Pasteis de Nata

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Berbicara tentang suatu kota atau negara pasti ada saja kuliner khas yang menjadi ciri khas kota atau negara tersebut. Bisa berupa kue yang manis-manis, main menu, atau sekedar snack bahan cemilan.

Nah, untuk Lisboa, kuliner khasnya tak lain dan tak bukan adalah Pasteis de Nata. Secara harfiah artinya kue cream. Wujudnya berupa puding telur (custard) yang sangat manis dengan kulit tipis yang berlapis-lapis. Seperti halnya mayoritas produk kue Portugis yang lain, rasanya ueenak sangat. Mengandung kuning telur yang royal sekali ditambahkan dan dimasak dengan cara dipanggang sehingga menghasilkan warna kuning keemasan. Pasteis de Nata biasa menemani masyarakat Lisboa saat minum kopi.

Pasteis de Nata bisa ditemukan di setiap sudut kota, umumnya di pastelaria (toko kue merangkap café). Dari semua produsen Pasteis de Nata, yang paling terkenal dan paling laris adalah Pasteis de Belem yang tokonya terletak di kawasan wisata Belem, tepatnya disamping Jeronimos Monastery. Toko ini berdiri sejak 1837 dan tak pernah sepi dari pembeli. Bahkan di akhir pekan dan di musim panas, pembeli harus rela antri mengular untuk mencicipi lezatnya puding telur legendaris ini.

Yang khas dari pasteis de Belem adalah kulit luarnya yang garing renyah dan komposisi bahannya yang sungguh pas sehingga tidak bikin eneg. Lebih lezat lagi jika kita taburkan bubuk gula halus dan cinnamon (kayu manis) di atasnya. Hmmm, sungguh lezattt. Satu buah Pasteis de Belem dihargai 1,3 euro. Di tempat lain, harganya bervariasi, mulai dari 0,3 euro (di supermarket Pingo Doce atau Mini Preco), 0,75 euro (di supermarket Continente), atau rata-rata 1 euro di pastelaria.

By the way, bagaimana caranya kita bisa menuju kawasan Belem untuk merasakan Pasteis de belem nan legend itu? Cara yang paling mudah adalah dengan cara naik metro (subway) jalur hijau sampai mentok ke stasiun Cais do Sodre. Kemudian disambung dengan naik tram 25E (model lama maupun baru) atau bus nomer 728 jurusan Belem. Kita bisa turun di halte tepat di depan counter Pasteis de Belem.

Lisboa

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Lisbon, Lisabon, atau Lisboa, sebutan untuk ibu kota Portugal. Lisboa barangkali adalah sebutan yang lebih afdhol untuk kota ini sebagaimana masyarakat penghuninya menyebut kota itu. Merupakan salahsatu kota tertua di Eropa. Bahkan konon katanya, kota ini lebih tua usianya dari pada kota Roma di Italia.

Kota ini terletak di muara sungai Tagus dengan kontur berbukit-bukit dengan tujuh puncak bukit andalannya (miradouro), tempat dimana turis-turis bisa memandang lansekap kota dari atasnya.

Kota ini sedikit menampakkan sisa-sisa tsunami dahsyat akibat gempa tahun 1775 yang meluluhlantakkan pesisir kota ini. Perbedaan tata kota antar bangunan di tepian muara dengan bangunan di atas bukitlah yang diklaim menjadi bukti terjadinya tsunami di masa lampau.

Kota lama pada sebuah kawasan yang populer disebut Alfama yang terletak di atas bukit menampakkan jalan-jalan berupa gang-gang sempit semacam labirin. Para turis biasanya akan dengan sukarela menyesatkan dirinya di gang-gang sempit tersebut, menyusuri jalan-jalan sempit yang ditata dari batu, sambil menikmati alunan musik Fado yang mengalun dari tiap sudut restoran di kawasan itu. Atau menikmati steak daging tipis khas Portugal (bitoque) di restaurante yang menyemut di gank-gank kecil tersebut.

Pusat wisata kota Lisboa terletak di dua kawasan utama: di daerah Belem dan di kawasan Centro Historico/Historic Center (yang mencakup Rua Augusta di kawasan Baixa Xiado, Praca Comercio, Alfama, Graca, Santa Justa lift, Sao Jorge Castle, Praca Figuera dan Rossio Square). Yang menarik, kawasan Centro Historico ini hanya berjarak sepersekian kilo meter dari dermaga kapal pesiar yang berada tepat di samping stasiun kereta Santa Apolonia. Kapal-kapal pesiar dari berbagai negara bersandar di dermaga yang terletak di muara sungai Tagus tersebut untuk menurunkan para wisatawan.

Yang khas dari arsitektur Lisboa adalah  paving trotoarnya yang terbuat dari potongan kecil batu alam yang tersusun rapi (calcada portuguesa/cobblestone). Paving tradisional ini sebenarnya tidak hanya terdapat di Lisboa, tapi juga di kota-kota di seluruh Portugal. Di beberapa lokasi, paving ini membentuk sebuah mozaik dengan pola gambar tertentu yag menarik untuk dipandang.

Tak lupa, azulejo de portugal atau dinding keramik lukis khas Portugal juga menjadi ciri khas kota Lisboa. Seni arsitektur ini berupa dinding keramik yang dilukis dengan tinta warna biru. Saat ini azulejo hanya tersisa pada bangunan-bangunan tua seperti gereja dan rumah tinggal. Jumlahnya semakin menyusut seiring dengan gaya arsitektur modern yang mulai meninggalkannya.

Breaking The Habits

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Here these are the messages conveyed by Mr Safuady, the chief of Human Resource Development Training Center  during the opening of SPIRIT III Pre Departure Program, January 14th  2013:

Character is the main key to build this country.

You are the creator of your destiny.

Education is not only to educate but also to prosper.

A ship anchored in port is safe, but it is not the purpose of ship be made. A ship is made to face the ferocity of the oceans.

Build character must be begun with coercion. Coercion => forced => used => habit

Throw away your snob!

Be the best you can be!

Set your dream and achieve success, work earlier before anyone else works, work longer than others, and reduce sleeping and leisure time!

Be diligent and persistent!

By reading, listening, and writing, each can only absorb 15% of information we received. By sharing with others and do it repeatedly, we will get 100%.

STAPALA’s New Climbing Wall

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Stapala climbing wall

Stapala climbing wall

In the end of March, STAPALA has a new climbing wall after its old climbing wall has been restored. It is seventeen meters in height and made from fiber panels that replaced the wood panels. This climbing wall used to be the highest climbing in Jakarta when it was built in 1996.

It is very challenging wall climbing since it has two “roofs” and an “over hang” (sloping wall) in the middle of it. It also have “bouldering” wall surrounding its steel construction, which equipped with so many “points” that can be chosen by the climbers to make climbing path. Moreover, the constructor ensures the safety by set the anchors straightly in the steel frame.

In addition, with very nice color combination between yellow and blue, it is an eye-catching building amid the college ones.

Stapala cimbing wall

Stapala cimbing wall.2

Wanna try this climbing wall?

Please come to STAPALA-STAN, Jl Bintaro Utama, Bintaro Jaya Sektor V, Jakarta Selatan.

Phone 021-7371171.

We provide complete equipments and qualified belayers.

Countries I Want to Visit

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One of my dreaming countries to visit is England. Growing up, I am an England Premiere League fan. I have been watching this football league since 1996. My favorite club is Manchester United, one of the best football clubs in the world, which have won Champions League three times. In the future, I want to watch MU match directly in Old Trafford stadium. I want to feel the great atmosphere amid seventy thousand fans yell.

The other country I want to visit is Germany. I had studied German for three years in senior high school. Although I have already forgotten all the materials :D, the impressions of this country is still remained on my mind. It would be nice to live in this very tidy country.

Being a World Bank grantee drag me closer to the dream. I can choose any country to get my master degree. I have planned to choose European country so that I can visit those countries during my study. Thank God for giving me this opportunity.

How to Improve Our English?

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Some people take English course to improve their English. Others take particular English course such as TOEFL or IELTS course to pass those test. What we have to realize is that English is a language. It needs a process to be mastered. Furthermore, in order to fluent in English, we have to apply it in our daily life. The pattern I got from people who got high score in TOEFL test is that them usually one of these persons:

  1. movie lover;
  2. music lover; or
  3. novel lover.

No matter what they have taken English course or not, they have good English because of their habits to listen or read in English. For example, the daughter of my senior in college who got 112 in iBT TOEFL test have been reading English novels since she was in elementary school. Surprisingly, she has never taken English course before. Now she has been accepted in five top universities in America: University of Texas in Austin, University of Washington at Seattle, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California at San Diego, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. Meanwhile, my friend who very fluent in English has habits to read English novels and watching western movies or TV series without bahasa Indonesia subtitles. The other example, my friends who got more than 600 in PBT score has managed to read English novels since junior high school. Even though in the beginning she had difficulties to comprehend the story in the novels and had to been helped by dictionary, recently she could read English novels without dictionary anymore.

To sum up, how to improve your English by using their method?

  1. Watching movie using English subtitles.
  2. Listening and singing music using lyrics (for example using “Minilyrics”), it will improve your pronunciation.
  3. Reading English novel; provide English dictionary on your side.

My Strategies to Get High Score in iBT TOEFL

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Some universities require more than 80 in iBT TOEFL for those who will apply for; even, most of European universities require more than 90. Since I got “only” 79 in my last iBT test, I have to strive to achieve more score in the next test. My target is to achieve 100, and here these are my strategies in achieving that score:

  1. I will ask my wife to give me minimal two questions a day, which I have to answer each question in one minute.
  2. I will write minimal one essay, journal/diary or article in English and post it to my blogs.
  3. I will read grammar material at least fifteen minutes per day.
  4. I will read one article/news in the morning and one article/news in the afternoon.
  5. I will memorize five new words every day.
  6. I will undergo test simulation for reading and listening section minimal one passage for each section.
  7. I will set tight schedule in go to bed and wake up.
  8. I will watch movies/documentary movies/TV series (optional)
  9. I will listen to the music/radio (optional).
Num. Description Time table
1 Wake up 04.30 am
2 Read news and collect new words 05.00 am
3 Rehearsal for reading and listening 05.30 – 07.00 am
4 Reading news 16.30 pm
5 Watching Movie 17.00 pm
6 Rehearsal for speaking 19.30 pm
7 Reading grammar material 20.30 pm
8 Rehearsal for writing 21.00 pm
9 Memorize new words 22.00 pm
10 Go to bed 22.30 pm
11 Test simulation in all sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing at the weekend

I hope these strategies will help me to achieve my target. Furthermore, I can chase my dream to go to Europe.