Day 1: Alone but Not Alone
Well, how should I start this ‘travelogue’?
On that Friday (6/5), I went to Jakarta for attending ISPOR Indonesia Chapter Conference held in Santika Hotel, Slipi, Jakarta. After several days of discussion and negotiation (?), I did not need to do everything alone in Jakarta since my grandfather (my grandmother’s cousin) and my uncle (his nephew) live there. My grandfather even offered to pick me up in Soekarno Hatta airport after Jumu’ah prayer.
Okay, so I did not need to worry, right? Yet still, that was my first time flying to Jakarta alone, so I felt nervous.
I was sent by my mother, my sister, and my grandmother to the airport (Minangkabau International Airport). We arrived in airport around 9 AM and suddenly I felt the urge to go to the toilet. When I finished, I saw my mother talked with someone (later I knew that he is my father’s colleague) who also flew with Garuda (in same flight with me). My mother somewhat trust him to take care of me (which made me feel embarassed actually) and we talked for several minutes. It came out that his son is in the same department as one of my friend’s so yeah… just it hahaha.
Around 9.30 (or perhaps earlier), we (me, that colleague of my father’s and his wife) went to inside. I brought a backpack, a travelbag, also a shoulder bag. After passing the first security check, I was called by one of the officer. I remembered not brought scissors again that time (like what I did in 2012), so why he called me? I tried to keep my calmness and opened my travelbag as what he told me. In that bag, there are 5 packs of chips (Karupuak Jangek/Kerupuk Kulit, anyone?) which were made of cow’s leather. After making sure that those packs of chips were safe to bring into the cabin, he let me go.
We waited in the waiting room after passing the second security check smoothly. At that time, suddenly, I had an urge to go to the toilet, but I tried to hold it. Perhaps it’s due to my nervousness, I thought. We talked a bit about random topic (and I happened to know that he and my father was in the same university years ago).
Then, we were called to board. Bringing my heavy bags, I follow them to the gate while holding my ID card and boarding pass. The officer took mine, scrapped it along the line and gave it back to me. After that, I proceed to the cabin, looking for my seat (it was not easy, idk why). By the help of a cabin attendant, I finally found it, but a mom and his little son has already sat on the middle and near-window seat. I said that it was okay for him to sit on my seat and instead, I sat near the aisle.
It was my first time to flight with Garuda Indonesia (and that explained my awkwardness on the flight). I found out that Garuda provided in-flight entertainment for their passengers (I knew it by the announcement, the screen, and later, the headphones). While smiling (a bit), I explored the screen, chose English as the language, then I tap on the Movies category, then scrolled and scrolled and guess what? I found Orange, a live action film of a manga with the same title! You did not know how desperately I tried to find that film on the Internet (a useless try actually since the Blu-ray disc has not come out yet).
Yet I did not know how on the earth I could enjoy the film without disturbing other passengers.
Leaded by my curiosity, I take a glance to a female passenger who sat on the right side of me. We were only separated by the aisle so … yeah. I hope she did not know that I looked at her. Then, I found out that in order to use the headphone, I need to plugged it on the right arm of my chair. There were a pair of holes on it, which were supposedly a headphone jack or such. I relieved. I could hear the sounds clearly. That was a big achievement in my life :D.
I forgot whether I started watching the movie before the plane took off or not. Perhaps it was after the plane took off but I would not force myself to remember. My point is that besides providing in-flight entertainment (also magazines), passengers of Garuda can enjoy their meal, a complete one, actually. At that time, I got rice with beef (looked like kalio, which is similar with randang but still contains some liquids of seasoned coconut milk) and steamed labu siam. We can choose the drink: mineral water, coffee, or juice. I chose apple juice with ice. And … there was pudding also! Mine was taro-flavored with nata de coco.
Watching a drama film like Orange in flight was actually a bit embarassing if I could not hold my tears. It was touchy and melancholic, just like the manga version. The story, the characters, the background music stirred my feelings and I finally had to wipe my teary eyes. Oh, well….
It happened that I watched half of the film after the captain announced that we were about to land on Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Feeling disappointed because the film was too long to finish on the flight to Jakarta, I took the headphone off my head and plugged the jack before inserting it to a plastic package. The airplane was finally touch the ground and I could open my seat belt before taking my bags. I went out of the cabin and wait for my father’s colleague and his wife on the alley (?). It took quite a long time before they finally showed up. We walked and walked and stopped a while to go to the toilet.
After finishing my business on the toilet, I texted my grandfather, said that I just arrived on the airport. He replied shortly after that, said that he was on the mosque, waiting for the Jumu’ah prayer. So I decided to wait on the waiting room before the exit gate. The wife said that they decided to accompany me while waiting for the bus to Bandung. I could not replied properly, perhaps thanking them is the most proper things that I could do.
I waited for my grandfather to pick me up for one and half hours. I texted him to confirm my position, because I decided to not wait in KFC like what I agreed to do before. My stomach’s quite full and I was not sure to tell that plan to them.
Then I suddenly realized that my phone’s ringing. I picked up the phone and said that I was waiting before the exit gate. He asked me to come out (and the colleague of my father’s accompany me. Oh no, I’m ashamed of myself). We did some greetings (and my grandfather finally knew that he and my father are friends). I thanked them and following my grandfather, we went upstairs. He showed me that if I went back to Padang, I have to go that way. I nodded and tried to remember the place. He asked me to sit for a while and my mom called me soon afterwards. She asked me whether I has already been picked up or not (and she asked me to talk to my grandfather which was super difficult since I was not that close to him and he sat far behind).
I finally managed to come to him after several minutes of thinking. We talked a bit, mostly about what will I do, the conference that I participated in, and such. Minutes later, we went downstairs and walk to the Damri bus stop on Terminal 2F. He asked me to sit for a while. I just agreed since I knew nothing about how to get to the city from the airport. After checking the bus that stopped in front of us, he asked me to come and got in the bus. We sat behind the driver. The bus ran soon after that.
I had no clue at that time where would we got off the bus. From inside, I could read that the bus would stop at Rawamangun, while my grandfather’s house is in Utan Kayu. I suddenly got the idea at that time, that Rawamangun and Utan Kayu were located in the same area of Jakarta (East Jakarta). Still, I did not have any idea how far Utan Kayu is from Rawamangun. Pardon my limited knowledge :D.
On the bus, we continued talking. About me, my sister, and many topics. Sometimes he showed me some big buildings. I could saw Ancol, Monas (from afar), and Transmart :D. Surely, Jakarta is full of high buildings, a typical scenery that I never seen in my hometown.
Then, he offered me an option to ride Transjakarta bus. I only answered his question in confusion. The point was, I was ready to follow him anywhere. Yet, he decided to wait until the bus reached Rawamangun Terminal.
The bus finally reached the terminal. We got off and I tried to fully concentrate on my belongings (since terminal maybe dangerous and I did not want to be robbed or such). After walking for several meters, we were on the other side of terminal. There are a mosque nearby and I wondered whether my grandfather would like to do Ashar prayer first or not. However, it turned out that he walked towards one of blue bajaj which parked on the side of the road. After several seconds of negotiation, he asked me to hop in.
(Inner thought of mine: what? We would take a bajaj?)
I had always thought that bajaj was so small, too small to carry my not-so-small body and my big travel bag. But, my thought was totally wrong. Bajaj was actually quite spacey, which made me super relieved at that time.
The streets which we passed was not as glamour as the main streets of Jakarta, yet they were quite packed of buildings. I waited and waited until the bajaj stopped in front of a small yellow shop.
We got off and my grandfather paid for the bajaj. Beside the shop, there is an alley. I sighed while predicting how far I should walk from the main street. Would I have to turn right, then turn left, then…
Yet, at the end of the alley, I found a house. Its color is white and there is a lamp house which look like a mini traditional Minangese building. Maybe this is the house, I guess.
When my grandfather opened the gate of that house, I knew that my guess was right.
He pressed the doorbell, then the door was opened from the inside. His wife (my grandmother) greeted us. She asked why it took so long for us to arrive at the house. My grandfather explain everything and asked for two glasses of water. I took a sip and we talked for a while. She offered me to have a meal, but I refused, said that I had eaten on flight. She insisted that I should have a lunch.
Actually I was quite hungry at that time, so I could not refuse it anymore.
She showed me the room, (it is belong to her daughter, actually), which I could use to sleep for a night. Her daughter was not there, so I would sleep alone. I did not mind about it actually, even though sleeping in a room that was belong to other person was quite uncomfortable for me.
After changing my outfit, I went outside the bedroom while giving a pack of Karupuak Jangek to her. In Minang culture (and maybe, Indonesian culture in common), we were taught to be considerate and doing basa-basi if needed. She decided to fry those chips at that time and I was told to eat ahead since they would do something first. I could not think any proper way to wait for them, so I just eat by myself (pardon my awkwardness).
I finished eating quickly because I could not eat as my please there. I offered to wash the plate that I use but she told me to not do so. In a totally awkward situation, I brought myself to the bedroom. I did some random browsing (which end miserably because I thought it was because of the mobile signal).
Then, I fall asleep despite of my grandfather’s plan to go to Gramedia bookstore together. I really want to go there but I was really tired so I ended up sleeping. My grandmother said that it was okay for me to take a rest, though :D.
I forgot at what time I woke up. If I am not mistaken, I woke up at late afternoon and I was told to be prepared because we would go to the bookstore after maghrib prayer.
Around 7 PM, we went to the bookstore by bajaj again. The route was a bit far, but I enjoyed it since it was night already and the lights came from the buildings looks beautiful. I learned that PHD (Pizza Hut Delivery was not too far from the house, also BNI. Then, my grandfather showed me a bookstore named Sagung Seto, which sells medical textbooks also medical devices.
The bajaj finally stopped in front of a building. A tall, big building which was full of lights, full of people.
That was Gramedia Matraman, which might be the biggest Gramedia bookstore that I’ve ever seen.
I followed my grandfather like a small kid who went to a bookstore for the first time of my life. The stationeries, the books seem endless. We went upstairs and upstairs (using escalator) but I could not find the books that I wanted. I forgot on which floor, but finally I found them.
The medical and pharmacy books in quite various titles. I looked around in a certain level of excitement which I had never experienced for a long time. This book, that book, those books.
I was so immersed on medical books until my grandfather showed me a shelf behind me with ‘Pharmacy books’ written on it.
I prepared IDR 500K just in case, but I did not want to spend it all at one night, for buying books only. So I ended up buying 3 books (which costs around 400K, based on the price labels on each book). We finally agreed to go to the cashier to payed them off.
At the cashier, I was told that one of the book that I bought actually costs higher than what was written on the label. The cashier person called someone and told me that I did not need to pay the actual cost. The total cost was around 400K with additional of IDR 200 for the plastic bag.
After paying those books, we went downstairs to look around. There are so many novels and comics which I wish to buy (but you know, I was nearly broke). When I was turned around, my grandfather was busy with his phone. We finally went downstairs and finally reach the outside of the building. Yet, he was still in long-distance conversation even when we had already on the sidewalk. I did not have any idea how should we went home.
My grandfather finally hung off his phone. After waiting for several minutes, he stopped a bajaj to went home.
At home, I realized that my feet hurts because of wearing a new pair of sandals, yet my heart was so delighted.
(to be continued)
P.S.: I am sorry for any mistakes. Feel free to give critic and suggestion.