(Late Review of) 2016 Garuda Travel Fair

Traveling abroad (at least for Indonesian) now is getting easier and easier! 

With more low-cost airlines offering cheaper tickets either to European or Asian Pacific countries, more Indonesian get the opportunity to explore different countries which they commonly know from television or internet. It does not take long for premium airlines to “partially compete” by offering considerably lower ticket price (for the same premium service!) in certain events. 

Garuda Indonesia, the best Indonesia airline (and also the most expensive), has also been following the same approach. Garuda Travel Fair (GATF) has been conducted since 2009 and its scale seems to be bigger and bigger every year. This year, this event even conducted twice, on May and October. I personally was only aware of this event about two years ago, and even though I would have loved to get cheap tickets to fly either to Thailand or Seoul, I was too lazy to stand in long queue and compete with other people to book and buy a ticket. 

This year I decided to visit GATF just out of curiousity, while in the same time looking for flight tickets to Tokyo for my parents next year. Having heard the stories, I prepared myself for the worst (read: long queue, crazy crowd inside the building, shouting for attention in the booth). 

Surprisingly, it was not as bad as I thought. Yes, I had to queue for about two hours before I could get in, but situation inside the building was not too packed as I would have expected. Maybe this was driven by fact that this event occupied two big halls in Jakarta Convention Center (one of big convention center buildings in Jakarya). Or maybe because I was there only during the day, I missed the big crowd which (might have) jeopardized the event :) 

 >> Pass card to get into the event

 >> Queue in front of GATF entrance gate  

 >> Aand queue behind me… 😅

In this event, Garuda Airlines (GA) did not sell directly the cheap flight tickets, instead GA was having travel agents as intermediate partners. GA established “Happy Hour” (10AM to 1PM and 4PM to 7PM): a period when certain Garuda flight tickets were sold at cheaper price and had to be booked and bought immediately. Outside the “Happy Hour”, Garuda flight ticket in general was cheaper by around 20-25%, which was still quite good, I must say. But of course, getting ” Happy Hour” price would be the best option🙂

Some key takeaways from 2016 GATF:

  • Come early so you will face less crowd. Particularly if you want to participate in “cash back” program held by participating/sponsorship bank (this year was BNI), you need to ensure you are part of limited participants
  • Once you are inside, just go to one travel agent which you are comfortable with. All agents will offer you the same price for Garuda flight tickets anyway
  • Browse for international flight tickets instead of domestic. The international flight ticket price in GATF is significantly cheaper than normal. In other hand, domestic flight ticket price does not differ much from normal price
  • Have a clear goal on which flight ticket you want to buy to speed up purchase process in the booth

In the end, I managed to buy Jakarta-Tokyo return flight with USD337/pax. Not bad at all considering it is Garuda. I guess I would not mind to visit the next GATF to do another hunting of cheap flight ticket🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O 

Finally catching up with this week’s theme of Photo Challenge: H2O. When I was browsing through my photo collection, I realized that it has been so long since I used my camera to take pictures of nature. Work becomes my reason for not doing so, but I could not help to think if it was also because of my laziness to relaxing at home in the weekend instead of going out and hunting a picture. Maybe I am not that into it anyway?😦

Anyway, here they are my pictures for H2O theme this week! 



Review: A Very Special Year

Title: A Very Special Year
Author: Thomas Montasser
Year Published: May 2016

(Spoiler alert! You have been warned!)

As a student majoring in business, managing a small, old bookstore was not part of Valerie’s future plan. Yet, when one day her aunt, Charlotte, suddenly vanished and left a very short note appointing Valerie to maintain the bookstore, Valerie did not have another choice beside taking over ‘Ringelnatz & Co.’ while hoping one day Aunt Charlotte would come back. 

It looked pretty simple in the beginning. Valerie had knowledge in business anyway, so with good analysis, reasonable plan and couple of contacts, she believed she could run the bookstore for a little while to pay off its debt, before eventually selling it to another party. 

It was not too long before she realized there was another part of the business that she had not been mastering on: portion of magic. There must be couple hundred of titles in the bookstore, with several version per title. Simply said, thousand books are available for readers! The problem is, without magic, it would be useless. How could we know what from all these books which would attract the readers? Who could remember by heart this magnificent collection which ranges from decades ago to the latest published? This is the magic of a bookseller which Valerie noticed and concluded. 

Though a bit devastated in the beginning, gradually Valerie enchanted by the charm of ‘Ringelnatz & Co.’, or in particular, its book collection. Valerie, who in the last few years rarely reading books beside Business related, started drawning herself in the world of Orhan Pamuk, Thomas Mann, and other authors which she had never heard before. Soon, she was engtangled with the magic of books, and unconsciously developing her skill as a bookseller. 

Her meeting with several interesting people across the seasons enriched her experience and progressively guided her to a direction which she had been thinking of. Until one day she found herself with two train tickets in her hand, accompanied by an attractive gentleman, and had to decide what she would do next….

I bought this book out of curiousity since the summary sounded promising. It is actually a German book which has been translated to English, and just published last May. In general, I quite like this book. The early chapters are a bit slow for me, but after chapter three, the pace becomes normal and more enjoyable. What I like in this book is the description of magic, either for the books, or the bookstore. I also like the fact that Montasser provided examples of different titles and the authors (and they are real), which made me realize how little I know about literature. 

The missing part of this book was the explanation of a special book with the same title: “A Very Special Year”, which later would influence Valerie’s life greatly. In the beginning of story, audiences were introduced to this special book. Valerie thought it was a defect due to blank pages in half of the book. Only later Valerie knew that “A Very Special Year” was a rare book and only few copies available in this world. And this copy, which she thought a misprinted book, was her copy. It was her own book. It was her chance to experience her own story. 

Now, for me, it would be another magical experience should Montasser have given  a little bit more space for this portion, to peek a little bit on how Valerie would have chosen her path to build her own story. Unfortunately the explanation was very brief, and somehow this was also washed off by last section (Epilogue) which explained on what happened next to Charlotte and Valerie. I wish Montasser had put more story of Valerie and the young guy in the train rather than putting some closure summary in the Epilogue. 

In conclusion, this book was light, easy to digest, though a bit slow in the beginning. I think it represents nicely Montasser’s passion of books and literature. I enjoyed reading it while learning a bit on literature. Not bad to accompany your evening.

(Belated) Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

I did not know where to start when I first read this theme. Thoughts were flying in my head, flashing pictures of my dear friends whom I miss so much. I have always been a people-person, so relationship with people really matters for me, which I think could be my strength yet also my weakness in the same time. 

Lately I have been missing my brothers and sisters in Europe. I was lucky to meet and engage with them closely during my assignment in Lausanne. For sure they have special place in my heart, and I wish my friendship with them will last forever. 

My three brothers and me! Christian, Adrian, me and Paul. We had wonderful time back then! 😍

I used to call them The Planning Musketeers, lol! Christian, Adrian and Edouard. Edouard retired three years ago and now enjoying his retirement period. 

My Australian-and-kind-of-half-Indonesian brother, Ben! I just love him and his family so much!! 

Adrian, my Romanian brother. He is one of the kindest man I have ever known. I always wish him for the best in his life as he totally deserves it. 

My beautiful sister, Basak! I adore and admire her not only as a supervisor, but also a professional, a strong woman, a soft hearted person and also a big sister! 

My very first teacher on company system, Edouard. Smart, full of jokes though sometimes could be really stubborn. I miss you Ed! Hope to see you soon in the near future! 

Tintin Community in 2016 Indonesia Comic Con

Seems otaku, manga and anime lovers and pop culture fans in Indonesia could channel their passion more and more now! Continuing the success last year, ReedPop together with Reed Panorama exhibition conducted the second Indonesia Comic Con (ICC) this year on October 1st and 2nd. To put it simply, ICC is a big exhibition which brings us various pop culture aspects such as comics, manga, anime, games and others to all Indonesia fans. As quoted in their official site

Indonesia Comic Con brings the best pop culture experience from both East and West in celebration of the latest content from comics, anime, toys, collectibles, games, TV, film and entertainment to dedicated fans across Indonesia.

I am not a die-hard-fan of specific manga, comic, anime or cartoon (except Tintin), so I ashamedly admit that I did not know much about the guest stars and the comic artist guests. I only know few of local comic artists attended the event (sorry!). 

Though I could not enjoy performance of the guest stars, I enjoyed visiting various booths, such as community booth (Star Trek com., Star Wars com., Marvel com., etc.), local comic, toys shop, etc. One of the booths sold cute things made by disabled people which I really appreciated. 


Beside the booths, I enjoyed performance of cosplayers who portrayed different characters, either with a simple costume, or a quite complicated one. Too bad I did not get a chance to chase them and take their pictures 😩 I only managed to take one picture with this madhatter 😅

My community, Indonesia Tintin Community or Komunitas Tintin Indonesia in bahasa (KTI), was lucky to get a booth in 2016 ICC, similar like last year. This time we got a bigger area, and still, we did not have enough space for our members who came to stand-by and supporting the event. 

People might wonder what we were doing in the booth. Well, first, we introduced ourselves to other people to make them aware that there is a community of people who really love Tintin. Second, we have some talented people in our group, so it was a good opportunity for us to promote their products with tribute to Tintin.

For me, opportunity to gather with other members of KTI is always delightful, considering that we are all quite different, yet we somehow can connect nicely because of this fictional reporter who solved mysterious cases and traveled around the world! They are funny, smart, and more importantly, makes me feel like I am part ofa family, and that matters.

I was cosplaying as Tintin (some called me Tintin “hijab”, obviously because I wore hijab, lol) at ICC because I thought it would be fun (and it was, though some people were not aware about it, huhu). It was my second time dressing up as Tintin and I personally think it was not too bad…what do you think?*cough* 

Of course, beside Tintin, there was also Captain Haddock, Tintin’s best friend! Oom Berthold is a senior in KTI and he has been cosplaying Haddock since the very beginning this community founded. I looked like a true amateur standing next to this gent! Lol 

I am thinking to cosplay differently next time…maybe as Abdullah? Or Calculus?  ðŸ˜ƒ

All in all, we had lot of fun in this event. We took a lot of pictures, maybe even more than the visitors of our booth! Seems most of KTI members are part-timing as models! 😅😂


Lol.. You can see how crazy we were in the last picture 😂😂 It was a great moment 😁

See you next year, Indonesia Comic-Con! 😎❤️

(Belated) Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Somehow I feel it has become a habit to do several Weekly Photo Challenge entries at once due to my laziness in doing it weekly. I have become this lazy creature who only writes once per month, and it does not cover full week entries :( 

Anyway, enough with the rant! Catching up Weekly Photo Challenge for the last three weeks, here is my picture which I think could meet theme of “Quest”. Taken at Roches de Naye, Switzerland, when I had my first (and maybe last) hiking experience with my friends. This picture makes me think of a destination, which could be in a form of a place where we are longing to know and eager to find. Are we all there yet? 

Review: “Sully”

Title: Sully
Year: 2016
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Todd Komarnicki (screenplay), Chesley Sullenberger (based on the book “Highest Duty”)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhardt

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger never dreamt about being a hero. Sully has always been pationate about his job as a pilot and giving only his best performance in every flight he had. 40 years of experience has made him as an expert on aviation, and yet, it still did not prepare him for incident which he later experienced.

On January 15, 2009, Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles flew US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Barely three minutes into the flight, the Airbus A320 hit a flock of Canada geese, which disabled both engines. Without engine power, Sully needed to land immediately, however no airports within a safe distance for him to do so. He decided to perform emergency landing in Hudson River even though it was the last option a pilot would choose. Miraculously, Sully was able to land the aircraft safely in the Hudson, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crews aboard. The press and public shortly addressed him as a hero, though he did not feel the same.

Shortly afterward, as regular practice, NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) started an investigation for the incident. The board claimed that result from some tests on the remaining aircraft indicated that the left engine was still running after the birds strike. Theoretically, this would have given Sully enough power to fly back to nearest airports; LaGuardia or Teterboro. In addition, NTSB also claimed that from several flight simulations conducted based on all available data of the incident concluded that the plane could have landed safely in either airport even with both engines disabled. 

Feedback from NTSB naturally disturbed Sully, and made him somehow questioned himself: did he do the right thing back then? Having repeated the incident in his head over and over again, Sully believed that he did his best considering insufficient time or altitude during that 208 seconds of incident. Determined to prove that he had done the right thing and avoid having his career ended, he questioned NTSB to clarify if everything had been accurately investigated. What happened next?

I think Clint Eastwood did a quite good job with the storyline and particularly, selection of the cast. However, indeed there was time when I felt that the pressure done by NTSB agents were a bit too much for accident investigation. The impression I got that they tried to prove Sully did a mistake or human error during the incident, while I believed they should have thought neutrally along the process. This aligned with some article saying that there were parts of “Sully” which were exaggerated and not reflect what actually or should have happened in reality (read here). 

Despite the controversy, I think everyone will agree that the main variable which makes this movie wonderful is, of course, Tom Hanks. Hanks portrayed Sully’s character beautifully (as we would expect). Not only he made me experienced the shock from 1549 incident, he also brought me through this roller coaster of mind where he was having doubt about himself but eventually believed in himself that he had done his best. Aaron Eckhardt also did a good job as Skiles, equivalently disturbed with the incident, but still showing his full support to Sully as his partner.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching Sully. I have always loved Hanks’ performance, and surely he did not let me and everyone else down with his amazing performance as Sully. 

Rate: 4.5 from 5 stars

Being Intrigued by The 2nd Moon gugak project…

..and it all started with my obsession to reality show “I Can See Your Voice”.

For you who don’t know, “I Can See Your Voice” (ICSYV) is a Korean reality show which has a professional singer guessing from a group of people, who can sing well and who can’t. If a contestant who can’t sing well is chosen in the end of the show, he or she will earn a monetary prize. While if contestant who can sing well is chosen, he or she will be able to sing a duet with the singer and release it as a digital single (you can see more details in wikipedia). I have been into this show mainly because of its concept: “Don’t judge book by its cover”, which of course is a reality in this show because really, you can not know if someone good at singing only from their appearance or even lypsinc performance. Plus, it is so funny🙂

Anyway, I was enjoying some ICSYV episodes in youtube when I suddenly saw this clip:

I immediately fell in love. 

I fell in love with the guy (you can’t blame me for this..he’s cute!), his voice and particularly the music. 

The music is beautiful, I cannot get it enough. It keeps playing in my head, and I keep repeating this clip over and over again. 

I found out later that he is Kim Jun-Su, a Pansori (wiki) and Gugak (wiki) singer who is now collaborating with Korean fusion band named The 2nd Moon. The band itself is not a newcomer in Korean music industry. In fact they have won some awards in 2006 Korean Music Award and also produced soundtracks for a very popular Korean drama, Princess Hours (wiki). They just released their gugak project album, A Butterfly’s Dream, and both songs sang by Kim Jun-Su in ICSYV; Farewell Song and Here Comes The Royal Inspector, are part of the album’s tracks.

Driven by curiosity, I got their album even though I have no clue what the album is about. The 2nd Moon admin in Facebook was kind enough to share me a summary of the album which gives me a flavor on story that is being conveyed by each song. So far Jeokseong-ga (Jeokseong Song) and Eosa Chooldoo (Here Comes the Royal Inspector) are my favorites (maybe I will share my thought on the songs in separate post…).

A Butterfly’s Dream has not only made me attracted to Korean traditional music, but also made me think a bit further: can’t we implement the same approach in Indonesia? I know I am not the best person to criticize considering I am not skilled in music or any cultural thing, but I think I will pretty much enjoy a customized traditional music which will have some kind of modern touch, but not forgetting the traditional root in it. I have no doubt it will make people start loving their culture again. Am I exaggerating? I wonder…

Overall, I am quite enjoying this project of The 2nd Moon. I really want to see their live performance because I think it will give different atmosphere when I listen to them directly and not through digital music. Let’s see if I can get an opportunity in the near future. 

P.S. You can get more information on The 2nd Moon from their Facebook page (in Korean though. Good thing FB has translation function now!) and also from this short clip: