The US Trip: Universal Studios Hollywood

This is the third post of “The US  Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

The trip to Universal Studios Hollywood was on the itinerary of my second day in Los Angeles. I went there with R and also Indiet, my friend from college who happened to be in town too at that time. The 1-day ticket for this theme park originally cost $84 but thanks to R’s cousin we could get special price tickets and it cost us only $59! Not bad at all 🙂

The park opened at 10AM so we tried to get there on time, to avoid crowd and queuing.  To our surprise, there was not THAT many people and we barely had to queue to get in to our rides. Plus, the sky was super bright and clear although it was September already! I guess it’s true when they say it’s always sunny in California.. (wait or is it Philadelphia? :p)

Before we went into the park, we took some time to take pictures in front of the theme park gate and of course, you know, with the famous Universal Studios globe 😉

Clear blue sky!
Me and Indiet
Me and Indiet

After we went inside, we went straight to try the attractions. This was actually not my first time going to Universal Studios Hollywood, but a lot of attractions have changed! We first tried  Transformers: the Ride 3-D, which was super cool and thrilling. Then me and Indiet tried the classic Jurassic Park-The Ride – I tried it before but somehow this time was more exciting than the first one! After that, we tried attractions by attractions – from Shrek 4D, Revenge of the Mummy – the Ride,  and my favorite…. The Simpsons Ride! wooohoo! It was like being inside the TV Show!  they also have a Kwik – E – Mart in front of the ride which sells The Simpsons merchandises 🙂

Krusty Land!
The Simpsons Ride!
Inside Krustyland
Inside Krustyland! :p

We then watch the Waterworld show, which got us mesmerised. Again, Waterworld show was not new to me, but it still got me in awe.  To finish our day, we spent some time to take the famous studio tour, which also included King – Kong 360 3-D. To our surprise, the video host was Jimmy Fallon! He’s one of my favorite comedian and he made the studio tour super interesting and funny. This Studio Tour is definitely a must try when you’re in Universal Studios Hollywood, as it gives you a very “Hollywood” experience 🙂

Anyway, since we did not have to queue for long to get in to the rides, we finished quite early and had time to wander around the park. I was so happy to see a British – themed road full of British kind of replicas! We found the famous Red telephone box, tube signs, street signs, even the double Decker bus!

So HAPPY to find THIS! :p

After we were finished in the park, we also took some time to have a sightseeing in Universal Walk – home of Hard Rock Cafe and lots of shops/cafes. I think it will be fun to visit the walk during night time – I imagine lots of lights from the shops would make it interesting. Maybe next time 😉

Universal Walk
Hard Rock Cafe

So.. that’s it! In total we spent approximately 5 hours in the park, and we got to try everything! I guess we were lucky because there were not many people even though it was a Friday. In my opinion, this theme park is more suitable for grown ups because a lot of the rides are not child – friendly. But for us, it was a very enjoyable day, and for those theme park lovers – thrill seekers, you got to visit Universal Studios Hollywood when visiting Los Angeles!


Crazy Rich Asians

This book – written by Kevin Kwan, was recommended to me by my friend, Rio and it has been sitting in my e-book reader for months before I finally started to read it. When I finally started to read it, I was not too interested on it – I spent some time only reading few pages daily. But as I turned more pages, I got more and more hooked to this book.

Image from

Like the title, it tells the story about “Crazy Rich Asians” – Chinese people with generations of wealth currently living outside mainland China. The story revolves around a young Chinese couple who lives in New York, Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young and their travel to Nicholas’ hometown in Singapore to attend Nicholas’ best friend’s wedding.

Rachel – coming from a middle class immigrant family, did not realise that the Youngs are very rich and extravagant. Nicholas’ cousins, extended family and relatives are the the kind of people you would see in high – end lifestyle magazines. Nicholas’ family house looks like a castle filled with luxury items which Rachel has never seen before. The private jets, luxury cars, social evenings and fancy dinners make Rachel feel overwhelmed. Plus, she thinks that Nicholas did not prepare her for anything of those at all, thus makes her shocked and confused.

Nicholas – educated and worked in the West, thinks that all those wealth are his family’s, therefore not important to him. He simply thought the trip would be just an ordinary trip with the woman that he loves. What he missed to prepare is how to handle the way his family – especially his mum, reacts to him bringing home a girlfriend.

How do you think his family reacts?
What happens to Rachel & Nicholas’ relationship during their trip to Singapore?

Read the book to find out… 😉
It is indeed very entertaining, witty, and enjoyable to read!

Bubur Ayam Madurasa

One day after work, me and Dhisty went out to find something to eat. At first we wanted to eat around Senopati area, but then I realised that there’s this bubur ayam place that I wanted to try for so long, called Bubur Ayam Madurasa, and they only open on weekdays. Bubur ayam is one of my comfort foods. It is a very common food in Indonesia, in fact we Indonesians usually eat it for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner!

I first heard about this place from Twitter – their account showed up in my timeline. I have to admit, they put really nice picture of bubur ayam on their profile. So Tempting! I’ve been wanting to try it, but I haven’t really got the chance until that night. They are located in Alpus area – where the food stalls are, near the famous Roti Bakar Eddy. There were not many people when we got there, so we could easily get a spot.

Bubur Ayam Madurasa
Taken with iPhone 5 – mind the image quality 😉

We did not have to wait so long to get our bubur served. Trust me, they are SUPER DELICIOUS! Generous topping and perfect texture of the porridge. No doubt – best hawker style bubur ayam in town! (That’s why I’m writing this review.. to tell you about it :D)

So, if you happen to live or work near Jakarta Selatan / Jakarta Pusat area – you definitely should try this bubur ayam. I read on their menu board that they cater deliveries too. Worth to try! 🙂

Bubur Ayam Madurasa
Twitter : @Buburayammadura
Facebook : Bubur Ayam Madurasa

Jl. Raden Patah
Selong, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan
Open Monday to Friday : 17.00 PM – til finished

The US Trip: Transit in Hong Kong

This is the second post of “The US  Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

As a took Cathay Pacific airline, I had to transit in Hong Kong on my way to Los Angeles from Jakarta. I took the morning flight from Jakarta and it took me around 4,5 hours to get to Hong Kong. My flight from Jakarta to Hong Kong was rather delightful, I slept almost all the time (only woke up when it’s time for a meal :p), and I liked the meal served to me.

As soon as I got off the plane , I immediately searched for transit guide. I could find it easily, but I had to go through some immigration and security check before I was able to enter the departures terminal. I remember queuing for quite a while for these checks, which made me began to feel tired. Walking slowly, I had no expectation when I entered the terminal. Guess what “greeted” me in front of the elevator? This.

Zara outlet

Wooohooo the airport has Zara outlet! That moment my expectation went up drastically. I began to love the airport already.. and forgot my tiredness, hahaha. My love increased when I found out that it has free wi-fi (with super speed!) everywhere! Near my departure gate, I also found a MAC outlet, two bookshops, some retail shops, and a lot of chairs. That way my transit period was almost like a leisure! I had no problem in killing time at all. Even though I did not shop, but at least I got to enjoy window shopping while killing time.

Departures terminal

Now, feeling hungry after all those window shopping? no worries at all! the airport has a selection of fast food joints (I think there are some restaurants too.. but I didn’t see it) which can keep you full in between your flihgts. My favorite – the one which also confirmed my super duper love for this airport – is Popeyes! This fast food joint, located in Departures area level 7, used to have some branches in Jakarta, but closed a couple years ago. I loved their biscuits soooo much and I couldn’t help but buy a pack for my snack while waiting for my next flight 😛 Let’s just say my 15 hours flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles went realllly smooth , partly because of my happy tummy after eating those biscuits 😀

Popeyes’ biscuits !!!

So.. that’s all for my transit in Hong Kong experience. I’ll start writing my US experience soon 🙂

Berkunjung ke kantor Google Indonesia

Minggu lalu, saya berkesempatan untuk mengunjungi kantor Google Indonesia. Kebetulan, salah satu teman se-tim saya di Indonesia Mengglobal bekerja disana. Jadi, dia ngajak kita untuk numpang meeting di kantor Google, sekalian office tour. Katanya, Google mendukung karyawannya untuk mengajak teman /  keluarga / kenalan untuk main ke kantor Google dan juga dengan baik hati meminjamkan area kantornya (yang kebetulan memang meeting – friendly) untuk kegiatan after hours karyawannya.

Terletak di Gedung Sentral Senayan 2, kantor Google dari luar seperti kantor pada umumnya. Lobby nya tidak terlalu besar, dengan logo Google dan latar belakang batik di bagian resepsionis nya. Di bagian ini, karyawan Google yang membawa tamu harus melakukan registrasi untuk para tamunya. Setelah registrasi, barulah tamu bebas berkeliling kantor Google. Yak, bahkan bebas masuk area kerja – asalkan masih ditemani karyawan Google yang mengajak. Sebagai tamu, kita bebas foto – foto, asalkan tidak di area kerja para Googlers. Tapi terus terang saya tidak begitu tertarik melihat area kerjanya kok.. bentuknya kurang lebih sama seperti kantor – kantor agency yang saya pernah datangi – tidak bersekat.

Tapiii.. yang  bikin menarik dari area kerja di kantor Google ini adalah ruangan meeting nya. Kantor saya menggunakan nama – nama produk kami sebagai ruangan meeting. Misalnya, Fanta Lemon. A&W.  Coke Zero. Jadi kalau janjian meeting biasanya gini: “Nanti dimana? Fanta Lemon atau A&W?” Tadinya menurut saya, nama – nama itu sudah lumayan unik. Nah, kantor Google Indonesia mempunyai banyak ruangan meeting, mulai dari yang kapasitas 2 orang hingga yang besar. Namanya? Gelora Asmara, Pangkalan Ojek, Potong Bebek Angsa, Capcus, dan banyak macamnya! Seru banget kan? Ngga kebayang kalau ada ekspat yang musti nyebut “Capcus”, atau “Potong Bebek Angsa”… hahaha.. lucu kali ya 😀

Anyway, diluar ruangan meeting yang namanya lucu – lucu itu, kantor Google – seperti banyak artikel yang beredar, atau film The Internship, penuh hal menarik. Apalagi di common area nya. Kantor Google punya banyak common area  yang bisa digunakan untuk berbagai hal, mulai dari duduk – duduk santai, istirahat, mencari inspirasi, diskusi, dan juga, meeting!.

Cozy meeting area

Oke sofa di gambar saya tampak menarik, tapi menurut saya masih kalah menarik dari area berikut ini…

Yoga / nap place 😀

Kata teman saya, dia dan teman – teman nya pernah beberapa kali mengadakan workshop yoga disitu. Kalau sedang tidak dipakai yoga? Hmmm.. dipakai tidur siang juga bisa! :p

Selain tempat yoga / tidur siang diatas, kantor Google juga punya area bermain dan berolahraga. Ada meja ping-pong, alat TRX, fitness balls, dan juga excercise mats. Lumayan lengkap kan buat menjaga kebugaran selagi bekerja. Bagi gamers, ada juga sebuah TV layar lebar yang dilengkapi dengan X-Box. Seru yaaa 🙂

The common room
Mural in the common room
Keeping you fit 😉

Nah, bagian terakhir dari kantor Google yang ingin saya ceritakan disini menurut saya bagian paling menarik, yaitu ruang makan! Hahahahaha. Dinamakan Warung Mbah Google, ruangan ini self-explanatory, tempat makannya para Googlers. Udah pada tahu kan kalau karyawan Google dapat makan gratis dikantornya? Menurut teman saya, tak hanya makan siang, tapi juga dari sarapan (roti dan berbagai macam selai tersedia sepanjang hari), hingga cemilan sore! Bahkan, ketika saya datang kesana sekitar jam 7, cemilan sore nya masih tersedia banyak, yaitu mini pizza, brownies, dan lumpia. Bagi saya sih cukup sekali yaa.. hehehe.

Warung Mbah Google
Warung Mbah Google

Yang lucu, tersedia sebuah rak kecil yang penuh dengan cemilan khas Indonesia. Mulai dari kripik – kripik tradisional, chiki, hingga coklat superman!

All you can munch –  Indonesian snacks!

Oh iya, saya juga suka sekali dengan desain lantai dari Warung Mbah Google ini.. lihat deh 🙂

#fromwhereistand – cute tiles!

Overall, senang sekali bisa berkesempatan mengunjungi kantor Google Indonesia. Kantornya seru, dan orang – orang yang saya temui juga ramah – ramah. Kata pepatah, rumput tetangga cenderung terlihat lebih hijau. Tetapi untuk kasus ini, menurut saya memang lebih hijau beneran! hehehe, habisnya, jarang kan ada kantor yang de-desain khusus untuk menjamin work and life balance para karyawan nya… 🙂

The good in everyone

Yesterday was a long day for me… but it was also an extraordinary day.

It started when I had to go to the immigration office to renew my passport. I was prepared to face long queue because I’ve heard stories that people started to queue as early as 5 AM – even when the office itself opened at 8. Unfortunately I woke up a little bit late and arrived there minutes before 8. Guess what registration number I got? 78. Really, people?!

Since I had nothing to choose, I waited patiently. At around 9 AM, it was already number 50ish’s turn. It’s not that bad, I thought. 20ish people to go. Then suddenly a man came and sat next to me. He asked what number I got, then after knowing that I got number 78, he offered his number, 60. He said his friend suddenly had to leave, so that number was unused. After accepting his number, I offered mine to a woman in front of me, who hold number 94. And she offered hers to another woman, who hold number 100ish. So, thanks to that man and his friend who didn’t show up, I got to save a little bit of time, and so did the two ladies 🙂

In the afternoon, when I was about to left from work, I found out that my car’s battery died and it did not want to start. Lucky I was still in the office, so I could call my friends for help. In the end, Pak Wawam, Taufiq, Kaka, and Disty helped me to get it fixed. Disty even accompanied me to my friend’s house!

I got home at around 10.30 PM, feeling so knackered. But as I lay down in my bed, resting before I sleep.. I can’t help but feeling so thankful. Big or small, I saw the good in everyone. From strangers to my best friends, they made my day and made it so extraordinary! So, thank you! I’m sure it will all come back to you one day 🙂

The US Trip: Pre – Departure

Note : This is the first post of “The US Trip” series – stories from my solo trip to US last year. Some posts (like this one), will be in Bahasa Indonesia, and some in English. Hopefully you’ll find both versions useful and enjoyable! -c

Tulisan tentang perjalanan saya ke Amerika Serikat ini harusnya sudah saya post sejak tahun lalu – segera setelah saya pulang ke Indonesia, di blog saya yang lama. Tetapiiii, banyak hal yang membuat tulisan ini terlambat, bahkan tulisan ini sudah “nangkring” di blog ini sejak bulan Januari! Yah, seperti pepatah yang terkenal “better late than never“, mari kita mulai cerita perjalanan saya ke Amerika Serikat.. dimulai dari “kehebohan” sebelum saya berangkat ya! 🙂

Sebagai warga negara Indonesia, saya butuh visa untuk memasuki Amerika Serikat (AS). Walaupun saya sudah pernah pergi ke AS dua kali sebelumnya, waktu itu saya masih kecil – masih ikut orang tua. Kemarin adalah pengalaman pertama saya mengajukan permohonan visa dan juga berangkat sendirian, jadi saya rada deg – degan.

Saya deg – degan karena pasca kejadian 9/11, saya banyak mendengar cerita – cerita betapa susahnya mendapatkan visa turis AS – cerita penolakan yang absurd, juga cerita keribetan untuk apply visa turis tersebut. Jadi, saya berusaha mencari sebanyak – banyaknya informasi di internet, dengan harapan mematahkan gosip – gosip yang saya dengar. Yang pertama saya lakukan adalah browsing website nya Kedubes AS di Jakarta. Karena perjalanan saya ini murni perjalanan jalan – jalan, jenis visa yang saya butuhkan adalah visa turis – yang jika menurut website ini disebut dengan Visa Bisnis / Wisatawan (B1/B2). Disitu juga ditulis syarat – syarat yang diperlukan (tips: siapkan waktu untuk mengisi formulir DS-160 dengan menyeluruh!), dan setelah menyiapkan semua syarat nya, saya pun membuat perjanjian untuk wawancara di kantor kedubes AS di Jakarta.

Pada hari wawancara, saya juga membawa supporting documents yang sekiranya menurut saya bisa memperkuat aplikasi visa turis saya. Yang saya bawa adalah slip gaji dari kantor, buku tabungan, bukti pemesanan tiket pulang pergi (kebetulan saya sudah punya tiket Jakarta – Los Angeles PP sebelum bikin visa), dan juga paspor – paspor lama saya yang ada visa AS nya waktu saya berangkat kesana dengan  orang tua. Last time I checked, tidak ada halaman di website resmi pemerintah AS yang menyebutkan dengan spesifik jenis supporting documents yang harus dibawa – yang penting tiap aplikan visa turis  punya bukti yang konkrit bahwa perjalanan nya memang hanya sementara, murni jalan – jalan, dan bukan untuk berimigrasi ke AS!

Singkat cerita, wawancara saya di kedubes AS berjalan lancar. Saya sengaja memilih jam wawancara paling pagi. Jam 7 kurang saya sudah sampai, kemudian sekitar jam 9 saya sudah bisa pulang. Wawancara nya juga berjalan lancar – jauh sekali dari gosip – gosip yang saya dengar. Aplikasi visa turis saya pun disetujui hari itu juga! Wooohooo! Kabar baiknya, saya dapat visa multiple entry! jadii saya masih punya kesempatan untuk jalan – jalan mengelilingi AS di kemudian harinya. Ternyata, mengajukan aplikasi visa turis ke AS tidak seram, dan tidak juga seribet gosip – gosip yang saya dengar. Hore! 🙂

Tiket Pesawat Pulang – Pergi

Nah, soal tiket pesawat ini rada unik. Kenapa unik? karena saya sudah beli tiket pesawat PP sebelum saya bikin visa! Nekat? mungkin. Tetapi begini ceritanya. Saya memang sudah nabung untuk jalan – jalan ke AS sejak saya mulai bekerja di kantor yang sekarang. Kurang lebih nabung nya 2 tahun! Ngecek website tiket murah hampir – hampir jadi langganan setiap lagi merasa jenuh dengan aktifitas (atau setiap ada godaan untuk mecahin tabungan! :p), tetapi selama sekitar 2 tahun itu, tiket nya belum kebeli juga. Well, selain emang belum cukup uang nya, saya juga belum menemukan waktu cuti panjang yang tepat.

Sekitar bulan Juni 2013, saya merasa tabungan sudah cukup, dan hasrat pergi ke AS juga sudah semakin besar. Karena saya memang seorang planner, saya sudah merencanakan untuk apply visa turis AS, lalu jika sudah dapat, beli tiket pesawat dan kemudian benar – benar merencanakan perjalanan saya. Tetapi, di hari itu saya sedang iseng – iseng browsing dan menemukan promosi tiket dari Cathay Pacific yang harganya jauh lebih murah dari maskapai penerbangan lain. 

Tanpa pikir panjang, saya langsung memutuskan untuk membeli tiket tersebut – karena selama saya ngecek tiket 2 tahun kebelakang, saya belum pernah menemukan tiket Cathay semurah itu.  Kalaupun pernah menemukan tiket dengan harga segitu, maskapai penerbangan nya tidak se-bonafid Cathay Pacific dan mengharuskan saya untuk transit berjam – jam.

Tips dari saya untuk pencari tiket murah, sering – sering ngecek website maskapai penerbangan yang kamu inginkan, jangan hanya terpaku pada website penerbangan murah, karena kadang – kadang promo yang menarik justru bisa kamu temukan di website maskapai penerbangan tersebut!

Mata Uang

Saya rada apes, pas banget sebelum jadwal perjalanan saya ke AS, nilai tukar rupiah melemah dan menembus Rp.10.000 untuk USD 1! Dengan demikian, budget liburan saya terpotong sekitar 20% karena selama ini saya menabung menggunakan rupiah. Ada baiknya, kedepannya, kamu mempersiapkan tabungan dalam bentuk USD sehingga tidak harus terkena imbas nilai tukar seperti saya 🙂

Oke, sekian cerita persiapan saya sebelum berangkat ke AS. Cerita – cerita selanjutnya dalam seri “The US Trip” menyusul yaa! 🙂