Bridging the Islands


Trans-Nusantara


[I hope this post is neither overdue nor outdated]

I almost have no option when my sister calls me for home as she is going to promise on a sacred bond called “marriage”. I was on duty for consecutive two weeks to handle the documents of new student who passed entrance selection to my university. My Professor asked me to give my helping hand. And it was going on until the day of my departure to home.

I immediately book for flight from Jakarta to Lombok as well as subsequent flight to Sumbawa. I am fortunate for the flight is well synchronized. And it’s started when I depart from Terminal 1 A, the self-controlled for domestic Lion Air flights only. But today it delays for almost an hour. I’m kinda worried since my subsequent flight will take off merely an hour and 45 minutes later upon arrival of Lion Air based on the schedule. And now I have only remaining 45 minutes.



I attempt to chill out. The Boeing 737-900ER is now on the runway. It’s more likely to accelerate even faster than it used to. Turbulent shakes us in the first ten-minute and gone for awhile. It merely takes an hour and half for this CGK-LOP route, comparing to the time it used to take for several times I ever flew which is constantly two hours.

The sky looks grayish as the plane touches down the runway at Lombok International Airport. When it ends up at the skybridge, I immediately stroll into baggage claim. But the second bad luck happens. My carriage rolls at the bottom turn and consuming half hour only to wait. Geez! For this late handle I run toward check-in desk of Merpati Nusantara asking favor for extended check-in time. She is nicer than I imagined. I am allowed. Thanks my carriage is dropped down in time bound for Sumbawa. But, another thing happens.

The China-made Xian MA60 supposed to fly us to neighboring island would arrive an hour later. It’s ‘delay’ time, again! I become more accustomed to this circumstance.

It has been an hour and the announcement sounded all through the airport. Passengers for Sumbawa are asked to queue at the final boarding pass check spot near to the gate of skybridge. For the small size of aircraft, it doesn’t fit to go through air pier. We go downstairs to approach the propeller airplane which is parking over the yellow line. People are now onboard. The pilot calls for preparation to take off and it is now leaving the runway.

The sky is so murky when the aircraft gets closer to the runway beneath, at Brang Biji Airport of Sumbawa. Yet it lands off smoothly. I then approach the baggage claim which turns out a very decent small room with less people. The family members are ready outside there to pick up me, my sister, her husband and my 10-month baby niece. They help me to carry on backpack onto the car. I reach home just no more then half hour later.

People are so busy to prepare the wedding. Two days later would be a sacred moment for my oldest sister. She’s going to be a woman within hours.

At home

Me myself is in the meantime working with this pile of CDs. I just got a transfer freelance job from BKKBN (National Family Planning Board) as my friend offers this to me because he is really busy with his full time job in Jakarta . My duty is to type the script of dialogue held by BKKBN on prominent TV stations. The videos are stored on these CDs. And now it is one of my priorities during this short visit.

June 20th 2013




It’s wedding day. People are coming to mingle in the euphoria of sacred bond. The promise, the ring, and stuffs are around these hours. Most of them actually those I don’t recognize. This is my first time during my lifetime I attend the marriage ceremony from the beginning to the end.

No more than two days after the sacred ceremony of my sister, I, her, her husband, and my cousin have already planned for a trip easternward. Perhaps my sister calls it a ‘honey moon’, for me it’s the journey of my extended miles. We decided to go to Makassar through different way, by ship.

All of us today are gathering up at “Sumir Payung” bus station of town of Sumbawa. A small bus bond for Kota Bima -the easternmost capital in Sumbawa island- is parking at line 1. At 9 sharp we depart for next 8-hour long trip. The bus is so so. Neither AC nor even working fan is available. It’s so sultry. I secrete sweat even more than ever. It is like I really need a shower.





Thing has just changed when the bus is about passing on the paved way. I should have agreed the highway is so very well maintained. Even though the width is not as wide as of Jakarta, but for sure it’s even better than Pantura (north-way of Java island which stretches miles long). The scenery is changing over times. Sometimes the road is surrounded by lush green another occasion brings my sight on arid mountain. For this route is northern way, traditional typical coastal settlement covers up all through the seashore for few miles, then changing at another miles. Of all through the pavements, I can say it’s up to more than 90% the road is meander. The cliff at right side and the shore at left is another nerve-wrecking move as the bus passes over. Overall it has passed 3 regencies from the starting one in Sumbawa.
 
At 5 pm we arrive at bus station in Kota Bima. It’s smaller than ones of Sumbawa yet looks more crowded. From small traveling vendor to settled eatery, from bus driver to the agent, not to missing notorious thief whose eyes are on you. Who knows, it is as what my fellow always warns me to keep my stuffs tightly.

A man with red car over there comes over to offer help picking up our bags. He is the one who as well offers us helping hand to let us staying overnight at his parent’s home. Here I don’t see even middle aged man but an old couple. They look so less-complaining yet really enjoy their life at their very grayish age. I’m not pretty sure how old they are, but my guess has convinced me theirs is over 80s. I don’t do much more thing but taking rest as we all have arrived at this decent home.

Tomorrow morning.

At 8 sharp we all depart to harbor 8 km north by ‘ojek’. The ship has not arrived yet. But crowd is just so overwhelming. They speak in very different dialect and the people look different (compared to most I meet). At this moment I realize I’m in another part of this country. To travel easterner the more I understand I am as far as I have never been before.

I drop down my backpack and queuing for ticket checking. Here I really experience the new world, the new way of people and the new culture. Actually I want to shoot more pictures but security is still my first priority. I hold on for a moment until I am at considered safe spot. Amongst of this crowd, a middle aged Italian guy is the only one foreigner I met, the rests are seemingly from somewhere else from the corner of this country. 



At 10 a big vessel has attracted us already as it approaches the pier. It’s KM Tilongkabila of PELNI from Benoa (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) to sail easterward. The capacity is 1000 but today it picks up reaching 3000. I just wonder how it will go then. My curious yet worrisome will soon has been satisfied by later circumstance. I can say the queue onto on board is so troublesome. I might be too worrisome for this is my first time. Yet at the moment I claim it is super chaotic. To reach the deck, I need to struggle only for every inch of spacious step. The connecting stair from the pier to the deck looks fragile, I guess. Much more the rush is just frightening me.

It takes almost an hour to pass through this inconvenient euphoria until I have successfully upgraded my ticket to first cabin. Don’t ask me to imagine how couch treats you with this super overloading passenger, almost no space to walk through even in alley. I should have thanked to the crews who ease me. One of them suggests me to reach my room once the crowd eases down. I understand how they work hard to handle this.



I am finally at this comfortable room. I share with a guy from Timor Leste with Indonesian passport. He works in Bali and has been onboard since the flight is full. At least I can still work with this pile of CDs. More exciting the TV set is now about broadcasting live match Singapore Super Series where Indonesia teams successfully bring the medals home.

It takes 7 hours to approach Labuhanbajo to anchor. I don’t go stroll out the room as proven no any alley is spacious. It’s all fully loaded by couch class passengers who weigh the deck at every single corner. Twilight has just passed away already in west. The flashing lights turn on the night with triggering crowd beneath. People are lining up for onboard. I can’t be the one who clearly put sight down there. From circular glass used to be voyage window I for several times lurk out the people outside. Men with muscular look arm the big stuff on queue. It takes an hour long to reach the nearest deck-lock. As it opened up, new passengers are now searching even a bit space.

A crew knocks my door and come in to clean up the room. He says I should wait at the dining room for initial room booker would have arrived soon. I can’t complain for my status is class-upgraded passenger. There I sit down for awhile until a girl comes inside. Later a young couple drops by. They obviously have no idea as I was there when they are asked to wait here instead of going to their room. I then explain the procedure I took place few hours ago and we start to involve into conversation. The girl came first is London-based with Spain origin. The couple is from Switzerland. We still are in talks until one by one of us called for new room. The Spanish girl later turns out to be my neighbor, for the Swiss couple I’m not sure where they strand.

I guess my room is even better. Actually it is supposed the crew’s but he kindly pleases me to stay for the overloaded passenger during this trip. There I easily can spot hot water for shower, a big screen TV, a single bed with a sofa, a fridge, fan, unfortunate AC, a gallon of mineral water and forth. All first and second class passengers can enjoy free meals three times a day.
In the night, I didn’t do much thing but sleeping. I guess I need to take rest after tiring queue upon first aboard.

The sun rises up from east with shimmering look. I wake up for shower then having breakfast. There I meet my new fellow from Spain. “My shower doesn’t work, seems I need fresh air this morning”. We decide to go to front deck for better view and better air. The challenge appears as we have to pass these long overlays of live body. From children to old people lies down even on the alley. It seriously looks like refuge camp. I can’t complain nor can I make thing settled on appropriate way of this weird sightseeing. It may look messed up but the reason of overcapacity seems outperforming the circumstance. 







The ship cruises northward. Thanks to very good weather today I have been enjoying all the way the voyage with no nauseous sickness. At 4 pm I can barely see Port of Makassar, a historical harbor for over centuries been being witness of cross generation mobility. I expect nothing but safe unload. Seems it gets getter for the security comes up with helpful conduct. I immediately leave the exit deck to touch down my step on this harbor.

Few meters ahead there is the gate where escorts flock around. People come in and out with armed luggage. A mid-aged man comes to us offering ride. He is a taxi driver who is experienced with new comer. We immediately agree as we certainly know where to head, “Losmen Semeru” in Chinatown. Actually the choice fell to this guest house based on recommendation on backpacking forum on internet. Unfortunately there is no phone number to be contacted prior our arrival. Thing goes unfortunate once we drop by there, only one room left instead of two. We can’t stay a night there. I ask the keeper to keep my booking for tomorrow and forth in case there would be two empty rooms. He agrees.



We stroll around the city to look for the lowest fare and the most strategic location. Nothing happen. Losmen Semeru is still our top choice. The last thing happens once we strand at a hostel near to Semeru for the higher cost. The reason is that so I can be more easily moving in to Semeru for tomorrow whenever it is possible. This idea seems working well.

Tomorrow we pick up all our stuffs by walking. I just have fallen in love with this budget hostel. Though it is very decent, the cleanliness and the facility are very bearable. We have a satellite TV, a working table, good working toilet, a big size bed, and an air conditioner. On the third floor we are placed, a good placement for the laundry located just right next to our room. Good news, a woman who I become more accustomed to meet is the guest house staff hired by the owner to do laundry of all guest’s cloth. We don’t need to pay extra money for this free treatment. What a life!







I stay for only 4 days in Makassar. For this short visit, I start by visiting most renowned Losari Beach, the city’s natural landmark. It just looks so lovely. The tropical breeze, the traffic over the sea-sight, rides crossing through the road next to the shoreline, eateries, the growing buildings and the flock of city’s settlement and visitors are the depiction of Makassar. For its very fast development, the city has become hub for eastern Indonesia. I feel like it is Indonesia version of California coastal cities.






The next day I decide to visit Fort Rotterdam, a historical building over centuries. The long history of Dutch occupation in this city can be traced here. Furthermore few rooms have been transformed as museum particularly for cultural purposes. One of them is room where visitor can get closer with I La Galigo script, a historical script renowned for its high difficulty.

Out of my plan, I strand at a room where people are about discussing a thing. One of the organizers pleases me to come in and join. Three whites from Darwin and an Indonesian guy lead the panel, I wonder what thing is going on. With no idea before, I am now getting involved in a topic that I have been looking for since an enchanting article fascinated me to read but not clear yet. Now I have the answer. It is about the history of Buginese (Bugis people origins from South Sulawesi) who discovered Northern Territory earlier before the Whites from Europe. They had been interacting with Indigenous Australians, The Aborigines through trade. The Bugis voyager exchanged sea cucumber with local product. They also taught the Aborigines to make vessel. Their long relationship can be found through carved depiction in cave in Northern Territory. The mission of their program is to disseminate this precious yet less exposed history to public through discussion and art performance which was held last night at the Fort Hall. I have got a new thing today. 

June 28th
 
Have you ever experienced visiting a new place without getting sufficient information before walking through? I start as today comes up in the early morning with some showers. Getting by “pete-pete”, a public transformation similar to angkot, it takes an hour and bit more to the next stop. Unfortunately it gets worsening as traffic jam paralyzes the marching burn. Instead the chance comes to me amidst shimmering day I can look up and prove the development of the city that really triggers my curiosity. Concrete building towers up, some are being developed. Makassar is really experiencing its booming development. But today weather doesn’t ease me down yet rambling mind of thinking about city life crosses over like lining up motorcycles ahead. It takes three hours and bit more to approach settlement I’m aiming. I have never imagined how it looks like or it lets me feeling, sincerely I’m amazed with the nature. Scenery consisting of tea plantation hills, the mist, curving paved way, the people, has paid my tiredness off. I can say (or perhaps shout) “Geez, it’s a life!”




Locals call it “Malino”, google it for further information. It’s the third I’ve ever been during my whole 22-year-old where nature creates its resemblance over times, first in Puncak, West Java, secondly in Tawangmangu, Central Java.

Time spins around and sun hides behind limitless west horizon in Makassar Strait brings me back down to the city. I could be sighing or mumbling, but thanks my return is not as bad as my initial visit. Makassar looks hectic at night. The lamps enlighten city life, so triggering. All of it, the most craving thing is taking rest at hostel. And it will have taken place within couple minutes. I drop by right in front of crusted sidewalk, few steps to the gate. Refilling drink bottle then go upstairs in a minute. It’s bedroom.

June 29th

I believe ending is not really ending when it comes home with a basket of memory with fruitful story. It could be interpreted like dashing line where the latter would come in the mysterious upcoming time. You know flight time is near. Taking DAMRI bus at stop point a hundred meter away to east by walking, I decide to arrive half hour before the due departure. In a tiny glassed room as small as doubled payphone size a ticketing man stays alone with lurking eye. The bus arrives on time. There are only 5 persons aboard including me. I immediately take myself seat at front row, the best view to capture city highway. Today looks more crowded than yesterday did perhaps it is because of weekend. When the bus passes by the highway gate, it is so obvious that industrialization is about entering its growing phase, the moment comes. Fogging cylindrical metals emit bulky blackish gas. For it comes to me first time, I’m much convinced Makassar is a melting pot of revolutionary traits. Perhaps its natives genetically are descended of its character, just my opinion.
Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport is right there. It reminds me of Juanda International Airport of Surabaya. Green parks surrounds the road way and taxing aircrafts are lining up after arrival or for departure. The most captivating me of Makassar’s growing hub is its design, traditional meets modern. By my own measure, it ranks 8 out 10 to exceed Suarabaya’s Juanda with 6.5 out of 10 (the time of measurement is present on June 29th).

My flight today Lion Air en route Jakarta leaves the “K”-look island half hour late from the schedule. It’s drizzling outside. Though the pilot and team do their great work, flying on B737-900ER is way better comparing to the old series like -300s or -500s of Seattle based aviation manufacture in such weather. Since there is neither AVOD nor food serviced on board, most passengers decide to take a nap, me either for merely ten minutes out of two-hour long in the sky.

The co-pilot announces that the aircraft is ready to descend within a couple minute, but wait. Can I complain for this announcement? Or perhaps not now I guess. The reason comes more rational when you take account of 22-million airport is congested by 57 million airliners whole year. My question is “Where to place them (passengers and aircrafts)?”. You know we have to rotate thrice while queuing that forces us flying up and down. If you never go to Paris Air Show, just come to Jakarta by plane in the evening then you see aircraft parading around you. To be honest I feel vomiting. A man next to me grabs airbag sick and pukes. Nothing that bad than stranded in the sky meanwhile you need to fly around without stop. I’m not at this moment complaining about the much avtur it burns but the pressure stressing the blood.




Eventually it comes to end and I feel my head is not at its fittest. But camera is full of videos and photos. Worth it enough at least. 

And today it's my birthday. Happy belated 22 years old dear myself :-)






Francophoned Tongue


"Bonjour...!"


What thing was attracting most TV observant for almost two-hour breath-taking yesterday? The football match. I do agree. The crowd yelled out loud once the last minute penalty execution ended up the game 7-6 for Indonesia over Viet Nam in U-19 AFF Cup. It was kinda bit more longer than normal duration yet it was the beat. But myself later turned back into my small bedroom leaving frantic fellows in gathering room. I flipped few of some pages of French textbook.

Since couple weeks ago I enrolled for 3-month French course at university language center, the reason comes in random. I have no certain aims in detail the reason takes me in this class. Among 9 students for beginner level, I'm at the least of reasonable account given to French-graduate lecturer (though she is not French language and literature titled) as she was too curious looking for our point. Some of them are foreign student candidates to study in French in various fields. Me, the only one who only could say "I have no exact reason at all, but I have been watching few of some French movies and listening to its songs, I'm just interested in." Actually I came at registration day for Mandarin Chinese course, later I decided to take French at first. However, the lecturer changed ever since the second meeting, another French educated product (still he is not based at French language and literature). Though I have no complain whether they have language and literature title or do not so.

Most of lecturers at university language center comes from different fields, the reason they are qualified to teach is because they are at least capable and graduated from taught language origin, mentioning English (UK or English speaking countries), Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, and Arabic (exception for Turkish and Korean, they are native speaker sponsored by their government).

Well, French is just one of thousand languages existing on spherical planet Earth, perhaps in caves as well. I thought at first, speaking French meant to give you extra miles seating on UN chair along with English ticket as what I red on textbook when I was in elementary school. I noticed some of faces that covered my Social Science book are from African countries who notably placed French as second or official language (Kofi Anan from Ghana and Boutros Boutros Gali from Egypt). Later it comes developed when I realize when you speak French could be meaning to knowing more people from francophone nations, some of it are beautiful countries such Canada, Morocco, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and so forth. Makes sense!

BUT, am I that too damn high having superb fancy delusion to think that so big about "traveling to those countries with no cost, seating at UN office, writing extraordinary French literature and receiving honor "Ordre des Art et des Lettres" like Indonesian-singer Anggun" ? Yes, it's too freaking high and I look so messed up in mind with all those glimpses of fiction. LOL.

The fiction still remains fanciful in mind while talking about Belgium-French The Adventures of Tintin, particularly the Flight 714 comic album. The reason makes sense for me personally, 1) The setting is in Indonesia 2) It deals with aviation 3) Tintin is adventurous figure 4) The comic is in French that helps me learning this language 5) High-Fiving my head that I'm running out ideas.


Flight 714 To Sydney (taken from: http://iipalbanjary.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/tintin-djakarta.jpg)

I try to browse the movie of above episode and found it in Canadian-English, I expected it's in French though.Some Spanenglish are also found thick in some conversations.



So, have I realized that I posted random words from Football Match to Tintin? Right, it ends up with Tintin adventure. Well, give me attempt to summarize:

- Indonesia halts VietNam in chasing dream to end the football match with champion title -
- Vietnam is a country who turns out former French colony and still maintaining French language though as minority - 
- French is language that I'm still learning about -
- One of French comics that captivates me is Tintin - 
- Tintin's "Flight 714 To Sydney" set in Indonesia - 
- I'm writing this random post in Indonesia -
- Mercy beaucoup -
- THE END -




LOLed Quote of the Day:
"I'm the Jesus of my channel, so I do everything I want" [One of bizarre YouTube Personalities]



No Title For No Post



"Wake Me Up When September Ends!"


I remember it was May, not "May Be". I wrote down my self-exclaim and sounds defensive. Thinking about life has given and things have changed, it feels like "Don't take it too serious".

It is the mid of September, three and half (more or less) months nothing change on this dully blog. Now I'm about cleaning up the spider web on the right and left corner, wiping out the dust and putting a flower on the center of the page with some sprays of Paris Good Odor throughout.

I have no idea to tell you (my beloved fellow bloggers) who pay off time even a glance for nothing (to read) that I was out of orbit for awhile though many things I'd love to share, to write, and to (whatever). I myself has betrayed the promise I owe to keep regularly posting any stuff twice every month. Well, you may shoot me down.

I was doing something and big nothing for part in the meantime. Later I realize my mind gets heavier. Statically I'm curving through negative trend just like exchange rate at most recent. I have turned into decent viewer of frenetic Olympics. I shout loud behind the line just like most the crowd in ambience.

"Summer is over" people say, though here summer is everyday literally.  But please wake me up when September ends with GreenDay ringtone. I still want to wake up anyway.