Tag Archives: travel

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

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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.

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Batu Buruk beach, Terengganu with the dark dramatic sky

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

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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

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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?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ace of Hearts

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Took her photo at Bhaktapur, Nepal while I was on my morning walk along the alleys. This is my second visit to Nepal

2017.01.12 … time flies, it’s the 12th day of 2017 and I am still not over 2016 yet. Another new year ahhhh. Last year I opted a ‘no’ new year resolution for 2016, a year of exploring and wandering with no obligation to achieve anything, just following the flow and enjoying my moment. A care-free 2016 …

I aged another year … yeah! being a woman, aging sucks. I had a minor surgery last month just 2 days before my flight to Nepal. Being a stubborn woman I happily checked out from the hospital, pack my cameras and headed to the airport for my flight to Kathmandu.

Well … what could go wrong right? Except that … I am not young anymore and recovery takes time. Carrying 2 DSLRs on my back and walking around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Ghandruk felt like a chore. Hmm … lesson properly learned. But, I survived …

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A steel bridge connecting villages separated by cliffs

I want to go the opposite direction for this year … and I’ll start with having new RESOLUTIONs for 2017.

But … I want realistic resolutions that would motivate me to be a better me. Not some unachievable resolutions that would at the end makes me felt incompetent with my own beloved self. So … I’ll have 3 new resolutions for 2017 then, just to keep it realistic and 1 old resolution that I always silently yearn for each year.

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A family wefie in front of Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu

I want to adopt a ‘win’ attitude this year. Yeah … that kiasu attitude “this girl gotta win in anything that she decided to do”. I am just curious on how does it feel to be a winner for at least a year ha ha ha.

I want to create more in 2017. More quality writing, more quality photos, more quality videos, more time for quality reading, more time for quality sleep and more time for love.

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted ~ Aesop. A new friend at Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu 

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Observing life along the alleys at Ason Bazaar, Kathmandu

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Enjoying my morning light on the street while observing life here

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Staring eye to eye with strangers on the road

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Playing with afternoon light at one of the alleys at the market

I want more backpack trips either solo or with a small group of friends to most strange land and meet up with all kind of kindness along the way. It is gonna be my way or the highway ha ha ha <—evil laugh. And lastly, my same old silent resolution each year is to have more HIM time. HIM … the Creator of all these beautiful moments that I am immensely in love with. Bliss …

Ahh I am sleepy … maybe it is time for a short nap. Bye for now.

Cheers

MM


Riding the Light

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A lady sitting on the floor of a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

I was in Jogjakarta, Indonesia for a few days in mid-November last month. Hanging out at Kota Gede with my local photographer friend, Romeography of Studio 76. We planned to wander aimlessly around the east part of Jogjakarta with our cameras.

It was already the beginning of monsoon season here in Southeast Asia … and I was pretty sure that the sky would be dull and the light would be challenging in Jogjakarta too, as the raining season is here to stay until at least towards the end of January next year

After a few failed attempts to hunt for sunrises and sunsets, we decided not to waste our time wandering around hunting for gorgeous landscape anymore… we were out on the street focusing on human interest instead.

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Plaosan temple at sunset

We hang around markets mingling with locals selling all sorts of daily items. We snuck around a group of people selling roosters or cocks for the gamecocks or cockfights. Uh … scary sight of bleeding roosters fighting for its life.

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Spontaneous gamecocks

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6-months old  rooster was for sale at rp600,000

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Caged birds were for sale

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Mbah Madio selling palm tree sugar at a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

Wandering around with motorbike hunting for subjects and lights has its pros and cons. Other than the pain in the butt (from sitting on a small seat for too long), it was also the risk of getting wet from the rain.

But … it was the easiest way to move around from point A to point B without having to worry about the condition of our routes plus we can just park the bike anywhere we wish. Talking about convenience right …

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The horses of Malioboro street were having their morning bath here at a river near Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Hunting for light at the nearby bridge in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Farmers along side of the road in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Spent a few hours here at Pak Sugiman’s workplace at Putat Village, Gunung Kidul, Jogjakarta

Well … the rain doesn’t stop me from achieving my primary goal for this trip lol … which was to have a stress free moment chasing the light. I had a great time … getting close and personal with my subjects, good food and good companion all the way … ahhh I couldn’t ask for more, alhamdullilah.

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My closing sunset for this trip. A dramatic sunset due to the unpredictable weather

We are planning for more future trips to explore more of the landscape surrounding Jogjakarta … maybe after the monsoon season is over. Who knows … In Sha Allah

And …. life goes on and on … and I am learning throughout the journey. Learning to be grateful for each moment that Allah presented to me. Learning to see and accept people as who they are. Learning to love every soul that cross path my journey … and letting go the one that decided to venture out of my path. People changed … a heart changed.

“Oh Allah, please ease my path. Guide my iman. Guide my every single actions. Guide me to love for Your sake. Protect what is in my heart. What lies in the future, only You know. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, Most Merciful and Most Gracious.”

Bye for now,

Cheers

MM


Wandering Soul

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Sulaiman: Danau Tarusan Kamang, Agam, Sumatera, Indonesia

New places always excite me.

I could spend hours just wandering and observing my surrounding for something to learn from or just something to look at. Sharing 5 of my favorite portraits that whenever I look at it … I felt like packing my bag and start wandering on the street again.

Pic above: Sulaiman, our local talent posing for me with his fish cages. Danau Tarusan Kamang is a natural pond that seemed to have a mind of its own mind. It dried up and swelled up with water according to God knows whatever rules … I think it has something to do with its underground geographical structure.

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Mr Freedom: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

Pic above: Mr Freedom showing off his ‘freedom’ … tattooed hard on his chest. What a coincident since freedom is my all time favorite words lol.

Meeting strangers from all part of life while wandering around is an eye opening. I learned to listen well too. Stories about their day-to-day life which is most of the time would be an opposite story from mine.

Engaging a simple and sincere chat with strangers on the street came naturally to me too… I like it. And, I think that it would be rude for you to just showed up from nowhere and suddenly just click on your camera on somebody’s face.

Have some respect … kot.

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A woman from Karo Tribe: Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Pic above: My lady from Karo tribe of Omo Valley, Ethiopia posed with my colorful shawl. We were curious about each other lol.

I smiled whenever I saw this photo. She probably has never seen a shawl as colorful as mine in her life (Malaysian women wear colorful clothing at every chance that we have and we have a whole bundle of choices to choose from hu hu hu).  And, I envied her beads collection.

So, she wanted my colorful shawl for an exchange with her photos and I ended up having a series of her photos looking satisfied with our deal ;-P .

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Omak/ Mother: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

And, I personally think that it would be more satisfying to have some sort of connection with your subject. Especially when I am taking portraiture or faces on the street, I want to have meaning to a face that I would probably keep for a very long time in my external HDD.

Pic above: A loving mother that I met while wandering at one of the morning markets at Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia. We had a loving chat together … talking about her children and how lucky she was to be surrounded by her loved ones.

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Chacha: Northern Pakistan

And lastly, the chacha (uncle) that we met at one of our stops on our way to Skardu, Northern Pakistan. Strangers in this part of the world are rare. I never expected that we would be treated warmly.  it is true then … “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met”. (pls ignore the salt bottle on the table … lol)

I am feeling grateful … for the soul that decided to leave me, the soul that wander together hand-in-hand with me and the newly discovered soul that decided to stay … the best word to express my gratitude is alhamdullilah.

Bye for now.

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 

 


The Art of Seeing

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Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan against the mountains

Yes … I am still digging into my collections of external HD, hunting for hidden treasure. A continuous quest for me or for every photographer out there … a never ending chore to filter thousands of photograph  for just one or two killing images.

While digging … I found a few interesting photos that related to ‘reflection’ that I wanted to share here.  Sharing some photos of the landscape surrounding Shangri-La Resort in Skardu, Northern Pakistan (please excuse my watermark).

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View of Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan from a different angle

Capturing reflection either on a puddle of water, on a lake or on some mirrors have a satisfyingly calming effect. The sense of calmness came from my need to be super quiet and totally immersed in the moment, to be able me to notice details in my surrounding such as reflection.

The camera setting to capture reflection is the same setting as capturing photos of any landscape. But our eyes need to be more cautious though, aiming at various angles and at the same time maintaining the best composition. And don’t forget to wait for the right light and the moment when the wind decided to stop meddling with the water surface.

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View of Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan with an interesting foreground

Looking back at these photos brought back sweet memories of us in Skardu, Northern Pakistan, we were hanging out at the edge of the lake while waiting for the wind to stay idle for us to capture a perfect reflection of this place.

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Me … enjoying my moment

I think I am more of a traveler than a photographer. Photography is just another reason for me to pack my bag and travel.

So it is kind of annoying when some ‘real’ photographer judging my photography skill based on whatever that I posted on FB after each trip. They’ll ask to see my winning photos of each place that I went … and questioned on why were I still travel to such places when I knew for sure that I can’t even shoot people on the street.

Hmmm. Speechless …

I need to remind myself that I am a traveler first before a photographer.

Having a good photography skill helped me to sharpen my eyes towards details around my surrounding. So … when I traveled … I can see more. The more I see the more I learn. And, if traveling with my camera could turn me into a ‘real’ professional photographer … then I am truly blessed.

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Me … looking down to make sure that my feet still sit on the ground

The world of photography has no boundary … you can be as unique and as creative as wish you could be.

Bye for now

 

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Beyond the Fog of Mt Bromo

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Morning at Mt Bromo hmmm … dreamy!

I visited Mt Bromo at Probolinggo in East Java, Indonesia for the third time last July 2016. I heard from my friends that Mt Bromo was actively coughing off smokes out of its opened crater for the last few months … and I couldn’t resist the temptation for a quick weekend gateway.

We traveled in a very small group this time around. Just the three of us … leaving behind the rest of our “Sailangers” travel mate. I began to love traveling in a small group. Less drama and less need to socialize among us … which mean more time for observing and mingling around with the locals.

Tengger people of Probolinggo was celebrating their Yadnya Kasada festival that week and we intended to observe the ceremony. The ceremony was for the Tengger Hindus to express their gratitude to their believing Gods for good harvests and fortunes bestowed upon them.

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Dramatic sunset that afternoon … the drizzling rain brought along thick fogs

It rained during the 4 days of our stay at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo.  The last 2 days were a bit forgiving as we managed to catch morning sunrise before the fog and the rain started to concur the area.

The drizzling rain brought along thick and unpredictable fog that comfortably snuggled  Mt Bromo alley into a deep dreamy sleep. At first, I thought that I was cursed … but rain, fogs, clouds and smoky landscape are always been my favorite moment. The reason why I still love flying with my paramotor/ PPG buddy is because of this dreamy imagination that one day I might stumble into a beautiful thick clouds formation during our flying stint.

Well …  a sure challenge for a landscape or ‘chasing the light’ photographer when the sky is dark and the rain is dancing in the air. This is what I called … a lesson of letting go. Nature is teaching us to learn to let go … nature is beyond our human control and I need to learn to let go, this is not my moment yet. Full stop!

Once I decided to accept my fate … wallah! the sun start peeking out from the thick fogs … and presented us with a dramatic landscape view of Mt Bromo. Ahhhh … blessing in disguise  alhamdulilah … couldn’t ask for more. And … clicking the camera shutter once again … is an exciting thing to do 😛

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Us … looking for the best angle 😛

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Us … doing what we always do … shooting the target 😉

My DSLR is getting heavy and heavier lately … I blamed it on my ‘aging’ 😉 process . My heart still feels young and energetic but my shoulder started to crank up, my knee started to lose its vigor too … damn!

So … I bought a new tool for this trip … a Ricoh GR2 camera, a boxy old fashion looking dude with hmmm an acceptable image making ability. Pictures shared in this post were all taken from my boxy little Ricoh GR2 camera. Not bad for a small point and shoot camera …

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Smoky dramatic Mt Bromo taken with my boxy little Ricoh Gr2 dude

Life is full of wonder … and having a curious mind could always work wonder. Ahhh … I want more and more of this.

 

Bye for now

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps -“Creativity is intelligent having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein

 


Street walk in Skardu, Pakistan

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A sundry store located behind the main road of Skardu town. 

Morning start late at most places that we stopped in Northern Pakistan. Business venues and markets started around 10am. The time where morning lights were at the most unforgivably harsh.

Not the best moment for a street photographer who love to chase morning ‘dramatic’ lights. But the opportunity to be here … and to witness the  uniqueness and authenticity of this place overcame all my “chasing the light” needs.

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The shop where restaurants or street stalls get their roti supply from.

Everything looked brown, old and rustic here. It felt as if I was in an old movie set.

It was 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to stroll along the street and watch life around this small town. The sky turned brown and dusty as a sand stormed has just passed through the town leaving behind a trail of thick lingering dusty air on the street … a normal occurrence around here I guess.

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Old and rustic looking sundry shops 

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Life goes on as always

Fine dusty sands laid everywhere here. My face was dusty and same goes with the rest of the people on the street. I bet I looked rustic too like my environment … I blend well lol.

But … we still looked ‘obviously’ foreign here. This town seldom sees tourist or foreign traveller walking on the street. In fact we were the second group of foreign visitors that stayed in the hotel (that we stayed in) for this year.

I like to walk like an invisible soul when I am on the street. I always imagine that I am invisible … when I am in public 😉 . But the four (4) of us caught too much attention while we were here … maybe because everybody knows everybody in this small little town.

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A fruit seller at the street side

Honestly, I am used to being stared at while I am on a strange or foreign land. Most of the time people would be curious seeing me maybe because of my head cover or my shawl … but I could overcome their curiosity with a sincere smile and a brief greeting.

But here in Pakistan is different.

In a male dominated society, women does not walk on the street without their men. We don’t see women wandering around restaurant or markets too. I saw one or two short glimpse of women on the street but most were fully covered by their long shawls.

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We attracted attention

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The curious crowd circling us

It does felt weird in the beginning of the trip to experience an intensive stares came from the male crowd but as always I learnt a few tricks to get around as I went along.

Maybe next time I should wear a cotton Kurta when I am on the street.

The morning before we catch our flight out of Skardu to Islamabad… we climbed up on our hotel’s rooftop to catch the full view of this town. Mesmerising view we got up there … this place is surrounded by gigantic mountains.

The thing that I like about travelling is … when I have zero expectation about a place and decided to take a risk … and I ended up falling in love with it. It taught me to be open … to stay receptive regardless of whatever condition that I am in … as the end matters the most.

“The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.”~ Rumi

I am signing off right now … 🙂 . Bye …

 

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Judgemental Mind of Mine

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A victory toss (with mango and pineapple juice) to celebrate the end of our Pakistan journey

Being human … a normal human being, I admit that I am too quick on judging things. My excuse is that I need to take a good care of ME … my physical, my mental and my heart. I need to safe guard ME. As I grow wise (and aging lol) … an achy breaky me is not easy to recover from either physical or mental torture.

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A stop on our way to Besham, Northern Pakistan

So, I refused (at first) to join my travelling friends on their quest to explore Pakistan. My concerned was upon my safety but towards the last minute I changed my mind. With a good travel companions, a full trust on my ultimate protector (my Creator) and my survival instinct … so I thought the rough Pakistan journey won’t be that bad.

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This is a common view along the road. Most men I saw on the street were wearing kurta (long cotton shirt) instead of T-shirt and jeans. 

I was telling my girlfriend that “if we could survive this trip babe, it would turned out to be our most valuable experience .. ever” and true enough, the journey was tough to the bone but it was worth every second of it. You need to be physically and mentally  strong to truly see the beauty of Pakistan.

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The road was not crowded at all … occasionally you would see decorated lorries, buses and a few private cars.

We travelled from Islamabad-Gilgit-Karimabad-Hunza-Skardu via road and travelled back to Islamabad from Skardu via flight. Driving to Gilgit via the  Islamabad-Mansehra-Nahran-Chilas-Gilgit  would be around 10-11 hours drive but we were unlucky that day as that road was closed for a few months due to landslides. And, we have to travel via alternative road that took us approximately 19 hours to reach Gilgit. Yes … and 19 hours on a rough road felt like a week lol.

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What a view …

Half of the journey was tolerable as we passed through Masya-Allah … the most beautiful and unique landscape view along the way and we drove through small towns after another … a very memorable journey. But after Besham, the roads and the geographical area turned rocky and rough. We were surrounded by rocky gigantic mountains and the road conditions were really bad. As the day turned night … the tough journey became very challenging.

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A quick snap shoot along the road to Gilgit, Northen Pakistan

Police security roadblocks were at every km away and we … the “tourist” have to be safely escorted by the appointed police personnel upon entering Bersham and straight to our hotel in Gilgit.

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At one of the small town after Besham. I didn’t shoot much here as we were rushing through and this was taken from my jeep’s window. 

Tough journey in 10 days either can be a disastrous experience or a rich moment for your soul. I am glad that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone … alhamdullilah I am a step richer in experience.

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The Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley, Northern Pakistan

We travelled further up from Gilgit to hunza valley via the famous Karakoram Highway (KKH). The KKH connected Gilgit-Baltisan region, Pakistan to Xinjiang region, China. The highway is listed as the Eighth Wonder of the world due to its high elevation (4,693m) and the difficult geographical conditions in which it was constructed.

The view …. Subhanaallah, I am glad I have eyes to witness how beautiful our earth is. I’ll share some photos in my IG and 500px when I have the time to dig out all of my Pakistan images.

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The Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley, Northern Pakistan

And here are a few photos taken from my favourite spot in Northern Pakistan … the Hunza Eagle’s Nest. I seriously will come back to this spot for a night camp, just to watch the stars and capture the milkyway crossing over the glaciers … uh tak sabar nya tunggu /uh I can’t wait for our next Pakistan trip.

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The self acclaimed Queen of Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley at her throne he he he

Hmmm … this photo (above) remind me of the people that I met along the road here in Pakistan. The 10 years old girl, Misbah from Hunza valley. The girl opened up her story about her so called normal life that bring tears to our eyes. Another 10 years old boy, Abdullah from Rawalpindi. A curiously intelligent boy that followed us around the market (near his home). Both are lacking in education and materials but well brougt up with proper manners … a proud and beautiful people, Pakistan ….. I will be back! lol

Uhhh … I need to stop typing words here or else I might sound like an old immobilised ‘makcik’ or aunty that kept on reminiscing on old memories hu hu hu gotta run 🙂 .

Bye for now

Cheers,

MM

 

ps- “Be selective with you battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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