Getting Risk at Busan Central Bus Terminal

Bathroom dramas often coloring my travel stories, considering that I often chose a dormitory as a place to stay during my adventures.

First night in Busan. I was really annoyed, I just flushed a closed toilet seat, I mean that I didn’t want to see “zonk” things when I opened it… But, water spilled everywhere along with its load.

Damn it….This must be a behavior of the man who a few minutes ago passed me at shared bathroom door.

Suddenly I went to another bathroom which was two floors above me. I had no desire to take a shower in bathroom even though there were still several more shower rooms available. In upstairs bathroom, conditions were cleaner, maybe guests were reluctant to bother going upstairs. Because of this incident, my heartburn suddenly disappeared. I prefered to go straight to shower room to wash my body with warm water.

Olala….Turned out I was a same jerk…..

After taking a shower, I lingered in front of the sink to dry my t-shirt and sock with a hair dryer, until they were completely dry. “Ah, It’s Okay. There’s no one. I’m paying to this hotel too,” a devil’s voice in my heart whispered. Understandably in this travel journey, I began to apply a strategy of carrying two pairs of socks to simplify my luggage. I will wash and dry unused socks in preparation for next use.

—-****—-

That morning I woke up on time. After Fajr prayer, I no longer felt asleep. I prefered to open itinerary sheets while waiting for light of the day. When sun started to come, I started to leave Kimchee Busan Guesthouse after taking a shower, considering that this inn didn’t provide breakfast for dormitory room.

I exited to the inn alley, and followed Hwangnyeong-daero Street heading west, to Beomnaegol Station to continue my journey. But of course I had to get breakfast before boarding to Humetro. I stopped at a CU minimarket to then enter it and hunted for breakfast in it. I found a handful of rice filled with corn at a special food rack, went to cashier, paid for it and then ate it on a seat inside the minimarket.

Soon I ate it. I immediately entered the station building and looked for a ticketing vending machine to buy a one day pass, then headed to platform after holding a one day pass for 4,500 Won.

That morning I would head to Busan Central Bus Terminal to buy a bus ticket to Seoul which would depart at night. Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) softly screeched to a stop at platform. I immediately sat at one of its seats in a half-empty carriage to then follow the train to Nopo Station, a station where Busan Central Bus Terminal is integrated. I arrived in 45 minutes.

Getting out of the carriage I looked for clues that could lead me to the terminal. It’s not hard to find. A clue which then continued with the next clue directed me to arrive at the Busan Central Bus Terminal.

Busan Central Bus Terminal ticket sales counter.

 “Hello, Miss. How much is a ticket to Seoul? “I asked to ticket sales staff in a long row of ticketing counters.

“32,000 Won, Sir. Bus will depart on around 16:00 hours”.

“Miss, What is the cheapest price and what time does the bus depart?”, I bluntly remembered that my pockets were running low.

“23,000 Won and bus will depart on 20:30 hours, Sir”.

“Okay, Wait Miss”.

I left her and sat at waiting chair. I started to calculate, if I departed early then I would be relatively safe because I would arrive in Seoul before nightfall. But that means I had to increase cost to rent a dormitory sooner. Of course it would be expensive.

If I took a night ticket, then inevitably, I would spend the night at Seoul City Bus Terminal, a little risky, but it was most possible choice with my money which was running out.

Okay, I would do that….. I got up from my seat and returned to a female staff.

“Yes, Ms. I take the night one”.

“Ok. Sir”

I handed her the money and she gave me a ticket to go to Seoul.

Busan-Seoul bus ticket costs 23,000 Won.

Okay, one important part I quickly finished. I would spend the remaining time in Busan that day.

Duo Kapoor di Koridor Gold Souk

Sebagaimana janjiku teruntuk Uncle Neval pada saat makan malam, maka pagi itu aku menyempatkan diri untuk bersarapan di tempat makannya lagi, Golden Star Restaurant nama restoran milik Uncle Neval.

Dia tersenyum lebar sembari melambaikan tangan ketika aku yang masih berjarak puluhan meter dan sedang mengambil gambar di sekitar restoran mungilnya.

Good morning, my brother….Come…Come!”, sembari menggeleng-gelengkan kepalanya khas gaya India.

“What is this?”, aku menunjuk pada tumpukan kue di pojok etalase makanan.

“Puttu, brother”, Uncle Neval sigap menjawab.

“Hmmmhhh, benar-benar sama”, aku membatin atas kesamaan kue itu dengan kue puttu yang sering kubeli dari amang-amang penjual kue puttu yang sering lewat di depan rumah.

Hanya saja kue Puttu khas India ini ukurannya sangat besar. Saking gurihnya kue itu, aku meminta seporsi tambahan lagi setelah porsi pertama kulahap dengan cepat.

3 Dirham untuk dua porsi kue Puttu dan segelas chai.

Usai bersarapan, maka aku bersiap langkah menuju ke tujuan pertama pada hari keduaku di Dubai. Tujuan itu hanya berjarak kurang dari dua kilometer, jadi untuk menghemat ongkos, aku memutuskan untuk berjalan kaki menujunya, tentu aku akan diuntungkan dengan peluang untuk dapat melihat suasana kota lebih dekat. Tujuan itu adalah Gold Souk, pasar emas tradisional yang terletak di daerah Al Dhagaya.

Sangkala tepat bertengger di angka sembilan….

Tanpa berpanjang waktu, aku mengayunkan langkah menuju barat, mengikuti arus Naif Street. Dalam perjalanan, aku merasa terlalu sering menengok ke belakang, ini karena Naif Street adalah jalur satu arah dengan 3 ruas dan satu kolom parkir di sisi selatannya. Ya….Aku terlalu megkhawatirkan diri dengan laju kendaraan dari belakang yang sangat cepat.

Sepengamatanku, usai melintasi Naif Police Station, maka bangunan di sisi kiri dan kanan jalan didominasi oleh pertokoan dan jasa penukaran mata uang asing. Hal ini menunjukkan Deira sebagai distrik bisnis di kota Dubai.

Salah satu sisi Sikkad Al Khail Road.

Dalam tiga puluh menit aku tiba di tujuan….

Untuk pertama kalinya, aku dihadapkan pada gerbang Gold Souk bernomor 2 dengan tengara Gold Tower di sisinya. Gold Tower sendiri adalah pusat bisnis penting di Kawasan Gold Souk.

Memasuki gerbang, maka aku dikejutkan dengan seorang petugas yang menarik mesin vakum besar untuk membersihkan koridor utama yang lantainya berbahankan batu andesit, sedangkan koridor itu memanjang dengan naungan atap, menjadikan Gold Souk sebagai tempat perniagaan yang bersih, dingin dan nyaman untuk dikunjungi sepanjang hari.

Sedangkan di sepanjang koridor itu, spanduk-spanduk promosi berukuran kecil tampak tergantung di langit-langit dengan interval teratur. Adalah Malabar Gold & Diamonds yang merupakan salah satu peritel perhiasan emas dan berlian terbesar di dunia dengan lebih dari 280 toko yang tersebar di 10 negara yang ternyata melakukan promosi masif di seluruh penjuru Gold Souk. Tampak jelas dua bintang film asal India menjadi brand ambassador peritel emas  raksasa itu, yaitu Anil Kapoor dan Kareena Kapoor.

Aku terus masuk lebih dalam hinga ke pusat pasar emas yang sudah berusia lebih dari delapan puluh tahun tersebut. Panjangnya koridor yang ada di dalamnya membuktikan bahwa pasar ini benar-benar dihuni oleh lebih dari tiga ratus toko emas yang konon jika dijadikan satu semua dagangannya maka akan terkumpul emas senilai tak kurang dari 6 miliar Dollar Amerika atau setara dengan 80 Trilun Rupiah….Aje Gileee.

Promosi lain yang kulihat di sepanjang koridor Gold Souk adalah Infiniti Mega Raffle, yaitu undian dengan berbelanja minimal 200 Dirham di Gold Souk dengan hadiah utama berupa mobil Infiniti QX80, brand mewah milik pabirkan Nissan asal Jepang.

Gate 2 Gold Souk.
Aku terlalu pagi untuk berkunjung.
Suatu titik di pusat Gold Souk.
Cekreeeekkkk……
Emas milik Toko Al Romaizan

Berada di dalam Gold Souk, bagi saya adalah pengalaman nan mengesankan. Karena setiap toko memamerkan etalase emas yang sangat megah dan menawan. Salah satu etalase yang membuatk terdiam dan terpaku di depannya adalah toko milik Al-Romaizan yang merupakan salah satu perusahaan emas dan perhiasan ternama di Kawasan The Gulf Cooperation Counci (GCC) yang berkantor pusat di Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Al Romaizan memawarkan kemewahan bagi para penggemar emas. Jangankan para penggemar emas, aku yang biasa aja dengan emas bisa dibuat terpana….Hmmh.

Hampir satu jam aku berada di pasar emas terkenal tersebut.

Saatnya membagi waktu untuk mengunjungi destinasi lain di Kawasan Old Doha.

Yuks,,,,Ikut aku lagi!!!

Lantern Show at Gwangalli Beach

It was almost nine in the evening when I decided to leave Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Square in the Nampo-dong area. I started walking away from an official UNIQLO counter at BIFF Gwangjang-ro and then continued down the main street, Gudeok-ro. One hundred and fifty meters ahead was Gate 7 of Jagalchi Station which was the target of my steps to immediately leave Jung District.

I was heading underground ten minutes later. In warm basement, I didn’t have to bother looking for ticketing vending machine because I still had a small piece of One Day Pass I bought this afternoon when I arrived in Busan. Walking past automatic fare collection gate, I waited for arrival of Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) at station platform.

One Day Pass costs 4,500 Won.

The Humetro quickly arrived, opened its automatic doors and I quickly entered center carriage. Sitting on a seat, I kept an eye on the busyness of Busan residents after work. Humetro slowly crept through underground line, dropping me off at Seomyeon Station after passing through nine stations, then I changed to Humetro Line 2 (Green Line). And similarly, after passing through nine stations I arrived at Gwangan Station in Suyeong District. It felt that trip towards this station took quite a long time, forty-five minutes.

I rushed down the carriage and back to surface using escalator. Then took exit at Gate 5 of Gwangan Station which was directly opposite Gwangan-ro Avenue. The street’s air temperature was already at the level of one degree Celsius. I was forced to walk with an occasional shaking body for seven hundred meters towards beach. The presence of several groups of tourists heading in the same direction, made me a little calm, considering that it was almost ten o’clock at night.

I arrived at the beach twenty minutes later after walking nearly seven hundred meters. Standing on the beach as far as the eyes can see, the luminous stretch of the second longest bridge in “Ginseng Country” was truly stunning….Yup, that was Gwangandaegyo Bridge, a seven and a half kilometer long suspension bridge which connects Haeundae District and Suyeong District.

Gwangandaegyo Bridge.
Festive decorative lights.

Now I have mingled with tourists and other locals enjoying the festive atmosphere at Gwangalli Beach. I continued to observe the show by residents airing mini-sized lanterns. Parents, young people and small children were almost all immersed in the excitement of show.

While some others seemed to enjoy decorative lights in the form of various kinds of fauna which were pleasing to eyes. In the other hand, the beach looked crammed with multi-storey buildings which gave an impression that the beach area had been touched by technology. But everything looked clean with a well-maintained and organized environment.

Several hotel buildings on the beach.
Aqua Palace Hotel.

I was only able to withstand cold air for forty-five minutes. Surely the air would approach freezing point when night reached its peak. I hurried off the beach and headed back to station. Quickly stepping to escape growing cold, I arrived at station breathless, then rushed to platform and a few minutes later Humetro took me, to then drop me off at Seomyeon Station. Humetro then transferred me on Line 1 to Beomnaegol Station, a station where the hotel I was staying at was located….Yup, Kimchee Busan Guesthouse.

Now it was time to rest for next adventure tomorrow.

Kembali ke Zain East Hotel dari Palm Jumeirah

Sangkala menuju setengah enam sore….

Aku telah memutuskan untuk menghentikan eksplorasi karena sebentar lagi hari akan berganti gelap. Kembali menuju pintu belakang Nakheel Mall yang menjadi akses terakhir yang kugunakan demi menuju area residensial Palm Jumeirah, akhirnya aku berhasil menggapai bagian dalam mall tesebut. Usai menunaikan shalat jamak takhir di salah satu mushola di dalam mall, kini perhatianku tertuju pada pintu bagian depan mall yang bisa mengarahkanku menuju Al Ittihad Park.

Aku mencapai pintu depan mall itu dengan mudah, untuk selanjutnya bergegas melahap jengkal demi jengkal jogging track di Al Ittihad Park. Suasana taman lebih ramai sore itu dibandingkan dengan suasana pada saat ketibaanku pertama kali di taman tersebut beberapa jam sebelumnya. Sudah tentu, penduduk Palm Jumeirah sedang menikmati waktu bersantainya bersama keluarga setelah seharian penat beraktivitas. Aku hanya menikmati sekelebat saja suasana itu karena aku sedang berlomba dengan gelap demi menuju ke penginapan yang jaraknya tak kurang dari dua puluh kilometer.

Tepat pukul enam sore….

Aku tiba di Al Ittihad Park Station. Walaupun di Nakheel Mall terdapat stasiun monorail, tetapi aku tidak bisa menaikinya dari sana, karena pada siang sebelumnya aku membeli kartu akses monorail seharga 15 Dirham untuk berangkat pergi dan pulang dari Al Ittihad Station.

Aku tak terlalu khawatir karena monorail datang tepat waktu dan sewaktu kemudian aku telah berjejal di salah satu gerbongnya dengan penumpang lain yang mayoritas baru saja usai berwisata di ujung pulau, apalagi kalau bukan dari Aquaventure.

Dalam sepuluh menit aku tiba kembali di The Palm Gateway Station yang terintegrasi dengan Lantai 3 Palm Jumeira Gateway Towers, sebuah apartemen di pangkal pulau reklamasi Palm Jumeirah.

Kembali menyeberangi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street melalui Palm Jumeirah Monorail Footbridge, aku dengan cepat berusaha mencapai Palm Jumeirah Station yang menjadi akses Dubai Tram terdekat untuk kugapai.

King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street.

Memasuki stasiun dengan akses Nol Card yang kumiliki, aku pun berdiri menunggu kedatangan tram. Tak sampai lima menit, tram itu pun tiba dan aku segera masuk ke gerbong tengahnya, kembali berjejal dengan penduduk setempat.

Tram meluncur ke arah selatan, sasaranku kemudian adalah Dubai Marina Station yang merupakan stasiun tram yang terintegrasi dengan jalur Dubai Metro. Titik integrasi itu terletak DAMAC Properties Station.

Hampir pukul tujuh malam….

Dengan biaya perjalanan sebesar 3 Dirham, akhirnya tiba juga diriku di Dubai Marina Station untuk kemudian naik melalui skywalk yang akan mengarahkanku menuju DAMAC Properties Station. Tak terasa aku telah tiba di jaringan Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) kota Dubai kembali.

Di DAMAC Properties, sembari menunggu kedatangan kereta, mataku terus menatap sebuah sisi platform yang ditandai dengan signboard emas bertajuk “GOLD CLASS”, itulah kelas utama dengan tarif lebih mahal yang difasilitasi oleh Dubai Metro bagi penumpang berdompet tebal.

Kereta tiba, karena keisenganku yang ingin melihat kondisi gerbong GOLD CLASS maka aku memasuki gerbong tersebut, menyusuri jengkal demi jengkal GOLD CLASS, merasakan kemewahannya dan kemudian bergegas keluar di sambungan gerbong untuk menuju ke gerbong reguler….Aku tak bisa menahan senyum atas kejahilanku sendiri itu.

DAMAC Properties Station….Di ujung sana itu adalah akses masuk ke gerbong GOLD CLASS.

Selanjutnya aku mengikuti arus Dubai Metro Green Line untuk kemudian bertukar ke Red Line di UNION Station. Dari stasiun tersebut aku dengan cepat mendapatkan kereta menuju ke Baniyas Square Station, sebuah stasiun yang memamerkan deretan sister citynya kota Dubai. Setelah kusebutkan lima diantaranya di beberapa artikel sebelumnya, maka kini akan kutambahkan lagi lima sister city berikutnya yang dimiliki Kota Dubai yaitu Casablanca (Maroko), Busan (Korea), Barcelona (Spanyol), Geneva (Swiss) dan Gold Coast (Australia).

Pukul setengah delapan malam….

Dengan biaya Dubai Metro sebesar 4,5 Dirham, aku tiba di Baniyas Square Station dan kemudian aku keluar menuju permukaan tanah. Benar saja seperti dugaanku….Suasana telah berganti gelap. Malam telah tiba di Dubai. Tetapi aku tak perlu khawatir, penginapanku tidak jauh lagi, hanya berkisar satu kilometer lagi.

Mengabadikan suasana malam Baniyas Square sejenak dengan kamera maka untuk kemudian aku melanjutkan berjalan kaki melalui Al Musalla Street. Suasana jalanan sangat ramai dan macet, pertokoan masih bergeliat dengan transaksi mereka masing-masing. Mungkin malam itu adalah keramaian paling padat yang pernah aku rasakan selama berada di Dubai.

Tiba juga di Baniyas Square Station.
Suasana di Baniyas Square saat malam.
Suasana Al Musalla Street di malam hari.
Macetnya Al Musalla Street.

Aku berbelok menuju Naif Street di Naif Park untuk kemudian melangkah menuju kedai khas India langgananku selama menginap di Distrik Deira. Adalah New Golden Star Restaurant dengan pemiliknya yang sering kupanggil dengan sebutan Uncle Neval yang berkarakter ramah nan murah hati.

Aku mencicipi dual lembar Paratha beserta sepotong chicken fry andalan kedai itu. Uncle Neval selalu menawariku untuk menambah Paratha jika merasa kurang.

“My dinner portion isn’t much, Uncle” , jawabku sekenanya yang membuat dia dan pelayannya terkekeh demi mendengarkan jawabanku itu.

Pukul setengah sembilan…..

Aku telah menyelesaikan segenap aktivitasku hari itu. Segenap badanku terasa lengket dengan sisa keringat sesiangan. Aku berpamitan kepada Uncle Neval untuk kembali ke penginapan sembari berjanji bahwa esok pagi aku akan bersarapan di kedainya kembali.

Usai menikmati tegukan terakhir dari cangkir Chai yang tersaji, maka aku membayar segenap pesananku seharga 7 Dirham.

Bersama Uncle. Neval di New Golden Star Restaurant.
Tiba si Zain East Hotel.

Aku memutuskan kembali ke Zain East Hotel untuk beristirahat.

Sampai bertemu lagi esok hari….

One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Won at Busan Immigration

All Air Busan BX 123 passengers were already standing in cabin aisle to prepare to get off the plane. After one of flight attendants coordinated with ground staffs, finally an aerobridge perfectly sticked in the fuselage and the door was safe to open. Not long , then I followed the lead of passenger line to get out of the cabin.

Throughout the aerobridge, my worries weren’t as bad as when I entered Narita International Airport a few days ago. “I’ve been to entering Japan several days ago, It isn’t possible if I can’t enter Korea,” I thought to calm myself. I continued to steadily walk through corridor after corridor at arrival hall of Gimhae International Airport Terminal 1. Continued following signboards to immigration counter. After finding it, I immediately stucked to back end of one of the queue lines. I still look relaxed and full of smiles. And didn’t think that the drama had just started

I took the leftmost queue, tourists from China seemed to dominate in front. They looked very smooth going through immigration staff. “Looks like this will be easy”, I finally came to a conclusion. I was now at the head of queue, waiting for a female Chinese tourist to finish her process at counter. The bespectacled male officer quickly approved one by one Chinese tourists from earlier.

“Neexxxttt”….He called out with his eyes still staring at computer screen

Immigration Officer : “Have you been to South Korea before?”

Me : “Not yet Sir, this is the first time”

Immigration : “Where did you visit before South Korea?”

Me : “Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan, Sir”

He started suspiciously watching me.

Immigration : “Which other countries have you visited?”, he handed me a paper and pen for me to write

I started writing one by one until I copied eleven names of countries I had been to.

But his reaction was so unexpected, he just shook his head. I didn’t lose the initiative when he behaved like that. From inside my backpack, I took out my old passport which had one of its covers cut off, “You can check it out here, Sir”.

Immigration: “I don’t need this”, he pushed my old passport with his index finger at me as a sign he didn’t want to see it

Damn…..“Dag dig dug”, my heart started beating above its usual rhythm.

Immigration : ”Please take out your wallet!”

That short snapping made me automatically crouch with my hands rummaging through all contents of my backpack with an added panic. I got my wallet in a few moments, indeed I put my wallet in the innermost part to be safe.

I started to stand up and handed over my worn out wallet….Hmmhhh, a wallet with peeling leather upholstery on some ends. Made me helpless. The immigration officer began to open my wallet and counted each sheet in it. He shook his head when he only found 120,000 Won notes.

He started to stand up and walked out of immigration counter box and started to close the queue with a standing barrier and hung the words “CLOSE” in the middle. All tourists who queued behind me were asked by him to move to a counter next to him. Every tourist regularly moved while sadly looking at my misfortune, some looked astonished and curious.

“Wow,” my voice began to wry.

The immigration officer immediately stepped back into the counter and put my wallet in front of him. He started to stare at me intently.

Immigration : “Do you bring an ATM?”

Me: “No, Sir”…. My mind refuted, “Isn’t it that I already have a Visa, why bother?”

Immigration : “Credit Card?”

Me: “No, Sir”….My mind was muttering again, “Isn’t it important that I have enough money to travel in Korea?”

Immigration : “ID Card?”

Me: “No, Sir”….I thought back to fight, “Isn’t the ID Card for tourists a passport?”

Immigration : Browsing firmly with red face, “Aiissshhhh….No ATM….No Credit Card….No ID Card….You only have a small amount of money…. You can’t stay in Korea”

“Ouch, Deportation”, I thought to myself instantly.

Immigration : “What do you do in your country?”

Me: “Marketing”

Immigration : “Show your business card!”

Me: “I don’t bring it, Sir”

Immigration : ” Aiissshhhh …”

He started rubbing his forehead and eyes, not believing he had met a tourist like me. Now he had closed my passport. He stood back up and called his friend. Quickly his friend came over and started talking seriously leaving me on the verge of being deported.

I didn’t know what they’re talking about, it was definitely about me. I noticed he kept shaking his head and his friends occasionally looked at me like a suspect….Aahhh, this situation was really uncomfortable and made me nervous. But I tried my best to put on a calm face. I even prepared to clarify before he decided anything.

OK, he had finished his dialogue with his friend and sat back at the immigration counter. Before he uttered a word, I began to make a final plea. No matter what the result….

Me : “ I have a return ticket, Air Asia 5th January, from Incheon to Jakarta. I will stay at Kimchee Guesthouse Busan and Kimchee Guesthouse Seoul….these are my itinerary and my budgeting during in Korea.”

The immigration officer was angry and put a finger to his mouth… “Shhhhhhh”, a sign he was asking me not to babble too much in front of him. But the good thing was that he was willing to read my itinerary and budgeting sheet.

Me : ”Please Sir, I am just a backpacker…..just for sightseeing Korea this time….No more….Please…..I will go home….Believe me!”, I begged begging.

The immigration officer looked back at me, this time he really looked me in the eye, maybe he was testing my honesty. He seemed to be starting to feel pity. He started flipping through each page of my new passport and my old passport which a second ago he pulled from in front of me.

Immigration : ”OK, You can….You can….But promise me to return to your country!…. Or you’re in big trouble”

Knock….The arrival stamp was clearly affixed on my passport….Oh, what a beautiful moment that was.

I was very relieved

This was a valuable lesson that in the future I would become a backpacker who was more detailed and prepared things very well. After that incident, I always carried a business card, ID card, credit card (even though its limit was small) and an ATM (even though the values were minimal) every time I traveled to another country.

Thanks to good preparation, I was greatly helped by the existence of that cards when facing similar random checking at Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore seven months after this incident.

The incident was over, I stepped out of immigration counter triumphantly.

Welcome Busan, Welcome South Korea!

Palm Jumeirah: Isi Dompetku Tak Akan Cukup

Palm Jumeirah dilihat dari ujung pulau terluar.

Hampir setengah lima sore ketika aku berhasil keluar dari Nakheel Mall melalui pintu bagian belakang. Jika pengunjung mall paham, pintu itu bisa mengoneksikan pengunjung dengan jalanan menuju ke area residensial di Palm Jumeirah.

Menuruni tangga, aku berhasil menginjakkan kaki di jalan utama sisi utara Nakheel Mall. Aku hanya perlu menyeberangi jalan utama itu untuk bisa mengeksplorasi salah satu kawasan residensial di sebuah area berbentuk daun palem di pulau reklamasi Palm Jumeirah.

Perlu diketahui bahwa Palm Jumeirah merupakan pulau buatan terbesar di dunia yang dibangun di pesisir Laut Arab dengan bentuk pohon palem. Bentuk detailnya terdiri dari area berbentuk batang pohon palem dimana Al Ittihad Park dan Nakheel Mall yang sempat kukunjungi berada, sebuah area berwujud mahkota dengan 16 area berbentuk daun palem dimana kompleks-kompleks perumahan mewah di tempatkan,dan kemudian tiga pulau yang membentuk bulan sabit dibuat mengelilingi kesemua area pulau dimana hotel-hotel mewah didirikan. Luas keseluruhan Palm Jumeirah adalah tak kurang dari 800 kali luasan lapangan sepak bola standar internasional.

Di tengah arus kendaraan yang melaju kencang, dengan penuh kehati-hatian, akhirnya aku tiba di seberang jalan utama. Urusan menyeberang jalan memang selalu menjadi perhatian serius bagiku setelah kejadian hampir tersambar mobil di Bandar Seri Begawan dan Phnom Penh beberapa tahun silam. Sejak itu, aku tak mau main-main ketika berada di jalanan negeri orang. Siapa yang akan menolongku jika sampai terjadi sesuatu di jalanan ketika sendirian berada di negeri orang.

Di seberang jalan, aku berdiri tepat di depan Palm View East, sebuah apartemen lima lantai yang dibangun memanjang di tepian jalan utama dan sebuah kondominuim 17 lantai terletak di sisi barat apartemen tersebut, Marina Residence 4 adalah nama kondominiun itu.

Aku berusaha mencari gang masuk menuju boat parking place yag berlokasi tepat di belakang apartemen Palm View East. Bukan…..Aku tidak bermaksud menaiki yacht-yacht mewah yang terparkir di dermaga, tentu aku tak memiliki anggaran untuk melakukan itu.

Aku hanya perlu untuk mengintip salah satu daun pulau yang berisi deretan perumahan mewah milik penduduk Palm Jumeirah.

Aku menemukan sebuah gang kecil beralaskan pavling block menuju ke dermaga. Tanpa ragu aku menyusuri gang itu hingga tepat berada di bibir perairan.

Wooowwwww…..Woooowwww….Woooowww

Kini aku dihadapkan pada sebuah pemandangan epik. Di sebelah kananku adalah sebuah dermaga dengan deretan kapal-kapal mewah, sedangkan di sisi kiriku adalah deretan perumahan-perumahan mewah berukuran besar memanjang mengikuti kontur area berbentuk daun dari Palm Jumeirah.

Mungkin hanya inilah cara terbaik bagiku untuk mengintip deretan perumahan itu. Jika aku harus memasuki gerbang perumahan pastilah aku akam memiliki kemungkinan kecil untuk bisa menembus penjagaan pos security yang super ketat.

Suasana jalanan utama di dekat Nakheel Mall.
Apartemen Palm East View (kiri) dan Marina Residence 4 (kanan).
Dermaga di belakang apartemen Palm East View.
Deretan perumahan mewah di Frond A (area berbentuk daun pertama di Palm Jumeirah). Area ini berjuluk berjuluk Al Fardh.

Usai puas memandangi perumahan mewah dan indah tersebut, aku kembali ke jalan utama. Aku berhenti sejenak, memandang penampakan mewah nan lamat di kejauhan. Di depan sana adalah area Palm Jumeirah yang berupa tiga pulau yang membentuk bulan sabit. Di sanalah jenis wisata mewah ditempatkan dan hotel-hotel kelas atas diisi oleh para wisatawan berduit.

Ada dua cara menuju ke sana, yaitu melalui terowongan bawah laut jika menggunakan kendaraan roda empat atau menaiki monorail dan turun di Atlantis Aquaventure Station.

Tidak….Aku tidak akan  ke sana….Isi dompetku tak akan cukup”, aku membatin kecut sembari dengan berat hati harus mengucapkan selamat tinggal kepada Palm Jumeirah. Inilah waktu terakhirku mengeksplorasi Palm Jumeirah. Karena dalam waktu yang tak akan lama lagi, aku akan kembali menuju ke hotel.

Gerbang di kejauhan itu adalah hotel bintang lima yang bernama Hotel Atlantis yang sekaligus menjadi gerbang taman rekreasi air terkenal di Dubai, Aquaventure.

Sebentar lagi gelap, aku arus mengamankan diri dengan berdiam diri dan beristirahat di hotel.

Stare In Amazement: Air Busan BX 123 from Osaka (KIX) to Busan (PUS)

Air Busan BX 123 flight path (sumber: https://flightaware.com/).

Air Busan is the 16th airline out of 28 different airlines I’ve tasted. This Low Cost Carrier (LCC) which come from “Ginseng Country” has a main hub at Gimhae International Airport. It wasn’t my intention to visit Busan, but because of the cheap ticket price offered by Air Busan, it was what made me decided to stop by in Busan before reaching my main destination, which was Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.

I myself got this cheap ticket seven months before departure at a price of less than 69.750 Won.

This was my story of riding an airline with three branding colors, white-blue-yellow…

—-****—-

 “Sorry, sir….We don’t receive coins”, the KIX Currency Exchange clerk exclaimed with a smile.

“Oh, Okay…It’s no problem”, I pulled back my coins while waiting for the results of exchanging banknotes.

He nimbly pressed a few buttons on calculator then showed me a numbers in the LCD.

“Yes, Sir….”, I quickly agreed.

Successfully exchanging Yen for USD, now my mission was to spending coins to buy whatever supplies I could use for lunch, if necessary until dinner…. Was it bad?, That was a my way to saving budget.

I managed to find a FamilyMart in a hallway, entered it, hunted for onigiri and candies, paid it with my coins at cashie and saved it in my backpack. I never underestimate candy, two candies can meet 10% of the calories of an adult’s meal, that means it can hold your stomach for a while until you find a cheap food stall. This time I didn’t mince words by walking around the airport, my time was short, I decided to immediately go to check-in counter to exchange e-tickets with boarding pass. The main standard of airlines for passengers who will cross different countries is to check visas and return tickets from the destination country. But didn’t worry, my visa was perfectly attached to my passport and an Air Asia e-ticket to return from South Korea had also been ordered.

“Can you speak English, Sir,” a female check-in counter lightly asked.

“Yes, sure Ms. I Can”

“Do you want to sit in the emergency exit row?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, with pleasure”, I happily answered, when you are paying cheaper but get a row of seats which is more spacious, that is your prize.

“Ok, thank you Sir”

“You are welcome”.

I quickly got my boarding pass. Heading to immigration counter, I handed over my passport as soon as it arrived. The stage of leaving a country is what I like the most, because it’s fast and without questioning. Of course immigration officers will be happy and is helped if their country guests are disciplined to leave their country on time. After getting a departure stamp in my passport, I immediately headed to the gate to wait for Air Busan, which was about to arrive, maybe even ready. Arriving on time, indeed, the Airbus was standing proudly on the apron preparing to load all its passangers.

My boarding pass.
Well, given a coupon of 10,000 Won for gambling….Hahaha.

Towards half past eleven, boarding calls filled the airport ceiling, the queue line began to open and several ground staff started lining up at the gate to do final checking for each passenger. I steadily walked through it, showed my boarding pass and passport, then was allowed to board the plane. I walked through the aerobridge and was greeted by two flight attendants with typical faces of “Ginseng Country”.

“Annyeonghasimnika”, one of them smiled with a slight bow, asked for a boarding pass, briefly checked and then asked me to find a seat.

“Gamsahamnida”, ahhh, only a few Korean words I understand. I started looking for my seat.

I sat in the aisle seat in emergency exit row. Shortly after that three columns of seats were filled, a flight attendant came to say hello. The flight attendant explained in Korean about the regulations in emergency exit row, after knowing that the two passengers next to me were Korean nationals. After explaining to both of them, then that flight attendant explained again, this time in English, it was clear for me. While explaining that, we both looked at each other. Because of the ignorance of my heart, I never listened to the rules she said, instead I focused more on enjoying the beauty of her pure white Korean face. I understood, she felt that she was being watched by me, so she occasionally explained the rules with a smile, she got even more clumsy when I responded her with a smile while keeping my eyes on her eyes….I was really naughty.

I was in the cabin.
Well, that was the emergency door.

After half an hour of completing boarding process, the aerobridge finally started to be pulled from plane door, flight attendants started to tightly close the door, passengers began to wear seat belts, the plane began to leave the apron while exhibiting flight safety demonstrations by several cabin crew. The demo ended when the plane was already on the runway and ready to take off from Kansai International Airport.

“Flight attendants, please prepare for take off”, were last words from flight captain who broken the silence in cabin.

The plane did a brake release, the engine rotated with full power, and finally airborne went smoothly, the plane quickly drove from Osaka. I was quite impressed with this plane because this was the first time I could see the plane’s presence in a earth map at an LCD.

When it was time to serve in-flight meal, I prefered to put an packaged food and drink in a folding bag. “Just make lunch,” I muttered to myself. I prefered to carefully read the inflight magazine to find information that might be useful for my adventures in South Korea.

Here it was…. A replacement for my lunch menu.

I didn’t realize that I had flown for 1 hour 30 minutes and the pilot gave an announcement to passengers that the plane was preparing to landing at Gimhae International Airport and informed the weather conditions in Busan which were sunny. Shortly after the announcement was completed, the cabin crew immediately checked every side of cabin and passengers to ensure a safe landing. Finally the plane smoothly landed in runway. How happy I was when I arrived in South Korea for the first time

Hmmm….I couldn’t wait to explore Busan. I still couldn’t stop my smile at my face.

I still didn’t expect that inside the airport terminal building, something serious would happen to me.

Thanks to God.

Welcome Busan….Welcome South Korea.

Alternatives for airline tickets from Osaka to Busan can be found in 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Nakheel Mall: Salah Satu yang Termegah di Dubai

Nakheel Mall di pusat Palm Jumeirah.

Genap satu jam sudah aku menikmati rindangnya Al Ittihad Park, sebidang Ruang Terbuka Hijau di pulau reklamasi terkenal di seantero jagad, Palm Jumeirah.

Langkah khatam di ujung barat taman mengantarkanku memasuki area baru yaitu kawasan komersial yang dibangun tepat di tengah-tengah Palm Jumeirah.

Adalah Nakheel Mall yang menjadi salah satu mall terbaik di Dubai yang merupakan tempat untuk berwisata kuliner, berbelanja, berekeasi dan berburu hiburan bagi segenap penduduk di seluruh penjuru Palm Jumeirah, warga Dubai dan para wisatawan asing.

Nakheel sendiri diambil dari nama pengembang pulau reklamasi Palm Jumeirah, yaitu Nakheel Properties yang merupakan pengembang properti terkemuka dunia yang dimiliki oleh pemerintah Uni Emirat Arab dan berkantor pusat di Dubai.

Tanpa ragu, aku mulai menaiki anak tangga menuju pintu masuk pusat perbelanjaan yang memiliki luas enam hektar tersebut. Jalur tangga yang lebar itu dibelah oleh lintasan The Palm Monorail yang mengarah ke ujung pulau.

Di ujung anak tangga, tepatnya satu lantai diatasnya, tampak deretan restoran dan cafe yang menebarkan bau harum di sekitar pintu masuk. Vapiano adalah salah satu restoran yang masih kuingat namanya karena menampilkan kesibukan dalam melayani tamu-tamunya yang duduk di balkonnya.

Memasuki pintu mall, aku melihat bahwa segenap interiornya masih tampak baru. Aku mulai menyusuri bagian demi bagian dari Lantai 1. Merasakan kemegahan pusat perbelanjaan terkenal di Dubai tersebut.

Decorative lighting tampak dominan tertampil di tiang-tiang raksasa pusat perbelanjaan tersebut. Menjadikan tiang-tiang pancang itu sebagai komponen dekoratif yang membuat Nakheel Mall lebih elegan. Aku menemukan logo CINMAR Lighting Systems sebagai aktor utama yang mengembangkan sistem pencahayaan di mall megah tersebut.

Kuperhatikan bahwa Lantai 1 didominasi oleh beberapa outlet food and beverage. Berdasarkan informasi promosi yang kudapatkan, tak kurang dari 300 outlet yang menempati seluruh lantai di Nakheel Mall, baik outlet F&B, fashion, sport, entertainment dan lain sebagainya. Oulet-outlet itu terbuka untuk pengunjung dari pukul 10 pagi hingga pukul 10 malam.

Entrance Gate Nakheel Mall.
Le Pain Quotidien (Toko roti internasional) asal Belgia.
Ecco (produsen sepatu asal Denmark) dan Starbucks membuka outlet bersisian di Lantai 1.

Naik ke Lantai 2, aku mencoba mengulik lebih dalam tentang apa saja yang menonjol di dalam pusat perbelanjaan itu. Di lantai inilah aku menemukan beberapa promosi yang mengajak pengunjung untuk mengunjungi Trèsind Studio.  Trèsind Studio sendiri adalah restoran terbaik ke empat di Dubai serta memiliki Chef Himanshu sebagai chef terbaik no.75 di dunia versi The Best Chef Awards in 2021.

Terus menanjak ke lantai teratas, maka dengan jelas aku melihat bahwa pertunjukan film di pusat perbelanjaan ini difasilitasi oleh Vox Cinemas yang merupakan jaringan bisokop dan perfilman terbesar di Timur Tengah.

Beberapa waktu kemudian aku mulai turun dari Lantai 5 yang menjadi lantai teratas shopping mall tersebut. Aku berniat mencukupkan kunjunganku di Nakheel Mall untuk segera mengeksplorasi lebih mendalam Kawasan residensial Palm Jumeirah.

Jejak penyambutan Natal di Nakhell Mall.
Pohon Natal yang cantik.
Tolietnya bersih dan wangi.
Terintegrasi dengan The Palm Monorail di Nakheel Mall Station.
Nakheel Mall dilihat dari jalanan.
The Palm Tower, hotel bintang lima dengan 52 lantai yang terintegrasi dengan Nakheel Mall. Lantai tertingginya digunakan untuk wisata melihat Kawasan Palm Jumeirah dengan 360 derajat sudut pandang.

Melalui escalator, aku segera menuruni lantai demi lantai hingga benar-benar keluar dari exit gate Nakheel Mall. Tampak beberapa bus milik mall berdatangan menurunkan penumpang. Bus-bus berukuran kecil tersebut adalah Nakheel Mall Complimentary Shuttle Service yang mengambil pengunjung dari hotel-hotel mewah di dalam kota Dubai dan kompleks-kompleks perumahan di sekitar Kawasan Palm Jumeirah.

Okay….Nge-mallnya udahan yaa….

Yuk, ke tempat lainnya….

JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service: Shin-imamiya Station to Kansai Airport Station

The first eight days of the new year, still tightly binding both eyes. Revenge for my frozen body last night during the New Year’s Eve celebration at Dōtonbori Canal by the warmth of Hotel Kaga blanket was something I considered draw. But in the end, only a thing was able to force my eyes not to close anymore, i.e Air Busan BX 123 flight at exactly 11:00 am, because as usual, for international flights, four hours before flight time I will start my journey to the airport.

Almost seven o’clock, I jumped up, grabbed a hotel’s white towel, bathroom amenities and immediately headed out of the room to shared bathroom at the end of corridor. Hotel Kaga’s bathroom is quite spacious for a backpacker. In the form of a two-part space, i.e a partition with glass and a sink and a bath capsule with a warm shower. Long time under a warm shower is my bad habit, because warm water is very effective in expelling fatigued leg muscles which is my main asset in every trip….Yup, especially if it’s not for walking tens of kilometers throughout the adventure.

After taking a shower, I nonchalantly crossed hotel corridor only wrapped in a towel and flip-flops. Making some passing hotel guests look surprised. “Ah, I only met once with them…. Let it go,” I thought, starting to be fun.

In the room I immediately cleaned up, put on a t-shirt with a black long john, cotton trousers to keep my body temperature, a pair of boots and started packing all my things into a blue Eiger 45L backpack which I borrowed from a friend at work (too bad, just borrow a backpack) .

I went down to the lobby using elevator and immediately handed over my room key at reception desk.

“Thank you for staying at our hotel. Have a nice trip, Sir”, a receptionist who was still the same, on duty from last night, smiled as she handed me the deposit money.

“You’re welcome. Very happy to stay at Hotel Kaga …. A good hotel”, I casually answered. “See you, Sir”.

“See you”, he waved his hand and was still smiling.

I headed back down street towards Shin-imamiya Station, the station I first landed on when I entered downtown. That’s  the only station closest to my hotel and Nankai-Kuko Line train which goes to Kansai International Airport (KIX).

The five meter wide alleys began to wriggle, leaving the remnants of last night’s New Year celebrations. I quickly walked through several alleys without enjoying the atmosphere, I’ve passed it a few times though. Taking a copy to Abiko-suji Avenue, I arrived at Shin-imamiya Station within five minutes of leaving the hotel.

Entering the station gate, my eyes immediately looking for ticketing vending machine. I got it easily. A ticket worth 1,060 Yen was finally in my hands and I immediately docked at e JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service platform.

JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service Ticket.

The airport service train arrived on time, I entered one of its carriages and shortly after sitting down, the train sped away. I returned to enjoying the trip again like when I first took the same train when I arrived in Osaka. The first sight that be presented was the atmosphere of a densely built urban area in Nishinari, Sumiyoshi and Suminoe City Districts. After crossing Yamoto River, the atmosphere changed to an area of ​​agricultural land in Kishiwada and Izumisano areas. Then the train crossed the ocean in Osaka Bay after a bit of climbing an overpass in Rinku Town. After crossing sea bridge along five kilometers, the train arrived at Kansai-Airport Station.

Urban area in Osaka.

As soon as the train stopped at platform, I immediately jumped out of the carriage to departure hall of Kansai International Airport, the winner of Skytrax’s Best Low Cost Airline Terminal in the World.

One of the first destinations upon arrival at the airport….Yes, money changer.

Al Ittihad Park: Rindang Diatas Tanah Reklamasi

Aku tiba di Al Ittihad Park Station tepat pukul setengah empat sore. Udara masih panas tetapi surya sudah tak seterik beberapa jam sebelumnya. Menuruni gerbong monorail di Lantai 2, aku kemudian turun ke Lantai 1 untuk keluar dari barisan ticket collection gate dan kemudian turun lagi menuju Ground Floor untuk tiba di Al Ittihad Park.

Interior taman pertama yang dominan terlihat di Al Ittihad Park ketika turun dari stasiun monorail adalah jogging track sintetis berwarna merah. Menurut penanda jarak yang kudapatkan di sepanjang jogging track tersebut, maka aku dapat mengetahui bahwa panjang lintasan jogging track itu adalah dua setengah kilometer. Jeda-jeda penanda jarak itu tertampil jelas di jalur lintasan. Secara desain, tampak bahwa jogging track itu melingkari taman.

Interior berikutnya yang bisa kuingat adalah deretan rapi pepohonan besar yang tumbuh subur dan rindang di kiri-kanan jogging track. Tanaman yang paling mudah dikenali adalah pohon kurma yang merupakan tanaman khas Jazirah Arab. Tapi setidaknya terdapat tak kurang dari enam puluh spesies tumbuhan asli Uni Emirat Arab yang ditanam di Al Ittihad Park.

Jogging track didesain mengelilingi taman 360 derajat penuh.
Pohon-pohon yang rindang.

Karena taman ini dibangun diatas tanah reklamasi berpasir maka seperti yang dilakukan pada negara-negara Arab pada umumnya, bahwa taman ini dilengkapi dengan uluran panjang selang air yang berfungsi untuk menjaga tanaman tetap survive di teriknya cuaca gurun. Papan-papan nama tanaman tampak terpampang di sepanjang taman disertai dengan penjelan detail mengenai tanaman tersebut.

Sedangkan tepat di bawah jalur The Palm Monorail, dibuatlah sungai artificial dengan lapisan plastik hitam di dasarnya. Bunyi gemercik air yang mengalir di sepanjang sungai artificial membuat suasana di sekitar taman terasa lebih tenang di tengah gaduhnya kota megapolitan Dubai.

Sedangkan peralatan olah raga tersebar merata di sekitar taman sebagai alat bantu pengunjung untuk melakukan akivitas kebugaran ringan di sepanjang taman.

Terhipnotis dengan rindangnya Al Ittihad Park, maka aku terus melangkah menuju sebelah barat taman. Sepanjang kaki melangkah, aku menyaksikan keberadaan sebaran tiang lampu taman, dari yang mungil hingga berukuran panjang, semuanya tetap mengikuti kaidah futuristik.

Al Ittihad Park sendiri diresmikan penggunaannya sekitar satu dekade silam. Sengaja dibangun demi memperingati perayaan Hari Nasional Uni Emirat Arab ke-41.

Apakah kamu mengetahui arti dari kata “Al Ittihad” ?….Al Ittihad artinya adalah “Persatuan”.

The Palm Monorail.
Sungai artificial.

Selain untuk memperingati Hari Nasional negara, Al Ittihad Park dibangun dengan tujuan untuk menyediakan fasilitas bersantai bagi penduduk yang tinggal di kawasan Palm Jumeirah. Selain itu, Al Ittihad Park sekaligus berperan sebagai lokasi wisata alam bagi para turis yang berminat untuk memahami secara lebih mendalam mengenai serba-serbi tanaman yang jenisnya sangat beragam di Uni Emirat Arab.

Buat kamu yang memiliki hobby nongkrong di taman sambil mencicipi kuliner atau berbelanja maka Al Ittihad Park menyediakan banyak cafe dan restoran yang terletak memanjang di sisi selatan taman. Tampak beberapa brand ternama terpampang di sepanjang taman, seperti Starbucks dan Baskin Robbins. Sementara brand-brand non-kuliner lain juga tampak mencolok seperti Organic Foods & Cafe, UAE Exchange, Marina Pharmacy, Topsretch Gym, sebuah kantor polisi dan Playgroup. Kesemua outlet itu terkonsentrasi pada Golden Mile Building yang memiliki sebelas lantai.

Sedangkan untuk menjaga kebersihan dan kerapihan taman, maka tempat sampah di atur sedemikian rupa sehingga mudah sekali di temukan. Atap-atap berbahan kain juga disediakan di beberapa titik yang berfungsi sebagai perlindungan dari teriknya sang surya bagi anak-anak yang sedang bermain.

Sementara itu, fasilitas pamungkas yang disediakan pengelola Palm Jumeirah demi memudahkan warga dalam mengunjungi Al Ittihad Park adalah tempat parkir umum yang cukup luas untuk kendaraan roda empat.

Aktivitas warga beserta keluarganya.
Fasilitas olah raga.
Kedai Starbucks di salah satu titik Golden Mile Building.

Kiranya Al Ittihad Park telah meninggalkan kesan mendalam dalam petualanganku di Dubai.