Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taking An Unexpected Break

Dear Diary,

When you thought that nothing more could go wrong, something did go wrong. My precious laptop is at the repair shop now. It has not been operating well for some time already. My instinct told me it was just a matter of time before it kaput. Last week, it hanged many times and just went blank. The last straw, it cannot find operating system.

To make matter worse, all my pictures and blog drafts are somewhere in there. Yup, I didn't save them elsewhere. Meant to do it but oh well no use to cry over spill milk right.

This is only a small trial. Thank you Allah for this opportunity that taught me to reflect positively.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Drive Around Ankara, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

The next morning, we woke up early feeling fresh and looking forward to seeing more of Turkey’s wonders. At the same time, we mentally prepared ourselves for another day full of activities. Our 6th day in Turkey began with a long drive to Ankara.

Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is the second largest city after Istanbul. It is divided into two sections, namely old and new section. In the old section, visitors can roam and marvel at ancient buildings on narrow winding streets. While in the new section, modern buildings, shopping malls, government agencies and foreign embassies are located. For more information on Ankara, please click here.

Sharing more pictures of Ankara… antique shop
...spices, nuts, dried fruits
...row of shops in the old section of Ankara
...a copper shop, i think

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Traditional Dances at Altinocak Restaurant, Cappadocia, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

Our fifth day in Turkey was pack with activities from early morning up until middle of the night. After a pit stop at Pasabag Valley for taking pictures, we went back to our hotel, refreshed ourselves, dined scrumptious buffet dinner then we gathered at the lobby for another activity. Remember our lunch at an underground cave restaurant, Altinocak Restaurant. That night after dinner, we went to the restaurant again. This time not for culinary experience but for cultural and folklore shows.

Light refreshments of mixed nuts, fresh fruits and Turkish Delights were served to us. From the listed shows, I was looking forward to watching Sufi whirling and belly dancing. Whirling dance was the first performance. There were two male dancers. One of them looked very deep in trance. It seemed as if he was hypnotized and was in another realm. It was surreal. For more in depth info, please click here.

Next, we enjoyed several upbeat traditional dances. The performances were lively and pleasurable.

As the night grew longer, our eyes were droopier. We were up from before dawn and we were dead tired! Furthermore, the kids started to act up. In the middle of the show, all of us unanimously agreed to call it a day. We longed for our beds and rests.

By going back early, we didn’t get to watch belly dancing though. Lucky, I already watched it at Colossae Spa & Thermal Hotel in Pamukkale.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pasabag Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

We didn’t stay very long at the underground house in Cappadocia since we had a tight schedule to follow. Before heading back to our hotel, we made another photo stop at Pasabag Valley. In Turkish, Pasabag Valley means General's Vineyard.

Subhanallah was the first word that I uttered when I laid eyes on the landscape. Pasabag Valley, also known as Monks Valley, contains some of the most incredible fairy chimneys, with twin and triple rock caps. There before my eyes standing tall was pillars of rocks (fairy chimneys) with cone shaped black stones (rock caps) on top. These fairy chimneys are called mushroom shaped fairy chimneys. It seems like some magic hands work wonders by placing all the stones fittingly in place.

Volcano eruption and later erosion shaped this landscape to what it is today, a natural process that took million of years to materialize.

Betapa besar ciptaan dan kuasa Allah

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tea Drinking at a Local House, Cappadocia, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

Not only we visited an underground city and lunched inside an underground cave restaurant, we were also welcomed into a local house (an underground one). This is an actual underground house with people still living in it. What an experience!

Pathway leading to the house
It was a simple house with minimal furniture and adornment
A heater in the middle of the living room…very useful during winter
The hospitable owner who has 2 children
Nice, hot tea
Zarra and Irfan enjoying their teas. Nak jadi cerita si Irfan dah bagi tumpah teh tu ataih carpet yang tuan rumah tu hand made. Masa tu rasa nak ja meresap masuk dalam tanah. Malu weh!

Hand made crafts by the landlady (bought few items....dah anak bagi tumpah teh kan)
Can you spot all the hanging grapes?

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's Irfan's Birthday Today

Dear Diary,

Today is Irfan’s birthday. He’s 3 years old. Let me tell you a bit about my youngest son…

He’s one cheeky boy. Among my three children, he is the only one who likes to tease people. He likes to smile but don’t fall for his smiles because he’s also very garang. He’s very close to me. Wherever I am, he’s there like a shadow; maybe because I raised him from baby without helper unlike his brother and sister.

He started talking much later than Imran and Zarra at around 2+ years old. At first, he talks gibberish. I’m the only one who understands his “language” though there are times I myself had no idea what he’s trying to say. Alhamdulillah, in the last two months his speech has become more comprehensible. His sentence construction is also better. Lately, he seems to talk non stop. This is very different from his younger self who was quieter.

He always offers to help me with chores and always like to participate in what his elder siblings are doing. One more thing, he’s very neat and quite particular in arranging things.

MUHAMMAD SYAHIR IRFAN – My prayers are with you always. May you grow up to become a soleh son who brings happiness to people around you. May Allah bless you with good health and good life.

I love you always!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blue Art Center, Cappadocia, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

Stuffed with delicious foods and done with lunch at an underground cave restaurant, we hopped on to our tour bus. Ibrahim, our quiet driver, drove us to Blue Art Center.

Blue Art Center is a jewelry production center, located in the heart of Anatolian region. Assorted types of jewelry are produced here using gems such as turquoise, lapis, emerald, amber, amethyst, onyx that come from all over the world.

A representative of the center briefed us on their products. All female member of our tour group were ecstatic, me including, listening attentively to the explanation given. Girls being girls kan.

Turquoise is a very important stone for Turks and plays an important role in their lives traditionally.

In the end, I didn’t get anything. Too expensive la, better I buy 916 kan :-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Altinocak Restaurant, Cappadocia, Turkey, Nov 2012

Dear Diary,

Having experience moon-like landscapes at Uchisar Castle,Pigeon Valley and Goreme Open Air Museum, we were all geared up for our next unique experience.

Destination: Altinocak Restaurant

Description: An underground cave restaurant

For lunch, we devoured bread with soup, salad, rice with fish and pudding.

For a while there, we got to experience “living” in a cave.

Address: Yeni Mahalle Hasankalesi Mevkii Eski Tuz Yolu No. 95 50500 Avanos Cappadocia. Website: