Pages

Sunday, 1 December 2013

BANDUNG COFFEESHOP: Wiki Koffie

Bandung, December 1, 2013

Wiki Koffie from outside © +sita ariana pangestu (2013)

Wiki Koffie. On this first evening of December I decided to pamper myself there after attending my Citizen Journalist Club gathering at Museum of Asia-Africa. I occupied the corner side of that coffee shop located in one of Braga four-junction corner. I put my tote bag above the square wooden table there and came over to the order counter. A meaty man on his red-and-white plaid shirt greeted and served me nicely. I asked him about the recommended menu there. He recommended the Hawaiian Drip or Vietnam Drip.

I have been quite familiar with Vietnam Drip but not the Hawaiian Drip hence I asked curiously about that menu. The meaty man gave me some explanation that besides their names and origins, what differed those two was Vietnam Drip would be served with milk meanwhile Hawaiian Drip would be served with syrup: caramel or vanilla.

I decided to try Hawaiian Drip with caramel syrup one. To please my hungry tummy I wanted to order waffle. Unluckily that menu was not being served at that time. I asked about another menu. "What other sweet light meal that is available here?"

"You want a sweet one? You should order ME then," he answered with a wink on his eyes.

© +sita ariana pangestu (2013)

I just giggled quite heavily due to that. Then he recommended two sweet menus there i.e egg cakes and the promo-of-the-day menu i.e French Toast. Since I was too lazy to make any choice, I ordered both. Please excuse that lame excuse to accommodate my monstrous appetite :P

I really enjoyed my gray sky evening there. I red some pages of my magazines. And then I pushed myself to restart my romance novel project which idea had been deep-rooted in my mind since a few years ago but never been really started by such an acute procrastinator like me. The great coffee with its bitter-acid taste, the sweet meal with its warmth,  and the interior with its cute vintage style really comforted me hence I could finish drafting 1 (one) chapter there.

I stopped writing when my fingers had been too stiff to scratch any letter on my note book. I viewed the outside through the glass on my left side. Sun had gone down. Drizzling rain started falling. The roads got wet. Many people passed the sidewalk next to me in hustle.

Meals to accommodate my monstrous appetite :P © +sita ariana pangestu

Getting bored then I decided to take some pictures and observe another customers there.  In front of me there were two mid-aged men having some light talk. Next to me, there were some lads discussing about some pictures they had captured today. Then on the big table on the other corner there was a bunch of young people gathering, joking, sharing laughter. All of people looked happy there. And their happiness was contagious. I felt happy too though I was the only customer with non-living-creature companion. There were only my Nikon D-5100, pen and note and some late editions of National Geographic I had just bought in Cikapundung street flea market which accompanied me sitting in the corner.

Men in front of me left. Then their table was occupied by a young couple. They hold their hands each other while talking some sweet stuffs affectionately during their stay there. Love was in the air. And.... 'You give me something' by James Morrison was being aired.
You give me something/ That makes me scared alright/
This could be nothing / But I'm willing to give it a try
Please give me something/ Because someday I might know my heart
Somehow I remembered my september-crush. Then I realized that I knew this coffee shop because it is on the route of my way back home after my intense occasional visits to his place. A coffee shop was also the first place we met and spent some hours together.

Errrggghhh... to prevent feeling more boisterousness, I decided to go back home.While waiting for the angkot, I was caught into a nice talk with the meaty man I previously mentioned. His (nick)name is Mario Galau (the opposite of Mario Teguh, the motivator at self-help program titled Golden Ways). He is the main chef plus marketing lead of Wiki Koffee.

Mario shared some history of this coffee shop that has just established since 4 (four) months ago. Ah... I remembered then that formerly this building was occupied by a bookstore where I bought my Studio-d German A-1, A-2 and B-1 books for my Deutsch course while I was in university. He told me that previously the business product was bubble drink named Bubble Bee, one group with one located in Kampung Gajah (amusement park) area. But since the market for that kind of beverage in Braga area was so low, the owner decided to shift that tavern into a coffee shop. And it goes quite well. This coffee shop has managed to attract its neighboring office and business area's employees to have a visit which mainly in purpose to enjoy the breakfast menu offered there.

Inside Wiki Koffie © +sita ariana pangestu (2013)

On weekend, most of the customers here are photo hunters. They indulge their selves here after capturing some vintage colonial buildings laying along Braga street and surrounding area either as main objects or background of their photo. No wonder almost all the customers I saw there at that moment were bringing their DSLRs.

I asked him where their coffee supplies come from. I liked to know about that as the reference once I run my own coffee shop.

"80% of coffee served here is imported. Only 20% that is purchased in local market."

"Why do you use so little local product? We have many good quality of coffee, Aceh Gayo, Toraja, Bali Kintamani, Wamena, and many other kinds of coffee" I asked, get surprised of his answer.

"Just for branding and marketing. Imported ones are always more attractive for customer."

Hmm... I didn't agree with him. Somehow I regretted for not ordering the local coffee one :(

Well serving local or imported products are each merchant's freedom to chose. I couldn't interfere that. But... having been inspired by my most favorite coffee shop named Anomali Cafe, I am gonna use 100% of Indonesian coffee bean for coffee shop I am gonna own soon.

Anyhow, Happy Coffee-ing  folks!

-ariana-

Monday, 25 November 2013

CZECH PHOTOGRAPHER: Taras Kuščynskyj

Taras  Kuščynskyj. I first heard that name of genius Czech photographer whose main theme of his photos is woman from my special friend George. A few weeks ago he attended a photography exhibition of that at Old Town Hall, Prague, Arcade Gallery. He bought two postcards of Taras' photos there and send them to me. I received them after my Mom handovered them to me on my visit to her on last weekend.

z cyklu CHCI - DANA (1972)

The photo above is my most favorite one among any other photographs of Taras (I've ever seen by googling). I love the lines from Taras that George put on the back of this photo.

Fotografovat znamená pro mne žít.
Chci vytvářet krásu.
Chci zobrazovat život.
Jeho nositelkou je žena.
Ona je prostředníkem mého sebepřiznání, její ruce, vlasy, tvář.
Hledám a čekám na vzácné okamžiky, kdy v očích ženy je věčnost.
Světlo je mým stavebním materiálem.
Zhmotňuji ho a vytvářím prostor klidu.

For me, to photograph is to live...
I want to create new beauty.
I wish to capture feeling,
almost invisible moments we all experience:
a feeling, desire, a dream.
I want to depict life, whose bearer is woman.
I seek and wait for those rare moments
when there's eternity in a woman's eyes.
The most beautiful gift of nature is Love -
and Love is longing for Beauty

---L---

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

GOTHENBURG SPORT EVENT: Supper Matchen Real Madris (RM) VS Paris Saint German (PSG)

Gothenburg, July 27, 2013

It was a cloudy Saturday evening when I and the other folks directed our footsteps to Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg. We went to that ship-shaped modern architectural building to attend a friendly match between two world's richest clubs i.e. Real Madrid (RM) and Paris Saint German (PSG). The main stars for this event of course were Christiano Ronaldo (captain of Portuguese national team in RM side) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (captain of Sweden national team in PSG side).

I together with the many other Madridista who were not only from Sweden but also from all over the world stood in the standing-bench on the north side of the stadium to support our favorite team. Eventually I stood beside the bunch of Madridista from Spain.

The Madridistas 

"Hala Madrid! Hala Madrid!" they sang and yelled aloud. 

Our scream burst when seeing El Real's legend, Zinedine Zidane, crossing the field to reach RM bench before the game started. 

"ZIZOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"

Oh my God!

Then I saw my most favorite player, Mesut Özil.

Kyakyakyaaaaa!

This was was the closest moment I'd ever been with my favorite idols both the team and players. There was something superb taking up space in my chest beside my heart and lungs.

At that time there were around 42000 people filling that stadium but... for me the crowds here was not as spectacular as I had expected. They were too silent for this kind of big match. Well maybe because this was only a friendly match, not a match in real competition such as Champion League. But well, no matter how I still really enjoyed this game that finally won by Real Madrid with the single goal scored by Karim Benzema in minute 23.

There was a remarkable thing I saw here. Though it was not El Classico, the madridistas next to me yelled, "Puta Barca! Puta Barca! Puta Barca!"

It made me really wanna go to Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, to see El Classico between  Los Blancos and Blau Granna, to feel the real heat between those two giants club.

---L---

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Demise

Örebro, mid summer 2013

Edsberg church and cemetery © +sita ariana pangestu (2013)

It was pity that BBNB and I could only spend one night at Vastärås with Patrik and his incredibly nice family. We had to stick to our schedule to continue our trip to Örebro, BBNB's hometown. Though the main reason was because he had to undergo his hemodyalis in the central hospital there, BBNB looked happy for coming home again. Repetitiously he pressed the horn and laughed crazily when our car entering the city where he had spent his childhood and adolescence.

"Welcome to my hometown Lilla Lejon!" BBNB said when we passed through the signboard on the road indicating we had just entered  that city on the shore of Lake Hjälmaren, fourth largest lake in Sweden. His happiness was contagious. I smiled and felt happy too.

Initially we agreed to split up. He would undergo his hemodyalis at the central hospital and I would wander the city alone. Similar with what we had done while we were in Mölndal and Stockholm. But then... due to one and any other thing, I decided to stay at the hospital to accompany him. Well actually I decided to stay because I want to take a nap to rest my body that had been so fatigue after 5 days having road trip.

In Örebro for the first time, I saw the complete process of hemodyalis. (When I was in Mölndal, I only see the beginning and the end of the process). There were two nurses in charge for BBNB (one pony-tailed-blond haired woman and one short-brunette-haired woman). After the hemodyalis machine had been ready, the blond one inserted two bloody big needles (much more bigger than I ever saw while undergoing blood donation) into his right hand. Oh my God... It must hurt so much. I could even feel the pain. Then the next process was waiting for machine to do the function of the kidneys.

For first hour, I and BBNB kept talking to each other before taking nap to rest our fatigue body. But I could't sleep soundly. I woke up while BBNB was still sleeping. My sight was nailed into the hemodyalis machine. I saw how the blood was circulated through the machine to be purified. 

BBNB ever said that our road trip might be the last trip and vacation for him. He might never be able to live long after my visit and even might commit suicide because he had been too tired of having to undergo 3 times per week of dealing with that fucking hemodyalis machine.

I went flash back to a moment happening 4 years ago, 2009. The closest moment of facing death I ever had. At that time I was almost dying for being suffered of terrible dyspepsia, low blood pressure, weak heart, and nerve damage at my neck at the same time. There was only my mom who accompanied me.

Today current event and my flashback made me feel so mellow. I even couldn't hold my tears for not streaming on my face. I was so afraid of my getting sick and facing the death that no one could never escape. Confronting with such an ordeal, I tended to re-evaluate my own life. I felt depressed. In the face of death everything pales, nothing seemed important enough. I wondered whether (consciously or unconsciously) I had lived a death life or no during my 25-year of living. I found that it was little less meaningful and more frivolous. 

I remembered that a friend of mine ever said that looking back one should find something meaningful, some accomplishment. They didn't need to be big. Not everybody could have a huge career, built a cathedral, composed a symphony, cured illness. Small things counted too for instance seeing in contacts with people. How many people you had made happy by telling or showing them something or just giving a simple smile. Compassion and love, those life's direction wouldn't be wrong.     

I also remembered "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish", a speech by Steve Jobs delivered on June 12, 2005 at the Stanford University.

 "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with  the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And  most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Right before BBNB woke up, I had lifted my chin up. I wiped my tears away from face and smiled in relief. As a girl with too-high-pride, I'd never let anybody else see me crying. Then we had light talks until the nurse came to turn off the machine and pull out those bloody big needles. The hemodyalis process ended.

On the next day, I accompanied BBNB to go to a country area named Erdsberg. There we passed a house where he used to live with his beloved family. Then we ended our visit there in the cemetery where his families were buried. That local cemetery is located next to a tiny little church.

"Lilla Lejon, could you please take my picture?" BBNB asked while standing behind the gravestone where his grandparent's and parent's names were engraved.

I was so speechless hearing that question.

"Lilla Lejon, this is the place where I will be on next few years. I have asked Elisabeth, Jenny and Joel to bury me here after my death. My name will be engraved right below between my mom's and my dad's name. You may not being here when I am dead. So, could you please take my picture?"

At first, I was so sad hearing that sentimental request. But then, I opened the cover of my Nikon D5100 lens. Through my eyes, I directed the lens to capture the picture as per requested by him. The time I pressed the shutter button was the time I promised to my own self that I would seize each day of my life.

-arisita-

Friday, 16 August 2013

GRÄNNA: Sweet Simple Happiness

Gränna, July 16 2013

A jar of happiness. © Intan Karunia Kristanti (2014)
BBNB and I went to Gränna, a little town located in the shore of Lake Vättern (second largest lake in Sweden), to visit Axel Polkagris, a famous candy factory there.  Since we arrived there too early, at 8 AM, the factory had not been open yet. We decided to look for breakfast at that town but couldn't find any single open store yet. We went to the port there. It was closed too. Hence we decided to go back to the petrol station where we had stopped last night because there was a hostel that provides a place to stay and also breakfast (Bed&Breakfast). Some miracle happened, BBNB kindly treated me a 91 SEK breakfast buffet there. 

Since it was buffet, we ate crazily there. I took a plateful of scrambled eggs, meatballs, a few handfuls of sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and goat cheese, a bowl of yogurt, a plate of oranges and pineapple, a glass of orange juice and some cups of coffee. BBNB also took food as much as I did. We did not care about the others looking surprised that we both were eating like pigs. Our stomachs got distended. Even we could barely stand because we were too full. Anyway, before leaving the place, I didn't forget to put some bananas and apples into my backpack for our lunch on the go. The main point was when having buffet take as much as we could!!!

Once we returned to Gränna, Yippee candy factory was open. Behind the transparent glass, I saw a young Scandinavian boy was making that special mint candy starting from mixing of ingredients (mainly sugar and mint), caramelization, coloring, rolling (to make the candy colored brindle striped), re-hardening, cutting to get intended shape and size, and packaging The entire process took 20 to 30 minutes .

Beside the kitchen production, there was a room to display the candies. There were also Scandinavian souvenirs such as key chains, fridge magnet, stuffed moose (Scandinavian deer/elk occupied by Saint Claus) and also postcards.  What caught my attention was a lot of postcards with the picture of hot air balloons. After googling I came to know it was because this city is the hometown of an explorer named Salomon August Andrée  who died in its efforts towards the north pole using a hot-air balloon. Gränna museum was built to commemorate him. It regularly organizes exhibitions expedition together with a comprehensive collection of related objects and photographs.

I and BBNB met the owner. That lady was so nice to us. She gave us some samples of rock candy. I loved them. She told us some history of the candy factory she inherited from her family. The business was started by a widow named Amalia Eriksson in 1859. Her business has became hereditary family businesses with maintaining the concept of homemade and handmade industry.

I and BBNB bought some small jars of colorful rock candy and some candy sticks. The most remarkable one was Gul och Blå (blue and yellow) candy stick, showing the national colors of Sweden. Because both of us were the first visitors of the day, we both got a bonus. Each of us got a candy stick. 

Hooray!

I was so happy at that time and somehow I wished that I could jump back to my childhood time. Back to the time when being happy was simply achieved only by buying and enjoying our favorite candy.

-ariana-

JÖNKÖPINGS ~ More Than Just Meaningless Spell

Jönköpings, July 16, 2013

“Bengt, Jönköpings really exists?!?” I said a little amazed pointing the signboard on the road next to the gas station where we rested to have sleepover.

“Yup. So what? You look so amazed,” Bengt asked.

“When I wanted to join a mountaineering club in senior high school, I had to cast the spell: Jönköpings Tändsticksfabrik Patent paraffinerade säkerhets-tändstickor utan svafvel och fosfor. Tända endast mot lådans plån. Licensed by AB Jönköpings Vulcan Sweden made in Indonesia,” I said with occasionally closing my eyes recalling the lines on of words on that legendary yellow matchbox. 

The legendary yellow matchbox (Source: click here)
“Hahahaaa!” Bengt giggled while hearing me muttering to complete the spell. Then he said, “LL, I remember those match boxes from when I grow up and stealing my first cigarette from my father; then we smoked in the forest, coughing like hell and read on the match box that text. Do you want to know the translation?”

I nodded excitedly as response. Then Bengt gave the translation, “Jönköping match factory patents paraffin wax coated safety matches without brimstone and phosphorus. Light only against the box striking surface. Licensed by AB Jönköpings Vulcan Sweden made in Indonesia.”

I and Bengt paused in silent after he had completed the translation. Each of us dissolved into our own nostalgia. I suddenly longed for the days and my friends in sister&brotherhood in Inswapala (nature adventurer student association) SMAN (Public Senior High School) 1 Bekasi. Ntep, Mot, Dwi, Arpay, Bomber, Goris, Egy, Jesse, Rendi, I miss you all. When will we hike the mountain together again?!?

As the night wore on, I and Bengt decided to have a rest above our seat in his gray Mazda 3 MPS.

Good night Jönköpings!

-ariana-

Monday, 12 August 2013

PRAGUE SPOTLIGHT: Franz Kafka Statue

Prague, July 12 2013

Franz Kafka Statue statue was unveiled in 2003 to commemorate Franz Kafka, a German-language writer of novels and short stories who strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. The sculptor, Jaroslav Rona, made this bronze statue based on his vivid description of the image of a young man riding on another one's shoulders through the night streets of Prague that appears in Franz Kafka's short story titled "Description of Struggle". Therefore he made this tall black statue which represents Kafka himself sitting above a headless male figure in a suit.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2013)
"And now - with a flourish, as though it were not the first time - I leapt onto the shoulders of my acquaintance, and by digging my fists into his back I urged him into a trot. But since he stumped forward rather reluctantly and sometimes even stopped. I kicked him in the belly several times with my boots, to make him more lively. It worked and we came fast enough into the interior of a vast but as yet unfinished landscape."

Kafka Statue is located in Prague's Jewish Quarter, a place where a Catholic church and a synagogue stand next to each other. It was the place where Kafka used to walk around everyday because he lived on the opposite side of the street, at 27 Dusni Street (which laterally means 'Holly Spirit Streets'). Now it becomes one of spotlight in Prague where many tourists, including me, stop at the statue to take photo of themselves alongside the famous writer.

-ariana-

Sunday, 11 August 2013

PRAGUE SPOTLIGHT: Mácha Statue At Petřín Hill

Prague, July 11, 2013

After finishing our light dinner at Fat Mouse Restaurant, George and I had a walk at Petřín hill rising in the left bank of the Vltava River. This hill which almost entirely covered by parks is the most favorite recreational area for Prague residents.

For me, the most remarkable spot at this hill is the statue erected in the honor of Karel Hynek Mácha, a genius Czech national romantic poet. Beside this statue, there are another bronze statue of him in front of a theater named after him in Litomerice.

His master piece was his lyrical epic poem titled "Máj" (May), published in 1836. That poet is now regarded as the classic work of Czech Romanticism and is considered one of the best Czech poems ever written. It is one of few Czech poems virtually everybody can recite the first stanza of.



Byl pozdní večer - první máj -
večerní máj - byl lásky čas.
Hrdliččin zval ku lásce hlas,
kde borový zaváněl háj.
O lásce šeptal tichý mech;
květoucí strom lhal lásky žel,
svou lásku slavík růži pěl,
růžinu jevil vonný vzdech.
Jezero hladké v křovích stinných
zvučelo temně tajný bol,
břeh je objímal kol a kol;
a slunce jasná světů jiných
bloudila blankytnými pásky,
planoucí tam co slzy lásky.

Late evening, on the first of May—
The twilit May—the time of love.
Meltingly called the turtle-dove,
Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay.
Whispered of love the mosses frail,
The flowering tree as sweetly lied,
The rose's fragrant sigh replied
To love-songs of the nightingale.
In shadowy woods the burnished lake
Darkly complained a secret pain,
By circling shores embraced again;
And heaven's clear sun leaned down to take
A road astray in azure deeps,
Like burning tears the lover weeps.


Mácha  died young, as poets "should", and became an immensely popular patron of lover. Because the dark, romantic and tragic love story of Mácha's poem takes place precisely on May unlike many other countries, instead of to celebrate May 1st as Labor Day, Czech people celebrate this day as Lover's Day. They don't need Valentine - recent Anglo-Saxon import. Moreover they don't want to praise love in the middle of freezing February :P

On May 1st Czech people will indulge in a more romantic undertaking. Many couples will flock to Mácha statue, bring flowers and kiss as they should.  There’s a nice, romantic ritual connected with it, concerning women. It is imperative that each woman, regardless her age, gets kissed under a blooming cherry tree – otherwise she could “dry out” within a year.

Well, I guess I should try to go back to this hill on upcoming May 1st and get a romantic kiss then.. <3<3<3

-ariana-

Note(s):


To see the whole poem and also the translation with illustrations by a distinguished Czech painter too, you could check this web out http://www.lupomesky.cz

Monday, 5 August 2013

LIONESS' EXPERIENCE: MABOK MINYAK TELON

Paris,  July 4 - 5,  2013

Kamis malam, begitu tiba di flat-nya Leon seusai nonton konser Jazz di Rue des Petites, saya langsung ganti baju, cuci muka, dan sikat gigi untuk persiapan tidur. Baru mau ke kasur eh si Leon manggil saya ke dapurnya.

"Kamu mau ke Marseille kan? Kebetulan saya punya minuman khas sana yang harus kamu coba!" ucapnya sambil mengeluarkan sebuah botol beling berwarna coklat dari dalam kulkasnya. "Minuman ini namanya Pastis. Salah satu minuman tradisional dari Prancis. Lebih tepatnya sih dari Prancis selatan soalnya ini minuman khas wilayah Mediteranian. Pastis de Marseilles ini yang paling terkenal," jawab Leon sambil menuangkan minuman itu ke dalam dua gelas kaca yang kemudian salah satunya diberikan kepada saya.

Pastis (beras kencur ala Marseille)
Sumber: klik disini
Sekilas minuman ini mirip beras kencur. Warnanya putih gading gitu dengan bau rempah yang sangat menyengat. Bau minuman ini terasa tidak asing bagi saya tapi saya lupa baunya mirip bau apa.

"Cheers!" saya dan Leon bersulang.

GLEGEK!

Tegukan pertama masuk dan perut saya langsung panas dibuatnya. Lidah saya jadi kelu. Rasa dan bau minuman itu benar-benar aneh. Nggak enak!

"Gimana rasanya? Suka?" tanya Leon dengan santai begitu menyeruput Pastis dalam gelasnya.

"It's too strong for me," jawab saya dengan kepala agak-agak pusing.

"Pastis ini memang tinggi banget sih kandungan alkoholnya, sekitar 40%."

PANTESAN!!!

Tadinya si Leon maksa saya ngehabisin sisa minuman saya karena sayang kalau dibuang namun karena muka saya udah ungu nggak karuan akhirnya dia nggak tega. Dihabiskannya minuman yang tadinya dia tuang untuk saya.

Keesokan harinya...

Saat saya tengah asik ngobrol-ngobrol sama Felix, computer programmer keturunan Brazil yang lagi ngebenerin komputernya Leon, si empu rumah dengan baik hatinya membawakan kami minuman. 

"Nih Lix gue ada Pastis," ucap Leon sambil menyerahkan segelas kecil berisi minuman beras kencur yang kali ini terlihat lebih encer dan disajikan bersama beberapa potong es batu dan buah zaitun. Felix mah doyan-doyan aja secara dia juga sebelumnya lama tinggal di wilayah Prancis selatan.

"Nih satu buat kamu," ucap Leon sembari menyerahkan satu gelas lainnya pada saya. "Jangan khawatir, kali ini nggak akan se-strong kemaren kok. Kemarin saya salah. Harusnya minuman ini diencerin dulu dengan air sebelum diminum," ucap Leon untuk menenangkan saya yang terlihat trauma dengan minuman yang ditawarkannya.

Saya pun coba meneguk minuman yang telah diencerkan itu. Jadi terasa lebih soft sih tapi...mau yang udah dicairin kek mau yang belum tetap aja minuman ini rasanya nggak enak.

Dan... saya baru ingat kalau beras kencur gadungan ini baunya sama persis dengan bau minyak telon.

Hoalah!!! 

Fix mabok minyak telon ni di malam terakhir saya di Paris [-____-].

--L--

Monday, 29 July 2013

Postcard id: ID-24872, The Alchemist, Coldplay, Amsterdam in 6 (six) hours

Amsterdam, July 29, 2013

Friendship could be started with any form of way. One of my unique friendship is started by sending a postcard  to a Dutch girl named Carmen van Mol whose address I got through www.postcrossing.com, a web which enables its members to randomly send and receive postcard to and from other members from all over the world. 

From her profile, I knew that Carmen whose user name was Dunan19 was studying at Belgium at that time. There she stated that she liked good quotes and requested the sender to tell her about the recommended/good music to be heard. Therefore I told her that one of my favorite quote taken from the book titled "The Alchemist" written by a Brazilian author named Paulo Coelho.
"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
For the music, I forget whether I mentioned Kings of Convenience or Coldplay or both as my favorite musician(s). I also told her about my ambition to take master degree in Europe.

Postcard id: ID-24872, distance:11,326 km (7,038 miles), time travel: 22 days
It had been 22 (twenty two) days for the postcard which ID was ID-24872 to reach her address in Helmond, 11,326 km (7,038 miles) away from my town. I felt glad to know that she commented that she liked and even favorited that postcard that I'd bought in Alun-Alun Indonesia, a well known merchant selling traditional gift and souvenir located in Grand Indonesia Mall.

I never thought that our connection will be continued. She sent me a direct message and asked me to send a friend request to her facebook account. We also follow each other's twitter and instagram, and communicate through WhatsApp too. One of unique fact is we have consecutive birthday. Mine is July 18 and hers is July 19. She is 2 (two) years younger than me.

We quite often share our stories including picture and video to each other. What I remember most is her video while riding her bicycle to show me her neighborhood in Helmond. I'd love to send her the video my friend  recorded while I was on offshore duty but.. since I am a very good procrastinators until now I haven't sent it to her and the video is still on my friend's mobile phone and I have lost contact with that friend. *lame-excuse*

A pic of Coldplay's concert that Carmen shared to me

Both of us love Coldplay. But... she's much more damn luckier than me. While I still wait that one day I can get my chance to see that British rock band concert, she has attended their concert 3 (three) times. I repeat again, 3 (three) times!!! One was in Goffertpark, another one was in Nijmagen and the latest one was in Amsterdam. Aaaaaaa... I do really envy her. But she is so kind to me, she shared some photos she captured  and also 1 (one) audio file she recorded while attending the concert. Bedankt Carmen! :D

Among the Coldplay songs, my most favorite one is 'Yellow'. I do really really love that song from their first album, Parachutes, because of its super wonderful and touching lyric. While Carmen most favorite one is 'Fix You'. Both of us also love the 'Green Eyes'. She loves it because she has them. While I love it because of quite similar reason. My German Shepherd has them. Hahaaa!

Then...

It was a sunny Monday dated July 29, 2013, was the day I and Carmen met in Person in Amterdam. It had been supposed that the train carrying me from Copenhagen arrived at Amsterdaam Centraal Station ad around 11 AM. But... due to one and any other thing my train arrived there at around 3 PM.  I had made her waiting too long. I felt so sorry for it. I felt a such great feeling at the first time seeing her who was clothed in green cardigan, blue jeans and red sneakers. Aaaaa her style is so similar with my daily style. From the station, we went to a store where we could buy a tourism city map prized 2 EUR. I thought that it would be free as per in other European countries I had visited before :P

The first place we visited was the area which I had curiosity most to visit i.e The Red Light District in De Wallen. After passing by some small alleys, we arrived there. Wohooo... There we saw cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red light. Well, as women actually we were so shame (or could I say embarrassed) seeing those kind of things. We also saw a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. In my opinion, it's such an irony that the center of Red Light District is Oude Kerk.

Nationaal Museum Amsterdam © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Enough with the Red Light District, we went to Nationaal Monument in Dam Square. It was so crowded with people at that time. There we sat in the outer ring of the monument, near one of two lions statue sculptured there. I let have myself a break for a while. I put off my big carrier and drank my water. 

Nationaal Museum is a 1956 World War II monument designed by Dutch architect J.J.P. Oud. There are several sculptures by John Rädecker and his sons Han and Jan Willem Rädecker and reliefs by Paul Grégoire surrounding that covered-by-white-travertine-stone monument. The pillar carries an inscription in Latin:
Hic ubi cor patriae monumentum cordibus intus quod gestant cives spectet ad astra dei.
"Here, where the heart of the fatherland is, may this monument, which citizens carry in their heart, gaze at God's stars."

In the west side of the square, in the opposite of the monument, there is and Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace of Amsterdam) which was built in 17th century. At first the building was intended to be a town hall then later on it becomes the palace which is used by the monarch for entertaining and official functions during state visits and other receptions. The palace and theh Nieuwe Kerk located next to it are the places for abdication and also investiture of kings and queens of Netherlands. Two latest Dutch royal family occasions held there were the royal wedding of PrinceWillem-Alexander and Princess Máxima on 2002 and the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the investiture of King Willem-Alexander on 2013.

Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace of Amsterdam) © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Related to history of Indonesia, on 27 December 1949 the palace's central hall (Burgerzaal) was the scene of the official ceremony for the transfer of sovereignty over Indonesia by the Netherlands (Soevereiniteitsoverdracht), represented by Queen Juliana and Indonesian vice-president Muhammad Hatta.

Before continuing our walking trip, I and Carmen exchanged birthday present to each other. I gave her a small handmade orange purse from Kalimantan. In return she gave me a lovely card in the pink envelope with the titled 'for my special friend, Sita' and the picture of big baloon in silver ink. I opened the card and red the letter written on it. There she stated that she would sent me a birthday box containing some special sweets and snacks from Holland to my house in Indonesia. HWOOO!!!  I was so excited about that. She's really really my special friend. Can't wait to receive that package soon :D

From the Dam Square, we visited HEMA, a well known Dutch retail chain that in simply could be considered as department store. We visited one of its branch which is located in 208 Kalverstraat. In the down stair, it sells for food (snacks) and daily necessities good. There I bought some souvenirs (as oleh-oleh) for my family. I bought an apron and a set of mugs and a can in blue and white color with printed of Dutch special features such as windmills, klompen shoes, tulip flowers, etc.

Cute pink famous Tompouce sold at HEMA.

Going up stair, there are clothes section and also a kind of cafeteria/food court. Carmen was soooo really kind to me. She bought us two pieces of different cakes. I am sorry I forget one of them. What I remember most is the TOMPOUCE. It is oblong pastry containing custard pudding, covered by a pink sweet layer. Lekker!!! I love it sooooo much.




From HEMA, we continued to walk along the Kaverstraat, a busy shopping street in Amsterdam. The we would find so many stores and also restaurant. In Dutch monopoli game, it becomes the most expensive area to be purchased. After passing by the whole Kavelstraat we found a tower named Muntorren in the Muntplein square, where the Amstel river and the Singel canal meet.

Carmen told me that 'The Alchemist' was the book she always wanted to read but she when visiting book store she had reluctance to buy it because that thin book was in the same price with the thick one such as 'The Da Vinci Code' of Dan Brown. After receiving my card she was like... This is meant to be! Finally she bought that book. later on she told me that when reading the book, it reminds her about our friendship.

Rembrandtplein © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

We continued our walk and passed the Reguliersbreestraat to reach Rembrandtplein, the major squared in Amsterdam named after the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn. Here I also found an Indonesian restaurant. Though I missed Indonesian food so badly, I hold myself for not eating there because I believed the price would be out of my meal budget. Moreover within next 24 hours I'd be home and could eat as much as I want.

From the Rembrandtplein, we passed the Herengracht canal then turned to the right and walk along beside Amstel canal. We crossed the canal through Sarpathistraat and walked along beside the Amstel again but in the other side. Along the canal, there were so many boats both passing the canal or just being anchored. Some boats are for tourism and some are for living. 

The picturesque Amsterdam' canal © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)
We continued our walk along the Amstel canal. We passed by Carré, a Neo-Renaissance theater.We passed by (or saw) Mageerebrug (the skinny bridge). Then we passed by Hermitage Amsterdam.before arriving at a square consisting of Muziektheater, Stadhuis and Waterloplein. We passed the Staalstraat before somehow we went back to Rembrandtplein.

Along the way, we passed by a flea market. I forget where exactly it was. There were many stalls sold souvenirs, postcard, clothes and any food/snack and any other Dutch specialties. I bought some klompen refrigerator magnet there. i also tasted the stroopwafels sold in one of the stall. I immediately fall in love with this snack with little thin of caramel between two crisp waffles. Knowing my excitement after testing that snack, Carmen told me that stroopwafels would be one of the content of happy birthday box to me.
Ginger white chocolate cheesecake

We went to Japanese restaurant named Wagamama located in Amstelstraat 8 for dinner (though I guess it was weird to call it dinner while the sun was still bright). Carmen ordered chicken katsu with mountainous rice. I ordered a bowl ramen. I was quite surprised when our food came. My ramen was served in a super big bowl. It was the biggest portion I ever had. For the dessert we shared a slice of white chocolate ginger cheesecake. The cake was so soft  and the chilli toffee sauce was so yummy. They were combined to make a very delicious cake. Fortunately, Carmen brought her student card hence we could get 20% discount for the cake.


Six hours went so fast. Then... finally time for me to go came. She accompanied me back to the Centraal Station. I should take the train to bring me to Schiphol Airport to catch my flight back to Indonesia.

Wefie before my departure to Schiphol airport
Well, there is an end for every beginning. And pfffhhh time to end my Eurotrip came. Good bye my very special friend, Carmen. You gave a very sweet ending for my Eurotrip. Someday, for sure, we WILL MEET AGAIN in person!!! *crossingfinger*

-ariana-