TRAVEL NOTES 101. 0123 hours Jakarta, Indonesia
SINGAPORE 0545hours. I woke up feeling grumpy as I barely got sleep due to late dinner’s meet up with friends before our flight. My sister and I were rushing to the airport. I told her, sorry if we miss our flight, we’re late. We reached Changi airport 45 minutes prior to our scheduled flight, we’ve cut a very long queue while I apologize to the passengers, we might miss our flight. The attendant was kind enough to let us still check in.
CHANGI AIRPORT 0820hours. Flight 3K 201. Delayed for 4 hours. We’re about to take off. When I fall asleep. Then wake up. Saw the Pilot walked into the middle platform and announced the passengers to leave the aircraft due to engine problem. There was a foul smell of gas. All the while, I thought we were in Jakarta as I fall asleep as soon as I board only to wake up and realized we were still in Singapore. After waiting for half day, thank God we arrived safely in Jakarta.
JAKARTA 1343hours. After boarding the taxi to the city, heavy rains started to pour in. Despite the day’s mishaps I was excited and looking forward to have the much anticipated paragliding! :). I have fear of heights. So I like to challenge myself to do little steps to overcome triumphantly and challenge myself by trying new things. Only to read my friend’s message that we won’t be able to paraglide the next day because of the weather, it was raining and not so windy. I resolve, aha, “Maf, NO expectation at all. Live the moment. Experience what it is there to experience. Just enjoy. What matter is, ‘you are safe’. Better live a purposeful life.” . Gosh. Yes. I heard it. I suddenly think of the victims of Nepal earthquake. It is heartbreaking watching the news. I uttered prayer for their soul to rest in peace. Courage and strength for the people of Nepal. I have few classmates from Nepal (and Bhutan) back in college days and wished them safe.
26 APRIL. It’s my birthday! 😉 Instead of counting the number, I resolve to think of the wisdom, the little things, life learning that this world is teaching me so I will grow wiser, live a life of passion, have the courage to pursue my dreams and continue to do what I love doing rather than live up to the society’s expectations of me. I feel FREE 🙂
STAZION KOTA 0915hours. We bought train ticket that costs 3o, 000.00 Indonesian Rupiah for 2 pax. Bound from Kota to Bogor train station. The travel time took us a little less than 2 hours. Our friends (Sasha, Fitria and Dennis) have waited for us for 2 hours! I thought we’ve got one local host for the day, but they were three and still looking very much enthusiastic meeting us. Sasha briefed us for what our day will look like. The sun is up. It’s a hot scorching day. Compared to yesterday gloomy day. Okay, yesterday’s full of blessing as heavy rains poured in. We said our hi’s and hello’s to our new friends. My sister, Love seemed a little shy or maybe it’s her English she is conscious of.
BOGOR 1128hours. Sasha, Fitria and Dennis pointed us to a beautiful Roman Catholic church, walking distance from Bogor station and told us we can visit if we want to. They accompanied us inside. By the way, our new friends are all Muslim. My sister told me her impressions about Muslims and I told her, it’s a kind of stereotyping. I reminded her to be thankful for the opportunity being given to travel as she meets new people where it open doors to change perceptions of how the mainstream media portray a certain culture. It is okay to be informed about what’s going on in the world but don’t just accept things because a certain authority has said so. It’s always wise to ask questions, check the veracity about everything she reads or hear.
LUNCH 1215hours! I suggested we head for lunch first, so we won’t starve and we were somehow hungry. I asked them to bring us to the best restaurant that sells local food. It’ll be my treat :). Delectable spicy food with some coconuts and chili, fruit juices, chendol and ice cachang desserts.
It was raining again. The blue skies and hot scorchin’ sun has just faded. Then we were told Bogor is known as a “Rainy City”. It always rains everyday. I can imagine as it is in a mountain area. The city is habituated in a hilly area with tons of greenery.
BOTANICAL GARDEN 1500hours. We readied our feet and braved the drizzling rain. On to the Botanical Garden! A very huge one. I noticed prominent species like Dipterocarps, Dillenia, Ficus etc. And deers are freely moving inside the Garden! The Botanical Garden was founded during the Dutch occupation in 1817 and has been the center for research in Agriculture and Horticulture. It is the oldest Botanical Garden in Southeast Asia.
PURA JAGATKARTA HINDU TEMPLE 1700hours. Located in the mountain called Gunung Salak (mountain salak). It took us more or less an hour to reach the place. We hired an Angkot Kota (city car). The name implies “holy deity perfect nature”. Unfortunately, the temple closes at 4pm. Convincingly, my friends are determined that we get to see it. I might not understand their words yet their gestures are enough for me to interpret their convincing power :). She later told us, they talked to the security that we are from the Philippines and would like to do meditation in the temple. Then they let us go :). We used sarong to cover our legs and a yellow piece of cloth to tie into our waist. (My sister started to ask me questions, why we have to put a yellow cloth, and use a sarong, walk barefoot etc. It was her first time to see a Hindu temple in her lifetime!) The guy accompanied us to walk up, when we entered the gate, a peaceful, beautiful looking enchanting temple has welcomed us. The guy gave us a mat where we sit to do meditation. I can’t stay my eyes to be closed for long because I wish not to miss the beautiful scenery of the place. Few people are chanting their prayers. The sun is winding down while spreading it’s reddish, orange, bluish, white color in the huge horizon. The orange color rays reflected the Hindu’s Goddesses. The dusk. The sun fading in the distant horizon. The cold breeze of the mountain. The wet grasses we walked into barefooted. The mountain facing us. The city and villages down from the up. I felt an encompassing peace enveloping my entire body. I felt no stranger at all. In this place. We are All One. Regardless of our background and upbringing. Then the passage came: “And the Peace of God that passed all understanding“. There are certain things that our mind doesn’t have to comprehend but experience. What a perfect day to end the day.
SURPRISE! :). Oh how easy it is to form friendships. Being open. Lose yorself. Embrace the world. Sometimes you are bonded by certain situation, circumstances and interests where distance, time and differences doesn’t matter. My sister was extremely surprise about the kind gestures and warm hospitality of our new jolly found friends. We were at the train station. We will be parted ways after several stops. Sasha brought me and my sister to a convenience store and asked us if we want to buy anything. When get off Fitria and Dennis had bought donuts that served as cake, had improvised candle and in chorus they serenade a “Happy Birthday” song 🙂
NOTE: Photo credits to Fitria Apriliani (our selfie expert ;). Our Tour Guide (Leader :), Faatih Natasha and Dennis (our bodyguard 😛