Jakarta is calling

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I suddenly love this bustling city of Indonesia. Beginning to fall in love with Jakarta once again even the numerous times I visited here purely for the nightlife in notorious Kota. I couldn’t help but wonder what would become of me if I were living the sordid lifestyle I had shortly after my stay in Europe. After all, I was a retired circuit party boy.
The first time I visited this city is when I was a little boy, I was 12. My dad is Javanese while my mom is an Arabic descendant. It was vague. I hardly knew any of my relatives in Jakarta or somewhat they have migrated to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore just after the second World War. The city has indeed prospered over the years but it has character.

The second time I was here was for a business trip and the third time I was here was a surprise gift from a good friend as a birthday present. That year, I did not go on a holiday for well over 14 months and he decided that would be a great gesture for me to take a break. Being the workaholic that I am, I only took a short 4 days break to this city of life.

A friend, Jessica took me to this hip and happening café smack in the middle of nowhere. The coffee I must say it’s better than Starbucks. The ambience, people, and the circulation of Indonesians are close-knit culture. Everybody knows everybody. The Indonesians are all about aesthetics. Everything revolves around it. The clothes you wear, the bag you carry, the shoe you wear, the car you are being chauffeur in and the address you lived. The first impression is the only thing you get, made a so-so first impression, forget it. Why are you fat? You are the lazy bottom line. You lazy to do something to yourself, therefore, you’re fat and chances are you are lazy to work or procrastinate a lot of tasks you’re meant to do. So there’s go your future job from a job interview or how rather they would judge you. That’s how it is here. If you’re a good looking girl from a good family background and with a good university, you are most likely to have been pair up with a good husband with family’s wealth. In my opinion… This is how I view it as an outsider into the world of Indonesian’s elite socialites.

And now, I am here again in Jakarta for the wedding of the year at Mulia Hotel at Senayan City. It was grand and it was a night to remember as the Instagram came flooding in at #togijessica hashtag. Here is pretty much like in New York when a girl coming of age is being debut into society with a debutante party. Same goes with announcing of wedding bells across page 6 of the Jakarta Posts. The marriage or rather a business partnerships of the two families are arranged and merged. Forging a fabulous new breed with each generation and so on and so forth.

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Designers Prêt-à-Porter are the quintessential essence of this series of happy events. Pretty much like a red carpet event or a fabulously put together black tie event. The world is of great vast contrasts of the poor and the filthy rich. 

Dessert cafés and hip restaurants are really the deal here. Although back home in Singapore there’s lots of places to eat, in Jakarta it’s a lifestyle. The palate of restaurants that blooms in the city one after another had become a place to be seen and spotted and perhaps being discovered by someone. I enjoyed my brief stay immensely and it was a good getaway from my slightly monotone routine.

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#restaurants #travel #dining #wedding #lifestyle #ootd #designer

Chasing a Michelin Star

I must admit I have a delectable palate and a soft spot for French cuisine. The food movement in Paris is rather relaxed and more spontaneous now rather than conservative. The chance of having the Michelin Star add on to your credentials each year put real pressure on the Chef in question. Food should be served comme il faut, as it should be and the service is done exactly as it should for the time it is being served, it’s kitchen chemistry. The first time ever I dined at the L’Atélier de Joël Robuchon, it was a victory dinner treated by my big boss. It was splendid. Michelin Star dining at its finest.

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Appetizer: Steak Tartar of salmon and trout with caviar with white truffle oil dressing.

Remember Monsieur Bernard Loiseau? The chef who’s afraid of losing his 3 Michelin Star status that he committed suicide by firearm. It happens during a lunch service at his restaurant. He was the most celebrated chef in France. Bernard Loiseau established Bernard Loiseau SA in 1998 and was the first-star restaurateur to establish the concept of having one’s restaurant incorporated and traded. At the time of his death, he was the only French chef traded on the stock exchange. I remember in one of his cooking demonstrations that he prepared frog legs with parsley and garlic purée. That is so French and his oeufs en cocotte is such a classic. Michelin has gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain the anonymity of its inspectors. Many of the company’s top executives have never met an inspector. Unlike the food critic for magazines nowadays, most would recognize them as they might have read their editorial intro page complete with a mugshot of their profile photo.

Bernard Loiseau is the only French chef traded on the stock exchange…”

But food should not be so comme il faut as they have seasons and certain ingredients are not always available all year round. The idea of losing his Michelin Star was unbearable for him and it gets into the minds of these chefs and their relentless pursuit to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist.

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A mandatory shot before I enter the premises.

“Food should be served comme il faut, as it should be and the service is done exactly as it should for the time it is being served, it’s kitchen chemistry.”

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Me in my Tai Tai get-up hahaha being touristy on set.

I managed to wake up at 4 am in the morning catching an early flight to Hong Kong seeking my Michelin Star. Well, they are serving truffles this season and I have made my reservations 3 months prior well in advance. With my Tai Tai get-up, I am ready to paint Hong Kong town red! Having arrived at the airport at 12 pm in the afternoon, all I wanted to do was sleep in my hotel suite, I was so exhausted. Note to self, no more morning flights please. I have planned my whole holiday around this.

A telephone call rang at my suite sometime next confirming my presence. I delightfully say yes and began to plan my day and my #ootd. When I arrive, I was slightly early and Micheal was to take care of me for the whole haul. He was a fair and handsome Hong Konger that has some French accent when he spoke English. There was something eloquently debonair about him. As soon as I knew that he speaks French I jump at the first opportunity. We converse in French throughout the meal. He was very attentive and he was verbally expressive. I had to cleanse my palate with a glass of champagne before I had my appetizer of steak tartar with caviar and white truffle oil. A main course of canard with foie gras and a bowl of his signature mashed potato with rich French butter and crème fraîche  oh la la… finishing my sweet endings with au chocolat truffles medallion with chocolate sauce so delicately woven like lace on linen over the fudge. To my surprise, I had some candied aniseed coated with gold and silver leaves after dinner with coffee, a sight that I have not seen since I was living in Paris. Mr. Robochon really takes this to the next level. That my friend is a truly classic French dining.

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The open concept kitchen is always non-stop busy.

Having globetrotting around Asia and dine at the various Joël Robuchon brand, I cannot deny that their food is comme il faut (as it should be) and according to a Michelin Star standards. You find perfection in our own ideology that is maintained throughout the brand. It has that certain je ne sais quoi in their foods. For now, Joël Robuchon restaurants is here to stay until someone new is taking over offering a unique plate.

#finedining #travel #hongkong #frenchcuisine #designer #galavanting #française

A Great Way to Fly

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It was my first time flying business class. Although it may seem a little bit late to be boarding the business lounge in your 40s, I have to say it was an experience and certainly will not be my last. My parents have always educate me in being thrifty with money and have taught me the values, I was raised right. I have always flown economy class throughout my life until now. 40 is probably the right age where you have a little indulgence for yourself. I don’t have a partner, I paid my apartment in full, I do not have any loans, I pay my credit card bills in full, basically I am financial-free. Decadence is calling.

The Krisflyer Lounge is a class of its own and I have never been so pampered by the leading steward who knows my name upon boarding the flight. “Oh Yes, keep the champagne coming Miss!” I said to her. She laughs soon after with a grin on her face. What have I been missing out after all these years flying economy? Now that I am single, I can afford to fly business all the time! Haha wasn’t being snooty about it but it is something that one should try at least once in their lifetime. Be warned, you might get addicted to this lifestyle. You will be checking your KrisFlyer miles on your American Express icon on your smartphone every now and then just like you would checking your Instagram account soon after you post it. Its an obsession! They designed it that way…

Singapore Airlines Business Class

Welcome to Singapore ladies and gentlemen and to all Singaporeans and residents of Singapore, a warm welcome home…”

Checking in at Terminal 3 was a bit disappointing and the chubby ground staff wasn’t too friendly. I supposed it was an early flight and I was already at the counter at 630am. He direct me to the Premium Economy counter to check in! I didn’t even get a picture taken because its not appropriate. But the experience have changed as soon as I step into the Krisflyer Lounge and onto to the A380 Airbus. Something to take note though, do not take a morning flight if you’re on your holiday. For a 4-hour flight I should be feasting a sumptuous steak lunch at 50,000 feet in the air, followed by the series of canapés and cheese and dessert course. OMG, there’s approximately 7-course meal in this flight. If you do have a chance, please use their ‘Book the Cook‘ For meals that pre-prepared and just reheating before serving, it is not bad at all. But I was somewhat frowning on their eggs benedict. Hello? Yolk must always be runny and wet not hard-boiled! I didn’t finish my plate, to show the stewardess that I am not amused with my eggs. She later offered me some pancakes or waffles with some strawberries and muesli, I was delighted. Since when they could read body language and gestures of passengers now in the airline industry? THAT’S ONE LEVEL UP!

Business Class Meals

Throughout the whole flight I was made very comfortable and the food trolley came in non-stop. There’s always something to nibble or sip during airborne. The entertainment was marvelous as I watched Nicole Kidman as Grace of Monaco. My miles have qualify me to fly to Bali on economy however I am saving it for a long-hauled to Paris sometime next year. So my head is thinking with every purchase business flight tickets I could be getting a nearby flight on economy, Bali flight I reckon its about SGD300+ Hmmm not bad actually. Something to consider each time I book for my holidays.

Aviation

You hardly feel the turbulence in this aircraft and I don’t feel anything when we are changing directions or latitude. It’s FABULOUS! I wonder how the Suites experience are like? LOL Taking off and landing was swift and smooth as well. On the way home I was lucky enough to get onboard the big ass airplane Boeing 777. I’m a happy camper!

A little over 4 hours, we were about to land, the ceiling lights changes color, an indication to cabin crew of the next step as we are about to land home. As the captain made the announcement, I am home again.

And the moment you touch down, the leading stewardess recites “Welcome to Singapore ladies and gentlemen and to all Singaporeans and residents of Singapore, a warm welcome home…” just melt my heart like warm butter sliding on a hot toast. Singapore Airlines, you’re a great way to fly.

Proud to be:

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#singaporeair #businessclass #flying #aviation #travels #wanderlust

Seeking Paradise

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I was reluctant to go for a short trip but it was my 41st birthday after all and I didn’t have anyone, I am single and miserable. My partner of almost 2 years left me for another oh well good riddance. So I finally gather up my courage to go for a solo holiday and so I go to Phuket Paradise Island! What better way to go somewhere isolated and have reflection time.

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When I reached the hotel, to my surprise everything is so beautiful and amazing. I stayed at The Hyatt Regency Resorts, trying to accumulate my hotel points for an extra night as a Hyatt Gold Passport Member. So I did. I stayed at this beautiful resort for 6 days and 5 nights with an upgrade to Club access for VIP members. The view was breathtaking. Hello, paradise! I have longed to be here in the Andaman Seas… It could have been a romantic getaway with me and my ex but a total me-time is way much better.

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My Club King room view facing the Andaman ocean is really gigantuous. The resort is serene and tranquil. Sometimes you loose the track of time wandering along the island bay.

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First day, pool time was great as the weather was perfect! So I grab my trusty Birkin and dump every sun products along with my Armani trunks and Jim Thompson sarongs and decided to have a cocktail by the pool at 11am in the morning. This is life! Who needs someone to love? Who needs to share my successes with someone? Lonely at times yes but hey, at this age I should be more focus on myself. Priority – Me. Spend and lavish the things I want for myself, not him!? I am loving the cabana beds, imagine yourself getting half naked and half drunk on Moët & Chandon rosé champagne before noon hahaha The waiter eventually brought my lunch of shrimp cocktail salad and a chill glass of chardonnay over to the cabana while I continue to laze the afternoon away with a classic Oscar Wilde Penguin book.

“Hello, paradise! I have longed to be here in the Andaman Seas…”

The hotel have a series of events that you could sign up for. Island hoping is one of them, so I did that on my 3rd day along with a buffet of spread of abundance seafood dinner. There’s yoga classes every other mornings with salutations to the sun exercise, snorkeling class, island hop, spa pampering, sight-seeing around Kamala beach in the hotel jeep in town and a few more activities.

Using a selfie stick to take images on a moving boat is a challenge! Phi Phi Islands was enchanting it was one of the place I have I wanted to go. The group took me to the place where they shoot ‘The Beach’ starred Leonardo Di Caprio but honestly the place was getting to be too touristy. I decided to snorkel instead in a natural pool bay. It was fascinating indeed. The underwater diving and snorkeling experience was really enjoyable.

“The underwater diving and snorkeling experience was really enjoyable.”

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On the 4th and 5th day, I spread out my spa treatments that I chose from their menu. Foot reflexology followed by facial and a full 2-hour body massage by this picturesque spa room. Simply divine. You are rejuvenated, recharged and reset for your next work week.

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It was an unforgettable experience staying at The Hyatt Regency Resort and that they had planned all your beach activities there not to mentioned really great meals. For a little over USD1,000 that I spent including airfare it was simply a great experience.

Leaving tips when I go home is a must. We must tip with good service within reasons. I hope you find your paradise sometime soon. A time for yourself is important for you to move on and have closure.

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#hyattregency #phuket #travels #wanderlust #hotelsuite #beach