As I write, my cousin is headed on her way home, flying safely on Singapore Airlines. She is hours away from Indonesia, and I bet that she can barely contain her excitement. A year without family and all your cozy comforts is a very long time. Despite her new found appreciation of all things American-related (late night outs at Starbucks, snowy weather and her brand new Ugg boots, the tv show The Hills) I think that she was ready to be amongst her family.
In her honor, we headed out to San Francisco. What better way to properly send her off then by showing her the sights and sounds of the city by the bay, right? I researched some places of interest for her, spoke with the lovely Nicole about eats in SF, and familiarized myself with the muni system. Come Friday, we were ready to get out of our smoke-filled and hot-as-hell city.
I don’t really do the touristy thing in SF anymore. Call me crazy, but after visiting the city numerous times, you forget about all those tourist traps out there. But I made sure to show her Fisherman’s wharf, Union Square, Ghiradelli Square, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We went without a car and instead relied on public transportation which was a great idea. Folks, if you can, try to use the public transportation. Not only do you save gas money, but you get to walk off all those delicious vacation calories. Get my drift?
Anyways, we wandered through the streets of Chinatown till my niece got her fill of all the sourvenir shops. Starved and tired, we stopped by our favorite Indonesian restaurant on Post street, Indonesia SF. If I can recommend any stranger to an Indonesian restaurant, this would be the one. Small yet comfortable, the restaurant is hidden away from the Union Square traffic so consider it a lucky find when you stumble through its doors. Not only is the menu expansive, the restaurant’s friendly staff is more than willing to describe the items to you. Since we thought our bellies would die without massive quantities of food, we started off with Roti Prata, grilled Indian flatbread with coconut dipping sauce.
Crispy on outsides with a soft center, this bread was fantastic. Made fresh to order, the bread is reminiscent of pita bread but has a softer texture. The sauce was light and slightly spicy, which I liked because I can’t stand curry sauce that has been spiced to death. My mom and niece pointed out that they has never had this dish before and thought it was more Indian than Indonesian, but we didn’t care either way.
For our main dish, my mom ordered a huge plate of food, Gudeg Jogja, named after her hometown Yogyakarta. It had fried tofu, chicken, hard-boiled egg, and jackfruit, the largest tree borne fruit reminiscent of pineapple. My cousin ordered a dish with lamb that I didn’t try because I don’t lamb but she thought it was really good.
I had Kari Sayuran, a simple dish with potatoes, carrots, green beans, tofu cooked in a light coconut curry sauce. I absolutely this dish. Over a heaping pile of rice, I couldn’t stop eating it. The great thing about this meal was that it didn’t leave me feeling heavy. In fact, if I hadn’t eaten the white rice, I probably could’ve tried the tempting dessert, but at this point, we all were feeling rather lethargic and stuffed.
We spent the day fighting through the hoards of people at Fisherman’s Wharf, and even jumped on a mini cruise that circled Alcatraz. Isn’t it nuts that I have yet to even visit Alcatraz? Our school missed out on that field trip memo apparently.
Anyways, we had lots of fun on our SF trip. We went shopping, stayed up late watching the planes take off at SFO airport, and drank lots of coffee. After the shuttle dropped us off at the airport, we waited in line, hoping that her 4 massive suitcases would be checked in. Note to self: weigh your luggage because they will charge you an arm and a leg for anything over their limit. I never noticed how gorgeous the airport was until I wandered around that day. The architecture in that place boggled my mind. Compared to JFK, SFO is like a freaking art gallery! Huge skylights, open space, it will take the edge off your traveling woes if you take the minute to look around.
As we got ready to say our goodbyes, I felt a little sad at the thought that I might not see my cousin ever again. The way immigration is handled nowadays is ridiculous and the process in getting a visa in the US like taking the Bar exam. Walking her up to security, my mom started tearing up, and of course I started tearing up. Such is the way of the world right? My mom hasn’t seen her close family in over 10 years, and I think seeing her family after years and years of no contact really struck home. I wouldn’t be surprised if plans for our future Indonesia trip started up soon.
I won’t lie, coming home last night was rather bittersweet. The house seemed quieter, rooms felt still. I realize that an added member in the house, an extra mouth to feed really perked things up again in my home. I will miss her, which I didn’t think was possible, but hopefully I can visit her in the years to come. Until then, I can just skim through the dozens of pictures from previous visits.