Wednesday, October 31, 2007

San Jose Earth Quake 5.6 Reichter scale

The magnitude - 5.6 tremor, centered about 9 miles northeast of San Jose. We in Cupertino which is like on the west of downtown San Jose, also experienced the intense shaking. It happened yesterday night, Tuesday Oct 30th at maybe 8.04 pm. Masa tu we were all downstairs, except for Atiqah who was doing her homework in her room. Immediately we understood that it was an earthquake since this area is very much prone to it. The house shook and swayed for a few seconds, pause awhile and then shook again for a few seconds more. Rasa macam orang goncang kita kuat2, lepas geram.... quite scary! Itu baru sikit and nothing broken or fallen. We told the girls to run out front to see if any of the neighbors were already outside. The Indian family at the end of the road were out for awhile but went back inside when no more shaking occured. Salbiah called just to find out how we were doing. I told her to pack a 'survival bag' and put somewhere near her front door in case of any future happenings. My younger sister who had stayed a few years in Yokohama - quakes there are also very frequent - advised to put 1-2 liters air minum, protinbar, ubat, plaster, torchlite, lighter, pad, underware, tissue, photocopies of important documents and a few clothings in the survival bag. Well, anything can happen so might as well be ready. Couldn't contact any of my friends here because the circuits were all jammed up for awhile. But once 'line clear' it was good to know a few whom I called - Shafinaz & Aziz, Faridah & her children (hubby dia not back yet from a conference in Langkawi), Haniza & Kevin - were all right.. except for a few things toppling from shelves and body aches stiffed from the shock! News say that this quake caused no serious injuries or damage, only managed to rattle nerves and homes...anyhow, I really hope we wouldn't experience anything worse than this!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

While DIVING......Drink Some Water..

Peribahasa kita ada meyebut, sambil menyelam minum air.. makna nya mengambil kesempatan ketika membuat sesuatu pekerjaan yang lain. Agak2 macam tu la makna nya. Yesterday my husband was invited by the Malaysian Professional & Business Association (MPBA) to speak at a seminar in Crowne Plaza San Francisco. The current president, Haniza Zainal Abidin or Haniza Schlosser and her committee are very active in organising events under the 'umbrella' of MPBA. While he was there, I and my daughters with Carlos went round sightseeing Frisco or The City by the Bay. Carlos is very familiar with this area since he has been living in the US for almost 20 years and frequently goes crabbing in this part of the waters. Funny though, his Filipino 'twang' masih tak hilang...San Francisco is almost one hour drive north of San Jose and saturday traffic is not too bad. It is part of the much larger San Francisco Bay Area which is home to approx. 7.2 million people. The city is located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate to the north. San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination renowned for its steep rolling hills which is also frequently used for film settings, especially scenes involving speedy car chases. The architecture is an eclectic mix of Victorian and me a bit of Mediterranean (Spanish) influence pun ada jugak. Famous landmarks and places to go see in San Francisco includes The Golden Gate Bridge of course, The Alcatraz Island, The cable cars, The Painted Ladies, Pier 39, The 'crooked street' and many more. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge - literally means ' Jambatan Gantung' - suspended from cables anchored by towers at either end and supported by structures at regular intervals. It spans the Golden Gate, which is the opening into San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean and connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County as part of US Highway 101 and California State Highway 1. The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and also....of the US. To note: The Penang Bridge is built using the cable-stayed technology of San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. The Port of San Francisco was once the largest and busiest seaport on the west coast. But now its activities focused on developing waterside assets to support recreation and tourism. Pier 39 and the Fishermen's Wharf is the center of it all. San Francisco's Premier Bay Attraction, Pier 39 offers shopping, souvenier hunting, entertainment and dining. It also provides cruising facilities around the bay including to the island of Alcatraz. Once a federal maximum security prison, Alcatraz has housed notorious inmates such as Al Capone. Teringat pulak movie "The Rock" starring Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery. Cerita mengenai ex-military men taking over Alcatraz and threatened to launch rockets loaded with deadly nerve gas on San Francisco. Seronok!.. We were also fascinated by the antics of the California Sea Lions camped out in Pier 39's West Marina. These Pier 39's 'visitors' are typically males looking from the bump or 'crest' that males develop on their heads around 5 years of age. Grown males reach 850pounds and 7 feet in length whereas grown females can grow 300pounds and only 6 feet in length. The California Sea Lions started to make this marina their home shortly after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake and due to the plentiful herring supply and the protected environment their number multiplied. Given more time I would love to visit The Crooked Street or The Painted Ladies where the latter used to be the backdrop for the introduction to the sitcom The Full House - made popular in the 90s by the cute Olsen Twins, now celebrity entrepreneurs. There are still re-runs of the show even now! We had lunch at a quaint little Thai Halal Restaurant which serves 'huge' nasi goreng, Tom Yam and other mouth watering Thai dishes.. The street ( I forgot the name) that the restaurant is on, has several others from India, Pakistan and the Mediteranean serving halal food ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Fire

I think the whole world would have known about the California fires by now. Thought of sharing this picture of the raging Cal fire which I had extracted from one of the websites. Kalau kita tengok betul2...on the right hand side of the picture looks like an angry face of a man. Subhanallah...amazing...and menggerunkan!! I have been following the fire status on TV and as of today Thursday 25th Oct the fire has destroyed 1,500 homes and have burned more than 373,000 acres of land. Scary as well as heartbreaking to see people going back to their burnt down charred beyond recognition! Yang mana kaya ada 2, 3 rumah lain tak apa lah. And maybe ada insurance.. As of today 7 people died. 2 didn't want to leave their home and 4 whose bodies were found near the Mexican border, were suspected illegal immigrants. It has been said that the fire is caused by arson. The price money for the capture is quarter of a million dollars. So far they have no leads... I just hope there won't be a reason for them to declare it as a terrorism act! We came to know Aisha Othman & family during the Raya gathering last Saturday. Her lemang memang best! Their house is in San Diego and had to leave at 3am just to be with us in San Jose for the gathering. Drive from San Diego, which is located even south of LA to San Jose takes 8 hours. Alhamdulillah, Aisha and family are safe. They were about to evacuate their home when help arrived to contain the fire in their neighborhood. The other muslim families in her juma'ah are also safe. According to Aisha, homes for some of them are miraculously spared while their neighbors' burnt. It was as though the fire stopped in front of muslim homes. Subhanallah......yang maha melindungi.... InsyaAllah things will get better.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Raya Gathering...

We finally met more Malaysian families at the Raya gathering hosted by Aziz & Shafinaz. The Family Tree Apartments clubhouse's hall has just the right size and facilities to host such an event. The rent is also not that 'steep', making it even minimal when shared. The hall comes with refrigerator, dapur with 4 burners, a sink and a big wide 'bar' for serving. It has even a yard on its side for children to play and roam, giving the opportunity for the ibu2(mothers) and bapa2(fathers) to borak2(chat). There were plenty of food - potluck style! I just loved the 'lemang' brought by Aisha, who came all the way from San Diego. I heard she left home around 3am this morning. Although wrapped in aluminium foil, it tastes almost the real thing. Shafinaz & Ruby also spent the night before cooking! Rendang, kuah kacang...I can't remember who brought what but semua sedap2..delicious! We wanted to have a change so we made karipap, and brought along dodol. Funny actually for I have never made karipap, that is before coming to the US. Always have felt very difficult - cumbersome...renyah!! Especially klim - mengelim. Must thank Kartini Khalid in Boston for giving us her recipe and taking the trouble to show and teach us her secrets. Kalau dah terpaksa, semua nya boleh!
I observe that, anak2 disini semua nya terajar - disciplined. It's good to see them, even the small ones stopping their play to join the elders for solat jemaah. Imagine di imamkan by a 20-year old...alhamdulillah.. The gathering at the clubhouse ended around 6pm, however upon an invitation by Faridah we continued on to her lovely home nearby. Borak punya borak we lost track of time...we went back home late in the night...kekenyangan.

Thank you all, hope to see more of us for the next raya gathering.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Forest Spring Court, Cupertino

Our neighbors at Forest Spring Ct, Cupertino are mostly professionals and in some ways 'hidup berjiran' disini is almost like living in Shah Alam - where you don't know your neighbors and if once a while eyes meet, a friendly wave will suffice. However, I made it a point to know at least my next door neighbor and exchanged contact numbers in case of any emergencies. They're from Taiwan with children already in colleges which accounts for their house being very quiet most of the time. Mrs Ma works at Monta Vista High School where Atiqah goes to, and Mr probably a CEO like the rest of them here. I notice that 'mat sallehs' are very rare & few in this neighborhood and most of our neighbors are internationals - mostly Indians and Chinese, which is nothing new for us coming from a country with multi races. The Seven Springs housing area - where among others Forest Spring is one of its Courts - is flanked by Rainbow Drive to the north, Upland Way the west, Dorothy Anne Way the south and South Sterling Road to the east. Seven Springs Drive meanders in the center with all the Courts as its tributaries. The Courts are designed to be 'dead ended' making the single-home houses (average 8 units) within them sort of 'gated'. California's weather is really sunny, mild & nice - good for flowers & fruit trees. Almost every home has persimmons (pisang kaki) & oranges in their yard (laman) and I am now beginning to like 'pisang kaki' - it tastes very sweet, macam buah pear. The mild weather is also good for 'veterans' whom I normally see walking together irrespective of the time of day. Tak kira masa... walaupun matahari tegak atas kepala, atau pun terbenam di ufuk jingga.
I am yet to be amongst them, a routine which I am also persuading my hubby to take..for his health sake. My daughter Atiqah walks home from school...45 minutes of walking is actually quite far. Alhamdulillah for the fine weather. California has one of the highest % of sales tax in the United States @8.25% to which someone commented that we also pay for the weather. Thanx a lot to the Governor - Arnold Schwarzenegger! There are many lovely designed homes in this area.. I have included 3 samples from my list of favourites. My friends back home will be greeeen with envy if we were to live in one of these homes. Rest assured our house here is no bigger than the one back home. The allowance we get here doesn't permit unnecessary luxuries....hah..hah...ha.... Wherever home is..., here..there..or anywhere.. what matters most, is the LOVE & CARE.. don't you think so?

Terasa macam living amongst the 'rich' kat Bukit Pantai pulak....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

World's Largest Flea Market

Flea market atau 'pasar kutu' hmmm... dahulu nya ada lah satu tempat dimana perniagaan atau pun pertukaran barang dijalankan. The original flea market started likely in the northern suburbs of Paris back in the late 17th century, where ragpickers (pengutip kain buruk) exchanged their findings for a small sum. Some of the items were flea infested, so now we know where the name Flea Market comes from! Of course so much has changed since then...Kita biasa dengan pasar malam, pasar tani atau pun car boot sale... macam dekat Stadium Shah Alam tuu. But car boot sale originates from United Kingdom and thus more popular there. Selalu nya orang kata, harga pasar malam murah... Kat Shah Alam pelik sikit, ... harga barang di pasar malam Seksyen 19 lebih murah dari pasar malam Seksyen 6 tapi lebih mahal sikit dari Seksyen 17, walaupun jarak diantara seksyens di Shah Alam tu tak la jauh bebenor.. Barang dan pekedainya sama pulak tu! I think some of them even have 'tapak' di uptown Shah Alam yang buka sampai awal pagi....Wonder whether ia nya serancak dulu...The vast majority of flea markets in rural areas here sell goods that are second-hand and worth collecting. I thought it is the same like 20 years ago and maybe could find something interesting from San Jose Flea Market di Berryessa Road. Looking at the size of the flea market, one can find anything from toys to tires! Tempat nya ya amat la BESAR!..Even the special parking area ($6 per day) located across the street is HUGE! Several policemen are stationed to ensure flow of traffic and pedestrians. There are more than 8 miles of colorful alleys and treasure-laden corridors with over 2000 sellers. You'll find an enormous variety of collectibles,... arts, crafts, comic books, belt buckles, jewelry, and more. You'll see a huge selection of fashion clothing (mostly from Vietnam & China), walking shoes, fine furniture, and tools.. -from bonsai pruning shears to power meters. The place even sells cars & trucks! The Flea Market's quarter mile long row of produce is the busiest outdoor produce market (pasar tani) in California and features produce from local farms and around the world. Most of the vegetable & fruits are from South America - macam2 rupa, some I don't even know their names! Their mangoes are very much bigger & maniiiiss..and, 'ciku' ya rabbi punya besar...Smack-dab in the heart of Silicon Valley, the global center of technological innovation, this "no tech" business hosts 80,000 visitors a week, more than 4 million people a year! Largest open-air market in the country, some say in the world. The San Jose Flea Market started in 1959 and since then it opens every Wednesday till Sunday from dawn to dusk. The Flea Market is completely self sufficient with all sorts of amenities - musical band, restaurants, playground for kids and adequate number of restrooms that are extremely clean and maintained. The sellers here are multinational of origin - Vietnamese, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans. The Vietnamese-American here think highly of us because of what the Malaysian government did for them or even for their parents during the time of the 'boat people', 20 to 25 years ago. Most of them are doing very well here in the US - have got their own businesses and their children obtained good education and jobs! Visitors here are mostly hispanics - Spanish speaking. Looks like the flea market is a favourite spot for an inexpensive weekend outing for them to bring their family shopping, enjoy good food and entertainment. Oh yes, the 8.25% sales tax is not applicable in this flea market making the prices here slightly cheaper. Like in all other crowded places, one must hold on tight to their purses and wallets... kami nyaris2 menjadi mangsa 'pencopet'.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hari Raya at Pak Mat's...

We were told that Pak Mat's place in Stockton is 'kampung' to many Malaysians here during hari raya. Students as well as those who have made California as their permanent residence gathered at Pak Mat's not only for his superb sate and Kak Ros's delicious rendang but also for their warm hospitality and kemesraan. Stockton is almost one and half hour drive north from our place and this would be our first trip out of San Jose. I think this valley is appropriately named... the Silicon Valley...Lembah Silikon with numerous 'big' names of semiconductor companies lining the freeway. But most of the panaromic view on the other hand, is mainly made up of pasir dan tanah yang 'gersang'...barren land with few vegetation. There were also many 'windmill' like structures along the way. I suppose taking advantage of the massive amount of wind energy for electricity. Pak Mat and Kak Ros have gotten many visitors by the time we reached their home that Raya afternoon but they were still dishing out hot steaming sate! Sedap ... macam sate Sairah & James' in Boston. My husband was excited to meet Pak Mat again after their first encounter 11 years ago in San Jose. Likewise, Pak Mat remembers him too!..

Alhamdulillah with good food and warm friendly people...what more can we ask for to celebrate Hari Raya..

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eidul Fitri in San Jose

I was surprised at the large number of people - berbagai bentuk dan rupa - streaming into the Masjid Muslim Community Association (MCA) for Round 2 of Solat Eidul Fitri. The place was packed! Tens of baby strollers lined the walls of the hallway to muslimat prayer area. I read somewhere that Solat Eidul Fitri is 'wajib' for mazhab Hanafi, whilst for us pengikut Shafi'e is sunat muakad. Macam kat Mekah pulak rasa nya! Meeting Siti Rubiah & Sharifah, when I edged myself to the front, was an absolute relief. At last muka Melayu! I first met the ladies during berbuka puasa for Rubi & Hazani, ( their family is leaving for home next week) at Restaurant Zafran. Other familiar looking faces ( like ours ) are probably the Indonesians and Cham ( Vietnam muslims ). Actually me, hubby & Faizal were already at the masjid around 8.25am but we were told Round 1 had just finished with only the khutbah to top it up. So we went back to Faizal's house which is around 15 minutes away, to enjoy the nasi impit with rendang daging, rendang ayam, kuah kacang & kuah lemak lodeh which I managed to cook up the night before - with the 2 girls' help, of course! We thought it would be better and more 'meriah' celebrating pagi raya with Faizal, Salbiah, & baby Yasmin, considering the young couple were also new in San Jose and probably the first time menyambut raya di perantauan. My kuah kacang & kuah lodeh was a 'hit' - if I should say so myself.... :) Thank goodness for easily available halia & lengkuas (galanga) found in Ranch 99 at Cupertino - a famous Chinese supermarket chain in this area. A few places here and also in Los Angeles, New York and Boston celebrated raya on Friday, following Arab Saudi. But based on the calculations of sunset & moonset (which is quite mindboggling to me!) done by North America Islamic Society, Eidul Fitri jatuh pada hari Sabtu. Dengan itu, mengikut waktu setempat.. kami pun berhari raya pada hari Sabtu. I guess it's not uncommon, since a number of times Malaysia, Indonesia & Singapura berhari raya on different days. I only wished we are more unified, even nak raya pun kita tak sepakat! Anyway, Solat Eidul Fitri was at 10.45am that Saturday morning, after a bit of fund raising speech by setiausaha masjid. Topic of khutbah delivered by the young imam - seen on the closed circuit monitor in picture above - was on family values, a topic that everyone can relate to no matter which corner of the world we come from....
Raya picture at Faizal's of us and the girls...
their brother is in Boston celebrating raya with our new found family there....alhamdulillah for the internet, it really makes such days as this bearable..
Kek Raya made by Anis and Atiqah..
EID MUBARAK to our family in Perak & Kuantan...and to all our friends!!!