opportunity to visit a few garages around the neighborhood to see what was there they got to offer.

Australia has so many mother natures with beautiful scenery that are well-preserved by the government. We traveled over one hour by car to reach an isolated national park, Bald Rock National Park. It was sunny and yet the air was chill , thus it was bearable for us to reach the top of the hill without drinks.

We strolled almost 30 minutes before we got to see the breathtaking scenery from the top of the hill surrounded with massive rocks. The long journey to get here is worth it!

Back to Toowoomba, it also has loads of recreational parks for the public. We were lucky that our visit took place in spring time, thus, there was still sights of splendid flower blooms around the places. Just so you know, the purple flowers spread around the city is called jacaranda.

An evening at picnic point, to enjoy the sunset.

And also to queens park with amazing landscape.

When the adults are enjoying the peaceful stroll, Kimi,on the other hand was so excited running here and there as though he just set his feet on the ground. hihi.

Apart from that, we went to Vinnies, a shop selling used items. And rarely seen in Malaysia, there were old folks  in the shop as the sales assistants and cashiers.If you wish to look for hunky, young OZ sales person, just forget it.:p

We strolled around Toowoomba city on one of the days.

We went to Coles, Woolies to get some groceries to eat at home, and kuih lamington to bring to Malaysia. Seriously it tasted yumms!

Hey, when is it that hypermarket in Malaysia can operate self-service check-out  like this, I wonder.Hmm..

Friday, December 6

Cooking project on Eid Adha break

I`'ve be meaning to cook heavy meals for so long, other than the meals that Mak have served us. Recent Eid Adha happened to be a long stretch of holidays and I must say the longest days in a row of the  year that I was at my Mak's home. And it was perfect for experimenting the recipe that randomly found in the internet. So I decided to make Laksa Johor. I won't go into the details of the recipe, for it was just another version of Terengganu Laksa with 'Kuah Masak'. If it is not exactly the same, but still, it is quite close.

Considering it was my first attempt, I guess the finishing was not  that bad. My siblings will be automatically picky eater when it comes to trying food that I made. It left me with only loyal food tester, with good motivation, my Mak and my reliable food finisher, chubby Zulaika.

Kih kih kih.

The next day, my eagerness still remained good. I planned to try roti jala, or some called it as 'pukat buruk'. Whatever they named it, Mak has never served this to us before.  But I have tasted the delicious version of roti jala, and I was hooked to this meal since.So why not give it a try!

I googled and  found a demo of doing roti jala and I was intrigued to start it there and then. It was fun initially, but, I never expected the work is not as easy as eating it. Let alone enjoying doing the 'jala' thing.  But my mak, as expert cook as she has always been, showed my the right way to so that the roti jala can be rolled as close to perfect. Mind you, the curry was yet to be cooked. Ah -haa...

After a while, I fed up. Perhaps that was not good time to continue with curry.( Alasan.) In the contrary my little two sisters, Fatihah and Zulaikha were so eager to do it. I left them to finish  my initial enthusiasm, and apparently they enjoyed it so much that Zulaikha repetitively asking me for next attempt of roti jala almost every time I went home. And I believe she will ask again when I go home end of this week, and sure enough, she will not stop asking until I can find my time to suit her request.That girl...

The long break has ended. We received bunch of Qurban beef ,  so I requested  Mak to make rendang so that I can bring to the office. And definitely fresh beef rendang tasted nyums!

Tuesday, October 22

House skeleton turn to garage project

This is- was  the view from my house. It was a complete eye-sore as long as I can remember.  Everytime I map for delivery to my house when buying furniture , electric appliances and so on, the key point to tell the shop assistant that if they spot an abundant house skeleton, then only they will find my house.

It was a repetitive process for quite some time, like..for over ten years! There was some internal issues that hinders this house to be completely as it was supposed to be.

I have a long thought about this house, and there was time when I had had small talk with my late father about it to resume the construction until its completion. Over time, it was getting impossible due to logistic issues, and other things that I am not bother to mention it here.

And one day, I casually spoke to my mother and brother about my plan to demolish the skeleton and build a garage. It was just an empty talk initially.

Who knows the casual talk turns to serious thoughts after a while, then I decided to go for it.  The garage accommodates 5 cars simultaneously. It was worth it! And I was never been more delighted than this upon seeing my car in the garage, safely shaded.

Tuesday, October 8

Post Shutdown Getaway to Cambodia

It was not so long to wait for this trip from the the date we purchased the tickets. Zaira was so giddy for a holiday when my life was so messed up with the shutdown work load. Nevertheless,for my best travelmate's sake, I navigated for the airline website and found ones to Siem Reap. And I thought "why not?"

We arrived at Siem Reap, a quite quiet airport , considering an international airport, but I could feel the soothing holiday awaited us for the next few days on land of Cambodia.
Here we go!

We were brought straight to the apartment where we stayed to drop the luggage and proceed with our first tour.

Siem Reap is well known with its historical temples that scattered around the city. So we were brought to the temples to get the feeling and familiarization of the Siem Reap attractions.

The next attraction we went was to Beng Mealea, whereby our in-situ tour guide brought us touring the temple area like nobody's business.I can't believe that the tour around the temple made us sweating whole body! It was truly physical challenge, indeed.

Towards the end of the day, we went to an isolated lake village, Tonle Sap. It was a serene trip but the immersing ourselves into the life of the local, it was very pitiful.

Due to poverty, the local who are mostly poor fishermen live on stilt house. We saw it when they use the same source of water to wash, cook and even ...errr.. to poo.!

And next day in Siem Reap, we went to Angkor Thom and Angkor Watt.

Mission accomplished.!

I lost count of how many temples that we visited by the time we were brought to Angkor Wat. Some says we went to second Umrah. Keji kan? hahha

We were done with Siem Reap, and ready to leave to Pnom Penh. So we visited muslim restaurant for the final time, have our lunch packed and we ready to take off. The restaurant is situated in a muslim village whereby we can easily find the the only mosque in the city.


Initially our plan was to hop on a bus to Pnom Penh, but when the tour guide offered us a handsome rate to bring us all around Siem Reap and Pnom Penh, we considered ourselves as lucky!

We had light, free and easy round the Pnom Penh city. It was obvious that the kids were everywhere little less than homeless kids. When we interrogated them over Tutti Frutti, they told us they went to school,but the school ends at 11am and they went to the city to sell the bangle to the tourists.

We did some shopping before leaving to our last destination in Pnom Penh at Russian Market.

Our last destinations were to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum where the torture by Khmer Rouge took place.
Honestly, I could feel the chill through my bone as I walked and read the history on the wall. 

The last place was to Choeung Ek, the killing field to the victims after they were being tortured at the Tuol Sleng Museum.

Each visitor was given audio aid with few selection of languages. This way made us can wander at each check point of the killing field freely while listening to the story telling via the headphone. It was very helpful and effective way immersing ourselves into the history of Khmer Rouge cruelty at its best.

We took the tour for about one hour and half, and as we reached the last check point, I found myself like I experienced the nightmare by myself.

Sunday, September 22

Shining Angkor, Siem Reap to 1Up Cambodia, Pnom Penh

I believe good and comfortable lodging contributes to the great experiences while we were on a holiday,no matter how undeveloped the country is known of.

So when I went to Cambodia recently, having the chance to stay at Shining Angkor Apartment in Siem Reap and ended the stay in the country at 1Up Cambodia, Pnom Penh was not disappointing gamble.

Initially, I was a bit skeptical about the lodging that I reserved beforehand for me and other travel mates. But I was wrong  totally when we reached the apartment. The Shining Angkor apartment is situated nicely in the central of Seam Reap city.

The staff were very warm, and helpful to pick up our heavy luggage to our room upstairs. The day was getting hotter when we arrived,  we were welcomed with welcoming drinks. And we felt refreshed instantly to explore the room that were ready for us.

The room that we stayed consists of 4 beds and it has netting some more! Exciting stay it was.

The interior of the hotel were heavily decorate with tea furniture and finishing that somehow made me feel in Bali. Hihi.

The breakfast provided for all of us, and enough for us to get a refreshing morning before a kick- start to the next attraction.

Two night lapsed, then we were ready to leave to Pnom Penh. We checked in 1Up Cambodia Hotel in the city. And upon arrival, we were served with refreshing drinks before proceed to our rooms.

It is a bit complex route to reach the premise, but again,the accommodation facilities that it has to offer for a budget backpackers like us were not upsetting at the end of the day.

Monday, September 9

A glimpse of SCPA Turnaround.Iftar.Eid Fitr 2013 @ Offshore moments.

27th Sept- 8th August 2013.

My colleagues and I were mentally prepared that we are going through a major shut down at longest span of period ever conducted at this platform. I have completely shutdown my mind from thinking of having a nice pair of raya outfit due to this event of the year.

So, if you happened to wonder how it feels like being at offshore. Here's the idea that I can think of to share here.

The platform was unmanned platform, that was designed for equipment only, and no man to reside on it. So it is just a small platform with big valves as big as 30 inc each. My team was assigned to replace a number of big valves there, that were never been replaced since the platform was installed back in...err.. 29 years back. Hey that is when I was born!

So the accommodation for hundreds of personnel was on a work barge, Sarku 2000. I snapped this pic from helicopter view when we were about to reach the location.

I was lucky to have my pic snapped this trip, because not every single trip that we were able to have this kinda opportunity when boarding the chopper. Strictly no camera actually.

I was the only lady engineer onboard, versus close to 200  pax of male personnel. It was my first year being in this work, and definitely I am still new to some of the key personnel. However,  I have to work closely with them for the next two weeks, day and night, whether I like it or not.Scary no. But I have no choice, I have to complete whatever I have started.

So here I am, with a privilege of a suuuuper huge room. Indeed, it never cross my mind that my 2-week stay is this comfy honestly. Because when we commit ourselves to offshore life,then we have to face every possibility of  series of uncomfortable routines , be it a good routine or otherwise.

Every single day we have to cross the gangway, the short bridge that connected from barge to the platform. Every once in a while the weather can be rough, and so was the swell. I was very thankful that swaying barge, we talking about 3-5 meter swell that hit the swaying barge did not give much effect to me when boss, colleagues and other crew started showing sign of sea sick and rushed to the platform. I cannot imagine if I was attacked with sea sick, that will be total nightmare to me. huhu.

leaving swaying barge due to rough sea during bad weather

                                                              construction crew busy days

As part of our morning routine is to update our boss on the daily progress of the shutdown activities. Yes, the most hi-tech device here was only a telephone in this small room.

Most of the time were spent at site to witness the work execution.When we returned to office, well, office on the barge, we spent our time updating task progress, everything (and yes,updating FB)  here.

As all aware, it was fasting month. The most awaited moment was when we break the fast at platform. It was seriously finger licking delicious. Even though our cook was a male, everyday is never disappointing iftar.

The best part was when I don't have to get myself busy being "the lady of the house" to serve the male colleagues. They knew how to be a gentleman serving everyone of us. Ha ha ha.

This shutdown was planned to complete on 8th but with God willing, we managed to complete 3 days ahead the schedule. Alhamdulillah it was a blast!

Eid Fitr was approaching, I decided to stay until first day of raya. We were having nice raya delicacies and  taking pictures with the team before the chopper approaching the barge.

All engineers in charge were leaving to celebrate Eid Fitr with their families except for me and colleague, Baem. I felt no regret, for this is the chance that I have to grab, just to get the variation of raya experiences.

This shutdown plan was truly a nerve wrecking thought, for it is still my junior year in this construction field, dealing with people with rough works in a challenging environment. I learnt so many lessons during my stay here, not about work alone, but it has also taught so many things about dealing with people with various personality. But at the end of the day, the wise woman wins. Ha ha.

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