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Thursday, May 28, 2009

My London Adventure Part I

It was quite an adventure, so I need to type it down so as not to forget it.

My parents left the UK for homeland on Ssunday, May 24th, so as my last treat for them, I took them to London. By train. Because Hubby was working (we went from Thursday to Sunday). My parents argued that I'd be spending a lot of moolahs for the 4-day trip and we should have gone from Saturday to Sunday only. Well, no doubt it costed me a bomb, but I didn't want to rush everybody around in a short span of time, especially when we do not know our whereabouts in the city and we needed to travel on public transportations and walk a lot. Luckily I planned it that way....I didn't even know about the adventure that awaited us...

We took off from Newark North Gate Station at 10.38am and reached London Kings Cross Station at around 12 noon. As soon as we walked out of the station, my mind went blank. Looking at the buses and people streaming on the streets in front of the station, and not knowing where to head or what to do next, I pranced up and down the sidewalk for a bit. Tried to study the bus routes at the bus stop near the station, but my mind seemed to stop working.

I decided that we should follow the throngs of people walking across the street, but halfway down the road, I changed my mind and we returned to the station. I tried studying the underground routes, and decided that we should use the tube instead. So, bought one-way tickets for the 3 of us (nasib baik Daniel travelled free..hehe..), and took the tube to Westminster Station.

At Westminster, we stopped for a while to take photos of the Big Ben and London Eye. There was a group of people picketing in front of the Parliament House, demanding Britain citizenships for the Nepalese/Burmese etc soldiers whom served the British Government during the wars, so there were policemen everywhere. On that very same day, the reunioun of workers for the Victoria Line decided to hold up a strike because one of their drivers was sacked following his mistake in opening the wrong side of the train doors while stopping at one of the stations. So, the whole line was shutdown for that day. No service for that line, causing chaos for the other lines and also the buses. Traffic was just horrible that day. Nice timing...huhu...

While trying to snap more photos of the Big Ben, I was suddenly stopped by a lady, whom immediately put a dried wild flower on my jacket. She asked me for some contribution for the children (which or whose I don't know). There were a few of them around, handling out flowers and pamphlets to the public. Suddenly someone came up to us, asking the lady something like "Are you collecting money for the children" to which the lady nodded and the other lady passed a 5 pounds note to her. So, I rummaged my purse, eager to get away (since she didn't seem like wanting to let me off until I give her something) and pulled out a 2 pound coin and passed it to her. She said, "Can you spare a paper note for the children? FOR THE CHILDREN" she emphasized. I felt cornered, but strangely enough, I obliged and gave her a 10 pounds note! That was a freaking RM60! And I regretted it as soon as I gave it.. Hilang pahala, I know, but I just felt like I was being cheated. For all I know, maybe the other lady who gave that lady the 5 pounds note was just acting as donor? Her timing was just nice, anyway..Well, I didn't even know if the lady was genuinely collecting the donations for the children, anyway. And I thought the money would be better spent to our own orphans or poor children back home in Malaysia...*sigh*

Aaaaanyway, after that my mood for more photos snapping turned sour, and all I wanted was to get to the hotel where we were supposed to check in that day. The GPS maps on the phone seemed somewhat stupid, because it told me that it would take about 3 hours for us to get to the hotel. Cheh...Ada barang canggih pun tak boleh guna...hampeh... so, I had to resort to the normal map. Nasib baik ingat nak bawak map..Kalau ingat nak depend entirely on the GPS, m*mp*sla kitorang kat London tu...huhu...

After a few minutes, I got the gist of the bus routes, so I bought 3 one-way tickets for the bus. I called the hotel, telling her that I was at the Parliament Square and asked her the direction to the hotel. She said she didn't know where was Parliament Square (WTH?? It's your Parliament, ok?), but she told me to stop at Queensland. Hopped on the bus which should have brought us to our destination. Little that I know that we were on the wrong side of the road, which only meant that we were brought even further from our destination (the bus actually CAME from our destination). Naturally our stop wasn't called out until the end of the bus route, so we hopped off when the bus stopped at its final destination.

By this time I was devastated already. We crossed the road, tried to find the correct bus route and bus stop, again bought the tickets (this time I bought the whole day ticket so that if we were on the wrong route again, we could change bus again and again) and hopped into another bus. I asked the driver whether he goes to Queensland, and he said yes. Phew..At least we were on a correct bus.

When we reached Queensland, I once again tried to use the phone's GPS to locate the hotel. Again, it showed us a haywired, stupid route, so I decided to call the hotel again. By this time, everybody's feet and shoulders were terribly aching already. The hotel reception gave me a direction, but alas! He gave the direction on the other side of the road! Again, it meant that we walked EVEN further away from the hotel! DANG! DANG! DANG!!!!

I asked a passerby of the hotel location, but apparently, he didn't know where it was. I told him the street name, and he said that we should have walked the other way round. He said that we needed to walk through Kensington Garden (which housed the Kensington Palace- where Lady D lived during her time as the Princess of Wales). So, we turned back, I asked my parents to stay behind at one of the benches inside the park, and I continued walking towards the end of the park. And you guessed it right- it was a dead end..huhu! Lucky that I brought sandwiches and fried beehoon along, so while we rested for a while at the bench, we ate our very, very late lunch.

I must have walked more than 10 km by that time, and finally the phone's GPS decided to give me the correct route! So, we walked towards the hotel, and halfway through, we saw a tube station- the Bayswater Station. Dang!!! Why the hell didn't the reception lady told us to use the tube for easier access to the hotel, instead? Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

We finally reached the hotel (an apartment converted to a cheap hotel). Cheap by their standard la.. It costed me 75 pounds (RM400) for a triple bedded room, with a small bathroom and really, really cheap furnitures and all. Satellite TV pun tak ada ok? But, we were so thankful to have a place to stretch our bodies and rest our feet, nothing really bothered us that time.

It was about 6pm already, so after solat and a few minutes rest, we walked to the town for dinner. Halal restaurants were quite aplenty there at Bayswater, and there were a lot of souvenir shops as well. We dined at Halal Restaurant (yes that was the restaurant's name) and walk about town for a while. Initially we wanted to take the bus back to the city centre (we bought the all-day ticket earlier, remember? Rugi la kalau tak guna..hehe..) But, after thinking again, we decided to go back to the hotel to rest properly. I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillows...

(to be continued...)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daniel at the Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester

More in my FB..


Apa khabar Malaysia?

I am quite on par with the happenings in Malaysia, especially the political soap opera in Perak (sudah-sudah la tu berebut kerusi...) They should learn and take iktibar from the turmoils of the world, there are wars everywhere! Pakistan, Georgia, Sudan, Afghanistan and the likes.. And they have sound causes for these wars, and yet in the Bolehland, the war is to become the MB and Excos..haih!

Anyway, I am actually missing my home sweet home. I don't know what has happened to my garden. With my brother treating the house as hotel for sleep-ins only, I am sure most of them have died out of the draught season in Malaysia..isk..isk..

Oh ya! The day before I came to the UK, my cute car was 'kissed' by a van at a parking space. It was quite nasty, and I need to send the car for knocking and repainting. Apparently, in his haste to get out of his parking place to send off some kids to school, the van driver didn't realize that my car was parked next to his van. Dah nak jadi, nak kata apa lagi, kan?

They asked me to send the car for repair and charge the bills to them. Under normal circumstances, I might have, but then, this was not. I didn't have the heart to. Besides, I had received so many blessings and good news before that incident that I thought this might be some kifarah that Allah gave me so that I kept my feet on the grounds. In fact, when the incident happened, I didn't even feel the slightest bit of remorse or anger. Again, benda dah nak jadi. Bukannya dia sengaja pun nak langgar...

Will get my dad to send it to the workshop when he returns back to Malaysia, and I am sure by the time I return home, the car will be as good as before :-)

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We have distant relatives here. By distant, I meant, REAAAALLLY distant. My grandma's cousin. Distant in the terms of the relation, and also the distance...hehe..

My grandma's cousin migrated to the UK since her younger days after some mishaps at her former workplace, involving a blue-blooded person. She practically ran off, and never returned for quite some times. She then married a local here in the UK, and got 3 children. I only met them once during our kids days, and another time a few years back when their Mum insisted that they have Malay wedding receptions in KL.

So, since we are here, my parents have mentioned that they want to go visit this Mak Uda (Nek Uda to me) and her family. We have got their home address in London and also the phone number of her youngest and only daughter.

The problem is, how do I call her and introduce myself? "This is your long lost niece" doesn't seem very right...hehe...Hmmmm...Need to ponder more on this...

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Friday, May 08, 2009

How to buy fish in a supermarket?

This happened on the first week I was here in Newark.

Was grocery shopping at a local supermarket in the town and was about to buy a fish. By the way, I don't quite fancy the fishes here..Pelik and rasa semacam hehe...

Anyway, I selected my fish (seabass if I still remember correctly). I lifted the fish with my hand to pass it to the lady to be weighed and packed. She was surprised at my action, but didn't say anything. Then, I saw a washing basin near where she stood, so I went in to wash my hand.

She stopped me immediately and told me that I was not supposed to come into her area. And apparently I was not supposed to touch the fish also. For hygiene purposes, she said. She took a handful of tissue papers and wet them, then passed them to me to wipe my hand, and took back the used tissue.

That was totally a new experience for me...Kalau kat Malaysia, lantak hang la nak pegang ikan ke, nak hanyir ke...hehe...

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Saturday, May 02, 2009


What was?

Daniel's medical treatment yesterday. It was for his constant coughing which has been going on for more than a month now. I had bring him to a paediatrician before we came here, and was told it was a normal viral infection only and it nothing serious because his lungs were clear. But until he had finished up the whole bottle of medicine and until today, the cough didn't cease. He had consumed 2 whole bottles of Boots cough syrup here and was into the 3rd bottle, and this got me quite worried.

So, we went to Lombard Street Surgeries to seek medical advice for him. I didn't know where else to go and I haven't seen any private clinics here in the town area. There is Newark Hospital within walking distance also, but I decided to try the Surgeries first.

I was told to come back the next day (which was yesterday) to fit Daniel into the schedule on Friday. Apparently, you cannot see a doctor without making an early appointment first. And I was told that since we are not permanent residents, we would be charged for the treatment. Initial registration fees might be 20 Pounds, which is about RM100++, so go figure the treatment charge..hehe... I remember I was charged about RM300 for treatment in Ho Chi Minh for a bout of diarrhea, so I was expecting the worst here :-)

When we came again the next day, I was asked a few questions about our stay here bla bla, and walla! Since we'd be staying here for about 6 months, we are entitled to a permanent registration with 0 charges. Alhamdulillah. They said normally we would only need to pay for prescribed medicines at the pharmacy, but alhamdulillah again, Daniel's was free. But my son had to be on Ventolin already now, and we shall see whether his condition will improve. If not, we will have to see the doctor again for the next best course of action. And no. He is yet to be diagnosed with asthma. Hopefully not, nau'zubillah...

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Exactly a month after the last post..

Life has been filled with so many things for the past one month that I left this blog untouched. As most of you, my friends, might have known, alhamdulillah Daniel and I have been reunited with our guy here in the UK. Reached here on April 11, 2009. We are currently residing in Newark, a small town in Nottinghamshire.

I was so busy trying to settle so many stuffs back at home before my journey, that I even needed to meet a client a few hours before departure time to Heathrow. Only managed to pack up the suitcases right after that, with a few hours break to meet my PIL who purposely came to my SIL's house from Melaka to send us off to the UK. Thanks Mak & Ayah! I was so touched by their gesture.

The journey was about 14 hours and quite smooth. Only a handful of Malaysian were on board of quite a full aircraft that day, and we had a nice, funny and experienced pilot handling the aircraft. There was a terrible turbulence while we were passing India-Pakistan border (which the captain later said was due to Indian and Pakistani mothers cooking a lot of curries..hehe...)

By the 8th hour on board, Daniel had became so restless that he was crying and asking us to go back home. Luckily, I had my parents travelling with me, so we took turns to calm him down. If it were up to only me, I wouldn't think that I could manage, with myself also being lethargic from the long journey.

Oh ya! For those of you whom are unaware of this facility, we could actually perform solah on board. Just ask the steward/ess about this on your next long-haul flights, and they would be able to assist you. From what I have read from believable sources, if you perform solah while sitting in your seats in the aircraft, you would have to perform the solah again when you have safely reached your destination, wallahua'lam..

It was extremely cold for the first week we were here, with temperature ranging from 0-10 deg C. Alhamdulillah none of us got sick because of the sudden change of climate. The temperature gradually increased, but the chill was still there due to the strong wind and occassional rain. Last week we had very nice weather, with sun shining every other day and the wind was just nice for days exploring in the town. But it rained again almost everyday this week, so there goes my hope of not having to wear those thick and many layers or clothes!

We are adjusting well to this place. Although it is a small town, Newark has a lot of shopping places (and that is the most important thing..hehe..) They have Marks & Spencer, Dorothy Perkins, Argos, Bon Marche, Mothercare, CG among others and there are a lot of supermarkets and value for money stores scattered along the small town. People walk a lot here, and most people have dogs as pets. Our apartment is about 5 minutes relaxed walk from the town, so that explains why we were out at the town almost every day. There is also a marketplace at the town centre, where the hawkers take turns to sell different types of things including antiques, clothes, pet food, accessories, veges, fishes, CDs and DVD's, shoes, magazines, books, you name it, every other day except Sundays (and yes, most of the stores and supermarkets are closed on Sundays).

Currently we are having longer daytime, and my day typically starts at around 5 a.m-ish, where I would be cooking lunch for Hubby to take to his office. By 5.30am, it would be daytime already, and we would still be able to see the sun right until about 8 pm-ish everyday. Hubby would go to his office by 7 am and normally would be home by 6 pm, when I would already have prepared dinner. Usually by 9 pm-ish I would have doze off already, what with the early start of the day AND the lousy TV channels that we had. But today, we have subscribed and installed the satellite TV channels (thanks Hubby- dia kata install sebab sayang bini...hik hik..), so maybe I will sleep later every night from today onwards..hehe..

I have posted some photos at my FB. Feel free to look them up (if you have got nothing better to do, that is..hehe..). Will try to update the blog more frequently now that I am currently 100%, pure housewife! Life can be pretty mundane, especially when I do not have my own car to roam around..hehe..Kalau tidak, sure dah jauh merewang ni...haha...

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