S$11 to S$100, rooming in Java

For the Indonesia trip, we did a daring thing and booked only one hotel for the whole trip. This worked well for Indonesia but I don’t recommend you do this for expensive cities where cheap rooms run out really quick.

We stayed in different types of accomodation–five different places to be exact. The ones which we booked on the spot was done after much consultation with the Internet and Lonely Planet (most of it was LP’s help, take that guidebook scorners).

Among the room, two of them had resident cockroaches which I killed with a shoe and a water scoop respectively. One was extra posh, another reasonably comfortable. Only three had hot water while the other two were cold showers. Continue reading “S$11 to S$100, rooming in Java”

Lesson from Kraton Surakarta: We were born to die


April 5. Solo.

On our last morning in Solo, we planned to visit the two palaces.

We took two motor-trishaws (becak) to Surakarta Kraton on a lovely morning. The drivers passed by batik shops but did not stop. I suspect they deliberately drive by to prove that they made an effort to turn into the street.

After paying for the palace entrance, an older man volunteered to be our tour guide. (Later he hinted for the guide tips but that’s just part of the protocol.)

We did the tour in Indonesian since that’s probably a better way to learn about the place than an English tour, although I think he’s able to do both.
Continue reading “Lesson from Kraton Surakarta: We were born to die”

#FoodFri My first Spanish order

cafe con leche y pasta

Feb 19, 2011 12 noon @Barcelona

One of the best things about travelling is the memories. Today, I would like you to meet my first Spanish order–cafe con leche y pasta.

After seeing the sign outside, I went up the cafe counter, said: “Cafe con leche y pasta.” The employee spoke a long string of Spanish. I looked at her stupidly before blurting out, “No habla espanol.”

She pointed me to the pastry display. I picked the sugar powdered pastry. It was yums.

Is budget vacation a drain on productivity?

Ambling preamble

I usually don’t read the papers because the news is at least one day stale. If I do read the papers, I’d flip straight to comics and then my horoscope.

But this Monday was a different day. I was enjoying a takeaway of the epic KFC Double Down at the office table while I flipped through the papers. I found a a column titled: “Budget vacation a drain on productivity” and stopped eating.

Click for full story. Copyright of Straits Times

In case SPH pulls a well…SPH, here’s the full post that’s not be behind a paywall. Woot! (Disclosure: I wrote the article in the first link at my day job.)

Continue reading “Is budget vacation a drain on productivity?”

A few Indonesian TV gems

Although I haven’t had a TV set since moving to Singapore, TVs hold a really special place inside my heart. I grew up in front of the TV set, watching cartoons like Mighty Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tom & Jerry, Flintstone and all that crazy stuff.

Sure having the Internet and its videos-on-demand now is convenient since I’m able to watch anything I want. But I still like TV programs because it forces you to watch things that they want you to watch, not what you choose. (Well, you can choose what you want to watch but that’s an illusion of choice.)

So while we were in Indonesia, I watched more TV than I did the entire first quarter of the year. On nights when we weren’t out watching live-action plays, we were cooped up in the room with the stupid box because the public transport stops quite early.

From those few nights (and sometimes day) of TV, I had a glimpse of the wonderful world of Indonesian TV.

Continue reading “A few Indonesian TV gems”

Glutton in Yogyakarta and Solo

Nasi gudeg Jogja

Subtitle: Makan-makan in Indonesia

I love eating and food in Indonesia sure was good. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve gained during this trip. Hopefully, all the calorie intake has been canceled out by all the walking with my heavy backpack.

While we spent two nights in Solo, most of the eating was done in Yogyakarta. Here are some of the highlights of the food we ate.

Nasi Gudeg

Yogyakarta is famous for nasi gudeg which has cooked young jackfruit inside. (I had thought that the dark cubes of jackfruit was meat. I’m easy to bluff when it comes to food.)

We only had gudeg twice during this trip. The first was not as good as the last I had. The last dish was right before our plane back in a shop just around the corner of the road leading out of the airport. The dish was fragrant with coconut milk and the sides were really flavorful. Yummy!
Continue reading “Glutton in Yogyakarta and Solo”

10 things I love about central Java, Indonesia

Finally, my one week trip in the two cities of central Java–Yogyakarta and Solo–has come to an end. These seven days seem longer than they are and that’s always a good thing to feel when you’re having fun.

While my memory of Jogja and Solo is fresh, here are 10 things I’ll miss after leaving Indonesia. Items are ranked in priority and each deserve their own blog post.

1. Food

Feast at Mie Nusantara

Food in Indonesia is cheap and good. Most noodle dishes that we had didn’t cost more than S$2. Their noodles are good and the rice dishes are yummy. I even had siomay which we thought were siewmai posing as meatballs.

Surprisingly, we had Peranakan food for two (three?) times during our trip. We accidentally stumbled upon Kedai Tiga Nyonya while being lost. The avocado juice there made me think I went to heaven. Those were the more expensive meals that we had.

Continue reading “10 things I love about central Java, Indonesia”