Untitled Journal

What's the story, morning glory?

Category: Travel

Epilogue

 

True enough, that the most beautiful thing in this world is the world itself.
I hope there will be more words from me soon.
But until then..

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Prologue

 

Natimuk was just an excuse for Mount Arapiles, except that we arrived at the right time, during the right light.

When in Yangshuo

Oh what is it with being 30 something and this yearn to get out of this routine and do something amazing?

I wished that when I was younger and the world was still better, my parents would’ve taken me hiking. Would’ve exposed me to the real things instead of the artificial needs from the malls or those travels through a typical tourist’s eyes. Would’ve taught me that life lessons are not just merely what we learn in schools or what an individual called teacher said, but everything you can experience outside of it. My parents – the typical urban parents who now don’t understand why I wouldn’t do the same to my child.

Also, how do you recover from an amazing trip? How do you go back to work or sleep on your bed or do same old thing? Because even after months have passed, I’m still clinging to the photos and the memories in Yangshuo that almost did not happen. There was something magical about that trip and I figured that it was mostly because we were cut off from the social networks; the Facebook, Twitter and whatnot were all blocked in China. To add salt to the injuries, all the chargers to our iPhones, Mac Book and iPad did not work either. The only thing that worked was Elly’s power bank which charged our iPhones very slowly and there were three on constant que, so we only saved it all for photos during the day. Imagine those nights tired of cycling, hiking, bamboo rafting or climbing – we were left with nothing to do but talking to each other, lying on the bed and doing what all family should be doing on a holiday – connecting.

I think this was the only trip that I really couldn’t be bothered to carry around my camera. As beautiful as the place is, I just wanted to enjoy the experience. I didn’t want to be caught up with the pressure of getting great shots but rather kept it all in. And actually, the iPhone sufficed. Plus, I quite enjoyed being in the pictures lately. Uhuh!

After all those months of working without a break, an episode of nasty food poisoning 3 days before the trip and climbing on the same old rocks, Yangshuo needed to happen to me. Its totally amazing and surprising at the same time how a perfect trip actually could be so effortless and cheap. If UberFacts is believable, it says that studies show the key to happiness is spending your money on experiences rather than possessions. And that was exactly what Yangshuo was to us. Especially that it was a great one.

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Istanbul Aku Mai

(I’m only writing this because I just finished watching Istanbul Aku Datang. It was OK I guess. Watchable compared to some other Malay movies..)

I don’t really get most Malaysian’s obsession or fascination with Istanbul. Most Malaysians I met, actually. I found Istanbul disappointing, or maybe I shouldn’t have had any expectations to places I’ve never been. That is evident when I only had one short post about it in my blog almost 4 years ago. Or maybe I was 2 months pregnant at that time and hormonal. Or maybe because March wasn’t exactly the best time to go. Or maybe because there were 4 other friends who cancelled the trip at the last minute made it less fun than I anticipated it to be. Maybe it wasn’t Istanbul’s fault after all. Heh.

If there was a subject back in university that I had ever gotten a high score on, it was the Architectural History. Its pretty easy to be fascinated with the facts and pictures shown to you, then makes you dream of seeing it for yourself. I knew there were epic monuments to be visited and by epic I mean it in scale. I remember vividly my lecturer projected an old drawing of Ayasofya and how tiny people in the drawing were. So when I finally get a chance to go 5 or 6 years later, there is nothing but fascination that I felt. But then, I had always thought that the city or bazaar will sort of derive from all of these monuments, the Blue Mosque, the Ayasofya, Suleiman Mosque or Topkapi Saravi.. But they don’t. Instead all of these landmarks were scattered and being just a stand alone structure without anything remotely interesting surrounding them. The bazaar was nothing impressive like the ones in Morocco (I know its dumb to compare) although there was an interesting incident where Fakhrul and our friend Dr. Kam got to taste caviar for the first time for free. Eeww, of course I didn’t taste it. I didn’t care if I missed out, Daisy would’ve probably born 7 months prematurely if I did. Haha. The fact that the inside of Ayasofya were filled with scaffolding due to restorations were another let down. Kinda like the same thing I experienced in Piazza Novana in Rome, where the galleries were closed for restoration works. Always bad timing for me. But still glad I found a spot avoiding the scaffolding for this shot:

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I wasn’t so keen with the food either. I thought all of those Turkish Delights were not so delighting, just another perplexing big fuss like those macaroons from Laduree. Too freakin’ sweet. And then there’s the bitterest tea I’d ever had and those salads without pretty dressings did not taste good. OK, this was just a personal preferences, but I think I did eat something nice otherwise how else did I survive 4 days there whilst pregnant?

One thing that is really great about Istanbul is the people. Photographing there was like a dream.. especially when what I prefer in photos are close contact with people. They are sooo nice and welcoming and some even pose when a camera pointed at them. They don’t have all this skepticism with cameras or irrelevant belief that your life is cut short when you’re in a photo like some Moroccans have. Or worse shooh you when they happen to be in the frame. Like this guy in this picture. Not even he stood where I wanted him, he even gave me his address and asked me to post his pictures. Of course I didn’t, thinking he must have assumed that I’m from some magazine with my giant camera. Tough luck!

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Anyway these are other photos of Istanbul that I didn’t publish in here. Some shots are the same, but different. Hihi.

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That Long And Winding Road

There was a sudden urge to dig old pictures of Morocco when I saw it so beautifully shot and captured in The English Patient on TV the other day. Photos I never published or thought unworthy to be shown other than what I posted up here and here. I can’t even remember what year it was, 2005 or 2006. Maybe it was 2006 as this was right after we all finished our degree.

I don’t think I had ever written about the journey to Sahara Desert (edge of, actually) from the city of Marrakech. Probably because the main memory I have of that journey was being sick or trying to get comfortable seating positions next to two Americans with one childish enough to make fun of the other’s sleeping face with mouth gaping open. That and the lunches at the Kasbah, the river we had to cross to get to the clay city of Ait Ben Haddou, the cool air as we got higher up on the Atlas mountains, the camel that brought me down..  It was actually the longest ride of my life, 10 hours to be exact, along those winding road through Ouarzazate, Agdez, Draa Valley to reach Zagora.

But now I want to remember again.

Life’s truly picture-perfect moments come few and far between, but you can capture several of them at one time in magnificent Sahara. Although truthfully our camera lenses could not do proper justice to the beauty of the sea of sand dunes set against shimmering gray, yellow, orange, and red light. Quite honestly you could find more worthy pictures of Sahara on the Google than these..

Its perplexing how I feel differently about a picture when looking back at it after these many years. Now that Morocco seems so out of reach, I feel more appreciative towards shots that were taken spontaneously, badly composed or shot without having much thought on it. It feels nostalgic and revived all sort of feelings I felt at that particular moment in my life when experienced it, despite it not being the best set of pictures from the trip.

I think am gonna start digging more archives again.

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