Guide: How To Fly Across the Archipelago Without Pair of Wings?




For those who are currently residing or frequently commuting to or from capital Jakarta, recent days might be not as pleasant as usual. After a couple days ago city of more than 10 million was awarded the worst traffic jam on this planet (read), now the Indonesia's biggest city is facing another classical issue, flood. There is no much to do but enjoying the dramatically make-over change of the city fa├žade, setting louder music on earphone amidst honking cab, and of course, submerging into fiesta of auto cabaret. If you are brave enough, take a deep dive and voila, swimming into the inundated surface.

Jaw-dropping or frowning? Forget about fiesta in the city as the sparkling roadway and high-rise buildings are just too illuminating and tricky that may beguile you. It may lead you to jeopardizing hypocrisy toward formidably believing that perfect metropolis does really exist meanwhile conspicuously you are driving at less than 10 km/hour. But, too early to give a mark until you take on an airplane and escaping far away through the nearest runway.

There is no sin to say "so long" to this beloved capital city for a short while, until you know where to land safely and sound and head to. For some inquiries I have been accustomed being asked, "How far from Jakarta to X city/town? How long does it take?". In fact X city/town does not exist on this vast archipelago, or perhaps it does, somewhere over there I have never traced through with scrutiny.

Intentionally I was googling on Google Image in order to find some assorted maps that represent the near alike figure of Indonesia landscape all well-overlaid with flight map and legend. Non sequitur. Rather than displaying what I requested in search bar, it came out with a suggestion "Did you mean: Indonesia flood?". No thanks. I'm done. One taken from Wiki archive and another one of ASEAN map from a blog, I think two are enough. The rest I have had Photoshopped and little touch of Ms.Excel to work out and done. The result as follows. Voila!

 
In order to make a perfect escape, there should be planned in advance with very detailed preparation, so that everything would incur as expected. Nonetheless, it would be more perfect - as if perfect is not superlative but exponentially unlimited - to randomly hop an airplane as on 2012 movie before the last runway damaged. Either escape away to sunny beach or serene mountain, it all is up to you and your available budget as long as you don't mind not pirating and taking control over cockpit. 

The photoshopped figure above were purposedly made to allude to designated final destinations available to be visited before doomsday in the archipelago, either from the currently 12th busiest airport in the world, Soekarno-Hatta international Airport or the classical least popular Halim Perdana Kusuma airport at heart of lately inundated city.

And here we go!

First, define the category of place or natural landscape you would like to leave for.

  • "Let's go the beach, beach, beach!" Well. If you have come up with this option, then all colors deserve every point of your interest and ready to kneel you down for very confusing choice. Every destination from A to AD offers formidable sand (pink, white, black, pepper-like), sunbeam, or stuffs acquainted to sea. Most of Indonesia's capital provinces are just nowhere but next door to blue or turquoise sea. You name it.
  • "We are the champions, my friend" If you think yourself is being possessed by Queens' spirit and animating yourself stranded doing yoga at peak of mountain. Then let the captain knows. He/She will navigate you off to now fortunately relieving options. Let me give you a clue. Pick city D, N, O, P, G, and AD in your bucket list, they are easily to be discovered and just no far from nearest formidable mountains namely Merapi, Semeru, Bromo, Gunung Agung, Rinjani, Bukit Barisan, and last but not least the awesome snow-covered Jayawijaya in the easternmost province.
  • Why only staring at the sea? As long as wave is still wavy, don't take chance for granted. Do surfing instead!. Pointing out the alphabet could be as darn-easy as tracing down the southernmost spot. City such as Q, G, F, O, P, and AB has it all for wave bender. Thanks to Poseidon deep down in Hindia Ocean for rippling sea to travel off shoreline that remains friendly yet challenging wave. South wins!
  • Put your own category or drop me a message.

Secondly, if you unfortunately happen to have or potentially to have air-sickness talent within an half hour. Hold on! Put your bag on overhead storage and grab airsickness bag right in front of you then puke elegantly as (pretendedly) nobody  knows, even person next to your seat. Take the shorter trip as possible, my suggestion goes to black zone, still worthwhile though.

Thirdly, flying within archipelago could be so expensive? Taking much time particularly escaping to red and purple region? Or you might wonder how to escape away through passing by yellow line legally at the expense of costly smile of immigration officer? Take a look on below map. Then let yourself stranded in neighboring countries. Be cool and swag as they might not know your city is being inundated.

 
Fourth, bear in mind that blue icon means you may take on an airplane without making transit, just go straight instead.


  • Looking for the nearest one? Go straight to Singapore then. Slurp Merlion's fountain water as much as you could but don't die there.
  • Want to hone your Malay language skill instead of your proficient Bahasa Indonesia? Call Mr.Tony Fernandez to help you booking his plane, then fly to KL. Another one? Fly to northern tip of Borneo island where yellow is a sacred color. Brunei will definitely welcome you with relentlessly abundant appetizer.
  • Sunbeam is just too intense, how about shiny in the night? Ask captain to navigate you away to Bangkok and landing right in Patpong without being injured. Don't forget to ask stewardess to prepare parachute in advance.
  • Having undoubtedly proficient skill in accountancy? Why not counting islands in the Philippines if you are too tired of counting your dollars Rupiah. If only it still causes you weary, take a peaceful rest (not rest in peace) under coconut trees. Take an airplane to Manila now!
  • Saigon or Ho Chi Minh city? "What's in a name?" asked Shakespeare. It's Vietnam and say Xin Chao. What are you waiting for? Pack your bag, sit down relax and fasten your seatbelt, say "Xin Chao". Vietnam is waiting.
  • "Black, black, black and blue". And don't ever you dare to throw your grenade! Yangon, Vientiane, Phnom Penh and Hanoi are the furthest by far. Not because they are literally far but it forces you to make a stopover before your escape mission is successfully accomplished. Unfortunately Mr.Pilot can't help you much to drop you by at each of these cities directly as Jakarta is not directly connected to. Unless you rent a super expensive private jet like a boss.

Lastly, not only "but not least", it is urgently important instead to be addressed. If you are still unable to secure a booking one of opportunities offered in order to escape away from this semi-exceptionally ordinary metropolis, due to budget constraint, busy being labor force, etc. Rather than complaining much, close the door and engross beneath blanket. Sleep and keep dreaming until water will have receded. Honking cab and its siren will be an alarm when you wake up some times later. Let the airplanes do their business as usual.

Anthology of Two Months


I have no idea how to construct a poem a real poetry for it has no formula but sense. It might be the closest and finest assumption, if justification is reluctantly unacceptable, of deterring myself from writing or sharing a bit of words. It was just too perfect of timing to observe how things have been happening. In the other hand, which might be an extraordinary case, I was busy with part-time jobs, rewrote final undergrad thesis with sizable time of reconstructing a computerized model of my research, and the most important one and I wish I deserve an exception, traveled back home. All of them kept me from voluntarily giving my blog a chance to be touched down.

I was just doing more on facebook instead, posting one or two phrases and some picts, giving comments, liked friends' status and did other facebook stuffs. A typical young Indonesian, a trait that I couldn't easily reject but more attached into it. Let me myself attempt to catch the derailed one. So, I would like to welcome myself to stick (again) on regular post.

Within these recent two months, were full of talks. Too many serious occasions, accidents, and events were out there. But when I looked down within my home country alone, I found out that something vibrantly was sounding as it spoke out loud. Discussing its vibes has inspired me to divide it into few headlines as I am going to phrase out as follows.


Election and Telenovela

Literally I don't definitely name Indonesia a country where mummies are living in. But an action of few of its citizen is just too ridiculous for I personally never thought of. It's all started when word for 'election' has been steadily aired and overheard. Yet, it is just  too captivating for me as a spectator of political game as it performs a show as dramatic as unending soap opera. Well, an elect-president based on official counting by legal commissioner as result of people's ballot was already announced,  but seems the announcement still should encounter challenge from the loser side. And the drama has yet ended up even until now.

Everything seems clear now, mega-delusional disease is escalating rampantly. It may top Ebola in terms of severity as it has no tangible vaccine to deal with. It is so funny if you happen to understand Bahasa and watching live what was going on in the court. Not because how the procedure took place but responses of every question by the judges to the losing president hopeful and his team were too immature for high-profile presidential election case. Some interviews conducted previously have shown how he disgraced his attitude himself. I personally supposed him a person with solid integrity as bold as his winning opponent. But my measurement has been kinda noised lately. I wish I am wrong. I do.

Despite of all of this stunning drama, I highlight Indonesia election of this season, to be frank, is very stiff. Smear campaign is subject of the talk. Unfortunately still many people grab the information just too immediate without trying to clarify.  On the other hand, number of people who put concern on 9th of July during power-transfer period is soaring. Almost every Indonesian I met down on the street profoundly voiced their choice with full of confidence based on their own unique consideration. I guess this is how democracy really works. I know it is not perfect but the process counts!


Escaping Away from City Crowd

Election result would be on Tuesday, the day that I finally opted to leave Bogor as highway that connects to the airport by system forced me to pass through capital Jakarta. Thus, I decided to take very morning flight, at 5 am the aircraft B737-900ER flew me to Lombok. As suggested on TV news, I anticipated mass rant that may pour down the street and paralyzed the city by cruising the highway where lights had yet dimmed. Fortunately all worries disappeared, at least it went on not as worse as it was predicted. 

As I arrived in Lombok, I felt nothing but more relaxing breeze. Well, I didn't let myself missing the very brief moment after few weeks I had been prevented from the warm sunshine for I was working much inside air conditioned room while outside full of rain.


I traveled eastern-ward to my home island, Sumbawa. The further I walked, the slower time throbs. I isolated myself from political vibe. I did really focus on how to enjoy quality family time, learned how to stop frowning and started to laugh out loud with childhood friends, and did business as usual as a native Sumbawanese, speaking the rumor in local language with its solid dialect.

To me personally, visiting my hometown where I was growing is a pilgrimage of my own version as others travel to Ganges river, Mecca, Jerussalem, Vatican or Nepal. A place where I was born has taught me on how to use a mirror. I stood right in front of it, in my mind, where I contemplated and interpreted a reflection.

It was the time that now has already helped me to grow fonder of what I have got and being more thankful. As I traced the town and tried to remind past memory, I spiritually felt more fulfilled. Not because on my ID card I still retain certain religion, instead I'm not a pious boy who visits praying place regularly, I remember I was there once during my stay, but because of life lesson in school at hometown in which I had opportunity to understand people from different background. It is pretty easy to find a church or pura stands just few miles from or on the doorstep of mosque. Or visiting my friend on occasion (s)he celebrated his/her religious festivity. The most simple one, at my school, we had special event on Friday when every believer regardless what kind of his/her belief, every student did spiritual class provided with at least one preacher for each religion by school authority. If you happen to be unbeliever, and when Indonesia officially legalizes no religion option, I guess my old school would matter nothing on your status. You would be welcome to be there.

It is also no surprise when you see a girl who wears hijab has a closest friend the girl that with short pant and a party-goer. Or a teacher wearing hijab works at Catholic school. Or the biggest fund for religious festivity in your neighborhood come from someone who holds different religion. Or taking religion paper test as it is still compulsory in our education curriculum, sitting next to friend whose different religion and happens to you to answer the question until few numbers before you realize that the paper test actually doesn't belong to you, then you are aware that many similarities in context of concept in it with what you believe.

I realized that this tiny town has became a laboratory for my real life as it teaches me to scrutiny more on similarity instead of stirring upheaval due to different stances. In here, between Lombok and Sumbawa, I become more accustomed to see kid nowadays mix blooded, Indo, they call it. Love and compassion have broken down geographical, cultural, and even religious barrier on establishing a noble relationship, called marriage. As result, a newborn offspring is delivered with brand new face in the upcoming years, the untold story. 

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As final boarding call announced, I immediately approach the aircraft gate. This medium-haul narrow body airplane is going to take off within few minutes. but my memory of my hometown is indeed still calling. I never feel that so lucky. And for first time ever I'm suffering homesick fever. I do really miss my family and friends. They really made my day. The lesson I bring to fly with is so priceless, something that frankly I haven't gained yet much in where currently I study and work. Thanks folks!



Not Too Bad ...



Bogor Station in the morning

Whimsical depiction of extravaganza is perfectly conspicuous and too much captivating for passer-by at little slums area in Jakarta, if Chinatown is too high as comparison. Shared public toilet for no less than dozens of these happy settlements, yellowing river right next to the kitchen, children playing with lots of joy all through narrowing alley that divide every neighborhood, my notion of impression once I happened to lurk into communes of three hot spot areas within the capital city. I, since a couple week ago, who has been joining a research activity for megapolitan disaster management initiated by an university in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, will work on these fields for some weeks later on. Interviewing the settlement, translating the report, spending some hours to reach the location for I commute daily from Bogor, are kinds of my endeavor to run the project.

As an aficionado of aesthetic urban landscape, the contrary of living between highrise concrete building and outlier downtown is striking. It is a portray of contemporary artwork made by intangible social ego. The scenery is the body, the city's life is the soul. To me, the overlapped voice of grassroots down beneath vibrant city's noise is way more fascinating. As this research covers up interview with the slum settlements, I can barely recognize their voice is seamless and honest. Different study case yields different buzz. Slum area in North Jakarta has its own echo and sometimes similar point of interest as questioned is responded by varying perspective compared to that of fellow compatriot in Central and South Jakarta . The pro and con is common.

One highlight that I draw from the interviewee's perspective, is how their assessment on incumbent government. Although this part is minor of research inquiries and is avoidable in order to keep the scientific value of research objective, for I here write on a blog, the measurement is valid unconditionally. Some people voluntarily express their fulfilled satisfactory what the Governor has done to them, some others complain about for being excluded subject of blusukan. This account has suggested me that these people are wanting for being taken care of, seen, visited and recognized. Although the real problem is quite complex, even seems always more complex when some snobbish media extravagantly add glitter on news to spoil people's opinion. Let me alone to have my own assessment, and these settlements whose mirror is crystal clear have directed me to address my perspective goal: understanding the matter comprehensively.

Living at such slum, for some people, never look opulent instead too desperate. Bur for the kids I met through the alley, they never complain about despite of their fully informed account of blessed apartment right over there, to them, is no more than bird cage. The old ones, as life what they understand is not always fulfilling, are frankly aware that their existence would not last. Anytime the govt would demolish their settlement in favor of refurnishing city landscape. But what they expect is evacuation to appropriate decent housing complex. Though, it does not successfully work for a commune in North Jakarta, other areas are waiting to prove for more accomplished story.

The immense gap I captured at these areas has paid my inquisitiveness off as I have been wondering why Jakarta straddles this circumstance for that pretty long. However, I still have no sufficient answer to explain . I'm just too curious to return to these area again by this week and finding out more fun facts to share with.