This is probably the longest blogisode that I have so far. Alright, here we go.. Part 5. Singapore, my second home. Before going there, I told myself that I’ll stuff myself crazy with all the scrumptious food that I’ve been missing every day. And so I did. Here’s a slideshow of some of the delicious foods and drinks that I had the pleasure to nom and sip while I was in Singapore (plus a couple from my transit in Japan, couldn’t resist the temptation to eat authentic Japanese food)…
It takes about an hour of plane ride from Bengkulu to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. A city filled with pollution and the people tend to grow old in their cars because of the never ending traffic jams.
One of the main reasons of why we went to Jakarta was because my cousin was getting married. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know that he has a partner until my mom told me a few weeks before I even thought of coming back home. Quite sad how out of touch I am with my own extended family members. I rely so much on Facebook to see how people I know are doing, so thank you Mark Zuckerberg! Haha! Anyway, he had his wedding at a church nearby his house. I love weddings. The white dress, excitement of the guests to see the bride walking down the isle or to hear the couple say ‘I do’. I think the best part of every wedding is that look in the groom’s face when he sees the bride walking down the isle. Although my cousin’s wedding it was a little different as both the groom and bride walked down the isle together, it was still beautiful.
Tuang Teh is a Chinese tradition that usually happens before the wedding reception. What happens is that the bride and groom will pour glasses of tea to their older relatives and in turn, they’ll receive red pockets (also known as hong bao) containing moolah. Naturally, my parents were part of the Tuang Teh ceremony and here’s a little fun fact: my parents got to know each other through my cousin’s late father.
My dad knows that I love to sing, so when the MC was looking for volunteers to sing dad told him to pick me. Because he’s really big into confidence and believing in oneself, so of course I couldn’t say no because I didn’t want to disappoint my dad. Every atom in my body was filled with nervousness, but I’m proud of myself for making it to the stage. I picked what I thought was my “safe” song, I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and boy was I wrong, lol. Lost my voice here and there because I was hella nervous, but so glad that I was able to share the stage with my cousin’s daughter, Fiona! Oh that adorable little munchkin!
We went to Bandung the next day. J has never been to Bandung before so my parents thought it’d be nice to bring him around. We visited my mom’s friend’s idyllic house at the top of the hill. Picturesque view from the balcony and that called for a mandatory selfie, haha! Anyway, she brought us around the area and we had lunch at The Mountain View Golf Club in Dago. I ordered ayam bakar (grilled chicken, Indonesian style) and it was heavenly. Can someone from Indonesia mail some for me, please?
Next, we went to visit Tangkuban Perahu, a dormant volcano located at the north of Bandung. One tip for foreigners who are planning to visit, when your car/ride arrives at the ticketing booth.. hide. They’ll overcharge you like no other. I had J covered with my scarf and told him to pretend as if he’s sleeping, lol. It worked! I felt like a genius. Mmm, as for the sulphur, it didn’t smell as bad as I thought it would be but still worth getting the face mask (plenty of sellers around the area, not to worry if you don’t have one).
We were there for about fifteen minutes and then it started raining cats and dogs. We had to run to the nearby shelter and we were pretty much stuck there for about another fifteen minutes before our rides came to pick us up because there was no cellphone reception and we couldn’t call our drivers. Silver lining? I have one. I made a new friend while we were hiding from the rain. Ono, a beautiful pony who’s super calm and friendly. He even allowed me to take a selfie with him haha.
Before we left Bandung, my dad’s childhood friend brought us out to eat dinner at an authentic Korean restaurant complete with the floor seating and a table bell for the customers to press when they’re needing some assistance. I wasn’t a fan of the food though, but he ordered a lot, and I mean a lot of bean sprouts! Like a lot. No, seriously. Most of them were pretty much bean sproutified by the end of the dinner, except for me. Ha, I hate bean sprouts.
We left Bandung after dinner, made our way back to Jakarta. Our days were filled with food, malls, snacks, more food, sightseeing and… yeah, food. Hahaha. If you ever plan to go to Jakarta, definitely go on a culinary tour. Plenty of food to choose from and of course, don’t forget to try out the street food! Granted, if you don’t have a strong stomach you’ll more than likely get stomach problems like J did. But I still think it’s worth it, haha.
After a couple of days, we left Jakarta for Singapore — my second home. I look forward to sharing that part of my vacation story with you in my next blog post but until then, have you seen my recent vlog? Pretty much a compilation of bits and pieces of my time in Indonesia. If you haven’t well, here it is! Hehe, enjoy! See you in my next post, lovely!
We arrived in Bengkulu (if you don’t know where Bengkulu is, click here) early in the morning. So much have changed since the last time that I was there but nothing has changed drastically, which was great. Not gonna lie, it felt good to be back. When I was younger, I used to not like going back home. All I cared about was myself. Now that I’ve grown up, I appreciate being able to come home a whole lot more. I got to see how my parents’ businesses are doing, meet some of my relatives, eat platefuls of comfort food.. and most importantly be reunited with my family after years of studying abroad alone.
For the first two days, I was totally going through jet lag. What made it worse was my swollen feet, haha. It took awhile for the swell to go down and I was a little frustrated because I couldn’t fit into my sandals. But one of the perks of being home is that I get to be under the care of my parents and have my family’s housekeepers, Mbak Lina and Mbak Ice (mbak is basically a term that can be used to address housekeepers, similar to miss) help me out with things that I’d usually do on my own.
We only spent two days in Bengkulu, but we managed to do quite a bit of things. Went to the beach, sipped on fresh coconuts, nomed on delicious local food, had lunch with my parents and aunt, even bought some snake fruits because my mom knew J loves them. I have to say, Pantai Panjang (translation: Pantai is beach, panjang is long — Long Beach) has definitely changed a lot since when I was younger. The waterline is now so much closer to the road (no thanks to global warming), there are a whole lot more small stalls selling food and drinks along the beach and a whole lot more activities to do such as odong-odong (basically it’s a light up carriage ride. I couldn’t get a proper picture so I did some Googling homework to show you what it looks like — click here) and delman ride (Indonesian traditional horse carriage ride, see the picture above). Unfortunately with all of the new development and attractions, the amount of thrash along the beach has also increased. I wish the government and the people understand the importance in taking care of nature and especially tourist attraction sites such as Pantai Panjang…
On my last day, dad took the whole family for a ride around the city and we also visited my dad’s company bus pool. I’m devastated over the fact that I’m still unable to contribute to my family. Nothing hurts more than hearing your dad or mother say things like “if you’re unable to take care of me when I’m old, Axel (my younger brother) will take care of me” or “I’m getting older and you’re still studying, no one is able to take care of me or help out with the business“. Sigh. I can’t wait to graduate, pack my bags and go home, back to the place where I belong. It hurts to see my parents struggle like that. So here in my space, I promise that I’ll be coming home.
Moving on. Back home, my little tummy was always satisfied. There was no such thing as gastric pain or angry lion roaring from the inside, haha. My mom has always been spoiling me with home-cooked food and satisfying every single craving that I have. Oh, and another perk of being back home? I get to eat birds nest soup. Super delicious! If you don’t know what that is, it’s an ancient Chinese soup recipe made from dried out swallows’ saliva. Yep, swallow birds make their nests using their saliva. Basically, it’s a bowl of saliva. Haha, that sounded gross. But! It has plenty of benefits especially for one’s health. Some say it can help to boost immune system, maintain beauty and youthfulness, speed up recovery, and so on. Hence, it’s no wonder that for a bowl, the cost ranges from about $30 to over $100 depending on the quality of the nests.
Saying goodbye wasn’t easy and although I’ve done it multiple times, I can honestly say that I’m getting worse at it. If you’re wondering, who’s the man above that’s my uncle. I missed him. He looked after me since I was younger and now I’m older, can’t help but notice that he too is getting old. Time flew by so fast…
The last family member I said goodbye to was Irene, my brother’s persian cat. She’s so fluffy, but so timid! Thanks for taking a picture with me little one, gotta show your sister some love, lol!
Then after one last scenic view of the beach on our way to the airport, off I went to Jakarta! See you in my next post, www friends!