What I love about Rouen

I’ve been moving to different cities across France – from the south to the north, and now I’m currently stuck in the capital city of Normandy, Rouen. It’s been more than two years living in Normandy, but I’ve never written about Rouen. I usually visit the town on Saturday and when it was not raining. My first year living in Normandy was pretty hard, you rarely had friends visit because Normandy always sounds gloomy and sad, so no one is really interesting to visit this city unless they have reason to go to. But, after more than two years, I’m getting used to love everything about this city. At the end, it’s just a matter of time and how you see and enjoy new things differently.

La Cathedral des Notre Dame
La Cathedral de Notre Dame
  1. It seriously rains a lot – it rains on 4 days in 7 days period, mostly during the weekend. It sounds sad, I know, but if you’re a true Norman, the rains won’t bother you to go out.
  2. You will bring your big-strong umbrella anywhere you go, just in case it’s raining in beautiful sunny day – Say good bye to your small-compact umbrella, it won’t work in Normandy.
  3. You just spent 650 €/month for a big two bedrooms apartment with nice view of the River Seine – I don’t think you will have this good deal in Paris. When I lived in Marseille, I only can afford one small bedroom with 500 €/month.
  4. You can eat proper food in French restaurant with affordable price – I always love eating good food. I rarely had that when I was in the South or even in Lille. Sometimes the price is not affordable, but in Normandy, 5/7 random restaurant I had visited,  mostly have best value for money.
  5. You can have home made foie gras everyday – This time I’m a little bit exaggerating, but you can indeed eat foie gras every season, even in French brasseries. By the way, foie gras is not a paté. Price is from 8 € to 15 € for two slices of foie gras, toast, and salad.
  6. You’re not going to wear your heals when you walk in the town centre – unless you have someone to hold on to. Some streets in city centre are made from cobblestone, and even it’s not raining, it’s pretty slippery.

    Rue des Gros Horloge
    Rue des Gros Horloge
  7. The oldest restaurant in France is in Rouen – Even though I have never had an occasion to go there, but I’m pretty proud to say that Rouen has the oldest restaurant in France. 

    Restaurant la Couronne
    Restaurant la Couronne
  8. Town centre always packed on sunny Saturday – It’s like everyone from the suburbs and surrounded cities, also the tourists are going to the same place – you cannot walk peacefully, you definitely cannot ride your bike, no tranquil window shopping, restaurant are packed and impossible to take picture without having people at the background. It kindly reminds me of walking in Champs Elysée, Paris.
  9. Lots of tea-shop, bars and brunch cafeteria in walking distance – from the vintage, classic to modern style. So, when it’s raining, you can just jump in and stay warm.  

    French bar
    Classic French bar
  10.  You’re not very far from anything – from the beaches, Paris, airports, Calais, Deauville and Giverny (Jardin de Monet). Long story short, you will always have a reason to go out.

why they treat palm oil as an enemy?

Again, palm oil is being an object during the French senate debate earlier this year, after the draft bill project has been clearly rejected by The National Assembly’s social affairs commission in 2013. This time, it was presented by environmentalists senators Aline Archimbaud, Gattolin André, Marie-Christine Blandin, Ronan Dantec and Joel Labbé, the amendment sets the tax to 300per tonne by 2017. It will be gradually increased to 900 € from 2020 ‘order allow industry time to adapt. Issue of illegal deforestation is not only being the only reason to increase import tax, but also the need of rebalancing oils taxes. In fact, oils produced in France, such as olive oil, are more heavily taxed than the palm. It is clearly trade protectionism that also need to be questioned. 

I might not an expert of biodiversity issues or trade protectionism, but what I know and also the world must know that there are massive efforts under-way to break this cycle and put the palm oil sector on a path to sustainability (see original source: “why palm oil isn’t an enemy”). Since 2004, the Round-table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has been transforming the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain, to put it on a sustainable path.

palm oil supply chain

Besides, issue of deforestation and trade protectionism, health risk is also becoming an issue to exceed the import tax of palm oil from South-East Asia. My question is whether palm oil is dangerous to your health? Since I’m not an expert of the health risk by consuming food that contained palm oil, you could check the article about palm oil wrote by expert Kurt Berger: “The secret of palm oil“.

Last but not least, it’s commonly known that lots of green activists around the world campaigning against palm oil, that’s why government of Republic of Indonesia is actively made a campaign against negative issues of palm oil. You can see the video campaign as follow:

Fun Facts!

Did you know that you consume palm oil every day? Yep, indeed! Palm oil is in your shampoo, hair color product, detergent, dishwashing liquid, cookies, chocolates butter, skin lotion, toothpaste, car lubricant, and you even find in your money (read: EUR).


Please simply respect our grieving.


I still could not believe my self about what had happened in Paris on Friday, 13th November 2015. I was watching football on the telly at that moment, I just noticed nearly one hour after the first attack in Stade de France and Bataclan concert venue. The news told us that at least 13 persons was killed and approximately 100 persons were still in hostage inside the concert venue. I kept my self awake watching the police RAID officers tried to free people in hostage. I’ve never believed that it was part of our reality, I thought that only could happened in the box offices movies.

At half past four in the morning, I was woken up by some phone calls from unknown numbers. I woke up with my eyes half open and those phone calls coming from Indonesian country numbers. So, I went back to sleep because it wasn’t my family’s numbers. My phone was still vibrating, so I finally decided to take it. It was from one of Indonesian press, the guy said he wanted to know the actual situation in Paris, he asked me about the 6 attacks in Paris, I told him in half asleep that I am not living in Paris, and I was not quite sure how many attacks happened, I only knew there was 4 attacks before I was asleep, and 13 persons were confirmed dead. Then, I ended up the phone call by saying “It’s 4 am in the morning and I’m asleep, please call me again later and thank you for your call!”

My phone is still vibrating couple minutes after, I looked up the numbers and two different numbers, so I guess it was from different press. I do not even know how can they get my number. I turned my phone off.

8 o’clock in the morning. I woke up pretty early that day, I still remembered the terror nightmare I had that night after the phone calls. I turned my phone on, there’s lots of messages and missed calls. The first message I had opened was from my brother, he wanted me to call my mom as soon as I’m awake. So, I called my mom and told her that I am OK, also told her not to be worried because I lived 120 km away from Paris.

I turned the telly on. According to the news, 129 persons were confirmed dead, more than 300 persons were wounded, and some of them are in critical condition.

The Indonesian press called me again, I told them that I’m not living in Paris, and I could not get them accurate information but the news I’ve seen on the telly. I emphasized that the tragedy happened so quick and even the local media were still updating every minutes and every second. So, please help yourself updated by social media.

Calls and messages from Indonesian friends, colleagues across the continents. Then, bunch of condolence messages and posts expressed on Facebook, twitter, instagram and other social medias. I can say anything but thank you to people who cares about what happened in Paris. It shows us that humanity does still exist.

Yet, later that day, I’ve read some posts on my Facebook time line from people that I called friends, said worse things about people who suddenly grieving about terror in Paris, but this people ignored about what happened in Beyrouth, Lebanon, a day earlier before the attack in Paris which killing 43 people and at least 239 others were wounded.

Worse things: some people said in the social media, that France deserved this because France was also attacking people in Syria.

I believe some of you are among well educated people in the world. And I do realise that now we are living in a freedom of speech, you can say anything you want. But, what I wonder is  what a different between you and the killers when you have a cold heart. France is, for the fourth time (read: Charlie Hebdo, Thalys & Linde Gas tragedy) grieving. We are not talking about any religion or who’s deserved who. The act of killing innocent people is unacceptable by any religion in the world wherever it is. I still do not understand how people dare to give such opinion when other people is moaning for their lost.  This tragedy is more than a broken heart or crying over a sad movie. This is real life happened just next to you. I could not help myself cry over parents who lost their two daughters, when a brother lost their lovely sisters, a baby girl who lost her mother, a girlfriend who lost her boyfriend in her arm, and it is just more than a broken heart. It’s a national grieving and even it is difficult for us to understand how this just happened. And, what just happened in Paris is clearly unexpected, this is also proved that the terror might be happened anytime near you. So, I beg you please respect our grieving and have a little pray that similar tragedy won’t happen anywhere else.