Eine Unvergessliche Reise (Teil Eins)

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One time on Sunday afternoon early March, we had a chat on what we wanted to do.

It was around 2 o’clock and I did say from the beginning:”Anything about best food or sort, I trust you.”.

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I didn’t do any research on things to do, not even must-visit spots or something like that (coffee shops excluded of course). I only had one clear purpose of the trip: nothing less than to enjoy every single moment.

I flew on May 5th. A flight from Cape Town with two hours transit in Dubai was smooth yet exhausting. I didn’t make time to sleep on the plane yet I couldn’t blame myself cause those questions why Hong Kong anxiously came out twice. I had a very good seat and entertainment on board with choices of good movies. I did watch some movies yet I knew, I lied to myself if I wasn’t bored. It was only a hot coffee I requested just before landing time which made me felt better.

I should have felt excited because a pleasant week from South Africa would continue in Asia. But there was a reason why Hong Kong was a bit peculiar: I never thought I would fly all the way for such a busy crowded city for a vacation. I did think Hong Kong was never on my top list.

I never landed but I could feel the heat. I was still on my window seat witnessing a typical iconic Hong Kong skyscraper tucked with thick clouds. The sun was bright as I was gathering my excitement and pushing one by one questions of why Hong Kong in 2018.

I was inside an airport train to immigration when I finally felt the Asia vibe again. “Damn, I’m close enough to home. Should I pay a visit on my three last days here?”, I never even started my trip but thought of going home was echoed inside my mind. I knew I was exhausted but somehow, I loved the sensation being on a very tight train among strangers.

I remember, I hugged Andreas twice to ensure he was real. Lé pardon if the sentence before this was too much. I did hug him twice to reassure it wasn’t a dream. When he stood there with my name handwritten on a piece of paper, my mind excitingly remembered to this magical note, “We both do not know where that will be, but we know it will happen.” As much as I remind myself to strongly believe that every dream will find its way to be real, someday, with some shiny glittering magic in between, a beautiful moment at that airport had proved it right. My peculiar feeling of why Hong Kong was evaporated in the air and suddenly showering different kind of excitements.

We took a fast train to the central. The day was sunny as I could see from the window. Andreas sat where my will-always-be-my-spot a.k.a window seat while I asked him twice, “Isn’t this strange? Don’t you think so?.” He answered it was. I felt it was strange in a very good way that hours we spent on Skype for the past two and half years brought us to real a life again. As we were on the train passing some typical Hong Kong residences, my heart was ready for some new surprises. I sat with memories when we had a chat twice in Tokyo which weren’t long. In a morning I repacked my things from Kyoto and a to-midnight short conversation at the lobby that has a wide clear glass somewhere in Akihabara.

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Here how our travel time through four memorable days was documented.

On a sunny afternoon, I finally felt glücklich to be in Hong Kong and let Andreas showed the best Hong Kong has to offer.

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Off from the airport, we went straight to my hostel (yes with S, you didn’t read wrong). I didn’t rent a portable pocket Wi-Fi since I found it was expensive, so on the first day Andreas was my live-Google-Map. Well, I had some screenshots on my iPhone to where I should have headed but I trusted him to lead the way. I remember we were off from the train and stopped at one train station heading to where we stood for a bus. When we realized the bus was heading to the opposite destination, we changed to the right one by burning calories under the sun until we finally arrived at Shek Pai Wan Road, Aberdeen.

I was managing myself to sort everything out very quickly while Andreas was waiting. I even forgot to enjoy my bath under the shower (best part: there are two with clear glass to enjoy the view outside, oh ofc not from floor to ceiling). I felt better and fresher after changing that faded green Zara tee with more comfortable one in black.

When I stepped out of the hostel, I looked up. It was after 5pm and the sky turned to grey.

I was a little worried if it started raining. In front of where we stood for a bus, Andreas was checking the route on the information board. I thought that time, he wanted to reassure we won’t just get in to a wrong bus again. I was admiring the environment around us, the Cantonese in the air, and typical Hong Kong tight crowded flats with ACs placed outside the building. The first thing Andreas did and I loved it so much: he brought me to the upper deck of the bus that has a wide clear glass (and it was empty!) where we could actually see different scenes on the road.

The time we sat I believed that evening would be a great start of wonderful travel experience.


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Off from the bus, he brought me to another simply exciting experience: we took a Hong Kong open tram and we again sat on the upper deck. “Azis, come with me, I’ll show the best spot to be on this tram. You’ll love it.”

And for God-sake, it was beautiful. I sat with California Dream in the air. By writing this, I still remember the sensation sitting behind him gazing out to the people on busy roads, different shops with neon signage lights, the breeze, the rush. My travel bugs were flying high and danced gleefully until I didn’t think it was necessary to capture the moment with my camera but my own brain. And keeping it somewhere safe.

Andreas brought me to a place where we had dinner. It was such a food court kind of that was crowded and sonorous but somehow, it was epic. The sensation was distinct where I could feel the strong Hong Kong vibe surrounded. I had delicious Vietnamese Pho while Andreas had curry noodle. That evening was a bit cloudy but warm. We took a walk for a ferry ride to peninsula afterwards.

It was a great experience on the ferry but more than that, I did enjoy all the simple things that evening. It was a kind of travel style I love the most: no plans, just surprises. Going to places with no expectations but ended with some memorable memories. I remember crystal clear, a young lady was singing a Cantonese song with guitar behind us, I joked I could take her mic and sang better. I crossed my legs on the hard cement floor when we had a slow time for friendship talk. He got a cold canned beer which I opened and had a ship. My first beer in my life at the Hong Kong harbor I said, proudly.

It tasted so weird but the view in front of my eyes was picturesque. I captured and remembered it.


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I sat on the second floor at Kowloon mosque. It was around 4pm-ish. I never sent a text asking if Andreas had time to accompany me again on the second day until I later got one. “I just finished my research at uni. Any idea of what we should do?.” I had waited for a while for something stated in my reply; “Something to eat.” He later answered with an idea of where to go.

I remember the mosque was near Tim Sha Tsui station. Andreas was standing near exit C and I came to him with an empty tummy. I had no idea what he had in mind but I trusted every decision he made. We later found ourselves at Tim Ho Wan Olympian City 2 in West Kowloon. As we entered, I only had one request to him: a seat by the window for good lighting, what else?

The best part of our lunch was the restaurant wasn’t crowded then so it gave us a good time to talk in between pleasantly. The meal was great, not to mention he was the only one who had schweinefleisch in warm buns. He joked I should have tried a little taste of heaven. We spent an hour plus then we were heading to Ladies Market, a bet of eating durian (which he didn’t try! he should have tried when in Asia! even though I can’t eat raw durian too), passing some interesting stalls with Cantonese everywhere.

Everything was really interesting.


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He used to spend eight months in Hong Kong years ago as an exchange student so trusting him to show all best sites was the best decision (if I shouldn’t mention it was such an excuse for being lazy). When the day got dark we sat at one of the famous traditional Hong Kong restaurants in Jordan called Australia Diary Company.

He told me to taste the popular meal: scrambled egg served on toast. I must say the scrambled egg tasted so good but sadly I couldn’t finish eating it. I was full from Tim Ho Wan but the best part was the milk tea. Oh God, it was heaven. The best I ever tasted.

As a milk tea lover, he was blithe having a full glass with generous ice. I remember he was laughing when looking on how I looked after he told me not to expect a polite service and eating slowly because the waiter could forcibly get you to stand out from your chair. It was a typical Hong Kong restaurant service when they could roughly drop a food you order on the table. But that wasn’t a big deal for me because the way I enjoyed the most that evening apart of the milk tea was the vibe, the strangers’s chats, and some unique details my mind had captured: pen scribble on a waiter’s pocket that clearly showed on his white shirt, six vertical stacks of white coffee cups behind where Andreas sat, the grumpy face of the man behind the bar brewing Vietnamese coffee, and of course, the yellow menu card.

We ended the day by sitting near TST promenade for a random friendship talk with a view of Hong Kong skylines. Andreas told me we could get in The Peak Tram if the weather was friendly. Thought I won’t mind to experience the famous view of Hong Kong with her skyscrapers, there was no necessary apologetic from the nature.

Staring to the clouds up there, deep down in my heart, I sent my gratitude to the universe for giving me a privilege such travel.


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~ to be continued to part ii ~

When Friendship Turns To Blue

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There is one particular thing I learned when I have entered thirty.

If my opinion about this has become sharper than when I was on my twenties, it is just because life is full of lessons.


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I remember a talk with one of my good friends when I couldn’t answer him back a question. This happened when we were at university. We had a casual talk and a question about the way I thought about friendship appeared on the air. He asked, “So you are such a picky, you won’t call these friends as your friends? They must be good for you until you call them “friend”, huh?”

What he meant “these friends” were our friends in class.

In my mind was loudly echoed with an answer, “Of course they must be good that’s why there is the same word attached to it.”. But I couldn’t say anything. I thought twice on what to answer. Was I picky? Was I? I stayed silent. I thought my statement was wrong. Should have I opened a wide door for some people easily to be a friend with and told them “You all are my friends”?

Back then I was quiet. I wasn’t brave enough to say what I had in mind but time has taught me as growing older.

I have some personal thoughts about friendship which it’s been stored in my life dictionary for the last few years. Friendship has stages: a friend, a good friend and a best friend. The last one is formed by three essential things: heart, time and history. The heart gives you signs for good or bad, good and bad. Time is a key to why “just” a friend could be a good friend, and a good one could turn in to a best friend. History formed by times. History is what I value. And these three are flexible.

Looking at my different friendships from the past and present, there are tons of things I’ve learned including how important maintaining it because sometimes it goes low, sometimes is high. Friendship also has its own age, by remembering this we all know time is the essence. Never buy friendship, cause it has to be genuine and pure from both sides.

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Have you ever sat alone staring at the clear blue sky and thought of an old friend just popped up in mind? With some questions like how is he doing right now? Where is she living for all these years?

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Time is changing in flash. There was a time in silence I thought about how blue my friendship with a friend who used to spend hours and hours laughing on the phone when both had problems, something to say, or even for stupid jokes. We live a thousand miles apart yet distance and time zone do not matter. She was one of my best friends and still be, but our friendship has changed drastically. I used to think the way she disappeared was such vexatious reality which made it faded. I was like “I didn’t get it” at the beginning. Questions in mind for some mistakes I did, might be, disappearing in the dark.

I wondered if there were one or two things I did wrong. I wondered if it was just something she wanted by creating distance between us. I wondered and kept wondering until I stopped worrying about it. Our friendship was sweet but it didn’t have a long age as I thought it would be. Our friendship turned to blue and unfortunately, the blue was dark enough. Was I sad? Remembering the first time we met, together we travelled in our twenties, laughter on the mountain and sunshine we shared with fog on the lake, all those moments. I might be wrong expressing my feeling into words but I learned, no matter how much joys and tears we had in the past, nothing lasts forever.

I sometimes think the way it turned blue and later faded with no single trace is such a new lesson I must take. But I won’t let all the worries haunted me if, on the other side of our friendship, she didn’t feel the same. Just like a phone call, it can only last as long as the person on the other end of the line is willing to talk. As I will never buy a new friendship, I won’t begging for such a blue to be bright.

The feeling of loss is still there. One time in a darkened room, a restless thought was jumped in my mind.

 


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How about a dear friend I love right now, when will our healthy and bloomy friendship end? Three years? Five?

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I used to write It Feels Like An Autumn when I felt restless if my friendship with one of the very best friends would change bit by bit. He is one of the most important persons in my life. We have gone through monumental moments in life together. He was there when I was nothing. When I crawled to reach what I’m having this day. My insecurity was increased just because he started his new life chapter.

Let me take you to my mind.

As I am right now who do not think of marriage in the next few years, the feeling of loss is something I must take. As someone whose kindness is real to me decided to take a new life chapter as a family man, I felt insecure if we won’t have much time to talk like before. Or to even have a five minutes phone call. I was worried if someday the way we both walk in a very far distance without some hellos or goodnights. If you are having the same feeling with me, I need to tell you one thing; if the friendship lasts for more than ten years, there is no need to worry too much for such things. I later realized that my friendship with him is still strong no matter how our life has changed. And that’s all because those three essential things: heart, time and history are all still solid. Our hearts are strongly connected. Time makes us closer while we cherish our friendship by creating more memories. People say by growing older your circle will be smaller, and that’s a hundred and ten percent true.

We may not have a weekly phone call or even texting but when both minds are connected through the spirit, the friendship is real. I used to think about him if he was doing good one time in the afternoon. Five minutes later I saw his text of how are you appeared on my iPhone. That was enough to prove how strong the friendship we have until we ended by spending 45 minutes over the phone. Talking about life with laughter in between.

This heart-bounding moment also happened in another scene.

I’m currently having a three good year of friendship with a dear friend whose background and culture are totally different. If you read this blog, you might know how many times I’ve mentioned his name. As a genuine kind-hearted human being who I respect from the day we became friends, he taught me that our friendship must be mutual, it has to be two ways of love, respect, understanding and also, communication.

There were few monumental moments I could count as true-friendship bond. And all of them meant a lot to me. He was there when I failed on something precious which I had waited for so long. The worse part it had happened twice. The first one was deep while the second torn me to pieces. I had fallen for this particular “thing”. He might not realize how much his text at 2am when all my fingers were frozen while writing a text of failure meant to me. He might not realize his voice recording to cheering me up after the second fail was something I keep till date. Even though he always there when I need to talk, I feel something different recently.

The way I look at myself as someone who always asks his time to listen to my problem but never heard any of his, it takes me back to the meaning of mutual friendship. Do we really have this friendship? Or am I become demanding? As I write this sentence I will be honest and raw on this. I just feel that mutual friendship doesn’t really work both ways. If this is a weight scale, the left side is heavier than the right. I might be fallacious.

But it’s bothering me sometimes if it’s not most of the times.

I used to take steps back when I was just about to call him for something just because he was the correct person to talk to. I’m sure if I did, he won’t mind picking my call. As we both are getting busier this day, I could include this as a perfect reason to leave the phone call hanging for months. I am the kind of person who always asks for permission by text if I need to speak to my best friends, except there is something bad happens. Apart from that, it’s rude to make a call directly, this just me. It applies to him as well, particularly he is European. There is such a culture of politeness which is different from how Asian would take. As much as I seriously take this reason of politeness, the phone call never happened. I was wondering perhaps a part of me was trying to test the mutual friendship from his side by not making a call or sending a text.

From the day I had a will to ask a question till a month, he later sent me a text written in German. And this is the funny thing. I thought about him an hour before I saw his text on my iPhone wanted to find out if he was doing great. But my fingers stopped typing so I went back to a thought of “is this mutual?”. Funny enough, I still keep the question behind with a vocabulary of touchy on it.

Till date, I’m still learning the state of this friendship. Perhaps, I should appreciate more to kind gesture as simple as a text of how are you after a while and count it as proof.

I do intensely cherish this precious bond though there are still many insecure feelings like, I never know how long this friendship would last.

Einem Deutschkurs Und Neue Freunde

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Soll ich im Deutsch schreiben? 

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I’ve been neglecting this blog for almost two months (that’s pretty bad) but right now I’d like to share some new life updates!

If you scroll to the last two posts, you’ll find “This time around, my time would be a little longer”. That means I have three months in Indonesia to be exact. Having such an opportunity to stay longer to finish a few things I’d been dreaming of comes to two things. One, you’ll never have enough time if you can’t cleverly manage to accomplish your goals. I did try from the first day I arrived even though it wasn’t such a pleasant time. I was sick from the day I travelled until it got worse when landed. I had to tweak my plan for three nights stay at the hotel from “I just wanted to laze a whole day as a reward” to “holy crap all my systems are weak, a fluffy white blanket couldn’t even warm me up”. Two, to enjoy every second of the day is a wise thing.

I do realize every time it comes to end: it is always hard. Here’s the middle of April, that means I would soon back to reality. Do I feel a bit maudlin? Yes, I do. Am I ready to be back to my daily routine? Well, I have to.

There are three major things that I put as goals for these three months. Thankfully, two have accomplished and one is still on. What is still on? It’s for my tiny house! Why was I so excited even though it was quite exhausting? Because I’d neglected it for more than two years ;|. I have finally started building the back part of the house where my little kitchen would be, my little ‘hopefully it would turn simply stylish’ bathroom as I thought, and the remaining space where I would have my dining room. Then what were the two?

The two were some mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. One, I finally made a spiritual trip to the holy Mecca last month which I would share the story on a separate post. Another one was I finally attended a German course while I’m here! It was a very basic A1 course which made me excitingly realize, learning a new language was stressfully fun. Stressful in a very good way, ofc.

The course itself was 4+ hours von Montag bis Freitag for almost two months. The class for me personally was perfect: there were just 9 students and that made our Super Intensive Class became very intensive. Apart from the main thing I liked when learning German (read: when I had to push my brain to follow the lessons, it’s a good thing when your brain is always being challenged, isn’t it?) I felt glücklich for all the eight new friends in the class and our teacher, Frau Yusi. All of us were pretty close and that was a great vibe if I may say.

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On the first day I came, I was quite surprised by the fact that most of them already had their plans on what to reach in Germany. That was impressive, isn’t it? If you are wondering “how about me”, I honestly thought about having my Master Degree in Germany (fingers crossed) in the next two years (Ich hoffe nächste Jahr! *fingerscrossedagain). So I took a chance to learn the basic which I’m still struggling on the Grammatik and German Artikels as a first step to reach later on I called my next dream. Forty-plus days have gone so fast and it led to the time we’d planned as a lovely Mittagessenzeit two days ago :)

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Rather than starting the maudlin vibe here, it’s much better to share more photographs during our time together for the sake of beautiful memory.

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I’ll miss how hilarious Firman truly is, how impatiently Hayyi to Frau Endang ;), funny words from Klein, sharing laughter with Ivan, Ratri and Frau Yusi. Oh, I couldn’t resist attaching Tika & Adit’s last photograph again, I’m surely going to miss this cute young married couple ;)

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When I woke up yesterday morning, I already missed my schedule when I was still in the course. The games in the class, stupid jokes, impromptu trips, täglich Hausaufgaben, fun times after class from culinary hunting till crazy vibe in the karaoke room (I was glad we made the time to do that, Van!), all were pretty unforgettable.

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There are so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to planning to the next grade hopefully next year. Apart from the main reason to reach the next dream to study in Germany, to be able to speak German fluently would be wunderbar. The latest thing I need to push myself on is for die Prüfung next week. Wish me luck!

It Feels Like An Autumn


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“I’m ready for everything, in case it happens very soon.”

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Someone asked me ~with all her worries~ this question: how would I feel if one of my very, I mean it, very very best friends steps back out of a zone we both called a friendship after he married?

With a little smile, I could only show my feeling. Even though I knew it’s going to be hard.

I do realize when we grow old our circle becomes smaller. And with that, we all know that our heart could clearly find those we could called as best friends. It might not be a bunch, but they are enough to be counted with our fingers. Her question was such a bullet in a daydream. I knew what I always wanted to say, “I’m ready for everything, in case it happens very soon.” Perhaps it’s really easy just to say in words but not in heart. Perhaps it’s easy to accept a nonsense reason such as, distance becomes a big deal. Sometimes I pretend myself.

She was quite very emotional if she lost him for the sake of that long time friendship, too. The way we think might be different but we both know it isn’t that easy looking at someone we know for years has changed a little, become someone else. A stranger per se. But someone has chosen his path, with all dreams he wanted to share with someone we don’t know. Marriage life might change him as a person but what I know, even when I feel my own shiver in autumn, I would never forget his kindness. I would never erase our moments we spent together those days. Midnight. Drizzles. Sunset. Final year. Stupids. Hard times. Everything that has scored in my heart.

This is why its called a life, isn’t it?

Schön Dich Wieder Zu Sehen!

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“It was a lovely morning. You could even see from an iPhone picture above”.


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Cape Town, May 5th 2018 

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Some movies on Netflix last night slacken my system. I woke up early on Saturday morning but my spirit was still hiding under a thick duvet and seemed so hard to leave. I could see the sky was still dark from the glass windows even though I nearly blind when I don’t have my spectacles on. That thick white duvet wasn’t the only thing I could blame. The air was very cold, no AC was on, I can’t sleep with AC on fyi. My system was really slow yet fortunately, I had packed all stuffs back to my small suitcase. It was so typical of me packing things night before I travelled. Thirty minutes gone and I was still trying so hard to leave. On the bed, I was cross checking my flight to Asia to ensure I had enough time before leaving this AirBnB.

I finally had my clothes on and prepared light breakfast from the food that was left in the fridge. I cancelled my plan to visit Truth for the last cup of cappuccino even though if I did, I still had enough time for Uber and an hour coffee time since the distance from the city centre to the airport is 30 minutes only.

My Uber was outside. That time, I realized the sky was way brighter than the day I arrived in Cape Town. The sky was very blue, the air was still cold, and the breeze was cool. The sun made the day clearer and it was a good thing. As I was listening to some songs with earpieces on my way to the airport, I was smiling all the way. I sat inside the car with a thought those days I had in Cape Town were amazing.

My flight was for 1pm. Before I stood among those people who would travel to different parts of the globe, I slowed my steps down to record every single scenes in my brain. I was pleased by the fact that I’d seen a tiny part of South Africa but as far as I remember,

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“Till I stood in front of a huge clear glass window staring at two airplanes outside.

My good feeling was sinking to an excitement as if I couldn’t wait any longer jumping in the plane to memorize how beautiful a sunset that day would be. And also, to the fact that my vacation wasn’t over yet”

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On the way to Dubai, May 5th 2018 

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You know that feeling when you do not realize you’ve created some memories at some corners of this earth and started feeling blue cause it’s time to leave them there? When the plane was up small by small it gave me such an instant nostalgic feeling, but in the same time I tried not to be too maudlin. I could call it as a peculiar feeling number two on this journey.

Cape Town seemed as pretty and neat as the first time I stared out of the window. The blue sky I talked about was closer to me, throwing a perfect afternoon light on my seat. I started to let all those memories stayed in Cape Town when I tucked myself for nine more hours to Dubai. I knew I had to make this journey as comfortable as possible with blanket, earphones, The Shape of Water and low cholesterol meal I accidentally ordered online which was tasteless yet helped so much from starving (bad one, I had no chocolate mousse but fruits as dessert – no, you don’t eat fruit as a dessert, do you? – this is a honest statement, I was secretly drooling when I looked at a lady’s dessert beside me). Tasteless meal didn’t stop me to feel good cause a sunset I suspected that day would be pretty, came to be gorgeous.

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Landed in Dubai for two hours only gave me something I could count as a peculiar feeling number three. Well, not to mention how I was still bemused by the lady who sat on the same row on the plane that played Candy Crush for almost seven hours non-stop (believe me, she did. No movies, no sleep, like seriously). My peculiar feeling number three was how I, Azis – who’s picky for good food – was craving a crispy fried chicken. It was really strange how I thought about fried chicken and ended with a regret at McDonalds. What I got instead were one chocolate donut, one croissant and a cup of coffee cause I had no interest on McD’s burgers – I could tell you, I only eat burger once or max twice a whole year, not a fan. It wasn’t only fried chicken I counted as a peculiar feeling number three. I asked for a coke when I had my on board meal – I mean, that was something since I barely drink anything like coke and friends – and it tasted so damn good with ice cubes.

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Hong Kong, May 6th 2018 

Unlike the flight from Cape Town, I spent most of my time by watching some movies pretended I wasn’t bored. I should have slept more since I felt so tired but these eyes didn’t even want to close. The time I witnessed a gentle sunrise from above, I knew all those peculiar feelings were part of an upcoming exciting journey.

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I kept smiling after few photographs of sunrise were taken. It was pretty, it was tranquil. I smiled because I felt lucky still having an opportunity to travel, flying from one corner to another where life experiences awaited. I tried closing my eyes for an hour but I was awoke immediately when a harsh light fell thru my window. Morning light was brighter as the sun came up, it told me gently that Hong Kong was closer.

Those skyscrapers were seen among fluffy white clouds. It was a similar view I saw last year when I had a connecting flight from Tokyo to Jakarta. That was just few hours flying from the airport but this journey won’t be the same. I was on top of Hong Kong, a country I used to put at those last ones to visit cause I wasn’t interested, what else.

I was on the queue to enter a train to the immigration. I had one peculiar feeling of “Back to Asia” added when I stood and learned where the train would stop (how many times I said ‘peculiar’ here? You count?). It was a busy afternoon when my mind was even just, meager. I was feeling meager actually, blame my eyes. A message dropped from a friend of mine right after my iPhone connected to airport’s WiFi.

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He asked, “You’ve taken a train to the city?”

I replied with a picture of a route showed outside the train, “Not yet, heading to immigration first”


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I experienced the same thing in front of the immigration officer. Damn, it took longer to check my passport. I had no clue why perhaps my name? But it didn’t shake me at all. I mean, I had no clue what surprises I’d have so let’s face it. Immigration done and time to learn those signages on the spot. I admit I didn’t delve anything about Hong Kong, well somebody I could ask everything was there, lazy me. I walked with a little migraine, oily straight face, and stiff shoulders but my eyes and brain had to connect learning those signages where I should get a train ticket to the central. All I wanted that afternoon was taking bath, standing under the shower, clean towel and spray of perfume before lied down on the bed.

My steps stopped at one corner of a foreign exchange counter. Two o’clock, I came out to the arrival point and followed those signages till I stopped with worse migraine. Believe me, I’d be so glad if I had a magic door like Doraemon has. Although a magic door seemed like a mindless dream, I was standing with a dream when a 5,5 feet somebody surprisingly came from the right side. As my mind was still meager, I clearly remembered I didn’t expect any travel agents. But, there was Andreas Knogler with a little Mr. written thinner than Azis Abdul in capital on a piece of paper.

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“I had a daze for seven seconds till I woke up that this somebody was actually Andreas Knogler. It was ridiculous, diverting per se”

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On the eighth second, I realized it wasn’t a dream when we both hugged and I said, “Wie geht’s Herr Knogler?!!!!” (No I didn’t ask him in German, in English of course. Herr means Mr. as I always call him Mr. Knogler, fyi). If you are attentive enough how many exclamation marks on the German question, you would know how bemused it was. Andreas didn’t even tell me he waited in the airport and the way he asked if I had already taken a train to the city wasn’t such a piece of puzzles. Honestly speaking, I didn’t surmise Andreas could create a surprise which imho, it was ridiculously-geniously done.

If you just visited this blog, I wrote how Andreas and I met in Tokyo on 2016 here. For the past two years we have been communicating through Skype sharing and talking random things every time we both free (on no, sometimes I have to book his time ahead – no you’re not reading wrongly – in case he’s climbing somewhere in Southern Italy, or running marathon in Athens). I must say talking to Andreas over the screen on Skype is always pleasing but had an opportunity to see him again in person this year was remarkable. I don’t know, there is something special about seeing best friends halfway around the world.

Andreas was way too kind for becoming a travel companion while we were in Hong Kong. I’m gonna share days we spent on separate posts when we had so much fun. But before this post ends, I want to share a note which originally written by him through Messenger two years ago, August 8th – I copied his note for a picture purpose, you all know. Please read his last sentence, you’ll start believing that universe has a magical way to make a sincere wish, strongly, secretly, becomes real when all opportunities meet together without even telling you when. Till right now, I could even feel the magic of this note.

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P.S. A photograph of Andreas above was actually taken few minutes before he caught a flight to Seoul. I asked him to recreate the scene of him holding that – travel agent, oh Lord it was funny- paper before he left Hong Kong for a short vacation whilst I still had few days left. Let me remind you one thing, it is true that some moments in life are fine to keep in our memory. But trust me, if you could freeze that moment into a photograph, you’ll have double memories which easier to be remembered in the next let say, ten to twenty years :)  

All You Have To Do Is…



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“There was a memory I could vividly remember years back when I was in the middle school”

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My classroom was kind of an old Dutch building that has a high ceiling and tall wooden doors painted in ivory. I remember where I sat, the first chair right after the door. I was the first student who knew if there was a teacher came in. As a ‘kid’, I was like anyone else in the class who would be very happy when our teacher didn’t come to teach us. Every time it happened, I would do my favorite thing: staring to the front yard and enjoying an afternoon breeze while my mind wasn’t even there. Thinking how many hours left till I could pack my bag and went home.

I literally sat on the bench just me and myself on my first year. I found it hard to blend to where those cool kids were. To blend where those mischievous were. I found it hard to blend myself to 39 different characters in the class. Meaning for almost two semesters during my first year I had no best friend and no gang, of course. It was quite tough finding friends who would accept me to be in their team. I was still super introvert if that’s the word for somebody who speaks very less, doesn’t have a communication skill, feeling way more comfortable being alone than standing in front of the class.

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“I remember one of my very good friends Atre used to say: human learns. We are all learning something in this life. By learning we are all growing”

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So do I.

I used to be a very introvert when speaking to someone new was like a nightmare. When what I could do just being resentful to myself every time my Dad said, “Go outside and find friends!”. I swear, he was kind of worry with me if I had no friends. But I kinda felt fine to be honest. The only time I felt bad when you know, if there was homework as a team in Physic class for instance, I started feeling like a left-over plastic bag no one had interest to pick it up. Time flies and I finally found the new transformation on how I open myself.

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“Traveling is where I learn to be more open to people…in which has changed me into “I’m not an -too- introvert like before”

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I was heading to Ginza when I was texting Hiromi with, “Let’s catch-up, I’m here!”. If you just visited this blog, fyi I met Hiromi on my last day in Tokyo on my first visit two years ago. I was literally waiting for Andreas Knogler to wake up at the reception and I saw Hiromi with a man from Afghanistan, an architect lives in Berlin who had Hiromi as his travel guide. Started with a very short acquaintance and exchanged contacts, we’ve been communicating ever since.

Hiromi thought I was joking after I sent an iPhone picture of Ginza Station. That was a quite surprise in my opinion. Even though I wasn’t really sure to meet her again last summer, I let the universe lead the way as always. It was a pleasant thing I felt when Hiromi sent a message where and when we could meet.

The next day I left my hostel, earpieces on my ears and started my morning by walking to a train station. I googled some places before I met Hiromi in the evening at Roppongi Station and I received a message from my childhood best friend: “How’s your day there? Have you met a new friend?” 

His message pinched me like, “Yeah, this is my third day in Tokyo and I haven’t made a new friend yet”

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“Surprises always spark when we travel”

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The day I met Hiromi led me to some new friendships

Hiromi was very kind treating me at Roppongi Hills for dinner. She told me we could enjoy Tokyo from above at Observation Room after all. I did enjoy every second staring at how pretty Tokyo at night till I got a bit distracted by two guys beside me which later I knew his name is Earvin and another one is Eric. Earvin is Canadian with Philippines roots, while Eric is from California. Eric was capturing Earvin with Tokyo Tower as a background before I started a light conversation. We spent sometimes to talk about Japan, and how Earvin and Eric met in the wrong train when they were heading to somewhere days before they visited Roppongi together.

That’s one of exciting parts of traveling when you just meet random traveler and become friends, right?

I must admit I did one of the cheesiest things before we all hugged and wished we could meet again in Japan someday (maybe Olympic 2020? :), I don’t mind another place on earth!). It was oh, recording a farewell video of us. It was actually fun having a short meeting with Hiromi, Earvin and Eric that day although you know, I wished we had longer time to talk about things cause somehow farewell is still hard to do :) (I must thank to myself for the cheesiness cause at least I still have our few selfies too).

When I was in the train with Earvin back to my hostel, I realized two things: that kind of moment will always be one of my reasons to travel more, and hey, universe had answered a question my best friend asked above? I told you :)


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Oh, hello Luís!

I came back to the hostel a bit late and went straight to my room. I almost entered but stopped my steps when someone asked if I had a rough day by looking at how tired I was. We had a short conversation on how our days were after acquainted ourselves. His name is Luís Dorelli, a very friendly guy from Brazil currently lives and works in Google London. Luís was the one I mostly spent my days in Tokyo with.

Even Luís seems so busy right now till we didn’t really have a chance to communicate like before, but I had two favorite moments I’ll always remember when we were in Tokyo. One, we went outside looking for light food after the rain. We both were tired but his idea walking under drizzle in the evening with transparent umbrellas was a good one. I always love the ambiance after the rain, especially in Tokyo where those neon lights makes the scene more memorable. Although in the end we couldn’t find any place nearby but having random conversation, some photo captured at Sensō-ji, and ended by buying snacks at 24hours supermarket was fun.

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Second moment was when we finally ended our trip at Haneda. We left on the same day, so heading to the airport together was a good idea. We took the same train, had a dinner at one restaurant in the airport before passing immigration, shopping time (he got sake while I was fine with whiskey, oh I mean some Tokyo Bananas), and ended with a bear hug. It was actually an impressive farewell I’ll keep in mind. Again, I must thank to myself for another cheesiness in the end of our trip (yes, I recorded an iPhone video with Luís before he flew back to London).

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I hope you still remember how fun the time we had with some fellow travelers at the pantry till midnight, Luís. Perhaps some pictures below will remind you, of course Chang is here :)

(P.S. I had to rip my shame by posting a photo with my face for memory purpose)

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Wait, I’ll say hi cause they’re leaving

Before I went out with Luís after the rain, I saw two guys were ready to leave with their backpacks at the lobby. The guys I saw few times early morning days before. They also stayed at the same room where me and Luís were but had no chance to talk even a single word. They both were so busy, too busy with their days in Japan till I had no courage to start a conversation. I just saw one of them was taking his things from the locker which placed few inches in front of my bed. Few times I saw him, few times I also kept silent till that evening I finally said few words right before I entered the lift.

My heart said, “Come on, few words do not cost you anything”

I was stoked I did it. It might be only 10 minutes but it was one of the warmest and friendliest conversations I’ve ever had.

I could see how magical “hi” to open a conversation and ended with a beautiful one. That was what I found when I finally spoke with Santiago and Omar before they were leaving to Kyoto. This “hi” may not work to everybody (I mean, a stranger we meet) but just remember, when your heart says to do so, just do it. It could be something which will mark in your heart and mind.

I didn’t take time to ask their details so we could keep in touch after. Santiago and Omar were the kindest Colombian I’ve ever met. It was just totally different with what I thought from few days I saw Santiago in the room. Our short conversation that day continues till today, and somehow I think that is more important when we could still keep in touch and remember each other. Oh, don’t blame me if I recorded an iPhone video too with a kind wish I could see them again sooner than later either in Bogotá or somewhere else on earth (from now on, we should FaceTime-ing more often, Santiago!).


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That’s why they both look stunning

I’ll never forget how my conversation with a very kind human, Meryl started. We met few times at the bathroom and there, our random conversations begun. Before I even realized Meryl and Nikki had only three days with very short time to visit places in Tokyo, I ended feeling beyond grateful cause Meryl started with an idea to take picture together before they left. I woke up late that morning and felt very tired but having some photographs with both of them made my day.

If I visit Philippines someday I would definitely let Meryl and Nikki know cause I’m sure we will have a very good time sharing our travel stories. Meryl and Nikki travel the world cause both are flight attendants (how cool, huh?)


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Oh, that was the highlight of my trip!

I actually woke up by 7am. That was a very short from the time I slept around 2am. Even though I was still felt exhausted but I had to wake up to bag few things to my suitcase. After I packed, I went straight to the pantry on the 7th floor. The pantry was empty, I sat on the wooden chair with that ‘feeling’ when you realize you should make your last day unforgettable one. I took my time by staring at the glass doors gazing at some buildings on the gloomy morning. Of course I played a song with earpieces from my iPhone to complete the whole scene. It is just a simple way to create some memories in my brain. Then I was ready for a very simple breakfast. White bread filled with chocolate paste and strawberry jam, pineapple juice, two slices of banana and pistachio (see, I remember every details!). I ate very slowly although I ran out of time.

The day I met Renata was the highlight of my trip. It was just genuinely, beautifully, happened just like that. I even remember every single scenes the morning I met with, le pardon if this sounds so exaggerated but honestly, she is one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met in my life.

It was just begun with a simply sentence I said to her, “hey, your breakfast is so healthy” and the rest was like we have known each other for years. I felt connected with Renata in so many ways. I might only have two hours but universe had done something I’ll forever grateful for letting me know Renata and created a real friendship. I remember, after we recorded an iPhone video, it felt hard for me to say goodbye to her, wishing we should have met like days before and spent time together in Tokyo. But again, universe will always have ways to surprise us and the thing makes me even more grateful is we both still communicating till today. For me, that’s the point for our friendship :)

I’m probably missing Renata right now but my believe to see her again sooner than later is strong.

Sure, I’ll let universe decides where it will be :)

Galata, Topkapı & Ortaköy II


While I’m writing this sentence, my mind is thinking about Hakan and Safoine.

Perhaps, I’m missing them…


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We didn’t really spend time at Galata Tower. Olga, a Russian lady who works in the hostel I stayed told me, “Galata Tower’s so boring, what you could do up there just to see Istanbul from above”. I must agree at some points, but spending time together with Hakan and Saf and ended with a photo of myself wearing Turkish traditional costume was interesting enough (it wasn’t really cheap but worth to try for a memory-wise). I wanted to have a photograph together with Hakan and Saf but couldn’t be accomplished cause hell ya, the queue was crowded and we had to change the costume very quickly. I had no brave to show how I was on the photograph cause I looked so shabby,le pardon!. I must say Hakan looked so handsome and so royal wearing the traditional costume complete with a sword like a real sultan (he’s Turkish by blood, no surprises).

Writing this post after nine months still give me goosebumps and clear memories how I enjoyed every single second I had in Istanbul.

After we left Galata Tower, we spent an hour plus at a small cafe with friend talks, Turkish sweet delights on our table, some French words Hakan taught me (holy shit it was difficult af!), and for sure, some photos before heading to the harbor under Galata Bridge for a boat ride. It was one of “I’m waiting for this!” moment cause I heard crossing the European side of Turkey to Asian side’s such a must do. The ticket isn’t that expensive as far as I remember. Of course it made me so excited before we finally entered the ferry. We came out from the ferry just less than five minutes cause Saf was faint and I felt so dizzy af but it didn’t stop us to enjoy the day cause our next destination? The dazzling place called Topkapı Palace.

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At Topkapı Palace, I was awed with the fact how time created such a mind-blowing histories years ago. One of the highlight from our visit was when we entered a room where most of important holy relics are being collected: the hair of Prophet Mohammad’s beard, his footprints, letters, also the tray used by Abraham, the sword of David, the rope of Joseph and the chest of Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, Fatimah.

Photographs are forbidden in that room but memorizing the relics only with your own brain and eyes would give you an experience. Especially when you hear the mellifluous Quran verses echo in the air softly, I had a serious goosebumps then. If you are a moslem like me and planning to visit Istanbul, put Topkapı Palace in your must-visit list.

Before we left, we managed our time at one restaurant inside Topkapı Palace with three cups of Turkish tea, a bowl of Turkish delight and fresh strawberries. It was just a casual beautiful afternoon in spring with a view of Bosphorus Strait.


“But for me, it was one of the most memorable moments I had with Hakan and Saf”



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…we didn’t end our day at Topkapı Palace…

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We took a taxi to a place which later I knew was Ortaköy. It was definitely Hakan’s idea to spend our day there since me and Saf hadn’t been there before. Ortaköy is one of most popular districts in Istanbul where a lot of cafes, bars, and stalls located on cobblestone roads. The idea taking a taxi to Ortaköy was a great one I have to say. It wasn’t because I mostly used metro for a “cheaper” option, it was great because I could remember all the scenes on the road. Something I couldn’t do if we took metro (I recorded an iPhone video while we were inside, of Saf, you showed me a picture from your visit at Chefchaouen!!). Even we had a light traffic on the road, it didn’t stop us to enjoy Ortaköy after we prayed inside the beautiful mosque on the coast, Ortaköy Mosque.

After praying, we enjoyed the cool evening by strolling around the bazaar then went to have a snack. Hakan and Saf might call “it” as a snack (I called Hakan double portions till today :)) but for me, it was a huge baked potato (man, it was really huge!) till I couldn’t finish it (was it the time Hakan created “mister half-portion” for me cause I eat small? sigh, I couldn’t remember). It was quite interesting for me eating baked potato with “you could choose any toppings you like” in Istanbul.



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