in the time of flood

that’s the way to start the year..
trapped by the flood in an electricity-less house , no phone no lights, lucky we got some foods and water.

the house i was staying in stood facing the highway and toll road so there were so much going on down there that i could observe from the 4th floor balcony; the traffic on the road was dominated by various make-shift rafts and boats, the highway was half deserted, lined with broken vehicles and helpless drivers.

funny, at the other part of jakarta things went on as usual, not affected by flood at all. you went to work as usual, you drove your car and not a raft made of crates, you could make a phone call and tweet and blog and take a nice shower without worrying what would happen if you run out of water tomorrow. anyway, i managed to leave the flooded neighborhood on the third day before we ran out of our sanity. god is so good. hopefully there will be no more heavy rain that resulted in flood and no more unnecessary victims being swept away by the water.







{proximity 0} minus 64 days

been 2 months since the gang landed on jakarta.
2 months of suddenly super-busy-everyday-life that we embraced halfheartedly yet semi-automatically. no time to linger on the aftertaste of europe. no time to even unpack our memory and store it properly, let alone digest it.

and like (almost) everything else in life, all that once so vivid is just a blur when they had come to pass.

and when you thought those splendors and filth of the world that you had seen so far would contribute something to make you a little bigger or smaller or any-other-er, you came out of it more or less the same, except for having left another heavy sets of carbon footprints. not wiser, not kinder, not braver. not in a significant dose at least. i speak for myself, of course. don’t know about others.

and you still can’t quite explain when someone asked you what is-it-do-you-like-so-much-about-traveling because you don’t really understand it either but you just keep craving for more just the same.

and so some travel to know, some to learn, some to see, some to remember, some to escape, some to forget, some can’t resist cheap plane tickets, some just don’t know where else to go, some must follow the trend and of course, some travel just for the sake of traveling itself. i did. i do. and i will do it again.

{Proximity 1} they said all roads lead to Rome well this one led me home

Last day in Rome.
Last queue.
To enter the last chapel on the list.

Last chance to shop.
Shop for those made-in-China souvenirs.
Last jump onto the bus.
We made it to Stadio Olimpico!

First drop of rain.
Accompanied us to distinti nord est.
First match we ever watch.
Blue and white stripes and white-headed eagle.

Last fun we had in that city.
That turned more melancholic with each drop that fall.
First trip by cab.
To the far away airport.

{Proximity 2} got an appetite for ruins don’t we

We pay to see ruined buildings.
We pay to see things that are no more.
For what?

Though very much alive,
Though rich with history,
Though very artistic,
I see Rome as colourless.
I feel Rome as……
I feel not, actually.

Not the ruins.
Not the people.
Not the sculptures.
Not the cityscape.
Not the metro stations.
Not the pickpocket whose hand in ann’s bag.
Not the bikes.
Not even the food.

{Proximity 3} when somebody else’s problem became yours

Roma termini. Big city. Big city people. Big city’s smell. Big city’s dusts. Noise. Kebabs. Halal. Indian. More kebab. Scott hotel. Blond receptionist. Really, blond in every way. Long queue to check in. Angry aunty. Wanted two beds, got one bed. Two beds. One bed. One pissed off aunty. One blond confused receptionist. Angry aunty went up and down the stairs. Noise. Supermarket. Dirt. Ristorante. The chef is the owner. Sparkling wine. Long wait. Munch the bread. Finally food. Sleep. Roma termini in the morning. Police officer pointing at woman with baby. Pickpocket he signaled. We nodded. Held our bags closer. We nodded. We swayed with the train. Colloseo. Closed. Guardian strike. Vatican. Drizzle. The 360 degree line to enter Basilica di San Pietro. The 2 euro yellow umbrella. Shameless people who cut the line. Unashamed tho all the stone saints turned an accusing stare at them. Yes they are. The creation of michelangelo. More sculptures. Pieta. Cherubs. Popes. Saints. More saints. Crypts. Towers. Mosaics. The glory and splendor according to those death renaissance artists. Gold ornaments. Main altars. 26 chapels e? The 551 stairs of the tower. Took the first 200 by elevator. The square. The zero something point. The dinner. Fontana di trefi. Twilight. Sound of water. Smell of cigarettes. Some crowd. Scary crowd. Tired legs. Tired eyes. Stole a spot. Splashed some water. Threw a smile. Blurry photograph. Spanish aunts with their myth. Coins. Loosing interest. Call it a day shall we…

{Proximity 4} the amazing market

From our point of view of course.
Whose markets are mini and super and even hyper. very good supermarkets really, with amazing range of products, local or imported.

But they are modern market. our traditional wet (read: wet and slushy and smelly and fly-ridden) markets are nothing like this mercato centrale di firenze.

It was feast for the eyes: pepperocino, colorful dried pastas and rissoto and many kinds of pasta’s sauce and cheeses and bottled truffle paste on wooden shelves and many many kind of ham which I can never tell one from another. There, the dry and the wet and the ready-to-eat respect each other thus didn’t kill our appetite. Ended the feast with a yummy lunch from nerbonne, which is turn out to be quite popular.

{Proximity 5} not so burnt Siena

Carelessly linked Siena – its yellow brown medieval cityscape – with burnt sienna, the name of one yellowish color pigment that I know from my watercolor tubes.

The truth is there isn’t any connection.

Is that all that I have to say about siena?
Except that it’s better to feel rather that just see the city.

Except that half day excursion will only get you to another unesco heritage site which is beautiful but full of people.
(And don’t forget that all the pictures of beautiful scenery or landmarks on tourism websites or books or postcards that get you drooling look so stunning because they were captured from aerial view)

Except that we had fun (not) getting lost in its hilly tiny alleys.

Except that the wind was so wild that day in siena that we came back to firenze with runny nose and slightly wobbly steps.

But the city does have that yellowy ochery color :p

{Proximity 6} not exactly bel far niente

Wandered alone in florence while my friends paid a visit to Pisa. Sketched the famous ponte vecchio – which is still lined with gold merchants – from ponte s. Trinita. Sketched the pigeon that sat contemplating on the ledge of the bridge.

Couldn’t exactly relaxed and sit and read on the cafe. The sour-faced waitress with hurried steps and unpleasant gestures made me lift my butt off the chair and went on to palazzo pitti. I haven’t even finished my lunch and they wanted to clear up my plate already. Bah. And the Florentine are famous of their friendliness ha? The people on the street were nice, most of the shop attendant and waitresses were far from nice.

There were a couple of famous animator from japan who were having lunch in that trattoria with groups of animation students (though I didn’t know that they are famous people until I asked the students who sat next to me)

Ended up strolling – hiking to be precise – in the Boboli garden. The original plan was to fine a good spot to read or sketch or enjoy the view of hilly florence, but curiosity dragged me to the porcelain museum and argenti museum and up and down the gravel path back to the grassy clearing to finally sat down and read.

Quite fun

{Proximity 9} too bad not all of us got sweet-tooth for squid’s ink and meringues

To be precise, I’m the one who doesn’t.

Didn’t even dare to touch the pastel- colored meringues in the window display of many pasticceria, their sweetness would’ve killed my tongue.

But I did try to eat one of their signature giant cookies thingy. Tasted the green one, pistachio. With a lot of nuts and raisins. Not bad actually, but its weird texture – not crunchy, not hard, but not actually soggy either – and size made it hard for me to finish it.

The other sweets, the multi-colored liquorice-like candies, definitely only suitable for my eyes to enjoy. Another one, composed of whatever-nuts and caramel/sugar, was just too similar with one of traditional delicacies from my home country which name I do not know, so didn’t even bother to try one.

As for sea-products…not really a big fan of them crustacean (and other sea creatures except fish). But it would be weird to be in venice without having a taste of their seafood. Spaghetti vongole was the furthest I’ve ventured. And in some restaurant it was deliziosa! “Mamamia lezatos” kalo kata si neng mel!

And the coffee…
Sooo glad. it was the first time I can order cappuccino without being asked: hot or cold?