LOTR moment at Tongariro National Park

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A seagull checking on me while I was staring at the view of the Wellington Habour

I am in Wellington at this time being. Accompanying my daughter for her first-year University registration here in the city. Spent 2 weeks here with her, exploring the city and its surroundings while at the same time trying to make her comfortable with this new place where she would call her second home for the next 3 years.

Well, I got bored with CITY easily, flipped through the Free guide to NZ Arrival magazine that I took from the airport … the turquoise color of a lake in South Crater valley of Tongariro National Park caught my attention. But … naaaah! 8-hours walk of a total 19.4km would kill me instantly … so I think.

Then … I got really bored and kept thinking of that National Park. The view of the mountains … Mt. Tongariro 1967m, Mt. Ngauruhoe  2291m (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings filming locations) and Mt. Ruapehu 2797m … make me more curious as I can’t hold it anymore and I purchased my Intercity bus ticket from Wellington to National Park station for the next day trip and booked my 2 nights stay at YHA hostel, National Park. I said to myself … fine, I just have a look at that place and walk around the easiest walk while enjoying my favorite air … the mountain air, hmmm nice … it feels like home.

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View in front of the hostel where I was staying. Well, look at that … thick clouds covering Mt Ruapehu. Not a clear weather to do the crossing

I don’t mind travel alone as I don’t have the urge to talk or even binge talk to anyone because most of the time my mind is always fully occupied with my own thoughts and imagination. I tend to forget about my surroundings too. My first time in NZ … ohh I love New Zealanders as they treated me more as a co-human than as a strange Muslim lady with a head covered wandering loose alone.

New Zealanders are super cool and very helpful too.

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The view of Mt Ruapehu without the thick clouds

The weather was not very good on the day that I arrived at the National Park. Raining with thick fogs surrounding the valleys. While contemplating either I want to do the crossing or just hang around and breath-in the natural ‘mountainous’ air, a group of people popped into the hostel front desk returning their gears. They just did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the rain and the thick fogs … and with their red and cheerful face even when they were soaking wet. Damn it … I said to myself.

And this guy from Thailand with a wide happy eye just bluntly tell me … hey! have you done the crossing? If you haven’t, you better just do it … even if the weather is like this … it would be worth every single second.

And guess what … I paid the 40 NZ dollars for the National Park return transportation and rented a waterproof boot, a walking pole and a raincoat. I fixed my mind … I am all in. I need to see what the havoc is all about. Well … well … well … bare in mind that I hate trekking, I am not well trained and I am not even sure which box to tick in as Lucy … the front desk lady passed me a form to fill in … which level of mountain trekker am I? should I tick the beginner box? As I am not even a beginner lol coz I am the type of person if given a choice where to park my car at the shopping mall … I would always choose the one very very very near to the entrance door.

Well … done with that. Lucy asked me … what makes me want to do this? And I said … hmmm, I just wanna get over this. This curiosity bugs me … and she laughed.

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The park signboard … I had a goofy feeling while looking at this

Omg … It was a beautiful sight as I first stepped in the Mangatepopo car park but as I looked at the signboard (above) I got scared again. Urghh I am gonna die … I told myself lol.

Overall, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is worth every second of the 8 hours walk despite the thick fog and the occasional rain. I managed to click a few photos with my iPhone while struggling to keep up with the trails.

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The beginning

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Moving forward with the running water sound coming from the stream along the way

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The moody and wet surrounding has that calming effect on me

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And the horror parts came … the trail starts ascending

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And this view as I looked down at my trails

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This is the point where we start descending and trolling along the longest 11.3km in my whole entire life. Honestly … I never walk this far in my entire life

As I continue for another 11.3 km trails to Ketetahi Carpak the weather started getting irritated. The fogs thicken, the temperature started to drop further down (9-12 degree) as the raindrops started to clouds my glasses … omg, I was standing on a narrow trail between 2 very steep craters while my feet were shaken due to lack of sugar aka energy and my glasses was clouded. The sulfur smell filled the air.

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This is the turquoise colored lake that I saw in the magazine, the one that makes me want to visit this place

I was tired … near to the ‘I want to give up’ mode. But this place even in its worst weather is uniquely beautiful and I couldn’t help wondering to myself … how would this place look like if the weather is beautiful?

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Passing a flat crater before trekking up again in thick fog

It was all foggy and raining the whole journey down towards the carpark and I didn’t take many photos as I was super-super exhausted. This trail is not for beginners but maybe for intermediate trekkers. You need to be well prepared if you decided to do the crossing. It was so hard for me and I still have sore muscles all over my body now (after 3 days).

I nearly cried at the very last 6.3km … as my feet could not take it anymore. Other trekkers passed by me one after another leaving me alone struggling with my incapabilities. Oh I hate that feeling of being left behind … but I kept my chin up and walk slowing imagining myself doing brisk walk at my most favorite park.

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Struggling even to lift up my iPhone, ohh I am not fit … something that I need to work on

Would I do this again? Yes … I definitely would do this again maybe in December when summer is here. I want to capture the beautiful landscape of this place in its most beautiful setting but I am gonna make sure that my body is fit enough to do this … so that I could see more and enjoy more of this place.

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I saw colorful plants along the crossing trail … very interesting

 

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The trail from my STRAVA 

 

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My shaky feet with that rented waterproof boot after the 8 hours journey. Yaaay! I walked 19.4km for 8 hours … victory!

I took the next day bus to Wellington with a victory and blessed feeling. Alhamdullilah, thank you oh Allah for giving me the opportunity and the will to do this. I love it …

I plan to explore more of NZ during this 3 years, taking it slowly and meaningfully. Learning to improve me … while inspiring my children and people around me to do more in life than just merely living. Anybody can do this … just do it, no excuses.

Bye for now

 

 

Cheers,

MM

New Zealand: Tongariro National Park February 27th to March 1st, 2018

 

 


Another year

 

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Bonding time with Rocky from Dhaka

 

2018.01.18: Time for revisiting my 2017 resolutions and evaluate my yearly self-achievement. What have I done in 2017? Have I achieved all 3 of my 2017 Resolutions? My 2017 resolution is here in this previous post.

  • Kiasu ‘win’ attitudeyes! I signed up and participated in some competitions but no sign of winning yet, but at least I am out of my comfort zone.
  • Travel backpackyes! to Mongolia 
  • More create timeyes! thanks to NST 

I think I need new resolutions for 2018, realistic resolutions just like last year, to keep me moving forward. Ok … my 3 resolutions for 2018 are:

 

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Light and shadow

 

I want to have a constant income from this hobby of mine, to be able to support my hyperactive wandering activity. So that one sweet day … I could be a full-time nomad, living just anywhere but I still earn a decent income from working while wandering. So, what should I do this year? Hmmm, puzzle …

This year I aged another year … women at my age, another year of aging is horrifying lol. But everything aged, even my old cat Chicken would turn 13 this March. I want to age gracefully … I want a healthy lifestyle in 2018. Cutting down on sugar and meat. Eating only healthy home food … maybe I should stop eating at that mamak restaurant. Hmmm, puzzle again.

More meaningful wandering aka traveling. I don’t want to follow the crowds … I want to follow ME. I want to wander and explore because the selfish me want to, not because everybody is going to Iceland then suddenly I have to go to Iceland, no way … I would go to Iceland because I want to go to Iceland lol … okay, puzzle again and again. Mental …

 

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A yak and a great sky in Lhasa, Tibet

 

I’ll write about my visit to Gandruk, Nepal last-last year on my next post lol … I need to see mountains and smell the cleanly filtered foresty air badly before I turn insane.

Ok lah … lemme get my beauty sleep in that rabbit hole of mine. Bye for now …

Yezza cheers!

MM

 

 

 


Street thrill in Dhaka

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A woman we met at a village outskirts of Dhaka

It was all about capturing moments of human interest when I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. My first time and like always, I have a zero expectation of this place … I was like ok Dhaka surprise me, please.

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Friends shading from the early morning rain on the street of Dhaka

It rained cats and dogs during the first 3 days of my 6 days stay. But being a hardcore wanderer … the rain couldn’t subside my curiosity. I was out wandering along the markets and back lanes of Dhaka … in the rain.

My first impression was that the street smells pleasant.

Surprisingly Dhaka is way cleaner than India, 10 times cleaner than India … I shall think so. At least the street is not treated as the public toilet by the 18.2 million city residents. People everywhere seemed busy and fully occupied here.

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A peak from the train window in Dhaka

My second impression is … the food is good.

It tastes about the same as in India, Pakistan and Nepal.  And my taste buds think that the biryani here is very delicious and I had mutton biryani for almost every day here too. Sharing a clip video ↓ of my obsession with mutton biryani … obsession lol?

We traveled in a big group this time around … 15 of us scattered around the street yet we saw completely different views. How awesome was that? When I saw my friends posted their version of ‘the street of Dhaka’, almost always I would pound my head and asked myself about why oh why I did not see it from their angles.

It is proven then … every each of us is unique in our own way.

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Hard life for an honest living in Dhaka

As I strolled along the streets, villages and some back alleys I saw hard work and hard life here … yet the people of Dhaka is rich in hospitality. Walking and talking with strangers has never felt a burden here … some even invited us to their homes for a cup of cha or tea.

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A boatman trying to make an honest living in Dhaka

To be honest, there are hundreds and probably thousands of Bangladeshi working here in my home country Malaysia. I see them everywhere and every day too. When I posted my whereabouts to a group of friends … they jokingly teased me on why the need to be in Dhaka when I can just hang out at Pasar Borong Selayang (a wholesale market in the heart of KL) or the famous Chowkit road and just be surrounded by them?

It is normal to have that tendency to treat foreign workers at your country home differently ( I guess I am guilty too)  but being in Dhaka … experiencing just a few days living in their home country does change my perspective.

I see them in a different way now … a more human way of looking at fellow humans trying their best to survive in the high-density human populated area on our one and only earth.

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Boats at Buriganga River in the middle of Dhaka

Would I recommend Dhaka for your next trip? Should I repeat for another round of trip exploring Dhaka?

………. absolutely, yes!

Thanks for dropping by here at my space… on the last day of 2017. Resolution time … resolution … resolution. Bye …

Cheers

MM

 

ps: my January article in NST bots on ‘People at Work’ with Dhaka as the background story. NST 01:18

 

 

 

 


Grasp of Technique

Being an organized freak, I always wanted to organize my thought during each photo moment that I had. What is the best angle, compo, light, subject positioning, mood etc? I would go back and forth figuring out on how to do it right and fast.

I want to simplify that process and reduce my mistake during each photo moment.

It goes back to the right technical knowledge, mastering the tools in your hand and having the technical understanding of visual compositions. As my mentor told me … before you decide on bending the rules, master the rules first.

So, I started with something simple as the classic six design elements. Understand the elements of color, line, shape, texture, space, and form are an advantage.

In the NST Bots Click! column for this year, I had covered 5 of the elements (line, shape, texture, space, form) and my friend Razz Rossfaisal of Travelberdua.com covered the element of color.

Sharing it here for my easy reference.

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1. The classic 6-design elements: COLOR

April2017
2. The classic 6-design elements: LINE
The classic 6-design elements: Shape

3. The classic 6-design elements: SHAPE

3 July2017

4. The classic 6-design elements: TEXTURE

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5. The classic 6-design elements: SPACE

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6. The classic 6-design elements: Form

Knowledge sharing works in both ways, the giver and the giving gained. As we are moving closer towards the end of 2017, I feel sad. Have I learned enough during this year? Have I worked hard enough?

Life has its own karma … if I didn’t work hard enough and if I didn’t learn well enough … life would come back and hunt me again with regrettable errors and mistakes.

Thanks for dropping by. Gotta run …

Bye

MM

 

ps- still trying to figure out on what topic to cover in 2018 … hmmm hmmm hmmm

 

 

 

 

 

 


Quiet Sense

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People are often so busy living that never stop to wonder why ~ Terry Pratcett

Rushing life throughout my given 24 hours a day doing chores (yes … I call it chores) felt heavy on my soul. My mind is always occupied with the idea of being busy but at the end of my 24 hours, I realized that there is not much accomplishment that I could be proud of.

I want to have a full control of my busyness. So that I have more excess time to do things that I love … things that I want to do, not others expect me to do. Time flies. Juggling my responsibility and my dream, I felt that 2017 has been a heavy year for me.

And, I am wishing for a flamboyant 2018 … so, I started by setting up my new year resolution and planning earlier than usual. Spelling out clearly on priorities that I want to accomplish in 1- 2 years time.

Filling up details of my 2018 planning in my Evernote app with rational resolution In Sha Allah. More traveling, exploring, writing, reading, creating, crafting, daydreaming … more me time. Am off to bed now … will write more in a few days.

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“The quiet sense of something lost”

Cheers

MM

ps- letting go of his hand … you weren’t even mine in the first place


Yes … the street of India

IND_9528Re-visiting my India’s photos for my latest NST assignment to celebrate Deepavali or Dewali. All these photos bring back memories of me surviving India and I think its time to repeat India again.

I am yearning to experience another round of emotional burst … in India maybe in 2018.

Sharing a few more photos of the bustling street of Old Delhi, New Delhi.

And my article on India for the NST readers is turning out well too, alhamdullilah. I am sharing it here for my own future reference.

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Bye for now.

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps- buzzing head … need to stay focus!


Still I Rise

Am learning to be at peace with myself

It’s either that I don’t get enough sleep or cause of this mild flu that I had since a few days ago, my head felt like it’ll burst, a headache … better than a heartache, I hope so. Pretty busy these few days … writing and trying out something new.

I am aiming for something different in my life so that I can be free doing the thing that I like the most … which is daydreaming :-).  Hope it’ll work out well …

My girlfriend sent me a poem of Maya Angelou … just the right motivational boast during my downtime. Keeping it here … cause I like it so much, hell yeah! I rise … jom layan …

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise. 
.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
.
.
.
Off I go … exploring life. Bye for now …
Cheers,
MM