Surabaya, Surabaya, oh Surabaya
Kota kenangan, kota kenangan
tak ‘kan terlupa..
Man, I dunno where to start.
I don’t want to bore anyone with excuses of not blogging for sometime. I think I got big enough blue blob for so many things. Shutter blues. That is the blue for taking photos. Writing blue. And that came in one package with blogging blue. I still twit, though.
Let me just shake this blue a little bit by remembering my great times in Surabaya. That might work, huh?
We went to Surabaya in May and November last year, and once again beginning this March. Boy, did it get better each time. The second time was better than the first time. The third time was better than the second time. And that, made it the best.
Everyday after class we hung out at a place called Zangrandi. A legendary ice cream corner similar to Ragusa of Jakarta. Nothing special about the ice cream, I actually didn’t really have a clear reason as to why we really enjoyed spending the rest of our afternoons here almost everyday. It was located right by a big street so the ambiance was rather noisy and Surabaya was always fiercely hot, even in the afternoon. Only few of the ice cream variants were good enough to make someone crave. And the snacks were so-so, except for one single delight: Kroket Saus Taoco. Translated as Croquette with Fermented Soybean Sauce. Although the croquette was good, I still think it didn’t sufficiently make up for other downsides. But why oh why, everytime we plunged ourselves into the pretty red low chairs there, I feel like the day was then bearable. The fatigue disappeared, the afternoon was full with laughter, happiness, comfort. As hyperbolic as it is, the fact that we kept coming back there was something real and strange at the same time. I think it’s because of the chair. It’s the chair, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s the chair.
Other than that strange phenomenon, we had classes at Toko Arvian. Pastry, Basic Cakes, Cake Decorating with Fondant, Cheesecakes, Fried Bread, etc. Really enjoyed working with Arvian’s crew. Great people, great work. Kudos to the woman who shaped the team into a solid one, Ibu Linda, the owner. A beautiful, very humble, kind hearted, charming woman. Having the opportunity to work with her and her team is indeed a great honor.
Umm… do you know how hard it is to find a really good bandrek? Bandrek is a traditional Sundanese beverage. A concoction of ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, star anise, cardamom, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and some young coconut flesh to fill in. Sometimes milk was added too. Here in Surabaya, way far from West Java where it came from, I found a good one at a retro eating place called Tempo Doeloe. It was not as perfect as the one I found in a humble hut in Puncak, but it was way better than the blend version–other name for “instant”– most places serve these days. I would have added lemongrass, star anise and corriander seeds it was lack of, but hey, couldn’t complain. It was still good and well worth trying.
I love this city by the sea, and I always will. Many more things I can tell you about her it would take hours to read. The incomparable Igor Pastry Shop, for one thing. A must-must-visit place everytime we’re in town. I lost words describing how gorgeous it was, you just have to pay a visit by yourself.
Surabaya.. di tahun empat lima
kami berjuang, kami berjuang
(Rachman A., Titiek Hamzah version)