of that service charge..

i went out with jack earlier to kill some time and to watch a movie..if i can correctly recall, that was our first cinema date together after getting married last december..it felt as if we were still courting when i entered the cinema just now 😛

anyway, that was not the central limelight that i wanted to share actually..

we went to one of the local cafes in the mall to have our lunch after the movie and upon finishing our lunch, we received a bill that stated some amount of money must be paid for 1) government tax and 2) service charge..government’s tax aside (as a longer argument could be made out of it which i’m too tired to discuss here) let’s talk about the service charge..

from my calculation, the service charge imposed by this cafe did not follow any specific percentage and my best guess was that it’s a flat rate applicable on all purchases..however small the purchase was, the cafe would still be profitable from that item PLUS the service charge..how selfish and manipulative that is..

you see, i used to go to cafes where the food was exceptional and the service was incomparable..my dining experience was not tarnished even by a slight bit..and most importantly, they never cheat on their customers..you’d only need to pay for service charges if you choose to dine in and they mentioned it explicitly on their menu board/book..

if i was a customer who wanted to buy food for takeaway from the cafe that i just visited earlier, i would still be paying for the service charge that i did not use..the only service i used from them is to get the food consumable which to my understanding, did not count as servicing the customer..so they had the need for customer, i had the need for what they’re selling, i gave them money for what i wanted, and they charged me for things that i didn’t use nor need..?

well, whatever..

of the road trip..

i’ve just got home from a two-week road trip around europe covering germany, czech, austria, switzerland, france and the netherlands..it gets very tiring moving from one country to another but the time are very well spent..i wouldn’t be sharing much of my travel experiences but i’m gonna share some useful lessons i learn from this super amazing trip..

1) having a clean, nice and comfortable hotel room really helps your mind and body to rest after a long journey..cleanliness helps you to stay healthy (other than food) throughout the journey and trust me this is very crucial in a much anticipated trip as you don’t want to ruin the trip by catching up with cold or getting sick from the bed bugs..secondly, a well ventilated room helps you with the laundry..you don’t want to be carrying too many clothes that will either add up your luggages or needing you to bring along huge luggage that will slow down your mobility..hence, a nice hotel room with a private bathroom and well ventilated room allows you to do some washings of your socks, underwears, light t-shirts, shawls etc and therefore, allows you to re-use the clothes..thus, extra luggages are needless..travel light is also highly possible..

2) oh i’m not done with the importance of having a proper accommodations for your trip..some budget accommodations are cheap for a reason..that you will have to pay extra for the linens, towels, toiletries etc..and therefore there’s a need for you to use some space in your luggage for such necessities..i think you’ll get much peace of mind if you don’t have to worry about bringing your own towels, blanket etc and keep them smelly throughout the journey because you can rarely dry them before packing them again..if you leave it to the hotel room, they change the towels and linens every day and again, more space in your luggage!

3) some sense of responsibility and courtesy are highly needed..when you’re the one not driving and you’re as physically able as your driving friend, it’s good and helpful if you can keep awake throughout the journey and create conversations to keep the driver awake and sane..sometimes GPS drives you lost and therefore, leaving it all up to the driver wouldn’t be helpful or beneficial to anyone of you as it will involve more cost for fuel and it will consume a lot of emotional tensions..

4) communicate the goals and intentions of the trip..therefore none of your wants will be disappointed..it’s important too that you do not create a rigid rule such that everyone must go to the same place at the same time within the same time allocation..come on, everyone has different needs and being too rigid with movements will only burn the excitement of group traveling..

5) understand your partner and control your material wants..you see some of us travel because we have the chance to and not necessarily fully capable in terms of financial allocations..things offered in some places might look flashy and shiny and highly tempting..if you keep desiring to getting more when you know you cannot afford spending your money on such things, you’ll only keep disappointing yourself..the purpose of traveling is to see beyond what shops have to offer and thus, enjoy the places, enjoy the food, enjoy the company, and enjoy the experience itself better..

and because i’ve just had a road trip with some excellent companies, excellent accommodations, good foods, and less on unnecessary spendings, i wake up this morning feeling disoriented, losing the sense of time as my head is still on the road, looking forward to the next destinations and experience..

alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah..Godwillingly, He’ll allow me to travel His world again..ameen..i’ll write more on tips on public transportations in europe soon..i’ Allah..

walking around the city of Berlin..
walking around the city of Berlin..
photo 3
prague by night time..this was taken from charles’ bridge..
photo 4
schonbrunn..the park is so huge, and it was so hot that we almost gave up looking for this side of the park..
photo 5
this was taken when we took a cable car ride to start hiking the alps..what lofer has to offer is really underrated..lofer is such a gem..
photo 6
this is a cave..a deep and cold cave with a natural waterfall..and this too, is in lofer, austria..
photo 7
a quick drop by in Zurich just to see its lake..it’s a full moon, and unfortunately our camera couldn’t do justice to its beauty..
photo 8
the city of salzburg..as for this one, it’s really overrated..
photo 9
luzern..it was just a fortress with a minaret and we couldn’t have guessed that it would be magical if we climb..and this is the surprise we’ve got..the surprise could not get any better..we love simply love this..
photo 10
my husband really loves this place..i’m glad i could be around to places he loves 🙂
photo 11
volendam..a little north from the city center and this comes as a surprise for us too..the setting of this small fishing village is extraordinary..the houses look like as if they’re in a filming studio..and the plus point being, everyone speaks english..anddd, the fish and chips are the best i’ve had so far..fresh from the fishermen!
photo 12
the weather was not permitting when we were in amsterdam but the weed industry really surprises us..we saw a man carrying two marijuana trees in his bike..a couple smoking weed just outside their balcony sharing the smell with us, and a boat planting several trees on top of the boat..such a unique town..
photo 13
madurodam – you see, it’s important to let the kids understand how things work and the purpose of each creations..here they get to learn first hand how things work and what they can do as a part of a bigger system..adults are allowed to learn too..of course..
photo
this is our view from the balcony of our Austrian hotel..the sun set..

 

of that calm day..

have you ever woken up to your favourite feeling about one of your favourite days..?well, you might not get what i mean but here’s how i feel..

i woke up today to some chilly wind, breezy weather, and some sunshine that didn’t burn your eyes or skin..it reminded me to the exact feeling of waking up from my mother’s room, in one of the days of ramadan, overlooking through the window there, seeing the pokok durian, a cleaned road as my mom would have cleaned the road after subuh prayer..i liked how the day started..such a calm day..

also, one of the days in wellington..when the day was not too cold or too hot, that i woke up early and i had no class to attend to..the smell of a specific perfume, the walk i took outside of my house on my way to the town to get my favourite hummingbird hot chocolate..and to be greeted “morning sunshine” from the coffee stall owner..again, such a calm day..

i woke up to the same feeling this morning..it’s a calm ramadan..just like home..alhamdulillah..

the view from shufaiha's window in her room..the view from my window is my neighbour's window :( such a peaceful view aye..?
the view from shufaiha’s window in her room..the view from my window is my neighbour’s window 😦 such a peaceful view aye..? i’m pretty sure shufaiha captured this..kak long, kita cilok gambar kak long amek..gee~ aileviu kak long..thank you~ 😛

yes i’ve an essay to write..

hence having the luxury of having so much time to waste 😦

it’s been ages since i last wrote and no, i don’t think i can keep up with writing travel-related posts..somehow it gives me much of a writer’s blog than knowing i can freely write almost anything that i want..so yea, why should i restrict myself to writing travel posts only when i don’t really have to, right..?hahah..oh God..i wonder where my self discipline has gone to..

anyway, ramadan is here again and praises to the almighty God, He wills me to observe this holy month once again and even better, God gives me a man i could call the husband, who in return, willingly spends his time and presence with me to go through the routines in ramadan together..it’s such a wonderful feeling altogether that now my taraweeh is led by my husband and that feeling when i get to say ameen to his every prayer for US, is just completely beyond overwhelming..

we’re still very new in this but Godwillingly, we’ll seek for His guidance in keeping us together in harmony and melody 🙂

anyway, a friend’s facebook status actually gives me a serious nudge so i can reflect on my practices as a muslim..i mean, so all these while when we overspent, or overate, or being too happy with our lives and forgetting that the happiness is from him, we could put all the blame on the devils..but now that they are tied in hell, who should we blame when we overspend our money, waste our PRECIOUS time, delaying our prayers or spend our time in cafes or restaurants while everyone else is performing taraweh in a mosque just a stone throw away from us..you see, the devils don’t even have to try to seduce us..we’ve fallen deep into their trap that they don’t have to worry about not doing their duty during ramadan..it’s just so sad knowing that we are their proof of success – that their hard works are very well paid off..

forgive us, the Almighty..let’s use this ramadan to mend and fix our screwed selves..Godwillingly..

venice – tips and travel advice..

it rained this morning and it was chilly..but now the sun is here, bringing warmth to the day..alhamdulillah, rain or shine, there’s oxygen for us to breathe in..aside from the annoying noise coming from the construction site just in front of my flat, everything else is doing fine, i’Allah..boyfriend is down with a little fever but i get him under control..i’ve just fed him with some warm chicken porridge and hopefully he’ll get enough vitamin C from the fresh mangoes we bought yesterday..

let’s continue with my journal from the previous trip i had..well, we had..jack and i i mean 🙂 the first destination was venice..

if we managed to get into the first flight, we would have arrived in venice earlier that day..but unfortunately, we had to take the longer road..hence we arrived around 7 that evening..instead of arriving at the much cheaper airport (treviso) we arived at marco polo airport..

from marco polo airport we took water taxi to get to san marco – the heart of venice..the ticket was EUR15 per person one way but it’s advisable that you take the return ticket which will cost you EUR28..i did not take that ticket because i did not use the same airport to fly back home..it was a long 2-hour journey and the water taxi stopped at several stops..here’s another thing..water travel is expensive as the fare is EUR18 per person per day so if you plan for a longer stay in venice, do stay nearby san marco as you will be able to find bridges to cross and avoid using vaporetto..so the only vaporetto ticket you’d need after that is vaporetto line #2 as it will take you either to the car park, train station or the bus station..

here’s more on the guides to use vaporetto that’s very useful for pre-departure preparation http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/ricksteves/Getting-Around-Venice-by-Vaporetto.html

**the article is a bit out dated but it pretty much describes the vaporetto service perfectly well**

there are several halal kebab shops in venice but you have to explore a little to find them because most of them are not rightfully situated in san marco..we found one in san polo and we met a few fellow malaysians there 🙂

what else about venice..?oh, do check for the weather before going so you could bring appropriate clothes and enjoy that place despite the weather..

it was raining, and this was a photo when we were in the boat, overlooking the island as we were approaching it..the boat had to make ways to the passing speed boats and that made the journey much slower, other than having to stop at several stops before reaching the main stop..which happened to be the last stop (san marco)..
it was raining, and this was a photo when we were in the boat, overlooking the island as we were approaching it..the boat had to make ways to the passing speed boats and that made the journey much slower, other than having to stop at several stops before reaching the main stop..which happened to be the last stop (san marco)..
the canal as seen from one of the bridges..this is the bridge in front of the train station..and it's sunny!
the canal as seen from one of the bridges..this is the bridge in front of the train station..and it’s sunny!
the gondola ride is EUR80 per ride and that's the cheapest it can go..pair up with fellow travelers so you can split the cost..and that's also the way to talk about the trip and exchange some very useful information!
the gondola ride is EUR80 per ride and that’s the cheapest it can go..pair up with fellow travelers so you can split the cost..and that’s also the time to talk about the trip and exchange some very useful travel information!
it got a bit warm especially if you come from the cold UK and europe's temperature was such a blessing for you..if it gets windy, settle for cupped ice cream and not conned ice-cream..you don't want the wind to melt your ice cream and fly on some stranger's clothes..no, not during your short and highly anticipated holidays..
it got a bit warm especially if you come from the cold UK and europe’s temperature was such a blessing for you..if it gets windy, settle for cupped ice cream and not conned ice-cream..you don’t want the wind to melt your ice cream and fly on some stranger’s clothes..no, not during your short and highly anticipated holidays..

 

 

 

pre-italy..

that trip to italy was supposed to be super economical..i was doing my assignment one night when an email notification attracted my attention..it was from one of the budget airlines promoting its 10pounds fare..so there i went, hurriedly making mr banker to decide if it could be a ‘go’ and fortunately enough for me, he gave me a very supportive green light..so hooray for that! 😀

well, let’s just say luck was not on our side on the day of departure, and we missed that flying machine that was supposed to take us to venice treviso..

it was a very fine morning that day..it wasn’t windy, it wasn’t too cold..a perfect, sunny spring..as we sat at the airport border control waiting to be cleared out, i saw jack restlessly flicking and tapping on his phone, trying to look for the cheapest next flight out..all his concerns and worries were clearly shown on his frown, on his sighs..i perfectly understood why he was bothered that bad..everything was pre-booked, and it was a trip he very much anticipated to have..

we got cleared out eventually..and by that time, i learned a very important lesson as a traveler..do book your taxi/shuttle to the airport at least 24hours before your departure..some countries like england and new zealand did have a 24-hour taxi service but they could not necessarily get to your place on time as you wished..especially when you’re calling them on odd hours such as 4 or 5 in the morning..because at those hours, they might take more than 30 minutes to arrive at your place, which could further delay your arrival at the airport..

so we had to spend so much more than we expected..especially when we had to take a train to birmingham airport and paid for new flight tickets..here’s another tips..if the train fare was ridiculously expensive online (especially when it’s a very last minute thing) do not buy it online or from the self-service machine..go to the counter, and ask them if they could give you the cheapest fare possible..they usually would break down the fare according to the main stops the train would be making..so instead of paying for a direct fare, you’d be paying for a series of journeys’ fare..you won’t be having transits or stops it’s just you’ll be given a discounted fare 🙂

so off we went, trying to reflect on our faults, and trying to swallow the painful truth that we’re spending on new tickets, and tried not to spoil the holiday mood..the train ride was long enough and calm enough that we managed to stay calm and contented..i slept some time off..letting the train attendant to do his job of selling coffee and snacks much easier for not having to attend to another customer..and said thank you half-awake to the ticket master who did the checking from time to time..

i leaned comfortably on jack’s worried and sad shoulder..trying to share some remaining peaceful state that i still owned..he hadn’t been around for months..rain or shine, sad or happy, i’d cherish the trip still..

this is during the train ride to birmingham airport..we kept ourselves entertained so we won't lose the holiday spirit..
this is during the train ride to birmingham airport..we kept ourselves entertained so we won’t lose the holiday spirit..
our new tickets that cost us nearly 200pounds..this is my first experience of missing a flight..i think i should put highly defined photos when i write for travel purposes..just like the other travel writers..
our new tickets that cost us nearly 200pounds..this is my first experience of missing a flight..i think i should put highly defined photos when i write for travel purposes..just like the other travel writers..

post-mortem: of that general election..

i rarely have time for this blog lately..assignments are piling up, distractions are everywhere..i wonder where i left my dedication to this genre at..

a lot have been happening lately..husband is here with me now, bringing colors into my kitchen and lounge..dissertation is also on the line, waiting to be researched and written carefully..and two final assignments are waiting to be completed..

and not to forget, i’ve been traveling too, to a few places to get my head cleared..it’s been fun now that i travel with my life-time travel-mate whom i can bother with my bags and cameras, and my annoying and impulsive cravings for random food..

anyway, i’ve been inspired by several travel blogs and i think i would love to try making this blog into a travel blog..but i do have the tendencies to write beyond what a travel blog should contain..hahah..alright, we’ll see how i do, alright..

as for now, i’ll do some editing with my photos, and may be reflect on the result of the recent general election back in malaysia..?

well if you ask me a few years back i sure have no interest in politics but my involvement in linguistics has driven me to at least, observe on the patterns of political scenes and occurrences..what i can conclude from the campaigning processes up until the wrap up count of the votes last night, i can at least list down 3 critical observations..

1) campaigning by the national party are cowardly done because they hinder the opposition party from using the mainstream media..referring to the literal meaning of democracy, do you think this is how a clever and dignified campaigning should be..?

2) supporters from both parties have been showing endless support and to some extent, too much support that they jeopardize their humanity and intellect by cursing each other, harming each other and threatening one another..leaders shout wholeheartedly while campaigning as if if they don’t shout, the message cannot be conveyed, the voting spirit will not be triggered..dear malaysians, do you really think these are “what it takes” to win an election..?and really, do you think winning the election is the sole aim of all these campaigns..?

3) result wise, i can see that more malaysian chinese are voicing their presence by voting for DAP for their personal gains..however, the majority of malays are still scared to vote for PAS believing the nation will fall ill under PR’s governance without cleverly seeing how ill the country is now with the current governance..my fellow malays, educate yourself, use whatever means of media to educate yourself before getting scared unreasonably..

be clever malaysians..and congratulations BN..

i’ll see you in the next post..this might be one of the many obligatory post-election posts..