Friday, 17 March 2017

Jatuh Cinta pada Hanoi

Jembatan Merah yang ikonik
Hanoi, ibukota Vietnam adalah salah satu kota yang saya sukai, apalagi kalau didatangi saat musim dingin. Apa yang membuat Hanoi terlihat menarik? Padahal lalu lintasnya semrawut, dipadati sepeda motor yang nyaris tidak memberikan ruang pada pengguna jalan lain bernama pejalan kaki, dan bahasa setempatnyapun sulit dimengerti, belum lagi penipuan atau scam kerap mengintai turis-turis yang datang ke negeri ini. Berikut 6 keistimewaan Hanoi versi saya, turis yang baru sekali menginjakkan kaki di ibukota Vietnam ini.

1. Hanoi Old Quarter
Pertama memasuki kawasan ini, deretan toko yang menjual produk serupa di setiap ruas jalan yang kami lalui langsung menarik perhatian saya. Ternyata, ada 36 jalan yang dinamai sesuai dengan barang yang dijual di sepanjang jalan tersebut, misalnya Hang Bac (Silver street), Hang Bong (Cotton street), dan Hang Ma (Paper Offering street). Unik ya?  Tentu jumlah jalan sebenarnya di kawasan ini lebih dari 36 buah, angka 36 digunakan untuk menggambarkan begitu banyaknya jalan-jalan yang saling memotong di pusat kawasan kota tua Hanoi. Jalan-jalan lain yang sempat kami lewati adalah jalan yang di sepanjang ruasnya menjual kacamata, ransel, alat-alat masak, kertas warna-warni untuk hiasan, lampu, hingga alat-alat rumah tangga yang terbuat dari bambu maupun kayu. 

2. Water Puppet Show
Berasal dari delta sungai Merah pada abad kesepuluh. Awalnya saya tidak terlalu tertarik dengan pertunjukan ini, sampai saya duduk di kursi penonton. Anak-anakpun cukup terhibur, terbukti mereka dapat duduk tenang selama kurang lebih satu jam, padahal saya sempat deg-degan, khawatir mereka bosan dan rewel. Dengan harga tiket VND 100,000, jangan lewatkan pertunjukan wayang air ini di Thanglong Theatre.

3. Thang Long - Hanoi Imperial Ancient Citadel
Merupakan satu dari sepuluh Warisan Budaya Dunia di Vietnam. Cerita lengkap tentang Thang Long bisa dibaca di tulisan saya yang ini.

4. Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple
Berarti Lake of the Returned Sword dalam bahasa Vietnam, dengan legenda berusia ratusan tahun. Jembatan merah yang menuju kuil Ngoc Son paling cantik terlihat saat malam tiba. Berbekal tiket masuk VND 20,000 ke kuil Ngoc Son, dapatkan sejarah tentang danau ini berikut penghuninya, yaitu kura-kura raksasa yang kadangkala menampakkan diri. Danau Hoan Kiem ini ibaratnya merupakan jantung kota Hanoi. Di salah satu sudut danau, tertata hamparan bunga berwarna-warni menyegarkan mata.

5. Kuliner
Sebagai orang yang suka makan, jalan-jalan ke Hanoi belum lengkap kalau belum mencicip makanan khasnya. Favorit saya adalah Pho, yaitu sejenis sup dengan kaldu daging sapi yang gurih dilengkapi mi putih dan sayuran segar, Fresh maupun Fried spring roll, Cha Ca, potongan ikan berbumbu kuning yang dimakan dengan mi putih, hingga banh mi, atau roti lapis khas Vietnam. 

6. Bangunan kolonial
Hanoi juga kaya dengan bangunan kolonial yang sedap dipandang. Warna kuning khas yang mendominasi bangunan kolonial tersebut menjadikan Hanoi terlihat begitu impresif di mata saya. Sebut saja beberapa bangunan seperti Presidential Palace, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hanoi Opera House, dan National Museum of Vietnamese History. Deretan bangunan kolonial di sepanjang Hoang Dieu street yang banyak berfungsi sebagai kediaman resmi duta besar terlihat anggun mengapit jalan raya dengan jalur pejalan kaki yang lebar dan dinaungi pohon-pohon besar.

Selain keenam hal tersebut, tentu ada lagi yang membuat saya terkenang-kenang dengan ibukota Vietnam ini. Apalagi kalau bukan tes adrenalin menyeberang jalan dengan sepeda motor yang berseliweran tanpa henti, hehehe...

Meski karena keterbatasan waktu kami tidak sempat menghampiri Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale), Dong Xuan Market, Van Mieu Temple of Literature, Bat Trang Ceramic Village, dan Museum of Ethnology, kunjungan ke Hanoi telah meninggalkan kesan mendalam. Justru tempat-tempat tersebut menjadi alasan kuat untuk kembali lagi kesana.

Sampai jumpa lagi, Hanoi...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Here Comes the Third...

Today, nine weeks ago, I was 40 days and 5 days pregnant. No signs of labour although the latest ultrasound marked somewhere between 24 and 30 December 2016 as the EDD. New year came and the baby was still happily snuggled in my womb.

I saw my Obgyn on the 30th of December and the first time I saw her, I said that I was still pregnant to which she replied "No worries, as you are always overdue". Yes, we stick to the same Obgyn that has helped deliver our two other children. The chemistry is wayyy too strong :). That day, I had the Non Stress Test showing good result, so we could wait for another week. Believe it or not, since 24th of December, we have done whatever actions possible to naturally induce the labour, but nothing happened. Almost every night I had a dream that I suddenly woke up and was in labour, and the next morning I still found myself pregnant. My husband was more impatient than me, as he had no longer motivation to go to the office (it was nearly year-end long holiday and he's longing to have the baby as much as myself). Days went by, school started on the 4th of January for our eldest and that day my husband had an important meeting to attend...and the baby decided that it was a good day to show up!

Wednesday morning, 4 January 2017, I went to the park nearby with Sophie and my mother, this time we did one whole round, more or less 2 kilometers in distance. Later, I went out to fix my phone network and on the way home, I bought freshly-cut pineapples from the street vendor, hoping that the pineapples would trigger the labour. Nothing happened the whole morning, not until 2 pm when I started to feel the contractions, 15-20 minutes apart. I decided to take shower and get prepared. Sophie had her nap right after lunch and in an hour or so, David would be home, too. I called the hospital to check whether I should come now or later, then called my husband in the middle of his meeting. Around 3 pm, David's school bus arrived and 3.40 pm, off we went to the hospital. David was fine when we hugged and kissed him, but later my mother said, he looked worried..oh dear, how I wished I could hug him tight :(. In the taxi, my contractions were getting intense, 5-6 minutes apart but I was in full control, unlike my husband who looked worried that we could not make it to the hospital. Luckily, the traffic that very afternoon was fluid, so we arrived at the hospital just before 4 pm. We were admitted to my Obgyn's room and she confirmed that I was already 5-6 cm dilated. First she said, the baby might arrive within 2-3 hours, but later she corrected that the delivery might happen within 1-2 hours.

We proceeded to the birth room and the staff performed usual procedures for delivery. I requested enema in the first place, but my Obgyn said it was not necessary. Not long after that, my water was broken to speed up the labour. Somehow, hypnosis and always being overdue has helped me to go through the contractions with enthusiasm and positive thoughts. The mindset "to meet the baby as soon as possible" did really help. Nevertheless, during the transition stage (8-9 cm dilated), which is the most painful, I felt being pushed to my limits resulting the thought "why I want to do this (natural) birth all over again" despite the fact that there are painkillers available. All of a sudden, in between strong contractions, I had the urge to push. First push, second push, third push, and voila...there she was...crying out loud...Alhamdulillah, Praise be to Allah SWT for His blessings, for the smooth pregnancy, safe delivery, and healthy baby. I was also lucky to have been taken care by Dr. Prapee Tangnavarad since our first child and she jokingly said "You're getting better and better each time" :D...She is definitely our best choice!

Baby Lucie, joined our little family on Wednesday at 17.46 pm, less than two hours since we arrived at the hospital, 51 cm long and weighed 3,570 kgs. She is now nine weeks old and has been the family's center of attention. May Allah SWT bless you with love and joys abundantly, protect you all the way, and may you become the lights of your life and grow up with kindness, strength and wisdom of a beautiful and loving person inside out, shaleha and qurrata'ayun, aamiin.