Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holiday!

When December comes,

When holiday season starts,

When ‘big sale’ is everywhere,

When shopping mood starts,

When shopping malls are crowded!

Gorgeous Christmas decoration is everywhere!

When December comes, there is always a mixed feeling in my heart... I am happy to see the Christmas spirit within those who celebrate it.  As if the spirit is echoing universally inspiring everyone to do good things to others in their surrounding …

The Ballerina
Mysterious Pretty Ballerina is hiding on her mask

A ballerina hatches from her egg

There must be more ballerinas inside these eggs!

Another ballerina, why a fire extinguisher has to be put nearby?

A ballerina in her swing

Can you see two ballerinas?

What are the common things you see in Christmas decoration at the Shopping Malls, Hotels, Restaurants or office premises? 

The Santa Claus

@ Hong Kong Park

The Christmas tree and its ornaments

White Xmas Tree

Chocolate Xmas Tree..!!

White Chrismas including the snow…
Snow, Cable Car

Snow, Ski, Cable Car
The Snowman

Lego Snowman @ Times Square

Hello Snowman..!!

Anything related to Christmas Spirit!

Lego World @ Times Square

Pinky Lego House

Lego and Lego

Lego Ginger House

Ready to ski, Mr Legos?

Lego characters

Almost every brand or shop wishes to promote their products exclusively.  They are competing to d├ęcor the store windows as beautiful as they can…
Teddy Bear, this is for charity program
Somewhere in Causeway Bay

Mrs. Panda

Salut, le petit prince!

Le petit prince, tu es mignon!

Another Christmas means another year goes by… What have I done in this year? What have I achieved?
Where was I last Christmas? Paris J'adore!
Galeries Lafayette, Paris
Where was I two years ago and the previous year before that?  Mmm...

I clearly recall 2005 Christmas and Year End.  It was unforgettable.  It was the year end party as well as farewell to the Big Boss who was leaving Indonesia.  Everyone was sad to see her leaving. 

An extraordinary dance was performed as a farewell gift for her… My ex colleagues from Private Banking did a stunning “Saman Dance” or dance of thousand handsIt is one of the most popular dances and part of the cultural heritage of the Gayo people of Aceh province in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Saman Dance, 2005 Year End Party, Blue Box, Jakarta

It requires body movement like in any dance and also excellent coordination among dancers; they have to clap their hands, slap their chests, thighs and the ground, click their fingers, and sway and twist their bodies and heads in time with the shifting rhythm – in unison or alternating with the moves of opposing dancers.
These movements symbolize the daily lives of the Gayo people and their natural environment.  Let the time goes by and may we be wiser in our daily lives in the years to come.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

K11 Art Mall, Tsim Sha Tsui

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Toe Story

The toe story began on 17 August, the Independence Day of my home country, Indonesia. 

Thanks to internet, I could watch Indonesian TV channels via streaming in Hong Kong. Like it is normally done every year, the flag ceremony is held twice: 10am and 5pm.
Slightly before 5 pm, I did a big ironing project. The project package includes one bed sheet linen, one bed cover sheet and four pillow sheets.

Even though my Mr. Right had said such project is not necessary, it is clean anyway, but I wanted to pursue with it, supaya rapih gitu.

The project started well. The regular iron board stood firm, the iron functioned well - both equipment was newly purchased when we moved in. Ironing four pillow sheets is easy. The bed sheet linen is too big, I needed to fold it. The end corner of the bed linen that has rubber is always a little bit of hassles. It tucked at the right side of the iron board. My right hand held the iron, left hand held the bed sheet linen and… iron board fell right on top of my left toe! Gubrakkk...

Aaahhhh… Did it ruin my nail polish? Aduhhh... It was more painful than I had imagined. Could it be more serious than nail polish issues? Well, the pain would disappear soon, sit on the sofa, watch TV…

Minute by minute the pain spread from the left toe to the entire left leg. In an hour, the pain got to my head! That regular iron board is too strong for my toe...

Because of the pain, all I could do is laying down. Pain, please be gentle to me... My toe, I'm sorry I hurt you, I didn't pay attention to you, so sorry...

As if my toe did not hear me, the pain continued. Mr. Right who was in the air flying "ping" me to check how I was doing. As I am a big girl, I said everything was fine, but I could not hide my pain... Sakit.. Tears almost dropped...

Acting as my private medical advisor, he said his diagnose that the bone in my toe could be broken. “Ok, put lots of ice first, take Panadol and wait until I arrive home...”

When in pain, there is denial - the pain would disappear, my toe is just fine, it isn’t broken.

When in pain, there is anger - how could I be so stupid leaving the iron board fell on top of my toe?

When in pain, there is tenderness - I love you my dear toe, you’re the strongest among other toes, but right now you are the weakest.

As newcomer in Hong Kong, I did not know any doctor nor hospital. Mr. Right asked me to check the list of hospitals approved by our health insurance. When he finally arrived home, he confirmed his diagnose. “More likely your toe is broken dear…”  He put more ice.

The pain did not go away with more ice or Panadol. I woke up every two hours as the pain continued overnight.

The next morning, surrounded by the fog, we arrived at the hospital... I could walk with my poor broken toe. Only once I mentioned to the nurse that my toe might be broken because an iron board fell on top of it. The next doctors and nurses who took care of me right-away knew; “So you drop an iron board on your toe?”

While waiting for the x-ray result at the comfortable examination room, I was treated nice; free wifi, TV, a cup of warm tea was served… Do you want more tea Ma’am? Hiks, hiks, I just want my toe to recover -L

The x-ray confirmed. Mr. Right peeped to the result; “The bone in your toe is cracked into three pieces dear”. Hah? Jempol kaki gue retak jadi tiga bagian?

Doctor said “Please take this medicine and Panadol, put your leg high in order to make the blood circulation smooth, and your toe will recover in three months”…. Alamak tiga bulan lama yaaa…  Mr. Right cheered me up; “Within six weeks, the bone will grow back…”

I had to do “home rest”. Anyway, it hurt if I tried to walk or put on shoes/sandals. 

But, this is Hong Kong, the vibrant city… Why would I stay at home?

Hong Kong, everyone seems moving very fast. People walk quickly. Those who are in the hurry in the escalator can use left lane, so they walk while escalator is moving. That is Hong Kong.

I and my broken toe had to calm down. Perhaps this is a sign? Since we moved to Hong Kong, I adapt to the new phase of life, I move on vibrantly like everyone else. All the moving stuff managed appropriately; two weeks going around Hong Kong looking for a new place, third week moving into our new apartment and making sure the apartment is comfortable to live in; fourth week finding furniture, knowing where the supermarkets are, finding my way around, etc.

Other than that, emotionally, I still missed friends whom I left behind in Saigon. Furthermore, I did not have many friends yet in Hong Kong.

What if my toe tried to tell me to slow down? Perhaps it could not bear anymore?

Toe on Day 7

At the end, I enjoyed the “home rest”. Blessing in disguise, I could use the time to update my Blog, browse internet, watch TV, etc.

A week after home rest I started to go out again. I bought new walking sandals that look suitable and comfortable. But they were not good for my broken toe. It became swollen again! Another home rest for a week...

The third week, I went out once every two days. During the swollen time, I still felt blessed. I saw two ladies and a gentleman with broken leg. They had to use crutches, move carefully and slower. May all of them recover and be healthy by now...

Indeed after 4-6 weeks, my toe smiles again. I could do soft stretches like yoga pose. The swollen and bluish sign disappeared. Skin re-grew. There is one thing left; the bluish nail that will disappear as it grows.

Slowly, my new life continues. I know more shortcuts to Central, I make new friends... Yes, there are still plenty of other stuff to discover... Let the time plays...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Milan, Italy

It's a wrap... Milan is the last city visited during our trip to Italy.
Duomo of Milan, Italy
During this holiday, we had driven around 2,200 km from south of France to south of Italy.  I had been noticed the good quality of the highway and all of the necessary maintenance.  Other than that, it is fun paying attention to the brand of the cars in the highway.  Some of them I had never seen it in Indonesia and Vietnam.

I counted the numbers of tunnels between Milan and Nice; more than 100 tunnels including around 30 giant bridges connecting the hills! The distance between one bridge to another varies; between 76m to 1,500m.
Highway & tunnels, Italy to France
Thanks to GPS, driving from Venice to Milan was easy.  Reaching the apartment was a little bit of a challenge as GPS instruction was puzzling.  Anyway, we turned too fast to the left and had to go back to the main street again.  The small Ferrari behind us made us crazy, il fait “tut tut” and was not patient at all.

But then, voila... We arrived at the nearest parking lot to our apartment.  Still we had to push our luggage to the lift, stairs and walk at the sidewalk to the apartment.

Mr. Right has described the area of the apartment we rented, which is very near to the Duomo (Cathedral)... What we did not realize was that it is exactly located in front of the Duomo of Milan! Perfect...
Passage to go to our apartment
Lift & stairs inside the apartment building
It is a studio type apartment, two bedrooms with the main one on the mezzanine floor, another bed on the ground floor, two bathrooms, a small kitchen, quite spacious living room and a very small balcony with a grand view facing the Duomo!

Once we unpacked, we took a walk to the Duomo before the sunset...  

In front of the Duomo, there is a piazza (public square) and some birds flying around happily and happy people passing by. 

A street vendor persuaded me to feed the birds with his feed, it is nice but I was so sure nothing is for free. I could not be bothered negotiating how much he would charge for that.

The construction of the Duomo started in 1386. It is the most important work of gothic architecture in Italy.  During the construction of five centuries, the style has been influenced by many architects. 

The interior part of the Duomo is beautiful… More than words to describe it; so many beautiful paintings and statues!

The Duomo is open for the public from 7am to 7pm.  Proper clothes are required to enter religious places, no shorts/tanktops.

As such ancient building requires renovation, and so does this Duomo.  In the center of the piazza there is an area that was covered for renovation.  It looks like a statue i.e. the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first Italian king from 1861-1876

Interior part of the Duomo of Milan
Interior part of the Duomo of Milan
See the painting! Inside the Duomo of Milan
Inside the Duomo of Milan
Even the floor is pretty!

The areas surrounding the Duomo are very posh with high level of taste in Art.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the mall next to the Duomo.  It is occupying an ancient gorgeous building... All stores selling all luxurious brands!  The one that is less expensive is McDonald’s -J

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

It seems like walking in the church or museum, high rise ceiling, and the building has something similar to dome in the middle of the four halls.
Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Beautiful statues are carved in the high wall, and paintings on the dome ceiling.

Painting is different in each corner

Different painting in different angle

A group of male choir did a performance under the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the sound echoed all over the mall.
We walked passing the main hall of the mall, outside there, there is a small fountain and statue of Leonardo Da Vinci… In front of him, there are a few souvenir shops where I found cute souvenir for my 3-year old nephew in Indonesia...
Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci
The sun was still high around 7pm.  Jalan-jalan continues...
We did a survey to this neighborhood around our apartment.
McDonald's, Milan
One of the branches, Citi #almamater

Street Florist
Elegant building of the Post Office
You're selling coffee now, Marilyn?
Buongiorno Signor Polizia!

No specific plan for dinner yet, so we continued walking  Laduree!  I shouted when I noticed the famous Macaron store!  “Why are you so crazy about Macaron dear?” Mr. Right questioned me...  It is because they are cute and yummy... -J

Hey, look at this delicatessen store called Peck across Laduree... The shop reminds me of Ranch Market in Jakarta, Annam Gourmet in Ho Chi Minh City or Great in Hong Kong, and yet it is even much better.  They sell best quality products and fine food, including wine.   
First class dinner in front of the Duomo of Milan
The highlight was Mr. Right agreed to prepare for our dinner... Fresh lobster, cheese, fruit, cakes and wine. The perfect place to enjoy dinner is in the small balcony in our apartment with the first class view to the Duomo...
The view is 99% perfect except a little bit covered by the scaffholding over the statue ...
In the evening, the Duomo shines and looks so white under the light... 

The other side of piazza in front of the Duomo
Crowd around the Duomo
I sat at the balcony facing the white Duomo; many people still wandered around the piazza, a group of cyclist still pedaled their bikes…

Finally, the Duomo is quiet, no one around by midnite
Between me and the Duomo, there is only the renovated equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II -J  When it was almost midnight, the Duomo stayed awake.  
Yes, I was sleepy, but for that moment, I thought sleeping was a waste of time…. I wish to enjoy every minute of my stay in Milan...
Peeping the Duomo from the small whole in my balcony
Lanjut?  Pulang yaa…. Home sweet home. Bye-bye Europe… Hello Asia…

Proud to see "Borobudur" name in this KLM flight! #proudtobeIndonesian