North America Trip, TV Show, USA, Vacation

#2112 – American Idol and Love Yourself

ENGLISH

When I went to New York for my year end 2015 trip, I was glad to be able to watch an episode of American Idol before the show was cancelled. At the time, that 15th season had been announced as its last season. As a (formerly) fans of the show, certainly I was happy to still have the opportunity to watch it in America while the show was still on, haha. Btw, here are the main posts of that amazing year-end trip of mine:
1. Part I: Getting to North America
2. Part II: Boston
3. Part III: Getting to Mexico
4. Part IV: Oaxaca
5. Part V: A Mexican Wedding
6. Part VI: Huatulco and New Year
7. Part VII: Beaches of Huatulco
8. Part VIII: Back to USA
9. Part IX: Fifth Avenue, New York
10. Part X: More from New York
11. Part XI: Back to Europe

But then fast forward about a year later, it was announced that the show would be revived when ABC acquired its right and so the show didn’t really get “cancelled” after all, lol 😆 . I found it a little bit awkward when I had already been a little bit emotional at the time which, apparently, was only for nothing, lol 😆 .

ABC announced that the show would be back for its the 16th season in the 2017-2018 season and, funnily, somehow it coincided with my Spring Trip to the States earlier this year! Lol 😆 . Here are the main posts of this recent awesome trip:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

But just like in my New York trip in early January 2016, I happened to be in the States also during the audition episodes of the series, haha 😆 . And the coincidence did not stop here. I was in New Orleans at the time, and here is one of the auditions that was aired that day:

I mean, yep, the contestant chose a song that started with “There is a house in New Orleans“, while I was in New Orleans, LOL 😆 . I just can’t even!!

Anyway, this time I got a chance to watch two episodes actually. The first one was the last episode of the judges’ audition stage while the second one was the first part of the Hollywood stage. As usual, in the Hollywood stage the contestants had to perform in groups and sang a song of their choice.

And this Hollywood stage, btw, infatuated me with … a Justin Bieber song 🙈. I mean, OMG 😱😱😱😱😱! I never thought this would happen, but Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” was actually good! Haha 😆 . But as usual, when I liked a song I also looked for its covers, which usually are in plenty of supply in Youtube nowadays. And for this song, I found a cover which I really liked, even (much) more than the original. Unsurprisingly, though, it was a cover by the Postmodern Jukebox.

Haha 😆 . What do you think?

So yeah, that is the story of American Idol’s resurrection which succesfully intoxicate my brain with a Justin Bieber’s song, lol 😆 .

BAHASA INDONESIA

Ketika aku pergi ke New York untuk perjalanan akhir tahun 2015ku, aku merasa senang masih bisa menonton satu episodenya American Idol sebelum acaranya berakhir. Waktu itu, sudah diumumkan bahwa musim ke-15 akan menjadi musim terakhirnya. Sebagai (dulunya) fans dari acara ini, jelas dong ya aku senang bisa mendapatkan menonton acaranya ketika sedang berada di Amerika, haha. Btw, berikut ini posting-posting yang berisi cerita perjalanan seru akhir tahunku dulu itu:
1. Part I: Getting to North America
2. Part II: Boston
3. Part III: Getting to Mexico
4. Part IV: Oaxaca
5. Part V: A Mexican Wedding
6. Part VI: Huatulco and New Year
7. Part VII: Beaches of Huatulco
8. Part VIII: Back to USA
9. Part IX: Fifth Avenue, New York
10. Part X: More from New York
11. Part XI: Back to Europe

Nah, fast forward sekitar satu tahun kemudian, ada berita bahwa acaranya akan dihidupkan kembali ketika ABC mendapatkan hak untuk acaranya sehingga American Idol nggak jadi “berakhir” deh, haha 😆 . Agak nyebelin juga ya karena aku sudah sempat agak mellow-mellow gimana gitu waktu itu yang mana eh ternyata acaranya batal berakhir, huahaha 😆 .

ABC mengumumkan bahwa acaranya akan kembali untuk musim ke-16 di periode tayang 2017-2018 dan, lucunya, ini pas bebarengan dengan perjalanan musim semiku ke Amerika awal tahun ini! Haha 😆 . Berikut ini posting-posting utama perjalananku yang seru baru-baru ini tersebut:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Tapi sama seperti dulu ketika di New York di awal bulan Januari 2016, aku di Amerika kemarin sewaktu acaranya masih dalam tahap penayangan babak audisinya, haha 😆 . Dan kebetulannya masih belum berhenti di situ lho. Acaranya ditayangkan ketika aku berada di New Orleans waktu itu, dan berikut ini salah satu audisi yang ditayangkan di episode hari itu:

Iyaa, kontestannya memilih menyanyikan lagu yang dibuka dengan lirik “There is a house in New Orleans“, ketika aku lagi di New Orleans, huahaha 😆 . Kok bisa-bisanya ya!!

Ngomong-ngomong, kali ini aku mendapatkan kesempatan untuk menonton dua episode. Episode pertama adalah episode terakhir dari tahap audisi sementara yang kedua adalah bagian pertama dari tahap eliminasi di Hollywood. Seperti biasa, di tahap Hollywood kontestannya harus tampil dalam grup dan menyanyikan satu lagu yang mereka pilih sendiri.

Dan tahap Hollywood ini, btw, membuatku suka dengan … salah satu lagunya Justin Bieber dong 🙈. Ya ampun apa-apaan inii 😱😱😱😱😱! Nggak pernah aku sangka sebelumnya, tapi harus dibilang bahwa lagu “Love Yourself“-nya Justin Bieber itu memang enak ya! Haha 😆 . Tapi seperti biasa, ketika aku suka dengan sebuah lagu, aku juga suka mencari versi cover-nya gitu, yang mana sekarang mah banyak bertebaran di Youtube ya. Dan untuk lagu ini, aku menemukan satu cover yang aku suka banget, bahkan (jauh) lebih aku sukai daripada versi aslinya. Tak mengherankan, cover ini adalah milik Postmodern Jukebox.

Haha 😆 . Bagaimana menurut kalian?

Ya, jadi ya begitu deh cerita American Idol yang hidup kembali yang mana dengan sukses meracuniku dengan lagunya Justin Bieber, hahaha 😆 .

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Aviation, North America Trip, Trip Report, USA, Vacation

#2107 – 2018 Spring Break (Part VII: Air France AF137 ORD-CDG in Business Class)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Two days before my Air France flights back to Amsterdam via Paris, a part of Air France workers went on strike which meant Air France had to cancel some of their (global) flights. One of these was their daily Paris – Chicago flight that day.

Then on the day of my departure, just before going to the airport, I got a call from Air France’s Chicago office offerring me to switch to KLM’s direct Chicago – Amsterdam flight free of charge. I, of course, declined the offer.

Flight: Air France AF137
Equipment: Airbus A330-200 reg F-GZCH
ATD: 17:37 CDT (Runway 28R of ORD)
ATA: 08:23 CET (Runway 08R of CDG)

After taking the L train to O’Hare Airport and proceeded to Terminal 5, I checked-in at Air France/KLM’s counters. It turned out the agent was the one who contacted me before, haha. He then told me that I had been upgraded to Business Class on the Chicago – Paris flight. Yeay!! 😀

I then cleared security and headed to the Air France/KLM Lounge at Terminal 5. The lounge turned out to be quite small, though I still found it impressive that Air France/KLM operated their own lounge despite Chicago not being a SkyTeam hub (Air France and KLM each only operated one daily flight to Chicago). Anyway, I found the lounge to be sufficient, despite the lack of power ports.

Air France Lounge at Chicago O’Hare Airport

My flight today would be operated with Air France’s Airbus A330-200 reg F-GZCH. Long story short, I walked to the gate, boarded the plane, and turned left to the Business Class cabin 😀 . I took off my coat, which not long after was retrieved by a cabin crew to store it in a cabinet, and settled onto my 2K seat.

The business class cabin on board Air France’s Airbus A330-200 F-GZCH

“Unfortunately”, F-GZCH was still equipped with the old Business Class cabin in 2-2-2 configuration. Plus, the seat was still of the older “angled-lie-flat” one, i.e. we could flatten the seat out, but it would still be angled (not fully horizontal like in KLM’s Boeing 747-400 World Business Class). Despite so, it was still much better than economy so I’d still take it, lol 😆 .

On my business class seat board an Air France’s Airbus A330-200 F-GZCH

The cabin crew went around distributing newspapers, amenity kits, and drinks before departure. The amenity kit pouches were Air France branded and came in a few different colours (I obviously chose the blue one) and for the drink I got myself a champagne, lol 😆 .

Pre-departure drink service: French champagne

After boarding was completed, we began our pushback and, hence, departure to Paris. The safety video was played on the IFE screen. While it was still the same version, I noticed that Air France had changed the music. Somehow I liked the older music better, though. Anyway, here is the new “version” of the video:

Anyway, it was quite a quick taxi to the departure runway, which was runway 28R today. After taking-off, we made a turn towards Paris. Being seat on the right side of the plane, this provided me with a great view of Chicago in the background! 😀

Chicago O’Hare Airport and Downtown Chicago in the background

After the seatbelt sign was switched off, I took off my shoes and stored it in the shoes bag that was provided in the seat. The bag also contained a pair of slippers and socks, which I, then, of course used.

Such a comfortable flight this would be!!

The cabin crew distributed warm towels and the menu book for this flight. And then, they went on another round of drink service and, again, I had a glass of champagne, haha 🙈 .

French champagne service after take-off

The dinner service commenced not long after. There was no choice for the appetizer, which consisted of bresaola, shrimps on ratatoille, and salad with pecans. I accompanied it with a glass of 2016 Loire Blanc. It was, as expected, good!

The appetizer

Then the main course followed with four options: pan-seared tournedos, scallops in lobster sauce, chicken supreme in foie gras sauce, or red bell pepper gnocchi. I was torn between the scallops or the chicken, but in the end settled for the scallops which also came with a serving of basmati rice and carrots. A plate of gourmet cheeses was also served accompanying the main dish. It was really good!!

The main course: scallops in lobster sauce and a plate of gourmet cheeses

The dessert then followed, with two options: a sorbet with fruit salad or bites of cake, tart, and sponge. Initially I opted for the sorbet but then changed my mind to the small bites, haha. I accompanied the dessert with a glass of warm green tea 😀 .

Mini bites for dessert

After dinner, naturally I was trying to get some rest. We were already at the northeastern point of Canada at this point, so this was already about 1/3 way through to Paris! But first, I was browsing what was offerred in the IFE. As mentioned above, unfortunately F-GZCH was still equipped with the old seat and hence also the old IFE system. The content was rather disappointing and the screen was rather small.

Trying to get some rest, and notice the small-ish screen

I then flattened my seat, put my eyepad and blanket on (which were of better quality than in economy), and tried to get some rest. While I wasn’t able to get into deep sleep, this helped a lot as I could still get some rest! A few times I made a few trips to the lavatory, which smelled really good in business class because of the special perfumes, haha. They galley was also full of drink and premium snacks available for business class passengers to grab. The cabin crew was also very courteous. When seeing me in the galley, he asked me if I would like a cup of tea or coffee. I said I was fine and probably would ask for the coffee later just before breakfast.

The business class galley

As we were approaching Ireland, the cabin crew slowly brighten the cabin (They must have closed my window shades when I was asleep, without me noticing!). Not long after, they distributed warm towels and I got my cup of (powdered) cappuccino. Breakfast was then served, which consisted of some pastries, bread rools, fresh fruit, yoghurt, and some warm drinks. It was good.

The breakfast service.

Not long after, we began our descent to Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport. We flew over the city of Paris before landing at runway 08R of the airport. The plane parked at Concourse L. I disembarked the plane, cleared security and immigration before heading to Terminal 2F for my connecting flight to Amsterdam.

***

I’m not going to share my AF1640 flight to Amsterdam in too much details now. Only that it was operated with Air France’s A321-200 reg F-GTAH and was delayed for about 40 minutes. I was also flying economy on this flight, though I didn’t really mind, haha.

And here, my one week 2018 Spring Break to New Orleans and Chicago officially ended.

THE END.

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Dua hari sebelum penerbangan Air France-ku ke Amsterdam via Paris, sebagian karyawannya Air France memutuskan untuk mogok kerja yang menyebabkan pembatalan sebagian penerbangan (global)-nya Air France. Salah satunya yang kena adalah penerbangan Paris – Chicago hari itu.

Lalu di hari keberangkatanku, tepat sebelum aku berangkat ke bandara, aku mendapatkan telepon dari kantor Chicagonya Air France yang menawarkanku untuk pindah ke penerbangan langsung Chicago – Amsterdam dengan KLM. Aku, tentu saja, menolak penawaran ini.

Penerbangan: Air France AF137
Pesawat: Airbus A330-200 reg F-GZCH
ATD: 17:37 CDT (Runway 28R of ORD)
ATA: 08:23 CET (Runway 08R of CDG)

Setelah naik kereta L menuju Bandara O’Hare dan berjalan ke Terminal 5, aku check-in di konternya Air France/KLM. Ternyata agen yang melayaniku adalah yang meneleponku sebelumnya, haha. Ia kemudian memberi-tahuku bahwa aku di-upgrade ke kelas bisnis di penerbangan Chicago – Paris. Hore!! 😀

Setelah pemeriksaan sekuriti, aku pergi ke lounge Air France/KLM di Terminal 5. Lounge-nya berukuran cukup kecil ternyata. Walaupun begitu aku masih cukup kagum sih Air France/KLM memiliki lounge-nya sendiri di Chicago padahal bandara ini bukanlah hub dari SkyTeam (Air France dan KLM masing-masing hanya mengoperasikan satu penerbangan per hari ke Chicago). Anyway, lounge-nya bisa dibilang cukup oke lah walaupun nggak spesial-spesial amat, tetapi colokan listriknya tidak begitu banyak.

Lounge Air France di Bandara Chicago O’Hare

Penerbanganku hari ini akan dioperasikan dengan pesawat Airbus A330-200nya Air France dengan rego F-GZCH. Singkat cerita, aku berjalan ke gerbang keberangkatan, naik ke pesawat, dan kemudian berbelok kiri ke kabin kelas bisnis 😀 . Aku melepaskan mantelku, yang mana tidak lama kemudian diambil oleh seorang pramugara untuk disimpankan di kloset mantel, dan duduk nyaman di kursi 2K.

Kabin kelas bisnis di pesawat Airbus A330-200 F-GZCHnya Air France

“Sayangnya”, F-GZCH masih dilengkapi dengan kabin kelas bisnis model lamanya Air France dengan konfigurasi kursi 2-2-2. Ditambah lagi, kursinya pun masih yang bertipe “angled-lie-flat“, alias bisa diratakan tetapi masih “bersudut” (jadi tidak benar-benar horizontal seperti di World Business Class Boeing 747-400nya KLM). Walaupun begitu, kursi ini masih jauh lebih nyaman daripada kursi di kelas ekonomi sih jadi aku mah nggak komplain lah ya, hahaha 😆 .

Di kursi kelas bisnisku di pesawat Airbus A330-200 F-GZCHnya Air France

Pramugarinya membagikan koran, amenity kits, dan minuman sebelum berangkat. Pouch amenity kit-nya bermerk Air France dan datang dengan beberapa pilihan warna (Tentu aku memilih yang berwarna biru) dan untuk minumnya aku memilih segelas champagne, haha 😆 .

Layanan minuman sebelum berangkat: champagne Prancis

Setelah boarding selesai, pushback dimulai sehingga pesawat mulai diberangkatkan ke Paris. Peragaan video keselamatan dimainkan di layar IFEnya. Walaupun masih merupakan versi yang sama, aku perhatikan Air France telah mengubah musiknya. Aku lebih suka musik yang lama nih. Berikut ini “versi” baru videonya:

Anyway, setelah taxiing yang singkat, kami lepas landas dari landasan pacu 28R. Pesawat kemudian berbelok ke arah Paris. Karena duduk di sisi kanan pesawat, aku mendapatkan pemandangan kota Chicago yang keren banget sebagai latar belakang! 😀

Bandara Chicago O’Hare dan Downtown Chicago di latar belakang.

Setelah tanda kenakan sabuk pengaman dipadamkan, aku melepas sepatuku dan menyimpannya di tas sepatu yang disediakan di setiap kursi. Tasnya juga berisi sandal dan kaus kaki, yang mana jelas kemudian aku pakai.

Penerbangannya bakal nyaman nih!!

Awak kabin kemudian membagikan handuk hangat dan buku menu untuk penerbangan ini. Kemudian layanan minuman kembali diberikan, dan aku memilih segelas champagne lagi, haha 🙈 .

Champagne Prancis setelah lepas landas

Layanan makan malam disajikan tidak lama kemudian. Tidak ada pilihan untuk makanan pembuka, yang terdiri atas ham bresaola, udang di atas ratatouille, dan salad dengan kacang pecan. Aku menemaninya dengan segelas 2016 Loire Blanc. Seperti penampilannya, memang enak!

Makanan pembuka

Lalu makanan utama disajikan yang datang dengan empat pilihan: pan-seared tournedos, scallops dengan saus lobster, ayam dengan saus foie gras, atau gnocchi paprika merah. Awalnya aku galau antara scallops atau ayamnya, tetapi kemudian memilih scallops yang disajikan bersama dengan nasi basmati dan wortel. Sepiring keju gourmet juga disajikan bersamaan dengan makanan utama ini. Rasanya enak!!

Makanan utama: scallops dengan saus lobster dan sepiring keju gourmet

Pencuci mulut kemudian disajikan, dengan dua pilihan: es krim sorbet dengan buah-buahan atau potongan mini kue, tart, dan sponge. Awalnya aku memilih es krim sorbet tetapi kemudian berganti pilihan ke potongan-potongan mini itu dengan segelas teh hijau hangat 😀 .

Pencuci mulut mini dan teh hijau hangat.

Setelah makan malam, jelas aku mencoba beristirahat. Kami sudah berada di atas ujung timur laut Kanada waktu ini, yang mana artinya sudah sekitar 1/3 perjalanan ke Paris! Tetapi pertama-tama, jelas aku sudah mem-browsing IFEnya. Seperti yang kusebutkan di atas, F-GZCH masih dilengkapi dengan kursi yang lama sehingga sistem IFEnya pun masih sistem lama. Isinya sedikit mengecewakan dan layarnya berukuran relatif kecil.

Mencoba beristirahat, dan perhatikan layarnya yang berukuran agak kecil.

Aku kemudian meratakan kursiku, memasang penutup mata dan selimut (yang mana berkualitas lebih baik daripada yang di ekonomi, haha), dan mencoba beristirahat. Walaupun aku tidak mencapai fase tidur nyenyak, toh aku bisa beristirahat dengan lumayan! Beberapa kali aku pergi ke toilet, yang mana wangi loh karena diberi parfum, haha. Galley-nya juga penuh dengan minuman dan snack premium untuk penumpang kelas bisnis. Awak kabinnya juga perhatian sekali. Ketika melihatku di galley, ia bertanya apakah aku ingin dibuatkan teh atau kopi. Aku bilang tidak perlu untuk saat itu dan nanti saja sebelum sarapan.

Galley kelas bisnis

Ketika pesawat sudah mendekati Irlandia, awak kabin mulai perlahan-lahan menerangkan kabin pesawat (Mereka menutupkan penutup jendelaku ketika aku tertidur, tanpa menggangguku lho!). Tak lama setelahnya, handuk hangat dibagikan dan aku mendapatkan secangkir cappuccino (dari bubuk bungkusan). Sarapan kemudian dibagikan, yang terdiri atas beberapa potong roti, buah-buahan segar, yoghurt, dan minuman hangat. Enak.

Layanan sarapan.

Tidak lama setelahnya, pesawat mulai turun ke Bandara Charles De Gaulle di Paris. Kami terbang di atas kota Paris sebelum mendarat di landasan pacu 08R. Pesawat diparkir di Concourse L. Aku menuruni pesawat, melewati pemeriksaan sekuriti dan imigrasi, sebelum kemudian berjalan ke Terminal 2F untuk penerbangan lanjutanku ke Amsterdam.

***

Aku tidak akan menuliskan terlalu mendetail penerbangan AF1640ku ke Amsterdam. Hanya saja penerbangannya dioperasikan dengan Airbus A321-200nya Air France dengan rego F-GTAH dan terlambat sekitar 40an menit. Aku juga duduk di kelas ekonomi sih di penerbangan ini, tetapi tidak masalah bagiku, haha.

Dan di sini, liburan musim semi 2018 satu mingguku ke New Orleans dan Chicago resmi berakhir.

SELESAI.

North America Trip, USA, Vacation

#2104 – 2018 Spring Break (Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

In Chicago, I paid a visit (literally) to two attractions in the city (The “free” attractions were covered in Part V), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the Chicago Skydeck.

The MCA

The MCA was located near the Hancock Tower in the Magnificent Mile. At first I wasn’t so sure if I would like to come in. But then it was quite some walk already from the hotel and I had some time anyway, and so I decided to pay a visit.

Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art

The MCA turned out to be quite cool, though rather small in size despite its five stories building, haha. The exhibitions were, as the museum’s name, contemporary; so some of the artists played more with our senses (than just visual) with their creations. This visit reminded me a little bit of my visit to a contemporary art museum in Salzburg back in 2011, in which sometimes I felt like some of the “artworks” were difficult to understand, or way too “simplistic” and made me think “Even I could make this“, lol 🙈.

A contemporary artwork in Chicago

Nonetheless, the museum was beautiful. Did it worth the $15 admission? Well, it was rather on the steep side to me but it was still okay, haha 😛 .

The Chicago Skydeck

Willis Tower was the tallest building in Chicago. It had an observation deck, called the Skydeck, on the 103rd floor that was equipped with four glass balconies. The balconies had glass floor so visitors could literally look at the street and everything else 412 meters below. So obviously I would like to pay a visit.

Willis Tower

I went to Willis Tower after my visit to the MCA. Upon entering the building, I was told that there was a line of 2.5 hours before I would get access to the Skydeck. This was Saturday afternoon (of an Easter long weekend) and was my last full day in Chicago; so I didn’t have any other alternative. Upon reaching the ticket kiosk, there was a “Fast Pass” ticket that came with a priority queuing line (with only 40 minutes of waiting time) but cost $49. I felt cheap today so I just went with the general admission ticket which only cost $24, haha.

The queue for the Skydeck

I was thinking they must have exaggerated the “2.5 hours” queueing time; but it turned out they were being serious, lol 😆 . But free wifi was provided and it helped a lot to pass the time, haha. Long story short, I finally got my turn to take the elevator up to the 103rd floor. The elevator moved really fast, btw.

The Skydeck provided 360 degree view of Chicago. I went to one window which faced The Loop, and admired the awesome view of Chicago City Center from 412 meters above the ground.

The business district of Chicago from Skydeck

The balconies were in the other side of the room; and, unsurprisingly but rather annoyingly, there was another line for those! I chose one of the line (each balcony had its own line(s)); and this line felt like moving at a much slower pace than the previous line!

The queue for the balconies at the SkyDeck

It was another half an hour of queueing before finally I got my turn at one of the balconies. By this time I was already so tired from the three hours of queueing and just wanted to get my pictures taken, lol 😆 . And so I didn’t have a lot of time and energy to look down and “felt the height” under me. Though, I did manage to snap one picture of it; and it wasn’t “that” scary to be honest, haha.

The view of the glass bottom deck at 412 meters (103rd floor) above the ground

It was cool though that each balcony was managed by an officer who made sure the lines were respected and each visitor wouldn’t take too much time in the balcony (to be courteous to other visitors still waiting in the lines). My officer also helped me to take a few photos, haha 😆 .

Sky Deck Chicago

After my about 1 minute turn (lol 😆 ) at the balcony was over, I went down the elevator and left the Willis Tower.

Was the Skydeck worth a visit? Yes, definitely! Perhaps just choose a better timing than I did. I mean, a Saturday afternoon in the middle of a long weekend was probably not the most ideal time to pay a visit there, haha 😆 . Ah, and don’t forget to check the weather forecast too to make sure you would get good view of the city from up there!

The Food in Chicago

Coming to Chicago, I knew that I would like to try out their famous deep dish pizza! And I wasted no time. I went to two restaurants, Pizano and Giordano’s, and at both I ordered this dish. There were many different choices of toppings but those were mostly for small-and-up sized pizza. For the individual sized one which I was after, the topping variety wasn’t that wide; but what I was after, the cheesy one, thankfully came in this size.

A Chicago’s cheesy deep dish pizza

And indeed, it was delicious!! The pizza looked thick but it was thick with the topping, not the crust! Years ago when I was still in Indonesia, someone told me that Pizza Hut’s pizza was Chicago-style. And now, I can say that this person was lying to my face! It wasn’t like Pizza Hut’s pizza!! Lol 😆

Anyway, I learned that deep dish pizza took a long time to cook, at least in these two restaurants that I went to. Even at Giordano’s, I had to wait for nearly an hour! The waitress told me about this when I was placing my order, though.

A delicious steak in Chicago

Another dish that one should try while in Chicago was the steak! Apparently Chicago was a steak city; and for my last dinner there I went to a pub that served steak. And the sirloin steak was delicious, and unique in its own way! It was served with fried onion with Worcestershire sauce, a combination I had never seen for a steak before! 😀

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Di Chicago, aku masuk ke dua atraksi berbayar (Atraksi “gratisan”-nya sudah kuceritakan di Bagian V), yaitu Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) dan Chicago Skydeck.

MCA

MCA berlokasi di dekat Menara Hancock tidak jauh dari Magnificent Mile. Awalnya aku nggak yakin apakah aku mau masuk atau tidak. Tetapi berhubung aku sudah berjalan-kaki jauh dari hotel dan toh ada waktu, aku memutuskan untuk masuk.

Museum of Contemporary Art di Chicago

MCA ternyata lumayan keren juga lho, walaupun ukurannya tergolong cukup kecil sih untukku biarpun ada lima lantai, haha. Yang dipamerkan, sesuai nama museumnya, ber-genre kontemporer; dimana beberapa artisnya bermain dengan indra-indra kita (lebih dari sekedar visual) dengan karya-karyanya. Kunjungan ini mengingatkanku akan kunjunganku ke museum seni kontemporer di Salzburg di tahun 2011 dulu, yang mana aku merasa beberapa “karya seni”-nya sulit dimengerti, atau sebagian yang saking “terlalu sederhana”-nya membuatku berpikir “Begini mah gue juga bisa“, huahahaha 🙈.

Sebuah karya seni kontemporer di Chicago

Walaupun begitu, museumnya secara keseluruhan indah kok. Apakah layak dengan rate tiket masuknya yang $15? Hmm, memang sih rate segini tergolong lumayan mahal tapi masih nggak papa lah, haha 😛 .

Chicago Skydeck

Menara Willis adalah bangunan paling tinggi di Chicago. Menara ini memiliki dek observasi, yang disebut Skydeck, di lantai 103 yang dilengkapi dengan empat balkon. Balkon-balkon ini berlantaikan kaca sehingga pengunjung bisa melihat bebas ke jalanan dan menara-menara di bawah kaki yang berada 412 meter di bawahnya. Jadi jelas dong ya aku ingin mengunjunginya juga.

Menara Willis

Aku pergi ke Menara Willis setelah kunjunganku ke MCA. Ketika memasuki gedungnya, aku diberi-tahu bahwa antrian untuk akses ke Skydeck adalah 2,5 jam. Waktu itu adalah hari Sabtu siang (di long weekend Paskah pula) dan adalah hari penuh terakhirku di Chicago; jadilah aku tidak memiliki alternatif lain. Ketika mencapai loket tiketnya, aku diberi-tahu akan tiket “Fast Pass” dengan jalur prioritas antrian (sehingga antriannya hanya 40 menit) tetapi seharga $49. Karena sedang merasa pelit hari itu, aku membeli tiket yang biasa saja yang hanya seharga $24, haha.

Antrian Skydeck jalur biasa

Awalnya aku berpikir pasti petugasnya melebih-lebihkan lah dengan waktu tunggu “2,5 jam” itu; tetapi ternyata memang beneran segitu dong, haha 😆 . Tetapi di antriannya ada free wifi sih sehingga ini membantu sekali untuk melewatkan waktu, haha. Singkat cerita, aku akhirnya mendapatkan giliranku naik lift ke lantai 103. Liftnya bergerak naik dengan amat cepat loh, btw.

Skydeck menawarkan pemandangan 360 derajat akan Chicago. Aku pergi ke salah satu jendelanya yang mengarah ke The Loop, dan dari sana aku mendapatkan pemandangan kece distrik bisnisnya Chicago dari ketinggian 412 meter di atas tanah.

Distrik bisnisnya Chicago dari Skydeck

Balkon-balkonnya berada di sisi lain ruangannya; dan, tidak mengherankan tetapi menjengkelkannya, ada antrian untuknya lagi dong! Aku memilih salah satu antriannya (masing-masing balkon memiliki antriannya sendiri-sendiri); dan antrian kali ini rasanya bergerak lebih lamban daripada yang sebelumnya!

Antri lagi untuk balkon-balkon di SkyDeck

Kira-kira aku harus mengantri setengah jam lagi sebelum akhirnya mendapatkan giliranku di salah satu balkonnya. Di waktu ini aku sudah lelah dari yang namanya tiga jam mengantri dan ingin cepat-cepat foto-foto saja, haha 😆 . Dan aku pun tidak memiliki banyak waktu dan energi untuk melihat ke bawah untuk “merasakan” ketinggian di bawahku waktu itu. Walaupun aku sempat mengambil satu fotonya sih; dan sebenarnya nggak “seram-seram amat” menurutku, haha.

Pemandangan ke bawah dari dek kaca di ketinggian 412 meter (lantai 103) di atas tanah.

Keren lho di setiap balkonnya terdapat petugas yang memastikan antriannya berjalan mulus dan setiap pengunjung tidak memakan waktu di balkonnya terlalu lama (ya mesti juga memikirkan pengunjung-pengunjung lain yang sedang mengantri kan ya). Petugas di balkonku juga membantuku foto-foto, haha 😆 .

Sky Deck Chicago

Setelah giliranku selama 1 menitan (haha 😆 ) berakhir, aku turun dengan lift-nya dan meninggalkan Menara Willis.

Apakah Skydeck worth it? Iya banget! Tapi waktu kunjungannya bisa dipilih yang lebih baik daripada waktuku kemarin ini deh. Maksudku, Sabtu siang di pertengahan long weekend jelas bukan waktu yang ideal untuk mengunjunginya kan ya, haha 😆 . Ah, dan jangan lupa mengecek ramalan cuaca untuk memastikan pemandangan kotanya lagi kece dari atas sana!

Makanan di Chicago

Dari awal, aku sudah tahu aku ingin banget makan deep dish pizza di Chicago yang memang terkenal banget itu! Dan aku fokus banget dengan ini. Aku pergi ke dua restoran, Pizano dan Giordano’s, dan di keduanya aku memesan menu ini. Pilihan topping-nya ada bermacam-macam tetapi kebanyakan untuk pizza ukuran small ke atas. Untuk ukuran individu seperti yang kuinginkan, pilihan topping-nya tiak sebanyak itu; tetapi yang memang aku inginkan, topping keju, untungnya tersedia di ukuran ini.

Sebuah deep dish pizza yang berkeju banget di Chicago

Dan memang beneran enak banget lho!! Pizzanya nampak tebal tetapi tebal oleh topping-nya, bukan oleh crust-nya! Jadi ceritanya dulu ketika masih di Indonesia, aku diberi-tahu bahwa pizza-nya Pizza Hut itu bergaya Chicago. Dan sekarang, aku bisa bilang bahwa siapa pun yang memberi-tahuku waktu itu itu jahat bohong! Soalnya pizza-nya nggak mirip sama sekali dengan pizza-nya Pizza Hut!! Haha 😆 .

Anyway, memasak deep dish pizza ini membutuhkan waktu lama banget, setidaknya di dua restoran yang kukunjungi ini. Bahkan di Giordano’s, aku harus menunggu hampir satu jam! Pelayannya sudah memberi-tahuku ini ketika memesannya sih.

Steak yang enak banget di Chicago

Menu lainnya yang perlu dicoba di Chicago adalah steak-nya! Ternyata Chicago adalah kota steak; dan untuk makan malamku di sana aku pergi ke sebuah pub yang menyediakan steak. Dan steak sirloinnya memang enak banget, dan unik! Steak-nya disajikan dengan bawang goreng tepung dengan saus Inggris, kombinasi yang belum pernah kudapatkan sebelumnya! 😀

BERSAMBUNG…

North America Trip, USA, Vacation

#2101 – 2018 Spring Break (Part V: Chicago the City)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

I stayed in an area called The Loop, which was the central business district of Chicago. IMO this was a good decision because the area was central with respect to the city. Being the central business district of Chicago, The Loop was full with skyscrapers. This was something which I thoroughly enjoyed and like as, to me as a city person, this felt “so American”, just like in New York! Haha 😆 . For this reason I was feeling so pumped on my first evening there! Haha 😆 .

Chicago

Being a big metropolitan city, Chicago was equipped with a quite extensive public transport system called The “L” (for “ELevated”), which was connected to both Midway and O’Hare Airport. Though, aside from my to tips from/to the airports, I only used this system once because I felt like I could reach the attractions I would like to visit from my hotel on foot, mostly. Though, perhaps this wasn’t the best idea because Chicago was such a big city! Haha 😆 .

An L station in Chicago

Anyway, as a “real” tourist in Chicago, the first attraction I visited was “The Bean”, haha 😆 . It was a sculpture at Millennium Park officially named “Cloud Gate”, but was nicknamed “The Bean” because of the shape, haha. The Bean was quite crowded the day I visited, which wasn’t surprising at all, I guess; an indeed it was cool, especially with the backdrop of some of Chicago’s skyscrapers in the background!

Being touristy at Chicago’s The Bean

From The Bean, I walked to the Millennium Park, then to the adjascent Maggie Daley Park, and then along the lakeside park all the way south to the Buckingham Fountain, which was under renovation at the time. Anyway, Chicago was located next to the gigantic Lake Michigan, which area was about 51 times larger than Lake Toba in Indonesia.

Lake Michigan

The northern border of The Loop was the Chicago River, which flowed to Lake Michigan. There was a nice riverwalk along the river, and several water taxis operated there as well. Again, the view there was super cool (to me) because skyscrapers stood on both sides of the river, creating a rather unusual view in my eyes! 😀

Chicago and the Chicago River

To the north of the river was a section of the long Michigan Avenue called the Magnificent Mile. This was an upscale shopping district area with a lot of cool buildings and skyscrapers too, haha 😀 . The famous Hancock Tower, a building a Sim City 4 player would be familiar with (haha), was located at the northern section of this Magnificent Mile. It was really cool!

The Hancock Tower and Water Tower Place in Chicago

To the east of the Magnicient Mile was the Navy Pier. Because this area looked nice on the map, I went there. However, it turned out to be just a large pier with some attractions which suited visitors with children more, IMO, haha.

Anyway, one aspect about Chicago that I noticed was just how ridiculously CLEAN the city was! Everywhere I went, everything was so clean, including the pathways and sidewalks! I mean, just take a look at the following random photo I took of a sidewalk:

Chicago

It was super clean, wasn’t it? And this wasn’t unique to this specific part of the city only. I mean, I wouldn’t associate any other big modern cities (Well, perhaps except Tokyo 😛 ) with this level of cleanliness!

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Aku menginap di area yang disebut The Loop, yang mana merupakan distrik pusat bisnisnya Chicago. Menurutku ini adalah keputusan yang tepat karena areanya berada di pusat kota. Yang namanya pusat bisnisnya Chicago, The Loop dipenuhi oleh pencakar-pencakar langit. Ini adalah sesuatu yang amat aku nikmati karena, sebagai anak kota (haha), ini terasa “Amerika banget”, kayak New York gitu deh! Haha 😆 . Karena ini lah aku sungguh merasa bersemangat di malam pertamaku di sana!

Chicago

Yang namanya kota besar, Chicago juga dilengkapi dengan sistem transportasi umum yang lumayan ekstensif yang disebut The “L” (untuk “ELevated”), yang terkoneksi dengan Bandara Midway dan O’Hare. Walaupun begitu, selain dua perjalananku dari/ke bandara-bandara ini, aku hanya menggunakan sistem ini satu kali saja karena aku merasa aku bisa kok mencapai tujuan-tujuan yang ingin aku kunjungi dengan berjalan-kaki dari hotel. Walaupun mungkin ini bukan ide terbaik juga karena bagaimanapun Chicago adalah kota yang besar! Haha 😆 .

Sebuah stasiun L di Chicago

Anyway, sebagai turis “sejati” jelas dong ya yang aku kunjungi pertama adalah “The Bean”, haha 😆 . The Bean adalah patung di Taman Millennium yang nama resminya adalah “Cloud Gate”, tetapi diberi julukan “The Bean” karena bentuknya yang mirip kacang, haha. The Bean ramai banget di waktu aku kesana, nggak mengherankan sih; dan memang keren banget terutama dengan latar belakang beberapa pencakar langitnya Chicago!

Foto wajib turis di The Bean

Dari The Bean, aku berjalan ke Taman Millenium, lalu ke Taman Maggie Daley di sebelahnya, dan taman di sisi danau ke arah selatan ke Air Mancur Buckingham, yang mana sedang direnovasi ketika aku di sana, haha. Ngomong-ngomong, Chicago ini terletak di tepian Danau Michigan yang raksasa banget lho, yang mana luasnya sekitar 51 kali lipatnya Danau Toba!

Danau Michigan

Batas utaranya The Loop adalah Sungai Chicago, yang mengalir menuju Danau Michigan. Ada area riverwalk yang kece banget di sepanjang sungainya, dan ada beberapa taksi air yang beroperasi di sana. Lagi, pemandangan di sini kece banget (untukku) karena terdapat banyak pencakar langit di kedua sisi sungainya, sehingga pemandangannya cukup tidak biasa di mataku! 😀

Chicago dan Sungai Chicago

Di sisi utara sungainya terdapat satu bagian Michigan Avenue yang disebut Magnificent Mile. Pada dasarnya ini adalah area shopping kelas atas dengan banyak bangunan dan pencakar langit yang keren-keren, haha 😀 . Menara Hancock yang terkenal itu, sebuah gedung yang pasti akan dikenali oleh pemain Sim City 4 (haha), terdapat di bagian utara Magnificent Mile ini. Keren!

Menara Hancock dan Menara Water di Chicago

Di sebelah timur Magnificent Mile terdapat yang disebut Navy Pier. Karena area ini nampak keren di peta, aku pergi kesana. Namun ternyata ini hanyalah sebuah dermaga besar dengan beberapa atraksi di atasnya yang lebih cocok untuk pengunjung yang membawa anak kecil sih menurutku, haha.

Anyway, satu aspek tentang Chicago yang aku perhatikan adalah kotanya BERSIH banget! Kemana pun aku pergi, segalanya itu bersih banget lho, termasuk jalanan dan trotoarnya! Maksudku, coba deh lihat satu foto ngasal yang aku ambil ketika sedang berjalan-kaki ini:

Chicago

Bersih banget kan? Dan kebersihan ini tidak hanya di area ini saja lho. Maksudku, biasanya aku tidak akan mengasosiasikan kota besar dan modern (kecuali Tokyo sih 😛 ) dengan kebersihan yang levelnya sebegininya!

BERSAMBUNG…

Aviation, North America Trip, Trip Report, USA, Vacation

#2099 – 2018 Spring Break (Part IV: Delta DL 2411 and DL 5608 MSY-DTW-MDW in Economy)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

A few weeks before the flight I learned about the ability to check the upgrade list on a Delta flight via their app since 24 hours prior to departure. Naturally I was curious for this so I downloaded the app and checked-in online with it. And indeed, I could check the list! This was amazing! Haha 😆 Though, I noticed that the list was never final as people could still sign up to the list within those 24 hours.

The upgrade list via Delta’s app

From my previous domestic flight with Delta, I knew that I would not get a lounge access so I came to the airport with the right expectation, haha. After checking in my luggage and got my paper boarding passes, I cleared security and had a (real) breakfast, a crawfish omelette, at a restaurant in the airport. It was really good!

Crawfish Omelette

Anyway, to get to Chicago today obviously I wasn’t going to choose any of the direct flights offerred by American Airlines, Southwest, Spirit, and United. Also, Chicago was served by two major airports: Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Chicago Midway (MDW). I preferred to fly to Midway because it was much closer to the city center and because my Air France flight to Paris would depart from O’Hare anyway. This way I would be able to put both airports into my logbook, haha 😆 . Anyway, so in the end I chose one of the many options offerred by Delta with a transit in Detroit with Chicago-Midway as the final destination. This was the route map:

The route map today. Created with gcmap.com

Delta DL 2411 (MSY–DTW)


Flight: Delta DL2411
Equipment: Boeing 717-200 reg N891AT
ATD: 11:15 CDT (Runway 02 of MSY)
ATA: 14:06 EDT (Runway 04L of DTW)

I was super excited with this first flight today because it would be operated with a Boeing 717-200!! 😍 Such an antimainstream plane! And today, it would be operated with N891AT. Boarding went on time today. I didn’t clear any of the upgrade so I settled onto my 14A seat.

A Delta’s Boeing 717-200 reg N891AT at Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans.

We took off from runway 02 and made a turn north towards Detroit. After reaching 10,000 feet, the wifi connection was turned on. I was feeling curious today so I decided to check the connection (with no intention of purchasing the data package, haha). And then I just learned that apparently the connection allowed us to use the wifi for messaging (via several messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger), for free! It was only for text messaging, though, so no photo or video (for which you would need to purchase the data) but I felt like it was still quite cool! I felt like beating myself in the head because how could I just know this now? Lol 😆

Free Messaging on board Delta’s flight

Anyway, a light snack service was provided on the flight today. I asked for a pretzel and ginger ale. The Boeing 717-200 was a fine bird. It was certainly quieter than the MD88 (See Part I). It was quite an uneventful flight to Detroit, and at 14:06 local time we landed at runway 04L of Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Here is the landing video:

A quick transit at DTW

N891AT was parked at a gate in Concourse A of Detroit Airport’s Edward H. McNamara Terminal today. Upon disembarking the plane, I learned that my connecting flight to Chicago Midway would depart from Concourse B. So I took the super cool ExpressTram, an automated people mover running along the super long Concourse A, to the middle of the concourse from which I had to walk to Concourse B via a really cool underground pass.

The super cool automated people mover at Concourse A of Detroit Metro Airport

Delta DL 5608 (DTW–MDW)


Flight: Delta DL5608 operated by ExpressJet
Equipment: Bombardier CRJ700 reg N741EV
ATD: 16:19 EDT (Runway 22L of DTW)
ATA: 16:06 CDT (Runway 04R of MDW)

My flight to Chicago Midway today would be operated by ExpressJet, a regional airline contracted by Delta to fly under their Delta Connection brand, with their Bombardier CRJ700, another new plane for my logbook! 😍 Anyway, upon boarding I learned that apparently I cleared the upgrade to Delta Comfort+, where I got seat 4D on the plane (to top it off, seat 4C would be unoccupied during the flight!). When I got to the seat, I was shocked to find that this was the legroom:

Amazing legroom on board ExpressJet’s CRJ700

Holy moly, this legroom was so generous especially considering row 4 wasn’t even an emergency row! As far as I could remember, this was the most generous legroom I have ever had in economy!

Anyway, we then took off from runway 22L and then flew towards Chicago. This was a very short flight and so here was the service on board:

The “service” on board Delta flight DL5608

Yep, as in there was NO service on board (not even water)! This was similar to the very short New York JFK – Boston I took about 2.5 years before with Delta Connection operated by Endeavor Air so I guessed this policy had not changed.

It was another uneventful (but short) flight and at 16:06 local time, we landed at runway 04R of Chicago Midway Airport. Here is the landing video:

After taking my luggage, I went to the third level to walk to the Metro station (it was quite a long walk, btw). I then took an L-train to Chicago city center, which was about a 25 minutes ride.

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Beberapa minggu sebelum penerbangan ini, aku baru tahu bahwa kita bisa mengecek daftar urutan upgrade di penerbangannya Delta melalui app mereka semenjak 24 jam sebelum keberangkatan. Jelaslah aku penasaran sehingga app-nya aku unduh dan kemudian aku check in online dengannya. Dan ternyata benar lho aku bisa mengeceknya! Keren banget dah! Haha 😆 . Walaupun aku perhatikan daftarnya nggak pernah final sih karena penumpang lain masih bisa mendaftarkan diri ke daftarnya dalam 24 jam itu.

Daftar urutan upgrade di app-nya Delta

Dari penerbanganku sebelumnya dengan Delta, aku tahu bahwa aku tidak akan mendapatkan akses ke lounge sehingga aku datang ke bandara dengan ekspektasi yang tepat, haha. Setelah memasukkan bagasi, mendapatkan boarding pass kertasku, dan pemeriksaan sekuriti, aku sarapan (yang benar) di sebuah restoran di bandaranya. Aku memesan omelet crawfish (lobster air tawar) yang mana enak banget!

Omelet crawfish

Anyway, untuk pergi ke Chicago jelas dong aku tidak akan terbang di rute non-stop yang ditawarkan oleh American Airlines, Southwest, Spirit, atau United. Juga, Chicago memiliki dua bandara utama: Chicago O’Hare (ORD) dan Chicago Midway (MDW). Aku memilih untuk terbang ke Midway karena lokasinya lebih dekat ke pusat kota dan karena penerbangan Air France-ku ke Paris toh akan diberangkatkan dari O’Hare. Dengan begini, aku jadi bisa memasukkan kedua bandaranya ke logbook-ku kan ya, haha 😆 . Anyway, pada akhirnya aku memilih satu dari banyak pilihan yang ditawarkan Delta dengan transit di Detroit ke Bandara Chicago Midway. Berikut ini peta rutenya:

Peta rute hari ini. Dibuat dengan gcmap.com

Delta DL 2411 (MSY–DTW)


Penerbangan: Delta DL2411
Pesawat: Boeing 717-200 reg N891AT
ATD: 11:15 CDT (Runway 02 of MSY)
ATA: 14:06 EDT (Runway 04L of DTW)

Aku sungguh excited dengan penerbangan pertama ini hari ini karena akan dioperasikan dengan Boeing 717-200!! 😍 Pesawatnya antimainstream banget kan ya! Dan hari ini, Delta mengoperasikan N891ATnya. Boarding berlangsung tepat waktu. Aku tidak lolos upgrade sehingga aku duduk di kursi 14Aku.

Boeing 717-200nya Delta rego N891AT di Bandara Internasional Louis Armstrong, New Orleans.

Kami lepas landas dari landasan pacu 02 dan berbelok ke utara ke Detroit. Setelah mencapai ketinggian 10.000 kaki, koneksi wifi-nya dinyalakan. Aku penasaran hari ini dan jadilah iseng mengecek koneksinya (dengan tanpa niatan untuk membeli paket datanya, haha). Dan kemudian aku baru tahu dong kalau koneksinya bisa kita gunakan untuk mengirimkan pesan (menggunakan beberapa app seperti Whatsapp atau Facebook Messenger), gratis! Cuma untuk mengirimkan pesan aja sih, jadi nggak bisa digunakan untuk foto atau video (yang mana untuknya kita harus membeli paket datanya). Tapi tetap aja lumayan lah ya! Aku merasa sebal juga nih kok baru tahu sekarang? Kemana ajaaa? Hahahaha 😆 .

Kita bisa mengirimkan pesan gratis di penerbangannya Delta

Anyway, layanan snack ringan diberikan di penerbangan ini. Aku memilih snack pretzel dan minum ginger ale. Boeing 717-200 itu nyaman lho. Pesawatnya jelas lebih tidak berisik daripada MD88 (baca Bagian I). Penerbangannya sendiri uneventful hari ini dan jam 14:06 waktu setempat kami mendarat di landasan pacu 04L Bandara Metropolitan di Detroit. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Transit kilat di DTW

N891AT parkir di Concourse A di Terminal Edward H. McNamara Bandara Detroit hari ini. Ketika turun pesawat, aku mendapatkan informasi bahwa penerbangan lanjutanku ke Chicago Midway akan diberangkatkan dari Concourse B. Jadilah aku naik Express Tram, sebuah automated people mover yang beroperasi di sepanjang Concourse A yang panjang banget itu, untuk turun di bagian tengah concourse-nya untuk kemudian menyeberang ke Concourse B melalui terowongan yang kece banget.

Automated people mover yang keren banget di Concourse A Bandara Metro di Detroit

Delta DL 5608 (DTW–MDW)


Penerbangan: Delta DL5608 dioperasikan oleh ExpressJet
Pesawat: Bombardier CRJ700 reg N741EV
ATD: 16:19 EDT (Runway 22L of DTW)
ATA: 16:06 CDT (Runway 04R of MDW)

Penerbanganku ke Chicago Midway akan dioperasikan oleh ExpressJet, sebuah maskapai regional yang dikontrak Delta di bawah payung Delta Connection, dengan pesawat Bombardier CRJ700, sebuah tipe pesawat baru lagi untuk logbook-ku! 😍 Anyway, ketika boarding aku baru tahu bahwa ternyata kali ini aku lolos upgrade ke Delta Comfort+, dimana aku mendapatkan kursi 4D di pesawatnya (asyiknya lagi, kursi 4C kosong loh di penerbangan ini!). Ketika aku tiba di kursinya, aku sungguh dikejutkan dengan legroom-nya yang kayak begini:

Legroom yang kece banget di CRJ700nya ExpressJet

Gilaaa, legroom-nya mantap banget ini apalagi baris nomor 4 kan bukan baris pintu darurat! Sejauh ingatanku, ini adalah legroom paling mantap di ekonomi yang pernah kudapatkan dah!

Anyway, pesawat lepas landas dari landasan pacu 22L dan kemudian berbelok menuju Chicago. Ini adalah penerbangan yang singkat dan berikut ini layanannya:

“Layanan” di penerbangan DL5608nya Delta

Iya, maksudnya NGGAK ADA layanannya (bahkan air putih pun tidak)! Ini mirip sih dengan penerbangan super singkat New York JFK – Boston yang kunaiki sekitar 2,5 tahun sebelumnya dengan Delta Connection yang dioperasikan dengan Endeavour Air. Jadi sepertinya aturannya masih belum berubah.

Penerbangannya uneventful (tetapi singkat) dan jam jam 16:06 waktu setempat, kami mendarat di landasan pacu 04R Bandara Chicago Midway. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Setelah mengambil bagasiku, aku naik ke lantai tiga untuk berjalan menuju stasiun Metro (jalannya lumayan jauh, btw). Aku kemudian menaiki kereta-L menuju pusat kota Chicago yang mana waktu tempuhnya sekitar 25 menit saja.

BERSAMBUNG…

North America Trip, USA, Vacation

#2098 – 2018 Spring Break (Part III: NOLA The Foodie Destination)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

When researching New Orleans a few days before the trip, I was surprised to find out that, aside from the jazz music and the beautiful French Quarter (See Part II), New Orleans was apparently also a foodie destination, especially for the famous Creole and Cajun cuisine!! You know, whenever I travel, (local) food is always an important factor so this finding was certainly exciting to me. However, there appeared to be too many great dishes to try to the point that I regretted a little bit for only allocating two full days there, lol 😆

Anyway, on my first dinner there just after I arrived, I had dinner at one local restaurant. I noticed that one specialty meal that was served there, and it was: an alligator meat! Lol 😆 . I didn’t order the alligator dish this evening as I just arrived and was so jetlagged so I didn’t feel like taking some “risk”, lol 😆 . Instead, I had the very delicious crawfish etouffee (crawfish was another specialty meat of the region).

Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee

However, I took a picture on the menu and had a poll in InstaStory asking if I should try the alligator meat or not. And the majority said I should (you people!), lol 😆 . The next day at around lunch time, I went to a restaurant that served an alligator po-boy (a New Orleans-style sandwich), and obviously I ordered one.

While waiting for my order, I was proud of myself for how “adventurous” I was being at the time. But then I remembered that about 15 years prior, when stopping by at the crocodile farm in Bangkok with my parents and brother on our family’s year end vacation, my dad bought me and my brother a “crocodile satay”. Technically I didn’t know if it really was, though, so now I just have to take my dad’s words on this one. And then I got a little bit disappointed because, while technically still something “new”, crocodile and alligator were quite “similar” so I felt like I wasn’t really pushing my “boundaries” here, haha 😆 .

An alligator po-boy sandwich in New Orleans

Anyway not long after, the dish was served. I still remembered from fifteen years prior that I thought the crocodile meat in the “satay” in Bangkok tasted like chicken. Today, I tasted similar texture. To me, the alligator meat chunks tasted like chicken thigh chunks, haha 😆 . The dish was good, btw, as the meat was deep fried and of course everything tasted great when fried, lol 😆 .

Beignets

I was also recommended to try out the beignets while in New Orleans. So I did it one morning for breakfast, and they turned out to be basically like the Dutch’s oliebollen (the plain one, without the raisins)! And because I loved oliebollen, of course the beignets were also good, haha. I also had a fried oyster dinner with a prosecco at a nice oyster house in Bourbon Street.

Another local dish to try out was the gumbo, which was a form of soup. This dish should be interesting because its taste was supposed to be “unique” which, apparently, not many people liked. And to me, it turned out to taste like “pindang Kudus” (a delicacy dish from the region of Kudus in Central Java) so I actually quite liked it!! The waitress was quite impressed, btw, that I could finish the bowl, haha 😆 .

A serving of gumbo (and a vegetable side dish)

For my last dinner in the city, there was one local dish that I had not tried yet: jambalaya. So I was looking for a restaurant that served one; and I finally found one in the Bourbon Street. They served Creole Jambalaya Risotto, which basically was a jambalaya dish with risotto (instead of rice). And it was really good too!!

Creole Jambalaya Risotto in New Orleans

So yeah, indeed New Orleans was a foodie heaven destination. Have I tried it all? Well, of course not, but I felt like I had tasted “the most important dishes” to try out in my first visit to the city when I left. But then on my first day back at work, my American colleague asked me if I tried the fried chicken in Louisiana. I said no. And then he told me that once Anthony Bourdain named a restaurant in New Orleans to serve the best fried chicken in the country. And I was like “Daaaaaaamn!!!“. And to think about it, the famous fried chicken chain Popeyes full name is “Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen”. Hmmm. So perhaps this means I should consider going back to New Orleans at some point in the future? Lol 😆 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

Ketika meriset New Orleans beberapa hari sebelum berangkat, aku dikagetkan dengan informasi bahwa, selain terkenal akan musik jazz dan French Quarternya yang kece banget (baca Bagian II), New Orleans itu ternyata terkenal sebagai tempat tujuan kuliner dong, terutama untuk masakan ala Creole dan Cajun!! Nah, setiap kali aku travelling, makanan setempat adalah faktor yang penting untuk dicoba sehingga penemuan ini exciting untukku. Masalahnya, kok kayaknya ada banyak banget masakan enak-enak yang perlu dicoba sampai-sampai aku sedikit menyesal aku hanya mengalokasikan waktu dua hari penuh di sana, haha 😆 .

Anyway, untuk makan malam pertamaku di sana ketika baru saja tiba di kotanya, aku makan malam di sebuah rumah makan lokal. Aku perhatikan ada satu menu khusus khas yang disajikan di sana, dan menunya dibuat dengan: daging aligator! Haha 😆 . Malam itu aku tidak memesan menu ini karena aku baru saja tiba dan sedang amat jetlagged sehingga aku merasa waktu ini bukanlah waktu yang tepat untuk mengambil “risiko”, haha 😆 . Malam itu, aku memesan menu etouffee crawfish (lobster air tawar, yang mana merupakan menu khas lainnya dari daerah ini).

Etouffee Crawfish di Louisiana

Namun, buku menunya aku foto dan aku buat polling di InstaStory menanyakan apakah aku perlu mencoba daging aligatornya atau tidak. Dan ternyata hasil polling-nya positif (dasar kalian!), haha 😆 . Keesokan harinya untuk makan siang, aku mampir di restoran yang menyediakan menu alligator po-boy (sandwich a la New Orleans), dan tentu saja aku memesan satu.

Ketika sedang menunggu pesananku, aku merasa bangga terhadap diriku sendiri karena aku merasa sedang “adventurous” waktu itu. Tetapi kemudian tiba-tiba aku teringat kejadian 15 tahun yang lalu, ketika mampir di peternakan buaya di Bangkok bersama orangtua dan adikku di perjalanan liburan akhir tahun kami, dimana papaku membelikanku dan adikku “sate buaya”. Sebenarnya waktu itu aku nggak mengeceknya sendiri sih apakah itu beneran daging buaya atau bukan; jadi sampai sekarang aku sih hanya bisa mempercayai yang dibilang papaku waktu itu lah ya, haha. Dan jadilah aku sedikit dikecewakan karena, walaupun memang sih masih “baru”, tapi kan buaya dan aligator itu kan “mirip-mirip” lah ya jadi rasanya kok aku tidak melebarkan “batas”-ku di sini, haha 😆 .

Alligator po-boy sandwich di New Orleans

Anyway tidak lama setelahnya, masakannya disajikan. Aku masih ingat dari lima belas tahun yang lalu bahwa daging buaya yang kumakan di Bangkok terasa seperti daging ayam. Dan hari ini, aku merasakan tekstur yang serupa. Untukku, potongan daging aligatornya terasa seperti potongan paha atas ayam, haha 😆 . Masakannya sendiri enak, btw, karena dagingnya di goreng tepung gitu dan tentu saja apa-apa rasanya enak ketika digoreng, haha 😆 .

Beignets

Aku juga direkomendasikan untuk mencoba beignets selagi di New Orleans. Jadilah aku mencobanya suatu pagi untuk sarapan. Ternyata beignets ini seperti oliebollen-nya Belanda (yang polos sih, yang tanpa kismis)! Dan karena aku memang suka oliebollen, tentu saja aku juga menyukai beignets, haha. Aku juga makan malam dengan menu kerang (oysters) goreng dan segelas prosecco di sebuah rumah makan oyster yang kece di Jalan Bourbon.

Satu menu lokal lainnya yang aku coba adalah gumbo, sejenis sup. Menu ini menarik karena rasanya “unik” yang mana ternyata tidak disukai banyak orang. Dan bagiku, ternyata kurang lebih rasanya mirip seperti pindang Kudus, jadi aku mah suka-suka aja deh!! Pelayannya terheran-heran lho, btw, karena aku bisa menghabiskannya, haha 😆 .

Seporsi gumbo (dan menu sampingan sayuran)

Untuk makan malam terakhirku di kotanya, ada satu masakan lokal yang masih belum aku coba hingga saat itu: jambalaya. Jadilah aku mencari satu restoran yang menyajikannya; dan aku akhirnya menemukan satu di Jalan Bourbon. Mereka menyajikan menu Creole Jambalaya Risotto, yang mana adalah masakan jambalaya dengan menggunakan risotto (bukannya nasi). Dan rasanya juga enak!!

Creole Jambalaya Risotto di New Orleans

Jadi ya, New Orleans memang tempat tujuan yang cocok untuk kulineran lah. Apakah aku sudah mencoba semuanya? Jelas belum. Tetapi aku merasa setidaknya aku sudah mencoba “yang penting-penting” lah ketika aku pergi dari kotanya. Tetapi di hari pertamaku di kantor, kolegaku yang orang Amerika bertanya apakah aku mencoba ayam goreng di Louisiana. Aku jawab tidak. Dan kemudian ia memberi-tahuku bahwa sekali waktu Anthony Bourdain menyebut ayam gorengnya sebuah restoran di New Orleans sebagai ayam goreng paling enak se-Amerika dong. “Ahhhh, siaaaal!!!“. Dan kalau dipikir-pikir lagi, jaringan rumah makan ayam goreng Popeyes itu nama lengkapnya “Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen” kan ya. Hmmm. Jadi apakah ini berarti aku perlu mempertimbangkan untuk kembali ke New Orleans suatu saat nanti? Hahaha 😆

BERSAMBUNG…

North America Trip, USA, Vacation

#2094 – 2018 Spring Break (Part II: New Orleans)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2018 Spring Break series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

The French Quarter

The beautiful French Quarter in New Orleans

Because I only had two full days in New Orleans, I decided to use my short time to focus on perhaps the most touristic and oldest part of the city: the French Quarter. It was a beautiful part of the city which most of the buildings had unique French and Spanish Creole architecture with colorful ironwork as balconies.

French Quarter selfie

The most famous street in the French Quarter was the Bourbon Street, a narrow but long street in the heart of the Quarter. There were a lot of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and adult establishments along the street, haha 😆 . The road traffic on the street was blocked in late afternoon and the evening making the street very pedestrian friendly at this time.

Bourbon Street

Jazz and Music

The jazz music has been one identity of New Orleans, as this genre was actually born here. One morning, I was looking for a place for brunch and there were quite plenty of restaurants/cafes in the area. I finally decided to stop by at a cafe because I heard some live jazz music being played there:

It was really cool! And no wonder, this cafe was very popular throughout the day (different groups performed at different time).

But jazz performance could not only be found in a cafe/bar/establishment or the likes. Basically, you could also find them literally on the street! When I was randomly walking at the Toulouse/Royal Street crossing, there was a jazz performance there which was also really good! New Orleans was indeed amazing!!

Jazz street musicians in New Orleans

But obviously more than jazz music was played throughout the city in the many establishments there. I noticed that one non-jazz song was in particular popular there: The House of the Rising Sun. This was certainly not surprising at all, as this song was about life in New Orleans. In fact, the first line was “There is a house in New Orleans…“, haha 😆 .

The Mississippi

New Orleans was located by the large Mississippi River; and there was a nice riverpark there. However, it was also very windy on this part of the city! Haha 😆 . You could also take the historic steam boat, the Natchez, for a tour on the river. The boat looked really cool though with the gigantic red wheelpaddle at the back.

The famous Natchez’s steam boat in New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

In the part of the French Quarter facing the river, there was the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, which apparently was the oldest cathedral in the United States. (Upon googling this info, apparently the cathedral was haunted). It was located next to the very nice and lively Jackson Square.

The Jackson Square and the St. Louis cathedral

More of New Orleans

While looking for recommendations in New Orleans, I was led to the Frenchmen Street. But it appeared that I went there at the wrong time (in the morning, lol) because there was nothing to see, haha. I guess the establishments there just opened in late afternoon or the evening.

The French Market

I also stopped by at the French Market, which was a quite interesting flea market. I bought a print of a painting by a local artist there, btw, which I found really cool and would be my souvenir from New Orleans. It would make a great wall decoration for my place! 😀

The City Business District of New Orleans

New Orleans was more than just the French Quarter. In fact, I stayed just outside this Quarter, in the City Business District (CBD) area which was much more modern with all the skyscrapers and stuffs, haha. The CBD and French Quarter was separated by the large Canal Street, where the famous New Orleans’ streetcars ran.

A streetcar in New Orleans

Speaking of the transport, due to the short duration of my stay, I didn’t feel the need to use public transport to get around; though the streetcars looked nice. To get to/from the airport, I found no convenient public transport option (There was, but the schedule wasn’t very passengers-friendly 😀 ) so I decided to just take a taxi, haha 😛 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2018 Spring Break:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to New Orleans
3. Part II: New Orleans
4. Part III: NOLA the Foodie Destination
5. Part IV: New Orleans to Chicago
6. Part V: Chicago the City
7. Part VI: The MCA, Skydeck, and the Food
8. Part VII: Back to Europe in Business Class

French Quarter

French Quarter yang kece banget di New Orleans

Karena aku hanya memiliki dua hari penuh di New Orleans, aku memutuskan untuk menggunakan waktu singkatku ini untuk fokus di area yang paling turistik dan tua di kotanya: French Quarter. Area ini adalah area yang indah di kota ini dengan bangunan-bangunan berarsitektur Creole Prancis-Spanyol dengan balkon-balkon berulirkan besi yang dirancang kece banget.

French Quarter selfie

Jalan yang paling terkenal di French Quarter adalah Jalan Bourbon, sebuah jalan sempit tetapi panjang yang membelah Quarter-nya. Ada banyak pertokoan, restoran, kafe, bar, dan tempat-tempat hiburan dewasa di sepanjang jalan ini, haha 😆 . Lalu lintas jalannya juga ditutup di sore dan malam hari sehingga jalanannya ramah untuk pejalan-kaki di waktu-waktu ini.

Jalan Bourbon

Jazz dan Musik

Musik jazz adalah satu identitas New Orleans, karena genre ini dilahirkan di kota ini. Suatu pagi aku mencari tempat makan dan ada banyak pilihan restoran/kafe yang bisa aku pilih. Akhirnya aku memutuskan untuk mampir di sebuah kafe karena aku mendengar musik jazz live yang dimainkan di sana:

Keren banget dah! Nggak heran kafe ini juga ramai terus sepanjang hari (ada beberapa grup musik berbeda-beda yang tampil).

Nah, performa musik jazz tidak hanya bisa ditemukan di kafe/bar/sejenisnya saja kok. Bahkan kita bisa menemukannya dimana-mana termasuk di jalan! Ketika aku sedang asal berjalan kaki melewati perempatan Jalan Toulouse dan Jalan Royal, ada satu grup yang sedang memainkan musik jazz di sana dan penampilannya juga oke banget! Ah, New Orleans memang asyik banget deh ini!!

Pemusik jalanan jazz di New Orleans

Tetapi tentu saja tidak hanya musik jazz yang dimainkan di kota ini. Aku perhatikan ada satu lagu yang bukan lagu jazz, tetapi rock, yang sering dimainkan di banyak tempat di sana: The House of the Rising Sun. Ya nggak mengherankan sih ya, karena lagu ini kan bercerita mengenai kehidupan di New Orleans. Malahan, lirik pertama lagunya kan “There is a house in New Orleans…“, haha 😆 .

Area Mississippi

New Orleans dilalui oleh Sungai Mississippi yang mana terdapat taman yang oke banget di tepian sungai ini. Namun, bagian kota ini juga berangin kencang banget! Haha 😆 . Tur kapal uap yang terkenal, kapal Natchez, terdapat di sungai ini. Kapalnya nampak retro dan kece gitu dengan roda pengayuh raksasa berwarna merah di bagian belakangnya.

Kapal uap Natchez yang terkenal itu di New Orleans dan Sungai Mississippi.

Di bagian French Quarter yang menghadap ke arah sungai, terdapat Katedral St. Louis yang juga indah dan ternyata adalah katedral paling tua di Amerika Serikat (Ketika meng-google informasi tentang katedral ini, ternyata katanya katedralnya berhantu dong). Katedralnya berlokasi di sebelah Jackson Square yang nyaman dengan atmosfer yang sungguh hidup.

Jackson Square dan katedral St. Louis

Tempat-tempat lain di New Orleans

Ketika mencari rekomendasi untuk dikunjungi di New Orleans, aku diarahkan ke Jalan Frenchmen. Tetapi sepertinya aku pergi kesana di waktu yang salah (di pagi hari, haha) sehingga nggak ada yang bisa dilihat, haha. Seharusnya aku kesananya di sore atau malam hari dimana tempatnya sudah pada dibuka.

French Market

Aku juga mampir di French Market, yang mana merupakan sebuah pasar loak yang menarik. Aku membeli sebuah print dari lukisan yang dibuat seorang pelukis lokal di sana, btw, yang mana aku suka dan menjadi suvenir dari perjalananku ke New Orleans kali ini. Cocok banget untuk kujadikan hiasan dinding di apartemenku! 😀

City Business District-nya New Orleans

New Orleans tentu saja lebih dari hanya sekedar French Quarternya. Malahan, aku menginap di luar Quarter ini, di area City Business District (CBD) yang mana lebih modern dengan menara-menara tingginya, haha. CBD dan French Quarter dipisahkan oleh Jalan Canal, yang dilalui oleh streetcars-nya New Orleans yang terkenal itu.

Sebuah streetcar di New Orleans

Ngomongin transportasi, karena waktu singkatku di kota ini, aku tidak membutuhkan transportasi umum untuk berkeliling-kota; walaupun sebenarnya streetcar-nya nampak menarik sih ya. Untuk pergi dari/ke bandara, aku tidak menemukan alternatif transportasi umum (Ada sih, tapi jadwalnya tidak ramah penumpang 😀 ) dan jadilah aku menggunakan taksi, haha 😛 .

BERSAMBUNG…