Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fly With Me To L.A. Part 1

It's time.

It has been a year since the last entry. I stopped writing about the trip just because I didn't want it to end, both here and in my mind. It's too good to put a full stop to and I am the possessive type over beautiful memories. But the story must continue on.

I will embark on another journey soon. But until that one starts to commence, this one has to have it's deserving end.

We stamped our fingerprints on Chicago and said our goodbyes.

Chicago left us breathless. We were blown away by its inexplicable beauty. It wasn't as green as New Zealand, neither was it as colourful as Australia but the core of its existence lies in its people and the soul it harbours along the perfect skyline. It's nothing like I have ever seen or felt before. That's Chicago.

After a week of Masters trainer's training and with a scroll in my hand I was all pumped up to fly to LA the next morning with Lisa. We giggled like little girls in anticipation of our trip to LA. It was the place of Lisa's dreams, the highlight of her journey and I was just happy to be able to accompany her there. Chef had to go back straight away, to celebrate Raya with his family. And the two of us just had to grab this opportunity to fly to the moon and see the Stars...Hollywood stars.

But before we were catapulted to the moon, we landed on the hostile ground many times. As tourists cum foreigners in the land of Omputihs and with me donning the hijab, stares and glares were the "funniest" thing. Most looked at me as if I had a creepy slimy looking alien clutching on to my head. Medusa would have an easier time walking through the Custom officers at the airport. I was on the other hand, brushed to the side, escorted to a transparent room where everyone was looking as they body searched me. I refused to take off my tudung, so they just ran through my scarf searching for weapons of mass destruction. lol! Trust me it wasn't funny then. I could see from afar Lisa was following me with her eyes, looking worried and concerned altogether. At one point of time, I thought I would be taken away. I had tears in my eyes brimming, and frustrations in my heart brewing, for the indifference and ignorance shoved to me that day. I was freed from the interrogation room with my socks on sans my self -esteem, collected my shoes and left the grey area to find Lisa. I kept my thoughts to myself. I was robbed of cheerful expressions on my face. It wasn't the first time it happened, but it was the worst thus far.

I refused to have that incident lined a bitter taste in my mouth so before we left for LA, we sat down at the nearby cafe and ordered Crème brûlée! I was still looking so flustered and Lisa was in disarray to0. We did have an unfortunate incident the night before where we were left stranded in the rain, in the cold at the train station for more than an hour by the hotel staff, well that's another story. But what we learnt from the short trip was that the locals were not very helpful especially if you were a Muslim. The people who reached out to us in time of distress were also foreigners who have worked there all their lives. Masa ni kan, the feeling of rindu crept in. Rindu mak ayah, rindu suami dan anak2 rindu berada di negara sendiri. be continued.

A sample of the animosity everywhere we went, and we captured one on camera! Look at the people on the next row.

On the same note, I just stumbled upon this video. A pilot who refused a body scan(like what I was subjected to) and lost his job for it. Check out the link here

Please listen intently to the 2:50th to 3:05th minute. The man of authority clearly stated

"...You don't do a full body pat-down unless people are suspected of criminal activities"

I guess I must have looked like a criminal to them. :o(

13 treats:

Lisajoehari said...

If only the film " My name is Khan' dah keluar masa tu, I would have known what to say to everyone who stared at us. " MY NAME IS AMINAH ( bukan nama sebenar) AND IM NOT A TERRORIST!!!!!


Wiz said...

You know what Lish? The best thing about the trip was that I came back with so much love and pride for my country. This is the best place to be. Hujan emas di negara orang, hujan batu di negara sendiri. I pilih hujan batu over and over again.

edi said...

when i was there back in 1997-99, there was no stares or glares from others even we're wearing tudung during hot humid weather! semua mcm biasa je.. and the orangputis are so so friendly and helpful. no extra checkups at the airport, no questions asked when we wanted to enter canada via niagara falls route with our visa.. nothing! blame it on 911.. bencinya!

good luck on your trip, kak wiz! u're so my inspiration!

Ida said...

wiz dearie,

be prepared to answer more questions at the european airports especially di schipol amsterdam dan muka-muka yang speak volumes of 'aku benci kau'.tapi kan..alah bisa tegal biasa.dont let they rain on your parade, emas ker batu ker... :)

Wiz said...

Edi- It was entirely a different scenario for us back then. Ada stgh tu tunjuk2 lagi dgn jari, kids la and they somehow do not know how to stare discretely. Mcm ternganga mulut mata terbeliak mcm tu. And slalu kat Airport, the officers bila org lain muka depa ok but bila I lalu terus muka marah and press the emergency button so the security officers can hurry and escort me out. Aiyo so malu tau. KAt Chicago plak masa kat train station, bleh plak org hotel lupa nak amik kita org and there were no phone booths kat train station tu. So we had to walk and walk and asked for help from the locals. None was willing to lend us their handphone. Mcm2 alasan depa bagi. Pastu ada mkcik Russian ni tgk how exasperated we looked asked what's wrong. Dia pun heran, dia ckp semua org ada hndphone and bila time mlm2 mcm ni slalunya calls free. But still the locals didn't help us. Makcik tu yg tolong call kan the hotel people. Masa tu nak dkt pukul 12 mlm. We almost walked back to the hotel in the rain.

Ada pulak citer yg bila tanya direction they said, you should learn the map to our country before coming here. Whoa!!!!!

Wiz said...

Ida- I did expect some kind of animosity but tak der la mcm tu skali. Sebab kita kat sini kalu nampak omputih, amboi, layan macam Ma'am dan Boss besar kan? We respect and appreciate them as guests. I know not everyone is like that but the locals memang kebanyakan mcm tu. Surprisingly, omputih negara lain ok, berbudi bahasa le jugak. I am all geared up, nothing will let me down this time. Hoping for the best. Thanks Da!

tukanama said...

teacher..dasyat tul pengalaman teacher.
sy pon penah kena and it really leaves a scar.
n at that time mg rasa nk balik je.

LifeBloom said...

I was also apprehensive when I went to Europe as a hijabi lady. I wont say that I had an easy time - but was a bit better than what you experienced. There was a fair bit of interogation at LHR but in Paris suprisingly friendly and accepting. Alhamdullilah.

Blame the irresponsible media for propoagating all the rubbish..for yournext trip - hope all goes well and bon voyage my dear!

Azam said...

omputihs ni r afraid of their shadows gamaknya. they sub-consciously know that people whom they have done wrong to will come and haunt them back. i say let them feel paranoid, padan muka dia!

Wiz said...

Khalil- Tak per, we have to be strong. Kalu tak buat salah tak yah takut kan. Take care.

Wiz said...

Mai Dearest, But generally when I was over there memang they were unfriendly, indifferent tak per but yg tak tahan tu bila tgk dgn penuh benci. Y9u get that everywhere. Hope all goes well the next one. Thanks for dropping by.

Wiz said...

Mr Azam- Your presence here just overwhelms me. I had tears in my eyes. I always see your comments elsewhere, but when I see yours here, it feels unreal. Too long over due. But it was worth the wait. I'm not going anywhere.

Ayu Safieza said...

Dear sis,

To some places, not all are paranoid....but most are the same. Very much proud of your stand about hijab and what HE has promised Us at the end of the day....

May the come trip will be better for ya...Insya'allah.....