?? Garden

Kensington Garden


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Yaaay, diving again! Tanjung Karang is a village in Donggala County, approximately one hour from Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi. It is not as famous as many other diving destinations in Indonesia such as Rajaampat, Komodo or Bali. But I believe there are many, many beautiful spots that are yet to be discovered (probably it’s better be this way. Indonesia is renowned to spoil its originally beautiful and pristine natural sites).
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Joseph, Jerry, Vera, Jeff, Adri, Gina, Frieda

Joseph, Jerry, Vera, Jeff, Adri, Gina, Frieda

I will start the story with Gorontalo: 5 days diving trip, 8 diving freaks, 1 new year’s eve, 20 fireworks (1 flew straight into our hotel terrace, almost a disaster!!), 1 wedding engagement and too-many-to-count great moments. My buddies (as usual) were: Adrijani Lim, Darwin Wibowo, Joseph Liemonta plus my girlfriend Veronica Djapardy, my brother n sis in law (Jeffrey & Regina Wirianta) and Frieda Dharmawan. Too bad, our best buddy, Dewi Wardjojo canceled joining us at the very last minute because her family was very worried about the repeated earthquakes in Sulawesi (we got so many, didn’t feel a thing and survived ;). And also my dearest buddy Meta Rostiawati, who also canceled due to her grandma sickness. Next time, Dewi and Meta dear…
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komodo_275komodo_223 Another diving trip, yaaay!

It was a perfect trip: 7 days live aboard, sunny weather with my best-buddies group., 12 of us (Dewi Wardjojo, Adrijani Liem, Darwin Wibowo, Lisa Daryonne, Spencer, Danil Tirtowidjojo, Cecilia Yuda, Zaenal, Harfi, Bonar Sitohang, Joseph and myself). And the dives? My favorite destination! (plus the big discount as we arranged the trip ourselves. Well, Adri, our beloved buddy, did it ;). We paid less than 8 millions rupiah for the dives, guides, food and the vessel).
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Vietnam, a country that I most saw and heard from Hollywood movies: blood, guns and war. So I decided to have a visit and experience it from my own point of view. I only brought my pocket camera this time.

It was a rainy season in July. The trip started from the south: Ho Chi Minh, then flying to Hoi An and ended in Hanoi. I realized then that people were more friendly in southern part of Vietnam compared to the northern part, due to its business activities.

I stayed at Majectic Hotel at the heart of Ho Chi Minh. Built in 1925, it was the oldest hotel in the city. Its collonial style gave a warm, comforting atmosphere, despite its location in the busy business district. We could see the Saigon river while having breakfast on the roof top restaurant. Quite lovely.

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I am always a big, big fan of food. So it meant a big deal during the trip. You should try pho bo tai and Vietnamese pancake at Ngon restaurant. The local beer was also quite nice, not mentioning the famous Vietnamese iced coffee, which is always very, very sweet. The other nice restaurant was Vietnam House on Dhong Khoi Street, also in collonial style.

A must-see was Cuchi Tunnels, 60 km from Ho Chi Minh. You must have heard about it: hundreds of kilometres of secret tunnels that were used to fight the Americans.

We then flew to Danang, and drove to Hoi An, in the middle part of Vietnam. I stayed at Hoi An Beach Resort (big room!) and enjoyed my complimentary dinner by the river, seeing hundreds of red candles floating, then picked up downstream by some boatmen, and let go floating again. Quite a funny job.
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I only spent 2 days in Austin. I don’t have much to say about the city, but I surely like it! It’s cozy and a bit ‘slow’. It’s also very artsy, love it!
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Another exotic wedding in 2008. I got an assignment this time: shooting a remarkable wedding on the beach in Paradise Island. It was a perfect wed: clear blue sky, perfect sunset, a romantic wedding on the beach.

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There is one ultimate reason why we should go to the Bahamas: the water. It is definitely one of the clearest I’ve ever seen. Even the harbor was clear.
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I spent a week for my sister’s wedding in Playa del Carmen. It was such a nice place, perfect for people who love the sea. Located 45 minutes from Cancun, it’s temperature is warm and breezy. If you fly from Houston, it takes only a few hours to get there. Cancun airport is also nice and organized

I stayed at Playacar Hotel, one of the Palace hotel group. A good deal they offered there. Once you checked-in, you’ll get a tag in your hand, showing that you are a hotel guest. You are allowed to do whatever you want in the hotel area, no charge at all (nice!). You name it: drinks, food, swimming-pool, mini-bar, all in. I paid $400 per night, regardless the number of people you have in one room (even better!!). And it has in-room jacuzzi too! Every night, they have a special performance. I like the fire dance the best.
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It was quite cloudy in Bandung, but I always have an uplifting feeling whenever I go back to this used-to-be-my-hometown city. Together with Lio Adrian from Susan Pro Album (who organized the event) and Widodo Gunawan, a motivational speaker, we had such a good time conducting a workshop-seminar ‘Be creative, and make more profit’ in Aug 07.
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I’ll make it short: during our diving in Pulau Weh with National Geographic Magazine for the reef check program, LUMBA-LUMBA Dive Centre gave us an annoying discrimination: we had to wait the guide to have late breakfast, they did not respond well, the guide forgot to bring his tank etc.
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