Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 7 (Friday) – I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again

It was my last day in Genoa. I had to muster the ‘strength’ deep within me just to drag my self out from the comfort and warmth of my bed for my long overdue morning walk. I’m exaggerating, but you get what I meant.

In the cold morning breeze, I walked up the small alley in front the hotel. I reached a little newsstand. The beautiful lady shopkeeper was busy arranging newspaper and magazines. Except for a few passer-by, the well lit alleys were pretty much deserted. A lady stopped to buy a newspaper. They both took note of me and my dSLR.
Me (with a smile): Buon Giorno
Two stylish looking ladies: (smiled back)
The smiles were some sort of permission for me to continue taking photos in the area. They continued with their daily routine, paying no special attention to me.

I was tempted to literally go up the alley in front of me (the alley have steps and railing). Unfortunately I have limited time and could not afford to be ‘lost’. So I took the alley that leads to the main road, Via Roma. I walked up until the end of the street (which is not that far) and came to a some sort of a round-about, Piazza Corvetto. It was perhaps the busiest streets near the hotel at that hour.

I turned back, crossed Via Roma and headed down toward the hotel. I saw another newsstand. There was a tree next to it. The absence of leaves indicated that winter is coming. I continued walking. I entered Galleria Mazzini. It was as deserted as the road and alleys. Even though it was somewhat ‘in-door’, it was still cold. Imagine my surprise when I saw a lady sleeping in front of a door! I wondered why she was there. Judging from her shoes (shoes with pointed heels), I didn’t think she was a homeless.

I returned to City Hotel for our last breakfast. I took one last photo of the view from my window. We checked out at 8.15am and left for work.

We were on the bus, leaving the office. 30 minutes later, we reached the airport. We checked-in our luggage and loitered at the lobby for a while.

We went through the security check. At the check point, one of our fellow travellers got stopped. The airport security checked the photos in his camera (no photos were allowed at the security check area). To their delight and laughter, there was a photo of his (taken by me) posing next to an airport security car. After the little incident, we headed into the boarding area only to discover our flight was delayed.

The flight finally took off. About an hour later, we reached Rome. We exited at gate A3.

After some confusion, we finally was able to locate our bus. It was already dark. We were caught in a KL-like traffic jam on the highway. We reached the hotel at 7.00 pm. The best way to describe the hotel, Hotel Delta is that it was the total opposite of City Hotel in Genoa. Hotel Delta is a modern building (when compared to other building from previous centuries) right next to a main road, Via Labicana. The bus actually stopped us right in front of the hotel door.

In Genoa, my first thought when the bus driver told us in his limited English to drag our luggage up the cobble stone alley, was, “Oh God! What kind hotel are we staying in!”. While I thought the room in Genoa was small, it was far more luxurious compared to the room in Rome. Not to forget the service. In Genoa, the housekeeping staff left a card with their name after they clean your room. If your room is kind of neat when you left it, the staff would reward you with a candy (that is too sweet for my tooth). No such personalize service in Rome.

At the hotel lobby, I grabbed one of those tourist map. After my ‘exploring’ stint in Genoa, the group leader gave me the task of locating stuff on the map, namely roads that could have halal restaurant. We found one road on the map – Via Merulana.

We walked along Via Labicana toward what I think was east. We passed a lot of small road before arriving to a crossing. Once we spotted the sign Viale Manzoni, we knew we were already on Via Merulana. Our only dilemma was either to head north ward, or south ward. I didn’t exactly know how we made the decision, either we were following my instinct to head north, or because there were some McD sign in the north (on the map). Must be the latter, because if we fail to find the restaurant, we could head to the McD.

At the first ‘friendly-looking’ shopkeeper, we stopped and asked for direction. He told us to go further north. Eventually we realized that the doors along the road were all numbered. The address for the halal restaurant was shop number 271. We were, by then, 70 doors away.

After the long walk, we finally located the restaurant. There were rice briani, kebabs, falafel and the likes of it. I spotted a letter on the wall similar to the one I saw in Genoa. After seeing the portion of rice per serving, I decided to order bread (those round flat bread that looks like a cappati) to go with a plate of meat (I don’t really eat chicken and they didn’t have fish). The shop was patronized by people in ‘dubious’ looking clothes. As simple as we were, we were perhaps more well dressed than the rest in the restaurant. Hence, I didn’t not dare to ‘flaunt’ my dSLR to take photos. I kept it zipped underneath my parka most of the time.

After dinner, we braved the cold night to head back to our hotel. Along the way, there were a lot of graffiti on the buildings. One of the was a anti-US.

We were back at the hotel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 6 (Thursday): Last evening in Genoa

My fellow travellers gathered at the hotel lobby. On our way to the pizza restaurant last Tuesday, we discovered ‘Coop’ tucked away from the main road near our hotel. It was a little supermarket. Actually it was a chain of supermarket, very similar to ‘Giant’ in Malaysia. We walked to the ‘Coop’.

Since it was our last evening in Genoa, we wanted to buy some souvenir from Genoa. Genoa is not really a touristy place. Unlike Pisa and Florence where you can easily find ‘touristy’ souvenir, we couldn’t find any in Genoa – you know those souvenir that screamed ‘from Genoa’. So we settled for the next best thing, we bought Olive Oil. According to my friend, at Euro 5.00 even after conversion to Malaysian Ringgit, it was still a lot cheaper. For the same price, in Malaysia you would get a tiny bottle. In Genoa, you’ll get a big bottle! We must have stood out in the crowd of Italians. None of us speak Italian and the Italians don’t speak English either.

After making our purchases, some of us decided to return to hotel, some continued wandering. I didn’t want to spend the last evening cooped up in my hotel room. I joined the wandering group. At our first alley, some of the guys decided that they want to have dinner at a fish and chip restaurant. The rest of us continued walking down the little alley.

I stopped at a camera shop along the alley:
Me: Inglese?
Man: A little
Me (showing my dSLR): Power? Quanto costa? (Power? How much does it cost?)
Man (looked my dSLR): Si. Euro 50.00 (Yes. Euro 50.00)
Me: Grazie (walking away as I realized I can’t afford to buy it in Italy!)

(I had earlier discovered that my telephone charger was not working. I tried plugging my dSLR battery charger into the power socket in my room, the lights didn’t turn on. I had both items in the checked-in luggage. Didn’t want to risk accidentally discharging whatever power left in the battery, I didn’t dare to slot the battery into the charger. Lucky for me I had the battery fully charged before leaving Malaysia.)

We reached a little square. There were some street vendors there. But most were packing up their things. With the help of my T5, I managed to haggle the price of a leather glove to Euro 6.00 (RM30.00). It was not the furry kind (like the one I bought in Florence) but that was okay. After my mishap, I intended to use the glove as my biking glove.

We continued wandering. We found a shop selling leather goods just for female. From leather boots to leather jackets. Handbags, glove and what nots. Very cool shop. Too bad I was on a tight budget. Otherwise I might have bought a complete set of leather attire to wear while riding my two wheeler.

We went in another leather shop. This shop specialized in bags. Small handbags, purses, travelling bags, you named it, they got it. But none of the bags carried any well-known designer labels. The bags must have been locally made. One of the guy bought a wallet. The little shop accepted VISA and MASTERCARD!

We continued down the alley and found yet another square. By now, looking at the map we were 'lost'. We didn’t know the our location relative to the map. My guest: we were in Piazza Banchi. At the square, there was a newsstand. Among the things sold there was a box of vinyl records. The vinyl records were sold as low as Euro 3.00 per piece. I don’t know if you could still buy vinyl records in Malaysia, or if you remember how it looks like. But a fellow traveller bought one as a souvenir.

After that we continued into an indoor ‘market’ area. Not exactly a market, more like shop lots in an old building. We walked along the corridors. I spotted a halal sign outside a restaurant. We went in, while looking at the menus on the wall, I spotted some sort of a ‘halal certificate’ issued local Islamic centre. It was a letter in Italian and a few Arabic characters with picture of what looked like a mosque. I ordered a ‘falafeel’ – some what like a kebab but instead of meat, substitute with vegetarian stuff. At the counter:
Me: Inglese?
Moustache man: Yes, a little.
Me: Mosques nearby?
Moustache man: Yes. 3 (mosques). 5 minutes walking. Tomorrow, 12pm come here.

So the man must be a Muslim for he understood the underlying intention of asking the mosque. Some of the guys were wondering if it was possible to perform Friday prayers before leaving Genoa tomorrow.

After buying dinner, our group split into two. Two of the guys returned to the hotel. Three of us continued walking. This was after all our last evening in Genoa. I particularly want to see their Aquaria – reputably to be one of the best in Europe. Yes, I got to see it, but only from far, from Piazza Caricamento. Crossing the piazza, we reached Porto Antico (Port Antico?). The view was great! So was the wind! With the wind blowing, the temperature could have reached zero degree – if it didn’t, it sure felt like it. While we were taking photos – very touristy – we saw people jogging along the port. There we were, dressed in multiple layers of clothing and still had our teeth chattering because of cold, these joggers jogged calmly in their simple jogging attire!

We must have almost circled Porta Della Marinetta before deciding to turn back. Though the road was well lit, it was deserted. The guys was scared that we would get mugged. Somehow we managed to get to Via San Lorenzo which ultimately brought us back to Piazza Matteoti. We went into Palazzo Ducale. There was a little photo exhibition going on. The subjects were mostly Asian people. Looking at the photos, I realized, I could have similar photos back in Malaysia. Sorry, no photos of the exhibition or the artwork in Palazzo Ducale as I don’t want to infringe any intellectual property law.

We exited to the now very familiar Piazza De Ferrari. Fiftteen minutes later we were back in the hotel. I packed most of my things. The following morning, we were suppose to check out before going to work.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 5 (Wednesday) : Road trip

note: Nudity warning!


I woke up – the usual time for me in Malaysia during weekdays. Had a good hot shower and prepared some food for the road trip. I contemplated on what to wear. Since I’d lost my glove, I decided to wear as thick as possible so that I could tuck my palms under my arms (a.k.a. my armpit). It helped me during my walks previous day, so I was counting on that method again.

Didn’t want to leave the warmth of my bed, I switched on the telly. There’s only a few channel in English. I settled for one of the news channel. There was this show ‘Hardtalk’. I can’t remember who was the show host and who was the guest. But the topic was great. It was about re-engineering how we use (and manage) our power. Power as in electricity and the likes of it. The guest was saying that instead of using the current centralized model where the power station generate and distribute power, we should opt for distributed model. The new model works very similar to the internet where everyone generate their own content and contribute to the internet. In term of power, say I have solar panel or some other bio friendly power generating system, but I don’t use as much as I generate, so instead of wasting the resource, there should be some infrastructure for me to share what I generated, with others who would want to use it. The guest acknowledged that it would cost a bomb, but we can’t afford not to do it. Our current methods (burning carbon base material to generate power) are producing ‘green house’ gases, which in turn contribute to global warming. At current rate of global warming, we might become extinct in a few years (actually he did mention some numbers, but I can’t remember).

I have to admit, I’m guilty of contributing to our extinction (how many time have I left the lights, telly etc. on when I was not using it?). Today, I truly woke up from my ‘sleep’.

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant. As usual, I ‘smuggled’ a bun and some other ‘smuggleable’ food into my backpack.

As promised, we were already on the bus for our road trip. Our bus driver, Dominic, knew a little English (too bad I forgot to take a photo with him). My fellow travellers were a bunch of punctual people. We are heading to Florence. I didn’t do any background research on Florence before leaving Malaysia. So I knew nothing about it and did not know what to expect.

We were on one of the bridges that I saw from the plane when we arrived Genoa on Day 2 (Sunday 11th November). The bridges actually part of network of highways that includes tunnels cutting through hills.

The bus stopped. The place was similar to Malaysian PLUS ‘R & R’. If I got the name right, the place is called Boronia. Temperature was around 4 degree Celsius. We had some problem with the engine. A wire that supposed to tie some hose in the engine was broken. The bus driver had to improvise. About half an hour later we continued our journey. We passed a place called Massa. This is where marbles we quarried for export to middle east.

The bus had to stopped again. This time it was in a place called Versilia Verst. We continued after about half an hour stop.

We reached some sort of tourist registration office. It was drizzling. My first rain in Italy! After a quick registration (I’m not quite sure if we were registering ourselves or we were registering the bus), we hopped on the bus.

We were caught in a traffic jam. My first traffic jam since I reached Italy!

We reached the ‘drop-off’ zone along a river. The driver explained to us in his limited English that the bus could not take us to the main tourist attraction and he could not wait there more than 10 minutes. We had to walk for about 500 metres. We agreed to meet him at the same spot at 2pm. And so we walked.

We walked and walked until we reached some sort of town centre. We did a little sight seeing before the rest of the group decided to go shopping. Too bad shopping and me don’t really go well, otherwise I would have really enjoyed their company. As I didn’t want to stray far from the group, I had to follow them anyway.

Most of the shopkeeper there knew some English – enough to sell their merchandise. There’s a lot of leather goods. I finally got to buy my leather glove. The guy only had burgundy (I have no idea what colour was that, it looked purple to me). Too bad I couldn’t find the one that fit my hands nicely. I got a small ‘man’ gloves as the stall didn’t have glove for ladies in the colour that I like.

From the postcards sold in many stalls there, I gathered that the statue of David by Michelangelo must be somewhere in this city. I’ve seen it numerous time in Discovery Channel. It is a detailed sculpture of a man made of a single slab of marble. It was said that the upper portion of the statue was slightly bigger so that the upper portion would not appear to be small when view by normal people from below. Anyway, I couldn’t found the replica (in the original site), neither the original statue (moved into some museum to protect it from the environment).

correction: I was at the original site of David in Palazzo Vecchio. I didn't realize I passed a replica of Michelangelo's work (the were many statues). Only have one 'accident' photo with the replica at a corner. The rest of photos have us convenietly blocking the statue. :(

We were on the bus for our next destination: Leaning Tower of Pisa! Half an hour later we had a break in a ‘R & R’ the bus driver stopped for a bite. I managed to buy a non-refrigerated mineral water (in this cold weather, I really wonder why people need a cold mineral water).
Me: Inglese? (English?)
Cashier: No.
Me (pointing a bottle of mineral water): Aqua minerale, no freddo? (Mineral water, not cold?)
Cashier: Aa… Si. (Aa… Yes)

Back on the road (in the bus)! I opened my packed food – instant ‘Rendang’. Another person brought a loaf of bread. My travel companion asked don’t we have to ‘cook’ (dip the packet in a hot water) the instant ‘rendang’ first? I told him I already did it this morning in the hotel room and he was amazed on my preparedness. We share the bread and the ‘rendang’. In a matter of minutes, everything was finished.

We reached the main parking lot. We were suppose to ride on the feeder bus to the Pisa. Our bus driver followed us on the feeder bus. Upon reaching the next stop, he explained to us that the last feeder bus back to the parking lot is at 4.45pm. We have to either take the local bus, or walked back to the parking lot and showed us where to take the bus.

Got to see the tower! With the clear blue sky, it was beautiful. Unfortunately the late evening sun caused other building to cast some shadows. After a few photos, the rest of the group moved to the souvenir shops. I was hoping they would go to the tower, but no, they stayed at the shop for shopping. Very touristy! I reluctantly joined them a bought a few souvenir (I didn’t bring a lot of money and had to budget so that I don’t spent more than my daily ‘allowance’).

We started walking back to the bus. Along the way, I stopped to buy shawls and a pair of leather shoes. The shoes were for my brother. Everyone (including the shopkeeper) laughed when I took out the outline of my brother’s foot on a piece of paper! I believe that’s the best way to buy shoes for some one else as size number would varies from one continent to another. The price? Let’s just say the guys agreed it was cheaper than if bought in Malaysia.

We were on the bus. 2 persons were missing. The group leader tried telephoning them and discovered that they were kind of lost. It was already dark. The rest on the bus either worried or angry with the missing guys. After 20 minutes, they finally reached the bus. The bus left Pisa.

We reached our hotel. I was suppose to have dinner with a distance relative. I gave her a called as soon as I reach the hotel. Her husband would fetch me in half an hour. She told me to wait at the lobby. Just enough time for me to freshen up and change my clothes. True enough, half an hour later I saw her daughter coming to the lobby!

We reached her apartment on the top floor. Her house is located on one of those hills that seemed to surround Genoa. It’s a cosy place. She cooked an Italian dinner. A lasagnia followed by a succulent roast lamb. Dessert was a Tiramisu cake. I have a small stomach and I don’t normally drink coffee (neither eat it). But since she had already made the dessert especially for our dinner, I cleaned my plate.

We chatted. She pitied the guys who can’t seem to eat anything Italian here. She offered to bag the lasagnia and the roast lamb. At first I declined. But then she ‘painted a grimed picture’ of the guys, I took her offer. She also packed a loaf of bread and a bottle of chilli sauce (from Malaysia). Then she and her husband sent me back to the hotel. By 11pm, I was already in my hotel saying goodbye to her and her husband.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 4 (Tuesday) - 'Lost' in Genoa

After the disasterous dinner (the guys couldn't stomach the pasta) the previous night, they asked me to take them to 'my pizza restaurant'. We agreed to meet in the hotel lobby at 7pm. I had 2 hours to kill. I decided to roam the streets of Genoa.

City Hotel, though located at Via Roma, isn't exactly by the road side. In fact from the road, you can't see the hotel. My first imppession when our bus driver unloaded our bags and told us to walk (he had limited English), was "Oh my God! What kind hotel are we staying in!". I'll get back to the hotel later.

Via Roma is some what a main road. By KL standard, it is just a 2 lane one-way street with one lane seemed to be used as 'waiting lane' for buses, lorries and other vehicles. Why do I called it a main road? Because along on both sides of the road are designers' boutiques. You know, those lables that l can't seemed to pronounce, thus can't spell it. Those lables that if I buy, with my current salary, I'll be in debt for the whole year!

I followed the crowd (of well-dressed-Italians) walking into small nameless lanes. They brought me to somewhat another face of Genoa. These little lanes and alleys nestled in between the old-but-beautifully-preserved-buildings that seemed to form Genoa town. Lined on those alleys are small shops, workshops, art galleries, and even small museums. You could literally window shop from the lanes and alleys as you could see almost everything in the shop. In one of the worhop, I saw a lady wearing a white-doctor-like-coat over her stylish clothes busy at work - painting a porcelein bowl. Some doors open to private courtyards.

If you close you eyes and listen to footsteps on the coblestones, you could almost see people from previous centuries walking in these lanes and alleys. When you thought no cars could get through the small lanes, you would be suprised to see a car inching patiently behind pedestrians. Pedestrians - I too followed - gave way to cars immediately when there's enough 'clearing' to stand aside. I continued walking till the alleys became too narrow for cars. The wind wasn't blowing as strong as in the earlier lanes. Suited me just fine because I accidently dropped my woolen grove on the bus trip back from work the previous day.

Then I realized, I was in a 'red' district! People around me no longer wore impeccably smart clothes. There were young women every where. There were dubious looking men too. But they didn't bother me. With my canvas backpack and inconspicous parka, I must have looked liked an immigrant worker. I had my dSLR zipped underneath my parka (hence no photos for this walk). I continued walking until I reached a small shop. From the window I could see a black lady wearing burqa behind the counter. I went in. The shopkeeper was serving a beautiful Italian lady in designer clothes. Once the Italian lady left, I greeted the lady shopkeeper
me: (translation: peace upon you)
lady (beaming with smile): (translation: upon you too)
me: Inglese? (english?)
lady: no
me (with hand gestures): halal restorante? (halal restaurant?)
lady: si... si... (yes... yes... she took me to a shop a few steps from hers)
me: grazie (thank you)
lady: prego (welcome and she left)

No, I didn't eat at the shop. I had to return to hotel. It was 6.15pm. Shops were closing. I back tracked and passed the dubious men and women. I followed my instinct and wind direction. 15 minutes later I was at the hotel.

We walked to the pizza restaurant. We shared a plate of spagetti, three plates of vegetarian pizza, and four bottles of 'aqua minerale naturale'. The long walk was worth it when everyone returned to hotel full and satisfied.

Went to bed early. We would be going for a roadtrip on Wednesday!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back in Malaysia

My flight touched down this morning at 7.10am Malaysian time. I've been trying hard to adjust my internal clock with the local time. Tried hard not to fall asleep. Unpack my stuff. Half way through, my head was pounding. I had 3 hours of midday nap, had a late lunch then drove to my brothers place. Ended napping for another 1 hour at his place. So couldn't update this blog earlier.

Will try to continue with DAY 4 some time this week. Stay tune!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Updating blog from Italy

Test entry.

It's 16 November 2007 (Day 7). I've arrived in Rome from Genoa. Just got back from dinner.
Day 3: Genoa - mixing work and leisure?

After a few time of waking up at odd hours (not odd in Malaysia's time), I finally got out of bed. I had a mild headache. Could be due to too much sleep. Had a good hot shower, got into longjohn and work attire.

Breakfast at the hotel. I had cereal and bread. 'Smuggled' a few bread into my backpack.

Got on a charted bus to work. It took about half an hour to get to our destination. Work is beyond the scope of this blog. Let's just say work finished at 4.30pm and the trip back to hotel is about 30 mins.

My body was still trying to adjust to local time. To keep myself awake, I did a stock check of my food. I sort of did 'what to eat when' to make sure I have enough.

I went down at the lobby. I'm suppose to have dinner with my colleagues. I fell asleep a few times on the lobby chair while waiting for all my colleagues.

We adjorned to the hotel restaurant, 'La Rune'. After yet another long wait, the food finally arrived - pasta with fish. The portion is just right for my small stomach. I cleaned my plate even though everything tasted bland for someone used to Malaysian food!

After the late dinner, I took a walk with fellow 'travellers'. We wanted to find a seafood restaurant recomended by a distance relative. We ended at the so-called Christopher Columbus House. Then we walked along a street called Porta Soprana until we reached a square, Piazza Matteotti.

Since we couldn't find the restaurant, the guys wanted to return to hotel. We went in a building called Pallazo Ducale. The building housed a museum, some offices and restaurants. In the indoor 'courtyard' (sort of an atrium) is a modern art sculpture. Something about life sphere space.

We exited to Piazza de Ferrari. At the square is a beautifull fountain. The historical buildings around the square provide great backdrop. We took a lot of photos before walking back to hotel.
Day 2: KLIA - Rome - Genoa

Supper high up in the sky. The choice was either fish with lemon sauce (or something like that) or chicken with mushroom sauce. Normally I would pick fish but this time I went for chicken. It didn't exactly look appertizing (sorry no photo) but it tasted good!

The old lady accross the aisle got sick. She didn't got out of her seat and made it to the toilet on time. She threw out at the aisle. Pity the guy who sat behind me. Some of her 'stomach contents' got on his clothes.

Breakfast. The options were 'nasi lemak' or 'bread and omelette'. Not that I don't like Malaysian's food, but I needed to stay away from food that might upset my stomach. So, I went for omelette. What came were: orangy cube that tasted like potato, soggy hash brown and equally soggy omelette that was accompanied with peas.

Touch down. The bus took us to the arrival gate. At the security check, a can of coke in my bag was 'confiscated' and transfered to the dusbin. Italian time is 5.30am. From now onwards entries would be in Italian time. It was by any standard still early. Only one imigration counter was open.

After some confusion, we finally got to the domestic ticketing counter. Boarding time is 8.50am. We killed time by loitering at the terminal.

When boarding the plane, the first thing I noticed was, somehow Airasia planes look bigger. Upon entering the door, I could see the cockpit and the lady pilot behind the 'wheels'. She could be the co-pilot but that didn't matter. Though I've met woman airforce pilot, I've never seen woman comercial aircraft pilot. Another important thing to note, the cockpit door was open and very near to the entrance. It was so near that someone could have pushed the two stewardes aside, and barged into the cockpit! A very scary thought to have!

Up amongst white cotton cloud, on our way to Genoa.

Touch down in Genoa. A chartered coaster took us to our hotel, City Hotel. The hotel is on Via Roma (Roma Street?).

Got into my room. I tested all the switches, lights, and waterworks (bathroom). It's a habit I picked up from a friend in university. I had a light meal (sardines).


We went out in search of lunch. We settled for McD. I was still full, I ordered fries, "patatine" in Italian ( the cashier spoke no English). It was Euro2.10. Then we broke into smaller group and roamed the sreets of Genoa. My group walked until we passed the main railway station. Most of the shops were closed. Seemed that almost no one works on Sunday!

Back in the hotel room. Fell into deep sleep. It was around 11.30pm in Malaysia - bedtime.

Woke up with an empty stomach. Tried knocking others' room, no one answered. So I went out in search of a restaurant alone. I found a restaurant. It was warm and cozy. Imagine how I must have felt after a long walk at temperature 10degree Celcius (I didn't wear enough layer of clothing).

I queued at the buffet line. My dinner was a bread and vegetables. At the cashier:
me: Inglese? (speak English?)
handsome casher: Yes, if you like.

Yay! I managed to take away bread. I headed back to hotel.

Upon reaching the hotel, I saw one of my travel companion. He was hungry and wondered where to eat. So I walked with him to the restorant. We ordered a vegetarian pizza, plain water and a cup of capuccino. The pizza was huge enough for three. The capuccino was a very small cup. All that for Euro9.20.

I was back in the room. Prepared a few things for work before going to sleep.
Day 1: Byebye Malaysia
Note: The following entries are made using T5. Pardon for typo and grammatical errors. Entry start on 10 November 2007.

Arrived at KLIA to meet other travel companion. Exchanged some RM to Euro and USD. Check-in bags and then headed to the food court for dinner.

Waited for the express train to gate C35. Flight was a bit delayed. According to the announcement because the aircraft arrived late (from previous flight). We boarded the plane around 11.45pm. The plane took off at about 12am.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Going Away for Awhile

I don't know why but something doesn't feel right. But I have to go anyway.

So with heavy heart... Italy here I come!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Deepavali

The festival of light is tomorow. Happy Depavali to all who celebrates it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Heart vs brain

Yesterday morning, before leaving the house, I had this weird feeling. I almost always got it whenever something is about to happen. I ignored the feeling and went to work.

Then while on the bike, I reached a junction. One would take me to my usual route to the office. The other alternative route, a narrow winding road up and downhill, also would take me to my office. My heart was telling me to take the alternative route since it was early and the weather was just nice for a morning ride. My brain was saying I should stick to the usual three-lanes-main road, which I did!

Just before the mishap, my heart and brain finally agreed with each other. My heart said something bad was about to happen. My brain told me to brace for a fall.

I’m just wondering, when should we listen to our heart, and when should we listen to our brain?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


It was still early in the morning. The jams had not started yet. My T5 is blaring out my favourite song via the earphones. The early morning rain makes weather just nice for a morning ride. I was enjoying my slow ride on the bike to work. Still plenty of time to get to work.

Then, suddenly, the car in front of me decided to change lane without giving the signal light. I pressed my brakes. Normally that would slow down the bike. But today, I could feel the tyres loosing their grip on the tarmac. The bike skidded and I fell on my side. I saw car tyres and doors on my left and right. I let go of the bike while ‘sliding’ on the tarmac. While this was happening, my mind kept reminding me not to put my hands on the tarmac – my fingers could get run over by the tyres. I could see the bike scratching the sides of the car on the right and a car on the left.

By the time I stopped sliding, a ‘Singh’ was already on my side helping me to get up. He must have been on a bike behind me. I was dazed. He asked me if I was okay. I said I think I am. Once we got my bike up, and he could see that I could stand and move, he continued his journey. I can’t remember if I said thanks to him. I could only see his eyes and his blue turban. He had his mouth covered. If you happened to know this good Samaritan, say thanks to him for me!

And last but definitely not least, Thank you Merciful God for not letting any cars or bike to run over me!

p.s.: New items in the wishlist: (1) New pair of leather boots (2) A matching leather jacket