Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Colorful Culinary Adventures in The Riverside Market, Christchurch, New Zealand

One of the murals in Riverside Market, Christchurch, New Zealand

Heading to the local market in one particular area is always be my fave and most of the time, it becomes top of my itinerary.

That is exactly what I did during my last visit to Christchurch in the late December 2021. Something popped up and we had a business trip to this wonderful city for about three days. Once we arrived here, one of the place that we visited is the Riverside Market.

Located in the heart of Christchurch Central, easily accessed by any means of transportation including the public ones, Riverside Market has become one of the icons of Christchurch. Here you can find a myriad of wonderful choices of fresh farmers' produce, seafood, cheese, and more, plus delicious menus from different corners of the globes with the high degree of authenticity. 

frozen tempeh..

We also have Indonesian food here, provided by Indo Tempeh, the vendor which supplies tempeh or the soy bean cake with varieties of menus using tempeh and more traditional Indonesian cuisines like nasi kuning, sayur lodeh, sambal goreng tempe, mendoan, tempe bacem and more.  

nasi kuning, anyone?

In terms of food, you can also get popular western food like fried chicken, fish and chips, burgers and steak, as well as more Asian cuisines, like Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Malaysian food, and Turkish, Greek, Italian, Mexican, and more. Healthy choices as well as candies and sweets are also available. 

These cheese twists are super yum!

As I came before Christmas, many festive food, chocolates and cookies are sold by the vendors here. Many of them are colorful and super cute. I also like to accent and the decorations used by each vendor here. It makes the whole ambience of the market rich and vibrant as they bring and infuse their unique, one-of-a-kind touch of home. As for the aroma, it is indeed tantalizing!

Cute gingerbread person

Not to mention various drinks like coffee, bubble tea, ice cream, wine, beer, spirits and more. The bakeries that we have here also provide delicious bread, pastries, pies, biscuits, cookies and anything you can think of. So tempting indeed.

Around the area, particularly the laneway, we also have various shops and I have to admit the summer sales as well as the cute, collectable items from many gifts shops dotting the area, really make me strain my shopping appetite. And it was not that easy LOL. 

Some of the colorful items I love to have 

You will find colorful, brilliant, eye-trickery murals outside of the building as well. Obviously many will love taking pictures here as it's so Instagramable. Those murals are the depiction of the original buildings in the area before the great earthquake hit Christchurch in 2011. The Riverside Market is more than just the market as it stands tall marking the collective efforts of the city as well as the nation to restart building Christchurch after that life-changing disaster.

I managed to get a flat white, cheese bread and croissant, nasi kuning, rendang frozen tempeh, candy, organic butter and souvenirs from this market. Well, it's quite a lot for a short trip to the market. Well, for sure, if you are coming to Christchurch, you cannot miss this place.



Hope everyone has a wonderful start of the new year!

We are witnessing the changes of the new dawn in 2022 from Wellington, New Zealand. 

Happy happy new year, everyone

It was a bit quiet here in Wellington City, as the new variant of Omicron has once again put the restrictions back. So no big gathering, no fireworks, nothing in the city for welcoming 2022. We only saw Ibiza Party Bus was passing our hotel before midnight. Well, that didn't dampen our spirit to welcome the new year in this new city we reside.

Party on the bus...

Yet we had a blast as we moved to the new house at the last day of 2021. We brought all our luggages from Quest on the Terrace, which has been a temporary apartment for us in the course of one month, to our homey little home in Cathie Place, Karori. The house has been equipped with white wares (stoves, oven, hood and dishwasher) and we have brought the lazy boys (two, big reclining seats), 3-seat sofa, 3 sets of beds and some bits and pieces we acquire along the way.

Welcome to Karori, Wellington, New Zealand

We were super excited indeed, noting that the house has been prepared with items we will need for at least the next couple of weeks after the new year break passes. Many things have been suspended for this summer (yup, it's summer down here in NZ) break, including shipments of many of our stuff bought in Wellington as well as in Jakarta. But at least we can cozily live in a house with no fridge and TV for 2 weeks, right. 

Welcome to Karori, Wellington, New Zealand
The Frakarsas at Karori House

So, on the last day of the year, we dragged all our belongings brought from Jakarta to Karori, Wellington. This little house on top of the hill will be our home for the next 1-2 years. Well, we are assigned here for 4 years but let's see how things are unfolding in the future. 


On the New Year's eve, we went to our friend's house for BBQ and countdown session with the kids. It was fun and lots of food for sure, as we chatted till midnight and started the count down with non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice. We cheered for better, kinder, safer, and happier 2022.

Just like what I have shared in my IG account, the year 2021 has certainly taught us a lot.

Patience, perseverance, discipline and compassion, are among the principled values we hold dear as we continued our fight against the pandemics. Tears, disappointment, anger, pain and misery might choose to accompany us at certain point of time. Loosing seems to part of the game too.

But we all choose not to give up. We choose to get up and continue the fight. We never give up and keep our hopes high in the air. We keep the faith and move forward.

Allah SWT sungguh maha baik kepadaku dan keluargaku. Sejatinya kepada kita semua.

Tak terhitung begitu banyak nikmat, perlindungan dan cinta-Nya yang tercurah kepada #thefrakarsas dan keluarga besarku di manapun berada. Di antara serangan COVID - 19 yang alhamdulillah kami alami 2 kali, jatuh bangun keluarga di tengah pandemi, dan roller coaster kehidupan, Sang Maha Pemilik Kehidupan memberikan akhir tahun yang manis dan penuh kejutan.

Along the way, ada banyak cinta, rezeki, teman baru, kehangatan, tawa lepas, tim kerja yang hebat, pekerjaan yang selesai, rewards dan apresiasi, pemandangan indah, tempat baru yang dijelajahi, momen spesial serta global family and networks that I really love and cherish! Oh I am so swelled with happiness. Merci ya Rabb..

May the world be a safer, better, happier and more blessed place for all of us.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim .. selamat datang 2022 

Then on the first days of 2022, we have been enjoying the house and heading to the beach.

Yes, Scorching beach.. here we come!

Happy New Year from Wellington

Since summer is really on, before long the beach is packed with Wellingtonians who craved for some sunshine and tanning session. I will share more details on our lovely time at Scorching Bay Beach on the next post.

Again, Happy 2022 and may the new year bring all happiness, joy, excitement, success and health to all of us

Wellington Cable Car, Enjoying Wellington in Bright, Sunny Day

This week marks our third week in Wellington and almost a month in New Zealand.

We are still living in our temporary apartment - hotel in the city and one attraction near here that I have tried is the Wellington Cable Car. 

It was said that your visit to (or stay in) Wellington will not be complete without trying this legendary red cable car. Running from the city center Lambton Quay to Kelburn, which happens to be the area where the Embassy is located, the cable car is indeed one of tourists' favorite landmarks as well as handy mode of transport to those living or working around the area. 

The ticket costs NZD 9 for return and NZD 5 for one-way. You can have family package as well for NZD 16 return for 1 adult and up to 3 kids or NZD 22 return for 2 adults and up to 4 kids. As for students, the ticket is NZD 6 for return and NZD 3.5 for one way. Child  age 5-15 will be NZD 4.5 and NZD 2.5. Very affordable indeed. As for the time table, there are many adjustments made due to the holidays. So better check the website.

The cable car has only 5 stops, starting from Lambton Quay and ends at Kelburn. On top of the cable car stop, you can definitely enjoy the view of the city. Once we have arrived at the top of the cable car, we can also visit the museum, souvenir shop and the cafe. You can also catch the shuttle to Zealandia or head to Botanic Garden and Space Place. The view from the top is surely amazing!

That’s a little story about our first days in Wellington. More to come for sure and stay healthy, everyone!

Diving trip to Green Stone and Kelagian Island Lampung

Diving trip to Green Stone and Kelagian Island Lampung
Diving trip to Green Stone and Kelagian Island Lampung

Is that a sea snake?

It was my second dive that day and together with my group as well as my diving buddy, we went down to Kelagian island, after enjoying our first dive in Green Stone area, near Tanjung Putus Lampung. We just had our photo session underwater when I saw that slithering move of sea snake. And boy, it was a big one! My buddy and I were looking at each other and we took the videos as well as the photos from safe distance. We were a bit afraid but we knew what we have to do when we saw sea snake and again, try to keep the safe distance.

the sea snake we encountered

And my friend, that's the last diving trip I had in Lampung before leaving to New Zealand.


It was a wonderful Saturday.

Diving trip to Green Stone and Kelagian Island Lampung

The sun was shining, although not too scorchingly hot. The wind was not that strong and we enjoyed the boat ride we took from Ketapang port heading to Green Stone. Ketapang port was packed with visitors. Looks like things are improving and tourism is starting to pick up the pace again. I was glad to see that people are wearing the masks all the time and safe distance is indeed maintain.

So we started the journey at 9 AM and we had our first dive at 11 A. It took around 1.5 hour ride to reach the first spot and we settled the equipments for a while. 

Diving trip to Green Stone and Kelagian Island Lampung

My first dive took around 74 minutes and what a dive! I really had so much time and feels like the ocean is smiling to me! We have great visibility, wonderful objects to enjoy, record and photo. 

great visibility indeed

We stopped by at Green Bay Resort, Tanjung Putus area for lunch. It was as beautiful as ever. We had Padangnese food but there, the owner, Ko Aling, who happens to be my diving buddy as well, welcomed us and offered us some seafood platters. Super yum indeed!

bon appetit

lunch break at Tanjung Putus Island

Then we headed to the second spot, Kelagian island, for the second dive. That's where we saw the snake.

On our way back home, we  finally enjoyed the famous sunset in Lampung Bay. It has been a wonderful day at Lampung and amazing diving trip as always. I can't wait to go back here again, although perhaps I will have to wait for quite some times. 

Thank you so much, Lampung

Stay fabulous, Lampung, and see you again soon.

WW: The Beauty of Indonesia

Sunset captured from Bukit Randu Hotel, Lampung
sunset at Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

I know that August is almost coming to an end and I still want to celebrate this glorious month where we all celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day.

It has been my intention since I was young to go around Indonesia and witness its magnificent beauty from different provinces. 

Flying Garuda Indonesia to Ambon, Maluku
on my way to Ambon, Maluku

So many to enjoy indeed, starting from its amazing landscape and natural wonders, incredible food and beverages deriving from its abundant and indigenous sources, wonderful handy crafts and art works, heart-warming and friendly people, intricate designs and vividly colorful fabrics, and astonishing cultures. And that's not all as you will have lovely surprises as you travel around the country.

Tenun Buna NTT
Tenun Buna, hand made with love in East Nusa Tenggara

I know that the pandemic has restricted us from traveling around and exploring its divine beauty, but I take the liberty to take 'virtual tour' through my blog, external hard drives, social media platforms and more. 

One fine evening at Puncak Mas, Lampung

It has been quite entertaining and is considered satisfactory until we can actually go out again and travel without fear. How I long for that time.

Morning view of mountains across Jogjakarta and Central Java I saw on my first flight from Jogjakarta - Jakarta

Here are some photos I took along the way and some of them might have been published here, while others are not. 

The beauty of wayang and wooden craft, Solo, Central Java

I just realized that I was lucky enough to explore some parts of the country and I really hope I can travel more at later stage. Indonesia is huge and beautiful and for that, it will take sometimes to actually explore most part of it. 

wonderful sunset at Ambon Bay, Ambon, Maluku

My hubby and I, together with the kids, simply can't wait to plan and do the road trip again. Well, We did have the plan before but it all shattered thanks to COVID-19.

So now, let's enjoy the beauty of Indonesia.

Sunrise at Punthuk Setumbu, Central Java, with Borobodur Temple afar

Climbing up Mount Krakatau, holding the national flag

the famous Krakatau or Krakatoa Mountain

one fine day at Bunaken Islan, North Sulawesi

La Rascasse or the Lion Fish at Bunaken, North Sulawesi

On my way to Pahawang Island, Lampung

greeneries along the road in Bergen, South Lampung

Morning stroll at Purwakarta, West Java

Please fee free to check out the video I have shared in my YouTube channel about Indonesia as well. 

I prepared this one for the celebration of Indonesia's 76th Independence Day. Please take a look.

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and have fun with the link party

Lovely Stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba

Lovely Stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba

Hi everyone

Welcoming August, my birth month, I am still sharing the joy of my trip to Havana, Cuba. As I have warned you before, I still have so much to share indeed.

After writing about Hotel Nacional de Cuba , Floridita Cafe, Obispo Area, Santa Maria del Mare beach and Museo de la Revolucion as well as Mesquita Abdallah in Havana, Cuba, I now have NH Capri Hotel to share with you.

For our 4-day-3 night trip to Havana, Cuba from New York City, we decided to stay at NH Capri Hotel. The hotel is strategically located  I love this place because it is not far from many interesting landmarks in the area, including the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the famous promenade Maleçon where we can enjoy the lovely view of Havana Bay.

Frankly, before flying to Cuba we read a lot of references and tips & tricks from other fellow travelers. Many have suggested some things, including the importance to choose the right hotel, the special international currency for tourists, as well as the fact that we might need to bring some basic supplies, like toilet papers, because simple things like that can be very rare and expensive. It all is caused by the prolonged embargo by one of their immediate neighboring countries. I did read it with mixed feelings, between not (or perhaps cannot) believe it and do not want to take any risks. So, we did bring enough supplies for our stay.

Welcome to NH Capri Havana

Well, as we arrived in Jose Marti International airport and went to the hotel directly, we were happy that we made the right choice. We really wanted to stay in Hotel Nacional de Cuba nut as it's the biggest hotel in the country and very famous as well as historical, the room rate is also fantastic. We prefer to use the money for other experience, like our Salsa class and walking tour with the local guide.

So, when we arrived, we waited at the lobby and the check in was very smooth. NH Capri is part of NH Hotel chain adn as I have used their services many times while in Europe, I know they have a good standard and affordable prices as well. 

the sleek, elegant lobby

They had everything ready and we just have to wait for a while. The hotel is nice although it is not that big or 'modern'. I am not saying it's a classic hotel but more like an art-deco one. 

In the lobby, they also have the cigar corner, where you can get many brands of famous cigars here. Perfect for souvenir! They have this small corner selling all those famous cigars, which we have put on our long list from our NYC bosses and colleagues LOL. So it immediately attracted our attention and we certainly bought some. Speaking about impulsive buying.

When we get to the room, we now that hotel's facilities are nice. 

The room is lovely and clean, not too spacious but it's enough for 2 people staying comfortably. I have no issues with the bed, linens and the pillows, which are crucial indeed.

The amenities are complete, like NH Hotel standard. It has free shampoo, conditioner and the bath gel. You also get free tooth brush, lotion, shower cap and tissues. We also have bathrobe and slippers. So, the amenities is complete.
The bed is comfy. The pillows are nice as well. 

The room is beautifully decorated in mint color. It is very cool and calming. 
And we had free wine, as a welcome gift for us! Not to mention free coffee, tea, and water bottles. 

The staff is very friendly and they are very helpful indeed. It has pool, rooftop and the breakfast is nice. I do enjoy the warm food they have for breakfast as well. 

the pool is packed!

in front of the hotel, there will always be classic, beautiful taxi is waiting

We spent around USD 360 for 3 nights of deluxe room with breakfast for 2 people. Not bad at all! It is only 5 minutes walk to the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba and 10 minutes to Maleçon, where you can take pictures with the big Cuba sign on the hill.

I flew to Havana from New York City, using direct flight from Jet Blue. The flight was smooth and at that time, really packed with tourists like us. 

Here's my little video about our trip to Havana, Cuba, day 1!

Obviously, since our trip was taken in 2018, we stayed here before the pandemic hit the country and the world. So, I guess a lot of arrangement are changing nowadays. But that's my little review of our lovely stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba. 

Will you stay here as well if visiting Havana, Cuba? Tell me what you think about the hotel and what will you do if you visited Havana, Cuba!

Cheers and stay save, happy and healthy, everyone!