Saturday, April 30, 2011

I don't know what to eat

This nagging phrase has bound to happen to me every single day since I came to Germany. It never fails me. Well, the breakfast has already fixed, even though it's the same everyday. Bread, Nutella, egg, tea and juice. For every breakfast! Bread is the staple food for them and beer is like a liquid bread.

When I was in the office, lunch was either at the canteen nearby or nothing at all. They usually brought their own foods for lunch. The canteen was always served pork and chicken, the time I'd be the vegetarian, and once or twice a week they served fish. As a muslim, this could be the dominant factor for me on having this phrase pop out when my stomach needs to be fill. I will eat all except pork, chicken, and beef. I did ate chickens from arabian/turkish restaurant. They are all serve kebab, and I don't want to have kebab everyday.

Alternatively, I will go to Asia Bistro like Vietnamese or Chinese if I want to have rice, with fish of course. I think it will be a lot easier if the company provides a squalid little flat equipped with kitchen for me. Yes, I can cook. I can get the halal meet from the halal butcher in Leipzig at Jahnalle strasse. Get on the tram 3 and stop at Leibnizstrasse or wadzplatz. I can get fish and any other groceries from any local market around here.

The fried rice with shrimp and squid I had at the Mai Tai Restaurant, the only thai restaurant around here. It tasted kind of like home. But the cooking oil used made me bellyful. After all, it was nice to have.

This was the first chicken I had in Germany after a week been here. It's a chicken kebab with rice. Germany has many arabic and turkish restaurant you can find anywhere along the street. There are two nearby to my hotel. If I am craving for chicken or beef, this is the place I'll go.

The Tiramisu. I had this dessert just now at The Da Vito, an italiano restaurant. It was good. All this while, I just saw this on TV or magazine and never thought that am gonna eat this. My boss is here this week, today I skipped lunch because of him and he took me to some fancy italiano restaurant for dinner which I didn't like the main course.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One day in Berlin

24th April 2011, 08H00.

From this station, I took the tram to hauptbahnhof.

This was the regional express (RE) train I took from Leipzig Hauptbahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. I had to change one train at Lutherstadt Wittenburg before continue to Berlin. It was 2 hours trip. Next time I should try the Inter-City Express (ICE). The ICE will travel faster than this as it will only stop at main station. The RE will stop at all stations. And of course RE is much cheaper.

In the train, I had the chance to see the wind turbine. It was manufactured by VESTAS. I had applied for job at this company before. But no luck. Now the fact, Germany is one of the top three countries in the world using the renewable energy.

They say this is a must go place if we are visiting other countries. The Hard Rock Cafe. Like others, I bought 2 pair of t-shirts. One for my little boy.

Yours truly was in the ferris wheel at 44 meters height. Look honey, I can see whole Berlin from up here! And there was a parade down there, I didn't sure in conjunction of what. Maybe Easter Day.

One day is not enough to see the whole Berlin. I should come back again if I have the chance.

I think I will...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thrift with your money

Let's talk about to have a decent life. I read one article forwarded via email says 'Living in Malaysia is expensive'..I would rather say 'Living in Kuala Lumpur is expensive' because some parts of Malaysia is cheaper. This was reported by ABS AG, a Swiss banking giant.

Now that I am in Germany, sometimes I can feel the differences of spending my money, the purchasing power I would say. The power to purchase is higher than what I have in Kuala Lumpur. I'd like to compare my cost of living I have here in Germany with Kuala Lumpur. See below:

Transportation (tram/bus): 17,70 eur/week so I would pay around 85,80 eur/month (I added 15 eur more for additional 3 days.)
Foods: max 10 eur/day so I would pay sum of 300 eur/month. Usually it just cost me around 4eur per meal. Sometimes it could goes up to 7eur per meal (only happened one time to me).
So total monthly I would be spending 385,80 eur to have a decent life in Germany. Maybe I would say 500 eur per month is enough to live my decent life here.

Now let's see how do I live in Kuala Lumpur.

Transportation (ERL/LRT): ERL will cost me MYR285 for monthly pass (monthly pass is cheaper option than buy the daily ticket), further I need to take LRT to KLCC and this will cost me MYR 3.20/day so total of 23 days is MYR 73.60. The total for both is MYR358.60.
Foods: max MYR10/day so I would pay sum of MYR300/month.
So total monthly I would be spending in KL is MYR658.60. The figure could goes up around MYR750/month.

Germany has a very organize public transportation, one of the best public transportation in the world. Almost every corners have a station. It is either for tram or bus or both. The longest distance from a place to a station I think is 500m, or about walking distance. They are connected to each other, from tram to bus to suburban train to underground to regional express to intercity/intercity express. The schedule is so precise and organize. There is almost no reason why should we have car. Unlike KL, I need to drive from my house to train station. This would include maybe another up to MYR150 of car fuel per month. If I have a motorcycle, it would be lesser than that, say MYR60 per month for the fuel. In Malaysia, to own a car or at least a motorcycle has becomes the requirement.

Now see...

Forget the currency exchange, if I earned 1000eur per month I will save 500eur in Germany. But if I earned MYR1000 per month I will save only at least MYR100 in KL. I asked my colleague here in Germany, that averagely, fresh graduate is paid 3000 eur of gross salary or around 2100 eur of nett pay (after tax and all). Can you imagine, how much saving will you have at the end of the month. Average for flat/apartment rent is around 300 to 500eur per month. Most of the rent is includes water and gas bill. The gas is for heater.


Let's move to Germany!=)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My little heart weeps

As usual, I woke up at 6am, had a breakfast on 7am. Then took the tram to office.

Opened my notebook, checked my emails and then browsed the facebook like I used to do every morning in the office. As I were browsing, I saw Nizam's post at the news feed says 'Al-Fatihah' to my other friend, Mohd Shahir Zakaria.

Out of the curiosity, I clicked on the post to find out who has might passed away. Maybe one of Shahir's family members. And then it dawned upon me that Shahir was the one who passed away. More distressing, in fact he had died exactly a year ago. I was stunned a while, paused, and suddenly my memories about him come and go.

I met him during the commissioning of Bunga Orkid-D/C. He worked with Talisman Energy as my client. We were quite close back then, we smoked together, we ate together, and shared our interests about almost everything. And now he has gone, left family and friends behind to meet his creator, Allah SWT.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a jerk to know this a year late. Exactly a month before he died, I PMed him to say hello. He replied he had an accident, broke his two hands. I was surprised to know that and wished him to get well soon. And on April my commissioning job at Shell platform began. I was so busy back then. Today I have found out that he is with his creator.

Al-fatihah to arwah. Mohd Shahir Zakaria, 27 May 1975 - 20 April 2010. May Allah bless you my dear friend.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tageskarte fur Heute

One day pass for today. The meaning of the subject. It is for inter-city transportation which includes trams, buses and trains. It only 5eur and we can ride every transports available in the zone for one whole day. Learn more here.

So yesterday I had a stroll in the city center. I took a tram from Elster-passage bahnhof, bound to Taucha and I stopped at Leipzig hauptbhanhof. it's the main central station, integrated with three-storey shopping complex. You may find a lot of restaurants, non-boutique shops, market and hardware shop. I bought an electric kettle, the small one that could boil 0.5 litre of water. It comes with two small cups. Nice! The hotel does not provides a kettle, what a cheapskate! For a week I had to use hot water from the pipe to make milo or maggi.

The trains terminal

Then, I took a bus to further center of the city. I stopped at between Reich-str and Markt. It surrounds by many shopping complex; Zara, MnG, other boutique as well which I don't remember because I don't give a damn, galleria, specks hof, you name it. Fortunately, wifey isn't here. I didn't get anything for me. After satisfied, I walked back to hauptbahnhof. About 1km from Reich-str, then got on the tram heading to Leibniz-str before called it a day.

I had my lunch there, at iraqi restaurant. I noticed the restaurant while on the tram heading to hauptbahnhof that morning. I had rice and chicken kebab. That was the first meat I had since I came. Fish doesn't count ok. After done, I took the tram and stopped at Adler-bahnhof and got on the bus to Naumburger-str, where my hotel is.

This boy was trying to have a conversation with me, but I didn't comprehend anything that came out from his mouth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Story from far

I have resigned from Yokogawa after devoted over 67 months to the company. It has been a great pleasure, I enjoyed the tenure and appreciate the skills and knowledge obtained while working there.

Now, I am with AviComp Engineering AG, a Swiss-German based company. Just click the link to find out more about the company (that's why I provided the link so I don't have to say about that here). After slightly more than three weeks working, they send me to Leipzig, Deutschland. Well, for some who don't know what is Deutschland is, it's Germany.

I arrived here two days ago by Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi took around 7h10m. I spent almost 2 hours at Abu Dhabi before embarked on a plane to frankfurt. This journey took around 6h55m. After 3 hours at Frankfurt International Airport, I took another flight to Leipzig which took around 1h. I flew with Lufthansa Airlines. They served nice rolled cake covered with chocolate. So, can you calculate how many hours I have spent just to be where I am now?

This is the first time I am in Germany (well, actually I had transit at Munich before but that doesn't count at all), third times in Europe and this is the fourth europe country I have been to. The weather is cold, today is even colder than the previous days. Yes, it is April now but it still cold for Asian guy like me. It has been three days since I ate meats. Does fish counts as meat? I don't know! But it doesn't taste like chicken. Today I managed to eat some rice with fish that I bought from vietnamese restaurant about walking distance from my hotel, thanks to Christian Zimmer to show me the restaurant.

Tomorrow is still uncertain. I will write more about my trip from time to time. It almost 8.30pm now but I still can see some sun rays getting disappeared in the western horizon.

Leipzig, Deutschland....