Bangkok, Thailand – 9 April 2017

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Hopping into a bus with friend’s direction

Looking for a stay around an accessible location

Affordable enough to form some actions

In a city that offers beautiful creation

I was empty, I was free

But I was not looking for some company

As I chose to keep being free

Without the drama from everybody

Who wasn’t excited to see the land?

Visited temples and ate local food with friends

I finally watched my favourite band

But I kept thinking about the end

I love the smell of a new city

Especially when people are really friendly

There are obviously few things to see

And this is how I distract the thought of our story

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The Nest

It’s Friday evening and we know that Friday is the new Saturday in the Middle East. I had a beautiful afternoon by visiting an annual exhibition around Adliya; The Market 338.

Located in Block 338 as obvious as its name, Market 338 is organized by Al Riwaq Art Space, an art gallery and cafe in the neighborhood. They have different themes this year and decided to have “The Nest” as a theme for this year’s exhibition.

For 2014, Market 338’s theme is the “The Nest”; which focuses on the concept of regenerating life in the area by planting new roots and flourishing new blooms.

Three main areas as well as the “Park” constitute the structure for this year’s Market. “The Greenhouse” is allocated to incubating new businesses; “The Patch” will provide the ideal environment for established creative entrepreneurs, and “The Botanical Garden” will provide an exhibition space for artists.

“The Nest” also aims to highlight the concept of sustainability, permaculture and gardening in Block 338. In order to do so, Al Riwaq Art Space is currently working closely with a range of designers, artists and architects to create unique natural installations throughout the Market that reflect the theme in a creative manner by combining design with gardening and agriculture to create an inspirational and memorable experience for the public.

The Market will offer a series of workshops, a music program hosted by Boho Baha and various activities for children and youth in collaboration with Project 616.

http://www.alriwaqartspace.com/events/the-nest/

See some pictures I took as they literally turned the whole block 338 into “The Nest”

it’s called the nest for a reason

Many of local crafts, fashions, and unique collections are sold around the exhibition.

Al Riwaq Art Space & Cafe, the place where it all began

Children playground

Musics are usually performed during the night

I *heart* BH

I Love Bahrain (That Day)!

Busy is such a super lame excuse but not showing you what I did during Eid-Al Adha in Bahrain is definitely a sin.

About 2 months ago, Moslems around the World celebrated one of the biggest religious holiday called Eid-Al Adha. It’s that time of the year when people around the world who can afford go to a pilgrimage in Mecca. For those who can’t afford it yet are not obligated to go.

The question is, where can you celebrate the holiday any better than the Mecca itself? As literally the country which is just right beside to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain can be on the top of the list. At least that’s what I thought.

The government of Bahrain had this pretty huge celebration all over the places during the holiday. We had 3 days of official public holiday while in Indonesia, it’s usually just one day. And as it happens every year, restaurants are full booked as the part of the culture that people like to dine outside rather than at home as Indonesian culture.

Bahrain has this beautiful big mosque called Al Fateh Grand Mosque located in the capital Manama. Instead of making it as the celebration for Muslim only, the committee had this brilliant idea of having an open house in the mosque special for expats and tourists in any beliefs for 2 days. Too awesome!

View from the street

The fountain just across the main street. The lighting is beautiful at night.

Standing magnificiently as the 6,500 square meters, The mosque was built by the late Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa in 1987 and was named after Ahmed Al Fateh, the conqueror of Bahrain. It is located next to the King Faisal Highway which is pretty much one of the main highways that can be easily accesed. It was actually pretty closed to my home so I just needed around 30 minutes of walking to get there.

The whole Mosque with a little bit Isa Cultural Centre in the background.

Al Fateh Grand Mosque

Once I arrived, all the visitors had to entered a giant tent where we had to do a registration. Many people from all over the World were there. There were a couple of Russians beside me as we had a little conversation while we were waiting for the tour guide. At first, as always, they thought that I was Filipino and asked me to wait for the Tagalog speaking tour guide, but since the only Tagalog that I know was all swearing words, I chose to tell them, again, as always, that I am an Indonesian. Despite of that, It was pretty organized that they have tour guides who spoke English, Arabic and also Hindi and Tagalog as the majority of expats who live in Bahrain are from those countries that speak both language. My first impression was really neat. They even provide an abbaya for women who came there wearing short pieces.

As our tour guide asked us to follow, we entered the Mosque through the main door. They gave us map and explained that there were around 16 booths that we could visit as we wish with some really interesting information all around the corners. The booths were various from General islamic knowledge like Hajj and Quran, scientific information like Science in Islam and of course some fun like photo booth and food corner.

Firstly, we were brought to the main praying area which was a really big square room with such a beautiful interior. Our tour gruide introduced himself that he was from Uzbekhistan and told us general information about the mosque. We were informed that the huge dome built on top of the Al-Fatih Mosque is constructed entirely of fiberglass. Weighing over 60,000 kg, the dome is currently the world’s largest fiberglass dome. The marble used in the floors is Italian and the chandelier is from Austria. The doors are made of teak wood from India. Throughout the mosque are calligraphy writings in a very old type of style called Kufic. It was surely such a fancy Mosque!

Look at that giant chandelier!

The main prayer area.

The Holy Quran.

Visitors were divided into groups and women should cover their body parts except face.

One of the tour guides were telling us some information about the Mosque history

My throne. Kinda.

People were praying Asr, the third prayer in the day. It goes from Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha.

After several questions and answers, we were pleased to explore the Mosque as we like, visited the booths that we wanted. I found out that the committee were not just from Bahrain. People from all over the World all could volunteer. There was an american man became a speaker in Hajj booth, A Filipino boy my age were helping at the photo booth, I even met an Indonesian-Malaysian friend who was also volunteering the event.

Free finger foods for everyone!

A native is pouring an Arabic coffee to a visitor.

Fresh Arabic coffee, anyone?

The outdoor area was surrounded by some posters. Look at those beautiful marbles.

I don’t look fat, do I?

One of the posters with interesting paragraphs.

It doesn’t look good on me.

And this is even worse for me.

Relaxing booth. The fabric is Bahrain’s authentic.

As I get there pretty late and it ended at 4 PM, I just get to visit several booths. But to be honest it was a real fun. Everything was well organized. Everyone was really warm and welcome as they really respect diversity and people from other religions. This can totally be a great example of some big iconic Mosque in Indonesia.

The Isa Cultural Centre just 100 metres away

It was a pretty hot day, a t-shirt should save the day.

The main door

*******

As it was too late for the Mosque and too early to just went home, I decided to continue the adventure to Bab Al Bahrain. Once upon a time, the place which is also called as Manama Souq was the centre of Bahrain civilization, even maybe until now, as it is located right in the heart of Manama. I have had written about a really nice breakfast experience here, but this time I visited it evening time which gave kinda different vibe, especially since it was Eid time and more people visited the place.

Kingdom of Bahrain’s centre of civilization.

The buildings around

It was a quite busy night

The alley

One of the stores. Manama Souq was also famous for souvenir’s shopping

Some old pictures of The Souq

The gate from inside

I went there by Bus and took a cup of coffee right after I arrived. It turned out there was a folk band playing in the Souq so I was just there watching it with the rest of the people which was surprisingly a lot. The band was playing inside the big hall in the Souq. It was the first time ever I saw a traditional Arabic band playing in real life and it was pretty fun. Everyone was dancing happily as the music played. I finally felt like I was in a foreign country!

I believe it must be such a heavy door

The hall inside the Souq

People are watching the Folk Band

Overall, that was actually one of my best days in Bahrain. I really explored the local iconic place and experienced the native culture. I give my thumbs up as the whole thing was organized by the Ministry of Tourism. There were actually more things going on like Leona Lewis concert and another concert in Tree of Life which was quite far. But hey, I was trully satisfied with the day so yeah, I loved Bahrain (that day)!

I *heart* BH

Burberry Boys

Everyone who follow fashion knew that Burberry has been always committed to support the British young musicians. The music itself has a really important role in all of Burberry Fashion Shows. People worldwide are always waiting which music from which artists will they use and BOOM, they will just be famous because of the fashion show. They even have this cool project on youtube which is called Burberry Acoustic. They’re featuring a full song of British indie bands on their youtube channel and their music are totally amazing, the creative director Christopher Bailey really has a brilliant taste of music which is totally in line with the brand itself. Totally Best of British.

Recently, Burberry has stepped up their game by not only playing a recording music in their famous Kensington Gardens, the venue for all fashion shows as their authenticity. They literally bring the musicians themselves to perform live during the Fashion Shows. In our Man (Men in this case) Crush Monday this time, I am introducing you three young musicians that will make yourselves crazy about their style, and of course their musics. Here we go!

1. Tom Odell

Burberry had used his music several times before we were really WOWed by the surprise performance of his in the fashion show. It was the Women’s wear Autumn Winter 2013 collection where it started. The model who opened the show was Fashion’s It-Girl Edie Campbell, followed by bunch of gorgeous models with the amazing collections. The recorded music was playing beautifully in the background until all of a sudden a major change happened when the wall was opened with Tom Odell on the piano and two lines of backing vocal were there played directly of Odell’s hit “Hold Me”. The moment was magical and the room was filled with excited applause. It was totally one of the best Fashion Shows this decade.

2. George Ezra

I fell in love with George Ezra’s music since the first time I heard his Benjamin Twine playing at the beginning of Autumn Winter 2014 collection. But the real time he gave me goosebumps was when he sang live at the beginning of Burberry Celebrates London in Shanghai show. He was performing one of my most favourite songs “Did You Hear The Rain” with his guitar and a really cool visual effect that Burberry created for the show. His strong deep voice blended in perfection as every tones and lyrics came to my heart through my eyes. George Ezra is such a complete package.

3. James Bay

The currently most-talked-about Burberry performer as he just played for the whole Women’s wear Spring Summer 2015 collection last month in London Fashion Week. His signature long hair and fedora hat stole the attention with his pretty face and magical voice since the first time he played his guitar and performed “Clocks Go Forward”. As the show went on, he continued to play my most favourite of his songs “When We Were On Fire” and closed the show with “Scars”. James Bay didn’t have a wikipedia article by the time he performed at Burberry which totally sucked but thank again to Christopher Bailey and Burberry for introducing him to us and made us fell in love right away. He will surely be the next big thing!

A Year To Remember

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It seemed so long ago yet feel like yesterday, always the same classic thing about time for me. I still remember clearly that Friday night, September 25th, 2013. My family drove me to the airport and bunch of my best friends, people who actually cared about me waited there already just to give me goodbye hugs and kisses before my departure from a hometown for quite a long time, the place that I’ve been living for exactly a year this month.

So here’s the thing with having a lot of friends everywhere: you know that there will be a lot of people who are there for you when you need them, but once you need to go or come back from a really long travel, there are a lot of people that you need to meet as well, but I love it anyway. My flight to Bahrain was actually on the October 1st but I had things going on in Jakarta, the place that I called a second home. Besides meeting with some friends, I managed myself to attend the Pre Departure Training for the Indonesian volunteers of CWY, the program that kinda had a big role of both my social life and career.  Exactly on D-Day, several besties from the program accompanied me to the airport. I called my mom the second before I got to the plane and there I flew with big dreams, all the way to Middle East.

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With the Pontianak’s gang at the airport

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Pre Departure Training of Indonesia – Canada Youth Exchange Program 2013. Stopped by here first before Bahrain. It was the day when most of the cool committees wore yellow coincidentally.

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The minute before I headed to the airport. Glad to be able to catch up with some pals.

OK, despite of the really crappy service and food in Sri Lanka Airlines that I flew with, I think we’re all agree that our excitement of getting to a new place will tolerate any crazy things that happened before hand. I was even too excited to realize that people at the airport’s arrival were kinda *sorry*messy*cough*, you know, some people even were grouping and sat in circle, not necessarily at the corner, but literally anywhere they could find big enough space for them to sit on. That was pretty tacky. But whatever though, the company’s driver was waiting for me outside and in a second, I’ll just step me bare foot for the first time on the Arab land. Fancy!

The travel from the airport to my flat was pretty fun. The city looked tidy and neat but of course, it was pretty hot. I had a little bit of a jet lag because Bahrain is 4 hours behind of Western Indonesia time and went to bed right after. Yes it was a year ago. I repeat, a year ago. A year is the longest time that I didn’t see my family and best friends in person. A year is the longest time that I worked with the same company. A year is the longest time that I stay in a place without any travelling by Plane. When I woke up this morning, a year after I arrived here, there were way more new memories created that I need to share to the readers of this blog, well, if there are any, anyway. But yeah, it’s a 10 hours flight from Indonesia so of course there are way few significant difference between the cultures, the weather, the nature, and any other things that might be predictable or even can surprise you. So here we go again with the breakdown below.

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Al Fateh Grand Mosque. One of Bahrain’s landmarks.

1. Sunday Is The New Monday

The first thing that surprised me from the first day of work was the fact that the weekend in Bahrain, and all Middle Eastern countries are Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Friday. This happens because Friday is a big day of Moslem, it’s like the Moslem version of Christian’s Sunday or Jewish’ Saturday and there will be a prayer at a noon time which is a compulsory to be done by males at the mosque. Friday is also the day of hospitality, to connect and greet each other, so that’s why several stores are also closed on Friday. Saudi Arabia even used to have their weekend on Thursday and Friday but changed to the same day as Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and other Arabs now. So yeah, my week starts on Sunday.

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Bahrain WTC Tower

2. It Does Have Winter!

One of the most famous stereotypes of Middle East is of course that it’s all desert and hot. It might be my own mistake for not being thoughtful and stupidly thought that it would be a forever summer in  Middle East, just like in Borneo where I’m from. But you know what, it’s completely wrong! It started in November and you can’t just go out without any long sleeve on. We have rainy season in Indonesia in the months that ended with “er” (September-December) but the cold is tolerable. Going out with tees and short in those months won’t be a fashion crime. I have way too many of winter clothes that I brought from Canada which could have been nice if only I brought here with me for the Middle Eastern winter. Well, lesson learned though, it’s just another excuse to shop more.

The first rain in November 2013. Bahrain only has rain in November and December in throughout the year.

3. Multicultural (?)

You will be surprised of how plenty of locals that you can meet in the street. Seriously, when you eat in the restaurant, your waiters will be Indian or Filipino. most of other nations who live here are maybe Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and people from other neighboring countries like Persian or Lebanese. If you think that you’ll master Arabic pretty soon, you’re kinda wrong. Everyone speaks English. Bahrain is a really small Island with only 1.234.571 inhabitants and 54% of it are interestingly non Bahraini. As an Indonesian, people always mistakenly think that I’m Filipino which is sometimes really annoying. If I eat in the restaurant and the waiter is Filipino they will just talk in Filipino without any double checking. When I said I’m not Filipino they’ll always say: “Ohh, you look like Filipino.” I used to answer nicely like “Yeah, we’re both from South East Asia” or “You look like Indonesian too” but the more I got that, my answer would be like: “Well yeah, and Korean looks like Japanese, American looks like Canadian, and Kenyan looks like Nigerian.” which most of them might not really understand the sarcasm as well. Duh. I mean, it’s not a bad thing for them to think I’m not Indonesian. But yeah, I’m just too proud of my own Nation and wish that people should ask first, it will be much more polite. The other thing is that here, the word ‘oriental’ means related to Indian things, not like in any other place of the World where it refers to Chinese thing. Interesting, eh?

Some people who still prayed in the middle of a cultural festival located in Prince Salman Bin Khalifa Park

4. The New Vegas

Alcohol is forbidden in most of Arab countries but Bahrain took that as an advantage. They legalize alcohol, even with strict permission, so that it attracts people from neighbor countries. I call Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as the Arab Weekend where many people visit Bahrain especially from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait because they are the closest and to just have some fun. Going to the bar and club or just enjoying fancy restaurants with the best wines. These people spend lots of money for the entertainment and fashion. It’s no secret that Arabics are really wealthy. So yeah, this is kinda like The Vegas of Middle East.

5. Closet and Bidet

In western culture, people use closet and clean their genitalia and inner buttocks with toilet paper when they are done. It is also common in several countries in Europe to have bidet in their lavatory so that they can clean with water. In Indonesia, we used to have squat closet which had been changed to seat toilet in more modern houses. But all seat toilets are always accompanied by a water hose because we’re just not used to clean only with toilet paper and so that we don’t need bidet anymore. Here in Bahrain. I notice that in every single house that I’ve been, they have both seat toilet with water hose and bidet side by side. If they can clean with water from the hose, why do they need bidet anymore then? I just assume myself that it might be for washing their feet if we wanna take wudhu (washing your body parts before you pray in Islam) which I have the function to myself. So I wash other body parts in the sink and wash my feet in the bidet so that the floor will still be dry.

 

Those are pretty much some major highlights. Other than that are maybe just some minor details that most of us know already. But anyway, I want to mention also that the locals here are really kind and friendly. Despite of their own clashes with two religious groups, they treat expats and tourist, whether moslem or not really nicely. I have to raise two of my thumbs for their amazing hospitality.

Above all of these, this past year had been a really valuable learning and experience for me. As a person who love to see the new places and their cultures, Bahrain has contributed many things that I’m sure will be affecting my future socially and professionally. I’ve been to some cool places as well so why don’t we take a look of some pictures I’ve been in.

The Birthday Boy, or Should We Say Man?

August 12, 1990 - August 12, 2014

August 12, 1990 – August 12, 2014

What can I say? I’m old! 24 is like a big number for a person who live on Earth, don’t you think?

This has been a really interesting life for the past 24 years life of Feby. Need I say more? Of course darling, I’m gonna be telling you all.

Well, since forever as far as I remember, I always got a birthday cake surprise on my birthday. I got even 2 cakes the past 2 years (You know you love me!) but here and then, on D-day of my 24th which might not be that important number but still, it’s a birthday, I was just all by myself without anyone, anyone, once again, anyone to celebrate with. As we all know I’ve been living in the Middle East for the past 10 months and I intentionally did not tell anybody from my workplace about my birthday (personal reason).

Some Birthday Cakes The Past Years

Some Birthday Cakes The Past Years

Bahrain is 4 hours behind Western Indonesia so since 8 PM of August 11th, I got tons of birthday messages already. It continued until the actual day that not just messages, pictures, and videos were also made especially for me. Sweet! But then what did those sweet wishes for if I couldn’t actually celebrate with them? But then again it’s Feby, I don’t wait for the party, I am the party! (Well, at least that’s what the horoscope said).

I took the day off that day since I planned the things I would do on my birthday since a week before. I woke up with dozens of message, including one from my Mom and my sister (God knows I miss my family). I replied all of them and I felt like I was virtually surrounded by many people who cared about me, no matter how far my distance was. I think that was also one of the highlight of my 24 years life that friendship had such a very important role for me socially and professionally. They say friends are like stars, you can’t always see them but you always know that they’re always there. Lucky me, I have much enough stars.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Fancy Box!

Fancy Box!

 

Remembering that I always got some cake every other year, I bought myself one delicious Red Velvet Cupcake from Lola’s Cupcakes the previous day. Put a candle and pour some chocolate chips, voila, there was a self-treat mini cake. And I just finished it in like, 10 seconds. Lola’s Cupcakes was always the best though.

 

 

 

 

Right after, I prepared myself to had another real birthday self-treat. But there was one problem: I wasn’t sure of which I should wear. I got the basic idea of the main look. I didn’t know why but I felt something green. Maybe just because I just had this cool olive green shorts that I really liked. Besides the shorts, the fixed items that I would wear were the boots and tote bag. There were 4 total look that I tried to mix and match and I posted it on path to ask for some friends’ opinion and decide to get a more casual look with a little touch of class.

Casual

Casual

Classy

Classy

Preppy

Preppy

The Final Outfit

The Final Outfit

I headed to Seef Mall area, my most favourite mall in the Kingdom and stopped by in Le Chocolat. It’s a really cool french cafe & restaurant with tons of desserts choice that will make you just wanna stay there forever. Totally heaven on earth. I sat at the far corner where I could seethe whole place entirely, with the scenery of Manama afternoon road on my left. What a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. I stupidly didn’t take some pictures of the place because there were just bunch of people looking at me (I thought maybe because of my shorts were little too short or something. But bitches please, it’s summer and they’re called as shorts for a reason!) and I was suddenly got a little bit uncomfortable of getting more attention by taking pictures. However, I had this picture of the outdoor area from my visit earlier around 2 months ago.

Throwback: Le Chocolat outdoor 2 Months Ago. Was I in Paris or  what?

Throwback: Le Chocolat outdoor 2 Months Ago. Was I in Paris or what?

But now is the most exciting part: The meals!

I chose my meal quite fast actually, I wanted some Garlic Breads for my appetizer and I had been craving for salmon earlier so I knew what to choose for my main dish: Grilled Salmon all the way! I ordered the french authentic creme brulee but to match my green blazer, I ordered this Pistachio Creme Brulee and whispered to the waitress: “can you please write Happy Birthday Feby with it, dear?” She smiled and said yes. Alright alright. Couldn’t wait for it.

When my appetizer arrived, I was surprised that the garlic bread came with the shape of big pizza. There were literally 8 big slices of it and it was definitely not the portion of 1 person, which was great. I had all of them for myself. Yay.

Garlic Bread with Cheese and Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic Bread with Cheese and Virgin Olive Oil

I always love bread, especially with the cheese in it and those breads were delicious. It was not like the best bread in the World, but it was totally fine. I mean, it’s kinda hard to compare things like garlic bread, isn’t it? They just taste the same everywhere for me but this is actually the first time of me having the pizza shaped garlic bread with the pizza dough. It was interesting and I liked it. The thing is it was too big and I couldn’t have more than 3 pieces because I wanted to save same space for my salmon. And also, I couldn’t eat that much if my drink hadn’t arrived yet. That was one thing that kinda bugged me. The drink should always come first when you eat anywhere, but my Iced Tea (yeah, I just ordered a simple Iced Tea!) wasn’t on my table even after they delivered my main course. It was quite upsetting that I needed to ask for it because I definitely didn’t want to start eating without my drink nearby. They finally gave it after around 5 minutes of waiting.

Grilled Salmon, and yes, that little spot bugged me!

Grilled Salmon, and yes, that little spot bugged me!

The Birthday Lunch

The Birthday Lunch

On the other hand, the salmon looked so good. There were just a simple mistake that I thought not supposed to happen. My plate wasn’t clean. No, not because of dirt, there was just this small spot of oil and something like a salmon skin on the plate. This might be alright for other people, but I wished they wiped it before they brought it to the guest. Especially because I wanted to take the picture and the clean plate was more preferred.

The salmon had some vegetables with it: potato, cucumber, carrot, and long bean. The first slice of my salmon was totally amazing, I really loved the taste of it. The second slice, I dipped it into the sauce. It was just OK. There was nothing wrong about it, I just wished the sauce is a little bit thicker. The vegetables were great too, especially the potato. Another comment was just the carrots were still a little bit hard. Just a little bit softer carrot would be great. I finished all except the sauce and the carrot by the way. This might be weird but as any fish, I loved it’s skin more than the meat (or flesh? which word should I use for fish again?) and I was pretty happy with my salmon skin!

It’s the time for the best part: Dessert!

I told the waiter for my Pistachio to be delivered. But then 3 minutes later, I heard some crowd were singing and there came the whole waiters of the restaurant singing happy birthday while bringing my cake. Oh my God that was so embarrassing for me! I mean, who went to the restaurant all by himself and ordered a birthday cake for himself? That was pathetic, I know! LOL! And then I got this idea. At first I waved at them and said “No…No…!” and they were confused. One of them came to me and asked whether it was a wrong cake or not and I had to act and said: “Oh my God I’m so sorry, I should have told you. It is my cake but I’m not the one who is having a birthday. I just wanna take the picture for my sister’s birthday.” I thought that my acting was convincing enough that they believed and laughed about it. So then they just delivered me the cake without any more singing. LOL.

Pistachio Creme Brulee

Pistachio Creme Brulee

Happy Hippie Birthday!

Happy Hippie Birthday!

The highlight of this restaurants is definitely the cake! It looked so good and tasted even better. I love the smell, and the texture of it as well. I had this called Pistachio Melo-Melo, which was kinda the same thing in Cafe Lilou but I think the one that Le Chocolat had was the champion for the taste but Cafe Lilou had more appetizing look with the chocolate layer with it. I finished it in only around 5 minutes.

Over all, experience in Le Chocolat was always fun. It was like maybe the third time I visited there and their desserts always made me happy. I absolutely will come back for more. After that, I directly headed to Seef Mall just across the street to have self-shopping treat, hunted some discount and got some amazing fashion pieces to myself. Definitely gonna wear them later and post it here.

 

That was some pieces of my lonely 24th birthday experience in the Middle East. Food, Fashion, and Fun all in one. Still couldn’t believe that time flies and I am literally a year away from being a quarter century old. I take this as the new stage which I really need to step up my game, doing something more useful for my life and others. Travel to more places, and making the plan of the whole GCC trip to be true. A lot of things have been achieved, but more things to pursue. Feby is making his mark to the World, bitches!

 

Happy Birthday, Feb!

XXOX.

 

Shorts & Boots: Topman, Belt: Bershka, Tote Bag: Zara, T-Shirt: H&M, Blazer: Pull & Bear, Jumper: Massimo Dutti, Shirt: Azzaro

 

Notes: Unlike any other fashion & food blogs, I didn’t really comfortable of showing me wearing the clothes. I’m a writer, not a model who has that amazing photographer to take my beautiful picture. I didn’t put the price of the food on purpose to make you curious. Come to Le Chocolat by yourself to have your own experience.

Behind the Ramadhan & Eid Mubarak

It has been day 7 after Ramadhan. It might be a little bit late but I would like to say Happy Eid Mubarak for those who celebrate it. I believe most of you had a really happy celebration back then. And by most of you means not all of you. We all know that some of our brothers and sisters all over the World had to have a quite hard times during Ramadhan & Eid, if you know what I mean. Let’s have a moment together to pray of the World peace and can’t we all just be normal friends that doesn’t involve any murder for God’s sake! Mind my temper.

Anyway, speaking about Ramadhan & Eid, I didn’t had the best time either this year. I know, I know you’re all gonna be saying “Wait, aren’t you in an Arabic country? The experience must be more real over there!”

First of all let me explain to you that Arab and Islam is a two total different think. Arab is what people call some Countries around Middle East with ruling governments and their people. But Islam, is a religion that every single one in any corner of the World can believe in, not only for people in Arab Countries can be Islam. Ramadhan & Eid, is an Islamic celebration, not Arabic celebration. So make no mistake just because you don’t live in Arab countries, doesn’t mean that you can’t have what you call as the real Ramadhan & Eid experience. What’s that real experience supposed to mean, anyway? Duhhhh.

Back again to my story, this year’s Ramadhan and Eid was the very First time in my 23 years of life to be away from home. Separated 6931 Kilometers away, I felt like there were some socially different ways between Ramadhan & Eid in Bahrain and Indonesia as I will describe below.

1. Restaurants & Cafes policy

If you own a restaurant, or you work in a restaurant in Indonesia, Ramadhan will be one of the busiest time of the year, especially after Iftar. As a country which is not ruled by the syariah law and recognize some other religions other than Islam, restaurants, cafes, and any other public place to eat are legally open during the day time when Moslems are fasting, and everybody are just fine. Ramadhan is usually used as the time for gathering. It’s either family gathering, office, school, tons of reunions from your elementary until college friends. I remember I had more than a half time of Ramadhan for tons of iftar invitations out of home that made my mom a little bit mad. #SorryMama. This whole thing, causes the restaurant business to be on top of their games. Imagine, wherever you go, restaurant will be busy and full booked in most of cities in Indonesia. This is the culture that I really miss. To meet some old friends while spilling some old secrets and jokes. Especially for me and my close friends, going Karaoke after iftar feast is a must!

But then in Bahrain, think later if you want to open your restaurant during daytime. Even if you just hold a bottle of water, man you’re gonna be in some serious business. Zero place to eat is open during the daytime (So stock your food if you are not fasting!). Iftar? Well, not really either. Apparently Ramadhan is the least busy time of the year in Bahrain. People here do not really have a culture that they will go out for outside iftar with their friends and relatives. Thus, some restaurants are even closed for the whole month. Many of them use this least busy “opportunity” to do some renovations to their restaurants so they will have a kinda new look for after Ramadhan. Most people are going out outside after tarawih (a special preayer that we just do in Ramadhan). Malls and Parks will be busy as they’re open until just before sahur. Interesting, eh?

Eventough the Malls were open from morning, the restaurants were closed and started to open on iftar time

Eventough the Malls were open from morning, the restaurants were closed and started to open on iftar time

2. Alcohol Banning

As a country who legalize Alcohol to be sold in permitted places, Ramadhan is an exception in Bahrain. It is extremely illegal to sell any Alcohol or anything that contains alcohol at all. This year’s Ramadhan was somehow a coincidence with the kids’ summer holiday. No alcohol, a god damn hot weather, not really much business happening, most expats chose to leave the country for a moment to escape, and maybe have some champagne 😉

3. Timing

Geographically, Indonesia is located right in the middle part of the Equator line (And I don’t understand why aren’t we called as the Middle Eastern instead). So in terms of timing, there is no significant time different throughout the years. It makes us always have the same time every year to do fasting and having prayer. Indonesian fasting is usually done from the sunrise around 4 AM until sunset before 5.45 PM. In the middle of summer heat, we actually had to fast longer here. The sun raised earlier around 3.15 AM and set later 6.35 PM with a hotter weather.

Also for the Eid prayer. Indonesians usually do it around 7 AM but since the Sun raised earlier in summer, they do it around 5 AM. Way too Early for the Indonesians. LOL. Luckily the Indonesian Embassy also held the Eid prayer and thank God it followed the Indonesian time at 7 AM. We were also treated some Indonesian Eid-special food by the embassy as their way to make us feel like home. Thank you Indonesian Embassy!

4. Eid Tradition

For Moslems in Indonesia, Eid is probably the most anticipated day in a year. It’s a big celebration day after a full month of fasting in Ramadhan when the whole family are gathering together. As it is most associated as a holly day and people are supposed to have zero sin (start again from the beginning as like we’re reborn), We have to make it socially too instead of just to God. People are supposed to apologize and forgive each other, especially the ones they no most so there won’t be anymore hurt inside their feeling if there was any. This moment makes Indonesian family have this tradition where they go to their family’s relatives’, and neighbors’ houses and have a nice chit chat or doing things they like together. The hype of Indonesian Eid can last to 3-4 days, can be so much more in smaller towns due to their big culture.

In Bahrain, I don’t really know exactly but as I heard, they also go to their family’s house but maybe not as intense as in Indonesia. You know how I know? Restaurants are super busy on the day of Eid! The official public holiday was 3 days and all the seats in any restaurants were full booked. It was maybe some kind of a revenge of the past month where people barely eat in the restaurant. Many restaurants were interestingly had some DJs to entertain the guests on Eid night. It is so interesting that we don’t really have those things going on. Indonesians Eid is more cultural, religious, and intimate. The province capitals will be less crowded as people will go home just for Eid in their hometown (What I understand is that Bahrain is such a small country that you can just travel the whole country in just 2 hours, so the whole land is hometown). It was a totally different feeling of having the two Eids in two different Countries. I would for sure chose to spend it home but it was also interesting to discover more tradition.

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Malls and Restaurants were the most crowded place during Eid

Overall, the experience had been just fine. It was sad that I could not make it home but you know, this heart of mine is made to travel the World. I enjoy getting a new experience in a new place and who knows in which place will I spend my Ramadhan and Eid next year (and oh yeah, I am open for any invitations. haha).