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Tersesat di Bangkok
Pict. Lelaki yang tersesat di Bangkok.

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Satu hal yang mengkhawatirkan tinggal di Bangkok adalah mencari makanan yang halal. Dikenal sebagai negara buddist dengan 94% dari penduduknya beragama Budha, maka urusan makan-memakan menjadi amat krusial.

Beruntung sebelum terbang ke Bangkok, saya pernah bertanya pada seorang teman, dosen UPN Surabaya, yang sedang study di Bangkok. Dia bilang kalau di sekitar Imperial Hotel ada restoran orang Melayu muslim. InsyaAllah menjual makanan yang halal, karena beberapa kru Garuda Indonesia Airways suka makan di area itu.

Dan begitulah pada malam 23 April, diantara acara Pameran di Asian Energy Week (23-27 April 2007) kami mencari area itu. Dari sepanjang jalan Sukhumvit Soi 22 yang melintas di depan hotel, kami hanya menemukan SATU saja restoran muslim food, bernama: Usman Thai Muslim Food. Ini papan namanya:

Thai muslim food

Restoran ini dikelola oleh keluarga Samard Yama (yang mengambil nama “Usman” sebagai nama muslim), seorang warga Pattani di Thailand selatan yang hijrah ke Bangkok untuk mengadu nasib. Ia menjadi pegawai hotel sekaligus membuka restoran muslim, karena melihat peluang banyaknya tamu muslim yang kesulitan mendapatkan makanan halal.

Orangnya ramah, dan hebatnya bisa berbahasa melayu / Indonesia, sehingga sangat akrab dengan para tamunya yang kebanyakan juga orang Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, dan Brunei. Harga makanannya juga tidak terlalu mahal untuk ukuran kota besar semacam Bangkok. Sekali makan untuk dua orang dengan menu 1 porsi ikan Kakap goreng bumbu Tom Yam, 2 porsi nasi goreng, 2 porsi tahu goreng, 1 gelas jus mangga, dan 1 gelas jus kelapa muda hanya menghabiskan 355 Baht (setara Rp. 99.400,- pada kurs 1 Baht = Rp. 280,-)

Usman dan Bahtiar

Pict. Usman dan salah seorang temannya. Yang mana Pak Usman?

Sekali waktu, pada hari ketiga di Bangkok, kami mencari alternatif restoran lain. Teman dari Brunei merekomendasikan restoran Sahrazad, restoran Arab di bilangan Sukhumvit Soi Nana 3/1. Kami harus naik Sky Train dari Phrompon di sebelah hotel menuju Nana, dua stasiun ke arah Barat. Tiket kereta atas ini 20 Baht per orang. Hanya dalam 5 menit kami sudah sampai di stasiun Nana. Jalan kaki sebentar ke Soi 3, kami segera mendapatkan restoran dimaksud diantara restoran Persia, India, Melayu dan restoran Thailand lainnya.

Menu di restoran Sahrazad ini didominasi makanan ala Timur Tengah: isinya kambing melulu; memenuhi hampir 3/4 dari buku menunya. Kami bertiga, cukup mahal, menghabiskan 590 Baht.

Pulang dari Sahrazad kami naik taksi kota Bangkok dan hanya perlu membayar 35 Baht untuk sampai di depan hotel.

Satu hal yang begitu khas tentang makanan di sini setidaknya 2 hal: pertama, setiap makanan pasti dibarengi dengan sayuran segar (wortel merah, sawi, bawang bombay, paprica, timun, tomat, etc). Mungkin karena Thailand adalah negara mayoritas buddist yang suka vegetarian. Dan kedua, baunya menyengat, yang bagi hidung bangsa Asia Selatan seperti saya dan teman-teman tidaklah familiar. Rasanya jijik, seperti bau masakan berminyak berlemak-lemak yang keterlaluan.

Setidaknya kami jadi tahu, suatu saat barangkali kalau berkesempatan ke Bangkok lagi, mungkin sebaiknya kita membawa ransum sendiri dari Indonesia!

The exhibition of Asian Energy Week has finished! Bangkok has been leaved with its all memories behind — but still kept in mind. A week was just a short time to stay in that “city of angels”. And it exactly was not enough to go along its streets, enjoy its nice places, and try all sky trains and subways; or feel traditional massage that met in every soi*.

But, life must go on. And every legend has the end.

At 16.15 pm of 23rd Apr, our Airbus A-300-600 of Thai Airways from Jakarta landed on runway of Suvarnabhumi Bangkok airport. It was an international airport called “The Hub of South East Asia” with 120 parking bays and 5 of these were capable of accommodating the Airbus A-380 aircraft. When entered in the airport building, we felt like in the Star War film building. The design was so futuristic.

Suvarnabhumi airport
Suvarnabhumi airport

Pict: Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport. The 2nd photo is the 1st winner of Suvarnabhumi Airport Photo Award.

In 30 minutes, we went to Imperial Hotel, the place where the exhibition was held. Almost all signs in the streets were written in Thai language and Thai letter. Whoever would be lost in the stranged planet like this. Fortunately, although Sukhumvit Road was so crowded that afternoon, but our taxi finally reached the hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22 before sunset.

And … it was the night that we were in busy to prepare the booth, searching muslim food for dinner, and then sleep in tired till morning.

The exhibition was opened at the next day, 24th Apr. There were about 30 booths from 30 companies in the world participating in the exhibition and about 500 delegates involving in conferences in three tracks. The exhibition was taking place in Queen’s Park ballroom, one of the biggest room of Imperial Hotels for international event.

Exhibition of Asian Energy Week

Pict: Exhibition room; our booth is over there in the corner.

The exhibition was held between 09.00 am until 19.00 pm. Delegates would visit to exhibition room on every break for coffee-break nor having a lunch. On 24th April, the exhibition was just opened for official delegates. But, on another days, it was opened for delegates and public visitors.

Delegates that visited our booth were coming from Thailand (PEA, MEA, Mitsubishi Electronic, EGAT, Thailand Power Energy, etc), Malaysia, Singapore, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, USA, Macau, India, Germany, Italia, Saudi Arabia, China, and Indonesia.

Coming back to Indonesia on 27th morning, Asian Energy Week exhibition at least has given us many experiences and homeworks: how to join in the international event, how to create an effective presentation especially for international visitors, how important for us to have a capability in speaking english and other international language, how wide our competition in the international markets in the same field of us, etc.