Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The French Quarter Festivals Reflect Community Pride

The French Quarter Festival, New Orleans.

Picture taken  from : exploreneworleans.info/img/large/french-quarter-festival.jpg

How to enjoy the uniqueness of New Orleans? People should come to New Orleans in the right time.The best time to visit New Orleans  is  when the French Quarter Festival is  held. It is one of the most famous festival  which  designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of New orleans. The fact that this event is very popular is  indicated by the presence of more than 500.000 people every year.  People such as Amir Landsman, come from around the world to experience music, food, art, culture, special events, and all the inherent component of the festival.

More than 2000 community volunteers work together for the succes of this event. Every years, the visitors of this events are getting bigger. In 2014, there are 732,000 festival-goers walked through it gates.  The number is a significant increase over that was in 2013, when approximately 560,000 folks attended the event. They come not only from USA but also from other countries such as Canada, , Norway, United Kingdom, France and Germany.  

The  French Quarter Festivals are more than ordinary festivals. They are the largest free music festival in the South. They are cultural celebrations that unites the people in a strong  community pride. The festivals have the uniuque identity of New Orleans. This is the reason that makes so many people come back year after year.

The Festivals are held in three times throughout the year, which are in the spring, summer and winter.The largest event is The French Quarter Festival which is held in spring. In the summer, Satchmo Summer Fest is  held. The last festival is Christmas New Orleans Style. Each festival has their own uniqueness.

Many performers, more than 1400 local musicians,  and artisans from all over the country  get involved in this festival.  The musicians  perform all kinds of music genre  such as latin, cajun, rock, R&B, classical, cabaret, folk, traditional to contemporary jazz, brass bands, New Orleans funk, gospel, Zydeco, blues and more in  21 stages throughout French Quarter.

Not only artists, there are  many businesses sponsor the events. There are  also many local businesses represented  as food and beverage vendors. There are 60 local  of New Orleans restaurant  such as  Antoines’s Restaurant,  Court of Two Sisters, Crepes ala Cart, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House and many more, provide their best dishes and drink across the French Quarter.  

With the huge amount of festival-goers, the event has significant  economic impact to the French Quarter and New Orleans.  French Quarter Festivals, Inc. which is a private nonprofit organization  runs all the festivals obtains funds from sponsorship and  vendor fees. Besides that the funds is also obtained from  beverage and merchandise sales, and annual Gala. More than $ 259,5 million was produced in 2012.  This amount icluding $ 126.6 million in direct spending and $ 132.9 million in secondary spending. The event generated over $ 18.3 million in state and local tax revenue. This amount is increasing year after year. The French Quarter Festival nowadays  has become the large  economic engine for  French Quarter and New Orleans.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going on Vacation to Garut, West Java (Part III)


For lunch this time, we tried to choose a restaurant located on the main road in Garut. Actually we wanted to eat at the restaurant which was recommended by a friend, but because it was far, we were so reluctant. Finally the choice fell to a restaurant with the slogan "Eat at gazebos above the water". Actually, it was a pretty place, in the main street, there gazebos above-water with big fish swimming around, there were wooden houses in the background that looked sad, but the atmosphere was quiet. There were no other visitors there.

Then we ordered food. Like other Sundanese restaurants, the menu almost the same. We ordered white rice, karedok (Sundanese vegetables salad), tamarind vegetables, grilled chicken, fried squid with flour, avocado juice, soursop juice and milk tea.

After a long wait, the food came. I tasted them. Unfortunately they did not taste good. Too much salt on karedok and fried squid; plain taste of tamarind vegetable; there was a strange taste, even bitter on avocado juice. Ho ... ho ... no wonder no other visitors stop by here. Because of hunger, we ate them all…. Ha..ha…

When paying at the cashier, I saw the waitress at the restaurant were sitting, dazed awaits visitors. The atmosphere was grim. In my heart I also felt sorry for them, if there’s no visitor came, and it happened on and on, they might lose their jobs because restaurant got bankrupt. Maybe the management should think about a new proficient chef?


The next event was traveling around the city of Garut. We went around the town without any direction, turn right, turn left, and went straight ahead, enjoying a cool little town. Passing by Great Mosque of Garut, schools, offices, and shops, we tried to find something unique. When we saw the stores that sold souvenirs, we stopped. The shop owner greeted us with his big smile. We were invited in, and he said we could taste various kinds of dodol Garut. Dodol was a traditional snack made from brown sugar, glutinous rice flour, fruits, and other ingredient.

When I was little girl, my relatives often gave me dodol Garut. Dodol was inside the box, it brand was “Picnic”. It wrapped in paper. The color of dodol was dark brown, sweet, but I did not like the taste. It happened on and on, always the same dodol.

But this time, there were many kinds of dodol stored in the transparent boxes. There were colorful. There were dodol wrapped in clear plastic, some are wrapped with leather corn "This dodol made from potato, this is made from strawberry, this is made from mango, and then this is made from soursop." The shopkeeper said. "And this is the best choice; this is very good, made from red beans. There are also made from green beans, and there is also the black sticky rice. "

I and children ate many kinds of dodol. The taste were so good, so different with dodol Garut I ate when I was a kid. I like the red beans dodol the most. But potato dodol and green beans dodol were also yummy.

The price were various , start from Rp. 18,000; Rp. 20.000,; Rp. 22,000, -; Rp. 24 000, - to the most expensive Rp. 32 000, - per kilogram.

After buying dodol, leather crackers, nut ting-ting, bajigur and bandrek (beverage made from ginger and brown sugar), we went back to the hotel.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going on Vacation to Garut, West Java (Part II)


After eating, we continued our journey to the hotel. In Cipanas area, there were a lot of hotels. There were large and small hotels. The hotels offered hot spring to pamper visitors , it's no wonder because there was natural hot springs from the mountain in Cipanas.

On my opinion, large hotels and small hotel looked very different. Most large hotels were visible from magnificent and spacious building, while the small hotels were simpler; there was even a small alley entrance location. On average, large hotels such as the Kampung Sumber Alam, Danau Dariza, Tirta Gangga, and the Sabda Alam already "advertised" on the internet.
So that visitors from outside the city could find and booked the hotel via internet or phone. Not surprisingly, in front of large hotels lettering "ROOM FULL" or "SORRY, ROOM FULL", while the small hotels did not. In front of the small hotels lettering the words "EMPTY", there were even special officers who stood in front of small hotels which the job were to offer people on every passing car to stay at their hotel. "Come, sir .. Please stay at our hotel, complete facilities at a low price ... " they said. So whenever visitors came to Garut without prior hotel booking, not to worry, because the small hotels could accommodate them.

When we arrived at Danau Dariza hotels and resorts, located on Jl. Raya Cipanas Tarogong Kaler Garut, we were greeted by quite unique scenery. The hotel lobby shaped just like Toraja traditional house, complete with cow's head on it. The rooms were also provided in the form of traditional houses. There were traditional houses such as
Padang, Batak, Sundanese, East Nusa Tenggara,Bali, etc.. The rooms were set overlooking an artificial lake. Each room was equipped with a boat, so that it can be used for boating on the lake.

After checking in, we rested for a while in the room. But children could not wait to get a boat ride.While my husband and kids going around the lake by boat, I took the picture by camera. In the lake,there were many big fishes. Most of them were gold fishes. The fish came and gathered near the porch steps. When the children spread peanut,the fishes crowd eating the peanut. The fish seemed to be tame, they took the peanut from Dea’s and Rafif ‘s hand. Truly a unique experience!

Unfortunately the weather was less friendly. It rained.. Children, who were easily bored, beganimpatient. Finally, in the rain we walked to the swimming pool. There were two swimming poolsavailable at this hotel, a pool of cold water and a pool of natural hot water. Despite the rain andcold, many hotel guests swam and soak in hot tubs. Because it's too late, the children chose to playthe water ball. Beside the water ball, there were also another game for children such as flying foxand waterbike, but due to rain the kids could not do it.

As we passed the gate of swimming pool, Dea smelled delicious pastry. Apparentlythere was a small shop that sold croissants there. Her stomach was so hungry. She bought a few pieces ofcroissants, or “hollow bread “; that’s the way Dea called them.The price was Rp. 5000, - per piece.It was quite tasty, really inviting appetite.

That night we went out the hotel, looking for a place to eat. Because the kids want to eatnoodles,then we eat at the Mie Alladin.

The next morning, I and the kids tried bicycle water. Anin and Dea pedaled the bike enthusiastically around the lake . Once satisfied, the children went to swim straight until noon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Going on Vacation to Garut, West Java. (Part 1)

A friend recommendedGarut, West Java became one tourist destination. He told at a glance about the beauty of Garut. At that time I was not so interested. But when I saw his vacation photos posted on Facebook, I got interested. Immediately, I browsed the internet searching for more data about Garut.

Another friend then gave me the brochures for hotels in Garut. There were two interesting hotels, the Danau Dariza hotels and resorts and the Kampung Sumber Alam resort. So we booked the hotel via telephone, as it was already in the holidays, we almost missed the place. Kampung Sumber Alam was already full. Luckily, we got a room at Danau Dariza hotel.

After packing and preparing for all purposes, by having a hotel brochure with a map to the location, we went to Garut. To avoid traffic jam, we chose to go to Garut on wednesday. It was at 9 pm, the sky was bright and travel was smooth, no traffic jams. We chose to go through Cipularang toll-road. Along the road to Garut , the beautiful scenery of hills, valleys and mountains spoiling our vision. We spent 3.5 hours trip happily. Although had to wonder which direction should we go, we finally arrived in Tarogong Kaler Cipanas ,Garut, without difficulty. Rafif, my youngest child vomited and was pale face, so we decided to stop into a restaurant first.


A roadside restaurant catch our attention. Its name was "Cangkuang Kuring". The menu offered were Sundanese Food. One of them was rice liwet. This restaurant offered dining in the gazebos with the view paddy field and mountain.

Dea and Rafif the swing that was available there. Rafif ‘s pale face was no longer visible. He laughed and swung his body on the swings.

It’s time to order a meal. There were some menu options, all of them were Sundanese and Indonesian cuisine. For example, fried and grilled carp, liwet rice, oxtail soup, fried chicken, grilledchicken, rice oncom tug tug, and others. We booked 2 servings of oxtail soup, 3 servings of white rice, 2 packages liwet rice, grilled chicken on bamboo, and hot sweet tea . The children ate avidly. It was delicious cuisine as well. Rice liwet was tasty, we ate all of themravenously until its crust-descale. Ha .. ha ...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rumah Air Restaurant

While jogging in the morning at my residential environment(Bogor Nirwana Residence, Bogor-Indonesia), I and my husband saw the area near the Aston hotel where many gazebos were built. At that time I wondered, what the place it would be. A few weeks later, I got the information from a friend that the place was called “Rumah Air”, a restaurant with the fish pond and playing ground for children.

On one occasion when my father-in-law from Palembang was visiting us at Bogor, we decided to have dinner at the “Rumah Air”.

When entering the area Rumah Air, I was fascinated with the comfortable atmosphere there, the sound of gurgling water flowing, and beautiful lights that seemed to form a painting in the night. The waiter who greeted us asked if we wanted to sit at restaurant’s room or to sit and eat at gazebo. Soon we chose to sit at gazebo. There were many beautiful gazebos-over-water. The size-of those gazebos were different. There were large gazebos and small gazebos. The large one was suitable for visitors who bring a lot of friends . For example, visitors who were having a reunion, or having an office event, etc.

Cold mountain wind blowing and hit us so we increasingly felt hungry.

After choosing a gazebo, we ordered food. Menus available were Indonesian cuisine, especially Sundanese cuisine. For example, nila (tilapia fish) soup served inside a coconut shell. Then there was fried and grilled gurame (carp fish), fried chicken and grilled chicken, ribs soup, assorted satay, sayur asam ( vegetables with sour spices) and many others.

That nigh
t we ordered white rice, tilapia soup served in coconut shell, grilled chicken, vegetables, and sayur asem. Beverages were hot tea, while children chose vanilla milk shake. From the menus, tilapia soup taste so good. Beside tilapia fish, the soup consist of unripe coconut. It was unique, because unripe coconut was usually added into beverage such as coconut ice or fruit ice. But the soup was not suitable for children, because there were also spicy chili on it. Roast chicken was pretty good. But the children like vanilla milk shake the most.

Two days later, because we were still curious, we went back to eat at this restaurant. This time we came in the late afternoon. We want to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the afternoon with a view of Mount Salak at this restaurant.

The atmosphere in the afternoon at Rumah Air was not less beautiful compared to the atmosphere of the night. Mount Salak was blue, the cool air, the scenery of Aston hotel which was located besides Rumah Air, gorgeous gazebos, gurgling water and fishes that sometimes jump in the pond under gazebos created a comfortable atmosphere. While waiting for the meal to be served, we took some pictures.

This time we ordered white rice, 3 servings maranggi satay (satay with sweet spice), chicken satay, fried carp fish, vegetables, sayur asam, hot orange, and vanilla milk shake.

For children's playground, there were water balls, water bikes, mini motorcycles, fishing areas, etc.. My kids had tried the water ball, but there was no time to try something else because of the rain drizzling down, so they must quickly took shelter in gazebo. For a comfortable lunch and dining atmosphere, Rumah Air could be a good option.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visiting Kuntum Nursery

To see the Indonesian Version of this article click here

After taking Rafif to school, as usual I hang out with friends who are the parents of Rafif’s friends at TK Ibnu Hajar, Masjid Raya Bogor. For me, hanging out with friends is fun because we can exchange stories, experiences, recipes, shopping info, education info, and all things about housewife’ s concern.

That day the weather was rather cloudy at Bogor. We talked in the shade of a tree in the courtyard of the mosque. Our small talk was flowing, as I said that I wanted to plant betel and aloe vera, a friend offered me to visit the Kuntum Nursery in Tajur, Bogor, Indonesia.

Because it was still early and we still have time while waiting for the children , We decided to go there. Actually, I have never visited the place.

My friends showed me the way to the place. From Padjajaran street we go towards Tajur. Bud Nursery is located on the right of the road. Entering the parking area, we have been already feel the coolness of the place. On the right there was a small shop that sells seeds, honey, herbal medicine, flower pots, compost, growing media, fertilizers and others.

There was a path from the front of the store toward the back of the nursery area. When we got through it, the green scenery of plant set in pots or in plastic bags to greet us.

There was a unique little shop called "Cemal Cemil". When we entered, we saw various small-wooden toys organized in bamboo trays . There were

wooden windmills, wooden drums, bekel balls, small soldiers made from plastic, a small gamelan and others. Then there were also various vintage snack that were often encountered when we were kids. There were Brem (made from the essence of fermented cassava), ginger candy, cookies with various colored sugar on top, chocholate, and others. I'm interested in buying brem, the price was Rp. 5000, - each box. When I was a kid, I loved to enjoy eating brem which melt when inserted into my mouth.

We continued to look around. This time we went into a kind of semi-permanent building, which was filled with the potted plant. Then, there was one more semi-permanent house that full of some kinds of small cactus. Then there's the small bridge and a artistic wooden building with beautiful fish pond in front of it.

The fish pond was filled with beautiful fishes such as koi and goldfish. Just like understood, the group of fish approached us, hoping that we would throw food.

In the artistic wooden building, there were furniture , household knick-knacks from wood and stone being sold. There were also food fish sold at Rp. 2000, - each small plastic bag. So visitors can buy it to feed those fishes on the pond.

When the fish food was spread , the fishes in the pond were getting crowded stampeding food untill their mouths gaping. Really funny!

There was another pool at the back of buildings. The pool was filled with Garra Rufa small fish, commonly used for Fish SPA therapy. When the visitor’s feet entered into the pool, then the small fish will eat the dead skin found on the feet. The Rates for Fish Spa was Rp. 25.000, - per 20 minutes of therapy.

There were various kind of furniture being sold. There were chairs and coffee table, chairs and dining table, unique drawers , console table with mirror, wooden shelves, cabinets, wooden fruit plate, wooden boxes, and wooden rice scoop. There were also rehal Al Qur-an from wood, frame, candle holder, bowl and trinkets made of stone.

I bought rehal Al Qur-an which the color was dark. The price is Rp. 60.000, - Then a set of scoop, and wooden sodet consists of 3 pieces for Rp. 7000, -.

On the left of the entrance there was another fish pond , which its fishes can be lured. Visitors may fish in the pond. They sould pay for Rp. 30.000, - per kg of the fish they got.

Beside the fish pond, there was a food court called "Teras Air". Unfortunately when we arrived, the place has not open yet.

Sitting on the edge of the fish pond, we has small talk. I wanted to come back to this place with my husband and my children, someday. Rafif must be very happy to see the fishes in the pond.

When it was time to go home, I took time to buy betel plants and aloe vera, along with pots and its growing media.

That day, I got new experience to find another interesting place to be visited at Bogor.