Monday, July 27, 2009

Istanbul

I was in the historical and colorful city of Istanbul last two months and I scribbled down something in between conferences and forums and somehow forgot to post them.

2 months ago

Movenpick Hotel, Istanbul



It's my last day here in Istanbul. I've taken to spraining my ankle whenever I travel. It first started off during the Redang trip, and then it was Bandung and that was the worst and now here, in Istanbul. But that's another story for another day.

It's cold outside. Windy and cold. My cheeks would feel like it's been stuffed with cotton balls whenever the cold air breezes past me. But I like the change in weather. It means I could let my hair down without worrying that in an hour, my head won't look like a giant frizz ball and the cold air gives my cheek that subtle hint of red, without having to wear any blusher. 13°c is definitely a welcome change to the hot and humid 31°c back in good'ol Kuala Lumpur.

I was welcomed to Istanbul with style. And by style, I mean a hair rising taxi ride with me clutching the headrest in front of me and praying silently whilst glancing at my travelling companion and wondering whether we would make it till the end of the ride. I had glimpses of homes built on hillsides and Turkish girls in colorful hijab walking together, giggling and clutching their overcoats tight around them. I had to keep up as the sights of Istanbul zoomed in a flurry past me. I wanted to laugh and throw up at the same time. The friendly cab driver kept insisting for my travel partner to smoke in the cab. A welcome gesture on his part. It was definitely a different kind of welcome. Different but hilarious.


My flight and the luxurious bed and room that I sleep in were paid for by the government of Turkey and Spain, hence it was only fair that I seriously get down to business and less of being a tourist. I had to force myself away from the inviting and alluring smell of Turkish food and its spices beckoning to me every time I pass by the sidewalk café's on my way to the meeting centre and since it was a working trip, there was not much of Istanbul that I manage to experience or capture on digital. Even my guided tour to Aya Sofia was rushed. Hundreds of year's worth of story and history cramped into 20 minutes. But I did steal a quiet moment away from the group to stand in a corner of the mosque/cathedral. I looked around me, at the walls, the ceiling and the floor. When was it like then? Who passed through these doors? What was the story? I imagined church boys in white robes standing by the side of the main door, and I subtly heard the muezzin's call to prayer and rows and rows of Turkish men in deep in prayer. If only the walls could speak.

Outside the Aya Sofia, I could see the Blue Mosque in the distance. Clear blue sky provided the perfect backdrop. It was exhilarating to be there. To be standing among the Turkish families frolicking around on the grass, sharing a picnic with the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque standing guards on each side. There was a food cart nearby, the wafting smell of grilled corn made me think of food.

Remember the movie, A Walk to Remember when Mandy Moore's one wish was to be in two places at one time? I guess I knew how it felt.

Dinner on a cruise on the Bosporus. I was in between continents. Asia and Europe. Culture, tradition and modernization meshed into one. Being in Istanbul is like being transported into a world of two dimensions. You have skyscrapers and ultra modern hotels, and yet you see subtle traces of history past.
I didn't want to go back with no memories of any adventures on my trip here so on the last day here, I played hookie during the last session. I had to. It was either that or the only things that I would remember would be the inside of the hotel room and the conference centre.

I ventured out alone in the city. I had my heart set on the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. Armed with a few hundred liras, a digital camera, the hotel's business card and a map of the city, I thought I was all set. Apparently, I should've thought of it more thoroughly. Leaving behind a map of the city's underground railway system is definitely a result of the lack of thorough thinking on my part. I nearly didn't make it back to the hotel. I knew how to get from Levent 4 to Taksim but that was it. I had no idea how to find my way beyond that. The local Turks didn't speak English but they tried really hard to help me find my way. I even spoke in Malay, out of sheer frustration since they wouldn't even be able to understand me either way, pointing to the spot on where Taksim is located.

The wise Fergie once sang, big girls don't cry. So I didn't although I was actually terrified of the thought of getting lost. Instead, I strolled around the square in front of the Spice Bazaar looking for a bench to park myself and decided just to people watch until I figure out what to do. I know I could've easily flagged down a cab and showed them the hotel's card but I wanted something more. I wanted to stand among the locals, and listen to the sounds. But since it was getting dark, I flagged down that white cab with the blue stripes. J I'll just listen to the sounds of Istanbul's traffic.
You can't help but fall in love with Istanbul.
My flight will be in a few hours. My bags are packed. I'm sad to be leaving Istanbul but I'll be back insyallah.

Cinta, City of Istanbul.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Fast & and the not so Furious

Another name to scratch off the list which isn't that long to begin with..

Everything was going great. Been seeing a lot of the Pak Arab Celup in the past few weeks. Dinner dates, movie dates, weekend breakfast dates and even a road trip down south for a friend's wedding, and he was even relaxed enough to meet a few of my closest ladies. He's been getting rave reviews from them as well..everything was going well. Great in fact.

Until a couple of nights ago.

It started out really nice and cosy. He text'd and asked whether I was up for dinner, picked me up at home, it was raining as we were driving along. Had dinner, talked, joked around went to see a movie and then it happened.

On the drive back to send me home, right after the Bukit Lanjan Tol plaza. The Pak Arab Celup was driving really fast. Extremely fast. I had to close my eyes!

The only thing that was missing was maybe my heavy make up and the skimpy short skirt and top and it would have been like a scene out of Fast and Furious. I was too numb to say anything. It was like I had a brain freeze and the words just couldn't come out. I believe I was screaming my tonsils out inside of me.

Maybe I'm blowing the whole thing out of proportion but after my horrifying experience with the accident n Ulu Yam, I wasn't prepared. He knew what I went through, why la Pak Arab Celup?? You scared the creepers out of me.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Should

To all the beautiful ladies in my life, friend or foe. A little something that I feel like sharing.

A woman should have…
one old love, she can imagine going back to...

and one who reminds her how far she has come...

A woman should have…
enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never wants to or needs to...

A woman should have…
something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A woman should have…
a youth she's content to leave behind...

A woman should have…
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...

A woman should have…
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

A woman should have…
one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

A woman should have…
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A woman should have…
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored..

A woman should have…
a feeling of control over her destiny...

Every woman should know
how to fall in love without losing herself...

Every woman should know

how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...


Every woman should know
when to try harder... and when to walk away...

Every woman should know
that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

Every woman should know
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

Every woman should know

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

Every woman should know
how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

Every woman should know
whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

Every woman should know

where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table...

or a charming inn in the woods... when her soul needs soothing...

Every woman should know
what she can and can't accomplish in a day...a month...and a year...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hold Please

Insane is being put on hold for 13 minutes.

Rude is when asked as to why I was being put on hold for 13 minutes, the answer that came was "apa masalah cik?"I asked very nicely because I believe that I am a nice person, and I'm very rational at all times. My masalah cik telefonis yang berkhemah is that I am extremely curiousas to what was going on at your end that it had to take 13 minutes for you to take my call.

No customary greetings of good morning or selamat pagi.

I don't demand on seeing the manager at restaurants when my meal is not cooked to perfection, or when a waiter/waitress spills drinks on my handbag, which really happened in Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa Taman Melati. I let it go when cashiers return my change a ringgit short. No, I try to be understanding enough. I try not to sweat the small stuff. I try.

I asked for her name. "Dengan siapa ya saya bercakap ni?" and then I heard a ringing tone. I was passed on to another person in another department. Just like that.

The only words that are racing through my head right now are profanities in which if I were to type them out, my blog would need a censor badge warning underage kids to stay away.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), consider putting your phone operators or customer service executives or whatever it is that you call them these days under training. I could personally recommend a few good trainers.

I need my iPod. Scroll to Indie Arie.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alice's Question


Alice : Which road should I take?

Cheshire Cat: Where do you want to go?

Alice : Anywhere

Cheshire Cat: Then, it does not matter whichever road you take.


From Alice in Wonderland