Living The Air

No Matter What, I Keep Aboard

Though it has not reached three weeks completely running this short visit to home, my turn comes ceasing. I already booked my return ticket just few days later after departure reservation. Another airlines I choose for price excuse, so there came to fall into Lion Air for some two-hour long flight from Lombok to Jakarta. But considerably I'm still here in Sumbawa, necessarily I should board for inter-isle connection. 

Two days before the feast day celebration, fortunately my older sister start to converse in the night while family gathering comes on. She interprets the billboard in the sidewalk at heart of town revealing promotional poster of Merpati Nusantara to resume flight to Sumbawa from Lombok twice-weekly. Actually I already red the news of that interesting plan before going home, but I have no sufficient information when it comes precisely. I browsed Wikipedia but merely finding unspecified schedule. Immediately that cooling night conversation pushes me to look up the airlines website. The flight schedule impresses me as it flies on Friday, the day before my Saturday flight to Jakarta. Indeed it becomes more benevolent due to its very seducing fare, slightly little more than ones by minibus. I don't need to waste this chance I convince myself to book it as fast as possible.

Done! Merely IDR 120,000 my transfer succesfully submitted. It's not reluctant I considered to bring home my banking token, so anywhere as it's connected to internet I can make banking payment conveniently. Thank to Bank Mandiri for this very great banking product.

On the day of my departure, to leave home on a small plane, my family members help me to compile up my luggage. No matter what they put inside as long it does't exceed 20 kg. My older sister and other fellows made decision to have short trip to Lombok by motorcycle in the morning, meanwhile my flight will be this noon. So I'm the only one choosing air trip on the day after our plan to have meeting in the airport. I need to stay a night before another tomorrow early morning flight.

Brang Biji Airport, Sumbawa viewed from taxi way

I depart to Brang Biji Airport (now Sultan Muhammad Kaharudin Airport) a towny small airport with very so-so facilities. The noon is so sultry, just like usual Sumbawa is averagely hotter than other region in the country. I insert my luggage through X-Ray passage then grabbing it again toward check-in counter. I have to admit, this is my first time at very modest airport though I've traveled to other countries with very advance airport system, yet here is hometown. Improvement is allegedly needed soon to be conducted. "Go Sumbawa 2012" tourism program still remains pathetic for lack of air transportation facilities. I have to make check-in more than 15 minutes even though I'm the only passenger here at that time. They don't have sufficient well-working PC for database, the option is by using a laptop (I guess it's that of an officcer, no intention to underestimate) with plugged internet modem, not a synchronized system. I guess I can't stand any longer for this tiring check-in.

Eventually it's submitted and my luggage has been lifted up on mobile troley manually. I come toward the toilet and guess it, untreated. Well, I can't pee here. Hold on. Then I hurry into waiting room, I guess they must have built the appropriate ones inside there. Ops, I'm ceased, forget to pay airport tax. Sorry for this Sir, here is my duty as a good citizen. "How much does it cost?" a proposed question crosing over warming up head. Nah, it's written on stamped dowdy paper "Rp 10,000" (Ten thousand rupiah or equally to USD 1). 

It's such new experience yet curiously challenging. As far I only thought Angkasa Pura (Indonesian State Enterprise for Airport) applied 3 kinds of airport tax: IDR 150,000 for any international flight, IDR 40,000 for domestic airport under Angkasa Pura 2, and IDR 25,000 domestic airport under Angkasa Pura 1. FYI, Sumbawa airport is categorized under control of Angkasa Pura 1, so I guess I have to burden as much as ISR 25,000. Well, I have no idea about tax system, it may because of level of the airport itself by certain indicator of measurement. Obviously this airport is still far behind the standard of Lombok International Airport though both of them are under AP2. 

Waiting room of Brang Biji Airport

I'm in waiting room. Ok, where is the toilet? My eyes shouts over a small room at most left. I come in and surprisingly it paralyzes my desire. It's even worsening. Bad smell of urinating secretion without water around. It dries and flourishes the bad aroma wholly seizing the toilet. I go out then.

The plane has not arrived yet, the clock has surpassed the schedule. 15 minutes later a Xian MA60 fleet touches down the ashpalt from eastward. All passengers, part of them are foreign tourists disembark into arrival room situated just next to waiting room. Inside here, I can't wait any longer to try my first flight on the smallest fleet ever I flawn so far. 

Three guys and a girl next to my desk in the waiting room are from Spain as written on their passport. The girl flips Lonely Planet travel guide for Indonesia destination with piled of big size backpack next to the guys. Meanwhile me myself is too busy with my old National Geographic magazine issued in 1978, consciously it's about ballon flight expedition crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I guess the travel journalist in this well reputation mags had such historical record, in contrast of what I'm doing now waiting for the plane with a heart-wrecking little accident outside there. The right wing flashed a small fiery explosion which pays off our attention with mix of curiousity and anxiety. But flight must go on.

The announcement without loudspeaker sounded by an middle age officer as he opens the glass-made exit room. I don't miss the chance to take outside view of the airport before getting onto the plane using (apparently) fragile skinny ladder, yet it's strong though. My seat is as usual next to window as I request during check-in. Unfortunately, this time my view is blocked by the attached engine. I can'r complain about it since it's made by that design.

Bird view of Sumbawa town

Inflight menu for short haul flight

It's around half hour on the air at medium height. The seat composition is 2-2 meanwhile the middle path used by three beautiful stewardess to compense a piece of bread inside the plastic wrap and a cup of water. All stored in a box whose cover reveals the Golden 50th Anniversary of Merpati Nusantara. Happy Birthday anyway.

The plane touches down smooth ashpalt that of LOP then appearing the taxi way. All passengers disambark divided into 2 groups, connecting flight group and me in the final approach flight group. Randomly I count, there are merely 5 passengers who finish flight here. The others continue to Bali and Surabaya with other fleet of Merpati.

Picking up my luggage then going toward exit gate, my sister and fellows have been outside there. We then depart to my family house a 15 minute riding from the airport. I have to stay a night there before tomorrow morning flight.

Please watch with 480p resolution for the best view

Well, let me skip into the next day. At 4 am I and others are on the road toward the airport. Witout wasting my time, I immediately come into the airport check-in gate after security test. Though it's still dark outside, inside here morning flight passengers have flocked the base floor. I look for Lion Air check-in desk, at the left row next to Batvia Air, Wings Air and others except Garuda Indonesia. GIA is very special, all through the right row is for GIA passengers. So they don't need to waste time queueing among other passengers. But me here trapped in chaotic line-up where guys behind me overstep my turn. Patiently and fortunately another guy in front of me warns him to follow the queue rule. So it goes well for the moment, I don't know later.

Misty morning covers the ground after taking off

The announcement of departure for Lion Air flight to Jakarta has been informed. I hurry go upstair where waiting room located passing through closed stores. Show my boarding pass and one more again it's such inconvenient I'm among this worse queue again. The reason is passengers (most of them) are not enough patient to go toward the airplane. I don't see this is a queue but raid. And I'm trapped inside this (unimportantly) outstep. I can breathe well as passing through this mass.

I'm sitting here now on the Economy seat of Lion Air with short seat-pitch. I have no spacious movement. I can't complain, this is the design or redesigned. Next to us are Garuda Indonesia B737-800NG and Batavia Air B737-500. But our fleet today is little bigger, Boeing 737-900ER series, the same fleet size for my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur in the beginning of this year with my university fellows.

At 6 am the airplane is taking off. Chasing the morning sun in the opposite direction. Toward westernward for 2-hour long then arrive in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at Terminal 1A at 7 am. Lombok takes an hour ahead Jakarta. Here I arrive and ready going back to my university routine.

I hope once upon time I'll be back home, the airport in my town will have gone improved. My best wish upon you my dear :)

Please watch with 480p resolution for the best view

Moyo Island Trip

Escape Ordinary in Moyo Island

Depart from home at 09.30 am

I and a friend go by motorcycle that of another friend straddling three-load. Arrived at angkot (yellow color) 30 minutes later continued to Amanwana harbor in Badas, typically small privately-owned harbor at 10.30. A security on-duty person tells us we are too early having been there, I smile the way of that time while thinking to have look around. Three big vessels, as another guy informs us those are from Surabaya frequently unload goods to be brought and spread out over relatively less dense Regency, Sumbawa.  Though it doesn’t seemingly look hectic, some trucks approach the ship to load commercial stuffs meanwhile merely few muscled men manually lift up weighed box.

Labuhan Badas

I stare limitless blue started here from clear turquoise shallow bank, deepening park that of small fishes. Transition of color into darker blue looks harmoniously well shifted. It still remains around 3 hours until the next vessel drops by. “Patiently waiting” I guess, fortunately just no longer after our arrival, another friend appears. Actually this trip is supposed to thank her since she is the key that I and friend by any reason eventually are at the edge of new admired visit to Moyo island. She works as voluntary teacher in Elementary school at small village, Labuan Aji. Last three weeks was school break session, which is also national holiday for Muslim biggest feast day, Hari Raya. Actually whose access of navigation through resort’s vessel are staffs only frequently bridging the main island Sumbawa to Moyo island where extremely peaceful and less crowd is its. But the resort management also allows maximum 3 visitors (local) going by after registration a day before. I feel so lucky for two reasons, my fellow registered me and another friend for free and worry of no place to settle has disappeared. She kindly offers us a room even though it’s small. 

Labuhan Sumbawa

At 1.15 pm we and other resort staffs are ready bounding for resort pier, some miles over there unseen by bare eyes. Two-hour trip felts so bliss because the sea comes with less wind and calm. Some other passengers decide to take nap on warm bed at both the stairs. This vessel is sort of two levels in which uppermost merely a half meter height covered by vast bed spread. I, myself during two-hour long prefer to put my sight over shoreline and blue sea. In addition having lunch with a cup of instant noodle is some minute portion I spend awhile. 

Tanjung  Menangis, a peninsular horns into the sea seemingly to always get closer with Moyo island, just not far from the sharpest point. It faces the island southernmost. An old man who turns out to be chief navigator has me to know the isle, west to Moyo island with hazy sight over there, is his hometown, Pulau Medang. The islander originally come from Bugis (a tribe in South Sulawesi/Celebes) for their major language spoken is in Buginese even though administratively they are under Sub Regency of Labuan Badas, the nearest sub capital to Sumbawa Besar. 

On the way during voyaging vessel

3.15 pm
The vessel slows down its speed, acceleration goes down just few meters before it’s tied to the pier. My eyes look over a flocking 20 tents, a high-rate which turns out to be AMANWANA resort where pristine nature surrounds the realm. The open-air concept with forest at backyard inspires its name born by two words “AMAN” means peaceful and “WANA” means forest originating from Sanskrit language, which later hugely influenced Bahasa Indonesia.  Its existence indeed paves the way to attract mostly foreign visitor staying and enjoying very privilege vacation. Notable names such as Lady Diana, Rolling Stone leading vocalist Mick Jagger and probably some other names traced their visit here yet media exposure is hidden. I now become more understand to realize its privilege and unpopularity may take over Bali or Lombok for the real terms of calm. 

AMANWANA log pier

Once I touch down my foot on the first log of pier, I see the security is guaranteed as marine and forest police are always ready there to watchdog the traffic over the sea and backyard. Yet I have to ride on the back side motorcycle that of a staff who just ends his today picket. Three motorcycles with 6 people on ride have to pass extreme road. It’s not sort of asphalt road but dusty cycle track. Sometimes we have to ascend then descending immediately. My butt felt kinda painful. 10 km is not too far, but within 15 minutes to accomplish it on mountainous track is another circumstance. I just can’t understand where I’m on now, on the ride race or because I’ve never been like now. 

I and a rider who turns out local settlement end up right at the edge of bamboo fence, in front of three bounded room which is a mes. Few minute later two fellows arrive, one whose one of this room allows us to get in after cleaning it up since latest departure three weeks ago. Taking a rest for awhile.

Labuan Aji ville

In the afternoon we have late lunch or something fulfilling my empty stomach. Fortunately a modest traditional eatery house is just few meter away, indeed the price is even cheaper than common price for the same portion. Should I thank for this. 

6 pm
It becomes dark and the sun slowly hides over the west gleaming shiny orange flash. Everyone would have known where I stand, in a tropical country where coconut waves almost every time. It’s such a beautiful sunset. Not merely mine stares there, some tourists from Germany never let this chance swept away through the wave.

Can I swallow the sun?

Next Day

10 am
Well, I have to return on the same road just like yesterday. I visit the resort for some pictures. Actually my visit to this island is not merely for vacation, in addition also for small research. But guess, the security doesn’t permit me to have looking around for suspecting me a foreign tourist from China whom not registered as resort’s guest. My friend has attempted to explain I’m also a native, but it goes nothing. So our plan changes immediately. I have to wait outside the line meanwhile my friend takes a trip – which I surely admire – inside the resort.  She with her camera takes some picture of preserved deer hunting area.  Ok, I still can enjoy the white sand here instead. 

An hour and half later she appears. We decide to continue by riding to another hidden spot which later is inevitably wonderful, I guess. Wait, I almost forget to share, this noon we get free lunch. The resort staffs do favor. But we are not beggar anyway. 

Kapal Batu ~ Moyo Island

Moyo Island
Romantic View

On a small “berugaq” sort of open-air hut, we have lunch in the meantime enjoying the breeze of sea wind amid sultry noon. I prepare my swimsuit and a ray-ban then descending the steep toward turquoise shore. Ten meters away it still looks so amazing with lovely shallow bank depth. The sand once I submerge my foot on it is felt silky, a very fascinating place for snorkeling. Unfortunately I don’t bring any adjustment sea activity stuffs so I merely swim. It’s about a half hour long.

Mata Jitu waterfall
Mata Jitu waterfall

It’s kinda tiring, well I need a little rest. But it’s merely an hour. I have to go to most renowned waterfall in the island, Mata Jitu waterfall (waterfall: Air terjun “Ind”). The road is slightly better yet more challenging. We ascend up while around wild boar crossing over our way then disappearing in glance. I put off my clothes as arrived, subsequently jumping down subemerging inside the damn fresh water. Though it takes not long place, 30 minutes is enough I guess. We head to go back after all through the same way and it's all getting more tiring.

Tonight I and friend prepare our stuffs for returning home tomorrow. In the morning three students are in front of mes settling us back the motorcycle heading to the resort's pier. A white vessel over there is ready to navigate. It has been all the way unexpectable plan yet it comes in the precise time. Thanks for this short journey whence I learn many precious things particularly I become fonder to appreciate the resource of our own.

May I'll return there someday.

Feast Day: Going Home

Pulang Kampung

Sorry for hibernating post. It was kinda hectic recent few weeks I've not yet posted any article. Well, it's started when I and most like others decide to go home for this three-week long for feast day celebration in beloved hometown. Mostly here for those muslim or any believer would love not to miss this enough break season having gathering with family, mine too. 

Actually I'd booked a ticket for Jakarta-Lombok sector a month before my departure. The reason is modest, grabbing the best (lowest) price. What a luck I successfully made an online booking for Garuda Indonesia. This term has been some times of my flight with this growing state-owned airlines. In addition I can upgrade my GFF mileage as well.

Just like usual, this trip must be alone (again). Fortunately a friend who is also studying in IPB turning out my high school mate texted me just a week before departure. She asked my favor to book the same flight. Roger that the last seat belonged to her, a coincidence.

Today is Sunday. Merchants line up the way all through the edge of street, well known as "Pasar Kaget". I commit an appointment to meet up at 6 am in front of a bank next to campus area. Here we depart by "angkot" then commuting to DAMRI pool bus by Trans Pakuan. Once the bus stop, immediately I load the baggage onto DAMRI bus. Merely five minutes later a kind driver push the pedal and it's moving now.

The bus travels to Terminal 3 for first unload subsequently commuting to Terminal 1 (for domestic), eventually ending up here in front of Terminal  Gate E for Garuda Indonesia domestic flight. We get in and making check-in. I have to line up at different desk since my friend having no luggage, merely a backpack. Well, I have to admit it's long queue.

Garuda Indonesia Flight GA430 Boarding Pass

After paying the airport tax paid during check-in (a new way of convenient) we don't waste our time to fool around the corridor. Nothing to buy. Entering Gate 3, a flock of passenger has been there. For this hour alone all GA flights bound for Bali and Lombok. You may have guessed kind of passengers here. Yeah, most of them are foreign tourist from -whatever- I don't know, but exactly western countries or perhaps the Oz.

When the announcement sounded, flight to Lombok (GA 430) with B737-800NG ready to depart. Since I made request for window view seat during check-in, I get myself on "A" row yet the most behind right in front of toilet. Unfortunately the pitch is tight.

A passenger next to me (right side) is middle-age Korean guy, a member of group travel from Seoul who seek for adventure taking Rinjani Trekking as he tells me. At the moment I whisper there must be well-sounded of enigmatic Rinjani Mt., another fact beside its third tallest height amid mountains over archipelago.

Inflight Menu for Fasting Day

Two hour flight seems kinda tiring for me since this aircraft is not installed with AVOD system for economy class. I sincerely do expect before I would have boarded like previous GA fleet I flew from Selaparang Airport (now it's closed) to Jakarta. My touching down to Lombok International Airport is the first time since successing airport in heart of Mataram was closed just the day of inaugural flight of Garuda Indonesia to establish this new airport on October 2011 by President SBY.

I wonder how this airport looks like. Once the aircraft drops by at the gate of pier, I have to admit it looks more advance with adjustment facilities. Tourist Information is just around the corner. Anyone who drops by here should have realized she/he is in tourism destination.

Arrival next to Wings Air from Bali (DPS)

The luggage appears on trolley, I grab it then going toward exit gate. My friend's parent have been outside there. They pick us by car heading to Mataram.She will stay for two days but this afternoon I have to continue my trip to Sumbawa through a mini bus. Fortunately my dad kinly booked my ticket when I was in Bogor, so I don't need to pay.

Lombok International Airport front view

It's around 5 pm and the bus departs to Sumbawa, another island at east. 6 hour long including leaving on ferry is not too bad. At least I can enjoy the night trip this day as the wave calm down my wreck for (almost) no wind. So it goes smoothly. It's still dark outside.

My sketch : Lombok International Airport

At mid night I eventually touch down my foot on beloved town. I'm kinda happy for tomorrow morning for I'll wake on my own house after a year ago my last visit :)