Tag Archives: travel

That’ll be fun

DSCF1667-Edit-Edit

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.

DSCF1954-Edit-Edit

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).

_SMM8195-Edit-Edit

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.

_SMM7454

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.

_SMM7853

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.

DSCF0854

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 …

_SMM8074-Edit-Edit

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.

DSCF8304

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.

DSCF7427-Edit-Edit

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.

_SMM6450-Edit

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.

40654348_2097205923630994_7365527488509771776_n

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.

DSCF8690

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.

DSCF8347

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.

DSCF8357

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.

DSCF9502

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.

DSCF9378

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.

_SMM6331-Edit-Edit

A little lady from the Kalash valley

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

Cheers

MM


LOTR moment at Tongariro National Park

DSCF0807

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.

IMG_5211

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.

IMG_5212

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.

IMG_5154

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.

IMG_5158

The beginning

IMG_5163

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

IMG_5165

The moody and wet surrounding has that calming effect on me

IMG_5172

And the horror parts came … the trail starts ascending

IMG_5177

And this view as I looked down at my trails

IMG_5187

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.

IMG_5194

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?

IMG_5179

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 slowly imagining myself doing brisk walk at my most favorite park.

IMG_5200

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.

IMG_5202

I saw colorful plants along the crossing trail … very interesting

 

IMG_5213

The trail from my STRAVA 

 

IMG_5206

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

 

 


Street thrill in Dhaka

MYS_3198-Edit

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.

IMG_3803

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.

NEP_9845-Edit

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.

NEP_0169-Edit

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.

MYS_3938-Edit-Edit

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.

DCIM100GOPROG0118425.JPG

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

 

 

 

 


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.

22522527_10214429080743733_643092219_o

Bye for now.

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps- buzzing head … need to stay focus!


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!
IMG_2324

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.

 

IMG_2325

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.

IMG_2331

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.

IMG_2318

Bye

Cheers,

MM

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


Keeper Moment

Attachment-1 (1)

The first is always the sweetest, right? Here is another first for me …

Yeszza! I made it to the front page. A baby step indeed but I feel honored. I am posting it here as a reminder to myself to keep on creating my craft … just the way I wanted it.

I am smiling right now … 🙂

Attachment-1

I haven’t posted anything yet about my adventurous moment in Mongolia and Lake Baikal here in my blog. The journey truly blew my mind … something totally new to me but I am still in a fermenting mood.

I am fermenting both my story and my photos during that trip to a perfection lol.

It’s an excuse … the truth is my mind is still preoccupied with something else right now. A mental block!

I am feeling sleep deprived lately and all that I can think of is just my pillow and my blanket. I am in the middle of adjusting my sleeping pattern … instead of being a night owl, I am thinking of switching to a lark. Waking up early before dawn preparing my grips.

Okay lah … I gotta go and get my beauty sleep.

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


More Create Time

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~ Ray Bradbury

2017.03.27 – am at home recuperating. I was on the road for almost 22 days. 16 days backpacking with 2 of my travel buddies and another 6 days back home to my mom’s at Bachok, Kelantan (7 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur).

My head is full of stories now … stories about my traveling moments (which I intended to write about it in my next post), about my mom, about my loved ones, about my new kitty, my maid who ran off from home, my never ending sleep deprived etc … ahh and today’s post is just about my work this month. Well … keeping every each of it here for my own reference.

My article for NST on March 2017 is about what to shoot in the market.

And, that new kitty, Nala aka Lala is everywhere in the house. We have another adult cat by the name of ‘Chicken’. Being the only cat for 11 years makes my ‘Chicken’ a very dominant cat and we are having a hard time right now … to convince ‘Chicken’ that the new kitty is here to stay.

And my work appeared in a local magazine too. Well … I am honored. I hope that all this would be a stepping stone towards more opportunity for me to CREATE.

Off I go. Will write about my journey in Mongolia and Lake Baikal soon.

Cheers!

MM


Chasing The Monsoon

img_8976

My article in ‘NST bots click!’ on what to shoot during monsoon season. Google to read in details

It’s the end of February yet the monsoon season still refused to leave our shore. We still experienced occasional rain and thunderstorm here and there. I am not complaining … I love rain, rain reminds me of home … of my bed and my blanket to be precise.

I was with 26 Paramotor PPG pilot friends last weekend covering their story on XC Pantai Timur Feb 11-12, 2017 together with my Janjifly team. We planned to fly together along the shoreline from Sri 7 beach, Tumpat, Kelantan to Cherating beach, Pahang covering 3 states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang) for 2 days but mother nature seemed to have its own plan.

Strong wind and heavy rain for the whole weekend during our XC event last weekend. We were basically chased away by the strong wind and the rain. Most of us failed to take-off from all 9 of our take-off points along the shoreline. And … moral of the story is … I have no thrilling ppg flying photos to show off for you peeps 🙂

Well … me and my camera … we go everywhere, we explore anything, rain or shine. Jom … sharing my monsoon photos taken during our ‘chasing the monsoon’ moment.

mys_2663-edit-edit

Batu Buruk beach, Terengganu with the dark dramatic sky

mys_2740

Strong wind approx 40 knots with thick clouds and slight drizzled … not complaining!

mys_2631

A ppg pilot preparing to brave the wild wind at Semerak beach, Tok Bali, Kelantan

I am packing up for my next adventure … a trip exploring Mongolia and Southeastern Siberia. Preparing for a winter adventure … this would be my first experience exploring a strange land at -14’c … am not sure how am I gonna deal with it but I’ll figure it out once I am there.

It’ll be a 15 days trip from Beijing to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia and to Irkutsk then straight to Lake Baikal via Trans-Siberian train. Uhhh … I am curious to the max now! Gotta go … bye

Cheers,

MM

ps – google for Salliza Salleh to read the NST article clip mentioned above yeah.

 

 


The first The sweetest

img_8538

2017.01.16: My first and the first is always the sweetest

Am working towards moving my lazy ass to create more this year.

This is a snap photo of my first write-up as a writer contributor to a column in Life & Times of our local newspaper NST. And yes … the first time is always the sweetest.

Am putting here as my self-reference, I have the tendency to overcrowd my working table and losing all those paper clips by the end of the year. I need to kill that “I couldn’t be bothered attitude” … grrrr

Hopefully, this will be a good start to my writing experience. I’ll write and publish my own book one day. I dunno yet what type of book that I am gonna have … maybe it’ll be just a fancy coffee book that people would flip through and wonder about life.

Whatever it is … it is just feel good to have a dream, any dream would do … right?  It keeps you moving.

 

Cheerios!

MM

 

ps – QS AR-Rahman 55: 29-30

“Sekalian makhluk yang ada di langit dan di bumi sentiasa berhajat dan memohon kepadaNya. Tiap-tiap masa Ia di dalam urusan (mencipta dan mentadbirkan makhluk-makhlukNya)!

Maka yang mana satu di antara nikmat-nikmat Tuhan kamu, yang kamu hendak dustakan?”