Monday, February 28, 2011

The Random Post On Italians

The guards near Pantheon

1. An expat friend from Scotland said that people living in the warm climate areas tended to be more friendly. He concluded this after seeing the happy-go-lucky attitude in most Indonesians. Perhaps, he added, it was the warm kiss of the sun that made the people happy. Hmm, while there had been no scientific research on this issue, I might as well agree with him because Rome (with its mild winter) has nice and friendly citizens.

Every time I was lost and asked for directions, they always stopped to help and ended their sentences with a smile. And if I said,"Grazie (thank you)", they would retort back with,"Brava (good)". FYI, I only know "Grazie" and "Scusa" and "Si", hahaha. A man even patted me on the shoulder after giving me the directions.

Some even knows how to joke with the tourists. One night, when we sat in a restaurant waiting for our pizzas, the waiter bringing four pizzas that were clearly ours pretended to walk past our tables. He winked and smiled when we asked whether the pizzas were ours. Hahaha, a naughty waiter.

Another funny moment was when we're going to have lunch in IFAD. When the chef knew that I was looking for vegetarian menu, he quickly said,"Oh no, you can't have those" with a naughty wink and a smile. Hahaha, you can't fool me, chef.

Also during the dinner a lady walked past our table and said,"Buona appetito." To which we replied,"Grazie."
2. After reading the #1, you can tell for sure that Italians are definitely proud with their language. But it wasn't until I turned on the TV in my hotel room did I fully comprehend this. All of the movies are dubbed in Italian! Anyway, hearing Jennifer Aniston and the cast of Friends speak in Italian was quite an experience. Oh dear, I miss subtitles. Thank God, the hotel's TV also aired CNN and BBC.

Also found during my channel surfing: Italians love soccer. There are at least six channels airing soccer matches all the time. It's like ESPN, but only soccer. I kinda like the soccer channels, though.

The Swiss guards in Vatican city

3. When I told my friends that I was going to go to Rome, one suggested that I bring extra luggage to smuggle a handsome Italian guy to Indonesia. I couldn't help laughing upon reading her text messages. I mean, all Italians I've met in Jakarta are mostly short, fat and balding. Well, they are chefs, so that explains the fat factor.

But as I sat in the waiting room of Dubai international airport and a group of gorgeous Italian males stepped in, I had the urge to pack one of them into my luggage. I think they were athletes, because they had athletic body and wore some kind of uniformed jersey outfits. So yes, there are handsome Italian guys, the problem is they live in Italy.

4. I think Italians are obsessed with leather. When I walked along the streets in Flaminio or along the gates of Vatican city, I could see leather boots, leather jackets, and leather bags being put in the shops' window or being offered by street vendors. I almost bought a pair of leather boots (only 39.90 Euros), but they were the last ones and not available in my size. Argh. I will come again for the leather boots, Rome!

5. A fellow journo said that the receptionist at the hotel where we were staying in Rome was rude and not friendly. I was surprised because the man had always been friendly with me. But then, as I checked out of the hotel, I had this conversation with the receptionist, and I could guess why he was nice to me.

Receptionist (R): Bongiorno
Me : Bongiorno, I want to check out, please.
R : (checked on the computer) Did you take anything from the mini bar?
Me : No
R : Then, everything is clear, Mother.

Mother? He is clearly older than I am. Did he think I was a Catholic nun? I smiled politely and made my way to the door, trying to hold my laughters.

Actually, he was not the only person in Rome who called me 'Mother'. There were at least four other people calling me 'Mother' or 'Sister'. They were a guy at the airline's booth, a guy at the boarding gate, a street vendor near Vatican city and a ticket officer at a station.

I feel flattered being thought as a nun, but then it means I can't flirt with Italian guys who can't differentiate a Muslim hijabi and a Catholic nun.

A painter selling his painting (I forgot the place, but it could be Piazza di Navona). I have a soft spot for men who can create wonderful things with their hands:)

The Short Sojourn, The Long Post

Have you ever visited a place in such a short period of time it felt like a midsummer's dream?

In 2007, I was assigned to Yogyakarta, Central Java to attend Hari Bakti TNI AU. I had to be present at Halim Perdanakusumah airport at 5 a.m., flew in a Hercules aircraft at 6 a.m., touched down at Maguwo airport in Yogyakarta, attend the 2-hour ceremony at 7 a.m., did interview and lunch, and at 1 p.m. I was already in Jakarta again. I didn't even step out of Maguwo airport. 

My colleague Soehtam even had a much worse experience. He went from Jakarta to Manado, Sulawesi in the early dawn. The journey between Jakarta and Manado takes around four-five hours, but since Jakarta and Manado have two-hour time difference, he got in Manado when the sun was already high. He flew back from Manado at 7 p.m., had the same four-hour flight, but when he arrived in Jakarta it was still 9 p.m. in local time.

"It was literally the longest day in my life," he said. 

It seemed that history repeated again. I left Jakarta for Rome, Italy to attend a three-day course held by Thomson Reuters Foundation and Rome-based UN agency IFAD. The visa itself took about five days (which was amazing because the normal visa will need 12-15 days, grazie Ambasciata). Unfortunately, I could not extend my sojourn in Rome. But I did have a great time:)

I arrived in Rome on Feb. 17 at 13.00 local time. Rome and Jakarta have six-hour time difference, so it's already 19.00 in Jakarta. The long journey was really tiring (oh well, perhaps it's due to age), but I was determined to try Rome's public transportation. So instead of hailing a cab, I bought train ticket (8 Euro) for FR1 line to reach Roma Ostiense station.

A subway train in Rome

I was so surprised when the train came because it was totally covered in graffiti it looked like it had been severely vandalized. Then the first trial came: I got off the wrong station. I asked a man if I needed to buy another ticket to reach Roma Ostiense. Although I asked in English, the man replied in Italian. Ouch!

But of all the words he said, my ears caught words that sounded like dix minutes (French word for 'ten minutes'). The man also pointed his hand to the platform. So the train would come in 10 minutes and I should stay and wait there, I concluded. The conclusion was correct. Anyway, according to a website, Rome's temperature that day was between 10 and 13 degree Celsius, so standing on the platform for 10 minutes was not an exciting experience.

After getting off in Roma Ostiense, I transferred to subway heading for Laurentina. The subway ticket is only 1 Euro. As I dragged my luggage to the hotel, a street vendor greeted me with,"Assalamualaikum, are you Malaysian?" Oh wow, feels like home already, hahaha. Anyway, the street vendor is a Bangladeshi, but he worked in Malaysia for 14 years, so we talked a bit, he used Melayu language, while I Bahasa.

When I saw my hotel room, I was shocked. It was so small, I barely had space to move around. I don't have claustrophobia and I am petite enough to sleep on that tiny single bed. But still, I was expecting a little bit more space.

The tiny hotel room

On Friday, I met with the other 17 journalists across the globe. The room where we convened was soon filled with conversation in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and even African languages. I really loved the mixed combination of the group. The meeting was ended at 5 p.m. And we rushed to the city!

I went with Jessica from Singapore, Rahimy from Malaysia and Aya from Dubai, UAE. We headed straight to Fontana di Trevi. If the day was cold, the night was even colder. We had pizzas for dinner in a small restaurant before going back to the hotel.

On Saturday, the course began. Then I joined a reception with the hope that I could meet my delegations. Since there were none, I took comfort in the delicious foods served in the event. The reception ended at 8 p.m. There were only Jorge, the Paraguayan journo, and I in the IFAD building, so I asked him if he wanted to go around the city. Well, I was a bit forcing him to accompany me:P. At first, he said he was tired and wanted to sleep.

"But we don't go to Rome everyday, Jorge," I said.
Upon hearing those words, he finally said,"Okay, let's meet at the lobby 15 minutes from now."

Yay! Since it was Saturday, the subway service lasted until 1.30 a.m., while from Sunday to Friday, the subway only ran until 9.30 p.m. It was very late, but the subway was bustling with Italians who wanted to hit downtown with their friends and partners.

We met Josefina, a nice Peruvian lady, at Laurentina station (Jorge started a conversation with her in Spanish) and she suggested that we got off at Flaminio station and looked around. So off we went to Flaminio, and there we found Piazza del Popolo, walked to Piazza di Spagna, and climbed the Spanish steps.

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza de Spagna and the Spanish step

I love exploring a city at night as it falls to sleep and loosens its guard. The city lights were up and people were walking hands in hands along the streets. The photos I took this night were a bit blurry, but I kinda loved them for the dreamy look.

During our subway ride back to the hotel, we went into a car with drunk Italians. They kept yelling and jostling among themselves. Jorge looked a bit worried and he kept a watchful guard. Thank God, two train police officers came and told the drunk guys to leave the train.

Sunday morning found me working on the training again. The session ended at 2 p.m., the journos had a quick farewell (saying goodbyes is painful) and headed out to explore the city before leaving Rome. I went with Jessica and Aya.

We went to Colosseum, see a glimpse of the Roman ruins, saw the inside of Pantheon, and had dinner in a restaurant. Rome was raining after dinner, so I pulled out a red umbrella I just bought for 12 Euros and gave it a rain check (aha, a pun, hahaha). The umbrella passed with flying colors:).

Be a gladiator at the Colosseum

Monday was the last day. Since my flight was at 8.35 p.m., I decided to explore the city again before leaving Rome. Not just a place in Rome, but the Vatican City. I went with Jessica. We passed a very long queue for the Vatican museum. Fortunately, we bought advanced tickets online (19 Euros) and we could get in in a jiffy.

Going to the Vatican Museum was really a lifetime experience. Well, at least for me since I love art. I was finally able to see with my own eyes the sculpture of The Pity and the fresco of The Last Judgement in Sistine Chapel, after just admiring them from books and photos. Both are the works of Michaelangelo. I could spend hours to stay there, but time was ticking. So little time, so much to do and see.

La Pieta (or The Pity) by Michaelangelo

Then we went to St. Peter's Basilica, climbed the cupola and saw Rome from above. The climb to the cupola was hard, but the view was worth it. Magnificent! During my college years, I saw this bird eye's view of St. Peter's Basilica in Francis DK Ching's book. Seeing it for real almost brought tears to my eyes.

And that ladies and gentlemen, the last moments I had with Rome as I had to ran back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and headed straight to Fiumicino airport. Then I had another 15-16 hours of flight, four hours of transit and the six-hour time difference all over again, and here I am:).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Back To The Big Durian

Hello, there! I'm back in Jakarta again:). 

I arrived here on Tuesday night, still had jet lag on Wednesday, and was swamped with works on Thursday. But today and tomorrow are my days off. So let's check what Jakarta has in store for this weekend.

After I browse, surf and dig around the web, it seems that the only interesting event (well, for me it's interesting) this weekend is the regular movie screening at Erasmus Huis Jakarta that will bring The Hell of '63 this Saturday, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. It's about the grueling adventure skaters had to endure in the infamous Elfstedentocht of 1963.

Besides watching the movie, I will probably do the laundry or have a lunch with a colleague. Or hunt DVDs of Studio Ghibli. Or sleep, I still fall asleep on the bus ride to the office and home, it seems my body is still used to the Roman time.  

I'll write a post on the journey to Rome next week if my work schedule permits.

Have a great weekend:)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Eternal City

Mia cara, sorry for the lack of post. I was supposed to spend my six-day holidays in Semarang. But something came up and I had to go back to Jakarta. Things moved very fast and the last thing I remembered was going to the airport.

Anyway, right now I'm in The Eternal City.

I still can't function well thanks to the 15-hour flight, three-hour transit, and six-hour time difference. I need some sleep first, eat and then blogs about it.

One thing for sure, when you are in the land of the Godfathers, you feel safe when seeing a police car in the parking lot:)

Have a happy weekend:)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Seoulites' Sense Of Fashion

Taken in Myeong-Dong district

When I was in Seoul, I wished that I was Bionic Woman and had cameras in my eyes. Because Seoulites wear their fashion like no one else would. In many global cities, the ones with the best fashion are usually women, but in Seoul, the men also score high in fashion.

Every time I boarded the subway or walked along the streets, there were always fashionable Korean guys within my eyesight. They would wear pink, light blue, purple T-shirts (with very low V-neck line that makes girls salivating, ok maybe not all girls, maybe it's just me:P) paired with leather trousers and boots. In Indonesia, most men would never wear pink. Also, the Korean guys always wear hats, scarves and cool jackets. So Korean guys really provided me with a fresh look on men's wear.

Not all Korean guys are strikingly handsome, but they have guts to wear unusual clothes. I really wanted to take their photos, but sometimes they were standing too far, sometimes I was in a hurry and most times I was too shy. I know, I know, I should just ask them anyway. I'll try to be bold next time.

One night, when Hugo, Wharrysson and I walked along Apgujeong, a hip district near our hotel, we played a game of "Stylespotting", which was basically reviewing whether the gals and the guys were hot. Hugo and Wharrysson were to judge the gals, while I the guys. 

Unfortunately, that night was the night when all beautiful gals had fun, while the handsome guys were nowhere to be seen. Hugo and Wharrysson had a great time doing pretty gals-watching while I smiled watching their behavior. Boys will be boys. But I want my flower boys! :(

Anyway, if you're wondering what kind of fashion Seoulites wear, The Sartorialist is currently in South Korea.

And if you're planning to go to South Korea, below are several 'hot spots' for people-watching:
- Hongik University area (there are many cafes and creative industries in the area. There is also a cafe where Korean drama Coffee Prince was shot:))
- Myeong-Dong (people come and go in a jiffy, and all of them are dressed for success!)
- Apgujeong (many cafes and restaurants, it's said that Korean movie stars often hang out in Galleria, unfortunately I didn't meet any)
- Itaewon (with a mosque in the district, there are many halal restaurants, but there are 'suspicious' bars that have girls wearing very skimpy outfits coming and going, perhaps it's a bit like red light district)
- Insa-dong (a place to buy Korean souvenirs, but many Koreans come here to hang out, one of the most visited is Samszi gil)
- Garosu-gil (it's a nice street, lined up with cafes)

Perhaps there are more places, but those are the place I went to.

Have a nice day, people!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I Love: #5. Days Off

People who work in the normal hours always wonder why I leave for office after 9 a.m. (sometimes I leave home after 2 p.m.) and return after 10 p.m. They also wonder why I have days off in the middle of the week when they are working, or why I am working in the weekends when people are having days off.

People also raise eyebrows when I say I don't know if I can attend a certain event because I have yet to have my monthly days off schedule, which I receive a few days before the month starts. They may think I make up that lame excuses, but in case you're wondering, below is what my days off schedule like. 

I go with the initial "tif" in the office. Ahem, as you can see, I'll have six days off starting Feb. 12, and I'll spend some of them in Semarang, Central Java. Work hard, play hard!

This week has been the grueling five days overflowing with sad news, such as the attack on Ahmadiyah (on Sunday) and the operation of 46 bus was finally suspended (on Monday), the case  in Temanggung, Central Java (on Tuesday) and then I had a weird conversation with one of my bosses (on Wednesday). I hope the next week's events will help erase the bad memories.

If you are in Jakarta this weekend, I'd like to suggest you to:
- Comic animation exhibition at CCF Jakarta with Simon Hureau
- Watch Black History Month Films at @america
- Find perfect places for a romantic dinner with your partner
- Dog owners, enjoy the PawDay at Langsat Park

Have a lovely weekend:)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Things I Love: #4. Higher Grounds

Jakarta is pretty much flat. When you walk along the streets of Jakarta, all you're ever going to see is the traffic jams, the lack of green space and you'll end up hating it. I know that kind of feeling, because as a person who was born, grew up and now work in the capital, I still need to getaway from Jakarta's daily grind. But if you can't leave the city, all you need to do is  climb a few floors, put yourself in a higher ground and see Jakarta from a different perspective. And perhaps you'll fall in love again with the city.

Below are some photos of Jakarta I took during my assignment or my free time. Enjoy! 

Morning has broken. Photographed from the eighth floor of BNI training division building in Slipi, West Jakarta 

Gelora Bung Karno stadium, photographed from the 18th floor of the National Education Ministry

My cousine Dina's office is located on the 46th floor of Menara BCA on Jl. MH Thamrin. When I visited her office a few years ago, I snapped some photos. Here they are.

Tangent: The views from the 46th floor are great, but if an earthquake happens (not frequent, but still, it happened), having a landed office seems like a great idea.

View to Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and Jl. MH Thamrin

View to Jl. Imam Bonjol (CMIIW, I think that's Deutche Bank building on the left)

I forget which view this is. The green river looks like the one next to Plaza Indonesia. CMIIW.

Although it's not much, I'm so happy to see that there are trees in the city! They look like a spider's web.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things I Love: #3. Colors

Upon seeing that I always have matching (and colorful) headscarf-dress, a friend once asked how many headscarves I had. I guess I break the stereotype that Muslim women only wear black or dark colors. If she ever come to Indonesia or Malaysia, I'm sure she will be surprised to see the color burst on the hijabis:).

I spend endless hours at night to decide which shirt and headscarf I should wear for the next day. I would not  step out of the house if I was not sure with the colors I wore. Just kidding, that's me exaggerating:). Colors do affect my mood, and my mood plays a big part in my choice of colors that day. So when I'm feeling unmotivated, I would wear something white, gray and black (the safe colors). Or when all shirts are in the laundry, it's very probable to see me in a very unlikely color combination. 

Do you have any favorite color? Anyway, I've confessed in this blogs that I bought my camera because of the color. So yes, I heart red, yellow and blue, the primary colors. But I love all colors, well except beige,  because the color makes me look pale.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I Love: #2. Books

Since D worked for a book publishing company for 27 years, it is no surprise that I love books too. When I was still a little kid, five or six years old, he would take me to his office, give me a book to read and leave me to do his works. I never cried if I was given a book to read, he said.

Whenever I asked D something, he would look to the books, pull one of them, and find the answers in it. Instead of going to amusement parks, he would take me to bookstores or book fairs for the weekend. He would give me books for my birthdays. Now I buy my own books. Oh dear, I am really a nerd. So uncool, eh?

I usually go to second hand bookstore for old school Japanese manga. Or to Kompas's employee big sale where they sell English book at between Rp 20,000 (US$ 2) and Rp 50,000. It's for employees only, but since we're sister companies, I can sneak in:). Sometimes I also borrow the books from my friends, my office's library or Kompas's library. Ahh, the joy of having Kompas newspaper as our neighbor:).

With the blooming of e-book, the iPads and Kindles are rising too. But for me, books are more appealing because I love the artworks/graphic/illustration on the cover. Also, looking to the screen for a long period of time is not good for your eyes.

I feel weird if I don't have a reading material next to my bed. Currently, I'm on the 900-something page of the 1,400-something page of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. It's been a struggle to finish Tolstoy. In fact, I made a post on this book last year! After that book, I still have a book by Naguib Mahfouz and Stephen King's Green Mile.

Unfortunately, not everyone I know share this love. Whenever I lent my books, they came back to me with stains, torn/folded pages and even graffiti. This is why I never lend books anymore. Call me stingy if you like, but the stingy one is, I think, the person who does not buy the books, borrows from other people, and refuses to repair/replace the torn and borrowed books. Books contain knowledge, respect them, please.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things I Love: #1. Language

Photo was taken near Seoul Women University (if I'm not mistaken, CMIIW)

It's seven day before V-day and the city already gears up for the day. Roses, chocolates, romantic candlelit dinner promotions in restaurant. So this week, let's talk about love! But I'd like to write about other kinds of love. The love for things in life. What are the things you love?

One of the things I love is language. Although I'm not a fast language learner, it always amazes me that there are words in certain language that are similar to the ones I knew. So we did use one language in the past. Anyway, the great thing about mastering a language is you understand what the person means. It's like pulling out your ear plugs and opening so many doors of opportunities.

During the 31 years of my life, I have been lucky to learn several languages. Bahasa Indonesia is the first language I learned. Of course. Then, I learned Sundanese from D and Javanese from M. Although I can't speak Sundanese and Javanese fluently, I know many words in those two languages.

I got in touch with English when I was 12 years old. At first, I didn't understand why there are different subject for man (he) and woman (she), because in Bahasa, we only use "dia" for either man or woman. I also mixed up every subject and its auxiliary verb.

For example, I wrote "I is" or "She am". Oh dear, I had a terrible start for English, I tell you. The fact that I'm currently working for an English-language newspaper is a dream comes true. Anyway, the point is when you're learning anything, a language, a skill, never give up! To help me with the language, I joined IEC, an English course near my home. But the big help was watching Sesame Street. I love it! My favorite characters are Count Dracula, Ernie and Bert, and Oscar the Grouch:)

The fifth language was German. I learned it along with my cousin Riska who stayed in my home for one year. Her father (or my uncle) was assigned in Vienna, Austria, but she wanted to complete her junior high school before going there. So while completing her school, she also improved her Deutsch. A private teacher would come to my home every Saturday to give her a Deutsch lesson, and I tagged along:).

If English was hard, then German was even more complicated because every thing has a gender! Book is a female, and pen is a male, correct me if I'm wrong, it's been years ago. I still remember a children's song that starts with "Wir haben hunger", and other basic German words, like "Danke", "Entschuldigung" and "Bitte schon".

During my college years, I took Japanese and Dutch courses. I gave up the Japanese course after a few meetings, because (a) the schedule didn't go well with my studies and (b) the alphabet system was different, so I had to learn from basic. Since then, I made a pact to only learn languages with alphabet system I am already familiar with.

I managed to continue the Dutch course for at least 1.5 years. One of the factors was the good-looking teacher. Anyway, since I've learned German, learning Dutch was more like refreshing my memories. Besides, there are many Indonesian terms use the Dutch words. For example, "knalpot".

One of the differences I can tell between Dutch and Deutsch is how they pronounce "G". For example, Germans say "gut" (good) like the English's good, while Dutch people say "goed" (good) like the English's hood. It's pretty interesting.

After finishing college and landing on a job, I finally braved myself to learn the eighth language, French.  Being one of European languages, French shares many similarities Deutsch and Dutch, such as every thing has a gender and so many past tenses (French loves the past, indeed). It is not easy to learn French, but it is fun! 

I met so many nice people during the French course. I met Defa, who later suggested me to apply to HoC, my former office, after I resigned from my first job. I met K, who shares similar interests on cultural events. I quitted the French course after taking it for four years, but I still meet my CCF friends from time to time.

French has similarities with Spanish and Italian too. When I interviewed Argentinian human rights activists, I found that we simply changed or added the last letter with "o" to make it Spanish. For example, "quand" (French word for "when") + o = "quando" (Spanish word for "when"). For me, it sounds very Javanese. Ha! But it does not apply to all words, of course.

The ninth language was, of course, Korean. While it was difficult to memorize the Han Geul alphabet system, I did quite well on the pronunciation. In fact, a waitress at a restaurant praised me for my well-pronounced Korean:). If only she knew...

Anyway, now I'm thinking what language should I learn? There are two languages I'm interested in: Arabic and Russian. Ok, I remember I made a pact of only learning language that uses Roman alphabet. But I know Arabic alphabet and although Russia uses Cyrillic alphabet, I am very, truly, seriously curious about Russian. So if anyone knows there is Arabic or Russian course in Jakarta, let me know please?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let's Spend This Weekend With Our Loved Ones

Picture is found here

Hello, my darlings! I was out of radar for a while, but I'm back now. First of all, Gong Xi Fa Cai! If you're celebrating, hope you have a great New Year.

What are your plans for this weekend? This weekend, I'll only have Sunday as my day off. But my colleague wanted to switch day off with me, so I'll have Saturday as my day off. Perhaps I'll take D for a Sunday's breakfast, he recently had a bad case of diarrhea and had to go to the E.R. to receive IV for two hours. He's alright now, but he is still abstaining from spicy foods.

I got an advice from a colleague, who has just lost her mother. She said that I should spend time with parents as long as they were alive because I would not know when their time in this world was up. She had spent many beautiful moments with her mother, such as taking her to Singapore and Bintan island, or when she was still assigned in Bali island, she took her for a quick getaway to Lombok island. Last December, her mother came to Jakarta and stayed in my colleague's rented room. 

"During that month, we cooked meals together, or simply talked. I knew my mother's health had been ailing. So everytime she was in a good health, I took her for vacations," my colleague said.

Ahem, but one day with my parents is enough I guess:).

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Craving For Apple

Source (and the funny story behind the picture): here

What is it with Jakartans and Apple products? It seems they love the products to the level of addiction. Below are excerpts of conversations I heard or had on the products.

#1. On MacBook
Situation: I was at an Apple store, trying to decide whether I really needed a MacBook laptop or not. I was there for more than 30 minutes, clicking and thinking things out, when a man and his son came. They also tried the features of a MacBook Pro.
Man: Ok. We'll take this one. And don't forget to set the parental control, please.
Salesperson: Yes, Sir. (Set up the requested parental control and quickly wrapped the laptop)
Man (to his son): Now, you have this laptop. Make good use of it, okay.
Son: Yes, Dad.
Man (to the salesperson): My boy, who is still in junior high school, has been wanting a MacBook since he saw his high school friend toting it. I don't know what is it with this crazy over Apple. I think it looks just like any other laptops
Salesperson: Well, it has good design, Sir.

What flashes in my mind: Oh, my God! I, a 30-something working woman, save money for months, even years, to buy a laptop. I am considering the laptop brand like picking a husband, because it's going to be my first laptop and I want it to last for 10 years or more. And here a man bought a MacBook Pro for a 14-year-old boy who has yet to earn money! Can he be my father, please?

#2. On iPod
Situation: I was still at the store. As I said, I stayed there for more than 30 minutes. A couple came and looked at the iPods.
Woman: Excuse me, do you have the iPod that has no screen?
Salesperson: You mean, iPod Shuffle? It's the smallest, so it has no screen.
Woman: Yes, yes. Whatever it is, I want one, please. The teachers at my daughter's school have forbade students to bring MP3 players with screens after the scandal of Ariel Peterpan porn videos.

What flashes in my mind: Oh, my God! If they need an MP3 players without screens, why don't they just buy Samsung or Creative Zen MP3 players?

#3. On iPod (again!)
Situation: At the office, typing. One of my bosses walked in while listening to an iPod.
Me: Isn't that an iPod Touch?
Cool Boss: Yes, it is.
Me: You have two iPods? Yesterday I saw you brought a Shuffle.
Cool Boss: Actually, I have several kinds of iPods. I have Shuffle, Nano, Touch, and I even have the first edition of iPod.

What flashes in my mind: Oh, my God! There's no way to beat him, he's way too cool.

#4. On iPod (again!!)
Situation: I was waiting for the elevator in my office when I bumped into a man I respect. Let's call him BM.
BM: Hey, is that an iPod you're listening at? (pointing to the white earphones that dangle from my headscarf)
Me: (shutting down my iPod) Errr, yes it is.
(The elevator came. We boarded it)
BM: I have one too, a small one without screen.
Me: Oh, that must be the iPod Shuffle. I have a Nano. (pulled the Nano to show to him and accidentally dropped my name tag)
BM: (picked my name tag just when I picked it too, our heads almost bumped) Here you are.
Me: Oh, thanks. (dropped a coin, argh, I hoped he didn't notice my anxiety)
BM: (picked the coin) Here you are. Anyway, it really has big capacity. I already download all songs into that Shuffle, and it still has many free space.
(The elevator door opened and I let him walked out first)

What passes in my mind: Oh, my God! Why didn't I ask his favorite songs? Why was I so nervous? *slapped my head and cried in the corner*

#5. On iPad
Situation: I passed the cubicle of the Cool Boss and saw an iPad.
Me: Wow, you just bought an iPad! What happened?
Cool Boss: Well, I went to an Apple store looking for earphones. But they are very expensive. So I asked the salesperson if I could get earphones by buying iPad. The salesperson said the iPad didn't come with earphones. But then I saw that the iPad was quite cheap, so I bought it.

Like I said before, there's no way to beat him, he's just too cool:)

#6. On iPhone
Situation: a few hours before the soccer match between Indonesia and Malaysia at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
An iPhone owner: Hey, Tif, how long are you going to stay at the office tonight?
Me: Oh, I don't know. It's Wednesday and we have weekly meeting. Probably until 10.30 -11 p.m. Why?
An iPhone owner: My articles are done and I want to watch the match in the stadium. But I'm afraid to bring my iPhone to the stadium. It's very crowded and there must be many pickpockets there.Would you mind phone-sitting my iPhone until the match is over and I come back to office?
Me: Yes, sure. Errr, may I play the games in the phone?
(She later texted me after the game, saying that the traffic was too terrible so she couldn't come back to office to pick the iPhone. So, she asked me if I would take care of her phone that night. Of course, I said.)

My response to the situation? I played Pandamonium, Angry Bird and all games in the iPhone until 2.30 a.m. Yep, it's that addictive.