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Friday, 11 November 2016

Pertandingan Puisi Belantara di Antara Jiwa

Belantara di Antara Jiwa

Assalamualaikum dan salam sejahtera wahai pembaca sekalian. Ya, di sini ada berita baik. Eh, ni dah kenapa rasmi sangat bahasanya? Hahaha. Anna nak hadiahkan lukisan "Belantara di Antara Jiwa". Yang ni special edition (dicetak atas brown recycled art card). Hanya ada satu sahaja ya. Bagi yang berminat nak memiliki lukisan ini, Anna menganjurkan Pertandingan Puisi Belantara di Antara Jiwa. Apakah yang perlu dilakukan?

  • Menulis puisi berdasarkan lukisan Belantara di Antara Jiwa (klik pada gambar untuk melihat lukisan dengan lebih terperinci). 
  • Tiada had patah perkataan. 
  • Puisi hendaklah ditulis di dalam Bahasa Melayu. 
  • Puisi mesti dikongsi di ruang komen entri blog ini. 
  • Sertakan nama dan alamat e-mel.
  • Tarikh pertandingan bermula hari Jumaat, 11 November 2016, dan berakhir pada hari Ahad, 27 November 2016, jam 10pm. 
  • Pemenang akan dihubungi melalui e-mel dan akan diumumkan di blog ini.

Jika ada sebarang pertanyaan, boleh tinggalkan di ruang komen. Terima kasih!

{Sue Anna Joe}

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Being Creative (Part 2)

Greenilicious Lime

Thought I elaborate a bit on my previous Being Creative post with a sample of one of my old work. This photo above was taken using a basic digital camera mounted on a tripod. Tools used: a green lime taken from my mom's garden, a digital camera, a bathroom hose to spray the water and a sharp metal object that was poked into the lime to keep it in place. Below is a rough sketch of how this photo was taken.

Behind the scene of "Greenilicious Lime"

So this sketch above is pretty much how the set up was. I set the camera on timer and kept holding that position. Looking at the finished result, one would assume I threw the lime into mid-air, when it was actually supported by a sharp metal that was poked into the lime. Because I used a basic camera, I wasn't able to set the shutter speed to freeze the moment, so I used the built-in flash. Usually I avoid using the flash, I prefer natural lighting, but in this scenario it was necessary to take the shot. If it wasn't for the flash, the image would have been a blur due to the motion.

I took several shots, and finally got one that I was satisfied with. Then, it came down to the editing. I had to edit out the sharp metal object. Besides that, the background was originally white bathroom tiles. Using Adobe Photoshop, I edited the white background and turned it green. And got rid of the tile lines as it was distracting. You see, when taking photos, it's important to focus on the subject and eliminate any distraction. If possible it's best done at the scene. A lot of people do this, easy example is during group shots at a cafe. There would be cups, plates on the table. So these cups, plates, e.t.c.. would be set aside so it doesn't appear in the photograph. However in some cases, it is impossible to remove certain elements, thus editing softwares just like Adobe Photoshop come in handy.

Tools in Adobe Photoshop such as clone stamp, healing tool, patch tool can be of assistance when removing such unwanted elements. For beauty shots, especially in magazines, these tools are used frequently, to remove blemishes, acne, scars, to make the skin look really smooth. These days, there are a number of phone apps that have this removal option.

This photo did require me to be creative. I had to think how would I make it as though as the lime was in mid-air. Wouldn't have looked nice if I held it. If I had proper equipment at that time, DSLR, studio lights, with either a green backdrop or green filters I could just throw the lime, and quickly snapped photos at a high shutter speed to capture it.

So.. what was that "sharp metal object"? Jeng, jeng, jeng...

Blackhead remover (image source)

Hahaha. Yeah I know it's kinda gross, but that's what I used bruh! So I used the pointy sharp end and poked the lime so I could hold it in position. And with the magic of Adobe Photoshop, it vanished in the final image. I would share the original photo, but I don't have it anymore. I can't remember when but this was taken yearssss ago.

Well that's about it. Just thought I'd share my creative process. Limitations should not limit you, it should be used to squeeze that creativity juices out of your brain.

{Sue Anna Joe}

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Being Creative

Being creative is a part of survival. It helps us manoeuvre through our daily lives. Especially in challenging situations. I've heard people saying, "But I'm not creative". Nope, you're wrong, you are creative. It's just a matter of you being able to harness this power within you. When talking about creativity, people would most likely relate it to those, say who loves to draw. Create pieces of art. Or maybe, architects, graphic designers, fashion designers, and well you know those kind of people of do those kind of things.

Parenting, requires a high level of creativity. A mother with a kid who is a picky eater, would think of the different ways of trying to make their kids to eat. So she decides, instead of serving the regular looking bread in the mornings, the mom would make the bread look like it has a face using, using cereals. Arranged to have eyes, a nose and a smily mouth. Perhaps in a situation where the kid refuses to go to bed, the mom or dad would make up a 'factual' story such as, "If you don't go to sleep, you will forever be small, when everyone else is growing up", or simply just scare them "Haa, kalau tak tidur nanti nenek kebayan datang". The scare tactic is not recommended though. It ain't good for the mental health of kids.

Have you seen those survival guides on TV? I can't quite remember the names of the show, but there are a few. Not long ago, I watched this show, where there were two guys, one a chef, and the was one was a hunter, or was it a survival specialist. Well anyway, this episode I watched was filmed in Malaysia. They had to travel by a tiny wooden boat to a secluded area deep down in the swampy jungle. The hunter guy wanted to take water from the river. Somehow he lost the only cooking pot they had. So, the chef was of course furious, but he still managed to come up with a solution. He used bamboo to cook. He made holes and put in the shrimp they caught inside. And it actually made it taste better. And this is yet again, creativity. If he wasn't creative, they would have starved.

"Murder victim" (image source)

Teachers use creativity. How do you make students interested in their lessons? Read an article not too long ago, an English teacher from Sarawak, created a murder scene, and the students had to solve the murder mystery. He left 'evidence' with words and sentences, like puzzles. And so the students had to read and understand, and figure it out. Those who were able to solve the case, had the chance to take photos with the prop. One of them was a huge sized knife. I would definitely want to participate in that class.

For a person who love to take photos, creativity is an important tool other than the camera itself. I've been in many situations that I was forced to be creative due to the limitations I had. I started with a basic compact digital camera, a 5-megapixel Sony Cybershot. I did not have any special equipment, studio or lighting. I used whatever I had in my house as props or set up. For example:

1. The carpet became the background for my portraits
2. A bag, a skirt, a t-shirt was turned into a hat
3. My night lamp became my studio lights
4. The bathroom became my studio
5. I've even used garlic as a prop for one of my conceptual shoots

I did not have to invest in so much to come up with an interesting photo. All I needed was creativity. Without it, I would have just given up. Now that I am in the kitchen more often, I have to think of what to cook for my husband and son. It's quite a task of figuring out the menu of the day. And at times you just don't have enough ingredients based on the recipe. So, tadaaaa, here comes creativity. You have to figure out, what ingredient you can use to substitute what you don't have. You have to think would this go with that, would that go with this. And at the end of the days the lack of ingredients you had, actually made your cooking even more delicious. Nyumm nyumm nyumm.

We all are creative. We just don't realize it. Don't go "Alaaa, tapi saya tak kreatif.." Hello, hello wake up. Awak tu kreatif sebenarnya. Tinggal lagi nak menjana kuasa kekreatifan tu haaa. Terlampau kreatif pun tak elok juga sebenarnya. Yelah, sampai ada yang jamu orang makan dalam diapers la, mangkuk tandas la. Erkk. Hahaha. So make use of that creativity within you in your daily lives, but please don't go overboard. Moderation is key. It would be such a waste not to harness that power of creativity of yours. Now go be creative!

{Sue Anna Joe}

Friday, 7 October 2016

Recipe: Tuna Pasta Bake

Tuna Pasta Bake
Hiii! Thought of sharing a recipe this time. Tuna Pasta Bake. This recipe is from my sister-in-law. So credit goes to her. I did not have enough ingredients, so I tweaked my ingredients a bit. I used whatever ingredients I had in the kitchen. The ingredients here is enough for about 3 baking pans. Okay now, first and foremost, the ingredients:

Ingredients / Bahan-bahan

The ingredients for Tuna Pasta Bake
*NOT INCLUDED: olive oil, tomato puree and herbs

  • 1 packet of bow tie pasta / 1 paket pasta tali leher busar (kah kah kah, suka hati direct translation)
  • 3 Leggo's Pasta Bake sauce (2 Creamy Tomato & Mozarella, 1 Tomato, Ricotta & Spinach) 
  • 3 canned Tunas. Here I used, Captain's Catch Tuna Chunks in Spring Water
  • 1 can of button mushrooms (or more if you like a lot of mushrooms)
  • Shredded cheese mix. Do purchase the large packet, or a few of the small ones. The more the cheese the better! 
  • Olive oil (didn't have olive oil, so I substituted it with margarine)
  • Various Italian herbs (didn't use, cause I didn't have any)
  • Tomato puree (optional ingredient)

Let's get cookin'! / Mari memasak!

Ye puan-puan (dan tuan-tuan)mari kita mulakan...
  1. Cook the pasta: i) Boil water. ii) At boiling point add in salt and olive oil/margarine. iii) Boil pasta according to time stated on package minus 2 minutes (if the pasta says boil for 10 minutes, boil it at 8 minutes instead). 
  2. In a separate pot, dump drained tuna (toskan/keringkan air tuna di dalam tin). Use olive oil/margarine to cook the tuna. Pour just enough of olive oil to cover bottom of the pan. Tak perlu letak banyak sangat. Cook for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, heat up the oven and butter the pan. 
  3. In this step, you need to use a very large pot. Because we will be making the sauce for the pasta. Drain the mushroom, then sautee it with a little bit of olive oil for 3 minutes.

    Homemade tomato puree. Wash the tomatoes, peel the skin off, spoon out the seeds, dice the tomatoes.
    Then, you can either blend or mash the tomatoes in the pot while cooking.
    Stir with a spoon until the tomatoes are in liquid form, then add in some tomato sauce to taste.

  4. Next, add in tomato puree (optional). Didn't have tomato puree, so I made my own.
  5. Then add in all the different pasta sauces. Stir untill simmer (kacau sehingga mereneh). Put in a generous amount of Italian herbs of your liking into the sauce (oregano, thyme, e.t.c...). Yang ni Anna tak bubuh sebab dah habis dah, ingat ada lagi. Sob sob. 
  6. Once the pasta sauce starts simmering again, dump in the tuna you cooked earlier. Stir to mix.

    Mushrooms, tuna, bow tie pasta mixed with the pasta bake sauce.

  7. Add in the cooked pasta. Make sure the water has been drained. Now, mix everything together gently. Sila kacau dengan lemah-lembut supaya tidak menghancurkan pasta. Yes, you need to be gentle with the pasta, it breaks easily. Not pretty. 


    Added Cheddar cheese slices. The more the merrier. Nyumm. 

  8. Now that everything is mixed, pour about 1/3 of the pasta mix into the buttered pan (pastikan anda sudah menenyeh bekas nak bakar tu dengan butter/marjerin, kalau tak letak, melekat nanti bila bakar). Then sprinkle the shredded cheese mix evenly onto the pasta. Because I had very little cheese, I added cheddar cheese slices on top.

    The top part of the Tuna Pasta Bake

  9. Then, pour more of the pasta over the sprinkled cheese. And add another layer of cheese on top. (repeat this with the other baking pans). Pandai-pandailah bahagikan pasta dan cheese tu ya
  10. Put it in the pre-heated oven and bake 'till the cheese melts. Ya masukkan ke dalam ketuhar dan bakar sehinnga keju cairrrrr. Tadaaa. Dah siap. 
That's about it. There are of course various versions of Tuna Pasta Bake on the internet. But this is the only one I've tried so far. Feel free to ask me in the comments section if you need any further explanation.
Cooking from the heart to the tummy, 
{Sue Anna Joe}

Monday, 3 October 2016

Rezeki di dalam perniagaan.

Baru-baru ni Anna tengok rancangan Assalamualaikum di TV Alhijrah. Shamsuddin Kadir menjadi tetamu jemputan pada hari itu. Dia berkongsi tentang rezeki di dalam perniagaan. Terus rasa tertarik dengan topik yang dibincangkan, sebab Anna pun meniaga sekarang ni. Alhamdulillah, walaupun sekejap je segmen dia, tapi banyak ilmu yang Anna pelajari. Jadi Anna pun rasa nak berkongsi sedikit-sebanyak apa yang Shamsuddin Kadir perkatakan di dalam rancangan tersebut.
Jujur di dalam perniagaan 
Shamsuddin Kadir menyentuh tentang penjualan produk perubatan/kesihatan/kecantikan dan sebagainya. Katanya, nak jual sesuatu produk tu, mesti jujur. Jujur dari segi informasi yang dikaitkan dengan produk tersebut. Beliau memberi contoh tentang produk perubatan. Kalau kita tengok  dan amati ubat-ubatan moden hari ini, turut tertulis kesan sampingan kepada penggunanya selain dari kegunaan atau fungsi ubat itu. Kemudian Shamsuddin Kadir memberi contoh tentang satu produk yang lain. Produk tersebut tidak menemui kesan sampingan. Walaubagaimanapun produk tersebut ada menyatakan "kesan sampingan belum ditemui, tetapi kami yakin ada kesan sampingannya".   
Bak kata Aziz M. Osman di dalam satu babak filem arahannya yang bertajuk XX Ray (1992), "Setiap apa di dalam dunia ni, ada kesan sampingan, begitu juga dengan helmet ni". Jadi setiap benda atau produk mesti ada kesan sampingan. Contoh yang lebih mudah, gula. Gula ni sedap, manis bila dibancuh dengan air atau masakan, tapi kalau berlebihan boleh mendatangkan penyakit kencing manis. Oleh itu, berpada-padalah apabila menggunakan sesuatu. 
Menurut Shamsuddin Kadir, kalau nak claim produk kita ni yang terbaik, No. 1 di Malaysia, paling terlaris dan sebagainya, kena pastikan ia benar-benar sahih. Biarlah ia berdasarkan fakta yang benar, dan bukannya rekaan semata-mata. Ada juga kes di mana terdapat testimonial yang diupah. Dibayarkan sekian-sekian harga untuk buat testimonial positif tentang sesuatu produk walhal orang tersebut tak guna atau pakai produk tu. Tak molek la gitu kan? Seharusnya testimonial itu datang dari mereka yang menggunakan produk tersebut.   
Yang menjual dan menghasilkan produk pula, seharusnya berpada-pada dengan cara mempromosikan sesuatu produk itu. Jangan berikan jaminan 100%. Ada satu produk tu dikatakan boleh membunuh 99.99% kuman. Baguslah gitu, harap benarlah apa yang dinyatakan tu. Banyak juga iklan produk kecantikan yang menyelitkan disclaimer kecil di bahagian bawah skrin televisyen menyatakan statistik keberkesanan produk mereka. Contohnya *berdasarkan analisis 357 wanita di Malaysia. Gitulah lebih kurang. Cuma kadang tu tak perasan sebab terlalu kecil dan beberapa saat je ditayangkan di skrin atau di bungkusan produk. 
Jangan risau. rezeki sudah ditetapkan 
Adalah kebiasaan perasaan risau dan takut bila ada persaingan di dalam perniagaan. Nak-nak lagi kalau orang tu menjual produk yang sama. Jangan risau, Allah S.W.T dah tetapkan rezeki masing-masing. Jadi tidak perlu khuatir dan pening kepala. Tetapi, haruslah ada usaha dan semangat tidak putus asa yang tinggi. Shamsuddin Kadir memberi satu contoh, duk nak makan nasi ni, dah ada nasi dalam tangan, tinggal nak gerakkan tangan ke mulut dan suap. Kalau kita sendiri tak gerakkan perbuatan tersebut, siapa lagi nak lakukannya. Yang nak makan tu kita, kalau tak suap masakan boleh kita kenyang dan riang. Kesimpulannya, rezeki tu memang dah ada dan di tetapkan, cuma tinggal sahaja untuk kita berusaha untuk mendapatkan rezeki tu. Ingat, duit tak datang bergolek atau jatuh dari langit. 
Jangan tamak
Ya, jangan tamak di dalam perniagaan. Shamsuddin Kadir berkongsi pengalamannya sendiri. Dia telah ditawarkan untuk membuat tiga bengkel/kursus. Tawaran itu diterima, tapi yang diambil hanya satu bengkel/kursus sahaja. Kita tengok dulu macam mana katanya. Kalau okay, baru boleh teruskan yang lain-lain.  
Apa yang Anna faham di dalam perkongsian tersebut, kadang kita ni kabur mata memikirkan profit yang banyak, dan dalam sedar atau tidak kita menjadi tamak dan rakus. Macam kalau kita pergi pusat membeli-belah, kita nak cari parking yang dekat je dengan pintu masuk, punyalah nak juga yang dekat, habis di pusing berkali-kali, walhal dah ada parking kosong tak jauh mana pun, nak juga parking yang dekat tu. Habis tu, di pusingnya lagi sambil melihat cermin belakang lalu berkata dalam hati "haaaa, keluar pun kau". Sesampainya di situ, dah ada kereta lain yang masuk. Maka berjalanlah sedikit ke hadapan dengan perasaan yang hampa, tetapi disajikan dengan satu harapan yang baru, lalu berkata di dalam hati "Yes! ada juga kosong" hati melonjak keriangan. Rupa-rupanya terperdaya dengan sang kancil (Perodua Kancil). Parking yang tak jauh mana tadi tu pun dah di kebas orang. Dah membazir masa dan minyak kereta. Jadi bak kata pepatah Melayu, "Orang tamak selalu rugi". Ini semua berkait juga dengan rezeki yang sudah ditetapkan. Tak perlulah tamak, rezeki tu dah tersedia. Cuma sabar itu disulam usaha dan buat sesuatu biarlah bersungguh. Janganlah kita ala kadar bila melakukan sesuatu pekerjaan. 
Rasa bersyukur sangat dapat menonton segmen ni. Banyak juga teguran untuk diri sendiri. Kadang tu, secara tidak sedar kita terlalu sibuk memikirkan untung, kita ambil remeh isu-isu sebegini. #IslamIsFirstClass. Assalamualaikum.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Seoul, South Korea: A wonderful travel destination with kids (Part 2)

Night view of a local restaurant along the road to Mago Guesthouse, Chungmuro.

Hi again! So in Part 1, I shared some information about T-Money, the transportation and Mago Guesthouse that we stayed at during those 6 days. In this entry I will be sharing some of the essential items that must be brought along. As mentioned previously, we were there during the autumn to winter transition. So, the weather was cold. It wasn't extremely cold, but definitely cold cold. Especially coming from Malaysia, one would definitely feel the difference. So you must, must be ready, especially when you're bringing your kids along.

After that bit, I will be sharing the places that we went the day of our arrival. Now first things first, what to bring?

What to bring? (winter holiday)

1. Toiletries (I had to Google the spelling, hahaha).

So this is of course, you need. You gotsa brush yo teeth mmkay? No nasty travellers breath please. Towels too (the guesthouse we stayed provided towels, but it was rather small). If you want to bring your own shampoo, that's fine. You can get those tiny travel bottles at any pharmacy or Daiso. Do bring moisturizing body soap (cream type) instead of the bar soap (skin will dry easily with bar soap). Body lotion is a must. I recommend Nivea Creme (illustration below). Once you've checked in I suggest that you immediately lather your skin with this creme after taking a shower. This is to avoid your skin from becoming dry and rashes that can be very itchy especially in between the legs. Also don't forget to bring lip balm. I used Avène Cold Cream Lip Balm. Oh and wet tissues too. Can either get them from the pharmacy or Daiso. You can actually get a lot of useful traveling stuff from Daiso. We love Daiso!

Nivea Creme

For those who wear contact lenses, don't forget your solutions, contact lens case, and glasses! For the ladies, sanitary pads, just in case that time of month suddenly decides to tag along.

2. Medicines

Paracetamol for the adults and for your kids too, minyak angin, cough and cold medicine, ubat sakit perut for those with a sensitive tummy and vitamins. Some might have trouble adapting to the different weather, from hot to cold. So you'll never really know how your body will handle it. So it's important to bring along some of the basic medicines. And if you've a digital thermometer, do bring that as well. The ones that need to be placed under the armpits / under the tongue cost no more than RM20.

3. Winter wear

Inner wear is important. Long johns. We bought ours at UNIQLO. The top and leggings are sold separately. Available for both adults and kids. I also bought knitted leggings which were rather thick. For Luqman we bought him a pair of long johns and a turtle neck sweater. Then we went to Sox World to buy socks. We bought thick ones as well as regular socks. When going out, do pack extra socks as sometimes it can rain and get really wet, so water can get into your shoes. I experienced this, and it was really uncomfortable and cold. So do bring extra socks!

For the outer wear, we borrowed it from our relatives. Padded winter jackets, winter gloves, snow cap for Luqman, and winter scarves to cover our necks (mouth and nose when it gets really cold). It's best to get winter jackets that are water proof.

Shoes. You don't really need ugg boots or special winter boots. Sports shoes is good enough. Make sure though it's the type that doesn't have holes. You know those that have those net type material that allows ventilation. It's best to have ones that are well enclosed, so it can trap heat. So thick socks and sports shoes is the way to go. Sports shoes are the best because you will be doing a lot of walking, and you need to walk fast, because Koreans walk really fast. So gotta keep up with the pace!

You can also buy winter wear in Seoul, gloves, snow caps, scarves e.t.c.. It's cheaper too. But, problem is once you're out of the airport, it's cold. So you really need to be prepared.

4. Hand warmers / heat packs

Even with gloves it still can get cold. So, these pocket hand warmers come in handy. You can get them from Daiso. You just take it out of the bag, shake it, and put it in your pockets. So if your hands are cold, just stuff your hands in your pockets and feel the heat. So hand warmers is another must bring item! When we were looking for ours, the Daiso near our home was out of stock. We had to call other outlets. I guess a lot of people were travelling to countries that had winter as well and stocked up on these warmers. Make sure to buy a few packs. Photo below.

Daiso Hand Warmer (image source)

5. Canned food, instant noodles and 3-in-1 drinks

We brought along some canned Kurma Ayam, Kari, Tuna Ayam Brand (ate it with bread, sedaaaap), and Maggi in a cup instant noodles. My mother in law made us some sambal too, and we brought ikan bilis goreng as well together with beras and a rice cooker, plates, fork and spoon. Oh and a bekas to put in the canned foods to be heated in the microwave. Kita orang Melayu, tak boleh tak makan nasi. Hahaha. So with this, we managed to save some money instead of spending so much on food (will talk about the food we ate there in another entry). Oh, and Charlie the guesthouse assistant really loved the Chilli Tuna. Koreans love spicy food. Also, it's good to bring instant drinks like Milo and Nestum. You can have it during breakfast or at night time. Bolehlah alas sikit perut tu.

So this is pretty much what I can think of right now of the things needed for a winter holiday.

Day 1: Myeong-Dong & Namsangol Hanok Village

We hung out at the Incheon International Airport for quite a while. Since we've already had breakfast on the plane, we weren't really hungry. But was thirsty though. So we bought ourselves the infamous Banana Flavoured Milk from Binggrae (photo below).

Banana Flavoured Milk from Binggrae (image source)
For me it was okay. Husband and Luqman really liked it. We even went to a Korean convenience store in Desa Sri Hartamas to buy the milk. It was in a boxed packaging though. Tastes the same, but not as fun. The bottled version is unique and much nicer to hold. Not long after, we headed to our guesthouse. We arrived around 12pm. So it wasn't the check-in time (check in was at 2pm). We left our bags at the guesthouse and decided to go to Myeong-Dong. Afterall, it was only a station away. Was pretty amazed when we reached there. Endless rows of shops. A lot of Korean skincare beauty shops. They had a number of the same shops too. For instance, one row you can find Etude House, then another row, you see another Etude House and another. There would be cute salesgirls standing outside handing out free samples. The promotions were crazy! If we weren't on a tight budget, I would have definitely bought a whole lot of skincare products. Plus these shops are also here in Malaysia. So I was like, pfftthh I don't need this (padehal dalam hati meronta-ronta nak).

In the middle of the streets were a lot of stalls, mostly selling food. Some could even speak a bit of Malay. Pandai diorang menarik jiwa para pelancong dari Malaysia. But we didn't buy any of the street food - just yet. We mainly observed the surroundings, taking mental notes.. jaga haa, nanti aku beli kau. Hehe. So we kept walking till it was check-in time. We popped back into the train and went to our guesthouse). 

Once we checked in. We took a shower, and rested a bit. We went out at 4.30pm just to stroll around the neighbourhood. Jess Kim, the guesthouse owner told us about this Hanok village nearby called Namsangol Hanok Village. So we decided to check it out. It was lovely. But after about half an hour we were there, it was already dark. That caught us by surprise. Then remembered that during winter, the day time is much shorter. Subhanallah, itulah kekuasan Allah S.W.T.. So we decided to head back. We took a different route though, and along the way there was this aunty selling fried chicken. She suddenly yelled "Ayaaam, ayaaam". Aikk, we were surprised yet again. We just giggled, smiled and waved goodbye. 

Here are some photos taken at Namsangol Hanok Village:





The chicken aunty stall was not far from this pintu gerbang. As we walked back up the hill to our guesthouse, we stopped by 7-eleven, bought some drinks to quench our thirst. There were chairs and a small tv outside the store. We then got back at the guesthouse and prepared for dinner. We cooked our own rice and heated up one the canned food and of course my mother in law's delicious sambal ikan bilis
_____________________

So that's the end of part 2. More of the places we visited in part 3. See you soon.

Kamsahamnida!
{Sue Anna Joe}

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Seoul, South Korea: A wonderful travel destination with kids (Part 1)

Luqman on a stone bench at Nami Island, Chuncheon, South Korea.
Finally, after a long hiatus and much deliberation, I'm blogging once again. Hi!! I definitely miss blogging a whole lot! Okay, so in this very first post, I'd like to share about my trip to Seoul, South Korea back in late November 2015. We were there in between the transition of autumn to winter. Went there with my husband and son. And it was grreeaat I tell ya! It's really a wonderful travel destination for a family with kids. A lot of interesting places to visit, which of course I will be sharing with ya'all. Will also be sharing some tips and advice that hopefully can be useful for those who plan on travelling to Seoul.

T-Money

One very important and useful thing you should get once you land in South Korea is called T-Money. For Malaysian's it's like our Touch 'n Go card. The subway system in Seoul is very convenient especially if you've T-Money. It saves a lot of time, rather than having to purchase tickets. All you gotta do is just tap and proceed to the train of choice. And for kids, there's a discount. We met a Malaysian family at the guesthouse we stayed and was surprised as to how much we saved using T-Money to ride the train. It can also be used to ride the bus.

So it's a must have okay? Also, you can get a refund of the balance you have left. We got ours at GS 25, a convenience store at Incheon International Airport, the same place we purchased the T-Money. We topped up ₩40, 000  (South Korean Won) for our T-Money, ₩30, 000 for Luqman that we used for 6 days of our stay in Seoul (and we had ₩5, 000 balance each, Luqman's T-Money had ₩10, 000 balance left). [Click here] for more information on T-Money.

Transportation

From Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station the fare of the airport railway was around ₩4,150. The duration of the journey was about 1 hour. We got on the all stop train as we were on a budget. There's another option where the train goes direct to Seoul Station, which of course would cost more. Although it took a while, we enjoyed every moment on the train. We did doze off a bit. It was a pleasant journey, with it's warmed up seats and lovely view we felt relaxed after flying 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

When we arrived at Seoul Station, we went on the Seoul Metropolitan Subway to our guesthouse at Chungmuro. The subway is the main public transportation that can be used to travel all around Seoul. Prior to our travel, we downloaded the Subway Korea app that became our map to plan our train rides as there is quite a number of different lines to choose from. It definitely came in handy. It's available on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play.

Mago Guesthouse


Mago Guesthouse, Seoul, South Korea (image source)
This is the place where we stayed. Mago Guesthouse. If we plan to go again, we will definitely be staying here. The owner Jess Kim and his assistant Charlie were really nice and super friendly.

Double Ensuite - Room H (image source)
The room and bathroom is clean, no weird stains or funky smell. The pillows are super duper fluffy. Pillow quality is important for quality sleep. Haha. They've a dining area, which includes a stove to cook, a refrigerator and a microwave oven. So you can save up some money and cook your own meals.

For breakfast, they provide:

Bread, butter and strawberry jam
Fresh eggs which you gotta cook yourself
Sliced cheese - so I made scrambled eggs with cheese, nyummy!
Cereal
Milk and orange juice
Instant coffee, tea and sugar

Mago Guesthouse is located in Chungmuro, which is only one train station away from Myeong-dong (crazy huge shopping district). You need to walk a bit though (around 500m), up the hill from the train station to the guesthouse. Alhamdulillah, My 5 year old Luqman had no problem walking. It must have been the cold weather that made us not mind going up and down the hill. There are a few convenience stores along the way. So if you get thirsty, you can just pop in and buy some drinks. Our favourite was this honey and ginseng bottled drink that was warm. Mmmm mmmmhh. For more information on Mago Guesthouse, you can visit their website [here].

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In part 2, I'll be sharing some tips for a winter holiday and where we went. See you in the next entry!

Kamsahamnida!
{Sue Anna Joe}
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