Thursday, 4 April 2019

Final Farewell to Winter 2019

Winter is over now... however, it refused to let go the baton to Spring before a final showdown.  So at last, on 4th April 2019, winter delivers its final snow here in Geneva.  We are lucky as this is the first snow fall at La Vigie, we though we have to wait until next winter to view the snowfall here in our new home.

Words cannot deliver the beauty of fresh snowfall early in the morning.  By noon, all the beauty slowly fades away.

Enjoy the view. A bientot...


Friday, 29 March 2019

Halal Journey in Geneve... the Halal Meat

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are many Halal restaurants available in Geneve.  This is due to a very large Muslim community here be it expatriates, visitors or the local population.  In fact, if you walk anywhere in Geneve center, you will always encounter many Muslims especially women wearing Hijab. 

Today, I will be sharing with you where to find Halal food ingredients (later I will share about restaurants). 

Boucheries: for chicken (poulet), beef (beouf) and related products

1. Geneve centre
Fresh products in Geneve is a little bit pricey as compared to those in France.  However, just in case, you need to buy in small portion, these places are available for you to find the products.

(a) Kamel Halal Meat Sàrl, rue de Lausanne 55, 1202, Geneva , Switzerland
Opening Hours: 
Monday                  Tuesday                        Wednesday                Thursday                    Friday                            
9am-12pm; 3-7pm   9am-12pm; 3-7pm      9am-12pm; 3-7pm     9am-12pm; 3-7pm     9am-12pm; 3-7pm

Saturday          Sunday
9 am-6pm         Closed

(b) h foods Supermarket Halal, Ferrierlaan 19, 1202 Geneva
Opening Hours: 
Monday     Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday      Friday         Saturday          Sunday
Closed   9 am-8pm    9 am-8pm         9 am-8pm     9 am-8pm   9 am-8pm  10am-8pm

I prefer to h foods as there are various types of products both fresh and frozen poulet. Also, you can find nuggets, sausage and many more by-products of meat here. Kamel is a pure boucherie so it sells mostly fresh products.

2. Border town: Ferney-Voltaire

You can take the F bus from Gare Cornavin ( the Cornavin train station) direction to Ferney/Gex and stop at Ferney Mairie ( you have already crossed the border to France!).  Here, you have many choices to buy fresh products.

(a) La Mamounia, 4 Chemin du Levant, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday     Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday      Friday                             Saturday          Sunday
Closed   9 am-7pm    9 am-7pm         9 am-7pm     9 am-12pm, 2: 30-7pm   8:30 am-6:30pm  9 am-12:30pm

We used to buy our meat here as this place is much more nearer to our house in Versoix, From Rue de Fayards, just drive straight for 10 minutes and you will arrive here.  Parking is better here (still limited) as compared to the other boucheries.  Another thing about Mamounia, you can buy kebab from here as the shop offers boucheries and sandwicherie service next door. On top of that, they also sell roasted chicken fresh from the grill just for 10 Euro per bird! But, if you go here during weekend, the shop is very busy and they would not entertain any request to cut the poulet in small pieces.You can also find Middle Eastern food ingredients such humus, pita bread, spices etc. here.

(b) Al Khairat29 Rue de Versoix, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: Not Available 

Sometimes, I went to Al Khairat to buy meat here as it is better than those in La Mamounia.  Here, you can request the boucheries to cut the meat/poulet in small pieces. This shop is small but convenience as it is located just across an Asian food products, Mekong.  So, you can park your car and hope in in both shops.  As those who takes the bus F, it is just a walking distance compared to Mamounia in which you have to walk quite a bit (around 10 minutes) from the main road (Route de Ferney).

(c) Orient Express, 13 Rue de Versoix, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday     Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday      Friday                             Saturday          Sunday
Closed   9 am-7pm    9 am-7pm         9 am-7pm     9 am-12pm, 2: 30-7pm   8:30 am-6:30pm  9 am-12:30pm

I have not tried this place so I am unable to review this.  However, this boucherie is located along the same street as Al Khalifa so you might want to check this shop too.

(d) Al Madina, 16 Avenue Voltaire, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday     Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday      Friday          Saturday          Sunday
9am-9pm   9am-9pm    9am-9pm          9 am-9pm      9 am-9pm,   9 am- 8pm  9 am- 4pm

I have also not tried this place so I am unable to review this.  However, this boucherie is located just a walking distance from the small Carrefour and the bus stop. 

Don't be surprised that here in France (Ferney), you can find Halal food products in Carrefour. In fact, in Ferney, there are two Carrefour supermarche located nearby each other. As for us here, we refer this Carrefour supermarche as the small one and the big one. Not too far, around few 10 km away, there is also a bigger Carrefour supermarche near Segny.  Here, you can also find Halal products.

(e) Carrefour Market, 33 Avenue Voltaire, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday             Tuesday          Wednesday      Thursday     Friday            Saturday    Sunday
830am-8pm   830am-8pm    830am-8pm       830am-8pm     830am-8pm   830am-8pm    830am -1230pm

This supermarche is located near Al Madina boucherie. The best thing about this place is that it opens on Sunday til noon. In fact, on Sunday, this place is a buzz with people shopping their groceries as not many shops open on Sunday both in Geneve and Ferney.

(f) Carrefour Supermarche, chemin De La Brunette Centre Commercial La Poterie, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday             Tuesday          Wednesday      Thursday     Friday            Saturday    Sunday
830am-9pm   830am-9pm    830am-9pm       830am-9pm     830am-9pm   830am-9pm    Closed

This supermarche is located at a centre commercial area nearby a cinema, restaurant and some other shops. You can take the F bus and stop at Ferney-Brunette and walk around 10 minutes to the commercial centre. Here, the choices of Halal products are much more diverse compared to the small carrefour. Also, I love to buy Halal roasted chicken here fresh from oven and it costs only 8 Euro ( 2 Euro cheaper than those in La Mamounia!),  However, you need to be careful as non-Halal roasted poulet is also placed together. We don't you to grab the non-Halal roasted poulet by mistake!

3. Border town: Annemasse 

Annemasse is much further from Geneve around 30 km from.  However, if you want to buy large portion (in carton) of poulet, you'll come here as it is much cheaper than anywhere else. Normally, we go to Annemasse when we have function or events and we need bulk portion of poulet (normally for BBQ time, Eidulfitri and EidulAdha time).  We only went for one shop known as Yassin which is located very near to Annemasse Gare (train station).

So I am going to list the boucheries for reference only and will update the reviews as and when I have visited the places.

(a) Yassin,  7 Rue du Dr Favre, 74100 Annemasse, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday             Tuesday          Wednesday      Thursday     Friday            Saturday    Sunday
7am-730pm   7am-730pm    7am-730pm      7am-730pm      7am-730pm   7am-730pm   7am-730pm

(b) Supermarket Riadh Boucherie Halal, 11 Rue René Cassin, 74240 Gaillard, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday          Tuesday      Wednesday    Thursday      Friday         Saturday    Sunday
9am-8pm        9am-8pm    9am-8pm        9am-8pm     9am-8pm     9am-8pm   9am-8pm

(c) Star Halal Butcher Shop, 26 Rue du Faucigny, 74100 Annemasse, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday          Tuesday      Wednesday    Thursday      Friday                           Saturday    Sunday
8am-8pm        8am-8pm    8am-8pm        8am-8pm     8am-12pm; 2pm-8p,     8am-8pm   8am-8pm

(d) BOUCHERIE NOUR - Boucherie Hallal Gaillard, 3 Rue de Vallard, 74240 Gaillard, France
Opening Hours: 
Monday          Tuesday      Wednesday    Thursday      Friday          Saturday    Sunday
8am-9pm        8am-9pm    8am-9pm        8am-9pm     8am-9pm,     8am-9pm   8am-9pm

So guys, there is no excuse for consuming non-Halal meats as there are many choices of Halal boucheries nearby Geneve! Until the next Halal journey.

A bientot!!


Thursday, 28 March 2019

La Vigie...

Looking for a house was a new experience for us.  During our previous posting here, we just took over the previous officer's home and we were lucky to have a duplex apartment with garden.  And now, we are going back to Geneve and there is no house yet as our predecessor has returned home for almost a year and the residence had to be released.

Looking for new house means that we have to consider where do we want to stay; the right side or the left side of Lac Leman and this also determines where the kids will be going to school, the public transportation bla, bla... so many considerations. At last, received feedback from most of our colleagues that the traffic is horrendous crossing the bridge during peak hour times!! So off the checklists for beautiful places such as Cologny, Collonge Bellerive, Hermance etc. So far, we have visited 3 houses on the right side of the lake and all are marvelous (in fact one is a mansion to the boot).

Map of Geneve, showing left and side of the Lac

So now, as the choices became less, we planned to visit few houses near Pregny-Chambesy, Versoix (we used to live here!) and Mies ( it's located in another Canton or district known as Vaud).  We were unlucky as the house in Mies has been taken. Actually, I have fallen in love with this house from photo as the view is very picturesque. The house in Chambesy is far too old and rustic and the other house in Pregny does not have a big living hall! It's not easy to find one to our liking! Our final visit was to Versoix. Walla... we fell in love with it.

The house got a name! La Vigie in French translated as the Lookout.  It seats on a slope and overlooks Lac Leman.  From here, you can view the snow-capped mountains and the beautiful landscape on the other side of the bank such as Cologny, Hermance etc and the Lac. You can even see the airplanes on their route to descend towards the airport.

Sunrise at La Vigie

La Vigie was built in 1908 and recently, has undergone renovation in 2008.  It's an old house with a twist of modern charm.  It sits at the edge of a slope that rolls towards Lac Leman.  At the edge of the bank, a small cottage stands guard.

Boat Cottage, La Vigie

This is our home for the next three years! May Allah bless us this house and ease our journey for the upcoming years. In Sha Allah!


Friday, 1 March 2019

Second chance, second home... Welcome back Geneve!

We are back!!!

Alhamdulillah, Alllah gives us a second chance of life in Geneve after nine years leaving this beautiful country. On 25th Jan 2019, we left Malaysia again to pursue a new life in Suisse.  This time the farewell was a bit sad and crowded! The whole clan of Said and Abu Seman's came to bid farewell to us.  It was quite a crowd in KLIA that night!

The Said's clan on the left and the Abu Seman's clan on the right

We arrived at GVA Aeroport around 12 noon the next day. As we get off from the airplane, we were ushered to the tarmac in the cold winter air to get to the waiting room as our luggages were being cleared. Quite a different experience this time as the treatment was more personalized!

For the next one and half month, we stayed at Royal Manotel until we find our new home.  Deja vue again as Royal Manotel has always been the accommodation we chose to stay during our previous life in Geneve ( during arrival and departure). It's so convenience as it is within walking distance to Gare Cornavin (train station) and a tram stop (Môle) just in front of the hotel.

Our first outing in Geneve, in front of Royal Manotel

Not much changes happened in Geneve after nine years leaving it! You can notice a bit difference here and there only... a new supermarche (Lidle) next to the hotel (it used to be a furniture company), many more Halal restaurants including Tasty Chicken (it used to be in France only i.e. at Annemasse and Ferney and now, they branch out in Geneve town) and Migros in Gare which is opened til 11pm (quite convenient as shops here close around 7 pm). It all came back, the memory of the roads, the short cuts, the shops that we used to frequent for Asian food, the Kebab shops and many others as if we never leave this place!

The children are so excited! When we left, Ashraf was just 7 years old, Afif only 4 years and Alya just a toddler! Only Ashraf can still remember bits and pieces of his life here. Alya has been asking for snow... It's just cold but no snow yet. Be patient Alya. Alhamdulillah, few days after that, the snow came although not so heavy but enough to quench their need for snow.

Light snow for the excited kids

The boys at Lac Leman

Let's us explore more...


Friday, 1 February 2019

Keep the flag flying high (again)

Pada pertengahan tahun 2018 yang lalu semasa bertugas di Seoul, saya menerima satu mesej dari KSU "Rashidi please come see me personally after Korea". Tak pasti sebab apa dan saya tidak dapat agak langsung. Hati tak sedap, terdetik "ada buat salah apa-apakah?" atau KSU nak transfer saya ke bahagian lain pula.

Dipendekkan cerita, saya diberi tanggungjawab baru. Saya terima cabaran ini sebagai amanah dan kepercayaan -- "keep the flag flying high (again)". He will be leaving us soon but the legacies remain.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Iran: negara minyak tanpa kad kredit

Ini negara pertama saya ke timur tengah. Mungkin belum rezeki saya lagi hendak melawat tanah anbia Mekah dan Madinah. Saya hanya diberi peluang ke tanah Iran dahulu. Sejarah Iran tidak kurang hebat pada saya--kerajaan Babylon kira-kira 3,000 tahun dulu, kerajaan Parsi. Saya mendapat pengalaman baru, melihat sendiri tanah Parsi, sebuah kerajaan yang saya kenal semasa belajar Sejarah Islam kira-kira 25 tahun dulu..

Saya di sini selama seminggu kerana bertugas bersama 5 rakan yang lain. Agak teruja. Kami ke sini dengan sat
u tujuan--berunding dengan kerajaan Iran bagi Perjanjian Keutamaan Perdagangan (PTA), walaupun ada sedikit cabaran kerana Iran dikenakan sekatan ekonomi oleh beberapa negara lain seperti Amerika Syarikat dan Kesatuan Eropah disebabkan resolusi keselamatan PBB dan Iran juga bukan negara ahli Pertubuhan Perdagangan Dunia (WTO). Iran adalah negara pertama bukan ahli WTO di mana Malaysia berunding untuk sebuah perjanjian perdagangan duahala. Dengan keadaan itu, rundingan ini agak unik. Kita lupakan dulu hal yang agak formal.

Perkara pertama dalam merancang ke luar negara adalah wang negara berkenaan. Matawang Iran adalah "Riyal". Disebabkan halangan dagangan, matawang Riyal Iran adalah "tidak laku" di pasaran dunia. Ringkasnya, anda tidak boleh membeli Riyal di mana-mana "money changer" di Malaysia. Puas mencari di Kajang, Mid-valley, Jalan TAR, tapi memang tidak ada Riyal dijual. Alternatifnya, kita perlu membeli matawang Riyal melalui matawang lain, sama ada US dollar atau Euro. Jadi saya buat keputusan untuk tukar ke matawang Euro. Saya tukar Euro kepada Riyal di Iran. Selain matawang, isu lain adalah kredit kad. Kita tidak boleh menggunakan kad kredit di Iran. Kenapa? sebabnya "Visa" dan "Master Card" (dan American Express) adalah berkaitan dengan sistem perbankan Amerika Syarikat. Apa-apa saja urusan yang berkaitan dengan perbankan Amerika Syarikat adalah tidak boleh (dihalang). Tidak menjadi masalah sebab hotel kami ditempah dan dibayar melalui Kedutaan Malaysia di Tehran. Kami tidak menggunakan kredit kad di Iran. Semua urusan menggunakan tunai. Takde masalah. Dapat kurangkan keberhutangan yang serius nanti :D

Apa yang menarik tentang Iran?

Saya sambung nanti...

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Nostalgia di bumi Swiss

Saya tiba di Geneva Airport pada pukul 12.30 tengahari. Bila tiba di airport, Yusof, pemandu Pejabat Perwakilan dah menunggu di pintu luar balai ketibaan. Saya tak kenal tapi bila keluar dari balai ketibaan dia sudah tersenyum. Yusof kenal saya melalui gambar sahaja katanya. Yusof adalah pemandu baru Pejabat Perwakilan yang berasal dari Algeria. Bila tiba di luar pintu airport, saya sedut udara Geneva yang sudah saya tinggalkan selama 7 tahun. Masih segar, sejuk, dan bersih seperti dulu..hmmm. Mulut berasap! sebab udara sejuk.

Saya ambil peluang dengan masa yang terhad melawat pekan Versoix, Geneva sebelum mesyuarat penuh dari Isnin hingga Jumaat. Takut tak sempat sebab flight balik pada awal pagi Sabtu.

Untuk ke Vesoix, saya perlu menaiki bus yang sejam sekali pada hari Ahad -- jadual saya rasa cukup pelik 1.36, 2.36, 3.36, 4.36. Siap ada tiga puluh enam minit. Tapi saya tidak terkejut sebab bas memang tiba pada pukul 4.36. Saya ambil bas yang sama iaitu bas "V" (mungkin "V" untuk Versoix) di perhentian bas berhampiran Pejabat PBB iaitu bas yang saya gunakan setiap hari masa mula-mula sampai ke Geneva dahulu. Hampir 3 bulan juga saya guna bas "V" disebabkan masih belum memiliki kenderaan sendiri. Seingat saya, untuk balik ke rumah dari Pejabat Perwakilan di Rue de Pre Bois, saya perlu menaiki sebuah bas lagi untuk ke hentian Pejabat PBB. Bila musim hujan (lebat), selalunya saya akan basah kuyup. Bila turun salji, saya akan melalui celah-celah salji yang memutih. Kekadang sengaja saya pijak salji yang belum terusik sebab syok. hahaha.

Saya bunyikan loceng untuk turun di hentian bas  Rue de Feyard ("Rue" adalah jalan dalam bahasa Perancis) iaitu hentian bas untuk pulang ke rumah masa tinggal di Versoix dahulu. Dari situ saya perlu berjalan kaki de Chemin Regiment de Conti ("Chemin" adalah lorong dalam bahasa Perancis). Bila tiba, hujan lebat!

Saya berjalan ke Chemin Regiment de Conti untuk melihat rumah lama saya. Keadaan Chemin Regiment de Conti masih tidak berubah kecuali sebuah bangunan kedutaan yang dahulunya masih di dalam peringkat pembinaan.

Kemudian saya ke pekan Versoix pula dengan berjalan kaki kira-kira kurang 1km. Ok jer sebab tak panas. Pekan Versoix terletak di sebelah tasik Geneva. Dulu kami selalu ke situ breakfast di hujung minggu. Saya tak dapat berada lama di sini sebab jam sudah menunjukkan pukul 5.30 petang. Sejam lagi akan gelap.

Tasik Geneva

Pemandangan Tasik Geneva dari Versoix

Pekan Versoix

Pekan Versoix

Saturday, 21 October 2017

"Balik Kampung"

Dah lama tak update blog ni sebab kesibukkan penyediaan tesis P.hD saya. Alhamdulillah, tesis sudah dihantar untuk pemeriksaan pada hujung Ogos yang lepas. Ketika ini saya hanya menunggu tarikh untuk viva vorce saja. Lama juga menunggu. Mungkin disebabkan external examiners menyemak tesis agak memakan masa--seorang examiner dalaman UPM, seorang dari UIAM, and seorang Prof. dari Korea.

Pada ketika ini saya telah pun mula bertugas semua (kontrak JPA pun dah habis). Niat hari nak bertugas di pejabat berdekatan dengan rumah, tapi rezeki tetap di Kuala Lumpur. Maknanya kena berulang alik dari Kajang ke KL setiap hari. Takpe. Saya terima dengan hati terbuka :D

Setelah sebulan, saya di arah untuk bertugas ke Geneva semula selepas 7 tahun sejak balik dari Geneva. Teruja! sebab akan "balik kampung". Di dalam kepala macam-macam benda nak buat --melawat tempat tinggal lama di Chemin Regiment de Conti, Versoix, melawat sekolah lama anak di Pregny, merayap di tepi tasik Geneva..wah macam-macam.

Malam ni, saya akan bertolak. KL - Heatrow-Geneva. Nanti sambung. Chiow!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Kampung-style retreat at Sungai Besar

Early August this year, we decided to travel to Sungai Besar for a farewell visit to our sister-in-law who’s migrating to Australia.  At the same time, we took the opportunity to rent a homestay in the middle of the paddy field to experience the serene and idyllic experience of kampung lifestyle. As it was a last minute decision, most of the homestays nearby Sungai Besar were fully booked! At last, we managed to book one known as Villa Gemilang Homestay situated at Parit 6½.  For a two-room homestays, it was quite affordable as the rate was only RM160 per night.

To get to Sungai Besar, we tried to avoid the Jalan Kuala Selangor route as the few times when we used this route, we were frustrated by the condition of the road and the traffic jam there.  Thus, we tried new route via Bukit Tagar which crisscrossed forested areas and two FELDA settlements. Along the route, we managed to make few pitstops in order to look for “pucuk midin,” a rare species of consumable fern.

Upon arriving at Sungai Besar, we saw some of the paddy fields have been cultivated.  Luckily, some are still not as the view of yellowing paddy field is so refreshing.  The children were awed by the rows and rows of green to yellow paddy field upon them and some even blackened as the farmers have burned the paddy stalks for replantation.  They were also awed by the cultivation machine!!  

The view reminds us of Versoix where we used to live which were surrounded by acres of wheat field.  What makes it difference was in Versoix, the farmers would create wheat straw bales instead of burning them.  We could not believe our eyes when we saw similar bales at some paddy field! It seems that here, some farmers are resorting to using bales instead of burning them!!

Upon checking in at the homestay, the children are attracted few people who were fishing by the small canal along the paddy field. They were so excited to try fishing there and urged us to buy some fishing rods near Sungai Besar town.

Paddy straw bales!!

The girls fishing ikan puyu :)

Some serious-thesis-finishing-activities!

so serene view...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Salam Aidilfitri... 2017

Di hari2 terakhir bulan Ramadhan dan menyambut Aidilfitri 2017, teringat plak kenangan menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri di perantauan.  Sepuluh tahun yang lepas, hari raya pertama disambut bersama keluarga Geneva. Perasaan agak berbeza dulu dan sekarang tatkala di negara sendiri berbanding di perantauan. 

Di sana mungkin sbb jauh dari sisi keluarga, terasa kerinduan menggamit perasaan menjelang Ramadhan dan Syawal. Semua persiapan dibuat sendiri.. lemang, ketupat dan rendang mengikut kesesuaian dan sumber yang ada. Lemang dibuat sendiri dengan meng-google resepi yg terbaik mengunakan daun pisang dan aluminium foil manakala ketupat segera menjadi pilihan.

Hari pertama, kami berkumpul di rumah duta Malaysia ke WTO, YBhg Datuk Mohd Nor dan keluarga yang merupakan "ibu" dan "bapa" angkat keluarga Malaysia di sini bersama rakan-rakan yang lain dengan pot lucknya... di sini kami akan mengerjakan solat sunat Aidilfitri secara berjemaah dan diikuti dengan jamuan hari Raya.

Selepas tamat jamuan, giliran rakan-rakan mengadakan rumah terbuka atau merewang ke mana-mana rumah yang mengadakan jamuan makan. Itulah lumrahnya di bumi perantauan di Geneva. Bagi kami sekeluarga, begitu laa for the next tiga tahun sehinggalah kami pulang ke tanah air pada tahun 2010.

Keluarga Warga Geneva 2007 di kediaman Duta Malaysia ke WTO

Bersama Fahitah & Azwa


Thursday, 8 December 2016

my journey

It has been quite sometime I haven't updated anything about what I've gone through beside travelling (not much!). I started my PhD journey three years ago since I have been offered a full scholarship by JPA. How fast the time flies. I have entered my 3 1/2 years.

Semakin sampai di penghujung perjuangan PhD, semakin sibuk saya. Maaf kalau saya lambat menjawab semua pertanyaan di blog, facebook atau email.. Bukan niat saya, tapi disebabkan kesibukan menulis. Hobi-hobi biasa saya pun selalu ke laut.

Hari ini saya bertemu dengan penyelia PhD saya. Bincang kerja-kerja yang dah siap (sebab janji nak siapkan). Lepas bentang, "OK awak dah boleh cuti :D" Krabi kita minggu ini. yahooo!


Final Farewell to Winter 2019

Winter is over now... however, it refused to let go the baton to Spring before a final showdown.  So at last, on 4th April 2019, winter del...