Monday, May 30, 2011

WalkWalkFindEat: USA, May 10 -May 25, 2011 (Day 1)

Encik Mata Brown (EMB) & I had to take flight from KB, since we had to send the kids to my mom.  Flight take off at 1950 & arrived @ KLIA 1 hour later.   

KB airport - ok gak airport ni skrg berbanding dulu
Our flight to Doha will be at 0300, so, at the meantime terpaksa lepak kt KLIA lah dulu...sambil2 tunggu MIL & FIL to come.  Lps solat segala, we all buat "stomach meeting" kt  McD...sbb lama lagi masa kan....dh kenyang baru lega sikit.  We all beredar from McD, tgh jln2 tu, FIL called EMB.  Dorang baru sampai dlm kul 10.00pm mcm tu kot...then masuk McD semula coz dorang blm mkn lagi.  Sembang2...makan2 lagi...pastu we all cari port nk berlabuh....hehehe...x larat nk sorong beg yg besar ni ke sana sini.  Lambat pulak Qatar Airways open utk check-in, terpaksa tunggu berjam2...Berulang kali EMB tgk kt board tu, then checked again kt kaunter.  Bila nampak open je, tgk2 dh panjang org Q.  Sebenarnya kalau lambat sikit pun xpe, yg panjang tu kejap je.  Lepas tu xde org dah...

 After that, we all terus proceed ke international departure naik train.  Class kan KLIA ni...Nak dijadikan cerita lagi, masa tunggu nk boarding tu, tiba2 ternampak sorg public figure.  Guess who??   Rupa2nya Rosyam Nor!  I sempat lagi tegur dia masa tgh jln nk masuk flight tu, "Rosyam Nor eaa.....??" ,  beliau dgn sportingnya menjawab,"Ya, Rosyam Nor", dgn senyum meleret....tapi x sempat pulak nk amik gambar nya....dan we all satu flight dgn Rosyam Nor sampai ke Doha.  Sampai kt Doha, dh x kelihatan kelibat beliau lagi...Oh ya, perjalanan dr KL - Doha mengambil masa selama lebih kurang 7 hours.
dlm train menuju ke Internal Departure KLIA

We all transit kt Doha selama 2 hours, transfers dr flight ke airport terminal naik bas jer....(KLIA naik train!) .  KLIA mmg much much better la compare to Doha airport ni.  Kemudahan sgt2 kurang....surau ada, tapi mcm utk lelaki je, pastu ramai pulak yg amik kesempatan tidur bergelimpangan...yg muslimah punya surau pulak nampak mcm ditutupRamai pulak tu maid2 & pekerja2 wanita dr Indon yg tgh tggu flight nk balik negara dorg.  Boleh pulak dorg happy giller tgk MIL & I.  Dia tanya we all, "Kerja ke?", agaknya dorg pun ingat  we all dr Indon jugak kot...mungkin disbbkan tudung awning yg we all pakai ni...MIL beritahu dorg, we all transit nk pegi USA, bukan kerja...

Doha Airport
Sblm boarding we all terpaksa melalui security check yg teramat2 ketat....beg, jam tangan, kasut, manakala lelaki belt semua kena bukak.  Badan pun dorg check betul2...We all teruskan lagi penerbangan from Doha - JFK, yg mengambil masa selama 13 hours.    Kali ini betul2 mencabar ketahanan diri.....dh lah perut I pulak asyik meragam...sakit memulas pulak tu..., nk ke toilet dlm flight pulak kena Q lagi.....hadoiiii....kaki dh rasa satu mcm sakit, bontot pulak dh naik kematu duduk lama sgt....dh tu, nk tido pun mata x boleh nk lelap, tapi nasib baiklah food yg dihidangkan sedap2....

Setelah 13 jam menderita sakit badan dlm flight, we all arrived at JFK airport....bermulalah saat2 mendebarkan...nk melepasi kastam USA pulak ni.  I mmg rasa sgt2 kecut time ni, tapi yg menyampahnya EMB nampak sungguh relax sekali...Sbb sblm ni dgr cerita mcm2....kadang2 husband lepas masuk, wife pulak x lepas...pastu security check lagi yg mcm2 pengalaman org cerita...Tapi bila sampai turn we all, kastam tu hanya mintak passport dgn satu borang yg kita isi dlm flight.  Pastu pose kejap dia nk amik gambar kita.  Then, tadaaaa......dia cop pastu selesai....siap bagi ucapan "Good Luck!" lagi kt we all. urm....lain kali jgn dgr ckp2 org hokey....lain org lain pengalamannya...yg penting kita berdoa semoga Allah permudahkan segala urusan kita, insyaallah semuanya akan went smoothly....

Bila dh claimed baggage apa semua, BIL Zul dh siap tunggu dh...dia jemput we all, then terus cari restoran nk mkn kt New York....menurut BIL Zul, ada satu halal chinese restaurant yg dia & rakan2 selalu jugak pergi (Chinese muslim punya restoran ni).  Perasaan I masa ni, sgt2 happy & sgt2 bersyukur pd Allah sbb dh we all dh selamat sampai ke USA tanpa ada sbrg masalah.....

BIL Zul yg dh ready tggu kt JFK airport
just arrived @ JFK


OK, skrg dh we all dh sampai kt restoran Al-Amin's, siap order sorg satu plate lagi...lapar punya pasal tu...tgk2 satu plate tu punya lah byk kira2 potion utk 2 org mkn, so,  mmg x akan habis punyalah.  Last sekali, we all minta box utk tapau....tapi mmg sedap mkn kt sini...

yg ni, I punya taw....


yg ni, EMB punya



Masa tgh mkn tu, masuk lagi satu family Melayu, mmg dorg dtg US pun sbb nk attend graduation anak dorg, yg juga satu university dgn BIL Zul, tapi BIL Zul x kenal sgt dgn anak pompuan dorang tu...
EMB mengambil kesempatan utk solat, kebetulannya restoran ini menyediakan ruangan utk solat siap sejadah sudah dibentangkan...tapi sgt2 open lah...ini pun dh cukup bagus kan dr xde langsung!

Lepas jamu selera, we headed to Pennsylvania yg mengambil masa 4 hours driving.  BIL Zul dh booked Inn kt State College, yg bestnya Inn tu, just right behind his apartment je...so, senanglah nnti sbb dekat je.  Anytime BIL Zul boleh dtg jenguk we all....

Bila dh sampai kt State College, EMB pegi check-in, we all x ckp byk lagi terus angkut brg2 masuk bilik....nasib baik jugaklah dpt bilik yg bwh...kalau dpt yg atas tu, jenuh jugaklah nk angkut beg we all yg besar & berat ni.  Bilik ok, dilengkapi fridge & microwave.  Leganya dpt mandi...lps tu terus tido...penat sgt...nk adjust time lagi kt US ni...siang....malam...berbeza...time org tido kita jaga, time org jaga kita nk kena tido......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....to be continued....




cantik kan view ni...New York...






Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm BACKKKKKKKKKKKKKK...........!!!

I'm coming home...coming home...tell the world I'm coming home....There's no place like home...




Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sophie turns 4 today, & it's Mother's Day

Today is really my day, a mother's day...where I gave birth to Sophie 4 years ago.  Sorry my dear, abah decided not to buy you a cake today, but maybe later, soon after we're back from US.  But mama did treat you Big Apple Donuts & abah treats us @ kedai kopi Starbucks tadi kan...

abah's girl

roses from my only boy

.....and to all moms out there..."Happy Mother's Day"....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ibanez J-Custom vs M.Kastam

I've bought a lot of stuff over the internet and never been subjected to any sort of custom duty. Well, that's about to change. This article is about two very different Custom. The Ibanez J Custom meeting it's Malaysian Kastam counterpart.

Recently, I suddenly acquired an Ibanez J Custom guitar. It is something unplanned since I've been looking ogling at Herman Li's Ibanez Egen18TVF for quite some time. During the time, I've come across this guitar. The "Tree of Life" inlay on the fretboard is what really sold me. The trouble is, a new one would cost some pretty penny. USD 4400+ to be exact. ouch!

 After countless hours scouring the net for every bit of pictures of this guitar, I've come across the Ibanez forum about buying guitar from japan. It mention online japanese guitar shop such as Ishibashi and Ikebe Gakki. While Ishibashi ships its guitar to oversea, the choice can be limited and the price is quite steep even for used guitar. Ikebe Gakki has money choices but it doesn't ship oversea (not to my knowledge anyway). The forum also mentions another website called www.JaponicaMarket.com which acts as a middle man between you and the seller.

 Reading through the website leads me to few other popular japanese online shopping site. Rakuten and Yahoo Auction. Interestingly enough, Ishibashi and Ikebe Gakki also listed some of the items not found in their website at Rakuten. By engaging the service of Japonica Market, I can basically buy from Rakuten or even do bidding in Yahoo Auction. For your info, Yahoo Auction very similar to eBay since there yet to be an eBay for japanese market.

Since money is the main issue, I'd figured, why not I check out Yahoo Auction and see if there are same guitar offered at low opening bid. Lo and behold! I see one with starting bid at super low 98000 Yen. A 2008 Model RG8470V Red Spinel J.Custom. Tone Zone Bridge Pick-up, Air Norton Neck Pick Up with Tone Velvet Dimarzio single coil pickup in the middle.

I emailed the guy at Japonica Market. It seems like this so called company is only run by one single guy called Hiroyuki (if I'm not mistaken). But make no mistake, this guy is one efficient dude. If you send him an inquiry, he'll respond within hours. I've had him respond to me in 45 minutes. And today he replied email to me at 6 something in the morning (japanese time). I wonder if he ever sleeps.

All you need to is fill in an email form indicating the url of the item you want to buy and also indicate the highest bidding amount you're willing to pay. You will also need to specify the type of bidding you want to do. If you're familiar with ebay, there is the "buy it now" option, but there is one called "sniper bidding". Sniper bidding is automated bidding that will only bid at the last 10 minutes before the auction ends. This is done to prevent bidding war. Never the less bidding war did happen for this guitar during the last 10 minutes as there's another guy also increasing about 1000 yen increment until auction ends. My maximum bid value was set at 135000 yen. The price of the guitar rose from 98000 yen to 130000 in 10 minutes.

 All transaction with Japonica is done via paypal. You need to factor in Paypal cost and also the commission that this company will charge to you. The commission is based on the value of your item. the higher the value, the less the percentage. Mine was charged at 8%. Which is quite reasonable.
I've toyed the idea of getting similar guitar from the US, but the problem is, not many seller are willing to send the guitar oversea, and even if they did, the shipping cost will be very expensive.

I've decided to use EMS. Somehow it got to my head that, using EMS or Poslaju will fly through kastam without any hitch. How wrong I was.  The guitar was sent to me on the 27th April and reached KL on the 28th. Since we can track EMS, it is easy to determine where it got stuck. On the 28th the status changed to something like "Awaiting to presentation to Custom Commissioner". This is the dreaded moment.

 I've been checking the tracking website every hour for days and still the status did not change. Finally on 3rd May I called Poslaju to ask the status of my guitar (actually I called on the 2nd May thinking some lucky post office dude / dudette got to do overtime on public holiday, alas it's close). What they say is that a letter is being sent from Kastam to me in order for me to declare the parcel (guitar). That afternoon, the letter arrived via poslaju. Interestingly enough when I tracked the letter (it has poslaju number), it was sent by Malaysian Kastam on the 28th April. It only reached me on the 3rd May. That's 5 days!. What kind of Poslaju is this? and the letter I got was actually crumpled and torn. Imagine what would happen if they handled my guitar?  There are 3 options available 1) Pick it up yourself 2) appoint Poslaju to declare to custom ( you'll need to pay extra 50 bucks + custom chargers) 3) you ask your friend to pay for you and pick up the item.

 Seeing the condition of the poslaju letter and since I can't bear to wait another week before the guitar arrives, I decide to drive from Kerteh To KLIA and Back in one day. That's what I did. At the Kastam, when I declare my guitar, my heart just sank when the guy told me that I need to pay 10% for the guitar. I was hoping that I can talk him out of charging the 10% fee. Nope, that's not going to happen. He sat down and starts doing some calculation on the declaration form and I heard he said
"lapan ..."
"err...Lapan apa?" I asked him back. Heart beating faster, beads of sweat forming on my for head.
"Lapan puluh tujuh ringgit (RM87).."

He was probably wondering why I am smiling broadly when he told me that I have to pay tax. I don't know how he got RM87, I though he was going to charge me RM800 since the value of the guitar is closer to RM6000 including postage and all. I was so happy that I forgot to ask him to reduce the amount! Maybe if I were to let Pos Malaysia handle my guitar, the tax amount would differ? I don't know, but I'd rather handle my guitar personally then let them rough up my guitar like they did to the letter. And for your info, I was sorely disappointed by the way Japonica package the guitar. All they did was put some flimsy bubble wrap around the casing of the guitar. There's no thick boxes outside or anything. Another problem with Japonica is that if the seller did not send you everything as promised, it's hard for you to contact from the seller since all the dealing is done by Japonica. I've email the about one missing certificate, asking Japonica to contact the seller, and the reply I got is that it is hard for them to contact the seller and they are unwilling.
  All in all, buying through Japonica is OK. but beware of the short comings such as warranty issues, missing stuff etc. One last thing, the guitar sounds great. it makes my cheap amplifier sounds Godly and the colour looks so much better in real life without camera flashes. 
 






 













***Written by my hubby: Encik Mata Brown (bukan nama sebenar)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weight Scale

Masa Encik Mata Brown balik keje tadi, tiba2 nampak dia mcm sengih2...nampak beg dia sarat dgn kotak...rupa2nya weight scale, company bagi sempena apa ntah.



huhu...Encik Mata Brown...

x tahu betul ke x weight scale ni, masa I timbang kt klinik last week it was 51kg...



Many N3s in 1 day

I mesti pulun abiskan pending N3 hari ni jugak.  Coz minggu dpn dh nk fly to US.  Budak2 3 org ni akan ditinggalkan bersama nenek mereka.  So, I will be away for about 2 weeks lah!  So, kita sambung cerita WWFE bila I balik nnti.  Apa2 yg menarik kt sana, insyaallah, akan I share kt sini.

Budak2 yg nk kena tinggal:-



Warung Kak Nah - dpn perumahan Navy, Balok, Kuantan

Kt sini ada jual mcm2 jenis kuih.  Bolehlah utk minum petang kan....trylah laksa penang (kalau x silap harganya cuma RM2.00 or RM2.50, not more than that lah), bihun/mee sup...



Sara Thai Kitchen, Jln Teluk Sisek, Kuantan

Kalau rasa nk mkn tomyam pulak , boleh dtg sini...masa I pegi mkn semalam, mmg ramai sgt org penuh meja...tapi dorang pandai manage, sama je dpt dgn org lain...jadi xlah tunggu lama sangat!  I biasa mkn nasi goreng "talle" (seafood) sbb x pedas - anak2 boleh makan, tomyam seafood & udang celup tepung.

udang celup tepung



Beriani Kamar (restoran Kamaruddin), Kuantan

Sekali sekala rasa nk tukar selera boleh dtg kedai ni mkn nasi beriani.  Dulu2 ada jual rojak ayam...I suka sgt rojak kt kedai ni (pekerja melayu yg buat, rasa dia mmg sedap sungguh).  Tapi mengikut kata budak melayu ni (dia dh kenal sgt dh I ni, regular customer!), skrg dh x buat rojak sbb dia x sempat nk buat, kedai tu kekurangan kakitangan skrg...jadi concentrate kt nasi beriani je lah.  Pagi ada jual roti canai kt situ.  Nasi beriani kambing dia sedap...husband suka, tapi I lebih suka ayam goreng...biasanya lauk kambing cpt habis, kalau pegi lambat selalunya melepaslah.



Cuti 3 hari, jalan2 kuantan

Weekend bersambung dgn public holiday (Labour Day), dptlah cuti lama sikit.  Sabtu & Ahad selama 2 hari berturut2 kitaorg turun kuantan...pastu singgah lunch kt kedai yg depan Yayasan Pahang, Tanjung Lumpur.  Makan nasi campur, lauk kampung...sup tulang pun sedap - RM4.00 semangkuk.

nasi putih + keli goreng berlada + pajeri terung + kuah asam pedas



dulu ada jual nasi kerabu yg best kt sini, tapi dorang dh pindah tempat lain, yg ganti ni "kureng" x menyengat mcm dulu. 

Geliga Western Food, Kemaman

Baru jumpa restoran ni...mula2 mcm x tahu nk order apa..setelah beberapa kali singgah makan kt situ (especially bila balik from KL), dh tahu dh apa yg sedap kt situ.  Namanya lagi restoran western food kan, so, kena order western food lah!  I dh try chicken chop blackpepper sauce, fish fillet Australian style, nasi goreng cendawan...., chicken chop blackpepper sauce & fish fillet Australian style la yg I rasa paling sedap kt situ (sblm ni dh try beef steak tapi, daging dia keras, sakit rahang mengunyahnya!  I x rekemen lah beef steak ni).

 
chicken chop blackpepper sauce - ada coleslaw + fries

fish fillet Australian style - ada coleslaw + mashed potato

org ada 3 tapi pinggan sampai 4!

sebuah restoran yg berkonsepkan "koboi" - wild wild west kot...

kt depan restoran...restoran ni jenis open concept

Ana Ikan Bakar Petai, Tanjung Lumpur, Kuantan

Bila tekak rasa nk mkn ikan bakar je, terus terbayang2 kedai ni depan mata.  Kt sini ok...suasana tepi laut, ada tempat makan bersila kt tingkat atas...surau pun ada disediakan.

Ikan bakar petai - I mkn ikan+sambal dia tu je....petai Encik Mata Brown yg mkn (his favourite!)
sotong goreng tepung - my favourite, wajib order




budak yg suka makan sotong!


udang 3 rasa
video 
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