Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Quiet Corner of Populous Amsterdam

Small “motels” for rent

Amsterdam, Holland is a crowd city, like there are a lot of party every day for me. But, many important public buildings include restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, museum and other relate entertainment premises are walking or cycling distance.

Almost any corners of Amsterdam or big cities in the Holland could be reached by public transportations, they are buses, trams and metro lines. The regular schedule for these public transportations are from early morning (6.00 AM) to midnight (12.30 AM). 

Do not be worry after 12.30 AM, city of Amsterdam provides limited number of buses until 7.00 AM. Thus, public transportation available 24 hours. Quite different with many cities in the USA where public transportations almost not exist with very restricted operation hours.  

However, we could avoid populous of Amsterdam by finding a quiet corner with a beautiful scenery, but still not far from the heart of city. The location around 2.5 km from   Dutch National Opera and Ballet.

There are floating houses in one of canals that we could rent for several days. We might take meal while enjoying the excited views. Many “friendly” or tamed swans swim around, and even we could feed them. 


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Banana Chips Sold in the Groceries

Banana chips 

I know that banana can be processed into chips, but I never taste it. When I visited to one of Mexican groceries in the city, I bought several medium bags. The price is quite cheap compared to potato chips. The taste little bit sweet and crispy.

Some people told me that there are two ways to make banana chip, first by frying with cooking oil and second by baking with oven of higher temperature. In Asia, it is popular to make banana chips by frying, while here in the USA, we often use oven to make chips.  

Medium bags of banana chips

The steps to make banana chips are following: Banana be peeled and sliced with whatever size we like (such as a thick of coin size). Sliced bananas could be dipping into flavor or certain ingredients or seasonings. Many people use honey, lemon juice or sugar liquid as dipping. Then either baking or frying. 

I never make banana chips by myself. I will try in the near future. Homemade is fresh and healthy. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Town with One Population in Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, a silence town. Photo credited to Andrew Filer

My friend told me that he had stopped by in a town with one population for a drink. The town called as Monowi in Nebraska. What a joke? I reply. I though that he just kidding.  Yes, it is true, there is a town with one population in the USA. 

The resident, Elsie Eiler, 84 year old, has three important buildings to be managed: a mayor house that is her own house, a town library and a Monowi Tavern. The mayor lives in mobile home that close to the library.  

Library of Monowi, Nebraska. Credit to Kimmer C

5 thousand books collection of the library belong to mayor’s late husband, Rudy Eiler, a devoted reader. Since her husband dead 14 years ago, neighbors from nearby could read and even borrow the collections. 

Customers in Monowi tavern, credit to Kimmer C 

The only business made town live is a bar called as Monowi Tavern. The bar serves the nearby customers and people who stop by for drink or lunch. The foods quite cheap with US$3.5 burger and US$8.5 steaks as examples.

The bar business tax and license fee for alcohol drinks and tobacco are sources of revenue for the town. The income then be used to pay electricity and water bills. Four street lamps were funded by state government. 

Recently, the town had been visited by guests from 4 dozen states and more than 40 countries from around the globe. This development might attract the investors to do business in the town. If you visit Monowi by next 5 or 10 years, the town might be changing a lot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Boiled Green Peanut is Good for Health

Green peanuts with shell

We start to see peanuts sold at the farmer market around end of February each year in the southern USA (Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia), but look abundance from June to September with a little bit lower price. 

Surprisingly, the market for this crop is quite significant with total market value of US$4 billion in the US. Reasonably good for economic activities. About 700 million pounds produced per year. Georgia is the state that most produces peanuts. 

The peanut growing season from April to October, depend on kinds of peanuts, and harvest could be 4 to 5 months after sowing the seeds. A plant may contain 50 peanuts. Sold in the market in a pound or a bushel (20 pound). The sellers called it green peanut, even though the color of peanut’s shell is not green at all.    

A bushel of green peanuts

If we (I myself) buy peanuts, we simply just boil it. Freshly peanuts are boiled with water contain a proper amount of salt. Southerners love to have salty boiled peanuts. It takes several hours before bean texture reach softly and taste delicious. 

We eat boiled peanuts with crawfish for sometimes, but we often eat boiled peanut only. Peanuts harvest season is coincidentally with crawfish. If we have crawfish party, then we eat crawfish with peanuts and potatoes.   

Peanut is good for health, it is because contain protein (plant-based protein), rich in mineral and vitamin. Eating peanuts may also reduce risks of gallstone and heart diseases. Thus, it is a good diet for obese people.     

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Salmons Swim Upstream to Spawn in Canada

School of Salmon, credit to Angelo Jacobucci 

We have 6 different species of Pacific ocean Salmons, they are sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka), coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch), pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), chum (Oncorhynchus keta), and masu (Oncorhynchus masou). First five species spawn in northwest American rivers, while masu salmons are found in Japan and Korean rivers. 

Fall is a good time for most of pacific salmons to spawn. They start to come to rivers of Washington State (USA), Canada and Alaska (USA). If lucky enough, we could spot schools of them enter the river, swim upstream to find spawning ground.

Spawning ground, credit to David Nunuk

Why do we able to see the fish swimming in the river? The answers are: river has clear water, fishes color is red which contrast to their environment background and because the size of fish so big, where the length may reach 1.5 meter and weight around 50s kg.

The big size due to spending most of their times in the rich ocean, where they eat abundance of food to increase their body mass until gain maturity. Why color of salmons is red? It is because they eat small organisms (shrimps) which contain a pigment called “carotene”. This pigment changes color of salmons from white to pink or red.  

Salmons will spawn in the same river where they were born. They find the river by magnetoception, then use their smell sensory to search the exact spawning ground. Unfortunately, females will die after spawning. The eggs are hatching and going downing stream slowly until reach suitable size to go to ocean. The repeat cycle of live will begin after several years later.   

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Pilpres 2019: Akankah Dolar Tembus Rp20.000?

Mata uang asing

Pada tulisan terdahulu, dengan formula sederhana, saya meng-estimasi nilai dolar AS Rp18.340 pada tahun 2024, kalau kondisi normal ( https://speedandup.blogspot.com/2018/08/pilpres-2019-berapa-nilai-dolar-amerika.html). Nilai akan melorot jauh, jika ada krisis ekonomi.

Tanya: Apakah kita memasuki zona krisis?
Jawab: Tergantung apa yang kita bandingkan.

Tanya: Maksudnya?
Jawab: Dalam konteks ekonomi (bukan politik), TIDAK AKAN seperti krisis tahun 1998. TAPI,         kalau seperti krisis Turkey dan Argentina baru baru ini, BARANGKALI.

Tanya: Kenapa begitu?
Jawab: Fundamental EKONOMI kita berbeda dengan tahun 1998. Dan Kondisi Ekonomi kita      SEDIKIT lebih baik dari Turkey dan Argentina!

Tanya: Apanya yang lebih baik?
Jawab: Indikator ekonomi makro kita, terutama yang berhubungan langsung dengan nilai tukar        mata uang rupiah SEDIKIT LEBIH BAIK.

Tanya: Berarti TIDAK SANGAT BAIK? Dan rupiah BISA jatuh seperti Lira dan Peso? Bisa Rp20 ribu?

Indikator utama ekonomi yang langsung berhubungan dengan nilai mata uang suatu negara adalah “current account deficit ratio” dan “debt ratio.” Bandingkan antara kita, Argentina dan Turkey:

-Current account deficit terhadap PDB: Indonesia (3%), Argentina (5%) dan Turkey (7%)
-Debt ratio terhadap PDB: Indonesia (35%), Argentina (40%), Turkey (50%).

Rasio “current account deficit” (neraca berjalan) dan rasio “debt” (hutang) terhadap PDB negara kita angkanya lebih kecil, berarti lebih baik dibandingkan dengan negara Argentina dan Turkey.

Belum lagi indikator makro-ekonomi lainnya seperti pertumbuhan, meskipun sekitar 5% (tidak seperti yang diharapkan yaitu 7%), tetap ada pertumbuhan. Bandingkan dengan Argentina yang hanya 3,5% dan Turkey yang pertumbuhan ekonominya sekitar 4,1%.

Cadangan devisa yang sebesar US$118 milyar, bisa dipakai untuk mencegah rupiah teralu terperosok dalam jangka 7 bulan ini. Jika negara bisa “menahan” laju impor, maka cadangan devisa diharapkan naik. 

Krisis di Argentina telah melorotkan nilai peso sekitar 45%, sedangkan lira Turkey turun sekitar 40%. Sekali lagi, jika kita ber-andai andai terjadi KRISIS dalam skala Argentina dan Turkey, maka berapa nilai rupiah? 

Nilai rupiah paling jauh turun sekitar 40%. Berarti rupiah berada di kisaran Rp18.900 !!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Yucca not Cassava is Sold in the USA Market

Raw Cassava 

Back home to Indonesia, Cassava either fried or boiled is one of my favorite traditional foods. I often eat as a suffer with a cup of hot tea or coffee in the afternoon while watching TV or read a newspaper. 

Its starchy food like potatoes, and they are both root vegetables. In southern America, cassava could be grilled, mashed and boiled. Delicious food for lunch or dinner. 

When I saw in one of Mexican groceries, the plants (roots) look like a cassava, but the store called it yuca roots. Be careful, the different between “yuca” and “yucca.” Yuca with one “c” is similar to cassava or manioc. The scientific name is the same, Manihot esculenta

Yuca (cassava) is edible, while Yucca roots can’t be eaten (inedible) with scientific names Yucca guatemalensis, from Guatemala and Yucca glauca ssp, abundance in California. The different could be seen at below figure:

The different between Yuca and Yucca root (http://benstarr.com

The store sold raw cassava with and without skin (peeled cassava). We could find fresh ones with skin. Peeled cassava is sold in form of frozen. There are processing cassava as well. Fried sliced cassava blended with chili is another of my favorite. 

Famous trade flour you might know called tapioca is produced from cassava. The flour is based for making into baked or boiled or gelatinized products. Pie or cake among famous homemade of tapioca flour. 

Cassava getting attention due to its low carbohydrate. Sources of potassium, vitamin C and fiber, thus good for health, especially for diabetes patients.