Slow Time In Cape Town


I’m writing this post when travel bugs around me are flying higher. I think it’s such a good sign to hurry packing a bag pack and explore somewhere new.

This might be the last post I dedicated for a pretty city called Cape Town. Last year during this time, I was in my room thinking about a destination. Few choices, few new places in mind. I was pretty excited as always to start browsing where are the hits coffee shops in town, museums I needed to pay a visit, how about outfits to bring, and of course, thinking about how my indulgence in photography would be stronger.

Cape Town as I mentioned a few times on previous posts was beautiful. Having a week there was a cup of tea. Combination of nice weather (clear sky, tho sometimes was too-chill in the evening), delicious food, picturesque landscapes, freedom to visit and documented places as I wished without a schedule. I loved it when I woke up a bit late and took a good coffee nearby. I loved it when I didn’t need to rush because of drizzling and enjoyed the vibe after rain without an umbrella. I loved it when I went to a supermarket at noon and stood confusingly choosing what to eat. I loved it when I went to places and got photographs of Cape Town. All of these make me want to, let me repeat from above; make me want to pack my bag and explore somewhere new sooner than later.


Colors I saw after I had a very quality breakfast and coffee at Truth



To be honest I was quite disappointed with what I found “just this?” at Boo-Kap. Good news, it wasn’t far from where I stayed



A little fancy brunch at Hemelhvijs (the ceiling has dry colorful hydrangeas). That day was very windy so I ordered hot Sri Lankan tea.



It was a lovely and calming time at Honest Chocolate. Perhaps, it was the most favorite time I had when in Cape Town. I sat beside the window with cappuccino and banana cake when it was drizzling outside.



Two photographs I took at one shop and one restaurant at V&A Waterfront .


Strolling at Cape Town Civic Centre after visiting Ramadhan bazaar where I met one Indonesian lady selling Indonesian food.



Okay, last ones. These were taken near where I stayed. The last morning and the last sunset.



Table Mountain


“A visit to Table Mountain could be counted as the only “must-do” I did, literally”



As mentioned on several posts, my trip was a relax one. I didn’t really go places but spent my time as slow as I could. It was pretty much like, “Oh, how many days I have remain here?” 

I’m serious, when in Cape Town I was, “Really? I still have 3 days? I thought it was only 2”. I think because I was so relax and did nothing most of my stay then time was running slowly.

I had a fickle heart on May third, to visit Table Mountain cause you know: “Don’t wake me up, still have an affair with my blanket cause hey morning in spring is cold, very cold”. But again, I had to gather my will to visit one of the famous sites Cape Town has to offer. Basically there are two ways to get a ticket to Table Mountain, buying it on the spot or online. I chose the second option a day before I paid a visit. Either you buy it at the ticket counter or online, you still need to join the queue before entering the site.

My choice to wake up early (tho it was hard cause hell ya, it was very cold) brought me to a place that made me throwing smiles to the air. Many times. On my way to Table Mountain was perfect. I had sunshine thru the car window, passing some gorgeous houses along the way (they are so gorgeous, one of the reasons why I said you won’t feel “Africa” in CPT), the sky was clear and blue and too pretty, but two things missed: I had no proper breakfast and I didn’t even care with what I read on the website on how wearing proper shoes is recommended. When I was close to Table Mountain, I could already see how beautiful up there from the car: the peak was covered with thick white clouds.

These photographs below do not do justice how clear, how blue the sky was. Believe me, apart of layouts and some B&W photographs, no Photoshop’s needed to convince you how gorgeous this place was.



I took a little deep breath and slowed my steps down when I was up there.

It was magical staring at those layers of clouds, standing with a magical view, fresh air and shades of blue.

I, remember”



“It was typical spring weather, the sky was blue and the sun was bright,

but the air was as cool as my feeling.

I sat for an hour, with gratitude, staring at Cape Town from above. She’s even prettier.

Sometimes the breeze made me shiver a bit, but I had to say it didn’t stop me thinking that this earth is,




“I know I still have a lot of places I’d like to see with my naked eyes on this earth, there are a lot in number.

Sometimes, even just dreaming about each one of them, it gives me spirit to stand there someday.

Standing on Table Mountain was such a fantasy which came to real”




  • Take photograph of yourself with Cape Town as a background, don’t miss it even though you are such a BTS person like me. In my case, it was a bit tricky finding someone who familiar with camera so I had you know “why-this?” kind photograph (yes, it wasn’t pleasant when I got a dark one cause someone took mine against sunlight) ~ lesson learned, time to get a tripod every time I travel alone
  • I suggest to check the weather in advance to ensure it is a good day, no rain, no cloudy sky so you won’t miss how fun the cable car is (or if you love hiking then try to hike till up, it must be fun)
  • Standing by the side in the car when you could see the scenery from the glass is a plus. It was a bit terrifying for me first time I entered, but it was fun in the end
  • Check the official website to know more about your preferred time to visit, I did wish I was there for sunset. I could imagine how beautiful it would be yet in my opinion anytime is good
  • There are souvenir shop, cafe and Wi-Fi lounge up. Even if it’s not much, spend some rand for some souvenirs so you have something to remember from the trip
  • I went to the cafe for late breakfast, though you know typical tourist site the price is higher but I had nice sautéed mushroom, so I won’t complain (having breakfast with stunning view was pleasant of course)
  • Don’t spend too much of your time to take photographs, I mean it. It is difficult not to do so especially if you love photography cause every angle would be delighting. Take your time to sit, breath the fresh air while your eyes are pampered with picturesque scenes. It is worth every second

Airlines And AirBnb


“Apart of hunting an affordable airline, looking for a place to stay is one of the fun things to do before travel starts”



Well, I’m not good enough on the first one. Looking for an affordable ticket needs patience but that’s not the reason why I always end paying “so-so” price.

Perhaps these are things involved:

  • First, I don’t have much money but love nice things. This means when I travel I’ll always try to be as comfortable as I could from picking good airlines till how I eat. I keep thinking that’s how I appreciate myself after work hard. Of course without breaking the bank (which bank to break? I don’t really have much saving cause I’m not really good to save money, but I’m trying right now lol)
  • Two, most of the time I have short preparation for vacation and this affects on when I have to buy my ticket. I’ll try to think about buying it six months in advance but again, if something unfortunately happens in between and I have to change/reschedule, I’m going to spend more isn’t it?
  • And the last one, perhaps my believe that “We could earn money again” is strong. Having time to travel when we are still healthy is an opportunity apart of the funds itself. Mostly, when I’m in front of my laptop looking for a flight I won’t take too long to pay. Of course, I have to be wise spending my money cause earning it is not as easy as flipping my palm

I’ll keep writing but I have to breathe a bit. I just remembered I never calculate how much I spent for my last trips to South Africa and Hong Kong. Thankfully I wrote everything on my iPhone so it’s easy to track. Ah hold on, I did mention my believe that I would earn more money again, huh? I hope so (read: calm down, you don’t need to worry this much Zis (finger crossed :P)). I think I have to add one more reason why I could never save money if I travel from here is no budget airlines. Most airfare from and to Africa continent isn’t that affordable. Nowadays, it’s much better than few years back when I used to pay “oh-my-God” amount of money for one-way ticket from Jakarta to Lagos.

Even though I had a slightly longer time to prepare my last trips but that didn’t really save me in terms of airfare. Since I traveled from Lagos and wanted spending a week in Cape Town and a week to see my best friend Andreas in Hong Kong then back to Lagos, I had to be ready with the bills. I had to pick three different airlines after I found that buying separate tickets was a bit cheaper than multi-city option. I did a good job by finding three flights with minimum transit duration to save my time. Except for 20 hours layover in Istanbul that I deliberately wanted strolling around Istanbul again for 12 hours. I flew with Turkish Airlines from Lagos – Istanbul – Cape Town, Emirates from Cape Town to Hong Kong with two hours transit in Dubai, and ended my travel from Hong Kong to Lagos with three hours transit in Abu Dhabi via Etihad. There were some cheaper options but looking at long transit didn’t impress me to save money. If I may count the transit countries, I was at five different countries on two weeks :P

Let’s move to where I stayed. If you are a reader of this blog you have read many times why I prefer hostel than hotel. If you just found and visited this blog, you might interested to read why, and why, and why I prefer hostel for my stay. Of course I have criterias on how my hostel would be. It must have a cool spot (you may say it must be instagramable, that’s the word huh?), good design (it’s a plus if it’s new hostel cause the facilities must be good!), good location, and of course value for money. I did pick hostel during my stay in Cape Town for 4 nights and for my last 2 nights I decided to try my first AirBnb.



The hostel I stayed in Cape Town is quite popular for travelers and tourists. I recommend if you plan to visit Cape Town cause indeed the location is strategic, the facility isn’t bad at all, and the staffs are quite helpful. If you asked me did I meet with some travelers and became friends during my stay there the answer is no. I didn’t really meet with kind travelers who stayed at the same dorm room except an Italian guy who stayed beside my bed for two nights. He traveled to Cape Town from Durban for a quick jaunt in between of a project he’s doing. He speaks English well but we didn’t exchange contacts so it didn’t count. There was a cool Brazilian girl who travels quite often but she wasn’t seem friendly (maybe it was just to me but as far as I know Brazilian is friendly isn’t it?), two female siblings from Canada (we had a very short conversation but I didn’t know when they left), a Swiss man with only some hellos, and an old American man who is a bit picky having a conversation with (he talked more to the Italian guy I mentioned ;P). Summing up, I didn’t really look for new friends when I was there tbh so when the time for me to check out and moved to an apartment I was quite excited.

If I picked hotel last year when I was in Cappadocia as a treat for myself, I did it too in Cape Town. Though my travel style was completely slow but I thought about a distinct experience I’d love to try by staying in an apartment. When I browsed in AirBnb few days before I flew, I had crush on some beautiful houses in Cape Town but unfortunately the date didn’t match.

It was a pleasant experience for my first AirBnb. It’s a nice room, comfortable bed (ah I always love thick clean white blanket!), very clean bathroom and kitchen, and full entertainment on the screen. Even though I only communicated with the host via mail (he reminded me few times to save water since Cape Town is experiencing a serious water drainage but never answer my questions, haha), it was a good place to stay. I pretended as if I would be there for a longer stay cause the room is really cozy. I thought about “Today I don’t feel like doing anything” on my last two last days in Cape Town, didn’t want to leave the apartment and watching movies on Netflix instead, cooking some meals (I thought to shop some ingredients but ended with ‘ready-to-enjoy’ meals and some fruits) but later became lazy cause hello, “I cook almost everyday in my own apartment in Lagos to save my pocket-money and I’m on vacation right now”.

Here are some photographs of the apartment which do not do justice how cozy it was.



I would share how my stay in Hong Kong was (didn’t really take picture of the hostel) with some interesting stories on separate post, promise. When Andreas told me he had a great time and experience trying couchsurfing on his last trip in South Korea, I think I’d like to try that for my future trip.

Wait, did I mention doing some breakfast scenes at the apartment was a nice thing to do?

Hello Cape Town! First, A Day Spent At

I once had a phone call with one of my best friends talking about life and in between, I mentioned Cape Town as a place I’d like to visit. There was no reason why but funny one I’ve been living in Lagos for almost  7 years but never travel to other countries in Africa. If you ask me the reason why I decided to fly to Cape Town this year, I just



“Want to travel to somewhere that is nice, in the same time it’s civilized”



I admit I wasn’t really keen to fly to South Africa. First reason, I was quite lazy preparing documents for visa. Second, oh gosh if you are a reader of this blog you must be nauseated how many times I’ve mentioned about building my dream kitchen but nothing happens yet. Okay, if there is somebody says to you that spending money to travel makes you richer than buying things, THINK twice. My personal opinion about it is yes, traveling makes you richer as a human being. It’s an absolute TRUTH. I believe everyone in this life is endowed with wanderlust. The level of wanderlust and the opportunity may vary. But if you have something more urgent and important to use your money for, share some and KEEP TRAVEL. Maybe, to somewhere inexpensive? At least, once in a year.

Reason one was done even, oh I have funny stories applying the visa from here. First, since I was extremely busy then I had to ask my driver to copy documents needed. Lesson learnt, everything about important documents handle it by you. Because of some mistakes I ended paying more than it should be. That wasn’t the key, time wasted was my concern till I had to sort everything out at one hotel near my office till late evening cause I only had time to apply the next day (I had to pay extra to print in the business corner cause hell ya, we had a problem with the printer in the office which made every paper faded printed! see?). Not even that, cross checking documents after 11pm was exhausting. It took more days for the visa process from what stated on the website till I finally got a message to collect my passport. Arrived at VFS and went straight to collect mine, opened the envelope and I didn’t see my visa (damn!, I was shaking a bit). I said to myself, “Well, Azis you said you are not that keen to travel to SA, huh? then, this is fine”. I was shaking a bit not because I wasn’t happy if I didn’t get the visa, but the money I spent to apply was something lol, the visa fee wasn’t that expensive but the service fee was too much :(“. I checked twice on my passport and ended saw one visa at one of the latest pages (haha, holy shit I could come back to work with a smile on my face, next time I’ll share some stories about this topic :)).

Reason two was more like an excuse again. Even though I wasn’t that keen to visit SA, but my travel bugs were flying higher when I finally got my visa and it was a nice feeling. I sorted all my tickets and knew this time around my travel wasn’t that cheap, because from Cape Town I would fly to Asia before flew back to Africa. But hell ya in between of fickle hearts, I said “let’s do this then. Nothing more exciting than getting lost at somewhere new with camera in hand”. I do believe that an opportunity to travel is something like carpe diem. Opportunity means we have fund to pay our bills but for me, apart of money there are important things involved: health and time. Back to what I said up there, KEEP TRAVEL even to somewhere that isn’t that far and expensive once in a year. It is really good to make us richer as a human in a way to embrace differences and beauties the world has to offer.



“I flew after 20 hours layover in Istanbul and landed in Cape Town in the morning”



It was a pleasant flight since I picked the flight route with a good timing and of course, window seat. Flying after midnight from Turkey gave me three good things: I could see how peaceful up there at dawn, subtle sunrise, and the landscape of Cape Town from above which looks very tidy. I could feel that I was already on top of somewhere that is not Africa at all but in Africa.

When I landed at Cape Town International Aiport I met with a driver from the hostel I stayed and went straight to Western Cape. If you are planning to travel to Cape Town, and love to stay at the hotel, oops sorry I left the S, I mean hostels like me, I recommend 91 Loop. I asked for pick-up service from the airport to the hostels to ease my movement and cost almost the same with Uber. Since there is neither metro nor subway in Cape Town, I mostly used Uber to move around (of course, using legs is the cheapest option if you have a tight budget, wise option to visit nearby destination!). Before I landed I already knew that Cape Town has a serious water shortage problem and it’s been three years. I was a bit worry when I heard about this and all the signages at the airport, malls, hotels, and public spaces are clear enough to ask you to use water wisely. But that wasn’t a problem at all since I could enjoy my days there.

Another thing I will tell you, when I landed on Sunday where a lot of stores nearby the hostel were closed and the road was a bit empty, I felt a bit unsafe to linger around (tho I did on my first day looking for food and ended with a pricey burger but man! it tasted so so good, one of the best burger I ever tasted). I know that we need to always be positive wherever we are but being careful is a must. At some areas by the street you would see raggy black people standing or begging (I don’t mean to sound racist by saying black people, so correct me if there is any better word to explain). That was the only thing I felt a bit hampered cause it limits me to take photos freely on the street. If you are going at least with two people together then you don’t need to be scared. Also, in the evening by 8pm I would always back to the hostel. It’s better to keep yourself safe than being careless and something happens like what I experienced in Istanbul last year. At the tourist area or somewhere popular, everything is fine. Apart of that, Cape Town is a beautiful destination. You won’t feel like you are in Africa, I repeated this. It’s more like in Europe of even New York kind of. I mean how clean and neat the city centre is, all those buildings, cafes by the streets, delicious food is easy to find, beautiful beaches, art galleries, many things you could explore. And 30 minutes drive from city centre to the airport sounds good, right?

On my second day, after I rested a bit and rented mobile wifi, I took my time walking to V&A Waterfront. Before I realized it was quite bit far from the hostels, I enjoyed every step on a sunny Monday morning with earphones listening to my favorites songs (this is my morning ritual every time I travel abroad, my simply happiness). I checked how much I would spend for Uber but ended by exploring some streets cum learning to read Gmaps more often. When I finally arrived at V&A, I felt so happy. I took a very slow morning by grabbing breakfast round two from Woolworths. I mean, what breakfast to expect from budget hostel, huh? :P

Anything better than sitting on the bench, enjoying good breakfast with this view below, on Monday morning while most people are working? As I wish I could do that every Monday in my life.



I spent a whole day at V&A with few things I would always do when I travel alone: sitting on the bench watching different people with ice cream, following my heart where to have lunch either fancy restaurant or supermarket food (I ended with second option, shrimp pasta with avocado and it was so good), at V&A I was crossing my legs on the stone bench by the harbor and how I love spring, smiling to stranger after helping them with some photos (I know, this is classic challenge for solo traveler like me when what I got back after helped them was slanted photo of myself in front of one landmark :|), staring at the blue clear sky thanking Him for another opportunity to travel, also waiting for a sunset.


Yesterday At Nok

I had a quite pleasant yesterday cause one, could wake up a bit late (what else’s better than stick on the bed on Sunday morning, huh?). Second, managed my morning with quality light breakfast (some shots are coming!). Third, could get a piece to pay my arrears for one of my very good friends Atre (hope she’ll like the cloth!) and onyx bracelet for myself at Lekki market. Then I ended my Sunday outside with brunch and friends-talk with my Korean friend here, Kim, at Nok.

I finally met with Kim again after we first met at Indonesian Embassy for Independence Day Celebration. Our brunch at Nok was fine, the contemporary African food was good (beautiful plates and cutlery always steal my heart), and oh the afternoon light is my favourite thing there (where else I could find wide clear glass, here?). I managed myself for some shots below tho I felt a bit embarrassed with Kim (first alert if you have brunch with beautiful food served, please bear with me :))



Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

Layaknya manusia biasa, kadang saya melewati suatu hari dengan biasa. Meaningless. Bangun pagi, berangkat kerja, menghabiskan delapan jam dengan target-target pekerjaan di kantor, pulang, menikmati waktu sejenak sebelum akhirnya tidur. Tapi untungnya, pekerjaan saya cukup mobile. Tidak mengharuskan saya stuck di kantor dan mengulangi ritme harian tadi terus menerus. Kadang secara tak terduga, saya harus menghadiri meeting dadakan di suatu tempat dengan orang-orang yang I had no clue who. Pertemuan yang menghabiskan beberapa jam yang kadang menjemukan, kadang menyebalkan, kadang pula menyenangkan. Dengan ritme pekerjaan yang mobile tadi, secara tidak sadar mengajarkan saya untuk lebih memaknai suatu hari dengan memetik lebih sering pada hal-hal yang menginspirasi.

Minggu lalu, saat saya dan seorang teman sekantor mampir ke rumah klien selepas jam kerja, saya menggerutu dalam hati. Pasalnya, setelah kami menunggu dalam kebosanan, pertemuan singkat yang seharusnya selesai sore itu diundur keesokan harinya. Keadaan seperti itu jelas tidak mengenakkan. Saya mencoba mendamaikan diri dengan pikiran-pikiran jelek yang bisa merubah mood. Manusiawi memang jika saya berpikir apakah kami berdua diperlakukan adil. Saat kami harus menunggu klien untuk mendapatkan kontrak sebuah event, sedang rekan-rekan kerja yang lain sudah dalam perjalanan pulang atau mungkin ada yang sudah sampai di rumah. Alih-alih membiarkan pikiran-pikiran jelek tadi meninggi, saya lebih memilih berpikir positif. Mungkin tanggung jawab kami semakin besar hingga harus merelakan satu setengah jam di hari itu melayang begitu saja.

Akhirnya kami kembali ke kantor dan menunggu di luar karena pintu kantor sudah tutup. Hanya ada seorang sekuriti yang mendapat giliran jaga malam. Suasana amat lengang dan temaram. Maklum, Afrika masih saja Afrika. Masih banyak tempat yang belum terang benderang. Tak lama kami di sana, teman saya memilih untuk meninggalkan kantor lebih dulu. Biasanya, orang lokal seperti teman saya ini, meskipun ia seorang perempuan, tak akan meninggalkan orang kulit putih seperti saya sendirian. Bagaimanapun, ini Afrika. Kadang lebih aman jika kita ditemani penduduk asli daripada sendiri. Sama halnya dengan saya sore itu, ia pasti lelah hingga suasana rumah seperti melambaikan kenyamanannya untuk disinggahi secepatnya.

Sembari menunggu sopir yang terjebak macet dan hampir sampai, saya duduk di kursi plastik di samping sekuriti tadi. Untuk memecah kebosanan, saya iseng membuka percakapan dengannya setelah ia menawari saya duduk. Kira-kira begini ;

S : “Mr Azis, please seat here”

A : “Aw, thank you. So you’re working tonight?”

S : “Yes Sir”

A : “How can you keep your eyes open a whole night? Keeping our compound safe”

S : “Sometimes I’ll go around, sometimes my friend come to see me so we can have chat and I’m not sleepy”

A : “May I ask, how long you’ve been working as a security?”

S : “This is my fourth month. I started on December last year”

A : “Oh, so you’re still new. What was your job before?”

S : “I worked at KFC”

A : “Aw that’s fine. Working there was good, right?”

S : “Yeah, I worked for one and half year”

A : “Hmm, so why you left?”

S : “No, I just wanted to have a weekend for myself”

A : “Oh, you worked from Monday to Sunday? But it must be in shift, right?”

S : “Yes Sir, I wanted my Saturday and Sunday for myself. It’s impossible to have a weekend from my previous job. I worked as a cleaner before I worked at KFC”

A : “I agree, it has to be balance”

S : “I need my weekend because I have to go to school”

A : “Wow, so you’re studying right now?”

S : “Yes Sir, I’m studying at Polytechnic every Saturday and Sunday”

A : “Oh I see, so when you are not working tomorrow, you can rest and sleep in the afternoon and your second will resume. Then on Saturday and Sunday you’ll off”

S : “Yes Sir”

A : “That’s great. I always inspired by someone like you who is working for a better future. Good luck!”

S : “Thank you Sir”

A : “Okay then, good night!”

Saya mengakhiri perbincangan singkat sore itu saat sopir sudah di depan pagar kantor. Jarum jam menunjukkan pukul delapan lewat. Saya tak sabar ingin tiba di rumah secepat mungkin. Mengakhiri hari dengan istirahat di kamar atau memutar ulang film-film yang saya punya. Sopir saya memberitahu waktu tempuh ke rumah bakal sedikit lebih lama karena kondisi jalanan yang cukup macet. Akhir-akhir ini jalanan memang sering macet karena fuel-strike. Saya kira bukan karena fuel-nya yang langka, hanya sistem yang amburadul yang membuat keterlangkaan dan melahirkan deretan mobil-mobil yang mengular di sepanjang jalan. Satu setengah jam melayang karena meeting tadi plus kondisi jalanan yang macet. Lengkap sudah.

Di dalam mobil, saya kembali meredam pikiran-pikiran negatif yang ujung-ujungnya menghasilkan umpatan-umpatan sampah. Justru saya menikmati kemacetan sambil memetik pelajaran dari percakapan dengan sekuriti tadi. Pertama, saya belajar bahwa baik buruknya hari yang kita punya benar-benar tergantung bagaimana kita bersikap dan mamaknainya. Kedua, pelajaran hidup bisa ditemukan di mana saja. Mungkin jika meeting berjalan lancar dan saya tidak harus kembali ke kantor dan berbincang dengan sekuriti itu, saya tidak memetik pelajaran darinya. Jujur, saya terkesima dengan tekadnya melanjutkan pendidikan. Saya tak tahu bagaimana kualitas pendidikan yang ia jalani, saya pun tak tahu bagaimana ia menjalani hari-harinya di tempat ia belajar. Tapi yang saya tahu, tekadnya kembali ke sekolah, lebih-lebih ia membiayainya sendiri dari hasil tabungannya benar-benar menginspirasi. Seorang sekuriti yang berani melepas pekerjaan sebelumnya hanya karena ia ingin bebas memiliki hari Sabtu dan Minggu. Dua hari yang ia jalani untuk menuntut ilmu yang semoga suatu saat nanti mengantarkannya pada kehidupan yang lebih baik.


Congo in Frames

It was an obligatory visit to the Art 21 Saturday last week after I did some hall measuring for upcoming events. And what I saw there was quite someting else, photography of Congo by the photographers, Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin.

There was unexplained feeling when I stood in front of those photographs. The emotion of those portraits, the scenes, the landscapes, is just beyond words. I personally have more interest in to food (of course), travel and lifestyle photography, but Congo took my attention how to capture human beautifully. Deep and alive.




FYI, if you heard about Congo, there is two countries called Congo. The bigger one, the immense Democratic Republic of Congo, previously known as Zaire, the former Belgian colony, whose capital is Kinshasa. But Majoli and Pellegrin’s Congo is the other one, the Republic of Congo, the former French colony, whose capital is Brazzaville.

My favourite photograph is just below this sentence. How beautiful the emotion in that scene, o my word.








Ini Saja Sudah Cukup



Hari terakhir di Lagos yang sedang dibasahi hujan, saya menyempatkan melaju ke salah satu mall untuk membawa pulang dua kain Ankara untuk ibu saya dan ibu rekan saya. Tahun ini, tak seperti biasanya, oleh-oleh kerajinan lokal tak memenuhi koper. Saya hanya membawa beberapa untuk orang-orang yang sudah saya janjikan. Karena selain sudah empat kali kembali ke Indonesia, saya menekan pengeluaran sebisanya karena pasti esok saat saya transit di Abu Dhabi, godaan membawa oleh-oleh sudah bergema di seantero bandara. Sesampainya di apartemen, saya mulai menyiapkan menu buka puasa terakhir disela packing yang selalu saja menyenangkan.

Rintik hujan sore itu tak berhenti hingga lepas pukul delapan. Isya’ disana dimulai sekitar pukul 8.15. Biasanya, bila jarum jam mendekati angka delapan, saya menjemput pak Tono untuk sholat Isya dan tarawih bersama selama Ramadhan. Beliau adalah florist berpengalaman yang bekerja sama dengan saya dan tiga orang Indonesia lainnya di perusahaan. Hampir setiap malam kami berdua menyempatkan sholat Isya’ dan tarawih berjamaah dengan sekumpulan warga lokal bersuku Hausa. Hausa adalah salah satu suku besar yang mayoritas (mungkin hampir semuanya) beragama Islam.

Jangan bayangkan kami sholat di masjid atau surau kecil seperti di Indonesia. Tempat kami sholat hanyalah halaman yang cukup lapang seperti foto di atas. Halaman yang dipenuhi trailer-trailer itu adalah komplek gudang gula yang berada di lingkungan apartemen ekspatriat India. Kami hanya perlu berjalan sekitar seperempat kilo dari apartemen sendiri, melewati jalanan yang kadang masih gelap karena pasokan listrik yang belum merata. Sekumpulan warga Hausa yang notabene bekerja sebagai sopir trailer dan sekuriti itulah yang menjadi teman-teman kami selama Ramadhan. Dulu, sebelum pak Tono menemukan mereka, saya menjalankan sholat tarawih sebisanya di kamar. Di luar Ramadhan, beliau sering menghabiskan waktu untuk sholat Subuh dan Isya’ berjamaah bersama mereka sedang saya hanya sempat jika Ramadhan tiba. Itupun, hanya sholat Isya’ dan tarawih.





Tarawih bersama pak Tono dan mereka di komplek gudang gula itu memang jauh dari apa yang biasa saya temukan di Indonesia. Tanpa kipas angin atau ac yang sejuk, sajadah beraneka corak, gema adzan dimana-mana, bunch of people yang hilir-mudik dengan baju koko, sarung, dan mukena yang nampak meriah saat Ramadhan. Tapi justru, di komplek gudang itu saya menemukan nikmat tarawih yang tak biasa. Tiga gulung tikar seadanya yang selalu siap bahkan sebelum kami berdua datang, angin sepoi-sepoi yang nikmatnya masyaallah, pendaran bulan yang kadang muncul saat langit sedang cerah-cerahnya, sampai cerita-cerita renyah masa muda pak Tono yang kadang beliau ceritakan disela menunggu mereka selesai wudhu, somehow, those are the real invisible luxury.

Malam itu gerimis kembali turun sesaat sebelum kami tarawih. Karena tak memungkinkan untuk sholat di halaman terbuka, kami pindah ke dalam sebuah kontainer bekas. Mungkin hanya puji syukur yang membuat kami menemukan kenikmatan tarawih di dalam sana. Di dalam kontainer bekas yang hanya beralaskan beberapa tikar apa adanya, tanpa kesejukan dan tanpa penerangan. Mungkin benar adanya, kenikmatan kadang lebih dihargai saat kita justru tak berada di dalam kenikmatan.


Ijinkan saya menyematkan rasa syukur karena tahun ini berkesempatan menghabiskan sisa Ramadhan lagi bersama keluarga dan sahabat-sahabat di Indonesia. I cant’ ask for more. Semoga tahun depan, saya beserta keluarga, sahabat-sahabat, anda juga, berkesempatan bertemu kembali dengan Ramadhan. Amin YRA.



Surabaya, 11 Juli 2015. 

Ditulis saat saya terbangun kembali setelah terlelap tepat usai tarawih. Dan oh, lima hari sudah saya di sini, di Indonesia :).


There is one spot in this city I fell in love on my first visit. I pretty remember when me and my former flatmate went there after we had late noon meeting with our client. We met our good friend and spent an evening at Bogobiri, a small boutique hotel that offers authentic-onomatopoeic African ambiance. When we reached there, I said to myself, “this space is so ‘me’, calm, cozy, so African, and very loungy (I’m not a night club guy :P)“. After then, Bogobiri has become a perfect space to escape from my hectic world. I could spend Sunday morning there just to get some cups of coffee.

Apart of the boutique itself, Bogobiri offers the Bamboo Bar & Restaurant. The average price for the food is a bit pricey but their goat pepper soup is dangerously-must-try dish. Here, some mirrorless snaps of Bogobiri from last year (whatt? :|,’Ekabo’ on the first picture means ‘welcome’ :)).

















I’ll Bring Some For This Year

I’ve promised myself that I would bring some souvenirs only this year. I found a wide gap if I compare with what I did last year :P but the fact is, I still the same every time my annual leave is on my face, I’m excited (!!!!!!). I spent two hours at an obligatory place I always visit before I’m going home (on 5th of July), just 30 minutes after I voted the next President of Indonesia here, at the Embassy.

Below are souvenirs I took home this year, yes, for my closest friends only. Picture number one, I have no idea for who and who, I think I’ll keep for myself :P (iPhone snaps here).



Oh, I found an old book that is a terrific read for anyone interested in food and cooking last week. I haven’t read everything but like always, food photographs stole my attention. A lot of articles from member of the Guild of Food Writers I should read later, ssst it’s a discounted one :P