Factory Outlet

This article is written due to a question from Ivanna in Brazil who wants to live in Bremen.

In general, clothes in Germany are expensive for developing country people’s point of view. It makes sense because most of the clothes these days are made in developing countries.

To get branded clothes with cheaper price, we have to wait until the season is almost over or even totally over. So if we want to buy cheaper winter clothes, then we have to buy it in spring or summer and vice versa.

But mostly, the sale period for these off season clothes is only happened in a short time. To get the off season clothes forever or without considering the time, there are so called factory outlets. In these places, all off season clothes are pooled together in cheaper price. So if you don’t really care of the current trend, factory outlets are the best place in looking for cheaper branded clothes. Of course not every brand has its own factory outlet. But in Bremen, some of the major brand has it; for example: Esprit, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Jack Wolfskin, St. Oliver, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, etc. However, in my opinion, it’s only Esprit that has a very significant cheaper price. For other brands, yes they sell it cheaper but somehow it’s still expensive.

The Factory Outlets haven in Bremen is located slightly outside Bremen, called Brinkum. There, we can find the outlets for clothes, shoes, home decoration and design, and also IKEA.

There’re 2 warnings in going to this area. First, since it’s outside Bremen, so for regular traveler, we need to pay additional ticket for the bus. The daily ticket isn’t covering this area. But if we have semester ticket (student ticket) then it’s not a problem. Second, just be prepare, you’ll loose your money easily as you’ll spend a lot!

Independence Day

August 17th is Indonesian Independence Day. Traditionally, every offices and schools will conduct a flag salutation ceremony in the exact day. But the celebration is started from the beginning of the month where many games are played within neighborhood, office, or school level. Back in Indonesia, I have taken part in ‘alternative’ Independence Day celebration by conducting flag salutation ceremony underwater.

So now I am curious what kind of celebration or ceremony that Indonesian people have abroad? I miss last year ceremony which I can’t recall why. But at least I have a chance this year. The ceremony will be held in each Indonesian embassy/ general consulate. For people who live in northern part of Germany, the nearest general consulate is in Hamburg.

The flag salutation ceremony will be conducted at 09.45AM. And since the train to Hamburg is around 1.5 hours long so if I want to attend the ceremony from the beginning, I have to take the 07.28AM train! This means that I have to wake up early in Sunday; something that rarely happened. But what the heck, experiencing is worth than anything.

So there I am, starting to catch the 07.28AM train. Not many people from Bremen come along at that time. I guess they just want to attend the gathering after the ceremony; which is the No.1 reason actually: having Indonesian meals!

The ceremony is held at the backyard of the general consulate office. Probably around 60 people take part on it. This is the situation before the flag salutation ceremony.

And this is the situation during the ceremony.

After about an hour, the ceremony is over and then continued with some shows like singing and dancing. More people are coming as I predicted. But for sure, people like me who attend it earlier are start getting hungry. There are some snacks provided, but not as we expected. They are just regular chocolate breads and not Indonesian snacks :( Me and my friends are very disappointed in this. We have thought that we’re going to eat risoles or lemper, but all our dreams are then smashed :(

So we’re not so eager in eating the snacks. We then put our hope for the lunch. However, the lunch time doesn’t even start at 01.00PM!!! Can you imagine how hungry we are? I guess this is intentionally managed so we oblige to put attention to the performances. Imagine if the lunch has been provided, surely nobody will care about the performances!

In waiting for the lunch time, me and my friends decide to sit around the dining table so we can move fast once it started. But apparently that’s a useless decision. Because when the lunch time really starts, people just flooding the table and the very long queuing line suddenly follows. I am so amazed how people can really move so fast! Look how long this line is. This is so crazy!!!

At first, I feel a bit pessimist to start queuing. But then I don’t have to, because my friend who already queuing, ask me to just join her ;) If you are wondering whether other people complain about it, well there’s no complaint cause they also do the same thing anyway! So starting in the middle of the line doesn’t mean you will get faster.

And since we are queuing so long, me and my friends decide to take more than 1 plate because the meals are served in a restricted way. It means that you can’t take it by yourself especially for the main course. For sambal, krupuk, and rice; you are allowed to take as much as you want. So even if you can carry 3 plates, then the meals are still enough for everybody else.

So, each of us take 2 plates. But since my other 2 friends have husband, they give the other plate to their husband. And I don’t know what to do with my extra plate until one of my friends said that he thinks he wouldn’t eat because the queuing line is so long. Then my extra plate goes to him.

The food itself is so good especially it’s very hot and spicy! I decide to add more rice in order to make it balance between the rice and the other stuffs. Later on, I see that the rice is gone and they have to cook extra while the people still in pretty long queuing. So crazy! My friend teases me that the rice is gone because I take more than it’s supposed to ;)

And after chatting and mingling with others, we finally go home at around 04.00PM. So now I know what kind of ceremony that Indonesian people have abroad. Not so much different like in Indonesia but surely people would love to come for the food ;)

Werder Bremen Fans Day

In July 3rd, there’s so called Tag Der Fans or Werder Bremen (WB) Fans Day. This is the day where WB greets the fans and introduced their latest line up for the up coming season in the stadium. In this day, there are a lot of WB’s sponsors booths and games; just like in a fair. Also, there is an open public training demonstration and, this is the most interesting part, signature session!

As a football craze, of course I would like to experience this. I want to know the tradition of a football club especially in Europe. Well maybe this is not so long tradition, but I want to know anyway… And for sure, I would like to experience in getting the signature; which also means the chance to meet football stars in person.

Luckily, there’s one of my Indonesian friend who would like to come along. The signature session is started at 11.30AM. Me and my friend come at 10.30AM; and as it predicted, the queuing line is already long! Just check at this video:

When we’re about third-quarter-way, there’s a crew (of the event) walking around with poster. In the poster there’re names of the players that will give signatures in the east side. So apparently the team is divided into 2, one in west and the other in east. We line up in east entrance. There, I see the name of my favorite WB player, the goalkeeper, Tim Wiese. I love his style. So I am glad that I am in a right line. But my friend wants to have Torsten Frings signature and he is not in the east side, so she’s a bit disappointed. To leave our line and change to the west side is so risky because the signature session will be ended at 1.30PM no matter what. So if we have to start lining up again in west side, the chance to even enter the signature place is less than just stay at the east side. So we stay.

And after waiting for about 2 hours under the sun and even rain, we finally can enter the stadium at about 30 minutes before the session is over. But the queuing isn’t over yet, we still have to queue inside. However we can see the players now somehow. We are so excited and prepare our stuffs to be signed. I prepare my shirt while my friend prepares her notebook; and of course we both prepare our cameras!

Finally, we are face to face with the players. But then, one of the crews start giving instruction, saying that the time almost over and we have to speed up. No camera and no signature in places other than the official cards!!! So, each player has a card with picture and short biodata; and they sign it then give it to us. That’s all!!! So there it goes, my chance to meet European football stars just fly away. Nothing special. It fees like just meeting bunch of European in an exhibition; go to a booth and collecting cards. :( I manage to document some of the players but when I try to take picture of Tim Wiese, my camera is blocked by a crew :(

After the signature session, there’s an open public training demonstration. There I meet my German friend. I told her about our experience in getting the signature. She said we’re lucky cause we can collect 11 signatures. Last year, the queuing is based on each player. So you can see which player is so favorite, with long line, and which one is not. And my friend only can collect 2 because she lines up for Tim Wiese and Torsten Frings.

The training itself isn’t so special, if I can’t say it boring. They just demonstrate some of the training session: some players just jogging around the field and some play football in half size field. In the end all the players try to shoot from half line to the goal. This training session ends after an hour.

So basically the event is over. But the booths and games are still open for awhile. Also the fans shop. We head to the fan shop to check the merchandise because it says that all articles are discounted for 20% just for today. Well, they all still far from our budget somehow…

If people ask me whether I have a nice time or not; well, it’s hard to say. Of course I am glad that I can experience all of these. But the fact that I can’t interact with the players surely is annoying. Well at least I get the real signature and not printed ones. And I don’t wanna hear anybody says to me, “Is that all that you got?!”. Argh, I will surely punch that person right away!!!

And for Werder Bremen, I’ll be back next year! If I have to, I’ll just camping in front of the queuing line…!!!

For more videos, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/seafoodgirl

Fermented Fruits

This is another food shock for me. After some times, I realized that when I buy peeled fruits, they can’t stay long. Of course! However, they will become fermented, or in other word, contains alcohol. I have the experiences with watermelon, melon, and pineapple. At first I didn’t really pay attention of it. But then I start trying to remember with the same fruits in my country. I really can’t recall that I ever had fermented watermelon, melon, and pineapple. If I leave them for some days, they will become dry and rotten; but surely not fermented. The only fruits that I know will become fermented naturally (well as far as I can remember) are durian and jackfruit. Nothing else.

So now I am aware that something is wrong with the fruits here. And surprisingly, when I talk to my friend about this, he also has the same experience. It’s even weirder, he has experience with fermented banana!!! That’s it… I am really sure that banana doesn’t get fermented naturally. Strange… what do these Germans put on their fruits?

PRIMA 2008

In July 19th -20th there is an Indonesian sport festival called PRIMA. This is not the first one but some people say it’s held annually but others say it’s biannual. Anyway, this year it’s held in Hannover. The Sports played within PRIMA are basketball, volleyball, football, tug and war, badminton, table tennis, and relay running.

At first I want to join in badminton match as I have practice during spring break. But I don’t feel really confident to play single so I plan to play double. As a partner, I choose a guy whom also joins badminton training in the university. But then when the list of sports is announced, apparently there is no mixed doubles event for badminton. It even doesn’t have any mixed doubles for everything; it’s all separated to girls and boys. And for badminton, no girl’s single event at all. It has to be in doubles; and the registration is based on team, not by the player. So, I join the Bremen badminton team.

I also join basketball team because there are not many girls available for making the team. We even only five. So we don’t have any substitutes.

Don’t ask about the exercise schedule. We never exercise in full team. I only join 1 for each in around 2 months!!! So now you can measure, how far our quality is. Well actually we’re not bad in badminton, uuuhhmmm I mean for men. We even get additional foreign players from Malaysia ;) Well it’s legal, don’t worry cause the requirement for this event is ‘able to speak Indonesian’. So, even Germans can also participate.

In the 19th, a big fully motivated delegation from Bremen was departed to Hannover. The boys will join all the sports while the girls only participate in badminton, table tennis, and basketball. And after some delay and opening ceremony, the sport festival is started. Badminton and table tennis were played simultaneously together. Outside, football also started. The duration for each game isn’t full. We only play in rally point in one game only; and for football, I think it’s only 20 minutes or so.

Although I think that our male badminton team is good, however they can’t win easily. Apparently Indonesian really born to play badminton; other teams are also good!!! In the end, from 2 teams of Bremen, 1 going to final and the other loose at quarter final. In final, Bremen has to face Berlin; a team which has an ex Indonesian national coach!!! Yeah you can guess, we lost!

Meanwhile in female team, I play against Göttingen. Although it’s called a team but it’s only one party. During this game, both supporters become hooligans and intimidate each other. It’s very hilarious actually; as the supporters keep yelling and shouting, the players just smile and play nervously. Fortunately, Bremen wins!!! :) So I can deliver my duty successfully :)

I think this is the only sport event that I ever join in my life. Even for the next match, I don’t play as we are registered as a team. Unfortunately, they loose. For basketball, the rules are changed. It’s 3 on 3; so we don’t need 5 players. I just join as substitute but don’t play at all. Bremen loose from Hamburg in the first match :(

In the end, Bremen doesn’t get any gold at all. However we get silver for male badminton, male & female table tennis, tug and war; and bronze for female badminton. So it’s not bad at all…

[All pictures are courtesy from Vita Amanda Putri]