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I know nothing about parenting really, simply because I am not a mother. But, as an aunt, I know a little about babysitting -closest term to parenting- which would be my guideline to treat kids properly.

It was around 10 p.m. when I was sitting in JJ Royal Brasserie, a cafe-turns-into-lounge-bar for late night drinking, with a friend. Right across our table, I was fascinated -well, more of shocked- with a scenery of a man who was smoking cigarette blissfully in front of a kid while he was playing game joyously on his tablet. My presumption: I was seeing a father and his son.

I know nothing about parenting really, but what I do know is *when* I have kids, I will never take them out past 8 p.m, especially to a place like that (see photo above) where people smoke everywhere, super loud music (they were blasting filthy remix music, ugh), tipsy people, a lot of swearing and other inappropriate words, etc. It’s like putting a missing piece of a puzzle with a piece from a different puzzle -it’s just so wrong.

The scene then getting weirder because the father went for a while, probably going inside the cafe or restroom, and left that kid alone. Dude, I’m gonna tell you, that cafe/bar is a shit-hole so you could not leave your kid, whatever your reason, alone, in the middle of strangers. I kept looking at the kid, well, at least I would notice if something undesirable which later potentially becomes parents’ worst nightmare might occur.

5 minutes, the father hasn’t come back yet. I kept secretly looking at the kid (or openly? I forgot). That kid kind of noticed that I (or we?) looked at him constantly. He began to sit uncomfortably and seemed annoyed by me looking at him. The next thing he did shocked me even more. He took one cigarette from his father’s pack, and lit it (not inhaling, but more like lit a candle), and put the cigarette to the ashtray. Not long after, the father came back. Probably it’s a sign of red code to this father or something, or a sign his father told him to show people that the kid wasn’t alone, I wasn’t sure. And then the kid talked to his father, I suspected as, “Dad, that woman (and man) keeps looking at me!”, because that man instantly looked at us (specifically me) so I stopped looking around like a kid predator even I know the fact that I am not. I was just making sure the kid is supervised. That’s all.

We were like, “WTH?!”

I know nothing about parenting really, but it’s really hard not to judge this kind of thing. So when my friend told me that place is bullshit, I kind of like, “Yeah, OK, let’s get the hell out of here.”

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Hal paling menyenangkan ketika Anda mengunjungi negara lain adalah fakta bahwa Anda dihadapkan pada aturan, kebiasaan, dan kebudayaan yang berbeda dari negara kita. Meski banyak yang mengatakan bahwa dalam hal tersebut Thailand tak jauh berbeda dengan Indonesia, tapi nyatanya saya merasakan banyak sekali perbedaan, termasuk aturan tentang per-ojek-an (motor taxi), yang kalau dipikirkan sampai sekarang membuat kami (saya dan Nadya) tertawa dibuatnya.

Jadi begini… Waktu itu kami harus membeli tiket bus ke Bangkok di Terminal Bus Phuket Town untuk berangkat keesokan harinya. Perlu diingat, transportasi di Phuket itu cenderung sulit. Tidak banyak bus yang beredar, khususnya ke area Patong, area tempat kami menginap. Dan sayangnya, Google-pun tak banyak membantu. Bertanya dengan beberapa petugas di terminal pun, mereka bilang tak ada bus dari terminal untuk ke Patong. Menurut mereka, satu-satunya jalan adalah dengan naik taksi. Karena jarak dari terminal ke area Patong sendiri cukup jauh, transportasi dengan taksi adalah pilihan terakhir untuk kami. Kami pun bertanya dengan petugas terminal lain, dan dia bilang bahwa ada bus dari terminal ke area Phuket Town, tapi bus tersebut tidak masuk ke dalam terminal. Jadi kami harus ke luar dan mencegatnya di pinggir jalan. Berbekal keoptimisan tersebut, kami pun akhirnya berjalan ke luar terminal, menyusuri jalanan, dan melirik cafe-cafe bergaya simple dan sophisticated dengan tulisan “Coffee” di jendelanya *glek*. Setelah menunggu cukup lama, sekitar 15 menitan, bus tak kunjung lewat. Akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk kembali ke arah terminal dan menunggu di sana. Hasilnya, tetap nihil. Kebetulan, di depan terminal ada pangkalan ojek, dan di sana pun ada spanduk yang ditempel, menjabarkan tentang biaya berdasarkan lokasi tujuan. Kami baca, ke Phuket Town: 100 THB. Seorang tukang ojek pun menghampiri kami, dan kami bilang, “Phuket Town, 100 THB, for 2?!” Dan dia bilang, “Ya.” Oke, 100 THB berdua naik ojek rasanya tak terlalu mahal… Dan akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk naik ojek ke Phuket Town.

Ada yang aneh…

Untuk membawa dua orang naik motor, logikanya membutuhkan dua buah motor, kan? Paling tidak itu adalah pengalaman naik ojek di Jakarta. Tapi kami hanya melihat satu tukang ojek saya yang bersiap-siap tengah memakai helm.

“Nad, kita naik dua ojek kan?!!”
“Harusnya, sih, gitu!”

Dia pun menghampiri tukang ojek tersebut dan memastikan kami akan ke Phuket Town dengan dua buah motor. Lagi-lagi dengan mengandalkan Tarzan-english.

“I want one bike for her, and one bike for me!”
“No, one bike for three”
…………
Sampai akhirnya mata saya tertuju pada bagian bawah motor… footstep motornya ada tiga. Ya, ADA TIGA!

Saya pun langsung mencolek Nadya sambil menunjuk ke arah footstep tersebut, berusaha mencerna situasi bahwa kami akan naik motor bertiga (bersama si abang ojek). Begini, kami berdua suka mengeluh melihat orang-orang yang satu motor membonceng lebih dari satu orang, atau sekeluarga (satu istri, dua anak) dalam satu motor dan yang membuatnya lebih buruk adalah tanpa memakai perlengkapan memadai (baca: helm). Pemandangan tersebut tentunya mengundang sumpah serapah (tanpa melihat kelas status sosial), dan sebisa mungkin kami menghindari hal tersebut because it’s simply wrong! Polisi (yang benar) pun pasti tak akan meloloskan orang-orang tersebut. Oke, kembali ke permasalah kami… Jadi, kami akan naik ojek bertiga. YA, BERTIGA! Oh well… Dengan berat hati dan kecemasan kalau-kalau kami akan distop oleh polisi di jalan, akhirnya abang ojek pun mengantar kami ke Phuket Town. Di jalan menuju ke sana, kami memang berpapasan dengan beberapa polisi, dan sepertinya tak ada masalah, tuh, dengan naik motor bertiga di sana. And improvising that shitty and silly situation, we’ve managed to take a wefie. Ssssh, it’s our little ‘misdemeanor’, and Nad said it’s police officers approved!

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Photo: Nad’s archive.

Setelah perjalanan kurang lebih selama 15 menit, akhirnya kami sampai di Phuket Town, yang ternyata di hari itu sedang penuh sesak pengunjung dan penjual berbagai makanan karena ada parade, entah parade apa. Kami hanya menikmatinya, hanya menerka-nerka, tanpa bertanya. Kenapa? Karena kami sibuk melihat-lihat booth makanan yang berderet berhadapan di sepanjang jalan. That’s why. Baru beberapa meter berjalan, kami melihat sebuah booth sate yang secara visual menarik dan secara bau sangat mengundang. Tentu saja kami merasa terpanggil. Kesalahannya adalah kami bertanya.

“Hello, what is this?”
“Pork.”

OK. So we can’t eat it. Sad story. Sambil menelan ludah dan penuh rasa kecewa, akhirnya kami kembali menyusuri jalan. Mengobati kekecewaaan terhadap sate babi yang hampir kami beli, akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk membeli bola ubi goreng. Ohhhh, it’s totally sweet potato at its best. Enak banget! Saya lupa Nadya membeli apa, tapi yang saya ingat adalah sesuatu yang rasa dan penampakannya seperti choi pan dan dimakan dengan saus pedas manis a la Thailand. Setelahnya kami membeli fish balls (ada yang pork juga, FYI). Si penjual bilang, “It’s hot.” Jadi kami pikir makanan ini panas (karena memang terlihat sedikit mengepulkan asap). Tapi ternyata “hot” yang dimaksud di sini bukanlah panas, melainkan super pedas. Saya ingat ketika saya makan bola pertama, lidah saya langsung panas (sebelumnya Nadya bilang, “Ini agak pedas.”), lalu berlanjut ke hidung, lalu ke telingat. Jadi maksud “hot” di sini adalah tingkat kepedasan that could ruin your tastebuds, nose, and ears. So, it’s a lesson for you. Tapi selain saus super pedasnya, fishball-nya enak, kok.

Suasana Phuket Town sore itu menyenangkan dengan langit senja menaungi kota, mempercantik kota yang dipenuhi bangunan kota ala Tionghoa dan Portugis. Meski bangunan tua, tapi kondisi bangunannya sangat terawat karena memang mayoritas semua bangunannya berpenghuni. Mulai dari tempat tinggal, pertokoan, hotel, restoran, hingga museum. Sayang, kami tidak kami menghabiskan waktu yang lama di sana. Jadi, begini ceritanya.

Setelah menyusuri jalanan di Phuket Town di tengah ratusan orang yang memadati jalanan, kami memutuskan untuk mencari informasi tentang ada atau tidaknya bus ke arah Patong. Saya membaca beberapa cerita para traveler yang mengatakan bahwa para petugas kepolisian Thailand mayoritas sangat membantu. Karena itu, ketika saya melihat petugas polisi, saya memutuskan untuk bertanya kepadanya. Dan memang benar, dalam menjawab pertanyaan turis, meski dengan bahasa Inggris seadanya, dia (mereka) terbilang ramah. Bahkan, dia mengantar kami! Eits, jangan senang dulu. Ternyata dia mengantarkan kami pada sebuah tempat tour travel. Dia berbicara kepada petugas tour travel tersebut, yang ternyata menyediakan layanan taksi… Ya… Tentu saja… Karena sudah terlanjur basah dan memang sudah malam (sekitar pukul 19.00), akhirnya kami sepakat membayar 500 THB (which is quite expensive, no, it was expensive!) (And we’re sucks at haggling!) untuk kami kembali ke hostel. Hiks. Apa mau dikata. Cukup jauh memang, perjalanan sekitar 30 menit, tapi tetap saja kami tak rela membayar sebegitu besar! Sudah begitu, kami tidak diturunkan di depan hostel, melainkan di depan gang, sehingga kami masih harus berjalan untuk menuju hostel. Oh well…

So, after 2 hours 45 minutes flight, we landed in Phuket around 20:30. The only way to get to our hostel in Patong area was by minivan since the bus service was not available at that time. But don’t worry, there are so many minivan operators you can choose with reasonable price once you get out from the airport’s exit door. From airport to Phuket, I was charged for only 180 THB (around 70.000 IDR), which was affordable considering the distance was quite far (an hour drive) and they drove us straight to our hostel. The downside of taking the minivan is they will make a stop in a travel agency, and you’ll be offered their tour packages. Some might think it’s quite annoying, but for us it was not a big deal. You could just tell them as friendly as you can that you’ve already booked one, and they will let you go back to your seat. It’s only 10 minutes stop anyway.

After 1 hour drive, we arrived at our hostel (Dfeel Hostel) at 21:00. For me, the hostel was nice, situated in a quite neighborhood, lovely retro decoration, and friendly staffs. After checking in, the reception lady gave our keys to our room located on the 4th floor. When we were about to get to our room, we were greeted by two Asian guys, Yui (Japanese) and Yii -or at least that was what I’ve heard (Chinese). Turned out they were our roommates. Apparently, they couldn’t get the door open with their keys. So they were depending on our keys.  When we got to our room, I was the first one who tried to open the door with my key. I shifted it left and right, pressed it, repeat -it failed. Nadya tried her key as well but it didn’t work either. We went back downstairs to report our situation to the receptionist. She gave us another key for us to try, but it didn’t change anything. Feeling hopeless, finally the hostel keeper came to rescue by opening our room with his key. He checked our keys, and apparently we were given the wrong keys. Like, wtf.

To sum it up, it was kind of creepy knowing that 4 people couldn’t open the door, with 4 keys, on the 4th floor -the fact that 4 is known as a number that can bring bad luck in some Asian cultures.

Nad tried to open the door with her key, and she failed.

Last December, one my good friends told me that one of his dreams came true; opening a coffee shop. He’s Fauzan Ambadar (Twitter: @FauzanAmbadar, Instagram: @inthenameofauzan), whom I met in university. We attended some classes together until finally we had chosen a different major. I chose Journalistic, and he chose Advertising.

After we graduated, he went study abroad to Sydney, Australia, and somehow we managed to remain in touch. Oh, and he’s the one who forced me to make a Skype account.

While he was studying in Sydney, he worked a part time job as a barista and it didn’t take a long time to realize that he fell in love with the job, specifically anything related to making good coffee. Well, we’ve lost contact for a year or two until he returned to Indonesia. One day we met in the evening and tried to catch up. He told me dozens of stories, from his study, his future wife, reminiscing the old times, and his dream in the coffee industry.

Until the last November or December, he texted me, after five years of experience in the coffee industry, told me that he finally opened a small coffee shop in Kemang Selatan area, Goni Coffee. He invited me to come over (actually, he threatened me to come over).

Until a few days ago, with a friend of mine Tania, we visited his tiny cozy place. And yes, I fell in love at the first sight! For me personally, Goni Coffee is everything you’d want in a neighborhood coffee shop; seats and outlets, WiFi, good and vary specialty coffee selections, friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere, not too crowded, and tasty food. The interior concept itself is minimalist with a little touch of industrial – and everything is in the right place.

But most of all, I am so proud of him that he’s living his dream and seems very happy. He’s happily married and blessed with baby boy Mizzi the first born.

If you happen to be somewhere in the area, take your me-time to visit this lovely place just to sit around enjoying good coffee (from espresso, piccolo, long black, cappuccino, latte, flat white, you name it, plus non caffeinated beverages like green tea latte, tea pot, choco hazelnut, banana smoothie, etc) and good snacks like banana bread and yummy waffles.

FYI, Fauzan is ranked the 5th place Indonesia Barista Championship 2014, so you know your coffee is made by one of the best 😉

So glad after a very long time I can sip a nice cup of picollo again!

The yummy homemade Banana Waffle.

Habitually, he’s a friendly guy. But not to me! xD

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I was having a hard time interviewing my own friend. And I must say, the interview failed! (Photo: Tania Pranata)

Big congrats to you, buddy! (Photo: Tania Pranata)

Looks can be deceiving! But he’s ready anytime to brew you worthy coffees. All you need is just to say, “Hi.”

Goni Coffee
Jln. Kemang Selatan 1 No. 20, Jakarta Selatan
Phone: 087721192210
Opening hours: 7 AM – 5 PM daily
Instagram: @gonicoffee

Suatu pagi, saya memutuskan untuk mencoba Burgreens Eatery yang berlokasi di Rempoa. Well, kalau bukan karena penugasan untuk me-review menu, mungkin saya tidak sebegitu penasarannya mencoba restoran ini, simply because I am not a vegeterian nor vegan. Bukannya saya tidak suka dengan pola makan tersebut, kenyataannya saya suka makan dengan banyak sayuran dan buahan-buahan, tapi ‘label’ vegetarian atau vegan agak ‘menakutkan’ untuk saya.

Dari Pondokgede, saya berangkat sekitar pukul 10.00 dan sampai sana sekitar pukul 11.00 WIB. Kesan pertama, it’s a very cozy plazy to have a restaurant! Tempatnya teduh, banyak pohon, penataan ruang makan outdoor yang cantik (plus waktu itu kondisi cuaca mendung so it’s pefect!), dan tempat parkirnya pun luas, yang ada di bagian belakang restoran.

Sampai di sana, ternyata pintu restoran masih digembok (karena ternyata jam bukanya adalah pukul 12.00 WIB). Well, tapi pada akhirnya mereka membukakan pintu dan beroperasi. Yes, on that day, I am the early bird! Hehe. Untuk starters, saya pesan Sweet Potato Chips (Vegan), untuk main course saya pesan Battle Beans burger, yang patty-nya terbuat dari red beans, black beans, dan chickpeas, dan minumannya saya memesan Superfood Smoothies Detox Red Velvet (semangka, bit, dan lemon).

Selagi menunggu pesanan, saya membayangkan akan seperti apa menu vegetarian or vegan. Terakhir kali saya makan di restoran vegetarian adalah sekitar tahun 2009 atau 2010 di Yogyakarta. Menu pilihan saya waktu itu adalah burger yang patty-nya terbuat dari tempe dan beberapa bahan lain yang saya tak bisa ingat. And it tasted awful. I mean, my omnivore tounge simply couldn’t accepted the taste. Oh, and I remember it was very oily. So, I’m kinda traumatized having a vegetarian/vegan menus. Dan saat mencoba menu Burgreen ini, saya sudah siap dengan kemungkinan terburuk.

Sweet Potato Chips (a.k.a keripik ubi ungu) dan Detox Red Velvet disajikan. Saya suka sekali dengan keripik ubi ungu karena rasanya yang manis dan gurih, dan sering beli ketika pergi ke Surabaya atau Malang. Tapi yang ini rasanya agak hambar. Well, kemungkinan besar keripik yang biasa saya makan sudah dicampur pemanis (mungkin?). Meskipun begitu, mereka menaburi sepiring penuh keripik tersebut dengan bubuk cabai dan beberapa rempah sehingga rasa gurihnya tetap ada. And it’s really good that you want to lick your fingers after that.

Not much to say about my smoothie. Well, it’s a healthy smoothie. What do you expect? But it’s really fresh dan Anda dijamin akan ‘merasa’ setelah meminumnya, bahkan setelah tegukan pertama. Ah, and my burger’s served!

The burger itself looks like a normal burger. Brownie patty and lettuce… After I examine the burger for a while, akhirnya saya mencobanya sambil mengerutkan kening. I started to chew it… And it’s surprisingly good and it tasted like cheese burger in a way. It doesn’t have the usual juiciness, but it’s not a big problem. I’ve eaten it all. Dan saya bisa bilang, sekarang saya tidak lagi trauma dengan burger vegetarian/burger. Ah, ya, selain memuji menunya, saya juga harus memuji pelayanannya karena mereka sangat ramah sekali dan mau meluangkan waktu untuk menjelaskan menu-menu makanannya.

Buat saya pribadi kekurangannya hanya satu, yaitu kunjungan lalat-lalat yang tak saya harapkan. Well, I know it’s a risk of eating outdoor, but I don’t expect a lot of flies came by to bug me (and my foods). Let’s just hope those flies are vegetarian and don’t eat something dirty, literally. And yes, I’d like to be back one day for sure!

Now you may see the photos below.

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Sweet Potato Chips (Vegan)

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The Battle Beans Burger

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Seriously heatly smoothie Detox Red Velvet

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It’s a cozy place, right?

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Slow down and turn left

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Burgreens Eatery
Jln. Flamboyan No.9, Rempoa, Jakarta Selatan
Jam buka: Selasa-Jumat (12.00 WIB-21.30 WIB), Sabtu-Minggu (10.30 WIB-21.30 WIB)
Delivery: 087882005070 (Selasa-Minggu 09.30 WIB-20.00 WIB)
Catering: 087886782082 (Senin-Jumat 07.30 WIB-12.00 WIB)
Instagram: @burgreens
Twitter: @burgreens_
Facebook: Burgreens

So, I got challenged to worked on Grazia Living October issue, which I’ve never done that kind of article before. I have to say that I’ve had a hard time doing it. Not just because of the super tight deadline, but theoritically I know nothing about interior designs so I totally racked my brains for this article. When I finished writing it, suddenly my boss wanted me to change the layout, also the writing, which I have to rewrite everything. Well, once again, I’m being challenged. Thank God I’ve nailed it, and I’m proud with what I’ve done.

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