Bus No A1 dari Bahrain International Airport menuju Pusat Kota

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Airport bus no A1.

Setelah membeli beberapa kebutuhan penting seperti SIM card, mata uang lokal Dinar dan kartu transportasi umum GO card, maka aku pun menyempatkan diri sejenak untuk menuju halaman parkir bandara demi melihat bentuk utuh bandara kebanggaan Bahrain tersebut dari pelataran depannya.

Ketika tiba di pertengahan lahan parkir….

Aku berdiri di sisi selatan bangunan bandara, aku menghadapkan muka ke arah barat. Satu hal yang membuat damai dalam tatapan tersebut adalah siraman matahari senja yang membuat nuansa di depan bandara menjadi melankolis. Membuatku tak merasa jauh dari rumah.

Spektrum sinar jingga itu menerobos di sela-sela padatnya kendaraan yang terparkir rapi di pelataran. Sedangkan sebaran tiang lampu menjulang seragam bak jari-jari senja yang bersiap menyambut gelap untuk unjuk diri.

Menjelang pukul enam sore….

Kuputuskan untuk meninggalkan halaman parkir bandara demi menuju halte airport bus. Aku berdiri di salah satu sisi platform dan telah menyiapkan mental untuk memasuki pusat kota.

Lima belas menit lamanya aku menunggu kedatangan airport bus, membuat kaki terasa pegal berdiri terlalu lama menunggunya. Bersyukur sebelum hari beranjak terlalu gelap, bus tersebut menampakkan muka di ujung tikungan drop-off zone bandara. Aku menatapnya awas, mencari penanda bahwa bus yang baru saja datang itu adalah bus tepat yang akan kunaiki. Kulihat jelas, kode “A1” tampak berada di ujung kanan atas dashboard bus.

Yes, itu bus yang sedang kutunggu”, aku membatin senang.

Tak lama kemudian, bus itu merapat di halte dan berhenti tepat di depanku. Tanpa pikir panjang aku pun melompat melalui pintu depan. Men-tap GO card di sebuah fare machine terdekat dengan pengemudi, aku memperhatikan dengan seksama bahwa saldo GO card ku berkurang sebanyak 250 Fils.

Tak lama menaikkan segenap penumpang, airport bus bernomor A1 mulai merangsek meninggalkan bandara melalui ruas Airport Avenue. Pada sisi ini, pemandangan awal kota mulai memapar pandangan. Pelita-pelita bumi mulai dinyalakan.

Keelokan panorama kota semakin tampak memesona mata ketika bus menyusuri Shaikh Hamad Causeway. Melintasi jembatan Shaikh Hamad yang mengangkangi ceruk laut Khawr Al Qulay’ah, membuatku bisa menatap ke sejauh hamparan perairan ceruk yang di ujung utaranya memperlihatkan indahnya bangunan bercahaya The World Trade Center. Bangunan bak piramid terbelah itu memendarkan warna biru dan hijau secara bersamaan.

Menyelesaikan etape di Jembatan Shaikh Hamad, bus mulai memasuki area lain perkotaan yang padat kembali. Semua area yang kulewati tampak sama seperti kota-kota besar lain di dunia yang pernah aku kunjungi.

Secara keseluruhan bus yang kunaiki melalui 19 halte berbeda. Sedangkan aku hanya akan turun, jika bus telah mencapai halte Ministry of Education di pusat kota Manama.

Berdasarkan informasi yang kuperoleh, Plaza Hotel tempatku menginap hanya berjarak 100 meter di timur halte tersebut. 

Dalam satu jam perjalanan, akhirnya aku tiba di halte yang kusasar. Tak terasa aku telah menelusuri keindahan kota sepanjang 10 kilometer.

Selamat datang Manama.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Taken to Safir Airport Hotel, Kuwait

<—-Previous Story

I slowly walked to enjoy each arrival hall corridor in Terminal 4, Kuwait International Airport. There wasn’t rush, because my next flight was still fifteen hours away.

Moving to the transfer hall, my step rhythm became fast because aviation security officers arranged it in that way. Not long, I was in front of the screening gate after showing boarding pass to the female Kuwait Airways staff from Philippines. Damn, the screening process finally confiscated my mineral water.

Passing duty free zone in 1st floor, instinct directed me to find the most comfortable place to close my eyes. The trauma of being late has kept me awake at Bahrain Plaza Hotel since three o’clock in the morning. Now sleepiness overtaked me.

I went up to the 2nd floor via an elevator near gate B1. Excited, I caught fourteen long green sofas uninhabited right next to the departure gate D5-6. “Yeaaa….This is my bed”, the heart mumbled.

—-****—-

Police: “Hello, Sir?”, a man with white robe woke me up.

Me: “Yes, sir”, I was surprised because I suddenly woke up.

Police: “Can I see your ticket and passport?”

Me: “Sure, Sir”, I frantically looked for it which was somehow tucked away.

Police: “Ohh, long transit. What airline did you use before?”

Me: “Kuwait Airways, Sir”, I showed my boording pass fragment.

Police: “Follow me now!”, upss, I got a problem …..

My heart beated faster as I followed his steps. Arriving at screening gate area where I originally have arrived several minutes ago, through a special door I was directed to Kuwait Airways Customer Service desk. I didn’t know what he said to staffs, until he called me to come closer. “Come!”, he said.

Customer Service staff apologized for didn’t carefully check my ticket. Even though my two tickets were non-connecting flights. But because both using Kuwait Airways, I got a benefit of staying at Safir Airport Hotel. Considering my next flight had to wait more than eight hours.

Police: “Enjoy your trip”, he said without a smile.

Me: “thank you very much, Sir”.

Police: “Welcome”, he just walked away.

For me, he wasn’t the airport police, but he ws an angel who suddenly came to me.

Transit card as access to hotel.

Passing back through the screening gate, I headed to gate B1 as instructed. Two Filipino ground staff invited me to sit and wait for airline shuttle bus to pick up. Then, one of them was seen busy with a walkie talkie to calling the shuttle bus in question.

Picked me up with two female passengers from Qatar.

Lobby Area

The airline shuttle bus freely took me around the airport. The bustle of cargo area with large cargo planes background left me stunned.

Ten minutes later, I was dropped off right in front of hotel’s lobby. A policeman suddenly stood up from his relaxed seat at the screening gate. He was seriously observing my single backpack inside the Luggage Screening Device. “OK, clear”, his words ending the process.

Lobby gate.
Area with sofa.
Area without sofa.
Departure fight information.

Room Area

I walked down the corridor to room 113. It was a pleasure to be able to taste the hotel which fare abour for 54 Kuwait Dinar per night. It was just a shame, I couldn’t enjoy all its free luxurious facilities because of a severe flu attack since left Bahrain. I spent the entire room and toilet’s paper to fight clear mucus which kept uncontrollably flowing from my nose.

Corridor leading to the room.
Got a twin bed room.
Bathroom.
Poor sleeping.

Scenery

Suddenly I woke up because curious about view in the window. A service plane from the Kingdom of Kuwait was seen parked unaccompanied. Half an hour later, a military transport plane, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landed, it was the type of plane which was destroyed by Donatello in the film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

I even had time to enjoy a row of fighter jets at a side of airport. Indeed Kuwait International Airport was basically a development of Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base belonging to the Kuwait Air Force. Wow, lucky me.

Kuwaiti Royal Service Aircraft.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.

Restaurant

A call from receptionist woke me up, “Sir, please come down!”. I briefly answered “Wait for 10 minutes, Sir”. I packed my gears into backpack. Then hurry down. “Why do you bring your backpack and check-out, I just want to give you an information that it’s dinner time”, he said with a laugh. Suddenly, I returned to the room embarrassed. Then went down again for dinner.

Al-Dawarza Restaurant.
Restaurant terrace.

Hmmm….Unforgettable memories.

Next Story—->

Kuwait Airways KU 614 from Bahrain to Kuwait

<—-Previous Story

KU 614 flight route (source: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Exactly on five in the morning I started to wash my body in the bathroom of Bahrain Plaza Hotel. That day, I would leave Bahrain and heading to Kuwait. After making sure all equipments wasn’t left behind, I went down to the first floor to hand over the key and headed to the nearest bus shelter. Not far, just three hundred meters at south of the hotel, right in front of Manama Cemetery.

Ten minutes later, the bus from MAN manufacturer numbered A1 arrived. Entering from its front door and tapping Go Card to pay the fare worth BHD 0.300, I drove to Bahrain International Airport for the next a hour.

Arriving at the airport on 07:45 hours, I went straight to 1st floor. Its check-in area wan’t better than the same counter owned by Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (second airport in Jakarta). The flight number which didn’t appeared yet on the Departure Hall LCD gave me time to exchange the remaining Bahraini Dinar (BHD). Apparently the money changer on the 1st floor didn’t want to accept small amount of Dinar, fortunately the Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) on the 0th floor was still willing to accept it.

On 9:30 hours, the check-in counter for Kuwait Airways flight KU 614 began to open. I briefly explained that I was going to Qatar with two non-connecting flights and would transit in Kuwait. The young male staff only once asked me about the Qatar Visa. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir“, I answered to ending the conversation and he gave two tickets with the blue bird logo at once. The ticket itself I ordered on nine months before departure.

Kuwait Airways was the 27th airline which I boarded.

Smoothly passing through the immigration counter, I immediately headed to Gate 15 which was located in the corner of departure waiting hall with a narrow hallway which connects to the aerobridge. Waiting for boarding time, I continued to observe the flow of Gulf Air, a well-known airline belonging to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Departure waiting room.

A little late, I started boarding on 11:51 hours. Couldn’t wait to experience the first time flying with Kuwait Airways, the airline belonging to the Kingdom of Kuwait.

Late for a hour.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Immediately took a seat as stated on the boarding pass and preparing for a short flight of 420 km which would be covered in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Seat number 17A was where I sat.
Thank you 12Go for being an Affiliate Partner for travelingpersecond.com.
Alburaq inflight magazine.

It appeared that some of the airline’s aircrew were from the Philippines and some from African region. During the flight, I noticed that alcohol bottles weren’t visible on food trolley, it looked like the Kuwait Airways flight was an alcohol-free flight…..It was cool.

Watching “The Martian“.
The Low Fat Meal (LFML) menu which I ordered together with the ticket order.

That afternoon the air on the southwest bank of Persian Gulf was clear. This made my flight felt very smooth, with no turbulence at all. Nice flight.

Sunny weather in early January.
How did the feel, flying with Middle East people?.

DIn the last quarter of flight, the plane began to lower and revealed the land of Kuwait which looked arid and hot. I myself couldn’t wait to get to know Kuwait International Airport which was the main hub of Kuwait Airways.

Middle East mainland which typical sandy brown.
Busyness at Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Kuwait city view.

The time was 13:35 hours. After the plane came to a perfect stop, I immediately left the fuselage for Transit Hall of Kuwait International Airport. I would patiently wait until four o’clock on the next morning to heading to Qatar.

A320-251N Neo Generation of Airbus

Next Story—->

Digelandang Menuju Safir Airport Hotel, Kuwait

Aku berjalan pelan untuk menikmati setiap koridor Arrival Hall di Terminal 4, Kuwait International Airport. Tak diburu waktu, karena waktu terbang berikutnya masih lima belas jam lagi.

Berpindah di Transfer Hall, ritme langkah menjadi cepat karena petugas aviation security mengaturnya demikian. Belum semenit, aku sudah di depan screening gate setelah menunjukkan tiket terusan pada staff wanita Kuwait Airways asal Philippina. Sial, proses screening akhirnya menyita mineral waterku.

Melewati duty free zone di lantai 1, insting mengarahkanku untuk mencari tempat ternyaman demi memejamkan mata. Trauma keterlambatan, membuatku terjaga di Bahrain Plaza Hotel sejak jam tiga pagi. Kini kantuk menggelayutiku.

Aku naik ke lantai 2 melalui sebuah lift dekat gate B1. Girang hati, memergoki empat belas sofa panjang berwarna hijau tak berpenghuni tepat di sebelah departure gate D5-6. “Yeaaa….Inilah tempat tidurku”, hati bergumam.

—-****—-

Polisi: “Hello, Sir?”, seorang bergamis putih membangunkanku.

Aku: “Yes, Sir”, aku terperanjat karena terbangun mendadak.

Polisi: “Can me see your ticket and passport?

Aku: “Sure, Sir”, gelagapan mencarinya yang entah terselip dimana.

Polisi: ”Ohh, long transit. What airline did you use before?”

Aku: ”Kuwait Airways, Sir”, kutunjukkan penggalan tiket itu.

Polisi: “Follow me now!”, wah masalah …..

Jantung berdegup lebih cepat ketika mengikuti langkahnya. Tiba di area screening gate semula tiba, melalui pintu khusus aku diarahkan ke meja Customer Service Kuwait Airways. Entah dia bicara apa kepada staff itu, hingga dia memanggilku untuk mendekat. “Come!”, katanya.

Staff Customer Service meminta maaf karena kurang teliti memeriksa tiketku. Walaupun dua tiketku adalah non-connecting flight, karena keduanya menggunakan Kuwait Airways, maka aku mendapatkan benefit menginap di Safir Airport Hotel. Mengingat  penerbangan berikutnya harus menunggu lebih dari delapan jam.

Polisi: “Enjoy your trip”, ucapnya tanpa senyum.

Aku: ”thank you very much, Sir”.

Polisi: ”Welcome”, dia berlalu begitu saja.

Bagiku di bukan polisi bandara melainkan malaikat yang mendadak datang menghampiriku.

Transit card sebagai akses menuju hotel.

Melewati kembali screening gate, aku menuju ke gate B1 seperti yang diperintahkan. Dua ground staff berkebangsaan Philippina mempersilahkan duduk untuk menunggu airline van penjemput. Kemudian, satu diantaranya terlihat sibuk dengan handy talkie memanggil van yang dimaksud.

Dijemput bersama dua penumpang wanita asal Qatar.

Area Lobby

Airline van mengajakku berkeliling bandara dengan leluasa. Kesibukan di area kargo dengan latar pesawat kargo berbadan besar membuatku terpana.

Sepuluh menit kemudian, aku diturunkan tepat di depan lobby. Seorang polisi mendadak berdiri dari duduk santainya di screening gate. Dia begitu serius mengamati backpack tunggalku di dalam Luggage Screening Device. “OK, clear”, sahutnya mengakhiri proses.

Pintu lobby.
Area bersofa.
Area lesehan.
Departure fight information.

Area Kamar

Aku menyusuri koridor menuju ke kamar 113. Senangnya hati bisa mencicipi hotel berharga Rp. 2.500.000 per malam itu. Hanya sayang, aku tak bisa menikmati seluruh fasilitas mewahnya karena serangan flu berat bawaan dari Bahrain. Seluruh tisu kamar dan toilet kuhabiskan untuk melawan ingus bening yang terus mengalir tak terkendali dari hidung.

Koridor menuju ke kamar.
Mendapat twin bed room.
Kamar mandi.
idur yang tak nyenyak.

Pemandangan

Sebentar-bentar terbangun karena penasaran dengan pemandangan di jendela. Tampak pesawat dinas Kerajaan Kuwait yang terparkir tanpa kawalan, setengah jam kemudian mendaratlah pesawat angkut militer Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, jenis pesawat yang dihancurkan Donatello dalam film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows….Keren.

Bahkan aku sempat menikmati deretan jet tempur di salah satu sisi. Memang Kuwait International Airport pada dasarnya adalah pengembangan dari Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base milik Angkatan Udara Kuwait. Wah, beruntungnya diriku.

Pesawat Dinas Kerajaan Kuwait.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.

Restoran

Telepon dari resepsionis membangunkanku, “Sir, please come down!”. Kujawab singkat “Wait for 10 minutes, Sir”. Aku mengepak perlengkapanku ke dalam backpack. Kemudian bergegas turun. “Why do you bring your backpack and check-out, I just want to give you an information that it’s dinner time”, ungkapnya sambil tertawa. Sontak, aku kembali ke kamar dengan malunya. Kemudian turun lagi untuk bersantap malam.

Al-Dawarza Restaurant.
Teras restoran

Hmmh….Kenangan tak terlupakan.

Kuwait Airways KU 614 dari Bahrain Ke Kuwait

Rute penerbangan KU 614 (sumber: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Tepat jam lima pagi aku mulai mengguyur badan di kamar mandi Bahrain Plaza Hotel. Hari itu juga, aku akan meninggalkan Bahrain dan menuju ke Kuwait. Setelah memastikan segenap perlengkapan tak tertinggal, aku turun ke lantai satu untuk menyerahkan kunci dan menuju ke shelter bus terdekat. Tak jauh, cuma tiga ratus meter di selatan hotel, tepat di depan Manama Cemetery.

Sepuluh menit kemudian Bus asal pabrikan MAN bernomor A1 tiba. Masuk dari pintu depan dan men-tap Go Card untuk membayar tarif senilai Rp 12.000, aku meluncur menuju Bahrain International Airport selama satu jam ke depan.

Tiba di airport pada jam 07:45, aku langsung menuju ke lantai 1. Area check-in yang tak lebih elok dari konter yang sama milik Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. Nomor penerbangan yang tak kunjung muncul di LCD Departure Hall, membuatku memiliki waktu untuk menukar Bahraini Dinar (BHD) tersisa. Rupanya money changer di lantai 1 tak mau menerima Dinar dalam jumlah kecil, beruntung Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) di lantai 0 masih mau menerimanya.

Jam 9:30, konter check-in untuk penerbangan Kuwait Airways KU 614 mulai dibuka. Kujelaskan singkat bahwa aku akan menuju Qatar dengan dua non-connecting flight dan akan transit di Kuwait. Staff pria muda itu hanya sekali bertanya kepadaku perihal Visa Qatar. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir”, jawabku mengakhiri percakapan dan dia memberikan dua tiket berlogo burung biru sekaligus. Tiker sendiri aku pesan 9 bulan sebelum keberangkatan.

Kuwait Airways adalah maskapai ke-27 yang kunaiki.

Melewati konter imigrasi dengan mulus, aku segera menuju ke Gate 15 yang berlokasi di pojok ruangan dengan selasar sempit yang terhubung ke jalur aerobridge. Menunggu waktu boarding, aku terus mengamati lalu-lalang Gulf Air, maskapai kenamaan milik Kerajaan Bahrain.

Ruang tunggu keberangkatan.

Sedikit terlambat, aku mulai boarding pada jam 11:51. Rasa tak sabar menggelayuti hati untuk merasakan pertama kalinya penerbangan Kuwait Airways, maskapai milik Kerajaan Kuwait.

Satu jam terlambat.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Segera mengambil tempat duduk sesuai yang tertera di boarding pass dan mempersiapkan diri untuk penerbangan pendek sejauh 420 km yang akan ditempuh dalam waktu  1 jam 10 menit.

Bangku nomor 17A yang kududuki.
Terima kasih 12Go sudah menjadi Affiliate Parner untuk travelingpersecond.com.
Alburaq inflight magazine.

Tampak bahwa beberapa aircrew maskapai ini berkebangsaan Philippines dan beberapa dari kawasan Afrika. Selama penerbangan, kuperhatikan botol-botol minuman beralkohol tak nampak pada food trolley, sepertinya penerbangan Kuwait Airways adalah penerbangan bebas alkohol….. Keren.

Menonton “The Martian”.
Menu Low Fat Meal (LFML) yang kupesan bebarengan dengan pemesanan tiket.

Siang itu udara di tepian barat daya Teluk Persia tampak cerah. Hal ini menjadikan penerbanganku terasa sangat mulus, tanpa turbulensi sama sekali. Penerbangan yang menyenangkan.

Cuaca cerah di awal Januari.
Berasa gimana gitu, terbang bersama warga Timur Tengah.

Di seperempat terakhir mengudara, pesawat mulai merendah dan menampakkan daratan Kuwait yang tampak gersang dan panas. Aku sendiri tak sabar ingin segera mengenal Kuwait International Airport yang menjadi mainhub Kuwait Airways.

Daratan Timur tengah yang khas coklat berpasir.
Kesibukan di Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Penampakan kota Kuwait.

Waktu menunjukkan jam 13:35. Selepas pesawat berhenti sempurna, aku segera meninggalkan badan pesawat menuju ke Transit Hall Kuwait International Airport. Aku akan bersabar menunggu hingga pukul empat pagi di keesokan harinya untuk menuju Qatar.

Airbus generasi Neo A320-251N