Thursday, November 29, 2012

Southern Holidays

The scenery which greeted me in the morning

A full breakfast in the morning- orange juice, rice porridge wilth all the usual condiments,
a bowl of muesli with  fresh milk and waffle drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Deep down in my heart, I always have a soft spot for Johor. It is a charming state in the south of peninsular Malaysia as it is blessed with its own specialities, rich in culture with good food and friendly people. Having spent four years of my life in one of the districts in Johor, I have discovered that the state of Johor as a place where you would feel warmly welcomed. I could not figure out on why I have this kind of feeling, it seemed that when I moved to Selangor back in 2004, it took me years to feel that I really belonged there. But it was different in Johor, within a few months, I could adapt to its way of life. Ever since my brother moved to Johor in 2010, I have been making a few trips to Johor. The southerners would always refer Johor Bahru (the capital of the Johor state) as Johor. Therefore, when ever we say Johor it would mean that we are going to Johor Bahru.

   Well, back to my holidays, some time in early November ( on Deepavali), my family and I went for a trip to Johor. We spent three days and two nights in Thistle, Johor Bahru and had a fabulous time over there. Eventually, we had a pleasant surprise as upon reaching Thistle late in the afternoon, the rooms  which my sister had booked online earlier on, were occupied.  Apparently,  the hotel decided to upgrade us to rooms facing the Straits of Malacca without any extra charge at all. Yes, that was indeed a nice surprise, an unexpected gesture from the hotel management, as it made the trip even memorable. And of course it's another way to attract loyal guests as well. And for that thoughtful gesture, it made Thistle a favourite hotel for all of us.

     I could say that being in Johor has its own perks. Finding good, delicious food is easy  and it is way cheaper than eating out in KL or Selangor. People are not pretentious, they are down right friendly and we would never ever think that we are outsiders, it's just like coming back to your own hometown. Likewise, I have 1001 reasons of liking Johor, not because I have spent a good four years in this wonderful state- but simply because, it is a distinctive place, it has that rich Malay culture mixed with Arab influences, it is probably an unforgettable "home". I personally think that my fascination with Johor is something that I could not really explain. Well, if you ever made a trip to Johor, you will know what I really meant actually. Never mind if there are  so many bad vibes surrounding Johor, on the rumours of escalating crime rates - well, in any place that you go, crimes are definitely bound to happen. I remember having encountered gypsies pick pocketting in Paris, many years ago. And that was supposedly to be Paris. Who ever thought gypsies and Paris should come together. As for me, it is a matter of safe guarding your own belongings and pray to God that worse incidents  should never happen to you.

Johor Clock Tower- night time

  As you could see - we had a good dinner in the Malay Village Restaurant in Johor Bahru. The food was up to the mark and the price was affordable as well. It costed a fraction of what I should pay back in Shah Alam for a dinner of four adults and a child. We had the normal diet of tomyam, fried vegetables, "pari bakar" (grilled sting ray), buttered prawns , dimsum, omellete and the usual drinks. Definitely, worth every single penny.

Dinner at Malay Village
From the picture- tomyam soup, fried kailan, omelette and dimsum/
And came morning, this lovely scenery greeted me as I said "hello" to the Southern sun, when the skies were charmingly blue and the clouds were as white as cotton. I saw that life moved pleasantly slow, here in the south, and people  embraced every day's tasks as something that they loved and looked forward. It could be seen from the food that the Johoreans served and prepared, the honest testaments of what should be presented to  customers and clients Well, I have so many things to say about my trip to Johor, that I think that I should do a great justice to a wonderful and charming place in my heart. I will definitely continue my posting on Johor, in another entry, as there are so many great things to share about Johor. In truth, as I started my initial career here, I learnt to be a young working adult in this state, and met many good and trusting friends in Johor. That is why, to me it is a special place, where I learn about honesty and sacrifices, or rather aptly described-- I learn to grow up as well. In fact, I learn on the finer things of working life, of being sefless and ever ready to give my best shot.

    And looking back, I am glad that I have the life- time opportunity of working in Johor. It may only be four years of my whole life, but those memorable years were definitely an experience that I shall treasure forever.

This marvellous kasui that I ate on my last morning in JB, at one of the food stalls at  Sungai Chat.

And who could resist this delicious plate of fried noodles and meehon,
 (mee and bee hoon goreng) with home made "sambal".
The pool side and the view of the sea seemed to be mesmerizing to me

From afar we could see the beautiful coast line ....

A room with a view- Johor Clock Tower seen from my room

On a final note, as any wiser man should say, "Welcome to Johor---the southern state of peninsular Malaysia with exceptional hospitality and fascinating culture, guaranteed to charm you to bits......" . And it is definitely true.


Sharifah said...

Glad you had a wonderful holiday.:) That's a wonderful shot of the clock tower.

Anonymous said...

Kak sharifah, thanks for the thoughts. Seemed that you went back to singapore ya for your niece's wedding. Sure nice kan. That clock tower shot was taken from my bedroom. Lucky us, the hotel upgraded us to a better room..- nizaineese-


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