Tonight is our last night at this Torbay Court Apartment in Camden Town, London. So many things happened within these two days upon my arrival here. First, with the sudden demise of a beloved UPM coursemate, Kakti (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/r-i-p-inalillah-an-ode-of-demise-for-the-late-noraiyati-omar-my-upm-masters-degree-in-corporate-communications-sister/); and then a sudden verbal attack from a Caucasian neighbour residing at the lower floor in the middle of the night was such a horrifying experience!
The view from 7th floor of Torbay Court in Camden Town, London.
Alhamdulillah; after 13 hours and a half journey; I safely arrived at London with MH4. It was such a long journey. Anyway, the custom processes were a breeze and I didn’t have any interrogation for the food baggage (Thank God!). Kakak, Abang Zam, Rifqi & Raess were waiting for me at the exit of Terminal 4 Heathrow Airport and I was so GRATEFUL as my Esprit spectacle for 9 years ( I know!) was broken into half!!! You can imagine how difficult I was to become partially blind especially when I had to peruse all the directions in a foreign land as well as to scout for two big baggage and at the same time putting the halves of spectacles on to the face with one hand so that my eyes can be used to ‘detect’ the luggage!! But, Alhamdulillah; all is well.
Heathrow Airport Underground Tube.
As usual, Kakak managed to secure this affordable place at Camden Town; situated 3.1 miles from London City Centre (well, not really as the forex is plunging and Ringgit is down to the abyss!); but for 4 nights, we manage to get this apartment for £750; well it is London; what do you expect? Camden Town is known for its ‘alternative cultures’ with a lot of migrants and immigrants residents here ala Lakemba and Campsie in Sydney, Australia. We feel blended with the familiar faces here and the atmosphere is very vibrant and artsy! The first day, we just rest due to my jet lag. For the second day; we went to eat at a Malaysian restaurant named TukDin, Flavours of Malaysia at Craven Road via the Underground Tube (my first!) as Kakak and family were craving Malay food after living in Leeds for approximately 3 months now. Well, for me; it was just an OK (I vouch for Sydney’s Kasturi better fare at this especially for the soda sherbet!) but the satays were somewhat quite delicious. You guys can check the website at http://www.tukdin.com/.
Savoring banana fritters (Cucoq Pisang) with ice-creams at TukDin. Yummy!!
Then on the 3rd day which is 21st December 2014 (yesterday); we went to Malaysia Hall London at Queensborough Terrace near Bayswater area. Now this is the epitome of Malaysian hearts whenever you go to London. Malaysia Hall has become the heartbeat for the Malaysian community in United Kingdom for ages for any functions, etc. We could see and mingle with a lot of Malaysians here and the food are definitely a fresh reminiscence for those who crave for Malaysian food here. Kakak met her ex-boss here who happened to be the one who is in charge for all the Malaysian Halls around the world so they talked. I also have been getting quite a few tips from her on the possible career transitions and how to elope into lecturing from teacher scheme and all.
Bayswater Underground Tube station. A terminal for Malaysia Hall London!
Around 4.30 p.m.; we headed to the Big Ben at Palace of Westminster. Well, since it is winter, night falls quicker than the usual transition. Big Ben is the iconic building of United Kingdom and a historical architecture. According to Wikipedia, it was completed in 1858 and I am all about historical stuff! Then, we headed for the nearby London Eye (well, just sight-seeing) situated majestically at the riverbank of the famous River Thames. It was a serene view and as the winter zephyr blown to your face and seeing the historical mystical architectures of the lamp posts erected along the riverbank of River Thames; it was like – Phew, amazing! We also roamed around Trafalgar Square in Charing Cross with its Nelson’s Column, Sir Henry Havelock’s statue and the elegant behemoth of National Gallery (I love seeing the statues erected there. So colonial and historical!!). Then, we headed home.
Trying to do levitated position here with Rifqi after more than 7 times trying!
Around 12.30 a.m. after midnight, the horror emerged. I was sleeping cozily when suddenly Kak and Abang Zam hysterically woke me up! Apparently, someone forgot to turn off the water tap from our bathroom and the water drenched the whole floor including the carpeted one outside from the bathroom!!! Perhaps it was my nephew but it was pointless to blame people. We became so panic because this is a rent house and the western bathrooms usually are not built with any ‘floor-holes’ for the water to flow through so we had no choice but to use cloaks and cloths to absorb the water! Nevertheless, our main concern was the carpeted floor as it was soaked and drenched with water!!!
Kakak and I in front of the Trafalgar Square’s fountain.
SUDDENLY, our door was violently stomped upon with an angry coarse voice asking us to open!!!! The three of us were panicked, scared and shaken! Abang Zam and Kakak opened the door and there was the Caucasian Neighbour erupted angrily claiming that his 5th floor house (ours is in 7th floor) was drenched with water!! He verbally demanded us the reasons and the possible compensations as he just ‘renovated his bathroom’!!! We were so shocked but Kakak being a Diplomatic Officer quickly used the naive approach; she said that we ourselves were unaware by this sudden setback which probably due to the kids and asked for the Caucasian Neighbour’s opinion on the water tab’s fiasco and deliberated him to see the condition himself (it was better to let him see the condition himself rather than feeding him stories that Goodness Knows whether he believed it or not??!).
The Big Ben. United Kingdom’s iconic building.
By this time, he was still trying to hint us that he wanted us to compensate the fiasco; Kakak told him that we were not the original tenant and would inform the tenant as he was adamant to find scapegoats. At this point, I already reached my boiling point as I could smell hints of arrogance in his words – I snapped at him and asked him not to blame us because we didn’t mean any of this and were taken aback as well with these sudden setbacks! Now; when I said that, clearly the Caucasian Neighbour was not satisfied. He snapped back at me saying that I was acting like a child for ‘denying’ the reality (I guess it was more due to me refusing to become submissive towards him); I snapped back at him saying that we were trying as hard as we could to sponge up the water and yeah, perhaps I was acting like a child but can he just STOP blaming us for that??? As I was snapping at him, I was kneeling down at the bathroom, mopping the floor from the water!
London Eye at the riverbank of River Thames. Serenity.
Kakak smelt the heat so she quickly try to assuage the situation by saying that I was stress perhaps due to the recent demise of a friend (which partly I am, actually; as everything came into the picture all at once!) and asked for apologies and would try to convey the message to the tenant. In the end, the Caucasian Neighbour recoiled and retrieved after Kakak promised to convey the matter to the tenant. After he went back, Kakak told me that when we are in a foreign land, we cannot lose our temper or head like in Malaysia. Yes, Caucasians will sound arrogant but we must counter-back via naivety or “buat bodoh”. In that way, they would become less aggressive to us knowing that we “do not know anything” rather than argue with them. I agreed with Kakak and although as much as I hate the arrogance (I am always a sharp-tongued person whenever someone try to ridicule me); I think Kakak has all the plus points. She is always the one with wits and vast-thinking. I guess that is the essence as a Diplomatic Officer as you have to deal with a lot of protocols and Ministers’ shenanigans, no?
Angry Caucasian neighbour! And no; he did not look this good. It’s just a Google Image.
We had sleepless night; hoping that our tenant would come to our house or gave good responses that favor us and hopefully would not be asking us to give money for compensation as Kakak is only a student here and with the abysmal position of the forex; it would be super-costly! Let say if the whole thing were to cost £2000; convert that into Ringgit = RM10,000????!!!! We are not some rich people with money trees!!! All throughout the night; we prayed so badly that God would help us. Kakak and I even dreamed (when we had a few occasional dozed off) that the tenant, Maria came to our house and saved the day (to that extend!!!).
And today, Alhamdulillah! Kakak received positive responses from Maria that she would settle everything and already contacted a handyman for that and we DON’T HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING (now that is the most important thing of all!!). Alhamdulillah!!!! The anxiety to wait for the good news hindered our original plans but Alhamdulillah, it was such a relieve. We still feel a bit phobia to come back here after a day out (will update later); but we definitely can’t wait to move our assess off from here as early as possible tomorrow morning!!! Hopefully, there would be no more doors-banging until we are gone! Amin, and Alhamdulillah.
The supposed wet carpeted floor! It apparently seeped through beneath the carpet and dripped down to the lower floors. But seriously from 7th floor to 5th floor? But I guess the tap was turned on for quite a long time…… sigh. No wonder it is said that Caucasian or Western people hate to see their floors wet! It is like one of the most crucial and important rule of all time!
Nevertheless, it is a good learning experience for all of us. Especially in terms of liaising with foreign cultures abroad. You know, it is true like what the Malay maxim says “the gold rain is in abroad, the stone rain is in your Motherland. It is better to settle at your own Motherland”. There is no place like home BUT, this experience is important and essential for us to grow up as a global citizen. Life without lots of experiences; will definitely be an empty cup. Alhamdulillah; God is Great, ALLAH Hu Akbar!
NOTIFICATION UPDATE (I) :
Eventually, we HAVE to pay the damage!! Airbnb contacted Kakak at Leeds. She had to fork out 200 pounds; circa RM1,200!! Sigh….Horror!