Video: Watching “The Red Warriors” live in stadium!

This is so backdated, but a a video requested by Az, after the post about our first visit to stadium! Hear the noise, live cheers and rebana drum beats from the very moment and place. No additional background music in this video.

Kelantan FA vs. KL Felda FC @ Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV, Kota Bharu. Some few months ago.

First Anniversary

When I was walking after office today while talking to Az on the phone, he suddenly wished ‘Happy Anniversary’, not once, but I guess 3 times repeatedly, leaving me in a confusion (but didnt bother to quickly think what that’s supposed to mean coz I was damn tired after 7pm). Then he knew that I was blank, and mentioned yesterday, 29 May was the date of our wedding we had in Melaka (Az’s house) last year. Ahh, that one counts as anniversary also ka? Okay lah..

Although during the actual anniversary 5 February this year I was far from having 5 minutes to blog about it in ilyani.net, now I’ll do it for the Melaka anniversary.

29 May 2011, Melaka. Last minute renting this songket costume (all the way from KB!) because Az’s mom suddenly wanted us to wear songket too in Melaka after seeing us in songket during wedding at my home earlier (5 February). And we had to wear songket during reception in KB thanks to my grandma’s wish to see us in songket. In the end, my Dubai lace modern kurung (which I had put all my creativity to design it) and dress end up being secondary dress for the wedding =.= *sigh*

Note to my foreign friends: Malay weddings traditionally come twice if you get married: first where the solemnization happens (which is, the actual marriage day) usually at the bride’s house, inviting family and friends of the bride’s family. Another will be at the groom’s house, which is the reception for their family and friends, and it usually comes one to few weeks after the bride’s reception, although can be months. In our case, we had like 3 months gap. And oh, should I point that our wedding in Melaka actually happened after our honeymoon trip? :D

Happy (Melaka) Anniversary, Az! Luv ya!

Riding (73 hours) trains in China

Luckily it was not 73 hours in one go (otherwise I cannot imagine how horrible the long-trains syndrome would affect us). 73 hours in 4 trains, and still, they’re considered long-journey trains (21 + 22 + 16 + 14 hours). It was rather a good decision to switch trains in Lanzhou, although it’s not our place to even stay for a day, otherwise the only available direct Chengdu – Urumqi is 47 hours train.

Unlike Indian trains, we cannot book China train online. At least not by ourselves. Had to seek help from our CouchSurfing friend Derek (who earlier visited us in KL, and also hosted us in Chengdu) to book for us since the online booking is only available in Chinese. Still, we had to collect the actual ticket (in picture hold by Az) in the train station, therefore it’s still so much hassle, especially in the stations full of long queues, there’s no sign in English and if we’re lucky, there will be (only) one person who can speak English among the train officers.

We choose hard-sleeper class for our trains, and when after boarding, an officer would come to collect the tickets, give us cards with our berth number (and random pictures) to keep all the way during the journey. Right before we get off, the officer would turn up again to collect back the cards in exchange of our train tickets. We still dont know why this system is practiced.

Hard-sleeper coach has 3 bunk beds like this so 6 persons share a common area. Most of time we got one top bed and one bottom bed. It’s good as we can still sit together at the bottom bed during the day, and either of us would climb up to top bed for sleeping at night.

People who has middle bed usually sits at the bench in the aisle, or sometimes people in bottom bunk invite them to sit at their place for a while. Within a few hours, everyone seems to be comfortable to each other and talk and eat together. Although they can’t speak English, it’s so cool that they’re still speaking to us in Chinese and most of time we’ll reply with sign languages.

They usually bring several instant noodles (in big paper bowl!) as their breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the journey. As for us, we did pack some Tesco ready-to-eat food and sardines, Maggi mee, 3-in-1 Nescafe and Milo for our only means of food in the train.

There’s a restaurant if you like, but we werent sure if food is Halal and we could only buy plain rice from there to eat with our food. By the 3rd day of train, we managed to finish most of the food and turn our heavy luggage much lighter :)

The views from Chengdu to Lanzhou. Traveling by train spanning thousands kilometers does amaze us of how huge is the land of China!

Sometimes train would stop at a station where there will be 5-10 minutes break, so we had a chance to quickly jump out and get some fresh air while stretching our muscles.

And maybe, buy some breads and biscuits from the platform stalls before continuing the journey for another ten hours. Although, the breads aren’t really good.

Left picture: The full view of 3 bunk beds in hard-sleeper coach. Right: View from top bunk, showing the aisle in the train. There’s a space up there to put your luggage.

Now, this is our only soft-sleeper train! We had to buy the tickets during last minute when our expected Kuqa-Turpan train was cancelled due to sand storm, and the next Kuqa-Urumqi train only had soft-sleeper tickets available. I will put long and complete story later in the travelogue. Although very expensive, we had to admit that it was really neat, clean and comfortable, in a private lockable cabin. Well, it depends with whom you’re sharing the cabin with :) We were lucky  to have the whole cabin for ourselves for a few hours before old couple who sit in the bottom beds boarded in.

And this train (Kuqa-Urumqi) is double decker! :D I guess we wouldnt have taken this train if it was not because of the earlier train canceled (that we got really cranky about!). I cannot say the soft-sleeper and double decker train can pay off the time wasted in dusty Kuqa and missing the chance to visit Turpan, but at least, I guess by this time we’re already cooled-off :)

And this is our last train Xian to Chengdu, in the end of the whole trip before flying home. Note that were left off with our Crocs for the whole second week of trip when I made a biggest mistake for leaving our shoes in sleeper bus in Kuqa =.= And Az started blaming me all the way until we return home. Okaylah I know it’s my mistake, but now I already replaced your shoes, and let’s not talk about the forgotten shoes ever again, okay?