Berburu Tokunai Pass: Chou Line dari Tokyo ke Nakano

Tiba di Stasiun Tokyo.

Seperti biasa, mengabadikan diri di depan spot-spot penting di negara orang adalah kebiasaan wajar. Maka sebelum memasuki Stasiun Tokyo, aku menyempatkan diri berpose di depan gerbangnya. Tepatnya di depan “Yaeshu North Entrance”.

Jika kamu ke Tokyo. Kamu akan jarang bertemu orang diatas permukaan, Donny. Tapi begitu masuk ke stasiun bawah tanah maka penduduk Tokyo bak lebah didalamnya. Coba deh buktikan Donny kalau kamu ga percya!”, itulah perkataan teman sekantor yang pernah berangkat ke Tokyo. Tercengang aku waktu itu.

Kini aku sudah di Tokyo dan berharap bisa membuktikannya. Ternyata, perihal di permukaan yang akan jarang bertemu orang….Itu jelas salah. Tokyo tetap saja kota sibuk di dunia dengan tingginya mobilitas penduduk di atasnya. Lalu, “sarang lebah bawah tanah”….Ya, itu benar. Bahkan sebelum aku tiba di ruangan paling bawah pun, stasiun Tokyo sudah penuh manusia. Luar biasa.

Ketika memasuki bangunan stasiun, aku lebih memilih berdiri menempel di sebuah tiang besar dan merekam hilir mudik penumpang kereta yang sangat rapat sekali…..Super sibuk. Mungkin aku menjadi manusia tersantai pagi itu di seantero stasiun Tokyo karena masih saja sempat berdiri berlama-lama merekam aktivitas di dalamnya.

Kini saatnya berburu tiket kereta. Aku sudah meniatkan diri untuk mendapatkan one day pass supaya bisa berkeliling Tokyo sepuasnya hingga tengah malam. Mengantrilah diriku di sebuah ticketing vending machine. Dalam antrian, aku terus memperhatikan lekat bagaimana setiap orang megoperasikan mesin itu. Akan tetapi, ketika giliranku tiba pun, aku tetap tak paham. Semua layar penuh dengan tombol dan angka yang merepresentasikan harga tiket. Entahlah itu tujuan kemana. Kutengok ke belakang, para pengantri semakin sebal karena aku terlalu lama mencari tiket. Aku menyerah, aku mudur dan mempersilahkan penumpang lainnya yang terlihat sangat terburu waktu. Aku terus berdiri agak jauh dari ticketing vending machine dan memperhatikan mereka menggunakannya. Tetap saja bingung…. karena mereka memilih menggunakan aksara kanji.

Akihirnya kuputuskan mencari sisi lain stasiun yang lebih sepi. Aku menemukanya di selasar kiri. Ticketing vending machine itu kosong melompong. Kudekati pelan, tenang dan kuperhatikan dengan seksama setiap tombolnya. Akhirnya kutemukan tombol “ENG” yang akan menuntunku menggunakan bahasa internasional. Tapi tak langsung kutemukan kata “One Day Pass”.

Aku terus mencari di direktori “Discount Card” lalu muncullah kata “Tokunai Pass”. Beruntung, aku pernah membaca sebuah artikel tentang perkeretaapian Jepang sebelum berangkat berpetualang. Dalam artikel itu disebutkan bahawa One Day Passnya Jepang bernama Tokunai Pass. Begitu girangnya aku memecahkan permasalahan itu. Oh, ternyata gampang minta ampun, aku saja yang ndeso. Aku menekannya dan setelah membayar senilai 750 Yen (Rp. 97.500).

Wujud Tokunai Pass.
Ini mungkin receiptnya.

Yang kutahu, Tokunai Pass bisa  didapatkan di seluruh stasiun JR Line. Dan bisa digunakan untuk menaiki seluruh kereta JR Line lokal (dalam kota Tokyo) yang relnya terletak di atas permukaan tanah. Jadi tidak bisa digunakan untuk Tokyo Subway bawah tanah.

Begitu mendapatkan tiket, aku langsung menuju platform ke arah Nakano.

Nakano berada di timur Tokyo dengan jarak 15 Km dan waktu tempuh menggunakan kereta berkisar 20 menit. Aku sengaja mencari tempat menginap yang sedikit jauh dari pusat kota karena harganya yang murah.

Platform menuju Nakano.
Tiba di Stasiun Nakano.

Aku menaiku Chuo Line menuju Nakano. Pukul 13:30, aku tiba di Stasiun Nakano. Dan bersiap berjalan kaki menuju Yadoya Guesthouse.

Solo Survey Started from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana

Almost midnight….

The conversation spiced with an additional cup of latte with Mr. Arman in the lobby of Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences was still warm. Meanwhile, Rihsan, his second eight-year-old son, fell asleep on one side of sofa. I was sure that if it wasn’t ended, this conversation would end at dawn. Then I was the one who was responsible for closing this conversation.

Alright Mr. Arman, it’s time for me to excuse myself and rest at hotel“, I said as polite as possible after sipping the rest of my latte.

Oh, it’s almost midnight huh ?. Oh yes, where is Mr. Donny staying?”.

At Grand Amira Hotel, Sir Arman”.

Oh okay. Be careful on your way. See you again next time”.

The streets are deserted. To reduce safety risks, I decided to order a taxi online instead. Soon, I picked up by him. Then, the taxi drove through Honggowongso Street to Pasar Kliwon area. On my way, I tried to track down Rahadian on his way from Bandung to Solo. But my calls weren’t answered, my messages were unrequited, maybe he was sleeping on train.

Is Solo safe or not, sir if i ride a motorbike taxi at night?” I asked to driver to open the conversation.

Safe, Sir. In Solo, online motorcycle taxi runs for 24 hours. Don’t worry”.

Wow that means, tomorrow night I can stay up late in the city, Sir….Hahahaha“.

Culinary night, Sir Donny. Solo is a culinary centre. Culinary here has its own time. There are morning culinary delights, some are open at noon, now at night some are starting to open, Sir“, he briefly explained.

Wow, it’s unique. Culinary traders seem to have their respective sales time slots. Just like a deal….hahaha”, I began to admire the uniqueness of this city.

The taxi driver never knew that my goal to Solo was to do a culinary survey and found several culinary spots which would become a destination at my company’s Marketing Conference event. Tomorrow morning I would start in tasting every famous culinary dish of Batik City with Rahadian.

In 15 minutes, I arrived at the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. Modern minimalist hotel which was booked by my office. For me, Hotel with its cost about Rp. 335,000 per night had become a luxury hotel because I often used dormitories when doing backpacking. My steps in the lobby was greeted by a sweet smile from receptionist who seemed to hurry to standing when he saw my arrival.

Reception desk.
Hotel’s lobby.
My room.
My room.
My room.

“You come very night, Mr. Donny”, he briefly said.

Oh yes, Miss. I had to meet my old friend in Mangkubumen area. It had been fun conversation with him, Miss”, while I handed to her the booking confirmation letter and my ID card.

I see, but you don’t need to worry, our receptionist serves 24 hours, Sir“. Her smile looked sweety while giving a room key and payment receipt to me.

After that I rushed up to room with a lift to right behind of reception desk.

—-****—-

Knock….Knock….Knock“, the sound seemed to have been going on from a few minutes ago.

Oh my God……

I was fast asleep and late to woke up.

Knock….Knock….Knock. Mr. Donny open, Sir!. This is Rahadian”, the voice softly sounded from outside.

It must have been since dark morning, Rahadian had arrived at hotel. I guess that he have waited for a long time in lobby. I saw on my smartphone a lot of missed calls from him. Some Whatsapp messages were unread.

I opened the door and Rahadian’s face was joking as if he was grumbling. “How is it, Sir. If I don’t go up to this room, you will definitely wake up in the middle of day. It’s bad, Mr. Donny”.

“Sorry, Rahadian. Last night, I met an old friend at Solo Paragon. So I was late to go to this hotel….Hahaha. You can shower first, we’ll have breakfast and do a survey”, I joked while rubbing my eyes and jumping back into bed.

Hotel’s restaurant.
Time to breakfast.
He is Rahadian.

This morning I would check out and move to Amaris Hotel in Sriwedari area. Rahadian and I deliberately brought a small and light backpack, so that after checking out, we could freely move without having to put anything at Amaris Hotel first.

Did you want to follow my culinary survey?.

Came on!….

Tokyo Shuttle dari Narita International Airport ke Tokyo

Aku melompat dari pintu depan dan tak lama kemudian wajah-wajah putih bermata sipit  memperhatikan dengan seksama kehadiranku. Senang rasanya aku bisa berbaur dengan kaum menengah di dalam bus itu. Aku bersama seluruh penumpang akan bergerak menuju pusat kota Tokyo. Lalu aku sudah saja mendudukkan diri di baris ketiga dari belakang, sebelah kanan dekat dengan kaca jendela. Aku terbantu dengan keberadaan soket elektrik untuk menambah daya gawai pintarku, tetapi sayang Wi-Fi itu tak bisa kumanfaatkan.

Kotak transportasi dengan warna kombinasi sepadan hijau putih itu konsisten menyemburkan campuran emisi dan uap air dari knalpotnya di limit beku udara Narita. Warna nama kombinasi merah-hijau sangat mencolok untuk mengingat brand moda transportasi yang satu kepemilikan dengan perusahaan kereta api swasta raksasa di dua prefektur yaitu Chiba dan Tokyo. Keisei nama perusahaan transportasi itu.

Tokyo Shuttle” begitu nama bus itu, akan merayap selama satu jam menuju Distrik Chiyoda dimana Stasiun Tokyo berada. Menyusuri jalanan kota sejauh 65 Km, bus melewati  Keisei Narita Avenue.

Keisei Narita Avenue.
JR Bus Kanto melintas.
Willer Express Bus mengejar.

Antar ruas jalan tol itu berbataskan guard rail dan setiap ruasnya hanya bersusun dua jalur. Jalan tol antar distrik yang biasa saja. Sebagian pepohonan yang tampak gersang akibat dormancy  menjadi pemandangan yang sering dalam perjalanan ini, menyisakah jari jemari dahan yang menunjuki langit.

Sementara sutet-sutet raksasa berjarak konsisten mengangkangi tol, mengalirkan listrik antar kota dengan gagahnya. Masuk lebih jauh, perjalanan mulai mempertontonkan kanal-kanal lebar dan bersih terawat dengan beberapa apartemen rendah, sedang dan tinggi pada jarak yang tak bisa dibilang rapat.

Ketika sebagian besar penumpang terlelap dan tertelan laju bus itu, fikiranku semakin runyam. Aku tak bisa menikmati injakan halus pedal gas sang sopir yang berhasil menyirap semua penumpangnya itu.

Apakah nanti akan semudah membalikkan telapak tangan saat mencari kereta ke Nakano?”.

“Bagaimana mencari tombol untuk membeli one day pass di stasiun nanti?”.

Bisakah aku menahan hawa dingin mencekat ini di luar sana?”

Aku tenggelam dalam kegelisahanku sendiri sepanjang perjalanan. Tak mampu menikmati dengan sepenuh hati pemandangan indah di luar sana. Padahal, bukannya selama ini aku merindukan Jepang. Duh….

Semakin pendek jarak dengan pusat kota, pemandangan berganti. Kanal-kanal yang masih saja bersih di jejali dengan bangunan-bangunan apartemen dan perkantoran yang berbaris rapat menongkrongi sepanjang kanal. Tapi tetap saja, semua tampak rapi, bersih dan teratur. Sungguh beradab bangsa itu.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Tokyo dan diturunkan di halte bus berbentuk persegi panjang dengan 5 kaki yang diletakkan pada dua sisinya saja, di pinggir Sotobori-dori Avenue tepat di depan Tekko Building. Aku tak pernah menemukan petunjuk pasti menuju gerbang stasiun itu.

Bahkan belum juga mencari petunjuk pun, aku sudah bersusah payah melawan udara musim dingin Jepang. Menjadi semakin heran kenapa penduduk setempat berlalu lalang begitu saja dengan selapis baju kantoran, tanpa sarung tangan, tanpa penutu kepala dan telinga. Berbeda denganku yang sudah berjaket lapis dua dengan tambahan t-shirt di lapisan pertama bajuku, winter gloves dan earmuffs. Masih saja aku bergetar melawan suhu beku itu.

Aku terus menyusuri jalan tanpa petunjuk latin itu. Hingga kutemukan tulisan latin pertama semenjak aku turun dari JR Bus Kanto. “Tokyo Station”, pelan kubaca signboard besar di atas bangunan stasiun. “TOKYO STATION Yaesu North Entrance”.

Mari menuju Nakano.

Kufikir lebih baik aku segera memasuki stasiun dan mencari kehangatan daripada  membeku di luaran sana.

Saatnya berfikir untuk menuju Nakano.

Solo Paragon’s Latte: Adi Soemarmo International Airport’s DAMRI Bus

Mr. Donny, it’s been a long time since we met. Before you go to hotel, please, stop by for a moment at Solo Paragon. We can talk and drink coffee together!”, Mr. Arman short message while I was still in waiting room at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, Jakarta.

Mr. Arman….He is the husband of my client, a Bangladeshi who became an Indonesian citizen several years ago.

Who are you with in Solo, Sir?“, I replied to his short message.

I am with my second son, sir. I am waiting for your arrival, ok? ”He asked with a little forcefully.

Okay, Sir Arman”.

On 17:30 hours, finally, Citilink QG 126 perfectly landed at Adi Soemarmo International Airport, Solo. In the end, I really canceled on going straight to Grand Amira Hotel by Azana in Pasar Kliwon area. I decided to fulfill Mr. Arman’s coffee drinking invitation.

DAMRI taxi and bus ticket sales counter.
A corridor leads to parking area and DAMRI bus shelter.
DAMRI bus was waiting for me.

Oh yes….

Several years ago, before actively writing on this blog, I had landed at the same airport. It’s just that, at that time I was picked up by a friend with his car to city center. But this time, I would try a public transportation mode to downtown.

I slowly noticed that in the east of airport terminal building, there was a construction project for airport train station which was still half finished. “Finally Solo will have an airport train too“, I muttered. Salute with the development of Batik City*1.

Dark quickly acquired time, I canceled airport exploration. I prefered to immediately look for a counter which sell DAMRI bus tickets. I found that counter in hallway of eastern arrival hall, next to taxi ticket counter.

Get ready for downtown.
Ticket.
See you later Adi Soemarmo International Airport.

That afternoon the counter was quiet, even I only had one queue with a old woman. Behind me, there weren’t passengers waiting in line anymore. Based on information from counter staff, DAMRI bus would stop at its final destination in Tirtonadi Terminal. Towards Solo Paragon in Mangkubumen area, I was advised to stop at Solo Square, a shopping center in Laweyan area. Paid Rp. 25,000, I got a ticket to downtown. “The bus is waiting at its shelter, Sir” she told me.

I quickly walked down a corridor to airport parking area. Seen at the end of corridor, waiting for me a medium sized blue bus. I saw that old woman who was queuing in front of me had entered through the middle door. While the driver seemed to be waving at me to hurry up because bus was about to leave. Even though its seats weren’t full, the bus prioritized punctuality to immediately head to city which is about 15 km away.

The driver checked my ticket before I entered. I sat in the middle seat and soon bus slowly left airport. Riding along Adi Sumarmo Street, continued on Adi Sucipto Street and entered Slamet Riyadi Street. Passing several famous buildings such as De Tjolomadoe, Javenir and Purwosari Station.

Within 20 minutes, the bus started to stop at Solo Square shopping mall and I got off at the edge of Slamet Riyadi Street which is the city’s protocol road. I thought it would be better to have dinner before drinking coffee with Mr. Arman. Finally I stopped at street food stall, I sat down in an “angkringan*2” and ate some “cat rice*3” and some egg satay, shells satay and crackers. Enjoying ginger drink in angkringan was something I haven’t done for a long time. This habit wasn’t a matter of cheap price, but rather about taste and how to spend the night in Batik City.

Angkringan and cat rice.
Arrived at di Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences.

Mr. Donny, have you landed?“, Mr. Arman sent another short message.

Yes sir, I am only 4 km from your place. I’ll be there soon, sir. Wait yes!”, I briefly replied.

I immediately paid for my menu and ordered an online motorcycle taxi to Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences. Within 10 minutes, I arrived and headed straight to lobby.

Entering the lobby, I could see Mr. Arman and Rishan (her 9 years old son) waiting at the door. I shook his hand and lightly hugged then we spent until midnight just talking, sharing and enjoying a cup of latte.

Thank you Mr Arman.

Thank you Solo.

Note:

*1. Batik City is the other name for Solo City or Surakarta City.

*2. Angkringan is a street food stall typical of solo city.

*3. Cat rice in Indonesia is known as Nasi Kucing. Namely, rice packets which is its size is a fist.

I am Waiting for You: Narita International Airport

Ketika “Si Ayu Maeda” berdiri dan mengangkat mikrofon, itulah momen bahagia bagiku. Aku tahu, dia akan memberitahukan bahwa Vanilla Air JW 130 segera mendarat di Narita International Airport. Bagaimana tak bahagia, Jepang yang sedari dulu hanyalah angan dan menjadi sesuatu yang tak terpikirkan tergapai, akhirnya berlabuh juga aku di gerbangnya. Hasrat akan Jepang juga disebabkan oleh kebodohanku sendiri yang menyiksa diri dengan tak segera mengunjungi negeri itu setelah memahami ritme dan kebiasaan dunia backpacker. Aku lebih berego untuk menyisir Asia Tenggara selama 3 tahun, bahkan edisi perdana ke Asia Timur pun lebih memilih Hong Kong, China dan Macau sebagai tujuan perdana. Jepang sengaja menjadi dessert petualanganku di Asia Timur. Ya benar….Negeri itu menjadi puncaknya bersama Korea Selatan. Menjadikan kisah kali ini terasa spesial.

Melekatnya aerobridge di pintu pesawat menjadi penanda langkah pertamaku menjejak Jepang. Terminal 3 Narita International  Airport menyambut hangat walau kutahu suhu di luar ruangan mencapai 2o Celcius….”Mudah-mudahan darah tak mengalir dari hidungku”, gumam pertamaku ketika menyusuri garbarata.

Nervous dan takut, itulah yang kurasa ketika menyusuri arrival hall menuju konter imigrasi. “Bagaimana jika mereka memeriksa jumlah uang yang kubawa?”, “Bagaimana jika mereka menolakku masuk ke kota?”….Kecamuk amatiran itu masih saja menghantui. Maklum, bagiku Jepang serasa beda kasta.

Is this your filst time in visiting Japan?”, wajahnya datar tapi tak sangar menyidikku.

Yes, Sir”.

How long will you  stay in Japan?”, pertanyaan standar.

4 days, Sir

Hoooohhh….Just foul days. Very sholt time”, dia masih membolak-balik detail pasporku, melihat rekam jejak petualanganku.

Ale you alone?”, mulai menaruh paspor di sebelah kanan tangannya dan fokus bercakap denganku.

Duh alamat….Jangan sampai dia nanyain uang sakuku”, aku membatin pucat.

Okay, what will you do in Japan?” mulai menginterogasi.

!@#$%….^&*()?…..,”:}{[]/”, tanganku bergerak kesana kemari sembari bercerita panjang lebar tentang semua rencanaku. Aku menjadi tak khawatir sedikitpun karena akulah pembuat itinerary yang bisa diandalkan…..Yup, itinerary yang kelewat ngirit.

Good….Good….Good, nice toulist”, sekelumit sunggingan senyum sempat kulihat walau dia segera menyembunyikan. Petugas imigrasi memang begitu, pasang tampang galak adalah prosedur pertama.

Do you bling your itinelaly?”, pertahanan terakhirnya, sepertinya aku akan dengan mudah menjebolnya.

This is, Sir”, dengan muka cerah, aku menyerahkan enam lembar itinerary, lengkap dengan detail waktu, tempat yang akan kukunjungi, biaya yang akan dikeluarkan, dan alamat setiap destinasi ada di dalamnya. Dia sudah kukalahkan dengan telak.

Hoooohh….You will go to Osaka too”, manggut-manggut tapi masih saja membaca lembar demi lembar.

Yes, Sir. That’s nice city to visit”.

Yes…yes..yes….Good, welcome to Japan”, dia membuka kembali pasporku dan menaruh arrival stamp di atas visa waiver mungil berwarna pink itu.

Yesssssss….Aku masuk Jepang.

Uppsss….Pemeriksaan belum selesai rupanya.

Stop, please!”, lelaki paruh baya berjaket hitam dengan resleting yang dibiarkan terbuka sehingga terlihat jelas sweater abu-abu tebalnya menghadang langkahku.

Put your bag….Thele!”, dia menunjuk tempat menaruh tas sembari menenteng dua hand-held metal detector di kedua tangannya. Tanpa basa-basi dia menyapu backpackku dengan alat itu dengan tangan kanannya dan kemudian sapuan tangan kirinya menyusul.

Hand-held  metal detector pun berlapis begitu”, gumamku mengagumi ketatnya Narita.

Can me inspect you?”, dia menunjukkan selembar kertas bergambar rangkaian standar pemeriksaan seluruh anggota tubuh dengan cara meraba.

Yes, sure!”, aku melepas winter jacket bekas asal Pasar Baru itu.

Hooohh…you don’t need to take youl jacket off…..Hoooohh…..Do you using t-shilt? Sulely? This is Japan, you will fleeze with your t-shilt…..Hahaha”, dia terkekeh ramah.

Kurentangkan tangan dan dia mulai memeriksa. Oh, sopannya orang itu, untuk memeriksa begitu saja minta izin. Nilai sosial pertama yang kudapat dari Jepang di kunjunganku.

Tapiii…….

Aku mulai bingung dengan semua sistem transportasi negeri itu. Banyak sekali tersedia jenis kereta menuju kota. Mulai dari Narita SKY ACCESS Line, Keisei Main Line atau JR Sobu Line train, namun aku tak pernah tahu dia akan melewati jalur mana menuju Tokyo. Tombol-tombol Ticketing Vending Machine tak mudah kupahami, tak seperti biasanya aku begitu. Aku serasa tertelan kecanggihan negeri itu.

Tarif kereta menuju pusat kota.
Salah satu Ticketing Vending Machine.

Sudahlah….Aku duduk menenangkan diri dahulu di sebuah sofa empuk warna cerah yang diletakkan di sepanjang sisi dari koridor arrival hall yang alasnya didesain seperti lintasan lomba lari. Pintar, menegaskan itu adalah jalur untuk orang berjalan di dalam terminal bandara. Sembari duduk, sedih aku melihat harga makanan di sepanjang food court Narita, mahal minta ampun.

Onigiri….ya….Onigiri, itu yang termurah. Aku harus mencarinya di minimarket”, perut laparku tiba-tiba beride. Aku mulai menapaki “lintasan lari itu” dan dengan cepatnya menemukan gerai Lawson di subuah pojok koridor.

Dasar memalukan!”, aku mengutuki diri sendiri ketika diminta mundur melingkar mengikuti jalur antrian yang sungguh tak kuperhatikan.  Seorang ibu pengantri terdepan tersenyum melihatku mundur melingkar melewati sela-sela rak minimarket.

Aku keluar Lawson dengan sebuah kemenangan karena menemukan makanan murah pertamaku di Jepang. Kuberanikan diri untuk duduk di sebuah meja makan di sekitar food court Narita untuk menyantapnya.

Dua potong onigiri seharga 248 Yen (Rp. 32.000) untuk makan siang waktu itu.
Kenapa ya waktu itu aku memfoto tempat sampah segala….Hadeuh!.

Bus…Ya, bus….Tak usah kau pikirkan kereta termurah ke kota. Bus tetaplah transportasi terhemat di seluruh belahan dunia”, aku terus melihat sekitar mencari konter tiket bus sembari menyelesaikan potongan terakhir onigiriku.

Tak sulit, aku melihat mejanya di ujung kiri depan dari tempatku terduduk. Aku segera menghampiri nona muda penjaga konter dan tak ragu meminta selembar tiket menuju Tokyo.

Youl bus will depalt on 5 minutes…Hully up”, ucapnya ringan ketika menerima Yen dariku. “Sial, cepat amat”, batinku menyembunyikan ketegangan. Aku tak mau berdebat apakah tiketku akan hangus ketika aku tertinggal bus itu, karena jam keberangkatan yang tercantum di LCD meja konter memang jam 11:30.

Tiket airport bus menuju pusat kota seharga 1.000 Yen (Rp. 130.000).

Dengan cepat aku fokus mencari tanda atau logo bus. Aku menemukan gambar bus itu dan berlari kearahnya. Tak sadar, aku tak memakai winter jacket dan ketika tiba di pintu menuju shelter bus, aku terhenyak. “Gilaaaa” batinku menjerit, udara 2o C itu menembus tulangku tanpa ampun. Sejenak aku tak bisa bernafas. Tergopoh aku kembali memasuki ruangan dan banyak orang memasang muka aneh melihatku. “Please, Donny….Ini bukan daerah  tropis lagi, bodoh”, aku menghela nafas, sejak tadi aku masih berefleks bahwa udara di luar masih sama dengan udara Kuala Lumpur yang tiga hari lalu kukunjungi. Kupakai cepat jaketku dan kutatap dari jauh sopir bus itu yang berdiri di pintu bus belakang. Dia melihat jam tangannya dan menoleh kesana kemari menunggu seseorang. Aku berlari kearahnya. “Come on, Sil….I am waiting fol you”, ucapnya singkat sambil menunjuk pintu depan. Aku melompat di pintu depan dan bersiap menuju Tokyo. Seharusnya aku tak perlu panik, sepertinya dia diberitahu petugas konter bahwa masih ada satu penumpang yang akan menaiki busnya….Dasar ndeso.

Anyway….Welcome Tokyo.

Citilink QG 126 from Jakarta (HLP) to Solo (SOC)

Flight route Citilink QG 126 (source: https://flightaware.com/).

Becoming a committee chairman during college….It’s normal.

Then went on to become Committee Chairman for office events….Also it’s common.

Both of them were dizzy and tiring.

Well, this is different….

If you are told to be Committee Chairman at office,but its content program are traveling and culinary. Have you?…..Hahaha.

Yiiyyyy, this was my story….I experienced it….It was real and fun. This was my story when I agreed to become Chairman of the Marketing Conference Committee at my office. So….Let’s be happy, let’s having fun !.

As Head of Committee, I was obliged to conduct a field survey before actual event was held. I did it three months before the event was started. Now, I was going to do a survey with Deputy Chairman of Committee to destination city of the event….Solo.

On Sunday afternoon, with only a small backpack, around 1:30 p.m., I used an online taxi service to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport to catch a “green airline“. My plane would fly on 16:00 hours, so I have enough time lag, about two hours before boarding.

That afternoon was the start of national long holiday, Sunday afternoon was my departure, Monday was still a working day but I was allowed to didn’t work at office and the day after tomorrow was a national holiday. In next three days, I would not waste time in doing survey for event purposes, as well as conducting city exploration.

Arriving at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.
The boarding pass to Solo was ready.
Sweet Sit while reading “Linkers” inflight magazine.

My job was very easy this time. Not far from: room survey and food test at Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Solo, survey of Jaladara tourist train, meeting with Artcoustic Band, survey some historical places, determining where to hunting the best souvenirs and of course, finding and tasting the best culinary in “Batik City“. to be designated as culinary tourism destinations….Wow, cool.

I couldn’t imagine how enjoyable this trip was, because I didn’t need to spend a penny, all costs would be paid by my office. But this time, my Deputy Chairman who was from Bandung, his name was Rahadian, was an aerophobic, so he insisted on choosing to use train from Bandung to Solo. So, the scenario was, I would arrive in Solo this afternoon, while Rahadian would follow me on next day to hotel.

I myself arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport at two pass fifteen minutes in afternoon, taking time to get around to get to know the airport. I just checked-in half an hour later.

Walking on Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport’s apron had always been a memorable thing for me. I could proximity enjoy the plane which I was about to board right from its giant iron legs. Not infrequently, other large aircraft passed right next to plane tail so elegantly but still leave behind the noise which was generated by its two jet engines.

At exactly on 16:00 hours, I sat in window seat which numbered 18F. Moment of sitting in window seat, for me was a planned activity which I prepared before flying. So that seat I would definitely get. Beautiful scenery in the sky is the reason.

The afternoon flight went well, there wasn’t significant turbulence. Because the sky was so clear, two volcanic faces in Java land could be seen very clearly. While Alto Cumulus could be found along this flight route.

Beautiful mountain.
Cotton tub in the sky.
Is that Mount. Merapi?
Solo Touchdown.
Parking at apron which was owned by Adi Sumarmo International Airport.

The Airbus A320 twin jet was traveling at 305 mph over a distance of 371 miles in just 55 minutes. Quick flight which was beautiful.

On 17:12 hours, “The Green” wheel touched Adi Sumarmo International Airport run-off very smoothly.

Thank you Citilink. Time to explore Solo.

Alternatives to plane tickets from Jakarta to Solo can be found at 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Namanya Maeda….Vanilla Air JW 130 dari Kaohsiung (KHH) ke Tokyo (NRT)

Jalur pernerbangan Vanilla Air JW 130 (sumber: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Pramugari ayu berbalut seragam biru dengan bunga di selipan telinga kanannya itu terlihat paling muda….Juga paling cantik.  Senyumnya juga paling ceria.  Berambut pendek  kecoklatan sepanjang bahu tetapi sedikit lebih panjang di potongan sisi kirinya dan sudah barang tentu, paras oriental menjadi penyempurna keelokannya.

Namanya Maeda….

Entah, kalau dirunut, dia terletak di silsilah yang mana dengan Tadashi Maeda, seorang Laksamana Muda yang berperan penting dalam kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Nama Maeda disejarahkan sebagai sebuah Klan Samurai di Jepang. Memiliki sifat jujur, berani, setia dan memegang teguh komitmen pada kebenaran.

Berburu Yen di Kaohsiung International Airport.
Bersiap check-in.
Yes, boarding pass ditangan.
Menuju gate setelah diinterogasi cukup lama di imigrasi.

Pagi itu, dia menjadi yang tersibuk di atas Laut China Timur. Seorang keluarga asal Tiongkok terlalu keras kepala mengakuisisi deret bangku demi berkumpulnya satu keluarga kecil dalam penerbangan Vanilla Air kali ini. “Si Ayu” Maeda terus membujuknya untuk duduk sesuai nomor yang tertera dalam boarding pass. Ternyata suara lembutnya tak pernah berhasil membujuk keluarga itu untuk berpisah hingga separuh waktu penerbangan. Bahkan Maeda merayunya hingga berjongkok di depan penumpang itu.

Entah kenapa sampai sekarang pun aku masih teringat dengan si Maeda ini,

Maeda menjadi sebuah bonus dari penetapan pilihan pada maskapai yang sebenarnya aku tak mengenal baik sebelumnya. Pencarianku pada situs penyaring penerbangan berdasarkan beberapa kategori, memilihkanku pada maskapai pengakuisisi Air Asia Jepang ini. Di kemudian hari, tiket seharga Rp. 800.000 itu menerbangkanku dari Kaohsiung di Taiwan menuju Tokyo.

Bahkan waktu-waktuku sebelum bertemu Maeda ini tak seindah yang kubayangkan. Aku memaksakan diri tidur semalaman di Kaohiung International Airport di sebuah selasar Departure Hall.

Bangun pagi….Bahkan masih terkantuk pun, karena terbawa obrolan dengan penumpang lain hingga lewat tengah malam, aku bersungut-sungut menuju meja check-in setelah menukarkan sisa New Taiwan Dollarku dengan Yen.  Konter check-in bernomor D18 dengan LCD bercantum nama maskapai menyelesaikan proses itu dengan cepat.

Gate 30, tempat menunggu Vanilla Air JW 130 datang.
Boarding yang membahagiakan.
Cari bangku bernomor 27D.

Masalah lain muncul,

Di meja imigrasi, terjadi agenda klarifikasi segala yang membuatku dipisahkan dari antrian dan di dudukkan pada sebuah bangku di ujung deretan konter.

Why do your visa look like this”, Visa Waiverku dicurigai.

It’s a new waiver visa for Indonesian e-passport holder,Mam”

Wait, let me check to my boss!”.

Wanita muda itu tergopoh meninggalkanku menuju sebuah ruangan. Aku masih tenang saja menantinya kembali, hingga 15 menit lamanya.

Ahh…Aku pasti lolos”, batinku.

Ok, sir, It’s valid”, celotehnya membuyarkan beku mukaku yang sedang mengamati sebuah pojok bangunan terminal.

Setelahnya, dia melepasku untuk memasuki sebuah koridor berplafon lengkung dangan pohon-pohon artifisial di sisi kiri menuju ke gate nomor tiga puluh.

Itu dia “Si Ayu” Maeda.
Disembarkation Card dan Customs Declaration untuk memasuki Jepang.

Lalu bagaimana dengan keluarga Tiongkok yang sedari tadi dibujuk “Si Ayu” Maeda?

Bersyukur, pimpinan pramugari turun tangan membantunya dan berhasil memisahkan keluarga kecil itu sesuai prosedur penerbangan.

Mengesankan! Vanilla Air menjadi maskapai  nomor empat belas dari dua puluh delapan jenis maskapai yang telah kunaiki. Bersyukur tentunya bisa menikmati jasa penerbangan milik anak perusahaan ANA (All Nippon Airways) ini.

Pagi itu pilot menjelaskan ada sedikit badai yang berasal dari Laut Filipina, tapi syukurlah, turbulensi itu tak berlangsung lama dalam perjalanan. Pernebangan menggunakan Airbus A320, sejauh 2.500 Km, berselang tiga jam dengan ketinggian 37.000 feet ini sungguh menyenangkan. Mungkin saja, karena ini adalah titik kulminasiku dalam menjelajah Asia. Siapa sih yang tak berhasrat mengunjungi Negeri Matahari Terbit itu.

Pukul sebelas lebih beberapa menit akhirnya aku tiba Narita International Airport.

Yuk berpetualang di Tokyo!

Alternatif untuk tiket pesawat dari Kaohsiung ke Tokyo bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Citilink QG 145 from Semarang (SMG) to Jakarta (HLP)

Citilink QG 145 flight route. Source: https://flightaware.com/

Titan treated me to lunch before arriving at hotel. A portion of Pecel 1* rice near Public Senior High School 1 Semarang. Then he also supplied me with typical Semarang Presto 2* Milkfish to take back to Jakarta. Wow, he was my kind friend.

Before actually checking out, Titan, who was curious about how I chose cheap lodging, he came with me to dormitory room. He paid close attention to dormitory room and its sleeping capsules. “Great Donny, can you sleep in a capsule like this?“, he said with a smile. “When abroad, I did the same thing, Titan. That’s why I can travel at a low cost”, I replied in a whisper.

Toyota Calya in orange metallic color, picked me up at Sleep & Sleep Capsule. Simultaneously, I said goodbye to Titan to leave Semarang. Thank you Titan.

On 15:25 hours, I arrived at the airport. Without further ado and exploration, I hurried over to check-in counter. I was only forty-five minutes from boarding time. Less crowded counters allowed me to finish check-in process in fifteen minutes and finally my boarding pass was in my hand….Nice.

I continued to focus on heading to waiting room quickly. I was only thirty minutes away from flight. And exactly fifteen minutes before boarding, I reached waiting room and sat down with gasping. Not long, after enjoying the beauty of waiting room, A call from ground staff to got ready to fly echoed. Now, I was preparing at Gate 3A to enter aircraft cabin.

Ticket to Jakarta.
Citilink QG 145’s cabin interior. Sat on seat number 10A.

Now I was sitting on seat which matched with its number on boarding pass. I was getting ready to go to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, which was 394 Km from Ahmad Yani International Airport. I would fly with Airbus A320’s flying casings with a maximum altitude of 26,000 feet, with a speed of 520 mph and a travel time of 53 minutes.

During boarding process, I continued to enjoy the beauty of Ahmad Yani International Airport’s new passenger terminal from plane window. Seen some planes were back and forth coming and going on left side of plane which I was riding. The sky was cloudy, a sign that I should be prepared for a little turbulence right after take-off.

The time when had been waiting arrived, the plane was already getting ready on runway and waiting for permission to spur its jet engine into air. I was just busy in reading Citilink’s inflight magazine, i.e Linkers. Plane slowly began to advance and showing overall shape of airport from end to end. Beautiful of Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Wings Air’s ATR aircraft.
Which destination was that Air Asia to ?.
Terminal building along with ATC of Ahmad Yani International Airport during take-off.

Before breaking through thick clouds above, this flight quickly showed the beauty of Semarang’s north coast. Combination of dark clouds with orange sunlight which penetrated between clouds, combined with blue sea with the creeping of ships around port….Hmmhh, a very authentic Semarang.

The vibrations began to be felt when plane wanted to stabilize its flying altitude. But after that, sky returned clean and revealed its beauty from a height. That afternoon, I didn’t want to close my eyes and mised that amazing sky show.

Semarang north coast….Wouww, awesome.
The sun version of sky and the sun version of sea …. Beautiful isn’t it ?.
Pilots were very adept in dodging clouds….Smooth flight.

Flight incredibly felt short. Citilink began to get down above capital sky. Land of Bekasi was very dense. Several city icons were clearly visible from above. Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium, which I visited during President Cup match between Bali United and Semen Padang FC, just for seeing Irfan Bachdim’s figure closer.

While another view was LRT line which was being built along Cikampek toll road, it looked very beautiful. That was the path which almost I have taken every day throughout my profession as a salesman in capital city.

Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium was visible from a height.
LRT line which was currently under construction.

Citilink QG 145 landed at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport very smoothly. As usual, passengers would get off and walked at apron area to main terminal building. I rushed to conveyor belt to pick up luggage and then went home using an online motorcycle taxi.

Get off the plane in apron area.
Several visitors were waiting for Apron Free Shuttle Bus. I prefered to walk..

Many beautiful flights with Citilink. Thank you Citilink.

Alternatives for flight tickets from Semarang to Jakarta can be searched on 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Bus Umum dari Stasiun LRT EDSA ke NAIA

Jika kamu mengindahkan keberadaan taksi, maka meninggalkan Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) menuju ke pusat kota bukan perkara yang mudah. Sebaliknya, kembali ke NAIA dari pusat kota ternyata pun demikian. Akan begitu seterusnya jika airport train di NAIA tak segera dibangun.

Aku bertanya kepada pemuda si sebuah gerai 7-Eleven, tak ada bus dan Jeepney menuju NAIA, “Will be better if you use taxi to airport, Sir”, begitu solusi singkat darinya. Begitupun para timer bus, “No…No…No”, jawabnya singkat tanpa melihat mukaku sama sekali, mungkin mereka tak mengerti bahasa Inggris atau aku yang tak tahu diri karena tak faham Tagalog.

Kulihat dua opsir polisi berseragam biru, sedang mengatur lalu lintas di sebuah kolong jalur LRT, tak jauh dari Stasiun LRT EDSA. Aku tergopoh menyeberangi Epifano de los Santos Avenue untuk menghadap ke mereka berdua.

Can you help me, Sir?. I want go to airport. Which bus should I take?”, pertanyaan kulempar sesopan mungkin, aku tak mau membuat masalah di ujung perjalanan balik rumah.

Use that bus, it will stop at that pole”, dia menunjuk sebuah bus yang sedetik lalu melaju di depan kami bertiga. Kemudian menunjuk sebuah tiang di dekat 7-Eleven tempatku bersantap siang tadi.

Thank you, Sir”, ucapku girang karena baru saja menemukan cara pulang.

15 menit kemudian, bus datang dan tanpa ragu aku menaikinya setelah sang kondektur mengkonfirmasi bahwa dia bisa menurunkanku di Terminal 1 NAIA. Suatu kebetulan yang membuatku bahagia, karena aku harus mengambil backpack terlebih dahulu di Terminal 1 sebelum berangkat ke Jakarta dari Terminal 2.

Menaikinya dari pintu depan dan keluar dari pintu tengah.

Membayar ongkos Rp. 9.000 aku menuju NAIA melalui jalanan Manila. Janganlah dibayangkan seperti apa berkendara di Manila. Sudahlah, mirip saja Jakarta. Manila sang penyandang kota termacet di Asia telah membuat bus yang kunaiki saling berimpit merangsek di sepanjang jalan menuju bandara.  “Beruntungnya diriku, tak jadi berkukuh diri menuju Manila Baywalk. Tak terbayang, bisa-bisa aku tiba saat gelap di NAIA”, batinku lega.

Merayap di jalur lurus, merapat memenuhi badan jalan, tertahan di setiap persimpangan, terhenti di setiap lampu merah membuat sore itu begitu membosankan sekaligus mengasyikkan. Bosan karena terbiasa dengan hal seperti itu di Jakarta, Asyik karena apa yang sedang kualami terjadi di negeri orang.

Nempel terusss…..
Honda Click, Yamaha Aerox, Suzuki Raider….Beberapa brand sepeda motor di jalanan Manila.

Bus serba merah yang kunaiki kemudian menukar kejenuhan yang kualami sepanjang jalan dengan memarkirkan diri di sebuah terminal bus raksasa. Bertajuk PITX, berperan sebagai transportation hub untuk setiap bus, jeepney dan transportasi publik apapun yang akan menuju ke selatan Manila. Bangunan pengintegrasi transportasi ini terlihat gagah dan masih tampak baru. Maklum, baru berusia operasional dua tahun.

Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).
Merapat ke NAIA….Hampir sampai.

Jam hampir menunjuk bilangan lima belas, aku tiba di Terminal 1 NAIA, kondektur menurunkanku tepat di sebuah halte kecil tempatku beranjak meninggalkan NAIA pagi tadi. Mukaku tak bisa menyembunyikan rasa senang karena Jakarta seolah sudah di pelupuk mata. Dua puluh satu hari bukan waktu yang pendek untuk meninggalkan rumah menuju tempat-tempat asing yang terpisahkan samudera.

Kita ambil backpack dan pulaaaaanggggg.

The Story of Buddha’s Death at Watugong Pagoda

The moped was lauched with all its might by Titan heading south of the city. 15 kilometers away, 30 minutes in length. He said that I would be brought to the highest pagoda in Indonesia, in Pudakpayung area. Almost 12:00 hours, Titan and I arrived there, right on the edge of Perintis Kemerdekaan Street. Entering the gate, I just realized that it was a Buddhist monastery or worship complex, named Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong.

I passed a building with a roof shape which was similar to roof top at Grand Palace, Bangkok. If Grand Palace has a golden roof, this building will be brick red. This building is called Dhammasala Vihara. I started exploring it from top floor which was used as a multipurpose hall then entered its room in downstairs.

Dhammasala Vihara.
The first floor of Dhammasala Vihara is a praying room, decorated with a golden Buddha statue.

Leaving Dhammasala Vihara, I slowly approached second main section of monastery. This was what Titan meant earlier. The seven-story pagoda was with its nicknamed as Avalokitesvara Pagoda. Avalokitesvara itself comes from Sanskrit word “Avalokita” which means to hear down and “Isvara” which means sound. Meanwhile, Avalokitesvara in Chinese language is called by two words, namely “Kwan Im”. Meanwhile “Kwan Im” itself is a manifestation of compassion from Buddha.

Therefore, this temple is also known as Goddess Kwan Im Pagoda. Some people call it as Metakaruna Pagoda or Love Pagoda because of its existence to honor Kwan Sie Im Po Sat figure, Goddess of Love.

Sidharta Gautama statue under Bodhi Tree, a 65 year old Bodhi Tree.
Avalokitesvara Pagoda rises 45 meters in high.
Me dan Titan.
The 5 meter high statue of Goddess Kwan Im is located inside Avalokitesvara Pagoda.

Having finished walking around Avalokitesvara Pagoda which was guarded by God statues which arranged around each side on ground floor, I started exploring its courtyard and garden. There were twin gazebos with two layers of roofs which were used by visitors to sit and rest because they were tired after exploring vast monastery area.

Meanwhile, on other side of its courtyard was Sleeping Buddha Statue (Buddha Parinibbana), which reminded me when visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane exactly five months before my visitation to this monastery. Next to Sleeping Buddha Statue, lined Ariya Atthangika Magga Monument, which represented eightfold main path as a practice for attaining highest happiness (Nibbana).

Gazebo around pagoda.
Buddha Parinibbana which describes passing of Buddha between two Sala Trees.

I slowly started to leave Buddhagaya Vihara. 7 meters tall Ashoka Monument was also visible. A monument made from solid stone and had lion head. A meaning which is contained in this lion head is that no matter how wild a lion is, when we know its character, it will be easy to conquer.

And at the end, I passed Sanchi Gate and Watugong Monument. This gate is a replica of a gate in front of Sanchi Stupa at India. The gate was built as a symbol of respect when entering temple building.

Meanwhile, Watugong Monument was built to show origin of area name, i.e “Watugong”. The name was taken from an original natural stone in the form of a gong (Javanese musical instrument).

Almost finished in visiting.
Ashoka Monument to commemorate King Ashoka from India who obey in practicing Buddhism.
Watugong Monument and Sanchi Gate.

My visitation in Semarang had really ended. Titan would take me to Sleep & Sleep Capsule to pick up my backpack and supplies. After that I would go to Ahmad Yani International Airport and returned to Jakarta.

Thank you Semarang.