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Mini Escapism : Kemaman + Kuantan - Part 1


Two of my cousins got married last weekend. Ma mentioned since early this month so we had to pushed aside other plans and went back to Pekan, Pahang together. They travelled that Friday while Af and I travelled back to Pekan on that Saturday morning because we worked on Friday as usual. It's been more than half a year since I went back - it was actually back on our wedding day last year. Ha :p

That morning before we started our journey, I visited their apartment to see how Awan was doing - she was left alone since a day ago. She greeted me with a lazy eyes because it was still early in the morning and no one was there - lazy bum. I re-added her food and water before bidding her adieu. My eyes and nose were all watery from all of her furs that I'm still allergic to. 

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It took around 3-4 hours to reach Pekan. We stopped by at R&R Temerloh for our late breakfast, there were a lot of people wearing nice dresses and kurungs. Perhaps they were all on their way to wedding as well :D We used Waze because honestly, I don't really know the road to Pekan - but I know the town when I get there. So Waze led us to use Lebuhraya Tun Razak that was still incomplete, with small road and packed with huge lorries and flying dirt :F It was way dangerous than the road that I usually took when I went back home - but I didn't mentioned that to Ma of course.

We finally reached the wedding by lunch time. Ma was about to leave because we were late :D We managed to freshen up and headed to the wedding. My sisters and Wati were there as well, while my brother *chose* to leave us to celebrate his birthday with a bunch of his old friends in Langkawi :F



After the wedding we started our next mini escapism to Kemaman, Terengganu
This time, our mini escapism with the family.

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It took around 1 hour plus to arrive from Pekan to Kemaman.

Aja booked a homestay house in Kemaman for 1 day, 1 night. The house with 3 bedrooms and 2 toilets. Wati and Aja in the first room, Ra and Ma in the master bedroom while Af and I just sprawled in front of the tv in the living room instead of sleeping in the back room. We just took out 2 single tilam from the room. The back room was too creepy for me. 

That evening after we checked in, we went to the famous Warung Aziz Satar to buy some foods. The biggest difference between my usual escapisms with AF and with family is the food.  Aja and Wati are the biggest food hunter that I've known. They love food and they do travel to places for food. So we bought a lot of foods here : Sata, pais ikan, pulut panggang, otak-otak, keropok lekor, coconut & sugar cane water. For the 6 of us =.=

The foods were quite affordable than what we have in the city - but drinks was a bit too pricy for me, imagine paying RM 8 for 3 glasses of plastic cup drinks. Here is the map to the location : 



We brought the food to Pantai Teluk Mak Nik to have a evening picnic at the beach. 

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Pantai Teluk Mak Nik *or the gedik name : Monica Bay.

There were a lot of people at the beach. No one was swimming or playing in the water because the tide was a bit strong and seemed dangerous. Usually waves that I see were just those tiny cute ones, these waves were the strong ones. No wonder there were a lot of news reports and warnings about the strong winds at Pantai Timur lately.



So while they sat and enjoyed the food and the nice view. Af and I went on a sunset hunting. Note : In Pantai Timur, the sunset should be the opposite of the beach, but we can see the sunrise if we are lucky. We managed to get several nice shots near the really tall lalang area. 


The wind and waves were quite strong, with a nice cold weather. I don't want to imagine how those wind and waves on a really bad weather. It must be really awful :(

Click on the image for a panoramic view :


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That night, everyone was super exhausted. Ma slept off after Maghrib. Af watched some Chinese movie on TV while I read The 40 Rules of Love next to him, and Ra busy texting with Aiza next to me. Aja and Wati finally decided to buy some food from another famous stall that sells Meggi Ketam. I heated some left over foods from the wedding.

Everyone slept early, I guess we weren't as young as we thought we are anymore :D

Mini Escapism : The 9th - Video


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Here is a video compilation by Af for our previous roadtrip early this month :


Book : Thoughts and Elif Shafak's Fiction


The thing that worries me has always been the static silence of my thought. If I'm not able to hear the voice that helps me to write, when I stare at the monitor for far too long, and I can't open up to things inside. Some people feel like they are bound to their private thoughts, keeping it away from the public - in search of their own serenity. As for me, what's written here, or in my mind, have always been one. Some people can see what's not been written, and some people can't even see things in front of their eyes.  The one who decides on the mystery of things aren't us from the start. So I don't mind sharing, because I am as curious as strangers towards what's there in my thoughts. This is a journey of finding myself as a writer and I share my humble thoughts and present life here, for all of you, the one that has been in your personal life-searching journey as well :) May all of us find peace deep inside.

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Current book : The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

My previous book that I just finished reading this week is Elif Shafak's The 40 Rules of Love. I got it as a present, little did I know part of the fiction is telling a story on Shams Al-Tabriz and Rumi, the Sweet Blasphemy and sufism. I don't know how much of it is fiction but I love the flexibility in having it 50% true and 50% fiction. I've always see life as that, non-taken too seriously, or putting up extreme rules either right or wrong, or as a mystery that needs to be solved. 

I love the questions, it somehow makes me feel like I'm alive and I'm thinking and feeling. I don't really mind if there are questions with no possible answers, or questions that might trigger your faith to wobble aside for awhile. It actually make me feel more human. As Shams Al-Tabriz did in Rumi's life - asking questions to let Rumi wander in the void that he never reached before. The beauty as he changed from being a well-respectful scholar to a dervish and a well-known poet.

I've never thought about the importance of having someone like Shams Al-Tabriz in our life, until I read the story. It makes Rumi's poems more meaningful and beautiful, once you see the hidden stories behind it. One layer at a time.

A great book for people that have a lot of unanswered questions :

A photo posted by azreenchan (@azreenchan) on


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Previous book read in Jan 2016 : In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut, a South African writer. The story is divided into 3 sections : "The Follower", "The Lover" and "The Guardian". The writer went on a backpacking to several countries and met different people in each places that changed his life. His life as a follower in one journey, as a lover in another and as a guardian in the last journey before heading back home.

I've never heard of Damon Galgut before this. I found the book at the previous BBW that sold for RM 5. So I just bought it - knowing that it is about life-searching journey.

Little Things 216 : Life as a Game-Watcher for PS4


Af is a gamer as much as I am a reader.
We decided to respect and understand each other's obsession : that means I can buy how many and how often books or comics or travelogues as I want - and he can buy his games :p Over these couple of months, he tried so many games *even though he never notices this and claims that he never get enough of it :p. There are games that I particularly like and watch the whole way, and there are games that weren't really my type - especially with a lot of shooting & mission-based open world.

Personal favorite :

Until Dawn - This is one of the latest game that he bought this month. It is a horror-adventure game - the one that give the player to choose their story line, so the player can play several times to see other outcomes. In Af's first game-play, 3 out of 8 characters survived the night in Blackwood Forest. There were a lot of horror-creepy-shocking elements in the game : I remember we screamed together with the character in between scenes because it was too shocking, twice ! =.=  It was quite disturbing and intense at times, and I was cutting stickers most of the time as distraction.

Af played for several nights - at weekend and after work until midnight. It was like a movie session for me, and we got all exhausted after several hours of intense frights so we had to cut it into several nights instead of playing it straight in one shot. But it was really good !


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Last of Us - This was played by AF last year, as mentioned in my previous post. This game is still my favorite game so far. I tried the game last September, thinking that I might give it a try - Af actually encouraged me. But almost half way through, I stopped. I found it too intense and stressful for me to walk in dark alleys, abandoned buildings and tunnels full with zombies and awful people that want to kill me - even for a game. It was way too realistic for me. There were times when my hands got too shaky when I had to get pass the bad people and the infected :F Watching Af game-play it is fun enough but for me to having to experience it myself? Phewww.

I was quite attached with the story line and characters. 
The game took some time to finish because it was quite long. It was a mixture of survival, horror, relationship, and adventure. The ending was so sad, I almost cried. I still remember that weekend when Af finally finished the game and we both waited for the credit until the end. T^T Highly recommended. Definitely in dilemma of wanting them to do Last of Us 2 or not.


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Life is StrangeI think I really like watching games with engaging stories and multiple choices - it let me feel like I’m helping with the decision as well even though Af plays the game and I watch. Sometimes I do help him decide, and sometimes I rather Af decides all the tough choices so he can be responsible for what comes next :D

This game is a decision based game : about this girl that can bend and rewind the time to help her avoid problems and the future destruction of her town. So the player has to choose and decide what to do in each scene. Compared to Until Dawn, it is more straight-forward. Players can communicate with other characters to actually have a future affect in their relationship. So for example, if you play as a bitchy person, people will refuse to help you in the future and you are nice and all, perhaps they will give you some clues. 

 The game is divided to 5 episodes and it took several months as well for Af to finish it. I love the whole soundtrack for the game.




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There are more games that I didn't really have the patience to watch. I found Assasin Creed, Dragon Age and The Witcher are almost the same in the open-world based environment, I guess it is not engaging enough for people to watch other people game-play it unless they are the one exploring.

Least Favorite PS4 games :
The Witcher, Assassin Creed, Call of  Duty, Uncharted,
Watch Dog, Final Fantasy, FIFA, Dragon Age.

:D

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PS : I guess for now, Af's secret mission is to find games that I would enjoy so that I can sit next to him and 'teman' him especially in horror games. It usually take 1-2 scenes to know whether I'll be sitting and watching again afterwards :p The first impression is the hardest to impress, as people would say :D

Mini Escapism : Sunset at Lumut


Kedah - Perak - Selangor - Part 4 :

Our road-trip was soon ending. We reached Lumut on the 3rd day from Perak. There was nothing much on the road because we were heading to the beach side far from all those green mountains. There were only plantations along the road and the radio signal was getting worse by then so we were both bored. 

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We arrived at Lumut after almost 2 hours, thinking that we might check-in way earlier than we thought. I was wrong - the map shared in Agoda was not updated by the hotel because they just opened it for 2 months, so we were lost. We couldn't find the hotel, we tried to call the hotel but the number was incomplete. We turned several times and I was super cranky because we were wasting so much time - I even thought that maybe it was a fake Agoda hotel =,= Until I found a number to a hotel with almost the same name in Lumut and asked about the location of the new hotel. So we wasted 2 hours because they didn't update their map and contact number.

For that, we missed Marina Island and Pangkor Island also just across the beach D:

But, the little hotel was really nice. It was located just in front of the beach, and the hotel was really new with 'congratulation' flowers still at their reception desk. All the receptionist were nice and friendly, the room was quite small but cozy - they put up a LCD tv so high almost reaching the ceiling, which was inconvenient but I guess they were saving up the space. By far, it was the best little hotel we paid for in our road-trip. It was also on promotional price : RM 84 for deluxe room with 2 free breakfast, who would say no to that :D

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For the unofficial closing for our road-trip, we had a nice bright yellow sunset at the beach :





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All in all, our 4 days, 1070km road-trip in our mini car was successful.
We will plan for our next road-trip in another few more months - to let AF collect his AL :D And in between that, we are planning for more mini escapisms on random weekend and one big escapism to Cambodia in April :F


Mini Escapism : Gunung Rapat, Ipoh + Kek Look Tong


Kedah - Perak - Selangor - Part 3 :

It was our 3rd day of the road-trip. We were supposed to head to Lumut that day but there was another place that Af wanted to show me in Ipoh among other places he was so excited about but couldn't have enough time to explore - that is Mount Rapat. So we went there after our quick brunch at Stadium Ipoh before heading out to our next destination.

It was a Monday, the Chinese New Year celebration.  
What I forgot to expect was : it was CNY and people go to the temple to pray. Kek Look Tong temple is located right in the cave so to visit the mountains, cave and lake would mean to visit the temple as well. There were a lot of people, when I mean 'a lot' that means families, friends, the whole crowds were actually there. A team of Rela were taking care of the parking and crowds, some polices sat near by taking care of the place and all. There were only several tourists around, including us.

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The mountains were huge, tall and green. It was majestic, very beautiful. The cave was big, the unique naturally curves and formations were really impressive. I can't imagine how many years it took for the cave to form such beauties. T^T There were a lot of religious statues as well. 

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There was a huge garden with 2 big ponds, nice pathway, scattering monkeys, various flowers and mini statues. It was already mid-afternoon, so the place was quite hot, most people stayed in the cave but we went down to look around the garden. I noticed that people were hardly there out in the sun :p




I saw that there were several more temples around the mountains near the main road, but this one was hidden in a residential area around Mount Rapat. Use navigation application and you won't be lost in the way :)


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Here's the map for you :


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Mini Escapism : Gunung Lang, Ipoh


Kedah - Perak - Selangor - Part 2 :

The first place Af brought me after we checked in was Mount Lang not quite far from where we stayed. We used Waze  most of the time to shorten our time in finding ways and fast routes - so we used a lot of small roads instead of the city's busy road. The recreational park located at Jalan Kuala Kangsar, just Waze the destination and it will bring you there :D

The rocky limestone hills were huge ! Look at this one picture on the right where I stand right in front of hill. Tres petite compared to the hill, no? 


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We had to buy a RM 3 speed boat ticket to go across the lake and reach the other side of the park; between all of the mountains. So there's a park in the middle of all the mountains and the only entrace is the lake. It was so cool. It was also the spot where they shot the famous 'Sepet' movie, the one with Orked and Jason :D


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I saw one huge labi-labi taking its breath before it went down into the lake again. The hills, the birds, the big lake, the greenery, T^T I cannot tahan. This is yet another city in my wish list ! Perhaps when I'm much much older and a multi-millionaire, I'll make one mini 'The Banjaran' for my family and I.



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Here is a panaromic view from the tower we hiked :


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We headed Padang Polo right afterwards to see the field and sunset. There were hundreds of people, kids, families, friends, they were actually having their outing session on public holiday. This is a huge field with many little stalls along the road. In the KL city, we can see this many crowds probably only in KLCC and malls :p And because I hardly go out to crowded places much especially on public holiday, that was quite new to me. 

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Mini Escapism : Kedah - Perak - Selangor


Kedah - Perak - Selangor - Part 1 :

It's a long holiday !  
2 months back I received a wedding card from my colleague, Sha. AF and I always find reasons to explore new places and go on a mini escapism, so we decided to go to her wedding in Kedah. Of all the places and all the wedding that I missed in my life, suddenly I chose to go :D

We started our journey early morning on last Saturday around 6.30 am thinking that we might be able to avoid the traffic, considering it's a festive season. We were wrong. Waze's time estimation was around 4-5 hours, but we arrived after 9 hours on the road. The traffic was really-really bad. There were 4 accidents along the way, by the time we arrived at the wedding, it was almost over. We greeted her father and he said that Sha already left for her outing photo-shooting. So we went to eat and left shortly afterwards :o

The wedding took place in the paddy field area near Mount Keriang, so we took the opportunity to visit the place after the wedding. We just simply visited the recreational park to see the place thinking that we might go on a hike the next morning because I was starting to feel my 'usual' throbbing pain in my head. That 'famous' head-ache that I still don't know the cause yet. So we headed to our hotel around 20 minutes away and checked in.

I slept in for almost 12 hours.   
The headache disappeared and we decided to head to Perak after breakfast instead. We were ready for our road-trip and planned to make several stops before arriving at our next destination : Ipoh. So it was a really short stay in Kedah. I wish we have more time to take nice sunset photos alongside of the paddy field but it wasn't in the season.

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To enjoy nice scenery and explore new little kampungs during our journey from Alor Setar to KL, we used old roads instead of the highway. It took a bit longer but I'm glad we did. 

My favorites are : 
  • We took almost 360' circle around Mount Jerai in Yan because I wanted to stop by near the beach right at the mountain.
  • The first time I saw ikan belacak (mudskipper) in pantai Murni in Yan. I've never saw one ever in my life until that time we stopped in Yan. 
  • 10 years anniversary for Hot fm brought us all the famous songs in those 10 years, it's a perfect playlist for the road-trip
  • The paddy fields along side of the road from Yan to Butterworth
  • The hills and mountains on our way to Ipoh were magnifique ! I can't even write enough about the magnificent view we got along the road. There weren't even pictures big enough to show how beautiful they were. Lucky northern people, perhaps they don't even notice what they are missing.
  • Chatty AF - when we visited all his childhood places while he was growing up.
  • Mount Rapat + Mount Lang
  • Sunset in Lumut
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Our path on the 1st day :
Highway - KL to Alor Setar > Gunung Keriang

Our path on the 2nd day :
Alor Setar > Gurun > Yan > Tikam Batu > Butterworth > Bandar Ipoh > Gunung Lang > Padang Polo. 

Our path on the 3rd day :
Bandar Ipoh > Gunung Rapat > Lumut 

Our path on the 4th day :
Lumut > Sg Besar > Sekinchan > Tg. Karang > KL > Home

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Summary :
  • We travelled around 1070 km on car in 4 days 3 nights.
  • 3 different 2-stars hotel booked on Agoda ranging RM 70 - RM 95 per night
  • We spent around RM 250 - RM 300 per person for foods, accommodation, gas and tolls. 
  • Total : RM 270 (accommodation) , RM 100 (tolls) , RM 130 (gas-return)
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Sunsets :
We missed the first sunset because we were both exhausted from the 9 hours ride. We had a nice sunset at Padang Polo, Ipoh on the second day. That was the field where Af used to train for parkour during his younger years :D We got a great sunset view at the beach in Lumut on the third day. 

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Note :
If you are an escapee like us, waiting for chances to explore on weekends or public holidays or any random time because of  your commitment to work/family/school, be a part of us. We put up a car sticker; 'Eskapi' on our car's window. Promised we use the car for a great cause of exploring new places, road-trips, new destination :) It's never too near to find new places to explore.

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Work Related : Etsy Air Mails


My little hobby still picks up customers from all over the world :D

Training to improve your Wacom tablet skill shouldn't be all serious and work-work. I always find illustrating random things that I like helps me make an effort to finish up any illustration.

And to make any practice worth the time and effort, I sell it in my Etsy - because why not?  If I try to create something entirely up for sell, I would definitely be having a mental-block, just because I want to create something really perfect - which is ridiculous la kan? =.=


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It marks my 319th sales :) 
I am so happy 


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Little Things 215 : Sharks in Disguise


This would be the 3rd-4th year for my 40k ASB loan :

  1. I've been paying around RM 250 every month since I made that loan. 
  2. I just checked the balance for my loan last Dec 2015, which is : RM 38,900
  3. That means for all those months + years I've been paying, I only managed to pay almost 3% - RM 1,100 only from my total debt. The remaining goes to pay the interest, which is around RM 170 per month.
  4. I've been playing this game wrong.
The trick is to pay ridiculously higher than they ask for every month, the faster you pay off the loan, the better. Or you'll just be another one of the victim. Even if you never miss paying for it every single month or spend the yearly dividend. Sneaky sneaky. 


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On lighter note :
I managed to pay 26% from my education loan. 
Few more years to go.

Mini Escapism : Putrajaya + Mines Lantern Festival *video update*


I guess this is Af's way to treat my exhaustion from work. I know I've been a bit too whiny lately - now I understand why people say woman talks too much :D 

I'm starting to wonder my validity in staying as professional as I claimed I am. Whether it's true that I'm taking too much time in submitting my works, whether I do perform, whether I'm giving my full efforts during the working hours. Or not? All my hard work, almost 90% time spent focusing in ticking the finished tasks, all hours spent on the wobbly chair, those hours of missed lunches and exhausted mind were all just my imagination? 

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We went to Putrajaya last weekend. I spent some time sitting and sketching new illustrations for me to illustrate that night while Af went for a short parkour training. We've been lazying off a bit, gaining a bit of happy fats and feeling a bit 'tepu'. 

As always, Putrajaya has always been a huge spot for us to wander around. 



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That night, we stopped by at Mines. They are having the biggest lantern festival since last Dec until the end of this Feb *if I'm not mistaken. We didn't use the promotional tickets we got from the previous BBW tho. We just went around the area - it doesn't seem worth to spend RM 35 to see the lights. You will understand if you personally go there and see the area yourself. 

So these are images taken by two cheapskate jakunist outside of the place :




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And here's a video done by Af from the lantern festival :D


ESCAPISM #8 from Farikarim on Vimeo.
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And weekend spent well. 
Extended to another off-day for Hari Wilayah :D



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Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. ― Apple Inc.
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Plant Project : The Survivors



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Along side another one plant at Ma's and pothos at LGM, these two are the remaining survivor from 2014's plant project. It has been almost 2 years and MAHA is coming again - I am ready with experience and knowledge this time ! I'm most likely to buy more air plants because they are the easiest to grow and they only need twice a week of watering. Also plants that can survive on zeolites - because I can leave it for several days without daily watering. So I don't have to worry so much if we go on any random mini escapism or road-trips :D

Look at that adorable air plant in the hanging glass bubble with Chi. 
It grew so much