Saturday, January 21, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 3

Enjoy your food quote :) (Pic source: Google.com)

Read more on what to eat in Jakarta day 1 here and day 2 here :)

9. Bakwan Bakso from the roadside hawker. Bakwan was fried wonton skin and bakso was beef ball. It was usually served with yellow noodle or rice vermicelli, bean sprout, chye sim (green vegetables), salt, sweet soya sauce, chili, fried onion, and spring onion.

Eating bakwan bakso on the roadside ^^

When I was young, my sis and I used to secretly buying and eating it. The vendor would pass by our house and we would call him to stop. We took the bowl from our house (for hygienic reason) and let him fill the content inside. Why secretly? Because our dad did not like to see us eating it. It's not nutritious and hygiene, he said. :P

That's why I seldom ate it. This time we ate because Mom wanted it first and I just followed her accordingly :D It's a roadside hawker so we ate it on the roadside, sitting on the footpath and used plastic chair as a table. Hahaha.... That's what I loved about eating roadside food. So if you happen to go to Jakarta, try it!!! It's nice and cheap!!! And you couldn't find the same taste elsewhere. Two bowls as per shown in the picture above only cost us IDR 12,000 or SGD 1.30!!!

10. Bakmi CapCit (17). I've visited this stall since I was still in primary school. It was first visited by my elder sisters' generation and the first place I knew that served a sweet noodle (bakmi manis) by adding sweet soya sauce into it.

Bakmi CapCit (17) - Jakarta

It used to be sold by one Uncle originated from Belitung but he passed away two years ago and since then onwards his son continued the business. The taste was still the same and I used to eat a lot, like 1.5 bowls of noodles added with 5 pcs of wonton hahaha.... But not anymore lah!!! ^^ Forgot the price details but should be around IDR 24,000 or SGD $2.50 to IDR 27,000 or SGD $2.80 per bowl.

Address: Lapangan basket Jl. Pluit Putri Dalam, Jakarta Utara

11. Nasi Padang. Padang was a town located at West Sumatera. They cooked delicious spices meat, vegetable, and chili. This was another recommended food to eat if you visit Jakarta. If you ate at the restaurant, don't be surprise when so many plates would be served in front of you with so many varieties of delicious food. You didn't have to finish all, just took what you wanted and they would charge you accordingly. Eat it with your hands as they would serve a bowl filled with water and lime to wash your hands before and after meal. Add the green chili oil!!! And eat it with hot steamed rice! Hmmmm... nyummy!!! :)

Nasi Padang Kasih Bundo - Pluit, Jakarta

Usually we ate at Sinar Minang at Gedong Panjang but this time dad told us that the restaurant in the photo above had just been opened not long ago and they served a package meal containing rice with chicken and vegetables at IDR 25,000 or SGD 2.70 with free egg or perkedel (potato croquet). However, the promo was over. So we packed home rice with meat and vegetables on our choice.

Price list from Kasih Bundo Nasi Padang

I ordered beef Rendang, egg Balado, with rice and vegetables at IDR 38,000 or SGD $4 while rice with Opor chicken and vegetable at IDR 26,000 or SGD 2.80. Too bad the chicken size was too small. Not much meat in it. My mom said that they used chicks instead of usual chicken kekeke... and the beef Rendang was hard too. So we decided to still go back to Sinar Minang next time instead of patronising this one.

12. Sop Kaki Kambing H. Soma at Pejagalan. Sop kambing or mutton soup was another must eat food in Jakarta. Usually opened in evening time around 6pm, once the sky turned dark. They set up the tent outside people's house or shop, or otherwise rented an empty land. Cars would be parked on the roadside just nearby the tent area.

Sop Kambing or mutton soup Bang Soma :)

This was one of my family's favorite stalls. There were few others serving different type of soup. Once you reached, you had to choose what you wanted. The small cut and boiled mutton meat, tongue, legs, brain, etc. had already been prepared in a big stainless steel bowl. Choose what you want and put them into the ceramic bowl. 1 pc of meat and tongue cost IDR 8,000 or SGD $0.85, while the leg cost double at IDR 16,000 or SGD $1.70 each.

I chose 2 meats, 1 tongue, and 1 leg with half plate of rice. The soup contained coconut milk and usually at end the seller would add a spoon of margarine to enhance the soup taste. We had it with pickles containing cucumber, carrot, chili, and red onion. Just be aware that this place had lots of mosquitoes, so wear long pants whenever possible to avoid being bitten by it!!!

Address: Jl Pejagalan 1, Jakarta

More food to come. Stay tune! ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 2

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like" - Mark Twain (Source: Google.com)

Continuing on what to eat in Jakarta. Read the part 1 here :)

5. Bakmi Ayam or chicken noodle at any wet market. Below was the chicken noodle that my Mom and I ate at Pasar Muara Karang or Muara Karang wet market.

Bakmi Ayam at Pasar Muara Karang - Jakarta, Indonesia 

After buying what we needed that morning, suddenly Mom had another craving for Bakmi Ayam or chicken noodle. It was very common for locals to eat Bakmi or noodle for breakfast. In fact, we could eat it at anytime of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, even dinner. The one I ate above was with chicken meat. The noodle was thin in size that it felt more like Mee Sua although tasted just like noodles. In some stall sold by Chinese Indonesian, they even provided fried pork fat or zhu you zha upon request. It's fragrant and crunchy although not healthy for our body :D You could also add wonton (or dumpling) and bakso sapi (beef balls) to complete your meal. One bowl of this noodle cost us IDR 21,000 or SGD $2.20.

Address: Muara Karang wet market, Jakarta Utara

6. Kafe Betawi at Emporium Pluit Mall. My sis asked me what would I want to eat that afternoon for lunch. I had been to Kedai Bu Djoko. But I was still craving for local Indonesian food. So I told her that I wanted to eat at Kafe Betawi.

Here, you could find so many varieties of local food and jajanan or snacks, also dessert. Those food offered were specialty from some parts of towns in Indonesia, and many were usually sold on the street using the wheeled carts. I had a hard time choosing on what I wanted to eat as I missed and loved them all, but only had one stomach hahaha.... :P

Kafe Betawi at Emporium Pluit Mall - Jakarta, Indonesia 

After some time, finally I decided to order Mie Soto IDR 49,000 or SGD $5.20 (mixture of yellow noodle and rice vermicelli soup with beef, cabbage, potato, tomato, fried onion, Emping or belinjo crackers, and the cut spring roll filled with rice vermicelli), shared Batagor - Baso tahu goreng IDR 38,000 or SGD $4 (kind of deep fried fish meat paste mixed with flour and fried tofu, served with peanut sauce and lime) with my sister, and Es Teler IDR 32,000 or SGD $3.40 (translated as Drunken Ice - not real meaning though) - the mixture of avocado, coconut, jackfruits worry crushed ice, sugar syrup, and condensed milk. My sis ordered Beef Rawon soup with rice IDR 60,000 or SGD $6.40 - the black beef soup that originally came from East Java. I used to have it when traveling to that area during my childhood time with my parents.

I'd tasted almost all the food listed there in menu which most of them were sold on the street by the street peddlers. Too bad we could not get them all from the area nearby my house and that's why the only resort to satisfy our craving was to visit the restaurant like this, which sold at a much higher price than what the street peddlers offered. However, they had many branches all around the Jakarta city and you could enjoy eating under the comfortable air-conditioned space with warm service offered by the staffs :)

Address: Emporium Pluit Mall Level 4, Jl. Pluit Selatan Raya, Penjaringan, Jakarta Utara

7. D'Crepes. As I went to the upper floor, I saw a D'Crepes outlet at the same shopping mall. Hmmm..... I missed it so much!!! There used to be few outlets opened in Singapore back in year 2001 and tell you what, I even worked there before. From normal staff to leader, then trainer to admin. It went on for 3 years until they closed it down forever due to the high rental cost of the premier locations that they chose.

D'Crepes at Emporium Pluit Mall :)

I was still full from the heavy lunch above but I could not resist the temptation to have my favourite crepes or pancake - Nutella cheese!!! :) At IDR 29,000 or SGD $3, it's still worth it!!! You could taste sweetness and saltiness which balanced very well in a hot crisp pancake skin!!! And if you wanted something cold, they also sold crepes with ice cream, chocolate, cream, and fruits based on your choice. Or even if you wanted something savory, they also sold few varieties of fillings, equally delicious!!! :)

8. Soto Tangkar and Sate Kuah Aneka Sari Pak H. Diding at Pasar Pagi Lama. Oh my!! It's been so long since I had this!!! Jakarta offered many varieties of soup from chicken, beef, mutton, all offered different taste and each of them tasted delicious.

Soto Tangkar Aneka Sari at Pasar Pagi

This one (the broth) was made of beef ribs. And you could request certain parts of the beef to be added into your soup - consist of coconut milk. I think mine was meat parts (price per bowl at IDR 24,000 or SGD $2.60). Mom ordered few sticks of satay (beef meat skewers) to complete our meal. Sometimes you could even drop the satay meat into your soup and have it with rice. They provided pickles made of cucumber, carrot, red onion, and chili as side dish and it was free of charge. You could add Emping or belinjo crackers into your soup to add the flavour of your soup as well. Drooling now eh?? :)

I still remembered my dad used to bring me to eat this (at roadside - different stalls), riding motorcycle after fetching me back from school, during my primary school time ^^ He fetched me almost everyday and I always excited on where he would bring me after school for lunch. So when having this, it felt very nostalgic and missed my childhood times so much!!! :)

Address: Jl. Pasar Pagi Lama Los T No. 28B-28C, Kota, Jakarta

Read the part 3 here!!! ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 1

To travel is to eat (Photo source: Google.com)

There were so many varieties of food available at my hometown in Jakarta (both local and international flavour). And yet, there was only limited time and stomach space available, minus off the delicious home-cooked food that my parents prepared, and the lost of appetite due to the cough and flu that attacked me during the first one week of my stay. Nevertheless, despite all that, I still managed to enjoy the following food as per list below:

1. Kedai Bu Djoko was my favourite place to go. The location was not too far from where I stayed so when there was no private transport available, I could reach the place easily by Bajaj (the three wheel transport commonly used in Jakarta - very similar with Auto in India). There were few things I loved from the stall.

Bakmie Kangkung Bu Djoko

First, Bakmi Kangkung or Morning Glory beef yellow noodle soup (IDR 35,000 or SGD $3.70). It tasted so delicious. The broth was dark brown and sweet. The leaf of the morning glory was crunchy as you bit among the soft yellow noodle. Slurped the soup together with the beef pieces and the fried red onion.. hmmmm.... nyummy!!! ^^

Second, Ketoprak (IDR 30,000 or SGD $3.20) - a vegetarian dish, a mixture of rice vermicelli, fried tofu, boiled vegetables, boiled egg with peanut sauce. Too bad it was sold out when I was there. My mom bought Asinan Sayur or assorted raw vegetable pickles in peanut sauce instead, served with Kerupuk Mie (cracker noodle shape) in small size (same price with Ketoprak).

I ordered one piece of Kerupuk Mie (IDR 10,000 or SGD $1), which was served with peanut sauce - my favourite snack!!! As drink, I ordered Es Pala or fresh nurmeg drink (IDR 20,000 or SGD $2.10) while Mom ordered Es Bangkok - mixture of coconut, sago jelly, etc. with coconut milk and ice, at the same price.

Address: Jl. Blok R II Selatan No. 1, Muara Karang, Jakarta Utara

2. Ayam Goreng or fried chicken H. Mardun Martinah. After shopping at ITC Mangga Dua, suddenly Mom asked me if I wanted to eat there. The location was not too far from the shopping center. You could hire Taxi, Uber, or even Gojek (motor taxi using apps) to reach the place. The restaurant location was near the Mangga Besar railway station.

Ayam goreng H. Mardun Martinah - Jakarta, Indonesia 

The name sounded so familiar in my ears but when I entered the restaurant, I could not recognise the place. We used to visit the old restaurant, which was no longer there. The long tables used to be set in rows and very crowded. When we reached, it had already passed the lunch time so it wasn't that crowded.

My mom loved the taste of their fried chicken. She ate two. Don't be surprised because the size of the chicken was not big as they used kampung chicken. We ordered mix of rice and fried vermicelli that tasted so good - like those served on the wedding dinner during old times :) They served peanut sauce as the condiments for the chicken, added with kecap manis or sweet soya sauce, yellow cucumber pickles, and raw small red onions.

Usually they would put double quantity of the chicken on the plate and if we couldn't finish, we only paid what we ate  (so no obligation to finish all what they served). They would serve fried tofu on the plate too. Hmmm... the overall food really reminded me of olden days. Mom used to bring us there when we were small. Very nostalgic feeling!!! :) I forgot to check the price of each item. However, total paid for 3 pcs fried chicken, 2 plates of half-rice and half-fried rice vermicelli, plus 2 glass of coconut drinks were IDR 133,500 or SGD $14.

Address: Jl. Mangga Besar Raya No.90A, RT.13/RW.1, Taman Sari, Jakarta Barat

3. Bakso Belitung at Bandengan. Belitung was an island name in Indonesia, at South East of Sumatera. The island was famous for its fish produced items just like the fried fish cake we ordered (picture right below) and fish balls (picture left below). The bowl next to it contained Songsui or pork organ soup cooked with ginger, salted vegetables and red things. The soup tasted sweet and spicy. I loved it!

Bakso Belitung at Bandengan

They also sold Chinese style dishes. I saw people at other tables ordering it. Looked delicious!!! My dad ordered Mie Goreng or fried noodles. Hmmmm... It tasted so nice!!! Very homey and nostalgic. Smelled so fragrant :)

As for me, I ordered Bakmi Belitung or the island's specialty noodles. It contained fried bits pieces of something haha... I couldn't say, prawns? There were cucumber and boiled potatoes, both were cut in small pieces, with fried Emping or belinjo crackers on top. It reminded me of Singapore Mee Rebus actually hehehe... :) How much? Mom paid the bill and I forgot to ask ^^

Address: Jl. Bandengan Utara No 14E, Jakarta

4. Kok Tong Kopi at Pluit Village Mall. If you read my previous blog post regarding my trip to North Sumatera, Medan, I stopped at Pematang Siantar town and had an iced coffee at Kok Tong coffee shop. Yeah, this was the original shop that selling the same coffee. But the one I attended recently was in Jakarta, their branch.

Coffee and snack from Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall :)

After shopping groceries at Carrefour inside the Pluit Village Mall, my sis was asking me if I wanted to have a coffee. I said yes! And she brought me there. It's just located outside the other entrance door. If from outside, you could see it next to Starbucks, not directly, but within walking distance. I ordered hot coffee or Kopi-O  (without milk or cream), while my sister ordered Iced Coffee. We both shared a plate of Pisang Goreng Coklat Keju or fried banana with chocolate and cheese. Hmmmm..... It tasted delicious lah!!! Perfect with my Kopi-O after added with sugar in such lovely evening!

Beverage menu - Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall 

Food menu - Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall 

I attached the above menu for your info. Fyi, the price above was exclude of 10% Service Charge and 10% Tax. We paid IDR 73,000 or almost SGD $8 in total.

Address: Pluit Village, Ground Floor
Jl. Pluit Indah Raya, Pluit, Penjaringan, Jakarta Utara

Read the part two here :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

ITC Mangga Dua - shopping heaven in Jakarta

"Pur, find a place to park OK? And get your handphone ready! I'll call you later once I'm done and we will be waiting in front of the lobby," instructed Mom to Pur, our driver, who sent us to ITC Mangga Dua. "Yes Nyah (from word 'Nyonya' - which means 'Mam')," replied Pur as we both got down from the vehicle.

ITC Mangga Dua is a shopping heaven for everyone especially for local Indonesian women. It's a big shopping complex next to the wholesale shops of Mangga Dua in the heart of Jakarta city. Why I said especially for local Indonesian? Because at there, bargain the price is a MUST otherwise you'd have to pay more. And usually when you buy more, you can slash bigger price from the original stated by the seller :)

Entrance of ITC Mangga Dua approaching Chinese New Year

There was a big fake blossomed cherry tree outside the main door as Mom and I entered into the building. Chinese New Year is coming soon, in fact, is only two weeks away from today. At the front part, you could find shops selling luggage from many different sizes plus China's made rectangular shopping bag made of plastic materials, some were decorated with cartoon pictures like Doraemon, Hello Kitty, etc., which could be very useful to keep the shopped items inside.

Colourful sandals comes with so many varieties, colours, and sizes were fitted by many ladies surrounding the open concept shop. The price was reasonable too, which many were hard to resist from buying. As I passed them by, I heard one lady uttered this to her friend, "The last time I bought that kind of sandal here, I used it only 2 months and couldn't wait to throw it out!" Well, I was not very sure why she said that but perhaps the quality followed the price she paid, exactly like the following Chinese quote said, "一份钱一分货," read: "Yi fen qian, yi fen huo."

Soon after you could find varieties of accessories like necklaces, brooches, bracelet, rabbit fur kind of key hanger or usually attached with the handbag, etc. displayed fully in a limited space of rented shop. Next to it, many beautiful imitation branded bags were displayed and hung. All the well known brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Long Champ, Burberry, Issey, etc. were made so looked alike that those who did not want or could not afford such original expensive bags, still could show off with the imitation types.

Glimpse view of ITC Mangga Dua - Jakarta, Indonesia 

There were so many things sold in the building. It consists of six levels full of stuffs and people. From wearing stuffs like clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, make up, baby items, underwear or sexy dress, watches, measured spectacles and sunglasses, and many more to DVDs, food and drink stalls to quench your thirst after bargaining and to fill your hungry stomach after tired walking and shopping.

The sellers were skilful in talking and offering other stuffs sold in the same shop saying that the items were good (in quality), made in Korea, etc., which of course would come with a much higher price than the local produced ones. Like when Mom visited a shop to buy a lotion, the seller managed to offer other make up products to her (by looking at Mom's face on what kind of cosmetics she was using), and managed to sell eyeliner, eye brow pencil, and lipstick, while almost selling eye shadow set, face powder, and so on. Haha... They would also offer the latest or trendy items that looked very interesting and made people hard to resist not to buy.

Money would go out from the purse so easily just like a running stream if you couldn't hold your desire. Like from the initial purpose to collect sunglasses that she made to order yesterday, she ended up buying few other stuffs on hand. Lol!!! And me? I'd lost interest on buying these kind of stuffs. I'd changed my behaviour to only buy what I need rather than what I want or otherwise the things would be gifts given to others. In the past it might be different story as I would not only buy what I need but also buy what looked nice and cool. Hehehe... :P

Anyway, it was still a great thing to do to visit the place. You could see the real Indonesian way of selling and bargaining, the vast variety of things available, and taste many local food, drink, and snack available. Just hold on to your purse a little bit tighter, maybe wear one eye patch so you wouldn't see too much hahaha..., and visit few more shops to check the price and bargain more to get the most reasonable price for the things you want to buy. All the best and hope you enjoy the experience there!!! :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

There's no place like home

I was awaken by the sound from outside of my bedroom. I turned my mobile phone on to check the timing. It was only 5.20 am. I tossed my self around trying to sleep again but to no avail. I decided to get up and walk to the kitchen. The dining table had been cleaned. The dirty plates and glasses that scattered from last night's dinner, were no longer there. It'd been stacked beautifully on the kitchen rack and covered with a cleaned rag. "Hmm... very efficient," mumbled me. I took a glass from the rack, filled it with water from the dispenser, and gulped the whole content down at one time. "Aaahhhhh....... Eerrrgghhhh.....," the sound of burping came out from my mouth.

I heard the sound of the clothes being brushed from the upstair. Oh!!! I faster went to the toilet that attached to my bedroom, took the dirty clothes, and went upstairs and passed them to the lady in her twenties who was doing it. Weird! It looked so dark. Then I realized that the space that used to be empty, had been occupied and built with another house. No wonder it was dark. Didn't notice it last night when I went up there.

I tried to see the sky above but it was mostly covered, only left a bit space to dry the clothes. "Whose house is that?" I asked her while pointing to the house that blocked the view. "Isn't it ours?" I continued. "Yes Non (a word means missy)," replied her. Oh no! It ought to be too long that I hadn't come here! "You must go from the other side Non if you want to go there," advised her. I walked straight and realized that I took a wrong direction. Oh my! It was so confusing! How could I get lost in here??

I went down and walked to the other side of the house and went up again to the place I saw earlier from the other side. The key to the attic was kept by my dad. So I went to the front part of the house's balcony and opened the door. Luckily it wasn't locked.

There is no place like home :)

The air was fresh and cold. The sky was reddish in color as the sun would rise up soon, just like the colour of flowers that bloomed beautifully in a row of potted plants grown by Mom. The birds were chirping melodiously and cling clang sound appeared as the wind chime was moved by the wind. Hhhmmmm..... It was really nice! What a wonderful scene to start my day!!! :)

Soon after I went out following my parents to have breakfast. He drove us to so called Chinatown area. It was only 6 am. Not many cars on the road yet. Perhaps many people had just woken up at this hour. As he drove, I observed the road, buildings, people from my window. Like usual, I tried to find any differences, look for anything new (the cleaned park from the used to store garbage in the river, the free school bus service that was non-existent before, much cleaner rivers along our way, the growing plantation that replaced the warung or road side carts that used to sell my favourite street food), and so on. "So much changes in just one and half year," mumbled me again.

Soto Betawi (top) and Turtle soup (below)

The usual stall that my dad often visited was not opened today. We went to the neighbour stall that also selling almost the same thing. My dad and I ordered one bowl of turtle soup with half portion of rice while Mom ordered Soto Betawi, the local beef soup that rich of coconut milk, eaten with dollop of pickles and chili, not forgetting the crispy Emping or belinjo crackers that were crushed and spread onto the soup. Hhhmmmm... both tasted delicious!!! :)

Once done we went back home. After a while, I followed Mom to the wet market. She shopped a lot, both dried and wet items. As usual, she walked very fast in a small alleys that were packed with baskets full of vegetables, fruits, eggs, dried fish, and so on. Luckily I'd lose some weight now otherwise I would have bumped many baskets and dropped its content as I was passing by. Hehehe....

The Chinese dialect sound was heard familiar in my ears. Hokkian mostly as many Fujian immigrants settled here in the city. As we stopped at one shop, few aunties at the age of my mom busied choosing and picking up garlic and red onions. The owner busied weighing and calculating the cost, receiving payment and returning the change. Sometimes the seller got lost in moments that he forgot how much to return. The jokes then were made towards him by those few aunties. Many would chuckle, just like me, from one corner. Few times I had to pass the shopped items into the car as we bought quite heavy stuffs including rice, orange, bottles of crushed chili, and so on. Luckily I wasn't losing my way!

After that my Mom had to pay the monthly water bill and visited one government office to collect my sister's local ID. Mom couldn't collect it until now. The staff explained the reason to us patiently. Sometimes, I was amazed with my capability of understanding and speaking my mother tongue. I mean, see how many years I'd been living abroad and how rarely I went back home. Home? Yes, home. My used to be home. A place where I was born and grown up until seventeen years later. The place that was familiar yet foreign sometimes. The place that raised love and fear at the same time. The place where so many memories were created and would still be created. It's home. Yes, it's home...

Home sweet home (Photo source: Google.com)

There's nothing wrong with spending summer in another city
I've seen the lights above the streets at night, they look so pretty
I've flown above the clouds and thought I'd never come back down (back down)

Now I find myself where I started
Picked right up like we never parted
Feels like I'm in between
Am I wide awake or in a dream? (a dream)

No matter where I go
There's no place like home
There's no place like home
No no no matter where I go
There's no no no
There's no place like... home!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Books read for the second half of the year 2016

I Become Quote :)


Oh, I know.. Seemed like I'd abandoned my passion for reading for the past months approaching year end of 2016 as I was busy pursuing the other passion, which was travelling. Read here for the list of the books I read on the first half of the year 2016

Below please find the list of books read for the second half of year 2016 (pathetically... :P):

July 2016

July 2016:              
1. A Night in with Audrey Hepburn - Lucy Holliday
2. 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami
3. The Year We Turned Forty - Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
4. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
5. After You - Jojo Moyes

August 2016

Aug 2016:
1. Lomba - Pema Euden
2. I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around - Ann Garvin
3. In Other Words - Jhumpa Lahiri

September 2016

Sep 2016:
1. Truly, Madly, Guilty - Liane Moriarty

October 2016

Oct 2016:
1. Gyalo - Lingi Jamtsho

And yes, nothing in November and December :D

Reading Quote - You can do it!!! Make time for it!!! :)

But worry not, I've set up list of books to read this upcoming year of 2017 :) I wish to keep this passion alive as long as I live. Please suggest me some great books to read in comment post below!!! And you can add me here if you have already joined goodreads.com :)

Monday, December 26, 2016

After 8 years of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus)

Keep dreaming :)

I just reread my own blog post that I wrote 3 years ago. I guess, things haven't changed much since that day, except that I've fulfilled more destination dreams in my life, especially last year and this year. I've fulfilled my dreams to visit Reykjavik  (as the city name resembles my nick name - Rima Reyka - and produces Reyka vodka), and at the same time I was very lucky being able to watch the Aurora Borealis (northern light) - never thought that I'd ever seen it in my life.

I've visited many other places that I'd never visited before too, like Russia, Korea, Vietnam, etc. I've fulfilled my dreams to visit the beautiful and romantic place of Taj Mahal, and to where Dalai Lama resides (Dharamsala). Never expected that the younger days' dream to visit the Buddha pilgrimage sites such as: Lumbini in Nepal, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Tso Pema in India, China's Silk Road, etc., have also been accomplished!!! I've even traveled to more places in India like Kolkata, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and so on.

I'm very lucky too for visiting Bhutan 3 times in 4 years' time. Visited many places from west to east, to the south, that the Bhutanese themselves were amazed with the extent of the places I'd been too. It was all thanks to everyone who had been willing to invite me there, bring me around, let me stay at their houses, and cooked Bhutanese meals for me everyday. I've become more like a Bhutanese now :)

Usually I'd fly alone then meet up with friend/ friends there. But many times I travelled with my parents, sometimes with hubby or with son, also with siblings to create our memories together.

I've visited my sisters and stayed for some time too as to spend more time with them and their families - Australia for a month and Hong Kong for two weeks. Maybe soon I need to go home and stay longer with my parents :D

I'm very grateful that for the past 8 years my SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus) condition is quite stable. With my visit to Hong Kong this year end, it reminded me how it was all started. Read more about it here.

Yesterday (on Christmas day), I went hiking at Sai Kung Country Park - eastern part of New Territories. I'd heard about the place before and when my cousin, Jessica, invited us (my brother, my sister, their families, my son, and I) to hike there on Christmas day, I was so much excited!!!

Our hiking at Sai Kung Country Park, Hong Kong :)

She explained the territory to us beforehand. At first she said it would be around 11 km long and the trail would be up and down. So the expecting time to finish the trail would be around 4 hours. In the beginning I was hesitating if I could do it because on Christmas Eve we went out until late and walked a lot. My period was about to come too. Also, usually my morning walk in Singapore took me only around two hours time while the trail was quite easy to walk.

Despite all that, I told myself, "Rima, let's try!! Isn't it what you're looking for? Basking yourself in nature is what you're looking for right now. Since someone is willing to guide you, why miss the opportunity???" Therefore, I told my brother that I'd join them if my period had not started yet in the morning. So, I joined them and 4 of us went together :)

Beautiful mountains view at Sai Kung Country Park 

The terrain was really as what she mentioned. It was full of ups and downs. In between, we passed by 4 beautiful beaches (Sai Wan or West Beach, Tai Lang or Big Wave Beach, Sian Tian or Salty Field Beach, and Tung Wan or East Beach). We walked with total distance of 13.2 km for almost 4 hours time. We had lunch break in the middle (after passing the wooden bridge at Sian Tian Beach).

This hike showed me what life was really like. I started it with mixed feelings (mostly happy and exciting to see what lies next) and full of energy. I felt happy when the slope was going down (just like finishing one task successfully in life, e.g. finishing study), but prepared myself that it would be the beginning of another slope up (just like starting a new job). It required hard work, sweat, and determination to reach the top. But once you're there, you'd see the beautiful view from the top. That was when your hard work paid off - satisfaction. From there, things got easier again, then up again, until you reached your destination.

Live is short. Enjoy it to the fullest!!! :)

I felt great when finally accomplished the trails. I was just like the rest of the people who were in good health. Even the healthy ones were not necessary able to hike like that hehe...

So, let this year's Christmas hiking would be my celebration for surviving 8 years from SLE. My mind set is rather pessimistic though. I always tell everyone that I live my life as if I'll die tomorrow. They all immediately knocked the wood 3 times when I said "life is short, who knows I'll die tomorrow."

My wishing stones built at Ta Lang Beach - Sai Kung Country Park, Hong Kong 

It's reality though. Everyone will go there one day. It's just a matter of time, 'when?' I just want to fill my day with happiness. Forget the unhappiness. Let it go altogether with what causes it. And at the end, only peace will remain. Let's see how many more years I'll be able to continue living and celebrating more surviving years from SLE. For the rest of SLE owners, hope you are blessed with long life and stable condition. So you can reach for your dreams like I do, live your life to the fullest!!! You can do it!!! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Motivation Quotes :)

Hi hi!!! I'm back!!! It's been long time since my last post here. I'm still alive btw hahaha.... It's just I was away for pilgrimage trip to India for more than 3 weeks time :)

So many things were going on while traveling, started from Modi's big surprise on the Rupee exactly at night before I flew to India (the 500 and 1000 notes were declared no longer to be used and at the mean time we had to use the smaller denomination until the new 500 and 2,000 notes arrived). Initially I was worried because I had only 500 notes in my pocket. It could be seen clearly in my face especially by those who saw me on my first day reaching India.

"You love adventure, you got it. Double!! Ha ha ha," claimed Passu. Yeah, because of him I could put my smile back towards the situation and he tried his best to help me. And many people were indeed helping me in many ways to solve the problems I faced. The situation too, often not, would be blessings in disguise at that point of time :)

Now it's over and I'd returned home safely and sound. It'd been almost 2 weeks now and I spent most of my time sleeping on my bed. My bed missed me and I missed my bed. Hehe... No la, I just felt tired from the continuous traveling and the good thing was, I lost 2 kg from this trip!!! ^^

"When tired, learn how to rest, not quit"

People might think that I was just wasting my time. But luckily none of my family members and close friends thought so. For me, taking a rest wasn't a waste of time. At the end, it would benefit for my health and mind, wouldn't it? ;)

Until when? I didn't know yet. Let's see and let nature takes its course. At the mean time, I was trying my best to get back on my feet again, starting with getting up early. Lol... :P And today, I started my habit back to go for a morning walk. It'd been some time since the last time I went to MacRitchie Reservoir. 

This morning I went alone. I waited until the sky turned brighter because otherwise it would be quite dangerous for a woman to go alone (well, although I didn't look that attractive, still precaution was the best measure hehehe...). And since there was renovation work at the golf area, from Jelutong Tower, I made a detour and walked towards Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. 

I'd been wanting to try on that route since long time ago but was too afraid to go as I wasn't sure about the path. So today, I decided to walk that path, alone.

"Om muni muni mahamuni sakyamuni ye soha..." I kept repeating the chant while walking. It reminded me the melodious sound that the Bhutanese chanted during our pilgrimage trip in India. Soon, I saw few people coming from the other direction. Some of them would smile, some would wave upon passing by. Wow!!! The power of the mantra!!! ;) There was even someone offering me a lift towards the main road. First time I encountered it in Singapore!!!

With the new short cut hair at MacRitchie Reservoir :)

Since beginning, I heard many mysterious sound along my path, which usually were caused by the animals and mostly were the hungry monkeys. Yalama!!! Their appearance was startling me!!! Many times I had to face them in the middle of the road that I had to pass.

So along the way, I kept thinking, "Imagine those monks who went to meditate alone in the middle of the jungle. How would they overcome their fears towards wild animals that they encountered along the way? They must have used their power of love and compassion!!! So Rima, try to apply that now!!!"

Hahaha... It was easier to say than done! I decided to allocate my eye sight to somewhere else while walked past them (avoiding eye contact), and try my best not to agitate them. Omg!!! It scared me so much la!!!

It was fun though! From there I could contemplate what I'd been through and at the same time trying to keep my mind thinking positively so that my journey would be safe :)

Happiness is...

So, let's see where my fate bringing me this time. At the mean time I had to recharge my positivity level to the max as that was what I'd attained from the pilgrimage journey. The emptiness feeling that arose turned up to be the positivity filled heart that I believed to be useful for my next journey in life. And I will no longer allow the NEGATIVE things in my life to SPOIL all the GOOD things that I have would be my motto to achieve happiness in my life :)

Everything happens for a reason :) (Photo source: Google.com)

And exactly as the above quote, "Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know that everything happens for a reason, and only for a good reason!!!" Hope this won't be my last post this year. As for now, these would be my motivation quotes to help me to stand up on my feet again!!! Wish me all the best guys!!! ;) And please make use the quotes if it helps you too!!! Wish you all the best too in everything that you do!!! :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

D3 Iceland - South Coast of Iceland

Morning view of Stracta Hotel

We had delicious and fulfilling breakfast before leaving our hotel. I took photos of the hot tubs and sauna that we used the night before. It was beautiful, wasn't it? Made of wood, it looked so natural and cosy :) And yes, that was the van that we took for our tour at the southern part of Iceland these past few days.

Group photo courtesy of Francis Lew - Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Our guide cum driver was named Inggo, a tall, young, and strong Icelandic man who told us lots of fable from Iceland throughout our journey, the one who stood directly behind me :) And yes, the photo taken was with the background of the magnificent 60-meter high Seljalandsfoss waterfall, our first stop for the day!

Jump pose at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall - South Coast of Iceland :)

Footpath behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall - Iceland

Unlike other waterfalls in Iceland, here it was possible for us to walk behind it (see the photo above), via a footpath at the base of the cliff. It was wet, stony and slippery though. So, a good waterproof hiking shoes were really needed!!! And I was amazed on how my Mom would be able to walk through it!! Well done Mom!! :)

Other waterfalls next to Seljalandsfoss waterfall :)

In panoramic view - Seljalandsfoss waterfalls - Iceland

And there were other few waterfalls next to it as shown in the two photos above :)

Icelandic horses on the move :)

On our way, we passed by through many beautiful view on our left and right. I loved the view of Icelandic horses running freely in a small group, so free and natural :)

Icelandic turf house - connected to stones

We also passed by many Icelandic turf house like shown at the photo above. Too bad we did not have any chance to visit and see how it looked like.

"The common Icelandic turf house would have a large foundation made of flat stones; upon this was built a wooden frame which would hold the load of the turf. The turf would then be fitted around the frame in blocks often with a second layer, or in the more fashionable herringbone style. The only external wood would be the doorway which would often be decorative; the doorway would lead in to the hall which would commonly have a great fire. Another interesting aspect of the Icelandic turf house was the introduction of attached toilets, which were communal, and the act of going to the attached toilet was often done in large groups. The floor of a turf house could be covered with wood, stone or earth depending on the purpose of the building. They also contain grass on their roofs."- Source: Wikipedia.org


Skógafoss waterfall - Iceland

We visited another beautiful waterfall called Skógafoss waterfall - a 60-meter high waterfall in the Skógá River. Legend said there was buried treasures (chest of gold) by the settler called Þrasi Þórólfsson in a cave behind this waterfall.

View of the Skógafoss waterfall upper part :)

At the upper part of Skógafoss waterfall - where the waterfalls came from :)

Here, there were staircases where we all could go up and see where the waterfall came from. So I guess, the above photo was the Skógá River itself. Oh my!!! It looked so wonderful!! So pretty!!! Love it so much!!! :)

Reynisfjara or Black Beach at Vik Village - Iceland

From there, we continued our journey to see the unique black sand/ pebble beach called Reynisfjara located at Vik Village, south coast of Iceland. The beach was named by International Islands magazine in 1991 as one of the ten best beach in the world. Perhaps due to its uniqueness where all the pebbles and sands were black in color.

Eldhraun Lava Field - Iceland

We had lunch afterwards and continued our journey across the Eldhraun lava field.

"This impressive lava field the biggest lava flow in the world which occurred during the Laki eruption in the late 1700s. The enormous site which is 565 square kilometers (218 sq mi) is where the Apollo 11 crew came to train for their impending moonwalk."- Source: icelandtravel.is

"The thick green moss dressing the lava wipes out all hard edges and, for a while, the world exists only in the colors of the asphalt, the sky, and the moss."- Source: icelandmag.visir.is/

 It felt simply amazing just passing through this huge area. There was no one staying as the area not suitable for living.

More waterfalls throughout the journey - South Coast of Iceland

More waterfalls - South Coast of Iceland

Iceland was truly rich of natural resources. As we passed by, more waterfalls were to be seen on our left side. Simply grateful with the beautiful view it offered!!!

Skeiðarársandur or vast sand desert - South Coast of Iceland

We passed by the Skeiðarársandur - a vast sand desert that used to be farms before, but destroyed by huge floods caused by the volcanic eruption that came beneath the Vatnajökull glacier back in 1996. It was so huge until it swept the bridge away and disconnected the Ring Road to eastern side of Iceland. It was said to be the largest Sandur (outwash plain) in the world covering an area of 1,300 km sq.

Panoramic view from the top - Jökulsárlón or glacier river lagoon - Iceland

The journey continued on. We were brought to Jökulsárlón or glacier river lagoon, a large glacial lake in southeast of Iceland. Many movies had been using this place for their background, such as: Lara Croft: Tomb Rider, Batman Begins, and 2 James Bond's films, which were A View to Kill and Die Another Day.

Beautiful glacier lagoon - Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Tried licking the glacier hahaha.... :P - Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Tasted the floating ice - I know.. the water looked dirty, but who cared??? :D

Wishing stones - wish for dreams to come true.... :)

My friend and I were having so much fun there. Licked the glacier pose was fun! Inggo helped us taking the photo and we were just laughing with our stupidity there! Hahahahaha..... :P We tried the taste of the glacier ice too :) Although the glacier lagoon looked dirty, but who cared, right? Hehehe... And while my friend was busy taking photos, I was busy building the wishing stones :) It was at the back of my mind wishing to have chance to build it and the chance was just there waiting for me :) Thank you SB for granting my wish!! I was very happy to finally have my dream came true there!! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!! :)

Expression of my happiness by being there!!! Grateful!!! :)

Glacier lagoon at the black beach - Iceland

Amazing view that can not get it too often in life!!! You only live once!!! :)

Add one stone at the top of someone else' wishing stones :D

Group photo at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - Iceland

We did not finish there. Inggo brought us to the black beach nearby where we could spot the glacier there too. Oh my!!! Icelanders were very lucky staying in their country. For us, it might be a once in a lifetime experience to be here. But they could view this beautiful scenery as and when they felt like doing it!! I was very grateful though for the opportunity given. Thanks to my parents who made this trip possible!!! Without them, I might take much longer time to realize this dream :) Thank you, thank you, and thank you Pa, Ma!!! :)

Stayed and dinner at Hotel Smyrlabjörg 

After a very long day, we finally reached our hotel - Hotel Smyrlabjörg. Some of us ordered our dinner there while some made their own food at the hotel. I had fish again - one of the two fresh and delicious food in Iceland (either fish or lamb). Ma and Pa shared the lobster soup and lamb steak. My friend and I shared another beer - their own brand - Smyrlabjörg Beer. It was bitter though! But nice try! :) Overall, we had a wonderful day in Iceland. A bit tired, but worth it!!! Will continue the journey in a while... Hope you enjoy reading it and are patiently waiting :D
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