Saturday, February 13, 2010


Al Fatihah.

My father passed away last Thursday and I am now back in Malaysia for ziarah.

I wish to say thank you for your warm and heartfelt support, encouragement and prayers. All of you are true friends who did not hesitate to lend a helping hand in my time of needs.

How I wish I could repay all your kindness and sympathies you had shown me.

Thank you for the abundance of Al Fatihah's for arwah too. I really appreciate that.

I am my father's son.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


After spending some time in Colmar, I continued my journey to Germany. My nest destination is Titisee-Neustadt, in the Black Forest region. From Colmar I crossed the famed Rhine which borders France and Germany at the border town of Breisach.

Titisee-Neustadt is about 1 and half hours drive from Colmar. Lots of open field along the way there. Once we climbed the mountain road, the scenery changed to snow covered terrain. Lake Titisee, is 850 metres above sea level and are famous for all year long vacation spot.

I was told that Titisee-Neustadt is the place to find authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock. That is if you are interested in such items. Me? Nah, I just want to travel and see places. And take lot of pictures.

The town is a okay for me. Lots of vacationers around with their ski and snow outfit. Lake Titisee was frozen solid. Wife and kids were extremely happy to find bargain stuff to buy.

We spent quite a lot of time exploring the town. Went inside every shop. Unlike shops in Colmar, here in Titisee, they opened on Sundays. I guess, Germans business owners are a little bit more profit orientate from their French counterpart, in that sense. Which is cool by the way. People were friendly and accommodating.

So did I find the famous cuckoo clock? Yes, a lot actually, in different sizes and designs. There were also grandfather clocks being sold. Now, this sparked my interest very much, since it reminds me of my grandfather's grandfather clock. It would be really cool to own one. The price range from EUR 1,500 to the most expensive about Eur 5,000.00. A little bit steep for my budget. Kena kumpul duit lagi kalau nak beli. Well, this particular shop do accepts installment and will shipped to your home once its paid in full, but I prefer to buy stuff in cash. Senang kepala otak takde hutang.

The rest of the pics are as follows;

We had our lunch car boot picnic style. Thats another thing cool here, no one would pay attention to a bunch of Malaysians eating lunch at the back of their van. We were left in relative peace to enjoy our home made dishes.

Next we headed out to Triberg, in search of what I understand the biggest cuckoo clock in the world. Its about half and hour drive from Titisee-Neustadt, deep inside the heart of Southern Germany. As we went further in the country side, I noticed that the snows keep on getting thicker and thicker. The roads were deserted and farmhouses were few and far between. The deserted road with pine forests lining up on both side of the reminds me of scenes from a Combat TV series, and I was half expecting Sargeant Saunders and his band of soldiers (Little John included) emerged from behind the pine trees and hijacked our van to escape to the American lines, with German soldiers hot in pursuit yelling "Achtung! Achtung!".

Anyway, we arrive in Triberg and found the Clock Museum but the giant cuckoo clock proved to be elusive. The town of Triberg seems to be celebrating something since theres a lot of decorative multi coloured triangle flags hung all over the place, including a dummy. Either that or its their habit hanging things! Since its getting late and we still have a long way to go back to Geneva, we abandoned our search and headed back.

Akula's rating of TITISEE-NEUSTADT : 5 out of 5. Triberg : 2 out of 5 (It would be a much higher rating if I manage to find the world biggest cuckoo clock. Will try again in spring.

Note :

Its a tiring one day journey, but well worth it. How often I covered 3 countries on a day trip? Heheh. Kids and the love one and the friend enjoyed the trips, although I have to forever adjusting my sore butt on the car seat since it has not properly healed yet. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010


If you dont know where Berjaya Colmar Tropicale Resort buildings cedok its idea from, its from this place, Colmar, France.

But I am sure you already knew that, so I wont waste my time writing about how our dear ex PM went to Colmar, France, was so impressed with the architecture of this one small place in France, went back to Malaysia and `WALLA!' there is this French village in the middle of Pahang jungle.

I went there recently, after hearing so much positive things about Colmar.

What I found out was, actually the place where all the old building is located is dubbed as Little Venice. Its part of the Old Colmar town. And why Little Venice, you might ask? Well, there is one, I repeat, ONE canal which runs through it, thus the Venice connection. But who am I to question hundred of years old history? Little Venice it is.

It might be that because I went in the middle of winter, and the weather is cold. It could also be because the fact that I went to Little Venice in Colmar on Sunday and all the shops were closed, except this one little souvenir shop which embraced the true capitalism spirit (to make as much profit as possible, even if every other businesses in France are closed on Sundays). It could also be because of my foul mood since I left the winter jacket at home and wore only an England rugby jersey with a thin leather jacket with no gloves. Its also possible that I was shivering from the cold winter that I have to differ in opinion with every people who had been to Colmar and found it an excellent place. Here goes...... in my honest opinion, there is really nothing interesting in Colmar, seriously. If there is no colourful, old building, its just another town in France. Thats it.

The thing is, from my view, the canal is really dirty, the same as what we usually have in Malaysian rivers, and the whole approximately 1 km of Little Venice could be covered on foot in less than 10 minutes. Of course I expect more from this so called world famous attraction. I spent 3 hours driving from Geneva just to see a bunch of coloured old buildings? Well, thats the fact from my view anyway. People who loves Colmar are more than welcome to differ with my opinion.

The other thing, which I found lacking was the public amenities. Okay, I understand if there is no public phone, since most of us carries one anyway. But rest rooms? With thousands of visitors and tourist visiting this place, logically one would think that its there for the public convenience. What more in n the cold weather, people tend to go to the restroom quite a lot, and to my knowledge there is only one offered. Never mind that sole thing is a coin operated one. Put in 2 EURs and the door opened up revealing a sitting toilet for all to see since its located at then end of a fountain, a place where crowds are attracted to. So you go in, and after you did your `business', zip the flyers and step out. To flush you have to go out and press the button from outside! And of course, while doing all that, the door is still open revealing your deposited treasures to those up there in the surrounding buildings. Anyway, at a push of the correct button, the door closed again and the toilet machine rumbles like a Transformer character to clean itself. A modern marvel huh? I have a pic of the said modern marvel, but my friend is in the pic, standing beside it, waiting patiently for his turn. I would post it here, but since I dont want to risk being sued, I chose not to. Anybody have that lingering thought why the canal is dirty?

Having said that, I have to admit that the coloured timber buildings, looks good in pictures. Well at least, I didnt waste my time there. I took a lot of pics in the cold winter weather. Enjoy.

Akula's rating of Colmar : An over hype and over rated tourist attraction, but picturesque. 3 out of 5.

(3 out of 5 what?) ........................I dont know! It just make this feels like a real travel blog though.


Monday, February 1, 2010

DAY 24

Day 21

I cant say that I am off cigarette, since the urges and cravings are still there, but in less frequency compared to when I first tried to quit exactly 21 days ago, more or less. I would describe it as manageable. I would delay the need to smoke a little bit when it hit my nicotine deprived brain, while making myself busy with something else until its gone.

I noticed that there are times when the craving is so strong . i.e :-

1. Right after waking up from the slumber in the morning.

The first thing I usually do when I wake up in the morning, is to reach for my cigarette and lighter, and have the first smoke of the day before anything else. What I did to quit this habit was to delay it until at least after my morning jog (which is about 2 hours after I wake up). Previously, its one right after waking up, one or two while I did you know what, one before I started jogging, and another after that. I gradually phased it out, over the last 21 days.

2. After lunch or dinner.

I would categorized myself as kuat makan cili especially cili api. As ulam. But since quitting, I ate less hot food, sambal and cili api. I dont know, but having a smoke after eating something felt like the nicest feeling in the world. Ada kick. Now, I sip hot, plain water to kill the craving. It works.

3. Working time

Self disciplined. I smoked in my office all the time, even though its designated as a non smoking building. Couldnt care less about the regulation. But now, I used it to deter myself from smoking. meaning if I want to smoke I have to go down the smoking area outside. So I tell myself, its not worth the effort to walk out there in the cold just to have a nicotine fix. So far so good.

Surprisingly, I dont mind if people are having their nicotine fix in front of me. I am not at all attracted. Of course, cigarette smoking friends would offer, tease and tried to coax me (being wonderful friends of course, no doubt contributing in training me to build up my resistance to cigarette), but honestly I did not crave for it at all. Having been a chain smoker, for the past 26 years of my life, I would think that resisting my friends would be the ultimate battle of all. Well, I found out its not the case at all. I fount that its harder for me to fight my own craving than friends taunting. Really surprised by this.