Category Archives: Asia

Cat Café in Singapore

My sister just arrived in Singapore when we decided to visit the Chinatown area. Right after we got out from the MRT station, we stumbled upon a cat café! It is called The Company of Cats, located in the Mosque St.

Now, a little bit of history about cat café… The world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden”, opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. Then, the concept blossomed in Japan and became very popular, with seventy nine cat cafés opened across the country.Wikipedia

Even though I’m an avid cat lover, and these kind of cafés have been around the world for quite a while, this would be my first cat café experience. The café was right in front of us, and we felt that the cats were calling for us to come in, so we thought… why not, let’s go!

No wonder we felt being called… with that many maneki-neko!

Before playing with the cats, we had to wash our hands first. Then, the lady there made sure that we know the rules in the café, such as.. Don’t lift the cats. Don’t wake the cats up. Don’t kidnap the cats *grin*. Okay, hands are clean, rules are laid down, let’s play!

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Singapore Night Festival

The festival happened around two weeks after Singapore celebrates its golden jubilee, August 21-22 and 28-29. Actually, I found out about this festival accidentally, I’m so glad I didn’t miss it :).

After the ‘cat & bear’s trip to Tioman Island, Malaysia’ (will write about this soon), we arrived back in Singapore on Monday, August 24 evening. On our way to the nearest 7 Eleven to have our dinner, ehem… ’cause I was craving steamy ramen cup :D, we met these cute little fellas in front of National Museum of Singapore..

They’re so cute! I can’t stop moving my body when they start dancing 🙂

We got a booklet about the festival from a guy hanging around there, that’s how we found out about this. The big events happened only on Friday and Saturday (21-22 and 28-29), but the Anooki, the cute Inuits, celebrates SG50 at the Façade of National Museum of Singapore throughout the week, continuously (with 3 min break each time) from 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM, along with the free exhibitions inside (and outside) the museum. Lucky us!

The bear wasn’t so lucky, because we missed the first weekend of events, and he had to leave Singapore on Tuesday night, August 24. Bummer 🙁 Well, at least he met the Anooki. But… my sister was indeed very lucky, because she visited me the weekend after, August 28-31. What a perfect timing! Even though we didn’t know about the festival beforehand.

Huzzah!! Free shows! 🙂

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Singapore for Summer

I’m in Singapore!

And I’m going to be here for the whole summer, 3 months to be exact, for some kind of an internship at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Working on what? Of course… deep learning, baby! 😀

Well, at least… working on an attempt to solve my research problems using deep learning, because it has become the buzzword of today’s NLP research. Yeah, that’s it.

I actually arrived 2 weeks ago, but only recently I finally get myself settled at my new office, with PC and cards: (from up to bottom) ez-link card for easy payment *for bus, MRT/LRT, swimming pool, printing, and I don’t know what else, probably many more*, NUS access card to get inside my office *even to get inside the room I need this card*, and lastly… my TEP card, which allows me to freely enter/exit Singapore during these 3 months.

I haven’t met my advisor yet, because he was still out of office until this week. So maybe next week. But I’ve met some of the colleagues from the group.

Enough about the working part, now… what can I do during my free time? Singapore is boring, some people said ;), but I’ve checked this list of 50 things to do in Singapore and 52 things to do in Singapore before you die, and come up with my own list, 15 things I want to do in Singapore:

  1. Go trekking: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Treetop Walk and along the (defunct) KTM railway track.
  2. Go rock climbing at Dairy Farm, Singapore’s only natural outdoor rock climbing
  3. Cycling at the East Coast Park
  4. Cycling in Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa
  5. Re-connect with mother nature at Sungei Buloh
  6. Have a picnic at the Botanical Gardens
  7. Feel on top of Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark
  8. Have a party at the Singapore 50th birthday
  9. Visit a Public Swimming Complex
  10. Visit Sentosa island and Universal Studios Singapore
  11. Visit Haw Par Villa
  12. Take on an escape room challenge
  13. Cultural tours around Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, plus food tasting
  14. Shop till drop at the Great Singapore Sale
  15. Get trackside at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix – vroom vroom *this year it will start on 18th of September, which is exactly the last day of my internship :D*

Some of them I can do by myself, but for some others I need companions :(. So, come here, dear friends! and family *adeeek, ayo sini sini*! and bear! Let’s have some fun in Singapore 🙂

Trip to Bali and Ijen

The first part of my Bali trip with my family can be read here

Om swastiastu… cat and bear were in Bali! Finally the cat could show (a small part of) Indonesia to the bear. We spent 6 days travelling around in Bali. However, one night was actually spent in Banyuwangi, at the east coast of Java, since we wanted to hike to Ijen crater.

In front of Ijen crater

*WARNING* this post is going to be looong :D. In summary, we went to Bali Bird Park, chillin’ at Double Six beach, hiking to Ijen crater, Kalisada village in the northern coast of Bali, then drove down to Ubud. From Ubud we visited Gunung Kawi temple, Tirta Empul, Batur lake and Elephant Cave. If you want to skip the stories, just check the pictures from the trip here. Oh, and check how well the bear can speak Indonesian language in this post :).

Day 1: Bali Bird Park, Double Six beach

After visiting Bali Bird Park and sent my family back home, in the evening, we just relaxed at Double Six beach, had a good chat, while listening to live music and watching planes landing in the airport (as you know, the bear is a flying enthusiast :p). Both of us agreed that, “Hey, this trip starts very nicely, let’s hope that the rest of it will also be great.” 🙂

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Bali, the Island of Gods

After more than 20 years living in Java, its neighboring island, I finally get a chance to visit Bali! This famous island that people often mention whenever I tell them I’m from Indonesia, “I know Bali!” they will say :). “Yeah, but I’ve never been there,” is what I usually respond with. Well, even though the Bali strait can be easily crossed with ferry from the eastern point of Java, my hometown is in the west part of Java, with around 900 km air distance to Bali ^^; Not so close…

As I mentioned few blog-posts ago, I was there for a conference. But then my family joined the trip for the weekend after the conference, and after that also the bear for another week. Yippee, summer holiday time!

With my family, we did the usual touristic routes in Bali. It was a very convenient trip since we hired a car plus driver for 3 days, and the driver is a local who also became our tourist guide. He told us stories about Balinese Hinduism‘s rituals and myths… and ghosts (a.k.a Leak) :D.

The complete collection of pictures from the trip can be found here.

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The Bear and Bahasa Indonesia

So… finally! The bear had a chance to visit Indonesia 🙂 Selamat datang di Indonesia, Beruang! [Welcome to Indonesia, Bear!]

picture is taken from here

Before coming, the only phrase he knows is selamat malam [good evening/night]. After spending a week in Indonesia, Bali and Banyuwangi to be exact, he almost becomes a native speaker of Indonesian language!

…kidding :p. But at least he knows some more words now, hehe.

Selamat pagi, siang, sore, malam

After knowing selamat malam [good evening/night], the next step would be to learn the greetings for other parts of the day: selamat pagi [good morning], selamat siang [good afternoon], selamat sore [good afternoon/evening]. Oh, and also the other selamat like selamat makan [enjoy your meal/buon appetito/guten Appetit] and selamat tidur [good night].

Makasih!

Yep, I taught him how to say ‘thanks’ like a native :p. Once, he said that to a street vendor after buying a bottle of water and biscuits, and the guy corrected him that it should be terima kasih [thank you], the more formal way :D.

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Di Tanah Air

Akhirnya, kembali berada di tanah air. Dan akhirnya… sampai juga di Bali! :D.

Berasa banget kalo lagi di tanah air, karena cuma di tanah air…

  1. mesti hati-hati dikibulin supir taksi di airport. “Mau ke mana, Mbak?” | “The Stones hotel, Legian” | “150 ribu aja, Mbak” | “Meh…” *melenggang berlalu*. Akhirnya saya bayar 100 ribu sih, lumayan hemat 50 ribu.
  2. pada gak bisa ngeliat cewek jalan kaki sendirian. Setiap beberapa meter ada aja yang nyapa, dan nanya, “Sendirian ajah?” atau komentar-komentar gak jelas *catcalling lah*. Memang orang Indonesia super ramah, ya! :p Setiap beberapa meter juga ditawarin ojek dan diklaksonin taksi. Hadoh, saya ini mau sehat makanya jalan kaki. Masa jarak cuma 15 menit jalan kaki manja naik ojek atau taksi. Herannya cewek foreigner jalan sendirian dicuekin aja tuh.
  3. pada gak bisa ngeliat orang makan sendirian di restoran. Para pelayannya pada kepo gitu nanya, “Kok sendirian ajah, Mbak?” Ehem, well, mungkin juga karena saya di Bali sih ya, di mana biasanya orang datang makan berpasang-pasangan :p.
  4. pada gak bisa ngeliat cewek *mungil nan manis* traveling sendirian, nginep di hostel pula. “Hati-hati ya, Mbak, ntar diambil orang”, katanya.

Tenang Bapak-bapak, Ibu-ibu, Mas-mas, Mbak-mbak… Sebentar lagi keluarga saya datang kok. Saya bakal pindah nginep di hotel, dan kemana-mana bakal naik mobil sewaan. Gak melenggang sendirian lagi deh…

Anyway, glad to be home 🙂

The Cat and The Bear… going to India!

Namaste!

Before going into detail stories of the places that the cat and the bear visited, let me give you the heads-up on where they were traveling around in India (plus a few side stories :p). They only have limited time (2 weeks), so they could not explore the whole India ^^;. Starting from the center, Nagpur, they headed up north until Shimla, before going back to Delhi for the flight back.

the route map

Okay, from now on, this is cat speaking 🙂

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Quick Getaway, to the East of Java

Remaining time: a week 🙁

Sebenarnya ada 3 undangan pernikahan *for Mum & Dad, not for me ;p* di hari Sabtu tanggal 10 September kemarin, di tiga kota yang berbeda: Jakarta, Surabaya, dan Semarang. Dengan berbagai pertimbangan *termasuk keinginan sang anak yang masih belum puas berlibur, ehem*, akhirnya kami berakhir pekan di… East of Java!

Rujak Cingur, tanpa cingur?

Berangkat pukul 6 pagi dari Cengkareng, tanpa sarapan, dengan maksud mau sarapan di Surabaya. Setelah sedikit berputar-putar mencari tempat yang oke *guide-nya dari Gresik soale ^^;*, akhirnya mampir di restoran dekat hotel tempat kami menginap, Hotel Cendana. Rumah Makan Ria namanya. Tak beberapa lama setelah memesan rujak cingur, tiba-tiba pelayannya muncul mengabarkan bahwa cingurnya kosong. Nah lho. Tapi saya ga terlalu penasaran dengan cingurnya sih, jadi ga masalah ;p. Yang penting bumbunya… enaaak.

Agak sore, karena perut lapar kami naik becak dari hotel ke Boncafe. Ooh la la, di sini es krim nya enak sangat :9~. Pulangnya terpaksa jalan kaki demi membakar kalori, hoho.

Wisata Mall

Malam harinya, orangtua kondangan, saatnya anak-anak untuk… jalan-jalan! Sayangnya, kami ga punya guide, jadi jalan-jalan yang paling aman tentunya… wisata mall ^^; *ga mungkin kan mampir ke, ehem, Do**y, hiiiy*. Gedung terdekat dari hotel adalah gedung Gramedia Expo. Besaaar… tapi sepi ^^; Baru kali ini melihat area komik di Gramedia tanpa pengunjung kecuali kami.

Lanjut jalan kaki ke Tunjungan Plaza. Memori saya tentang Tunjungan Plaza hanya: “Dulu pernah jalan-jalan ke sini 20 tahun yang lalu”, that’s it ^^; Makan malam dulu di… KFC, gyahahah. Orangtuanya makan enak di kondangan, anaknya makan fast food ;p. Salah satu misi hidup saya memang “mencoba ayam goreng KFC di berbagai kota di seluruh dunia”.

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Balikpapan dan Pulau Derawan

Sama seperti liburan sebelumnya ke Tarakan, alasan berlibur ke Balikpapan kali ini juga dalam rangka menengok sang Pupule. Yap, ‘daerah operasi’-nya sudah berpindah ke Balikpapan, bukan di Tarakan lagi ^^.

Canopy Bridge di Bukit Bangkirai

Bukit Bangkirai merupakan kawasan konservasi hutan Bangkirai yang menjadi salah satu tujuan wisata di Balikpapan. Agak jauh dari kota Balikpapan, sekitar 2 jam perjalanan dengan mobil ke arah kota Samarinda. Pengelolanya tidak lain dan tidak bukan ya perusahaan tempat Papa bekerja, heheh. Lumayan, biaya masuk dan pemandunya gratis ;p. Di kawasan ini rusa/payau dan monyet (lupa nama jenis monyetnya) juga masih berkeliaran dengan bebas.

Daya tarik utamanya: jembatan tajuk alias canopy bridge, yang konon pertama di Indonesia, kedua di Asia, dan kedelapan di dunia. Tingginya sekitar 30 m, dengan platform yang dibangun di sekeliling pohon Bangkirai yang tingginya bisa mencapai 40 – 60 m. Seru! Cukup menguji nyali ^^

Jangan tertipu, hey para pembaca. Si Mama ga ikutan menyeberang tuh, cuma kakinya saja berpose menyentuh ujung jembatan, tapi setelah itu langsung turun lagi, hihi.

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