Last month, I attended APRICOT 2013 in Singapore. It has been a long time since I attended APRICOT or any other APNIC events. The last time I attended APRICOT was in 2010 when it was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Therefore, it was nice to meet some old and new friends during the event.
As usual, I attended only the conference and not the workshop. Some of the interesting topics discussed during the conference were:
- Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), which is designed for Internet routing security to prevent route hijacking or blackholing;
- Software-Defined Networking (SDN), which is an approach to provision network connections on-the-fly, normally within cloud computing and virtualisation environment;
- DNSSEC, in a bid to secure the DNS (Domain Name System); and
- Last but not least, IPv4 exhaustion and the (very slow) deployment of IPv6.
This weekend, I will be going to Jakarta, Indonesia to attend Traceroute Party. This is one of the biggest gathering events related to the (very big) Indonesian Internet community, with telcos, NAPs, ISPs, content providers, game providers, Internet communities, bloggers and the Internet users in general, are expected to attend. There will be 300 exhibitors, talk-shows, workshops and last but not least, many indie bands performing live. This even is hosted by IDC Indonesia.
I will make use of the opportunity to hang around and get together with some old friends, and make some new friends as well. Some of my friends from the Indonesian ISP and Internet industry are expected to be there. I hope to meet some of my old friends during the RADNET era. Most of my friends in BemoNet community will also be there, since BemoNet has 3 booths at the event, and we don’t have any idea on how to make use of the booths. ;P I will also make the opportunity to meet some friends from the RKTI and BlogFam communities as well.
See you in JCC this weekend. :)
I spent the New Year’s eve in Bintan, Nirwana Garden Resorts in Bintan Resorts, Lagoi, to be exact, and spending the last day of 2011 shuttling (islands hopping, to be exact) between Bintan and Batam. Going through the change of year with mixed feelings, here’s the story.
Towards the end of 2011, I was informed that my brother’s family would be spending New Year’s eve in Bintan Resorts, and that my parents are going with them. And my mother specifically requested me to join them to celebrate the new year there. I then decided to go with my son Irza, while my wife and my daughter Inka are staying in Singapore.
My brother and his family and my parents arrived in Bintan on Friday (30/12). They took a flight from Jakarta to Batam, and then caught the speedboat from Telaga Punggur in Batam to Tanjung Uban in Bintan. There used to be a direct ferry from Telaga Punggur to Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) ferry terminal in Bintan Resorts, but for some reason, the ferry service was not operational.
I and Irza left Singapore for Bintan on Saturday morning (31/12). We took the 9am ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) in Singapore, and arrived in Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal at 9am Bintan (WIB) time. This was when the bad news came in.
When we boarded the shuttle bus which would bring us from the ferry terminal to the resort, my brother called. He said that my mother fell off the electric bicycle she was riding, and she fractured her arm. When I and Irza arrived in the Nirwana Resort Hotel where we are staying, we immediately went to the hotel’s clinic to check my mother’s condition.
Going back to the hotel’s clinic reminded me of another unpleasant experience I had couple of years back there. When I was swimming on the sea with the kids, my foot was bitten by some kind of a poisonous fish, and I needed to spend couple of hours in the clinic to get the venom taken off my foot.
While the hotel doctor has tried her best to put a bandage for my mother’s arm, it’s not sufficient. The hotel clinic doesn’t have X-ray equipment, so my mother needs to go to the nearest hospital which has the equipment, as well as the specialized doctor who can further check her condition. Luckily, she has a friend in Batam who can arrange for an orthopaedic doctor to check my mother’s condition in Awal Bros hospital in Batam.
I then accompanied my mother and my father to go to Batam, after leaving Irza in Bintan under my brother’s care. We took a pre-arranged taxi to Tanjung Uban, from where we took a chartered speedboat to Telaga Punggur in Batam. From Telaga Punggur, we took another pre-arranged taxi to go directly to Awal Bros hospital’s emergency department.
My mother had her arm being X-rayed and the result was not good. She had three bones fractured on her left arm, and most probably would need to undergo operation. I was prepared to spend the new year in Batam when my father decided that he is bringing my mother back to Jakarta so that she can have better treatment (including operation, if necessary) there.
My parents’ Lion Air tickets to Jakarta was for the next day (1/1)’s flight, and I tried calling Lion Air hotline in Batam in a hope to change the tickets to the current day (31/12), but there was nobody picking up the phone. So we decided to go to Garuda Indonesia office located in i Hotel Batam, located near Nagoya Hill, to purchase new airline tickets to Jakarta so that my parents can fly to Jakarta on the same day.
Since my parents decide to go back to Jakarta on that day, I then had to go back to Bintan, and I needed to go back fast since the speedboats from Telaga Punggur to Tanjung Uban only operate during daylight. After sending off my parents at Hang Nadim airport in Batam and had a quick (very late) lunch at Singgalang Jaya padang restaurant there, I took a taxi to Telaga Punggur (Rp 65k). Finally I managed to secure a seat on a 4:30pm speedboat to Tanjung Uban (Rp 30k + Rp 7k tax). It was a bumpy ride to Tanjung Uban with choppy waters and a full-house boat with standing passengers.
My brother had arranged for a taxi to pick me up at Tanjung Uban jetty back to Nirwana Gardens, although I needed to wait for around 30 minutes until the taxi arrived. We had a brief stop in a sate Madura stall in front of the At-Taqwa grand mosque in Tanjung Uban, before arriving in Nirwana Resort Hotel, in time for the gala dinner and the new year’s countdown party.
It was one of the great countdown parties ever. Great gala dinner, and we also won one of the lucky prizes. Awesome live band, and great fireworks over the sea off Bintan during the countdown. But still, we celebrated the new year with mixed feelings, since at the same time, my mother arrived in Jakarta and directly checked-in to Fatmawati hospital.
The next day (1/1), I and Irza took the 2:35pm ferry back to Singapore, while uncle Arief , auntie Via, Alif and Kayla went back to Jakarta via Batam using the same route: taxi to Tanjung Uban, speedboat to Telaga Punggur, taxi to Hang Nadim airport and then the Lion Air plane back to Jakarta.
At the moment, my mother is still warded in Fatmawati hospital, and currently is undergoing pre-op examination. She might be undergoing operation on her left arm in 3-4 days.
Mohon doa dari rekan-rekan sekalian untuk kesembuhan beliau.
Happy New Year to everyone!
This article is part of our Europe Trip series:
1. From Singapore to Paris via Dubai
2. Châtenay-Malabry, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Tour
On Tuesday morning, 2 June 2009, a Kide dropped us off at the nearest RER station around Châtenay-Malabry, Robinson (pronounced: ro-bang-song). Our first destination for the day is the centre of the Paris: the Île de la Cité island and its most famous attraction: Notre-Dame cathedral. Since we enter the Robinson station from the side entrance, we had to use the automated machine to buy the tickets for the RER train, using Euro coins since the machine doesn’t accept notes. Luckily, we had enough coins. Only couple of later then we found out that at the main entrance, there’s a ticket counter where we can buy tickets using notes. :P
RER trains charge by zones, so we had to check on which zones the starting and destination station are located, to ensure that we purchase the correct tickets according to the number of zones travelled. We can either buy single-trip (one-way) tickets, return tickets or a carnet of 10 tickets (with discounted price) which can be shared by different passengers. If you’re not sure, you can just go to the ticket counter and inform the staff your destination station, and the staff will advise you on the price.
The Robinson station is on a branch’s end of RER line B, so we took the train towards the city and we alighted at St. Michel – Notre Dame station, the RER station closest to the Île de la Cité island. It was the first time we used public transportation in Paris, and we enjoyed it very much. The RER trains are similar to Kuala Lumpur's KTM Komuter trains, slightly bigger than Singapore’s MRT trains and it’s quite convenient, provided it’s not too crowded.
From St. Michel – Notre Dame station, we crossed the bridge across Seine river to Île de la Cité and walked towards Notre Dame cathedral. We took our time taking pictures in front of the cathedral, near the statue of Charlemagne and at Point Zero, the “real” centre of Paris where distances to other locations in Paris (and perhaps France?) is measured. From there, we proceeded with our walking tour around the island, covering Pont d’Arcole and Hotel de Ville across the Seine river, Hotel Dieu, Pont Notre Dame overlooking the Tribunal de Commerce building, Place du Chatelet and the gloomy Conciergerie building, before reaching the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle buildings.
After taking some rest in front of Palais de Justice building, we then left the island by crossing the Pont St Michel bridge, and walked along the Seine river towards Pont Neuf. After taking some pictures and having another rest in front of Institut de France building, we then crossed the Pont des Arts bridge and walked towards Louvre. We bought some ice creams at the end of the Pont des Arts bridge before entering the Louvre via its Sully wing. Since it was a Tuesday, the Louvre museum was closed for the day, so there’s not much people traffic there, allowing us to enjoy taking the photographs near the Louvre pyramid and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
We then met mbak Enik near Louvre, and we proceeded to have lunch at McDonald's which is located along Rue de Rivoli, one of the most famous roads in Paris, not far from Louvre. After lunch, my wife, my mother and mbak Enik then visited a duty free shop around the area, while I took Irza and Inka for sightseeing around the area. We walked past Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel monument towards the Jardin du Carrousel garden behind it. After taking pictures in front of the Joan of Arc statue at Places des Pyramides, we then walked north towards Avenue de l'Opera.
Our next walking destination was the Palais Royal and the garden, Jardin du Palais Royal. Passing through the garden until the end, we exited Palais Royal complex through its back entrance and walked along Rue de Petit Champs, located around Paris' 1st arrondissement to go towards Avenue de l'Opera again. Our next destination was the famous Opera National de Paris Garnier building. By that time, we have walked several kilometers and myself and the kids were also very tired, so we decided to take the public bus back to Rue de Rivoli to meet my wife and my mother.
That was the first time we took public bus in Paris. :) Since we haven't purchased our carnet of t+ tickets yet (will share about the advantage of buying the carnet of t+ tickets later), we purchased the tickets on board of the bus from the bus driver, and pay in cash. The ticket purchased from the bus driver can only be used on the bus itself and doesn't allow transfer to other mode of transportation (e.g. the metro train).
More pictures can be found here and here.
(To be continued)
This article is originally posted on ABN's Asia Travel Blog here.
Pangandaran is a famous tourist attraction, located at the south-east end of West Java province, Indonesia. Its beaches are reputably the best and finest in Java island, and also offer excellent surfing. Other than its fine beaches, Pangandaran also offer a beautiful national park and its own version of green canyon.
However, its location at the southern regency of Ciamis in West Java makes Pangandaran not really appealing to Jakarta and Bandung tourists, let alone foreign tourists. By road, it takes around 5-6 hours to reach Pangandaran from Bandung, the capital city of West Java province, and it takes around 7-8 hours to reach Pangandaran from Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia, by road.
Fortunately, there is now a faster alternative to reach Pangandaran, which is via air. Susi Air, an airline previously specialised in chartered services, has started scheduled services from Jakarta and Bandung to Pangandaran. This will cut down the travel time between Jakarta and Pangandaran to only one hour. It will operate a Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft with a capacity of 12 passengers to service the Jakarta-Pangandaran route twice a day, one direct flight and another one with a stopover in Bandung.
The flight from Jakarta will depart from Halim Perdanakusuma airport, located east of the city and closer to the city centre compared to Soekarno-Hatta International airport.
On Friday (16/10) morning, I received both SMS and e-mail from AirAsia, to inform me that my and my family’s upcoming Indonesia AirAsia’s QZ 7785 flights (same flight on different dates) from Singapore to Jakarta on December 2009 are being rescheduled from 12:40pm to 5:45pm. There seems to be a re-timing exercise affecting this specific flight number and all QZ 7785 flights after 25 October 2009 are affected.
I immediately logged in to AirAsia’s website and tried to change my itinerary to an earlier flight for the day using its “Manage my Booking” function, however I would have to pay S$40 “change fee”. Luckily, there were some other Indonesians in Singapore who had also purchased tickets for some future QZ 7785 flights and were affected by the same problem, and they were kindly enough to share their experience in Indo-Sing mailing list. They mentioned that if we call their call centre to request for a change to an earlier flight due to this re-timing, they will process it without charging the $40 change fee.
That’s good news! The only problem is that it was very difficult to call AirAsia’s call centre number in Singapore on that day. I tried calling the number (630 77688) since 10:30am in the morning and I kept on getting busy tones. I eventually managed to get in touch with them at around 3pm in the afternoon, and I immediately lodged my complaint about the change of schedule and requested for a change to an earlier flight, free of charge. He requested for the booking codes and I gave him.
The call centre staff then gave me a Service Request Number (SRN) and was transferred to their support staff. They put me on hold for quite some time (I think close to 5 minutes) before a support staff then took my call and request for the SRN. After I gave him the SRN, he then processed the flight change (for both myself and my family, who are on the same flight but different date) and informed me that I will receive an e-mail containing the new itinerary within 15 minutes. Yay! :)
Less than 5 minutes, I received the email with the new itineraries, and immediately print them. Just to make sure, I went back into the “Manage my Booking” function on AirAsia’s website to check the booking, and it’s confirmed that the flight has been changed to an earlier flight (10:30am) for the day, for both booking. I am a very happy AirAsia customer now.
Thank you, AirAsia. :)
On Monday, 1 June 2009, which was our first full-day in Paris, still recovering from jet-lag, we took our time in the morning to walk through A Kide's residence at Châtenay-Malabry.
Late morning, we had A Kide's driver, om Join, to take us to the most popular tourist attraction in Paris: the Eiffel tower. We needed to queue for about 1.5 hours to buy the tickets before we can climb the tower. We bought the tickets which can bring us up to the top floor. The price is €13 for adult, and €7.50 for child.
Note that they only sell tickets to walk-in customers, and the tickets can only be used on the same day they are purchased. I checked their website that found out that they are planning to provide online reservation services for all visitors, but that would only be available end of this year.
We took the lift directly to the second floor, skipping the first floor. We immediately circling the area and take pictures to all the different directions. One of our favourite directions for viewing from the Eiffel tower is the north-west view, towards Pont d'Iena bridge and Palais de Chaillot at Trocadero, with the tall buildings of Paris' business district, La Defense (pronounced "la difong") in the background.
Another of our favourite direction is the south-east, which will give the view towards the Champ-de-Mars park and Ecole Militaire building, with the ugly Montparnasse Tower in the background. South-west direction will give the view towards the Seine river, with RER train tracks crossing across the river, while north-east direction will give the view towards the north area of Paris, with the Taj-Mahal-alike building of Basilica Sacre-Couer visible on top of the Montmartre hill.
We then took the lift up to the top (third) floor, and the view is even more amazing from higher level. It's also a bit windy up there, so we decided not to spend too much time there and went back to second floor. After had some snacks on the second floor, we descended back to the ground floor, in time to see some kind of procession parade passing through the road just in front of the tower.
We then further descended to the riverside under the Pont d'Iena bridge, for us to take the Bateaux Parisiens boat cruise tour along the Seine river. This includes automated commentary through headsets which are available on each seat. The price is quite cheap, €11 for adult and €5 for child.
We purchased the tickets and boarded the boat from pier number 3 along the number of piers just in front of Eiffel tower. The boat took us to the east direction from Eiffel tower all the way to the islands of Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis and back, passing under many bridges along the way: Pont de l'Alma, Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, among others.
Unfortunately, the boat is not air-conditioned and with most of the boat's structure made of glass, it was becoming so hot in the afternoon. When we disembarked from the boat, we felt very tired, and with the jet-lag still taking effect (it was already night time in Singapore at that time even though it was still evening local Paris time), we decided to end our adventure for the day, and went back home to a Kide's residence.
More pictures can be found here.
(To be continued)
Apologise for not updating this blog (and my other blogs as well) for quite some time. Inka and Irza have just came back from their mid-year holiday in Paris and surrounding regions, together with their father (that’s me), their mother and their grandmother (that’s my mother).
We initially wanted to take the Singapore Airlines’ direct flight to Paris, especially since the return flight would be using the new Airbus A380 plane and the price was also quite cheap at that time. Unfortunately, it took quite some time for our Schengen visa to be approved, so by the time the visa is approved, the price has went up considerably and we had to find another option. We didn’t want to buy/issue the tickets first before our visa was approved. Luckily Emirates started to launch their promotions, and they offered the Singapore-Paris ticket (return trip, via Dubai) for only S$785 (adult) and S$618 (child), inclusive of all the surcharges and taxes. We immediately bought the tickets without hesitation.
We left Singapore on Sunday, 31 May 2009, in the morning. At Changi airport, we met Han Yu, Irza’s school-mate who happened to be our neighbour on the same block, and his family, who were going for holiday in Hong Kong. Emirates services are great, almost comparable to Singapore Airlines’ services. There’s TV set on every seat, with on-demand movies, TV, radio, and most importantly, games to keep the kids occupied.
We arrived at Dubai International Airport in the afternoon, and we disembarked into Terminal 3, a new terminal built and used exclusively for Emirates. Since we needed to change planes, we had to go through security checks before going to the departure/transit area. The queue during the security checks was quite long. Our boarding pass for the Dubai-Paris leg had been issued while checking-in in Singapore, so we didn’t have to go through the transit check-in counters and proceeded directly to the departure gate.
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris, France, at around 8pm local time. We expected that it would already be dark while we reached Paris, but to our surprise, the sun was still shining at 8pm in Paris during summer. That day was the longest day we’ve experienced, since Paris is 6 hours behind Singapore time at that time. We enjoyed sunshine for about 20.5 hours, from 7am Singapore time until around 9:30pm Paris time (or 4:30am Singapore time, the next day).
The Emirates flight arrived at Terminal 2C of the airport. The terminal itself is quite small, but it’s actually part of a larger Terminal 2, which consists of Terminal 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F and a separated 2G. Going through immigration is a breeze, we didn’t have to fill in any immigration forms. The immigration officer just checked our Schengen visa, and stamp the passports. No questions asked. :) After passing through customs, we were greeted by my cousin, a Kide, who was our host in Paris during the 2-week holiday. He drove us to his residence in Châtenay-Malabry, a nice and quiet neighbourhood south of Paris. At his residence, a Kide and mbak Enik hosted a very nice dinner for us.
More pictures can be found here.
(To be continued)
Apologise for not updating this blog for quite some time. Inka and Irza went to their home country, Indonesia, during the school holiday period from end of November until end of December 2008. Other than Jakarta, they also visited Bandung, Garut (for a short holiday at a resort there) and Tasikmalaya (to celebrate Hari Raya Idul Adha with family and relatives there).
I have uploaded most of the pictures at my Multiply site, which can be found below:
1. First Time Karaoke-ing
2. Grand Indonesia
3. Sari Sunda Restaurant, Bandung
4. Rumah Sosis, Bandung
5. Holiday to Garut, West Java
5.a. Holiday in Garut, Danau Dariza (posted by my wife)
6. Garut Town and Mulih K'desa
7. Crown Mahkota Graha Hotel, Tasikmalaya
8. Around Burujul, Tasikmalaya
9. Liwet Pak Asep Stroberi Restaurant
10. Taman Safari (posted by my wife)
I and my family are now in Jakarta, Indonesia for a (short?) two-week holiday. We left Singapore yesterday afternoon, taking Lion Air flight to Jakarta. It took more than 40 minutes for us to queue for checking-in at Singapore's Changi airport. The flight was full, there were so many passengers queuing for checking-in and yet, there were only 4 check-in counters available. It also caused around 20 minutes of delay of the flight since it took some time for all passengers to eventually checked in to the flight, despite an additional one (yes, only one, sigh) counter being set up.
We arrived at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at around 4pm. It turned out that we were on the same flight as Yudi (one of my friends from the Indo-Sing community, and I initially had mistaken him as Pieter, another friend from the same community, gosh!) and Audi (one of my band-mates) with his wife Erina and son Rifa. My parents picked us up at the airport and we went straight to Plasa Semanggi for late lunch/early dinner. Lion Air is a budget airline and they don't serve any snacks or meal on board. We also didn't have the chance to have our lunch at Changi airport prior to boarding the plane due to the check-in's long queue taking up much of our "precious" time at the airport. Had a Bakmi Gang Kelinci's chicken noodle at the food court in Plasa Semanggi, which is located on the 3A floor of the shopping mall.
I also went to Indosat's IM2 Broadband Centre located on the first floor of Plasa Semanggi, for me to buy the starter pack of IM2 Broom, for our Internet connection during our stay in Indonesia. The starter pack costs IDR 150,000, and it provides unlimited HSDPA/3.5G-based Internet connection for a month. Subsequent months will even cost less, only IDR 100,000/month. Quite worth value for money, especially since now we have mobile phones which have HSDPA capabilities so we don't need to invest for additional HSDPA modem, which can be quite costly.
I am currently using my daughter's Nokia 6120 classic phone as a HSDPA modem using the PC Suite for me to enjoy the Internet connection using my laptop. Since I'm taking the unlimited package, the maximum bandwidth speed I should get is only up to 256 KBps for the first 2 GB of data transfer, after which the bandwidth will be capped at 64 Kbps, unlimited until it expires in one month. However, seems that I could get up to 460.8 Kbps of connection last night when I tried to connect. :) Connection is good for browsing purposes, accessing international sites sometimes can be a bit slow, but I believe this is more to infrastructure issue on the ISP's connection to the global Internet rather than issue on the HSDPA connection itself. Accessing local Indonesian sites is very fast.
Unfortunately, IM2 Broom only provides data connection without any voice capability, while I also need a local Indonesian number for normal voice calls, to save the roaming charges. I might be getting a Telkomsel's Simpati line today, so that I can also use its Telkomsel Flash feature for ad-hoc Internet connections for my phone. I won't be using my SingTel line for HSDPA connection here in Indonesia, the data roaming charges are very expensive.
Other than Jakarta, I'll also be visiting my hometown Bandung (of course) and Garut (Cipanas, to be exact) for a short holiday, before going to Tasikmalaya to celebrate Hari Raya Idul Adha (Hari Raya Haji) with my family and relatives there.
Windsor Bed & Breakfast Hotel is the hotel I'm staying during my week stay in Christchurch to attend the APNIC 26 Meeting. As one of the APNIC meeting fellows, the hotel cost is bourne by APNIC (thanks Sunny!) and I'm sharing a room with another fellow, Stanley Osao from Papua New Guinea.
I would have to say that their service standards are quite high for a budget hotel. The hosts (which are the owners of the hotel) are very nice and friendly, and the room is very clean, tidy and comfortable. The bathrooms are shared, but they are quite a plenty and bathrobes are provided.
Every morning, they serve a very generous English-style breakfast, which is cooked on the spot. We can choose the breakfast menu, which consists of eggs (scrambled, poached or fried), sausages, bacon, baked beans and sweet corn. I love their beef sausages, unfortunately I couldn't try the bacon since it's made of pork. On top of that, there are also toasts, fresh fruits and cereals which you can have your own servings. To be frank, the breakfast time is one of my most-waited time during my stay there. :)
They have a lounge where guests can watch TV and use some computer terminals to connect to the Internet, free of charge. On top of that, they also provide free wireless Internet connections for people like me who has laptop with wireless connection. The lounge also allows us to interact with other guests, creating a "warm" environment for the guests. Free carpark lots are also available for those who drive or rent a car.
It's conveniently located near the Christchurch city centre, just in front of Cranmer Square and only several minutes walk to the Arts Centre, Canterbury Museum and Cathedral Square. The historic Christchurch Tramway also stops just in front of the hotel.
These high standards of services for a bed and breakfast hotel makes its rates to be a bit higher than other B&Bs in Christchurch. The price for single is NZ$89 while for twin/double is NZ$128, and they have a plan to increase the rates to $NZ98 (single) and NZ$140 (twin/double) after 1 November 2008.
More pictures of the hotel can be found here.