My Great Adventure Indonesia

Just want to share this excellent TV ad by one of the biggest cigarette manufacturer, Djarum, about great adventures in Indonesia. The ad is featuring Sumatera, Lake Toba (the largest volcanic lake in the world), Way Kambas National Park and its Elephant Conservation Center, Rinjani – Lombok (active volvane and crater lake), Raja Ampat (the largest marine national park in Indonesia; the highest marine life diversity on Earth), Kuta Reef – Bali, and lastly Krakatau (famous for its massive explosion in 1883 that shook the world). Enjoy!

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The Butcher Shop & Grill

Many times whenever I visited Villagio I passed by this restaurant. Yet, only until this April, did I try to sample its food. The Butcher Shop & Grill is a South African steak restaurant but it also offers chicken, lamb and fish.

The Butcher Shop & Grill outlet at Villagio Mall
The restaurant is famous for its steak, however, we also ordered lamb chop and chicken to see how good they are in their non-main menus. Let’s see how they come out of our food test :).
While waiting for our orders to be served, we were provided with starters: soft garlic bread (?), and sausage skewer with sauce to dip in.
Closer look to one of the starters

Within 10 minutes, our drinks served. Nothing special just iced lemon tea, mint lemonade, and chocolate shake. The later was good, said my kids.

Mint Lemonade

Then, comes our appetizer: sticky chicken wings. It is basically grilled chicken wings with sticky soya bean sauce. This is the best of our orders, beating T-bone steak and grilled chicken breast.

Sticky Chicken Wings

My youngest son ordered grilled chicken breast. I can only rate it average at its best.

Grilled Chicken Breast

 Now the main feature of the restaurant, the steak. This half kilo T-bone steak was ordered “well-done” yet it come with still pinkish meat. I was not quite impressed. The main order come after 40 minutes, a bit later than what they promised on the menu (20-30 minutes). Lamb chop that we also ordered come with juiced texture as a result of “well-done” treatment. Again lamb chop did not win our heart.

T-bone steak

As overall, we had less than our expectation dining experience in The Butcher Shop & Grill. If I can recommend that would be sticky chicken wings, not the steak. The service is also average given its late serving. The restaurant gets our 3 star though 🙂

TOTAL DAMAGE:

Chicken Wings 29

Grill Chicken Breast 26

T-Bone Steak 137

Black Pepper S 7

Lamb Chop 76

Chocolate Shake 25

Lemon Iced Tea 16

Mint Lemonade 22

Telp: 413 5 797

Also available in Kuwait, Bahrain and Dubai

Renewing (Smart) Health Card

Renewing smart health card is very easy and straight forward. I can do it online as the current card is equipped with a magnetic chip.

What I needed were Qatar ID number and Credit Card Number. For children it’s their RP number.

Renewing online can be done through the following website:

http://portal.www.gov.qa/wps/portal/services/renewhealthcard

1. The first screen you need to input your Qatari ID number and transaction type: Renew (Update Expiry Date) or Reprint (Lost or damaged ePurse)

2. Then you will need to specify number of required years, your telephone number, if you want to receive the receipt voucher by email, email address, if you want to receive sms notification, mobile number.

3. You need to make online payments through visa or master card credit card. One year renewal costs QR100. You can renew for more than one year. Date of expiry is set as per the first card issuance date not date of renewal.

4. Upon payment done, you will get Acknowledgement that can be printed. Alternatively, you will receive email notification if you specify in the previous screen.

An example of typical Qatar smart health card (Source: hmc.org.qa)

Umrah 2011

Labbaikallahuma Umratan (“Oh Allah. Here I am answering Your call and intending to perform Umrah”)

From 9 April to 16 April we went for Umrah by bus. What a mind enlightening religious trip.

The Umrah or (Arabic: عمرة‎) is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. In Arabic, Umrah means “to visit a populated place”. As a technical term used in the Sharia, Umrah means to perform Tawaf round the Kaaba and Sa’i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, after assuming Ihram (a sacred state). It is sometimes called the ‘minor pilgrimage’ or ‘lesser pilgrimage’, the Hajj being the ‘major’ pilgrimage and which is compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. The Umrah is not compulsory but highly recommended.

The pilgrim performs a series of ritual acts symbolic of the lives of Ibrahim (Abraham) and his second wife Hajar, and of solidarity with Muslims worldwide. These acts of faith are:

Perform a tawaf, which consists of circling the Kaaba seven times in a counter-clockwise direction. Men are encouraged to do this three times at a hurried pace, followed by four times, more closely, at a leisurely pace.[1]

Perform a sa’i, which means rapidly walking seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah. This is a re-enactment of Hagar’s frantic search for water. The baby Ishmael cried and hit the ground with his foot (some versions of the story say that an angel scraped his foot or the tip of his wing along the ground), and water miraculously sprang forth. This source of water is today called the Well of Zamzam.

Perform a halq or taqsir, meaning a cutting of the hair. A taqsir is a partial shortening of the hair, whereas a halq is a complete shave of the head, except for women, as they cut a little amount of hair instead.

These rituals complete the Umrah, and the pilgrim can choose to go out of ihram. Although not a part of the ritual, most pilgrims drink water from the Well of Zamzam. (Wikipedia)

Through Hamlah Al Haramain, we paid QR1700 per person for Umrah trip that included visa, transport (Doha-Mekkah-Madinah-Doha), 3-night stay in Mekkah, 2-night stay in Madinah, and ziarah(devotional visit to sacred places) in Mekkah and Madinah.

One of the advantages of taking a bus trip for umrah is we can sleep and relax and don’t bother with a long 1440-km driving (Qatar-Mekkah). Unfortunately, it can be tiring due to its non-stop driving and longer trip owing to longer border process and lower speed.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the trip and met new people in the bus. But most importantly to pay a visit to places where every muslim want to.

This is our bus ready to enter Qatar border. It took us about 5 hours in the Qatar-Saudi border!

Our bus ready to hit the asphalt of 1440-km road to Mekkah

 20 hours later, we arrived at Miqat (lit. a stated place), a station at which pligrims put on Ihram. For those coming from Qatar the Miqat is situated at Taif (Miqat Qarn Al-Manazil (Alsail Al Kabir)), about 90km from Mekkah. We took a bath, changed the normal clothes to two pieces of white unstitched fabrics, then we paid a two rakaat prayer. From now on we entered a state of ihram (a sacred state) when there are restrictions to comply with.

Wearing Ihram at Miqat

Arriving in Masjidil Haram, we performed the umrah rituals: thawaf (circumambulation), sa’i, and taqsir (shortening the hair).

Performing Sai

 After completion of umrah, we then spent every possible opportunities to have a prayer in Masjidil Haram. Prayers in Al-Masjid Al-Haram are equivalent to 100000 Prayers in any other mosque. In addition we also paid a visit to some sacred places and important Hajj places.