This trip was not exactly something I planned to have by the end of this year. I had my own solo trip to South Korea circa June 2019 for my birthday which coincided with the Ramadhan (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/rebirth-of-an-istiqamah-attempt-my-4th-solo-trip-to-seoul-south-korea-my-35th-birthday/) so there would be no possibility of having another abroad trip this year! Alas, circa September my sister buzzed me alerting that the price for Europe seemed quite affordable. I tried to shun off the idea but it has been three years since I last toured Europe so I guess that wanderlust urge was kicking hard. Spontaneously, I agreed and Kakak finalized the tickets (she likes doing all the comparison between flight tickets, transportation and lodging pricing!) from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam with Dubai as the transit airport. So for three months, this trip has been the object of determination for both Kakak and I. Whenever we felt down or demotivated with our works (I particularly on my school workloads and PhD where I had to finish a thesis chapter and articles for publication!), the idea of travelling abroad managed to arouse that fire to finish off our workloads prior to the vacation on 12th December 2019! Haha!
Waiting for our flight to Dubai, UAE.
So, on 12th December 2019, we flew to Dubai with Emirates at 7.10 p.m. from Kuala Lumpur. As usual, it was a comfortable flight (love Emirates!). We arrived at Dubai circa 10.00 p.m. (Dubai is 4 hours behind Kuala Lumpur) and had to wait for our connecting flight to Amsterdam at 8.10 a.m. the very next day. We arrived at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam around 2.30 p.m. and it was 4 Celsius (well, it was winter!). We took the train to Brussels-Zuid in Belgium circa 6.00 p.m. By then, it was already dark as the sunset at 4.30 p.m. We arrived at Brussels around 8.15 p.m. unknowing that there would be an experience waiting for us.
The historical facade of Amsterdam Centraal (something like our KL Sentral) and having coffee at Starbucks. That worn-off face, though.
I went inside the toilet and while I was in, a Stranger No.1 approached my sister who was busy looking at the telephone trying to navigate our direction to the hotel. There was an instant touch upon my sister’s trench coat as if something was smeared very quickly! With broken English, he told my sister that there was “bird poo” on her trench coat (by acting out that it was smelly!). My sister doubted – “There’s no way a Caucasian would be too kind to a Hijabi Asian without any ulterior motives!” But of course being Asian, she politely (but curtly!) thanked Stranger No.1 and paid him no heed although she noticed there was something on the trench coat. Once I got out, she asked me to look and yes, I saw there was a chocolate-coloured liquid smeared on the liquid! I removed with tissue but it didn’t look like bird poo but more of cosmetic liquid (like facial concealer). Now, that rang the alarm. We just wanted to get out from there. So happened that while, I was facing my sister to remove the stain, Stranger No.1 once again approached us and this time, I noticed there was a brief touch on my trench coat. Using the same modus operandi, Stranger No.1 stupidly told me that there was (again!) “bird poo” on my trench coat! True enough, there was that cosmetic liquid on my trench coat and my sister removed the stain! By then, we understood this was a trick. The toilet area was a bit deserted at that time. So, we started to make a move without knowing the right direction. We were about to ascend staircase when I noticed a Stranger No.2 stood steadfastly there as if waiting for us to ascend before him. Well, my instinct was correct when suddenly this Stranger No.2 approached me and used the same “bird poo” modus operandi! By then, I became annoyed and signaled to him that “No, No! Just leave us alone” and at the same time kept walking forward to break free from this guy! Unfortunately we were heading to another more deserted, empty area! Damn! Reluctantly, we had to make a U-Turn and fortunately we saw someone was walking to another path heading to the correct area. Without hesitation, we followed and Alhamdulillah, it was a crowded area. But of course we were quite intimidated by that and we hurriedly dragged the baggage crossed the road, walked along the pavement and alleys heading towards our hotel. We became paranoid that we kept turning our heads back to ensure that these guys did not follow us and that they wouldn’t identify our hotel!
The Nativity Scene display at Grote Markt, Brussels and the varicoloured waffles at a pastry shop not far from The Manneken Pis. This time around, Brussels was memorable for we nearly to be duped with Bird’s Poo Scam! Alhamdulillah!
Alhamdulillah, we arrived at our first lodging in Brussels named Euro Capital Brussels. It was a comfortable place, suitable for us budget travellers and most importantly, there was WIFI. On the way to Brussels from Amsterdam, we received SMS from Eurostar stating that our train from Paris to London has been cancelled due to the national strike (apparently Parisian drivers are demanding something about pension schemes). This was an absolute shocking news for us! Luckily we haven’t book the hotel and the bus tickets from Brussels to Paris. Initially, we planned to spend 2 nights in Paris but due to this, we had to revise the whole journey. Kakak decided it was the best decision to arrive at United Kingdom (the sooner, the better) as we already booked that quite expensive Harry Potter London Studio tour (the highest point of our whole trip! Haha!). After much deliberation, we had come to consensus to spend another night in Brussels and the very next day, to push off to London from Brussels Midi/Zuid (Brussels South Station) via Eurostar train.
Since this was not our first time in Brussels, the trip was a relaxing one. We didn’t really bother to cover the whole tourist attraction lots. On our first day in Brussels, we just hanged around at Grote Markt square and savoured the majestic view of Grand Palace Brussels. There was a high Christmas Tree at the centre of the square and a nativity replica placed not far from the tree. The Christmas ambiance was eminent. After that “bird poo” scam, Kakak and I became paranoid. We became sensitive when strangers approached us or perhaps walking or standing behind of us! Perhaps wearing “hijab” highlighted us as potential preys because there was this one gypsy girl approached us asking us for some donations while vividly uttering that words ‘Masya ALLAH!” LOL! Unbelievable, I say! We savoured Kakak’s favourite Belgian waffle and visited the Manneken Pis (not really excited as that wasn’t the first time! Haha!). We roamed around Brussels by walking through alley and cobbled streets. By 4.00 p.m., we retired as sunset was approaching due to winter and checked-in at our second lodging, Ibis Brussels Gare-Midi as it offered the most affordable pricing. We had to moved out from Euro Capital Brussels as we only booked it for a night for initially we planned to go to Paris by bus. Spent the night resting as we had the Eurostar train to catch at 8.00 a.m. on the very next morning.
The secondhand book store in Brussels, Belgium!
On the 15th December, we pushed off from Brussels to London via Eurostar train around 8.20 a.m. The journey took us circa 2 hours 15 minutes. We arrived at St. Pancras circa 10.00 a.m. and had our breakfast at Pret A Manger. We took the Underground heading to Bayswater for our London’s lodging, the Holiday Villa Hotel which is a Malaysian-owned hotel, located at Leinster Gardens. For three nights, I thought it was affordable and cozy with good WIFI connectivity albeit the designs were a bit outdated. Furthermore, it is not far from Malaysian Hall located at nearby Queensborough Terrace. We parked our luggage and backpack bags at the hotel and visited the Malaysian Hall for lunch. Then, we ventured out to Westminster Palace. There were a lot of people crossing the Westminster Bridge. We could see several men doing street-magic tricks along the pavement by using a few cups. Automatically, we could sense scams were being operated there but we ignored them but at the same being vigilant for any pickpockets lurking! Not far from us were two Malaysian youngsters who were so excited taking pictures. Perhaps that was their first time visiting United Kingdom. I knew what they were feeling, that was normal! But suddenly, one of the con-man approached the lady coaxing her to participate in the game. It was audible that the lady was hesitated but the con-man was pushy in a persuasive way. Of course, the lady had to give a money note for the game and you could hear a few “spectators” around persuading this Malaysian lady as well (no doubt, the con-man’s accomplices!). Kakak and I were hesitated whether or not to stop this lady as we didn’t know if this was a genuine game; or a scam?! True enough after 5 minutes, the Malaysian lady shrieked demanding her note back but the con-man refused to give, claiming that “lady, you have lost the game!” The Malaysian lady was stunned and angry but there was nothing she could do. We finally approached the two friends and told them that the man was probably a trickster. The lady narrated her story but we thought she and her friend would do fine as she unwittingly quipped :-
“Nasib baek I bawak banyak note!” (It is lucky that I still got plenty of notes!)
After that, we went to the Tower Bridge as I haven’t been there yet in my previous two trips to London. It was nice to see the iconic bridge of London and the famous River Thames. Looking back as a Middle Class Malay boy who grew up in a modest two-rooms police barrack back in Penang, I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to see these with my own eyes! Alhamdulillah! We called the day off at 5 p.m. Well, that’s the downside of travelling to Europe during winter as the sun sets earlier than usual.
Arrived at St. Pancras Station, London!
London Eye and Westminster Palace, 2019.
The iconic Tower Bridge. Although I’ve been to London 3 times, this was my first time seeing the Tower Bridge.
On our second day in London, we commuted the train heading to Cambridge Central Mosque in Cambridge since that was my must-go location. Initially, Kakak was a bit hesitated as the journey alone took around 1 hour and return ticket would cost approximately 50 pounds per person (equivalent to RM250). She kept questioning me whether all this was worthy but I told her that this was one of the places I had in my mind for this tour and I didn’t mind spending money on that. Using Great Northern Rail was a bit chaotic as there was no fixed seating and we had to be really fast entering the train once the announcement was made as Kakak told me that train would only stay at the terminal for approximately 4 minutes before it pushes off – with or without you! From Cambridge Train Station, we had to walk around 17 minutes through suburban residences area before we finally reached the mosque. Initially, I thought that the mosque was closed since I found in the Internet that the mosque’s operation hour was at 11 a.m. However, we arrived there circa 10.20 a.m. It was truly a gamble as our train back to London was at 12.00 p.m.; so if the mosque were to be closed by the time we got there, our journey was absolutely in vain! I bid salaamed to the guard and he opened the electronic gate for me and Kakak. Subhanallah it was beautiful! Dubbed as the first “green mosque” and eco-friendly, the Cambridge Central Mosque was small but cozy. At the front yard, there was a fountain with garden. There was also portico and an atrium leading towards the prayer hall. The ablution area was so comfortable and chique-looking. There was also a vast car park at basement part of the mosque. How unfortunate that we couldn’t spend more time there. After performing the 2 rakaat Tahiyyatul Masjid Prayer (a prayer to respect a mosque), we then headed back to Cambridge Train Station. Kakak was amazed by the unique architecture of the mosque. So I guess she finally considered the journey worthwhile. Haha! Once arrived at Bayswater, we dined (more like lunch?) at the halal Chinese restaurant called Noodle Oodle (check the website at http://noodleoodle.com/) and feasted on the Roasted Duck. It was delicious but the Teh Tarik was just so-so.
Alhamdulillah, my wishlist ticked! The Cambridge Central Mosque. Had the opportunity to perform Tahiyyatul Masjid Prayer.
The frontal landscape of the mosque. Dubbed as the first green “eco-friendly” mosque, it was quite a controversial construction as some of the residents opposed the mosque. Nevertheless, the project was continued and finally launched by President Erdogan of Turkey.
The ablution place and the atrium. Alhamdulillah for this chance I never imagined when I was young!
On the third day in London, we made our way early to Fountain Square, Victoria as it was Harry Potter’s time!!! We had to be there no later than 7.15 a.m. so you could imagine what time we pushed off from Holiday Villa Hotel in Bayswater! Haha! From Victoria, we had to take the Golden Tours bus to Watford and the journey was around an hour. We arrived at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden around 9.30 a.m. Though it was pretty chilly cold outside, the inner side of the studio was somewhat fiery! Well, at least for the Potterheads, like Kakak and I! Haha! There was a gigantic dragon replica hung at the atrium and at both upper sides of the walls, you could see ensemble of characters from Harry Potter team vs Voldemort team. It was really a magical feeling! Haha! We spent approximately 2 hours there. There were sections dedicated for Potion Class, Harry Potter’s room (with the four poster beds!), the Fat Lady portrait, Dumbledore’s rostrum, the gowns and dresses worn by the characters in Yule Ball and Slughorn’s Party, and many more (I could go on and on!). It was also mesmerizing to see the surreal facial prosthetic masks created by the CGI team. And as the icing to the tour, both Kakak and I got to taste the butterbeer! Some conservative lot might scream dramatically for the word “beer” but for y’all information, it’s just a soda, not beer per se, OK? LOL! We took the bus back to Fountain Square, Victoria circa 12 p.m. noon and arrived there around 2 p.m. Had luncheon at Malaysian Hall (technically, I brushed shoulder with Kak Zaharah but I didn’t notice her! On the other hand, she saw me but had to rush back! What a pity!) around 3.30 p.m. and by 4.30 p.m., the sun already set.
The Harry Potter Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studio! The mecca for Pottermania and Potterheads! LMAO!
We felt the magic in the air! Haha! The Hungarian Horntail dragon and The Weasleys’ Shop at Diagon Alley!
Samples of the characters’ gowns and attires during The Yule Ball, the Potion Classroom and the entrance to The Forbidden Forest.
Centaur in The Forbidden Forest! There was also Aragog! Haha!
The replica of Hogwarts School of Wizardry castle; the colourful shower of Prefects’ Room and in front of Hogwarts Express!
Harry’s first “room”, if you could say that!
The beautiful Gringgots Bank! Spectacular construction! In front of the the Dursleys’ Privet Drive house and Butterbeer (it is not a beer. It’s just soda, so naturally, it’s Halal!).
The Potters’ house in Godric Hollow, a facial prosthetic mask of a goblin and scene at Ministry of Magic.
The realistic scene where a dragon gone berserk and destroyed Gringgots. The dragon was humongous!
All kinds of chocolates! Fancy Chocolate Frog? At the corridor that supposedly connects the castle with the owlery (in the films, of course! lol!). And at the Weasleys’ quirky The Burrow!
On the 18th December, we took the train to Leeds. We stayed for a night at Ibis Budget Leeds Centre Crown Point Road hotel. It was comfortable but the arrangement was rather minimalist. Still, for budget travelers like us, we had nothing to complain about. Leeds was way colder than London. On the day of our arrival, it was 2 Celsius and imagine having to drag the luggage on the cobbled alleys while having your backpack bag on the big winter coat? No wonder I grew scrawny throughout the trip! Hah! We went to the shopping mall nearby looking for Raess’s Ryan Scooter (you know, the rich You-Tuber boy?) and Rifqi’s sport shoes. Then, we headed to Leeds Kirkgate Market to feast on the delicious crayfishes and oysters of Hayess Seafoods.
Hayess’ seafood at Leeds Kirkgate Market. Just loved the oysters and crayfishes!
Leeds Kirkgate Market. Leeds City center center night view from Ibis hotel. Savouring this Scottish Highland cookies (OKlah…)
On the 19th December, we boarded the train to Edinburgh. The journey took us around 3 hour and 20 minutes. We passed through Durham and Newcastle Upon Tyne. By the time we arrived at Edinburgh, it was already dark at the Edinburgh Waverley terminal. Our lodging, the Cityroomz Edinburgh Hotel was 15 minutes walk along the Princess Street. The room was small, again a minimalist-arranged but somewhat very comfortable with a double decker. Simply loved it! I would say it is a strategic lodging as there was also a bus station heading straight to the airport at the very front of the hotel. Christmas was definitely in the air once we arrived at Edinburgh as there were many Christmas Markets tents with vibrant lights! There were also merry-go-round and artistic shops with quirky souvenirs and crafts. I could smell cookies and gingerbread in the midst of the cool winter night. The music was exciting! It was the kind of Christmas vibe that would make you so jolly and cheerful, really!
Edinburgh Waverley, the train station. Night view of Edinburgh Christmas Market 2019!
The festive ambiance. Christmas was in the air.
Interesting carriage for tarot-reading! I saw people were queuing up for this! Haha!
Kakak and I. For us it was surreal that both of us managed to crystallize our childhood dream to explore the world! As Middle Class Malay children, wanderlust was (and is, still!) a big deal for us!
On the next morning, we began our morning by having hot chocolate at Pret A Manger and then headed towards the Edinburgh Castle. The climbing was quite tiresome but the view was immensely breathtaking, Subhanallah! Of course as the cheapskate traveller (Haha!), we opted not to enter the castle but simply savoured the view. While we were busy taking pictures of ourselves, a couple with a baby approached us asking to take their family pictures. As we already had our bad encounter with the Bird Poo Scam, we became apprehensive and suspicious. But of course being Asian, it was hard to be impolite! So after taking a quick picture, we dashed away (seemed that the couple were lingering around us!). There was a souvenir shop nearby which happened to be three-floored underground lot. Pretty unique! Along the pavement, we saw street artistes playing bagpipes wearing the kilt; Scottish element was in the air! We then headed towards the The St. Giles Cathedral, a historical church lies at the centre of Edinburgh Old Town. It was so majestic. Well, although I didn’t get to visit Notre Dame as our train from Paris was cancelled, I guess St. Giles was a worthwhile compensation.
The Edinburgh Castle.
The views around Edinburgh Castle. Masya ALLAH, tabarakallah!
The quirky-looking Old Edinburgh and a street artiste donning some sort of Viking attire (inspired by Hollywood’s “Braveheart”?)
I wonder, what’s underneath the kilt? LMAO!
Interesting different design of the Scottish traditional attires.
The Old Edinburgh’s St. Giles Cathedral.
Historical Medieval architecture.
Anyway, as we were heading towards the Edinburgh Mosque, something unexpected happened! Kakak and I were walking along the pavement when out of the blue, a strange man (seemed like a gypsy as he was quite copper-skinned) shouted abruptly! Initially, I thought it was a random verbal attack but as we continued our walk, I noticed that his ferocious eyes were fixated upon Kakak! He was actually cursing Kakak! I stared at him and was stunned. Kakak noticed that but but she just lowered her gaze and continued walking. At the same time, she signaled to me to keep walking and to avoid any confrontation (she knew I am the kind of person who usually would retaliate back!). We purposely walked to the midst of the road just to deviate the direction BUT APPARENTLY this gypsy was determined to follow us! He kept cursing in loud, audible voice (but sadly, no one came to our rescue) :-
Fuck you! Go fuck yourself! Go back to where you come from! What, ye think I am crazy??”
I recalled that he was also mumbling about telephone and other things (when Kakak and I reflected on the fiasco, we came to conclusion that perhaps this gypsy guy thought Kakak was taking his picture as she was indeed holding her telephone while walking. Perhaps he felt it was a provocation?). As the path leading towards the mosque was somewhat an isolated alley and we hardly saw anyone there, Kakak had double thought on going to the mosque (well, we were just being verbally attacked with Islamophobic slur, hadn’t we?). Nonetheless, we kept walking and finally reached the mosque. I didn’t get to really explore the mosque as Kakak refused to spend more time there as sunset was about to approach and for safety reason, it would be best not to wander during nighttime. However, I have to say that the archway of Edinburgh Mosque was unique and the ablution section was neat. Nevertheless, we also were bewildered seeing two policemen guarding the gate of Edinburgh Mosque. We wonder whether there were to be any Islamophobic case in Edinburgh on that day and spontaneously, it reminded us of the New Zealand Mosque shooting tragedy! You know as much as it was an inconvenient experience, but it was precious nonetheless. I’ve got to experience what it must have felt like to be the target of Islamophobia. It was real. We then had briyani as lunch and then went straight back to hotel as by then, it was already 5.00 p.m.
The Edinburgh Central Mosque. Bittersweet memory. Sweet because I was able to add another feather to my #ShahrillsJejakMasjid lust but bitter because Kakak and I were verbally attacked by a gypsy on the way to the his mosque. What a precious life experience, it was!
The idea was to spend our night at Edinburgh Airport before our flight to Amsterdam at 6.00 a.m. (check-in at 4.00 a.m.). But once we arrived there, the airport seemed stuffy and crowded. Out of sudden, I became nauseous and kept burping and burping. I threw up and became unwell. I didn’t know what caused the sudden health setback but I noticed that it was right after the bus bumpy ride from Edinburgh Old Town to the airport. The outside was freezing cold and once you entered the bus equipped with heater, the winter coat make you sweat. On top of that, you have to squeeze yourself among the larger Caucasians! So… Haha! Initially, Kakak thought of just cooping ourselves in the airport as it would be dangerous to walk to any nearby hotels in the dark. Nevertheless in the end, we decided to book a hotel even if it was just for 8-9 hours; at least I could just lie down to rest. Thankfully with Agoda and our Samurai Wifi, we secured a room at a nearby Moxy Edinburgh Airport. Seriously, it was the right thing to do as I kept throwing up the whole night for couple of times (and I did force myself as well). By 3.30 a.m., we checked-out and by 4 a.m., we already checked-in at the airport. Alhamdulillah, the process with EasyJet was smooth. I just slept throughout the 2 hours flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam.
The Edinburgh Airport’s meditation room catered for all faiths. I honestly think this concept is so good. If only the September 11 2001 attack or ISIS occupation on Syria did not occur and Islamophobia was not rampant in the West. Sigh. And of course the Moxy Edinburgh Hotel as by then, I had already threw up two times!
Basilica of Saint Nicholas located just a stone-throw away from Amsterdam Centraal.
Winter morning at Ibis Amsterdam Airport. A few elder Dutch citizens serenading the crowd with countless Christmas oldies. The iconic structure at The Dam Square.
At one of the Amsterdam Canal Rings.
Prostitution and sex services are legal in Netherlands. I guess it is like Europe’s Thailand where horny pricks frequent here to get laid. Not that I am promoting such “tourism”! Haha!
Once arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, I slowly recouped my strength. We headed to our last lodging for the trip at Ibis Amsterdam Airport. It was reachable simply via shuttle bus ( a recommended lodging!). We just lazed around in the room and after a good night sleep, Alhamdulillah, I finally recovered. On the last day, we just toured around Amsterdam. As it was my second time, the excitement was not as paramount as 2016 but it was always nice to see the Christmas fiesta mood during winter! We went to Dam Square and came across the Cannabis Museum (I was intrigued to enter but Kakak refused as the place was full with people seemingly so gung-ho!). There were also a few sex toys shops that form the famous Amsterdam’s Red District area. By 3 p.m., we went to the Indonesian restaurant called Iboenda and satisfied our crave for rice (Haha!) there. As Maghrib was about to approach at 4.30 p.m., I had to find a musolla or a mosque nearby to perform prayer. According to Internet, there was a mosque called Mosque El-Tawheed located at Jan Hanzenstraat, which was around 15 minutes away from Iboenda. The road leading to the mosque was somewhat isolated, practically away from the main road. As we already had a few misfortunes throughout the trip, we were a little bit hesitated and always be on alert. The facade of the mosque wasn’t as what as we expected. If I didn’t noticed the miniscule word “moskee” etched on plaque-on-the-wall, we wouldn’t have known that was Mosque El-Tawheed we were looking for! The entrance was equipped with an intercom and luckily, it was opened when we arrived. It was quite deserted (later we learned that mosques in Amsterdam would only be opened during prayer hours and not all the time!). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the inner compound of the mosque was quite wide!
Satisfying our crave for rice at Indonesian’s “Iboenda”.
The “moskee”, mosque. Masjid El-Tawheed in Amsterdam. The entrance was quite ordinary without significant facade that reflected Islamic building but in the inside was somewhat wider compound. However mosques in Amsterdam are opened only around time of prayers.
Our flight to Dubai was on 22nd December 2019 circa 10.00 p.m. We kept our luggage and backpack bags at the airport and then went to a boat house cat shelter named Poezenboot. Entrance was free but it was encouraged to donate for them. The cats were lazy, fluffy and ferocious! Hahaha! While waiting for the queue, we bumped into an Indian named Vicky Varun who was doing his MBA in Latvia. Initially, we were a bit skeptical as he loquaciously started conversation (we admitted that we became rather paranoid during the trips. Anyone could be a potential trickster!). But turned out that he was quite a friendly chap. Haha! After that, we dined at Iboenda and then made our way back to the airport. Again, it was a comfortable flight to Dubai. With 19 hours to our connecting flight (Kakak purposely adjusted to that so we would have adequate time to explore Dubai)! We arrived at Dubai circa 8.30 a.m. Honestly, there were so many places to discover but in the end, we ended up choosing the ones that were accessible by METRO train which were Burj al-Khalifa and Burj al Arab.
With Vicky Varun, an Indian who is now studying in Latvia. It was great meeting someone who initiated honest conversation rather than having any ulterior motives (pickpocket, scam) while waiting for our turn to enter the Poezenboot, boat house for cats!
Kudos to the people behind this project! Thumbs up! Do visit the shelter if you are in Amsterdam. Entrance is free but you are encouraged to donate for the cats!
Initially, I thought of ascending up the skydeck of Burj al-Khalifa but in the end, one had to pre-book the entrance and the price was circa 200 Dirham. So in the end I thought, why wasted money on that? Perhaps next time – this time around, having the majestic view would be sufficient enough. So we roamed around Dubai Mall and had luncheon there – and went to the fountain side where we could see the high towers of Burj al-Khalifa! It was really spectacular. Nevertheless, I felt that familiar vibe; it seemed that Dubai Mall – Burj Khalifa was modelled to the similar concept as per Suria KLCC (big mall with fountain and tallest building located as the frontview). Around 2 p.m., we then try to locate Burj Al Arab. According to various information the internet, we had to change our METRO train to a tram and then to take a bus as the building is located near Jumeirah Beach. Somehow we boarded out at the wrong bus station (out of no where!) and had to walk circa 15 minutes across the congested traffic of Dubai to get to Burj al Arab! In the end, of course we made it but since it is a luxury hotel, obviously we could not enter. So like many other middle class travelers, we simply took picture with the building from afar! LMAO! We simply spent around 15 minutes there (along with other thronging tourists!) and decided to call the day off as the winter sun was about to set. Unfortunately, we got confused with the transportation way back to the tram station! We walked, and walked, and walked along the pavement at the side of the roads as the twilight now became nighttime. Finally after half an hour of walking (gulp! Haha!), we finally found a bus station and Alhamdulillah, the bus led us to the METRO train.
In front of Burj al-Khalifa!
The Dubai Mall Waterfall and the interior. Apparently, there is another tallest building in the world set to be under construction namely Dubai Creek Tower!
Interesting Dubai. I hope one day I would be able to have wanderlust specially just for Dubai!
Twilight in Dubai (we were literally walking along the pavement trying to locate the bus station. Approximately half an hour! Phew!). And at front of the famous Burj Al Arabia.
I noticed that only the immigrants, blue-collared workers and tourists were using the public transportation. There were no signs of the Emiratis with their Arabic garments or keffiyeh! I wonder why? Perhaps they prefer using their own vehicles? But I noticed that the vehicles flocking the roads were big and they liked riding their cars fast and furious! Anyway, Dubai was really interesting. I think I would certainly be back for more to discover this metropolitan gem of Arabia. On whole, it was more of a layback trip for both of us. But I managed to shed off 3 kg; from my 60 kg to 57 kg throughout the 2 weeks. Well, there is no better way to lose weight than a backpacking travelling, no? Haha!