Supadio International Airport: Pertama dan Kesembilan

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

ARRIVAL HALL

Menjadi bandar udara pertama yang akan kukunjungi di Pulau Kalimantan, Supadio International Airport tentu akan segera mengantarkanku ke beragam destinasi wisata Kalimantan Barat yang menarik untuk ditelusuri.

Pukul sepuluh lebih sekian menit, Lion Air JT 712 berhasil merapat di apron. Alhamdulillah penerbangan berlangsung dengan sangat lancar tanpa kurang satu apapun.

Aku pun bergegas menarik backpack 45L dari bagasi begitu lampu tanda sabuk pengaman dipadamkan. Aku bersemangat untuk segera meninggalkan kabin dan menghirup udara Borneo.

Tak menunggu lama, pintu kabin bagian depan pun dibuka dan aku yang berada di kursi buncit tetap saja harus keluar paling akhir walau menjadi yang pertama bersiap keluar.

Seperti biasa….

Aku menghentikan langkah di pertengahan aerobridge, menepi di salah satu sisinya dan melakukan pengamatan di sekitar apron. Melihat proses unloading di sisi kanan dan melihat muka bandar udara di sisi kirinya.

Berarti ini yang kesembilan…Emmhhh….Yups benar sembilan”, aku kembali mengingat dan kemudian mantab menyebutkan nomor itu dalam batin….Yupz, ini bandara di tanah air kesembilan yang pernah aku singgahi.

Walaupun berfungsi sebagai akses utama menuju Pontianak, sesungguhnya bandar udara ini berlokasi di Kab. Kubu Raya.
Ternyata sudah menjalani renovasi empat tahun lalu.

Selepas aerobridge, aku mulai menyusuri koridor kedatangan. Tampak nyata bahwa bandara itu baru saja mendapatkan sentuhan renovasi. Segenap interiornya tersemat sentuhan-sentuhan modern.

Nuwun semu, Mas…., suara itu datang dari sebelah kiri. Membuatku tersadar bahwa aku telah menghalangi koridor.

Oh, ngapunten, Mas….”, aku refleks menjawab. “Loh, Mase nJawine pundi?….Katah nggeh tiyang nJawi wonten mriki?”, aku meneruskannya dengan pertanyaan lain sembari menyejajari langkahnya.

“Kulo saking Malang….Njih lumayan katah, Mas….Nopo Mase nembe jalan-jalan tho?”, dia mengimbangi percakapan.

“Njih, Mas….Namung backpackeran niki”, aku menjawab sekenanya. “Mase, mesti anak kuliahan niki”, aku melihat penampilannya yang seperti seorang pelajar.

“Njih, Mas…Leres. Mase bade tindak pundi tho?”,dia terus berjalan , menggendong backpack dan menenteng tas di setiap tangannya.

“Singkawang, Mas”, aku menjelaskan sembari mengotak-atik settingan Canon EOSku.

“Oalah…Kota Amoy….Mantab….Ngatos-atos nggih mas”, dia tampak mulai terburu waktu.

“Njih, Mas”, aku melambaikan tangan kepadanya.

Percakapan itu berakhir tepat di pertengahan escalator menuju arrival hall. Melompat di ujung escalator, aku kembali merasa ngeri. Begitu penuhnya balai kedatangan dengan para penumpang yang sedang mengantri menulis sesuatu pada lembaran.

“Itu apa, Bang?”, tanyaku pada salah satu dari mereka yang sudah selesai mengisi.

“Ini manual eHAC, Bang”

“Oh, Okay”, aku sudah mengisi eHAC (electronic-Health Alert Card) semalam di Aplikasi PeduliLindungi sehingga hanya memerlukan sedikit arahan dari petugas.

Setelah menemui seorang aviation security, dia menjelaskan bahwa aku hanya perlu men-scan barcode eHAC ku di ujung antrian tanpa perlu mengisi form manual.

Arrival hall.
Tempat pengambilan bagasi.
Sisi luar bandara yang namanya diambil dari nama seorang pilot yang gugur pada kecelakaan pesawat terbang di Bandung.

Benar saja, aku melewati tahap akhir pemeriksaan dengan mudah. Setelahnya, aku hanya melintas saja di area coveyor belt karena memang tak memiliki bagasi yang harus diambil. Aku hanya membawa backpack yang sebetulnya over muatan. Bobot tas seberat hampir sepuluh kilogram bisa lolos masuk ke kabin dari pemeriksaan di konter check-in di Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Tapi toh tetap tak masalah apabila itu ketahuan karena Lion Air JT 712 menyediakan kuota bagasi seberat dua puluh kilo untuk setiap penumpangnya.

“Aku harus segera bertolak ke Singkawang”, aku mulai berfikir. “Aku harus berburu pemberangkatan DAMRI terdekat”.

Menghindari kebingungan, aku bertanya kepada seorang aviation security perihal keberadaan bus DAMRI menuju ke Singkawang. Tetapi jawaban petugas itu membuatku hilang harapan. Bagaimana tidak, bus DAMRI ke Singkawang saat itu hanya berangkat sekali saja pada pukul tujuh pagi dan akan kembali dari Singkawang menuju Pontianak pada pukul lima sorenya. Hal itu disebabkan karena kebijakan PPKM beberapa minggu sebelumnya sehingga Pontianak mengalami sepi pengunjung.

Artinya aku harus mencari transportasi lain menuju ke Singkawang….

Dan aku sudah cukup faham, bahwa tak ada pilihan lain, aku harus menunggang taksi menuju ke Singkawang jika tak ingin kemalaman.

—-****—-

DEPARTURE HALL

Aku hanya memiliki masa lima hari untuk melanglang Kalimantan Barat. Jadi aku memutuskan untuk memfokuskan eksplorasi di dua kota saja, yaitu Singkawang dan Pontianak. Karena keberangkatanku menuju Pontianak jatuh di hari Kamis maka pada hari Seninnya aku harus kembali ke ibu kota.

Perjalananku menuju ibu kota dimulai dari G-Hotel yang terletak di pusat kota. Kali ini aku tak perlu memesan ojek online, karena Bang Hendra akan menjemputku di lobby hotel dan mengantarkanku ke bandara.

Bang Hendra sendiri adalah kakak kandung dari teman karibku di kantor yang asli Pontianak. Aku baru berkenalan dengan Bang Hendra sehari sebelum kepulanganku. Kemarin aku dijemputnya di Masjid Raya Mujahidin untuk diantarkan ke Pondok Pengkang di daerah Siantan. Begitu beruntungnya aku memiliki banyak teman yang baik hati.

Sebelum jam satu siang, Bang Hendra telah menurunkanku di drop-off zone Supadio International Airport. Kali ini aku akan turut serta dalam penerbangan Lion Air JT 715 yang berencana take-off pada pukul tiga sore.

Usai mengambil beberapa potret bandara  dari beberapa posisi terbaik, aku memutuskan segera masuk ke departure hall dengan memperlihatkan e-ticket dan identitas diri kepada petugas aviation security yang berjaga di pintu masuk.

Sama ketika berangkat dari Soekarno Hatta International Airport, kali ini aku tak perlu mengantri di meja verifikasi layak terbang. Oleh petugas aviation security, aku diminta lansung menuju konter check-in karena telah memiliki hasil PCR di aplikasi PeduliLindungi.

Tetapi sayang, konter check-in masih dalam tahap persiapan sehingga aku harus menunggu seperempat jam lamanya hingga konter tersebut benar-benar dibuka. Dan entah kenapa, departure hall dipenuhi oleh banyak tentara yang akan melakukan penerbangan.

Kak, semalam saya gagal check-in online. Apakah saya bisa diberikan window seat di bagian belakang kabin”, pintaku pada ground staff wanita yang bertugas setelah konter dibuka.

Dia hanya tersenyum mengangguk sebagai pengganti jawaban lisan. Atas kebaikannya, aku diberikan bangku bernomor 33F, selisih satu bangku dengan bangku saat aku berangkat dari Jakarta lima hari lalu.

Mendapatkan boarding pass jauh dari boarding time tentu membuatku lega. Aku menyempatkan Dzuhur di sebuah mushola di lantai pertama bandara. Kali ini aku ditunjuk sebagai imam oleh beberapa petugas aviation security yang akan menunaikan Dzuhur juga di saat yang sama.

Bangunan bandara dengan tiga identitas etnis, yaitu Dayak, Melayu dan Tionghoa.
Drop-off zone.
Bagian luar departure hall.
Check-in desk.
Mushola lantai satu.

Usai shalat, aku segera menaiki escalator demi menuju lantai 2. Setibanya di atas, salah satu sisi selasar dimanfaatkan untuk memajang foto-foto sejarah masa lalu yang terkait dengan Bandar Udara Supadio. Dari deretan foto itu aku tahu bahwa Bandar Udara Supadio memiliki nama lama Airport Sungai Durian. Tertampil pula potret Soekarno yang sedang mengunjungi bandara tersebut di suatu masa.

Sisi lain lantai dua juga dipenuhi oleh executive lounge, souvenir outlet, coffee shop, minimarket dan restoran.

Kini aku tiba di hamparan bangku tunggu yang langsung berhadapan dengan gate. Mataku menyapu sekitar demi mencari keberadaan minimarket untuk mencari sesuatu sebagai pengganti makan siang. Maklum, aku hanya bersarapan dengan dua potong Pengkang yang kubawa dari Siantan tadi malam. Pantas saja, siang itu aku cepat sekali merasakan lapar.

Demi menjaga protokol kesehatan dengan menghindari makan di tempat umum, akhirnya aku memutuskan untuk menyantap roti dan beberapa keping biskuit saja. Aku membelinya di sebuah minimarket dan menyantapnya di kursi tunggu yang lengang sembari menunggu boarding time tiba.

Foto-foto sejarah.
Commercial zone lantai 2.
Ruang tunggu sebelum gate.

Hingga akhirnya, tepat pukul setengah tiga sore, panggilan untuk boarding tiba. Kini saatnya bersiap diri untuk mengikuti penerbangan menuju Jakarta.

Lion Air JT 712: Jakarta (CGK) ke Pontianak (PNK)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Jalur penerbangan Lion Air JT 712 (sumber: flightaware).

Terakhir menunggang “Maskapai Singa Merah” adalah sewaktu pulang dari Tanah Minang di akhir 2018. Kala itu, sangat bersyukurnya diriku karena sempat mencicip kehebatan Boeing 737 Max 8, generasi Boeing yang pernah menjadi andalan banyak maskapai dunia sebelum akhirnya dipensiun massalkan.

Menjelang pukul delapan, seorang ground staff wanita berparas cantik dengan pakaian Cheongsam bermotifkan batik memasuki ruang tunggu di Gate D1 sembari bertutur lantang,

JT 712 tujuan Pontianak dipersilahkan boarding, persiapkan boarding pass dan identitas diri ya Bapak-Ibu“, di langkah terakhir dia membuka pintu yang mengarah ke aerobridge.

Aku bergegas menyusulnya dan menjadi pengantri terdepan. Usai menyobek boarding passku, ground staff cantik itu mengarahkanku menuju aerobridge. Menyempatkan diri menangkap beberapa aktivitas apron dengan Canon EOS, akhirnya tiba jua diriku di pintu masuk kabin.

Aku cukup faham bahwa kini diriku sedang menaiki selongsong terbang berjenis Boeing 737-800NG (Next- Generation). Boeing jenis ini sendiri adalah pesawat yang didesain sebelum keluarnya Boeing 737 MAX. Dilihat dari kondisinya, pesawat masih tampak baru, hal itu berhasil membubuhkan rasa nyaman sebelum memulai penerbangan.

Mulai memasuki kabin, aku bergegas menuju ke bagian ekor untuk mencari keberadaan bangku bernomor 32F. Aku menemukannya tepat di baris ketiga dari belakang, tepat di jendela sisi kanan. Duduk di bagian belakang setidaknya terasa lebih aman karena deret bangku didepanku serta paling belakang tampak tak berpenumpang. Hanya ada tiga pramugari muda duduk tepat di belakangku. Dugaanku, pramugari yang duduk di tengah adalah cabin crew senior karena sepanjang penerbangan dia memberikan materi training yang harus diserap oleh pramugari junior di kiri kanannya.

Sementara itu seorang wanita muda berseragam Dinas Perhubungan dominan putih tegap berdiri mengawasi tindak tanduk segenap penumpang selama boarding. Mungkinkah petugas wanita itu sedang memantau penerapan protokol kesehatan di dalam kabin.

Senangnya bisa terbang lagi.
Kapan lagi ya aku naik Air Asia?.
Bedanya cuma di masker dan kacamata photochromic neutral itu.

Genap setengah jam menyempurnakan boarding, pesawat mulai beranjak dari apron dan bersiap diri untuk lepas landas. Awak kabin dengan sigap mulai memperagakan prosedur kesalamatan penerbangan seiring dengan pesawat yang sedang taxiing.

Pesawat terus begerak menuju salah satu ujung runway untuk kemudian berbalik haluan 180 derajat demi menghadap ke panjangnya landas pacu. Begitu petugas di ATC merilis izin mengudara, maka pesawat mulai memacu kecepatan di atas landasan untuk kemudian melakukan airborne di ujung landasan yang lain.

Di atas udara, penerbangan kali ini harus menembus dominasi awan-awan putih. Tetapi walaupun demikian, beberapa pemandangan terlihat indah ketika pesawat mengudara tepat di atas Pulau Belitung, destinasi wisata andalan tanah air yang pernah kukunjungi pada akhir 2016 silam.  Selain Pulau Belitung, pesawat juga melintas di atas Pulau Serutu dan Pulau Karimata.

Hanya saja, di tengah perjalanan pesawat sedikit mengalami turbulensi ketika melintas di daerah bersih awan, mungkin karena terpaan kencang udara menyebabkannya demikian.

Cengkareng dari atas.
Cruise phase.

Menempuh jarak udara lebih dari tujuh ratus kilometer, pesawat twin jet ini mengudara dengan perkiraan kecepatan enam ratus kilometer per jam.

Satu lagi pemandangan fantastis tertampil sesaat sebelum pesawat mendaratkan roda di Supadio International Airport, yaitu terpampang lebarnya Sugai Kapuas dengan kepadatan rumah-rumah penduduk di kedua badan sungai. Bahkan sebelum pemandangan spektakuler itu tiba, pemandangan Sungai Kakap dan Sungai Pinang juga turut menambahkan pesona Pontianak ketika dilihat dari udara.

Wing flap di kedua sayap pesawat kini mulai diturunkan sebagai persiapaan pendaratan, tampak dengan jelas smoke trail yang menyembur dari ujung sayap sebagai kamlufase pendinginan udara sekitar karena bertumbukan dengan panasnya gas buang pesawat.

Dan ketika pesawat menyentuh ujung landasan, begitu terpesonanya mataku melihat gagahnya antrian pesawat tempur jenis Hawk 109/209 milik Skuadron 1/Elang Khatulistiwa. Sebuah pesona penerbangan yang mengagumkan sepanjang satu jam lima belas menit.

Mulai masuk pulau Kalimantan.
Sungai Pinang dan Sungai Kakap di selatan Sungai Kapuas.
Nah itu aktornya….Sungai Kapuas, man!
Lihat fenomena smoke condensation di sayap pesawat itu….Keren ya?
Hawk 109/209 yang selalu siap menjaga udara Nusantara.
Modernnya Supadio International Airport.
Yuk, kita lihat sisi dalam bandaranya seperti apa!

Kamu mau dong terbang ke Pontianak?

Nih sebagai alternatif, tiket pesawat dari Jakarta ke Pontianak bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Terminal 2D Soetta: Mengembalikan Insting yang Lama Pudar

Semenjak terakhir pulang dari Qatar di permulaan 2020, boleh dikata, aku tak pernah lagi berpetualang dalam jarak yang jauh. Terhitung selama hampir dua tahun, aku hanya mengunjungi destinasi yang lokasinya berdekatan dengan ibukota, sebut saja Ujung Genteng, Gunung Pancar, Curug Leuwi Hejo, Dataran Tinggi Dieng, Anyer dan Puncak.

Tapi kini hati tetiba berujung galau ketika cuti lima hari disetujui oleh pimpinan tempatku bekerja. Ditambah dua hari weekend menjadikan liburanku genap satu pekan.

Ketika esok hari hitungan cuti bermula, pikiranku pergi membayang ke segala tempat. Adalah Bali, Lombok dan Labuan Bajo yang ada di pikiran pagi itu.

Tapi aku harus segera melakukan sesuatu sebelum berpikir lebih jauh.

Di hari pertama cuti, aku memutuskan untuk berangkat menuju sebuah rumah sakit kenamaan di bilangan Cibubur yang terkoneksi dengan Program PeduliLindungi untuk melakukan PCR dengan hasil keluar sameday. Aku telah menetapkan niat, apabila hasil PCR negatif maka aku akan memberanikan diri untuk terbang.

Ya, kemanapun….Yang penting naik pesawat”, niat di hati terdalam.

Aku telah merindukan sebuah petualangan panjang. Tentu petualangan yang jauh dari rumah. Aku sudah bersiap diri melakukan perjalanan dengan protokol pandemi.

Aku bersemangat datang ke rumah sakit dan tiba pada pukul setengah sembilan. Menunggang Beat Pop hitam kesayangan, aku tiba di depan para perawat yang bersiap mengambil sample PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) dengan mekanisme drive thru.

Sehari sebelumnya, aku telah melakukan pendaftaran online senilai Rp. 275.000. Inilah pertama kalinya aku menjalankan tes PCR. Tes yang membuatku bersin-bersin hebat bukan kepalang.

Selepas tes, aku pulang dan berdebar menunggu hasil. Dan pada akhirnya, hati diselimuti rasa bahagia ketika aku mendapatkan kabar lewat WhatsApp pada pukul lima sore bahwa PCRku menunjukkan hasil negatif dan hasil itu juga tercantum otomatis di aplikasi PeduliLindungi.

Sempurnanya hasil PCR mengantarkanku menuju tahap berikutnya yaitu berburu tiket.

Aku terjun berselancar di aplikasi e-commerce perjalanan terkenal di Indonesia. Akan tetapi, hasil perselancaran itu akhirnya mengubur dalam-dalam niatku yang sangat berhasrat melawat ke Labuan Bajo ataupun Lombok. Harga tiket pesawat yang terlalu melangitlah yang membuatnya demikian. Alternatif lain menuju Bali pun akhirnya berpotensi menjadi perjalanan tanggung karena sesungguhnya aku pernah menginjakkan kaki di Pulau Dewata.

—-****—-

Malam itu juga, aku mulai mempacking segenap perlengkapan hingga larut malam. Tak lupa, aku mempersiapkan obat-obatan beserta vitamin dengan lebih serius. Bahkan aku memutuskan membawa tablet antivirus sebagai antisipasi jika terjadi hal-hal diluar perkiraan di daerah tujuan.

Online check-in penerbangan pun baru kuselesaikan lewat tengah malam. Mendapatkan posisi duduk di window seat membuatku bersemangat dalam mengisi eHAC (electronic-Health Alert Card). Kuberharap suksesnya online check-in dan terbitnya eHAC akan membuat proses menuju boarding menjadi lebih cepat di keesokan harinya.

Usai memastikan segenap tahap persiapan tuntas, aku memutuskan tidur.

Akan tetapi, aku hanya bisa tertidur ayam tanpa kenyenyakan hingga setengah empat pagi….Seperti biasa, kekhawatiran tertinggal penerbangan menjadi penyebabnya.

Kuputuskan bangun lebih cepat dan melakukan shalat tahajud demi  memohon kepada Sang Kuasa atas keselamatan selama berpetualang. Seusainya, aku segera berbasuh dengan air hangat, bersarapan sekedarnya dan bergegas berburu ojek online untuk mengantarkanku menuju shelter DAMRI Terminal Kampung Rambutan.

Lewat sedikit dari setengah lima pagi, aku tiba di sana. Setelah menyiapkan sebotol air mineral dari sebuah kedai, aku bergegas naik. Bus berangkat tepat pukul lima dan setiap sisi deret bangku hanya boleh diisi oleh satu penumpang. Inilah yang membuat tarifnya melonjak dua kali lipat….Menjadi Rp. 85.000.

Akhirnya naik DAMRI bandara lagi.
Tiba di Terminal 2D Domestik.

Bus melaju cepat membelah jalanan kosong di jalan bebas hambatan. Satu jam kemudian, aku terbangun ketika bus perlahan merapat di Terminal 3-Ultimate. Dengan cekatan aku merogoh lembaran e-ticket dari backpack untuk memastikan terminal tujuan.

Terminal 2D Domestik…”, aku yakin membatin.

Akhirnya aku tiba….

Melompat turun di drop-off zone. Kini aku melangkah ke dalam bangunan bandara. Tentu aku merasakan atmosfer yang berbeda ketika memasukinya. Kondisi bandara sudah tak seperti dulu lagi ketika masa bepergian masih menjadi hal yang tidak berbahaya serta tanpa prosedur kesehatan yang ketat.

Begitu memasuki departure hall, Aku langsung dihadapkan pada antrian panjang calon penumpang yang berburu konfirmasi layak terbang pada sebuah layar LCD. Melihat panjangnya antrian, aku memberanikan diri untuk bertanya pada seorang petugas yang berjaga.

Pak, saya sudah memiliki hasil PCR negatif di dalam aplikasi….Apakah saya bisa mengindahkan antrian itu?”, aku menunjukkan barcode di aplikasi PeduliLindungi.

Terbang jam berapa, pak?”, dia mengangguk-angguk melihat barcode yang kutunjukkan.

Jam delapan, pak

Oh, silahkan bapak langsung saja menuju konter check-in, nanti tunjukkan hasil tes dalam aplikasi ya, pak!

“Baik, pak”

Aku melangkah mantap menuju screening gate pertama dan bisa melewatinya dengan mudah.

Kini aku bergegas menuju konter check-in. Begitu tiba di area konter, aku tetiba merinding karena keramaian calon penumpang yang rapat tak berjarak.

Aku berhenti sejenak dan mengamati dari kejauhan. Aku mencoba mengembalikan insting backpacker yang sudah lama tak terasah. Sepuluh menit aku hanya berdiri menatap ruangan penuh manusia itu. Aku terus mencoba berfikir.

“Seingatku, selalu ada antrian pendek yang disitu berjajar calon penumpang tanpa bagasi”, aku terus berfikir keras.

Pak, ada antrian konter tanpa bagasi?”, aku memberanikan diri bertanya pada seorang ground staff yang kebetulan melintas.

Oh, di ujung sana pak, konter nomor 46”, dia mengarahkan telunjuknya ke sebuah arah.

Terimakasih pak

Aku bergegas menujunya dan benar saja, aku hanya menemukan antrian lima calon penumpang di depan konter itu. Akhirnya, aku tak perlu mengantri lama dan berhasil menjauhi kerumunan.

Usai mengantongi boarding pass. Aku menuju ke Gate D1 dengan melewati screening gate kedua yang tentunya pemeriksaan berjalan lebih ketat. Aku berhasil melewatinya dengan mudah dan akhirnya bisa duduk di waiting room Gate D1 tepat satu jam sebelum boarding.

Lihat antrian panjang nan rapat itu!
Konter check-in tanpa bagasi. Lebih pendek dan cepat.
Menuju gate.
Gate areas setelah screening gate.
Di depan sana adalah waiting room Gate D1.
Pemandangan apron dari Gate D1.

Kini aku bersiap terbang menuju provinsi ke-12 di dalam petualanganku menaklukkan tanah air.

PONTIANAK….Ya aku bersiap mendarat di Kota Khatulistiwa tersebut.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Three Malay Dances at Merdeka Walk

After tasting Waroenk Nenek’s pecel lele (fried catfish with chili sauce), the sky looked occasionally throwing lightning. As if announcing to earth inhabitants that soon it would drop rain which it couldn’t hold anymore.

It seems I never heeded the announcement. The green button “Order GoRide” has already been touched and invited a online taxibike driver to appear in front of me in 4 minutes. Motorizing along 4.5 km, I got off at right in front of “Pos Indonesia” building. “Anno 1911” was precisely wrote above a old window with four columns and three rows shutters, had became a birth certificate of the building, it is meaning that the building is 109 years old now.

The colorful gates of Merdeka Walk which are only 150 meters from my dropping point, I approached it by walk. This time, I passed next old building which had become “Bank Indonesia” office and next to it I found an elegant Old City Hall which was doused in yellow spotlights from its roof.

Arrive at a big T-junction, right in front is my next destination and at the south side is “Bank Mandiri” Building.
Old City Hall in north of Bank Mandiri.

I slowly tread into Medan’s culinary center. Large trees became the first sight which catched my eye’s attention. How shady it would be if I arrived at noon, the assumption which I immediately imagined.

Let’s come in!….Don’t just stare.

Long rows of tables and chairs which were arranged lengthwise following restaurants direction which lined up parallel to Balai Kota Street greet me. I wasn’t counting but I heard that Merdeka Walk provided 700 seats for visitors.

Hang out there seemed good.

This place also provides menu variety from Asian food to European food. But yes, that’s how I am, you can certainly guess….I never once sat and tasted food in this place.

Sitting there is fun also…Looks like again.

Two Merdeka Walk restaurant sides will be centered in a field area called the Center Piece. That night, this area was transformed into a red carpeted stage which was functioned as a catwalk. Loud music delivered by backstage sound system was welcomed by swinging footsteps in one straight line. Child models were able to stylish like an adult and experienced models.

At the Center Piece there was also a local TV shooting activity.

Not long after, the sky really poured heavy rain. I couldn’t imagine, they who quickly sipped hot coffee or they who chewed their food which have just been served with a high tempo too….amused to see it. While me?…. Easy…. Just ran away and took shelter in an closed restaurant then waited for rain until finished.

What’s behind of Merdeka Walk?

The night began to move, in the soft drizzle I went down some stairs at back of Merdeka Walk to saw activities at Merdeka Square. It seemed that this field is an children choice area which allowed them to free run around or just drove around in cars which were glittering with colorful lights.

Medan Hall.

Then my steps came to a large hall where several families gathered while laying mats and enjoying dinner together with a dinner basket from home. A harmonious family.

And when I intended to end my visit on Merdeka Walk, I hear a faint Malay music which was followed by someone’s voice which I guessed as MC. The sound was sourced from north. I rushed over

It turned out to be a free performance of Malay dance.

For a moment I enjoyed three Malay dances which were held right in front of the yellowish green “Tourist Service” building.

Beautiful closing night in Medan because on next day I would go to Toba Lake….I couldn’t wait.

Revealing a Benefactor story at Tjong A Fie Mansion

Sumatra Money Museum and Tjong A Fie’s House are only three blocks away and pass a large intersection which separates Pemuda Street where the museum is located and Jenderal Ahmad Yani Street where the house is located.

Security: “Hey, brother. Why do you capture photos of this building?”, his left hand is on his waist, his right hand hold a T-stick.

Me: “Oh, that’s sir….The building is nice, really classic“, bent down as a sorry.

Security: “Oh yeah, that’s great … I didn’t realize it“. Saying while standing on my right side led to the same building.

Me: “Sure, Sir….You who has worked here for a long time, just realized that” while holding a laugh in my chest.

I thought he will take my camera and erased the picture in it…. Apparently no, hahaha.

—-****—-

That house gate is so small and I had a little bit passed it. I turned and slowly walked toward it.

My bad habit: silence for a long time in the courtyard and even didn’t blink.

Young staffs who on duty at ticket desk were watching me from terrace. They were glad to get a guest. Some time later, I realized that they were waiting me.

Staff: “Sir, you can keep your backpack here. The house is spacious, you will be tired“.

Me: “Thank you honey Ms, I put it here….Is it safe?”.

Staff: “I’ll take care, Sir….You don’t need to worry”.

Me: “Take care of my heart too….Thanks Ms”.

OK….Let’s start to entering Tjong A Fie Mansion.

A multicultural figure from Guangdong.

Do you know about Tjong A Fie?….He is a Chinese descent resident who in his life became a rich trader and became an important figure in Medan because of his generosity in building Medan city in his era. He worked hand in hand with Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah to develop city economy. At that time, Deli was famous worldwide with its high-quality tobacco, and even Deli was dubbed as Dollar Landsh (Dollar Land).

The beauty of his 120-year-old house is truly eye-catching. Has four guest rooms with different concepts to receive guests from different communities.

The yellow dominant living room is for receiving guests from Deli Sultanate as Malay community.
Chinese descent guests are welcome here.
This room is to receive guests from Dutch government.

I was fortunate to meet two visitors from Aceh who used a tour guide services. Seeing me when visiting it alone, Mr. Syaiful smiled and waved to me and then invited me to join with them. “Come on, brother, come here!“, he lightly said. How lucky is my fate.

Tjong A Fie was so rich, many of his home furnishings were imported from Europe such as safes, ceramic decorations or ovens in his kitchen.

The dining table was ever used to entertain Deli Sultanate family in Chinese New Year celebration.

Next exploration showed photos of the entire Tjong A Fie family, which consist from 21 family members. The photo was taken during his 60th birthday celebration in early 20th century.

A bed made from classic carving woods with white mosquito nets.

An orange kitchen wall with three wood-burning stoves next to a separate room with two flour stone-grinders and one rolling pin with similar material.

A hall which contains a row of family history photos.

In other side, I found a Tjong A Fie family tree, some photos of important buildings in the city which were built with his funds (such as Gang Bengkok Old Mosque, Sipirok Old Mosque and even Al Mashun Grand Mosque in downtown), as well as a photo of Kesawan Bank Commissioner which was founded by Tjong A Fie.

A high windows with a dominant number make the house so spacious.

Tour guide said that during President Soeharto era, the state acquired Tjong A Fie’s plantation and merged into state’s plantation ownership i.e PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

End of my visitation in Tjong A Fie Mansion. His house gate is seen from 2nd floor.

See the Tjong A Fie Mansion situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYmGn_g4FW4

Attaching a Signature at the Sumatra Money Museum

I began to walk at exit path of Sri Deli Park.

My steps were so harmonious with my index finger pressure on camera to capture the best images along Sisingamangaraja Street.

Red motorcycle suddenly got off from asphalt and its brake pounding threw dust which made me momentarily cover my nose. A face which was hidden behind helmet turned towards me while waving. I paused while thinking what was happen. A little suspicious, I stepped up to him while keeping a safe distance.

He : “Sir, don’t carry your good camera like that. There are a lot of thieves here. Just keep it!“, speaking after slowly taking off his helmet.

Me: “Oh, thank you sir….Okay sir”, I relieved replied

He: “Be careful, Sir. Assalamualaikum

Me: ”Wa’alaikumsalam Sir”. Good people are always around me.

—-****—-

Strong despite being old.

I was stunned under Tirtanadi Water Tower while sitting and putting my backpack next to a tree trunk to protect myself from the sun’s heat. Then I filled my bottles with free drinking water in front left of PDAM (the name of water company) Tirtanadi office.

Worried that the dusk which had been queueing to present, I fastly stepped to Tjong A Fie’s house. Passing a railroad crossing and then entering Pemuda Street, I accidentally passed a roll up banner which its titled “Sumatra Money Museum“.

See the way toward Sumatra Money Museum here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NWlMmGZr0

Maybe just need about 30 minutes to explore, stop by for a moment!“, inwardly whispered teasing me. Without argumentation, now, I have been speaking with Miss L – a sweet young woman in a sky blue scarf – as a staff and also as a museum’s tour guide. She took souvenirs in the form of two coins made by Palembang Sultanate with a hole in its middle which was neatly wrapped while giving a piece of green paper as size as a ticket with a writing “Souvenir Fee USD 0.75“.

—-****—-

2nd floor.

I stepped stairs and continually observed its classic building. Ms. L said, I was in “Gedung Juang ’45“. “No need to hurry, Sir. The museum closes at 5 pm“, she said with a smile.

Arriving on 2nd floor, I was treated to a view of money printing machine “Oeang Republik Indonesia Tapanoeli (ORITA)” which was used in early era of President Soekarno.

ORITA.

Founded 3 years ago by Saparudin Barus, this collection room became the first money museum in Sumatra. The collector’s personal intention was approved by local government after Gedung Juang ’45 was chosen as museum location. In the past, This building itself has an important role as headquarters of Barisan Pemuda Indonesia (Indonesian Youth Front) in carrying out resistance against Dutch colonial government.

In 1726, for the first time, the VOC published coins known as DOIT or DUIT.

Exploring from one storefront to another, accompanied by an explanation from Ms. L, I began to float into nation’s historical flow through coins sequence which is sorted by its using.

Indonesian coins from time to time along with Malaysian coins.

Being the only visitor that afternoon, I was willing to repeatly observe some trade exchange tools in the golden era of Srivijaya Kingdom. Or money which was made from burlap which was issued by Buton Kingdom in Sulawesi.

It’s so large, Soekarno era’s paper money!

At the end of my visitation, Miss L directed me to a long white cloth and she briefly explained that each visitor would be asked to write his impression message about the museum and ending with a signature underneath. Okay, no need to be stingy to write on the cloth. My signature scratch ended this visitation.

Museum’s storefront with many money collection from various times.

How lucky me to passing and visiting it….Let’s to next destination!

Eight Facets in Al Mashun Grand Mosque Architecture

That green mosque with dominant white was clearly visible from Maimun Palace gate. It’s a 111 years old mosque which is be a memory of Deli Sultanate greatness. According to story, Sultan wanted to build a mosque more beautiful than the palace where he lived as a service for religion. So the palace and mosque are an architectural package which were planned by Sultan Deli which you must visit when you are in Medan.

Impatient steps made me sweaty panting and my back was increasingly achy because burdened by a backpack which even I have carried for 4 hours since leave Kualanamu International Airport.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight….Oh, eight facets“, I murmured in heart when I got around outside of the oldest mosque in Medan. The main dome with dark color is surrounded by three twin domes. A unique form and rarely found in any mosque.

Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam needed for 3 years for finishing the building.

Dhuhr azan reprimanded me for immediately turning off the camera and purifying myself with wudu (ablution) in a separate building at east of mosque.

Wudu (ablution) place.

After put my shoes, I walked on a rubber track into mosque’s worship room. I was looking around and admiring mosque’s interior which is very charming.

Able to accommodate 1,500 worshipers at a time.

Eight buffer pillars are coated by marble which was imported from Itali by the architect – Mr. Tingdeman -. Combined with the elegance of a chandelier from France which its form like a reverse birthday cake. Then walls on every sides consist of doors with Spanish arch style and are completed with large stained glass from China. Then islamic nuances of Taj Mahal are represented on wall motifs and pulpit (minbar) carvings….AMAZING.

Al Mashun Grand Mosque dome are black from outside.

After Dhuhr prayer, I watched an Aussie tour group who visited the mosque using hijab which were provided by the mosque. They looked fascinated when entering mosque’s door.

Some mosque worshipers were seen heading to tombs on west side and made a pilgrimage to Sultan tombs. Al Mashun Grand Mosque looked solemn inside and outside.

Do you know the meaning of word “Al Mashun”…. “maintained” is the meaning of its name.

Pedestrian bridge which its shape is influenced by mosque architecture.

I tried to approach Sisingamangaraja street to enjoy the mosque from a distance. Its beauty increasingly become when I observed it from pedestrian bridge

Madani Hotel is in across of the mosque. See!. It have a dome too….Beautiful.

See Al Mashun Grand Mosque situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGM70L6JeaQ

That was my adventure in Medan’s second destination….Come with me again to another good destination !.

Golden Yellow of Maimun Palace

Call his name as Yunus, a young man with a Malay face with his confidence patting my shoulder from behind. My focus to snapping the palace image from the best position finally faded.

Yunus: “Can you take photo of me, brother?”

Me: “Oh, okay. Don’t stand there…. stand in the middle! “, I directed his position like a professional photographer.

He just came from Pangkalan Brandan to try his fortune in Medan after passing a vocational school with its majoring in Automotive Engineering. He want to work in automotive workshop. He was so fascinated by my appearance so he guessed me as a reporter with a camera which he thought expensive. Even though……Hahaha

Take my photo, boy!“, I said. “Oh okay, smile, smile“, Yusuf managed…. Snap…. Am I similar to a reporter?

Our small talk was resolved when my steps were leading to a separate building at left of the palace. I looked inside, there was a cannon with a broken end. That is the “Buntung/Puntung” Cannon. Amazing, that cannon piece fell as far as 75 km at south of the palace because of cannon’s heat which was continuously fired.

It is said that this cannon was the incarnation of Putri Hijau (Green Princess) when Deli Sultanate was attacked by a king from Aceh who was angry because his marriage proposal was rejected.

“Dee Eerste Steen Van Dit Gebouw

Is Celeco Op Den

26 Augustus 1888

Door Z. H. Den Sultan Van Deli

Mahmoed El Rasjid Perkasa Alamsja

I read with lips curve which is similar to dutch accent at the base of front pillar just before climbing the white gray stairs.

Fixing my backpack in preparation for whole palace exploration then was continued with buying an entrance ticket for USD 3.7 at the top of stairs. Then my steps began to tread palace floor.

King and Queen chairs.

Yellow color palace door which are so numerous, adopt an European style which is combined with green dominant shutters and arches at the top with Indian Mughal architecture, were the first scene which I remember.

Great wedding altar in golden yellow.

Then “the yellow and the green” are combined with “the red” as a signify that this palace clearly belongs to whole Malay nation. Yellow represents wisdom, green represents Islam and red represents tradition colors.

Lamp ornaments above the height of palace ceiling.

So many faces of Deli Sultanate family are introduced to public through classic photographs which are neatly arranged and tightly attached to wooden walls of the palace.

As a result, I was stunned by the beautiful face of Yang Mulia Raja Noorsida who is wife of Seripaduka Sultan Osman Al Sani Perkasa Alam.

Photo of Sultan Deli who rules today: Seripaduka Baginda Tuanku Sultan Mahmud Arya Lamanjiji Perkasa Alam Shah.

In some corners, I diligently watched several weapons which are left by Sultan, such as Bentara Kris (Keris Bentara), Tumbok Dagger (Tumbok Lada), Cenderahati Kris (Keris Cenderahati). Also some musical instruments, jewelry, ceramic plates and Sultan’s clothes.

Deli Sultanate spears.

More noon, more visitors enlivened the whole palace. Many people were willing to queue for wearing Malay traditional clothes and pose in king and queen’s chairs. Students didn’t hesitate to sit on palace floor and listening to teacher’s explanation which loudly tell some stories until his jugular veins appeared.

Malay traditional clothes rental.

My visitation to Maimun Palace really left a deep impression because this was the first time I visited a palace on Sumatra island.

See you again, the magnificent and modest palace.

See the Maimun Palace situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzCzrdsv978

Come on….See next creations of Deli Sultanate !…. Al Mashun Grand mosque. It’s not far …

10 Tourist Attractions in Medan

I’ve never given brain a slightest chance to think long. Riding a motorcycle taxi, I sayid “sayonara” to Amplas Terminal which seems unwilling to be left behind by visitor who are willing to take time to know about it.

15 minutes later, I already alighted at Medan’s main destination. They are:

1. Maimun Palace

The palace whose name means “blessing” has served for nearly 130 years in representing a greatness of Deli Sultanate. This palace was constructed as a sign of kingdom’s capital shifting from Labuhan to Medan.

Yellow is a distinctive Malay color that symbolizes wisdom.

Redeem an entrance ticket worth USD 0.37, I explored every corner of the palace and continued to admire every detail of the fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. Five hectares of palace area makes anyone freely enjoy beauty of the palace from various points of view.

Next destination is only 2 minutes by walking, which is:

2. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Located in west of palace, this octagonal sacred building majestically stands in passing time. This fenomenal creation by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam implies that he prioritizes grandeur of the mosque rather than the palace where he lives.

Its marble was directly imported from Italy.

Right on Dzuhur prayer time, I took time to mingle with local people to taste the coolness of this 110 years old mosque. The grandeur of mosque is a marker of prosperity of Deli Sultanate in its time.

Don’t leave an area around the palace and mosque because there is still one more place which is believed to be a relic of Deli Sultanate, namely:

3. Sri Deli Park

Stepping for about 100 meters to north of mosque, I was arriving in the park. To absorbed its historical value, I tried to imagine being a Sultan’s son who was relaxing in afternoon then taking a bath in the trapezoid pool which is located in the middle of park.

Park which can reduce city’s heat.

This park was as a closing exploration to remember the glory of Malay under the leadership of Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (the title of Sultan Deli).

4. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Continuing to walk to north, within 800 meters I found a giant water tank which is owned by PDAM (stands for Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) Tirtanadi in North Sumatra Province. This giant water tank has long been a tourist landmark for the city.

Don’t look at its old face but look at its role.

Who would think that this red and white water tank was made by Netherlands Colonialism at beginning of 20th century. According to the meaning of its Sanskrit name, Tirtanadi has a vital role in supplying clean water needs of townspeople since it was first built until now.

Do you know the meaning of “Tirtanadi” word?….Yups, Tirta means water and Nadi means life.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera (Money Museum of Sumatra)

Let’s take more step!….

About 300 meters at west of Tirtanadi Water Tower, I found a various forms of money collection from several eras in a museum which its establishment was initiated by a money collector named Saparudin Barus.

Even money from Deli Sultanate era was still well preserved.

This museum doesn’t have an entrance ticket. It’s just that museum will give souvenirs in the form of 2 old coins with a hole in the middle and is valued for about USD 0.74.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

This time, I stopped at another important destination in Medan. This is a house which is owned by rich trader of Chinese descent who had a major role in city development. This benefactor is Tjong A Fie. And the remain aside from his greatness name is her house where he lives.

Every room in Tjong A Fie’s house has a special function that fascinates me.

I was willing to pay an entrance ticket for USD 2.6. But that value paid off once I understood about its story that explaining each side of the house and traced Tjong A Fie’s career in growing his business and build Medan.

7. Madras Village

There was no authentic reason which I could explain why I had to visit Madras Village. One simple reason, it was a domino effect because I stayed at Dazhong Backpacker Hostel in the center of Madras Village.

Mingling with Indian descent citizens.

Madras is taken from the name of an area in South India which is the ancestors origin of Indian Tamil descent residents.

8. Waroenk Nenek

After meeting up with my friend in city, the darkness persuaded me to return to hotel. But the hunger that was unstoppable, made me to looking for dinner before I actually arrived at hotel.

Bonus destination.

Then I arrived at a restaurant with its slogan “Semua Ada” at Patimura Street. One portion of fried catfish with sambal which was served by beautiful waitress in hijab became the most beautiful gift that night.

9. Merdeka Walk

Fresh after dinner made me canceling to back to hotel. I was adding to one destination again by visiting the city’s culinary and entertainment center which is usualli called eMWe.

Drizzle started to fall when I arrived.

Created in 2005 and able to accommodate 700 visitors at one time making this place as a favorite destination when weekend arrives. Especially for young people who want to relax after working hard all week.

10. Medan Hall.

It’s still one area with Merdeka Walk which occupies at one side of Merdeka Square. This hall will be the center of Medan square in the future after revitalization which is being designed by city government.

At 21:00 hours, the hall still had visitors.

Availability of parks around the hall makes this place very crowded with activities variety from just gathering with family, sports or activities of several young communities.

That was a quick visit in Medan that made me want to back there again.

Kualanamu Airport Bus and Amplas Terminal which is Getting Old

Even a week before flying, I made a choice. Not “The fast train from Woojin“, let alone the “blue bird” that often passed in Kualanamu International Airport. My choice was on cheap transportation which is friendly to my wallet. It is none other than DAMRI Bus.

Sitting sleepily in waiting room of airport train station then observing executives people who dragging their suitcase, chasing train’s departure time. Or conversely, quick steps of dapper passengers who had just gotten off the airport train to catch up on their flight times. I became a relaxed man that morning at Kualanamu International Airport. Yes….I was on backpacking, not on business trip.

They who were busy.

15 minutes watching the “The Blue Sky train” which passing by, I exited the train station and carrying my blue backpack which I got through a famous e-commerce a year ago.

Chief Sergeant’s smile welcomed when he helped to crossing me across airport car lane and then I directed my steps towards airport bus platform.

DAMRI Bus hide at the side of red minibus.

Turning to right end of airport exit gate, DAMRI ticket sales counter is very easily seen and found. Can be clearly read “Amplas, Siantar or Binjai“, as several public transportation destinations at outer of Kualanamu. I have studied it well and clearly stated in my itinerary, Amplas is my next destination.

Redeeming a ticket for USD 1.1, I was accessing to taste government-owned transportation which is already legendary in all people heart.

Very cheap.

Brother, just look at destination direction board!. Over there”, ticket staff in uniform said, with his forefinger and his eyes headed in the same direction.

Ok, Sir” I curtly replied.

24 passenger bus in medium size which was never full.

Entering its single door, I sat right next to the door, less than a minute I was in back seat, even a moment later I was in middle seat. AC ventilator was uncovered, rear window was dull so that my camera also lost its clarity, in the middle, reclining seats didn’t function properly.

Air conditioner was super cold which made me shiver along journey.

 “Where’s your ticket?“, The conductor loudly said that surprised me.

Ah, this is Medan, apparently“, I thought that finally made me naturally behave and not be surprised.

Amplas Terminal, Sir“, I handed him the ticket. It turned out that behind the ferocious conductor’s face, there was a faint smile which automatically released on his lips. I began to fall in love with Medan.

Drive and stay away from Kualanamu.

I was very busy in moving to other seats in order to create the best shots (though failed ultimately….Haha), because this DAMRI bus carried 5 passengers only. I knew that the driver keep watching me through rearview mirror. In order to made it natural, I gave him a thumbs up and, uniquely, he also raised his thumbs high. All passengers laughed at me.

Alley situation of a village.
Wide gardens owned by residents.

DAMRI bus had already been quickly speeding on Medan-Kualanamu-Tebing Tinggi toll road.

Preparing to enter the fast lane.

In thirty minutes, DAMRI run towards west until it finally arrived at Amplas Integrated Terminal which is very famous in Sumatera. The terminal isn’t as frightening as I imagined. Nobody bothered me when I spent 20 minutes to exploring entire terminal.

Amplas Terminal which is 29 years old.

Even I took time to talk to Department of Transportation officer about how to go to Toba Lake from this terminal. Also conversing with a “Sejahtera” bus conductor to asked about bus first departure to the world’s largest volcanic lake.

Blue stall where I talk with local residents.

Very happy to hear that Amplas Terminal will be revitalized by Minister of Transportation, and will become an terminal which is integrated with malls and hotels. So cool.

Come on, didn’t stay long at terminal !. Let me show you about Medan.

See the way towards Amplas Terminal here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iv6lQjoYmQ&t=15s

Let’s explore Medan!