Italy: Day 06 – Book Launching

I was not feeling quite well on the sixth day (Wednesday, 24th March 2010). I vomited the night before and my head was so heavy. The weather and my nose-bleeding must’ve been the root to my health. I wish I had Minyak Cap Kapak with me! Linda told me to rest awhile and after feeling a bit better, I took a taxi to the book fair. I had to be there as Linda told me earlier that a small launch for “My Mother’s Garden” will be held.

My book being launched by ITNM’s Chairman Dato’ Dr. Shahruddin Salleh.

The launch was witnessed by Mr Yeoh from Future Ace, Mr SH Lee (Sasbadi’s Publishing Director), Linda T Lingard (my agent/publisher), Hj Sahari Jantan (MEP Educare), Puan Norhayati (MBKM), just me, Dato’ Dr. Shahruddin Salleh (ITNM’s Chairman), En Redza Khairudin, IBBY Vice President, Hj Shaari Abdullah (President, Persatuan Pengedar Buku Bumiputera Malaysia), two trade visitors from Malaysia and En Shadri Abdullah (YPJ Publications).

Although small, the launching marked the new beginning of my career as children’s book author and illustrator.

The book will be available in Kinokunoya, MPH as well as The Borders next month. Will keep you informed when it really reaches the bookshelves!

Here’s a look at my book again:

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Blogging from Italy: Day 05 – Bologna

Tuesday, 23rd March 2010

Today is the start of Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Linda and me had an early and quick breakfast as we had to arrange the books on our shelf. We took a cab from the hotel to the Bologna Fair Centre and the fare was more or less about €12.

Entrance to the book fair

the aisle leading to main hall

Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency‘s bookshelf

My own “My Mother’s Garden” on the shelf, a novita

more books and my illustrations on the shelf

a potential rights buyer came early to our booth

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Blogging from Italy: Day 04 – Firenze

Monday – 22nd March 2010

Linda went out early as she had to attend SCBWI Conference at the Bologna’s Children Book Fair, Bologna Fair Centre – Piazza Costituzione, Bologna and I took the time to find my own way to Firenze (Florence). Took the morning train and it took about two hours to reach Firenze Rifredi. When I reached there, I just walked out of the train station and headed to the town.

Firenze Rifredi Train Station

There wasn’t much to see and it was so not what people told me…and how do I get to Toscana? I was so helpless, I wanted to do my research before I left KL but I was too busy to finish my illustrations. I wanted to do the research also from Boscolo Hotel but internet connection was not available (still not available until today…as I wrote this…)

Signboards everywhere but I did not know where to go!

But of course I found few interesting objects to snap…

A bicycle

Oh Dandelions! Really made my day that day!

Firenze ducks are pretty!

So I bought a map and headed back to the train station. On the way back to the train station, I found an internet cafe and decided to go in and updated my facebook status, “Sesat di Firenze!” and got to talk to few friends online. After sending a message to my husband and son, I walked to the train station and sat there staring at the map. I later gave up and bought a ticket back to Bologna. I waited there but missed it as I thought it was a train to Napoli!! Lol! I was really a dumb! I took it as a sign and sat back and relaxed for a while until later I saw a board with available trains to all parts of Italy and saw Firenze Santa Maria Novella (SMN)! That was it!! That was the place I was supposed to go! I concluded to myself Firenze Rifredi is a transit station. So I bought a ticket to Firenze SMN!

That was more like it! But as the time has passed 3pm, I calculated my journey back to Firenze Rifredi and then back to Bologna, I decided not to wander far from the Firenze SMN’s train station. I went to the Information Center and ask for a map. The maps was so much better; it got interesting places to visit! I only managed to buy little gifts from the city and headed back to Bologna.

When I reached Bologna, it was about 6pm and I just walked around the town and took few photos.

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Blogging from Italy: Day 03- Trastevere

Sunday – 21st March 2010

{Note: I apologise for not being able to blog as often as the Boscolo Hotel (B4 Hotel) is having an internet connection problem. I got connection from an unsecured line today and many thanks to the owner of the unsecured line!~ Emila, 27th March 2010, Bologna, Italy}

Went to the Porta Portese Sunday Market as early as 7am. Linda and I wanted to have more time to look around the market as we have to check out from B&B Maggiore at 10am. As per instruction by Arnold, the assistant keeper of the B&B, we walked to the Termini Centrale to take bus number H to the market. I looked for the Bangladeshi boy who spoke Malay the other day to buy tickets but his shop was still not opened so we just bought tickets from a machine nearby.

The bus to Porta Portese

We board bus H and found empty seats beside a big fat lady. A really big fat lady. After awhile, Linda looked at me and I looked at her. I spoke to Linda in Malay, “Linda, you ada bau sesuatu tak?” Linda replied, “Ada la, makin lama makin kua.t” So we decided to find seats in the front part of the bus. After having my seat (my seat was facing her), I could not help but looking at the lady. She has blonde hair, shabby clothes, shoes that she only wore half of them and a very big bag. Anyway, she has two whole seats to her. Pardon me I know it is rude to stare but my eyes controlled my head. She noticed that I looked at her, panicking, I quickly turned away. Later she took out an eyelasher curler and slowly curled her right eye’s lashes. Later she put the curler back inside her bag. After looking left and right, she took it out again and curled her left eye’s lashes and put it back inside her bag. Her face looked very confident after the curling session as if she was saying out loud, “hey, look at me, I am pretty now.” But, still; the smell won’t go away. Most of other passengers around her, moved to the front part of the bus as the longer you smell it, the harder you are keeping yourself from puking.

Anyway, when the bus moved, I totally forgot about her as the view outside the window was more interesting. The bus took us to Transtevere where the market is located. Arnold told us to board off the bus after we see the river. The river we saw and off we board from the bus.

Linda walking towards a newspaper stands to ask for direction

There was no sight of the market and we just walked until we saw a man and we asked. He told us to walk straight and could notice the market from far. And that was in sign language and a bit of Italian but we comprehended. It was a 15 minutes walk!!! But that was ok, we got to see pretty things…

We finally reached the market after the 15 minutes walk and Linda and me got to buy a jacket for each of us for only 3 Euro!

Porta Portese market

Bread dough decorations

Chinese trader selling scarfs

It was 9.30am and it was time to fetch our bags from the B&B and checkout. As there was a marathon in Rome, most of the major roads have been closed down so we took the train back to Termini Centrale. We bought our train tickets to Bologna. The Eurostar ticket made me poorer Euro65!

Trastevere Train Station and two girls from the marathon who passed by B&B Maggiore

After checking out B&B Maggiore, we headed back to the terminal to board our train to Bologna. The ride took us more than two hours.

Me posing in front of Eurostar (thanks to Linda for taking my picture!)

The Bologna signboards (left) and the Boscolo Hotel (right)




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Blogging from Italy: Day 02 – Vatican City

Linda and me, we both woke up early and went downstairs to get our morning treat of latte.

Linda and me having our lattes

Later, as planned yesterday, we went to visit the Vatican City. We walked to the Roma Termini (Bus & Train Terminal) and took bus No. 40 to the Vatican City. We bought our tickets (€1 each) from a news stand nearby the termini. The owner of the stand noticed that we speak Malay and spoke “satu, dua” to us. We were very surprised and asked how did he knew the language. He said he can speak a few. That is so good to know! Hidup Bahasa Melayu!!! 1Dunia!

The termini is the one in middle. I wanted to take picture of the guy who speaks Malay but we were so in a hurry to catch the bus!

The bus ride was a pleasant one and we hop off the last stop and had to walk about 10 minutes to the St. Peter Square. It was a pleasant walk as well..we weren’t sweating at all!

St. Peter Square

St. Peter Basilica

Linda with her favourite angels

A Vatican City winged permanent resident

After Vatican City, we went to the Fontana de Trevi (Trevi Fountain). The Trevi fountain was the setting for an iconic scene in Federico Fellini’s film La dolce vita starring Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni. Part of the fountain is replicated at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World, USA.

A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. I did not throw a coin, i want to go elsewhere next! lol!

Just right in front of the fountain, we found two interesting men…

a funny man and a chestnut man

Not far from the fountain, along Via Delle Muratte, we found a group of watercolor artists selling original paintings of Rome.

Later, we try to make our way to Palazzo de Quirinale (current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic) on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of the seven hills of Rome, but we got lost. We walked about two hours but still couldn’t find the place.

Lost in Rome

But worry not, it was a pleasant lost! Haha! We got to see interesting buildings along the way. We later had our lunch and returned to the hotel. Tomorrow we’ll be going to the morning market at 7am and checking out of the hotel at 10am and later take a train to Bologna. Maybe…maybe we’ll do Florence after that if we’re not to tired.

Till tomorrow, buonanotte! (goodnight in Italian)

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Blogging from Italy: Day 01 – Rome

Hello!! Buongiorno!

Yay! Am blogging live from Italy! My publisher, Linda Tan and me arrived safely in Rome at 8.20am in the morning despite the scheduled 5.30am arrival. The flight from KUL to ROM was delayed for more than two hours and we had to switch aircraft as the one we were boarding was having a problem.

As we arrived, we were fetched by a driver sent by the owner of B&B Maggiore (the place we’re staying) and the journey took about an hour despite a 45 minutes drive. The driver couldn’t find the place!

from the airport to Rome

The building where B&B Maggiore is situated

Upon settling down at B&B Maggiore, we had a quick rest and later went walking to Coliseo de  Roma or better known as Colosseum (in Latin). We didn’t really went into the theatre because the queue was so long!! The walk to Coliseo was about 15 minutes and we enjoyed the view very much.

Here is me, a self potrait using tripod and remote, inside my room at B&B Maggiore:

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