Mists are only pretty in prose and poetry

Once upon a time, one of the best medicines for me was writing. When I was sad, the pages of my diary would be filled from left to right, top to bottom. When I started blogging in 2000, I began to keep electronic diaries. Some were stored in the form of HTML pages, which I still keep until today. I was once a very active writer hiding behind pseudonyms because I have no confidence, only watching in silent pride when words from the bottom of my heart made their ways onto the pages of the newspapers. I used to take pride in my poems, songs, short stories, and even my musings.

I’m constantly feeling sad now; I don’t know if I should blame the weather or myself for making me feel like this. All I know is that I should really pick up writing again after a long time. Maybe I will be calmer that way, InsyaAllah. I believe this is the first blog entry after being called a teacher officially now, no? I’m a bit excited to write.

360 degrees twists and turns: The road to my school is a long winding one. There isn’t a day when I don’t feel like “Is this the day I die?” when I go to school every morning. I drive approximately 52km to and fro every day, going at 60~110km (usually 85km constant). My car eats up around RM250~300 worth of fuel per month, not counting the itty bitty maintenance bits. Well, that’s parts and parcel of working, I guess. Sometimes, I am envious of those who can walk to school and those who can reach school within 10~5 minutes because they honestly save a lot. If they complain, then obviously they aren’t grateful enough (or they’re just greedy and lazy, idk).

I couldn’t see oncoming cars because of narrow roads and sharp turns. Huge trucks are everywhere, every day. When I’m almost late to school (as in I have 20 more minutes to punch in before the print is red on my punch card), it’s natural that I would be very annoyed if I had to drive at 40km/h. Yet, there are rocks, red soil that could challenge the grip of your tyres, sometimes small streams of water (after a night of rain or when it’s raining) or even dirt-water pools, trucks going at 30km/h, motorcyclists using the roads as if they own them, etc etc. Sometimes, I just had to overtake the vehicles in front of me even though the road was too small, praying I’d be okay.

Thick, thick mists: We seldom drive with the high-beam on unless we’re leading the way at night where there aren’t any street lamps. Otherwise, we could incur the wrath of people driving on the other side of the road -_-” The situation is different with my usual route to school. The mist is so thick; I can barely see anything every morning. The fields to the left and to the right of the highway would be completely white and impenetrable. Using high-beam is a must to survive the journey. Every now and then when the clock shows time after 7.10am, there would be ignorant oncoming cars with their headlamps off. Overtaking is made impossible even if you’re going at 30km/h in this situation. They may have magnificent visions able to penetrate the thick blankets of mist, but I don’t. Most of us don’t. Even more annoying when you see oncoming cars overtaking the road, missing your car narrowly by less than 10 meters or so before assuming their right lane. I was going at 90km/h when this happened once. You can probably guess how scared I was.

So, yes. 6.30am when I start the engine, I’d be saying prayers after prayers while my brain would ask the usual question: “Is this the day I die? God, please don’t let this be the day.” Along the way, my treacherous brain would conjure up visions of how my loved ones would react in the aftermath of my passing. Well, let’s not jinx the ‘d’ word. My parents – my Mom especially would be more than just devastated. My beloved male counterpart, I try not to think about it at all. You know how painful it is to imagine a faceless person replacing yourself, standing next to your beloved. I pray for my safety. Pray for mine too? *winks*

Sometimes I cry while I drive to school. Sometimes I play the mp3s at very high volume until the motorcyclists look at my car like it’s a UFO. Well, that’s life I guess. Until the next entry~

Birthday and Sailing Experience

decks01Yesterday was my birthday, and I have to say that it was probably the dullest birthday I’ve ever had. First, I forgot about it until late Friday night. I was like, “Wait, today’s 25th? So tomorrow’s my birthday? Huh??”. That just goes to say that time just moves too fast for my brain to catch up. Seriously. It’s been raining non-stop in Auckland the past couple of weeks. It rained yesterday too, of course. I spent the day indoor listening to the strong wind howling throughout the whole apartment. It was a downright creepy sound too. Before I knew it, the day was over and 27th came (Happy Birthday Akmar!!).

But today is like a wonderful post-birthday celebration of sorts. Our class went on a sailing trip (though we were on two separate boats). It’s the first sailing trip I’ve ever had and it’s probably going to be the last one too.  Can’t afford it otherwise (this trip was sponsored, so…). I’d rather spend the money traveling on planes to different continents if I can afford the luxury. The wind was nice. The view was nice once we get past the docks. No one got seasick~ We were practically standing on the seats.

At first, we were so in the ‘BOAT RACING!’ mood, but then the wind was too nice to even think about competing. Lol. Just before we end the trip, our boats docked side by side where everybody brought out the cakes and sang a birthday song to Akmar and I. The cakes were also meant for Eid 😉 I didn’t know there was going to be cakes. The cheesecake was awesomely delicious. Just a little bit saltier than usual but delicious nonetheless. Next comes the lunch. Fried rice from Angie’s Kitchen. The best thing was that…

…we ended up eating lunch where it says ‘No passengers on decks‘. Pfft. Just like us. Just like in the picture;  it was taken where we definitely shouldn’t be at.

This trip, I have to say, is a very memorable one for me. After the dull day yesterday, this Sunday is definitely several times more awesome.

Now I have to return to my deadly EDUC348 assignment. For some reasons, I’m not freaking out at all although I’m calling it ‘deadly’. Hmm. I must have snapped.

p.s/What’s with the sudden onslaught of Russian spams? They were in Russian before, but now the comments are in English. The comments are so funny too. Pfft.I guess spammers really do try so hard to fail at life evn though they’re already so full of fail

p.p.s/ Mom, I’m not as anti-social as you think, lol. I’m just an indoor kind of person, like a disproportionate chubby, overweight hamster that’s too comfortable in its cage ♥♥♥

Road Trip Day III: Foiled Piha & Frosty Hamilton

Mid-sem Hols 09 Day 03

There’s nothing much I can say except that THE THIRD DAY FAILED HARD.I’ll get to it soon, but let me just start from the beginning – from before we checked out. I woke up early as usual, at 6am. Atie woke up around the same time too. I decided to let Mira sleep in for an hour more, just because. I took my bath and changed into a fresh new shirt. Looking out of the window, the view was quite spectacular. I forgot Omapere was a bay. Last night was too dark for us to note the beauty.

We kind of made friend with the resident cat, Tequilla, and a little girl called Rubie. She clung to us. She even got into our car and wanted to go with us. It was kind of cute, in an annoying way. I’m glad her mom took her away though she was kicking and screaming when she was taken away from our car.

Hm. The way down from Omapere to Piha was very challenging. It felt like we were driving through a mist, but I realised that it wasn’t so. We were just so high up in the mountain that we were actually driving in the clouds. While it sounded almost romantic to drive in the clouds, it was not when our safety was at stake. We had no choice but to switched the heater on to see the through the windows clearly. Otherwise, they would have clouded over and make navigating (for me) and driving (for Atie) really troublesome.

Before leaving Northland, we stopped by a scenic lookout near Omapere, still in the Hokianga region. The view was breathtaking. We took a few pictures before running back to the comfort and warmth of the car. The wind was too strong and the air too cold.Further down, we made our way through the highway, stopping in the Waiopu forest where the biggest and oldest Kauri tree stood.

The tree was even more breathtaking than the scenic view we saw earlier.


It’s insane, I know it myself. I was a little bit surprised to find small well of tears prickling my eyes. I felt a wave of emotion crashing down on me. The tree standing big and tall before me was over 2000 years old. It had outlived many people, and it was still standing tall and proud.

Moving on. The road to Piha had so many twists and turns. So many that it made me want to throw up. By the time we left Northland and was back in Auckland region, the weather turned back. The nearer we were to Piha, the harder the rain grew. In the end, we didn’t go to the beach even though the sun was shining again by the time we stopped to have lunch. We were already running low on fuel, so we decided to head back to the nearest town to refill the fuel tank.

Looking at the clock, we should be early by two hours in getting to Hamilton. Such was not the case. On the way to the state highway from Auckland, we were hit with a much annoying problem.


I felt sick as the car rode very slowly through the evil traffic condition, so I sat back to make myself feel better. Mira helped navigate our way, no worries there. We were stuck in the jam for more than an hour, much to our chagrin. As we arrived in Hamilton, it was already quite late. We were really lucky we didn’t go to Piha. Otherwise, we might not have made it early to J’s Backpackers to check in. We were already late even without stopping by at the beach.

J’s Backpackers was a lively place. Everybody seemed friendly. The hostess was wonderful too. Our room was even more wonderful. We didn’t have to share our room with others. Only the three of us. The room was very homey, pink everywhere. We felt at home there.

There was a slight change in our original holiday plan. Atie reminded us about our plan to spend a night in the car at Waitomo, but then we realised it won’t be safe because Waitomo was full of caves. Not the best place for a small group of only girls to sleep through the night, in a small cramped car no less. So we decided to look for accommodation in Taupo for the next night. If we don’t get Taupo, maybe Rotorua. I tried checking for availability in Taupo (where can be checked instantly online), but none was vacant. We then decidedto try our luck the next day.

Hamilton was cold. Very cold. Upon checking the temperature on Metservice, I was shocked to find out that the current temperature was 2 celcius! A mere 2 celcius! No wonder we were freezing. Atie even remarked that the air felt almost the same as Queenstown.

And so we slept. I slept last, because I was fiddling with my laptop and the internet before going to sleep. It was freezing. I even borrowed Mira’s sweater for my legs. The duvet was not enough.

Road Trip Day II: Cape Reinga to Omapere

Easter Hols 09 - Day 02

Before checking out, Atie made breakfast (fried egg sandwich) and I cooked lunch/dinner (spaghetti and spicy sauce with basil), with Mira taking care of the dishes. We save money this way, and we don’t have to think about stopping somewhere for food. After that, we stopped by the i-Site for a moment, taking pictures of the beautiful coast.

I forgot to mention in my earlier account of the first day that my camera decided it wanted to be stupid and vibrated, getting ok only once in a while. The vibration sucked. It’s hard to take pictures when it insisted on vibrating like a cellphone on vibe + ring mode. Alhamdulillah, it decided to behave a little bit better this day. However, most of the pictures ended up being taken by Mira’s camera. The difference can be seen from the colour, but not that I minded much. Pictures are still pictures.

On the way out of Paihia, we stopped by Cable Bay to take pictures. I so love the blue sea. Maybe this road trip is making me love the colour blue more than I should. Looking at the sandy beach, I couldn’t help but think that taking a dip at this particular stop seemed way better than the one we took in Paihia the day before. Hurrr…

We learn not to believe the map on this second day. Seriously, the map showed straight, sealed road. Halfway through from Paihia to Cape Reinga, the oad started getting worse by every kilometres. Sealed roads? Yeah, sure. They’re still in the process of putting new seals. Poor Baby (the nickname Atie gave the car) had to endure a long journey via unsealed roads. The road was full of twists and turns, making us all dizzy by the time we reached our destination.


Cape Reinga was breathtaking. Simply breathtaking. The deep blue sea. The azure sky. The wind. Everything. So beautiful that the one name that entered our minds straight away was Allah the Almighty. We got to see the meeting point of the waves. You can see waves from different directions meet in the middle of the sea.In Maori culture, it is also the meeting place of deceased spirits before they move on.

Oh, the wind was exceptionally strong there. The sun was shining, but it was very cold. We all could barely walk without hearing our teeth chattering. You seriously, seriously cannot go to the lighthouse without a sweater. Unless, maybe, if you live in the south pole.

The lighthouse was smaller than I thought, but it was cute nonetheless.


On the way back from Cape Reinga, we took a brief detour to 90 Miles Beach. The beach was spaciously beautiful. We took a few pictures and ran back into the car because the wind was super strong and the air was very cold. We initially thought of using the 90 Miles Beach route to break into the state highway, but a gentleman kindly advised us not to use the route. His car broke down halfway. We were scared half out of our wits. And so we ended up using regular road. There went our chance of seeing the sun set on the lovely beach.

Here comes challenge.

We followed the map to find our way to Omapere. Atie told me (I’m the navigator) we won’t be using the ferry, so we’d be using a different route. The problem with this route was that it was completely deserted (save for one and two cars every half an hour, if I remember correctly). It was night, it was raining, and it was dark. Only the moon lighted the road, and even the moon was hidden by the trees and the hills most of the time. There were only three of us, all girls, in the car. The road was not sealed, and it was full of twists and turns. We encountered at least 5 possums, 2 rabbits, 2 horses and 2 cows.

Speaking of cows, that reminds me of our scariest experience that night. While still driving in the dark that night, we saw a black and white figure from afar, standing right in the middle of the road. My first thought was “Huh, a hitch-hiker?” or “Is that person looking to commit suicide?”. I looked like a man wearing a black hood. As we got closer, I felt cold. It was definitely not a man, but I couldn’t be sure of what it was. The first thought on my mind was that “Ghhhoooosssttt?!!!!!”. No shit. I seriously thought it was a ghost. I considered closing my eyes, but for the sake of Atie who was driving and could not close her eyes no matter how scared she was, I didn’t close my eyes. As we got closer, I sighed in relief. I could breathe again. It was a big cow, black and white in colour. I felt like crying then and there, but I didn’t. I guess I was too scared to cry.

We almost took the wrong turn twice. When I saw the sign pointing to an attraction called ‘something boulders’, I yelped in happiness. We were on the right track. We followed the road, scared shitless, until Atie said “Intan, I really feel grateful I could cry now”. We were back on sealed road, making our way back into the state highway. That was when I realised that I hadn’t been breathing properly. It felt a lot better.

The problem was that we were supposed to check in at Globetrekker Lodge before 8.00pm, after which our booking would be rendered invalid. As soon as Vodafone was back in service, Atie called the management, asking if e could still check in. I accompanied Mira to the toilet. As I waited for her outside, keeping my eyes on the car, I saw a guy sitting on a bridge not too far from where Atie stopped the car. I knew the man saw me. He kept looking at me from afar and making eerie, breathy sound. I urged Mira to hurry up, and then we both ran into the car to continue to check in. It was just our luck that we could still check in. Alhamdulillah. The host was really kind. We were late by a couple of hours and we could still check in. I couldn’t be more glad to have a place  to sleep for the night after such an adventurous journey.

Needless to say, we all slept like a log that night.

Mid-sem Road Trip Day I: Paihia, Bay of Islands

Easter Hols 09 - Day 01

The Beginning: We were supposed to start our journey at 9.30am, but due to me cooking and us trying to fit everything into the small Toyota Starlet we rented. From luggage for three people to picnic mat and picnic basket and cool bag and whatnot, just imagine it. It’s safe to say that Mira’s next seat neighbour was our food supply. I cooked fried rice vermicelli for lunch and dinner. We also had tuna sandwiches for dinner to make up for the lack of food.

The Funny Toll Story: We decided not to go through Silverdale and take the highway with $2 toll. We looked everywhere for the tollbooths, but none came into sight. I don’t know if it was because we were too excited or something. There was a sign telling us that manual payment booths are available, but the same question lingered in our brains, “Yes, yes, but where the hell are the booths?” Every fixed distance interval, there were signs reminding us to pay the toll. And that we were given three days max to pay. I was like ‘huh?’, because the toll system we’re used too is totally different.

Atie: How can you get past the gateway if you don’t pay?
Me: I don’t know. Knock the bar down, maybe?
Us: *LOLed*

Before we went through the highway, we saw an officer in a police car, manually taking pictures of passing cars. No matter how I look at it, it seems ridiculous to manually snap pictures of all passing cars. I was wondering what he was doing. It turned out that the officer was the one responsible of keeping record of cars passing through the highway (plate numbers, date and time of entering the highway). When we went online that night to pay the toll, we were laughing and rolling on the bed with mirth. Pay the toll online within three days. I’ll have the old-fashioned toll gateways any day, thank you very much.

The way north to Paihia was filled with beautiful sceneries that we wouldn’t be able to see in Auckland. There’s one thing that I don’t think I could ever forget:

cannot unsee them

Oh, those poor sheeps. Atie and I went “EEEEEPP!!!!” at the sight. It burned into my eyes. It ws brief, but it’s impossible for me to forget it. Too bad Mira missed the sheeps.

harurufallsPaihia – the “Yay!” and the “Grr!”: We arrived at Paihia at about 3pm, if I’m not mistaken. We checked in at Mousetrap Backpackers before changing into leisure clothes. We were looking forward to swimming at the beach or at the waterfall. Well, the Haruru Falls was one big waterfall where only suicidal people would jump in. We were so disappointed. Atie kind of cursed the waterfall for giving false hope. Haha, so did Mira and I. We did the next best thing – we stopped the car along the beach and played in the shallow waters. The tide was a little bit high, so we couldn’t go far out. Not with the stones hitting us with every wave washed ashore.

Mira slept the earliest, followed by Atie. I fell asleep after surfing the net for about an hour and a half. And so ended the first day of our vacation.