Belitong Island – Not Just a Rainbow Troops Island

(or Ahok)

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I have the opportunity to visit the island of Belitong in the beginning of the month. As a small island near the island of Bangka, which was my grandparents from my mother side’s hometown, the location is made famous by the movie Rainbow Troops or Laskar Pelangi in the local language. While now it’s also known as the hometown of Ahok or Mr. Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, the Jakarta Governors. During my stay there, I was accompanied by a local guide, natives of the island. That way, we got to explore the local delicacies, not that Belitung is swarmed with one, but at least we can get around the more touristy spot and go straight to where the locals went.

img_8285Being a small island, Belitung also has a few smaller island surrounding it. Well, it’s basically like that all around Indonesia, it’s like an island-ception. But oh boy, the beaches was fantastical. Even in the ‘dirtier’ area of the beaches it still has the magical white sand and clear water. I am almost tempted to do a Baywatch scene by emerging from the sea water and walks slowly towards the beach. Since Belitung is known as a tin producing island, there were also some old mines that transformed into a travel destination. The underwater ecosystem of Belitung is also one of a kind. They have magnificent corals and fishes. Too bad I am not a diver myself, so I can’t really tell you how it is.

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What I can tell you is the food over there is amazing.

Let me repeat, one more time.

UH MAY ZING!

From a merely grilled fish into a succulent roast pork, to a relish martabak. they have it all. For the record, I am not a seafood eater, but they have the freshest produce anyone can offer. I can testify to that since I got bad itches when I ate a bad seafood. I am itch free over there. They have a fish exclusive to the island called ‘Ilak’ this fish has a flaky texture and not a strong fishy smell. It’s perfect for grilling with a simple Soy Sauce or special spices by the restaurant. Another delicacy for a seafood lover is the crabs, especially the rajungan. Again, I can only say what my brothers said, it was the best rajungan he ever had, it’s so full of meat and sweet, and you can believe him since he is such a diva for food. Another recommendation called gangan. a sort of fish head soup cooked with pineapple so it gives that fresh vibrant that goes well with the island feeling. img_8348

img_8307For those that not a seafood person, is the noodles. I spent 4 days 3 nights, and I had like five noodle meals. The noodle they served here consisting one bowl of noodle with minced pork and beansprouts, and another bowl of fishball and ‘cakien’-some sort of fishcake. The funny thing here, all the noodle seller is open for business in different time, it’s like they saying to have noodle all day long with variety because every store has their own unique taste. If you not eating pork, you can ask for no meat. Or you can just go to the famous Bakmi Atep for their prawn broth noodle. img_8451

img_8456As millennials as I can be, I have the need to get coffee. The famous coffee shop in the island is Kong Djie Coffee, it is an old school coffee shop, a kopitiam, to be exact. it establishes during the 40’s, with their original store still standing strong and a bunch of franchise store opening up all around the island with a younger vibe. This original store is the perfect place to have your morning fix since the original store served some snacks such as fried banana and assorted fritters, as well as traditional cakes provided by other small business. Just perfect, a grass root business model, small business being helped by another small but more established business. img_8447

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Another highlight is their martabak, a bit similar to Bangka style martabak, they attract you with the smell of butter melting on the surface of hot martabak. That greasy glossy treasure is calling you like an ant towards sugar. During my stay there, I haven’t found one bad martabak, even the worst is still acceptable.img_8333 When Bangka and Belitung share a similar martabak, their roast pork is completely different. What I can tell you is the food over there, is amazing If Bangka style is heavier on the spices, Belitong have a more gentle taste with a crispier skin. Me personally prefer the Bangka style, but I also won’t say no for Belitong style. To quote a friend of mine, ‘Pork is never a mistake!’

img_8343Belitung is not only an island about Rainbow Troops, this is a nice place to chill and have a nice beach moment. Not to mention that it is so affordable, sure the infrastructure is not as good as Bali or Lombok, but there are a lot of hidden gems that can still be found if you willing to explore the island. If you wanted to go for a chill vacation, I suggest you consider Belitung for your destinations.img_8312img_8314img_8321img_8339img_8342img_8353img_8358img_8361img_8381img_8386img_8387img_8418img_8439img_8432img_8466

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Necessary Provisions

When you look for someplace to eat, sometimes you just want that hole in the wall place that not to fancy. I actually have no idea where this place were, not until my friend got allocated there for his apprenticeship. Placed on the north part of Singapore in the heart of old school atas place of Bukit Timah, Necessary Provisions gives you what really necessary in life; good food, good coffee, lovely ambience.

The menu they offer actually is not much, but it sure varied from pasta, burger, salad, even fried rice! I have tried their gyutan don, sambal fried rice, and pork burger, which all on point. I especially love the pork burger with a juicy patty in between the crusty bread, it just perfect for a meal. Their rice selection also not bad, even the gyutan don is okay, their sambal fried rice is giving me a bit taste of home.

Since it has a lovely atmosphere, you might want to come there just to sit around, reading book, or writing stuff. While you do what you love, they can give you a nice snacks such as a bread and dip, eggplant chips, and such. I’ve had the eggplant chips that they fried using a beer batter and served with miso aioli, it is quite a nice snacks to nibble on. Bread and dip on the other hand, even the dip is nice, I find the bread a bit too stale, maybe I got them at the bad day.

Necessary Provisions also serve a home brew coffee and tea, as well as home brew beer! I love how they give a tremendous service towards the customer. maybe since it is a little shop, around 30 seater full house, It gave the staff a bit more room to give the extra attention for the customer.

If you wanted to go somewhere not mainstream and doesn’t mind the travel, Necessary Provisions is the place for you to go!

Necessary Provisions – 21 Eng Kong Terrace.

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Sooth Yourself and Be Happy

Living abroad is never an easy task, there will be plenty of challenges waiting for us. Not that there won’t be any in our own home country, but at least we can get more support from our relatives, just like a football club playing at their home ground. The presence of support might be the one that calm us down, or pumped us up.

If you got a friend along with you, then you are very lucky. Most of us go abroad and have to survive, pretty much, on our own. I was lucky enough to went to Taiwan with a couple friends along for our Chinese study. Right now I am once again leaving Indonesia to start a new journey at Singapore. Of course, Singapore is not as far as Taiwan, but the moment of living abroad is pretty much the same. To left a comfort zone and our daily activity to face a new set of routine. The most frightening part is if you have to do it on your own.

When you spending time alone, you start to have a thought about practically anything. Your mind start to wonder and imagine all the stuff that might happen. Our gateway might be by playing on our gadget and thanks to the internet, we can still asking for support from our dear friends and family via all the instant messaging apps available.

But, of course we can not rely on them all the time, in my opinion we should also find our own little sanctuary. It can be anything, from sitting at the park, exploring new culture, or go a back in time a bit and start reading book again.

For me, I have found my formula. I have tried to regaining a joy of reading a book. I started bringing books with me anywhere I go, when I standing in line, at the MRT, during meal time. I started to make it a habit again. Of course a book can be so pricey. So I find another low budget way to calm myself down.

Call me metropolis, but I find looking at a city skyline so soothing. That is why, my favourite spot in Singapore now is the marina bay sands area. Not that I can afford anything there, but they have the best spot to look over the city skyline, and it give me a calming effect that makes me can think even better.

I might go around to check the esplanade area as well, but for now, marina bay sands will still be my go to chillin spot.

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Recent Trip

Finally, I stepped in the land of Singapore. Yes, I never been in Singapore in my adult live before. The last time I’ve been there was when I am still a 4 years old. So, yes, I was excited to go there. But, it turns to be a little out of plan. I only able to go around the orchard, chinatown and marina bay area. I can kissed goodbye all the hawker food stall. I do still had the Ikea meatballs tho, bought a couple books at Kinokuniya, and have a taste of the famous Garrett Popcorn, which kinda disappointing for me. I prefer the ACT II microwave popcorn.

But, there are still something that worth remembered. That was the one holiday where the whole family go. I don’t recall the last time that happened. To add more, we did some reunion with my dad’s uncle, as well as their son, which means my uncle. We go to Singapore to meet an uncle. Literally. *yes, I write this just to tell this joke*

Actually, this thing was kinda fun for me, and I am sure my dad enjoy it as well. He can meet his uncle after so long, and I also get to know a relative that I didn’t know exist right until that day. They accompanied us to some places, and took us to more locally place to go. Not to mention, the face that my dad make when he talk to his uncle. It kinda priceless, since I don’t really see him interacting with his family that much. I also happen to have more chat with him, more in that three days than the last month, I think.

Well, I would love to go there again and explore it on my own. There are still a lot of places I didn’t really get to go. But, I won’t regret the last time, I still got something from it anyway.

three generations of Teo/Tio/張

Keep on Walking

‘Yang diperlukan hanyalah sepasang kaki yang akan terus melangkah’ – 5CM, Donny Dirganthoro

It is a line that I’ve read on one of my favorite books, 5CM. Here at Taipei, I felt that. I need the foot that will keep on walking.
Why?
Because it is my opportunity to see the world! Living abroad, in the new place, new culture, with a different language!
With that condition, that feet is exactly what I need. With a new environment, there are a lot of excitement waiting on every corner of the street. We don’t need so much money on doing it. Just hop on the MRT and voila, your adventure begin.
One of the thing I love to do here is to ride a MRT and get off on some weird station, and find something new. It don’t have to be expensive. For me, I am happy already just walking and sightseeing. As the matter of fact, i am writing this while I’m wandering in a MRT.
As a Jakartans, I am happy to be able to walk and sit on a park. Which is a rare opportunity in Jakarta. So, while I’m here I love to do it.
Another thing on my list is, go visit the IKEA, I don’t know why, but walking and seeing all the furniture is fun for me. Well, who doesn’t love IKEA?
Do I afraid to get lost?
Well, yes I am, but I a little bit relax, since the technology is good, and there are plenty of app on your smartphone to help. Beside that, I’m quite lucky here in Taiwan, they have the sign on PinYin and English, aside from the Chinese Character.
So, I find it fun to walk and explore!
Go and Get Lost!

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Bitan(碧潭) Bridge, Xindian(新店)

As usual, on the weekend I spent my days by wandering around in Taipei. If there still a metro line to it, I go for it(traveler cemen, maunya gampang).

On Saturday I go to Xindian(新店) the southest part on the MRT Line. Actually I have no idea what they have in here until I googled it on the MRT train. They said, they have a night market and a suspension bridge. Well, since I was going on quite noon, the night market will not be there, so let’s take a walk on the Suspension Bridge, and if I stay long enough, maybe will take a look on the night market.

When I arrived on the MRT Station, I was shocked. I thought Xindian will be like more a countryside with no tall building at all. But dude I was wrong. The place is nice, it has that modern atmosphere instead a countryside. I actually kinda like the neighborhood. To go to the suspension bridge what we have to do is just take a quick left after exiting the station. from there you can see the bridge crossing the Xindian River. They have some cycling area with rented bike over there.

I decided to take a little walk around the riverbed. It is nice, putting the heat aside. the wind was blowing so nice. take a little walk and I found a row of restaurants, or 餐廳 (Can Ting) in Chinese. I see a little on the price and that price is the same as my weight. Damn High! But I think if you are a tourist it would be fine to stay and spend some cash on food there.

After walking quite a while at the restaurant row, which is de-routing from the suspension bridge, I decided to walk back to the bridge with different route, which is apparently a backyard from some apartment there. So, I walk until the bridge and crossed it. on the other side I see an old lady selling Ice Cream 冰淇淋 (Bing Qi Lin). I kinda want to buy it but I be a man and hold my desire to eat the Ice Cream!(Well, it’s kinda going to rain though, that’s why I can resist the Ice Cream) I take a walk from the bridge and see some hiking cycling route.

After a little walk on the other side of the bridge, I decided to go back because it’s look like it is gonna rain. BIG TIME! And I was RIGHT! as soon as I enter the MRT Station, the thunder is starting to play. I was kinda happy I don’t decide to go to the night market, because I will be soaked if I pushed to go there.

Well, until next time.

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The other side of the bridge.

The other side of the bridge.

Sup Brah!

Sup Brah!

Looks like Dairin Temple.

Looks like Dairin Temple.

Di Taipei juga ada bebek2an...

Di Taipei juga ada bebek2an…

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The Bridge itself. Nice spot to shot some FTVs

The Bridge itself. Nice spot to shot some FTVs

Behind the stairs is the set of Jackie Chan and Jet Li Scenes. *Nah, I'm Kidding*

Behind the stairs is the set of Jackie Chan and Jet Li Scenes. *Nah, I’m Kidding*

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Walking on somebody's backyard

Walking on somebody’s backyard

Looking old street like this makes me want to do some Jackie Chan stunts.

Looking old street like this makes me want to do some Jackie Chan stunts.

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Sitting there alone. Just like my preference.

Sitting there alone. Just like my preference.

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The Skyline

The Skyline

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Tamsui, The North Pier of Taipei!

Tamsui/DanShui(淡水), the north pier of Taipei(台北)

I spent my last Sunday going to Tamsui, it is a location in north of Taipei City, on New Taipei City(新北市). It is like a harbor area, but not the one that busy with freeloading stuff, but with recreational thingy. There’s quite a lot of things that you can do there. from cycling around, buying things, eat something, or just simply sit and enjoying the ocean.

I was waking up quite late, at 10.40AM, and I have nothing to do. So I decided to move my lazy ass to get in the shower and grab a quick lunch in front of my building(Great Meal). After all the preparations are done, now is the time to see the world! I was headed to Taipower Building MRT Station. (台電大樓捷運站). From there I took the Brown Line up north until the last station. 30-45 Minutes later, Voila! I’m here at Tamsui.

It was my second time in Tamsui, the first one was when a group of friends come to Taiwan, and we decided to meet there to see the sunset, but we were to late, and end up eating there. But now is different, since I came by myslef, I can do anything I want. When I arrived what’s on my mind was.

Man, it is HOT!!

So the first thing I did was, go to 7-11 and get some water. After that, I was just walk along the pier, which has a lot of stalls! From food, hat, souvenir, and else! The food itself usually a fried or grilled squid, shrimp and other seafood, but they have a lot of ice cream stall that sell a tall ice cream, the big one was like 30cm, and the small one around 20cm I think. They have a couple flavor such as, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mango, you can also mix the flavor. Since it was really hot I decided to treat myself a big one. I pick Mango Ice Cream (芒果冰) it was so big that it ended up melt a little even before I reach the bottom. It tasted quite ordinary, Not so much mango flavor on it. Well, I couldn’t complaint since it was only 25NTD for the big one. After that Ice Cream, I took a walk alongside the road, which is so far until I reached one of the tourist spot.

Fort San Domingo.

It used to be a representative house I think, but now they turn it into a museum. It show about some England history I think(not really sure what country, but they explain the origin of afternoon tea, so I thought it must be England). I walk around for a bit more (and FYI, it was an uphill walk) and then took off to going back home. During my walk from Fort San Domingo, I took a different path from the one I took when I was going, so I see more shops and restaurants. The heat beats me once again, and I took my second stop on 7-11 for another round of water. When I walk back I crossed the street called Shang Dian Jie(商店街), which translated as ‘Convenient Store Street’. It was a street that full with a lot of shops, souvenir, food, toys, you name it they have it! Took a walk over there, and I decided to go home.

Overall, I think Tamsui offer a lot of things,

They have their store for they who love shopping.

They have resturants for those who love to eat.

They have beaches and nice public chair(actually it’s just a common chair) for those who love the view.

They even have the cycling road(with bicycle to rent).

I am very sure will come back there for more fun experiences.

All pictures are taken with Canon IXUS 240HS

I just love this kinda of road.

I just love this kinda of road.

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This is what they called dancing  shoes!

This is what they called dancing shoes!

This is not Museum Fatahillah

This is not Museum Fatahillah

Nope, this is not at Puncak

Nope, this is not at Puncak

Oh why there are so many steps!

Oh why there are so many steps!

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Mr Bear taking a sunbath!

Mr Bear taking a sunbath!

This is it, the tallest Ice Cream I ever had

This is it, the tallest Ice Cream I ever had

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Shang Dian Jie 商店街, translated into Convenient Store Street.

Shang Dian Jie 商店街, translated into Convenient Store Street.

a row of shops!

a row of shops!

the tongue would speak.

Hey Guys, it’s been 2 months and I haven’t post any Taiwan Food here.

Well, I have to admit, it is hard for me to explore food because of the language. Hopefully, I’m getting better and will be able to try more and more food around. But for this time, I think I’m gonna share a little bit in general about what I ate here.

Well, for breakfast I usually get a sandwich, rice ball, or just simply a bread from the nearest 7-11. Well, actually there are a lot in breakfast time, but I always woke up late. so I just go with anything fast and convenient, sometimes I get an Egg Tart from a mini market in my school. The sandwich is quite standard, just a little bit ham, cheese, and lettuce, but they have a sandwich with pork sausage here. Never found it at Indonesia. While the rice ball I usually buy is located on my way to school, and  just opened from around 7.00 until 13.30 They have a plenty of variant but I just ordered one with shredded pork again, because I couldn’t read their menu. 😀 they rice ball can be added with an additional egg, also with your taste of spiciness. It cost me around 30-40 NTD for a breakfast.

While for a course just something ordinary, like a fried rice, rice topped with meat, or noodles. Actually, they are taste just fine. But since I used to a very strong spices, I felt the food is quiet bland. There are some places that taste good though, but nothing more that make me crave for them so bad. It cost me around 70-150 NTD for a meal here.(or more if you go to a fancy restaurant)

Snack, this is important, because I just can’t easily stop snacking. there is a lot of fried platter here around the night market, they sell from a bun, chicken breast, chicken chunks, mushroom, etc. We can picked what we want, and they will fry it. It cost around 20-50 NTD for one type of food.

In general Taiwan food is quite fine. The fried platter is good. One problem for me, the food is not really spicy here, tend to taste sweet. But other than that, Taiwan, or Shi Da(where I live), have quite a good food.

Wait for more post about Taiwan guys!

Cheers!

DaHu Park, Taipei

So, about a week ago, me and my friends are planning to go skating, but the place was booked for a hockey tournament. Since we have no idea where to go, a friend of mine just said, let’s go to DaHu Park(大湖公園).

It is easy to go there, because the MRT have a station that stop right in the park. It is on the brown line of Taipei MRT rail. The park itself was being renovated while we came, so there are not that beautiful, since they cover some places with constructions signs. Even though it was under constructions, it still an amazing place to go. They have the bridge, that shaped like a moon, the one that usually shown on that Chinese romance movie.

they have some docks with a bench so we can just sit and see the lake that full with I don’t know what they called it in English, but in Indonesia we call it Eceng Gondok. On the other side, you can see, still a lake, but across that lake is a normal road and a beautiful mountain.

In the park, people usually just walk around the park, bringing their dogs to walk,  sightseeing a beautiful landscape. I also noticed that there are some people that jog around the park. I think it might be nice once in a while to jog there. Oh, since there are also a fishing spot, you can go fishing there as well. Near the park there are also some hiking trail that you can use.

The neighborhood around the park is also very nice, I noticed that the buildings is quite nice and well maintained. I think it is one of the Upper Class neighborhood here in Taiwan. the road also neat and clean, and it is not to crowded. a nice place to just relax, sit, listen to a good music, read a nice book, while enjoying the fresh air of a mountain.

If you want to have a good relaxing moment in the nature, I think DaHu park is one option to go.

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