Monday, September 17, 2007

Backpacking in Edinburgh, 29 Aug - 1 Sept 2007

I’ve been wanting to meet up with a super old fren (borrowing her own words) – Kareemah, my primary school mate, who is now in Aberdeen, pursuing her Masters. I also wanted to see Heriot Watt Uni (HWU) live – so I have to go to Edinburgh as well. That’s the plan anyway. I’ve been planning it in my mind since April.

So we (it later turned out that I’d have a traveling partner – Mscle, who originally wanted to go to Barcelona with her sister) touched down at Heathrow (Zone 6) on 29/08/07 at 6.30am. We took the single trip for GBP 4 to Sharifah’s house in Barking (Zone 4, but we’d have to pass through Zones 1,2 & 3).

Reached Sharifah’s house 10am, got the house keys from her uncle (she’s on holiday in Italy), prepared instant Beriani lunch (thanks Brahims!), showered & changed luggage. Moved out 3.15pm Should have moved latest by 3pm, as we arrived at Luton 20 minutes late from last check in time. So we payed GBP 35 each to get the next flight to Edinburgh. The original plan was to go to Aberdeen and stay at Kareemah’s house for 2 nights. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go to Aberdeen – must go next time! (Next flight to Aberdeen was only due the next day). That night we stayed at Mscle’s fren’s bro – Kimi at West Pilton Drive, Edinburgh. Sorry Kimi you had to give up your very comfy queen sized bed for us, while you had to sleep at the couch downstairs! Nevermind, Kak Mscle will cook up a storm of Beriani dish (again, obviously Brahim’s instant pack) for you tomorrow!

Mscle masak beriani. Kimi cuci ayam.

Unfortunately (again) we got kicked out by Kimi’s landlord (who’s also a relative of his housemate) who, we thought, didn’t like us hanging around in the house. So, I frantically called Kareemah again for help! She’d try to contact her friend in nearby Currie (outskirt of Edinburgh, near to HWU), see if we could crash at her place. In the meantime, we’d try to find accommodation in the city.

Posing in front of Kimi's house. Kimi in suits selling pumps! Careful of yr neighbour Kimi..(he said she's trying to 'seduce' him)

We later found out youth hostels were offering around GBP 20 for quadruple sharing room and GBP 15 for dorms. Too expensive – so we decided to go to Kareemah’s house instead in Aberdeen ! Kareemah still couldn’t get through to Azmahani, her friend in Currie. So Kareemah booked us bus tickets – Megabus specifically – there’s a story behind it – I’m telling it later – for 17.30 hrs that day (30/08/07)

So we got out from Kimi’s place almost 11.30am – I dunno, he’s supposed to go to work (it’s already very late!)– but he told us he works flexible hours, selling pumps (I guess he’s telling the truth). Oh whatever suits you Kimi! We took the double decker bus GBP 2.50 for day pass – not bad- to the city. Kimi helped us to go searching for youth hostels, then we said our goodbyes, as FINALLY – he went to work at 1pm!

While waiting for 5.30pm, me & Mscle wandered around Royal Mile taking pictures & souvenir hunting. We also took a FREE guided tour of the surrounding area of the castle. I was sceptical it was free, so I had to ask a few times whether it’s true? Yep, it’s true ! Although you could donate any amount for the society that organized the tour. Ours was lead by Margaret, a charming, aged (don’t want to use ‘old’) lady- who could count in Malay – seriously! Up till no. 8 only though. She had been in Malaysia before – so shouldn’t come as a big surprise. As my usual self, I hardly gave attention to tour guides, becos I’d be so engrossed with taking pictures! But I did get a few facts here and there.

Margaret & the free guided tour. Writing on the floor from Writer's Museum.

So then it was time to go to Aberdeen! Yippee!! We’re taking the bus to Dundee actually, then Kareemah will fetch us. Will she be driving? Probably not, hehe.. Anyway, something happened. We were already at the St Andrew’s bus station at 5pm (as we really don’t want to miss flights / busses again!). We saw the bus going to Dundee arrived at 5.15 pm, but it was not Megabus – it was the Citylink bus. It never occured to me to ask whether they were the same bus (of course it’s not right? They have different names!)

But just before the bus was getting ready to go, I asked the not-helpful-at-all bus assistant whether that was our bus? He said yes it was – and added – I quote him – “You can’t do anything – it’s going off already”. But the bus was just reversing, it hadn’t went off yet ! He could have just helped us tourists, and stopped the bus so that we could board it. He had that urghhh, really irritating smirk on his face. I asked him when’s the next bus, he replied it’s 6pm, but our ticket was no good anymore & we’d have to buy new tickets, and they cost GBP11 each! He also added he did announce that was the bus going to Dundee for Megabus customers, which both me & Mscle didn’t hear. He actually KNEW we were taking that particular bus, as I had asked him beforehand which one would be the Megabus going to Dundee.

So again, a frantic call to Kareemah. I really troubled her a lot! She tried to contact Azmahani again, & finally got through. Azma gave her okay for us to crash in at her house. So we took the bus towards HWU, and her husband would fetch us from there. I am really grateful & indebted to her!!!! Finally we arrived at her very nice house in Currie just into Maghrib time (terlepas Zohor & Asar haritu). She had prepared a very nice dinner of ayam masak lemak pedas – I was really hungry – I ate like a horse ! I slept immediately after dinner (of course we helped to wash the dishes)!

Azmahani' house & backyard
The next day I woke up early & helped her – not really- just playing with her baby – Iman Naufal – while she prepared breakfast. I really liked her sausage bread, yummy yummy – bread by Asda :-) We head out to HWU at 10am where I’d be collecting my transcript from the Enterprise Oil Building – and more picture taking! We stopped by at Azma’s office (she’s doing her PhD – respect !!!) & chatted with her colleagues while she tried to contact hubby to pass him packed lunch – awwwwwww how sweeeeeeeeet ehehe.. But she couldn’t reach him. Oh btw, I should mention here that they have a surau in HWU !! Really good to know! There’s also a prayer room at Heathrow & Edinburgh airport.
Hay roll otw to HWU

Posing at HWU.
So we went to the Institute of Petroleum Engineering building & I collected my transcript from Ms Dawn Skidmore. More pictures- then Azma’s hubby came to get his lunch – aha, sanggup tuh! By this time Kareemah has already arrived in Edinburgh, so we had to hurry a bit in snapping pictures. We would meet up at Festival Malaysia’s stall at the city at Princes road. We were unashamedly fighting for satay with the mat sallehs. The mat salleh weren’t satisfied that we got 2 sticks of satay each as they got only 1! Kiasu-ism overloaded!!! Kareemah then arrived, and now we were re-united after 15 years !!! The last time I saw her was in primary school when we were both 12 years old! I failed to locate her while in Form 1 for unknown reasons, although we were still in the same school until mid term. Kareemah commented on my height – she remembered me as a tall 12 year old girl. I told her the sad facts – I stopped growing at 14 !! So I’m still the around the same height I was when she last saw me. OK I know you’re a few inches taller than me ceh!

Kareemah in black scarf, Azmahani in white. Pink gal is Mscle.

The whole day was fun filled – it was merdeka day as well – 31/08/07 – I liked these 2 days (and the next day I mean) the most during this trip to UK & Spain. I really enjoyed Kareemah’s wacky antics – I let my hair loose (although I’m wearing a scarf lah –kat dlm, screw kasi longgar sket lah). Even Azmahani the mom let loose – we all had fun being zany! Kareemah led us in our camera poses – rock band poses I should say – posing tak pandang camera punya! Cayaklah Kareemah, tak sangka ko berbakat amik gambo posing2 ni ek :-)

Kareemah the ever so pro camera(wo)man
At the park

At Royal Mile
Edinburgh train station
We covered Royal Mile & Holyrood Hill. Kareemah brought us through the back alleys & ‘closes’ (narrow alleys) to get to the Edinburgh mosque. Wow, she really knows her way! We took pictures as well along the way- including at the train station – which came out to be really cool! On the way to the mosque, there was this sundry shop selling halal meat – but advertising in Bahasa ! Wah, so proud! We had a really nice late lunch (almost 4.30 pm) at mosque kitchen where non-muslims could also dine in. It served Indian dish – I had nasi beriani with chicken tika masala & spinach palapane. Nalarke! Very yummy!!!!!!!!!

Enlarge this image- the signboard is in Malay!
Yummy!! Mosque kitchen dish. Non-Muslims also welcomed!

After the nice dish, we walked again, towards Holyrood Hill. Not all the way of course, we took the bus. The Scottish parliament is just in front of the hill. We took more rock band poses pix here. We didn’t have a sense of time – as we were enjoying the moment so much – until reality hits back – Azma’s hubby called as their baby needed his mum already. So we had to call it a day. More adventures tomorrow! Before reaching home, we stopped for at the nearby football field for a picture at dusk. Nice! Mscle cooked tonite – ayam masak kicap – yummy!!!
Newsflash : Stock for kicap cap kipas udang for the whole of Edinburgh has finished! This dish has the last few drops of the kicap!

Holyrood Hill & Dynamic Earth

Field @ Currie

Wakey wakey!! I woke everyone up (except the host of course) as it’s CBS Day!!! Weeeeee!!! CBS = Car Boot Sale. Cheap stuff!! Today’s CBS would be near Asda. I took a picture of the 24 hour Asda, but forgot to take the pix of the CBS market. Too busy hunting for bargains I suppose. I got a very nice jacket for GBP 2 only!! Kareemah told me I should have bargained some more but I felt it was already reaaally cheap! I also bought 4 2nd hand CDs at GBP 2.50 each. So after bargain hunting, we went back to the city to continue picture taking! What else could I afford apart from taking pix which is FOC? ;-)

Asda & waiting for bus

Oh btw, today little Iman joined us. He’s a mischievous little boy – he lost his left shoe (probably intentionally so he could get new shoes?) in the bus. So mama had to buy him new ones. He threw a tantrum when the pair Azmahani wanted to buy for him was not to his liking. But he became quiet when 2 mat salleh little girls passed by, said Hi to them, and forgot the whole thing. He just accepted his mama’s choice. Ahaha.. sudah pandai mengorat pompuan ek..
The naughty Iman Naufal
At Princes Road Park

We covered the park at Princes Road. Does it have a name? Probably. I didn’t notice. That afternoon we went to the err..can’t remember the hill’s name, overlooking the city view. Spectacular view! There’s even some Greek resembling pillars on top of the hill. But it was reaaaaally windy. So another black episode happened. It felled the tripod that was holding my camera & it jammed the lense ! Ceh! My brother’s Lumix camera!!!!!!!!!!! I was sooooo upset. Couldn’t fix it, had to bring home to M’sia to fix it. Now I would have to borrow Sharifah’s camera for the trip to Barcelona – which very much later – did I notice that when I cancelled the date setting – default date 1/1/2005 was imprinted on all of the pictures ! Double whammy!! Geram sungguh!! Sabar je la.

Rawk band poses @ hilltop
So that was the end of the Edinburgh trip. We sent Kareemah to the bus station & said our goodbyes. After 15 years, we only met up for 1 day! What an irony. Next time then. Next time. Our flight back to London (Gatwick) was at 21.20 that night. Azmahani & hubby sent us to the airport with baby Iman. Another farewell – a BIG THANK YOU to Azmahani and husband, Shah who hosted 2 ‘house crashers’ from M’sia who didn’t even know each other beforehand. Priceless !

Triple whammy – flight was delayed for 1 hour! So we arrived central London – Victoria station at midnight. Had to take the night bus as it was pass the last tube run. Luckily, Sharifah guided us on which busses to take (3 changes!) & a Pakistani man – Mr Mohsin helped us & accompanied us to the front door of Sharifah’s flat – which we arrived at 3.30 am !!!



Post a Comment

<< Home