Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Trip to Pineapple Plantation in Selangor

Few things I need to clarify before I write briefly about this trip of mine to Pineapple Plantation or Ladang Nenas located in Selangor, in partnership with Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia.

  • I never knew we have such a tasty, sweet and juicy pineapple (I swear)
  • I also never knew we exported this tasty, sweet and juicy pineapple
  • During this visit, I learnt the best and right way to cut a pineapple (So duh huh!?!)
  • We were taught on how to select or choose the right and sweet pineapple
  • I always knew that 2-3 type of pineapple, apparently there are many more types (goodness)
  • First time seeing a pineapple plantation! Boy, it is super huge.... massive land
  • Strangely, the pineapple plantation or field is very serene and beautifu;. Weird huh?!

I guess the fun part for me was the ride to the pineapple field itself, we were on the back of the pick-up, screaming as it goes thru bumps and humps, well... more like purposely scream as if we were on a roller coaster ride. Drama sangat. 

It took us about 15mins or so to reach the pineapple filed from the shed we were at. The weather was and the flat barren field wasn't helping as well.

What we learnt in school or read is that pineapple are planted on peat soil here in Malaysia (tanah gambut), but honestly speaking, I have yet to see for myself how or what is peat soil (tanah gambut) until this trip. I have to say, peat soil is actually very soft and bouncy like... I feel like running around the field, it being an open space doesn't help either.

Few things that I learn here (I feel so smart and well educated now *wink*)

  • Pineapples don't need much water. They have very tough leaves so they don't lose much water through evaporation. They can get by on very little.
  • Pineapples don't need much soil or high quality soil.
  • Pineapples get a lot of their water and nutrition through their leaves.
  • Pineapples like slightly acidic soils.
  • Pineapples grow in full sun, even in the hottest climates.

Tips from HERE.

Below are the technique used to plant the pineapples. Interesting huh.

Aside from the field trip, we were also taught on how to cut a pineapple and obviously get to taste it lah.

This trip was made successful by #GayaTravel and Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia Negeri Selangor under the program #JomJelajahKoperasi.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ranua Zoo, an Arctic Zoo of the Lapland (Part 1)

I have to break this into 3 parts due to the silly things happened that I want to share and pen down. Hehehhehee... History in the making gitew...

What made me want to visit Arctic Circle? It was never about the aurora which I believe I've mentioned in earlier entries. The first time I heard about this word - Arctic Circle; was from RaW in his tweet. I was wondering where in the world is this place, and when I am curious, I google. I soon learnt about the Arctic Circle; which countries sits on it or rather how many countries and cities the circle pass by. All these info I kept for the past year or two, just in case I ever travel to those countries, I will know where to head to *wink*.

You know how nature sometimes conspire with technology right? Well, the logic is the same as when you bought a new car, let say a Honda HRV and then suddenly you begin to see HRVs everywhere of  which previously you never noticed. Experienced that before? Yup! The same goes for us travelers, suddenly I kept seeing tweets upon tweets, Instagram upon Instagram post on Arctic Circle and its activities, and I usually “define” this as the ‘travelers calling’ (Over giler dak? But I bet you guys do too kan? Sila ngaku!!!).

So, in this case, I saw a tweet with picture of Santa Claus Village at Rovaniemi on Arctic Circle. Hemmm… *quickly taking down notes*. Then I start to what us Malay call ‘gatal tangan’ and google, and found out that Rovaniemi have a few activities for  travelers to participate – into the bucket list it goes (Oh boy! My bucket list is growing and yet Aurora is still not included [I am weird like that]. Ahaks) I only realized about Arctic Zoo few weeks before departure while searching for husky sled ride, I convinced Wahidah that we should cover the zoo in our trip as it is one of the most unique zoo in the world; being on arctic circle and all, and not to forget it is fully covered with thick snow! Plus the fact that I absolutely LOVE zoos and parks (Tak caya? Check trip I yang lain, if tak de park; ade zoo, if tak de zoo; ada parks or ada both). I was so thrilled that the zoo trip attire was the first one I pick and decide, wanting to look my best for the huskies, polar bears, lynx, wolverine, arctic fox and all (flip hair). Senangkan nak travel ngan I, bawak jer gi zoo and belikan eskrem. Hhahahahhahahah…

I am excited even before stepping on the 1.5hrs bus ride, if we were to cancel the trip I swear I would mangok 3 tahun (gitew) but everything went smoothly of course, we were early despite the hiccups on where to board the bus but we managed to walk to the bus station nevertheless which looks like ‘not a bus station’, we giggled as we purchase the bus tickets.

Have you been to a zoo all covered with snow? The scene and experience is priceless… all the animals are total different from those we seen in tropical zoo or even those we see in any 4 seasons zoo. Even reading the animals name excite me!

#TravelTips 1 : Buy upfront return tickets from the Bus Station (note : not bus stop tau, but at the bus station!).

#TravelTips 2 : Be earlier at the Bus Station and also when heading back from the zoo. The queue for the bus is long!!! And very limited bus to get to the zoo and back.

#TravelTips 3 : Unfortunately you have to be kiasu when queuing, as there is only that 1 bus for that hour. Give way to the elderly and kids but make sure you are the first to queue, else tertinggal bus.

My first encounter at the zoo was snowy owl, and I was practically jumping up and down padahal burung hantu warna putih jer tapi sebab kat snow hence feel dia lain. I told Wahidah, the snowy owl belongs to Harry Porter. Hahhahahahha…

#TravelTips 4 : Want to impress me? Take me to San Diego Zoo (wish list since 10 years ago). #Eh cam mana ni pun masuk travel tips? Hahhahahhahahha…. Abaikan.

#TravelTips 5 : Tickets to be purchased at the souvenir shop counter, the area is very small so do be civilize and courteous.

 #TravelTips 6 : There are cafĂ©/cafeteria at this small building, you can have lunch here (non-halal).

#Traveltips 7 : As we traveled during winter, we can’t smell anything bad (Tak da bau binatang/hancing etc. Yeay!)

Some of the tracks require us to walk in this condition, being a Malaysian where snow is uncommon (obviously) we gladly walk while busy taking pictures upon pictures, upon more pictures. I was more excited here than I was in Skansen, Sweden. Despite that everything was white, it never deter me to takes hundreds of photos to a point I start asking myself “why?” and wondering whether am I really that weird (Note that the word ‘weird’ appeared more than 3x, now I am beginning to doubt my sanity).

Our second encounter was kinda funny for it was a wild boar which I honestly thought it was strange for it to be showcased here. Then I noticed something different, the wild boar here is more fluffy and since the habitat it was in; thick white snow kinda makes it look cute. Hahhahahahhahahaa…

We then proceed to Lynx, something I look forward to aside from Wolverine. 

When I arrived at the Lync habitat, to my surprise this little creature actually looks so cute with a slight air of diva cum macho-ness. The problem with this macho-diva-lynx is that it simply refuses to look up, annoying much and trust me, I wasn’t alone on this. A bunch of us were trying to get its attention, we snap our fingers, making noises and some even talk to this Scandic lynx but to no avail. Not wanting to waste that much time at this habitat… not knowing what else to do and how best to get its attention hence I did what I thought was best if not better. I gather my courage, prepared my camera and iPhone, hand and leg on standby mode, steadily aimed at the lynx and I said out loud (feeling proud of my idea of course)…


Then I call it again “MEOW… MEOW”

As I did that, my brain begin to process fast, faster than the speed of light, faster that Superman catching a bullet shooting at his forehead, just then it hit me and Wahidah echoed my thoughts.

“MEOW?” Wahidah said.

“Hilang terus ke-macho-an lynx ni, buat malu jer…” Wahidah walked away laughing.

And I stunned. Kannnnnnn….. I said to myself. Yang pegi meow meow tuh apahal, ni bukan kucing kat umah. Imaginary hard and fast facepalm. Malu okay!

It was quite an embarrassment as the crowd behind me was ticklish over my action (and at the 'sound' I made) and I was darn lucky Wahidah was telling me off in Malay instead of English (hahahhahahah…), what else better to do but to move away from the habitat in stealth mode. Did I say malu? Yes. Besar giler kemaluan ini takkala itu. Bluek.

Do you know what happened next?

As I was walking towards the next habitat area, I heard the mat sallehs all was saying...

“MEOW… MEOW… MEOW” to the lynx!!! The same folks that was laughing at me just now!?!

Ek ellaaa…. Korang pun sama lah yek. Copycat sangat! HAHAHHAHAHHAHHAA…

(Next entry sambung cite habitat lain lak, sama gak kemarupannya)

Friday, March 13, 2015

One Thousand Rumah Gadang Village / Nagari Seribu Rumah Gadang

One Thousand Rumah Gadang Village.
Still digesting.

We found out about Nagari Seribu Rumah Gadang or Place with One Thousand Rumah Gadang when Farah accidentally stumble upon it while searching for Twin Lake (Danau Di atas, Danau Di bawah) in South Solok regency. I immediately agreed to the idea of detouring when I found out that Indonesia is planning to propose it as a UNESCO site. As usual, I will agree to anything with the word UNESCO tied to it and visualizing the one thousand rumah gadang does sound thrilling. I kept wondering whether I can climb on any hill or tower to snap a picture from bird’s eye view (high time for me to invest in a drone may be? Hemm….).

Rumah gadang ("Big house") are the traditional homes (Rumah adat) of the Minangkabau (also known as Minang or Padang), an ethnic group indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia. The architecture, construction, internal and external decoration, and the functions of the house reflect the culture and values of the Minangkabau. A rumah gadang serves as a residence and as a hall for family meetings and ceremonial activities. The Minangkabau society is matrilineal, and the rumah gadang is owned by the women of the family who lives there—ownership is passed from mother to daughter.

It is said that once one enters into South Solok province they will be welcomed by a few beautifully crafted rumah gadang namely King Balun Palace (one of the palaces of Kings of Four [Raja nan Empat] in Alam Surambi). Here, visitors can easily find heritage items originated from the Sungai Pagu locals.

Some of the houses are properly labeled.

Along our journey we have seen hundreds if not thousands of rumah gadang, but to see all in one village was definitely something we just could not imagine especially if it was never in our original plan (not that we have much [any] to begin with). The village or pekan is very charming indeed, with night market selling tasteful local delicacies, locals welcoming travelers with their warm (yet curious) smile; lovingly caring for their heritage and custom, while respecting others at the same time. I beginning to wonder perhaps I should spend additional night here.

Well, for those intend to visit this picturesque little village, there are a few activities that you can partake, such as white water rafting, hiking or trekking, picnic by the waterfalls, danau visiting and other historical sites or even culinary activities.

The name

The name of ‘One Thousand Rumah Gadang’ village is given by Meutia Hatta, Women’s Empowerment Minister in Yudhoyono’s first Cabinet from 2004 to 2009, during her trip to the village. The name behind the village suggests assorted kinds of lineage houses based on clan names in the village such as Gajah Maharam, Bodi Chaniago, Koto Piliang and Surambi Aceh. While their buildings remain original thus far, the houses have their own uniqueness with or without stunning carvings on the walls. Regular maintenance is entrusted to younger offspring of each clan staying in the village.

We arrive at Nagari Seribu Rumah Gadang in the evening, almost the entire village are lined up with matrilineal homes. The locals mentioned that this beautiful setting was used for Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck movie (The Sinking of Van der Wijck), adapted from Hamka’s 1930s Indonesian novel of the same name. I was ecstatic as we also covered the surau in Batipuh which was also where TKVDW was shot, not only that, earlier on we visited Maninajau Lake district where Hamka penned few of his best books. I can now truly understand why Hamka found peace in Sumatera; where he crafted his most beautiful novels and thoughts, the last few days has taken me from Pekan Baru to Bukit Tinggi and now to South Solok, and I am still constantly in-awed with god’s greatest unfounded beauty. Deeply hidden from mankind, perhaps it should just stay this way.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ferry experience from Sweden to Estonia

Last day before I head to Tallinn, Estonia.

This came as a surprise to me when I first visit Sweden years back, I found out that I can travel to Estonia via ferry. And at that point, I don’t even know the existence of Estonia, let alone the location of this charming little country (blur giler dak?!?!). When I ask Elaine on Estonia, I remembered she clearly and briefly told me that it is an old medieval like country and that the capital is called Tallinn. Still in a daze, she continued “This is the country that invited Skype!”. Hemmmm…. Me still blur leh. Hahhahahahhah... I bet I annoyed the hell out of Elaine.

During that first visit, there was this promotion going on and the ferry was at RM50 per pax but as you might have guessed it, I missed the chance lar. But this time around, I will not make the same mistake twice, I make sure that Estonia is in my Scandi trip list (waima diarang bukan negara Scandinavia, gwe ngak peduli!). I told myself, the next time I am in Sweden, I will make a point to take the cruise to Estonia. And here I am, all excited for my next destination. Estonia. And I paid few hundreds jugak lah for this cruise, ada sedikit menyesal disini.

Bye-bye Stockholm.

In order to save accommodation cost, we took the overnight ferry, arriving Tallinn in the morning with the hope of watching sunrise on a Baltic Sea. Not.

We were so lazy and the weather is so very very cold that we purposely miss it; convincing ourselves that maybe there wasn’t any sunrise due to cloudy day. 

Few things that fascinates me, our ticket which looks like a normal Malaysia parking ticket is also our key card. The fact that theirs is made of paper instead of the normal hotel plastic key card type intrigues me. Other than that, our B-room comes with WC and TV, it is fairly small but cozy enough for 2 of us; we have to close/keep one bed when performing our solat. Oh yah, there's no mini fridge what-so-ever, I mean… not that we need one with the weather this cold. Overall, I am pretty happy with my room.

Other facilities they have is supermarket (besar lah jugak), casino, few types of restaurant (we can only afford cafeteria – sedih giler ok), clothing store, sauna, playroom for kids, etc. FREE wifi is available ONLY at public places so you’ll see people linger around (even on floor) in the spirit of getting connected.

It was 15 hours journey and I pretty much enjoyed it being my first overnight cruise experience (the one in Te Anau was on a small yacht), as much as I know what to expect but the fact that I am in one and doing it on Scandinavia land makes it really cool (riak takkesudah. Hahhahahha….). The only drawback was that the upper deck it was super freezing cold, like Frozen movie cold, cold.

Unloading Optimus Prime.

Dah sampai!

There are a few ferry companies that you can op for, we took Tallink Silja Line.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ljubljana Castle / Ljubljanski Grad, Slovenia

Castle. Castle. Castle.
Princessy much?

I am beginning to realize that this trip I took in August 2014 was full of hills and castle, but… where’s my prince charming lah? Ahaks.

It was almost a must, to hike up the nearest hill or building in the city to capture the city or town view, been doing this a lot in few of the recent trip, I could have sworn it’s a trend now. Or maybe it have been (?), just that I was too caught up with the city to notice, nevertheless, a hike in great weather with new surrounding is definitely welcoming and refreshing.

Many might not know that back in 1991, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country. The previous Yugoslavia state consist of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, hence the history, culture and heritage are truly diversified. Having occupied by Germany, Italy, Croatia, and Hungary thus one can only understand why Slovenia is heavily influenced these country. Aside from this, Slovenia also shares many commonalities with their neighbouring country such as Austria in terms of architecture and cuisine; among others.

Viewing Tower offers spectacular views of the old town.

For those that prefers an easy way up, one can also take the Ljubljana Castle funicular to the top of Castle Hill which started its operation in 2006. 

Located majestically on Castle Hill in Ljubljana; overlooking the famous old town, this medieval fortress was built to defend the against the invasion of Ottoman Empire invasion which later was turn into an arsenal and a military hospital, a prison as well as poor families settlement. Now, owned by Municipality of Ljubljana, it is being converted into a city museum. 35 years of later; in 1990s, it finally being opened and used for weddings and events and of course a museum when they also hold a number of exhibitions throughout the years.

Truthfully, I was rather a tired from the climb despite that I did enjoy myself immensely. We lepak-ed by the courtyard, drink and munch some left over titbits. There were people practising fire-dance, I think there is a performance later that night or perhaps over the weekend unfortunately we have to give it a miss as we depart the day after. Families just hanging out with their kids enjoying the view, food, weather and exhibition... a bunch of local and international travelers wandered and explored the castle before heading back to the old town.

This are shows and performance being played at the courtyard during the warmer month.

National Geographic exhibition during our trip to Ljubljana.

Some of the path around the castle.

I don't know how we did it but we somehow came down from a different path we took, I think this is at the outskirt of old town... Kinda easy actually, all you need to do is follow the sound from the town. Ahaks.

For opening hours and entrance fee, please CLICK here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...