Friday, 26 August 2016

One of the best experience of my life

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

This actually happened quite a while back. I came across an ad from the Muslim hands that popped up on my facebook newsfeed for a tandem skydiving experience. As my dad did a bungee jump when he was in his late 30's in New Zealand, I have to top that up a notch and do a bolder move, which is skydiving.

I found out about the event from Muslim Hands, a charity that I have been involved with since I came here. They held a lot of interesting events, some that I've been to include Winter Walk for Gaza in 2014and All Girls Paintball in 2015. They have many more events that I couldn't join. I only managed to be involved personally once a year.


This is another poster for a different date. Couldn't find the date we went to.


Without any hesitation, I immediately signed up. I only needed to pay £50 for registration. The term is that you need to raise a sum of money, but they're not too strict about this. Even if you can't raise the whole amount by the time of the event, you can still raise them afterwards. It's all about 'amanah'. 



My bestie is actually afraid of heights. She gets vertigo and doesn't like any of extreme activities. We went on a mild ride at a funfair before, and she blacked out when we were on it. I hadn't even noticed until she told me later on. LOL. But I still signed her up and told her a few weeks after. hahaha..It's once in a lifetime opportunity man...how can you pass on it. Even if you could do it later, it'll surely be more expensive than this!



We went to the airfield by a provided transport by the organiser, where we departed from London at 3AM!!!! It was around Spring, so it was still quite cold, especially in a British weather. It was clear the whole day, which was lucky for us because the previous group had to cancel due to a heavy rain. So we ended up being the first group to do the jump. Woha!


As we arrive at the airfield (it actually didn't look anything like an airfield from the outside, you'll only see the take-off path when you enter further), there were already a few groups that had arrived earlier. We registered our names, some even signed up for a video/photos while jumping (which we didn't take because it was a wee bit expensive). 


We were grouped for a pre-jump briefing inside the hangar. The instructor made it looked like so easy. He was super young too. 


All these are lined-up after safety checks and ready to be used. 


The best thing about doing this with Muslim Hands is that they have made sure that only female instructors allowed for the female participants. Beccles Airfield is the only place in the UK with female instructors, there's only two of them when we were there. Amazing!


The plane was small, so there are only three tandem skydivers allowed at one time, the rest are these solo jumpers. They are both amateur and professional divers. 

video

The first person to successfully made the jump. Woohooo!! That is not what a tandem skydive is. Tandem skydive is where you are strapped in front of you instructor, and they'll do the parachuting and landing for you. For this type of skydive, you'll land on your bottom, and not your feet, so it's safer for first timers. 


See the guy laying down, he's training for his jump later on. That's me at the back, pounding my hearts off my chest. hahaha...


My instructor is called Zeus, like the greek god, just because she is awesome in skydiving. She has done more than a 100 skydives, and has been doing it for 15 years!!! She just drops from the plane, land, ran back to the hangar to get another schute, and off for the next one. No wonder they call her Zeus. This is me waiting for Zeus. Thankfully, I wasn't the last to board the plane, because the last person will be the first to jump!! Climbing on the plane, as you feel the wind blowing from the plane's fans very strongly, you'll feel your blood just drained from your body and your chest felt tighter and difficult to breathe. 

video

Inside the plane, the instructor will brief you again while strapping his/herself on to you, making sure it's nice and tight and asked you to practice what they had briefed earlier. Just writing this down makes my fingers cold as I'm reliving the feeling. hahaha.... =P

As the plane took off, I didn't feel anything, literally nothing at all. No emotions. Not nervous, scared, anxiety, none whatsoever. As the plane reached 13,000 feet, the siren starts sounding (like the emergency siren). The first to jump are the solos. They jumped like it was their day job (which is true for some of them). It goes so fast...then the person in front of me. Then...it's the big moment...MY TURN!


My instructor scooches over to the edge, hence pushing me along, so you don't really have a choice in the matter. No second thoughts. Then she let me dangle as she sat by the edge of the plane as shown in the picture for a brief second and off we goooooo....

As we freefalling, it felt very difficult to breathe. The velocity of the wind towards your face is like when you put your face outside your car window as it goes 100km/hour, or maybe faster, like you put a leafblower directly in front of your face. Plus, the temperature up there is close to -10 degrees bruh!

It wasn't really long (but it felt like a lifetime) before she pulled and open the parachute. As it opens, you'll feel as if you were yanked from above...a bit painful in certain places, if you can imagine.


These were the solo skydivers. Their helmets and goggles were much cooler than ours. The one we used, the goggles felt like being pulled off my face when we were freefalling. Flappy darn things.

video

It was such a phenomenal experience. Taking in the gorgeous view of the seaside, the countryside...so much more. The landing part is as much thrilling as the jump because you can see clearly you are descending and felt it right in your guts as you go down, fast! Just as you almost touch the ground, the instructor yanked the ropes to make it slow down a bit and badabump...safely landed...


I went before my bestie, that's why we managed to take a video of each other landing. Lucky!!


Can you see her nervous face? hahahaha...poor girl.


She had to wait her turn quite a while, so I distracted her by taking loads of pictures.


Kept reassuring here, it'll be great!!!


Almost time...


dupdap..dupdap...

I asked her after she jumped, how did she felt, and she said it was amazing!!! Definitely, she will not try again, but absolutely worth it!  

video

Here's a short version of our jump. I'm glad I got to do this and help a good cause at the same time.


Another bucket list checked. Woohoooo!!!! I'm thinking of doing it again...hmm....

Until next time...

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Weekend @ Camden

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

One weekend, my bestie and I just itches to go somewhere to vent and release after all the labwork that we did. I saw a video on Facebook before about cronuts (croissants+donuts and ice cream!!!) by the Dum Dum Donutteries, which when I checked in Google, they are located at Camden Market.


So we went there, with the hope of finding the cronuts, as it is summer, gorgeous weather for it. Before that...about the market.


How to describe Camden Market?? I have one word. Awesome!


Camden market is so unique in so many ways, from having the most out of the box-futuristic things such as the Cyberdog... 


To the very old and classic stuff such as this cute little jukebox and record player.


Hipster? They may love this place. Maybe....It's filled with vintage, handmade, classic stuff. 


There are many tunnels, nooks and crannies locating various stalls.


This is one of the vintage stalls where the jukebox is. There's also cameras from the victorian era. I'm serious! They are still functioning!


My grandma used to have this radio. I wonder what happened to it.


This is my favourite!!! haha...what are the odds of me bumping into this. Definitely going to buy one before I go back home.


More stores...more alleys. You can get lost in this market.


A very productive way of recycling your old shirts. huhu....


They have loads of cafes here. This is where you come to find street food. Malaysia's food is here too!! But our main reason is to find the cronuts.


In the end, we found out the DumDum Donutterie  at Camden has been shut down and that they've moved to Shoreditch. We felt bummed, but we didn't want to go back in vain, so I found another place which I watched a video previously as well called the Cereal Killer Cafe.


This cafe only serves cereals from around the globe (mostly the UK and the States).


The menu...


These are some of the choices. There are three sizes of bowls to choose from. People often became overwhelmed with the choice that they have to make. Being an impulsive person that I am, my bestie and I picked our choices in a second. haha....


I chose the Cinnabon and I add some strawberries with whole milk, while my bestie chose Hershey's chocolate cereal with chocolate milk and Oreos. They made their own chocolate milk by adding chocolate sauce in the whole milk. Smart!


This is the inside. The TV between the crates showed some oldies morning shows, makes you feel like a kid eating breakfast again. The TV at the far left is showing Johnny Bravo if anyone still remembers. haha....

I love the decor inside the store, but the lighting can be improved since it's a bit gloomy. 


More cereals being displayed. There's Dunkin' Donut cereal!! I would buy some if it's still around. 


Paying for a bowl of cereal. Who would have thought we would see the day. 

Here's the video from Time Out London. 


It's more of a 'try it once' kind of place. It's sure is unique. 

Until next time...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Italy: Rome Part 2, Finale

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

So, after the first part of Rome, we continued our trip to the highlights of the country! 


This was in front of our accommodation. It turns out, I didn't take pictures of the inside. haha...From our acco, we need to take the metro train to the city centre. At the station, there were two soldiers waiting on guard. Suddenly we were called for a 'random' check. They asked for our passports and our details. Luckily, we were going back to London that day, so we even provided our return flight tix. 


This is actually a school. I would love to go to school here. Feels like being in the renaissance era.

Continuing on...the soldiers that stood guard couldn't really converse in English, so I had to translate to my friends when one of them asked a question (I picked up a bit of Italian while we were there). The soldiers became amazed and asked, do you understand Italian. I just said I understood a little, but he just went on talking in Italian fully expecting I would understand. haha...Some eyes did stare as if we were being detained of some terror attack or something. It wasn't a good feeling. 


But to make ourselves feel better, I just told my friends that no one will mess with us now because they would think we are dangerous. huhu...


We stopped somewhere first to put our luggage so it'll be easier for us to walk around the city without having to drag our bags around. I found this place online the day before. The rate was quite cheap, considering other places that we've been to. 


Through these alleys where you'll find the storage. It's located at the end, a very quaint place.


The facilities were nice too. They even provide a service to take your luggage directly to the airport, with a fee, of course. We didn't think it was worth it since our bags are small and easy to handle ourselves. But if you have huge luggage, this could be something to consider. They also have a very nice washroom for their customers to use, a printer and internet where you can use for free. I forgot the rate, but I'll update later since their website is undergoing construction.


Afterwards, we took the bus to the Colosseum. We passed the Spanish Steps (one of the famous attraction here), but we didn't manage to stop since there were still a few more places to visit. 


As Rome is a huge city like London with many tourists, you would expect a lot of people in the bus. We didn't mind being crushed, but we do mind some jerks and perverts that we had to share the bus with. We rarely experience people being impolite back in the UK, but we did experience a few during our short stay in Rome. 


Nevertheless, we did make it in one piece. When we arrive, we decided to visit the Palatine Hill first. The tickets for the Colosseum will give you entrance to three places; the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, all of which are connected to one another, except for the Colosseum. 


The decision to go to Palatine Hill was based on a tour guide that suggested to avoid the long queue, and as they said, there was no line at all at the Palatine Hill entrance. You can even buy your tickets from here if you had not bought any beforehand. 


The Palatine Hill as the name suggested, is a hill above the Roman Forum. It says to inhibit the Romans since 10th century B.C. 


Most of what's left are ruins, which you can't even tell what sort of building used to be there. 


A great place for a game of police and thief. =P


There is one museum located on the hill, but we didn't go in since there were not enough time. 


The best thing is you can see the Roman Forum, part of Rome and the Colosseum (shown by the arrow) from the hill. 


Such a stunning view. 


People often ignore the other stunning architectural genius beside the Colosseum such as this. 


There are many stories behind the Roman Empire history such as this. 


Below the Palatine Hill is the Roman Forum. 


Roman Forum is a garden of ruins and was Roman's ancient showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. 


The site, which was originally an Etruscan burial ground, was first developed in the 7th century BC. -source

You can also read the descriptions. What is the purpose of visiting if you don't learn about the history of the place, no?


The numbers below the descriptions indicate the voice tour for people that booked them. 


Many huge temples are still standing, mostly the pillars. Some are still in an almost perfect condition but are not open to public as it may be dangerous and in order to maintain the structure. 


Most are ruins like in the Palatine Hill, you can't really tell what building it used to be. 


As we exit the Roman Forum, we head straight to the Colosseum. At first, we were giddy when we thought we didn't have to queue. Little that we know...that giddiness will go down the drain. The line was super long!!! The bad part is because the line is for both that wanted to buy tickets and those that already have them. The security is super tight. 


After a loooooong wait, we finally managed to get in.


The picture shows how it used to be during the games at the Colosseum.


The Colosseum could hold an average of 65,000 spectators at one time. It's humongous!


Tadaaaa....


If you have some extra money to spend, you can have the premiere tour and go to the centre stage like the people in the picture. 


You can also walk through the halls as the gladiators did as shown by the arrow. You can also see the cages where they kept the lions and rooms where the gladiators use before their brave match.


There're three stages where tourist can go to, but the top one is only for the premiere tickets. 


These stairs don't even look like stairs anymore. Can't imagine how they manage to climb these especially without any railings. 


These are the stairs we used. Still pretty steep.


Need to take a rest after all those climbing.


Embarking on the view for the last time. I'm so glad to be able to enter one of the greatest architectures in the world.


I wanted to take a postcard photo, but then my mum always says there's no point of a picture if you're not in it. 


voila!


After the Colosseum trio, we went to the Piazza Venezia. It's only a few minutes from there, 


but we still took the bus because we didn't want to sore our feet more than it already is. 


Piazza Venezia is the central 'hub' of Rome.


It's located almost at the geometric centre of Rome.


There's tight security here too. 


Guards...soldiers...fire!!


One side of the Piazza is the site of Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in theAltare della Patria, part of the imposing Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy.


Resting again...=P


We went inside, it's free admission except for the museum.


We went upstairs to the rooftop.


We get to take in the view of the city for the last time before we depart.


From Rome, we took a shuttle bus to go to the Fiumicino Airport. I forgot the name of the bus company. They don't have seat numbers when you buy the tickets, but they use this boarding card system. Due to the actions of some Italians that I notice (pushing and being rude) when boarding the bus, they need to use this card to make sure those onboard are according to their allocated time. 


Even with that system, there are still some people that just love to push around and not being patient. 


We only saw this sign as we were leaving...haha...Despite some of the bad people and experience, we did enjoy our trip. Italy has been my bucket list since I was a child. 


All of the walking and climbing in Italy wore out my poor old shoe. This picture was taken by my friend. huhu...Had to toss these out. 


Rome says goodbye with a huge Ferrero Rocher. Italy checked! In case you missed the previous ones, here's where you can read them.

Until next time...