Monday, October 31, 2011

The French Connection That Jakarta Has

I have a kind of interest with sewer tunnels, as you can see from the photo here, here, here and here. I've been trying to find a sewer that puts Jakarta on its top. But the closest I can get is this Rasuna Epicentrum sewer. The ironic thing is it's made in France! Why does it have to be made in France, Jakarta? Can't you make your own sewer channel?

Something Sweet For My Teeth

To be honest, Monday is not my favorite day. But I won't let the feeling ruins my day. When things doesn't go as planned, I just have some sweet snacks. Below are some of the sweet delicacies I recently savored.

Monggo chocolate

Macaroons at Bistro Baron

Some chocolate candies from Moldova I found on my desk. I've never been to Moldova, or Russian-speaking countries. How in the world they made it to my desk?

Chocolate cupcake made by Lfr, my colleague

Chocolate ice cream at Cream&Fudge Factory

How do you deal with Monday's blues?

Friday, October 28, 2011

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Not sure why I put these orange Converse for this post. One thing for sure: I need to clean them.

Hello, sweeties! It's Friday, it's my day off and it's the Youth Pledge day. A bit random, eh? Well, since Indonesia consists of dozens of islands, this Youth Pledge day always amazes me. (Brace yourself, people, it's going to be quite a long post.)

I often wonder how Indonesians in the pre Independence day went in their life. With the ocean dividing the islands, how did they interact with each other? How did they get the collective consciousness that they were one nation?

The first guess was because Indonesia was under the Dutch/Portuguese colonial government. The sense of being together in the hellhole brought Indonesian people together and fought the tyranny. But then there was also love story, like the one in my family.

During the Citarum coverage many moons ago, I spent a few nights at my auntie's house. We talked about many things, including my grandmother's family history. I've mentioned here before that my grandmother was half Bugis (her father) and half Sundanese (her mother). 

My grandmother's mother passed away shortly after delivering her. Since my grandmother's father could not take care of her, she was taken in by her maternal grandmother. My auntie said that my grandmother's grandmother was a Moluccan (of Maluku islands) and her name was Melania (Hmm, now I know where I get this dark complexion and curly hair. For those who don't know, well now you do: I have curly hair) (Is it possible that great great grandma Melania is also half Slovenian and related to Melania Trump? Ha!).

So it seemed my ancestors had traveled across our vast archipelago. Located in the eastern Indonesia, Maluku islands consist of many small island. Last year I went to Kei islands, which are only a part of the whole Maluku islands. It took me nine hours to reach Kei islands by airplane. I really couldn't imagine how long it took my great great grandmother to reach Java island.

My grandmother's grandmother probably arrived in Java island in early 1900s and decided to stay in this island after her marriage to my grandmother's grandfather (whose ethnicity I had yet to know, but most likely he's a Sundanese. Dear God, please don't give me more surprises!). 

It was very likely that great great grandma Melania passed the wisdom to her granddaughter, my grandma, that "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung" (Wherever you go, you must respect the local law), because my grandma often told me about the proverb.

That proverb was probably one of the recipes why Indonesians had this collective consciousness about being one nation, regardless of the ethnics, tribes and religions. You may be living in Aceh, Jakarta, Makassar, or Ambon, but you simply have to respect the local tradition.

Reading the sad news about violence committed under the name of religion sounds a bit off for me, because the respect for other people's rights existed long before the country was established. What is wrong with us today? Why can't we live in peace?

Celebrating the Youth Pledge (One Country, One Nation, One Language) this year, I'd like to remember my great great grandma, all of my ancestors and the people who has placed foundations for Indonesia today. Let's continue the works of our forefather in building our country. Go Indonesia!

And since you've been so kind to read this long post, I want to give you some Weekender info:). Yay!

This Friday (yes, today!), there is a movie screening at Japan Foundation at 4 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.  You can't catch the 4 p.m. screening (sorry, for the late info), but you can run and watch the 6.30 p.m. show. Hurry!

Saturday will see another movie screening, Shocking Blue, at Erasmus Huis Jakarta at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Have a unifying weekend, sweeties!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'd Wear These On A Daily Basis, Even If There Is No Autumn In Indonesia

Taken from the 2011 Autumn Collection of Muji

See anything you like up there? Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Friendly Neighborhood Kitchen At Umaku Sushi Resto

When I was doing works for the Sunday desk, I happened to stumble upon Umaku, a nice sushi resto in Cibubur, East Jakarta. For me, Cibubur is quite far, so I forget about frequenting this resto. Recently, I met the owner again through Twitter and found that the sushi resto now opens two branches in Tebet and Duren Tiga. Yay!

I went to the Tebet branch, which was located on Jl. Tebet Raya No. 41. How to get there: first, go to Tebet train station. Next to the station, you'll find a small police station and a road, walk that road until you meet an intersection and another police station. Take the right turn, and you'll find Umaku on your left. Tada! I was very surprised to find Kopitiam Oey stands next to Umaku. Wow. It was painful to choose between the two restaurants, but I came for sushi, and therefore, headed straight to Umaku.

See those trees on the left? Behind those trees is the entrance to Umaku sushi resto

Umaku's concept is a family's kitchen, or neighborhood kitchen. Its interior is furnished with paper lantern and Japanese newspaper as the wallpaper and Japanese songs to give the Japanese ambiance. The restaurant opens from Tuesday to Sunday, starting from noon to 3 p.m. for lunch. Then it opens again from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. for dinner. It closes on Mondays.

The interior

I did not know that. I came in five minutes before 3 p.m. So after the waiters delivered my order, they left the premise and turned the sign from "Yes, We're Open" to "Sorry, We're Close." Err, should I go? I had Cawan Mushi (custard dish), Tobiko Sushi (flying fish egg sushi) and Volcano Fusion Sushi Roll (made from crab stick and salmon) right in front of me, and there was no way I could finish those pronto. Anyway, those three menus were delicious.

I like the rough sketch on the ceramic glass, so I make it as the background:). This is Cawan Mushi

Tobiko sushi

Volcano Fusion Sushi Roll

"Don't worry, you can stay," the kind chef said.

Tangent: During the break, the Japanese music was changed into Islamic songs. Hahaha. 

Since I had the permit to stay, I sheepishly asked if I could order again. The chef said yes, so I ordered Toro Sushi (fatty tuna), which the Naked Traveler mentioned as the best sushi ever and Unakyu Temaki (cone-shaped rice roll with eel). The fatty tuna came with Salmon Aburi, which is fired with mayonnaise.

Toro Sushi (the red ones) and Salmon Aburi (on the right)

Unakyu temaki

"The salmon is a bonus," the chef said. 

As you can see from the pictures, the sushi size is generous. The taste? Yum! The salmon was soooo delicious and the fatty tuna did not disappoint. In a comical expression, it was like flying into the sushi heaven.

The chef gave another bonus, a small glass of jelly. Wow, he really knows how to make customers happy. Then I topped it off with Ogura ice cream. Have I frightened you guys with my appetite? :)

The sweet bonus

Ogura ice cream

I'd definitely come again to Umaku, and next time, I'll bring my sushi-eating friends.

Do you like sushi? Do you have any favorite sushi resto?  

Monday, October 24, 2011

With Iin

Hello, sweeties! How was your weekend? Last week, I bumped into my university friend Iin. She lives in Surabaya, East Java, and only stays a few days in Jakarta for work. When was the last time you met your long-lost old friend?

I was on my way to my assignment and made a left turn, then I saw her. That meeting was really unplanned, just like the scenes of sinetron (Indonesia's the soap operas). But then a lot of things in my life are happening when I least expect them.

This is actually her third visit to Jakarta. I kinda scolded her for not telling me about her visit. She said that she did not know my new cellphone number. Well, it was true. The last time we met was during our wisuda (graduation ceremony), which was eight years ago! And I changed my cellphone number seven years ago.

Being a visitor to the capital could be a daunting experience, and she did admit that she was a bit afraid to walk the streets of Jakarta without company, so I offered her a walk around the city during her short sojourn.

At her hotel

These moments are presented to you by Fuji MPix and Pentax K-X :)

I dragged her to Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Sunday morning. I love this photo because she is  caught off guard and the background shows the dynamics of Jakarta: the fast-paced TransJakarta bus and the people on bikes 

Making silly faces with Photobooth

Have a happy Monday, people!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Few Photos On Universitas Terbuka

A few weeks ago, I had an interview with the rector of Universitas Terbuka (Open University), Indonesia's 45th state university that employs open and distance learning. Located near Pondok Cabe airport, the university aims on educating people who for various reasons, such as lack of funding or rural isolation, do not have the opportunity to attend conventional face-to-face higher education institutions.

The rector was very nice, and the interview was interesting. But rather than talking about my work, I just want to post some photos I took there.

The university's logo

I was taken to the university's warehouse that keeps books to be send to students in far-flung regions

Some of the books

The green sidewalk

Flowers bloom along the sidewalk

Trivia: Universitas Terbuka has around 600,000 students across Indonesia and the globe. Some 80 percent of them are teachers who are taking their undergraduate degrees in order to comply with the teacher certification program. The university also has some 1,000 migrant workers as students, they mostly take English and Management. Wow. Go Indonesian migrant workers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sibling Rivalry?

We planted a papaya tree and a belimbing wuluh (a family of starfruit) tree on our backyard when we moved in last year. Now, the trees are vying for space and sunlight! They give sibling rivalry a whole new definition:P.

And both trees produce as many fruits as the other! Alhamdulillah, praise to Allah.

What trees you have at your home?

PS. Remember the black cat that rules other cats at my home? It seems he has claimed my home as his home. I saw him catching mice on the front yard. Sometimes I caught him watching the fish pond with an unbearable longing look (ha!). And then I saw this...

Aww. Sweet eh?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gadget, Socmed And My Parents

#1. Situation: M&D were sitting on the porch, sipping tea and typing text message in their cellphone. I came and sat with them.
M   : Why don't you buy a new cellphone, honey?
Me : Why is that? *suspicious*
M   : So I can use your old cellphone, mine is starting to break down.
Me : Why don't you buy a new cellphone?
M   : Why should I? I only use cellphone for calling and texting, I don't need a fancy one. I can use yours. *grins*

#2. Situation: during which I tell my parents about news of my cousins I read on Facebook. 

Tangent: if you're my cousin and you read this, hmm it's time to be cautious about all those 'galau' status you put on social media because I'm stalking you, muahahaha. Ok, ignore the tangent and proceed to the conversation.

M   : Wow everyone seems to be on Facebook these days.
Me : That's right.
M   : Hey, I'd like to have a Facebook account too.
Me : You don't need a Facebook account because your friends don't have it. So who you're going to befriend?
M   : Well, I can befriend you.
Me : We meet everyday. If you have any question, you can just ask me. Besides, whatever I put on Facebook, it is not the real me. It's my freaking crazy alter ego.

Another tangent: Do you befriend your parents on Facebook? Well, a friend does befriend her mother on Facebook. As a result, her mother always comments on everything my friend posts on Facebook. Poor kid. Moral of the story: never teach your parents about socmed and never approve them as your friends.

#3. Situation: after we received a sad news on the passing of my father's brother.
M  : Let's inform this to other families *grabs cellphone and starts to type*
D   : Read it to me
[M reads the message loudly.]
D   : Add this sentence [saying the words]. Now read it to me
[M reads the message again]
D   : Give me the cellphone. See, you're missing on something here *starts to correct the sentence*
[Ten minutes later, he gasps]
M   : What happens?
D   : I accidentally erase the whole message. Now I have to type everything from beginning.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spanish National Day

A very cool Spanish coat of arms

The festivities

The pork. When I approached the table, people always warn me not to eat it. That's very nice of them:)

MasterChef competition! Hahaha. Naah, they're preparing the paella (Spanish rice dish)

Paella in progress. Somehow I forgot to take the after photo. 

Tabla Flamencas, sorry for the blur

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Photos And Tips On Belitung

Of all fast food restaurants, why is KFC the only one I found in Tanjung Pandan?

1. Bring your cash in small value (Rp 10,000 or Rp 20,000 would be great). I brought Rp 100,000 notes with me and the only place that could give change was Puncak supermarket in Tanjung Pandan. As for ATM machine, I saw the ones of BCA, BNI and Bank Mandiri. 

Tourist information board found at an empty road in Sijuk. I think there should be more of this board because the locals always look confused whenever we ask about the tourism spots. I was surprised to read that it's made by Gadjah Mada University students. Seriously?

2. We always ask the locals about the beautiful places and the local delicacies, but they always look confused. If you come to Belitung without travel agency, you should do extensive research before you go to know what places you want to see. Perhaps the administration should educate the locals to appreciate their nature and culture.

Octogram-shaped symbols

3. Most people in Belitung speak with a bit of Melayu accent, the people of Chinese descent can talk in Mandarin. Try to imitate them. If you're from Java, rather than addressing the men and women with "Mas" and "Mbak", call them with "Abang" and "Kakak".   

Death announcement at a temple is using Chinese alphabet. 

4. Belitung is not Bali, that's for sure. Don't expect to have the same facilities like in Bali. In some cottages and hotels, the guests share bathrooms, and some bathrooms use squat toilets, not seat toilets. But the good thing is, Belitung has lower prices compared to Bali and the people are very helpful and friendly. 

Our hotel is located near this market

5. The water in Belitung is not clean. If you have sensitive skins or prone to allergies, you'd better bring the medicine with you. There are many apothecaries in Tanjung Pandan, but it takes us a few stops until we found the medicine Aneen needed to cure the rashes.

Fishermen at Burung Mandi beach

6. One thing for sure: it's your holiday. Just enjoy whatever happens during the sojourn and stop worrying:).

Villa Lor-In in Tanjung Tinggi. Not our hotel, by the way:P

View from Villa Lor In

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fish Market In Tanjung Pandan

My hotel in Belitung was only a few meters away from the fish port. So Aneen and I visited the fish market. Here are the photos.

Let's go to the fish market!

Inside the fish market. The first two photos are taken by Aneen. The rest is mine.

Fillet maker competition

Crabs. Look, there is a crab mama holding eggs under her belly.

The crab monger

I don't know the name of these fishes, but I do love their color

More unknown fishes

Finless baby sharks. Oh dear, my heart sank to see them.