leaving beloved amboina past few decades, finally i am able to make my home coming. flabbergasted that i missed so many things as the years goes by. i used to live in secluded-tranquil-leafy bay overlooking the hills and this moment i have to “jump” on honking roads, blaring and blasting motorbikes and cars in the city centre.
having celebrated new year’s eve abroad and many islands within indonesia archipelago instead of java, we did something different in the end of 2011. it took pretty close to the heart of jakarta, the capital city, in Java.
arie and nick were said goodbye to the previous year by gather amongst the portuguese creole descendants in kampung Tugu and feel so blessed to be able to learn their unique culture.
Sebagai pejalan, saya menganggap rumah adalah tempat saya pulang. Sebuah pohon rindang buat bersarang.
(c) Aftonun Nuha, saya tengah memaparkan pengalaman naik bus ke Ladakh Range, India
Seorang kawan asal Arkansas (AS) yang gemar bepergian ke negeri-negeri Asia serta anak benua India mengungkap, “Rumah adalah tempat menggantung backpack selagi kita tidak bepergian ke tempat-tempat jauh.”
Jadi, bagaimana saya mendefinisikan kepulangan ke Kota Pahlawan kali ini? Kembali ke kamar saya yang dipenuhi koleksi lagu-lagu heavy metal pemusik Canada, Rush dan Brits techno-pop Duran Duran era 1980-an serta buku petualangan Lima Sekawan, sudah pasti.
Menggantung backpack sejenak, benar adanya. Bertemu dengan teman-teman lama, rasanya juga menjadi suatu kewajiban -–di samping rasa rindu juga sudah disemai sejak masih berada jauh dari perimeter bernama ‘rumah’.
Tapi tak kalah penting, adalah sebuah misi yang diselipkan di sana. Untuk menjadi seorang pembicara dalam acara bertajuk National Geographic Traveler’s Backpacking and Street Photography Workshop yang digelar di Convention Hall A, Gramedia Expo, Surabaya.
Saya berbagi soal “Bagaimana menyiapkan diri untuk menjadi seorang pejalan independen” sedang rekan saya, editor foto National Geographic, Reynold Sumayku memberikan kiat tentang “Menjadikan potret makin bermakna lewat pendekatan humanis.”
Yang terjadi dalam seminar mini -–atau saya dan Rey lebih suka menyebutnya sebagai sharing–- adalah presentasi dan tanya-jawab yang hidup, karena dapat mengajak mereka ikut serta sebagai bagian dari makalah yang dibawakan.
Pengalaman menjadi solo backpacker sejak 15 tahun lalu membuat saya leluasa memberikan contoh dan deskripsi tentang hal yang biasa dihadapi seorang pejalan solo atau pejalan independen.
Dan saya menggarisbawahi, betapa interaksi dengan masyarakat lokal menjadi hadiah bagi segala detail persiapan yang telah saya lakukan jauh-jauh hari sebelum memulai sebuah perjalanan.
Tentu saja, landasan saya berbagi adalah pengalaman pribadi, juga pengamatan serta berbagai masukan dan pelajaran yang didapat selama melakukan perjalanan. Karena bagi saya, bepergian secara mandiri telah dilakukan banyak orang, asing maupun negeri sendiri sejak lama.
Dengan cara dan kapasitas berbeda, termasuk mereka yang sudah mendatangi banyak negara di seluruh penjuru dunia. Saya hanya ingin menggugah, tentang keindahan di setiap sudut kota, desa serta seisi negeri –-dimana makna atau hasilnya bisa berbeda, tergantung pada sudut pandang dan ide orisinal si pejalan.
Yang mengharukan, dalam acara ini saya berjumpa dengan Dewi Aryanti, pejalan trip bermotor ke Italia dan Perancis serta Jawa dan Nusa Tenggara. Sosok begitu santun, lembut dan menyenangkan, yang banyak membacai tulisan saya di blog maupun edisi cetak National Geographic Traveler.
Sementara kejahilan dalam konotasi positif saya jumpai pada Ayos Purwoaji, peserta yang gemar menanyai keseharian saya, mulai soal perijinan dari keluarga atas kesukaan saya traveling, sampai bagian sudut kota Surabaya lama mana yang menjadi favorit saya.
Pertanyaan terakhir ini, sulit dijawab. Bukan karena tidak ada, tapi karena begitu banyaknya. Saya dibesarkan dan tumbuh bersama Surabaya, dan nukilan kenangan ada di setiap jengkal tanahnya.
Seperti juga saya menjadikan kedatangan kali ini sebagai momentum bertemu beberapa sahabat semasa SMU; Agus ‘Ampyang’, Dian dan Okto. Lebih dari 20 tahun kami tak berjumpa, hingga jeda antarkegiatan National Geographic Traveler di Surabaya saya manfaatkan untuk bersama mereka.
Termasuk menyantap nasi goreng Gubeng Pojok -–yang semasa kami sekolah harganya Rp 2.500,- per piring-– sampai bermain basket malam hari di SMU Negeri 7.
Semua demi kenangan dan kebersamaan yang sudah lama tak kami dapati. Dan semuanya terasa indah, berlangsung hingga lewat tengah malam. Satuan waktu yang mesti ‘dibayar’ untuk melunasi 20 tahun ketidakhadiran saya atas persahabatan kami yang dimulai dari sekolah.
Esok paginya, kegiatan National Geographic Traveler berlanjut dengan hunting foto di beberapa kawasan historis Surabaya.
Penjelajahan berawal dari Kantor Pos Pusat Jalan Kebon Rojo, menuju gedung Bank Mandiri sampai gedung pemerintahan dengan jam kuno, Tugu Pahlawan dan Gereja Santa Perawan Maria ‘Kelsapa’. Diteruskan area Jembatan Merah, mulai gedung-gedung tua bidang perbankan, bangunan berangka tahun 1880 sampai jembatan bersejarah dan berakhir di daerah Kembang Jepun, mulai gerbang Kya Kya, Jalan Slompretan, gang Bong sampai klenteng di Jalan Coklat.
Di antara langkah para peserta hunting fotografi yang kami selenggarakan, di tengah kemeriahan pasar dadakan seputaran Tugu Pahlawan hingga keanggunan bangunan-bangunan berlanggam kolonial nan jangkung, saya merasai keindahan Surabaya.
Memaknai bahwa setiap kali pulang ke kota ini mempertebal kenangan tentang sebuah kota yang telah membesarkan saya, seperti terlihat di hari ini.
Beberapa buku panduan perjalanan (travel guide) mengungkap; tak banyak yang bisa ditawarkan Surabaya sebagai destinasi wisata. Tapi bagi saya pribadi, semuanya berpulang pada cara masing-masing personal dalam memberikan makna pada sebuah tempat.
Tergantung pada kejelian menangkap momentum di sudut-sudut kota. Karena semua tempat adalah indah. Seperti kata Ampyang; hidup itu indah (dan tentunya sarat makna –-tambahan dari saya).
This posting is dedicated to:
‘rumah’ saya, tercinta Nicholas dan sahabat saya, Ampyang-Dian-Okto
Panitia Surabaya yang penuh energi: ‘Afternoon’ Nuha, Be’de kecil Icha, ‘Sampang Berbahaya’ Adhitama
Panitia Jakarta yang penuh senyum: ‘Cong’ Adit Noto, Purwo Subagiyo, Reynold Sumayku
Seluruh peserta workshop National Geographic Indonesia, terutama Ibu Myke, Dewi Aryanti, Pak Agus dan Pak Poer.
“sweetheart, have a look. there’s thousand stars above us,” my beloved ones showing the evening landscape in front of us. it’s a bright lovely evening sky within a national park.
(c) ukirsari, 2009
we are holding hands to each other, walking through the grassy path. companied by jaka, our slovenian friend. a neighbour at the guest house. a huge landscape, brings my memory back to loksado, in one of a kalimantan forest, where i feel the night sky was so close upon my face and i can catch one of those stars with my fingers.
i was too ‘busy’. to feel how can a billion stars comes out at the same time in one night. blinking in the distance and showering us with dims light. then phosphorous mushrooms on the trees and the fireflies. that’s a magical experience for me.
and now, i feel quite the same. without any additional phosphorous things. only three of us, under a grandiose sky with the thousand stars.
within walking distance, we can see the shadows of the sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrensis). nicholas and i are falling in love with this place, since we find our baby boy here; a two months old elephant in 2006.
and we became repeat visitors ever since. especially when we find a wild baby girl afterwards –oh, doesn’t mean to forget to mention, there’s another elder baby girl in the community. but since she looks so berserk, we never befriend with her. we knew her and the opposite. after a baby boy and baby girl, they have a new tamed ‘sibling’.
a baby boy again, to whom we gave a ‘special’ name, since we don’t like his real name. sounds not so gorgeous, bearing only an event something. and just like the previous babies, we love to cuddle him and playing all day long. he’s so lovely and a giver; bring reeds to nicholas, allow us to hear his funny voice, then hiding behind the bush.
in our latest visit, two mother elephants just gave births. two wonderful baby boys. but we have to say goodbye after few days visit, as we have to back for works. and in the meantime, we want to share this happiness –being having new babies— and play with them, whilst introducing them to our neighbour; jaka.
it’s a real joyful playing under the thousand stars. especially nicholas who ‘attacked’ by our baby boy –not the eldest since he’s stay overnight in the forest with his mom and dad.
later we think; probably since his nature as nocturnal, everything looks brighter in the dark. and another ‘theory’, he didn’t like being addressed by his real name. we can not help but smile, when he try to tackle jaka with his back feet. nicholas said, “turn around, turn around,” but our baby is faster than him.
i watch the mom who look after her baby boy with the torch on. then talk to our baby girl, since she’s not interesting to do crazy with us but keep on busy grassing all the time. well behave. a strange concept for a wild. but probably she just need to spend longer time to adapt with her new ‘family’ after spend such two years by her own and the keeper or mahout. so i ‘talk’ with her, whilst nicholas and jaka keep on playing with the baby boy.
then time to say goodbye had came. we whispering that we love them and we definitely will come back again. and our baby boy, again and again … coming closer and closer, just like unspoken words, “oh please don’t go. come, i want to play again,” so we have to bring him closer to his mom. several times, until we say, “come on, that’s mommy calling, come on ….”
we walk to the mahouts’ barrack and spend about an hour or so, talking with them. down-to-earth people, language barriers and things that drive me into situation; nothing wrong with the keepers and so does the travelers. only system screw up humanitarian sometimes, somehow.
we knew jaka by coincidence, when the officers find a difficulty to explain the room rate. but what choice he can get, if the option only take it or leave it?
nicholas and i get difficultness as jaka had, since long time ago. a place can be so helpful, and the rest full of mess.
and i feel sorry since we’re talking about a motherland, place where i was born. i love the country, where my ancestors shared their bloods and i get a wonderful name. the first air i had taken in breathing and i spend half of my childhood. but please, why erase those wonderful things, including nature wonders and its rare animals by something calling damages? bad behaviours, mannerless, disobey etiquettes and money talks all included. so sad.
of course i don’t want to ruins our last day in the national park with those stupidities and cynical point of views. we chill out at the night and thank jaka for his appearance as the only neighbour we have.
especially to swap the creepy atmosphere which surrounded guest house, after someone passed away about 2 months ago –and it’s not pretty far from our place.
we shared so many stories, independent travelers’ stories. and we’re surprised how can be we got 100% same-identical scams that jaka and nicholas experienced when they’re in jogja; i can not stop laugh since their visit separatedly almost 10 years in difference but both got the same sweet lips saying, “it must be your lucky day, we will make a batik exhibition in the usa and this is the last day you can buy their art work.”
we got dinner with cakes [nicholas and i. we like to say thank for our old food seller who always provided these cake for us] and fried rice, tomato and cucumber [for jaka].
and top notch for this ‘gala dinner’ was sharing our last baileys with jaka. poor that we don’t bring any glasses with us during this trip, so we use mineral water bottle that cut into a half. it’s nice, a serene environment with nocturnal voices from the distance. wild boars, barking deers and buffalos pay a visit to our guest house.
it’s a nice discussion about what should jaka does in his last days before leaving indonesia, and again we laugh for his “smart book” a real mini book content of national anthem, heroes, chemistry, learning language, natural sciences, seven wonders and all kind abstraction about knowledge that indonesian students take in their school.
“so you should keep extra money to buy unpredictable souvenir like my book or quite similar like this during your trip with interstate bus,” he added.
also we compared our rooms; nicholas and i, we’d have ‘presidential suite’. huge, twin beds, one extra bed, hanger, a table and two chairs without electricity. and jaka got ‘superior room’. smaller, twin beds, only one chair but showering with light. we can not help but laugh; you get what you pay for!
then top of the ‘drama’ being addressing our own rooms with presidential and superior was, a frog just jumping in to jaka’s water tank. so he used ours that looks bigger, which locked by nicholas’ padlock whilst we’re away –to prevent the unknown ‘guests’.
three of us keep do chit-chatting until two hours remains from the departure. nicholas and i already packed all our luggage, so we’re easily wake up and preparing ourselves before leaving the guest house in early morning.
we liked our latest experiences in the national park. i see there’s still thousand stars remain when we climb up the main gate –thank you for locking all entrance gates when we told you we’ll leaving very early, officer!
Pagi ini, salah satu rekan saya bertanya, “Tidak pakai baju merah untuk solidaritas rakyat Burma?” Errrrr … satu-satunya kaos merah milik saya –‘Edinburgh’– baru saja masuk ember rendaman cucian kemarin petang. Artinya, tidak bisa dipakai sekarang!
Tapi itu bukan berarti saya tidak punya empati terhadap apa yang tengah dirasakan dan terjadi di Pyidaungzu Myanmar Naingngandaw atau The Union of Myanmar. Apalagi ada 3 sahabat saya tercinta di sana; Soe Thiha Hlaing, Zin dan Eithwe.
Makanya, meski tema kaos saya hari ini adalah biru, di sana tertulis besar-besar ‘Myanmar’ seperti potret yang saya sertakan di sini.
Pengalaman bertandang ke negeri yang punya 7 provinsi [Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine dan Shan] ini setahun lalu, membuka mata saya. Akan suatu hal yang disebut sahabat saya, Soe sebagai ‘the hidden sadness’.
Saat pesawat belum lagi mendarat di Yangon, di lembar imigrasi yang mesti saya isi tertera pernyataan pemerintah setempat dalam huruf kapital: sebutkan alamat di mana Anda tinggal dan bila Anda pindah dari alamat itu, silakan lapor dalam jangka 1×24 jam pada badan militer terdekat.
* picture courtesy of soe thiha hlaing
Lantas ibukotanya sendiri juga sudah dipindahkan ke Nyapyidaw dekat Pyanmana, sekitar 400 km dari Mandalay, pada 27 Maret 2006. Kepindahan itu terasa dilakukan sembunyi-sembunyi dari dunia internasional, sebagaimana pemerintah junta militer Myanmar juga melarang orang-orang yang tak berkepentingan untuk datang ke ibukotanya. Apalagi mengambil foto-fotonya.
Dan beberapa contoh paranoid yang saya temui; taksi dilarang berhenti di depan kediaman Daung San [cara rakyat Myanmar memanggil tokoh pergerakan Aung San Suu Kyi]. Juga dilarang mengambil potret berbagai fasilitas umum, seperti jembatan. Lalu orang asing diminta menggunakan ‘uang plastik’ mirip mainan monopoli yang disebut Foreign Exchange Certificate [FEC]. Intinya, agar pemerintah junta militer bisa mengetahui; berapa banyak wisatawan yang tengah berada di negerinya serta peredaran uang asingnya sekaligus. Siaran televisi dikontrol pemerintah dan akses internet juga dipantau.
Tulisan dan potret ini saya dedikasikan khusus kepada yang tersayang sahabat saya Eithwe, Zin dan Soe Thiha. Cezu tin badeh being my friends and show me how humble and kind the Burmese are!
Before time has change just like the wind blow away the leaves from the trees, I want to write this posting for my friend Carolina McRacines to whom I keep my eyes open with, during our strange night at Basel train station, Switzerland. Also for Lea Chiaramellano, amica mia. She has to continue the trip to Milan without us with SNCF.
So, this was about coincidence and yes stupidity from the officers who check my trans-Euro ticket and check Carolina’s visa to enter Switzerland. The careless ticket officer read my ticket three times and he said “No problem, Ma’am!” according to my question, “I don’t have Switzerland visa in my passport, since I don’t mean to make a stop-over in there.”
Then about Carolina, another officer [can I say also about this as a careless thing?] just check the stamps and not about the expired date.
Great! Our couchette just knocked by Switzerland Polizei around 1 AM and how sleepy we are to stay awake. And the conclusion from the police, Carolina and I must stay in Basel. What? Why? How? Hmm … no need further explanation since it’s just happened.
* picture courtesy of simone pare
And that night became one of the longest nights in my life. Time seems frozen and we’re stuck at train station. The ones that used as a stop-over for Anne Frank before she face her execution –I had bad feeling to remember the story about this old-but-nice Basel train station ever since I read the history.
There’s a huge hall and my eyebrow raise up to see groups of people here. Illegal immigrants [“Huh, are you sure, @rie?” Carolina kicked my trainers and I do roll-eyes. “What else, then? Grmbl, grmbl … grmbl ….” Mon Dieu, I turn into Obelix’s mode as Mr Grumpy whenever he feels hungry 🙂 ], Africans, Moroccans, teenagers, backpackers et cetera et cetera.
We choose the most comfy table [again, huge!] and start looking here and there. I still carry 2 cans of lemon tea and 2 bratwurst. And I shared with Carolina even her expression, “Oh you … eat again … in this situation.”
But I just smile looking at her and then we laugh to each other whenever we found there’s a painting hanging on the wall. We know very well, what the story about: Heidi von Switzerland. Smiling, friendly good-looking, cuddling little cattle and the most important thing … the condition as appears in the painting frame is definitely not matching with our condition at that moment.
A policeman just came arrive and tell us the recent situation. Our passports will be given within next 4 hours. And albeit very badly … can not enter Switzerland for any reason. Wow, cool! Beside, who wants to go here at this moment? Not me, neither does she!
I will get a free ticket to Paris and Carolina should stay longer whilst police station will make a call to the US embassy for further plan! Okay, finish the conversation and he offers some breads and fresh milk as compliment. We take it without any words from our lips. Not even thank you since that’s not our fault. Who wants to be blamed anyway? I asked the officer before catch the train many times, so does Carolina!
From the main hall, I tell Carolina that we better to ‘explore’ this train station. Killing time and find a restroom. Learn the map as shown next to the hall and further away, check the phone booth – even we know exactly, to whoever we make a call, it will not help the situation to be better!
Several African boys and girls approached us. I try to answer their questions such as why you’re here, is this place your original embarkation place, why this and that but when I turn my head to see Carolina, she makes some ‘emergency’ signage with her fingers and wink her eyes.
So we say that we need a spacious place to take a rest. We ‘runaway’ from them and I try to say something but Carolina insisted to say ‘No’ without a sound, until finally we find a place in the corner. I try to pick some used papers from my daypack to write to her.
Wij wensen u een prettige reis. Can not help but smile. This was my ticket around Netherland. A huge paper, write down there ‘Nederlandse Spoorwegen’: naar Bruxelles-Nord … station, trein, bijzonderheden zitplaatsen alleen 2e kl. Slaapwagen.
But before I finish writing, Carolina already gave a paper. So I write down in return and give her back. This happened many times and I used my print-out paper of Grand Prix de Belgique de Formule 1 time schedule since the paper size is far more better [further read, I feel the nostalgic feeling always come over: Bruxelles, double Gauche pouhon, Stavelot, Blanchimont, chicane, paddocks, La Source, Ligne du depart, Raidillon Eau Rouge, Kemmel, Malmedy les combes].
(c) ukirsari >> my lovely ID pass Belgique GP
Carolina: Please read this quietly!! You can not use VISA in the phone booth. DO NOT let the people behind you know that you have a VISA card or any money because you don’t know what they will do to you!
Me: You know what, because you’re very helpful and kind to me, so I think it will be nice if I do the same for those guys. But I’m wrong, I don’t know them for sure! Stupid me, I am sorry!
Carolina: Don’t worry, I know that you want to be kind to them but they might be illegal immigrants as you told me so. I know almost sure that the guy in the white shirt knew what was going to happen. This is why he was so angry at the police. It is VERY nice of you to try to help them but you have to be careful!! 🙂 and we will be fine. GOD IS ALWAYS taking care of us. Just ask Him to take you to Milano safely and He will. Ok?
Me: Yes, He will. Oh, I realize now. They look don’t even care for themselves. Strange. Not about helplessly feeling but … you know what I mean, the immigrants?
Carolina: Just be polite. There is no need to be rude to them. If they want to talk then we respond but no more is necessary. If they needed to make a phone call [like you and me] they would have looked for a phone themselves.
Me: You know, without a passport I feel … I can not breath 😦 I am not a citizen from a country or something, just nothing!
Carolina: I know EXACTLY how you feel. I feel the same! But we only have two more hours until we get our passport. Maybe from here you can make reservation to France and Milano directly!
Me: So we have to keep these eyes open ‘till the main gate open [I mean those police let us go and give our passports]. We’ll be fine and let’s keep on ‘chatting’ by writing like this!
Carolina: Yes, time will go by quickly. See, by now already two hours have passed since we got here. I am sooooo sleepy now!
Me: You know where we have to pick up ours are? I just a little bit envy for … the group that we meet up at the phone booth, they are now in a great grand hotel. If you want to take some sleep, I will look after our luggage!
Carolina: 🙂 what I understood from the police is that they will come and look for us at 6:00 AM, if they are not here by 6:15 one of us will stay here and the other will go to the place where they took us first and ask what is going on.
Me: Now, make a plan. 1) go to the police office, 2) you pay your visa to enter Switzerland so can continue the trip since maybe your embassy provided everything in advance, 3) I don’t need to buy ticket to France since provided by police as the officer mentioned before, 4) 😦 we can not travel together from now on, 5) I have to practice my pretty damn limited French!
Carolina: Your plan sounds good. Think about a frontier based on Switzerland, maybe you don’t need to enter Paris!
Me: Sure. I will check it out after we got our passports. I feel very upset to continue my trip by my own, but I am sure we can meet up to each other again someday.
We look to each other. Sharing the smiles and both of us pretty sure, we’ll be okay. Again we’re walking through the train station. The weather goes to be cold as the autumn has come already. People around us were sleeping but some of them still have chit-chat. I am not worry about the train that will take me out from Basel. I just think my friendship with Carolina and Lea has to be cut so sudden.
We keep walking to keep the heat in our bodies. Summer just leave us several days ago. Again we laugh for this situation; being arrested in Switzerland. Not about visa [stamps] doesn’t take us anywhere … this is about careless ticket officers and randomly checking from the frontier police stations.
Moral of this story from my side; by this ‘accident’ I know better about a travel-mate. As my Dad told me long time ago, “Good friends sometimes have to be found in a difficult way. And good people can be find on the roads, along the way to your destination.” He is indeed correct. Including, if we do something good, a good karma also follow us.
* picture courtesy of Lea Chiaramellano about me, on the way to Bruxelles
Time goes by and we run to the police station. Faster than other people in the train station who has the same problem like us. I hold my passport pretty tight as Carolina does the same. With me, also a ticket to France and she stay longer than me, caused her consulate send a memo to give her a pass for a direct ticket from Basel to Milan.
Con te partiro as singing by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. We have to say goodbye. We hugs tight to each other since we are sure, there’s un-definited time to see each other again. From my side, I tell Carolina how lucky I was to share a couchette with her and Lea. And funny, since both of us can not say ‘till we meet again.
The carriage which will bring me somewhere to the border is empty. Only a guy we –Carolina and I– had met last night. His name’s Lionel and very helpful. And the reason he got stuck in Basel quite funny: “Fallen asleep in the train so I miss Wupperthal train station.”
I wave Lionel goodbye at Mulhouseville then make a shorter connection via Lyon-part-Dieu, Paris then Milan.
I know this was strange experience, being arrested by Switzerland Police. But I was very happy to have friends like Carolina, Lea and also Lionel. Hoping you are fine wherever you are, Guys! Time goes by but my memories about all of you will never fade!
* picture courtesy of wicak tempo a.k.a ndoro kakung
Berkunjung ke Istana Kasepuhan Cirebon, mata kami langsung tertuju pada gerbang masuknya yang terbuat dari tembok putih. Berhias piring kuno gaya Delft, Belanda [putih-biru] serta Cina [dominan hijau motif naga].
Continue reading “Baceman, Tak Cuma Buat Tahu lan Tempe”