HK... Lu tunggu wa datang...lagi
OMG!!! It was a year ago when I made the trip to Hong Kong. And I only got to write about it now?? Really pathetic. The trip was made soon after my UK trip (Part I and Part II) last year. I was equally excited because I have never been to Hong Kong before. And when  I checked the weather forecast, it was quite cold. Temperature between 15-20 degrees. Had to standby thick clothing. But not as freezing as London.

So, to Hong Kong I went. I made the trip with another colleague. When we arrived at the HK airport, we had to make our way on foot to the bus stop. One of the cheapest ways to get to the hotel is by bus. We had to know the exact bus number that travels via the correct route though.

The ride on the bus was comfortable enough and uneventful. It has a spacious luggage compartment.

We had moments of uncertainty and were not sure where to get off from the bus. We stopped  at one of the bus stops and were disoriented for a while and had to figure out where the hotel is. We had to walk for some distance before reaching the hotel. Luckily, I didn't have lots of luggage.

Finally, after some foot work, we arrived at the hotel. The Harbourview Hotel. Not to be confused with Renaissance Harbour View which is also close by. The hotel that we stayed in, besides quite cheap, it is also close to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the venue for the conference.

The room is quite small. And the view from the window is dismal. I can only see the wall of the next building.

Besides listening to the talks during the conference, we managed to go for sight seeing. But since the weather is foggy, and at times raining, we were not able to enjoy the scenery as much as we can. One good reason to visit Hong Kong again in future.:)

The conference:
One of the attractions were the booths. The organizer arranged for booths that display the Chinese culture and crafts. 

The sight seeing:

We bought a travel package which includes train trip to airport and unlimited MTR rides for 3 days. Saved us some money,  I am sure. Because we fully utilized the MTR. And I like how organized the MTR is. Lots of people but the ride was smooth because the trains are punctual and very frequent. Waiting time was less than 5 minutes. I don't mind if  I don't own a car with the excellent MTR service.

We took the ferry to mainland and walked around the area of Tsim Sha Tsui. 

We walked along the avenue of stars. And saw lots of names on the stars and did not recognize most of them. And we only took pictures near the few names that we recognized.

Jackie Chan is a must la. Dia legend.

And of course Bruce Lee.

We also went to Ladies Market. Twice. It was full of people and the rain made it worse. However, macam-macam ada kat situ. Shoppers' heaven.

We also stopped by the Kowloon Mosque.

And walked through the Kowloon Park. In fact, we did a lot of walking. Kalau lama lagi duduk HK, sure selim melim dah...:)

Night view along the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui is amazing. With the symphony of lights displayed on the buildings.

Food is no problem. There are several middle east halal restaurants.

On another day, we left early to board the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. We bought the package ticket which included the cable car ride, bus and boat ride. It was raining and foggy thus we could not appreciate the scenery during the ride up. 

The scenery and the buildings at the top (Ngong Ping village) are very nice. There is a halal restaurant there, so no worries about food. There is also a huge Buddha statue on the top of the hill. Lots of visitors climbed up the hill to get a closer look of the statue. We didn't think it was worth while to climb so we just took pics from far. With that kind of foggy weather, we can barely made out the silhouette of the statue. Jadi la daripada tak nampak langsung. :)

We went down the hill by bus. Stopped at Tai O, a fishing village, for a short boat ride. And boarded the bus again back to where we started.
Using the MTR pass, we also took the MTR to Disneyland. There is a special train that travels to Disneyland station. The coach is decorated with Disney's designs and characters. Very nice. The station is equally decorated. 

We decided that it will be no fun going into Disneyland without our family thus we just walked outside the gate and took pictures outside. 

Macam rugi je kan tak masuk Disneyland? Well, not really. Let's call it a strategy to inspire us to visit HK again some other time. Until next time, lu tunggu wa datang lagi... InshaAllah...:)
Syawal past, present and future
I celebrated last Syawal with mixed feelings. Hubby was sick since few months before Ramadhan. He started coughing which was not resolved with the usual cough meds. He was even admitted in one of the private hospitals for a few days. Doctor diagnosed his condition as maxillary sinusitis. He was eventually discharged. However, his coughing persisted despite the meds supplied by the hospital. He was sick throughout the month of Ramadhan and his condition worsened. However, he managed to gather strength to go to the market and shopped raw materials for Raya celebrations. Syawal came and  I can see he was struggling through his illness and tried to enjoy Syawal as best as he could. He pushed his limits when we had to travel to Terengganu for my brother's engagement. It caused me as much pain as he was in pain coughing his lungs out. During that Syawal, his condition did not improved. Apart from conventional therapy, we also tried alternative therapy. Buatan orang/santau was also suspected. Despite being a pharmacology lecturer myself, I cannot dismiss those opinions considering there are sick people in this world who could go to extreme measures to get back to other people. Hubby's condition deteriorated each day, He could not go to work, he could not sleep, he had no appetite to eat, his coughing was bad and he suffered from laboured breathing. I could not sleep myself, worrying about him. He reached to the extent of talking nonsense in his half-awake state. Sometimes asking me weird questions or making weird statements. And that really freaked me out. Eventually, both his legs were swelling and his abdomen distended. However he refused to seek treatment from the hospital initially, until one day he decided to go to another private hospital. He was observed in the emergency room and doctor informed us that his heart was failing. At the time of admission, his heart was only functioning at 20% strength. He was admitted and treated accordingly (inotropic, diuretic etc). Angiogram was performed but no significant findings. To cut long story short, after being detained in the ward for a few days, his condition improved, his appetite improving and he could sleep better. He was eventually discharged. Alhamdulillah.

This Syawal, I count my blessings. Alhamdulillah, after the struggle from the illness last year, hubby got better and better. Appetite much improved and he started to gain weight. And Syawal could not be any sweeter than this.

Praying for Allah's blessings for future Syawal and may we become a better person than we are right now...
Pictures of past Syawal and present Syawal. Can really see the difference in hubby's appearance between these two pictures. 

Sesungguhnya Allah menguji hambaNya dengan kesusahan dan kesenangan sebagai cubaan.... Dan sesungguhnya sakit itu ujian untuk yang sakit dan yang sihat.
Hijrah in Ramadhan
For more than 10 working years in UKM, I am based in KL campus in Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz. In fact, my history with the campus goes beyond that. I did my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the same place too. And I  fall in love with the surrounding areas and its strategic location.

When HUKM was first set up, only the 3rd - 5th year students are stationed there while the preclinical years, year 1 and 2 remained in the KL campus. For many years, there have been plans for us to move to HUKM campus in Cheras. But being in the comfort of the KL campus, and not really looking forward to  move, I have always thought that it won't be realized in the near future. But eventually the new preclinical building in HUKM was completed and we received directive from the faculty management that it was time to move. So, we moved. 

Packing was tedious.Imagine, things accumulated from my student days. Have been in this campus longer than I have been married.

And throughout the years, I have accumulated as much garbage as important documents.

We were supplied with 10 boxes each and I managed to fill all boxes.

And of course, loads of other things to be thrown away.

After everything packed and fragile items wrapped... 

..and all have been transported, this is what left of my room..  

Really going to miss this place. And these are 10 top reasons why:

1. Chow Kit market. Easy to do grocery shopping. Even though I rarely go there because the market smell will stick to your clothes but it is comforting to know that the place is just walking distance away.  (Note: the market has now been relocated to a cleaner site nearby. I have yet to explore  but now that I have moved to Cheras, the exploring is not likely to happen.)

2. For a more cleaner, air-conditioned grocery shopping and others, there is UO supermarket. Also walking distance.

3. Food stalls!! From nasi campur, hot food, kuih-muih, fruits, etc. Semua ada... Yang paling femes mesti la Hassan Shah, betul-betul opposite the campus. And also kedai makan MZ. Kalau time lunch, memang penuh. Walking distance je...

4. Shopping!! Nak pergi mana-mana pun senang. KLCC, Sogo, Ampang Park, Jalan TAR... And of course, last time there was the Mall which is currently under renovation. The Chow Kit itself is a shopping avenue too. Tudung and jubah and baju kurung pun banyak variety. Again walking distance.

5. The Chow Kit area has sidewalk businessmen who cater to my needs such as cobbler, locksmith and clothes alteration/repair shop. And what makes it even more awesome, walking distance.

6. My old office in the KL campus is situated on the 4th floor. Tolerable by stairs. My new office in HUKM is on the 17th floor. Have never tried the stairs and climb that high. Well, excuses la kan... Boleh je naik tangga 4-5 tingkat, then baru naik lif...:P

7. My old office room was spacious and it has a sink. Senang nak ambik wudhu and basuh muka after a short nap...;). The new office room is smaller and lack a sink... (But that doesn't mean I cannot take a nap...;))

8. I can see the Twin Tower and KL Tower from the window of my old office. So the view is postcard material. The new office has a view too. But of the clinical block and academic block of HUKM. Well, nice view too but not considered KL attractions.;)

9. So many places within walking distance, so I think I can reach my 10000 steps a day easily. (Errr... well... itu pun kalau keluar pergi Chow Kit setiap  hari la... Which did not happen...:P) 

10. And finally, the KL campus is close to Citibank, my hubby's office. Senang kalau nak lunch-date...:D Now, dah jauh la pulak...

Anyhow, this move is inevitable. I have finally unpacked and started to settle down in the new office.
I am sure this move brings more good than bad in terms of faculty management and students interaction. May Allah bless our hijrah that we made in the holy month of Ramadhan.:)
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What matters most
Recently, I gave a lecture to a group of students. After the lecture, I had this conversation with one of the students:

Student: Lepas ni Dr ada ajar lagi tak.
Me: Tak. Saya ada satu lecture je. Maybe ada tutorial nanti.
Student: Kalau boleh nak Dr ajar lagi. Sebab Dr ajar, paham.
Me: Alhamdulillah.
My heart jumped of joy. Feels like I have struck gold.
Because no matter how much we earn, no matter what our title is, at the end of the day, what matters most is whether you have delivered your job or task well. And receiving feedback like that really made my day. And it means so much to me  than all of the treasure in the world. I pray that in future, I will be able to do more in this line of work. 
Smoking hot Wangsa Grill
Thought of writing about my Hong Kong trip, but my recent gastronomic experience was just too good to delay. So Hong Kong has to wait.

My family and I have passed by Wangsa Grill by Chef Zubir several times. I have also heard excellent reviews from others. So, we went there the other night, to celebrate the 10th birthday of my 3rd daughter, Syahidah.
Nice place and nice deco.

We were given this maruku chips as appetiser. I have had this maruku before and maruku ni memang sedap.

My husband had beef steak roulade. I had a taste. Love the creamy puree.

My daughters ordered:
Fish and chips.

Chicken schnitzel burger.

Beef burger.

And chicken chop.

Yummy!! Love the presentation too.
In addition, the kids also enjoyed their chocolate and vanilla milkshake.
I ate bits and pieces from the kids dishes. Memang sedap.
Berbaloi la dengan harga.

We spotted Chef Zubir who was busy in the kitchen putting his personal touch to the dishes. Hubbby asked a waiter whether it is possible to take a picture with the chef. The waiter communicated to Chef Zubir. And Chef Zubir sportingly went out to meet us after he finished his chores. He commented on our 5 daughters and said, 'Saya semua hero..' Nice guy.

I whatsapped the picture above to my close friends. One of them made a remark, 'Femes ke chef tu?' Ha ha... Ada jugak yang tak tengok Masterchef Malaysia rupanya... (nama close friend tu terpaksa dirahsiakan...:P)
London bridge is (not) falling down
Second chapter of my very short UK trip... Two nights in Sheffield and one night in London. In London, my colleagues and I stayed at Holiday Villa in Bayswater area. A small hotel with Malaysian hospitality.

The room that I got was very small and has a funny layout. There are a few steps going down from the door to the bed area.

And everything are squeezed in the small space.

Well, I am not complaining, but just amused. We were on a budget trip anyway. Plus, it was only for one  night and it was more than enough for one person actually.

That night, we headed to a Chinese Halal restaurant called Noodle Oodle for dinner.

We ordered the set menu which consist of this appetiser

that came with this garlicky but delicious soy sauce.

This noodle dish. Could not remember the name.

And dessert.
I could barely finish the dessert. I was so full. After that we took a stroll along the road where there are numerous souvenir shops. I shed some of my pounds there.

The next morning, we had our breakfast in the hotel. We were given a choice between nasi lemak or roti canai as the main dish. Of course, I chose nasi lemak. Starting to miss the rice... ha ha... Exaggerating.. Baru berapa hari tak jumpa nasi..

And we helped ourselves to the buffet spread.

Then we checked out and left our luggage at the front desk and went out to catch the Hop-on Hop-off bus. It was very cold despite all the clothing that I wore. After waiting for some freezing minutes at the bus stop, we finally board the bus. We opted for the upper deck (for better view) and managed to secure seats which are sheltered under the roof. Or else, the cold would be intolerable. We were provided with earphones that we can plug into the seat. And as we travel, we can listen to the recorded commentary on the sights and buildings seen along the road.
There are several companies operating the hop-on hop-off bus tours. We took the Big Bus Tours.
Each tour bus would have their own routes. And along the routes, there are several stops and attractions that you can get off and have tour on your own. We don't have much time since we need to leave for airport latest by 5 pm. So we skipped many stops and just passed by most of them.

We intended to reach Buckingham Palace in time to observe the change of guards. But we did not manage to do that. Reason to visit London again in future...? InshaAllah.
We managed to take the boat cruise though.

It was very cold on the bus. And as we walked to the jetty, I thought I would freeze. Luckily, the pics we took had no sound. If not, can hear my teeth chattering. The view is nice though. Blue sky, yes...but freezing..

It was a relief to be in the boat and get away from the cold. I bought hot tea, and it was heaven after the freezing weather.

It was a short boat trip and we got off at one of the piers, close to Big Ben. And of course, a pic is a must.
And the Eye of London.

It was quite impossible to find a spot or moment that you can snap a photo without any pedestrians at the background or other people with the same intention as you, so belasah je la... Busy betul background dgn orang ramai...

Then we hopped on to the bus again, and thought of heading to Oxford Street, a must stop for shopping. Unfortunately, traffic in London was quite bad and getting from one stop to another stop, took ages. I took a lot of scenery pics. And even though the recorded voice mention every building, statue and scenery that we passed by, I have forgotten most of them.
Here are some of the pics.
We passed by the Malaysian Embassy. Can see the flag outside.
We also passed by this eating place named Jom Makan. Malaysian owned I assumed.
This blue cock statue at the Trafalgar Square is very prominent against the grey, bleak weather of London.

View from the bus as we travelled along a bridge.

Anyhow, not able to reach Oxford Street, we stopped by Harrods. And I bought nothing. Ha ha.... Others would have shopped like crazy kann... One evidence that I am not a shopaholic..? :P

After Harrods, we took a taxi back to the hotel. And managed to rest a while at the lobby before our taxi to airport arrived.
And that ended my London trip. I am happy to report that, London bridge is (not) falling down while we were there... :D
Next: a tale of Hong Kong (maybe)