On 23rd November 2013, the next day; Kakak was not feeling well. So, the idea to venture out was scrapped due to the main navigator was not in the pink of health! Hence, I took the opportunity to try my luck to go to see the Sydney Whale Watching at Circular Quay since before that Kakak was a bit relunctant to join due to baby Raess being too small and Abang Zam is prone to sea-sick; so it would be impossible for them to join my yearning of doing the whale-watching!
The Rocks; a famous tourist sight-seeing place due to the classic architecture of the buildings erected.
Therefore, I hurriedly asked Ayah whether he wanted to join me in watching whale (he thought it would be in zoo but later was quite petrified to know that it would be in the vast ocean where we would be witnessing the whale in the free wildlife ocean!). He agreed and forced Rifqi to join. So, off we went out via train to Circular Quay. Initially, prior of coming to Australia, I already messaged the website (http://www.whalewatchingsydney.net/) pertaining about the whale season and the answer was positive – “Yes, there would be whale-watching trips from 17th November-27th November” (the 10 days we were at in Australia). So, I was a bit excited about the possible prospect of watching whale life in the vast ocean! I mean, who wouldn’t right?
Rifqi with Ayah, his Wan/Grandfather.
So, once arrived, I went to the little booth of which if I was not mistaken opposite the Wharf 5 at Circular Quay and asked about the Sydney Whale Watching. To my biggest disappointment, the person told me that that day was to be the LAST DAY of whale watching and the percentage of whale sighting would be merely 50% AND when I asked if the company will refund the money or not (since it has been advertised in the website that money will be refunded if there is no whale sighting!) just to make sure – he said :
“NO. No companies EVER refund the money whether you seen the whales or not.”
Artistic street performers along the Circular Quay area. Fascinating!
A compass-looking stone to mark Circular Quay. I felt like Pocahontas looking at the English Settlers’ compass, you know! Hahaha!
SHEESHHHH!!!! Now with those negative factors and the money invested to be enumerated (approximately AUD 210 for the 3 of us as I was thinking of taking the 3 Hours Discovery Cruise), I thought it was not worthy to gamble such amount for imprecise outcome! I might as well use the AUD 210 for other things, no? I did ask another booth but the person in charge there told me the season had ended (for her company). So in the end, I scrapped the idea.
Along the pavement at The Rocks, Sydney.
Hence, what did we do on Circular Quay? I just brought Ayah and Rifqi walked around and had a peep on The Rocks which is situated opposite adjacent to the Circular Quay. The Rocks is simply a place where there are olden/classic buildings that are still sturdily erected there and being fashioned into a hub of urban lifestyle. The feeling of the olden English Settlement was immense as you studied the beautiful architectures. But, don’t be fooled. All the high and luxurious brand shops are all aligned along the pavement walk! Anyway, I could see banner and billboard advertising The Rocks’ Village Bizarre which undeniably had the feeling of “magic and mystery”. Unfortunately it was actually a night-time event (http://www.therocks.com/whats-on/the-rocks-village-bizarre.aspx).
The Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Arts. At first, I wanted to go in but on second thought; will I willing to weather Ayah’s endless nagging or provocative and unwanted critics? NAY! So, I scrapped the idea! Haha!
We also walked into the outside compound of the Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Arts as I initially wanted to see what were inside, appreciating the arts and all (at least did something for the outing, no?) BUT then I remembered that Ayah is a typical old skeptical Malay man who likes to criticize, nags and orthodox realist-thinking and inevitably would hiss and jeered that watching these kind of “arts” were “wasting of time”. I mean, I love my father but that is a frank description! So, in order to avoid any circumstances that will annoy me as well (avoiding my razor-mouth from retaliating harsh replies due to Ayah’s uncouth critics!), I decided we would just loafed around at the pier of Circular Quay, watching boats and the landscape and then went back! So, that was it!
Lakemba, New South Wales. A suburb in Sydney.
Halal meat. There are many Halal butcheries in Lakemba & Auburn.
In the evening, all of us except Ayah decided to visit Lakemba, which I have been told by my matriculation friend, Hanafi Damanhuri via FB (he studied his PhD in University of Sydney; so Sydney was his playground! LOL!) that there are a lot of Halal stores in Lakemba. Since it is just two train stations from Campsie, we decided to visit it. It was quite enthralling to see so many Halal shops and stores there! Lakemba can be dubbed as “Little Arabs” with predominantly Muslim residences living there with shops, restaurants and most importantly, the Halal meat butcheries. Yes, I could see why the bad press about Lakemba by some of Australia newspaper and websites (I did some light reading on Lakemba; I am not sure whether Islamophobia is gelled intact there; and some derogatory remarks as well! Talk about prejudices!) with so many Lebanon-born Arabs and unhygienic atmosphere circa the train station and the pedestrian walk but honestly, it was just bias reports, I can say! If any non-Moslems are reading this; go to Lakemba with open mind and you’ll be surprised. I hope this entry will clear some vague smoke about Lakemba and the Moslem community there.
Lakemba Musalla, Ahlus Sunnha Musalla at Haldon Street, Lakemba, New South Wales.
With so many Asian and Moslem shops there, Mak and Kakak did the groceries like there was no tomorrow. Each Moslem/Asian communities has its own shops – Lebanese, Indians, Indonesians, etc. Then, it was already Maghrib. So, we went to Lakemba Musalla, Ahlus Sunnha Musalla which is situated at Haldon Street (in case if any of you are visiting Lakemba, you can always refer to this site – http://mosque-finder.com.au/directory/lakemba-haldon-st-aswj-musalla/) and the iconic “ALLAH” signage is majestically emblazoned there; so you could not miss the Musalla especially when you just boarded out from the Lakemba train station! It was nice to be part of global Muslim community and we gathered under the one faith of Tauhid. Subhanallah. You know, at the moment; my imaginative mind reminisced about a Malay novel entitled “Julia” of which we were made compulsory to read when we were in Form 5 (2001). “Julia” depicted about a socially carefree girl who ultimately found the true meaning of Islam in Perth, Australia – which was a bit ironic as Australia ain’t a Mecca for Islamic teachings, no? It’s hilarious; but that was what I felt; seeing Islam blossoming in a land we always associate with ‘heathens’. Masya ALLAH!
The “Great Wall Kitchen” Muslim Restaurant in Lakemba.
After prayer, Kakak insisted me to do online “check-in” for me and parents and printing out our Air Asia “fly back” tickets to avoid any setbacks or unwanted circumstances. So, went to this cyber cafe opposite the Musolla, owned by a Sudan Moslem who thought I was a Thai based on my look (I was mistaken for a Pinoy in Hong Kong last year!LOL!) and had small chat. After that, all of us had to scout for Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb Mosque because the Lakemba Musalla does not accommodate prayer room for ladies. The journey was somewhat quite intimidating as we had to walk through dark alleys using Abang Zam’s mobile phone navigation. I had to brave myself asking two roguish-looking Lebanese men the right en route to the mosque as Kakak was getting impatient of the long en route – turned out that we were in the right direction! Finally, we made it, Alhamdulillah.
Subahnallah! The Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb Mosque; one of the biggest mosques in Australia. It is owned by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA). You guys can refer to http://www.lma.org.au/lma-mosques/lakemba-mosque/215-about-lakemba-mosque.html for more details!
While waiting for Kakak & Mak performing prayer, Abang Zam & I hanged out circa the mosque’s compound. It was nice seeing the community really dedicate themselves to the mosque. As I was waiting for Kakak & Mak, saw a big Moroccoan Moslem man so I just said “Assalamualaikum”. He answered and initiated conversation with me and Abang Zam! LOL! Like many other Australian Moslems, he was an immigrant; coming to Australia when he was teenager and built himself a life and career in Australia. Cool!
The inner architecture. Subhanallah!
Serenity. It is peaceful to see Islam blossoming in Australia. Hopefully, the bias of Islamophobia will cease among Australians.
Initially, we thought of dining at the Indonesian “Nasi Padang” restaurant but it was closed; so we opted for a Moslem Chinese restaurant there called “The Great Wall Kitchen” at 254, Haldon Street (in case if you guys thinking of going there!). Well, nothing fancy there; we just ordered fried rice and Kakak ordered something with soup in it. On whole, it was OK.
Hey, it’s Paddy’s Market at Haymarket, Sydney CBD, y’all!
On the next day, 24th November 2013; I make my way alone to Lakemba at 7.00 a.m. just to capture the picture of Lakemba Mosque during daylight because I didn’t get good picture on the night before. Talk about D.E.T.E.R.M.I.N.A.T.I.O.N.??? LOL! Took the train and off to Campsie. Around 11.00 a.m.; all of us (except Ayah) pushed off from Campsie for Paddy’s Market circa Haymarket in Sydney CBD. We boarded down at Central Station and then had to take the tram (Light Rail) to Paddy’s Market (http://www.paddysmarkets.com.au/locations.html).
Amazing place for things with cheaper price. More or less like our Penang’s Rope Walk! Hahaha!
This is a place where you can shop at bargained and cheaper price! I mean; of course if you are an aristocrats or if you have tonnes of money, this place ain’t the one you want to go BUT for us, the budget/economical travellers; this is where we feast to buy souvenirs for our loved ones and friends! Hahaha! I did buy a lot of cloth pencil boxes for my pupils (since they won the group work challenges; I have been promising earlier this year 2013 that the winner would given rewards; so that was me walked my talk!); a few souvenirs for colleagues and a pair of big kangaroos snow globe – with sentimental value (which only cost AUD20) but later was confiscated by the Australian custom!!!!!!! (More on that later in the upcoming entry, OK? Urghh!).
The Malay Village at Sydney’s Chinatown.
The menu. Don’t convert them into Ringgit. Just happily eat and you’ll be at peace. Haha!
After shopping, we went to have luncheon Malay Village, a Halal-Malaysian owned restaurant, which is situated at Sydney’s Chinatown (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/1644544/restaurant/Chinatown/Malay-Village-Sydney). Initially, Kakak thought of having lunch at Kasturi, another Malaysian restaurant but it closes on Sundays! Love the ambiance; you can feel the sea breeze from afar and the alfresco ambiance. I had Penang Chicken Rice while others had Char Kuey Teow, Curry mee, etc. I don’t know; perhaps it was psychology but I felt it was delicious! Hahaha!
Char Kuey Teow. Look at the big prawns! Yummy!
Curry mee with beef? Hahaa! I don’t know.
Teh tarik. Not as good at Malaysian Mamak stalls…. but this will do.
Penang Chicken Rice! Yummy!
After that, we then decided to pray at musolla nearby as stated in Abang Zam’s navigation handphone (I don’t know what application he used). We went back to Central train station via tram and somehow we got miscommunication regarding Pitt Street (Hey, Angie went there to shoot her second directed-film “Unbroken!) and the Capitol tram terminal! The thing was that, Kakak asked the conductor a bit of last minutes before boarding down the tram and she said we could just stay on the tram until the next stop. Now, before I could stop them; Mak & Abang Zam already boarded down the tram! Shit, what are we going to do as we don’t have means of communication???!
The Chinatown at Sydney CBD.
I was a bit panicked but Kakak said it was OK; we could just boarded down the tram at the Capitol tram terminal and thought of solution. So happened that her Vodaphone credit had finished and by hook or crook, we had to use public phone. So, Kakak went away while I was to take care of our souvenirs as well as Rifqi at Capitol tram terminal. Hahhahaa, to our delights 10 minutes later, we saw Abang Zam & Mak walking hurriedly towards us; and coincidentally after that Kakak arrived saying that already topped-up her credit due to her couldn’t find any phone booth! Hahahaha! What a funny drama we had!
The King Feisal Mosque, funded by Saudi Arabian King. Secluded ala Grimauld Place, don’t you think? Located at Commonweaalth Street at Surry Hills, Sydney.
We then walked to Surry Hills where the supposed musolla is located. It is actually quite hidden ala Grimauld Place, the Order of The Phoenix’s Headquarters in Harry Potter (I know, I have imaginative mind!). According to Internet, it is actually Al-Malik Feisal/King Feisal Mosque; a mosque that is sponsored by Saudi Arabian King Faisal. In case if any of you wish to go there, you can always locate it at Commonwealth Street as per the address : 175-177 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills (http://mosque-finder.com.au/directory/surry-hills-king-faisal-mosque/). It was always nice to be in Australian mosques where you could see people from different races gathering.
The hall and the ablution section at the front compound of the entrance.
The 2nd floor.
AND, I also somehow attracted weird people (I am not being self-obsessed or anything!). There was this Afghan weird-looking guy who somehow so excited to trigger conversation when I smiled at him (Moslem brethren-kinda-thing, you know!) and began to ramble, etc. OK; fine. The next thing was on our way back home to Campsie. I was sitting alone in the train berth and there was this old, unkempt-looking rotund man who kept glancing towards me; I mean if you have the berth sitting facing to the front; you WOULD WANT TO FACE TO THE FRONT, no?
The Central Train Station Clock Tower. According to history, it was built 1903 and started to operate in 3rd March 1921. I love historical bits. Fascinating! Courtesy of http://www.sydneytrains.info/about/history/central_station_in-depth
At Central train station. Mak was teasing baby Raess!
Kakak and I were feigning imagination searching for 9 3/4 Platforms ala Harry Potter! Come on or we’ll miss the train to Hogwarts! Hahhaaa, sometimes we acted like we were young! Hahaa!
So, OK whatever, no my problem right and I didn’t give a damn. Throughout the journey, he began to ramble and started a conversation with me. Sure, as a courtesy of “being civilized a.k.a. polite”, I responded about trains being “washed” or fixed – of which I didn’t even know what was that all about but, yeah basic principle in Interpersonal Skill is that you have to be a good listener. BUT THEN, things started to become awkward. He would just kept glancing towards me and rambled and rambled. Basically I had no mood at that time and I thought it would be one-off conversation but he would just glanced and glanced back; making things AWKWARD. In the end, I just paid no heed, looked my way to the window beside and….
What better way to end a blog entry than a selfie cam-whore picture? Hahaha! Well, we all are aging. So, appreciate the youth..before it lasts! LOL!
Thank God, we arrived at Campsie! Eeeeek…. creepy! Hahaa! Peadophilia??? Ew! Haha!