My Time Capsule: August 2012


Indonesia: A Month of Festive

This year, August is a month full of celebrations here !

a cloudy morning in Sanur beach, Bali
Started with Indonesia Independence Day on 17 August. This is the 67th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia's independence in 1945. The red and white flag (Indonesian national flag) were raised everywhere, ceremony were held in every schools and offices and neighbourhoods gear up some fun games. One of the most popular is "Panjat Pinang" means pole climbing. The pole is greased with mixture of oil and clay and at the top are hung varies prize such as bike, television and etc. Lots of people would try to climb over each other and struggling to reach the prize. It's so fun to watch !

the Blue Mosque, Istanbul - Turkey
Followed by the Eid-ul-Fitr on 19 August, to celebrate the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting). Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia, so it's one of the biggest celebration every year. Families begin this Eid morning with a special Prayer also known as Eid Prayer. People distribute sweets and children wear new clothes on this great Muslim festival known as Eid.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Bali
And today here in Bali, the Hindu people are celebrating Galungan, the celebration of the dominance of dharma (good) over adharma (evil). Every 210 days the Balinese people decorate their streets with ornate penjor - bamboo poles weighed down by offerings suspended at the end, and visit their special temples to celebrate Galungan and Kuningan.

Indonesia is known for its rich cultural diversity, with over 300 ethnic languages, each with its own cultural traditions, including musical and dance. There are 6 official religions in Indonesia; Islam, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Buddha and Confucius . I have a lot of friends with different religion and different ethnic group from me, therefore I feel lucky to experience some of celebrations . Despite all the political problems in Indonesia, I'm proud to be born in this beautiful country, as an Indonesian :)


Beijing: Favorite Shots of the Forbidden City

Beijing, December 2011

Last time I visited Beijing was about 20 years ago. Yup, that long. Therefore I was curious about how it looks now after 2 decades. I gazed from the plane window and noticed that the city has grown unrecognisable, packed with buildings.

Ni hao (hello) Beijing !

After lunch I walked to the Forbidden City, a Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of Qing dynasty. Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft). It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

These are my favourite shots that I took in the Forbidden City:

street vendor outside the Forbidden City

entering the gate

welcome to the Forbidden City

pavilion in the Imperial Garden

military guard in the Forbidden City

About the picture above, I did snap a picture in front of this guard. But for unknown reasons, he wasn't happy about it and made everyone to stop taking his picture. So I walked around and stand behind him to sneak another shot. See ! Don't ever told me to not taking pictures because that makes me want to take picture even more. I don't know what's wrong with him, maybe PMS-ing or maybe he hasn't taken a shower for weeks or is it forbidden to take pictures of the guard in the Forbidden City ?

Imperial Guardian Lion
Lions in the Forbidden City are in pairs, the female extending her leg to play with a baby lion which symbolises fertility of the royal family The male lion has a ball under his paw which represents the imperial power.

When bronze lions are in front of a residence, it means the occupant is an official. First rank officials have lions with 13 bumps on the heads. This decreases with the official rank and 8 being the least number of bumps on the head. Officials of rank seven and below were not allowed to have lions outside their gates.

gilded bronze vat

sunset in the Forbidden City

Which one is your favourite picture ?


Alaska: The Salmon City of The World

Alaska, June 2012

at the crack of dawn
Jet lag made me waking up early at 3.45 am, feeling hungry and my tummy was growling. I was looking for some chips when I saw beautiful gradient in the dawn sky, so I grabbed my camera instead and walked out to my cabin balcony. It was freezing outside but I wanted to indulge my first sunrise in Alaska.

Summer in Alaska means early sunrise (around 4am) and late sunset (around 11pm). My Alaskan cruise schedule coincides with the summer solstice, which mean the longest day of the year up to 19 hours of daylight a day.

During summer in Barrow, one of the northernmost town in Alaska, the sun doesn't completely set for about 82 days. From around mid May to end of July. But in the winter it has about 2 full months of darkness, from mid November to end of January. It's pretty amazing facts, right ?

so cute it looks like toy house


After 2 days cruising the sea, we finally arrived in Ketchikan. Squeezed between mountain and sea, I was wondering how the town got Tlingit Indian name, Ketchikan which means "Thundering Wings of an Eagle". It's a small town, its long main street skirts a waterfront built on pilings over the sea. Short side street and steep wooden stairways lead to residential areas on the bluff above.
Ketchikan is the epicentre of Alaska salmon fishing. Thus the economy is based upon tourism and fishing. 

serene environment

float plane

I was walking around the town and taking pictures when it started to drizzle and very windy. Ugh....I hate that! I can cope cold weather very well but rain or wind will make me sick instantly *sigh*. So I rushed into one big building which was some kind of market place. I was browsing through some souvenir shops when I spot a nice cafe and I decided to sample some local dishes.

Most of their menu are seafood and their speciality is Alaska snow crab. But I wasn't in the mood and lacked of patience to struggle with crab legs so I ordered  Fish n Chips. It was cod fillets in beer batter and deep fried to golden perfection. The fish was very fresh and the batter was well seasoned. But my favourite was the prawns in coconut flakes batter. It was crispy and beyond delicious. Both dishes were served with a huge pile of tasty chips.

beer batter Cod

coconut battered prawns
Joyful face after the delish meal :D

Around 3pm, I boarded back to the cruise with a big smile on my face and a happy tummy. We were heading to Juneau, next destination in Alaska which were scheduled to arrive at 2.30 pm the next day...

to be continued >>> Juneau


Netherlands: A Flower-Filled Day In Keukenhof

Netherlands, March 2012

"The most beautiful spring garden in the world". That's what written on their brochure. And I don't think it's overrated though. Keukenhof or Kitchen Garden is also known as the Garden of Europe, situated near Lisse. It's open annually from mid March thru mid May. More than 7 million of flower bulbs are planted every year in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares. So it's undoubtedly very gorgeous.

They choose a different country as the theme every year. "Poland - Heart of Europe" is the theme of the 63rd International Flower Exhibition at Keukenhof this year. And for 2013, the theme will be "the United Kingdom".

Welcome to Keukenhof

I went there just 2 days after the opening date, there wasn't too many people. Because actually the best time to visit Keukenhof is around mid April. When all the flowers bloom and looking their best. The garden is divided into 12 main areas which equally beautiful.

One of my favourite is the Children's Paradise because there's a farm where you can pet some animals from chicken, goat, pig to ponies. I went crazy and wanted to pet any animals there. I think I was the only adult who run and shriek excitedly chasing the animals together with a bunch of children. I know......sometimes I tend to be childish and overly thrilled when I see animals. I can't help it :p

make friends with Mr. Goatie at children's farm

too pretty it looks surreal

one size too big :p

I was greeted with a huge variety of orchids at Beatrix Pavilion. My jaw dropped. I've never seen so many variety of orchids before. In every possible shade of every colour imaginable. I mean green orchid? orange orchid? leopard print orchid???  I didn't even know they exist. Did you ? Perhaps I should learn more about flowers.

Besides orchids in other part of the park and pavilion, you can see huge variety of flowers like tulip, daffodils, bromeliads and etc and etc...I will need a flower dictionary if I want to list them all here :p
Anyway I was quite disappointed because I've been wanting to see and touch my favourite flower which is black tulips. But it has not bloomed yet when I was there :(

variety of orchids

one of the sculpture

the pond at Wilhelmina Pavilion

featured on Tripadvisor Facebook page :D

It was indeed a very flower-filled day for me. If you ever travel to Amsterdam around mid March to mid May, I would encourage you to visit this beautiful garden. It's open from 8 am to 7.30 pm. To avoid the long queue, I already bought my ticket online from their website: It was a combo ticket for the park entrance and bus return from/to Schiphol airport which cost me € 21. It took about 35 minutes from Schiphol to Keukenhof. I'd prefer to come as early as possible. Because around noon to afternoon, the parks become very crowded.

Have a colourful day y'all ! :D


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