Sunday, December 27, 2009

Istanbul 2009!

Akmal : Today I'm going to tell u about our Journey in Turkey!

We arrived at Attaturk's International Airport around 5.44 am and the temperature was extremely cold! I remember the captain told us it was around 4 degree celcius!!! waaaaa!! it is a terrible experience for someone who hates coldness (extreme!).. but looking at the excitement on Tina and Akmal's face.. I acted cool! hahaha (seperti tiada ape ape yg terjadi...).

Famous things to buy in Spice Bazaar

Everything went well at the airport except for the transportation to the hotel. There were 15 of us and there was only an MPV to take us! hahha... miscommunication between Abah and the hotel person. Cem fetched us the first group and Abah and the other grumpy-looking-hotel worker took a taxi. Cem still remember me and he still call me "Ibis" hahaha... sounds like Iblis ey? Cem told me the main road to the Airport has changed drastically! Around 60% of the road we travelled is a new;y built highway! thanx god! Less traffic jam! haha...

Family potrait taken on top of Kartepe

We reached hotel around 7.00 am and we were greeted by some annoying-familiar-looking-creatures at the Hotel lobby. Yes.. Curry and his siblings were all there greeting us! They were fully attired! like they're going to play the snow! huuuuu... We had our breakfast after settling wit the Hotel rooms and oh gosh! I really like Hotel Inter's Breakfast! How I really missed them! The menu hasn't changed for the last 6 or 7 years! Hahah SUPER!

A Potrait of Sultan Abdul Aziz wit his Nargile looking at his fellow countrymen

The four head of the families had a very interesting introduction chatting.

ISTANBUL 2009! The First Day.....

Bon Apetit Monsiuer

After having our breakfast.. we took our own time in the room.. bathing, praying, etc and the first tour started at 9.30 am! My room was on the 3rd floor, Uncle Mi's on the 5th and Uncle Ain's on the 2nd. Letiff from the hotel told us that it's impossible to put us all on the same floor since the hotel at the time was fully booked. Its okey then... I spent most of my time on the 1st floor! hahah Curry's room!

The Grand Bazaar!

We started our first journey in the Grand Bazaar.. (in Turkish : Kapalicarsi) This huge and wonderful market has never disappoint any tourist who comes to Istanbul! The kindness of the shoppers and the uniqueness of each shop always attract the tourist although the prices here are slightly higher compared to those shoppers outside of the Grand Bazaar. We brought the others to some of our friends' shop. Wahap (puki puki) was very pleased to meet us and the same goes to Mr Gunay from Sait Koc. Uncle Suhaimi surveyed some of the diamonds at Sait Koc and looing forward to buy some. hahaha!

2 Powerful Goldsmith! Uncle Mi and Mr Gunay

From the Grand Bazaar, we went down straight to The Spice Bazaar. On The way, we met Nani from the taylor shop and he asked us for his photos but unfortunately we left them at home. HAHA sorry Nani. At the Spice Bazaar, as we were all hungry, we had our lunch in Bab-i-Hayat Restaurant. As usual I ordered my favourite Iskender Kebap! And pirinc Sutlac as desert.

Lunch at Bab-i-Hayat

Memories in front of Yenikapi Cemii

From the Spice Bazaar, we took some photos in front of the Yenikapi Camii before taking the tram back to Hotel. It was a tiring walk around the old Istanbul and an exciting one! We called it a day and had our rest at the Hotel. What a marvelous first day in Istanbul wit friends!

p/s : Curry : Aku tak paham!!! macammane aku boleh ade kat Istanbul! dengan kau AB!???

ISTANBUL 2009! The Second Day....

Inside the big Bus Mehmet prepared for us

It is Tuesday and the weather is still cold.. First, we planned to visit the Topkapi Palace but Letiff told us Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesday. My mother called Mehmet (a friend) and asked him about going to a place with snow. He arranged for us a big bus... a 40 seater bus! hahaha and off we go to Kartepe

Mama and Baba

Kartepe is located between Izmit and Adapazarı (approx 100 km from South–East of Istanbul). It was a happy journey wit the presence of the three kids Tina, Akmal and Amy. Haha... those adorable babies! makes us laugh most of the time! Especially Amy... haha...

p/s : It was called the first bridge because it was the first bridge! ((hahaha...))

So far So Good eY~? HAHA

Kartepe... this snowy mountain has a very nice hotel on top of it. by the way in Turkish... "Kar" means Snow and "Tepe" is Mountain. Hahaha and that's how it got its name. It was very freezing there on top of the mountain that we can freeze to death if we dont wear proper attire. Thank god I bought a trench coat from Nani the day before and wore my Long John! haha...

Flabby and Abby! :-D HAHAHA

We played snow fight most of the time! and I tell u what.. it's really hard to produce a snow ball! sigh* It was fun to see those kiddies wit their family play the snow... running and yelling... falling and jumping, etc. After having our lunch at a Restaurant there, we started our journey back to Istanbul and thank god they dont use Air Conditioner inside the bus during Winter! HOOOOO.....

Makan Time!!

That night, Curry insisted to have Nargile (shisha).. desperately in need of proper rest... I was forced to follow them! :-p HAHAHAHA....

Underage Nargilehing!

ISTANBUL 2009! The Third Day....

Tina : I'm gonna continue wit our visit to the Topkapi Palace on the third Day!

It was Topkapi Palace Day! Mehmet arrived at the Lobby early in the morning and we started our walk to SultanAhmet area where the Topkapi Palace is situated. The ticket cost 20 T.L now and free for children below 12 years old. Nothing much to see since some of the sections are under renovation but we are lucky the main section and attraction is open for tourist. The main chamber where some of the most precious and valuable Islamic treasures are kept.

Pixcha wit Mehmet Bozdemir (fourth from right)

The Cats here are sooooo fat!..... btw.. Aisya is not a cat....

Treasures like the previous keys to the holy Kaabah, prophet Muhammad's (P.B.U.H) robe, his bow and swords, some Sahabat's swords, the cane of Prophet Musa, Turban of prophet Daud, hand of Prophet Yahya, and many more. The chamber is nicely decorated with some unique Ottoman style lamps, carpets and mosaics and we'll be hearing live Quran recital by the Hafiz in charge. It was a great empire... The Ottomans.. once conquered half of the world!

From Topkapi Palace... we went for our Zohor prayer in the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) before heading for lunch in a Restaurant somewhere in Sultan Ahmet Area. Once again.. Iskender Kebap! hahahhaa

The Blue Mosque! Dont ever miss this one masterpiece whenever u are in Istanbul

Next stop.. The Grand Bazaar... went to Addy's shop and bought some souvenirs! he was very happy to see us and as usual.. he gave us special prices! Brother Price! hahaha...

Wit Erdem Balci (Addy)

Akmal : Dats all for Today... stay tuned for the remaining 4 days of our journey... Bye..

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Me Birthday 2009!

Hye again... first of all I would like to thank everybody for the birthday wishes! :-) really appreciate it! I had a very happy one dat day. Some friends invited me over for a drink, eating2, etc... I really enjoyed it. On that same day also.. Curry's family departed for Istanbul. I'll be joining them later the coming week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hajj Memories

Ze Kaaba

Hye everyone... I've reached home safely last Monday night (7th December) and thanx to everybody who has prayed for us. The journey was one of the best jourbeys I've ever had so far! A lot of useful lessons and experiences learnt within those 19 days!! I might share some of the stories here... just wait and keep on reading my blog ey! HAHAHA...

Uncle Ain is Typing an Sms at Jordan International Airport

Mecca has changed a lot! Its true... now u can see construction projects here and there.. the big ones of course... So no wonder the environment around Masjidil Haram is polluted and dusty! you can see people wearing Protection Masks almost everywhere! I forgot to bring one and as a result of my carelessness.. I'm now having a bad cough and soar throat.. aiyark!!

But one thing is still the same... there are soo many people inside Masjidil Haram during Hajj season. Especially on the Kaabah Square where thousands of people perform their Tawaf Ibadah. I was scared every time I performed the Tawaf.. there u can see people arguing, fighting, praying, crying, etc. Any careless mistake might lead to a big problem.

The 4 Bold Musketeers! From Left : Hafif, Uncle Ain, Pok Su and Me

I was told there were about 2.5 millions muslim scattered around the city of Mecca during my stay there. Just imagine how 2 mil of people.. inside one big mosque... praying! FuhH!! SubhanAllah.. Here.. I got the chance to meet muslims from around the world! just name it, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Greece, USA, French and even China! I even got the chance to change numbers and contacts..

Me Cousin and Me

It was a great Hajj trip since I got the chance to perform my Ibadah happily. Eventhough we can't go to the mosque every prayer time, we're still happy. The weather was quite bad at some time and it was raining heavily one day before Wukuf Day. Oh my.. that's what u dont see in Mecca. I heard that a lot of people died during that day and it was flooded badly in Arafah. That was the worst Rain Mecca has ever experienced in 27 years!!!! SubhanAllah.

Look at How The Arabs Queue just to buy some Al-Baik Chicken Fillets! HAHAHA

Completed Our Final Stage of Hajj... The Jamarat.

Some familiar faces were there in Mecca. I got the chance to meet Dato' Emran, Ustaz Dasuki, Ir Siti Hawa and Ir Bahardin, Zulhilmi Zainol's parents and many more. We even took some photos wit the current Sports Minister, Dato' Seri Shaberry Cheek. He was a really nice person.

Picture wit Minister of Sports

That's the beauty of Hajj.. we meet people from every where.. regardless of who you are.. what status u hold, which position, royals, etc.. u are there, gathered in one place... praying and worshipping the one and only God.

Somewhere in Madinah Al-Munawwarah

I learnt a lot from the people there, especiallu Ustaz Mohamad. He taught us a lot of things. And again, it was my best Holy Land trip ever! :-) may all of us get our rewards from the Almighty Allah. Hajj Mabaruran insya Allah.

Ustaz Mohamad