This is a review of flight GA 88 CGK-SIN-AMS on August 8th, 2015.
When I was browsing for Garuda Indonesia reviews, I found a couple reviews for their First and Business Class (rave reviews, btw) but literally none on their Economy Class, at least on their flagship Jakarta-Amsterdam route. Since we, mere mortals, mostly travel on Y class, I feel morally obliged to contribute to the society by writing this review.
It should be noted that the flight GA 88, even thought marketed as a direct Jakarta-Amsterdam flight, actually only flew directly three times a week. In the other three times (it flew six times a week), it has to make a fuel stop (and picking up extra passengers) in Singapore. Part of it because of the poor condition of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which cannot handle Boeing 777 at full capacity (passenger, fuel, and cargo) needed to fly to Europe. I booked the Saturday flight, which is the not-so-direct-flight,that will take 16 hours 40 minutes instead of the faster 14 hours.
If you buy their more expensive class of ticket, you can pick your seats and meal right when you book the ticket. If you’re bargain hunter like me, sorry hoor. You can only pick your seat during check-in and since I go to the loo super often during long-haul flight, sitting in the middle seat is just not an option for me, so I have to check-in fast.
Check-in is available via every means imaginable. Phone, web, mobile, city check-in. but I find that their app on iOS is really shitty to do anything useful so I opt for web check-in which is available from 24 hours before flight. Garuda has 3-3-3 seats configuration and in such scheme I always opt for the aisle seat in the middle row. Aisle seats on either left or right section are going to be bothered by two people whenever they need to go to the bathroom. While aisle seats in the middle only going to be bothered by one person, and there’s only 50% chance s/he will pick your side. Bonus point if a couple sitting next to you, meaning you won’t be bothered during the whole flight.
And yes there’s still empty aisle seat in the back. 61G, yay! There are two configurations of this aircraft, the one with and without First Class. I flew the one without First Class, which is still not covered by SeatGuru and got me confused because in their website, economy class ends at row 52.
Check-in process was smooth and there’s barely any queue since I arrived early and I was told we have to disembark in Singapore along with our luggage. Yay for me, meaning I will eligible for the $30 Voucher Garuda is giving away for every passenger flying to Amsterdam via Changi.
Then the universe said no…
I’ve flown Garuda my entire life and haven’t had any major delays in recent memory but this one just got delayed from 20.20 to 23.05 (Almost three hours!) because of the ongoing Mt. Raung volcanic ashes eruption preventing connecting passengers from Bali from joining us. Oh well.. I guess no shopping in Singapore then, since most shops in Changi closes at 1 AM. (I have already planned to buy some passport holder or luggage tag with my voucher..)
Good thing is, Garuda gives us, stranded passengers, access to either Keris or Emerald Sky Lounge, and I chose the latter since I’ve heard about it a lot and boy was it crowded. In terms of food the choice is endless, from cold sandwich to proper full meal. They also provide variety of drinks. Wi-fi is slow though, and there is hardly any power outlet.
Boarding went smoothly.
Seats are comfy, definitely one of the best if not the best but sadly lacking power outlet or USB charger. The IFE system is responsive and there’s quite a bit of choice, but not as much as I’d like. Upside is, they’re available even on ground so you can enjoy it immediately (it will reset after take off, though). I have brought along Emirates Noise-Cancelling headphones that I borrow from Robse but sadly, they’re not a match. Garuda Indonesia uses two-pronged headphone system instead of three.
While waiting for take-off we were offered a choice of apple or orange juice in a packaged cup and soon after take off FA starts offering dinner, a choice between beef pasta or chicken with rice. Being true Indonesian, I chose rice. But being served meal at 01.00 AM, I can’t seem to enjoy the food, but at least it’s not disappointing. Flight went smoothly and we landed in Singapore around 02.20 AM.
Because of local regulations, everyone has to disembark with their luggage and went to security check again even though we were only going to be there for 45 minutes. In front of the gate officers are handing out snacks, transit pass and my $30 Voucher (yay!) valid until 1st of November 2015.
I was pleasantly surprised that they put a small bottle of mineral water in our seats, which is a better solution than providing water dispenser near lavatories like Singapore Airlines (mostly because the water tasted horrible). Besides pillow and blanket, Garuda also provides small amenity kit for us, economy passenger, consisting of earplugs, socks and eye mask. Compared to other top airlines, I have to say Singapore Airlines and Etihad provides better amenities, along with toothpaste and toothbrush (which is very useful!)
During this leg of flight, the staff is making announcement in three languages, Indonesia, English and Dutch.. Nice to hear Dutch with Indonesian accent being spoken. The safety demonstration video also has dutch subtitles in it that gets Dutch passengers excited.
Taking off at 04.30 AM, I was wondering whether we are going to be served full meal at all. I think at this point everyone just wants to sleep. And sure enough, as soon as the lights go off for take-off, I can’t hold my sleepiness any longer. I was awoken soon after by staff making rounds offering warm chicken bread (which tasted delightful! Love it). They also handed out breakfast menu, which will be served shortly before landing…
Hmm.. Apparently there’s some snack in the galley.. I went to check it out on my lavatory run and they are fruitbar and bananas. Not bad. Afterwards I went to full on sleep mode.
Btw, there is wifi on board, one hour for $11.95 and $21.95 for 24-hour, payable by credit cards. You can also use your mobile phone via AeroMobile, as long as your provider support it. International Roaming charges apply.
Four hours later, I woke up and decided to check their EFI. Hmm, they have bigger movie selections now, with even more new movies like Furious 7 and The Age of Adaline… I picked We’re The Millers (hilarious movie, btw) and Harry Potter. The Millers movie has Chinese subtitles and I can’t find a way to turn it off.
I forgot to take the picture of the breakfast, but it’s an okay meal.. I picked the western menu, omelette with chicken sausage, tomato, potato and carrots. They also gives us Yoghurt, sliced fruits and croissant (with butter only, no jam).
I fell asleep again, either because I am very tired or the seats are just accommodating. I think this is the first I flew long haul and not feeling like the clock moves super-duper slow. I don’t even need my neck pillow. It was actually sort of pleasant.
Landing was uneventful and off the plane I am..
Pleasant flight! Seats are comfy, food is ok, FAs are delightful, but I have to say Singapore Airlines still provides better services for their economy class (They serve cocktail on board, even for Economy class passenger. SQ also serves more variety of food, and their FAs are equally nice). But I would choose Garuda for a truly non-stop Jakarta-Amsterdam flight, and SQ is simply more expensive.
I’ve had my shares of superstition that I half believe on…
I don’t open umbrella indoor. I won’t walk pass someone who is lying down.
If I had a successful date, I will never use the underwear that I wore that day on a date with someone else.
Now.. I have a habit of cutting my fingernails at night. I don’t do it on purpose. My fingernails grows pretty fast so I have to cut it often and sometimes the only time that I remember to cut it is at night. One time my mom saw me cutting my fingernails at night and she told me about this superstition that Japanese people believed.
If you cut your fingernails at night, you won’t be with your parents when they’re dead.
At that time she was already diagnosed with cancer, but aside from recurring back pain, she was in a pretty healthy condition.. I don’t put too much thought into it.. as did my mom and my sister, who were also there.
Fast forward two months later.. My mom passed away when I was in The Netherlands and I didn’t even get to bury her.. Few days after her funeral, my sister brought that moment again and I was a little stunned. Thinking it over. Not that I regret anything. She had a good life. I get to take care of her. I know she loves me and she knows how much I love her. It’s just what the universe want, I guess.
I was in the middle of cutting my fingernails again tonight when I remember about all this and it all went back again.. Funny thing is, I continued.
My hair is my blessing and my curse.
It’s black, it’s thick, it’s wavy, it’s beautiful and I love it. But it’s also grows very fast. Usually it starts looking messy three weeks after my last haircut and in Netherlands, it can be a problem. Why? Because haircut in Netherlands is a little steep (at least for me). Your option would be between street corner barber, which cost about €10 up until Toni&Guy salon, that will cost you €58, for the standard stylist and not including extra services, tax, etc.
Thankfully near my campus there’s ROC Mondriaan school. It’s a vocational school that will teach you real life skill such as how to be a receptionist, barber, barista, hotelier, etc. They have businesses that doubles as some sort of classroom. They have fitness center, café, hair salon and others (You know where this is going right ?)
I checked their website and look at their price list on their hair salon and haircut is only going to cost you €8.5. The cheapest I can find in The Hague. Without further ado, I go there.
Their place looks expensive, with better equipment than your usual franchise hair salon in Jakarta.
I went to the receptionist (whom I didn’t realize were also a student) and asked to get a haircut but she looks confused. She went to call her friend and then I realize she doesn’t speak English. Then I talked to this new girl about my intention and the she told me to wait on a nice comfy chair and asked me if I want some coffee or tea (wow!)
My hairstylist is a first year student, who doesn’t speak english and this was her first time cutting someone’s hair. Lucky me.
She was accompanied by a male teacher, and thankfully, he did most of the work. When she was cutting, it was awful. She wasn’t even sure how to position her finger and her scissor correctly. She cut awkwardly. To tell her not to cut my hair too short, I need a translator. Such an experience. But I’m happy with the end results. It’s not a radical or experimental haircut, just some trimming on the side and the back.
I got a nice little surprise when I’m about to pay. Turns out there’s a 50% discount for the month of September, so I only paid €4.25 (When I went to class that day, a friend from Korea also cut his hair and he paid €20. When I tell him how much I paid, he said “Whaaa.. ??”)
Anyway, this is the result.
A picture taken in 2013 must have frames and instagram-effect. Sorry not sorry.
There are several important cards (or as the Dutch call it, “kaart”) you need to survive in Netherlands (especially in Big Cities).
Openbaar Vervoer chipkaart (Public Transportation chip card) is the ultimate card to travel in Netherlands. You use this card to pay for buses, trams, metros and trains (basically every public transportation available here). You can also pay with cash, but it’s a lot more expensive. For example, going to city center with OV-chipkaart cost like €1.4, with cash it’s €3. So you better get one of this if you plan to travel a lot inside NL. The card itself cost €7.5 (with €0 balance).
A Debit card. This one is from ING Bank, one of three biggest bank in NL, others being ABN Amro and Rabobank. The difference with Indonesia is, even though cash is still widely used here, the most common use of payment is with this card. In Supermarket, shop, etc, when you are about to pay for things, the cashier will tell you the amount you need to pay and then you put your card in the machine (you do it yourself) and press your PIN number. This is why it’s also called PINcard.
Talking about bank, you are free to draw money from other banks ATM, with a restriction only once a day and maximum amount of €250.
3. Insurance Card
You HAVE to have an insurance if you plan to live in NL (for traveling it’s not necessary). This one is from IPS. In NL you don’t go to hospital every time you got sick (unless for emergency), you have to go to one of doctor clinic first and then they will decide whether just to give you medicine or refer you to a hospital.
4. Student Card
Or as I’d like to call it, a Discount Card. With this card you can get discounts in many places. Gym membership cost around €50/month, with this card you can get it for €35. Movies cost about €10, with this card it’s only €8. And so on..
Btw, bringing your ID is mandatory is NL. You need to bring this and your passport with you all the times. It’s very rare that an officer checking your ID but you’ll never know. You can get fined. In fact, Dutch police fine you for every little thing. Didn’t bring an ID, PAY. Crossing the street when the light is still red, PAY. Taking out your trash in the wrong day, PAY (They have calendars for when you can throw out your big trash like electronic or furniture)
5. Laundry Card
I’m so excited about this cos I’ve only seen it the movie, LOL. Apartment building usually have laundry machine that you pay with this card. You can top up the amount with Paypal or Credit Card. The cost is €2.5 for washing machine and €2 for dryer machine for one time use. You have to provide your own detergent and softener. You can check the status of the machine online and you can even reserve a spot there.
Other cards you might get interested in :
Dutch people love museums! There are more than 400 museums in this country (or so I’ve been told) and you can get free entry to almost all of them with this card. The card cost €50 which sounds expensive but the entry fee to Dutch museum is quite hefty (usually €10 or more) so if you love arts this is totally worth it.
7. Pathé Unlimited Card
Pathé is the name of biggest movie theater chain in NL. It’s a French company. A movie ticket cost €10 per person and €8 for student. With this card, cost €19/month, you can watch as many movies as you want between 10:00-18:00 everyday. They also have Pathé Unlimited Gold, €26/month that will also give you access to unlimited 3D and IMAX movies.
But I don’t know, there’s a lot of more interesting to do here in NL other than movies so I haven’t been inclined to buy the cards.
Today I arrived in Amsterdam Schipol Airport, to begin my one-year journey for master program in The Hague University of Applied Sciences (De Haagse Hogeschool). :)
Interesting thing I observe today :
1. Contrary to my presumption about caucasian, Dutch people are very nice, especially the older generation.
2. Food is so expensive. Burger King’s Whopper with fries and soft drink is Eur 7.50/kg, rice is Eur 1.75 /kg, a canned Sprite is also Eur 1.75/can.
3. The city’s so quiet. I live in Den Haag, the third biggest city in Netherlands yet everything looks super empty. Granted, I’m in suburbs and it’s not really rush hour, but I don’t know, the whole city really could pass as some Zombie town.
4. The cars and motorcycles always let pedestrians crosses the street first, you don’t even have to try to stop them. They’ll stop whenever they see you on a zebra-cross.
5. Almost every shop is closed on 6.00 PM. Including fast food chain restaurant like McDonald’s ( I don’t know about if the same applies in Amsterdam tho..). Restaurant, Bars, etc still open till around 22.00 or midnight.
6. You have to bring your own bag for shopping at supermarket AND you have to make a deposit just to get a trolley (probably to make sure it’s safely returned)
7. Indonesia and Netherlands have the exact same electrical outlet. So your gadget will work right away when you’re traveling here.
8. You can drink the water straight from the tap.
9. Usually room for bathroom and WC are separated.
10. At this time of the year (August 30th), the sun sets at around 21.00.. The temperature is around 19 degrees (Probably like Puncak)
(My apartment building, Waldorpstraat 47)
All in all, it’s been a fun first day. :)
So, I know a guy, barely know him actually, he’s almost 30 and has been single for his whole life. In many occasion, he always wonder about that. Always ask, rhetorically, “Dear God, Why am I still single ?”
I don’t know him very well, but I feel like I know why he’s single. He’s a very bitter person, a drama queen (king ?) and full of negative energy. It’s like he’s surrounded with unhappiness. The problem is, no one bothered to tell him what is wrong with him, not even his friends (again, as far as I can tell. I don’t really know him).
PS: I don’t tell him because I don’t think he will take criticism from someone he barely knows very well.
I’ve seen many cases like this. Someone stuck, falling behind, because his friends don’t have the gut to tell him “the right thing”. They usually hide behind common wisdom, “True friends accept you for who you are”. They’re afraid to hurt his feeling. Well people, you think you’re a nice friend but you’re WRONG. You should save your friend from making mistakes.
Don’t do it to your friend. If he’s too shy, tell him go out. If he’s too fat, persuade him to diet. Make him a better person, okay ?
* The studio and director Bryan Singer actually had given explanations for two things : Unlike the comic book, in the film universe, Havok and Cyclops is not related and Emma in X-Men Origins : Wolverine and X-Men : First Class are two different Emmas with same ability. Lame excuse ? Yeah, it is.
* I heard the next X-Men movie will be a sequel to First Class and will involve time travel. I hope they don’t ruin the franchise even further, like what happened to Resident Evil films. That movie is a wreck, story wise.
Buying movie ticket for Gandaria XXI IMAX is a battle of life and death. It made you realize the length Jakartans will go to embrace their hedonism. You either start queuing at 10 AM sharp or buy your ticket via M-tix
Thank God, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to own BII saving account to reload your M-tix account. you CAN reload your M-tix from every bank connected to:
- ATM Bersama (practically every bank in Indonesia except BCA)
- Prima (BCA, and many other bank, minus BNI and regional banks)
Go to your ATM, access the Transfer menu, to other bank account (Rekening Bank Lain). You know how to do it, right? for the bank code number, use 016 (BII), this code applies for transfer from ATM Bersama and Prima. For the account number, use 7821XXXXXXXXXXX, where X is your telephone number user for M-tix. If it’s 085255022033, then the account number is 7821085255022033. You’ll know if the transaction succeed because you will get a notifications by sms and email like five minutes or so.
(Note: Sometimes transfer via ATM won’t work. I usually use internet banking from my bank, BNI since it’s more reliable. The steps are the same, like you’re transferring funds to another bank. If it still doesn’t work, try doing it after business hours.)
Now what ?
Buy the ticket !
Contrary to popular belief too, you CAN choose your own seat. The only let down is you can’t buy your ticket anytime. There’s time limit :
- Monday to Thursday tickets can only be bought on its respective day, from 06.30 – 11.00 AM.
- Friday to Sunday tickets can be bought starting Friday 06.30 AM. Still, past 11.00 AM you cannot buy ticket for that day.
- Advance tickets can be bought up to a week before showing, depending on Cinema 21/XXI’s decision.
All in all, I think Cinema 21/XXI is still superior to it’s closest competitor, Blitz Megaplex. Blitz seat is so uncomfortable and they sell shitty food with a hefty price. They charge us three times the price of Nu Green Tea and dare to call it “Green Tea”. Cinema 21/XXI’s food is just as expensive but at least they put an effort to make their food special.
* Just to clear any potential confusion, Cinema 21/XXI & Blitz Megaplex I’m talking about are movie theater chains in Indonesia, not the one in Portland or any other places.
* M-tix reload can also be done via 21 (Cilandak Town Square and Setiabudi One) and any XXI cashier, including Gandaria City but be advised, the traffic is pretty crazy.
* When I first applied for M-tix, they are offering me reload feature via SMS but you have to sign a letter of attorney (surat kuasa) for them to charge your credit card (it’s in Senayan City, but when I asked the XXI cashier Plaza Indonesia, they know nothing about it)
I’m a sucker for a movie with beautiful scenery, exquisite dress and supernatural action, and Immortals deliver it all. I watched it awhile ago, and besides the amount of violence, I like it. The movie tell the story of Theseus, a nobody whom chosen by Zeus to fight Hyperion, your typical tyrant, who is trying to resurrect The Titans, the ruling Gods before Zeus, in order to rule the world.
Rather than doing the usual movie review, I’m just gonna put some thoughts that ‘distract’ me while watching the movie. (Ok, besides the obvious distractions called “Henry Cavill and Kellan Lutz super hotness”).
1). Theseus was supposed to a demigod, the son of a Queen and a King and Poseidon. Yet in the movie they made him a bastard son of some unknown villager.
(Theseus. Probably daydreaming what if he was a demigod, like he was supposed to be)
2). Theseus arm is so big but he’s chopping wood for like, five times yet it doesn’t break. (Watch the movie, and pay close attention when he’s chopping wood besides an old man)
3).They are wearing a very-very beautiful costumes. For Gods there’s daily dress, war dress, mourning dress. There’s a dress for every occasion.
(Olympians war dress. And why there’s only five of them ? Oh Zeus, You shouldn’t have killed Ares. He’s God of War, after all.)
4). How does Kellan Lutz gets a super sexy body ? Smokin’ hot.
5). The Titans was gods before the Olympians (Zeus cs) rules, yet in the movie, they made him like some sort of savages tribe.
(How many are they ? There are only like 12 titans, mythically speaking)
6). Zeus killed Ares for helping Theseus but not Athena. When fighting the titans, Zeus only stopped when Athena is dying. When tartarus is collapsing, he only brought Athena’s body. Is he in love with her?
(There’s two horse ready to bang. And there’s Athena)
7). So many violence. I can’t help but cringe when the priest cut his tongue
8). Freida Pinto acting is so convincing when she realized that her sisters is being cooked alive.
(The most tragic scene in the movie)
9). Poseidon’s hat looks so ridiculous
(Poseidon Ridiculous hat.. and body)
10). Theseus’ son, Acamas, is kinda ugly. Seriously, how could he. Both of his parent are good looking.
11). The Gods was kinda mortal for an immortal.