Staycation

This weekend I decide to stay at a local hotel that just opened its premise last year. Santika Mega City Bekasi is conveniently located at the toll exit of Bekasi City. Furthermore, the hotel sits on top of a big mall. However, despite its strategic location, I was surprised that the hotel itself is tucked away from the main street and that the windows offer no view except the adjacent wing and a slight peek into the mall’s cinema. Pretty disappointing, but I guess this hotel is not built to satisfy the holidaymakers. I’m pretty sure weekdays see more customers coming in to do business at this suburban city of Jakarta, Indonesia.

However we do need to give credit when it’s due. The ambience is pretty calming, the service is good and the food is delicious (well, coming from a culinary amateur who knows no other comments except ‘delicious’ and ‘excellent’). 🙂

The lobby is on the 5th floor
The lobby is on the 5th floor
Do you need an explanation? :)
Do you need an explanation? 🙂
Another view
Another view
Spa herb collection. Tempting. Very tempting.
Spa herb collection. Tempting. Very tempting.

I should opt for Aston for the next staycation.

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For more takes on this week’s photo challenge, click here.

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Happy New Year 2017

Some say that 2016 was the worst year ever. Yet during the first hour after the clock stroke at midnight, we saw terror unfolding in Istanbul leaving scores of people dead and many more injured. Is this a sign that the worst year record is ready to be broken?

One thing I know for sure: we cannot change the world singlehandedly. We can, however, start the change with ourselves and inspire others for the sake of the world.

Therefore, I pray that the world will be a better place, Southeast Asia be more prosperous, your family be happy, and you be content. Happy New Year!

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Image credit to the owner.

Pathway to the Cross

afam-pax

A Famosa. Some say that it is the oldest surviving European architecture (or what’s left of it) in Southeast Asia. I almost missed this point when trying to find the way to St. Paul’s church (and later on to Dataran Pahlawan Mall). Soon after I made my entrance through the walls, behold: a cross is spotted in the middle of the garden.

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More takes on this week’s photo challenge can be found here.

#SEAMusic Solitary Space

Source: kontakbandartis.com
Source: kontakbandartis.com

Has your body ever longed for a gentle touch on your skin, but your heart told you to brush it off before it inched any closer?

Have your lips ever longed for a kiss, but your sense forced you to completely lock them up?

Have your eyes ever longed for a sight of an old lover to return, but the memories of sorrow crept back in before you even moved to embrace?

Tulus, a talented Indonesian singer & songwriter, portrayed that emotion perfectly in one of his latest songs titled “Ruang Sendiri” (Solitary Space). A space and time to retreat, despite all the negativity that others label it, is more often needed than not to calm your sense, ease up your mind, and make up a healthy decision.

Here’s a clip of which I am in awe to watch the epic performance of Melati Suryodarmo as the model representing the emotion:

This post marks the first review of countless of inspiring Southeast Asian artists that I will write in this blog using hashtag #SEAMusic.

More posts on today’s Daily Prompt can be found here.

Border Path

lakh

One could mistakenly think that this is a simple checkpoint in the middle of the vast flat terrain of Indochina. But no, this is more than a checkpoint; this is a border crossing between Cambodia and Laos.

The Cambodian barrier serves as a starting point of a 100-meter stretch of a ‘no man’s land’ before you reach the territory of Lao PDR. It was, and probably still is, one of the worst border crossings in the region with tourists simply insert a 5 dollar-bill into their passports during entry on top of the hefty visa fees. Even a fellow ASEAN citizen like myself was not spared from the corrupt norm despite the visa waiver scheme.

With the new border crossings operating on both sides, we could wish for an improvement of the service and the restoration of integrity for the officials. It’s a long and arduous task, but someone has to start somewhere. I put my trust on the leaders of these 2 beautiful Southeast Asian nations.

And now if I could just find that cheap return ticket…

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For more takes on this week’s photo challenge, visit here.

Merry Christmas, Aseana!

Greetings from Jakarta, Indonesia. As we are approaching the end of 2016 and starting the festivities with Christmas, allow me to wish all Christians in Southeast Asia a happy and joyous Christmas. Despite the recent upheaval with other people due to misunderstandings in politics, Christians have so far been able to freely worship in the region. I pray that we can continue to freely (and publicly) worship without hindrance.

As for those who are not celebrating Christmas, I wish you a happy Christmas Discount Festival. Hahahaha.