Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jakarta, a day in the car

Wednesday afternoon a few days before the Chinese New Year, I landed safely in Jakarta. The city where I spent most of my life and a second home after Hong Kong. 

Timing was less than a month after the worst flood in the city in mid of January 2013. Big floods also happened once in almost five years in 2008, 2002, 1997, etc...

China town, Petak Sembilan, Jakarta

Jakarta and its traffic is a never ending story. Traffic gets worse anytime when it rains; vehicle moves slower and "genangan air" (a polite synonym of flood) is everywhere in the lower parts of the roads. 

So anyway, my friend, Gus (mirip dengan nama sebenarnya) was kind enough to voluntarily pick me up in the middle of the day at Soekarno Hatta airport in his new car! 

China town, Jakarta, many "toko obat" - traditional chinese medicine shops
It just happened that he had free time and for me, it was to maximise my "limited time" in Jakarta to meet as many friends as possible. I thought it is a good idea to chat with a friend than with taxi driver, even though I am sure Mr. Blue Bird will do an excellent job.

First comment that he made about traffic was; there's labor demonstration today. Oh, well...

First discussion we had was about the parking fee increment in the big shopping malls in Jakarta. It was from Rp2,000 to Rp4,000 per hour.

Parking fee in Hong Kong, somewhere in Causeway Bay
Leaving airport, we missed the turn to Grogol and instead we headed to Kemayoran. The goal to get out in Kemayoran and proceed to Kuningan seemed to be a good idea. But the rain started when we exited Kemayoran toll gate. Rain is identical to traffic plus flood! Indeed, in a second these two happened right away!! 

I landed in Soekarno Hatta (SoeTa) at 13.10 and let's say by 14.00 we were on the road and arrived in Kuningan at 16.30's. 

Distance from SoeTa to Kuningan is less than 40 km but 2-1/2 hour drive was too much! 
Building in China Town, Jakarta
Second and third topics of discussion were about the last huge flood in January and Jokowi's leadership. We also talked about how Basuki or Ahok handled the recent flood in Jakarta.

Genangan air di hampir sepanjang Matraman, Manggarai and ujung Kuningan before entering Rasuna Said. 

Fourth topic was probably about how Ahok fired the Head of Rumah Susun Marunda.

Fifth was about the accident in the toll road involving the son of one of the Ministers who is also the Head of a political party.

Journey has not completed, the next route was from Kuningan to FX Sudirman. My friend and acquintance from Womanbizlife had organized ladies dinner for us, as a friend from Sydney was also in town.

Street vendor, China Town, Jakarta - look at those pipes
We left Kuningan after 5 pm headed to Casablanca tunnel to go to Sudirman (non 3-in-1 route). Totally flooded. 10 motorbikes stuck and it was forcefully closed. We returned to Rasuna Said and definitely did not want to try Balai Kartini area.

We decided not to try Mega Kuningan as we would ended up nowhere. So, the only route that was maybe possible to be passed is Four Seasons and Landmark, even though it was probably as busy as anywhere else!  

Kue Rangi, traditional snack, Indonesian cuisine
Another topic for discussion was one of my favorite topics!  It is about a young talented musician, who released from the jail and restarts his life. He, together with his band, reborn in the Indonesian music industry.

We discussed it from many aspects;

-They have great producer who has waited for two years! She is not only a producer, she seems to be a good aunt for him and his band.

-They have "sahabat" as solid fans! Everyone has their own way to support their favorite team.

-If I could write his love life story, I would do it with a happy ending. It is not to satisfy the audience, but it is because he and she deserve happiness. 

They met, separated, were together again and happy, and God knows their status now. I don't know them personally, but if I wish they were and will be together ever after. Imagine the couple in the soap advertisement featuring them, their chemistry tells everything.

Tetapi, hidup, mati dan jodoh, hanya Tuhan yang tahu..... #Tak pernah kusadari aku sebodoh ini, aku hidup untukmu, aku mati tanpamu...#

Street vendor, China Town, Jakarta

It was from 5 pm, even though 3-in-1 was not applicable that afternoon... 3-in-1 aja macet apalagi ini tanpa 3-in-1 ditambah hujan dan banjir, triplet macetnya Sudirman!

Finally we arrived in FX after 9pm! Only four out of maybe eight ladies finally reached the venue. Still, it was a must to take pics in our red outfit for the Gong Xi Fa Chai.

Sudirman was still busy at 10 pm...

China Town, Jakarta - Furniture from Guangdong China is available!

Gus picked me up again at FX and we meant to pick up Vince. Ok guys, you would probably take me to Indomie or Roti Bakar and coffee nearby the street. "Let's go to Pisa Cafe", Vince said instead...

Blessing in disguise... Semua kejadian ada hikmahnya. Traffic brings closeness among friends. Hehehe... Ini nge-les dot com apa gimana? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


National Monument (Monas), Jakarta

It is the city where I grew up…  

It is the city with many challenges; daily traffic, pollution, big flood once every 5 year, hectic life, etc…

Still it is where my family and friends are… 

These “15 fun facts about Jakarta” was written for my blogger friend @herdailydigest in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Check her cool website:

1.  What is the world's most active Twitter city?  Surprisingly it is Jakarta, Indonesia!  See this link by
2.  More and more Jakartans have two phones and one of them is BlackBerry.

Fatahillah Museum, Old Town, Jakarta

3.  The best time to enjoy Jakarta is during Idul Fitri (Eid al-Fitr) Muslim Holiday when most of Jakartan is away.  The city is quiet, less polluted, less traffic and we can see the blue sky!

4.  During Idul Fitri Muslim Holiday, hotels in Jakarta are occupied by families whom domestic helper/babysitter is away for the festive season.
5.  Friday evening is identical to unfriendly traffic in the business district.  Rain will make traffic worse, heavy rain may cause flood and more traffic.
6.  A few minutes after the rain starts, especially in the business districts, there will be many children from the surrounding areas offering the umbrella services (ojek payung).

Ragusa Ice Cream, @ Jalan Veteran, famous local ice cream shop

7.  Better traffic is expected during school holidays!  However in generally, heavy traffic starts anytime from morning to early evening from Monday to Friday.
8.  The blue taxi, Blue Bird, drives everyone around the city.  It is a reliable taxi company that most people use.
9.  More and more Jakartan likes to do “Gowes” which means cycling. On a regular basis, the main street down town is closed on Sunday morning for car free day.

10.  Shopping malls is the number one destination for family weekend gate away.
11.  Most people in Jakarta (and Indonesia in general) takes shower twice a day (morning and late afternoon/evening) due to sunny weather.

Those bikes & Indonesian flags, Segarra beach, Ancol, north Jakarta

12. Indomie (instant noodle) with an egg is a simple breakfast consumed by many people at home and work.

13. Kopi tubruk (black coffee without separating its residue) is still a favorite for many people especially smokers.

14. “I don’t feel well, I have ‘masuk angin’.” Masuk = to get in. Angin = wind. It is the common Indonesian's term for feeling unwell.  It is a symptom of getting sick (feeling dizzy, cold like a fever, sick inside stomach, wanting to throw up, having cold sweats).

15.  The newly elected Governor and Vice Governor are very supported by the Jakartan.  The Governor is recently named Third Best Mayor in the World for 2012 by World Mayor Project.

Lots of jokes about Jakarta…

Kejamnya ibu tiri tak sekejam ibu kota… (ibu: mother. Ibu tiri: step mom. Kota: city. Ibu kota: capital city). 

How cruel a step mom is, she is not as cruel as the capital city.  

“.... Ke Jakarta aku kan kembali…. walaupun apa yang kan terjadi…” a famous song by Koes Plus.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lunar New Year

Just before sunset, ferry terminal Tsim Sha Tsui

Everything changes, the new day, new week, new month, new year...

Somewhere in Causeway Bay
"Red" envelops

Do you see two snakes? Pacific Place, Admiralty

Counting the days of the Year of Dragon and soon is the Year of Snake...

Lunar new year decoration, Pacific Place, Admiralty

Blowing the big fan! Pacific Place, Admiralty

Lunar new year decoration, Pacific Place, Admiralty

May all beings be happy in the Year of Snake...

Times Square, Causeway Bay

Times Square, Causeway Bay

Let the pics talk on what's happening around Hong Kong prior to the Lunar New Year...

Lunar New Year Fair, Causeway Bay

Lunar New Year Fair, Causeway Bay

Lunar New Year Fair, Causeway Bay

Lunar New Year Fair, Causeway Bay

Lunar New Year Fair, Causeway Bay

Hello Mr. Panda and family...

Gong Xi Fa Cai Mr. Panda!

Panda family, IFC, Central

What's more? More pretty Lunar New Year decoration!

Harbor City, Kowloon
Harbor City, Kowloon
Wishes, Harbor City, Kowloon
Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day is only a few days away...
Heritage, Kowloon

Heritage, Kowloon
 Gong Xi Fa Cai...

Somewhere in Central

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Say it with the flowers - Mong Kok, Flower Market

Say it with the flowers…  

Flower Market, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Once, a friend told me that the best time to go to Flower Market is before the Chinese New Year.  There will be variety of flowers in gorgeous colors to welcome the new year…  

Look at the interesting fish pots

Coincidentally, another friend invited us to go to go there to look around…  

Decoration in one of the flower stores

Lucky birds / Money birds

I can tell the shops are ready for the celebration of the Year of the Snake…

Beautiful orchid

Enough words, I will let the flowers speak for themselves...
Tangerines? Oranges? Chinese New Year symbols
Hello Tulips!
Hello Tulips!

Yes, red Tulips
Sparkling Colors! 

Surprisingly, there's apple tree!

Apple tree

The Unique Shapes

Don't they look like chiken feet?

Beautiful exotic shapes

Touch them and they'll wrinkle

Roses are women's favorite!

This is the second time I've seen blue roses...

Roses including blue ones

Here are the first blue roses I had seen in the flower market in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam...


Variety of Pots...

Cute polkadots: red, yellow and pink

Look at the pots...

Interesting pots

Fresh herbs are available too...


Bunga Sedap Malam (Bahasa Indonesia), it is known as fragrant night flower in English, or Polianthes tuberosa in Latin.

Bunga Sedap Malam

I was surprised to see the pinky Bunga Sedap Malam in Mong Kok. I had only seen white flowers in Indonesia...

If I translate it word by word from Bahasa Indonesia:
Bunga: flower
Sedap: tasty/delicious
Malam: evening

Other than flowers, there's Pacific Coffee nearby the Flower Market and some snack stores too... I couldn't resist taking pic of these yummy cakes!

In case you are curious to know more about the Flower Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, you may click this link Mong Kok Flower Market

Another attraction in Flower Market
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden