Friday, January 24, 2014

[Continued]- our day in Chamonix

So...where was I?

do we have to go in??
Oh yeah. Ok it was the 2nd day. Bright and early we all got up, and the plan was to go to Chamonix. It's a ski resort. What do I know about ski resorts right, all I wanted was to take the kids to see snow. It was quite a hassle trying to check out because we had 3 rooms, all on 3 different floors. We had to drag bags down .. Daughter no 1 and son shared a room on ground floor, which was great for jojo as the room opened to the back yard which had snow ! The kids all took their bags down to Jojo's room- the hotel very kindly allowed us to keep our bags there, so we didn't have to lug them to the mountains and then lug them back.

So, after what seemed forever of sorting out bags, making breakfast (out of the bread and kebabs and cakes etc!) and yelling at the kids to come in from the back yard- off we finally went!!

The trip there was gorgeous. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and we finally figured out how to use the toll system in France without getting honked- life was perfect! Never mind that the other half broke a cup in the morning, lost the car keys  for a while the night before and did a host of stuff that was unlike him!
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Finally reached Chamonix. - Bandar rupanyer-! with people walking around with skis and wearing snazzy snow suits and fancy sun shades. People waiting for buses, people eating at cafes, having drinks. Busy! We drove through the town, wondering where to stop. Finally stopped by a lake (again!) - mainly because it was close to a row of hotels , had fresh field of snow nearby - and i wanted the toilet! I don't fancy the cold when the kids tumbled out the car onto the white snow , I stayed in the car, with the warm comfortable heater heheheh. Ok ok..acahje.....who can resist playing in the snow right....!

Later on, we did MY favourite activity- eating! well..drinking lah. We had hot chocolate at the nearest inn- which was run by a Welsh woman, so she spoke English! What a relief! Not being understood can be quite tiring! As well as having to scrutinise the menu for what we can eat.. unlike when we were students, now I cannot even touch anything if the place serves pork - why ah?? Porkophobia. Nadine said some people think nothing of missing prayers but have extreme severe dogphobia or porcinephobia!

Anyway I digress- after that drove to yet another parking place, where we can get into a cable car, to go to the top of the  mountain. Unfortunately (a) everyone in the town wanted to go up as well, judging from the queue and (b) it was extremely expensive for all of us to go up- RM2000  (RM1000 for 4) - even in the original Euro it sounded expensive. I was secretly relieved ! I know husband wanted to show the kids the "real fresh snow" as he says, way up on top, but hey, it was cold, my wooly scarf kept getting untied, (didn't know how to fashionably tie it) and I was tired. Kept slipping on the icy ground. This snow malarky was no fun I tell ya. hehehe...!


 So, cannot go up with cable car,  we walked around the town of Chamonix, me swallowing my ungrateful moans as I trailed behind the other half. Dalam otak pikir..nak makan apa ah ? In the end tak makan..mana tak nya, (a) everything had "jambon" or ham and (b) everyone else was stuffed from the kebab and the bread and the cakes ! (seriously banyak left overs)

The town by the way, was really nice. It was dead fashionable I tell you, and I found out that tourists flock  here from everywhere esp the UK. And it was a day before new year kan, lagi lah ramai orang datang...more came!

Dah about 2 pm, we moved on- bye bye..have to rush to the next place sebab the reception opens only between 5 to 8 pm! And we had to go back to Thyez to get our bags! Which we did, and we managed to pray and rest and even took a shower in the room before saying bye to this place----

Next destination: the prettiest town in France. !

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Continued- Geneva At Last! there we were..finally landing in Geneva airport.

er takda lah's  a small airport (compared to KLIA!). Cleared customs in no time, and went to baggage - so crowded! After that had to look for the French sector of the airport, as that was where we booked the car from. Never  knew Geneva had a French sector and a Swiss sector! The price difference was substantial - cheaper in France!  Following the internet's direction, we went up one floor, and hey presto, found an area with about 5 rental companies, and promptly went up to one of them.

Horrors! No one had heard of us! Aiyoo! It was 2 hours later that we managed to get a car. The car booking company had bungled it up and our car was not available. HERTZ came to the rescue, manned by this Algerian guy Muhammad. Thank you Brother! He gave us the only and last car he had for 7 ppl, considering it was New Year and end of the year and peak season, we were very lucky to get it! It was very ok  if you have 5 normal people and 2 midgets heheheh...Jojo and Sara were declared the smallest of the family and sat in the last row. It was quite a miracle how we managed to squeeze all our bags in! He taught us to buy the sticker nak cross to France- without it we'd be fined!
Muhammad and very relieved customers 
the Honda Qashqai! 

Off we went to the first hotel- La Ferme Du Lac! This was our itinerary as far as this holiday was concerned - arrive, go to the ski resort, go home.  The end. nearest ski resort was Chamonix. But every single hotel within a 50 mile radius of the place,  was full. My begging emails went unreplied by most. The only vacancy I could find was at this expensive-ish hotel which looked really pretty from the website. It's in Thyez - in between Geneva and Chamonix . 30 mins drive je - The drive was really pretty - harrowing experience though, going through the toll without knowing what the heck we should do, made worse by us accidentally going into the automated lane, without any assistant. Takpalah..orang puteh honk , lantaklah..

However ! We did not regret it at all! They gave us 3 rooms,and for a first night we were very happy! Rasa taknak keluar je! After what felt like ages being on the plane, we really really rested here! And the kids really enjoyed the lake nearby !
behind the hotel!
front of hotel 
(very alpiny kan...very er- "the hills are alive" lah ) .
3 girls' double decker room 
 The day we sampai and the next day the kids went exploring...pagi pagi buta dah keluar.
the lake nearby
lake view 

lake view 

around the neighbourhood

That first night we went out to  look for food- drove around and round looking for vegetarian option..tak sangka lak ada kebab! Forgot about the algerians...After about 30 mins driving around (seriously easier than not having a car , when you have a family and when the temperature was that cold!) we found a row of arabic food ! Went into one called Barakah and yes ! they were Algerian. Halal....! Between us we could not understand french, and they could not speak English, so in the end we spoke broken Arabic hahahah. Good enough lah, we managed to order enough mixed kebab for 2 days!Although we thought it was going to be expensive, it wasn't! And the nice thing was- when we were about to go  home they plied  us with bread, cakes, etc and seriously, we ate that for lunch the next day! May all of Allah's blessings be on you ya brother!

The next afternoon, checked out. I know, it was heartwrenching but had to do it as we had to move to another city- so the 2nd day plan was : Chamonix, and then sleep at Annecy.. this is the view  at Chamonix (no skiing just being in the mountains)- but that would be day 2! See you in a moment!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

.....And we are back!

HI there...

fooh fooh fooh!!! me blowing cobwebs off this site. Started off as a diary where I vent about family and other half-  now read BY the family and also the other half- which has significantly reduced its ability to act as my online diary - !!! heeee

Anyway yes! We went off to Switzerland last December! Completely unplanned, bought  the tickets like today, for next week. I love trips like that..because I absolutely hate to wait, thank goodness for unexpected promotions! I had actually resigned myself to not going anywhere. We went to Singapore USS to pacify the kids (Universal studio)- got a half price deal from Agoda at Peninsular Exelsior Singapore- and once we got there, understood why it was half price. The kids' room reeked of ciggie smoke- yarabbi..all the air fresheners in the world could not get rid of it. Complained but they kept saying no new room, and here's a bottle of air freshener. They did not appear too surprised, so I suspect this room had always been stinky. Who knows.Were there for only 2 nights , otherwise I would have asked for a refund. 

Kids did go to USS but reported that the Cyclone , the ride that they most wanted to go on, was closed. Annoying because we would not have gone, had it not been for this ride. Due to the exorbitant entry fees, Nadine and I decided to stay in the hotel. After 2 nights,  we were happy to go home- don't know why, but this time around Singapore and Singaporeans annoyed me . They usually impress me, but this time round, I got mad when they cut the queue at immigration, I got mad at everything. I got mad at not seeing more Malays in Singaporean political scene. Hahah as if I know about Singapore political scene. . 

On the way back- I think because we were having so much negative energy (annoyed, grumpy..entah apa apa)..the car broke down. Of course it would break down! By the highway! At high noon! 

Sigh...I called the AAM. Towing home would cost RM1000..Mak ai. I was game, as I was not going to risk driving back a car which front wheel trailed smoke. Husband however, was braver. The PLUS (highway) guy who came about half an hour after we were stranded, apparently told hubs that the car was ok. So he drove to the nearest toll plaza, stopping every kilometre or so to see if the wheel smoked or not. We prayed our solats and I SOS Allahswt and miracles upon miracles, alhamdulillah, we safely made the trip back! I had a BNI dinner that night which I cannot absolutely be absent, being the president in office so to speak, so I was especially grateful for the mercy He showed us. That solat taubat at the toll plaza (repentance prayer)probably  helped!Wallahualam. The car was ok and continued to be ok (until very recently but that's another story). I can have an entire post just on our dearest Estee. 

ANYWAY!  Yes, after Singapore, we went to Switzerland. Which was fantastic. What happened was this- I found out somehow (dont know how- could it be because I trawled the internet everyday hehehe) that Qatar airways were offering less than RM2000 for KUL to Geneva. The catch is, you have to be prepared to practically grow cobwebs at Doha airport. the longer, the cheaper. Hey, less than RM2k per pax and I have 7 ok, I'm ok with sleeping there. So I took it and the kids could not believe they were going to Europe and also that they were not being left behind! It was a mad trip, as we had to be back before the week was out, so we would only have 4 days there. Husb decreed that we should go because he had booked his leave and they were as rare as gold dust so we'd better take advantage of this. 

So armed with bags of winter clothes, off we set ! Told our respective parents on the day itself. Kerja gile kan! and relaxation for the tired doctor. MIL gave her blessings as did my parents, but both said- bila nak ke Mekah woi..

SO!Day 1.

Qatar Airways is comfortable, I would fly again with it. Food is halal, and seats well spaced, and having an entertainment screen with hundreds of movies etc to keep you entertained, is a real bonus. Esp when you have kids. Arrived at Doha at 12 midnight with next flight at 8.30 a.m. Hmm what to do in the meantime?? Never mind, while we were thinking , we decided to look for a surau to do our Isyak- found the Mosque and it was spacious! So decided to stay there until subuh. Yay! Kids got a good and comfortable night sleep after all. Me, stay up to do some work. Darn it, flexi time job! After subuh we met up again with other half and johan, and off to Geneva. 

A few things worth mentioning. 

1. They are building a new airport, so when we landed, we landed in the middle of the airport like Air Asia, and took a bus . If we were exiting Doha, we'd have to stop at the first building where you need to clear customs etc.  Since we were transitting, we stopped at the second building. The second building had many many gates (to geneva was gate 7) and no they don't give transit passengers a hotel. They  do have a lounge but it's USD40 per pax for 6 hours. That musollah (marked MOSQUE) was such a find (near the toilets) .

2. When we were in the surau, it was empty! There were only 2 malay ladies back from their umrah. And there was an Arab looking lady who ambled in , and prayed, and then laid down to sleep. An official looking lady in uniform came in sometime afterwards, and asked us to wake this Arab looking lady up. Rohaida! Rohaida! She called, sternly. The officer was looking for one Rohaida, an airport staff. Maybe this Rohaida was playing rookie instead of working. The officer asked us to check if this lady has her badge. meanwhile the Arab looking lady continued to sleep.

I asked nadine to nudge  her, and she rolled, and we saw that she did not have the badge. Sorry! Said this lady and she went away. Another lady, who had been sleeping and covered her face up with a blanket, suddenly rolled and sat up, grinning . Laa..that was the ROHAIDA, she had been there all this time, and pretended to be deaf. She was  sleeping on the job. The poor Arab looking lady went back to sleep. 

Later on 2 girls came to her, big tall girls who were clearly her daughters. They approached her, shook her and said "JOM MAK" (Come, mom). In Malay!! Laa they were from Penang! Hahahha I find it incredibly funny when I recall us thinking she was Arab and we tried to speak English and Arabic to her..when she could speak malay hehehe 

heehee. We had breakfast at A&W at the airport. RM200 for all of us, which husband declared as expensive but airport be expected. 

Took another bus to the plane, and the main cabin director or chief crew member or steward or whatever the position is nowadays, is from Penang as well! His name was Khairul I think. It was a pleasant surprise when we heard "Selamat Pagi" as we boarded! 
(view from bus to our plane at Doha)

Lama gak on the plane to more and more excited as we saw the mountains and snow...To be continued....

Winter Sonata sure is different at 49 years old!

Believe it or not I am rewatching Winter Sonata.. ee geram betul I dengan si Yujin tu lah... she really was a wutz wasn't she? and...