Canberra, I’m madly in love with you!

People say that chance will never come twice, grab it fast.That was exactly what brought me to Canberra last week. I see a chance, I take it…. and I felt in love again.

I need to write this, just so I can going back to my ordinarily wonderful life.

This is not a story about love at the first sight.

The first thing people (usually, folks like Jakartans whom so used to crowd and big tall buildings) will think the second they arrive in Canberra is: “where are all the people?”. Canberra is a capital city of Australia, which is one of the wealthiest country in the world (18th – based on this), so normally people would expect a grand and very busy city as the capital. NOPE. Canberra will never fit in your capital ideal – it is one of a kind. It is a quiet city, especially in Sunday. The traffic jam here is only last for 10 minutes (15 at peak hour). It is almost empty and kind of creepy-It is like a city in one of those horror movies, where zombie will pop out in a sudden (okay, this one is my friend’s imagination).

The drive from airport to city center is not too far, but enough to make you wonder whether you are really in a city or a deserted village. 😀 I need to begin this story with descriptions of Canberra International Airports. Please don’t get fooled by the ‘international’ branding. The Airport is not big, it only took us 15-20 minutes from plane to stand outside the Airport – waiting to be picked up (yes, baggage collecting is included!). I really have a nice experience in this airport, but my love for Canberra is not begin yet.

It was the vibe that took my heart.

I was lucky that at the time of my visit, Canberra is in the autumn mode: the leaves were colorful and the weather was very nice (although a lil bit cold for my Indonesian standard). After having lunch at Nando’s in Canberra Center, I finally realized that this City has stolen my heart. A carousel in the pathway, large public space, outdoor cafes, the smell of  freshly brewed coffee, gelato, cute cakes, and especially the breathtaking beautiful corners. Yes, every corner of Canberra is very lovely: buildings, houses, trees, lakes, and mountains.

Highlights from my visit are: Mt. Ainslie, Black Mountain, Parliament House, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserves, National Museum of Australia, and Canberra Center.

MOUNT AINSLIE

The Mount Ainslie lookout is the must visit place of  Canberra, because we could see the city horizon and how beautifully planned Canberra is. There is also the history of Canberra, the story of its designer and the original design of Canberra. If you really in for it, you could hike a little and if you are lucky (like me), you could see a wild kangaroos! It was my first encounter with kangaroos and I was mesmerized by these moment.

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BLACK MOUNTAIN

The main attraction for me in Black Mountain is the Telstra Tower. It has the lookout which give you a 360 degrees view. If you can stand the heavy wind, it is really worth your time to see panoramic view of Canberra and its surrounding from such distance.

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PARLIAMENT HOUSE

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LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN

NATIONAL MUSEUM

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CANBERRA CENTER

Gelato in the autumn? Why NOT! 😆 The coldness were not scaring us away from trying the gelato in one afternoon. Canberra Center is a mall full of sweet smell and delicious food. Try Nando’s and PappaRich for starter. 😀

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Nando’s – my first meal in Canberra!

TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVES

If you want to see koalas in their real habitat, you definitely have to visit this place. REALLY CUTE! They are eating, sleeping, and climbing trees (just usual koalas’ business), but it made me speechless. Tracking around the reserves was really enjoyable, mostly because of the cold weather. 😆 Another thing you need to try is having a Barbeque lunch here. We are eating Kangaroos’ grilled meat while watching Kangaroos’ spending their day out in the cold.

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The Koalas really made my visit!

p.s. ANU, why you don’t have a Political Psychology master program?

See you again soon, Canberra!

Love, The DarkJasmine

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Story from Cimory

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CIMORY

Cimory : one famous yoghurt brand in Indonesia. I used to think that Cimory only produce yoghurt and I have never been so wrong – (of course) they are a fresh milk producer, too! They also expand their products by producing delicious Chocolate Line : Chocomory.

Other than selling their products nationwide (and worldwide, maybe?), they have their own restaurants in Cisarua, Puncak, West Java.

My first visit was around 2010 and it made a long lasting great impression for me that I have an urge to go back. At my second visit, they already have “Cimory Riverside”Restaurant – the one that I visit in 2016. I love the vibe, it was a cozy afternoon and I remember feeling so nostalgic. They have indoor and outdoor dining area; also a large backyard with watery back sound which came from the nearby river. The dining area is large – it could cater more than 100 people in one time (a very raw estimation 😀 ). They also have a play area for kids, boutique, chocolate shop, and a market full of their products. They offer variety of food: from western to local cuisine, and also serve many kinds of yoghurt-based smoothies.

Last November, we were revisiting Cimory with Zhaf. He just started solid a few days before and Cimory’s plain yoghurt was his lunch. He was very happy to see all new things around him, since that was the first time we take him there.

 

With love,

#TheCheekFamily 😆

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Honeymoon Post #3 : Karma Beach Club

This is another #ThrowbackThursday post

One of the highlight from our honeymoon back in 2015 was Karma Beach Club, which we visit in our 3rd day in Bali.

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Karma Private Beach Club

Karma Beach Club is a private beach part of Karma Kandara Luxury Villa in Ungasan, Bali. The beach is stunning with clear water and many water activities offered. Like many other beauty things in the world, this grand view is come with a price: we have to pay each person a Rp 250.000 entrance fee (Rp 150.000 for entrance and Rp 100.000 for food and beverage credit) – now, the fee is Rp 500.000 each. The fee included a ride on the inclinator to take you down to the beach.

We opt for a laid back afternoon after we went to Garuda Wisnu Kencana in the middle of the day, so Karma was a great choice.

White sand and clear water were ready to treat our eyes – even le husband couldn’t resist the temptation to dip his precious leg. 😆

Sadly, we arrived there too late in the afternoon that we lost our opportunity to enjoy the water activities (snorkeling, kayaking, and so on). The plus side was we witnes a great transition of light: from a bright sky into a clear night sky. Candles were lit, adding a romantic vibe to the scene. *now, remembering this time make me feel nostalgic :blushed:

After such lazy but romantic beach time, we close the day with romantic dinner by the private pool in our villa – a honeymoon treat from Flamingo Dewata Villa.

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our meaty romantic dinner

ps. Thanks for the visit, Bang Yosh-Fanti-Nabel! ❤

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Honeymoon Post #2 : From Ubud to Tanah Lot, Ended in Kuta

Hello Thursday! The first #ThrowbackThursday post is here.

This post has been in my draft for far too long. *my bad* :sigh: So, this is story about my honeymoon – it’s just two years ago, not too old, yes? 😀

Please enjoy!

It is a story of our first day in Bali. As I stated in this post, we choose to wake (as) early (as possible for our tired bodies – 8 am is still considered early for a honeymoon morning, right?). The rental car was delivered after breakfast and off we went to Ubud around 10 am. My husband is the one in charge to drive while I was navigating him with GMaps in hand.

Pecatu to ubud was not a short journey, it took almost 2 hours to reach our first destination: Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant. The restaurant itself was in a very large compound with real paddy field as the view (before this time, I ate in Bebek Tepi Sawah outlet in mall: to see a real one was joyful) – even if the paddy field was in planting season.

We ordered our favorite: crispy duck with plecing kangkung and some infused water (+ ice tea for my husband). I couldn’t remember the other side dishes that we ordered but I do remember how full our stomachs were. They cost us around $50 (around Rp 500.000 – the exchange rates were not as high as now).

With our full stomachs, we drove around Ubud, enjoying the green of its forest. We went to Monkey forest but only till its gate : take videos of monkeys and then off to Tanah Lot.

Gmaps was very useful in our trip, since we had no knowledge of the route. I have to warn you tho, Gmaps gave us the shortest routes, of course, but by the shortest I mean they really were shortcuts that made us take a very small road, even the one in the middle of a paddy field or small village. Thank God that our car was a small one!

I remember vaguely that our trip from Ubud to Tanah Lot took around 30-45 minutes. We arrived around 4.30 pm and my husband really loved the view. He took many pictures and I told him about the giant snake – he had to see the snake alone, since I am not a fan of snakes. I have visited Tanah Lot before in one of my work trip, so I was kinda noisy telling him where I have been when i was there with my friends.

We heard announcement about the Sunset with Kecak Dance and that was so appealing, but we both weren’t enjoying the crowd in Tanah Lot. We remember being told about the beauty of echo Beach and how serene the beach is : off we go to Echo beach, which luckily only took around 15 minutes.

Rather traumatized by the Gmaps’ routes, we asked local people how to get to Echo Beach to catch the sunset and liked the answer they gave. We were in time to see the beautiful sunset in Echo Beach.

We didn’t stay long in Echo Beach. We were going to spend the night in Kuta Area, since that was my husband’s first visit to bali, Kuta was a must visit place. By the time we get to Kuta, our stomach was growling but we need to take some pictures first so we can enjoy dinner. 😆

…and we went to Wendy’s for dinner! 😆

Our savior. ?

See you in the honeymoon post #3!

Love,

the daRk Jasmine

Cijalu in Cipancar

Who was up for a hike? Zhaf!

Yes.. Last month, we went to hike a little in Cipancar, Subang, West Java. We went to see Cijalu Waterfall (Curug Cijalu in sundanese) – en route from a family gathering in Wanayasa. After such a long hiatus from beautiful green scenery, the tour was a real treat for my eyes. We were welcome by a cool breeze from the waterfall after a rather bumpy and creepy road.

The track was a short one, but with a baby attached to you : back pain was an absolute aftermath. 😆 ..and Zhaf? It was priceless to see the joy in his eyes! (again, he was not the one who need to walk. 😆 )

Here are the pics..

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I can’t get enough of the look in Zhaf’s face

Ciao!

Much love,

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Le Crème Brûlée

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. ~Ernestine Ulmer

Almost every body loves desserts and has their own preferences. Mine is crème brûlée. I have no idea what make me really into this custard based dessert.

Digging into my memories, the first time I tried this dessert was because of my curiosity. I remember watching one of Master Chef US episode that featured a creme brulee: the so called hunting began soon after that episode was aired.

Last weekend, I finally reunited with it after a long time.

We went to Gandaria City, partly to try the famous Pablo Cheese Tart – which was a failed mission: we chickened out when we saw the long queue. Bakerzin is chosen to host our lunch, because I’ve been craving for the Crème Brûlée and I remember that they have one of the best Crème Brûlée in town.

The crunchiness of the caramelized sugar meet the softness of the creme. So Tasty and tempting!

Next in my bucket list: Try to make it at home.


Side story:

My husband was having spaghetti as his lunch and a dori with potatoes as his dessert 😆

My husband’s kind of dessert



Nenek (the one that take care of Z while I work in the weekday) was ordering fried rice with black chip

The satay was made from fish!

 
How about Z? Oh, as usual, a homemade rice puree with broccoli, fish, and cheese. 😀

All the foods were paired with Lychee Tea!

 
Psst. Bakerzin has many delicious stuff to try, if you haven’t taste them, give ’em a go!

Honeymoon Post #1 : The Flamingo Dewata Villa

Ever since my mind full of wedding plan, the honeymoon plan is also included. I always wanted to spend the honeymoon in a room with private pool because I really want to swim without my long full coverage swimsuit (still not naked, sorry 😆 ).

Since I am a full time procrastinator, my research for possible honeymoon destination is begun in the end of April while I have to leave for my hometown in early may. 😀

The first destination ever crossed my mind was Bintan Island, as it is not too far from Pekanbaru and not too crowded. My dream destination turned out to be out of my league because the resorts are too expensive and I am not feeling comfortable to spend too much money in the first week of our marriage (assuming I have enough money to afford it, which is absolutely not!). Then my attention shifted to the most common destination for honeymoon.. yes! BALI ISLAND. In my mind, there must be a not so expensive luxury villa within my budget somewhere in Bali – since Bali is full of any kind of resorts for any kind of people (also, my fiance had never been to Bali 😀 ). So the hunting began from a deal website which is one of my favorite past time shopping… I found many kind of hotels and villas which offering private pool: researching each one of them by reading review from tripadvisor and other similar websites, also from personal blogs. Almost frustrated by the options – none of it made my heart clicked – a day before my flight to Pekanbaru, I somehow stumbled upon a luxury villa offering flash sale with galleries that I love: The Flamingo Dewata Villa, a luxury private villas in Uluwatu.

Feeling slightly sure and a little obsessed with my choice, I reserved the room via their website and I asked my soon-to-be-husband to call the villa and maybe talk them to give us more benefits. 😀 The phone call was a short one because the receptionist can not guarantee anything and gave us their operational manager’s phone number for us to call. Lucky for us, the in charge person (his name is Mr. Rudi, if I’m not mistaken) was so friendly and very cooperative with our many demands. We were then secured our flight tickets and settled for 4 nights in Bali + 1 night in Bandung for our honeymoon plan.

Conversation about honeymoon and the villa deal were out of my mind in the next week, since I have to face wedding preparation and the wedding ceremony itself. After our Big Day is over, we were back to the honeymoon business and it was only 3 days before our departure to Bali. My husband called the villa again to fix our reservation and compliments : we scored some compliments!

On May 19, we board the plane in the morning to Soekarno Hatta and arrived there before noon. We had to move terminal, since we were arrived in Terminal 1B and our next flight will be from Terminal 3. We finally touched down in Ngurah Rai International Airport at 3.30 pm local time. Picked up by Mr. Rudi himself because he was nearby. We have a pleasant journey to the villa in Pecatu Area : Mr. Rudi told us many things about Bali, its people and its attractions.

Around 5 pm, we finally arrived in the Villa. The check in time is not too long, maybe because we look kinda tired (which newly wed won’t look tired, eh?) and off we went to our room by golf car.

The room was beyond my expectation. I immediately fall in love! We got the room number 3, with large private pool, pool lounge, outdoor kitchenette with complete cuttlery and a microwave plus Fresh fruits (another compliment). Spacious bedroom with king size bed and comfy living room. What I liked the most was the bathroom : it has a bath-up, a shower and large dresser. 😆

For Our first night in Bali, we choose not to go anywhere and just check out our surrounding for simple dinner. The villa was so serene that even the road in front of it felt magical. We had to walk around 10 minutes to reach the nearest “warung” (local convenient shop) to buy some snacks and we finally settled with “pecel lele” (spicy-fried catfish) as our dinner. The dinner turned out to be very tasty and not disappointed at all. After dinner, we called our friend to ask about car rental : we rented a Karimun with cheapest price from Pak made.

We started rather early the next morning because I really wanted my husband to see many places in Bali – since it was his first visit, I had to make good impression so that he will definitely go back to Bali 😆

There were two options for breakfast, either we want to have it in the restaurant or in our own room. For the first day, we chose the first option and turned out that our choice was right because the restaurant is so beautiful and decorated as dreamy as possible : I felt like I was a princess, having breakfast in a white-flowery castle. 😀 For the menu, unfortunately they only offer limited menu list that we had to choose the night before.

It was after midnight when we back to our room, so we chose to have a lazy morning and just enjoyed the private pool. We asked for our breakfast to be delivered to our room.

Private breakfast by the pool

Private breakfast by the pool

Another compliment that we scored was private dinner served in our room. My husband secretly ordered steak as the menu : Steak will always be my favorite! We chose the dinner to celebrate our last night in Bali, and it did be a wonderful closure of our honeymoon in Bali tale. The peace breeze, the relaxing moment made that night so intimate for both of us. Those memories will surely linger forever and give me a longing feeling.

Just before the dinner, I got a surprise visit from my university friends whom lived in Bali. They brought their cute daughter all the way from Denpasar to Pecatu and I just instantly fell in love to her.

The Flamingo Dewata Villa really exceed our expectations and I really would like to recommend this villa if you want to be somewhere serene and treasure private moments with your beloved people. I love the vibe… Just thinking about that time gives me chill now. I really want to go back there and rerun the honeymoon! 😆

Love,

The daRkJasmine

Unlocking my mind….in Garut

Okay, I join The April Writing 101 in Blogging University (after I couldn’t complete it last year), hoping that I can complete it this year.

Our first task is to write our stream of consciousness in 20 minutes. I had to put my phone in stopwatch mode in order to keep my mind on this task.

I have no idea what to write, so I just write what cross my mind. Everybody else is writing about their Easter-related moment, since I am not celebrating Easter, I just enjoy the holiday and I will write about it.

I went to Garut, in West Java, Indonesia to visit the grave of my fiance’s grandmother before our wedding in this May. I really love this journey because I could see the beauty of Garut and how cold the air there. We went there Friday early morning but the toll road was already packed with cars and the traffic jam was already welcoming us there. The 5 hours journey became 10 but with the green view and nice food, everything is bearable.

Beside visiting the Grave, we also went to Garut for its Leather Market. I had to buy shoes for my dad there. They sell many leather-product with great quality in such a very reasonable price. I spend approximately $40 only for 2 sandals and 2 formal shoes! if you happen to be in West Java, just don’t miss the opportunity to shop leather in Sukaregang Leather Market, in Garut.

We also visit the Chocolatier, another Garut’s finest product. The name is Chocodot, it is known as the first chocolate maker which blend chocolate with dodol (traditional sweet-sticky food from Garut). They have many kind of chocolate with fancy name. They also sell it in a very reasonable price!

The best Holiday is the one which make our tummy happy!

Argh, I still have another 5 minutes to write. I should write about where we spend the night. We weren’t planning to stay overnight in Garut, because we are going to go to Bandung to spend two nights there but because of the traffic jam, we had to stay one night in Garut. Long holiday is not a time to an unplanned stay-over journey. Almost all the hotel is fully booked, with Jakarta-plate cars in the yard. Thank God we finally get room in Familie Ayu Hotel, an old but comfortable hotel. We are lucky, with only $20/room/night!

The street in front of Familie Ayu Hotel, Jl. Ronggolawe, Garut, West Java, Indonesia

The street in front of Familie Ayu Hotel, Jl. Ronggolawe, Garut, West Java, Indonesia

So, have you ever experience the unplanned journey that turn out to be very fun? please share..

….my 20 minutes is finally over. Yeay!