Saturday, April 30, 2016

Moscow - Glance through visited places

Duration of stay: 23rd till 24th October 2015

Moscow is the last city stop of our 4th leg. We did not over-stressed ourselves with hectic itineraries, knowing clearly that we shall return to the city again to continue a special train ride “Trans-Siberian Railway” from Moscow to Beijing. The Trans-Siberian Railway traverses nearly 9,300 kilometers of Russian territory to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. So, our places of visit are rather short if we were to compare with other visited cities thus far. We arrived at Moscow Kurskaya railway station vide Sapsan train, took a cab to Element Hotel, check-in, had dinner and headed to the Red Square. It was a cloudy night and due to some unexcused reason, I failed to take a panorama view of the Red Square. Below photo was snapped by the local website exactly what I pictured in my head for an entry photo. I hope the owner would not mind me sharing it here in my blog.

Panorama photo by

Our itineraries includes St Basil’s Cathedral which is located in the Red Square besides visiting Kremlin’s Wall & Tower and Moscow Kremlin. We visited the red square on the night we arrived as it is not very far to reach from the hotel we stayed. These place, the square is a must visit destination when in Moscow, being famously known as a collective red buildings in the red square. We have included a visit to few important Moscow Metro Stations which have been shared by few of Malaysian travelers in their website that very much caught our attention. We are both truly fall in love with a beauty of those stations.

St Basil Cathedral

Moscow is a capital and the largest city of Russia, with 12.2 million residents within the city limits and 16.8 million within the urban area. It possessed the status of a federal city in Russia, situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia. It is the most populated inland city in the world. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders more than any other major city even before its expansion in 2012.

Kremlin's Wall & Tower

The city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the present contemporary Russian Federation. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as a home of Russian artists, scientists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums, academic and political institutions and theaters.

The most beautiful Metro Station in Moscow

Moscow is the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city fortress that is today the residence of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city. You may have seen what featured in the red square from numerous Hollywood movies. I had a dream to visit the Red Square after watching those movies too, which usually wanted to portray how bad the Russians are. It does created some bad thought in my mind for a while but after my arrival, I eliminated those feeling absolutely. Russians are friendly people just like many others in this part of the world, trust me.

Passing by city parks while searching for 3 listed Metro Station by Anne

The city is served by a transit network, which includes 4 international airports, 9 railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground rapid transit systems in the world, the Moscow Metro. Moscow Metro is the 4th largest in the world and largest outside of Asia in terms of passenger numbers, and the busiest in Europe. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations. Visiting the Metro stations is another must should you  have arrived in the city, I must say.

The deep escalator in 1 of the station

Well, you may see now that the above are all practically places that we've visited during our 2 days 1 night stay in the city. Due to a rush to reach the hotel on our arrival, we have carelessly accepted a private taxi which charge extremely high rate. Let's not elaborate here. It's better to speak or write good memories rather than unpleasant one as those unpleasant incidents would not happened without Allah's blessing. Suffice to say, Allah has protected and ensured our safety during that long 16 days on our 4th leg trip which we are more grateful and feeling blessed.

While having lunch at the mall within the Red Square, we've been kindly approached by a Russian lady on the next table offering her help to take our photos. She was with a friend and their children having lunch too. Both ladies are very beautiful. We also met a Philippines, working in Moscow as a cleaner that approached us after he saw us having difficulties communicating. English is not a common speaking language in Russia, so he has volunteered to took us around, changing metro lines to another so that we can find those 3 stations in our list. He too has spoken good words about the Russian and the city that he is living. Thanks would not be enough to extend our gratitude, hence, I pray that Allah shall give whatever they hope for in this life. Thank you and thanks to you who read this too, who had come and visit my blog. You had inspire me to write and not give up on writing.

Till later ... Have a nice weekend everyone! Peace!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ammie's Farewell Lunch at Inaho Sushi, The Curve

Lunch date: 21st April 2014

We chose something else at Ammie's request, i.e. Tony Roma's but we finally end up at Inaho Sushi Restaurant which made everyone's very happy in the end. The restaurant is located at an address, G41A, Ground Floor, The Curve, Mutiara Damansara, No. 6, PJU 7/3, Petaling Jaya. They have 2 outlets only in KL, which you may search and find more about them from their official website, The main one is at the rooftop of Sky Park One City and the other one was where we took Ammie for her farewell lunch, The Curve. The website clearly qualify that the place is Pork Free dining place, meaning no park is being cooked at the restaurant, offers only casual dine Japanese authentic cuisine. From Sushi to Soba, Sashimi to Kushiyaki, Inaho serves Japanese suisine in a casual setting. Our Japanese Master Chef and his team of chefs have created a unique, pork-free menu that serves the true clarity and richness of Japanese cuisine, minus the fuss.

I could have this daily as my set meal, my most favorite salmon sashimi, which becoming the boy;s favorite healthy meal

Tasted Saba meat from Ismail plate

Chahan, fried rice, RM10 part of with Tempura set at RM36

Sanma Set, RM36

Saba Set, RM36

Chicken Katsu set, RM26

It would be okay if I can have this set, Chahan, RM10 and fresh salmon, which came in separate set

Our small team member

The girls took my phone and duck selfie.. I have lots of them now in my phone 

Our chief surveyor with his Ramen Gyoza set, RM26

Farah was smitten by Naim's presence who sat next to her

A must group photo before leaving the restaurant

Remarks: I will write separately of how Ammie came into my life and we are both sisters in heart.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Abraham's Prayer, Al-Quran 14:35-41

In this short entry, I'm not going to write, copy and paste the history of Abraham that is known to us all since we were young, a story from the Holy Books. For faster refresh of your mind, you may click the link that I provided here from my favorite website, Wikipedia about Abraham in Islam

Read more about Abraham's cenotaph in Cave of the Patriarchs

Abraham is known as Ibrahim ibn Azar or father of the prophets. The story of him was detailed in the book of Genesis. In the Quran, there's a dedicated surah under his name containing 52 ayat (verses). Surah Ibrahim came as a reminder to the people of the book about the important to always remember that Allah's promise is real, hence, do not misled from the Holy's Book teaching and make sure to pray hard to be granted a straight path from Allah. Unlike Genesis, which tells the details of Abraham's lineage, surah Ibrahim has laid down 5 verses of only his prayer since the Old Testament has its detail, being part of the 5 Holy Books, obligated to read by a Muslim too (enlighten yourself the oath as a Muslim to understand why I said obligation). I have highlighted the most important reminder for us all, no matter what we are, Muslim, Christian or Jewish or even non-believer, let us all return to Him:-

[35] Remember Abraham said: "O my Lord! make this city one of peace and security: and preserve me and my sons from worshiping idols.
[36] "O my Lord! they have indeed led astray many among mankind; He then who follows my (ways) is of me, and he that disobeys me, but Thou art indeed Of forgiving, Most Merciful.
[37]"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.
[38] "O our Lord! truly Thou dost know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven.
[39] "Praise be to Allah, Who hath granted unto me in old age Isma'il and Isaac: for truly my Lord is He, the Hearer of Prayer!
[40] O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my Prayer.
[41] O our Lord! cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness - me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established!

In Malay translation:-

 [35] Dan (ingatlah) ketika Nabi Ibrahim berdoa dengan berkata: "Wahai Tuhanku! jadikanlah negeri Makkah ini negeri yang aman, dan jauhkanlah daku dan anak-anakku dari perbuatan menyembah berhala.
[36] Wahai Tuhanku, berhala-berhala itu telah menyebabkan sesat banyak di antara umat manusia. Oleh itu, sesiapa yang menurutku (dalam Islam yang menjadi peganganku) maka ia adalah dari golonganku; dan sesiapa yang menderhaka kepadaku (dengan menyalahi ugamaku), maka sesungguhnya engkau Maha Pengampun, lagi Maha Mengasihani (kiranya ia insaf dan bertaubat).
[37] "Wahai Tuhan kami! Sesungguhnya aku telah menempatkan sebahagian dari zuriat keturunanku di sebuah lembah (Tanah Suci Makkah) yang tidak tanaman padanya, di sisi rumahMu yang diharamkan mencerobohinya. Wahai Tuhan kami, (mereka ditempatkan di situ) supaya mereka mendirikan sembahyang (dan memakmurkannya dengan ibadat). Oleh itu, jadikanlah hati sebahagian dari manusia tertarik gemar kepada mereka, (supaya datang beramai-ramai ke situ), dan kurniakanlah rezeki kepada mereka dari berbagai jenis buah-buahan dan hasil tanaman, semoga mereka bersyukur.
[38] "Wahai Tuhan kami! Sesungguhnya Engkau mengetahui akan apa yang kami sembunyikan dan apa yang kami zahirkan; dan tiada sesuatupun di langit dan di bumi, yang tersembunyi kepada Allah!
[39] "Segala puji tertentu bagi Allah Yang telah mengurniakan kepadaku semasa aku tua: Ismail dan Ishak. Sesungguhnya Tuhanku Maha Mendengar dan Memperkenan doa permohonan.
[40] "Wahai Tuhanku! Jadikanlah daku orang yang mendirikan sembahyang dan demikianlah juga zuriat keturunanku. Wahai Tuhan kami, perkenankanlah doa permohonanku.
[41] "Wahai Tuhan kami! Berilah ampun bagiku dan bagi kedua ibu bapaku serta bagi orang-orang yang beriman, pada masa berlakunya hitungan amal dan pembalasan" 

Remarks: Surrender to Allah with absolute heart was the message that Prophet Ibrahim wanted to emphasize as when he left his family (Hajar and Ismail), they have nothing there, not even a water source. He was adamant that once both of them pray and submit unconditionally to Allah, then the help will come. That was how Zamzam Well was discovered from the spot thirstier infant Ismail scraped the land with his feet while crying. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy 25 Years Anniversary, dear Husband

Dear Husband,

Fate has brought you to me and we wedded on this date, 25 years ago. I have written before in this blog of how I met and married you, "the story of us - our wedding". And on our 19th wedding anniversary, about 6 years ago, I've written another entry about, "how much can you love a man". Admittedly, it was my life turning point where Allah has waken me up in beginning of 2012 to take a pause, re-accessed of what was the purpose of my existence in this life and repent. Allah has safe me from getting too far lost in the wild. To start with, He asked me to return to you. You were always there at the same spot, loving me unconditionally, supporting me without questioning of why oh why I made all those decisions, right or wrong. You held me onto you when I made error, when I was always in so much anger and insane mode due to my situation. 

We both knew of our opposite attraction before and after our love story was about to begin. But we both has been accepting and accommodating all our flaws and differences as we complete each other as one couple, a husband and a wife, lovers and true best friend for life in that way. These days, either you or I shall awaits for our return in the evening and the first person that we've seen in the morning. We shared almost everything without doubts, happiness, despair, agony, sickness and everything else for the matter. There were nights that we merely spent listening to songs, not talking, savoring peace in bed. Most important, we knew that there are things that we cannot take too deep to our heart as it was beyond our reach. We leave to God's will and love whilst wait patiently for the solution. It does came, the solution I mean. Like when he sent a buyer for this house that meet all our requirement.

Staying this far in marriage and in love is not an easy task. We passed by so many obstacles. We are now enjoying a sweetness of that, feeling bless each day. We understand now the meaning of marriage. At the onset, I have planned for this love letter since a month ago. I chose the photo firstly. Of all the photos that I have with you in my collection, the one that I love most was when you lock your hands in mine and our feet touch at the sofas. But for this entry, I chose the one that was shared in my Facebook as those are too special for me to share with others. These are the old ones that we snapped during our travel.

Argh, there's too much to write. But I suddenly no longer feel it important to pen down what's on my mind. Most importantly you knew and witnessed my changing process thus far, from the worst person on the universe to a slightly better person. I now able to smile and apologies sincerely without barrier as those coming straight from the peace within. Yes, Allah has finally granted the thing that I seek for since I went all the way to find the truth about Him, years ago. The answer is in me. Once I changed, everyone around me will change too. Speak only good things, leave the bad unspoken, buried immediately. Allah has answered my prayer in His beautiful way. I found Him and I found peace.

The last thing I wish to say is thank you for being such a wonderful friend, lover and husband to me. Thank you for proving that no one should never lose hope and trust in the power of du'a. I sincerely asking so much from Allah in my prayer for you, for us and for the children. I saw all that granted one by one without questions while I'm still breathing. Alhamdulillah is not even enough to say my gratitude to Him. And I know that I have to strive more to ensure His acceptance after I pass which I want you by my side. I'm aiming and taking all necessary step towards that. I now able to leave the past, others without looking back. They are now history. 

I believe in us, the love that we have for us both to grow old together. Let us be the one and only important person, by the grace of Allah to stay truthful to this relationship till the end of our life. Let this marriage be bless by Him, the one and only omnipresence that we worship. Let's enjoying every little bit that has left before meeting Him. 

I will share our couple song in your Facebook today just to bring memories of 26 years in love and 25 years in marriage. Cheers to many more years to come dear husband! I love you undoubtedly!

Yours truly

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

St Petersburg Parks and Gardens

Date of visit: 22nd October 2015

Sceneries at the parks and gardens during autumn are simply breathtaking. I was impatient to share some of the photos that I snapped from the trip, hence, as soon as I came home, I straightaway create a special entry in my blog. You may read them again here, the last day of October month 2015 where I shared few photos of Anne and I mingled at the park that separates the St Isaac Cathedral and the famous Bronze Horseman. We were there while waiting to enter St Isaac Cathedral on our last day in St Petersburg. Before moving on to the final city of the 4th leg, I wish to share some articles and links from my favorite website, Wikipedia in this entry accompanied with more of my favorite photos. 

Parks and fencing that separate the National Museum with the Church of the spilled blood, no. 1favorite

Saint Petersburg is a home to numerous parks and gardens, some of the most famous of which are situated in the southern suburbs, including but not limited to one of the largest English gardens in Europe which is in Pavlovsk Park. Sosnovka is the largest park within the limits of the city proper, occupying an approximate area of 240 ha. The Summer Garden is the oldest one, dating back to the early 18th century and designed in the regular style following the great King, Peter's order. It is situated on the southern bank of the Neva at the head of the Fontanka and is famous for its cast iron railing and marble sculptures.

Among other notable parks are the Maritime Victory Park on Krestovsky Island and the Moscow Victory Park in the south, both commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, as well as the Central Park of Culture and Leisure occupying Yelagin Island and the Tauride Garden around the Tauride Palace. The most common trees grown in the parks are the English oak, Norway maple, green ash, silver birch, Siberian larch, blue spruce, crack willow, limes, and poplars. Important dendrological collections dating back to the 19th century are hosted by the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden and the Park of the Forestry Academy.

In order to commemorate 300 years anniversary of Saint Petersburg a new park was laid out. The park is situated in the north western part of the city. The construction was started in 1995. It is planned to connect the park with the pedestrian bridge to the territory of Lakhta Center's recreation areas. In the park there are 300 trees of valuable sorts, 300 decorative apple trees and 70 limes. 300 other trees and bushes were planted. These trees were presented to Saint Petersburg by non-commercial and educational organizations of the city, its sister-cities, city of Helsinki, heads of other regions of Russia, German Savings Bank and other people and organizations.

Anne and I felt very much lucky being able to visit Scandinavian cities and Russia in the month of October. We were able to see something that is unavailable to see in our hot and humid country; that is green leafs turn yellowish due to hard cold weather. Autumns is always a great weather and pleasant time of the year. Should we were touring 2 weeks later or a month later, the leaves on the trees might have gone bald. In addition, St Petersburg has a serene views of calming waters that you may to enjoy while passing rows and rows of its canals. 

Well mannered boy in Starbuck

My sinus infection symptom seems to come back after few years of feeling cured. Would never thought that it return after going through 2 operations about 15 years ago. I came to know about it when I had a serious sinus infection fever that made the doctor prescribed a very strong antibiotics for 5 days last month. Due to a travel back to my hometown, eating so much foods during last weekend, I started to feel throat itchiness 2 nights ago. Yesterday, it gets very bad after we return from a site office for a meeting. Since I was busy, I thought of trying my own medicine, available in stock judging from what the doctor had advised a month ago. This morning, I went to see a doctor for a proper advised and medicine prescription.

4 shots of strong Americano and Croissant

After a serious discussion with the doctor, collected my medicine, I thought of having a strong coffee to boost my energy and grab a sandwich at Starbucks. The young boy, Naz greeted me with huge sincere smile. I was not in the mood of starting a conversation but this boy attempted one by asking "how was your morning, mam?". And I thought to myself, such a fine and well mannered boy. His mother has trained him well.

I : Look at my medicine, I just came back from seeing a doctor
He : Argh, I see, you went to Mediviron!
I : Yes, and how old are you?
He : I'm 17 mam, just finished my SPM
I : Oh, I see, my youngest boy is 18. So how was your result?
He : I obtained 4A, 3B, 2C
I : So, where are you planning to further your study
He : I'm waiting for a call from UiTM
I : Are you alone today?
He: No, there's another person beside me

We chatted for few minutes, while he prepared for my Americano and heat-up the croissant that I ordered. After that I wished him all good luck and headed back towards the office. I cant' help but wanting to write about him in my blog. He conversed very well in English though he is a Malay boy. Starbucks is among few places for teenagers, who after school or those waiting for permanent job to start a career with. It is a right place for someone who wants to build up their communication and public relation skills. Judging from few characters from candidates who turned up for interview at my office since the past few days, I felt that graduates should seriously train themselves in presenting themselves well when sitting in the interview room. Candidates are supposed to sell themselves and the interviewer like me, should only listen, form an opinion take risk and engaged a right candidate.

I pray there's a lot more good young boy outside who can bring proud to the Nations... we need you the future generations to lead the country well.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

St Petersburg Railway Stations

Date of visit: 23rd October 2015

Amazingly to know and shared the knowledge here that there are 4 train station altogether in St Petersburg City. We’ve been at 2 stations since we arrived at the city from Helsinki, Finland and departed to Moscow 2 days later, where the 2 destinations gave us that chance to be in 2 stations. Since we were not permitted to enter the Finland station when we arrived, I’m sharing photos snapped at Moscow station for this entry. Moscow station has a stringent security checks-in which is similar with the airport check-in system. I find it quite interesting to experience such a safe travel in Russian city.

Moscow Station is known as Moskovsky Vokzal locally. It is the city's oldest and busiest rail station which is located in the very centre of the city on Ploshchad Vosstaniya, at the junction between Nevsky Prospekt and Ligovsky Prospekt. It is a terminus for the Saint Petersburg – Moscow Railway and other lines running from Central and South Russia, Crimea, Siberia and Eastern Ukraine. The station is served by two metro station, the Mayakovskaya and Vosstaniya Square stations of the Saint Petersburg Metro, with both stations linked to the station building by an underground corridor. Ploshchad Vosstaniya is on the red line and Mayakovskaya is on the green line. It is a short walk from the station to several hotels, including the Hotel Oktiabrsakaya, the Ibis St. Petersburg Centre, the Corinthia Hotel St. Petersburg, and the Nevsky Express Hotel.

Moscow station is the oldest preserved station in the city, erected in 1844 till 1851 to a design by Konstantin Thon, an official local architect of Imperial Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. The station was named “Nicholaevsky” after Nicholas I of Russia was the reigning monarch and the greatest patron of railway construction in the realm at the time of construction. The name was rechristened as “Oktyabrsky” to memorialize the October Revolution in 1924, the station was not given its present name until 1930.

Although the large Venetian windows, having 2 floors of Corinthian columns and a two-storey clocktower at the centre explicitly reference Italian Renaissance architecture, the building incorporates other features from a variety of periods and countries. A twin train station, currently known as the Leningradsky railway station, was built to Thon's design at the other end of the railway, in Moscow. While Thon's facade remains fundamentally intact to this day, the station was expanded in 1869 and again in 1912. It was completely redeveloped internally in 1950 and 1967. A bronze bust of Peter the Great in the main foyer was unveiled in 1993, replacing a ruined Lenin statue.

Finland Station (Finlyandskiy Vokzal) is quite famous as it has been the site of Lenin's arrival on his return to St. Petersburg in 1917. Finland Station has gained a new lease of life as the terminal for the new Allegro express trains to Helsinki. The station is on the north bank of the Neva River, about 2km north of Nevsky Prospekt. The station is served by Ploshchad Lenina Metro Station on the red line, which is 2 stops north of Ploshchad Vosstaniya. The only hotel within walking distance is the Saint Petersburg Hotel.

Vitebsk Station (Vitebsky Vokzal) is St. Petersburg terminal for trains to/from Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Baltic States. Vitebsk Station is a beautiful historic building located in the southern centre of the city, just under 2km from Nevsky Prospekt. There are 2 metro stations connected to the mainline concourse, Pushkinskaya on the red line and Zvenigorodskaya on the purple line. Hotels within walking distance of the station include the Fifth Corner Hotel, the Asteria Hotel, the Brothers Karamazov Hotel, and the Neptun Hotel. It was formerly known as St Petersburg-Tsarskoselsky station, and is the first railway station to be built in Saint Petersburg and the whole of the Russian Empire. The station, located at the crossing of the Zagorodny Avenue and the now vanished Vvedensky Canal, was inaugurated in the presence of Nicholas I of Russia on 30 October 1837 when the first Russian train, named Provorny, departed from its platform for the imperial residence at Tsarskoe Selo.

Main ticket area & waiting area
Ladoga Station (Ladozhskiy Vokzal) is St. Petersburg's newest railway station. Ladoga Station is a sprawling modern building to the east of the downtown area, about 2km across the Neva River from the eastern end of Nevsky Prospekt. Ladozhskaya Metro Station, connected to the mainline concourse, is on the orange metro line, four stops from Dostoevskaya in the very centre of the city. In the vicinity, about 1km from the station, the Ladoga Hotel is the only hotel within walking distance.