Aug 31, 2008

A rendezvous: italic italy

".....should I ask the question like
'what happened then at the spot where 4 of us did the crazy stupid jumping shot inside Colosseum'? or should I ask the question like 'which gladiators that we crossed at the time when 4 of us did the crazy stupid jumping shot inside Colosseum'?"

-- 1 August, 2008.
Rome time: 1716 hrs; Malaysia time: 2316 hrs.
Colosseum, Rome

Yes I don't really like people who try so hard to be philosophical, but I just couldn't hold that feeling when I stepped before this great ancient stadium, The Colosseum.

Colosseum, as our tour guide Paul cheekily pointed out, is not creepy and not haunted at all, although it was practically a killing field during ancient time. However, maybe due to its greatness or what not, it is imagination-provoking for me.

Our first stop to enter Europe was Italy, and 6 hours of jet-lagging kinda made me became uncertain about what really relates between time and space. Along our walking tour exploring the ancient city of Rome, reading the history, imagining what was it like during the ancient time and relating it to what it is at the time being, coming to the Colosseum was just like a denouement to me.

Stepping on the bricks in the remnant of Colosseum was a rather confusing feeling. The time and space entangle here. We used to believe that it's time that defines space, like my step right now upon this brick tells me where am I right now; but what if things work in another way round? what if there are spaces that define a same time?

I jotted down my thought into my journal -- surprisingly I did not have many notes taken in Italy compare to the rest of the countries in our journey -- maybe I was too busy taking photos -- and oh-so-hell-yeah, we had the most pictures taken in Italy compare to the rest of the countries;

..or maybe, we were rushing all the time during our stay in Italy -- "rushing" here means "R-U-S-H---I-N-G". As you could easily perceive, our 'rush' was in 'continuo us tense', because the places to visit are so many, because the time we had was so little, because the summer heat never seemed to cool down, because the restaurants offering 'halal' food were always far away from where we were... point is, I was perhaps too rushed in Italy and I forgot to slow down my pace to feel and sense this country carefully. I mean, Italy is certainly a country that offers most imaginations to me -- and I only concluded this when I was on the top of Palatine Hill of Rome.

Palatine Hill was where Rome founded, together with a very controversial story where I initially found it ironic to be official as a legend for a great empire like Rome to build on --

-- Romulus the founder of Rome was raised by a mythical She-Wolf: Did She-Wolf mean a female wolf or it literary means a prostitute?

-- Romulus' mother claimed that she was impregnated by the God of Mars and she was still a virgin when bearing Romulus: Was Romulus the real son of Mars the God of War or he was just a product of adultery?

..but then I realized, those are not important at all. It's the imagination that matters. Like the true meaning of a journey, it's not about where is our 'planned' destination or where we should be and have a photo captured or have its fridge magnet bought, instead, it's about being there, feeling the switch of time and space and letting the story of the place smearing into us.. (..yup, i still couldn't accept the act of us get to one place and snap a picture then left the place -- just for the sake of making evidence that shows 'WE'RE HERE.'..)

So many myths and so many stories happened around Italy and hence so many imaginations going around at the moment I touched the bricks and looked up to a statue. Regardless of which city we checked into, Rome or Venice, the imaginations supposed to be wild, as wild as a rendezvous where the rush of passion and desperation get us sweaty and lustful.

ps..: I-dun-know-what-kind-of-detail-do-u-want detail:

1. Entrance fee to Colosseum is 11 Euro without tour guide and 20 Euro with tour guide, and by paying 20 Euro you may skip the long queue at the entrance of the Colosseum.

2., 20 Euro of Colosseum ticket comes with a package of touring Palatine Hill, with tour guide who will certainly tells you the interesting story about Romulus and his brother Remus.

3. Train from Rome to Venice takes about 4 hours.

4. The islands in Venice are called 'Sections'.

5. Although in most of the traveling guides will recommend you to hang out in St. Marco Section, but I personally love Academia Section.

6. Check out Academia Section before 9 a.m. where everybody in the section is still a
sleep, wait for the morning bells from church.

7. A 12 hours unlimited touring 'water-bus' costs 12 Euro, including luggage storage.

8. It's kinda hard to find a halal restaurant in Venice -- bring your own food if you care. Note that there're only 2 McDonalds in Venice and both are in the very crowded St Marco Section.

9. If you think my blog post offers only mouthful of useless info and does not help you at all in knowing more details about Italy, visit Fariz's blog for a detailed itenerary of our trip.

Aug 17, 2008

Far across miles.. (4 love stories) -- a revealation of my diary

"'Where will I be the next time I wake up?'
This is the question I asked before I departed from KL International Airport,
there's my dream miles away ahead,
and I was only miles away to reach;

'Where will I be the next time I wake up?'
The same question I asked when I woke up in Dubai International Airport,
there's home miles away ahead,

and I'm only miles away from home...

I'm leaving, I'm leaving; I'm leaving, I'm leaving.."

--14 August, 2008.
Dubai time: 0740 hrs. Malaysia time: 1140 hrs.
Dubai International Airport
Waiting for Dubai-Malaysia flight at 1030hrs.

(Yes, I promised to blog about my great journey to Europe but that promise was made BEFORE departure. I'd never had any idea about how hard it's going to be to transfer something which is really great and took 2 weeks, into words....)

( it end up like this, I decided to reveal some writings I put down during the journey, from my journal as well as from my diary -- yup, exactly, I'm defying the 'code of secrecy' of what a 'diary' really means.. but I think, maybe, some thought just worth to share, maybe..) (..erm... for those who don't think so, please bear with me...)

Here we go..

"It's going to be a final write-up about this trip, I think. I'm not sure what am I going to put down, maybe it's just for the sake of killing time, while waiting for the final transit of our trip, and then we finally get home. In fact, writing a final note about this trip makes me nervous. I'm still wondering what have i learnt from this journey, as what I was throughout the whole journey.

People said achieving what you dreamt for is a great feeling, I agree, but I think those who said so have as well simplified the complicated feeling about it.

What I perceived, what I realized, what saw, what I learned during this trip, are they going to be carved permanently inside me, or this trip is just a plain journey of breaking away?

............ ............
(note: this is the part where I skip a lot of sentimental portion and as well obey the 'code of secrecy' of my diary... ;P )


What about the countries?

I might perceived them differently from Fariz, Shahrina and Amir. Throughout this journey, there's somehow an intensive feeling telling me that, I was going through 4 love stories when I traveled through the 4 countries.

We entered Italy with high spirit and full excitement, and Italy welcome our enthusiasm with her passion and heat. It somehow ended up like fire against fire -- The trip in Italy was sweaty and got our adrenalin going. Thinking about most of the first love in life, Italy and I were madly in love, and we're having crazy rendezvous. Our love was wild, sweaty, hot, rushing, desperate, messy, emotional, but it was fantastic.

Austria pulled down the high temperature we had in Italy, weatherly and emotionally. I first met Austria in Salzsburg, the lovely town that everything is so fine and graceful, and from there, I started to see the silhouette of a elegant lady standing right in front of me; and from there, I know I got over the hot love in Italy, and fell in love with this blue-blooded young lady of Austria.

I've never perceived me myself as a Duke, but Austria welcome me with her humble hospitality. Her music, her palace, her history, her arts, her elegance, her gentle touch and her beautiful eye -- the love between me and Austria was like a piece of poem, it's just that I knew nothing about the language she writes, but I knew it's tender, it's deep; I knew it's undying, it's eternal.

I left Austria with a torn heart, but headed to meet Czech Republic with anticipation -- Czech is legendary. Legends praise the beauty of Czech and how amazing she is. Bearing the legends in mind, four of us were like the most loyal devotees who wished to get near Czech and kiss her toe...

But when I was there, I was confused. Maybe it's my love towards Austria was too intensive, maybe we just shouldn't trust 'legends', Czech was just 'well.. hmmm..' for me at the very first sight. However, the more I get to know her, the more attracted I was to her, and finally, I was having affair with Czech. Czech's beauty lies beneath her character. Czech is spontaneous, free-spirited, wild and daring. If Austria ties her hair up neatly with a jewelry headband, Czech let her curly hair loosened; If Austria indulges herself in the precisely composed classical music, Czech sways her body and heart away following the beats of her jazz blues.

Czech is a gypsy, a Bohemian gypsy whose cool attitude opened my eye, and drove me crazy.

Czech did not want to be bounded to any commitment, I truly understood, hence I moved on. I rode on the train leaving Praha, Czech Republic, heading to Berlin, Germany, an ultimate and rather important destination of my journey.

Embracing Berlin was not any similar to embracing the previous 3 countries. After having wild rendezvous with Italy, falling in love with Austria and committing affair with Czech, I did not expect any love story to occur here -- after all, the greatness of Berlin or Germany made myself saw her as a wise woman. She'd gone through so many historical incidents and various type of people she met, she always seems composed and steady because of her maturity and experience. Germany is a woman to respect, to admire, to learn from, but not to fall in love with, I thought.

I still remembered the day I walked alone along the remnant of Berlin's Wall. It was somehow an intensive moment for me seeing and touching the wall. The scar of Germany revealed here and I did not see her trying to cover it. At the moment, I saw Germany sitting there, took a puff on her cigarette and smirked at me, before she started telling me her story of the wall.. ... and when I found myself fascinated, I thought to myself, wake up, this is a forbidden love..... and you're leaving... ...


I felt kinda funny that my imagination put myself into such a 'loving' drama along this journey. Definitely, throughout this journey, I thought a lot, I felt a lot, I perceived a lot and I realized a lot. The imagination went wild when the heart is fully opened up, but is it all what I got from this journey? What kind of impact I've got from this 14-day journey, and what have I seen and what have I learned, what's the relationship between my experience over here and my imagination inside my head? -- I'm still wondering, as I was, throughout the whole journey..

It's 1036 hrs Dubai time. Rina is waking everybody up for airport refreshment. Our flight going back to Malaysia has been delayed, we still have another 3 hours to kill, before I really leave, before I finally get home.."

--14 August, 2008.
Dubai time: 1041 hrs. Malaysia time: 1541 hrs.
Dubai International Airport