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.
...to 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(