Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bomb Explosion Near My Home? I'm Shocked.

Photo was taken from The Jakarta Post
I left home at 9 a.m. and at first decided to take the Kalimalang route. But then I found it heavily congested. I didn't know what happen, but I learned that when Kalimalang is jammed, it can last for hours. So I made a detour and chose to take the Pondok Kopi route, which was also jammed by the way (but, hey life in Jakarta and its greater areas means putting up with the jams or you'll get crazy).

Anyway, when I almost reached my office six hours later (after attending an event), M texted me saying that there was a bomb blast around the traditional market near my home. You can read the news here. It was not a big bomb, no casualty. Perhaps I should be afraid, but I am actually angry of the perpetrator. How dare you did that in my neighborhood?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Souvenirs From A Journey

Photo was taken in Daejeon

Dear friends, do you buy souvenirs when you're on a journey? What kind of souvenirs do you buy? Postcards, keychains or other small trinkets? Do you buy a lot of things with less meaning, or do you buy a small number of things but using a lot of considerations?

I prefer the latter than the former. But I have to admit that I'm not the right person when it comes to buying souvenirs. Usually I don't buy anything for myself. For me, the greatest souvenirs I can have from a journey is the experience I got during my stay. And that comes in the shape of photographs and travel stories. 

This post is actually a disclaimer for all my friends, since I didn't buy any souvenirs for them. I'm so sorry guys, but I'm already 7-kilogram overweight on the luggage. And no, that 7-kg stuffs are not even the things I buy, but the lecture materials I got during the fellowship. I didn't have the heart to dispose them, especially when I remembered that it was for the fellowship that I went there. Ah, now you know that I'm a melancholic hoarder.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Inside Incheon International Airport

An airport gives the first face of the nation. Seoul has two airports: Incheon (for international flights) and Gimpo, or Kimpo (for domestic flights). The way I see them, both airports look great. 

Cousine Dina asked me to take a look around Incheon International Airport because she wanted to know more about the airport, not just glimpses from Korean dramas. Dear cousine, this post is for you.

This area kinda reminds me of Sultan Hasanuddin II airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi

My shoes and a view to my boarding gate

The shopping arcade. I was beginning to feel bored because it's just like any other airports, but then...

A playground! This is just perfect for the young travelers:)

I heard beautiful music, walked closer and lo and behold! There's a cultural center in the airport. Wow! Totally recommend this if you're in Incheon International Airport. Umm, hello airport official, this is one idea that we can use in Soekarno-Hatta airport, or any other airport actually.

Visitors to the center can try fan painting

You can also make a printing by dabbing ink into a piece of paper placed on top of a carved surface.

All foreign passengers can participate in the center's event. All they have to do is presenting their passport and boarding pass. Unfortunately, my boarding time was only 15 minutes later. The staff would not let me to participate:(

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have An Animated Weekend:)

Found here
After writing all things Korean, let's have a quick break to its neighboring country Japan this weekend! No, I'm not talking about really going there:) There will be Japan animation festival during the 2010 Jak Japan Matsuri that will last until Oct. 3. You can see the schedule here. Or if you prefer dance, music and theater, Festival Salihara may be the one for you.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Lectures In The Fellowship. Or The Serious Post:P

Upon seeing so many photos on field trips, a colleague (it's you, Peeyutz, in case you're reading this) asked whether I really had lectures or only spent three weeks for fun. So here is the serious post on what I learned during my three-week sojourn. The lectures are about journalism, Korean culture, politics and economy, as well as Korean language.

At first, I thought the lectures would bore me to death, but I really loved them! Studying is fun, indeed. I really need a break from the daily grind. And it's been seven years since my university graduation. Boy, how time flies!

On the first day, we learned about the press system in each fellow's country. It was interesting to know that to be a journalist in Brazil, you should have a degree on journalism. Unlike other ex-Soviet countries, Poland doesn't change its press law because the law contains no articles on censorship.

Then we learned Korean alphabet hangeul and some basic expressions for daily conversation such as "kamsan hamnida" (thank you), "mian hamnida" (sorry), and a very important sentence: "jal seng gyeot sseo yo" (you're handsome). Hohoho. We also learned two songs: Arirang and Saranghae. Korean has diphtong too, just like Sundanese language, so I find it quite fun.

On the Korean society lecture, we learned about the separation between North and South Korea. Heartbreaking. We all hope for Korea's reunification, like Germany and Vietnam.

We also learned about Korean media. The most entertaining lecture was on Korea's newspapers. The professor talked about how Korean journalists should drink a lot of alcohol in order to approach a source, then he said he wanted his son to be a Buddhist monk (he even sent his son to India). He praised each fellow's country, adding that there was nothing we could learn from Korea. But before he left the room, he said,"Forget everything I had told you. But one thing for sure, love your country and respect what your ancestors had done for your country."

Whoa. It felt like Philosophy 101. We all had a laughing fit afterwards, but we just love that professor.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Tale Of Two Coffee Prince Cafes

Photo found here

[Disclaimer: This post may contain terms that only Korean drama fans understand.]

Confession: I love Korean drama Coffee Prince. So when I found out that the cafe for the shooting location is opened for public, I quickly set a schedule to come and see the place. Unfortunately, my tight schedule only allowed me to go there at night. That's why I use other people's photo on the exterior, because almost all my photos are too dark. (Note to self: should learn how to take photos in low light condition)

The cafe is located near Hongik University subway station (Hongdae area). I should warn you that there are two Coffee Prince cafes, and both are located near Hongdae. The real one is the one pictured above. 

Here's the map.
To get there, you take subway line 2, stop at Hongik University subway station, and exit at the fourth exit. Turn right on Seven Springs and walk until you reach intersection. Then turn left, walk for about one block and turn right. Continue walking for about 500 meters and you'll find the cafe on your right.

From the outside, the cafe is a bit covered with trees. Just like in the series, the cafe has a modest neighborhood cafe atmosphere. No glitzy interior. Those who sets their expectation high may be disappointed, but I like the cafe just the way it is. If the prices can be lowered, it will be perfect. 

Tadaa! The wall with sunflower painting where Han Kyul kisses Eun Chan and says that he doesn't care if she were a man or an alien. For full recaps on the series, you can read them here.

Merchandise sold in the cafe

Some movie props left in the cafe

I also went to the other cafe called Coffee Prince Tiramisu Cafe, which is licensed by MBC. It is quite near from the real Coffee Prince cafe. 

It's located in a small alley, so it's hard to photograph the facade

Coffee beans from Indonesia. Yay!

The interior is similar to the real cafe. The plus side of this second cafe? It employs waiters, while the real one employs waitresses. I think one of the waiters is kind of cute, although I would say the same thing on men wearing black-rimmed eyeglasses:P

A Cup Of Hot Chocolate At Coffee Prince Cafe

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Street Food Galore

When wandering on the streets of Seoul, it is likely that you will find many street food sold on four-wheeled carts. I asked the SNU volunteers on what kind of street foods I could have that are in accordance to my diet (no pork, no alcohol), and they said that I should try toppoki, or tteokbokki (spicy rice cake). Since I had my dinner, I opted for a light snack consisting several seafood fritters dipped into toppoki sauce. Boy, it was very spicy indeed!

Although I didn't try many street food (I was too preoccupied with my diet restriction), I took many photos of the street vendors. In some ways, the photos remind me of Jakarta, or any city in Indonesia, where people make a living with their carts. Here is some pictures on Seoul's street foods.


fritters and toppoki

chicken on skewer

another kind of cakes, but I don't know what it is.


i dunno what he sells, but i like his style


taken near hongik university subway station

also near hongik university subway station

Monday, September 20, 2010

Korean Cuisines Are More Than Just Kimchi

I tried some Korean cuisines last year during Korean Cultural Week, and they were not as delicious as I expected (I tried bulgogi and kimchi). So when I was told that I got the fellowship, of course the first thing that crossed my mind was: "Oh my God, can I survive in that country for three weeks?" (Hey, food is important. At least for me.)

It turns out that my worry is baseless. Korean cuisines are delicious! Well, this statement comes from a girl who loves sushi, sashimi and everything with soup and rice. Everyone knows that Koreans have a thing with kimchi (traditional Korean fermented vegetable). During my stay in South Korea, I saw a kimchi museum and found that LG has kimchi refrigerators! OMG. But of course, there is more to Korean cuisine than just kimchi.

As the Chinese fellow Qin says,"When in Korea, eat Korean cuisines!", I hereby present photos of Korean cuisines I sampled there.

Bibimbbap, or mixed rice

Mushroom soup

Galbi, or grilled beef rib. Sometime they also serve pork for galbi, so if you're a Muslim, make sure you ask for beef.

Sundubu jjigae, or tofu soup

Cold noodle

I forgot the name of the dish, but it has seafood and quite spicy. I love it.

This is actually shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot), but I want to show you the beansprouts. They're so huge!

I had this oxtail soup and suddenly felt a longing to be at home.

I just love seafood! Prawns, more prawns and octopus are yum!

Rice cakes at a temple.

My last Korean meal on-board of Korean Air:)

I think I'm going to a Korean restaurant tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. Ahh, I miss you already, Korean cuisines.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Nice People I Met During My Sojourn In South Korea

Time flies when you're having fun, a proverb says. And how true it is. It felt just like yesterday that I stepped on Incheon airport and started my three-week fellowship. Today is the last day of the fellowship before my homecoming to Indonesia.

During my sojourn, I've met many people who helped me go through the days in a foreign land. I've posted several group photos, but here are some individual photos to get a closer look:)

The first Korean I met here. He was hiding his tote bag behind his back, but it's him, the tall and lean SNU student who picked me up at the airport (name and identity are hidden to protect the innocent, LOL). He lived in Indonesia for 10 years, so he can speak a bit of Bahasa.

With lovely Nari, the SNU staff

Sewon from LG. Thanks for having us there for three weeks:)

Hugo, the Mexican fellow. He loves to eat spicy food. During my last days, I would meet him during breakfast time. He was like my bodyguard because he often helped me with my umbrella. Thanks, Hugo:)

Brazilian fellow Wharrysson who is a self-professed disorganized person. He has lost many stuffs and bought many stuffs too during his stay:D

Spanish fellow Santiago. He often got separated from the group because he was busy taking pictures, but his cheerful personality always brings smile to our faces:)

Chinese fellow Qin, my partner for a night walk exercise:)

Indian fellow Josh (left) and Polish fellow Marcin (right). They make a unique combination, for Josh is a talkative person and Marcin tends to be reserved.

Last but not least, Yong Jae, the guy who always took our pictures during field trips

Thank you very much for the lovely memories we shared in South Korea. I hope to see you again someday:)