Backpacking with Kids: Korea #1

Hanok in Gyeong Ju, the place we stayed 
"Why travel with kids?
Childhood is a short season."
-Helen Hayes

Destination #1: Gyeong Ju and Busan
Ready for Lantern Festival
Beautiful Gamcheon Cultural Village
After flying for 7 hours from Jakarta to Seoul and continued by getting on and off of the bus, train and lastly by foot for around 6 hours in total, we finally arrived safe and sound in our  Hanok in Gyeong Ju. Hanok is a Korean traditional house. Although its look is traditional but inside the place is very modern completed with all up-to-date home appliances. The host is very nice, she provided us with free toast, home-made jam, milk, juice, egg and Samyang noodle (Korean noodle), what a bless.
One of beautiful spots in Gamcheon

Gyeong Ju is a peaceful city. UNESCO awarded it as a cultural heritage. It is full of temple, tombs, museum, castles, observatory, and small yet intimate cafes. 
Jagalchi Fish Market

From Gyeong Ju, we took train to Busan, a large port city in South Korea and also the second most populous city after Seoul. We dropped by at Jagalchi Market. A world famous market for fresh fish and seafood to take away or eat at the informal stalls. The kids enjoyed the fish market so much. They amazed to see how complete the seafood collection and how clean the market is. 
A Busy Busan City

Next we headed to Gamcheon Cultural Village. It is a beautiful spot for selfie. The houses here were built on the foothills of a coastal mountain, earning this village the nickname of "Machu Picchu of Busan." The place is full with colorful and beautiful houses, cafes and shops. Every part of the place is decorated by the residents vibrantly with murals and sculptures. 
Luwak Cafe in Gyeong Ju

Latest destination on that day was actually swimming and enjoying Haeundai Beach. But...unfortunately the universe was against us. The rain's heavily pouring accompanied by wind and thunder. We couldn't stay long in the beach, so we had a negotiation with the kids to drop by in a Korean restaurant and have a delicious dinner while waiting for the rain to stop. Still a perfect way to end that day's adventure.

So happy to see the Dandelion flowers
"Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport."

Book Review: Jakarta Sebelum Pagi


Title: Jakarta Sebelum Pagi
Author: Ziggy Zezsyazeoviennazabrizkie
Publisher: Grasindo
2nd Printing
February 2017
272 pages

"Buat gue, percintaan itu mirip fisika, atau matematika. Kalau dibimbing dengan guru yang tepat, gue paham dan bisa menyelesaikan semua soal. Gue selalu remedial bukan karena nggak ngerti, it's just not something that I am good at alone." 

How I miss reviewing a good book. Well...I read several books already but it seems so hard to find the right time to absorb the story and post it here. It must be due to the burden of works, the traffic, the old age, the rain in June (yep...remind me of that epic poem of Hujan Bulan Juni) and bits of this and that to blame. 

One day I visited a bookshop and planned to get a 'light' yet entertaining book. Found this blue book and read the yellow sticker at the cover that said, KARYA FIKSI TERBAIK INDONESIA 2014 VERSI MAJALAH ROLLING STONE. I checked the synopsis at the back cover of the book and brought it directly to the cashier without any second thoughts.

This book is SUPERB. Full of smart yet crazy dialogue. The narration, the characters, the setting and all are absurd. I repeat again a TOTAL ABSURD. I couldn't stop laughing while reading it. Full of cekikikan. It's been a while I have never found an Indonesian book as entertaining as this one. Kudos to Ziggy. Awesome work!!!

Curious already? The story itself is about a girl name Emina, she's kind of a weirdo. Lives all alone in her apartment which  was inherited from her dead parents.  She works as an ordinary employee. She still has unique grandparents who live in a nursing home whom she visit frequently. Despite her mundane life, out of the blue, Emina finds a mysterious flowers package in her apartment balcony. The flowers --roses, blue hyacinth, and jasmine-- are sent by a silver balloon to her apartment balcony without any message or the name of the sender. Emina thinks that a stalker is out there watching her. 

When she finally decides to investigate the stalker, it leads her to a mysterious-little-girl in the flower shop, a silent apartment room, and a piles of love letters which tell about the vintage buildings in Jakarta.

See, the theme is quite engaging. Not only that, you will also easily fall in love with the characters and their conversations. Creative and funny. Lots of  good quotes are everywhere spreading in many parts of the book.  

Hidup lebih sederhana ketika otak cuma sekadar bagian dari menu makanan Padang.

Eid Mubarak 1438 H

It's another Eid Mubarak.
We still did the same things.
On the first day:
We performed the Eid praying in the nearby huge soccer field.
Enjoyed ketupat and all its yummy yet fatty rendang, opor ayam, sambal goreng ati, and the like.
Got together with the family, siblings, cousins, and all.

While on the second day:
Visited my hubby's family in Lampung

Yes...all seemed the same. 
Similar ritual from year to year.
But one thing is not the same anymore. 


 We couldn't see our beloved parents whom we usually shared the joyous and peaceful atmosphere during blessed Eid.
No more parents whom we asked for apologies,
It's the fourth year, Eid Mubarak without our Mom.
And certainly the first time without you, Dad.

No worries, we're doing okay here (at least we tried). 
We just miss you.

Wish you both the greatest blessed Eid there, in heaven.

Love from us. 
As always.

Class of 2017


Don't tell me the sky is the limit
when
there are footprints on...the moon.

I am not saying it's going to be easy but...
trust me it's going to be worth it.

CONGRATS, our Najla :))

Let new adventures begin...
Credit to Linda

Magical Morocco #5 (Casablanca) & A Glimpse of Doha, Qatar

Travel is the only thing you buy that make you richer.

-Anonymous

This is my last posting on Morocco Trip. Our end of trip was in Casablanca. We just stayed one night here and dropped by at the largest mosque in Morocco, the Hassan II Mosque.  It is the 13th largest in the world while its minaret is the world's tallest reaching 210 meters.
Starbuck at Casablanca (when my friend bought all Morocco tumblers to be sold in Jakarta & yes, they're all sold out)
Souk (market) Waqif in Doha

From Casablanca, we headed to Doha, Qatar, enjoying a one-day-free-trip in Doha, accompanied by the best hosts ever, Pak Nazar and Ibu Neni and also their friend, the owner of the one and only Minang Restaurant in Doha, Pak Herry.  We're speechless receiving their sincere hospitality. We're forever indebted. Huge thanks, Pak dan Ibu #RejekiAnakYangSemogaSoleh
No... it's not Hong Kong, it's ...Doha

All trips have their endings including this Magical Morocco Trip. One of the best highlights in 2017 (perhaps in my whole life). I would like to thank my travel mates, thanks for being so supportive and fun...even at our worst condition. Let's plan another trip next year ...!!! 
Our biggest happiness after two weeks leaving in the desert: Nasi Padang.. #pelukrendang

I am not the same, having seen the moon shine at the other side of the world.

-Mary Anne Radmacher     

Book Review: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Title: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Author: Fredrik Backman
Translator: Jia Effendie
Publisher: Noura Books 
November 2016
496 pages

If you're tired with the political issues that spread almost everywhere, in the social media, on TV, lunch topic and many more, I really recommend you to read this book, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry written by a Sweden writer, Fredrick Backman. The writer with his witty way will take us meeting  Elsa, a seven-year-old-unique girl and her 77-year-old Grandma who is 'crazy'.

Elsa  finds difficulties in making friends, but lucky her, she has the best friend in the whole world, yep...her Grandma. Her Grandma will take her to some crazy adventures such as standing on the balcony firing paint ball guns at strangers. At night Elsa and Grandma will go to the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and no body needs to be normal.

Elsa's life turns upside down when Grandma dies. Although drowning in her sadness yet Elsa also found that her Grandma leaves behind a series of letter that must be delivered to other tenants that live in the same apartment building as Elsa. 

The letters are apologies from Grandma to the tenants there. These letters become Elsa's greatest adventure. Through the letters, the lonely Elsa finally can build bonds of friendship with other tenants in the building. Moreover Elsa also realizes that the make-believe characters in her Grandma stories are all based on real people and real events. 

A very charming and warmhearted tale. Love it.

   

Magical Morocco #4 (Essaouira)

Inside the souk in Essaouira
credit to Rani
After enjoying the mystical Sahara Desert, our next destination was a beautiful laid back coastal city in Morocco, Essaouira.
What a beautiful blue sky
At the moment I arrived in Essaouira, I kind of felt that I was not in Morocco yet it's more like in some coastal cities in Europe instead. Perhaps because  French left its strongly influence here. Just walking along the area, you'll find an old fort, souk (market) that sells all kinds of artisan stuffs, petite yet pretty cafes, awesome paintings, patisserie with really good smell of cookies, birdwatchers, surfers, street performances, bookshops with beautiful collection of postcards (hey...I sent some postcards but it seems none arrives yet), people just lay down on the beach with the family, warm and kind people, art galleries, boutique, and all, everything is beyond belief. You don't need a high skill of photography here since all spots are already beautiful themselves.
Special Tintin Statue from Thoya Wood

One more thing that I love about Essaouira is the affordable price for almost everything such as food, souvenirs, cloths, and many more. When I saw a Carrefour nearby the city, I was curious to know the products sold there. Who knows they've got some alternative local products. So we decided to take taxi to go there. To avoid misunderstanding, before we got on the car, we asked the taxi fare first. The taxi driver fare was about Rp 7.000 (if I converted to Rupiah). We thought it's the price for one passenger while there were four of us. But the driver seriously said that it's a total price. Wow...
 
Choosing Essaouira as our 4th destination in Morocco was just one of our best decisions, this place is perfect for us who spent almost  12 hours on the bus from Sahara to Essaoira. #TenggakMinyakAngin.