Tag Archives: lifestyle

That’ll be fun

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keep your head up boys and survive the best way you could

For months I tried to find the excuse to re-visit my childhood hometown. Being born and raised during my teenage life in Tawau, Sabah, this place has a soft spot in my heart. I miss the food … I miss my old childhood friends and I miss talking in the Sabahan dialect too.

This time around, my excuse is … I am re-visiting islands around Semporna for the second time. Had a good deal return ticket from KL to Tawau and spent a few days hanging out in Tawau with my childhood friends while enjoying the weekends at the islands surrounding Semporna, hunting the light with some new friends.

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the sea gypsies of islands surrounding Semporna, Sabah

I miss the salty air and the beautiful endless open sky. As we were speeding off to Selakan Island from Semporna jetty, I can’t help reminiscing the old sweet years when I used to spend my weekend doing island hopping with my compact camera. Carefree years … when my camera was just so light and the years where I carried my flippers more than my camera.

I am feeling old … only old people reminiscing their old sweet memories.

My second visit to this beautiful place. The first time in 2015 when I was still fresh in this photography world, at that time everything looked new and exciting to me. Guess what … the second trip is as excited as before, I am born to do this … to wander around my surrounding and just fall deeper into my own world while doing … the THINKING, lol (so much to think about).

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gypsy girls swinging carefreely

Timbun Mata, Bodgaya, Maiga, Selakan, Gusungan, Ormadal and a lot more surrounding islands that we can explore. The setting of each island looks damn good during sunset and sunrise. And, I noticed something different this time around with my new travel mates … they play with the drones more than their cameras.

A new way of enjoying our beautiful surrounding which is aerial photography. Now everybody can fly … me? I think I would just stick to my paramotor addiction. Flying with a group of motivated adventurous paramotor pilots and enjoying the raw aerial view with my own eyes, self-satisfaction. I get to feel the fear of the unknown circumstances while flying … while the drone players fear that they would lose their drone signal and later would lose the drone.

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a girl drying fish at the beach in Maiga Island

What makes a place interesting?

For me … it’s the people that reside in the place that makes the place compelling. In here the sea gypsies people are well blended with their nature. Life is simple.

But for a thinker … you’ll get worried just by looking at the children paddling here and there aimlessly. I always believe that every child needs to go to school, at least to learn reading, writing, calculating and reading the Quran.

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Zainab and her lunch for today

By giving that basic skill to our children we fulfilled at least the very minimal responsibility as a parent to them. Giving them the skills will help them make a better choice in life. It is up to the parents though. I saw a few schools here in some islands. Maybe they just choose not to send their children to school.

Ahh well … enough worrying, at least they are happy with their choice of life. As I said earlier … it’s a simple life, no ruffles.

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sunrise in Maiga island

I always want to say this at the end of my writing … that I want to visit the same place again and again. 3 days 2 night is not enough … it was cloudy during the 3 days that we were there and on the second day, we were chased by the storm during sunset at Bodgaya Island. I think a week would be good.

The cloudy stormy sky is the best time to capture time-lapse as the clouds would move rapidly. Sharing my time-lapse video here for y’alls. Amazing moment captured using my small gopro6.

And last but not least, belanja a picture of me under the stormy cloud for my fan out there (perasan … lol am being cynical here) and for those people who are not so my fan, please underestimate me, that’ll be fun. Annyeong …

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Underestimate me please, that’ll be fun

 

Cheers

MM

ps: if life gave you lemon, make lemonade.


Reciprocal kindness

I hate the word ‘busy’.

Oh … I have been busy, much busier than you (competing which each other on who is busier).

For me, the word ‘busy’ is like an excuse … oh, I could not spend my precious time with you, as my dear you are not worth my time, I would rather spend it with someone else which is more important than you. That is why you are so busy.

Hmmm … me being grumpy at my introductory paragraph. Excuse me … lol.

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A carrier horse in the middle of Peshawar market

Me? I have been busy too and like always I admit that I have been crazy busy catching up with I dunno, maybe work, life or just recuperating from my back-to-back trips. And … despite being busy,  I make times for my loved ones. The 3-ones that I always cherish, my pets too and my mom.

But …always a satisfying feeling despite how tired I am right now … ‘do what you love, love what you do’. I guess that I love myself the most when I am wandering around the stranger’s land more than when I am at home worrying about my unpredictable future.

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Kalash kids in front of their home

I was in Pakistan for the second time last July with my travel mates.

We wanted to visit the Kalash people of Pakistan. Took a domestic flight from Islamabad to Chitral and a jeep ride to the remote area of Kalash Valley, Northern Pakistan. Reside between the mountain of Hindu Kush, this place is geographically harsh but for a person who loves nature, ahhh this place is beautiful.

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I am not sure what is going on with these 2 children from the Kalash valley

In a country dominated by Muslims, this mountain people of Kalash is still holding on to their ancestor’s belief. Estimated around only 3000 Kalash people who are still practising the culture and their ancient pagan religion. Some of the Kalash people converted to Muslim, abandoning their traditions and adopting the Muslim lifestyle but still staying together around the valley.

The Kalash girls and women dressed up in a thick embroidered black robes with matching head gears and heavy bead necklaces every day. While the man adopted the same Kurta shirt as the rest of the Pakistani man. They have a colourful lifestyle and I think it is interesting to explore more about their culture.

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My article in NST on how to photograph other culture

Summer has just started when I touched down in Islamabad.

It was interesting as I always choose to travel to certain places either during the end of winter, spring or autumn and never in summer, as I prefer staying home in my hot and humid 24×7 country more than experiencing the heat of summer of another country.

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Morning chai at a street in Peshawar

In Chitral and Kalash Valley, the summer heat is the same as at home but the air is drier and windy, which made it bearable. But in Peshawar during Summer is … wow! challenging, due to the greenhouse effect temperature during the daytime is very warm (38’C feels like 42’C).  Walking along the small alleys in between markets with the heat is not something that I look forward too but well … I survived Peshawar.

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Busy street of Peshawar’s old city market

I always wanted to visit Peshawar.

My late university professor was from Peshawar (he passed away from dengue a few years ago). He told me that tomatoes in Peshawar are as big as mangoes. It makes me curious. Where got such thing as tomatoes as big as mangoes. I told him that one day I would love to visit his hometown, Peshawar and check out the tomatoes. And he said, ‘Please don’t go to Peshawar, that place is a dangerous place to walk around’.

My curious mind will never listen to NO. Oh … and I checked out the tomatoes, the size is still the same size as our tomatoes back home in Malaysia.

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Busy street of Peshawar old city market

Walking on the street of Peshawar as a woman with a camera is not easy as you need to adhere to the local custom. Proper dressing is required. I wore my favourite black abaya and yes, it helps with the heat. But my gender becomes a hindrance for me to walk alone on the street and yes, I need a male companion to be able me to walk around the market. Thank God my local companion is very helpful and friendly, so my wandering process went smoothly.

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Morning crowd around my hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan

When I am at home now, recuperating, I asked myself … what do I remember the most about Peshawar?

Uhhhh … the food.

I tasted the best lamb stew ever (better than in Xinjiang). The food tastes different from Islamabad, Chitral or Skardu. I was told that food in Peshawar is delicious due to the influence of Afghanistan, as Peshawar is just 57km away from the Afganistan border. And now I wonder … about the food in Kabul. Is it good? Hmmm curious mind.

I overstuffed myself with lamb and chicken every day, 3 times per day in 11 days. Never in my life that I’ve been eaten overload of animals in a day … Masya Allah. A happy Masya Allah actually as I lurvvveee lamb. I need extra energy for the walking (aka wandering) and extra strength for me to carry my heavy camera bag, lol.

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My breakfast … roti

What an experience.

I could see myself exploring Pakistan again and again. Maybe I should start strengthening my knee and my legs so that I could hike up on those beautiful mountains surrounding Skardu and enjoy the smell of the glaciers. I should start tomorrow … lol  In Sha Allah.

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A little lady from the Kalash valley

Time for bed. Catch you again on my next post. Bye for now …

Cheers

MM


Strike of luck

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A moment when I passed through this fishing boat

What does photography teach me?

As I add more months and years to my photography experience, I learned about the role of “stroke of luck” in my artwork. Unplanned moments or shall I say accidentally moments that just hit the “jackpot” or a rewarding moment that made my day as a photographer.

It was 100% totally luck. I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.

Just that.

I always see it as a gift … a gift from the invisible hand, the Planner. Each time I came across such moment I feel grateful and contended.

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A moment when I passed over a pond filled with wild buffaloes

So each time when I am sad and feeling unlucky … I would scroll down and browse through my lucky moments. Telling myself … for each moment that I am at lost, I would experience more lucky moments as a reward for my perseverance and my patience.

I take photography personally. Most of the time I captured my own moment … moments that related to me. A way for me to learn and understand about life. To calm my soul when things don’t work accordingly, as the Planner always has a better plan for me. I just need to trust Him.

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A sunset moment when the golden light decided to be generous

“Art depends on luck and talent”

Whenever you came across that lucky moment, you need the talent to be able to recognize such moment and you need the technical skill to decide on what and how to properly frame it. How do you do it?

Practice makes perfect.

Sleep deprived. Need to doze off. Bye …

Cheers

MM

ps: TEDx Talks about  Mastering Change by Michael Yamashita.

 


Eid Fitr Mubarak 1439H/ 2018M

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Now I understand the reason why writing will always make me feels good. I always wonder why does it feel good to pour your thought out for others to discover?

It is an opportunity to be heard and it feels good to be heard.

And the soul-nourishing month of Ramadhan has ended while the joyful Syawal has begun. It’s interesting to observe how people around you interpreted their belief system. Am not talking about the belief system between different religions but I am more concern about the different interpretation of the same belief system.

Islam is just one belief, one teaching and one God … don’t add yourself as another interpretation of other arrogant God.

If you believe that a religion is beautiful then your interpretation of that religion should be that beautiful too. If the teaching of a beautiful religion is to worship the Al-Mighty while at the same time to look for the best in human (as we humans are created as an equal Khalifah on this earth), to bring out the best in human-being and to unite people of various races in the world … stick with that teaching and please interpret this beautiful religion rightfully.

I felt frustrated with the arrogant believer that think that they are better off in front of Allah just because they have better religion knowledge (they believe so) than the rest. If you think that you have more knowledge than others please SHARE in a well-manner more civilize way. Not through a barbaric way as we are now living in an informative and intelligent era. Everybody has their own limitations and challenges … the sincerity of the heart matter the most; the HEART MATTER …

Sorry for the long ranting … I got distracted by the MAN who thinks that part of his leg is already firmly planted on Allah’s Heaven. Well … the more I see the more I want to ask why? And, a woman who always asks WHY is a nuisance for such MAN MADE FOR HEAVEN (so he think so).

Sharing my thought and my latest article in NST about how to capture the spirit of Hari Raya (eid) from a photographer’s point of view aka my point of view.

Eid Mubarak to all my readers.

Cheers,

MM

ps- The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer is friendly and befriended, for there is no goodness in one who is neither friendly nor befriended. The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 5937


new tool for my art

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Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque, Kuala Ibai, KT/ XT2 16-55mm f/2.8

Bought XT2 Fujifilm camera before my trip to NZ last few months and I paired it with a 16-55mm f/2.8 Fuji lens. My shoulder is not that strong anymore and I don’t consider carrying 2 DSLRs while traveling is traveling ‘light’.

I hope that I made the right choice as migrating into a new camera system is expensive … at least for a freelancer like me.

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Horses at Kuala Ibai, Kuala Terengganu/ XT2

Last month Fujifilm Malaysia organized a trip to Kuala Terengganu and I tagged along with the other 100 over Fujifilm camera users, gathered together to capture the essence of Kuala Terengganu. A very interesting trip and it was an opportunity for me to learn more about this new tool in my hand. So, I took a few photos of the event and share it here.

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Batu Rakit beach, Kuala Terengganu/ XT2

Bought my D810 way back in 2014 and it was at her own ‘class’ during her time. And technology has changed a lot since then. Cameras are getting lighter, user-friendlier and super fast nowadays … I feel old and left behind with my old D810/ D800E. But quality wise, my images in my old camera is still superior compared to XT2 though 😆 … sour grape!

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Young warriors/ XT2

After using this XT2 for over 3 months now, I kinda like this small camera. Small yet a very powerful tool. The XT2 camera ergonomic feels just right in my small hand. The lens is superb too and the price is still within my budget (to be honest , I don’t prefer spending my money on gadgets … I prefer spending it on my traveling instead)

This investment would last me for a few years, so I keep telling myself each time I decided to add more Fuji compliance gadget to my collection. And, with all the technology advantage embedded into this new camera … it’ll help me focus on the only one important thing which is my CREATIVITY.

I compiled more photos during this Fujifilm X trip in my Matsuda’s Zenfolio. Please check it out here but it is still not complete yet as I take time looking at my photos and decide what should I do with it … yes! not a pro yet in organizing 😂😂

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Pak Ali kite maker of Terengganu/ XT2

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My new tool XT2 Fujifilm with 16-55mm f/2.8

Gotta run … bye.

Cheers,

MM

ps: … saving my money to get myself the new Nikon D850.


Blessed Malaysia

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Blessed again. After 15 years with doomed leaders. The last 5 years was the worst, watching the news and listening to the political dramas for almost every day was heart-wrenching … cringing without being able to do or say anything, helpless.

The air suddenly feels pure again. The morning light today looks beautiful than usual. Alhamdullilah.

Our beloved father of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir is back again in the office. Looking physically old and fragile (at 93 years old) but the smart mind and the sharp tongue is still there … as intelligent as ever.

May Allah bless you and grant you with years of life in good health and always under his protection 24×7. May Allah bless Malaysian too … witnessing fellow Malaysian from every age group casting their votes, waiting patiently for 48 hours to see the outcome of our struggles and our prayers … a proud moment to be Malaysian. We were united as 1 Malaysia regardless of race, religion and belief system. Bliss …

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voting is a responsibility

Time for us to rebuild our tarnished nation. I don’t mind working hard for a country that gives me the freedom to be the best of US … not milking or enslaving us RAKYAT for the sake of a greedy self-interest leader. Enough ranting … time for work!

Welcome back Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad … I love you ☺️

Cheers

MM


Circling KLCC

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KLCC from my angle, 1000 feet up above the air

I guess my theory is right, that u can just be anything and be anywhere that you want to be with a camera in your hand. I had another unforgettable moment just recently, circling Kuala Lumpur city centre particularly KLCC and KL Tower on a flying machine, the lightest and the slowest aircraft ever … a paramotor.

It was totally unplanned. We saw an opportunity and we decided to grab it. Our second time flying tandem together in a crowded city centre while our first experience was quite scary. We were new and inexperienced during the time that we took up the job to circle around Petaling Jaya area, a crowded highly populated city centre in the heart of Petaling Jaya.

But we always wanted to fly circling around KLCC, once was the tallest tower in the world. Had a goosebump when we started our flight that morning.

Flying in a congested city area is not easy. Wind in between tall buildings is unpredictably strong due to the funnel effect and obviously dangerous for a light flight aka paramotor like us.

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View of the city from the Royal Selangor Golf Club

The weather was good with a zero wind condition at our takeoff site, it added a great confidence to both of us. We made our usual safety test while on air before heading to KLCC and KL Tower, we circled a few times around the Royal Selangor Golf Club and as we gained our confidence … we then proceed to the city centre airspace.

 

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i love this …

 

Uhhh … after years of taking photos at high altitudes while flying, I still had that ‘gayat’ or vertigo feeling especially if we were flying close to buildings, a bit scary though but the view is always worth it. Both my flying buddy and I love flying so much that little hurdles or challenges while on air so far couldn’t kill our spirits.

I set my camera at ISO 800 and put it in S mode and start framing my visual composition. Instead of my usual D810, I opted for a mirrorless camera with an equivalent of 24-70mm lens. For safety reason, I am looking forward to changing my photography gears to another lighter option.

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The other side of KLCC

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Wefie on air while cruising at 1000 feet up on the horizon

This experience honestly inspired me to dream further.

I want more experience like this. Am adding a few more things to my “to do list before I go senile”… a dream of flying across the pyramids in Egypt, flying across the beautiful landscape of Yemen and exploring the airspace of the City of Dubai. In Sha Allah, if Allah permits.

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I like!

I hope that I would never get bored of this.

Maybe my life is not as perfect as the rest of makcik and pakcik bawang out there at the kitchen corner safely curling in their comfortable nest. How I choose to live my life might look a bit weird compared to the rest of the so-called ‘perfect’ people … but so far I feel more alive, contented and blessed with whatever presented by the Al-Mighty to me. I don’t give a damn … It’s my life, I’ll have it my way.

Good night!

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

 

 

 


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

Secret Hideout in KT

IMG_2322I found a new secret hideout in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia.

A simple, quiet and rusty place for an introvert soul, like mine … or let me rephrase it again, an OLD and worn out soul like mine. Lol … Selfish me, everything has to be like mine … mine all mine, no sharing and I do not want to share my soulmate either (if I ever have any) … gth! mental … oh yes!
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Pak Awi’s Yellow House located at Pulau Duyung, Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu has a few small islands in-between the mainland and Pulau Duyung (Duyung Island) is the largest island. I flew over the islands during a paramotor event last 2 years. Never occurred to me that there are interesting stories to explore down there on the islands.

 

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Well … Pak Awi didn’t pay me anything to promote his place so don’t get me wrong. I just love the place.

I found a new hidden place that I could stay for a few days or even weeks without creating a big hole in my wallet. A cool and safe place to go home to after hours and hours wandering around Kuala Terengganu.

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Lepaking at one of the bench 

What would I do here in Kuala Terengganu? Hmmm … I am going for a story hunting and I myself not sure what is the outcome gonna look like, lol.

I plan to hang around with the makciks (mid-aged ladies) around the villages listening to them gossiping he he he and the pakciks (middle-aged man) around the coffee shops or jetties reminiscing about life. Tengok berapa lama boleh tahan … the rest is a secret.

A few more photos of my new found hiding place before I end this post.

Last but not least … my all time favorite breakfast, Nasi Kerabu.  A blue colored rice mixed with fresh vegetables, salted egg, stuffed green chili pepper, a piece of roasted chicken and sambal (chili paste). Wallah … am hungry now … gotta run.

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Bye

Cheers,

MM

ps- sambil dengar lagu “kutuliskan kesedihan, semua tak bisa kau ungkapkan, dan kita kan bicara dengan hatiku” dan perut yang lapar