SATURDAY, AT HOME, 4.00 A.M
I woke to a horrific breaking news! A Malaysian aircraft MAS, flying KUL-PEK had crashed a few hours ago somewhere in the Thailand Gulf!
Seconds later we learned that the aircraft had landed safely in Nanming. Totally baffled but time was TICKING! As much as I wanted to just lie there staring at the wall and sulking, I FINALLY cried: “Wake up everyone! If not we are gonna miss our flight!!
At 5am and temperature at 1C, we hit the road. By walking. 😛
We made it to Den Haag Centraal (The Hague’s Central Train Station) at 5.30am, just in time to catch the first train to Schiphol Airport at 5.45am. At Schiphol, I felt uneasy. Wasn’t really sure what’s the cause of it then REALITY hit… Due to the busy schedule of this morning, it didn’t really sink in me that I would soon be boarding on an aircraft myself in just a couple of hours!
I was going to board the EasyJet and saw our MAS. I can barely think straight. I’ve had 20 flights to Beijing from Abu Dhabi / Dubai in 2011-2012, so this tragedy really touches my heart..
90 minutes later, we had safely landed in Luton London Airport. All of us decided to put aside the sad news (that the aircraft did not land in Nanming and is indeed still missing) for a while and put our fullest concentration on the journey. Firstly, we needed a car….
Our medium size car from Hertz. And we got this. Not bad huh??
A 1 1/2 hours drive to Birmingham wasn’t that bad. We checked-in in the City Nites. Hey guess what? The apartment that had been booked by me was not just near the stadium, it was actually located exactly opposite from the stadium! How on earth did we fail to see that on the map???
See, no joke! It was really opposite the National Indoor Arena (NIA), Birmingham. How convenient it was! I was totally a one happy bunny! *Hip! Hip!
As soon as we dropped our luggages, we practically ran to the stadium as fast as possible. I could not believe my luck! Our very own Lee Chong Wei was playing in the semi-finals against Korean Son Wan Ho. I remembered watching the All England in 1982 with my Dad and brother Ikmal. I saw the anak-anak Sidek conquering the courts and the visual is still crystal clear until today. Never thought that I would relive the moment after 32 years!
A really tough contender he was, Son Wan Ho…
Rubber game. Not good for those who are lemah semangat.
Me, Mr. Other & Peter Gade! Wow! He does look young, doesn’t he?
The boys get to enjoy being in most of the pictures because this one particular ‘photographer’ was being quite handy and generous. Hmph.
Hey I too made it to the Youtube, but with the Jalur Gemilang covering my face. Oh well.
That night we treated ourselves with a hefty yet not-so-healthy dinner. Who cares as long they are ‘halal’. We had online orders from TWO restaurants from the contacts that we found from the apartment’s reception. Usually whenever I travel, I will at least cook rice with sardine and omelette, or the best will be asam laksa maggi with cili padi (if I still have the stock for it all the way from Malaysia). Back to the orders, what did we actually order?
THESE!!…~griNNNNN! Pepperoni & seafood pizzas, chicken wings, fried chickens, fries and garlic breads (unfortunately we found out that they were served as garlic pizzas instead)… all these for only FOUR people!!
Each orders came in at least 2 quantities. The best part is that even though we were a little greedy (three men, what did you expect, they all needed to be fed 😛 ), the orders only came to a total of 32 pounds! It almost made us jump out of our seats!! It was so cheap compared to how much food would cost in Netherlands! It was so so cheap because in the Netherlands it would’ve cost us double or triple that amount.
Owh. Btw, did I say we made orders from 2 different restaurants? Well, the second one happened to be 2 grilled chickens with each flavouring of Peri Peri Hot Spicy & Peri Peri Lemon and Herbs. Sounds yum? SUPERBLY LEKKER!!
Did we manage to finished everything that night? Absolutely not. I persuaded everyone that we will get to ‘enjoy’ the meals for the next two days of our stay in Birmingham. Ever heard of the microwave? Hehe.
After the indulgence, and few ‘relay burping’ (excuse us!), we can’t think about calling it a night yet. So we headed the round table for a round of poker (without money of course). Yeahhhhh!! Sell out your skills everybodehhhhhh!!
We continued heating up the night by thrashing out our thinking skills for it was a ‘jerami’ game. It was the most active ‘sport’ for the night as we can’t run, jump nor stroll for a night walk. We were all already as lazy as ‘ular sawa’…SSsssssSSsSssss~~~! Guess which one is the ‘DBKL’?
SUNDAY, NIA BIRMINGHAM…. ‘D’ Day
It has been 24 hours after Flight MH370 was reported missing. While we were helping ourselves with breakfast, CNN was on air and broke the news that the aircraft was still missing. I was telling myself a miracle should soon happen, let’s cross our fingers and continue with our prayers. Aameen.
So for breakfast, while others had the last night’s leftovers, I on the other hand prepared myself maggi. I must inform that I am not a maggi freak, but it should do justice when you are travelling abroad (which explains why I eat more maggi here than I did back in Malaysia hehe). But hey, maggi has becoming more delicious nowadays. Need some evidence? Here goes…
Creamy Thai Tom Yam Mamee Chefs are so yummy, it’s like having proper meal on it’s own. What’s special is that they allso give condiments like prawns, dried chillies, daun bawang and all that.
Need more justification? Be my guests =)
This meal would suffice as my brunch as we were already at the stadium by 10AM. The game was to start an hour later… Saw a group of Malaysian students gathered just outside the entrance.
A snap of me while the band was still playing for the finals’ opening ceremony.
Dato’ Lee CW played very well. He emerged to be the champion for the men’s single and made the third title for the All England Championship. It was a tough game but he was quite relaxed even though we knew he was very tired. So no lemah semangat for the audience unlike yesterday.
After the match was over, I had no intention of sticking around the stadium for the last game which was the mixed doubles. And I wasn’t alone. I spotted a group of Malaysian students who had gathered outside the entrance. That was when I realized that Astro Awani was around to film the students! I snuck my face in between the students and got into the shot! Phewwwww! Who wouldn’t want something really nice and memorable to end the trip?
When I got home I realized the students made posters for Flight MH370 instead of just a shout out congratulating Dato’ Lee CW for winning the title.
I thought our “sporty” journey would come to an end then… But it seemed like we really hit our lucky strike! At the Birmingham Airport before we flew back to Netherlands, we were lucky enough to meet a few badminton legends!
Malaysian Legends: Datuk Misbun Sidek & son, Mr. Misbun Ramdan, a future national badminton player.
Korean Legend: Mr. Park Joo Bong.
Indonesian Legend: Pak Joko Suprianto
Our existing & future badminton legend of the millennium: Dato’ Lee Chong Wei
We prayed for our safe journey back to The Netherlands
News updates from a paper in the flight.
We got home to Netherlands safely. We did have an amazing weekend but I still feel quite upset that MH370 is still missing. I wanted to post this earlier but waited to give some time to the search and rescue operations, and hoped that this small gesture could demonstrate my respects to the victims and families. To close this off, I hope that everyone is still praying for Flight MH370 and would like to congratulate all the authorities involved for their hard work!!
Until then, keep #prayforMH370 ~
– Mimi Rahman