Lion Air JT 257 from Padang (PDG) to Jakarta (CGK)

Flight route JT 257 (source: https://www.radarbox.com/)

This wasn’t the first time for me to ride Lion Air, I have ridden this airline on its route: Solo-Jakarta, Jakarta-Surabaya, Jakarta-Singapore, or vice versa. However, this was the first time that I have experienced to ride a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a phenomenal type of aircraft, which had been “grounded” since double accidents, the first one was in Indonesia and the second one was in Ethiopia, with the same cause.

I finally managed to explore Minangkabau International Airport in a drizzle, but I’ll tell you later. I still have a repetition adventure to Padang on a business trip in early 2020. So please be patient if you want to peek at the authenticity of Minangkabau International Airport from this travel blog.

Drop Zone in Departure Hall of Minangkabau International Airport.

I was dropped off right in front of departure lobby by DAMRI airport bus, but after that, I didn’t immediately enter to check-in area. I prefered to take some pictures when the rain was changing its phase to be soft drizzles. I did it until several pictures were catched into my Canon EOS M10 memory card.

Let’s entered to check-in area!

Local flights, which only require a flight booking confirmation display on a smartphone screen and a national ID Card with a same name, made it easier for passengers to entering check-in area.

I had to provide patience because after leaving a check-in counter, I would wait for the “Red Lion” to come longer….Delayed, guys !. I had indeed been prepared with that condition. It wasn’t a matter about time, but about affordability of airline tickets which be my priority.

Cabin.

After taking the escalator to Departure Gate, I sat for a while in commercial hall which is located next to screening gate. Tidying up every equipments, so that it were a little tidy and comfortable when entering aircraft cabin later. Meanwhile, my 45L backpack chose to stay in plane hull for keeping my rainbow-patterned umbrella which its price is USD 3,7 which I bought at Tiga Raja Harbor five days ago.

Air conditioner.

The surprise arrived, when I headed to the prayer room for Maghrib prayer, I met Boris, a postman from Slovakia.

Me         :     “Hi, Boris….What happen to your flight?

Boris      :     ”Hi, Donny, It’s crazy…..Very long delay with Citilink

I didn’t talk for long because Boris had started to enter a queue towards the gate, he flew to Surabaya, then he would continue his journey to Malang as soon as he landed. Gubeng Station was his choice to depart from “City of Heroes“. I got this information while talking in the back seat of Maestro Travel five hours ago. What I observed, mineral water bottles which I gave was still intact tucked into left of his backpack….Hahaha, how can, that water could be escaped from airport screening gate.

After waiting for a long time, finally JT 257 flight started to calling its passengers. I started to queuing up and getting ready for trip towards Soekarno Hatta International Airport with flight price for USD 41.7. I bought this ticket about 11 days before departure.

Through the aerobridge, I entered cabin, actually I just found out that this plane is a Boeing 737 MAX 8 type after one of its crew who holding the microphone informed it when demonstrated passenger safety standards.

Besides new, the first impression that I got after sitting in a window seats were its relief and futuristic appearance. Then, plane was in the best position to start its jet engine, the pilot was waiting for a confirmation to fly. A few minutes later I actually left Padang.

The slightly cloudy night made the plane slightly shaken and penetrated into low clouds in “Minang” sky. What I saw later were sequels to earth lamps show between thin black clouds. Beautiful and enchanting as a bedtime. And then….

Dark….

Dark……..

Dark…………

I slept under the cover of extreme fatigue after six days traveling around Sumatra. It looked like I slept for 1 hour 45 minutes, which was equivalent to flight time. Sleeping for more than 700 km along with the smooth performance of aircraft which was owned by the largest private airline in my country.

Landing.
I arrived at Cengkareng on past midnight.
An airline that has been in the air for 20 years.
Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) is the mainhub of Lion Air.

I arrived in sleepy condition, then hurriedly stopped DAMRI airport bus which was heading to Kampung Rambutan Terminal. Then I arrived at home by a motorbike taxi and thanked to Allah for giving me an exploration opportunity which was be an umpteenth chapter in the story of my life’s journey.

It is time to close story of my journey to Sumatra Land. And move on to the next trip.

Where am I going to ????

Yes, SEMARANG…….

DAMRI Bus from Padang to Minangkabau International Airport

I ate its authentic taste of tambusuprocessed cow intestines with egg, tofu and spices in it – as the last dinner in a week of my adventure in Sumatra land. a culinary incident bothered me in mid-chewing. I thought that a chewy thing was a part of tambusu menu….Oh….it was a rubber band.

Restaurant owner : “Looks like Uda come from far away.”

Me                               :     “From Jakarta, Uda.

Restaurant owner     :     “Do you work in Padang, Uda?”

Me                              :     “Oh, no Uda. I’m just traveling.”

Restaurant owner     :     “Ohh….Where have you been, Uda?

Me                              :     “A few days ago I toured to Medan, Toba, Siantar, Pekanbaru and Bukittinggi, Uda. The last one is Padang….Now, I want to fly back to Jakarta.”

Restaurant owner    :     “Wow, this is great, Uda. The totality in traveling.

Light conversation was interrupted by Black Calya (Calya is Toyota brand in Indonesia) arrival who would take me to DAMRI Bus shelter in Hasanuddin Street. In pouring rain, I finally wet online taxi front seat. Luckily the owner was very friendly and ignored it, even though it was a new car which still had a strong factory scent.

Hasanuddin Street.

Unlike what I imagined, it turned out that the splendor of DAMRI bus shelter in my mindset was only realized by a open tent space which wasn’t better than a city bus shelter in general.

DAMRI Airport Bus shelter.

I was waiting for DAMRI bus arrival which would transfer me from Padang downtown to Minangkabau International Airport which was about 25 kilometers away and took about 40 minutes. All can be redeemed for USD 1.8.

While waiting for DAMRI bus to arrived, I continued to observe a soccer game which playing by teenagers who scattered to fill Imam Bonjol Square field for rain party while playing “the round leather“.

Imam Bonjol Square.

DAMRI bus conductor suddenly called me, “Uda, come on, get on, we’re going!” I didn’t even realize that DAMRI bus had arrived earlier.

That’s DAMRI Airport Bus.

Wet condition of DAMRI bus corridor showed that Minangkabau International Airport wasn’t spared from rain. This was a signal that I wouldn’t be free to search for material to writing a content about Minangkabau International Airport. Ahhh….I could miss an important content.

Only a few passengers

Air conditioner on DAMRI bus was so cold that it made me shiver because my T-shirt itself was too damp. A few passengers that afternoon made me not embarrassed in deciding to change my t-shirt on bus. Sitting at backseat and no one noticed me while shirtless….Hahaha.

Maybe because of heavy rain, so many people were reluctant to be on streets and prefered to temporarily postpone their own needs. Because of that, Streets were empty and made me quickly arrived at Minangkabau International Airport.

Minangkabau International Airport.

It was time to going back to Jakarta with Boeing 737 MAX 8 which is owned by Lion Air.

Batang Arau, Siti Nurbaya Bridge and Boeing 737 MAX 8

Dengarkan Manusia  yang Terasah oleh Falsafah

Sesaat Katanya itu bukan Dogma

(Cukup Siti Nurbaya by Dewa 19, year 1995)

White iron horse” digital miniature continued to approaching in a popular application. As a result, I had to open my rainbow motif umbrella and in a moment my feet stepped on the sidewalk. I got ready for entering white Avanza (a brand name of Toyota in Indonesia).

T-shirts which were already getting damp, some parts of backpack which were already soaking wet, combined with AC cold bursts of online taxi made my condition was uncomfortable at all. All due to my desire that wanted to spend the remaining sixty minutes to add my destination collection. Though actually, if I thought deeper, it didn’t really matter at all….Hahaha.

Driver    :     “Heavy rain like this, why do you impose yourself to go to the bridge, Uda?

Me        :     “Yes Uda, just curious

Driver    :     “But indeed, there are a lot of people who visiting that place, Uda. The view of Batang Arau River is very beautiful

Me :     “So that’s why, Uda

Batang Arau River has Mount Padang background at its end.

I didn’t know why that afternoon, Padang earthquake in 2009 continued to fulfill my brain capacity. I continued to investigate the driver about the story behind tragedy. What happened after earthquake shocks? What did the panic look like afterward? He explained that sea water had receded at that time. “This is a sign that we are ready to be hit by a tsunami, Uda“, he said choked up. People had resigned in prayer, everyone were ready to face the end of destiny. Luckily the disaster didn’t really happen.

18 year old bridge.

Within twenty minutes, the online taxi had crossed the bridge which I was aiming for. Not stopping, but he chose to pass a small u-turn at the end and then lowered me right in the middle of bridge.

Borrowing legendary woman name in Minang land, this bridge form is very easily recorded in memory. Yellow black poles with milky white lamps at its top, straddling Batang Arau River which has a width of about 160 meters, with green hills background and traditional ornament boats moored along the river…. Really beautiful.

Roasted corn traders seemed to prepare their mini stalls. If I could stay until dark, maybe I would enjoy a street culinary party over Siti Nurbaya bridge. Unfortunately my time wasn’t long.

The next plan is, I would quicken dinner time before arriving at airport, for saving my budget, of course. I chose “Warung Nasi Kapau Bandar Damar” to execute the plan. After that I immediately went to Minangkabau International Airport, catching Lion Air JT 257 which was scheduled to fly at 21:20.

Later, I will tell you how about my first flight with Boeing 737 MAX 8, the most beautiful opportunity to feel flying sensation with it before this aircraft type was grounded after Lion Air JT 610 crash in Tanjung Pakis waters, Karawang, Indonesia which was followed by a similar accident on Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 on farm land, Bishoftu city.

That was my quick journey story in Siti Nurbaya Bridge.

If you go to Padang, don’t forget to visit it!