Overnight stay at Swiss Inn, Johor Bahru

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I captured my recent trip to JB in the vlog above. Check out my other videos on Youtube.

I was in JB a few weekends back to visit my alma mater with the Back To School (BTS) committee. I was just recently absorbed into the team to lead mini projects as they run out of hands to help out. InsyaAllah I will be handling the batch Tshirt and the ‘launch ceremony’. I am happy with my current role. Honestly, I did not expect to contribute this far. I will let you know later.

I travelled to JB alone by bus. I downloaded an app called Redbus and booked my tickets there. Nowadays, bus services are like airlines. You get a boarding pass at the station and everything is so organized now. My journey was a 3 hour ride and I arrived at JB just before 8pm. I was contemplating to have dinner first before I go to the hotel but it’s a bit dark to wander alone in a foreign state.

my Redbus code : rednyyu9

So I hailed a taxi and charged without meter, a whooping RM15. Plus an additional RM2 for parking ticket fee since the cab was parked in the stations parking place. I felt so ripped off.

Thankfully, the reception at Swiss Inn JB was so warm and friendly that I soon forget about being tired and hungry. Check in was quick. They did not require any deposit.

I booked a Cozy Single Room which has Free Wifi and breakfast for two. Other commendable facilities include Free Shuttle Service, a parking space and yezza affordable room service. It was RM140.34 including tax and service fee. As usual, I booked my room through Agoda.com. There are other room options for family and individual travelers alike. One being a Tatami room where 6 people could stay together in a room with matresses laid on the floor – very Japanese like and cosy too.

My room has the basic complimentary beverages set and towels. Separate toilet and hot shower. A bath gel and shampoo with a small bar of soap. A mini hairdryer too. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste though.

I ordered room service and started unpacking my backpack. For dinner, I had a Deluxe burger. It came in an economic plastic packaging instead of a plate. Lol. That was new. I remembered ordering room service in Kuching’s Telang Usan, they still serve meals in proper plates. Ha ha. But it’s ok. Maybe it was easier to clean up and more hygienic? *thumbs up* After my meal, I freshened up and tucked myself in early.

I was already up at 530am the next day. Sunday is a working day in JB. I went down to the 1st floor for breakfast at the restaurant. The atmosphere was cute but I did not manage to snap a lot of pictures. The options were adequate and fulfilling for a 3 star hotel. It’s not a wonder that this hotel is the accommodation of choice for small group travellers. That morning we had guests from Indonesia staying there which was refreshing. Previously I’ve only managed to see groups from China during breakfast. The ibu-ibu looks so cute and fashionable with their colourful tudung.

After a brief visit to the loo, I checked out of Swiss Inn. I wished I could stay longer. The hotel is so pretty. I could have at least explored the gym.

This time I took a Grab Car to my alma mater situated near to the bus station the night before. The fare was only RM10.

My alma mater, Sekolah Tun Fatimah is an all girls boarding school. As someone who came from a non-priviledged background, it was a life changing moment for me. It was a great opportunity for me to receive structured education in a school said to be for the creme of the creme. On top of formal learning, I also had a taste of interacting with fellow students of different social hierarchy. I was middle class. So I get to mingle or observe those girls who were from upper and of lower class than mine. It was a mind opening and humbling experience.

Despite depending fully on meals at the dining hall, my parents still give me a bit of pocket money – enough to call home on the weekend with a phone card and the occasional splurge of air kotak rumah at the co-op. There were times of course I did not have enough money to buy an RM50 jersey shirt ( I was a player in the softball team) so I quit the team quoting ridiculous reasons like ‘mak suruh belajar’ . The seniors were a disappointed but they accepted my reasons. Since then, I didn’t take up sport because to me sports required money we did not have. So I just laid low and studied. I made a few friends. I don’t recall having any personal enemies. I think. ha ha. Even the teachers have a tough time trying to remember who is this Minci. HA ha ha ha.

Which is why when last year they announced to do this BTS programme, a collaboration activity with the school counsellors – I wasn’t exceptionally thrilled. I had no one in particular that I was excited to see because the ones I love, I am already seeing them or sending parcel kasih sayang from time to time. Notably, Kakjet and my Mimie. I appreciate my teachers and is forever grateful for their kind words and teaching but there is no outstanding personal moments to reminisce on, unlike my super achieving friends or the rebellious ones. I was one of those people who was not interested to join. At all.

until one day

I just felt like contributing. Part of it was driven by my personal agenda to meet Birsilah Bakar and force her to scribble an autograph in my copies of her book. hihi. And part of it is just wanting to exist as a Srikandi without feeling inferior by it. Often I had to conceal the fact that I’m a Srikandi because people expect big things from you – I’m just not keen to be likewise. It’s a personality thing. I am an introvert. Socializing or shining drains too much of my energy. lOl.

Anyway, what started as a volunteer in a mini group to sweat the little stuff led to me being upgraded as a team leader. It’s huge and gonna be one of the big things I’m organizing. So, BTS 2020 – here we go.

Review : Grand Blue Wave Hotel, Shah Alam (2018)

Posh, Modern, Islamic hotel

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I booked a room in this hotel because I had a conference there. Furthermore it was walking distance to the mall, several restaurants and the famous Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah blue mosque.

My pre-conference forum was at the mosque and I was in awe of not only its majestic structure but also how imarah it was – bustling with activities in the early hours of the morning. And I am not talking about just acts of worship like performing the Dhuha or attending a tajwid class at the mosque – there was in fact a CPR workshop taking place there, alongside other beneficial classes including my forum.

The mosque felt so welcoming to all as it celebrates knowledge  of all kinds that mankind could learn and benefit from. And it should be – if only we all see it that way!

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I arrived Shah Alam by bus at 10 pm. My initial plan was to hail a cab to bring me to the hotel but I couldn’t find any. Plus the area was very dark. So, I frantically downloaded the Grab App on Google Playstore, booked a ride, muttered millions of alhamdulilah because my driver was a lady and I arrived at the hotel safely. And boy, were the reception so friendly despite the sudden top-up transactions I had to do that night – mainly the SST and Ee’s breakfast buffet. Yes, we have to pay for him now.

The room has the standard amenities I prefer : mini fridge, a kettle, free WIFI, a bath tub, sejadah, complimentary daily English newspaper, many sockets to charge your phone and stuff. I am puzzled that they do not have an in room iron though. Tak cukup mahal lagi kahhhh ini bilik.. maybe it is a safety issue.

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The breakfast buffet spread was wonderful. Loved the nasi lemak rendang and pastries. I had to stay alone and have breakfast alone for the 1st two days as Ee still had school and my husband his work. They came later on the Friday evening to lepak2 at the hotel. I honestly missed them a lot. I don’t think I have ever said that enough.

I did not get the opportunity to visit the hotel’s spa. At the 4th floor. Or the pool. But I did get to soak in the bath tub during the nights when my kids were not there yet. I was also glad that the hotel had this mini poster of suggestions of places to go around Shah Alam. I thought that was a good touch. The malls are within walking distance. Otherwise, you could always hop on the FREE BUS or use GRAB.

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This hotel also has a certified halal japanese restaurant. I did not get to try that as well since the conference itself fed me well. Maybe next time.

I spent RM550 for the conference and the forum.

My room in the hotel was a Deluxe Room. As usual, booking platform is Agoda.Com. It was a 5D4N stay amounting to a total of RM1,146.20 minus tax. YUP. One of my biggest spends this year. For knowledge. InsyaAllah – may Allah be pleased with my efforts.