Monday, March 2, 2020

020320

This is it.. The beginning of my 4series. Some people said, life starts at 40, some said you are lucky to ever hit 40 nowadays. With coronavirus pandemics and all.. I still feel very blessed and thankful to be alive.
I used to tell myself, I don't want to live too long, I hope I'd died by 42 😅 don't really know why I set such a dark goal haha.. 
We'll see if that's true eyy.

I guess when you hit 40, you kinda want to take the goods rather than the bad. So here goes.. 
I am thankful for the 3 beautiful kids I am blessed with.. 
I am thankful for the husband that are still with me after all these years.. 
I am thankful for having the kind of life, that even without job, I'm able to enjoy a liittle here and there sometimes..
I am thankful for still having my parents 
I am thankful for having the best set of friends supporting me, guiding me..
... Yada yada.. 
So, my new resolutions with 4 series are:
1- eat less
2- write more

Nite nite!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Doha, Qatar top 5 places to visit when you are on transit

Recently, my parents came for a visit. Not until then that I realized 'Man how I have missed out a lot in Qatar's development'. She's a true beauty now, with lots and more attraction, building each days. Well that's what people always say right, the grass will always look greener from the other side of the hill. We often admire other places, on how beautiful and how nice they look like, but not really bother to appreciate our surrounding. Well, I am guilty of that too, until I took on the tourist hat - seeing Qatar, Doha in particular, blooming to something amazing, comparing how I started here, back in 2006.

For that reason, I wanted to share my personal favourite of top 5 places and things to do in Doha, Qatar for those considering a transit or even a day or two stay over here, but know this, half-a-day transit will no longer works for Doha, because there are too many in the bucket list! But, if you are really short on time, for half-a-day, you can do below top 3 or 4 comfortably as they are quite near to the airport and to each other. Here goes;

1. Souk Wakif 

Yes, this is a must-visit. A souk is actually kinda like a market where you can get almost anything you could think of, from bedak arab, shawl, perfume, all sort of souvenirs to even tools and hardware. Here, you can either enjoy a stroll along the souk eyeing for stuff or chillax by the many choice of restaurant and cafes that serves traditional to modern food, from all over the world.

The must take photo-opportunity is of course at the entrance, where you'll be welcomed by friendly doves and the spiral Al-Fanar as a background. If you are lucky, you'll pass by donkey ride, and sometime camel-back policemen on guard. Souk Wakif is only 20 minutes from the airport, so if you have plenty of time to spare, might want to make it as the last place to visit just before heading back to the airport.


And oh, the opening hours is a bit weird, most shop open from 8 or 9am then close from 12-4pm, then open back till 10pm or so. I suggest a couple of hours as a minimum visit here. And don't forget to try the magnificent crepe! But it usually starts late after 4pm. Try it with the cheese spread, yummy!

Recent transit visit to Souk Wakif from x-uni friends - trying out the Arab's crepe :)

2. Corniche 

I love the corniche in Doha, I have been to few of corniche around gulf countries, and I must say, I love Doha's the most. The background was sculptured for a picturesque opportunity from all angle. You can also go for a short Dhow ride for a traditional experience :)

The corniche here are mostly used for recreational activities, where you can see people walk, jog or run from one end to another. And when there's a slight green, you will definitely find people gathering for a nice family picnic.

During recent farewell dinner of a friend in Al-Mourjan restaurant
If you have spare budget to spend, try Al-Mourjan restaurant, it's perfectly located in the middle of Corniche, which have the most spectacular view of Doha city center skyline, and not forgetting a giant sculpture of Oryx the Qatar's mascot. You can also chill with many flavours of shishas. But I have to warn you, the restaurant recently put on a QR100 minimum order per head! So it's a nice experience for a price :P


3. Museum of Islamic Art and MIA park

Seriously, I can't remember when was my last visit to MIA park or the museum of islamic art. I think it was few years back when I just had my third child and became a temporary stay-at-home mom. It was then I discovered the MIA park bazaar or weekend market, where anybody can come and sell stuff for free, but with a free pre-registration. I used to have so much fun selling a homemade baby headband-lace back then. But then the bazaar got famous, and more people are interested to sell, so they became very picky of their sellers, so that's the end of it.


Now, when I went back to MIA park, it has opened up another section, kinda like another mini corniche. If you walk along till the end, you will end up to a beautiful setup of cafe and another magnificent view of Doha city center skyline. We went at night, to a very romantic ambience, to the point even my parents felt the urge to hug each other in the photo.. sweet ;)
Romantic background of Doha city center

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art open daily from 10am-5pm except on Tuesday. If the museum close, so is the parking area, so avoid the place that day to avoid disappointment. 

4. Katara 

Katara is a cultural center that organized festivals, exhibitions and seminars. It also has many unique sculptures and building waiting for appreciation. If you are short for time, just go for a 1-2 hour stroll and back to Karak & Chapati for a nice break.




On the way from the corniche to Katara, make sure to pass by City Center route, where you can admire the beautiful streaks of modern architecture. Picture below is taken from Qatar grand Masjid.

5. The Pearl

The Pearl Qatar is is the luxurious man-made island spanning nearly four million square metres. When you are there, especially in winter, you'll feel that as if you are somewhere in Europe. I love it there, especially for my occasional long bike ride. 

The beautiful surroundings somehow keeps my mind off the meter on my Garmin watch and let my tired legs moves further in peace. 
Last time when Mak and Abah came to Qatar, only some part of the Pearl is ready for visitors. Now they have opened up more section, making it more beautiful and just so nice for a visit. The pearl has many restaurants to suits your taste and enjoy the serene beauty. Especially the part that is facing the Marina with their luxurious yacht, which reminds me a lot of Monaco.
Mak posing near Medina Centrale

But I got to warn you if you are dining around Medina Centrale, be ready to have a slight headache from looking at luxurious cars roaming around the area (the same cars will roam like hundreds of time with their don't-really-care-attitude-as-long-as-people-are-impress-with-their-ride) which usually starts from after dusk till late. Well, that's some of my favourite spots in Doha that I think is suitable for a quick 4-6 hours transit visit. I will share more spots for a longer transit or stop over inside and outside of Doha, Qatar soon.

The Pearl

Hutang keliling pinggang.

How did it all started? Was it because of that shiny new car we fancied but can't really afford? Was it the fault of our proud heart to show off? That new designer bag, that glittering new bracelet, or that super-fantastic holiday trip that we could barely pay?

Why? why did we listen to our heart more than our brain?

Where's that 'education' we've enrolled from college? Are we that stupid now?

Desire.. desire.. desire

When the colleague came and showed her new super slick dress with matching handbag and shoes, we said we can't loose. We have to 'update'.

When the brother bought themselves a house, we said we can't loose. We need to 'update'.

When the sister spent some money on the parents as token of appreciation, we said we can't loose. We have to show ours too.. even if its mean the scarifies of previous unsolved 'hutang'.
Credit can always be settled with another credits. There's always an easy solution to solve our own problem. Why bother to ask if that person that we 'borrowed' from had the same problem like us. As long as our ass is safe. As long as our pride is highly displayed. The I-don't-care-attitute.

So on and on, the hutang gotten worst by time.. until it can't no longer be contained. 

I've pledge something to myself recently, that I no longer wants to let material and brands take control of me. So I stopped shopping designers. I can't really afford it anyway. And I try my best to hold on to the concept of 'Belanja ikut kemampuan'.

But.. That's seems to be working for me, not my other half. His hobbies are getting more expensive.. Hmmm

I dunno.. There's always a new skills or new gadget requires. And it's always ok for him to get a new toy but not me to ger even a simple running shoes..

I was frustrated during our recent trip to USA. I have already pictured myself getting a pair of good running shoes as mine is already 4 years old and have served many many triathlon and marathons. It wore out. 

But no.. The complaints that I got from just r looking for shoes are just unfair. Not that I'm asking for something out of desire.. This is one thing that I use almost everyday.. Hmmm

I don't really have someone to share this sad feelings, hence this writing.

Ape2 la u.. Nasib seorang housewife. 

-another midlife crisis sign: feeling low of recent lost of career. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Doha, Qatar top 5 places to visit when you are on transit

Recently, my parents came for a visit. Not until then that I realized 'Man how I have missed out a lot in Qatar's development'. She's a true beauty now, with lots and more attraction, building each days. Well that's what people always say right, the grass will always look greener from the other side of the hill. We often admire other places, on how beautiful and how nice they look like, but not really bother to appreciate our surrounding. Well, I am guilty of that too, until I took on the tourist hat - seeing Qatar, Doha in particular, blooming to something amazing, comparing how I started here, back in 2006.

For that reason, I wanted to share my personal favourite of top 10 things to do in Doha, Qatar for those considering a transit or even a day or two stay over here, but know this, half-a-day transit will no longer works for Doha, because there are too many in the bucket list! But, if you are really short on time, for half-a-day, you can do below top 3 or 4 comfortably as they are quite near to the airport and to each other. Here goes;

1. Souk Wakif 

Yes, this is a must-visit. A souk is actually kinda like a market where you can get almost anything you could think of, from bedak arab, shawl, perfume, all sort of souvenirs to even tools and hardware. Here, you can either enjoy a stroll along the souk eyeing for stuff or chillax by the many choice of restaurant and cafes that serves traditional to modern food, from all over the world.

The must take photo-opportunity is of course at the entrance, where you'll be welcomed by friendly doves and the spiral Al-Fanar as a background. If you are lucky, you'll pass by donkey ride, and sometime camel-back policemen on guard. Souk Wakif is only 20 minutes from the airport, so if you have plenty of time to spare, might want to make it as the last place to visit just before heading back to the airport.


And oh, the opening hours is a bit weird, most shop open from 8 or 9am then close from 12-4pm, then open back till 10pm or so. I suggest a couple of hours as a minimum visit here. And don't forget to try the magnificent crepe! But it usually starts late after 4pm. Try it with the cheese spread, yummy!

Recent transit visit to Souk Wakif from x-uni friends - trying out the Arab's crepe :)

2. Corniche 

I love the corniche in Doha, I have been to few of corniche around gulf countries, and I must say, I love Doha's the most. The background was sculptured for a picturesque opportunity from all angle. You can also go for a short Dhow ride for a traditional experience :)

The corniche here are mostly used for recreational activities, where you can see people walk, jog or run from one end to another. And when there's a slight green, you will definitely find people gathering for a nice family picnic.

During recent farewell dinner of a friend in Al-Mourjan restaurant
If you have spare budget to spend, try Al-Mourjan restaurant, it's perfectly located in the middle of Corniche, which have the most spectacular view of Doha city center skyline, and not forgetting a giant sculpture of Oryx the Qatar's mascot. You can also chill with many flavours of shishas. But I have to warn you, the restaurant recently put on a QR100 minimum order per head! So it's a nice experience for a price :P


3. Museum of Islamic Art and MIA park

Seriously, I can't remember when was my last visit to MIA park or the museum of islamic art. I think it was few years back when I just had my third child and became a temporary stay-at-home mom. It was then I discovered the MIA park bazaar or weekend market, where anybody can come and sell stuff for free, but with a free pre-registration. I used to have so much fun selling a homemade baby headband-lace back then. But then the bazaar got famous, and more people are interested to sell, so they became very picky of their sellers, so that's the end of it.


Now, when I went back to MIA park, it has opened up another section, kinda like another mini corniche. If you walk along till the end, you will end up to a beautiful setup of cafe and another magnificent view of Doha city center skyline. We went at night, to a very romantic ambience, to the point even my parents felt the urge to hug each other in the photo.. sweet ;)
Romantic background of Doha city center

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art open daily from 10am-5pm except on Tuesday. If the museum close, so is the parking area, so avoid the place that day to avoid disappointment. 

4. Katara 

Katara is a cultural center that organized festivals, exhibitions and seminars. It also has many unique sculptures and building waiting for appreciation. If you are short for time, just go for a 1-2 hour stroll and back to Karak & Chapati for a nice break.



On the way from the corniche to Katara, make sure to pass by City Center route, where you can admire the beautiful streaks of modern architecture. Picture below is taken from Qatar grand Masjid.

5. The Pearl

The Pearl Qatar is is the luxurious man-made island spanning nearly four million square metres. When you are there, especially in winter, you'll feel that as if you are somewhere in Europe. I love it there, especially for my occasional long bike ride. 

The beautiful surroundings somehow keeps my mind off the meter on my Garmin watch and let my tired legs moves further in peace. 
Last time when Mak and Abah came to Qatar, only some part of the Pearl is ready for visitors. Now they have opened up more section, making it more beautiful and just so nice for a visit. The pearl has many restaurants to suits your taste and enjoy the serene beauty. Especially the part that is facing the Marina with their luxurious yacht, which reminds me a lot of Monaco.
Mak posing near Medina Centrale

But I got to warn you if you are dining around Medina Centrale, be ready to have a slight headache from looking at luxurious cars roaming around the area (the same cars will roam like hundreds of time with their don't-really-care-attitude-as-long-as-people-are-impress-with-their-ride) which usually starts from after dusk till late. Well, that's some of my favourite spots in Doha that I think is suitable for a quick 4-6 hours transit visit. I will share more spots for a longer transit or stop over inside and outside of Doha, Qatar soon.

The Pearl

Best way to fly to Pulau Perhentian and save you time and energy!

Dah banyak minggu duk survey cara terbaik untuk ke Pulau Perhentian, tapi tak ramai yang berkongsi cara kalau nak menaiki kapal terbang. So, harini aku share pengalaman kitaorang menaiki kapal terbang. The best is to take flight ke Kota Bharu. So, misi pertama untuk ke sana, of course cari package penginapan dan sebagainya. Tapi sebab aku nak pergi semata-mata untuk ambik course open water diving, aku terus minta pihak ocean13scuba settlekan bab transport dari jeti ke pulau dan bab penginapan.

Why flying is the best option to go to Pulau Perhentian

First of all, there is no direct flight to Pulau Perhentian. So, the nearest option is to take a flight to Kota Bharu airport, which is 40-45 minutes to Kuala Besut jetty - the best gateway to Perhentian Island ;)
We opt for flying because, we are short of time and we wanted to save our energy. Travelling by road can be long and tiring, and we have very little time in our hand to waste it on recovering the kepenatan after haha. Flight to KB is only 50 minutes, memang cepat dan mudah.
Kalau nak naik bas pulak, ada budak-budak kecik, takut banyak pulak hal diaorang nanti nak ke tandas dan sebagainya.
Malindo Air sangat selesa dan luas

How to buy cheap flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu 

I have used skyscanner to compare ticket prices, and Malindo Air was the winner. But, when booking, I used budgetair.com as it offers the lowest price, and there is no hidden charge (unless if you want to add on stuff like free cancellation or insurance-like).  The flight that we've got is quite cheap, 4 adults and 3 kids, cost us RM 800 to and fro KL-KB. The flight was for Sunday-Khamis (We stayed a night in Besut just to berjalan raya around my mother-in-law's kampung).

We arrived Kota Bharu around 8:30am, we then have some breakfast in the airport lounge area, then only make our way to Jeti Kuala Besut.

From Kota Bahru airport you can easily buy a taxi coupon to Besut Jetty for RM78. Look for the taxi booth near the arrival hall. We were lucky that we find a big taxi that can fit us all, so we only needed one. The journey to jeti Besut took us about 40 minutes.

How to go from Besut Jetty to Perhentian Island

This part was not mine, since it was pre-arranged by ocean13scuba but I will just share our experience. The best part of this arrangement was, only 4 of us are going for the diving trip, but each family brought along their parents, kids, and some siblings too, so we became a big group of maybe 30-ish people, just enough to fit a speed boat!

There are plenty of things you can do while waiting at the jetty. There's food stalls, clean toilet that you can pay even to shower, souvenirs shops and many travel agents that offer over-the-counter deals, so if you don't want to pre-book your boat arrangement, you can also buy it there.

Speed boat ke Pulau Perhentian
From Jeti Kuala Besut, it is about 30 minutes by speed boat to Perhentian Island. We stayed in Shari-la Resort Perhentian Kecil, a very convenient resort as there is a cemented walkway from the jetty all the way to the resort and through their individual chalet too. So you can use the typical roller bag to bring all your stuff over! No sand will be in your way :)

The speed boat that we got was not as luxurious, but it is ok, as long as it takes us safely to Perhentian, and most importantly, FAST! But when returning to Besut, we got a better looking boat, complete with cover, I really don't understand why the big difference :D

Oh yeah, the price is typically the same for any agent, speed boat to and fro will cost you RM70 per adult and RM60 per child.

Mesmerizing view welcoming us upon our arrival

The walkway to Shari-la resort - roller bag friendly

The Shari-la resort entrance

The resort is individual chalet like - complete with air conditioner (suitable for mat-salleh like children of mine haha)


3M enjoying the trip to Pulau Perhentian 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Travel and Run: Doha-London - New York - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon in 8 days

New York, New York.. I have dreamed about it for sooooo long. And many of my attempts to visit it failed.. until 2015, when I tried my luck to enter the TCS New York marathon draw... I didn't thought I'd get in! And to make it more fun, so was my husband! So off we went, both of us.

New York captured from the top of Empire State building
Well I'm not gonna explain all about the marathon part, as I have explained it in our other blog. But I will share our journey through Unites State of America, crossing from Qatar - London - New York - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon and backin 8 days. Man, it was super awesome.. but surely it depends on what type of travellers are you. If you are the kind that need a good night sleep with a long relaxing dinner and a scroll on every corner, then this itinerary is not for you.

Travelling to New York (29th Oct - 2nd Nov 2015)

We've booked our flights all through Orbitz.com, where you can choose multi-city option and it will give you plenty of choice that can suit your budget and time. I took below flight;

Oct 29 2015 Doha - London (3 hours transit) then London to New York (arriving at the same day at 6PM)

The reason that I took a transit flight is because I can't even stand thinking of the longggg direct flight to New York for 13-14 hours without some fresh air! But I then regretted the decision, our flight got delayed and we nearly missed our connecting flight from London to New York, because of the security process in London airport, plus, the change of terminals. And can you believe that, for every time you change a terminal (even if you didn't go out from passport control), you have to scan your hand carry all over again. So yeah, we've done that - long queue and everything.

Once we arrived New York using British Airways, the minute we step out of the flight, there was already a longggg queue for the passport control! Man.. I can't breathe! and I was kinda lucky for being slightly mabuk, I gotta cut some queue to go to the loo. I seriously recommends that you try Etihad Airlines, as they do the passport control in Abu Dhabi, so once you arrived New York, you simply go out and pick your luggage! No more queuing!

From JFK Airport, New York we took GoAirLink transfer to our hotel. First 2 night we are staying in Edison Hotel - right in the middle of Time Square. So you can guess how much it had cost us! But, anything for the sake of my dream city, New York aye?

So, as I told you, we are there for the TCS New York Marathon. So, as per training plan, we had to do a short run, so that basically what we did first thing in the morning! Run straight from our hotel to the Central Park! Man.. I just can't believe that I'm typing this up. The experience is exquisite. I still felt the cold breeze of New York city air that very day.


Ok, to cut the story shorts, whilst we are in marathon mode in New York, pre race, we basically didn't walk much, but opt for hop on hop off bus, which is the best option to see the city for few days (believe me it's not enough to do it in a day!). Then the night before the race, we moved to Staten Island, where the running starts. And we finished the race together awesomely in Central Park hand in hand (despite my near mental break-down because of the lack of training! thanks to mr.hubby who sweetly run along to ensure I reached the finish line :).


That night, we moved to an apartment near Perry Street, just so I can have the feel of being Carrie from SNTC, hiks. The apartment was soooo pretty, and it was owned by a guy! man.. he can decorate. I love every little corner of it.

Konon2 cari idea for my next post

Berangan depan entrance

Berangan lagi
So, that morning, we continue to stroll around New York, this time bringing our medal out and about! Including flashing it off on top of Empire State buildings :D. With our limited time, we still managed to take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Ok I've seen what I've always wanted. Even got to go to the spot where they shoot 'Friends' infamous opening song!
Look.. is it familiar? It should be familiar if you are as a crazy fan like me. haha.



That evening 2nd of Nov 2015, we went to the airport for our next flight leg, New York - Los Angeles. With a heavy heart, I bid New York good bye. It's ok.. I have 10 years visa now.. I could come and visit anytime!


2nd Nov 2015: Flying from New York to Los Angeles

We flown, it was almost 7 hours, but we gain few hours ahead, so it's as if we haven't travelled long. Stayed near to the airport, woke up to variety of choice of pancakes! Yumm. Ok I will continue this entry later.. below is for my reference.. tunggguuuu...

3rd Nov 2015: Los Angeles must visit

4th Nov 2015: LA to Las Vegas

5th Nov 2015: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

6th Nov 2015: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas to London to Doha

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kepulanganku dari Malaysia

Aku baru balik dari KL, memang satu minggu lebih yang penuh dengan aktiviti ilmiah! Tepu otak! Harapnya masih bagus untuk diestrak keluar untuk di jadikan action plan hehehe.

2 hari sebelum berangkat pulang, badan tiba-tiba jadi lemah, terus demam panas yang dah lama tak kena. Badan mengigil kesejukan, tapi temperature tinggi.. sampai sakit telinga. Masa balik naik flight dengan Mishel pun, still naik temperature. Hmm.. adakah ini rezeki untuk menghapuskan dosa-dosa kecil? :)

Setibanya di Qatar, petang itu, aku gagahkan diri untuk sama-sama berlari.. tetapi kerana Maqeel yang agak cranky, aku tidak dapat meneruskan larian dengan jarak yang betul. Sekadar berlari disekitar dia, yang sedang syok bermain di tempat senaman.

Pagi tadi pula, aku cuba untuk ke ofis, bekerja dari jam 7 sampai 12, akhirnya aku mengalah juga, setelah di yakinkan beberapa kali oleh sahabatku di ofis, agar aku pulang berehat. Ya, sebenarnya demamku masih belom kebah. Batuk dan selsema pula takyah cakaplah, memang mengganggu!

Jadi mungkin aku akan ambil cuti rehat sampai hujung minggu, kalau masih tak rasa demam kebah. Hmm.. rasa bersalah untuk ponteng kerja lagi, tetapi, apakan daya, inilah lumrah kehidupan.

Doakan kesihatanku kembali! :)