Sunday, June 24, 2007

Goodbye Ithaca

With Assoc. Prof. Dr Andrew Willford and family. Andrew was my Cornell host.Thanks, Andrew!

This was where I spent most of my time at Cornell.Will miss walking down the corridor to Kroch lib

My Maplewood bed which was not warm enough in winter but thanks to the effective but noisy heater, I slept well

My study desk where you heard from me

my Maplewood room wardrobe

Z likes Cornell

Nik and Z on Cornell University tour

So this is it.My journey closing down...mahu tak sedih!

Andrew tukar plan dinner (which worked well cos' we didn't get back from Waterloo till late). Mula2 letak some items at Saiful's garage sale.My album free tu I dapat jual at USD2.Yang lain2 tu tak laku so I just gave them away cos' bag dah tak muat.

Lepas tu showed Cornell Uni to Nik and Z. It's bigger, more beautiful than Harvard or Columbia so Z said she would not mind studying here. :)

Lepas tu kita pi Premium Factory Outlet.I dah tak kuasa nak shop.We took the scenic way so we came so close to Cayuga Lake.Rumah2 along the lake very2 nice.The wineries and berry farms pun cantik dan hijau.Pulang agak lewat juga and luckily Saiful picked us up at the airport after we returned the car there.Rushed back to our hotel, rang Andrew cakap pukul 8.30 baru ready.Agak lewat for him but what to do.

Vasantha cooked nice meal for us (and desserts!)Lama juga kita sembang2.Balik buat last touch up on our packing.By 12 midnite tidur.Pukul 4 am dah kena siap.

When Saiful rang 4 something, kita masih tidur! Imagine sempat brushed our teeth and sembahyang Subuh je! Yuks! Tak pernah I macam ni.In Detroit..I was hoping we could check into a hotel in Detroit, mandi, tukar baju, etc.But tak sempat juga.Sigh.

This is it.This is goodbye Ithaca and goodbye USA.

Unprepared, almost unwilling.Ha ha.

How would I summarise my 4 months' stay here? Am I wiser after the Fulbright experience? Would I contribute anything when I go home? Can I change anything? Have I changed?

Eh, susah nak jawab.Like my many years abroad, alone, I hate being on my own.In terms of my academic work, I think I had done what I set out to do (alhamdulillah) although I could have done more if I were not too busy coping with winter or if I had longer time.In terms of networking, I think it had been a fabulous time out, meeting people of different walks of life, race and colour.I have many joint venture projects lined up and I hope dgn izin Allah, akan berjaya dilangsungkan.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Back in Ithaca

at Ain's apt

the path to Olin lib/Cornell bookshop

my Maplewood Apt in Spring

After days of city life in Columbus, Boston and's strange coming back to Ithaca...when I saw Lake Cayuga, green hills, creeks and 2 deers feeding in the garden of someone's home, I know I'm gonna miss Ithaca during rushed hours and traffic jams in KL.

We got Saiful to collect us at Ain's apt to rent a car cos' kita nak cari hotel for 2 nites (Ain's room tak cukup nak letak our 8 suitcases!).Her flatmate Pei Jun was so kind to ferry our luggage to our hotel at 8 pm.Lepas tu we went shopping at TJ Max.I never got this far cos' tak tau nak naik bus mana.Kesian tak? :)

I hope I have time to say goodbye to some friends at Maplewood besok.Kinda rushed cos' we leave early on Sunday (6 am)which means by 4.30 am, we must be ready to leave the hotel.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New York and New Yorkers

NYC from where we stayed

a bit blurry cos' it was taken from Lucky Star bus

Mamma Mia, a Broadway play we saw and enjoyed

we took a ride on the horse carriage at central park

Nik wanted the tall buildings in as well as him in the pic.We took many shots to arrive at this: we got all he wanted!

the family at Columbia University,NYC

harap2 nampak apa yang saya pegang tu..jangan marah tapi ia tas asli.

We can't really let go of this city, can we?

Saw Mamma Mia on Broadway semalam.Z and Nik suka.I liked the songs but ceritanya biasa2 sahaja.5 years already on Broadway.

We visited Columbia Uni, WTC site and had brunch at Riverside Park.
Met up with Susilo and had lunch with him at Haandi next to Hurry the Curry.When we sampai at Chinatown, ada polis Muslim baik tolong kita hailed a taxi (also a Muslim driver).Dia siap ajak pi ke rumah and offered nak bawak kita jalan2.Too kind. :)

The place we are staying in at Amsterdam Ave boleh tahan juga.

I notice that selain the kind Muslims I met on the street (who gave salam and offered help cos' they recognised me as a Muslim through my scarf and I met african american muslim who worked as cleaner at the subway station, Lebanese muslim taxi driver and Bangladeshi muslim policeman), others were not that hospitable (you think Muslims in London are sombong...try NYC!)

My best vote goes to Dr. Susilo.He's so kind and obliging.Semoga Allah berkati hidupnya sekeluarga. we were walking down Times Square, tiba2 ada lelaki who looked like he's French bagi salam (cos' he saw my tudung).Muka macam hero Hollywood film tapi rupa2nya he's a banker, originally from Venezuela.He speaks fluent Arabic and other languages and knows so much of world politics termasuk Malaysia's.Kami sepakat (Nik, Susilo and I) kata dia ini sepai CIA.Ha ha.

But we love NY.It doesn't sleep, like Paris.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boston again

testing the waters, Cape Cod

with Prof Muhammad and Kak Ani at Cape Cod

at Quincy Market, Boston

We were stranded for long hours yesterday and missed a day of Boston (arrived 10 pm instead of 3 pm) cos' after boarding Delta for almost 2 hours, the pilot announced that they had to cancel the flight but reasons were not given but some of us found out it's becos' his co-pilot didn't have the required papers to fly.Oh my! So this is America!

We had to fly via DC and got in Boston at 10 pm (I have said this, huh?)Holiday Inn isn't as nice as Hilton but we were happy to have a place to sleep.It was a long day.Penat nak mampos.

On second day in Boston, we terpaksa pulun habis.Z wants to visit Harvard.Nik wants to see its Business Sch.I nak pi shopping. :)Prof M and wife will meet us in a bit.

I took them to Quincy Market pagi2 buta tu.They had nice artistic stuffs here.Kita pun borong.

We then took a Harvard (pronounced Hahvahd) tour by Harvard undergrads.It was fun and Z liked it.One of the guides said when students are tense during their exam week (esp in winter) they'd run screaming and naked in the garden with some 5,000 people watching (and videotaping!) Gila betul. :)

Prof M, Kak Ani took us to Wrentham after a trip to Cape Cod (I had swordfish for lunch after failing to get the yummy2 blue fish.Swordfish is ikan todak.Sedap juga dimasak ala Italian) Then we got home very late...had dinner at Kak Ani's (first time daging bakar and kicap bercili in months! Wough, we also had kurma daging, masak pedas salmon, etc.)

Took the train back to Andrew Station to get to our hotel just before 12 midnight.
Besoknya nak naik bas Cina ke NYC (at USD15 when others are charging at USD30)But Prof kata kekadang dia terbalik sebab laju sangat.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Second day Columbus

snake child

Looks like a cake

Museum plastik

Brunch at Deb's with Evan, Alan,Nik and Nancy

By now we'd fallen in love with the city.It's so accessible and friendly.But our stay at the Hilton spoilt it all cos' the front desk staff is so bodoh.Bagi info salah.I have zero tolerance for inefficiency (and stupidity).But we had dinner at Easton Mall (something like steamboat and yet not quite) It's Father's Day so I guess it's a Father's Day dinner with Nik.Mahal. :)

Nancy left.Kesian dia drive balik sorang-sorang.2 hours' trip for her.She took us to a book shop (Book Loft) which had 32 rooms in German Village.Pics later.

We went to the Art Festival too -- before joining Evan and Enid at their brunch for close friends and family members.Lagi jumpa orang kelakar.Deb's neighbour ada museum barang2 plastic toys.Met Daniel, a retired Prof of Maths from London.He and Evan's step dad kawan baik.I like Alan too.Dia pun kelakar.Ingat nak jumpa Evan's Dad today (semalam tak sempat berbual.He's a writer too)

Columbus is on our 'can live city' should we decide to migrate to the US later.But mengingatkan service kat Hilton ni..mungkin tak jadi.Bak kata Nancy quoting sedara Evan in Mexico who wrote to his relatives after the last election in the US: are you guys that stupid?

nb: I spoke to the GM of the hotel and she refunded our taxi fare to Easton.Oh cool.So Hilton is back in my good hotel list now.

Columbus, Ohio

picnic di mary orton, Ohio

river trail in style, Ohio

river trail, Ohio

da river, Ohio

The politically incorrect Cracker Barrel (but we enjoyed our meals there)

riverside,parkersburg,west virginia

Nancy drove us all to Columbus.Stopped at Cracker Barrel for authentic Western meals.Syok but wait! Not so nice write-up on the family restaurant here:

Nancy also took us to the riverside at Parkersburg prior to our trip to Columbus.

In Columbus,we checked in Red Roof Inn as advised by Evan and Enid.Very basic inn but close to Camp Mary Orton where the event was held.We went a bit late which was good cos' we'd have time to catch up with Evan and Enid and family.Nice time meeting people.

We took a walk on the river trail...looking for a river to bathe in.A still, muddy river so no swim.But pleasant and green.Headed back for the pool but they closed at 6 pm.Arghs!

Met Evan's family.Kelakar people.Loved them. :)

Mlm tu kita pi dinner at Haiku (a very nice yuppy restaurant)...Japanese tempura and American jazz could go together.Simply amazing.Went for a walk in the Short North area.Went inside the only shop open after 9 pm.Turned out to be a gay shop. :))) The guys were polite with us as we belek seluar2 dalam yang pelik2. ha ha.

New York again

June 14 is our 20th anniversary.We checked in Murray Hill's Inn which is minutes away from Macy's. Met up with Dr Susilo again and we had dinner with him.

Nik bought me my fav perfume and designer scarf.I bought him his designer shirts and tie.Cukuplah DULU.I'll get him to buy me a Burberry handbag (original punya) later. :)

Murray Hill's Inn looked nice on the net but it had no elevator.We were on the 4th floor.Even Amsterdam was not this bad (they had an outside lift which carried your stuffs through the big window)

I'm glad we spent only a nite at Murray Hill's.We took Amtrak train to Charleston in West Virginia the following day (early in the morn)

Stopped at DC.13 hours' trip.Nancy was waiting and drove us back to her place in Parkersburg.

Niagara Falls

Sorry folks but I have been busy travelling with my family since their arrival on June 12.First we went to Niagara Falls on June 13.Nik drove,relying on GPS.But at Interlaken (a small town in which people took their work seriously) he got a ticket for speeding.Was brought immediately before a judge who charged him USD155 or be sent to jail. Nik was hopeful it would be with Paris Hilton (on the West Coast?).He also felt like being escorted by Sheriff Lobo by the Interlaken sheriff.The judge asked him if he wanted a lawyer.Nik kata if he said yes,we'd never see Niagara Falls.

He paid up.

But Niagara Falls was beautiful that we forgot and forgave the sheriff who was too efficient chasing tourists speeding on their way to Niagara Falls.Remember Interlaken if you go to Niagara Falls (the speed limit is 20 miles per hour when passing a school, 30 miles per hour kawasan kampung)

Pics of the mesmerising Niagara Falls.Kuasa Allah.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Night out

Since Manu, me and Sandra will be leaving for good soon, we decided to have our final nite out together this evening.We went to eat Thai food at Ithaca Commons (tak sedap langsung but the restaurant cantik) Lepas tu balik Maplewood, kita ajak Robyn lepak makan desserts.Best jugak borak pasal plant technology, genetically modified (GM) foods and bio safety.I tak tau apa2 pun pasai benda2 ni but according to Manu, kat India menjadi2 R&Dnya tapi regulations very tight.Kata Sandra kat UK langsung tak boleh although Europe is opening up.Yalah..kalau pandai2 nak tambah zat itu ini dgn meletakkan campuran plants lain..takut juga ada bahan yang akan merosakkan ekologi kita, kan? Katanya dah ada kes serangga mati sebab menyedut madu beracun dari tumbuhan 'baru' ini.Kalau binatang lain makan serangga ni kot la mati juga? I kalau pi pasaraya, beli je..tak tengok2 ada label kata ni tomato asli ke tomato genetically modified, etc.Padahnya diri sendiri kalau tak kisah pasal labelling of GM foods.

Nak tau lebih check ==>
Perlunya labelling ==>

In the gardens

Bill and Lydia took me to a lunch buffet today.Mmm...nice! We ate Chinese and my chopsticks use is getting better and better as I age. :)

After that, they took me for a walk in the Cornell Plantations where the gardens were (flowers, herbs, trees).Very2 Spring although Lydia said it's not as good as last year's.Some pics for the record.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Last month in Ithaca

Over the 4 months, I have met very nice people here.Since it's Spring, people have barbecues, parties,get togethers with friends, etc.Some pics of Khairul's barbecue at Yuni's (Yuni hosted the event cos' she was also celebrating her birthday.Khairul's family came from Spore for a holiday in the US and Canada)

The second batch of pictures is of Thak's barbecue at his home by the lake.Very beautiful place, good company.

I will miss this place in Summer (I have to stress on the word 'Summer') :))