Friday, April 30, 2010

Eating the King of Fruits for Dummies

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

The world is categorized into two people: those who love durians and hate them. I fall into the latter category.

My late grandfather always say that when you eat a durian, it's like farting while eating sugar. It's a very sweet and meaty fruit, but the odor makes you want to run away to the nearest supermarket and buy all the air-freshener available. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating, but some countries do ban durian in hotels, elevators, and public transports.

Durian is a native fruit of the island of Borneo, and since I was staying at a friend's house during my trip to Palangkaraya, we were offered a durian party. We had to have the party (not too exciting, I tell you) on the rooftop, because if we eat it inside the house, well, go figure. Since it will be very rude to my hosts if I decline to eat the durian, thus I brave myself into the depths of fart-sugar heaven and/or hell.

At that moment, I learned the trick to eating durian for beginners is to drink water from the shell of the durian afterwards. This is a Dayak traditional knowledge that has been passed on from ages, and it actually does help to neutralize the smell and acid from the durian.

Well, nobody looks good while eating a durian. But if the Durian Producers Association* would hire Julia Roberts as their spokesperson and she still looks as beautiful as she is, I guess that would nullify my hypotheses.

My review about durian is definitely biased, but you should try eating one nevertheless. And if you do, please don't drink alcohol after consuming durian. It might kill you.

*Disclaimer: I don't know if such association exists. I made this up.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Chapter in Singapore

 *Picture copyright by FF, taken on February 2010

I've been having this picture as my wallpaper for a couple of weeks now. If you've read about "the secret", the key is to envision yourself to where you want to be in the future. I think. I'm not exactly sure because I haven't read it, I just know it from my friend.


Life gives you an answer in three ways: yes, and it gives you what you want; no, and it gives you something better; and wait, and it gives you the best.

So after waiting for quite a while, the results of my admissions to this school was revealed: I'm in. Alhamdulillah. I'm really eager for the next chapter in my life.

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip - Rungan Sari Resort

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Rungan Sari Resort was the last site that we visited on our Tjilik Riwut Road Trip. It's basically a compound that consists of housing for expatriates, hotel, restaurant, and even an international school. We went around the area and saw the eco-village (I think you can rent a place here, not sure though), ate some good western food (which is hard to find in Palangkaraya), and swam at the swimming pool for IDR 40,000 per person. After the long trip, swimming was indeed a good idea to relax and unwind.

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip - Tangkiling Pier Visitors

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Two clueless visitors (read: my and my friend) stepping on the docks of Tangkiling Pier.

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip - Tangkiling Pier

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

 A bit further from Bukit Tangkiling, they have a small pier by the river. Here you can see some of the children taking a bath on the river.

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip - Bukit Tangkiling

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Bukit Tangkiling is a small hill that oversees a bit of the area, where you could see the forests (or the remains of the forest) from above. The area is popular for the locals for picnic or other social gatherings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip - Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is located approximately 30 km from the city of Palangkaraya. Since we came there on an ad-hoc basis, we were unable to get inside the quarantined area, where you can actually see and (perhaps) play with the Orangutans. You need to get a permission and inform the person in charge there that you want to come (and you must be healthy) if you want to get inside. 

Thus, we could only watch the Orangutans from the Information Center where they display the Orangutans through a tinted window. The Orangutans know that there are people watching them, such as these guys trying to peek inside.

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

If you want to know more about Nyaru Menteng, click here.

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Tjilik Riwut Road Trip

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Palangkaraya, being the capital city of the Central Kalimantan province in Indonesia, is a very quiet city (compared to Jakarta, of course), and is not among the top destinations to visit if you go to Kalimantan. However, since I've never been to Kalimantan, and my friend wanted to go there for a field research in one of the villages in Katingan, I immediately tagged along.

We rented a motorcycle for IDR 50,000 (approx USD 5) per day from a taxi driver that we've met, and that's basically the whole transportation that we need for just the two of us. It was quite a sight for the locals because since I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle, my bule friend was the driver and I was the passenger.


The road in Palangkaraya is pretty simple and straightforward, but if you're not good at reading maps, you can get lost. Thankfully, although I'm not blessed with the skill to ride a motorbike, I can read maps. And I make a pretty damn good navigator. We bought the Palangkaraya Map in a local bookstore, which was pretty hard to find, since they only have one shopping mall, named Palma (short for Palangkaraya Mall).

So we finally decided to go for a road trip along Tjilik Riwut road, which is left from the Bundaran Besar and Palma (if you look at the map from above). Among the sights where we wanted to see is the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Bukit Tangkiling, and the Rungan Sari Resort.

FYI, if you go on a motorcycle in Palangkaraya, it can get very hot so you can get easily tanned, and prepare yourself with a raincoat in case when it rains.

*Picture copyright by FF, taken on November 2009

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Bridge over the River Kahayan

*Picture copyright by FF, taken in Palangkaraya, November 2009.

The only time I've been to Kalimantan was when I had to take a transit to Manado, and I never went around anywhere. So on November 2009, me and my friend took a trip to Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. One of the first sights in our quick tour around the city was the Kahayan Bridge over the Kahayan River.

Underneath the Kahayan Bridge there are some small warung (food stalls) which sells nasi goreng (fried rice), rawon (Javanese beef stew), soto (some kind of soup), and some es campur for dessert. They also have Ketupat Kandangan, which is a Kalimantan specialty, but the opening hours are a bit unpredictable when we came there.